Beyond Sense of Self - pt 1 - ch 4 - Last Command & beyond AU - (sweet Force, it's an update! 4/30)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by LexiLupin, Feb 7, 2012.

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  1. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    A/N 4/30/14: Note that all complete chapters are uploaded towards the bottom of pg 1. Ignore the truncated versions of the first two and skip ahead.



    A/N: So this is the intro of a fun and indulgent sort of AU that's been bopping about in my cluttered mind for a few months. The story itself is still very much in planning phases and I'm not really sure how long it's going to be. But as a teaser for mischief to come:

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    Sense of Self


    Prologue

    9 ABY

    Wayland

    As the dust settled in the partially demolished throne-room, Luke Skywalker found his attention torn between the unconscious woman who had just saved them all and his sister and brother-in-law, whose cold fear and devastation battled with their relief that C?baoth was dead. But as he saw Karrde pick Mara up, study her bruised and battered face, he knew she was in good hands for the moment, and turned his attention instead to Leia and Han, dread in his gut.

    ?He didn?t know anything,? the Jedi told them quietly.

    Han looked like he was trying very hard to control his breathing, even as his fists clenched absently at his sides, as he staggered slightly under his own pain from C?baoth?s assault. ?You can?t know that for sure, Luke.?

    ?Thrawn played him; he was never going to hand them over right away, not when he still needed a means of ensuring C?baoth?s cooperation.?

    Leia lifted her head and looked at her brother with such despair, her pain was palpable, even to any who did not feel the Force. ?Luke,? she whimpered, ?they were supposed to be here.?

    ?The ysalamiri are all dead,? he murmured softly. ?You know as well as I do that they aren?t here. I?m sorry, Leia- I?m so sorry- but Thrawn?s hidden them somewhere else, somewhere so secret even C?baoth didn?t know. He was furious about it, his emotions were all over the place? he didn?t know.?

    Han drew his wife into a tight embrace and tried his best not to glare at his brother-in-law, but Luke understood. This had been their one lead, and finding the place at all had been such a luck-filled quest, with Mara?s unexpected knowledge of the storehouse. And upon arrival, the blanket of ysalamiri had only increased their hopes that the twins were, in fact, hidden in the mountain with the spaarti cylinders. But while Luke had no doubts that he was right- C?baoth?s poorly-tempered anger with the Grand Admiral had revealed, to his great sadness and frustration, that the deranged clone truly knew nothing about the twins? location.

    Karrde, sitting with Mara?s head resting in his lap, cleared his throat awkwardly as he clipped his comlink to his belt. ?Calrissian and Chewbacca have nearly completed rigging the place; the Wild Karrde will pick us up in about three minutes.?

    X---X---X---X

    Coruscant

    Upon their arrival at the Imperial Palace on Coruscant, it was Wedge and Mon Mothma who were waiting outside the hangar- and it was then that Luke realized that something else was very wrong, something besides the obvious. The solemnity on the Chief of State?s face, the nervousness in the eyes of the Rogue who was intimidated by nothing?

    He swallowed thickly. ?What?s happened?? Last they had heard before entering hyperspace was relatively good news- despite the failure to catch Thrawn by surprise, the Bilbringi operation had been a success.

    Wedge cleared his throat, an uncharacteristic stalling mechanism. ?We?ve ah? learned why the Imperial forces fell apart during the battle,? he murmured quietly. ?Han? Leia??

    Han read the truth before the rest of them. ?Don?t say it, Wedge.?

    ?I?m sorry, Han. He?s dead.? A dark coldness assaulted Luke from his sister and brother-in-law and Chewie howled mournfully, even as the dread crept higher into his own chest. ?Assassinated by his own bodyguard in the middle of the battle, according to early reports.?

    ?I thought the Noghri were supposed to be on our side,? Han snarled.

    Mon Mothma spoke up softly, tone grave. ?It is? likely that news of your infiltration reached Bilbringi. That news of the Noghri defection reached Thrawn. His guard may have seen it as his only chanc
    Last edited by LexiLupin, Apr 29, 2014
  2. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Lexi! :* :* :* I've read scores of stories where L/M grow up together and they're fun!

    But J/J? How utterly fascinating ;)

    Please put me on the PM train before and after moving day LOL

    Huggles!!!!!!!

    [face_dancing]

    [face_dancing]

  3. JediMara77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Okay, so I haven't read a lot of your stories even though I think you're a great writer. But this one caught my attention immediately. I'll definitely be keeping up with this - I love Syal/Soontir and it looks really promising!
  4. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    Nanci gave me a heads-up. Looks like an interesting start. I feel so badly for Han and Leia. If anything were to happen to take my baby from me--I can't even go there. Can't wait to see where this goes. :)
  5. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Interesting! [face_thinking]

    I'm very curious to see where this goes.
  6. LoriLynn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2011
    star 1
    So glad to see this finally up on the Boards.

    I can't wait to see how growing up together will affect Jaina and Jag's future relationship. I'm sure the awkwardness will be dialed up just slightly.

    Speaking of, I should probably get to work on your birthday fic...[face_whistling]
  7. Darth_Kiryan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2009
    star 4
    Holy Crap!!!!

    This is probably the most depressing beginning to a story i have read. BUT,....Soontir Fel raising Jaina and Jacen. The mind just blows away at the scheer awesomeness of that idea.

