Somewhere in the Orbit of the Dantooine System
0215 Galactic Standard time
Laeo had wandered out of the mess hall only a few hours prior, and he wasn't entirely sure of what time it was. All the boy knew was that he was drowsy, and that he'd done a few parlor tricks with his force abilities that had made the entire crew burst out laughing.
Their job was simple, and one Laeo was familiar with on a much smaller scale. They were to work out a spice deal with representatives belonging to another hutt, and than they'd be off.
They'd picked this world in question for a variety of reasons; the most obvious was that Dantooine was outside hutt space, meaning it'd be exceedingly difficult for either party to do something they weren't supposed to. Beyond that, the local government of this world was small, and absentee in the lives of her citizens-- it wasn't going to pay attention to a pair of ships conspicuously landing in an empty plain and leaving an hour later.
He'd started from his nap, and found himself staring at the mirror in his room. Grabbing a razor, he began to trim off any bit of facial hair he could find-- by the time he was finished, the boy, though having recently experienced his 20th birthday, looked just as young as ever.
Grabbing his jacket, the boy slipped it on to his mostly uncovered body and wandered into the cockpit. The ship was on autopilot, and the pilot-- an older looking sullistan-- was fast asleep in his chair.
Idly, Laeonas sat in the seat next to his, whistling a bit.
The Cockpit of the Blue Nova,
ship belonging to Nardosha the Hutt
0241 Galactic Standard time
Sirens blared across the ship, and the crew was slowly waking to the situation the ship found itself in.
"<You should've woken me earlier!!>" The Sullistan shouted, words flying out of his mouth and escaping in Huttese-- something Laeo had managed to be partially fluent in-- as quickly as they escaped.
"Ai woke ya when tha sensors started pointin' out shi--" He tried to respond, getting cut off by the blinding light that suddenly flew into the cockpit.
One of the opposing ships was shining floodlight at them, while the others circled their freighter like vultures.
Who were these? Sector Rangers? They were to far out, even for them. The Dantooine central government? They couldn't police a backwater grazing world. Pirates? They would've been shot on by now. None of those groups would even know that they were here... except...
"Call em!" Laeonas suddenly snapped, hitting the comms button over and over again. "<What the hell?! They don't seem interested in diplo-->" "Ai don't kriffin' care! Nobody but Lotrosa the Hutt's men should know we're'even out'ere-- which means our business pardners either betrayed us, or sold us ou--"
As he spoke, a sudden crackle came out the other end of the speakers, and a coughing voice caught them. "<This is... captain of Servant Ten... who am I speaking to?...>" The Sullistan and the human looked at each other, not sure who to start, but Laeonas quickly took initiative. "<Err... you speak now... Laeonas Tannaras, first wife of Yellow Star.>"
The sullistan smackedd his forehead and groaned, and Laeonas realized that his huttese was far from fluent, and the laughter on the other side of the comm confirmed it. "...you don't sound like a man who knows how to... speak right, boy... I'll talk like thi-" "Ai could care less if ya couldn't listen to a word Ai was blabberin'-- they'd still be the same, and ya best listen! Yer actin' hostile as all hell and yer ship's turbolasers are rotatin' at us pretty aggressively. Ya were supposed'ta meet with us on the surface and hand us some crates of death sticks, not hold us up in orbit!"
Laeo panted after he finished shouting, and the Sullistan looked at him like he was mad. Another chuckle escaped through the comms. "We'll... see you on the planet, don't worry... you probably won't see us... by the time we're finished..." The raspy voice replied, before comms cut.
The sensors started to flare and beep. Frantically, Laeonas grabbed the ship's internal comms, flicking them on. "EMERGENCY EVACUATION! Everyone, get ta yer po-" he screamed, before he was thrown back by the turboblasts that hit the cockpit. The door closed behind him, and the entire ship began to shake like mad.
