Way of the Force
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 and Star Wars belong to their own respective creators.
< >: Thoughts
[“ ”]: Madarin
Laser bolts flashed through the vacuum of space as a small starship attempted to outrun its pursuers. The craft’s deflector shields were being pushed to their limits as volley after volley of energized blasts mercilessly pounded away. In less than a minute, they would fail, leaving the occupant of the ship totally defenseless.
Within the bridge of the Jedi Nomad, Jarrick Yar looked at the rear viewscreen. He shook his head as his ship’s computer displayed the current damage reports.
<Hmmm, if there’s one thing I can say about the Imperials, they are persistent.>
The Empire had been ruthless in their bid to wipe the Jedi Order out of existence. Many Jedi Knights and Masters had been systematically eliminated and it would only be a matter of time before the rest were found and killed. As of now, the Jedi were on the brink of extinction.
Jarrick sighed sadly as he remembered his fallen comrades. How could this have happened? Then he shook his head and mentally answered his own question. He knew the answer. It was because of one particular Jedi who had succumbed to the Dark Side.
The young, headstrong student of Obi Wan Kenobi had turned against the Jedi, and was now helping the Empire snuff out the shining light of hope in the galaxy. Like Kenobi, Yar had sensed that Skywalker was dangerously close to falling into the clutches of the Dark Side and Emperor Paladin. However, Kenobi had chosen to ignore the signs, and by the time he realized the scope of Anakin’s infatuation with the Dark Side, it was too late. With the number of Jedi being reduced to a scant handful, Jarrick, like the others, had no choice but to flee.
Even the great Master Yoda had been forced to go into hiding. The last Jarrick had heard of him, he had fled toward the Dagobah System. Yar hoped that he would survive, then his attention turned back toward the computer display as it announced that the stern deflector shield had failed.
Jarrick sighed as he decided now was the time to use the new hyperdrive system he had recently installed. It was an experimental type and was supposed to be a Class 0.3. What made this drive system unique was that it needed a Force User to power it. Of course, it had never been tested before, but in this situation...
The Jedi Master took a deep breath and cleared his mind. Focusing his inner energies and all of his will, he reached out and made contact with a sensor pad on the console. As the Imperial ships closed in for the kill, he let loose with all of his power. The engines of the Jedi Nomad whined as they built up energy. When the power levels reached their peak, the ship suddenly slowed down for a nanosecond, then shot forward like a bullet being fired from a gun, disappearing into hyperspace and away from those who were hunting Jarrick Yar.
The Imperials who had been chasing him were stunned beyond belief. They had been so close to eliminating one of the last of the Jedi and now he was gone.
On the outer reaches of the Sol System, a rip in the space-time continuum appeared, and a vessel appeared. On board, a lone figure slumped down in his chair.
Jarrick Yar was in a very weakened state. Powering the hyperdrive engines had been extremely draining and his Force abilities were nearly exhausted. The ship’s energy stores were almost depleted and all systems were running on reserve power. However, as he checked all available star charts, he knew that it had been worth it. There were no signs of any Imperials and the system was not on any navigational maps. He was well beyond the reach of the Empire, and so he had time to rest... and to find new disciples.
Rebuilding the Jedi Order was the first and foremost thing on his mind. And though his Force senses were extremely weak at the moment, he could still feel slight impressions of the Force coming from the only inhabited planet in this system. As his ship passed by the outer planets and made its way toward a blue-white orb, the Jedi Master began to consider the possibility of finding a precious few who could tap into the Force.
Though it was against tradition for a Jedi master to teach more than one padawan at a time, Jarrick felt that the situation warranted some changes in protocol. With the Jedi so very few in number now, it would be best to replenish their ranks as quickly as possible. Besides, Jarrick was known to be somewhat of a rebel and his methods were unorthodox at times. Even Master Yoda had found Jarrick to be somewhat of a deviant.
As he neared the Earth, he began activating his ship’s electronic countermeasures and such, just in case the planet possessed technology that could detect his craft’s approach. Who knew what kind of people he’d find on the surface?
A year later, somewhere in China...
Cologne nodded as she watched her five-year-old great-granddaughter go through her katas. Shampoo showed much promise and the Elder was certain that her heir would make a good matriarch of their Amazon tribe some day. She just needed to attain her utmost potential.
As the young girl punched and kicked, the aged woman began to get the feeling that they were being watched. After living for nearly three centuries, Cologne’s sense of awareness had been honed to near-perfection, but something seemed amiss. It was if whoever was observing them also possessed great control over his chi, perhaps even greater than hers.
