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Posted: Apr 13 2005, 08:58 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
Disclaimer: I do not own SW, any recognizeable characters and places are not mine. Also I had to change some history to make this story work with the prequels as well. There's so little done with Hal I've basically taken what I could from a short story I read with him once. And, yes, I do have a thing about doing play offs of I, Jedi.
Summary: OT AU in which Hal Horn joins the Rebellion, plus some other changes that will come out through the story having to do with the Horns...
Thanks: As always to my beta, Rebelmom, and Jesina Dreis for encouraging the bunny, and both her and Myri for Rogue help.
Time Period: ESB merging with ROTJ.
Title: I, Rebel
It seemed an anticlimactic end to Wedge Antilles' smuggling and rebel career. I had spent so many years chasing him, in a way I was a little depressed as I answered the call. One of our newest recruits to Corsec, Adson Iving, had broken up a bar brawl downtown, and identified one of the brawlers to be Wedge Antilles. I was skeptical, to say the least. Catching the infamous smuggler and rebel pilot would certainly be one way to start your career with a bang, but I was fairly certain he was jumping the blaster.
Still, any suspicious rebel activity was worth investigating, and no officer knew Wedge Antilles better than me.
The alleged rebels were being held in the Comet's Tail cantina. I entered the Comet carefully, noting upturned tables and piles of glass being cleaned up by maintenance droids. Adson was there to greet me, looking very pleased with himself. "Antilles is being held in the back," he informed me, starting to lead the way. "We're holding his friends as well."
I nodded. "You sure it's him?"
"Of course," Adson replied as we reached the room where they were being held. Two of the cantina's guards stood outside the door, and I cocked an eyebrow at Adson.
"You think you've got Antilles and you've only set two guards?"
Adson snorted. "He's too drunk to get anywhere."
I wanted to hit my head against the wall. "Could very well be an act." I palmed the door open, and immediately began scanning the room. The rebels were all young men, looking to be in their early twenties. One, a baby faced brunette, sporting a black eye and split lip, glared defiantly at me and sat back against the bench, folding his arms. I guessed him to be the instigator, but it wasn't his defiant glare that annoyed me. I turned to Adson. "Looks like he could use an icepack, Iving."
"Sir, he's a rebel," Adson said, sounding surprised.
"Allegedly," I reminded the kid. "And that doesn't make him any less sentient. See if they have any at the bar for him."
The young man glared harder at me, and I turned my attention to the man seated next to him. His companion was blonde, with a dour expression on his face, his eyes rolled up toward the ceiling like he feared it might fall on him.
Before he left for the ice, Adson felt the need to goad Antilles. "Perhaps you remember Captain Hal Horn?" he asked, rather smug.
I looked immediately toward where he was looking, recognizing Antilles instantly. His brown eyes were far too clear to be as drunk as Adson thought, (I fear for the future of Corsec). Still, he clumsily spread his hands and his speech was slurred. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Antilles turned his gaze to me, and what I saw in his eyes caused me to pause. I detected distinct relief there, shadowed only slightly with fear. I wondered if I'd grown soft in my age. Most smugglers were certainly not happy to see me, particularly if I were there to positively identify them. Then another, darker thought crossed my mind. Was he relieved to see me because I was, perhaps, one of the last just men working for Corsec?
Movement next to him caught my eye, as the man sitting next to him shifted his weight on the bench. My blood ran cold. The young man's hair was dyed a deep brown, and though he now had a well trimmed goatee, he was unmistakably my son, Corran. Noticing he had my attention, he snapped his posture upright, and I felt my heart sink in my chest. There had to be a million reasons why my son would be cavorting around with rebels, but all of them would have to lead to one conclusion: he was one of them.
Now you may find my response to be somewhat unprofessional, but I have given up so much for a government that I do not believe in, hoping to at least keep my own home-world safe. My life and well being are worth the cost, but my son's, however, is not.
Miraculously, I managed to find my voice, and raise an eyebrow to Adson. "That's not Antilles."
Adson choked. "What?"
"For one thing, Antilles is a couple centimeters shorter," I said, jabbing my thumb at Antilles. "And a hell of a lot smarter."
"Oh," Adson said, severely disappointed.
I rested my hand on his shoulder. "Why don't you release them to me? I'll make sure they get home alright without causing any accidents, or starting more bar fights," I looked pointedly at the one with a black eye.
Adson nodded dejectedly.
"Perhaps it would be best to issue an apology to this young man," I suggested as an afterthought. "Calling any one a rebel is a serious accusation. If it had gone any further, it could have been a permanent black mark on his record."
"But..." Adson began, then let his protest trail off at a stern look from me. "Sorry."
"Thank you," I said, patting his back, and excusing him to leave.
As soon as the door closed behind Adson, I turned my full attention to Corran, who offered me a half, sheepish smile. "Hey, dad."
If anyone had told me an hour ago that I would be harboring five rebels in my apartment, I would have laughed in their face. The ride there was mercifully silent, aside from Babyface whispering to Corran if I was really his dad. Despite my mood, I found myself smiling at that. It made me feel like I was escorting home rebellious teenagers, who'd been caught out after curfew or creating general mischief on the streets. If only it were that simple.
I did not question or regret saving my son's life here. What I did regret was the necessity to lie in order to do so. The right thing to do now would be to turn in my resignation as quickly as possible; I'd allowed personal feelings to possibly jeopardize planetary security, and I couldn't be trusted to not do it again.
I keep a three bedroom apartment in downtown Coronet City, much too large for a bachelor like me, but I have high hopes of my son marrying and coming to visit me with his family. Never thought I'd be using it to accommodate my son and his rebel friends. I still wasn't much for talking when I led them inside, and one of the first things I did was pull out a nerf steak for Babyface's eye. The other men seemed to be taking their cue from Antilles, who was regarding me with intense curiosity. Had he really thought I could turn my own son in? Or find a way to pardon Corran, but not them?
Corran joined me in the kitchen as I attempted to prepare snacks and drinks for my ‘guests’. When in doubt, always be the gracious host. "You seem to have missed the Imperial Navy, Corran." I'd been admittedly disappointed when I learned that Corran wished to quit Corsec in order to join the navy. But after I'd been shot last year, nearly dying from it, and the perps walked free, he'd lost his faith in the system.
My son winced. "If Corsec is turning corrupt, the navy is worse."
I started chopping a piece of selerae. "So long as good men keep leaving, it will only grow worse."
"They're all joining the rebellion," Corran said softly, his tone defiant. "There's only so much we can do when the central government itself is corrupt. What I'm doing is finally fighting for a cause I can believe in." He gripped my arm. "Father, we can win."
There comes a time in every parent's life where you find yourself searching desperately for the child you raised, only to find them forever replaced by the man standing in front of you. I felt like I hardly knew my son any more, and wondered when he'd started having hostile thoughts toward the Empire. It's not that I support the Empire, I don't. My true father died fighting it, and as a Jedi Knight, I'd fought hard against it. The war though took a turn for the worse, and out of love for my father, Rostek Horn took my mother for his wife, and me for his son, erasing and rewriting every record that existed on Valin Halcyon. It is questionable to this day whether or not I actually existed. In order to protect my new family, I'd had to give up my Jedi heritage, relinquish my use of th Force, and join the Empireand offer up my support. Everything I have done for the Empire, I have done for my family.
And now the most important person in my life had turned away from it, and everything I do for the Empire now would hurt him.
It's amazing the kind of predicaments children manage to get their parents in.
Corran was giving me the kind of pleading look that I used to think was cute when he was a child, annoying as a teenager, and now very persuasive as an adult. I cleared my throat. "What do you do for them?"
"I fly for Rogue Squadron," Corran answered, clearly proud, but hurt I hadn't automatically offered to join the rebellion with him. "It's an elite group that takes missions other fighter squadrons can't."
I was proud too. I always loved to see Corran succeed. Somehow, his successes meant more to me than my own, and his failures far more painful. Having noticed how the men seemed to defer to Antilles, I asked, "Is Antilles Commander?"
Corran shook his head. "He's second to Luke Skywalker, who formed the squadron. But Luke's disappeared for the moment, so Wedge’s Acting."
I nearly chopped my finger. Skywalker was a name I hadn't heard in decades, and the sound of it sent a chill up my spine. "I take it this...Luke, is a good pilot?"
"Good?" Corran coughed. "He's one of the best I've ever seen. When I tried out for the squadron, Wedge told me I was good, but I was no Luke Skywalker. He destroyed the Death Star in his first battle."
That certainly pointed toward a relation to Anakin. It was rumored that his wife had been pregnant when she died, but perhaps I was misinformed. I was a little surprised Corran took it in stride. My son was practically born with a fighter pilot's ego. "You'll catch up to him."
Corran shrugged. "Probably as much as anyone can with a Jedi."
In the interest of keeping my fingers intact, I put the knife down. "He's admitted to this?"
"Yes," Corran answered, studying me carefully. "There's an awfully big price on his head. Darth Vader is apparently obsessed with him."
"I imagine so," I mused thoughtfully. I was immensely curious as to who could have possibly trained Luke. The first person I thought of was Obi-Wan Kenobi. Could he possibly still be alive? No...surely Corran would have mentioned him as well. Somehow, a partially trained Jedi with as high a potential as Anakin's son would have didn't settle well with me. I decided to change the subject before Corran would be able to tell exactly how much the thought disturbed me. "Who're your friends?" I asked, cocking my head toward the living room where Wedge and the other men had settled.
"The one with a black eye is Wes Janson, the blond's Hobbie, and the other brunette's Tycho Celchu," Corran answered, glancing toward the living room. "We're on a supply run here." He took a deep breath, and gave me an uncertain look. "We need to leave tomorrow."
I returned to chopping the vegetable. "I see."
Corran tilted his head, taking a new tactic. "You can't tell me you believe in the Empire."
No, I really couldn't. But, I was feeling unreasonably stubborn, half of it having to do with the fact that I had very nearly lost my only son. "I believe in upholding the law."
"Even if it is one you can't believe in any more?" Corran asked, folding his arms. "One that justifies the destruction of entire worlds? You think Palpatine would have stopped with Alderaan? Corellia could have been next."
Now that cut deeply. In all honesty, I had very nearly defected straight after the destruction of Alderaan, but I'd still had my family to protect. I studied Corran carefully, noting the stubborn set of his jaw and flash of angry disbelief in his eyes. He reminded me very much of Nyche at that moment, and whenever he managed to do that, he very nearly always won his case. Still..it certainly needed more thought. “We’ll see.”
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 09:08 PM
Dark Sith Lady Goddess
Member No.: 1
Joined: 23-March 05
OH! I loved this fic on TFN! But you're on chapter nine there!
Dark Sith Lady
Star Wars Goddess
Co-Founder of Dark Sith High Council
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 09:45 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
Ooh thanks Jaycee! But but all at once???
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 09:50 PM
Dark Sith Lady Goddess
Member No.: 1
Joined: 23-March 05
Dark Sith Lady
Star Wars Goddess
Co-Founder of Dark Sith High Council
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:03 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
But then I DID just do it with Interpretations...
I have often told Corran that if you cannot recognize the person in the mirror, it is time to step back and see when you stopped being yourself. That night, I was almost afraid to look. I didn't want to think about how far I was going to have to look back. For almost two decades, I have been using another name, completely ignoring a heritage that had shaped my entire life. I have stood by while a war for the soul of the galaxy was being fought.
Valin Halcyon would never have done that.
Master Yoda was fond of advising against recklessness and impatience, but in truth, Jedi were far more reckless than the average sentient. We took more risks because we were better able to survive them. The Council thought that the Corellians were the worst in this regard, and I can't say I disagree. There's little sense in caution where odds do not exist for you. If Nyche hadn't been pregnant with Corran during the purges, I imagine I would have been one of Vader's victims by now.
Or a leader in the Rebellion.
I'd had a hard time adjusting to civilian life. Even though I started working for Corsec, it was tough not taking the most dangerous missions because of my Rookie status. Corran's birth curbed my reckless streak even more, until I found myself settled into an almost completely normal life.
