uke, you must come back with Liane to Irithim at once,' Leia's soft voice urged concentrating on the Force.
'You sound upset, my dear sister, what's wrong? Any disturbing news about commander Dendicott. Last time you said that he is neglecting Mon Mothma's orders, does that mean he has started his own search for Liane already?' Luke asked.
'There's much more, Luke. Dendicott has found out where Liane is. You have taken her with you to the Endor space port. The registration of your ID-cards have alerted some former imperial friends of Dendicott. Rand Phylotar has left Dalmaran and now on his way to Rasth to team up with Dendicott.'
'Dendicott has gone to Rasth?', Luke asked astounded.
'Rand Phylotar has passed him the information about the Grann brothers. Dendicott wanted to put pressure on Marek Grann or his sons, but after he got the information about you and Liane he surely is making plans to go to Endor. General Madine already has warned Marek. I have send Ian with Threepio and Artoo to Rasth. Marek surely will find a way to have them on a surveillance mission as maintenance droid at Rawine space port. I'm awaiting Ian's report any moment now.'
'If by chance Dendicott, or Rand Phylotar, have found out Liane's hiding place, they can do nothing with that knowledge. I'm outranking commander Dendicott, Leia.'
'Luke, do you really think Dendicott will accept your prerogatives. Liane poses a great danger to his career. You'd better come back with her to Dalmaran now, Luke, before he arrives on Endor.' Leia urged.
'No Leia I can't interrupt Liane's first experiences with the good side of the Force right now. I'm still showing her the many possibilities and the advantages of her Force skills. It's not as easy as I assumed, so I'm coming back to Dalmaran, when I think Liane can cope with any possible consequence of her return to Irithim. I want to avoid that she will be sent back to Wegoyy.'
Leia heard an slight worry in her brother's voice.
'Luke, I can't order you to come back, but the situation has worsened and is dangerous for both of you. You're right, if you come back with Liane to Dalmaran now, it's very likely that Liane will be put into detention again. She has vanished from the Wegoyy prison without ...'
Luke started laugh somewhat wryly.
'... permission. Is that what you intended to say, Leia. You know, as I do that Liane was unable leave the Wegoyy prison on her own. The prison staff has tortured her, they wiped out her memory for almost three years, and they ordered your padawan to leave her in the Wegoyy desert to die, you've heard what Ian said during his testimony. If he hadn't given her the box with the Jedi-pendant I might never have found her again.'
" 'Luke, Mon Mothma and I fear that Dendicott will take Liane from you by force. We only want to protect Liane and you. You can't defend her alone against thirty or more of Dendicott's mercenaries. Please, Luke, come back, for your own safety and Liane's.'
'I'm sorry, Leia. Maybe you're right, but I need more time to convince Liane to become my padawan.'
'I understand, Luke. Take care of yourself and take good care of Liane. I will see what I can do to help you both.'
'I knew you would give me some more time, Leia. I love you, my dear sister, and I promise I will come back, but you must leave it up to me to decide when.'
Luke heard his sister sighed, but he smiled. He knew she wouldn't object any longer against his stay on Endor.
'Don't worry too much about me and Liane. I feel your worries and concern about the situation, Leia, but like me, you have to rely on the Force. The Force will always be our ally, my dear sister.'
The connection of Jedi telepathy between them disappeared.
Leia released herself from her Force trance. She understood her brother's point of view, but she feared he was underestimating the danger of the situation.
'In the morning I also have to inform Mon Mothma, that Luke has found Liane. I can't keep this information to myself any longer. Maybe she is willing to send some of our ground forces to Endor to help them.' She thought, pondering on her brother's heartfelt advice. She left her office and went to her apartment. Before she retired to her private room to perform a Jedi meditation, she checked if her padawan with two droids had arrived on Rasth.
As the warning signal of her infocom started to beep, Leia awakened from a deep sleep after she had finished her Jedi mediation. She went over the display, gave her identification code and waited for the holographic display to activate. For a moment she yawned, but she felt refreshed, less concerned, and mindful again. It took several moments before the connection became stable, and Artoo's holographic image appeared. As soon as he became aware of Leia's presence the little droid gibbered a lot of binairy data.
"What did you say, Artoo. Say it again, please, and a bit slower?"
She listened and frowned.
"The connection is a bit unstable, Artoo. Where's Threepio?"
"Adddkik-32kKLLdi-Kmdjulkk-IUkkdld," Artoo whistled and Leia started to laugh.
"Tell him to come over. I don't care how he looks."
Leia heard a lot of digital gibberish again, but finally Threepio appeared, seemingly unhappy.
"I'm very much embarrassed, Your Highness, to appear before you in this dented plating," The fastidious droid said, "Your Highness, why did you sent us on a mission like this?"
"I told you before, Threepio, that Artoo is carrying out a special surveillance mission. And I need you to cooperate with him. Please tell me what he has found out and stop your lamentations, Threepio."
Threepio turned aggrieved to his counterpart. Artoo stood placidly waited.
"You should listen to me, you scrap heap," The golden droid answered, "Now tell me what you had to tell to the princess."
Artoo hooted a long story while Threepio was carefully listening. When finally the little droid stopped, even Threepio suddenly seemed to look concerned.
"Princess Leia, we have looked around on that small space port, like you ordered. Artoo tells me, that he has seen colonel Phylotar, together with another important officer there. A large group of men in federal prison uniforms was with the colonel and the other officer. They were holding secret meeting in a deserted hangar at the far side of that space port. Artoo says, that colonel Phylotar and the other officer were talking about going to Endor. The officer who seems to be in command, is sure, that Liane Solichor is on Endor."
