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Rostek
25 August 2007, 05:44 PM
Hey everyone-- I long ago wrote a little fic about how I saw Calo Vance (who you might remember from such fics as Cold Morning and Run to the Rim) ending up ca. the Young Jedi Knights era. After a bit of editing and modification to take into account the entirety of the now indefinitely-hiatused game in question, I present to you the result:

Chapter I: It's Not the Years... It's the Mileage

The hum of the Hyrotii’s engines was ever-present in the background, causing Calo Vance to close his eyes contentedly; the Corellian kingpin found the sound of lovingly tuned starship drives familiar and soothing, and he now lamented the dearth of recent exposure to it. The life of a smuggler lord did not allow him the same sort of freedom he had had years earlier as a tramper captain, and he dearly missed a great deal of that life.

He didn’t miss the poverty, however. Calo grinned as he nuzzled into the seat, the silken fabric of his cobalt and silver-trimmed black robes grew warm against his skin and massaged his perpetually aching back. The medical droids had told him to lose thirty pounds years ago, and had started to pester him about his drinking long before that, but Calo had continued to put off its advice and bore the pain instead. Luxuries he had… all but time.

“Okay back there, Calo?”

The voice on the intercom was a pleasantly familiar one, and Calo tapped the comm. button twice in the affirmative, not feeling up to verbal exchange.

The pilot chuckled, “Good to hear. We’re coming up on Booster’s pad in about ten, so don’t get too comfortable. He’s sent out the honor guard; they’re visible out your port window right now,” he said easily, gently tilting the graceful little ship’s axis a bit to allow Calo a better view.

Already? Calo thought disappointedly. It had seemed that the trip had lasted only a few minutes, but it had indeed been at least five hours. Had he slept that long without noticing? Checking his chrono, Calo determined that he had indeed dozed off for almost the whole trip. He sighed: I am getting old…

There were indeed a quartet of fighter craft maneuvering on the Hyrotii freighter’s portside, beginning to form up as pairs on either side of the sleek small craft. Calo raised an eyebrow at their construction: the fighters had Incom built hulls with TIE Interceptor solar wings instead of S-Foils. Probably built at one of the small yards at Corellia… Calo thought, appraising the craft. They were keeping pace with their charge, though the smuggler suspected that the Hyrotii could leave them in the dust in the hands of a reasonably skilled pilot, or blown them out of the sky with the concealed missile array and sleek dorsal quadlaser. Still, they looked to handle well enough, and even waggled their wings as the five vessels neared the massive landing bay of the Errant Venture.


***
The transport touched down gently in a flawless landing on the Venture’s cavernous bay. While the pilot was good, Calo knew, he had to hand it to the designers for the perfection of the whole affair. That was high praise indeed from Calo, whose prejudice against non-Corellian vessels was quite legendary. While the crew of the vessel (pilot and LE droid) dealt with Booster’s ‘customs’ and entry personnel, Calo gathered his things from the rear storage bay and walked down the ramp with an aging butler droid in tow. Battered duffle slung over his shoulder and a collection of parcels clutched in his left arm, Calo sauntered onto the battered deck plates over to where Booster Terrik’s Twi’lek majordomo, Nawara Ven, stood chatting with the LE droid.

“Nawara! How have you been; and more importantly, how are Rhysati and those children?” Calo asked with a crooked grin. The Twi’lek smiled and the droid deferentially and tactfully made itself scarce.

“Doing splendidly to a one, Captain Vance, splendidly,” the ex-Rogue replied with a toothy smile that lifted a great deal of weariness from his features. “Booster has alerted the staff that the Vance apartments will be occupied; the usual people will be waiting, and the casino security people have been given your description and orders to keep watch,” Nawara said wryly.

"How are those delinquent sons of yours, by the way?" the Twi'lek added with a wink.

"Master Skywalker claims they are behaving themselves," Calo answered, "though frankly I have my doubts," he deadpanned.

Nawara smiled knowingly, then checked his wrist chrono and winced: “But I must be off: Mirax and her husband will be arriving with the children shortly, and I’d rather like to see Corran before Booster deflates his mood. You know your way, of course, Calo,” he added wryly.

