Beyond Second To None--Sacrifices : L/M, TK/J, J/J, OCs: COMPLETE: 3/10/2013 with Fan Art

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jedi_Lover, Nov 30, 2012.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Whew! Indecision mixed with regret :( Besides losing a clear conscience [face_thinking] he might lose his family behind this if they ever find out; their respect and trust if nothing else. His own self-respect seems to have evaporated completely. :( [face_thinking]
  2. smash128 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2008
    star 2
    Jacen's kind of freaking out. Hiding himself from others feeling him in the Force would definitely grow suspicion. I'm afraid things won't look good for Jacen in the future if keeps up with what he's doing now. :( Good job, looking forward to your next update.
  3. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    You know Jace, if you would've gotten your own place, you probably wouldn't have to hide so much. I don't think I could deal with the communal living arrangments! He is acting like the kid who got caught raiding the cookie jar, though. C'mon Jace, you acted less guilty when you and your sister were out creating mischief.

    Am I the ONLY one who thinks bumping off Ta'a Chume is a good idea? 'You deserve a medal for that'. Yes, Lumiya, yes he does. Mark wiped out an entire worldship of people and still has Luke's and Mara's support, why would this make everyone lose faith in Jacen? Or does 'clear and present danger' only apply on a galactic scale? Why do we have such a double standard when it comes to Jacen Solo?

    I also am hoping for some snarky interaction between Shira and Luke; that might be fun to watch.
  4. Book-Geek Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2011
    star 3
    I've got a bad feeling about this, too, Jacen. [face_worried]
  5. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    That's true. As a person who lived in barracks for years, I can tell you that just about every soldier wants to find a way to qualify for BAS/Separate Rations and Basic Housing Allowance so they can get the heck out of the barracks. But, in my mind, Jedi are on something like a military pay scale. The Junior apprentices may make almost nothing but food and board. Jedi going on missions will draw a paycheck equivalent to their rank in the system. So Jacen could get a place off post, but the temple is located on Coruscant in the middle of what was Imperial City. So it's like being stationed right in the middle of downtown Manhattan. The rents are horrible. Even Mark who invested in a restaurant and who has a wife that works opts to live in the temple.

    You are 100% right. He is acting very guilty. This chapter was hard for me because I wanted to show that he really didn't want to go against his principles, but I didn't want to portray him as a wuss. I even sent the chapter to a friend for advice. She reminded me this Jacen was not hardened by a long war with the Vong, he was never tortured and he didn't learn to be a sneaky jerk in the GAG. This Jacen has had a fairly easy life in comparison of the profic Jacen. He has fought with the Jedi, but has never planned a coldblooded murder. He knows Ta'a Chume is evil, but he also knows you bring people to court to pay for their crimes. I know all of us would say, "If it was me I would kill that old bat." But, there is a difference between wanting somebody dead, who you know deserves to be dead, and going about and doing it. Usually a person only takes that step when he has nothing to lose...but Jacen has something to lose. If the plot fails and he is implicated he may never see his family again. I really think he could walk away from the Jedi, but not his wife and child. If it is impossible now to live as a family openly on Hapes, if he is convicted or simply accussed of planning the murder of a royal...would he ever be accepted as consort to the Queen? He has to balance out that thought with the worry that if he doesn't do this, the assassins might one day be successful. I wanted to show that he is in a bad place where he feels backed into a corner he doesn't want to be in.


    Mark simply knew about the killing of the Vong and kept quiet as ordered and over 15 years later Luke is still irritated that he was kept out of the loop. And the Chief of State kept the Jedi out of the loop on purpose because he knew they would never accept genocide. We know that Borsk Fey'lya, for whatever reason, came to the conclusion that peace would never be an option and that only the destruction of the Vong would keep the Galaxy safe. They intercepted the world ships before a Vong first strike and destroyed them using Palpatine's super weapons. Which sort of makes me wonder if Palpatine knew about the invaders and built the Death Stars, the Eye of Palaptine, the Galaxy Gun and the Sun Crusher specifically to combat the threat of extragalactic invaders?

    @Briannakin - I think Jacen wants to be caught also. He is having second thoughts.

    @Demendora -- I don't think Lumiya is going out for drinks with Luke. She's not that stupid. She is stupid, but not that stupid.

    @Hazel -- it would be a short story if everybody did reasonable things...and since this was my NaNo challenge you know it has to be at least 50K words.

    @Jade_eyes -- Jacen is regetting a lot of things right about now. Hopefully he will come to his senses before it is too late.

    @smash128 -- Jacen is considering commiting coldblooded murder and now plans to walk a Sith right through the front door. Wouldn't you be freaking?

    @Book-Geek -- It's too bad that the SW character never seem to listen to their gut instincts.

    Thanks! The next chapter will be up shortly.

    __________________________________________________________
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jan 3, 2013
  6. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Star System MZX3290S, Near Bimmiel

    Jacen Solo’s image abruptly disappeared from Lumiya’s subspace transceiver. “Stang!” she muttered to herself. The Jedi was running scared. She needed to get that virus to its target. Once the death of Ta’a Chume was on his hands he was more likely to walk away from the Jedi and come to her for training.

    “He’s not a good prospect,” she heard Darth Vectivus’ voice call out from the shadows. “It’s eating him up inside. He’s a good man and guilt weighs heavily on his shoulders.”

    She heaved a sigh. “Perhaps once he’s killed Ta’a Chume there will be no going back for him.”

    “Perhaps,” the dark form agreed. “While you are at the temple…maybe you should look for another prospect. You said there were a number of Force strong members of the Skywalker line. You may have made the wrong choice.”

    She rubbed her temples where a headache was forming. “I can maybe get a look at them, but while doing Force stealth there is little more than I can do but look.”

    “Often you can tell the mettle of a man by the way he walks and talks alone. The Force is not always needed.”

    She nodded in agreement. “I will do that.”

    .
    .
    .
    Coruscant: Jedi Temple

    The Coruscanti Jedi temple was impressive in its size and grandeur. It took up an entire city block and rose over two hundred meters in height with spires around the perimeter of the building rising even higher. The top floor of the main building was covered with a transparisteel pyramid that glittered like a jewel in the sunlight. Lumiya could see aircraft moving into what must be docking bays for the Jedi fleet of fighters. It appeared there were dozens of small bays around the exterior of the structures. Large blast doors secured each hanger. It was more like a fortress than a temple. She was sure the stronghold was dotted with military fortifications and security precautions, but here she was, a Sith, preparing to walk through the front door.

    She saw Jacen standing on the front steps trying to look nonchalant but doing a poor job at it. She had been cloaking since her arrival on planet so he couldn’t sense her approach through the Force. His gaze did fall on her when she came closer and an almost imperceptible stiffening of his posture let her know he recognized her.

    “I didn’t think you would come,” he said with a hint of disappointment in his voice. Lumiya suspected he wished she hadn’t show up.

    He gave her a forced smile. “Thank you for not wearing assassin-causal.”

    She looked down at her outfit which consisted of a corporate pantsuit with briefcase. To disguise her face she wore a head scarf with veil that was often worn by women belonging to the Bojhica religion located in the southern region of the planet.

    “I figured my usual garb of a leather bodysuit and Force whip would make this experiment more difficult.”

