Saga "Son of Unveiled Secrets." AU Drama. Obi-Wan, L/M. Chapter #42 upated 9/10/14

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  1. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    Chapter # 23

    Sola frowned as she glanced at her chrono for the third time. “It’s been almost two hours, I believe we’ve been stood up.”

    Ben nodded pushing to his feet. “The Gungans have always been shy in nature. I just thought that a meeting with Padme Naberrie’s sister would be enough enticement to drag them out in the open.”

    Sola stood. “Evidently not. I’m hungry, let’s get some lunch.” She threaded her arm through Ben’s and headed towards the food district.”

    Ben placed his hand on top of hers noticing the softness. “Feel like Chandrila?”

    “Too spicy. How about a salad?”

    Ben smiled. “I know just the place.” He led the way to an intimate café that featured exotic salads and soups. After ordering, Ben leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms.

    “What?”

    “Perhaps we are going about this the wrong way.”

    The waiter arrived with their iced-rose tea and placed them on the table. As he left, Sola leaned in.

    “What are you thinking?”

    Ben sipped from his glass and swallowed. “Perhaps it’s not the Gungans we should be trying to ally with.”

    Sola drank from her own glass. “Then who?”

    “It just might be time to make contact with the Rebel Alliance.”

    Sola’s eyes widened. She looked around the empty tables near them and moved her chair closer to Ben. “Do you…do you think that’s wise?”

    “I do. My contacts on Tatooine have mentioned that the rebels have become very organized and that they continue to infiltrate key areas of the Empire.”

    “It just sounds so risky, Ben.”

    “Perhaps.” He folded his hands on the table top. “But, I believe it is the way to go.”

    The waiter arrived with two large salad bowls and a basket of thick, crusty bread.

    Ben bit into a slice and chewed. “There’s an individual in the rebellion who serves as the head of surveillance. He often does his own scouting. He’s the one I need to meet with to determine how we might work together against the Empire.”

    Sola frowned as she cut her salad into smaller pieces. “It’s that easy, eh? Just meet up with this man and tell him we’re ready to join forces with a terrorist organization.”

    He winced. “I’m not saying it’ll be easy. I’m just saying that we need help and they are likely to be interested in our unique perspective.”

    “What’s this man’s name?”

    Ben looked about the room. “Airen Cracken.” He spooned two olives onto his bread plate, then bit into a second piece of bread.

    Sola raised a brow. “Saving those for a rainy day?”

    “Hmm?”

    “Your olives, Ben.”

    Ben wrinkled his nose. “Never liked the taste.”

    She grinned and stabbed them with her fork. “Your loss.” Sola brought her fork to her lips and slipped the olives into mouth.

    Ben froze, mesmerized by the sight. He felt a slight warming on his face and then looked over towards the bar. “Stars...”

    “What?” She looked over just in time to see Moff Daquan approaching.

    He was an intimidating man. Tall with an economy of movement that bespoke of military training. Some compared him to Moff Tarkin, but Ben thought there was something more calculating in his manner. He had all the signs of a dangerous individual.
    “Representative Naberrie.” The Moff bowed over Sola’s hand. “And Mr. Naberrie, what a pleasure to finally have the opportunity to meet you.”

    Ben stood and took the Moff’s extended hand. “The pleasure is all mine, sir.” He was surprised at the lack of emotion emanating from the man. Strange.

    Daquan removed his hand and caught both behind his back. “I hear your son has been showing Abriana around the city. I can’t tell you how much his generosity means to her…and me.”

    “Yes,” replied Ben. “He’s quite the ambassador for Naboo.”

    Daquan cocked his head and smiled. “Well, it’s very kind of him. Most young men have little time for such things. Luke does, indeed, seem to be an outstanding individual.”

    Ben nodded. “Of course it doesn’t hurt that the subject of Luke’s interest is so beautiful.”

    Sola coughed into her napkin.

    Daquan’s eyes glittered. “Naboo is a beautiful planet, is it not?”

    “The loveliest.”

    Both men stood eyeing each other.

    Finally, Daquan broke eye contact and nodded to Sola. “Well, enjoy your luncheon.” He nodded at Ben and then returned to the bar.

    Ben sat and replaced his napkin in his lap. “Testing the waters?”

    “No doubt.” Sola took a bit of etbain lettuce and chewed. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we received an invitation to dinner soon.”

    “And I suppose we’ll have to attend?”

    Sola grimaced and placed her fork near her bowl. “Well, I wouldn’t go bringing Airen Cracken to the party, but yes, we’ll probably have to go.”

    Ben glanced back towards the bar and the group of Imperials with Daquan. He couldn’t help but notice there were also a few from the Naboo Council with them and they seemed to be having a delightful time.

    “They must’ve been in a private room earlier,” said Ben.