    I will be watching this story with great interest
  8. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Very interesting. I hope Leia and Han don't have to go long without their children.
  9. Sticks Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2001
    star 4
    WHOA. Please put me on the PM list for this little piece of awesome!
  10. Ceillean Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2001
    star 5
    Just imagining Jacen and Jaina being raised by the Fel's...seriously, disciplined Solo's? Solo children who actually do as they're told. Because I doubt Soontir would have it any other way. ;)

    Yep yep, definately looking forward to more.

    If you're sending out PM's, would you put me on the list?

    =D=
  11. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Jade_eyes - I've read scores of stories where L/M grow up together and they're fun!
    But J/J? How utterly fascinating


    LOL yeah, I sort of had an epiphany a few months ago about this. I mean, logically speaking, if Thrawn HAD succeeded in snatching Jacen and Jaina, what would he do with them? Would he really give them straight to C'baoth?
    And my crazy mind just went from there. [face_mischief]

    JediMara77 - I'll definitely be keeping up with this - I love Syal/Soontir and it looks really promising!

    Thanks! And I'm developing a serious affection for all the Fels myself, they seem to be popping up more and more frequently in my fanfics... now if only they'd put some more of them in PROfic, we'd be in business. ;)

    Ginchy - I feel so badly for Han and Leia. If anything were to happen to take my baby from me--I can't even go there. Can't wait to see where this goes.

    I'm not going to lie, writing those first two scenes REALLY depressed me- and I just have cats. [face_laugh]

    Hazel - I'm very curious to see where this goes.

    Don't tell anyone but, uh... me too. :p Okay, so I have a GENERAL sense of where it's going. But I'm winging this one a lot more than I've done with a story in a long time. Too many possibilities, too little time!

    LoriLynn - I can't wait to see how growing up together will affect Jaina and Jag's future relationship. I'm sure the awkwardness will be dialed up just slightly.

    Lori, you ARE shameless! [face_laugh] Horribly depressing, kidnapped children... and you're wondering what that'll do to a relationship between a couple of BABIES?! (Well... toddler for Jag, I guess) Anyway, YES, you should get to work on my bday fic... only 12 days away! [face_devil]

    Phoenix5 - This is probably the most depressing beginning to a story i have read. BUT,....Soontir Fel raising Jaina and Jacen. The mind just blows away at the scheer awesomeness of that idea.

    [face_mischief] Yeah, it was terribly depressing to write BUT- the awesomeness possibilities are rampant. :D Hope I don't disappoint!

    Jedi_Lover - I hope Leia and Han don't have to go long without their children.

    Hm... about that... O:)

    Sticks - WHOA. Please put me on the PM list for this little piece of awesome!

    [face_laugh] Glad to see you're intrigued!

    Ceillean - Just imagining Jacen and Jaina being raised by the Fel's...seriously, disciplined Solo's? Solo children who actually do as they're told.

    LOL I know, right? [face_laugh] Though the idea of Jaina actually following orders might be just way TOO AU for anyone to buy it... :p

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    A/N: Anyone else wants on the PM list, just let me know. I don't have any clear idea of when updates will be occurring, just so you know. Flying this one by the seat of my pants.

    Part I ? Lost

    Chapter 1


    Nirauan

    Admiral Voss Parck eyed his second-in-command thoughtfully, if more than a little doubtfully. The two men sat opposite one another at a small briefing table in a private conference room just off the command center. Access to the room was restricted to the two humans and to Commander Stent- all others were permitted only by direct order from any one of the three. It was the room where the most secret of conversations were carried out, where the most sensitive topics were discussed.

    And so it seemed strange, to General Baron Soontir Fel, that on this particular occurrence, the main topic of conversation was two infant humans.

    Parck rested his elbow on the table and rubbed his chin pensively. ?They?re being released from the infirmary today??

    ?There?s nothing wrong with them,? Fel shrugged. ?The medics have just been waiting on some basic blood work, as a precaution.?

  12. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Thanks for the PM. :D And I'm very happy that the Fels will be officially ;) being guardians of Jacen and Jaina.

    And L/M on a mission, just they two?

    [face_dancing]

    [face_dancing]

    Yay, and I'm prepared to squee over what happens with them - even if it's eventually [face_laugh]

    Because they really do make a superb team. :)

  13. JediMara77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Excellent update. You write the goings-on in the Empire of the Hand very well. And Luke infiltrating the Chimaera with Mara - again?? I'm liking the sound of that. Anything to bring in Pelly!

    Fel is right - you can't create a chiss out of a human, no matter how hard you try. As cold as Jag may be in profic, he's still human.

    And I agree with you about getting more Fels in profic! Just where have Soontir and Syal been anyway? :p
  14. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    I was actually just thinking about this story so I'm glad to see it updated. I had a dream the other night that someone had taken my daughter away from me (not kidnapping but somehow they had custody) and I was crying because I was holding her little stuffed pig and thinking about how they didn't know her nighttime ritual all the little things my husband and I do as we put her to bed. I can only imagine that Han and Leia are thinking of that and more. :( (I, too, have cats and even the thought of someone taking one of them makes me ill as well).

    I love that Luke and Mara are going to be working together--this story has a lot of potential! Can't wait for more. :)
  15. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    I'm sooo looking forward to Luke and Mara working together again.

    I want to hug Han and Leia, though. They must be in hell.
  16. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I don't like the fact that the twins are not with their parents, but I like the idea of Luke and Mara working together. I can't see how Mara can turn down Luke's request...she asked the same thing of Luke to save Karrde. Don't have Jaina and Jag together too long. If they see each other as siblings that would curtail a J/J romance.
  17. LoriLynn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2011
    star 1
    Lori, you ARE shameless! [face_laugh]
    Why yes I am...your point?

