03:860 ABY
Coruscant (Before the Flight)

Since I cannot always be at the apartment to watch over Miri, and because she is past due to start school, I purchased a droid, a DV-6 unit, to serve as her caretaker and tutor. Initially she adapted to the change and accepted the droid with no problems. But earlier today she suddenly lashed out at Deevee, blasting it against a wall with the Force and then storming off to her bedroom.

Deevee reported the incident to me when I came home that evening, and I immediately confronted Miri. She burst into tears and begged me not to leave her alone with Deevee anymore. I tried to explain things in the simplest terms, telling her that I had to work and that she couldn’t be left at home all by herself, but she wasn’t having it and continued to cry and blubber.

Then, to my surprise, Miri attempted to bargain with me for her mother’s life, arguing that if I could come back from the dead, Bithia should be able to as well. I am not sure how she got the idea into her head that I have power over life and death, but I suspect a misunderstanding of the Netherworld Incident and my part in it is at fault. I should have simply explained that Bithia is dead and cannot be brought back, but a strange mood came over me and I couldn’t bring myself to speak. I didn't want to hurt Miri. I couldn't bear seeing her grieve. In the end, I could only offer her comforting words and gestures. I put the child back to bed and lay beside her until she was able to fall asleep.

This sort of thing is becoming more frequent. Even though we were only reunited a few months ago, Miri has already bonded with me. She has little interest in anyone else and always wants to be at my side. I am finding it increasingly difficult to unattach her from my hip, so to speak.

I’m convinced this wouldn’t be the case if Nimdok’s spirit weren’t a constant presence, lingering at the back of my mind and subtly influencing me.

No, I had no problems like this before the possession. Even though I wore Nimdok’s appearance, background, and affectations as a mask, I was most definitely not him in any literal sense of the word. I couldn’t replicate all the subtle nuances of his personality no matter how hard I tried. That was why I chose to depart his homeworld and sever all connections with those who might seek to reconnect with the “resurrected” Nimdok, using the excuse of amnesia to explain away all questions and accusations. The reunion with Miri was an unexpected wrench in the cogs, but for the most part it seemed to be working out all right (my idiotic attempt to smuggle her into the Netherworld with me notwithstanding). She was too young to remember what exactly her father was like before he died, so she couldn’t tell the difference between him and me. And I cared enough about her that I was willing to be a father to her, even though I didn’t sign up for it.

But the Netherworld Incident changed all that. Now there are times where I can’t even tell the difference between Nimdok’s feelings and my own. His thoughts are distinct from mine, but the emotions slip through unnoticed. Granted, I chose Nimdok based on his temperament and interests, believing they would be similar enough to my own that I wouldn’t have to act too much. The character I played was partly a continuation of him, and partly my own invention. In some ways, I suppose it was all me and none of him. Perhaps now it is all him and none of me. I don’t know anymore.

It would certainly explain why I was so intensely reluctant to upset Miri. But these thoughts and feelings, no matter how vague or fleeting, alarm me. Not just because I feel as if I am losing myself in this reconstructed identity, but because I sense it doesn’t stem from a selfless desire to protect a child's innocence.

What I am trying to say is, I promised Miri I would bring her mother back without thinking about what I was saying. Nimdok made me do it. At least, that is how I understand it—how I must understand these impulses, if I am to preserve my sanity. How exactly he intends to go about fulfilling this ludicrous promise, I have no idea. The ghost has been rummaging around in my memories all night looking for an answer.

As I continue to carry his spirit, live as him, raise his child in his stead, and proceed with the work that was once his, I wonder—will I eventually become Nimdok, utterly inseparable from what he was and what I will be?

There is no data available on this peculiar phenomenon, so I suppose I’ll just have to observe it for myself.

04:860 ABY
Bardotta (After the Flight)

Nimdok found his answer. Sifting through the library of my memories, he discovered Inanna as I remembered her. A beautiful, simple girl with beautiful, simple dreams. While I was desperate to break free, she was afraid to leave home. She and Nimdok share something in common there. The difference is, she did eventually gather her wits and venture out, seeking training with the Jedi on Coruscant. She didn’t succeed, but at least she tried. I wish she could see the small victories in her life instead of only the gaping failures.

