Beyond The Missing (Canon and OC's)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JediKyle23, Jan 27, 2013.

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  1. JediKyle23 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2008
    star 1
    Title: The Missing
    Characters: Canon characters and some OC
    Era: Future
    Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction and I do not own nor lay claim to any canon characters herein. Original characters should not be used without express permission by myself. Thanks.

    Prologue

    "WHERE IS SHE?!" The blaster felt heavy in Jag's hand as he pressed the barrel against the woman's temple. His hand shook and his face was pale and dripping with sweat. The woman below him, held up only by right hand, smiled through bloodied lips and shook her head. Jag felt his anxiety and anger growing as he pressed the gun harder against the woman's head. "I won't ask again. Where. Is. Jaina?"

    "What, are you going to kill me, Jagged Fel? No, you need me, and you know it. If you ever want to see your precious Jaina again, you won't shoot me. So, save your empty threats. Or...better yet, threaten me with something that might actually work. Or...well, this." Jag gasped as he felt a sharp pain in his abdomen. Looking down, he saw a vibroknife pressing slowly into his skin. He backed away before it could penetrate too far, but the damage was already done. Stumbling, his vision blurring, he dropped to knees.

    "What....?"

    "What did I do? Neurotoxin, same thing that incapacitated your Jedi friends. Only problem is, I don't know what it will do to non-Force users. If you survive, Jag, and I pray you do, you'll wish you were dead."

    "Ja..j..."

    "Jaina? Don't you know by now, Fel? She's dead. Always had been. All this time, looking for her, the people you killed, and you still didn't know? Shame." Jag crumbled to the ground, unconscious as the woman walked towards a figure shrouded in the shadows. "It is done. He'll remember nothing. Now, about my payment..."

    ***

    Fifteen years earlier...

    Jaina pressed her hand against her ever-growing stomach, and smiled. Her twins shifted at her touch, as if aware and attuned to her already. It wouldn't surprise her, given how strong her family was in the Force. Beside her, Jag snored softly, not yet awake even though it was already late into the morning. Moving away from the bed, Jaina took two steps and stopped, knowing a few seconds before it happened. A soft gasp escaped her lips, and that sound alone was enough to bolt Jag straight from his sleep. "Jag...it's time. Call Jacen...call my parents...Uncle Luke...everyone. The twins are coming."

    The trip to the hospital was a quick one, though already her brother was there waiting for her. Jaina smiled through the pain she felt, always impressed at how well Jacen knew...well, most everything. At least, he did when it came to her. Medical droids and a Twi'lek doctor were waiting for Jaina, and quickly ushered her away. Jag started to follow, but Jacen held him back. Jag started to look upset, but Jacen simply shook his head. Jag's eyes widened a little and he started to feel a trickle of fear running down his spine. Why didn't Jacen want him in the room with Jaina? Did he know something?

    "She is my wife, Jacen. I need to be there with her. Those are my children being born." Jag said, his voice thick with anger and worry. Jacen removed his hand from Jag's arm, and stepped back.

    "She is going to be fine, but it will be some time before they come. For now, I thought you'd at least want to wait until Mom and Dad get here with Uncle Luke and let them know." Jacen's voice was calm and even, though Jag knew from years of experience with the man that he was just as excited and nervous as he was. It only took another five minutes for Han, Leia, Luke, Ben, Allana and Tenel Ka to arrive, but those minutes felt like lifetimes as Jag paced anxiously. When they finally arrived, he quickly filled them in, then turned and raced towards the delivery room.

    Leia gripped Han's arm as the time slowly slipped away. Jacen was busy keeping Allana, now eight, entertained while Ben and Luke sat talking with Tenel Ka a little further away. Here, Leia had a moment to look back at her life. From first meeting Han and Luke on the first Death Star, to being kidnapped by Han to prevent her marriage to Tenel Ka's father. The birth of her children, the war with the Yuuzhan Vong, the death of Anakin. Jacen coming so close to falling to the dark side, the murder of Mara Jade...so much had happened, and it had all led to this moment. Her second and third grandchildren were to be born this day, and she felt nothing but pride for her daughter.

