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Kalia_Majere
06/02/2004 3:21 PM

The soft beeps and flashing lights on the panel before her lulled her into a false calm. The distant hum of the engines contributed to that subterfuge. Laser shots exploded around her, slamming into the ship's shields with alarming force. The restraints built into the pilots chair bit in to Ayalana's shoulders, and she winced as she guided the sleek golden ship into a steep dive as she fought for some clear space.

proof of her bounty lay in a case beside her in the empty co-pilot's chair... her co-pilot, a Bothan named F'Laire lay dead back at the imperial base along with her target- a high ranked officer who had obviously made enemies with the wrong people. This officer's rank insignia and a signet ring that was still attached to his hand lay in that case ready to present to her contact in return for the credit chip promised.

The computer beeped insistantly and Aya looked up, smiling as she saw her escape, pushing her long dark hair away from her face. Two TIE fighters buzzed by the Peregrine's nose, and one dissapeared in a shower of fire and glowing, twisted metal. Checking her radar one final time, she eased the hyperdrive lever back... turning the stars into lines as she shot out of range.

With an explosive sigh, she slumped back into her seat. With a glance at the case to her right, she released the restraints and stood. she was about to leave the cockpit when another insistant beeping and flashing light caught her attention... this one was a sub-space communication and she flipped the switch to activate a holo-image of her contact.

The Twi'lek gazed at her for a long moment before smiling hideously, his sharp teeth making Aya shudder inwardly. She never officially knew his name...but she found out anway...once the servant of the infamous gangster Jabba, Bib Fortuna took over with Jabba's demise. Now he hired her whenever somone had gotten under his skin.

"I take it you finished the job?" He hissed, and Aya nodded.

"Of Course...don't I always? though this little stunt cost me my partner..." She growled, her jade colored eyes narrowing slightly.

"You'll be compesnated for your loss hunter... in the mean time, I'm delaying your return here...I have another job for you... One I've been waiting to have done for years now. I'm sending the information now... your reward will be enough that you will never have to take on another contract for the rest of your life." With that Bib Fortuna's image winked out and she glanced at the computer screen.

"He's got to be kidding..." She breathed as the image of the New Republic General appeared on it... Han Solo...

With a sigh, she eased the ship out of hyperdrive to reset the coodinates...heading for Courscant.

Arandur
06/02/2004 4:14 PM

…Balancing on one hand, the sweat dripped from his long blonde fringe, collecting in an ever increasing pool on the floor beneath him, his left arm held out to his side, his body shaking with the effort to keep himself focused. But he could feel it, the Force flowing through him, a torrent of power that made him feel so very insignificant next to its vastness.

To his left, he noticed the sudden movement of his mentor, something deliberate and in his peripheral vision, but the small distraction was enough to break his delicate concentration and with a sudden grunt and a tangle of limbs Callan fell to the marble floor of the temple cell where he lay on his back, letting the coldness of the stone seep into his skin, his breathing coming ragged after such an exertion. Almost. I could actually feel the Force that time.

“Control. A Jedi must learn Control.” Came the voice of his mentor as soft footfalls approached Callan, the sound of his brown Jedi robes dragging on the marble floor reached Callan’s ears and the young man turned his head to regard the older Jedi with frustration in his blue eyes.

“It’s no use, it can’t be done.” The youth muttered angrily “This is pointless, you are asking the impossible. I’m not Master Skywalker.” He finished rolling from his back into a sitting position. His singlet was soaked with sweat and his orange New Republic flight coveralls were tied haphazardly around his waist.

“Of course not, nor will you ever be. Each man must walk their own path and discover who they are, not walk the paths already trodden.” Said the older man calmly, though is face tightened a little at the sign of Callan’s anger and frustration.

At almost 60 years Gyan Rannith had come to Skywalker’s Jedi Praxeum on Yavin IV to learn the ways of the Force shortly after the Hero of the Rebellion began searching for Jedi and the lore of the sundered knighthood.

After ten long years of training Gyan had attained the rank of Jedi Knight and been granted the privilege of training new students who wished to become Jedi like the days of the Old Republic, before the dark times of Vader’s Jedi Purge. The old man’s musings were interrupted by the sudden groan and the rise of the youth before him.

“Look, master Gyan, I appreciate all of this. I really do.” The young starfighter pilot said hesitantly and waving a hand around the cold stone of the Yavin Jedi temple room, “but not all of us are meant to be Jedi. I’m a pilot and my duty is to the Republic first. I can’t afford to waste this time here when I should be with the Navy.” He finished hoping the Jedi before him would understand.

He locked eyes with the older man as he ran a hand though his sweat soaked hair, pushing it out of his eyes, the Jedi’s expression was unreadable, and Callan cursed himself inwardly before turning and heading into the darkened corridors of the Praxeum towards the hangar bay where his X-Wing waited fueled and prepped for his return to Caruscant, his heels clicking and echoing onimously as he walked from the Jedi instructor…

Aeramae
06/02/2004 4:42 PM

A young woman waited in the shadows, the hood to her trainee robes pulled over her short blonde hair. She watched as Callan exited the room he had been training in. Calintha Bronnen pulled her hood down, revealing her dark yet plain features, her brown eyes shining with inner light, even as she frowned.

"Callan, where are you going?" she asked softly. The slender woman had been there only slightly longer than the man before her. As with everyone else there, she could tell he had potential to be a great Jedi Knight.

"I didn't think you were a quitter," she said as she walked up to him. "Where are you going?"

Arandur
06/02/2004 5:17 PM

…hearing the soft voice of Calintha, the fighter pilot turned and regarded the young apprentice, his hand once again pushing his sweat-soaked fringe from his face as he let out a long sigh.

“I’m not quitting, there are just more important things then this.” He said raising his hands to the walls around him in indication he meant the Jedi Temple, his voice was still tinged with anger, more at himself for failing than anything else. “At least with the Navy I am helping people now and not playing at being something that I don’t think I can be. It takes me almost three times as long to pick up even the slightest of the things you and the others do.” he said shaking his head in frustration.

Callan sighed again and leant against the wall, enjoying the cool dark marble against his skin still shaking his head slightly, his expression softening as he idly retied his flight suit around his waist.

“Look, I know how this seems but not everyone can be a Jedi, not everyone has the patience you do Calintha. I guess I am not a Jedi at heart, I’m just a grunt like the thousands of other Republic soldiers and I am ok with that, more than ok really.” He said quietly as he finished the knot he was tying with a final yank.

“I’m heading back to Coruscant, my leave of absence from the Republic is almost up anyway, thought I’d see the capital, maybe I’ll even take a look at the Senate Chamber, y’know see exactly what all the fighting was for. Just seems better an idea then to waste time here. Both my time and everyone else, dreaming of something that will never be.” He said shrugging and looking at anywhere but Calintha’s eyes…

starlite4774
06/02/2004 5:35 PM

She listened. Coruscant was a loud place, overflowing with people and thoughts and feelings...it was literally the hub of the galaxy, supporting all kinds and all cultures and she was sensative, but seperate, from it all, a calm observer, a judge, yes, but never jury and never executioner--at least, not yet. She was atuned to her aloft position, to the voices and the feelings to which she could not react...to the flow of the Force, which she rode like a wave...

Just like a wave, Master Skywalker had said. She rode the waves but never moved, safe in her secluded spot, up and down but never side to side...and that was why she wasn't a Jedi Knight yet. That's why years had passed and she had grown into her potential, but that potential itself had stayed stagnate, never moving, up and down the wave, self-defeating...

She wasn't listening to the city-planet. It whispered in her mind, yes, but it was far from her thoughts. So should have been her predictament, her elusive burden, so she cast those thoughts aside and centered herself, returning to what she had been listening to for some time, as well as keeping one eye on the children.

Jacen and Jaina had long since abandoned their formal studies--as long as Master Skywalker was busy--and were testing each other with glee, sending out a feeler within the Force and then poking each other. It was a game; the first to giggle would lose. When the inventive twins had first started playing, Master Skywalker had frowned, but she had told him that children do in fact need to be children. She feared they had had precious little of a childhood with all the attention and danger this family had encountered.

Han Solo apparently agreed. His worry shouted in her mind, far louder than his words shouted in her ear. He was disagreeing with Master Skywalker. It was impossible to read her Master's feelings, of course...he stayed far above the din, more an enigma to other Jedi than to other people. Jedi often lost the ability to read eyes...but she hadn't, not quite. Master Skywalker's eyes were, cliche as it was, old. She secretely thought he wanted the twins to stay here longer, that he would welcome the rest...she didn't believe he had rested for a moment since stepping onto his great path. He had lived many lifetimes. She thought, perhaps, it was time for a rest.

Han Solo apparently agreed. "Look at you, Luke! You're tired. I can see it; anyone can see it! Stay here with the kids. The academy can get on without you for a while...it has before and it will again. And their training can wait a few more days."

Luke looked slightly sympathetic, which meant he was very sympathetic. His muted expressions were a norm at this point. "Han, in the old days, by now they..."

"'In the old days'?" Han exploded. She took a deep breath and held it. "The old days are gone, Luke. It's time you accepted that and considered that maybe, just maybe, things weren't done the best way in the old days. This is exactly the time for new ideas, being openminded. Maybe, just maybe, things need to change because they sure as hell didn't turn out the best the last time around."

