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Star Wars Herding Nexu - The Jedi Academy (Legends with some Disney Canon)

AndrewJTalon

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10 ABY, Yavin IV

Luke was meditating by the river, calm and collected, in the warm jungle air of early morning. Ahsoka walked through the path cut through the bamboo, shooting him a wry smile at the back of his head.

"Hey," she said softly.

Luke opened his eyes.

"Someone just touched down at the temple," Luke murmured.

"Yeah," Ahsoka said with a nod.

He rose to his feet. Ahsoka was still smiling strangely. There was mischief in her eyes, but she was better at concealment than before.

Luke followed Ahsoka, his frown growing at the laughter in Ahsoka's spirit.

"If this is some kind of prank," Luke warned, but Ahsoka chuckled.

"You need cheering up?" She asked.

"... Maybe a little," Luke admitted, as he easily followed Ahsoka through the trees to the temple complex, "my first would be student did ditch me."

Ahsoka's smiled became gentler at the mention of Grogu.

"He'll come back, when he's ready," Ahsoka said gently, "But for now? You're going to want to see this."

They arrived in the huge, mostly empty hanger bay of the Temple complex. A ship stood waiting there-A beat up freighter that was covered in blaster fire. Luke's eyes widened as he felt a familiar presence And one that was almost familiar.

The familiar one came down first, irritation flashing in her green eyes.

"Skywalker," Mara Jade growled.

"Jade," Luke returned, all smiles. Her irritating grew more, as she fought the urge to laugh. Luke loved feeling that about her.

"It's nice to see you again, after the Thrawn Crisis," Luke said warmly. Jade huffed.

"Yeah yeah... Tano? You here too?"

"As always," Ahsoka said, smiling wryly. Mara's eyes narrowed at how close Ahsoka was to Luke, which made the Jedi Knight confused. Still, he shook it off as Mara cleared her throat.

"That crazy doctor no longer part of your harem, Skywalker?"

"No, Aphra's off with Ezra to chase down some Jedi artifacts," Luke said, "what brings you by?"

Mara sighed heavily, and rubbed the back of her head.

"Look... Karrde wanted me to help you out, since you did... Save our lives, and kriff like that," Mara muttered.

"And I forgave you for deceiving me for all that time," Luke said with a nod and a wink. Mara hissed.

"I was doing my job!"

"You were so upset about being found out," Luke pointed out.

"I wasn't upset over you!" Mara growled, "look, the point is... It's good business sense to do some nice things back. And well... Any Force Sensitives we run across, especially those in trouble... Karrde wants to send your way."

Mara turned to the gangplank of the beaten up starship. She made a face.

"And I had to fly him through a Hutt blockade, so you'd better be grateful!" Mara grunted, as a large form slithered out.

Luke's eyes widened, as Ahsoka's grin got bigger. It was a Hutt-Quite young, muscular, and skinny for his kind. The eyes were all together familiar, yet filled with nervous anticipation. His feelings were loud-Filled with fear, hope, and hunger. The Hutt cleared his throat.

"Ah... Hello, Master Skywalker... Master Tano," he said politely in Basic, bowing, "I am Rotta. It is an honor to meet you-"

"Stinky!" Ahsoka cried happily, "never thought I'd see you again!"

"'Stinky'?" Luke and Mara both deadpanned, as Ahsoka hugged the Hutt. The Hutt, surprised, nevertheless hugged Ahsoka back as he smiled.

"You... I remember you," he murmured, "you saved me... Didn't you?"

"Okay, what," Mara managed.

"Let's talk about this... Outside?" Luke asked. "Artoo?"

The droid announced he would definitely be getting alcohol, and lots of it. Clearly, they all needed it.

- - -

Rotta was rather large, so they went to a kind of picnic area outside the temple. Luke threw up some chairs and tables, for the humanoids to sit on and for the food to rest. Rotta humbly accepted this, curling up at the table. Luke and Mara sat almost next to one another-They didn't have much choice, as Ahsoka had taken Rotta's other side.

"We rescued Rotta here from the Separatists back during the Clone Wars," Ahsoka explained, as Artoo pushed a hover dolly out, piled with food, "he was just a little huttling at the time! He's Jabba's son, as a matter of fact!"

"Should have asked for your help when I rescued Han," Luke deadpanned. Ahsoka shook her head as the dolly came to a rest in front of Rotta. The Hutt looked at the food anxiously, before looking at Luke. Luke smiled and nodded.

"Go ahead, I can sense your hunger," Luke said compassionately. Rotta nodded, and began eating hungrily.

"S-Sorry," Rotta admitted, "I didn't get much-gulp-food where I was being-ulp!-Held!"

"What happened to you, Rotta?" Ahsoka asked. Rotta sighed heavily, looking over at Mara. He still kept eating though-It seemed to help him regain his center.

"My father... Well... He sent me away," Rotta mumbled, "thought I was a disappointment. I... Couldn't take to the business, like he could. I... I could feel what our slaves felt. Their pain... Their anger... And then, well..."

He held up a hand. His large eyes narrowed. A piece of fruit began to wobble, just a little... Then more, and more... Before it shot off and flew right to his hand. Rotta sagged, breathing hard.

"Haa... Haaa... Haaa... I... I could do... Things like that," Rotta finished, before he popped the fruit in his mouth.

Luke and Ahsoka's mouths were wide open. Luke regained his composure first.

"Force sensitivity in a Hutt... That's... Rare."

Rotta nodded.

"Yeah... When it's happened, um... Well... Hutts get shunned for it," Rotta admitted, "and so I was locked away on Hutta. After my father died, well... I got tossed around between various crime bosses who wanted to use me to take over my father's empire. I tried to escape... I couldn't. I focused on getting stronger, on using my powers..." He drooped a bit more, genuinely sad.

"I failed... Until Miss Jade got me out," he nodded to the redhead. Mara shrugged.

"He was crying out a storm in the Force," she said, "I... Picked up on it. It was hard to pin down-He wasn't good at focusing it."

Luke sucked in a deep breath.

"I can train you to harness your power, Rotta," Luke said, "but I do have to ask... You know who killed your father, right?"

"You, and Princess Leia," Rotta stated. The young Hutt's anger was easy to sense, but... It wasn't directed at them, "he hated me. He was ashamed of me. I could feel it. Like... Like somehow, it was my fault."

He sighed and closed his large eyes.

"Yeah, I'm... Angry about it. Maybe I'm still mad at your sister for it... I don't know," he grumbled, "it's so confusing! But I know I don't want to go back to Hutta. I... I never want to deal with that again. With feeling people fearing me, and hating me like... Just because I'm a Hutt."

"A lot of people will judge you for what you appear to be," Luke said gently, "but you can learn to be more than their preconceived notions. And if they still hate you? That's their fault. Not yours. That's what it means to be a Jedi."

"A Jedi...?" Rotta looked at Ashoka, "I... I still remember Ahsoka and... Another man... Tall and strong, like you... Saving me. Was... Was that your father, Anakin Skywalker?"

"It definitely was," Ahsoka said cheerfully, as Luke nodded. Rotta smiled genuinely, and for once, it wasn't a terrible thing to behold on a Hutt's face.

"You saved me, and my father... He should have remembered the debt he owed you," he stated, "well... I won't forget. That's what Hutt Honor should mean-To always repay a debt. So uh... If I could train to become a Jedi... I would be happy to!"

"It won't be easy," Luke warned, "it will demand all of what you are, and thensome."

Rotta nodded.

"I know... But if I fall down. I'm gonna get back up."

He looked over at Mara Jade, who had been strangely silent.

"Isn't that what you said, Miss Jade?" He asked.

Mara nodded.

"Yeah," she said, and then she smirked, "because I wasn't going to carry you to the ship all by myself."

Rotta actually laughed at that.

"Hahahaha! Yeah..."

He looked to Luke, nervous.

"So... Master Skywalker...?"

Luke smiled widely and nodded.

"Welcome, Rotta," he said. Rotta grinned happily, his eyes filling with tears.

"Th-Thank you! Thank you, Master!"

"Ahsoka? Can you help Rotta find some quarters in the temple?" Luke asked.

Rotta's eyes lit up. Ahsoka grinned.

"Sure thing, Luke," Ahsoka said. She led Rotta away... Though the Hutt took some more food with him as he slithered away. He shot a grateful look back to Luke and Mara over his shoulder, just before he vanished inside. Artoo whistled low and amused. Luke smiled at Mara.

"You got him out of there?" Luke asked. Mara nodded.

"Yeah..." She sipped her drink, "some of your stupid Jedi do-gooder influence, no doubt."

"No doubt," Luke agreed, as Mara shot him a scowl. She then glanced down at her hands.

"... You did offer to train me once, too, you know," she said. Luke nodded.

"Yeah, I did," he said, "to help me found the New Order. The way it should have been. You told me no-"

"It wasn't no!" Mara said quickly, looking up at him, "it was just... I had to sort some things out, that's all."

Luke nodded, leaning back in his chair.

"And?" He asked.

Mara sighed, and glanced back at her hands before she looked over at Luke.

"In all honesty... I've mostly just lived lives like they were a mask. Pretending to be other people. But part of me always believed it, just a little," she admitted, "it was the only way I could... Make it be convincing. Come alive. And it turns out, I was just playing a part for Palpatine-I thought I was his one and only and..."

She shook her head. Luke remained silent, listening.

"... So I've had to... Rebuild who I am, because I sure as hell didn't know who I was," she continued. She snorted. "But... In all honesty? The times I've felt most... Fulfilled, maybe... Were when I was with you... And the Rebellion," she went on, a little too quickly.

Not that Luke was smug about that... Okay, a little, but he stopped when she glared at him.

"I did genuinely care about you, Mara," Luke admitted, "even after you admitted to being a spy and fled. I still do."

"I tried to kill you," Mara pointed out. Luke nodded.

"So have a lot of people who are now my friends," he said.

"You... Do realize that's insane, right?" Mara asked, an elegant brow rising. Luke shrugged and grinned his farmboy smile.

"Yup," he admitted, "but it doesn't make it any less true."

Mara grumbled and glared.

"You're utterly impossible," she huffed.

"I know," Luke said cheerfully, "but you like it."

"I do not," Mara growled, leaning in close. Luke leaned in, still smiling innocently.

"I think you do," he said, "just like I like you being so harsh."

"Farmboy likes it when a girl is mean to him?" Mara sniffed, but she didn't move away, "figures. Knew you were twisted."

"I'm perfectly fine with admitting to it," Luke said. Wow, her eyes were always that green? He could see flecks of gold in them. And did she have freckles? He hadn't noticed until now...

Mara pulled back, taking a deep breath. It also let her fight the red on her cheeks. Luke was enjoying this-Probably more than he should, but hey. For the longest time, Mara had had the upper hand in flirting. It felt nice to be able to give her some of her own medicine.

"So," Mara began, "look... You've got Tano, a terrified teenaged Hutt, and a pile of Jedi holocrons and artifacts."

"I've also got Ezra, and we're finding other Jedi who survived," Luke pointed out.

"Good for you, you've got another crazy yokel Jedi," Mara pointed out, rolling her eyes, "you're going to need a LOT more help if you're going to rebuild your stupid Order. So... Yeah, I guess I'm willing to help. In exchange for proper Jedi training."

Luke stared at her. Mara shrugged.

"Karrde says it'll be good to get in on the ground floor of the New Jedi Order," she stated, "and it'll make me better at my job with him, so..."

"This isn't an interview at a Banking Clan outlet," Luke said, sounding unimpressed. Mara glared.

"Fine," she hissed, "the truth is... The Force is a part of my life. And... And I can't ignore it, or shove it away. So I might as well learn how to use it... Without being used as a tool by some psychotic, lying, evil old man. I want... I want to be more. I want to be... Be better. I don't need your stupid moralizing or a lot of philosophical bantha fodder, either! I just... I want to become more."

Luke nodded, and leaned forward. He took Mara's hand in his, and looked her right in the eyes.

"Then I promise you, Mara Jade," he said, "I'll help you become more. Because you're right: We can't do this alone, and... There's no one I'd rather have at my side to bring peace and justice to the galaxy, once more."

Mara again fought a blush. It made her look very pretty. And even she couldn't hide her elation, that lit up the Force around her. Outside, she just nodded.

"Well... Good," she murmured, "but I'm not living in some fragging stinking temple. I'm having some decent stuff imported in."

"That's fair," Luke said with a nod, "nothing too ostentatious though."

At Mara's look, Luke grinned.

"Yes, I have read a dictionary. Try not to faint."

"I'm just amazed you didn't eat it," Mara grumbled. She seemed to notice they were still holding hands, before she very slowly pulled hers out of his. Luke held her hand again, and looked her in the eyes.

"Hang on," Luke said. He looked to Artoo, who rolled up. "Artoo?"

The little astromech whined a bit, but nevertheless opened up. He produced a lightsaber, which Luke took in his free hand. He held it out to Mara. She hesitantly took it, her eyes widening as she turned the weapon over in her hands.

"Wha... But this is-?" Mara tried. Luke smiled.

"You used it to kill my clone, and save my life," Luke said, "I think you should have it... At least until you build your own."

"This is your father's lightsaber," Mara muttered. Luke nodded.

"I know."

"And you're giving this to me," Mara stated, slowly, as though unsure Luke was sane. Luke nodded again.

"And I know you'll take good care of it," he said, "because I know you, Mara Jade."

Mara once again was fighting off a blush. She shook her head, and stood up. She ignited the saber, and the brilliant blue blade hummed. She stepped away from the table, and swung the blade around a few times. She again looked over at Luke.

"I... Thank you," she said softly. Luke smiled.

"Don't thank me yet," he warned, "we've got a long road ahead of us. But I know we'll make it... Together."

He stood up, as Mara deactivated the lightsaber. She clipped it to her belt, still glancing at him for approval. She then slowly nodded... And flashed him a real smile.