Though Cologne could sense his presence, she couldn’t pinpoint where he was. He was doing an excellent job of melding his chi among the natural chi of the forest around them. Then finally, she found him, but only because he let her. She whirled about and saw... him. At that point, her great-granddaughter stopped in her katas and looked to where Cologne was facing.
The man appeared to be in his late fifties, and was quite tall. His short black hair had a few streaks of silver in it. He was dressed in what appeared to be a black body suit, with matching boots, and he also had a brown, well-worn, hooded cloak. A strange, silver cylinder hung from his belt.
“Greetings.” Jarrick Yar said in Basic.
The aged martial artist noted that the stranger spoke in a language that was similar to the western dialect known as English. Since she was well versed in many other kinds of speech, she responded in kind.
“Who are you? What do you want?”
“Ah, very direct. I like that. I am Jarrick Yar, Jedi Master.”
“Jedi? I am unfamiliar with that term, though I suspect it means something very important. I can sense that you are most skilled. You approached without a sound and if it wasn’t for your chi, I wouldn’t have sensed you at all.”
“Chi?” Jarrick took on an introspective look as he considered the word, then nodded. “Hmmm, I suppose that is your term to what is a part of the Force.”
“Yes, the Force. We Jedi tap into the Force, which binds everything and surrounds all in the universe. Its power is virtually unlimited and I sense within you a good measure of control over a portion of the Force. Quite possibly, it is this chi that you mentioned, and I also sense good potential within her.” He pointed to Shampoo. “It is that very potential that I wish to bring out to its fullest.”
At this point, Cologne took a defensive posture with her cane held out. She was very protective of her heir as she was her only surviving relative. The Amazons had already suffered many casualties during their war with the Musk Dynasty. Too many had been captured and killed and the Joketsuzoku could not afford to lose any more potential warriors.
Jarrick noted her fear and suspicion, which was natural and he decided to calm her down. He held out his hands, showing that he was not armed, nor did he have any intent of attacking. “You need not be so hostile. I mean no harm to you nor your great-granddaughter. I only wish to train her in the ways of the Force.”
“How do you know she is my great-granddaughter?”
“The Force is strong between you and her, as it tends to be with family members. I know she is your descendent as I can see some resemblance and the Force flows through her in a similar manner as it does through you. I suspect that you are actually several generations further from her than a mere four, but I suppose it is easier to simply refer you as ‘great-grandmother’ rather than great-great-great and so forth.”
Cologne’s interest became perked. This person was quite perceptive, and his reference to this Force, was intriguing to say the least. However, she needed more proof that Jarrick intended no ill toward her heir and possessed the power that he claimed to teach to her. If such a ‘Force’ existed and could be used to the Amazons’ advantage against their enemies...
“The Force is great and it could be used against your enemies.” Jarrick said simply.
At this point, Cologne was stunned. Can this person read her thoughts?
The Jedi Master simply shrugged. “The Force allows me to sense your intents and feelings. I can also sense that your people value strength and the warrior’s spirit. You wish to see a demonstration of the Force? Very well, I can show you, but I would like to see this chi that you spoke of. Perhaps a friendly match?”
“Hmmm...” Cologne considered his offer, then after a long while she took a new defensive posture with her staff held high and gestured to him. “Come!”
Jarrick considered going for his light saber, then decided to instead give Cologne a bit of a push. He took a ready stance, then thrust out his right palm.
Cologne sensed a very focused though small amount of chi being directed at her and prepared to block whatever projectile was being fired. She held out her staff in front of her. She was quite surprised to feel an impact against the wood, as if her opponent had punched it. However, he was more than twenty feet away. Her heels dug ruts into the ground as she was forced backward several dozen meters. She at first thought he used a kind of wind technique, but she felt no air currents.
“Great-grandmother!” Shampoo cried out.
“I’m all right child. I’m...” Cologne barely had time to block Jarrick as he suddenly appeared before her and delivered a series of punches with almost inhuman speed. Though not one of his blows penetrated her defense, the Elder suspected that he wasn’t really trying. And she couldn’t sense very much application of chi on his part, so how was he hitting with the speed of the Chestnut Fist? (1)
The Elder decided to take the offensive as she parried the last of his punches, then struck out with her own technique. She began striking with the Chestnut Fist and it seemed her attack struck dead on. However, to her surprise, she felt herself hitting not flesh, but something like an invisible barrier.
Jarrick had already anticipated her counterattack and set up a wall of Force to protect himself. He was impressed that Cologne was able to move with such agility and skill and he sensed that she was using some kind of inner energy to boost her physical abilities. As he leapt backward to get more fighting room, he was quite surprised to see Cologne suddenly split into two, then four, then eight. Soon he found himself surrounded by multiple duplicates of Cologne as they floated off the ground and began to circle about him.
