As Elf awakened, she heard activity from outside her room that made her start and sit up on high alert.
Looking around, she realized she was not back at Mission HQ, but on Tatooine. Then it came back to her.
she pondered about the previous day, still wondering why all of this was occurring, and how to annihilate the emperor.
After a while, she was ready to go out and face whatever Tatooine had in store.
The logical thing to do was retrace her steps from her sleeping quarters back to the meeting room where the meal and discussion had taken place the night before.
The fact she found it so quickly meant she would quickly learn to get familiar with everything else, and she hoped to get a good look around that day.
Yoda and Ben were there, and when Yoda saw her approaching, he said amiably, "Storm warning, Ocean tide is high."
Ben grinned at the joke.
"Very funny." the elf said with a grin as she joined the two. "So, what's on the agenda for today?"
"And how are you feeling this morning, dear?" Ben asked.
"Well rested, thank you, sir." the elf replied. "When shall I start training?"
"Tomorrow, that will be," Yoda answered cheerfully.
"Anakin will be in no condition for anything today, and you can become more familiar with this place as you settle in. I will take you on a tour if you like." Ben volunteered.
"If it is no trouble, I would like that." the elf replied, taking a seat. "I've made up my mind to stay."
Both men smiled.
Some time after breakfast, Ben began taking Ocean Elf on a tour of the place. He showed her the training areas, the places where weaponry and armer were kept, droid manufacturing and repairs, and even arranged for her to get a little hands on operating a basic droid.
Coming back full circle, they passed the medical section, consisting of various rooms and chambers of differing sizes with different numbers on their doors.
As he was explaining which area was used for each malady or condition, an agonized hoarse sort of scream was heard, and it died away into what couldn't be mistaken for anything but a sob.
The elf flinched in sympathy and was about to hurry on ahead and get away from it.
But Ben stopped her. Putting a hand on her shoulder, he said, "Are you all right, my dear?"
"I'm fine," she said hastily.
"Are you sure? You look distressed, and your flinching."
Ben was right. Another tortured cry was heard, and the elf shuddered again.
Ben turned and looked into her troubled eyes. "Something is wrong."
"It's not me, it's over there." she indicated the direction the sounds were coming from. A room just to their left and up ahead. "Someone in there is not all right."
"It is a most unfortunate state Anakin is in. He's had his suit removed and is getting scrubbed of dead flesh from his burns."
"But I thought that happened over three decades ago. He shouldn't still require that, surely." the elf said, becoming pale.
"I'm afraid so," Ben explained, looking sadly at Ocean. "It is true you are thinking of burn patients who are helped by skin grafts, which eventually help new skin grow and scrubbing is eventually not needed, but in his case he was burned so badly that there was no way to do any skin grafting. So he still has to have this done once a month."
Ocean froze for a moment, shivered in horror, turned white as a sheet and gasped, "For thirty freaking years? Oh, my God!"
Then she burst into tears and took off running.
Ben stood, looking after her for a while, then turned back toward the sound of Anakin's torturous treatment.
Lost in a tidal wave of horror and distress, the elf just ran, not caring where she was going. Hot tears streamed down her face, but the act of running kept her from sobbing loudly.
But eventually, she had to stop and get her bearings. It wouldn't do to get herself utterly lost as well.
Alone, and sure no one was around to see or hear her, she stopped running to catch her breath. Another wave of sorrow hit, and she leaned against a wall for support and let herself go, Her screaming moaning wails piercing the silence.
The elf rarely, almost never cried except from tears of joy and laughter. So any bouts of crying from sadness or sorrow were frighteningly intense and took a long time to subside. She rarely suffered just one bout when it happened, but several, and this was the case. No sooner had she subsided then another wave of sorrow hit and her wails rang out again. It went on and on, over and over until her tears were spent and she was calmer, but no less appalled.
Slowly, she began to make her way back from where she had come.
But she had run a long way, and it was unfamiliar territory.
When she caught sight of the medical section, she decided not to return there, but check out the rest of the places she hadn't yet seen, and make her way back to meet up with the others where they might be; or just go to her room and take time to herself until needed.
Ben returned sooner than expected, without Elf.
"Lost is our newcomer?" Yoda asked.
