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Beyond - Legends Interregnum (Post-The Last Command Action/Drama | Luke/Mara, Wedge | Epic) [Complete]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Bel505, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    My, but that was satisfying :p

    lol, oh, Wedge. But hey, everyone's alive for the next round :p
     
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  2. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006




    Chapter Thirty-Three, Part II


    Kam carried his mask up into the Millennium Falcon, taking the first seat he found in the ship’s lounge. He was exhausted, and he was free.

    He found himself face-to-face with a teenager. The young man’s very dark hair was the inverse of Kam’s own prematurely white, and despite his obvious youth he looked aged. He didn’t say anything, just watching Kam with a skittish nervousness.

    Kam wasn’t used to introducing himself, or speaking when he wasn’t spoken to first, so they just looked at each other. The longer he looked, the more he could feel the gleam of potential in the young man.

    There were footsteps on the ramp and Han Solo entered. He gave Kam an awkward nod, then pointed at Kyp. “We’re going to be taking off in a minute, kid, so strap in.” Then Solo hurried off towards the Falcon’s cockpit.

    Kyp took a seat next to Kam and pulled a belt around his waist as Kam did the same. “I like your armor,” said Kyp awkwardly.

    Kam blinked. “Thank you,” he said, uncertain.

    Kyp pointed at the mask sitting on his lap. “What’s that?” he asked.

    He looked down at it. The curved lines in the mask, the familiar artistry that gave it the appearance of fur, a hint of teeth, the wide, stylized lines of the eyes and jaw of a d’oemir bear. “It’s a d’oemir bear,” he said. “I knew one once, when I was young. My father and I stumbled across her den and she chased us away from her cubs.” He ran his finger over the lines of the mask. “My father explained afterwards that she was just a frightened parent who wanted to protect her children.”

    Luke and a woman with familiar red-gold hair walked up the ramp together. Outside, the engines of an X-wing roared as it launched into space. Luke pressed an activator switch for the intercom. “We’ve got my X-wing clamped to the Falcon, Han,” Luke said. “It’s not pretty but we’ll be able to fly like this.”

    “You know Chewie and I finally had the Falcon in peak condition,” Han groused. He was interrupted by an annoyed growl from the Wookiee and sighed resignedly “—okay fine, so Chewie does the maintenance. But he finally had the Falcon in the best condition she’s ever been in, and since then we’ve been shot at, forced to land on Kessel, marauded by idiots, shot at again, shot at again, and now I’m clamping an X-wing to the hull like she’s some kind of repair tug. You’re lucky my wife and kids like you so much.”

    Kam watched Luke smile. No, he thought. Luke wasn’t at all like Vader. Yes, they shared a like presence in the Force, intimidating and imposing. But Luke wasn’t the man who killed his father on Neftali. Vader had been the inexorability of a dreadful fate; a black hole, unavoidable and damning.

    Luke felt like hope.

    The red-haired Jedi who stood at his side was the same one he had fought on Coruscant. They watched each other warily for a moment. “You had a free shot at me in that apartment. Why didn’t you take it?” she asked.

    He took a deep breath, feeling Luke and Kyp’s eyes on him also. “I didn’t want to,” he said, “and I didn’t need to.”

    She nodded slowly and he knew that she understood.

    Luke smiled between Kam and Kyp. “While we get ready for departure and to head back to Coruscant,” Luke said, “Kam, why don’t you show Kyp some of the teachings you remember from your father. After we get moving, I’ll come join you—I’d like to see them also.”

    Kam ran his thumb over his father’s lightsaber. “It’s been a long time,” he warned.

    “That’s all right,” Luke said knowingly. “You remember.”


    * * *​


    Mara’s hand on his wrist stopped him before they made it all the way to the cockpit. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” she asked.

    Luke shrugged, wishing he was. “I’ve spent the last few years wondering when it would be the right time to refound the Jedi order,” he said. “And after all that, I suddenly find myself in the company of a man who remembers the old one, if only from an apprentice’s perspective, and a boy whose strength in the Force is remarkable. Whether it’s a good idea or not, the decision about whether or not to begin the order seems to have been made for me.” He smiled at her, dared to push a loose strand of red-gold hair back over her ear.

    “And you have the resources you need,” she said knowingly.

    He sighed and nodded. “How did you—”

    “When Iella and I were investigating the heist on Coruscant,” she explained. “Cracken found another old account which had been emptied. Vader’s personal account.” She lifted an eyebrow. “You have it,” she said. It wasn’t a question.

    He nodded glumly. “I was approached by a representative of the Coruscant banking establishment not long after Thrawn’s death,” he admitted. “About two weeks after you left with Karrde on your walkabout.” He frowned. “I didn’t want it. I know too much about the things Vader did to accrue that fortune. My first thought was to try to find everyone it was taken from, but it didn’t take me long to realize that was an impossible task. And then I realized that with it, the Jedi don’t need to be beholden to the New Republic. The new order could be truly independent.”

    “And then you started to worry about what Leia would think,” Mara said.

    “Yeah,” Luke sighed.

    “Vader destroyed the Jedi,” she said with a shrug. “Maybe it’s only fitting to use what he left behind to bring them back.”

    “Maybe,” he agreed quietly. “But I’m not sure the galaxy would agree.”

    The Falcon lurched as it took off. Momentum pressed Luke into the wall of the corridor, pressed Mara to his chest. He braced against the corridor with one of his hands, keeping them both balanced as he kept his other arm wrapped securely around her waist.

    “Better get up here, Luke,” Han’s voice said over the intercom. “We’re going to meet up with the Wild Karrde to drop off Jade, then I’m going home to my wife.”

    Luke started to release Mara; was stunned when her arms snaked around his back, not letting him go. “Have you ever thought—” Mara hesitated, then powered through with her typical dogged determination “—I want to live? I don’t want to die here, not like this.”

    “All the time.” He placed his arms back around her; could feel her struggling to find the right words.

    “I never did,” Mara admitted. “I didn’t really think about dying, even when I was in danger. It was always ‘I can’t fail the mission’.” She took a breath, her weight still leaning against him, her arms still wrapped around him. “Even when we fought C’baoth, remember?”

    “I remember,” Luke replied gently.

    “And then I fought the Force-adept—Kam, I guess—and I made a mistake. I made a mistake. And he had me and all I could think was ‘Not yet, I haven’t...’”

    Luke’s heart ached. Ached for the person she’d been, the years of life she’d had stolen from her. Ached for the woman she was, learning that the galaxy wasn’t what she’d been led to believe, struggling to find her place in this new, confusing one. Ached because despite all her brusqueness, despite the shadow of the Emperor, she was still one of the most admirable people he had ever met. One who had once asked him to kill her rather than lose that part of herself. One who had spent a year flying free and building a new life with sheer grit and stubborn determination. One who, now that she realized she had so much to live for, was here. In his arms.

    Luke knew all his shields had imploded at once. Or maybe he’d never been able to screen everything. Maybe she’d always been right there. “Mara,” he said, feeling awkward, sudden fear trickling in his gut, but she hadn’t pulled her hands away—

    She kissed him.

    Surprise and awe stunned him; her kiss was softly insistent. His arms tightened around her, drawing her in closer. The kiss lingered and when it finally broke he found her tucked in against him, her brilliant green eyes staring at him.

    “Mara,” he said, his voice clinging to her name, the single word impossibly heavy.

    He didn’t know what would come next. But he was sure that whatever came, he wanted to share it with her. Whether she was a smuggler or a Jedi, whether they spent every day together or only had scattered moments, he wanted to face their future together.

    The corner of her mouth quirked up in one of her tiny, subtle smiles. “Luke,” she murmured, and leaned in to kiss him again. He met her halfway, his stunned surprise melting away under the sudden passion of the embrace; he slid his hand up her back, tangling his fingers in her silky hair. The intensity of it left them clinging to one another when the kiss finally broke. She rested her forehead against his shoulder for a long, lingering moment as he held her close, then withdrew to gaze at him again. She threw him a crooked smile. “I suppose everyone on the ship is going to know about this before we’re back on Coruscant,” she teased gently. “You’re terrible at being devious.”

    Her gaze was tentative, her desire and affection and joy intermingled with her fears. The realization of just how deeply she had missed him, not just for the short time they’d been separated but the months she’d been gone with Karrde, feeling like something vital was missing. But the attraction, the desire for companionship was at war with the life she’d lived. The Emperor’s Hand had been a solitary creature.

    “Hey,” Luke laughed. He heard the question in the tease. He leaned in and stole a kiss; she returned it eagerly. “I can try being devious for a while,” he murmured against her lips, her breath warm against his cheek, “if you would rather.”

    He would be happy enough to sing it to the heavens, and anyone who dared say a word askance be damned. He wasn’t worried about that anyway; everyone who mattered would embrace her as family. How could they not? Her arms tightened around him and he could sense her gratefulness nonetheless.

    They held one another for a long time.

    The Falcon jolted. Han’s voice came back over the intercom. “Alright kids, we’re docked with the Wild Karrde.

    “Duty calls,” Mara mumbled against him. They parted; she smoothed out her clothes. When she looked at him again, her expression had returned to a composed calm. “Let’s talk on Coruscant,” she said with a businesslike nod. Her lip quirked up with a subtle smirk. “We’ll see who gets there first.”

    He nodded, unable to find any words.