    “True,” he chuckled nervously then took a deep calming breath and let it out. After a moment he gestured toward the doors. “Shall we?”

    She nodded. “Lead the way.”

    Jacen, with obvious reluctance, climbed up the Temple stairs with Lumiya by his side. “What’s the plan?” he asked.

    “We both use the Force stealth technique and mingle in the public areas.” She glanced over to him. “You said your Uncle Luke would be in the area?”

    Jacen nodded as they neared the main entrance. “Luke will be leaving a meeting in the main conference room shortly. If you can walk by him and hide your presence…then I’ll know this technique would work with anybody.”

    She stopped and looked at him slyly. “I want you to introduce me to him.”

    His eyes flew open in surprise. His stealth technique faltered and she could feel his apprehension ooze out through the Force. “He might recognize you simply by your eyes,” he stammered.

    “Calm down!” She whispered. She looked around and saw a few Jedi Apprentices entering and exiting the building had stopped and turned in their direction. “You are going to get us caught. And I really doubt he’ll recognize my eyes,” she said dismissively as she started walking again. Jacen grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back.

    “You said you two were once lovers.”

    “That was decades ago and our affair was very brief.” She stared at Jacen coldly, angry that he brought up that subject right before she was to meet the Grand Master. “And I really doubt your uncle ever once thought about me or my eyes after I left…especially after he met your Aunt Mara.” Her voice took on an icy tone that surprised even her. She roughly pulled her arm out of his grip. “Let’s get this over with.” She turned and walked into the main lobby of the Temple. Inside, Jedi student and Masters, all wearing traditional robes walked swiftly between classes. None paid any particular attention to her. Occasionally a few would nod and acknowledge Jacen’s existence.

    She could feel Jacen closing himself down completely in the Force until his signature was undetectable. “This way to the conference room,” He said softly. “He should be leaving his meeting and make way to teach a meditation class shortly.”

    When they neared the entrance of the conference room Jacen stopped. He gave her a queasy smile and whispered to her softly. “We can’t stand here like we are waiting for him. We need to talk and make it look we stopped to chat on the way to somewhere else.”

    “Fine,” Lumiya agreed. She could see the worry in his eyes and she was now fairly certain that Darth Vectivus was right—she had chosen the wrong person to pass on her knowledge to. She needed to discover if there was another, perhaps more fearless prospect out there. “Jacen, I don’t have much longer to live and I don’t know when this great evil will strike the galaxy. It may be years.” She paused for a moment, chosing her words carefully. “Have you considered taking an apprentice of your own, so you can one day to pass on what you have learned…preferably a descendant of Anakin Skywalker.”

    Jacen looked perplexed by her query. “You mean like Anakin or Jaina?”

    “Yes, or Luke’s children…or his clone, Mark isn’t it? Are any in the temple today? I would like to see them if possible.”

    “Anakin and Jaina are away on missions and Luke’s younger children are away at college. Ben and Mark are supposed to be here training, but I didn’t feel their presence when we entered.”

    “Then none are here?”

    Jacen shook his head. “Not necessarily. They could be in the gymnasium weight or calisthenics room. They use ysalamiri to keep trainees from using the Force to augment their strength.”

    She looked over surprised. “Ysalamiri? That’s not a creature one would expect in a Jedi Temple.”

    “Yeah, well Mark Tantiss has a strange attachment to the creatures.” He looked up when the doors of the conference room opened and Jedi began spilling out. “Here comes Master Skywalker. Get ready.”

    Lumiya tightened down on her shields some more ensuring she was totally cloaked. She could see Luke Skywalker approaching in her direction and she cursed herself when her pulse quickened at the sight of the man. Decades have passed and he looked just as handsome now as he had back in the days of the Rebellion. He just traded in his boyish face for the one of a handsome and distinguished gentleman with just enough laugh lines around the eyes and graying at the temples to give him the look of a wise and benevolent Jedi Grand Master.

    She felt a flash of jealousy of Mara Jade. They both were Emperor’s Hands, both served under Emperor Palpatine, but their later paths could not be more different. Lumiya was hunted by the Jedi and the Galactic Alliance Guard and law enforcement personnel of dozens of planets. Mara Jade on the other hand was married to the most revered man in the galaxy; she was forgiven of her past trespasses as an Imperial and was seen by most people as a hero in her own right. Why Mara Jade got every lucky break in the universe while she, Lumiya, was left to suffer was beyond comprehension.

    She was brought out of her musings by an elbow to her shoulder. “Concentrate,” Jacen warned her. He raised a hand and called out. “Uncle Luke.”

    Lumiya saw the Jedi Grand Master look up and smiled when he recognized his nephew. “Jacen, it’s good to see you.” He pointed down the hall. “I would stay and talk, but I have a class to get to.”

    “No problem, I would just like to introduce you to a friend and colleague who’s been doing some research for me.” He turned to the veiled Lumiya. “This is Bora Anez from the Coruscanti Historical Society in the southern region of Sandur.”

    Luke gave her a friendly nod. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ma’am.” Luke’s attention jerked to the right as if he sensed something. He frowned in concentration and immediately Lumiya realized he was sensing a weak sense of her presence. She redoubled her efforts until she was sure her Force signature was completely masked. This appeared to help because Luke shook his head and turned back to her. “Sorry, I thought I saw somebody I knew.” He turned to Jacen. “I really have to go.” He turned to Lumiya. “It’s nice meeting you.”

    “Perhaps we can have caf later, Uncle Luke.”

    Luke was already walking down the hall. “Sounds good, comm me later.” He rushed down the hall and around a corner.

    Lumiya let out a breath of relief but made sure her shields remained firmly in place. She hoped Jacen didn’t suspect his uncle sensed her briefly. “Let’s get out of here.”

    “Don’t you want to see Ben or Mark? There is a public observation platform on the top floor where the training rooms are located. You can possibly get a glimpse of them up there.”

    She hesitated for a moment before agreeing. “Let’s make it fast.”

    He guided her to a lift which brought them up to the top of the Temple. The lift let them off within a Transparisteel walled hallway that followed the path of the exterior walls. From here a person could view the city or watch the training going on within the translucent pyramid enclosing the grassy courtyard.

    Jacen motioned her to follow as they moved around the building to a corner of the top floor where a large tree grew.

    “It is an Olbio tree where the ysalamiri live most of the time.”

    As they drew closer an uncomfortable sensation came over her.

    Jacen must have noticed her body tensing. “You’re entering the Force void bubble,” he explained.

    “Then I won’t be able to use the Force to mask my presence,” she pointed out as her paced slowed.

    Jacen chuckled obviously more comfortable now that he knew the technique worked. “It doesn’t matter because the Jedi inside can’t touch the Force either. You won’t be able to shield, but they are unable to sense you.” He continued on then turned to urge her to follow. “We’ll see them and get out. I dislike being in a Force void also.”

    They moved along the corridor until they could look down upon a weight room. Inside Lumiya saw a number of young men and women in exercise clothing lifting free weights or using weight machines to work out. In one corner she saw two men both with bright red hair on the bench press. The smaller, clean shaven man was currently trying to push up a large barbell weighted down with what looked like an impressive amount of weightlifting plates. Behind the bench was a giant of a man. He was easily over two meters in height and his large muscular physique was clearly outlined through his black compression shirt. He had a thick red beard that hid most of his face, but she could see he was talking to the other man, probably encouraging him to push harder.