Because I missed my father terribly, and could not follow in his footsteps by training my own son in the Jedi ways. I certainly did my best to keep him from dark side emotions but there was so much more I longed to teach him. For the first time in years, I found myself entertaining thoughts of training him. Of course, the only way to do that would be to join the Rebellion.
The risks in not only joining the Rebellion, and perhaps once again embracing the Jedi ways, were great.
But sometimes life isn't worth living without taking certain risks.
I took a deep breath and faced the mirror, raising my eyebrow at my reflection. There was perhaps a little more gray hair than I would like, a few extra laugh lines around my eyes, but I'd managed to stay in pretty good physical shape. Physically, I was still pretty recognizable, but did I know me?
I wasn't sure.
From the other room, I heard a cry, and my hand grabbed immediately for my blaster. Reaching out with the Force, I could sense no immediate danger as I crept down the hall, and I realized that one of the men must have cried out in their sleep.
Corran had given me sketchy details on his friend, but from what I'd remembered, Derek, or "Hobbie", had nearly died in the battle on Hoth. That was certainly reason enough to have nightmares. I opened the door to the first guest room, where I knew the young man was sleeping. His feet were sticking out of the covers and his head was covered with his pillow, but he seemed peaceful enough. I backed out of the room, thinking next of the Alderaanian, Tycho Celchu.
Corran, Antilles, and Celchu were in the living room, with Corran sprawled out on the couch, Antilles curled up on the floor, and Celchu squirming in a cot. Even if he weren't writhing in his sleep, I would have tagged the nightmare sufferer to be him. He spoke again, his tone muffled and thick with emotion. "I'm sorry..."
I knelt beside the cot, pursing my lips thoughtfully. The fact that he was from Alderaan meant there was probably quite a few bad memories or thoughts that could plague his dreams, and waking the man would most likely embarrass him. There was a trick I'd learned long ago that would help him, but I hesitated even as I placed my hand on his forehead. I opened myself to the Force, reveling in its peaceful, sweet flow, and gently sent a tendril of it into the younger man, sending him into a sleep too deep for dreams.
And, with that simple act, I knew I'd sealed my fate.
I woke up early the next morning, taking advantage of the extra time to pack my things and empty my bank accounts. Not needing much in the way of clothing, I filled one duffel bag with that, and the other with memorabilia such as wedding holos and embarrassing shots of Corran. No Corsec agent is complete without hidden pockets for blasters, refill packs, stuncuffs, and for the secret Jedi, a lightsaber. I rolled my saber back and forth between my hands, wondering if it still worked. Looking over my shoulder like a child trying to sneak a cookie, I thumbed the switch, smiling as the blue blade shot out. Admittedly, I breathed a sigh of relief as it activated. I would certainly have an interesting time asking for spare parts for it.
Remembering the others in my apartment, I shut the blade down almost as soon as I turned it on, sliding it into one of the secret compartments in my second bag. I glanced at my wrist chronometer, and realized it was probably about time to wake the boys up. Placing my bag on my bed, I headed out of my room, heading first toward the kitchen. Surprisingly, Antilles was already up and seated at the counter, scanning a datapad. He had been the last one to go to bed last night, but his eyes were hardly bleary when he looked up at me. "Morning, sir."
"Hello," I returned, digging out some julaberry juice containers and passing one to Antilles. "You're up early."
Antilles shrugged. "Making sure we have everything before waking the men."
I smiled slightly, a little surprised. Don't get me wrong, I could tell he was a good kid when chasing him, just...misguided. Now it seemed the Rebellion was making a leader out of him, and a great one, too. I tilted my head. "They obviously respect you as Commander."
"I do my best," Antilles answered, looking down at the datapad, his cheeks flushing. "They respect that."
"My son doesn't respect just anyone."
"No, he doesn't." Antilles smirked a little. "Can't imagine where he got that from."
I laughed, somewhat awkwardly. This was an interesting situation I'd found myself in, exchanging pleasantries with Wedge Antilles. "Breakfast with Wedge Antilles...what's next? Sabaac with Han Solo?"
Antilles grinned. "You'd lose." He shrugged. "But why not? He's a Captain."
"Really?" I asked, incredulously. "How have they managed to keep him in one spot?"
"He keeps threatening to leave."
I was intrigued. "What's stopping him?"
Antilles pursed lips thoughtfully. "A lot to do with his friendship with Luke, I think, but mostly that he's probably in love with Princess Leia."
Now that nearly floored me. "And she..."
"Denies it enough that she's probably in love with him too," Antilles answered with a grin. "I don't think he's going anywhere soon."
War certainly makes for strange bedfellows. I shook my head. "Your Rebellion sounds very interesting."
Antilles nodded. "Will it be yours?"
He certainly got right to the point. "Yes," I answered simply.
"It'll be great to have you," he said with a smile, extending his hand.
"Thank you," I said, shaking it.
Corran came into the kitchen then, dressed in blue fatigues. He'd clearly just been out for a jog - his shirt was sticking to him, soaked with sweat. He always did push himself hard. "Morning," he said to Antilles and me, digging in the refrigeration unit for a bottle of water. "Sleep late, dad?"
I shook my head. "Spent the morning clearing out my accounts."
After nearly drinking half the bottle with one swig, Corran looked at me, surprised. "Really?"
"Really," I replied, walking over to clasp his arm. "I've already sent my resignation to your grandfather." I smiled slightly. "If you're going to break the law, you may as well go all the way, right?"
Corran grinned. "Right."
I slapped his back. "It'll be good to work with you again, son."
"Yeah," Corran agreed, resting his hand on my shoulder. "It will be," he said, then cleared his throat as Tycho came in, jabbing his thumb behind him.
"Either you keep wild rancors in your guest rooms, sir, or Janson's not a morning person."
Antillles rolled his eyes. "Did you make sure he got out of bed? Put his feet on the floor?"
Tycho shook his head. "I figured if he could roar that loud he had to be awake."
"He could carry on an entire conversation in his sleep," Antilles edged past Corran and me. "He's not up." He looked back to Tycho. "Have you tried waking Hobbie, yet, Celchu?"
"Not yet, Antilles," Tycho answered.
I walked over to the sink and started to fill a pitcher. "Just throw some water on them, that'll wake them up, plus provide a shower."
"Be my guest," Antilles replied, waving his arm in an exaggerated gesture toward the doorway.
"You know," Janson was saying as we reached the hangar where the Rogues had kept their cruiser, "I take showers on my own. That's what refreshers are for."
I shrugged. "You know what they say, the early pilots get the 'fresher."
Janson glared at me. "You just made that up." He pointed to Hobbie. "How come he didn't get all wet?"
"You took all the cold water," I replied, winking at Hobbie. "That wasn't very considerate of you."
Corran coughed. "And there wouldn't have been enough to wake him otherwise."
"Whatever," Janson glowered at him, just as a pretty woman walked by, dressed in oil stained mechanic fatigues. Cheering up immediately, he ran his hand through his hair and followed her.
"See, it's a good thing he made you shower!" Hobbie called out to him, earning a dirty look cast over Janson's shoulder.
"Now that's amazing," Antilles said after a moment, watching Janson and the woman. "I think she may actually like him."
Corran snorted. "Give them five minutes."
"We don't have it." Antilles shook his head. "The sooner we leave, the better." He gestured to Tycho. "Celchu, go get him. I'll check our inventory."
Tycho nodded, walking off to gather up Janson, while I, Corran and Hobbie followed him to the ship. The tiny hairs on the back of my neck suddenly rose, and my danger sense piqued. I looked over my shoulder while the landing ramp was lowered, expecting to find a group of stormtroopers. Instead, the hangar was eerily quiet. I prodded Corran forward. "Something's not right."
Corran looked at me curiously. "What's wrong?"
I shook my head and called out to Antilles, who had run ahead to check the hold while Hobbie performed the pre-flight checks. "Everything okay, Antilles?"
"Yeah," Antilles answered, his voice muffled from being far back in the ship. I shifted my weight, remaining on the landing ramp. Corran stood at my shoulder, his hand on his blaster. I wanted to order him to go into the ship. Suppressing the urge, I stepped in front of him instead, looking toward where Tycho and Janson were. Tycho had a firm grip on Janson's arm, practically dragging him forward. Janson waved behind him, then ducked as blaster fire suddenly erupted from a couple of storm troopers appearing at the entrance.
Corran moved to my side and we both opened fire, squeezing off a few shots at the troopers. One went down, but managed to fire an excellent shot at Janson. Tycho shoved him out of the way, taking a hit in his stomach. The remaining trooper took off, shouting into his comlink probably for backup. Corran and I dashed down the ramp to aid Janson, who was running forward half supporting, half carrying Tycho.
"How bad is it?" I demanded, noticing that Tycho was covering his wound with his hand.
Tycho shook his head. "Not bad...we have to hurry."
I wasn't sure I believed him, and helped Janson guide him up the ramp. Corran brought up the ramp as soon as everyone was inside, and called for Hobbie to take off as he shut the hatch. Antilles appeared in the corridor as the ship lifted up, bracing himself against the wall. "Sithspit," he cursed, gesturing to Tycho. "Is he okay?"
"It's just a graze," Tycho answered, wincing as he sat up. "Nothing a little bacta patch can't take care of."
"We ran into a few stormies," Janson explained, hovering over Tycho.
Antilles nodded. "Get him to the cabin," he ordered Janson, then turned to me. "We may need your help getting out of here, Horn."
I nodded, following him into the cockpit. Hobbie was already arguing with the spaceport authorities over the com, and at a gesture from Antilles, he let me take over.
"This is Captain Hal Horn," I said over the com, putting as much authority into my tone as possible. "Is there a problem?"
There was silence at the other end for a moment, before the security officer spoke. "What is you clearance code, Captain Horn?"
I gave it, adding just a touch of annoyance, hinting that he was interfering with a highly sensitive intelligence mission. We were given clearance almost immediately, and I let out an audible sigh of relief the moment we hit hyperspace.
My relief, however, was short lived.
Corran came into the cockpit, and Hobbie looked anxiously to him. "How's Tycho?"
"He says he's fine," Corran answered, taking a seat next to me. "Insisted on Wes and I leaving him alone."
Janson nodded from behind him, looking miserable. "Says it's just a graze."
I frowned. "You didn't check?"
Corran glowered slightly, shaking his head. "He pulled rank."
Antilles stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Give him a few minutes," he said after a moment. "Then why don't you check on him Hobbie?"
Hobbie nodded, obviously eager to learn how his friend was doing. "Sure."
"And if he tries to pull rank again, tell him I sent you," Antilles added.
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:06 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
My father liked to tell me that when the Force speaks to you, it is a gentle whisper or nudge. Apparently, if you wait a couple decades to actively use it again, it delivers swift kicks to the butt instead. At least, that's what I was feeling when I entered the cabin to check on Tycho Celchu, and was informed of his grave condition. Hobbie had run a medisensor over him, discovering that the bolt had grazed his stomach and kidneys, and damaged his pancreas. We were days away from where the rebel fleet was assembled, (I was not informed of the actual location for security reasons) and it was dangerous to leave hyperspace short of your destination. I helped Hobbie start a nutrient drip and administer painkillers, but I had the feeling that the young man would not make it to the Fleet.
Hobbie was acting perhaps a little too professional, as though attempting to detach himself from the situation. I'd seen it in many Corsec detectives. Sometimes it seemed that the worse the situation, the more calm they managed to be. I, however, could sense the deep worry Hobbie held for his friend, and his frustration in not being able to help him. Janson peeked his head into the cabin once, to inquire after Tycho, and at Hobbie's answer, he'd turned pale and left the room, muttering an excuse under his breath. I was certain the man must be feeling rather guilty because Tycho had taken the shot for him.
It didn't take Antilles long to come in after me, probably having noticed Hobbie's prolonged absence. He folded his arms after entering the cabin, leaning against the wall. "How is he doing?"
"He's in bad shape," Hobbie answered, unable to look up and meet his commander's eyes.
I rested my hand on the young man’s shoulder. "He'll be fine."
Hobbie stepped away from me, probably upset that I was trying to encourage false hopes. When Corran was a teenager, he used to grumble about my being too optimistic, but what I had been unable to tell him was that it was one of my defenses against the Darkside of the Force. If your thoughts dwell in darkness, then it is likely that your soul will soon follow.
