Indeed! I really want to shine a light on the Jedi Masters who are seasoned and never get the action they deserve. OOC: I know! Another chapter but I'm on a roll. This one is kind of slow and it will take me a bit to build up to the action but I feel this was necessary. I'm still working on juggling so many characters in a chapter so sorry if things seem a bit jarring! I'm working on it. Chapter 6Jaina was so excited that her hands were practically shaking. She honestly hadn't seen this coming. She had hoped and she had prayed but she had assumed she'd be passed over for this mission. Her Uncle Luke knew she was a capable pilot but he viewed her as an apprentice. As a result it often meant she was supposed to stay on Yavin IV and do as she was told. Yet this time she was having more freedom. She wasn't running around with Tenel Ka and Zekk on junior jedi knight missions. This time she was working towards a legitimate goal with an important objective. She'd work extra hard not to dissappoint Luke or the order. She couldn't afford to. "You know, I get the feeling this room will be just as messy even if you are packing all your things." Jaina turned over her shoulder and smiled at the presence of her Aunt Mara. Sometimes she felt like Mara understood her in ways that her Uncle never could. Maybe it was because the woman had faced trials and tribulations that Luke hadn't had to. Or maybe it was because she was a woman and a Jedi. Either way Mara would be one of the people that Jaina missed the most. She wasn't sure how long she'd be running around in Chiss space but she'd feel better if Mara was with her. "You sure you can't come along? I hear that someone might be needed to keep Master Durron in check." Jaina stood to her feet as she grabbed her duffel bag and plunked it on her bed. "I'm sure General Farlander can keep him in check. You haven't met him but he was one of the pilots that flew with Luke during the attack on the first Death Star. He saved his life." Mara sat down on Jaina's bed and gestured for her to sit down next to her. "He'll be expecting great things from you and I'm sure you'll deliver." Jaina smiled. "It seems like everyone knows Uncle Luke." Mara laughed. "It does seem that way." Jaina chewed on her thumbnail before she decided to ask the question that had been on her mind. "Why are you going to Kashyyyk?" There were several opinions that had been bouncing around for the past three days. Some said that it was a vacation. Others claimed that there was a Dark Jedi in hiding. Jaina wasn't sure what it was. All she knew was that the likelihood of finding a Jedi Conclave on a planet as large as Kashyyyk would be difficult. Jaina also knew that the likelihood of Mara being upfront about it was slim. The woman had yet to rid herself of all her traits from her life as a spy. "Well...the reasons Luke said. Anakin and the other trainees are going to be constructing their lightsabers there." Mara paused. "I also think my real family might be there and there's a chance that my father or mother might have been a Jedi. Tionne is combing through the Jedi Archives to try and find any biological matches. I'll know for sure in a few days." "Right." Jaina was a bit stunned. As far as she knew Mara had never had any family. She had been a loner. Someone who had been tricked into working for Palpatine and then had found herself fighting on the right side. The fact that she'd finally learn her legacy was good news. She smiled. "I hope you find what you're looking for." Mara nodded. "Me too. Anyway, I've got a gift and a message for you." Jaina sat up a little straighter at the word gift. "First off, your family wants to send you off in Hangar B as soon as you finish packing. You'll be flying one of your Uncle's older X-Wing models." Jaina nodded. She had seen that coming. Her parents had promised that they'd look into buying her a ship when she turned 17. Unfortunately that wasn't for several months. "Secondly;" Mara turned and snapped her fingers. Jaina heard a whistling and beeping sound and seconds later a shiny white and green astromech whirled into the room. "You'll need this to help you fly." Jaina jumped to her feet and shrieked in surprise. "Aunt Mara! He's perfect!" Somehow she already knew this droid was a he. "Wait..." She bent down by it and checked its markings. "This is a R9 unit. They're only made for the newer X-Wing models." "Well Luke's older X-Wing has been retrofitted to fit the R9 model." Mara continued after a beat of hesitation. "Anyway, feel free to name him. He's yours for the keeping. Even when you get back. That means you can modify him, sell him, use him for scrap parts. It's up to. You deserve it kiddo." Jaina grinned. "I'd never sell him. I think I will take a