The Revolution: Chapter 6 part 1

Lilliya woke with a start. Rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, she peered out towards the window. It was daylight, but she couldn’t tell what time. She glanced at the chrono that stood by her dresser and saw that it was past noon. She slept the whole night away and then some.

And then she noticed the pounding. She couldn’t tell if that was her head or the door. She realized, now, that the brisk knocking was what had woken her up in the first place.

“Coming,” she groaned, knowing quite well that no one would hear her, and she rolled out of bed, rewrapping the disheveled dressing gown around her slim body, and dragged herself to the door. She caught a glimpse of herself in one of the mirrors and groaned again. Her hair had matted on one side her of head where the bandage was. There was still little clots of dried blood knotted on that side too. Her eyes were puffy from crying and her face was sickly pale. She was in desperate need of a shower.

This time a bell chimed inside the apartment. Whoever was trying to reach her, needed her badly, she surmised.

Finally, Lilliya made it to the door and opened it.

Leia stood on the other side dressed in a dark purple gown laced with gold.

“Good afternoon,” Leia said, though her expression didn’t reflect anything positive at all.

So it wasn’t a dream, Lilliya thought. “Find something?” she said.

“Actually, I came to tell you we lost contact with the investigation team,” Leia said, her voice hardened with stress. “The last time we heard from them was late last night. Their transmission said something about an alien spear, or weapon of some sort, on the Raider base ruins. Then nothing.”

“Humph,” Lilliya sighed, leaning against the door frame.

“Do you have any ideas?” Leia said, impatience seeping through her tone.

“I can only think that maybe—just maybe they were attacked by the same battleship,” Lilliya answered, though she hoped that wasn’t the case.

“Yes, but I keep wondering how you were able to get by without getting shot down as well,” Leia said.

Lilliya stared at Leia curiously, her brow furrowing. She was beginning to wonder if Leia thought she had anything to do with this.

“I found a way to activate the cloaking device on the shuttle,” Lilliya explained. It really was that simple.

“That’s interesting because the science team can’t even make a dent in the shuttle, much less get inside of it,” Leia said, cocking her head to the side to peer at Lilliya with a very critical eye.

Lilliya stared back, a little unnerved by Leia’s barely hidden hostility. Only then did Lilliya notice the same intimidating guard droids lurking a few ways down the hall.

“I’m not sure what to say,” Lilliya said slowly, trying to not get herself in trouble. “I was able to get inside with the medallions I found in the pocket of one the aliens that attacked me on Endor. They were taken away from me by the guards that met me on the docking bay when I landed.”

“Lilliya, I’m going to need you to come with me,” Leia said. “Please get dressed as quickly as you can.”

Lilliya frowned in concern, but did as she was told. She took a sonic shower, then donned a simple black jumpsuit and knee-high boots she found inside the closet full of clothes. She let her hair air-dry which resulted in a curly mass of gold waves, and her crystal necklace glittered brightly against the black. She was out and ready to go in fifteen minutes.

Leia had already left the corridor and the GP droids stayed to greet Lilliya at the front door. Their red eyes stared at her silently, which added to the eeriness. Lilliya stepped out of her apartment and followed them to the science center. It took them about half an hour of riding lift tubes and shuttles before arriving at GP’s science center, which was located far below the palace grounds.

Lilliya and the droids walked down a skinny corridor with low ceilings, giving a very claustrophobic illusion. The only light given was from simple florescent white lights nestled in the corners of the metal flooring. After a few minutes, they finally entered a large cave-like room where the alien shuttle lay surrounded by many scientists of different species, all donning white jumpsuits with glowing yellow piping.

Leia stood alone on a tiny walkway that led to the elevated platform the shuttle rested on, her purple gown billowing off the bridge’s edges. Leia turned to see Lilliya making her way over to the bridge, frustration clouding her already irritated thoughts as she still wasn’t able to sense Lilliya’s arrival. Leia was unsuccessful in hiding her disappointment.

“Thank you for joining us,” Leia called before Lilliya was able to reach the bridge, her voice echoing off the walls of the large metal room.

Lilliya stepped onto the bridge and was taken aback by the drop of the floor beneath her. She decided to keep her focus ahead of her and not below her.

“As you can see, the scientists are unable to activate the opening to the shuttle,” Leia said, once Lilliya reached her. The two women stood side by side on the bridge watching the scientists work around the shuttle like a swarm of insects. One of the scientists, tall, skinny and green-skinned, a species Lilliya didn’t recognize, walked over to the two women, the medallions in hand.

“When I was on Endor, I was able to kill one of the aliens that approached me,” Lilliya said. “I used its thumb and pressed it against one of the medallions. It not only disengaged the cloaking device, but opened up an entrance to the ship.”

“Give Lilliya the medallions,” Leia ordered once the scientist had reached them. The scientist looked willing enough to hand over the tiny items to someone else this time.

Leia turned to watch Lilliya has she balanced the two medallions in either hand. Lilliya pressed her thumb on one of the medallions, like she had the day before when she was inside the ship, and immediately the shuttle hummed and an entrance shot forward, shocking nearly all the scientists that were in the way.

Leia cocked an eyebrow in curiosity, then quickly became suspicious. “You see, those scientists had tried everything to open up some sort of entrance,” Leia said, her voice very quiet and controlled. “They even pressed their own fingers to those medallions with no response from the ship. I find it curious that you were able to open it up with one try.”

Lilliya didn’t say anything. She glanced from Leia’s critical stare and back to the ship, its entrance yawning open for everyone to see. Lilliya was just as confused as to why the medallions responded so easily to her. She had no explanation to give and was afraid to suggest anything; she could already tell she was walking on thin ice.

The two women watched as the scientists tentatively made their way inside the shuttle with their scanning instruments out and ready to use. The tall, green-skinned scientist pulled out a thin white scanning pad and held it out silent in front of Lilliya.

Lilliya’s brow furrowed in confusion and looked at Leia for an explanation.

Leia shrugged. “We anticipated the ship responding to you seeing as you were able to fly it,” she said. “The science team would like a copy of your thumb print in case they run into anymore situations like this.”

Lilliya hesitated, but it didn’t seem like she had much of a choice. She decided she’d better cooperate considering the heavy speculation she was under. She pressed her thumb to the pad and a blue light flashed beneath it. Once that was done, the scientist returned to the others and they continued their research.

Leia turned back around and began walking towards the cave’s exit. Lilliya followed closely behind.

“I’m surprised your personal aide didn’t greet me earlier,” Lilliya said.

“Mazy was apart of the investigation team sent to Endor,” Leia answered.

Lilliya nodded in understanding. That might have been why Leia was in such a sour mood, and Lilliya wouldn’t blame Leia if she thought Lilliya was the cause of all this.

The two made their way down the claustrophobic corridor and headed for the lift.

“I have a full day with my family arriving and the YVA banquet to prepare for,” Leia said as she stepped into the tube, turning around to face Lilliya and giving a hint that Lilliya was to not follow her inside. “You are welcome to attend, if you like. There will be military officials and diplomats from all over. It might be good for you to meet some of them and see what your options are career-wise. I will keep you informed if anything changes in the Endor system.” With that, Leia disappeared behind the rotating lift door and another one opened, empty.

Lilliya couldn’t shake the sinking feeling that she was not in the best of situations. She couldn’t remember the last time she felt so alone. And then she forgot the GP droids standing directly behind her, waiting for her to enter the tube.

“Guess it’s just the five of us, right, guys?” Lilliya muttered half-heartedly, in an attempt to lighten the situation. Maybe the droids could actually talk back.

But they didn’t, as they stared back at her with their cold red eyes, one of them pointing to the lift tube as if that was a hint.

Lilliya slumped in defeat and shuffled forward into the tube, the droids always close behind.

 

***

“She’s not giving in,” Captain Jorn said, as he made his way down the star-studded, circular hallway. Admiral Maurel’s private quarters were just a little ways down, but the only entrance was the small tube of-a-hallway made of thick glass that allowed the sensation of walking in space. Jorn could never figure out if this was an intimidation tactic on Maurel’s part, or if he was simply obsessed with being surrounded by billions of stars. “The serum doesn’t seem to be working on her,” Jorn continued when he knew he could see Maurel’s sinewy figure at the end of the hall.