She had been lightly shielding the twins from their father's torrent of emotions like the several layers of walls shielded them from his words. But she couldn't contain the distress that issued from their mother. Leia Organa Solo had so far been quiet, but it was obvious how much she both agreed with and hated her husband's words by the reaction of her kids. The twins were suddenly and completely quiet, as still as a picture, their game forgotten. She stood and went to sit between them, saying nothing and now all three listened.

"Look, Luke, Leia...I just...I just miss my kids, alright?"

Tears appeared spontaneously in the twins' eyes, though they couldn't have possibly heard their father's words through the many rooms between them. Still, they had felt it, somehow, and she wondered too if little Anakin, supposedly asleep in the next room, had awoken. It was a strange thing that had brought her to be their caretaker, but it was easy now to busy them, to take their minds from this age-old argument. She ran them through excersizes and made them laugh and cared for them, but she couldn't help it, not really.

Because through it all, Paej Eerda listened.

Kalia_Majere
06/02/2004 6:43 PM

Aya sat back, the meal before her untouched, she sat staring at another screen with all the information on her new target...and she still couldn't believe she was agreeing to this. she fiddled with a pendant that hung around her neck. It was old and of correllian design... and it looked like it was missing a large piece.

closing her eyes, she let her mind wander as she dozed lightly in her seat.

Memory danced lightly across her mind, hazy and unclear... like a receeding tide, becoming incressingly harder to reach...

he smiled down upon her... He praised her with every thing she had done to his specifications, and she smiled back, proud that he was pleased... Father was very pleased....

With a startled gasp, Aya woke, her hand dropping to the lightsaber at her hip...and guiltily jerked her hand away from the weapon. She never could remember who had given her the weapon...she only knew that though she wasn't a full Jedi she could use it...and well... even though she prefered her blaster.

she shivered inwardly and she began to go over her excercises... feeling the flow of the force fill her... it felt like only moments had gone by when the panel behind her began to buzz... indicating that they were arriving at Courscant...

only then did she realize that hours had passed in her meditation...

starlite4774
06/02/2004 7:50 PM

The children were asleep. She could feel their breathing in the back of her mind, a calming sensation, the twins oddly synchronized and Anakin off in a world of his own making. Their dreams were colorful and painted the Coruscant night in ways that didn't fit the dark, dusky center of civilization. Despite all attempts to clean the air and all the bright lights, night here was still so...inhabited. She could never really just see the sky.

General Solo and his wife had gone to bed after a prolonged goodnight to their children. The tension had been slight, but it was easy to see what loving parents they were. They, the General in particular, were forgiving as well. He could have easily turned his anger on her, transfered it to an attack on the symbolism of her mere presense alone, but he hadn't. He had accepted her role as the caretaker of his children with surprising ease.

Paej wondered what Master Skywalker had said to him...

Master Skywalker had come to meditate with her after speaking to his sister. He knew she had been listening, though he hadn't said a single word. He had just joined her in silence with a knowing smile that had all too quickly become sad. She had been struck by the urge to comfort him like she comforted the children. It was awkward...he was no child, but yet, so very...alone.

She shuddered suddenly and, surprised, took a calming breath. She had sensed something...hadn't she? There had to be a reason other than the thought of Master Skywalker being...alone.

She stood and started pacing. It was a nervous gesture, unbecoming of a Jedi, but a hard habit left over from her younger years. Before the calm, before the waves and yet, still a part of her. She spun, as if Master Skywalker would be right behind her, but of course, he wasn't. There was something...something had set her off.

Closing her eyes, still pacing, she began to listen harder.

Something was disturbing the Force...something untrained, unfocused, unbidden...there was...pleasure, pride...familiarity, and...

It was gone. Paej's hand dropped absently to the lightsaber at her hip, fingering it until once again it was hers. She frowned and sought out the source of the disturbance until her frustration came slamming to her attention and she broke off. Perhaps this is why I am not a Jedi Knight, she thought, the moment of anger dissolving into the night. She could leave it alone...she must leave it alone. The people of Coruscant were not her business.

One of the children woke.

Her head snapped to the side and Paej stole inside to tend to her responsibilities.

Outside was too empty anyway.

Kalia_Majere
06/03/2004 6:26 PM

Aya watched the two escort ships flank her ship... and she frowned as they demanded her identification and credentials. With a silent prayer to whatever power was listening, she transmitted them. The seconds dragged by and her tension grew with each nanosecond.

"Passage granted Ayalana Muldavayne. Proceed to landing pad P47-4" The voice said and one of the escorts veered off, leaving Aya to follow the remaining escort to the designated location.

Half an hour later, Aya shut down the engines, leaving the main computer in standby, ready to restart at a moment's notice. Carefully she straightened the dark brown poncho she wore over her near skin-tight one piece flight suit. A small palm sized blaster was tucked into her boot, another in a shoulder holdster. She added her lightsaber as a last moment thought, making sure that her poncho covered the weapon adequetly.

With a sigh, she exited the Peregrine, and closed the hatch..a pale blue light panel read her hand-print to lock the hatch, and the turned, staring at the night time view of the city planet...it had been years since she had set foot up on this bustling planet, and she sighed...what a way to return home.

She then made her way on...heading for the capital, knowing many of the back ways and forgotten ways into the city...she hoped she would find a way in and finish her job with little problem.

A wash of doubt threatened to drown her for a moment... and with a near physical effort she fought off the doubt and continued on her way.

Aeramae
06/04/2004 3:05 PM

Calintha nodded, understanding how the pilot felt. When she had first arrived she too had felt sorely out of place. But then...she was accepted, and learned to control her emotions. After all, a Jedi had to be in control of his or herself at all times, even in battle.

"Go then," she said turning away from him. "You will be missed, but if you feel you can help others now instead of reaching your potential, then go."

The apprentice walked down the hall, her robes swishing gently about her ankles. Callan would leave, she knew that. And, perhaps he would return one day, when order was more firmly restored than it was now. Until then, he wouldn't find peace with himself no matter where he went.

As it was, Calintha herself needed to be alone for awhile. Her own feelings were out of control at the moment, and until she was feeling whole again, she believed she wouldn't be able to concentrate on much of anything. She wandered around, letting her feet take her where they would.

starlite4774
06/05/2004 4:15 PM

"You are worried."

"There was a disturbance in the Force. I felt it. I...couldn't pinpoint it. It's been bothering me."

"It's not just that."

Paej was staring Master Skywalker in the eyes. His voice was soft, the voice he used on frustrated students and the voice she had imagined him using on all those enemies on all those adventures that were as much legend as history. Calm, cool, and in control. A rolemodel, a voice of reason.

But to her...to her it had always sounded like pity. He knew that; he didn't use the voice often.

"I'm fine."

"You're afraid." He said it with a kind of wonderment, though he was anything but surprised. He was sure and so she was sure as well. She was afraid. She waited for him to explain, but like so many great teachers, what he didn't say taught as much, if not more, than what he did.

It made her want to strangle him, sometimes. To stand up and scream. If he cared, why didn't he just say it?

Doubt flittered through her mind. "I'm afraid...f-f-for the children."

"You think they will be attacked?" She trusted him and he trusted her. Especially when it came to the children.

She shook her head. "I fear they will be hurt." Scarred, traumatized, lost, angry, alone.

"Why?"

Because I care about them. She shook her head. "I don't know." His head cocked to the side. He had heard her unspoken words all the more for her denying them, for her erasing them. And he said nothing.

He would be watching for danger to the children. She knew that. It brought no comfort.

He stood and left. She was alone. He was...teaching her. He had said she was strong. Strong in everything...everything but this.

She wiped away a tear.

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 4:20 PM

Aya continued on the streets towards the old palace. She ignored the calls of the vendors on the streets, and was deaf to the hustle and bustle of this city-planet. She could feel six strong presences in the force, each one creating subtle ripples marking them as Jedi, or at least force sensitive... five of those weren't particularily strong...but one made Aya stop for a moment, trembling.

Then she felt that one leave...and move on... and her confidance returned. Her hand once again strayed to the lightsaber at her hip, and sighed, oddly comforted by its mere presence. Picking up her pace now to a light jog, those she passed by payed her no heed as the Imperial palace loomed into sight. She reached out with the force, gently touching each of the force-sensitives she sensed... four were alseep, and one was digilintly awake...

She knew from reputation that Leia Organa-Solo and her children were all force sensitive.... the fifth must be a body-guard of some sort...so Han had to be there with them.... she would have to get past that force-sensitive guard to get to him... and do it silently...

Frowning, she continued....

starlite4774
06/05/2004 4:26 PM

Master Skywalker was gone. After leaving her, he had detected a potential Jedi and mindful of the still fragile numbers of their order, gone to seek out another student before his family awoke. If all went well, he would back at sunrise, to wish them good morning.

It left her in the terribly odd position of having nothing to do. Paej hadn't expected him to ask her to accompany him to the other side of the planet--her responsibility was, after all, to the children--but they were asleep and she was alone.

So she wandered, driving herself farther and farther from companionship, testing her strength. Endless dark corridors and doorways felt her presence before, suddenly, she was outside.

Shivering in the night air, something pricked at the back of her neck. A probe? She frowned and one hand went to reassure that her lightsaber was at her side. Curious, she sent a probe back and waited; perhaps it was another one with potential.

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 4:45 PM

Aya felt the probe back, and immediatly tensed, hand closing firmly over the lightsaber... careless! She was going to botch this! With a frown she narrowed her concentration, and forced this intruder back...the power within her becoming a solid wall....