    I must admit I'm very excited to get an inside look at the Fel household since...well I have absolutely no idea what went on there. I'm not sure many people do. They should have a reality show! 'Growing Up Fel' this summer on the CW [face_mischief]

    [:D]
  18. MaraJade4S Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2005
    star 2
    Interesting beginning. I'd like to see where you take this.
    Ifd you do pms, could you please add me to the list?
  19. Ceillean Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2001
    star 5
    Mara and Luke don't really like each other during Last Command, iirc...I think she'd rather blast him in the head than work with him so...yeah.
    Poor Luke. He better watch himself. :p

    Anyway...I'm very much intrigued. What does or rather did Thrawn see as so important in the twins? What's so special about them, I wonder? Well, the fact aside that they're both Force sensitive...which Soontir doesn't even know yet.

    Surprise, surprise!


  20. TwinsinsThlee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2011
    This a really intriguing beginning; very well written and it just reels you in. You don't know how intense my face looked while reading this. :p

    I'd very much like to be added to the PM list. :)

    -Twinsins Thlee
  21. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Re-post of 1st two chapters, then an update!

    Prologue

    9 ABY

    Wayland

    As the dust settled in the partially demolished throne-room, Luke Skywalker found his attention torn between the unconscious woman who had just saved them all and his sister and brother-in-law, whose cold fear and devastation battled with their relief that C’baoth was dead. But as he saw Karrde pick Mara up, study her bruised and battered face, he knew she was in good hands for the moment, and turned his attention instead to Leia and Han, dread in his gut.

    “He didn’t know anything,” the Jedi told them quietly.

    Han looked like he was trying very hard to control his breathing, even as his fists clenched absently at his sides, as he staggered slightly under his own pain from C’baoth’s assault. “You can’t know that for sure, Luke.”

    “Thrawn played him; he was never going to hand them over right away, not when he still needed a means of ensuring C’baoth’s cooperation.”

    Leia lifted her head and looked at her brother with such despair, her pain was palpable, even to any who did not feel the Force. “Luke,” she whimpered, “they were supposed to be here.”

    “The ysalamiri are all dead,” he murmured softly. “You know as well as I do that they aren’t here. I’m sorry, Leia- I’m so sorry- but Thrawn’s hidden them somewhere else, somewhere so secret even C’baoth didn’t know. He was furious about it, his emotions were all over the place… he didn’t know.”

    Han drew his wife into a tight embrace and tried his best not to glare at his brother-in-law, but Luke understood. This had been their one lead, and finding the place at all had been such a luck-filled quest, with Mara’s unexpected knowledge of the storehouse. And upon arrival, the blanket of ysalamiri had only increased their hopes that the twins were, in fact, hidden in the mountain with the spaarti cylinders. But while Luke had no doubts that he was right- C’baoth’s poorly-tempered anger with the Grand Admiral had revealed, to his great sadness and frustration, that the deranged clone truly knew nothing about the twins’ location.

    Karrde, sitting with Mara’s head resting in his lap, cleared his throat awkwardly as he clipped his comlink to his belt. “Calrissian and Chewbacca have nearly completed rigging the place; the Wild Karrde will pick us up in about three minutes.”

    X---X---X---X
    Coruscant

    Upon their arrival at the Imperial Palace on Coruscant, it was Wedge and Mon Mothma who were waiting outside the hangar- and it was then that Luke realized that something else was very wrong, something besides the obvious. The solemnity on the Chief of State’s face, the nervousness in the eyes of the Rogue who was intimidated by nothing…

    He swallowed thickly. “What’s happened?” Last they had heard before entering hyperspace was relatively good news- despite the failure to catch Thrawn by surprise, the Bilbringi operation had been a success.

    Wedge cleared his throat, an uncharacteristic stalling mechanism. “We’ve ah… learned why the Imperial forces fell apart during the battle,” he murmured quietly. “Han… Leia…”

    Han read the truth before the rest of them. “Don’t say it, Wedge.”

    “I’m sorry, Han. He’s dead.” A dark coldness assaulted Luke from his sister and brother-in-law and Chewie howled mournfully, even as the dread crept higher into his own chest. “Assassinated by his own bodyguard in the middle of the battle, according to early reports.”

    “I thought the Noghri were supposed to be on our side,” Han snarled.

    Mon Mothma spoke up softly, tone grave. “It is… likely that news of your infiltration reached Bilbringi. That news of the Noghri defection reached Thrawn. His guard may have seen it as his only chance to eliminate him.”

    Rightly so, but Luke could not bring himself to voice the thought. Yes, Thrawn’s Noghri guard would have lost his only opportunity once the grand admiral realized that he could no longer trust his former servants. And yes, by killing him, countless New Republic lives were probably saved.

    But their best hope for locating Jacen and Jaina was now dead.

    “My babies are gone,” Leia whispered, face deathly pale, clenching Han’s arm so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. “We’ll never find them now, will we? They’re lost.”

    Lando touched her shoulder gently. “We don’t know that, Leia. Karrde’s got connections all over Imperial space, I’ve still got a fair few of my own. Even Thrawn can’t have pulled this off in complete silence, someone must have helped hide them.”

    She nodded and then slowly, with measured movements, turned and began to walk unsteadily down the dimly lit corridor. “Leia?” Mon Mothma called after her. “Where are you going?”