Antilles arched an eyebrow. "Will he make it to the base?"
"Not without bacta," Hobbie answered softly. "I've put patches on his wound, but it isn't enough."
His assessment was true, but what Hobbie didn't know was that though often slower, a Jedi Healing trance often worked just as well as bacta, if not better. I had not intended to reveal myself as a Jedi yet. I wasn't ready. But, I could hardly let the man die simply because I was too afraid to act. If this was the Force's way of letting me know it was time to start being a Jedi again, I was getting the message loud and clear.
Antilles had stiffened just slightly at Hobbie's words, but he obviously wished to retain his own professionalism as well, and had been trying to keep himself distant from his men. I was only able to tell how deeply it was affecting him by the look in his eyes and sense in the Force. "There's always another way."
Hobbie looked at me in disbelief. "Right."
Antilles merely watched me carefully, obviously confused. I certainly wasn't a surgeon, and that perhaps to them, was the only other way. I cleared my throat, nodding to both men. "Excuse me," I said, then left the cabin, going off in search for my son. Truth was, I am just a little out of practice when it comes to using the Force. Years ago, I may have been able to pull off a healing trance on the young man without overtaxing myself too greatly, but I harbored no illusions that I would be able to now. I was going to need my son's help in this matter, which meant it was time I told him the truth about his heritage.
A couple of years ago, I made a recording about it, because should I have died before being able to tell him, I wanted him to hear it from me. The holorecording, however, was safely hidden away inside Corran's droid, Whistler, and I didn't have time to carefully craft my words to tell him gently enough. Corran was a man who thrived on honesty. It was how I raised him. Now I had to tell him that I had kept a very large secret from him all his life, and that my own name was false. In all honesty, I had to keep it secret. Corran would have taken a lot of pride in his heritage, and would have likely, some day, accidentally revealed it, and that would have meant his death...or worse. Now, I had little choice in the matter. At least we would both be fighting against the Sith, and hopefully once again the Jedi would be restored to the galaxy.
I found my son in the cockpit, looking out toward space, but turning to smile at me when he heard me walk in. "I'm glad you decided to come, Father. I'd hate for us to be on different sides."
"Thank you," I said, coming to sit beside him. It was hard to see him so happy, knowing that I was about to ruin it. "Your friend, Tycho, isn't going to make it to the base without bacta. He's injured several internal organs."
Corran stared at me for a moment, unable to speak at first. "No wonder he tried to keep it from us. Wedge would never have gone to hyperspace if he had known." He curled his fingers into a fist. "Sithspit."
I rested my hand on his shoulder. "But he doesn't have to die. You and I can stop that, Corran."
"How?" Corran asked, clearly confused. "Try to drop out of hyperspace early or something? Do you know a safe way to do that?"
"No," I answered, taking a deep breath. "Corran, there's something I have to tell you. Hal Horn...is not my real name."
Corran's eyes widened slightly, and his tone grew very soft. "What?"
Perhaps that was a little too blunt, but I had to go further. "I was born Valin Halcyon, son and apprentice to Jedi Master Nejaa Halcyon. Shortly after I was evelated to Jedi Knight, he was killed, and the purges began. Rostek and my father were good friends, and he married my mother, and claimed me for his son, in an effort to protect our family." Corran shook his head, first surprised, and now, slowly growing angry. "Corran, it was too dangerous to tell you before, but now I don't see as how I have a choice. A Jedi Healing trance can work just as well as bacta, and I can do it, but since I am out of practice it's going to be hard." I squeezed his shoulder. "I'm going to need your help."
He got to his feet, slowly balling his fists. "I'll help."
I was disappointed that he didn't say more, but he was too stunned to think clearly, and angry I'd kept this secret so long from him. But, willingness to help was a start. "Let's see what your commander thinks."
Corran and I didn't have to go far. As we were planning to leave, Antilles entered the cockpit, checking our position in space. My son folded his arms and arched an eyebrow at me, expecting me to speak first. Antilles turned to me after checking the readings. "Did you tell him?"
"What?" Corran demanded, looking at me sharply. Antilles blinked, obviously confused.
"Tell you about Tycho's condition, Corran," I answered, attempting to placate him.
Antilles raised both eyebrows, looking first to Corran, then to me. He cleared his throat. "Glad you've been informed."
I could tell that Antilles was uncomfortable, and obviously wanted to leave me and Corran alone, probably thinking we were fighting. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to be able to let him leave. This was certainly going to be interesting, telling a man I used to chase all over Corellia my most dangerous secret. Doubtless he was going to find it as awkward as me. "Antilles, Corran and I were discussing a possible method to help Tycho."
"What did you come up with?" Antilles asked, clearly skeptical.
"I assume your men can keep a secret?"
Antilles nodded, clearly intrigued. "Of course."
I looked over at Corran first, before responding. "Antilles, it's not a very well known fact that I am a Jedi Knight."
His mouth dropped and he stared at me in stunned silence.
There I went, being much too blunt again. "I am telling you this, because I would like your permission to put Tycho into a healing trance. It will be slow, but just as effective as bacta."
Antilles coughed. "Sure."
"Thanks," I said, then touched Corran's arm. "I want you to observe, Corran, see if you can get a sense of what I'm doing."
Corran nodded, and followed me out of the cabin.
Janson was outside the cabin when Corran and I approached it, looking uncharacteristically forlorn. I placed my hand on his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. "He's going to be fine," I assured him, gesturing for Corran to follow me into the cabin. "You'll see."
He nodded miserably.
Hobbie was still hovering over Tycho when we entered the cabin, barely pausing to look up at us. "He's developed a fever," he announced without preamble.
"Thank you," I said, stepping over to the bedside and placing my hand on Tycho's forehead. It was definitely warm, as Hobbie had said. My touch apparently disturbed the young man's sleep, because he stirred, blinking up at me.
"In the cabin," I answered, scanning him with the Force. "Do you remember being shot?"
"Yeah...tell Janson, not his fault," Tycho murmured.
I nodded. "I'll tell him."
Hobbie was staring at me. "How are you understanding him?"
It was then that I realized my mistake. In directly using the Force to examine Tycho, I was linked with him, and hardly needed to hear his words to know what he was trying to say. Apparently to Hobbie, it must have been unintelligible. "Through the Force, Hobbie. I'm a Jedi Knight." Hobbie just kind of shrugged, probably so distracted that my words didn't even register, and I focused my attention back on Tycho. "I'm going to put you into a healing trance, Tycho. You're going to feel very tired in a minute. You'll sleep for days."
"Okay," Tycho agreed, closing his eyes again.
I looked over at Corran. "I want you to try to open yourself to me, Corran. First try clearing your mind. It is never a good idea to touch the Force if you are angry or upset. In fact, I cannot allow it."
Corran nodded, noting the gravity in my tone. "All right."
While Corran worked on clearing his mind, a process which could theoretically take weeks, I began completely immersing Tycho with the Force. This was always hard to do with a non-Jedi, because most have no idea how loudly they are broadcasting their emotions, and with someone as injured as Tycho, there were no barriers at all. His strongest worry and sense of guilt seemed to involve a woman he loved, underlined with a deep sadness over the destruction of Alderaan. I couldn't work with it, but it would be impossible to heal him if I shielded.
"What now?" Corran asked expectantly.
"I said clear your mind, Corran, not wonder what to do next," I answered, frowning at him.
"And then what?"
I was beginning to see why we used to train Jedi at birth. For me, trying to teach Corran how to touch the Force and feel it, was akin to teaching him how to breathe. Corran never does anything without thinking, and I knew he would want step by step instructions, and surrendering to anything was beyond my son's abilities. It wasn't going to be easy, but no Halcyon would ever back down from a challenge.
No Horn, either.
"Corran, I want you to concentrate on what you feel when your mind is clear, and see if you can get a sense of me."
Corran looked skeptical, but closed his eyes, and attempted it.
I started the trance on Tycho, but couldn't sense my son touching the Force. Deciding I was going to have to teach him later, Tycho's thoughts were distracting enough without the added distraction, I put Tycho completely down. Everyone has at least a small sensitivity to the Force, and because Tycho was unable to do so himself, I could direct his midichlorians to speed up the healing in his body. Adding to that my own power in the Force, it would give him enough strength to pull through and possibly be healed by the time we reached the Rebel Fleet. If I had the stamina, or perhaps the power, of a Skywalker it probably would take less time, but I was going to have to take rest breaks in order to keep it up.
That was where Corran would come in.
He has a lot of raw potential in the Force, and when I got too tired or needed extra help, I would be able to tap into that, if he could learn to open up to me. As I worked on healing Tycho, Corran let out a frustrated sigh.
"I'm not feeling anything, Father."
I'm always "father" when he's annoyed with me, and I suspected that part of his problem here was he wasn't able to completely trust me right now. "It's all right, Corran. We'll work on it later."
Corran simply nodded and left the cabin, probably headed to work off some of his frustration with me through physical exercise. I shook my head. This was going to be rough.
And to top it off, as though coming out of a daze, Hobbie asked me, "Did you just say Jedi Knight?"
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:07 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
It was late by the time I finished with Tycho, and I was more exhausted then I'd been in years. I left him in the care of Hobbie, who'd set up a cot in the room. Despite the fact that I had told him I was a Jedi Knight, he had little faith in that which he could not see, and I feared he would not leave his friend's side until he could be certain that he would be well. Regardless of the late hour, I headed toward Corran's cabin, wondering if he was still awake. I was surprised to hear my own voice coming through the door, and realized that he must have found the recording I'd made for him five years ago.
"I am making this recording for you, Corran, because there are things you should know. Being in Corsec can be dangerous and I don't want anything to happen to me that would prevent you from learning about our family. I hope and trust right now that we're sitting together watching this, laughing at how young I looked when I recorded it. If not, I want you to know I love you and have always been very proud of you."
Well, we weren't sitting together, and since it'd only been five years, I could hardly have looked that much younger. At least, though, I was still alive to tell him first before he saw it. Although that blaster wound in the cantina had nearly stopped that. It wasn't an experience I'd care to repeat. Yes, Corsec life was dangerous, but the life of a Jedi was even more so. Particularly in these troubled times.
From the room, my message continued.
This will sound like a wild tale, but it is all true. Your grandfather, Rostek Horn, is really your step grandfather. As you know, he partnered with a Jedi before the Clone Wars, and that Jedi died serving away from Corellia, right after the Clone Wars. That Jedi, Nejaa Halcyon, was my father. He served as my Master and Knighted me just before he went away, promising to hold the ceremony when he returned. I was all of twenty years old when he died, and Rostek Horn saw to it that my mother, my wife and I, wanted for nothing. My mother and Rostek fell in love and married, and Rostek claimed me as his own son. More importantly, when the Empire began to hunt down Jedi and their families, he managed to destroy records and fabricate new ones that insulated us from the Emperor's wrath."
I closed my eyes, suddenly dearly missing my own father.
Relentlessly, my recording went on.
"I know this is quite a secret to keep from you, but the deception was necessary. I know you, Corran, and know you would have been very proud of your heritage. You would have told others of it, sharing it with them, and that would have been your destruction. Lord Vader and the others hunting Jedi have been relentless. I have seen the results of their handiwork. Keeping you ignorant is keeping you safe. It's a terrible bargain to make, but the only one that can be made.
"The Halcyon family is well known among the Corellian Jedi. We were well respected and many were the tributes to Nejaa Halcyon upon his death. You can find no record of them now, of course. What the Empire did not destroy, Rostek did destroy or hid away--he won't even tell me where the records are, but I cannot believe he would have allowed all traces of his friend to perish. The Halcyons were strong in the Force but not flashy or given to public displays of power. A word here, an act there, allowing people to choose between good or evil at their own speed and peril was more our way.
"And so, here, with this message, I give you a choice. I will be proud of you and love you no matter what you choose. The fact that you say you want to join Corsec has filled me and your grandfather with more pride than you can imagine. There is no greater honor you could show us than to follow in our footsteps. I do want you to know, though, that my choice bridges two paths. While Rostek and my father worked together, Corsec and Jedi, I have used what I learned from my father to work within Corsec. In this way, I serve both the Halcyon and Horn traditions.