Cologne chuckled within the illusion as she taunted him. “Well? Surely this Force can conquer such a simple technique like the Splitting Cat Hairs?”
“Actually, it can.” Jarrick said as he simply used his senses to pinpoint Cologne’s position and waved a hand to the right. The Elder was knocked out of the illusion and sent her flying. Her images disappeared from sight as Jarrick then redirected the Force and caused his opponent to come flying back toward him. Leaping impossibly high by even martial artist standards, he met up with her and continued their fight in mid-air.
By this point, the Elder was more than shocked by the abilities of her opponent. Now he seemed to defy gravity itself as he began exchanging punches and kicks with her with almost lazy ease. She did not recognize the fighting style and his movements were so smooth and precise, that she wondered if he was even human. He made even her own techniques seem wasteful and clumsy.
As they grappled, Jarrick felt a disturbance in the Force and saw a brief image in his mind. He immediately broke away from his adversary and hovered several meters away. At the same time, he stopped Cologne’s downward movement and kept her from falling.
The Elder began to suspect that Jarrick was a sorcerer as she felt herself being supported by some kind of invisible power. There had been legends of secret chi techniques that allowed a person to fly, but she sensed only a small application of his own chi emanating from him. As they faced each other off, she held out her staff in a defensive posture, but Jarrick shook his head.
“This battle is over. I must see to my future padawan’s safety.”
Cologne wondered what he was talking about, then she heard a scream.
She then looked down and her blood ran cold as she saw her great-granddaughter in danger.
The group of Musk Dynasty warriors laughed as their leader held up the purple-haired girl with one massive hand. All were wearing heavy armor and carrying various types of blades and clubbed weapons. They numbered five in all and were part of a scouting group. They had been traveling through the valley to gather information on their mortal enemies, the Joketsuzoku, when they came across an unexpected Amazon bounty.
Females were nonexistent in the Musk Dynasty and for the most part, the race procreated by mating with animals that were cursed by the Spring of Drowned Girl in Jusenkyo. This gave the members of the Musk unnatural physical powers. However, they had no qualms with taking slaves, especially female slaves.
The leader of the group was a greasy-looking fellow as he gazed upon the struggling little girl. Shampoo would make a fine servant and a future mate once she grew up. However, as he and his companions were about to make off with Cologne’s heir, two strangers dropped down from above.
The Elder barely reined in her anger as she growled at the ones who dared to try and kidnap her only family.
[“RELEASE MY GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER!”] Cologne demanded in Mandarin.
The leader laughed as he brought Shampoo up in front of his massive chest, using her as a shield. [“This little one is mine. I’m going to enjoy breaking her in.”]
Cologne was about to attack, but was stopped as Jarrick stepped out in front of her and faced off against the Musk warrior. He gave Shampoo a reassuring gaze, which somehow made her calm down and stop struggling. Deep in her heart, she somehow knew that everything was going to be all right.
The leader of the group sneered at the newcomer and taunted, [“So what do YOU want, stranger? You THINK you are going to take my prize from me? If you are, then you WILL die!”]
Jarrick gave his opponent a stern look and then said, “You do not want the little one.”
Amazingly, the Musk Warrior took on a blank stare and repeated Jarrick’s words in his own language. [“I do not want the little one.”]
Jarrick nodded as he continued in Basic. “The girl is innocent and should not be harmed.”
[“The girl is innocent and should not be harmed.”] The Musk warrior repeated.
“Therefore, she is free to go.”
[“Therefore she is free to go.”]
The man’s grip on Shampoo loosened as Jarrick pounced on the opportunity. Using the Force, he sent the little girl flying toward Cologne’s open arms. He then pushed the two back to a safe distance, just as Shampoo’s captor shook himself out of his stupor. Seeing that he had somehow been tricked, he let off a roar. He and his cohorts raised their weapons and charged.
That was when Jarrick Yar raised his right arm out and opened his hand. The light saber on his belt flipped upward and flew into his palm. Gripping the metal cylinder, he thumbed the activator stud and ignited the blade. A shaft of blue-white light appeared and extended to its full length.
Both Cologne and Shampoo were awestruck as they witnessed one man take down five members of the Musk Dynasty.
The leader of the group hefted a huge battleaxe and swung it toward Jarrick’s head. However, the Jedi Master simply swiped at his foe with his weapon and cut him into several pieces. The warrior didn’t even have time to scream as he was reduced into bloody chunks. The armor he was wearing was no protection and was just was easily sliced apart.
