he next morning Luke took Liane to the space port. When Liane held her ID-card in her hand, she looked at him with some hesitance. Luke put his hand on her shoulder and nodded. Still feeling some uneasiness Liane held her card in front of the scanner. With a relieved smile she noticed that the card was accepted.
"It feels odd, Luke, to get permission to this area under my old name," She said.
Luke looked at her encouragingly.
"As long as you don't have an ID-card with your real name on it, you're Eilidh Grann, the shining, beautiful sister of the Grann brothers."
Liane laughed, when Luke mentioned the name, she had used for more than two years.
"You seem to know almost everything about what happened to me. You even know the name Yarnick gave me: Eilidh. It sounded so mysterious. He and his brothers even gave me an ID-card with that name."
"Yarnick and his brothers cared for you, Liane, they felt very much compassion for you."
Liane nodded and said with a warm smile.
"I know they cared for me. I have to apologize to their parents, Marek and Aaliyah. I ran away, because I didn't want to be cause of trouble among their family. I hope, they will forgive me for what I did?"
"They will, Liane. They really wanted to help you. It's very fortunate, that Marek mentioned your new name. Yesterday that little Ewok Teebo recognized your holograph when I arrived in the village. He seemed terribly concerned about you, and started a fierce argue with the Ewok leaders. Finally they insisted I had to follow Teebo."
"I had been exploring an unknown part of the forest outside the village, but I had promised to be back in five days. When I didn't return in time, Teebo probably went looking for me," Liane said, "He thought I was ill, because I was constantly crying, for I didn't know how to cope with my new reality after I had read the words on the stone."
She shook her head and quickly turned her attention to the hassle and bussle on the small space port.
"This all looks so strange to me now. I can hardly believe I have been watching this after my arrival."
Luke started his speeder and drove to a docking bay where the ground personnel had secured the Astræga. As they had reached a docking bay at the far end of the space port Luke brought the speeder to a halt in front of his space ship. While he lowered the ramp, Liane looked impressed at the huge front and the raised wings.
"Are you flying this without a crew?" She asked.
Luke nodded, helped her out of the speeder and took her inside the vessel. Proudly he showed Liane around and finally he brought her to the cabin Leia used, if they were traveling together.
"Take with you what you like of my sister's clothes. I'm sure she won't mind. Behind that wall," He said and pointed to the right wall of the cabin, "Is her dressing room. The wall will slid aside, if you press the button in that gold plated groove. I'll wait for you in the control room. Push this button to open the door."
Liane entered the cabin and felt impressed by the high quality of the interior. The white walls had a soft shimmering surface. Hesitant she sat on a couch and looked around. She saw a holographic image of Luke, smiling from wall. She smiled back and feeling suddenly more at ease she started to investigate the cabin more carefully. In the right wall her hand slid along a neatly polished shining white golden groove. Her fingers found the hidden button. When she pressed it the whole wall slid aside and she saw a beautiful dressing room with a water vapor shower. At the left side she saw several small doors. She opened them one by one and saw shelves stacked with bath foams, perfumes and make-up boxes. Behind another double door several tunics, overalls and pants lay neatly folded and a dozen of very exclusive dresses hung on a clothes rack. Liane recognized all these clothes directly. They all give forth Leia's elegant taste. Won't her old friend really mind, if she would wear some of her clothes? She pick a soft brown yellow overall with a tunic from the shelf and held up to watch herself in a wall sized mirror. She smiled and nodded happily. She would take on this one. Quickly she took off her clothes and took shower. The warm vapor comforted her. She combed her hair, weaved a pair of locks at the front to long braids and fastened them at the back of her head. Finally she put on the ocher pants with the tunic. She saw a pair of boots in the same color and tried them on. They fitted. She folded her furry clothes and put them on the couch. For a moment she sat down. What would Luke think? Maybe she had chosen one of Leia's ceremonial clothes. She'd better choose one of those real traveling clothes, one of those darker outfits.
A voice outside the door woke her up from her reverie.
"I'm coming." She called back.
She walked over to the door and pressed the bottom.
Luke looked at her with admiration.
"Well chosen, Liane. You look fabulous," He said, while he took her to the control room and pulled her next to him on one of the couches.
"Are you sure, Luke, Leia won't mind."
"Absolutely. Leia has more than enough clothes. Nowadays she mostly wears her Jedi outfit. I'm sure, she even won't miss this one, but we'll tell her I told you to make use of her wardrobe when we're back on Dalmaran."
"You're going to take me back to Dalmaran?"
"Not immediately, but sooner or later I have to bring you back to Irithim."
"Because the Supreme Chancellor and the members of the High Council wants to hear from you personally what commander Dendicott and his men have done to you. But for the moment we're staying on Endor."
"Are you sure, you won't get into problems, if you stay with me? Haven't you told them, you went looking for me?" Liane asked.
"Don't worry, Liane, the Supreme Chancellor herself has asked me to continue my search for you," He said and took out the holo card with the special mandate, "Read this."
He handed her the holo card. Liane looked at the card, turned it over and looked her holographic image. For a moment she laughed, when she handed it back to him she looked very seriously.
"You're the only official who may arrest me and bring me back to Dalmaran?" She asked.
"After your staged escape, Commander Dendicott organized an superficial search on Wegoyy. His men were given a fake warrant which stated they could arrest you and bring you back to the Wegoyy prison. Later on, the officers at Tropass space port also got the fake instruction to search for you. I've asked general Madine to counter order all those orders and mandates, and assign me as the only officer to do an investigation of your escape." Luke explained.
"Why did you want to be the only one?" Liane asked with a curious glance in her eyes.
For a short moment Luke was silent, then he put his hand on her arm.
"I made you a promise, Liane. I promised I would help you and be a friend you could trust. When Leia and I got the message on Tambrin that you had escaped, I was so amazed, because during our chats you never mentioned any plan to escape again. I couldn't believe you should do something like that again. Already before I went to Wegoyy to do some investigation on your escape, I felt that the commander's story was a lie. After I'd seen the evidences he provided I was convinced you hadn't escaped. Later Ian told me the full truth."
"It feel so good, Luke, that you and Ian have become friends. I hope that I will meet him again one day, so I can thank him for his friendship," She mused, "unless the leader of the New Republic will order you to .... "
"She didn't finish her sentence and looked frightened.
"... bring you back to Wegoyy? Is that what you were thinking, Liane. That won't happen, Liane, if I can prevent it," Luke said reassuringly, "I have good hope that the Supreme Chancellor will pardoned you, after what has happened to you. As far as Ian is concerned, you will certainly meet him again, if I'll bring you back to Dalmaran. He's Leia's padawan learner."
"Ian will become a Jedi Knight! A Jedi Knight, like you?" Liane exclaimed, "Oh, Luke, so much happened during that long period, when I couldn't remember my past. Are you sure, that the Supreme Chancellor will pardoned me?"
"I have to leave that to my sister. Leia is a member of the High Council. She is a member of the special committee which is investigating Ian's testimony and the illegal practises in the Wegoyy prison."
Liane was silent and stared to the opposite wall of the control room.
"Have you already send a report to the Supreme Chancellor to let her know that you have found me? Do you have to arrest me and take me with you as your prisoner, if you go back to Dalmaran?" She whispered.
"Only Leia knows that I have found you. Liane, if we're going back to Irithim, you're coming with me as my guest of honor, certainly not as my prisoner." Luke said.
His reassuring words and his friendly calm voice gave Liane a comforting feeling. She looked at him, feeling more at ease.
"Have I reassure you a bit, Liane?" Luke experienced a overwhelming kind of feeling of bliss, when he saw the happy smile that had appeared on Liane's face, "For the time being we'll stay together. I would love to hear from you, how you've become a member of the Ewok tribe. Shall we get back to the village?"
