aster, I've found a guy, who has probably met Liane Vader on Morantan. He was a scientist in the rebel's occupation force. I'll have arranged a meeting with him tonight."
"Does he know, where she is at the moment?" The cloaked holographic figure asked.
"He might have some new information. He has worked for that rebel government on Dalmaran. As he was involved in the raid on Morantan, it's likely that he knows about her flight with Zolgathrii, her imprisonment on Wegoyy, and where she went after she escaped to Endor. He recently arrived on Palomintar Six as a free scientist. He must have heard rumors on Dalmaran about what happened to Lady Vader after she left Endor. He is working in a local bar here."
"Squeeze any information he knows from him. Put him under pressure, but be careful: don't harm him too much. Is he a young man?"
"Yes, master, only a few years older than Lady Vader. I told him that he might find her attractive. I promised him to show him an image of the girl."
"If he recognizes her, you know what you have to do. Otherwise don't talk about why you're interested in the girl."
"Scan his face and transmit his image to me. I want to know my informants."
"I'll see to it and take a holographic image of him, master. Do you have any other orders?"
"Report as soon as you have spoken the guy. And, once again, don't reveal why you want information from him." Darth Golluth grumbled.
"Yes, master," The Twilek' spy said humbly.
The holographic image of Darth Golluth faded and his spy switched off the display.
After his long consultation with his old master, Luke had taken deep Force meditation to absorb all the new information and look at the new knowledge his old master had revealed from many points of view. Most important was that Yoda had revealed, that his first Jedi master Ben Kenobi had been secretly married to Severini, Liane's mother. Their first born had been a son, Liane's older brother. Although Yoda had refused to tell him more or to confirm his Force visions, Luke felt absolutely certain about the truth behind his Force visions.
For a while he pondered on the relationship between Ben and Liane. It had been Ben who had warned Liane to use the Jedi-pendant again, when she had regained her memory. It had been Ben who had talked to her after their silly quarrel. The Force had shown him Ben's image after he had told her in the Astræga her mother had been a Force healer.
He always had found it pretty amazing, that Liane could see Ben's Force apparition and talk to him, but with Yoda's revelation about Ben's marriage in mind, Luke was now convinced that the Force had shown him another incredible truth.
Anyway for the present he had to keep this knowledge to himself. He would do, as Yoda had said; be patient and be Liane's protector and a close friend.
Finally he released himself from his Force trance. He felt refreshed, energetic and strengthened.
After a modest and mindful meal he put on his cassock and walked over to the opposite wall of the huge cave, where a row of small boulders protruded from the floor, marking a kind of path to a dark shadowy corner of the cave. He stopped as he reached a larger boulder that seemed to block his path. The lights in the Jedi archive dimmed, before Luke disappeared through a small fissure between the boulder and the cave wall. The curved crevice led again to the shallow bed of the underground river. Carefully he followed a riverbed along a slippery path at the right side. Frequently he stopped and made a small marking on the tunnel wall with his lightsaber. At last he reached a point where the underground stream disappeared under the rocky wall again through a gap at his left, leaving a higher dry plateau at his right hand. He jumped and for a few moments he stood motionless near the rocky wall. He stretched out his hand and concentrated on the Force. The rocky wall began to vibrate and slowly the wall started to rise. Luke passed through the gap, turned around and closed the gap again.
The space behind the door appeared to be a broad elongated dry cavern which had been partially adjusted as the walls on either side had been smoothly polished. Vaguely the sound of bubbling water could be heard behind the left wall. Luke crossed the cavern to the other end and climbed some carved stairs. He entered a small passageway on top of the stairs where another rocky wall blocked his path. Once again he used his Jedi power to slide a hidden door aside. He stood at the far end of what seemed to be a storeroom, for numerous containers were stacked on top of one another all over the place, completely covering the spot where he stood.
"Just as Leia and I expected. This cave isn't in use, or at least very infrequently," Luke mused, as he quickly checked some of the top containers which were covered with a thick layer of dust and gravel.
Thoughtfully he smiled. He walked back through the gap, closed the hidden door, descended the rocky stairs and turned to the opposite wall where the sound of the underground river could be heard. He ignited his flashlight and in the light two limestone stalactites glittered in the broad beam. He stooped to enter a niche between the stalactites. When he placed both hands against the rear wall, the lower part of the wall slowly tilted upward. He slipped through the plastered durasteel door. Behind him the door closed. He turned and looked at the two enormous stone jambs on either side which fully concealed the entrance to the cave.
"Well protected and everything is still functioning without a hitch. Now, let's go and see if I can find Liane." He said to himself, smiling.
He reached out to the Force and felt her presence and ... the presence of his sister. So Leia had arrived. He had to hurry, if he wanted to protect Liane against Leia's possible revelations.
He crossed a naturally formed rocky bridge over the underground stream before reaching a rocky path at the other side. He followed this slightly winding path for about seven hundred meters. When the river made a steep bend to the left, he saw the submersible which had been fixed to the jetty using magnetic moorings. He jumped to the artificial terrace on the other side, turned around and looked at the entrance of Mon Mothma's underground residence.
The muffled sound of different voices reached his ears and now he became fully aware of his sister's warm presence. He returned her feelings and a serene smile curved his lips. He also felt Liane's presence. For a moment he cherished her presence through the Force. She was happy and he heard her laugh.
"Good. My sister hasn't told her anything yet," He thought and walked over to the transparisteel entrance. When the entrance doors slid aside his path was blocked by two familiar friends.
Quickly Luke put his hand over Threepio's mouth. With his other hand he tried to stop the excited binary chatter of Artoo.
