Sovereign’s Backup: The Datafiles of Aay’han Ahi (Aay’han Ahi, SWG)
(Ayy’shiri felt reborn after a certain point in her training. This marks that transition.)
Her gloved fingers raced over the commands to manually push the engines into overdrive. Twenty three hundred.
With a quick motion and a gleeful laugh she yanked the stick to the right, forcing the light craft to roll up and over an incoming asteroid. She was free and more importantly, she knew her name. Aay’han. It was how she was born into the life of an asr’manda. It was how she lived each day. In speaking with her Hibi’buir only a few hours previously, the realization had dawned upon her. A lesson on Aay’han after a night of sheer joy. The Tolian would not take a name until she became verd and she had told him that much. What she didn’t tell him was that she never wished to be adopted as his daughter.
She didn’t understand why, knowing the pride and honour it would bring her to not only become verd but part of the aliit Ahi. She wouldn’t presume to know, nor would she presume that it would be her place. It had, afterall, only been a week; another fact she could hardly believe. It felt like she had been doing this for years.
As she passed through the asteroid field she brought the engines down to idle and manuovered the little starfighter so that she could stare down at the planet below.
She had a home now. She had a family now.
The twi’lek smiled as she leaned back in her seat and watched the weather patterns spiral over the planet’s surface.
He told her to take all the time she needed to think on the lesson in patience and silence that he had taught her. They both knew she’d not be up here long. She couldn’t stay away. Not from her training. Not from him. Time and time again she reminded herself that she was his student and she was in mourning. She also knew that she wouldn’t allow herself anything. Too much had happened and too much needed to be done was her constant reminder.
It held strong.
The HUD of the T-Visor is covered by what seems to be a golden leaf, it’s patterns illuminated by the bright Corellian sun as she lays armoured on the porch of a heavily fortified building somewhere deep in the mountains of Corellia.
1. Mathematics is the language of nature.
2. Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers.
3. If you graph these numbers, patterns emerge. Therefore: There are patterns everywhere in nature.
Everything is connected in some form. Even in something as random as what we know as the spineflap effect. The spineflap effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions; where a small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. For example, the presence or absence of a spineflap flapping its wings could lead to creation or absence of a hurricane.
Although the spineflap effect may appear to be an esoteric and unusual behavior, it is exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position.
She pulls the leaf away from her t-visor and sits up to look over the vast valley below.
In looking at both the ideas of the spineflap effect and pi within the confines of chaos theory, I understand how I got to this point. I’ve never seen more of a person than I have of Eltich. He is neither a product nor a variable. He is a catalyst. In every step I’ve taken since the bombing, he has been there or the cause in some form. Did that fact lead to last night?
Not hardly and yet, undoubtedly.
Kwade Demar. Variable. Inserting him into the equation changed the product forever. His influence strengthed the product. As I told Eltich… I do not need to be as strong as he, I have to be stronger. If I am going to stand for this, for my vode and the aliit I hope to call my own, I have to be stronger.
She turns the stem of the leaf between her fingers, watching the light shift over it.
Kwade will be taking over my training. Another obstacle is gone. May the powers at be forever watch the back of the Galaxy now. I am more motivated than I’ve ever been before.
This is my blood.
This is my heart.
This is my soul.
She chuckles quietly and lets go of the leaf as a breeze picks up. For a moment she watches it float before falling to the ground. The Twi’lek pushes herself to her feet.
He’s going to be after me when he returns from Rori.
Ke barjurir gar’ade, jagyc’ade kot’la a dalyc’ade kotla’shya.
Aliite. Family. What is it that seperates aliite from Mando’ade? A name. That is all. With that name, however, is an entire philosophy that tends to differ from one aliit to the next. For the Vencu, is it aliit first so long as the vode within that aliit do not question the philosophy. And from that I have learned from Kwade, they are far from the only ones. Many of the aliite look at their brothers and sisters and see asr’manda because they do not adhere to the ideals of their family. But when you follow a guidelines of tenets such as the Resol’nare is, there is bound to be differences. Aliit Ahi tends to look at all verde as family, they stand for Mando’ade rather than putting the name first. Is it the isolationism of an aliite that makes them strong or the acceptance that as Mandalorians we are all one?
I’m of the same opinion as both my Hibi’buir and Aliit Ahi, it is the acceptance of all vode as aliit that makes us stronger. When we conduct these battles against our own verde, then we weaken not only ourselves but all Mando’ade. Without the foresight to know that we must band together in a time of need, we open ourselves to the brutality of aruetiise who do not understand our ways. We weaken our people as a whole and when our numbers have dwindled enough due to the rift between the sects of Mandalorian belief, it is a path we cannot allow ourselves to follow. Only when an aliite has shown that they are a danger to the lifeway should we take action against them. In the end, it is the Resol’nare we stand for. It is what binds us and allows us to carry on.
