A Jedi's Fight - A Star Wars Fan Fiction Story

Chapter 66

here it is, Yarmod. Slow down," Liane said, looking at the navi-computer to check the coordinates, then she looked through the windscreen again. The Astreaga hovered above the mesa's, and slowly dropped its height. Finally Yarmod touched down next to the square yellowcolored block in the rocky wall.
"Excellent, Yarmod. You're quite a pilot as good as Luke," Liane said.
Yarmod grinned.
"Let's have a look at that durasteel door. Do you know if there a kind of key to open it." Ian said.
"I saw Luke using the Force unlocking the bolts on the inside." Liane commented.
The engine whined and died out. Yarmod Martan released the ramp of the Astreaga and the three friends walked down to the plateau followed by Threepio and Artoo.
"Mistress Liane, excuse me, this indeed the place where master Kenobi lived. Artoo and I have been here after master Luke had been attacked by those horrible Sandpeople. If we can get inside master Kenobi's home we will be safe, for it has very thick walls."
"Thank you, Threepio. You may tell me that story later," Liane said looking around, "But you are right. We must get inside before sunset. Luke told me that this place can be very nasty after dark. He said that there are creatures who don't like Force-sensitive humans. I don't want to provoke those guys. We also have to cloak the Astreaga, otherwise desert scavengers, known as Jawas, will strip off everything they might think useful."
"Nice place to live," Ian commented and grinned, "Did master Luke really live here?"
"No, Ben Kenobi, his first Jedi master, lived here. Luke uses this place sometimes to stay if he wants to do intensive Jedi meditation and strengthen his union with the Force. He has assembled his own lightsaber here, after he had lost the one Ben once had given him, but we need to get inside. There are three bolts; two on top and one near the middle of the door. I will see if I can find their precise location."
Liane walked over to the door and closed her eyes. She let the image of the door fill her mind and used the Force to be able to look on its inside. She managed to get an image of the bolts at the top of the door. Slowly she raised her hand, as if she wanted to remove the bolts. Yarmod and Ian looked at her in amazement and cast a quick look at each other.
'She's doing great', Ian said to his companion. Yarmod nodded.
A muffled sound was heard and Liane released herself from her Force trance and looked back at her two friends.
"One of you have to remove the third bolt." She said stepping back.
"I'll do it, " Ian said and walked over to the door.
He closed his eyes and immediately saw the spot of the third bolt in his mind. With a slight attempt the third bolt moved aside and the door swung inward.
"Well done, master Tydon," Threepio commented and Artoo bleeps a cheerful confimation, "Now we're safe from those Sandpeople."
"Thank you, Ian," Liane said, "Let's get inside and bolt it again."
"I will cloak the Astreaga," Yarmod said. He turned around, raised his hand and to Liane's surprise the ramp closed and the space ship vanished.
"How did you do that, Yarmod?" She asked surprised.
"The switch to cloak the ship is on the inside of the ramp. I only had to activate it, after I had closed the ramp. I'm sure you can do it."
Liane looked a bit sceptical.
"I mean it, Liane. If you can find those hidden bolts inside this thick door, you surely can cloak the Astreaga. Want to give it a try?"
Liane laughed.
"No, Yarmod. Luke taught never to try, but do, but you may teach me how to do it. Anyway we're safe now from spying eyes."
They went inside and Liane showed her friends around. The two padawans admired the comfortable living with the couches and all the precise equipment stacked in the alcove with the workbench. Liane went outside to check the hidden vaporator and activated the device so they would have enough water. Yarmod and Ian complemented her on her technical skills and Liane told them how her foster-father had forced her to use the Force to develop those skills.
"He always showed me that I could use the Force to solve any technical problem. In the beginning I had to learn to analyse the problems, later I also had to find a solution using the Force. The more problems I could solve, the easier it became."
"Master Antilles has told me more or less the same. If I hear you're story I must say that Darth ... your foster-father hasn't taught you only nasty things. I mean, using those dark powers of the Force."
"He hasn't, Yarmod. Many things he taught me were part of his own upbringing as a Jedi." Liane said with a smile.
"So what master Antilles told me is true; Darth Vader once was a Jedi Knight," Yarmod said.
"He was and he still is. He lives on in the Force now, like one of the Jedi of old. On Endor Luke has told me everything he knew about Anakin. Partially his stories were based on what Ben en master Yoda wanted to tell him, partially also Anakin himself revealed parts of his life to his son. Recently his apparition appeared to me. He asked me forgiveness for what he has done to me. To Luke, Leia and me, he always will be Anakin Skywalker, the good and compassionate person who cared a lot for others." Liane said.
