The Chu’unthor Incident
by AJ Marks
A mysterious figure made its way down to the communications room. It was quite as most of the Jedi were away or still sleeping. There were a few around, but they would not bother him. He opened the door to the room and slipped inside when he saw that no one was inside. He sat down at one of the consoles and typed several commands and waited.
“Report?” A cold voice said over the communications speaker and there was no holo to go with it.
“The senator from Sissis has requested that the Jedi become involved in his planet’s problems, they are close to civil war.” The man replied back. “What are my orders?”
“Sabotage the mission is you can, if you cannot do not worry about it. Above all do not reveal us, or you will die.” The man said signing off leaving the man to figure out how he could foil a mission that he was not a part of.
He exited the screen and wiped the memory of what had happened. He exited the room and walked back like nothing had happened, even though his mind was running with questions.
Bri Lighter made her way down the corridor on her way to the Jedi Council. It had been a day since she had been made a Jedi Master, and she figured that the day off was so that she could recuperate from the party that they had thrown her. Who said that Jedi did not know how to party? People forgot that Jedi are just like normal people in that they like to have a good time as well. Xara had left early with energy to spare after last nights and this mornings lovemaking. Bri was just worn out and Xara told her that she was going to the training area. So Bri had to answer the communicator that summoned her to the council.
She walked in seeing the familiar faces of Aqat, Janson and her mentor Yoda. It had come as no surprise that her teacher was on the Jedi Council. Bri walked calmly into the center of the room ad bowed her head in respect of the council members.
“Good morning Master Bri, I trust you had a nice day yesterday.” Janson said seeing Bri nod her head and a slight flush dusting her cheeks and he guessed correctly what she had been doing. “I have been asked by the Prime Minister of the Republic and the representative of Sissis for help in resolving their dispute. I am sending Master Yoda and his padawan Markus there, but we also would like for you to go as well. I realize that Xara does not have much skill in handling diplomatic negotiations, but her insight might help Yoda and you in your mission.”
Bri looked over to where Yoda sat. “Need you I might. Sissis is close to civil war. All the help I can get I will accept.” Yoda told her.
Sissis, the name rung a familiar chord in her. Where had she heard it before, then it struck her? They produced some of the finest food in the universe, if civil war broke out it might disrupt food supplies all over the universe.
“We’ll go Master Yoda. It will be an honor to be by your side again.” Bri said truthfully.
“Honor will be mine.” Yoda replied feeling a bit better about the mission now that Bri was on board.
“The Chu’unthor will be going that way, shall I tell them to prepare for two additional passengers?” Aqat asked Bri.
The Chu’umber? Bri thought to herself. She had not been on board the Jedi training ship in almost ten years. She glanced over at Yoda and knew that he was taking the ship over there. It would be wise to go with him, that way they could talk about the mission. “Yes, thank you Master Aqat.” Bri told him.
“Very good, I’ll let them know. The captain told me that he wishes to leave in four hours.” Aqat told Bri who nodded her head and then walked out of the room to find her soulmate.
Bri walked down the hallway of the Jedi Temple looking for her soulmate. She knew that the tall dark-haired, blue-eyed woman was around the training area.
She spotted her working with a Jedi Trainer working on fencing skills with their lightsabers. Xara’s red lightsaber had come as a shock to many trainers and she had been questioned as to how she received it. Xara had told them that it had been a gift from a former boss for her excellent work. They seemed to buy that answer and Xara expressed an interest in learning how to use it properly, and the trainers had taught her to use one without the force.
Bri watched a bit as Xara went through the exercises that he put her through. When she was done Bri was impressed by the amount of improvement that Xara was showing. Bri had watched Xara work admiring Xara’s body as she went through the exercise. Bri had to mentally slap herself as she in case anyone else was watching.
Xara finished and mentioned her thanks to the instructor. The instructor mentioned that she was getting the hand of the basics quicker than he had imagined. Then left the room after giving Bri a quick bow.
That was something that Bri had to get used to. She had just been promoted to the rank of Jedi Master, something that she had never thought would happen to her because she had refused to take on a padawan. The council had made an exception for her for her work on a recent mission that had threatened to crumble the Republic.
“Hey Bri, what ya doing?” Xara asked as she toweled off from her exercise.
Bri looked at the blue eyes of Xara and felt like she could get lost in them until she realized that if she did not stop it she would not get around to telling Xara why she was there.
“The council has asked if we accompany Master Yoda and his padawan Markus aboard the Chu’unthor to Sissis.” Bri said mentioning the Jedi starship that was for training and movement of large numbers of Jedi.
“The Chu’umber?” Xara repeated having just heard about the ship in passing. It was supposed to be one of the oldest ships in the universe with a lot of wisdom on board. It had may items from the old planet of Ossus that was said to be where the origins of the Jedi came from, along with many other traditions that the Sith used as well.
“Yes the Chu’umber.” Bri replied. “The council felt that we might be able to help out on Sissis. There are rumors of a civil war brewing on the planet. The council wanted its two best negotiators there. It also doesn’t hurt that we are Jedi Masters and they also felt that your skill would be very useful in case the negotiating fails.”
“So the council is taking my skills seriously.” Xara said with interest. She wondered how long it would take before they started to use her skills. When it came to the Force, Bri was a master at it, and Xara was learning how to control it better. However they both agreed when it came to finding someone, of something Xara had an unnatural skill for it.
“Yes, I think that they would have been foolish not to.” Bri replied.
“Hmm, Sissis, isn’t that the planet that supplies a large percentage of Cusit?” Xara said mentioning one of the most delicious meats in the universe.
“Yes, they do, and a large percentage of other foods. If they are allowed to go into civil way it could disrupt the food supplies all over the universe causing massive price raises.” Bri said.
“Well then, what time do we leave?” Xara asked putting an arm around the smaller Jedi.
“After you take a shower.” Bri replied pushing Xara away.
“All right, I get the picture.” Xara said with a chuckle as she put her arm around Bri again just to watch her nose scrunch up again. She laughed and walked away to their quarters with a bit of swagger in her steps.
‘Well, at least she’s in a good mood about all of this, we might end up with separate quarters.’ Bri thought, then remember who was getting her a place to stay on the Chu’unthor. Aqat would try his best to give them one room.
Bri walked off after her soulmate wondering if she could catch her in the shower. The thought almost made her run off, but she managed to remain calm and walked the rest of the way to her quarters.
The man listened in to all of the conversations going on around him trying to find out who was going on the mission to Sissis, and how they were traveling. He was about to give up when some chatty young Jedi sat down behind him.
“Did you hear, Master Bri is going on the Sissis mission?” One said as the others began talking about Bri. The conversation shifted to how Bri was one of the youngest, if not the youngest Jedi Master ever. Some people were looking it up in the archives to find out.
‘Bri’s a Jedi Master, when did that happen?” The man thought and almost missed the next comment.
“She and Xara are going to Sissis on the Chu’unthor.” Another one said. There were several excited comments about the ship, something everyone wanted to be aboard at least for a short while. Some of the best trainers were on the ship.
The man realized that he now had a way to sabotage the mission, and perhaps get back at someone. He chuckled to himself and left the room to put his plan in action.
Xara was finishing putting her things in her bag. She had put in everything that she thought that she might need. Playing the role of a bounty hunter she was allowed more things than others were. Several weapons, and other investigation tools were already packed.
She watched as Bri exited the bathroom wrapped only in a towel as she strode over to her clothes. Xara had been happily surprised when Bri had joined her in the shower, and it had ended up taking longer than she had thought. Now as she watched Bri pack only clad in the towel.
“I hope that you plan on changing.” Xara said from where she was admiring the view.
“Oh, I don’t know, what do you think?” Bri said with a twirl in which the towel suddenly fell off.
“Well, I think that it would defiantly get their attention, just the wrong type, and then I would have to defend your honor. I think killing anyone on this mission would defeat the purpose.” Xara said walking up to the now naked woman.
“It might cause a distraction?” She said with a slight wiggle.
“Oh yeah.” Xara said staring at Bri’s body. “But for the wrong person that’s for sure.” Xara replied forcing herself to back off. Grabbing Bri’s clothes she tossed at Bri who caught them.
“What do you think, no underwear?” She said with a grin as she put on her pants.
“You’re trying to kill me.” Xara said turning around and throwing her hands up and going back to her packing.
Bri just smiled as she continued to dress. She loved the way Xara responded to her teases, and it usually led to some wonderful lovemaking she had found out. The more she teased the more creative Xara could get in her ‘revenge’ against her.
An hour later Bri and Xara waited as the shuttle docked with the orbiting Chu’unthor. Xara could see that the ship was huge, over two kilometers long (about one and a quarter mile) and a kilometer wide. The ship was just huge and she had heard that it could hold almost ten thousand people. It usually never held that many, most were coming and going so much that it was amazing that they knew who was still aboard the ship at all.
Xara took a step off the shuttle onto the deck of the Chu’unthor and was amazed at the size of the ship. The landing bay was bigger than any other ship that she had been aboard. Her travels had allowed her to travel quite a bit. The size gave an impression that one was not on board a starship, but on the surface of a planet.
“Come on, I’ll give you a tour.” Bri said grabbing Xara’s hand and dragging the woman towards the exit of the hanger. “That is if I can remember my way around.” She said under her breath.
“What about out luggage.” Xara said with a glance back at the shuttle.
“Don’t worry, they’ll take it to our quarters, that’s what the tag was for.” Bri said anxious to show Bri around the ship.
“Alright, lead on O tour guide.” Xara said allowing herself to dragged away by the younger woman. The corridors were very large for a ship. She doubted that she could reach the ceiling. It was also wider than most ships giving an illusion of space even though they were on a ship with limited space.
Bri led Xara down a couple of corridors, the size did not vary and she eventually stopped and looked around a bit. “Its around here somewhere?” She mumbled to herself and Xara had to chuckle. Bri was lost already.
“I’m not lost!” Bri said with a quick glare at the taller dark hair beauty.
“I did say anything.” Xara said with a grin holding her hand up and trying to put on an innocent face. Bri just glared at her for a second before spotting another Jedi walking around the corner.
“Excuse me?” Bri said politely gaining the person’s attention. “Isn’t the Ossus Museum around here somewhere?”
“No, other side of she ship Master Bri.” The Jedi replied not wondering about the laughing taller woman and the glare that Bri gave her, which only caused the woman to laugh harder.
“Laugh it up fuzz ball.” Bri said turning to face Xara. “See who’ll be getting it later.” She muttered under her breath just loud enough so that Xara could hear her. Xara calmed down a bit but still had a smirk on her face as Bri got instructions from the other Jedi. She figured that he was Calamari and was probably a Jedi Knight. He seemed to be enthralled with Bri like she was a celebrity, and she probably was. One of the youngest Jedi Masters ever had to earn you a bit of status. It could go to some people’s head, but she did not think that would happen to Bri, she was too focused on her mission and her heart did not allow her to take advantage of her status.
A few minutes later they found themselves outside a large museum. Bri led her inside where there were artifacts of various sorts form the early days of the Jedi Order. There were even artifacts of early Sith designs and Force sensitive artifacts. Greeting people there was a large statue of the Jedi Master Hoth who had lead his Army of Light against the Army of Darkness, one of the last major engagements between the Jedi and the Sith. The Sith had focused their energy and destroyed the Army of Light along with themselves.
Xara could remember reading about the feat from her Sith Masters. It was considered both a failure and a triumph. They failed because they had to use that tactic, and it was a success in that it taught a lesson to get the job done no matter the cost.
“Lord Hoth is considered one of the greatest Jedi ever.” Bri said standing next to Xara.
“He was a great Jedi, and a great leader.” Xara said recalling form her readings about the man.
“I guess you’ve had the history from the other side.” Bri whispered so that no else could hear.
“Yes, but they are just fooling themselves. There will always be someone like him waiting to stop the Sith.” Xara said. “The only way for the Sith to win is to exterminate all of the Jedi at once and I think that the strongest survive allowing them to retaliate.”
“Perhaps you can tell me about some of the artifacts.” Bri said leading her further into the room. Xara noticed a few Sith inscriptions and drawings of several Sith architecture that was supposed to increase their power. Xara had to laugh a bit. What increased their power was the meditation they did, not the structure. The structure only gave a person a boost.
They passed one artifact that was known to have Sith powers. As Xara passed she felt the stone reach out to her trying to draw her into its seductive power. She faltered a bit as the stoned reached out to her with its dark power.
Xara did not know how long she stood there until she felt the Dark Side vanish as if it had been brushed aside like it was nothing as Bri put her hand around her waist. The Dark Side stood no chance with her soulmate standing so close to her.
“I can’t believe that you have that here?” Xara said. “Its full of the Dark Side.” Xara hesitated as she looked at Bri. “You don’t feel it do you?” She asked seeing Bri shake her head no. “Interesting.” She studied it a bit closer and noticed a small Sith inscription. “Of course, it only affects those who have been influenced by the Dark Side before. Seeing how most Jedi avoid the Dark Side it would have no effect on them.”
Bri watched as Xara’s head hung down a bit at the thought. She did not believe that Xara was still controlled by the Dark Side. She was about to tell her that when another thought came to her.
“Hey come on, there’s an artifact over here that I want you to see.” She said leading her away from the Sith exhibit. She ended up next to a small ball that had no markings on it, and looked quite normal until Bri told her to hold out her hand.
Xara hesitated for a second before reaching her hand out to the sphere. It began to ebb with power that she could feel. There was goodness in it that she had never felt before and she pulled back.
“So, this one is the opposite of the stone we just saw?” Xara asked looking at her hand.
“No, what did you feel?” Bri questioned lightly, even though she was a bit nervous about Xara’s answer.
“It felt like goodness to me.” Xara said looking over to Bri who had a silly grin on her face.
“Its a Force mirror, it will only reflect what’s inside you.” Bri told her giving a stunned Xara a delighted hug as she reached out to the mirror to feel what she had. She was a bit stunned by the power that was reflected back at her. The last time she had done it she had been almost fifteen, which was some time ago.
“It seems that you’re quite a powerful Jedi if that reflection is correct.” Xara said feeling what Bri was feeling through their connection.
“You can feel that?” Bri replied her voice tainted with wonder.
“This close to you, I feel it all, and I know that you can as well.” Xara said watching as Bri nodded her head in agreement. She was still getting used to the idea of reading someone’s emotions without trying. Unlike the Force it was not something she could just turn off at a whim.
Her stomach growled letting them know its displeasure of not being fed and Xara chuckled “Come on my Jedi, let’s get you something to eat.” Xara said as they left the museum.
“How long will the trip to Sissis take?” Xara asked not sure about how fast the ship was when it traveled in hyperspace.
“It will take us about two days.” Bri replied having asked Yoda that same question earlier in the day. “We have a couple of stops to make on the way there. “I think that we are picking up additional Jedi Knights just in case war does come.” Bri said not mentioning that there were only a few Jedi Masters on board the ship, and they would be the generals of the Jedi army if it came down to that.
“That would make you one of the head generals of this army.” Xara stated, “Seeing how you are already actively involved already.”
“Yes, but I hope that it doesn’t come to that.” Bri replied. She had ever really wanted to lead anyone into battle.
“With both you and Yoda, I think that there is a good chance that war will not come.” Xara said putting belief into Bri seeing her confidence go up with the compliment. “Come on, let’s go find out quarters, and see if we can keep from getting lost again?” Xara said with a smirk as they had gotten lost trying to find the cafeteria as well.
Xara made her way down the corridor of the ship still a bit amazed at the size of the ship. It did not feel like a person was on a ship, but in some building on a planet. The only difference being that you could not exit this building very easily. Bri had not gotten lost on their way to their quarters even though Bri had glared at Xara the entire way. When they arrived at their quarters Bri had just stuck out her tongue and walked inside.
Xara walked past a couple of training rooms. Taking a peek inside she noticed that the ceilings were domed and clear so that a person could look outside. It gave an illusion that the room was even bigger than normal and broke up a normal ship’s design. She had gone out walking to see if she could find her own way around the ship and had found a map of the ship that was given to first timers on board the ship.
She had made her way back to the museum and the cafeteria and was not looking for the closest training room and meditation rooms. Walking by another room she noted that it was a meditation room. She opened the door quietly so as not to disturb anyone who was in the room. She poked her head into the room and noticed that Master Yoda was in the room.
“Xara, so good to see you.” Yoda exclaimed when he saw her in the doorway. “Come in.” He invited her.
“I’m not disturbing you?” She asked as she came into the room.
“No, not at all.” Yoda replied as he watched Xara walk over to an empty cushion and sit down on it. “What brings you here?” He asked briefly wondering if something was wrong.
“Ah, Bri kicked me out.” Xara said with a grin taking any worries that Yoda would have had about the comment away.
“What happened?” Yoda asked as he looked at her.
“Teased her once to much about knowing her way around the ship.” Xara said and watched as Yoda smiled as well.
“Still gets lost does she?” Yoda said seeing Xara nod her head. “Never able to figure out the ship she was.”
“She still can’t, that’s why I’m trying to find my own way around.” Xara said holding up the map of the ship.
“Yes, keep it with you.” Yoda said knowing how confusing the ship was. He had finally gotten to know his way around only after spending some time on board the ship.
“Where’s Markus?” Xara asked looking around.
“Practicing his lightsaber skills.” Yoda replied. “Seems someone impressed him.” He continued looking right at Xara.
“I see.” Xara said not saying anything else about her skills. “He really should learn from Bri, she is very good.”
“Yes, one of the best I’ve ever seen.” Yoda replied having seen her skills as well and knowing that she had natural abilities. “What about you?” Yoda asked.
“Against Bri, I don’t know. I think that our connection doesn’t allow us to really fight each other.” Xara said watching Yoda’s reaction. He did not say too much, instead sat there listening intently. “In Otto Julies’ house I did attack her, and I found that I had not attacked with any strength even before I knew who she was.” Xara sat back thinking about that morning. “As I think about it now I remember feeling something before I entered the house. Funny, it was something that I never thought about until now, but now that I think about it, it was Bri I felt as I entered the house. I just did not know what it was at the time.”
“And Bri can also feel you?” Yoda asked getting more information about soulmates then he ever had before.
“Yes, if we are standing close to each other we can even feel what the other person is thinking about.” Xara said. “It is something that we are having to get used to. Neither one of use is used to having someone else read us so well.”
“Interesting. Adjusting you are?” Yoda asked never having felt anything like that.
“Yes, it’s a slow adjustment for us, but we’re getting there.” Xara replied glancing around the room. It had several chairs and a couple of games in the corner, which she felt, was a bit odd.
“Play chess much do you?” Yoda asked as she eyed the game.
“Here and there. I’ve learned to play but never really had the opportunity to just play without any at stake.” Xara said remembering most of her games had been used to study her opponent and how they would react.
“Care for a game do you?” Yoda asked and pulled the game forward when Xara nodded her head. It had been a while since Yoda had played, and most of his padawans did not like to play against him.
They both began the game a bit cautiously testing out the other’s skill in the game. It did not take Xara long to realize that she was dealing with someone who was very good, and she realized that he was probably thinking several moves ahead of her. She altered her strategy a bit making her moves more random, and not taking obvious striking moves when she could have.
Yoda was impressed with her skill as they played. He usually could beat someone in a couple of moves, but Xara was hanging on and putting up a fight. Yoda also altered his strategy a bit in order to compensate for Xara’s style of play.
They had been at it for about an hour when Xara looked up as she felt the presence of her soulmate. “I believe we are about to receive a visitor.” Xara said to Yoda speaking for the first time since they started the game.
A few minutes later a strawberry blonde head poked into the room.
“There you are.” Bri said as she walked into the room. I figured that you would be in the training rooms, but where I didn’t find you there I figured you must have met Master Yoda in the one of the meditation rooms.” She said finishing in a rush then seeing what they were playing she just shook her head.
“Have a seat.” Xara said indicating the stool next to her. She would rather of said her own lap, but someone could have walked in, and that would have been hard to explain even with Yoda there in the room as well. “Am I still in the doghouse?” She whispered to Bri as the woman sat down.
“No, I decided to forgive you.” Bri said using her hand to brush back the bangs of Xara’s hair.
“Time for a trim.” Xara said as she allowed Bri to mess with her hair.
“Just a bit, I like the length of your hair.” Bri said running her hand through Xara long black hair.
Yoda cleared his throat to make his presence know before they starting doing anything else that they would not want him to see.
“Who’s winning?” Bri asked as she blushed a bit at having been caught in a tender moment with Xara, like a teenager caught by her father.
“He is.” Xara said as she moved a piece.
Yoda moved and Bri suggested a move to Xara.
“No fair helping.” Yoda said with a smile that made Xara wonder about the comment.
“Is she good?” Xara asked already thinking she knew the truth.
“At the game, not really.” Yoda replied as they looked at Bri.
“So what have you two been talking about?” Bri asked as she tried to change the subject.
“Your lightsaber skills and chess.” Yoda replied not saying anything about how they had been acting. He felt glad that she would feel comfortable in letting her guard down around him.
“My skills?” She replied in a bit of amazement.
“You, my Jedi, are one of the best. And anyone who can catch Force lightning with their bare hands is very skilled.” Xara said watching as Yoda glanced at Bri.
“Force lightning?” Yoda asked in a bit of shock. Very few could block or stop that type of power with their own hands. It had taken him a while to learn how to do it, as his former padawan was very skilled.
“Yes, we encountered a Force user and he was able to produce the lightning. Bri was able to block it, shocked the man I think his heart almost stopped.” Xara said with a smile as Bri just looked down.
“Few Jedi Masters can do that. We were right in making you a Jedi Master, your skills are quite impressive and yet your heart has remained the same. It is your real strength.” Yoda told her.
“I know, that’s where it came from.” Bri replied looking at Xara.
“Well, I’m going to finish my tour of the ship.” Xara said holding up the map she had in her hands. “Perhaps we can finish at another time?” She asked Yoda who just nodded his head in agreement.
“Tired of getting lost are we?” Bri asked.
“Yes, but don’t worry, I still love you.” Xara said then gave the smaller woman a kiss then walked out leaving the stunned woman still sitting on the cushion.
Yoda just closed his eyes and began to meditate like he had seen nothing, but could feel the emotions pouring out of Bri. She sat there for a few more minutes before she got up and walked out of the room leaving Yoda by himself.
Xara walked around a bit following the map that she had been given by one of the crew. He had told her that it was easy to get lost on the ship; the only good thing was no matter how big a ship was it was still a confined area. Xara had to agree with the crewmember on that comment. So far she had found her way around quite easily with the help of the map.
She made her way past a couple of other training rooms and peaked inside to see what was going on. In one she saw Markus training diligently with the trainer to improve his skills. Xara figured from what Yoda had told her she made him realize that there are others that are stronger than you. When that happened you had to fall back on you intelligence and training to win.
Xara knew that her abilities with a lightsaber were almost all-natural skill. Ever since she had first picked up the weapon it had felt right in her hands. With the proper training she might even rival Bri with her skills, and she realized now that a person always continued to refine and hone the skills. She would have to do some more training in case someone from her past caught up with her.
Xara realized that she probably had several enemies still out there, and that sooner or later one would meet up with her. She also was not positive that the Sith had given up on her. It would be just like them to try to gain her back. She decided not to dwell on that thought, and if they came for her then she would deal with it.
After walking around a bit she felt like she knew her way around the large ship well enough to know if Bri was going the wrong way or not. She would not tell Bri that she had gotten mixed up and ended up in the engine room once. A crewmember had to give her instructions on how to get back out. She had thanked the man and walked back the way he had told her. What she did not see was a pair of eyes that had noticed her coming out of the engine room and the smile that matched the cold eyes.
Xara looked down and realized that it was close to dinnertime and that she should meet up with Bri. She would probably be hungry and she did not want to worry the Jedi about where she had been.
She was walking down the corridor when suddenly she was thrown to the deck by a violent explosion. She quickly checked herself and found that she just had a small cut on her forehead when she had hit the doorframe. It was not bleeding badly but she instantly became worried about Bri. There were alarms going off all over the place and both Jedi and crewmembers were rushing around. Several passed Xara but did not recognize any of them.
She stopped one of them to ask what had happened. The Jedi replied that he did not know, but the rumor was that the engines had been damaged in an explosion. Just then another explosion occurred rocking the ship as the two were thrown to the deck. Both got up and were glad to see that they were unharmed. Xara quickly asked if he knew anything about Bri. He replied that he did not and continued on his way.
Xara headed towards the medical lab to see if there was anything that she could do to help. Arriving at the lab she arrived before any of the wounded could arrive and she asked what had happened. She received the same story that it appeared that the engines had been damaged and they had dropped out of hyperspace.