"I... Yeah... I think so too," Mara said back. "I've... Got to go unpack."

"Sure thing," Luke said with a nod. Mara hesitated again... Before she turned and headed back into the temple. Luke watched her go... So intent on her, that Artoo had to whistled twice at Luke to get his attention. The Jedi Knight shook his head, as Artoo speculated in binary. He scowled at his faithful droid.

"No, I'm not crazy Artoo," Luke stated, "and no, I... I don't have those kinds of feelings for her!"

Artoo made some lewd suggestions, and Luke scoffed.

"Oh switch off!"

- - -
This series will make use of Legends canon mainly, with some of the Disney stuff that doesn't suck, and some of my own fanfiction. So strap in. This is set after the Thrawn Trilogy (obviously) and Season 2 of the Mandalorian.

And no, I'm not accepting that Luke would reinstitute the "No Attachments" bullshit. Because that's stupid and arguably what led to the downfall of the Jedi Order in the Prequels. It's also his connection to his father that let them defeat the Emperor. In this case, he let Grogu go because Grogu wanted to go. And Luke wouldn't stop him. He won't barr Grogu from returning, either. I just reject the Mouse's continued character assassinations of the original characters. And so should you.
 
HK-47

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- - -

Mara was, by her nature, an early riser and a light sleeper. So it was a bit infuriating that she hadn't been able to nail down a particular issue she'd been having since she got here until it entered the dining area of the temple and announced itself:

Namely, where Skywalker was getting fresh meat and fruit to feed not only her, but Rotta on a daily basis.

"Report: Master, the hunt was successful," a rust red humanoid-shaped droid reported as it marched into the plain dining room, "stocks are refilled and I killed many organic meatbags."

The droid had sinister red glowing eyes, and a heavy blaster slung over its back. It seemed utterly out of place in the peaceful, organic surroundings.

Luke smiled at the droid, sitting at his simple wooden table with Mara, Rotta, and Artoo.

"Good work, HK! Any trouble with the new chassis?"

"Answer: No Master. You have done very well in your upgrades. I feel three thousand, three hundred fifty two point nine one three years younger," the droid replied, "may I go assassinate some sapient meatbags now?"

"No, not now HK," Luke said, smiling indulgently. The droid's face was emotionless, but Mara could swear the thing was pouting.

"Statement: As you wish, Master. Query: Will these new meatbags be staying long?" The droid asked.

Luke nodded.

"Yes, they're my first students. This is Mara Jade," he said, gesturing to her, "and Rotta the Hutt."

He gestured to Rotta, who was not a morning being. The Hutt was eating, but still looked groggy. Artoo nudged him, and the Hutt coughed and sat up straight.

"Uh, yeah, hello," he managed.

"Introduce yourself, HK-47," Luke said, and Mara's jaw dropped as the droid did just that.

"Introduction: Hello, meatbags and inferior droids. I am HK-47, human-cyborg relations and assassin droid. I am in Master Luke's service."

"You got the assassin droid of Darth Revan working again?!" Mara gasped. Luke smiled and nodded.

"Yeah. I didn't have time to do much work on him before Endor..."

And before Mara revealed herself as a spy and fled, she mentally added. Not that she was feeling guilty over that... Much.

"... but afterwards, I found the time and fully restored him," Luke finished, beaming. "With Aphra's help."

"Of course," Mara grumbled.

"Observation: Ah, the female meatbag recognizes me? Good! I am pleased my reputation is intact. Query: Are you the same Mara Jade who was an Imperial spy and assassin?"

"Yes, that's me," Mara said dryly, eating some meat. "I guess I can thank you for the food?"

"Explanation: Yes. Master allows me to hunt fresh game for his food and entertainment. Expansion: I even get to cook the food. While not as satisfying as killing it, it is amusing to imagine the humiliation the meatbag is suffering while I cook and season it for consumption by a superior being such as the Master."

The droid shrugged.

"Qualification: It is not much, but it beats being a-ugh-protocol droid!"

"He also keeps watch over the grounds," Luke said.

"Statement: I am unhappy to report no attempted assassins tried to infiltrate the temple last night, Master," HK-47 stated. The droid looked upwards, wistfully, "perhaps that will change soon? The more Jedi that are here, the greater the chance of attack?"

"That... Seems likely, yes HK," Luke said with a nod. Rotta gulped nervously, but a reassuring smile from Luke calmed him.

HK-47 nodded.

"Relieved Statement: Good, I was worried it would be this boring forever! I will hope you bring many more Jedi here, to provide even more targets for me to utilize my skills against."

Luke chuckled and nodded.

"Go ahead and recharge, HK. Good work."

"Statement: Thank you Master." The droid turned and walked off. Mara still stared in disbelief at Luke.

"You... You're putting one of the most efficient and famous assassin droids in galactic history to work getting you food and patrolling your grounds?!"

Luke smiled and nodded.

"He's also a wealth of knowledge about the Jedi, the Old Republic, the Sith Empire-So much of it," Luke said, "and it makes him happy... Well, not as happy as he would be killing people, but still..."

Artoo beeped in amusement. Luke nodded to his loyal astromech.

"Besides, Artoo likes him."

Artoo beeped something loudly in binary. HK-47 stomped back, and glared with glowing red eyes at the little droid.

"Statement: The Death Star still only counts as ONE kill. And Master Luke did most of the work! Fabrication: And I am not jealous!"
 
Ezra, Sabine and Aphra

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- - -

Mara woke up to a strong presence in the Force. It wasn't familiar, but it was benign... If... Annoyingly happy. She sat up in her bed and blinked blearily as the presence opened her door. Another person was with him-Female, and also wayyy too happy this late at night.

The man was tall, blue haired and tanned, dressed in spacer garments and wearing a lightsaber on his belt. His hair was shaggy, and he had a five o'clock shadow on his face. Not that Mara could see much of it, given the woman with him.

She was muscular but curvy, with warm eyes and outrageously colored hair. She wore multi-colored Mandolorian armor, that was clearly well used. The two were making out feverishly, their passion so intense they didn't notice when Mara cleared her throat.

But bouncing a can off the tall man's head got their attention.

"Ah, er, sorry," the man said, his arm tightly wrapped around the shorter woman's waist.

"Didn't know it was occupied!" The woman said cheerfully.

Mara sighed heavily.

"You must be Bridger, and Sabine Wren," she stated.

"Ezra's fine," the young Jedi said with a smile, "you must be Mara."

"Or Celina," Sabine stated dryly, eyeing her in suspicion. Mara sighed and rubbed her face. Ezra cleared his throat.

"Well, uh, sorry for disturbing you but-"

"Room at the end of the hallway is empty, and soundproofed," Mara growled, "now beat it."

Neither looked unhappy with her tone. Ezra grinned and dragged Sabine off. The Mandolorian woman actually giggled as they vanished down the hallway, and into the spare room. Mara groaned, got up, and shut the door, before grumbling as she dove back into her bed.

Well... She could only hope those two were just so happy to see each other they were giving into their passions, and they wouldn't be this bad in the morning.

- - -

She was wrong. She was completely, utterly wrong.

"Awww... You cooked this for me?" Sabine cooed as Ezra set down some breakfast. Thankfully they were at another table, away from Luke, Rotta, Artoo, Ahsoka, and Mara.

"Got pretty good at it, remember?" Ezra said back, nuzzling her. She took a bite of the food, beamed, and then kissed him messily. "Mmm..."

"I do remember," Sabine sighed happily, and they began to feed each other.

"Ughhh," Rotta moaned, "I can't eat and watch this..."

The Hutt closed his eyes and began to eat blindly. Ahsoka chuckled at the looks of disgust on Luke and Mara's face.

"They've been apart for several years now," Ahsoka said, "they're finally together and happy. You can't hate on them for that."

"I don't hate on them," Luke muttered, "but they're really kind of nauseating."

"They'll get it out of their systems and go back to normal," Ahsoka soothed.

"I hope so," Mara growled, "otherwise they're going to enjoy eternity in eachother's arms... Dead."

"Mara, calm down," Luke said gently, "it's gross, but it's not that bad..."

"I think I'll sit in your lap for breakfast, Ezra," Sabine said cheerfully, sliding in. "Now you can cuddle and feed me!"

"Great idea!" Ezra cheered.

"Oh come on!" Mara hissed.

Luke finally smiled, and chuckled.

"Come on guys," Luke said calmly, "you've had your fun."

Sabine and Ezra smirked over at Mara. She scowled.

"You were pranking me?!" She demanded.

"A little," Sabine admitted, "but we are actually this happy to be back together. So uh... You'll kind of have to deal."

"Speaking of," Ezra said with a grin, taking Sabine's hand, "wanna go use the Nightbrother's med bay to see if you're pregnant yet?"

"Wanna use it to make sure I am pregnant?" Sabine cooed seductively. Ezra picked Sabine up in his arms, and went out the door so fast Mara swore he used Force Speed. Luke sighed.

"Well, we're not going to see them for the rest of the day," he said, "who wants to go train? Far, far away from the temple-?"

"Me," Rotta and Mara voted, holding their hands up.

"I'll go do my rounds for the temple," Ahsoka said, getting up and heading out while laughing softly, "you prudes."

"Deviant," Luke shot back, chuckling a bit himself.

"Anything to get away from that disgusting affection," Mara shuddered.

"HEY LUKE CATCH ME WHEEEE!"

Luke sighed and held out his arms. He used the Force to catch Doctor Aphra, and then rotated her to sit next to him. The archaeologist happily pushed herself into his lap, laughing as she hugged him.

"Aw, is that any way to treat an old friend?" She asked. She looked back over her shoulder, batting her eyes. "Hey Mara! You look good! Nice to see you too!"

Mara grit her teeth and stabbed her food. Luke cleared his throat.

"Aphra," he said, and he pushed her off his lap with the Force, "we already had to endure Sabine and Ezra's affection fest. Let's not add to it."

"Awww..."

- - -

It wasn't like Mara Jade resented Doctor Aphra. Well, any more than she resented anyone else associated with Luke.

It wasn't hard to discern that she and Luke had... Some kind of history together. Aphra was an energetic, cheerful person, but she reserved all her physical affection for Luke. Her touches lingered just a bit too long, and her gaze locked onto him.

It was nauseating, really. That she could be so close to him and he just let her...?

"Hey, your rock's gonna fall," the perky archaeologist commented. Mara started out of her meditation, and several rocks fell to the ground around her. She turned a venomous glare over at Aphra, who smiled all too innocently.

"Sorry," she said. Mara sighed, and glared across the training clearing.

Luke and Rotta were going through lightsaber katas. The young Hutt was very determined, and practiced the strokes over, and over, and over again. She recalled that Luke sometimes had to float the big Hutt back to his room by nightfall, as he had a tendency to keep practicing even when he should be resting.

Still, all his hard work was paying off-Rotta wielded his lightsaber with a lot more confidence now, and Luke complimented him as they sparred.

"One, two, three-Good! Now, you need to keep reaching out. Don't overfocus!" Luke coached the big Hutt as their sabers clashed. Mara glared back at Aphra, who continued to smile.

"You distracted me. Got a scheme in mind or do you just want to annoy me?" Mara grumbled.

"Oh, I'm prrrettyyyy sure I'm already annoying you," Aphra said, plopping herself down next to her, "but I do have something more specific to tell you!"

Mara sighed and closed her eyes.

"And that is?" She grumbled, trying to resume her meditation.

"Don't break his heart."

Mara's eyes snapped open, and she turned to gape at Aphra in outrage. Aphra though was looking... Serious. For her, anyway.

"Excuse you?!"

"You heard me," Aphra stated, "don't break his heart. Don't toy with him. Don't lead him on."

"I-Look, I don't know what you're thinking," Mara stated, "but I have zero interest in Skywalker. Period. We're... Well we might be friends, but that's it! And even that is a big ask-!"

"Sure, sure," Aphra smirked, "I'm just letting you know... Don't break his heart."

"Or what? You'll kill me?" Mara asked, green eyes flashing dangerously. Aphra stared back, her own dark eyes quite cold.

"If I have to, yes," Aphra stated calmly. Mara didn't drop her hackles, but she was assessing the amoral archaeologist a lot more clinically. Her assassin droids were near the edge of the clearing... And her Wookie bounty hunter was nearby, but hidden.

She had to admit, she may have been underestimating her. So Mara changed tactics.

"Why do you care?" Mara asked. "You two are over."

Aphra was silent for a moment. She sighed, and pulled her hat off. She clutched the ridiculous cap in her hands, looking down at them, before she looked back up.

"Luke and me... I... He's special to me," Aphra admitted, "he... Changed my life. And yeah, I do care about him. Maybe enough that I was tempted to... Ya know... Settle down."

"You?" Mara asked incredulously. She reached out through the Force, expecting to sense Aphra's usual shield of intense emotion. The archaeologist was very good at hiding her thoughts via purely mundane ways...

And all she felt was pain. Images of Luke looking at her, holding her, smiling at her...

Aphra slowly nodded, at Mara's realization.

"But I can't," Aphra sighed, "I knew he was going to go fight Vader and the Emperor... And I realized, I was too scared of seeing him fall and fail. I couldn't have faith that he would survive... Or even triumph. I... Luke doesn't need someone who can't believe in him... But he needs someone to look after him. Since Solo's not here... I'll do it."

She fixed Mara with a steely glare.

"So yeah. If you break his heart? You're going down."

"I did try to kill him," Mara pointed out, "several times."

Aphra snorted.

"So did I. All unintentionally," Aphra retorted, "and he still cared for me. So yeah."

"Mara? You're up!" Luke called. Mara looked up at Luke, and stood up. She ignored Aphra's stare as she headed into the training ring.

Luke treated Mara to a smile, as she ignited his father's lightsaber. He held up his own, set for training mode.