Another Dynasty fighter tried to blindside Jarrick from behind with a scimitar, but the Jedi easily avoided the slash, then gestured with his free hand. His opponent was pushed back with tremendous velocity, as if he had been kicked by mule. He was slammed into another one of the scouting group and both were sent sprawling.
A fourth foe tried to charge from the right with a mace,, but Jarrick held out his hand again with the palm open, then clenched it into a fist. The head of the mace was suddenly crumpled like a wad of tinfoil. Before he even knew it, Jarrick was upon him and he was sliced apart. The lightsaber hummed and flashed, cutting through armor, flesh and bone as easily as if they were made of parchment.
The remaining three Musk fighters were shocked to see two of their comrades cut down and rushed to avenge them. However, Jarrick had already decided their fate and...
VUM! VUM! SHRACK! BZZZZZZT! VUM! VUM! SHHHHHHHHHHHHH! VUM! VUM!
The last Musk warriors fell apart as they were enveloped in the fury of Jarrick’s lightsaber. In less time it took to tell, the Jedi Master stood alone as his foes were sent to oblivion.
Jarrick calmly walked back toward the Amazons while holding his weapon in a relaxed position. He noted that they were staring at his shining blade with apprehension, so he deactivated the lightsaber and let it return to his belt. He then knelt down and smiled at the look of wonder on Shampoo’s face. Then he spoke to her in a gentle, reassuring tone.
“Do not be afraid... my padawan.”
One year later...
“Master, why we here in Japan?” Six-year-old Shampoo asked as she, Cologne and the Jedi Master walked along the outskirts of Hiroshima.
Jarrick nodded as he replied. “We are here to... pick up a new friend for you, Padawan.”
The little girl smiled as she thought of gaining a new playmate. The last year of training had been intense and quite lonely, with no one else besides her great-grandmother and Master Jarrick. Heck, even that idiot Mousse would have ALMOST been good company at this point.
Jarrick nodded as he continued to think about the visions, which he had been seeing recently. They had depicted images of another with Force potential, but they also caused him to have some concern. The visions were primal, almost animalistic in nature, and chaos was a factor. If he was right, this... Ranma he had been seeing, would need a LOT of assistance in ridding himself of such mental and spiritual disturbance, before he could begin his Jedi training. He was dangerously close to being seduced by the Dark Side. And after that disaster with Anakin Skywalker, Jarrick could ill-afford another Vader.
At this point, Cologne decided to question him as to the reason why they had traveled so far from China.
“I am curious. Exactly why have you brought us here to Japan? I had already agreed to allow to you to tutor my heir in the Force, and I had thought that training her was of the utmost importance.”
“It is indeed. It is most important that your great-granddaughter achieve her fullest potential as a Jedi. The ranks of the Jedi Order must be replenished and I have sensed the presence of another, who may be a prime candidate to train alongside Shampoo. However, there are some... difficulties to overcome before I can properly begin instructing him.”
“And how do you know that this... person has the same potential that my Shampoo has?”
“I have... a feeling.”
Cologne’s eyes narrowed a bit. During the last year, Jarrick had demonstrated some very impressive abilities, especially in terms of foresight and seeing the future. If he had a feeling about something, then it was worth paying heed to.
“So what difficulties are these...?”
Both Amazons went into ready stances as soon as a small figure suddenly leapt out in front of them from some nearby shadows. However, Jarrick stood his ground and remained silent as he watched their attacker stand on all fours and hunched up his back, hissing at them.
The boy appeared to be Shampoo’s age and was a bit on the lean side, most likely from malnourishment. He had black hair that was tied up in a small pigtail. He was dressed in a tattered white gi and had the stench of fish and cat waste about him. He had several dozen cuts all over his body and it looked as if he had been mauled by a wild animal.
Cologne immediately knew what was going on as she recognized the stance. She quickly pushed Shampoo behind her as she called out to Jarrick.
“Beware Jarrick! That boy has been INFECTED with the Cat Fist!”
“Infected? Cat Fist?” The Jedi Master gazed upon the feral youth. Noting that he was hunched up like an angry cat, he nodded. “Interesting. Does he have some kind of disease?”
“Not in the truest sense, but with that kind of madness, he might as well be diseased!” The Elder said as she prepared to counter whatever attack the deranged boy would attempt. “The Cat Fist is reputed to be one of the most deadliest martial arts techniques in the world. But it is too dangerous and the trainee is reduced to the equivalent of a mindless animal! He thinks he‘s a cat!”
