A Star Wars fanfiction written by Matt "Gahmah Raan" Mosher (not to be confused with a character in-story of the same name; he actually chose the alias after him).Shortly after the end of the war with the Yuuzhan Vong, the Galactic Alliance is struggling to rebuild the galaxy after all the damage the alien invaders had done. Now they are at war with a group known as the Valkoran Empire. Starting with a terrorist attack on the rebuilding planet Ithor, Jedi Knight Zolph Vaelor is already familiar with this group after an attack by them five years prior that left him orphaned. However, this group has a more dangerous goal in mind: the summoning of several ancient creatures - part of a group known as the Forceless Collective - that could bring an even darker age to the galaxy than the Vong did.This series started not as a fanfiction, but a series of concept art that began in 2006. It wasn't until early 2012 that Gahmah decided to actually write it as a full-out story. This in-progress trilogy features a main cast made mostly of original characters and concepts. Such characters include - but are not limited to - the protagonist Zolph Vaelor, a Jedi Knight who has put up with the weirder aspects of the universe he lives in; Maesterus - a Force user, one of the Valkoran leaders and most prominent antagonist in Episode I; and the Forceless Collective - a group of bizarre creatures that go against the nature of The Force and a much bigger threat than the Valkoran. As light-hearted as this series is - especially with aspects like a certain character who dies repeatedly as a Running Gag, an eccentric bounty hunter, a sadistic astromech droid, and its awareness of the general tropes of fiction and Star Wars universe - it's not afraid to get really dark at times, especially when the Collective gets involved.The trilogy has just started Episode II. It can be found on DeviantArt (where you can also find some of Gahmah's concept art for the trilogy, as well as cover art for individual chapters) and on FanFiction.net.Provides examples of:
Those who are possessed by Forceless are consciously aware of what their bodies are being used for and there is nothing they can do about it. The only ones who avoid this trope are those who serve the Collective willingly and those who have developed an immunity to their possession.
Private Will Helms almost suffers this when he gets eaten by a Sarlacc. He gets regurgitated (and killed again) not long after falling into its mouth. Unlike most examples in this story, this one is played for laughs.
This is what happens to those who are eaten by Valkor. They are put in a state between life and death, where they are stripped of their bodies and trapped in a void filled with millions of crystal-ball like eyes. Those eyes are the people he's eaten, the static sound is their feeble attempt at communication and most of them don't understand one another or even realize they are giant disembodied eyes.
Anti-Hero: Zolph Vaelor. He will only threaten or hurt people if they are damaging enough to deserve it (or if peaceful negotiations don't work), whether they are armed or not. Va'Za the Hutt learned this the hard way... twice. However, he doesn't do that enough to be slipping close to the Dark Side.
Anti-Villain: Most of the Valkoran, especially Maesterus and Dynn Manthis. They aren't interested in ruling the galaxy: they just want the galaxy to have a more efficient government. Unfortunately, they are also unwitting pawns in the Forceless Collective's plan to take over the galaxy. However, Maesterus seems to be on his way to a full Heel-Face Turn.
Armor Is Useless: Lampshaded by Zolph when he's wearing Valkoran Trooper armor. When he's fighting Gahmah Raan on Kratzar, he notices his armor getting sliced up by the bounty hunter's arm blades.
Gahmah Raan: "Some armor that is!"
Zolph Vaelor: "Yeah. Why do I get the feeling they never properly tested this armor?"
Dynn Manthis got one earlier after Zolph cut her right arm off on Tatooine. Except this is one is actually a Forceless symbiote and it eventually hijacks her body as part of the Collective's plan for killing Zolph.
Played for Laughs in R9-C4's case. She isn't as blatant as the above characters, but she tends to be sadistically creative when killing people outside the astromech socket. And she does this as a way of entertaining herself.
Archfiend Harphscor is about as psychotic as Belluzub.
Masochus deserves special mention, as he was considered insane by even Sith standards.
Bad Ass: Most characters qualify for different reasons.
Bad Boss: The Valkoran leaders mostly avert this trope, but Masochus plays this straight if Sergeant Will Helms is to be believed.
