The Hope of the Alliance
Part One

By Jaina (Katie)


Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine except for the ones I make 
up. They all belong to Lucasfilm, yada, yada, yada, you get the picture....

Note: This story takes place when the twins are about 16 or 17 and I 
started writing it before "Crisis at Crystal Reef" so I didn't know they 
would graduate. But I am still using that book in the story, if you know 
what I mean, like it still happened but they didn't graduate. So they're 
graduating now.

The day had finally come. Today, Jaina, her brother, and their companions were becoming real Jedi Knights. She had of course, anticipated the day but Jaina felt a strange ache deep inside her. She was excited about becoming a Jedi, but the thought of parting with her friends was almost too much for her to bear. At first she wasn't able to pinpoint why she felt so saddened until the evening before when she, Jacen, Tenel Ka, Lowie, and Zekk had all been walking through the jungle. Tenel Ka had brought up the subject of where they would all go and ironically they were all going separate ways. Zekk would be staying at the Jedi academy, not ready to become a Jedi Knight yet, Jacen was going to be a smuggler, Tenel Ka and Lowie would both be going to their homes, and Jaina would be going to Coruscant, to be a pilot for the New Republic. This had made everyone a little upset, but they made a pact to always keep in touch. But no one had been as upset as Jaina. Now she stood in front of the mirror in her quarters, adding finishing touches to her hair and making sure she looked appropriate for this special occasion. She did not wear a dress though, but she wore a pair of black pants and a light blue shirt that left her arms bare. Her hair was in a braid with tiny curls hanging out at her temples, framing her face. She gave one last look at her hair before turning to look out the window and into the jungle. She had to put this place into her memory, and cherish it forever. She turned again to glance around her room. It was empty, save the few boxes that held her possessions and the duffel bag that held her clothing. A knock at the door startled Jaina and without waiting for an answer, Jacen opened it. "Hey Jaina could you-" He stopped and stared for a moment. Jaina raised her eyebrows, waiting. "Yes?" She asked. "Wow!" Jacen said, "You look beautiful!" Jaina smiled. "Thanks. You're lookin' pretty handsome yourself." He was dressed nice, as well, wearing a black vest over a white shirt and a pair of pants. He looked even more like their father Han Solo than usual. Jacen flashed her a Solo-style grin. "Why, thank you," he joked. "Well, anyway, what I was saying, we need to get down to the Grand Audience chamber. The ceremony is starting soon. We're gonna be late if we don't hurry." "Okay," Jaina said, looking at herself in the mirror one last time. "What are we waiting for?" She turned and walked out the door with Jacen. They headed down the corridor, towards the Grand Audience chamber. They were walking by Tenel Ka's room just as she emerged. She was wearing her freshly polished lizard hide outfit and a cape. "Ah, my friends. I was hoping to catch you," she said. She ran cool gray eyes over the both of them and nodded approvingly. "You look very nice, my friends," she said. "Thanks, Tenel Ka," Jacen said. "Hey, Jaina, why don't you go get Zekk while Tenel Ka and I go get Lowie?" "Sure," Jaina said, "I'll meet you guys in the Grand Audience chamber, then?" Jacen nodded. "Okay, see you there." Jaina turned around and walked towards Zekk's room and Jacen and Tenel Ka went in the direction of Lowie's room. When Jaina reached his room, she knocked softly on his door. "Zekk?" She said. He came to the door looking nervous and flushed. "Oh, hi Jaina," he said. His eyes lit up when he saw her. He hadn't seen her this dressed up in a long time. "You look nice," he said, smiling faintly. "Thank you," Jaina said, blushing a little at his compliment, "Well," Jaina went on, "let's get down to the Grand Audience chamber. Jacen, Tenel Ka and Lowie should be there already." She grabbed Zekks hand and pulled him along after her. * * * * * The Grand Audience chamber was filled with hundreds of Jedi students. Each one yawning and a little reluctant to be up so early, but still eager to see the older Jedi trainees become real Jedi Knights. Mist rose up and came through the window slits in the Grand Audience chamber, and early morning sunshine filtered through them as well. The chamber was massive, beautiful, and enchanting. Within the walls of the Grand Audience chamber, it held tales of victory, defeat, and more pride than anyone could imagine. The whole ancient structure of the Jedi Academy held those tales, and would never stop telling them. And the spirit of victory, defeat, and pride would never die. Master Luke Skywalker stood in front of the assembled Jedi students and