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Old October 12 2009, 11:27 PM   #16
P0sitr0nic
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Good Gods.. MORE!!!
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Old October 12 2009, 11:42 PM   #17
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Well, that explains what happened with Padme--though I thought Obi-Wan was one of those who supported the idea of "no attachments." I wonder what happened there?

And I wonder what turned Anakin around? Are we to assume he fell into the lava at Mustafar, though? Or was it something else that's scarred him this time?
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Old October 13 2009, 01:23 AM   #18
kes7
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

What?! Kenobi and Padme? Interesting ... keep going!
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Old October 13 2009, 02:21 AM   #19
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Nerys Dukat wrote: View Post
Well, that explains what happened with Padme--though I thought Obi-Wan was one of those who supported the idea of "no attachments." I wonder what happened there?

And I wonder what turned Anakin around? Are we to assume he fell into the lava at Mustafar, though? Or was it something else that's scarred him this time?
I think it was Palps frying him after he refused to turn. As for Obi-Wan, one can assume that the big reveal and split in the galaxy upended everything. If faith in the Jedi fell off, parents would no longer willingly surrender their young. Its a good way of showing an AU's Alt-ness.

And I add to the chorus : More!
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Old October 13 2009, 11:18 AM   #20
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Positronic

Good Gods, Thanks! No seriously, thanks so much, real glad you've enjoyed it!

Nerys

Gojirob is spot on below in his explanation of both Obiwan being with Padme and Anakin's scars.

Thanks for the comment, hope you'll enjoy the rest.

kes7

Hey! Glad you're enjoying this as well. And yes, Kenobi and Padme are together in this timeline.

Oh and love the new avatar

Gojirob

Wow, spot on all across the board. Anakin's scars are caused by Palpatine after he refused to turn. And Obi-wan is a product of the change in the Order after the split in the galaxy.

More coming, I promise!

Thanks to all,

Joel
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Old October 13 2009, 06:07 PM   #21
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

A fully realized AU always means considering all the things that got changed, and you seem to have done that. I've had to consider, in another venue, what Starfleet's fortunes would have been like if Archer's era had included Kirk-like tech, and then Kirk's Picard-era tech. That you are doing this sort of thing means we are in for a good story.

I forgot to say above : with no regular influx of younglings, the Order would have to find ways to keep older warriors around, since accomplished Jedi are often known to become hermit-like even without downfall or disgrace. The debate about married priests in the RC Church comes to mind.
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Old October 14 2009, 09:22 PM   #22
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Chapter 5

Luke ran. He ran as fast as he could, ignoring the pain that began in his side, trying to outrun the questions and fears that had suddenly sprung into his mind. It was as if a thousand pieces that had been ready to coalesce, a thousand mysteries that had niggled at his mind for years had just been waiting for a single event in order to realign themselves into a clear, unassailable whole that made perfect sense.

His father was a Jedi. That much was obvious. There was the lightsabre, of course. But more than that it was the fact that he had bested the man Luke had seen on the floor, whose actions – throwing his father across the room – had proclaimed him a Jedi as surely as if he had been fighting a Sith. That meant his father was as well. Which also meant that, if everything he had heard about the Jedi was true, so was Luke.

Not really realising where he was going, Luke found himself running past the old Space port, long since closed, and into the warren of streets around Tyman’s Bridge, a nefarious part of the city where Luke had always been forbidden from venturing. He slowed, wondering whether he should turn back. Then again, he wanted to get as far away from his father as possible, to go to the last place his father would ever imagine he would go. This seemed to be the best bet.

Tyman’s Bridge was a nest of tenement buildings, gutted apartment blocks and modified ship docks, changed over time into clubs, bars and gang retreats. All around him, tabaat music, the new ‘sound’ that all the swoop bikers were listening to, echoed and mingled with the droning noise of swoop bikes. Every so often, blaster fire interrupted the music, but only for an instant – then the sound started again just as before.

Luke slowed to a walk as he entered the Bridge. He kept his head down avoiding the stares from passing bikers and petty criminals who were just looking for an easy catch. A few women leered at him as he past them, but he ignored them as well. There were a lot of people out in the streets, considering it was almost midnight, but he knew that this part of town lived to a different timetable than the rest.