Leia thought quickly. If Dendicott and his men would leave for Endor soon Liane and Luke would be in considerable danger. It was no use to ask her brother again to come back. What ever her arguments would be, he would refuse. She also didn't want to spoil his happy reunion with Liane, but was there anything else she could do to protect Liane and her brother?
"How many men were gathered, Artoo?" She asked.
"Some thirty," Threepio translate Artoo's answer.
"Where are you now, Threepio?"
"On our request the governor's men brought us back to Bestine. We're now with master Ian at Bestine space port, Your Highness," The golden droid said.
"Listen Artoo and Threepio, go back to Rawine space port. Continue with your work as space port droid technicians, see to it that you both are allocated to the maintenance of their ship and tell me immediately when they are going to leave, understood."
The images of the two droids faded as the connection with Rasth broke off. For several moment Leia sat motionless behind her console.
'I need to contact to Marek Grann. Maybe he is able to contact his sons and ask them to head for Endor to help Luke,' she thought, looking through the transparisteel door of the terrace at the lights of Irithim, before she started to establish a secure connection with Bestine. As the holographic image of Marek Grann appeared on her display, Leia apologized for disturbing his sleep, and for calling him at an untimely hour.
"General Madine and your assistant Ian Tydon have already informed me about the situation near Rawine space port, senator. I can arrest that commander and his men for the illegal use of that desert space port and for not properly checking in at Bestine main space port."
"No, governor, I want real proof of their intentions, if you interfere now, they will deny every allegation. I need more solid evidence about their plans, but I need your help on another matter, governor, can you contact your sons?"
"General Madine told me that my sons shouldn't get themselves involved. It's an advice I heartily endorse, senator," Marek Grann said with some concern in his voice.
"I won't put them in a dangerous situation, governor, but I need some good pilots who can reach Endor as fast as possible and warn my brother, Luke Skywalker. He is on Endor with Liane. He is staying with her in the village of a local tribe. Could you ask your sons if they ...."
Marek Grann raised his hand smiling relieved.
"In that case, senator, I'm sure they will be glad to help you. I'll wake up Yarnick, so you can tell him, what you want of him and the others."
Leia's mind made a leap of joy. Marek's sons were home. Patiently she waited till Yarnick Grann appeared on the display; a jovial grin on his face.
"Senator, please to meet you. Our father told us, that you've found our 'sister' Eilidh or should I say Liane Solichor."
"My brother Luke has found her, Yarnick. At the moment he is staying with her on Endor in the village of the Ewoks. The commander of the Wegoyy prison, Olon Dendicott, also has found out that Liane is on Endor. He and a large group of his men are gathering at the moment at Rawine space port, preparing their departure to Endor. I seek for a way to avoid an confrontation between my brother and the commander and his men at the Ewok village. I know the location of that village, where Liane and Luke are staying at the moment. There ..."
"Excuse me, senator, sorry to interrupt you. I understand that you want my brothers and me to go to Endor and rescue Liane and your brother, or at least warn commodore Skywalker, in case the commander will reach Endor. Do you have the coordinates of a spot near that village where we can land. "
Leia sighed relieved.
"Thank you, Yarnick, for your fast apprehension. You and your brothers can reach Endor from Rasth in a day or two, I presume."
"In less than a day, senator. If we leave right now, we'll be there in twenty hours. Stop worrying, senator, we will warn that brother of yours and protect him and our sister against commander Dendicott and his mercenaries."
"The coordinates are 2974FD34-1099AB71. Land with the nose of your ship due north. You see a path that leads into the forest at 1-8-4. That path leads straight to the village of the Ewoks. You're certainly being watched. In case the Ewoks take you prisoner, hand over your weapons and you will be treated fairly. "
"That doesn't sound as a welcoming party, senator, but my brothers and I never use our weapons against indigenous species. We're off now and we're glad we can help you. "
"Be careful, Yarnick, may the Force be with you," Leia said, before she broke off the connection. She looked concerned, but felt less worried. Yarnick Grann reminded her of Han, always in for an unexpected mission. Han would certainly have gone after Luke much earlier. He always had in the past. From the beginning Luke and Han had been like two brothers. If Han would have been on Dalmaran at the moment, she wouldn't have had to worry about Liane and Luke. Han always found a solution to problems, although sometimes his special solutions worsened the situation. Leia smiled and reached out to her far away love.
"Hey you, droid, did you already finish the check out our complete operating system? We want to lift off within an hour," A voice yelled at Threepio.
The golden droid looked at the junior officer.
"Final check out will be completed in time, sir!"
He shuffled to the control panel and began to carry out the standard routines. Next to him Artoo hooted. His computer arm was plugged into the outlet of the space ship's computer system.
"I know, Artoo, they're planning to leave any moment now, but we can't rush off to warn the princess," Threepio said in binary language. He looked at a display in front of him and continued his chores. Finally he turned to the officer who had given him the order.
"Final check out is complete, sir."
The officer nodded.
"Then get out of here, you two. You're no longer needed."
Threepio turned to Artoo and said indignantly.
"Come on, Artoo. We leave, our job is finished here."