    She turned and left. He took a moment to find his equilibrium, trying to find enough inner composure to stop grinning so much.


    * * *​


    Luke stumbled into the cockpit and fell into one of the passenger seats. Han tossed him a glance over his shoulder. “We’ll only be docked for a minute,” he said as he and Chewbacca plotted the course back to Coruscant. “Do we need to make any stops on the way?”

    Luke shook his head. “No,” he said. He sounded distracted and distant; Han tossed him a longer glance, making sure he was okay. He looked okay, but Han hadn’t seen that grin on his face in a long time. “Best speed there, if you can. Karrde and Mara think we’re having some kind of race.” Luke delivered the words somewhat strangely, as if in a state of delayed shock.

    “A race, huh,” Han said. Next to him Chewie chuckled and the two of them adjusted their course. “Someone should tell Karrde that’s a sucker’s bet.” Luke was still grinning, and Han sent him another look. “Don’t worry kid, I’ll make sure you have bragging rights. Besides, Karrde owes me, and I’d hate to give him one back.” He frowned. “Even with your X-wing strapped to the hull, we’ll still be faster.”

    It took them only a minute before the Falcon was ready for hyperspace, and Han quite deliberately guided the stock freighter over the Wild Karrde’s bridge, executing a precise snaproll before swaggering off into hyperspace.

    Luke chuckled at the theatrics, standing. “I’m going to go check on Kam and Kyp,” he said, and headed back towards the lounge.

    Han leaned towards Chewie. “What do you think that was all about?” he asked surreptitiously.

    Chewie chuffed one of his Wookiee laughs. He stood and moved over towards the chair Luke had just evacuated and plucked a single long strand of red-gold hair off the back of it.

    Han Solo, the former fast-talking, fast-shooting smuggler didn’t say a word as his eyebrows shot skyward. He grinned slowly. “Ohhh,” he laughed, leaning back in his chair as Chewbacca laughed with him. “I wonder who won the pool? No, you can’t be the one to tell Leia!”




     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Luke and a woman with familiar red-gold hair walked up the ramp together. Outside, the engines of an X-wing roared as it launched into space. Luke pressed an activator switch for the intercom. “We’ve got my X-wing clamped to the Falcon, Han,” Luke said. “It’s not pretty but we’ll be able to fly like this.”

    “You know Chewie and I finally had the Falcon in peak condition,” Han groused. He was interrupted by an annoyed growl from the Wookiee and sighed resignedly “—okay fine, so Chewie does the maintenance. But he finally had the Falcon in the best condition she’s ever been in, and since then we’ve been shot at, forced to land on Kessel, marauded by idiots, shot at again, shot at again, and now I’m clamping an X-wing to the hull like she’s some kind of repair tug. You’re lucky my wife and kids like you so much.”

    Kam watched Luke smile. No, he thought. Luke wasn’t at all like Vader. Yes, they shared a like presence in the Force, intimidating and imposing. But Luke wasn’t the man who killed his father on Neftali. Vader had been the inexorability of a dreadful fate; a black hole, unavoidable and damning.

    Luke felt like hope.

    The red-haired Jedi who stood at his side was the same one he had fought on Coruscant. They watched each other warily for a moment. “You had a free shot at me in that apartment. Why didn’t you take it?” she asked.

    He took a deep breath, feeling Luke and Kyp’s eyes on him also. “I didn’t want to,” he said, “and I didn’t need to.”

    She nodded slowly and he knew that she understood.


    I really like Kam as you're portraying him. =D= He's full of hope now also, new beginnings. :) His answer to Mara's question says a lot about his character/personality.

    Luke and Mara's talk about is it the right thing to do, reestablish the Jedi Order is thought-provoking. I like the idea very much of them being independent of the Republic financially, which will help them chart their own course when it comes to how much they follow after the politcal types like a tame sheep. :p


    Luke’s heart ached. Ached for the person she’d been, the years of life she’d had stolen from her. Ached for the woman she was, learning that the galaxy wasn’t what she’d been led to believe, struggling to find her place in this new, confusing one. Ached because despite all her brusqueness, despite the shadow of the Emperor, she was still one of the most admirable people he had ever met. One who had once asked him to kill her rather than lose that part of herself. One who had spent a year flying free and building a new life with sheer grit and stubborn determination. One who, now that she realized she had so much to live for, was here. In his arms.

    SQUEE! Out. Loud. Beautiful insights into Mara, also highlighting Luke's empathy.


    Luke knew all his shields had imploded at once. Or maybe he’d never been able to screen everything. Maybe she’d always been right there. “Mara,” he said, feeling awkward, sudden fear trickling in his gut, but she hadn’t pulled her hands away—

    She kissed him.

    Surprise and awe stunned him; her kiss was softly insistent. His arms tightened around her, drawing her in closer. The kiss lingered and when it finally broke he found her tucked in against him, her brilliant green eyes staring at him.

    “Mara,” he said, his voice clinging to her name, the single word impossibly heavy.

    He didn’t know what would come next. But he was sure that whatever came, he wanted to share it with her. Whether she was a smuggler or a Jedi, whether they spent every day together or only had scattered moments, he wanted to face their future together.

    The corner of her mouth quirked up in one of her tiny, subtle smiles. “Luke,” she murmured, and leaned in to kiss him again. He met her halfway, his stunned surprise melting away under the sudden passion of the embrace; he slid his hand up her back, tangling his fingers in her silky hair. The intensity of it left them clinging to one another when the kiss finally broke. She rested her forehead against his shoulder for a long, lingering moment as he held her close, then withdrew to gaze at him again. She threw him a crooked smile. “I suppose everyone on the ship is going to know about this before we’re back on Coruscant,” she teased gently. “You’re terrible at being devious.”

    Her gaze was tentative, her desire and affection and joy intermingled with her fears. The realization of just how deeply she had missed him, not just for the short time they’d been separated but the months she’d been gone with Karrde, feeling like something vital was missing. But the attraction, the desire for companionship was at war with the life she’d lived. The Emperor’s Hand had been a solitary creature.

    “Hey,” Luke laughed. He heard the question in the tease. He leaned in and stole a kiss; she returned it eagerly. “I can try being devious for a while,” he murmured against her lips, her breath warm against his cheek, “if you would rather.”

    He would be happy enough to sing it to the heavens, and anyone who dared say a word askance be damned. He wasn’t worried about that anyway; everyone who mattered would embrace her as family. How could they not? Her arms tightened around him and he could sense her gratefulness nonetheless.

    They held one another for a long time.

    That whole passage there just. Delicious! I love it when Mara takes initiative like that ;)

    Chewie chuffed one of his Wookiee laughs. He stood and moved over towards the chair Luke had just evacuated and plucked a single long strand of red-gold hair off the back of it.

    Han Solo, the former fast-talking, fast-shooting smuggler didn’t say a word as his eyebrows shot skyward. He grinned slowly. “Ohhh,” he laughed, leaning back in his chair as Chewbacca laughed with him. “I wonder who won the pool? No, you can’t be the one to tell Leia!”




    [face_rofl] No one is surprised, are they? [face_love] [face_dancing]
     
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  4. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    I am deeply amused at the image of the two of them just sitting there silently looking at each other :p

    This entire paragraph cracks me up, but "marauded by idiots" might be my favorite part :p

    That's our Luke [face_love]

    They're coming from a reasonably similar background here, aren't they? [face_thinking]

    A solid point, and definitely a daring move. But like Mara was thinking earlier, she didn't shoot him :p

    I completely agree

    My poor Mara, she's never really had the chance to think about what she personally wants before this.

    I love this. Not that Mara can't grin or openly laugh or be more demonstrative than this, but this feels exactly right for her in most cases: controlled and subtle about expressing her emotions. And of course Luke would always recognize those subtle expressions [face_love]

    I mean, she's not wrong

    [face_love]

    Smitten!Luke is so cute :p

    Show-off :falcon:

    Wouldn't it be awesome if Leia won the pool? :p
     
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  5. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006




    Chapter Thirty-Three, Part III


    Mara resumed her spot in the co-pilot’s seat as if she’d never left it. Dankin sat next to her, watching her warily as he plotted the Wild Karrde’s course in pursuit of the Falcon.

    Karrde crossed his legs casually. It had been a dangerous, hectic few days, but an incredibly profitable few days. There would be many months, if not years dealing with the repercussions of the bargain he’d struck with Vorru, but there were ways to get out ahead of that particular threat. He permitted himself a small smile, then tilted his head as he noticed something unusual.

    Mara was staring at her console, but not with her usual intent focus. Instead, her gaze carried off, the expression of a woman deep in distracted thought. Her posture shifted slightly, and while he couldn’t see her entire expression, there was no doubt—she was smiling.

    “Mara?” he asked, his tone steady and unobtrusive.

    She didn’t notice.

    Dankin glanced at Mara, then back at Karrde, started to open his mouth to get her attention. The look Karrde gave him made it clear that if he disturbed her, he’d be airlocked before they got anywhere close to Coruscant. Dankin shrank back in his chair, looking baffled.

    Behind him, he heard Faughn stifle a laugh. He turned towards her and she covered her mouth, looking apologetic.

    The door behind them slid open and Chin walked in. “You’re not going to believe this, Cap’t,” he said, sounding distraught. “The damn Imps stole Thrawnie!”