"If you have the chance, if you feel the need, I hope you will also make yourself open to both traditions. It is not that being a Jedi is better than serving in Corsec--not at all. But there are so few who are able to become Jedi that to turn away from that path is a tragedy. I have been forced away from it. It is my hope that you will not also be barred from it and, if possible, that I will be able to instruct you the way my father instructed me.
"There you have it, my son. Now you know more of who you are and what you have the potential to become. The only limits on you are the limits you will place on yourself. I know that whatever you will decide, it will be the right thing. You're that good, Corran, and that special. I will know great joy if you bring the Halcyons back into the Jedi Order, but even that will be nothing compared to the joy I know in having you as my son and knowing you are happy and well."
At the end of it, I thought back to when I had first recorded it, and the hours I'd spent agonizing over exactly how to tell him. I have always longed to train Corran the way my father did me, but now that I had the opportunity, I found the idea overwhelming. What I had said in the message was true, I did employ the Force when hunting criminals, but only the slightest bit of it, so it would be all but undetectable should Darth Vader pay a surprise visit. My father had been an incredibly tough task master, and I could still well remember the lessons he taught me. But actively using them again turned out more tiring than I thought.
Who was I, an out of practice Jedi Knight, to train an apprentice?
I had a horrible vision of me stumbling through lessons for Corran, creating a sloppy mess out of us both. I feared for Corran, because once the training begins, the darkside beckons. Would I be able to teach him well enough to avoid it? What if the Emperor caught him and took over? Jedi training is tough, not only physically but emotionally as well. It would be the hardest thing he'd have to do, and among the most painful.
Could I put my own son through that?
I didn't know if I could.
The door to the cabin opened, revealing my son. He stared at me. "How long have you been here?"
"Long enough to hear my entire message."
Corran nodded. "Second time I had Whistler run it," he studied me carefully. "You did look a lot younger then."
I laughed slightly, and elbowed him. "It's only been five years, Corran."
"Amazing how fast the gray can grow..."
Running my hand self-consciously through my hair, I gave him a stern look. "Apparently this rebellion of yours teaches insolence."
"Janson's an incredibly good teacher." Corran grinned. Then, he sobered slightly. "Dad...I wish to train."
I took a deep breath, and rested my hand on his shoulder, meeting his gaze. "Are you sure? This must be a decision you make for you, Corran, not for me."
Corran nodded. "Who else can do it, father? Luke can prank with the best of us pilots, even Janson, but there are times when he looks like he carries the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders." He met my eyes steadily. "Training to be a Jedi would be the best way I could help him, and you, bear it as well."
Tightening my hand on his shoulder, I searched for what would become some of the hardest, and most important words I have spoken in my life. "Then I will train you."
Early the next morning, after work out routines and breakfast, I decided to work with Corran on touching the Force. I decided part of the problem with the day before was we were both stressed out, and I really hadn't given him a direction. It probably wasn't very easy to just have a clear mind and try to sense the Force that way, so I figured out a different method. I sat Corran across from me in his cabin, and considered how to instruct him. "Corran, I'd like to try a different approach to you touching the Force. I'm going to reach out to you through it, and all you have to do is touch me back. All right?"
Corran nodded hesitantly. "All right."
Gently, I brushed my son's presence with the Force, much like my father used to do to me, which had always felt kind of like a warm pat on the shoulder. Then, almost too soft to tell, I felt Corran touch back, and a deep sense of pride filled my heart. My son had touched the Force! "Very good, Corran. Now, I want you to use your link to the Force, your link to me, to see if you can tell the difference between what is real and what is illusion."
I decided to go with something easy at first, something that perhaps appealed to my vanity. Concentrating, I gave Corran the impression that I was twenty years younger, letting him see how I'd looked when he was first born. I heard a small gasp escape my son's lips, and the shock caused him to lose his hold on the Force. Corran shook his head, irritated. "I can see well enough for myself that that isn't real."
"Can you close your eyes and tell me the same?"
Corran frowned. "I wouldn't be able to see."
I nodded. "Not with your eyes, certainly, but with the Force you could."
"Are you going to drop it?"
I think my youth was starting to disturb him. "Close your eyes, then, using the Force, your sense of me, I want you to tell me when I do."
Corran looked doubtful. "I'll try."
"With an attitude like that, you won't," I said, frowning at him. "I'd like you to tell me you will. Learning to use the Force is like learning to see again, or like learning to fly into battle with your squadron mates. If all you are able to believe in is yourself, you will fail."
"All right," Corran said, taking a deep breath and closing his eyes. "I will."
"Good," I said, smiling slightly. I waited for him reach out and touch me again, this time less hesitant, and more solid. I allowed a couple minutes to go by, before slowly dropping the illusion.
A moment later, a smile blossomed on Corran's face. "It's dropped."
"Very good," I said, then created another one, this time changing my hair color to blonde and eyes to blue. "And how do I appear now?"
Reflexively, Corran opened his eyes again, before he realized his mistake. "Sorry."
"It's all right," I assured him, then regarded him curiously. "How were you able to tell when I'd dropped the illusion?"
"I...could sense you manipulating the Force," Corran admitted after a moment. "But I couldn't see you looking any different."
I nodded. "And that's why you opened your eyes again?"
Well, it was a start. I had figured that it was going to take a lot for Corran to let go, to rely on anything but his own eyes and instincts. At least, though, he was starting to sense the Force. That is just as good a step as any to start on the path of a Jedi. I clasped his shoulders. "You'll get the hang of it, Corran, and soon you will find that the instincts you have learned to rely on throughout most of your life are actually manifestations of the Force." And once he came to understand that, he would be more able to trust in it.
I only hoped that I was capable enough to help him to do that.
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:09 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
Because Halcyons were infamous in their inability with telekinesis, a skill most Jedi learn first, I started Corran out on pain suppression techniques and rudimentary healing. Once he managed to do these well enough, I started training him on shielding his presence from other Jedi...or Sith. Corran was doing fairly well with actively wielding the Force, when I was there to guide him, but yielding to it himself was another matter entirely. Over the past few days, his trust in me had increased, and as his trust in me grew, his faith in the Force did as well.
Probably didn't hurt that he'd seen it work for himself as well.
On our sixth day in Hyperspace Corran and I spent the morning with Tycho, glad to see that his wound was halfway healed. Corran seemed distracted, and took me by surprise, when he suddenly asked, "What about grandfather?"
I looked up at him. "What do you mean?'
"There has to be someone who remembers him working with a Jedi, and having our name alone could condemn him," Corran said, meeting my gaze. "He'd be killed instantly."
"For one thing, I'm not completely ready to be known as a Jedi yet," I began, answering his question slowly. "And secondly, your grandfather and I have discussed this before. We both knew it was only a matter of time before I was either caught or returned to the Jedi ways. He has planned for this, and knowing him, he has back up plans for his back up plans," I said, smiling slightly. "I gave him enough of a hint to begin preparing for that."
Corran nodded thoughtfully. "Do you think he'd ever join the Alliance?"
I pursed my lips. "He has his hands in more things than you can imagine; it wouldn't surprise me if he has helped already, in his own way."
He smiled slightly. "True." Corran withdrew his influence from Tycho, obviously too distracted to work. "We're going to reach the fleet soon."
The Rogues were still following security protocol with me, and I gave Corran a curious look. "You didn't have to tell me that."
Corran shook his head. "We only have about twenty minutes, and I'm wondering what we're going to do about Tycho. He may still need bacta, but he's already healed quicker than is natural."
"Some people heal faster than others," I said after a moment, taking a chair by Tycho's bed. "The medics will probably chalk it up to luck, or some strange miracle of the Force. The Jedi have been gone far too long for them to be considered."
I nodded. "Has he shown any healing abilities?"
Corran stroked his chin. "Not that I've seen."
"Do you know who trained him Corran?" I asked curiously.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi, though he calls him Ben," Corran answered, spreading his hands. "Did you know him?"
I pursed my lips. "Not well. The Corellian Jedi rarely left our system. Is he still around?"
"He died distracting Vader while Luke and Solo rescued Princess Leia," Corran answered, watching me carefully.
Wincing, I turned my gaze from my son's. Kenobi had been Anakin Skywalker's Master, and with the Republic Jedi, that was the closest thing to a parent\child relationship. I suspected that Kenobi had been distracting Vader not only from learning of the Princess being rescued, but also from Luke's presence. Had he thought that maybe he could have defeated him? Had he even tried? It seemed a bit of a waste to me, that the man had managed to hide himself for two decades from the Empire, only to give himself to Vader the moment he took an apprentice.
From what I knew of Kenobi, however, I was certain there had to have been an ulterior motive. And that motive was pointing strongly toward Luke. If there was one person in the Galaxy capable of confronting Darth Vader, it would have to be his son. But there was no way Kenobi could be so cruel....was there? I got to my feet, disturbed. "You said twenty minutes, Corran?"
Corran nodded, looking at me strangely. "It's been ten."
I walked over to Tycho's bedside. "Then we'd best wake him now."
"Why? Won't it hurt him?" Corran asked, coming over to stand by my side.
"He's out of danger now," I answered, resting my hand on Tycho's forehead. "And if we don't, the medics will think he's in a coma, because they will be unable to wake him." I concentrated, sending the Force into Tycho and gently bringing him out of the trance. Almost immediately the pain from his wound returned, and I looked up at Corran. "Is there any more deretinex?"
A moment later Corran handed me a pre-filled injector. "There's about three doses left."
Tycho stirred then, slowly blinking up at me. "How long... been asleep?"
"Just about six days," I answered, pressing the injector to the inside of his wrist. "Care for a pain killer?"
"Please," Tycho whispered, wincing when I depressed the cap. "Six days...that's a long time."
I nodded, passing the injector back to Corran. "About to get longer, we've almost reached the fleet, and you're going to need bacta."
Tycho grimaced. "Wonderful."
The door to the cabin opened, and Antilles peeked his head in. "We're reverting to realspace in two minutes, better strap in," he informed us, then disappeared back into the corridor.
I looked to Corran, taking a deep breath.
This was it.
Antilles landed the ship in the Mon Cal cruiser's hangar smoothly, and through the viewport I could see a medical team and a few others waiting for us. While Antilles left to lower the landing ramp and guide the medical team in, I undid my restraints and turned to the others. "What should I expect?"
"You'll be questioned by someone in Intelligence or High Command," Corran answered after a moment, getting up from his seat. "And maybe put through weapons or toxin screenings."
We stepped back for the med team to go by, and a moment later they passed by with Tycho on a hover stretcher. One of the medics held back, turning to us. "We have an emergency tank for him, but he's doing amazingly well," he said, giving us a curious look.
Janson, grinning, dropped an arm around Hobbie. "That's because Hobbie here's such a talented little nurse."
Hobbie glared and shifted away from Janson, but the medic hardly seemed to notice. He merely saluted him. "Good work, sir!" he said, then took off after Tycho.
I shook my head, exchanging glances with Corran, before following the stretcher out of the ship. Antilles was in the hangar already, speaking with a couple of people who I assumed were part of Alliance Command. Down at the bottom of the ramp was Iella Wessiri, and I couldn't help but smile as she gave Corran an enthusiastic hug. Ever since they met and became partners in Corsec, I thought that they were perfect for each other. Problem was, they couldn't have a relationship and still remain partners, so I kind of secretly hoped that they would be split.
After disengaging herself from Corran, she stepped back and noticed me. Her eyes widened slightly. "Captain Horn?" she asked, coming over and giving me as surprised hug. "It's about time," she said, pulling back away from me to look to Corran. "Did you contact him?"
Corran coughed, and looked away. "No, hehadtogetusoutoftrouble."
Iella frowned, pretending not to have heard him. "What?"
Sighing, Corran faced her. "Wedge was recognized; Dad was brought in to identify him."
"And I take it you said no?" Iella asked me.
I nodded. "Right after I saw Corran trying to climb underneath his bench."
Corran glared, and Iella laughed. "I'm sure he was."
"Janson started the cantina brawl," Corran informed her defensively.
Iella raised an eyebrow knowingly. "Did you help finish it?"
