Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jedi_Lover, Nov 30, 2012.
Hehehe. I love Jaden and Talon. But they are in denial. Great chapter. I loved the length!
Again. Love it....Jacen is still..delightful in his paranoia...stunning him too many times does sound about right lol
I like Jaden and Talon.
@Jade_eyes for reading and taking the time to review. This chapter was tough. I was going to leave it as a cliffhanger but the ending left so many unanswered questions that I thought it would cause too much confusion. I did leave a lot of clues in the story leading up to the twist, but I guess nobody got them because I had a couple friends read my original chapter and they didn't get it. So I added part of the next chapter to explain. So it is not a cliffhanger this time. Thanks to
@EmeraldJediFire for giving me advice on the chapter.
Mark watched Mara Jade Skywalker’s ship, Jade Shadow, slowly land on the duracrete pad outside Karrde’s secret base. Mark gave a reminiscent smile as he recalled the day Luke gave Mara the ship as an engagement gift. It was during a Sweetheart’s Day party at the Manarai Restaurant on Coruscant.
The ship’s ramp lowered and Luke, Ben and Jaina Solo exited. Mark’s stomach fell as he saw Jaina unclip and activate her lightsaber. Luke motioned for her to turn it off. She gave him a scathing look, but obeyed.
Mark sighed as he put on his shoulder harness and set his pet ysalamiri on the leather carrier. He scratched the animal behind her head and talked to her in a soothing manner. "Hey Nibbles, we have company. Maybe with you on my shoulder they won't be too jumpy.”
He walked down the hall. “Jaden, Talon,” he called out to his sons. “Luke’s here with company. Try not to act Sithy.”
He heard his son Jaden chuckle in the room where Jacen was located. “Jacen’s under sedation. Do you want me to wake him up?”
“Yeah, they are going to want to talk to him,” Mark said as he moved to the front entrance and slowly opened the doors. He walked out a step, hands out to his side to let them know he was unarmed. “Luke, Ben,” there was a slight pause as Mark gazed into Jaina’s angry eyes. “And Jaina.”While keeping his hands visible he motioned with his head to the entrance. “Come on in. You’re probably looking for Jacen.”
“Damn right we’re looking for my brother,” Jaina shot back. “What did you do with him?”
Mark gave her a sad look. “I think I may have saved him.”
Jaina didn’t respond, just stalked by the man she once called ‘Uncle’ and into the building.
Luke and Ben came up to Mark and looked intently into his yellow eyes. Mark gave a sheepish smiled. “They’re still a little yellow. I think the energy I used saving Mara interacted with the natural pigmentation of my eyes and the dye I use to make them green. They’ll probably stay this way until they’re dyed green again. Don’t worry Luke, I haven’t gone Sith.”
Luke looked at him with unsure eyes, but then reached out and hugged him. “Thank you Mark for saving her.”
“I couldn’t let her die,” he said while returning the embrace. They eventually separated and Mark could see tears in Luke’s eyes. “Is she conscious yet, Luke?”
The Jedi Grand Master shook his head glumly. “She will probably wake up in a day or two.” He gazed at Mark questioningly “Ben couldn’t tell what you were doing with the Force because he was holding your ysalamiri. What happened?”
Mark ran his fingers nervously through his beard, his head down and pensive. “I um…I had to use a Sith resurrection technique…I had to draw on the dark side heavily to make it work.”
Luke put a hand on his old friend’s shoulder. “Mark, that was dangerous.”
“I know,” Mark fought to keep his voice steady. "I'm sorry. I had to do it…no matter what the cost."
Luke’s posture stiffened as he drew in a sharp breath. “Those were the words in my dream.”
Mark gave Luke a curious look. “What dream.”
Luke made a distracted gesture. “It doesn’t matter…just a misinterpreted vision.” He motioned his head in the direction of the building. “What does Jacen have to do with this?”
Mark frowned as they moved toward the doors. “He’s the one who killed Mara.”
“Mark how do you know that?” Luke asked as they entered the building.
Mark stopped and faced Luke. “Mara showed me through the Force. I asked her who attacked her and she sent me an image of Jacen,” he said softly.
Luke’s face grew tight. “Maybe she was trying to tell you something else. I can’t believe Jacen would hurt her. It must be Lumiya’s doing.”
“Speaking of Lumiya. I have something to show you.”
Mark turned to Ben. “Your cousin Jacen is down that way.” He pointed down the hall. “Can you make sure Jaina isn’t terrorizing my sons.”
“Sure,” Ben nodded and moved down the hallway where Jaina could be heard berating one of her cousins.
“This way,” Mark said as he gestured for Luke to follow. They moved down the vacant hall and into the room that held Lumiya’s remains.
Luke's brow rose in surprise upon seeing the Sith. “You killed her?”
Mark nodded. “Blaster trumps lightwhip on Myrkr.” He turned to Luke. “She said she came for her apprentice. She came for Jacen. She was to train him so he could become a Master of the Unify Force. He was to be the savior of the galaxy.”