     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I enjoyed distracted Mara and how everyone tried not to notice [face_laugh]
     
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  7. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Who or what is Thrawnie? Did I miss something?
     
  8. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    I really should have made that more clear. Thrawnie is the Wild Karrde's Ysalamir - he was named back in Chapter 16 during the Sabacc game. One of our imperial posers stole him.
     
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  9. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006



    Chapter Thirty-Four

    Talon Karrde sat heavily in his office chair in the Imperial Palace, frowning. “So that’s the whole story,” he finished, rapping his fingers on his desk. “Unfortunately, I don’t know anything else about Vorru’s intentions, and he has been very careful in our subsequent communications to hide his location.”

    Airen Cracken nodded, unsurprised. “To be honest,” he said with a sigh, “if I had a choice between Acib, Durga, or Vorru to be in charge of Black Sun, I’d choose Vorru. He’s clever and ambitious, but also predictable.” He offered Karrde a thin smile. “You may not be able to trace his location, but I’m quite sure that the place to start looking is the Corellia system.”

    “I would agree,” Karrde said with a nod. “So for now I ought to humor him? With the unofficial blessing of the New Republic?”

    Cracken’s eyes slid to the third person in the room. “Councilor?” he asked.

    Leia wore a deep frown. She sighed and rubbed her temple. “I don’t like it,” she said flatly. “This kind of informal bargain between the galaxy’s criminal elements and the ruling authority is very… Imperial.”

    “Perhaps,” Karrde said, not disagreeing. “But at the same time, I believe Vorru can and will follow through on his threats. For the moment, he has a powerful weapon that he can use against us. With his newfound wealth, and with Eliezer’s aid, not to mention his ties to Black Sun…” Karrde offered a helpless gesture. “It may be distasteful, but an informal bargain may be better than an informal war.”

    “It is the first step towards something very dark,” Leia said, her tone as dark as her words. She sighed. “But politics is the art of the possible,” she admitted. “Courting a war with an empowered Black Sun while we also try to establish a formal galactic government seems foolish.”

    “It doesn’t have to be a permanent bargain,” Cracken pointed out. “Eliezer and Vorru are both old, and everything I know of Eliezer says that he’ll take his secrets to the grave. I’ve got a team of historians and HoloNet techs scouring everything we know of his history, looking for any hints for how he does what he does.”

    “In the meantime,” Karrde added, “I’m removing all holocomms from vessels associated with the Smugglers’ Alliance, except the ones on routes we want seen.”

    They both stared at him. “That seems… drastic,” said Cracken.

    “It is,” Karrde admitted. “But it is the only way to ensure Eliezer cannot trace our ships. It will make business more difficult, but the well-being of my people comes first.” His lips firmed. “I do not like being threatened,” he grated.

    Vorru had threatened his people. Karrde would not tolerate living under the threat.

    “So, for now,” Leia said, still sounding stunned, “it seems we have little choice.”

    “For now,” Cracken agreed. “But I’ve already put some of my best people on the problem.” He grinned thinly. “The Wraiths have been looking for a challenge. Now they have one.”

    Karrde leaned back with a frown. “What do I do with the credits he bribed me with?”

    Cracken and Leia looked at each other, then at Karrde. “Keep them,” Cracken said.

    “Excuse me?”

    “You could have sold us the cloak for a significant fraction of that sum,” Cracken pointed out. “I respect your reasons for giving it to us, but still.” He smiled thinly. “You’re not the only one who believes in paying his debts.”

    “You’ll need the credits,” Leia added. “Holding the Smugglers’ Alliance together will be a tall order, and having that reserve should help you do that.” She smiled. “I doubt you’ll be wasting it on frivolous luxuries, so I agree with Airen. Keep them.”

    Karrde blinked. “Very well.”

    Cracken leaned towards him. “You mentioned that Tavira or Vorru stole your ysalamir?”

    “Ah, yes. Chin is quite put out about it. He likes having creatures from his homeworld aboard the Wild Karrde to look after. I suppose with Mara staying on Coruscant, I can bring Sturm and Drang back aboard without having to worry about their hunting instincts anymore.” Karrde frowned. “Why do you ask?”

    Cracken gave Leia a look. Her expression was resigned more than unhappy. “It’s always worth noting which of our foes have taken precautions against Jedi,” he answered after a moment. “Speaking of which, there’s one more thing,” Cracken slid a datapad across Karrde’s desk. “Here.”

    Karrde took the datapad and read it. “The deed to a freighter? And under Mara’s name?”

    “Along with a number of other things we believe belong to her,” Cracken confirmed. “We pulled them out of storage on Lusankya.” He stood. “I’ll have them sent to the freighter. Tell her the ship needs a new name.”

    “I’ll do that,” Karrde agreed, standing and offering both Cracken and Leia a handshake.

    “Also, remember that General Bel Iblis is returning to Coruscant today, and there’s going to be a little celebration over at the Adarian Building this evening,” Leia added with a smile.

    “Ah. Don’t worry, Councilor. I wouldn’t dream of missing it.”


    * * *​


    Mara stood at the foot of L6000-H-82688’s boarding ramp and wasn’t sure how to feel. New Republic Intelligence had scoured the vessel, found everything that there was to find, and proclaimed it fit for operation. The wreck of the ship’s holocomm sat at her feet, still bearing the lightsaber slashes she’d used to remove it.

    The moving droids hadn’t delivered that many boxes. Each one still bore stickers proclaiming “evidence” and “property of NRI”, and she was hesitant to open them. These were her past, and having them back… did she want them back?

    “Are you going to open those?”

    Mara turned and offered Iella Wessiri an uncertain look. “I haven’t decided yet.” She shrugged. “These belonged to who I was before,” she explained. “Even the ship,” she pointed at it, “I’m not sure I want it back.”

    Iella shrugged, walking to stand next to her and examine the unopened boxes. “It’s just a ship,” she said. “A nice one, too.”

    “But every time I go inside it, I feel like the Emperor’s Hand,” Mara said with a sigh. “It’s a reminder of who I was, and not… who I want to be.”

    “You can always sell it,” Iella pointed out. “NRI would buy it off you for a hefty sum. We’re always looking for new intelligence vessels.”

    Mara offered her a smile. “It’s worth a thought.” She turned towards Iella. “You came back in-system with General Bel Iblis?”

    Iella nodded. “Got in just a few hours ago. I just finished my debrief with Cracken; he told me you were down here.” She peered around Imperial Palace Tower Fourteen, the former base of operations of the Emperor’s Hand. “Thought I’d come say hello.”

    The words sent warmth through Mara. It was nice to have friends. “Why don’t you help me open these up,” she suggested.

    The first box was a smattering of Mara’s personal possessions. The globe of Ghel Daneth. She could still remember the awed thankfulness of the planet’s governor when he’d offered it to her; she probably should have said no, but the object had a beauty to it that had appealed to her, glittering in the light, and he’d been so earnest in his desire for her to have it. Not every mission when I was Emperor’s Hand was bad, she thought.

    Iella pulled a print of Chandrila’s Silver Sea out, and Mara smiled. “I bought that at the Imperial Museum,” she said, brushing off a flimsi-bound book about dance that she put next to the globe. “I’ve never been to Chandrila.”

    “Maybe you should take a little vacation after this,” Iella suggested. She glanced at Mara sideways as she pulled open the second box. “Clothes,” she said with a grin, lifting a blue dress out of the top of the box gently.

    “That must’ve been from my quarters in the Imperial palace,” Mara said, surprised. “I wonder why Isard kept it.” She took the dress and held it up. “I think I last wore this to a performance of the Imperial Opera I attended shortly before Endor.”

    “It would definitely make an impression,” Iella smirked. She peered at Mara, lifting an eyebrow. “You should wear it tonight,” she said with a firm nod.

    Mara laughed. “Why?”

    “Because Luke will be there.”

    Mara froze in surprise. “Why do you say that?” she asked carefully, trying not to let her sudden discomfiture show…

    “Mara,” Iella said with an amused smile and a knowing look. “If I hadn’t already been sure, your reaction just now would’ve given it away.”

    Mara sighed, feeling her cheeks go red with a hint of blush probably for only the second or third time in her life. “I’m supposed to be the galaxy’s best covert operative,” she muttered.

    “Uh-huh,” Iella teased. She gestured at the boxes. “So, are we taking these into the ship, or do you want them back at your apartment?” She nudged Mara’s arm. “Also, there’s a great pair of matching heels in there.”

    L6000-H-82688 loomed over them and Mara turned to look up at it. It was a fine ship, she admitted. It had room for a Z-95 if she bought a new one. Or an X-wing, perhaps… She took a breath, still feeling the heat in her cheeks. Maybe she could keep it for a while. She could always sell it and buy something custom later.

    She took the datapad off the box, took a moment to think, then gave it a name.

    Iella peered over her shoulder. “Tempered Mettle,” she read. “I like it. Karrde will appreciate the wordplay.”

    “Come on, let’s get all this inside,” Mara groused. She hesitated for a moment, then pointed at the box. “And bring the heels.”

    Iella laughed.

    “And stop teasing me, unless you want me to make a point of interrogating the Rogues for blackmail material.”

    “Oh please. You’re going to do that anyway.”




     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
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  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Leia wore a deep frown. She sighed and rubbed her temple. “I don’t like it,” she said flatly. “This kind of informal bargain between the galaxy’s criminal elements and the ruling authority is very… Imperial.”