The First Hour
Wreckage of pod 8 of the Blue Nova,
200km away from the nearest Settlement
0559 Galactic Standard time
The last thing Laeo remembered was watching as the ship broke apart above him, the pod spinning frantically down to the planet below.
He'd woken up minutes prior, and pain was what greeted him.
The stabilizers that would've otherwise given the pod a gentle landing were blown off by a stray blast from one of the ships that had fired on them, so when Laeonas hit the ground, he tumbled around in the pod like a loose nut in a piece of machinery.
Blinking red lights illuminated the room every few seconds, before sputtering back to darkness. Laeonas could make out the shapes around him, and the bit of sight he had when the lights went off helped him notice the growing pool of blood beneath him, which was seeping from a multitude of sources.
The boy fumbled to stand-- whenever he tried, he fell back down on the metal floor of the pod. Looking around, he'd spot what he was looking for-- a medical kit, strapped into the wall.
"Nnghaaaaaa..." Crawling over, the boy groaned in pain-- before finally reaching out an arm. Gathering the force as best he could in the addled state he was in, the clips holding the kit to the wall snapped off.
Fumbling to open it, he felt for what he was looking for. Grabbing the bacta tube, he pulled open his jacket, revealing a long gash across his lower torso. Opening it, he began to lather the bacta along his wounds, first covering his stomach, than his calf, and anywhere blood seeped from. Following that, he grabbed the bandages, and started to wrap them around his wounds.
It took another 20 minutes for him to stand without falling. Wobbling, he'd stumble a bit before reaching the door of the pod. Forcing it open with a push of the force, he stepped out onto the plains.
The sun had only begun to crest the horizon minutes beforehand. Beyond the sea of grass, there was him-- a boy wearing torn up pants, a bloodsoaked jacket, standing next to a wreck of an escape pod.
The First Day
200km away from the nearest Settlement
2149 Galactic Standard time
The boy had gathered the supplies he could from the pod. There was plenty of emergency supplies for a situation just like the one he was in; stores of food that could last him upwards of a month, a solar powered moisture vaporator that could distill water that only needed to be boiled in order to drink, and enough bacta to help heal the boy's several broken bones, which probably included two of his ribs and 3 of his fingers on the right hand.
The pod could serve as adequate shelter, and any of the slabs of gnarled metal he had could be used to bludgeon or slash at anyone-- or anything-- that tried to do him harm.
He was almost certain he was going to die in the morning, but now, the situation didn't look to terrible. His food situation wasn't long term, sure, but there had to be something he could eat around here, either in the form of plants, or in wildlife.
Sitting outside the pod's main door, Laeo looked up at the sky, an ocean of stars the likes of which he'd only seen on Tatooine stretched out before him. Maybe Tatooine wasn't the only planet that looked beautiful, yet wanted to kill everything that got near it.
He was about to doze off when he noticed it.
A pair of... orbs, glowing in the dark.
It was just over one of the hills his pod had smashed through on the descent. He could see them, pointed at him... and they seemed to gradually be growing closer.
He wasn't sure what to do at first, but as he looked out, he'd see... more.
"rrngh..." he grunted, standing and looking for... anything, really. Glancing to the side of the pod, he noticed a gnarled bit of metal poking out over an exposed panel. Gripping it, he'd twist-- cutting up his palm, but securing a weapon.
As they drew closer, with the light of the survival lamp he had, Laeo could see them.
Hounds. Kath hounds, to be specific-- salivating as they approached him.
"Drawn in by the commotion and my blood..." He muttered, eyes darting from side to side.
He'd never had to deal with the threat of animals once in his life. People were arguably more dangerous, sure, but he knew how to fight off gangsters or corrupt law enforcement-- not creatures that probably wanted to eat him.
Laeonas adruptly shifted to his side as a hound attempted to pounce, and he'd throw himself back against the wall as another tried doing the same. He'd swing his makeshift shiv out, swiping the blade across one of the hounds necks-- prompting a pained whine that was followed by it stumbling back and slumping over.
