Time Machine
By: Miss Jade

You guessed it. Yet another Luke and Mara story. This one actually has an interesting twist in it. Luke and Mara have been married fifteen years, and it's almost their triplet children's fourteenth birthday. But when Mara takes her daughters out for a special celebration, they discover something more: a dangerous new Sith operation, whose new scheme could be the end of the Skywalker family.

NOTE: One thing you'll notice about my writing style is that I portray the Star Wars characters more as human beings with human feelings and needs, and less as the heroes of the galaxy. If you can't stand at least a little of that, STOP READING NOW. Spoilers for everything up to "Vision of the Future"!

All the usual disclaimers. All characters/situations/etc belong to their respective owners. Some are mine, but most belong to George Lucas THE ALMIGHTY'S RIGHT HAND and Tim Zahn THE ALMIGHTY. I'm making no money (as usual) off this. Yadda yadda yadda.

Thanx to all beta testers, but also to the author of the story "Surprises". Though my story is in no way connected to hers/his, this person's story got the wheels in my brain slowly cranking, and eventually condensed their ways down into this story.

Enough of the usual babble. Enjoy the story!


PART 1: In the underworld.

"I can't believe I'm gonna be fourteen," Loreina Skywalker gushed. She and her triplet siblings, Nyisha and Nathaniel were laying on the living room carpet, making birthday wish lists for certain relatives who hadn't a clue about what to get teenagers (particularly boys) for their birthdays.

"I can't either," Nathan said, chewing the end of his stylus as he tried to come up with another gift idea. "I feel so . . . mature."

Nyisha laughed out loud at that. "You? Mature?"

Nathan glared at his sister huffily. "Gods, you are such a--"

"Nathaniel Skywalker, watch your mouth!" his mother's voice called sternly from her office. Nathan angrily rolled his eyes at his sister, stood up, and stalked out of the room.

"Sorry!" Nyisha muttered, feeling guilt seep it's evil finger into her conscience. She'd pretty much given up picking on her brother, but he'd so given it to her that time.

"Don't take it too hard," Lora said. "He's hit that 'everything's hormones' stage we just pulled out of." She leaned over and kissed her sister's cheek. "Don't worry, you'll forget him as soon as you find out what Mom's big present to us is."

"Big present?" Nyisha said, forgetting her brother and reaching out with the Force, trying to read her sister's thoughts and emotions. The best she could do was sense the excitement Lora was feeling about that night.

* I don't know what it is either. * Lora's voice held excitement and curiosity that echoed in Nyisha's mind.

*Neesh, Lora, could you come here a sec? * came their mother's voice through the Force.

Both girls scrambled to their feet and raced to the study.

Mara was seated at her desk, looking over a report from the investigation she was doing on a planet in the Outer Rim.

She swiveled in her seat to face her daughters. "Okay, I'll cut to the chase since I know you're both dying to know. I thought we could have a girl's night out tonight. Just us. No guys."

The girls looked at each other, then back at their mother. "Mom, that is so cool. Whose idea was it?" Lora teased.

Mara gave her a wounded look. "Mine, of course.

Geez, I'm not quite the old crone you think!" They all laughed.

"So where are we going?" Nyisha cut into the banter. "When? What am I gonna wear?"

"The Hapen Embassy, right after I get Justin to bed, the fanciest dress you have. And for once, both of you, be ready on time!"

* * * * *

When Luke got home that night, he almost ran into a very eager party of girls hurrying toward the door.

"Hey, what's going on?" he demanded as they came to stand in front of him, each stepping forward for a quick hug.

"Girls night out," Mara explained. "It's in celebration of the girls' fourteenth birthday tomorrow."

"Aha," Luke said. A very Mara thing to think of. "I take it I'm stuck here?"

"You a woman?"

"Of course not!"

"Then yes."

He sighed, giving them a hurt look. "Well, have a good time." He got a good bye kiss from Lora and Neesha, then Mara who whispered as she passed, "Don't worry, I think you'll be just fine here." Luke tried to decipher her double meaning, but soon gave up and headed for the kitchen--

Where he found a whole crew of men sitting around the table, engrossed in a game of sabaac, Nathan right in the middle. Sensing his father, he looked up, smiling brightly. "Hey, Dad."