Artoo whistled a long comment on Liane's words. The three friends looked at the barrel-shaped droid. Threepio translated Artoo's binary words.
"He says, mistress Liane, that Anakin Skywalker was a great Jedi. I agree with him, mistress Liane. I have known him as a boy. He was very intelligent and also very kind and helpful. It's a pity and a shame what has become of him after Chancellor Palpatine deceived him, telling him lies about Obi-Wan and Padmé. Chancellor Palpatine was a deceitful person. He was a Sith Lord and called himself Darth Sïdious.
"I would love to hear more about him, Threepio," Ian said
"Me too," Yarmod said, "I only know the stories about his cruel regime as the emperor's second-in-command. You just said he was a Jedi Knight. Who was his master?"
Liane pointed to the couches in the main living room.
"Let's sit down and I will tell you the story of Anakin's sad life. Threepio, Artoo will you correct if I'm wrong?"
"Certainly, mistress Liane. Artoo and I have met at master Anakin's home on Tatooine. We've been in a lot of adventures together, but we don't know much about what happened to Anakin after he became Darth Vader and we absolutely don't know anything about you living with him on Morantan as master Luke has told his sister."
Liane smiled at the confession of the protocol droid. Despite his annoying formal manners she liked him and his counterpart.
"When I found out that my real relationship with Anakin was so completely different from what I thought, I asked Luke to tell me his side of story with all the facts I didn't know. Anakin himself has told him about his love for Padmé Naberrie, the mother of Luke and Leia. She was the emotional replacement for the loss of his mother.
Anakin's life as a Jedi started here on Tatooine, more than forty years ago. He and his mother were slaves to Wattoo, a Toydarian dealer of technical spare parts. By accident Anakin met Padmé and Ben Kenobi's master Qui-Gon Jinn after their space ship had made an emergency landing and visited Mos Espa to find spare parts to repair their ship. Master Qui-Gon sensed Anakin's strong bond with the Force and could free the boy from slavery. He took Anakin with him to Coruscant, but Anakin's mother Shmi had to stay behind and that was the beginning of Anakin's emotional struggle. A struggle he lost, when emperor Palpatine seduced him to the Dark Side of the Force. Qui-Gon could have filled the emotional gap, but he died in a battle with the Sith apprentice of Darth Sidious, Darth Maul. After his death Ben Kenobi, then still Obi-Wan Kenobi, became Anakin's master. Ben has admitted to Luke that he overrated himself, thinking he was as good a Jedi master as master Yoda. He was wrong. During Anakin training as a padawan Ben lost his control about him as a master. Ben was not stern enough, too friendly and too forgiving. I still feel sad, when I recall this part of the story as Luke has told me."
"Did he marry Padmé Naberrie? I thought, that a Jedi mustn't get involved in a emotional relationship. I find that very difficult to accept, for one of a Jedi's main task is to help and support other living beings and show his compassion for them. Master Leia says, that her brother doesn't agree with that old Jedi rule. She is a Jedi Knight and married. I have seen how much she loves general Solo. Her love for her husband doesn't distract her from her task as a Jedi." Ian commented.
"Anakin and Padmé had to keep their marriage secret for more than one reason. Not only was Anakin a Jedi Knight, but Padmé had a seat in the Senate of the Republic. An emotional relationship between a defender of peace and justice and a politician wasn't easily accepted, but when Padmé became pregnant Anakin started to worry about the child's birth. He has told Luke he had several nasty Force visions about Padmé dying in childbirth. Anakin couldn't cope with a possible loss of his beloved wife. He told chancellor Palpatine about his worries and the future emperor and Sith lord Darth Sidious promissed him he would help Padmé to survive. It was a lie, guys. Sharing his doubts about Padmé's pregnancy and his worries about his Force visions gave Darth Sidious the clues to corrupt and seduce Anakin to accept the power of the Dark Side of the Force. Palpatine made it sound like the Dark Side of the Force could control everything better than the Good Side. He told the young Jedi lie after lie about his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi, and later also about Padmé. Although Anakin didn't want to believe that Padmé could betray him, he began to see Obi-Wan, his former master, as his enemy. It all ended on Mustafar, where Padmé and Obi-Wan had gone to seek out Anakin in a last desparate attempt to save him from the Dark Side. Anakin became furious when he thought that his wife had turned against him. In his outrage he knocked her unconscious. Obi-Wan became outraged and the two former friends fought a fierce lightsaber duel. Ben defeated Anakin who became mortally wounded, but Darth Sidious kept the fallen Jedi alive in a life-support system. He also told Anakin he had killed Padmé and her unborn child. With that deed Anakin had become a Sith lord and Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader."