    “I recognize the smaller man as Ben Skywalker.” Lumiya said. “I’ve seen holos of him, but who’s the giant?”

    Jacen smirked. “That’s Mark Tantiss.”

    She gave him a confused look. “Luke Skywalker’s clone?” She turned back to gaze at him. “He doesn’t look much like Luke.”

    “He did when he was first taken out of stasis, but then he continued to grow. It’s believed he was developed from Luke’s DNA to become an Imperial Sentinel.”

    “That’s not possible; Imperial Sentinels are brain dead. They are controlled by their dark adepts.”

    “True, but he was saved before the chemical lobotomy or the muting of his vocal cords. We end up with a very large and somewhat intelligent Luke Skywalker clone.”

    Lumiya thought back to the memories Palpatine left within her after the brief time he possessed her body. She remembered a clone, but she didn’t remember him being this huge “Is he as powerful in the Force as he is big?”

    “I doubt it,” Jacen scoffed. “He seems quite happy to carry around a ysalamiri on his back all day. My guess is he’s scared.”

    “Scared of what?” she asked.

    He turned and gave her a level gaze. “He’s scared of becoming like you.” He looked back to the large man. “He’s also carrying Palpatine’s memories. It has to be terrifying in a way.” He looked back at her. “Do you like it?”

    She averted her eyes. “I like the skills it infused within me…the memories of his various atrocities or fetishes I could live without.” She continued to look at the two men. Suddenly Jedi Tantiss turned around and looked directly at her. Lumiya took a half-step back somewhat startled. “I thought you said we are within the Force bubble.”

    Jacen looked down at his adopted uncle and gave him a wave and a forced smile. “All of us are within the bubble.”

    “Then why did he suddenly turn around and is now looking at me like he knows exactly who I am.” She was becoming alarmed. The large man below had stepped away from the bench press and walked a few steps closer gazing at her intently.

    “He can’t sense you.”

    “Then how did he know we’re here? He was facing away from us before he turned around?”

    Jacen looked down at Mark and then to the surrounding room. He noticed the far wall was lined with mirrors. “He saw you in the mirror. He is probably just curious as to who I have with me.”

    Lumiya saw Ben call to his uncle. The larger man gestured for Ben to be quiet and then he started walking to the exits. Lumiya’s head swung around to face Jacen. “I don’t like this. Let’s get out of here.”

    Jacen looked like he was going to argue, but decided they had tempted fate long enough. They both quickly made their way to the lift making sure they cloaked their Force presence as they left the Force void.

    Lumiya let out a breath of relief as the lift doors closed and they were on their way to the ground floor. “He sensed me,” she said nervously. “You may have exposed us to the Jedi by bringing me up there with those animals.”

    He shook his head. “It’s impossible. I don’t know the cause of his curiosity, but it had nothing to do with sensing anything with the Force.”

    “Still let’s get out of here as quickly as possible,” she said with a slight tremor in her voice. The big clone made her nervous. If her cybernetics limited her ability to touch the Force than perhaps being a monster of a man would increase that ability. And if he was in possession of Palpatine’s memories and knowledge—then he was extremely dangerous.

    .
    .
    .

    Ben was attempting to bench his personal best with his Uncle Mark spotting him. He hit his sticking point and was having trouble completing the set. “Spot,” he called out.

    When there was no response he shouted out again. “I need a spot, Uncle Mark.” To Ben’s shock his Uncle shushed him and then walked out of the gym. “Oh great,” Ben moaned as he made a second effort to push up the barbell. He wasn’t able to get it to the top support but he managed to wrestle the bar up enough to drop it on a lower adjustable bar catcher. “Nice spotting,” he said sarcastically as he got up to follow his missing uncle.

    He found Mark on the top transparisteel catwalk that surrounded the top level of the Temple. “What happened?” he asked his former Master.

    “What?” Mark said distracted before he turned to look at Ben directly. He shook his head looking confused. “It’s nothing. Jacen was up her with somebody I thought I recognized.”

    “So that’s why you left me with a hundred kilo barbell balanced precariously above my windpipe in that ysalamiri Force-void gym?”

    Mark looked embarrassed. He turned and put a hand on his nephew’s shoulder. “Sorry Ben. I shouldn’t let things distract me. Let me make it up to you. How about dinner tonight at the Manarai restaurant? According to Kira the specials are Plicto steaks, Kashyyyk Land Shrimp or Wroonian Flychatcher filets.”

    “Only if you’re buying,” the younger man smirked.

    “I own the restaurant,” Mark said with a grin. “When it comes to family, I’m always buying.”
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jan 3, 2013
  7. Demendora Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2010
    star 2
    I knew, that Shira couldn't stay unaffected by seeing Luke again)
  8. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Yeah, i mean, there is still flesh in the woman. :p

    So Mark sort of recognized her [face_thinking], undoubtedly from one of Palpatine's memories.
  9. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 4
    I think Mark recognizing Lumiya has something to do with the fact that they both shared Palpatine's memories. I wonder how this relates to the first post.
  10. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    Yikes. It's super scary that she's just walking around among the Jedi and no one the wiser. Well, almost. Luke almost sensed her and the Mark seemed to, too. I liked her thoughts regarding the different paths her life and Mara's had taken, from such similar beginnings. Great update, lady!! Sorry I have been MIA. The holidays with a toddler took it out of me. ;)
  11. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    'Thank you for not wearing your assassin-casual'--Very nice! As an aside, I can't imagine a leather cat-suit being all that comfortable.

    I'm probably not supposed to, but I am starting to feel bad for Lumiya. You know, she wasn't really all that different from Mara, and she didn't really do all that much you would consider 'Sithly'. (At least, not according to Wookiepedia) Is Lumiya right, are we just more forgiving of Mara because she happened to catch the eye of Master Skywalker? Maybe it's because we've only heard about Mara's actions after the fact, whereas Shira's were done in full view. Regardless of how we've justified her actions, Mara killed people for a living. Were these people corrupt? Yes. Were they evil? Perhaps. Is this different from what Jacen has done? No.

    I get the feeling that Mark knows who she was. Why do I get the feeling he's going to go 'talk' to Jacen? Hopefully, he'll be more understanding than others might be.
  12. Book-Geek Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2011
    star 3
    Lumiya's starting to have second thoughts, it seems. But, really Jace, no one is going to care that you 'killed' Ta'a Chume. In fact, you might end up getting a medal....

    But now that Mark and Lumiya have crossed paths, I'm starting to worry about what's going to happen next.[face_worried]
  13. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Thanks @Demendora, @Hazel, @ginchy, @Book-Geek, @SiouxFan, and @Briannakin for reading and taking the time to comment. Can you blame Lumiya for still carrying a torch for Luke. He's a Jedi Grand Master and magically delicious. :p That scene in the temple was almost exactly like the one in the profics. But in this story it was Lumiya that was the driving Force. In the profics it was Jacen that was cocky and reckless. I just wanted to show that this is not the battle hardened and tortured Jacen Solo from the Vong War, but a Jedi that has been following the code all his life and has a lot to lose. Thanks everybody for reading!