Both droids left the space ship and vanished in the darkness of the docking bay. Nobody noticed, that they didn't go to be recharged, but headed for the exit, where a small terrain speeder stood waiting just outside the perimeter. The driver welcomed them with a nod and a grin on his face; the two droids took their seats, and the speeder left Rawine space port with dimmed lights.
A federal officer came running up from the docking bay and entered the control room, where Olon Dendicott and Rand Phylotar were watching the preparation for take off. The officer made a formal salute.
"We're ready for take off, sir. All systems are up and running. We can leave when you're ready," He reported.
"Has everybody boarded?"
"Then let's leave as soon as possible. Come on, Rand. How long will it take to reach Endor, officer?"
"About thirty-six hours, sir. Our technicians managed to increase the ship's maximum velocity with point six percent."
Dendicott descended into the docking bay and walked over to the ramp of the ship where some of his men stood waiting. They saluted as the two high-ranking officers boarded the ship. Dendicott hardly noticed them, as his mind was already occupied with the outcome of this operation. He had only one goal: the convicted girl had to disappear forever. If she would be able to testify and tell the members of the High Council that on Wegoyy the forbidden SL-torturing chamber and mind weaking drug was still in use, he could loose everything he had gained.
His first impulse had been to kill the girl at the first opportunity, but Rand had convinced him to hand her over to some spies of a secret client of his brother Daino. Daino's client would keep her prisoner at the far off system of Palomintar on the far side of the Outer Rim Territories. Between the Palomintar system and Dalmaran wasn't any traffic, because the peace treaty prohibited access to the planets in the system, so the girl would no longer be a threat to him if Rand's client would keep her there.
One thing could be a bit inconvenient; that Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker was staying with the girl on Endor. Well, he had enough men to outnumber a Jedi Knight. One Jedi Knight wouldn't be able to withstand his thirty five trained and fully armored men. They could disarm him at the blink of an eye, although rumors went that the Jedi was an very excellent fighter.
Dendicott strapped himself in and gave the order to start the engines. With a deafening roar the engines ignited and slowly the space ship rose above the Rasth surface. It hovered for a moment above the pit, but then it gained velocity and disappeared into space.
"Clear for landing, boys. Landing-claws out."
"Forward engine stop."
"Forward engine stop."
Slowly the big Corellian freighter lowered between the big trees that surrounded the clearing.
"There's the path," Yarnick pointed to Brion, who was sitting in the co-pilots seat.
"Put her down."
"Putting her down."
"Stop all engines."
"All engines stopped."
The sound of the whining engines died out. Yarnick Grann watched the surrounding forest through the window shield of his space craft. That little senator was a tough lady. How did she know he could land here? Had his ship been a little bit bigger he wouldn't have been able to land. He grinned. Now they had to find Eilidh and that Jedi Knight, the senator's brother, Luke Skywalker.
"Let's go, fellahs. Remember, if we encounter any hostile attitude from locals no use of weapons what so ever. Hand over our weapons and let's hope for the best. "
They left the ship. Yarnick closed the hatch and joined his brothers at the beginning of the path. Cautiously they walked single filed, looking around in all directions for unexpected movements. So they marched on slowly for more than an hour. The undergrowth was dense and sometimes they stopped when they thought they heard strange noises. But nothing, no beast or other living creature crossed their path. Yarnick went ahead when he suddenly stopped and signaled to his brothers to hold. Some hundred meter further on the path stood a little furry creature with a spear.
"Haddo diddo mako niso wanto,"
['Stay where you are. All of you.']
The creature said with a stern look.
"That must be an Ewok," Yarnick said to his brothers.
He turned to the furry little bear and placed out both hands as a gesture of peace.
"We mean no harm. You are an Ewok, aren't you? We come from senator Leia Organa. We have a message for Luke Skywalker and Liane or Eilidh, if that's what you call her."
The creature frowned and whistled sharply. From all sides little bears start rushing in, until the Grann brother were completely surrounded.
"Careful, boys, I was told they are not really hostile, but they don't trust outsiders."
A slightly larger bear stepped forward wearing the prerogatives of a chieftain.
"Haddo diddo miko dado sota." He said.
['What's the reason you came here']
Yarnick shrugged his shoulder.
"I'm sorry little fellow. I don't speak your language, but do you know Eilidh Grann. I was told that she is living here with you."
Suddenly a laugh sounded through the forest.
"Who told you, Yarnick? Haddo kamo nizo gendo, Logray." A clear voice said.
['It's allright, Logray, these are friends.']
The crowd of little furry creatures opened up. Liane rushed through the gap and flung herself around Yarnick's neck.
"So good to see you! How did you find us? Hello, Brion, hello Ronan, hello Kieran, hello Conor, hello Bran."
Liane embraced all of them. The six brothers stood around her. Luke Skywalker had followed Liane and waited just outside the group of old friends. The young Jedi waited patiently until the first joy of this unexpected rendezvous was over. Liane had freed herself, she ran over to him and pulled him to the six brothers.
"These are Yarnick and his brothers, Luke. I told you about ..." She said.
"I have met them on Rasth, Liane. Hello guys, nice to meet again. How are you doing?"
Luke shook hands with the Grann brothers.
In the mean time most of the Ewoks had vanished, only Chirpa, Logray, Teebo and Wicket were still waiting. Liane introduced the six brothers to the two chieftains. Chirpa gave Teebo and Wicket an order. They rushed away.
