As you can maybe tell by the characters, this story grew out of a Star Wars: the Old Republic fan fiction. In the game, I light-heartedly play a (much) older version of Keelath, where his undeath has caused him to outlive everyone else, and Azeroth (or Talmenor) has entered the Space Age. (Not shown in this story is how he managed to get a kid; as I said, it’s a light-hearted adaption because Keelath just works so well as a Mandalorian!)
I like this story enough I will probably turn it into a Talmenor tale at some point, but I’m a bit torn on whether to leave it as science fiction (so a future Talmenor) or to try and adjust it to be fantasy again. The Sith Empire translates well to the Krygon Empire, and most forms of technology can be retooled to be advanced magic or Little Folk inventions, but the “flavor” of the thing doesn’t always carry over.
So, for now, for those of you who have found this backwater of the site, enjoy this take on the Outlander, Mako, and Akaavi.Author’s Note
“Mother! Mother! Look who it is! It’s Dad!”
“Oh, Kellaro. Not again…”
“I mean it this time! I really saw him! He was on the holo!”
The young teenager excitedly shoved the holocom into her hands, his fingers still pressing buttons as he passed the disc to her. It was an Eternal Empire broadcast; the Zakuul Knights were hunting for the pictured man, a criminal wanted for the assassination of the late Emperor.
Mako eyed it, then looked at the exuberant face of her son. “Kellaro… that’s not him. It’s just a Mandalorian helmet. There’s any number of helmets that look like that.”
Kellaro immediately scowled. “This one belongs to Dad. I just know it!”
Mako offered the holocom back. “No, Kellaro. That’s not your father’s helmet. Your father is… he’s dead. He couldn’t possibly be in the Emperor’s news holo.”
“He’s not! Kellaro, don’t make me have this argument with you again–”
“He’s not dead! He’s not! You just don’t want to believe me! You never do!”
And with that, the sulky child stormed off. Mako sank onto the sofa with the holocom, still replaying the news clip, flashing blue between her fingers. She cupped it gingerly, almost as if that might cause the image to disappear.
She frowned. The Mandalorian did look an awful lot like Keel’ath. She cued in the news clip’s code and repeated it through her own implants. There, in her mind’s eye, she could get a better look.
Minutes of the same flashing of Mandalorian armor turned into hours, as her resolve slipped and she found herself delving into the recordings of the past. Sometime later Kellaro had snuck back in, his expression defiant but his shoulders curled in shame. When Mako wordlessly opened an arm to him, he snuggled up with her on the sofa. Neither said a word.
“Mom?” Kellaro finally queried.
“Um?” Mako asked.
Kellaro pressed his face to her ribs — still switching between man and boy, the teenager was. “I miss Dad.”
“Oh, sweetie. I miss him, too.” Mako rearranged him into a hug. “…do you want to watch the old recordings again?”
“I guess so.”
Mako adjusted him against her, tapping her implants to key in a different, older code. The implant grew warm and hummed faintly in her forehead as it cast a holo across the room, flickering between different scenes: Keel’ath standing there looking out across an unseen planet’s surface, then a side view of him shooting a blaster at something spiny and toothy that barely passed into the camera’s view. There was one of her and Keel’ath embracing, of Keel’ath and the twins playing at holochess, then of Keel’ath alone, looking pensive as he held a silvered birch leaf in his hands.
The recordings were very familiar by now, like ruts in the road of one’s memory, though they had never lost the sting of grief. Kellaro watched them, entranced, but Mako closed her eyes, focusing on holding the camera in her head steady for him. She listened to his breathing deepen as he relaxed more fully against her, and then he was asleep.
Still not opening her eyes, she reached up to shut the holo off. She wished they held the same comfort for her as they did for her son, but the loss only climbed up in her throat, and instead of focusing on keeping the holo steady for Kellaro’s benefit, she focused on keeping her sobs silent so he wouldn’t wake.