"Aay-lee?" The hairy creature pointed with his little paw at Liane.
"Yes, that's me? Who are you?"
She pointed at the little creature.
"Hadda wanto diddo Teebo."
['I'm called Teebo']
"Teebo, your name is Teebo?" Liane asked.
The little creature looked uneasy.
"Hadda wanto diddo Eilidh!"
['I'm called Eilidh']
Liane repeated the words the little bear had used and pointed at her chest. She hoped that the pronunciation would be similar to his.
Suddenly Teebo started to grin.
"Aay-lee diddo, hadda?"
['Your name is Eilidh?']
"Hamma. Teebo diddo, hadda?"
['Yes, I am' and your name is Teebo?]
Liane confirmed, as she used the word that seemed to be a confirmation in the local language and repeated the little bear's question.
She sighed deeply. It was so difficult to communicate with these little ones.
After she had been captured, they had brought her to a village up in the trees. There they had untied her and brought her before a group of elderly tree bears. Those elderly bears had held a long talk and after they had finished, she had been locked up in a one room tree house.
They had brought her food and drinks at regular intervals, but none of the little bears had shown any interest in her. They accepted her presence, but treated her with indifference.
Finally, after more than a month one of the chieftains had entered the tree house and has beckoned her to follow him. The little bear that had been standing guard, had walked close behind her.
The chieftain had brought her to a bigger house and had showed her around. The tree house had two storeys with five rooms at the ground floor. Two of them seemed to be the chieftain's private rooms, but the other ones were storage rooms stowed with dry leaves and berries, branches and roots.
The chieftain had taken a small spherical wooden ball, pulled off a kind of cork and had held it out to her. She had understood that he was the tribe's medicine man, the shaman.
With a nod of her head she had tried to make clear she understood. Carefully she had taken the bowl and had smelled. The odor of the liquid was sweet and grassy.
Then the shaman had taken her to the upper storey and to her surprise there had been lying four little bears on soft moss mattresses.
The shaman had walked over to them and had beckoned her to follow him. He had lifted a swathe of broad leaves and showed her a terrible wound.
Unable to express herself she had looked up at the chieftain bear. He had taken the spherical ball from her hands and gestured that she should help to clean the wound.
After they had finished this work she had helped him, doing the same for the other creatures. All three of the bears were unconscious and moaned slightly when the chieftain sprinkled the liquid around the wound.
She had helped him the best she could. He seemed content and he had brought her to a tree house next to his. There were two rooms, one furnished as a sleeping room and one as a kind of living room.
She had thanked him with a bow and now she was living already for more than a month in the village, helping the little shaman with his task to cure the wounded members of the tribe.
She had got some more freedom: she was allowed to walk around in the village, but when she tried to get to the forest floor her little guard who was with her all the time, summoned her with a grunt and a nasty push of his spear to return.
She hadn't tried to push her luck once again and had become content with her new way of living.
"Hadda gado diddo witta fili liwit." Teebo said with a grin around his lips and pointed to the village.
['We have to get back to your house. Let's go']
They were sitting on one of the lower branches of a big tree near the perimeter of the village. Liane frowned.
"Haddo gado diddo witta fili liwit." Liane repeated. "Could that mean: Let's go back to the village."
She rose and Teebo seemed to look pleased with her action. He carefully followed her back to her tree house.
The shaman was just leaving his hospital house. Liane turned to Teebo and said pointing at the chieftain.
"Hadda wanto diddo?"
['What's my name?']
Teebo shook his head.
"Haddo wanto middo?"
['What's his name?']
"Haddo wanto middo?" Liane repeated.
['What's his name?']
The shaman walked over to them and Teebo started to tell a fast story Liane didn't understand. The shaman nodded and turned to Liane.
"Hadda wanto diddo Logray" He said.
['I'm called Logray']
Liane laughed and answered.
"Hadda wanto diddo Eilidh."
['I'm called Eilidh']
"Hamma diddo," Liane nodded.
['Yes, that's me']
The shaman grabbed her hand and shook it several time. He seemed pleased. He released a long series of sentences and beckoned her to follow him inside this house.
He brought her to his private room and sat opposite her. Then he started to talk to her slowly, pointing at objects in the room. Immediately Liane understood that he wanted to teach her their language. She nodded with a smile and repeated all the words he said. Sometimes he corrected her pronunciation and wanted her to repeat the word again.
The following days Logray came over to her house very early and he continued the lessons. Patiently he repeated the words they had practised the day before. Liane showed herself a dedicated learner and repeated the words and easy sentences. She tried to remember the correct object to which it belonged. After a few days Logray seemed very pleased with her progress and walked with her to the village center. Al the way he talked to her and pointed the world around him. With great commitment Liane repeated all the words and the sentences the little shaman was saying. At the village center he told her to wait and entered a tree house. After some moments he returned with the one of the other chieftains.
He pointed at Liane.
"Haddo middo wanto Aay-lee."
['She's is called Eilidh ']
The other chieftain walked over
"Hadda wanto diddo Chirpa, cama noka mada donama canda Ewoks."
['My name is Chirpa, I'm the leader of the Ewoks.'] He said.
"Gamdo ... timo... nama." Liane said slowly, emphasizing on the pronunciation of every word.
['Please ... to meet ...you']
"Haddagawit Logray denta wagiwit haddova."
['Logray told you want to learn our language.']
Liane looked confused, but Logray nodded at her. Liane quickly said.
"Hamma ... diddo ... kento ... ewo."
['Yes ... I want ... to learn']
Then Logray pointed at the tree house.
"Tanda." Liane answered.
Now Logray pointed at the leaves on the tree branches.
"Haddoga tapaso digaba."
['You may teach her.'] He said to Logray.
Logray beckoned Liane to follow him back to the hospital tree. They entered and Logray took her upstairs to help the wounded creatures. One of them was very seriously wounded. The fur of his chest seemed to be ripped apart, showing a nasty wound.
"Pande ... tipo ... dama?"Liane asked Logray, pointing at the severely wounded Ewok.
['Happened ... to him ... how?']
"Pandu tipo dama sono" Logray corrected her.
['What happened to him?']
Liane repeated the sentence, looking with concern in her eyes at the moaning little tree bear. She pitied the little creature and gently caressed its furry paw. Logray understood her concerned feelings and after they had cleaned the wounds and covered them with a fresh swathe of leaves he took her downstairs and showed her a drawing on a big dried leave. The drawing showed a big feline, Logray pointed at the claws and gave her some objects. It were big teeth. The attacker had been a feline predator with large fangs.