"Hush, my friends, no so loud. Yes, I'm glad to see you too. No, you don't have to tell the others I have arrived. Leia already knows I'm here. Are they in the living? On the terrace. Well, I know the way."
Luke passed the entrance to the living, closely followed by the two excited droids. From the terrace came the sound of Chewbacca's rumbling voice. Quickly he walked through the living and stepped out on the terrace.
"Good day to all of you; do you mind if I join your cheerful company," He said with a smile.
Four faces turned in his direction. Leia smiled and winked. Liane looked astounded, before she jumped to her feet and went over to welcome him.
"Unbelievable! So it wasn't my imagination, as I thought I felt your presence. Luke, you were coming!.
Luke looked into Liane's shining eyes.
"Leia, Han and Chewbacca came yesterday." Liane said while she grabbed the sleeve of his cassock with the intention to pull him to the others, but she stopped and looked questioningly at him.
"How did you get here? Mon Mothma didn't mention, that you were coming? Haven't you told her? So I didn't expect you. During our last chat you said that you weren't able to pay me a visit soon!"
"That's a lot of questions to answer, Liane, " Luke laughed about her excitement and gently placed his hand over hers. He was constantly aware of his great fondness for her while he looked into her eyes.
"I'm glad you're appreciating my unexpected visit, " He said, while he pulled her a bit closer, "Liane, why haven't you used the Jedi-pendant more often. Three months is a long time, and you only used the pendant three times. Our last chat is more than three weeks ago. I hoped that you would use the Jedi-pendant as often as you said you would do," He looked into her eyes.
Liane looked up. The happy sparkle in her eyes vanished.
"I thought you understood ... I didn't want to... disturb you un... unnecessarily," she whispered barely audible, feeling uncomfortable of his soft reproach.
She tried to pull her hand away from his sleeve, but Luke tightened his grip for a moment, before he released her. Then he turned to greet the others. Leia embraced her brother with warm hugs.
"So good to see you, Luke. Where is my padawan?"
"Ian is continuing our mission on Palomintar Six. He has found an undercover job with some Quelans who needed a guy to help them in their cantina. He sends all of you his regards, especially Liane."
Liane looked up at his words, and she nodded with a reluctant smile. Luke pretended that he didn't notice and continued, "And he's doing great, Leia. You've taught him well. He's fine companion and so dedicated to his new status. I'm thinking of going with him to Dagobah for his final trials after we have finished our mission in the Palomintar System."
He turned to his brother-in-law.
"Hey Han," He grabbed his friend at the wrist.
"Hey my kid-brother. Found some secret entrance to reach this underground residence?" Han asked.
"I walked along the underground stream." Luke said elusive, "Hello Chewie, everything fine with you. Can you cope with the permanent presence of my sister?"
He look around and pointed to the couch Liane had left some moments before.
"Can I take a seat over there, Liane?"
He saw her hesitation and smiled at her.
"Still wondering about my unexpected arrival?" He teased and grabbed her hand again.
"Sit down beside me. There's room enough for both of us on this couch."
Liane sat down at the edge of the couch and looked at him.
"It's ... really great that you could come too, while Han, Leia and Chewbacca are here!" She said, trying to hide her emotions, then suddenly she seemed to remember what he just had said.
"Did you say, you have walked all the way along the underground stream? So, there is a path along the river to the outside world?"
Luke grinned and he winked at his sister.
"Yes, there is, Liane, but it's a well hidden path, and even for a Jedi it's a long walk." He said evasively.
Ashamed Liane put her hand to her mouth, but she started laughing.
"I really am a terrible hostess. Threepio, will you bring master Luke a glass of his favorite juice? Oh, and make sure that another guestroom is prepared," She turned to Luke, "I assume you'll be staying here, while Han, Leia and Chewie are here."
"I most certainly will, for it seems the only way to make sure that you stop wondering about my arrival," Luke laughed.
Liane nodded at Threepio.
"Most certainly, mistress Liane," The droid responded and left to fulfill his new chores.
"Luke, this young lady has become used to her staff of droid personal in only a three months time," Han said grinning. "She is now just in command as Leia was as a rebellion leader."
Both Leia and Liane looked indignantly.
"You're unfair, Han, to say this. During the war Leia had far more responsibilities than I have here. Moreover lady Mon Mothma has said, that I could make use of this staff of droids, so I don't have to waste my time with routine chores myself and can focus on more important tasks."
"Like what, sweetheart. Like dreaming day in, day out about your friend L...?"
Liane flashed an angry look in Han's direction, but she couldn't prevent that she blushed vehemently. She quickly grabbed a cushion and threw at him. He caught it and threw it back, before he started to laugh.
"Lovely color, sweetheart, it suits you, and those rosy cheeks reveal a lot. You don't have to tell me, sweetheart, but I'm certain that there hasn't passed a day, that you haven't been thinking of your Jedi friend," he grinned.
Again Liane didn't know what to answer. Feeling uncomfortable about Han's teasing words she desperately tried to regain her former self-confidence. Luke saw her embarrassment and answered in her place.
"You're right, Han. Liane has been thinking of me," Luke said as he squeeze her hand again, "Very regularly I must say. I'm very glad she hasn't forgotten our friendship. We had several pleasant chats together, as she used the Jedi-pendant I gave her."
With a inaudible sigh Liane relaxed and leaned against the cushions of the couch. Through the Force she was aware of Luke's warm presence. She looked at him with a thankful smile. Their eyes met and gently Luke held her gaze with his Force powers and all of a sudden his blue eyes full of warm friendship were the only things that began to fill her mind. His always friendly eyes, his bright blue eyes, which she had seen so often. Not only now, but also in a past, long gone. Suddenly his soft Jedi voice, warm and full of compassion, penetrated her mind, asking her an almost forgotten question.