He felt teeth sink into his arm, and he'd let out a scream as another went for his leg.
The First Week
189km away from the nearest Settlement
Around 0700 Galactic Standard time
Laeo had run out of bacta after treating the crash wounds, and he only had enough bandages to tie up the wounds on his arms.
He'd torn up the emergency blanket after that. He'd even considered using the Kath Hides from the few he'd actually killed.
He could still remember a bit of what happened afterwards. He'd woken up on the ground, twenty feet from the pod, and he felt wrong. Than, he realized why when he came across the bodies.
The Kath hounds were laying there with only a couple cuts on them, but their necks looked... crushed, twisted up in a way he'd never seen before.
He butchered them afterwards just so he didn't have to look at that anymore.
One of the things he'd managed to notice in the coming days was how frequent crashes were becoming. Bits of the ship that had initially remained in the upper atmosphere were falling across the landscape.
It was why he had to be miles away from where his pod was, why he'd wandered in the direction of the nearest crash. His food was running out, but more importantly he wanted to see if there were any survivors.
He found the answer when he spotted the wreckage in the distance... the pod was on fire. It's door was closed.
He didn't bother checking. Either the pod had hit the ground and ignited by mistake, taking the person inside with it-- or they'd set it on fire and had wandered off with their supplies. By now, it was getting dark, and Laeo had run out of food and water, meaning he'd have to trek back under the cover of darkness.
His rations had run out a day ago, so now, he was carrying the charred flesh of Kath hounds in his bag.
He'd grown a sneaking suspicion that he'd be tasting that, and only that, for quite awhile.
The First Month
193km away from the nearest Settlement
???? Galactic Standard time
The fungus on the walls lit the way ahead for him. He crouched low, moving slowly. The pain all over his body kept him awake, his eyes alert. The spear he had strapped to his back pointed just over his head, and the satchel hanging from his side swayed back and forth.
He could hear them.
The clicks of the kinrath's legs moved back and forth, and the boy gripped the shiv in his left hand even harder. Sweat slipped out of his pours, the inner cave surprisingly hot, bathing his bare skin in heat.
The smell didn't help.
He'd finally made his way to where he wanted to be. The inner chasm of the cave was full of eggs-- dozens, hundreds even. The hive kinrath were blissfully unaware of his presence, thanks to the cloak in the force he'd managed to slip over himself.
As he grabbed one of the smaller eggs, and slipped it into his bag, he turned-- and than he heard a screech.
The pang of satisfaction he'd felt had broke his concentration for only a split second, but that was all it took.
Standing up, Laeo bolted.
He didn't dare to look back behind him. He didn't dare to do anything but run.
He spotted a spider on his peripheree. grabbing his spear, he swung it backwards. He heard a pained screech, but he fumbled, and dropped the spear. Than, he looked back to grab...
...DOZENS of them. They ran like mad, expressionless bodies surging towards him. "HOLY KRIFFIN SHI--"
Fear turned into terror, which only caused him to run faster...
The yolk of the egg tasted surprisingly well, in comparison to the bits of cooked kath hound he had been eating for three weeks. Tearing off a leg of one of the kinrath, he'd bite into it as well, chewing hard to get through it's tough hide.
He'd somehow managed to get out of there with only a single sting... which was causing his lower calf to inflate like a balloon.
He'd managed to ignore the pain for awhile now, and when it got to bad he ventured to the pods further out and grabbed whatever bacta was left.
The First Year
200km away from the nearest Settlement
???? Galactic Standard time
He finally pulled his head out of the bowl after what felt like ten straight minutes of gulping water down.
Laeonas sat there, panting as he drank in air following the last drink of his, before he looked down into the basin.
The human's face looked gaunt; cheekbones stuck out like well defined creases on folded paper. Aqua iris' were surrounded by oceans of bloodshot, and those eyes had sunk deep into his skull.