"She overheard Anakin's screams today during the scrubbing."
"Horrified and upset, she would be." Yoda speculated. Ben nodded. "She ran off, but not far enough to get hopelessly lost. I have looked in her room, and she is not there. But she will tell us where she is."
Elf wandered about, looking around without much interest until she came to a room no one was in. The entrance was open, so peering in revealed some chairs, and possibly some other furniture Ocean couldn't make out since the room was dark. But one large piece of furniture caught her attention - a shiny black grand piano.
Seeing this, she moved toward the entrance and peered around. There were windows with the shades drawn, and a close examination of the walls near the door revealed the light switch.
The elf turned on the light and walked up toward the piano. She sat down and started quietly noodling on it with a few scales and broken chords. She noodled for some time, then as no one came in to listen or tell her to keep quiet, she eventually played some short piece of music that was at a moderate tempo and lyrical.
Then, having done that, and sure no one would notice or care, the elf finally played something she really wanted to play, something that reflected her mood.
It was Rachmaninoff's Moment Musicau Op 16-4 in E Minor. It started off rumbling and storming in the bass, with the right hand joining, increasing the volume. Eventually the menacing opening gave way to a much softer passage that was no less restless although a good deal more tender. That eventually turned sorrowful, and it also showed on her face.
The music meandered down the dissonant harmony progressions until hitting a booming bass active with a stern chord above. The elf's expression hardening with each passage.
More rapid movement in both hands made the sound of spiralling patterns down the keyboard. Then it quaked with rage, the bass making an ominous tremolo and the treble seemed to shout out a warning. Elf stared impassively ahead, looking as if she was about to clobber something.
Then both hands flew up and down the keys as Elf delivered what sounded a lot like musical punches and screams of rage. She gave it all she had, letting herself get lost in the music. Her body convulsed with the aggressive movements, a murderous glare on her features.
More rapid chaotic notes from the right hand, and then a thundering four-note base motif ushered in the opening theme, this time with far more ferocity than ever, with more pounding bass and a forceful melody. The piece ended in a frightening coda that sounded decidedly wrathful. The elf's slight smudged note on the last chord made it sound especially unhinged. Her steely determined expression gave way to a smile when the piece was through.
But this was only an expression. Palpatine would be brought down one day, and she was determined to make that happen, one way or another.
After calming down, Elf went looking for Anakin.
She found him in a room built specially for him. The respirator sound gave it away that he was there.
"Ah, there you are." she said, "May I come in?"
"Yes," he said, adding, "I am most apologetic you had to see me in the state I was in this morning,"
"Please don't. What happened to you concerning the scrubbing isn't your fault. It's me who needs - " then she suddenly looked suspicious. "Wait - how did you know I saw you in there this morning? You couldn't have. I only heard you. Ben told me who was screaming and why. Surely you couldn't have heard anything I said because you were trying to crawl out of your own body - there's no way you could've been aware I was even there."
Ben told me when he came to see me after it was over. He said you were upset."
Oh, I guess that makes sense." the elf said, looking suspicious. She took a step closer and gazed right at him. Her expression darkened. "I had no idea you had to go through that once a month." Tears began to well up in her eyes on those last few words, and she took a deep breath and heaved a shaky sigh. Not wanting to dwell on the subject of his agony lest she start crying again, she tried to take the conversation in a slightly different but still related direction. "I gave my word to Obi-Wan and Yoda this morning that I'll stay and help down Palpatine Sidious."
"Oh, Ocean," his voice broke, "I can't tell you how much that means to me. I wish I could get out of the suit. By the way, this is how I eat." He said, producing his feeding tube after removing his helmet. "I do not like to eat this way, and you are not embarrassed to be seeing me without my helmet on?"
"Of course not. The elf reassured him. I'm not embarrassed or shocked."
"It hides the scars on my face. I am embarrassed to be seen this way."
"And you don't have enough skin elsewhere to fix that, I understand. But I'm not embarrassed by your appearance." the elf said again. "I'm not one of those shallow-minded drips."
"I only wish I could have skin graphs done. If I could have skin graphs, I would be a completely different person. I would not be so angry."
Elf sighed. "Not again," she thought to herself.
