Star Wars: Treasures of the Force – Ch 47

Nix wasn’t surprised when Ayli scoffed at the threat of being Force Lightninged. In reality Nix had several better alternatives, and calling on the Force for things like that tended to amplify the worst parts of anyone’s psyche.

Nix was however being quite sincere.

Zapping Ayli into unconsciousness was a last resort, but it was a resort. It would leave Nix feeling terrible,which was a small price to pay compared to losing her wife to violent mania.

Not that Nix had plans to zap her wife. Or any plans at all really.

There was something out there for them, but their future was elusive and unset. 

“I think I can get used to being your monster if it comes with head massages like this,” Ayli said and stretched in a manner that banished any thoughts of zapping her or causing any other harm at all.

“So long as you come back to me,” Nix said and pressed another kiss to Ayli’s forehead.

“You’ve got to promise me one other thing though,” Ayli said.

“What’s that?” Nix asked, her mind filling with a gentle hunger for the woman in her lap.

“I’ll come back to you, but only if you promise me that you’ll leave me,” Ayli said.

Nix had been ready for a number of requests but that was not one of them.

“I’m not quite sure how that works?” she said at last, studying Ayli’s upside down face for some clue as to what she was thinking.

“Don’t stay with me if I hurt you again. Don’t stay with me if I’m a danger to you. If I lose myself like I was going to there, if I turn into a screaming Force Lighting Dark Side beast, I can’t be allowed to hurt you. I can’t bear the idea of hurting you. You say you love me, but don’t love me in spite of what I do. You’re worth more than that. You deserve someone who…”

“Do not say ‘someone who’s better for you’,” Nix cut Ayli off with a whisper and another kiss.

“I know,” Ayli said. “This isn’t me either. I’m not usually so….so…”

“Weak?” Nix suggested.


“You’ve had a ridiculously stressful few weeks, you bonded with a living ghost and used the Force to amplify your rage to the point where it could split rock, and we only barely escaped an exploding continent thanks to you flying the spaceship equivalent of a bathtub through a tornado. If I told you about a woman like that would you be willing to cut her a few breaks? Maybe give her the benefit of the doubt that she wasn’t quite at her best for any of that?” Nix asked.

“Yes, but…”

“But it felt miserable. Anger came so easily afterwards. It’s even still there. Everything I’m saying is at least a little bit annoying and part of you wants to grab my ears and just scream?”

Ayli’s only response was silence for a long moment.

“How can you love that?” she finally asked in a small voice.

Nix gathered her into a long hug.

“How could I not when it comes with all the rest of you?” she asked. “And before you object to that, I just want you to consider two things. First, how much it means that despite everything you’ve been dealing with, you’re still here, with me, when you could have just given up or run away, and second, I want you to ask yourself how I know what you’re going through.”

Ayli stared at Nix for a while.

“You’re reading my mind with the Force?” Ayli asked at last.

No. This what communicating through the Force feels like, Nix called out with her mind, causing Ayli’s eyes to open wide in shock.

“Then how?” Ayli asked, her brow furrowing.

“Because I’ve been there too,” Nix said. “Like I said, we need to learn more about each other. In this case, I’d like you to imagine how a young girl who’s as close to the Force as I am might handle things like being left alone in the world. Or people trying to hurt her. Or just being hungry and tired and out of patience.”

“Poorly,” Ayli said, a note of too-familiar pain in her voice. “She would have handled it poorly.”

“That is an excellent description of my childhood,” Nix said. 

“You used the Dark Side as a kid?” Ayli asked.

“I guess so? I didn’t know that’s what I was doing but, looking back, all the ‘accidents’ people had? The occasional blackouts when I was screaming my head off? The sheer joy at seeing the people I was mad at suffer? That feels very in line with the echoes I felt on Praxis Mar,” Nix said.

“But you’re not like that now? How?” Ayli asked.

“I am like that,” Nix said. “I think everyone is. How we chose to act though doesn’t have to be driven by our feelings.”

“I thought using the Force was all about listening to our feelings?” Ayli said.

“Sure. We listen to the Force, and the Force often speaks through our feelings. Listening to something and acting on everything we think it says are two different things though. Sometimes our feelings are just our own. Sometimes they’re not even that. Sometimes we can absorb a bad mood from the people around us. Or from the stress of a situation we’re in. Acting on those and following where the Force wants to lead us are two very different things though.”

“I’m not sure how you can tell the difference,” Nix said.

“I can’t,” Nix said. “Not always. When I’m calm though? That makes it a lot easier.”

“I don’t seem to be great at staying calm,” Ayli said.

“Were you great at piloting ships when you were learning to walk?” Nix asked.

“That’s not the same thing,” Ayli said.

“Isn’t it? We’re both new to consciously using the Force,” Nix said. “Right from the beginning. you were hit with challenges that were more than a Jedi Master could handle – just look at how things turned out for Kelda. You can’t imagine that what you’ve done so far is the best you can possibly do. Everything you do from here will have the benefit of what you’ve learned so far. You’ll remember not only that you can use the Dark Side, but also what it costs you to do so.”

“I should keep arguing with you,” Ayli said, a contented purr in her voice.

“Still not convinced?” Nix asked.

“No. I just want to keep you here, like this, for as long as I can.”

“Well, we don’t need to argue for that,” Nix said, kissing Ayli’s forehead and bending further to kiss her nose and then her lips.


Dinner time rolled around eventually and found Nix and Ayli heading to the mess hall on the conscripted Battle Cruiser.

“She’s awake!” Sali said as Nix and Ayli took seats at the Captain’s table.

“Am I going to regret that?” Ayli asked, grabbing a plate of rolls for Nix.

“I don’t know,” Sali said. “Do you have my cut of the fabulous planetary treasure horde tucked away somewhere?”