She turned around and noticed that the first of the wounded began to trickle into the lab. Xara made herself available to the doctor who told her to help bring in the wounded and make them comfortable. She went and took the first man and led him over to a waiting area and gave a quick scan of his injuries. She noticed that he was the same one who had directed him out of the engine room earlier. He looked like he had been near the explosion, yet shielded a bit. Her mind already going over what could have happened to him.
She was about to ask him when she heard a voice behind her.
“That’s her, she’s the one who sabotaged the engines. I saw her walk out of the engine room just before it exploded.” Xara heard the voice and realized who it was, Cal.
“Arrest her.” He practically screamed as a couple of guards came up. Xara realized that for Bri’s sake she would go quietly with the guards to not cause a scene.
“This is just a precaution ma’am.” One of the guards said as he approached her. Xara nodded her head and allowed the man to cuff her, nothing she could not get out of is she did not want to.
Xara began walking with the guards when she saw a familiar form on a stretcher coming down the hallway. The strawberry blonde hair could only mean one thing; Bri had been close by when the explosion had occurred.
“Wait!” Xara said to the guards as she tried to get to Bri to check out her injuries. The guards tried to refrain her but she was stronger than they had expected her to be. She could have easily overpowered one of them, but two of them were a bit more difficult to do. They managed to wrestle her to the ground. She shrugged them off of her to try and get to Bri.
Everyone was standing there watching the scene unfolding in front of them. Most of them were in shock, except Cal who had a bit of a smile on his face as she continued to struggle.
She broke free again and managed to take a couple of steps towards the stretcher when she heard a click hiss. Cal positioned himself in front of Bri and used the Force to knock Xara down. He then jumped in front of her yelling that she was a traitor and that only someone like her could have damaged the engines and communications at the same time. Xara blinked as he continued to rant.
Cal brought his blue blade up and brought it down to end her life when a small green blade intercepted it. Cal seemed at first angry that he had bee stopped then looked at who the green blade belonged to.
“Judge and executioner, you are not.” Master Yoda said looking hard at Cal who disengaged his weapon then turned back.
“I saw her come out of the engine room minutes before the explosion, she has the abilities to do something like this.” Cal said pointing at Xara as he spoke. “I’ll be late for my mission because of her.”
“In charge you are not.” Yoda said calmly taking over the room with his presence. He turned to look at Xara before speaking. “With the guards you go, update you I will about Bri.” Yoda said with a promise and Xara could tell he was speaking the truth. “Precaution only until all facts I have.”
Xara nodded her head in agreement then got up and with one last look to Bri she allowed the guards to walk her out.
“We have all the facts Yoda.” Cal said not believing what he was hearing. “Surely you can’t believe her over me, I’m a Jedi Knight.”
Yoda turned to Cal and narrowed his eyes at the man. Cal unconsciously backed up a step. “All facts I do not have. Only member of council on board the ship, my decision you must respect.” Yoda said with a note of finality on it. He then turned to check on his former padawan.
Cal stood there for a second before realizing that he had been dismissed. The activity that had been stilled for a bit was renewed as the doctors and medical staff began to go back to their duties.
Yoda noticed that Bri had a several cuts on her and a bump on her forehead. He wondered if she was injured anywhere else that he could not see. Only time would tell for sure.
Yoda then walked over to the head doctor and asked that when he was finished with the wounded to call him. He wanted to talk with the survivors for clues as to what happened. The doctor gave his word to the Jedi Master and watched as Yoda walked out deep in thought.
Yoda walked over to a meditation area where one could look out and see open space. He was the only member of the council on board the Chu’unthor; therefore the responsibilities fell on him to guide the investigation. He looked up as the captain walked into the room.
“Master Yoda, I have a report of what damage has occurred and if we can fix it.” The captain said. Yoda nodded his head and the captain continued his report. “The engine room was hit quite well. Both the hyperdrive and ion engines were hit. My engineer says that he can have both engines back up and running in a day. The communications room will have to be fully repaired. Our back up will allow short range communication, but the long range communications have been destroyed.”
“Thank you captain.” Yoda said as he went over the damage to the ship. Something just did not make sense to him, but he could not figure out what it was. He would have to meditate on it.
The doctor finished putting away his instruments after making sure that they were clean. He had been busy for most of the evening and his stomach growled in protest of not eating. He shrugged out of his clothing and put on some new clothes. He then paged Yoda and wondered how long it would take before the Jedi Master arrived.
He mentally went over the casualties. Eleven people had died, most from the communications room. The engines were large and sparsely populated. He had a couple of people who were unconscious, one was a Jedi Master, and the other was a crewman from the engine room. The crewman had suffered sever internal injuries and his chances were not good. The Jedi he figured had a concussion, and a couple of cracked ribs that came up on the x-rays. It was the head wound that concerned him the most. If it went down tomorrow then the possibility of a complete recovery was excellent.
Yoda came walking into the room and the doctor looked down at the powerful Jedi.
“Master Yoda, thank you for coming.” The doctor said. “Do you mind if we grab something to eat while I go over the casualties?” He asked. Yoda said that he did not and the two took off down to the nearest cafeteria.
After getting his food the doctor went into details about several of the injuries. He explained the injuries suffered to Bri and the crewman and what he thought their chances were of recovering. Yoda nodded and wondered where Bri had been. The doctor did not know as he had not asked, but it would just be a matter of finding out.
Yoda learned of the eleven people who had died in the explosions. One thing that did disturb him was that they knew it was not an accident. The bombs planted were done on purpose. If a person had wanted it to look like an accident then they would not have his the communications. The explosion in the engine room would not have been difficult to make it appear like an accident. He did not believe that Xara was responsible for it, but many others knew that she was a bounty hunter and that her skills in this would lead to a logical conclusion that she did it.
Yoda thanked the doctor and then left the room to head to the cells for the prisoners.
Xara sat back in her cell wondering what had happened to Bri. So far there was nothing coming from her link to the Jedi. She could only assume that meant good news. Conta Paq had mentioned that he knew when his wife had died; it was like a piece of him left forever. Xara did not have that feeling so she could only assume that the Jedi was still unconscious. That thought still did not ease the knot in her gut or her worry about Bri.
Xara had tried to meditate but her worry got in the way too much and she allowed herself to focus solely on Bri. She still had not felt anything when Master Yoda walked into the guard area.
“Master Yoda.” One of the guards said as he entered the room. The guard had been assigned to make sure that the suspect did not try an escape. So far all his prisoner had done was sit on the bench.
“Talk with Xara alone I will.” He instructed the guard. The guard just nodded his head and walked out of the room.
Xara looked up as she noticed Yoda approach. Her heart thumped in her chest, as she knew he would tell her what type of condition Bri was in and she was not sure she really wanted to know. She spoke without much thought however. “How’s Bri?”
“Unconscious.” Yoda replied Xara as they looked at each other for a few seconds before continuing. “Chance of a good recover she has, if swelling doesn’t worsen tomorrow.” Yoda told her truthfully.
“She’ll survive.” Xara said with convection. She had complete confidence that Bri would be all right.
“Yes she is.” Yoda responded knowing that how strong Bri could be. Now that he had told Xara about Bri he knew that he had to get down to the basics of what had happened. “Remember much about what happened?” He asked getting down to business.
“I was making my way around the ship trying to get my bearings. Bri kept getting lost on the ship when we tried to make our way to the museum, cafeteria and our own quarters.” Xara said with a bit of a smile. “I got a bit turned around and found myself in the engine room. A crewman helped me out by giving me instructions. I saw the man injured later in the medical lab.” Xara said truthfully.
“Hmm, Cal said that he saw you come out of the engine room just before the explosion.” Yoda said.
“I know, he yelled it at me in the med lab.” Xara said remembering the incident quite vividly. “He seemed to be quite upset for some reason.”
“Lot of noise he is making.” Yoda replied recalling the argument he had with the Jedi. Cal was known to be a bit of a troublemaker. For this reason Yoda did not want him to be in charge of the investigation. “Put myself in charge of the investigation I have.”
Xara felt a bit relieved at that. At least she would not be immediately thought of as guilty if Yoda was in charge of investigating what happened. “I’m glad.” She told him.
“Believe you did it, I do not.” Yoda told her, however that led to another thought. “Disturbing this is, many will believe that you did it. The skills you have.” He said and they both knew it as the truth. “But hurt Bri, I do not think you are capable of.”
“You’re right, I don’t think I could.” Xara said. “We dueled, and neither of us were able to inflict harm on the other. For some reason we were not able to even fight at full strength.” Xara said telling Master Yoda about the fight.
“The abilities of a soul mate.” Yoda replied still learning about their unique connections.
“Yes, I wish that I had been able to talk to Conta Paq a bit more before he died.” Xara said.
“He found happiness at the end.” Yoda said knowing from recent experiences what a soul mate goes through when one loses their partner.
“Yes he did.” Xara replied.
“See anything out of the ordinary did you?” Yoda asked getting back to the investigation at hand. He would not be able to stay much longer as he had pressing concerns that had to be attended to.
“No, I really don’t know the layout of the engines so I don’t know what would have been suspicious.” Xara replied thinking about it some more. “There’s something wrong with it, but I just can’t place it yet.”
“Let me know when you find out.” Yoda said getting up. “Stay calm and focused for now.”
“I will.” Xara replied watching as the small Jedi walked out of the room and was replaced by the guards. She leaned back and rested her head against the wall and tried to just relax as much as she was able to. But her thoughts kept coming back to Bri even though she knew the condition of the young woman she still wanted to see her.
Yoda walked down the corridor thinking about what Xara had said and he felt it as well. She was not responsible for this, yet the only other person could be a crewman or, even worse, a Jedi. Another thought came to him. The person responsible could be part of the troubles on Sissis, and if that was the case then he would have to sort through everyone who had contact with the planet and its people.
He went to the find the captain. He would probably know if anyone of his crew was from Sissis or had contact with the planet. He figured the captain would either be on the bridge or his ready room. He walked past the burnt out room of the communications room and glanced around to see if anything caught his attention. After a brief glance around he did not notice anything. The room was a complete disaster. Walking onto the bridge he noticed the captain looking at the charts with the navigator.
“Something wrong?” Yoda asked as he stepped into the room and felt the tension in the room.
“Ah, Master Yoda.” The captain said standing up and greeting the Jedi. “I’m afraid that there is. My navigator has just told me that there is a large asteroid in the area, and according to calculations it will hit us before we can complete the repairs to the engines.”
“Move it out of the way we can.” Yoda said thinking that they would be able to gather enough Force energy to deflect the danger.
“We can’t, if we do we endanger countless hyperspace travelers. This asteroid has enough mass to destroy a ship in hyperspace. It has been calculated into every hyperspace computer in the system.” The navigator replied and Yoda knew that he was right.
“Wait, what if we blow a landing bay? Would it have enough force to move us out of the way?” The captain asked suddenly.
“It might.” Yoda said thinking about it.
“It would have to be done right away.” The navigator said as he thought about which bay to use.
“Do it.” Yoda said. “Let me know when we are clear. I’ll be in the meditation room six, and I would like to speak with you captain.” Yoda said getting an acknowledgement form the captain then walked out of the bridge.
It did not take Yoda long to reach the meditation room. This room had a large space window where one could look out and see outside giving the illusion that the room was not so small. Yoda noticed that they were slightly moving and knew that the operation had begun.
He was sitting down when he felt another person come into the room. He opened his eyes to see Cal standing there.
“Master Yoda, have you decided anything about the guilt of Xara yet?” He asked with a bit of impatience in his voice.
“Another concern has arisen.” Yoda said watching the man’s face turn to disbelief.
“What could be more important?” He replied and Yoda knew that he was losing his grip and his famous temper would flare.
“A large asteroid headed right for us.” Yoda deadpanned.
“I don’t believe you.” Cal replied and was about to say more when the captain came into the room. He looked at Yoda then at Cal and raised his eyebrow in silent question if he was interrupting anything.
“Master Yoda.” The captain said deciding to go on ahead and tell him the situation. “My navigator has informed me that he believes that we will miss the asteroid.”
“Good news that is.” Yoda said. “I will wait to continue my investigation until we have passed the asteroid. What is the status of the engines?”
“My chief engineer says that he should have the engines back up and running in twenty eight hours.” He said and was about to continue when Markus came into the room with an urgent look on his face.
“Master, I have some bad news.” Markus said giving a bow to Yoda.
“What has happened Markus?” Yoda asked wondering what could have happened in such a short time and he hoped that it was not Bri.
“It seems that someone has stolen the Exir Stone from the museum in all of the confusion earlier in the day.” Markus said referring to the stone that had Dark Force properties.
“Disturbing this news is.” Yoda said. “Captain, conduct a search of all quarters.”
“Everyone’s?” He asked knowing that some of the people on board would object to the search.
“Everyone.” Yoda replied.
“Just search Xara’s quarters, I’m sure you’ll find it there.” Cal said confidently.
Yoda narrowed his eyes at the Jedi for a moment but said nothing. He had given the order to the captain and felt confident that he would do what he felt was right.
“I’ll get started right away Master Yoda.” The captain said and walked out of the room.
“You’ll see that I’m right.” Cal said looking at Yoda. “We can’t trust Xara at all.” He said then walked out of the room.
“Markus, go see how Bri is doing in the Medlab and stay there, do not let Cal near her.” Yoda said not sure he liked what he felt coming from Cal.
“Yes master.” Markus said then walked away headed to the med lab.
Yoda did not like the feeling that he was getting about the investigation. He felt like it was about to take a turn for the worse. He had spent the remainder of the evening looking over the damage of the engine room to see if he could find anything wrong or out of place. Unfortunately he had not been able to find anything that might clear Xara.
He was almost at his quarters when the captain came up to him.
“We found the Exir Stone Master Yoda.” The captain said. “It was in Bri and Xara’s quarters, more specific it was with Xara’s stuff.”
“Afraid that you would captain.” Yoda replied.
“What do you mean?” The captain said not really understanding. As far as he was concerned Xara had been behind everything.
“Come with me.” Yoda said leading him down to the cells where Xara was being held.
Xara watched as Yoda and another man came into the room. She wondered what else could go wrong now.
“Tell her.” Yoda said to the captain who at first looked confused but Yoda insisted.
“We found the Exir Stone among your stuff Xara.” The captain said watching as confusion clouded Xara’s features.
“The Exir Stone? What’s that?” Xara asked not sure what it was as she looked at Yoda for an explanation.
“A stone that has in it the Dark Side of the Force.” Yoda replied seeing as Xara made the connection.
“That ugly stone, why would I want that thing?” Xara said. “And when would I have had time to take it.”
“During the chaos of the explosions.” The captain said.
“Impossible, I went straight to the medlab to see if I could help out.” Xara said.
“Hmm, getting confusing this is.” Yoda said, he would have to check with the doctor as to when Xara had arrived in the Medlab. “Tomorrow set up the court, we will get to the bottom of this then.” Yoda replied then saying goodnight to Xara left the room.
“I lost eight good men in those explosions, they deserve justice.” The captain said before walking out.
“Not good.” Xara said to herself. She felt tired and decided to see if she could get any sleep. The cots in the cells were not very comfortable but she managed to fall asleep anyway with her thoughts on her partner.
Xara felt a weight on her chest that she was not expecting. There was also the crackle of a fire nearby which made her open her eyes in alarm. The first thing she noticed was the fact that there were trees overhead, which surprised her a bit. She shifted a bit and looked down. There were furs covering whatever was lying on her. She lifted the fur just a bit and noticed strawberry blonde hair and knew who it was with her, Bri.
Xara shifted slightly and slowly extracted herself from the sleeping form. She watched as Bri mumbled a bit then snuggled back into sleep clutching the furs that she had just been on. Bri would usually wrap herself around the pillow if Xara got up first.
Xara looked around the campsite and felt like she had been here before. She then decided to see if she could get Bri up so that they could talk. She shook the sleeping form and watched amused as Bri groaned a bit.
“Too early Xena.” She said which caused Xara to arch an eyebrow at the name. ‘Xena’, that name sounded familiar. Where was it she had heard that before? Then she remembered, they had dreamed liked this before. Bri had called her Xena, and what was it that she had called her, Gabrielle that was it.
“Gabrielle, get up.” Xara said watching as green eyes blinked open and she watched as confusion set in.
“What, where, how?” Bri/Gabrielle said. Xara was not sure who was in control yet.
“Bri.” Xara said caressing a cheek.
“Xara? Where are we?” Bri asked still a bit confused from sleep.
“Remember the dream where we were Xena and Gabrielle?” Xara asked watching Bri nod her head in answer. “Well, we in it again. You called me Xena before you woke up.”
“This is weird Xara?” Bri said getting up realizing that she had slept nude and wrapped herself in the sleeping furs.
“There’s a lot going on Bri.” Xara said sitting down next to the smaller woman. Then she picked her up and set her on her lap. “There much better.”
“What happened?” Bri said. “My memory is a bit of a blur.”
“Where to begin.” Xara said. “What’s the last thing you remember?” She finally asked.
“I was walking past the communications room trying to find the cafeteria when, lets see, what did happen.” Bri said thinking about it for a few seconds. “I think I remember an explosion?” She said not too sure about her memory.
“There was an explosion. Do you remember the first one?” Xara asked watching as Bri thought then nodded her head. “That one knocked out the engines.”
“We’re dead in space?” Bri asked not sure she liked the course of the conversation.
“Yes my Jedi, we are.” Xara said. “Right now I’m in a holding cell, and you’re unconscious in the medlab.” Xara said telling her the truth.
“In a holding cell?” Bri asked wondering what was going on.
“Cal’s on board and he’s telling everyone that I’m responsible for the sabotage of the engines and the communications room.”
“I don’t believe that.” Bri said not liking what she had just heard. “Master Yoda doesn’t believe that, does he?”
“No, he doesn’t, but I think he has a uphill battle. I think Cal has done a good job in making me look like a bad guy.” Xara told her wrapping her arms around Bri’s waist.
“Hmm, so what’s my condition?” Bri asked not really wanting to know.
“A concussion, swelling in the head, and a couple of cracked ribs. The swelling is what’s worrying the doctor the most.” Xara said truthfully.
“I guess it could be worse.” Bri said as she snuggled into Xara’s embrace.
They sat there for a while just savoring each other before Bri spoke again.
“What type of damage was done to the engines and communications rooms?” Bri asked quietly as a thought came to her.
“Both the hyperspace and Ion engines were damaged, and the communications room was completely destroyed.” Xara replied.
“It wasn’t you.” Bri said looking up into the blue eyes with such confidence that Xara blinked. “With your skills you wouldn’t have needed that much explosive and I think you would have done a better job with the engines.”
“You’re right.” Xara said thinking about it. “I wouldn’t have damaged the Ion engines, that would have been dangerous, and I would not have attacked the communications room. It would have seemed like an accident. And whoever did that also put the Exir Stone in with my stuff.”
“The Exir Stone?” Bri asked a bit curious about that.
“Oh yeah! Someone stole the stone and put it in my stuff.” Xara said. “I think I now have enough information for my trial tomorrow.” Xara said. “Thanks.” She gave the top of Bri’s head a kiss.
“Any time, right now I’m a bit tired.” Bri said.
“Don’t worry, I’ll see you soon my Jedi.” Xara said holding on to the form until she too fell asleep.
Xara woke up a bit disoriented but feeling much better than she had earlier. She needed to talk with Sara soon about this dream thing that it seemed that she and Bri shared. She thought about what they and talked about and realized that Bri had gotten lost again. The cafeteria was two decks down from the communications room.
Xara realized that Bri was right about her conclusion about how Xara would have done it. The only problem was not how to help Yoda convince the rest about what had happened. She only wished that she knew what type of explosive had been used in the blasts. That might give an indication of who had done the sabotage of the ship. The only reason she could come up with would have to do with their current mission to Sissis. Xara knew that she did not have the time or equiptment to see who could have been responsible for the acts.
She looked up as the door swung open and Master Yoda walked into the room. He strode confidentily into the room. She wondered about his look and if he any new information about her case.
“Good morning Xara, I have one question for you.” He said. “No one ever saw you near the communications room. So you either had an accomplice or someone else did it.”
“Didn’t think about that, your right I did not go near that room.” Xara said. “That, and Bri reminded me that I wouldn’t have sabotaged the Ion engines, just the hyperspace engines. That and it would have looked like an accident.” Xara said to him getting a strange look for her remark.
“Talked to Bri you have?” He asked a bit confused by the information.
“Ah, that’s a bit more difficult to explain, but yeah.” Xara said wondering how to explain this to the Jedi Master.
“The soul mate connection then is very strong between you both.” Yoda replied realizing for the first time how strong the connection was. “Talked to the doctor I have, confirmed what you said.”
“That’s good news.” Knowing that it might just diffuse talk of her stealing the Exir Stone. She then thought of something else that she had not really realized until just now. “I ran into a Jedi on the way to the medlab when the second explosion occurred.”
“Find this Jedi I will.” Yoda said to her. Her innocence was becoming more and more clear with each piece of evidence that was coming out. The only thing he had to do was counter anything that Cal said with evidence that pointed to the contrary. He also did not want any of the other Jedi to be swayed by Cal anymore than necessary.
“I guess its time to start my trial.” Xara said wishing it was already over and she was beside Bri’s bed holding her hand. She reviewed her last thought and snorted a bit to herself. Some big bad Sith warrior turned out to be wanting to only be with Bri. She thought to herself but she knew it to be the truth.
“After breakfast, come on.” Yoda said to her, as her cell was unlocked.
“You’re letting me out?” Xara said not really sure she understood what Yoda was saying.
“Only into my custody, until we establish your innocence.” Yoda replied back to her.
“What about Bri?” Xara asked wondering if she would be able to see her.
“Stop by the medlab we can.” Yoda told her as they walked out of the holding area.
Yoda walked beside Xara after they had cuffed her hands in front of her. Xara did not like the idea of the cuffs, but Yoda told her it was just a precaution and that he was not worried about her trying to escape as they were on board a stranded ship. They made their way to the medlab first as Xara wanted to check on Bri as soon as she could.
They walked into the medlab and Xara made her way over to where Bri was lying. She had a bandage on her head and was covered by the sheets. Markus was standing nearby watching and went over to Yoda as soon as he saw his teacher enter the room.
“Doing how is she?” Yoda asked Markus as he approached.
“The swelling has not gone down yet, and it does concern the doctors a bit.” Markus answered truthfully. Xara stiffened at the reply and tried not to dwell on what it could mean.
“I am concerned about her Master Yoda.” The doctor said as he walked into the room. Xara glanced at him and noticed him to be the same one who she had tried to help yesterday before Cal came into the medlab and accused her of the sabotage.
“She also has not moved since she got here.” The doctor went on to say then gave a bit more complete list of her injuries. Bri would not be lifting anything for a few days, at least until the ribs had healed a bit more. The most pressing problem was the swelling. The doctor did not want to perform any surgery as anything involving the brain was dangerous and could have complications involved with it even with the advanced medical breakthroughs.
Xara turned back to Bri and allowed her hand to caress Bri’s cheek for a few minutes. She thought that she felt Bri lean into the touch so she just kept it up and then stroked her hair for a few seconds. She turned to look at Yoda who was talking with the doctor and she knew that it was time for her to eat and begin the trial.
“I’ll be back my Jedi.” Xara said giving her a quick kiss then straighten up and walked over to where the rest of the group stood. The doctor had been watching as well and was not sure what to make of what he had just seen. He glanced at Yoda who did not seem to be fazed so he just took it in stride.
“Are you family?” He asked her.
“You might say that.” Xara said hiding her real reply.
“Sometimes a patient recovers better when family members are nearby.” The doctor said. “And for the record I don’t think you did anything Cal said. He rushes to conclusions to quickly from what I see.” The doctor said. “I’ll let you know if anything develops.”
“Thank you.” Xara replied as they then walked out the door leaving the doctor and Markus in the room with the rest of the patients.
“A friend you have.” Yoda said they walked down the corridor to the cafeteria.
Xara looked at him with a bit of a puzzled face not really understanding what he was saying.
“Trusts you the doctor does.” Yoda said as Xara looked at him. “Does not trust easily, only those he feels are worthy of trust.”
“As long as he takes care of Bri.” Xara replied back.
“Worry not, best hands she is in.” Yoda said knowing that the doctor was one of the best in the universe. “Spoke to me he did about you. Said that there was no way you could have taken the Exir Stone during the confusion and be in the medlab at the same time.”
“Will that stand up during the trial?” Xara asked wondering how much she would have to defend herself.
“Well received he is, his word is his life.” Yoda replied giving the only answer he had to as they walked into the cafeteria.
Xara finished her meal even thought the handcuffs did make it a bit harder than usual, but she managed to finish without spilling anything. At first there were a few stares at her, but most were from the younger crowd, which she realized would stare at anything unusual. The others who did she figured were the one who would have to be convinced of her innocence. She really was not that concerned about it, but there was always a possibility that something else could go wrong no matter what the plan was.