All the other men turned as well, giving enthusiastic greetings of their own, and offering him a seat. Luke saw Lando, Han, and Zekk, Jaina's husband studying their hands' intently at the end of the table. At the other end, Jacen and Prince Isolder (Prince Isolder?) were giving Nathan pointers, while Nathan's best friend Kieran sat between General Wedge Antillies, one-year-old Justin Skywalker (who Mara was supposed to have put to bed by now) who was sitting on his lap with his fingers in his mouth, and Chewbacca. And last, but most certainly not least, sat Anakin Solo next to Kyp Durron and Lando's son Pheilyn, who were leaning over Anakin's shoulder and whispering in his ear.

Luke circled around the table to where his son sat. "Who set this up?"

Nathan grinned. "Mom. Felt sorry for me cause she was taking Lora and Nyisha out, so she called all the family friends she could think of who were guys and asked them to come over tonight. She even had Threepio make dinner--" at which point the droid's prissy voice called from the kitchen. "Gentlemen, dinner is ready."

* * * * *

As the speeder cruised to a stop outside the Hapen Embassy, Nyisha and Loreina both gasped. It was beautiful. Elegant, but not overly so. Their mother laughed.

"Pretty impressive isn't it? I thought so when Skywalker and I came here last year for that diplomatic conference, and I thought you guys would like it."

Both girls nodded. "So what are we waiting for?" Loreina demanded impatiently.

Mara said nothing, her gaze seeming to glaze slightly. Then she smiled and pointed. Nyisha and Loreina turned to look--

And gasped again. "Isn't that Aunt Leia's speeder?" Neesha asked in surprise.

Mara nodded. "Come on, let's go say hi."

The girls scrambled out of the speeder and hurried to greet their Aunt.

Leia smiled and reached up to hug both her nieces. It hadn't been too long since Lora had gained some height on her aunt, but Nyisha had outgrown her long ago.

The butler who met them on the inside of the door was definitely Hapen, Nyisha thought, as she eyed him carefully. Incredibly handsome, the men and women of the Hapen cluster were known for being some of the most beautiful in the galaxy.

What intrigued Nyisha was when her mother said

"Reservations for Skywalker," the Hapen nodded and led them not toward the grand tables in the main dining room, but toward the turbolift.

They traveled up about three levels to what appeared to be a balcony overlooking the vast span of Imperial City. A large table sat in the middle of the balcony and around it sat--

Lots of very familiar faces. Tendra Risant Calrissian, Tennenial Djo, Tendra's daughter Renah, Winter, her daughter Amoura, Jaina, her daughter Illarya, Tenel Ka, her daughters Justine and Prika, and Chewie's wife Wookallrra.

Mara grinned. "Happy Birthday, girls."

* * * * *

It took him several moments to realize he'd finally found it. A way to turn Skywalker and his family and destroy all of their damned relatives. They deserved it. They'd killed him at Endor years and years before, but now that he finally had a host body to latch on to, the galaxy would once ago feel his wrath.

Maybe Anikan Skywalker had been weak enough to turn back to the Light Side of the Force, but Darth Vader could go on just fine without him.

And this time, he would rule the galaxy.

* * * * *

They were well into the evening of eating and talking and laughing and enjoying themselves when Mara felt her danger sense tingle in the very back of her mind. Not warning her of immediate danger but potential danger in the future.

Though the other Jedi and trainees at the table would surely feel the disturbance later that night, Mara knew she was the only one here who felt it this early.

She excused herself and headed for the turbolift, following the feeling down out of the hotel. She had reached the door and was just climbing into the airspeeder when--

"Mom, wait!"

Neesha and Lora were hurrying toward her from the Embassy entrance.

Mara shook her head adamantly. "You are absolutely not coming. Go back and tell Leia something came up and I'll be back as soon as I take care of it."