She moved forward, blasters forgotten, acting on instinct alone, the un-engaged lightsaber held loosely in her hand. She followed the probe till she found the source....

the slender woman before her was the obvious source, given the jedi robes she wore... with a frown she pressed the thumb switch that activated her weapon...and the red beam flickered and hummed to life. She said nothing... her long dark hair was braided in a fashion that wouldn't easily become undone to hinder her... and her green eyes locked onto this new obsticle in her path... knowing full well that she had to beat this woman without sounding some sort of alarm....

Closing her eyes inconcentration, Ayalana broadend the 'Wall' so that it surrounded her and the woman before her....cutting her off from any other Force Sensitive...

starlite4774
06/05/2004 5:02 PM

The wall of force came crashing into her with unexpected strength. Of all things, Paej had never expected to have her probe sent back at her as a weapon, a challenge issued.

There was no one near to hear her call, no guards to come. She was not afraid, not of this, but there was no reason to face this challenge alone. There was too much at stake and a Jedi cared not about pride. But there was no one near and her calls to Leia and the children echoed back, rebuffed by this strange woman's power.

She was not a Jedi...Paej could sense that. But she could also sense the Force within this woman, prevading her in a way that was unknown. But this was not the time to dwell.

Her lightsaber came to life with the familiar and comforting sound, it's blue blade illuminating the determination in her face. Her eyes were half-lidded as she found her center within the Force, it's unseen hand fluttering through her Jedi robes, making an indistinct target.

She let go; instinct was her guide. She would fight and fight well, if she must.

"Why are you here?" It was not a question to which she expected an answer, but Paej was compelled to know, compelled to make one attempt to avoid bloodshed. Her voice was soft, in control.

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 5:13 PM

Ayalana's voice was cold and collected...she didn't want to hurt this woman, but she had a job to do...

"Business...." She said cooly, as she eased into the fighting stance ingraned into her so that it was almost second nature. Balanced easily on the balls of her feet, She sent out a couple of waves through the force, feeling them come back to her like a type of sonar, and she guaged this woman's power with it...

A smile ghosted across her lips, no problem... Moving with speed that was well practiced, she lunged forward, red blade swinging upward in a blazing arc...

starlite4774
06/05/2004 5:29 PM

Paej similarly gauged the threat before her, feeding on the waves the woman sent out to see how sensative she was, how aware she was of her own place within the Force. Paej sensed that her grip was tenuous at best...she had training, but non that Paej had before sensed and nothing complete.

The ghosted smile was not returned by an emotion of any kind from the young Jedi. This woman was skilled...but arrogant. Practiced, but reluctant, in such a way that wouldn't slow her movements, but hurt her spiritual calm. This woman had no desire to kill her...no particular desire to kill anyone, in fact. She merely desired to do her job and that was something, the coldness, the arrogance, that Paej would not underestimate.

The woman had a strange underhanded grip, but Paej recognized the first move as designed to catch a novice, to end the battle as quickly and quietly as possible. With a speed borne of the Force, Paej sidestepped the upward arc, leaving her own blade in place to catch her opponent's. Their weapons locked and in a split-second Paej--her power already confined into a small space by the woman's power--drew on the Force, concentrating it as close to her body as she could, in fact trying to blind the woman with its brilliance. At the same time, she kicked out, leaning her strength into the deadlock between blades and aiming for the woman's head.

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 5:40 PM

Aya kept her sheilding in tight...blocking at least part of her potiential from being noticed...she wasn't surprised that this woman managed to block her attack, she really hadn't thought that it would work anyway, nothing was supposed to be easy.

She felt the force gather, and become a blinding beacon... cursing softly, Aya closed her eyes tightly, relying on her other senses to fight 'blind' The power of this beacon this other woman created was enough for Aya to "see" even with her eyes closed. The rush of air warned Aya just in time to duck and back off from the woman... crossing her right hand that held her saber across her chest slightly, she crouched with her eyes still closed, wating, 'watching'...

starlite4774
06/05/2004 5:56 PM

Paej pressed her advantage. Releasing the power she had gathered all at once in random bolts that expanded out and downward, even through the woman's body, she guided them to rebound as soon as they touched a solid object. Most returned in a simple, but blindingly confused displays of fireworks, but any that had touched a solid, unattached object, such as a stone, carried it back to the focal point that Paej had set squarely on the woman, hoping to pelt her with too many obejcts for her to react to.

At the same time, her physical body ran forward, holding her blade in a tight two-handed grip extended straight before her, only to sidestep in her own path and turn her blade sideways before stepping firmly into the woman's personal space, crashing their sabers together once more and trying to use her momentum to rotate her blue blade around the pivot created and into the woman's shoulder.

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 6:05 PM

the bolts that passed thorugh her stung, making her wince slightly, and it was enough to distract her as the jedi apprentice attacked, and as the woman tried to use her momentum, Aya fell back and away.

Though she managed to escape that blow, a pelting of rocks and larger stones that decorated the courtyard caused her to loose her balance, and she sprawled... her lightsaber dis-engaged and skittered across the paving stones... All the while, Aya felt her panic and frustration rise dangerously.

starlite4774
06/05/2004 6:27 PM

Paej didn't move. Without taking her eyes off her fallen opponent, she extended a hand and called the woman's lightsaber from where it lay on the ground and switched the blade on, red and blue competing to lit the face of the palace.

"You know I will spare you," she said, her voice low. "I am a Jedi. We do not kill those who are weak before us, not for pleasure nor pay and never without great reservation. You also know you will not be allowed to leave. I will only ask you one more time." She maintained eye contact. "Why are you here?" When she didn't get an immediate answer, Paej smiled softly, showing emotion for the first time and a ripple of power, a wordless message, prevaded the air. "Or perhaps you would prefer to wait and speak with Master Skywalker?"

She was not alone.

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 6:36 PM

Ayalana's heart raced, and a cold lump of fear lodged in her stomach, making it twist painfully.

Brute Force is last resort

The old teachings came back...and with such speed that would have made her old teacher smile, Aya gathered as much power as she could in the span of two breaths... and blasted it with as much force as her anger could muster.... the end result even made her stagger as she tried to stand..... The force of it shoved the other woman back...

The result was like somebody opening flood gates to a aqueduct that wasn't properly reinforced.... she felt the force stirr around the woman as she tried to sheild herself from it, a gesture that was of little use. As the woman fell, stunned, Aya raced forward, grabbed her saber which had fallen from the woman's nervless fingers, and ran towards the palace, she had little time to finish this....

starlite4774
06/05/2004 7:00 PM

Being a Jedi was a study of subtly, of subtle manipulation, of subtle strength. Every teacher had to impress on their students that size matters not...that small can be powerful with control. But like most things, large could be powerful without control as well...and Paej was simply not ready for the sheer force of the tidal wave thrown at her.

It was...staggering. She wondered why her teachers had never thought to mention such a thing was possible. Size matters not...but something bigger still requires less aim, something bigger reinforces itself, something bigger...

She vaguely realized that she couldn't breathe. Her mind curled in on itself, trying to shield itself, to be small...but it was no use. She numbly felt the impact as she hit the ground. The world was dark now, the Force distant.

She had failed and she felt very alone.

----------------------------------------------------------------

He had failed and she was alone. Luke Skywalker, for all his speed, had not been able to answer his student's call. Reeling at the wave that had hit her, he examined the power behind it with a calm determination as he landed at the Imperial Palace. It was dark in nature, but she was not a Sith. His student would have felt that and it was not something that could be hid from the Jedi Master. This was no Jedi and she treaded a path between the darkness of her power and the lightness of her heart.

Traversing the building as one who had once had enough unease to learn all the exits, the Jedi alerted his sister and sent one of the guards to retrieve his fallen student before taking his place silently to wait where he knew she would come.

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 7:14 PM

Ayalana ran, this time with blaster in hand... she had reluctantly put the lightsaber away, it felt like a drug in a way, one that she trembled everytime she refused to use it.

The corridor ahead seemed empy, but to her ever constant awareness...she knew that someone was there, even before the soft voice called out to her.

"Stop..." was all Luke had to say to bring her skidding to a halt, and somehow she knew that it was over... she failed... Bib Fortuna was not going to like this. Still she couldn't give up... she had a feeling that Fortuna wouldn't take failure for an answer... there were other bounty hunters out there, and surely sooner or later one would come after her.

She could feel this man's curiosity for all he tried to hide it. Her suspicions prooved correct and she knew that this was Master Skywalker. With grim determination, she raised the blaster, holding it level, her steady hand betraying her heart...

starlite4774
06/05/2004 7:32 PM

She didn't see him reach for it, but abruptly his lightsaber was at his side, humming with soft power. He didn't raise it, however, just met her eyes, trying to read their secrets.

The Jedi Master had no need to ask her why she was here. He knew why and he also knew that his sister's husband was quite safe. His features, ghosted in the green light, were curious and concerned...for her, of all things. "Who are you?" he asked poignantly. He was no more asking her name than her profession. He wanted to know who she was. Perhaps she didn't even know herself.

Perhaps she would not, or could not tell him, now or ever. Holding his hands out to his sides slightly, saber still lowered, he gave her a solemn look. "You may fight me, if you wish."

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 7:42 PM

taken slightly aback, the hand holding the blaster pistol wavered... his question left her bereft, as though she finally realized she was missing something important to her.