“Of course… here is something for the children that I picked up on Coruscant,” Calo handed the departing Twi’lek one of the parcels, which was wrapped in cheerful green paper and yellow ribbon that purposely paralleled Nawara’s work clothes and those of all the other Errant Venture staff. The match was not lost on him, and Ven raised an eyebrow as he accepted the package.

“Hardly subtle for a bribe, Calo,” Nawara replied slyly.

“I understand their mother has turned them on to holographic puzzles; that parcel contains a randomizing unit that can generate several trillion different examples of varying difficulty. Enjoy,” the Corellian explained, causing Nawara to chuckle.

“Stop contributing to the delinquency of my children, Vance… first puzzles, then who knows what; perhaps camping equipment or family-friendly computer simulators?”

“Force-forbid.” Calo answered with a wink before patting Ven on the shoulder as the lieutenant left to deal with more important things.

***
“Well,” the Corellian smuggler said, turning to his pilot, “what do I owe you, Kid?” he asked.

The blond-haired man chuckled, his eyes sharing in on the laugh. Though in his mid-thirties, his features still held a boyish look, and he had never totally outgrown the scrawny awkwardness of his teenage years.

“How about a hug and we call it even, Boss?” he said, embracing the shorter, older man before he could respond. Calo returned it fervently.

“When are you going to stop calling me ‘Kid’, anyway?”

“Not till I’m dead. Drop by one of the offices more often, or call us on the Former Glory. Dad hasn’t seen you in ages and Zac’s been talking about tracking you down for a little reunion.” Calo replied, breaking the embrace and patting the taller man on the shoulders.

“I may just do that. If only to kick you two in the ass long enough to get the Rider back in action. Give my love to the boys and Tela, and tell that wife of yours to look me up if you ever keel over,” came the grinning reply as the two parted ways.

“And Kid,” Calo shouted after him as he and the droid reached the ramp, “I’m proud of you.”

“Thanks Calo… me too.”

***
“Captain Vance… you picked a remarkably bad time to show up.” Booster Terrik gruffly said as Calo entered the bridge of the Venture, flanked by a pair of menacing-looking guards.

“Have I?” Calo responded innocently, though his knowing grin ruined any illusions of sincerity.

“Your package won’t be here for another two days… as you well know. Is there a reason you dropped by early?” Booster countered with a cock of his remaining eyebrow.

“I found an early ride.” Calo shrugged.

“I’ll bet. Why didn’t you just take one of the Skiprays—it isn’t as though you want for ships, Calo, unless my information really has been slipping these days?”

“Not that I don’t trust you, Booster, but I’d rather not depart on my new cruiser and leave one of my Skiprays in your bay.”

“Good man,” Booster smiled carnivorously, “so, how is the kid? I heard Karrde tried to recruit him a few months ago…”

“He declined; his gig with the NRI is too good, I’ll bet. Pay isn’t all that fantastic from what I can figure, but the work is… interesting, if his stories are to be believed.” Calo shrugged.

“I’ll bet,” Booster deadpanned, and swiveled his chair back out to the viewer. The main screen had been directed at the piscine shape of the Pulsar Skate as the small yacht maneuvered out of hyperspace exit. Sensors showed four beings aboard, and were predictably fuzzy about any cargo the ship may have carried. Calo smiled while the Skate came into range of the bay’s landing assist tractor, which the pilot waved off to no surprise. The screen reverted to open space when the Skate began her final approach.

“I am going downstairs to meet my daughter… you are welcome to come; I’m sure my grandson will be pleased to receive your presents personally.”

End

Questions? Comments? Feelings of regret? Let me know! :)

(Also, I'll be updating the Rebellion-era Vance chronicles some time in the near future)

Ubiqtorate
26 August 2007, 02:28 PM
Oh, my goodness, Rostek is at it again!

Well, Rostek, unfortunately I keep telling myself that I'm going to go back and read all of "Cold Morning" and "Run to the Rim," but I haven't gotten around to it yet :( Would it make more sense to do that before I put in the effort read all of this?

Rostek
26 August 2007, 02:35 PM
Possibly, though I daresay any familiarity at all with just the first few chapters of Cold Morning will probably allow this bit to make sense. It's also rather shorter in its present form, and updates will be slow (sos I can update RttR at a more regular interval), so it might be a more leisurely read-- and probably won't spoil much about CM or RttR other than the survival of (certain) characters. At least I don't think it will (I'd need to read it over a few more times to be certain).

