Nothing like combining some aspects of the old canon with the new canon. We'll be starting in the old EU, set a few days before the events of the Legacy of the Force series, which I felt was one of the better series of books out there. I was disappointed with Episode 7 not giving a single mention to one of the more popular characters of the EU, Mara Jade Skywalker, the 20th most popular character in the EU according to Wookiepedia, the highest rank for a character that hasn't appeared in the movies. This is my attempt at combining some aspects of the old canon with the new canon.
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Chapter 1: The Beginning
Mara Jade Skywalker leaned back in the pilot seat of the Jade Shadow and let out a sigh of contentment. She was looking forward to getting back to Coruscant and to her husband after taking a new pair of apprentices out to Hoth for their final trial.
'No,' Mara thought to herself as she spared a glance back at the two Corellian humans huddling in the passenger seats towards the back of her personal ship, 'Not apprentices. Not anymore. Today, they have become Jedi.' She allowed herself a small smile as she recalled the shivering duo that had stumbled into the remains of Echo Base that cold Hoth morning. The trial had been to test their bodies and spirits with a day long trek across the frozen tundra, dropped off within a reasonable distance, but still far enough to be a true trial, armed with only their cold weather clothes and a datapad. Their resourcefulness in making it through the trial had impressed Mara, the two new Knights not quite spending a night in a tauntaun, but they had completed the trial and Mara had officially dubbed them into full Knighthood. Mara had a feeling that he Galactic Alliance was going to need every Jedi it could get. The Joiner Crisis may have been behind them, but Mara knew that the peace wasn't going to last. It never did. She had just gotten off the holocom with her husband, the Grand Master of the New Jedi Order, who had described a new nightmare he had had the previous night. The thought of a man that didn't exist but would bring great pain to the galaxy was disturbing, but Mara was certain that together with her husband, the great Luke Skywalker, hero of the Rebellion, they would crush this new threat. Her son and nephew were off to Adumar as of a couple of standard galactic days ago to check out the supposed weapons situation there.
"Is there a problem Master?" the male Jedi asked, sensing the grim turn her thoughts had taken. Some parts of her old life as the Emperor's Hand would never truly leave her, Mara mused to herself, even as she mentally checked off all the secret compartments here and there in the Jade Shadow.
"No, Knight Noslen," she replied, which brought a grin to the new Knight's face. Dannard Noslen, Dan for short, Corellian male, brown curly hair, average height, strongly built, dressed in the traditional Jedi uniform. He had been trained by Master Sebatyne during his rise through the Jedi ranks, something not done very often with humans. Mara's sister-in-law had been the only other human to stick through the Barabel's training, though Mara suspected that his drive to become physically stronger was what kept him in that particular training regimen. Two lightsabers hung from his belt. One of the reasons why Noslen trained so hard was to compensate for the disadvantage of fighting with two lightsabers. Mara remembered hearing about a couple of instances where some young fool had tried to wrestle Lowbacca and the Wookie had won handily. It must have been Noslen. The red-head hadn't sparred with him, but according to her husband, who had sparred with and defeated the younger Jedi on more than one occasion, the young man had a talent with the blade. His Force abilities not related to combat were lacking, which the man would have to correct to avoid such a fatal flaw when his formidable fighting abilities weren't required. "We just need to make the hyperspace calculations and we'll be back on Coruscant in a few days."
"I wouldn't mind taking a v-vacation on Tatooine for a b-bit," the female stammered out, still feeling the icy touch of Hoth as she shivered under two sets of Jedi robes. Katerina Llennoc, better known as Kat. Corellian female, dark brown wavy hair, also of average height for a human female, though her slender frame wasn't built for the sub-zero temperatures of Hoth, which would explain why she was still shivering despite the attempts of both Master Skywalker and her close friend to keep her warm. She had bounced back and forth between training under Mara, Master Cilghal, and Master Durron, eager to learn all that she could about the Force and their more mundane abilities as well. Mara smiled as she recalled how easily Kat had picked up on the stealth techniques Mara had refined over the years. Her history was bumpy, but her future was bright.
"Trust me, even you don't want to spend long on Tatooine," Mara said. "It's not exactly a tourist destination."
"Only because they're marketing it wrong," Dan pointed out, "Can you imagine how many people would visit the first home of the Grand Master of the Jedi Order? Head on out to the Judland Wastes to visit Obi-Wan Kenobi's old hut where he watched over Luke for nearly twenty years, get your piece of the history, only a hundred credits for a full tour!"
"Sure, that'll become all the rage," Kat said, sarcasm dripping from her voice. She pulled Dan's cloak tighter around herself, hiding her clothing that had been one reason why she was affectionately called the Silver Star by her Bothan friend Kolir, a name that had stuck over the years. Mara turned back to the controls, punching in coordinates in order to begin the flight home as they began another good-natured argument. Those two had been friends even before Master Hamner had found them in the slums of Coruscant. Orphaned during the Vong war, they had managed to survive the attempted terraforming of Coruscant, which had started them on the paths they now walked, the warrior and the ninja.
