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  1. Jackson rubbed his hands over his face and licked his lips in thought. "Water, please." He whispered, only then realizing just how dry his mouth had become. His legs carried him listlessly to the nearest seat shortly after, only stumbling over himself a few times on the way. "I will... say, here." The Padawan mumbled, more to himself than anything else. It was still difficult to parse through the information being passed along through his senses; the background numbness blurring sights and sounds, and muddling his hearing. It would pass, surely. Instead of dwelling on it any longer, Bloome resolved to do something more productive with his time. His eyes closed and his attention turned inwards, only to be greeted by an only vaguely familiar place. The threaded core that he once recognized as his internal plane, of sorts, was gone. In its place hovered a disconnected mass of energy; a dense construct of defensive layers and jagged edges, blasted and fragmented apart before being slapped crudely back together in some poor facsimile of what used to be. What was worse, he could hardly access it at all. Some small manipulation was all that he was able to manage before either the ache became too intense, or the entire thing shrunk back in on itself far tighter than it had been when he had first tried meditating. That was going to be a problem. But, he would be able to manage with it, right? It would heal. And if it didn't, then... he would have to figure something out. For now, though, he'd follow Skye's instructions. If she believed that they should bide their time and rest, then he wouldn't argue with it.
  2. Jackson followed his mentor in a daze, stumbling over his own footsteps before starting to pinch and pull at his skin in confusion. He could hardly feel his own skin. He could hardly feel anything, in fact: from his own pinches, to the clothing on his body; even the wind brushing through his hair felt... unusually cold. Detached. That spark of life just wasn't there anymore. "Hwhath... hmmh, what do we do now?" He asked quietly. It was difficult to speak, at first. Jackson felt like his tongue had swollen up, almost; not badly, or even detrimentally, but noticeably. It was enough to slur his first few words before he realized what was happening. An slight frown creased his lips as Bloome tried shaking off his sluggish daze, only to find that his efforts were futile. He would have to check in with the medbay later to see if he had hit his head harder than he thought. It wouldn't do to hinder his efforts at meditation or the forms for any longer than was absolutely necessary. He still needed to fine-tune his force control before... before what? He couldn't remember anymore. There was definitely a reason he was in a hurry before; but what was it? Some sort of feeling, he remembered; a sort of pressure that had built up in the back of his head. Perhaps, whatever it was that was causing it, had already passed? That was possible. Probably even, considering that... wait, Coruscant? Jackson's eyes blinked slowly as he tuned back into the world around him, and he focused his tattered attention on the holofeed. Someone had... stolen the moon? And then they used it to scrape a chunk off of Coruscant. He had lived there, under those top layers of the ecumenopolis. That had been his home, and in some ways he still saw it as where he really belonged: crawling through the undercity and scrounging for scraps of... well, of scrap. It was strange, then, that he just couldn't bring himself to feel much about it. It could have just been the shock setting in, but he had been in shock before. He knew what that felt like; what it did to his body. This was just... nothing. A numbness unlike any sort of breakdown he had ever personally experienced. Jackson had seen others go through something similar in the past; usually following intense emotional or mental trauma. It was a common enough sight down below. But he hadn't gone through anything like that himself, and certainly not recently. He and Skye had just spent the day touring around and doing some meditation so far. Even thinking back to when he had noticed he was numb, Jackson couldn't think of anything. He had tried meditating for a little bit, as he was instructed, but before he could really do anything they were already on their way back to the estate. It was strange, to say the least. It felt like he was missing something. "Hey," he started slowly, brows furrowed in thought. "Well... no. No, nevermind." Jackson shook his head. He was simply being paranoid. He was probably just numb because the sudden exposure to all the local flora had his body in a weird state. It fit the timeline almost exactly, so that must have been it.