Corran answered that he could hardly let him deal with three men alone, and I shook my head, smirking slightly. Iella was very good at putting my son in his place, and with his ego, that would certainly be a nice trait in a wife. I continued to entertain thoughts of them one day marrying, somehow, in my paternal blindness, misinterpreting the looks and smiles she was sending over to Antilles.
I folded my arms, quite convinced Corran and Iella were meant for each other, completely unaware that in the next couple of days, the idea would fall rather flat the moment he met Mirax Terrick.
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:11 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
Soon after we met up with Iella, I was taken away by Intelligence officers for interrogation.
I was expecting some sort of investigation and security protocol, and at the very least, my bags would be checked. Corran had all ready earned their trust, so the night before we landed, he decided to harbor my saber, and had tried to get a hold on my collection of holos, but I didn't trust him to not toss a certain few.
He thinks my priorities are skewed, but how am I to be the proper father at his wedding if I have nothing to give his wife to laugh at?
The concept terrifies me.
What he truly doesn't understand is that with everything I have lost to the Empire, anything I can hold on to now of my family is precious to me. Due to the inherent dangers, I was unable to keep any letter, holo, message, or gifts my father gave to me. I wasn't even able to keep his name. He’s never been appreciative of the holos I took when he tried to cut his hair with Nyche's manicure scissors, but the proud look he has on his face is priceless, as well as the half bald spots on his head. I can still remember the look in Nyche's eyes when she found him, and how she looked so torn between laughing or crying. He had beamed at me, telling me he now had a Corsec cut like me. I imagine it might have been easier to catch criminals with my haircut similarly -they'd be too busy laughing to run.
And every kid runs through the house naked sometime in his life.
It is also far better to be caught getting into your mother's make up when you are four than fourteen. Although I do seem to remember him wearing his date's lipstick a couple times when he came home. I'd always tried to gesture for him to wipe it off before his mother saw, but he always was in a haze after his dates. Girls seemed to make him not think straight, and I had a few holos to memorialize that for his future wife.
I wondered if he feared Iella might get a glance at them.
Although she, Antilles and Corran spoke for me, I was still to be subjected to interrogation. Due to my connection to Corran and Iella, I was to meet with Airen Cracken, after my bags had been searched and following a brief background check. I was escorted to a conference room, with only a guard outside the door for company, if I yelled loud enough. Waiting patiently, refusing to pace or drum my fingers on the table, I debated the course I was going to plot. So far I was at an impasse. I wanted to be trusted by the Rebellion, but at the same time, I wasn't willing to trust them.
I was, however, more excited than I have been in a long time. Part of it was likely due to my inherent recklessness, but mostly, I was happy that after all these years, I was finally fighting back. I was in the room long enough to wonder if my patience was being tested, but having been a Jedi and Detective, it wasn't a tough challenge for me. The door to the room opened, and a tall man with white hair shocked with red and sea green eyes entered. He nodded to me. "Good afternoon, Captain Horn."
I returned the nod. "General."
Cracken came around the table and sat across from me, setting his datapad on it. "I understand you wish to join the Alliance."
"Why?" Cracken asked, raising an eyebrow.
Guess there had to be someone else in the galaxy as blunt as me. I followed suit. "Corran."
Cracken nodded, looking to his datapad, which I assumed probably had a profile he'd created on me. "I see. Care to go into more detail?"
"I've considered it before, but my family's safety was always paramount. By joining with you, he helped me to come to the realization that it was time to take a stand against the Empire," I answered simply.
"Iella Wessiri spoke well of you."
I smiled. "She's a good judge of character."
Cracken tilted his head. "I've come to that conclusion myself. She also mentioned that you were one of Corsec's best detectives."
One of? Hm. "I had the best instructor."
Cracken was silent for a moment, considering. "Antilles had a few things to say about you as well."
I nodded. "Yes, I'll bet he did."
"He mentioned that you kept an eye on him back during his smuggling days," Cracken said, watching me carefully.
"I didn't want to see him waste his life away," I answered slowly. "And I feared he had when he took up with Booster Terrik, but it seems as though I was wrong."
Cracken raised his eyebrows. "So your opinion of him has changed."
I shook my head. "More like I was glad it didn't have to. I always held him in high regard, even more so now, seeing the leader he has become."
"Interesting," Cracken said, focusing his attention on his data pad. "Your Corsec records are fairly clean, so far as what has been reported."
As much as it was important for me to do the right thing, it was crucial that I attracted as little attention to myself as possible. It was also imperative that I did not break the very laws I worked to enforce. "That's right."
"I understand you worked under your father, Rostek Horn."
"Is he aware of your joining the Alliance?" Cracken asked, steadily meeting my gaze.
"He is aware only of my resignation."
Cracken nodded, looking back to his data pad and studying it, allowing a few minutes of silence. Finally, he asked me, "What would you want to do for the Alliance?"
Even though it seemed he was getting more ready to accept me, I knew the interrogation was far from over. If I were a spy, I'd have a specific area in which I wished to serve. I smiled. "Whatever is needed most."
"Oh?" Cracken asked, settling back against his chair. "We're in desperate need of maintenance workers."
"I'm a pretty hot hand with a mop and bucket."
He nodded, smiling slightly. "Iella Wessiri recommended you for Intel."
"And you, General, are trying to trap me," I answered smoothly.
Cracken nodded again. "Seems I'll need to remember not to underestimate you." He stroked his chin. "We'll need to isolate you for a few days until we're certain you can be trusted. But of course you were expecting that."
"You should find your lodging for that time fairly comfortable."
So I was to be detained. "Will I be allowed visitors?"
Cracken cocked his head. "I'll be dropping by from time to time so you won't lack for company."
Apparently, he was wanting me to bring up Corran on my own. "I'll look forward to it."
"Glad to hear it."
I was growing tired of talking in circles, and with the way things were going, I could end up spending all of my isolation time in this room with the General. "And what of my son?"
"He's gotten along fine on his own for six months. I'm sure he can survive a few more days," Cracken answered simply.
True enough, but he hadn't been a Jedi apprentice then. At this moment in training, a few days separation could at the least set him back, and at the most...lead him to do something incredibly stupid. I decided to play the protective father card. "Doesn't mean I don't want to see him."
Cracken nodded. "Understandable, but no."
"Is there anyway to arrange it?"
"You'd have to give me a blasted good reason, Horn."
I pursed my lips. Other than the truth, there wasn't much else I could think of, but I wanted to get away with mentioning as little as possible. "It could be dangerous for him."
Cracken looked at me skeptically. "I'll need more information than that."
I was expecting that. But, I wasn't certain how much I wanted to reveal to this man. For one thing, we'd just met, and though I thought him to be trustworthy, I couldn't be sure. Also, I didn't know how he was going to take the news. I doubted if the Rebellion had a single cell in any of their ships that could hold me, and he was likely to be aware of that as well. So he was going to have to trust me to stay put. I didn't know if he was ready for that, and would prefer drugging me into complacency.
I fought the urge to drum my fingers on my lap. He was going to have to trust me on my word, and I on his. I wasn't certain if that was possible for Intel officers. Well, no one ever achieved anything by being too afraid to try. I took a deep breath. "Can I count on your confidence?"
Cracken steepled his fingers. "Depends on how it would affect the Alliance."
It was a good, honest answer, and I sat for a moment, deciding on my words. "I'm training him to be a Jedi Knight."
Sometimes I'm not sure what's more damaging, the blunt or sharp side of my tongue.
Cracken merely raised an eyebrow. "Not the answer I was expecting."
"I imagine not."
He leaned back in his chair. "And why would it be dangerous for Corran to be away from you?"
"I've just begun training him, for the six days we were in hyperspace. Any delay in his training now could set him back, and I'm not certain how long we have until he needs to leave with Rogue Squadron. I need to work more on his shielding abilities, so he will not be found by Vader," I explained briefly.
Cracken studied me carefully. "There's more."
I nodded. "Once a Jedi starts the training, the dark side beckons. I'm going to need all the time I can get to help him resist it, and right now any delay in that area can be very dangerous."
"Luke Skywalker seems to have managed fine," Cracken pointed out.
"That is a gamble General Kenobi chose to take," I said, frowning slightly. "But it is not one I would choose to take with my son."
I still wondered what the Jedi Master had been thinking, or, just how exceptional was this Luke Skywalker? More than likely he was very talented, but to be able to fight off the Dark side with such little training? I pursed my lips, and I fear Cracken picked up on my discomfort. I would love to be able to say that the very concept didn't scare me, that the fall of Anakin Skywalker was not fresh in my mind. The Empire had done everything it could to discredit the Jedi Knights, making them seem more like magicians doing parlor tricks, or common criminals, rather than the noble order they once had been. I remembered being silently furious the first time my father's name was taken from history books, and in rare occurrences where it remained, it made it look like he had instigated the very crimes he solved. The intent was to poison the minds of the future generation, but the Empire could not change the memories of the people who were old enough to remember the Jedi, those who had actually been in contact with the guardians of peace and justice. I was counting on the fact that leaders of the Rebellion were these kind of people. Considering their treatment of Luke Skywalker, I was pretty confident I was right.
Cracken sat thoughtfully for a moment. "How far did you get in your training?"
"I was elevated to full Jedi Knight shortly before the Clone Wars ended."
"Seems a bit of a wild tale, Horn. If someone mentions Jedi, everyone is too awed to question. The Alliance is certainly in need of Intel officers, Jedi Knights even more so, and you claim to be both," Cracken said, folding his arms. "It's either highly coincidental, or extremely suspicious. How do I know you haven't recently discovered a slight talent in telekinesis and decided you were Jedi? Or that you are making it up in order to get information from Corran?"
I raised an eyebrow. "What would you have me do?"
Cracken spread his hands. "What do you think might convince me?"
"Well, you could pull out your blaster and shoot me."
I smiled. "Even you can't be that good a shot, General."
Cracken frowned. "I'm not in the habit of shooting unarmed people."
"Then look at it this way, sir. Either I survive and am telling you the truth, or you have just rid yourself of a spy," I said, shrugging my shoulders. "It's a win-win situation for you."
"Except for the headache I'll get trying to explain why you needed to die," Cracken said, shaking his head.
"You could always aim for my leg," I suggested easily. "Or take me on my word."
Cracken stroked his chin. "All right, I'll do it," he said, standing up and removing his blaster. He watched me carefully, searching for any sign of fear or uncertainty on my part.
Now this may seem a bit extreme, but Halcyons have never had much of a talent for telekinesis. We are talented mainly in energy absorption and altering perceptions. With a man like Cracken, head of Intel, it would be far better to show him he could not shoot me to stop me, over letting him know I could change his perception at will. I have my doubts I'd ever be able to fully gain his trust if he was aware of that. It would make the man paranoid, never fully knowing if what he was seeing was real, or what I was wanting him to see.
I was not prepared to do that to him or to myself.
Also, energy absorption was one of the Halcyon talents I'd kept up. Sometimes, if I was shot, I would absorb just enough of the energy that I would not be injured critically. This had saved my life a year back in the cantina where I nearly died. I simply regarded Cracken calmly, already gathering the Force around me. One thing I was not looking forward to was that almost every time it stung something awful, but I knew it was a big enough feat to make Cracken believe me.
And it would be worth it to see at least a little shock in the man's eyes.
He aimed low, as agreed on, and even as he pulled the trigger, I was already letting the Force flow through me, sucking in the energy from the bolt as it entered my thigh. Ignoring the initial sting, I channeled the extra energy carefully, sending it back into the gentle hum of the Force. I realized a little late, that in having him aim lower, I didn't have time to catch it with my hand, which meant I was left with a charred hole in my pants.
Cracken came around the table, obviously surprised to find me still on my feet, and no wound beneath the hole. "Impressive." He looked up at me, raising an eyebrow. "Interesting that you would show me it is nearly impossible to hold you against your will, Jedi."
I shrugged. "There is almost no reason for not cooperating, General."
"I would reiterate the need for time with my son, and confidentiality," I said, clasping my hands behind my back. "At least until he is better able to deal with Palpatine's agents."
Cracken tipped his head to the side. "And Palpatine himself?"
I shook my head. "If Darth Vader doesn't kill him, the Dark side will."
"Why would Darth Vader do that?" Cracken asked, with a barely perceptible straightening of his spine.