"But Padmé wasn't dead, was she?"
"No, she wasn't, but her heart was broken, because the man she loved with all her heart had fallen into darkness. After given birth to Luke and Leia, she died, and so Anakin's Force vision became true, only he didn't know his children were alive. He has told Luke that he has lived with the lie of their death, Darth Sidious had told him, for nearly twenty years, then he met Luke for the first time when Luke destroyed the first Death Star.
"What about you, Liane? How do you fit in in Anakin's story?" Ian asked curiously.
For a moment Liane stare around the sober decoration of Ben's former home. Ian and Yarmod respect those moments of silences.
"Somewhere deep inside the life-support system of Darth Vader there a spark of the good Anakin Skywalker had remained," Liane continued softly, "That spark saved my life, when Anakin as Darth Vader met my mother Severini Solichor on Morantan. Anakin recognized her as the Jedi healer who had lived and worked in the Jedi temple on Coruscant. My mother defended herself, and her one year old daughter, in a lightsaber duel with Anakin. She lost the duel, became decorporeal and joined the Force, but Anakin found the the girl. He brought her to Eremian, the priest-head of the Baroontarin clan on Morantan and called her Liane Severini Solichor after the woman he had defeated. "
Again Liane was silent, rearranging her thoughts.
"The first years of my life I grew up among Erimian's priestessess, but Anakin took me to the imperial domains on the other side of Morantan when I was seven. If Anakin was staying at the domains he personally oversaw my education and upbringing. To me, he was my father, and he accepted I called him so. He taught me wrong things, many wrong things, but he also took care of me in a way only a compassionate person would do. He took excellent teachers to Morantan and I learned a lot of very useful knowledge. Without the little spark of goodness in Anakin's heart I wouldn't have survived, guys, and that's why I'm still grateful to my foster-father."
"Weren't you never afraid of him?" Yarmod asked, "Did he tell you what he did to his opponents."
"Of course he frightened me. I've witnessed him, killing men who had failed him, more than once, but what he told me about the Rebel Alliance I accepted as the truth. To me his point of view was right. I now know that his point of view was quite different from that of the Rebel Alliance. The emperor ruled this galaxy with a reign of terror, but during my upbringing on the imperial domains I wasn't aware of what was happening in the galaxy. My ignorance and innocence was shattered when the armed forces of the New Republic invaded Morantan and Luke Skywalker defeated me. It took me a long time before I could accept I had been on the wrong side. Only after Luke had saved Leia and me on Ortel and we had a first talk on the Tychorion I understood how wrong my life had been."
"What a great story, mistress Liane," Threepio commented, "And you told it all so well. Everything you said was true, don't you agree, Artoo?"
The little droid bleeped an affirmation. Yarmod and Ian laughed and Liane smiled at her droid friends.
"Thank you, Threepio. Thank you, Artoo." She said.
"You have found your way to the Good Side of the Force, Liane," Ian said.
"I have made my first steps on the Jedi Path on Endor, Ian, but I still feel, I need Luke's support and understanding before I will fully rely on the Force. I have seen such a lot of evil things being done with her power."
She jumped to her feet.
"That's all for tonight. We need to make arrangements for the night. When I was here with Luke I used that small alcove behind the watersupply as my room. Ben's former sleeping room is next to the work place alcove. There's a couch and a cabinet for some clothes."
"I'll sleep here in the living. Yarmod can take the sleeping room and you take your own alcove," Ian decided and Yarmod nodded. Tomorrow you must tell us what you know about assembling a lightsaber. You said you made one while you were staying here with master Luke."
Liane grabbed her old backpack and rummaged inside until she had found the silvery grey book. She handed it to her friends.
"You'll find a lot of information about the Illum meditation in this book. These books were given to young Force users when they were old enough to start with their Jedi training to become a padawan learner. This is Ben's copy. Luke has given it to me, because he thought its content might be useful to me." Liane said with a smile.