Liane nodded and pointed out to Logray that she wanted to get back to the severely wounded bears. She took the low stool Logray used and sat down behind the little bear's head. She looked down on the little creature's face and imagined the pain and the anguish it must feel. Gently she wiped some sweat drops from the creature's temples, when unexpectedly strange images began to whirl through her mind. A strange-felt concentration began to surround her, along with a deep pity and compassionate feelings for the wounded tree bear. The ever-deepening concentration seemed to seclude her from the reality of the tree house. No longer did she only see the injured little bear, but she seemed to become united with him. She closed her eyes and put a hand on the little bear's forehead. In her mind a whirl of odd images became visible, showing her what had happened to the creature. With a choked cry, she suddenly saw the attack of the predator leaping onto the tree bear and sinking its huge fangs into the bear's body. She heard the little bear scream and it felt like she was being attacked herself. She felt the bear's great pain and agony. Her body began to burn with pain and like the little bear she started sweating. Deep in the trance she placed both hands over its closed eyes, pressing her fingers gently against the side of its head.
"Haddo nuda." A soft voice full of pain resonated in her mind.
"Hadda nuda diddo cama sunomoti." She answered in the Ewok language.
['You are in pain. I saw what happened']
"Hakulana! Haddo wanto nuda cama nakasu." The soft moaning answer came.
['Help me. I am afraid to die.']
She felt a slight surprise that she could fully understand what the little wounded bear was saying now that she fully was focusing her thoughts the little bear. Again she saw the images of the attack, but the scaring images became blurred and some other much clearer images of the little bear became visible. It was swinging at the branches among the canopy again. The image became clearer and completely replaced the fearful images of the feline predator attacking.
"Hadda nuda diddo gifolit. Cando sino diddo!" She murmured slowly.
['You won't die. You will get better. Look that's you swinging among the canopy.'] .
The little creature stopped moaning. The happy images of the healthy bear became very bright and intense now.
"Hadda nuda diddo hamanof gifolit. Cando sino diddo!" She repeated again. She penetrated the images in the mind of her little patient and felt how he relaxed, how he seemed he forget his pain as his thoughts were filled with the images she was passing on.
['You won't die. You will get better, I'll promise. Look that's you among the canopy.']
She murmured the words in a strange low voice.
"Hadda nuda diddo hamanof gifolit. Cando sino diddo!" She repeated again. She released the bear's head and put the low stool next to him. Still in trance she held her hands above the deep wound at his chest. A strange warm flow began to radiate from her fingers, covering the wound with a cloud of the flowing radiation. She bowed her head and concentrated deeper, while she kept her hands hovering above the wound. In her mind the images of the happy bear among the branches of the trees kept whirling for a while, but finally became blurred and vanished.
Releasing herself from her strange and deep concentration that had surrounded her, she blinked and smiled serenely and with great compassion in her eyes.
"He will recover," She said in Basic.
In front of her sat Logray, looking at her with his large dark eyes.
She pointed to a little water bowl.
"Hando tala soju tela?"
['Can I have a drink?']
Logray jumped to his feet, filled a wooden cup with water and handed it to her. Slowly she drank. The cool water refreshed her. Before she rose she looked at the wounded tree bear who was sound asleep.
"Tama diddo sima. Tedo kama firo?"She asked
['I feel tired. Can I go home?']
Logray nodded. Liane descended to the ground floor, left the hospital tree and walked over to her own tree house. The experience gave her a strange sense of satisfaction and happiness, but it also filled her mind with questions. Could she also help the other wounded bears this way? Pensively she stroke the wooden pillars which formed the entrance of her tree house.
"I have to try again," She murmured and with a jerk she turned and walked back into Logray's house. She rushed up the stairs to the top floor where Logray was taking care of the other injured Ewoks.
"I will help the others as I did with him," She said, while pointing at the Ewok which seemed to be fast asleep. Again she sat herself behind the head of one of the other Ewoks. Carefully she placed her hands on the Ewok's head, covering its closed eyes with her fingers. To her surprise she immediately felt the strange trance which seemed to penetrate and surround her from all sides and she heard the agonizing scared voice of the little creature. In a strange low voice she began to talk to the Ewok in his own language, ensuring the little creature felt safe and would recover. In a flash she saw what had happened to the little bear, but images of a happy, healthy little Ewok, running around in the village, jumping to the branches of the trees, almost immediately began to fill her mind. As she penetrated the mind of the little bear to pass on what she was seeing, her little patient relaxed. She sat next to the wounded tree bear and let her hands hover above the wound on the creature's leg. The warm radiating flow emanating from her fingers covered the wound and it seemed as if she saw that the frayed wound edges became smoother. The muscle tissue inside the wound also seemed to smooth itself. A damaged blood vessel stopped bleeding and a strange way of tissue repair seemed to set in. As she felt that the little tree bear had also fallen asleep she released herself from her concentration again and turned to the next wounded Ewok.
Using her new concentration experience she helped all four wounded Ewoks. All the time Logray watched her, but he never interfered with the way she was giving her help to his fellow tribesmen. After she had finished her task Logray made a deep bow and handed her a another bowl of water which she accepted with a smile. For a moment she and Logray sat together in total silent, watching the four Ewoks who were fast asleep, two of them were even snoring. As Liane rose Logray followed her downstairs. He opened the door to the platform outside his tree house and made a deep bow again. Liane felt he was showing his respect for what she had achieved with her strange way of help.
Back in her tree house she sat down on the edge of bed. A lot of questions came to her. How could it be that she understood what the wounded Ewoks were saying? How could it be that she could answer them in their own language without difficulty? However, most of all she felt strange about the odd and deep trance which had surrounded her and especially the strange radiating flow from her fingers had felt peculiar and baffling, but not uncomfortable. Her deep concentration had given her a heightened sense of what those wounded Ewoks feared, She also was sure that the images she had put in their minds, had helped them to relax. For a long time she wondered about those mystifying and puzzling images. Those images must have shown her the future and as soon as she had passed on those images in the little bear's mind she had known how to start the healing of the bear's injury, hovering her hands above the wound. She also was wondering about the strange radiating flow from her fingers that had started a kind of healing process.
A knock on the door interrupted her musings about her strange experiences. As she opened the door, Logray stood waiting, together with Chirpa and two others of the elders.
"Hada kono wilato miko. Tana kono simitiko dona, Logray said with a bow and also the Ewoks in his company made deep bow.
['I have told Chirpa and the others. Like me they are grateful for what you did.']
"Komano sofi gemati kimo sama." Liane said humbly.
['I hope what I did will help them.']
Chirpa stepped to the front.
"Tanoka timo sama diddo tika. Wikala pona diddo temo."He said and grabbed her hand with his paw.
['Your help is important. Come with us and join our meal.']
Surprised Liane followed the four Ewoks to the village center where the members of the tribe where greeting her with respect. Rumors of her way of help had already spread among the other tree bears. Chirpa took her with him inside his tree house. With kind gestures and many bows he made clear that she should sit down on a kind of chair which stood on dais at one side of the room. Chirpa bowed when he walked backwards to a corner of his house. All the while he remained looking at her. He took an object from a shelf and walked back to her. With great respect he offered her a necklace with beads of many different kind of dried nuts and flower seeds. He made clear to her that he wanted to lay the necklace around her neck. Liane bowed her head and Chirpa slid the necklace over head. He carefully arranged it.
