Concern mounted at breakfast when the elf did not show up for the meal. So it was Yoda who went and knocked on her room door. "Ocean Elf?" He called.
There was no response.
Still no reply.
Yoda carefully cracked the door open and peered in, only to find the room empty.
He opened the door wider and walked in, noticing something lying on the bed, which had been straightened up.
It was a piece of paper.
Yoda picked it up and read"
"Dear Ben and Yoda:
When you read this, I will be gone. If it had been Yoda or Ben who contacted me at Mission HQ and asked for my help, letting me know Palpatine was back and up to his dirty tricks again, I might've had some time to prepare and would have accepted the mission request. I could've also got others here at Mission HQ on it.
But I will not reward a kidnapping attempt with help of any kind, and do not care how desperate Anakin/Vader is.
My contact information is on the back of this note, so if Ben or Yoda would like my help, they may request it, and not on Anakin/Vader's behalf.
I am sorry it had to end like this, where it not for Anakin and his crazy move snatching me right off my planet, things could've turned out so differently.
Yoda looked at the back of the note and found an email address and a number.
He tried the number via audio video communication, hoping it would work.
"Mission HQ, Elf speaking,"
"Yoda, this is, and regretful I am that consult you we did not get the chance to do beforehand."
"Hello, Yoda," Elf said quietly, "I appreciate that."
"Starting over, would you consider? Another chance, I am asking for. A threat Palpatine still poses, and much trouble he causes as emperor."
"For you, yes," said Elf, "But please, keep Anakin Vader out of my way. I'll come as soon as I can throw a suitcase together and leave a note for everyone over here."
"Thank you, Ocean Elf." Said Yoda.
He returned to breakfast, and reported to Ben that Ocean Elf had gone, but was coming back.
"However did you manage that, Yoda? I was sure she would never come back." said Ben.
"No idea have I. An angry 'no' is what I thought would come from her. Not for Anakin, but for us, she said she would come back.
"Especially for you," Ben replied with a smile.
"For me..." Yoda repeated pensively.
"Yes, you," Ben affirmed. You are very popular on her home planet."
"As are you," Yoda countered.
"But you were the only one she showed any real warmth toward." said Ben.
Yoda shifted uncomfortably. "No good would her attachment to me, or to any of us be. As troublesome as Anakin becoming attached to her."
"Are these the only attachments you are concerned might be starting to form?" Ben asked.
Yoda shook his head. "Glad I am that Ocean Elf agreed to return. Sorry I was for her last night, a lone and frightened stranger in a strange place she was. Responded well to me, she has."
"Somehow your approach disarmed even that elf." said Ben.
"Other Earthlings we have met coming through here, but different is this one. Yet, careful I must be. Attachments lead to the dark side."
"The reason you took the time to explain things to her, and make sure she was comfortable last night," said Ben, "is because despite the code against forming attachments, Master Yoda, you care. Elf could sense that, and reacted accordingly."
"Yoda nodded. "Danger there is of attachments forming."
"Yes, Earthlings can form attachments quickly and sometimes very strongly. Especially elves . Attachments on the light side can be concerning, but pleasurable, and in this case, will lead to good things. in due time, Master Yoda, you will see.
Yoda looked surprised and relieved that Ben seemed to echo the thoughts in his own head, telling him it was worth the risk.
Presently, Ben chuckled. "She could shake things up around here.""
She already has, I believe." Yoda grinned.
They talked about what had gone wrong to make her leave, and then how in the world they were going to keep things from being messed up again.
The elf returned and was let in by Yoda, who quipped, "Storm warning, High is the Ocean tide."
Ben grinned at the joke.
"I don't deserve to be called Ocean just yet." the elf said with a grin as she stepped inside. "So, what's on the agenda for today?"
"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.
Elf bristled. Anakin again. How sick she was of everybody making so much of him. "I told you I won't have anything to do with him!" She said stiffly. "I've made up my mind to stay and help destroy Palpatine, or at least what current version there is of him, without Anakin. The tour is a good idea."