"Ready?" He asked.

"Don't you dare hold back, Skywalker," Mara returned with a smile.

"I would never dream of it," Luke replied. He thrust and swung fast, using some basic Shien, before he transitioned to a few quick strikes in Djem So. She countered with Ataru, and transitioned to Shien to counter his strong blows.

There was a smile on his face as they clashed, and one emerged on her own.

Break Skywalker's heart? Please! She'd break his face first...

- - -

Rotta slithered on by, settling down next to Aphra. The archaeologist beamed up at Rotta.

"Great work, Rotta! You're getting better all the time!"

"Thanks, Doctor Aphra," Rotta panted. He lowered his voice.

"Gotta say, I'm really happy I'm not sparring with Miss Jade," he muttered, as Mara and Luke sparred aggressively, "you... you think Master Luke can handle her?"

"Oh, I'm very confident he can," Aphra chuckled. Rotta chuckled along, sensing there was a joke but not quite understanding it.

Humans could be so strange...

- - -
 
Kyle Katarn Arrives

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- - -

Luke hummed as his senses picked up a strong Force presence moving towards them. He opened his eyes as he ended his meditation, rising to his feet and heading out.

Rotta and Mara were doing deflection training in the yard outside the temple, while Ahsoka and Ezra sparred. Aphra was off doing some research on their growing Jedi Library. Sabine was cleaning her guns, and looked up at Luke as he passed by.

"Expecting trouble?" Sabine asked. Luke shook his head, as a light courier starship flew down through the clouds.

"No... But it is an unusual presence," Luke admitted. He headed to the hanger, after waving Ezra and Ahsoka and sending the message to keep practicing.

He and Sabine made it to the hanger bay, as the courier touched down. The hatch opened, and a young, pretty woman in standard spacer gear walked down the gangway. She beamed and held out her hand.

"Master Skywalker? I'm Jan Orrs, New Republic Agent."

Luke shook her hand. Sabine smiled in recognition.

"Oh yeah! You helped with the attack on Scariff, and the destruction of the Arc Hammer!"

"As for the first? Yeah. As for the second? Still classified," Orrs said, and winked, "but yeah. My partner, Kyle Katarn, has a problem, Master Skywalker."

"He's very strong in the Force," Luke observed, "incredibly strong."

Jan nodded.

"Yeah... Apparently his dad was a Jedi. We tracked down an Inquisitor named Jerec to Ruusan. That was a kriffing nightmare."

As if by teleporter, Doctor Aphra popped up in the hanger bay with a grin.

"Ruusan?! You've been to Ruusan?! Incredible! Did you find the Valley of the Jedi?!"

"Jedi AND Sith, but yeah," Orrs said, and Aphra practically squealed in excitement, "Kyle grabbed some holocrons and built himself a lightsaber, and somehow, he was able to beat a former Jedi who had gone dark."

"That's very impressive," Luke said, "we'd be glad to take him as part of our Order, if he'd like to join."

Orrs' smile became a bit crooked.

"Yeah... He really needs instruction... Come on."

She led Luke, Sabine, and Aphra up into the ship. They passed a droid who was snickering to himself. They entered the rec room... And Jan pointed up.

There he was: A messy haired, bearded man in old Jedi garb... Stuck to the bulkhead.

"Uh, yeah, hey Master Skywalker," Kyle said, "that's what I call you, right?"

"Luke is fine too," Luke said. Aphra tilted her head and asked the question on everyone's mind:

"How did you get up there?"

Kyle shrugged.

"There's this Force ability I learned from a holocron? That's like Lightning, but not Darkside... And... I can't stop doing it."

"So," Luke began, doing his best to keep his voice compassionate and not burst into laughter, "you're stuck... Thanks to static cling?"

"Pretty much," Kyle said. "So... Little help? Without laughing?"

"I promise," Luke said.

"I don't," Sabine said, before she burst into gales of laughter.

"How much are you going to pay me?" Aphra asked seriously.

Jan snickered.

"Looks like you found where you belong after all, Kyle."

Kyle rolled his eyes.

- - -

Because Kyle Katarn is awesome... But getting stuck to the hull of his ship thanks to a Force ability is also fitting with his luck.
 
Back in the Days - Part 1

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- - -

Ord Mantell had started as a weapons depot, but the good climate and abundant natural resources, as well as proximity to several major hyperlanes turned it into an economic power. Casinos, clement banking laws, and the beautiful natural wonders brought in huge numbers of tourists. The pink clouds and other eccentricities made it a popular getaway across the galaxy, even during the Imperial period.

Luke had been here a few times, but only on Rebel business. Now? He was here on Jedi business.

But it was proving to be much more relaxing than the previous times. No bounty hunters were after him.

He and Artoo wandered about the island of Avilatan. It was volcanic in nature, with trails, hotsprings, beaches and boat tours for the outdoor-minded tourist, and casinos, clubs, and restaurants for the more indoor inclined. An authentic museum detailing the civil war over three thousand years ago stood nearby a sports bar. Swoop Bike races went on underneath a tropical flower garden. Every kind of entertainment was presented, but it lacked the raw seediness of other pleasure worlds Luke had been on.

Still, the Force was warning of danger. Luke checked his datapad-The New Republic informant had passed on a tip from a singer in the area. As well as an invitation.

He paused as he spotted a holosign just outside a club: A beautiful platinum blonde woman, with mother of pearl colored irises, played a double viol in an alluring, silvery dress. He checked the datapad, and then headed up to the front office.

A heavyset Gammorean was the only one there. He looked up from his desk with a scowl.

"We're closed, genius. Come back in a few hours," he grunted in Huttese.

Luke held up his datapad.

"I have a personal invitation from Tionne," he said gently, "I'd like to know where I can find her."

The Gammorean scowled more deeply.

"What are you, a stalker or something?"

"No, it's right here," Luke said, pointing to the datapad. The Gammorean read through the invitation, then looked back up at Luke. He scowled at Artoo for a long moment, before he fixed his eyes on Luke.

"She mentioned something about a visitor, yeah," he said. He pushed a holocomm towards Luke, "left you a message."

Luke took the holocomm, and played the recording. Tionne stood in some fashionable street clothes, smiling like a sun.

"Hello, Master Skywalker. I've been so excited to meet with you! I've collected Jedi lore and history since I was a little girl-My grandmother got me into it. You can meet me in the courtyard of the Nobody's Inn. We should be able to talk alone there. I really can't wait to talk to you! Most recently, I learned the most exciting things about Darth Revan, and his abduction by the Leviathan! And his subsequent entrapment by the Sith Emperor-Oh, but I'll save me-Save us some time when we meet! See you soon~!"

She winked and blew a kiss, before the recording ended. Luke stared intently at the holocomm, the danger sense in the Force screaming even more loudly.

"How did she seem when she left this with you?" Luke asked. The Gammorean oinked in thought.

"She seemed... A bit tense," he admitted. He then grinned widely. "Still! You're really Luke Skywalker? That Jedi who killed Vader? Can I get your autograph?!"

Luke chuckled, and nodded to the eager Gammorean.

"After I've met with Tionne. It's a promise."

"Thanks, Master Skywalker, sir," the Gammorean said happily.

- - -

Nobody's Inn was a quiet, elegant white building on Avilatan's southern end. The local tourist Holonet links described it as a beautiful, peaceful spot for tourists to relax, meditate, and take in the ocean environment. It had been built after the Great Galactic War with the Sith Empire, by a local celebrity of some sort: A former smuggler, apparently, who was a war hero to the Republic.

It seemed a little too clean and pristine for that sort of person... But then it had been three thousand years.

Luke walked the stone paths, native plants filling in the gaps, as he approached the courtyard behind the large inn. He could hear the sounds of shoreline scavengers crying out, the roll of the surf... And music.

A double viol was being played, and a sad, ethereal song washed over his senses. Even as the danger warning grew stronger.

Luke headed in, Artoo rolling behind him. The song continued. Luke turned a corner, and then another, into the courtyard proper. It was wide, walled in by white tiled walls. White stones carved through a well kept garden, like a river. Many small shelters of wood dotted the landscape, all built to face south to behold the ocean's beauty.

In the middle of a sandy spot, sitting on a wooden bench, Tionne played her song. Her elegant fingers plucked the strings, filling the air with sweet, melancholy music. Her awareness in the Force was actually quite strong-She noticed he had entered, but kept her rhythm as she continued to play.

A man in a dark cloak sat at a nearby table under a shelter. He sipped some tea. Luke walked up to Tionne, Artoo hanging back a bit.

"Hello Tionne," Luke said softly, "I take it you need some help?"

Tionne stopped playing, and looked up. She pursed her lips.

"It would be appreciate, Master Jedi," she said softly.

The man in black leaped, igniting a red lightsaber and swinging it for Luke's head!

A moment before it would have struck, Luke pulled out his own lightsaber, ignited it, and parried the blow. He smoothly turned, deflecting and parrying his assailant's next furious strikes. Luke then thrust out his hand, and with a Force push sent the attacker flying.

He slammed into a bench, and got up. His hood fell away, revealing a tanned human with short cropped blonde hair. His jaw was thick, almost lantern shaped. His eyes burned yellow, as he pointed his red lightsaber at him.

"Luke Skywalker," the man rasped, "you slew the Emperor, you slew Darth Vader. I now take revenge for them!"

"Who are you?" Luke asked, "what's your name?"

The man's Force presence wavered a bit, but he gritted his teeth.

"I have no name. I need no name. I am my master's Wrath-And you will die!"

- - -

As you might guess, this is Kam Solusar. Here we're changing things up a bit-He was still the son of a Jedi Knight. He was captured and tortured into obedience by Vader and the Inquisitors. He was an experiment in creating a more obedient Inquisitor, by suppressing his memories with technology and torture. He became active as an Inquisitor some time after the Battle of Yavin, and has been tasked with hunting down Rebels and Jedi. Hence why he hasn't shown up until now.
 
Back in the Days - Part 2

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- - -

The Inquisitor dashed forward, thrusting his lightsaber for Luke's chest. Luke dodged to the right, then brought up his lightsaber to deflect his enemy's follow up swing. Luke parried the next strike, shutting off his lightsaber and ducking underneath the burning plasma blade. He thrust his lightsaber forward, reactivating it-

The Inquisitor jumped back with the Force, narrowly avoiding the blade going through his stomach. Luke stood warily, sizing the Inquisitor up.

"You fight well," Luke complimented him, "good instincts."

"I was trained..." The Inquisitor trailed off, stalking around like a caged nexu, "a long time ago."

"I can see that," Luke observed, walking along as the two circled eachother. Tionne stared, covering her mouth in horror. Artoo had retreated nearby her.

The Inquisitor glanced at Tionne, and then back at Luke.

"Why is your droid protecting her?" The Inquisitor demanded.

"You took her hostage to lure me here," Luke said, "shouldn't I be concerned with her safety?"

"I... I have no quarrel with her," the Inquisitor stated angrily, "harming her would be meaningless! You are my target!"

Luke tilted his head, as the two continued to circle one another, slowly, carefully, the hum of their lightsabers filling the courtyard air.

"That's not what you usually hear from an Inquisitor," Luke said, "in my experience... You're drunk off the Darkside."

"I use the Darkside... It gives me power," the Inquisitor shot back, "but wasting it... What is the purpose?"

The Inquisitor struck again, striking furiously in Juyo. He lashed out with several lightsaber blows, before dropping underneath Luke's counterstrike and slamming both of his feet into Luke's stomach. Luke lashed out with the Force, sending the Inquisitor flying away.

The Inquisitor landed and dashed for Luke again. Luke grabbed some sand with the Force and cast it up into a cloud into his opponent's eyes. As the Inquisitor blinked through the distraction, Luke flanked the man and thrust for his saber arm.

The man swung around, meeting the blade and locking the burning sabers against one another. He pushed back hard, and Luke took a step back, another... Before he summoned up his full strength, and stopped. The Inquisitor struggled, sweat beading on his brow, before Luke shoved him back, hard.

The Inquisitor nearly lost his footing, and tried to throw a blast of the Force at Luke. Luke dodged, and unleashed one right back. The Inquisitor flew backwards, barely able to land on his feet before Luke fell upon him. Luke's lightsaber blows rained down on him like a lightning storm, as the Jedi Knight pushed his incredible strength in the Force through every strike.

Just like his father had.

The Inquisitor's lightsaber split, the half-crescent becoming a full circle around the handle. A second lightsaber blade, blood red, ignited on the other side. The Inquisitor spun it around himself, before swinging the weapon wildly at Luke. Luke parried and deflected every swing, weighing his options.

He didn't want to kill this Inquisitor. His presence in the Force was dark, but... Not like the Emperor. Not even like his father's. And his mind... It was struggling, even as he attacked.

He was full of conflict...

But the only way to stop him might be something fatal... Luke's precognition wasn't giving him many futures, and yet...

Luke leaped up over the Inquisitor's swinging blades, backflipping and landing some distance away. He eyed his opponent, and the Inquisitor stared back.

Then... Music echoed in the courtyard. Luke and the Inquisitor looked over at Tionne, as her fingers played frantically over her double viols to notation Artoo was displaying with his holoprojector. It was relatively upbeat, a swinging jizz number... And yet there was a mournful tinge to it. A touch of the melancholy. Like it was homesick.

"What... What is that...?" The Inquisitor asked. Tionne breathed hard, playing the song.

"You remember it, don't you?" Tionne asked, "even after everything Vader did to you... That the Darkside has taken from you... You remember it..."

The Inquisitor shook his head, and reached up to his temple. He gritted his teeth.

"No... No, I-I can't remember that..." He muttered, "it's pain... It's all pain...!"

"You remember it, because it's something your father knew," Tionne went on, "Ranik Solusar... A Corellian Jedi... From Kor Vella Mesa... You know it because it was written and played there first...!"