His smooth face was blotted out by a layer of gristled hair, wrapping around his lips, down to his chin, and along the sides up to his ears.
It had probably only been a year since he'd crashed, maybe shorter, and in that time he went from looking barely 20 to over 40. The petty criminal had turned into some... primitive hunter, occasionally scavenging from the wrecks of pods around him.
In the end, that wasn't what frightened Laeo the most. It wasn't that his throat felt dry, and whenever he spoke words they almost sounded forced. It wasn't that he was starting to forget the taste of food that he hadn't killed or ripped out of the ground on his own. It wasn't even that Laeonas was starting to struggle to remember his own mother's face, or what his last name was.
It was the force.
He was struggling to wield the force.
It had been so subtle; at first it just took a bit more effort to lift things across the room. Than, as he used it less and less, relying more on the weapons he made, as the day to day need to eat became all that consumed his thoughts, he felt the connections start to fade.
This world bristled with life; nothing but plants and creatures for as far as the eye could see. He should've felt in his element-- he should've been able to feel the force stronger here, than anywhere else he'd ever been.
But in a way, Coruscant, or Brentaal, or even Tatooine had more life to them than this world. There were trillions of people on Coruscant, lives, all connected, all impacting each other's existences every single day. When he reached out with the force on those worlds, there were so many different strings to pull that reaching out and impacting them was more than easy.
Here, what changed around him? What did the life of this world serve as, other than fuel to keep himself alive? When he reached out, he couldn't find countless interactions between people and life forms-- he felt the grass getting blown around by wind. He felt kinrath trapping and killing small animals. He felt Kath hounds fighting over which one would get to mate.
Maybe these were true grievances, or maybe they were excuses.
Maybe one of his muscles had just fallen asleep.
However Long It's Been
Somewhere a bit
further away from the Pod,
Sun's In the Middle of the Sky
He twisted and pulled at some of the hairs on his beard, sitting quietly over the ridge as he looked down. The hounds were quiet and tired, not at all prepared for what was about to happen.
Without warning, he dropped. Swinging his spear out, he cut across a younger hound's stomach. Before the others could react, he'd picked up the body and ran.
They gave chase, but he was quicker. Much quicker.
He had it cooking over the fire an hour later, and before long he was breaking bones to get to marrow. Maybe his connection to the force wasn't as explicit, but he'd almost known exactly what to do, so maybe he experienced it beyond a passing feeling.
Or it was years of practice and a bit of intuition.
He munched on the charred flesh, gulping it down quickly so his well trained taste buds could ignore the disgusting flavor. The wind changed, and the smoke from his fire blew into his eyes. Grunting, he closed them, standing and moving out of the way.
When he opened them, he saw the landscape before him...
...and something far off in the distance.
Laeo squinted to look and he almost thought he was hallucinating. If his eyes were correct, the thing was made of metal, it hovered over the ground... and two people were sitting close to it.
He blinked. He pinched himself. Than he cut his palm with the blade he kept strapped to his side.
It wasn't a dream, or a mirage. It was real. So he started waving, and he started hollering, screaming-- though his vocal chords were strained after years of atrophy. Months passed without a word escaping from his lips, yet now, he screamed and yelled like mad.
He didn't even realize that he was bolting down the hill and right towards the speeder, but his legs carried him forward.
He'd continue, bare feet tearing through soil and carrying him across the rolling, grass covered hills. It was only after he crested the one that he was running up that Laeonas realized they were leaving.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIII!!!!" He screeched, voice cracking as a dry, desperate cry escaped Laeo's mouth. "WAI, WAAAIIISH, WAAAAAICH!! WAAAAIIT!" He kept shouting, desperately hoping they'd hear his attempts at speaking a word.
But he found them entering all the same. He watched, helplessly, as the dots who had grown into distinct silhouettes had slipped into the speeder-- and that speeder flew away in what looked like an instant.