He crossed to the far side of the street, keeping to the wall as he squeezed past humans, Rodians and Aqualish, and when he was sure no one was looking, he darted into an alleyway between two tenement buildings.

He stopped and looked around. The alleyway was narrow and ended in a metal grate that was covered in graffiti. The ground was so littered with rubbish that he couldn’t even see it. Boxes filled with abandoned clothes, food stuffed into bags that had long since rotted, letting the food itself spill out in piles that were rapidly decaying into manure. Luke picked his way to the end of the alleyway. He collapsed against the wall, allowing his body to slide down until he was sat on the cold ground. Then he dropped his head into his palms.

He couldn’t make any sense of it. Why hadn’t his father told him that he was a Jedi? What was he doing here? His father had always taught him about honour, courage, responsibility. But if he truly was a Jedi Knight, why wasn’t he out in the galaxy, fighting the Sith, holding the borders of the Galactic Alliance?

More than that, though, Luke wondered at what the other man had said. About his sister. Luke had a sister. She was out there somewhere. A cold ball formed in his stomach, like ice. His father had hidden her from him. He had kept them apart. Why?

There were too many things going through his mind. He just sat there, trying desperately to make sense of it all, until he felt the presence in the alleyway before him.

He looked up. In the night, he could make out two shadows. One was very tall, while the other seemed a little smaller than Luke. They were looking straight at him, and when they moved forward into the light, Luke recognised the taller one as a Wookie who sometimes did odd jobs for them on the scrapyard.

He scrambled to his feet. “Chewie? What are you doing here?” He wondered if his father had sent the Wookie to find him or whether it was just an unhappy coincidence.

The Wookie growled some garbled comment about payment, but Luke’s skill with the Wookie language wasn’t as good as his father’s.

“Did my father send you? You can tell him I’m not coming home. Never!”

At mention of his father, the other figure stepped forward. In the passing moonlight, Luke saw that it was actually a she, dressed in Sand People clothes, only her face unveiled. It was a beautiful face, Luke saw, though marred by a scar that ran down her left cheek. It was her eyes, though, that really scared Luke. Green as a Rodian’s snout, they were cold ice within. Dangerous eyes. He turned back to Chewie.

“What’s going on? Who is she?”

Chewie looked nervously from one to the other. It was the first real sign that something wasn’t right. He looked at the woman again. He had a moment to see something in her eyes, as if the cold fire had suddenly sparked a flame, and then he bolted, trying to dart past her. Chewbacca yelled, and there was a flash of red before everything went black.

***

Luke shrieked as he jolted awake. Something was wrapped around him, cutting off his breathing and in his panic he began to fight at it, tearing it as if it was a second skin. He ripped it off of his body and flung it away, a flash of red catching his eye. He was breathing in and out with hysterical speed, his lungs aching with the effort and sweat soaking his brow. He looked around.

He was in a room. Metal walls surrounded him, broken every so often by light panels from which emanated a soft white glow and, over in the far corner, a dark window. It must still be night out. The walls were bare apart from that, but a single door, exactly the same colour but slightly recessed, lay just in front of him.

Looking down he realised that he was dressed only in his white under shorts, and that he was sat in a bed. Around him rose four posts, reaching up to a canopy. There was a small table beside him with a lamp whose light was flickering in and out of existence every few seconds.

How had he come here? The last thing he remembered was Chewbacca and the strange woman, then the flash of red as he had tried to dart past her. Then blackness and the next thing he knew... he was here.

“Hello?” he called out tentatively.

Silence.

Luke jumped off of the bed and ran over to the window. He had to move past the large empty table that sat next to it, then he pushed his nose up against the pane.

He gasped. It wasn’t night outside at all. Suddenly the low thrumming sound he had been hearing, subconsciously, ever since he woke up made sense. This wasn’t a room. It was a cabin. And he was on a ship flying through space.

Terror gripping his soul, Luke darted backwards, a scream dying on his lips. His heart beat so hard in his chest, it felt as if it might jump out. He moaned. “Where am I?”

“Welcome to the Jade’s Fire.”