"Look, Mom," Lora said, her voice sounding as defiant as her mother's sometimes did (of all the characteristics she had to inherit, Mara thought), "we're pretty much fourteen now, and we're ready to start facing the galaxy, okay? You don't need to be as overprotective anymore. Neesha and I are both very talented in the Force, and I think we need a challenge." And with that she crossed her arms over her chest, as if daring Mara to contradict her.

Mara sighed, and then reached deep inside herself with the Force, listening for guidance. Unfortunately, it was the guidance she'd been fearing.

Giving both her daughters vicious glares that had absolutely no effect on them, she said finally, "All right, but we're playing by my book here, girls. You do as I tell you no matter what. Got it?"

They both nodded eagerly, saluting their mother mock-seriously before climbing into the speeder. Mara climbed in after them, and hit the accelerator, heading towards the feeling.

* * * * *

It didn't take them long to find. Buried deep in the underworld of Coruscant, in a torn up old building.

Even if Mara had said to be careful, Lora wouldn't have needed to be told. The slums of galaxy dwelt here. She had never been down this low before, but she'd gotten a pretty good idea of what to expect from the stories her Uncle Han had told them when she and Neesha and Nate had been younger.

"Yuck," Neesha murmured from beside her.

"Yeah, it is," their mother said. "And I don't think I have to tell you two that you are not to leave my side for any reason, unless I tell you. Understood?" Both girls nodded quickly.

"Wouldn't want to anyway," Neesh said softly, her face twisting into a grimace. "Hey, Mom, do you think we should just communicate through the Force? I think that would be safer," and Lora saw her sister shiver involuntarily.

"I was just gonna say that. And I have a uniform I need both of you to put on. It'll make us look more . . . in place. Under the left seat in a med box" Lora didn't bother asking why her mother had the suits in there. She knew from experience just how "prepared" her mother could be sometimes.

They pulled to a stop in what looked like a one-time docking bay, and changed quickly into their disguises. At a suggestion from their mother, the girls reached up to smudge their make-up. Then they were ready.

"One minute." Mara dug around in the glove compartment, them pulled her hand out, gripping three utility belts, and handed them around. Adding this to their outfits, the girls climbed out of the car, each gripping a blaster. Target practice had been a skill Lora and her siblings had been doing since age eight, and despite their father's misgivings, Mara insisted.

*This way,* Mara said in their minds.

Lora had to walk quickly to keep up with her mother's fast pace.

They passed through the Spaceport and onto cracked and crumbling streets. Lora felt Neesha shiver involuntarily from behind her, and reached out with her mind to her sister reassuringly. Neesh reached back in thanks.

They traveled in utter silence lower and lower into the under levels of Coruscant, feeling the grime as though it reached out and touched them.

Suddenly, Lora's danger sense flared and the walkway they stood on creaked threateningly. Mara grabbed their hands and pulled them back, but Neesha stumbled and with a cry fell after the walkway.

Lora felt a scream in her throat, but was too horrified to make a sound. Her mother had managed to pull her to the safety of the walkway before the unstable one, but she had dove after Nyisha, Lora dropped on her stomach and peered cautiously over the edge.

Mother will fix it, she thought fiercely over and over. She'll use the Force to catch Neesh and bring her back up. They'll be fine . . . Nyisha and Mara fell about fifty feet, and just when Lora was summoning the Force to try and help her mother, there was a flash illuminating what appeared to be a pool of . . . of energy, there was no other way to describe it.

And Neesha and Mara disappeared into it, and it imploded on itself and vanished.


Time Machine
By: Miss Jade

Part 2: Back in Time.


Loreina stared in horror as her mother and sister disappeared into the pool of light. She tried to scream, but no sound came from her parted lips.

There was no time to go back for help, no time to call her father. She'd have to follow them. Taking a deep breath, she stepped off the edge of the platform.

* * * * *

Mara shook her head hard. All she could see was an ominous glow that seemed to shine with a dark, monotonous light.

What in the name of the Sith is going on? Then there was a shove and she was lying on the grass in a large field.

"Nyisha!" she called, remembering that her daughter had fallen too.

"Right here, Mom," Nyisha said. She was lying on her back a meter away. She sat up, working her jaw back and forth. "Nothing's broken, I don't think. What happened?"