Han Solo yawned. He longed to get some sleep, but as long as they hadn't reached Palomintar Four from the rear side he had to be on alert. So far they had crossed the orbits of the two outermost planets of the Palomintar System and were on their way to the third outer planet: Palomintar Ten. Chewbacca had convinced him they would go in orbit around each planet, take a few orbital flight before hopping to the next planet. It was a safety matter. Circling the planet at high altitude gave them the opportinity to check if the Basilisaea had noticed them. The only disadvantage was the loss of time, for orbiting a planet could only be performed using the sublight engines. So they had to deactivate and activate the hyperdrive every time.
The Palomintar System consisted of twelve planets. The six outer planet were inhabitable. Their surface was extremely cold with huge frozen watermasses.
"I'm glad that weirdo took one of the inner planets as his goal," Han commented while he watched the synchro. "Standby to orbit Palomintar Ten. Sublight engines standby, Chewie. Deactivate the hyperdrive. Here we go: Palomintar Ten. Let's make three rounds and check the whereabouts of the Basilisaea."
Chewbacca grunted a long sentence and pointed at the amplified display, where the Basilisaea was no bigger than a small dot among the stars. Han nodded and grinned.
"We'll outrun them. They still don't know we're around again. Let's head for the next planet: Palomintar Nine. What's her position?"
He checked his own display of the system and murmured some very unfriendly words, before he entered the coordinates of their next destination.
"Standby Chewie, we have to cross the system to the other side. Palomintar Nine is in opposite position. We can reach her in two hours. Five, four, three, two, one. Hyperdrive activation. Cut sublights."
The Millennium Falcon shot away to the next rendez-vous. Han leaned back in the pilot's chair and yawned again.
"As soon as we have reached Palomintar Four I'm going to sleep for the next three days," He commented to his co-pilot who was still wide awake and alert. Han envied his friend. Wookiees were known for their endurance. Where humans needed some rest every standard day, Wookiees could do without sleep for more than a standard week and even longer. He had heard stories about Wookiee travellers who stayed awake for more than a month.
Once again he cast a glance on the synchro.
"Take over, Chewie. I take a short nap. I need one, before I fall asleep while we're landing on Palomintar Four. Wake me up when we're going in orbit around Palomintar Nine."
He closed his eyes and almost immediately fell asleep.
Leia looked at Fern'all To'lo'imon. After her return to the main caves of Mon Mothma's residence she had discussed a possible investigation at Mas'onom space port with the commander of the Dalmarian surveillance sub. To her surprise the surveillance subs were very sophisticated. The commander had called Mas'onom space port and asked information about the Astreaga. The space port officer had confirmed her worst suspicions. The space craft had left five days ago without stating her destination. She had decided to get to Vor'izon with captain To'lo'imon and asked the Dalmarian governor to contact Mon Mothma.
"This is a serious matter, Your Highness?" Fern'all said looking concerned.
"Partially, captain. The Supreme Chancellor's protégée is accompanied by two Jedi padawans. They will prevent her from doing anything foolish," Leia said, but she thougt: 'At least I hope they will prevent Liane from doing anything foolish.'
"I hope you and the Supreme Chancellor won't blame the Dalmarian leaders, your Highness," Fern'all commented very formally.
"Not at all, captain. The intruders probably have frightened Mon Mothma's protégée. If they hadn't started firing at those blast doors she and her protectors wouldn't have taken this unexpected action. I will come with you to Vor'izon and explain to governor Ma'duf'ey what has happened, but I will assure him and his staff this is not their fault."
"We will interrogate those four intruders thoroughly." Fern'all said, "They will not escape their punishment. They violated the strict rules on accessing the prohibited continent of Na'ctaMag'Ba, and their action caused the flight of the protégée of our most important ally. Their punishment will be severe, our judges won't take these violations lightly."
He bowed and left her. In thought Leia sat down in one of the chairs. She concentrated on the Force to reach Wedge Antilles, but her friend hadn't any news. To her relieve, the Astreaga hadn't shown up in the Palomintar System yet. Next she once again tried to contact her brother and her padawan, but neither of them responded her call.
Now that the Astreaga had left Mas'onom space port it was impossible for her to reach the Palomintar System and inform her husband.
For a moment she thought things over thoroughly and concluded that the best way she could do was going back to Vor'izon where she had left Mon Mothma's submersible and get back to Irithim as soon as possible.
Calm she rose and nodded in agreement. There was no other action possible. Once in Irithim she might be able to get on board the Tychorion before Madine would leave to the Palomintar System.