“She could have been lying,” Luke pointed out. “It’s hard to sense if a person is being deceitful while on this planet. I just want to make sure you are not blaming the wrong man.”
“I’m not blaming the wrong man, trust me on this.”
A buzzing sound came from Luke’s robes. The Jedi reached into his pocket and pulled out a comlink and looked at the message. “There is a communication coming in to the Shadow.” Luke tapped in a code on the small pad. “I’ll patch it to the comlink.”
As Luke pushed one final button a Mon Calamari’s face showed up on the tiny view screen of the device. It was the Jedi healer Cilghal.
“Luke, Mara woke up for a few minutes, but she was so agitated that I had to sedate her again.” The healer’s gravely voice lowed before she continued. “She kept saying ‘Jacen is the one who attacked me’ over and over again.” The healer averted her eyes from the holocam. “I’m sorry Luke, I know that is not what you wanted to hear.”
Luke’s shoulders slumped as he leaned heavily against the wall. “No, it’s not. When Mara comes to tell her I will be back as soon as possible. Tell her we have Jacen with us.”
Luke turned off the comlink and ran a hand over his face. “I didn’t want to believe it.”
Mark reached out to Luke and gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “We’ll find a way of bringing him back.”
Luke sighed heavily. “I hope so.” He stood straight and squared his shoulders. He closed his eyes and took a couple deep calming breaths. “Let’s go see him.”
Mark nodded. “Sure,” He pointed down the hall. “This way,” he said as he led Luke down the hall where Jacen was located.
Jacen Solo slowly came out of sedation feeling worse than he had ever felt in his life. He had a throbbing headache, his jaw hurt and his throat was parched. Noises intruded at the edge of his mind making his head pulsate in pain. He heard the sound of voices; people were talking around him. He thought he could make out the voice of his sister, Jaina.
‘I can’t believe you are doing this to my brother, Jaden.’ Jaina’s voice was quivering in anger.
This was followed by Jacen’s cousin Jaden defending his actions. ‘I am just trying to keep him safe and comfortable until Uncle Luke arrives.’
Jacen opened his eyes slowly and blinked at the overhead light, his mind groping through the mental fog affecting his brain. He was lying on his back, that he knew, but he couldn’t remember where he was.
“Jacen? Are you alright,” Jaina asked.
Jacen turned to the sound of his sister’s voice and he could make out a blurry outline of his sister.
“I would step away Jaina. He becomes agitated when awake and he’s acting paranoid.” Jacen turned to the speaker. He saw a man standing next to the bed. Jacen blinked his eyes to focus. Finally he could make out the image of his cousin Jaden.
Jacen turned his head back to his sister. There was something important he had to tell Jaina, but his mind was muddled.
“He’ll be okay, Jaina.” It was the sound of Ben Skywalker’s voice. Jacen looked over and saw his cousin’s Ben and Talon leaning against a sidewall. He needed to tell Ben something important also, but what was it? He dropped his head back down on the bed and tried to think.
Two men then entered the room. Jacen recognized his Uncle Luke standing in his Jedi robes. The other man was huge and had an animal sitting on his shoulder.
Jacen’s eyes went wide when he remembered the warning he needed to give. “Watch out Luke! Mark’s Sith!” Jacen managed to croak out despite his dry and hoarse throat. “He brought you here so he could kill you. With everybody Force blind he would have the advantage. He’s going to shoot you!” Jacen pulled at his restraint again. He looked up and saw his sister. “He plans to kill you, Ben and Uncle Luke!” he yelled frantically. Jacen couldn’t understand why they didn’t trying to apprehend Mark. Why weren’t they listening to him. Something needed to be done before they all were killed.
“It’s okay, Jacen,” Jaina said in a soothing voice. She turned and looked at her Uncles standing at the entryway. “Uncuff him, Mark.”
Mark shook his head. “Jaina, you see how he is.”
“He’s that way because you have him chained up like an animal!” She leaned over her brother once again. “Calm down Jacen, we’re going to get you out of here.”
Jacen realized he still had one hand free. His uncle never re-secured it after he let him urinate. His eyes wandered to his sister’s blaster on her hip. He needed to take care of this threat. He would be damned if he was going to be used as bait for his family’s slaughter.
“Jaina, I wouldn’t get that close to him. He might…”
Jacen heard Mark’s voice call out as he made his move. Adrenalin coursed through his veins as he lunged toward his sister and quickly grabbed her blaster. He heard gasps within the room as he turned and pointed the weapon directly at Mark Tantiss. The large clone pushed Luke and Ben away from him. That was good…Jacen didn’t want to accidently shoot the wrong person. He took aim and with the blaster set to kill he shot at Mark at point blank range.
Jacen saw his uncle’s hand jerk up in a defensive manner. Jacen smiled knowing the ysalamiri on his shoulder would prevent him from performing Force deflection or absorption—a technique to defend against blaster fire without the use of a saber.
