Sunday, May 4, 2014

May the Fourth! -Episode 3 and A Giveaway

Woo hooo!!! It's May the Fourth! Hooray Star Wars!

My obsession with this move started when I was just 4 years old. My parents took me and my brother to see it on the ORIGINAL re-release in 1979. Then, HBO got their hands on it and they started playing all.the.time, as HBO is wont to do. It just got worse when in 1991, they release the franchised approved trilogy of books, called The Thrawn Trilogy. 

That was the very first time I ever waited for the release of a book. I scoured the primitive internet for information on the release of book 2 and book 3. I was at the book store the day book 2 and book 3 came out and I ate those books up in less than a day each. They were awesome, and still are to this day. 

I hope that you are enjoying these excerpts. When I reread the one from today to correct the horrible mistakes, I found a gem in it. Marchenta's explanation of the self versus Force to Luke. I completely forgot that was in there. I love it, and I'm so happy I decided to recycle these into the Vaheen Legacies stories. 

I also forgot about Huxley and Tricia and Vincent! They are from another story line I had years before this one. I forgot about Beloque (a direct rip off of the name from Indiana Jones, Beloq), and now I've discovered another story I can polish and put in the other story line. 

Now-- I promised a GIVEAWAY, right? Right! This is for an ecopy of the fabulous Aurora Zahni's "Terminal Romantic", book 2 in the Heller Park Series. (I trust you got book one free, yesterday? I will be sad if you did not, but it's still out there, and "Terminal Romantic" does stand alone.) 

Tell me:
What was the original name of Star Wars that Lucas pitched the script with, and was on the script until well after shooting started?

This is a tough one, and I'll give a lot of partial credit to you for a solid guess. One winner, and chosen at random. You can enter here through the comments, or on the Facebook or Google+ post that brought you here. (I have very little faith in the comments here; they really screwed me over on another contest.) 

So now, without further ado, the last excerpt of "Empire of SixSuns"-- I hope that you'll come back often to check out my happening and keep an eye out for new stuff from me in the near future. 

Chapter Twenty‑Five
Han carefully steered the Falcon in to the atmosphere of Buria. Jaina was asleep in the seat next to him, most of the prickle bush rash gone now. He had scalded her for going down to the garden room by herself, but not too harshly. That little attack by Beloque had clinched his decision to go and get Luke away from SixSuns before anything else could happen.
It was only he and Jaina who were going to Buria, the rest of the fleet was staying behind. They certainly couldn't afford to lose any more time or people on going to pick up Luke.
Han announce their arrival, and the porttender insisted on getting them an escort, and informing the Clearwaters that they were coming to visit.  Han didn't want anything at all like that. He just wanted to land, find Luke and his son and go the hell back to Coruscant.
But, he could see that there was indeed someone waiting for them when the Falcon was getting ready to touch down. It was an older lady (older? she couldn't have been older than he was!) with no escort at all.
The air escort veered off as soon as he was near the groun, and Jaina's eyes fluttered open from her nap.  She watched them go, and then turned her attention to the lady on the ground.  After a minute of looking at her, Jaina turned to her father.
"She doesn't want to be here, daddy," she said. "She doesn't like us, she doesn't like Unca'Luke, and she wants all of us to go away."
Han looked down at the woman. "All I want to do is get Jacen and Luke and go home. I don't want to be here. And I will be more than happy to go home once Luke and your brother on the ship."
Jaina continued to look down at the lady until she was blocked from view by the other parts of the Falcon. Han unbuckled her, took her hand, and they walked down the ramp. He looked at the woman at the bottom of  ramp with suspicious eyes, and could feel Jaina fidgiting. She was an old version of Rose, but with out the grace that a court up bringing had distilled into her daughter.
"General Solo," she said, with absolutely no sign of welcome to her voice. "I am Lauren Clearwaters, the aunt of her highness The Empress Katarina.  I was sent here to escort you to our home."
"Thank you, Lady Clearwaters," Han said.  He was amazed that he actually  remembered Leia's lessons on the proper titles for royal relations. "This is my daughter, Jaina."
"I have made her brother's aqaitance," Lauren said. "If you will follow me, I will take you to our lodgings.  You'll have to forgive us if they are not as magnificant as your palace home on Coruscant. We are humble people without much creature comforts."
"Humble my behind," Jaina said.
Han looked down at his daughter, shocked that she had said that, and wondering where she had ever picked up that idea, or the concept behind it. "Jaina, appoligize, now, young lady."
Lauren looked at her, with the same shocked look. Jaina bowed her head, and said, "I'm sorry, Lady Clearwaters.  That wasn't very nice of me."
"I'll say," Lauren said. "Is this what you teach your children, General?"

