Chapter 69 (vers. 1.1 12/12/13)
Note: As always…thank you to Inachis and Hawklan for their help.
(Later at the royal palace)
Seeing the queen mother reading the royal the riot act was far less fun than it seemed. In fact, it was boring. Xander stood silently by, looking like a dangerous bodyguard; tensed like a rattler, ready to strike at any moment.
They were showing evidence of the power abuse the noble house was accused of, the death and the suffering they had caused in this city and on the planet Lewynar. Part of the fleet had already moved away, carrying a shipload of elite army rangers. The rest had been sent to get the help of the Jedi order. From the calls they’d received, it seemed a small army of Mandalorian warriors were eagerly on their way to hunt down the blood suckers.
The nobles of Hapes were another story. House cleaning was the name of the game, too many privileged with too much time on their hands. More than one noble house was diminished by the end of the day. Rights and privileges were removed and the nobles endured in silence. The rule of war was now clearer than ever and betrayal wouldn’t be accepted. Each of them was desperate to minimize their losses.
The final strike against the nobles on Hapes came with the queen mother asking for the Jedi order’s resident master to mediate the meeting.
All in all it was the typical political decision known as ‘protect your own ass or get the ramming of a life time’.
It was a witch hunt and any murder based on the game of power was punished. The nobles were decimated and even the laws were rewritten to make being on the throne of Hapes a safer business.
Xander and Anakin took turns using his armor and playing big bad Xander.
Albert stayed on the ship. He was silent the first two days, then he started to talk and talk and talk. A river of words floated out as he desperately tried to end his pain. Slowly he was healing.
(A day later)
Xander and the others would finally leave for home. The Jedi organization was cleaning up the planet and Dana Fett, the adopted daughter from Bobba Fett and a Force Guardian, had joined in the hunt. It would take years before the planet was perfectly clean from hiding vampires.
The Enterprise lifted off as the nobles whispered behind it, telling stories about the legend of the Enterprise and its crew.
HK-47 looked as Xander put down the datapad. “Query: You wished to talk to me?”
R3 and R6 were curious as he had also asked them to join him.
Xander nodded. “We have an interesting guest at the academy. He or it is a Shaar, a crystal lifeform that can bond with droids and live in symbiosis with them. Our Shaar friend has a tendency to like strong minded droids and I’m under direct orders to ask any strong minded droid I meet to see if it would like to bond with a Shaar Jedi knight.”
He looked up at the three droids, R3, R6 and HK-47. “If any of you do this, it isn’t permanent. The bond can be broken if the Shaar and the droid don’t get along. It’s a cooperation and not slavery.” From what he had read, most Shaar liked droids newly built straight from the factory or droids that had been totally memory wiped. This Shaar wanted them strong, especially droids who had a backup memory that made it difficult to memory wipe them. In a spooky way the Shaar was like a crystal like version of the Goa’uld that possessed droids and not organics.
He wondered how many droid rebellions in the past of the galaxy’s history had been Shaar possessed droids and not malfunctioning ones at all.
Dawn was bored out of her tiny whiny mind. Xander, Jaina and Danni were all spending time with Albert, meditating and speaking with him and slowly easing the man back to the light and retraining him in the Jedi way.
“What about me? What about my training? I have needs,” she mumbled. Why were they looking at her? Oh yes, disengage mouth and then think. “Sorry, was thinking out loud,” she blushed and tried to run.
Xander grabbed her. “Oh no,” he grinned like the evil master Jedi he was. “You’re going to help me with something.”
A short time later she was looking at a space ship catalog. “What the hell?” was all she could think as Xander explained the mission she was being forced to undertake. “And you can ask Lexa to help you. Good luck,” he said as he vanished into the master bedroom.
“Now where would I find something cute?” she said while she and Lexa walked away.
“A cute spaceship?” Albert asked.
“Perhaps he’s drunk?” Arden commented.
“Statement: Master Xander’s sanity is questionable. But he isn’t drunk,” HK-47 said.
“Don’t ask me. I just work here,” Noh Noss stated.
Anakin wanted to shrug and ignore it. “No, he has a reason why he wanted a cute starship. He always has a reason when he does crazy things. Often even a good one,” he said.
“Then why a cute starship?” Noh Noss wanted to know.
“A metapsychological test where she has to find a cute starship to gain a theoretical and mystical insight into her own mentality,” Arden said.
“Now that sounds possible. What would Dawn gain from such a mental journey to her own mind?” Albert asked.
“Perhaps an understanding on how her own inner self truly behaves in a situation?”
Noh Noss mused.