'Don't you recognize me?'
Using her Force skills she answered his question passionately, using Jedi telepathy, 'Yes, I do, Luke. I know who you are.'
The Force vision vanished. For a moment her strong emotions for him seemed to overwhelm her. She recalled their short stay in Mos Eisley on Tatooine, when they had stood together on the terrace of their temporary residence. She remembered how very strangely united with him she had felt as if she had become a part of him. A warm glow ran through her body. She smiled and looked up to him to meet his gentle gaze once again.
"Here is your drink, master Luke?" Threepio said and put a cold glass with a yellow colored liquid on the table, "And I've arranged…"
"Get out of here, Goldenrod. You're always spoiling people's happiest moments." Han snapped, as he noticed what was happening between his brother-in-law and Liane. The tender moment between those two had brought back the memory of his own first tender moment with Leia.
"Sir?!" Threepio said hurt, "I'm only doing my job."
"Thank you, Threepio," Luke said, and nodded friendly to his droid friend.
"I heard laughter, when I stood near the entrance. What were you talking about?" He asked and looked around the group.
"Chewbacca was doing an imitation of Threepio and Artoo squabbling and Threepio was a bit offended," Han answered. "Hey, Chewie do it again for Luke."
"No Han," Leia said. "My brother surely wants to have a chat with Liane? We'd better leave them alone for a while. I'm going to our quarters to read some papers."
Han frowned, looked at his wife and nodded with a meaningful, lopsided grin.
"Come on, Chewie, we're no longer welcome here!" He grinned.
Leia rose and smiled when she caught Luke's grateful look. Then she looked to Liane.
'I heard what you said to my brother, Liane. If you know who he is, please, tell him how you know. Talk with him, for he knows a lot more which he wants to explain to you,' She said using her Jedi abilities to communicate via Jedi telepathy. Almost immediately a happy smile crossed Liane's face, and astounded Leia heard her answer, 'On the Tychorion you spoke similar kind of words to me, Leia, but at that time the circumstances were a lot more complicated.'
Leia looked at Liane and smiled. She looked at her brother and she knew he had followed her short Jedi conversation with Liane. With a serene smile on her face she followed Han and Chewbacca.
"Changes have been made," The image of the young officer told Jerno, "Anything else?"
"How is the situation on board the Basilisæa?"
"Quiet, no further contacts have been made, nor has there been any communication between Dalmaran and the Palomintar System."
"We had contact with our allies and permission has been granted. You can proceed. Leave your identification in the system, so they will know who has accessed the partition which has been set up for our goal. I'll send you the encrypted information right away. Can you make sure that his contacts will pass the access code to him?"
"No problem, I have made a list of all his secret contacts. It's easy to provide them with the access code to the secure partition. No one will wonder where the information has come from, for his contacts operate alone. They don't know each other."
"Excellent work, my friend. Your knowledge and skills are exceptional."
"Thank you. As soon as I'm aware our man has gotten access to the files, I will provide the experts of our allies with the required information and accessibility of his system."
"We will leave it up to them to make a mess of the Palomintar communication system."
The image of the young officer laughed.
"Don't worry, I have talked to several of them. They're quite good and promised me to help us the best they can. The result will probably devastate our man."
"Proceed, my friend, but be cautious. The future of our galaxy has to be secured. Are you still a trusted member of the Basilisæa crew?"
"The admiral is treating me as his most trusted communication expert from the beginning."
They both laughed and shared some last information before Jerno broke off the connection. For minutes the leader of the Provisionary Coruscant Council sat motionless behind his desk. He sighed and murmured, "We've set things in motions. Let's hope we made the right decision."
He activated his secured system and send the young officer an encrypted file with the required information. Next he activated a highly protected holo connection with the representative of the New Republic. As the holographic image popped up they shared some short formalities, before Jerno discussed the progress and required outcome of their joint actions. They both expressed the satisfaction with their cooperation.
"I can guarantee you that everything has be done on our side to set up the trap you had in mind. Our administration fully cooperates with the discussed actions. Our experts on Quoith have done their part already. You can take the necessary action on your side," the representative of the New Republic said.
"I have given the order to proceed. We will keep you informed, but we have to take the steps on our side with great precaution." Jerno said, "Will you express my thanks to your leader. Her unconditional cooperation with our proposed and daring plan creates major obligations for us."
"I certainly will, consul. Please, keep us informed. In case your man will run into problems, my leader, expressing her deepest concern about the risks, is willing to send our Jedi to assist him."
"We will keep that in mind. I hope we can solve the problem on Palomintar Four ourselves, but it's good to know that some Jedi will support us."
They exchanged some last changes and the connection was disbanded. Jerno secured the log files of the conversation, before he left his office to inform Valan and Kalip about the new developments.
"You're a fool, don't you know who this is?" Darth Golluth snarled, pointing to the holographic image, "Of course he knows her. That commander of Wegoyy showed me this image before. That's Ian Tydon. He guy was her guard on Wegoyy. What did he tell you?"
"No..nothing of importance, master. He didn't recognize the girl," Trimas said.
"Of course not. He is lied. He is a friend of Skywalker. He defected and informed Skywalker about what had happened on Wegoyy. Those stupid Phylotar brothers have tried to assassinate him, after Skywalker had given him a higher rank in the New Republic's space force. What's he doing on Palomintar Six?"
"Master, you probably are confusing him with some else. He isn't an officer, he is a scientist doing some explorations on Palomintar Six. His name is ..."
"Silence, you twerp, you don't have to tell me if I'm right or wrong. This is Ian Tydon. Eliminate him, immediately."
"Yes, master, I will ..."