spoke so that the entire room could hear him. But he did not have to speak very loudly, for the Jedi students were relatively quiet and the large room created an echo that gave the Jedi master a louder tone. "The Force is like a thriving spirit," Luke began, "Never really dying. It always lives on; even when it's physical presence no longer exists. It will always remain strong, and if we as Jedi do not keep believing that, then its physical presence will surly vanish. And if we as Jedi do not carry on what we have learned then it will never be the same. But, if we believe, and carry on the Jedi way, then it will always remain strong, always give its strength to the people who need it the most." Luke paused, let his words sink into the young minds of the Jedi trainees assembled in front of him, and then he went on. "Today, four of my students will graduate, and leave the academy," his emotions seemed to waver for a moment, but he continued. "My nephew Jacen, my niece Jaina, princess of Hapes Tenel Ka, and the wookiee Lowbacca." He gestured to them standing beside him. "Each of these students are very close to me. They have been here for almost three years now. They've mastered each lesson that I have devised for them, built their own lightsabers, and completed their training." In unison, the four young Jedi pulled out their lightsabers and ignited them. Luke spoke once more. "You must go and become guardians for the galaxy, protectors of the New Republic. You must fight the dark side in all its manifestations." His last words came out in a whisper. "You are Jedi Knights now." Jacen spoke, "I will take up the 'family business'" he flashed a lopsided grin as he said this, "as a smuggler. Then I'll return here and become a Jedi master." "And I will go home to Coruscant and become a pilot for the New Republic," Jaina said and she looked directly at Zekk, who sat with the other Jedi trainees, as she spoke, and he stared back, not letting his emerald gaze drift or waver. Jaina went on, "and maybe visit home for a while. When I feel the time is right, I will come back here and become a Jedi master too." Now Tenel Ka spoke, "I will return to my home also, and rule my planet with great pride. Then I will step down from the thrown and also return to Yavin 4 to become a Jedi master as well." Lowie growled a few unintelligible roars and EmTeeDee translated: "Master Lowbacca wishes to tell you that he will also go home to visit his family and then return here to become a great Jedi master also." With that said, the four companions held their lightsabers high above their heads with pride, and Luke Skywalker spoke again, "I'm very proud of you all." Jaina noticed tears forming in her uncle's eyes, and the emotion of the moment nearly overwhelmed her. "Congratulations." Luke whispered. With the ceremony over, Jacen, Jaina, Tenel Ka, Lowie, and Zekk stood outside the great temple, waiting for Han Solo to arrive. The former smuggler would give Jaina a ride back home to Coruscant. He would have given Jacen a ride too, but Tenel Ka had given the young man her ship, the Rock Dragon and he would use it as his smuggling ship. Tenel Ka had offered Jaina the ship as a goodbye present first, but Jaina said no and pointed out that Jacen would need it more. And Zekk had also offered the Lightning Rod as a gift to Jaina but again she said no. She knew they meant well but if she were to have her own ship, it wouldn't be one that had formerly belonged to one of her best friends. And she especially would not take the Lightning Rod from Zekk because she knew how much it meant to him. The ship had been a gift to Zekk from the man that practically raised him, Old Peckhum. Peckhum and Zekk had been extremely close and the death of the man, nearly a year ago, had had a large impact on Zekk, so Jaina surely could not take the ship. It was all that Zekk had left. But secretly, Jaina was terribly flattered. The afternoon sun shone brightly onto the young companions as they waited. Not only Jaina waited for a ship to give her a ride, but also so did Tenel Ka. She would be getting a ride back to her home planet aboard one of the Hapan passenger cruisers that belonged to the royal house of Hapes. Jacen didn't want to leave yet, because he wanted to see Tenel Ka off and he wanted to see his father as well. Jacen would be giving Lowie a ride to Kashyyyk on the Rock Dragon, since he would be going that way, anyway. The companions waited in silence, though they all knew they should be having one last conversation before they were all separated, but they were too subdued to even say a word. Finally, Jaina spoke. "We'll always be friends, right?" She asked, almost in a whisper. "Of course, Jaina my friend. I would never forget any of you." Tenel Ka said, seeming more sorrowful than her emotions would usually allow. Lowie grumbled a low, sad growl. "Master Lowbacca wishes to tell you all he will miss you