But then the impossible happened. The blaster shot hit Mark’s hand. The burning energy of the blaster glowed and spread around his wrist and down his arm before it harmlessly dissipated. Jacen’s jaw dropped in surprise. He aimed again intent on taking a second shot, when the blaster was suddenly jerked out of his grip by some unseen force.
He could only watch in disbelief as the blaster landed in Mark’s hand. “Why’d you have to do that Jacen?” His uncle asked as he turned Jaina’s blaster over in his hands inspecting it.
He looked up at Jacen and gave a wane smile. “You have been wrong about so many things…and one thing is your assumption that I can’t touch the Force.”
Mark raised the blaster and fired. Jacen could only watch in horror as the blaster bolt streaked toward him and impacted against his chest. His last image was his uncle’s yellow eyes staring down at him before his world went black.
Mark lowed the blaster and let out a relieved breath. “Stupid Sith,” he muttered under his breath before he looked around and realized everybody was staring at him in shock and horror.
“What?” Mark asked. “It’s on stun.” He pointed at the blaster setting. “I stunned him.”
Jaden was the first to come out of his stupor. “Shavit Dad, I told you to stop stunning him.”
“He had the blaster set to kill,” Mark defended himself. “I just stunned him. I don’t know why everybody is upset.”
“It’s not that,” Luke said slowly. “Mark, none of us can feel the Force. We’re surrounded by a forest filled with ysalamiri and you have one on your shoulder. How did you do, what you just did?”
“Oh, that.” Mark said with a discomfited chuckle while rubbing the back of his neck nervously. “Over the last few years the ysalamiri’s effect on me has slowly diminished.” He pointed to Jacen. “That’s how I knew Jacen was lying when he said he didn’t attack Mara.”
“I still don’t believe it,” Jaina defended her brother. “He would never hurt Aunt Mara.”
Luke looked at Jaina sadly. “It’s true Jaina. Mara woke up and confirmed it was Jacen who attacked her.”
The blood appeared to drain from her face and her legs went weak. Jaina slowly sat down on the floor and stared at her brother in disbelief.
Mark turned to Luke. “What should we do now?”
Luke frowned and gave a soft sigh. “Sedate and secure Jacen for now until we find out exactly what’s going on.”
Jaina was about to protest but Luke held up his hand stopping her. “Jaina, he’s already tried to kill two people. That is enough for a twenty-year term in prison. We may have to face the fact that something bad happened to him. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be redeemed.” Luke turned to Mark and guided him toward the door. “Come on, we need to talk.”
“Is that safe?” Jaina asked. “What if Jacen is right about him being Sith. Look at his eyes.”
Luke heaved a sigh. “Jaina, if Mark can utilize the Force on this planet…then he could have killed us seconds after we walked out of the Shadow.” Luke looked up at his overgrown clone. “Mark, walk with me. I really want to hear your explanation about you, the ysalamiri and the Force.”
So, now Mark is the most powerful force user, because nothing can cut him from it) Cool!
He still has his same abilities, but they are just not blocked by the ysalamiri. Take away those Force-Void lizards and most of the Jedi can beat Mark with a lightsaber. He's is in no way the strongest Jedi. In this story I would say it is Luke, Mara, Jaina, Talon, the Solo boys, Luke's other children, Mark and probably Jaden is near the bottom. He's a healer.
still, he is special. Maybe Luke and Jedi Council should think about this. It's like immunity for ysalamiri, and this idea is very interesting.
I read in Wookieepedia that after the Vong War Luke trained to overcome the effects of the ysalamiri. It didn't say if he was successful. I just figured there are probably no other Jedi that spent decades living with a ysalamiri. Since Mark's job at the Temple was physical training, he always had the ysalamiri around him. He didn't teach meditation or the lightsaber, because he is not very good at those skills. He is a reluctant Jedi.
Wow. Awesome chapter. I think if someone spent enough time around ysalamiri, they'd develope an immunity. I can't wait for the Luke-Mark talk.
Thanks! Some of the clues was in the gym when Mark whipped around and looked at Lumiya. Lumiya was freaking and saying, "He can sense me." Mark did sense something was wrong and familiar with her, but he just wasn't sure what it was at that time.
Kira's little speech to Mark when she told him that they both know him being on Myrkr wouldn't help him with his temper of purge him of the darkside. Kira knew he couldn't cut himself off from the Force, so it would be totally up to him to control himself.
Jaden snickered when his brother said they were all Force blind. Jaden suspected.
Mark tells Lumiya to heal herself and she looks at him like he's an idiot and says, "I would need the Force to do that." And Mark says something like, "Oh yeah, I forgot."
When Mark hands Ben his ysalamiri before he went to help Mara he simply says, "Here, hold this." He doesn't tell Ben to get the animal away from him.
While on the shuttle the darkside was still affecting Mark and scaring him (this is why he didn't cool down as quickly as SiouxFan thought he should. I just couldn't tell him that was the reason and spoil the surprise.)