"Hama diddo manoko sampa Aay-lee," He said, as he turned to the others who had entered the room.
['Eilidh is now an honored member of our tribe.']
"Koma tanka molano diddo kama tamona romo sinikomo tala,"He continued.
['We welcome her and will celebrate the recovery of our wounded tribesmen']
He beckoned her to follow him outside, where the other Ewoks had made preparations to serve a lavish meal. Liane got a seat among the elders flanked by Logray and Chirpa. Astounded and impressed by the ritual she tried to express her appreciation for the honor which the Ewok chieftains had bestowed on her. On a whim of kindness she put her hands on the paws of chieftains who were sitting next to her, squeezing those paws gently to show her gratitude. All Ewoks burst into loud cheers.
Having become a respected and honored member of the Ewok tribe now, Liane used the visualizing of images and the healing flow emanating from her fingers to help every wounded Ewok in the hospital tree house. The recovery of the wounded bears began immediately after she had started with her special way of treatment. Her new way of help still astonished and puzzled her, but it also earned her Chrirpa's and Logray's growing admiration. To express his gratitude chieftain Chirpa also ordered Teebo to end his task as her guard.
Leia stared at the holographic images Artoo was projecting. She ordered the droid to amplify and enhance the muffled conversation, while she listened with growing interest. After having listened to the whole recording several times she looked at the droid who was placidly waiting for her comments.
"I am sorry, your Highness," Threepio interrupted her thoughts, "Artoo insisted that I should contact you immediately at this untimely hour, because he has picked up some information you might be interested in."
Leia raised her hand.
"It's alright, Threepio. I have instructed Artoo to keep me informed about a certain person and his whereabouts."
"A certain person? You mean you Artoo is spying for you? Do you suspect someone?"
"Not spying, Threepio, it's surveying. I didn't tell you, Threepio, and it's better if you don't know what's going on. For Artoo it's much easier to find the information I want than it would be for you. You're an extraordinary help, but your appearance is too notable. Most people in Iritihm know you as my assistant, and for this special mission I needed a less conspicuous aid."
For a moment Threepio looked aggrieved, but he accepted Leia's explanation. Leia turned to the little astromech.
"Thank you, Artoo," she said, "I'm sure that Mon Mothma will find your recording of great interest."
She rose and walked over to her info com. Quickly she typed her access code and pressed a button. Immediately the holographic image of Mon Mothma popped up.
"Yes, Leia?" The Supreme Chancellor of the New Republic asked.
"Chancellor, my suspicions about one of the officers in the space fleet of the New Republic seems justified. Artoo has recorded a conversation between the officer and his brother. I want you to have a look at it."
Leia connected Artoo at her infocom, pressed another button, nodded at the droid, and waited patiently.
Some moments later Mon Mothma reappeared.
"I must express my thanks to your little droid, Leia. So the Phylotar brothers are still collaborating with our old enemies. Give your droid a specific order for an almost permanent surveillance of the one at Irithim. I will provide another droid to monitor the other one."
"I will, ma'am, but what will happen if Rand Phylotar finds Liane, before my brother does?"
"Then he has to warn your brother. Commander Skywalker is the only federal officer with an arrest warrant for Liane, remember. Only he may bring her to Dalmaran."
Leia nodded, but Mon Mothma saw her answer didn't convince Leia.
"I understand your doubts about my suggestion, Leia, but if we arrest them now their contacts will be alerted. We need to find out more about those secret contacts of the Phylotar brothers. Especially the one Daino Phylotar mentioned. I'm beginning to feel very worried about the stranger who is looking for Liane."
"Ma'am, if Rand Phylotar finds Liane first, he might torture her again. Ian Tydon has confirmed that it was Rand Phylotar who carried out the order to give her that mind drug. Isn't there any legal way to make him stay Irithim, until my brother has found Liane."
"Rand Phylotar is a federal officer with an impeccable state of conduct. I understand your concern for Liane Solichor, Leia. I also would be very happy if your brother could bring her to Irithim, so we could give her the proper medical treatment, before Rand Phylotar finds her, for she is the only one who can tell us what really has happened to her on Wegoyy. I agree with you that the plan of those Phylotars are worrysome, but I don't think that Rand Phylotar will harm Line Solichor again. He wants her to convince us of his innocence. We have to prevent that one of them brings her to the Outer Rim."
"Probably Daino's contact works for that unknown person and it's obvious that he is particularly interested in what my father has taught her. The late senator Zolgathrii also threatened her to bring her to an unknown planet in the Outer Rim Territories."
"You mentioned those threats in your report and you've expressed your concern about those words. Do you really think that there might be someone who is looking for the knowledge of the Sith again, Leia? We must prevent that at all cost. Give Artoo the instruction to keep Daino Phylotar under surveillance as often as possible, but under the current circumstances I don't want to take any measures against the Phylotars yet. He also should monitor Daino's brother in case he turns up in Irithim."
Leia nodded, but nevertheless she decided to inform her brother.
Marek Grann looked at the blaster which was pointed at him.
"Mister Grann where is Liane Solichor?" A voice snarled from behind a leather mask which covered most part of his face.
The face of the governor of Rasth hardened.
"I don't know anyone going by that name, " He answered.
"You're lying. You know whom I'm talking about. She has been traveling with your sons for almost a year under the name of Eilidh Grann."
"You're better informed than I am. Who are you? Do you have a governmental warrant to interrogate a private person? Put that blaster away, will you?"
"Tell me where I can find the girl. You know where she is."
"I haven't the faintest idea, Mister ...?"
"My name is of no importance, Mister Grann."
"If I don't know whom I'm talking to, I'm not obliged to answer any of your questions. Will you please excuse me."
Marek Grann was about close the door, but the masked visitor lunged at him and tried to grab him at his throat, but the governor of Rasth once had been a Rebel fighter and a very tough veteran officer in the Alliance. He took a hold of his opponent's arms, ducked aside and threw his attacker with a formidable throw over his shoulder on the garden path. In his fall the surprised attacker lost his blaster. Marek kicked it out of reach. The attacker managed to get to his knees and duck for his weapon, but Marek kicked hard on his hand, and gave him with his fist a hard blow between his eyes. The attacker fell backwards on the garden path again, bumping his head at the stones. Marek grabbed the lapels of the attacker's jacket and pulled him to his feet again. Swaying on his feet, the attacker grabbed at his bleeding nose, but Marek Grann didn't gave him time to recover and kicked him in his stomach. Groaning the attacker fell on his knees. Once again Marek grabbed the jacket of attacker and pulled at the attacker's mask, but suddenly the man yanked himself free. He scrambled more or less upright and rushed off. Marek Grann ran after him, but he slowed down his pace, as he saw how his attacker had already reached an old model landspeeder, managed to crawl at the driver's seat, started the engine and drove off at high speed. Marek watched him go. He turned back to the house, picked up the fallen blaster and went inside.