very much, and he will never forget the good times, the bad times, or the adventures we all had together." Jaina could tell by the look on the young wookiees face that the little translating droid had said exactly what Lowie had, no elaboration's at all. Jaina's heart filled with more pain and she struggled to keep herself from crying. "You guys will always be my best friends, and I'll never forget you." They all seemed to go through a tough emotional moment and then it passed when they heard the engine of a ship off in the distance. Jaina looked up into the shy to see a silver disc shaped ship shoot through the clouds. "Dad," she said. * * * * * Han Solo bounded down the ramp of his beloved ship and swept his children up into a joyous hug. He had not seen them in about three months and he was extremely happy to see them. "I missed you guys so much," Han said, kissing Jaina on the cheek and ruffling Jacens hair. "We missed you too, Dad" Jaina said. She laughed as Jacen flinched when Han put his hand through his son's hair. "I'm so proud of you two." Han said, pulling back from the embrace to look at them. "Wow, Jaina, you're a whole lot prettier than I remember!" Jaina blushed. "And you Jacen, well you almost look as good as I do." Jaina and the others laughed and it was Jacens turn to blush this time. Han expression turned from humorous to saddened. "You both have grown up so fast. Real Jedi knights now." Han shook his head. "I didn't think it would all go by so fast." Though they all could sense Han's grief, none of them could see any tears forming in his eyes. "Well," Han said after a moment of silence, "I'm sorry your mother and I missed you kids graduation but we both had a lot of diplomatic work to do. There's been a lot going on in the New Republic these days, you know." "Don't worry about it Dad," Jacen said, "You didn't miss much." He flashed a grin, "Except for Uncle Luke almost crying." Jaina gave him a good-natured swat on his upper arm, "That's not funny, Jacen" she said. Always being the emotional one, Jacen thought to himself. I heard that, Jaina's thoughts came through his mind. Sorry, He replied. Han could always tell by the way that the twins looked at each other that they were talking mentally. "What am I missing out on this time?" Han asked. "Nothing, Dad," the twins said in unison. The others laughed at the family connection. Jaina changed the subject. "Hey Dad? Where's Chewie?" "He, uh, he had some business, back home," Han stammered. Strange, Jaina thought, Chewie almost always came with Han everywhere he went. This time Han changed the subject. "Hey Jacen, I got somethin' for you, as usual." He pulled out an envelope from his back pocket and handed it to Jacen. Jacen took it and opened it up. At first the look on his face was blank, as if he didn't know what the slip of paper inside the envelope was but it quickly turned from blank to excited when he finally figured it out. "Wow, dad, this is so great!" He threw his arms around his father and hugged him tightly, " A ticket to the biggest zoo in the galaxy. I never thought I'd be going there. Gosh, I remember when I was a little kid I used to always see commercials for this on the Holonet and ask you if I could go and you'd always tell me that someday I could. Wow! Thank you so much." "Dad used to make up excuses for you not to want to go there anymore, remember?" Jaina asked, "He'd always say 'it smells worse than the inside of a tauntaun, son, you don't want to go there.'" Jacen laughed, "Yeah. He probably just didn't want me to bug him about it anymore." This time Han laughed "You got that right, kid." "Hey uh, dad." Jacen said, "What about Jaina? Doesn't she get a present?" Han cocked his head, listening as an approaching ship came through the clouds, "Yeah, she does, and I think it's coming in for a landing right about now." He turned to Jaina and gave her a crooked smile. Everyone's mouths dropped to the ground and Jaina ran to her father and through her arms around him. He lifted her off the ground and spun her in a joyous hug, both of them laughing. "Thank you," She whispered softly into his ear. * * * The sleek ship touched down on the grass and Jaina ran towards it at full, exited speed. The ship looked almost like her mothers Alderaan, but a bit bigger. The armor was sleek and the engines hummed with a gentle rumble. It was new, Jaina could tell because there were no dents or blast scars on its hull. She circled the ship as the last of the engines shut down and the rumble slowly died out. Beautiful, Jaina thought. The landing ramp extended and Chewie bounded out growling endless questions. Jaina answered what she could as Chewie tossed her into the air like he had when she was a child. "Yes, Chewie, I love it!" She laughed. The other young Jedi Knights ran up to examine the new ship and looked on in awe. So shinny and new. Jaina ran back over to her father and gave him another