Ubiqtorate
26 August 2007, 04:33 PM
What ever happened to the rest of "Run to the Rim," anyway? It hasn't been updated since January... what, did real life get in the way again? :D

Rostek
26 August 2007, 06:10 PM
Originally posted by Ubiqtorate
What ever happened to the rest of "Run to the Rim," anyway? It hasn't been updated since January... what, did real life get in the way again? :D

You haven't even finished the first one, so don't complain, boyo ;)

And yeah-- school combined with other projects kind of got in the way. But I am getting my notes from the game in the mail on Monday (a big thanks to my mother for digging through my boxes of leftover crap!), so updates should start soon enough after that :)

Ubiqtorate
26 August 2007, 06:26 PM
Good point. I guess I can't really complain about you not having enough time to write anything if I don't even have time to read what you write. ;) It was just a matter of curiosity, though. Sometime I'll get around to it. I'm pretty backed up on my own fan fiction writing, though, so that's where all of my time has gone of late. Well, that and work, which is really where most of it goes.

Ronin
30 August 2007, 06:04 AM
Good stuff Rostek. I'd really like to read more of Run to the Rim when you get time, but it's interesting to see Calo in his latter years too. :)

PsychoInfiltrator
31 August 2007, 10:51 AM
Finally more stuff to read!

{That's Psych-ese for "Good work, Rostek!"}

Ubiqtorate
9 September 2007, 08:49 AM
Young Jedi Knights era, huh? That'd be what, early 20s ABY? Before the Vong Invasion, at least. That puts Calo around, what? Mid-fifties? And the thirty-something pilot is never named, although I'm guessing that's supposed to be Cole. Am I right?

Really enjoyed this bit, although I hate waiting for updates. Anyway, I'm starting to get ideas for throwing this into my campaign. :raised: I'd better stop.

Rostek
10 September 2007, 07:46 PM
“Uncle Calo!”

Calo was nearly bowled over by ten year old Valin Horn’s running hug. While returning the embrace with his right hand, Calo steadied his remaining parcels in his left.

“Goodness, boy—you must be twice the size since I last saw you!” Calo exclaimed exaggeratedly, “Not too old for… Cloud Car?” Calo asked quickly before heaving Valin over his shoulder and spinning him around in a facsimile of the title conveyance. The boy squealed happily before Booster picked him off of the smaller man’s shoulder with remarkable ease.

“Careful Calo, you might herniate a disc one of these days if you keep that up.”

“Mirax, looking lovely as ever…” Calo said, planting a kiss on her proffered cheek while leaning over the bundle in her arms. “Where’s your husband?”

“Corran is talking with Nawara on the boarding ramp. He is still a bit afraid of Daddy, you know.” Mirax responded with a chuckle.

“And I suppose this is little Jysella?” Calo said, changing the subject and peeking at the cloth-wrapped infant.

“Yes it is; Booster has spent the last week preparing to dote on her, I expect,” she replied, tilting the child’s head up so that Calo had a proper look at the sleeping infant.

“Your mother would be proud.”

“I like to think so,” Mirax smiled warmly, “I saw a Hyrotii Custom on the exit queue when we landed: does that mean my favorite prom date has already departed?” she added, changing the subject.

“Alas, Cole has to be in the Colonies in 72 hours and couldn’t stay,” Calo answered sadly, “But he still has the emotional scars from that evening, I’m sure.”

Mirax giggled girlishly despite herself.

“Corran has some news for you, by the way. Something from Master Skywalker, I think. I think this could take a while, so you might as well catch him now rather than later…”

Corran had managed to escape prolonged exposure to Booster’s glare of perpetual disapproval by insisting that he needed to speak with Calo privately. The two traveled to one of the more… esoteric establishments on Blue Level, the Athenaeum Club for Gentlemen. The club, which was decorated in classic Coruscani style and run by an eccentric group of Old Money types that Booster had somehow come into contact with, was the meeting place for those who did not want to be bothered. Calo was a member as a matter of course, whilst Corran had the benefit of being the property owner’s (albeit reluctant) son-in-law and was let in without complaint.

“So, what is it that you need to tell me, Horn,” Calo said after they were safely within the sound defeating bubble of Calo’s alcove.