  3. When Jackson spread his metaphysical feelers, really opened himself to try to connect with the universe around him, it was bliss. It was... not easy, exactly, but natural in a sense. It felt like the more he opened his senses the more he was pulled into everything, and he felt himself rocking to the rhythm of the life surrounding himself. At the height of his expansion he even felt something like a strong breeze, or... no, no it was more like a gust, perhaps. Or even a shockwave. Not even another moment had passed before the rug was pulled out from under his feet, then, sending him tumbling down deep into the abyssal blackness he stood above. All at once his physical and force senses were buffeted by horrors that previously lied unknown to the Padawan. The air in his lungs, clean and healthy, turned into a vile and heavy mass that he couldn't help but choke on. The pleasant breeze turned savage in an instant and stabbed into his every nerve, doubling him over and sending him to the ground. Even the food he had consumed earlier that day had rotted inside of him, bloating and squirming inside of his body until it had freed itself onto the grass between his hands. It was only then that he noticed he could no longer see, and that the only sounds he could hear were horrifying grinding, screeching, and gurgling noises that submerged him in a frigid slime. When he finally came to, Jackson found himself gasping for air and shivering on the ground. Slowly everything started to come back, only muted and colorless. A vibrant and thriving world having turned into a barren landscape of ash, for all he could tell any more.
  4. Jackson nodded and followed along as Skye toured him around the complex, mostly still speechless from the amount of green and plantlife displayed on their way into the hangar from orbit. Plus there was even more in the underground area than there was on the ship, from his assigned room to the gym, and even a much larger hydroponics area. It was something he would have expected to find a moderately sized gang operating out of back on Coruscant, and he would be staying there for... for however long it took. The boy realized shortly after unpacking his meager belongings that he had never actually asked what they would be doing after they had made landfall, or how long they would be staying. They did still have to deal with whoever Faust was, he supposed, though whether he would be able or even asked to help still remained to be seen. It would be a shame to not use the new toys he had been working on over the past few days. With that in mind the young Padawan wandered his way through the complex until he managed to find his way to the nearest exit, where he floated towards the lake in a daze. It had all been so beautiful and overwhelming when he was just watching in the ship, but now that he was there in person, on the ground, it was just... so much more. And the air; it was so clean and fresh, pleasant to the senses event. It almost made him a little lightheaded with how much easier he could breath there than on Coruscant, or even on a ship, regardless of how well the air filters were running. Everything was so different that he almost missed it when he passed by his tutor. "I'm here." He slowly announced, after backtracking a few steps and giving an awkward bow.
  5. Jackson groaned quietly and blinked his eyes in a daze, slowing coming to his senses over the course of a few confused moments. "What..." He started, the expression on his face morphing from confusion to mild shock, to embarrassment, to intrigue, and then back to confusion all over again. "I... I wanted to pull myself to you? And, and now we are here. Because I pulled you, instead." The boy's confusion persisted throughout his stunted sentences, even making itself evident as he looked to where they were both positioned not too long ago. As he extracted himself and somewhat unsteadily got to his feet Bloome looked down to his hands, then his feet, even going so far as to close his eyes to check on his core. It was a few moments further before he even had the presence of mind to fumble with the activation switch of his loaner training saber, something which triggered a sudden thought. Carefully he set the device down by his feet, and held his hand over it while his eyes closed. It took him a few moments to reach out for the saber with his core, to extend his metaphysical feelers and wrap them around the device. Then, he pulled upwards to try to fling the device into his hand. It didn't quite work out as planned. The small device was much too small for the amount of force he put into flinging it, resulting in a fleshy clap and a pained "Yeowch!" from the Padawan himself. His fingers trembled as he clutched the injured hand to his chest and turned towards Skye, an almost comical watery-eyed look of betrayal plastered over his face. "H-how do I.. how do I?" Jackson asked her with a trembling voice, no longer determined to stumble through it on his own.
