The Force is life, as well as death, the two are as interconnected as anything else in the universe.
—Jedi Master Vandar Tokare
A Marine Went to Jedi Camp is a fan fiction novella written by Sean "Goodwood" Nash. The first edition was published to the Star Wars Fanon Wiki on May 26, 2010, with a second, extensively rewritten edition being released in the early hours of June 20 of that year. Set within the Tales from the Corps Series, it is preceded by Star Wars: Death and Life and succeeded by Star Wars: Saber Battalion. The novella's cover art, as with the art from the rest of the series, was created by Nash as well. The story was nominated for Featured work on August 5 2010, and was accepted on September 30, featured in October of that year.
The novella continues the adventures of Captain Laera Reyolé, a senior field officer who served with the Republic Marines for many years prior to and during the Mandalorian Wars. Set after her death at the height of that conflict and subsequent resurrection on the order of the Jedi Knights Revan and Malak, A Marine Went to Jedi Camp chronicles her training in the ways of the Force. Throughout the novella's first-person narrative, Reyolé contemplates her role as a former combat fatality, her own past history with the Marine Corps and the Jedi Order, as well as her place in the Galactic Republic as a whole.
The story begins with Laera Reyolé contemplating what to do as she witnesses the departure of Carth Onasi from Dantooine. In the wake of the revelation from Jedi Master Vrook Lamar that she is, in fact Force-sensitive, Reyolé tries to make sense of what this means for her, on top of her recent resurrection and the disappearance of Revan and Malak, those who ordered it carried out. Offered the chance to train as a Jedi, she struggles to reconcile her latent distrust of the Order. Pressured by the Commandant of the Marines himself, Vice Admiral Voskel Dun'vei, she reluctantly accepts.
Reyolé begins her training only to find that the one Jedi she trusted, Vima Sunrider, was in fact exiled for having participated in the Mandalorian Wars, despite her return to the Republic. Though she is outraged at first upon having learned this, she nevertheless carries on with her training under Master Lamar, who succeeds in opening her up to the Force. Reyolé, overcome with joy upon the experience, continues to train despite numerous setbacks and the unexpected consequences of her death. However, she finds solace in one of the younger apprentices, the Togruta girl Aewa.
After experiencing a repeat of the Force vision in which she witnessed the seeming disappearance of Revan and Malak's fleet, Reyolé finds herself suddenly opened up to the greater realms of the Force. She soon learns that she possesses a rare ability known as Sense Aura, which allows her to perceive the life-essence of sentient and nonsentient beings alike. The story then continues with Reyolé experimenting with various ways in which to combine her training as a Republic Marine with that of the Jedi. Eventually, she progresses to lightsaber training, and after defeating a succession of her fellow apprentices in mock duels, Reyolé takes on her own Master.
As a test of what she has learned, Reyolé is later sent to the Crystal Cave near the Sandral estate on Dantooine. Fully armored but unarmed, she braves the kinrath-infested cavern, intent on retrieving a focusing crystal for her first lightsaber. After the successful resolution of the mission, she begins the rituals for constructing her weapon; finally, after a month, she presents herself and her lightsaber for inspection by Master Lamar and the rest of the Dantooine Enclave Council. However, as the Masters pronounce her fully-trained, the news of Darth Revan's invasion of the Republic is announced. In the wake of the Sith ultimatum, Reyolé proclaims her resolve to fight this darkness in any way possible.
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Behind the scenes
A Marine Went to Jedi Camp was, at first, intended to be a simple bridge between the short story Star Wars: Death and Life and the novella Star Wars: Saber Battalion. The author, Sean "Goodwood" Nash, however, unhappy with the way it turned out, embarked upon a major rewrite that developed into a character study set during the Jedi training that the protagonist, Laera Reyolé, underwent between the two other stories. The story's original third-person perspective was swapped out for a first-person point of view, which allowed for greater exploration of character.
In undertaking his efforts to revamp the story, Nash drew inspiration from the novel I, Jedi by Michael A. Stackpole, as well as the computer and video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, The Sith Lords. Further character inspiration was derived from Mass Effect and its sequel, which were developed by BioWare along with the first Knights of the Old Republic game.
The setting for the story attempts to portray the Enclave on Dantooine, as well as the surrounding environs, as closely to canon as possible. Similar efforts were also undertaken in character portrayal, particularly in references to the major and minor characters that made appearances in Knights of the Old Republic. This is further emphasized in the novella's cover art, also by Nash, which is derived from an in-game screenshot of the Enclave's exterior.
Since its release, the story has received mostly positive reviews. Not long after it was first published, A Marine Went to Jedi Camp was reviewed by Star Wars Fanon Wiki administrator and author Brandon Rhea. Though he praised the initial work for its dialogue and action, he expressed a desire to see more put into the story, describing a need to "show, don't tell." This contributed greatly to Nash's desire to rewrite the work, which began not long after he read Knights of the Old Republic: Vanguard of the Republic by Jedi Master 76. It was this work's first-person perspective that inspired him to use I, Jedi as a guide.
After reading the rewritten novella, fellow fan fiction author Dalton Wylind praised the work, both for its characterization of the protagonist, Laera Reyolé, as well as the varying degrees with which the work ties into the original Knights of the Old Republic video game. He went on to express his approval of Nash's inclusion of Aewa, the young apprentice, and how he "experimented" with her concept. Wylind went on to criticize the novella for its sometimes "cheesy" dialogue; in addition, he was puzzled by Reyolé's reluctance to become a Jedi.
On August 5, 2010, A Marine Went to Jedi Camp was nominated for Featured work, where it was approved by the Archivists as well as the rest of the community on September 30, to appear on the Main Page in October of that year.