The voice came from behind him. Luke swung round, dropping automatically to a crouch. Stood in the doorway was the woman from before. Now, though, she was dressed in a form fitting red pant suit that highlighted her lush curves. A lightsabre hung from the belt at her side. His first reaction embarrassed him. She was absolutely stunning! She seemed to exude sensuality, her long red hair falling down to her shoulders like a wave over ivory shores. Her eyes, thought, stayed the same, glowing like ice.

“Who are you?”

The choked sound of his voice reminded him that he hadn’t taken a breath in too long. He sucked in a gasp of air.

The woman stood and moved over to Luke. She had all of the grace of a dancer, yet also merged with the poised danger of a hunting cat. Luke backed up as she approached until she had him cornered to the wall. Her hands came up and blocked off any chance of escape on either side. Then she leaned close and whispered in his ear.

“My name is Mara Jade. I am one of the Emperor’s Hands.”

Luke moaned. An Emperor’s Hand. The Emperor’s Force-trained operatives, an honour legion who carried out only the most important missions. They were a little better than full-fledged Sith Lords, but not by much.

Jade had pulled back and was now staring into his eyes. Luke couldn’t break the gaze no matter how much he wanted to. She held him with those cold, ice green eyes and smiled.

“What do you want?” Luke whispered.

Her laugh took him by surprise. It was an ugly sound, like two ice cubes rubbing against one another. “Me? I don’t want anything. My Master, though... Well if I can’t get Anakin Skywalker through normal means, I will have to make him come to me.”

Her whisper sent shivers down Luke’s spine.

“And besides,” she began again.

She started to stroke the back of his neck, her lips pressing ever so lightly against his neck. It was like being kissed by a butterfly. Then, he felt one of her fingers taking on a new feel, a harder, sharper edge. She kissed her way up to his ear.

“You are the son of Skywalker. Who knows what uses we can put you to?”

Searing pain lanced down his spine as the finger seemed to pierce his skin and tap into his bones. He felt his body go into spasm, unable to stop every muscle from suddenly going rigid. His back arched backwards with the pain.

Just as quickly, the pain turned into pleasure, washing over him like a wave that relaxed his body. He fell backwards into the Hand’s arms. He found himself looking up at her through a veil of tears. She looked beautiful and deadly, a smile on her face. It seemed almost as if there was a halo around her head, framing her black hair.

Suddenly, her voice echoed through his head. Her lips didn’t move, but he heard her nonetheless.

“You will be strong indeed. A fine gift for our Master.”

Luke knew she was right. He was infused with a sense of well being, and then the darkness closed in and he slept.
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Old October 14 2009, 09:42 PM   #23
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Y'know, being captured by this version of Mara Jade might not be as much fun as you'd think...

Another enjoyable chapter. More please!
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Old October 16 2009, 05:22 PM   #24
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Chapter 5

Twelve X-wing snubfighters roared down into the clouds, positioned in a dagger-like formation around the Corellian Corvette Tantive IV.

Breaking out of the clouds, the descending starfighters found themselves faced with the glorious spectacle of the city-planet of Coruscant, glimmering in the rain. Strobe lights from the tallest buildings picked out the vague shapes of great towers and huge domed citadels, lines of air traffic whizzing between them. An Eruption storm swept across the city, and electricity sparked from the energy collectors that swarmed across the surface of each building like spikes. Flashes of lightning swept down buildings, the energy slowly evaporating before it struck the surface.

The commanding officer of the squadron, hovering at the dead centre of the dagger’s hilt, tried not to stare too widely at the planet below. No matter how many holos she had seen of this place, no matter how many stories she heard, it was still hard to believe it actually existed. A whole planet encased in a metal carapace, nothing but steel and concrete from one pole to the other. There were no farmlands, no forests, nothing natural except for the artificial Western Sea and the imposing mountains that towered high above the Imperial Palace. This place had once been the jewel of the Republic, the centre of freedom and liberty; now it was the dark, rotten heart of the Empire. She shook her head.

A message appeared on the screen in front of her, translated from the mechanoid bleeping of her R4 unit. She forced her attention back to the mission at hand. Reading the message once, twice, she quickly keyed the comm unit to the blockade runner in front.