"It is the only way he can achieve the rank of Sith Master," I answered carefully. "The greatest downfalls of the Sith are their inability to trust each other, and their thirst for power. There are only ever two, a Master and Apprentice. There could never be two Masters because they could never trust each other and would kill each other if they thought the other more powerful. If Vader were to take an apprentice, somewhere down the road he would be betrayed by that apprentice as well."
Unless, it were his son.
I hoped to the Force that Vader was not aware of Luke's relation to him.
"And how could the Dark side kill him?"
"It consumes him even as he thinks he controls it," I said slowly, gathering my thoughts. "The lure of the Dark side is strong, but it acts more like a virus than a true power. It will feed off its host, doing its best to turn them into it, while completely destroying them in the process. Palpatine looks worse every year. I feel it is only a matter of time before he will physically become part of it."
Cracken nodded, rubbing his chin. "Is there a way to stop them?"
I pursed my lips, thoughtfully. "Not that I know of...yet."
"Perhaps between you, Corran, and Luke Skywalker, a way will be found."
"Between us and the Force, General."
Cracken smiled slightly. "Of course," he agreed, studying me carefully. "I believe I can work out supervised visits with Corran, and for the time being, I see no harm in keeping your secret."
I noted the loophole he'd given himself, but I didn't intend to remain hidden forever. "Thank you, sir," I said, and he offered me his hand to shake. Somehow, I got the feeling as I shook his hand and met his steady gaze that this was going to be far from our only meeting.
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:12 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
It would be incorrect to say that without the capability of energy absorption, a Halcyon would be completely inept in telekinesis. In fact, I have mastered the art of button pushing, and with enough concentration, I can punch in a code. I considered this a few times during my isolation, not that Corran's company wasn't welcome, and Cracken wasn't always disagreeable, but I felt just a little cooped up. However, it would not do for it be said that Hal Horn did not keep his word on account of boredom, or that Valin Halcyon, Jedi Knight, was capable of being bored.
The good General was able to find a remote for me, and I started teaching Corran energy absorption. At first, he was too distracted by Cracken's presence to progress very far, his pride getting the better of him in not wanting to fail. Ultimately, after being stung more times than I could count, he grew embarrassed enough to finally break down the image he wanted others to see, and truly embrace the Force.
Of course, when it comes to my son, with great victory comes great pride, and the cycle begins again.
Cracken observed the lessons with great interest, and though I was not surprised, and could hardly blame the man, I looked forward to the time when I would be able to train Corran privately again. There were many things I did not wish to discuss with him, most particularly the inherent dangers associated with the Halcyon line.
We Halcyons are highly gifted in the one of the rarest of Force talents, and because of this, we are rather deficient in other areas, such telekinesis. Unfortunately, the skills we are capable of are as dangerous as they are powerful. If you do not distribute or direct the energy you absorb properly, it will burn you from the inside out.
Not a particularly good way to die.
Also, we are incredibly good at altering another's perception, a talent that goes hand in hand with mind manipulation, both of which lie perilously close to the dark side. It can be easy to try to talk a person out of doing something, or into, when all you have to do is use just a tiny Force suggestion to get them to see your way. As small an act as this may seem, it interferes with the other person's free will, which is a very large step toward the dark side of the Force.
One of the best safeguards against thoughts and acts of the dark side, is service to other people. It is far easier to use the Force for selfish reasons when your life is dedicated entirely to yourself. Because of this, over the centuries, the Halcyons have dedicated themselves to public service, often working in defense of Corellia. That was how my father, as well as Corran and myself, first became involved with Corsec.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before Corran and I joined the Rebellion. It took a little over three days for me to be cleared, and I was given a day of freedom before reporting early to Cracken for assignment. Surprisingly enough, despite my boasting concerning mops and buckets, I was placed in Intel. I would like to think the reasons were because of my record with Corsec, and I'm certain part of it was that, but I also think Cracken wanted to keep an eye on me.
Cracken was also a man who believed strongly in distributing information to people on a "need to know" basis, and for that reason, Corran was not informed of my release early in the afternoon on my fourth day. I first dropped off at my bunk for a shower and change of clothes, then sought him out in order to surprise him.
I'm not entirely sure that was the best idea.
In fact, I was the one who ended up being surprised.
I found him in a lounge, engaged in deep conversation with a rather lovely brunette. Corran had that hazy look in his eyes, particularly when she laughed, and I could tell he was really taken with her. I crossed the room, ordering a drink of water at the bar. As awesome a father as I liked to think myself, I was pretty sure he wasn't going to want me around just yet. That was okay. I could find other company and bother him about her later.
Unfortunately, the company I got wasn't exactly the kind I was looking for.
I had leaned against the wall, taking a drink of my water, and turned when I sensed a person come up beside me. I stiffened immediately, meeting one brown and one bionic red eye. Booster Terrik had managed to elude and taunt me for years after I first sent him to Kessel, and coming face to face with him was...an interesting experience. I coughed. "Didn't think you were the altruistic type, Booster."
Booster glared. "Hardly, Horn." He jabbed his thumb back over his shoulder. "What are you going to do about that?"
"About what?" I asked, looking toward where he was pointing. All I saw was my son, now resting his hand on the woman's knee.
"Your son manipulating my daughter."
I choked, glancing quickly back to my son. That was Mirax? Taking a deep breath, I managed to find my voice. "Amazing."
Probably not the best thing to say, considering the shade of red Booster's face turned. I didn't particularly appreciate him insinuating that in any way Corran was the only one at fault here. I was fairly certain she would have been the instigator. "You just keep him away from her, Horn."
I raised an eyebrow. "And who will keep her from my son?"
Booster snorted. "She can do better."
"I'd say a whole lot worse."
"Worse than a Horn?" Booster demanded, flabbergasted.
"You may be surprised," I said, folding my arms. "But as good as it has been to see you again, Booster, I really should be going."
Booster nodded, cocking his head toward Corran. "Won't be the last time, Horn."
I forced a smile on my lips, but muttered under my breath, "Of course."
In all honesty, I wasn't really comfortable with a possible relationship between Corran and Mirax Terrik. The only thing I knew of the girl were her illegal activities, and the fact that her father was far from my favorite person in the galaxy. However, Corran was also a grown man, and I trusted him to make the right decisions.
I told that to myself during my entire walk to the medbay, seeking solace from those thoughts in visiting Tycho Celchu. I wanted to make certain he was doing okay, and considering my time in isolation, I figured that he must be out of the bacta by now. A medic directed me to his room, mentioning he'd just been removed from the tank twenty minutes ago. His room was dark, and he was sleeping peacefully on the bed. I entered as quietly as possible, taking the chair next to the bed. He looked quite a bit better than the last time I'd seen him, and I was glad to see that he'd nearly completely recovered by now. I had never admitted to Corran, that even through the healing trance it had been a rather close call.
Also that I wasn't certain I'd remember enough to help him.
The door to his room opened and a medic walked in, calling for light. Tycho winced in his sleep, and I gave the woman a curious look. She nodded to me, walking over to the bedside and gently pried open one of his eyes. "He should be coming out of the sedative soon."
"I'm sure you're helping with that," I observed as she checked his other eye.
She shrugged. "It's time for him to now.” She looked up at me, her dark brown eyes curious "He's done amazingly well. When he came in I could have sworn he must have already spent some time in a tank."
I nodded. "We're very grateful he survived."
"He did far more than that," she said, raising an eyebrow. "Around here it's being called a miracle of the Force."
"Could hardly be anything else," I said, smiling slightly. "I don't believe we've met. Hal Horn.” I offered her my hand.
"Kiandra Rigel," she said, taking it. "Horn...any relation to Corran?"
I smiled. "He's my son."
Kiandra nodded thoughtfully. "I've seen him here a couple times." My smile instantly died, and she laughed slightly. "Not the kind of thing you care to hear, I'm assuming."
"Not particularly," I said dryly, shaking my head. "Hope he was a good patient for you, at least."
"As good as any talented fighter jockey kept from the cockpit," Kiandra said, looking down at Tycho. "Though he wasn't nearly as bad as Commander Skywalker."
I coughed. "I've heard he's a good pilot."
"One of the best we have," Kiandra agreed. "But I guess you can expect that from a Jedi."
Kiandra smiled, tipping her head to the side. "It's a good sign, isn't it?"
"The Jedi returning, Hal," Kiandra answered me. "No matter what Palpatine has tried to get people to believe, they were good, and by even giving us one, I believe it shows the Force is on our side." She rested her hand on Tycho's shoulder. "I believe his miraculous survival is a sign of it as well."
I nodded, studying her carefully. She was only a few years younger than me, which meant she was old enough to have remembered the Jedi, and her comment about Tycho hit rather close to the mark. "Maybe it is, then."
Kiandra smiled, then moved away from Tycho's bed. "He'll be fine. I need to see to my other patients."
"Thank you," I said, watching her as she left the room. As soon as she was gone, I got up and placed my hand on Tycho's arm, reaching out with the Force to check his condition. It wasn't that I didn't trust her opinion; I just wanted to see for myself. I noticed rather quickly that he was doing quite well and would be waking up soon, but at about the same time, I sensed a very bright presence in the Force, and stiffened slightly. There was only one person I could think of who could possibly have that powerful of a Force signature, and still be bright.
I was a little disappointed I hadn't been aware of his arrival, but I haven't maintained constant contact with the Force in almost two decades. Certainly looked like I was going to need to start. I can't say whether it was morbid curiosity or guidance from the Force that caused me to leave Tycho's room in search of Luke's. He was a couple rooms down, and I opened the door, stepping cautiously inside. Luke was asleep as well, facing away from the door. I walked quietly, gingerly approaching his bedside. I'm not quite certain what I expected, perhaps a young Anakin Skywalker, as I had been picturing him. What I saw was a young man no older than my son, looking quite innocent in his sleep. His right arm was bandaged up, right above where his hand should have been.
I swallowed, not wanting to think of how he might have come across such an injury.
It could have been an interrogation officer, maybe a random flying sharp instrument...or a lightsaber. I touched his arm, brushing him with the Force to see how he was doing. There was a little pain and weakness from his injury, and just a bit of emotional turmoil leaking out. I frowned, and he stirred slightly, muttering in his sleep. "Ben..."
He repeated it again, and even softer, then whispered a word that chilled me to the bone. "Father...."
Maybe, by some chance he thought Ben was his father? Or was he dreaming of who he thought was his father?
I didn't want to think of the other possibility.
Luke stirred again, calling out to Ben once more, before slowly opening his eyes and looking toward me. They widened considerably, and he sat up slowly. "You're not Ben."
He studied me carefully, scrubbing his hand across his forehead. "Did he send you?"
I shook my head. "I haven't spoken with General Kenobi in over twenty years."
Luke sighed, looking away from me. "Just another thing he's kept from me, then."
It took me a moment to figure out what he meant. "He couldn't have been any more aware of me than I was of him, Commander."
"He's lied to me before."
I wasn't sure what to say to that. For one thing, I really hadn't known him that well, and I wasn't sure what Luke was referring to. Even in the dim light, I could see the pain in the young man's eyes, and the harsh beginnings of lost innocence. I rested my hand on his arm. "I'm sorry." I hesitated. "He was a good man, Commander, I'm sure he had his reasons."
Luke shook his head. "He should have told me."
I really wished I knew what he was talking about. "Didn't say I agreed with them."
"You probably would," Luke said, looking up at the ceiling.
"I don't know," I said, shrugging my shoulders. Luke was pretty much out of it, and with the state he was in, the conversation wasn't going anywhere. "But you should get some rest."
Luke nodded, and I patted his shoulder, and walked away from the bed, but paused before I left the room. "Luke, I don't know what's happened between you and Master Kenobi, but...never do anything you don't feel is right."
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:13 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
I left Luke's room, deeply disturbed. He could have hurt his hand in many different ways, but I suspected Darth Vader. Only a dark Lord of the Sith would be able to instill the kind of distrust Luke suddenly had for Kenobi, and any other Jedi that would come along. At least for the moment, I couldn't think of any other reason why. The thought of it made me sick, and I wandered out of the infirmary, barely aware of where I was going. With Corran, I had always tried to raise him as to not necessarily follow in my footsteps, but to rise above them. The thought of the Dark Lord attempting to bring his son down to his level disgusted me almost as much as hurting him. Letting out a long breath, I realized I was conjecturing, and tried to set my thoughts on a different course.