"Do it quick, do it immediately. I hate snoopers, like him. He's a spy for the Republic government, that rebel lady Mon Mothma and her rebel friends. Get rid of him!"
Liane looked at Luke.
"Leia said, you want to tell me something, Luke? What's the matter? Is it, because I didn't use the Jedi-pendant more often?"
Her face had become warm and hot. Luke rose and pulled her to her feet, "Can we talk somewhere without any surveillance? The forest cave for instance?"
"Sure. Artoo, will you deactivate all surveillance cams around the lake and in the forest cave. Master Luke and I want to have a private talk," Liane said.
The little droid hooted a long flow of binary language.
"I know, Artoo, you have to protect Liane, but as long as I am around you're off duty, understood." Luke said firmly.
Artoo gave a wailing answer, but shuffled to a computer outlet in the wall. He extended one of his utensils and plugged it in. After some moments he whistled a affirmative.
"Thank you, Artoo. Come and show me around again, Liane, for after three months you probably have become very familiar with the size of the forest cave and its secrecies," Luke said with a warm smile.
They left the terrace and walked over to lake. Occasionally Liane cast a worried glance at Luke who seemed to be preoccupied with his own thoughts, as he was silently walking next to her. Luke suddenly grabbed her arm, as they reached the shore of the lake, "Has my sister told you the reason of her visit, Liane?"
She heard a serious inquietude in his voice.
"The reason for her visit? Luke, what's the matter with you?"
"Three days ago, I got a message from Leia, that she and Han were planning an immediate visit to you. I cut off the my mission on Palomintar Six to make sure I could be here too," He said and Liane heard a worried tone in his voice. She tried to smile.
"So that's why you… ", but Luke her short.
"Yes, that's is why I came here unexpectedly."
Liane heard the tension in his voice, "Leia hasn't asked me anything in particular yet. She, Han and Chewbacca arrived late yesterday afternoon. We didn't have any serious talks, yet. Leia only had a word with Artoo, because he didn't follow given orders, I guess. He has come with Threepio to be a kind of guardian; you just confirmed his task. Luke, why do I still feel you're worrying about your sister's visit to me? Don't you trust her? I'm sure she knows what she is doing?"
Luke placed his arm around Liane's shoulders again and laughed. Liane felt how her words had relieved his worries a bit.
"I'm glad you like Leia so much, Liane, but sometimes my sister shows very temperamental behavior. Even if we are Jedi twins, I still have to ask her not to act too rashly sometimes. I really love Leia and I hate to argue with her. By the way you have quite improved your Jedi telepathy skills. I didn't know you already could communicate with another Jedi Knight in the same way as I taught you on Endor and on Tatooine."
"You heard what Leia said to me?"
Luke laughed louder and pulled her teasingly closer to him.
"What if I did, Liane? You even have admitted that if I know what you're thinking I could prevent you from doing something foolish."
Liane pushed his hand away. Turning her back on him, she walked some steps ahead.
"I know I have said that on board the Astræga, but that doesn't mean you may overhear my chats with others," She said a bit snappy without looking at him.
"Liane, I'm just teasing you a bit. Why are you still annoyed, if I know what's going on?" Luke said and walked up to her.
Liane turned around and looked at him.
"Leia mentioned a guy named Darth Golluth, but she hasn't told me what he wants of me. He is the one who had attempted to kidnap me and that's why she and Mon Mothma have brought me to this secret place. Have you heard of him, Luke? Do you know who he is? Do you know why is he after me? What does he want of me? You just said that you and Ian are doing investigations in the Palomintar System and Han said that that guy probably lives on one of the planets in that system."
Luke saw her questioning look. He took her hand and walked slowly with her to entrance of the huge forest cave. For several moments they walked on in silence, then Luke said, "Han is right, Liane, Ian and I are doing inquiries in the Palomintar System to find out on which planet in the Palomintar System Darth Golluth is hiding. Leia and Ian have found clear evidence that someone, who calls himself Darth Golluth, is after you. Remember that commander Dendicott and Rand Phylotar mentioned Palomintar Four when they had captured you on Endor?"
"Han thinks, he is a Sith Lord, like Anakin. Is he right, Luke?"
Luke sighed, but shook his head.
"Could be. I'm not sure.. When Ian and I were nearing Palomintar Four I felt some strange weak ripplings in the Force, but those tremors didn't last long enough to pinpoint their exact origin, nor could I feel the intention of Force. They weren't really alarming. So I don't know enough about Darth Golluth yet, Liane. Leia has told me that she and Ian have seen a guy dressed in a black cassock, like emperor Palpatine once wore, on Endor. Ian had a Force vision about the same guy weeks before they went to Endor; Ian also mentioned the guy's name. I have my doubts and many questions. Leia and I would be aware, if there would be someone who is using the Dark Side of the Force again. My main concern is that you are really safe. I'd wish I could stay here permanently to protect you, instead of leaving you with only Threepio and Artoo as your guardians."
"I'm alright, Luke. I'm safe here and I've told you, that I am enjoying my stay here. Isn't that enough reassurance? There is really no need for you to be so worried about me, Luke?"
Luke stopped. Gently he placed his hands on her shoulders.
"Liane, why did you use the pendant only a three times? Didn't you miss me after we got separated after our return in Irithim? After our last chat I hoped, that you would use the pendant more often. You said you would. I'm disappointed, that those three short talks we had, seemed to be all you needed. Every day I hoped I would feel the pendant's influence, but each day passed without I heard from you. While you were on Wegoyy, we had so many talks together. Why don't you appreciate the pendant like you did before? I made it especially for you as a token of my friendship?"