Jaina's eyes filled with tears. Han looked at the woman. "I will not have you scolding my kids. My wife and I and their uncle Luke are the only ones allowed to yell at them, and I don't think that you have any right criticise the way we teach our children. It's clear to me that you do no better. She was well behaved enough to say she was sorry, so you don't have to go and rub it in, do you?"
Lauren simply looked at him.  "Follow me," she snapped.
Han didn't move. "Listen, lady, I don't want to be here any more than you want me here.  I came to get my brother and my son, and I will be out of your hair, and you out of mine."
Lauren turned around. "I am not yet in your hair, sir."
"Good, stay out of it, and nothing bad will come of it." Han led Jaina ahead of her, hoping that the vehicle that was stitting there was the one that they were going to be using.  Jaina climbed in and Han got in after her. He could see that Lauren was not all that happy, but she was probably just as stubborn as every other one of the Clearwaters he had heard stories of.
Lauren got in the car and closed the door. She stared the vehicle and pulled away from the space port.  She spoke to them with out turning around.  "There is a dinner party this evening. Luke and Rose will be out until six this evening. I hope that you have brought something more suitable to wear."
"I am not planning to attend your party," Han said. "I am planning to get my brother and my son and get out of here."
Luke walked into Grammy's livingroom where she was sitting and 'reading' a book.  She was actually reading with her fingers, it was an old style of book.  She raised her head when she felt Luke enter the room.
"You are worried about Rose-darling, aren't you?" she asked.

"Yes," Luke said. "Do you know where she is?"
"She's up at the castle," Grammy said. "She always goes there when bad things happen to her.  She likes to be alone for a while and think about things, and I think that sometimes it's better if she does that.  Even if it annoys her mother." Grammy  stood and walked into the kitchen, her voice floating back to Luke.  "Cup of tea?"
"Sure," Luke said.
"Relax, Luke," Grammy called from inside. "She spent six weeks up there alone when her husband died."
Luke jerked up at that. "Her husband?"
Grammy walked back in carrying two cups of tea and handed one to him. "She never told you about him?  Well, that wasn't very nice of her.  If you to are to have a working relationship, you ought to know everything about one another." She sat down next to him. "His name was General Richard Mohran. He and Rose had been sweet on each other for years.  His family used to live down the road, and even after they moved, he kept in contact with Rose. H told me ages ago that he wanted to marry her, but he didn't want to propose to her until he had a secure future no matter who or what she was. 
"He was promoted to general about two years ago and he was here the next day to propose to her. She accepted and they were married about eight months later.  It was a grand ceremony  at the palace, because here finally was the hope of another heir to the throne of SixSuns.  Everyone watched on the vid as they said their vows.  SixSuns was a blissful place during their engagment and their short marriage.

"Richard was sent out to the Rim, where not even the people who inhabit the planet know what lies beyond.  It was training, Katarina said. So that we could be prepared for anything.  But we weren't, or Richard would be here now. Something fired on the ship and slagged it and everyone on it.  They said their deaths were quick and painless, but I could hardly believe that. Not after what Eve desribed to me. Eve was the only one of us brave enough to go and look at what the ship had looked like out there.  It's still there, supposedly, as a memorial to those who died. That was about six months ago.  Rose went to Lake Cauldron as soon as she heard, and it was only her father going up there and talking her down that got her away." Grammy sighed into her tea.  "That's why she was happy to hear that Katya was pregnant.  She feels now like she has no responsiblity to the throne."
"But she does?"
"Yes," Grammy said. "Just as Eve does and Mark does.  They are in line for the throne whether they like it or not.  And this empire is older than your Republic was. It would be an aweful crime to have it turned into fecal matter in one generation. Katarina is too evil to be allowed to rule.  No matter what the out come of this, Rose will have to take the throne.  Either Katya will die, or she will be shamed into hiding forever.  Her child will never sit on that throne. I have forseen that."
Luke put the cup down.  "How long do you think that she will be up there?"
"I will give her one week to think alone up there, and then I am going up there to bring her down by hell or high water. " Grammy took a gentle sip.  "Please realize that she has discovered a betrayal than runs much deeper than loyalties."