    Sola looked up from her salad and then reached across the table to touch Ben’s forearm. “I think you are right. We can’t do this on our own. How soon can you contact Cracken?”

    Ben watched the Moff escort the council members from the café. “Not soon enough.”


    xxxxx


    Mara had always been good at sneaking around. Well, that’s what Luke called it. She had often driven him mad with her stealthy presence when he had slipped off to see his friends on Tatooine and Naboo. He never understood her reasons for doing so, but from even a very early age, Mara had found Luke Skywalker quite fascinating. And, like Luke said, she was good at it. Very good.

    She lifted her head from her datapad as Luke pulled into the lake house’s garage. Perched high on a branch of a Talipa tree, she watched him exit the building whistling some out-of-tune melody with a besotted grin on his face. Stupa koochoo. This Imperial wermo had her claws into him deep and Mara was certain that her motives were far from innocent. What is it with men and their lack of brain usage when it comes to a pretty face?

    Mara shut down the datapad and tucked it into her shoulder pack. Even Uncle Ben seemed blind to Abrianna’s strategy with Luke. Well, she’d just have to gather proof, that’s all. She’d done surveillance before and now had the proper recording equipment. She’d make them both see how the Imperial chik was using Luke.

    She slid down the trunk of the tree and landed softly onto the ground. He’d give up this ridiculous relationship as soon as he saw the girl’s true designs. Mara frowned as she paused at the front door and brushed some leaves from her pants. Her only concern was his reaction to the truth. What was it that Popi often said about killing the messenger? Mara snorted and opened the door. Not Luke. Surely he would appreciate Mara’s efforts. Might even be grateful for exposing the little wermo. She smiled and slipped quietly into the house.


    ...to be continued.
  2. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Hmm. I thought Ben and Sola would talk about personal stuff, related to the two of them. :rolleyes: I would not think Sola would be pushy, but I hope she hasn't given up. [face_worried]

    Great idea to contact Airen. But [face_dancing] [face_dancing] !! go Mara! Gather the hard, cold evidence [face_laugh] [face_laugh] That'll de-sisterize Mara for sure. [face_mischief]
    Last edited by Nyota's Heart, Jan 14, 2014
  3. Random Comments Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2012
    star 5
    "Might even be grateful for exposing the little wermo."
    ...somehow I don't think Luke will react in...quite that manner. At least, at first...until he finally notices Mara isn't his sister.
  4. divapilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    Great chapter! I love it when Mara gets mad and goes all Huttese. Stoopa sleemo.

    So why couldn't Ben read Moff Daquan? Hmmmm. interesting...
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  5. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 8
    That is so Mara right off the bat. Loved it can't wait for more :D
  6. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    Thanks to those of you hanging in there with my story. Special thanks to Falcon, divapilot, Random Comments, and Nyota's Heart for posting. I really appreciate your words and thoughts about where this story will go!

    *****


    Chapter #24


    Ben pulled into the large docking bay and cut his engines. Glancing at his chrono, he unbuckled his safety harness and popped the canopy of the Cutlass-9. He descended from the cockpit, hitting the ground and rolled his neck. Fondor of all places. Surely there were closer places to Naboo they could have met. The planet was over industrialized with factories and junkyards. He wondered again why Cracken picked such a planet to meet on. It was not without its Imperial presence at times.


    He filled out the appropriate information and handed the tech some credits. Stowing his flight suit and gear, Ben locked the ship’s storage compartments and slung his cloak around him. He headed toward the shuttle bus to town and took a seat in the back. They reached the main hotel, and exited the transport. He grimaced as the overwhelming stench of unchecked industries filled his senses. Ducking through the entrance he approached the hotel desk.

    “May I help you, sir?” asked the clerk.

    “Reservation for Owen Lars.” Ben reached into his pocket and retrieved his ID.

    The clerk took the well-used ID and tapped into his datapad. “Ah, here we are. Room 267.” He handed Ben the key card and his ID as Ben offered several credits. “Thank you, sir. Enjoy your stay.”

    Ben nodded and pocketed the items. He turned and punched the button to the turborlift. The lift chimed and opened to an empty enclosure. Seems he wasn’t the only one with the same opinion of Fondor. Pressing the lighted key to the second floor, he stood waiting for the doors to close.

    “Hold the lift.” A young woman dressed in an industrial type jumpsuit slipped into the turbolift and grabbed the railing. She was slight in stature with dark cropped hair and large brown eyes. “Thanks.” She looked at Ben and then stabbed the third floor key.

    Reaching out with the Force, Ben sensed her intense interest in him. He dropped his right hand to his side, feeling his lightsaber under his cloak. Delving deeper, he discerned suspicion, but no ill will towards himself and relaxed.

    The girl attempted to watch him, the derision evident on her face.

    The lift reached the second floor and chimed. Ben strode forward, but tucked his chin to the side to get a last look at the interested party. She reached into her pocket and then froze as she meet his eyes. Got ya’. Ben smiled and watched as the door to the lift closed.