hydrospanner to him though." The droid beeped indignantly. "Anyway, I really couldn't sense him in The Force and I didn't sense that you'd have a surprise for me either. So I'll call him Sneaker...or Sneaky. Tricky little bugger." Mara nodded and stood to her feet. "Jaina." The brunette Jedi Apprentice stood to her feet. "Your the daughter I never had. Or at least I like to think so. Which means you have some of my traits. You're opinionated, headstrong and you never give up. Use these traits during your mission. Just be sure to balance it with the traits of your mother. Something tells me you'll need her skills if diplomacy and leadership more than you'll need mine." Jaina nodded. "And lastly...." Mara dug into her pocket and pulled out a small cubed device. "This is a holocron to record your experiences on." She tossed it at Jaina and she caught it. "Now, get out of here or you'll be late. I'll miss you." Mara stepped towards Jaina and embraced her. Jaina smiled one last time as she picked up her duffle bag and helmet before she left the room. As she did she had an odd feeling that she wouldn't be seeing her Aunt for a very long time. --- "You think she'll like it?" Zekk sat on the starboard wing of the brand new StealthX fighter as Anakin fiddled with the cockpit. "Of course she'll like it. She's my sister. I know what she likes." Anakin defended himself as he began to configure the nav-computer. Jaina was smart as a whip but she hated doing the hyperspace calculations. Anakin knew that the R9 unit Mara had purchased for her would be able to handle them fine but he wanted to leave his own mark on the ship. "I'm just configuring the nav-computer and adding a bunch of locations so she won't always have to plot a course." He was also going leave quite a few pranks in the X-Wing. Nothing too life-threatening. He had programmed the Stealth X to play jarring music by an awful pop mustic star that Jaina had proclaimed her of hatred of multiple times. There was also the fact that he'd slipped a stink bomb in her ship to go off when it first took off to hyperspace. Little things like that. "Alright, kids! Get out of her starfighter. Anakin, get rid of whatever you put under her seat. Zekk, quite frankly I'm uncomfortable with you being here. You're not quite what I call family." Han Solo marched into the room, C-3PO on his heels. "I know sir, but I'd really like to see Jaina off. I know I won't be seeing her for awhile." "Fine. No hugging. No kissing. Not even a hand shake. Just stand on the other side of the hangar bay and smile." Anakin pulled himself out of the fighter and jumped to the ground. He bent his knees to ignore the jarring landing on the ground. "C'mon dad." He said, giving his dad a pointed look. Han glanced at Zekk and then Anakin. "Fine." He growled. "Four second hug, no kiss. I've got my eye on you mister." Han tapped the blaster on his thigh. Zekk nodded as he too jumped off the wing of the X-Wing. "Yes sir." "You finish tying up her nav-computer?" Han questioned Anakin as he stepped towards the ship. "Your mother chose well. She has a real eye for ships. I wish Chewie was here...he'd know how to modify her 'till she was the best fighter in the squadron." He eyed Anakin. "I'm sure you did as a good job, son. Just so happens that you can't beat a Wookiee." He grinned as he rubbed Anakin's hair. Anakin chose not to take offense. Chewbacca was on Kashyyyk with his family and had been so for the past six months. Han had let him go but lately Han was so antsy to get back to his friend that he brought him up in every conversation. "Where's your older brother?" "He's packing and talking with Uncle Luke. He'll be back here soon." Han nodded. "Good, good." Almost as soon as he said that Leia and Jacen entered the hangar bay. Leia looked as beautiful as ever even thought she was dressed simplistically. She wore khaki pants and a white shirt. Her long hair was pulled into a tight braid. "Just got back from a work out?" He questioned. Leia nodded. "Luke challenged me to a run. It turned out to be another sneaky propisition to convince me to take some time off to train as a Jedi. Now I know how Mara feels." "Can't blame him, honey. You have just as much as power as he does. You just don't know it yet. I'm suprised he hasn't tried to convince you not to be a Jedi." Han retorted with a chuckle. "Luke isn't power hungry. Or maybe he's been hoping that if he keeps pestering me about it so I won't want to do it." Leia winked at him as she finally reached Han and quickly embraced him. Anakin grinned and motioned at Jacen to join them near the StealthX fighter. "Where is she?" He questioned, referring to Jaina. Jacen shrugged. "On her way now. She'll be here any minute. I can only stay for a