Ben invited her to sit down and join them for breakfast, and Yoda seconded it.
So Elf agreed, but said she had to put her suitcase away first. She was also very quiet during the meal.
Some time after breakfast, Ben began taking 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, back before he supposedly died. He shouldn't still require that." the elf said, becoming pale.
Ben looked sadly at the elf. "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."
That makes no sense. You get numbed up or put out during debriding procedures on serious wounds." the distressed elf insisted. And there are different types of grafts so he should've at least had some.
Another tortured cry rang out, and that was enough to send Elf running.
Ben stood, looking after her for a while, then turned back toward the area where the screams came from, then he walked sadly away.
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.
She sobbed for a while, then slowly 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 go around the other way 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 heard him in the medical section. It upset her and she ran off. Yoda, I'm not so sure about this at all."
"Want her to be made sorry for him, Anakin would."
I know. But I can't help feeling we've done something emotionally cruel to her." Ben said. "We pushed too hard last night and she already ran away once before."
"If only Anakin had just waited and let us get in touch with her first, much smoother things would be going."
When Elf returned, Ben asked if she was up for any more looking around.
"I'm about to go deliver a message, how about coming with me?" Ben invited.
Elf only nodded slightly, and followed Ben to wherever he was going.
They walked on until coming to a specialized room, the respirator sound gave it away that Anakin Vader was there. It was is meditation chamber.
"Yes," Anakin Vader said, and opened the door.
Elf shot an acid look at Ben, who whispered, "I just thought you should be the one to tell him you are staying after all.
"One more trick like that, and I'm gone." She whispered back.
"I am sorry, Elf," he said.
She only hissed back.
Ben retreated as Anakin opened the door to let the visitor in, whoever it might be. "I am most apologetic you had to see me in the state I was in this morning,"
Elf looked suspiciously at him. "Wait - how did you know I was even there this morning? You couldn't have. I only heard you. Ben told me who was screaming and why, though I still don't get it."
"Ben told me when he came to see me after it was over. He said you were upset." Vader explained.
"Of course I was upset, I hate seeing anyone suffer like that, no matter who they are." the elf said, looking suspicious. She took a step closer and gazed right at him. Her expression darkened. "I don't know what really went on in there or if that was really you. I don't understand what went on. Whatever it was shouldn't." She tried to take the conversation in a slightly different but still related direction, one that would be done with quickly so she could leave him as soon as possible. "I gave my word to Obi-Wan and Yoda this morning that I'll stay and help down Palpatine Sidious if I can."
"Oh, Elf," his voice broke, "I can't tell you how much that means to me."
"For Tatooine, you understand." She added, making as if about to leave..
"Don't go," he said. "I wish I could get out of the suit."
"Yes, you've told me, again and again." She was getting irritated.
"By the way," Anakin Vader continued, and began removing his helmet.
The elf narrowed her eyes and put her hand up in a defensive position. "Stop right there! Freeze!" she shouted.
"What is this?" Anakin Vader asked, apparently confused.
"As if you didn't know." Elf said with a scowl, "Bad enough you just yanked me out of my home, but if you think I'm gonna let you kill me, you've got another thing coming!"
"I am not going to kill you." He said.
"That's right, you are not. Because you try that via the force, and you'll get it all back on you." said Elf, "But even the attempt counts."
"No, I'm not even trying to kill you, Elf." He said.
"Oh, really?" She was not convinced, and it was clear she did not trust him any more than she liked him. "I am aware you have killed many people who saw you without your helmet. she said sternly.
Evidently still trying to make Elf feel for him in some approximation, Anakin Vader tried to make her let her guard down. "No, I would never kill you for seeing me without my helmet. But this is how I eat." He said, producing his feeding tube.
Yeah, why are you showing me this? I told you all you needed to know, Ben's idea; so now it's time to go." She said coolly.