    He walked the short distance to his room and swiped his card in the door’s card reader. Closing the door, he stood for a moment and then turned towards the ‘fresher. “I know you’re there.”

    The door to the refresher opened and a middle-aged man of medium height emerged with a blaster in his hand.

    “Airen Cracken, I presume?”

    The man padded to the main living area and paused. “And you are Jahn Naberrie?”

    Ben bowed slightly. “At your service.”

    “How did you know I was already here?”

    “It’s what I would’ve done in your situation.” Ben wrapped his cloak around him and sat down at the small table near the window. “That…and the fact that you had your associate ride up with me in the lift.”

    Cracken smiled and crossed the room to the table. “She’s normally better at subterfuge. Or perhaps you have a more discriminating eye.” He sat, keeping his blaster trained on Ben.

    “Living on a planet infiltrated by the Empire has a tendency to render one most observant.” Ben laid his hands palms up on the arm rests of the chair. “I assure you, I mean you no harm.”

    “Perhaps.”

    Both men turned at a slight knock at the door.

    “Come in,” said Cracken, his eyes watching Ben’s face.

    The girl from the lift slipped in quietly. “He came alone.” She pulled a blaster from her jumpsuit and remained by the door.

    “As requested,” said Ben. He took in the girl’s rigid stance. “And you are?”

    “None of your concern,” said Cracken. “We’re here to assess whether you are who you say you are and to determine if you are genuine in your desire to help us.”

    “You mean, the Rebellion,” said Ben.

    Cracken grimaced and nodded to the girl. She pocketed her weapon and pulled out a scanner.

    “If you would be so kind,” said Cracken.

    Ben sighed and stood up. The girl ran the scanner over his body and paused at the pocket on his right side.

    “What is it?” asked Cracken.

    “I don’t know,” said the girl. “I’ve never seen this before.”

    Cracken stood and leveled his blaster at Ben. “Are you armed?”

    Ben held his arms up. “From a certain point of view.”

    “What does that mean?” asked Cracken.

    “It means, I am prepared to defend myself if threatened. However, that is not the purpose of my visit. Please, can’t we just sit and discuss how I might be useful to you?” asked Ben.

    “Not if I’m dead.”

    Ben sensed Cracken’s hesitation and felt his own frustration begin to rise. “I will keep my hands in sight at all times and you may keep your blasters pointed at me, as well.”

    The girl moved closer. “I don’t trust him.”

    “You will grow to,” replied Ben.

    Cracken nodded. He and Ben sat back down as the girl stood a couple meters away with her weapon locked on Ben.

    Ben cleared his throat. “I am the nephew of Jobal and Ruwee Naberrie and yes, that makes me cousin to the late Padme Amidala. Three months ago, the Emperor established an Imperial base on Naboo to use against the insurgence of rebel forces in the mid and outer rim.”

    “We know all that,” interrupted Cracken. “Why did you have one of our Tatooine assets contact us?”

    Ben’s brows rose. “To assist you, of course. The entire Naberrie family desires to aid the rebellion against the Empire.” He paused, noting the lack on reaction on Cracken’s face. “I assumed that the information we could attain would be useful—”

    “But why?” asked Cracken.

    “I don’t understand,” said Ben.

    The girl barked out a laugh. “Why do you want to help the rebellion? Why not just rally the inhabitants of Naboo and fight the Imperials on your own turf?”

    Ben resisted the urge to steeple his hands on the table. “Because I believe it would be a more successful venture if we were to join forces.”

    Cracken’s brows rose. “You wish to join the Rebellion?”

    “I wish to aid the Rebellion in whatever way I can,” said Ben. “And I believe that would be best served by remaining on Naboo and attaining information from the Empire that would profit us both.”

    “Because you’re such a nice guy,” huffed the girl.

    “Nadya,” admonished Cracken.

    Nadya locked eyes with Cracken. “He’s hiding something.”

    Ben shook his head, striving to keep his hands on top of the arm rests. “We are all hiding something.” He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. “First meetings are never very fruitful. I imagine you will go back to your hidden rebel base and discuss this with your superiors. I, too, will meet with my family and tell them of your…hospitality. Perhaps our next assignation will prove more profitable.”

    Airen Cracken stood. “Perhaps.” He and the girl crossed the room to the door. “I will admit, there is something intriguing about you Mr. Naberrie. If that is who you really are.”

    “You know how to contact me,” said Ben. “Until our next meeting then.”

    Cracken nodded and left the room.

    Nadya turned and looked at Ben, a smirk framing her lips. “I know you are not telling the full truth. You may have fooled him, but you can’t fool me.” She shoved her blaster inside her jumpsuit and ducked out the door, drawing it closed behind her.

