Writers' notes: Here we are. I wanted to say that Alice wrote 75 of it, but she wanted to let me post it as my first story. There is no body count here...well, I guess it's all in how you interpret that term.
A Time in the Sun
In the time after the destruction of the mighty Star Forge, euphoria swept the length and breadth of the Republic. Years of strife had come to an end when Malak, the Dark Lord of the Sith, was laid low in an epic duel and the Star Forge, the symbol of his domination, was obliterated in a hail of laser fire from the Republic fleet.
As the sun set on the Rakatan planet, the small Republic contingent that was left on the alien world settled in for another night. Diplomats and advisors met with the Old Ones to discuss the future as soldiers and Jedi practiced their trade or meditated on what was to come.
The diminutive Master Vandar sat at a table with the tall Rakatans, calm and peaceful as always. "I am pleased that we have come to an agreement, my new friends. The Jedi will be honored to help return your world to prosperity."
Three tall Rakatans nodded in unison and spoke in their alien, multi-toned voices, "We have long suffered since the apocalypse that swept our world and welcome the assistance of the Jedi. Although we were initially suspicious, it was your Jedi, Revan that slew The One and restored order to our civilization."
Master Vandar shifted and, for a moment, a look of discomfort peeked through his inscrutable presence. He looked away and pursed his lips as if thinking. "I am pleased that your…faith in Revan was not…a disappointment. Revan has since been called to the Jedi Council on Coruscant to…answer for things in the past. I have assigned Bastila Shan to oversee the diplomatic mission to the Rakatans. Knight Shan will serve you well."
Bastila Shan, who had been standing behind Vandar, stepped forward and bowed. "I am honored by your faith in me," she said, trying to suppress the doubt and fear that permeated her being since Malak had crushed her soul and perverted her heart.
The Rakatans seemed hesitant. "Are you sure she can be trusted," they said brazenly in front of her. "After all, we saw her consorting with the minions of the Dark Side."
Bastila's face flushed red and her heart skipped a beat. When Master Vandar remained silent, she spoke, "It is a fair question. I was captured by Malak while defending Revan. He…he used his powers…to…to force me to the Dark Side. Revan saved me." Her hands began to shake as she remembered the horrible torture that Malak had inflicted on her and how, bit by bit and day by day, she lost more of her soul until there was nothing but pain and darkness.
The Rakatans merely blinked their eye stalks and turned back to Master Vandar. "Master Vandar, we trust your judgment and will accept Knight Shan as your representative."
The tall aliens stood and bowed with a sense of decorum. As they left, the small master reached up and grasped Bastila's hand. "I must depart tonight. Your redemption will not be easy as Malak's influence on you was deep," he said and pulled her down to kneel at his eye level. As he gazed into her eyes, he continued, "Bastila, there will be many things going on in your heart and in your mind over what happened. You will feel guilt and shame and horror. Accept these and learn from what happened. It will be a long journey for you to return to the light. Although I won't be here to guide you, know that I am with you in the Force. Use it for your strength."
With that, he released her hands and left.
Bastila stood on the loading platform and watched Master Vandar board with emissaries of the Rakatan people. The diminutive Jedi turned one last time and looked back without expression. The hatch closed and Bastila felt a part of her life close as well.
Thrusters lifted the shuttle from the ground and then propelled it skyward. After a few minutes, Bastila could no longer see the flame of its engines in the night. Thinking on Vandar's words, the young knight returned to her tent on the plain in front of the great Rakatan Temple – she couldn't bring herself to take a room there after what had happened.
She stood outside of her tent as the stars shone above and she looked over to the temple in the moonlight. Pinpoints of light peeked through windows where Jedi and Republic representatives were quartered. Bastila shuddered as she remembered arcs of lightning coursing into her body from Malak's hand. The pain…the unimaginable pain and loneliness.
The sleepless nights…the delirium. I didn't know right from wrong. I couldn't help it.
Bastila closed her eyes for a moment and wrapped her hand around one of the tent posts, her muscles straining with the memory of her fall until the post bent. With a sigh, she released the metal bar and entered her tent to meditate, but she was not to find peace that night.