    ~JL~
    ______________________________________________________________________________


    As Lumiya and Jacen exited the Temple she gave a sigh of relief. She didn’t know what just happened up near the gymnasium, but she didn’t like it. Jacen also looked a bit shaken. She needed to reassure him quickly. “I told you it would work,” she said with a feigned air of confidence. “Are you satisfied?”

    He nodded. “Yes, but they’ll still be suspicious if I am always closed down in the Force.”

    She scowled. He was still trying to find a reason to get out of the arrangement. She motioned him to follow her out of the flow of pedestrian traffic and to a public bench where they could sit and talk in relative privacy. “What I taught you was the ability to shrink your presence in the Force. It is an effective tool and easy to master, but there is another technique, one that Palpatine used to conceal himself from the Jedi for decades, it is called Force Concealment or Buried Presence. It allows you to mask your alignment in the Force. It is difficult to master, but once you have nobody can tell if you are using the light or the dark side of the Force. Come back to The Home and I’ll teach you.”

    Jacen looked at her suspiciously. “Why didn’t you teach me that in the first place?” His eyes widened a bit. “How do I know you’re not using it on me now? How do I know if anything you say is true? In fact, maybe your precious Darth Vectivus was a master of hiding his true nature, that would make much more sense than the idea of a benevolent Sith.”

    No, he is exactly as I described.” she said vehemently. She had spent years with Darth Vectivus and she refused to believe the Dark Lord had tricked her as to his true nature.

    “How would you know from reading books or listening to a Holocron that he recorded?”

    “I just know he’s…was a good man,” she said defensively. She had kept the existence of the Dark Lord’s apparition a secret from Jacen, otherwise he might realize she used the same phantom technique to trick him into believing he had talked to Anakin Skywalker. “As for why I didn’t teach you this technique first...”she continued. “You have to first master stealth before you can learn concealment.”

    “Or maybe you didn’t teach me because you were afraid I would hide my intentions from you?” Jacen ventured.

    She glared at him, but then the corners of her lips curled up. “I’ll admit I still fear betrayal.”

    He scoffed. “If I was going to betray you, you wouldn’t have left the Temple.”

    “True, are you coming with me to train or not?” She was becoming impatient. What part of ‘I am going to die soon’ didn’t Jacen understand?

    “Not right now, I am waiting to hear from the geneticist. When I have the antidote and virus I will contact you so you can deliver the product. Once I know my family is safe, then I will come to The Home to study.”

    She stared at him intently searching for any indication of deception, but she could find none. “Fine. I’ll wait for you to contact me.” She then turned and left Jacen sitting in front of the Temple.

    .
    .

    .

    Mara was in her quarters finishing up some Academy paperwork in when she heard the door buzzer go off. She opened the front door to find her niece Jaina Solo standing outside.

    “Is Uncle Luke here?” Jaina asked.

    “No, he he’s teaching a meditation class, but he should be back in about an hour,” Mara held the door wide open. “Come on in and wait if you like.”

    Jaina walked in wearing her orange flight suit having just arrived from a mission to Taris and Null. “I can’t stay that long, can you give him a message?”

    “Of course.”

    “Jagged Fel contacted me while I was out on patrol near Taris. He said he picked up a Tof pirate in possession of a warship inside Chiss space. The Tof said he was given command of the warship after one of the senior officers met with Lumiya.”

    Mara’s blood ran cold. “Lumiya? Are they sure?”

    Jaina shook her head. “That’s what’s reported. Jag couldn’t confirm the sighting, but he thought Uncle Luke would want to know.”

    “Yes he would,” Mara said while deep in thought.

    “If he’d like to reassign me to Chiss space to look for her, I’m sure I can get permission to work in that sector,” Jaina offered.

    Despite the seriousness of the situation Mara had to suppress a smile. “I’ll ask him. Perhaps you can use the Star Destroyer Tenacious as your base of operations.”

    Jaina blushed profusely. “Perhaps,” was all she said.

    “Is that all Jag knows about the situation?” Mara asked.

    Jaina nodded. “It was all his prisoner knew. If they pick up the officer that actually met with Lumiya he may find out more.”

    Mara smiled at her niece. “How are things going with you and Commander Fel?”

    Jaina shrugged. “Good, but it’s complicated. A Jedi and an Imperial…” she trailed off.

    “If could be worse,” Mara said with a smirk. “He could be an Imperial assassin sworn to kill you.”

    Jaina had to laugh. “I don’t know how you and Uncle Luke managed.”

    “We did and so can you and Jag if you are determined to do so.”

    “I know,” she said, but still looking doubtful. “I keep seeing all the possible worst case scenarios play out in my mind. What if things do work out—we fall in love, marry, have children and then the treaty fails…then I am caught in a terrible position.”

    Mara scoffed. “That situation could happen even if he wasn’t an Imperial. Look at your family; if Corellia suddenly withdrew from the Alliance and went to war that definitely would put a strain on your parents’ happy home life. Any planet or system leaving or breaking a treaty with the Alliance could cause turmoil and splits in loyalties for millions of families. You can’t let politics and the ‘what if’s’ determine your fate.”

    “You’re probably right,” Jaina said sounding a bit reassured. She looked down at her chrono. “I’m sorry but I have a meeting to go get to in twenty minutes. Have Uncle Luke call me if he has questions.”

    “I will,” Mara said she showed Jaina out. She went back to the kitchen table and poured herself some caf. “What is Lumiya up to?” she whispered to herself.

    .
    .
    .

    Luke left his meditation class early. He returned to his and Mara’s quarters, hung up his robes and went to the kitchen to pour himself a cup of caf. He was distracted during the entire period of instruction. He felt something in the Temple this morning…something that reminded him of Lumiya and Palpatine, which didn’t make any sense. He had been so unfocused and preoccupied that he eventually asked another Master take over the training. “Mara, I’m home.”

    When she came out from the back home office he could immediate sense there was a problem. “What’s wrong?”

    “It may be nothing, but there has been a report of Lumiya showing up in Chiss space. Jaina came by to let us know. The information came from a Tof prisoner Jag picked up.”

    The information arrested his breath in his lungs. “Lumiya,” he muttered as he sat down heavily on the dining room chair. First he thought he sensed her in the Temple and now a Lumiya sighting is reported. He hadn’t seen or heard from her in so long he had assumed she was dead.

    Unfortunately, Luke knew what happens when you assume things…you’re usually wrong.

    Mara stared at him intensely. “What aren’t you telling me?”

    “It’s probably nothing,” he said slowly.

    She gave him a look. “Every time you say it is probably nothing we end up waist deep in trouble.” She pulled a seat up next to him. “Tell me, what is it?”

    “I was talking to Jacen in the Temple lobby when I thought I felt the presence of Lumiya.”

    Mara brow shot up. “You think she was in the Temple?”

    Luke shrugged. “I don’t know. It was such a faint feeling, she could simply be somewhere in the city.”

    “Great,” Mara groaned. “I was hoping to never see her again.”

    “Me neither,” Luke muttered. He looked up at Mara. “There’s something else I sensed. I thought I felt the presence of Palpatine.”

    Mara frowned. “Do you think she found the Eye of Palpatine in the maw and found a way to release him?”

    He sighed. “I don’t know. It didn’t feel exactly like Palpatine…it wasn’t what we felt on the Eye. It was more like a residue of the Emperor’s presence. It’s like how Mark feels in the Force when we’re not shielding from each other.”