I’ve been scouting the areas around the Junction to practice my marksmanship on the many Meatlumps that encroach our territory. I’m becoming more and more adept at hiding in the bushes on the hills looking down at them before making my shot. If I’m lucky it only takes one shot. While I wrap my head around the lessons with Kwade, it takes two. He is strengthening me spiritually and emotionally. He is preparing my mind for the life I have come to accept as my own. I know why he is doing it…
In many of the warrior cultures through the Galaxy it is the fathers who teach their children to fight and the mothers who prepare them for the internal conflicts that ensue. It is no different with this lifeway. As women, it is we who hold the aliit together, we embrace our vode. The gurrcats who prowl in the background, ready to destroy any threat that comes near enough to threaten their pride. I dislike using such a metaphor, when at my age, it’s been used for me with sexual connotations. But it is the very metaphor that outlines the reasoning behind the sentiment that Mandalorians train their sons to be strong and their daughters to be stronger. It is us who carry on the traditions, we may fight alongside the men but our duty is to have the strength to accept what we find in battle and still be able to return home and nurture our aliit. They are the weapon. We are the backbone.
Even before my first lesson with Kwade, I believe I understood this and in the solace of another days’ end, I lived it. And I will continue to do so. My training has taken an odd turn to encompass all aspects of my life and emotion. There is not a piece of me that isn’t wrapped up in this. As it should be.
What will tonight bring? Tomorrow?
We all make mistakes. Today, my mistake cost me three sets of armour and a piece of my pride. I thought I had a situation figured out, my mistake was in assuming that those around me would naturally know what I was thinking. Perhaps I’ve spent too long working with droids who knew, intuitively, how I worked because it was how I programmed them. My lack of communication cost us all a bit of pride. It was a stupid situation to begin with and I made it that much worse. If I had only voiced my plan so much of this could’ve been avoided.
So many lessons thus far have been easy, natural even. Today, was my first of what I know, (despite my best hopes and intentions) of many failures along this path. None of us are perfect, even if the path is fated. It almost seems fitting that this is a lesson learned on the night after I took my name, “Aay’han.” I said that I’d not adopt a name until I had passed my verd’goten but after speaking with my Hibi’buir, I saw the wisdom in his words (as I often do.) I cannot dismiss the lessons of the past, nor build new relations with those the woman I was held dear without having formed an identity with this rebirth.
Aay’han. It was with me today, not just as my name, but in its very definition. It was with me when I spoke with Punkal and empowered me when I met with the collective employees of Rustbucket Racing Company. It raced with me when Zeke and I tested out the pod I built for the upcoming race. And it was with me when I was held, being allowed to rest in a comforting embrace. It showed its face to me again when I spoke with Lamythia and we discussed how tumultuous of a beginning our friendship has had.
Aay’han. It is me and I am her.
Tomorrow I will see my Hibi’buir. I’ll not allow the injuries sustained today to hinder me.
The Tolian Twi’lek once known as Doctor Ayy’shiri set the beskar crusader style buc’ye on the bookshelf of her safehouse; high in the mountains of Corellia. As she walked towards the elegant multi-coloured curtains that served as a partition to her bedroom she reached up to pull down the zipper of her armourmesh underweave and peeled away the article from her torso. Her back was clear of the scars that covered most of her body, only the ink of the freshly tattooed inscriptions and the branches of the cherry blossom interrupted the rich golden tone of her skin.
“Ni cuyi Aay’han be’aliit Demar. Ni cuyi ru dema.”
Her lekku writhe, twisting as they snake over her shoulders; the ends of them curling around each other down her spine as she completely removes the underweave suit and drapes it over an armoire. Slowly, she turns towards the t-visor recording her image. Her chest and arms covered in scars from shrapnel, burns and a few blaster shots.
She brings a hand to up tap the side of her buy’ce.
Aruetiise. They surround us out here in the junkyard. They are like an extended family in some fashion, the swoopers that is. But I still have no real connection to them. I have allowed them to see my face and know me by my name. It’s more than I’ve allowed others who I once held dear. Eilu commed me today, I had my father answer the comm as I no longer speak basic unless I believe in the person. It’s a lesson I’ve learned from him, even if he didn’t actively teach it to me.
I had harboured the hope that maybe, for once, she would listen to reason. The last time I spoke with her was in Red Sands a few days after her new beau had kidnapped me. I took off. At the time, I was afraid. Now, I am only floored by her stupidity. She knows the actions of those she surrounds herself with and while it’s not the actively illegal aspects of them, it is the lack of honour and respect they carry for any and all forms of life. It is the absolutely horror of what they do. She defended Urizon to me.
After all that he has done, she defended him. She told me he was a good person.