“I see. Well, we certainly can’t have my newest padawan acting like a cat, now can we?” He gestured to the feral child with an extended hand. “Come here...”
Ranma Saotome, age six, took the gesture to be some form of attack and leapt at the Jedi Master, intending to claw out his eyes. But before he could get within a foot of Jarrick, he was suddenly stopped in mid-air by some unseen power. He flailed about, trying to get back onto the ground, but he remained trapped in Jarrick’s power.
The interstellar warrior looked deeply into the boy’s eyes, using the Force to pierce through the madness and gain entry into the boy’s inner psyche. He encountered some resistance, but the mental barriers soon gave way to his expertise and the boy’s past became like an open book to the Jedi Master. Jarrick became somewhat irritated, as he learned of Ranma’s training from his father Genma. If he had continued on with such a regimen, the child would have become easy prey to the Dark Side. Such a presence would have tainted Shampoo as well.
Ranma would have to unlearn everything that he had been taught, but for now, he would have to be purged of the madness of the Cat Fist. For starters, Jarrick took hold of the bestial personality and commanded...
Cologne looked on in amazement as the boy began to lessen in his struggles and took on a kind of dreamy expression. At first she thought it was some kind of hypnosis, but then dismissed the notion. Jarrick was doing another of his ‘mind-tricks’ as he called them. These techniques went far beyond those trancelike states and he need not look into his victims eyes. She could feel him exerting his power into the boy’s mind, calming him down and compelling him.
Soon the cat-boy was set back down on the ground and with a yawn, he curled up into a ball and lapsed into slumber.
Just then, another stranger came onto the scene.
“See here! What are you doing to my son?!”
Jarrick turned to face Genma. Giving his psyche a once-over, he came to a conclusion.
“This is NOT your son...”
Later that night...
“What? You’ve cleared him of the Cat Fist? But that’s impossible!” Cologne exclaimed after Jarrick had told her that Ranma was now cured of his madness.
“It took some doing and his psyche resisted every step of the way, but he is free. I cannot have my padawan influenced by such a ridiculous fear of cats and an unstable and ultimately flawed technique.” Jarrick took a sip of his tea. “Now then, will tell me just how such a technique is attained? I would like to avoid the chance of Ranma relearning the Cat Fist.”
“Well, the training is simple... and ludicrous! Just wrap the trainee up in fish sausage or any other kind of fish product, then toss him into a pit of starving cats. Mind you, the trainee must be ten or younger for the method to work. Repeating this process often enough will either kill the trainee or instill him with the natural instincts of a cat. He will be able to form ‘chi’ claws and gain phenomenal speed and agility. However, you have witnessed the downside of possessing such a technique.”
Jarrick nodded. “Well, I’m pretty certain we can avoid pits of starving cats. As of tomorrow, I shall begin training him along with Shampoo. He should be able to catch up with her within a few weeks.”
Cologne nodded as well as she too had sensed the great potential within the boy. The fact that he had survived the Cat Fist training said much about him. However, there were a few things that worried her.
“But what about that man who claimed to be his father? I’m a bit uneasy with taking this boy from his family, though I was under the impression that he might be better off without that idiot.”
Jarrick took on an introspective look. “I will admit, that this is a very unusual circumstance, and normally I would much rather have the permission of the boy’s parents before taking him on as a student. However, I felt greed within his father and total disregard for the boy’s safety. It would be most likely if we were to take him to the proper authorities, they would never allow Ranma back with that moron, if his crimes were to be known. I also did a little checking and his father has several dozen counts of petty thefts, breaking and entering and other violations. I believe that Ranma would be much better off if he were to remain with us for now. I will allow him to choose, when he is able. I certainly hope he will opt to go with us. The Force is strong with this one.”
Six months later...
“That was cool!” Ranma said as he witnessed Cologne perform the Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire Technique. He then turned to the Jedi Master. “Can you do that, Master Jarrick?”
The Jedi smiled as he tossed in a bag of chestnuts and waited until they began crackling. Then with a single sweep of his hand, he gathered all of the nuts without getting a single burn. He addressed his two padawans. “Now I would like you to first learn Cologne’s technique. Once you have mastered it, you will then learn how to apply those skills with the Force.”
“Yes, Master Jarrick.” Both children said.
A year later...
“Good day to you, Mr. Kuonji. I am Jarrick Yar, and I have an offer to make for you and your daughter Ukyo. I have someone who would very much like to meet with her again.”
To be continued...?
(1) I saw Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: Clone Wars Episode 13 and 14 and one of the Jedi Masters showed an awesome display of unarmed techniques with the Force.