Meanwhile the submarine of the Dalmarian fleet had set course to the capital. Leia noticed the slight movements of the vessel and she felt the soft humming of the ion-engines. She put on her Jedi coat and went over to the command bridge where Fern'all To'lo'imon was checking their return. Leia sensed that the friendly captain was very unhappy with the unexpected outcome of his mission.
"We'll be in Vor'izon in a few hours, master Jedi," He said stifly.
Leia shook her head and turned to him with an inviting smile.
"Please, Fern'all, don't act so formal. We must ask your governor to make contact with the Supreme Chancellor. There are several solution to this unexpected developments. I assure you, that my foster-sister Liane isn't really a helpless woman." She said kindly.
The captain looked at her surprisingly.
"Are you saying, Leia, that Mon Mothma's protégée is a relative of yours? You called her your foster-sister?"
Leia nodded.
"My brother and I have been through a lot with her. In fact I'm not really surprised about what has happened."
"You expected her and her friends to take this action?" Fern'all wondered.
"More or less. Liane is a very independent person. She is used to making her own decisions and rely on her skills and abillities."
"In other words, Leia, she doesn't easily follow orders." Fern'all commented and started to laugh.
"Exactly, but she isn't always considering the consequences of her actions in advance. She has gotten into trouble a few times in the past."
"So, we shouldn't worry too much about her welbeing?" Fern'all concluded.
"Not immediately, although it important that I find out where she and her friends have gone and what they are up to."
"Hm, maybe we should make some changes for the Jedi protocol on the access of Na'ctaMagh'Ba. I will discuss this with our governor. He made those secret arrangements with Jedi master Skywalker, your brother, I assume. If these protocol rules would have been stricter these runaways would have held before they could get to Mas'onom."
Now Leia started to laugh too.
"Well said, Fern'all, they are runaways and I have to find out where they have gone."
On Palomintar Four in the underground realm of Darth Golluth lieutenant Whain looked concerned at the self-proclaimed Sith lord.
"The Dalmarian surveillance squads have intercepted them, master. They waited too long after they found out the spot indicated by the coordinates," He said cautiously.
"Another failure of some incompetent spies." Darth Golluth grumbled.
"I could trace the coordinates of their call. I might have the exact location where the New Republic is hiding lady Vader, master. Maybe you should send a invasion squad to Na'ctaMagh'Ba to capture her and bring her here. I'm sure my admiral can carry out that task," Whain suggested.
"You suggest we should get her by force," Darth Golluth pondered, but Whain heard some mistrust in his voice.
"No, we shouldn't do it that way, colonel. Don't think I'm giving up my plan to get her to Palomintar Four, but the Dalmarian officials and that leader of the New Republic shouldn't get suspicious about what's going. There are other ways to get that lady to Palomintar Four you know."
"You mean capturing her friends or at least one of them?" Whain asked, "you said, sir, that admiral Vestor was looking for them. Have you heard about his progress?"
"I haven't, maybe you can make contact with the Basilisaea and ask for an update."
Whain's heart made a jump of joy. He's got permission to contact his admiral. Now he could leave him a message without using any encryption method.
'Careful, Whain, this guy mustn't get suspicious about your loyalty. You must play your role as his loyal servant.'
"If you're not needing me, sir, I would like carry out your order immediately. I'll come to you after I have received an answer from the Basilisaea," Whain said dutifully.
Darth Golluth made a dismissive gesture and Whain rose. He walked to the door, when Darth Golluth called him back.
"Tell admiral Vestor, that I expect he will lay his hands on one of those Skywalkers quickly. They might be on Dalmaran keeping an eye on the girl. As for that other friend of her, her former guard Ian Tydon. He must be on Palomintar Six somewhere. Maybe the admiral could do some investigation there first. I'm told that the guy has been severly wounded. If so he will be a fine bait."
"Yes, sir, those Skywalkers can be anywhere. You told me they are Jedi Knights. Probably the Supreme Chancellor has send them on missions to extend the New Republic's influence. If Lady Vader is staying in those underground caverns on Na'ctaMagh'Ba there is no need for them to stay on Dalmaran as her protectors."
"You're absolutely right. Ask Vestor to go after Ian Tydon first. Tell him, I want him to give all his attention to the whereabouts of that guy. If he is still wounded he will be a much easier target to lay our hands on."