Mara scrambled to her feet. Her head hurt a little, but not too terribly. At least she could still walk.

Nyisha was standing too and looking around curiously. "Where are we? Are we . . . ?"

"I think we're at the Great Temple," Mara said carefully. Sure enough, the Temple loomed before them.

"Mom!" a voice that was not quite Nyisha's came from behind her.

"Lora!" Mara and Nyisha hurried to help a shaky Loreina to her feet. "You'll be alright, sweety, just take a few deep breaths . . . " Slowly, Lora stopped shaking.

"Mom, we should go talk to someone inside," Nyisha said.

Mara nodded. "Since we're not sure what might have happened, we'd better be careful," and here she gave both girls rather severe looks.

"You mean, we might not be in our time, or our universe even?" Lora demanded, incredulously.

"Right," Mara said. "So if anyone asks, you're two new students I found on Coruscant in the underworld, which is more or less true . . . from a certain point of view. Got it?"

Both girls nodded with unusual obedience, and the three of them headed towards the Temple.

When they reached it, Mara began to feel uneasy. Something wasn't right. She pressed her lips together, quickly reaching out to the people inside. Luke was there, which meant one of two things. It could have meant that they had somehow been blown into one of those alternate universes she'd heard about from several holocrons, or they'd somehow gone back in time.

The problem, Mara decided, was finding out where she stood with Luke.

Both questions were answered as Mara and her daughters entered. For there, just inside the door stood Callista, with an intolerably sweet smile plastered on her face.

* * * * *

Nyisha looked up as they entered the Temple, blinking hard to clear her vision, which was blurry from the abrupt change in light. The nervous tingle in the back of her mind stuck with her, and as she secured a mental block around her mind and her sister's (as she was much stronger in this aspect of the Force), she felt that something was definitely wrong with the woman who stood before her, he mother, and Loreina.

Nyisha had been around long enough to have heard of her father's old flame, Callista, and had gotten two very unsettling opinions of her: the first that she had hurt Luke and left him on her own volition to search for her Force powers. That was her father's sad, but resolved side of the story.

Her mother's was considerably less pleasant, for Mara saw Callista's leave as an act of betrayal that had very nearly led Luke to the Dark Side. And any betrayal against Mara's family was grounds for execution, Nyisha knew.

Right now, she could see and feel the fire burning inside Mara, despite her outwardly calm face and voice. She reached out with the Force, under protection of her Force shield, and ordered her mother, *Keep it cool, Mom. Callie is the fastest way to find out where we are. And we have to be agreeable until we can talk to Daddy. *

Mara nodded minutely to Nyisha, and sent silent thanks. Callista hadn't noticed this exchange, and turned to greet them. "Mara," she said sweetly, "welcome to the Academy." She offered a hand, which Mara took reluctantly, though taking care to keep her face and manor polite and even friendly.

Tactfully, she said, "Thank you. But I don't have time to chat. Is Luke around? I've got two new trainees for him to take a look at, then I've got to run."

Callista nodded. "Sure. He's up in our rooms. " She put particular emphasis on our and Nyisha had to hold back a disgusted snort.

Just as saucy and fake as ever, was the thought (more or less) that Neesha picked up. Once they were out of Callista's earshot, Nyisha murmured, "So, we did go back in time. Dad and Callie are together."

"But something's definitely wrong," Mara told them. "Did you see the ring on her left-hand fourth finger? On her home planet Chad it means that she's engaged."

This sobered the girls considerably when they realized what she meant. If their father had married Callista, it meant that they would never exist, because Luke and Mara would likely never get together.

On the other hand, Mara thought, if they were in an alternate universe, Mara and Luke may not have been meant to get together in the first place, and therefore, all that was really necessary was for them to get back through the time portal (as they had come to refer to it as) and back to their own time.

But until they knew for sure what time and place they were at, they couldn't risk leaving things as they were.

They reached Luke (and Callista's) room and the door swung open before they rang. Luke stood before them. Mara instantly knew it was back around the same time as the destruction of the Eye of Palpatine, for Luke looked considerably younger, no gray hair, only a slight crease on his forehead, and a beaming smile upon his face. This was one of the happiest times of his life, Mara knew.