"I'm nobody..." She whispered, equally shocked and dismayed at this spontaneous answer. Her past a muddled, hazy thought, and her future just as murky... she shivered suddenly, and loss of strength finally caught up with her. The blaster clattered to the floor as she collapsed, the last thing she saw was Skywalker making his way toward her as her world turned black.

starlite4774
06/05/2004 7:59 PM

"Well, who is she??"

General Han Solo paced the length of his living area, blaring that question at anyone who would listen. Leia placed a calming hand on her husband's arm and looked to her brother. Their eyes met and flashed in twin understanding.

"How is Paej?" Leia asked softly. She had taken the news that her husband's assassin was passed out on her couch with much more grace than Han had. Two guards, blasters at the ready, stood at the two doorways and C-3PO was watching for the sleeping children, should they wake and leave their rooms.

Luke hesitated to answer as the door opened again and another guard pushed a hovering stretcher into the room.

"Well, who--! Oh." Han broke off when he saw that the Jedi was still unconscious and resumed his pacing, muttering angrily to himself. A medic crowded in the doorway after the stretcher and, having tended to the Jedi outside, made her way over to the stranger. Pronouncing her stable and likely to wake any moment, the medic moved back to the fallen Jedi, but was dismissed by Luke. He knew his student would recover...it was just that the onslaught had been much to recover from and it would take some time. And then more time to recover from perceived failure.

He sighed inwardly. Leia smiled at him through pursed lips and shook her head. By now, this was practically a way of life, but it never failed to astound and worry her. But her husband was safe. He had been all along. But how many innocents would have to be caught in the crossfire to continue that safety?

Luke let his twin's worry wash over him. His worries were buried deep, inaccessible, and it had been so long since he had paid them any heed that it was almost...refreshing to feel free worry, even if someone else's. Worry was a form of love. Love...

The Jedi Master turned back to his prisoner. He had stripped her of all weapons but not bound her. She was defenseless now and he was willing to stake his advantage on the fact that he didn't believe she would try to flee or wound...

But still, his student had believed her defeated and taken the penalty, so he was vigilant. Watching closely, he waited for her to wake.

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 8:23 PM

the dreams skittered across her mind lightly... just barely out of reach.

The man turned to her, his pale eyes filled with a brief fury that Aya stepped back. He drilled her over and over, and she still couldn't get what he wanted right, and she wanted so badly to please him.

Aya murmered something in her unconcious state, the anxiety evident in the lines that creased her forhead. Her sudden gasp startled everyone in the room save Luke as she sat up suddenly biting back a cry.

The dream was gone as fast as it had come... and blinking, Ayalana abruptly realized where she was. The first thing that was impressed upon her was that she was unbound, though she lacked her weapons. Her head ached, and after a moment's hesitation, she looked up, staying stubbornly silent, ignoring all within the room, her eyes locking with Luke's.

starlite4774
06/05/2004 8:37 PM

Luke Skywalker met the woman's eyes but his expression was unreadable. The concern he had once had for her was either gone or no longer apparent and he made it clear with a look that she had hurt one of his students and her actions now would determine the pace of her redemption, if she so chose to seek it.

Han was much less forgiving.

"Who are you?" he snarled. "Why have you come to our home?" His children, presumably still sleeping in the next room--though Luke and Leia knew full well that they weren't--were the only thing that kept Han's voice down. It was those same children who erased any trace of civility from his tone--she was not speaking now to a general, but to a father.

Kalia_Majere
06/05/2004 8:52 PM

Aya turned her gaze to Solo, though her temper crested for a brief second she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

"My name is Ayalana Muldavayne, and the answer to your question is simple. I'm a bounty hunter, I was hired to kill you, General Solo... " She was honest enough, though that cold lump of fear still settled in her stomach. her mind raced so fast that it nearly made her dizzy.. she knew that from the begining that this would end in failure, and in some way...deep down she was glad that she did fail.

Part of her mind felt the three children in the other rooms... and she nearly broke down then and there... oh how she hated herself now... she suddenly felt coldy certain that had she succeeded she never would have been able to live with herself.

"I will not lie, doing so now will not help me. You have dangerous enemies General Solo, and Bib Fortuna will not take my failure lightly..." She said slowly.

starlite4774
06/05/2004 9:09 PM

"Tell me something I didn't know," Han muttered, rubbing his face with his hands. His anger parted with him abruptly as he realized what he was dealing with was...well, something he had been dealing with for the better part of his life by now. "Well, Bib, bring it on..." Dismissing Aya with a disgusted sigh, he walked away muttering. He might not be a Jedi, but he had once been on that side of the law, where money matters and the moral line is that much easier to cross...but he had seen her break. She wouldn't bother him any more.

Not that that meant he would forgive. But he could tell when Luke wanted something. Lousy Jedi.

Leia watched Han stalk off with something akin to amusement and then followed him. The room was left with the two Jedi, the prisoner, and the three guards.

Luke was ignoring Ayalana, his gaze on Paej for a long moment before he turned to the bounty hunter with a significant look. The younger Jedi was still out, but shifted, murmuring painful cries. Holding Aya's gaze, he reached out in the Force to comfort his student and she became subdued under his ministrations.

"You're very powerful," he said finally. It wasn't a compliment. "From where does a bounty hunter get such power?"

Arandur
06/06/2004 5:17 AM

...Callan met the young padewahn’s eyes and nodded mutely for he could see in her eyes she thought he was quitting. Perhaps she is right. He stood in silence for a moment then turned and began walking towards his small cramped quarters where the meager possessions he had brought with him lay, his booted feet echoing along the ancient halls. After a half dozen footfalls he stopped looking over his shoulder one last time.

“Good luck Callie, you take care of yourself.” Callan mumbled quickly turning back and continuing into the darkened corridors beyond. He fumbled in the pocket of his flight suit for his comlink and brought the cylindrical device to his lips.

“Cee-Five, prep the fighter for departure,” he ordered cutting the transmission just as the astromech droid began to warble a reply. He was in no mood for the droids banter, the sooner he was off this planet and away from the Jedi the sooner he could forget all of this.

I was a fool to even let myself think for a moment I could be a Jedi.

A strange sound, as if one was clearing their throat, but grating as if the sound was garbled by water, caused the young pilot to stare at the alien Jedi that approached him along the stone corridor, her bulbous wet-looking eyes blinked rapidly as the Mon-Calamari approach Callan, her robes trailing behind her as Clighal studied the young man with an unreadable alien expression.

“I could not help but overhear your conversation with the young apprentice, you are heading to Coruscant, yes?” she asked in her strange accented voice, an alien voice not quite meant to speak the sounds of basic. Callan nodded mutely an affirmative, the only other Mon-Calamari he had ever seen was the Rebellion hero Admiral Ackbar in the old holo-vids made shortly after the Battle of Yavin, he had always been fascinated by Ackbar.

“Good. You will take this message from myself to Master Skywalker, yes?” Clighal asked again in her warbled voice. To the young fighter pilot, it sounded like more of a command then a request and for a moment anger flared within him, it felt like salt into an open wound. What more do these Jedi want of me?

Despite his momentary anger he nodded, it was a chance to meet Luke Skywalker in the flesh, the former commander of Rogue Squadron and a hero of the Rebellion. His heart almost leapt a beat. Don't seem over eager here Callan.

“Of course. If you send the details to my astromech droid on where I can find Commander Skywalker I’ll deliver your message.” He said making sure he emphasized Skywalker’s military rank and not his Jedi title while shrugging nonchalantly. He couldn’t gauge a response in the alien face of the Jedi. Instead she made a clicking sound deep in her throat and produced a chrome message-cylinder from her robes and held it out to Callan.

He regarded the device warily before taking the cylinder and nodding to the Jedi Master and standing in silence for a few heartbeats before she bowed her head in thanks and without another word, made her way quietly into the gloom of the dimly lit temple corridor.

Callan inspected the cylinder with an inquisitive eye, its silvered form glinting in the wan light before tucking the device into a pocket of his flight suit.

In the dim light he continued, lost in the knowledge that for the first time in his young life he had indeed failed…



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


An hour later, the X-Wing was nosing its way through the clouds and upper atmosphere of the lush jungle moon of Yavin IV, its S-Foils locked into a single wing as the fighter craft arced sleekly away from the planets surface, its ion drives leaving an orange trail as it left the atmosphere.

Callan flicked a few of the switches and read the sensor information distractedly as Cee-Five relayed alternate hyperspace routes and other pertinent information to his flight screens. The young pilot felt good to be away from the planet and tried his best to leave the last three months clearly behind him, behind the flight stick of a starfighter the young pilot knew what he could and couldn’t do.

Selecting the shortest hyperspace course he tapped the coordinates into the NavComp and gently guided the nose of the X-Wing to the new course bearing, stifling a yawn with the back of his flight glove, he eased the controls of the hyperdrive back with his other hand and the starfield accelerated and blurred until the light of the stars were lines cascading past the X-Wing, then suddenly they coalesced into solid tunnel of pale blue light as the X-wing reached true hyperspace with a slight jolt.

Callan took a moment to relax and take in the alien vista through the cockpit. He had always found Hyperspace soothing, relaxing and tranquil. After a moment, he released the fighter's controls into the custody of Cee-Five and worked the kinks from his neck before settling back and closing his eyes.

It would be a long journey to Coruscant but at least it gave him the luxury of time to sleep. As his eyes closed, sleep came to him almost immediately, a comforting blanket of darkness into which he gratefully descended…







[Edited by Arandur on Sunday, June 6, 2004 4:03 PM]

Kalia_Majere
06/06/2004 2:27 PM

Aya tensed as Luke watched her carefully. She had known that this was coming, but that didn't mean she had to like it.


