Beyond Walking the Sky - sequel to I, Mara Jade - L/M AU - competed 9/12/12

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JediMara77, Dec 22, 2011.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    First: NOOOOO! Lumiya-poopie-pants can't get away!!

    Second, I love the inclusion on the turbo lift shaft climbing scene

    Last, AHHHHH! I love overprotective daddy Luke, but do you really have to give him so many legitimate opportunities to do so?
  2. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, the battle with Lumiya!!! Amazing!! And I love how Lumiya tried to bait her but it didn?t work!!

    And Luke with TWO lightsabers is HOT HOT HOT. =P~

    Okay, that Pylon scene was one of my most favorite fanfic scenes EVER!!! I love how they talk with Callista, and the idea of Luke hefting Mara up that? Okay, it?s hot, too. (Why is everything that man does so hot???)

    ?I guess I can?t ever complain that you never carried this baby,? I whispered, just loud enough for him to hear.

    Luke?s shoulder?s tensed and his eyes darted up to mine. ?Shh. Don?t make me laugh.?


    [face_laugh] [face_laugh][face_laugh] [face_laugh]

    THAT is one of the BEST lines ever!!

    ?Well,? I said, smile growing across my face, ?that?s a rather long story. Suffice it to say that I ended up fighting with Luke instead of killing him.? I looked down at my husband?s face and patted his cheek. ?Best decision I ever made.?

    Luke glanced up and grinned at me.


    [face_love][face_love] [face_love][face_love]

    And then?that ending. What a punch in the gut!! I, too, had Braxton Hicks, twice, and they HURT. Mara must have been so scared. It?s so hard coming to terms with being pregnant, realizing that your body is not your own anymore. For Mara, I think it would be even more so. But she loves that baby and would do anything for him. Just like she would for Luke.

    Which leads me to:

    He smiled at me. ?I told you; I?ll never leave you.? He moved his legs under mine so my feet were raised in the air, and I felt his comforting Force presence reach out to mine. His hand continued to caress my arm.

    We stayed that way for a long time.


    [face_love]

    Just perfect. I LOVE THIS STORY. [:D]

  3. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Me too! I love overprotective daddy Luke. [face_love]

    Great chapter!
  4. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    OK, now it's my turn [face_laugh] - I love this story!!!!!!!!


    A whole heck of a lot!

    [face_dancing]

    [face_dancing]

    So relieved it was something as simple/solvable as dehydration :) :)

    Luke with the pylons and fighting Lumiya -- drool bucket time LOL

    @};-

    [:D]

  5. Piper057 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2009
    star 2
    [face_laugh] So Luke and Mara!

    That was my favourite episode in a book - and I love it here, too. [face_love]


    Now I'm starting to like Callista. :D


    I love this line - and I understand her here completely...

    Great chapter! Action, angst, love, protective Luke...[face_love]
  6. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    For a moment, I couldn?t move. All I could do was stare at the lightwhip as it stretched toward my swollen abdomen. It was my nightmare come to life and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

    Except there was
    .
    This is such a perfect example of your Mara voice! [face_laugh] She's so funny! Much more funny than even in canon!!! [face_mischief]


    I swatted the tendrils of energy away just as Luke jumped in front of me, his own lightsaber blazing. ?Get back!? he yelled and I knew better than to argue with him.
    Who's this and what happened to Mara :confused: - oh yes, she got pregnant...:p


    ?That might be a problem.?

    Luke and I shared a concerned glance. ?And why is that?? I asked.

    ?Because the lifts do not have any access ladders.?

    Luke closed his eyes, blew out a breath. ?Well, then, that leaves us with one option,? I said, my brain going into overdrive.

    Luke raised his eyebrows and gave me a look that indicated just how wary he was of my plan. ?And what is that??

    I grinned. ?We make our own access ladders.? I glanced at his arms, ran a finger over his bicep. ?You up for it, Master Jedi??

    Yesssss!!!!:D [face_laugh]


    ?I guess I can?t ever complain that you never carried this baby,? I whispered, just loud enough for him to hear.
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] [face_laugh]


    ?How did you come to be a Jedi?? Callista asked me.

    ?Well,? I said, smile growing across my face, ?that?s a rather long story. Suffice it to say that I ended up fighting with Luke instead of killing him.? I looked down at my husband?s face and patted his cheek. ?Best decision I ever made.?

    Indeed it was!!!

    I haven't picked out many quotes - maybe because the entire chapter was so absolutely great! Blasting action, suspence and that complete panic in the end - you had me desperate there! ;) I love the irony in Callista saving Luke and Mara's baby! [:D]
  7. Ridley Solo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2010
    star 4
    Wow! Where to start? :eek:

    First of all, the opening battle sequence. [face_dancing] Mara hanging back seems very un-Mara-like unless of course you consider her pregnancy. It's still hard to understand unless you've have first-hand experience with maternal instincts. Them things are darned strong. ;) But wow, what a battle! First Lumiya getting away, then droidekas? What next, Ysalimari!?!? Wait...pretend you didn't read that...[face_worried]

    I couldn't help but think of a Star Trek episode when they were climbing up the pylon. I even had 'Frere Jacques' stuck in my head (those of you who know the episode know what I'm talking about). Poor Mara, having to cut out the steps! Poor Luke, carrying a pregnant lady on his shoulders while climbing a ladder! And poor Callista! [:D] Hope they all get a nice long nap and some warm showers.

    The ending had me on the edge of my seat. Thank goodness Callista knew what to do.:) The family bond between Luke, Mara, and their yet-unborn son is soooo sweet! [face_love]

    More! [face_praying]
  8. jaded_jewel Guest

    Member Since:
  9. CurtisZidaneZiraa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2010
    star 1
    such sweetness. Loved it! Poor Mara and Luke got a real scare there.
  10. PadmeSkywalkerSHM Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2010
    star 2
    Sooooo happy it was on dehydration. I was starting to get a little worried.

    I actually really like Callista in this fic.
  11. JediMara77 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Jedi Lover: ginchy was the one who suggested Braxton Hicks. I wanted Mara to have some sort of complication, but something that could be easily resolved. Just as a sort of wake-up call, you know? I couldn't call them Braxton Hicks, so I just said contractions. I hope I never experience them!!!