    “Maybe Mark was there. I think he was in the temple.”

    “I looked around and I didn’t see him. He’s hard to miss in a crowd. Also I only feel that when we’re not shielding from each other and then I get that buzzing in my head. I didn’t experience any Force feedback like we usually do.” He shook his head. “No, I don’t think it was Mark I sensed.”

    “Could the feeling have come from Jacen?” Mara asked slowly. She remembered bumping into him in the hallway a few days ago. She couldn’t feel him in the Force but the nervous look on his face was in itself suspicious.

    “No…” he hesitated in thought. “Now that I think about it, I don’t think I felt him at all in the Force. I believe he was doing that Force Stealth you told me about.” He looked over to Mara. “Did he ever tell you where he learned to do that?”

    “He said he studied the technique a couple years ago while he was on his journey for Force knowledge but he only just perfected it.”

    Luke rubbed his chin in thought. “He learned something two years ago and suddenly he perfected it. Did you ever notice him doing his ‘unperfected’ technique in the past?”

    Mara shook her head. “No, the talent suddenly appeared.”

    Luke closed his eyes reaching out through the Force. He felt something was wrong somewhere, but he just couldn’t pinpoint what.

    “I would like to know if he had help in honing that particular skill.”

    “We can ask him when we see him. Or if you suspect he is up to something, maybe Jaina, Anakin or Ben may know. They spend more time with him than we do.”

    “See if Ben knows anything,” Luke said absently, his mind still reeling from the news of Lumiya.

    Mara reached across the kitchen table and put her hand over his in a comforting gesture. “I know you probably don’t want to consider this, but if Lumiya is alive…do you think she is trying to turn one of our students?”

    “I’d hate to think so, but we should check it out.”

    “How do you want to start?”

    “Luckily we are the only two people who know all the Temple shuttles and fighters are equipped with Shadow Transponders. I guess we can pull all the flight information and see if we have any suspicious activity.”

    “Like a trip to Korriban?” Mara asked half-jokingly.

    “Or to the Sith Outfitters Warehouse,” he chuckled then went quiet realizing how serious this was.

    Mara sighed. “Luke, if Lumiya is here, we’ll find her. The last time you faced her you were still a student in the Force, now you’re a Master. I’m a Master… and we have dozen of other fully trained Jedi to help. We’ll find her and this time she won’t escape with her life.”

    “If we find her, we’ll bring her to justice,” Luke clarified.

    Mara threw her hands up in the air. “Why do you always do things the hard way?”

    “Mara, you have to offer a person the chance to surrender…if they refuse, then we’ll do what we must.”

    “Sith don’t surrender…they never surrender. You’ll just get yourself killed trying to capture them.”

    He gave her a long hard look. “What if the Sith we’re talking about wasn’t Lumiya? What if it is one of our Jedi who fell to the darkside…would you just kill them outright?”

    She sat quiet for a moment. “No.”

    He gave her a soft smile and then leaned in and kissed her. As he pulled away he gazed at her lovingly. He knew his nightmares were starting to affect her also. Especially when he told her he saw her dead. He probably should have kept that part to himself. It just served to make her hyper-vigilant. He needed to do something to relieve the tension between them.

    He stood and positioned himself behind her so he could massage her shoulders. “I don’t want to fight Mara…especially when I know you are probably going to end up being right and telling me, ‘I told you so’.”

    She smiled at his admission as she rocked her shoulders. “That feels so good.” The words came out as a low moan as he worked the knots out of her shoulder muscles.

    He leaned down and whispered into her ear. “I know something that will feel even better.” He bent his head down and placed a line of kissed down her neck and across her shoulder.

    She gave him a wry smile. “I know what you are doing?”

    He put on his most innocent face. “And what would that be?”

    “You are trying to distract me and put me in a better mood.”

    He nibbled on her earlobe. “Is it working?”

    She sighed. “It usually does, but the thought that Lumiya might have been in the Temple is a bit of a mood killer.”

    He smiled and pulled her out of her chair wrapping her in a tender embrace. “I agree, Sith are not much of an aphrodisiac.”

    “Lumiya is affecting my love life…that’s reason enough to kill her,” Mara said sardonically.

    Luke sighed and leaned his forehead against hers. “We should take some time to ourselves and meditate and try to figure out how we should proceed in this investigation”

    She nodded. “I think so too. We have a lot to think about.”
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jan 10, 2013
  14. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Alright! Luke is now alerted to Lumiya. :D.

    I can't wait to read more.
  15. Demendora Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2010
    star 2
    Oh, Luke and Mara are wonderful team! Together they will move the Force by itself![face_love]
  16. Book-Geek Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2011
    star 3
    Luke is now on high alert of Lumiya. This is going to hinder her somewhat....

    I love Luke, "I don't want to fight, especially when this is probably going to end with you saying 'I told you so'."[face_laugh] Sounds like he's heard that more than a few times in their marriage.
  17. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 4
    Oh yay! The lines of communication are open between Luke and Mara. Why couldn't they have done this in the books?
  18. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    JL: Nice stab at LotF with the 'what if Corellia withdraws...' statement!

    The rest of this is intended as a 'in-universe' critique in order to stir debate:

    With their shadow transponders, Luke and Mara are spying on fellow Jedi; and doing so in a manner that is highly controversial and borderline illegal. Is this not what a police state does, monitor its members? In profic, the two of them had a big falling out with Jacen about his 'Tahiri and I still talk' line; accusing the two of them of 'spying' on their friends. I know that that is a different universe, but the sentiment stands. If I were any of the other Jedi, Corran especially, I would be furious at this incursion into my privacy. When they confront Jacen, and they probably will, he is going to even less likely to trust them about TK and Allana. Would you trust someone who had just admitted to monitoring all of not, just your but everyone's, comings and goings? I would not.

    'I'll find a way to bring her to justice..' Okay, but for what? Unless I missed it, Lumiya doesn't appear in the stories leading up to this one, so we have to fall back to the 'official' story. Lumiya fell off the map twenty years ago and hasn't been heard from since. Can you arrest someone for merely being Sith? If they arrest her for actions she did as a 'Hand', does that not set a dangerous precedent? (I'm looking at you, Mara) Furthermore, many of her 'illegal' actions were conducted against some officials who were in cladestine rebellion against the regime she worked for; one could argue that she as operating as a 'special forces' unit in a wartime enviroment. JL has presented a Jedi Order that works partly as a police organization, a theory that I actually like, but they still need probable cause to arrest an individual.

    'Have you ever noticed him doing an 'unperfected'....' Are the Jedi required to let everyone know that they are trying to learn new stuff? They are not opposed to the technique, because they obviously are keen to learn it, they just don't think that Jacen has the skill to master it on his own. IMO, Luke and Mara are again acting like they did in profic: highly suspicious of Jacen because he is able to do things that are different. Obviously, we know more than Luke or Mara know, but...when they go to confront Jacen (and they will) what do you think he is going to do? Suddenly come clean? I have my doubts. His wife has told him to keep Allana a secret and he wants to protect her and his daughter at all cost. If that means lying to the Head of the Jedi Order, he will. IMO, his underlying fear is that if he tells everyone about Allana without Tenel Ka's permission, she will bar him from seeing his daughter.
    Last edited by SiouxFan, Jan 11, 2013
  19. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    These are not the Jedi's personal vehicles. They belong to the Academy. Now, not notifying the Jedi that they are monitored might be a little sneaky, but there may be a reason they were installed. Maybe Borsk Fey'la wouldn't authorized funding of brand new SteathX fighters and shuttles unless Luke could ensure he could keep track of the ships. Or maybe Luke put them in just in case one of his students did go rogue. If I was flying an Apache Helicopter I wouldn't be surprised or upset if the government that owned that multimillion dollar vehicle kept a tracking device on it. In fact if I were shot down I would be thrilled if they knew exactly where I was and came to rescue me.