  6. Jackson stumbled backwards and yelped as Skye's saber smacked against him numerous times. He quickly patted himself down to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be, and grumbled quietly to himself. 'Don't think about it, sure. Just like the credit chit, of course.' He sighed as he stood back in his position, and prepared himself. He pictured the environment displayed in his goggles, and visualized his move. He would lunge forward with a wide feint to the left, before pulling it in and using an obstacle as a foothold to dive in from the right, with a stab. Presuming, of course, that his feint worked, that he wasn't smacked again, and that he didn't propel himself over Skye and hit his head on the ceiling. Or crash into her before he could bring the saber in line. Plan made, the Padawan took a slow breath inwards and lunged. Only instead of propelling himself, like he had planned, his first instinct on reaching his foothold was to reach out and grab hold of the nearest object, in this case his teacher, Skye, and use that to pull himself into motion. This of course didn't really propel himself forward, instead grabbing and pulling at his instructor.
  7. Jackson eyed the helmet he was given for a few moments, before taking a breath and slipping it over the top of his head with one hand. Once it was on he tested the weight of his still-not-heavy-enough training saber, and flicked it on. He was getting more familiar with the basic form one stance and movements now, after having practiced them nearly religiously in the aftermath following Onderon. It felt less unnatural to him now, and just a hair less awkward than it was when he started out. He still hadn't really put it into practice in a practical situation or sparring however, so this was a good opportunity to absolutely fail at it and muck everything up. The movements he had been instructed in and practiced were all wild and made to be unpredictable, one of the more notable aspects of Shii-Cho, which meshed well with how he handled his stun baton and also did not mesh well. His first sweep, an undercut bearing down on the base of Skye's saber, was lacking in leverage and power compared to a shorter heavier instrument. The lack of any disabling measure on contact was also less than ideal, as typically on hit he could expect a brief moment to draw back and make a follow-up attack. It meant that he could use the recoil of his first attack to build momentum for the second, and then the third, and so on and so forth without needing to worry about retaliation. It was a nasty way to beat someone down, but when someone pulled you into an alley or behind some sort of visual cover and tried to stab you then being fair was the last thing on your mind. Just using vertical and horizontal and vertical sweeps was strange, and going out of your way to disarm a dangerous opponent instead of outright disabling or ending them seemed like a recipe for disaster, using an ancient code as an excuse to keep your conscious clean at the cost of potentially lethal backlash. Still, that was what he was learning. When he was able to hold his own he could branch out and try other options, but for now this would have to do.
  8. After a few dozen attempts the best that Jackson could really do was bounce the credit chit into the air a few times in a row, or weakly push it around on the floor. If he tried to be gentle with the thing it just shivered and moved a tiny bit, but the moment he tried to up the ante to any tangible degree the thing shot up into the air like he had smacked it from below. It was like he was using an analog switch that only had two settings, idle power and then full throttle. He would have to either learn how to use his two default settings as they were, or change them to better suit his needs in both the present and the future. He would have to work on that later, when he had some free time. For now though, he had hit his head against the chit long enough. Trying to adjust a non-adjustable output was exacerbating his headache, and if he was going to hurt he'd rather be hurting from a good workout or sparring session than from attempting to sort out the nature of an intangible and scientifically only vaguely explainable phenomenon that might as well just be brushed off with a short 'It's space magic. Deal with it.' So he opened his eyes and scratched at the back of his head, yawning quietly before getting to his feet. "I'll try to work on that later. Think I've gotta do some weird stuff with my head."
  9. Jackson followed along after the galley was cleared, and took the offered training saber in his hands. He lifted and tested the weight, comparing it to his stun baton while he spoke with Skye. "I think I'm doing okay with the exercises, visualizing everything is helping me understand a lot better than I used to. Even with the uh, the lightsaber stuff. I've mostly been using my baton to practice the forms though, so I'll probably be a little bit off because of the weight differences." He took a seat near his master then, and sceptically looked at the chit for a few moments. Even after watching Skye lift it he had no real idea on how to do the same thing. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, then drifted into his mindscape. It was different now that he had more experience with entering and visualizing the metaphysical space. The big ball of wires still sat in the center of his outline, only now he could also see a vague outline where Skye was. Everything else was just an aftertaste of static, an essence of metalic chaff and flare. At least he knew roughly where the chit was, so he could try to feel it out manually. Not long after he slipped out of his trance abruptly, recoiling as he felt a physical smack to his forehead. He fumbled as he opened his eyes and got his bearings, and rubbed the square mark on his head as he looked around. Skye was still in her spot, but the credit chit had disappeared. His head swiveled around for a moment before he found the thing in his lap, where it had fallen after apparently smacking him in the face. He grumbled as he picked the thing up and tossed it back to its original spot, before trying again. He knew where it was and had a vague sense of what vector and how much force to apply now, he could probably do it. Without hitting himself in the forehead. Probably.