    There was no response though, as Han hurried to catch up to her. Luke watched them go, wishing he could say something, anything, but his own guilt over not being there for his sister, for his newborn niece and nephew in their moment of direst need… it made words impossible. Even after they disappeared around the next turn though, he continued staring at the place where they’d disappeared, and didn’t notice for several seconds that Wedge was speaking to him.

    “Hm?” he turned distractedly.

    Wedge pulled anxiously at the collar of his flightsuit, and Luke wondered when his friend had even arrived before forced to share the worst news with his longtime friends. “I said that Iella Wessiri is heading up a special unit in Intelligence,” he repeated in a murmur. “They’re going through everything we have on Thrawn, the infiltration team, the failed prior attempts… they won’t leave any rock unturned.”

    The Jedi nodded heavily. “If you’d be so kind as to tell Iella that I’ll be down as soon as I freshen up…?”

    Wedge clasped his arm and inclined his head once, eyes heavy with the thought that neither wanted to voice- the thought that Leia was right; that the twins were lost forever.

    X---X---X---X

    Nirauan

    “’Tir?”

    The silence was becoming oppressive. While it was not unusual for her husband to brood upon returning from work, Syal Antilles Fel had rarely seen him in this deeply contemplative a state. He had spoken few words over dinner, and only then to gently reprimand Davin and Chak for arguing at the table. Now, two hours later, two hours in which he had largely sat in his office with the door closed, Syal decided it was time to face whatever news had been delivered on the messenger shuttle.

    “Has something happened, darling?”

    His shoulder slumped slightly, even as he pulled off the jacket of his uniform, preparing slowly and methodically for bed. “No, sweetheart.”

    “Then the shuttle… was it not from… him?”

    Turning to face her, she read confusion and consternation in his eyes. With a light sigh, he finished undressing before answering her question. “It was from the admiral,” he acknowledged quietly. “But it bore no useful information. We are still in the dark, regarding the war, the New Republic…”

    She held out her arms as he came into bed, and he fell easily into her embrace. “Then what bothers you, ‘Tir? If the ship brought no news… what did it bring?”

    “Children.”

    Fifteen seconds passed in utter silence. “Children, dear?”

    “Children. Two. A boy and a girl. Twins, it seems.”

    “Chiss?”

    He shook his head. “Human.”

    “Who are they?” Another shake of his head. “How old?”

    “Young; very young. A matter of only a few months, if that.”

    Syal inhaled sharply. “And no explanation…?”

    He shrugged wearily. “The nursery droid who accompanied them- and the ship was piloted by a droid as well- relayed only a message that they were in grave danger and were to be kept safe, secure, and secret; that Admiral Thrawn would further explain upon his next visit.”

    “Where are they now?”

    “The infirmary.”

    Syal smiled sadly. “They can’t grow up in the hospital, darling.”

    A wry glance was sent her way. “Perhaps their coming is a forewarning to expect the admiral soon.”

    “Maybe,” she sniffed. “But they should receive proper attention and care, not be mere burdens on the medics.”

    “What do you propose?”

    She considered a minute and then bit her lower lip and shrugged. “When they’re deemed healthy, have them brought up here. We still have Jagged’s crib, and Cherith has nearly outgrown hers. They can have Jagged’s room, he’s been spending most nights with Davin anyway.”

    “Has he?” Soontir scowled. “I told him to stay in his room.”

    “He’s two years old, darling, and he adores his big brother; such as it is, his big brother would do anything for him.”

    “And you want to do everything for two mystery babies.”

    “Just because they aren’t ours doesn’t mean we can’t treat them with the affection they deserve and, most likely, are sorely lacking.” After a moment, he gave a reluctant nod. “Do they even have names, ‘Tir?”

    “Jacen and Jaina.”

    X---X---X---X


    Part I – Lost

    Chapter 1

    Nirauan

    Admiral Voss Parck eyed his second-in-command thoughtfully, if more than a little doubtfully. The two men sat opposite one another at a small briefing table in a private conference room just off the command center. Access to the room was restricted to the two humans and to Commander Stent- all others were permitted only by direct order from any one of the three. It was the room where the most secret of conversations were carried out, where the most sensitive topics were discussed.

    And so it seemed strange, to General Baron Soontir Fel, that on this particular occurrence, the main topic of conversation was two infant humans.

    Parck rested his elbow on the table and rubbed his chin pensively. “They’re being released from the infirmary today?”

    “There’s nothing wrong with them,” Fel shrugged. “The medics have just been waiting on some basic blood work, as a precaution.”

    Secure, safe, secret,” Parck echoed their only instructions, regarding the mysterious babies. “What do you think? Orphans?”

    “You imagine the admiral to be running a humanitarian charity on the side?”

    A wry smile spread across the older man’s face. “Perhaps not then. Nevertheless- to send them here suggests someone must have a malevolent interest in them, surely. Why else ship two children to the far reaches of the galaxy?”

    “I am still uneasy, Admiral; I’d like to check it out.”

    A steady silence fell between them as Parck considered his words carefully, considered their implications and ramifications. When he did speak, his tone carried a careful warning, but was not censuring. “We agreed long ago, you and I, to put our total faith in Mitth’raw’nuruodo.” The door opened and both glanced up to see the tall and grim-faced chiss commander enter the room. “To act beyond his instructions- brief but clear as they are- is to question his judgment.”

    Fel responded as Stent settled himself stiffly into a chair two down from Parck. “Due respect, sir- this is far enough out of the ordinary that I’d like to investigate… for my own peace of mind.”

    “And before your wife gets attached?” Parck guessed shrewdly.

    The general offered a lopsided grin. “And that, yes.”