“Luke… Master Skywalker, that is, sent a message that requests your presence at the Academy as soon as you can make it. He didn’t say what about, though he stressed that it was urgent,” the fighter jock-cum-Jedi explained.

“I… see… kind of.” Calo replied carefully. His limited… sensibilities granted him some idea of what this message meant, especially combined with basic common sense.

“I don’t think Kellen or Hannick are that much trouble as to warrant a mediation—they are just fine whenever I’m around the Academy, and Luke thinks quite highly of them.” Corran replied with a shrug. “Sorry he wasn’t more specific; I’d give you more information if I could: you know that, right?”

“Yes, I know. I get the feeling I’m about to severely regret my gift at Kell’s sixteenth birthday last winter, though.” Calo grumbled wanly.

“What was it?” the Jedi asked with a quizzical look.

“A ship, naturally.”

Corran winced knowingly.

End

Jax Nova
11 September 2007, 10:03 AM
Loved the style on this piece, nice bit of writing.

I honestly don't read much in my life but it's a good start in my mind. :)

Rostek
26 December 2007, 04:27 PM
Here we are :):

We Got into this Mess How, Again?

The Cold Corby hurtled through Hutt Space at an impressive clip, the small ship’s CEC hyperdrive generator fulfilling its function admirably and efficiently.

“I still don’t know as that I like this plan of yours, Han,” said Kellen Vance, the sixteen year old captain of the vessel. Tall and muscular for his age, Kellen had his father's dark hair and complexion and his mother's green eyes. His height and ice-melting smile occasionally led his father to teasingly accuse his mother of genetic modification and/or infidelity, because "he sure as hell didn't get those from me."

“You weren’t so critical when I suggested we follow that Thalassian barge four days ago,” replied Hannick, his younger sibling. The comment provoked nothing but silence as the two of them sat alone in the cockpit of the courier. The younger Vance more strongly favored his mother than Kellen, with dusky blond hair worn shaggy and long, and skin that didn't suffer under the sun as much as his brother and paternal relatives'. Still, a cursory glance at their faces would indicate a close relation-- the short nose, strong jaw and prominent brows, and not least the eyes were all near-identical.

It was (at least according to Galactic Standard Time) night time and their compatriots had gone to their racks already. Indeed, the brothers were about to call it an evening themselves and leave the conn to Cue-Nine, their father’s old R2 unit, who had unwittingly come along for the ride two weeks ago.

It had all started off quite innocently: their friend and current passenger Gerry, or rather ‘Lord Alger Paddox’, was to take part in the Tapani Sector’s formal recognition of the Jedi Chapter House at the Sector Capital of Procopia, being as he was a member of House Pelagia—one of the leading noble houses in the sector and, like them, a trainee at Master Skywalker’s Academy on Yavin Four.

Rather than send for his own transportation, Kellen had volunteered himself and his newly acquired vessel for the shuttle job. Master Skywalker had been somewhat skeptical at first, but Hannick quickly pointed out that their father had left them R2-Q9, a highly experienced astromech, to assist in the final repairs of the Corby, and that he and Kellen were both avid pilots who had their proper respective documentation (Han, at fourteen, could not legally hold a license like his brother did, alas). Gerry thought the whole idea was splendid, and it was finally his encouragement that led Master Skywalker to accede.



Some days previous...:

As one might expect, the prospect of being wined and dined (well, dined, anyway) at and by Procopia’s finest meant that the three did not manage to escape the Academy without additional company.

"So, Kellen, did you manage to find that crystal snake that bit you last week, or is there still a threat we might be rendered unconscious at some point on this trip?" remarked Taire, the boy's longtime sparring partner.

Hannick struggled to bite down a laugh-- the snake had bitten his brother while he was taking a shower in the ship's tiny fresher booth. Kellen was still somewhat sensitive about the humiliating incident.

"Yes," the older boy grunted between gritted teeth.

"Sadir found it right after we woke Kellen up," Hannick supplied.

Taire naturally demanded a place on the transport, which Kellen hastily granted, partly out of their friendship and partly out of fear of what she would do to him if he left her behind. Taire was a Baroli human from Coruscant (at least as far as Kellen could place her accent and features). Her father had been killed on New Alderaan by Zsinj, whereas her mother died during the assaults on Coruscant during the war of the Reborn Emperor, forcing her young daughter to live with relatives until the girl’s Force abilities were recognized, and she was packed off to Skywalker’s academy. She was caustic at best and downright unpleasant at her worst; constant disappointment and abandonment issues will, Kellen figured, cause such things.

