29 August 2021 - 00:39
resumenWriter's Block, the Third, apparently, 'cause...
I finally made it to the final chapter! My story ends with Chapter 14, Verdict, and of course that means I get stumped on the first page of it. Maybe I'm nervous because I don't have much experience writing conclusions. But anyway, on to my creative writing exercise!
Maul is locked up in his cell, and Sinjir and 'Soka go down to the detention level to keep an eye on him. They end up chatting a bit with Semler Capel, then inevitably get drawn into a conversation with Maul. (He mentally "pokes" Ahsoka in order to get her attention.) He manages to skim the information of how they intend to essentially make him an indentured servant to the chancellor, and he is irate. He chastises the Togruta for putting him in this position, as he doesn't want to be indebted to Mon Mothma. They also have a short discussion (Sinjir's involved, too) as to why Maul would want them to believe he was guilty to begin with. Ahsoka figures out that it's because he doesn't know who is after him, and was trying to dig information out of the New Republic. He confirms this, explaining that if he merely pled innocence, he would be sent back to his cell while the High Command decided how to proceed, and would not tell him anything. By entering no plea, especially as the right to do so is in order to avoid self-incrimination, he knew the military leaders would automatically assume he was guilty and let information slip. He wanted to be accused of whatever other similar crimes the New Republic was aware of, because this would be the only way he'd get the details he wanted. When Capel demands how he knew that there were other cases to begin with, he explains that it was simple deduction, as the manner in which the Tusken were killed was cruel and systematic, meaning the culprit had done this type of action before. (Ahsoka murmurs, "You don't know who the dragon is...!" To which Maul looks at her, confused, and replies quietly, "Dragon...?" After a second, his eyes widen as something clicks into place inside the Dathomirian's mind, but he reveals nothing.)
From here, Ahsoka is called back by the High Command through holo, and it's basically Luke asking her if she will take Maul into custody. She is shocked, and hesitant to do so, but Luke explains that someone Force-sensitive has to keep watch over the renegade former Sith, both for the protection of others and Maul's own. If he's being hunted, he reasons, he cannot stay on Chandrila, for it would endanger everyone there. Best to keep him moving, but there is no portable prison that can be used. So, a type of parole-officer situation, if you will. Reluctantly, Ahsoka agrees. Mainly because she trusts in Luke's judgement.
With her agreement to the plan, the High Command brings Maul back before them to hear the new "charges" and plea deal they want to work out. When Luke's plan is explained (essentially, using Maul to lure whoever is carrying out these attacks out into the open), all are stunned when the Zabrak refuses, opting instead to be imprisoned. He will wait, he claims, because it won't be long before he is tracked down to the DFHQ holding cells, and more of the thorned dead bodies will appear. He wants to wait for whoever is this new foe, and refuses to run away, hopping all over the galaxy, from system to system, like a coward, he says. If anything, he uses this reasoning to urge the HC to let him go free, so he can confront this threat directly. Oh, and he's going to need those crystals to do so, Lady Tano. He needs a fighting chance. (Yes, he uses those specific words on purpose.)
Luke flat-out denies the Zabrak's request, saying theirs is the only deal he can accept, or remain behind bars. He reminds him that should he refuse and remain locked up, the first body that will fall, overgrown with thorns will be Ahsoka's, since the trail to him leads straight to her first, and she still has his kyber crystals. Ahsoka is a little shaken by that notion, having never thought of it, but hides her unease well. Above all things, she trusts in Luke. Furious, Maul is aghast that the NRC wouldn't safeguard the Togruta. Taking a cue from Luke, Ahsoka scoffs at this notion, saying that she is no longer an agent of the current government anyway, and that she needs no protection. She will leave Maul behind, incarcerated, and take the bled kyber with her to try and destroy them on her own, saying she hopes she will double as a distraction to whoever is perpetrating these atrocities so they'll stay away from the New Republic capital. Maul becomes even more upset because he believes she is being a stupid martyr, just like all the Jedi.