    “Perhaps,” Karrde said, not disagreeing. “But at the same time, I believe Vorru can and will follow through on his threats. For the moment, he has a powerful weapon that he can use against us. With his newfound wealth, and with Eliezer’s aid, not to mention his ties to Black Sun…” Karrde offered a helpless gesture. “It may be distasteful, but an informal bargain may be better than an informal war.”

    “It is the first step towards something very dark,” Leia said, her tone as dark as her words. She sighed. “But politics is the art of the possible,” she admitted. “Courting a war with an empowered Black Sun while we also try to establish a formal galactic government seems foolish.”

    “It doesn’t have to be a permanent bargain,” Cracken pointed out. “Eliezer and Vorru are both old, and everything I know of Eliezer says that he’ll take his secrets to the grave. I’ve got a team of historians and HoloNet techs scouring everything we know of his history, looking for any hints for how he does what he does.”


    I agree with Leia and what Cracken and Talon strategize seems to be the best solution.

    She glanced at Mara sideways as she pulled open the second box. “Clothes,” she said with a grin, lifting a blue dress out of the top of the box gently.

    “That must’ve been from my quarters in the Imperial palace,” Mara said, surprised. “I wonder why Isard kept it.” She took the dress and held it up. “I think I last wore this to a performance of the Imperial Opera I attended shortly before Endor.”

    “It would definitely make an impression,” Iella smirked. She peered at Mara, lifting an eyebrow. “You should wear it tonight,” she said with a firm nod.

    Mara laughed. “Why?”

    “Because Luke will be there.”

    Mara froze in surprise. “Why do you say that?” she asked carefully, trying not to let her sudden discomfiture show…

    “Mara,” Iella said with an amused smile and a knowing look. “If I hadn’t already been sure, your reaction just now would’ve given it away.”

    Mara sighed, feeling her cheeks go red with a hint of blush probably for only the second or third time in her life. “I’m supposed to be the galaxy’s best covert operative,” she muttered.


    [face_laugh]

    SWEET!

    [face_love]
     
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  11. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    That's right, leave the poor girl alone :p

    The Wraiths! [face_love]

    Aw [face_love]

    Now there's an idea. Who ever could she go on vacation with? [face_thinking]

    Busted :p

    [face_love][face_love][face_love]

    I like :cool:
     
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  12. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006




    Chapter Thirty-Four, Part II


    Luke sat with Han at the kitchen table in the Organa-Solo residence, sipping a mug of hot chocolate. In the other room, he could feel Kyp, willful and curious and untutored, gleaming in the Force as he played a game with Chewbacca.

    “He’s doing better,” said Han with a sigh. “Force, Luke. He was seven years old when he and his parents were dropped on Kessel. First he watched the Empire bombard his home city from orbit with turbolasers, and let me tell you an orbital bombardment can do everything a superlaser can do, just slower. And then he spent ten years on that rock.” Han shook his head, and Luke could feel the fury dripping off of him in waves. “His parents were killed after Endor, and he was just eleven. Eleven, Luke! Eleven years old and alone on that rock, in the dark.” Han’s fist clenched and rested on the table, knocking a few times.

    Luke took a breath, looking out into the late morning Coruscant sun.

    “He still finds the sun too bright,” Han said bitterly. “Too many years in total darkness or the dim lights of the prison facility. The docs say he’ll get over it, but they’re not sure how much of it is physiological and how much is psychological. Winter’s taken to tutoring him, but he’s so far behind.” Han’s voice grew plaintive. “He’s a bright kid who never had a chance.”

    “He’s an immensely talented kid,” Luke said seriously. “From what you told me, he was using Force abilities that took me years to master, and he was doing it with absolutely no training. Just instinct. I never did anything like that—not that I remember, anyway.”

    “Yeah,” Han muttered. “When are you going to start training him?”

    “I already have started with the basics. Mindfulness, awareness of surroundings, meditation. He’s good at some of them—he’s got an impressive ability to focus on a problem, probably from all those years using his Force-sense to hunt down glitterstim filaments in the dark. Others he struggles with.” Luke offered a wry smile. “But, so did I.”

    Han shook his head. “It just makes me so mad. So, so mad, Luke.”

    Luke nodded. “I know. But we’re giving him what we can, now. We can’t give back everything that was stolen, but we can help him get a new start.” He reached out and patted Han’s hand. “You’re a good father, Han. The best.”

    Han scoffed. “Not sure where I got those skills, given my own upbringing.” In the other room, there was a Wookiee yowl of dismay and the sound of a human teenager’s victory. Han paused and laughed. “No, I take that back. I know exactly where I got it from.”

    Luke chuckled. “Yeah.”

    Han stood, taking the plates and cups and moving to the sink to wash them. “What about your stray?”

    “Kam is settling in. He still doesn’t talk much, but he’s starting to relax. He’s been spending his afternoons in the Jedi museum, looking through the records. Leia helped me find an apartment for him not far from mine.”

    “What about that group he was a part of after he left the Inquisitors? The Jensaarai, was it?”

    Luke nodded. “They’re one of the Force-adept orders out there that didn’t follow the Jedi mainstream and went into hiding from the Empire. The Jensaarai apparently are beholden to Tavira somehow—he’s not quite certain on the details, but it was part of a bargain struck by the group’s leader, the Saarai-kaar. He either can’t or won’t take me to them; they took him in after the Emperor’s death and he feels he owes them a debt.”

    “Do you think they’re a threat?”

    “To the extent that Tavira has them as a resource, yes. But I suspect that Kam was the strongest and most capable member of their order, which was why Tavira took him as her bodyguard. I don’t really want to push him on it; he isn’t willing to betray their secrets beyond the ones we’ve already learned, and I respect that.” Luke shrugged. “I don’t think they’re evil, like the Emperor was, so for now…”

    “Leave that problem for another day?”

    “Or at least save it until Tavira turns up again. Kam’s feeling stressed enough going through debriefings with Cracken. Cracken was positively giddy to find a former member of the Inquisitorius alive and willing to talk.”

    Han scoffed. “Spooks.” He inclined a finger towards Luke. “I’m not going on any other missions. I’m going to stay right here in this house and raise my kids. Clear?”

    Luke gave a military salute. “Clear, General.” He glanced around. “Speaking of your kids, is their mother around? I’ve been meaning to speak to her.”

    “You mean about whatever it is you’ve been holding back for half a year?”

    Luke winced. “That obvious, am I?”

    “I wouldn’t try for a career in Intelligence, kid.”


    * * *​


    Jacen and Jaina wanted to play. Their Force-sensitivity meant they always knew when Luke was nearby, and the older pair of Skywalker twins together was like a beacon of light to a pair of juvenile flittermoths. It was all they could do to bundle them into the other room with Han and Chewbacca, leaving the ex-smugglers to keep the toddlers entertained while Luke and Leia had a long-overdue talk.

    Luke sank into the comfortable upholstery of their couch, his head resting on the cushions. Leia put a glass of wine on the side table next to him, keeping a second one for herself. “Are they always so much work?” Luke asked tiredly.

    Leia sipped her wine, nodding. “Yes, but usually Winter is here to help. She’s magic.” Leia laughed softly. “I’m sometimes jealous at how easily she can get and hold their attention, or convince them that sleeping is something they want to do. And all without the Force, too.”

    “Whatever you pay her, it isn’t enough,” Luke sighed. “Where is she this afternoon?”

    Leia offered a small, knowing smile. “Out with Tycho.” She scooched over on the couch, resting her head on his shoulder. Through the Force, he could feel her now-practiced mental nudge, letting him feel her sisterly love and concern. “I’ve been worried about you.”

    “I know,” he sighed. He wrapped his arm around her. “Leia, around a month after Thrawn was killed, an old Imperial banker approached me. He said he had…” Luke hesitated, sighed and leaned over to kiss Leia’s hair softly. “He said he had Vader’s will.”

    Leia stirred, turning her head to peer at him. She didn’t really look that surprised. “Inheritance?”

    “He left everything to me.” Luke sighed again, grimacing. “There’s a lot there, Leia. Billions. Some listed properties and passcodes.” He shrugged his shoulders awkwardly. “I spent weeks trying to figure out if I could give it back, donate it to charity… I don’t know. Anything to get it back out of my life.” He was silent for a long moment, feeling the turmoil in her Force sense. He could well understand it; he had felt much the same. “I was sure you wouldn’t want any of it.”

    “Definitely not,” Leia muttered. “Besides, I have enough for my needs, between my salary and the inheritance from my parents.” Luke grimaced, knowing she meant Bail and Breha Organa and most certainly did not mean Anakin Skywalker. He just nodded, and she put her head back down on his shoulder. “What are you going to do with it?”

    Luke tensed. “I’m going to fund the Jedi order with it,” he answered. “So that we’re not reliant on New Republic funding.”

    There was a moment of quiet; Leia’s Force-sense probed against him gently, and with trepidation he let her in, letting him feel his turmoil and uncertainty as he talked her through each of his concerns. His worries about the role of the Jedi as servants of all life in a galaxy where there was more than just the New Republic. His qualms about the Jedi being used as weapons of war, as they had been during the Clone Wars, and not servants of the peace. His fear that she would see his desire to separate his project, the Jedi, from her project, the New Republic, as an affront.