    Stent cleared his throat. “You will want to reconsider, General Fel.” He slid a datapad across the table towards Parck, who read it over. The message seemed to be shorter than Fel anticipated, because it was only a few seconds before Parck was sliding the datapad across to him, the admiral looking up at the chiss, eyes contracted in consternation.

    [Message received: 09:52:11 – XS8327Y Encrypt]

    [Decrypt successful]

    CADS5029-10-22

    Source: HoloNet intercept- CAI

    GADM Thrawn reported KIA- Chimaera- Bilbringi. Imperial sources confirm.

    The three of them sat in brooding silence for some minutes.

    X---X---X---X

    Coruscant – NRI HQ

    Luke Skywalker finished off what felt like his hundredth cup of caf in the past three days, eyes going a bit blurry as he watched the screen shift in coordination with Iella Wessiri’s latest report on the special investigation tasked for one purpose and one purpose only: finding the missing Solo twins.

    The missing Solo twins. It was already becoming something of legend, the children vanished into the night. Except for Luke- this was personal, this was painful… and the pain only magnified exponentially every time he glimpsed his sister’s face, or his brother-in-law’s.

    They were here today, Han fully recovered from his injuries sustained on Wayland, itching and impatient to get out and do something. Iella understood the need- and her unit was doing everything in its power to give him a lead to start with.

    “We have tentatively identified the mission leader as Major Molo Himron, Imperial Intelligence,” she recapped. “Sharp and cunning mentally, wholly unremarkable physically, he is exactly the sort of operative any force would want leading such an open mission where secrecy was impossible and surveillance footage a guarantee.”

    Luke stared at the grainy image of the dark-haired man, wondering what emotion he would be sensing if he didn’t feel so utterly numb.

    “Predictably,” Iella continued, “Himron has all-but vanished in the wake of the abduction. Our sources inside have reason to believe he has left Imp Intel altogether, undoubtedly at Thrawn’s orders; and Himron is smart enough to realize that he can never be Major Molo Himron again. But...” she pursed her lips. “Intelligence operatives are trained quite well at disappearing at a moment’s notice and without leaving the slightest trail to follow. Intelligence operatives’ families, on the other hand, are not so easily hidden.”

    A jolt of something… unease?... flittered through Luke’s mind and knotted his stomach. Maybe he wasn’t completely numb after all.

    Was this what it would come to though? Using the family to get at the man?

    He should feel that was wrong… right? As a basic Jedi principle?

    After a few minutes’ consideration, he couldn’t decide either way. In any case, that particular operation was going to be spearheaded by Han and Leia. Luke had his own quest, his own lead to check out… he just had to wait for two things to happen first.

    One- for New Republic Intelligence to get a clear lock on the Chimaera.

    Two- for Mara Jade to finish recovering from her own substantial injuries at C’baoth’s hands.

    He had yet to actually tell her that he required her assistance- and she was sure to be less than pleased to again be working with him, especially just the two of them. But if there was one thing they’d already proven, it was that, however grudgingly, they worked well together. And more to the point, they’d already once accomplished what Luke needed to do.

    And that was, of course, to sneak onto the Chimaera.

    Luke wanted to have a little chat with Captain Gilad Pellaeon.

    X---X---X---X

    Nirauan

    “This changes matters,” Parck acknowledged soberly.

    “Hardly,” Stent frowned, all stern disapproval. “The admiral left clear instructions for us in his absence; those instructions included no provisions for alteration upon word of death. Such as it is, he made it abundantly clear that we were not to trust such word. Clearly he yet has plans too intricate for our crude minds.”

    Fel nodded his slow concurrence, brow furrowed in thought as he turned to the chiss commander. “Your source has nothing else to report?”

    The chiss blinked slowly, a small sign of his annoyance. “It is not a reciprocal link, General, as you well know. I receive news of import when and only when it is deemed important enough.”

    Important enough to risk their secrecy- because every transmission, no matter how tight-band, no matter how small and seemingly irrelevant, left a trail, left a path to them, increased the likelihood of the neighboring Chiss Ascendancy taking an interest in their doings- a potentially inconvenient problem, because if the Ascendancy took an interest in the activities of the Empire of the Hand, they would invariably come to grasp the size of that Empire… and that might make them nervous.

    And nervous chiss neighbors were far less desirable than simply xenophobic and judgmental ones.

    Another thought crossed Fel’s mind: if secrecy were now more important than ever…

    “I’ve just lost my window for looking into the matter of the twins,” he surmised flatly.

    Parck nodded, a trace of apology in his brown eyes. “It is a distraction we cannot afford; and a risk I am unwilling to take for a task with almost no chance of yielding meaningful results. If we are to be without contact with the admiral for another decade, we must keep our attentions here, General.”

    “Not to mention,” Stent added stiffly, “the admiral’s instructions were clear- that he would explain upon his next visit, that the infants’ security was of utmost import in the meantime. To investigate the matter could well trip flags that could not only lead others here, to us and to the children we are ordered to protect, but could compromise Mitth’raw’nuruodo’s work for the next decade. Unacceptable, General.”

    Fel knew that, on a purely academic level. It didn’t mean he had to like it.