Hera Syndulla then makes mention of the Nightbrother, fretting that the current crew of the Mandalorian vessel will also come under attack by this unknown entity, since the ship used to belong to Maul and Savage. She suggests they impound the cruiser and put it out of commission for the time being. "It's a shame," she sighs, "as it's a fine vessel, but perhaps, for the safety of all involved, it's best if it is scrapped for parts." Of course, the Twi'lek made this statement on purpose, as she knows it will get a rise out of the Zabrak. When he becomes upset at the prospect of his old ship getting demolished, the chancellor takes advantage of the situation and offers a caveat to her original proposal: if he goes along with this, not only will she stipulate that he will eventually pay off the cost of his surgery to her and clear his debt, but she will throw the ship into the bargain. If he extends his service for a bit longer, she will allow his labor to cover the cost of the ship, so he may reclaim it legally. Maul is pissed, since he says it is rightfully his already, and it was stolen from him by the Rebellion, but Hera reminds him that according to the Mandalorians, he appropriated it from them through illegal means when he took over the Death Watch. So legally, it belongs back in the hands of the new Mand'alor: currently Bo-Katan Kryze. If he wants it back, he'll have to purchase it from her. Mon Mothma assures him she can guarantee that he can take it back if he complies, for Bo-Katan gifted it, along with other Mandalorian cruisers, to the New Republic after the Concordance was signed.
With this, it is that Maul finally begrudgingly agrees to their plan, but he is disdainful the entire time. In order for Ahsoka to take legal custody of him, she has to reinstate her services to the New Republic. It is determined that due to the nature of her original position in the Rebellion, as well as the role she and Maul will serve to bring out these Dark Side attackers from the shadows, it will be best if they both remain anonymous agents within the government. They will have to wait for approval from Hiram Drayson, but High Command agrees that the best place for the two of them at the moment will be within Alpha Blue.
With the meeting over, and while they await word from the undercover agency, Ahsoka returns to her T-6 along with a droid crew and begins readjusting her items in order to accommodate the Nightbrother. That small storage room she used in the hallway becomes his new sleeping quarters, and the stuff that was in storage in there gets relocated back in to the main cargo hold in the back. All these changes take a few hours, as well as getting Auxi Korbin's wardrobe brought to her ship as well. It is late afternoon by the time they receive word from Alpha Blue. Ahsoka's membership within their ranks is accepted, and she is instructed to meet at their HQ in another star system by noon the following standard day. Maul will also be rostered as an agent with them, but won't have full privileges or security clearance. He will be required to wear a monitoring device, and Ahsoka will need to be at his side pretty much all the time whenever they're working on a mission. So yeah, she's his parole officer.
She surveys the changes in her shuttle's layout, as well as that in her life. She speaks to Luke and Leia through three-way holo, and after speaking with them, decides to accept the new destiny the Force is leading her towards. She knows she won't be able to work with Maul if she doesn't get beyond her nerve-wracking unease around him, her distrust and bias. She acknowledges that this bias is what allowed Maul to manipulate her so easily to begin with. (How could he have been at fault for the Tusken's deaths, for example, if it was mentioned that all these cases were carried out by lightsaber-wielding culprits. Maul didn't have a lightsaber for all the years since Obi-Wan kept the saberstaff. In the moment, Ahsoka had allowed her distrust to get the better of her and she missed that very obvious clue.) She meditates and tries to listen more carefully to what the Force is telling her to do. She connects to her kyber crystals and asks them for their help and insight when hers fails.
In the evening, after all the paperwork has been filed, she has dinner with the Mothmas, says goodbye to Sinjir and Sondiv, and returns to HQ to retrieve her vessel and her new charge, and thus begin their new journey together. As they board her shuttle together, Ahsoka tries to be welcoming and polite, offering a clean slate. Maul eyes her warily and keeps a curt attitude towards her, agreeing to nothing amicable, merely shaking her hand and stating that their deal is only temporary.