“That sounds possible. Damn, I’ll never become a Jedi master. Just imagining such a devious test would drive me crazy,” Anakin complained.
“Correction: You people are insane. Master Xander is nothing compared to you,” HK-47 said as he powered down, letting his internal power generator recharge the power-packs.
(At the same time inside the bedroom)
Jaina was slowly taking of her pants and waiting for her turn in the small shower. “So letting Dawn do that?” she smiled and then continued. “Good idea.”
Xander nodded. “Yeah, if Dawn is even half as smart as I think she is, the ‘cute’ will give it away.”
Jaina nodded. “Yes, I hope we find a good ship as a gift to Willow,” she said with a smile. Mom and dad said the moment Anakin was a Jedi Knight, they would get him a starship. Willow wasn’t a Jedi knight yet, but she did take her pilot license and Xander was going to buy her a ship.
Willow still wasn’t done. K’Kruk had said Willow learned faster and better from him and by herself than she did under Xander. She learned best if you gave her a hard clue and a challenge combined with the occasional new clue on how to master a skill, than if you coached her. K’Kruck had the idea of letting Willow go and study under a Jedi healer and with PSI-Healer Tony Harris or with Leia, who was a skilled Jedi diplomat.
The old Master felt that Willow’s skills were more those of a diplomat, healer or perhaps a scholar than a fighter. Letting Willow try around a bit and see the area she shined in could only help her.
Xander focused on teaching only the basics in the Force skills and training them in the more physical and knowledge based arts of the Jedi. The more complex Force skills they could learn by themselves after they had become Jedi knights.
Luke focused on teaching more in the Force skill and just the basics in the physical and knowledge arts of the Jedi. Luke’s students knew more Force skills than Xander’s did but on the other hand most of his students could pilot and repair a ship or were skilled amateur-medics and they could out fight Luke’s students with a lightsaber.
Willow did take the pilot license. They said she was a good pilot. When asked to compare with an example from his knowledge, K’kruk had to admit that compared to Xander, Han Solo, Jaina, Jacen and Lando, Willow had an acceptable skill for a pilot. Compared to most other pilots, she was good. She just lacked that natural instinct and understanding of what she was piloting that they had. Still, she had a space ship captain license now.
“I don’t mind if you buy a starship for your friend, really. But it seems you have an extra reason this time,” Jaina said to her husband.
Danni nodded as she said, “Yes tell us, please.”
“I’ll show you,” Xander said, grabbing a piece of crystal and projecting the light in to it. The room vanished as he created an illusion around them.
Two young kids were sitting mesmerized in front of the TV as the end text of Battle Star Galactica scrolled on the screen.
“That’s so exiting. Like, like Star Trek… whoosh away and away. I wish I could pilot a starship,” the little red haired girl said as she sat down on the floor.
The young boy grinned. “If you learn how to pilot, I’ll buy you a starship. I promise.”
The girl beside him nodded as she started to pull him away. “Let`s ask Jessie. We can play starship pilots,” she said and they hurried away.
“You were both so cute,” Danni said.
Jaina nodded. “And Willow… the way she just grabbed and ran away with you. She was strong for her age.”
The two wives of Xander Harris attacked him, tickling him until he showed them more memories of him and Willow as children.
(At the same time inside Dawn and Lexa’s room)
“So find a cute starship?” Lexa said while the two girls looked at each other and then, “Why are we looking for a starship for Willow?” one of them said and the other could only agree.
Dawn frowned. “Perhaps she did the Jedi test and is a Jedi?” she said, not really trusting her theory.
Lexa frowned, she liked this Willow. The version of Willow they had in her reality was Queen Willow the bitch that was secretary of the Students Against PSI-humans Rights. “No, I don’t think so. I mean Anakin is so much stronger and better and smarter and stronger than Willow is.”
Dawn nodded with a serious look on her face. “Yeah, yes he is. But Willow is cute and fun in a Willow kind of way. But Anakin…? He’s sexy, oh so sexy.” She grinned and squealed, thinking of Anakin.
Lexa started to giggle. “Yes and he still hasn’t discovered the holo recorder in the shower.” Then suddenly she froze in terror.
“Are Jaina and Danni giggling like crazy inside their bedroom?” Lexa asked, trying to forget seeing her brother doing that with his wives.
Dawn nodded, banishing the awful memory of seeing Xander doing THAT.
They looked at each other. “This ship needs thicker walls.”
In the captains bedroom Jaina and Danni were giggling like crazy, watching a 6 year old Xander, Jessie and Willow try to build a space ship using clay, old newspapers and a car that belonged to Jessie’s dad. A brand new car.