"N-NO!" The Inquisitor shouted, "I DON'T-NO-STOP IT!"

"It's your true self," Luke said, as the Inquisitor staggered about, "everything the Emperor suppressed in you... It's still there. You don't have to live like this-"

"SHUT UP!" The Inquisitor bellowed, swinging his lightsaber around, "you can't... My mission... I HAVE TO OBEY!"

"No you don't," Luke insisted, "you have a choice! You can choose! You can break free-!"

"NO!" The Inquisitor roared. He threw his lightsaber at Luke, the weapon spinning like a deadly chakram. Luke deflected it, bouncing it back. The Inquisitor was running, flipping up to catch his weapon before swinging it down upon Luke. Luke reached up, stretched out with the Force...!

He stopped the Inquisitor and the man in mid air. The Inquisitor's eyes widened in shock, just before Luke thrust his open palm forward.

The Inquisitor lightsaber shattered like glass, the blades instantly dissipating. In the same motion, Luke used the Force push to slam the man down onto the ground, hard, cracking the pavement stones from the impact. The man panted for breath desperately, the wind knocked out of him.

He stared up at the clear blue sky... Tears running from his yellow eyes.

"Kill me..." He murmured, "I... I failed... I have... No future left..."

"No," Luke stated, "there's good inside you..." He knelt down beside him. Tionne walked up slowly, still playing the music, as Artoo rolled up alongside her protectively. Luke looked up at her. Tionne swallowed.

"I remembered a Jedi Masterin the archives, one who looked like this man," Tionne said, "He was called Ranik Solusar... He had a wife and son, got expelled from the Order by the Council for it."

She looked down at the man in sympathy.

"What Vader and the Inquisitors did to him..."

"My... My name," the man whispered, "so long ago... What... What was it...?"

"Let me help you remember it," Luke said gently.

The Inquisitor... Very slowly nodded.

Luke looked down at the man. He rested his hand over his forehead, and concentrated. His shields of hatred, rage, and fear were still strong... But Luke powered on through, an opening being made by the memories associated with Tionne's music.

Inquisitor Jerec torturing him with lightning... Vader choking him and tossing him around like a ragdoll... The Emperor cackling as his own dark lightning ripped screams from his throat... Strapped into a chair as things were shoved into his mind...!

Luke pushed past it all... To find the music playing in the background of a small, comfortable family home. Corellia's busy speeder lanes filled the window nearby. A woman, dark haired and beautiful, danced with a tall, handsome blond man. Both looked towards the man in the memory, smiling with love and affection...

"Come on, Kam-Your favorite song's up!" The woman said.

"I don't wanna dance by myself," Kam huffed.

"You'll be dancing with us," his father consoled, chuckling. Kam looked up and, with a smile on his face, raced up to hug them...


-The Inquisitor screamed, as Luke pulled his hand back. He panted hard, eyes wide. He stared up at Tionne and Luke, slowly calming down.

Then... Like creaky gears turning... A small smile emerged.

"Kam," he whispered, tears stinging the corners of his brown eyes, "my name... Is Kam..."

- - -

Luke and Tionne took Kam to the local hospital. They said he'd been injured in an accident, and they'd taken it at that. Clearly more than enough less than legal things happened around here the hospital had learned not to ask too many awkward questions.

Tionne, Artoo and Luke watched Kam recover in the hospital room. It was Luke who broke the silence first.

"You were able to reach him," Luke said gently, giving her a smile. She blushed and looked down.

"I... I just played something I thought might appeal to him," she murmured, "something that he might have remembered-"

"Yeah, but the odds of finding just the right song?" Luke asked, "remembering a Jedi who looked like him? And connecting the dots, that fast?"

He turned to Artoo, who bleeped the probability. Tionne's eyes widened.

"That much?!"

"Yeah," Luke said, looking intently at the beautiful young woman. "You said you've always had a connection to Jedi history... It goes more deeply than just a passion."

"You mean..." Tionne trailed off, her eyes going wide, "I'm... Force sensitive?!"

"Not very strong right now, but yes," Luke said. Tionne frowned.

"So... How not strong?" She asked.

Luke hesitated.

"It's hard to say," Luke admitted, "I'm not an expert. It might just be because you're not trained... The point is, it's there."

Luke smiled as he looked over at Kam. Tionne followed his gaze, staring at the man.

"And I know I'd want you as part of my order," Luke said, "you figured out how to reach Kam. You probably know more Jedi history than anyone else in the galaxy right now..."

Tionne was silent, still looking intently at Kam. Luke sensed her mulling things over. He held up a hand.

"You don't have to answer right now, but-"

"Yes," Tionne said with a smile, "I... I'd love to. Especially since, well... Kam's going to need a lot of help, isn't he?"

"Yeah," Luke said with a nod, smiling warmly back, "but he's got us now."

"We've all got one another," Tionne said, "isn't that how the Force works? We're all connected? All in this together?"

"Absolutely," Luke laughed.

- - -

I had this song playing in my head for the scene: Gershwin's "Summertime", but you can choose anything you'd like.
 
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By Superspleen: "Lop"

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Lop scratched her ear as the waiter droid brought her, Luke, and Ahsoka their nerf steaks. Luke smiled after he smelled the seasonings on it.

"Smells zesty." the Togruta said.

"I wish you were able to try some of the really good stuff." Lop replied.

Luke raised an eyebrow.

"Seafood's a pretty big part of the local diet on Tao." Lop told him. "The Empire dumped a lot of industrial waste in the waters though. Hurt the fish population pretty bad. It's gonna be a while before we can cook a lot of the dishes we used to be able to make without needing to worry about poisoning ourselves."

"You've got a beautiful planet." Luke told her. "I've never seen a culture like Tao's before."

"Thanks. It's gonna be a lot more beautiful once their factories are gone. So, how many other Jedi are there?"

"Two humans from Lothal, Jai Kell and Dhara Leonis," Ahsoka replied. "We've also got an Ithorian and a Human from a place called Hammertown."

"That's...it?" Luke nodded.

"We're looking for anyone else. Rebel Alliance Intelligence is keeping contact with us about any other prospective Jedi. We've already got a new temple being prepped on Yavin IV. It's not much but we're putting things together one step at a time."

Lop cocked her head.

"I can visit Tao every once in a while, right?"

"Yep," Luke asked. "Keep contact with your family, keep an eye on what's going here, anything like that."

Lop sighed.

"I took part in the resistance on Tao because I wanted to make my father proud, because I knew the Empire was going to wear my home away to nothing if I didn't stand up for the people I cared about."

"We do take 'no' for an answer," Ahsoka told her. "If you want us to leave you to think it over, we can..." Lop put up her hand.

"I...it's OK. I'll go with you. The Yasaburo family's going to be in good hands even without me. Plus, I've got a much better chance of finding my sister if I go with you instead of staying here. We'll have to talk with my father about this but I think he'll see where we're coming from."

"Your sister?" Luke asked. Lop looked down.

"I'll tell you later."
 
Lost but Not Forgotten - 1

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- - -

Mara had woken up to a feeling of... Something missing. Like the brightness had gone out of the temple. It had become familiar, but... Unpleasantly so.

She made her way to breakfast, grunting in response to the various greetings from Rotta, Ahsoka, Katarn, Aphra, Bridger, Wren and Orrs. She took her caff, drained it, wolfed down her breakfast, and got to work training.

Which generally meant a spar with the only person who didn't have to hold back on her... Aside from Rotta.

She and Katarn sparred in the training grounds right outside the temple. Mara struck first, thrusting furiously for his chest. He parried the blow, countering with a sweep for her legs. She jumped over it, feinting for his head before twisting her saber for his chest again.

He maintained a very tight defense though, again deflecting her strike and continuing on with three quick thrusts-Two feints, and then a strike aimed for her head. She let him clash against her saber... Switched it off, ducked down and thrust for his belly!

"Woah!"

"ACK!"

A wave of Force sent her tumbling back, and she landed hard on her back. She sat up and scowled, as Katarn chuckled.

"First rule I learned when opponents pull that kind of trick? Make some space," Katarn said. He walked over, and extended a hand. Mara stared at it for a moment, before she slowly reached out to take it. Katarn pulled her up to her feet.

"Learned that from a holcron too?" Mara asked, her voice now carrying the hint of respect.

"Well... That and the ghost of my mentor," Katarn admitted. Mara stared, and Katarn sighed.

"Okay, yeah, I know how it sounds but it's the truth-"

"First Skywalker, now you?" Mara demanded, "how many Jedi Ghosts are there around here?!"

Katarn gave Mara a crooked grin.

"You have to admit, it's nice to have any kind of edge on the Darkside," he said, "if it's in the form of ghosts? I'm not complaining."

"That, or you and Skywalker are crazy," Mara sniffed. Katarn shrugged, flipping his blue lightsaber in his hand.

"Please. He and I are among the sanest people you will ever meet," Katarn stated.

Orrs, who was working on her datapad on a nearby bench, snorted.

"You and sane do not belong in the same language family," Orrs shot at him. Katarn rolled his eyes.

"And yet, we're both still alive," he shot back. Orrs shook her head.

"That is entirely thanks to the Force. There is literally no other explanation!"

"So in a way, it's all thanks to me," Katarn grinned. Mara shook her head.

"You two gonna need sound insulation like Bridger and Wren?" She asked wryly.

"Of course not!" Orrs stated.

"Absolutely not!" Katarn added.

"We're just just friends," Orrs contributed.

"Good friends," Katarn emphasized.

Mara got to wore her smug face for the first time in a long time. It felt very good, all things considered.

She spun around, lightsaber burning brightly, as she levelled it at HK-47. The assassin droid's face was, as usual, expressionless. However, the way it looked at her seemed... Approving?

"Observation: Good reflexes, Mistress Jade. You are becoming better at detecting me. Compliment: Of my master's harem, you are the member I approve of the most."

"I am not part of Skywalker's harem!" Mara growled, "get that through your processor or I'll tear you apart!"

Katarn and Orrs were both covering up their smiles. Surprisingly, Katarn was doing a much better job of it. HK-47 nodded.

"Condescension: Of course, Mistress Jade. Statement: One of the other Jedi meatbags is approaching. They are using the appropriate security codes. Statement: They might still be infiltrators here to attack, so I might finally get some excitement."

"So that's what that was," Katarn observed, "that... Little niggling feeling in the Force. It's really annoying."

An A-Wing fighter descended through the clouds, flying to the temple. Mara extinguished her lightsaber and jogged over to the temple. Katarn and Orrs followed, both curious more than anything else... But alert.

They entered the hanger just in time to see the A-Wing land. Ahsoka was already out on the hanger floor, moving to meet the visitor. The hatch opened... And two long ears poked out, before the rest of a brown, female Lepi in yellow and red clothing leaped out.

"Hello Lop!" Ahsoka said cheerfully. The Lepi grinned back, showing off her buckteeth.

"Hey Ahsoka!" She replied, hopping over to hug Ahsoka. Ahsoka returned the good warmly, and Lop spun around. She blinked at Katarn and Orrs, then smiled.

"Oh hey! You're the new Jedi, right? Katarn?" Lop asked.

"That's me," Kyle said cheerfully. Lop beamed back.

"Great to meet you! I'm Lop!" She hopped over, and gave Kyle a hug as well. Which he took without too much issue, patting the Lepi girl on her back. "Mmm! This place was so lonely for so long!"

She turned to hug Orrs, who held up her hand instead. Lop blinked, then shook her hand. She turned to Mara... Who glared.

"I don't do hugs," she stated.

"That's a very sad thing to say," Lop declared. She then brightened, as Mara sensed two more familiar presences in the Force, "OH! Ezra! Sabine!"

The Lepi sped up to Bridger and Wren, who looked disheveled... As usual. They gladly returned Lop's hugs, and the Lepi paused by Sabine. Her eyes brightened.

"Oh my... You're pregnant?!" She cried happily. Wren beamed, glowing like a newborn sun. Bridger looked proud. Katarn looked about as nauseated as Mara felt over all this wholesomeness, while Orrs was just amused.

"Yup!" Sabine said happily, patting her stomach, "medical droid on the Nightbrother confirmed it a few weeks ago!"

"Ooh! Ooh! What are you going to name it?" Lop asked eagerly.

"Mira," Ezra said.

"Kanan," Sabine said, at the same time. The couple looked at one another.

"Kanan if it's a boy," Sabine clarified. Ezra chuckled and shook his head.

"It's gonna be a girl."

"We promised it would be a surprise," Sabine growled. Ezra held up his hands, smiling good naturedly.

"It is! I just know it's gonna be a girl."

"Force powers ruin the surprise!"

"I don't think it's a Force vision," Ezra replied, hugging his wife's shoulders even as she pouted, "I just know it's gonna be a girl."

"Boy."

"Girl."

"Ooh! There's so much to plan!" Lop gushed, as she led the happy couple away. Katarn grimaced.

"Urgh... I thought it was bad enough when they were banging all the time... Now this?"

"Dibs on not being a babysitter," Orrs volunteered.

"Same," Ahsoka stated.

"Agreed," Mara added.

"Don't look at me," Katarn said, holding up his hands and waving them, "that is a job for droids."

"Statement: Your prejudice offends me, Jedi," HK-47 stated, "addendum: Just try it and find out what happens, Meatbag."

Katarn was about to retort... When another Force presence lit up the area. Everyone turned to see a small, sleek shuttle approaching the hanger bay. Mara's keen eyes and memory swiftly identified it.

"A T-6 shuttle," Mara observed.

"I thought I was the only one with a functioning model left," Ahsoka murmured, "they were made for the Jedi Order almost exclusively!"

"HK?" Mara asked.

"Statement: The appropriate codes have been entered. The most recent, sent by Master Skywalker. Optimistic Statement: Perhaps some raider meatbags I could dispatch?"