Such as finding my own son, Corran.
Apparently, I was more upset than I was allowing myself to realize, because he found me first, just outside the infirmary. He frowned slightly. "Everything okay?"
I nodded, placing my hand on his shoulder. "Do you have a moment?"
"Yeah," Corran said, studying me carefully, his deep green eyes calculating.
He's a rather good mixture of both my father and his mother, having my father's eyes and mouth, with, much to his chagrin, his mother's height and slender build. My son is, in effect, symbolic of everything I have lost and everything I have gained. The look he was giving me now, the set of his jaw and steady gaze reminded me so much of my father it caused a slight pang in my heart, and I looked away. "There's something we need to discuss concerning your training," I said softly.
"All right," Corran said, still watching me even as he fell into step just behind me on the left. I couldn't help but smile slightly at this, because he had unknowingly taken an apprentice's position behind me. Since he was born, he has had a very slight Force bond to me, but it was not one I allowed to grow too strongly for fear of its discovery. Now that I had started training him to be a Jedi, I was going to need to reinforce it, so that when he went on his missions with Rogue Squadron I'd know whether he lived or died, or was staying in the light. Also, it would help us work far better as a team.
I wasn't certain how open he was going to be with this concept.
As soon as we reached my room, I closed the door behind us and gestured for him to take a seat. "Corran, I've been thinking about the runs you're going to have to be making with Rogue Squadron."
Corran nodded. "What about them?"
"Traditionally, a Jedi Master and his apprentice have always had a training bond. Through it, we'd always be aware of each other. No matter how far you went, I'd be able to tell that you were still alive and well. And the same goes for you."
"Sounds good," Corran said, pursing his lips and thinking for a moment. "What about when we're close to each other?"
I folded my arms, considering his question. "Strong emotions will always come across the bond, such as love, or anger, fear...also, if you concentrate, whatever it is you are doing to evoke them," I explained, then noticed the growing look of horror on his face. "What?"
Corran coughed. "There's some things I'd rather you not know."
I raised an eyebrow, amused, and he colored slightly. I cleared my throat. "There are certainly things I don't need to know. That is where shielding and blocks come in, and you're more than welcome to block me at any time."
"Good," Corran said, looking so relieved I wondered if I should be a little more worried about his budding relationship with Mirax.
Corran looked at me warily. "What?"
"Bonds make telepathy possible," I answered carefully. "But it is to be used only with discretion. If, at any time, your mouth would work just as well, use it instead."
"Okay," Corran said, then tilted his head. "Does that mean you could read my thoughts?"
"Only if you broadcast them to me, Corran," I replied slowly. "It is possible, but I would never do that to you. It would be possible for you to read mine as well, but I trust you not to do that either."
Corran nodded, then gave me a small smile. "Never in my life did I think I'd ever have to learn to think quietly."
I laughed softly. "I know this is weird for you, Corran." I took a deep breath. "Do you want to do it?"
"Yes," Corran answered after a moment. "What do I need to do?"
"Just relax and clear your mind," I answered, and waited for him to do it. Where before he was insistent on asking me what to do next, he merely patiently awaited my next instruction now. "Now open yourself to me." As soon as I could sense him do this, I touched my fingers to his temples and reached out with the Force to find our natural bond. I brushed it gently, and began sending the Force into it. Where it had been basically a small thread before, it started to brighten through my encouragement, and I gained a greater awareness of my son in the Force. "Now touch back."
Corran reached out somewhat hesitantly, his touch almost gingerly on my mind, but it grew stronger as he became more sure of himself. As soon as he brushed the right part, the bond was complete. He blinked, and ran his hand through his hair. "Why are you so worried?"
"I'm concerned for your friend, Luke," I answered carefully. "I visited him just now, and he seems pretty hurt."
He nodded. "He isn't talking about it." He touched my arm. "But Luke's very resilient, and he's one of the best men I know. He'll be fine."
"Glad to hear it," I said softly, and then posed a question of my own. "And what is it you've been wanting to tell me?"
Corran looked a little surprised, but recovered quickly. "While you were in isolation, the Rogues were assigned to a medical supply mission just outside of Rlorn. It should only take a few days, but I have to leave in the morning."
The mission sounded innocent enough, and I trusted Corran enough now to be on his own for a couple days. But for some reason this news formed a lump in my stomach, and I was a moment in answering him. "Then we better work on your shielding tonight, Corran."
Jedi rarely dream, and when we do it is usually either manifestations of the future, our greatest fears, or messages from a Seer. Because of the rarity and vivid quality of our dreams, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them and reality. This being said, I hadn't realized I was dreaming when I first found myself in the training room reserved for Corran and I by General Cracken. Using a lightsaber I didn't recognize, Corran was blocking sting rays from a remote. In the middle of the room I was running Luke through intermediate katas, using my own lightsaber, with he using what I assumed to be his. This didn't seem strange to me, because I'd intended on building a saber for Corran to use, and help Luke Skywalker in whatever way I could. What was odd, was that in the corner of the room, small hands folded in a tattered robe, was Master Yoda. He looked older than I remembered, more haggard.
I turned my head to look at him, and he looked up, his eyes meeting mine.
The room changed into a blanket of stars, in which starships engaged in a deadly battle.
I know enough of the war to recognize the difference between Alliance and Imperial ships, and at first, it seemed the Alliance was winning. Then, one of the X-wings morphed into a TIE fighter, which turned on X-wings, suddenly multiplying into two dozen TIES. The reinforced Imperial navy destroyed the X-wings, and the space was soon littered with starship husks and floating corpses.
Not a single one of the X-wings survived.
I awoke with a start, breathing hard, and it took me a moment to orient myself. At first, I tried to dismiss my dream as a mere nightmare, stemming from concern for my son. When it did not begin to fade as such a dream would, I knew I could no longer dismiss it. Instead my danger sense tingled and I was able to review it in my mind. It had been a long time since I'd seen a vision of the future, so it took me a few moments to realize that was what I had. I didn't fully understand the beginning of it, with my son, Luke, and Yoda, but with Corran's upcoming mission, I had an idea about the battle. The X-wing turning into a TIE suggested betrayal, which could likely mean a spy. A spy meant that the supply mission could have been reported to the Imperials, and the Rogues could be walking into a trap.
Calling for lights, I glanced up at the chronometer, and slid quickly out of bed. There were only three hours before Corran left, and I had to be able to convince Antilles to either call for a cancellation of the mission, or change his plans. If I couldn't, my son would die.
The corridors were deserted at this hour in the morning, and it didn't take long to reach his quarters. I knocked, although I heard him groan, it didn't take long for the door to be opened and answered by Antilles. He stared at me through bleary eyes. "Sir?"
"We need to talk, Antilles," I said, cocking my head. "May I come in?"
Antilles spread his right hand, gesturing me inside. "Something wrong?" he asked with a yawn.
I waited for the door to close before answering, then clasped my hands behind my back. "I had a dream about your supply mission, Antilles, and in it the Alliance was betrayed by one of its own ships, and all of Rogue Squadron was destroyed."
He blinked, obviously confused. "What are you saying?"
"Jedi don't dream, Antilles," I answered carefully. "It was a vision of the future. I believe we have a spy in our ranks. If you continue the mission as planned, it will fail." I met his gaze. "The Force has given us a way to change that now, either through cancellation or change of plan."
Antilles stared at me for a moment, deep in thought. "I'll need to pass it by General Cracken," he said, picking up pair of boots and carrying them over to his bed. I was a little surprised at his quick agreement, and it must have shown on my face, because he continued to talk as he pulled on his boots. "By all rights, Celchu should have died, sir.” He looked up at me. "I trust your judgment."
I nodded. "Thank you."
"Convincing the General will be the hard part," Antilles said ruefully.
"I'll come with you," I offered, spreading my hands. "I can explain it to him."
Antilles shook his head, getting to his feet. "No, it's all right."
I smiled slightly. "He knows, Antilles."
He looked at me, somewhat surprised, then shrugged his shoulders. "Be my guest, then."
"You had a dream," Cracken repeated, fixing me with a steady gaze.
"A vision, General," I corrected him, placing my hand on the desk. "Normally, a Jedi can only see seconds into the future, such as during a battle, giving him time to respond to an attack as quickly as it occurs. The most common manifestation of this ability is the appearance of incredibly quick reflexes. It is far more rare to see what I have, in which you have days to respond. Usually, such visions only come to Seers, but every Jedi has the ability, to a degree. We often only see that which directly concerns us, and because Corran is my son and apprentice, his well being is my concern."
Cracken leaned back, raising an eyebrow. "I see." He turned to Antilles. "What do you think, Commander?"
"I think we should reconsider our plans, General."
He nodded. "Why?"
Antilles looked Cracken in the eye, a serious expression on his face. "I trust his abilities."
"Thank you, Commander," Cracken said, then returned his attention to me. "What did you see, exactly?"
I pursed my lips. "The Force isn't exactly forthright, General."
"That's all right," Cracken said, steepling his fingers. "Please explain."
Shrugging, I told him everything I had seen concerning the battle, skipping the beginning with Yoda. Cracken listened intently, nodding his head a few times as I explained my interpretation. I concluded by saying that I believed there to be a spy, but not necessarily in Rogue Squadron's ranks. I believed the Force had chosen to use an X-wing to symbolize the Alliance.
Cracken was a moment in speaking, considering my words. "We'll announce the cancellation in the morning, and send it out later than scheduled. Commander, gather your men for an emergency briefing. Dismissed."
Antilles nodded, and I waited for him to leave before raising an eyebrow to Cracken. I had wondered briefly why he had agreed so quickly, when it dawned on me. "You know there's a spy."
"Yes," Cracken answered simply, folding his hands on top the desk. "And I want you to track him down."
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:15 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
More than likely, I wasn't Cracken's first choice to catch the spy. However, in cases such as possible infiltration, the fewer people who knew of it, the better. A secret shared is a secret gone, as the saying went. If the spy were to realize we were onto him, any false information we tried to feed him wouldn’t work, and he could run. Or, even worse, do something desperate such as setting off a few detonators in order to do as much damage as possible before running. I only had an in on it because people, Cracken could keep quiet, but the Force was another matter entirely.
I wondered how he felt about my silent advisor.
Corran left early that morning, and it was publicly known that the Rogues had taken another mission, one of such importance eclipsed that of the medical supply run, and they were heading out on it instead. All outgoing com calls were being monitored in an attempt to find the spy, but I would be surprised if they managed to catch him that way. More than likely he had more than one name, and if he were smart, he'd broadcast from more than one com. With Corran gone, I started straight into my investigation, as a way to keep from worrying. I was given access to files concerning missions and situations allegedly betrayed by the spy. I noticed almost right away that Rogue Squadron was a main target of his, particularly when Luke Skywalker actively commanded it. There were even a few times when Luke Skywalker was singled out, and narrowly missed Imperial capture or death.
This was not a good sign.
In the small amount of time I'd spent with Luke Skywalker at the infirmary, I could sense he was fairly far along in his training. If Obi-Wan had been his master and trained him up to that point, then he should have been able to sense conspiracy against him. There were a few names that appeared in nearly every case, and if one of them was the spy, Luke should have known it was him. This worried me a great deal, because your average person would have no idea how to hide deceit from a Jedi. Usually it would take knowing what a Jedi looks for, what they can sense without much probing, and how they might choose to interpret the data. What it usually took, was another Jedi.
There was always a chance that Palpatine or Vader had somehow managed to train this person otherwise, but what kind of an assassin would they have to send to capture a Jedi? Particularly one as powerful as Luke Skywalker? Perhaps one of the droids they'd used during the purges, or one of Palpatine's rumored Force sensitive agents?
Neither choice was very appealing.
Over the next few days, I spent time meeting with the others assigned to the case, gathering what they had learned and sharing as much of my own insights as I dared. Mainly, I reported directly to Cracken.