    Stent looked as though he were trying to suppress a condescending sneer. “It is the human way, to allow emotion to overtake reason; and as a father yourself, General, you are perhaps more susceptible to that human weakness-”

    “Enough.” Parck looked between them, exasperation in his eyes. “General, Commander Stent is right. Absolute adherence to our final orders is key, and those orders leave no room for debate. Now,” he consulted his own datapad a moment, “Commander Sorn awaits an audience this afternoon to discuss the latest scouting mission to the edges of what we’ve tentatively identified as Rezlyk territory. General, if you’d like to take this time to finalize arrangements with the infirmary regarding the children’s care…” He trailed off as Stent cleared his throat softly. “Yes, Commander?”

    His tone was smooth, silky. “I merely wish to emphasize that, the matter of details of the children’s care aside, they are, in effect, wards of the Empire- to be used towards whatever end Mitth’raw’nuruodo sees fit upon his return.”

    “They are infants,” Fel fought the urge to roll his eyes, noting, not for the first time, the way Stent reverted to the admiral’s formal chiss name when he was feeling particularly superior to the humans with whom- and under whom, in the case of Parck- he served.

    “For now,” Stent nodded affably. “Not in ten years.”

    “Human children are not chiss children, Stent, they don’t reach physical maturity for another several years beyond that.”

    Stent offered a little half-shrug that was just shy of dismissive. “Take them under your care, General- you and your wife are certainly best-qualified for the job, by now- but do not forget that their upbringing, in due course, will be a matter for others to decide. They are not to become part of your brood.”

    Mildly demeaning as his words were, Stent had a point- and Fel wasn’t sure that his wife could ever have that sort of detachment to children she had helped raise from infancy. With that in mind, he started to have second thoughts about the whole arrangement… but did not particularly wish to evoke Syal’s displeasure by returning to their quarters and informing her that the twins would be brought up in the cold and sterile environment that undoubtedly awaited them otherwise.

    Despite what Stent might think, simple upbringing could not make a chiss from a human. There was something biological, physiological, something unidentifiable but present nonetheless, that separated even the most duty-bound and loyal humans serving under Thrawn from the chiss who did likewise. And no matter how the mysterious infants were raised and by whom, Fel knew they would retain those human aspects which Stent categorized as weakness.

    He only wondered if they’d retain any other impressions, clues that might provide insights as to who they were and where they came from.
  22. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Chapter 2

    Ord Adinorr

    Former Major Molo Himron- alias Khromi Zaq- fought the instinct to groan in pain as he slowly regained consciousness. Based on the throbbing at the back of his head, and the biting sting of the cords binding his arms to the chair in which he sat, groaning would do little good, save to bring about his slow and agonizing death that much sooner.

    But as he grew gradually more competent at organizing his muddled thoughts, his current situation was almost something of a relief. Living for nearly four months in a constant state of anxious paranoia, he at least felt vindicated in his nagging surety that he would never escape the consequences of his last mission with Imperial Intelligence. The running, the hiding, the new identity… they were only delaying tactics, false reassurances while he lived a shadow of his former life, even the shifting and covert life of an intelligence agent.

    “He’s awake.”

    So that was it then.

    “Are you sure?” A hand yanked at a crop of his short dark hair. “He doesn’t look very awake.”

    “Oh, he’s-”

    “It’s been fifteen weeks, Solo,” Himron rasped, throat dry and irritated, “you’ll survive another moment or two.” Blinking against a harsh light, he let his eyes adjust and found the haggard and gaunt face of Han Solo staring distastefully back at him. Leia Organa Solo was standing two paces behind over his right shoulder, arms crossed tightly, looking stiff and unforgiving. “I’ve been expecting you, I’ll admit; but surely you don’t believe I know anything useful?”

    Solo’s scowl deepened. “Yeah, well- we like to cover all our bases.”

    Himron tried to get a sense of how long he’d been unconscious. Several hours at least, judging by the dryness of his throat and the near-numbness of his hands. From what little he could see of the living area of his small apartment, it had already been thoroughly picked over. None of it mattered- he may not have been actively serving with Imperial Intelligence since the conclusion of the abduction mission, but he was as good an operative as ever, and knew how to live anonymously.

    Not anonymously enough, it seemed.

    “In other words,” he kept his tone as light as possible, betraying little of the nerves settling in the pit of his stomach, “with Thrawn and his Jedi witch dead, you’ve exhausted any other likely leads.” A sneer twisted his face. “I do hope you know, Solo, that it was never personal.”

    The fist that cracked against his jaw hurt, but the part of him that tapped into his training on resisting interrogation applauded his ability to make Solo lose control so quickly. Undoubtedly, the two had insisted upon heading the operation personally- and that was their first mistake. Emotional investment rarely made for good form.

    Not that it particularly mattered here, today; Himron had nothing to hide.


    Nirauan

    Almost three-year-old Jagged Fel was not an unreasonable sort. Generally speaking, he minded his parents, got along well with his older brothers, and tolerated his year-old sister. But after three months and a great deal of thought, he decided it was time to put his foot down.

    “I don’t like them,” he declared decisively as soon as the odd nursery droid disappeared into the twins’ room.

    His mother peered curiously down at him from the sofa, where she had Cherith sitting in her lap. His sister blinked her big dark eyes contemplatively before returning to her bottle in earnest.

    “You don’t like who, darling?”

    “The twins. They cry all the time.”

    A gentle smile settled on Syal’s face. “Babies do that, Jagged.”

    “Cherith doesn’t,” he argued as he clambered up on the sofa beside her.

    “Well you don’t remember when she was as young as they are.” Syal reached over and tweaked his nose gently, and Jagged wrinkled his face and leaned away. “Not to mention how much you used to cry when you were just a little thing.”

    “Did not.”