“Tantive IV, this is Rogue Leader.”

A moment of silence, then:

“Captain Antilles.What can I do for you Commander?”

“Captain, we’ve got seven Tie Interceptors in tight formation headed our way.”

“That will be our escort, Commander Skywalker.”

Escort? That wasn’t the Captain’s voice. “What is going on Mother?”

”We’re on a mission, Commander. Let’s try and follow protocol, shall we?.”

Leia Skywalker winced. Why does she always do that? “Apologies, Ambassador. May I ask why I wasn’t informed that we were expecting an Imperial escort?”

Her mother’s voice was clipped. “That information was on a need to know basis, Commander.”

“Yes, but…”

“Just keep your men in line, Commander. I don’t want some hotshot with an itchy trigger finger ending this conference before it has even begun. Is that understood, Commander?” her mother demanded.

“Yes, Ambassador,” Leia said through gritted teeth.

The comm clicked off. Leia seethed. Her mother and her would be having words later on, she would make sure of that. Why didn’t she tell me? Leia realised she shouldn’t have been surprised. Things had been tense between the two of them since Leia passed the Trials. Leia couldn’t decide if it was because her mother was disappointed her daughter had not followed in her footsteps as a diplomat or simply because Leia had chosen to become a Jedi. She married two Jedi, by the Force. You would think she would be used to them by now.

They had descended down out of the atmosphere now, and the Rogues followed the directions being pumped into their flight computer by the Imperial Comm Net. Leia glanced down at the huge pipes that were racing along beneath them, zigzagging between buildings and across huge roadways, bridging the great chasms leading down to the lower levels. The pipes were used to pump water, energy and even food from the processing plants and they all met in a single location.

She followed them with her eyes as she nudged her X-wing into a sharp turn, keeping just out of range of the ion drive that lit up the back of the blockade runner. Though they vanished between two domed buildings a little further in front, they appeared again further on and slithered right across the surface to the looming Manarai Mountains – and in front of that Imperial Palace.

Somewhere between a pyramid and a cathedral, Imperial Palace covered the equivalent of a whole city district. Glowing grey-green rock and mirrored crystals created a constant glow around the structure. Leia knew that it had been built especially for the Emperor - it was a warren of ballrooms, suites and innumerable throne rooms. It even contained training rooms for the Emperor’s guards and specially designed chambers where the Emperor trained his own Hands. Legends abounded of Jedi artefacts hidden in treasure chambers, and that a secret transport system linked the Palace to every other site on Coruscant. Even from such a distance, the Palace seemed to exude a dark presence, as if the Dark Side of the Force had taken on shape and form. It seemed to be beating like a heart.

It made Leia’s skin crawl. What are we doing here? We should be attacking that place, not coming here to talk.

Her comm system crackled, and she heard a droning robotic voice instructing the Tantive IV to follow the ‘escort’ to a landing area. The escort itself was by now visible, the fighters’ bent, arrow-shaped wings recognisable even from almost twenty klicks away. Leia couldn’t help but tense and reach for the laser controls on her command stick, but she forced her hand down, trying a few breathing exercises her Master had taught her.

Following her orders, the Rogues dropped back slightly from the blockade runner and allowed the interceptors to form up around the ship. Still, they followed at a safe distance – even if she had given a direct order, Leia doubted she could have made any of her pilots abandon the Ambassador to these imperial squints.

The interceptors led the Alliance flight group to a large landing pad about fifty klicks from the Palace. The Rogues waited for the Tantive to land, the landing struts taking the weight comfortably, before descending themselves. As her own X-wing settled on the pad, Leia felt her heart drop. The sound of her metal landing gear on the concrete sounded too much like a trap snapping shut.

The pilots all climbed down from their cockpits as technicians from the Tantive rushed across the tarmac to see to any maintenance. Leia clambered down the step ladder, jumping the last metre, and was just tugging off her helmet when Biggs Darklighter, her second in command, stepped to her side.

“What the hell was all that about?” Biggs asked, worry creasing his scarred face.

“I don’t know.” Leia tried to keep the bitterness from her voice. A Jedi knows only calm. Mind your feelings.