Days went by and Bastila's duties proved to be easier than she thought. She sat in the sand on a pristine shore near the Temple and looked out across the rippling water.
"Somehow, I feel at peace here," she said to herself.
"It is rather peaceful," a man's voice answered unexpectedly.
Bastila turned, startled by the sudden intrusion and dismayed that the Force did not warn her of his presence. She narrowed her eyes to see a blond man standing and looking out over the water. His hair was long and hung over his shoulders around his serene face. "I come here every day to meditate," he added.
"This is my first time here," she said. "Am I in your spot?"
He chuckled softly as if to himself. "With kilometers of beach in every direction to choose from…no, I would enjoy the company actually," he said and began to lay a towel on the sand.
Bastila looked him over cautiously. "Meditate? You're not a Jedi…I know everyone her who is in the Order…but I sense a serenity within you that tells me you've been trained."
He turned to her and the light caught his golden hair. "That's very observant of you. I left the Order some time ago and became a medic in the Grand Army of the Republic. Mical…the name is Mical."
"Bastila Shan," she said, reluctant now to use her title and rank.
"Yes, I know."
Everything about him was cryptic and it drove Bastila mad. She watched as he opened a picnic basket and lay food out on his towel in a slow and deliberate manner. "How goes the recovery effort?" he asked.
She shrugged, closing her eyes and letting the sun warm her. "The armies of The One disintegrated when he died and they quickly joined the Old Ones to end the decades-old conflict. The environmental projects are going well and I seem to have a lot of time on my hands to think."
"Is that good of bad?"
She was taken aback by his forwardness, but answered anyway, "I think a little of both."
Mical nodded with his cryptic smile and offered her a sandwich. "The fish is local caught and baked in a Rakatan style."
"Thank you, I was just thinking about returning to the compound for a meal," she said and took a bite. "Mmm, very good. You're quite a cook."
He took a bite of his own meal, seeming to savor the taste. He inhaled the cool breeze and appeared to Bastila to just enjoy being. She found herself a little annoyed at his presence here, yet curious about him at the same time.
"So, Mical, you left the Order…."
"Yes, I did," he replied, cryptic as ever.
Bastila huffed, becoming more than a bit irritated. "And why was that?"
"Someone I loved and respected left the Order to follow Revan. I found that I could no longer serve as a Padawan. As a medic, I could at least be near her."
"I see…so you followed Revan to war as well?" she said, her voice hardening.
"It was not my intent to kill and I chose the path of a healer. I have saved many lives, including many Jedi."
Bastila sat back and gave Mical another long, hard look. "For as much war as you have seen, you seem entirely unaffected. You have the serenity of a Jedi Master."
At this, his face reddened and a nervous laugh escaped his lips. "Thank you for the compliment. I struggle every day with what I have been through," he said with an air of dignity.
Her curiosity piqued, Bastila continued, "You said her. Of whom do you speak? Was she a Jedi?"
Mical returned her gaze for a few seconds until the pause became pregnant. Then, his eyes shifted away off to the sea. "Jedi Shan, would you care for a drink? I had the foresight to bring a bottle of Dantooine Brandy. As it stands, there won't be too many more of this being distilled."
Bastila was taken aback by the change in topic, but accepted a glass. She took a sip and let her eyes focus out to sea as well. She shifted her toes in the sand and decided to let the question pass. "The name Dantooine brings back some…feelings for me. I trained there under Master Vandar and others. It was there that I first met Revan and Malak."
"Yes, I knew them as well. They were very…charismatic. It is easy to see how so many followed them to death and glory. Including-"
Bastila tilted her head, expecting the answer to come, but she was disappointed.
Mical stopped and finished his glass. He stood and set his things on his towel. "I've been coming here for more than a week now. I try to get in a swim every day. Would you care to join me?"
"No, I think I'll be fine here," she said and then her jaw dropped as he stripped off his clothing and walked toward the water.
Two Days Later
Bastila laid her towel out across the sand and put a basket at one corner to anchor it against the evening breeze that came in off of the water. Despite her meditation, she was quite pensive. Mical's presence on the beach the last few days had caused her some distraction.
The nerve of that guy…just coming over and sitting with me…a Jedi Knight. He's just a simple medic and a failed Jedi. Who does he think he is?