When Lumiya says she killed Mara, he sensed deception, but when she said she was sorry, he knew she was truthful.
He probably sensed Jacen's confusion and surprise that Mara died, but Mara sending Mark the image of Jacen as the killer led Mark to discount those clues as Jacen's possible innocence or partial innocence.
I second Bri's comment in it's entirety. It's a cool concept that Jedi can develop immunity to ysalamiri.
Yes I think this turned out nicely after all--and I'm still eager for the next chapter. I love Mark's reaction at the end. It's priceless.
Caught up again on your updates. Real life can be a downer at times. Things are sure getting interesting, the whole thing with Mark and such. It looks like Jacen is in very hot water with his family and pretty much everyone else. Looking forward to your next one.
Welcome to unlawful imprisonment, a game the whole family can play. Still no one is asking WHY.
How much more has to happen before everyone realizes that Mark is pretty dangerous now?
@Demendora for reading. Mark likes to keep his secrets. If he ever went to a psychiatrist they would probably say he keeps things from Luke because he has clone issues. By not sharing everything with Luke he is reaffirming to himself that he is a separate entity. He asserts his independence by not telling Luke everything. Of course, that is all done on a subconscious level. I think that is why his family is the most important thing to him. It tells him he is a real person because he has a real family. Mark has some issues...but probably not more than most of us.
After Luke and Mark left the room Talon Tantiss gazed down at his unconscious cousin totally dumbfounded as to what had just transpired. He looked to Jaina, Ben and then to his brother Jaden. “What just happened?”
Jaden chuckled. “It seems Dad has another secret.”
Talon sat down on the corner of the bed somewhat dazed. “Dad and his secrets,” Talon muttered before he turned to his brother and eyed him suspiciously. “By the way, you didn’t look very surprised by his performance. Why is that?”
Jaden shrugged. “I suspected for quite a while. Or at least Mom suspected and told me.”
“If Dad was hiding this from everybody how would Mom know and not us?” Talon asked bewildered. “She’s not Force sensitive.”
“This is how I found out,” Jaden said with an amused smile. “A couple years ago, I was over at the house and Mom asked me to look at the ysalamiri, she thought they were sick.” Jaden smirked. “I guess she thought she sent me to veterinarian school. Why do people think doctors should know everything about animals? Or dentistry? Or psychiatry?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Talon moved his hand in a ‘hurry along’ gesture. “Get to the point.”
Jaden gave his brother an irritated glare, but continued. “I didn’t see anything wrong with Nibbles or her companion. So mom asked me to come down the hall near her room and see if their Force-void bubble reached that far. I said yes, that I couldn’t connect with the Force. Then she asks me to come into her and Dad’s bedchamber and asks me if I could feel the Force. I say ‘no’. Then she drags me to the Master bedroom ‘fresher and asks me again. Once again, I tell her I couldn’t feel the Force. She looked perplexed and said ‘That’s weird. Even with the ysalamiri, I think your dad can feel the Force around here.’”
Talon’s face screwed up in confusion. “Why would Mom think that?”
Jaden brought his hand up to hide a smile. “I asked her that and she turned bright red…and at that point I realized I didn’t want to know.”
“I don’t get it?”
Jaden rolled his eyes. “I didn’t want to ask our mother why she thought Dad could access the Force in the bedroom.”
Talon was still confused. “Why?”
“For Sithsake Talon,” Jaina yelled from where she sat on the floor. “Your dad could do Force-enhanced sex while the ysalimiri were in their quarters!”
Talon grimaced. “Oh gross…they are almost sixty, please tell me they don’t still do it.”
Ben shook his head. “They probably do, I know my parents do. I walked in on them.”
Talon cringed and gave a shudder. “I really didn’t need to know that.”
“Well, how do you think I feel?” Ben complained. “I have to be careful when I go into my own house.” He shook his head ruefully. “It’s not fair that they’re having more sex than us.”
Talon raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean ‘us’?”
Jaden chuckled. “Yeah, I think you are the only one having problems, Ben.”
“Of course being in your late twenties and still living with your parents probably doesn’t help matters,” Talon said followed by a snarky laugh. “And you can’t even sneak a girl into your room with two Force-strong parents in the apartment.”
“Funny guys,” Ben said as he moved toward the door. “I’m going to see if there is anything to eat around here.”
“Food sounds good.” Talon said as he followed his cousin out. “I’ll go with you.”
“I don’t know how you guys can eat after what happened.” Jaina said bitterly.
“It’s a coping mechanism for them, plus they’re always hungry.” Jaden explained. He looked over at Jaina who was still sitting on the floor her head buried in her hands. “Are you okay Jaina?”
“No,” she said softly her voice strained with emotion.
“It’ll be alright, Uncle Luke is here.” Jaden tried to reassure her. “He’ll know what to do. He’ll make everything better.”
She looked up at Jaden her eyes red and glistening with tears. “I hope so Jaden. I really hope so.”