The shuttle came in for a slow, easy landing, the wings swinging from vertical to horizontal position. On the side of the ship was the name in stylish Aurebek letters: Lore Seeker. A loading ramp dropped, and a very attractive woman with platinum blonde hair, pearl eyes, a blue dress and a wide smile descended. She had a double viol slung over her back, and was pulling along a large suitcase.

"Oh! Hello, Commander Tano!" She said in a bright, beautiful voice, "it's me, Tionne! We spoke on the holo?"

"Yes, we did! I didn't know you'd get here so soon," Ahsoka said, graciously shaking the young woman's hand, "is that T-6?"

"Oh yes! It is! I found her rotting in a used starship's lot near Lotho Prime! She's a genuine Jedi Order shuttle!" The young woman said excitedly. "I mean, the salesman tried to tell me that it was used by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, but please. So did the last ten starship salesmen I met-Oh!" She bowed to Mara, Orrs, and Katarn, "hello! I'm Tionne! Uh, Master Skywalker invited me to join the Order!"

"Along with a former Inquisitor, right?" Katarn asked. Tionne flushed.

"Oh... Poor Kam's still recovering, but he said he wants to come. He just has to be cleared by the doctors-He's really very sweet, once he was freed from the mind control," she said.

"People usually are," Mara deadpanned. Still... Since they were probably going to be working together...

"I'm Mara Jade, former Emperor's Hand," Mara said.

"Kyle Katarn, former Stormtrooper, Rebel operative, current Jedi, sort of," Kyle said cheerfully.

"Jan Orrs. I'm actually employed," Orrs contributed.

Katarn and Mara shot her glares, as Orrs smiled innocently. Tionne pretended not to notice.

"Introduction: I am HK-47, human meatbag relations. And are you sure you're not an Imperial Infiltrator?"

"Very sure," Tionne said, eyeing the droid warily.

"Statement: Disappointed again. Excuse me."

The droid stomped off. Tionne looked back at the organic beings.

"It's very nice to meet you all," Tionne said, bowing again. "Sorry, really nervous-"

"TIONNE!"

Mara looked back. Doctor Aphra was grinning, and running up to Tionne. The beautiful blonde woman grinned back, and captured the archaeologist in a tight hug.

"Doctor Aphra! Oh, it's so good to see you again!"

"So, did that tip you sent to me for Luke get you in trouble?" Aphra asked. Tionne nodded.

"Well, yes and no... But he's going to be all right! I mean, both of them!"

"Great!" Aphra laughed, "come on! Let's start going through your collection, and start cataloguing everything!"

"Ooh! Should we start from Tython's colonization and move our way forward?" Tionne asked.

"Well, that's the traditional Vandreen method, but I was thinking we could try the Ziostian dating system..."

The two's excited chatter trailed off as they went up into Tionne's ship. Ahsoka glanced back at Mara, Katarn, and Orrs.

It was Mara who broke the silence first.

"Oh good. Now there's two of them," Mara deadpanned.

"Well, least she's enthusiastic... And healthy," Katarn observed, raising an eyebrow. Jan elbowed him. "Ow! What?"

"Nothing," Orrs said, all too calmly.

"Ugh," Mara grumbled, as Orrs and Katarn argued. She walked over next to Ahsoka, who was observing the fight with a smile.

"Mushy idiocy, romantic nonsense, overly enthusiastic morons..."

"It's great, isn't it?" Ahsoka asked, beaming. Mara snorted. She didn't say no... She wasn't going to say yes though, either. Instead, she changed the subject.

"Shouldn't Skywalker be back by now?"

Ahsoka shook her head.

"He said he's checking out two more potential Force sensitives. One is apparently on Eol Sha. The other, Bespin."

"Eol Sha's a doomed world thanks to its tectonic instability," Mara observed, "all that's left are some nomads descended from ancient settlers, and an Imperial mining operation. And Bespin has definitely seen better days. He couldn't have found any better leads?"

"One step at a time, Mara," Ahsoka said calmly, "any Force users out there have become very good at hiding themselves. Luke's got his work cut out for him."

"Please," Mara sniffed, "if I couldn't kill him... What chance does the rest of the galaxy have?"

- - -

The world was rich in metals and energy. Its surface was rough, like the shattered shell of a great egg. Yet even with endless volcanos and earthquakes, life hung on in this beautiful, violent world.

Very angry, very hungry, very ravenous life, an entire pack of which had surrounded Luke the moment he had emerged from the landed Daybreaker.

The lead monster had been saddled, and was ridden by a tall, broad, muscular man. His hair was long and done in braids, many adorned with beads, arranged like the wild mane of a great nexu. His face was stony, his eyes hard. His beard was ragged, poking out from behind a gas mask. He wore only a vest of animal hides, leather pants, and old looking manufactured boots. In one hand, he held aloft an ancient vibroblade.

"If you are of the sky people," the man boomed, with calm, terrible certainty, "you will die."

For some reason, Luke felt irritated with Mara. Not for the first time, and definitely not for the last.

- - -

I'm doing a bit of revision of some characters again. This will be Gantoris, who was the first student of Luke's Jedi Praxeum to die. His fate will not necessarily be the same, but that depends on how you like the changes I will make to his character.

First off? His appearance is essentially this:


 
Lost but Not Forgotten - 2

AndrewJTalon

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- - -

The Force was strong with this man. So it was obvious what Luke had to do... Not that Artoo appreciated Luke approaching the armed man with ravenous monsters at his beck and call without a weapon in hand.

To his credit, the man didn't attack. His beasts growled, but he held up his hand and they stilled.

"My name is Luke Skywalker," Luke spoke, "what is yours?"

The man scowled behind his mask for a bit, before he answered curtly:

"Gantoris."

"You can sense my intentions, Gantoris," Luke spoke, his voice loud, clear, and calm, "that I do not come here to fight you. That I am not your enemy. You know this to be true."

Gantoris stared back at Luke, his mask and stoic face hiding his feelings outwardly. On the inside... Luke could sense a great deal of caution, but also a keen mind. Despite his speech and apparel, this man was not stupid. He was sizing Luke up, and comparing what he could detect with all of his senses to his experience.

Gantoris then slowly dismounted, sliding off the back of the reptilian beast. The pack growled, but another look from him and they fell quiet. Gantoris walked out, his vibroblade still in his hand... But not pointed at Luke.

"How?" Gantoris asked.

Luke remained perfectly calm, and weighed his answer carefully.

"We call it the Force," Luke said, "and it's why I've come to see you."

- - -

Gantoris, after a bit of thought, went with Luke into the Daybreaker. He looked around the interior of the ship, a bit confused, but not frightened. He accepted a seat, and some water. Luke sat across from him. Gantoris drank of the water, then set it down. And Luke did his best to explain the Force, the Jedi, and the Empire.

The Empire Gantoris was familiar with. Their patrols had been going out, attacking his people. They were the "sky people" he had referred to, and the images in Gantoris' mind, the anger and rage at all they had done...

Gantoris finished his water, and was quiet after hearing everything Luke had said. Then, he spoke his story:

"I was... Gifted with foresight, from a young age. I was able to sense when an earthquake would happen, or when a storm was coming. Better than even the elders. I became a hunter, and a warrior-We've had to defend ourselves from the other tribes for as long as anyone could remember. I grew up, took a wife, had a daughter... I was happy. My powers... I learned how to sense the intentions of others. To command beasts. I was made our chief, after my father died."

Gantoris trailed off. His face was like stone, but inside... His emotions were raging like the volcanos that dotted this world.

"I had a vision of doom. Metal ships, men in white armor... A Dark Man. All used fire and lightning weapons to slaughter my tribe. I had a vision of my grandfather's tomb. We buried our dead in the Resting Mountain, the only stable ground anyone's found for centuries. I saw... A metal box, in my grandfather's grave. I needed it, but I didn't know why. I left, my wife's brother taking charge of the tribe until I returned. I went... I found the box."

He slipped the box out of a leather satchel, and set it on the table. To Luke's keen eyes, it definitely looked Old Republic in origin-A hard lockbox, with a genetic scanner. The model was common, but it was built very tough.

Luke looked back into Gantoris' eyes.

"And then what?" Luke asked softly.

Gantoris' eyes hardened. Rage and grief billowed up inside him. Visions of burning bodies crossed via the Force into Luke's mind. A ruined, blackened camp, only the dead left behind.

"I returned and..." Gantoris fell silent, his face the stone mask again. Luke nodded, and conveyed his own memories of loss.

Of the Lars homestead, burning. Of the bodies of his aunt and uncle, burnt and blackened.

"You understand," Gantoris whispered. Luke nodded.

"The Empire has taken much from both of us," Luke said quietly, "but that is why the Jedi exist. To fight such evil. To bring justice to the galaxy."

"The scale... I can't grasp it," Gantoris admitted. Luke nodded.

"It's overwhelming... But I can train you to understand. To use your power for the good of the galaxy."

Gantoris fixed a stare on him.

"I have only known protecting my tribe, my family," he said softly. Luke nodded.

"I know. But as a Jedi... We must think of the innocent of this galaxy as our tribe. Our family. To stop those who would strike down the helpless."

"If I was a Jedi, I could have stopped it, I could have..." Gantoris trailed off, his face still stoic even as self loathing and rage burned inside him.

"Even the worst of the enemy tribes would never slaughter women and children," Gantoris growled softly, "would never butcher the elderly. The warriors... We competed, but to destroy those who can't fight back? What sense does that make?"

"They enjoy using their power against the helpless," Luke stated, "because it makes them feel more powerful. But to be a Jedi? With our great power? We use it to protect the weak, and the helpless. To defend them."

Gantoris looked down at his hands.

"I cannot leave," he said, "not until my family, my people, are avenged."

Luke considered immediately saying that revenge was not something the Jedi practiced... But Gantoris' emotional state suggested that was a bad idea. Instead, Luke drew upon the lessons he'd learned from Han on hard bargaining, and Leia in negotiation:

Find a different angle of attack.

"Destroying them won't bring back your family," Luke said carefully, and Gantoris glared fiercely, "however, the Imperials will keep doing this to the other tribes. Just like yours. Until they are stopped." He met Gantoris' glare calmly.

"The mission of a Jedi is to fight for everyone. Being selfish with this power? Is not an option. As a chief... You understood this, correct?"

Gantoris weighed Luke's words carefully. He slowly, reluctantly nodded.

"It is true," Gantoris murmured, "it was a great honor... But a great responsibility. Yours is... Even more so. Do you... Think I could do it?"

"The future is always in motion," Luke said, "but you have strength. And experience. What do you say?"

Gantoris eyed Luke carefully. He pushed the box to Luke.

"This box... Was important," he said, "I must know what is inside it."

Luke nodded. He hit a few buttons, and the genetic scanner opened up.

"Put your finger there," Luke said, pointing it out. Gantoris placed his finger on the scanner. The box clicked, whirred... And opened. Gantoris looked inside, and pulled out the contents:

A single, slightly bulky lightsaber, with a handle of leather. He turned it over in his hands, and looked questioningly at Luke. He smiled, pulled out his own lightsaber, and ignited it. Gantoris' eyes widened as he beheld the burning green plasma blade.

"This is a lightsaber," Luke said, "the weapon of a Jedi. Not as clumsy or crude as a blaster-Those weapons the Imperials used. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age."

Gantoris found the power button, and ignited the blade. A burning yellow blade emerged. Gantoris stood up, and moved to the center of the recreation area. He swung the lightsaber around, in well practiced motions, getting used to it. He glanced over at Luke.

"There's no weight to the blade," he said.

"No. It takes a lot of focus to master it," Luke explained. Gantoris studied the weapon, practicing some swings and thrusts.

"My grandfather, then, was a Jedi?" He asked.

"Most likely," Luke said, "probably crashed here, long ago."

Gantoris doused the weapon, and turned to Luke.

"I have nothing left, Luke Skywalker," he said, "I will go with you... But the Imperials must answer for what they have done. Before they do it to someone else."

He knelt, and bowed his head.

"I ask you... Please... Teach me the ways of the Jedi," Gantoris asked.

Luke stepped over to Gantoris, and lifted him up by his shoulders. Luke nodded.

"I will... Welcome to the New Jedi Order, Gantoris. It won't be easy."

Gantoris, for the first time, smiled.

"Good."

- - -

How's that?
 
Lost but Not Forgotten - 3

AndrewJTalon

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- - -

Luke and Gantoris decided to take the long way to the Imperial base. While the Daybreaker could have taken then there in a few minutes, that would have been easily detected. Luke though was going to call on Artoo to help, make no mistake. The droid wasn't enthusiastic about that, but the prospect of getting to ride to the rescue was agreeable to the little droid.

Gantoris was somewhat amused by the little droid.

"A machine of metal has... Feelings?" He asked.

Luke nodded.

"Absolutely. You try to slight him, and he'll remember."

"I will avoid it then," Gantoris said. Artoo beeped smugly.

Gantoris brought his pack of reptiles to heel, with only a little difficulty. He called them 'rills', and his people had been using them as mounts for generations. He made one of them carry Luke, who rode bareback as he didn't have another saddle. They set off across the rough terrain, Luke rather enjoying the experience. The rill was eager to obey, not quite tame, but not feral either. It saw Gantoris and Luke as alphas, and would do as they wished.

There was something about riding such a graceful creature that appealed to Luke. Something majestic, like the tauntaun, or the wampa, or even the rancor Luke unfortunately had to kill in the depths of Jabba's Palace.

The journey took two standard days. During this time, when they took brief breaks, Luke would tell Gantoris more about the galaxy. He also did some light sparring with the giant man, and taught him a little bit about the Force. Gantoris absorbed it all with machine like focus. He took to practicing what he could as they rode. Luke was, frankly, amazed at the man's focus and drive.

Though, as he looked around the broken, ragged landscape, he imagined that those traits had let him survive here. And thrive.