    Ben rose from his chair shaking his head. “We all have our secrets, my dear.” He stuffed his hands into his pockets as he realized with chagrin that the young woman with the caustic tone and cynical eyes was Force sensitive.

    ...to be continued.
  7. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
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    Well, that went over with a dull thud :p Caution is one thing. Suspicion verging on accusation something else altogether. Not only is vital information likely if they team up, but there is also the protection factor. [face_thinking]
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  8. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Nice update! Things are getting interesting. I missed the update before this. I just want to say I don't think Luke will appreciate Mara's help. :p
  9. taramidala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 1999
    star 4
    Forgot to comment on the previous chapter, but go Mara!

    As for this one...Cracken's slightly suspicious, hmm? Good. I liked how he and Ben were feeling each other out. Also, who are Ben's Tatooine contacts? Everyone's dead. You have me curious.

    And lastly...a brown haired/brown eyed, Force sensitive girl? Why, hello there, LEIA. :D
  10. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Taramidala -- :gasp: It never crossed my mind that that was who that was with Cracken. :cool: Makes absolute sense though. I was so caught up in the AU-ness :D that Leia completely slipped my mind [face_laugh]
    Falcon likes this.
  11. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 8
    awesome update and I'm looking forward to the next chapter.
  12. Random Comments Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2012
    star 5
    Well, that went well.
    I predict the next chapter's events will go even /better./ :p
    Falcon and Nyota's Heart like this.
  13. divapilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    Gotta take baby steps. It went well - from a certain point of view. No one got shot, did they?
    And as for the girl, well, we shall see.

    Still loving this story. lady!
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  14. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    You always do. ;) but then that's what we've come to expect from you: recognition of plot devices and twists. Practically perfect in everyway, Sisterpilot!
    ginchy likes this.
  15. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    ooooh Leia...!!!! Well, maybe. (I hope!) This AU is getting better and better, gal. I loved this scene. It really seems to up the stakes.
    Jade_Pilot and Nyota's Heart like this.
  16. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    Thanks y'all for reading! And thanks to ginchy lee, divapilot, Random Comments, Falcon, Nyota's Heart, taramidala, and Jedi_Lover for your comments and kind words. I'm sorry to disappoint, but Nadya is not Leia. I just couldn't leave you hanging on that hope.

    ****


    Chapter # 25


    “So…the Rebellion is out?” Sola dropped onto the lounger, tucking her feet underneath her.

    “On the contrary,” said Ben, sitting in the chair next to her. “I simply have to come up with some intel that will convince them that we are, indeed, valuable and trustworthy.”

    Sola rested her chin on her fist. “Good luck with that. So far Moff Daquin and his cronies have been more tight lipped than a copak with a toothache.”

    Ben stared out the large picture window facing the lake, rubbing his hand across his chin.

    “What?”

    “It just may be necessary to use Luke and Mara.”

    “Aren’t they a little young?”

    He rose and paced to the window, folding his arms. “Back in the days of the Republic, they would have already had several experiences under their belts. Luke’s father was accompanying me wherever I went and often faced great dangers.”

    “And this was the norm?”

    “Oh yes,” said Ben. “Strange how different I feel now about such things.” He frowned. “It’s hard to imagine them in life threatening situations without my heart racing.”

    Sola crossed to the window, placing a hand on Ben’s arm. “They are not just wards to you, Ben. You love them like your own flesh and blood children.”

    Ben cleared his throat, placing his own hand on top of hers. “Yes…I do.”

    The front door burst open with Luke and Mara entering the room.

    “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” barked Luke to Mara.

    “I know plenty, you just refuse to see the truth!”

    Ben turned, shaking his head. “Civil tones, younglings.” He noticed Luke’s flushed face. “Now, what is the source of the contention between you this time?”

    Mara huffed. “Tell him, Uncle Ben. Tell him the only reason he’s been invited to dine with Elin Daquan and his daughter is so that the Moff can attempt to pull information from him.”

    “You’re out of your mind!” Luke took a step toward Ben. “It’s merely to thank me for showing Bree around Naboo.” He looked back at Mara. “I’m not a stupa simpleton.”

    Ben paused taking in both teenagers. Luke, with his pleading expression and open countenance. Mara, with her flashing eyes and stubborn chin. Stars, he really was more parent than master. “Perhaps we can use this opportunity for our own benefit.”

    “What do you mean?” Sola padded back to the longer and sat down.

    “Luke agrees to dine with the Daquans keeping them occupied, while Mara and I survey the Moff’s quarters for intel,” said Ben.

    “What?” cried Luke.

    Mara smiled, crossing her arms across her chest. “It’s brilliant—I’m in.”

    “Now what a minute, Uncle Ben…” said Luke.

    Ben placed both hands on Luke’s shoulders. “It would give us the perfect opening for surveillance, son.”

    “I know, but—”

    “If your girlfriend’s so innocent, then you don’t have anything to worry about,” said Mara.