    Briannakin: Of course Lumiya got away. [face_devil] The turbolift climbing scene is one of my favorites in SQ - I HAD to keep it here. And yes, I do. Because overprotective Luke is hot. Plus, Mara needed a wake-up call.



    ginchy: Mara doesn't fall for the cyborg's tricks. [face_mischief] Why does everything that man do hot? I DON'T KNOW! But it's hot! =P~ You're right - Mara will do anything for that baby, even slow down a bit. But she's still a fighter. :mad:



    Hazel: Me too! Daddy Luke is the best. Except for when he's annoying Mara. [face_laugh]



    jade_eyes: Thanks! This was one of the chapters where I didn't have to tamp down my inner fangirl, and it was fun!



    Piper: I'm glad! And HAHA! One person starting to like Callista - success!



    kataja: I think that Mara has a really dark sense of humor. Most people don't appreciate it, but Luke does. :) Yeah, pregnant Mara has to learn to slow down a little bit...she got a bad wake-up call here! I knew you'd like the turbolift scene. :D And thank you! I love that irony, too... :)



    JainaSoloYJK: Haha, don't worry, there are no ysalamiri on OF. But there WERE droidekas. :) Zahn used them, and so did I. Lol. The turbolift scene was lifted from SQ...but I added Callista to my scene. [face_mischief] I love their family together, too. :)



    jaded jewel: Thank you!



    Curtis: They did. I'm a mean author. Thank you!



    Padme Skywalker: Well, you know, I have to worry you all. [face_devil] But I couldn't make it TOO difficult. And another person liking Callista - SUCCESS!





    The next update will be the last before THE MOVE. Hopefully by the time we come back, I'll have finished this fic and you'll get more frequent updates!




  12. JediMara77 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    CHAPTER 11




    Luke remained with me as the chaos died down, not even moving except to adjust my feet and rub circles on my back. Eventually the pain in my stomach subsided but I was still afraid to move lest I cause even more contractions. Callista had said that these types of contractions were normal among pregnant women, but I didn’t care. I’d been struggling to remain normal during my pregnancy, but now I realized that my definition of normal had completely shifted. And it did not include having contractions.

    The leaders of the colony, Fel, and Formbi separated themselves from everyone else in the council chambers, talking animatedly. I could hear bits and pieces of their conversation and noticed Luke straining to hear them. “Go find out what they’re talking about,” I told him, earning an incredulous expression.

    He remained firmly in place. “I’m not leaving you.”

    I rolled my eyes and shoved his arm. “I’m going to be fine. I feel better already. Now go, I wanna know what they’re saying.”

    Luke gave me a smile that he’d come to perfect; it was a smile that said, “Whatever you want, dear.” He stood and left, joining the others’ conversation. They did not seem very pleased to see him but kept talking regardless.

    I remained seated against the wall, still too nervous to move, one hand keeping the water to my lips and the other absently playing with the chain at my neck. Seeing that I was alone, Callista joined me, leaning against the wall with her legs crossed underneath her. “How are you feeling?”

    I smiled gratefully at her. “Much better. Thank you so much. I don’t know what I’d have done with you.”

    “You would have been fine,” Callista assured me, a note of odd sadness in her eyes. “You’re a strong woman. It’ll take much more than false contractions to bring you down.”

    I chuckled. “Or a crazy Sith woman.”

    “That, too.” She paused. “Are you okay with…seeing her again?”

    “Lumiya?” I shrugged. “I always knew she wasn’t dead, that she’d come back into my life eventually. Once I found out Luke had a past with her as well—and that was quite the fun conversation…it was inevitable, I guess. I’m more worried for him, though. He cared for Shira once, and it was difficult for him to fight her. But now, after she’s threatened us, and our baby…” I shook my head. “I know that nothing can truly push him to his breaking point, but I also know that Lumiya will do everything she can to do just that. Just for revenge.”

    Callista smiled and turned away. “He seems very special.”

    I followed her gaze. She was looking at Luke with an odd expression on her face. “He is special. He gave me a second chance, and never judged me, even after knowing all my darkest fears and secrets. I’ve never known anyone like him.”

    “I know the feeling. He reminds me of Geith.”

    I nodded, remembering what she’d told us of her former lover, how he’d given his life to protect the people on Outbound Flight. How many times had Luke risked his life to save others he didn’t even know? “Vader brought took Luke to the Death Star to confront the Emperor, completely alone. Knowing what I did about Vader and Palpatine, I still can’t comprehend how he survived that. I’m not sure if I ever will.”

    I grew quiet, and she pointed to my necklace, still being twisted around my fingers. “Did he give that to you?”

    I smiled again, remembering that night, etched into my mind forever. “Yes.” I pulled the chain away from my neck, showing her the green stone that was surrounded by my rings.

    She reached out a finger to gently touch the stone. “It’s beautiful. They’re all beautiful.”

    “I hate wearing them on missions,” I explained. “He made this one from a lightsaber crystal.” I held up the engagement ring, rolling my eyes at the complete sentimentality of the gesture, so Luke. “And on our wedding night he gave me the rest of the crystal, saying that it was time for me to build my own lightsaber.”

    “And the other you carry?”

    I gestured to Luke. “It used to be his. He gave that to me, too. I used it during my training. It had once belonged to Anakin Skywalker.”

    Callista’s eyes widened. “Wow.”

    “Yeah. I worked with Vader when I was in the Empire, of course. We had a pretty contemptuous relationship. Palpatine didn’t want any possibility of us getting along. The irony of me now being with Luke always makes me laugh.”

    “I can imagine.” Her eyes flashed in pain then, and she dropped the necklace. “I found Geith’s lightsaber, among the wreckage, but could never bring myself to use it. Too many memories, I guess.”

    I reached out to clasp the other woman’s arm. “I’m sorry.” The words felt hollow and empty, but they were all I could give her.

    “It is okay.” She placed a hand over her heart. “I remember.”

    We fell silent, and I could hear the conversation on the other side of the council chambers grow heated. To an outside observer Luke was the epitome of calm, but I knew better. He was angry—very angry. That, combined with my urge to fight overriding my fear, finally got me moving. So with Callista’s help I joined the others and set out to figure out what the hell had just happened on Outbound Flight.

    “What’s going on?” I asked once I’d settled into a chair around the table where they were seated.

    Luke turned to me and put on a fake smile. “Nothing. Are you feeling okay?”