    For several hours, the family waited until Jag finally appeared, two bundled children in his arms. Leia moved forward first, sighing softly as she looked upon the faces of her new granddaughter and grandson. They twitched and yawned as she looked down upon them, but barely moved beyond that. They just looked up at her with dark brown eyes, and a surprisingly full head of auburn hair. The young boy reached up with his finger, pointing at Leia as if recognizing her, but then yawned again and shut his eyes. Leia felt tears sliding down her cheek as she backed away, letting others see. "Do...do they have names, yet?"

    "Yes. Well, that is if Luke is okay with it. We wanted to call our daughter Mara, to honor your wife, Luke...your mother, Ben." Jag looked to the older Jedi Master, who nodded and chocked back emotion as he looked down at the twins.

    "There is nothing I would like more than to have Mara honored in such a way, Jag. Thank you."

    "And this...this is Han Anakin Fel." Jag handed the boy to Han Solo, who looked down at his grandson with a mixture of awe and love. No words were spoken, just a nod between the two men who had come to an understanding long ago. Jag and Han hadn't always gotten along, but there had always been a mutual respect for the other.

    "Such wonderful names. Thank you. May I?"

    "She's waiting for you, Leia."

    Leia moved passed the group and further into the hospital. Stopping just outside Jaina's room, she caught her breath and opened the door. As she looked at her daughter, now beaming with pride and happiness, there were no words spoken between them. The look was enough to convey everything. Leia stepped forward and embraced her daughter, as she sobbed heavily into her shoulder. These, Leia knew, were tears of relief, of joy, and also a little sadness.

    "I am...so proud of you, Jaina. Everything you have accomplished in your life, everything you have seen and done...this is the most important thing you've ever done. I hope you know that. You are my daughter, who has blessed me with so much love and joy, and I hope your children are just as frustrating, just as pioneering, just as strong-willed as you were as a child. Everything you have ever learned is nothing compared to what is to come, and I look forward to seeing you become a wonderful mother." Leia whispered as she pulled Jaina's face into her hands, and looked her deep in the eyes. Jaina laughed a little and nodded, then wrapped her arms back around her mother and hugged her again.

    ***

    Thirteen Years Earlier...

    Jaina smiled as she held her third child in her arms, Mara and Han bustling around the small apartment, buzzing with excitement. Han had just destroyed a holo-building Mara had been working on, and now Mara was trying to get even by smacking Han repeatedly over the head with the holoprojector. Han, of course, was laughing hysterically as he ran from his sister, though all of this stopped as Jag swooped down and grabbed the twins up in his arms. A sharp shriek from the twins later, and Kailen finally awoke with a cry. Jag looked over apologetically, and shrugged. Jaina smiled and stood, moving to the bedroom where it was blissfully silent. After a half an hour, Kailen finally quieted down and went back to sleep.

    "Welcome to the family, Kailen Fel. You are loved, now and forever."

    ***

    Eight Years Earlier...

    "Mommy, why can't I move things like Mara and Han?" Kailen looked up at Jaina with a quizzical expression, and it almost broke Jaina's heart. Of all of her children, only Kailen had supposedly been born without a strong connection to the Force. Jaina had known from the moment he was born that Kailen was never going to be a Jedi Knight, or any kind of Jedi because of this, but she had dreaded the moment when she actually had to tell him.

    "Well, sweetie, you know what the Force is. The Force is something very strong in our family. However, that doesn't always mean that we'll always have such a strong connection to it. Unlike Mara and Han, you were born with a smaller connection to the Force. You can feel it in you, but I don't think you're connection is ever going to be strong enough to do some of the things your brother and sister can do." Jaina explained as she sat beside her youngest son. In the corner, her fourth and final child, another daughter they had named Leila, pressed her hands against her toy blocks and scrunched up her face, as she had seen her brother and sister do so many times. The block shifted and shook for a second, then sat still. Kailen noticed this as well, and Jaina could immediately feel the jealousy rising in him.