"Mara!" he greeted her, drawing her and the girls into the room. "Welcome. What brings you here?"

Mara felt a sudden sadness deep inside her, at watching her future husband be with another woman, who wound up hurting him in the end anyway. She felt Nyisha's stunned surprise at her father's young face, and actions, for she and her brothers and sister were used to seeing them kiss and embrace warmly in meeting. This friendly, but seemingly wary, handshake was completely unexpected. Mara felt suddenly grateful for her daughter's strong abilities with the shield, for her own barriers were weakened by pain and longing.

"I brought you a couple of new trainees," she said, careful to hide any emotions from her friend. "Clarissa and Ryanne. Twin sisters from Coruscant."

Nyisha smiled slightly at her sister. Clarissa and Ryanne were their worst enemies in school, and the names would keep them sober if needed.

Luke offered them his hand in greeting, then said cheerfully, "You are, of course, more than welcome here. I'll need to test your skills first to show me just what level you're at. Kyp?"

A tall shadow walked through the doorway, and Nyisha felt another deep pang. In her time and galaxy, she was Kyp's Pawadon, for her father had restored the old ways of the Old Republic Jedi. He was her friend and older brother in that time, whereas here, they would barely know each other. Lora and Nathan, being older, were training under Luke and Mara, but Nyisha and Kyp had bonded almost at first sight and it was decided that Nyisha would train under him.

Kyp started to smile at them, then, as his eyes met Nyisha's, he said slowly, "Do I know you?"

Nyisha glanced at her mother, who shook her head minutely, then said slowly, "I don't know. Do you?"

Kyp gave her another once-over, then smiled. "Sorry, I guess not." He offered her his hand. "Kyp Durron."

"Ne - er, uh Clarissa Chad. Nice to meet you." Nyisha had to hide a wince at almost blowing their already unsteady cover.

Kyp shook hands with Mara and Loreina, then said respectfully, "Do you already have rooms ready? I think we have some guest suites still available."

"Hang on, Kyp. I called you here because I need you to test Clarissa and Ryanne here, so I can tell which classes I should put them in."

Kyp nodded. "I'm sorry, Master. Come on, girls."

Mara started just noticeably and said hastily, "I'll go along to, see what's going on with them."

A flash of surprise, then suspicion crossed Luke's face at Mara's interest in these two new students, but he shrugged. "Sure. I might as well tag along. I haven't talked to you in a while, Mara. Last I heard you were on Coruscant, working on some trade deal with Karrade."

As they headed for the training room, Mara did the best to make up a true (from a certain point of view) and accurate story, which would lead up to their arrival, and leave little room for awkward questions from Luke.

She finally finished her story and for a minute, Luke just gave her a sidelong glance. Finally he spoke.

"Sounds like you've been busy. You planning on coming back to the Academy to finish your training?"

How could I stand watching you and Callie? "Not now, Skywalker. I've got a business to run," and a family of children back

home for their own training, if I can find a way to get the hell out of here.

Luke nodded, then said, as they reached the training room, "Well enjoy yourself while you're here. Let me know if you need anything." He smiled mischievously then and added, "And try not to bite Callista's head off." Mara was debating whether to laugh and thrash him or run crying from the room and disgrace herself forever, but decided to go for a simple cold nod.

* * * * *

They were there for a week, playing right along with the whole game, until their first trouble came. Mara was sitting in her room, trying to gently inform Loreina that she needed to ask more like a beginner and less like the half-trained daughter of the future Luke and Mara Skywalker.

"I'm trying, Mamma," she said plaintively as she sat doing the daily Jedi mind control exercises that she practiced every night at home, just to keep herself up-to-date. "But I see all the older students showing off, mostly the guys, and I get mad."

Her mother smiled warmly. "Anger will haunt all four of my precious children all the days of their lives," she sighed, as if talking to herself.

Nyisha smiled at her. "I'm getting good at controlling it, Mom," she stated, proudly. "See, every time I feel it coming, I pretend that there's a flash of light in my mind that drives back the anger."