"Where? The same place a lowly farm-boy once did." She said, raising an eyebrow. The barest flicker of emotion crossed Lukes face, and Ayalana risked a wan smile.

"But, that's not the answer you're looking for is it? You want to know who taught me and why I have so little training for one with my potential?" She hazarded the guess. A barely imperceptable nod from Skywalker prompted her to continue.

"To be honest, Master Skywalker, I don't know, I can't remember... I've tried for the last ten years to do so..and have failed at every attempt. My life before then is nothing more than a haze at best." She shook her head and ran her fingers throught her dark hair in a nervous gesture.

She stood carefully, and looked out the window to the city beyond, ignoring the glares of the guards. She took a deep breath as she watched the city come to life with the dawn.

"Mostly my memories are dreams." She said, almost forgetting that Luke was there.

"Mostly they were full of pride, approval and accomplishment. While others are Dark, filled with fear-tainted dissapointment and failure. I do remember clearly that he took me in when no one else would after Mother died..." She made a soft, disgusted sound, crossing her arms across her chest in a defensive gesture.

"I can't even remember his face, so much for gratitude."

As Ayalana talked, Luke's attention was riveted to her, so neither noticed one of the guards as he slipped away. The guard hurried as fast as he could without drawing unwanted attention. ONce he got away from the old Imperial Palace, the man withdrew a hand-held holo-communicator. The Image sparked with static as he awaited contact.

The figure that greeted him frowned, his blue eyes sharp with suspicion.

"She failed." was all the man said, his gravelly voice filled with barely contained fury and disssapointment. I t was not a question.

The guard nodded anyway as he moved down the street. His stolen uniform afforded him respect and the crowd parted to allow him passage.

the image's frown deepened. "Skywalker?"

"Yes, it was he who stopped her. He's 'interrogating' her now."

The man scowled, his eyes burning with hatred. "She hasn't the means nor the will to escape on her own. Get her out of there." The man paused, considering something... then spoke again.

"If you cannot... Kill her. I'd sooner see my student dead than in the hands of Skywalker and his Damnable New Republic."

The impersonator nodded as the holo winked out. He made sharp turn in direction, he ducked into a docking platform that held his ship. Minutes later, the man exited the ship, having traded the guard uniform for a camoflaged armored suit; the helmet obscuring his features. He set the ships' engines on standby and Slave One roared to life.

Boba Fett turned, slapping a fresh power pack into the blaster rifle and turned back the way he had come. He hated Jedi, and the sonner this assignment was completed, the better.

starlite4774
06/06/2004 2:58 PM

Luke leaned forward ever so slightly in his seat, the motion betraying his eagerness to anyone who was paying sharp attention. There had been something...something that was driving him to seldom known distraction. There was something...familiar about the feeling he got from her. Something familiar...twinged with something entirely different. Was it her or her training? Which was familiar, which was not?

As such, he only barely noticed his student awakening and ignored her until she spoke up suddenly. "Did you not ever think to seek help from a Jedi?" Luke turned to Paej and sensed no animosity from the younger Jedi. She seemed...weary and guarded, but not specifically so from the bounty hunter as from the universe at large. "Did you not think it wise to complete your training?"

Luke nodded. Paej, if she could come to trust the bounty hunter, was especially good at drawing people out. It was a talent...a talent that was part of what held her back. But in this situation, it would once away serve her well. Luke had often been conflicted about his student. There were things she could do as a person and things she could do as a Jedi...and, according to tradition, she could not do both.

Luke suddenly heard what Han would have to say about that and shook his head slightly to clear it. Paej would be Paej for now...and Luke would strive to learn the truth about Aya with help from his student.

"Your grasp of power..." he started. "It is tenuous. Uncontrolled. Most students who have tried what you have done with brute force have failed for a sheer lack of understanding and connection to the Force. If you're willing, I would like to discover how you succeeded...a discovery that would probably also uncover the secrets of your past." He paused and then added almost as an afterthought, "Of course, you would have to stop trying to kill people."

Weakly struggling to stand, Paej, newly reminded of her failure, left the room to collect herself in the kitchen. This was going to be...difficult.

Kalia_Majere
06/06/2004 4:09 PM

Aya turned as she tried to think back. "I don't know... there's a lot I don't know.. I have no excuse as to why I haven't sought teaching... part of it consisted of finding someone... I was alone. I didn't know who to turn to."

She turned to Luke, considering what he was offering. "Alright... I'll accept your offer... as for killing anyone, that's over. I fear however that Fortuna will eventually send someone after me." She said.



Boba Fett stared up at the Imperial palace, the helmet hiding his frown. His reward would be much more if he could get her out alive... he just had to figure out how.

starlite4774
06/06/2004 5:29 PM

Master Skywalker was gone. Having acknowledged Aya's acceptance of his offer, he had left to talk to his sister, who, being the Minister of State, would arranged for Aya to stay in the Imperial Palace as long as Luke was staying. Though the Jedi Master trusted the former bounty hunter on her word, it would not do to even ask his sister to hush up a situation with an assassin who had come to kill her husband. The Solos would suffer the presence of Aya, but only with specific precautions. And it was only a matter of time before the incident went public and excuses for not arresting the bounty hunter and bringing her before the law had to be made.

There were also precautions to be taken for the eventual repercusions for Aya's failed attempt. There was no more secure place for her to be on Coruscant than in the Palace with two Jedi, a general, and tight security.

Although, Paej admitted quietly, it hadn't been that hard for Aya to get in in the first place. She was back again in the living room on Master Skywalker's request, keeping Aya company. Two new guards were stationed at the doors--the last two had been taken for questioning when the third had left his post and later declared missing. The search had yet to find him.

She said nothing for a long time and then opened her mouth and said...nothing still. The silence stretched between them and, wearily, Paej began to lightly meditate.

Arandur
06/07/2004 3:35 AM

…The X-Wing eased its way through the atmosphere of Coruscant, heading for the Senatorial residence of Leia Organa-Solo the Minister of State, his flight clearances uploaded to Cee-Five by the Jedi Clighal allowed him access to the outer markers and landing pads of the area but still kept his snubfighter well beyond the exclusion zone of the Solo residence. It would be a bit of a walk but he was looking forward to the time outside, it had been a long three weeks in hyperspace with only a few stops for course correnctions and much need time to stretch his legs.

Callan kept his hand firm on the flight controls as he slowly circled the landing platform and engaged the craft’s repulsor lift engines, the ship jolting suddenly as the landing cycle was engaged and the landing skids locked into place. A moment later, another sudden jolt marked the fighter touching down on the platform. Callan sighed and leaned his head back for a moment closing his eyes and taking a few moments to relax before he unclipped the helmets chin strap.

“Cee-Five, keep the ship ready and primed, I’ll contact you if anything changes.” He said as he flicked the switch to open the canopy idly and then tugged off his gloves and removed his flight helmet, tossing them both on the pilots seat before he made his way to the platform. His legs shaky after such a long time in the cramped quarters of the X-Wing and he leant heavily against the X-Wings fuselage until he reached the storage compartment where he tapped the code into the lock and then withdrew his khaki uniform and began changing, it wouldn't be right to meet heroes of the rebellion in his flight coveralls...

Kalia_Majere
06/07/2004 10:07 AM

Aya noticed Paej attempt at some sort of conversation, only to close her mouth. Aya herself could think of nothing to say either... what did one say to someone that they had attacked? nothing Personal?? Silently Aya shook her head in silent chastizment and closed her eyes.

The loss of her lightsaber made Aya feel defenseless... even with such a fortefied defense at her aid. She fought to calm herself... feeling her anger rise as she thought of her whole situation.

Calm yourself... Every Jedi has a center that is nothing but calm.... within you, it is filled with anger and hatred... let that go, anger only clouds your judgment, and Hatred leads to not only the destruction of others, but your own demise... let it go, and see if what I tell you is true.

Aya startled at the sound of Luke's voice unbidden in her mind....but with a sigh, she decided to go ahead and do as the Jedi Master had instructed.

Slowly, like a fog burned away by the morning sun, the anger drifted away... and the hatred faded till it was no more substantial than a shadow.

Surprised at what she felt and sensed now, a ghost of a smile graced her lips. she eased into the feeling with a comfort and calm that she could never remember feeling before... the loss of her lightsaber fogotten, her mind reached out, wandering with aimless joy through the city...

Suddenly she touched a mind that was so filled with hate, that it made her stumble back... her eyes opening wide as she stifled a gasp... the hatred was directed at the Jedi in general... and somthing else... a grim purpose... much similar to her own....

The persons mind was full of thoughts, and one formost of all.

'how do I get her out of there? Ayalana Muldavayne. I know much about her past... Too much for comfort really... perhaps I should offer her that?'

Immediately she grasped at that thought and sent her thoughts to his.

You know me? You know of my past? her shock and excitement blocked out all other thoughts but his.

his shock was even more intense than her own, and his thoughts became jumbled. She waited for them to calm somewhat.

Just think clearly...I'll understand your thoughts. She sent.

'yes, I know you...and I can help... Meet me at your landing platform, and we will speak about this.' Boba thought, keeping a image of the Peregrine in his mind. the contact broke off, and he shivered, oh he hated Jedi, but this was his best hope on getting her to come with him with little fuss...