Liane wanted to answer, when Luke suddenly raise his hand to silence her.
"I feel Leia's presence, Liane."
Luke became completely silent and didn't seem to be aware of Liane's presence anymore, for his eyes had gotten an absent stare, as if he had become part of an other reality. Liane was utterly confused about what was happening, but she didn't dare to disturb him.
Luke had reached out through the Force.
'What's the matter, Leia?' He said.
'Did you find Liane, Luke?' His sister asked.
Luke heard a concerned tone in her voice.
'Yes I have. I'm with her on Endor's space port, at the moment. I've told her, she could take some of the clothes from your wardrobe. '
He heard Leia laugh.
'Tell her, she may use all she wants. So, you're planning to come back to Dalmaran with Liane,' Leia said relieved.
'Not yet, Leia. I am going to use the following days, weeks, or, if necessary, months to show Liane how she can make use of the Good Side of the Force. I want her to become my padawan learner.'
'Luke, I knew you would say something like that, but you must come back with Liane to Irithim immediately. Mon Mothma thinks it's probable, that Rand Phylotar has informed Dendicott about the Granns. In that case, Dendicott certainly might go to Rasth. Mon Mothma has already sent a warning to Marek Grann to be on his guard. The other members of the High Council also have expressed their concern. We all think, that Dendicott has been making serious plans for his own search for Liane. If he find her ...'
'Leia, I'm the only officer who may bring Liane back to Irithim.' Luke said determinedly.
'Luke, please, listen to me. If somehow Dendicott finds out that Liane is living on Endor, he will come to Endor with a group of his men, and you'll be outnumbered.'Leia warned her brother.
'How could he possibly know about her whereabouts, Leia. Nobody knew that Liane has fled to Endor. Even the Granns didn't. Stop worrying, Liane is safe with me, as long as we stay on Endor. Don't tell the Supreme Chancellor yet, that I have found her. '
'I won't, Luke, but please, think about what I've told you. Dendicott might be a dangerous opponent.'
'I will, Leia. I'll let you know, if I'll change my plan.' Luke said and came out of his Force trance.
He saw Liane looking at him with a mystified, but also concerned look.
"What happened to you, Luke?" She asked, "Did you really talk to Leia through the Force?"
"A Jedi can reach another Jedi to pass information, using Jedi telepathy, Liane. I will explain this form of Force use later. Let's get back to the Ewok village now."
He rose and walked back to Leia's cabin. Liane followed him, mulling over his mysterious behavior. Luke opened the covering panel under the sleeping couch and grabbed a traveling bag.
"Put in some more of my sister's clothes, Liane. Leia says you may use them all, if you want," He said and slid the closet door aside. Quickly he took some seven overalls, tunic and pants from the closet and put them in the bag. When he also wanted to take one of the dresses, Liane protested and grabbed his arm.
"Leia's dresses are useless in the village, Luke."
"You will look gorgeous in one of Leia's dresses, Liane," He said with an admiring smile.
Liane shook her head and put the dress back.
Tell me, why did Leia contact you?" She asked concerned, "Has it something to do with me? Tell me, Luke, do you have to bring me back now."
"Yes and no, Liane. Indeed Leia asked me to come back with you to Dalmaran. Our Supreme Chancellor fears that commander Dendicott will go to Rasth to ask Marek Grann about you."
"The commander will go to Rasth. So he has found out, that I traveled with Yarnick and his brothers? Will he harm Marek and Aaliyah and their sons? Luke, I can't let that happen. They have been too kind for me. Can't we go to Rasth and warn Marek and Aaliyah. Beside, if that vicious commander would turn up you could defend them. You're a Jedi, Luke. You can defeat him."
Luke placed a reassuring arm around Liane's shoulders.
"The Supreme Chancellor has warned Marek Grann already, Liane. As a governor Marek is in charge of a contingency of local armed forces. If necessary, he will certainly use them. As to his sons, they are very hard to find, as I know by experience. You're safe, Liane, for nobody knows you've found your way to Endor, even the Granns don't know. Leia will keep me informed."
Liane looked at him with a worried frown.
"How will Leia able to reach you once we're back in the Ewok village?" She asked.
"You still have a lot to learn about the possibilities a Jedi Knight has at his command through the Force. Listen, Leia and I can use our Jedi skills to communicate through the Force. A Jedi doesn't need technology to keep in touch with other members of the Jedi Order. They rely on the Force. Let me explain a bit of it, for I feel you're not satisfied with my former explanation. Any Jedi Knight can attuned on thought patterns through the Force. You can compare it with the way you can communicate with me through the Jedi-pendant. The only difference is that you has to concentrate on me before we can talk through Force. Leia and I have a mutual ability through the Force to communicate. Every Jedi develops this ability as a padawan. I can tell you more, if you want to learn to use it too, but for now we're going back to the Ewok village."
Luke picked up the bag with Leia's clothes. Liane followed him down the ramp of the Astræga, still puzzling and thinking about Luke's explanation of the way he and Leia could communicate through the Force.
Later in the evening Luke lay staring to the leaf covered ceiling of his guest tree house. He pondered on what Leia had told him. His sister was right, of course. If, by accident, Dendicott would find out where Liane was, he certainly would come to Endor, and he wouldn't come alone. If that would happen, it would be very difficult to protect Liane on his own.
His only hope was, that Leia would be able to find out more about Dendicott's plan and inform him in time about further developments. The best way to proceed was to show Liane, that she also was able to use the Good Side of the Force. She had to become fully aware how strongly the Force was influencing her in everything she did, so he could convince her, she had to become his padawan learner.
Finally Luke banned all disturbing thoughts; he let the Force show him all the possible dangers and the dilemmas from different points of view. He wanted to stay on Endor with Liane. The forest of Endor provided an terrific opportunity to start her Jedi training. Except for Dagobah he wouldn't find a better place. Endor was even more perfect, because Dagobah held a dark secret.
He concentrated on the world outside his guest house and let the noises and sounds of the forest penetrate his thoughts. There were cracking branches, rustling leaves and somewhere,far off, an animal howled. A night bird swept among the trees. Luke heard the inaudible rustle of its wings. Even the tiny movements of a moth didn't escape his sophisticated alertness. Then he noticed that in her tree house near the lake Liane was still wide awake. He felt her tremendous joy about their reunion and the puzzling new knowledge he had told her about.
'Liane, you'd better get some sleep. It has been an exciting day for you.' He reached out to her, wondering if she would notice his concern. He wasn't really surprised when he heard her response.
'Will you really teach me how...'
Suddenly her response broke off. Then Luke felt the power of the Jedi-pendant. Surprise Liane sat upright when his apparition appeared.
"Did I answer you in the Jedi way?" She asked inquisitively.
'Of course, you did.' Luke said with a grin. 'You're constantly surprising me, Liane. You clearly trust the Force to be your ally. No wonder my father took you as his apprentice.'
"It felt strange to answer you using Jedi-telepathy. I heard you say I had have some sleep. Will you really teach me to communicate with you through the Force this way, or do you want me to teach something else? "
'Patience, Liane. You really have to get some sleep now.' Luke urged her with concern, 'Clear you mind of questions. It's time for you to rest.'
Luke repeated his words a couple of times using his power to ease Liane's thoughts. She obeyed to his strong Jedi influence, but he also felt how she resisted him. She had a very strong will of her own.
'Stop fighting the Force's influence I share with you, Liane. She won't harm you. I only want you to relax.'