"They are going to prepare a large guest house for you. It's really fun living up in the trees," Liane said, "Let's go to the village it's wonderful. Don't think it's a primitive way of living. The Ewoks love comfort and are very hospitable to their friends. You're lucky that you mentioned my old name. The Ewoks still call me Eilidh. Wicket, that little golden brown Ewok, came back to the village to tell me there were six strangers who had mentioned my name."
"So you knew it was us."
"Who else could it be. Only you. No one else knows I have been going by the name of Eilidh for two years, only Luke knows, because you told him."
"The commodore visited us shortly after you had ran away, Eilidh. "
Liane looked embarrassed, "I'm sorry I did that, Yarnick, but I thought I had to find out who I was, and what had happened to me without your help or the help of your parents."
"You have the regards from Marek and Aaliyah, Eilidh."
"Are you coming back to us to Rasth," Kieran asked teasingly.
Liane shook her head.
"Now that I know who I am, and what has happened to me on Wegoyy, I have to go to Dalmaran with Luke and tell the Supreme Chancellor of the New Republic my story."
"So I still have to wait to propose to you," Brion said grinning.
Liane looked at him and started laughing.
"I'm really sorry about the note I left. It was the only thing I could do, Brion. Marek told me that Yarnick or you wanted to marry me, but he was right: without a past it's impossible to have a real future."
They had reached the village and Luke and Liane brought their friends to the village center. To their surprise the Ewoks were already preparing for a celebration party. Chirpa explained to Liane that if lost friends find each other again, it's a good reason to celebrate. Liane translated Chirpa's message.
Leia was hurrying through the corridors of the administration building and went down to the subterranean offices of the space military staff. Ian Tydon accompanied her.
"Do you have any news from master Luke, master? Will he come back with Liane?" He informed.
"I urged him to come back to Irithim, but he refused, for he wants or hopes that she will become his padawan learner. I've told him that commander Dendicott might raid the Ewok village, where Luke is staying with Liane. I want to consult Mon Mothma. I hope to convince the Supreme Chancellor of the necessity to protect Liane against Dendicott's invasion force."
They quickly crossed the many corridors to the office of the Supreme Chancellor. At the information desk Leia put in a request to see Mon Mothma at once. Within two minutes Wedge Antilles walked up to them.
"The Supreme Chancellor can see you immediately, Leia. General Madine is also attending," He said.
"Wedge! What are you doing here?"
"Planning an intervention force. The Supreme Chancellor has already ordered that Gold Squadron and the Tychorion must go to Endor and protect Liane Solichor, because commander Dendicott has neglected her strict order to stay on Wegoyy. General Madine has informed the Supreme Chancellor about the intercepted conversation between commander Dendicott and colonel Rand Phylotar," the commander of the Gold Squadron said.
Together they went to the Supreme Chancellor's office. Wedge announced their arrival through his info com. Even before they had reached the offices, general Madine stepped outside and beckoned them to enter. Inside they Mon Motha and Yarmod Martan who recently had become Wedge's padawan. They all sat down. The two young padawans remained standing behind their master's chairs.
"I was just about to send for you, Leia." Mon Mothma opened their meeting. "I have given Crix Madine the order to make immediate preparations to intercept commander Dendicott. An warrant has been issued for the commander, and he will be brought to Dalmaran at once for interrogation. Your droids have returned from Rasth, haven't they. Did you manage to inform your brother?"
"I have. Shortly after their arrival my droids reported, that Dendicott and Rand Phylotar had assembled some thirty or forty men at Rawine space port on Rasth. They were brought back to Rawine to record further developments. Commander Dendicott has already left Rasth for a mission to Endor. I also have asked Luke to come back to Dalmaran immediately and I've warned him for a possible raid on the Ewok village of commander Dendicott and his men. "
"Will he do so?" Mon Mothma asked. She looked concerned as Leia shook her head.
"He won't, ma'am. Luke hopes to convince Liane to become his padawan learner. According to my brother Endor is a better place to start her training than here on Dalmaran."
"Isn't he underestimating the situation?" Mon Mothma asked sternly. "I understand his position and his desire to train a new Jedi Knight, but I'm afraid that in this case he does not properly assess the seriousness of what is going on. He is on his own, if commander Dendicott and his men will attack the Ewok village in an attempt to capture Liane Solichor. So we need to send some of our ground forces to Endor to help him immediately. Commodore Antilles, I want you and the men of Gold Squadron to accompany the Tychorion. General, how much time is needed to reach Endor and safe the life of our most important witness of unlawful and illegal torture. I hold commander Dendicott responsible for his regime in our prison. "
"I can leave within twenty-four hours, Chancellor. The Tychorion can reach Endor thirty-six hours at earliest after we've left Iritihim." Madine said.
Mon Mothma frowned.
"How long will it take Dendicott to reach Endor from Rasth?" She asked with much concern.
"If he has left shortly after my droids returned to Bestine space port, he will arrive in less than a day I fear, Chancellor," Leia answered.
"So your brother will have to withstand against forty or more mercenaries on his own, for two days at least. If Dalmaran isn't a good place to train a future Jedi Knight, can't he find another planet where he can train Liane Solichor as his padawan?"
"I'm sure my brother has considered to come back earlier, ma'am, but Liane seems to need more persuasion than Luke has estimated. However there is a positive spark, I have spoken to Marek Grann's sons. Yarnick and his brothers are also on their way to Endor to warn and assist my brother and Liane. So there will be seven to fight Dendicott and his men. And we mustn't forget the Ewoks. They are fierce fighters, when they are enraged. Luke and I became members of their tribe during the Battle of Endor, and it is likely that Liane has been living among them for some time. So they will consider her to be a member of their tribe too." Leia said.
