A Long Time Ago
1. Just Another Beginning

No!

No no no no no! NOT supposed to happen! Not supposed to happen, you stupid little girl!

Cursing herself, she ran around the corner and down the corridor, almost knocking over a blue Twi'lek male...probably one of the new teachers. She yelled "Sorry!" behind her, and kept running. Regimesh will be furious. "Always late, Miss Vari," he'd say, in that accent she used to find so hilarious. "But even I had dared to hope you'd have turned over a new leaf over the holiday..."

Run run run run run! Come on! Stupid Nerra. He said he'd wake you up so you wouldn't be late and he DIDN'T and you shouldn't have trusted him you stupid...

She almost shot right past the classroom. She had to stop and turn around again. The once-familiar door was now painted red...they must have done that over the holiday.

She knocked.

"Enter," two voices called.

She entered. Two seats were in the centre of the room...on one of them sat Kirris Leleny, High Mistress of something-or-other, the one who'd arranged the meeting...and on the other sat the much-feared (and mostly much-hated) Middle Master of History, J. Regimesh.

"Take a seat," Kirris annouced. She hit a button next to her and a chair detached itself from the wall and made its way to her. She sat down.

"So, Tass..." Kirris began, in a trying-to-be-friendly tone of voice..."Master Regimesh called me to arrange a meeting. Apparently you've been working at a below-average level in History?"

And Planetary Cultures, and Language Studies, and..."Yes, High Mistress," she said.

"Can you give me a reason?"

"No, High Mistress."

"Very well," She looked over at the History Master. "We've discussed this. We want to see you pass your final exams, Tass. You're intelligent enough..." Oh really. "...and so we've decided to give you one last chance."

She hadn't been expecting that. "What is it?"

"A History project," Regimesh announced. "Pick a subject, research it, and present a well-written and fully illustrated project on it by the end of term." He glared at her. "Personally, I think we're letting you off far too easily."

Tass didn't care. She nodded. More History...damn.

"So, Tass...will you do that?" Kirris continued.

"Yes, High Mistress."

"Good. I expect you to start work on it straight away...understand?" Tass nodded again. "Right. You may go. Bear in mind...if the project isn't up to scratch, you forfeit...well, you forfeit your future, really, Tass."

Tass hurried for the door. She noticed Regimesh shoot her an extremely disapproving look as she left. Not for the first time she wondered what his problem was. Oh well...maybe it's just something you pick up when you're the only Gungan teacher in the whole school.

*****

"No way," Dekabyn said. "You're not that bad."

Tass played with her hair. They were sitting in her favourite spot...the small metal bench on the highest balcony, where you could look out over Coruscant. It didn't make her feel any less depressed, though. "I am that bad," she said. "Below Average in everything."

"Not Art."

"I wasn't counting that."

"So there's one thing you're good at. And I expect History won't be too difficult once you get the hang of it...honestly, what're they on about, forfeit your future?"

"I dunno. Not going to ask, either." She rested her head on her hand. "Anyway, all this is easy for you to say, you're so smart and I'm so dumb."

"You're not dumb."

"Don't try to be nice."

"Suit yourself, I won't."

Tass sighed. She looked out over the buildings. It was a view she was used to...but she was starting to get sick of it.

"I can't take another year of Regimesh," she muttered.

"You're not the only one. I want to get out of here...don't you?"

"I don't have anywhere to go."

"Same here."

The buzzer sounded, echoing around the air. Dekabyn stood up. "See you around," he said, and walked away. Tass stared blankly out at the buildings for a few seconds. Then she picked up her datapads from the floor, and walked away as well.