"A betrayal which runs as deep as the blood that flows in her veins," Luke said, looking at his right hand. "A betrayal that she will never ever be able to escape from, and an evil that she will never ever be able to put completely right.  She will spend her entire life trying to make up for the short comings of her cousin and friend."
Grammy bowed her head.  "I hadn't realized.....  This is no worse than what you and I went through."
Luke looked over at her sharply. "You went through?"
"You forget, young Skywalker, that I too was betrayed by your father.  He took your hand, and he took my sight."  Grammy put her cup down.  "I wonder what Katya will take from Rose-Darling."
Luke stood. "I won't let her take anything. I have to go."
He walked out the door before Grammy could say anything to him. Grammy sighed and sat back in her chair. "She has already taken her innocence and torn her heart in two.  I hope that she realizes that you are here to help her."

Chapter Twenty-Six
           Katarina looked at the baby in her arms.  Tender and small and so young. Less than two days old.  The heir to the perfect empire that she was creating for her.  Calesh was looking at her from across the room, with a look of digust.
"Women.  You have a child and you turn all mushy," he said.
"You ought to shut up," Katarina snapped.  "This child will rule this empire one day, no thanks to you."
"That child wouldn't be here if it weren't for me," Chalesh said, stepping forward.
"Oh, now who's mushy.  You are a bigger fool than your student, Chalesh." She handed the child to the nurse carelessly. "Do you realize that that fool you are teaching is more dangerous than you and I combined.  Not because he's powerful, but because he's a total moron.  He almost ruined everything with his little attack on the Solo girl. He ought to learn that she, and her two little brothers are of no consquence in this and they ought to be left to die with their parents."
"Beloque accomplished the task of getting Solo and his daughter out of the sh'Ris camp," he said. "More than you have done."
"Oh, he got them out," she snapped, "and drove them right to my cousin's house. Pure genius. So now, not only to we have to deal with Skywalker and the old woman, but Solo and his twins. And a marvelous job your task force did trying to illiminate Skywalker and my cousin."
"I was not aware your cousin and Skywalker were so resourceful," he snapped.

"You should have been!!" Katarina yelled. The baby started crying. "Get her out of here! I don't want to hear that child crying!" The nurse was startled and ran out of the room with the baby.  "You should have been aware of what Skywalker was capable of.  He destroyed your spy on Coruscant,  he broke through the old woman's wall. He was certainly more than able to out think and out maneuver those half trained idiots you sent after him!"                     
"They are not half trained idiots, dear Katya.  They are religious fanatics who are more dangerous than any soldier you or I could train", Calesh said.
"You foolish little man," she said quietly walking down the stairs. "You are blind to anything but what you want to see. Do you have any idea how close you came to losing me my throne at least three times?! Tell me what you see on that throne!!"
He looked at Katarina. "I see my daughter, not very old, sitting on that throne, with the Crown and Scepter of SixSuns on her." He continued to stare at her. There was a loaded pause.
Katarina raised her eyebrow, delicately. "That's all? That's all you see? I see my daughter, as you saw her. I see my daughter, old and cripple sitting there.  I see my cousin sitting there, young and pretty, with Skywalker next to her.  I see my cousin, old, sitting there. I see Eve sitting there, with a young child in her arms. I see that chair destroyed." She turned and walked away from him. "You are a fool to blind yourself to the other possiblities of what will be  You are almost as moronic as your little student. I plan to see my daughter on that throne when I am dead. You may see what you like."
"If you are so worried about the future, you ought to get yourself pregnant again as soon as possible," he walked toward her. "That's the way to assure your future."

"You keep away from me, Calesh," Katarina said, not moving. "I dare you to lay a hand on me. You will find out how truly angry I can get. I will have another child at my discretion, not at your's. And anyway, you have another child." Calesh looked shocked, and Katarina smiled at him. "Oh, I know all about your other child.  A little boy, correct? About three years old? And absolutely reeking with the Force.  Except his mother has outsmarted you, hasn't she?  She's gone and hid where you can't find her or the boy. She found out who you really were, and she took away the only thing that you really wanted from her. She's some ruler's daughter too, from what I know. On Atteraan, the president's daughter, or some such thing. You ought to guard your secrets more carefully, dear Calesh.  You really ought."
She walked back up to the throne and sat down. "Now, go. Get out of my sight. I want a full report of everything that is going on the sh'Ris systems, and I want you to eliminate Skywalker and the old woman. Do not come back until you have succeeded. And if you don't ever come back I will assume that you have failed and died trying." She looked straight at him. "Rest assured, Calesh, to die trying would be the far better fate in this case."
Calesh realized that he didn't want to argue this with her. Katarina stayed exactly where she was, not looking at him, not even knowing he was there any more.  Calesh gave her a sarcastic formal bow, and walked out of the throne room. 
Katarina stayed as she was for a good minute before daring to move.  And when she did move, she only took a deep breath, and held it.  She let the rage build inside her, and released it with blast of the Force so powerful that it chipped the throne of SixSuns.  She spun around and looked up at the Victory Carving.