hug. "Thank you so much, dad. This is great!" Han laughed, "You're welcome, kiddo." Jaina pulled back to look at him, "What's its name?" She asked. "It doesn't have one yet. You get to name it." He answered. Jaina turned to look at it with a discerning eye. Han stepped up just behind her and put his hands on her shoulders. Slowly, the others joined them. Jaina narrowed her eyes and thought hard. It had to be a good name, one that fitted the moment and the emotion of the day, so that she could always remember this very special time in her life. Very special. "I'll call it." She paused as if thinking the name over again, "I'll call it the "Jedi Dream" Han bent down slightly, his face just grazing Jaina's ear. "That's perfect." He whispered. A tear escaped the corner of Jaina's eye and she turned around to face her father. A crooked smile was pasted on his face. She grinned back, the same smile almost exactly and hugged him tightly once more. "I love you daddy," She said, though her voice was soft and scratchy from the tears that covered her face. "I love you to, sweetheart," Han said back as a tear escaped the corner of his eye as well. Jacen stepped closer and Jaina and Han welcomed him in the hug. He also began to cry and slowly the others joined in the hug and emotion one by one. Tenel Ka first, Lowie, Zekk, Chewie, and finally Luke, who had been watching from the base of the great temple. Of course, they were all surprised to see Tenel Ka cry, but did not say anything to her, just let the moment guide them through time. Jacen took Tenel Ka's head and let her cradle it on his shoulder while they all stood in their embrace and cried. "I will miss you all so much," Tenel Ka managed to say around her tears. "This is a fact," Jacen said, not meaning it as an attempt at humor. Zekk also took Jainas hand, stroking the back of it with his fingers, which only made them both cry harder. Finally, Han broke the silence. "Well, I haven't cried like that in a long time," he said, wiping tears off his face and putting the best smile on his face that he could manage. He kissed his children each once on the top of their head. "I'm so proud of you." He whispered. * * * * * About one standard hour later, Jaina was in her quarters getting her boxes to bring down to her ship. She picked up the last one and began to walk towards the door, but hesitated, then turned around. She stared out the window again, trying to take in as much as she could for her memory. Of course she would always come back and visit but it wouldn't be the same. The same as having all of her friends together and going on adventures, exploring in the jungles, or just plain having fun. And when she would come back to visit, she wouldn't wake up in the morning knowing she would learn something new about the Force from her Uncle Luke. She had always hated the boring lessons each morning but now she realized that without them she would still be lifting small rocks and leaves. They weren't boring at all, they were so wonderful and she was taught a new important lesson each time she attended. It was hard leaving the Jedi Academy because it was her home. Yavin 4 was where she belonged, not Coruscant. She had always thought that decisions were the worst thing about life, but this one definitely was the worst one she would ever have to make. She sighed and closed her eyes. "Knock, knock," Zekks voice startled Jaina. She opened her eyes and turned around to face him. He was standing in her open doorway. "May I come in?" He asked her. "Sure," Jaina said. He stepped in. "Here let me take that," He said, taking the box from Jainas arms. "Oh, thank you," She said, while reaching down to pick up her duffel bag. She swung it over her shoulder, then turned to look around once more. "I'm going to miss this place so much." She said with a sad expression on her face. "I know how you feel," Zekk said. "It's hard to leave a place that you've spent a lot of your life at." "Yeah," Jaina said. "I've had so many good times here, so many good memories..." She hesitated, "and bad ones." They didn't say anything for a long time, then Zekk spoke; "Well, I was sent up here to tell you that your father will be leaving soon and that Tenel Ka's ship just dropped out of hyperspace." He said. "They want to say goodbye." Jaina nodded slowly, "Okay," She said. They turned around and walked towards the door. Jaina turned around to look at her room one last time before blinking away a few tears and shutting the door. She walked slowly down the hall, trying her hardest not to cry. When she reached the base of the great temple, she stood back and took a good look. Even though the temple had been rebuilt, it still stood as beautiful as it always had. Once again, she blinked away tears. "Jaina," Han called from where he stood at the foot of the boarding ramp of his ship. Jaina walked over to him. Jacen also stood with Han. "I'll see you when you