Aya had broken the contact with an effort, she didn't want to be discovered... and she highly doubted that they would even let her go to her ship, but she had to try.

starlite4774
06/09/2004 5:08 PM

Paej struggled to sit up straight on the couch. Aya had been reacting to something...the Jedi could see that her meditation had faded into something else. Paej tried to relax and focus on the Force, but her fatigue prevented her from feeling anything other than Aya's vague emotions...the same information as the Jedi could have recieved from watching the expressions on the other woman's face.

When it seemed that Aya had come out of it, Paej pursed her lips. "What was that?"

Kalia_Majere
06/09/2004 5:36 PM

Aya didn't even hesitate. "Master Skywalker.... He was helping me through an excercise." She smiled vaugely. "it was something new... something I had never quite experianced before." She stood with a languid grace, and then ran her fingers through her dark hair.

Suddenly her eyes went round. "Damn! My ship! I left the engines on standby... they'll impound her if I don't get back to shut 'er down!"

starlite4774
06/09/2004 5:51 PM

Paej's lips thinned. She was only aware of her Master as conversing with his sister and brother-in-law. He would not commence training with her like this. But the young Jedi was not about to accuse the woman of lying. She didn't have the energy for it.

She gestured to one of the guards, keeping her eyes on Aya. "Describe your ship. We'll send someone to shut it down for you."

Kalia_Majere
06/09/2004 6:22 PM

Aya shook her head. "I'd be glad to, but for the fact that no one can get in but me... the ship is programed to me only. You, of course, are welcome to accompany me...." She said, knowing that there would be no way around it.

starlite4774
06/09/2004 6:28 PM

Paej nodded, finding calm again. She briefly informed Master Skywalker of where they were going and he agreed easily, distracted by some affair of state. She dismissed one of the guards to go alert security that they would be moving and motioned for the other guard to follow them.

Rising stiffly, she gestured toward the door. "After you..."

Arandur
06/10/2004 9:07 PM

…Buttoning up the last of the flight uniform buttons, Callan glanced around the windswept landing platform, his eyes running over the other two ships that sat on the outstretched docking platform suspended over a drop that reeled the mind to comprehend, its depths lost, too far for the human eye to see.

The first was a rather squat Ghtroc Industries freighter, a fairly cheap and easily modified freighter that 40 years ago had been designed to give Corellian Engineering YT series stiff competition. As far as Callan remembered the freighter had failed miserably and now could be purchased for a pittance on dozens of backwater planets.

It was however the second vessel that caught Callan’s eye, drawing it from the squat freighter as the light glinted off its golden hull. He took a few steps towards the ship, tucking the chrome message cylinder for Master Skywalker into his uniform pant pocket, as he whistled to himself in appreciation of the vessel’s sleek lines.

“A Nubian transport.” He said softly to himself “Frack, I didn’t think any of these old ships were around any more. I bet you’ve got a few stories to tell, don’t you old girl.” He said to the ship soothingly before sighing and running a hand through his blonde windswept hair and turning to leave the platform. He glanced over his shoulder once more and shook his head to himself, it was amazing what ships were still in use throughout the galaxy.

Fifteen minutes later, a half-dozen security checkpoints and directions from two maintenance droids later, Callan stood before the door to the Organa-Solo apartments, the chrome cylinder glinting wetly in the artificial light as he stood awkwardly in the corridor wondering exactly what he would say, not used to the elegance and extravagance of the Solo family’s Coruscant home.

His nervous contemplation was interrupted by the sudden hiss of the pressure door opening and the young pilot leapt back a step, more than a little startled, his hand reaching for his now empty blaster holster by reflex, but found nothing but air and the worn leather of his weapon’s holster, the weapon now lay with the security staff of the first checkpoint.

Callan quickly composed himself and looked over the two women standing before him, one gesturing for the other to use the door, with an appraising eye before affecting his nonchalant smile. To him neither seemed anywhere old enough to be Leia Organa-Solo but he hoped they could tell him where to find Skywalker, the sooner he found the Jedi Master the sooner he could put his failure at Yavin behind him.

His eyes caught a cylindrical device hanging from the belt of the second woman, her lightsaber and his eyes narrowed, his mouth tightening slightly and he ran his free hand though his hair nervously as he looked the the young woman.

“Excuse me ma’am I have a message for Master Skywalker from the Jedi Praxeum.” He said awkwardly as he held the code cylinder up as proof of what he had announced and awaited the woman’s response impatiently…

starlite4774
06/10/2004 9:28 PM

Paej could just blink at the man for a moment. She had been startled to find him upon opening the door and was slightly annoyed that she hadn't felt him coming. She surpressed a sigh. She still felt weak, the weight of her failure heavy on her shoulders and her determination strong not to mess up with Aya again.

Master Skywalker hadn't mentioned any message, but then he wouldn't necessarily have known about it. There was nothing suspicious about the man before her; in fact, he looked slightly familiar, like someone she had a memory of seeing in passing. Quickly relaying the message to Master Skywalker, she nodded to herself and then smiled politely at the messenger.

"I am Paej Eerda, a student of Master Skywalker. If you are in a hurry, you may give the message to me," she said, noting his awkward stance, "but Master Skywalker would prefer it if you deliver it personally. If you would just step inside, he will join you momentarily."

Arandur
06/15/2004 3:49 PM

…Callan studied Paej for a few long seconds fighting the urge to chew his bottom lip as he thought over the decision of whether to leave or stay, his mind racing through points that both swayed and repelled him against staying, in the end he sighed and ran his free hand through his hair and nodded. Duty to the Republic he decided, and then admitted to himself grudgingly that curiousity also played a part in his decision.

“Of course then I shall deliver it to Commander Skywalker personally then.” He said resignedly, stepping passed the jedi and into the rather opulent apartments of the Organa-Solo residence. He let out a slight whistle; more to himself than for anyone around him, as he stared at the interior of the room his eyes slightly wide in amazement. The whole planet was a far cry from the backwater mud pit he was born and raised on but this was something far beyond the imaginings of his New Republic salary.

He glanced back to the two women by the doorway and smiled nervously not sure of exactly where he was supposed to wait and half expecting the figures of General Solo or Skywalker to enter through one of the rooms entrances.

“I am Flight Lieutenant Callan cal’Vanyeth, by the way. In case Commander Skywalker asks that is.” He added haltingly…

Kalia_Majere
06/15/2004 4:04 PM

Aya glanced at the man who identified himself as Callen... and smiled faintly.. She could feel that he was force-sensitive from the moment he brushed past her. She glanced at Paej, and with a final look at Callen, Aya walked through the door, ignoring Paej, not really caring if the apprentice followed her or not.

Her mind raced furiously, keeping her guard against Paej, and wondering what would happen once they reached the Peregrine.

starlite4774
06/17/2004 3:24 PM

Paej smiled serenely. "He knows," she said to Callan, slighly amused by the man's nervousness. He was obviously Force-sensative and she could tell he had some experience with Jedi, if not training. His curiousity, as well as his weariness, was plain. He was handling himself well, though, she thought. Master Skywalker would probably surprise him.

She wished she could stay. Getting to know Callan, if only for a few minutes, was much more appealing than staying with the bounty-hunter, even if Master Skywalker trusted her. The woman was guarding, which could mean she was naturally a private person or that she was hiding something. Her amusement slipped as she felt Aya brush past her. Paej took a deep breath and hurried. Catching up to her, they walked side by side.

"Look," Paej said suddenly. "I'm tired. I know Master Skywalker had placed his trust in you--like he does so many--and I know he wishes to and can help. He's a great man. I am just his student and you've already proven yourself against me once. Do I need to be worried about a second time?" A Jedi is calm, centered. But even a Jedi sometimes need to be reassured of that center. Or at least a Jedi like her. She wondered worriedly if Master Skywalker even needed to be reassurance.

-------------------------------------------------------

Callan did not have to wait long. A few seconds after the women and guards left, a man entered the room. His clothing was unassuming, not so obvious as a Jedi robe or the rich attire of a wealthy general. He had sandy hair and telling eyes...the kind that were tired but sparkled with that rare reserve of energy found after a trying day is over.

It was common knowledge who lived in the Solo household. This man was neither old enough to be General Solo or young enough to be his son, Jacen. He smiled at Callan and then ducked into the kitchen. A moment later his head appeared around the doorframe. "Hello," he said, voice soft and measured. "Drink?"

Arandur
06/17/2004 4:03 PM

…The Starfighter pilot’s eyes narrowed slightly as he watched the man enter the room, his mind trying to match the figure before him to those depicted in the celebration holo-vids after the destruction of the second Death Star and the Emperor Palpatine. Callan noted with some disappointment he was expecting something a little more ‘grander’ from a Jedi Master and hero of the rebellion.

“Constantly sir,” he answered the Jedi question about the drink with a faltering good natured smile before adding: “but not on duty sir.”

He studied the Jedi Master who seemed to his eyes at least tired and weary; he looked at the message cylinder rfor a moment, its chrome surface glinting in the light of the chamber before thrusting it towards Luke.

“Clighal requested that I bring this message to you Commander, from the Praxeum but then you probably know that already.” He said still studying the Jedi Master. He expected someone older for some reason, than the unassuming man before him...

starlite4774
06/17/2004 5:19 PM

"If I knew Clighal was going to send me a message," Luke returned easily, "why would you be needed to deliver it?" He smiled enigmatically while reaching out to take the cylinder and ducking back into the kitchen. When he returned, he held a cup and the still unopened cylinder. Making no move to access his message, Luke studied Callan much as the younger man had surveyed him only moments before.