For a moment Liane averted his eyes, looking down to the moss floor under her feet, then she looked at him in a gently but steadfast way.
"I'm sorry, Luke. It never occurred to me that what I did, would hurt your feelings, because I didn't use the pendant more often. I still appreciate your gift. I only didn't want to bother you too much. Nothing really exciting happens here; every day is more or less the same: I study the history of the Old Republic, the Empire and the Civil War. As a new citizen of the New Republic I need to know all the history about the Old Republic, the Clone Wars, the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. I also spent much time doing those Force exercises you taught me. I spent many hours collecting many different herbs in this forest cave and I had a lot of talks with Threepio and Artoo. Honestly, Luke, I would have loved it to talk to you every day, because I missed your presence. During the evenings I often felt very lonely, because we were not together any more. Han teased me, saying I spent a lot of time thinking of you, he was right, Luke, for I've never felt so lonely on Morantan, when Anakin was away, but I didn't want to bother you with my feelings of loneliness. I don't want to be a nuisance. I have to be grateful to you and the others who only seek my safety. Like you taught me, after Ortel, I need to be patient, and wait until you have dealt with my adversary. Your responsibilities as a Jedi are keeping you busy elsewhere. Mon Mothma and her council rely on your skills and abilities as a Jedi Knight for the safety of the New Republic. You're so much more important to this galaxy than I am."
She looked up at him, and Luke saw how she had to struggle to keep her composure, preventing herself to give in to sadness her words caused. In a flash Luke recalled his own feelings of gratitude and happiness, after he had found her on Endor. A strong desire to take her in his arms, like he had done on Endor, almost overwhelmed him, but he managed to control those passionate feelings.
"Don't let my words upset you, LIane. I just hoped to hear more from you, and more often. We've been together many months on Endor and Tatooine, and honestly, I've enjoyed every minute we were together. I still cherish the many talks and arguments we've had together; I often recall them, for not only do I sense your deep felt concern about the great burden and responsibility I carry as the last Jedi, but also your own struggle with the teachings of my father. I love to help you to face your worries, and you want to share my doubts about the heavy task Master Yoda has put on my shoulders. You have offered me your help, and I gladly have accepted your offer, for not only is it a relief for me to share my thoughts with you; I also love to share my Jedi knowledge with you and I want to help you to find your own way with the Force. You have helped me on Tatooine with your slumbering Force healing powers and shown me that a better future is laying ahead for me too. Liane, how can you believe that your chit-chats are a nuisance to me? You think you're not a really important person, but you're important to me, very important. You're my most trusted and dearest friend, even more important than Leia. You said, that you've missed me, that you felt lonely without me, but why haven't you told me. I could have comforted you, so you wouldn't have felt less lonely. You do remember the promise I made you, don't you, Liane?" He said gently and very compassionately.
Hesitantly Liane ran her fingers over the folds in his tunic.
"Of course I remember what you promised me, Luke. Your friendship is also very important to me. You're the most trusted friend I have. Being your friend, means so much to me, for I care about you."
Again Luke had to struggle against his strong desire to take her in his arms and kiss her. He took her hands in his. Liane looked at their intertwined hands. Slowly she lifted her face and looked up at him.
"Luke, you're more than my most trusted friend, you mean much more to me," she whispered, "What you asked me a moment ago on the terrace, you've already asked me years ago on Ortel, when you rescued Leia and me. I still remember clearly how we had to fight our way out of Zolgathrii's fortress. I stumbled when a laser blast hit the wall. You grabbed me and prevented that I would fall. You looked very intense at me and suddenly I realized that I had seen your eyes before, although I couldn't recall when. Then I heard your voice in my mind, asking me, 'Don't you recognize me?' Your question confused me, and I didn't know how to respond, but those words kept reverberating in my mind during our trip back on the Tychorion and long afterwards, after I had been send to Wegoyy."
Flabbergasted Luke looked at the girl in front of him.
"You did already hear my question on Ortel? I thought you didn't," He said on a startled tone.
Liane smiled timidly.
"I did, but I didn't comprehend the meaning of your words; but I do now. I know who you are and what you mean to me. You're not only my most trusted friend, you're my eternal partner. We have been together before."
Completely speechless Luke stared into Liane's blue eyes. His fingers tightly pressed hers. With a more confident smile Liane continued.
"Luke, I have to tell you about some strange experiences I've had after you had given me the Jedi-pendant. After your only visit to me on Wegoyy I've had many strange visions, whenever I used your precious gift. Those visions were very weird and eerie and sometimes they confused and even frightened me.
The first time I tried to contact you through the pendant I thought I had a strange dream. It looked as if I had stepped into an unknown world. I had taken the pendant in my hand and all of a sudden I saw the two of us in another time, on another world, perhaps even in another galaxy. We were both dressed in very ancient looking clothes made of leather and fur. We were members of a tribe, living at the edge of a desert area. It was a time of war. You were the leader of a group of warriors. I was one of your men and your younger brother. We were defending our people against an attack of some hostile neighboring tribe. You were severely wounded and I brought you back to our village. You died and I felt as if I had lost the most important person in my life, as if a part of myself had died too. Very soon afterwards I was killed too. The vision frightened me and I had a lot of difficulty to detach myself of those frightening images, before I realized, I was sitting in my cell. I slipped the pendant under my tunic and sat motionless in the darkness of my cell for sometime. I felt shaken and scared. I thought I had dozed off and had had a nightmare. Finally I dared to take the pendant again in my hand, and I whispered your name in despair. Then I saw your apparition entering my cell. You hardly can't imagine how relieved I felt."
"Why haven't you told me at that moment what you had experienced, Liane?" Luke asked gently.