"That's my dear baby sister," Loreina laughed without bitterness, for her sister had far more self-control than she herself.

"And I hope you two will learn from each other so that you conquer the emotion that you've both inherited so badly," Mara began, when a knock come from the door.

"Come in!" Lora called, forgetting that they were in their mother's chambers. Upon Luke's entrance, however, she cued her sister through the Force, and Nyisha quickly through up the strong thought shield around the little truth they were all hiding.

"Mara, can I see you for a minute?" he asked quietly, and at the worry and suspicion in his eyes, Nyisha began to wonder rather nervously whether he'd found them out.

Mara shrugged, and at the sight of her mother's ease, Nyisha relaxed herself. Mom'll handle things, she assured herself silently.

"Of course," Mara said now, standing. "Where to?"

* * * * *

Luke took her to the roof, where they could be away from the other Jedi, and Mara followed, trying to ask calm and unconcerned. They reached the roof without speaking a word and there were several minutes of silence, leaving Mara more time for her anxiety that something awful had happened to build. Finally she turned sideways to face the man who, in her universe had never been engaged to Callista, and asked with what she hoped wasn't too much compassion, "What's wrong, Luke?"

He answered slowly with a question of his own. "Didn't you say you were on Coruscant before you brought Clarissa and Ryan? And that you crashed in the jungle because of a strange turbulent storm in the atmosphere?"

"Yes."

"Then why, when I called to talk to Leia, did she say the Fire was still on Coruscant?"

"I didn't come in the Fire, Skywalker," Mara said simply, relieved. If that was the only evidence they had of her not being the real Mara, then she could certainly handle it.

But Luke had different plans. "So you are Mara?"

"Of course."

"Then how could you have just called me from Coruscant to ask if it was a good time to come?"

Mara froze, keeping her expression astonished without showing her sudden fear. She had thought for sure that the real Mara would have avoided Yavin 4 at all cost while Callista was still there.

She sighed, deciding to have out with it then and there. "Fine, you want to know the truth, though I doubt you'll believe it, farmer." She hesitated. "I'm Mara, really and truly, but not your Mara. That is I am, but only in the future," and seeing his utterly confused look, she explained about her and his daughters, the time porthole, and their reason for lying to him and why they thought something was wrong because he was going to marry Callista.

Luke stood in quiet amazement for a minute, then said slowly, "I'd like to believe you, but may I check, please?"

Mara knew what he meant, and gently called to her daughter to lower the Force shield around them, then she let Luke in far enough to know that she was telling the whole truth.

Slowly he pulled back, still in astonishment, and said something completely unexpected to Mara. "What are they like? Our children."

Mara smiled, seating herself on the low railing that ran around the roof. "They're truly amazing. Nyisha and Loreina love to sing, which is probably their greatest skill so far. Nathaniel and Justin are both very headstrong, but in contrast, selfless and loving to everyone. They all have a lot of anger, which is of great concern to Lu - er, the you I live with. But Nyisha has hers mostly under control. She does fight with Nathan a lot, too." And Mara stared out into space, smiling as she thought of her beautiful children. Suddenly she felt a lump in her throat as she thought of Luke and Nathan, Han and all the rest back home, searching frantically for them.

Luke picked up on her thought, and reached out to squeeze her hand. "Don't worry. We'll get you three home." He stood. "Meanwhile, the other Mara is coming, so we'd better prepare."

And hand in hand, they headed down to tell the children.

* * * * *

In the deepest part of Yavin 4's largest rain forest, Vader worked with his men to figure out what had happened to cause the energy surge in the time portal. And finally, Ensign Terry Bros found it.

"Sir, it appears that several people have gone through it," he informed his superior. "We think it might have been Skywalker and her daughters."

Vader would have smiled if he'd been able to. "Where was the machine last set for?"

"We set it for here, sir, when we came and hadn't changed it or reset in when they fell through. So they must be at Skywalker's temple."

"Good," Vader said, speaking quietly, ominously. "Better than I could have foreseen. Ensign, how many troupes could we pull through at one time?"