"Tell me, Callan," he said finally. "Why do you address me by my rank?" The Jedi Master's eyes seemed to gain depth as if all the power behind his relaxed stance was held within his twin orbs. A Jedi is always in control...and sometimes, it seems, they always ask questions to which they already know the answer.

Arandur
06/17/2004 8:16 PM

…“Well Commander, I would have guessed that someone like yourself may have…felt…it. I observed that most of the instructors seemed to be able to guess things through intuition that were well beyond my grasp. I kind of figured you being who you are and all Sir would have just known.” He explained, his lips tightening a little as he mentioned the instructors of the Jedi Praxeum.

Callan felt more than a little uneasy under the scrutiny of the Jedi Master but stood his ground as best he could and straightened his shoulders and folded his hands behind his back. It was strange, he noted absently, that though physically taller than Skywalker, he still felt somehow insignificant under his gaze.

The young man shook his head slightly to shake loose that thought and ran a hand through his blonde hair before placing it once again behind his back as he listened to the question and nodded his understanding.

“Because Commander Skywalker, you hold that rank in the Republic Navy and Sir, as protocol requires, I am to refer to a ranking officer by title." He added smoothly. It was a lie, but it held more truth than falsehood and Callan didn’t truly wish to delve once again into his failures on Yavin IV…

[Edited by Arandur on Thursday, June 17, 2004 8:24 PM]

Kalia_Majere
06/19/2004 6:59 PM

Aya walked ahead of Paej, heading for the landing platform where the sleek Nubian ship awaited. She worried about what would happen when they got there... and her mind still raced as they reached the platform.

Two rapidly fired blaster shots shattered Aya's pondering...ending the what-if's. The two guards to either side of her fell without a sound... and Aya turned to see a figure in armor, she thought it was familiar, but at the moment, all connection eluded her.

"Alright Muldavayne... I told you that I would have what you sought...and you bring guards and a Jedi Prat along with you.... Tsk Tsk That's not exactly fair." Said the oddly mechancal voice as he leveled the blaster rifle, pointing it directly at her.

"You think I had a choice?" She growled.

starlite4774
06/19/2004 9:55 PM

Master Skywalker's answering smile left little doubt that he had seen right through Callan's white lie, but the Jedi didn't comment. Instead, he opened up the cylinder and scanned the message inside. Whatever it was, no urgency registered on the Jedi's features--by contrast he looked slightly surprised, threw a searching look at Callan and re-read the letter. Again he looked up at the messenger when he was finished and seemed to ponder something.

He motioned for Callan to sit down. "Though it is true that a Jedi has an advanced intuition, it is not a unique state of being and the basest parts of it are not beyond any person...one just needs to learn how to pay attention to the smallest detail," he said, slipping easily into the role of a teacher, though his age and manner suggested more of a confidant. "Being a Jedi is not about predicting the next moment or the size of the rock you can lift with your mind. Nor is it about patience...it is about your center...your place within the Force, that is, within all of life." He smiled. "But I'm sure you already knew that."

He switched topics without missing a beat, as if Callan wouldn't be interested in talking about Jedi anymore. "My place within the Navy is ceremonial at best...I'm not on active duty and I don't think I will be for some time, if ever again. So you may call me Luke." He paused. "I'm...waiting for my student to finish something. I'd like it if you waited with me and told me about yourself. Unless you need to be somewhere else." Somehow, it was easily known that to lie again would be very, very rude.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Her lightsaber was in her hand as soon as the first shot was fired. By the second shot her mind had processed that this...person...was different and couldn't be sensed normally within the Force.

Paej stepped into the line of fire between Aya and the man, ignoring the woman's apparent betrayal. Master Skywalker trusts her, Paej thought. I am doing the right thing. After all, Aya should be able to see that a blaster rifle pointed in her direction was as simple as the betrayer being betrayed, shouldn't she?

"You are not authorized to be here," Paej stated firmly to the man. "You will leave immediately." As she spoke, she sent a message to her mentor but he...was ignoring her? She hid her confusion well and quelled the thought that she was again alone. Her eyes flashed. "Now, lower your weapon and leave," she added for good measure.

Kalia_Majere
08/15/2004 3:16 PM

OOC: looks like Arandur is MIA, so we'll go on without him, we can say his character went his own way...

Aya stared at the man with the blaster-rifle. Her green eyes narrowed and she glanced at Paej. The man only laughed, his face hidden behind the blast sheild of his helmet.

"I don't think so, Jedi" The man snarled, and kept his blaster trained on Paej. "Open the hatch, Muldavayne.... we have quite a ways to go to reveal the answers you seek."

Aya glanced again at Paej, and doubt filled her being, feeling like a lead weight on her chest. Something wasn't right....

"And if I should decide that I really don't want to know?" She queried, her hand flexing nervously at her hip, seeking a weapon that wasn't there.

"Then, I'm afraid, that we'll all go up in a nice big explosion. There is a sonic detonator attached to the hatch of your ship, and only the extreem cold of space will deactivate it... it is set to detonate in less than twenty minutes... if it detonates, it will not only destroy this pad, but many other buildings within a mile radius... and I'm quite sure a Jedi of your moral wouldn't want to waste innocent lives."

Aya paled, this wasn't going right... he was after something else besides payment for information... but her gaze slid to the hatch of the Peregrine and sure enough, she could see the detonator...it's steady flashing light made her heart race with fear for those around her.

"Fine...alright, I'll come along..." She spat, as she made to make her way past Paej.

Kalia_Majere
08/22/2004 12:00 PM

((OOC: Guess I'm on my own in this one now *cries* I'll keep this going as long as I can, perhaps someone else will join in....))

Aya knew that there was a strong possibility that this man would probably set off the detonator anyway, but there was a slim chance that he wouldn't... and she had to try to ensure the safety of those around the landing pad.

She moved past Paej, and the Jedi apprentice grabbed her arm in a grip that rivaled the clamps that kept her ship dirtside. "Let me go Paej, I don't doubt that he'll set that detonator off, have you ever seen a Sonic bomb go off? Not pretty, buildings for at least a mile in circumferance will be destroyed... even as I am, I cannot allow that."

Paej's mind raced, she didn't like this, but even she realized that such an act was futile... and instead sent out a frantic call to Master Skywalker. Aya could feel her call, and the powerful ripple in the force as Luke responded.

::I am going with him... I never should have come to Courscant at all....:: She sent on to both, the force behind her message unbelievably strong.

With a tug, Aya pulled her arm free from Paej's grasp, and walked with her hands open at her sides. Boba looked at Paej and once Aya had reached his side, he leveled the rifle at her. Aya heard the whine and reacting without thought, she brought her hand down so that the blast blackened the steel plate only inches from his feet.

He rounded on Aya, the butt of the rifle catching her on her shoulder, pain was the only constant now as the hard strike fractured the collar bone. Aya cried out, but she managed to interpose herself between Boba and Paej.

"I said I was going with you, there is no need to harm her!" She spat. She struggled to see past the pain, to speak without crying. The pain brought stars to her sight, and she strived to see past them.

"the Jedi will raise the alarm, and we will not be able to get past this planets defense system." Boba growled, raising the rifle once more. Aya struggled and managed to stand, her face pale with the exertion.

"Fool! killing her will only speed them even faster on our trail, and I for one do not want Rouge Squadron on our tail." She gasped. She turned her back to Boba, daring him to shoot her as her eyes locked with Paej's.

"Forgive me..." She said, and closed her eyes.... once again, she gathered all of her power, drawing in the force like a sieve, allowing it to saturate her being. She gathered and then focused it into one single burst, and directed it at Paej, she didn't allow it all to strike the apprentice, she didn't want to harm her like she did before, only to knock her out, to save her life.

Boba lowered the rifle as Paej slumped to the ground. Aya walked over and checked the girl's pulse... and nodded, satisfied that she was essentially unharmed. After a moment's thought, she pried the girl's lightsaber from her fingers. Aya looked the weapon over, and nodded, clipping it to her own belt. "sorry, I'll need this sooner than you will I bet."

She turned back to Boba. "Happy?" When Boba nodded slowly, she turned and placed her palm on the panel near the hatch, her eyes riveted on the detonator. With a wave of his rifle, she preceeded him into the Peregrine.

With a final glance back towards the pad, she caught a glimpse of a robed man making his way towards them. another was right behind, blaster drawn. She sighed for loss of burned bridges and then closed the hatch behind Boba.

Aeramae
08/23/2004 8:04 AM

OOC: I don't know where to pop in.

Darth_Faelor
08/26/2004 3:03 PM

his form moves quietly within the mansion taking the ascender pad down into the depths of his dungeons white orbs scanning the area as it lands taking step into the cloning room glancing between the tubes that line the walls with a smile he opens the blank slate before him a mindless being he chuckles cragged and wrinkled hands reaching forth grasping the clones lifeless head within his grasp groweling as his hands glow as silvery hair stands upon end as bluish energy errupts into the clone from his body the eyes open slowly pale white upon the youthful skin as the old vessle is left empty writhed upon the floor....the clone steps out popping his neck retriveing the light saber from his formor vessles side before calling the droids in to clean up the waste stepping to the rack upon the side he slides himself into the dark robes and armor cerimoniously before stepping back to the lift bad ascending to the main floorlooking over the troupers that stayed within his order any news on Palpatines status....Im curious how my son is doing chuckling as one trouper moves closer offering him a pad with the details good.....al is according to plan.....prepair my ship we have much to do

Kalia_Majere
08/27/2004 6:46 PM

(ooc: Not bad, but as I said, please refrain from using dark colors for your text, white works best :) and your pic is cool, and you can put it in the signature section in "Your Settings")

Ayalana prepped the ship, the Peregrine’s engines roared to full life. She glanced out of the port window to see Skywalker help Paej to her feet. Boba stood slightly behind Aya, the blaster rifle still in hand.

