The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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07.07.2012 , 12:58 PM |
Weekly Challenge: Communication Breakdown
Jedi Knight Sala-mun (Sentinel) and Doc
There is no emotion, there is peace.
Sala-mun closed his eyes as he recited the ancient mantra. He inhaled through his nostrils, his chest slowly expanding as he took a deep breath to calm the ever-rising storm inside him.
Nope, still pissed.
The anger building in him wasn’t dissipating anytime soon. Sala-mun soon found his hands locked behind him as he paced slowly beside the short astromech droid working on the console. Although his rage still roared within, his placid demeanor made him look much more Stoic than he felt. Or at least he hoped it did.
Technology had always been the bane of his calm. He figured technology should always work, and when it didn’t, red lights and a blaring siren should indicate otherwise. Random systems suddenly malfunctioning without so much as a warning or whimper was more vexing than a flight of mynocks at a shipyard.
Jedi were not supposed to hate. But he hated technology failing, which is one of the reasons Sala-mun took such care of his lightsabers. He cleaned and modified his lightsabers on a regular basis, always letting the Force guide him in his selection of focusing crystals and general maintenance of his weapons. Running into Imperials on every one of his last missions required such upkeep, especially when such encounters usually turned hostile. But his diligence nowhere near matched the level of care Sergeant Rusk applied to his assault cannon.
Sala-mun actually found himself impressed by Rusk’s dedication to the military and all that his duty encompassed. The Chagrian was like a machine in cleaning his cannon. He could strip it down, clean it, and reassemble it in 9.8 minutes flat. At least that’s what the alien boasted. Sala-mun didn’t doubt it either as he heard the sergeant at the workstation in the next room, probably cleaning for the third or fourth time.
Unfortunately, Sala-mun had already done his maintenance on both his lightsabers an hour ago. He had no desire to take them apart and reassemble them again just to pass the time. This, of course, lead to his current predicament, allowing his anger to grow by leaps and bounds as he was powerless against the holonet’s refusal to work. He had been ready to contact Master Tol Braga for some time now, and the fact that he still couldn’t only added fuel to his inner fire. The irritation had grown beyond infuriating to a white, hot rage that seemingly rivaled the burning passion of Tatooine’s twin suns.
Footsteps against the metallic floor whisked Sala-mun from his boiling thoughts, and he welcomed the mental reprieve from his darkening ruminations. With Rusk still at the workstation and himself in here with T7-01, Sala-mun knew who it was even before he came in sight.
“So what’s the ETA on the holo being back online?” Doc called as he entered the engine room.
T7-01 whirled his head to face the doctor. It gave a few low-keyed whistles and beeps before returning its head forward and continuing with the repairs.
“The same as when you asked fifteen minutes ago,” Sala-mun replied with a short sideways glance. “T7 is working as fast as he can.” Sala-mun thought he masked his anger well enough. He settled his vision back on the droid, hoping his patience would last just a bit longer.
Doc let out a loud sigh. His patience had clearly run out long ago, and he was not trying to hide his annoyance at the lack of connection with the rest of the civilized galaxy from inside the small starship. “Well can I at least go out and walk around the spaceport for a bit? I’m getting antsy cooped up in here with nothing to do.”
“No,” answer Sala-mun. “As soon as Kira returns, we’re leaving. She’s on her way back as we speak.” Additionally, he didn’t feel like waiting any longer on this ghost-town of a spaceport above what he considered one giant snowy rock in space.
“And how do you know that?” he shot back. The skewed look he got from Sala-mun caused Doc to raise his hands in surrender. “Right. Right. Jedi-Force-Master-Apprentice-thing. I got it.”
“Besides,” said Sala-mun, “I thought you wanted to be away from Hoth as soon as possible.”
“I wanted to be
Hoth as soon as possible. I was cold. Now I’m just bored.” Doc stroked his black moustache with a gloved hand and then began drumming the metal doorframe of the Defender’s fuselage. The repetitive sound soon drew another cold look from Sala-mun, causing Doc to immediately cease his strumming.