Maurel remained silent even when Captain Jorn was only a few feet away. The tall, silver-haired man, with the brilliantly young face chiseled into perfect beauty stared out one of the large view panes, his sapphire eyes slightly glazed over. They didn’t seem to be watching anything and barely noticed Jorn’s arrival—except for the scar in Maurel’s left eye. That black-as-space, diamond-shaped scar always seemed to be aware on its own, always watching, absorbing…the scar glittered in Captain Jorn’s direction and he quickly looked away. Jorn never liked making eye contact with Maurel because of this.

“She’s a surprisingly strong one, for her species,” Maurel finally said, his voice soft and soothing. “Up the dosage.”

“If we give her anymore, her brain will reject it. It will shut down,” Jorn said, noticing how much his voice carried in the large chamber. There was no other sound, no air flow coming from the ducts, no gentle hum reverberating from the ship’s mechanical insides. The Diamond Denominator was already a shockingly silent ship, but Jorn marveled at how Maurel’s quarters were the quietest of them all. It was a dead silence. All Jorn could hear was his own breathing; Maurel never seemed to breathe.

“Up the dosage, but do it slowly,” Maurel spoke so quietly that if it weren’t for the echo bouncing off the walls of the massive room, Jorn would have had to strain to listen. “Her mind will reject it, but not until we get all the information we need. There has to be a very good reason as to why the President would send her own personal aide out to investigate an insignificant incident like this. The Galactic Raiders were not on the Alliance’s high-priority list.”

“Yes, but the escaped shuttle, the one we didn’t destroy…” Jorn muttered. There were plenty of reasons as to why that particular situation irritated him. Why allow an escapee warn the most powerful military force in the galaxy that they were being invaded? But what most irritated Jorn was that he was in the dark, running a battleship full of clones and enslaved humans.

“So she’s made contact with the President,” Maurel said, smiling grimly.

“Which means she’s on Coruscant,” Captain Jorn said. “Should we send a team out to capture her?”

Maurel was silent for a moment. Then, “No. Penetrating Coruscant’s security defenses would draw too much attention to us. She won’t stay there for long. Once she leaves the system, we’ll then make our strike.” Maurel turned to face Captain Jorn completely, making Jorn automatically step backward. “Continue your interrogation. Draw as much information out of the girl that you can. Then get rid of her.”

“Yes, Admiral.”

“One more thing,” Maurel said, as he lifted a black metal box into view. It seemed to be a safe of some sort. “This was going to be sent to Coruscant, to the Galactic Palace. Be sure that it gets there.”

Captain Jorn saluted, took the box, turned, and briskly walked back down the starry corridor, all the while feeling pity for the young personal aide and what was to come of her.

***

 

Lilliya jumped down from an air duct high above the ceiling and quietly landed into a crouch onto the soft red carpeting. As soon as the GP guard droids had taken her back to her apartment and stayed outside the entrance, Lilliya figured she was under house arrest. After exploring her apartment for an hour, she was able to disengage the hidden security cameras and climb into one of the air ducts to escape her apartment unnoticed. She had a little trouble finding a way into the hallways, but it didn’t take her long. Lilliya wasn’t going to spend the rest of her day being watched and followed by those nightmarish droids.

She didn’t know how long it would take for them to figure out she’d disconnected the cameras in her room, she assumed not too long, so she wasted no time giving herself a personal tour of the Senate Apartments free of the lurking droids. Lilliya dashed down the hallways, turning sharp corners, passing other luxurious living quarters, common areas, spa rooms—this made her pause for a second as she looked with envy at the beautiful women and men, rich Bureaucrats she presumed, going in and out of the spa seeming refreshed and relaxed. Lilliya wondered if her temporary stay at the Senate Apartments would allow her a visit to the spa. Probably not.

She then saw a group of kids, Lilliya guessed about eight to ten years old, disappear behind some cloudy-white glass doors, laughing, shouting, and running to play. As the doors slid silently behind them, Lilliya caught a glimpse of greenery and maybe some wildlife. She decided to follow the kids. She remembered a rumor that GP station had the most beautiful gardens filled with plant life from all over the galaxy including some original organic life grown during the Yuuzhan Vong occupation. Lilliya had always wanted to see this garden and she had a feeling this was the entrance.

Looking cautiously around the large window-filled room, sunlight streaming in from all sides, and once she determined the GP droids still hadn’t noticed she’d gone, Lilliya skipped over to the white glass doors and stepped through.

She was right. Lilliya stepped inside a massive dome-shaped room made out of reflective glass, which in turn, made the room’s size double in appearance. She could see Coruscant’s blue sky coming through the glass and reflecting back in an odd way. It made the ceiling appear bluer than it already was. Inside resided plant life collected from nearly every planet within the galaxy and all organized by color and shape. There were reds, deep greens, bright blues, oranges, vibrant pinks and purples, and some, Lilliya was certain, colors that even the human eyes couldn’t register. The smells surprisingly worked in harmony together considering they were all drastically different species growing up in very different worlds. Who ever was the gardener had their work cut out for them, Lilliya surmised.

She continued slowly down a stone pathway with a canopy of red-gold and green vines curling above her, allowing herself to breathe in the peaceful atmosphere. She could visit this place many times, Lilliya thought, during her stay there. She could find privacy and peace, try to relax and clear her head. Forget about the past couple of days and find away to move forward. The depression, she knew, was well contained and buried beneath more important matters that needed to be addressed. Lilliya was afraid of facing the black hole that seemed to be growing deeper, no matter how much she pushed it back. She couldn’t allow herself to think about it, not yet. Not when there were so many other things to worry about.

Children’s laughter startled her out of her reverie, but she was thankful for it. The sound was positive and reminded her of happier times when she was a child.

Her father always told her that she was a special kid, much more vibrant and full of life, than the others. She was a fast learner and matured quickly. Her physical appearance also grew at a faster rate than was considered normal for a human being. At two, she was as tall as a five year old and spoke Basic as fluent as an eight year old. At five, she towered above all her other classmates at about four feet. Lilliya’s father had to remove her from public school because of the harassment Lilliya received for her looks. She remembered being picked on by the other humans because of the strange, color-shifting diamond scar that was embedded in her left eye. She also remembered being attacked by the school bully, a powerful child who claimed he could use the Force. The boy had grabbed her crystal necklace because Lilliya told him he couldn’t borrow it, and he ripped it off her neck. Lilliya had suddenly gone into a panic attack as soon as the necklace was in the hands of the boy. She rationalized later that her panic must have been because of her emotional attachment to the item that was found with her when her mother and father found her abandoned inside an escape pod.

In any case, the boy was punished and removed from school. A week later, her father decided to take her out as well, not wanting to risk another strange incident like that again. Lilliya’s father home-schooled her for the rest of her youth and then trained her to become a pilot. As a child growing up in the House of Tentle, always at her father’s side, a blue and green-eyed girl with gold hair by day and silver hair by night, she was the happiest child she thought existed. Though her own appearance unnerved her, making her the most unique-looking human being, her father helped her accept and appreciate her looks. He said she was the “most beautiful girl in the entire galaxy.” That helped somewhat. Nonetheless, she revered her childhood years as her best years so far.

And the way things were looking for her now, they were probably going to be the only best memories she would have.

Lilliya rounded a corner, passing by an odd looking marble statue with glittering jewel eyes. She stopped and looked down at it. It was a frightening little creature standing on two very long legs, slender arms outstretched and clawing, a wide mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, and a long whip-like tail. It looked more like something out of a nightmare. It didn’t seem to fit in with all the other colorful beauty, luscious green foliage.

Then she recognized a voice not too far away. Lilliya’s heart rate jumped up a notch, and she leaned past a gray stone pillar to confirm the voice.

Leia stood a few meters away, still dressed in her elegant, purple gown, laughing and embracing a man in black.

Lilliya decided it was best to move on before Leia noticed she was without her GP escort.

 

“Luke!” Leia cried, lifting up on her toes to wrap her arms around her brother’s neck. “You have no idea how glad I am to see you.”