On the day Corran was due back, I spent the morning in the mess hall, my datapad in front of me. It's not always a good thing to mix food and work, but the case intrigued me, and the perp had all ready threatened my son, and I woudln't allow that.
It took me a moment to realize I was being watched, and when I looked up, whoever it had been had already looked quickly away. I frowned slightly, scanning the people around me, until making eye contact with Luke Skywalker. He blinked, seeming a little surprised. Leaning back in my chair, I cocked my head, nodding to him. Luke said something to the people he was talking with, then left, coming over to stand across from me. "I saw you the other night, in the infirmary."
I nodded, gesturing to his hand. "I'm glad to see you're feeling better, Commander."
"It's Luke," he said, glancing at me curiously. "Who are you?"
"Hal Horn," I replied, offering him my hand.
Luke took it, raising his eyebrow. "Corran's father?"
I smiled slightly. "I'll claim him."
"I didn't know he..."
"He didn't either," I said quickly, shutting down my datapad. "Can I talk to you somewhere private, Luke?"
Luke pursed his lips, but he nodded to me. "Sure."
I got up from the table, lifting my datapad and tray. I wasn't sure where I wanted to go, but I didn't care to discuss certain things with Luke where we could be over heard. Also, I wasn't sure what I was going to say to the young man. In the light I could see him a lot better, and he seemed a good mix of both Anakin and Senator Amidala. Anakin, however, had a harsh edge about him, where Luke struck me as much softer. He wasn't as confused or angry now as he had been the other night, and I found myself again wondering what had happened to him. I led him to the nearest empty meeting room, closing the door behind us.
As soon as we were in the room, Luke tilted his head to the side. "You're keeping it a secret, aren't you?"
"Old habits die hard," I answered, spreading my hands. "And I'd prefer Corran to be much better trained before Palpatine learns of us."
"How long has he been training?" Luke asked, intrigued.
"About two weeks," I answered carefully, leaning against the wall. "I'd like to start him on saber training," I said, glancing at Luke's utility belt. "Do you have one?"
Luke's eyes clouded slightly, and I realized I'd hit a touchy subject. "No, I lost it."
"When you were injured?" I asked softly.
He shrugged, looking away from me. I moved away from the wall, coming over to rest my hand on his shoulder. "It's okay, I was going to build him one anyway. I've managed to convince Cracken to let me have a salvaged laser turret from a TIE. I'm going to compress the gas inside to make a couple crystals for lightsabers," I said, then squeezed his shoulder. "If you want, I can teach you how to make one."
Luke hesitated, before turning his head to look at me. "How long would it take?"
"It's not about time, Luke," I said, frowning slightly.
"I know," Luke said softly, pursing his lips. "Right now Lando and Chewie are looking for Han, and as soon as they get a lead, Leia and I will join them."
"I see," I said, stroking my chin thoughtfully. I had heard that, allegedly, Calrissian had gone legit. Apparently, it hadn't lasted long. I wondered what had happened to Solo, but suspected it would hit yet another touchy subject with him. "It can take anywhere between three to seven days. But I would prefer not to rush you through it."
Luke was a moment in answering, thinking carefully. "I think that would work well, thank you." He then added softly, "It would probably come in handy."
I raised an eyebrow. "Quite handy for deflecting blaster bolts and opening doors?" He shrugged, and I folded my arms. "I'd hope not for confronting Sith Lords."
His gaze hardened. "For defending against."
"That is very important, Luke," I said, nodding to him. "And certainly an eventuality that must be prepared for. However, I do not feel that is a job for apprentices." I thought briefly of Obi-Wan Kenob who, as a padawan, had fought a Sith apprentice, and took a deep breath. "But I likely could not completely prevent it. I intend to teach saber combat to Corran. You are welcome to join us any time as long as you are here."
Luke met my gaze, studying me carefully. I suspect he was thinking back to Kenobi, whom had apparently betrayed him in some way. But he nodded to me, his answer non-committal. "Thank you."
I was starting to think I was getting in over my head. It was one thing to start training Corran to be a Jedi Knight, after being two decades out of practice, and another to try tutoring Luke Skywalker. But something about the hurt and lost look in his eyes drew me to him, and it didn't hurt that he was rather close in age to my own son. I didn't, however, know enough of him to know where to begin, and after I'd offered to help him with saber combat, and he responded, silence had fallen over the two of us.
Soon, though, I sensed Corran's presence in the Force grow stronger, and realized he'd almost landed. Luke followed me to the docking bay, wishing to meet with his squadron. The first person, or perhaps thing, to greet us, was Corran's astromech, Whistler, being true to his name, barely giving me time to read his translation box. Luke smirked slightly, as I bent to read his message. "Corran hit his head?"
Whistler crooned, rocking back and forth on his wheels.
I stifled a laugh. "Yes, I agree his casing seems too thick for it to knock him out."
He whistled, starting off low before growing in pitch.
"Sounds like you're just going to have to keep a closer eye on him, Whistler."
Corran, who wasn't far behind, rolled his eyes as Whistler crooned his agreement. "That's cruel, dad."
I grinned, resting my hand on Whistler's dome. "We do it because we care, son."
He shook his head, wincing from the movement, and I got to my feet, coming over to touch the bandage on his head. "Let me see it."
Flushing, Corran batted my hand away. "It's Hobbie we're worried about. He's got electrical burns on his hands."
"Dear Force," I muttered, following as Luke made his way to the team of medics already surrounding Hobbie, Kalandria was supervising, and I noticed Janson sauntering over to her, a pathetic look on his baby face.
"I've got this crick in my neck, Doc," he said, presenting his neck to her. "I think a little rubbing would do just the trick."
Kalandria smiled at him. "I'll put Two-Onebee right on it, Janson."
Janson shook his head, sidling up to her. "I'd rather have your magic fingers," he said conspicuously.
"Bring me a real problem," Kalandria told him sweetly, patting his cheek. "And you may have them," she followed the group of medics as they took Hobbie away.
Antilles rolled his eyes, jabbing his thumb at Janson. "Any time you want command back, Luke..."
Luke laughed. “You're doing great, Wedge." He schooled his features into a stern look. "I will, however, be running sims with them first thing in the morning."
Janson groaned, before raising his eyebrows. "Why's that, Luke? Need the early morning advantage over us?"
Corran snorted. "He just wants to show off."
"I'll bet he's rusty," Janson decided, shoving his hands in his pockets. "And needs all the help he can get."
Luke frowned, folding his arms. "Care to put your skills where your mouth is, Wes?"
Janson grinned. "Anytime...after noon."
I coughed. "If his skills are anything like his father's, Janson, I think you're in trouble no matter what time of the day it is."
Luke stared, startled, while Corran gave me an accusing look. "You never mentioned knowing Luke's father before, dad."
Blast. You'd think after twenty years of watching my mouth, I'd know better. I gave him a level look. "There's a time and place for everything, Corran."
Corran's green eyes glittered, his stance challenging. "It is now."
"I think that would be Luke's choice, Corran," I said, meeting his gaze steadily.
My son hesitated slightly, glancing at Luke. He let out a long breath. "Right," he said softly, nodding to Luke.
Luke pursed his lips, looking first at Corran, then Janson and Antilles. Before he could respond, General Cracken came over, taking everyone but Luke and me away for debriefing. Luke looked around the spaceport, than asked quietly, "Can we talk alone?"
I nodded, and we once again returned to the meeting room, glad to find it empty. As soon as the door closed behind us, Luke took to pacing, and I gave him time to gather his thoughts. Whoever had raised him must not have told him much of his father, and though I could certainly see why, it made my mentioning him rattle Luke. After a moment, he cocked his head, fixing me with his clear blue eyes. "How did you know my father?"
"Anakin and I are close in age, Luke," I answered carefully. "We used to compete in tournaments, and I've seen him fly into battle. I'm afraid I spent most of my time on Corellia, however, so I didn't know him very well."
Luke studied me for a moment, considering this. I noticed the haunted look return to his eyes, and by his next line of questioning, I began to understand what it could be that was bothering him.
"Do you know what happened to him?"
His question hit me hard, and I hesitated in answering. "Luke, I'm really not the person to tell you that."
"You're the only person here who can," Luke said softly, his eyes imploring me. "Please."
I was still reluctant, not wanting to be the bearer of such terrible news. However, I knew from experience in dealing with family members of victims, the longer I waited to inform him, the harder it would be for him to hear it. But I certainly wasn't aware of any decorum in telling a hopeful son that his father was a Dark Lord of the Sith and one of the most hated and feared men in the galaxy.
Silently I walked over to the table, pulling out two chairs. I gestured for Luke to take one. As soon as we were seated, I asked, "What have you heard?"
Luke pursed his lips, settling back against his chair. "Ben told me my father was betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader."
If Kenobi didn't want Luke to know Darth Vader was his father, couldn't he at least have just said he died? I resisted the urge to rub my forehead, and leaned forward, making eye contact. 'What do you think?"
He looked away for a moment, as though deciding how to answer. "Darth Vader said...he didn't."
It got better.
I looked at him sharply. "What did he say, exactly?"
Luke stiffened, his tone accusing. "You know, don't you?"
It seemed I had found his problem with Kenobi, assuming that not only had Darth Vader denied killing Luke's father, he claimed to be him. I didn't like that at all. In fact, the concept worried me, and I wanted to know everything Vader had said to Luke, any intentions he might have revealed. However, I could also tell Luke wanted answers more than questions, and for the moment, it probably wouldn't be best to give him the third degree. "Luke, I'm going to be straight forward with you on this. Anakin Skywalker was once a very good man," I began carefully. "But there was a lot expected of him, perhaps too much. He was a man of prophecy, believed to be the one who would bring balance to the Force. I'm afraid he let the pressure get to him, his temper, impatience....and fell to the dark side of the Force. He gave up the name Anakin Skywalker, and became Darth Vader." I spread my hands. "Perhaps in some way that I don't know of, he fulfilled the prophecy, or still will. Master Yoda would probably know far better than me, if he were still alive."
He looked down, his eyes dimming. "So it was the truth, then," he said softly. "Why wouldn't Ben tell me?"
"I imagine he was trying to protect you, Luke," I answered slowly. "Perhaps trying to keep you from going after him."
Luke frowned slightly. "He's my father."
I folded my arms. "I know," I rested my hand on his shoulder. "But if there is anything of Anakin left in him, he would want the same thing for you that Obi-Wan did."
The young man was silent for a moment, considering. He took a deep breath, and rubbed his temples. "Have you...mentioned this to anyone?"
"No," I said, shaking my head. "It's hardly anyone else's business, Luke."
"Not even Corran?" Luke asked, curiously.
I nodded. "Not even Corran."
Luke let out a long breath, looking relieved. "Thank you."
Silence followed, and I chose to let him break it, allowing him to sort through his thoughts. After a few minutes, my comlink buzzed, and I shot Luke an apologetic look as I answered it. "Horn."
"You've got a prisoner in cell block 24601, Horn. You have ten minutes to get there."
I sighed, recognizing Cracken's voice. "This isn't a good time, General."
"Make it one."
"Can it wait?" I persisted, wanting to make sure Luke was okay.
"Get down here."
I covered the speaker, looking to Luke. "Are you going to be all right, Luke?"
Luke nodded, smiling slightly. "I'm fine. It's never good to keep General Cracken waiting."
"So I've gathered," I said, getting to my feet. "Talk to you later?"
"Yeah," Luke replied softy. "Please."
All right, there you go, JayCee. :-D Not doing this with the...30 some odd chapters of Shadows though.
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:29 PM
Dark Sith Lady Goddess
Member No.: 1
Joined: 23-March 05
Wait, this is no far... I wanted to see it FINISHED... not brought up to speed with TFN!!
Oh well... *sits back and waits for more*
Dark Sith Lady
Star Wars Goddess
Co-Founder of Dark Sith High Council
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:31 PM
Member No.: 28
Joined: 5-April 05
lol! Oooh that's what you meant! I'm afraid that is all I have written! Working on Chapter Ten right now....I promise...
Posted: Apr 13 2005, 10:35 PM
Dark Sith Lady Goddess
Member No.: 1
Joined: 23-March 05
::mortal kombat voice::
Dark Sith Lady
Star Wars Goddess
Co-Founder of Dark Sith High Council
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