    “Oh Luke,” Leia sighed as he finished. She sat up, turned towards him and took his hands in hers. “You didn’t really think that I’d let this come between us, did you?”

    He blushed slightly, looking down. “No, not really,” he said. “But you work so hard fighting all the fires threatening to consume the Republic, trying to rebuild what the Emperor broke, and here I am trying to step away from it.” His eyes met hers again. “Maybe for good. And I know the Republic was counting on the new Jedi Order as a tool that would help add to its legitimacy. The Senate and the Jedi reborn together.”

    “Maybe,” she said. “But if the only thing holding the New Republic together is the memory of the Old Republic, we’re as doomed as it was. It will complicate things, but there are always complications.” She frowned at him, her expression one of affectionate reproach. “You should have just told me,” she chastised him gently. “You’ve been miserable for months with this hanging over your head.”

    “Well,” Luke said, “I know we can talk about almost anything together, but any time Anakin Skywalker, our Jedi heritage, or Republic politics rears its head, I know they scrape over old wounds. This happened to be all three, so…” He felt his cheeks heat slightly. “Besides, it wasn’t the only reason I was miserable.”

    Leia offered him a crooked smile. “No?” she asked knowingly.

    Luke blushed some more. “No.”

    Her eyebrow quirked. “You said that in the past tense,” she pointed out.

    “Yes, I did,” he agreed quietly, his voice small.

    Leia grinned at him. “Do you want to talk about it?”

    He shook his head, his cheeks now very red. “No... not yet.” He offered her an embarrassed smile. “We’re still figuring it out, and we want to…” he waved his hand, his voice trailing away.

    His sister gave a snort completely unbefitting of a politician used to constant media scrutiny, the sound clashing with the affectionate, tender and simply happy smile she wore. She, Luke could tell, was entirely unsurprised. “I don’t suppose you’ve found appropriately dashing formalwear for tonight’s party? Your orange flightsuit perhaps, for some color at least? Or were you planning to go in your usual drab black?”

    Color drained from Luke’s face. “I don’t even have my flightsuit,” he said with a grimace. “I had to abandon it in my quarters when we lost Strike.

    She sighed affectionately. “You idiot. Don’t worry, Threepio’s been busy while you’ve been saving the galaxy one sentient at a time.” She reached for one of her datapads, and he could see that his sister already had a range of new wardrobe options she’d prepared in anticipation of exactly this moment. She sent him a smug grin. “Let’s find you something that’ll knock no one in particular out of her battered combat boots.”

    Leia paged Threepio who arrived bearing the half-empty bottle of wine, then she went about asking unabashedly probing questions. Luke delicately dodged them as she took him through increasingly ridiculous outfits. Her contented glow matched his own, and the twins treated the wine with far less respect than such a fine vintage deserved.




     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] I loved so incredibly much the chat between Han and Luke, as they talked about Kyp and Kam. The outrage mingled with concern and caring. Then the sibling scene. THE FEELS! ^:)^ I loved the warmth and the mutual reciprocal trust and honesty. I also have a very strong suspicion Leia knows EXACTLY who Luke is blushing over without Han having to say word one. [face_laugh]
     
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  14. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006




    Chapter Thirty-Four, Part III


    “Come,” Garm Bel Iblis said on the other side of the door. Wedge moved his finger from just above the chime to hit the door release. It slid open and he walked inside, squaring up and saluting as he stood at attention. Bel Iblis nodded at him and returned it casually before gesturing to a chair. “Sit down, Wedge.”

    Wedge dropped his hand and sat.

    They had returned to Coruscant aboard the damaged Orthavan, which would be going on to Sluis Van for a full repair cycle. In the meantime, Wedge and the Rogues had enough time to pack up their things and move them back to the surface while they awaited new assignments.

    Although, if Wedge had his way, there would be a lengthy gap before that next assignment.

    “I understand you’ve put in a request for extended leave,” Bel Iblis said, folding his hands on his lap. “How long do you think you’ll be gone?”

    “Sir, if my services are vitally needed, I can postpone for a time,” Wedge said awkwardly. “But I was hoping to have a few weeks, maybe a month.”

    Bel Iblis peered at a datapad on his desk. “From this, it seems like you’ve got no less than eight months of delayed leave time you can take if you want it,” he said seriously.

    “One month will be fine, sir.”

    “Good,” Bel Iblis said, putting the datapad back down. “You know you’re being groomed for fleet command, don’t you?”

    Wedge winced. “All the special interest and reading suggestions from Dodonna and Ackbar were pretty good indications, sir.”

    “Admiral Ackbar identified you as one of the New Republic’s best young strategists even before you re-founded Rogue Squadron. According to your file—” Bel Iblis gestured at the datapad “—you’ve more than proven your ability to organize and run an extended military operation, even with limited resources. The Thyferra campaign in particular stands out as an example of the kind of thing you’re capable of, not to mention your efforts with the Wraiths.”

    “I have excellent subordinates, sir.”

    “I am not ignorant of Colonel Celchu’s contributions, General,” Bel Iblis agreed. “He is also on Ackbar’s list.” He folded his arms across his chest. “Doman Beruss intends to step down as Senator for Corellia-in-exile at the end of next year.”

    Wedge blinked at the non sequitur. “Sir?”

    “You’re not the only one who needs a break,” Bel Iblis said with a sigh. “I have been asked to take her place, and resume my old position as Senator.” He frowned. “There seems to be no doubt that I would win the election should I run.”

    Wedge blinked again. “I’d vote for you.”

    “Perhaps,” Bel Iblis growled, not sounding convinced. He leaned forward, focusing intently on Wedge now. “You haven’t heard my preferences for the organization of the new government. As it stands though, my fleet is going to need a new CO.”

    Wedge’s jaw went slack. “You’re not serious.”

    “Deadly serious, General.” Bel Iblis leaned back in his chair. “I know. You’re not ready, not yet. You have no experience commanding capital ships, and you should have at least some before taking over a fleet. So, when you return from vacation, you’re going to serve under me as flag captain aboard the fleet’s new flagship. During that time Sena and I will do our best to make sure you are ready before I must return to the Senate.”

    Wedge stared at him. This wasn’t a surprise, not really—Bel Iblis was right, he had known that Ackbar was grooming him for higher rank—but he still hadn’t been expecting it. “Do I have the right to refuse, sir?”

    “No, not unless you want to resign for good.” Bel Iblis smiled. “Take your vacation, Wedge. Go sneak back into Corellia and remind yourself what you’re fighting for. Hells, if you decide while you’re away that you’re done and don’t want to do this anymore, no one will hold that against you, least of all me. I know as well as anyone the toll this life takes.” He paused, took a breath and folded his hands back over his lap. “But when you come back, as I am confident you will, the fleet will be waiting for you.”

    “Yes sir,” Wedge said. He frowned slightly as a thought occurred to him. “Sir, if you don’t mind, do you know what ship will be the next fleet flagship?”

    The corner of Bel Iblis’ mouth tugged in a subtle smirk, and he slid another datapad to Wedge. Wedge picked it up, turned it on—

    “You’re joking. Please, please tell me you’re joking.” Wedge stared at the profile of the Executor-class Super Star Destroyer Lusankya with sudden horror.

    “Congratulations, General,” said Bel Iblis, now not even trying to hide his smirk.

    Wedge groaned and sank into his chair.


    * * *​


    Feeling somewhat dazed, Wedge made his way back to the pilots’ mess. Orthavan felt spacious to the point of absurdity after their stay on Ession Strike (though his quarters were still somewhat cramped for two, not that he and Iella had complained on their way back to Coruscant).

    He went straight for the caf, poured himself a cup, then sat heavily in a chair. Outside the transparisteel window Coruscant slowly turned, gleaming in the twilight, its orbit busy with ships. He’d be going down to the planet himself in an hour or so, which would give him enough time to drop off his belongings at Iella’s before heading to the gathering to celebrate the end of a victorious campaign.

    He sipped the caf. It was better than what they’d had on Strike, but not by much. My first act as CO, Wedge thought dryly, is ordering new caf machines for the pilots’ mess. The thought made him chuckle softly, then he started to review the document that Bel Iblis had given him to look at. He already knew a whole lot about the operation of Star Destroyers (mostly from the perspective of trying to take them apart), and found himself engrossed in the material.

    The Executor-class Super Star Destroyer had thirteen Executor-50.x ion engines, which combined could produce a total of—

    Janson sat down across from him and lounged. “Hey Boss,” he said cheerfully.

    Wedge lifted an eyebrow. “What?”

    “Do you have anything to wear for the party tonight?”

    “I was going to wear my dress uniform,” Wedge said dryly. “I didn’t bring it with me to Ession Strike when we were transferred before Hishyim, so I still have it.”

    “That sounds boring. See, I had this magnificent outfit that started with a base of translucent Zebari Shimmersilk—”

    Wedge was getting ready to tune Wes out when he saw Myn Donos standing near the door, watching them awkwardly. Eager for any reason not to hear about Wes’ wardrobe, Wedge waved him over. “Yes, Lieutenant Donos, what is it?”

    Janson gave him a hurt look. Wedge kicked him under the table.

    Myn looked between them awkwardly, then sighed. He offered Wedge a pained look and placed an open jewelry box containing his rank and unit insignias down on the table. “I’m done, sir.”

    Wedge sat up straighter. Wes did the same, his expression suddenly going serious. “Are you sure, Myn?” Wedge asked.