They just couldn’t help giggling seeing the three kids covered in mud walking in and out from the car, drenching it in mud and newspapers while talking about where they would fly.
Xander wasn’t giggling, he was smiling as the bitter sweet memory played on. Jessie’s mom and dad had been so angry with them. They had banned all of them from watching TV at Jessie’s home and Jessie wasn’t allowed to go out and play for a week. They were allowed to come and visit, but no TV.
Jessie… his brother in all but blood. Those had been the happy innocent days before the monsters and the vampires showed themselves. He didn’t even noticed how Danni sneaked closer until she gave him a loving understanding hug.
And the journey continued with only a short side step.
“Corega. Part of the Corellian sector,” Jaina explained. “Also know as a center of star ship trading. New and used, it exist on Corega.”
And in truth, in space there were huge areas where brand new ship were parked inside protected areas and on the ground huge buildings with old and new starships. All the big corporations had an agent on this planet to market their ships.
After the fall of the Republic the awe of Coregan as well as the number of buyers was slowly draining. Not that long ago Corega had shuttles and passengers ferried in many of the nearby sectors and cluster capitals. A costumer could buy a ticket to Corega for cheap and visit the many shipyards and used or new starship vendors.
Now, thanks to the war and the new borders, Corega’s time as a center for the trade in starships was coming to an end. Costumers were seeking safer places within their own sector or planet. Corega was still a huge place though, the greatest inside the Federation and with low prices.
And by the black balls of a Sith, the landing procedure was slow and agonizing. The moment they knew it was the Enterprise the whole process seemed to have slowed down, like they were stalling him.
“I told you once and I tell you again. I have the license to pilot a heavy armed transport. I’m Jedi Master Xander Harris. This is the Enterprise. Don’t start singing ‘In the navy now’. Listen up you little toad. I don’t care if you are bigger than me, you are still a toad like life form, that makes you little. Now check the computer again.” He slowly rubbed his face. “Why me?” he asked of the universe.
“So what’s the trouble then? The new energy weapon above the cockpit?” Xander looked up. Crap, the two staff cannons mounted above the cockpit, the only weapons that he’d forgotten to include as he renewed his weapon lead-out license.
“Um those are not included? How strange. I’m sorry sir. But you see I always strive to have my papers in order, it must be an oversight. I will fill in the correct papers as soon as I’ve landed. Is that good sir?” Xander said and hoped by the Force they didn’t make trouble.
“I understand. Of course, a heavy fine,” he growled in irritation. “I will pay, don’t worry.” All those new laws he had to study up on. Each freaking planet, sector, cluster seemed to have their own laws, regulations and sub regulations. They were spawning out faster than a vampire could. Combine that with the new governments that popped out and carrying the correct license was almost more pain than it was worth.
Han Solo never needed as much paper work as he did. The Falcon looked like a normal YT-1300 and not like the heavy armed ship it really was.
Damn it. Once again Han’s ship was better than his. It could fly around legally with less paper work than he could, unless he removed some weapons, but that idea felt so wrong. No he wouldn’t remove any of them. But he could lower the staff weapons and incorporate them inside the hull above the cockpit, then they would be almost invisible to sensors.
Xander started to smile as he looked into the idea. And by limiting the ammunition the two energy torpedo used, they too could be hidden. The biggest and easiest thing to see about them were the torpedoes themselves.
If he then used the Minbari targeting cloak and wrapped the hidden weapon system up in a sensor baffling field inside the hull of the Enterprise, they should be almost if not impossible to detect using normal methods.
“What are you smiling about?” Jaina wanted to know from her husband.
“We’re going to hide away our weapons,” Xander said as he started to explain. “And the best part is, if we do this, it means less paperwork for me,” he finished in an extremely happy tone.
Jaina felt so amused. “You just decided to start with days of hard work just to escape filling in license papers.”
Xander nodded enthusiastically and said, “And my ship can pretend to be a civilian armed merchant.”
Slowly they landed and hard earned money was lost as the fine was paid. It was only fair after all. He did forget to get the license and read the starship rules and regulations of this planet before entering the solar system.
Dawn walked up and said, “I got the ship.”
Behind them Noh Noss, Arden and Albert listened. It was always interesting to see the lesson a true Jedi Master would give a student.
“Good. What ship do you think fits the bill as useful, cute and being available?” Xander asked.
“We worked it out and we have more than one option,” Lexa said.