She pointed to the Victor in the  middle, and yelled at him. "I don't know who you are, and I don't think anyone does.  But I curse your very bones for having been a Jedi, for having started the Jedi Order, and for ever even touching the Force.  Where ever you are now, and who ever you were, I hope that you are roasting in your own personal hell."  She turned and stormed out of the throne room.
Luke tossed the rock into the pond.  It broke the surface and caused ripples to the very edge near the rock he sat on.  He threw another one in to destroy those ripples.  He was angry. Did everything he did have to have another meaning?  He couldn't even skip rocks on a pond without think of a metaphor for his own life. 
He looked up at one of the moons that was nearing full.  He closed his eyes in concentration, and he could feel Rose's worn presence near the ruins of Lake Caulderon Castle.  He suspected that she hadn't slept in the four days she had been up there. He want to go up there and comfort her, but she wasn't even acknowledging that he was looking for her. She wasn't doing much of anything.
This whole thing was a bad idea, he told himself.  Once Callista was gone, he should have given up.  There was no one out there. No one. Callista might come back, she might not.  But he had been alone this long, why not just keep going like this.  The first of the new order of Jedi Knights makes a noble sacrifice for the good of the order.  Rose had already fallen love once and had her heart broken, he ought to go away and leave her alone. He did owe a lot of his life to the Force, and he couldn't see it completely unreasonable to dedicate his whole life to it....
"Damn it!" he yelled, and threw a handful of pebbles into the lake.  He pulled the muscles in his shoulder as he did so.  The pain felt good, and helped him to calm down a bit.  Emotions in sentients were not as convenient as they were for droids; sentients couldn't switch them off as they pleased.  Though there were days he really wished he could.

Through the mist of the years, he could still hear Yoda's voice telling him, For the Jedi, there is no emotion, only peace.
"Troubled?" came Grammy's voice.
Luke hung his head. "Grammy, it's two in the morning."
"So sue me, I'm an insomniac," she said, sitting down next to him.
Luke threw another pebble into the lake.  Grammy threw one in as well. Luke sighed. "I guess that I'm angry.  About what, I don't know.  I'm a wreck, and through all of it, I can hear Yoda telling me that there are no emotions, only peace."
He could feel Grammy smile. "You've got it bad, Luke."
"Got what?" Luke asked, very concerned.
"You are in love," Grammy said. "You've got it bad for Rose."
He began to boil at the suggestion, and forced himself to calm down. "I guess that's where I am now. I don't know if I can, or even should be in love with Rose. Maybe I am destined to be alone."
"Well, she's in love with you, Luke, whether you like it or not.  She's just very confused right now. Her secure little world crashed down around her five days ago, and you know yourself, when your world crashes, it takes some getting used to.  Don't ever doubt that she loves you. And you most certainly can be in love.  What about your sister? What about me? I was, and still very much am in love with my husband."
Luke took another pebble and tossed it into the lake. "For the Jedi, there is no emotion; only peace. There is no ignorance; there is knowledge. There is no passion; there is serenity. There is no death; there is the Force."  He repeated the mantra that Yoda had taught him perfectly.