"Leia, your words are reassuring, at least a bit. It's good to know that your brother isn't completely on his own, but I'm not convinced, that those seven men will be sufficient to withstand commander Dendicott and his men. General, I want you to leave Dalmaran at the earliest possibility." Mon Mothma said while she rose.
"Chancellor?" Leia asked, "My padawn and I want to take part in this mission too."
"Of course, Leia, the more Jedi Knights Dendicott will encounter, the more difficult it will be for him to carry out his own malignant plans. May the Force be with us. "
On Coruscant Jerno, Kalip and Valann were considering the consequences of several different reports Kalip's intelligence force had received recently.
"The Basilisaea should carry out a more targeted search now. So far admiral Vestor has done an excellent job," Jerno said and looked with great respect to Kalip, "As have your men, Kalip. Tell them we highly appreciate their efforts."
"I certainly will do so, Jerno," Kalip answered.
"In case Valann isn't up to date with the latest developments regarding Darth Vader's daughter, give a summary of what your men have discovered."
Jerno leaned back and Kalip turned to Valann.
"There's a realistic option to assume that we now know where our missing admiral is. He has found a hiding place on one of the planets in the Palomintar System. Our intelligence hasn't yet found the exact planet in the system, but that's a matter of time."
Valann nodded, "The Palomintar System isn't far from the Urervik cluster. Isn't the Basilisaea doing her investigations and surveillance in that part of the galaxy at the moment."
"That's right," Jerno said, "On my former request Admiral Vestor has done much surveillance that part of the Outer Rim. We can direct the admiral to do a more explicit surveillance on the planets in the Palomintar System. We will send an extra group of technical communications experts to support the admiral with any further and more in dept surveillances. I already send admiral Vestor order that he might expect those new technicians with a foreseeable future. He has to send part of his technical staff on furlough back to Coruscant with the return flight of that transport. I expect his answer shortly."
"It's good to know we have a reliable person as admiral Vestor doing those investigations. Are we sure that admiral Matrik is hiding in that system?" Valann asked.
"I'm almost certain, Valann. Thanks to the excellent work of our intelligence force and our undercover agents at Irithim, not to mention the information the New Republic has shared with us about the whereabouts of Darth Vader's daughter. At the moment she is on Endor and the Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker is with her. Most important is that she has recovered from the mind drug, which means that she remembers her past and what has happened to her in the Wegoyy prison." Kalip said.
"That means trouble, no to say big problems, for our defected officer Olon Dendicott," Valann concluded.
"Right, I'll come to that in more detail. The daughter of Darth Vader, her name is Liane Solichor, might tell the members of the High Council of the New Republic about the treatment she underwent in the Wegoyy prison. She is now a very valuable witness and her testimony will mean the end of Olon Dendicott's career."
Valann looked at Jerno and Kalip and couldn't suppress a faint smile, "So her testimony is quite discomforting him, I presume."
They all laughed and Jerno continued, "That's an understatement, Valann. Olon Dendicott has put the government of the New Republic on high alert with his official request to start looking for the woman who is, in his own words, an escaped convict. The Supreme Chancellor has prohibited him to start his own search. Instead she has urged Jedi Knight Skywalker to continue with his search. Jedi Skywalker's attempt has been successful, for he is now with Liane Solichor on Endor."
"Problem solved, case closed?" Valann asked.
"Absolutely not," Kalip continued, "It might be getting worse. At least for the New Republic. Our undercover agents report that their frigate Tychorion has been equipped and scheduled for immediate departure to Endor. Against the official prohibition order of the government at Irithim Olon Dendicott has gone to deserted space port on Rasth. A group of his prison guards is accompanying him. Someone, probably Rand Phylotar has given him the information that Liane Solichor had been on board a trade freighter under an false identity. The freighter is the property of the Grann brothers, the six sons of the governor of Rasth, Marek Grann. That same Rand Phylotar, the elder brother of Daino Phylotar who both deserted at the same time together with Olon Dendicott, has unexpectedly turned up at De'olon space port and has left Dalmaran in a hurry. Our agents assume, that he has been given the order to join Olon Dendicott and his ground force immediately. From Rasth we haven't gotten any intelligence report, but information from Irithim confirms more or less that the prison commander must indeed have been informed about the whereabouts of Liane Solichor. That's why the Tychorion is scheduled to Endor too."
"How did we get the information that admiral Matrik might be in the Palomintar System?" Valann asked
"That's shared with us from Irithim. It seems that already during the Ortel uprising, there has been talk of a agreement between Senator Zolgathrii and unknown connection to transfer Liane Solichor to the Palomintar System in exchange for a large sum of money."
"Are we going to give any support to the New Republic on Endor?"
"I have asked their agent if we could be of any help, but his answer was, that the Supreme Chancellor only wishes to keep us informed. As we aren't yet absolutely sure, that admiral Matrik is hiding in the the Palomintar System, I didn't want to tell him yet about a possible surveillance mission of the Basilisaea in that part of the galaxy. We're still collecting more evidence about the whereabouts of admiral Matrik. One thing is for sure, he must have survived the explosion of that second star destroyer, but there are still many questions to answer. For instance: what happened to his own crew and stormtroopers. The only thing we can do, is, find more information and wait and see, how the situation around Liane Solichor is developing. Probably it's an advantage for the New Republic that Jedi Skywalker is with her on Endor."