get home, okay?" Jaina nodded and gave him a hug. Then Han turned to Jacen. "I guess this is it, huh kid?" He said, ruffling Jacens hair. "Yeah," Jacen replied, "But don't worry, I'll keep in touch and always come home for visits.' "You better, ya scruffy lookin' nerf herder, or you'll be bantha fodder, do you hear me?" Han joked. "Yes sir," Jacen said, then gave his father a brief hug. Tears filled Hans eyes once more, "Goodbye, son. You take care, alright?" "Yup," Jacen said. Han sniffed and rubbed his eyes. "C'mon, Chewie, let's head out." He called. Chewie growled, gave Lowie a slap on the back, and walked over to the Millennium Falcon. He hugged the twins, then he and Han boarded the ship. A sleek looking Hapan passenger cruiser slowly touched down on the landing field in the grassy clearing. Tenel Ka turned to her friends with the usual serious expression on her face. Then she let a small smile come across her lips. She shook her head. "I cannot believe I am actually leaving now." She said, her voice soft. "Goodbye my friends," She walked over to the young Jedi Knights as Hapan guards picked up her boxes and luggage and began loading them onto the ship. Tenel Ka embraced them each one at a time, with tears slowly coming to her eyes. She hugged Lowbacca and said a few things to him, then to Zekk. "Friend Zekk," She said, "I know I haven't always trusted you, and I want to apologize for my rudeness. I regret it greatly." "Oh, it's alright, Tenel Ka, I don't blame you," Zekk said as he took her into a hug. "Take care," he said into her ear. Then she turned to Luke. "Master Skywalker, thank you. Thank you for all that you've taught me. I will never forget your wisdom." Then she hugged him. "Jaina," Tenel Ka smiled at her. "You have been a wonderful friend. I thank you as well. I will not forget you either." Jaina smiled back, tears coming to her eyes. They embraced, and pulled back to look each other in the eyes. "Jaina my friend, "Tenel Ka said looking around at the others, "Do you realize we are the only two here that are crying?" Jaina looked around, and laughed softly. "No you're not," Jacens voice came in. Tenel Ka looked at him. Tears soaked his cheeks. She walked over to him. The others slowly walked back to the Great temple, knowing that the two might want some time alone. "Jacen," Tenel Ka said, "Thank you.I don't know what for, but thank you." "No, thank you." Jacen said. Jacen almost couldn't bear to let her go. He thought back on all the good times, and bad times, that they had shared. He remembered when they were trapped on the Twi'lek world of Ryloth in the barren snow. Tenel Ka had been so brave then, encouraging him to go on, pretty much saving his life. He would never forget the other countless times she had saved him from death. He couldn't thank her enough. "I'm sorry," He said, " but I don't have one last joke to tell you. I couldn't think of any. I hope you don't mind." "No, Jacen. I don't mind." Tenel Ka replied. She looked over her shoulder. The guards had already boarded the ship. They were ready to leave. More and more tears began streaming down her face. She sobbed and hugged Jacen tightly. He returned the hug, also sobbing. "We'll meet again, Tenel Ka. I promise." Jacen whispered. Tenel Ka pulled away. "Goodbye friend Jacen." Then she turned around and boarded the ship. Jacen watched it dissapear into the clouds. The sunlight shafted down on him from the sky, making the moment seem like a dream. The wind picked up and swirled around him. He could still feel Tenel Ka's strong embrace as he stood there crying on the landing field, regretting that the day had come. He promised he would see her again, but he knew he had pretty much lied to her. Now there was no taking it back though. He would HAVE to see her again. No matter what. He walked slowly and solemnly back to the great temple. * * * It was now Jacen and Lowies turn to go. Jaina smiled at her twin, and he smiled the same exact smile back. "You've really grown up, Jasa." She said, looking him in the eye. "So have you, of course." Jacen said back. "And you've changed a lot too. You've changed into a beautiful young woman.and a great sister." A tear escaped the corner of Jaina's eye as her brother spoke. "And you've turned into a very handsome young man, and a great brother, despite all your jokes." She hugged him and gave him a kiss on his cheek. "Get outa here, before you embarrass me." She said, laughing with tears of sadness, happiness, and sisterly pride in her brown eyes. Jacen turned to his uncle. Hey, Uncle Luke," he said, "You've been the best Jedi teacher I could have ever imagined. Thanks. Thank you so much." He gave his uncle a hug and then turned to Zekk with a slap on the shoulder. "Don't go off and rescue Jaina without me or anything." He said smiling, wiping away tears that just seemed to keep flowing. "No way!" Zekk said, "She's your sister.and besides, she