Belluzub also plays this straight. The first thing he does once summoned is eat and kill the acolytes who summoned him.
Gestroma in Episode II is like this to some of the Valkoran, despite being a mercenary working for them. Most notably during the Battle of Taris, he killed a Tuk'ata Fighter Tank's driver so he could use it for transportation after his Swoop bike was destroyed, and took one of the Skakoan Commandos aiding them hostage so he could use him as an unwitting suicide bomber later (when the Skakoan Commandos would only do such a thing on their own volition).
Batman Can Breathe in Space: Maesterus. Whether it's because of his armor (which can already protect him from lava) or Forceless mutations is unknown. It's most likely the latter considering he has exposed flesh (his wings and the spike bones).
Big Damn Heroes: Zolph is saved from being captured twice by Maesterus this way. The first time by Luke Skywalker, the second by Grein. Even he is aware of this trend of bailouts.
Big Damn Villains: Gahmah Raan pulls this off at least twice throughout Episode 1: Chapter 9 to prevent the other bounty hunters from killing Zolph.
Bittersweet Ending: Episode I. The Death Star Forge has been destroyed, Belluzub has been killed, Maesterus seems to be on his way to a Heel-Face Turn, and Zolph is to be awarded for his part at Krantisi. However, Zolph is now heartbroken from being forced to kill Dynn Manthis.
Body Horror: One of the main symptoms of Forceless possession. Aside from the red eyes and sometimes jet black skin, other mutations may include Extra Eyes(usually in places they shouldn't be), extra body parts (like wings for Maesterus), extra layers of skin, or rearranging your internal organs so you will be dependent on the Forceless symbiote for survival.
Forceless Archfiend Hydrojus is also capable of doing this to people since most living creatures are mostly made of water. From what a few Alliance soldiers witness, it isn't pretty.
Bounty Hunter: They are a nuisance for Zolph in Chapter 9 of Episode I. Most notable of these is Gahmah Raan.
Gestroma in Episode II. He's much more brutal than the ones in Episode 9.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Gahmah Raan is an unusually eccentric mercenary that is supposedly prone to Spice-induced hallucinations, but by the end of the arc he debuts in, he has killed almost all of his competitors, captured Menbar Mun, lured Zolph to Kratzar, and evenly matched him in a duel.
R9-C4. Despite her psychotictendencies, Zolph keeps her around around because she aids with his starfighter's systems, she can effectively fill in as the pilot when Zolph's on the ground, and Zolph's able to keep her from killing everyone. She can even fight outside the astromech socket.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A heroic example comes on Zolph's part when he encounters Cinydra, the older brother of an Archfiend he killed out of story. He doesn't remember his sister because he never heard her name before and fights a lot of Archfiends, until Cinydra name calls the planet he fought her on.
While not to the same extremes as Helms, Zolph Vaelor also qualifies. The galaxy doesn't seem to respect him enough. On a serious note, let's not even get into both the physical and psychological damage he receives over the course of the story.
Cool Starship: It has a few original ships considering it's mostly original content, but to name a few...
The Blazing Manta: a Corellian YT-3300 (basically in the same series as the Millennium Falcon) owned by Grein.
The Vriknash: Gahmah Raan's starship.
The Doomsayer: Maesterus's personal flagship and the largest ship in the Valkoran fleet.
Zolph Vaelor eventually gets his own before Episode II: a modified X-Wing with 6 wings.
The Corruption: Dynn Manthis goes through a case of this when her right arm gets replaced with what can be described as an arm-like Forceless symbiote. It gets worsefrom there, and eventually results in her death.
In fact, this could be the best way to describe the process of Forceless possession.
Cosmic Horror Story: It somewhat becomes this once the Forceless Collective enters the scene, although it's closer to Lovecraft Lite since the heroes don't usually have any problems defeating these things. However, they are still taken very seriously, and it's suggested they've already conquered several galaxies prior.
Invoked with Harphscor, who uses acid to melt his enemies beginning with their feet. However, he himself ends up on the receiving end of one, when Zolph transforms, cuts of his tail, then his wings, and telekinetically crushes his skull.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Luke Skywalker vs. Maesterus, round 2. Luke wins (and saves Zolph) by throwing Maesty through the academy walls, and this was not too long after the latter cut off the former's robotic hand previously.