    “Of course she’s innocent, “said Luke, glaring at Mara, “it’s her dad’s who’s the Imperial. Why can’t you accept that?”

    Ben sighed. “Enough bickering!” He squeezed Luke’s shoulders and dropped his hands. “When is your engagement?”

    “Tomorrow night,” said Luke softly.

    Ben drew Mara to him in a hug and looked at Luke. “Then tomorrow night while you dine on gourmet foods from around the Universe, Mara and I will scout out the Moff’s home. I promise you Luke, I will not enter Bree’s chambers.”

    Luke rolled his eyes. “And what about Mara?”

    He looked down into smirking face of the red head. “She will also promise not to go into Bree’s room. Won’t you, my dear?”

    “Of course, Uncle Ben,” said Mara. “Whatever you ask.”


    XXXXX



    Luke drove through the security gate to Elin Daquan’s home with ease. The security guards, obviously waiting for him, waved him through never suspecting that Ben and Mara were nestled in a hidden compartment in the back of the speeder.

    “That was easier than I thought it’d be,” said Mara.

    “Hush, child,” said Ben. “We’ve still a ways to go.

    Luke pulled up to the parking area and killed the engine. “We’re here.”

    Ben poked his head out and whispered, “Remember the plan. Everyone have their communicators? Yes? All right, then. Good luck and May the Force be with you.”

    Luke opened the driver’s side door, exiting the vehicle and pocketing the keys.

    Both Ben and Mara waited till they heard the comm signal from Luke and then slipped out of the landspeeder. They sprinted to the large garage and slipped to the side door. With a wave of Ben’s hand, the door opened and they ducked inside. He scanned the alarm docking base and then punched in the security code.

    “Do you have the building layout?” asked Ben.

    Mara pulled her database from her pack and flipped it on. “Yes. I still think I should plant a few bugs in Daquan’s sleeping quarters.”

    “No, they would be found eventually and alert him to the fact that he is being watched.”

    “But Uncle Ben, he must surely suspect that there are those who oppose the Imperial presence here on Naboo.”

    Ben touched Mara’s cheek and smiled. “We’ve been over this, youngling. I’m asking you to trust me.”

    Mara growled, but nodded.

    “Good. Now pop up to the Moff’s room and see what you can find. You have your equipment? Yes? All right, then. I will meet you back here in an hour. Be careful, Mara.” He bussed the top of her head and slipped through the delivery entrance.

    Mara waited five minutes and did the same, smiling to herself. She had agreed not to plant any bugs in Elin Daquan’s bedroom, but she had not promised to abstain from planting any listening devices elsewhere. She pulled her black cap further down over her hair and ghosted up the stairs.


    XXXXX

    Mara passed through the window in the back of the library and deftly positioned herself behind some heavy curtains. Strange place to hold a dinner party, but it did lend itself to an air of intimacy. She slid to the ground and pulled out her recorder, focusing on the three at the round table near the blazing fireplace. Activating the record button, she leaned back against the wall and listened.


    “My daughter tells me you have your heart set on becoming a pilot.”

    Luke dabbed at his lips with his napkin and smiled. “Yes, sir. I’ve just completed my application to the Naboo Air Force Academy and hope to turn it in the first of the week.”

    Moff Elin Daquan sipped from his soup spoon, his eyes focused on the young man. “I’m sure Naboo’s academy is…adequate in its preparatory flight techniques, but are sure you would want to settle for a study that is second rate?”

    Luke frowned. “Second rate, sir?”

    “Yes, my boy. Though they do their best, I’m well aware that Naboo’s budgetary support of the academy is minimal.” He swallowed another mouthful of soup. “There’s only so much they can offer in a training program when it is not fully supported by its government.”

    Bree took a sip from her glass, beaming at Luke.

    “The ruling body of Naboo has always been steeped in the idea of peace through nonaggression, but there has been some changes in the last few years partly because of the Clone Wars. Queen Kylantha, herself has been very vocal about the need for a stronger defense system,” said Luke.

    “And has met with a great deal of opposition, I believe,” responded Daquan.

    A rueful smile tugged at Luke’s lips. “An entire governing system doesn’t change overnight.”

    “And certainly not Naboo’s,” answered the Moff.

    A servant entered the room, removing the soup bowls from the table. Mara noted how Bree laid her hand on Luke’s wrist, trailing her index finger against his skin. Another servant entered the room with large plates of grilled steak with drinda sauce. Her mouth watered in response.

    Luke stared down at his plate. “This looks wonderful.”

    Bree picked up her knife and sliced a piece of the savory dish. “We were fortunate to have our cook from Coruscant travel here with us.” She speared the morsel with her fork and placed it in her mouth.

    “Forgive me if I presume too much Luke…” began Daquan.

    “Sir?”

    “Have you, perhaps, considered the Imperial Air Force Training Academy?”