Zeke spoke for me. I wash my hands of her. If she were to step in front of the bullet meant for Urizon I will not lower my weapon. I will simply fire again. She has made her choices and she will face the consequences of them. The girl I once believed to be a sweet and lost soul just continually proves that there is no common sense within her head. Her decisions do not impact just her, but everyone she cares for. They put lives at risk.
I am done. Eilu Inai knew the friendship and care of Ayy’shiri, but it is not an emotion that has carried over to Aay’han Demar.
I was glad for Zeke’s presence. Since he hacked the new A.I. I had interfaced with my brain, we have been like twins. He can read my body language, he knows how I think, how I fight… he knows everything I’ve experienced. My emotions, my relations, there is no secret I hide from him. I can’t imagine the toll that it is taking on him, nor can I thank him enough. Not for carrying it, but for holding it. We have only explained the transfer of data to Alor Ahi and my father and I’m not even sure if they realize the full extent of it.
Perhaps it’s best that way.
I only hope that he remembers that I will understand the trials he faces with that information.
The day has come. My verd’goten has begun.
For a week now I’ve locked myself in this hanger with Poy. My first task is to make her as strong as my mando’kade. I was given nothing but eight bars of beskar and two MandalMotor X-7 Tri-Blaster Repeater Cannons. My abilities have never been tested so thoroughly.
It’s taken me three days to melt down the beskar and figure out how to possibly hold to the lightweight mass of the armor plating. I came up with a beskar composite that I could build up over the ceramic mesh. It makes her only a hair heavier, a small concern that I may have to deal with once more after she has had her maiden voyage.
She is changing like I have. No longer will she be a drag racer. She will be a weapon of war. Her strength will only serve to emphasize my own. The might of the cannons will make her impact felt by any who stand in our way.
I have to modify her engines in order to handle the heavier load.
Four days in and I’ve traded some of my research for a MandalMotors capacitor and a new reactor to handle the load.
Six days in, today. She will be painted. Red to honour the father who has guided me. Black, to symbolize the justice I stand for. On her hood I will paint the sigil for the Demar aliit. My aliit.
And just as Doctor Ayy’shiri is dead; Poy is as well. She, like I, has been reborn.
The drone of Ka’ra Laar’s twin Nova engines roar in the background. Aay’han be aliit Demar begins to speak slowly, her voice unmodified and clear above the engines.
Ni gana ru ani ni verd’goten. Ni gana ru cuyi midii bat te Resol’nare bal ni bajur. Te solus bajur ru bat bajur. Tion ni ru bajuri o’r ni oyac ru’cuy cin vhetin sa asr’manda bal tion bic ru am ni. Tuur ni ru rejorhaa’i ni buir par ni ruyot cuy solus sha ca’nara ni ru gana rejorhaa’i an gehat’ik, solus sha ca’nara ni ru gana ru to an kebise. Bic ba’slana ni ti nu draar ibac ibic oya’chaaj cuy ni jate’kara. Teh te tuur ni ru johaar’i be ni ruyot cuyi te solus ca’nara ni ru vurel ru johaar’ri te ani gehat’ik, te solus ca’nara ni ru to an be te kebise. Bic payt ni ti nu draar ibac ibic oya’chaaj cuiy ni jate’kara. Teh te tuur ni ori’vod, Linn’shiri, ru hiibi ni at te Kala’uun me’sen’yaim bal ni ru gaanaylir ni solus haa’taylan be Belbullab-22 at te ibic tuur; bic gana cuyi ani briirud be oya, kyr’am bal cin vhetin. Tion ni solus run vhetir bat ibic goyust, ni ru ganaa ru urnmankala ibac te tuur ni narir bat ni buy’ce, ni ru ganaa cin vhetin. Ni ru cuyi be’staabi. Te dala ni ru cuyi ramaana chur sh’ehn traync’gota ru seri at shukur adol te gota’gam be YT-1300 udees o’r gebbar Rustbucket Repair bal Salvage me’senyaim. O’r tuure bal tuure ibac ru shekemir ni ru atiini o’r te bacta, ni ru cuyi kyrayc runi ru kebbu at taylir bic at oya ibac dar ru ganaa kar’tayl be.
The drone of the engines subsides and the sound of the repulsors picks up as she enters orbit around Mandalore.