Xara picked up her plate when Yoda was also done and they put their dishes up. She knew that the time had come for the trial to begin.
“Who’s the judge of the trial?” Xara finally asked now that they were on their way.
“I am.” Yoda replied and Xara almost stumbled a bit at the news. “Only member of the council here I am, my responsibility.” Yoda said clarifying his position.
“So why the trial.” Xara asked if Yoda thought she was not guilty she was not sure why they would go through the trial.
“Cal had been raising a fuss over you. Telling anyone that you’re guilty he has.” Yoda said. “This will prove to others, and maybe bring out the real person.”
“Of course.” Xara said understanding the reason now. It was actually less to do with her guilt than finding out who was really responsible. Xara would have liked nothing more than finding out that Cal was guilty for everything, but somehow she did not think she would.
Xara walked into the large room and was surprised by the number of people who had turned out to see what her fate was. She still was entirely convinced that Cal would not try to bring out her past and use it against her. She pushed the thought into the back of her mind and concentrated on winning this battle and worrying about the rest later.
Xara was led to a table in the front of the room where she sat down. At the next table she noticed that Cal sat down and they exchanged glances. He had a cold stare and Xara returned it with her own cold stare. She then turned her attention to the head table where Yoda went and sat down.
“Here to address the charges against Xara we are.” He said after he was seated. Everyone watched as the beginning addresses began.
Xara was almost worried when another Jedi sat down beside her. She looked at him for a second then realized who it was. This was the Jedi who she had encountered in the corridor of when the second explosion occurred.
“Hi, I’m Master Jedi Kint.” He whispered introducing himself. “Master Yoda told me what has happened and that he thinks you’re not guilty. After listening to him neither do I, although we were never introduced.” He said the last with a smile.
“No we weren’t. I’m Xara.” She replied with an answering smile.
“First though we have to listen to this young windbag.” Kint said almost making her laugh as she looked at Cal.
“I’ve got to listen to him, ugh.” Xara said in annoyance.
“I take it you don’t like him too much.” Kint said as Xara nodded her head in agreement. “Just to let you in on a secret, neither to most of us.”
Cal had now finished shuffling his papers and looked around to see if everyone was ready for the trial to begin. When he was satisfied that everything was to his liking he finally began.
“My fellow Jedi, there has been an atrocity that has been allowed to take place, and because of it eleven good citizens died because of it. I won’t bore you with every detail of what happened to cause this terrible attack on us but allowing Xara, a non-Jedi to take up residence in our temple, caused it. She became some of our friends, which is even more dangerous for our Order. She brought with her a darkness that we can not overcome without eliminating the source, which she is.” He said raising passion in his voice. Xara had to resist the urge to strangle the man right then and there.
“Xara has weaseled her way into our Jedi Order to deliberately sabotage our missions, and this is a clear example of what she has done and will continue to do if we don’t do anything about it. She sabotaged our engines and communications to the point where we are a drift in space without a way to communicate with anyone for help.” He said turning around to look at everyone who would make eye contact with him. “I myself saw her come out of the engine room just before it exploded, as there could be no one else who could have done it. I was lucky to make it out alive by following her until the second explosion occurred. That’s when I realized what had happened. She had sabotaged our missions, all of ours.” He said making eye contact with Yoda then Kint and finally Xara.
“Not only did she sabotage our ship but she tried to steal the Exir Stone. It was found missing shortly after the attack occurred and it was found in Xara’s processions. She probably was going to sell it on the black market in the hopes that a new Sith would appear.” Cal said bringing up the Sith for what Xara realized would not be the last time.
Xara glanced over at Kint who seemed to be in deep thought. So far Cal had made his opening argument with passion and ability to strike a cord with what the Jedi might fear the most, the return of the Sith.
“We have the evidence against her and she has the skills to do something like this. She is a skilled bounty hunter who is skilled in stealth and abilities to make such an attack that we just experienced. My fellow Jedi we can not allow her to remain among us or it could be the end of us all.” Cal said finally finishing.
Xara turned to Kint who was her defender at this trial and placed her trust that he would counter most of what Cal had said, even though she had blocked out most of his speech, which was a repetition that she was a danger to all of them. She had to stop from rolling her eyes at the thought.
Kint stood up and after acknowledging Yoda, something that she realized Cal had not done, the man began.
“Honorable Jedi, I have heard along with all of you the evidence against Xara, however we have forgotten that she is to be treated as innocent until her guilt can be proven without any doubt.” Kint said beginning his own counter speech. “I have heard the claims by Jedi Knight Cal and there are many problems with his theories. As for the theft of the Exir Stone, the person who is responsible for the sabotage could have stolen it and placed it in her possession to throw off the investigation.”
Many of the assembled people began to look around at each other at Kint’s words. They each knew that he was speaking the truth; it was the job of the prosecution to prove that Xara was in fact responsible for what had happened.
“Begin the trial we will.” Yoda said as he realized that Kint was finished talking. He had kept his opening statement short and precise, something he was known for. “Xara, the stand you will take.”
Xara got up and walked to where she was in front of the room and sat down in the chair in. Cal got up and it was clear that he would be the first one to question her.
“Xara,” he said spitting out her name like a bad word. “You worked as a bounty hunter before you came on board the Chu’unthor, isn’t that correct?”
“Yes it is.” Xara replied staring at Cal wondering how he was going to twist the facts.
“Then you have knowledge of explosives and where to place them to disable or destroy vital equipment on a starship?” Cal asked her as he returned her stare.
“Yes I do.” Xara stated without emotion and was about to continue when she caught Kint’s eye. The Jedi nodded his head and she knew that he would get his turn. She would have to trust in his skills to counter any damage done by Cal.
“Isn’t it also true that you were in the engine room just prior to its explosion?” Cal said asking his next question.
“I was lost, and a crewman help me out of the room.” Xara said with a smile.
“You had a map, and you were lost, I think not, you were using the map to find the engine room for your scheme.” Cal countered.
“I had the map because I wanted to find my way around the ship.” Xara said defending herself.
“So you say, I think it was to get to the engine room.” Cal said turning to face the gathered group. “And she did that quite well, well enough to damage our engines.”
“That’s not the reason.” Xara said from where she was sitting beginning to get angry.
“Is it not true that you visited the museum earlier in the day.” Cal asked suddenly changing topics.
“Huh? Yes with Bri, she showed me around.” Xara said.
“Did you feel anything from the stone?” He asked.
“What does that have to do with this?” Xara asked.
“Answer the question.” Cal said.
Xara suddenly felt like the room was too small for her and that everything was closing in on her. She had felt something pulling her towards the stone, and she knew what it was. She also realized that the Jedi assembled in front of them also knew it. She also realized that they would probably know if she lied to them.
“Your answer?” Cal asked when she had remained silent.
“Yes.” Xara said as the room erupted in conversation over her answer while Cal sat there gloating.
“Xara not only had the skills, but the ability and reason take the Exir Stone. The sabotage was just a distraction in which eleven people were killed.” Cal said sitting down and letting Kint take over.
Kint sat there for a few seconds then looked at his notes for a few seconds. The last part of the questioning had brought out some information he had not been expecting, but nothing he could not deal with. He stood up and walked around to where Xara was sitting.
“Xara, we all know that you are a bounty hunter, and with that comes the facts that people assume you have the skill to do what my collogue here says you do.” Kint said beginning his defense. “Do you or do you not have the skills to what happened?”
“Yes I do.” Xara replied and Cal grinned some more.
“I sense that there is more to this thought, could you pleas tell us what else you are thinking?” Kint asked knowing what she would say.
“The explosions were quite simplistic in its nature. Whoever did it did not take the time to study the target.” Xara replied.
“What do you mean?” Kint asked intrigued in what his client was saying.
“The captain can verify this, but depending on the type of engine you may or may not be able to use an explosive. On this ship I thought I saw a type LXII series hyperspace engine, I would have never used explosives.” Xara replied.
“Why not?” Kint asked knowing that this would be a moment of truth for the trial.
“Using an explosive device on that series engine could result in the reactor going critical and blowing up the entire ship.” Xara said. “Whoever did this endangered everyone’s life.” Xara thought as another thought came to her that she kept silent on. ‘Perhaps that was their goal.’
“I don’t believe that.” Cal said suddenly as he stood up. “She knows the type of engine and where to disable it using an explosive device.”
“She is right.” A voice said from the back of the crowd. Everyone turned around to see who it was and made a path as the captain came walking up.
Yoda looked at the captain and then noticed that he was holding some information in his hands.
“Here is the information you requested Master Yoda.” The captain said handing Yoda the data crystal.
“Thank you captain.” Yoda replied as set the crystal down and examined what was on there.
“The young lady is right.” The captain said looking at Cal. “Any experienced bounty hunter would check the engine out to make sure it would not blow up, especially if they are still on board. And there are easier way of disabling the XLII series engines.”
With that the captain walked out of the room to return to his duties. Xara glanced back at Cal who had lost his smirk and she responded with a grin as he turned away.
“There is another piece of evidence that has been overlooked.” Kint said looking at Cal for an instant before continuing. “There is still the fact that Xara has not been seen anywhere near the communications room, nor was she seen again in the museum. Were you ever near the communications room.”
“I don’t think so.” Xara said. “The only way was when Bri was lost leading me around and trying to find the museum, the cafeteria and our room.” Xara chuckled a bit.
“Ah yes, Jedi Master Bri, she always did get lost on this ship. Looks like nothing much has changed with her.” He muttered a bit to himself. “Is that why you had the map?”
“Yes, I got a bit tired of being lost.” Xara said with a grin that was matched by Kint.
“The map was just a way for you to get familiar with the ship so that you and Bri would not get lost.” Kint stated so that everyone understood what she had said.
“Ridiculous!” Cal said from where he was sitting. “Bri is a Jedi who has spent a lot of time on board this ship. She knows her way around.”
“She does not, never did.” Yoda replied knowing that Bri had never gotten her bearing on board the ship. Cal could not say anything or else he would dispute what Yoda had said and even he was that foolish.
Cal sat there fuming a bit as piece by piece his arguments were being dismantled right in front of him. There was still one thing that they would not be able to dispute. That was the theft of the Exir Stone, he had her on that one he was sure of it.
The assembled group had at first thought that Xara had done everything that Cal had said, but now most were not sure about her guilt. Yes, she had the skills to do what had been done, but they had not realized how close they had come to having the reactor going critical. The other fact was no one had ever seen her near the communications room.
“There is still the fact that the Exir Stone was found in her quarters, even if she did not do anything else, she still had the time to take the stone in all of the confusion.” Cal said pressing his last point.
“The stone could have been planted there by the person who really committed the crime to throw us off the real trail.” Kint replied.
“She felt something.” Cal said pointing at Xara as he was speaking.
“That does not mean much.” Kint said back. “There are lots of people who it calls. In fact thinking about it the fact that it calls her does not surprise me at all.” Kint’s words surprised everyone in the room, even Xara. “Being a bounty hunter Xara has probably had her fair share of dealing with scum, and even working for them. We forget that the Force flows through everyone, not just us.”
Several Jedi nodded their heads having forgot that fundamental part of the Force. Everyone had it; just some had it stronger than others. Cal however seemed unconvinced at Kint’s words.
“There is still the theft and it cannot be denied that the evidence was found in Xara’s processions.” Cal said brings up the last real threat, but Xara was ready this time.
“A stone that I did not steal.” Xara said in response. “You say that I stole it during the confusion, right?” She said putting Cal on the spot. He responded that she did and Xara continued. “I would have had to run straight to the museum, to my room then to the med lab to get there before you came in and accused me of what I did not do.” Xara said.
“And you had time to do that.” Cal said not sure what she was getting at.
“Not if I was walking, and ran into someone.” Xara said.
“Like me.” Kint said looking at Cal who was a bit bewildered at everything. “I encountered Xara walking back from the direction of the engine room when the second explosion occurred and threw us both to the floor. Recalling the incident Xara was ruing towards the med lab.”
“Then she stole it before she went to the engine room.” Cal said trying to make something stick.
“Possible it is not.” Yoda said. “Have here the time frame when it was stolen. It was stolen after the explosions, not before.” Yoda held out the data crystal to Cal who took it. He noticed that the guards had noticed the stone missing after the explosions, not before, and the guard had just done a patrol of the museum.
Cal was a bit angry that it seemed that Xara would get off from what he had charged her. “If you did not do it then who did?” He asked.
“Determine guilt, that’s what this trial was for.” Yoda said. “The guilty one is still out there.”
“Master Yoda, is there anything else that needs to be done or is my client free to go?” Kint asked.
Yoda looked to Cal to see if the man had anything else to say, but he just sat there not saying anything.
“Free, Xara is.” Yoda said then dismissed everybody.
Xara waited as the guard came up and removed the cuffs that were around her wrists. She rubbed her wrists and was glad to have them free. She knew that the person who had caused Bri’s injuries was still running around free and she was determined to find whoever was behind it.
“I want to thank you for your help.” Xara said turning to Kint.
“Cal may be a Jedi Knight, but he is also a hothead. He usually spouts off quickly without knowing the full truth. He was my padawan and I’m afraid that I did not train him that well.” Kint said with a bit of sadness in his voice.
Xara did not know that Cal had been Kint’s padawan and wondered what had happened to make Cal the way he was. Kint seemed much more mild mannered than Cal was. She also wondered what her life would have been like had she been discovered by a Jedi Knight instead of one of the Sith Lords.
“Too sure of himself he is.” Yoda replied. “Taught him all you could Kint.” Xara could tell that they had talked about this before by the unspoken words that flowed between them.
“You do know that he has a fascination with Bri?” She asked them both wondering if they knew that.
“Knew that we did.” Yoda replied. “Learned that when they were teenagers.”
“He would stare at her and forget to do his work and studies that had been given to him. It got to the point that Master Yoda and I got together with the council to separate the two. I would keep in touch with Yoda to make sure that we were not crossing paths in the hope that he would forget about her, or at least the fascination would lessen.” Kint said.
“Thought it worked I did.” Yoda mused before continuing. “Guess not.”
“Then I’ll feel safer when I see Bri.” Xara said as they got up and began to walk to the med lab.
The walk to the med lab was uneventful and entering the room Markus walked over to where they were as Xara went straight to Bri’s side.
Markus seeing that Xara, Yoda and Kint were walking into the room went straight to Yoda’s side to let him know the situation that had developed. He was not sure how well the news would be taken. Yoda saw his padawan walking toward him and he knew that the news was not good.
“Master Yoda, the doctor says that the swelling has not gone down like he wanted it to, and that it could be a sign of more permanent damage.” Markus said as he approached Yoda and the rest of the group. Yoda just watched as Xara went over to Bri’s bed. Yoda glanced over at the other patient, an engineer that worked in the hyperdrive.
“Good news that is not.” Yoda finally replied to his padawan. He knew that the doctor had mentioned something about the swelling in Bri’s head yesterday, and now it seemed like it was a concern. “Moved has she?” Yoda asked.
“A bit last night, but nothing since then.” Markus said not knowing what was wrong.
“I’m glad that your here.” Yoda heard a voice behind him say. He turned around and noticed the doctor headed his way. “I’m concerned about Bri, the swelling has not gone down, and that could indicate damage to the brain.” He told them.
Yoda nodded his head noticing that Xara so far had not heard anything as was still by the bed.
Xara glanced down at Bri’s face. She seemed so peaceful lying there like she was sleeping. Xara had heard what Markus and the doctor had said but she refused to believe it. Taking hold of Bri’s hand she just held it, trying to get through to her soulmate to heal herself.
“She also has not moved in quite a while.” The doctor was saying when he noticed Bri move out of the corner of his eye. He glanced over and noticed that she had a grip on Xara’s hand, and that Xara was not just holding her hand.
Xara felt the fingers tighten around her hand and felt a bit of the tension relax. The swelling was still a concern, but Bri had not forgotten her.
The doctor walked over to his patient and looked at her for a few seconds before checking the charts to see if anything had happened. He noticed a bit of an increase in Bri’s brain activity, and in places he had not expected.
Yoda looked at Bri and Xara and recalled something Janson had said to him after Bri and Xara had left for their first mission. ‘If one is injured, the other can help heal just by being close. But my sister says that a healing sleep will do wonders for injuries that are hard to heal. It won’t heal bones, but it has been known to heal head, and other serious injuries. It is just something they don’t talk about to much.’ Yoda glanced again at Xara and Bri before walking over to the doctor.
“This is a good sign.” He said to Yoda as he walked over. “I really thought that she might be shutting down for some reason. I still might have to do surgery to save her life, but I do not want to. The swelling is in a bad spot for surgery, even for our advanced medicine.” The doctor said pointing to a place on the screen.
“Something else we will try.” Yoda said to the doctor who looked at him a bit strangely. “Move Bri to a double bed.” Yoda told him.
“A double bed? Master Yoda, your knowledge is considerable but I fail to compared what this would do.” The doctor replied wondering what he was trying to do.
Yoda looked around a second before replying. “Soulmates they are.” He said quietly.
The doctor’s eyes almost bulged out at the news. It was something he had not been expecting to hear, especially from Yoda. He quickly turned to Markus and together they moved another bed beside Bri’s. Xara looked on in a bit of confusion. She had heard Yoda tell the doctor that she and Bri were soulmates, but aside from that she was lost.
“I would rather not perform surgery, and a healing sleep would repair any damage done to Bri.” He said to Xara.
“A healing sleep?” She replied wondering what exactly he meant.
“It’s a medical phenomenon, no one has ever been able to understand why soulmates can perform such a task. The only thing that has been explained is that the one who is injured does not have enough energy to heal themselves and their other half provides the energy and the reason to come back.” The doctor replied. “I’ve been studying soulmates for a long time, in case I ever have to heal some in my travels. Unfortunately you’re my first so I was not able to recognize the signs.”
“What do I do?” Xara asked.
“Just sleep with her in your arms.” The doctor replied as another thought came to his mind. He unhooked all of the equipment then motioned Markus to help him put up a protective screen around the bed so they could have some privacy.
Kint was still standing near the doorway and he finally realized what they were saying. Bri had a soulmate, something that he had never know was possible for a Jedi.
“Master Yoda, does the council know about this?” He asked.
“Masters Janson and Aqat know, and now you do as well.” Yoda replied knowing that the Jedi Master would not reveal such a secret to anyone.
“I suggest one of us stays here at all times, I don’t really trust Cal right now. He still gets angry too quickly and I think his fascination with Bri has not changed one bit.” Kint told the others.
“Computer, no one is to see Jedi Master Bri Lighter until further notice.” The doctor said as the computer replied with its normal acknowledgement. “I don’t know how long it will take, but I’m placing this here for when you wake up. I think that you will probably be hungry, and this will give you a boost until you can make it to the dining hall.” The doctor said placing two enriched drinks down next to the bed.
“Thanks doctor. I’ll see you guys later, and thank you Master Kint.” Xara said.
“It was my pleasure, one of my easiest defense trials.” He said. “I look forward to talking to you both.” Kint then walked out of the made up room.
The doctor and Markus both walked out at the same time and Yoda nodded his head in understanding to Xara then walked out himself.
Xara took off her shoes and other clothing that she did not want on and crawled into the bed. The person who sabotaged the ship was still on the loose, and whoever placed the Exir Stone in her stuff was also on the loose, but she would worry about that later.
She carefully placed herself next to Bri and put her arms around her. She was surprised when Bri suddenly turned over and was on top of Xara snuggling into her normal sleeping spot. Xara really did not feel sleepy, and was content to lay there with Bri just holding the woman who meant so much to her. Xara did not know how long she was lying there until she fell asleep.
Xara slowly became aware of her surroundings as consciousness slowly crept back in. Her entire body felt drained like she had ever felt before. She could feel Bri’s weight still on her chest and opened her eyes to see the strawberry-blonde head that was tucked against her. She could feel the rise and fall of Bri’s chest and she honestly thought that she could hear Bri’s heart beating. It was a strange sensation.
Glancing around the hastily constructed room she noticed that nothing had changed from when she had first gotten in bed. She idly rubbed Bri’s back for a while wondering when the younger woman would come back to consciousness. It was then she started to feel a bit hungry, and eyed the drink on the stand near her. The only problem was in order to get to it she would have to disturb Bri.
Xara felt Bri stir a little and looked down as green eyes opened that refused to focus for several seconds.
“Ugh.” Bri mumbled as she tried to focus on Xara’s face. She felt completely wiped out and her ribs hurt like a herd of nerfs ran over her. She dropped her head back down and let herself feel the warmth of Xara’s body underneath her and centering her for a few minutes.
“Its good to see you too.” Xara said with a smile as she continued to rub Bri’s back.
Bri gathered the energy to look up at Xara again. “Where are we?” She rasped, as her mouth was dry.
“Here.” Xara said pulling them up a bit and grabbing the drinks that the doctor had left for them and handing one to Bri.
They spent the next few minutes slowly drinking the liquid, which surprisingly tasted quite good. It was either that of they were thirsty, either way Xara was not going to complain. She finished hers off and helped Bri with hers. Xara figured that Bri was more out of it than she was.
“Now, where are we?” Bri asked again her normal voice coming back.
“We are in the med lab.” Xara replied. “There were some explosions that damaged the engines, and destroyed the communication room. That is where you were passing when it exploded.” Xara told her wondering if she would remember the dream they had.
“I think I remember now.” She said then her brows crinkled in though. “We had another one of those dreams again, didn’t we?” She asked remembering bits and pieces of Xara and her in a field, and Xara holding her as she fell asleep.
“Yes we did, I don’t understand why we can do that, but whatever it is it works.” Xara replied back to Bri.
Bri just nodded her head in understanding, as they both knew some questions would be involved soon. They would need information like that when they were on their own, instead of finding out later like they had been.
“I think that we should have a talk with Janson’s sister, Sara real soon.” Xara said to as Bri hitched herself up to look into her eyes. Xara gave Bri a quick kiss then decided to extract herself from Bri and see if she could find the doctor.
Bri watched with a bit of a pout on her face as her soulmate got out of the bed, but she knew that the doctor would be waiting to check out her vitals. As soon as the doctor cleared her she could leave the med lab and be back in her own bed. That thought brought a grin to her face.
Xara walked out to find the doctor so Bri could get out. She walked out from behind the privacy wall and found the doctor and Master Yoda sitting down talking. They both looked up as Xara approached them.
“Hello there Xara, I thought that I heard voices.” The doctor said as she approached them. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m just a bit hungry like you said I would be, however Bri is itching to get out of here.” Xara replied back to him.
“I see, and I take it she is ready to get out of here?” He said with a knowing smirk to Yoda.
“Changed she has not.” Yoda said with a shake of his head. “Bri never did like hospitals. Once she even tried to escape through a window.” Yoda said explaining it to Xara.
“I remember that one, she fell two stories and broke both of her legs, and we had to strap her down until the legs healed enough for her to be moved.” The doctor said remembering that incident.
“That’s interesting, I wonder why she acts like that she hasn’t had a bad doctor has she?” Xara asked a bit puzzled over that.
“Didn’t have to, a hospital was where she lost her parents. Afraid she is of losing someone else.” Yoda replied.
“I should probably get in there before she tries to walk out of here and I haven’t had a chance to make sure she is all right.” The doctor replied getting up and walking over to where Bri’s bed was.
Xara walked over with him. She did not even think that Bri might be afraid that she would lose someone else in a hospital. Xara figured that if she was with the doctor then he might have a better time of it.
“Well, how’s my favorite patient doing today?” He asked as he went to check out the chart and chuckled at Bri’s huff. “Well, it seems to me that we should keep you here for observation for the next couple of days.” He said with a wink to Xara.
“A couple of days!” Bri whined having missed the interaction between Xara and the doctor. “I’m fine doctor.” She complained. “I’ll even do some exercises if you want.” Bri shot a glance at Xara asking for help and got a shrug in response. “Fine, then just wait until I’m out of here.” She said then crossed her arms and pouted.
Xara was having a hard time keeping a straight face as she watched her soulmate’s antics. Bri looked back up as she realized that the doctor and Xara were being to quiet.
Bri narrowed her eyes at Xara. “Just wait.” Bri said not having to say anything else.
“All right Bri.” Xara said walking over to where the strawberry blonde was pouting still. “I just couldn’t help myself, you look so cute.” Xara said giving the long hair a ruffle.
“I’ll let you go on the condition that you do not try and do anything stressful to your body for the next couple of days.” The doctor said looking sternly at Bri who looked like a chastised child at that moment.
“I give you my word that she won’t.” Xara said speaking up before her partner could. The doctor agreed and released Bri from the med lab.
“What of the mission master?” Bri asked Yoda.
“Go on to Sissis we will, make repairs there.” He said already able to use the sabotage as an excuse for more Jedi to be on hand in case of trouble.