  10. Jackson nodded as he scarfed down his second helping, abeit somewhat slower than the vacuum treatment he gave to his first. He was quite familiar with doubling back and taking odd routes when traveling to different places, he had often needed to do the same when he was living in the undercity. Sometimes skirmishes would break out in particularly hot areas, or mechanical/electrical elements of the city would fail and cause a blockage somewhere along the way. Of course, the detours he made were always through maintenance tunnels and empty pipe systems. "I'm getting better, I think." He answered, "it's not quite the same as flying a speeder but it's close enough that I can manage normal maneuvers and casual flying now. Most of my trouble is with the size difference and maneuverability, but I think once I'm behind the actual controls I'll start getting better faster. The sims are nice and all, but it's throwing me off a little not being able to really feel out the ship while I'm in there."
  11. The escape to the vast emptiness of Space left Jackson immeasurably relieved, though still highly grateful for the distraction of flight sims and instructions. Losing himself in one of his most enjoyed pasttimes was, as it turned out, a fantastic way to distract himself from crushing weight of savage nihilism. Even if he had to relearn a lot of aspects of flying, as ships tended to handle differently in space than they did while constrained to an atmosphere and gravity. He had also never flown anything larger than a small cargo speeder meant for delivering shipments of scrap to processing facilities back home, and it was taking some time getting used to the relative size of such a comparatively large craft. By the time the Padawan was ready to give in and take a break he felt that he had made pretty good progress thus far, for having been training through a sim. General spatial awareness had gone up quite a bit and he had more or less gotten the hang of casual flight. He wouldn't be doing any obstacle races, and he was probably screwed if it came down to a dogfight, but that would come in time. Preferably after a few long sessions of actual flight. It just wasn't the same when he was doing it in a sim. After taking a quick trip to the 'fresher to get cleaned up Jack decided to check up with his host. She was up and about now, if the smell wafting through the sterile coridors was any indication, and he wanted to be prepared for any changes or training regimens she decided to put him through. So, after making a quick stop to check on the repairs he made in the cargo bay oh so long ago, Jackson made his way towards the galley. The sight of food was a welcome one, given his strict diet of ration bars over the past few days, and he made quick work of his portion. But not, of course, greeting Skye. "Did you have a good rest, master Skye?" He asked after sitting down. She felt like she was a little more energetic than she was when they had boarded, but operating on vague feelings about people was much less reliable than it was about machinery and electronics. With machines he could diagnose issues and fix things easily enough, even if he didn't have the right tools sometimes. But with people, it was different. He knew how he operated, how his heart pumped and how his lungs fed his blood, what his personal levels of energy and strain were and what things affected those. With other people though, he had no clue. Everyone he had seen and probed so far had been so vastly different from one another, that it was like taking a step down some stairs only to find that the platform you were looking for was much lower than expected. Plants, at least, were somewhat consistent with others of the same kind. "How long will it take us to get to Corellia?" Jackson asked after shaking himself out of his thoughts. Dwelling on his failures with people would do him no good.