"I will do as you've ordered, sir." Whain said and left the cave he had dubbed 'the throne room'. He quickly crossed through the corridors to the communication center. The tech droids were greeting him with a choir of welcoming bleeps. For a moment Whain looked at them. These mechanics shouldn't be around if he was transmitting a message to his superior. For a moment he stood in deep thoughts, then he grinned and walked over to the holographic display. He was granted access to the system and started rummaging in the system's inner files. After several he grinned again. Working rapidly he forced access to a hidden file. He scanned its content and started to change some code. He finished his work and saved the new coding. Almost immediately the bleeping sounds of the tech droids stopped. Whain turned around and looked at the motionless droids.
"I'm sorry, folks," He said apologetically, "I will activate you again, after I have done my chores. I wish you all sweet dreams."
He turned back to the console and started to look for the communication frequency of the Basilisaea. To his surprise he found out that the imperial star destroyer was in range of the system. He typed the access code of the ship and waited.
On board the Basilisaea the communication officer immediately intercepted the incoming message and warned admiral Vestor.
"Admiral, there's message coming in from lieutenant Whain." the officer reported.
"Put it on the secret frequency in my quarters, officer, and see to it that no one will disturb me." the admiral said.
"Yes, sir," the officer said and salute formally.
Admiral Vestor left the communication area and walked to his private quarters. He entered his secret access code and looked at the holographic display where the image of this missing technician popped up.
"Lieutenant, what kept you so long," the admiral said brusquely.
"I am a hostage of Darth Golluth, sir, he won't let me go until he has the girl or at least one of the other Jedi. I couldn't get to you earlier. I can't speak freely. He wants you go after a guy named Ian Tydon. The guy seems to be severely wounded. You must kidnap him and bring him here."
"Where is that guy? What about those Skywalker Jedi?" Vestor said gruffy.
"Tydon is hiding somewhere on Palomintar Six." Whain said.
"Somewhere on Palomintar Six. Has he ever been on Palomintar Six? That planet is covered for ninety-nine percent with thick jungle and swamps. There's one small town with a kind of space port Ktafunda. It's not more than an outpost for rogues and criminals. What does he want him for?"
"Tydon seems to be a close friend of the girl he is looking for. Darth Golluth want to use him as a kind of bait to get her to Palomintar Four voluntarily."
"Ridiculous plan." The admiral snarled.
"I agree, sir, but I have to be cautious. One wrong word and I'm back in chains again."
"What did he do, Whain. Give me an update. It sounds you're not treated well."
Quickly lieutenant Whain told Vestor how he had been treated the first weeks of his involuntarily stay in the underground cavern. Vestor fumed inside. However he maintained his professional dignity.
"Stay were you are, lieutenant, keep your eyes open, carry on with your task. I'll do what I can to get you back on board the Basilisaea as soon as possible."
"Yes, sir," Whain said and brought a formal salute.
"Any more information, Whain?" Vestor asked.
"Sir, can you tell me more about the Darth Golluth. What is he up to?"
Vestor grunted.
"He is ... no, I'll send you some encrypted files on him. Destroy them after reading. It's dangerous content."
Vestor pressed some buttons on his console and retrieved a digital dataset. He entered the code to upload the content to the encryptor and waited.
"Here it comes. Remember, destroy immediately. It's classified."
"Got it, sir."
"Good. I'll contact you ..."
Lieutenant Whain shook his head.
"I'll contact the Basilisaea, sir. We have to be very cautious."
He switched off the display, loaded the encrypted file on his datapad. Subsequently he changed the code in the hidden file which activated the tech droids. Their bleeping was a sound signal for Whain that the communication was back to normal. He deactivated the whole system, greeted the techs and left the room.
Liane looked at her two companions, who were standing near the speeder of the Astreaga.
"We'll be back with those food supplies tomorrow, Liane. Are you sure you want us to take Threepio with us" Ian asked concerned.
Liane nodded.
"Yes, he's an interpreter droid. You might need him, if you have to communicate with foreign species. Not every species speaks standard Basic, and we need those new supplies, Ian. I don't want to leave those cupboards empty after we're leaving. Luke is using Ben's place as his second home. He expects a small reserve stock when he wants to stay here."
"You can use your time to perform the Illum meditation, like we did," Yarmod said, "I thought you wanted to have a real lightsaber too?"
"I do, I have done some Jedi meditation as Luke has taught me, but the Illum meditation you both did, requires a lot more commitment to the Force. You'd better go now, it's quite a distance to Mos Espa. You also have to find a place to stay for the night."