Cyborg: Admiral Gravlek became one after the Battle of Ithor, due to barely surviving the Conqueror's crashlanding.
Dark Is Evil: Forceless Collective plays with this trope. Despite their dark and sometimes demonic appearance, Forceless (or more specifically, the Black Matter) aren't really on the light-dark spectrum of The Force. They're still evil, however.
Deconstruction Fic: For starters, this trilogy takes place only a few months after the end of New Jedi Order. The main protagonist - Zolph Vaelor, who is also just a little older than the average Kid Hero - is an Anti-Hero at worst. The main villains - the Valkoran - are mostly Well-Intentioned Extremists or Anti-Villains who think the Galactic Alliance will only make the galaxy worse place than it already is and whose supposed leader is a mostly light-sided Force User who allegedly dresses like a Sith Lord. The true villains of the story - the Forceless Collective - aren't strictly associated with the Dark Side of the Force, but rather, they are what can be described as dead spots in the Force, and are arguably just as much of a threat as the Sith, if not more so.
Demoted to Extra: The canon characters are pretty much on the sidelines (or name-dropped) in this story, although Luke Skywalker gets the most screentime out of all the canon characters thanks to his Mission Control status. Justified in that this story is mostly OC driven.
Eldritch Abomination: Forceless, or more specifically, the Black Matter and any creature (including the Warriors) made solely from it, in that they defy the nature of the living Force. According to Grein, what Force Sensitives feel from them is a perpetual Force Wound (i.e. what Obi-Wan felt when Alderaan was destroyed), and it's suggested that they are born from those wounds. In other words, they are basically dead spots in the Force. Some of the creatures they possess - especially some of the Archfiends - (and those willing to serve) may also qualify.
Elite Mooks: The Valkoran Black Guard. These guys are Maesterus's bodyguards and they can match Jedi in combat.
Enemy Mine: Zolph Vaelor forms one with Juganak to kill Archfiend Mandoculus.
Expy: Some of the Valkoran military units are based on pre-existing vehicles in the Star Wars universe.
Neur is an adorably optimistic Twi'lekgirl (although half-human). However, you notice those head-tails? Those are cybernetic. She had her real ones lobotomized as a child and those replacements are the only thing keeping her mentally stable. If they break or malfunction, her mentality regresses to that of a violentlyinsanechild.
Faux Affably Evil: Some of the more characterized Forceless and Archfiends can come off like this, especially Belluzub.
Fluffy the Terrible: Pipsqueak, an unusually-intelligent, cybernetically-modified Rancor that is stationed on the Doomsayer.
For the Evulz: Pretty much Belluzub's main motivation for everything he does.
Healing Factor: Grein can regenerate (or more accurately, reform) lost parts through her Force Liquefaction ability, but she needs to either reassimilate her lost body parts or some more water to make it effective (since that water is part of her body mass). In other words, she can still die by normal means, but just not as easily.
Gahmah Raan can also regenerate as long as the wounds aren't cauterized. Otherwise, he may scrape off the cauterizations.
Belluzub also has this. Of course, he can't regenerate from incineration.
Gahmah Raan is also when he's working with the heroes. The side text he and Seefor would get along just fine.
Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted with Maesterus at the end of Episode I. He seems to be playing this straight at first when he flies out of the Death Star Forge's with Belluzub and plummet dives with him towards a sun, but he just flies away once he gets the Archfiend close enough to guarantee his death.
Arcidus has not just any lightsaber, but one with a black blade (also referred to as a Darksaber and a stealth lightsaber).
Improvised Weapon: During the infiltration of the Doomsayer, Besh Squad member, Boltz - a Gand - used his own respiratory mask as an ammonia bomb when it got shot. Thankfully for him, this wasn't fatal, as he was actually a lungless Gand retaining his anonymity.
The Infiltration: Zolph pulls this twice in Episode I. Once on Kratzar and again on the Doomsayer. Too bad his disguise was seen through both times. Appropriately, the title of Chapter 12 is "Infiltration".