Then, she furrowed her brows and a dark look came over her face. Who do I think I am? I'm just a fallen Jedi…beaten by Malak and made to grovel like a dog at his feet. Mical's presence has been…comforting. I just wish he would keep his pants on when he swims. By the Force, what am I thinking?
With a loud huff, Bastila lay back and let the wind ruffle her auburn hair and her robes.
"What was the huff for, Bastila," a now familiar voice sounded beside her. "How can you be distressed with all of this beauty around us?" Mical lay his towel near hers and set out his dinner.
"Oh, it's you," she said, trying to sound indifferent. She pulled a sandwich from her basket and unwrapped it.
"I see you've learned how to make one of those."
"Yes, you taught me…thank you," she said curtly. She angled herself just slightly to look away from him and then took a bite. A knowing look crept into Mical's eyes and he took out his own lunch.
Looking up at the sky, he said as if to himself, "Quite a lovely day. The Rakatan sunset has this heart-warming glow about it."
Bastila merely grunted and continued eating to which Mical continued, "Well, I think I'll go for a dip." Bastila's face turned red and she swallowed her food quickly. She grabbed for her drink and knocked it over. With a quick and graceful move, Mical reached over and picked up the bottle before it emptied and set it back upright.
Bastila looked over at him, trying to focus only on his eyes. "Th…thank you."
A serene smile played across his face and he merely nodded before turning toward the shore. She sat transfixed as he walked down the beach and dove into the water. The sun slowly dipped lower in the sky, becoming more orange and red in color and the breeze became a tad chill. The moon was already rising and casting a glow of its own. Dark shadows played across the water and Bastila suddenly became concerned.
"Mical," she called out. "It's getting dark. We don't know what lives in the sea here. Perhaps you should come in."
There was no answer except for the roar of waves crashing on the shore.
Bastila's heart skipped a beat and she thought she saw something in the darkening water. She jumped up and ran toward the shore, falling in the sand once. She rose and then leapt into the surf. "Mical! Mical, are you out there?"
She looked back to her towel and her blood ran cold – she had left her lightsaber on the beach in her haste. "Oh no!" she uttered in horror and then, something grabbed her legs.
Bastila let out an uncharacteristic shriek and began pounding on the water with her fists. She tried to summon the Force and power began to swirl around her. Something erupted out of the water next to her and she cried out in terror.
"Bastila! It's just me. Please don't be alarmed. I let my mischievous side get the better of me. My apologies," he said in his distinguished accent. "It was very uncharacteristic of me."
Bastila's eyes bulged and she let out a frustrated cry. "You idiot! I could have killed you." She pounded him on the chest with the base of her fist. "I knew you were nothing but trouble. I knew it."
He grabbed her by the wrists and she tried to pull away, but he was remarkably strong for a non-Jedi. She struggled fiercely, a vicious look plastered on her face. Her lips were curled back and her eyes ablaze as she wrestled with Mical. Against her angry storm, he merely held her, his face and his eyes a picture of serenity. She felt a calm power grow within him and her ferocity diminished. Then, just as suddenly as it began, her resistance left her and she fell into his arms, her wet hair dangling in her face.
Quivering now, Bastila brushed aside her soaking locks and looked up into Mical's face, which was illuminated by the moon. She could see his blond hair was slicked back by the seawater and feel the warmth of his chest. His eyes reflected the soft light and Bastila's moist lips parted.
"Mical…." she whispered and put the palm of her hand behind his neck.
"It's okay Bastila, I'm here to comfort you."
That was all she needed to hear.
Beneath the Pale Moon
The waves lapped up on the Rakatan shore, surging with the deep power of the sea. Bastila's sienna robes washed up near two towels in the sand and a shriek of laughter could be heard. A man and a woman, bare beneath the pale moon, scurried from the water and fell upon the towels in an embrace.
The man, Mical, brushed lanky strands of hair from the woman's face. "Bastila, I know how the pain in your heart has torn you in two. I was drawn to your pain. The Force led me to heal you."
Bastila sighed in pleasure as she wrapped her legs around him. Her eyes shone bright in the moonlight and she looked up at him tenderly. "Just shut up and kiss me, you fool."