few minutes though. I still have to talk with Master Skywalker before we leave." "Good luck." Zekk said solemnly. "It figures that you're the one who gets all the good missions." "I never asked for it." Jacen said with a shrug. "I don't know why he's sending me all the way across the galaxy for something like this. Uncle Luke knows that I'm not sure about my future here at the Academy." "Well, maybe he's trying to convince you otherwise. We all know you're going to become a great and famous Jedi Master. You just have to work out your own little quirks first." Anakin said with a grin. "I have to say, we may disagree on the purpose of the Jedi but I am going to miss you and our arguments. You always keep me on my feet." Anakin knew that he couldn't have beat Valin in that duel if it wasn't for his constant sessions with his older brother. "Besides, Master Katarn knows a thing or two about the purpose of the Jedi. He can set you straight." Zekk said as Leia and Han approached them. "Look alive, people!" Han snapped as they gathered around the Stealth X. Jacen nodded towards the hangar bay. "3...2....1" The door to the hangary bay slid open and Jaina followed through it. She held two dufflebags and a helmet under her arms as a R9 dorid followed her. "Hey, I was told to-" She paused as she looked at her immediately family (and Zekk). They were all standing on front of an X-Wing. A brand new Stealth X. "Whose is that?" She questioned slowly. Jacen grinned, Anakin grinned bigger and Han shook his head. "Whose do you think it is? You really think I'd let my daughter fly a second-rate fighter on a mission like this?" Jaina dropped her dufflebag and her helmet struck the floor. It rolled slowly towards the ground and stopped at Zekk's feet. "Holy...wow. Oh wow...This is great!" Jaina sprinted towards her dad and engulfed him in a hug. "Thanks daddy! Thanks so much!" Her other family surrounded her and patted her on the back and gave them her congratulations. "We know that you have to leave in a few hours, Jaina." Leia said. "So we figured you could give this ship a test a run before reporting to Hangar Bay D where the Dozen are. There you'll meet General Farlander. He's one of your father's oldest friends." Han nodded. "I flew with the guy at the Battle of Yavin. He's good stuff. Listen to what he says, follow his orders and he'll use you as best he can." "Good luck, Jaina. Zekk and I retrofitted the ship a bit for you." Anakin said as he hugged Jaina. "Happy flying." Jaina grinned widely. "This is the best...best thing you guys could do!" She hugged Leia and then Jacen. Then she turned to her two brothers. "You guys be safe while I'm gone. We'll all be separated which means no arguments...thank the Force for that." She grinned again. "I'll see you on the other side." She turned towards Zekk and Leia subtly grabbed Han's arm and slowly pulled him away from the fighter. Han scowled but followed. Anakin showed no signs of leaving either so Jacen too grabbed him by the arms and pulled him away. "Have fun with all your adventures and stuff, I suppose." Zekk said, trying to act as if this didn't bother him. "I will. And don't worry, your time will come. The galaxy isn't a safe place and your bound to get involved in some adventure or other soon enough." Jaina stepped towards Zekk and hugged him. "I'll miss you." "I know." Zekk smiled and stepped back. For a moment they stared at each other before he stepped forward and kissed her, not caring that her father was there. Jaina returned the kiss before stepping back. "More when I get back." She said with a smile. "Knock it off!" Han yelled as Jacen and Anakin whistled and cat-called from the other side of the hangar bay. "I'll see you on the other side." Zekk said with a grin as he backed away from Jaina. "May the Force be with you." Jaina echoed the same phrase before Zekk turned and left the hangar bay. The remainder of the Solo Family said their goodbyes before Jaina used The Force to get Sneaker into his position on the X-Wing. As she jumped into her X-Wing and turned on the ship she suddenly grimaced as a sudden nauseating smell floated through the cockpit. "What the kriff is that?" --- Jacen held one dufflebag in his hands as he calmly waited for Master Katarn and Master Skywalker to arrive. They were talking about the last few details of this mystery mission he was supposed to be going on. He wasn't entirely sure what it was going to be about but he knew that it had to with some sort of dark side artifact. Uncle Luke hadn't told him but he had pieced together the clues by himself. He had the feeling that they wanted him to. He was fine with going on the mission. Anakin had been right. He did want to be a Jedi. He just felt that they needed to restructure