    "She can, too? Mom...why can't I do that? It's not fair!"

    "I don't know, sweetpea. Sometimes...it just..."

    "You don't know anything! I want daddy!" Kailen screamed out and ran from the room, crying. Jaina felt a sharp pain in her chest as Kailen’s words ripped through her, and tears formed in her eyes, but she fought them back as Leila looked up and started giggling. Reaching down, Jaina let Leila crawl over, and picked her up, holding her close.

    In the next room, Jag had heard everything, but could barely get a word in as Kailen sat, crying hysterically in his lap. Jaina had warned him long ago that Kailen would feel like this, left out while his siblings did all of the amazing things they could do with their powers. Jag had always wondered what he could do when the day came that Kailen finally understood, but now he knew that there was nothing he could do. He could only hold his young son while Han and Mara watched from their room door. Han looked torn as he watched his younger brother in such pain, and Mara was crying along with her brother, but this was about Kailen right now.

    ***

    Three Years Earlier...

    It was a difficult thing, watching his children leaving. However, change was something that Jag was not unfamiliar with, and he had known from the day his children were born that they would one day have to leave to train. At least, now, they were going to be closer than Jaina and Jacen had been on Yavin 4. The Jedi Temple, rebuilt years ago on Coruscant, was larger and much more grandiose than it had been during previous years. However, as he stepped inside, Jag realized that the extravagance of the exterior was misleading. Inside, the temple was more mundane. Few holo-paintings were hung near the entrance but deeper in Jag could see only sparse draping and little in the way of over-the-top comfort. Then again, Jag also knew that such things were not the way of the Jedi.

    "Dad, come on! We don't need you walking in with us on the first day. No one else here has their parents here!" Mara protested, and Jag smiled and shook his head.

    "That is because most of these children have been here since they were five or six years old, Mara. Not everyone is lucky enough to have Jacen Solo as an Uncle and Ben Skywalker as a cousin. Now, I'll visit as many times as you need me to, okay? Since taking the liaison position between the Alliance and the Imperials, my time is spent mostly here. I'm only a holo-call away."

    "Dad, we already have to worry about mom dropping by whenever she wants. You know, with her being a Jedi Master here and all. Please don't tell me you are going to do that, too? At least Mom and Uncle Jacen had some privacy on Yavin 4." Han retorted, giving his father a brief hug before moving away, towards a waiting Ben Skywalker and Jacen Solo. A little ways back, Jag could see Lowbacca, Zekk, Tenel Ka, Allana, and many more friends waiting for the children.

    "I think you will have as much of that as you could possibly ever want in the years to come. Until that day, though, I will visit you whenever I want. It's one of the laws of being a parent. Now, you kids train hard. Don't kill yourselves with lightsaber training." As Han, Leila and Mara moved away, Kailen stayed by Jag's side.

    "Dad...I shouldn't be here."

    "Why not, Kailen? Because you have a lesser connection to the Force?"

    "You know I can never be a Jedi, so why would I ever get Jedi training?" Kailen asked, and Jag could still see a small trace of bitterness hidden behind dark brown eyes. Jag looked to Jacen, who had taken over as Master of the Jedi Temple since Luke retired three years ago. Jacen stepped forward, and spoke as if he had heard every word. Chances were, he probably had.

    "One does not need to be a Jedi to receive Jedi training. You have a strong enough connection with the Force to feel it, to alter it in your own way. To ignore that, to pretend that it doesn't exist is a mistake." Jacen said, a hypnotic tone to his voice as he knelt down to look Kailen directly in the eyes. There was no condescension in his voice, just a genuine feeling of caring, and trust. "I believe you can accomplish so much in your life, but you need to learn to control your powers."