Grammy shook her head with an ironic laugh. "Oh, Luke.  You are so old and so young at the same time. Yoda gave the Jedi Code to a young man who was a headstrong and reckless youth.  You are no longer that young man. You are a Jedi Master, and yet there is so much that you were never taught. Perhaps you will take a lesson from an old and feeble blind woman?" Grammy cocked her head to one side and didn't wait for an answer.
"There is no death; there is the Force," she began at the end of the Jedi Code. "But when you are in the Force, you have still known a death. Physical though it may have been, it was still a death. You have not yet crossed to what is beyond, and you are have no bearing on the world that you existed in. A death, no matter what.
 "There is no passion; there is serenity.  If there were no passions you could have no serenity. Think. Without your passion for life, you would be dead. Without your passion for knowledge, you would not be here now.
"There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.  Quite true, but with out having once been ignorant, you could not glean the knowledge that you now have. And don't forget the other half of that coin, that knowledge can lead to ignorance.  Once person hellbent on what they know can be ignorant to other options and aspects, and that can be their undoing."
Luke looked at Grammy, and was surprised at what he was seeing.  On the rock in the moonlight, she didn't look one bit like the eighty-five year old woman that he had talked to earlier at dinner. She was replaced by a younger version of Marchenta Windrunner, who had learned the lesson she was giving him the hard way; the loss of her husband, the loss of her homeworld, the loss of her sight, and the betrayal of her dearest friends.  This was a true Jedi Master sitting next to him.  Some one who could teach far better than he could. 
            She straightened her head, and continued. "There is no emotion; there is the Force. " She snorted somewhat indignantly.  "That is the most all encompassing half truth that I have ever heard. What is peace but the ability to identify emotions and live with them.
"Pick up a rock, Luke," she instructed.  He complied. "I want you to throw it as far as you can without using the Force at all.  Remember where it lands."
Luke tossed the rock as best he could, and it landed about fifteen meters out.
            "Good," Grammy said. "Now take another rock the same size, and do the same, except this time, use the Force."
This time, the rock landed over a hundred and twenty meters away.  Marchenta nodded.
"You see Luke, you owe very much to the Force. As much as the distance between where those two rocks hit.  That's how much the Force has given you, and how much you have given in return.
"But there's that distance between the shore and the first rock.  The Force had nothing to do with that distance. That distance, that space is your's, it was your doing. There is where you and only you control. That is where your emotions hide; hate, anger, jealousy, pain, resentment, happiness, joy, friendship, love...
"That is where the Force does not tread, and will never.  You can decide your emotions. Fill that space up with whatever you like; joy or anger, fear or happiness, jealousy or friendship, distrust or loyalty,  hate.... or love.
"Those are the most true feelings you have. Believe and trust in those emotions and there.... there is where you shall find peace."

Marchenta stood and laid a hand on Luke's shoulder. "Remember always, Luke. The Human mind is a wonderful thing. With it, we can understand the Human heart."
She tousled his hair fondly as he hadn't had done since he was 12. She walked away quietly to leave him to think on what she had said.
A Jedi, he could hear himself say to Threepio, can't become so entangled with the galaxy that they forget about  individuals.  And wasn't that exactly what he was doing?  Forgetting that he was an individual too, and forgetting that he needed to be remembered once and while?  He was so busy trying to give the galaxy it's new Jedi, that he forgot that he was a person as well as a Jedi.
You are so selfish! Leia had screamed at Han. And Han, calm as ever had looked at her and said, simply, You should try it once and while. It might do you some good.
And as wrong as it sounded to Jedi Skywalker to be selfish, Luke knew that it was a part of him.  He needed to think about himself once and while.  To be selfish, especially now, would be a good thing.  To be selfish about Rose would be very, very good. 
In that spot that Marchenta had shown him, the part that would always have been there whether or not he had been Jedi, there was a rage of emotions.  Love and hate, and resentment, but most of all were his feelings for Rose.  He realized that he didn't come here to play ambassador, or try and sort out anything with Marchenta or Lauren, but to get to know Rose better.  He had fallen in love with her when he first glimpsed her swinging  braid as she walked off the ship, the look at her slender figure, the first sign of her cheery disposition, and the first time he glanced into her saber green eyes.
Using the Force, he lifted some pebbles off the ground, and juggled them through the air, and formed the words 'Luke loves Rose.'  He encircled with the very ancient symbol of the heart.

"Uncl'Luke?" Jacen giggled. "You're in love?"
The pebbles plunked noisily into the water as Luke turned to find his nephew standing there in his pajamas.  He had Han's lopsided grin plastered on his face. Luke couldn't help smiling at him.  "I guess I am, Jace," he said, motioning for the boy to come and sit next to him.
Jacen plopped down next to him.  "Good," he said. "Can I start calling Mark my cousin yet?"
            Luke laughed.  "Not yet, Jacen.  Give me a few days to talk to Rose."
"Rose is mad, isn't she."
"No, she's upset.  She found out something that she didn't like."
"Then just kiss her, " Jacen said. "That's how mom and dad always make each other un-upset."   Luke laughed, and tousled Jacen's hair.
Han was standing on the back porch as Luke walked up. He did not look very happy standing there.  He was watching as Jacen, Jaina, and Mark were playing tag in the front yard. Luke walked up the stairs, and onto the porch, looking confused.
"Han?" he said. "What are you doing here?"
Han looked up at him. "Luke, good you're back.  Jacen, get your stuff."
"Han, what's going on?  What are you doing here?" Luke asked.
"Taking you and the kids home," he said. He looked over at Lauren, who was standing the kitchen and watching them. "I need to talk to you alone, away from here."
"Ok, but I don't understand what's going on," Luke said, following him off the porch.  "What are you doing here?"