Once back at his office he scrutinized the weapon thoroughly.
"An old model of those imperial weapons," He said pensively after a close examination, "So my attacker probably is an old enemy. I'd better warn commodore Skywalker."
He walked over to his study and requested a special connection via a procon message.
"Special request for commodore Skywalker from Marek Grann." He said. The voice recognition robot requested his personal code. Marek gave it and waited. The holographic image of Luke appeared on the display.
"Any news, governor?" Luke asked with tension in his voice.
"You're not the only one who is looking for Eilidh, commodore?"
In short Marek Grann told Luke about his attacker. Luke listened intently.
"I will have that blaster collected and brought to Irithim. It must carry a number, so it will be easy to trace it to its owner."
"It carried no legible number, commodore. The markings have been wiped out, probably with a laser or an acid."
"Nevertheless I will see to it that it will be brought to Irithim," Luke said, "Be careful, governor. This man might come back."
"Don't worry, commodore. I might have lost some of my skills but I can stand my ground against these kind of cowards, but, you're right, I'll be at my guard. He won't surprise me again. I'll keep you informed."
He logged out and looked at the empty display.
"Eilidh, I don't know what's going on, but I will protect you as good as I can. It's obvious that more guys are looking for you and probably not all of them have good intentions."
"Luke, you said you would stop looking for her!"
"I did, Leia, but after what you've told me about Rand Phylotar's plan, I'm not so sure that would be a wise decision. I know I have other obligations, but I have a bad feeling about Mon Mothma's idea, to keep the Phylotars under Artoo's surveillance only."
"Like you, Rand Phylotar doesn't know where Liane is, Luke. Before your departure you said, you would stop looking for Liane. I am only reminding you of the many tasks the New Republic is still facing. We certainly need more trained Jedi Knights and you're the only one who can start their training. You have to pass on what master Yoda have taught you. Already a year agao you promised Wedge to take him as your padawan."
"Leia, will you please stop reminding me of the promises I made. I know my responsibilities and the obligations I have, but I have promised Anakin to teach Liane about the Good side of the Force, so she can become a Jedi Knight and a member of the Jedi Order. I made a very important promise to our father, Leia, and not only to him."
He felt displeased. Rand Phylotar was making plans to start looking for Liane, and he couldn't do anything to prevent those plans, so Liane needed his help. He also had promised Anakin to protect and guide the girl. Feeling some irritations about Leia's words, because his sister didn't want to accept his point of view, he left her office and went back to their apartment. He felt much uneasiness, for all kinds of troubling thoughts about Liane were rushing through his mind. Where was she? What could he do, so Rand Phylotar wouldn't be the first one to find her? Would she ever recover from Dendicott's abuse? Would he ...
'Luke, you're out of control of your emotional thoughts. Let go, Luke ... '
A familiar voice called him through the Force.
"I'm alright, Ben."
'No, son, you're not. You want to be in control of a situation which has too many uncertainties. You should rely on the Force at the moment. You're too much concerned about Liane Solichor. Let yourself be guided by the Force, Luke. The Force will help you, also on this matter. Control your emotional feelings, stay calm; the Force is protecting Liane Solichor as well.'
"I only want to know where she is. Ben, if you know where she is, please, tell me. I pick her up wherever she is, and help her to find a cure for her amnesia."
'Patience, Luke. One day Liane will have her memories back. The imperial mind drug won't last forever. Be patient, and wait until she uses your gift, again. You've given her the most important and wonderful present a Jedi Knight can bestow on someone he cares about. Luke, you feel too attached to Liane Solichor. Let go and rely on the Force, Luke.'
Luke shook his head and said with an irritated voice, "I'm worried, Ben, about what might happened to her if some else finds out where she is. What's wrong with that? Why should I neglect my worried feelings after what Leia told me about Rand Phylotar's plan. "
He heard his old master sigh.
'Luke, son, you're a Jedi Knight. More than once you have proofed you're relying on the Force. On the second Death Star you resisted Palpatine's manupulations; you controlled your emotions, when you defeated Anakin, afther he had threatened to turn Leia to the Dark Side. You didn't kill him. You showed yourself a true Jedi Knight, after you confronted the ones who caused you so much pain after you had found what happened to the one you cared about.'
"Ben, I don't want remember what happened. I've explained my point of view. What happened, because I probably felt too much involved and attached, can't be undone."
'That's the great difference between you and your father, Luke. Did Yoda ever tell you about Anakin's devastating failure on Tatooine. He gave in to his hatred for the ones he held responsible for the death of Shmi, your grandmother. Through the Force Yoda and I felt how Anakin massacred a tribe of Tusken Raiders. He gave in to his uncontrolled anger about what they had done to his mother and wiped out the whole group. Not only the males, but the females and children as well.'
Luke listened in silence to the brief story of Anakin's first failure which let him onto the path of the Dark Side.
'Yoda and I knew what Anakin had done and we knew what consequences his deed might have for his training as a Jedi. After you'd told us on Dagobah what happened to you and the outcome of your search for the truth we feared you would follow in Anakin's footsteps. That didn't happen. You're so much stronger than your father, but be aware that the Dark Side is always looming for a Jedi Knight. Your feelings for Liane might be another temptation for you. Be aware, son, of your feelings. Don't forget Yoda's lessons; he taught you the Jedi creed, remember. You have to live your life according to those rules. Be at peace, act from knowledge, be patient and remember, your strength as a Jedi Knight flows from the Force. '
Luke nodded thoughtfully, "Ben, I certainly haven't forgotten master Yoda's lessons about the importance of the Jedi creed. He has convinced me more than once that I should heed those rules. You're right of course, Ben, you're right, as is Leia..."
He stopped talking and cleared his mind of thoughts about Liane's whereabouts. He pondered if he was wrong about his worries about her and about his fear that Rand Phylotar might find her first. There was a minor lucky coincidence. He was the only one with an arrest warrant. Rand Phylotar had to contact him, if he had found Liane. He couldn't prevent Rand's plan, nor could he Liane against the real intentions of the Wegoyy colonel, because he didn't know where she was after she'd run away from Rasth. His only hopes laid in the power of the Jedi pendant he had given her, but his gift would be useless as long as she couldn't recall how to use it. Ben said, that she would get her memories back one day. He had to let go his thoughts about her, for at the moment there wasn't a good solution for all the uncertainties on this matter; he had to wait patiently until he would hear from her, or find her somewhere by accident. He banned all feelings of annoyance and irritation from his mind, turned inwards and watch the situation from a different point of view.