Ni ba’jur sa Mando’ad ru vheti tion ni urci Armide be’aliit Vencu, ni ru nu vaabi kar’taylir bic nu sha ca’nara. Te dala ni nu cuyi ru nu liser ru ganaa ru kar’tayl bic. Bic ru cuyi Eltich be’aliit Ahi kyrayc te dala ibac ru cuyi ibac ni kar’tayl bic. Kaysh ru gana ru gedetir kaysh be kyr’amur kaysh bal vaal kaysh ru nu gaanader be vaabir bic, Doctor Ayy’shiri ru ramaana ibac tuur. Tion arasuumi be kaysh cuyi ba’jur kaysh ru cuyi ru dinuir at Aldera University, te bajur ru bajur adol kaysh kar’tayl. A kaysh cuyi dar, dala tion ru cuyi ru nu cuyir. Sa ni buir ru tengaanar ni adol ni ba’jur, bic ru cuyi utreyar ibac te ruusaa be te gaanadir ru gotal’ur kay’tayl ru cuyi ru mar’eyce bat te Resol’nare. Kaysh, nu sa ni, ru nu vaabir ru ganar te kot at jorir adol bal ru taylir te bajure chur lekku sa meh be parer par tuur tion val ru borarir. Ibac tuur cuyi jii.
Music begins to echo throughout the cockpit, an intricate weave of instruments paired with the stunning strength of Mandalorian verse.
Te t’ad bajur ru cuyi bat beskar’gam. Tion bic cuyi. Bic ru cuyi ba’jur bajur jaon te borarir kajir o’r beskar’yaim be ni buire yaim te tuur kyr’yc’tuur ni ru gotal’ur dush gaanadir ni nu tatugir. As mhi ru gotal’ur tug’yc ni beskar’gam bal ru nau’ur kad evaar’la buc’ye teh beskar, ni ru hiibir kay’tayl teh ni solus bajur be mandokar. Tug’yc, bic ru cuyi bajur ibac ru jorir ti ni par munit ca’nara ru’cuy ni ru bajuri bic. Te beskar’gam mhi gana’batir as Mando’ad solus mhi bal caboure cuun baar. Ni ru ganar ru rejohaa’ir de ashie ibac bic jorire cuun runi as pirusti as ru cabuo bic. Bal ibac cuyi val mirdir, bic cuyi balyc ru mirdi ibac mhi laandur. Vaal ogir cuyi ijaat bal solus o’r te gana’batire be cuun beskar’gam; te haat bajur be bic cuyi te ara’nov. Tion Mando’ad narire an be val kar’tayl o’r te beskar’gam val gotal’batir, as val ru cuyi val runi, val cuyi shi beskar’gam. Val dar’manda. Bic cuyi tion gar runi bal gar baar cuyi as atin’la as beskar ibac solus ru cuyi ru haat ru kar’tayli te bajor be beskar’gam. Bic cuyi atin’la kar’tayl be o’r te cuun ni, cuun Mando’ade, cuun aliite bal cuun kar’tayl ibac gotal’ure Mando’ad. Nu beskar’gam.
There is nothing but the Mandalorian songs heard for hours before a light tapping begins and the obvious sound of the hyperdrive starting up and launching the small Belbullab-22 into the void.
Aliit nu cuyi bajur ibac ru cuyi ru bajur, bic ru cuyi solus ru bajur de ru oyaci solus tuur sa Mando’ad. Ogir cuyi jorbe par te Mando’ade kar’tayl be ba’jurir ade cuyi dralshy’a ori’shya val ade. Cuyi ad tion jorir te vencuyot, mhi ven cuyi dralshy’a ori’shya vode rud cuun, nu baar a’shere’shoy. Cuyi mhi tion vhetir cabuor te yaim. Bic ru nu’narir cuun jate’shya, bic haat jorire cuun sosul ti. Mhi enteyor cuyi te suum ca’nara par cuun buire, ade, bal riduure. Kotyc gaan. Cuun aliit cuyi an’kebi. Val demar cuun o’r te oya’chaaj ibac taylire sa eyn darasuum ba’jur. O’r mandokarla ibac suum ca’nara par Alor Ahi adol ni ba’jur, ni ru ganar ru bajur te ori’dral bajur be te aliit.
Ni balyc ru bajur ibac tion ni jorir bic adol ni verd’goten, ni ba’jur nu cuyi ganar ru kyr. Ni cuyi ganar tengaana ni mandokarla. Ni ven cuyi ru gana jorir ruusaar par jori ibac cuyi atiinir akay tuur ni ash’amur.
[Audiolog – Transmitted, Kwade Demar. Eltich Ahi. Deactivated.]
My education as a Mandalorian began when I met Armide Vencu, I didn’t know it then. The woman I was could never have recognized it. It wasn’t until Eltich Ahi killed the woman that was that I could realize it. She had begged him to kill her and while he refused, the end result was the death of Doctor Ayy’shiri. What remains of her is the education she was given at Aldera University, the lessons learned through her experiences and research. But she is gone, a woman who was never truly meant to exist. As my father guided me through my education, it became clear that the foundations of the decisions made through her experiences were founded on the Resol’nare. She, unlike me, didn’t have the strength to carry through and kept those lessons tucked behind her lekku as if to wait for a time when they would apply. That time is the rest of my life.