    "But...I have no powers. I never have. I can't move things, I can't read minds...what good am I?"

    "Oh, Kailen, you do have power. I have seen it for myself. Tell me something, all of those times you have been in accidents and should have been hurt and yet weren't...why do you think you never were?"

    "Luck. Nothing more."

    "No, that was the Force. And with time, I will hopefully show you the truth. Can you trust me to show you exactly what I'm talking about?"

    Kailen pondered for a second, and then looked to his brother and sisters. It would be easier if he stayed with his siblings, and he didn't really want to leave them behind. He knew they'd all miss each other too much. Looking back to Jacen, he nodded. "Okay. I trust you, Uncle Jacen."
    Last edited by JediKyle23, Jan 27, 2013
  2. JediKyle23 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2008
    star 1
    Chapter 1


    One Year Earlier: Jag

    He couldn't remember the last time he had taken a breath, and it would have been painful to do so, anyway. Clutching his chest, he felt a sharp pain radiate from his ribs and knew he had fractured two, and probably broken at least one more. The fall had been a brief one, the taxi had saved him from a long fall through the depths of Coruscant. Of course, being hit at that speed was enough to cause all of his current injuries, and a blaster explained the burns on his shoulder and leg. Grunting, Jag grabbed a tenuous handhold on the taxi's roof, hoping his strength held long enough. Inside the taxi, he could see a Quarren pointing, his Twi'lek companion screaming as she attempted to scramble even further back into the cramped machine.

    Taking out his blaster, Jag broke the safety glass with the handle and clambered into the taxi proper. Pushing the droid pilot out of the way, the pilot took control and quickly jerked the taxi into a looping arc to realign himself with his target. "My name is Colonel Jagged Fel, I am in pursuit of a wanted criminal. I must ask you to remain quiet and calm....and that means stop screaming before I have to stun you!"

    The Twi'lek behind him sputtered for a second more, and finally silenced her hysterics. Jag knew it was not his words that had stopped her, but more likely she just couldn't scream any longer. The droid made a short-lived attempt to wrest control away from Jag, but he was more than prepared for that. Placing a small disc on the machine, a surge of electricity coursed through the droid, resetting and shutting it down in a second. "Gotta remember to thank Mara for that." He muttered.

    His gaze shifted back and forth through the horizon, spotting his target in a few seconds. The bounty hunter, a Trandoshan who had made an attempt on a Galactic Alliance Senator's child, was flying erratically, and barely avoided oncoming traffic as he dove lower into the bowels of Coruscant. Over his com, Jag could hear his backup scrambling to catch up, but he knew this would be over before then. As his target circled a building one way, Jag was still high enough over to pass over the top of the building. Once he cleared the other side, he sent the taxi into a dizzying dive, coming up right behind the Trandoshan's speeder. Taking aim with his blaster, Jag aimed for the engine cluster and fired twice. The first shot missed by inches, imbedding into the body of the speeder and leaving a burned hole behind. The second was right on target, and the speeder suddenly dropped.

    “Alpha, I really hope you’re ready, or this is gonna get very messy, very fast! Scoop him up.” Jag called over his com as he pulled up above the falling speeder. Below, a larger ship suddenly burst out of the darkening underbelly, aiming straight for the falling speeder and Jag. Looking back at the two cowering aliens, Jag grimaced and shrugged. “I’d apologize but I don’t think it’ll quite cover how much this is probably going to hurt. Hold on!”

    Jag gripped the edge of the seat as the ship loomed larger. The pilot, a droid named Alpha, made a deft, yet subtle shift in his trajectory, and the speeder Jag was occupying slid gently into the open cargo hold. Of course, this was only one part of maneuver. Now, Alpha had to level out the ship and Jag had to land the speeder before it slammed into the rear of the cargo hold. It was tricky and Jag was a lot closer to the wall than he would have liked, but he made it. Opening the speeder hatch, Jag crawled out, only to be struck from behind by a hydrospanner. Grunting, now concussed on top of his other injuries, Jag fell to the ground, his vision swimming.