“You have fifteen minutes left Jedi.” He snarled. Aya cast him a dark look, and released the clamps holding the Peregrine in place. A thin whine could be heard as the repulsor lifts engaged, lifting the sleek Nubian transport into the air. The Peregrine turned and Aya bid a silent farewell to Luke and Paej, regret tinting her thoughts.

:: You must do what you feel is right...:: was the only reply, Luke’s voice filling her mind.

Aya nodded, and keyed in the controls, angling the ship for the stars above. The ship moved away, and left those standing below to stare after the golden ship as she tore through the atmosphere, and faded from sight.

The Peregrine slipped out of the final layer of Courscant’s atmosphere and was surrounded by the cold, star-studded blackness of space. Aya checked the radars, and noted another ship coming up fast behind them.

“Don’t worry about that one, it’s my ship, set on autopilot, programmed to mimic your ship. Set in a course for Kessel. There is someone who has a great desire to meet you Ayalana.” Boba said smiling.

Back at Courscant, Luke had helped Paej to her feet. “Are you all right?” He asked, concerned as he watched the Peregrine leave Courscant’s atmosphere.

“Yea, I think so... Gods, my head hurts....” Paej gasped, holding one slim hand to her forehead, closing her eyes. “She tricked me....”

“Yes, she did do that...but she also saved your life.” Luke said calmly, as he noticed that Paej’s lightsaber was missing. “Eye for an eye, I suppose....” He said as he un-hooked Aya’s lightsaber from his belt. “Here, take hers if you like....” He said, holding it out.

Paej shook her head. “No, I’d sooner construct a new one before I used hers.” She said coolly. Luke looked at her for a long moment.

“She did what she felt was right, I don’t know if we could’ve disarmed that bomb without setting it off. You were tricked, and so was she, I could feel it from her, that barely contained fury. There is a strong core of good in her, even if she is a bit naive.”

Luke stared up at the sky once more. “Either way, I’m going after her.... “

“Rouge Leader to Commander Skywalker” Luke took hold of the communicator that was resting in his pocket.

“Go ahead Wedge.” Luke responded.

“That ship that just took off like a crazed womp rat, well the pilot just transmitted its destination coordinates on a coded frequency... they’re headed for Kessel.”

Luke nodded, even though the distant Rouge Leader couldn’t see him. “Thank you Wedge... I’ll be following them soon.”

Luke turned and with a gesture, bade Paej and Cal to follow him. “Cal, please go prep your x-wing for flight, I’m going to talk Han into letting me use the Falcon, she’s the only ship fast enough to maneuver the Maw Cluster... and we’ll need the agility of an x-wing at our side.”

“Why me commander? You have the whole of Rouge Squadron at your disposal.” Cal asked, perplexed. Luke smiled faintly. “Ah yes, that I do, however none of them have your abilities Cal, and I fear I’ll have need of both talents before this mission is over. I won’t force you Cal, but Aya needs our help more than I think she even realizes.”

Cal looked up at Luke, and he realized just how old the Jedi Master had suddenly seemed. “All right, I’ll help; it’s not like I have anything really pressing to do at this moment anyway.” He said, and with an awkward salute, Cal turned away and headed for the landing pad that kept his X-wing landside.

Luke turned to Paej. “I know you’re the last person I should ask to go along... not because I doubt your abilities Paej, far from it, I fear that you would resent that I ask you to go along, considering all she had done to you.” Luke stated his blue eyes cool and again with a trace of pity in them.

Paej stiffened, her pride screamed no, let the damnable woman suffer. Then, unbidden, Luke’s statement reiterated itself in her mind. She saved your life

Paej's shoulders relaxed, and she sighed. “You’re right Master Skywalker... She did save my life. I have no doubt that he would have tried to kill me, and such a delay might have made it impossible to disarm the sonic detonator in time.” Paej shrugged and held out her hand.

Without saying a word, Luke lay Aya’s lightsaber into Paej’s open palm. Paej looked the sleek weapon over, and then clicked it to the belt of her robes. Luke nodded and led the way back to the palace.

“What? You’re telling me you actually want to follow that woman? Have you finally gone completely crazy Luke?” Han sputtered, his anger evident in his dark eyes. The twins stared at their father in silence, at thirteen years old; they were used to their father’s outbursts, and knew all too well to stay silent. Anakin thankfully wasn’t there; he was with Chewie and Winter. Jacen and Jaina watched their father and uncle stare at each other for a heart-stopping instant.

“Han, calm down... Luke wouldn’t do so unless he felt he had to, you know that” Leia said calmly. Leia had just finished with her long, dark hair. A glittering jeweled comb held half of it in place as the rest fell unfettered down her back. “What draws you to her Luke? Her Power?” Leia asked,

Luke was silent for a moment, his eyes unfocused. Then he shook his head. “No, at least that’s not all of it. She has power, there’s no denying that, I’ve never seen anyone do what she did to Paej, without driving either herself or Paej mad. There is something about her, I don’t know if it’s her power, her mannerisms or just her face, but she seems very familiar, too familiar for comfort. I can’t just let her go off without knowing who she is.” Luke said, a fever of emotion glinting in his eyes.

All of them stared at Luke in mild astonishment, none of them had seen Luke this impassioned for quite some time. Leia looked at Han, and he sighed. “All right, I can’t win when you two team up against me. But you better bring her back in one piece Farm Boy.” Han chided, and Luke smiled.

“Don’t worry, She’ll be just fine.” Luke said, and turned to leave. No one noticed that the twins had slipped away.

“Come on Jaina, we finally have a chance to help Uncle Luke... and we can even save that woman.” Jacen said, his brown eyes filled with excitement.

“Jacen, she tried to kill dad!” Jaina protested even though she jogged beside him willingly.

“Oh come on Jaina, she failed anyway, Uncle Luke wouldn’t let anyone harm Dad. Anyway, she said she was sorry!” Jacen panted, as they ran to the hanger than held the Millennium Falcon. Jaina ran along him in silence as he opened the hatch of the Falcon.

“All right, I’m coming along, if only to keep you out of as much trouble as I can Jacen!” Jaina relented as he pulled her up the ramp. Once inside, Jaina closed the hatch behind them and followed Jacen to a storage locker and watched as he rummaged through it. He pulled out two air exchangers, the cold metal cylinders glinting in the cool light. He handed Jaina one and then led her to the smuggling compartments that their father didn’t have the heart to seal up. He lifted one, and dropped down inside. He helped his twin to drop down, and then he replaced the steel plate.

The deck plate could only be locked from the outside, and using the force, with Jaina’s help, Jacen managed to lock it into place. The darkness was total as Jacen turned on the exchanger. The machine hissed, and cool air began to fill the compartment. Jacen and Jaina lay on the bottom of the compartment, their stolen flight suits (Much too big for them) kept them warm.

“Use the Trance that Uncle Luke taught us, otherwise He or Paej may find us anyway.” Jaina whispered, and he felt her mind draw away from his, till her presence was so faint that he had a hard time tracing her thoughts. Nodding, Jacen did the same, falling into the trance as quickly as Jaina did, their hands intertwined.



Luke stepped into the cockpit of the Falcon, and Paej settled into the co-pilot’s chair. Flipping a few switches, the Falcons’ engines began to whine, then roared to life. The Falcon lifted off of the landing pad, the bulky freighter moved out into the open air, then shot for the open space above. A second later, a sleek X-wing followed in the Falcon’s wake.

“ where we headed Commander?” came Cal’s voice from the X-Wing.

“I’ll send you the coordinates. We’re headed for Kessel, and probably the Maw Cluster.” Luke said, acting on instinct, and right now every thought was telling him that the remnants of the Empire had something to do with this all. Luke keyed in the coordinates and transmitted them to both Cal and the Falcons’ Nav Computer. Within moments the computer beeped, and Luke pulled back the lever, and the stars stretched into lines, then into the mottled blue-white and black that was hyperspace.



Aya settled back into her chair, the mottled view of hyperspace somehow soothing, almost making her forget about her so-called informant. “All right, Ayalana, into the passenger hold... I can handle it from here on in.”

Aya turned to Boba and this time his voice rang true. “I do know you... you’re Boba Fett aren’t you?” The man was silent for a tense moment, and then pulled the helmet off of his head. Boba’s dark eyes locked onto hers, and he bowed mockingly.

“Get into the Passenger Hold Ayalana.” He gestured with the blaster rifle. Aya nodded and moved past him. Just as she got through the door, with the passenger hold just on the other side, she said something.

“What was that?” He snapped.

“I said, I wonder how much the New Republic would pay to know your whereabouts.” She said with a smirk. Blinding rage filled her mind and a sharp pain made a black star explode before her eyes, and she knew nothing more.

Boba had swung the butt of the blaster rifle in a sharp arc, hitting the back of her skull. He watched with satisfaction as Aya fell to the floor like a stone. Quickly he made sure that he hadn’t swung too hard, and then dragged her over to one of the cushioned lounges, and lay her down on it. He stared down at her, and then shook his head. All this trouble for one silly Jedi...

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