"I do wish to seek revenge on those who murdered my mother. Curse them all! Thanks to the emperor, I am stuck in this wretched thing. I want out!"
Yes, I know, you've told me many times!" Elf turned away, sick of Vader's droning on.
He didn't even seem to hear her. "I hate being scrubbed, but it Hass to be done. If not, the tissue that is left on my body could become very much infected. It hurts!"
"Yes, yes, I know!, you've told me that, and what you haven't filled in, I've figured out." The elf sighed, then turned back when she could stop scowling out of frustration. "Let's not start that again. Look, I agree, that so-called emperor is going to be stopped, one way or another. That's why I'm here, it's the only reason I am supposed to be here..."
"He needs to be annihilated." said Anakin. "He may seem kind, but don't let that sway you."
"There's no way that'll happen." said Ocean emphatically. To herself, she thought, "You won't sway me either."
But Anakin was still wanting to rant. "I also have to eat this wretched stuff called Vita paste. He said spitting in disgust. In public. Nutrients are fed directly to my body through my life support system. I hope this better helps you to understand me.
Elf sighed again, becoming cross, "Now look. I am not here to be schooled. I am not your pupil. I am here for one purpose only, and we've been through that. I only came to talk to you as a curtesy. Now listen. Anyone who would mock you for having to use a feeding tube in public is a moron. There's nothing shameful or embarrassing about that. There are people who travel, and they'll even ask restaurants to blend up food to put in the feeding tube, and eat with their friends. It's tricky, but it has been done. You can take intravenous for anything you don't want going through that," she indicated the tube, "Right? Don't they give you that in a more liquified form? They should."
"That's true," Anakin had to agree, "but it still leaves my face. Even if you aren't unhappy with it, I am, and even if I could have skin graphs, Alas, that wicked old screw forbids it.
At this, the Elf suddenly flushed, and turned livid. "What!?" she exclaimed. "Ohh!" she gave a growling shout, throwing up her arms and glowering. "Just wait'll I get my freaking hands on that bloody sadistic coward! I'll make his head roll and spoon out his freaking brain!" she snarled savagely, miming the actions.
"Wow!" Anakin replied, his voice which is a little more than a whisper now at a resonating shout. "I have never heard you say so much. You are very kind. I am glad you decided to stay. I am glad both Obi-Wan and Yoda convinced you to do so."
"Yes I'm sure you are." Elf replied, still boiling over at the appalling revelation about Palpatine actually forbidding burn victims to get skin grafts. But she was also suspicious about Anakin's motives. Was he behind getting them to convince her to stay?
Anakin continued. "There is an old sand woman who can tell you more about the shaman. First, I would like you to meet my Son Luke and his twin sister. My daughter and my son as well as I want the emperor annihilated as much as you do. That wicked old screw of a twerp has no idea what’s coming.
"I hope to meet Luke and Lia maybe tomorrow. Now, I'm gonna let you rest."
"I wish I could," said Anakin, "That respirator is so loud that it keeps me awake. What's that look for?" he suddenly asked, noticing the elf's 'I just got an idea' expression.
"Oh, nothing," she said, "I could probably stick around for a few more minutes. Not too long, though."
She stood quietly for a while, gazing at Anakin.
Inexplicably, to Anakin's ears, the respirator sound grew less harsh, mellowing into a more wave-like sound. An ocean wave sound that replaced the annoying snore of the respirator, although keeping the same rhythm.
As soon as she was sure Anakin was asleep, Elf stole quickly away.
Then she headed to her own room, feeling suddenly very tired.
She sprawled on her bed and drifted off to sleep.
The rest of that day was uneventful.
At night, Elf continued to ponder about how to annihilate the emperor. She knew she could do it on her own if she had to, but this was really the Tatooine objective. She just didn't know what kind of help they would require from her.
Rachmaninoff Moment Musicau 16-4 played by Nikolai Lugansky is the piece Ocean Elf plays to vent her horror at the scrubbing and rage against Palpatine for being the cause of it and so much more.
Kemal Gekic plays Chopin Ocean Etude this performance fits perfectly with the Elf's coming back to apologize to Anakin, and then lulling him to sleep by turning the respirator sound into that of ocean waves to his ears instead.