'Relax and stay calm. Put your mind at peace. Clear your mind of questions,' he said to himself, remembering his old master's teaching 'Relax and rely on the Force. A Jedi is peaceful and serene, a Jedi acts from knowledge, a Jedi is patient, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force, a Jedi relies on the will of the Force.'
He repeated the Jedi creed several times and felt how he controlled his heightened emotional feelings again.
'This isn't the moment to put my full concentration on Liane. Our paths don't run alongside each other for the time being. There are other, more important matters that need my attention.'
"Yes, Ben," Luke said, retreating from his Jedi trance, "Thank you for supporting me again. I can see clearly now what I have to do. I'm the last Jedi and I have to fulfill my obligations to you and to Master Yoda and also to Wedge, and to all the others who rely on my Force abilities. I will take Wedge as my padawan and start his Jedi training."
'Very good, son. Now you let the Force shows you the path, you have to follow.'
Luke sighed with a slight chuckle.
"I'd wish there would be more Jedi Knights, like Leia and me."
'It's only the two of you, who can make that happen. The future of the Jedi Order depends on the children of Anakin, Luke.'
Luke started to laugh.
"Tell me, Ben. Will we be training padawans all our lives."
'You certainly will and as long as is needed, son. In the past many Jedi masters have been training new padawans all their lives, passing on their great knowledge and understanding of the Force. You're the first of a next generation of Jedi Knights and that puts a heavy strain on you. We know that, but we'll be around to guide and help you as much as possible.'
"Thanks Ben, you're still trusting me, aren't you?"
'Of course, son. Now go and see Wedge and tell him your decision.'
Jerno had contacted his co-leaders Kalip and Valann to have a unannounced secret meeting in his residential house several miles away from the governmental area. At their arrival he offered them an extensive lunch with accompanying drinks. The three leaders sat down and enjoyed the different dishes, while exchanging some news and having small talk.
In the beginning of their triarchy, shortly after the Battle of Endor, they had often met each other secretly, mostly during nighttimes. The first months after the death of emperor Palpatine and his commander Darth Vader had been filled with many days of exuberant celebrations over the regained freedom, but Jerno, as the most high-ranking imperial admiral had taken immediate action. He had approached a group of dependably influential people from all walks of the imperial government to form a provisional council. He also had chosen his fellow officers and comrades Colonel Kalip Ru'ndo and Commodore Valann Namaran with whom he had formed the temporary triarchy. That way he had prevented the celebrations from turning into chaos and anarchy.
In insistance of the chief command of the imperial fleet, he had, with some reluctance, ordered preparations for the Battle of Jakku.
He himself had placed more hope and trust in the first hesitant talks between the former empire and the Alliance, but as a strategist within the imperial space fleet, he thought it only logical that the commanders of the remaining star destroyers would not surrender without a fight.
The Battle of Jakku had been disastrous. From the beginning the Alliance fleet had prevailed, especially as their fleet had been reinforced with thousands of larger and smaller space crafts from planets, clusters and systems that had been suppressed by the Empire.
As the situation near Jakku worsened Jerno, Kalip and Valann had made every effort to sign a cease fire followed by a temporary truce as quickly as possible. They had achieved a quick result, as both parties had longed for an end to the Civil War. Although a number of space fleet commanders had opposed further consultations with the Alliance after the armistice, Jerno had used his authority within the imperial space fleet staff, and finally had convinced a majority to negotiate the conditions for a peace treaty with the New Republic.
Within the newly founded Provisional Coruscant Council, he and his co-leaders, Kalip and Valann, had acquired great authority to form a new admistration that would govern the future policy in the galaxy in concert with the newly formed New Republic. Nevertheless their task hadn't been an easy one, as they had faced a prevailing suspicion within the imperial space fleet staffers and commanders against the former rebel's founded New Republic under the leadership under Mon Mothma who had been chosen as the Supreme Chancellor.
After the covenant with New Republic had been signed Jerno had hoped that their alliance with the New Republic would be in favor of what was left of the former empire, but after the daughter of Darth Vader had been forced from her home planet of Morantan, he had become worried, especially after the intelligence force had intercepted the odd messages aimed at a certain location in the Outer Rim. Meanwhile Jerno had become more and more convinced that someone in the Outer Rim wanted to come in contact with the daughter of Darth Vader, and he feared that the reason why she had to be brought to the Outer Rim, wasn't a peaceful one. His worries had increased after the New Republic's intelligence on Quoith had cooperated with theirs and had also sent them a complete an overview of a recent messages aimed again at the Outer Rim.
Jerno served some drink and looked at Kalip.
"You'd better bring Valann up to date, Kalip. After you have finished, I will inform both of you about a new resulting situation. I want to discuss with both of you some of my reflections and their conclusion."
A bit confused Kalip looked at Jerno and Valann.
"As you both know, my men have been monitoring some strange connections from different locations aimed at a spot in the Outer Rim. There always was a strange coincidence for those connections were always sending information if something had happened with the daughter of Darth Vader, although her name was never mentioned. After she had been assumed dead, our intelligence force didn't intercept any unusual connection aimed at the Outer Rim. Since these message had to do with Darth Vader's daughter, we informed our special contact with the New Republic."
Kalip looked at Jerno who nodded.
"Valann, last week, "After nearly two years the connection which had sent messages to that location on one of planet clusters in the Outer Rim, has been used again, this time again from Irithim. Its content mentions that Darth Vader's daughter is alive, but she seems to be suffering from amnesia. According to the intercepted content of the message she has been injected with the old imperial mind-weakening drug during an interrogation in the prison on Wegoyy. Our intelligence force has done some investigation about the regime in the Wegoyy prison and guess what: the commander in charge is Olon Dendicott, one of the officers who defected shortly after the Battle of Jakku. Moreover, it seems that some other former imperial officers have also shown their interest in the daughter of Darth Vader. So not only Jedi Knight Skywalker and the government of the New Republic are looking for her, but also the brothers Rand and Daino Phylotar, two other imperial defectors who joined Olon Dendicotte. In the message the contacts at Irithim reported that Daino Phylotar has asked them about the antidote for the mind-weakening drug. It's a pity that we can't intercept the response of their collocutor yet. I wonder who this man can be and why he is interested in Darth Vader's daughter. The answers from his contacts show that he wants them to kidnap her and be brought to a cluster in the Outer Rim."
Kalip looked at Valann and Jerno in turn.
"Thank you, Kalip. I'll take over, Valann. What I'm going to tell you is, for the time being extremely classified, for our intelligence force has to do much more research in cooperation with the intelligence force on Quoith. Thanks to those guys we now have full audio recordings, including the response of the person in the Outer Rim. I want you to listen to the audio recording the guys on Quoith have sent us."
Jerno started a holo display device which he had place on the low table. The three leaders listened intensively to the complete conversation. After the last laugh of the collocutor had died out, Jerno looked at Kalip and Valann.