The second lesson was on beskar’gam. What it means, what it is. It was a lesson taught over the worktable in the backroom of my fathers home the day after I had made a mistake I will not repeat. As we repaired my armour and forged a new buc’ye from a single bar of beskar, I learned my first lesson of mandokar. Again, it was a lesson that I carried with me for some time before I learned it. The beskar’gam we wear as Mandalorians unites us and protects our physical form. I have been told by others that it carries our soul as well as protecting it and while that may be their belief, it is also a belief that makes us weak. While there is pride and unity in the wearing of our beskar’gam; the true lesson of it is the figurative ara’nov. When a Mandalorian puts all of their faith in the armor they wear, as they would their soul, they are just a suit a of armor. They are not a Mandalorian. It is when your soul and your body is as strong as beskar that one has truly learned the lesson of beskar’gam. It is the unwavering belief and faith in ourselves, our people, our aliite and our abilities that makes us Mandalorian. Not the armor.
Aliit was never a lesson that was actively taught, it was one learned by living each day as a Mandalorian. There is a reason for the Mandalorian belief to raise their daughters to be stronger than their sons. It is the daughters who carry the future generations, we have to be stronger than the warriors around us, not physically, but emotionally. It is we who will protect the hearth and home. It doesn’t make us better, it truly makes us equal. We must be the shelter of peace for our fathers, lovers and sons. The guiding hand. Our aliit is everything. They shape us in the lifelong path that serves as an eternal education. In being that shelter for Alor Ahi during my training, I have learned the most powerful lesson of the aliit.
I have also realized that when I pass my verd’goten, my training will not have ended. I will have only proven that I have the mandokar to be Mandalorian. I will have created the foundation for the building that will continue until the day I die a verd’s death.
The tide was coming up, the foamy froth of the sea catching against sand to leave evidence of its encroachment. Two pairs of legs came out of the door behind the place on the edge of the porch where the two helmets had been set next to a large pile of various armor pieces. The legs quickly becoming the images of a Tolian Twi’lek woman and a Human man as they raced towards the waters’ edge and up along the edge, water splashing up with every step. Laughter filtered through the holofeed as they sparred and raced up along the strip of beach on Mandalore.
Ni cuyi Aay’han be aliit Ahi. Ni cuyi ad be Kwade be aliit Demar bal riduur be Eltich be aliit Ahi.
Ni cuyi verd.
Strength is a word of many meanings both figurative and literal. It is a word that is often misunderstood and misconstrued. Not even forty eight standard hours ago, the Wildcards made a stunning display of physical and tactical prowess against the Empire. A show of strength that earned me a ship to add to the list of assets that will be sold in order to fund Icarus. Not even forty eight hours ago, I allowed my pride to overcome me and stand for the strength in the belief I have for myself and my aliite*. All my business interests with aruetiise are coming to an end.
I fought with my riduur about it. He did not understand how I believed anything could immediately be accomplished by relying on Mando’ade alone. He failed to take into consideration the patience I have. If Icarus takes another five years but will remain built entirely by the hands and resources of verde, it will be a symbol of strength.
Symbology is important to our people. Our beskar’gam is a symbol, our mandokar is a symbol. My father ignored the symbolism of his own lessons to me tonight when he insulted my riduur, my ade, my aliit. He spoke and acted out of anger born in misunderstanding. His words have created quite the minefield that I must disarm now, but from it, I hope that my riduur realizes that in carrying the wounds left by my buir, he will only be proving my buir right.
This is a time when he must be proven wrong.
My riduur is a stronger verd that my buir. He is a stronger man but he is not wiser. And that is the strength he needs as Alor. It is a strength I try to give him when he is not being too stubborn to see it.
((*aliite = Ahi and Demar.))
The Alema droid unit moves around the small laboratory within in the home of Aay’han Ahi. A soft blue glow reflects off the walls from the dozens of data consoles. One of which, the Tolian sits at, curled up in a large black chair with a keyboard on her lap. Her hazel eyes fixated on the image magnified image of a reactor large enough to fuel a small city on the screen.
“What is it like now?” That’s a question she asked me last night. She is considering the lifeway, or was. I do not know yet her final decision and it should be my buir she informs first. The simplest answer to her question?
It is like I have come home.
I think my actions show that I know true freedom. I know my purpose and my way.
She sighs, chuckling quietly.
I also know that I need to make another four point one million credits for Icarus. I know that I need to speak with Ezekial and Piot. An Alor is only as strong as his aliit.
She taps a few keys and a code prompt comes up onto the screen to cover the image of the reactor. The tips of her clawed nails tapping feverently at the keys. The Alema droid pans to the left as one of the heavy blast doors slides open. A tall figure in black and gold Mandalorian armor steps in carrying a huge basket filled with the bounty of the field that surrounds the home on the edge of the Junction.