    I looked at him with raised eyebrows, feeling like my old self as annoyance about his concern for me rose to the surface. “I’m fine. Why are you yelling?”

    “I’m not yelling!” he countered, voice raised slightly. Then he sighed and leaned back in his chair. “Okay, maybe I am.”

    I turned to Fel, who was trying his best to avoid my gaze. “Fel?”

    He looked back at me with a chagrined expression. “We were just discussing how exactly Rida Hano came to be on our mission.”

    “And Soontir here was just explaining that they invited her along,” Luke interjected. His eyes were blazing and his teeth were clenched. “And her name isn’t Rida Hano; it’s Lumiya. She’s a Sith.”

    Fel’s eyes widened. “A Sith? You mean like Vader?”

    There was a noticeable shift in Luke’s Force sense, but his face remained stony. “Yes. Like Vader.” Most of the galaxy had no idea what a Sith truly was; all they knew was that Palpatine and Vader wreaked havoc on the galaxy. Hell, until the end of the war the galaxy at large wasn’t even aware that Palpatine was actually the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. “And you invited her on this mission with my pregnant wife.” He growled the words, so unlike the stoic Jedi most people thought of when they conjured up images of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

    Fel, however, wasn’t threatened. “Do you think I would have done so if I’d known who she really was? I didn’t even want Mara to come along once I noticed her condition, but by then it was too late.”

    “So you knew the mission would be dangerous from the beginning, and didn’t warn us?”

    “No! We had no idea that Rida Hano—Lumiya—posed any serious threat.”

    “Why would you want to send Mara away if the mission wasn’t dangerous?”

    “Excuse me!” I cut in, raising my voice above the others. “Don’t talk about me like I’m not here. Now, how exactly did you come to invite Lumiya on this mission?”

    LaRone slowly raised his hand. “I think I can answer that question.” Fel glanced at him sharply but was ignored. “We rescued her, you see.”

    “You rescued a Sith?”

    “We didn’t know who she was. My team was in the Unknown Regions, doing a normal reconnaissance sweep. We came upon her ship, being attacked by what we later learned were the Vagaari. We neutralized the attackers but her ship was damaged beyond repair. We took her onboard ours and she told us who she was and that she knew the location of the Outbound Flight wreckage.”

    “Wait a minute.” Luke’s voice was growing more incredulous by the second. “Are you telling me that you never even found a distress signal from Outbound Flight? That we came here only on Lumiya’s word?”

    Callista furrowed her brow. “Distress signal? We never sent any distress signal.” She looked to Uliar and the other colony leaders, who confirmed her statement.

    Luke looked like he wanted to jump over the table and punch Fel in the face. “Why in the galaxy would you follow a strange woman’s directions to the Outbound Flight wreckage? Why in star’s name would you not send your own team—alone—to check it out first?”

    “Because we asked them not to,” Formbi said, so softly that the rest of the table had to quiet down to hear him. Nobody responded, merely remained quiet so he could finish explaining. “We were hoping that, with secrecy and minimal exposure, we would avoid further attacks by the Vagaari.”

    “You’re lying,” I said. The entire table turned to look at me, Formbi included, but he did not refute my words. “If you wanted to keep the mission a secret, you would not have sent a message through Karrde to get to us. You would have talked to us in person. Jinzler managed to stumble upon the message and invite himself along. Did you not stop to wonder how he managed to be here?”

    “He informed us that he was a diplomat from the New Republic. We assumed that you had invited him.”

    “Fel told us not to tell anyone where we were going.” I shook my head. “No, something doesn’t add up here.”

    For a long moment, Formbi didn’t speak. Then he let out a heavy sigh. “We were hoping to lure the Vagaari into attacking us.”

    “What?” That time I really did have to restrain Luke from leaping over the table, but he quickly reigned in his emotions, at least visibly. “And just what did you hope to accomplish by doing that, Aristocra?”

    “It’s Chiss doctrine, Luke,” I said. “Remember what we learned about Thrawn? No preemptive strikes.”

    “You can only defend yourself once attacked,” Luke finished. He shook his head in disbelief. “And what did you think would happen when you lured them here?”

    “You must understand, Master Skywalker. The Vagaari have been a nuisance in and around Chiss space for many years. Luring them into an attack is the only way to forever eliminate their threat.”

    “And you can do that on your own time! You’ve not only endangered the mission, but the entire colony.” To emphasize his point, the power began to flicker. I glanced around, wondering what was going on, and why we were still in this room instead of getting the hell out of here. Luke let out a harsh laugh. “Is that why you’ve been trying to kill us? Because you knew Mara and I would disagree with your plan?”

    “No!” Formbi shouted, offended. “We had nothing to do with that.”

    “No?” Luke glanced at General Drask.

    Formbi followed his gaze. The general shook his head. “I disapproved of this mission from the beginning. I did not agree in involving non-Chiss in our affairs.”

    So the Chiss general didn’t hate us, after all; he didn’t want us there because the entire mission went against the Chiss moral code. I nodded at him, showing my approval, however valued it may be. Drask nodded back.

    “Why did you invite us at all?” Luke asked Fel. “That’s what I don’t understand. What’s our part in all of this?”

    “I was being truthful when I contacted you,” Fel said. “This was a Jedi mission. The Chiss wanted Jedi to be involved.”

    “Of course they did,” Luke growled. “To fight for you, not to mention sense any deception when it came to Lumiya.”

    Fel didn’t even blink. “Possibly. Did you?”

    “Possibly.”

    “And you did not warn us of that fact?”

    Luke regarded Fel for a long moment. “We were unsure of who to trust.”

    “Well, we’re all in this together now, whether we like it or not.”

    Luke nodded slowly. “And how do you intend to get us out of this mess?”

    Fel’s gave a rueful smile. “I was hoping that the Jedi might determine how to fix that dilemma.”

    Luke rolled his eyes. “Of course. Forgive me if I don’t seem amused.” He glanced at my stomach.

    I threw my arms in the air. “I’m going to be sick from all this testosterone flying around here.” I turned to my husband, eyes narrowing in annoyance. “Look, I want to punch him as much as you do, but that won’t solve anything. He’s right—we’re in this together. Now, how do we get out of this?” I glanced around the table, searching for answers, but nobody would meet my eye. “This is ridiculous.” I rose from my chair and made my way toward the door.