    Right now, the government can track us through our cellphones, EZ pass boxes for toll roads, security cameras on roads and buildings, they use facial recognition software, they monitor our electronic communications for keywords...and who knows what the hell Facebook is doing with my privacy...and most can be done without court orders. We are in the world of Big Brother--my fingerprints are on file with the government and they even have my DNA profile.

    I think the Jedi would be more concerned about invasion of privacy when it comes to communications. If Luke had a keystroke logger on the school computers, monitored electronic messages or recorded radio transmissions then they would have a right to be mad. But if you are taking a StealthX killing machine on a joyride and using it like your personal vehicle...then don't get upset if you find out somebody is monitoring your movements. It's not like they are putting homing devices on personal transports.

    Since my story strays from canon on Wayland I assume everything that came before has happened. And most of Lumiya's evil deeds come from the comic books which are considered canon. She was a double agent during the Rebellion and worked with the Nagai and later the Tof in the fight against the Rebel Alliance. On the world Herdessa she organized a slave ring. When Leia Organa went with the Alliance to ensure civil rights for all and free the slaves, Lumiya tried to kill Leia, but obviously failed. She was responsible for killing a twenty man Alliance scouting party on the planet Kinooine. She worked with enemies of the Alliance to attack various planets. So even if you discount anything she did as the Emperor's Hand, she was actively working against the Rebel Alliance and New Republic after the death of the Emperor. Usually there is no statute of limitations when it comes to murder. But you are right, Mara got a free pass...mainly because she wasn't killing Rebels. Tim Zahn has went to great pains to paint Mara as a person who killed disloyal Imperials. Choices of One is one book that tries to soften Mara's image and portray her as something other than a cold blooded killer.

    No, but Luke feels the presense of Lumiya in the Temple and suddenly one of his Knights develops a stealth technique that he claims he learned years ago, but just now started to use. I would think it would be suspicious. I do admit...I am guilty of trying to make Mara and Luke less blind to the situation. In the profics you have a dozen novels that the story is stretched over. If Luke and Mara wise up too soon it makes a short story. I didn't like how much they were in denial. It was like Yoda in the prequels. He sensed something was wrong with Anakin when he was off murdering all those Sand People, but nobody appeared to have talked with the young man when he returned to the temple. "Much anger I sense in this one," Yoda says. Well, maybe Anakin should have been given an anger management class. That would have solved a lot of problems.

    Getting back to Jacen. I just can't believe he wasn't on everybody's radar. First of all he is captured and tortured for months...or maybe years...I can't remember exactly. Then he disappears and is believed dead. He is eventually found and ends up the hero of the Vong War. The conflict is over...at that point I would think somebody may want to have him looked at for PTSD. In fact all Jedi and soldiers would probably need some therapy after the hell they went through. But no, he then goes on his little quest for knowledge. He acts all weird during the Swarm Wars. He gets put in charge of the GAG which becomes a bunch of Jackboot thugs, he tortures a woman to death with Ben's knowledge. Nobody makes an official report of his actions or gets overly suspicious (at least not right away) or tried to get him flagged from the Galactic Alliance's version of the Personnel Reliability Program...really? There were red flags everywhere. Heroes are not immune from mental health problems. Knowing the torture he went through, Jacen should have been looked at a long time before he turned Sith.

    You are right, but him trying to keep this secret will later come to bite him in the butt. At the end everybody will realize that a lot of angst could have been avoided if they had tackled their problems head on.

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to review. :D
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jan 11, 2013
  20. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    Lumiya: Even with the Emperor dead, the Empire was still at war, so one could still say her actions were legitimate (well, except for the slavery ring). As to Mara: I've always been a fan of hers, but I've NEVER understood why she didn't stand trial for what she did. To me, it sends the message that assassinating Imperials is okay, so long as she was ordered to do it. Sorry, but the My Lai argument doesn't work.

    Jacen: I am in total agreement with your assessment of Jacen (and Anakin); everyone sees him acting strangely, but no one really talks to him about it. They talk at him, but never to him. I've commented on other boards here that his fall is the failure of the ENTIRE order. If memory serves, there was an investigation done by the GAG. More interestingly, Jacen would not have been able to do anything had he not been head of the GAG. Just think of pain that could have been avoided had Mara simply taken the job.
  21. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    In the profics Kyp blew up an entire solar system, but avoids punishment and ends up remanded to the custody of Luke Skywalker. I guess because it was an Imperial planet destroyed it isn't that bad. o_O Even if they used the "He was affected by the darkside and was controlled by Exar Kun" I would think then the blame would fall on Luke for improperly supervising his apprentices. In fact, the NR should have shut down the whole Academy at that point. Obviously, Luke is in over his head. After that incident I am shocked that every Senator from every planet didn't say, "Whoa...maybe having Jedi is more trouble than it is worth."

    Anyway, if Kyp can be given a "get out of jail free" card because he was influenced by Exar Kun, then why can't Mara be given some slack when she had one of the most powerful Sith Lords in her head. She is taken from her parents and raised by Palpatine or those working for him, brainwashed into believing she is doing good and she has a Sith Lord that can pop into her brain and tell her what to do or possibly monitor her behavior. It's like she is an abused child with Stockholm syndrome. I'm surprised she didn't go all darkside and try to take over the galaxy. I guess that good Jedi loving mellowed her.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jan 11, 2013
  22. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Thanks @Demendora, @Book-Geek, @SiouxFan, @Briannakin and @Hazel for reading. And I want to thank Hazel for looking over my next chapter and giving me some advice. I appreciate it!

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!!
    __________________________________________

    Coruscant: Jedi Temple

    In the late afternoon Ben returned to the apartment he shared with his parents in order to shower and dress for dinner at the Manarai Restaurant. As he entered the residence he paused in the doorway and announced his arrival. “I’m home.”

    He recently had gotten in the habit of loudly proclaiming his presence at the entryway since that awful day that he walked in on his parents making out on the couch. Thankfully when he found them in their amorous embrace they were fully clothed, but he was a bit shocked that people who were nearly sixty years of age still did that sort of thing.

    He considered moving out and requesting an apartment in the Temple dormitory. He was embarrassed that he was still living with his parents as a grown man and he was even more mortified that they appeared to have a more active love life than he did. He shuddered at the thought.

    Unfortunately, there were no empty rooms in the dormitories, therefore, he would have to bunk up with another Knight. He could rent an apartment, but he could only afford to live in the lower, seedier levels of the city. In the end, he decided living with his parents was the best option, especially since he was gone most the time on missions and with his parents’ busy schedule they often would go days without seeing each other.

    He stepped further into the apartment and when he didn’t hear the sound of a headboard banging against the wall he assumed he wouldn’t get any unpleasant surprises from his parents today. “Mom? Dad?”