“Are you expecting trouble?” Xara asked wondering to herself if Bri should even try to go on the mission is she was still recovering.
“Oh no you don’t!” Xara heard Bri say behind her. Xara turned back to her partner who was looking at her. “I know what you’re thinking, and I’ll be fine.”
Xara just raised her hands up in surrender hoping that it would calm her soulmate down a bit. The doctor just waited until Bri had settled down before beginning his exam.
A few minutes later the doctor had finished his exam and walked over to his chart and made a few notes.
“Well Bri, I declare you fit enough to leave the med lab, but you are to take it easy on your ribs,” He said then looking at her with a stern look. “That means you are not to participate in any exercises until they are healed.”
Bri looked like she wanted to protest what the doctor ordered until Xara gave her a hard look. Bri gave a pout right back and Xara briefly smiled back at the younger woman.
“All right, I pronounce you fit enough to leave the med lab,” the doctor said with a glance at Bri who jumped up and ran to the dressing area to change from the med lab garb.
“Has she always been like that?” Xara asked trying to learn more about her soul mate.
“As far back as I can remember her, yes,” the doctor replied as they waited for Bri to reappear. “She should be out in a few seconds.”
True to his word Bri appeared fully dressed. She walked over to Xara and grabbing her hand lead the taller woman out of the room leaving a smirking doctor in their wake.
“Master Yoda, is everything alright? We had lost contact with the Chu’unthor and were beginning to mount a rescue operation when you did not arrive in port,” Aqat said on the screen in front of Yoda. He had finally gotten in touch with the council when they had arrived at Garrin V and using the planet’s communication system he called Coruscant.
“Some problems we encountered. Sabotage to the engines and communications we encountered,” Yoda told the other Master Jedi.
“Was anyone hurt?” Aqat asked with concern in his voice.
“Several people were in the communications room, and several were injured in the engine room blast. Master Bri was hurt, but has recovered,” Yoda replied giving the preliminary report about what had happened in the past three days.
“How is she doing?” Aqat asked much like a father would. “And how is Xara?”
“Xara was blamed for the attack at first. She was also attacked by Cal,” Yoda replied wondering how that news would be received by the council.
Aqat looked at Yoda with a quizzical face as he pondered what he had just been told. He knew that the tall dark haired woman did have a seedy past. He gave it some thought before he said anymore to the small Jedi Master in front of him.
“I think that we should keep an eye on Cal for anymore acquisitions against Xara,” Aqat replied after some consideration in the matter. “Is there anything else that you require to help in your mission?”
“Require the Chu’unthor is all I need,” Yoda replied having already formulated a plan in his mind. “The ship can make repairs there to the damaged systems.”
“I’ll inform the council about everything that has happened so far,” Aqat said signing off leaving the screen dark
A couple of minutes later there was a knock on the door and the captain came walking into the quarters.
“You wished to speak with me Master Yoda?” The captain asked as he walked in.
“Yes,” Yoda replied looking up from where he was sitting. “Are you capable of making Sissis?”
“Of course, but if anything goes wrong then we can’t signal for help with our communications down,” the captain replied not sure what the Jedi Master had in mind.
“Proceed to Sissis, make repairs there captain,” Yoda ordered the captain. He stood there for a few seconds making sure that he had heard the small Jedi correctly. With a nod of his head the captain walked out of the room to begin the ship for her voyage to Sissis.
Yoda waited a few more minutes before he walked out of his quarters and headed to Bri and Xara’s quarters to talk with them. The walk to their quarters was quiet and he figured he had allowed enough time for Bri to talk her way out of the med lab.
Yoda knocked on the door and waited a few seconds before he heard Bri telling him that it was all right to enter. He walked into the room and was greeted by Xara. Bri was lying on the bed with pillows to prop her self up so that she could do some work.
“Hello Master, what can we do for you?” Bri asked her curiosity getting the best of her.
“Talked with Master Aqat I have about our mission,” Yoda replied to Bri as he walked over to a chair to sit in.
“They’re not pulling Bri off the mission are they?” Xara asked from where she had taken a seat on the bed.
“No, but the damage to our ship allows new possibilities,” Yoda said to Xara. He had not even mentioned taking Bri off the mission as he felt that he would need her help in the negotiations on Sissis. “Undergo repairs at Sissis we will instead.”
“Why there?” Bri asked not really understanding why they did not do any repairs at their first stop and they would take a transport to Sissis like she had thought that they would do.
“Actually that’s pretty clever,” Xara said with a glance at Yoda. “Nothing like having a ship full of Jedi on your doorstep to make the people more cooperative.”
“And our mystery still has not been solved,” Yoda said.
“Any ideas as to who it was Master?” Bri asked, as she was not sure who would deliberately try to sabotage the Chu’unthor.
“Nothing new has come up yet,” Yoda replied. “But disturbing this puzzle is.”
“There’s always the possibility that a Jedi did this,” Xara stated making the obvious known.
“Impossible, it must be one of the crew,” Bri replied a bit hotly to Xara.
“I’m just saying that it’s a possibility Bri, not a fact,” Xara replied looking at her soulmate.
“A Jedi does not go around sabotaging ships,” Bri replied with a glare at Xara.
“And I suppose that a Jedi did not attack me when I rescued you,” Xara said reminding Bri of the Jedi that Xara fought when Bri had been captured by her uncle.
“A true Jedi does not ignore any possibility,” Yoda reminded his one time student gently.
Bri looked at Xara then Yoda then back to Xara before saying anything. “You’re right master,” Bri said not wanting to believe that about ay Jedi but she knew that Master Yoda was correct in his statement. The Chu’unthor was a ship full of Jedi and only a few non-Jedi and most of those were crewmembers.
“How long till we reach Sissis?” Xara asked Yoda as she was thinking about how long she would have to keep Bri in bed to heal her wounds.
“About a day,” Yoda replied. “We just began the preparations to leave.”
“Is there anything that would require Bri’s attention before we arrive?” Xara asked now Bri was glancing at Xara correctly guessing what the dark haired woman’s motives were.
“No, and if anything does she can receive the information here,” Yoda said with a smile at Xara.
“Good then she can rest in bed until we arrive,” Xara said pinning the younger woman with a glance. “After all the doctor did say to get your rest.”
“Not fair!” Bri said with a pout as she realized that she had just been outfoxed before she even knew it. “What am I going to do for a day in bed,” she said, as her pout got bigger.
“I didn’t say you’d be alone,” Xara said looking at Bri who blushed a bit. “No not that, the doctor said no rigorous activity, but I’ll be right here in bed with you.”
“Yes, rest is good. Need me I’ll be in the meditation room,” Yoda said then walked out of their quarters laughing to himself. He was glad that Xara did not give into Bri so easily like other did. The young Jedi’s charms so often won over admirers that she could usually get things done without any effort.
Yoda made a mental note not to disturb them unless it was absolutely necessary until they arrived at Sissis.
Bri sat on the bed watching Xara after Yoda left their quarters. She was trying to figure out what Xara had on her mind. Xara walked around putting things up and making sure that their quarters were clean. She then picked up her lightsaber.
“You’re not practicing that in here,” Bri told her. Xara just turned to look at the small woman on the bed and smiled.
“No I’m not, I’m just cleaning it and making sure that its in working order,” Xara replied as she gathered her tools with which she would use to inspect the lightsaber. Clearing out a space on the bed she sat down next to Bri. “You should rest some more,” She said to Bri who was watching her.
“I know, I know,” Bri said. She then snuggled up to Xara and placed her head in the older woman’s lap and sighed contently before closing her eyes. An eyebrow went up as Xara’s blue eyes watched in amusement at the younger woman’s antics.
“Comfortable?” Xara asked as she watched the smile grow on her soulmate’s face. Xara did not get an answer but Bri nodded her head that she was and made no motion that she was moving. Xara just shook her head and placed her lightsaber down and stroked Bri’s strawberry-blonde hair with one hand.
Bri relaxed into her soulmate’s touch and quickly fell asleep. Xara continued to watch Bri’s sleeping form for some reason content to just sit and do nothing.
“My Lord,” the small advisor said bowing down before his king.
“Speak Greki,” the king said from his throne chair in the great hall of kings. His father and grandfather had ruled the planet from this same hall but yet today he was dreading the news that the advisor seemed to want to tell him.
“The Jedi ambassadors that you sent for has been delayed and won’t be here for another day sire,” the advisor said bringing the bad news to king.
The king brought one of his hands up to rub the top of his head as he thought about what had just been said. The news was not as bad as other reports, but it would mean that a resolution to the problem was a day later than he would have liked. Each day that production was down cost his planet millions in income.
“And what of the rebels, have they been heard of lately,” the king asked.
“Nothing since the demand yesterday,” the advisor said.
The king sighed at that. He had received a ransom note from the rebels that he was to step down from the throne or else his daughter would be killed. The only problem was there had been no timeline for him to step down. He was disturbed by the latest moves by the rebels. They had been peaceful and he thought that he was making progress when suddenly things had turned ugly.
He had not wanted to involve any outsiders but he finally asked their senator to the Republic to ask for a delegation of Jedi to help out in bringing peace to the planet.
He had learned from the Chancellor himself that he was sending the best Jedi for the Job, Jedi Master Yoda and Jedi Master Bri. He had heard of both Jedi, but he did not know that Bri was now a Jedi master. He could only hope that with the Jedi’s help that his daughter would be found safe and a civil war could be avoided.
“How are the people doing Greki?” The king asked.
“They are divided sire,” Greki replied truthfully. He did not understand why the rebels were trying to cause such unrest. King Hevon was a gracious and kind ruler and Greki could only figure that those who were unhappy were from the militant groups who view kindness as a weakness.
He sat back and wondered how much longer he could keep things together before the population exploded in civil war. It was something that had not happened for several generations. He was not sure that he wanted to be the ruler when the next war broke out.
A large Sissisian made his way around the tunnels on Sissis. For his species he was tall with wide shoulders and muscles. Most that tried anything with him usually wound up hurt, or killed, it really did not matter to him very much. Today he had a message for his leader, and he was sure that he would not be happy about it.
“Eppis, what are you doing here?” Someone said as the man made his way down the tunnel.
Eppis turned to see who had said something to him. He recognized the guard and that the man had not challenged him. He would have to talk to the leader about the guards.
“I’m on my way to see Tompic,” Eppis replied. The guard looked a bit uncertain at his answer but Eppis continued. “I have some information that I think he would find interesting.”
The guard wavered a bit before answering the large man in front of him. “All right, I’ll let you pass this time.”
“Gee thanks,” Eppis said sarcastically before continuing to the main chamber.
Inside the chamber there were several people walking around keeping busy. In one corner there was a cage where they were holding their trump card, the princess. Walking towards a bunch of tents he found the person who he was looking for.
“Tompic,” Eppis yelled out as he walked toward the small Sissisian.
Tompic’s head turned to see who had called him and was a bit surprised when he saw Eppis walking towards him. He wondered what would bring the big man down here, as Tompic knew the man would have a good reason to come and visit him.
Tompic waited until Eppis was closer before saying hello to the man. He guided Eppis to his tent and motioned him inside and he followed. Tompic took a seat and waited for a second as he looked at Eppis. The other man seemed to be looking fine. He did not have any cuts or bruises on the gray body that Tompic could see.
“What’s happened?” Tompic asked leaning back in his chair waiting for Eppis’ answer.
“”There’s a new development Tompic,” Eppis replied. “Our good king Heron has involved the Jedi into our affairs.”
Tompic’s face showed no emotion to the news. “Yes I already know my friend.”
“But how, he just announced it to his advisors today?” Eppis said a bit confused as to how Tompic could already know such things.
“I have my spies,” Tompic answered the big man. The Jedi would complicate things that much was for sure, but they would not be able to stop his plan.
“Some of our people will not go against the Jedi,” Eppis said trying to remind Tompic of the seriousness of the situation.
“Fool,” Tompic said slapping Eppis across his face knocking the bigger man down. “I know that, but the Jedi will not get involved,” he said with a smug look.
Eppis looked at the man from where he had fallen and wondered what Tompic had planned, but he was sure that the plan would work anymore.
“You are to do exactly as told, and nothing more,” Tompic told Eppis. “I have worked to hard to let this be blown apart by fools.”
“Sorry Tompic,” Eppis said as he sat back down on his chair.
“Now go back on up and wait for my next instructions and do not come back down here again,” Tompic said watching as the man got up and said his good-bye and left the tent.
Tompic waited a few minutes before walking out of his tent and headed towards the communications tent. It was obvious that his informant’s plan had not worked, not that it mattered to him. Of course his informant said that it might not work, but it might give him more time. Whatever they had tried only gave them a couple of days, and everything was not yet in place for him to begin his plan.
Entering the communications tent Tompic waited patiently for a response to his communication to his informer. He did not have to wait to long before the shadowy figure appeared on his screen.
“What do you want?” The shadow demanded.
“Your scheme failed,” Tompic replied calmly to the shadow not the least bit afraid.
“So the Jedi are still on their way, oh well not my problem,” the shadow said.
“No, but I thought that you might want to know of your agent’s failure,” Tompic said matter of fact.
“Perhaps, but I did not expect him to succeed, but I’ll make him available to you in case you need some help,” the shadow said. “He will come to you.”
Before Tompic could reply the communication was cut off leaving a blank screen for him to stare at. Tompic was not pleased at what the man had said. How dare the man think that he needed any help? He would have to think about the new development.
Xara waited patiently as she provided a pillow for her soulmate. She was beginning to get a bit hungry and wondered when Bri would wake up. The younger woman had to be getting hungry and sooner or later she would wake up to eat something.
The thought had just gone through her mind when she felt her partner begin to stir. Glancing down she saw one green eye pop open still soft from sleep.
“Well, good afternoon sleepy head,” Xara teased the younger woman as the other eye joined its twin to look at her.
“How long was I asleep?” Bri asked curious about the answer.
“About three hours,” Xara replied seeing the startled look on Bri’s face as the answer registered in Bri’s mind.
“Three hours, and you let me use you as a pillow all that time?” Bri said.
“It wasn’t bad, at least I had something beautiful to look at,” Xara said with a smile as a blush worked its way across Bri’s face.
Bri was about to reply when her stomach made its presence know with a loud rumble.
“I guess we should get something to eat before you collapse from hunger,” Xara teased the younger woman.
“That’s right,” Bri said giving the thigh she had been laying on a slap.
“That would mean that you would have to get up,” Xara replied.
“The doctor said that I should rest,” Bri said with a sly smile on her face.
“I don’t think that’s what the doctor had in mind,” Xara said as she glanced down at the mischievous eyes of her soulmate.
“I have no idea as to what you are talking about,” Bri replied keeping the grin on her face. She was enjoying this bantering that they had started doing recently.
“All right,” Xara said walking back to where Bri was lying. Bri wondered if she had pushed Xara a bit to far too soon as she noticed the glint in Xara’s eyes. Xara glanced down at Bri then picked her up and proceeded to carry her out of the room.
“Whoa, wait a minute, I can walk,” Bri said in protest as Xara walked out the door with her. In the corridor there were a few Jedi walking back and forth, but they barely glanced at the pair. Xara walked a bit more before glancing at Bri.
“I also thought that this way we would not get lost on our way to the cafeteria,” Xara said loud enough for anyone nearby to hear.
“Ohh, just you wait,” Bri said poking Xara’s shoulder with a finger.
Xara waited a bit longer then gently placed Bri’s feet on the ground. Bri crossed her arms looking at Xara then turned to walk off to the cafeteria.
“Bri,” Xara said with a bit of a smirk as the younger woman turned around to look at her. “The cafeteria is that way,” Xara told her and the few people around them who had been paying attention grinned with Xara.
“Like I said, just you wait stretch,” Bri said taking off down the right way this time.
They arrived at the cafeteria to find it only a few people in it.
“Sit,” Xara ordered Bri when they arrived at a table. Bri looked like she was about to protest some more so Xara had to cut her off. “Bri, look you’re still recovering from your injuries. Would you please allow me to bring you something to eat?”
Bri felt torn in two with the request. She was still a bit miffed by Xara carrying her halfway to the cafeteria, and now she seemed to treating her like a child. On the other hand Xara did say please and Xara did not ask her to do much. Bri decided that she would indulge Xara for now and sat down at the table.
Xara walked over to where the food line was and grabbed a tray and looked over the food.
“You think you’re so clever,” a voice hissed behind her and she recognized the person without turning around.
“Nope, but I’m beginning to wonder about your motives Cal,” Xara said without turning around as she selected some food and moved on to the drinks.
“I know what you are, what will happen when everyone learns of your dark side Xara,” Cal said saying her name like it was a curse.
“Stop playing childish games Cal, it doesn’t suit you very well,” Xara said as she placed two drinks on the tray. “Where were you when the explosions happened?” She asked this time turning to see the man’s face.
“I am a Jedi, remember that you piece of Banta dung,” Cal hissed as his eyes narrowed. “”I’m watching you,” and with that he left the room.
“Good, then I’ll know where you are,” Xara whispered knowing that Cal was already out of hearing range then she turned back to look at the desserts and noticed one that she knew Bri enjoyed and placed in on the tray.
She turned around and noticed that Bri was watching her intently and figured that she had seen her conversation with Cal. With a mental sigh she walked over and waited for Bri to say something.
“What did he want?” Bri asked after Xara had taken the food off the tray.
“Oh, nothing much just to say hi, how’s it going? You know, the usual,” Xara said looking right in Bri’s eyes. Bri could see that whatever Cal had said it had not bothered Xara anywhere near as much as it had her. She wanted to get up and bop the arrogant man.
“Hey Bri, don’t worry, nothing he can say will effect me,” Xara said as she had seen Bri’s eye go dark. “And you know most of my secrets, but there is one thing that does disturb me,” Xara said wondering if she should tell Bri about what she had sensed in the man.
Bri understood, after all Xara was a very capable warrior in her own right, and she would have the abilities to stop Cal if she needed to. Still Bri could not help but worry about Xara, it was in her soul to and she figured that it worked the other way as well.
“Ohh, hoth balls,” Bri exclaimed as she looked down at her plate and noticed the dessert that Xara had picked out for her. She reached out and picked one of them up and was eating it before Xara could say anything.
“Hey, you’re supposed to save those for dessert, you know, after your meal,” Xara said watching as Bri ignored her and continued to eat the treat. Xara watched as Bri’s pink tongue poked out to get the powder sugar that had remained on her lips. Several thoughts went through her head as to what she could do with that and she had to mentally shake her head.
Xara dug into her own food and waited for a few minutes until it appeared that Bri was eating her meal.
“Have you ever been to Sissis?” Xara asked wondering if the Jedi Master’s travels had ever brought her to this planet.
“No, this will be my first time, what about you?” Bri replied.
“Once, it was only to gather information, but the planet is still beautiful. It had a large number of streams and lakes, but no real oceans like you see on other planets. The colors are rich and varied and the fields where they grow the vast amount of food that they sent all over the universe. The planting fields stretch for miles and the entire society revolves around the harvest,” Xara said remembering her brief time on the planet’s surface. “The Sissisians themselves are larger than a normal human, with broad shoulders and grayish skin.”
“I have seen a few Sissisians from the council, but other than that they appear to not travel a lot,” Bri said as she thought about what might lie ahead of them.
“I always thought that they were peaceful, but I guess I was wrong,” Xara stated as she finished her meal and picked up one of the hoth balls. It was a wonderful fried ball covered in powder sugar and with a chocolate center. She could see why it was hard for Bri to resist.
“Now where,” Bri asked after they had finished the meal. She could sense that Xara was thinking about something throughout the meal, but she had not pushed the taller woman on it. Bri knew that Xara would tell her when the time was right.
“I think that we should talk with Master Yoda,” Xara said then added as an afterthought. “You can head back to the room if you’re tired.”
“Nope, I’m fine,” Bri, replied not wanting to miss this. Xara looked at Bri then decided that if Bri looked to tired she could always carry the younger woman back to their room.
Finding Yoda proved to be harder than they thought, but with so many places that one could be neither woman knew that it would be easy. Yoda was not in his room, so the next place they had checked was the closest meditation room, and he was not in there either. Xara was about to head back to their quarters when she saw Master Kint.
“Excuse me Master Kint,” Xara said walking over to where the man was standing.
“Ah, hello there Xara, and how are you doing Master Bri?” The older Jedi Master asked as he noticed who had called him and a grin broke out on his face.
“I’m doing well, thanks for asking Master Kint,” Bri replied glad that he asked.
“We were wondering if you’ve seen Master Yoda recently,” Xara asked hoping that the Jedi had seen him.
“Why yes I have, I was just talking with him, he’s in training room C,” Kint replied.
“Thank you,” Xara said as they made their way to the training room.
Walking inside the room Xara watched as Yoda went through a lightsaber exercise and she marveled at the Jedi’s expertise with the weapon. Watching the small Jedi do flips and swinging the saber to block shots from the training drones. After a few minutes of watching she realized that Yoda’s style of fighting was purely defensive, so he practiced what he talked about.
Bri watched as she remembered the times that Yoda had put her though the same training. She realized later that most of the moves were defensive and one day she had questioned him on it. He had told her gently that actions were always the last resort, and only after all other attempts had failed. Bri had taken that to heart and tried her hardest to prevent bloodshed whenever possible.
Yoda noticed them standing there and brought his routine to a close. Shutting off his lightsaber he walked over to where they were.
“Up you are I see,” Yoda said when he approached them. “What help can I be?”
“I need to tell you something, but it needs to be in private,” Xara said to Yoda. What she was going to say she did not want a lot of others around that could hear.
“Very well, this way,” Yoda said as they walked back to his quarters, only because they were closer.
“Now what information do you have for me?” Yoda asked once they had gotten in his room.
“Sit,” Xara told Bri as the other woman looked like she was a bit tired.
Bri sat down on the bed without an argument and she really did not have the energy to respond anyway. Xara figured that Bri was even more exhausted than she looked. Xara sat down next to Bri and put an arm around the younger woman before saying anything else.
“I’m not sure how to say this, but its about Cal,” Xara said bringing the man’s name up. She felt Bri’s body shift at the name but returned to a more relaxed state and Xara realized that Bri was resisting sleep. She began to rub the younger woman’s back in soft soothing circle patterns and was rewarded with a small sigh.
Yoda looked at Xara with a bit of interest when she mentioned Cal’s name. He was curious as to what Xara had to say about the man.
“This will sound a bit strange, but I think that you both know that I don’t trust him,” Xara said and the other two knew that it was the truth. “And you also know that I have also have some Force skills and I will admit that it probably tended to be more to the dark side, but I feel the same thing in Cal.”
“You mean that he’s been tainted by the dark side?” Yoda said making sure that he heard the tall dark haired woman correctly.
“Yes,” Xara said. “The first time I met him was on the way to Cata Paq’s funeral, we exchanged glances and I thought I felt it then. Today in the cafeteria we had another conversation and I thought I felt it again,” Xara looked at Yoda to see his reaction to what she had just accused a Jedi of doing.
“Disturbing this will be,” Yoda said rubbing his chin in thought. “A Jedi Knight he is.”
“I just wanted to bring this to your attention Master Yoda, but I just don’t trust the man,” Xara said as she felt Bri lean more into her.
“Never liked him anyway,” came a mumbled response from Bri and they both looked at her with a bit of surprise. This was not like Bri at all.
“Well, looks like she fell asleep, good she needs the rest,” Xara said as she held onto the sleeping form.
“Perhaps we should talk later,” Yoda suggested as he looked at Bri’s sleeping face as it was tucked against Xara’s shoulder.
“No, she can sleep through anything,” Xara said before returning to the main topic at hand. “I’ve been thinking about everyone that I’ve met on board the ship, and Cal is the only one who might have sabotaged the ship.”
Yoda looked at Xara for a bit before he replied. “Why do you think so?”
“It was bugging me for a while, but during the trial he stated that he saw me come out of the engine room,” Xara said watching as Yoda recalled the same thing. It had been an innocent comment but something that had stuck out in Xara’s mind.
“Yes it is an interesting comment, considering hurt he was not,” Yoda said and now knew that they had to proceed carefully. “Talk with him I will.”
“That may work, but I don’t think so. The only thing that bothers me is motive, I mean aside from framing me what else would be his motive,” Xara said voicing the real reason she had not said anything to anyone. She just did not have a clear motive. “Has he ever been to Sissis?”
“Aware of that I am not, know how to ask him I do,” Yoda replied. “As to motive, for less reasons some have done worse.”
“I know, but I just can’t think of a reason,” Xara said. She knew that men killed for less, but what was the reason.
“Perhaps it was to get you,” Yoda said thinking out loud.
“Then I better watch my back on Sissis,” Xara said knowing that it would be a perfect place for an ambush.
“Leave Bri alone, we better not,” Yoda said already thinking about alterative plans as the mission got more dangerous to his former student.