The Tolian Twi’lek looked away from her work, a nearly blissful smile curling at her lips with his appearance.
The light of the Corellian sun peaked over the mountains that surrounded Crusher’s Junction, shafts of that light breaking through the branches of the trees that surrounded the salvaged sandcrawler that Aay’han Ahi had pieced together from the junk dumped off by various people on various planets. The pale hues of dawn were seen through the small windows that surrounded the upstairs bedroom, highlighting the image of the Tolian Twi’lek woman as she sat Indian style on the bed, the brown comforter wrapped around her shoulders.
“There were so many things I wanted to talk to you about before you left for Mandalore yesterday morning. I always get wrapped up in everything else that I forget sometimes to enjoy the times we have. Those moments when the Galaxy lets us pause and catch our breath are so few and far between. So many things have kept us in these verbal standoffs since we were bound in our riduuryc. Ner buir, Icarus, Hellsing…”
She pulled the comforter around her more tightly and set her buc’ye that had been recording and transmitting the conversation onto the pillow beside her as she laid down, facing it.
“You’ve barely been gone a day and already, I miss you. You’d have enjoyed yourself today; I fought alongside Eoton and a myriad of outsiders in West Carova. The prototype droid I built, RU-N4N called together a droid revolution, well, it more like an invasion with the number of units that came to her aid. I discounted their calls for freedom and revolution, honestly believing that it would be easily controlled. That RU-N4N, alongside the dastardly trio of Sev, Garam and Shavai, would gather the lesser Pit units and a simple EMP would take care of it all. I never expected that she’d have gathered the support of seven hundred units. Seven hundred droids destroyed today with minimal casualities. We all fought well.”
Aay’han smiled, pulling the pillow under her head down a bit as her lekku wrapped over the backside of it.
“I think I’ll speak with Eoton soon about the possibilities we have discussed. And hopefully I’ll be able to repair the damage my father has dealt to the Ahi before you return.”
The blanket fell away from her bare shoulder when she reached forward to end the transmission, pausing momentarily.
“Zeke and I share an A.I. now, we set controls to its evolution to ensure that it would not get out of control. Sovereign is something beautiful that will live on long after we’re dead and gone. If Zeke and I did it right, it’ll be there for the aliit for decades to come. At least, that’s what we hope.”
A soft smile tugged at the edges of her lips.
“Ni kar’tayl gar darasuum, ner riduur.”
Ner’buir has returned from Manda’yaim with the needed credits to begin purchasing the resources needed to complete Icarus. My work is truly cut out for me now. I need to inform Zeke that the major tasks are about to begin. He also returned with a plan, before the Corellian winter sets in he wishes to take the Demar back to Manda’yaim, it is the same plan that we had for the Ahi. I told him of this. He wishes to speak with you so that we can begin to repair the rift that his words created the aliite. If we are to return, we both believe that it should be together. Our aliite are far stronger together than we are apart. Although, Alor Demar has apparently expressed concern with some of the more political interests of Aliit Ahi.
I informed ner’buir that those interests would not return to Manda’yaim with us. I hope I did not speak falsely.
He is stubborn as we both are and insists on travelling back to Manda’yaim to speak with you, if that is what is needed. He has a plan that might be worth listening to. I support it, not just as his ad, but because it is a plan that speaks highly for the future of our aliite. And that’s what we have to look to sometimes, the future.
With the idea of the future in mind, I am seeing Eoton almost daily. His lab work is proving fruitful for us. He needs to perform a minor surgery on me in order to meet with our wishes. But soon, soon there will be news beyond, “Lord Vassel Darkrider and Duchess Captain Ahi have met.”
Until you come back to me in your helmet or as it.
I continuously sit down to create these messages to you, some of them feel forced from the beginning. That polite and pre-crafted response, “While you were away…”
She shrugs, smirking down at the t-visor of her beksar crusader helmet that was cradled in her lap, staring up at her, recording her for the transmission that was being sent out. It was quiet, only the sounds of Corellian cicadas in the background.
That’s what these are, and yes, they feel forced. I don’t know what I’m doing, Eltich… I should speak with ner buir, he’s tried, but I don’t even wish for him to see me question. Caring for the aliit is easy, we’re all focused on the Junction these days, as we should be. The swoopers have left for Harloen, test their fates and abilities there and the Junction has been left to us. Ner’buir would like to change what we can of it to be a training facility.
She glanced up beyond the buy’ce, an image in the background catching her attention momentarily.
It’s part of his plan to train those he can so that we can return to Manda’yaim with verde. I’m nervous that he wants to transport everything via Icarus. He’s not ready and the task of preparing him falls on the shoulders of Ezekial and I. I don’t doubt that we can do it, it just all seems… daunting.
The helmet was tossed to the side of the couch and rolled over the fabric before the recorder found the Tolian Twi’lek to focus on again.