Liane began to look sleepy. Luke looked at her with warm feelings of friendship. Again he sensed the overwhelming feeling of happiness as flashes of images he had seen before, entered he mind again. He pondered on Liane's Force skills and the ease with which she seemed to pick up new knowledge. Once again he looked down on the young woman, who finally had accepted him as a friend. Liane's hands slipped of the pendant and Luke felt she had lost her Force concentration.
'Pleasant dreams, Liane, and may the Force be with you.'He murmured as he opened his eyes in his guest tree house.
The first following days, Luke focused mainly on Liane's physical Force skills. Together with her he ran through the Endor jungle at a high pace. If fallen tree stems or rocks in undergrowth blocked her path, she jumped and landed with a somersault or a high jump over those obstacles, at which she clearly relied on the Force. Without halting, she took up again her velocity. The hours-long running also didn't seem to exhaust her and Luke complimented her with the exertion.
"You are using the Force extremely well to extend your physical powers, Liane," Luke said as they had reached the clearing near the lake, "Now I want you to jump straight up and land on the terrace around your tree house."
Liane looked at her tree house above her. In the blink of an eye she reached out to the Force, jumped high in the air, grabbed the balustrade that surrounded the terrace around her tree house and hoisted herself up.
"Splendid, you're doing absolutely great. Did Anakin teach you these high jumps?" Luke said looking up to her from the forest floor.
"Not these kind of high jumps," Liane said a bit sullenly. "But as long as I can remember, I mostly had to practise somersaults in the jungle surrounding the stronghold. As a young girl I already had to run through the forest, avoiding fallen trees without slacking speed."
"I remember our escape from Ortel's detention level. I was amazed how easily you could climb those cables and jump into that gap on the ground level. Your physical Force skills are in excellent condition. We'll have to keep it that way."
"Can I do this jump again, Luke?" Liane asked laughing, as she remembered the improvised escape route through the maintenance shaft.
"Sure. Do that high somersault we practised this morning."
Liane looked down and with a perfect somersault she landed next to him.
"Fabulous, well done," Luke said.
Once again Liane looked up and jumped some fifteen meters. With perfect timing she now landed on terrace. She walked over to the small bench near the entrance of her tree house.
"Come up here too, Luke. It's a wonderful view from up here."
Luke jumped and landed next to her.
They sat next to each other on the bench for a quite while, looking at the lake and the surrounding area, before Liane suddenly turned to him.
"Luke, did you talk to Leia again?"
Luke woke up from a light Force meditation.
"Pardon, what did you say?"
Liane repeated her question. Luke shrugged his shoulders.
"No, I told her not to worry," He said, "She surely will contact me, if something happens, and as long as I don't hear from her, I'm going to enjoy my stay here with you."
"Aren't you planning to go back to Dalmaran as you said? You can't stay on Endor with me for a long time, can you? You have to report to the Supreme Chancellor you've found me, haven't you?"
"Not immediately, so we don't have to get back in a hurry."
Liane shook her head.
"You said, I have to tell the Supreme Chancellor what happened to me on Wegoyy."
"You do, but going back to Dalmaran now, might not be without risks, Liane. The fact that commander Dendicott has tortured you, doesn't mean, that you aren't a prisoner any more."
"So it's uncertain, that the Supreme Chancellor will pardon me?"
"I told you, Liane, that's up to the Supreme Chancellor and her advisors, but I absolutely do not want a similar situation as on Ortel, when General Madine ordered me to hand you over to those guards. I have thought about a possible solution?"
Liane look questioningly to him.
"A possible other solution? What do you mean, Luke?"
"Well," Luke said hesitatingly, "It depends on what you decide, Liane."
"Me? I don't understand, Luke."
"Liane, I've told you more than once these days that I'm amazed of the influence of the Force on you. If you agree to become my padawan learner, I can start your training as a future Jedi Knight here on Endor. The Supreme Chancellor will never send an Force apprentice to prison. That's probably the best way to keep you out of detention again. "
Liane listened to his idea completely stunned.
"Luke, I don't know, if I want to become a Jedi Knight. I don't know, if I really want to learn how to use the Force the way you do. I don't want to become, like my fa ... your father, " She objected against his plan, feeling uneasy.
"Liane, you absolutely won't become like my father. I will train at and show you the Good Side of the Force. I will teach you to become a Jedi Knight, not a Sith Lord. "
Liane looked at him. Step by step Luke was showing her, how she could use the Good Side of the Force. She enjoyed the moments they were training together, because she felt his encouragement and compassion for her and his overwhelming Force knowledge, he wanted to share with her. He would never force her to use the Force like his father had done. Luke constantly complimented her with all the progress she made using the Force.
"Luke?" Liane said, "You really do believe, I can learn the ways of the Force as a Jedi, don't you?"
"The Force is strong with you. How else could you possible jump this high? Our normal physical powers are limited, only relying on the power of the Force makes possible to extend our skills. Whatever I explain to you, you're able to apply as new knowledge. Think of, how easily you've responded to Jedi telepathy. It amazed you that you could answer me through the Force, but you weren't frightened of what you did. You can be a Jedi Knight, Liane, you only have to accept me as your Jedi master, so I can teach you all I know."
Jerno sat in the living of his residence and looked at the young man who sat relaxed in one of the other comfortable chairs. They had enjoyed an extensive diner together during which they had talked about the difficulties the former empire was facing.
Jerno looked again at his visitor who enjoyed the view through the broad windscreen. Without speaking he turned his head, then he sat straight in his chair and paid full attention to his host.
"What I'm going to tell you and why I need your help, has to be kept top secret. You understand that, don't you?" Jerno said.
"You haven't invited me just to enjoy a dinner together," came the calm answer.
They both laughed.
"Let me first explain what's going on and why Valann, Kalip and I have been alerted."
Jerno gave a condensed recapitulation of the strange events with the two missing star destroyers, the messages the intelligence force had intercepted and the audio recordings they had recently received with help of the intelligence force on Quoith.
"Their help has been invaluable," Jerno said, "for now we know that one of the commanders of those missing star destroyers surely has survived the disintegration."
"Who's the guy?" the young man asked.
"A deserted admiral."
"The one who strongly objected your consultations with the Alliance after the Battle of Endor?"
Jerno nodded and smiled.
"You're well informed," He said approvingly.
"Of course I am. I have to. It's part of my job, leastwise part of my work in the intelligence force."
"You're still working undercover?"
"At the moment I'm instructing a small group of technicians specific communication technology at our university, but I always share new results of my researches with the guys at the intelligence desk, but always anonymously. Keeping my identity secret is part of my assignment at the university."
"Good. I want you to take a leave from the university for an indefinite time. Not a sabbatical leave, maybe you'd better resign, for I want you to take on a new identity."
Jerno handed the young man a datapad.
"Keep this datapad and study it thoroughly. There's only one file. It's the personal file of a young lieutenant who died in the Battle of Jakku. He was about your age. His name was Doran Whain. I've arranged a secret training to become familiar with all Doran has done, has been thinking, has done wrong and what ever has ever happened to him. You don't have to worry about any relatives; he's an orphan. Anyone who might have known him, including his parents and other relatives are tortured and killed during the emperor's reign. Your training will be tough, but we have to make sure, that you won't make mistakes which could raise suspicion. "
"I understand. What's next? I mean what will be the mission Doran Whain has to carry out."
"As soon as you have become Doran Whain, you will get an assignment as the chief engineer and officer in charge of the communication department on board the Basilisaea, specialized in interplanetary communication. At the moment the Basilisaea is carrying out a surveillance mission in a special part of the Outer Rim systems."
The young man laughed, "Sounds interesting. So you probably want me to intercept more of those odd communications between a system in the Outer Rim and whatever other systems are seeking to communicate with the Outer Rim. Are you interested in the content of the messages they exchange?