“Or at least not alone with Cal,” Xara said.
“Yes, I have a team that is ready, let them know I will,” Yoda said.
“Can you trust them?” Xara asked not wanting to subject Bri to more than was necessary.
“Yes, worked with them before I have. Trust them with my life I would,” Yoda said and it put Xara at ease a bit. When it came to Bri’s safety she would do anything in her power to prevent the younger woman from getting hurt even though Bri was more powerful than she was.
“Well I guess I should take sleeping beauty here to our quarters,” Xara said as she gently picked up the sleeping woman and cradled Bri in her arms. Bri did not even protest, instead she just snuggled deeper into Xara’s arms and let out a contented sigh that even Yoda could hear. They both could see the small smile that was on her face.
Xara walked to the door and stopped looking back at Yoda. She opened her mouth to say something when he interrupted her.
“I know, be careful what I say to Cal,” Yoda said watching as Xara just nodded her head. It was something that both of them had thought about. It Cal was to figure out that they suspected him of something then they would never catch him and it would only make it harder on Bri.
Xara was glad that the small green skinned Jedi was such a good friend to Bri and seemed to understand their relationship, even when they did not at times.
Yoda watched them leave then made his way out of his quarters and headed to where he had last seen Cal. He had already figured out how to approach the Jedi without arising his suspicions. Yoda rounded the corner and ran into Kint.
“Master Yoda, did Master Bri and her friend find you?” the man asked.
“Disturbing information they had for me,” Yoda said to the other Jedi. He did not want to say too much to soon, at least not in public yet as an idea came to him. “To Sissis have you been?”
“No, this will be my first time,” Kint replied to Yoda.
“Join my team will you?” Yoda asked wondering if the man would accept the assignment.
“Well, I was just doing some research, but it can wait, although I’m not sure why you would need three Jedi Master’s for this mission,” Kint replied at a loss as to why Yoda would want him on his team.
“Explain it all I will in my quarters later,” Yoda replied then telling Kint that he would be in contact with him left to find Cal.
Finding Cal was not as hard as Yoda thought it would be. The man was in one of the training rooms and Yoda watched the man for a bit. Cal definitely had a more aggressive style of fighting, almost too aggressive for Yoda’s peace of mind.
Yoda waited until Cal had finished before approaching the Jedi. Cal looked up to see Yoda approaching him. He would keep his cool until he figured out what the small Jedi Master wanted from him.
“Master Yoda what can I do for you today?” Cal asked with as humble a voice as he could muster.
“Putting together my team I am,” Yoda stated and Cal could not believe his luck. He had been trying to figure out a way to get down to the planet’s surface without arousing any suspicion and here Yoda provided him with the prefect way to the surface. He wanted to jump at the chance but played it cool.
“Only if Master Kint doesn’t object, I was going to help him out on his research,” Cal replied.
“Good, meet with the others tomorrow morning at the shuttle bay,” Yoda replied then he walked out. The only other thing he now had to do was warn Xara and Bri about his plans. He knew that Xara would not be happy with him, but he had a back up plan.
He would talk with Master Kint then with Bri and Xara. He called Kint and called him to his room to talk over the plan and what part Kint was going to play in it.
Kint walked into Yoda’s quarters and was wondering what the small Jedi had planned and what he would be required to do. He noticed Yoda was already sitting and made a motion for him to sit down as well.
“I’ve been trying to figure out why you need me on the team when you already have Master Bri on your team. My specialty is not negotiations and you know that,” Kint said. His specialty was in war strategy, and he did not think that they needed him for such an event because Yoda was a master strategist himself.
“Need your abilities, to help protect Bri is what I need,” Yoda replied and Kint was not sure what Yoda was talking about.
“Why would Bri need any more protection?” He asked with a bit of curiosity in his voice.
“Recruited Cal to the mission we have,” Yoda told him and Kint’s eyes tracked to Yoda in surprise at the statement. “More there is, reason to suspect Cal is attached to the dark side.”
Kit sat there in a bit of shock at what he had just heard. Part of him wanted to scream that Yoda was wrong about what he was saying; yet another part of him acknowledged that it could be the truth. Ever since Cal had been little it seemed that he had noticed a bit of the dark side in the boy. Kint had worked hard to teach the boy the difference between the sides and he thought he had succeeded; now he was not sure.
“You want me to keep an eye on Cal?” Kint asked wondering if that is what Yoda wanted.
“Have a feeling that Xara’s skills will be needed elsewhere, need you to keep Bri company if that happens,” Yoda said with honesty.
“What about the others?” Kint asked.
“They will know not to leave Bri alone if Cal is around,” Yoda replied.
“Well, its not quite what I was expecting, but count me in,” Kint said.
“Good, good, now all I have to do is break the news to Bri and Xara,” Yoda said not really looking forward to that task.
“Hmm, that may be a hard task. It seemed to me that Xara is very protective of Bri,” Kint said forming an opinion of the couple after watching them together in the med lab.
“Yes, she is, and Bri of Xara,” Yoda replied. “Glad I stopped Cal, and not Bri in the med lab.”
“I’ve heard that Master Bri is becoming a very powerful Jedi,” Kint said changing the conversation a bit.
“Yes, powerful she is becoming, always had it she did,” Yoda said about his former padawan. He was very proud of her even though his code would not really allow him to say such a thing. “Her soulmate is also very powerful as well.”
This caught Kint by surprise. He did not know that Xara had strong Force abilities. “What do you mean?” He asked after he recovered from his shock.
“Knows how to use the Dark Side she does,” Yoda replied remembering the first time he met the tall dark haired person who Bri had already called her soulmate in Julies Otto’s office. “My padawan Marcus challenged her to a fight and she showed extreme skill in using a lightsaber.”
“If that’s true then she could have been behind everything,” Kint said wondering about this new information Yoda had given him.
“No, somehow she was trained, but the power of a soulmate is even stronger,” Yoda told Kint. Soulmates was something that was rarely talked about, and had never been studied only because those who were soulmates refused to participate. Instead they chose to remain in the background, hidden from view.
“Are you saying that that has the power to bring someone back from the Dark Side?” Kint asked in a bit of disbelief.
“Or turn a good Jedi bad,” Yoda said seeing the look on Kint’s face. “In this case yes, Bri started down the dark side during their first mission. Stopped her Xara did.”
“Well, if you do not see a problem with it, then neither do I,” Kint said accepting the older Jedi’s wisdom in the matter. “But one thing does concern me. Who trained her?”
“Yes, asked her I have, no answer she will give,” Yoda said. He thought that she might say who trained her but she refused to answer. “Even asked Bri I did, she says it’s private.”
“Do you think it’s a Sith Lord?” Kint finally asked the unspoken question.
“Know that I do not,” Yoda replied. “Just know that together, Bri and Xara will do great things.”
“I guess we just keep our eyes open, but I don’t think that they are ready to come out into the open,” Kint said.
“Yes, if she was trained, then in hiding they will go. Find them almost impossible it will be,” Yoda said knowing it for the truth.
“Well, I should get ready, we’ll be at the planet in the morning,” Kint said rising and they headed towards the door.
“Talk to Bri and Xara I need,” Yoda said following the other Jedi Master to the door.
“I don’t even you in that mission Master Yoda, have a good night,” Kint said as they parted ways.
“See you in the morning I will,” Yoda said as he went towards Bri and Xara’s quarters. He was trying to figure out a way to lessen the damage of what he had to tell them and he hoped that they would understand. He figured the best way was usually the truth, and that’s what he would stick with.
He knocked on the door and waited as Xara opened the door.
“Come on in Master Yoda,” Xara said allowing Yoda to walk into the room. She wondered what he was doing at their quarters and hoped that it was not anything too important.
“I have some new information for you,” Yoda said as Xara looked at him. “I have assigned a couple of new people to the mission. I put Jedi Master Kint and Jedi Knight Cal on our team,” Yoda told her then waited patiently for the explosion to come.
“What!” Xara said not believing what the small Jedi had just told him. Cal was a danger to her soulmate and here Yoda was putting the man on their mission. “I sure hope that you have a good reason for that.”
“Thought about what you said, believe you I do. Need to catch him we do,” Yoda said with a bit of a sigh. He knew that it would not be easy. “If behind this he is, then catching him is the only way. Like it I do not either.”
“What about Bri, I don’t like the fact that he will be so close to her,” Xara said.
“Put Kint in charge of that I have,” Yoda said. “Everyone will know not to leave Bri alone if he’s around,” Yoda said.
“Well, I don’t like it, but I guess you’re right about it. He might make a mistake if he’s down there,” Xara said thinking about it. “He might go after me instead though.”
“Hmm, right you are,” Yoda said not having thought about that, but it made sense. “Has already tried once.”
“Yeah, I forgot to thank you for that by the way, so thanks,” Xara said remember in incident in the med lab. Yoda had blocked Cal’s lightsaber form striking her. “Next time though I won’t be defenseless though.”
“Lucky he is that I blocked it and not Bri,” Yoda said with a bit of smile.
“You’re right there, I don’t know if I could have stopped her,” Xara said truthfully. “How good is Cal?” Xara asked now wanting to know the man’s skills in case she had to fight him.
“His lightsaber style is aggressive, even more than most,” Yoda said truthfully. “Strong he is as well, but overconfidence is his weakness.”
“Has he ever watched Bri practice lately?” Xara asked wondering if the man knew how strong Bri had become.
“No, not that I’m aware of,” Yoda replied wondering why Xara would ask such a question. Then he remembered that in a contest Bri was the more skilled of the two. “What about you?”
“Well, Bri teaching me all she can, but its hard when you can’t fight at you’re full ability, something about our being soulmates prevents it,” Xara told him. “I think it was the only reason I survived the fight against her.”
“How is she doing?” Yoda asked looking at the bed where Bri was sleeping.
“I think that by the time we get to Sissis she’ll be ready to do something after sleeping all day,” Xara replied looking at her soulmate. She had been tempted a couple of times to join her, but decided to wait for a bit.
“She should see the doctor before leaving tomorrow, just as a precaution,” Yoda said, as he wanted Bri to be at her best. He was not too worried about her physically; he just wanted her to be safe.
“I’ll suggest it, but she won’t like it,” Xara said with a smile. “How many others are on the mission?” Xara asked as the thought came to her. She thought it was just the three of them now she was so sure.
“Two others, Jedi Knight Osti, and his padawan Gina,” Yoda said. “I still have to talk with them, but I trust them. Osti had a good record and Gina is his first padawan. I asked them for additional back up, and training for negotiations. Osti asked me for help in that area as Gina is too eager to pull our his lightsaber.”
“As long as you feel you can trust them,” Xara said still not liking the fact that Cal was going to be part of the mission.
“I will see you in the morning Xara,” Yoda said to Xara as he got up and walked to the door. He still had to go by Osti’s quarters and tell them the news, as well as Markus.
Xara watched Yoda go then sat down and thought about the fact that Cal was going to be on the mission. It did complicate some things, but it also meant that they could keep an eye on the man as well. Xara had no intention of leaving Bri alone on this mission that was for sure.
She glanced over at her sleeping soulmate and finally decided to join her in sleep. Quickly changing into something more comfortable she slid under the covers and snuggled up behind Bri. She heard the soft sigh of contentment come from the younger woman as Bri snuggled back into her. Xara enjoyed the comfort she felt with the young woman and allowed herself to fall asleep. She would tell Bri about the news in the morning.
Xara came out of the sleep she had been in and felt the familiar weight on her chest and knew that had happened. During the night she had rolled onto her back and Bri had snuggled into her side. Her head was resting on her shoulder and an arm wrapped around her waist. Xara had her arms around the younger woman as well. She hoped that she always woke up like this.
Xara was content two rub Bri’s back in a massage like motion until the younger woman woke up. Depending on how tired Bri was she could do this for a while, but Xara did not mind. She enjoyed the feel of Bri’s skin. It felt so soft and smooth; to her it was like feeling perfection.
Xara turned her thoughts to Cal when she felt the shift in Bri’s breathing and noticed that she was waking up. It usually took the younger woman a bit longer to wake, unlike Xara who could jump up and be right awake Bri needed time. That was one difference, and usually Bri did not like to be teased in the morning, at least until she had eaten something.
Looking down she saw soft green eyes open. They were still foggy with sleep but the focused on Xara’s blue eyes and Xara thought that she could hear Bri saying good morning and I love you through her eyes.
Bri tightened her hold on the woman as she tried to wake up a bit more. She thought that waking up to those incredible blue eyes was the best thing in her life. She could lose herself in the blue depths of those eyes, and many mornings she had done just that.
“Well, good morning beautiful,” Xara said as she continued to look into Bri’s beautiful green eyes. “How are you feeling?”
Bri took a deep breath smelling the scent that was unmistakably Xara and she tested her ribs. “Not bad,” she finally said.
“We have about a couple of hours until we need to meet with Yoda and the rest of the team,” Xara told her watching Bri’s eyebrows rise at that statement.
“How many are there?” Bri asked wondering if they were being replaced.
“Yoda decided to add four more people,” Xara said with a bit of hesitation, as she knew what the next question would be. It was not that she did not want to answer the question; she knew that it would probably upset Bri a little bit.
“Really, who?” Bri asked and Xara knew that she would have to answer truthfully.
“Well, there is Jedi Knight Osti and his padawan Gina,” Xara replied waiting to see if there was any spark of recognition in Bri’s eyes.
“I’ve heard of him, he’s a real steady Jedi, I wonder why Master Yoda would ask him to be on the team,” Bri wondered at the thought.
“He wanted them to get some more experience in negotiating. Osti felt he was lacking in that area,” Xara replied to Bri’s wondering.
“Who else?” Bri badgered waiting for Xara to continue whom else was on their mission.
“Master Kint is also coming,” Xara said saving Cal for last.
“I wonder why he is coming?” Bri wondered out loud to herself.
“Because they’ve involved Cal as well,” Xara said waiting for Bri’s response that did not take long at all.
“WHAT!” Bri said in shock at the name. “Did I just hear you correctly in that Cal is going to be on the mission?”
“Yes you did,” Xara said in a defeated tone as she reaffirmed that Cal was going to be on the mission.
“Great, they spend a lot of time to make sure that we are separated then invite him along on a mission I’m on,” Bri said. “Well things can’t get much worse that’s for sure.”
“Don’t say that,” Xara said quickly. “You know that it you say something like that something else will happen.”
“You’re superstitious?” Bri said with a glance over to her soulmate.
“No I’m not, I just don’t tempt the fates that’s all,” Xara countered. “Come on, let’s get something to eat and grab our stuff for the mission,” Xara told Bri as she put on her clothes.
Bri got up and gathered her dark tan Jedi tunic and put it on deciding to leave the robe here for the time being. She glanced at Xara and saw her dressed in dark pants, and a red and black shirt. Bri thought that it was made for Xara. Her dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail and a red belt completed the look. Xara’s lightsaber hung from the belt giving her a look of some sort of dark Jedi.
“How’s your side doing,” Xara said as she approached Bri and ran her hand up the mentioned side waiting for the reaction.
“It felt good, a bit tight, but nothing some stretching and exercise can’t help,” Bri replied with some stretching of the side but missing Xara’s hand there as the older woman pulled away.
“Come on, I’ll lead you to breakfast,” Xara said with a bit of a twinkle in her eyes as she and Bri walked out of the room.
Yoda waited patiently for his entire team member to arrive for the shuttle flight down to the planet’s surface. So far he and Master Kint were the only ones there, of course they had arrived earlier than the appointed time. They turned to the sounds of footsteps and watched as Yoda’s padawan Markus walk into the room carrying two bags.
“Get everything did you?” Yoda asked as he watched Markus walk to the shuttle.
“Yes Master, I’m sure that we will be prepared for anything this time,” The boy replied and Kint looked at Yoda with understanding in his eyes.
“So what happened?” Kint asked wondering what the padawan had forgotten to pack.
“Forgot the water pills he did on Yessot,” Yoda replied as Kint winced at the thought. Yessot was a place where for some strange reason the water was harmful to anyone else who tried to drink the water besides the natives.
“That’s not good,” Kint replied. “At least there is nothing like that here,” as they both knew that anything could grow on the planet Sissis.
There was a break in the conversation as they looked up when they heard more footsteps. They watched as Osti and Gina walked into the area. Yoda had wondered a bit as to why Osti had been able to train Gina as usually opposite sexes were not able to train others and he had learned that they were brother and sister. As he watched them he could see the family resemblance.
“Master Yoda, Master Kint,” Osti said greeting the two Jedi Masters.
“Welcome Osti, Gina,” Yoda said as Osti helped Gina with their bags and they boarded the shuttle.
“Is there any new developments about the mission that I should be aware of?” Osti asked not wanting to be embarrassed by not being prepared.
“King Hevon said that something else has happened but tell us when we arrive he would,” Yoda said. He had been a bit puzzled by what it could have been. He had not been pleased to heard that news when they had arrived at the planet, but knew that they would not be able to do anything until they arrived on the planet anyway.
“I should have figured that they would be late,” a voice said over their shoulders.
They turned around to see who was talking and they were not surprised to see Cal standing there looking around. He had a grin on his face as he looked not seeing either Bri or Xara in the area then made his way to the shuttle.
Yoda looked at Kint who could only shrug his shoulders in reply of the silent question. Cal was his own Jedi and went by his own rules. Yoda knew that one day the Jedi would be held accountable for his actions then perhaps he would learn his place in the universe.
As he disappeared into the shuttle Bri and Xara walked in. Xara was carrying both bags and Bri seemed to make eye contact with Yoda, and he knew that Xara had told her about Cal and his involvement in the mission. He could tell that she was not happy about it either.
“How do you feel this morning,” Yoda asked as Bri came up to him.
“I feel good, but we need to talk,” Bri said eyeing Yoda so they both knew what she was talking about.
“It’s about time you showed up,” Cal said from where he had emerged from the shuttle. He gave Xara a glance, which the other woman responded with.
Yoda and Bri watched the exchange with different points of view. Yoda was concerned by Cal’s recent actions. His judgment was rash and quick without any foresight into the Force to help guide him. Cal was also becoming cockier in his attitude towards others and Yoda also feared for Cal mental stability.
Bri on the other hand wanted to go over and knock Cal’s eyes into the back of his head. She managed to restrain herself only because she knew that Xara would get mad at her, and the fact that Xara could take care of herself.
Bri walked back to Xara, “let’s go get a seat,” she said leading the other woman onboard the shuttle.
“Cal, late they were not. In fact early they were,” Yoda said facing the other man. “Accept this behavior I will not.”
“Sorry Master Yoda,” Cal said knowing he had overstepped his boundaries somewhere, but he was not sure where. To him Xara was a cancer that the council had allowed into the Jedi Order. He would eliminate her in one way or another.
Bri sat down and watched as Xara placed their carry-ons in the overhead compartments and then joined Bri sitting down.
“Bri, I can take care of myself,” she said taking the smaller woman’s hand in her own using the few moments of silence to talk with her soulmate. “If staring is the worst Cal does then I can handle it, if not then the others will be there to help out with him.”
“I know, but he doesn’t own me. I guess he just irritates me when he is focused on me, but make me mad when he does something to you,” Bri said facing Xara. “And only you own me,” she added in a whisper.
“That goes both ways my Jedi,” Xara said giving Bri a playful poke in the nose.
They were interrupted by any further play by the sounds of the rest of the group coming aboard the shuttle. Osti and Gina walked on board and took their seats and Kint and Yoda sat across the way leaving Cal sitting the furthest from the couple. It was the way that Yoda wanted it. They put as much distance as possible between Cal and Bri.
They felt the familiar vibrations as the shuttle lifted off and left the ship toward the planets surface.
The shuttle descended down through a thick atmosphere with very little bumps along the way for the passengers as it headed towards a large landing platform. There were several people around the platform waiting for the shuttle to land to begin their jobs.
On the platform waited another vehicle to transport their guests to meet with King Hevon who was expecting them. The pilot did a perfect job of landing the craft and within moments of landing the doors had opened.
Yoda led the group of seven Jedi and one non-Jedi down the platform to the waiting group. The Sissisian waiting for them was not expecting so many people and wondered what was going on.
“Master Jedi Yoda,” the Sissisian said as Yoda approached him.
“Yes, not expecting so many are you,” Yoda replied seeing the Sissisian nod his head. “New development has made itself known,” was the only explanation he would give.
“I am Greki, King Hevon is anxious to meet with you, but I’m afraid that I can only take four of you,” the Sissisian said as he escorted the group to the waiting vehicle to take them to the palace.
“Master Osti, take your padawan, Cal and Markus to help you with our bags,” Yoda said. “We will meet with the King and find out what news there is.”
“Of course Master Yoda,” Osti replied with a bow before taking Bri and Xara’s bags.
Cal looked like he wanted to object but wisely kept his mouth shut. He would voice his displeasure at Master Yoda allowing a non-Jedi to the first meeting later. He took Master Kint’s bag as Markus had Yoda’s bag with him and they made their way to another vehicle that would take them to their quarters.
The rest of the group followed Greki into the vehicle. Xara allowed Bri to go first and watched her closely for any sign of discomfort that her ribs might be giving her. Seeing Bri slip into her seat without any discomfort eased Xara’s mind a bit over her soulmate. She then sat down next to her and they watched as Yoda and Kint followed in the seats across from them.
“What else has happened?” Kint asked Greki as they began to move.
“I think that the king would prefer to tell you himself,” Greki said not sure what to really say. He had a feeling that the Jedi could see right through him and it terrified him to be this close to them. He had never seen any before, but their robes and tunics usually gave them away, along with their most well known weapon, a lightsaber.
He took the moment to study the group in front of him. There was the small green Jedi called Yoda. He was supposed to be a powerful Jedi, yet his gaze was gentle and kind. The one next to him was tall, and had proud features.
Then there were the two human women. They appeared to complete opposites of each other. The one closest to him was tall for a human female, with long loose black hair and deep blue eyes that had tracked to him a couple of times. She did not seem to be a Jedi, as she was not dressed in normal Jedi attire like the rest but still had a lightsaber on her belt. She wore a dark outfit giving her the appearance of someone Greki did not want to meet in a dark ally.
The other one was short, and had strawberry-blonde hair that was braided in a nice pattern. She wore a light tan traditional robe with a dark tunic on underneath. Her green eyes seemed to take everything in and seemed so trusting that one wanted to tell her your life story.
He was not sure about the others yet, and the fact that there were now seven Jedi, perhaps eight made him nervous as he eyed the lightsaber on the dark haired woman. He wondered what made this mission so important over others. Sissis was only a place for food growing, there was no jewels, or other rare materials that other planets had. He figured that he would find our soon enough.
The ride was longer than Greki had remembered, or perhaps it was just because he was in the company of so many Jedi that it seemed longer. He was glad when they pulled up to the royal mansion and he could get out and lead his guest to see the king.
King Hevon was waiting for the group and watched the four Jedi walk into the room. Three bowed their heads and he noticed that the one who was not dressed like a typical Jedi did not bow her head. He briefly wondered about the tall dark haired woman but decided against it and got right to the business at hand.
“Welcome honorable Jedi,” the king said welcoming the group. “It’s rare for us to get such visitors, especially so many. I am told that there are eight of you, if I may be so bold as to ask why so many. I was told to expect two Jedi Masters, one padawan and a bounty hunter,” he said as his mind clicked that the tall woman was the bounty hunter.
“Encountered trouble we have on the way,” Yoda said replying to the question. “Believe the mission to be more dangerous than previously expected.”
“What type of trouble, and can we be of any assistance,” the king asked concern in his voice.
“A sabotage attempt to stop us,” Yoda said. “And ask for help in repairs we do.” Yoda asked.
“Of course,” the king replied.
“Your assistant said something about a new development?” Bri asked speaking up for the first time. Yoda and Bri watched as the king looked at his advisor then back to the group of Jedi.
“Yes its true, and I’m glad that my advisor did not tell you as it was something that I what to tell you myself,” the king replied. He seemed a bit nervous about talking about whatever had happened. “My daughter has been kidnapped.”
Bri and Xara both looked at each other as they both thought the same thing. Xara only hoped that this was not like the same mission they had just gotten back from. Another cliché mission like the one before and she might go into bounty hunting. At least then she would not have to worry about princesses running away to be with some boy who’s fathers were warring with each other.
“How do you know that your daughter was kidnapped King Hevon,” Bri asked wanting to make sure that it was not another case of the girl running off to be with a boy.
“My daughter an I have been close, she has always known that she can tell me anything, even if she was in love with one of the rebels, but I have nothing to say that she was,” the king replied. “And I don’t think that she would be part of a plot to make me give up the throne.”
“That what they want, for you to leave the throne,” Xara said speaking up for the first time.
“That was their demand, I either give up the throne, or I lose my daughter,” the king said and everyone could hear the sadness in his voice.