Mark followed Luke down to the facility’s large dayroom where they found a lounge area and took seats facing each other.
Luke sat with his elbows on his knees and hands clasped under his chin. “So, tell me about the ysalamiri.”
Mark looked at him a little shamefaced. “It was so gradual that at first I didn’t know it was happening. I realized I could feel the Force slightly while Nibbles was with me.” He looked up to his pet that was still sitting calmly on his shoulder despite the recent firefight. “Nibbles is old… she’s probably older than me. I thought her ability to create a Force-Void bubble was decreasing with age.”
“But it wasn’t,” Luke encouraged him to continue.
“I noticed the students in the Temple still became Force blind in her presence, so I realized it must have been just me.”
“Do you know why?” Luke asked.
Mark pondered the question. “I don’t know. I think after twenty-five years of living with a ysalamiri the Force found a way to get to me.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about this? That would be an important skill to be taught.”
Mark shook his head. “How would you teach it? We don’t know why it’s occurring. I have a theory, though. I think it happened to me because I spent more time with ysalamiri than any Jedi probably in history. They are with me while I’m instructing in the gym and they come home with me at night. Talon and Jaden are still Force blind around them because their contact with the ysalamiri was limited. When they were young they were only exposed to the animals in the evenings or when they were working out in the gym. When the boys moved into the Temple bachelor quarters eight years ago they were rarely around ysalamiri at all. That’s why I think it takes decades of continuous, close proximity to build up immunity.” Mark ran a hand through his hair nervously. “As for why I didn’t say anything…I didn’t want anybody to know. I found it useful when raising my two hellions. They never understood how I always knew when they were up to something. Plus, I really didn’t want Mara to know.”
Luke sat back in his chair. “And why is that?”
Mark blushed. “Don’t you remember why you assigned me quarters as far away from your apartment as physically possible and let me keep the ysalamiri?”
Luke thought about it for a moment. “We wanted the ysalamiri away from the cadre quarters…right?”
Mark rolled his eyes. “Does the term Coruscanti Swirl bring back any memories?”
“Oh kriff!” Luke covered his eyes looking extremely uncomfortable. “Yeah, that’s right; it was because you could sometimes pick up on our thoughts and emotions when we were…um…having…when we were in a highly emotional state.” Luke shook his head. “I remember and I can see why you wouldn’t want her to find out.”
“I guess she’s going to find out now.”
Luke gave a grunt. “Is there anything else you are hiding from me?”
Mark thought about it for a while. “Yes, a lot of things, Palpatine things.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Things I don’t want to talk about.”
Luke let out an exasperated breath. “I should know what my Jedi are doing or capable of doing. I definitely should have been told you could heal the sick and resurrect the newly dead.”
Mark gave him a hard look. “Luke, that’s the LAST thing I wanted anybody to know. You have no idea what guilt I have been living with for decades.”
“What do you mean?”
Mark gave him an incredulous look. “Luke, I know the GA Military doesn’t debrief you with every detail of my missions, but you do know I’ve fought countless scrimmages and battles. Do you have any idea as to how many of my friends and comrades have died in my arms—men I personally pulled from the battlefield, injured and near death?
“Who do you think they send to retrieve soldiers pinned down in the kill zone? They send the guy who can deflect blaster fire with a lightsaber. I pull them out of danger and the medic would cauterize the wounds while I tried Jedi healing techniques that Cilghal taught me.” Mark’s jaw tightened as he tried to compose himself. “But not all men survived. Some perished in front on me, usually clutching a holo-locket or photo of their loved ones. Before they died, they would look up and using their last dying breath they’d ask me to give their family a message, ‘Tell my wife and kids I love them.’” Mark swallowed hard.
“I delivered dozens of messages like that, some over the HoloNet, but not all. I’ve had the great, but heartbreaking, honor of escorting the bodies of a few of my fallen comrades home. I got to look into the eyes of their grieving family members and give them that message in person. And as wives or mothers wept and leaned on me for support...my heart was wracked with overwhelming guilt. I knew I could have saved them, just like I saved Mara.” Mark had to stop and take a couple deep breaths to compose himself.
Mark gave Luke a pleading look. “I absolutely don’t want any of those families to know I was willing to make that dark side sacrifice to save my sister, but not their sons, husbands or brothers.” Mark ran his hand over his face in an effort to hide his tears. “If we can restrict that knowledge to our immediate family, I’d appreciate it.”
Luke looked shaken. “I’m sorry Mark. I never realized how difficult a decision that was for you.”
“Yeah, well…” Mark trailed off as an awkward silence fell between the two men.
Luke sat mutely for a moment before he cleared his throat and continued. “Please understand my position. You are a Jedi and I am the leader of the Order. You can’t decide what and what not to tell me when it comes to Jedi business.”
Mark gave him a steady gaze. “Maybe I’m not Jedi material.”
Luke shook his head. “Don’t say that. Your Jedi record is exceptional.”
