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Mar 30, 2023 10:20 AM
how bad a time can we give a joey
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"They gave me a copy of the Code and told me to focus on it. I assumed they didn't mean to literally repeat the words in my head, so I ended up mostly just thinking about things that made me angry and thinking about why I was angry, practicing getting angry without doing anything about it... that sort of thing."


"Seething in your own anger is certainly a technique.  Depending on the sort of person you are, it might turn out to be what is most effective."

There is that feeling of her presence in the force brushing against him.  Unlike the last time she seems to be actually respectful of his boundaries.  "The Jedi have their own method, they believe in making your mind blank so that there is only the force.  We can try it but given that you have company in there, I don't think that'll be the approach for you."

She opens up one of the crates of grenades and takes out a flash grenade.  She doesn't go out of her way to tell him that's what she has grabbed.  She just pulls the pin and then floats the grenade between them, using the force to prevent the mechanism from detonating.

"Grab the grenade from me and hold it in the air.  Prevent it from detonating as long as you can.  Reach out to the force in any way that is natural for you.  The only wrong answer here is to let the grenade explode."


Jen'kun grips the grenade in his mind. Tries to call up the Force - thinks about his dead fathers - but the anger doesn't feel immediate the way his fear does. (Not fear of the grenade, not really. Fear of letting his master down.)

Then he thinks, why do this? And he takes a look at himself from a different angle, looks at the Force from a different angle, and -


oh. Passion. Not anger, not hate. They work, when they work, but - he steps into the fear, and draws from that, channeling the rush into raw power until he doesn't feel afraid anymore. Then he channels pride at his own cleverness. Then, experimentally, he tries... the feeling he has for Lord Naiera, the thing he could have felt for his fathers (at this he feels sadness, and he channels that too). That works too, not as well as the others but it doesn't have to, he's still got the others to draw on.

Buoyed by half a dozen different feelings, he begins to disassemble the grenade, guided by the Force. It won't explode. He's good at this.


Ironically Naiera has never quite figured out the ideal meditation method for herself.  She's quite capable of seething and she's tried the Jedi method before to some effect, although she has too much of an ego for it to work properly.  Her method before battle is to focus on her own conviction in her powers, in her certainty of her ability to bring navigate the maelstrom in front of her to victory.  Here, where there is no battle, she has to use a different tactic.

She has herself, her apprentice, and the woman she cares about most on this ship.  She has two lightsabers of wildly different styles, both of which she built herself.  She has power and skill that she's spent years honing, and a position that she spent years fighting for.  For her the force always responds best to her will, the will to build all this for herself, the will to keep it, and the will to rise further.  It'll do for now.

"Good," she says, full aware of what Jen'kun is doing even with her eyes closed.  Its not just the disassembly work that she's complimenting, its him exploring what works best for him.  Most graduates of the Academy have that impulse stamped out of them.  Behind her other stun grenades rise on their own, swirling around to the edges of the room.  None of their pins have been pulled yet, although she will do so if Jen'kun works his way through disassembling his current one.

One flies at Jen'kun from the front.  Its fast enough to smart but not fast enough to hurt him, hurting him isn't the point here.  "Avoid the grenades but don't lose concentration on your task Jen'Kun," she orders, even as she makes another grenade fly at him from behind.  Its pretty obvious what she's testing, seeing just how good his lover is at keeping him safe while his mind is occupied.  "And don't try to get out of this by stabbing me"


"Yes sir!"

The answer: his lover is very, very good at keeping him safe. He keeps his eyes closed, and his body dances between the projectiles, obviously inhabiting the living Force, even as the grenade floats into pieces. When she escalates to two active grenades, he sends them orbiting around each other as they come apart; "it's a little easier to keep steady if I keep them both moving," he mentions absently.

By the time he's working on two at once, he's not consciously drawing on pride or passion anymore, he's just... feeling, and doing. 


She comes to the realization that this boy is going to be an absolute menace to teach anything.  His biological quirks and his natural skill in the force means that he will easily run through a lot of what she can teach him just on the ship.  For lessons that are actually useful to him, the war will have to be her co-teacher.  "So is your symbiote drawing upon your connection to the Force to sense danger or do you have other senses its working with?" she asks, still continuing the exercise.


"Well, he sees what I do, and... I think that includes the Force? - he says I'm the one feeling it, he just feels me feeling it."


Naiera eventually stops the exercise, neatly packing away any grenades that are still whole.  "I think that's enough of that.  Leave the pieces in a pile against the wall.  I'm sure Vette will find a use for them," she says.

She has a minor spike of annoyance at massacre that was the empire assimilating his planet.  Genocide didn't particularly horrify her, it was a common enough feature of the imperial war machine, but it was still a shame that others as uniquely talented as her apprentice were probably needlessly killed.

"Sit down," she orders once cleanup is done.  "In your own honest opinion, how well do you handle keeping still?"


" makes it more difficult for me to concentrate, but I can manage?"


She nods to indicate that he should do so.  After giving them a bit to be silent she says, "Tell me about your thoughts Jen'kun.  Just what is it that has you restless?"


His lover stills the twitching, the leg-shaking, the finger-tapping. He's perfectly still.

It feels Ike an eternity before she speaks.

"...when I'm still, my mind races. I cannot focus on anything too deeply, or I know I will be in danger; if I absorbed myself in a thought completely, I would be unaware of my surroundings, and I might be punished for that. My body tries to compensate by moving, and my lover stops it. My mind flits from one thought to another like a nervous shrimp, finding refuge in a pocket of coral and darting to another before it can adjust."


"We're going to try an exercise," she says after a bit of silence to think on the problem.  "It will be our last exercise for the moment and I will not consider it a failure if you ask me to stop."  And with that warning she gently inhales, focusing on her connection to the force before exhaling and extending it outward, covering Jen'kun and the rest of the room completely.  It is not a warm presence because she is not a warm person, but neither is it the cold that surround the cruelest Sith.

"I am dangerous but you already knew that," she says, "I won't hurt you and I won't allow any harm to come to you."  She extends her will and for the moment, in this single room, that's as much of a truth of the universe as the force itself.  "Focus on that.  Focus on me."


Jen'kun breathes in, then out.

He examines Lord Naiera's force presence. Slowly, his focus deepens - and his mind twitches, flinches away from the stillness, and it's gone.

Again. He gets further - and another mental twitch, and the progress is lost. He hisses under his breath.


Then he thinks.

When he was young, before his lover, he could spend minutes at a time staring at a mote of sunlight in the water. When did that change?

Korriban. When any wasted moment was another percentage point added to his chance of dying.

Well, now he's out.

Is he, though?

He's still Sith. The Empire is merciless.

Nowhere will ever be safe.

...he can't live like this forever.

"Master?" he asks aloud.

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