"I leave that up to you. You have an unlimited mandate to do whatever it takes. Our allies on Irithim will allow you to communicate via an encrypted code with their communications technicians on Quoith. Our intelligence force knows how to decrypt those strange messages and our cooperation with communication center on Quoith will transmit all their findings to you as well, but if you can also report more about the technical specification of communication system which is used on the receiving side, it will be an extra proof of our combined investigation. It might be that at a later stage I want you to use your expertise to infiltrate in the system."
"You suspect that deserted admiral has received those odd messages about Darth Vader daughter, don't you? You think, he is up to something which could endanger our cooperation with the New Republic."
"We do. Here, read this file about admiral Matrik."
For a while both men were silent. The young man paid attention to the content of another data pad Jerno had handed him. When he had finished his reading he looked up. Jerno held out his hand to get the device back.
"You're right. This former imperial admiral could be a threat to the peace treaty. He knows a lot about the emperor's reign and rules. Has been assigned as a praetorian guard after he graduated from the Academy. He got his promotion to admiral within the imperial fleet at the age of twenty-nine and finally the emperor made him a staff member on Morantan to gather information about the activities of the emperor's right hand: Darth Vader. Important question is: Why did the emperor sent him to Morantan? Sounds odd and it feels as a degradation, although he kept his rank. Why did the emperor assigned an admiral of the fleet to spy on Darth Vader?"
"Those questions haven't been answered yet. As you can see there's a gap between his appointment as Admiral of the imperial fleet and the moment he got his assignment as a staff member on Morantan. We're still figuring out what he did in the meantime. As far as is known, he did not directly participate in any battles with the Alliance, with the exception of the battle of Jakku, because, after the Battle of Endor, I assigned him on one of the star destroyers which has disappeared. Any new facts will be shared with you, for you need to know as much as we know about admiral Matrik."
"What's his relation to the daughter of Darth Vader who lived on Morantan during the time when he was a staff member there?"
"He almost certainly has met her, or at least heard of her upbringing by Darth Vader. She has learned a lot of Sith knowledge from her father. We suspect that Admiral Matrik wants to revive the old times of the empire with the help of Vader's daughter, but that is just a speculation."
"Not anymore, I think. In the intercepted messages there is much talk of her and her possible kidnapping and transport to the Outer Rim. What's uncertain, is, that no one knows anything about her Sith knowledge. How much does she know? Was she a fully-fledged Sith, when Darth Vader died? That's what has to be find out. If she is a Sith-lady, she might seek out the admiral herself and team up with him."
With admiration Jerno looked at his visitor.
"We came to the same conclusion. In that case you have to take her into custody, but at the moment she isn't a real danger. The New Republic has exiled her to the Wegoyy prison for her share in an uprising against the administration of the New Republic. However, shortly after her arrival on Wegoyy, the commander of the prison has mind-drugged her and now she doesn't know who she is, as all her memories are wiped out. She was brought to the Wegoyy desert to perish, but she survived, so she is alive, but no one seems to know where she is, after she has left the group of traders with whom she had been traveling for some time."
"So that defector commander, Olon Dendicott and his sycophant Rand Phylotar, are still using the imperial torture practises in the Wegoyy prison. This doesn't surprise me, nor does is it a surprise that Rand Phylotar's brother Daino is helping them. Keep an eye on them, sir, and inform the leaders of the New Republic of their not so flawless career in the imperial fleet."
"You're not disappointing me. You are the best to fulfill this dangerous task. Do you accept it."
"I do. When do you want me to join the staff crew of the Basilisaea?"
"Your instructors will inform me when they are absolutely convinced that the identity of Doran Whain has become part of yourself. At that moment the Basilisaea will receive the order to replace a part of their staff and crew. We won't meet again, but you know how to reach me, don't you?"
The young man grinned, "I know. I'm going to report to my instructors then. From now on I'm Doran Whain, a lieutenant and an expert on interplanetary communication systems. I wish you well, we'll keep in touch."
The young man rose. Jerno accompanied his guest to the door.
"Good luck and take care of yourself," were his final words.
The young man smiled, "I always do, and you know that."
They didn't shake hands. The young man turned around and walked away to the elevators without looking back to his host. Jerno closed the door of his quarters. There was a glimpse of worry in his eyes.
In the four weeks that followed their visit to the Endor spaceport Luke used most of his time to give Liane a better insight of all kinds of experiences with the Force.
Although, Liane didn't want to neglect her daily chores as a tribe member, Logray often send her away to spend time with Luke. Not only did she enjoy his friendship, but she also showed a great interest in him as Jedi Knight and in the incredible new knowledge he explained to her.
As he had promised her Luke showed her how his life was influenced by the Force. Together they had done some Jedi mediations, so she would learn to feel the Force in everything that surrounded her. He also explained to her the difference between the Jedi, users of the Good Side, the Sith and their interpretation of Dark Side of the Force.
Soon Luke became aware that Liane had done many self-reflections on the knowledge Anakin had taught her. In their chats she gave vent to her disapproval of Anakin's use of Force which she saw as wrong use of that power. She told Luke that as she had became older, her rejection of Anakin's Force use had been the cause of many vehement arguments between her and Anakin.
The way Anakin had been threatening his men, because his use of the Force enabled him to keep anyone under control, had frightened her, but also had raised her resistance against his teachings. As she had gained deeper knowledge of the Dark Side, her fear for the Force and its malicious use Anakin was teaching her, had increased.
She had told Luke about some insignificant events she had witnessed on Morantan, but she seemed to recall only vague images as if she refused to recall what she really had seen and had done herself.
Luke had felt her immensely strong reticence about how Anakin had taught her to accept and apply his use of the Force. The more he listened to her stories, the better he understood Liane's fierce rejection and fright of her own use of the Force. He began to see that it would not be an easy task to convince her of another point of view about the Force.
For Liane, using the Force, good or bad, too often amounted to deliberately inflicting injustice, oppression, and suffering on other creatures and life forms; in some cases even resulting in death.
One evening just after sunset they were sitting near the lake under the big tree which held Liane's tree house. Luke had lit a small bonfire and together they watched the dancing flames, casting a bright yellow light in the darkening night.
Liane leaned with her head on her knees. Slowly her eyes cast over the lake and her thoughts wandered to the hidden forest glade with the stone. In her mind she could read the lines on it, and she also saw the blackened remnants of the pyre. She turned to Luke, met his gaze and smiled at him.
I'd wish I could sit here forever watching the flames." She said, and turned her gaze back to the water.
'Don't you think it would become boring after some time?' Luke answered through the Force.
'Maybe,'" Liane answered, but immediately she sat upright and look at him.
"I didn't hear your voice. Did you use Jedi telepathy to answer me?"
"Yes, I used the common Jedi way to answer you. Your Force potential makes it easy for you to hear my voice if I adept to your thought pattern."
"Did you put your words inside my mind, like that Force skill Affect Mind does?"
Luke shook his head.
'No, although I focussed on your thought pattern, it was you who picked up the words I spoke to you through the Force.'
Liane started to laugh.
"Now I hear you again. Can I answer you the same way?"
"You only have to concentrate on the Force and tell me your answer," Luke said, "Shall we practise this way of communication between us?"
"I don't want to know," Liane said suddenly unwilling, "If necessary I can talk with you through the Jedi-pendant and as long as you're here I can talk to you face to face."
Luke smiled, but didn't insist, feeling her growing resistance against this new Force use. Liane turned her gaze to the lake and the stars in the sky above it and dozed off with her eyes half closed. After some minutes she opened her eyes again and turned to him.
"Luke, have you ever wondered what your life would have been, if Anakin hadn't become Darth Vader?"