"I don't think Grand Master Skywalker would be fond of the idea," Mara said, "Though I'll run it by him if you insist." The look on the young Knight's face brought a smirk to the former Emperor's Hand. Obviously he was having second thoughts about his "tourist" idea, giving Luke's obvious disdain for his homeworld.
"I'm sure there are other ways for that planet to make some decent credits," he backtracked, drawing a giggle from Kat. Any further banter was stalled by a frantic beeping on the console, getting the attention of all three Jedi on board.
"There isn't any trouble with the coolant systems, are there?" Dannard asked.
Mara snorted. "Captain Solo may have more problems with the Falcon in a day than most Star Destroyers have in a month, but he's helped me keep the Shadow in prime condition. His children definitely inherited that Skywalker magic with mechanics. No, it's a distress signal, coming a little over half a parsec away."
"Sweet, barely a couple hours as Knights and we're already on a rescue mission," Dan quipped, strapping himself into the navigator's chair. When Mara motioned for him to get in the copilot's chair, Dan shook his head. "If you need a copilot, Kat's your Jedi, not me. Besides, you can fly this thing on your own, can't you?"
Mara nodded. "Fine. I want you two to ready yourselves for this, because distress signals rarely are a good sign."
"Yes Master," the two chorused. It wasn't long before the Jade Shadow came into sight of the source of the distress signal, though they could scarcely believe their eyes when they gazed upon it.
"Is that an ancient Separatist battle cruiser?!" Dan asked, observing the needle-like warship through the viewport.
"Looks like it," Mara noted, the Force giving her no indication of immediate danger. Still, her old assassin's sense prickled, giving her an uneasy feeling.
"I'm surprised someone's actually flying that thing!" Kat exclaimed, having finally warmed up and taking the copilot's chair, shedding the two robe's she'd been borrowing from Dan and Mara, revealing silver leggings disappearing into silver and black boots, a black form-fitting tunic covering her torso. Hands covered in silver fingerless gloves that extended to her elbows began to work on the controls. "I mean, nobody's seen those ships since the Clone Wars, why would one show up now broadcasting a distress signal?"
"I don't know, but we're going to find out," Mara said, easing up on the engines of her Star Yacht. She flipped a couple of switches on the control panel, opening up a comm channel broadcasting to all channels. "This is Jedi Master Mara Jade Skywalker of the Jade Shadow, we've received your distress signal and are here to help. What can we do to be of assistance?" For a while, the only response they received was static. Mara cast out her senses, trying to get a feel from the ship. She could sense several presences aboard that ship, though she didn't feel any signs of panic or dismay that normally came with a distress signal.
"I have a bad feeling about this," Kat said simply, eyes staring at the ship as she too tried to get a sense for the situation.
The comm startled them with a loud crackle before a rough male voice came through. "Jade Shadow, we thank you for your assistance. Life support has failed, I'm not sure how much time we have left. How many can you carry?"
"We have enough for 10," Mara answered, "We're headed for the hangar near the spire."
"Negative, negative," the man said, a little too quickly for Mara's liking. "That hanger's been compromised. Totally exposed to vacuum, we don't have any enviro-suits to survive long enough to board. We've gathered near the bow in hopes that a transport would come by. Do hurry Master Jedi, it's starting to get cold in here, I don't know how much longer we can last!"
"Copy that, we're starting our approaching, ETA 5 minutes," Mara said.
"Hurry!" the man said, a hint of panic in his voice, "We might not have that much time!" With a resounding click, the comm cut off.
The former Emperor's Hand turned a knowing eye towards her two passengers. "Well, as two of the Order's newest Jedi Knights, what do you propose we do?"
Dan grinned. "Obviously we have to go help. It's our duty as Jedi."
Kat was a little hesitant. "I know we need to help, but this situation has questions that need answering. What are they doing aboard such an ancient battleship? How did something like that get out here in the first place? I don't like it, but we can't abandon helpless people in need. I say proceed with caution."
Dan gave her a glance. "I don't sense anything malicious."
"You need to open yourself to the Force more," Mara admonished gently. "There is something suspicious about this. However, you are right in it being our duty to help those who can't help themselves. Let's be quick about it." With that, she eased the control yoke forward, the Jade Shadow approaching the Separatist battleship like a wamp rat would a ronto. Kat looked out the viewport and saw the word Executioner emblazoned upon it. Mara guided the Jade Shadow towards the mentioned hanger, light blue shields keeping the atmosphere within. Her danger sense was prickling, intensifying as she got closer to the hanger. The Jedi Master wasn't sure what it was, but she was ready to bolt at the sight of whatever it was she was sensing.
The comm crackled to life once more as the nose of the Jade Shadow came into view from the inside of the hanger. "Thank you Jedi. You have no idea how much you're worth."