“And what was that about a conference? I thought this was simply a prisoner exchange, like on Dantooine.”

Leia shrugged. “Don’t look at me.”

The rest of the pilots were out of their ships by now, pulling off helmets and flight jackets. Leia could see the worry clearly painted on their faces – none of them had been expecting this. All of them were peering around at the landing pad, back at the tower strewn city behind them, and over at the ominous shadow of the Palace to the north. She could sense their anxiety through the Force. She tried reaching out to sooth their fears, but her own worries kept getting in the way. She could almost hear her Master’s voice in her mind: How you ever completed the Trials I shall never know? She smiled.

“Looks like they want you,” Biggs said, nudging Leia in the ribs.

She looked up in time to see Captain Antilles motioning her over. He was stood in the middle of a circle of Alliance guards, every single one with eyes fixed on the imperial cortege rapidly approaching. Stood next to the Captain were five figures. When she saw the tall male figure in the white formal uniform of an Alderaani prince, she tensed.

“What is he doing here?” she muttered to herself.

“Who?” Biggs asked.

Leia shook her head. Antilles’ gestures were becoming more and more insistent, so Leia instructed her XO to make sure that the men didn’t stray from the safety of the landing pad, then forced herself to walk across the tarmac to where the diplomatic corps were waiting.

“Commander Skywalker. Glad you could join us,” said Padme Amidala, eyes flashing.

“Just making sure the men know their orders, Ambassador.”

“And what orders would those be, Commander?”

Leia tried to focus on her mother and not let her eyes stray to the impeccably groomed Alderaani prince beside her. Lance Organa sensed her discomfort and smiled ruefully. Leia felt her cheeks burn. Lance had always had that effect on her, even before they were formally engaged. She favoured him with a cold smile. You could have told me you would be here. He seemed to sense her thoughts, but only shrugged.

Leia finally turned her attention to her mother. Padme Amidala Kenobi had been described as a striking woman her whole life. Leia could remember sitting on her mother’s bed as a girl, just watching her brush out her long hair. That hair now sat held in a tight bun behind her face. She frowned at her daughter, and Leia felt a surge of sorrow through the Force. Why? she asked herself. How have I disappointed you so badly, Mother?

Unable to hold her mother’s glance, she looked at the one member of the diplomatic corps she didn’t know. Taller than the others, he wore the black trousers and red shirt of a Corellian diplomat. His hair, unlike Lance’s, was a mess, yet he still held himself with all of the regal self-confidence of royalty. He caught her eye and winked at her. Winked! At me! She fought back a scowl. I’m a Jedi Knight, dammit, not some flighty princess at a ball.

“Commander?”

Realising she had yet to answer her mother’s question, Leia flinched slightly. Feeling her cheeks flush, she bowed her head.

“As you instructed, milady. They’ve been told to stay by the ships and wait for your return.”

Leia would have sworn she saw a smile tug at her mother’s lips.

“Thank you Commander. May I introduce the neutral party in these negotiations? Prince Han Solo of Corellia.”

Solo... This is the Crown Prince of Corellia? He looks like a nerf-herder. Still, she had to admit, he had a nice smile. Banishing the thought, she nodded to him curtly, then turned to Antilles.

“You needed me, Captain?”

“Yes.” Captain Antilles nodded for Leia to follow him. He led her away from her mother and the two diplomats, who were only just making the introductions with the Imperial representatives. He leant in close enough so that he could whisper in the young Jedi’s ear. “I know you weren’t expecting any of this, Leia, but I asked for you personally. What with the rumours of this new offensive, the Order could little afford to lose you, but I need a Jedi at my back. These Sith make me nervous.”

Sith? Leia cast a wary eye at the Imperial representatives who were rapidly approaching. Two of them wore the long white robes fringed in black that identified a Sith. Mind your feelings, she heard her Master’s voice in her ear. She reached out, trying to sense any disturbances in the Force. Nothing. Scowling in frustration, she looked back at Antilles.

“What exactly is going on here, Captain?”