Dawn continued. “The first is a bit strange, but seen from the right angle it’s cute. The Lone Scout-B model, Sienar Fleet system. It’s 24 meters long and has the cruising speed of 50 Mglt. And a Hyperdrive x2. It has high-quality sensors and shields and like all Sienar, it’s sturdy and needs very little maintenance. Sadly it’s difficult to rebuild and repair.”
Anakin nodded as he too was interested. “Sienar makes up for being a complicated ship to repair or modify by needing very little maintenance compared to other ships. The Lone Scout-B does look like a Tie-fighter with a long unangular box stuck in its rear.”
Lexa nodded as she totally agreed. “It also has longer solar panels stretched out along the hull.” Sure the solar panels on the Lone were just like with the TIE fighter, they were called that cause that’s what they could be used for, to recharge the energy of the ship if it was floating around or parked. During combat on the other hand the Solar panels where used to pump away the heat from the engine and the weapon system so they wouldn’t overheat. The TIE fighter and the Lone had, unlike many civilian crafts, no interior cooling systems to stop the engine from overheating, instead they used heat pumps.
The good thing about both the military TIE fighter and the Lone scout was that the same system that was used to cool the engine could be used to recharge the ship with energy by absorbing solar radiation and particles.
Anakin grabbed the holo projector as he stared to go through the information. Consumables for a year, that’s impressive. “What else have you found?” he asked.
Xander who was reading over his shoulder nodded. Jaina was hanging on Anakin’s other shoulder and was reading. ‘Damn it, why was her baby brother so much taller than her? It’s hard to read,” she grumbled to herself.
Noh Noss frowned, why weren’t they analyzing the result of the Jedi test? He could see the choice of a Lone scout, a build using many of the same system and parts that existed inside a TIE-Fighter, as a sign how Dawn was seeking to get away from the war and the struggle.
Arden frowned; it had to be something they had missed. Dawn seeking a ship related to the ship of the empire was… Well he had no idea.
“Our second contestant is the old, I talk clone war old, Kappa class troop shuttle. It looks like an old school bus with wings from one angle. It is 35 meter long, manages 50 Mglt and has a class x2 hyperdrive.”
Xander turned the page on his datapad. “It’s a rare ship as it was replaced with other designs and not many exist anymore. I agree, if we paint it school bus yellow it would look cute. Still it’s a rare ship to find.”
‘What the… This sounded like they were searching for a gift for somebody,’ Noh Noss thought.
‘Perhaps there is more to this test than I thought,’ was Arden’s thought.
Dawn agreed on that it was rare to find. Still, it was cool and could look cute. “No 3 on our list is the Incom Corporation A-24 Sleuth scout and long range ferry or the identical A-25. They’re using many of the parts inside a X-Wing. The only difference between them is the speed. The twenty-four has a cruising speed of 80 Mglt and the twenty-five of 100 Mglt. They both have class x1 hyperdrives. Crew would include one pilot and optionally an astromech droid like in the X-Wing.”
Xander looked at the ship. It was thicker, taller and slightly longer than the X-Wing and had a round ended cockpit and wings at the end of the ship. It did look kind of cute. It still had a bit of a racing or fighter feeling over it. “It could work. Three months of consumables, that’s impressive.”
“And our last idea is the Gymsnor-3 light freighter. It’s 34.1 meters long, has a speed of 40 Mglt and a Hyperdrive x2. Crew 1, passengers 4 and cargo space up to 95 tons with shield class 1.”
The whole ship looked like it was broken up in two sections. The rear part where the cargo, sleeping quarters and the engine were and the front command pod with the sensor system. The whole front command pod was one tiny shuttle with its own ion engine with a speed of 5 Mglt and a hyperdrive, a x20 micro hyperdrive. Like all ships, the Gymsnor did have a normal backup hyperdrive, a class x10, and its command pod had the ability to work as a hyperspace shuttle. It even was equipped for landing and planetary take off. That command pod could be used as a fully functional shuttle craft. The inside of the Gymsnor was on the other hand not that nice, the ceiling was lower than it should be, especially at the connecting trunk between main fuselage and the command pod, there it was only a three foot diameter crawl way.
The main fuselage was split up in two floors and had 180 cm head room and almost two meters head room in the crew area. Truly an odd ship and Xander smiled. “We have a found the ship, I think Willow is going to love this one,” he said.
Noh Noss twitched. “What?”
“I promised Willow that if she ever learned to fly a starship. I would buy her one and I knew Dawn and Lexa would be able to help me find the perfect ship. Willow likes cute ships,” Xander replied.
“And you like heavily armed ships,” Albert said with a smirk.
Xander shrugged. “You are so correct Albert.”