    The Trandoshan lifted its scaly arm to deliver a second, fatal blow when the snap-hiss of a lightsaber activating stopped him in his tracks. The blade of a golden yellow saber was close to his neck, and as he followed the path of the arm holding it, a shorter, physically fit human male came into view. His face was obscured by the hooded tunic and cloak he was wearing, outlined by a menacing glow. His voice, however, was calm and even as he spoke. “This is not the way, my friend. I do not wish to harm you, but if you continue on your current course, I will be forced to do so.”

    The Trandoshan was no fool. He couldn’t combat a Jedi Knight, even if he wanted to. Dropping the hydrospanner, he lowered his head and dropped to his knees. Unlike humans, who lifted their arms above their heads as a sign of defeat, this was the Trandoshan way. Of course, it usually ended with a swift death for the one surrendering, but no such blow came today. Growling, the Trandoshan closed his eyes as stun cuffs were placed on his wrists.

    The Jedi deactivated his lightsaber, and deftly clipped it to his belt, reaching down to help Jag to his feet. Jag grasped the man’s arm and stood, rubbing the back of his and grimacing in pain as he did so. Every part of his body hurt, and he knew he’d have to spend more than a few hours in a bacta tank when they got back. “Thanks, Horn. Should have been expecting a sneak attack as soon as I exited, but...”

    “But the fall from the Senate Towers was enough to knock common sense out of you? I get that. Good thing I was attached to your unit, then.” Valin Horn pushed the hood of his cloak back. Jag could not get over how similar Valin looked to his father. Physically, there was very little that separated the two. However, unlike Corran, who was a fighter pilot and military commando for much of his life, Valin had always been raised a Jedi. He was calmer, less rough than his military father. However, Jag had seen many times when the Jedi Knight could tap into that raw emotion like Corran.

    “Good, indeed. Someone knew what they were doing when they cooked this up.” Jag agreed, clapping his hand on the younger Jedi’s shoulder and moving away. Behind him, the rest of the six man team stood waiting. Three elite military special forces, three equally elite Jedi, and Jag there to lead them all. It had taken many discussions with Jacen Solo and the rest of the Jedi Council to agree with such a team, and even more discussions with military leaders, as well. Neither were too happy about the idea of teaming up with the other. Jedi viewed the military as too quick to fight, warmongers who knew no peace. The military, however, viewed Jedi as usable assets that did not know their place, and were therefore unusable. However, when Jag agreed to head the unit, both sides seemed more open to the idea.

    Being married to Jaina, and having three Jedi children, Jag was more than capable of dealing with Jedi on a personal and philosophical level, while also being able to deal with the military on a professional level. Still, it had taken nearly two years for the team to completely gel together, and Jag had broken up more than a few arguments, and one almost-brawl before getting to this point. Even now, however, the two separate groups were divided, the soldiers standing at attention towards the left, eyes on all available entrances and exits. The Jedi were to the right a bit, seemingly more relaxed but Jag knew they were just as ready as the soldiers.

    "Report. Lieutenant, you first." The lieutenant, a female Twi'lek named Lar'U with greenish-blue skin and an intricately patterned Lek’ku stepped forward and snapped off a sharp salute. A master of strategy and physical combat, she was the field leader when Jag was busy with his other commitments.

    “Colonel, we have apprehended all remaining cell members, with Kywen here being the last. No casualties and minimal property damage.” Jag nodded and gestured for the others to make their reports. Their demolitions expert, Charan Vol, a human who had distinguished himself three years ago in the uprising on Kessel, reported that all known weapons had been confiscated. The third commando, the intelligence specialist Ylara, a Bothan with black and silver fur, had come up empty on interrogations, but Jag was not concerned. The two remaining Jedi, Ben Skywalker and a Rodian named Gorda, had better news on that front.