“Who is the next in line,” Kint asked hoping that they might be able to find a connection with this answer.
“I have no other living relatives, and the next one in line is my daughter,” the king replied knowing that with what he was saying it sounded like his daughter was behind the rebellion.
“Threatened your life have they,” Yoda asked wondering if the king’s life was in danger.
“No, so far all they’ve asked for is my leaving the throne,” the king said as he looked to his advisor.
“I have heard nothing either sire,” Greki replied honestly.
Yoda looked at the rest of his group while he thought about what to do. There was a missing princess, who might be in danger and a group asking for the king to leave the throne. What was the main reason behind everything? Every report he had read said that the people liked the king and there was no report of most people wanting the king to leave.
“Master Yoda, I have an idea,” Bri said taking Yoda out of his thought process. He turned his head to look at Bri and waited for her to speak. “We have someone with the skills to track down the missing princess, and is not a Jedi, they might trust Xara if we allow her to go off on her own.”
Xara was not sure she liked that idea too much. It meant that she would be leaving Bri alone with Cal. She glanced at Bri for a second before she heard Yoda reply.
“Up to Xara that is,” Yoda replied knowing what Xara was thinking. It would mean that the rest of the group would have to provide a buffer between Cal and Bri. That was the entire reason for so many Jedi to be on the mission in the first place.
Xara thought about the situation. She liked Master Kint, and she felt that she could trust Master Yoda, and his padawan Markus, however the rest of the group she was not sure about. Would the other two look out after Bri like Yoda or even she would. On the other hand she knew that she had a very good chance to find the missing princess quickly.
King Hevon waited for the tall dark haired human woman to speak. He had the feeling that something else was going on by the way she was hesitating in giving her answer. There was more to this mission than what was going on here on the planet’s surface. He wondered if it had anything to do with the sabotage that Yoda had mentioned.
“I’ll think about it,” Xara finally replied to Bri and they both knew that they would be talking it over later.
“I welcome any help you can offer,” the king said. “Now you must be ready to see your rooms,” he said waving over another aide who took them back to where they would be staying in the palace.
Eppis watched from the side of the approaching Jedi. There were more than what he was expecting. Tompic had contacted him shortly after he had arrived back at the palace that one of the Jedi would be on their side. The only thing he had to do was find out which one.
That would be the hardest part. One does not just go up to a Jedi and ask if they are going to help them against the king. It would be a big tip off on who the rebels where and if they were on the king’s side then the entire rebellion would fail.
He studied the group that he could see. There were four, two males and two females. One he recognized as Master Yoda. That Jedi would not be the one to approach. The other male also looked to be a Jedi who stayed on the mission path. That left him with the two females.
The shorter one was dressed like most Jedi, except that her clothing was the opposite color of normal Jedi. Instead of a dark robe she had a light tan robe on instead. Her eyes held intelligence and a light he had not seen in a long time. She would not be the one to approach either.
The other woman was quite tall, with black hair and piercing blue eyes. She was not dressed as a Jedi normally would. She had on dark pants and a red and black shirt giving her an appearance that a normal Jedi would not have. At first Eppis thought she was not a Jedi until he noticed her lightsaber on her belt.
This woman was the one he needed to approach. She had to be. She looked like a Jedi who lived by her own code, and that was exactly what he was looking for.
He watched as they left the presence of the king and headed towards their rooms. He would have to wait for a chance to talk with her alone and made sure to find out where her room would. He thought that the best way to talk with her would be in her room.
After the group left Eppis slipped away and returned back to his duties. If anyone questioned him he could use the excuse that he wanted to see a Jedi, as he saw many of the aides and servants trying to catch a glimpse at the Jedi. Very few Sissisians had seen a Jedi before.
Bri and Xara made their way to the room that had been given to them by the king. They were both lost in their own thoughts as they were guided to the rooms. The aide showed them into the room and they were glad that their bags were already there. That also meant that Cal was also already in the palace.
Xara still was not sure she liked the idea of her leaving Bri to run around trying to find out where a missing princess. It would leave Bri alone in her mind as she felt that Cal really did represent a threat to Bri’s safety. Xara was not sure that the other Jedi felt the danger like she did and she was not sure she could until Cal tried something.
Bri on the other hand was thinking about how quickly Xara would be able to find out where the princess was. She had no doubts about her soulmates abilities to find others and felt that it was the best chance to end the mission quickly. She knew that she could trust Master Yoda and Kint and she was also sure that she could defend herself against Cal in case he tried anything.
Their room was quite big and Xara looked around the room. It had two beds in it, both of which were bigger than the ones that they shared back at the Jedi Temple on Corosaunt. There was a window that had a view overlooking some of the palace grounds and a bathroom off to one side.
“Xara, we both know that you would be the perfect choice to find the missing princess,” Bri said to her soulmate. Bri had a feeling that she knew why Xara was acting the way she was.
“I know,” Xara replied softly not really wanting to tell Bri the real reasons. They both knew that Bri was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. The one thing that Xara was concerned with was ever since she had known Bri the younger woman had gotten herself in trouble. Xara wanted to be there in case anything happened with Bri.
“Slick, Cal is not going to try anything. He is a trained Jedi Knight,” Bri said trying to reassure Xara.
“That’s the part that worries me. All of you think that a Jedi walks the path of light, what about the Jedi I fought to free you,” Xara said to Bri taking about the first time Xara had rescued the younger woman.
Bri opened her mouth to respond to what Xara had said and realized that she could not dispute that fact. Bri tried furiously to think of something to tell Xara that would change her mind.
“I just want to make sure you’re safe, it’s important to me,” Xara said walking over to where Bri was standing.
“We both know that I can take care of myself,” Bri said as Xara’s arms wrapped around her.
“I know, but I’ve ever had anything that I cared so much about, and I guess that I’m just scared to lose you,” Xara said as she placed her cheek on the top of Bri’s head. Xara could smell the shampoo that Bri used along with the unique scent that was Bri herself.
Bri suddenly realized that this really had nothing to do with her skills, but everything to do with Xara herself. Xara was scared, something that she wondered ever happened to the tall woman. Bri thought that she must have been blind to not see it, but she really had not thought about it since her induction to the status of Jedi Master.
“I know that the other Jedi will help me out and that I will not be left alone for long especially if Cal is around. I really feel that you need to help out here,” Bri said, as Xara remained silent for a few minutes. Bri knew that Xara was thinking about it.
“Why don’t we wait until this afternoon when we meet with everyone else and see what they have to say as well, in the meantime we can feed you,” Xara said knowing that it was about lunchtime and her soulmate would be hungry.
“You win, but I have the feeling that you will be involved weather you like it or not,” Bri said.
“How about I go down and get us something to eat, that way you can rest your ribs some more,” Xara said looking into Bri’s green eyes.
Bri was about to say no when she noticed the glint in the blue eyes and found herself captivated by the color. A large room, only the two of them and they would be able to lock the door and the other Jedi would probably be eating and getting settled into their rooms. It would be the perfect time for some cuddling and she was not about to miss that.
“Sounds good to me slick,” Bri said and watched as Xara gave one last smirk and a gentle kiss on her cheek before heading out the door. Bri used the time to put up their small bags, all except the one with Xara’s professional items. Bri knew that Xara would want to take care of that herself.
Xara walked out of the room and headed back toward where she thought the kitchen would be. She made a couple of wrong turns before she encountered a servant in the hallway.
“Where’s the kitchen, my friend and I are a bit hungry,” Xara asked the Sissisian.
“I can show you,” he replied turning a lead her back down the way she had just come. “You’re with the group of Jedi are you not?”
“Yes I am,” Xara, replied wondering if it was the right thing to do. Something was going on and she had a strange feeling that things were about to get complex.
“But you’re not like the rest of them, you don’t dress like a Jedi, yet you carry their sword,” the man replied trying to get enough information out of her as he could.
“Don’t be fooled, I can use it with deadly force,” Xara said waiting for the man’s reactions and was a bit surprised when his face lit up.
“You’re the one my boss said to look for. My name’s Eppis,” Eppis said extending his hand out to what he thought was a Jedi in front of him.
“Yes, I am,” Xara, replied covering up her surprise at the man’s words. She was wondering what she was about to get herself into. It also meant that they were looking for a Jedi that was going to help them.
“Good, I’ll set up a meeting with my boss soon, I’ll be in touch,” he said as they walked into the kitchen.
Xara wondered if she should say anything to Bri, then knew that she had to. But first food would be just the thing for her recovering soulmate. Xara knew that she might be babying Bri a bit, but she just could not help her self.
Xara walked over to the main kitchen area and went over to where the cook was.
“Something I can help you with,” a voice said from behind her. Xara turned around to see a Sissisian woman in an apron standing there looking at her waiting for Xara to reply.
“I’m looking for some food for my friend and I,” Xara said. The woman was probably one of the cooks in the kitchen and waited for the woman to answer.
“Then you’ve come to the right place. Most of the idiot guests go to the dining hall for food. The idiots don’t realize that the only time food is there is when it’s dinner time,” the woman said getting a grin out of Xara.
“Does that mean there is something here,” Xara asked hopefully.
“”Of course there is, at least you Jedi have more sense than others,” the woman said shuffling around grabbing some plates and a tray. “What will you have,” she said opening the door of the refrigerator.
Xara glanced inside and was a bit shocked at what all was there. There was meat from all over including all the favorites that were home grown on Sissis. She picked out a few of the meats and a few exotic vegetables and some fruit.
“Do you have any Hoth balls,” Xara asked the other woman. Xara saw her smile and knew that she did.
“Of course I do, best dessert in the universe,” the woman said with a grin as she went over and grabbed a few of them and put them on a plate.
“Thanks,” Xara said as they filled the plates.
“Its such a shame that those blooming idiots kidnapped the princess,” the woman said.
“Really, why is that,” Xara asked a bit curious to the reasons.
“All they want is for the king to step down, but have no real reasons or plans. They have all been fools, listening to others allowing themselves to be lead while making others think that they are in control, idiots,” she said.
For Xara a key piece of the puzzle was handed to her, she would definitely talk to Bri now. Almost all the pieces were in place, and she had a way inside, now all she had to do was make sure that Bri was protected against Cal. He was looking to be more of a threat then she had first thought.
Xara walked back to where their room was and walked back inside with the tray she had. Bri was waiting inside for her to return. Instead of resting the young woman had arranged their stuff and put it away. Xara noticed that her equipment was still in the bag in the corner of the room.
“Here you go,” Xara said placing the tray down on the small table in the room. She glanced closely at her soulmate to see if she had been in any type of pain from her recent injury. Bri still had a couple of bruised ribs and she should be taking it easy, not running around. Of course if Xara were in the same situation she would be doing exactly what Bri was doing.
“Had an interesting conversation on my way to the kitchen,” Xara said seeing Bri’s head snap up at the sound of Xara’s voice. Something had defiantly happened and Bri wanted to know what it was. She waited patiently for Xara to say what had happened. “I was approached by someone, they claim to be part of the rebel group.”
“What did they want?” Bri asked curious as to what the person could have wanted from Xara.
“Apparently they are looking for a Jedi who will help them. He said that his leader had been told that one of us would be willing to help them in their cause,” Xara said then hesitated a bit before continuing. “I have a bad feeling that my former boss is involved somehow.”
That caught Bri’s attention. Xara’s former boss was a Sith Lord and if the Sith were involved then it could mean something else was at stake.
“I guess that I need to find out how much they are involved. Sometimes I would be called to just help out in return for future favors. Only occasionally would I be involved in something directly involved with my former boss,” Xara said recalling most of her missions.
Bri listened to what Xara was saying. This did increase the danger to the entire mission and she was not sure if she should tell Master Yoda yet or not. Looking at her soulmate she noticed that Xara was not telling her everything yet. She thought about what Xara would be holding back and realized it must involve her.
“What are you not telling me,” Bri finally said with a sigh hoping that the tall dark haired woman would say what was bothering her.
Xara glance at Bri who was looking right at her. The piercing green eyes seemed to melt Xara resolve. She also knew that holding it from Bri would only result in Bri wondering about Xara’s trust in her. That was something she did not need.
“I have a feeling that Cal is the one that they really want to talk to,” Xara said watching, as Bri did not even flinch at the news.
Bri thought about that for a minute. If Cal was the one who the rebel kidnappers had wanted to get in touch with then the question she had was why. Bri did not think that Cal was in league with the Sith, so that meant another group was involved, but who.
“I don’t think that Cal is in with the Sith, but he could be working for someone else,” Bri said to Xara presenting the alterative idea she had.
“It’s possible, but then that leads to the question who, and why,” Xara replied.
“Is there anything else that they said,” Bri said finally sitting down to grab one of the plates.
“I talked to the head chief in the kitchen and she says that these ‘rebels’ are idiots,” Xara said as she grabbed the other plate and began to eat before Bri finished and stole from her.
“I wonder why she thinks that.” Bri said a bit puzzled at the comment.
“She really likes the current king, and so do a lot of people, there is something else going on here that we need to understand.” Xara said wondering what the missing piece of a puzzle that would put everything together.
“I think that you need to talk with you new ‘friend’ again,” Bri said, as she was quickly finishing off her plate of food.
“I think you’re right about that,” Xara said as she tried to keep up with her soulmate. “Where do you put all of it,” she asked a bit amazed at the amount of food she had eaten.
“Well I was hungry, and whoever the cook was they were excellent,” Bri said with a bit of a smile as she glanced at what was left. “Ooo, hoth balls,” she said as her face lit up.
Xara could only laugh at her soulmate’s antics as she watched Bri bit into one with an expression of pure bliss on her face.
“Hey there good,” Bri mumbled back to Xara.
“I didn’t say a thing,” Xara replied trying to defend herself.
“I know what you were thinking,” She said narrowing her eyes at Xara.
“Don’t start something you can’t finish my small Jedi,” Xara teased as she put her plate back.
“Small,” Bri said as her eyebrows rose. “I’ll show you small stretch,” she said launching herself at Xara.
Xara was prepared for the ‘attack’ and fell backwards on the bed with Bri. Bri tried to tickle her longer partner and forgot that Xara was not ticklish, but she was. Bri began to squirm when Xara’s long fingers found her ticklish spots. After a few minutes Bri was out of breath and under Xara.
“Give up,” Xara said looking down into the green eyes. At that moment she felt that the intensity of Bri’s eyes would swallow her whole.
“Never,” Bri replied trying to stay definite.
Xara responded to the challenge by gently lowering herself down and gave Bri a gentle kiss. She nibbled on Bri’s lower lip and planted kissed along her jaw and worked her way up to the small ear that Xara was becoming quite fond of.
Things were rapidly heating up for Bri as Xara’s touches became more sensual and she knew where they were headed. That was until a knock at the door interrupted them. Xara got up and Bri groaned from where she was lying. Her whole body was thrumming.
Xara yelled out that they would be there in a minute. It was more to allow Bri the opportunity to calm down a bit before she headed to the door. Bri decided to jump up on unstable legs and ran to the bathroom. Xara only laughed a bit as she walked over to the door. Opening it she noticed Master Yoda and Kint standing there.
“Hello Master Yoda, Master Kint,” she said so that Bri would know who was at the door when she came out of the bathroom.
Yoda wondered a bit at Xara’s attitude as she rarely announced who was at the door. Bri came out of the bathroom a few seconds later and she still looked a bit flush to Xara, but pull it off.
“Hello Master Yoda, Master Kint,” Bri said with a slight bow, she had not been expecting the Jedi Master so she wondered what was up.
“How are you feeling,” Yoda asked Bri as she exited the bathroom.
“I’m feeling pretty good, but I must ask what brings you here,” Bri asked back with a question on her face.
“I had hoped that you had discussed the possibility of Xara going in search of the kidnapped princess,” Yoda said as he looked at her.
“We had discussed it and I believe that she will do it, there is also something else that has happened,” Bri said glancing at Xara.
“I was approached by a member of the staff to help them. It appears that they have been told that they will receive help form one of us,” Xara said.
“Disturbing news this is,” Yoda said as he thought about what Xara had just said.
“It has to be Cal,” Kint said not really second guessing himself.
“Know that we do not,” Yoda said bringing reason to the conversation. “Regardless careful we must be.”
“There is also reason to believe that someone off planet is responsible for the unrest on the planet,” Xara said.
“Then that is what we will concentrate on,” Yoda said. “If you will go after the princess, then we will find out who is behind it all.”
“Then I guess I will be meeting with my informant again,” Xara said with a sigh. “He thought that I was a Jedi, perhaps I should dress more appropriately.”
“That will not be a problem,” Bri said. “We can get you a dark robe if you like,” she said knowing that Xara preferred dark clothing.
“I don’t think Cal should be informed about any of this,” Xara said. “I don’t trust him, and you be careful,” she said pointing to Bri.
“I will,” Bri replied looking right into Xara’s eyes.
“Then we have a plan,” Kint said. “I’ll pair myself with Cal for most of the mission to keep an eye on him.”
“Inform the king I will of some of our plans,” Yoda said. “Stay with him I will, let Master Osti and his padawan Gina take care of the rest.”
“I guess I’ll be with you Master Yoda,” Bri said not really liking the fact that she would have to stay behind.
“Pair with my padawan you will, help Osti with his search,” Yoda said.
“I’ll have Cal help me with security in case whoever else is involved decides to attack,” Kint said. It would keep Cal in the palace, and hopefully Bri would be outside the palace most of the time.
“All set then, inform me when you make contact,” Yoda asked of Xara who nodded her head.
They watched as the two Jedi walked out of the room. Xara turned to Bri and with a raised eyebrow she tackled the young woman onto the bed.
“Now where were we,” Xara said with a smile.
King Hevon watched as Master Yoda walked into his chamber. He wondered if the Jedi had gotten any leads yet. His own intelligence had failed at trying to find the location of his daughter. They also did not know why the group had kidnapped her either or why they had demanded what they did.
“I heard that you wanted to talk with me Master Yoda,” the king said.
“Yes update you I wanted to,” Yoda said.
“Have you found my daughter,” he asked as he slightly rose up in his chair.
“Not yet, working on that part we are. Feel another group is behind this,” Yoda said then asking a question. “Is there anyone who has been hostile lately to your people?”
“No one that I can think of, that is a question for my military commanders, they would have a much better understanding of who and specific threats made against the kingdom. I only have a report f it is deemed important,” the king replied.
Yoda indicated that he would and wondered if there was someone in the military that could be behind everything. It was not uncommon for a military person to try a coupe for personal gain. He wondered if that was the case here, or if there was another race behind this. Which ever it was, it was becoming apparent to Yoda that the mission was more complex than he had first thought.
“I’ll do anything to get her back, I’ve even been thinking of giving up the throne,” the king said.
“Too early for that it is, only when they give a date do we consider it,” Yoda told the worried king.
“I guess you’re right,” the king said with a sigh, he was not sure how long he would be patient with his daughter in danger.
“Do everything to ensure your daughter’s safe return we will,” Yoda promised the king. He had sensed that the king was at the point to giving into the demands of the kidnappers. Yoda decided that he would remain with the king to make sure that the king did not do something foolish.
“I thank you Master Jedi,” the king said then Yoda retreated to talk with the rest of his team.
Yoda walked into his room where everyone but Xara and Bri were waiting. Yoda noticed that Cal had a frown on his face as he took in who was missing. Yoda already knew what he would say. Xara’s mission would have to be kept a secret from everyone else. He did not suspect Osti or Gini to be the Jedi involved and Kint had been a long time friend. Markus was still learning and even to Yoda, who did not want to accept the fact of another Jedi taking a different path, he knew that the possibility was there.
“I have your missions ready,” Yoda said to the group.
“Where’s Bri and Xara, are they not supposed to be here as well,” Cal said with a barely noticed sneer.
“Already know their mission they do,” Yoda said to the group. He knew that only he and Kint knew what their true mission was.
“Are we going to know what it is so we don’t interfere,” Cal said and Yoda had to agree with the man on this question.
“The king’s daughter has been kidnapped, find them Xara will, help me Bri will,” Yoda said.
“So what are we going to be doing,” Osti asked wondering what else eh would be doing besides running interference between Bri and Cal.
“Another group is behind this, find them we must,” Yoda said to the group. “That is your mission. Try diplomatic measures Bri and I will.”
“Do we have any leads or clues as to where to look,” Osti asked, this would be more to his specialty.
“The king did not, but his intelligence might,” Yoda replied. “All five of you will work on that.”
Markus was a bit surprised at that. The padawan had not been expecting that he would be separate from his teacher and he looked questioningly at Yoda.
“Pair with Osti you will in your mission,” Yoda said to his padawan. Markus suddenly understood why he was there. Yoda wanted him part of the team to help keep an eye on Cal, the mission of finding another group was secondary to him.
“I understand master,” Markus said and Yoda knew that his padawan understood the mission.
“Cal and I will pair up and the three of you will form another group for this quest. I suggest that Cal and I talk with the intelligence group and gather the necessary information and allow you three to research what leads we find,” Kint said forming a plan in his mind. They would be able to keep an eye on Cal and do their mission at the same time.
“We should probably go now,” Cal said. He had his own agenda and it involved revenge against Xara, anyway he could get it. He knew that with the two of them separated that he would be able to track Xara down, and then it would be just him and her.
“Yes, we might not have much time before the kidnappers begin to change their demands, or the consequences,” Osti said. That was one thing that Yoda hoped remained unchanged until Xara was able to complete her mission. At the end of it they would know more about who was behind everything.
Kint and Cal dismissed themselves and walked out heading to the intelligence agency to begin their hunt for information.
“So what does Bri think about us running interference between her and Cal,” Osti asked Yoda.
“Respect my judgment she has, and still recovering she is,” Yoda replied and Osti and Markus looked at Yoda until he gave in. “Not happy she was, but understands she does.”
Osti gave a smile knowing that Bri would not have agreed with what was going on unless she was talked into it. He did wonder what the connection between Bri and Xara was. There were a few rumors around the Jedi temple about her even though such things were forbidden. The official statement from the council was that Xara was a bounty hunter who was now permanently assigned to Bri and they had so far made a good team.
There were the other rumors, saying that Bri and Xara were more than partners, perhaps even lovers. Other Jedi had lovers, and they came and went. The Jedi had learned that to suppress such things was unhealthy, but it was also not encouraged either and Jedi were taught to control themselves in this area. They had forbidden marriage, except for a few exceptions; there were a few Jedi marriages that had been allowed.
“Cal was not happy when Bri and Xara did not show up,” Gina said speaking up for the first time. “I felt him. Something’s going on with him.”
“Felt nothing I did,” Yoda replied.
“I’m sorry master, it was elusive. He was trying very hard to control it, except for the end, he liked where he was going,” Gina said.
“Then we must keep an eye on him,” Osti said. “I’ve learned that my sister has great abilities to feel when something is going on with another person.”
“I don’t read their minds brother, I just feel it when something is wrong, or they are really happy,” Gina said.
“Then an eye on Cal we will keep,” Yoda said and watched as the group agreed.
Xara heard the knock on their door that brought her from her blissful sleep. She slowly became aware of her surroundings. There was a warm weight on her chest and warm breath on going across her chest. It almost made her forget what had woken her up when another knock came on the door.
Glancing down she noticed that Bri was snuggled into her side and Xara could feel where their skin make contact all they way down her body. Slowly extracting herself she make her way out of the bed and grabbed a robe to cover herself. She watched as Bri frowned in her sleep and reached out for her, then grabbed the pillow that Xara had used and curled around it taking a deep breath and falling back into slumber.
Shaking her head she walked over to the door. She had an idea of who it was and opened it up to reveal Yoda standing there. She indicated that Bri was asleep and went out into the hallway to talk with Yoda.
“Got her to rest did you,” Yoda said saying nothing about how Xara was dressed.
“Yeah, I learned that if I join her then we both get a little sleep. She also sleeps heavier than I do, so she will sleep for a while longer. What happened at the meeting,” Xara said wondering why the small Jedi was there.
“Told them their missions I did. Did not tell them about yours,” Yoda said and they both knew that if something happened then she would essentially be alone. “Trust Osti and Gina I do, but could not risk it at this time.”
“I understand,” Xara said.
“Markus is with them and Master Kint is with Cal,” Yoda replied.
“Just like you said they would be paired. What else is up,” Xara said.
“Gina said that Cal is feeling strange. She was not able to pinpoint what she felt,” Yoda said. “Unhappy he was that your were not at the meeting.”
“Or he’s up to something, be careful,” Xara said to Yoda.
“Be telling you that I should,” Yoda said with as they both smiled.
“I’m going to begin my assignment tonight, watch Bri carefully, her ribs give her trouble when she move to quickly still,” Xara said.
“I will, may the Force be with you,” Yoda said.
“And with you as well Master Yoda,” Xara said then went back inside her room.