Lord-Vassal Darkrider will be done soon, he will begin the final stages of his work when we give him the go ahead. I keep trying to figure out if there will ever be a time that could be considered right, and then I realize I have a student to think of now as well.
She looked over to the helmet and reached across to hit a control.
Mishuk gotal’u meshuroke, pako kyore.
The image flickers a few times before the lines of data focus and the image of Aay’han Ahi, dangling upside down from the top bar of the jungle gym across the room appears. The ends of her lekku are curled loosely around the bar below her.
“Tomorrow I begin training Lamythia. If ner’buir takes her in riduuryc, should she live through this, I’d have trained my own buir. There’s a twisted logic to it, one of the reasons I needed to just speak with her tonight. Tomorrow, she’ll no longer be anything to me but a student. I need more friends to make up for those I’m losing.” She snickered and arched her back to ease her body into a slow swing.
“Or reconnect, but I’m bad about that…Oh! Reconnecting! Piot has returned. He says he was off training or practicing something… I was pleased to see him out in the Junction. I tried to lure him into speaking with me by offering him a bean, I don’t think it was the proper bait. He remains succinct as always. I wonder if he really is a wall, mentally as well as physically.”
Aay’han’s lekku release from the bottom bar and she pivots upwards to grab onto the bar above her before letting go to drop down onto the Nalagorn beneath the structure. The keys descend creating a cacophony of sound momentarily. “Apo is out here as well, ner’buir is making him earn his buc’ye. I am worried about having Imperials loyalists in the Junction, even if they have defected. A true test to see how strongly believe in the Mando’ade above all.”
“It all feels like the calm. This preparation is for something other than our own return to Manda’yaim.”
The Twi’lek hopped down from the Nalagorn and padded over to the buc’ye on the back of the couch. She crouched down to be eye level with it. After a few moments of staring she leaned forward and kisses the cross-section of the t-visor.
What am I doing… I am overwhelmed. No, to say I’m overwhelmed is an understatement. Everyday is a struggle with Sovereign as it continually tests Ezekial and I. It’s tests are frustrating and fail to see the logic of its arguements. It hinders us at this point.
Piot lost to my student in the battle circle today. I’m not as tough as you but I will work with daily to keep him from crumbling. We must always be prepared…
I want to stay up here a few days, touch the stars and forget the responsibilities dirtside. I want to hide aboard Icarus and lose myself to my science again. That option is no longer there to me.
I don’t understand, Elt. Iske was a Jedi? Who else in our aliit is a Jedi? We’ve fought over aruetii business dealings, we’ve fought over the idea of the Mandalorian and your role as Alor. I don’t understand… you left me unprepared. How am I supposed to…shabla…I’m not making any sense…
[Audiofeed Deactivated:> Tranmission Aborted:>Status: Deleted]
<Comm Transmission:> Du’vek Demar> Alor. I have an update on Icarus for you. I’d like to speak with you about it and a few other things.
Both ner’buir and ner’hibir spoke with me last night about riduurok, the possibility of it. It’s weighing on the mind of ner’buir with Lamythia as my student. I wanted to explain to ner’buir that the greatest thing he could do was this. To say that you love a Mandalorian is to say that you will remember them eternally. Love is a concept that can hardly touch what that bond between riduure can be. The conversations had me yearning to be with him, a favour to a friend had me heading home. With me I brought news of Icarus to Alor Demar, we are beginning the installation of the ion drives. Construction on the station is ahead of schedule, for now.
Tomorrow, Eoton is going to go to speak with what could be the riduur of his Alor. I wish him the best, it’s not a meeting that I can go for. He has to stand for himself. Rather, I’ve been granted a blessing of sorts, ner’riduur has taken a day to show me his work at what will become the home of aliit Ahi.
“What are you doing out here, cyar’ika?” The voice of Eltich Ahi called from the distace.
Aay’han Ahi comes into focus as the feed is shifted from data to holo and the HUD of her crusader style helmet lights up. Her lanky tolian form laid out on the ground outside of what looked to be a standard bunker. The feild of whatever had been around it was freshly cut, around her she had a sheet wrapped in such a manner she had even made herself a hood. She tilts her head back to look up at something behind her.
“Trying to write someting…Everything that’s come out of my mouth in the past few weeks is hollow. It’s regurgitated osik that I’ve been pushing off on those around me because of the matter is, I’d rather not even talk. I have a task, Zeke has a task, Piot has a task… we’re all doing what we need to, we know what needs to be done, it’s not like we’re running amuck in this kriffin’ Galaxy. You should see how well Piot is doing with the hibire he’s taken on. He’s succint, go figure, but I believe they’re learning quite a bit from him in combat training. I totally forgot to ask him to take them out for some feild training. I keep forgetting things, there’s just this point where you know you can expect people to do such and such task and not have to kriffin’ worry. These asr’manda out there, they don’t know. Apo’s got a love triangle with two of them that’s playing out like one of those holos I’m addicted to. Folsum? That kid who was living under Ashen’s place? He’s got more attitude and no common sense.”