    “We know these terrorist cells operate on a seemingly individual level, but all seem to get their orders from him.” Ben said, pressing a button on a holoprojector, a revolving image of a Hutt. Jag half shrugged, not even slightly surprised to find a Hutt behind this. Ben continued. “Retu seems to have no actual goals at this point other than expanding his already substantial personal ‘business’. However, he seems to take it very personally when the Galactic Alliance attempts to freeze his funding and shut down some of his operations. We didn’t even know he had a cell network until the first attack, but now...”

    “Now we know that each cell operates independently from each other, and seemingly don’t know that others exist. The way they are trained means we have a hard time finding them until each cell is activated. They are trained to be inconspicuous, which should come as no surprise. They have regular jobs, families, everything. Even nameless here worked as a bouncer in a club in lower Coruscant. Now, we know they had three targets. First, Senator Allu’s daughter had a contract out on her life. Allu, as we all know, is the driving force behind Retu’s arrest and the disassembly of his entire network. Second, which Charan and Ylara prevented quite handily, was a bombing in C.I.B. And third...well, this is where it gets tricky.” Gorda explained, her voice raspy and strained. Sighing, she turned to Valin.

    “We...actually don’t know what the third part of their plan was because...well, it never happened. This woman, Ishta, was the third part of the cell, but she never got to do her part of the assignment. It seems she was the victim of a robbery-homicide late last night in her apartment.”

    “That would be a good thing, wouldn’t it? I mean, if she couldn’t do her job, then we dodged that blaster bolt.” Lar’U queried, but Jag shook his head.

    “No, Valin is right. This is troubling. If we don’t know what she was planning, then what’s to stop Retu from activating another cell to accomplish this? By then, it would be too late to stop it.” Jag sighed and rubbed his eyes, processing the information quickly. “Okay, Ylara, tear this woman’s life apart. I want to know everything about her from the time she was born until now. Lar’U, I want you, Ben and Valin to interrogate nameless here, try to get any kind of useful information out of him. Gorda, you and Charan go investigate the woman’s apartment. Find what Coruscant Security didn’t. Alpha...take us home!”


    *** Kailen, Han, Mara, Leila


    It wasn't the Force that told Kailen what was to come, but many years of the same routine. Sitting with his brother and sister, he closed his eyes and waited. Sure enough, a few seconds later, a water fig slapped against the back of his tunic with a loud squelching sound, depositing a purplish goop on his freshly cleaned clothes. This was followed by a viscous liquid, someone's drink more than likely. Biting his lip, he did his best to ignore the snickering laughs behind him. His sister, on the other hand, did not.

    "Rys Gelfan, you really sure you want to be doing that? Or do I have to humiliate you during lightsaber practice again? And combat training? And piloting? I mean, really, if you spent half as much of your time actually trying to be a Jedi as you do bullying my brother, you might actually succeed in becoming...well, something.” Mara turned and faced the taller, older human. Her dark brown hair was usually flowing down below her shoulders, but today she had it in an intricate style that paid homage to her grandmother. Rys glared at this comment and stood up rapidly.

    “You need your sister to fight your battles for you, Force-less wonder? Or...are you too embarrassed? I mean, you are born from the great Sword of the Jedi, Jaina Solo. Or...no, I got it. She’s the one embarrassed of you, right? I mean, I would be.” Kailen didn’t realize he was moving until he was already on top of Rys. Pressing the man’s shoulders down, Kailen delivered a quick punch to his face, and a second to his stomach before Rys managed to shake off the shock and quickly blasted Kailen away with a Force push. Mara was on her feet and rushed to her younger brother’s side while Han stood in front of Rys, calmly. “You Solos are pathetic. He has no right to be here. He’s no Jedi.”