"I have sent the other messages we've intercepted to Quoith as well, with a request if they could retrieve the full conversations. You'd better also listen to what has been said in those first messages."
Again Jerno started the device. He leaned back in his chair and watched his fellow leader who listen to all the earlier connections to the Outer Rim. When they had finished, Valann looked at Jerno.
"That guy took the initiative for her escape to Ortel. He paid the bribes for the guards and that senator, but his attempt to bring her to the Outer Rim hasn't been successful," He said and frowned before he wanted to continued. Jerno saw the disbelieve in his eyes and silenced him with a slight gesture.
"Kalip, you once said I shouldn't have any secrets for the two of you."
"That's more than two years ago, Jerno," Kalip answered.
"Your reproach was justified, but at that moment I couldn't reveal what I had been thinking, but those audio recordings from our allies on Quoith were the final proof I needed for my hypothesis about what is going on in the Outer Rim. I'm almost certain that I know the identity of the collocutor, and, Valann, am I right, you have recognize the voice too, haven't you?"
"I thought he was dead, a victim of the explosion near the Urervik cluster," Valann said hesitantly.
Kalip looked at Valann and shook his head, "Jerno, Valann, what you both are suggesting is impossible. We have evidence that those commanders were indeed on board that star destroyer that has exploded in the Urervik cluster four or five years ago, isn't it? As far as we know nobody survived and now you both think that one of those commanders survived."
"Kalip, did we really do a thorough investigation, after we heard about the explosion of that missing star destroyer. No, we didn't. At that moment our main concern was the existence on of Darth Vader's daughter on Morantan and what would happen if the New Republic would plan to eliminate that pocket of resistance.
We assumed that both commanders were on board the star destroyer that exploded, because we took their last message as full proof. There wasn't any real evidence that proofed our assumptions. The debris, collected by the Basilisaea, couldn't reveal the number of men that perished in the explosion. Furthermore between the disintegration of that last missing star destroyer and the message the commander of the other star destroyer, two years passed without any trace of the last star destroyer with two full crews and ground forces.
There's also another point that might proof my suspicion. In the last intercepted message there is talk of two defected imperial officers at Irithim who want the antidote for the imperial mind drug. During Palpatine's reign only the emperor himself, Darth Vader, and the members of the praetorian guard who also acted as the emperor's executors, were using the mind drug and other forms of severe torture. The imperial guards had the same unlimited mandate as Darth Vader to use any special tactics to torture and interrogate prisoners. They must have had access to many kinds of antidotes too. Maybe they even knew how to manufacture the antidotes. In the message we heard that the collocutor says, that he will cure the daughter of Darth Vader's mind loss. So he probably is familiar with the mind drug and their antidote.
Now I come back to those two commanders in the exploded star destroyer. One of them was the commander in charge, the one who has sent the message about the hyperdrive failure, the other one was the commander of the star destroyer that was destroyed in a meteor shower near Avali. He was our missing admiral and went on board the second star destroyer that two years later exploded due to that hyperdrive malfunctioning. We've discussed this matter shortly after we heard about the exploded star destroyer. We even held a memorial service for all those perished men."
Valann nodded with a serious frown and Kalip shook his head.
"Jerno," Valann commented hesitantly, "At that time you referred to the special assignment the admiral had as a member of the staff on Morantan. What do we know exactly of him?"
"I've found out that from the moment he got his commission on the imperial space fleet, as a junior officer, he has drawn the Emperor's special attention."
Kalip's face had gotten a very worried expression and he only listened to Jerno and Valann. As his co-leader looked at him he said, "Jerno, you know who you're talking about, don't you?"
Jerno nodded, "I do, Kalip, and looking at you and Valann I can only conclude that you also know, but my conclusions aren't based on real hard evidence yet."
Valann only nodded, Kalip cautiously commented on what he heard,
"So our missing admiral has survived the explosion and now lives somewhere in the Outer Rim and is looking for the daughter of Darth Vader? Why? What does he want of her? What so special about her, expect that she is the last Si..."
Jerno hushed him, before Kalip had finished his comment, then he said, "Indeed, Kalip, that's probably the reason why he is looking for her. As a former staff member on Morantan he probably knows what kind of knowledge Darth Vader has taugh her."
"If this means that he wants to exploit that knowledge," Valann commented, "then we must find the origin of the message he has sent from Avali in which he says, that his star destroyer is lost and that he and his crew had abandoned the ship and landed on Avali. Did he really sent it from Avali, or was it a diversion? If that missing admiral wasn't on board that space ship that exploded with two hundred or more of our men two year later, then we must investigate the cause of that explosion anew, and find out what happened to the two crews between the Avali message and the last message before the explosion, and on which planet or system in the Outer Rim he is hiding and what he has in mind with the daughter of Darth Vader."
"We certainly should do so, Valann," Jerno said, "It's about time to take several actions ourselves and start digging into the old intelligence logs and the archive of the empire. We need to compose an exact time line of all the events with as much details as possible, from the moment those two star destroyers disappeared after the Battle of Jakku, until the last message of the disintegrate star destroyer near the Urervik cluster. We also need to gather any facts about the careers of those two missing commanders and especially the career of our missing admiral. Our investigations shouldn't attracted attention, so we have to keep our findings secret, until we knew exactly what's going on. Despite our desired secrecy, I suggest, that we should give Admiral Vestor of the Basilisaea a much broader mandate and extend his mission to monitor and take a look at the clusters in the Outer Rim near the Unknown Territories, but he must pay special attention to the Urervik and Avali clusters which are near the aimed coordinates our joined intelligence forces have found. His surveillance flights must look like normal scans or surveyes."
"Our intelligence force can provided him with a number of different coordinates which are close to the location of the intercepted messages," Kalip said.
"Wedge, now stretch out with you feelings and tell me what you sense around you?" Luke said and watched his friend.
Wedge Antilles looked around and focussed his mind on his surroundings.
"There are all kind of life forms, master, large ones, herbivores and a few small predators, but also smaller ones life forms, even tiny ones, like birds, worms, different insects, and all kinds of plants. They live nearby, up in these trees, even under my feet. I see all kinds of bright colors around the plants in the undergrowth and around the trees. I feel your presence, master, for you're part of all this too, and so am I. Everything looks in connection with each other; we, the trees, the herbivores, the predators, the birds among the leaves, but also the stones and the water in the river. However, there is also decay and death; rotting leaves and remains of dead animals."
"What you're feeling is the Living Force. Her power surrounds everything, and penetrates us. We're connected with everything that surrounds us. Not only other humans, but all kinds of life forms. The Force shows us our union with everything that lives, grows and dies. The Force is an eternal circle, that creates life; makes it grow, and in the end the Force deploys the decay of all life it has created. Now, take a seat on that rock, close your eyes, listen and become one with everything that surrounds you, become one with the Force."