“I could sense your hysteria all the way from Ossus,” Luke Skywalker smiled, holding his sister tightly in his embrace. He hadn’t seen his twin sister in what felt like many months. Luke’s workload on Ossus had kept him quite busy to the point of not being able to see his family members in the flesh. Only through holo-transmissions was he able to keep in touch. “Is it the banquet that has you bothered, or something else entirely?” He meant his comment to be taken lightly.

Leia hesitated for only a second, but that was enough for Luke to understand something was very wrong.

“Let’s not talk about it now,” Leia finally said, loosening her grip on her brother. “There will be plenty of time to clue you in. Right now, I want to talk about you, the JedI Order, that sort of thing. Oh! And you have no idea how anxious Han is to see you. He’s been talking about you nonstop and all the things you two will be doing once you get here.”

Luke grimaced only slightly. He knew what Han had in mind: cantina hopping. “Doesn’t he feel old yet?” Luke said.

“Not even close,” Leia smiled brightly. “There’s nothing that can bring him down. At least that’s one of us…”

Luke stayed silent for a moment, wrapping his arm around his sister’s shoulder. They walked down one of the many stone pathways that wound like a maze through the gardens.

“How are you feeling?” Luke finally asked.

“I’m fine,” Leia quickly answered. “Being President isn’t really the easiest of jobs. I sometimes wish I could go back and change it all, continue planet jumping with Han, just the two of us and the Falcon. But we all know where that would lead.”

“Some major crisis would occur back at the capitol,” Luke said. “And you would have to fly back to talk some sense into most of the crazy politicians who want your job.”

“I hope you know that I only took this job back to protect you and the JedI,” Leia said, nudging Luke in the ribs with her elbow. “If it weren’t for me, you all would be marked as fugitives and hunted down. So, technically, it’s your fault I’m back on the throne.”

“Yes, and I will be forever grateful to you for that,” Luke smiled wistfully. A brief memory of the late Jacen Solo and his strike against the galaxy years ago flashed through his mind. If it weren’t for Jacen and his unexplained turn to the dark side, which resulted in the murder of Luke’s own wife, Mara Jade Skywalker, the JedI wouldn’t be so feared and hated by most of the galaxy’s inhabitants. His sister was the sole supporter of the JedI Order and she was able to keep the government at bay when concerning the JedI’s future.

But Leia had lost two sons in just a decade, her only surviving child being Jaina Solo. There was speculation on that being the only reason she was voted back in office, but Leia didn’t care if it was sympathy that got her in. After losing both her sons, she needed something to distract her, and being President was plenty distracting.

“How is Jaina?” Luke asked, almost as though he read her mind.

“Doing well,” Leia answered, though it was hard to say when she barely saw her own daughter nowadays. “She’s very busy flying around the galaxy with her TwinSuns Squadron. She’s just like her father. Jaina will be here in about an hour, actually. She will join us for dinner before the banquet.”

Luke nodded, but didn’t say anything. His mind was working hard to not think about his own estranged son and the distance that had occurred between them. Ben Skywalker and Luke Skywalker rarely speak to each other, one reason being that Ben lives on Coruscant, attending GP Flight Academy, and another being that Ben had renounced using the Force for reasons unknown to Luke, or anyone. Ben had also expressed his disapproval of the JedI Order, an argument turned-fight between Luke and Ben. Since then, the two hadn’t spoken to each other. But, everyday, Luke thought of his son and wished he knew what to do to make it right.

“He’s fine too,” Leia said, also reading her brother’s mind. “Ben’s very busy up there.” Leia glanced up at the shiny blue ceiling, referring to the Academy’s flight training in Coruscant’s space. “He has dinner with me and Han once in a while, so that’s a good thing.”

“I’m hoping to convince him to come to Ossus with me this time,” Luke said quietly, though he knew his wish seemed feeble.

Leia grimaced. She knew Ben hated Ossus and wouldn’t go anywhere near it. She had a bad feeling another fight would break out and ruin their small family reunion.

“Do you think that’s a good idea?” Leia said. “I know you want him to open up to the Force, but he rejects it so passionately. It hurts him, to use the Force. I’ve seen it in his eyes.”

Ben was an infant during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion and had felt many deaths through the Force. As a child, he also felt his mother’s death and his cousin/mentor’s death through the Force. Because of this, he had been traumatized and learned to block out most of the Force senses. Ben also blamed the Force for the demise of Jacen.

“He can’t hide away from it forever,” Luke said, his voice growing more frustrated. “Ben is incredibly strong in the Force. If he isn’t trained…” Luke let his voice trail off. He would have said, “if he wasn’t trained, then Ben might have no control over it, which can result in him turning to the dark side…like Jacen.” But Luke couldn’t bring himself to mention Jacen’s name. He vowed to never speak Jacen’s name around Leia or Han. Especially Leia.

Just then, Luke felt an odd tremor in the Force. It was brilliant, strong, and bright as a supernova. And in that instant, it was gone, lasting barely a second.

Leia had noticed immediately, as soon as Luke froze in place. She tugged on his arm to get his attention.

“What is it, Luke?” she said.

“Did you feel that?” he said, his voice barely a whisper.

Leia was silent. She retraced her thoughts, but came up empty. She felt only the wildlife and plant life within the dome…some kids, a few tourists…

Suddenly, something beeped at her side. She lifted her wrist and activated the comlink that was wrapped there.

“Yes?” she said into mic.

“The commander, Lilliya Tentle, is missing,” a deep voice resounded from the com. “We assume she had deactivated the security cameras in her room. They aren’t responding to our commands. The GP droids have entered her room and found it empty.”

Leia gritted her teeth. She wished Mazy was here to deal with these situations. Luke looked down at her in curiosity.

“Have the cameras search for her life-signatures throughout the palace,” Leia ordered. “She couldn’t have gotten too far and I have a feeling she isn’t planning an escape. Still, I don’t feel comfortable allowing her to roam the palace unattended. Have the GP droids trace her signature as well and make sure they bring her back to her room.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the voice reverberated, then the comlink clicked silent.

“What was that?” Luke asked, a little taken aback that there was someone on the loose, someone Leia hadn’t mentioned and obviously thought was important enough to be held in house arrest.

“This was the thing I didn’t want to talk about,” Leia grumbled. “Well, you might as well hear it. We lost one of our military outposts on Endor, the Galactic Raiders. Something had attacked and destroyed the base completely, or so we were told. A young commander named Lilliya Tentle had supposedly escaped and warned us of a battleship of alien design that had attacked them. I sent an investigation team out there, but then we lost contact with them.”

Luke nodded grimly. The idea of a new enemy was sickening. The last thing they needed was another war on their hands.

Leia’s expression was contorted in aggravation, and there was something else, Luke noted. “There’s more,” he said, encouraging her to continue.

“Yes,” Leia said abruptly, her dark eyes flashing up to look into Luke’s crystal blue ones. “The girl—Lilliya Tentle—she…she doesn’t exist in the Force. I thought maybe she was Yuuzhan Vong, an imposter, but security scans confirm her identity as Lilliya Tentle. Only that—the Lilliya Tentle, commander of the Galactic Raiders is reported as human on her medical charts. This girl…is not.”

Luke remained silent for a moment, trying to absorb all this new information. He was surprised he didn’t read it before. Leia must be getting more skilled at hiding her thoughts from him.

“You sure there wasn’t a mistake made by the MD droid?” Luke finally said.

“No,” Leia said. “I saw the DNA scans myself. They are very similar, but there is one part of it that is drastically different.”

Luke nodded.

“Wait until you see her, though,” Leia said, her tone taking on more of a positive meaning. “She definitely catches your eye. Yes!—you must meet her!” Leia’s enthusiasm surprising Luke, even.

“If you meet her,” she continued, “maybe you could figure her out better than I could. She’s an enigma and I don’t trust her. But you could investigate her, probe her mind, see what you can find. Maybe take her to Ossus—”

“Wait a minute, Leia,” Luke interjected. “We don’t know who or what this girl is. I am not prepared to bring her to the JedI Temple where she could possibly be a danger to the students there.”