"Commander Dendicott is coming to Endor? How has he found out I am here?" Liane asked disquieted.
"We don't know, Eilidh, but don't worry, it will take some time before he arrives here. Kieran has instructed that astromech droid of the senator to make a unexpected modification to his ship's navi-computer program. When his ship comes out of hyperspace and the sublight engines are started to approach Endor for landing, the navi-computer resets and restarts the hyperdrive. The ship get back into hyperspace lane around Endor every time they come out of hyperspace again, even if the crew attempts to start the sublight engines manually. So Dendicott and his men won't be able to land on Endor." Yarnick grinned.
Luke looked at Liane. He felt her anxiety and tried to reassure her.
"Now that Yarnick and the others are staying with us, Liane, there is enough help to protect you. Yarnick, when do you expect Dendicott will arrive near Endor."
"We left shortly after your sister's request. Kieran needed some hours to instruct the astromech to make the changes in the flight program. As far as we know commander Dendicott was still preparing his ship when we took off. It will take at least five or six days before the our special program will destruct the modification and continue with the ship's normal navigation program, unless the commander orders to switch off the ship's navi-computer, and resets the ship's computer system, but that will take him at least twenty hours, maybe more."
"Smart guys, where did you get that knowledge," He asked.
"We used it once in our own navi-computer to avoid a confrontation with some very nasty opponents. This five to six days' modification is a bit longer than we normally plug in. It's a simple but very useful self-destructing computer virus."
"Why haven't we arrived at Endor yet. We should have reach Endor in less than two days from Rasth, was said?!!!" Dendicott snarled at the two men in front of him.
"Sir, as the navi computer starts the sublight engines the hyperdrive engine resets, and sends us back into the hyperspace lane around Endor. It has gone berserk, sir. We're checking all the input, but nothing is wrong. The computer program reports no errors."
"Don't tell me, that it's inexplicable. Find out who implemented that program. And let him report back to me in person."
"The program has been checked on Rasth by a maintenance droid and its check out was marked OK, sir."
The two officers hurried from the room. Dendicott started to pace up and down in the cramped cabin. His whole plan seemed to be jeopardized. He walked to the info com on his desk.
"Rand, come here immediately!" He growled in the microphone.
Almost instantaneously Rand Phylotar came in.
"What the hell is going on here!" Dendicott shouted. "We should have landed on Endor four days ago. Who's responsible for this disaster!!!!!"
"No one, Olon. There seems to be a flaw in the ship's computer program, but no one on board knows how to fix the program!!!!!
"SEEMS TO BE!!!!! SEEMS TO BE!!!!" Dendicott's fist smashed down on his desk. "THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS; A NEGLIGENCE IN MY ORDERS, DO YOU HEAR!! WHAT KIND OF CREW IS THIS, IF THEY CAN'T FIX A COMPUTER FLAW IN A FLIGHT COMPUTER!!!!!!"
"It's not that easy, Olon. The hyperdrive coordinates to Endor aren't reliable anymore. The navi computer resets the hyperdrive engine when we're nearing Endor, then the hyperdrive starts without reason and sends us back into hyperspace lane around Endor."
Dendicott gritted his teeth. Everything was running out of hand. What if the girl would escape with help of that Jedi? No, impossible! How would that Skywalker know that he was after the girl? No, the girl was his and she would never tell anything to the High Council. He would bring her to the Palomintar System personally .
"Make sure that the crew is working on this problem twenty-four hours around the clock. See to it personally, Rand. Now, dismissed!"
Rand Phylotar left and sighed relieved when he walked back to the rear of the ship. In a hurry he went to the technicians' room.
"What are you sitting here. Any luck!!" He snapped.
"No, sir! The system seems to be beaten runaway. The only thing which might help, is to switch off the engine and reset the navi-computer program, but we're not sure that will bring us to Endor."
"Do it and do it immediately. I want results and no excuses."
The three technicians quickly ducked in the engine's hold. Rand Phylotar paced up and down the room. Then he heard how the whine of the engines die out. The ship shuddered and it seemed to float quietly in space. He heard the techs talk together. A soft humming was heard and died out again.
"What are you doing?" He yelled down.
"That's the main computer resetting itself, sir. It will take about twelve hours before we can restart the navi-computer."
"TWELVE HOURS!!!! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!!!! DO IT QUICKER!!!!!"
"Impossible, sir. The main computer has to check the ship's complete system. Standard procedure takes twenty hours; we're skipping the overhead checking, which will decrease the restart some eight hours, maybe less."
"Alright, but not a minute longer than twelve hours. Do you understand!!!!"
Leia Organa looked at Artoo and Threepio who had be fitted with their normal plating. They were standing on the terrace of her apartment. Leia's eyes had wandered a few times at the dark sky above her. Thousands of sparkling stars dotted the dark velvet above Irithim. Somewhere out there was Endor where Luke was staying with Liane. She hoped that somehow her brother would be aware of the danger that was coming towards him.
Leia sighed and turned to her padawan, "I hope Yarnick Grann and his brothers has arrived in time to join Luke, so they will be able to protect Liane."
"The governor, their father, told me that they had left a few hours after you had spoken to Yarnick, master," Ian said, "Yet I have had a short talk with one of them on Bestine space port, after he picked up Artoo and Threepio. He told me, he would bring them to Rawine. I have waited for the droids to come back on board your space shuttle at Bestine space port, although I was offered to stay at the governor's house. Another guy, a young fellow, brought Artoo and Threepio back to Bestine space port. He said goodbye and wished me a good flight, before he went over to an old model freighter. The vessel left before I got my clearance, so they surely must have arrived on Endor by now. On behalf of you and me I have thanked that young guy for their cooperation."