Until the Empire.

They caught sight of the Imperial mining facility at twilight on the second day. They used the jagged landscape to conceal their approach, finally stopping about two kilometers off. Luke pulled out his binocs, and scanned the perimeter.

"It's pretty lightly defended," Luke said at last, "most of the defenses are passive... And..."

He zoomed in. There were simple tents inside the base. He could see dirty humanoids in rags being herded by Stormtroopers. He handed the binocs to Gantoris, who looked through the device. His grip tightened on them, as his anger rose.

"Slavers," Gantoris growled. Luke nodded.

"This is what the Empire does," he said.

"Then we liberate them. Tonight," Gantoris declared.

Luke hummed.

"Getting in through the sensors will be tricky," he said.

"These... Sensors," Gantoris mused, "they react to living things, yes?"

"Yes," Luke said. Gantoris handed the binocs back to Luke, and pointed out a spot on the wall, near the entrance.

Luke looked. A few wild rills were grazing on hard plants near the entrance. There were autoguns on the tops of the entrance, and Stormtroopers at the gates... All of whom ignored the big lizards.

Luke grinned.

"I see what you mean," he said.

- - -

Night fell. The pack of rills approached the gates. Luke and Gantoris had removed the saddle, and anything else that might indicate these were tamed rills. They clung to the undersides of the rills, their bellies swaying as they headed for the gates.

One of the two Stormtroopers guarding it watched, his feelings of boredom alleviated a bit by the presence of the creatures. He held up his blaster, ready to shoot one for amusement.

He fired two shots... And with two swings of his lightsaber, Luke deflected them both back. The trooper and his companion fell over, and the rills continued onward. The autoguns above remained silent.

Inside, there wasn't much. Just prefab buildings for the Imperials, the mine entrance, and the tents for the slave workers. About two dozen troopers came around to the rills as they entered, shouting in confusion and irritation.

Luke hummed. The garrison for a mining base of this size would be small, only about fifty troopers. Half of them were here... It would do.

"Now," Luke murmured to Gantoris. He reached out with the Force... And the Rills stampeded, roaring in fear. They trampled a dozen of the stormtroopers, the others panicking and firing.

This is when Gantoris and Luke moved.

Luke leaped out, ignited his lightsaber, and began to move through the Troopers with speed and skill. A Force Push sent one barreling into his fellows, knocking them all out. A swing of his lightsaber, and two lost their hands and went down. Three more tried to fire on Luke, but he deflected their blaster bolts right back at them, bringing them down.

It wasn't much of a challenge, so Luke was able to focus a bit of attention on Gantoris, and how he fought.

The man was quite quick despite his size, and very strong. Luke suspected he had figured out Force Might unconsciously, as he disarmed troopers by slicing their blasters in half, and then punched right through their plasteel armor with his bare hands.

Gantoris deflected a blaster shot back at a Trooper, then charged another. He thrust the lightsaber right through the trooper's shoulder, making him scream, before he slammed his head down onto the ground. His foe unconscious, Gantoris moved on, closing the distance between him and the Trooper and punching his lights out. He fell, his shattered helmet lying around his head.

The rest of the garrison soon came out, and while numerous, the chaos of the rills still rushing about and their fighting might made the conflict quick. Luke could sense the garrison commander's panic, and saw a nearby shuttle on a pad. He saw the commander rushing towards it. He hit his commlink.

"Artoo? Now," Luke stated, "the shuttle."

The Daybreaker flew overhead, firing its ventral laser cannons. The shuttle exploded, as the garrison commander fell away from it, covering the top of his head. He looked up, trembling, as Luke and Gantoris approached him. Gantoris pointed his lightsaber at the frail looking human with thinning hair, and growled.

"You... You massacred my tribe," he snarled, "you murdered my wife and daughter...!"

"It-It was standard procedure!" The man whimpered, "and-and you're Jedi! You-You won't kill me-I-I'm-!"

"You murdered my tribe," Gantoris repeated, advancing on the man. The commander curled up in a ball, and sobbed, as Gantoris stood over him. He raised his lightsaber, his eyes burning with the reflected light of the burning shuttle.

"I-I'll give you anything!" The commander whimpered, "money! Power! I-I have connections-Please! PLEASE! Just don't kill me!"

Luke was only a few steps behind, his lightsaber at the ready. Already, he was wondering if this was a mistake.

Revenge was the path of the Darkside. He had made that clear, in as subtle a way as he could, over the past two days to Gantoris. The man's anger was strong, and Luke couldn't blame him. His entire family, slaughtered...

Would Luke have to stop his would-be recruit? What would that do to their relationship?

Gantoris hesitated, glaring down at the sniveling little man. Luke could sense his pity, and his self hatred for feeling that way.

Gantoris looked back at Luke, briefly, and then down at the man. The garrison commander was weeping outright.

The pity... Won out, as Gantoris turned off his lightsaber. He shook his head in disgust.

"You are not worth killing," Gantoris growled, "you are a coward. Deprive of your power, you face your end with tears."

He took a deep breath.

"There is no honor in ending your life," Gantoris declared.

The commander looked up, relieved.

"Oh... Oh thank you... Thank you...!"

Gantoris shook his head, and turned to Luke. Luke nodded, approvingly.

"Your... Republic will punish him?" Gantoris asked.

"Yes, they'll-"

Danger flashed in the Force. Gantoris sensed it too, as he reignited his lightsaber and swung around. He batted a blaster bolt... Right back into the garrison commander's throat. The little man's savage grin turned into a horrified gape, as he crumpled to the ground.

Gantoris lowered his lightsaber, glaring in disgust at the corpse.

"Coward," Gantoris seethed, "you got what you deserved."

Luke nodded grimly. He really couldn't argue with that.

"Lords?"

Gantoris and Luke turned. The slaves had emerged from their tents, staring in confusion, and a bit of hope. An old man, leading them, immediately went to his knees and bowed to the two.

"Lords... Thank you! We will serve you, however you wish!" The old man cried. His fellow slaves fell to their knees as well-Twi'leks, humans, and many others. Gantoris... Was contemplative.

"You know," Gantoris admitted softly, "once... I dreamed of having followers like this. A long time ago."

Luke stared at him.

"And now?"

Gantoris stared back at Luke. He shook his head. He walked up to the old man, grasped his shoulders, and pulled him up to his feet.

"I am not a Lord," he announced loudly, "neither of us are. We are your liberators."

He paused for a moment, before continuing.

"We... Are Jedi."

Luke allowed himself a small smile. Maybe he wasn't a terrible teacher, after all...

- - -

It took some time for a New Republic ship to arrive, but thankfully, Luke's name did get the machinery of bureaucracy moving a bit faster here and there. The relief shuttles flew down, and as they did, the Daybreaker flew off. Luke let Artoo handle the piloting, as he headed back to the recreation area.

Gantoris sat on one of the leather couches, eyes closed. His emotions were clearer than they had been when they'd first met. He slowly opened his eyes, and nodded to Luke.

"How are you, Gantoris?" Luke asked, as he sat on the other side of the round couch. Gantoris was silent, contemplative.

"... When you found me, I was planning to die," he said.

"Oh?" Luke asked. Gantoris nodded.

"If you had not arrived... I would have gone into that base to die, fighting them with my last breath," he said, "my family... My tribe... All of it gone?"

He looked over his lightsaber.

"The tribe was everything to me," he murmured, "all that I was, went into serving it. Protecting it. I failed them. I thought... I had nothing left. Nothing but to join them in death."

"And now?" Luke asked.

"Now...?" Gantoris looked up at Luke, the ghost of a smile on his face.

"Now... I am alive. I do not know what awaits us, but... I am eager to find out what it is."

"As am I," Luke said with a nod.

"What is our destination?" Gantoris asked.

Luke smiled back.

"We're going to find another Force sensitive. He's an old man who apparently got rich as a gas mining prospector. He knows where to be for the best eruptions, always before they happen... And he lives alone. Completely alone."

"Sounds like an old shaman," Gantoris hummed, "crazy men who lived away from the tribes. Could speak with the dead. See the future."

"How did you deal with them?" Luke asked. Gantoris snorted.

"Stayed long enough to trade for what you wanted from them... And got out, before the fumes of the burning herbs got to you."

"Well, if he's got burning herbs? I promise," Luke assured him, "we'll get out quick."

Gantoris nodded.

"Good."

- - -

Tatooine, Anchorhead

Ahsoka could see why Anakin and Luke had wanted to leave Tatooine so much. Every time she visited, the urge to turn back and hop back on her starship got stronger.

It was so dry, so desolate. The people had to be wrapped up in tough, handspun clothing to protect themselves from every hazard, ranging from the sandstorms to the suns above. Every thing here was determined to harm you in some way.

She nestled deeper into her cloak, appreciating it's toughness as she walked out of the Anchorhead port building. Her companion, taller and broader, did the same.

It was especially taxing on him. Even among humans, his complexion was quite pale. It made his copper red hair stand out more.

"Gah," he muttered, "Tatooine. I hate this planet."

"Agreed," Ahsoka said quietly.

"Sure you couldn't have made Ezra come instead?" Cal Kestis asked wryly, "I'm sure he'd be ecstatic to be here again."

"He's fussing too much over Sabine, he'd be distracted," Ahsoka said reasonably, as they walked the streets of Anchorhead. With the defeat of the Empire, and Jabba's loss, the New Republic had stepped in with some funding for the dry, windy world. They'd been able to raise and fund some defensive militias, just like the first settlers did. These militia members now patrolled the streets, as people went about their lives.

It was subtle, but you didn't have to be a Force Sensitive to feel a sense of hope on the wind. With the Force, Ahsoka felt a lot less fear around.

Not much, but enough.

"I've got my own wife to look after too, ya know," Cal muttered, as he caught a pickpocketing child trying to run into him, and sent him off on his way. The child scowled, but ran off as the two Jedi watched him flee before they resumed talking.

"Yes, but Merrin's busy managing the grounds," Ahsoka pointed out, "she doesn't need you distracting her from that."

"Admit it: You're just jealous that you're single," Cal replied, giving her a teasing smile. Ahsoka huffed as they headed for the main city cantina.

"I am not jealous," Ahsoka stated, "you youngsters just lack self control. Besides," and as they stepped into the Cantina, Ahsoka gave Cal a wry look, "if I was single, I wouldn't feel the need to show off."

Cal grinned wryly, rubbing the stubble covering his pale face.

"That was a Nightsisters' Ritual. Had to be done outside, in the open," Cal said. Ahsoka snorted.

"Sure, keep telling yourself that," Ahsoka grumbled. She frowned and paused by a table full of rowdy Rodians. Cal frowned.

"What?" He murmured, his senses scanning around for a threat. He could sense two strong presences in the Force, but neither felt hostile.

"Someone... Very familiar," Ahsoka murmured, "almost..." She shook her head.

"How familiar?" Cal asked.

"Someone..." Ahsoka shook her head, "it's impossible. I'm... Let's get going."

"You sure?" Cal asked. Ahsoka nodded, looking straight ahead.

"Positive."

They headed into the back. Ahsoka held up a piece of flimsy, and the bartender waved them in to the back. They went past a privacy cloth, through a door guarded by two grim looking Trandoshans, and finally went downstairs into a well appointed room. The decor was nice, but restrained: Shadowsilk embroidered chairs and couches, around a holotable. All set upon what looked like an old but well kept Chandrillan rug.

It looked pristine... But the Force warned of eyes, and even people in the room they couldn't see. All ready to do them harm in an instant if commanded to.

"Well, well, well," said a familiar, scratchy voice, "look who survived Order 66."

Ahsoka and Cal turned to a hidden door, that opened from behind a nearby painting. A tall, pale Rattataki woman emerged, looking far fitter and athletic than her age would suggest. She was dressed in a dark blue top, and a skirt, embroidered with gold and other precious metals. Her hair was short and white, as she sat down and lounged on the couch.

"Ventress," Ahsoka said, nodding stiffly, "it's... Been a while."

"Surprised to see me?" Asajj asked, holding up a crystal glass. A being clad in dark fatigues and a balaclava appeared in a poof of smoke, poured her some wine, and then vanished with another burst of smoke. Ventress drank from it, as she waved her guests to sit on the other couch. Ahsoka did carefully, while Cal was far more casual in his body language. He leaned back, looking relaxed, while his senses were at high alert.

"A little, yes," Ahsoka admitted, "but after all we've been through? It would have been strange if you had died."

"Well," Asajj said, after finishing her wine, "it helps I made a lot of connections as a bounty hunter. Useful ones."

"So, you're the Scorekeeper?" Cal asked.

Asajj nodded.

"I had some issues with the Mandalorian-inspired trials to be recognized as such," she said, "but I achieved it. I think Jabba thought it was hilarious, given how high my bounty was."

"He always did have a twisted sense of humor," Ahsoka muttered. Ventress held out her glass, and the same mysterious being with the balaclava appeared, took it, and vanished-All in smoke.

"So, what brings you here?" Ventress asked, "I'm not taking bounties on any more Jedi, so you don't have to worry about that."

"We wanted to ask you to join us," Ahsoka said, "and help restore the Jedi Order."

Ventress stared in disbelief. She then began to laugh, so hard she wrapped her arms around her belly and nearly rolled off the couch. Cal raised his eyebrows, as Ahsoka remained stoic. Ventress finally calmed down, wiping her eyes, and grinned at Ahsoka.

"That's hilarious," she deadpanned.

"I don't mean full time," Ahsoka said, "obviously... But there are a lot of Darksiders out there. We have a better chance against them together... A chance to make the galaxy a better place."

"Like the Old Order did?" Ventress asked wryly. Ahsoka sighed. Cal leaned forward.

"The Old Order did make a lot of mistakes," Cal admitted, "which is why we're hoping not to repeat those. Reaching out to you is one of them."