"No I haven't, not after I have become a Jedi Knight. As I grew up I often wondered what kind of man my father had been. Uncle Owen told me that he had worked as a navigator on a space freighter. It was Ben Kenobi who told me that my father had been a Jedi Knight," Luke answered.
"So after Ben Kenobi had told you that, you decided you would follow your father footsteps?" Liane asked curiously.
For a moment Luke chuckled, but then he silenced, as some old images of his encounter with Ben Kenobi on Tatooine appeared in his mind. Liane saw and felt how his old memories caused an expression of grief on his face.
"I'm sorry, Luke, I shouldn't have asked you this," She said softly, trying to sooth his feelings of sadness.
Luke felt how she used the Force to comfort him. Once again he wondered if Liane possessed the Force potential to be a Jedi healer.
"Thank you for your concern, Liane," He said, "but to answer your question: no, I didn't want to become a Jedi, after Ben had told me the truth about my father.
I felt only sadness, because I hadn't known my father. It wasn't until I found out that the imperial stormtroopers had murdered Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru that I asked Ben I wanted to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi Knight like my father. I wanted to avenge the heinous murder of my foster parents and my only family members. Revenge was my only aim at that moment. It is all so long ago. A past which doesn't seem to be mine any more, although I know it is. Master Yoda taught me to let go of my past, for looking back, regretting what has happened and lingering on the past, would distract me from the focus of what I wanted to achieve. Yoda taught me I must always be fully aware of what I was doing. Reminiscing and remaining focussed on the past, or daydreaming about future ways to revenge myself, will evoke feelings of resentment and recklessness. For the Jedi Knight that I wished to become, those kinds of feelings must be avoided, as they were the expression of my own dark emotions which would lead me to the Dark Side of the Force."
They both silenced. Liane looked at the flames of the small bonfire. The branches had nearly been burned to ashes and only small flames were flickering.
"So you as you grew up you mostly have been focussed on the person of your father. Have you never wondered what kind of woman your mother had been?" Liane finally asked, using her soothing voice.
"I once asked Leia to tell me about her, because I had no memories of her. Leia too couldn't really recall her mother. She was confusing some vague imaged memories with those of her foster mother, Breha Organa, the queen of Alderaan. Later, after the Battle of Endor, on one of my visits to Dagobah Ben told that our mother had died shortly after she had given birth to Leia and me. Who Padmé Naberrie has been and what kind of person she has been we will never know. All we know, at least what Ben has told me, is that until her death she was devoted to Anakin and kept believing in his goodness. She loved him with all her heart."
They both watched the dying flames of the bonfire in silence. After a long time Liane turned to Luke.
"So, you're saying that it's wrong to keep wondering about my real parents?" She mused.
"It would distract you, Liane, if you would be a padawan learner." Luke answered. "You're only some one who is sensitive to the Force and can feel its presence, but you're not yet committed to become dedicated Force user. I understand that you have many questions about your descent and whose offspring you are. The answers you seek lay in the past, but that doesn't mean that you will never get answers to those questions in the future. What's important is that you won't get obsessed in finding those answers. Be patient and maybe someday you'll learn whose daughter you are."
Liane sighed, but smiled absentmindedly.
"After you told me that Anakin wasn't my real father, that I was his foster daughter, I have been thinking about my real parents. Especially about my real mother. I would love to know her name and what kind of woman she is. Do you think, Luke, that it's possible that she, and my father, are still living somewhere, wondering what has happened to their daughter, like I'm wondering and thinking about them? Has Anakin ever told you anything about my mother? You told me that he has found me as an abandoned baby girl on Morantan. That is why I think that my parents had to flee and had to escape from some disaster. They couldn't take me with them, for I would be a burden on the flight. That is why they had to leave me behind. I have figured out that at the time that I was born the Empire reigned and many peoples must have feared the emperor and his imperial forces."
Luke thought about what Anakin had told him about how his father had found Liane, but he decided that it would cause Liane too much sadness and pain, and raise more uncertainties, if he would reveal Anakin's story to her.
"There certainly must have been a lot of fear for the imperial oppression when Anakin became in charge of his stronghold on Morantan. As you said, it's not unlikely that your parents had to leave you behind, because the imperial forces were persecuting them," He said.
Liane looked at him.
"Perhaps they had resisted the Emperor's regime in a way that they were no longer safe on Morantan. Do you think, that's a strange assumption, Luke?"
"Not at all. From the moment the emperor established his reign of terror and oppression, there have been groups of people anywhere in this galaxy who opposed him. In the beginning those group were small, but over the years those pockets of resistance grew and joined and became the Rebel Alliance."
"It still feel odd, that during my youth on Morantan, I have never been aware of the war that was raging through the galaxy. How did you know there was a war going on? Did you know about the rebellion against the empire?"
"Tatooine was too remote and insignificant, but every now and then some news via the Holonet leaked to that far corner of the universe. My friends and I heard the imperial forces drafted young pilots who got their commission at the Academy, to join the imperial Starfleet. On his last visit to Anchorhead my friend Biggs told me that he would join the Rebel Alliance, before he would be drafted in the imperial army."
"My fa ... Anakin never talked to me about the Rebel Alliance, but I once overheard a talk between him and the commander. He hated their insurgence and expressed angrily that he wouldn't rest until he had wiped out all those rebels."
Liane shook her head.
"I have been really an ignorant girl who did know anything about what was going on. Had I known, I surely would have wanted to join the Rebel Alliance. Even now, after so many year, I feel more sympathy for the side you fought for, than for the empire."
"You surely would have been a great asset to their strife against the injustice and the reign of fear the empire caused on so many planet and peoples."
Liane looked at the dying flames again.
"Shouldn't we get inside, Luke. All the branches have burned to ashes. Within minutes the fire will be out."
She was about to get up, when she stared in astonishment at some branches which began to levitate and slowly drifted to the fire.
She rubbed her eyes and heard Luke grinning.
"A Jedi can also use the Force for many practical purposes," Luke said with a soft laugh, "I don't want to leave yet; I'm too much enjoying your company, Liane. Like you said before, I also would love to sit here with you for hours and I know that those hours together would never be boring."
Liane felt how her face became hot and she quickly focussed their chat on the way he had levitated the branches.
"You used the Force to levitate those branches, didn't you? But branches are dead objects? I thought the Force is only working among living beings."
"The Force is everywhere. Around us, around the trees, around the stones, the leaves and around those branches. She surrounds everything. The only thing a Jedi does, is to control those objects with the Force. I used the Force to put some new branches on this fire. It's called Force telekinesis and much easier to learn than Affect Mind which Anakin has taught you."
"This way of using the Force seems a good use to me, as it won't do any harm." Liane said slowly, then she turned to him. "Luke, why do the Jedi use Affect Mind to manipulate people. You used it on Ian, my former guard. I think, it's wrong to use the Force that way. "
"When a Jedi uses the Force to influence people's thoughts, it's only as a last resort. He only may overrule their thoughts temporarily. It's one of a Jedi's options to avoid a dangerous situation."
"Why should a Jedi need to overrule people's mind?"
"To prevent unwanted reactions of an opponent. It certainly isn't a Jedi's habit to overrule everyone's mind. I send Ian away when I visited you on Wegoyy, for I wanted to give you the Jedi-pendant. What do you think, Ian's reaction would have been, when he had seen that I had a present for you?"
"I've told him about your gift, Luke. Ian can be trusted," Liane said stubbornly.
"That wasn't my question, Liane. I know Ian is a fine fellow. But we were discussing if a Jedi should or shouldn't use Affect Mind. In your opinion it's is part of the Dark Side of the Force, isn't it?"