“Luke, I just want you to know,” Mark said hesitantly, “I’m not comfortable with your call for Jedi allegiance—that I should put the Jedi above all else. I can’t do that. My priorities are my family, the Galactic Alliance and then the Jedi.” He paused. “If that’s not good enough for you…then maybe it is time for me to leave the Order.”
“Wait,” Luke said while making a gesture to stop. “How did we get on this subject?”
“Luke, I have been thinking about this for a while. Kira is getting tired of me spending days in a bacta tank. She knows that one day you will bring me home in a body bag.” He stood feeling very uncomfortable. “I’m not fit for duty right now anyway. I think I should take some time off at least.”
“Sit down,” Luke’s voice was firm letting him know it wasn’t a suggestion.
Mark frowned and sat down grudgingly.
“Emotions are high right now,” Luke started. “Let’s not make any major decisions. Let’s concentrate on what to do with Jacen.” Luke paused. “He tried to kill you and Mara. It’s a crime…what are you going to do?”
Mark sat back in his seat confused. “Are you asking me if I am going to press charges?”
“It’s within your right.”
Mark guffawed. “Luke, I rather not involve the GA Law Enforcement. When Jacen shot me he was genuinely fearful for your safety. Besides, my hands aren't exactly clean. I nearly beat Jacen to death and I have a dead woman at the end of the hall. When it comes to the law, you need to talk to Mara.”
“You’re right.” Luke sounded miserable and his face held the expression of a man who needed to make a decision between equally appalling options. “I also need to contact Han and Leia. We can’t make a decision on Jacen’s fate without their input.” Luke stood and walked to the exit. “When Jacen wakes up we’ll talk to him and see what we are dealing with.”
Disclosure time can be so hard. Can't wait so see what happens now.
And the plot thickens..this is great.
Well, at least Jaina is worried about her brother; Mark might want to worry about Jacen pressing charges.
I loved the scenes with the cousins - the dialogue was so natural.
Mark has a lot to work though and Luke has a lot to deal with.
Briannakin put it succinctly. Mark is coming off the villain against Jacen, but Jacen has no room to press anything, if that whole plot to do away with Ta'A Chume comes out. Poor Luke does seem to be caught smack-dab in the middle.
Poor Luke. He's probably wondering how his Order has been doing all this crazy stuff and he never noticed. Too much time in the bedroom, perhaps? But I think now he's going to have to clean house. I like how honest and true Mark is. Family is his #1 priority. (Food being a close second, yes?) I liked their talk and I really hope everything can be set straight.
@ginchy for reading and taking the time to review. Getting into Jacen's head is so tough. I hope I can do him justice. I just never have been in a situation like he is in so it is difficult to try to figure out what a good guy that did something sorta of bad (can killing Ta'a Chume really be considered bad?) will do if he fears he will be caught.
Jacen drifted back to consciousness, slowly becoming aware of his surroundings. He remained motionless, lying silent in bed, eyes closed, hiding the fact from all around him that he was awake. Just about every time he woke up somebody stunned or sedated him, and he needed time to think.
He listened to his sister and cousin Jaden talking, discussing his fate. It was good to hear his sister’s voice. That meant Jaden’s dad didn’t ambush his family. And the fact that Jaden was in the room calming talking to Jaina also indicated Luke didn’t have to kill Mark. Jacen wasn’t sure how he misinterpreted the clues indicating his uncle was Sith, but obviously he was wrong…just like how his uncle was wrong about Jacen.
“Dad said Lumiya came for Jacen…she called him her apprentice.” Jaden said softly.
Jacen could hear a soft sob from his sister. A sound that made his heart ache. “I don’t understand any of this. He is such a good person. He cares so much for his family. He would do anything for them. I can’t imagine him hurting Aunt Mara.”
“Honestly, neither can I.” Jaden commented.
“What’s going to happen to him?” Jaina asked. Jacen could not see her face, but he knew she was crying by the sound of her sniffling and the strain in her voice.
“That’s up to Uncle Luke,” came Jaden’s response. “Right now I am going to wait until he wakes up. Then I’ll make sure he’s not suffering any neurological damage from my Dad blasting him so many times, and then sedate him.”
Jacen’s sister let out a sound of disgust. “You can’t keep him knocked out forever.”
“I know. It’s just until Uncle Luke gives me new orders.” There was a pause. “I wish they’d call in Cilghal. I have somewhere I have to be.”
“I’m sorry that my brother’s situation is causing a crimp in your social life.” Jaina’s voice was icy.
“No, no, it’s not like that Jania,” Jaden said apologetically. “I planned on attending a medical seminar on High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology. I am considering specializing in human and xeno-pathology.”
“Oh.” Jacen heard his sister let out a heavy sigh. “Sorry Jaden. This has been tough for me. Jacen’s my twin. We have a bond.”