“Understandable,” Leia nodded in agreement, though she was so certain her idea was flawless. “But just meet her. I’ll make sure she attends the banquet and then, then you can figure her out for yourself.”

The Revolution: Chapter 5

“Please identify your ship,” a deep male voice reverberated throughout the shuttle’s cockpit.

Lilliya had safely arrived at the glittering planet of Coruscant and had disengaged the cloaking device in order to be detected by the planet’s security defenses.

“I am Commander Lilliya Tentle of the Galactic Raiders. I have stolen this ship from an unknown source in the Endor system,” Lilliya responded, her voice cracking in slight exhaustion. “Request landing and an audience with President Organa Solo. I have vital information of a security breach on the Endor system.”

“What is your identification?”

Lilliya sighed in irritation. There were times where she hated the numerous security procedures she had to go through. She punched in her identification code and waited for a response.

“Please hold for verification,” the deep voice said.

Lilliya rested her head on her hand as she waited, staring at the glistening planet below. It took all she had to not close her eyes and lose consciousness; the wound on her head began to pulse stronger, though the blood had crusted over into a thick, black scab.

“Commander Tentle,” the voice echoed, making Lilliya snap to attention, “we are unaware of a security breach from Endor system.”

Lilliya gritted her teeth. She knew they were going to be difficult. Ever since the Yuuzhan Vong war and the recent planet rebellions, the Galactic government had become a paranoid, security stronghold. In any other situation, she wouldn’t blame them. Right now, she was tired, angry, and didn’t feel like dealing with it.

“There was no time to send a transmission. My fleet had intercepted an unknown battle ship and we were destroyed. The Raider base has also been eliminated. I am the only survivor,” Lilliya responded.

There was a moment’s pause, and then, “We are unaware of a Raider base on Endor. Please standby.”

“Wait!” Being put on security hold was the last thing Lilliya wanted. She could just imagine the kind of idiots that were on duty at this time. “The Raider base is a secret government funded security outpost. If you check with your supervisor, you will find that the base exists. I don’t have time to go through checkpoint procedures. I have to let the Senate know of—”

“Please standby.”

“Dammit!” Lilliya slammed her fist down on the console in frustration.

Two aggravating minutes later, a female voice came through the com.

“Commander Tentle,” she said, “your identification has been verified. Your request for audience with the Senate has been granted. Please follow flight coordinates. Do not deviate. Thank you.”

That was a surprise, Lilliya thought. She had assumed that it would have taken an hour before she could pass security checkpoint and land. Thankfully she was wrong. Four sleek and heavily armored security ships appeared suddenly on all sides of Lilliya’s shuttle and escorted her down to the planet. Half organic and half metal towers and spires passed her viewscreen as she maneuvered her ship through the city’s maze. A floating docking port came into view and her ship automatically landed itself, hovering silently over the platform before gently touching base.

The security ships landed in formation around it. Lilliya carefully stood from her pilot seat, all too aware of her head spinning and her stomach churning. She removed the medallions, which, in turn, shut the ship completely down, and exited down the ramp. The ship sealed behind her, the crease disappearing. She wondered why she never noticed that before.

A tall, black shrouded figure stood before her. Lilliya shuddered. She had forgotten how disturbing the security officers looked with their black faceplates and black bodysuits. She could never see their eyes or what they looked like underneath their uniforms; it was only when they spoke that she could get a read on them.

“Commander,” the security officer spoke, its voice sounding metallic, almost computerized, through the faceplate. This one happened to be female and was probably the same officer who allowed Lilliya to land.

Lilliya nodded and stood in standard formation in order to be searched. Two other black uniformed guards approached her from either side—they were always so quiet and stealthy—and began to scan her. They removed her blaster and any other metal object, including the ship’s medallions she had hidden in her pocket. They unzipped her suit halfway, exposing the crystal necklace that glittered in the sunlight against her sternum. Lilliya always hated this part; it was so humiliating.

The guards scanned the necklace and one of them reached forward to remove it. Lilliya gripped the guard’s wrist before it could touch the necklace.

“Don’t,” Lilliya growled. There had been a time when she allowed them to remove her necklace. It had been weeks before she was able to get it back and during those few weeks she had never felt so sick and weak in her life. She considered it her good-luck charm and she never let anyone touch it.

The guard turned to its supervisor. The two looked at each other for a second—there must have been an inaudible conversation—and then the guard stepped away from Lilliya. A hot breeze blew by, ruffling the loose strands in her hair. The movement sent her stomach on edge and it took all her strength to swallow down the nausea.

“You are clear to proceed. Follow me, Commander Tentle,” the female supervisor said.

The other two guards flanked on either side of Lilliya and she followed the tall supervisor into a sleek security speeder. Lilliya was grateful to sit down in the enclosed passenger side of the speeder. She was starting to feel too dizzy and she leaned her throbbing head up against the tinted window for support. The nausea subsided for a brief moment until the speeder shot into traffic at high speeds. Lilliya had to close her eyes from watching the traffic and skyscrapers zoom by. The officers didn’t seem to notice, though the main officer watched her intently from across.

It took about five minutes, though it felt like forever to Lilliya, before the Galactic Palace was in sight.

“Approaching GP station,” the hidden speeder pilot announced.

Lilliya forced her eyes open and carefully peered out the window. There, she was able to view the organic monstrosity that represented the capitol of Coruscant: the Galactic Palace, or GP station as the pilot had referred to it. Lilliya had never seen it before, but had heard plenty of it through rumors on Endor. Now that she could see its unique frame and jaw-dropping appearance, Lilliya could understand the obsession and fascination people had with it.

It was stunning. GP station originally was just a simple metal structure with varied tall spires. After the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of Coruscant, the palace’s metal exterior had been eaten away by the alien vegetation virus and was replaced by an organic, rainbow hued material with strange, rounded formations. Since the Alliance retook Coruscant, the ruling Senate at the time decided to keep the organic structure and renovate the interior. Later, decorators of every species added their own personal touch to the palace as a representation of unity. Now, the palace was a massive, red, green, blue and yellow giant with layers of spires and towers of every shape and size, with silver metal glinting in between its colorful skin. One would think that its multitude of shapes and colors would make the structure seem random and distorted. Instead, it shined a sense of brilliance standing alone in the center of a metal plateau surrounded by nothing but space; the other structures, apartments, and towers stood about twenty miles away, per security protocol. The palace seemed almost alive, the colors shifting and shimmering in the bleak sunlight.

Lilliya stared in awe of its magnificence, the palace’s immense size filling the window, blocking out the sun.

The speeder passed through the invisible security shield and landed on one of the lowest docking ports. The two guards that had flanked Lilliya exited the speeder first, Lilliya followed suit, and the supervisor behind her.

Hot wind smacked Lilliya in the face, almost knocking her over. The tall officer caught her before she lost her balance completely and straightened her back up.

“Thanks,” Lilliya murmured, glancing at the blank faceplate of the officer. She nodded in response, but said nothing.

Lilliya looked ahead of her at the entrance and allowed her gaze to trail upwards. The palace was so tall she couldn’t even see the top from where she was standing. For a moment, she was distracted from her nausea.

Out of the entrance came four droids, decommissioned as military droids after the Yuuzhan Vong war had ended and restarted as GP guard droids. They were frightening in size and appearance, resembling the skeletal-like faces of the Yuuzhan Vong, with ominous glowing red eyes. These things gave Lilliya the creeps, but that was the point, she supposed.

Between the foursome came a beautiful, white-haired woman. She was sleek, but small in frame, coming only to Lilliya’s shoulder, but moved like a dancer, stealth-like and smooth. The woman could have been any age, but her face resembled a child’s, young, sweet and pure.

The woman stopped a foot away from Lilliya, the GP droids standing guard inside the palace entrance.

“I am Mazy,” the beautiful woman said, her voice clear and like a bell. “I am the President’s personal aide. I understand you have requested an audience with the President.”

“Yes, I have vital information I think she should be aware of,” Lilliya responded, hot air continuously blowing all around her and Mazy, making Lilliya’s hair whip against her cheeks and eyes. Surprisingly enough, Mazy’s white hair, cropped short and spiky to her shoulders, stayed perfectly still, unmoved by the wind.