"My fa... eh, your father always used what you call Affect Mind. He knew everything, his officers were thinking and he severely punished the ones who didn't seem to be loyal to him. He taught me how to use it, but it scared me to put my own words in other people's mind. Why hasn't Anakin taught me to move objects using the Force. That's indeed a practical use of the Force and you don't do any harm with it."
"You can learn to levitate objects using the Force, Liane."
"I don't believe you, I can't use the Force the way you do."
"Liane, I'm sure you can do it. 'Concentrate on that branch over there. The separate one to the left of the pile. Stretch out to that branch with your thoughts and feelings. Use your hand if you want to.'
Completely enthralled by Luke's soft Jedi voice Liane closed her eyes and stretched out her hand to the branch.
'Let the image of the branch fill your mind, think of nothing else. Now use the Force to pick it up. Concentrate, Liane and control your movements.'
Luke felt how easily Liane surrendered to the Force which also made her susceptible for the Jedi way to communicate.
'Now move the branch to the fire and put it down.' He said, still using the Jedi telepathy.
Slowly the branch drifted through the air, before it came to rest among the dying flames.
"See, I told you, you can do it! " Luke said in his normal voice.
Liane opened her eyes and look at the spot where the branch had laid. She looked at the fire and saw the branch had caught fire. Bewildered she looked at the branch and then she looked at Luke.
"Did I really do ...? No, Luke, don't fool me. You did this. I clearly felt your power when I lifted that branch."
"You did it. All by yourself. It was you who put that branch in the fire; I didn't do anything. The power you felt was the power of the Force."
"I could see that branch so clearly in my mind, Luke, but I also heard your voice, telling me what to do."
"I talked you through, because I knew you could do it. These last weeks I have shown you that the Force can help you in many different ways to use her powers. A Jedi feels the Force and knows how to control her power. If he is in full control, he can use the Force at his will, whenever he wants."
Liane silenced for a long time.
"I'm not sure if I really want to know as much about the Force as you do, but using the Force for practical purposes, like picking up objects without walking over to grab them would be useful," She grinned.
"Alright. Shall I also teach you other practical uses of the Force."
Liane hesitate, then slowly she nodded.
Thanks to Liane's good experiences and progress, Luke intensified Liane's training, using the good side of the Force. At first Liane accepted his informal tutorship, but during his more explicit mental training sessions, she became very reluctant about the Force and the use of her power again.
Luke soon experienced, that Liane's use of the Force often was obstructed through her fear for the Dark Side.
More than once he had to tell her, that she shouldn't fight her distrust of the Force with the knowledge his father had taught her.
He often had to use his own Force powers to calm her aggressive and angry moods, as she thought she failed his demands, or as he explained to her why she had to adopt a passive, peaceful and patient attitude. More than once her former upbringing began to influence his lessons.
One afternoon Luke suddenly interrupted his teachings. He sat down on a tree and looked up at the young woman in front of him.
"Liane, stop fighting against your suspicion and fear for the Force. Clear your mind of your distrust for the Force. Forget what Anakin taught you, unlearn, be peaceful, passive and feel the power of the Good Side. The Good side of the Force is your real ally and will help you to achieve your aims."
He grabbed her arm. Gently he pulled her down next to him on the fallen stem.
"Liane, Anakin began to use Dark Side of the Force, because he wanted to stay in control of everything He couldn't live with any changes in his life. It angered him that he was unable to control, to stop those who opposed him and to convince them that he would be the greatest Jedi ever. He started to walk down the path that lead unavoidable to the Dark Side of the Force. It's that Dark side of the Force that Anakin has shown you, that is frightening you."
"I saw him killing his men using the Force. It was so horrible. He taught me all that dreadful Force use. It frightened me every time I had to practice his teachings. It scares me when I think of that terrible Force use I've learned, what terrible things can be done with the Force's power." She whispered.
"I know what you mean, Liane, but look at all this from a different point of view. You can also take advantage of what Anakin has taught you. He made you aware of your Force abilities, but you should unlearn his darker teachings. If you continue to use the Force like Anakin wanted you to use, you are endangering yourself and you will become more and more susceptible for the power of the Dark Side. I want to avoid that you will become an agent of evil, Liane, for I know and feel, that you deserve much better. Unlearn your old knowledge. Maybe you should tell me more specifically which use of the Force frightens you? I might help you to overcome those fears. I can tell you what's wrong with the use of it. For instance I know you have learned to use Force Choke and Force Stasis. You tried...."
Before Luke could finish his sentence, Liane jumped to her feet and held both hands to her ears.
"PLEASE, LUKE. STOP. I don't want to talk about that Force use. What I did to you on Morantan was terrible. It was so wrong. I knew it's was, nevertheless I used the Force that way to stop you. Luke, I want to stop this training. I don't want to become your padawan. I don't want to become a Jedi Knight."
Liane looked frightened. She was shaking and held out her hands as in a plea to convince him.
"I'm frightened of the Force, Luke. You know I am. Please, let me stop."
Luke stood up and took her hands in his.
'Clear your mind of these frightening thoughts; forget them, Liane. You're making progress, but at the moment your fears for what my father has taught you block your further growth. If it frightens you that much, I'll stop your training. I want you to have a good time with me, I'm not here to make you my padawan learner.' He said with his soft Jedi voice. Liane relaxed almost immediately. While he repeated his words, he put his arms around her trembling body and pulled her to him. He felt a deep compassion with her. When he had offered her to train her at the Good side of the Force he hadn't fully understood the enormous impact her old knowledge still had. He now realized, that she had to go a long way before she would really be ready to begin her Jedi training.
"There is a reliable chance, that I have come the girl on the trail, commander," Rand Phylotar said proudly.
"IT'S ABOUT TIME. I EXPECTED YOUR REPORTS MUCH EARLIER. WHAT KEPT YOU BUSY, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL THE TIME, AND WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND?" Dendicott snarled.
"Well, I'm not yet quite sure, but Skywalker seems to know, were she is. My informant on Irithim space port has seen Skywalker, as he left Dalmaran in his private shuttle some months ago. He was talking to his sister about visiting the governor of Rasth, Marek Grann, the father of the guys with whom the girl has been traveling. Afterwards he intended to Dagobah and Tatooine. My informant thinks, that it's very likely, that the girl has been in hiding on one of these planets. Another informant reported, that the Supreme Chancellor has expressed her concern in the High Council about your reports, commander. He has told me, that the Supreme Chancellor strongly opposes your idea to start looking for the girl yourself."
Dendicott snorted audible to voice his cynicism. He laughed mockingly.
"SO LADY MON MOTHA OPPOSES MY PLAN AND ASSUMES, THAT I WILL NEGLECT HER ORDER," he snapped, "I CAN TELL YOU, RAND, THE SUPREME CHANCELLOR IS RIGHT. I WANT TO FIND THAT GIRL, BEFORE SOME ELSE FINDS HER, AND THANKS TO SOME OLD FRIENDS I HAVE FOUND OUT WHERE SHE IS. NOT ON ONE OF YOUR PLANETS, RAND, BUT ON ENDOR, AND SKYWALKER IS WITH HER."
"On Endor, commander? How did you ...
"The girl's ID-card, the one with that fake name 'Eilidh Grann', has been scanned at the Endor spaceport about two months ago," Dendicott said ill-tempered, "shortly after Skywalker had scanned his. He is probably making plans to come back with her to Dalmaran at short notice. We have to thwart his plan, and prevent, that she can tell the Supreme Chancellor what has happened to her. After her testimony the High Council will certainly ask for more investigations in the Wegoyy prison. If they find out that the girl has spoken the truth, my career will be ruined. I have left Wegoyy already, for I'm going to snatch the girl away from Skywalker. I'll make sure, that she can never tell anything to anyone."
