Look Into The Pond

Summary

Mara Jade Skywalker is greeted by someone who considers her a super hero.

Genre:
Drama
Author:
Andrew Marsh
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
16+

One standard year before the events of Legacy of the Force.

“Mara Jade! Mara Jade!”

Mara Jade Skywalker turned towards the direction of the voice calling her. She saw a young blonde woman wading against the small crowd of businessmen. Mara recognized her as one of the higher positioned figures during the defense contract signing. Mara’s impression of the woman was being mostly silent among the dominant male figures of Cejik Corporation. Yet, when she did speak, she stood her ground and made more sense than any of the men. The young woman continued to call to her.

Corran Horn was following Mara to the exit of the discussion room and noticed the woman. “Mara, I do believe that woman is trying to get your attention.”

She uttered out of the corner of her mouth, “With instincts like that, Corran, you should look into becoming a Jedi. Though she’s calling me by my old name.”

“You still turned your head,” replied Corran.

The young woman caught up to them just as the last of the crowd emptied the room. The woman was breathless. “Finally...I...stopped you.”

Mara said, “You’ve got my attention. Though, I’m sure you meant to call for Mrs. Mara Jade Skywalker.”

“Yes...I’m sorry.” She gulped. “I’m just a bit...nervous.”

“It’s all right. Take a breath.”

The woman breathed deep and let it out. “Sorry. I just can’t believe I’m in the presence of greatness.”

Mara peripherally caught Corran’s grin and she rolled her eyes. She addressed the woman. “And whose greatness am I in the presence of?”

“Oh, I’m Irabelle Seldeen. I’m the Assistant CEO of Cejik Corporation.”

“Yes, you made some excellent points during the signing.”

“Yes, thank you. Coming from you that means a lot.”

“All right. That explains your involvement here today. Should I know you personally?”

“Not exactly. It’s a long story. I was wondering if I could have a few moments to talk to you.”

“I am on a tight schedule. What is this about?”

Irabelle’s eyes began to water. “I never had the chance to thank you for saving me and my sister’s life.”

Mara’s eyes widened. The only reply she could find was, “Oh. How did I do that again?”

Irabelle answered, “I don’t know if you would remember me. I was only seven at the time and my sister was five. It was the liberation of D’Pau. Twenty-five years ago.”

“Ah, one of the New Republic’s successes back then.”

Corran searched through his memory. “Wasn’t that the joint mission where you were working for the New Republic and Karrde at the same time?”

“A rare partnership,” Mara replied. She spoke to Irabelle. “You must have been among the slaves we freed from the D’Pau Alliance mines.”

Irabelle answered almost embarrassed, “Yes. But you saved us. We were placed in foster homes on Dantooine. Do you...have some time to talk? It won’t be long, I swear.”

Mara stumbled. “Well, I don’t know–”

Corran interrupted, “Oh, come now, Mara. You can’t deny time with one of your fans.”

Mara glared at him and reluctantly said to Irabelle, “I guess that’s a yes, then.”

For a woman who looked to be a little over three decades old, Irabelle was suddenly as giddy as a little girl. “Oh, thank you. Thank you. We can sit right here if you don’t mind.”

“Of course. Corran, are you joining us?” She eyed him knowing the answer, but she wanted to put him on the spot for retaliation.

“Oh, no. I’ll let you girls talk. I was actually going to contact your husband and update him on the contract details.”

Mara scoffed. “I can tell you his reaction now. He doesn’t think we need so many starships on call right now.”

“We’ll see,” Corran replied. He nodded to Irabelle. “Ms. Seldeen, a pleasure. Mara, I’ll meet you at the speeder in a few.”

Mara nodded to him and turned to find Irabelle already sitting at the table with anticipation. Mara went over to sit across from her.

Irabelle began first. “I want you to know that I don’t do this often. When my District Manager said there would be Jedi present, I thought it would be your husband. Or maybe his sister.”

“Leia is on Corellia with her husband and Luke is busy with his new students.”

“Right. When I found out that it would be you, and that I was going to meet you...oh, I just died with glee.”

“I just hope my fame lives up to your new ships. Salvaging older model starships isn’t exactly child’s play.”

“Oh, you have nothing to worry about. Our ships are state of the art no matter how old they are. We’ve refitted even the most ancient crafts into modern marvels. We even have an old Victor Class Star Destroyer we just finished. Though, we haven’t named yet.”

“And you don’t get pressure from Kuat or Sienar?”

“Not really. Technically, they aren’t competition. We actually work in tandem with Kuat Fleet to improve their ships. Once they hand over an old capital ship to us, we gain ownership due to their mandate to decommission their ships after–”

“Thirty years. I remember that ordinance.” Mara admired the way Irabelle reverted back to a professional after acting like a child before. “Do you believe we’ll be needing your new ships soon?”