"Like I said," Han said, "I'm here to get you out of here. You're in a lot of danger."
"Han, I am always in danger."
"I know," he said, as they walked into the wood, "But you haven't been in danger like this since Palpatine's clones were bothering us.  Katarina is evil, Luke. She won't stop at anything.  She nearly killed Anakin, me and Chewie. Anakin is still unconscious, and they don't know if he'll ever wake up. She is controlling the sh'Ris against their will, her call for help is bogus.  She is just as bad as Palpatine, maybe worse."
"Anakin?" Luke said.  "What happened?"
"One of Katarina's little friends sent out a request for some thorindian crystal, and the data chip was tamper resistance.  It stunned me and Chewie, and knocked Anakin across the room.  They think that it may have done permanent brain damage to him."
Luke hung his head.  "Oh, no." He looked back at Han. "How was Leia taking all of this?"
Han looked very angry. "How do you think she would take the near death of her youngest son?" He took a deep breath and calmed down. "Luke, I want to get you out of here."
"I can't go," Luke said. "Not yet."
"What?" Han hissed.  "Are you blind? Didn't you hear me?  Katarina is evil. She will stop at nothing to kill you and Jacen and Jaina and Leia."         
"And Rose, " Luke added.  "Han, I've known all along that Katarina was no good.  That's not why I came here.  Kirana Ti, Kyp and I have known for a long time that something was going on out here in this quadrant of the galaxy.  When Rose showed up looking for peace, we got really confused, but since I have been here, everything fell into place."
"You've known?" Han asked.

"I have," Luke said. "I didn't come here to be an ambassador, I came here to find out about Rose and her family. Mostly Rose.  Han I love her, and I am not going to give her up to her cousin. I don't want to lose her. If you want to, take Jacen and Jaina and get out of here.  You are more than right about Katarina.  She's crazy and she will do anything to kill me and any Jedi. She thinks just like Palpatine did.  That destroying the Jedi is the only way to completely rule the galaxy.  Jacen, Jaina, Mark, Caylee, Carson, Eve and Sondra would all be better far away from here.  But for now, just get your kids away."
Han sighed. "Sometimes Luke, I don't know what to think about you."
"Me neither," came Grammy's voice.
"Grammy, what are you doing? Following me everywhere?" Luke asked.
"Maybe," Grammy said. "Except you were talking right outside my window back there, and well, I could help over hearing a few words and become very interested in what was going on.  You should not disregard this man's advice to leave now, before Katya becomes obsessed with you  and killing you."
"Your concern is noted," Luke said. "Han, this is Rose's grandmother, Marchenta Windrunner.  Grammy, this is my brother in law, Han Solo, Jacen's father."
"Nice to meet you," Grammy said, taking his hand before he could stick it out. "Don't lag, Solo.  Just because I can't see doesn't mean that I can't be polite. Sheesh, don't you teach your friends manners, Luke?"
Han laughed in spite of himself. "My mistake, ma'am."
"Please, call me Grammy. Everyone else does. Luke, I think that it's time to get Rose off that hill. You will bring me up there?"

"Of course," Luke said.  "Han---"
"I can get back to the house, kid," Han said.
Luke smiled. "Thanks."

Chapter Twenty-Six
Wedge looked at the screens in front him.  Perfect Clone War antiques.  Even more surprising than that was that they worked.  The sh'Ris had kept them repaired and working for more than fifty years, and the New Republic couldn't keep brand new units working for more than six months at a time.
"Makes you feel like you don't know what you're doing, doesn't it," Huxley said.
Wedge looked at him. "Yeah.  These things are older than I am, and I don't work half as good as they do any more.  I guess you learn to work with what you have. I wish that we would learn to do that." Wedged looked around the control center.  "Well, I think that we can handle working from here. There certainly is the right equipment, and working equipment."
Huxley walked over and punched up some of the screens of the surrounding area of space.  "Everything appears to be normal.  Which means that we get to sit around and wait for word from either Han or Coruscant.  Wonderful."
Wedge looked at him.  "You are new to this stuff, Hux.  Sitting around happens so very little that you take all the time you can when it does come around. Trust me, the further you get along into the New Republic, or into the Jedi Order you are going to find your self sitting around less and less."
"I did enough sitting when I was on that throne, trust me." Huxley punched up another set of screens. 