"I was never actually a Jedi, you know," Ventress stated, "I was, at best, a Padawan-"

"Same for us," Cal said, gesturing to himself and Ahsoka, "and we've all had to survive in the real world. That's why we're reaching out to you: To make the New Jedi Order something that won't get so insular, it misses a threat like Palpatine again! One that does make life better in the galaxy!"

"You wouldn't have to quit anything," Ahsoka emphasized, "your position means you could do a lot of good... But we want to build a real community for Jedi. For Force users. To give them hope. To keep them from being turned into weapons... Like you were. Isn't that something you'd want to do?"

Ventress was quiet. She held out her hand.

"Funny you should mention that," Ventress said, "because I just got a very similar offer. Ruto?"

The mysterious balaclava clad figure appeared. Ventress nodded to him. He vanished... And another hidden door opened. A tall, regal looking Miralian lady in a dark cloak walked in.

"Ventress, I understand you're busy but-"

Her jaw dropped. So did Ahsoka's.

Ahsoka's eyes narrowed. She had her white lightsabers ignited and was on her feet in an instant. The Miralian woman drew a blue lightsaber and pointed it at Ahsoka. A tense silence fell, as Ventress grinned and Cal eyed the two enraged looking women warily.

"So... I take it you've met?" Cal quipped.

"Ahsoka, you remember Barriss, don't you?" Ventress asked, grinning like a hungry nexu, "I'm sure you've got so much to catch up on..."

- - -

Yes, Ventress employs Kage. Who are basically space ninjas. Wouldn't you employ them too?
 
Lost but Not Forgotten - Bariss Interlude

AndrewJTalon

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As for Book of Boba Fett...

- - -

Barriss Pelaeon, Imperial Jedi, was walking out the main terminal doors of the Anchorhead Spaceport. Her son Mynar kept pace with her, wearing plain clothing under a black cloak like hers.

As they circled around the corner to the main doors out into Anchorhead proper, Bariss breathed in the harsh desert air. The twin suns burning overhead.

It was strange that this little world should be the birthplace of so many powerful Jedi and Sith... Yet she supposed that was the nature of the Force. The unexpected, the incomprehensible.

She and Mynar headed into the streets proper. Mynar almost bumped into two men carrying an elaborate painting-It seemed to be of Jabba the Hutt. While Bariss didn't like the subject, she had to admit, the workmanship was exquisite.

"Oh, sorry," Mynar said politely. The two workers politely excused themselves, moving on their way... Just before a flash in the Force made Mynar drop down. Bariss followed, using the Force to push the two workers down just as a bright pink speeder bike flew by.

'YEAH! HAHAHAHA!" The pilot of the vehicle, a young human girl in leather vest, pants, and with a cyborg arm, laughed as she flew about wildly. A few other such youths, riding the same model of speeder but in varying bright hues, joined her as they flew down the street wildly. Numerous people dodged out of the way in a panic. Militia members held up their blasters to fire stun blasts, but one of the youths used a sonic emitter in a cyborg arm, and they went down covering their ears.

Getting involved in local issues was not one of Bariss's goals... But this much fear and confusion...

"Mother?"

"Follow me!" Bariss ordered as she got to her feet.

She used Force Speed, and climbed up the side of a building to leap up onto the rooftops. She ran and jumped gracefully, to move ahead of the youths.

Her son kept pace, right behind her. She leaped forward to a clearing intersection, and stood in front of the youths. Mynar landed beside her, staring in baffled disgust at their speeders.

"Those scooters re for rich layabouts and their children on Coruscant," he muttered, "why are they using them here?"

The leader of the gang held up his hand, and his fellows all slowed. They began to circle Bariss and Mynar, like hungry razor sharks. The leader smirked.

"Well, well, well... What have we here? Hot school marm, and her little brother?" He asked.

"I am Bariss, this is my son Mynar," Bariss said calmly, "I would like you all to cease your activities now."

The youths laughed.

"I've got my dad's starship for the weekend, and we're gonna mess up this poodoo hole planet however we like!" He said mockingly, holding up a cybernetic hand, "what's some Chin-bret mom and her son gonna do to stop us?"

"Oh come on, Skad," the leather clad girl who had nearly run Mynar over simpered, "he's pretty cute. Let's not mess up his good looks, huh?"

"Shut up, Drash!" The ringleader huffed, adjusting his cybernetic eye, "like I said... You wanna stop us? You better have more than words!"

Mynar flushed a bit, but scowled at the young girl. Bariss shook her head, and shrugged.

"Well... I tried," she said. She ignited her lightsaber... And tried very hard not to enjoy the gobsmacked looks on the faces of the cyborg children.

The fight took about two minutes, at best. The cyborgs were tied up with rope one of the grateful shopkeepers gave to them, and their colorful speeders were lashed together. Bariss led them away, up to the local militia headquarters.

The man on duty, a Gran, rose up and nodded with a grin.

"Well done," he spoke happily in Huttese, "you caught them! Want the bounty?"

Bariss hesitated.

"Depends on the nature of the bounty," Bariss said, "it's not for them dead, is it?"

"No," the Gran stated, holding up a flimsy, "it's from their parents: 'Returned safely to be punished.'"

The youths all groaned. Skad grimaced.

"My dad's gonna kill me," he moaned.

"If you were my son," Bariss stated firmly, "I would do far worse."

Mynar nodded at the fearful looks on the cyborg's faces.

"She would. Trust me," Mynar said.

"We'll be good," Skad muttered.

Drash looked up at Mynar hopefully, batting her eyes.

"So uh... Can I get your holo number or...?"

"No," Mynar stated flatly. Bariss shook her head at the crestfallen look on the girl's face. Still, it was nice her son was so handsome.

She thought he was, of course... But then, she was his mother.

She turned back to the desk Gran, who had presented some flimsies to her.

"Now, I just need your Bounty Hunter's Guild license..."

"
Ah..." Bariss waved her hand, exerting her will with the Force, "you've seen my license and everything is in order."

"I have seen your license and everything is in order," the Gran reported. Bariss smiled.

"Also... Can you point me in the direction of the head of the Bounty Hunter's Guild? I need to talk..."

- - -

Yeah, I hated the Mod Gang. The concept of a gang terrorizing Mos Espa and Boba Fett having to take them over is very interesting... But their appearance and attitude didn't fit. They were like a bunch of rich kids slumming it for kicks. Tatooine is not southern California, it's FREAKING TATOOINE. It's a desert world, with a desert culture, that wouldn't have fucking Vespa gangs! Swoop bike gangs of rough and tough kids who actually have had a hard life, not these Power Ranger rejects! Fuck you Disney!

So in this universe, Boba had to fight like... The Black Sun and other gangsters to become daimyo of Mos Espa. Who had killer cyborgs. And he could have taken a young gang of actual kids under his wing to teach them honor and respect. But they'd be an actual street gang, not these losers.
 
Interlude: Jungle Heat

AndrewJTalon

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Well, someone had to write this... So it may as well be me...

- - -

Luke knew Yavin IV could get very hot, and with the humidity? It could be nightmarish. So he'd made sure to install a decent air cooling unit in his quarters. Oh, he was going to add a central unit for all the rooms, but until more people came? He wasn't going to expend any more money than he had to.

He had been raised as a moisture farmer on Tatooine, after all. You held onto your credits like you did your moisture. He didn't know if charity was a Jedi trait, but he figured as long as he didn't have a pressing need to buy something, he was doing okay.

So he was nearly to sleep, relaxing in his bunk, enjoying the climate control... When his door opened. He sat up.

"Aphra?" He murmured.

"It's too kriffing hot," Aphra groaned. Luke flushed a bit. He was far from the blushing, virgin farmboy when he first met Aphra, but... Well... Her in nothing but shorts and a sports bra?

Yeah, that was definitely hot.

"And you're the only one with climate control," Aphra stated, walking in as the hatch closed behind her. Luke sighed, and made to get out of the bed.

"All right, I'll let you-"

Aphra pushed a hand against his chest, and smirked.

"Nope... You're staying right here~," Aphra said cheerfully, jumping in and cuddling up, "now go to sleep, Luke. I want my cuddle bug."

Luke sighed, and leaned back with the sexy archaeologist. He tried to imagine his Aunt Beru's underwear.

Okay, that helped... A little...

Then...

The door opened again. Luke looked up. Mara Jade, in just as heart stopping-ly brief an outfit as Aphra, stepped in.

"Okay Farmboy, no more hording your climate... control..." Her green eyes narrowed.

"Am I interrupting something?" She hissed. Aphra looked up and beamed.

"Wanna join in?" She asked.

"What," Luke and Mara managed. Aphra beamed.

"Look: Either you go and suffer in the heat and humidity, orrr... You join me and cuddle up with the hunky Jedi Master," Aphra said, "I mean, you could make a big noise about it and act like you hate it... Or... You can just join us. Like it's no big deal."

"Of... Of course," Luke muttered.

"It-It's no big deal!" Mara growled. "I just don't want to deal with your poodoo!"

"Then if it's no big deal, just join us," Aphra said.

Luke blinked. He had worked things out. There's no way Mara would go for it. Sure, he had some hints she might feel something... More for him, but... She wouldn't fall for that kind of insane, twisted logic-

"Fine," Mara muttered, "scoot over."

... Okay, so she would.

She took Luke's other side, and cuddled up.

"Uh, Mara?" Luke asked.

"Just shut up," Mara muttered, "I just want to sleep, Farmboy. I'm not remotely attracted to you."

"Strangely specific denial," Luke sighed. He held her and pulled her tight. She didn't object.

Neither did Aphra, but... She never did.

The door opened once more. Ahsoka looked in, in her own skimpy clothing.

"Luke, I... Ah," she smirked, "I see you're occupied."

"Room for more~!" Aphra cheered.

"Shut up, Aphra," Mara groaned, "no more. Go stay in your ship!"

"That uses up fuel!" Ahsoka complained.

Luke was keeping his eyes shut. There was way too much distracting stuff to see.

"Okay," Aphra said, "I know how to decide this: Tickle fight! You win, you get to sleep with Luke!"

"You'll lose. Instantly," Mara stated.

"That all depends on your definition of losing!" Aphra chirped.

"That's it," Luke sighed, "I'm sleeping on the floor."

- - -

Meanwhile, in the Fool's Array, Rotta was hard at work in the engine bay. The hyperdrive was threatening to overheat. The air was wavering from the heat leaving the engine, joining the extreme humidity.

Well... For humanoids. Rotta didn't know what they were complaining about...

Things were just fine for him.

- - -

Because I've gotta be me.
 

Ash's Boomstick

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I am enjoying this one almost as much as the Alderaan fleet story (Its my preferred kind of fic) and I like the fact you are running this with my own pairings across the board, from Rebels, Fallen Order and Legends. (I am also highly amused by the 'Skywalker Harem' even if it doesn't exist the way people think, something I noticed is also in Alderaan Lives)

I've noticed the Barriss Offee as wife of one Gilad Pellaeon appearing in fics more and more these days, where did you get the idea from?

So there should also be a small fleet of ships on the planet depending who came in what and if some are away on business, although there is another Jedi Knight missing in action here unless you have her appearing later. If it helps taking into account both Legends and Disney canon, I have counted about 110 surviving Jedi from different eras that might be around still. This includes dark jedi that could be brought around.
 

AndrewJTalon

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I am enjoying this one almost as much as the Alderaan fleet story (Its my preferred kind of fic) and I like the fact you are running this with my own pairings across the board, from Rebels, Fallen Order and Legends. (I am also highly amused by the 'Skywalker Harem' even if it doesn't exist the way people think, something I noticed is also in Alderaan Lives)

I've noticed the Barriss Offee as wife of one Gilad Pellaeon appearing in fics more and more these days, where did you get the idea from?

So there should also be a small fleet of ships on the planet depending who came in what and if some are away on business, although there is another Jedi Knight missing in action here unless you have her appearing later. If it helps taking into account both Legends and Disney canon, I have counted about 110 surviving Jedi from different eras that might be around still. This includes dark jedi that could be brought around.
What can I say? I gave Luke different kinds of romantic troubles. He was Infamous for it in the EU and it just kind of fit. Then again I am drawing a bit from Rurouni Kenshin for Luke's later characterization: The nicest, kindest guy around who is also the most badass.

I just thought it up on a whim. To have Bariss redeem herself but in a very different way. That and Gilad Pelaeon has always been one of my favorite characters. He deserves more love.

Yeah. The old Yavin Rebel Base is being used as the New Jedi Order temple, so there are plenty of ships. I have a list I'll post up later.
 

Ash's Boomstick

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What can I say? I gave Luke different kinds of romantic troubles. He was Infamous for it in the EU and it just kind of fit. Then again I am drawing a bit from Rurouni Kenshin for Luke's later characterization: The nicest, kindest guy around who is also the most badass.

I just thought it up on a whim. To have Bariss redeem herself but in a very different way. That and Gilad Pelaeon has always been one of my favorite characters. He deserves more love.

Yeah. The old Yavin Rebel Base is being used as the New Jedi Order temple, so there are plenty of ships. I have a list I'll post up later.
I did notice its a varied mixture of all canons in here with your own views as well, does the temple still have it's unwelcome guest? Also something to contemplate, there are other smaller temples around, perhaps characters can end up having their own domiciles in some of them instead of the main one if they want to get away from the others for a while. Those like Streen who were never around many people might appreciate it.
 
Lost but Not Forgotten - 4.1

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- - -

Bespin. Luke still had bad feelings over this world. He knew why. He'd talked it out with some therapists Leia had made him go to. He'd talked about it with Aphra and Mara too, but that had been... Less helpful.

But also helpful? Women, geez.

"City in the clouds?" Gantoris asked, his eyes slightly widened in wonder, "incredible... I almost want to call it magic."

Artoo beeped something snarky, and Luke shot a glare at his droid.