    “Neither are you, Rys, and yet Uncle Jacen continually puts up with your constant bullying and complaining.” Han replied, but he did not speak in an insulting way. Indeed, it was more matter of fact, and that snapped Rys’s head back faster than Kailen’s punch. Growling, he pushed Han, but Han did not move. His body didn’t even budge, despite the fact that Rys had several inches and probably sixty pounds on him. This enraged Rys even more, and he pulled back his fist to deliver a punch, but before he could do so, a metal tray floated up between the two. The loud clang of fist on metal resounded throughout the cafeteria, followed quickly by Rys’s howl of pain.

    “Enough.” The tray clattered to the ground as Leila lost her concentration, and Jacen Solo appeared with Lowbacca, and Tenel Ka at his side. His gaze swept the room and landed on the group of battered and injured young Jedi, and he sighed. Of course it was Rys, Mara, Han, and Kailen. Those four could never get along, and to make matters worse, Leila had seen and jumped in. "Rys, Han, Mara, Kailen...come with me. Lowie, get the rest of the trainees on with their day, please?"

    Kailen stood and followed his uncle, Rys and the rest a few steps ahead of him. Glowering pointedly at Rys' back, Kailen quickly entertained the idea of giving him a small shove, but quickly stopped when Jacen looked back and shook his head. Biting his lip, Kailen nodded and followed, coming to a stop outside Jacen's personal chambers. "Rys, come with me. The rest of you, wait out here."

    Jacen opened the door to his chambers and stepped inside. Rys followed, and Jacen closed the door behind him. Moving to a solid wood desk in the center of the room, Jacen sat behind it and looked at the younger Jedi. Rys was seventeen, pretty old to still be an apprentice at the academy. However, no Jedi had come forward to take him as a Padawan, so here he still remained. Rys stood at the edge of the desk, pushing his red hair out of his face. A scar ran down his cheek from his left eye, a reminder of the past he had come from. Jacen knew the history, and it had not been a good one. Part of it explained how Rys had turned out, and it made Jacen consider more how Rys was so close to falling to the dark side.

    “You have been here many years, Rys. Over that time, I have heard only some good things from fellow teachers. You are impatient, impulsive, and prone to acting out when things don’t go your way. Other students have complained about your bullying, and I have done the best I could to discipline you and show you towards the light, but I’m afraid it is not enough.” Jacen spoke slowly, and he did not like how this was going to end. “Your actions have constantly shown that you have very little compassion or empathy. You care for none but your own progression, and that is not something that makes for a good Jedi. I have been lenient before, but I’m afraid this is the last straw. You used your talents to actively bully another student here, and that I cannot allow. You are no longer an apprentice at the Jedi Academy, and you will never become a Jedi Knight. A shuttle is leaving at the end of the day, and you will be on it, back home. Understood?”

    “But, Master Solo, I...”

    “Is that. Understood?” From anyone else, this would have sounded like a threat, but Jacen simply sounded resigned.

    “Understood, Master. I don’t need this sad excuse for an Academy, anyway. You favor your own family, just like Skywalker did before he finally croaked. It’s time the Jedi were run by someone other than you pathetic Solos.” Rys turned and walked out of Jacen’s chamber before the man could respond, and looked to the three siblings sitting outside. “This isn’t over. It won’t be today, but I will get you back for this. All of you. I promise.”

    As Rys walked away, Mara watched him until Jacen called them in. Stepping inside, the three stood with bowed head in front of their uncle. Each felt the others shame, and something in that made Jacen feel almost proud. They knew what they had done was wrong, but that didn’t excuse the fact that they had done it. Standing, he walked to the other side of his desk and leaned against it. “Rys is no longer an apprentice here. This has been coming for a while now, today was simply the sand pebble that broke the bantha’s back. I tell you this because I do not want to see you follow down the same path. Your actions today were inexcusable. And worse, you got Leila involved in your feud, and that...your mother would be so disappointed. And don’t think she won’t find out about this. You have to be better.”

    “Why, because we’re related to Solos and Skywalkers?” Mara asked.