Does it again in the prologue of Episode II on Charros IV. Except this time, he got captured and was without his lightsaber until he ran into Arcidus.
Kill Sat: The "Death Star Forge". It's an ancient Rakatan space station and summoning site for Belluzub that looks like the child of the Death Star and the Star Forge.
Knight of Cerebus: The Forceless Collective. Zolph's encounter with them via Terraris on Tatooine doesn't do them justice, but the Sleheyron arc in Episode I (Chapter 5 and 6) pretty much exemplifies how ruthless they are. Another good example would be what they do in Chapter 13 of that same episode.
Valkor became one as soon as we was introduced in Episode II, and probably creepier than the entirety of the Forceless Collective.
Lack of Empathy: So far, the more willing servants of the Forceless Collective. They have no problem robbing sentient beings of their free will, torturing the people they possess, or resorting to psychological warfare. Notable examples include Dynn's demonic arm and Belluzub.
Never Live It Down: In-universe. Almost everyone seems intent on reminding Zolph about the incident where he lost the body of a YT-series freighter while flying it. Even worse, it has become something of a meme for the galaxy as a whole.
No OSHA Compliance: Apparently, the Valkoran ship interior designers are guilty of this too, especially with the Obliterator-class Star Destroyer having corridors that lead right into the plasma cannon's firing tunnel. Naturally lampshaded by Zolph.
Chapter 7 of Episode I also takes the opportunity to mock the Galactic Empire's problems with this trope in Darth Vader's castle.
Private Will Helms:(as he loses balance and falls to his death again) Careful with physical contact! There aren't any guardraiiiiilllllls!
Zolph:(after witnessing Helms' death) By the Force! I'm really beginning to feel bad for the poor souls who worked here.
Zolph gets in on this in "The Return", where he his inherited Forceless immunity (which develops with every generation) can be used to convert Black Matter into Force energy and temporarily transform him into a creature with incredible power. Unfortunately, if he's feeling strongly emotional when he's channeling this power, he will goberserk.
Our Zombies Are Different: Lampshaded by Zolph when he learns of the Zombie Apocalypse on Guaymar and asks if they are viral or supernatural zombies, even going so far as to mention that he learned this from horror films in-universe.
Psycho for Hire: Belluzub voluntarily joined the Forceless Collective just so he could kill more people.
Gestroma. He almost always kills his targets (especially if they're human), he's willing to use Skakoans as bombs, and threatens to mount Zolph's head on his wall.
Psychological Horror: Zolph's experiences with the mutated Dynn Manthis and psychotic apparitions of her after her death come off as this.
Psychopathic Manchild: R9-C4 is a non-villainous example. Through her beeping that can be interpreted as faux mathematical equations, she will sometimes make a mischievous giggle out of them when she's about to cause some mayhem. Zolph also has to make sure she won't kill everyone. She also has a habit giving people descriptively derogatory names upon meeting them for the first time. She's more of a thrill-seeker than anything, but some of her ideas of fun include killing people in creatively sadistic ways.
While far from Ax-Crazy, Gahmah Raan can be violently childish when the people he's talking to ignore him, sometimes (non-fatally) shooting at them or barely missing to get their attention. And that's aside from his general eccentricity. He also cracks jokes when he's killing people sometimes. Still, he's relatively tame compared to most examples of this trope.
Mandoculus isn't really psychopathic, but it's being bullied into fighting the Collective's foes out of fear of possession and it can't speak properly.
Neur, usually a cheerful Genki Girl, is this as a result of an abusive upbringing under the Nightsisters' wing. The psychopathic part really shows when her cybernetic head-tails malfunction.
Purple Eyes: Grein, of the monochromatic variety, and this is one of her key physical traits. She is an anomaly in that her species, the Chiss, usually have red eyes. The in-universe reason for this trait has yet to be revealed. Out of universe, this was specifically to avert the Red Eyes, Take Warning trope since Forceless have red eyes already (and that the mostnotable of Chiss have been portrayed as villainous or working with villains).