Laeonas looked on, legs still barreling forward-- until they didn't. He tumbled forward, distinct cracks in a few places being heard as he did so. Landing on the side of his head, he felt his jaw shift in a way it definitely wasn't supposed to.
Despite the agony he felt, he hobbled forward still, now limping to where the speeder was. He fell, seeing the flattened grass from the high pressure release of the speeder's engines. Laeo curled up, looking down at his bloodied feet.
"GRAAAAAAAAEEEEAAAAAAAEEEAAAHHHH!!" The boy screamed again, hammering his fists into the raw ground. He kept going until his fists were bloody, tearing out grass and pummeling the raw soil. When he couldn't do that anymore, he tore the hairs of his beard out, chunks of it coming off as he'd cry.
He hadn't even noticed the sound of the speeder pulling back up, nor did Laeo notice the man and girl who found him approach.
The Farmer and His Daughter
The Same Place,
A few Minutes later,
Cloudy now, don't know
He felt the hands gently placed on his shoulders, and his immediate response was to yell, flail, and throw himself back. His face was contorted into a pained, scared, near feral expression.
"Easy, easy!" The Cathar exclaimed, raising his hands and extending his arms in a wide reach, though this only made Laeo more fearful as he stepped back. The human's bloodshot eyes darted back around, while the farmer's ears twitched ever so slightly.
The man was surprisingly calm, though he was clearly observing the boy's movements, careful to see if he'd set him off. The girl, by contrast, had a previously holstered blaster pointed at his chest.
Laeo's thumping heart slowly tempered, as his initial fears of the only other living things he'd seen in the past few years dissipated, remembering that these were... people.
Tears welled up again, and he'd collapse to his knees his bloodied hands only just barely steadying himself as he'd try to look up again. "Please, son, come with us. You look horrible. Let me take you back to my home; I'll cook you some food, my daughter will dress your wounds."
Laeonas hadn't had to listen and pay attention to words for years. He processed them, slowly. "Food. Wounds. Home. I can go home."He thought, tears stopping for a brief moment-- before they started again.
He didn't stop the much, much larger man from helping him into the speeder. The girl had dropped the rifle to her side, and had grabbed him a blanket.
"T...ta... tank-- thhhh... thaank yooo..." The boy whispered, looking at the father and daughter both. By now, the speeder was starting up, so he couldn't look back at him. He thought he'd heard something about how he "don't need to" and "right thing", but what stuck out to him was the girl's voice, asking him something.
"Wh..." he mumbled, turning to face her. The cathar's face scrunched up and she moved back a bit at the site of him, before she turned her head. "Your name... I asked for your name."
The human blinked. Images flashed in his head. Mom. Grandad. All the flats and apartments and tenements he'd lived in. Images of practicing forms in the mirror, images of him lifting crates in long abandoned wearhouses. Images of a lightsaber as red as his blood and brighter than the sun, in his hand, carving through the chest of a thug belonging to whichever hutt ruled that backwater desert town he'd wandered into.
"Maaeee.... nameh... esss Laeo--Laeoooonas... Tannnnnn...arr--Tannarassss." He fumbled, sputtering out words. Some of the first words he'd learned. What he tapped into that datapad he'd found dozens of times over.
The Road that Leads To the End
The Caw'lowan Residence,
0451 Galactic Standard Time
The mirror was smooth, and the subtle ripples of a bowl of water wasn't stretching across his face, as it had for years prior.
Glancing at the counter, he grabbed the wad resting over the cream, and began to lather it along his face. Carefully, he brought the blade across, cutting as close as he could. He was about halfway across his chin when there was a loud bang on the door.
Cutting along his chin, Laeo let out a yelp as the blade fumbled out of his fingers. He grabbed a towel and quickly wrapped it around his waist, before walking to the refresher's door. Opening it, the Cathar girl stood, cross armed and leaning on the nearest wall.
"Mind telling me why you're up so early?" she asked, glancing over him and chuckling a bit.