Wedge sat cross legged on the flat stone and took a Jedi meditation stance. He closed his eyes and tuned in on the Force. Luke nodded approvingly. His friend had gained much knowledge about the Force and its influence on him these last ten months. Wedge's commitment to the Force was unconditional. He controlled the Force and could use her tremendous strength at will.
"Now I want you to slowly lift yourself and as many of the stones around you as you feel. See yourself and the stones in your mind, surround them with your thoughts and feel how the Force also surrounds you and the stones and that you can move them in a way you want," Luke said with a calm Jedi voice.
Some five stones in front of Wedge slowly started to rise and hovered in the air. After he had raised the stones he started to hover himself several centimeters above the flat stone.
"Now put the stones on top of each other. Control their movements. Use your hand to direct the stones."
Wedge stretched out his hand and the largest stone floated to place in front of him. While he slightly drifted himself to the left, he slowly let it sink on top of the flat stone. Then he reached out to the next stone. For a moment it hovered above the first stone, then it came down on top of it. One by one Wedge directed the five stones in the right position and on top of each other. Finally he surrounded the pile with his Jedi thoughts and kept the stones in a exquisite equilibrium.
"Well done, Wedge. Your control of the Force is excellent," Luke said with a laugh, "You've been practising a lot, haven't you? Release yourself."
Wedge came out of his Force trance and looked at his friend and Jedi master.
"I did as you taught me, master, but I'm not always certain about my use of the Force."
"You will become more certain the more you feel you're always will be one with the Force. You're more and more committing yourself completely to her power," Luke commented. "Let's practise with the training remotes. Ready your lightsaber, Wedge. This time I'm using all seven remote, so be prepared."
Wedge took his lightsaber in his hand, becoming one with the Force. He took on a defensive stance to ward off the small paralyzing laser beams. One by one Luke activated the remotes and threw them in his padawan's direction. The remotes encircled the fighter pilot on all side and started to fire. Wedge estimated all the imminent attacks with great accuracy. The attack of the seven remotes lasted only a few seconds. In the blink of an eye Wedge deactivated the remotes which landed inert on the ground. Luke smiled at his friend and padawan.
"Excellent, Wedge. We're finished for today. Let's go back to Irithim. Drop me off at Leia's office, will you? You go back to the space port and ready the Astræga for take off. You and I are going on mission. You have to assign the command of Gold Squadron temporarily to Gold One."
"Yes, master. May I ask where we're going?" Wedge asked, calmly.
"To Tatooine, Wedge. We will leave after I have seen Leia."
The two friends went over to their speeder. Luke jumped at the passenger's seat and left it Wedge to drive him back to Irithim.
At the government building Luke requested to see his sister. After having waited for half an hour in the antechamber of Leia's office, his sister and her padawan entered. Leia was still busy having some final talks with some senators. Ian stood patiently at her side. The senators took their leave with a polite greeting and Leia walked over to her brother.
"I'm leaving with Wedge, Leia. Tonight! First I'll go with him to Tatooine and if he succeeds I'll take him to Dagobah," Luke said as his took his sister's hand.
"I will contact you immediately if Marek Grann has heard any news about Liane, Luke. Have you felt some other tremors in the Force, coming through the Jedi-pendant, recently?"
Luke shook his head.
"No, I hope she is still wearing the pendant," He said with a deep sigh.
Leia slid the door of her office aside, took her brother inside, and beckoned her padawan to follow them.
"I'm sure she does, Luke. When will you be back?"
"That depends, Leia. I'm convinced, that Wedge is ready for his trials, but I can't estimate how much time I'll need on Dagobah. Using the true abilities of a Jedi Knight on Dagobah requires full commitment to the Force and more."
"I'm sure Wedge will enjoys his stay on Dagobah with you, as much as I did, Luke. It's such a tremendous experience."
Luke noticed the interested look at the young padawan's face.
"One day it will be your turn to go with me and Leia to Tatooine and Dagobah, Ian," Luke said.
"Yes, master Luke, but there's still enough for me to learn at the moment," Ian said with a thoughtful smile, "Will you give commander Antilles my regards and wish him luck."
"For a Jedi there's no such thing as luck, my young padawan. A Jedi always relies on the Force," She said sternly.
"Yes, master. I only expressed some well wishes towards commander Antilles," Ian Tydon said humbly.
"I know what you mean, Ian. My sister told me, you're doing fine. Keep on with your training." Luke said.
"I will, master Luke. I didn't expect to become someone's padawan so soon, let alone that your sister would become my Jedi master."
"There wasn't much choice, Ian. You could only become a padawan of Leia or of me. There are only two Jedi Knights at the moment," Luke said with a laugh, "I don't want to push you, Ian, but we certainly want to extend that number of Jedi Knights in the near future. I expect a lot of you."
"I fully commit myself to my training, masters. I feel it as a great honor to become a Jedi Knight. I hope I won't fail you."
"I'm convinced you won't, Ian," Luke said and patted the young padawan at his shoulder.
They all laughed.
Leia, I know Mon Mothma keeps you busy, but I hope you will find ... "
"... enough time to train my padawan. Is that what you want to say, Luke?"
"I can't schedule your time, Leia, and I certainly don't want to push you or Ian."
"You can safely go to Dagobah with Wedge. I'm enjoying the company of my padawan. His permanent presence is another step in my own Force development. Mon Mothma has already exempt me from most Council meetings. Just like you, she wants me to spend as much time as I need on my padawan's training. She's aware of the importance of our tasks as Jedi Masters."
"I knew I could rely on you, my dear sister. I'm going now. Wedge will have the Astræga ready at the space port."
"I'm sure you both will have a great time. Wedge is your best friends, Luke, and your former wingman. "
After a formal Jedi greeting to his sister and her padawan Luke left the government building and went on his way to the space port.
"You're a stupid fool." Daino snarled at his brother, "Going to Rasth yourself. You're lucky you could get away, otherwise Skywalker would have known by now, that we're after his girlfriend too. Rand, you have to learn a lot, if you really want to safe your skin. Questioning Marek Grann should have been done by a mercenary. Never do these jobs yourself."
Rand Phylotar silenced. His brother was right. He had acted in blind haste; thought that Marek Grann would be easily intimidated by that old imperial blaster. Better not tell Daino he had lost it. Luckily he had stripped off the number with a laser needle before he went to Rasth.
"Marek Grann denied he knew the girl," He said.
"Of course he denied. Marek Grann is a veteran of the Alliance. A very tough guy with a great number of successes during the Civil War. His last rank was lieutenant-general. You thought that that governor would be no match for you and your blaster, that he would confess immediately all he knew. Had you known, what I've been telling you about Marek Grann, you probably would have given your plan a second thought? You're still a hotshot, Rand. You might be promoted colonel, but what you lack are the skills of a captain. What price did you pay to get this rank?"
Rand Phylotar grabbed his brother by the lapels of his uniform jacket.