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Zolph goes through a rather disturbing one against the Valkoran after being forced to fatally wound Dynn Manthis (who had been hijacked by a Forceless symbiote). Grein eventually talks him out of it.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: The most recurring symptom of Forceless possession, complete glowing cores that make them look like crystal balls. Word of Gahmah says that Grein (a Chiss) had her eye color changed to purple specifically to avoid this trope (that and Gahmah wanted her to be distinctive from other Chiss).
Samus Is a Girl: It takes Zolph three months to realize that R9-C4 actually has feminine programming.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Forceless Archfiends. Subverted in that the "cans" are actually just hypergates for them to travel from galaxy to galaxy, and each Archfiend is at different parts of the universe.
More on that last one: If you read the chapters when they were first posted on Deviant Art (or check the posting dates if you didn't see it the first time around), it was about three weeks between chapters. Therefore, Gahmah is also taking potshots at the author's lack of a set-in-stone schedule. Also taking into account that the author derived his pen name (and frequent online alias) from this character, it makes this even more hilarious.
Shapeshifter Baggage: Averted with Grein's Force Liquefaction. Losing some of the water formed from her body also takes from some of her physical mass, hence why she has to reassimilate her body parts (or some extra water if that's not possible) if she loses them.
She Is Not My Girlfriend: Zolph tends to have this reaction when Grein assumes he and Dynn were in a relationship. At least, that was the case before Dynn's death.
Shipper on Deck: Grein of all people does this with Zolph and Dynn after the former explains their history.
Some of the bounty hunters in Chapter 9 of Episode I qualify, especially the Skakoan, Bom Pintor. He didn't think any of the competing hunters would dare shoot himlest they vaporize Zolph in the process. Gahmah Raan certainly did, and Zolph just contained the explosion. Oh, and to add insult to injury, Episode II confirmed him to be a former Skakoan Commando.
Dynn's Forceless Arm and Belluzub.
Starfish Alien: There are a lot of these to be found in the Forceless Collective.
Suicide Attack: The Skakoan Commandos are unusually courageous for their species in that not only are they willing to fight for whatever cause despite being at a majorbiological disadvantage off of their homeworld, they are willing to breach their pressure suits to self-destruct when they deem necessary (or for pulling a Taking You with Me ). Their enemies need to be wary of this when disposing of them. Also, they do not take being forced to be suicide bombers very well.
The Symbiote: Forceless are like this when possessing people, and can come in both the Mutualism and Parasitism variations. Mutualism if the host serves the Collective willingly, but Parasitism if the host doesn't.
Episode I - Chapter 9 "Hunters": Zolph's experience with most of the people he guards kicking the bucket is one towardsEscort Missions in video games.
Episode II - Chapter 4 "The Damaged": When Zolph is thinking of ways to distract himself from the Dark Side's influence on Korriban, one of those he thinks of is the sand. And to make it even more hilarious, Luke Skywalker was talking with his father's ghost when Zolph brought it up, and Anakin is not amused by that.
Episode II - Chapter 7 "The Return": When Zolph mispronounces Kashyyyk as "Kazook", Hiriss slaps him for it and tells him to do that on planet. Even better, The Holiday Special has an in-universe counterpart as an old Imperial propaganda film. Another Take That towards the special happens when Attichitcuk is described as being not as horrifying as the costumes made him out to be.
Episode II - Chapter 8 "The Enforcer": To the midi-chlorian concept and the general controversy of them. When Mursama is seen trying to train some of the Kur'Ada warriors to use the Force, they attempt to complain that their shortage of midi-chlorians makes them incapable of using the Force. Mursama then tells them that their counts don't really matter, that they are a mere biological indicator that isn't always accurate and that all living things can potentially use the Force.
The Unfought: Forceless Archfiend Cryosmn. As far as we know, it is the only Archfiend Zolph has prevented from being summoned.
Villainous Breakdown: Belluzub goes through this twice. First, when Zolph trapped him in a force field to be blown up with the Death Star Forge after failing to play The Corrupter. The second time, when Maesterus kills him.
Was Once a Man: Machinus is a combat droid that used to be a Natoulan Jedi.