    “I’m in the office, Ben,” came the sound of his mother’s voice. He walked back to the small home office located at the rear of the apartment and found his mother staring at the computer screen intently while sipping some caf. He immediately could sense an uneasiness radiating from her through the Force.

    “What’s going on?” Ben asked as he walked into the room.

    His mother shut off the computer and sat back in her seat with a sigh. When she turned in his direction and he could see worry etched on her face. “We got word from Jaina that Lumiya was spotted in Chiss space and then today your father thought he sensed Lumiya in or near the Temple. ”

    Ben’s eyebrows shot up. He had heard stories about Lumiya, but she supposedly vanished around the time he was born. “Lumiya! Here?”

    She nodded. “Or nearby.”

    Ben sat down in an empty seat in the room. “What are you and dad going to do?”

    “Probably hunt her down and separate her head from her body,” his mother said matter-of-factly, with no trace of humor in her voice.

    Ben covered a smirk. “That sounds like one of your plans, can I assume Dad wants to capture her and bring her to court to answer to any crimes she's committed…like we should do,” he stressed the last part. He saw hardness in his mother’s eyes that he hadn’t seen in a long time. Obviously there was no love lost between the two women.

    Mara made a face at her son. “It’s not that easy. If capturing her were a simple task we would have done it years ago. Those who have tried have died or have come back missing parts of their body. With Sith you kill them.”

    Ben raised a cautionary hand. “Mom, you have to let the justice system work. You can’t kill people just because they’re Sith.”

    Her face grew tight. “And why not?”

    Ben spread his hands out in a placating gesture. “Ummm…because it is probably illegal. I am fairly sure somewhere there is a scum sucking lawyer that will argue that Sith is a religion and therefore a protected class under the GA laws and constitution…and the next thing you know you are being accused of a hate crime.” He smirked. “Borsk Fey’lya is Chief of State, you know… and not a huge fan of the Jedi.”

    “You’re probably right.” His mother groaned with a scowl. “I really, really dislike that Bothan.”

    Ben gave a mock look of surprise. “Really? I haven’t noticed. You’re so secretive when it comes to those you dislike,” Ben said sarcastically then paused in thought for a moment. “Did you say Dad sensed her in the Temple today?”

    “Yes, he was talking to Jacen when he felt her presence and he said he felt something else…something that felt like Palpatine…but it wasn’t the Emperor. It was a little like how Mark sometimes feels like Palpatine in the Force.”

    “I’ll have to take your word on that one. I never met the Emperor.” Ben gave her a questioning look. “Was a woman with Jacen at the time?”

    Mara shook her head. “Your Dad didn’t mention anybody else, but I’ll ask him when he gets back. Why?”

    “When I was with Uncle Mark at the gym he saw Jacen and then he acted all strange about the woman with him. He tried to catch up, but missed them.”

    “What did she look like?”

    “I don’t know, I was trying to keep a hundred kilogram barbell from crushing my larynx at the time. I’m having an early dinner with Uncle Mark today, I can ask.”

    “Yes, ask him for me.” She gave her son a curious gaze. “Ben do you know where Jacen learned his recent Force cloaking technique?”

    Ben shook his head. “No, but he startled me with his new trick.”

    Mara took another sip of caf. “See if Mark knows who taught him and can you also ask him if he has been experiencing any bad dreams or Force visions.”

    “Why? Have you been having nightmares?” Ben asked.

    “No your father has.”

    “About Lumiya?”

    “No,” there was a slight hesitation. “No, not Lumiya, but another Sith.” His mother looked like she was going to expand on the subject, but changed her mind. Instead she smiled at her son and said, “I heard you have a date later tonight.”

    “I’ve got get ready for dinner,” Ben groaned as he moved to leave the office. “I’ll let you know what Mark says.”

    Mara chuckled as her oldest son left. She learned long ago whenever she wanted to change the subject all she had to bring up was Ben’s love life. And she needed to change the subject...because she really didn’t want to tell him about Luke’s dream of her being dead and Mark becoming a Sith.
    .
    .
    .
    Mark and Ben sat in a private dining area of the Manarai restaurant eating dinner. It was a small room Mark kept available for himself and family. He had bought half ownership of the facility with the large monetary reward he received for killing the Emperor Reborn on Byss. Kira had worked at the Manarai prior to her abduction and imprisonment on the Imperial planet. After her rescue, Mark returned with Kira to Coruscant only to find a damaged restaurant and one of the partner-owners ready to sell his shares at rock bottom prices. It was an opportunity Mark couldn’t pass by. Over the last two decades he had bought out the remaining portion of the restaurant from the other partner. Now it was completely owned by Kira and Mark Tantiss…although Kira was the one truly running the operation. Mark spent most of his time following Luke around on Jedi missions and then recovering in a bacta tank.

    Both men were heartedly eating thick steaks with grilled mushrooms and a side dish of local vegetables. Ben wasn’t as big as Mark, but he had a Skywalker appetite when it came to food.

    “Mom was asking me questions today about Jacen and that woman you thought you recognized,” Ben remarked between bites of food.

    Mark made an effort to chew quickly and devour the large piece he had shoved in his mouth before talking. “About what?”

    “She wanted to know what the woman looked like and she was curious about Jacen’s knowledge of Force Stealth.” Ben took a sip of wine and then continued. “He said he learned it and perfected it just recently. She was wondering if you or any of the other Jedi Masters instructed him.”

    Mark shook his head. “I couldn’t see the woman’s face, she was wearing a veil.”

    “Who do you think it was?” Ben asked.

    Mark shrugged. “I don’t know exactly, but there was something very familiar about her.” He took another bite of steak and chewed. “I wasn’t even aware that Jacen knew Force Stealth. So, don't look at me, I didn’t reveal to him how it’s done.”

    Ben’s eyes narrowed. “You know how to do it?”

    Mark nodded. “It was a skill Palpatine knew, therefore I know. I haven’t tried it because I don’t like messing with Sith knowledge.”

    “Is it Sith knowledge or just Force knowledge?”

    “I don’t know. Like I said, I never tried it.”

    Ben gestured at him with his fork. “Do it and see.”

    Mark frowned. “Do it and see if it’s a Sith technique? Really?” Mark then did his best Ben Skywalker impersonation. “Hey Uncle Mark, try it and see if you turn into a villainous Sith Lord,” he said sarcastically.

    “Come on,” Ben said knowing his Uncle hated it when his mother used that particular phrase to cajole him into doing something.

    Mark laughed. “Oh, how can I not be persuaded by such a concise and compelling argument?”

    “If Jacen is using a Sith technique, he should be warned.” Ben paused. “There’s something else. Dad said when he was talking to Jacen today in the Temple he thought he felt Palpatine and Lumiya’s presence.”

    Mark’s head shot up and he started coughing on his drink. “Lumiya and Palpatine!”

    “Yes, although he thought Palpatine’s presence felt like …well, like you… Mom and Dad said they sometimes could feel the trace of Palpatine’s presence lingering within your Force essence.”

    Mark stared at his nephew for a long moment. “There’s a trace of Palpatine lingering on me?” he said sounding perplexed. He smirked and then lifted his arms and sniffed his armpits. “Maybe I should change my deodorant.”