Still, she had lowered her defenses somewhat since she was assigned as Kellen’s sparring partner two years ago, and the two have found themselves inseparable, seeing as he was the only real friend Taire had on Yavin.

The girl was lithe and somewhat pale, with the dark eyes and violet toned hair of her particular ethnicity—in sharp contrast to the physical power and relatively average features of her partner. Their personalities clashed as much as their appearance, and most considered it a miracle both were still alive. Still, the entropy made for a productive partnership; that much both could appreciate.

She was not the only extra passenger, however: the Jedi’s Antarian Ranger guardian Sadir (clan-nephew or some such thing of their fathers’ associate Dr. Cahlil), brought the total compliment to four (or five, if counting mechanicals).


The Cold Corby was a small vessel indeed, a modified and aging CEC courier as long as a YT-1300 but with a more conventional cylindrical configuration. Her internal setup was cramped but the racks were comfortable enough and the lounge was equipped with a decent selection of contemporary entertainments. The comparatively spacious cargo compartments other than the main hold were kept empty except for a small selection of training implements. A Jedi was supposed to keep in top form if able, after all.

She was fast, though—the hyperdrive was hand-built by their father’s friend Eusebius “Whiskers” Fiore, as a birthday present to Kellen. The hypernautic engineer had worked his magic well: the Cold Corby could do .8 Past Lightspeed*, with a Class Five backup engine, both of which were attached to a finely tuned navicomputer with software specially modified for the semi-legal engine.

The trip to Tapani was, therefore, quite swift by industry standards and the small group arrived early to their accommodations. Sadir was volunteered to carry the small pile of luggage, as all the bellhop droids were in the recharge cycle at the very late hour the group arrived.

The suite was obscene to Taire’s street-savvy eyes, and moderately overdone even by Kellen and Hannick’s rather more expert standards. The room was split into two halves, with a small sitting room with an entertainment console separating the luxuriant bedrooms with their single, massive, four-poster beds.

The drapes on both the beds and windows were done in an expensive looking crimson with gold trim, a theme that was continued for most of the furniture and linens and contrasted sharply but pleasantly with the floor, a thick, shiny mass which seemed to shift in color between several shades of silver and gray depending upon the angle it was viewed and how much light that particular patch of carpet was exposed to.

Gerry was, of course, nonplussed and grinned amusedly at his friends’ reaction.
“Oh come now: it’s just a nice hotel… let’s just unpack a bit and get a bit of rest in. I’ll give you the grand tour of the downtown tomorrow, after everything has opened up, then we can have a peek at the nocturnal entertainment venues after we meet the score of tedious dignitaries that have primped themselves for our arrival.”

Hannick grinned widely, and shrugged off his comfortable utility vest and tossed it on the bed.
“Sounds like a plan to me, Ger; call a spot on the bed, by the way.”

“Seconds,” Gerry quickly added, winking at his best mate’s younger brother.

Kellen cursed, thereby entertaining everyone else thoroughly, save for the exhausted Sadir, who had already fallen asleep in the corner of the sitting room while the young Jedi apprentices bickered, and did so on top of everyone’s bags.

Taire ended up with one room of the suite to herself despite Kellen’s best arguments in regard to their respective levels of maturity.

The elder Vance brother, defeated, consigned himself to the overstuffed couch in the sitting room with a blanket and pillow generously donated by his brother.

At least the sitting room couch, consolingly, was severely more comfortable than any single location in the entire Yavin system, and Kellen fell asleep quickly.


End Part I


*My interpretation of the Solo comment in ANH is “Past Lightspeed” is a colloquial for “Hyperdrive Number”. It may be incongruous with canon and logical English, but it works for me to avoid any cognitive dissonance. Plus, colloquials don’t have to make sense ;)
Also—I really,really don’t care what the actual explanation is, if any. Don’t correct me ;)

Rostek
27 December 2007, 08:49 PM
Bumped to let folks know there's a real update, and also to mention that RttR should be updated before the New Year, and the second and possibly third parts of "kids' story" as this arc is known unofficially in my notes should be up before '08 as well.

Enjoy, and question and comment away :D