“You never know. Isn’t the Galactic Alliance having trouble obtaining some systems to join? Corellia is one rumor. I guess they think it’s the Empire all over again.”

“Hardly. Still, we will have to keep an eye out for those systems.”

“Especially Corellia. I wouldn’t put it past them to rearm Centerpoint Station.”

Mara chuckled. “Finally, someone agrees with me. When I try to tell that to the Jedi, namely a certain Grand Master, all I get back are scoffs. You seem to have pretty good instincts.”

“My sister said I always did. While we were on Dantooine, I saw the Yuuzahn Vong coming to invade us a month before they did. We transferred to Perusia.”

“Smart. Not too remote and just inside the Inner Rim. Close to Hapes. And not even a thought on the Vong’s mind. I’m betting the ocean scenery was a plus.”

Irabelle nodded. “A perfect place to raise a family.”

“How many are in your family?”

“Two. Boy and a girl. Three if you count my husband. I’m afraid my little girl already has a crush on your boy.”

“Just so it stays a crush. We’re not letting him date until he’s thirty.” They laughed. Mara continued. “It’s amazing where you ended up considering where you started. D’Pau was a hell that needed to be rectified. The Emperor allowed the Alliance to govern themselves on their own. I always wondered why. I’m just sorry the New Republic couldn’t have acted sooner.”

“There was a lot of red tape to get through with the Alliance.”

“What happened to your parents?”

“They died in the mines. Death by hard labor like most of the slaves. After that, it was up to me to take care of my sister.”

“You don’t exactly sound helpless.”

“I don’t now. Back then, we were scared of everything.” She paused and smiled. “Until you came along.”

Mara shifted in her seat uncomfortably. “Look, Irabelle, I know you want to put me on a pedestal, but I’m not special. I was just doing my duty.”

Irabelle merely smiled in admiration. “You sell yourself too short. And you don’t know how your actions looked to us children. Slavery on D’Pau was brutal. My parents tried to endure it but died trying. There wasn’t a day that went by without the threat of a beating or torture. Many died in that mine before the New Republic acted. Age didn’t matter. They would whip children until they were dead. I can show you my old scars on my back that remind me of the one day I was sick and was too slow to work.”

Mara breathed. “Like you said, there was too much red tape to go through. It took Karrde’s joint with the New Republic to get the attack approved. I am so sorry we couldn’t have acted sooner.”

Irabelle shrugged. “It’s in the past. I don’t even think about it anymore. I have a loving husband and two wonderful children. I can’t ask for more. My sister and I turned success out of pain.”

“I still don’t see how I fit in as the cause of that.”

“Because you were the physical symbol of our hope. We could hear the attack from deep inside the mine. The guards upgraded from whips to blasters and used them on any slave trying to go up. But you swooped in with your lightsaber and took out all of the guards. You should have seen how you looked to us. You were a super hero. You even had a cape.”

“Actually, it was a cloak.”

“To us, it was the uniform of a hero. I remember you grabbed a blaster from a guard from several meters away. It flew into the air and you caught it.”

Mara grinned. “It’s called the Force, Irabelle.”

“The adults and the older children may have known that. But imagine how that would have looked to younger ones. It was magic to us. Superpowers. We were in awe.”

Mara shifted again. “I only did what I had to.”

Irabelle remarked, “You do realize that you just defined what it means to be hero.” Irabelle suddenly giggled. “I just remembered we made our foster parents on Dantooine get the Mara Jade play figure.”

Mara laughed. “Oh, my stars, I haven’t seen one of those in years. Though, I still get some royalties from their profits. That thing never looked like me.”

“We thought so too! They had your hair too dark red and not enough gold. My sister once tried to highlight her model’s hair with gold dye.” The two laughed again.

“Where does your sister live now?”

It was the first time Mara saw Irabelle’s expression turn sour and sad. Her eyes started to water again, but for a different reason. “She...she passed away...eight months ago.”

Mara reached over in an automatic gesture to hold Irabelle’s hand. “I’m so sorry, Irabelle. What happened?”

“She contracted Mitzell’s Disease from one visit to the jungles of Kopor.”

“Oh. This visit was, what, five or six years ago?” After Irabelle nodded, Mara surmised, “Back before they knew which spores contained the disease. Such a young age to die.”

“Yes, she was always a firecracker. And famous in her own right.”

“How so?”

Irabelle went back to smiling. “You mean you haven’t heard of Force Girl?”

Mara’s eyes popped and she leaned closer. “From the holo-graphics? Wait...Seldeen. Marina Seldeen? I thought that name sounded familiar. Luke brought a copy home and mentioned how close her character reminded him of me. Was I your sister’s model for Force Girl?”