Mazy nodded. “The Council is expecting you. They deeply regret your loss.”

Lilliya stiffened. Being reminded of the massacre she had left behind made her sick to her stomach. She had to strain to focus on making sure her mind was in the right place.

“You may follow me,” Mazy said, turning around on her heel in one fluid motion and heading back inside.

Lilliya followed her, all too aware of the black shrouded officers watching her leave, as if she would turn around and attack at any moment. The galactic government never took anymore chances.

Cool air seeped out from the inside of the palace as the sliding doors gave way to Mazy and her entourage. This alleviated much of Lilliya’s unsettled nerves. The six of them entered, the sliding doors sealing immediately behind them, and, much to Lilliya’s surprise, were surrounded in a dark blue-green glow emanating from little stalagtites jutting from the metal walls.

“Don’t touch,” Mazy called gently, as Lilliya had tried to reach out and brush one of the blue-green stalagtites as they walked passed.

Lilliya quickly retracted her fingers from touching one. She barely noticed how it glowed hotter in reaction to her.

“These stalags are one of the lighting decorations left from the Yuuzhan Vong occupation,” Mazy continued. “They are very hot to the touch, despite the fact that they give off a cool atmosphere making the rooms they inhabit feel like a cave. They are alive as is customary of Yuuzhan Vong.”

“Interesting,” Lilliya murmured. She did notice the drop in temperature from the moment she walked in—it made the pounding in her head subside ever so slightly—but she had assumed it was from the typical cooling system. The Yuuzhan Vong technology never ceased to amaze her.

They continued down the dark corridor for a few minutes more. Lilliya imagined this must have been a secret way into the palace. There was no way they would direct normal visitors through here unless they wanted to spook them first.

Finally, they stopped at a lift tube, rounded metal doors allowing them inside, and the tube shot straight up. Again, Lilliya was surprised that she felt no motion from inside the tube, but she imagined they were going very fast.

A moment later, the darkness gave way to light as the granite wall blocking the glass view pane disappeared. Through the glass, Lilliya could see the inside of the palace, the center of GP station.

It was bright as day and there seemed to be something that resembled a sun at the top of the ceiling, a ceiling that also seemed to have no end. All sorts of species—diplomats, politicians, tourists, high class families and lower class families—filled the center of GP station. It was incredibly to see so many people in one place. It was like a little city all on its own. Across the way, there were other lift tubes going in opposite directions, but none were going in the same direction as her tube. Lilliya leaned forward against the glass to keep her sights on the fascinating display—there was so much to see—as the tube reached higher altitudes. She was able to make out the sun-like light source as the tube neared the top. It was a collection of yellow stalags, similar to the blue-green ones in the tunnel, and they were all organized in a circular pattern, giving off almost blinding light.

As soon as they passed the “sun,” the view pane was blocked again by more black granite, although, Lilliya noticed, if she looked closer, she noticed the black was not entirely black at all, rather a thick mixture of florescent rainbow colors.

The journey quickly came to an end as the doors rotated open to let them out. The six of them stepped out into a simple windowless hallway with rounded ceilings lit by white lights and deep red carpeting stretched down the endless hall. This was probably an addition by the Galactic Senate, Lilliya thought, because of how bleak and simple it was designed. They made their way to double glass sliding doors; it didn’t take them too long.

Through the glass, Lilliya could see a small line of people sitting in simple chairs organized in a half-circle. Her heart began to pound nervously now. She had realized that she never really thought about what she was going to say. The truth would be simple enough, but to announce it professionally and eloquently was the hard part. She was never good at public speaking.

Too late to start practicing now, she thought, as the doors slid silently open, Mazy being the first one to enter. Lilliya followed and the four GP guard droids stayed close behind.

The room was just as intimidating. The floor was made of a thick multicolored green carpet patterned in a circular fashion. The ceiling was high and rounded, shimmering a gold color. The walls were mirrors, which made the room seem enormous. There were no windows.

As soon as Lilliya’s little entourage entered, the quiet chatter the counsel was engaged in ceased immediately, all eyes turning on her. Lilliya’s stomach turned upside down and she swallowed hard in an attempt to swallow her nausea away.

“Council Members,” Mazy announced in her tiny voice, “I present to you Commander Lilliya Tentle of the Galactic Raiders.” Then Mazy stepped to the side and Lilliya had the floor.

That was it? Lilliya cleared her throat and scanned the counsel members in front of her. She didn’t see the person she was looking for—President Organa Solo.

“Good evening,” Lilliya said, her voice cracking with fatigue. “Unfortunately I come to you with bad news from Endor.”

No one responded.

So, Lilliya decided to spill it the best she could.

“My team intercepted a battleship with incredible power,” Lilliya said, trying not to let her fingers fiddle with each other. “The ship was already in attack formation and my team did its best to defend ourselves. We seemed to have the upper hand at one point, until the ship unleashed a type of weapon which obliterated the base on Endor. No one survived.”

There was a moment’s pause, then a man, human, spoke up.

“What kind of a weapon?” he asked.

“I’m not sure,” Lilliya responded, trying to recall the memory as best as possible. “I’m assuming it was a laser. The only thing I experienced was…blinding light.”

“Where were you at the time?” the man asked again.

“I was up in my ship with the rest of my team. We were engaged in a firefight at the time,” she answered.

“You assume it was a laser?” This time an Ithorian woman asked. “Could it have been something else?”

Lilliya tried to recall the memory, but all she could remember was one moment they were in normal space, and then the next she couldn’t see anything but bright white light.

“I’m not certain,” Lilliya said. She continued to scan the room. Now she was certain the President wasn’t in the room. “Where is President Organa Solo? I had asked to see her.”

“The President does not sit in on meetings such as these,” the Ithorian said. “We will discuss with her the situation as soon as we determine what the situation is exactly.”

“Oh.” Lilliya clenched her fists in frustration. She should have assumed that this would happen. She knew seeking an audience with the President was an almost impossible request. And at this point, she wasn’t sure how long she could hold on to her consciousness. Her head had begun to spin faster and she dared not look at the circular carpeting in fear of passing out.

“Can you tell us anything else about his mysterious ship,” the man asked this time.

Lilliya wondered why no one else spoke up. Or did it matter at this point? The President wasn’t here and the Council would take forever to pass on the information.

“All I know is that appeared out of nowhere,” Lilliya said, her voice beginning to lose volume. “I’m not sure where it came from. I remember that we couldn’t track its previous coordinates and it was already in attack position.” She took another breath to steady herself. She almost wished she could lean on one of the guard droids, but she wasn’t sure how it would take it. “The ship’s design was something I’d never seen before. I don’t think it’s from here.”

“What do you mean ‘from here’?” Another council member spoke, but Lilliya’s vision was blurring so badly she couldn’t see who it was.

“There’s a high chance that the ship is from outside the galaxy—”

“How could you be so certain? There’s also a high chance that it was made right here by one of our own Galactic planets,” the Ithorian said. “Maybe a planet that is doing illegal testing. Maybe a planet that plans on rebelling against the Galactic Alliance. Have you measured these options?”

Lilliya looked towards the Ithorian’s direction, but all she could see was a blurry mass. She thought of the shuttle’s design, how the instruments inside were like nothing she’d ever seen before. Her father had her study many different ships and their designs by all the species in the galaxy. She remembered all of them. None of them every came close to how the shuttle functioned. And the strange geometric key hole…which matched her crystal charm…

“It couldn’t have been…” Lilliya whispered, mostly to herself. She could feel it in her bones, that tingling feeling again.

“What was that, Commander?” another member said.

Lilliya shook her head to clear her thoughts and immediately regretted the action. The motion made her vision black and her stomach lurched. She could feel the bile rise up her throat and she reached forward as if to hold onto something. All she felt was air and then she noticed herself falling forward. She landed hard on the carpet, despite the extra cushion it provided, felt the acidic bile erupt from her mouth, and then the blackness took her consciousness.