Xara walked over and sat down next to Bri as she wondered about the best way to approach the situation. She really had no idea as to what the kidnappers expected her to do. She just hoped that they did not expect her to have a plan of some sort. She felt like she had no information about what was going on.
Bri gave a slight stir causing Xara to forget what she was thinking about as she watched her soulmate. Bri’s strawberry-blonde hair was all around her head and Xara knew that she would have some bad hair when she woke up. Xara reached out and stroked
Bri’s hair letting the silkiness run through her fingers. Xara watched as a small smile appeared on Bri’s face.
Green eyes popped open heavy with sleep looking right at Xara. Xara was still amazed at what one person’s eyes could do to her.
“How was the nap,” Xara said giving Bri a soft kiss.
“I didn’t think that I needed anymore sleep, but I was wrong. I feel wonderful,” Bri replied with a stretch. “Did I miss anything?”
“Master Yoda was here, just wanted to let us know that he informed the rest of the team of their assignments. I’m going to try and figure out what’s the best approach to my informant,” Xara told Bri. “Yoda also said that he did not say exactly what my mission was to the rest of the group. He also said that Gina picked up something strange from Cal, nothing she could pinpoint, but there was something there. Be careful with him around.”
“I will,” Bri said wondering if Xara needed the same message. “You too.”
“Always,” Xara said with a smile as she gave Bri another kiss.
“What time is it,” Bri asked as her stomach growled.
“Almost supper time,” Xara replied. “I wonder if the king will have anything in the dining hall tonight or if we will have to go to the kitchen again.”
“Master Yoda did not say anything about it,” Bri asked.
“Nope, so I guess that we are on our own tonight,” Xara said glancing down at Bri where the sheet had uncovered her breasts.
“Boy am I hungry,” she said with a stretch raising her arms over her head in a sensual stretch.
“You’ll be the main course if you keep that up,” Xara said as she used everything she had not to ravish the small Jedi. Instead she grabbed a robe and threw it at Bri.
“Spoil sport stretch,” Bri said to Xara as she got up out of the bed. Without using the robe she walked to the bathroom with a sway in her hips that she knew would keep Xara’s eyes on her, well at least her ass, but on her. She gave a sexual over the shoulder glance at Xara when she got to the bathroom door and announced that she was going to take a shower before dinner. Then she closed the door.
Xara finally blinked her eyes after the teasing that Bri had just done to her. She gratefully sat down on the bed as she tried to get her heart rate under control at what Bri had just done to her. Sometimes she just did not understand where Bri got that teasing attitude, not that she was complaining.
Bri meanwhile had to rest against the door. She thought she was going to faint when she glanced into those smoldering blue eyes before going into the bathroom. She would have never guessed that one look could set such a fire in her.
Starting the shower she set the water temperature on cold to see if she could put out the fire in her body. Bri was glad that she had no bandages on to prevent her from enjoying a shower or a bath if she chose to have on later on. She was sure that if Xara would have joined her if she had asked, but there were things that they needed to do.
Finishing her shower Bri got out and dried herself off then realized that she had no clothing in the bathroom, not that it was a problem with Xara. Bri listened carefully in case there was someone else in the room, like Master Yoda before she walked out of the room.
Xara was sitting in a chair going over her weapons and making sure that they would be in good condition when she noticed a towel wrapped Bri come walking out of the bathroom. Xara smiled to herself as she eyed the beauty of her soulmate.
“Forget something,” Xara asked as she watched Bri.
Bri turned to look at Xara, she was already dressed and she wondered if she should reply or not. Bri looked inside her bag only to find it empty. With a glance and a bit of a glare she marched over to where Xara was.
“It seems like someone had a good time while I was in the shower,” Bri said. “Where did you put my clothes?”
“I thought that you liked walking around naked, so I tossed your clothes out,” Xara said with a straight face but did not look up either.
Bri opened her mouth then closed it. Xara was playing a joke on her; well two could play that game. She took the towel off and began to walk over to where her lightsaber was. Picking it up she then started towards the door.
“You’re not going out like that,” Xara asked wondering what Bri was up to.
“Well, someone threw out all of my clothing, so yeah,” Bri replied still walking towards the door.
“Where will you put your lightsaber,” Xara thought thinking that she had the smaller woman this time.
“Where do you think,” Bri said with a smile on her face and Xara just about choked with that. “Are you okay,” Bri said as she quickly walked back over to the coughing Xara and gave her a pat on the back.
“Ah, yeah. Guess I should have seen that one coming,” Xara said with a smile then handed Bri her clothing. “I wasn’t expecting you to say that.”
“I did walk into the bathroom teasing you the entire way, so I deserved it as well,” Bri said with a smile and they both knew that the other could take a joke. “Well, shall we go and make an appearance,” Bri said tying the belt around her tunic and clipping her lightsaber on it.
“Why not,” Xara said as she stood up and help Bri straighten out her tunic. “Do all Jedi just wear shades of brown?”
“Yeah,” Bri said. “We have a few other clothes for forested areas, but usually we wear this for identification.”
“There, lets get going,” Xara said as she gave Bri a hug from behind.
They walked out of the room and headed towards the dining room. Bri wanted to just hold Xara hand but had to restrain herself for fear that it would put Xara’s mission at risk. That was something she did not willing to do, she wanted Xara to return safely back to her.
“Everything will work out,” Xara said giving Bri’s back a brief rub. She could feel that Bri was tense about something. After a few seconds Xara realized what it was and went to reaffirm the younger woman.
Xara was more concerned about Bri than she was her part of the mission. As far as she was concerned Cal was a greater threat than anyone else in the group.
Walking into the dining room they were greeted by the rest of the team. The king was sitting at the head of the table with Master Yoda and Kint sitting close to him. There were a couple of empty seats next to Yoda, then Markus. Cal was on the other side and at the end after Osti and Gina.
Xara watched Cal carefully and was not disappointed when the man stared at her for a second when they sat down.
“I see that you have finally graced us with your presence Master Bri,” Cal said. Xara was sure that it was a sarcastic comment but she could prove anything yet.
Bri did not allow the comment to faze her as she sat down at her seat. Xara sat down next to her and they were immediately served with plates from the kitchen. Xara noticed that the same woman who she had talked to earlier in the kitchen had served them. The older woman smiled at Xara and left.
“I see that you have made a friend in my head chief, not an easy thing to do,” the king said. “She bosses me around more than anyone else since my wife died five years ago.”
“I ran into her in the kitchen when grabbing something to eat earlier in the day,” Xara replied not saying what they had talked about.
“You did not come here did you,” he said and watched as she nodded her head no. “Then you made a friend. She hates when guest expect to be served at all times. She’ll serve them, but just don’t expect the best food,” he said with a smile on his face.
“I heard that,” a voice said from the kitchen and the king winced.
“Just protecting your image,” he yelled back then turned back to his guests. “She’s the best cook in on the planet, and it’s not wise to insult the one that feed you.”
All the head at the table agreed with the king’s statement. If you wanted good food then you treated your employees with the respect that they deserved, and if you did not then expect to get bad tasting food.
“Have you learned anything,” Bri asked Kint after a few moments of silence in the conversation.
“Nothing that would be enough to cause concern, but we are looking into the government of Yannih, they would gain the most by a disruption in the Sissisian production of food. They have also been aggressively expanding their territory,” Kint replied to Bri’s question.
“It will be interesting to see what comes up with that investigation,” Xara said.
“Yes it will, some of these groups have had major clashes in the past, and some look like they have never stopped,” Osti replied.
“How many groups are we investigating,” Bri asked curious as to the number and the reasons why the feuds were still going on.
“We figure that there are about thirty groups that warrant investigation, but the focus is on the Yannih system,” Kint replied.
“I haven’t heard anything from them in a long time,” the king stated. The last formal contact between the two worlds was to negotiate a peace over a hundred years ago. They were both members of the Republic so he was not sure why they would be behind any of this.
The rest of the meal went by with casual talk and the occasional glances between Xara and Cal. Cal would make sure no one was looking when he stared at Xara. If he could he would have burned a whole in her head, but the look that was returned was just as intense.
Gina, however, could feel the emotions pouring through Cal and it made her nervous. She had never experienced anything like this before, especially from another Jedi. She had tried to see what Cal was looking at when she felt the emotions and only saw him looking at his plate. She would have to talk with her brother on this one for sure.
Bri and Xara finished their meal and Xara suggested that Bri try some exercises to see how her ribs were healing. She had been sleeping a bit today and she wanted to make sure that Bri was able to protect herself for when she was not there.
Bri stretched a bit to test her ribs and found that they did not hurt so she accepted Xara’s challenge. They bid the rest of the group a good night and walked out to and area that the king said they could use for practice.
Cal’s eyes followed them out and watched as Xara put an arm around Bri and he felt a surge of jealousy come over him. No one should be touching Bri but him he thought.
Gina just about jumped up with emotion that Cal sent out. She hastily got up and said that she was not feeling well and that she was going to retire for the day.
“Are you all right,” Osti asked becoming concerned at his sister’s appearance.
“Just really tired brother,” Gina replied with a silent look at her brother.
“Of course sis, I’ll see you in a bit,” Osti said then sat back down at the table. Yoda and Kint watched the interaction with an experienced eye, and saw the subtle interaction between the siblings.
Kint made eye contact with Yoda and knew that their thoughts were along the same lines. Kint would go with Cal while Yoda found out what was going on with Gina. They both figured that it had to do with her sensitivity to others feelings. Yoda then knew that it was a mistake to put Gina so close to Cal with Bri and Xara in the same room.
Bri and Xara walked out among the night sky and into the brightly lit practice area that the king had recommended. Looking around they could see a few other practicing fencing, and ancient art of balance and deadly forms.
Bri shed her robe and loosened up a bit while Xara did the same. They then approached the center of their area.
“Ready,” Xara said as her red blade sprung to life.
“Lead on,” Bri said as her own green blade came to life as well.
Xara went on offensive testing Bri’s reflexes and looking at her face to make sure that she was hurting the younger woman. Xara wanted to make sure that Bri’s ribs would not hurt her in case she had to defend herself against Cal.
Bri deflected Xara’s attack and remained on the defensive. She knew that Xara was testing her ribs and not her abilities. There was a slight pull from the area, but no pain was associated with it so Bri was pleased.
Xara escalated her attack until they were both going the best they could against each other. The sounds of the lightsabers hissing and clashing together attracted a small crowd who had never seen such a thing before. The green and red blades were doing a deadly dance that made all of the bystanders nervous.
They did a cool off routine then called it quits. Both of them had a light sheen of sweat covering them but Xara was pleased with the way Bri’s injuries had healed.
“Did you have any pain,” Xara asked.
“Just a slight pull but nothing painful,” Bri replied. “You’ve gotten better,” she said smiling at Xara.
“I haven’t been relaxing in bed for the past couple of days,” Xara replied.
“Right, like I had a choice with that,” Bri said. “Come on stretch, I hear a bath calling my name.”
“Really, that’s some hearing you’ve got there my Jedi,” Xara replied in a teasing voice.
“Very funny stretch,” Bri replied. “Maybe if you’re good I’ll allow you to wash my back.”
“What are we waiting for,” Xara replied walking faster pulling Bri along with her.
They entered their room and the door was closed. Bri followed Xara into the bathroom where their clothing was quickly discarded and the tub was filled with warm water. It did not take long before they were both in the tub. Bri was leaning on Xara who was busy washing Bri’s back.
“This feels good,” Bri said as Xara had moved from washing to massaging. “We’ll have to switch so I can do you in return.”
“Nope, I’m enjoying this,” Xara said as she felt her soulmates smooth skin. It was something she hoped she never got tired of.
“When are you going to leave,” Bri asked not really wanting to ask that question.
“A bit later tonight,” Xara replied. “I may not go anywhere tonight, it might just be a meeting. Either way I need to make an appearance.”
“I know,” Bri replied.
They reluctantly got out of the tub and dried off. Bri knew that Xara would be heading out and she was not sure if the tall woman would be back tonight. They had talked about the possibilities, but now that she was faced with them she was not sure she liked what was going on. What had seemed like a simple rebellion had turned into a complex web involving a plot against the Jedi on the Chu’unthor, and an attempted framing of Xara for it.
Bri walked into the room to see Xara getting dressed in her now familiar black outfit. Her lightsaber was hooked on her belt. She turned when Bri walked into the room.
“May the Force be with you stretch,” Bri said as Xara walked to her.
“With you as well my Jedi,” Xara replied giving Bri a kiss on the cheek and then left to find the Sissisian who had talked with her earlier.
Osti walked into the room that he was sharing with his sister. He had excused himself from the table as soon as he was able after she left. He knew that something was bothering her, and he was going to find out what it was.
His sister was sitting on the bed meditating when he walked in. She glanced up and knew that it was time to talk.
“Are you alright,” he asked her first wanting to make sure that she was indeed feeling well.
“Too much interaction with Cal brother,” Gina replied.
“What happened,” he asked as he sat down next to her. This might be something that he would have to report to Master Yoda.
“Everything was fine until Master Bri and Xara walked into the room. It was then that Cal just seemed to change. I felt hostility from him towards Xara. It was so intense that it scared me Osti,” she said looking at him.
“I knew that they did not like each other, but this is a dangerous path for Cal to be taking. He could be bordering on the Dark Side,” Osti replied.
“There’s a bit more as well,” she said as her brother looked at her patiently. “When they left Cal had another emotion, I thought I felt jealously. I’m not sure that Bri is safe from his anger,” she told him.
“Then I think that perhaps we need to talk with Master Yoda tonight,” Osti said as they left their room in search of the small Jedi Master.
It did not take them long to find Master Yoda as he was walking to his room. He looked up when Osti and Gini came walking toward him and he knew that they were there to talk with him.
“Master Yoda, we need to talk,” Osti said watching as Yoda nodded his head and suggested that they talk in his quarters. They walked there and went inside.
“Now what are you here to talk with me about,” Yoda said already having an idea as to why they were there. He would just have to wait to see what Gina had felt during the dinner. He had an idea that it had to do with Cal, Xara and Bri.
“Gina thinks that there might be a problem between Cal and Xara and Bri,” Osti said.
“Felt something she did,” Yoda said correctly guessing the problem when Gina nodded her head.
“Yes Master Yoda,” Gina replied then restated what she had told her brother. Yoda sat listening while Gina explained everything she had felt. When she was done Yoda rubbed his chin and thought about what she had just said.
“Felt anything from Xara did you,” he asked wondering if anything was going on with her as well that he should know about.
“No, I did not,” Gina said. “My senses were overwhelmed by Cal.”
“Is there a possibility of Cal hurting Bri,” Osti said voicing his concerns.
“A Jedi is aware of all things. Be alert we must be,” Yoda said as he thought about it. Gini had felt things in Cal that made him worried about the Jedi’s mental stability. If Cal was having Dark Side thoughts it could jeopardize the entire mission, and even lead Cal towards the teachings of the Sith.
“Your mission on keeping an eye on Cal now has priority over the mission. Let me know if you lose him at all,” Yoda said.
“We will Master Yoda, where is your padawan now,” Osti asked curious as to why the young man was not with Yoda.
“With Kint and Cal right now,” Yoda said. “He is studying hard and has made much strides lately,” which was true. Ever since Markus’ encounter with Xara he had been an even better student. He appeared to have gotten over whatever was holding him back.
“We will see you in the morning,” Osti said as they retired for the night.
Xara walked down the hallway looking for the Sissisian that had talked with her earlier in the day. Rounding one corner she saw him standing with a couple of others. She watched him wondering if the people he was talking to were part of the kidnappers or not.
The Sissisian concluded his talk and walked away laughing. Xara watched as he approached where she was standing in the shadows. When he was close enough she grabbed his shoulder.
Eppis was startled when a hand spun him around and he was concerned for a second until he saw who it was. It was the tall dark clothed Jedi he had talked with earlier. He had
“You have good timing, I’ve arranged a meeting with my boss for tonight,” Eppis said to Xara.
“Then I’ll be able to meet with this person,” Xara said in a bored tone. “And I’ll finally understand why my master wanted me to come here.”
“You mean that you don’t know,” Eppis said with a bit of wonder.
“My boss only said to come here, that’s all,” Xara said letting a little of the part of her that was the dark side out. The Sissisian took a step back and realized that the group he was with did not know who they were dealing with. For the first time he wondered if they were doing the right thing.
Xara watched as the Sissisian squirmed a bit before saying anything else. She could tell that if her former boss was behind this soon. She really did not think that he was, as he was probably asked for some support which he would gladly give for future returns.
“Well, when,” Xara said finally getting bored with just standing there looking at him. She watched as he jumped and began to bumble.
“Ah, yes well we should probably get going,” he said and led her down the corridor and headed outside using a secret passage. Xara thought that the secret passage was a bit old, but if something worked then use it. She figured that it was so old no one knew about them anymore.
They walked for quite a while and Xara was beginning to wonder if they would ever get to their destination. After a few more minutes they came to a short curve in the tunnel and Xara could sense someone else was with them. She wondered if her companion knew that someone else was there.
Xara did not have to wait long until the hidden person made himself known. He stepped out of the shadows and walked toward them. He never took his eyes off Xara as he approached them. Xara realized that she was under scrutiny and she decided to be bored by the entire thing. She rested her weight on one foot and placed her other hand on her hip.
“Who’s she,” the Sissisian said to Eppis with a nod of his head in Xara’s direction. Xara was trying to figure out why such a beautiful planet created such ugly life forms on it. The cool grey eyes of the guard continued to look at her.
“She’s our help. I’m here to have her meet with Tompic, he knows we are coming,” Eppis replied.
“Stay here, I go get him,” he replied then turned and walked away.
“Well, he was friendly,” Xara said dryly.
“We take no chances,” Eppis said. “We have to be careful for spies who want to report us to the king. We are in this to win, and win we will.”
“And then what,” Xara asked wondering if she could get some information out of him before this Tompic came.
“Then we will be truly free from tyranny,” Eppis said.
Xara rolled her eyes at the thought. They already had more freedom than some races in the Republic. She wondered if they could even see that they were being controlled by someone else already.
Xara would have said more but she sensed that someone was coming. She observed that two Sissisians were coming toward her. One was the guard the other she assumed to be Tompic. She sized up their leader quickly. He seemed to be just like the others in that she had met down here.
“So you’re our ace against the Jedi,” the Sissisian said as he walked up to her.
“One against seven,” Xara said with a raised eyebrow. She was wondering what they expected her to do about their situation.
“We only need you to keep the Jedi out of our business for a few days,” Tompic said.
“What’s to happen in a few days,” Xara asked curious about the statement.
“Then it will be too late for anyone to stop the events from happening,” Tompic replied as a smile broke out on his face.
“All right, how many days,” Xara said.
“Two, then it will be too late,” Tompic said.
“Then the best way is to maybe to organize a trade,” Xara said.
“You mean the princess, hmm we might be able to do that,” Tompic said. “She is just a distraction after all.”
That piece of information was vital to Xara. She was sure now that an outside force was behind everything, now all she had to do was find out whom. She knew that she did not have much time for that, at most a day and a half.
“You might trade for something that you consider insignificant to keep them looking the wrong way,” Xara said and the Sissisian seemed to think that one over a bit before he agreed with the idea.
Tompic considered what Xara had said and felt like she had a good idea. So far they had been able to keep the intelligence office looking the wrong way while they planned their rebellion against the king. The kidnapping had been their idea in exchange for the king stepping down. It would allow them to plan while they looked for the princess.
“We will ask for better wages for the workers, that will make us look like we are for the working Sissisian,” Tompic said. “We will give the princess back after the wages have been increased.”
“Sounds like it could work,” Xara replied knowing that they would have to work fast to prevent the real plan. She had an idea as to what it was now.
“Do you need a place to rest,” Tompic asked Xara. She was shaping up to be everything that his contact had said she would be.
“No, I should get back, otherwise the other might get suspicious. Also I wouldn’t give my name to my boss. We like to remain secret and your connection is unsecure,” Xara said thinking that if her name was used then everything could be for nothing and her life could be in even greater danger.
“Of course,” Tompic replied accepting the request without thought. “Eppis will lead you back to the castle.”
With that Tompic walked away and Xara almost felt sad for them. They were being led by someone else and did not even know it. They had not questioned her, asked for anything to confirm who she was, and seemed completely oblivious to planning, or even a greater scheme. They were too trusting of what others said and did not look at the consequences that could happen.
On the way back Xara was quiet and Eppis talked a bit. He finally wondered why Xara was so quiet.
“Just thinking,” Xara answered. She had a feeling that the real threat would come not from the kidnappers, but whoever was behind everything. They only had a day to really figure it all out, maybe less.
The trip back was shorter than Xara remembered and she quickly found herself at the door to her quarters. Quietly opening the door she walked into the room which was dark. She shed her clothing and after quietly putting her stuff up crawled into bed.
Wrapping her arms around Bri she allowed the smaller woman to relax her.
“How’d it go,” Bri asked when she felt Xara wrap her arms around her. She had not been able to really fall asleep so she had just rested. She heard Xara enter the room and waited until she was in bed to say anything.
“There’s more going on than we thought Bri,” Xara replied. “We’ll talk with Yoda in the morning.”
“All right,” Bri said and allowed the presence of her soulmate to lull her to sleep. Xara followed soon after.
Tompic had gone back to his quarters and was about to retire when he was summoned to the communications room. He got up and silently cussed whoever it was that was calling him at this time of night.
He turned to the screen and was surprised to see the dark figure there.
“Has my operative made contact with you yet,” the man said with a growl of a voice.
“Yes, and we’ve got everything under control,” Tompic said with a smile on his face.
“Good,” the man said. He had been worried about his agent. He had become mentally unstable to the point that even he was about to severe ties with the man. This mission was his last chance, and then he would have put out a bounty on his head.
“I’ll let you go as you probably have work to do,” the man said.
“Yes, I’ll tell her that you were pleased,” Tompic said.
“Yes, do that,” the man said after a brief hesitation. His agent was male, not female. He realized who he was talking about and they had talked with the wrong person. He would have to rectify the situation, or cut his loses. If his agent failed again he doubted that the man would survive, and if he succeeded then he would keep the agent. He would win either way, the situation on Sissis did not concern him at all.
A cloaked figure made its way to the communication room in the palace. After making sure that no one was inside the figure walked in. The figure put a small device on one of the machines and waited. It was not long before his call was answered.
“You are failing me,” the voice said.
“What do you mean, my contact failed to show up,” the figure replied.
“That’s because Xara got to the contact first,” the voice said.
“Xara,” the figure hissed out with venom.
“Yes, either eliminate her and complete your mission or don’t call back,” the voice said as cold as steel and the line went dead.
The cloaked figure seethed at the news his boss just gave him. The woman had meddled in his affairs for the last time. This time she would die, and Bri would be his. A cruel smile came to his lips as he walked out of the room.
Bri woke up with a nice feeling. She was lying in Xara’s arms who was still sound asleep. She took the opportunity to study her soulmate in closer detail. The fine lines of her face, even a slight smile on the older woman’s lips which brought one to her own. She pushed a lock of hair away from Xara face and still could not believe how lucky she was.
Bri was still looking at her when blue eyes opened and locked onto her own green ones. They spent a few minutes greeting each other good morning before Bri’s bladder began to protest. Much to her disappointment she had to break off and head to the bathroom.
Xara watched as her young partner went off to the bathroom. She knew that they would have to talk with Yoda today, and that there was not much time. She got up and dressed in her now familiar red and black outfit.
Bri came out of the bathroom feeling relieved but a bit disappointed that Xara was getting dressed. She walked over and put on her Jedi tunic. She clipped her lightsaber to her waistband and together they walked off to visit with Master Yoda.
They knocked on the door of Yoda’s room and waited as it was answered my Markus. The young man let them into the room. Yoda was meditating and looked up when Bri and Xara entered the room. He was curious as to what had happened last night. He knew that Xara was going to hopefully meet with the leader of the kidnappers and that might shed light on who was behind everything.
“Master Bri, Xara how are you,” Yoda asked with his characteristic concern that he had for everyone.
“Good Master Yoda,” Bri replied.
“I met with the leader of the kidnappers, and I think things are worse than what we imagine,” Xara said. Yoda said nothing but waited until Xara had finished talking before making any plans. “We have only a day or so to find out who’s behind this. I also think that we should have the Chu’unthor ready for battle.”
Yoda looked at Xara with a bit of concern. If readying the training ship for battle was a concern then Sissis was about to be invaded.
“An invasion, sure are you,” Yoda asked.
“Not fully, but my meeting with the leader of the kidnappers gives me that impression. He mentioned that the kidnapping and everything else was just a distraction to keep the real intentions from being known,” Xara said. “These Sissisians do not even know what they are doing.”
“We should warn the Sissisian military,” Bri said.