    Mara barely kept her gasp in check.

    Luke froze in mid-bite. “Uh, no sir. I can’t say that I have.” He grasped his glass and swallowed hard.

    Daquan laid his utensils on his plate and signaled the wine steward. The servant refilled Luke’s glass and stepped back near the room’s entrance.

    “The Imperial Academy is second to none and would allow you the opportunity to work with the best in flight vessels and the brightest instructors,” said Daquan. “A graduate from the academy would have the skills necessary to take on any piloting position in the galaxy.”

    “I don’t…I’m not sure how my grandfather would react to me leaving Naboo, sir,” said Luke.

    The Moff smiled, not unlike what Mara thought of when a hunter had cornered his prey.

    “But that’s the beauty, Luke,” began Daquan. “You could study on Naboo. We are beginning a flight instruction program here. It begins at the end of this school semester. Why, you’d have access to all types of ships beginning with the TIE Bomber to a Star Destroyer if you’re talented enough.”

    Mara could sense Luke’s excitement.

    “Really?” gasped Luke. “A Star Destroyer? Is it true that each Destroyer has a maximum speed of 2300G? And a class 2 hyperdrive?”

    “Yes,” Daquan chuckled. “I see you are a fan.”

    Luke’s face flushed. “It’s just that…well, what must it be like to pilot something with that much power?”

    “Exactly, my boy, said Daquan placing a hand on Luke’s shoulder. “You’ll never have that kind of experience on any Naboo ship.” He picked up his glass and drained it.

    “And while you’d be at the Imperial Academy, I would be taking music classes right here at the conservatory.” Bree leaned in towards Luke and whispered. “We’d still be able to spend time together.”

    Mara had had more than enough. She pushed up from the floor using the curtain as cover. Just before she exited through the window, she activated two auditory monitoring devices and placed them within the hem of the drapery. She would be able to record any conversation in the room and access it with her datapad.

    She glanced at her chrono, noting she only had ten minutes to meet Uncle Ben down in the garage. Nothing had turned up in the Moff’s chambers however, she knew she would have to tread lightly with the information she’d discovered tonight. Regardless, Luke was being drawn into a carefully constructed plan and it would be her job to see that this conniving twosome did not get their hooks buried deep in the guy. Her heart constricted in her chest. No, there is no way she would allow that to happen.

    ...to be continued.
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  17. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Oh, yikes, all that apparently is left is reeling Luke in! [face_nail_biting] But thank goodness for Mara's recordings. Luke can argue with her over her suspicions and jealousies etc. But when she replays the literal dinner talk, [face_dancing] woot! The jig will be up! :D
  18. Random Comments Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2012
    star 5
    The imperial Academy? This'll go well...:p
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  19. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    The chance to go to an Imperial Academy...who wouldn't be tempted.
    Jade_Pilot likes this.
  20. divapilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    What they say in his presence may not match what they say when he leaves. I wonder what Mara's devices will reveal. Is this a loyalty test of some kind, to see what reaction Luke and his family have when presented with the opportunity to get a "first class education" at an imperial facility? What if he says no?
    Worse yet, what if he says yes?
    Jade_Pilot and Nyota's Heart like this.
  21. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 8
    The Imperial Academy? Daddy dearest would eventually catch wind of Luke being there. This is a bad idea.

    More soon
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  22. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    Thanks for your continued patronage! This story was on my mind all through college and it's so much fun to finally get it down! I appreciate y'all so much. :)

    Falcon: But would Luke even TRY to hide it??? [face_mischief] Thanks and BTW, you and Mara are of like minds!

    divapilot: Ah, the plot thickens. How many fingers can they manage in as many pies? And as we know, Han went to the academy and he is known as one of the best pilots in the galaxy...when he isn't getting into trouble. ;) Thanks sisterpilot!

    Jedi_Lover: Exactly! I'm so in!

    Random Comments: Maybe...but I suspect you are on to something.

    Nyota's Heart: Yep, Mara is only intending to help, but help who? Once jigs are up the parties involved are often at odds with each other. Hold on!
  23. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    Chapter #26


    The entire Naberrie family sat at the large dining room table as Ben slid a datacard into his Micro-datapad. Ben smiled as the screen glowed to life. “I wasn’t exactly sure what I had discovered on Daquan’s terminal this evening. It was embedded in a message from a Moff by the name of Wilhuff Tarkin to the Emperor himself. Seems our friend, Elin, is doing a bit of his own surveillance. After tinkering a tad, I was able to download a copy.”

    “What does it say?” asked Sola.

    Ben handed the datapad to her. “It appears to be a progress report on some kind of secret military project on Kamino.”

    Luke leaned toward Sola. “Kamino? Isn’t that where the Clone army was made?”

    “It is,” said Ben.

    Mara scooted her chair closer to Luke and Sola. “You don’t think they’re considering…they couldn’t possibly be restarting the program, could they?”