    “Yes. Many students here think you already receive preferential treatment simply for being my nieces and nephews. Today won’t change that, especially since you threw a punch, Kailen. So, for the next three days, you are grounded. You will go to classes, but no combat training, flight training, or extra Force practice. When you are not in class, you will be meditating with Lowbacca or Tenel Ka, or in the library with Raynar, archiving. Is that understood?”

    “Yes, Master Solo.” Han and Mara spoke immediately and quickly turned to walk out. Kailen, however, stood in front of Jacen still. Han looked back. “Kailen, come on. We need to go.”

    “No, go without me. I need to speak with Uncle Jacen for a few minutes. I’ll catch up.” Kailen looked back at his older sibling and nodded. As they walked out, he turned back to his uncle, who had cocked his head to the side to study the younger boy.

    “You’re leaving.” It wasn’t a question, and there was no hint of doubt in Jacen’s voice as he spoke. Kailen nodded, and moved to a chair, sitting down. Rubbing his face with his hands, he thought of the best way to proceed before speaking.

    “This...it’s been coming for a long time, Uncle Jacen. Rys may be bantha poodoo, but he his right about one thing. I am no Jedi, and I never will be. I mean, I can meditate, I can project basic feelings, but I just don’t have the connection to the Force my brother and sisters do. Even with the combat training, I think I’ve gone as far I can go here. There is no light sword for me, no graduation. I made peace with the fact long ago that I was destined for something other than being a Jedi. Maybe a smuggler like Grandpa, a diplomat like Grandma...or a soldier like Dad. And I can’t be those things here.” Kailen looked to his uncle and could’ve sworn he saw a hint of sadness in his eyes.

    Jacen listened and nodded as his nephew spoke, each word making perfect sense from a logical, Jedi viewpoint. But, from a familial standpoint, Jacen was extremely sad. He didn’t want to see his nephew walk away, not now. “You’ve thought about this a lot, then.”

    “Yes, Uncle Jacen.”

    “Okay. I can’t say I’m going to be happy to see you leave, but...okay. Just...stay until the end of the week. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. And make sure you tell your brother and sisters right away. And go easy on Leila, she kind of idolizes you, okay?” Kailen nodded and stood, but was surprised when Jacen stepped forward and gave him a hug. The surprise quickly wore off and he returned the hug. Stepping back, he nodded and walked out the door. Jacen stood in the center of his chambers for a few minutes, then walked towards the door. A chirping sound from a computer console stopped him in his tracks, and he turned and pressed a button. A holo-image of his sister rotated into view.

    “Jaina, how’s the investigation coming?”

    “Not good, Jacen. I’ve hit a dead end, and the Force is...I think it wants me to come home. I’m headed to Coruscant as soon as the Falcon is ready to go. Tell my kids I’ll be there in a few hours.” Jaina looked tired, even through the holoprojector. Jacen nodded and disconnected as the door hissed open, and Tenel Ka and Allana walked in. Greeting Tenel Ka with a kiss on the lips, and his daughter with a hug, he smiled.

    “Jaina’s coming home.”

    “That is good news, Jacen. It has been too long since I have seen Jaina. I can imagine the twins, Kailen and Leila are happy about this?” Tenel Ka spoke in her usual matter-of-fact tone, while Allana simply looked extremely excited. Jaina had taken over Allana’s training a few months ago, and this meant more training for her.

    “They don’t know, yet. Kailen is leaving at the end of the week. He thinks he’s gone as far as he can here, and I think he may be right. We knew when they came here that Kailen was always going to the first to leave.”

    “How is he?” Allana asked.

    “I think he’s at peace with his decision. And it was his decision. I’m going to miss having him around here all the time, and I’m sure some of the younger apprentices will be sad to see him go. But, he is right. He was never going to be a Jedi Knight. Though, I can’t help but feel that he will be back before long. Until then...lets get back to class.”
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