    Luke was on his feet in an instant. “Where are you going?”

    I threw him a cool glance over my shoulder. “To get some answers from the only person who can give them to us.” And with that I continued walking, exiting the council chambers and entering the corridor, littered with the strange aliens called the Vagaari. I slowly bent down next to one, grabbed the comlink from his belt, and, after a few seconds of inspection, thumbed it on. “Hello, Lumiya.”

    For a moment, there was nothing but silence. I sensed Luke coming into the hallway behind me, followed by Callista. Catching wind of my idea, she retrieved another comlink and threw it to Uliar, still sitting around the table. Just as his hands snatched the small object a burst of static emitted from the one clasped between my fingers. I brought it to my lips again. “I know you can hear me, Lumiya. Why don’t you come on out and say hello?”

    “Mara Jade.” The voice from the other end was smooth and silky, with more than a slight edge of disgust. “Or, should I say Mara Jade Skywalker. I take it you survived my little trap?”

    “Yeah, and you shouldn’t be surprised,” I snapped back, my voice hard. A million thoughts flew through my mind in that moment—passing by Lumiya as she was presented to the Emperor; her advancing on me on Caprioril; losing my lightsaber but refusing to back down to her; her black armor disappearing as she retreated from the losing battle. I saw events that I’d never lived—Luke and Shira laughing together onboard some Rebel ship; a stolen kiss; the terror he felt when he learned that he shot down a friend; the confusion and betrayal he’d experienced upon realizing that Shira had been a spy all along. I felt the regret he felt upon fighting her, how her eyes narrowed with lethal intent. Just like me, she had been set on killing him. She had no chance of beating him, of course, but that didn’t stop her from trying. Even if it took her ten years to lay the perfect trap.

    YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!

    I shook myself, forehead creasing as that damn voice once again took over my thoughts. But while this was the same voice I’d heard for five long years, it was not entirely the same. This was Lumiya’s last command, not mine, even though it was exactly the same.

    A twinge in my abdomen got me talking again. I smiled, imagining the baby inside of me telling me to “get on with it already.”

    After all, Lumiya weren’t exactly the same.

    “Spare us the Sith monologuing,” I told her. “Just tell us what you want and I’m sure we can find a way to let these innocent civilians leave in one piece.”

    Lumiya barked a laugh. “You really have been spending too much time with Skywalker, haven’t you? Oh no, my dear Jedi. Nobody on that ship will be surviving, I’m afraid.”

    “And just where do you plan on going?”

    “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

    “Yes, as a matter of fact. That’s why I asked.”

    “You’re adorable.” I could hear the smile in her voice. “Our master did indeed teach you well. It’s too bad you wouldn’t come with me to Isard. None of this would ever have had to happen.”

    “Isard wasn’t fit to lick Palpatine’s boot,” I snarled. “And neither are you. I would never have come with you.”

    “Feisty. You better calm down; you don’t want to harm the baby.”

    That did it. Luke grabbed the comlink from my hand. “What do you want, Lumiya?”

    “Well, if it isn’t the Jedi Master himself! Hello, Luke. It’s been a long time.”

    “What do you want?”

    “I want you dead,” she said simply. “Along with your wife, your child, and everybody else on that Force-forsaken ship.” She paused. “Does that answer your question?”

    “But why?” I said. I knew what Lumiya was—a Sith. I knew what Sith were, what they did. Palpatine hadn’t thought twice about killing fifty thousand innocent beings. Why would Lumiya care about killing a couple hundred? Besides, she had the strongest motivator of all—revenge. But still, I had to ask, “What’s in it for you?”

    “Oh, Mara,” she said, and I could hear the pain in her voice. Surprisingly, it was genuine. And there was not only pain there, but also disappointment. “You still don’t understand.”

    “Don’t understand what?”

    “I suppose I can’t blame you. After all, he never taught you the way he taught me. As a Sith.”

    “And I thank the Force for that every day.”

    Lumiya scoffed. “I suppose you do. Not that the Force will help you now.” At that moment the lights flickered again, staying off even longer than before. “But now we must be going.”

    “Wait!” Luke yelled, but the comlink had already gone dead. He stared at it blankly for a while before letting it drop from his hand. He grabbed my arm and guided me back into the council chambers, helping me into the chair next to his before running a hand through his hair. The others at the table looked as worried as he felt.

    “One of the dreadnaughts is nearly capable of flight,” Callista said. “Can we escape with that?”

    Uliar shook his head. “No. They took it. It must have been more powerful than their own ship.”

    “We still have the Chaf Envoy,” Formbi said.

    Drask quickly squashed those hopes. “They’re not answering our hails.”

    Formbi swallowed. “Oh.”

    “How did the Vagaari get here?” I asked suddenly. “There wasn’t enough space on Lumiya’s shuttle to fit that many warriors onboard.”

    “They must have followed her—us—with their own ship,” Luke answered. “Then took the dreadnaught because it was more powerful.”

    “That’s impossible!” Formbi scoffed. “We scanned the entire ship before our departure and every time we dropped from hyperspace. Nobody could have followed us into the Redoubt.”

    “Are you sure about that? How do you know what type of technology the Vagaari have? And how else could they have gotten here? And besides,” Luke added, “Fel said it earlier—Lumiya herself provided the coordinates to Outbound Flight. She was leading us into a trap from the beginning.” His hands clenched into fists before slowly releasing.

    Just then, the power went off completely.

    The emergency power kicked in immediately, casting a dull glow around the room. “How are they doing this?” Callista asked. Her voice was full of concern but she acted as a Jedi, not letting herself fall into despair, concentrating only on a solution.

    “Conduit worms,” Jinzler spoke up. He’d been quiet throughout the conversation, observing rather than speaking. “At least, that’s what I imagine.”

    “Right,” Luke said. “Can you figure something out?”

    “I can lure out the conduit worms with a simple salt solution. But if they brought enough conduit worms along to disable a ship like this…” He trailed off, his insinuation obvious—it would take longer than we had to destroy them all.

    “The trap,” I said suddenly. “In the turbolift. Could that have been caused by conduit worms?”

    Jinzler furrowed his brow. “Possibly.”

    I blew out a breath. Lumiya had put both time and effort into this plan. And now there was nothing left to do but figure out a way to get out of there before everything on this ship was dead.