"Y'know, where Ai'm from, we don't tend ta int'r--"
"Are you going to answer, or do I have to start pulling your hair?"
"Gawdamnit Nhi'rae, Ai was shavi-"
"Oh god, you're cutting your mane again?"
"YES, and it ain't a mane, it's a beard, and Ai don't laike it. Can ya leave me be naow? Yer bangin's got me cuttin' up mae face." Laeonas quickly tried to finish, turning abruptly. "Fine, fine, don't let me interrupt your weird grooming rituals. Can't imagine why anyone would want to cut their own hairs off, makes you look more like a kit." Nhi replied, and Laeonas groaning in response.
"Choke on an 'airball ya'nnoyin' twat!"
"Real original, you ought to write for the holos!"
Despite the persistence of the Cathar girl to annoy him, Laeo found himself grinning a bit as he finished up his shave. Looking in the mirror again, he stared at himself, observing his own features before hopping into the refresher proper.
The day went on as the past few weeks had. He ate breakfast with the tiny family, than he went out and helped herd the cattle they owned. It was simple enough work, and what's more, Gro'li, the father and owner of the homestead, payed him-- subtracting room and board, of course. It was similar for about a dozen other field workers and stable hands-- though none of them were marooned, half mad gangsters.
More than anything though, it helped Laeonas calm his nerves and reacclimate himself to social contact. Three weeks prior he couldn't speak a couple of words past a whisper. He still wasn't as talkative, or as loud, as he had been prior, but he was able to talk to either of the Cathar with relative calm.
Still, sometimes he... lashed out. He started screaming at a particularly stubborn ram just a few days prior, and in the first week, when kath hounds almost attacked the herd, Nhi'rae had to pull him off the one he'd been beating with a rock.
Past everything, Laeonas realized, these were... decent people. They got by well enough on their own, but they actually seemed to appreciate his company, even though he'd been a burden. The daughter in particular was friendly in her own, aggressive and boyish way.
Staying had crossed his mind a handful of times. He wouldn't have to worry about gangsters killing him, he wouldn't ever see another Sith, or Jedi, or piss off sector rangers. There was nothing here that could harm him-- nothing but the exposure and the predators, which he'd learned to deal with over years.
Four years, and nearly five months. He'd been on this planet that long.
He'd long forgotten the taste of alcohol, or the rush of spice. He'd forgotten what it was like to shoot with his blaster, or fight with a vibroblade.
All the thrills that had come with the dangers of the galaxy were stripped on this world. He'd been left with nothing for so long, and this world had taken so much from him.
He could barely even use the force to lift so much as a rock. His combat forms were sloppy, despite his continued practice, which Nhi'Rae had harassed him about on about a dozen occasions.
He still... looked capable. The physical strain's day to day life over the past years had put on his body had left Laeonas in similar physical conditioning. But there was more to what he did than being strong and quick.
He'd been miserable, inflicting petty crimes across his homeworld. Robbing people as desperate and poor as he was made him disgusted with himself. But when he was out there, in the galaxy, showing off, kicking dangerous shits down and occasionally killing the worst around, he felt... strong. For once in his life, Laeonas felt in control of himself, of the world around him.
Laeonas Tannaras was free. Free of his homeworld, free of the pettiness of what he'd done there. This world had trapped him, and it's people had saved him... but he couldn't stay.
It was in the evening when he left. He'd taken his credits, turned around, and began walking to the nearest space port.
It would've been a few weeks journey, nothing he couldn't handle-- but before leaving, the girl had rushed out of the house.
Turning to Nhi'Rae, Laeonas wore a confused expression. "What, you're heading off on foot? Take one of the speeders, jackass!"
The ride to the port after that wasn't to difficult. It was there where he bought passage offworld-- and within hours, he was hanging in dantooine's orbit once more.
The stars were outstretched before him. Opportunity beyond the fat of Dantooine's land was spread out, options aplenty in how he chose to approach the galaxy.