how the Jedi Order was run. He agreed with his Uncle about a Jedi Council and organizing the Jedi more. He just felt that it needed to be done far more quickly and without fear of "adjustment issues". Anakin and Jaina were both more concerned with the glory and adventure. Jacen was fine with that. He liked adventures. But he knew that if he were to become a Jedi Knight he needed to grow out of his mindset of looking for the next thrill or mystery. He was hoping that this mission would give him the direction and purpose he needed. He had the feeling that Uncle Luke had sent him on this mission to show him exactly how the Jedi operated. He had the feeling that skirmishes he had been involved in were child's play compared to this. He was just glad he hadn't been paired off with Durron. Jacen had worked with Master Katarn in the past. The man was gruff, cynical and a bit rough around the edges. But he had experience that rivaled Master Skywalker and he had the feeling that he'd learn more about his purpose with him. As Jacen leaned against one of the landing ruts on the Raven Claw he sensed the presence of Master Skywalker and Katarn. He straightened to his feet and picked up his dufflebag as Kyle and Luke entered. "Hey, kid? Did I keep you waiting?" Master Katarn pointed out the Raven Claw and the landing ramp tot he ship descended to the ground. "Not really." He said with a shrug. "Ready to pull off?" "Yeah. I'll get he primed and ready. You two have your heart to heart." Kyle gestured towards Luke before he walked up the ramp. Jacen grinned as he turned to his Uncle. "He certainly has a way with words." "I figured you'd want to work with someone who gets to the point. According to Mara I ramble more than I should." "That you do." Jacen said and they both laughed. "You really think I can handle something like this?" Luke nodded and placed a hand on Jacen's shoulder. "It's time for you to learn what it's like to be a true Jedi. Jaina is going to Chiss Space because it plays to her skills as a guardian. Someone meant to protect and defend. I'm sending you on this investigative mission because you have an open mind and the intelligence necessary to comprehend the impossible. It's time to get you on a mission that utilizes your skills. I feel like you're so restless because you haven't found the proper way to apply your unique view on The Force. Now is your time. Master Katarn felt the way you did once." Jacen nodded. "I won't let you down, Uncle Luke." He grinned. "I know you won't. Now I suggest you get up there. I can feel him getting antsy." Luke pulled Jacen into a hug before stepping back. "May the Force be with you, nephew." "And with you." Jacen replied as he nodded his head at his Uncle. He then turned and ascended the ramp. As Jacen began to walk up the ramp it ascended behind him. He soon found himself standing in the hallway of the advanced ship. He closed the door behind him and turned, heading towards his cabin. He had already had a tour of the ship and as a result knew where he needed to be. Jacen sighed as he tossed his bag on his bed and clipped his lightsaber to his belt. His reunion with Tenel Ka had been short. He hadn't exactly had the fond farewell that Jaina had with Zekk. Their relationship had never really taken the next step. Not that it mattered. Jacen wasn't supposed to have attachments. He was a Jedi. The teenager turned and left the cabin, heading towards the cockpit of the ship. There he found Kyle Katarn manipulating the controls of the Raven Claw. The ship was already taking off. It looked as if the Battlemaster had been in a particular hurry to leave. Jacen dropped down in the seat next to him. "We're certainly blasting off in a hurry." He commented with a grin. "Sorry, kid. I haven't been on a good mission in years. Training you youngsters can be a bit boring after awhile. To be perfectly honest." He glanced at Jacen before scratching his beard. "Anyway, it looks as if your my one-on-one apprentice now. I wouldn't worry about anything too big. For now we're going to gun it to our destination." "Next destination?" "Helska IV. There are a few people there who specialize in archaeological items. I want to know a non-Force User's opinion on our little artifact first. Until then we don't touch it. Got me?" He turned to Jacen and Jacen reluctantly nodded. Kyle laughed and shook his head. "You probably heard that as "touch it". I should know better than to tell a Solo Kid to stay away from something intriguing." "You should." Jacen agreed with a smile before he turned his attention to the viewport of the ship. Their conversation ceased as the two of them soon became involved in their own thoughts, wondering what dangers that tassle held for them in the future.