Ian and Yarmod hopped into the speeder. Ian started the engine and the speeder rushed off. Liane turned around, looked at the spot where the cloaked Astreaga stood and entered Ben's dwelling. Gingerly she locked the heavy door and turned to Artoo.
"Well, Artoo, it's just you and me."
The stubby droid bleeped and rolled over as she sat down on the couch in the central living. She laughed.
"I wonder, how Luke and Leia always know what those bleeps mean. They always seem to understand what you're saying.
Again the little droid bleeped affectionately.
"Yeah, I know, you're fond of Luke and his sister, so am I. They are such great friends. Over and over they tell me, I am their sister. Well, their foster-sister, because Anakin has been my foster-father."
She jumped to her feet.
"I mustn't waist my time, Artoo. I'm going to do the Illum meditation as Yarmod and Ian did. I want to assemble my own lightsaber."
"fkdIKkndki-kkkAADKKL-fTQajidlzF," Artoo let out another long flow of binary bleeps.
Amazed Liane looked down on the barrel-shaped droid.
"Are you trying to tell me, you were here when Luke assembled his own lightsaber?"
Cautiously she looked at the droid, then she shrugged her shoulders.
"You're imagining things, Liane Solichor. You can't understand this droid's language."
Artoo pushed against her leg and bleeped again.
"What did Luke do? He hit his lightsaber in one of your compartments and then he recorded a message for Jabba the Hutt. Who is that?"
On the small display on the droid's front appeared some characters.
"Hey, Artoo, I can read that. I'm familiar with this kind of code. Let me have a look. Oh, that's really easy. You're telling me that Luke wanted to make a deal with that Jabba the Hutt to free Han."
She frowned and nodded slowly.
"Luke has told me about that dangerous adventure. Do you still have that recording, Artoo? I would like to see it. Luke told me, he made a three meters tall image of himself. Would be great to see him that tall now, while I am not with him."
Artoo's dome head whirled around and suddenly a holographic image of Luke Skywalker towered high above Liane.
"Oh, it's still there, Artoo. Please, can you play Luke's message for me?" She laughed and sat down, looking at the huge image of her beloved friend.
"Greetings, Exalted One. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight and friend to Captain Solo. I know that you are powerful, mighty Jabba, and that your anger with Solo, must be equally powerful. I seek an audience with Your Greatness to bargain for Solo's life. With your wisdom I'm sure that we can work out an arrangement, which will be mutually beneficial and enable us to avoid any unpleasant confrontation. As a token of my goodwill I present to you a gift, these two droids. Both are hardworking and will serve you well."
Flabbergasted Liane listened to the ancient recording, then she started laughing out loud.
"He is wonderful, isn't he, Artoo. Oh, my, did he really gave you and Threepio as a gift to that Jabba. I remember he told me that you and Threepio were part of the plan to free Han. Thank you, Artoo. Maybe you should replay this message again for me. Will you? I'm a bit worried about Luke, you know. He hasn't answered my recent Jedi-pendant calls. I don't know what to think about it. He always answered my calls even when I lived under the mountains of Na'ctaMagh'Ba. Play it again, Artoo, please?" Liane begged.
Artoo's dome whirled around and again Liane listened to the old recording, but suddenly the recording became blurred, the image of Luke disappeared and an unsteady holographic image of Ben Kenobi appeared.
"Luke, listen carefully to what I'm telling you..."
"What is this, Artoo? Where did you get this message?" Liane asked surprised.
Artoo bleeped.
"You mean, it's an old recording of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, I recognize him."
She looked at the image of Ben which was distorted and unstable.
"Did Luke ever see this message?" She asked the droid.
Artoo whirled his dome and bleeped frantically.
"There was no time, you say. What do you mean?"
A long binary flow of data passed over the tiny display. Liane carefully followed the binary stream.
"Ben recorded this on the Falcon before they were captured on the first Death Star. You and Ben were hiding in the hidden compartments in the floor of the Falcon. That must be during Luke's first and only trip with Ben. I know that Anakin killed Ben in a duel on the first Death Star," She mused.
Artoo whistled again.
"They could flee to Yavin and Luke became a pilot with you as interpreter and the X-wing R2 unit, but you got shot. After they repaired the damage you couldn't find Ben's recording in your memory banks. You feared they had erased it. They haven't, Artoo, you have found the access to that message again. Probably there was a bad section in your memory banks, but somehow this section is accessible again. This is really odd, Artoo. Can you play the whole message for me? Yes, I know, it's meant for Luke, but it's so long ago. I wonder what Ben wanted to tell Luke."