"I felt so relieved, Luke, when I saw you, that I pushed those frightening images to the back of my mind. When I saw you appear in my cell, I knew that the little grey book had told me the truth. Your gift would make it possible for me to be in touch you, as if you were really with me, and I didn't want to think about that frightening experience any more."
Liane was silent for some moments, looking at Luke's hands that held hers tightly. The pressure of this fingers had become taut, almost painful, but she continued.
"After that first strange nightmare, or vision, I don't know what to call it, I have experienced all kinds of different dreams about the two of us, mostly if I wanted to use the pendant, or just after you had left me again. After you had come to Endor I even got some of those visions before I fell asleep in my tree house near the lake. Those visions always showed me our strange adventures, sometimes frightening, sometimes challenging and exciting, but they always gave me a strange feeling of happiness, because wherever I was, I was always together with you.
When we had landed on Tatooine I had another very odd experience: I was packing some of Leia's clothes in a bag and you urged me to hurry. You were standing at the bottom of the ramp of the Astræga with your back to me and all of a sudden I heard a female voice asking me a similar question as you had asked me on Ortel: 'Don't you recognize him?' . For a moment I was startled, especially when that soft whispering voice immediately gave the answer, as if it wanted to help me to see the truth: 'He is your eternal companion. You have always been partners, and you always will be. You belong to him. You are part of each other.' In a flash I understood, that you and I had always been together. Wherever I would be, you would always be with me. The images, even those which had confused or frightened me, had shown me our lives in another time and at other places."
Luke looked into the young woman's shining eyes. He released her hand and gently caressed her cheek.
"Why haven't you told me about those Force visions, my friend?" He said softly. With his other hand he pulled her closer to him.
"I don't know, Luke," Liane said, "but after that strange experience on Tatooine I no longer felt frightened or confused, whenever I saw the two of us in another vision."
She looked into his eyes and began to smile with radiant eyes.
"Even that Force vision I've shared with you about our joint future doesn't scare me anymore, on the contrary; if I recall it, - and I often have done that here, before I fell asleep, because I missed you so much, Luke, - it makes me feel extremely happy. Although I still can't believe those images will come true."
"It's still a very beautiful vision, my loveliest friend, I still cherish what you've shown me. It surely is the vision of our joined future, and although it probably will take some before it will become reality, I'm sure it will come true one day," Luke said with a warm smile and the fingers of his artificial hand gently fondled through her hair, before he gently continued, "My lovely friend, you said that some of the visions confused you. Why was that?"
Absentmindedly Liane ran her fingers along the folds of his tunic again. She sighed deeply.
"In some of those visions - also in that Force vision I've shared with you - I have seen us as Jedi Knights, even as Jedi Masters. Often we were engaged in a battle using our lightsabers to ward off dozens of enemies in an attempt to defend the galaxy against the influence of the Dark Side," She whispered.
She looked at him. Luke felt her feelings of inquietude and tenderly surrounded her with his compassion.
"Luke, have you seen us too? Did you also have this kind of Force visions? You knew what they meant, didn't you? You understood their meaning much earlier than I did?" She asked shyly.
"Yes I did, my dearest friend. Already after our first encounter on Morantan the Force showed me some of the former lives of you and me, and like some of those visions have frightened you, those first visions did frighten me too, because at that moment you saw me as your enemy. It's such a lucky coincidence that, because you're so Force-sensitive, the Force power of the Jedi-pendant has made you aware of our long relationship. I'd wish, my lovely eternal friend, that I had known that you have had these Force visions, much, much earlier."
Luke pulled her close to him and wrapped his arms tight around her. With his gloved hand he pressed her head against his shoulder. He buried his face in her hair and said in a whisper, "Liane, we always have been partners, for many generations. Our souls are one. You and I belong to each other. You and me are soul mates, a couple of twin Force souls."
Liane raised her head and looked into his eyes. In his blue eyes she clearly began to see the reflections of their former lives. The look in their eyes seemed to merge, their minds touched each other and became one and the images of their many common lives became increasingly clear. Clearer than ever they saw themselves fighting among a great number of tribal warriors; being dressed as a priest and a priestess in ceremonial dresses carrying out a long forgotten sacred ritual, having a hard life together as orphaned siblings on a barren planet; and more than once they were Jedi Knights and Jedi masters in the Old Republic, wearing the prerogatives of the Jedi Masters with dignity, united by the Force. The flow of images seemed infinite.
When they finally came out their joint Force trance Liane stretched out her hand and hesitantly touched Luke's face, gently and tenderly.
"Luke, my eternal friend, why have I been so ignorant about our friendship, about the truth of our deep relation? Why haven't I understood the meaning of your question on Ortel? Why haven't I understood from the beginning who you really were?" she whispered.
"Liane, my lovely comrade, my eternal partner, don't bother yourself with questions like these. Isn't it more important that you understand their meaning now? We have found each other again, we're together again in another life. We will be partners again. That is to say, I hope you will be my friend, my partner, my companion again," He answered, gently pressing her head again against his chest. Shy, but feeling extremely happy Liane put her arms around his waist, and whispered: "Yes, Luke, yes, I want to be your girlfriend, your partner, your companion, for that's all I care about, what's really important to me. I want to be with you wherever you go, I want to be together with you forever."
For a long time they stood in their silent embrace, overwhelmed by the sheer past that united them. Finally Luke let her go and grabbed her hands.
"Isn't this quite a revelation for both of us, my dearest, although I feel, that the truth about our eternal bond has also upset you?"
Pensively Liane wanted to deny, but then she nodded. She looked down and saw how he gently caressed her fingers, surrounding her again with a Force flow of compassion.