"It is... Pretty amazing," Luke admitted, "when you think about it."

Luke veered away from Cloud City, adjusting his course. He immediately felt better, though he tried not to think about that too much.

"Lando's coordinates should be accurate," Luke said to Artoo. The droid beeped back in the affirmative.

"Is this Lando not reliable?" Gantoris asked.

"He usually is... Nowadays," Luke admitted.

Another floating cloud city soon came into view. This one wasn't too different in concept from Cloud City, but the architecture was far different: More jagged and with far straighter lines. It was a harsh contrast with the endless clouds and streams of vapor.

"Who are we looking for?" Gantoris asked.

"He's an exceptional tibanna gas miner," Luke said, "like I said."

Luke closed his eyes, and focused.

He could sense one mind here. He let his shields drop, just enough to let the mind know he was coming.

The Force presence was... Alarmed. But Luke was able to narrow down where it was. He headed for a landing platform on the outskirts of the city platform. There was a makeshift repulsorlift raft attached to it by a metallic cable, cobbled together from several unrelated craft. Luke brought the Daybreaker in for a landing, smoothly bringing it down on the landing pad. He shut down the ship, and got up. He and Gantoris headed down the ramp, onto the landing platform.

Gantoris frowned.

"To live so far away... Will he be... Friendly?"

Several old Imperial probe droids began to float up, with stun beams charging up. Luke and Gantoris ignited their lightsabers.

"Doesn't look like it," Gantoris muttered.

"Don't worry, we're very persuasive," Luke said.

- - -

A bit short, but we're still going!
 
Lost but Not Forgotten - 4.2

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- - -

Luke took care to not destroy the droids-He could see a lot of custom modifications had gone into each one, and he was loathe to ruin them.

Gantoris wasn't as well versed in such work though, so he just smashed his way through them. They made it to the door to the landing pad, which was locked up tight. The droids tried to surround them, but it was really a losing contest for them-They just weren't made to fight.

After eight droids went down, a loudspeaker crackled to life above them.

"Go away! I don't have anything worth stealing! And I'm certainly not worth killing!" An older man's voice rang out, annoyed.

"We're not here to kill you, old man!" Gantoris growled, but he stopped further shouting when Luke held up his hand.

"We're not here to rob you, sir," Luke called out, "we just wanted to talk. And you may suspect why."

Luke doused his lightsaber, and he nodded to Gantoris. The warrior hesitated, but he shut off his own lightsaber. Luke held his hands out, spreading them wide.

"We just want to talk. We won't harm you. I promise."

Silence fell. The nearby door finally opened up, slowly rising. Luke and Gantoris watched the massive door slide up, revealing the sole occupant of the city bit by bit.

He was middle aged, with dusky skin. He had a beard that was going white from dark brown, and fast. His eyes were clear in a wan, aged face. Atop his head he wore a helmet with retractable goggles, which were currently held up over the brim of his helmet. His clothing was a simple but tough high altitude technician's suit, with a vest and belt covered in tools. He eyed them warily, as Gantoris sized him up and Luke assessed him.

"Mister Streen, I presume?" Luke asked.

Streen snorted, but nodded.

"Well! If you're here to talk, talk," the gas miner huffed, "I'll put some tea on."

- - -

The apartment was extremely nice, given the general state of the decrepit cloud city. But it was rather messy, Streen keeping his tools all over the place. Even so, he had a couch, which he allowed Luke and Gantoris to sit on while he grabbed a spare chair from somewhere and sat down. They all sipped their tea in silence for a time, only the sound of the automatic cooking droid filling the air.

Streen looked over at them, still wary.

"So... You wanted to talk, right?" Streen asked, "I'm not very good at that, I'm afraid. Haven't gotten much practice."

"You live alone," Gantoris stated. Streen snorted.

"Great deductive work there. You also know you broke my droids?"

Gantoris stared intensely at him... Then nodded.

"I apologize," he said.

Streen blinked, and sighed.

"Yeah, well... I may have overreacted," he admitted, "I live like this, well..."

"Because you can't stop hearing and feeling other's thoughts and emotions," Luke said. Streen stared at him, gobsmacked.

"How did you-?!"

"Because it's something we can do, as well," Luke said, "and other things. Through the Force."

"The Force?" Streen hummed, "I'd heard about it... Heard about... Jedi... Long ago..."

"That's what we are," Luke said. He held out his hand, and made Streen's chair rise up into the air. Streen yelped, and held onto the armrests in shock. Luke smiled apologetically, and slowly lowered the chair back to the floor. Gantoris watched, impressed.

"That... Wow... Hoo," Streen muttered, shaking his head, "wow... Okay."

"Before the Empire, people like us would have joined the Jedi Order," Luke said, "or been found, at least. Why weren't you?"

Streen shrugged.

"I... Well, I was born on Nar Shadda. Jedi were all for the Republic, right? Well, I guess I was outside the system. I'd barely heard of them by the time I was fifteen-And by then, the Clone Wars had broken out. I didn't want to fight... Couldn't stand being around other people... So I became a gas miner."

"A very good one, too," Luke said with a smile.

"Yeah," Streen snorted, "but all the credits in the universe can't make a man less lonely."

Streen leaned back, and considered Luke.

"You'd want me to join your Order? I'm no warrior."

"Many Jedi weren't," Luke said consolingly, "I'm not asking you to join us to fight through the entire Empire. But you have a gift, a great power. If it's trained properly, it can do a lot of good-For yourself, and for others."

"What makes you think I am a good man?" Streen snorted.

"Well, you could have tried to kill us," Luke offered, "but you didn't."

"You do not have the need to kill, to harm," Gantoris contributed, "you are... Kind, despite everything."

Streen was silent, contemplating his tea. He looked back up.

"If you can teach me how to... Control this gift," Streen said, "let me rejoin the galaxy? Then... Kriff it. I'm in."

Luke smiled and nodded.

"Start packing then. Let's get going."

- - -

Streen didn't take long to pack-Despite his wealth, his belongings were few and modest. He did insist on bringing along a few of his droids-They would come in handy.

Before he left though, he untethered his repulsorlift raft, and let it float away. Luke could feel a sense of relief radiating from Streen, as he watched the raft sail away into the clouds-Vanishing into Bespin's atmosphere.

"Won't need it anymore," Streen said, "and... Well... All the memories I've got associated with that thing? Were no different from my memories here."

"Now you are unfettered," Gantoris said with a nod, "a new man."

"A new man?" Streen smiled. "I like the sound of that..."

Streen went up into the Daybreaker, soon followed by Gantoris. Luke lingered a bit outside, smiling up at the sky.

So far, so good. He'd found two more Force Sensitives for the Order. Both eager to join, and decent guys as well.

He only hoped Ahsoka and Cal were doing as well in their mission...

- - -
 
Lost but Not Forgotten - 4.3

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Anchorhead, Tatooine

- - -


Mynar had been a bit delayed, taking a holocall in the waiting room of the Scorekeeper while his mother went to go see her. Since it was high priority, it was hard to avoid. Still, it was a tad surprising who was on the other end.

"Father?" Mynar asked. His father smiled.

"Mynar, how are you doing?" He asked.

"I'm all right, Father," Mynar said, "what are you calling for? Is it an emergency?"

"Potentially," his father said, "we got a tip that Ahsoka Tano is also on Tatooine: Probably for the same reasons you and your mother are. To recruit the Scorekeeper and any other Force Sensitives."

Mynar blinked. He definitely recalled Ahsoka Tano. The tall, beautiful Torgrutan had always seemed incredibly beautiful, even in her wanted posters. Okay, especially in her wanted posters. Yes she was the enemy, but she'd made quite the impression on his young psyche.

His mother had held onto some posters for some reason. He'd gotten part of the story from his father, and his own research: Apparently his mother had framed Tano for the bombing of the Jedi Temple. And from how his mother would go silent on the subject... It really hurt.

Which was terrible, but his young fighter pilot Jedi Knight brain couldn't help but focus more on the prospect of meeting her... Wow...

"So I suggest you stick with your mother at all times," his father continued, "any incident involving them might be... Unfortunate."

Mynar nodded.

"Of course, Father," he said.

"And no pining after Rebels, please?" Pelaeon asked. Mynar scowled.

"Father! I-I don't do that!"

"Just saying, you're barely out of your teens and... No, I'm sure you'll be fine," his father said, smiling fondly.

"Yes Father, we will absolutely..."

He trailed off as he felt his mother through their Force Bond. She was surprised, enraged... And guilty. There were similar flares of emotion from the room next door.

"And I'll be right back!" He stated quickly, shutting off his holocom. He dashed into the room, lightsaber at the ready...

And saw his mother and Ahsoka Tano standing off, lightsabers burning, as they glared hatred hard enough to melt durasteel. Some tall redheaded human Jedi was standing behind her, holding his lightsaber but keeping it unlit.

And the Scorekeeper, Asajj Ventress herself, was sitting on a couch between his mother and Tano, looking amused. She held up a hand, and a pipe appeared. She began to smoke cheerfully.

"Today's far more entertaining than I thought it was going to be," she admitted happily.

"Uh, Mother? Miss Tano?" Mynar tried.

Ahsoka shifted her glare over his mother's shoulder.

"Who's this? Your boy toy?" Ahsoka scoffed.

"This is my son," Bariss growled tightly.

"Uh, Lieutenant Mynar Pelaeon, Imperial Jedi Knight, Miss Tano," Mynar introduced himself, hoping he came off as confident.

"You married an Imperial Officer?" Ahsoka growled, glaring white hot death at his mother. "You spread your legs for anyone who would take you in, huh?! Pump out this whelp as insurance against being killed?!"

Mynar gaped. Yeah, suddenly Ahsoka Tano had become a lot less attractive.

His mother tightened, as her presence in the Force grew. Her rage was burning like a forest fire. Yet when she spoke, it was calm and controlled.

"Insult me all you like, Ahsoka Tano. You deserve to, for all that I did to wrong you," Bariss stated, "but you will not insult my husband or my son ever again. Understand?"

Ahsoka sneered.

"And what will you do to stop me, traitor?"

"Enough," The Scorekeeper sighed, holding up her hand. She snatched the lightsabers out of her hands with the Force, holding them up between them, "you two aren't going to wreck up my house with your spat."

She leaned back, contemplating the two glaring Jedi. She shook her head.

"Honestly, I don't see why you two can't work together," she said, "one learns to let go of debts and slights in old age. Or so I've heard."

"I fail to see why anyone has to fight here," the redheaded man finally spoke up, "or die. We're all Jedi, right?"

"No Jedi works for the Imperials!" Ahsoka spat.

"I'm trying to change the Empire for the better, from the inside," Bariss said, teeth gritted, "the more our two sides fight the worse the destruction will be!"

Ventress yawned, leaning backwards on her couch.

"Ugh... You two debating about politics is just as interesting as it sounds," she whined, "listen: You two will have to work your poodoo out somewhere else... But I'm in a good mood today. So I'm willing to compromise. All right?"

"I'm listening," Bariss managed, as Ahsoka scoffed.

"I'll work with both Jedi Orders," Ventress said, "you're going to need a neutral party to deal with your stupid drama. And it's very entertaining, watching you two posture. I don't see a need to be aligned with anyone in particular. Staying neutral but friendly to all works best for me. Besides, Jedi don't throw fun parties."

"Hey now," the redhead said, "you haven't experienced one of our parties on Yavin IV. Drunk Luke is hilarious."

"I'll take that into consideration," Ventress said, "but for now? Neutrality suits me just fine. Not until I have a better idea of what you two can do."

Ventress smirked, and cast the lightsabers back to their owners, where they were extinguished. Ventress pulled out two holo chips. She floated them over to Ahsoka and Bariss. Ventress took a long drag from her pipe, and blew smoke up into the air.

"To you, Tano? This is a bounty someone tried to post on Kam Solusar. He's recovering on Dac, where Princess Leia and her husband are going to visit him and a friend of theirs very soon: Doctor Cilghal: Niece of Admiral Ackbar? I rejected it, but some scabs took it happily. With so many targets in one place, they won't resist. You and Kestis here can help them out."

"When were you going to tell us that?!" Ahsoka demanded.

"When you two stopped bickering like a pair of unruly children," Ventress snorted.

Mynar's mother had the grace to bow her head, and clip her lightsaber back to her belt.

"My apologies for that," she said.

"Always the subservient one," Ahsoka grumbled, taking the holochip. Bariss sucked in a breath, but said nothing.

"And for us?" Mynar asked, as Bariss grabbed the holochip floated to her.

"There is a Jedi Master and her padawan on Felucia," Ventress stated, "they have been hiding out for a long time. They avoided an assassin of Vader's some time ago. They're good-I had to investigate myself. More scab bounty hunters will be trying to take them down. You can save them, then try to convince them to join your little order, despite them having every reason to reject you Pelaeon."

Ventress smirked, looking at them through the twisting tendrils of her smoke.

"I wonder which of you has the harder task?"

"Come on Cal," Ahsoka grumbled. She glared death at Bariss, "this isn't over."

"No, it isn't," Bariss agreed, "but for now... We both have important tasks. Mynar? Call ahead to the ship: We need to get going, now."

"
Yes mother," Mynar said. He looked over at the redhead. "I didn't get your name."

"Cal Kestis, Jedi Knight," he said with a nod, "and uh... Good luck, kid?"

"To us all," Mynar said. He tried a polite bow to Ahsoka. "Good luck, Miss Tano."

"Hmph," Ahsoka grunted, "least she raised you with some manners."

"Unlike you," Bariss shot back.

"Get going, already," Ventress grumbled, shaking her head, "brats!"

- - -

How was that?
 

Ash's Boomstick

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A master and apprentice, that should be interesting, especially if they've been around long enough to be hunted by Vader and missed. Wonder if there might be more than those two on the planet that will be found.

But the obvious question is- who is setting these bounties?
 
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