    “We have to get back to the Chaf Envoy,” Formbi declared. “It’s our only way out. Even if the ship was disabled, we have a chance of fixing enough systems to send out a distress signal—”

    He continued speaking but I no longer heard him, hanging on to his last two words. Something about the, spoke to me, but I couldn’t figure out what…

    “—Besides, your ship is there,” Formbi continued, looking to Luke and me. “Perhaps it’s still useful.”

    “It better be useful, or Mara will have their heads when we get out of here—”

    And then I realized just how useful the Jade’s Fire still was.

    The Vagaari might not have followed us into the Redoubt. But somebody else did. And I could sense it now, as clearly as I sensed Luke beside me.

    Sithspit!” I yelled out. I grabbed Luke’s hand, not giving him a chance to speak. “Hurry, now!” I pulled him away from the table, racing into the corridor as fast as I dared.

    And there, at the far end of the corridor, was the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen.

    Talon Karrde stepped forward over the dead bodies and brushed dust off his otherwise polished jacked. Behind him were a crowd of Jedi, but the only ones I truly saw were Corran and Tyria, my two best friends from the Jedi Academy, standing there with lightsabers blazing.

    Karrde glanced around at the aliens strewn around the corridor, then looked at the dimmed lights. His focus shifted to my stomach and even though his eyes shone with relief, he still couldn’t help grinning. “So Mara, tell me. Does this relieve me of my baby-sitting duties?”
    Last edited by JediMara77, Sep 12, 2012
  13. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    YES!!! :D

    Talk about a rescue party.


    Great chapter!
  14. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Oh stunning stunning stunning characterizations! =D= =D=

    Enjoyed the Mara/Callista talk. And you did it, I feel sympathetic toward this Callista LOL not to the other one :p

    Woooooh! Now all the schemes and agendas have come out and yay for Karrde being there [face_dancing]

    *

    Loved Luke/Mara telling off Fel, Formbi, and Lumiya.

    Lick his boot--kiss his tuckus [face_laugh] - Luuuuv the snarkness!

    [:D]

  15. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    Karrde to the rescue! Yes!

    I love Luke in this. Few things can piss him off but when he is, he is still a Jedi.
  16. Ridley Solo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2010
    star 4
    Nothing else to say except ditto to what everyone else has said...excellent writing! =D= This is the best Luke/Mara fiction since Zhan! Lumiya is sufficiently infuriating and creepy, as a Sith should be, and your Callista is wonderful.

    Woo-hoo! Karrde to the rescue! [face_dancing] Love the line about babysitting, BTW. :)
  17. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

    I LOVE this update!!! [:D]

    I love Mara and Callista's talk in the beginning. I feel so sad for Callie over the loss of Geith. Her talk about the lightsaber was especially poignant. And I love Mara's necklace being featured!! You know how much I love that. So romantic. [face_love]

    The talk with Lumiya was super scary. I can only imagine how freaked out Luke, not to mention Mara, was. And I adore how you used the Force bond there, so that Mara had not only her own memories of Lumiya, but Luke's memories of Shira. A more innocent time that was never really innocent at all.

    And that ending--Karrde and the Jedi to the rescue!!!! Yes ma'am!!! =D==D= But I don't think this'll get him out of babysitting duties since he's kind of responsible for them being there in the first place.. :p And you know he wants to babysit and be a hot honorary granddaddy. [face_love]

    Love it!!!
  18. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    I?d been struggling to remain normal during my pregnancy, but now I realized that my definition of normal had completely shifted. And it did not include having contractions.
    All taken into consideration, I'm amazed she has a definition of normal...:p


    Luke gave me a smile that he?d come to perfect; it was a smile that said, ?Whatever you want, dear.?
    Mara - you're one lucky woman....[face_love]

    She was looking at Luke with an odd expression on her face.
    Ok, I choose to interpret that innocentlyo_O - but you're such a teaser!!![face_shame_on_you]


    To an outside observer Luke was the epitome of calm, but I knew better. He was angry?very angry.
    I love it when he is both that! [face_batting]


    I was being truthful when I contacted you,? Fel said. ?This was a Jedi mission. The Chiss wanted Jedi to be involved.?

    ?Of course they did,? Luke growled. ?To fight for you, not to mention sense any deception when it came to Lumiya.?

    Fel didn?t even blink. ?Possibly. Did you??

    ?Possibly.?

    ?And you did not warn us of that fact??

    Luke regarded Fel for a long moment. ?We were unsure of who to trust.?

    ?Well, we?re all in this together now, whether we like it or not.?

    Luke nodded slowly. ?And how do you intend to get us out of this mess??

    Fel?s gave a rueful smile. ?I was hoping that the Jedi might determine how to fix that dilemma.?

    Luke rolled his eyes. ?Of course. Forgive me if I don?t seem amused.? He glanced at my stomach
    .
    That was a nice scene! Luke really acting protective husband - and against Fel... [face_love]


    million thoughts flew through my mind in that moment?passing by Lumiya as she was presented to the Emperor; her advancing on me on Caprioril; losing my lightsaber but refusing to back down to her; her black armor disappearing as she retreated from the losing battle. I saw events that I?d never lived?Luke and Shira laughing together onboard some Rebel ship; a stolen kiss; the terror he felt when he learned that he shot down a friend; the confusion and betrayal he?d experienced upon realizing that Shira had been a spy all along. I felt the regret he felt upon fighting her, how her eyes narrowed with lethal intent. Just like me, she had been set on killing him. She had no chance of beating him, of course, but that didn?t stop her from trying. Even if it took her ten years to lay the perfect trap.

    YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!

    I shook myself, forehead creasing as that damn voice once again took over my thoughts. But while this was the same voice I?d heard for five long years, it was not entirely the same. This was Lumiya?s last command, not mine, even though it was exactly the same
    .
    =D= =D= =D=



    ?What do you want??

    ?I want you dead,? she said simply. ?Along with your wife, your child, and everybody else on that Force-forsaken ship.? She paused. ?Does that answer your question
    ??
    Aih - perfect! :D



    And there, at the far end of the corridor, was the most beautiful sight I?d ever seen.