But what a mess he and I made trying to get her back. His desperation and my disapproval; her shame and self-loathing. The Sith deciding to spring their trap was just pouring salt into the wounds we made upon ourselves.

She still doesn’t understand why I’m doing any of this. I watched her frown when I asked her to only call me Nimdok, and the lines in her brow only deepened as I tried to explain the possession. To be fair, trying to explain it to anyone poses a significant challenge. What I wish she would understand is that the person I was, the man she knew, was entirely self-serving. She should be glad he has all but ceased to exist, not mourning his passing and longing for the past.

Arimanes chose Nimdok because he was nobody. A Near-Human of uncertain descent, the sole offspring of alien immigrants who were already long dead by the time the professor met his end. The renowned education system of Alderaan spun its beguiling web around him, carrying him spellbound through primary and secondary school, then years of college until he had obtained a doctorate and could come full circle as a professor. He was that rare bird—a teacher who genuinely loves to teach. But his love affair with academia was one-sided; his peers were constantly on the verge of shutting him out, disturbed by his restlessness, his eccentricities, his foolishness. They barred the publication of his unorthodox writings and scorned his attempts at leading research projects in areas yet unexplored. And those dreams he was rumored to have locked away in a drawer, fantasies of being an archaeologist and traveling the galaxy like a swashbuckling adventurer? They could never be realized by such a stiff-necked, book-bound, timid soul. He couldn’t even work up the courage to leave the planet.

His wife was a nameless orphan who, like him, would never leave the boundaries of her homeworld. Her youth was spent moving from home to home, fostered but never loved, until she came of age and was pushed out of the system. Searching for belonging, she found success bottling the scents of Alderaanian fruits and flowers and selling them to star-crossed lovers, sentimental spacers, and the mistresses whose business it is to make the lonely feel nostalgic. Perfumes can trigger memories, but they are usually artificial ones, and she could recall nothing worth remembering anyway. She met Nimdok by chance and married him because he amused her.

In the end their lives were brief and insignificant. They passed through to the Nether without leaving any tracks behind them. All that was left to mark their existence was a child doomed to grow up in the same orphanage which had once housed her mother, a child too young to remember her parents. They were people in the photographs she was allowed to bring with her during the solemn transition from the babysitter’s lap to the arms of the social worker, strangers whose faces had each contributed to her own features. But she could not recall what they sounded like, what they smelled like, how they acted or what they liked. She only sensed that they had loved her, and that they wished her well.

I chose Nimdok knowing she existed. She was, after all, their sole legacy. But I was about to use her deceased father's name and face to lead a very dangerous life. Better she had stayed at the orphanage, safe from harm and ignorant of me.

That was the kind of callous, cold reasoning I used to justify leaving Miri at the mercy of the winds of fate while I went around exploiting her father’s name and reputation. I didn’t think about what could happen to her if someone realized I wasn’t really Nimdok, let alone what would happen if they discovered my true identity. I only thought of my goals, my dreams, my desires, and how I would be granted everything I ever hoped for courtesy of Nimdok’s name and property.

So consumed was I by my personal interests that I was completely blindsided when confronted by the very real peril I had placed her in. She was abducted from the orphanage by people who were angry with me. She was experimented on and given Force sensitivity in a parody of my experiences. All this was done to send me a message, to make me suffer.

But that’s just it. It didn’t work. I felt no regret, no guilt, no penitence over what happened to her. Or if I did, it was nothing worth writing about. I put up a front of arrogant superiority and even viewed her trauma as a chance at adding a bright new star to the constellation of legendary Jedi. She would be trained by the best Master I knew of, and more importantly she would be out of my hands as soon as she was old enough to hold a training lightsaber.

As difficult as it is to explain his possession of me, and as annoying as he can be at times, Nimdok’s ghost is the best thing that ever happened to me. Without him, I was vraa’botiin, sub-sentient. Lower than the worms who live only to consume.