""I do not like to eat this way, and you are not embarrassed to be seeing me without my helmet on?" he persisted.
Insulted, the elf snapped indignantly at him. "Just what kind of shallow-minded drip do you take me for?"
He only continued. "It hides the scars on my face. I am embarrassed to be seen this way."
"Why are you telling all this to me? I am neither embarrassed or interested. And if you suddenly decide to try mind-choking me later over this reveal, you will not survive the attempt." the elf warned him.
"No, Elf, please just calm down!" he said urgently. "I am not going to try to kill you,"
He continued. "I only wish I could have skin graphs done."
"You must have some at least. If you need other treatments, take it up with the doctors. I'm no medical professional." She said, still unmoved as ever.
But he only kept on. "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!" Anakin shouted.
"You did! Not only that, but you snuffed out a heck of a lot of other lives in the process - women and children included!" the elf shouted. "People who had nothing to do with what happened to her, so don't give me that!"
"Thanks to the emperor," Anakin struggled to choke out, "I am stuck in this wretched thing. I want out!"
Yes, yes, yes, you've told me about your 'wretched suit' over and over and over and over and over again and again!" Elf finally lost her temper, sick of Vader's droning on. She whirled around to scowl at him once more. "That was your fault for turning to the dark side in the first place, and I don't want to hear any more excuses. You didn't have to, and it's a good thing your mother can't know about all the horrible things you and your emperor did! He will answer for his part in what happened to her, but you are not an innocent victim in the grand scheme of things!"
"Elf, please!" he shouted, "If you want to kill me, go ahead!
She rolled her eyes and hissed. "I never said anything about killing you except that if you try to kill me first..."
Vader continued. 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!"
Elf raised her voice again, "Oh, shut it! Surely your medical treatments aren't less advanced than where I come from. Bottom line is 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... If this doesn't work and he cheats death again, I will return to bring him down."
"He needs to be annihilated." said Anakin, shuddering at the elf's fury.
She huffed. "Am I speaking too quickly? That is what I just said!"
"He may seem kind, but don't let that sway you." Anakin Vader continued.
"Thank you for your unnecessary advice, but I am not some wide-eyed, naive little school girl, and I will not be swayed by people I dislike." She said icily. "You should also know that just because whatever happened in the medical section horrifies me does not mean I will let you off for all of the things you have done. You tortured and murdered so many people, and you crowed about it during commission of these acts!"
Anakin Vader shuddered and suddenly made motions of some kind of struggle as the elf glared at him.
She turned away to calm herself, then looked back again with a frown. "Time to go." she said curtly.
But Anakin was still wanting to rant, and find some way to make her care even a little. "I know you hate me So go ahead. Finish me." he said.
"Don't even think of pulling that guilt-tripping crap." she retorted.
"I'm not guilt-tripping you, Elf." he retorted in turn.
"What do you call it then, small talk?"
Anakin couldn't help chuckling at that comment. Small talk, this turned out to be anything but.
"I just wanted you to know a little more about me. Is that so bad?" he asked.
She rolled her eyes. "I didn't come here to learn about you..."
Anakin Vader, desperate to keep her from leaving in a huff, continued. "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, still cross, "Now look. I am not here to be schooled. I am not your pupil. The feeding tube stuff is just something you have to accept and anything inedable can go through an IV so it's not like you have to taste the stuff anyway. And I'm pretty sure you can chew and swallow without your helmet on."
"Elf, won't you just - "
"No. None of that has anything to do with why I'm here."
"That's true," Anakin had to admit.
"I'm only here at all because Ben wanted me to give you a message. That's done."
Anakin Vader's attempts at making the elf care for him were almost exhausted. "but it still leaves my face. Even if you aren't unhappy with it, I am."
"Yeah, your face is such a big problem to you that Many people who looked at you without your helmet, paid the ultimate price!" the elf shot back tersely.
"Must you throw that back in my face every chance you get?"
"Yes!" she shouted angrily, and turned away.
