o, you're really sure we won't do anything for the time being? " Han asked.
"Absolutely, Han. We just wait and see how the situation is developing," Luke answered. "I know you disagree with me, but trust me. Ask Leia why I am choosing this option."
"I hope your right, kid," His brother-in-law answered.
"Han, if we would do as you suggested, we might end up worse. If Trevor would find out that some Jedi Knights are aware of his plan and are hiding the woman he is looking, he certainly will change his plans and send more spies to every corner of the galaxy, or he might hire bounty hunters, putting a price on Liane. We'd better keep our presence and plans hidden."
"You're also sure, you don't want to come with us. How will you be able to leave this place without a submersible? Shouldn't we ask Mon Mothma ...?" Han asked, but Luke interrupted his brother-in-law with a grin.
"I can leave this place the same way as I have come," The young Jedi said evasively.
"Alright, Luke, I am sure a Jedi knows what he's is doing," Han said looking from Luke to Liane, "May the Force be with you two."
"Thank you, Han," Liane said. She tiptoed to give her friend a goodbye kiss.
"Leia, are you ready," Han called. "We're leaving."
Liane embraced Chewbacca, who patted her reassuringly on her head.
"I'm fine, Chewbacca, Luke's going to stay with me."
Leia kissed her brother and Liane.
"Enjoy your stay together," She said warmly.
Luke laughed and took Liane's hand in his.
"We will. Leia, I'll contact you, when I'm going back to Palomintar Six to pick up Ian for our new mission, or if I have to leave earlier in case Ian might need my support on his mission."
"You're sure everything is alright with Ian?" Leia asked.
"He knows how to use Jedi telepathy to contact me, if he wants to discuss any new developments on Palomintar Six. Leia, explain our new findings and what Liane has told us to Mon Mothma and tell her what I think is the best strategy in this case. At least for the time being. Of course I leave it to her to decide, but convince her why I want to avoid any rash actions."
"Don't worry, Luke. Mon Mothma relies on our Jedi knowledge. She's a wise woman."
Leia entered the hatch of the submersible, followed by Chewbacca. Han had already started the engine. The hatch closed and the magnetic moorings unlocked. The submersible bobbed freely on the water. Its water tanks filled and slowly the vessel disappeared under the surface of the stream. Luke and Liane watched the air bubbles that marked the last traces of the vessel. Finally the whirls in the water disappeared.
"They're on their way back to Irithim," Liane said pensively.
"I hope Han and Leia won't go to the Palomintar system on their own," Luke commented.
Liane looked at him.
"I thought they understood, that you wanted to wait."
Luke laughed and took her hand.
"That's right, but I know Han and what's more, I know my sister. They are a very adventurous couple. Although Mon Mothma wouldn't give my sister permission to leave Dalmaran for the Palomintar System, Han would surely convince my sister to leave secretly, although Leia agrees with my plan and understands my point of view as a Jedi to wait and be patient."
"Your old master Yoda wasn't so sure to begin your training, you once said. In his eyes you were too impatient and now you're accusing Leia and Han of take a risk. If master Yoda hadn't taught you to rely on the will of the Force, what would you have done in a situation as this," Liane asked teasingly, "Wouldn't you want to know immediately what's going on, and how you could solve the problem?"
"Are you suggesting that I would act as impulsively as you often do? Yes, I once was a reckless youth as master Yoda said, after I had arrived on Dagobah, looking for the great warrior who would train me as a Jedi. Master Yoda accused me of looking always into the future to seek excitement and adventures. He taught me to become completely aware of where I was and I was doing. That's an important lesson, Liane, you also should be mindful off, for you want to know too eagerly what your future will be, " Luke said.
"That's not true, Luke. Anakin taught me I always should be cautious and act carefully." Liane retorted.
"But you forget to put my father's lesson into practise, my dear comrade," Luke laughed and lifted Liane in his arms.
"Luke, don't do this. Please, put me down, Luke," Liane yelled laughing, wrapping her arms around his neck to keep her balance, "I can walk on my own."
"Of course you can, but I like to hold my eternal comrade in my arms. She is not only my comrade, but also a fairy princess. So Anakin taught you be cautious and act carefully, then please tell me; why did you run away to Ortel with senator Zolgathrii, a guy you didn't really trust, for you took my sister with you to protect you, and why did you run back into the Ewok village while I had told you to stay in the ruins of control building with Bran Grann, because commander Dendicott had raided the village?"
Luke held her tight in his arms, laughing and teasing her.
"I regret what happened on Ortel, but I'm still glad I took Leia with me. Without her you probably wouldn't have come to Ortel. Luke, it's not fair to accuse me of acting recklessly, as I went back to the Ewok village. I had to help Teebo, Logray said he was dying. And I'm not a fairy princess. I'm a stubborn, headstrong, naughty pixie. Put me down, Luke, please!"
"As you wish, my lovely comrade, but you're wrong if you say that I wouldn't have come to Ortel, if Leia hadn't been with you. After our chats yesterday you know that I always would have come to Ortel," Luke said still laughing.
Liane blushed, while she struggled to free herself from his embrace. Luke looked into her laughing eyes, before he put his hands in the sleeves of his cassock. Liane let out a startled scream, and firmly seized the cowl of his coat.
"Luke, don't take your hands away. I will fall, for I can't keep my balance, if you're not holding me."
"Are you sure. Am I not holding you?" the young Jedi teased. "Do you really think I would let my very precious naughty pixie comrade fall?"
Astounded Liane noticed that she was still hovering at the same height as before.
"You're using the Force on me again, don't you? You know that I don't like it, if you demonstrate what you can do as a Jedi. Please, put me down, Luke!" She protested annoyed.
Immediately Luke put her to her feet.
"I'm sorry, Liane. I should have remembered what happened on Endor," He said softly.
Liane heard the apologizing tone in his voice.
"Oh, Luke, I didn't mean to be rude," She said and took the sleeves of his cassock. "I'm sorry, I really am. You were teasing me. I know, you were. Again it's me who is spoiling the moment. I blamed Han for being rude, but I'm not much better."
Apologizing she touched his cheek. Luke felt her regret about her impulsive reaction. He started to laugh again as he looked into a pair of regretful, blue eyes.
"Your reaction reminds me of Artoo, when, during my Jedi training on Dagobah, I lifted him and put him upside down in midair. He was greatly upset. So I should also be more aware of your feelings, when I'm teasing you," He said.
"And now, little naughty pixie, we're going to enjoy the beautiful view of the underground lake. I love to watch that view, especially together with you, as my companion. We should enjoy this comfortable accommodation as long as it possible to stay together again," He walked with her to the entrance, and took her to the couches on the terrace.
"Liane, would you mind to have another chat about Trevor Matrik?" He asked while he sat down next to her.
"Why would we talk about Trevor again, Luke. I've told you and Leia everything as far as I remember."
"I know you did, but perhaps you have overlooked something which could give me a clue, because sooner or later Leia and I have to face him," Luke said.
He took her hands in his. Liane looked up at him questioningly.
"You and Leia have to face him? I don't understand. How can a guy like Trevor be of any importance to you Jedi?" She commented.
"Liane, Trevor Matrik, or Darth Golluth as he calls himself now, is looking for you. One way or another you're important to him, and it's obvious to me, what he wants of you. He wants the knowledge you've learned from Anakin to reach a certain goal. Think about the following: why did senator Zolgathrii agree to bring you to the Outer Rim; why did commander Dendicott came to Endor; who send the twelve men to Endor in a second attempt to kidnap you? Liane, as long as Trevor Matrik is looking for you, you're a kind of prisoner."
Luke want to put his arm around her, but Liane brushed his arm away and stared at the underground lake and its surrounding scenery.
"You mean that as long as he's hiding himself on Palomintar Four or somewhere else, I can't leave this place, " She said half aloud.
"That's right and I don't want you to stay here forever. I want to take you with me so we will a future together as partners again. I want you to help so I can realize the founding of the Jedi Order again," Luke said.
She turned to him with a serious look on her face.
"Luke, tell me, do you have to fight with Trevor, like you fought with Anakin? Do you have to defeat and kill him? "
"One of the tasks the Jedi have, is, to keep the Good Side in balance with the evil the Dark Side represents in this galaxy. I didn't want to fight Anakin, Liane, I wanted to persuade him to turn back to the Good Side again, but when he refused to renounce his master, the emperor, I had no other choice. Anakin threatened to seduced Leia and bring her over to the Dark Side of the Force. If I would have died on board the second Death Star, my sister would have been the last hope of the Alliance; she had to survive. The Jedi always have to fight the Sith and their Dark Side intentions. There's no other choice, even if that means they have to kill or sacrifice their lives, but they have to look for as many alternatives as possible."
"Like what?" Liane asked.
"Like our father Anakin, Trevor might renounce the Dark Side, for instance."
Liane shook her head firmly.
"You don't know him as I do, Luke. Although Anakin called him a bragger, and often has been scornful about Trevor's boastfulness; Trevor is a very ambitious and proud person. He is convinced of his knowledge, skills and achievements. He is obsessed with power and wants to become the most powerful person in the galaxy. He always told Anakin and me that it was his ultimate goal to become the emperor's most important advisor and counselor. He is a very cunning man, for he always took care to express his admiration for Anakin and his ways to use the Force, but he also sought ways to double-cross and discredit Anakin with the emperor. I am sure, he wanted to become the emperor's second commander instead of Anakin. That's why he probably calls himself Darth Golluth. He must have chosen the first part of Anakin's name, for he knew that the Emperor had given Anakin the name of Darth Vader. The second part of his new name, Golluth, sounds very odd and doesn't have any meaning to me, but it reminds me of his bragging during his last visit to Morantan. He said he had been able to gain some knowledge of the Sith through thorough observation and imitation. He even boasted that in time he would become a self-educated Sith lord, with which he meant that he would get Sith knowledge without being a dark lord's apprentice. I ignored his words because in one of Anakin's confidential chats about Trevor, our father has told me that Trevor could never become a Sith, for after Trevor's failed mission on Solgar the Emperor seemed to have become highly displeased and greatly vexed with him."
"Liane, before you to tell me about that failed mission of Trevor, let me explain, how a Sith lord gets his new identity," Luke said looking very seriously, "To become a Sith lord a Dark Side apprentice has to commit himself fully to the in depth secret lore of the power of the Dark Side. He has to plead his unconditional loyalty to a Dark master, a Sith, only. The Dark master gives the new dark apprentice his new name and assigns the tasks the apprentice has to fulfill, before the Sith apprentice becomes a Sith lord himself. Like the final trials of the Jedi Order, a Sith apprentice has to fulfill several similar, but more horrible, terrifying and sinister missions. Most of the times those missions have to do with assassination, wipe out the population of a planet or even destroy a entire planet. The future Sith Lord has to carry out these tasks with caution and in secret, because the ultimate goal of his missions is that he proofs his master that he has no compassion, no mercy for other life-forms, that he can wield his Dark power to control anything and anyone anywhere, and that he is absolutely loyal to his master and the Dark Side."
With growing horror Liane had listened to Luke explanation.
"How can some one fulfill such an abhorrent mission?" She whispered shivering, then she suddenly stammered, "Luke, I loved Tijan .... and I killed him. Does that mean that it was a test of Anakin if I could be a Sith? "
Luke shook his head. The images of his Force vision near the waterfall popped up in his mind.
"No, my dearest eternal friend, I don't think so. Think about what I have been telling you; have you ever plead your loyalty to Anakin or the emperor? No, you haven't, for you have always been arguing, discussing and disagreeing with my father during the training he gave you. You have inherited the goodness and dedication of your mother Severini and your own headstrong stubbornness - the naughty pixie as you called yourself - have prevented you, to become seduced by the Dark Side. Somehow during your stay with the Ewoks you have pulled yourself free from the Dark Side, maybe you already have taken those first steps after you used the Jedi-pendant for the first time; your next experiences happened during your travels with the Grann brothers. They gave you their friendship and care, which increased your slumbering belief in the Good Side of the Force, even though you couldn't use your Force skills during your stay on board their space ship. Your support for wounded Ewoks has awakened your real Force skills. Maybe not yet fully, at that time, but certainly you've made your first steps on the Jedi path on Endor. You've renounced the power of Dark Side, when you became a respected member of their tribe, using your Force healing skills to help them to recover, " Luke said, taking her hands in his.
Liane swallowed hard to get the disturbing thoughts of Tijan's death off her mind again. Was she a Sith lady, because she had killed someone she had loved? Luke said, she wasn't, but could that be a reason why Trevor was looking for her? He knew what had happened to Tijan. He had been one of the Morantan staff who has witnessed Tijan's death. Had Trevor managed somehow to become a Sith Lord, looking for a Sith apprentice? Did he want her to complete his Sith knowledge? She looked down on her their intertwined hands, and felt how Luke surrounded her with his care and reassurance.
"Liane, you've just said that Trevor messed up a mission on Solgar," Luke softly whispered in her ear, "Do you know what happened there?"
What had happened on Solgar? Had the emperor given Trevor that mission to complete his apprenticeship as a Sith? She only knew what Anakin had told her. Still seeking reassurance for her uncertain feelings she recollected her father's story.
"I don't know much details, Luke, for Anakin has only told me the outcome of the Solgar mission. The emperor had send a huge part of Imperial space fleet under Trevor's command to the planet; freighters, frigates, star destroyers. His mission; get hold of the special ores the local inhabitants mined and traded. The empire needed those ores for the production of their weapons. Trevor shouldn't bargain with the leaders on Solgar, but simply wipe out the locals and take over the ores' production facilities. Anakin told me that Trevor chose to wipe out the Solgarians in a ground attack, but they turned out to be rebellious and fierce fighters on the ground and in space. They also got help from a band of fighters of the Rebel Alliance. Although the Solgarians and the rebels were an absolute minority, their small space fleet and the rebel pilots managed to seriously damage the huge imperial star fleet. Trevor had to retreat his ground forces, after having lost two-third of his men. He had to return to Coruscant empty handed and with a severely damaged imperial fleet. It took months to restore the fleet to its full height. The emperor was furious and ordered Anakin to take over and complete the mission. Anakin carried out the emperor's order without any mercy for the Solgarians and Solgar became an imperial stronghold. Trevor kept his rank of admiral, but was sent to Morantan as a member of Anakin's staff, to serve as the emperor's 'errand-boy', as Anakin called it. He never got an assignment for a mission again, nor did he ever get the command on a space ship again. I remember that before the emperor had assigned Trevor to the Morantan staff, Anakin gloated and rejoiced Trevor's downfall, but after Trevor had arrived on Morantan Anakin often expressed his hatred about Trevor's presence."
Luke had listened with full attention while Liane told him the whole story about Trevor's mission on Solgar and his father's disgust about Trevor's permanent presence at the Morantan stronghold. He also felt her doubts about Tijan's death which was still troubling her.
"That's enough, my dearest, these memories upset you too much. I have to think about what you've told me. I want you to be a happy comrade and enjoy my stay with you. Shall we go inside and have a look at the holographic map you've created. I'm sure you can tell me more about your explorations outside Mon Mothma's residence. Maybe we should do some new explorations together. What about tomorrow?" He added with a tempting smile.
Night had fallen on Palomintar Six. A dozen or so alien creatures crept stealthy under cover of the darkness through the streets of Ktafunda. They fled from shadow to shadow until they reached Toallin's bar. There they gathered.
"Hamatuma drow thiso,[He should be here]" One of the creatures growled. The others nodded.
"Gramaba kinop [Come on! For it!]", the creature, who seems to be the leader, growled.
Without making any noise they unlocked the entrance to the courtyard and slipped inside. There they spread among the different rooms. The tavern itself was dark, as it was some three hours after closing time.
"Gamatop tamewrow, [I have found something]!" One of the aliens came running back.
"Gamafam pilopof, [Show me]," The leader growled. He followed the messenger to the door of the closet and opened it. Inside he showed the leader the removed crates and the trapdoor underneath.
"Tamofadi samila, [Everyone outside]," He hished.
Within minutes most creatures had left the building. Only the leader and his aid remained. The leader pushed the crates aside and lifted the trap door ajar. He beckoned his aid to hand him a nasty looking device, and ordered him with a gesture to step back. Then he threw the device through the gap. A soft hissing was heard when the device disappeared in the underground space. The rogues retreated to the courtyard and slipped outside the building. They were just outside when an enormous explosion knocked them of their feet. Almost immediately the building was ablaze.
"Banuami wugminda, taslaim toekan, [Mission complete! Get out!], "The leader hissed and the creatures vanished in all directions.
Immediately after the blast the residents of the surrounding buildings rushed outside.
"It's at Toallin's. Warn the fire squad." One of the neighbors yelled.
"Are they in the building?" Another neighbor asked.
"If they were, they are dead by now. Nobody survive a kifusa device." A third one remarked.
"How do you know it's a kifusa?"
"Look at the color of the flames. A kifusa spreads a deadly gas before it explodes. After the explosion the gas burns in greenish flames. Hey look, some one's coming out of the building. Is that Toallin?"
"It's their new bartender. Radin or so is his name."
Ian Tydon stumbled outside and fell on his knees. He coughed and vomited. The first speaker grabbed him at his collar.
"Were you inside, when the building blew?"
Ian nodded, still coughing and vomiting.
"Where ..a.r.e... Toallin ... and ... Mugin?" He asked between several coughs. "Did you get them out of the building?"
In the meantime the fire squad of ten fireproof droids arrived and started covering the flames with a thick layer of foam.
"Nobody came out, pal. They must be dead by now. A kifusa is deadly. How did you manage to get out?"
"You tell me they are ... still inside," Ian said and jumped to his feet. He ran to the gap that once had been the courtyard and rushed inside.
"Toallin! Mugin!" He yelled and tried to find his way in ruins. He started coughing again and collapsed on his knees.
"Come back, you idiot. They are dead. What good is it to die too?" One of the men yelled. He tried to grab Ian's arm, but Ian pushed him away and stumbled further inside the ruin.
The man shook his head and put himself in safety.
"What a fool! To risk his life for some dead men." He muttered.
Then a familiar voice called.
"Where's Radin? Did some one come out?"
"Toallin! Mugin! You're alive! "The neighbors yelled and patted the brothers on the shoulders.
"Did Radin come out of this hell?" Toallin asked again.
"A minute ago a guy came out. I can't say it was Radin. He ran back in, calling for you and Mugin."
"The fool!" Toallin screamed and ran to the courtyard.
"Radin, come back, Mugin and I are safe, " he screamed, but there was no answer. Toallin was driven back by the heavy smoke caused by the dying flames. After several minutes the fire was out. The fire squad droids went inside and ignited some bright lights, putting the surrounding houses and the ruin almost in daylight. It took them some time before they returned with the body of Ian.
"That's the guy that went in, just before you came back. You're lucky, guys, you weren't at home when it blew, " A neighbor remarked.
"Get me a medic," Toallin shouted. "He is alive, but he needs treatment and quick."
He looked at the face of the young Jedi, who was hardly breathing. A medic droid rushed in and provided oxygen. An other medic did a quick scan of Ian's body.
"No broken bones, sir. Just serious burns. We'll take him to the medic center and put him in a bacta tank."
"I'm coming with you. Mugin, take care of what's left of our home. I'll be right back."
Leia shot upright in bed and stared in the darkness. Next to her Han was fast asleep. Carefully, so she wouldn't wake up her husband, she slipped out of bed and walked to the neighboring living. There she sat on one of the couches and covered her face in her hands to order her thoughts.
'Something is wrong with Ian, I heard him scream,' she thought. She concentrated on the Force to find what was happening to her padawan. 'Ian, do you hear me. Are you alright?' She felt the influence of the Force wasn't strong enough to give her a clear view. The images were blurred and unclear.
"Perhaps I'm imagining things," she muttered. She rose and poured herself a glass of water. Then she heard a familiar noise. She turned around and saw Han standing in the doorway to their bedroom.
"Anything wrong, sweetheart," Han said yawning.
"I had a bad dream, I think," She answered. "I thought I heard Ian scream, but I don't get clear images."
"Was it a bad dream, or did you have a Jedi vision, is the Force telling you something. You are very restless these last days, darling, " Han said concerned.
"Maybe the reason is, that I hoped that Luke would contact me to tell me that Ian is alright. Luke has learned Ian to use the Jedi telepathy. I didn't practise it with him. Luke is his master now, so Ian should be able to contact Luke through the Force."
"You don't sound convinced," Han said, pouring himself a drink and pulling Leia next to him on the couch. "And I see you're very worried, dear. Shall we go to the Palomintar System and check things out."
For a moment Leia considered her husband's proposal.
"Luke asked me to be patient, and there is a good reason for it. I can feel that. Our first aim is to protect Liane," She answered.
"Liane is safe, she has the best protection she can get at the moment. Don't forget your brother is devoted with her. If you think your padawan is in danger, we must act. Even without your brother's permission," Han retorted.
"No, Han, let's wait, as Luke wishes. He knows best to consider our action. He's been trained by the Jedi Masters of old."
"He trained you as a Jedi, Leia. You can take decisions yourself, why wait for Luke. What if your brother is wrong?"
Leia stared outside the window, where the sky was coloring announcing a new day. Finally she shook her head.
"We'll wait, what I saw isn't clear enough to sanction an immediate action. If we won't hear anything from Luke, or Ian, we'll go to the Palomintar System ourselves," She said.
"Alright then. Now we'd better get some sleep again, darling. We have an appointment tomorrow with our Supreme Chancellor. Perhaps it's an option to tell her your worries too."
Han took Leia in his arms.
"Stop worrying for the moment, my princess; I'm sure Luke will contact us one of these days."
"I hope so, Han." Leia said softly and crept close to him.
"You've done a marvelous job. This looks superb, Liane!" Luke said, walking around along the holographic projection of the underground cave network, looking at the different ends of the network.
"You're quite handy with this technical stuff," He said, but he thought, 'She hasn't found the hidden door in that last storage room'.
"The yellow part is Mon Mothma's residential area. This is the Lake Cavern with its beautiful view from the terrace. That's the Forest Cave," Liane said pointing at various parts of the network. "The yellow part can be magnified to see more details. I'm working on magnifications for the parts I've explored and added to this map. Over there's the underground Waterfall Cave."
"Can I see a magnification of Mon Mothma's residence again?" Luke asked and walked around the holographic image. Liane pressed several buttons and the yellow part expanded. The several separate spaces that were part of the underground residence became visible in more detail. Luke looked at the image of the corridor with the storage rooms. Tiny captions indicated the different usage of the caverns and caves.
"Could you please zoom out again, so I can see the whole network once again?" Luke asked while he took another look at the holographic projection.
"Sure, no problem. Are you looking for something special, Luke?"
The projection flashed and took its expanded form. Luke pointed to the corridor of storage rooms.
"Haven't you done any explorations behind those storage rooms?" He asked. "To the right of the residence entrance the blue lines of your explorations branch out to the caverns and passageways you've found."
"I have been there once, but I found nothing but solid rock behind that last storage room. It's the furthest cavern of the yellow part. It's the end of Mothma's residence. The last storage room has been used to stow away the containers, which the tech droids have used during the construction. You can reach that cave through the long passageway behind my herb cave. The caves in that corridor are smaller than those which are designed as a Mon Mothma's secret residence. Those caves only are used to store long lasting stockpiles and spare parts."
"Haven't you done any further explorations to the left of the entrance? Maybe we should take a look outside the residence and see what's at the left side."
"There's no path to the leftt, Luke. The underground river runs directly along a solid rocky wall. On the other side is a small ledge, but there is a bend in the river, so I don't know if the ledge runs any further," Liane said, looking a bit surprised at him, "but of course we can have a look, if you want to see it for yourself. Shall we go now?"
"No, let's postponed the explorations outside the residence till tomorrow. I would like to see that last storage room."
"It will certainly disappoint you," Liane said and switched off the holographic map, "I'll tell Threepio and Artoo where we're going."
"Do you always tell them where you are going, if you leave the residential area?" Luke asked in wonder.
"Artoo always sounded very worried, if he doesn't know where I was. So far I didn't pay much attention to his complains, but after what you and Leia have told me, I will tell him more explicit where I'm going, if I'm leaving the residence, to do further explorations, or to practise those Jedi high jumps you taught me. Probably I will take him with me, if he can follow me."
"Wise decision, my dearest, for I wonder if you have you ever thought, that you can get in trouble outside the residence?"
"From the beginning I always kept in touch with Threepio by way of my infocom. He has an infocom too. He asked me to keep in touch with him and his wish seemed reasonable to me. I always call him, if I'm on my way back to the residence. Shall we go, Luke?"
Liane pulled him with her through the living room to the terrace, looking around for the two droids.
"Wait, Luke, I'll be right back," She said, and walked over to the antechamber, where Threepio and Artoo normally stayed if they had done their chores. Within seconds she was back, followed by the two droid friends.
"Artoo wants to know, if he has to switch off the surveillance cams, Luke?"
"Not this time. We're only going to see what's in that last storage room. That won't take long," Luke said.
Artoo whistled and beeped in agreement, and Luke and Liane left the terrace and crossed the lawn. At a tranquil pace they walked to the other end of the lake, entered the corridor to Liane's herb cave, and turned left to the long passageway along the different storage rooms. Light tubes along the wall of the passageway lit up as they walked along, and Liane reminded Luke that she wanted to have a similar kind of illumination in the corridors that lead to the waterfall cave. The passageway winded with several left and right turns, before they reached the last storage room. During their walk Luke had seen that all the storage rooms were locked with security touch locks.
"Do you know the code to enter this last storage room?" He asked as they stood before the close door.
"The security lock of this cave isn't activated, for it only holds empty containers. If you push that button we can enter."
Luke pushed the button and the door slid aside. Inside stood the huge stacks of containers he had seen the day before. Liane began climbing the stack and had to crawl to the other side. Luke followed her. As they reached the last stack of containers Liane pointed to the rocky wall in front of them.
"See for yourself, Luke. This is the end of the residence. The technicians have stacked these containers inside this cave, because they didn't need them anymore. I've asked the tech droids about the content of the containers. They told me, that most of these containers have been used to move the necessary furniture from Irithim to the residence. Most of them are empty now."
They crawled back and jumped on the floor. As they stood in the passageway Luke pushed the button again and the door closed.
"These are very sophisticated security locks, Liane. If activated, they generate a new enter code every time, when someone enters and closes the door behind him."
"What's use of that, Luke? And how can someone get out again?" Liane asked astounded.
"Once the door is closed only the persons inside can easily open the door pushing a button on the inside. Closed on with the outside button the entry code resets to the standard code. Do you know the standard activation code?"
Liane frowned and activated the infocom at her wrist.
"Yes, I have it," She murmured and pressed several numeric buttons, "Now it's locked. If you press the button now, the door won't respond. See for yourself, Luke, but I can't imagine why this storage room is fitted out with a kind of security locks."
Luke pressed the trigger button, but the door stayed locked.
"Now enter the code and open door, Liane, please," He asked.
Liane shrugged her shoulders and opened the door with the security code. Luke stepped inside the cave.
"Stay outside, Liane. I'll close the door on the inside. You can try to open it again with the standard code."
The door closed, and Liane pushed the entry code. Nothing happened. In wonder she pushed the buttons again, but the door remained locked. She frowned, and was checking the information at her infocom, when the door slid aside. Luke left the cave and closed the door.
"Now open it again, Liane," He said and smiled.
Hesitantly Liane entered the security code and pressed the trigger button. Effortlessly the door slid aside. Liane started to laugh and looked at Luke.
"You know these kinds of security locks, don't you?" She said.
"During the design of this residence Mon Mothma asked general Madine to advice her about the necessary security measures for her emergency residence. Many sectors on board the Tychorion and other New Republic space vessels are fitted out with these kind of security locks, especially the private quarters of the command crew, as are most of the briefing rooms. Once locked on the inside, the security locks prevent outsiders from entering those sections unexpectedly."
Liane looked at the closed door, but suddenly she started to laugh gleefully and gave Luke a teasing push.
"So no one can enter this cave, once the door is closed on the inside, not even a Jedi Knight?" She chortled.
"Don't be so sure of that, my dearest pixie. Want a demonstration?" Luke said laughing too.
"Yes," Liane said provocatively. She quickly keyed the standard code, opened the door, and stepped inside. As she pressed the button on the inside, she looked back at Luke with a gleeful smile.
"Now open the door and get me out, Luke," She expressed laughing, while the door closed. Sitting on the edge of the bottom container she watched the door to open again. Still giggling she waited, when suddenly the door slid aside and Luke stepped inside.
"How did you ... ?" She started, but then she saw a teasing twinkle in his eyes, "Oh, so that's how you've entered Mon Mothma's secret residence. You can unlock any of these security locks using your Jedi skills. Luke, I have been wondering how you could come here without Mon Mothma's consent, for you need permission of the Dalmaranian authorities. Mon Mothma told me that no one is allowed to access Na'ctaMagh'Ba without explicit permission of the Dalmaranian government."
"Every Jedi Knight has a permanent permission to stay on Na'ctaMagh'Ba whenever he wants. Tomorrow, as we're going to explore the left side outside the residence, I will show you how I could enter Mon Mothma's residence, my dearest friend, but it has nothing to do with these security locks at the moment," Luke said teasingly, for he sensed Liane's growing curiosity.
Luke's evasive reply gave Liane a strange excited feeling. Luke seemed to know much more of the underground residence than she did, and he wanted to show it to her. She grabbed his arm.
"As we are going to do those new explorations tomorrow, there's enough time now to tell me something more about the basic Jedi principles. Shall we go to the waterfall cave again. I saw you had a Force vision there yesterday, maybe it's a good place for me too to learn and find my connection with the Good Side of the Force and to meditate with more awareness."
Luke turned her to him and looked into her eyes.
"Are you serious, Liane. Do you really want start your Jedi training?"
"Not with a full Jedi training, Luke, I want to learn some basic Jedi principles. I want to learn to meditate as a Jedi. You can teach me, you said. You're the only Jedi Master in this galaxy and you're my soul mate, my eternal partner. I couldn't find myself a better instructor, could I?"
Astonished Luke had listened to Liane's explanation, then he laughed.
"Alright. We go to the waterfall cave. It's indeed a good place to practise those Jedi meditation principles. But don't be surprised or disappointed, my lovely eternal pixie, for, just like Anakin and my old master Yoda, I am a very demanding Jedi master."
On Palimontar Four Darth Golluth was sitting in front of the screens of his communication system. He nodded approvingly.
"This is very valuable information. So lady Vader is the daughter of Severini Solichor, the Jedi healer who was in charge of the medical center in the Jedi Temple. That Jedi healer went into exile after emperor Palpatine had ordered to wipe out the Jedi Order. She has found a refuge with Eremian, a priest of an obscure sect on Morantan. Maybe lady Vader has inherited her mother's healing powers. Those powers might be a great asset to my future knowledge and can grant me an extreme long life, maybe even immortality."