It didn’t take long for the group to journey to the Ship emporium, a gigantic hangar like building, where you could see thousands of real starship models and holographic projections of more than a million ships they had parked in deep space storage. They had pilot droids, gunner droids, Automatic pilot systems, micro emergency pods, modified environmental systems and so many more gizmos any starship captain never knew he needed until he saw it here.
Eager and amused they were soon running around.
“Look, Aqualis bio light panels,” Dawn said, giggling. Xander had the exact same model installed in the Enterprise in the engine room and the hangar. They used a glowing form of plankton and as long as the air was fresh, the lifeform sealed inside the Aqualish bio light would shine constantly and shift in color.
Xander snorted… Bio light, an almost useless thing. “I know, Buffy got me them.”
“A bobbing storm trooper head, now that’s just fun,” Lexa said, poking the head of the tiny doll stormtrooper that started to bounce back and forth. The price was good. Now she knew what Xander would get as a birthday gift.
“It’s the Death Star and its baby,” Dawn yelled and they rushed over to see what made her so excited.
In front of her was a round ball like starship parked. In front of it was a second even smaller round shuttle craft. They did look like a death star with baby. The ‘big’ death star here was no more than 21 m in diameter. The baby death star was only 6 meters in diameter.
Anakin, when he stopped laughing, read “It’s the Loronar SkyBlind recon ship. A para military scout ship. The baby is a Loronar landing sphere.”
Xander, reading the same thing, continued between guffaws, “The hole in the SkyBlind that looks like the Death Star laser is the docking hole the landing sphere lands in and its bridge is on the top. But listen, the landing sphere while docked is a back up bridge for the SkyBlind.”
“It's so cute,” Dawn said. She was officially in love, screw you Anakin, the SkyBlind was so much cuter.
Lexa had to agree; that was so cute.
Xander grinned. “It really is cute and unusual. Let`s go inside for a closer look. Perhaps this is what Willow would… DARK BALLS OF SITH! Look at the price on that thing.”
Jaina nodded, that’s expensive. “Let`s check it out anyway. If you read it right, it has an advanced sensor stealth system. The same type of sensor mask we use on the Enterprise.” She frowned. “The design note on the sensor mask says they work better on round objects.”
They all looked at the round ship. If the sensor mask that was so impressive on the Enterprise was more effective on a round ship, the SkyBlind would never need a cloak. Or perhaps they where only bragging.
The inside was impressive. Even fully docked, part of the landing sphere would poke out. From the picture it almost looked like just the nipple on a female breast. The crew quarter and living area inside the ship was huge, each person had their own bedroom and common area and they also have a big galley with a large table and comfortable rest area. Not much luxury, just a lot of space for each passenger and crew to use. They moved out from there as they spotted another fun ship. The Nyubba class cargo barge was stunning in its appearance, looking more like modern art than a starship.
“It’s not too expensive and useful if we would need it,” Xander said as he and Jaina were studying the 800 series escape boat or micro shuttle.
The old 700 Ghtroc industry used inside their ship could be used as a make shift orbit-to surface, surface-to-orbit, ship-to-ship transport. The Enterprise had two 700 installed, but never used. Problem was if used as shuttles, the life-boats would need a lot of repairs as the engine would suffer stress damage.
The 700 was originally made as a onetime escape pod, but somewhere along the line the engineers on Ghtroc redesigned it so that they could be used as a micro shuttle, but they forgot to install a better engine.
The 800 had the engine the 700 should have had. It was designed to be used as both shuttle and escape pod. For double the price you could buy the 850 escape pod that had a micro hyperdrive engine X30, the smallest and slowest hyperdrive Xander had ever seen.
Jaina could only agree. “It’s a good find. Still Xander, how many times have we even needed a shuttle? And if we do need them, our old 700 would work.”
It was time for the secret weapon. Turning on his puppy dog eye attack. “Don’t you think the Enterprise needs them?” Xander asked.
Jaina slapped her face. “Xander, you are not a child. Stop licking my face, you are not a dog.” She groaned as he switched target. “Oh my keep doing my ear. Right, it’s a good idea. I agree, just not here.”
“Let`s buy two then,” Xander said with a smile.
Behind him Jaina glared. “You so stink Xander,” she said before a pair of red arms captured her. “No… not you as well. Danni stop, it’s turning me on,” she whined as Danni was kissing and nibbling on her ears. “Alright what do you want?”
“Turn you on,” Danni said innocently. “Or an ice-cream,” she added with a hopeful voice.
“I’ll just mark two of these in the to buy list and then we find some ice-cream,” Xander said as they marched out to find a cafe.