    “Knock it off, be serious”

    “I am serious. I didn’t know I felt like Palpatine in the Force. Why don’t my friends tell me these things?” Mark said looking perturbed. “I suppose when his memories were left in my brain it affected how I am perceived in the Force. Maybe I don’t notice it because it’s been part of me almost all my life.”

    “I wouldn’t worry about it.” He took another bite of steak and then pointed his fork at his uncle. “We really need to know if Jacen is messing around with dark side techniques. Try the Force stealth, but stop if you start to feel the dark side creeping in.”

    Mark sighed. “Fine.” He closed his eyes in concentration.

    Ben’s eyes went wide when his Uncle’s presence in the Force dimmed and then shut off completely. “Whoa, that’s creepy.”

    “You can’t sense me at all?” Mark asked.

    “No, it’s like you have your ysalamiri with you.”

    “Interesting, and I don’t feel evil.” He smiled at his nephew. “How are my eyes? Are they getting bloodshot and yellow?”

    Ben looked him in the eyes. “No, but you should get them dyed again. They are looking more blue than green.”

    “Yeah, I need to get my beard and hair dyed also. I don’t want to start looking like an overgrown version of your father.”

    “Why not, your son Talon looks more like my dad than I do.”

    Mark smirked. “Well, if my kids did end up with red hair and green eyes I would need to have a long talk with Kira.”

    Ben laughed as he dug back into his steak. “Please uncloak yourself, it feels weird sitting next to a Force void. It’s different around the ysalamiri because we are both Force blind. This is just eerie.”

    “How this?”

    Ben could feel his Uncle reappear in the Force. “Better. I guess we don’t need to worry about Jacen if he isn’t using a dark side technique,” he said as he took another bite of steak.

    “Sure,” Mark said softly.

    Ben looked up at his uncle. He didn’t sound so confident.

    Mark gave Ben a furtive glance. “You’re Dad doesn’t think I have anything to do with Lumiya, does he?”

    “I don’t think so; why would he?”

    Mark gave a sour smile. “Ben, your Dad feels the presence of Palpatine with Lumiya-- and now you tell me I have the dark Force stench of Palpatine on me. If I were your dad I would be suspicious. And it would make sense. I don’t know how many people know about my run in with the Emperor and its unfortunate side effects, but if Lumiya did know, maybe she would want to turn me…to find out what secrets I keep.”

    Ben stared at his uncle and former Master. “What secrets are you keeping?” he said in a hushed tone.

    Mark gazed at his nephew ominously. “It’s dark knowledge of life, death and depravity so appalling it would turn your blood cold. His memories are like something rotting within me—a dark and damp stain within my soul. It’s a malignant, foul interloper infesting my mind that continuously tries to draw me to that shadowy place…a place of horror. Horror!” The last word came out loud and menacing making Ben jump in his seat.

    “Really,” the younger man asked wide-eyed.

    Mark made a face. “No.” He laughed. “Ha! I wish you could see the look on your face.”

    “Gods, you’re such a jerk.” Ben groused as he continued to eat.

    “Sorry,” he said with a chuckle, but then his tone turned somber. “Seriously though, the memories are unpleasant, but I try to compartmentalize and block them out,” he gave Ben a determined look. “And they will remain secret. Palpatine’s knowledge will die with me. I have told your mother and father that more than once. The Emperor was one of the most powerful Sith Lords in recent times. His knowledge is dangerous.” He pushed the food around his plate while in thought. “And to be honest, sometimes it does scare me.”

    “What scares you?”

    “Knowing you have the power of life or death at your finger tips…literally.”

    They sat in silence for a moment, both deep in thought.

    Eventually Mark looked over at Ben’s plate and half eaten steak. “Eat up, don’t you have a date tonight?”

    “Where did you hear that?” Ben was becoming exasperated that everybody seemed to know his business all the time.

    “Kira told me and I think your mother told her. So tell me about your date.” Ben groaned making Mark laugh. “Ben, I can see getting that reaction from you when you were my young teen apprentice, but you are in your late twenties. You’re too old to be getting embarrassed.” He stabbed another piece of meat with his fork. “Is she a Jedi?”

    Ben shook his head. “She’s the daughter of a Senator.”

    Mark grimaced. “Politician’s kids are never good. They’ll end up bossing you around…just ask your Uncle Han.” He laughed good-naturedly. “Is she human?” he asked, his voice taking on a familiar teasing tone.

    “What? Of course she’s human.”

    Mark chuckled. “Hey, I used to hear rumors that your dad had an eye for Twi’leks when he flew in Rogue squadron.”

    “Ugh! Even if he did, I would rather not think about dad dating anybody else prior to Mom.”

    Mark snickered. “I heard Wes Janson spent the night with a Female Bothan.”

    “Where do you hear these rumors?”

    “I think your dad told your mom who told my wife…who told me. Keeping a secret around here is difficult.”

    “If not impossible,” Ben said.

    “Difficult, but obviously not impossible,” He finished his steak and smiled. “Okay I’ll drop it. It’s not like I was going to ask for details from my nephew. I just wanted to know what she’s like.”

    “This is our first date. It’s probably not going to go anywhere,” he said with an air of resignation.

    Mark set his fork down and looked at Ben confused. “And why is that?”

    Ben tried to smile but it came out as a grimace. “It just seems that women want to date me because who my father is, not because they like me. When they introduce me to friends it’s like, ‘This is Ben Skywalker. Ben emphasized his surname.

    “Maybe you are going the wrong places to meet women,” Mark said with a smirk. “I found Imperial Detention Centers are a good location to pick up the ladies. You just break in and say, ‘I’m here to rescue you’, that’s how I met your Aunt Kira.”

    Ben scoffed. “With my luck it would be more like what happened to Dad and Aunt Leia. I’d end finding a long lost older sister from Dad’s rogue days.”

    Mark laughed. “I guess if you run into a detention cell and see a human/Twi’lek hybrid prisoner with a Skywalker resemblance…don’t date her.”

    Ben snorted in amusement then smiled sadly. “I should just give up and become a celibate Jedi monk.”

    Mark looked at his nephew in stunned disbelief. “Gods no! And don’t let your parents hear that. I’m pretty sure they are looking forward to bouncing little redheaded grandchildren on their knees.”

    Ben pushed the food around his plate, “Maybe.”

    Mark leaned forward and spoke in a reassuring warm voice. “Ben, I know it is tough finding that special someone when you’re a Jedi. You never know if they are in love with you or the Jedi persona. My boys have had their hearts broken a number of times. But you can’t give up looking. You have to take the risk and be willing to sacrifice your heart for love. Believe me, love doesn’t come without sacrifices.” He gave his nephew a sincere smile. “No more depressing talk. Let’s order dessert.”

    Ben smiled broadly. “That sounds good. Chocolate will always be my one true love.”

    Mark gave him a wink. “And the only sacrifice it requires is the size of your waistline.”
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jan 12, 2013
  23. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 4
    Lol. I loved the Ben and Mark talk. I can imagine that keeping secrets is pretty hard in that family.
  24. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Yeah, all gossip paths lead to Mark, he could make a living as a columnist. :p

    I loved the family tone of this chapter and that Ben is afraid of sneaking in on his parents ;)
  25. Demendora Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2010
    star 2
    Mark is such a good uncle) He knows how to treat teenagers)

    I love how rumors are spreading in this family)):D
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade