iane sat on the edge of her bed and looked at the tiny inlaid green shards on the Jedi-pendant. Her fingers caressed the blade of the lightsaber. Luke's lightsaber, for his lightsaber held the main green Illum crystal. The shards of the Jedi-pendant and the crystal in his lightsaber had originally been one.
"It's so beautiful," She murmured, "There are so many mysteries enclosed in it. Every time I learn something more about its secret powers."
She closed her eyes and let the Force take her to that wonderful moment in her past, when Luke had given her the Jedi-pendant. She saw herself opening the small green box and once again she felt the amazement and wonder when she had lifted the pendant of its velvet cloth. The images vanished and now she saw herself with the Draga at the moment she had woken up. Mintob gave her the green box and once more she experienced the beauty of the little gem, although she couldn't recall its use. She saw how she went down with the Draga to the bottom of the cleft and through the Force she was aware the compassion the strange creatures had felt for her, an outsider, not one of their kind. They had made her feel welcome and protected. Suddenly she found herself on Endor at the clearing with the stone. She could clearly see and read the words on it; a tribute and a commemmoration to her foster-father.
'Poor Anakin,' she thought, 'You were a good man, but you weren't able to see through and cope with the machinations of Darth Sidious. He seduced you to the Dark Side of the Force. He played an evil game with you and your uncontrolled emotions and you lost everything and everyone who you loved and were dear to you. Everything could have been so different if Luke and Leia would have grown up with you and Padmé. Poor father, you weren't all evil. You were a puppet and the emperor pulled the strings.'
'I can not believe you can think of me this way. It feels like you forgive me everything I did to you. Do you really feel sorry for me, Liane?' A soft voice said.
Astounded Liane opened her eyes and looked at the apparition of a person dressed as a Jedi Knight. The apparition looked remorseful.
"You're Anakin Skywalker, aren't you?" She asked in wonder, "You were on Endor with Ben Kenobi, weren't you? I saw you, after I got my memories back. You both encouraged me to make use of the Jedi-pendant."
'Yes, I am Anakin Skywalker, Liane, Luke's father. I felt your compassion for me through the Force, as you were meditating on your past.' The apparition answered, 'You were thinking very compassionately of me.'
"I was thinking of what has happened to you, father. Luke has told me how you have been redeemed of the Dark Side of the Force."
'And you still feel sorry for me, even if you know what evil I've spread in this galaxy. There isn't anyone who has a better understanding of the menace I presented than you, Liane. You've have witnessed the evil influence of the Dark Side on Morantan for more than a decade.'
"I know, father, but I've also witnessed the moments you seemed subdued and depressed about what you were doing or what was going on. Luke believed there was still good in you, and he was right, for I've always felt your care, your guidance and your protection, even if you masked those feelings with your demanding teachings."
'Liane ... ,' Anakin Skywalker silenced, as if he didn't know how to continue.
"Yes, father, what's bothering you?" She said kindly.
'Are you really forgiving me all my wrong teachings, for they were wrong and evil, my daughter. You know they are.'
"Sure, I forgive you, father. Luke has told me, how you've found me on Morantan after my mother had died. You took me with you, while I was still a toddler."
'Did my son also tell you how your mother died?' Anakin asked and Liane heard the tension in his voice.
"No, but Severini was a Jedi and the emperor had ordered you to wipe out the Jedi, didn't he? Luke told me about the downfall of the Jedi Order, and how some of them try to go into exile. Father, after you've met my mother, a Jedi Knight in exile, on Morantan, you had to follow the emperor's demands. I think, you had no other choice than to defeat her."
'And you don't hate me for what I did? Liane, I hardly can't believe you.'
"Luke has taught me to accept what happened in my past. It can't undone. He also said I had to look upon my past with regret, not anger or hatred, and to forgive you your failures. There have been many moments when I blamed you for what you've done to me and to so many others, but Luke has always told me that he could forgive you, because before you died you renounced the Dark Side and became a Jedi Knight again. I certainly would have had another life and another youth, if I had grown up with my mother. Severini would have raise me at the Good Side of the Force and probably would have passed on the Force knowledge how to use the Force's healing powers."
'Liane, from the moment I saw you, you have become very dear to me. When I first saw that little giggling girl, who didn't seemed to be afraid of me, images of Padmé's pregnancy flashed through my mind. When I attacked her in a fit of rage with the power of the Dark Side, she was heavily pregnant. Our baby was almost due. In a whim I took you with me, and I decided you should be the daughter I had killed. When I found out that Luke was my real son, I couldn't believe that to be true. I couldn't believe that I had a son living, and I blamed the emperor for having lied to me all those years. He told me I had killed Padmé.'
"From the moment you knew that Luke was your son, you felt a conflict inside, father. I have felt it, every time we talked about him. I didn't understand the contradictory feelings you had for Luke Skywalker. He was a Jedi Knight, and you always said that you regarded him as a threat to the empire, an enemy, but there was also pride, care, even love inside you. Father, your decision to adopt me as your daughter has saved my life, for you could easily have killed me too. You've taught me bad things, but also many good ones. You learned me to feel the Force in everything that surrounded me in the Morantan jungle and to listen to her will. You taught me to interfere with the Force's will, and we often argued about the dominance and power the Force could give. I didn't want that power, for I cared for what I felt around me; the plants, the birds, the insects, even the predators. They were all connected with each other and with me. Luke says that is the Living Force. It creates life, makes things grow; it surrounds and penetrates us. The galaxy needs the Living Force to prosper and protect life, father. Master Odan-Urr has told me that the Good Side always has to fight the Dark Side of the Force, for the Dark Side may never be the dominant power."
'That is not entirely true, my daughter, because that same Living Force also includes the Dark Side.'
"What do you mean, father?" Liane asked surprised.
'Liane, you have always cherished the good that can be done with the Force, and you still do that. That is the legacy of Severini. But across the Living Force that things grow and prosper, works the same Force that makes all lifeform decay at the end of their existance. Death is the end of every life and is inevitable.'
The Jedi creed says that there is no death, there is the Force. You became one with the Force, when you renounced the Dark Side, and so are all the other Jedi masters of old I've met through the use of the holocrons."
'Yes, the Jedi have learned to conquer death which enables them to live on in Force as Force spirits'Anakin commented gently.
"So they still can teach a new generation of Jedi who will serve the Living Force. Master Odan-Urr says that the galaxy benefits from the existance of the Jedi. The Sith Lords have brought chaos and destruction many times. The Jedi always have fought their dark intentions." Liane remarked.
Anakin nodded, but smile thoughtful
'Liane, what would happen there only would be the Good Side of the Force?'
Pensively Liane thought about Anakin's question.
'Do you really think, that every lifeform in this galaxy would be happy, if everything would be always good.'
"Yes, I think they would be happy,"
Anakin shook his head.
'No, Liane, they wouldn't, for they wouldn't realize the happiness and the goodness that's surrounding and protecting them. Goodness, happiness and prosperity would become something they would take for granted, a common good, something they can always depend on. They wouldn't be able to cope with any misfortune, or disaster. Such a way of life would lead to decadence and laziness, for no one would believe that a disaster could happen.'
Liane's face got a thoughtful expression.
"Decadence and laziness can lead to disaster, father," She answered pensively.
'Most of times it leads to disaster, my daughter, and disasters are a source of dissatisfaction. Dissatisfied creatures will oppose those who are still doing well, but the dissatisfaction will spread...'
"... and that will give the Sith, with their knowledge of the Dark Side the opportunity, to rise again," Liane concluded.
'Precisely, my daughter. Do you see that a galaxy lead only through the Good Side of the Force will not necessarily be a peaceful and prosperous place to live. All lifeforms have to deal with misfortune, disasters, losses, catastrophes, otherwise they won't learn to appreciate the good things of the Living Force. Moments of disaster will prevent the leaders to become arrogant, supercilious, overconfident, greedy for power, and many more vices. Good and evil, Liane belong to everyone's life. The Good Side and the Dark Side are part of the same Force, that's the Unifying Force or Cosmic Force which binds everything in the galaxy together, good and bad. Those two sides of the Force must be an equilibrium, neither of one may dominate. In that respect, master Oden-Urr was right, but never think that only the Good Side will bring happiness and prosperity. The downfall of the Jedi was partly their own fault, because they refused to see what was really going on in the Old Republic. They thought they knew everything because they saw themselves as the ultimate guardians of peace and justice with their knowledge of the Force. That discontent and injustice were ruining the Republic from within never occured to them until it was too late, and Darth Sidious had taken control. The hypocrisy of senator Palpatine and his bootlickers and the hubris of the Jedi gave rise to Empire and its reign of darkness and evil. I took part of that evil reign, for I too misinterpreted Darth Sidious' evil intentions. My unlimited confidence in him became my undoing and sealed my fate.'
Liane was silent for a long time. The apparition of Anakin Skywalker watched his foster-daughter patiently, leaving her time to absorb his words. Finally Liane looked up, a vague smile appeared around her lips.
"Thank you, father, for these words. I've never looked at the Force from this point of view. Your words give me a lot to think about. I never have thought about the Force as a power that has to be in balance between good and evil. Thank you, for visiting me and telling me this. It's an important lesson you gave me. It certainly will help me to keep a good focus on my own intentions. I hope you will visit me again and teach me things I might overlook, or misinterpret. I have promised Luke I will be his padawan, because I want to become a Jedi Knight."
'It gives great joy to many Jedi on the other side of the Force that you have made the decision to become a Jedi Knight yourself. We all will help you to gain that goal. I will fulfil your wish to visit you again wholeheartedly, my daughter. I feel it as an honor to guide you to become a Jedi Knight.'
The apparition of Anakin Skywalker vanished. Liane blinked. She needed some time to comprehened the deeper meaning of her conversation with Anakin Skywalker. For a long time she sat motionless on the edge of her bed, recalling every word of her meeting with her foster-father Anakin Skywalker.
The communication officer on board the Basilisaea looked at his screen. For a moment an odd message seemed to flash among the data. He tried to scroll back, but the message seemed to have vanished. Nevertheless he turned around, called the liaison officer and told him about it.
"Stay alert, if it's repeated, try to stop the information flow immediately. I'll warn the captain, give the tech droids access to screen the communication data and see if they can perform a replay."
The liaison officer left. The communication officer typed some codes, knowing that the tech droids would activate the monitoring of the information flow and retrieve the data he seemed to have missed. The confirmation on the screen reassured him. The droids had plugged in and were checking all the data of the last twenty four hours. He switched on a second screen and linked it with his main screen. If the droids would find any unacknowledged messages he would get an immediate alarm and the main screen flow would stop at once. That would leave him time to interpret the message. He went on scanning the mainstream data flow. Most of the data was normal communication between their base on Coruscant and the few space ships that once had represented the invincible imperial star fleet.
"Officer, have you found that message already," the liaison officer's voice sounded in his ear.
"The droids are working on it, sir. I'll warn you as soon as I get a warning."
"Asked them to skip any data older than six hours ago. Have them concentrated on the last possible messages." The liaison officer ordered.
"Yes, sir. I'll give them the instruction right away."
"The admiral and the commander are eager to know, what you saw, officer," the voice said.
"I'll warn you the moment I see it on my screen again, sir."
"Hurry, will you?"
Several minutes passed, then all at once the main screen locked and the message data flashed in red. The communication officer secured the message and transmitted it to the screen of his superior.
Inside the control room admiral Vestor of the Basilisaea looked at the isolated message.
"It certainly is addressed to the Basilisaea, sir," the commander said, "but it's is unreadable, it's encrypted in a peculiar way."
"Use any decryption method the empire once used. Maybe our intelligence service has found a lead to those Skywalker twins," Admiral Vestor said.
"It would save us a lot of effort if we could get a good lead about their whereabouts. I hate to cross the galaxy from one end to the other without knowing where to look for. I haven't asked you yet, but do you have any idea, why the Millennium Falcon showed up near the Palomintar System, commander?" Vestor said, looking at the commander of the Basilisaea.
"I heard word, that her captain has resumed his former smuggler's job. It seems that he resigned and has left the New Republic."
"I wonder why he played that hide-and-seek game, commander. If he's smuggling again, then there is hardly a reason for his odd behavior. No, there must be more behind all this. Did he appear again after his last jump to lightspeed?"
"No, sir. We didn't get an alarm that the Falcon has reappeared in the system."
"I want to keep any ship out of this region, no matter its origin or destination. Problem is, we can't set up blockade around Palomintar Four. Darth Golluth would kill me if I jam his communication with his spies on Dalmaran. Well, you'd better tell your technicans to decrypt that message."
"I will inform you, if we have found its origin, sir."
Admiral Vestor left the control room and went to the command bridge. Looking out over the vastness of space he brooded over lieutenant Whain's fate.
'Whain certainly would have been able to find that right decryption method of that message. Why hasn't he contacted me. Hasn't he managed to get that communication system of Lord Golluth up and running again. It was complete mess in that underground communication center. All equipment had been taken apart and those tech droids were gibbering complete nonsense.
Cornell entered the alcove and gave Luke a heavy package of clothes. Luke thanked him. He took off his Jedi clothes and put on his new disguise. He fastened the harvester's belt around his waist and checked the equipment, the blaster and small daggers. Thoroughly Luke checked his new outfit to find a possibility to keep his lightsaber with him. He couldn't find a way that satisfied him, so he hooked his own weapon at his new belt.
When he entered the main cave, Cornell's men cheered and grinned.
"Except for the lightsaber, you're one of us now, master Skywalker," Rumell said.
"Yeah," commented another one, "that means, that we expect you'll give us a hand with our work too. We could use a extra pair of hands. Have you ever been working as a harvester, master Skywalker?"
Luke started to laugh.
"I did. I grew up on a moisture farm on Tatooine."
"A moisture farm, never heard of it. You must tell us all about later. It's always nice to hear how life is on other planets." A third speaker said.
"You have to hide that lightsaber, master Skywalker," Rumell said, "The moment someone sees that weapon they know you're a Jedi Knight, no matter your disguise."
"I'll be thinking of it, Rumell. Can you tell, where I can find Fanoll?" Luke answered.
"We gave him a boring job, master Skywalker," one of the other men said, "He is preparing the ropes we need to lower ourselves in the shaft. He is working on it in the corner."
The man pointed to a dark corner of the main cave. Luke followed the indicated direction and found Toallin's daughter struggling with an enormous pile of heavy rope. Luke heard the harvesters laugh.
The girl looked up unhappily. For a moment Luke sat down next to Chati and watched her doing the job she had been given.
"Need some help, don't you?" He said after a while.
"I don't know if you may give me a hand, master Skywalker," She whispered, "but they want me get this fixed by tomorrow morning."
Now Luke started to laugh too.
"They are seeking you out, Chati. Don't forget they aren't used to be nice to female Quelans. Your behavior is out of the ordinary."
"I know, master Skywalker. I heard them laugh, when Rumell gave me this task."
Meanwhile the girl frantically tried to pull the ropes apart. The more she pulled the tighter the ropes seemed to tie themselves.
"This isn't going to work," She said frustrated and kicked the heap of rope.
"Then you have to find another way to get the job done," Luke said and raised his hand. A number of lose ends began to drift and one by one Luke unravelled the knots. Amazed Chati looked at the floating ends.
"Wow, that's a good trick. How do you do it, master Skywalker?" She said hopefully.
"It's call Jedi telekinesis. I use the Force that surrounds the rope, so I'll be able to manipulate it. You can do it, Chati. It's one of the first things I teach my padawans."
"How can I do it, master Skywalker?"
"Concentrate on one those rope ends. Don't let anything else disturb you concentration. To get a better concentration you can close your eyes and see an image of the rope in your mind." Luke had used his soft Jedi voice to bring Chati in a low state of Force concentration. The girl's eyelids were closed.
"If you see the rope, stretched out your hand, as though you want to pick it up. Now touch the end with your thoughts and slowly raise the end."
Chati had stretched out her hand to one of the ends of rope. It began to move and slowly it began to hover, but in her excitement about this achievement she lost this concentration and the rope dropped. Disappointed she opened her eyes and looked up at Luke. Luke patted her at her shoulder.
"Well done, Chati, well done. Now I will give you a hand unraveling the heap."
"Master Skywalker, I saw the end of the rope and I intended to pick it up."
"You're first step into your new reality, Chati."
"Can I do it again?"
"Yes, start practising with small objects: pebbles and small rocks, or your clothes and your boots. Don't feel disappointed if you don't succeed in the beginning, but don't give up and, very important, believe in what you're doing or want to achieve. Feel the Force around the object you want to move."
In the meantime Luke had easily unraveled most of the knots of the ropes. He had put each of the separated ropes apart. Chati was starring at him in wonder and admiration.
"Chati," Luke said, "Give me a hand, will you. Almost all of the ropes have been separated. Now you have to splice each end and intertwine the strands. Fasten the splice with these smaller ropes."
Chati took two ends of rope, spliced them and weaved the strands together so the ends were thoroughly interwoven. Luke showed her how she had to fix the splice, then left the girl to her chores and walked back to the others.
"You cheated, master Skywalker," the men laughed.
Luke shook his head.
"I didn't. I encouraged her to use her talents," He simply said and sat down on one of the flat rocks.
"You said, you need those ropes to lower yourself in a shaft. Can you tell me more?" Luke asked.
The men looked at each other and grinned.
"Well, master Skywalker," one said, "as you are dressed as one of us, you should do as one of us. So you're the first one to go down in the shaft tomorrow and start working on that new canal we are digging to get the river back in its original bedding. So, I advise you to eat your fill tonight, for tomorrow it's gonna be a tough day for you."
"For us," Cornell corrected, as he turned up in the circle, "We're are all going down to work on those canals. Master Skywalker, do you mind if we call by your first name. Much easier if we need you?"
For a moment Luke thought about Cornell's proposal.
"If I want to complete my disguise you'd better call me Ben. You're right, Cornell, and it's better if the name of Skywalker isn't used for the present."
"Are you fearing that weirdo, Ben?" Romell asked.
"No, I don't, Rumell, but I am always cautious. I don't want to attract any unnecessary attention." Luke said seriously.
The submersible slid inaudible below the surface of the strait near Mas'onom. Leia carefully watched the monitor, when suddenly she looked alarmed. Another submersible was following them. Quickly she increased the speed of the vehicle in an attempt to shake off the pursuer, but its speed increased too.
"Ian, we're pursued. I'm going to the surface."
She slowed down and emptied the water tanks. The small boat rose and several moments later it broke through the surface. Immediately Leia started to scan the surrounding, but the pursuer was clever enough to stay underwater.
"It isn't showing up, master." Ian remark, checking the other side of the boat.
"I would be surprised if he did so. They are probably waiting for us to dive again and resume their pursuit, but I will teach them a lesson they won't forget. Listen, Ian."
Leia explained what she expected her padawan to do.
"Do you really think, it will work, master."
"I do, but our success depends on your determination. As we're diving again I want you to steer this vessel straight on at our pursuer. Keep our course, don't deviate from it. I'm going to use the Force to protect us from a head-on collision, but our pursuers will think you're on collison course and that will be the end of their pursuit. Carefully watch the monitor, Ian. You take over now and don't disturb me."
Ian took the helm and Leia concentrated in the co-pilots chair and brought herself into a deep Force concentration. Ian filled the watertanks again and slowly increased the speed. As the boat submerged he immediately saw the pursuing vessel. He increased the speed of their submersible to maximum and pretended he wanted to outrun the other one. The display on the monitor showed that their pursuer increased its speed too. Ian felt how his master reached out to the pursuer.
'Turn around and full speed, Ian' He heard his master say.
He pulled up the steering stick forcefully and got the submersible in a steep loop up and backwards, then he started the head-on collision run. For a moment the pursueing vessel didn't respond, but then she frantically began to evade the oncoming submersible. What ever her helm's man tried, however, the ship didn't respond and a collision seemed unavoidable.
Leia took the pursuing vessel in a tight Force grip. Slowly she turned it upside down, then it began to turn on its longitudinal axis faster and faster until the image on the monitor became blurred. Then all of a sudden Leia released her Force grip. The vessel continued to turn, but the momentum of the movement slowed down. Ian had already brough their vessel on course again, setting the engine on maximum velocity. Within moments it disappeared out of sight of the still rotating pursueing vessel. Leia released herself from her Force stance.
"Excellent, young padawan. Now let's get to the entrance of the underground river, before they start their pursuit again."
Ian looked at his master with raised eyebrows and grinned.
"I assume, master, they are somewhat higgledy-piggledy from your treatment."
They both started to laugh. Ian kept the submersible at high speed and reduced its speed only after they had found the underwater entrance to the secret residence. The submersible reappeared above the surface, while Ian carefully watched the rear monitor.
"Nothing, master, we shook them off."
"Ian, come over here, quick. Are you sure we've entered the right underground river?" Leia asked with some tension in her voice.
"What's the matter, master?" Ian said and walked back to the small control room.
"Look. There's no jetty, no terrace, nothing," Leia said astounded and began to check the coordinates, but everything seemed alright.
Ian had walked over to the top hatch and opened it. He ignited his flashlight. The broad beam slid along the the wall, the ceiling and the water surface, but nothing reminded him of the welcoming entrance of the underground residence. He closed the hatch and look at his master.
"Nothing, master, but I sense something strangely familiar, although there's only a dark tunnel with an underground waterflow. Yes, there it is again. Master, I sense Liane's presence. She is here somewhere."
Leia looked at her young padawan. She knew the reason for his feelings and sighed relieved.
"I will see, if I can reached Wedge, Ian."
"You think master Antilles is here too," he stammered.
Leia tuned in on the Force.
'Wedge, Ian and I have entered the underground river, we're nearing the entrance of the residence.'
Almost immediately she got an answer.
'Keep the submersible in the river mouth, Leia, stay away from the walls.'
Inside the residence Wedge turned to Liane and Yarmod who were caught in a fierce lightsaber duel. For a moment he watched.
'Liane, Yarmod. You'd better stop. We've got to welcome some visitors.'
Liane made a last somersault and landed right in front of him.
"Visitors, Wedge. We're not expecting anyone, are we? " She asked.
"As a Jedi you'd better focus yourself on the Force and use your Jedi skills, then you will know who's waiting for us." Wedge said.
"I'm no ..." She sputtered.
"Yes, you are, Liane. Stop denying your connenction with the Force abilities. You are a Jedi." Wedge said sternly.
Liane silenced and reached out to the Force to see who was waiting outside. Then her face brightened and she ran inside to the wall panel.
"Wedge, can I lower these blast doors. Ian is out there.... oh, and Leia is with him too."
"Then we'd better lower the blast doors and welcome our visitors," Wedge laughed, but he wondered why Liane clearly had felt Ian's presence first.
Ian was keeping the submersible in the middle of the river mouth, still watching the rear monitor, when part of the opposite wall started to divide diagonally. The terrace and the jetty slowly started to rise above the surface of the water. Leia who was looking at the front screen seemed as amazed as he was.
"It had been completely sealed off, and undetectable. This is really an excellent hide-out," She expressed her admiration, "If Mon Mothma ever has to find a solid protection than she is absolutely safe here. Well, Ian, we can debark, there's our welcoming committee."
Ian positioned the submersible along the jetty. The magnetic mooring locked. Leia opened the hatch and jumped on jetty. Liane rushed over, followed by Wedge Antilles and his padawan.
"You're really protected now, Liane," Leia said and kissed her.
The engine of the submersible stopped. Ian jumped out, carefully closing the hatch, before he reluctantly walked over to Liane.
"Hello, Liane, so good to see you again," He said grabbing her hands in his for a moment.
For a moment they looked at each other, then Ian pulled her to him, took her in his arms and held her.
"I owe you my recovery, Liane," He whispered in her ear.
Liane looked up at him; she saw his greyish-blue eyes and in a flash she saw the same greyish-blue eyes in another face, the face of a wizened, weather-beaten old Jedi Knight.
"It's good to see you've fully recovered, Ian. Shall we get inside?"
She turned to Leia, who was greeting Wedge and Yarmod.
"I ... we didn't expect you and Ian, Leia, but I will ask Threepio to serve some drinks and have your guest rooms prepared."
"Don't give yourself that much trouble, Liane. I'm not staying, in fact I want to leave as soon as possible with Wedge. Ian will stay with you and Yarmod. I'll tell you all about this in a moment, but I'll gladly accept your offer to have a drink."
Liane looked at her in wonder.
Once seated on the terrace Leia looked around with overjoyed look.
"It's so good to be here again, Liane. It's really a pity I can't stay longer. Wedge, you know you will accompany me back to Irithim, don't you?"
"Luke told me, Leia. The presence of the imperial star destroyer Basilisaea in the Palomintar System is a violation of the truce with the former empire. Any idea what it's doing there?"
Leia shook her head.
"None of us knows, but Mon Mothma wants to send a flotilla of space ships of the joint fleet of the New Republic to the Palomintar System to ensure admiral Vestor will not violate the agreement we've made. She sees his presence as a provocation, that's why she wants you to come back with me. Han and general Madine are already busy with some strategic preparations, but Mon Mothma wants you to be part of the operation with your men of Gold Squadron."
All the time Liane had listened to Leia's words, but she had refrained herself of any comment.
"Ian, you know what the Supreme Chancellor expects from you and Yarmod. You will stay here with him and Liane. You will take over the mission of master Antilles. It isn't a real difficult mission as you might have know from our former visit. Liane, after Wedge and I have left, you must seal off the entrance again. It's a perfect disguise."
Liane nodded numbly. Ian looked at her. He felt that the situation was overwhelming. He desperately looked for some words to cheer her up.
"It won't be for a long time, Liane. As soon as the fleet has reached the Palomintar System, I sure the Basilisaea will leave. Master Antilles can then come back to take up his mission."
Liane looked at the view of the lake and the garden. She seemed in thoughts. It looked as if she hadn't noticed what the others were talking about. In her mind a strange vision arose that she saw Luke lying on a kind of bier. His eyes were closed and his face was gray, he was not breathing. She heard a cackling laugh, a laugh she had heard before. Months ago she had seen the same images during her nightmare at the Millennium Falcon. Who was laughing? Suddenly she knew it. It was Darth Golluth, the former imperial officer Trevor Matrik. What had he told her after she asked where Luke was? The image of Luke on the bier grew in her mind and she heard the voice of Trevor Matrik, who told her that her friend had died. Was he really dead? No, he was not; she felt his heartbeat and noticed his slow breathing: Luke was alive. She did not have to worry.
"You're lying, Trevor. He isn't dead," She whispered half aloud in a low Force trance,"You're lying to me, because you can't feel the Force. You're no Sith lord, you have no knowledge of the Dark Side, and you're no longer fooling me with your fake Force knowledge."
"Liane, what are you talking about?" Leia said concerned.
Liane came out her Force trance and looked around. She shook her head.
"Wedge won't come back to complete his mission here. There's much trouble on Palomintar Four. Darth Golluth hasn't stopped his search for me."
She didn't tell the others what she had seen, but Leia and Wedge were watching her closely. Liane sensed their concern. She attempted to smile and turned to the two Jedi.
"Thank you, Wedge, for staying with me and teaching me some Jedi skills. I'll will do fine with Ian and Yarmod as my companions. With the blast doors closed, this hide-out is impenetrable. There is no other entrance. I'm safe here. Leia, are you sure you don't want to get some rest and get back to Irithim tomorrow. I would love to talk to you for awhile, don't you want to eat something? Threepio, will you please serve some other drinks."
She jumped to her feet and went looking for the golden droid. He wasn't in the living, but suddenly she let out a desperate cry.