“Don’t be sorry. You’re right. I’m being selfish. Family comes first. The conference doesn’t matter. Anyway, it’ll probably be cancelled. My guess is most of the guest speakers will be called out to Hapes to investigate the epidemic.”
That comment almost made Jacen jump out of bed and demand what was going on, but the threat of sedation kept him silent.
“What’s going on there?”
“My information is from unofficial medical sources, doctor friends of mine and such, so I can’t vouch for its veracity, but a few days ago a nasty epidemic broke out in the Royal Palace. Preliminary reports are sketchy, but I heard it’s a virus that mimics influenza.”
“What do you mean mimics?”
“The Hapan Center for Disease control has isolated the virus and they are fairly sure it is a manmade nanovirus. Since most victims are of Royal blood it was probably designed to attack people with a specific genetic code. In other words, it’s a terrorist attack.”
A sick, haunting feeling washed over Jacen. Was this from his nanovirus? Could this be his doing?
“Is Tenel Ka and her daughter alright?”
“Yes, I heard a report she’s been off planet since an assassination attempt that occurred a couple weeks ago. This virus might be another attempt on her life. Perhaps the assassin didn’t know she was off planet. Either Tenel Ka was the intended victim and the virus spread out of control or the Royal families in their entirety were the targets.”
“Has anybody died?”
“Seven deaths so far, mainly the elderly, with about forty-nine others gravely ill and hospitalized. No names have been released though.”
Jacen shuddered and his body started to tremble. He intended on killing one woman. The geneticist said only Ta’a Chume or possibly her siblings would be affected…not the entire royal family! The horror of his actions hit him hard—he was a mass murderer!
Even if he could hide his complicity he could never deal with the guilt. His life was over…really over. Once Tenel Ka found out she would cut him out of her life completely. Allana would never know the identity of her father.
He would probably be brought to Hapes, tried and executed. And what would this do to the Jedi? There had been anti-Jedi sediment on Hapes for generations. If Jacen was proven to be the person who set up this viral attack, the surviving Hapan royals would demand retribution. He wouldn’t be surprised if the G.A. disbanded and exiled the Jedi…simply to pacify the Hapans. Then there were the Imperials. The geneticist was an Imperial. If the virus was traced to him, could that cause a rift in the peace treaty? Jacen knew Jaina was probably in love with her Imperial Commander. What would happen if she had to decide to either follow Jag to Bastion or stay in Alliance territory?
Jacen didn’t care what happened to him anymore because his future was now forfeited. He had to pray to whatever gods exist that Lumiya wasn’t identified as the person who released the virus…because the Jedi knew he was associated with the Dark Lady of the Sith. His Uncle Luke wasn’t stupid. He would realize Jacen had a hand in this…and there was no way Luke would cover for him…not when we were talking about an international terrorist attack. He would go to the Senate and reveal Jacen's role in the attack...and then the Mynock scat would hit the fan.
He stifled a sob. He just wanted to help his family and in doing so he may end up causing a galactic war.
Mark left the dayroom feeling frustrated. He really did not want to deal with this situation any further…it was too painful. Luke was here and he had Jacen, Lumiya was dead, he didn’t need Mark anymore. All he wanted to do is go back to his wife and hold her. Maybe they could go on vacation while Luke sorted out this mess.
But he knew he couldn’t. The Skywalker, Solo and Tantiss families were just that…family. He needed to stay put for now.
He stopped by the room where Jacen was being held. There he found Jaina and Jaden talking.
Mark poked his head into the room. “Is Jacen okay?”
“He’s still out cold,” Jaden replied.
Mark nodded. “Let Luke know when he’s awake. He wants to talk to him.”
Mark moved down to the hall where he ran into Talon as he was leaving the kitchen. He was chewing a ration bar and drinking some bottled water.
Mark crooked a finger in his direction. “Talon, I need to talk to you…privately.”
A concerned looked crossed the younger man’s face. “What about?”
Mark jerked his thumb toward the front doors. “I just need to talk to you …outside.”
“Okay,” Talon said. “But I didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t believe a word that Jaden tells you.”
Mark looked at him and frowned. “Jaden didn’t say anything to me…what did you do wrong?”
Talon gave his most innocent look. “Like I said nothing.”
As they moved outside to the warm afternoon air Mark glanced over to his son.
“So…,” Mark said slowly. “I heard you are dating Zylie Karrde.”
Talon looked at his father warily. “Yes we are…who told you?”
“Her father told me.” Mark said matter-of-factly. “Karrde said you were on his ship a few days ago. I was just wondering why you didn’t mention anything to me or your mother about it.”
“I wasn’t hiding the relationship, if that’s what you’re thinking. I happened to see her while on Coruscant a few months ago. She was happy to see me. We’re old friends. She’s on school break this week and asked me if I could give her a ride to her father’s ship.” He gave his father a questioning look. “Did Karrde say he didn’t want me dating her?”
“It’s not that,” Mark said as he pointed to a low retaining wall. “Sit down, Talon.”