“I’ve probably got a few pebbles stuck to my boots,” Alyi said. “I’m guessing that’s all we escaped from Praxis with?”

“Technically we also have a new ship too,” Goldie said.

“That one didn’t look like it was in such good shape last I saw it,” Sali said.

“I’ll be happy to take it then if you don’t want it?” Goldie asked.

“That sounds good,” Zindiana said. “Except I think I’d like to inspect the cargo holds first.”

“The techs said they were empty,” Goldie said.

“And the hidden cargo holds?” Zindiana asked.

“Oh. Uh. Those haven’t been checked yet,” Goldie said and Nix had to smile. Out-pirating Sali or Zindiana was going to take a lot more experience than Goldie’d had a chance to accumulate in her short life span since she became sapient.

“I think I’ll be heading down there right now then,” Sali said. “Would hate for anyone to misplace the contents of a hold or two.”

“Hey! I’ve got monetary needs to you know!” Goldie said.

“Just how trashed is the Goldrunner?” Ayli asked.

“It’s repairable,” Nix said, excited at the prospect of the work she’d get to do on it. There were so many improvements that required a full ship tear down to put in place and the Goldrunner was two half broken bolts away from the tear down part being done already.  “We might need to stop over at the Berzan Scrapyards are some place like it though. Give me about a month there and I can get the Goldrunner back in proper shape.”

“A month and how many credits?” Ayli asked.

“If we stop at Berzan? Maybe none?” Nix said. “I know one of the Scrapper Bosses. She’ll probably let me trade some repair work on her ships for the parts we need.”

“I can help!” Goldie said.

“Is that you’re next destination then?” Zindiana asked.

“We haven’t talked about it yet,” Nix said, taking a sip from the bowl of strew she’d pulled from the communal pot. The warmth of the liquid helped her relax muscles she hadn’t been aware she was holding tension in which in turn opened her sense up a little wider to the Force. 

There were so many paths open before them, and Nix could smell sorrow and joy in each. If she had any sort of ‘Grand Destiny’ though, it was one which either lay down all of the paths before her or which she simply hadn’t chosen to embrace yet.

“Where are we now?” Ayli asked. “And what happened after Ravas zapped me?”

“Praxis Mar gained a new mountain range,” Zindiana said. “I’ve had a lot of things try to eat me before, but this was the first time a lava mountain got the thought in its mind.”

“You got up high enough that it couldn’t quite reach us,” Nix said. “Ravas flew us into this Cruiser mostly with the Force I think and then we got out of the system.”

“The New Republic didn’t have a problem with that?” Ayli asked.

“Technically they don’t have jurisdiction here. This whole area is outside of New Republic space. They just weren’t willing to let a bunch escaped convicts have a war fleet to play with,” Zindiana said.

“You know I don’t get why that same logic didn’t apply to the Klex?” Nix said, considering the alternatives before them and listening to her feelings to see which had the right pull on her.

“The Klex Cartel were a known entity,” Zindiana said. “They were into all kinds of illegal things, but they didn’t knock over New Republic colonies, or stations, so they weren’t considered much of a threat.”

“I notice you’re talking about them in the past tense?” Ayli asked with a hopeful note in her voice.

“Thirty-two and the other former inmates forced them into the planetary defense grid. The ships that survived that all crash landed on Praxis, which wasn’t a great place to be with the thousand kilo longer chasms the earthquakes tore open,” Zindiana said.

“I checked the telemetry and none of the ships that crashed got off the planet before the eruptions began,” Goldie said. “And none were visible before we left the system.”

“Rest in pieces,” Ayli said, a sigh of relief escaping her.

Nix didn’t disagree. With the Klex Cartel gone, a number of their problems vanished as well. They would need to return to Praxis Mar someday – the ruins were still there, if in significantly worse shape than before, but their story could still be told and remembered. That was a problem for the future though, at the present neither she nor Ayli were in any shape to take on a challenge of that magnitude.

“That’s probably what you two should do as well,” Zindiana said and then winced at the implication. “Rest that is. Although, letting the galaxy think you’re dead isn’t a terrible idea either.”

“That is certainly a choice they can make,” Kelda said, appearing as a translucent ghost on the other side of the table, her Jedi robes looking pristine while, beside her, a translucent Ravas sat in a simple tunic, breeches, and shawl.

“I thought you said they were dead?” Ayli asked, turning to Nix for confirmation that they were both seeing the same thing.

“We are,” Ravas said. “But it seems we’re both still stuck here.”

“I don’t understand,” Nix said. “I thought bringing you two back together would help you find peace? That you’d be able to move on.”

“It did,” Kelda said.

“We just don’t want to go,” Ravas said.

“Not yet at least,” Kelda said.

“We need you two,” they both said together.

“Uh, what for?” Ayli asked, quicker on the draw than Nix was.

“You’re treasure hunters,” Kelda said. “You managed to find the most precious thing in all the worlds for me.”

Nix noticed that the two ghosts were holding hands, and that Ravas only looked slightly embarrassed by it.

“We have another treasure we’d like you to seek out,” Ravas said.

“You found a Temple to the Dark Side despite it being hidden for centuries and impossible to scry. We’d like you to find one of the lost Jedi Temples next,” Kelda said.

“It won’t be easy though,” Ravas said. “The Jedi knew how to hide things far better than my former master ever did.”

“Which means you will need training,” Kelda said.

“And we would be your tutors,” Ravas said.

“Not masters?” Ayli asked.

“The living are always masters of their own fates,” Kelda said. 

Nix looked to Ayli who met her gaze and nodded after a moment’s consideration.

The future lay ahead of them like a wild, unplanned jump, but Nix smiled.

They were going to be fine.

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