The GP guards acted on instinct and steadied their weapons on Lilliya’s passed out form. No one from the counsel moved, except that maybe one of them gasped in surprise. Mazy’s quick movements had her all the way on the other side of the room punching in a code on one of the mirror panels. As soon as she did that, the closest mirror to Mazy vanished instantly to reveal a dark room.

From the room came a smaller woman wearing a simple white jumpsuit and cloak, her gray-brown hair wrapped in tightly woven braids on top her head, resembling a simple crown.

“Alright, I’ve seen enough,” President Leia Organa Solo said. “Someone get her to the infirmary.” Leia had been watching the whole time behind one of their security rooms. The security rooms came highly recommended and were almost always enforced upon her by the Council for safety reasons. “I want her revived and her identity verified.”

“What do you think about her story?” the human male asked. By now the council members began to get up from their chairs, some of them making their way to Leia, others making a circle around Lilliya.

“I want to make sure she is who she says she is before making any big decisions,” Leia said. “However, I want an investigative task force set up and prepared to ship to Endor just in case she is telling the truth.”

“Why do you think she would make this up?” Mazy whispered beside Leia.

Leia eyed Lilliya’s form suspiciously. One of Leia’s many talents as a politician was that she was also a Jedi. The whole time Lilliya was talking, Leia was searching her thoughts and trying to sense her presence within the Force. She found nothing. Just a blank spot, a void within the room where Leia could hear and feel everyone else, including the droids’ mechanical presence. The only time she ever experienced a void in the Force was when there was a Yuuzhan Vong, and they were infamous for their realistic disguises.

“For all we know, Lilliya Tentle is either dead or alive and well on Endor, and this is some sort of imposter,” Leia announced. She then turned to Mazy and quietly added, “See if you can contact the Raider Base on their private frequency. If you get nothing, I want you to lead the investigative team and head to Endor immediately. I don’t want this becoming a distraction before the Armistice Celebration.”

Mazy nodded, her gaze becoming dark with anticipation. She was Leia’s personal little spy/destroyer. She was a born killer inside a tiny feminine body. Leia had found her among the bowels of Coruscant and decided to take Mazy under her wing. Leia trained her to use her deadly talent for good and useful purposes. Although, Leia found herself wondering whether or not she was doing any good training someone like Mazy how to become even more deadly than she already was. These days Leia was questioning herself more so than usual. She wished Luke was more present in her life than he was. He focused all his attention on Ossus and the Jedi Order and never had time for his own sister, or even worse, his own son, Ben.

As Lilliya got carried away by a couple of emergency droids, the GP guard droids following closely behind, Mazy disappeared into the security room, the mirror reappearing behind her. Leia followed the guard droids out, but was stopped by the Ithorian council member.

“Are you sure it’s safe, if you think this is an imposter?” she said.

Leia glance at the Ithorian, then glanced back at the young girl with the golden hair being carried away. Though she did not sense the girl’s presence in the Force, she also didn’t sense any real danger. The girl, or whatever it was, was sick, and that had to be taken care of first.

“I’ll be fine,” Leia turned back to the Ithorian. “Please inform my husband that I’ll be late for dinner.” Again, she added to herself.

***

 

Lilliya awoke inside a white security chamber, her wounds cleaned and bandaged. An MD droid wheeled to her side as soon as she showed consciousness.

“Hello, Commander,” it said in its typical soothing male voice. “How are you feeling?”

“Fine.” Lilliya was able to croak out a response through her dry throat. Aside from still having a headache, her nausea had subsided immensely, and the dizziness was no more than a memory.

“You had a concussion,” the MD droid continued. “We had to treat you, but you should be all right. We also took a small blood sample to make sure you had not contracted a disease. Certain tiny insects can be very dangerous on Endor and they have infected a number of inhabitants.”

Lilliya never heard anything about dangerous insects, but she was sure she’d been vaccinated a long time before she ever moved to Endor.

“Thanks,” she mumbled. “How long have I been out?”

“About twenty minutes. Not long.” This time it was a woman’s voice who spoke. Lilliya turned around on the hard medical bed to see Leia Solo leaning against the wall of the security room. Leia pushed off from the wall and slowly made her way to the disheveled girl.

“Hi, I’m Leia—”

“Yes, I know,” Lilliya interrupted. She was entirely surprised, but thoroughly pleased that she was finally able to meet the president. “I’ve been wanting to speak with you.”

“I’ve heard everything,” Leia responded. “I have sent a team out to investigate Endor and to confirm your story, and maybe find out some answers to your mysterious ship.”

Lilliya examined Leia for a moment. She was a small woman, dark hair lightening with age, but she had a beautiful, almost serene face, eyes glowing a rich, dark brown. Those brown eyes also scrutinized back, Lilliya noticed quickly. She wondered if the president trusted her or not.

“I’m sorry to have to do this to you, but it’s security protocol,” Leia said, gesturing back to the four guard droids.

Lilliya glanced to her side to see the droids waiting for her and shivered. She hated this part, but should have seen it coming. Lilliya’s response was a single nod as she hopped off the bed table and shuffled to the droids. Her muscles still ached with fatigue. It was a shame they couldn’t give her anything for that.

The droids ushered her into a sterilization tube and began to strip her down behind an opaque shield. Leia watched curiously for any signs of a Yuuzhan Vong disguise, while continuously probing her with the Force, and still coming up empty.

The MD rolled over to Leia’s side. “She comes up clean. Her blood is not Yuuzhan Vong. And she is indeed Lilliya Tentle. I have her medical records from when she joined the Galactic Raiders.”

Leia frowned, distraught by this news. How else could she be invisible to the Force?

“So she’s human,” Leia grumbled, as though she was determined to catch an imposter and was disappointed to find her legit.

Lilliya had now entered the sterilization tube and was blasted with a white cloud-like chemical.

“That’s the interesting part,” the MD said. “Come take a look at her DNA.”

Leia moved over to a computer to see a representation of what Lilliya’s DNA strands look like.

“Now, here are a human female’s DNA strand.” The MD pointed to the adjacent DNA.

“They look the same to me,” Leia said, shrugging indifferently. She looked up to see that Lilliya had moved on to the x-ray screening. Leia still didn’t entirely trust the girl, even though the doctor proved her identity.

“Yes, they are very similar, are they not,” the MD murmured mostly to himself.

Leia glanced up curiously at the droid, then back down at the DNA representation.

“See here,” he pointed. “There is an entire block missing and replaced by a completely different pattern.

Leia squinted at where the droid pointed. It took her a second to see it, but there it was, a section of the DNA that normally curled like a human’s was sharp and erratic. Still, however, Leia wasn’t impressed.

“So she’s a humanoid, so what? There are lots of different species out there that look like humans,” she said. Leia was tiring of this topic and wanted to get back to interrogating the girl.

“Yes, you are right about that,” the MD said, almost giving up on his own interest in the discovery.

Lilliya had finished the screening and was now donning a thin white dressing gown to replace her bloodstained Raider uniform.

“Except that,” the MD continued quietly, “this DNA does not exist in any record of any species throughout the entire galaxy.”

Leia’s frown deepened and she shot a surprised look at the MD.

“I‘m not sure what she is,” he said, and if an MD droid could shrug, he would have done just that. Instead he rolled back to his computer station and continued his work.

Lilliya came out of the sterilization room, a look of annoyance settled on her face. The four GP guard droids stayed close behind.

“Hold those files under my private documents,” Leia muttered to the MD droid, quietly enough that Lilliya couldn’t hear. “No one is to access those files but you and me.”

The MD nodded.

Leia then quickly turned to Lilliya and approached her casually.

“I’m sorry to put you through all that,” Leia said, as Lilliya shivered in her dressing gown.

“It’s nothing,” Lilliya said.

“I’ve got it from here,” Leia said, turning to speak at the guard droids who began to follow them out. They stood at attention in the security room and watched Leia and Lilliya walk away.

“Those guys can be really creepy,” Leia mumbled, trying to spark conversation between her and the tall blonde.

Lilliya only nodded.

“Well,” Leia smiled, “now that we know you are who you say you are, I would like to invite you to stay in one of the senate apartments in the palace. To accommodate your loss of home and family.” Leia put her arm around Lilliya, noticing for only a second the immense height difference between the two of them, and walked with her out into the hallway.