"Yes, you're right, Luke, it is still frightening, for it's so incomprehensible. I won't deny it." She said after some moments, before she asked with a slight hesitation in her voice, "Luke, I've seen you and me many times as Jedi Knights, but have I really been a Jedi Master, have I really been a member of the Jedi Council?"
"You've always been a servant of the Force like me, my eternal friend. We are luminous beings. Our lives have always been influenced by the Force, but sometimes we're explicitly serving our ally as her most trusted servants, as Jedi Knights or Jedi masters and member of the Jedi Council," Luke said, while he tenderly brushed a loose strand of her hair backwards, "I understand that this must really bother you at the moment."
Liane looked at the vegetation at her feet. Luke felt her confusion and took her in his arms again. Liane crept close in his arms, seeking safety and protection in his warm embrace.
"Luke, so it will my destiny again to become a Jedi Knight," She whispered.
"Maybe, my dearest, but I will be with you to help you find your destiny. The path you have to follow, will be mine as well. Stop worrying about a future which isn't clear to you and me yet. You and I will find the answers as we'll accept the guidance of the Force."
It took a long time before Liane responded to Luke's words.
"Luke, I have asked Threepio to prepare one of the other guest rooms. I would love it if you could stay with me, but you probably have to go back with Han and Leia to Irithim, and continue with your mission at Palomintar Six?" she whispered.
Luke heard the longing undertone in her voice and took her head between his hands.
"I won't leave with Leia. I have planned to stay here with you for a while and we will have another wonderful time together. This time it will be more comfortable, than our stay on Endor in a tree house or in Ben's hovel on Tatooine, don't you agree? It will be like our very short stay in the apartment in Mos Eisley, but probably even more wonderful," He said with a mischievous smile.
Liane saw a laughing glance in his eyes.
"Are you telling me, Luke Skywalker, that despite the warrant you had, you have postponed your return to Dalmaran over and over again deliberately, after you had come to Endor. Did you take me with you to Ben's house on Tatooine on purpose, instead of going to Dalmaran immediately when we had to flee the Ewok village?" She asked on a teasing tone and started laughing too.
On Luke's face appeared a boyish grin.
"I honestly have to confess to you that I did all of these things deliberately, for I wanted and want to stay with you wherever possible and as long as possible. So Mon Mothma's luxurious residence will be a great opportunity to be together again, and I want to make full use of the opportunity my sister's unexpected visit has given me," He said with a warm smile. "We're going to enjoy the discovery of our eternal bond, and forget all those visions that still might confuse you."
He looked into her eyes, before he took his hands away.Liane smiled intensely happy and impulsively wrapped her arms around his neck. Her eyes twinkled like deep blue sapphires.
"Luke, my dearest friend," she said blushing as she used those words, "This is such a remarkable moment in my life. It's so incomprehensible, that you and I have always been together. It brings me such an overwhelming joy and happy feelings. I care about you, Luke Skywalker, I care very much about you."
Again Luke looked into her sparkling eyes, feeling a relief he wasn't able to express, so he used Jedi telepathy to answer her.
'Liane,' He said using the Force. 'My dearest eternal girlfriend and partner. My lovely companion. There have been so many earlier opportunities to tell you everything about our long relationship. I could have told you, after I had found you on Endor, or during our stay in Ben's house on Tatooine, or in the apartment I rented in Mos Eisley, but every time the right moment slipped through my fingers. Even now, when I asked you to join me for a walk in this underground forest, I hadn't the slightest idea how I could tell you the real meaning of my friendship for you. Your answer on the terrace and your experiences with the Jedi-pendant have made much easier for me to tell you what I already knew since I first met you on Morantan.'
Liane touched his face, using the Force to sooth his emotions in the same way, as she had done on Tatooine after his unexpected encounter with his past. She looked into his eyes with a tender smile.
'If you had told me about our eternal friendship at an earlier moment, Luke, as you wanted to do in the apartment in Mos Eisley, it would have saved you the doubts you have had about my feelings for Ian. Don't think I didn't notice how uncomfortable you felt about the attention Ian expressed to me on the trip in Mon Mothma's submersible, when you, Leia, Han and Chewbacca brought me to Mon Mothma's underground residence.' She answered in a Jedi way, using the Force telepathy too.
Amazed Luke looked at her.
"What do you mean, Liane?"
"Already in Mos Eisley you wanted to tell me about our eternal bond, using the meaning of the image of our joint future, but you hesitated, as if you couldn't find the right words. If we hadn't been interrupted, I could have told you how strongly united I felt with you at that moment. It felt like I had become one with you; a part of you, but the moment passed and afterwards we never found a moment to talk again. First there was Han's recovery and after we'd arrived on Dalmaran, I was immediately brought to this place for my own safety. It was during the trip in Mon Mothma's submersible, that you became worried about my friendship for Ian Tydon. You even have been thinking what you would do, if I would choose Ian as my most trusted friend instead of you," She said, gently brushing through his hair with her fingers.
Luke blushed and for a split second he looked very vulnerable. Caring, because she felt his embarrassment, Liane used her Force healing power to comfort him. She felt his confusion and his many uncertainties like she had felt months earlier on Tatooine.
"Luke, Ian is a great guy, a fine friend who I've met at the right moment when I needed some one I could trust. He is a friend, like Yarnick and his brothers, and Yarmod Martan, master Antilles padawan, are, but my feelings for them aren't the same what I feel for you; they can't replace our eternal relationship," She said, while her fingers gently caressed his cheek.
Luke hardly couldn't suppress his own feelings for her.
"Are you sure, that your feelings for me are mutual, Liane?" He whispered, "Do you really see me, as your eternal friend?"