Talon sat on the duracrete wall while his father stood and paced back and forth trying to collect his thoughts. “Talon, you were named after Zylie’s father. He is one of my closest friends.”
Talon gave his father a guarded look. “I know that Dad.” He shifted on the wall nervously. “Do you have a problem with me dating Zylie?”
Mark blew out an exasperated breath. “No, I have a problem with you possibly breaking Talon’s little girl’s heart. I know your reputation as a womanizer.”
Talon scoffed. “Dad, the holoNet sleemos make up ninety-five percent of the sordid stories they write about me.”
Mark laughed. “Yes, I know. It’s the other five percent I’m worried about.”
Talon shook his head. “Dad, I’m not out breaking hearts.”
Mark gave him a dubious smile. “You mean you haven’t went through, let’s see…” he paused to mentally count the number of dalliances his son was purported to have had recently. “Three or four relationships in the last year alone?”
Talon shook his head. “No, they weren’t relationships. I made it quite clear to those women I didn’t want any commitments. I’m not ready to settle down. I simply wanted some female company.”
Mark scoffed. “That sounds like a kriff-call to me.”
Talon laughed. “Of course it is, they’re using me for my body.” He gave his father a cocky grin that reminded Mark very much of Han Solo. “I almost never initiate contact with the women. They come up to me.” He gestured his hand down his face and body. “I can’t help it if I inherited the Skywalker good looks and your muscular build.”
Mark rolled his eyes. “So then you told Zylie that she’s just a Kriff buddy?”
Talon’s posture stiffened and his eyes narrowed. “No I didn’t tell her that, because it’s not true,” he said through gritted teeth. “Don’t talk about her like that. She’s a nice girl.” He looked away and took a calming breath. “Dad, I really like her. She absolutely is not impressed that I am a Jedi. She sees me…me, not the Jedi robes, not the prestige of being a member of the Jedi Order.” He paused for a moment. “She sees only me, Talon Tantiss. Dad, we’re old friends that were reunited. I am not going to screw up this relationship.” He hesitated for a moment. “In fact, we’re not having sex.”
Mark eyes widened in shock. “What! This must be serious.” He then leaned forward and gave his son a withering glare. “I like the idea of you going slow, but you better not be seeing other women while dating Zylie…to satisfy those needs. That will hurt her just as much.”
“No,” Talon said sounding offended. “I wouldn’t do that to her and I definitely wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of her father.”
Mark looked at his son warily. “Good, because Talon Karrde is not a man to be trifled with. He’s the only person in the galaxy that I know of that has not only killed a Sith Lord, but he captured a Jedi Master. And he did it all without the Force. Just keep that in mind.”
"I will Dad,” Talon promised as he threw his hands up in a gesture of surrender. “Don’t worry. I know if I hurt Zylie, her father and mother, the Wild Karrde crew, you, Mom, Aunt Mara and Uncle Luke will be in my face giving me what for in a nanosecond. This is probably the most dangerous undertaking in my life,” he said with a nervous chuckle. He stood and walked up to Lumiya’s sleek shuttle. “Is this Lumiya’s?”
“It was hers. I am putting a salvage claim on it.”
Talon ran a hand over the smooth metal exterior. “Dad, this ride is way too stylish for you.” He gave his father a smirk. “You should give it to me.”
Mark snorted. “No, you can have my Headhunter.”
Talon broke out in laughter. “Dad why do you insist in calling that hunk of junk a Headhunter, it’s not a Headhunter.”
Mark became a bit irritated. “Okay, a modified Headhunter.”
“Pffff,” Talon made a noise of disbelief. “Just because you catabolized an old Headhunter and retrofit your wussy shuttle fuselage with the wings and engines from a Z-95, doesn’t make it a modified Headhunter. It’s a modified ‘smashball-mom shuttle.”
“Well, if you own it you can call it a modified shuttle, but to me it’s a Headhunter.” Mark looked over to his ship. “If you don’t want my Headh…modified shuttle…maybe Jaden will.”
“No, no, I’ll take it, if you’re giving it away.”
Mark smirked. “I thought so.”
The two men fell into a thinking pause as they admired the spaceships parked on the landing platform. Finally Talon broke the silence.
“So what’s Uncle Luke going to do about Jacen?”
“He’s going to contact the Solos and discuss the options. The police don’t need to be involved if Mara doesn’t want to press the issue. I know I don’t want to talk to law enforcement. I think the Jedi Grand Master should be able to handle this. He can deprogram Jacen or whatever.”
“Why do you think he got involved with Lumiya?”
Mark looked down at the ground and shook his head somberly. “Only Jacen can answer that now.”
Maybe Jacen skipped all the lessons about his grandfather and why giving into fear is a BAD IDEA. He was too busy with the snake he found out in the yard or something. I can't wait to see where this all leads, gal.
Indeed. Let's just see what Mara has to say about this... then we'll go from there.
Оh Jacen, what have you done!
Though I loved the conversation between Mark and Talon