“Thank you,” Lilliya said. “I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”

“You’ve had a long day,” Leia said quietly. “I have to ask, how is it you are the only survivor?”

Lilliya squinted and stared off into the long corridor. There was nothing on the walls and still, there were no windows. The atmosphere seemed colder now.

“Just lucky, I guess,” Lilliya answered, not really sure how to explain it and not really wanting bring back the memory just yet. She was barely holding on as it was.

Leia’s real intention was to see if there was hole in her story, but she quickly realized she wasn’t going to get anything out of the tall girl. She was either two things: tired and needed rest before more interrogation, or a spy acting tired and therefore Leia needed more time to break through to her. Nonetheless, the girl was going to be under heavy surveillance just to be sure.

“What happened to the shuttle I flew in to get here?” Lilliya asked, breaking the silence this time.

“I had a science team take it and investigate it,” Leia answered. “They will try to determine what it is we’re dealing with, exactly.”

Lilliya nodded in approval and the two of them continued the rest of the journey in silence. Lilliya hadn’t yet noticed that they had arrived at the Senate Apartments. The hallways were much brighter in décor, and both sides of the walls had long panes of windows to view Galactic City. The glass corridor led to a public living center filled with colorful plants and aromatic flowers. Senators and other politicians lounged on the large red and gold sofas, a few small children running through the many different hallways. Lilliya imagined they were at the top of the palace because she could see nothing but the cityscape on either side of her. They journeyed a couple floors up and stopped at a silver door.

“These will be your quarters until you can get back on your feet,” Leia said, punching in a code that slid open the door with a quiet hiss.

Lilliya stepped in and observed her surroundings. These quarters were much fancier than she was used to on Endor. On Endor, she only had a simple bunk bed, a desk and small closet. This room was decorated with dark reds, greens, and golds, all swirling together. There was a large sofa in the living area in front of an entertainment holographer. The kitchen was black marble and fully equipped, and an enormous window looked out to the city. The two suns were already beginning to set, which cast the entire apartment in a gold-red hue. To her right, a small door led to the bedroom.

“I think I’ll let you get settled in,” Leia said from behind Lilliya. “There are few items of clothing in the closet over there and I’ve left you with a few credit chips that should help you get by. Tomorrow I’ll send for you and we’ll continue our interview.”

Lilliya nodded solemnly and for the first time, Leia felt sad for the girl. Maybe this girl was harmless and really was only trying to warn the government. Leia was becoming paranoid in her old age. Paranoid and grumpy, she thought. She looked back up at the tall girl who wandered around the living area aimlessly. But the simple fact that she couldn’t get a read on her through the Force nagged at her constantly. It was like standing next to someone who repelled the Force, or who went beyond the boundaries of the Force and was hiding somewhere—some place Leia couldn’t reach or touch. This thought made her nervous and she hoped Luke would arrive soon to Coruscant for the YVA celebration, if only to solve this strange mystery.

“Get some rest,” Leia said. “I’ll let you know if the investigation team finds anything.”

Lilliya turned to see Leia leave the room, the sliding door sealing with a hiss. Lilliya moved to the bedroom to find another large window facing west into the double sunset. There was a white marble desk with a simple holopad and credit chip card lying on top, and a simple black chair. Across the room was her bed, also large in size and adorned with velvet red comforters and silver satin pillows. Lilliya moved straight for the bed and flopped face-down. She didn’t bother drawing the shades down to block the golden light from the sunset. Lilliya squeezed her eyes shut and willed herself to sleep. Shoving her face into one of the silver pillows, she let out a quiet sob that lasted for a total of ten seconds before sleep took her.

Star Wars: The Revolution: Prologue

 

Introduction
Life has continued. Life will always continue. Life is always and everywhere, on every land and in every water, on every planet and on every star, in every galaxy and in the beyond of the universe.  There is Life.  And with this knowledge, they who live bring peace.  The peace that has been sought for over a life time.  But those who live will kill.  So how can they ever understand that the peace they have sought, fought, and died for will never come when they continue to destroy their Life?  Will they ever know?  Will they ever learn?  What will it take for them to finally stop?  Who will it be that stops them?  And will peace finally reign?  Time can only tell…
Prologue
The air was still and warm.  There was no wind this evening.  Neither was there a sound.  Nothing, it seemed.  Nothing but the warm sand clustered like tiny crystal shards blanketing the planet in smooth, round dunes.  And a city—or maybe a small town—nearby a towering orange plateau.  Cantter, Tatooine’s smallest city, glittered with tiny yellow lights as the planet’s Twin Suns settled for the night.  Stars peaked out of the purple sky, seeming to reflect the twinkling sands as the dunes basked in the deep red of the descending suns.  There was silence everywhere.  Not even the little town emanated the sound of people scurrying to their humble clay homes.  And one by one, the tiny yellow lights winked out, sending the town into the now purplish hue.
The last remaining sun lay half way across the horizon now, overpowered by the purplish-black void above where the crystal stars awaited their watch.  Small kokter reptiles crawled from their burrows beneath the sand, awakening from their long-days sleep.  Dancing across the desert, they readied for the long night ahead of them.  Accompanying the kokters were five other small beings.  Humans actually.  They would call them children.  Clothed in a coarse material and wrapped in thick robes, these children scurried across the desert away from the sleeping town.  The kokters, normally frightened by anything larger than themselves, scurried alongside the fivesome in an attempt to keep up.  This was their normal routine as of late: to follow the small humans on their little journey around the towering plateau.  Not a sound did they make, not even the sand was disturbed beneath their light footsteps.
The last sun finally surrendered to the darkness and the dunes glittered a dark grey, the only light emanating from the far away stars above.  Rounding the corner of the plateau, the humans and the kokters entered the large canyon, neither aware of the potential danger darkness might behold.  Neither would they have cared.  Inside the canyon, the caravan was greeted by a small fire.  The red and orange firelight danced images across the walls of the canyon.  Images of the past?  Maybe.  Or perhaps images of the future.  The children always loved watching the firelight dance across the plateau’s side, setting their imaginations ablaze. 
 Drawn by the fire, the children continued slowly onward.  The kokters paused and left the children on their own now, knowing their own journey lay somewhere else.  The five human beings, having made this journey many times before, eagerly made their way to the small fire.  And awaiting their return was a tall figure clad in a single black robe, engulfing his body and hiding his face.  He was human, like them, but quite different.  A hermit of Tatooine—that the children knew—but he was also something else—that they sensed.  A hero maybe.  A long-ago-hero of the old nations—of the galaxy.  Heroes no longer existed now, of course.  And there were no more nations, no more governments anymore.  They had been long destroyed along with most life across the galaxy.  And no one had bothered putting it back together again, for those that would have were also destroyed.  The heroes of the galaxy had vanished leaving life as it was alone.  
So how could this man, this hermit, be a hero?  The children might have believed it and it might have been true, but then again, a child’s imagination can sometimes carry itself too far.
Whether he was what the children believed him to be or not be, he was their storyteller.  These small beings had journeyed almost every night to this exact spot to hear the stories of the old galaxy when adventure and excitement reigned.  When enormous crafts used to travel through space to reach any star it wanted.  When other aliens and humans coincided and androids walked the same plane.  When the Jedi had existed.  It was so long ago, it seemed to the children’s minds, that it might have been a fantasy world this lonely man had created solely for them.
It didn’t matter whether or not it was real, for they had already accepted it as history.  And as if to announce their acceptance, the five young human beings sat in a half circle around the fire, giving plenty of room for their mysterious hermit to begin the next story.  As if on cue, the tall man nodded and sat himself on the cooling sands.  The roughly shaped mouth, being the only visible feature on the hermit’s face, opened and began his tale.
“We did not learn all we needed to learn.  The Yuuzhan Vong war may have ended and peace might have finally reigned, but there were so many other wars upon wars that peace seemed impossible.” The hermit’s voice, though already low with age, grew dark and sad—which was to say the least, how his voice always sounded.  “The Galactic Alliance was no different from the New Republic or the Empire or any other government that had been the controlling factor for the galaxy.  Peace, we believed, was now a myth.  It was silly to think there could ever be such a thing.  So we allowed ourselves to control everyone and everything again; it was the only way to sustain order.  Or to keep the galaxy a safe place.  Different pilot groups, whether government sponsored or independent, set up base on every planet that created the edge of the known galaxy, and guarded.  Guarding from what?  It was irrelevant.  The Galactic Alliance turned paranoid.  There were no questions asked when given an order.  Everything was surveyed, for the utmost protection of the people.  Yes, everything was safe then.  Safe without the generosity of privacy.
“What we didn’t know was that another evil awaited its strike.  A power we had taken for granted.  A power we had no understanding of until it was too late.  A nemesis that appeared so small and minuscule that we ignored the true threat it bestowed upon us.   It was the demise of the entire galaxy.
“But there was one. A female. Little did she know her future. Little did she know her past. She lived in only the present. And what Life gave her was something she could not refuse.  Life gave her the galaxy.”
He paused.  Taking in a low, surprisingly clear breath, and he sighed out any emotion that had built up inside him at that moment.  The children waited with silent mouths and wide eyes for their storyteller to continue.  When he began, he seemed to have found a new strength and his voice rang with clear, bold resonation.
“Coruscant.” He pointed upward towards the night sky.  His finger seemed to pick out one of the many twinkling stars, this one being the smallest.  Yet, it had a bluish hue to it, unlike the others.  “This is where our story begins . . . a long time ago, in the galaxy far . . . ” 
He hesitated, as if it frightened him to say it, to bring himself over the edge, to experience the pain of simply remembering, to go back to that place again.  Then reminding himself that the past can no longer harm him or these children or anything else in this galaxy, he breathed again, finding an even stronger inner resilience.  And, readying for the last epic, the last time he or these children will ever meet, the last time they will journey to the past together, the hermit began. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far . . . far away.”