Anakin sighed, and continued. "Elf... Even if I could have skin grafts,"
"Oh brother!" she started out.
Anakin Vader called out, "Alas, that wicked old screw forbids it.
At this, the Elf suddenly flushed and turned back, livid. "Wait, What!?" she exclaimed. How many burn victims, including innocent children died of infection because they weren't allowed treatment? Oh!" 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."
If you'd listen instead of try making me feel sorry for you, you'd realize I've already said a good deal, more than I care to say to you."
"Even so, you are very kind." he appealed.
"Oh, save it!" she fumed."
"Will you not even accept a compliment?"
"I want nothing from you." she replied. "I told you that!"
He sighed. He realized thanking her directly would probably get a sharp response as well, so he said, "I am glad you decided to stay. I am glad both Obi-Wan and Yoda convinced you to do so." he said.
"Yes I'm sure you are." Elf replied brusquely, suspicious about Anakin's motives. Was he behind getting them to convince her to stay? "But remember," she said, "this isn't about you. Sidious is clearly unfit to rule."
Anakin continued. "There is an old sand woman who can tell you more about the shaman."
"You all said they couldn't do anything until Sidious is gone." Elf said, turning away from him to leave.
But Anakin only continued. "First, I would like you to meet my Son Luke and his twin sister."
"Her name is Leia Organa and you are only her father in the biological sense." Elf said coolly, and she didn't even turn back to face him this time.
"My daughter and my son," Anakin approached her, got in front of her to continue,, trying unsuccessfully to pierce through Elf's soul with one of his blue-eyed looks, "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.
"Established over and over." She said irritably.
"He should be force-choked." Anakin Vader said.
"You already said that, last night. I can't do that,"
"You think?" Anakin asked.
And I'd rather use a quicker method." Now Get some rest." She moved past him and out of the room..
"I wish I could," said Anakin, "That respirator is so loud that it keeps me awake."
The elf heaved a frustrated sigh. "Oh, very well." She turned to throw an annoyed glance of concentration at the respirator, then said, "There!" Then managed to get past Anakin Vader, who had been trying to keep her there.
He watched her hurry away without looking back at him, then, having lost the battle of wills, he retreated back into his room.
Inexplicably to his 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.
Elf headed to her own room, feeling suddenly very tired and headachy.
None of this made any sense to her. Grafts or no grafts, Vader had been strong and cocky enough to commit all kinds of horrific acts. If he had really been in so much pain, he would've given up the ghost long before, and would've been in no condition to be Palpatine's second in command. So whatever was going on now probably had something to do with some strange property of the force, or he was faking, or something else mysterious was at work. If he was in pain now, that might be due to Palpatine's abuse of the force, or use of some kind of sith magic. If Palpatine could escape first Vader, then Rey's light saber attack, Palpatine could've manipulated time and space to rescue Slender Man from his peril at the last moment; and if he could do that, he could get his help with whatever was going on now. At any rate, Palpatine was capable of inflicting pain through any number of methods, and Elf put nothing past him.
Too tired and irritated to think about it any more, the elf sprawled on her bed and drifted off to sleep.
The rest of that day was uneventful.
At night, Elf couldn't sleep. She 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. She also knew from researching since arriving on Tatooine, that Palpatine Sidious had cheated death many times through cloning and dark Sith magic. So whether or not he could actually be annihilated in one go this time or not was something she wasn't so sure of, though she would give it her best try.
She also looked up the suit and found that she was not told the truth about it. The scrubbing, properly known as debriding was not the problem, and Vader did have some grafts done. The problem was the needles the suit contained for monitoring vitals, and providing nutrients through the skin. This idea made her cringe, but since those needles were a permanent part of the suit, they couldn't have caused what happened that morning. It was also likely that at least some of the skin they were stuck into was synthetic.
Elf wasn't sure what actually happened in the medical center that morning, or if that was really Anakin Vader she heard in pain, but all she knew for sure was she never wanted to hear that sound ever again.