  12. Jackson was packed up and ready to go almost the moment Skye had stepped away to gather her own posessions, his relief to be leaving such a heavy headache-inducing miasma nearly palpable. The fact that all of his worldly posessions consisted of the clothing on his back, a tool box and a single go-bag also helped matters greatly. "Don't think I could sleep if I tried," he grumbled once they settled in on the Serenity. "Don't get a lot of sleep on the best of days, but here..." The Padawan glanced towards the bloodied ships they were soon to leave behind. He was still having a little trouble coming to terms with the reality of actual organized war and battle, as opposed to shootings on the streets and friendly arguments between opposing street gangs. The death toll this time around was a little bit higher than it was down in the undercity, and he couldn't just run deeper towards the surface to get away from it all now. Not yet at least. Maybe if he could get his own ship... "Well." He turned back, cutting off that line of thought. "Just need to keep myself busy for now. Where are we going from here?" Jackson hesitated for a moment, before adding a quick "Master." The word still felt foreign and uncomfortable rolling off of his tongue, like he had just gotten a mouthful of old engine grease.
  13. Jackson ceased his practice as he heard Skye knock on his door, and wiped the sweat from his brow before thumbing the portal open. "Master Skye." He greeted her a little awkwardly, still unaccustomed to the title. "I..." He hesitated, "I think I'll be happy to leave. This ship, I mean, and the people here. Ever since the battle it's been really, really uncomfortable. I've been fighting a headache ever since I, uh, since I noticed that something was off." The Padawan glanced over his shoulder to check the time in his room, somewhat surprised with how much time had passed since he had begun practicing earlier. Had it really been that long? It only felt like it had been a little while, and yet it must have been hours. The fatigue was starting to set in now that he wasn't so focused, and his stun baton felt heavy hanging from the strap on his wrist. "Master Skye, do you think you could show me the ropes of flying? When we get back? I can handle a speeder pretty well, I think, but I've never really had the opportunity to learn with a real ship. After everything that's happened I think I want to start."
  14. Jackson laid in his bunk staring up at the ceiling, simply thinking and trying to process the past few days’ events. From his ascension from the Coruscant undercity to the ‘battle’ above Onderon, and the aftermath thereof. It had all been exhausting, certainly, but now that he had the time to rest, he found that he just couldn’t. There were too many things to think about, too many stray thoughts running through his head and wreaking havoc on his ego. He sat up with a quiet huff, and looked around the room. He had long since finished the programming on his ‘maneuvering jets’ and fine tuning the mechanics. He had long since looked over his tools, cleaned them, oiled them, and organized them. It had been a long night thus far. The disgruntled padawan took another look around the room before his eyes settled on the stun baton near the rest of his things. When was the last time he had to use it? When he was backed into a corner, like those pilots who had lost their lives earlier? Jackson shivered, and picked the device up. He held it in his hands, and idly thumbed the activation dial, circling it with just enough pressure to feel the ridges without turning it on. It would be a good idea to practice those forms that Skye had shown him earlier. Just in case. So that the next time he was backed into a corner, he would have a way out. So that he wouldn’t get backed into a corner in the first place. He should practice his meditation afterwards, too. Definitely. And maybe ask if he could give piloting the ship a go some time. Just in case. Maybe once things were taken care of on Felucia. Definitely.
  15. "I'll see what I can do in the bay for now, until something else comes up. I don't think I'd be much use in engineering here, starships are already pushing the limits as is." Jackson spoke, then reassured his teacher. "I'll try to stay in contact, but y'know... I'm sorta new to all this stuff." He had been practicing over the past few days as they approached the fleet, of course, but aside from minimizing his presence and 'feeling' things around him it had been slow going. It didn't seem like it would make much of a difference, at that point. Perhaps with another week of hard training, but not with just a few days. No, would stick to the things he had a firm handle on already and that meant making himself useful in the hangar. A hangar which was, predictably, in a bit of a state. Jackson whistled in appreciation of some of the craft undergoing last minute repairs and refuels, before jumping in to help out himself. Not long after, his fantasies of getting to fly the fighter he was working on were interrupted by a vaguely familiar pressure brushing against him. Bloome forced himself to to refraim from pulling in his feelers, choosing to reluctantly explore the feeling instead. After a few moments of prodding he plugged himself in, and nearly dropped the tool he was holding in his hands. It was... a very strange feeling, to say the least, but not altogether unwelcome. He allowed himself a moment to get used to the new sensation of Battle Meditation, before getting back to the work at hand.
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