Leia nodded, still looking a bit absentminded at the star above, before she asked him, "Are you sure nobody has noticed your presence?"
Ian grinned, "I didn't go as a padawan to Rasth, master. Before I left I changed my Jedi outfit and dressed as a common trader pilot. I hope, you don't mind I did that, but I thought it would be wise to chose a more common disguise. If commander Dendicott would have been informed that a Jedi padawan had been seen around Bestine, he certainly would have known it could be me."
"Excellent decision, my padawan. You've acted with caution and care as a Jedi Knight always should do. "
"How did Liane get to Endor, master?" Ian asked.
"I don't know, Ian. I haven't yet asked Luke. My first concern was to warn him against Dendicott and his men."
"Maybe master Luke has decided to leave Endor with her, nevertheless."
"No, he hasn't; I can feel he's still there. Luke hopes that Liane will become his padawan learner."
"I'm really glad she has been able to use the Jedi-pedant, asking master Luke for help," Ian said with relief.
"Due to your excellent decision to leave her Luke's gift, Ian," Leia said and smiled at her padawan gratefully.
"I only hoped it would give her a chance to contact master Luke after I had left her in that canyon on Wegoyy. I never could have imagined, that it would take so long before she would get her memories back."
"Nevertheless it was a wise decision, my young padawan," Leia said, while she looked up to the sky above her.
"Endor is some where out there. Let's hope our preparations are sufficient to intercept our opponents. Come on, Ian, we're going."
They both grabbed their Jedi-coats, turned around and saw the two droids which were waiting for them, after they had gotten their normal outlook.
"You both have done a wonderful job. Thank you, Threepio, thank you, Artoo." Leia said and patted Threepio gratefully at his arm, putting her hand on Artoo's domed top.
"Our pleasure, Your Highness, but shouldn't we go after the commander and his mercenaries. I think master Luke is in grave danger'"
"We're going, Threepio. Everything has been taken care of. Now it's our turn to act."
Leia activated the info com on her wristband and called general Madine.
"Threepio, Artoo have been changed to their former self, general. Dendicott and his men have left Rasth about three days ago. They must have reached Endor by now. I hope Luke still can hold them off for a while."
"Space traffic control of Endor is cooperating with us. They will hold their clearance for landing for at least for a standard day. They haven't reported any approaching ships yet."
Suddenly started Artoo to hoot a long series of binary whistles. Threepio raised his hands in disgust.
"How could you! So that's what you were doing, while I was doing that final check out of the ship, and I've told them everything was checking out normally."
Artoo hooted an indignant answer.
"Only the princess or master Luke can give you orders. You shouldn't have listened to a rogue pilot like Kieran Grann. You're lucky the princess isn't going to wipe your memory banks this time."
Leia and Ian looked at the bickering droids.
"What's the matter, Threepio?" Leia asked.
"Your Highness, Artoo just tells me, that Kieran Grann instructed Artoo to installed some extra in the ships's navi-computer program. Commander Dendicott can't reach Endor, because it will take him several extra days to get there. Artoo has installed a computer virus in the ship's flight path programm. It starts a kind loop which sends the commander's ship back into the hyperspace lane if the navi-computer wants to start the sublight engines. Kieran Grann has instructed Artoo how to implement it. "
General Madine's holographic image who had followed Threepio's translation started to roar with laughter and Leia and Ian Tydon also laughed gleefully.
"Excellent work, Artoo," The general said, still grinning. It took some moments, before he got his composure again, "That will surely hold them off for some days and it will give us the opportunity to reach Endor at the same time."
"We have our clearance, Your Highness. Are you sure, Yarnick Grann has warned Luke by now."
"If his ship is as fast as he said, then he must have reached Endor less than two days ago."
"I'll be waiting for you at the space port, Your Highness. Let's find out what's going on on Endor? "
Leia switched off and fastened the clasp of her Jedi coat.
"Come on, Threepio, Artoo, Ian. We're going to Endor. Threepio, we might need you there to communicate with the Ewoks."
"I remember those funny furry tree bears, Your Highness. They are an intelligent tribe, using a very odd dialect, but I was treated very honorably and respectful."
"I think, Threepio, that they will remember you're no deity at all, but only our loyal assistant."
She closed the door of the apartment.
Some moments later a speeder drove to De'olon space port at high speed. After check in they entered the space port terrain and quickly found their way to the docking bay were their transport ship to the Tychorion was waiting. Leia saw Wedge Antilles and his men.
"Ready to go, Wedge?" She asked.
"We are. I have a special order to assist you and our ground forces on Endor. Look, there's the general."
Wedge, Yarmod Martan and the other pilots saluted and Leia greeted the general wholeheartedly.
"Welcome on board of our transport to the Tychorion, Your Highness. We're ready for take off."
General Madine lead Leia to the ramp. Ian Tydon followed with the two droids. Through the windows Leia saw the X-wings of the Gold-squadron already leaving the docking bay. Immediately she heard Wedge's voice over the info com.
"Meet you at the rendezvous point near the Tychorion, general. Over and out."
The hatch of the transport ship closed and the engines were started.