Yoda thought about that for a few minutes. “Do that I will. What else.”
“They are going to release the princess if the king will increase the minimum workers wage, they hope to keep the intelligence, and you, from guessing the true intentions. He also said that we only have to delay another day until the plan is complete.”
“Not good this news is,” Yoda said.
“I think that the king should do it, it would keep the kidnappers off balance. And it could provide us with the distraction we need,” Xara said.
“Talk with the king I will,” Yoda replied as he picked up his stuff. “Markus, tell Osti to look for a race that might invade Sissis, and would profit from it.”
“Yes master,” Markus replied and went on his way. Once Markus was out the door Yoda turned to Xara and Bri.
“We should probably get going,” Bri replied.
They made their way to where the king was. He was enjoying a hot breakfast and watched as the Jedi walked into the room. He had heard from the kidnappers early this morning. For some reason they had changed their demands and now wanted him to raise the minimum wages in exchange for his daughter. He thought that it was a good trade, and something that he was already going to do.
“Master Yoda, I was about to send for you when I was through,” the king said as they approached. “I received some news last night.”
“Received some of our own we did,” Yoda said. “Know more about what is going on now we do.”
The king leaned forward at this news. It sounded like the small Jedi already knew about the new demand for his daughter. He was not sure if he would like what the Jedi had to say.
“I have a feeling that you already know what I’m going to say,” the king said.
“The new demand for your daughter’s release, yes know that we do,” Yoda said. “Learned something else we have.” Yoda was not sure if he should continue with this in such a non-private area.
Bri saw the hesitation and swept the room with her senses to see if she could find any bugs in the room. She closed her eyes and expanded her senses and turned in a slow circle. Xara watched as her soulmate went to work even without Yoda asking her to.
Yoda saw Bri out of the corner of his eye and knew what she was doing. Now all he had to do was ask the king to get rid of any servants.
“We must talk in private,” Yoda said to the king. He hesitated for a second before he asked the servants to leave the room. Yoda waited for Bri to finish before saying anything.
“All clear,” Bri said as she kept her senses trained for anyone close enough to be listening in on the conversation.
“There’s a large problem headed your way. Your staff is full of spies, and the kidnappers are really just stalling for time,” Xara said to the king.
“Spies, in my staff. That’s impossible, most have been with me for a long time,” the king replied. He did not like the fact that someone on his staff might be behind all of this. “Hold it what do you mean stalling,” he said as the last part of Xara’s statement hit him.
“A prelude to invasion it might be,” Yoda said.
“I must warn my military for they must be prepared for this threat,” the king said not liking the idea that his people could be invaded any day now.
“Yes, they must be notified, but only those you trust, no more no less,” Yoda said.
“I trust Admiral Blitt, he has been with me for many years, we even served together,” the king said thinking about who he could trust.
“Then talk with him we must,” Yoda said as the plans started to come together.
The king ordered that Admiral Blitt be brought to his chambers right away. The king looked at the time and realized that it was almost time for them to pick up his daughter. When he had received the demand he had enacted the worker’s raise immediately.
“It’s almost time for my daughter to be released,” the king said looking at Yoda.
“Go and pick up you daughter, talk more we will later,” Yoda said. He wanted to find out more about what was going on, and he had a feeling that Xara would be able to find out more.
The king rose and said that he would be back with Admiral Blitt after his daughter was back. Bri watched and knew that Master Yoda was thinking of something.
“Xara,” Yoda said looking right at the tall dark haired woman. She remained silent waiting to see what Yoda wanted. “Make it back to the kidnapper’s base can you?”
Xara thought about it for a few seconds before replying. She thought that she could make it back, and the security that they had was not very good. “Yes I can,” Xara replied thinking that she already knew what Master Yoda was going to ask.
“Need more information we do on who and where,” Yoda said.
“I understand,” Xara said already forming a plan in her mind. She noticed that Bri did not like the plan too much, but there was nothing she could really do about it as she was the only one who knew the way.
“I don’t want you to go,” Bri said finally and both Xara and Yoda looked at her. “I have a bad feeling about this part of the mission.”
“Bri,” Xara said coming up beside her now upset partner and putting her arms around her. Xara could tell that something was really bothering her and she had to calm her down first. “I’m the only one who knows the location and sending someone with me would only increase the danger for both of us. If I get caught I can form a plan quickly but if another Jedi is with me then they will not believe me.”
“I just have a really bad feeling about this,” Bri said. The Force was telling her that something was wrong with the mission.
“Feel nothing I do,” Yoda said searching the Force himself. Whatever Bri was feeling she was reacting strongly about it.
“I’ll be extra careful all right,” Xara said trying to pacify her partner.
Bri wanted to pout and be angry but she realized that Xara would go through with the mission regardless of what she said. She could only hold Xara to her promise.
“Be extra careful, for me,” Bri said as she looked up into Xara’s eyes.
“And miss coming back to you, I’d be crazy if I didn’t come back,” Xara told Bri honestly. “I should get going, the best time to sneak in will be during the exchange.”
Bri reluctantly agreed with her partner. The feeling did not go away however and she just hoped that she was wrong in her feeling. Xara gave her one more quick hug and left the room.
“Don’t agree with me you do,” Yoda said watching Bri as she began to pace back and forth a bit.
“No, I just can’t explain it, it’s something that’s there yet it is not. I’ve never felt anything like it before,” Bri replied to her former mentor.
“Wait and see we will,” Yoda said turning to head out of the room. “Work we have.”
“Yes Master Yoda,” Bri said with a bit of a sigh and walked out of the room with him.
Xara carefully traced the path that she had taken just the night before to the kidnapper’s hideout. She was not even sure if she would be able to find any evidence of who they were getting help from.
Xara kept her senses trained to any disturbances in front of her. She did not need to be discovered this time, and she hoped that the guards were as sloppy as they were last night. She knew that she could probably get in and out regardless of trouble, she just wanted to avoid trouble.
Xara made her way around a corner and felt someone standing in front of her. She felt around using the Force and discovered only one person. One person would not be much of a problem to her.
With a little concentration she waved her hand and walked right by the guard. He did not even seem to notice that she was there.
‘Let’s hear it for the weak minded,’ Xara thought as she quickly hid again to look around the compound. The mind trick worked well, but not really well for a large group. She could distract them, but only for a little while.
The compound had a few people walking around but no one had any weapons. She was glad about that; it would mean she could get out of the area quickly.
Xara spotted a larger tent that would probably house the leader. She was glad that it was not guarded as she glanced around. A burst of speed using the Force would work. First she had to make sure that there was no one in the tent. She stretched out with the Force and found one person in the tent.
Xara reasoned that if she acted quickly then she would be able to get into the tent and knock the person out before an alarm was sounded. She had to wait a few minutes till everyone was looking in a different direction.
The split second was all Xara needed as she ran with the help of the Force to the tent. She ducked inside and faced the person inside. The alien was not who she was expecting to see. It was a Chulak. They were a homeless species who kept to themselves. Xara had dealt with them a few times and they were interested in conquest and nothing else.
The Chulak’s eyes open in surprise as she entered the tent. He opened his mouth to say something when he felt what he thought were hands at his throat. The human woman was a Jedi he realized as she continued to choke him.
Xara watched the man carefully until he passed out from lack of oxygen before releasing him. She assured herself that he was alive still then went over the tent. She did not have to look very far, as the Chulak had been going over the plans.
Xara realized it all made sense now. The Chulak, from what she had heard, were a race of conquerors. They had conquered with fear their local neighbors and had begun to gather a large empire. A band of rebel races finally defeated them and destroyed their homeworld. The Chulak’s were now hired killers and mercenaries.
Xara read the plan and realized that the Yanninians had hired a group of Chulak’s to cause this unrest. Once the invasion began they would hit important targets such as the shield generator and defense systems of the planet. The invasion was scheduled for tomorrow morning. This was vital information. The ships from Yannin could not get here any quicker so she was not concerned with what the Chulaks would do now that they knew the plan.
She put the plans back and knew that it was time to get out of there. She used her senses to see if there was anyone around. She felt a few people but figured that she could run for it. They could call on additional Jedi from the Chu’unthor for help in protection of the planet’s defenses.
Xara ran out of the tent and headed past the guard she had earlier walked right by. By the time they realized what had happened she was already gone. She had gone around a corner and did not feel anyone of them following her, but there was a presence in front of her.
A cloaked figure stood in her way. The form was familiar to her. She then realized who it was, Cal. Somehow he had eluded everyone and now they stood alone.
“Cal,” Xara said as she could feel her anger for the man coming out.
“Xara, fancy meeting you here,” Cal said. “You’ve caused my master much trouble.”
“So, you’ve gone to the ‘Dark’ side,” Xara said as she realized she was right in her feeling about Cal.
“It’s much more powerful, wouldn’t you say,” he said with a grin. “And after I defeat you I will take Bri as my own and together we will rule the universe.”
“Bri would never join the ‘Dark’ side, or you,” Xara said with confidence.
“She will when I kill you,” Cal said as his lightsaber ignited and he charged towards her.
Xara brought out her own lightsaber and brought it up in a defensive stance. Cal laughed at her attempts to defend against him. She would not last long. He had seen her dueling with Bri, and her skills were below his.
Cal decided on a quick strike and rushed in to attack with his blue blade blurring around him. Xara blocked his attempts with her own red blade. She had watched him practice and knew that he was good, somewhat. But the infusion of ‘Dark’ side power made him seem stronger at the moment.
Cal used all the power he had in his attacks and found himself frustrated over the fact that he had been blocked each time. He shrugged it off and knew that it was only a matter of time before he wore her down and she would be his.
They parried a few more times and Cal decided to bring out a few tricks that he had learned. His hand stretched out and Force lightning shot out from his hand.
Xara felt was about to happen and jumped out of its way. She had to make sure he did not hit her with that; unlike Bri she could not stop it. Deciding not to give him time to try it again she rushed Cal.
Cal realized that he had missed and had to act quickly to block the next attack from Xara. He realized that she was good, but he figured that he was better than she was. He pulled from deep down in the dark side and began another attack.
Xara found herself on the defensive once again and wondered how she was going to defeat him. Xara twirled her red blade around her to keep Cal from getting inside her defenses. She knew that he was getting angry with his lack of ability to finish her off quickly and that if she held on long enough he would lose any patience he had left and she would be able to gain the upper hand.
“Is that the best you’ve got,” Xara said taunting him. She had one plan that she could use that could tell her everything.
“You’ll find out soon enough bitch,” Cal replied. He was close to finishing off the one thing that had interfered with his plans. He had wanted Bri to himself and with Xara in the way he knew that he would never get her. Xara had to die.
“You know that Bri will never forgive you,” Xara said.
“She’ll never know about it,” Cal said as they circled each other looking for an opportunity to attack.
“You sound pretty confident about that,” Xara replied hoping that she could get a confession out of him.
“I’ll tell her that poor Master Kint did it, after he found out that you had turned to the ‘Dark’ side of the Force. Then I took vengeance for her and killed Kint,” he said with a smile.
Xara realized what he had just said. “You’ve killed Master Kint,” she said hoping that what she had heard was wrong.
“The old fool,” came the reply from Cal. “He never saw it coming.”
“You were also behind the attack on the Chu’unthor,” Xara stated. “And you stole the Exir Stone and placed it in my quarters.”
“That was easy, why you couldn’t have had the courtesy to just roll over none of this would have happened. Bri is mine, to do with what I want,” Cal said.
Xara knew that she was dealing with a person that had now got beyond sane; this was a duel to the death now. She reached into herself and pulled on the Force like she had never done before.
The two combatants flung themselves into battle as their blades crossed and hissed as the impacts they were giving. Both were now giving it their all. They locked blades a couple of times but neither were really able to take advantage of it.
Cal then began a new attack and at the last moment used the Force to push Xara down. He then yanked her lightsaber out of her hands and into his.
“Well well,” he said gloating as he now held both lightsabers. “It looks like I win,” he said walking over to where Xara was with a smile on his face. “This time there will be no escape for you, and Bri will be mine. You were weak to walk away from the ‘Dark’ side Xara and that will be your downfall.”
Cal twirled the two lightsabers as he calmly regarded Xara. “I’ll be sure to comfort Bri when your gone, and she’ll finally realize who she was meant to be with,” said as he gave a thought about the beautiful Jedi. Although the woman in front of him was beautiful as well, his fascination was with Bri.
Xara knew that she was in trouble and that if she did not act fast she would die, and that would leave Bri all alone. That thought brought her own anger to the surface as she tapped into her ‘Dark’ side. She used Cal’s brief slip in attention to her to strike.
Cal did not see Xara move but suddenly Xara was in front of him and before he could move either lightsaber Xara placed her hand on his forehead and he could feel the Force flowing out of him.
Xara had recalled a ‘Dark’ side technique that could drain the life force out of a person and she was using it now on Cal. It did not last long and Cal slumped to the floor dead. She wondered how Bri would react to this news, and if she could still love her after what she had done.
Xara looked at the body of Cal then realized she still had to tell Yoda about what she found out. He would need the time to organize the Jedi to help protect the planet. If the defenses were still operational then the invasion fleet would probably retreat. She used the Force to grab her lightsaber and placed it back on her belt then went in search of Master Yoda.
“Something’s wrong,” Bri said pacing around the room. She was feeling something from Xara and she knew that it was not good. She turned to see her former teacher and master but he was sitting patiently waiting for everyone to return.
“Patience we must have, this path must be completed,” he said feeling the ‘Dark’ side course through the air. Someone was reaching deep down into the ‘Dark’ side of the Force, but who and why he just did not know. With the fact that Bri was upset he was almost tempted to let her go and find Xara.
“Forgive me Master Yoda, but I have some bad news,” Markus said running into the room. He looked terrible and both Yoda and Bri knew that the news was not good. Something had happened.
The two looked at Yoda’s padawan as he formulated the words to tell them what he had discovered; actually it had been Osti who had discovered it.
“We found Master Kint, he’s dead,” Markus said watching as shock showed on both Bri’s and Yoda’s face.
“Master Kint is dead, how,” Bri asked before Yoda could say anything.
“Osti believes that he was killed from behind by a lightsaber,” Markus said. There were really only two suspects, Xara, and Cal both of whom were not around.
“Where is Cal,” Yoda asked hoping that what he though was not true, that Cal had killed his former master.
“We don’t know where he is, and we haven’t been able to find Xara either,” Markus said with a glance to Bri.
“Away on a mission she is,” Yoda replied when Osti and Gina walked into the room. They made their way straight to Yoda.
“Gina checked everywhere in the castle, Cal is not here,” Osti said. “I’m not sure who did this, Cal or Xara. Master Kint was killed a short while ago.”
Yoda did not want to say anything but he knew that it had been Cal; he was the one who killed Kint. Yoda would make sure that justice was served when they found Cal.
“Need more troops we do, ask for help from the Chu’unthor,” Yoda said to Osti.
“We’ll need more than that,” a voice said from behind them. They turned around to see Xara walking towards them.
Bri was glad that Xara was alright and without thinking about who she was with ran and gave Xara a hug. She was a bit concerned when Xara stiffly returned the hug. Something had happened and Bri wanted to know what it was.
“I found out that there are a group of Chulaks on the planet, they are going to destroy the defenses on the planet then the Yannanians are going to invade,” Xara said not saying anything about Cal just yet.
“Warn them you will,” Yoda said to Osti who took Gina with her and Markus followed having learned when his master wanted to be alone.
“What else,” Bri asked after the others had left. “Markus said that Master Kint had been killed,” Bri said looking right into Xara’s blue eyes which did not contain shock from the news. Somehow Xara already knew that he was dead.
“I know,” Xara said quietly, “Cal told me when he attacked me.”
“He didn’t hurt you did he,” Bri said as she began a visual check over her partner.
“No,” Xara replied watching as Bri checked her out for any signs of a wound. It was amusing, but she wondered if the small Jedi would stay after she learned everything.
“The ‘Dark’ side he had fallen to,” Yoda said realizing that it was Cal that he had felt.
“Yes, he also told me that he was the one behind the attack on the Chu’unthor,” Xara said. “He said that Kint got in his way and so did I.”
“In his way for what,” Bri asked not sure what the man would have been after.
“You,” Xara said.
“What happened to Cal,” Yoda asked sure that Cal was now also dead.
“I killed him,” Xara said.
“What happened,” Bri asked feeling the tension in Xara. Whatever had happened this is what had caused the tension in her.
“We fought and I used the Force to kill him,” Xara said not looking at Bri. She did not want to see the disappointment in the green eyes.
Yoda thought about what Xara had said. She had used the Force to kill Cal; there were only a few ways to kill someone. A Force user could only kill a choke hold, lightning or an even rarer form using the Force to drain away a person’s life essence. By the way Xara was reacting he guessed it was the latter, as only the Sith really used that power of the Force.
That brought another question to his mind, if she had to use the Force like that what happened to her lightsaber.
“Your lightsaber, what happened to it,” Yoda asked taking a stab as he could see Xara wanting to flee from Bri, something he did not want to see.
“He pushed me down and yanked it out of my hands,” Xara said to Yoda not sure what he was saying.
Bri listened to the question and reply and realized that Xara was afraid that she would leave her. Bri grasped Xara’s hands and looked into the blue eyes in front of her. She thought about what she would say and finally thought of something.
“I still love you,” Bri said.
“How, I killed a man with my hands using the Force, I drained it out of him,” Xara said.
“He left you no choice,” Bri said not releasing her hold on Xara.
“You would have found another way,” Xara said.
“We each have our own ways to deal with trouble, the important thing is you came back to me,” Bri said wrapping her arms around Xara and laying her head against Xara’s chest.
“But I don’t want to disappoint you,” Xara said looking down at the strawberry blonde hair of her partner.
“The only way you can disappoint me is if you don’t return to me,” Bri said from where she was. She could hear Xara’s heartbeat and it soothed her for some reason. This is where her home was, she had found it at last.
Xara found that she could not say anything about that and she realized that she felt the same way. The more the thought about it the more she realized that her partner was right, Bri dealt with things differently, she had a different background and Cal really did not leave her much choice.
Xara walked into their quarters after the long ride back from Sissis. The rest of the mission had gone smoothly. The Jedi had stopped the attacks on the defenses of the planet and the invasion force had been beaten back. Osti and Gina had remained on the planet to ensure the peace and clean up the aftermath of the mission.
Master Kint would be honored tonight in a ceremony of fallen Jedi. There had been a discussion of what to do with Cal, and it had been decided to do the ceremony on Sissis.
The Jedi council wanted to talk with them in the morning, but that could wait as Xara walked in and looked at Bri. They had talked more about the fight between her and Cal and Bri had finally gotten through to her that Cal left her no choice.
Bri looked over as she felt Xara’s eyes on her. “Hey,” Bri said as she walked over to where Xara was standing. Bri purposely swayed her hips watching as Xara’s eyes were drawn to them. It made her feel warm all over to see her partner look at her like she was right now.
Xara’s eyes narrowed a bit as she watched Bri sway her hips more than usual. The smaller woman was quite a tease, but Xara figured she did not mind as she picked up Bri and walked over to their bed.
As she claimed her partner’s lips she realized it would be a long night.
Master Yoda watched as Master Bri and Xara walked into the council. He could see that the taller woman was still uncomfortable with the council, but she hid it well. Master Aqat and Janson were sitting in the positions of leaders of the council.
“Master Bri, Xara so good to see you,” Aqat said as he looked at them. He had been briefed by Master Yoda about what had happened on the mission and was glad that everything worked out. He noticed they seemed a bit tired but dismissed it.
“Master Aqat,” Bri said with a bow.
“I have talked with Master Yoda, but I would like to hear your account of the mission,” Aqat said looking at them.
“Well, on the way to Sissis, the Chu’unthor was sabotaged, at the time we did not know who did it, but Xara was accused of it,” Bri replied as she went over the mission. “Master Kint was able to prove that she did not do it and after we arrived at Sissis eight of us went down to the planet’s surface. Master Kint, Cal, Master Osti, and his padawan Gina were added to the mission.”
Aqat nodded his head. This information matched up with what Master Yoda had told him. He continued to listen to Bri.
“Once on Sissis a group of the rebels, or kidnappers, approached Xara believing her to be their ally. She found out that a group of Chulaks had been hired by the Yanninians to disable the planet’s defense systems. It was on her return that Cal confronted her and battled her. She was forced to kill Cal. It was also learned that Cal had killed Master Kint,” Bri said to the group.
“Master Kint always considered Cal his greatest failure,” Janson said out loud. While it was true Cal had done his job he could be irrational at times.
“Xara returned to Master Yoda and told him about what she had discovered and we help reinforce the security around the planet’s defenses and were able to defeat the invading fleet,” Bri said.
Aqat sat back in his chair and glanced around at everyone. He knew that there were questions about Cal actions, and the fact that Xara had killed him. There were a few who would want a formal investigation into the details about it. He was sure that if that happened things would come out that might damage the Jedi Order.
“Xara, it seems that the training that you are receiving from Bri is helping,” Aqat said. “I knew that Bri was a good teacher.”
“Are you discounting the fact that she has now killed two Jedi Aqat,” one of the members of the council said. He was never pleased with anything unless he did it himself.
“Master Lotis, I have every confident in Xara to be honorable, and I know that Cal was a Jedi, but we must remember that even Jedi can have flaws,” Aqat said looking right at Lotis.
“Of course Master Aqat,” the man replied.
“Turned to the ‘Dark’ side Cal had,” Yoda said speaking up for the first time.
“Are you sure about that Master Yoda,” Lotis asked.
“Felt him I did,” Yoda said. “A lesson to all of us this is, the ‘Dark’ side is still very strong even without the Sith.”
“That’s true Master Yoda, we must remain valiant against the ‘Dark’ side,” Aqat replied looking at Lotis.
The Sissisians have filed a protest against the Yanninains in court, and with all the evidence against them I feel that the case will be settled quickly,” Janson said to everyone. They knew that Yannin would face stiff penalties for what they tried.
Bri and Xara were dismissed from the council and Xara was glad that she got out with as few questions as she did. She thought that the council members would question the fact that she had killed a Jedi, something that was hard to do.
“That went better than I thought it would,” Xara said.
“You know most of them actually like you,” Bri said looking up at her partner.
“I’m not sure that Lotis does,” Xara said.
“Well, he just like things done his way, but I know that Aqat, Janson, Ri-Jun and Yoda do, that’s one third of the council that have told me so,” Bri said. “That’s four to one, and most Jedi Masters judge by how you perform, not what you say.”
Xara nodded her head and then asked when the ceremony for Master Kint would be. Bri replied that it would be in the afternoon. That allowed them time to eat lunch and change to formal attire for the ceremony. Xara realized that she had liked the man and wished that he had survived.
Xara and Bri walked into the large room that the ceremony was going to take place. In front of them was the body of Kint waiting for the ceremonial fire to be lit. Special fans were placed around to keep the smell of burning flesh from overwhelming people along with special air converters made just for such an event.
Xara glanced at Bri who was dressed in her formal robe. She had brushed her hair until it Xara wanted to just run her finger through it all night, and she just might later on.
Bri glanced at Xara and was glad that the taller woman had gone with a more Jedi like appearance. Her clothes were still dark, but she now looked more like a Jedi with her clothes and the deep burgundy cloak she had on. The shirt and pants were black and she looked stunning to Bri.
Yoda glanced over when Xara and Bri walked into the room. They looked so very opposite of each other. Bri’s cloak was a light tan, and Xara’s was dark almost like night and day. He realized that they were, one completed the other.
“Well, they make a sight don’t they,” Aqat said to Yoda as he glanced at them. “I don’t know if we will be able to keep everyone in the dark much longer, they practically glow when they are with each other.”
“Yes, cross that bridge we will when we get to it,” Yoda replied.
“I have a feeling that it won’t be too much longer my friend,” Aqat replied.
Xara watched as they went through the ceremony and then proceeded to light the funeral pyre and the body burned in silence. She and Bri talked with several other Jedi and even Master Yoda and Aqat before they decided to retire for the evening.
Xara retired to their quarters for the evening. Xara felt like the service honored the Jedi Master and she could only hope for something so honorable when she finally was killed.
“I can’t believe how tired I am,” Bri said as she stripped out of her clothes.
“Well, we were up almost all night last night,” Xara replied with a smirk.
“That’s right, and now I feel like I could sleep for a week,” Bri replied.
“When do we have to report to the council for a new mission,” Xara asked.
“Tomorrow afternoon,” Bri replied.
“That’s good, but I have a feeling our next mission will find us,” Xara said.
“Let’s not dwell on it,” Bri replied as she got into bed. “Join me,” she asked lifting the covers.
“But of course,” Xara replied as she stripped out of her clothing and snuggled up to her lover and soul mate as sleep quickly found them both.
Continued in The Sith Empress