    She just shook her head, long blonde hair cascading over her shoulders, and collected Cherith in her arms. “Let me put your sister down for her nap; then we’ll talk.”

    While alone, Jagged wondered whether he could have ever been as annoying as Jacen and Jaina when he was their age, decided it was impossible, and then moved on to contemplating which of his brothers he could get to join his cause. Davin, definitely; Chak… probably not, he seemed to actually like the intruding babies; Cem, it was difficult to say, he changed his mind every few days anyway. But if he could catch Cem on a day where he’d side with him and Davin…

    Then again, father always said that this wasn’t a democracy. Jagged had no idea what a democracy was, but supposed that it meant that his parents’ votes counted for a lot more than those of their four sons. Sometimes though, it was difficult to tell whether or not father really liked Jacen and Jaina either. Maybe he was like Cem and changed his mind every few days.

    He was wondering who would win an argument with himself, Davin, and his father on one side and his mother, Chak, and Cem on the other- Cherith was too young to count- when Syal returned from Cherith’s room. Taking up her former seat on the sofa, she drew an arm around his youngest son and pulled him close to snuggle against her side. “What’s on your mind, darling?”

    Jagged scowled. “We should take them back.”

    “Back?”

    “Where they came from.”

    Syal was quiet for a long minute. The sound of a door opening suggested that Davin and Chak were back from their morning studies, but she did not go to meet them as she usually did. Instead, she tightened her arm around Jagged and carefully considered how best to explain to him. “We don’t know where they came from, sweetheart.”

    “Well, ask their mother and father.”

    The rueful smile came, despite herself. “They don’t have a mother and father. That’s why they’re with us right now.” The look on her son’s face was quizzical, like he was trying to understand just how that was possible. “And if we don’t take care of them, the Chiss will and… they don’t really do things the human way. Jacen and Jaina will probably adapt better around other humans… around other human children who grow and mature at the same pace as they do. Does that make sense?”

    “I guess,” his tone was a bit sullen. “But they aren’t my brother and sister?”

    She sighed. Her talk with Soontir on the topic had been long and a bit emotional, with her husband’s emphasis on the fact that Jacen and Jaina had to grow up with a clear understanding that they weren’t Fels. Syal didn’t really see the point, and suspected that Stent had something to do with it. As a result though, he didn’t seem to quite know how to interact with the babies, and was probably afraid of getting too attached.

    “Technically, no… but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat them as you would your brothers and Cherith.”

    Jagged thought that over for a long time that night. With three older brothers and little Cherith, he didn’t particularly see the need for another two siblings; but then again, another girl would probably grow up to play with Cherith, which meant that Cherith would leave him and his brothers alone. And it would be good to not be the youngest of the boys anymore…

    With a reluctant sigh, he supposed he could give them another few months.

    X---X---X---X

    Ord Adinorr

    Himron thoughtfully spit out a mouthful of blood and considered his interrogators. The smallest measure of pity tried to foment itself in the back of his mind, but it died fairly quickly. As a loyal and dedicated Imperial servant, these two had wreaked far more havoc on his orderly universe than had he on theirs. Solo was an upstart, arrogant smuggler, the fringe-sort whose true nature might be masked for a while by a spiffy uniform and an advantageous marriage, but that nature could never be completely buried. Organa was nothing more than a traitor to the Empire she swore to serve and defend upon taking up her seat in the Imperial Senate, and the galaxy would have been better off had she been executed as scheduled aboard the Death Star.

    “Surely,” he drawled, when it became apparent that Solo wasn’t going to hit him again right away, “you aren’t naïve enough to imagine that Thrawn did not know he was signing my death warrant in sending me to head the operation in the first place? If I wasn’t killed in the operation, it was only a matter of time until I met an untimely end at either your hands or your Intelligence division’s. Whatever you imagine me to know, you’re wasting your time. Even in death, Thrawn’s three steps ahead of you.”

    “Yeah, well as he’s the one who’s dead, and as the Empire is in a shambles without its cloning capabilities, I guess the New Republic got something right.”

    “The Empire may be scattered and regrouping, but at the very least, it does not waste invaluable resources, at a time when it when it should be most advantageous to push against the enemy with the full might of the military, on two worthless infants.”

    Solo’s hand twitched, but he contained himself. “They weren’t so worthless to you fifteen weeks ago.”

    Himron actually laughed, though it hurt his split lip to do so. “Solo, what interest could I possibly have in your brats? My job with Intelligence was not to question the fanciful whims of Thrawn, but to carry them out to his exact specifications or die trying.”

    Before he could further attempt to rile the haggard man in front of him, Organa Solo slid smoothly from behind him and spoke softly. Her tone wasn’t exactly friendly, but it was not as harsh as her husband’s, an amateur and absurd attempt at the oldest interrogation technique in the holos.

    “We know you were just following orders,” she soothed, “but it’s the ‘exact specifications’ we’re interested in. And with Thrawn dead and your life in our hands, what possible reason could you have to withhold that information right now?” She bit her lip. “Please, Major; as you pointed out, they mean nothing to you.”

    “You needn’t convince me,” Himron said immediately, surprising and disarming them again. “You’re absolutely correct. What would you like to know?”

    The two exchanged suspicious looks, but Organa Solo quickly recovered and continued, her tone forcedly calm. “What I’d like to know is what you did with my children.”

    “As ordered, I removed them from the Imperial Palace, and then transported them secretly, with none but a caretaker droid, to a prearranged rendezvous in the Sartinaynian system.”

    “And?”