"Strap yourself in, Ian," Leia said to her young padawan. "I feel you're a bit worried about your Jedi training. Patience, my young padawan, even if there's a delay. A Jedi learns from every situation."
"I'm sorry, mistress Leia, you are right. It's selfish to be concerned about my Jedi training, now that master Luke and Liane are facing problems with commander Dendicott," Ian said with servitude.
"You're too eager to learn more, but don't concentrate on your training only. Experience is also a way of learning. I'm sure that you can use many of your new skills on Endor. I'll use our time on board the Tychorion to tell you more of the Jedi philosophies behind the use of the Force," She reassured him.
She took a seat and grabbed the safety belts behind her. Together they waited for the ship's take off.
"So, that's how you became a Jedi Knight, Luke?" Kieran asked.
Luke, Liane and the six Grann brothers were standing in the thick undergrowth of the Endor jungle at some distance of the Ewok village."
"Did you fight in the Civil War?" Conor asked.
"Yes, but only in the Battle of Endor I could use my full knowledge as a Jedi Knight. In the years after the destruction of the first Death Star I mainly was a fighter pilot using the Force by trial and error, several years later I went to Dagobah to get my Jedi training from Grand Master Yoda."
"Our father fought in the Civil War," Bran said, "Did you know him?"
"No, Marek was involved in the undercover intelligence operations. We, fighter pilots, had nothing to do with them. Your father was the one who contacted the Bothans and brought the technical read-out of the second Death Star to our fleet near Sullust."
"Wow, he's never told us that," Yarnick said.
"Marek Grann is a modest person, Yarnick. He would never boast on his achievements. Our Supreme Chancellor was right, when she made him captain-general and told the people of Bestine to have your father elected as their governor and the mayor of Bestine."
"How do you know all this, Luke?" Liane asked. "I can't imagine that the Supreme Chancellor is keeping you up to date on all her decisions."
They all laughed, but suddenly Luke made a slight gesture.
"Hush guys, I thought I heard shooting."
Liane grabbed Brion's arm. Reassuring he placed his hand over hers. For several minutes they stood together in silence, but nothing seem to stir the environment.
"Must be mistaken," Luke said, but Liane heard the unmistakable sound of the Jedi alertness in his voice. Could it be, that Dendicott had already landed on Endor? Her hand grabbed the Jedi-pendant under her tunics. Immediately she felt Luke's reassuring influence.
'Don't let your anxieties overtake you, Liane, stay mindful of the moment. You've learned much these last months. Use your new knowledge. No harm will happen to you if you remain calm and placid. I'm with you and so are Yarnick and his brothers. You're not alone anymore.' she heard him say.
She relaxed. Luke was right. Yarnick and the others would defend her.
"Let's get to the ruins of the control center." She said, "I want to hear more about the Battle of Endor."
"Leia could tell you a lot more. She was here with Han Solo and Chewbacca and ..."
Before Luke could finish his sentence Liane exclaimed, "Han Solo! You and Leia have been looking for him, haven't you?"
Luke looked at her.
"Yes, but we haven't found him. Han was a general in the Alliance Space Force and in command on the Endor mission to wipe out the protection shield."
"Is he a tall, lean man with piercing eyes?" Liane asked nearly out of breath.
"Yes, why... have ... you. Have you met Han while you're with Yarnick and his brothers?"
Luke had grabbed her arm and looked at the Grann brothers.
"Do you know where I can find him, Yarnick?"
"We met Han Solo in Mos Eisley. Eilidh, you asked him if he knew where Leia Organa was. His reaction was very odd. He seemed annoyed about that question and brushed you off very rudely."
"How long ago was that?" Luke asked and they all heard a strange tension in his voice.
"More than a year ago, I guess, Luke, just before we introduced Eilidh to our parents," Yarnick said.
Luke sighed and looked in the far distance. Liane felt his disappointment after Yarnick's words.
"So Han Solo really was Leia's friend and you went looking for him, Luke?" She asked.
Luke looked down.
"Yes, he was engaged to Leia, Liane. He left her, because I completed her training as a Jedi Knight."
"I don't ..."
All of a sudden the sound of a distant explosion burst through the air. Luke turned on his heels and looked in the direction of the Ewok village.
"Dendicott has arrived at the village. It's is under attack. Yarnick, Kieran, Conor follow me. Liane, stay with the others and don't come after us. Stay were you are. Go to the ruins of the control center and stay there. You're safe as long as you stay out of sight.
Luke, Yarnick, Kieran and Conor were already running back to the village.
"Luke!!! Don't go!!!" Liane yelled, "Dendicott will kill you!!!!"
She suddenly understood, what was going on and ran after him. Luke turned.
"Stay there, Liane. Do as I told you. Dendicott will have a hard time in Endor jungle as long as you stay out of sight."
He vanished among the trees.
Ronan pulled at Liane's arm.
"Come, Eilidh. Luke certainly knows, what he's doing. Bring us to those ruins you were talking about. If Luke says it's safe for you to stay there then we'd better hurry."
Liane was still watching the spot where Luke and the other Granns had vanished. Her hand sought the Jedi-pendant around her neck.
'Luke, don't do this!!' She said through the Force.
Slowly she turned and looked desperately at the three youngest brothers. Brion put his arm around her shoulder.
"Come on, Liane. Do as Luke told you. Where are those ruins?"
Liane pointed in the direction of the small ridge of hills.
"Behind those hills. It's a five hours' walk."
"On the move then. We have to hurry, before Dendicott and his men start roaming this area."