    Talon Karrde stepped forward over the dead bodies and brushed dust off his otherwise polished jacked. Behind him were a crowd of Jedi, but the only ones I truly saw were Corran and Tyria, my two best friends from the Jedi Academy, standing there with lightsabers blazing.

    Karrde glanced around at the aliens strewn around the corridor, then looked at the dimmed lights. His focus shifted to my stomach and even though his eyes shone with relief, he still couldn?t help grinning. ?So Mara, tell me. Does this relieve me of my baby-sitting duties
    ??
    And perfect AGAIN!!!! [:D] [:D] [:D]

  19. jaded_jewel Guest

    Member Since:
    In comes the calvary! Lovely chapter. =D=
  20. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Bravo! I love it that Karrde comes to the rescue. I really like his character. Very nice chapter. I still don't like Callista, but I do admit that you wrote her in such a way that I can't totally despise her...sorry that is the best I can do for now.;)

    Great update!
  21. PadmeSkywalkerSHM Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2010
    star 2
    Love how you ended The update!
  22. CurtisZidaneZiraa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2010
    star 1
    YES! Woohoo! Now there's a party! Ready for the Move?
  23. Katana_Sundancer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2009
    star 4
    Yay Karrde! Talon Karrde, leading in the cavalry of Jedi Knights. Love it.
  24. JediMara77 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Hey everyone,

    Currently the entries are truncated and the quotation marks are messed up, but you can read the full posts over at FFN here.

    I'll post the rest here (two more chapters and an epilogue), for those who hate FFN!
  25. JediMara77 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    CHAPTER 12
    .
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    I raced forward and threw my arms around Karrde’s neck, then pulled back from the hug to smack him on the chest. “It’s your fault we’re here, so yes, you’re still baby-sitting!” But my smile broke through my anger as I pulled him to me again. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see your face.”

    He chuckled, a low rumble shaking against my body. “Same here, Mara.” After a moment we broke apart fully, allowing him to greet Luke while I turned my attention to the rest of our rescue party. Along with Corran and Tyria, I saw other Jedi from the Academy: Keyan, Kenth, Kirana Ti, Kyle, Kyp, Cray, Nichos, Saba, Tresina, and Jem. “You really brought in the cavalry, didn’t you?” I said to Corran, giving a low whistle.

    My Corellian “brother” smirked. “Somebody’s gotta look out for you, Mara.”

    “Right,” I snorted. “How did you all fit on the Wild Karrde?”

    “We didn’t take the Wild Karrde,” Tyria said.

    “You didn’t?”

    “No,” she grinned, “we brought something bigger.”

    I grinned back. “Let me guess. Booster?”

    Corran shrugged. “Hey, when your father-in-law keeps threatening you, saying that he owns a Star Destroyer…sometimes you just gotta go with it.”

    I shook my head. “Remind me to thank your wife later on.”

    “Mirax already said that you owe her a drink—after the baby comes, of course.”

    “Of course.”

    A throat cleared behind me. I turned around to see Fel, Uliar, and Formbi gazing at the Jedi with both relieved and worried looks. Callista appeared from behind them, and her eyes brightened at seeing more of her old comrades. “Why don’t we go inside and figure out what’s going on?”

    Following her suggestion, we went back into the conference room. Karrde took my seat at the conference table, while I remained off to the side with Corran and Tyria. I kept looking around at the other Jedi, tending to some of the wounded and fielding questions from children. The entire colony had gathered in the large room, eagerly anticipating a rescue by the Jedi, the people who had saved them from destruction once before.

    Quickly, Karrde explained how the rescue had come together. After Karrde sent us the information about Jinzler and Hano, he continued to pursue his various leads. But later, when he to contact us for more information and to get an update on our progress, all communication to the Jade’s Fire was jammed . He grew worried, knowing that anything that could jam communications from my ship had to be very dangerous indeed. After several days with no contact, he decided to risk my potential ire and come after us.

    Formbi did not seem relieved or appreciative of the rescue party. His brow remained furrowed in concern. “And how exactly did you manage to follow the Chaf Envoy into the Redoubt?”

    “We didn’t follow the Chaf Envoy,” Karrde answered. “We followed Mara’s ship.”

    “The Jade’s Fire?”

    Karrde nodded. “You think I would let my best employee fly a ship that didn’t have the best homing beacon a slicer could install?”

    “Flattery won’t get you out of baby-sitting, Karrde.”

    Formbi ignored my attempt at humor and remained incredulous. “You had a homing beacon active during our trip?”

    I didn’t blink. “I did.”

    “That is impossible! We scanned the Chaf Envoy every time we dropped from hyperspace. We picked up no electronic transmissions!”

    “Of course you did,” I said, “but you didn’t take into account the fact that the best slicer in the New Republic installed my homing beacon. See, my homing beacon only activates when our signals are jammed. And it’s undetectable by outside forces.”

    Fel shook his head. “And you blamed us for bringing Lumiya along on this mission?”

    “Hey, our homing beacon saved all our lives! I think we can save the posturing for later, okay?”

    Fel did not look pleased, but he remained quiet. “What do we do now?” Luke asked. “The Errant Venture has more than enough space to house the colonists until we can find a more permanent solution.”

    “You are forcing us to leave, Master Skywalker?” asked Uliar.

    “Not forced. You heard what Jinzler said before—the ship will die soon, sooner than we can get it repaired. You can’t stay here any longer.”

    The colony leaders shared a glance. “We all agreed to join Outbound Flight because we no longer wished to be part of the Republic,” said Uliar. “This has been our home for over forty years. Where do we go from here?”

    Luke swallowed. “I don’t know the answer to that question. But I’m sure the New Republic will help you find a new home.”

    “And if we want to return here, after repairs have been made?”

    “You can’t,” Formbi said. “This is Chiss territory.”

    “And now, after we’ve been here completely undetected for forty years, you will force us to leave?”

    Karrde cleared his throat, raising his voice against the oncoming debate. “Before we start hammering out permanent details, why don’t we all get onboard the Errant Venture? I wouldn’t want you to run out of air in the middle of an argument.” He met my gaze and winked. I stifled a laugh.

    “Wait a minute.” Callista’s soft voice gained everyone’s attention. She faced Luke. “What do we do about Lumiya and the Vagaari?”