 

SpaceIntroduction

 

Life has continued. Life will always continue. Life is always and everywhere, on every land and in every water, on every planet and on every star, in every galaxy and in the beyond of the universe.  There is Life.  And with this knowledge, they who live bring peace.  The peace that has been sought for over a life time.  But those who live will kill.  So how can they ever understand that the peace they have sought, fought, and died for will never come when they continue to destroy their Life?  Will they ever know?  Will they ever learn?  What will it take for them to finally stop?  Who will it be that stops them?  And will peace finally reign?  Time can only tell…

 

Prologue

 

The air was still and warm.  There was no wind this evening.  Neither was there a sound.  Nothing, it seemed.  Nothing but the warm sand clustered like tiny crystal shards blanketing the planet in smooth, round dunes.  And a city—or maybe a small town—nearby a towering orange plateau.  Cantter, Tatooine’s smallest city, glittered with tiny yellow lights as the planet’s Twin Suns settled for the night.  Stars peaked out of the purple sky, seeming to reflect the twinkling sands as the dunes basked in the deep red of the descending suns.  There was silence everywhere.  Not even the little town emanated the sound of people scurrying to their humble clay homes.  And one by one, the tiny yellow lights winked out, sending the town into the now purplish hue.

The last remaining sun lay half way across the horizon now, overpowered by the purplish-black void above where the crystal stars awaited their watch.  Small kokter reptiles crawled from their burrows beneath the sand, awakening from their long-days sleep.  Dancing across the desert, they readied for the long night ahead of them.  Accompanying the kokters were five other small beings.  Humans actually.  They would call them children.  Clothed in a coarse material and wrapped in thick robes, these children scurried across the desert away from the sleeping town.  The kokters, normally frightened by anything larger than themselves, scurried alongside the fivesome in an attempt to keep up.  This was their normal routine as of late: to follow the small humans on their little journey around the towering plateau.  Not a sound did they make, not even the sand was disturbed beneath their light footsteps.

The last sun finally surrendered to the darkness and the dunes glittered a dark grey, the only light emanating from the far away stars above.  Rounding the corner of the plateau, the humans and the kokters entered the large canyon, neither aware of the potential danger darkness might behold.  Neither would they have cared.  Inside the canyon, the caravan was greeted by a small fire.  The red and orange firelight danced images across the walls of the canyon.  Images of the past?  Maybe.  Or perhaps images of the future.  The children always loved watching the firelight dance across the plateau’s side, setting their imaginations ablaze. 

 Drawn by the fire, the children continued slowly onward.  The kokters paused and left the children on their own now, knowing their own journey lay somewhere else.  The five human beings, having made this journey many times before, eagerly made their way to the small fire.  And awaiting their return was a tall figure clad in a single black robe, engulfing his body and hiding his face.  He was human, like them, but quite different.  A hermit of Tatooine—that the children knew—but he was also something else—that they sensed.  A hero maybe.  A long-ago-hero of the old nations—of the galaxy.  Heroes no longer existed now, of course.  And there were no more nations, no more governments anymore.  They had been long destroyed along with most life across the galaxy.  And no one had bothered putting it back together again, for those that would have were also destroyed.  The heroes of the galaxy had vanished leaving life as it was alone.  

So how could this man, this hermit, be a hero?  The children might have believed it and it might have been true, but then again, a child’s imagination can sometimes carry itself too far.

Whether he was what the children believed him to be or not be, he was their storyteller.  These small beings had journeyed almost every night to this exact spot to hear the stories of the old galaxy when adventure and excitement reigned.  When enormous crafts used to travel through space to reach any star it wanted.  When other aliens and humans coincided and androids walked the same plane.  When the Jedi had existed.  It was so long ago, it seemed to the children’s minds, that it might have been a fantasy world this lonely man had created solely for them.

It didn’t matter whether or not it was real, for they had already accepted it as history.  And as if to announce their acceptance, the five young human beings sat in a half circle around the fire, giving plenty of room for their mysterious hermit to begin the next story.  As if on cue, the tall man nodded and sat himself on the cooling sands.  The roughly shaped mouth, being the only visible feature on the hermit’s face, opened and began his tale.

“We did not learn all we needed to learn.  The Yuuzhan Vong war may have ended and peace might have finally reigned, but there were so many other wars upon wars that peace seemed impossible.” The hermit’s voice, though already low with age, grew dark and sad—which was to say the least, how his voice always sounded.  “The Galactic Alliance was no different from the New Republic or the Empire or any other government that had been the controlling factor for the galaxy.  Peace, we believed, was now a myth.  It was silly to think there could ever be such a thing.  So we allowed ourselves to control everyone and everything again; it was the only way to sustain order.  Or to keep the galaxy a safe place.  Different pilot groups, whether government sponsored or independent, set up base on every planet that created the edge of the known galaxy, and guarded.  Guarding from what?  It was irrelevant.  The Galactic Alliance turned paranoid.  There were no questions asked when given an order.  Everything was surveyed, for the utmost protection of the people.  Yes, everything was safe then.  Safe without the generosity of privacy.

“What we didn’t know was that another evil awaited its strike.  A power we had taken for granted.  A power we had no understanding of until it was too late.  A nemesis that appeared so small and minuscule that we ignored the true threat it bestowed upon us.   It was the demise of the entire galaxy.

“But there was one. A female. Little did she know her future. Little did she know her past. She lived in only the present. And what Life gave her was something she could not refuse.  Life gave her the galaxy.”

He paused.  Taking in a low, surprisingly clear breath, and he sighed out any emotion that had built up inside him at that moment.  The children waited with silent mouths and wide eyes for their storyteller to continue.  When he began, he seemed to have found a new strength and his voice rang with clear, bold resonation.

“Coruscant.” He pointed upward towards the night sky.  His finger seemed to pick out one of the many twinkling stars, this one being the smallest.  Yet, it had a bluish hue to it, unlike the others.  “This is where our story begins . . . a long time ago, in the galaxy far . . . ” 

He hesitated, as if it frightened him to say it, to bring himself over the edge, to experience the pain of simply remembering, to go back to that place again.  Then reminding himself that the past can no longer harm him or these children or anything else in this galaxy, he breathed again, finding an even stronger inner resilience.  And, readying for the last epic, the last time he or these children will ever meet, the last time they will journey to the past together, the hermit began. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far . . . far away.”