“You will receive a full briefing tonight from Commander Horth. In a nut shell, three months ago the Emperor requested a new set of negotiations to replace the Corellia Accords. He has promised new borders and improved conditions for the Unclaimed Territories. This conference is with the Emperor and all of his Moffs. He has claimed no Sith will be present at the meetings themselves, but… Well, that’s why I need someone at my side I can trust.”

Leia nodded, though her mind was abuzz. The Emperor himself! “I understand.”

“I hope you do. A lot is riding on these talks, Commander. Your mother believes they may be our best last chance at peace.”

My mother believes a lot of things. Leia nodded. “I’ll be careful.”

“I know you will.” He smiled at her fondly. “You’ve come a long way, Leia. A very long way. I meant it when I said I requested you personally. Now take care of your men, get them settled in and be onboard the Tantive at 2300.”

Now that that was settled, Antilles straightened up and walked back to the dignitaries, leaving Leia to stare after him. She wondered what exactly her mother was getting them into. No Jedi had ever been so close to the Emperor since Master Yoda fell at the end of the Clone Wars... Why didn’t Master Windu tell me?

As she followed Antilles, her eyes fell on Solo again. The initial meeting seemed to have broken up – her mother and Lance were following a group of white-robed servants towards the Palace. Solo was studying her carefully, and as soon as he realised she was looking at him, he grinned and winked at her again.

She felt a helpless urge to smile back. Calling on all of her reserves of Jedi training, she forced her feelings elsewhere. Pretending something was wrong with her cloak, she turned away, fussing with it.

When she turned back, Solo had gone. Leia breathed a sigh of relief. Focus, her master’s voice echoed in her mind. She needed to stay focused. This might be just the opportunity she had been waiting for. A chance to wander the streets of the capital, to see the Jedi Temple… To catch a glimpse of where her father had once lived.

Determined to make the most of it, she headed towards the other pilots. Business first. Then... Then she would have a little fun.
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Old October 16 2009, 06:51 PM   #25
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Hmmm...I'm not so sure that trying to have fun on a planet that's a Sith stronghold is such a good idea.

And the Jedi Temple still exists? I wonder how THAT works, with the Sith so close by...
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Old October 16 2009, 06:57 PM   #26
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Quite possibly, with its early veneer of respectability torn away quickly in this reality, the Empire could not move fwd with the impunity it did in the one we know. Also, with the Sith now a known quantity, their shadowy mystery is also gone, making them just another enemy, hence the relatively relaxed atmosphere.

Or, to quote the great Jimmy Durante, "Those are the conditions that prevail!"
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Old October 16 2009, 09:12 PM   #27
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Nice, what with Han's royal lineage from the EU and all... I knew it had to be Solo before he was named.. xD
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Old October 18 2009, 05:02 PM   #28
The Badger
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Commander Leia Skywalker? Interesting twist. I don't know how this version of SW will play out, but I'm enjoying the journey.
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Old October 19 2009, 12:09 PM   #29
CaptainSarine
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Nerys

Thanks for the comment.

IE, Leia having fun... Well, what can I say, Leia is a Skywalker and a Jedi and a pilot... The mixture means she is even more reckless than "Prince" Solo was in the 'real' world.

The Jedi Temple still stands, but it doesn't still hold any Jedi. The Emperor has been forced to keep it, but he has used it as a major propaganda tool, trying to twist the history of the Jedi and the Sith to his own devices using it.

Gojirob

Like you said, and per my comment to Nerys above, the Emperor couldn't do what he did in our reality with as much impunity. The Sith aren't as mysterious, since the Alliance have been fighting darkside trained forces for the past few years anyway, so things aren't as shadowy as they are in the 'real' world.

Thanks for your insightful comment!

Positronic

Glad you turned out to be right. In my initial draft/plan, I had Han as the Leia character (Rogue Leader) but it didn't seem different enough. I like this version of Han, a very different person with flashes of the rogueish smuggler we all know and love!

The Badger

Cool that you're enjoying this journey! And yes, Leia has a very different life - a Jedi, a pilot commander... Makes you wonder how this Luke will eventually turn out...
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Old October 19 2009, 05:44 PM   #30
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Perhaps a diplomat, after two decades of dealing with his father's hair-trigger personality?
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