    Ruwee shook his head and sighed. “Stars, I hope not. Would the emperor do that?”

    Ben reached over and took the datapad from Sola. “I wondered, until I found this.” He punched a few buttons and handed it back to Sola.

    “What in the seven bowels of Borelli…”

    “It was attached to an embedded file,” said Ben.

    Luke pointed to the left hand corner. “That looks like a blue print for some kind of drive thruster, but bigger than anything I’ve ever seen before.” He took the datapad and enlarged the screen over the section, then handed it to Ben. “Look here…”

    Ben stared at the screen, pressing his lips together. “You’re right, son. It would appear that the Empire has plans for a new star ship of some kind.”

    “Not just a star ship,” said Luke. “Something massive that we’ve never seen before.”

    “I’ll bet the Rebellion will appreciate you now that you’ve got this juicy tidbit, Uncle Ben,” said Mara.

    Ben stood and extended his hand to Luke. “That’s what I am hoping, youngling.”

    Mara rose, as well. “Uncle Ben, may I talk to you a min—”

    Luke handed the datapad to Ben. “I’ve got some news, also. While I was dining at Bree’s tonight, Moff Daquan suggested I consider applying to the Imperial Academy’s pilot program.”

    “What?” cried Ruwee.

    “Just listen, Popi,” began Luke. “As a cadet in the Empire’s program, I’d have all sorts of access to Imperial information. I’d learn to fly their ships while I learned their weaknesses. Plus, I’d be able to gather more information to pass on to the Rebellion.”

    “B-but—” stammered Mara.

    “Just think of the access, Uncle Ben,” said Luke. “They’d never suspect. It was Moff Daquan, himself who suggested it.”

    Ben folded his arms across his chest. “It does sound intriguing.”

    “Are you out of your mind?” Mara slipped in between Ben and Luke. “Uncle Ben, this is the worst idea he’s ever had. They are using him.” She turned and faced Luke. “And he’s too big an idiot to see that.”

    “Mara…”

    “I’m telling you, this is a huge mistake,” pleaded Mara.

    Ben took both her hands in his own. “Actually, it’s a very good plan, dear one. So good, in fact, that you might also consider applying. That way we’d have two spies.”

    Mara’s mouth fell open. “You’re insane.” She backed out of the dining room, shaking her head. “I would never—ever put myself in that position.” She glared at Luke, her eyes drilling into him. “Never.” Mara turned and fled to her private chamber, slamming the door.

    “What in Hoth has gotten into her?” asked Ben.

    Luke snickered. “Who knows?”

    Jobal pushed herself up from the table. “Men,” she whispered under her breath as she headed towards Mara’s room. “Leave this to me.”


    XXXXX


    Jobal knocked and entered the room before Mara answered. She had known the child since she was four years old and had come to love her like a grandchild. Stars, she was her grandchild! But Mara was a complicated soul. Buried deep within was the hurt of her broken childhood. Trust was sometimes an issue, along with allowing anyone other than family to get close. Even then, she concealed her inmost thoughts from them. Jobal doubted whether even Ben realized the depth to Mara’s suppression. Sure, she’d die protecting Ben and Luke, but she’d never let them see what was locked away inside her heart.

    “Mara, dear, may I come in?”

    Mara raised an eyebrow as she cocked her head.

    “Yes, well since I’m already in, may I sit down?”

    Mara shrugged and pulled her pillow to her in a hug. “You smell like vanilla.”

    “Char cake with dinner tonight,” said Jobal, dropping into the padded rocker.

    “My favorite.”

    Jobal ran her hands down the sleek wooden hand rails. “I remember how much you use to love sitting in my lap while we rocked in this chair.”

    “Nani…”

    Jobal laughed and folded her hands remembering Mara’s preference for brevity. “All right. I was just trying to break the ice, but I forgot you don’t require that.”

    “Thank you.”

    “I’ve noticed the quarreling going on lately with Luke and wondered what was going on.”

    Mara huffed. “He’s an idiot, therefore the quarreling.”

    “But it seems to be just the two of you quarreling, dear.”

    Mara sat up, her back against the wall. “He’s just so frustrating, Nani. This girl is using him. Her father is using him. Uncle Ben is blind and Luke is…is…an idiot!”

    Nani fought the smile tugging at her lips. “I know you care very deeply for him, Mara, and only want what’s best for him.”

    Mara snorted. “I don’t want him to blow our cover or do something foolish.”

    “Perhaps you could try to trust that Ben believes in Luke’s ability to carry out this plan.”

    “He’s an idiot, too.”

    “Mara,” admonished Jobal.

    “Well, he is.”

    Jobal rose from the chair and padded over to the brooding girl, kissing her cheek. “Try to look beyond that while you’re back here sulking.”

    Mara flipped over, facing the wall and mumbled something unintelligible.