    Myn offered him a pained smile. “I lost two X-wings in the last month, and took some hits at Linuri.” He took a breath. “Whatever instinct or sense of flow I had for this, it’s not as potent anymore. Any good sabacc player knows when it’s time to fold before you bust.” He glanced between Wedge and Wes and lowered his voice. “Besides, there’s someone waiting for me, and I think it’s time to go find her.” He shrugged apologetically. “Time to… start again.”

    “I understand,” said Wedge with genuine feeling. He reached out and placed his hand over Myn’s insignia; he closed the box. “You’re not the only one. Nrin told me that he was retiring again on the way here, and of course we were never going to keep Luke or Plourr for long.” He glanced awkwardly at Wes, but now wasn’t the time to announce his own impending departure; Tycho deserved to hear that first. He stood, extended his hand. “It’s been an honor serving with you, Lieutenant Donos. If you ever change your mind, there will always be a place for you with the Rogues.”

    Myn offered a small but genuine smile, more emotive than he usually was. “Thank you, Wedge. For everything.”

    Wes clapped an arm around Myn’s back. “Young man, there’s a whole world out there just waiting for you. Now, if I tried to explore it I’d drown from the sheer weight of my own potential, but I think you’ll be able to swim just fine. Besides,” he leaned in close, “I’m rooting for you two crazy kids.”

    Myn’s expression was one of typical baffled confusion. Wes had that effect on people. “Thank you… sir?”

    “Now,” Wes tightened his arm around Myn’s back, whispering conspiratorially. “Tell me, what do you think about coveralls? Very stylish or the most stylish?”




     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Two things--Wedge deserves more than a month off. :p Second: even though he has earned and proven his ability to be promoted, all the stuff that doesn't involve actual strategizing and piloting will drive him up the wall. :rolleyes:

    Yay for Myn! [face_dancing] He knows when it's time to move on. [face_thinking]
     
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  16. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    That's right :p

    Ha! I just bet he was

    He is terrible at being devious, after all :p

    Man, the challenges of raising Force-sensitive children just keep stacking up, don't they?

    Truly. Winter's pretty awesome all the way around :cool:

    I mean, those are all pretty valid concerns!

    I'm telling you, Leia won the pool

    [face_love]

    Oh, please, Leia, please get him out of the constant black. I promise Mara will appreciate it

    I will never get tired of Wedge being perfectly suited for command yet hating any and all promotions :p

    Never, I tell you

    lolol

    And just like that, he gains the undying loyalty of every pilot aboard the Lusankya [face_coffee]

    Translucent, huh? :p

    Yay! :D

    I really, really love Wes :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  17. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Okay, everyone. We're nearing the end. For this chapter, which I'm going to post in a minute, I recommend listening to the following soundtrack:

    .

    Hit play when Mara takes over the POV. It will skip to the middle of the video, which is what you want.

    This is the last big chapter! After this we have a short epilogue chapter, which will bring back a character I didn't want to conclude the story without revisiting one more time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
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  18. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006




    Chapter Thirty-Five


    See-Threepio had been put in charge of the celebration of General Bel Iblis’ return. At Master Luke’s suggestion, he’d selected the Adarian Building—which had been utterly thrilled at the honor (and the influx of business), allowing him to obtain its services for a mild discount. Now he was being drawn to different clusters of diplomats of all different alien species, making introductions and providing translations, explaining which drinks were toxic for which of their guests, and making full use of his robust protocol and translation software.

    Oh, it was heaven.

    Members of the New Republic military, all donning their white, black, and red dress uniforms, were clustered by the north window, the light of one of Coruscant’s moons providing enough illumination for them to speak and greet each other enthusiastically. Behind them, closest to the glass that arched up to make the pyramidal roof that framed the entire space, Master Tycho and Mistress Winter were dancing alone, lost in one another’s embrace.

    Nearby were the representatives of the Smugglers’ Alliance, centered on Talon Karrde. The smugglers had just completed a little ceremony, where Karrde had presented some kind of award to an older, brown-haired smuggler that Threepio recognized as Gillespee. Gillespee was obviously touched at the gesture and he hugged Faughn, the two of them laughing and talking quietly about his new retirement plans on Ukio—and the intense, dangerous salvage operations of the fallen Star Destroyer Death’s Head, which rested not too far from his restored property.

    There was much to do to keep the party going smoothly. If he wasn’t mistaken—and of course he wasn’t—it was just about time for the toast…


    * * *​


    Atril Tabanne fidgeted. Her brand-new, freshly-tailored dress uniform was just as uncomfortable as her older, lightly worn one had been. It figured, she thought. She’d lost all her uniforms when Hobbie destroyed Ession Strike—the pilot had been avoiding her, wisely, ever since the Battle of Linuri—and the very first thing she had to get replaced was her dress uniform, the single thing that all members of the New Republic armed forces agreed was a disaster.

    But, more than the dress uniform, it was being back on Coruscant—back home—which made her most uncomfortable. Granted, she wasn’t from the Palace District (she scoffed at the thought) but still. Although, if she had to come to the Palace District, she had to admit the Adarian Building was nice. The sun had set, leaving the large, pyramidal glass roof of the building dark but for the gleaming moons and stars above, the lines of airspeeders and starships humming through the sky outside. Thin rows of subtle lights cast just enough light over the interior space. The twining vines and other plants gave the room a dark green hue and a nice fresh scent.

    Outside her class, but nice.

    Her crew hadn’t made it home with her. Traks’zim and Hiacun and the rest of her crew were still recovering from their imprisonment on Endurance. That left her all alone, in her dress uniform, at a party. She sighed softly. She hated parties. Especially parties on Coruscant.

    “Captain Tabanne.” She turned, found herself facing General Antilles and Iella Wessiri, their arms hooked together. Wedge offered her a wry smile. “Not a big fan of parties?”

    “Not particularly,” she admitted with a sigh. “I prefer the less formal affairs. You know, just the pilots and military…” She looked around cautiously. “All the politicos make me nervous.”

    “Recapturing Ukio is a big deal for the Republic, if only from an image perspective,” Iella said.

    Atril grimaced. “That doesn’t help,” she admitted skittishly. “I’d almost rather be fighting off Chimaera again.”

    Wedge placed his hand on her arm, drawing her over towards the planters by the window. Outside, the Senate dome loomed, with the Imperial Palace towers beyond. “Well, then let me set your mind at rest, and talk to you about business,” he said with a small, somewhat amused smile as Iella did something with a small sweeping device disguised as jewelry before nodding. “I have your new assignment.”

    She stiffened to attention. “Sir?”

    Wedge glanced around, eyes taking in each person near them, checking to see if any attention was being closely paid. When he turned back to Atril, Iella took up the watch, attentive. “I just had a long conversation with General Cracken,” Wedge said softly. “Rendili is planning to declare independence from the Empire and has covertly approached the New Republic with a new ship design, looking for a long-term construction contract.”

    Atril inhaled sharply. That information was so far above her rank that for a moment she had no idea how to respond. Her brow furrowed with confusion. “Why are you telling me this, Wedge?” she asked, her confusion only growing with each second.

    “The design they brought to us is a new multiple-mission vessel which they’ve tentatively classed as an escort carrier,” Wedge murmured, sliding a datapad into her pocket. “Three hundred meters long, carries a squadron of fighters or so. Capable gunnery platform, cargo capacity of a medium-sized transport, tractor beams, high speed…” He offered her a grin. “In other words,” he continued, “she’s Ession Strike, only better in every conceivable way. Four or five of them and a Nebulon-B should eat an Impstar Deuce.”

    She leaned towards him, glancing at Iella then back at Wedge. “Why are you telling me this?” she asked again.

    “Because the folks over at procurement want an expert opinion about the quality of the design and to get input from members of the fleet who have the appropriate expertise.” He winked at her. “They want you to join the design team. And when they’re done, they’re going to need someone to command the prototype.”

    She inhaled. “They’re going to let me design a warship to my preferred specs,” she said in awe, “then give me one of them?”

    “That’s the deal,” Wedge agreed. “Assuming Rendili and the New Republic can agree to a contract, of course.” He tapped on the datapad he’d slipped into the singular pocket her abysmal dress uniform possessed. “Take a look. Somewhere quiet.

    She couldn’t help herself. Glancing at the two of them, getting a brief nod from Iella, she pulled the datapad out and snuck a quick look.

    The Mareschal-class Multi-Mission Escort Carrier—A Proposal, it said. She slid the datapad back into her pocket, holding it close, feeling almost paranoid.

    Iella nudged Wedge’s shoulder. “Hey, look,” she murmured, hushed.

    Atril looked up. Standing at the door was the woman who had been with Iella during Atril’s rescue. Her dazzling red-gold hair gleamed in the dim light of the room and she was wearing a striking backless blue dress.

    Iella looked supremely pleased with herself. “I told you,” she murmured to Wedge.

    Atril gave her an odd look. “What?”

    “Good evening, gentlebeings,” See-Threepio’s voice carried, amplified by his own internal speakers. “Thank you all for coming. If you’d please raise a glass of a drink—or other substance if your biology is not amenable to imbibing liquids—I have been asked to prepare the room for a toast.”