"Watch you're mouth, my kid brother. You've done no better. You were promoted captain, because you paid some one a good amount of money. My money!"
Daino Phylotar grabbed his blaster. His brother released him and backed off.
"Hold it, Daino. No hard feelings. We both knew that the ways higher up needed some extra pushing."
Rand grinned. Daino put his blaster back.
"What are your further plans?" He asked.
"Can you check out on that Skywalker, Daino? He's the only one who might know where she is."
"Skywalker has left Dalmaran together with commander Antilles. Probably on one of those missions to wipe out further resistance against the New Republic."
"So he stopped his traveling in the Outer Rim Territories; could this mean that he's no longer looking for her."
"They probably reminded him, that the New Republic is not giving him a regular paycheck to fly around like a fool."
They both started to laugh. Daino put his hand on his brother's shoulder.
"Go back to Mas'onom, Rand, wait there for my message to inform you when it's safe to head back to Wegoyy. I'm going to settle everything here. The Supreme Chancellor and Jedi Knight Organa with her padawan are going to pay a visit to the leaders of Tambrin. If it's up to some friends of mine, they will get rid of that defector Tydon, so you and Dendicott doesn't have to fear for your future. Probably the Supreme Chancellor and that Skywalker's sister will fall victim too in my friend's assassination attack and the New Republic has to find itself a new leader, but that's collateral damage," He said with a malignant grin.
Rand looked suspicious, but didn't comment.
"I'll contact you when things are settled." Daino said.
Without any further words they parted. Each went in an oppositie direction. Neither of them was aware, that their whole conversation had been recorded in the vidbanks of a small Artoo astromech droid that seemed to have been silently watching them from behind a huge tree, hiding itself among the thick undergrowth of the De'olon forest.
Wedge Antilles looked at the stone and the different parts that had to be assembled as a lightsaber. He felt discouraged. For a third time he had not been able split the stone and take out the crystal he needed to assemble his lightsaber. He knew that the crystal he had to use was inside the stone, but he hadn't been successful. Splitting the stone with the use of the Force, as Luke has told him to do. He sighed.
"Maybe I'm not ready for the trials, Luke," He said, "Maybe your believe in my skills were too optimistic."
Luke Skywalker who sat cross legged on the couch in the living, didn't answer. He was watching his padawan attentively.
Wedge took the stone in his hands again and softly pressed it at all sides. He shook his head.
"This isn't going to work," He murmured.
He put the stone aside and picked up several parts of his new lightsaber. Carefully he aligned the different parts. He exactly knew the working of the Jedi's weapon. The hilt contained all the parts that would ignite the laser blade at the disk, but the battery needed the crystal to amplify the laser blade. Wedge sighed again. He knew how to assemble the different parts, but Luke had told him that he should chose one of the stones which had the kyber crystal of his choice inside. Wedge took the stone and rose.
"I'll try one of the other ones, Luke," He said.
Luke nodded, but didn't comment.
Wedge walked to the workbench and took the stones one by one in his hand. They were all more or less the same size. Luke's instruction had been clear, he wanted him to chose one of these stones, retrieve the crystal, and assemble his own lightsaber. It had sounded easy. He had chosen the first stone in the row.
Wedge walked back to the main living and looked at this friend and Jedi Knight. He sat down on one of three-legged stools.
"Luke, honestly, I don't know where to start," he said, looking disappointed, "I think, we'd better go back to Irithim. I'm not ready to become a Jedi Knight."
"I disagree, Wedge," Luke said in his soft Jedi voice, "but your frustration isn't going to help you any further. If you would return to Irithim now and come back, let's say, three months from now or two years, you would still feel the same frustration and disappointment."
Wedge stared at the floor between his feet.
"I lack the knowledge to retrieve the crystal, Luke, that's all. I know how the parts have to be assembled, but I lack the most important part: the Illum-crystal."
"That's right. Putting the different part together is fairly easy. Our technical knowledge is more than sufficient to get the job done." Luke commented, still using his Jedi voice.
"Yes, but not sufficient enough to assemble my lightsaber," Wedge murmured, while he avoid looking at his friend.
He rose and walked back to the workbench.
"Alright, I'll give it another try," He sighed.
"You should do, Wedge, if you try, you're allowing yourself to fail, for you're not believing in what you want to achieve. Do, or do not, there is no try, is what master Yoda taught me." Luke commented.
Wedge looked at his friend.
"Nice, Luke, but maybe you could help me a bit."
"I can't, Wedge. This is part of your initiation trial."
Wedge went over to the workbench and reflected on Luke's words.
'I should do, but I need help. Who can help me? If Luke's not going to help, I have to do this on my own, but how?'
He looked at the stones on the workbench and suddenly it was as if he could see inside one of them. A white elongated crystal with a bluish cast was shimmering inside it. He stretched out his hand. The stone rose and landed in his hand.
'I have to use this stone, not the one of my first choice,' He thought and took the stone in both hands.
In a slight Force trance, his thoughts still focussed on the stone, he sat down on the floor near the other parts of his lightsaber. He looked at them and now saw a blue haze of the Force around each of the parts.
'The Force! Of course. Luke said the Force would guide me to find the right crystal. I can do it, if I feel the Force around and inside the stone.' He thought and deepened his Jedi meditation.
Once again he looked at the parts in front of him and now they had started to hover slightly above the ground. Deeper and deeper Wedge Antilles tuned in on the Force. He wasn't aware of his surroundings anymore, he became part of the Force, part of all things in the galaxy that were unified through the Force.
He still had the stone with the bluish white crystal inside, in his hands. The tips of his fingers softly pressed the stone and with a soft crack the stone broke in two halves. An elongated white crystal, released itself and hovered in front of his eyes. The bluish cast changed into a deep bright blue.
'It's beautiful,' Wedge thought and reached out to touch the crystal. It felt smooth and radiate a Force flow which completely seemed to surround and penetrate him. It felt like the crystal became part of him, and he became part of the crystal.
His eyes wandered to the other parts of his lightsaber and he aligned them with the hovering crystal in their midst. He touched the different parts one by one with his thoughts and put them together. The crystal easily fixed itself above the power cell which would activate the blade. Wedge touched the top of the hilt and let it slide itself over the rear part. It fitted with a soft click.
In front of him hovered an assembled lightsaber. His lightsaber! Inside it was the blue crystal which was part of himself. He reached out to the lightsaber and came to rest in his outstretched hand. He released from his deep Force trance and looked at the weapon in his hand.
"See, you could do it," He heard the voice of his Jedi master, "You only had to accept the Force as your ally, Wedge. After you finally surrendered yourself to her will, she showed you the crystal that radiates your own Force core, your union with the Unifying Force. You were ready for your trials, as I said, Wedge, trust my judgment. We're going to leave Ben's former home this evening and head for Dagobah, where you will pass the other trials and become Jedi Knight, like me, my friend."