"I do, Luke. Never doubt about them. Our friendship, our eternal bond as you told me, will always be the most important to me. There never can be another one but you. I belong to you, like you belong to me. I'm a part of you as you are a part of me. We are a pair of Jedi twin souls as you called it."
"My dearest, eternal lovely Liane," he whispered, "together again. This is more than I hoped for when I came here."
Liane put her arms around his neck.
"Counts for both of us, Jedi Master Skywalker," She said.
Before she let him go, she gave him a shy kiss on his cheek.
"To our renewed companionship," she whispered.
Luke began to laugh, before he gently kissed her on her forehead.
Ian Tydon was checking the stocks with Toallin, one of the Quelan bar owners.
"You have a great way with people, Radin. Our sales volume has doubled since you're our bartender," Toallin, the eldest of the two brothers, said. His dark brownish eyes twinkled approvingly and his mouth was one and all smile.
"Thanks, boss, I like the job. I've checked all our stocks and placed some new orders. Will you, please, check out these new orders. I'm going to the courtyard to check the remaining barrels."
"I'll give you a hand within a couple of minutes. Give me that datapad. Let me check it, so our supplies will be delivered within a day."
Ian walked to the courtyard and started checking out the stacks of barrels. Suddenly he sensed a strange movement from above. Immediately he pulled his lightsaber from a hidden pocket and swivelled round. Three drones started firing at him. Ian managed to repel the blasts easily .
Toallin had heard the blaster bolts and came running into the courtyard.
"What's going on here!", He yelled.
"Stand back, boss, there are more of them," Ian shouted and swiveled round again. Another five drones dived down the courtyard, firing at Ian, who was repelling the blasts. Within a few moments he succeeded to reflect the blasts to the floating droid drones. They exploded in a whirl of metal. Ian exhaled and switched off his lightsaber. Toallin stepped into the courtyard.
"You're pretty handy with that weapon," He said pointing at the lightsaber, while striking the olive colored skin of his bold head, "You said you were scientist, but I think, you are a Jedi Knight undercover, just like the other guy who was with you. I saw him carrying a lightsaber at his belt. Looks like you've made some enemies, son. Get inside, before more of these nasty surveillance droids turn up."
They went inside and Toallin bolted the backdoor. Then he went over to the front door and bolted it too.
"Sit down, Radin, or what ever your name is," He said, "I call my brother."
Dejected Ian sat down in one of the booths. Within a couple of minutes Toallin came back, followed by his brother Mugin. They sat themselves opposite Ian, who avoided looking at the two Quelan brothers.
"Radin, you'd better tell us, who you really are," Toallin said, sounding not unfriendly.
Ian looked up and saw a sympathetic look in the eyes of both men.
"I'm Ian Tydon, I'm the Jedi padawan of Jedi master Skywalker, the guy who went back to Dalmaran."
"What's your business here on Palomintar Six?"
"On request of the Supreme Chancellor of the New Republic, the lady Mon Mothma, master Skywalker and I were looking for a person called Darth Golluth."
"Then you're at the wrong planet. Darth Golluth lives on Palomintar Four," Mugin said and his brown eyes got a stern look.
"You're sure?" Ian said astonished.
"We're from Palomintar Four. We used to live there, before a stranger, who called himself Darth Golluth, appeared. He threatened our Quelan community. He said, that he would use his special powers, if the Quelans would oppose him. He was dressed in a dark cloak and had the looks of the former emperor. He told us that he was the successor of emperor Palpatine. You, Jedi, probably know what I mean," Toallin told Ian.
"He forced your community to obey his commands?"
"He had a group of stormtroopers with him. They occupied the place, and our whole community, families, women, children, elderly people, were driven into exile and had to seek refuge in the wild lands. He choose some of our younger males to do slave labor for him. They had to dig out a number of passageways and corridors and construct a network of caves for him under the mountain ridge. It would be a relieve for us, if the Jedi could deal with the guy," Mugin said, shaking his bold head in a hardly suppressed anger.
"Could it be, Radin or Ian, that someone here on Palomintar Six has become aware of your mission and has informed the guy on Palomintar Four?" Toallin asked. "In that case you have probably gain the guy's wrath. So the other guy, who stayed with you, was Jedi Skywalker, your master, and he went back to Dalmaran?"
"He'll be back within a couple of weeks."
"If Darth Golluth knows about your mission, Ian, your life is in danger, son. You can't stand those floating droids for weeks on your own. These are killer droids. They will continue to track you, wherever you go. This time you were able to beat them off, but a next time you might not be so lucky, even if you are a Jedi. These droids are very sophisticated and your adversary has a limitless source, because they are very cheap. Darth Golluth's stormtroopers used them to drive us out of Ribana. They killed several Quelans who refused to leave the city. You'd better seek a way to leave this planet, while you're alive," Toallin said.
"I promised my master to stay here and try to find out more about Darth Golluth," Ian said.
"You've gotten yourself into trouble. You'd better leave this place, son, if you value your life." Toallin continued.
"You're right, boss. I'd better leave now, before anything happens to you both. It was a pleasure working with you," Ian said and wanted to rise.
"Sit down, Jedi-to-be, or whatever you are. You can't leave immediately. You probably will be killed the moment you step out of the door. You're safe, as long as you stay inside. We 're going to help you as long as your master Skywalker hasn't returned. My brother and I hate those killer droids. Now tell us what this is all about, I mean, the true story. Why do you, Jedi, want to know where Darth Golluth lives. What's your business with him?" Mugin said and pushed Ian back on the bench.
"I'll get some drinks and food. I guess, this is going to take some time, won't it, son."
"I will tell you what I know and what I've heard. It's a long tale and it started when the New Republic occupied Morantan ..."
To be continued...