    There was a pause and an awkward shuffle. Atril reached out and plucked a glass of something surely too-expensive from a passing server droid. The put-upon, impressed into service astromech droid beeped rudely at her in response, and she stepped back out of his way hastily. “Sorry,” she muttered.

    Wedge and Iella chuckled.

    Threepio waited until the stir of movement had passed. General Bel Iblis stepped forward. “To the New Republic,” he said firmly. “And to all it stands for.”

    A ripple of agreement went around the room, the clinking of glasses. Atril gently tapped her glass against Wedge’s and Iella’s, then sipped.

    Hmm. Maybe whatever it was she was drinking was actually worth the price.

    She stiffened as another figure approached the Rogues, smiling. “Hello Princess,” Wedge greeted Councilor Leia Organa Solo warmly.

    “Wedge,” Leia said with a smile, giving him a brief hug, “if you use my title one more time, I’ll start using yours. I’m glad you’re back on Coruscant and that your deployment ended well.”

    “It was a near thing,” Wedge admitted, nodding at Atril. She stiffened under Leia’s sudden regard. “Captain Tabanne here is the real hero of the day, I think.”

    “I am not,” she said without thinking, then blushed. “I mean—”

    “It’s all right,” soothed Leia with a winsome, diplomatic smile. “Wedge likes to make sure that his subordinates receive all the accolades they are due. Your record speaks for itself.” Leia’s expression grew more serious. “You’re fully recovered?” she asked cautiously.

    Atril winced and nodded. “No permanent scars from interrogation,” she said. Her expression grew bitter. “My crew will take more time recovering.”

    “If you do need anything, don’t hesitate to ask,” Leia said gently. She turned towards Iella. “Thank you for the ryshcate. And for bringing Han back in one piece.” She offered a lopsided smile.

    “You’re welcome,” Iella said. She nodded over Leia’s shoulder and winked.

    Leia turned, saw Mara standing alone in the crowd. “Ah,” she said, offering Wedge and Iella a small, secret smile. “I don’t suppose anyone has seen my brother yet, have they?”

    “Not yet,” said Wedge. “I did see Artoo not long ago, though.”

    “Where Artoo goes, Luke will soon follow,” Leia observed wryly. She raised her hand, waved at Mara. The woman looked awkward as she met Leia’s eyes and waved back, then was lost again in the crowd.

    “Where’s Han?” Wedge asked.

    “Han is at home with our two children and Kyp,” Leia said, looking amused. “Someone had to stay and look after them, and—” she paused, smiling fondly at Winter and Tycho still dancing, oblivious to the rest of them “—we agreed that Winter deserved the night off.”

    “I think we could all use some vacation time,” said Iella. She hooked her arm around Wedge’s back. “We’re both taking some leave. General Cracken—” she grinned at Wedge “—owed Wedge a favor, so we’re going away. Don’t ask where… we’re not telling.”

    Atril smiled at them. The stress that had hung around Wedge for the entirety of the Ukio campaign had faded, and she was glad to see it. Everyone in the fleet considered Wedge Antilles and his Rogues a lucky charm, whether he knew it or not, and seeing him grow steadily more frayed had taken a toll on more than just him.

    With the Empire on the ropes, maybe they’d finally have a chance to retrench.

    “I’m glad to hear it,” Leia smiled, her expression betraying the same emotions Atril felt.


    * * *​


    Mara had done this many times. Carefully layer concealer over all the scars she had accumulated during her years of service, pull on a dress meant to impress and walk into a crowded social event, determined to draw a specific pair of eyes whose attention she required for one reason or another.

    A dress was just another tool, like a lightsaber or a blaster. It was important to have the right tool for any job.

    But this was different. This time the old tube of concealer had been left with the rest of the things from her old life, tucked away in plastoid boxes for later perusal. The blaster creases and vibroknife grazes on her arms and back contrasted sharply with the electric blue fabric of her dress, as though daring anyone to address them.

    In a crowd full of old rebels, scoundrels, and renegade senators, no one did. Besides, there was only one pair of eyes she was interested in tonight, and she knew he wouldn’t care.

    “Miss Jade,” a familiar voice came from her left. She turned to face it, offered General Madine a respectful nod. “I heard you were back. I hope your expedition with Agent Wessiri and General Solo went well.”

    “Well enough,” she replied. “There are still a few loose ends that need sorting.” She didn’t like the bargain that Karrde had struck with Vorru and was resolved to end it at the first opportune moment. Luke’s new Jedi project, with the adopted strays of Kam and Kyp, made her nervous, but she would no more stand between him and the Jedi than she would allow him to stand between her and the Smugglers’ Alliance, no matter what claims they had on one another.

    The thought sent a flush of warmth through her, one she refused to allow to touch her cheeks.

    “Good,” Madine said. He evaluated her with a calm, leader’s gaze, then offered her a small smile, one that didn’t reach his eyes. “Enjoy the party, Miss Jade.”

    “General,” she said, stopping him in his tracks. Something he’d said the last time they’d spoken had been bothering her, especially since her reunion with Luke at Linuri. She lowered her voice, stepping in close to make sure she would not be overheard. “We may spend the rest of our lives paying back our debts,” she murmured softly. “But that doesn’t mean it has to be all we do.”

    His gaze darkened and became more measured, then he took a deep breath. He looked like he was about to speak, but didn’t find any words and just nodded.

    She moved on, declining an offer of drinks. Karrde was on her right, with the crew of the Wild Karrde. She considered ignoring her boss—he had a sleek, smug expression she thought was somewhat undeserved—but decided it would be unaccountably rude. “Karrde,” she said.

    Karrde offered her one of his annoyingly calm, polished smiles. “Hello, Mara,” he said with a nod. “You look stunning. A special occasion?”

    Her eyes narrowed. “This dress was one of the items returned to me by General Cracken and I wanted to see if it still fit.”

    Dankin coughed; her gaze tracked towards him slowly. He wilted and hid behind Chin, who was wearing one of his small, silly smiles. “You look ravishing, Mara,” the older man said.

    A collection of footsteps, combined with Leia Organa Solo’s distinctive Force-presence, presaged the arrival of additional company. She turned to face them and saw Leia, Antilles, and Iella approaching; Antilles and Iella were arm-in-arm. “Hello Mara,” Leia greeted with a smooth charisma that compared favorably even to Karrde’s. “I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to see you since your return to Coruscant.”

    “Councilor,” she replied. At Leia’s lifted eyebrow, she sighed. “Leia,” she tried again.

    “Better,” Leia said with a smile. “While we’re all on Coruscant, I’m planning on hosting another get-together,” she continued. “I know Jaina wants to see you again. She’s asked for ‘Ra-ra’ more than once.”

    Mara swallowed, unable to stop the blush from returning to her cheeks. “Oh,” she managed, not sure what to say.

    Leia just smiled and turned to Karrde. “Next week?” she asked. “We need to do it before Wedge and Iella go on their vacation.”

    “We’re leaving in nine days, and plan to be gone for a month,” Iella added.

    “I’m not planning any trips off-world in that time,” Karrde said. “There’s a lot of work to be done, integrating our new office droids and figuring out how to deal with the… other recent complications.”

    Mara winced. Not using shipboard holocomms would make assigning runs to freighters a nightmare. But they’d find a way to handle it.

    “But I’m sure I can find time to join you for dinner again,” Karrde added. “Mara?”

    “That would be fine,” she said.

    “That just leaves Luke to ask,” added Antilles. “He said he’d be here, but I haven’t seen him yet.” His expression took on a slight mischievous tilt that made Mara nervous. “But if you see him, Jade, make sure he knows he’s invited?”

    Mara refused to blush. She did glare at Iella, who offered her a too-innocent grin. “I haven’t seen Luke yet either,” Iella said innocently. “But I’m sure he’s here somewhere.”

    Mara could feel Leia watching her. As ever, the other woman made her feel transparent. She felt Leia’s hint of amusement—and even more surprising, her quite plain approval. The emotion sent a surprised swell through Mara, one she didn’t quite know how to handle. With an awkward nod and a simple “Excuse me,” she fled.

    She dodged a handful of dignitaries, including the Senator from Exodeen, sneaking past the small crowds of people and hiding in the foliage that lined the exterior of the cafe. The trees were thicker near the corners of the large pyramidal structure, with fewer tables and more flowered hedges. She paused in the shadow of a Fijisi tree, leaning her back against it and inhaling its fresh scent deeply. Through the exterior window, Coruscant gleamed; one of the planet’s four moons cast light over her and the stars shimmered through the transparisteel, the twining vines crawling up the interior of the structure in long pairs.

    She leaned against the tree, breathing slowly, as Luke had taught her would be conducive to meditation.

    “Mara.”

    Only one person said her name like that.

    She opened her eyes and saw Luke, wearing a dashing dove-gray suit that seemed to glow in the light of the moon and stars above. His affection swelled in the bond between them, his hope and concern and protectiveness and joy all swirling around her, and this time she did drape it around herself like a shawl even as she stepped into his embrace. For a long, long time they just stood there, reveling in their contact.

    The Emperor’s Hand would have been intimidated by the emotional closeness, the demonstration of physical affection. It would have been an unacceptable weakness, a fatal vulnerability.

    It felt like it had been years and parsecs since Mara had been that small.