    He shrugged as best he could while bound in the chair. “And nothing. We were met by an unmarked shuttle bearing no recognizable transponder data, the droid transferred the children, and my duty was fulfilled.”

    It was quiet for a long minute as the two contemplated his words. Hands already long numb, Himron experimentally flexed his feet in his boots and was rewarded with shooting pains up both shins; not that it mattered much anyway. There was far too little chance of him actually breaking free to worry about his condition to get away from his two interrogators. No field agents from Imp Intel would be bursting in to save him this time- his ties were severed, left to run, hide, and die on his own.

    Solo finally spoke up. “I don’t believe him. Not entirely, anyway. Why should he tell us the truth so readily?”

    His wife was calculating and shrewd though, and she grimaced, a knowing look in her eyes. “Because it’s his only way of getting the slightest revenge on the one who threw his life away- isn’t that right, Major?” Himron smiled, politely bemused. “You never liked Thrawn… he was strange, unfamiliar... alien… but your duty demanded you do his bidding. Your unwavering loyalty to a man who, in your eyes, was unworthy of his position, earned you a mission which was bound to be your last, one way or another, and for a completely worthless gain, as you see it.”

    She leaned down in close by his face. “And now, forsaken by everyone and no one left to serve… with Thrawn dead and your last mission wasted… why shouldn’t you buy your life with information?”

    “Does your insight spring from Jedi sorcery, or simple political wisdom?”

    “A bit of both, I daresay.”

    “Hm.” Himron studied her. “Well, I have few delusions about surviving either way, but you are correct on the first point. The children mean nothing to me or to the rest of the Empire, and whatever their intended purpose, it died with Thrawn and his witch.”

    “Then you don’t believe them to be in Imperial custody somewhere?”

    “They were transported by a droid, cared for by a droid, and whisked away on an unmarked shuttle. A droid’s memory can be wiped, and records can’t exist for a shuttle without identifiers. Why go to those lengths if only to ship them off to be raised with some Moff?”

    Solo and his wife exchanged a heavy look. “It could have been for C’baoth’s benefit,” the man reasoned. “C’baoth wouldn’t have been able to pull information from a droid like he could a living being.” He turned to the major. “How did you identify the shuttle?”

    “Alphanumeric identification code, given to me before the mission.”

    “And as a longtime officer in Intelligence,” Organa Solo smiled tightly, “I’m sure you not only memorized that code, but still know it offhand?”

    A dry chuckle escaped through parched lips. “Standard practice.” He gave it to them, and watched Solo tap it into a datapad, surely knowing that it would get them nowhere- even if they had access to the comprehensive Imperial databases. Himron might not have liked Thrawn, but he had to respect the fact that the alien admiral foresaw nearly everything. “Was there anything else?”

    Solo looked at his wife. “Leia?”

    She just shook her head slowly and smiled bitterly. “No. I don’t sense that he’s withholding anything and regardless, if he’d known enough to jeopardize his plans, Thrawn would never have let him live beyond the drop off over Sartinaynian.”

    “I’ll comm Iella so she can get her team over here…” he trailed off though as Organa Solo held up a hand.

    Her brown eyes flashed strangely as she stared at the former Imperial officer. “Do you have any children, Major?”

    “No.”

    A coldness begin to seep through her features. “Standard practice, I imagine; but how do you think we tracked you this far? Certainly not through Imperial Intelligence. You just couldn’t resist making one comm call home, could you?”

    “Leia?” Solo asked softly from the doorway.

    She ignored him. “Hallin, fourteen years old; Tesira, eleven.”

    He did not allow the cold knot of anger and fear to show on his face, in his voice… decades of training and practice forbade it. But he felt them deep down nonetheless. “Is that how it is to be, then? I took your children, you’ll take mine?”

    “No, Major,” Organa Solo murmured softly by his ear, circling his chair to stand behind him, leaning down close so as to be heard. “The New Republic does not play by those rules. Your children won’t be harmed.”

    A rustle of movement made him stiffen in anticipation for what must come next.

    “Your children won’t be harmed,” Organa Solo repeated. “But I will make sure they know that their father’s last act in this universe was to deny them.”

    Himron saw Solo’s eyes widen before he closed his own.

    “Leia, wait-!”

    After fifteen weeks of constant anticipation… finally… blackness.

    X---X---X---X

    Han stared dumbly as Leia holstered her blaster, checked for a pulse at Himron’s neck and, finding none, simply headed for the door.

    “We need to get that ID code to Luke before he and Mara get a lock on the Chimaera.”

    The casualness of her voice was as jolting as her sudden execution of an unarmed man, and Han just followed her silently out the door, wondering how in the hell he was going to explain this to Iella Wessiri.

    X---X


    Tags: @Jade_eyes, @Sticks, @Ceillean, @MaraJade4S, @TwinsinsThlee
    Last edited by LexiLupin, Sep 6, 2012
  23. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Wow! That was awesome! Leia is pissed! I don't blame her for shooting the sleemo. I look forward to seeing what Mara says when Luke asks her to sneak onto the Chimaera once again. Hey, he did it for her...how can she say no? Can you put me on your tag list? Thanks!
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Sep 7, 2012
  24. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Hi! Are you reading this Lexi? LOL If you are, you have the amazing tech savvy genius of prj1 to thank. [face_dancing] Awesome postie!

    Woot!

    Jade is chuffed, chuffed chuffed if this works. [face_laugh]

    Fattest huggles!

    L/M goodness best thing since all flavors of cheesecake.
  25. Tribaldancer Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    This is great! Can I get on the PM list?
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