The solid figure of a human man coming into view and sitting on the ground beside her head, an open bottle of tihaar in his hand that he drank idly from.
“And Mareridt? She came to us, threatened Song because of Lanko and then told ner’buir she had nowhere else to go. Ner’buir wants her to train with us, I turned her over to Piot, but I’m in a bit of disbelief about. She’s lied to us, she told us she was verd, but she knows nothing. She couldn’t even tell Piot what a verd’goten is! And still, we’re going to train her. Ner’buir asks my opinion but he just wants to hear that he’s right. He doesn’t want to actually hear my opinion. He just wants someone to listen to him and inform him how kriffin’ brill he is.”
He snorted at both her comment and her quick action to reach over and grab the bottle of tihaar from him. She leaned her head up to take a drink, the self-crafted hood from the sheet falling away from her head. Aay’han handed the bottle back and laid back down to stare up at the stars.
“He doesn’t want to talk to you anymore.”
“Didn’t think you would be. I give up with him, he doesn’t approve of anything except being the utmost pinnacle of mando’kar to the point where you forget you have any emotion at all. I think he chooses to deprive himself just to keep that holier-than-thou attitude. Could you even imagine if he had come had dinner with us tonight?”
She laughed and drew in a deep breath to mimic Kwade Demar, “Breaking bread with a dar’manda out of armor?! You bring down the integrity of your aliit, Alor Ahi!”
She was quick to find her head swatted playfully.
“After that you said he was right.”
“He was! But he didn’t have to stand by his point like a petulant kriffin’ child! He’s showing you a false sense of respect when he speaks about you, it comes off as genuine enough, but the things he says about you to me… I finally told him to hold his tongue. I’m verd, but barely so and I already have deadlines baring down on me like a kriffin’ ISB investigation, there’s not battles staring down at me. Technological deadlines, the attention of a student. I’m more focused on how to train her, but how do -I- guide an asr’manda into becoming Mandalorian when my own buir, my own hibi’buir continues to throw whatever he can at me?”
She sighed heavily and closed her eyes.
“You’re here, I’m there…”
He looked down at her and smirked.
“…not yet. I want to remain here, Eoton’s got his bird and he can go back as he wishes. There’s just things I need to finish, I gave ner’buir my word and I’ll keep it, unless he pushes the Ahi away. If he pushes at us again, I don’t think I’d stand between he and any other of this aliit. Kriff, I don’t even think another Demar would step between us. It’s so weird to speak with Du’vek, a man who has his osik together only to go back to the Junction and…I’m going to make him see that I can do this, he won’t see me sweat. But that might just playing into his game…”
“Gar johaa’i ori’solet, gev. Gar cuyi yaim ti ni.”
She picked up a small rock near her leg and chucked it at the buy’ce not too far from her.
The face of Aay’han Ahi comes into focus, she sits outside with the grey duracrete of a building behind her. A small portion of the building comes into focus as she settles her buc’ye against her bare and quite obviously pregnant stomach.
I don’t know where you are ner’buir. It’s a horrible thing for a daughter to admit, even if I hated you. You became the target of every one of my frustrations, when my aliit began returning to Mandalore, I believed that you kept making these plans to hold me back. We both know I should’ve gone back with ner’riduur. You… you are my father, how was I supposed to leave you? I kept the frustrations buried so I could make it through. I was strong enough, ner’buir, you just pushed when you should’ve let things lie.
I think at some point you wished me to be better than you, I can only ever be me, ner’buir.
I am verd. I am Demar, still. And I am Ahi. In a few months a Mandalorian boy will see this world and the Galaxy beyond it. He will know their vode, their buir, but not his ba’buir and this pains me. You may not be my biological father, you and I may have only known each other for the briefest moment, but we are still connected, ner’buir.
She picked up the helmet and pushed herself to her feet slowly. Her armor was stretched and modified to deal with her state of pregnancy. It remained black, the biceps blood red.
You told me once you’d rather die than fight me.
You shot me in the back.
Then again, ner’riduur blew me up. The difference being that I was your intended target.
Aay’han Ahi turned the helmet around allow the view of an extensive field of various trees, fruits, vegetables, and a large square of the little purple flowers that grew inside the Demar cave, that he had grown outside his domicile in Crusher’s Junction.
I forgive you, Papa.
I forgive you and I ask you to forgive me. Our lives are far too long to hold grudges over lessons learned. Especially when there is such a gap in our lives from the abensce of one another.
Allow my children to know the face of their grandfather.