    Luke’s hand brushed over her hair as he smiled at her. “You look beautiful.” His hands dropped to her waist, swaying with her—a dance, of sorts, but one utterly unlike any of the ones she had practiced until her feet bled. “You always look beautiful,” Luke murmured, banishing that fleeting thought as they swayed. His hand swept gently over her cheek, pushing a strand of loose red-gold hair back over her ear. “Even when you are pointing a blaster at me.”

    “I never cared before,” Mara admitted softly, her hands sliding up his back. “Being attractive was just something I could use.” She drew back, looking up at him. “Now, it’s the same places, the palace, the rooftop plazas, but it’s all so different.” She drew him closer. “Why is everything different with you?”

    “You actually like me,” he said with a grin.

    She stared at him, realizing that he was right. All those people she had lived with in the Imperial palace, all the tutors and courtiers, all the sycophants… she had hated all of them. There hadn’t been a single person in the whole inner court who had possessed even a scrap of integrity.

    None of them compared to her Tatooine Farmboy.

    She wrapped her arms around him and leaned in to press a kiss to his lips. He smiled against her, returning it gently, content to hold her and sway with the distant music.

    “You’re right,” she said with a happy sigh. “I do.”




     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    EVAPORATED! SO. UNABASHEDLY. [face_love] :D
    Thank you for this; it was worth the wait.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
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  20. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006




    Chapter Thirty-Six


    Captain Tigan was pleased to have him back, but Agonizer no longer felt like home to Teren Rogriss. The Imperial II-class Star Destroyer had been his command since it had first launched from Kuat, just months after the Battle of Yavin. It had been more than a decade, and his Admiral’s suite had been untouched in his absence, barring the personal effects he’d taken with him on his move to Chimaera.

    The portrait of his wife. The one of his children. The one of Agonizer.

    He sat behind his desk, nursing a drink and looking at those portraits, sitting on the floor of his suite, waiting to be returned to their proper places. Looking at the faces of his wife and children ought to bring him a sense of love, or hope, or peace, but all it brought was fear.

    He’d betrayed the Empire. The New Republic knew he had. It was bad enough that he’d been willing to deal with the New Republic to fight Zsinj years before. Worse, in the eyes of the Moffs, that Grand Admiral Thrawn had been his patron. But if the Empire ever found out what he had done, if the New Republic ever decided it wanted him removed from his command, he’d just given his enemy all the ammunition it needed to see him dead. And if he died, tried for treason against the Empire, it wouldn’t stop with him. Asori and Terek would be suspect at best. At worst…

    He sipped his whiskey, knowing he couldn’t afford to drink too much, and wishing for all the galaxy to just crawl inside the bottle.

    All for what? His career, his children—he still had them, for now, but he had risked them for what? To help one New Republic officer and her crew? A woman he barely knew? A woman who had betrayed the Empire, taken up arms against it, sought to burn it and all it had accomplished down? Did he really think ISB wouldn’t find out eventually?

    What had he been thinking? Was his honor worth his family’s lives? He closed his eyes for a moment, picturing Tabanne’s face, recalling the devotion of her alien crew members, and the untarnished manners she’d displayed eating the flavorless nutrigruel at his impeccable table.

    That helping her had been the right thing was small consolation.

    There was no one to go to. Maybe, if Thrawn still lived, the Grand Admiral might have understood. He never would have given Disra those orders and Thrawn never would have followed them if he had received them. It was well known that Thrawn had refused even orders from the Emperor himself, and always been proven right.

    But Thrawn was dead.

    He took a slow, labored breath and sipped his whiskey again, considering the sidearm in the right-hand desk drawer, picturing its service-worn grip and trying to figure out what to do—

    He froze, going completely rigid.

    There was a man sitting in the corner of his office, hidden by shadow. How he’d gotten in here, Rogriss had no idea, but there were only so many ways it could be done and every one of them boded ill. He didn’t reach for the blaster; being that obvious would only get him shot. Instead, he slowly put the whiskey glass down and swiveled his chair towards the hidden figure. “Are you here to kill me?” he asked.

    Maybe, just maybe, he could bargain clemency for his children. They’d had nothing to do with his decision, nothing at all, surely the Empire would not be so unfair as to hold them responsible—

    No. Who was he fooling? Of course it would.

    His hand inched towards his desk drawer.

    “I’m not,” the voice came from the far corner, a dark Coruscanti accent, but not one of a native. An adopted accent, deliberately chosen, something not uncommon among the ranks of the Imperial Starfleet.

    “How did you get in here?” Rogriss asked as calmly as he could manage.

    “That’s not important,” the man said.

    “Then what do you want?”

    “I want to recruit you, Admiral Rogriss.”

    Rogriss blinked, his brow furrowing in surprise and confusion. “Recruit me? For what?”






    Commander Asori Rogriss stared in confusion at her orders. “What do you mean I’ve been transferred?” she asked her CO, baffled. “I just got here. I’ve only been aboard Exigent for a month and a half.”

    Captain Nidal shrugged. “I have no more idea than you do, Commander. I got the orders less than an hour ago, and a shuttle arrived a half hour ago with high-level confirmation of their accuracy. I can’t even pin down where the order originated from, but the command codes are genuine and from a very high-ranking source.” Nidal looked genuinely apologetic. “The best I can tell you is this kind of thing doesn’t happen if it’s not a promotion.”

    “A promotion? To what?” Rogriss said, shaking her head. “I’ve got the position I want on the ship I want. Executive officer aboard an Impstar Deuce is the best posting an officer my rank can hope for. I’ve earned this.”

    She could hear the plaintive sound in her voice, and saw Nidal’s sympathy. “I know, Commander. I’m not thrilled about this either. You’ve been an exemplary XO and I’m going to have to recruit a replacement, because I don’t have a ready one. Either I’ll have to annoy some other Captain by stealing one of his best young officers, or hope I can requisition a clone.”

    Rogriss winced. “Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.”

    “It’s all right. I don’t know what this is about either, Commander, but as I say, this kind of thing doesn’t happen if it’s not a promotion. The secrecy tells me you’ve been selected for a classified assignment, and one above my clearance level. So, I’d take this as an incredible compliment and be excited to find out where you’re going.”

    She sighed. “Yes, sir.”

    He nodded and stood, offering her his hand. “It’s been an honor briefly serving with you, Commander Rogriss. Best of luck. I believe your belongings have already been packed away.”

    “Thank you, sir. Best of luck to you and Exigent, sir.”


    * * *​


    Asori was shuffled into the Lambda-class landing shuttle, given a perfunctory departure salute from the officers that could be assembled on the shortest of short notice, and found herself sitting alone in the shuttle’s passenger compartment with her belongings, such as they were. She didn’t have much. Her childhood home and most of her most prized possessions had been lost when the New Republic conquered Anaxes two years before, so basically everything she cared about she was already wearing on her chest.

    Damn it, she’d fought for her posting on Exigent! It wasn’t fair to transfer her without even warning her about it first. Sure, things had gotten difficult the last year, but the Imperial Starfleet was still a professional force, and she expected to be treated like one!

    There was a jolt as the shuttle lurched into hyperspace. She unbuckled her belt, frowning, and walked to the front of the shuttle, banged on the door—

    The door to the cockpit slid open. She stepped inside, planting both her fists on her hips. “Commander Asori Rogriss, reporting as ordered. I’m hoping that you can tell me where we’re going and give me some information about my new assignment—”

    Her voice stopped short as the man in the shuttle’s co-pilot seat swiveled to face her.

    He had blue skin and glowing red eyes.

    “Commander Rogriss,” he said. His uniform was typical Imperial, bearing the rank insignia of a Lieutenant. “Congratulations on your reassignment. Please, sit. It will be several days before we arrive at the staging area, but we will need every one of those days to complete your briefing.”

    She sat, staring at him. Once she had gotten past the moment of disbelief, and the two moments of confusion, she started to feel anticipation. And hope.




     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    THRAWN! OH NO I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL, AS IF. [face_laugh] I could before. ^:)^
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  22. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Of course :p

    Oh, how I sympathize, Atril. Parties are the worst.

    Pretty good gig if you can get it :p

    I do love Leia absolutely refusing to stand on ceremony with people she actually likes. You know she's got no qualms at all about bringing her position to bear when it's to her advantage in a political issue, but none of that nonsense is allowed among friends.

    Here she makes a special effort to be polite and Karrde immediately is annoying enough to make her regret it :p

    Aw, Ra-ra [face_love]

    This is perfect :D

    And this is just sublime. Perfect emotional development and perfect wording to convey it [face_love]

    Such a simple yet profound difference. Zahn has a long and distinguished writing career full of accomplishments, but seriously, designing a character with Mara's depth while also making her such a perfect counterpart for Luke? I'll never stop being impressed with that. It's so nice that their proper development doesn't get derailed in this story so they can get on with their lives without waiting another decade [face_love]

    Hmmm [face_thinking]

    :D

    Congratulations on a stunning novel! It has been a joy from beginning to end :D[:D]

    (now get cracking on that sequel, I need more :p)
     
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  23. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    I know... I remember the first time I read Jedi Academy Trilogy and being more and more heartbroken every page that wasn't just about Luke and Mara... [face_love]

    Okay everyone. So, when I finished writing this, I realized there were still a few moments that the story needed, but when I wrote a couple of them, I couldn't make them fit in the story itself without having it feel ... awkward. So, there are a few "missing moments" vignettes that have been written for Interregnum! The first one has just been posted. I'm going to add an index post below...
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
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  24. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
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