    For a moment, everyone was quiet. “We can’t let them escape the Redoubt,” said Formbi. “If they get to Brask Oto…”

    “They’ll destroy it,” Fel continued for him. “Then they’ll come after the rest of the Chiss, then the allies of the Chiss. We can’t let that happen. We have no idea how many Vagaari actually exist.”

    “There were two ships docked with Outbound Flight,” Karrde said. “I’m assuming the smaller, unmanned vessel was the Vagaari ship. They must have all transferred over to the missing dreadnaught, because nobody shot at us upon our approach.”

    “We must follow them,” Formbi said. “We will take the Chaf Envoy.”

    “No,” said Luke softly. He met Karrde’s gaze, who nodded in return. “We need to go after them. We need to make sure Lumiya is stopped.”
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    You ready?

    The soft voice rang inside my mind. I turned to look upon my husband, and nodded. May the Force be with you, I sent to him

    He gave me a faint smile in return, then rushed into the dreadnaught with Callista in tow. The rest of the Jedi, the Chiss soldiers, and the stormtroopers followed them. Eventually, the only people left in the docking bay were LaRone and me.

    The evacuation of Outbound Flight happened more efficiently than I imagined. It didn’t take long before the more than two hundred colonists had transferred to the Errant Venture. Personal belongings were left behind; they would return to the ship later on, once the permanent fate of the colony was decided.

    The Chaf Envoy had taken some damage from the Vagaari, but the crew was largely uninjured. The Chiss soldiers, Formbi, and Drask insisted on coming about the Errant Venture to pursue the dreadnaught, as did Fel and the rest of the Empire of the Hand. Jinzler also came along, saying he needed to see this mission to the end, and was currently stationed on the bridge of the Star Destroyer.

    Not only had Karrde enlisted the help of the Jedi, he’d also brought along some of Luke’s old Rogue Squadron friends. They would disable the dreadnaught while the ground forces boarded the ship, corralling the Vagaari to a central location. I still couldn’t believe the team Karrde had assembled in such a short amount of time. All of Luke’s friends…all of my friends…it was more than a bit overwhelming.

    Again with the pregnancy hormones.

    Luke hadn’t bothered to request that I stay behind on the Chaf Envoy, but he did ask that I remain on the Errant Venture. My look of disgust was the only answer he received. I did, however, agree to stay behind the front lines. LaRone and I would follow Luke and Callista as they pursued Lumiya. The other Jedi would attack the bridge, further disabling the dreadnaught and neutralizing the Vaagari threat.

    I didn’t like being apart from Luke, especially in battle. But I still wasn’t up to full strength and decided not to tempt fate any further. Besides, I could sense Luke through the Force, and would be ready to do my part when the time came.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Several minutes later, that moment arrived. “It’s time to go,” I informed LaRone. He snapped to attention, as bothered as I was by staying behind. We were both soldiers, bred and raised to fight. As the thought went through my mind, I smiled, remembering how well we’d worked together during our time in the Empire. Wondering what might have been if things had been different. But now was not the time to wonder.

    “Are they in trouble?” LaRone asked.

    I shook my head. “Not yet, at least. Come on.”

    We hurried through the dreadnaught. LaRone followed my directions without question. Luke and Callista were fighting Lumiya somewhere deep within the ship. I could see the fight almost as if through my own eyes. I ran faster, wanting to be in the thick of things, wanting to help. I felt Luke’s reassurance that everything would be okay, but that did not matter. I hated being apart from him.

    The other Jedi had pushed back the Vagaari to the bridge, keeping our path safe. And then I could feel it: we were closing in on Luke. I moved faster, my body tingling with anticipation…

    And as we rounded the corner, I saw them. Luke, Callista, and Lumiya, locked in fierce combat. Lumiya looked just as she had when we dueled on Caprioril, her red hair now covered with her triangular headdress. Even from far away I could see that her eyes had returned to their normal hard, deep green. She had lost her regular weapon—her lightwhip—and Luke and Callista had cornered her into an open doorway. Lumiya struck out with a lightsaber, and my jaw clenched when I saw that it was Anakin Skywalker’s. She must have taken it from Luke during the battle.

    The blue blade swung through the darkened corridor and slashed Callista on the shoulder. The older woman yelped, but did not falter. Lumiya sneered at her and said something I could not hear. The air compressed around me as Luke stepped forward and reached out his palm, throwing Lumiya through the open doorway.

    He glanced in my direction. Now!

    I was already moving, yelling at LaRone, “Go!” LaRone ran forward and threw a suppression bomb through the doorway. Luke had already grabbed Callista’s arm and was pulling her back down the corridor, away from the explosion. They fell to the ground and wrapped their arms around their heads for cover as the explosion spilled into the corridor.

    It grew deathly quiet.

    Somehow, I crawled to Luke and Callista and helped them to their feet. Luke leaned against me in relief. Callista was clutching her shoulder but otherwise looked uninjured. LaRone stood next to the doorway, looking inside at the impact of the explosion. After a few moments, he tapped his helmet, as if listening to a comlink transmission, and turned to us. “We should get back to the others. They need help tracking down the Vagaari who escaped the bridge.”

    Luke nodded. “Right.” We made to follow LaRone…but then there was an unmistakable stirring in the Force, and I froze. Luke caught my discomfort immediately. “Mara? Mara, what’s wrong?”

    I gazed back at the doorway, seeing inside the room for the first time. It had been an observation room, with a floor-to-ceiling viewport lining the far expanse of the wall. The explosion had torn chairs from the floor and buckled the transparisteel. The room looked deserted, like a disaster area, with no signs of life.

    But the Force was telling me differently.

    “She’s still alive,” I whispered in disbelief.

    Luke’s eyes widened in shock. He closed them and reached out into the Force to confirm my suspicions. When he did, he held out his arm and moved toward the room. “Stay here.”

    But I placed my hand on his arm, stopping him. “No, Luke. Let me go.”

    Of course he wanted to protest, but I didn’t get him the chance. I entered the room alone, knowing that this was what I was supposed to do. This is what my dreams had been preparing me for: to settle unfinished business; to rid this threat to my life. For as long as Lumiya lived, she’d come back to haunt my family, and that was something I could not allow.

    My lightsaber hummed to life as I searched the room for Lumiya. I felt Luke enter behind me but he stayed at the door, realizing what this task meant to me. And then all thoughts of Luke flew out of my mind as I practically stumbled upon Lumiya, lying on the floor in a twisted mass of durasteel.