“Yes, I’m here to tell you, Mara Jade Skywalker, that you have been immortalized.”

“Now, I’m honored.”

“What can I say? You are our inspiration. Which reminds me, I want to ask a small favor from you.”

“As long as I don’t have to put on the extreme tight yellow outfit of Force Girl, I’m game.”

Irabelle laughed. “No, no, nothing so devious.” She opened and reached into her briefcase to pull out a flimsy rectangular multi-colored book with the familiar figure of Force Girl on the cover. Irabelle placed it on the table in front of them. “This is the very first copy that was ever published. Marina took it out of the publisher’s box and kept it. In its current mint condition I could fence it for at least a thousand credits.”

“You’re not selling it, are you,” Mara gasped.

“No. Never. This copy will never leave my possession. Until I hand it down to my kids.” She paused and requested, “I would like it if the source of my sister’s inspiration could sign this personally.”

Mara asked, “Wouldn’t that devalue it?”

“Technically, it would be defacing it. As I said, I don’t want it for monetary value.”

Mara tried to hold back tears. Never before had she experienced this type of fandom. She was finally realizing her place in the galaxy from so many years of not knowing where she fit. Since she married the Grand Master Jedi, she was witness to several moments where his fans would come up to him and thank him or send him gifts of honor. There had been instances of fame for her. The play figure. The unauthorized biography. Those were distant from her. There was no true connection. Mara now had the knowledge that she was the inspiration for a famous super hero immortalized in literature. She had always suspected she was involved in supplying the model for Force Girl. Mara would always complain that she was too busy to enjoy life. Yet, here was a woman who took life by the horns because of her admiration of Mara Jade. If that didn’t deserve the honor of giving back inspiration to Irabelle and her sister, nothing did.

Mara took the holo-graphic carefully and asked, “You have a pen?”

Irabelle reached back into her case and produced a silver tipped marker which she handed to Mara. “I came prepared.”

“Of course,” Mara said as she took the pen. She opened the book to the inside cover. It’s binding still squeaked like new. This was a book that wasn’t intended to be read. She noted the dedication written by Marina Seldeen.

To Mara Jade, the most bad-ass woman in the galaxy.

And to my loving sister, Irabelle, my life’s inspiration and my true heroine.

Mara looked at the words and considered. “You basically raised your sister by yourself, didn’t you?”

“Mostly. Our foster parents were nice and all, but they were business people. Always busy. They hardly had time for us. They were wealthy, so presents on our Life Day were always fun. For the most part, I guess I did care for my sister alone.”

“And you went to college and climbed the ranks to become assistant CEO of Cejik Corporation.”

Irabelle answered proudly, “First female to reach the position in their history.”

Mara nodded and remarked, “And you call me a hero?”

“Oh, yes. I could never do the things you do. I don’t have your powers or your weapons. You’re our super hero.”

“Irabelle, you don’t need a lightsaber and the Force to be a hero. Or even a cape and tight spandex.” After they both gave a quick smile, Mara went on. “As my husband would say, you have weapons that would defeat any lightsaber or powerful Jedi. Integrity. Determination. Ambition. Those alone are enough to inspire people. You inspired your sister.”

“I know. But she’s my sister. The admiration is sort of automatic, isn’t it?”

“Then what about the girls in school now who’ve seen you on the HoloNet become a successful woman in a high ranking and male-dominant position? You proved to me today that you don’t always see the people who you inspire. To finally know them is special. Whether you know it or not, you inspired me today. You are my hero, Irabelle.”

“I don’t know. I never thought of myself as a hero. I just did things that had to be done.”

Mara laughed and recited. “You do realize that you just defined what it means to be hero.”

Irabelle shrugged and Mara proceeded to write on the inside cover under Marina’s dedication. She finished and capped the pen before she angled the book toward Irabelle so she could see it.

Irabelle read. Then, she wept. She could not find words until after she wiped her eyes with a tissue cloth and said, “That..this is beautiful. Is it from a poem?”

Mara nodded. “An Alderaanian poet who Leia introduced me to once.”

“He’s still alive?”

“No. Just his words. Like Marina’s. They may be long gone, but their words will never fade.”

“Marina would be so proud.”

“She was proud of you.” Mara gestured to the script and said, “I hope you get the message.”

Irabelle nodded. “Yes. Thank you. For everything.”

Mara stood but Irabelle stayed seated. Mara bent over and kissed her forehead. “No. Thank you. I do have to go now. Take care, hero.”

As Mara left the room, Irabelle continued to stare at Mara’s inscription.

To Irabelle Seldeen,

"When there is a need for a hero, one only has to look into the pond.”

Mara Jade Skywalker

THE END

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