Liane sensed some reluctance in the astromech droid. She waited patiently for him to make his own decision. She noticed that Artoo's optical lense gave her an investigative look.
Suddenly Artoo's blue dome whirled around and the holographic image of Ben Kenobi reappeared.
Luke, listen carefully to what I'm telling you. This is very important for you... and for me. I've shown you on this trip your potential with the Force. You've asked me to train you as a Jedi Knight, like your father has been. I would have loved to take on this task, but I sense that the outcome of this trip will be very different. Don't feel devastated if I'm no longer around to guide you directly. I'm sure, you will find a way to develop your Force skills. There is however one thing I want to ask you. I want you to go to Corellia and start looking for a family called Tydon...."
Liane sat on the edge of the couch. This was awesome and unexpected. Years ago Ben had already asked Luke to find Ian. She payed attention to the rest of the message.
"Their third son is called Tama-Hinn, but probably they gave him a more common name. Tama-Hinn is my son, Luke. He's only two years younger than you. I would be very happy if the two of you would become friends so you can count on each other and find your way along the Jedi path. Luke, this is important. Important for me, but also for you. As you're learning more and more about the Force and discover your own skills, it's good if you will have a friend who has the same slumbering Force potential. Luke, the Force will be with you and my son, always."
The message ended. Liane sighed.
"I can't believe it, Artoo. Luke would certainly have gone looking for Ian at a much earlier stage, if he had known about this message. What should I do now? Call Luke through the pendant and tell him, or should I remain silent, and what about Ian. I promised Ben not to reveal the truth until Ian has passed his final trials and will be a Jedi Knight. Damn it, why did I ask you to play this old message, why did I always have to be so curious."
'Because you're a curious young woman who's always looking for new knowledge, Liane, and that's a good thing.' A voice said.
"Ben!" Liane exclaimed, "Ben, that old message you recorded. I..."
'It's of no use any longer, Liane,' The apparition of Ben Kenobi said friendly, 'It didn't work out the way I hoped it would.'
"Artoo just said that after they repaired him, he couldn't retrieve the message. By accident he found the access to it again now. Must have been a bad cluster in his memory bank, Ben. Oh, this is such a pity. Luke and Ian could have been friends years ago."
'Yes, but the events took another turn, Liane. I thought that with this message I could influence the outcome of the future, but it didn't. Once again this is one of the many mistakes I've made. Another one which I deeply regret.' Ben said softly, as if he felt ashamed.
Liane noticed also a sense of sadness in the old Jedi.
"Ben, you shouldn't feel ashamed or sad about what happened in the past. Luke has become a Jedi Knight and your son has almost reached the same goal. Maybe it didn't go the way you've expected, and it has taken much more time, but Luke and Ian have become real good friends. Just as you wanted," She said on a soothing tone.
They both were silent, except for the soothing humming of Artoo who seemed to understand the seriousness of the moment.
'What are you going to do with this knowledge, Liane?' Ben asked suddenly.
"Keep it to myself, don't reveal it to anyone until the right moment, as I promised you. Nothing has changed, Ben. I feel still bound by the promise I made several weeks ago." Liane said determinedly
The apparition of Ben watched the young woman in front of him. She had grown strong, she had come a long way. A very long way. She had stepped back from the Dark Side of the Force and had found her way along the Jedi path and served the Good Side of the Force. Question was if she had matured enough to take the next step. Liane felt the old Jedi's penetrating stare. It made her feel a bit uneasy. She looked up at him and tried to smile.
"Ben, believe me, I will not tell anyone. I promised I wouldn't," She said.
Ben started to smile serenely.
'Liane, I want you to tell Ian the truth,' He said, 'I want you to tell him the truth while you are here.'
Liane shook her head.
"No, Ben, don't put me in charge of such a difficult task. Please, it's better if Luke, or you, tell Ian is your son. I can't do that."
'I think you can, Liane, but you need some more information to carry out what I'm asking you. Listen to me. There is a secret cave behind the alcove near the water supply.'
Liane listened with restrained breath. She didn't interrupt Ben's explanation, but carefully took in all the words he spoke. At the end of Ben's words, she nodded.
"I will do, as you ask, Ben," She said.
'We'll meet later, Liane, as I want to tell you more.'
The apparition of Ben Kenobi vanished and Liane put her hands in front of her face to think about what Luke's former master had asked her.

To be continued...