    Her headpiece had shifted from her head, allowing strands of red to fall into her face. Her body was contorted at a sick, unnatural angle. The old scars on her body stood out in stark relief to the new cuts and bruises. Her armor was shredded, showing vulnerable glimpses of deathly pale skin.

    Her eyes opened, confronting me with a green maelstrom of anger. I felt my own eyes widen, and the once firm grip on my lightsaber loosened so that the weapon almost fell from my hand.

    We stared at each other for along moment, both of us unable to move—Lumiya from her injuries, and me from the emotions coursing through my veins. For so long, I’d wondered why me? Why had I survived where others had fallen? Why had I changed when others had not?

    And now, as I stared at Lumiya, I realized just how easily it could have been me lying on that floor. Me with the broken body; the empty, black heart. Just one simple decision—to not kill Luke in cold blood, as all it took to change my life…

    The moment came to a close when Lumiya coughed, blood spattering from her lips. “Go ahead,” she hissed, her words sharp with anger. “Finish the job your husband started.”

    Her voice held the same, steel pitch it’d always been, but I heard her differently. Come fly with me, Ace, I heard her say, in another lifetime. An image of her in a Rebel flight suit dashed through my mind, followed by one of Luke, sitting by her side and laughing. Their eyes locked; there was a stolen kiss…

    dancing in the Imperial Palace…bowing before the Emperor…shooting an Imperial governor in the head

    My head shook on its own accord. I fell to my knees, both in an effort to get closer to Lumiya but also because I couldn’t stand any longer. “No…you can come with us.” I couldn’t even recognize the words coming out of my mouth. I knew how stupid they were. I knew that she wanted us dead more than anything in the universe.

    But I could not kill her. I could not leave her there to die. I could not walk away without giving her the same chance at redemption that someone had once given me. Had anyone ever tried?

    Luke had, once. Even if I couldn’t see her memories, I’d know the truth. He’d reached out to her…Please, Shira, let me help you…

    Her face sparked with derision and disgust. “Get away from me,” she spat. “Traitorous whore.”

    Lumiya had lashed out at him, too, damning him for breaking her body and swearing revenge. We could have had it all…you did this to me…

    Her words didn’t hurt me. I couldn’t hurt any more than I already was. I could feel her pain, not just of body but also of spirit. How many years had I wasted, wandering the galaxy filled with such similar hatred?

    Caprioril…magenta blade against lightwhip…you will kill Luke Skywalker

    “Don’t you understand, Shira?” I whispered. Green eyes, an echo of mine, flashed at that name, but I kept speaking. “This is exactly what he wanted! Us fighting one another…don’t you remember?”

    “I remember.” Her body spasmed with another cough. “I remember thinking that one day, you would betray him. And I was right.”

    “He’s dead, Shira. You don’t have to serve him anymore!”

    I reached out to grasp her hand but she thrashed out, shirking out of my grip. “Don’t touch me!”

    you will be an extension of my will

    “Shira.” Luke’s voice was so soft, so different…over ten years of change from the last time they’d spoken…but one thing always remained the same. He knelt down next to me and gazed at Lumiya, his blue eyes a mix of regret, pain, anger, sadness. I remembered that look from long ago, from a forest on Myrkr.

    and you took it all away from me

    Lumiya laughed, the gravelly noise echoing eerily throughout the empty room. “Come to gloat, Skywalker?”

    “No, Shira. You know I wouldn’t do that.”

    “Right. You’re the perfect little rebel who destroys people he once cared about with no regrets. I forgot.”

    if only for that you deserve to die

    “Don’t you understand?” I grabbed her hand in a firm grip, not letting go this time when she violently jerked away. Our gazes locked again, a moment frozen in time. It was like looking into a mirror and the only thing keeping me from falling was the feel of her hand in mine. “I know how you feel. We’re not very different. Come with us, please!”

    “Don’t touch me!” I could sense Callista and LaRone at the doorway, Lumiya’s scream having drawn their attention. “I could never be like you. You betrayed our master…if only for that, you deserve to die.”

    My hand dropped from hers.

    you have no idea how much I hate you right now, Skywalker

    “Shira, please,” Luke whispered. “Come with us.”

    Her hand snapped up to grab Luke’s wrist. For a moment, her eyes flashed red and yellow with murderous intent…

    now I finally feel free

    The spell was broken. We weren’t the same after all.

    Her eyes cooled and hardened. Her grip tightened. “My name is Lumiya.”

    transparisteel breaking…air rushing out of my lungs…holding on for dear life

    I was already on my feet when Luke yelled for me to run. I whipped around and started running just as Lumiya threw back her free arm. Aided by the Force, a piece of metal from the opposite side of the room flew through the air and smashed into the viewport directly behind us. It embedded deeply into the transparisteel. Cracks formed on the surface—

    I saw nothing else. Luke broke free of Lumiya’s grasp, using all of his strength in the Force, and pushed me away even though I was already dashing for the doorway. I pulled a breathing apparatus from the wall and shoved it in my mouth, forcing myself to breathe steadily for the baby growing inside of me. As the atmosphere drained from the room I dug my feet into the ground, reaching for anything to hold on to. I found it in the form of an arm; it was Callista, pulling me into the corridor. Luke grabbed hold of LaRone’s hand and the door frame, at the same time keeping a firm hold on my body with the Force.

    The chaos quickly ended. The blast doors slammed shut after only a few moments, throwing the room into a web of dark shadows before the emergency lumapanels kicked in.

    My heart was pounding, and it needed to stop. I needed to be calm. I closed my eyes and reached into the Force; felt Luke’s presence against mine. Slowly I got my bearings and turned back into the room. I crossed to the now-hidden viewport, almost frightened for what I might see.

    Lumiya’s body was gone.

    I stood there in the otherwise empty room, staring at the empty space on the floor, feeling completely numb. Then Luke was at my side. He held out his hand. I glanced down to see my old lightsaber in his palm. I glanced up and met his gaze, his eyes filled with immense pride.

    because you’ve earned it

    He placed the weapon in my hand and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. “One thing I’ve learned is that some people don’t want to be saved.”

    but you did

    I swallowed a lump in my throat, unable to respond.

    “Come on.” His fingers were warm as they rubbed my collarbone. “Let’s get you out of here.”
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