"Oh no, who closed the blast doors?"
Threepio came out of the library followed by a loud gibbering Artoo. The little barrel shaped droid seemed outraged and expressed his anger with a stream of binary words.
"You will see, Artoo, that mistress Liane will be glad I have been so alert. After they have entered, they all completely have forgotten to seal off the entrance. So I was right to push that button."
Liane gasped. The others had come up to the living too.
"Threepio, what have you done?" Liane exclaimed, "When did you close the blast door?"
"Right after I have served your drinks, mistress Liane." The protocol droid said.
"Oh, no. Leia, the submersible. Quick, Wedge, press that red button. Hurry, hurry."
The blast doors had come down and they all hurried outside. Leia and Ian looked devasted at the empty moorings. The submersible lay upside down in the stream. Ian rushed over to the water edge.
"When the jetty vanished the moorings unlocked and capsized the vessel."
"The air-tight hatch has kept it afloat," Wedge commented.
"Artoo said, I shouldn't activate the doors, mistress Liane, but I heard master Antilles telling you the doors should always stay closed."
"That's right, Threepio. I don't blame you, but I would have appreciated it, if you would have asked me first."
Artoo let out a long flow of angry binary stream.
"Artoo, stop it, will you," Liane said with a annoyed sigh, "Even droids can make misinterpret orders. Stop blaming your counterpart for what he did. I should have told him to leave the entrance open. None of you has seen what happened to the terrace and the jetty outside the entrance and I never told you. Leia, it seems that there will be some delay. Threepio, see to it, that the guestrooms for the princess and her padawan are prepared. Now, we'd better discuss how we can upturn the submersible and get it up and running again. That last part isn't all too difficult, the air-tight hatch probably has kept the water out of the interior. The tech droids can help to check for other damage. Turning the boat is a slightly different matter. It's top has completely vanished under water."
Once again she looked at the overturned boat, when suddenly she seemed to remember something. She looked up at Leia and Wedge.
"Leia, did Luke tell you about his sunken space craft on Dagobah and how master Yoda used the Force to get it out of the swamp and put it on dry land. Isn't this situation more or less the same. Maybe you, or Wedge can use the Force to reverse the submersible and get it out of the water. You have even seen that swamp on Dagobah, haven't you?"
Wedge looked at Leia.
"We did, Liane," He said hesitatingly, "but I wonder if we are as strong with the Force as master Yoda. Let's leave the situation as it is and tomorrow we might give it a try, don't we, Leia."
Liane looked at Wedge Antilles in wonder.
"Give it a try? You seemed to have forgotten an important lesson, master Wedge Antilles. Luke has told me, that a Jedi never tries, he does or he doesn't. To try is never an option."
Flabbergasted Wedge Antilles looked at Liane who looked at him with a teasing look and laughed. Leia started to laugh too, but Liane's remark seemed to upset Ian and Yarmod. However Wedge started to laugh too.
"I would certainly have reprimanded you, if you would have been my padawan learner, young lady, for this is not a way to address a Jedi Master," He retorted.
Now Liane laughed even louder.
"I only repeated common Jedi knowledge, master Antilles," She chuckled and grabbed Wedge's arm, "You or Leia will certainly succeed tomorrow to lift the submersible. How would you otherwise get back to Irithim."
"How do you think Yarmod and I got to this place, Liane? Leia and I can use that backdoor and get back to Irithim with the Astreaga," Wedge replied, but Leia shook her head.
"We can't, Wedge. Mon Mothma needs the submersible on some oncoming meetings to Vor'izon with the Dalmarian leaders about the expansion of the De'olon space port. Vor'izon can only be reached using this special submersible. So it's out of the question that we leave the vessel here. Liane is right, in that respect, that we - as Jedi Knights - have the possibility to get the vessel in upward position again. We have to support each other, you, me, but maybe our padawans can help us too, even Liane might help. Well, my dear, you asked me if I wanted to stay and take some rest. I heartily will accept your hospitality, probably for more than one day. We have to make the best of this situation."
To be continued...