"About three squads, sir."

"Then bring them from the Emperors' special armada, debrief them on our mission, and get them ready to attack."

Yes, sir. May I have permission to tell them where we're attacking?"

"The Jedi Temple."

* * * * *

It took some doing to hide Mara and the girls from the other Mara, since the former was quite curious to see herself in this time, facing Callista.

The three were hidden in the ysalamiri training room that was rarely used by any of the students now. But it served well, for it kept them hidden, but upon any discovery, they could easily sneak out the back entrance and into the jungle.

One other thing bothered Mara. If this weren't an alternate universe, but Luke were engaged to Callista, would Luke and Mara ever end up together? Would Nyisha, Nathan, Lora and Justin ever be born?

As they headed down to the room the next morning, Mara voiced her concerns to Luke. He sighed and said softly, "Mara, I can't just break things off with Callie until I have some kind of idea what's going on. If you're from an alternate universe, than none of your concerns would have relevance here. If, however, what you went through was a time machine that someone built, then things might be different. We just don't know enough yet."

Mara knew better than to argue, but said slowly, "I'm not sure if this means anything, but the vortex thing we fell through felt terribly dark and cold . . . "

Luke knew what she meant. "Sith?"

"Maybe. If so, this might be a plot to mess with history and put something in the way of our eventually getting married and having the kids."

"I know. After the other Mara leaves, we'll start a search."

* * * * *

The attack happened shortly before other Mara's arrival on Yavin 4. That Mara felt the danger sense in the back of her mind begin to build, then explode as the already aware Jedi at the Temple's ground level met the masses of stormtroopers head-on. The other Mara could here the shouts above, but being unable to use the Force due to the ysalamiri, left her daughters in the semi-protection of the ysalamiri room, with strict orders to "stay put" and rushed up to help, lightsaber in hand.

But the girls would never do as their mother told them and decided to take a less direct approach. As soon as their mother was out of sight out the door, Loreina turned to her sister. "We have to do something, Neesh."

Nyisha nodded and they both sat in silence for a moment. Then Neesha's eyes brightened. "Hey, we're in a room full of ysalamiri, right?" Lora nodded, not quite following her sister's train of thought. "Well, if we leave, Mom'll never know 'cause she won't think to sense us, 'cause we're in a room full of ysalamiri! Or so she thinks. We'll sneak upstairs, find some protective weapons and some detonators, and while everyone outside is fighting, we'll try to find the source of the troupes and destroy it!"

Loreina began to smile. "Even better: we'll take a couple of ysalamiri with us."

Nyisha frowned. "Why?"

"Because the portal we fell through felt dark, right? Well, doesn't that suggest Dark Jedi?"

"Right, good thinking. Let's go!"

The girls found a couple of framed ysalamiri, shouldered them, and headed out into the underground passage. They made it up to the main floor easily, for no one was inside the Temple. They hurried to one of the very secret weapon's lockers that their father had always kept in mess hall for emergencies and pulled out two stun blasters and a bag of detonators.

They would have gotten away unnoticed if they'd felt the presence of another Jedi behind them. Being completely blind to the Force, however, they turned around and almost ran over Kyp, who had come in to get weapons from the same locker, being one of the few Jedi aware of it. He looked surprised and disturbed to find the two new trainees digging into a supposedly hidden locker.

"Clarissa! Ryanne. What are you doing out here, it's dangerous. How did you know about this place?" His voice held suspicion and Nyisha's heart ached at the accusing tones in his voice. Suddenly, she was seized with an idea. Ripping off her ysalamiri and throwing in several meters away, she reached for his mind, revealing the entire truth to him.

Kyp gasped. "What . . . how - "

"There. You'd know if I were lying. I will explain everything when we get back. But please trust us, we have a job to do. Please, Master?"

Kyp stared down at Mara's daughter, who would one day be his Pawaden learner, and felt an overwhelming sense of protection.

"All right. But only if I can come with you."

Nyisha smiled and didn't even hesitate. "Of course, Master. Just stay inside my ysalamiri bubble and I'll explain everything to you on the way."


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