needs to rescue herself sometime or another." He too felt the sadness and was struggling unsuccessfully to keep his emotions under control. He gave Jacen a brief hug, then wiped a tear off his face. "May the Force be with you." He said. Jaina gave the huge wookiee a hug. "Thanks for being such a great copilot all these years. And a great mechanic and all the other great things you've done for me. I'll miss you." Lowie roared a sad sounding kind of bellow and squeezed Jaina tightly. "Okay, okay, your crushing me, buddy." She said. He let go of her and gave an apologetic woof. "It's okay. Take care, all right Lowie? And say hi to Sirra when you get home." She hugged him one last time. "Bye," she whispered. Jacen and Lowie moved to the boarding ramp of the ship. "I guess this is goodbye." Jacen said. He hugged Jaina again and gave her a kiss on the forehead. "Be careful, sis. And don't go breaking too many hearts." "See you soon, bro." Jaina said back. "And don't forget to write." "I won't," He called over his shoulder as he walked up the ramp. Jaina watched the ramp go up and stood watching with tears as the Rock Dragon disappeared into a tiny speck in the bright sky. * * * Jaina had never wanted this moment to come. She stood at the foot of the boarding ramp of the "Jedi Dream" and looked her uncle in the eye. "I guess I'll see ya 'round, Uncle Luke" she said, her voice weak with emotion. "I don't want to make a big deal out of this, Jaina. And I DON'T want to cry so just give me a hug and leave." He said, shaking his head. "Okay, okay," Jaina said back, sliding her arms around him, trying to save her tears. "May the force be with you," Luke whispered. Jaina could tell he was crying now and couldn't hide her smile. Luke let go of her and walked back to the great temple, calling over his shoulder: "Watching you leave would just be too much for me," He said, tossing a wink at Zekk, as he walked by him. Zekk smiled at the Jedi master and mouthed "Thank you" He walked up to Jaina. She hardly even looked at him before she started to cry. "Come here," He said softly, opening his arms to her. She rushed into them and buried her face in his shoulder. "Don't ever forget me," she said, lifting her head of his shoulder to look him in the eye. Zekk stared into her brandy brown eyes. The same eyes he loved since the day he met her. He slid his hand under her hair and brush kissed her cheek. Then he pressed the side of his face against hers and whispered "Never" Jaina wrapped her arms around Zekk, hugged him tightly. Tears streamed down her face. Zekk returned her hug, and he too shed a tear. They held the embrace for several moments longer, then Zekk pulled back to look at Jaina. He wiped a tear off her face. "Well," she said, "I guess this is it." "Wait," Zekk said, "I have something for you." He reached into his pocket and pulled something out. He took Jaina's hand and slid a beautiful ring onto her finger. Jaina stared down at its delicate designs. Tiny, intricate spirals, each one with a small rainbow gem in the center. "Zekk this is beautiful, where did you get it?" She said, breathtaken. I got it when I went to Gallinore on a bounty assignment. I've had it for a while, but I. I wanted to wait for the right time to give it to you." Fresh tears came to Jaina's eyes and she threw her arms around him. "Thank you,'' she whispered. Zekk pulled back, wanting to look at her one last time. He smiled at her and brushed his fingers through her hair, which she had taken out of the braid earlier. "Bye, Jaina," He said softly. "Goodbye, Zekk," Jaina said back, even more tears falling from her eyes. They embraced one last time, then Jaina turned around to walk up the boarding ramp of her new ship. "Jaina," Zekk called, just as she reached the top of the ramp. She turned around. "I." Zekk spoke, "I." he sighed, "I'll miss you." He finally said. Jaina smiled. "I know." She said, then turned again to walk into the ship. Don't look back, She told herself as she closed the hatch. She reached the cockpit and saw Zekk out the front view ports. He waved his hand in farewell and Jaina waved back with a fake smile on her face as the ship lifted off. As soon as she got into orbit, she set her hyperdrive course. And as soon as she dove into hyperspace, she burst into tears. * * * Jaina was walking in an empty place. She seemed to be the only one there, or had even ever been there. Mists rose up from the ground and swirled around her. The sun was near setting and it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She wandered around, wondering what she was doing there when another figure emerged from the mists. "Zekk!" she cried. She threw her arms around him. "I thought I would never see you again." She was almost whispering. Zekk hugged her back. "I missed you so much," He said, holding her tightly, not wanting to lose her again. Jaina just lay her head on his shoulder, wanting to be in