    “Dinner in a half hour, dear.” Jobal moved to the door, exiting without looking back. She closed the door and leaned against the wall, closing her eyes in consternation. Yes, men could be fools at times, but so could women—especially those in love. Jobal sighed, not knowing how this strange situation could possibly turn out right. She only hopped that Mara would someday move on from the romantic feelings she had for the boy who only saw her as his sister.


    XXXXX

    Ben crossed his legs and leaned back into the deep, plush chair of the data-center’s study alcove. It’d been two weeks since his initial meeting with Cracken. At least the rebel had picked a planet closer this time. He took in the bustling students of Gall as they marched up and down the stairway. He sensed Airen Cracken’s arrival at once and sat up a little straighter.

    Cracken positioned himself at table near Ben and pretended to use the terminal. The young girl whom Ben had met the last time walked in and sat down in the chair near Ben, dropping her pack on the floor.

    Ben waited, his hands folded in his lap and then sighed. “I have made a very thorough survey of the room and can guarantee that we are secure from any…interference.”

    Cracken remained at the table, but looked up. “You seem to be under the delusion that I will take your word for it, Mr. Naberrie, but I can assureyou I have not even come close to accepting your actions as proof of sincerity.”

    Ben turned his head towards the table and saw the small hold-out blaster nestled in Cracken’s hand. “Then perhaps this will help to ease your suspicions.” He lifted two fingers holding a datacard in the air and paused. Ben kept his eyes on the girl as she seemed to wait for a signal from Cracken. After a moment, she rose and took the card from his hand giving it to her superior and then slumped back into her seat. He heard the tapping of the keyboard and then a slight gasp.

    “I thought that might get your attention,” said Ben.

    Cracken cleared his throat. “Where did you get this?”

    “Moff Elin Daquan’s terminal.”

    “How did you get access?”

    “I broke in.”

    “How did you allude their security?”

    Ben lifted a brow, noting the girl’s confused face. “I possess some unique abilities that lend themselves well to espionage.”

    “Enough of this.” Cracken shoved the card into an inner pocket and moved behind Ben. “You must understand we can take no chances that you are an Imperial spy providing us intel to make us believe you are sincere.”

    Ben felt the nose of the blaster press into the back of his neck. “Now, Nadya.”

    The dark-haired girl retrieved a medical kit from her bag and opened the case. Taking out a hypo-syringe, she pulled off the plastic guard and approached Ben, grabbing his wrist.

    “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” said Ben softly. He felt the blaster push deeper into his neck.

    “And why not?” asked the girl, smirking.

    Ben lowered his eyelids a fraction of a centimeter and left out a deep breath. “Because if you do, you will likely find yourselves dead on the floor, as well as, quite perplexed.”

    Nadya paused and looked up at Cracken. She cursed as she saw a red targeting laser zeroed in on his forehead. Then closed her eyes at the one on her hand.

    “Now, step back—both of you,” said Ben.

    With reluctance they complied. Cracken shoved his blaster into his coat and nodded his accomplice. She moved back to her chair and stuffed the medkit back into her pack.

    “We only wanted a blood sample to validate that you are who you claim to be,” said Cracken.

    Ben stood and rushed to within ten centimeters of Cracken’s face, pressing him against the wall. He almost felt sorry for the man as he sent feelings of danger flooding towards him. “If you ever try to do anything like that again, I will see to it that you are in need of extensive medical attention. Do you understand?”

    Cracken swallowed, a lone drip of perspiration running down the side of his face. “Yes.”

    “Good,” said Ben. “You have your intel. Use it as you see fit.” He turned and sat down into the chair, a smile on his face. “Off you go.”

    Cracken and the girl scurried out the door toward the building’s exit, not once looking back.

    Ben steepled his hands and grimaced. “That could’ve gone better.”

    Mara glided from her hiding place and sank into the chair next to him. “I suppose your threatening them didn’t help.”

    “They made me mad.” He ran a hand over his forehead and scratched his nose. “This ridiculousness has to stop. And I have no intention of them finding out who I really am.”

    Mara raised her eyebrows.

    “I still have you and Luke to think of, the slimy karkoons.”

    “You were right about the girl, Uncle Ben.”

    “Shame, really.” Ben stood up and stretched. “She should be in training to use her Force sensitivities before she gets too much older.”

    Mara slipped her arm through his. “But that would announce your own.”

    He patted her hand as they left the building. “Always one to see big picture, my dear.”

    Mara frowned and whispered, “You have no idea.”


    to be continued...
    Last edited by Jade_Pilot, Feb 7, 2014
    Random Comments likes this.
  24. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Poor Mara. Luke sees her as a sister. Maybe they need some time away from each other to break this brother and sister relationship. Nice update.
  25. Random Comments Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2012
    star 5
    ...hang on...Geonosis was the source of the clones?

    Other than that: =D=
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