"It's really strange to think that some one like you was once on a throne.  It doesn’t seem your style," Wedge said. "You and Tricia blend right in with the common folk of the galaxy.  You aren't at all like any of those royals that visit Leia and Han all the time, and you aren't like the senators either."
"Think about it," Huxley said. "If you hadn't known all along that Leia was a princess, would you ever guess now with the way she acts out of the private eye?  Leia and I were just made of a different royal mold than the others.  We like high society, but not all the time. There are so many regulations and rules and courtesies that you have to follow that it gets very boring and very artificial.  It is far easier to get along in life without having to remember that when you have a High Lady from Gerolitan, you must seat her on the host's right, put all the proper utensils on the right, the water glass on the left, the wine in the middle, cover the plate with a napkin, never ever serve nerf nuggets, meats must be on the left, and don't ever bring up the economy or trade of any kind or you'll offend her ears."
"Oh," Wedge said. "I can see that."
Huxley laughed. "Well, my brother won the election fare and square, and I conceded the power of the crown to the senate of the Gercanima.  Not to mention that Han had recently bumped into me, and introduced me to Luke.  Tricia had always hinted that she knew about my grandfather, and when Luke and Han visited that night, she out right told them who he was.  We didn't have anything else to do then, and Vincent was just two, so he wouldn't know the difference if we moved. So we did. Tricia moved right into the Massassi temple and whipped the administration right into shape. She has gift for organization. While she organized I trained. And we both took care of Vincent."
"How did you find out that Tricia was Force talented? She hadn't shown it up that point, why all of a sudden did it come out in her?"

Huxley punched up yet another screen. "We were outside doing the usual grounds maintenance. It has to be done one a week or everything gets over grown again.  So it was our rotation to help.  Everyone pitches in whether or not you are being trained.  Tricia, Vin and me were out there with about twelve other people. Tricia kept looking up, and walking around the other side of the building.   After about an hour of this, I was getting annoyed by it.  The next time she looked up and began to walk away, I followed her.  There was nothing on the other side of the building except more overgrown forest.  I asked what she found so fascinating on the other side.  She looked back at me and smiled, and shrugged. I didn't think about it, and we went back to the maintenance. About five minutes later, she looked up and saw me watching her. She smiled again and went back to cutting some leaves. About ten seconds later, she gasped, grabbed her hand dropped the sheers and went running around to the other side of the building.  Two of the others doing maintenance ran after her. I wanted to know what she was doing, so I followed her too.
"As we were running around to the other side of the building, I remembered that there were still some unfinished repairs on that side.  No one had bothered to do them because  no one was living on that side of the building at that time, and there was no rush on them.  But when I rounded the corner I realized that they should have been done right away. 

"Half of the temple looked as though it should be toppling over at that very moment.  But there were two trainees about half way up the side, and they were stuck there. And they were cowering in awe and in fear.  Tricia's voice cut through the awkward silence. 'Are you going to do something Hux?  We can't hold this thing forever.'  I didn't think about what she said at that moment.  I just started scaling the wall, using everything I knew of the force to get to those two kids up there. They were two young Lupans, and they were scared to death to move.  When I got to them, them clung on to me like was the only thing left in the universe.  I don't think I have ever seen two kids so frightened.  I practically jumped to the bottom, and ran out of the fall zone.  The wall came crashing down practically on my heals, and the two kids were crying like mad.  Tricia came over and took one of them from me and tried to calm it down.
"By then I had gathered my wits enough to look who had held up the wall. It was Tricia and two new students. And by new, I mean less than a week. Kirana Ti had shown up now and she took the other Lupan from me and quieted it down as Luke and Kyp helped me to my feet.  I was so dumb struck that I all I could do was stare at Tricia.
"'Good job,' Luke said to me.  I was still staring at Tricia.  'How did you know?' I whispered to her. She smiled and shrugged. Luke said something like he could feel the whole thing through the Force. I shook him off and walked over to Tricia. How did you know, how did you do that? I think that was what I said. I was still stunned. She looked over at Luke, then back at me and said, 'I could feel it.  How I did it was I imagined that it was Vincent up there.'  Luke's eyes went wide as well at that point.  He looked at her and said,' You did that?'  Tricia nodded. I asked her, ' But how could you?'
"She smiled at me, and said, 'After all these years, you never asked me who MY grandfather was.'  She rocked the Lupan and walked away from me into the infirmary."  Huxley laughed. "I never did ask her who her grandfather was. Turns out, he was MY grandfather's teacher." 
Wedge laughed. "Seems like all you Jedi are connected some how. It's almost funny."