his arms forever and ever. She was just about to ask Zekk what he was doing there when the music grew louder. Jaina felt Zekk start to sway to the music and found that she was too. Jaina closed her brown eyes and let the music move her. The music grew faster and they began dancing a vigorous waltz, moving gracefully and in perfect unison. The sun slowly set behind them, setting and orangish glow to everything. The mist continued to rise up around them, swirling about as they danced beautifully. The music suddenly stopped and they both froze and stared at each other. That's when Jaina noticed how pale Zekk looked. He was almost transparent, like he was a part of the mist. She put her hand on his cheek and a worried expression crossed her face. That's when realization dawned on her. Was this just her emotions playing tricks on her? No. Of course not. Zekk was there. She could feel the warmth of his very touch. Jaina's thoughts were broken when she realized Zekks grip on her growing tighter and him drawing closer to her. Jainas heart beat faster and she drew closer to him also. Finally, their lips touched and just as Jaina realized what had happened, she felt his tight grip around her waist vanish and Zekk with it. Jaina stumbled forward, with nothing left to lean on, but caught herself. She looked around desperately for Zekk but he was nowhere. All she saw was mist tinted orange from the sunset, which was now, not quite as beautiful since Zekk was gone. "Zekk, please don't leave me!" Jaina cried, close to tears. She heard Zekks voice, distant and echoing, but still did not see him. "I'll always be with you," The voice of Zekk said. Jaina spun slowly in circles, still looking for him. She sobbed and called his name. She felt herself growing dizzy and her head was clouding up. She began to lose her consciousness, and she started to fall to the ground. * * * "Zekk!" Jaina cried, sitting abruptly. The buzzers rang in Jaina's ship, indicating that she would be coming out of hyperspace in five minutes. She looked at her surroundings. Her sleeping area. What had just happened was only a dream. She was hot and still tired. She put her hand on her face. It was warm, damp with both perspiration and tears. Her pillow and hair were damp as well. She stood from her sleeping pallet and began to walk to the cockpit. She stopped when she walked by her mirror on the wall and saw her reflection. She sighed when she saw her messy hair, flushed cheeks, and bloodshot eyes. She allowed herself a moment of humor. "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful," She said to her reflection and kept walking. She reached the cockpit and sat down in the pilot's chair. She relaxed in its comfortable leather cushioning as she waited for the drop out of hyper space. She decided she would change her clothes and fix her hair while waiting for clearance from the landing committee. It would probably take longer than usual because of the new ship. She strapped herself in as the ten-second countdown began. She dove out of hyperspace into the middle of nowhere. She saw no planets at all. Only distant stars. She raised her eyebrows in confusion, then cursed the nivicomputer. New things just never worked as good as the old. She sighed and began re-calculating the path to Coruscant. She leaned over the navicomputer, still cursing when her ship was rocked by a blast from behind her. "What the-"she began, but another blast cut her off. She ran back to the pilots seat and spun the ship around, powering up its weapons. But when she turned the ship fully around, what she saw shocked her. About a dozen, rag tag cargo ships were before her. Space pirates. The ship rocked, but not from a blast this time. On of the ships was boarding her. She ran to the bay, her lightsaber drawn and ready to fight off whoever or whatever came through the airlock. The door slowly hissed open and two grizzled looking men ran in. They aimed their blasters at Jaina, but she sliced off the tips with her lightsaber, leaving only smoking stubs. The other man tackled her to the ground and Jaina cried out in pain at the impact. She struggled to get back to her feet, or to reach her lightsaber, which had been knocked from her hands, but the man had her pinned. "Grab her!" The other one said. He grabbed her arms and held them in place as the other pirate took out a drug shot and injected it into Jaina's skin. She cried out as it pierced her upper arm. The last thing she remembered was the man throwing her over his shoulder before she blacked out. *So far I know this seems like it should be in the romance section, but I guarantee more action in the next part. *For those of you who own-or have listened to-the "Shadows of the Empire" soundtrack, I was listening to "The Seduction of Princess Leia" when I wrote the part in Jaina's dream. I just thought I'd share that with you.


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