He turned to a holographic statuette on the pedestal and grinned.
"How did you managed to procreate, Lord Vader. As far as I know you were kept alive inside that life support system the Emperor had made for you. A son and a daughter, and both Force sensitive. Maybe the Emperor has ordered his medical staff to remove and freeze your valuable genetic material, especially your semen, regularly, before they are encasing you again in your dark armor. It's very feasible that Palpatine wanted to preserve your Force sensitivity as the Chosen One for future use. He probably has forced that Jedi-healer to become the mother of your offspring, but it's strange that I can only find information about the birth of your daughter and nothing about the birth of your son. However it's also possible that your master send your genetic material in the cloning facility on Kynosis, so he could use it to clone another you, a son, as a future apprentice who would be an exact copy of you, Lord Vader.."
Darth Golluth laughed at this thought.
'You assume too much, Trevor. You don't know the truth about my son,' the hushed voice of Darth Vader rumbled.
"Don't call me Trevor, Lord Vader. I'm now Darth Golluth, and I will be the next great Sith Lord. I'll will be the most powerful Sith, ever. I'll will be more powerful than you."
The voice didn't respond and Darth Golluth returned to his chores, rummaging in the files on the computer communication system on Quoith.
Ian Tydon awoke and found himself floating in a slimy red fluid.
"Bacta. I'm in a bacta tank." He thought, "What happened?"
He tried to crane his neck, but a twinge prevented him to move. Outside the tank he saw some vague shadows: medic droids. Then a voice sounded in his ear.
"Stay calm, sir. You've got hurt in that fire, but the bactas are doing their job well. I'll give you an extra dose to relax, so you won't feel any pain."
Immediately the slimy fluid became even more gelatinous. Ian felt he couldn't move his limbs anymore. Slowly he started to breath in and out via the oxygen mask that covered his face.
"What happened? Luke, master, are you alright. No, Toallin! Mugin! The cantena! It has been blown away. I..."
Then the bacta did their work and Ian's thoughts became more and more incoherent.
"I...got...to...," were his last thought. He surrendered to the working of the bacta and became unconscious.
The medic droid turned to Toallin, who was watching the floating body.
"How is he doing?"
"Very well, sir. He wakes up every now and then, but as soon as we inject new bactas he fully surrenders. He's very cooperative." The droid remarked.
"Will he recover? How long does he have to be in there?"
"He will fully recover. The bactas have recycled the burned flesh and are now building new tissue as a replacement. When that process is finished, the bactas will grow new skin. In the end he will be as good as new. We expect him to be fully recovered within a month or so."
"Fine. Make sure, that only my brother and me are allowed to visit him." Toallin warned the droid.
"As you wish, sir. We'll take care of that."
"I'll come and see him tomorrow."
Toallin left and went back to his former home. When he entered the ruined courtyard, Mugin came to meet him.
"How is he doing?" He asked. Toallin made a gesture.
"Not here. We still haven't figured out, who is behind this."
They went inside the cantina, which hadn't suffered much from the blast and the fire, and closed the door.
"He's doing fine, according to those medic droids. He will recover, but it will take some time. Those medic droids keep him under constant surveillance, if he awakens they pour new liquid in the tank to keep him calm and passive. Problem is, that as long as he is kept in that state he won't be able to call Skywalker. What do you think, Mugin, shouldn't one of us try to find passage to Dalmaran and find that master of him."
"That's a long shot, brother. We don't know anyone high up in the echelons of the New Republic, who might be interested in our friend?" Mugin said. "There's that girl Liane, but he hasn't told us anything of her whereabouts. It's clear that our friend is one the guys, who is protecting her, as is Skywalker."
"What about that Twilek' Trimas. Maybe our friends the Kayloks must fry him a bit more."
"Might be dangerous," Mugin said, "It's likely that he is the guy, who set those assassins on our friend's tail. Boy, that guy has been lucky, surviving a kifusa blast, how did he do that. If only he hadn't been so stupid to run inside the house again to look for us, he wouldn't be in that bacta tank now."
"He wanted to rescue us, brother," Toallin said, "It gives me an odd feeling to realize that a human would sacrifice his life for us Quelans."
Mugin nodded. For a moment the two brothers sat silent, each one trying to figure out, what they could possibly do for their new friend.
"We wait and keep an eye on him. If Skywalker won't get a message from him, he possibly comes back to the Palomintar Six. I think, that's the best we can do." Toallin decided. His brother nodded. "You're right. We'll decide how to proceed after we've learned that he is recovering. Agreed."
To be continued...