"Skywalker has found the girl on the forest moon of the Battle of Endor?"
"Precisely, Rand. The battle, that the elite imperial ground forces lost, thanks to a local primitive tribe of little bears: the Ewoks. It will be a great opportunity to avenge the death of our leader, emperor Palpatine, and the collapse of the empire."
"I can leave Dalmaran tonight, where do you want me to join you, commander?" Rand Phylotar said dutiful.
Dendicott snarled in a menacing voice, "GETTING AFRAID ABOUT YOUR OWN CAREER, COLONEL. My men and I are nearing Rasth at this moment, because at first I wanted to interrogate those Granns, but as I have gotten the information about the whereabouts of my runaway convict, this interrogation is of no use any more. Come immediately to Rasth. Me and my men will be waiting for you in Rawine, the local farmer's space port, and DON'T LOOSE MORE TIME ON YOUR USELESS RESEARCHES."
Dendicott's image disappeared, and Rand Phylotar looked confounded at the blank display for several moments. Deep in thought he quickly gathered his belongings, making sure he didn't leave any traces which could reveal his identity. After nightfall he secretly left the apartment in Mas'onom, which he had rented from some old friends of his brother Daino. The trade quarters of Mas'onom were crammed with all types of larger and smaller buildings, narrow back streets and secret meeting places. It was an attractive center for traders, but also for those who wanted to cover up any malignant practices.
After his last meeting with Daino, he hadn't gone back to Wegoyy, for commander Dendicott had ordered him to stay on Dalmaran and find every bit of information about the escaped girl. He had been lucky, for Daino's old friends knew a lot like-minded people who were spying on the New Republic's administration. Those people also had informed him about his brother's detention. It certainly was about time to leave Dalmaran as fast as possible now, otherwise the intelligence force could discover his hiding place and connect him with Daino's ridiculous assassination plan.
So Dendicott had found out, that the girl was on Endor, and that Skywalker was with her. How had Skywalker discovered her? How was the girl doing? Had Skywalker given to her the antidote for the forbidden mind drug? Did she remember, that she had been tortured? Would she be able to testify before the High Council and tell the New Republic's government about Dendicott's illegal regime? What had Skywalker been doing on the Endor space port? Was he indeed planning to bring the girl to Dalmaran?
Rand Phylotar went to Mas'onom space port and booked a regular shuttle flight to Irithim on De'olon. Within an hour he landed on the new De'olon space port. To avoid unwanted attention, he wasn't wearing his regular uniform, but had taken a disguise as a Mas'onom trader. He left the space port, among the many small traders and a variety of unknown species, through one of the smaller exits which lead to the trading area of Irithim. Little did he noticed that a blue and white astromech droid which seemed to be busy cleaning the hall, was in fact constantly scanning the faces of the arriving passengers. The astromech left its chores, and started following Rand Phylotar unnoticed. Outside the space port Rand Phylotar hurried to one of the speeder rentals which was known for lending speeders without verifiable identification. While the Wegoyy officer haggled with the shop owner about the fee, the barrel shaped astromech attached a small tracker cam at the speeder, then it withdraw behind a stack of containers.
At last Rand Phylotar made a deal with the shop owner and left the parking lot. He drove to the outskirts of Irithim and found the address of Daino's imperial contact. He pushed a small gate in a high durasteel fence ajar. Before he entered the patio he looked around, but he didn't notice any movements in the back street where he had parked the speeder. He slipped through the gate and carefully closed it. Then he walked up to the back door of the house and knocked with long intervals at the left window. The door swung open, and hesitantly Rand stepped inside.
"We've been expecting you much earlier, colonel," A soft voice said, "You're in trouble, aren't you, because we've informed you about your brother Daino. The Supreme Chancellor and a committee of the High Council has interrogated him. He has been arrested. The prosecutor and his staff have also ordered your arrest if you would show up in Irithim. Probably they did know, that you didn't go back to Wegoyy?"
"They know by now. Dendicott has contacted me earlier this day, using an open holo communication system."
"He's always been a stupid fool. What do you expect we can do for you?" Another voice said.
"Get me off this planet. As soon as possible."
"You know our conditions, colonel Phylotar. The girl alive and unharmed, nothing else."
"Deal, I agree. I know where I have to look for her."
"Go back to the space port. Stay outside near the transfer entrance. Our contact will meet you there within three hours. Docking bay 37-48. You have to leave Dalmaran before dawn, so don't be late," The first voice said.
"I'll be there."
Rand Phylotar left the house the same way, as he had come, and drove through the trading quarter in an erratic way to shake off any surveillance droids before he returned to the speeder rental near the space port. On foot he went to the indicated docking bay at De'olon space port. Two droids - a blue and white astromech and a gold-colored protocol droid - were following him from a great distance. They were staying out of sight in the shadow of the arcade buildings which surrounded the space port.
Checking his chrono impatiently every quarter of an hour, Rand Phylotar hid himself in a dark portico near the indicated docking bay. Suddenly a interpreter droid came over to him.
"Colonel Phylotar?" It asked in a hushed mechanical voice.
"In here," Rand answered on a similar hushed tone.
The droid handed him a datapad and two key cards.
"The datapad holds your briefing documents, the key cards will give you access to the ship, my masters hired," the droid said, "You're clear to leave within ten minutes."
Rand Phylotar activated the datapad and quickly scanned its content.
"My masters once remind you again on the agreement. Don't forget to bring them what they need."
Rand Phylotar left the portico and hurried to the entrance using one of the access cards. The door slid aside and he ran down the stairs to reach the platform. An old fashioned reconnaissance ship stood in the middle of the docking bay. He walked over, carefully checking the darker maintenance rooms of the docking bay, but nothing moved. Still cautious he entered the ramp, closed it and walked to the cockpit.
"HAD712OO ready for take off."
"Security tower to HAD712OO, you have your clearance. Have a good flight."
The engines started to roar and slowly the ship hovered out of the bay. Once outside the docking bay it gained speed and disappeared into space. At the docking bay platform, an astromech droid and a gold-colored protocol droid were watching, how the ship went to lightspeed. Bickering and beeping the two droids left the area and went back to the center of Irithim.
"Excellent, Artoo. You're a perfect spy. This is fine evidence. The images are of a good quality and Rand Phylotar can be easily recognized as the driver of this speeder. Where did you get this information?"
The little astromech hooted a long string of binary output.
"Your Highness, he recognized Daino Phylotar's brother, as he arrived at the space port, and he has been following him again. I objected, Your Highness, but this stubborn piece of metal refused to listen to my argument. Artoo, I told you, you shouldn't do this. You've heard what lady Mon Mothma said; Captain Phylotar is a free man, you can't put some one under surveillance who isn't suspected."
"It's alright, Threepio," Leia raised her hand to silence the bickering protocol droid.
"So, Daino's brother has come unexpectedly to De'olon with a regular shuttle flight from Mas'onom several hours ago, and he left Dalmaran in a hurry, after he has visited a back street house in the trading quarters of Irithim," She said, turning to Ian Tydon, her padawan learner.
"I didn't know he still was on Dalmaran, master. I thought he had gone back to Wegoyy as his brother had urged him to do in the recording Artoo made of their last secret meeting."
"Neither did I; otherwise I would have issued his arrest to interrogate him much earlier. In the intercepted conversation Daino has indeed advised Rand to go back to Wegoyy. Probably Daino assumed that as long as his brother would be on Wegoyy, the government wouldn't have enough evidence for their treason. We need to find Rand's destination as soon as possible."
She went over to her info com and entered her access code. On the holographic display the image of the commander of the space port security control tower appeared.
"Yes, Your Highness," He said.