“You know,” Doc continued. “This is kinda your fault,” he said as he pointed a finger at Sala-mun and fixed his annoyed stare at the Jedi.
Here we go
, thought Sala-mun. Sala-mun turned his vision back to the doorway. “Alright. I’ll bite.”
“Did we really need to rush off and help that patrol in the Drexel Sweep?”
“Those ships needed our help. The Republic contacted us, and we were the only ship that could get to them. There was a need, and we responded. Not much different from you seeing a need for a doctor on Balmorra and joining the resistance, if I recall correctly.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t dive head first into the front lines to grab the attention of every Imp on the planet!” Doc protested. “You got a target painted on this piece of junk? ‘Cuz it seemed like every sith fighter and capital ship was gunning for us.”
T7 beeped a couple of times in response to Doc calling the ship it was working on ‘a piece of junk.’ Doc only stared at the droid, unable to comprehend its strange means of communication, before returning his sights towards Sala-mun.
“I think Kira’s right,” he continued. “Next time, T7 should drive.”
The astromech droid’s head spun back towards its master and sounded off with a series of high pitched beeps.
“Well thanks for the vote of confidence,” Sala-mun said with a half-smile. The conversation was distracting him from his anger, which he decided was a good thing. “At least someone appreciates my flying,” he said, directing his gaze at Doc.
“Hey, I don’t know what those noises translate into. For all I know, the little guy just told you he wants to take her out for a spin.” Doc walked a little further into the engine room and started looking up and down the large thrusters. “He could drive. Rusk could take the guns since, you know, he likes shooting things. And I’ll pick up the slack in maintenance,” he finished on a higher note.
“I got a better idea,” responded Sala-mun. “While don’t I drive since, you know, it’s my ship. And more importantly, we leave the maintenance to those who actually know about the mechanics of a starship, like T7. Anyways, I’d rather not let you tinker with the ship considering what happened the last time you wanted to play mad scientist.”
“That wasn’t that bad,” he answered raising his palms upwards.
“We had to vent and sterilize the entire medical lab after you dropped that vial of Ascom…” Sala-mun began twilrling his right hand, trying in vain to pronounce, much less remember, the contents of the vial.
“Ascomycetous pneumoconiosis spores,” Doc added sheepishly.
, on the floor,” Sala-mun continued with a nod. “The entire med bay was useless for the rest of the day. Luckily we were heading to the Republic Fleet when your accident occurred, so we were able to clean it up rather quickly. Who knows how things might have turned out had we been on some planet in the Outer Rim when your spill happened.”
“Oh c’mon,” Doc began in his usual jubilant and over-confident manner. He flicked both hands at the Jedi knight. “Ol’ Doc had it under complete control.”
Sala-mun only returned a silent stare of disbelief.
“I got out of there just fine. And I vented the lab. Plus…” he added with a higher tone, “Plus, no one died.”
Doc’s face became crossed when the Jedi tried to brush him of with such a terse answer. “I did promise I’ll never do that again.”
“In your mad bid to make a mark on this galaxy, why don’t I believe you? For all I know,” Sala-mun started in imitation of Doc’s previous words, “you’re already cooking up some virus back there that will rival the Rakghoul plague.”
“Totally. Under. Contr...” Doc reassured with calming motion with both hands as he said each word before suddenly freezing, realizing the ramifications of what he just said. “I mean…,” he stammered while rubbing his palms together, “I was just cleaning… my medical tools… and field kit… stuff. It’s really technical. Don’t worry about it,” he finished quickly as he waved off the Jedi.
“So why are you coming in here for what feels like the umpteenth time?” Sala-mun realized he probably need to reign in on his annoyance.
“Well I finished that a while ago. Then I felt like… relaxing on the holonet. Then that suddenly died and put us in our present predicament with really nothing else to do. I mean, I don’t have an assault cannon to clean four times over.”