Katerina and Mar exchanged looks as the Jedi Master began to orient the ship to enter. "Did anybody else catch that?" Kat asked, even as the SoroSuub Star Yacht entered the hanger. Mara's danger sense was prickling now.
"I'm sure it was a slip of the tongue," Dan said. "I mean, they are trying to escape a life support-less….ship…" His sentence trailed off when they saw what awaited them in the hanger. Mara didn't waste any time with words, turning the ship around immediately and fleeing the hanger, pursued by a full squadron of old Vulture droids.
Kat opened the comm channel once more, allowing Mara to focus completely on flying and avoiding the sudden hail of laser fire. "If you have any control over these droids, shut them down! We are under fire! I repeat, shut these droids down!"
"Voice command, shoot back!" Mara ordered as she took the ship through a complex path, foiling the Vulture's attempts to lock on. Green laserfire stabbed from the underside of the Jade Shadow as the retractable AG-1G laser cannons swiveled around on their turrets and began to fire a stutter pattern that vaporized the first couple of Vultures before their danger-recognition protocols kicked in and the lead droids began to take evasive action. Despite her efforts, the ship rocked with laser strikes, though the shields held. Obviously, whatever tactical programming that had been ingrained in those old droids still performed well, much to the chagrin of the Jedi Master. Those Separatists had been a thorn in the Old Republic's side for a reason.
"This is why I hate flying," Noslen muttered as he held on his chair grimly. A beeping on the console caught his attention. "Master, something's coming out of hyperspace! Point one four seven!" The space outside the viewport flickered, rippled, and the new ship appeared.
"What's a frigate doing out here?!" Kat exclaimed as Mara found herself dodging turbolaser fire in addition to the Vulture fire behind them. The ship rocked with another near miss.
"That's a Vengeance class frigate," Dannard read off the readouts, "Most commonly used by pirates."
"Oh joy, it's a trap," Mara growled, putting her personal ship through its paces. "Noslen, start calculating a jump to hyperspace! Get us out of here!"
"Anywhere where we don't have a bunch of ancient droids trying to blast us out of space!" Mara snapped as she toggled the voice command again, "Fire concussion missiles!" Several streaks fired from the Jade Shadow and moments later several of the Vulture droids exploded. Mara could picture the incredulous look on the pirate's faces when they realized just how dangerous her modified Star Yacht was.
"Another pair of Vultures coming in on the left," Kat warned, eyes on the scanners. "They're firing proton torpedoes!"
"Kriffing pirates," Mara swore as the unfortunate pattern weaved by the laserfire forced her to dodge the deadly missiles and take a few hits from their laser cannons. The Shadow rocked with the blow, but Mara knew her ship inside and out and knew that whatever damage she had suffered wasn't severe. Her shields were powerful, but they couldn't take the abuse from both the frigate and the Vultures. "Anytime now Noslen!"
"Almost," the young Jedi shouted, reaching for the lever. "In three, two." As he was about to say one, however, a turbolaser blast from the frigate hit the Jade Shadow, overloading the shield in that particular part of the ship and rocking the Jade Shadow, accidentally causing Noslen to pull the hyperspace level. The stars began to streak past the viewport as the hyperdrive began to complain loudly and the pirates watched as their quarry vanished into hyperspace.
"Did you get a tracking on where they're headed?" the Zabrak captain asked, pounding the console in frustration.
"Negative sir," the young Twi'lek woman in the navigation chair replied, checking her readouts. "That last hit right before they jumped damaged their hyperdrive. I can give a probable list of where they'll end up, but I don't think they'll be worth pursuing. They looked to be Jedi by the way that Star Yacht flew."
The captain sighed. "Understood Lamia. Jedi slaves would be worth more wealth than any slave we've ever sold, but we missed our chance to capture them. Tell the bait on the Executioner to come on back and we'll set the trap another day."
Another story started by your Nutty Buddy. There were parts of Episode 7 I enjoyed and parts I didn't quite enjoy, but it's hard to make a perfect movie. As much as I wanted to see Kyle Katarn and Saba Sebatyne on the big screen, I realized that Disney wasn't going to let that happen. So I got to wondering, since there was heavy implication that Rey is a Skywalker, who was Rey's mother? Did Mara exist in this new timeline? And thus, this story was born! I realize it's a bit of a stretch, but I had to separate Mara from the rest of the EU cast somehow, and this hyperspace accident will send her into the new canon, which will lead to a slight AU of episode 7.
Since this story was started prior to the release of Episode 8, I do realize that this story will likely have flaws that can't be corrected until more Disney canon material comes out, but I shall do my best to limit those flaws. Feel free to bounce ideas off me, I'm always up for listening to new ideas.
Reviews are always welcome, as is any and all constructive criticism. As an author, I'm always looking to improve.
Until the next chapter my friends!
From your Nutty Buddy,
The Eagle Nut