Hux nodded. "Almost. You know that Luke is still surprised you aren't Force talented. He said that with some of the stuff you pull, there's almost no way that you couldn't be."
Wedge shook his head. "Not an ounce of the Force in me at all.  My uncle was.  He had to go into hiding eventually even though he was never trained. But not me. Luck and training, and keeping both eyes open at all times.  That's all it is for me."
"Blip!" one of the station monitor's yelled.
Hux and Wedge ran over to see what was going on, when someone else yelled, "Blip!" And seconds after that, four other stations joined the chorus, and more after them as well. Hux ran over to the intercom, and yelled, "Red Alert! All hands scramble!!"
Wedge stared at the screen in front of him.  "Look's like the Empress."
Huxley looked over at him before he ran out the door, and said, "I know it is."  He left the room.
Wedge still wished he was going up there, but he could command the battle from the sh'Ris room better than from his fighter.  There were days when he wished he hadn't be convinced to take the General's rank.  He waited until he saw Hux's ready light blink on to give the squadron the go ahead.
"How many are you picking up?" Wedge asked one of the lieutenants that had come down from the ship with him.
"Twenty large destroyer style ships," she said. "I can't identify the type, or anything about them.  We have no records of any ships in this configuration." She paused. "I have a weapons estimate, if you really want it."
Wedge braced himself. "Go ahead."
"Two thousand turbo lasers, fifteen ion canons, and about 30 torpedo launch tubes."

Wedge let his breath out. "That's all?"
"That's per ship, General," she said.
"PER SHIP?" Wedge exclaimed, running over to her station.  The estimate was there on the board.  "Holy.... per ship. "  He hung his head.  "This looks a little one-sided."
"General, we have a transmission coming through, for Commander Alexander," came another voice.
"Put it through to him, and over our speakers here," he said.  Why would anyone demand to speak to a commander when there was a general listening in.
The speaker crackled and came to life. "Huxley Alexander, I have a proposal for you." It was a voice that Wedge didn't recognize from the intercepted communiques from SixSuns to the forces nearby.  "Are you willing to listen?"
"Shut up and fight," Huxley growled.  There was a note of strain that he had never heard in Hux's voice before.
"You will die," the same voice said. "You are massively outgunned. General Antilles, would you like to confirm how badly you are outgunned?"
Wedge toggled the switch to the private frequency in Hux's fighter. "Outgunned is putting it lightly, Hux. They wouldn't even blink and wipe out what we've got here. I've never seen anything so heavily armed in my life, with the exception of the Death Stars."
He heard Huxley sigh. "What's your deal, Tyrone?"

Wedge could almost see the smile in the words. "My master would like to challenge you to a duel, dear cousin. You and he, alone.  Both fleets will withdraw no matter what the outcome of the duel, that way, total causalities will equal one. The combined sh'Ris/Rebellion forces will retreat deep into sh'Ris territory, and the SixSuns Fleet will go back to Buria.  You and my master will meet on a deserted planet, and you will duel to the death." The voice paused. "You're choice, dear cousin. One causality or thousands."
"Hux, you don't have to do this," Wedge said. "We're totally prepared to fight."
"General, any good leader would take the deal.  Even if I lose, I've won.  My life in exchange for thousands. And this can buy some time until the rest of the Fleet shows up here. I have to accept on principle.  Don't worry about me.  Luke taught me well."  He heard Hux toggle back to the open frequency. "You have a deal, Tyrone. Your master and I alone. You will order the withdrawl now, and so we will we. There is a planet on the outskirts of the sh'Ris territory that has decent gravity and atmosphere.  I am heading there now, I will be waiting."
"He and I shall be there," the voice said. "A true pleasure, cousin."
The voice broke off,  and Wedge spoke. "Hux, you don't have to. At least let us send an escort with you. You shouldn't have done that."
"No escorts, Wedge,"Hux said. "He'll blow them away. I know him."
"Who is this guy?" Wedge asked.
"My cousin. He was fourth in line for the throne of Gercanima, after me and Vincent and my brother. He thinks that we were fools for giving up that throne, and that we were wrong in not asking him if he wanted it before we dissolved it.  I'll be fine, don't worry." He paused. "Just tell Tricia I love her."
"You're planning on coming back, right," Wedge stated.

"I am, but you can never be too careful."  Hux was silent a minute more. "I'll dump the coordinates to the planet, and if you don't hear from me in two days, come and get the body.  Ready for Hyperspace."
Wedge bowed his head. "Huxley, thank you. You didn't have to."
"I did, and you're welcome. Permission to engage?"

"May the Force be with you. Permission granted." 

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