Their conversation seemed to draw to an end when they both heard the primary airlock open, and Sala-mun felt that familiar aura from his padawan come aboard the ship. Although her light walk made little noise on the hard, metal floor, her boots made a small ring throughout the ship as she made her way towards the stern.
“Hey, boys,” Kira stated with a small smile as she entered the engine room. “Long wait?”
Sala-mun noticed her small devious smile, clearly showing she did not envy those who had remained aboard when the holonet cut out.
“Too long without you here, gorgeous,” Doc responded in his usual charm.
“Yeah. Not long enough, then,” Kira fired back as she looked right past the doctor towards her master. “I take it T7 hasn’t fixed the holo yet?”
Sala-mun opened his mouth to respond, but was suddenly cut short but a trio of gleeful whistles and beeps from the astromech droid before him. T7 whirled his head around towards Sala-mun with a couple more beeps as the console in front of it hummed to life, restoring their holonet connection.
“Perfect timing there, T7,” Sala-mun praised.
“Alright, T7! Way to go!” cheered Kira.
“Finally!” rejoiced Doc as he looked heavenward.
A minor round of chuckles, claps, and beeps rang out around the small engine room, each of the three humans relieved to finally be reconnected to the rest of the galaxy at large. The small celebration slowly died down as another overwhelming noise began to flood into the engine room. Echoing from the hallway was the unmistakable sound of a female humanoid moaning in ecstasy in what seemed like a never ending current of pleasure. The cries of euphoria were met with deathly silence throughout the rest of the ship as Sala-mun even heard Rusk stop working at the station.
Sala-mun, Kira, and T7 all slowly turned their heads in unison towards the frozen doctor staring into nothing.
“Oh,” he said abruptly, like being broken from a trance. “I should probably go get that.”
“And that’s my cue,” Kira chimed. “I’ll be back at the bridge,” she motioned with her thumb behind her, “if you need me, boss.” She side-stepped away from the engine room doorframe to let Doc pass. After the doctor left, she finished her twirl, raised her right hand to cover the right side of her vision and briskly walked towards to the front of the ship.
Sala-mun pressed against both his temples with one hand and slowly shook his lowered head. He dropped his hand down his face before raising his vision back up at the astromech droid waiting patiently at the console. “Good work, T7,” Sala-mun said smiling.
The droid responded in kind with a few elated beeps.
“Yeah, I know.” He looked up towards the doorframe leading out of the engine room. He could feel Doc back at work with his medical tools and toned down holonet connection. Rusk was once again at work with his weapons. And Kira sat calmly at her co-pilot’s chair, still typing away in determination to make the ship’s computer refer to her as master while she awaited instructions from her own. Sala-mun returned his focus to T7. “Seems like everything’s ready. What do you say we get going?”
T7 rocked back and forth, sounding off with a series of happy whistles and beeps. He was probably just as happy as Sala-mun to be off that frozen wasteland and onto their next adventure.
First, I want to thank Elliotcat for starting this up. I've done a very limited amount of fictional writing in my past and wanted to get back into it again. However, this summer I have had a difficult time starting up again, and so this was a nice way to get the creative juices flowing. So thanks!
Second, I have been following this thread for a couple weeks now, and I have really been enjoying the stories showcased here. I wanted to contribute, but none of the prompts really jumped out at me until this week. And so I went crazy with writing again! When I saw the prompt for this week, I had the perfect story in the works and so I just had to add it. The origins of this story happened to me in real life when my internet was pretty much dead for about 3 days (somehow I think I managed to keep it together... for the most part
). So it was actually fairly easy to capture the emotions of my Jedi in this story since it practically mirrored my anger at the situation.
Third, I would definitely label this story as a bit of
fic, which may or may not actually be part of my character's canon. But it was fun to write all the same. I have my legacy characters planned out and their stories (somewhat) and hope to add it in here along the way with more prompts.
Hope you enjoyed it and look forward to writing some more.