"I need some information of a reconnaissance vessel that left Dalmaran earlier this evening, officer. I need the ship's identification markings and it's destination," Leia informed politely.
"It's odd that you're asking this, Your Highness. The security tower indeed has registered the take off of a very old model reconnaissance craft this evening. Its markings are HAD71200. The pilot didn't state his destination, but its briefing files have been identified and it had a clearance to leave."
"Can you send me the voice tape of the take off conversation between the tower and the pilot."
"Most certainly, Your Highness. We'll send you the information right away. Do you want to have it transmitted to your office?"
"Please, transmit it to general Madine's office?"
"As you please, Your Highness."
"Thank you, officer."
Leia switched off and entered the identification markings of the ship in her infocom. On the display all the information of the ship popped up. Leia watched the data for a moment, then she grabbed her Jedi coat and rose to her feet.
"Come on, my young padawan, Threepio, and you too, Artoo. Let's find the answers to our questions: why did Rand Phylotar unexpectedly appeared on De'olon space port; why has he visited that back street residence; why did he leave in a hurry a few hours after he had arrived, and where is he heading. What is this captain's destination? "
Madine looked at the display and listened carefully to the spoken words. He compared the voice input with another sample. He nodded.
"It's Rand Phylotar, now doubt about that," He said. "What was the registration code of his ship?"
"It's HAD712OO," Leia answered.
"Who's the owner?"
"A freighter company which rents these space crafts for emergency trading and transport. Early this evening they were called and were asked if they could make a discrete ship ready for lift off. It was for passenger only transport, " Leia said, scanning the available data on another console.
"Who gave the clearance for take off?"
"Space port control received a request for clearance some ten minutes before take off. The requester said, he needed to take off immediately to settle an urgent personal matter."
"Do we have the tape of that conversation."
"No, we haven't. That request came in through an automatic procedure. Those conversations are never logged. The information desk handed the key cards and the briefing datapad to a droid."
Madine slapped the top of his desk.
"Again a droid!" He shouted angrily, "Who's behind this? "
He turned to the display in front of him and replayed the recorded conversation between the space tower and the unknown pilot once again.
"Anyway, Rand Phylotar has left Dalmaran without stating his destination. What worries me, is that I've received word that Dendicott has left Wegoyy with a number of his men. Rand Phylotar certainly has given the Wegoyy prison commander the information about the Corellian freighter of the Grann brothers, his brother has given him. What are they up to and where are they at the moment? Your Highness, we must contact your brother, and tell him, that commander Dendicott or colonel Rand Phylotar might have found out where Liane Solichor is. Your brother is the only one who can prevent, that they capture her, and torture her again."
Madine looked at Leia and sighed concerned.
"It's time that those imperial collaborators get their rewards."
"I will inform my brother, general," Leia said, and wanted to rise, "I'm in my office if you ..."
Before Leia could finish her word; the door of Madine's office slid aside and Ian Tydon stepped in. He saluted general Madine and bowed to Leia.
"My apologies, master, for interrupting your meeting with the general, but I almost certain I know, where Rand Phylotar might be heading?"
Leia whirled around.
"You do, Ian? Where has he gone? "
"To Rasth! To the planet's local farmer's space port Rawine. I have intercepted an unguarded communication conversation between Rand Phylotar and commander Dendicott in Mas'onom. Here's the transcript of their conversation."
Leia took the datapad and cast a quick look at the data. Concerned she handed the datapad to general Madine. After having read the transcript Madine looked at her.
"Did you know that your brother has found her?" He asked, "How long ago and why hasn't he come back with her to Irithim? I thought he was going to Tatooine and Dagobah to consult his old Jedi masters. Did they reveal where he had to look for her?"
Leia shook her head
"Somehow Liane had gotten her memories back on Endor and she also remembered how to contact Luke through the Force. Luke told me this about two months ago. He immediately changed his plans and went to Endor."
"Two months ago! Is there any good reason why he didn't return with her."
"I don't know precisely why he hasn't returned with her yet. I only know that Luke wants to convince her to become his padawan learner. Liane is a very Force sensitive woman. My brother is sure that he can train her as a Jedi Knight. However Liane has to be persuaded that her old knowledge - the knowledge my father has taught her - is based on the wrong use of the Force. It is very likely that my brother needs a lot of persuasion and time to make her aware of another point of view."
"Your brother's decision and his visit with her to the Endor space port complicates the situation, Your Highness. Now that Dendicott knows that your brother has found miss Solichor and is staying with her on Endor, you have to warn him as soon as possible and tell him to come back with her to Dalmaran immediately. We also have to keep an eye on what commander Dendicott is doing on Rasth. I will send a procon message to governor Grann. If commander Dendicott arrives on Bestine space port governor Grann is the right person to ask for the reason of his arrival."
"Excuse me, sir," Ian said and pointed at a particular sentence of the transcript, "As the transcript stated commander Dendicott will land at Rawine space port. Rand Phylotar has been ordered to meet him there. The trajectory data from Rand's ship at the De'olon's space port computer matches with the coordinates of Rawine."
"To Rawine space port?" Leia exclaimed, "That's prohibited. Docking rights for Rawine are only limited to local farmers who have transported their wares and harvest to Bestine.
She walked over to a large computer which could display the entire galaxy as a holographic projection. She activated the projection and asked for the coordinates of Rawine space port. Immediately a huge projection popped up in the middle of the room. It marked Dalmaran with as a big blue spot and then projected a red trajectory path to the other coordinates.
"I compared the path Rand Phylotar's ship took moments before he went into hyperspace."
Ian walked over to the console and zoomed in along the path.
"Rand's ship has entered the hyperspace lane which runs straight to Rawine. Commander Dendicott probably wanted to make secret investigation on Rastha, because he probably has heard that Liane has traveled with governor's son, before she fled to Endor."
"So Rand Phylotar will rendezvous with Dendicott?" Madine said snappy.
"I fear that they are up to something menacingly. Marek Grann has mentioned earlier that an unknown man has threatened him." Leia remarked.
She turned to her droids, "Artoo and Threepio go to the technical department and have yourself programmed as space port maintenance technical droids. Oh, and get another more dented plating, Threepio."
"But, Your Highness..., "Threepio protested.
"Threepio! Don't argue. Go, do as I ordered you. When you're both finished, report to my padawan at once. Ian, accompany the droids to the space port, take my shuttle and bring them to Rasth. Rasth can be reached in six hours. We will inform Marek Grann about your arrival, so you report to him immediately. We will ask him to set the droids to work at Rawine space port. Be careful, Ian. Don't go to Rawine space port yourself, for there is a chance that commander Dendicott might recognizes you. Stay at Bestine space port with the shuttle and wait for the droids to fulfill their mission."
The two droids left the room; Threepio was protesting to Artoo, who hooted only indefinite stream of binary words which upset protocol droid even more. Ian followed them, laughing as he understood what Artoo was saying.
"Leia," Madine said, "What's the use of sending your droids with your padawan to Rasth."
"Mon Mothma and I have agreed to keep Rand Phylotar under a kind of permanent surveillance of Artoo. If this colonel has indeed been ordered to head for Rawine space port, I want my droid to continue his task. So I'm sending him and his counterpart to Rasth as maintenance droids."
Madine shook his head.
"I hope you're right, but it might be a long shot."
Leia had grabbed her coat and walked over to the door.
"I'm going to contact my brother, general. Would you please contact Marek Grann. He has to be informed that my padawan with Artoo and Threepio are on their way to him. Oh, and if his sons are home, he has to tell them to stay away from Rawine space port. I hope we can avoid a confrontation between any member of the Grann family and commander Dendicott and colonel Phylotar."
To be continued...