Author's Note: Sorry if this one's shorter than you'd hoped for. It may be a while before I can update again, September shows signs of being a very busy month for me. On another note, for those of you who missed it, I posted a 'Proof Of Concept' chapter for a Warhammer 40k idea I had and a rewrite for A Witch, A Wizard And A Mechanic. If any of you are interested in those sorts of things please feel free to take a look.
En Route To Kuat
"We're coming up on Kuat, anyone who wishes to see our arrival would be best served to make their way up to the cockpit," Came Shaak Ti's voice over the intercom, surprising the occupants of the ship's mess hall.
"Already?" Harry asked, surprised. They had been alternating between studying Galactic Basic and practicing following the magic in themselves which flowed from outside. A process Aayla described as "Opening oneself to the Force". Both subjects were interesting, particularly to Hermione, but Harry had been enjoying himself as well.
Aayla smirked in amusement, as they pushed to their feet. "It has been most of the day Harry, we even skipped lunch to continue studying. Kuat is, galactically speaking, not all that far from where we were before. On some large and clear hyperspace routes."
He hadn't realized just how much time had passed, he must have been more involved in their studies than he had realized!
The three of them, Barriss remaining behind to continue her own practice with occlumency, made their way up to the cockpit. They arrived just in time to witness the transition from hyperspace to normal space*. The blue vortex of hyperspace giving way to first the stream of stars, then to a vision of normal space as they decelerated. A planet rapidly expanding to fill the window.
What now lay beyond the window almost literally dropped Harry's jaw. A large green blue orb which was remarkably Earth-like in appearance. That wasn't what caused his sense of awe however, and at first Harry didn't understand just what it was he was seeing. A great silvery circle wrapped around the planet, in an enormous ring. It was only as he spotted the ships coming and going from it that he finally comprehended it.
The planet of Kuat had an artificial ring entirely encircling it above its equator, an enormous space station. "Welcome to the Kuat Drive Yards," Aayla murmured beside him, sliding him an amused look when he glanced her way. "Believe it or not the ring station only represents a portion of the KDY themselves."
He nodded as more and more of the other details present began to register. Around the world orbited hundred, possibly thousands, of stations of various configurations. Many, the spider web like gantries of what he'd come to recognize in time as drydocks and refitting slips. Others, enormous hemisphere-like constructs bedecked with construction apparatus or starburst shaped platforms of unknown purpose.
A voice emanating from the ship's control board startled him from his observations. "Unidentified Charger frigate. This is Kuat Control, identify yourselves and purpose here," Came the brusque instructions.
Shaak Ti leaned forward and pressed a blinking icon on the control interface. "Kuat Control, this is Jedi Master Shaak Ti. Identification code being sent now. We're here to rally with the other Jedi," She said calmly, quickly typing out the code and sending it to the person on the other end of the conversation.
There was a pause, but the voice soon returned. "Identification confirmed. Apologies for the delay Master Jedi, it's good to see someone else has made it back to us. Forwarding you directions to the rally point, please do not deviate from the specified course."
She nodded absently to herself, "Understood Kuat Control, setting course now."
The ship slowly veered away from the planet as they fell into the preselected course towards the rally point. Soon enough, Harry was able to see a cluster of shapes growing larger in the distance. It was a couple minutes before they were close enough for him to truly discern their forms.
The first, and most obvious of these forms was a space station of some kind, a truly massive one judging by the way it dwarfed most of the ships in proximity to it. However, there was also scattered about it a number of large asteroids and platforms with varying conglomerations of structures built into their surfaces.
If he were forced to describe the station itself Harry would have likened it to a large wheel or perhaps a massive cog. The main body of the station being a large circle-like construct with eight massive spokes radiating outward along its outer edge, as well as over a dozen smaller spokes interspersed between them.**
As they got closer he took in a couple other features of note: First, he saw that there were dozens of smaller satellite platforms hovering at various points about the station. Second was that there were a pair of ships he recognized as Venator cruisers, such as those he'd witnessed on Felucia orbiting the platform with a number of less familiar, smaller vaguely wedge shaped craft.
Finally, however was the massive vessel sitting in the centre of the open, circular space at the station's heart. He found to his mild surprise that he actually recognized this vessel too after a fashion. He'd seen a couple vessels like it during their escape from Felucia, tumbling without guidance in the midst of the deactivated Separatist formation. A great broken circle with a large sphere in the centre, attached by a sturdy spar connecting to the section near the engines.
"What is that big ship in the middle?" He asked, pointing to it.
Aayla frowned slightly in thought. "A Lucrehulk battleship, one of the larger classes of ships used by the Separatists, don't know what it's doing here though. This is Republic space, not Separatist," She murmured back to him.
"Charger Frigate carrying Jedi Master Shaak Ti. This is Lagrange Point station Osk. If you'll release control to us we'll bring you in to dock momentarily. Please release underslung craft beneath you and we'll bring it in too," Came another voice over the speaker.
"Confirmed station Osk. Releasing underslung craft and control of the frigate," She responded before fiddling with the controls and then leaning back in her chair.
The ship began a slow graceful glide in towards the station a few moments later, after a dull thump echoed through the hull. The U-Wing disengaging to be flown into dock by computer control. It soon became apparent they themselves were being directed to a landing bay of some description on the ring's inner surfaces. The glowing aperture growing larger and brighter as they arced around the great ship docked in the station's centre.
The bay wasn't empty either, a number of ships, all of differing designs sitting within its illuminated interior. Harry wasn't sure what he expected, but he was almost surprised by the smoothness of their transition through the field over the bay's entrance. The ship not even shuddering as it passed through it.
In fact the only bump they felt was as the ship itself touched down on the dark grey deck plating of the bay. "Recognize any of the ships?" Aayla asked her Togruta friend.
Shaak Ti shook her head, "No, but I sense at least a few familiar presences in the Force. Master Yoda foremost amongst them."
Aayla nodded, "I felt him too, can't say I recognized the others as yet." At Harry and Hermione's questioning looks she explained. "Jedi have a distinct feeling in the Force…well, when they're not shielding at least. We're familiar enough with Master Yoda to recognize his presence easily. The others however are less distinctive."
Hermione perked up. "Is it like how we could see you with Magesight back on Felucia, even though we weren't in direct line of sight?"
Aayla looked at her questioningly, then shook her head ruefully, "Perhaps, I don't know enough about this 'Magesight' to tell you for certain. I will say that it's more like hearing a familiar song or sound, than it is 'seeing' anything. At least for me."
Hermione hummed understanding, then began muttering under her breath about needing to write some more notes when she got the chance.
Harry watched as various flight crew hurried about on the deck dragging hoses and cables up to their ship. A door opened on the far end of the bay and a figure began making its way towards them.
"And here comes the welcoming committee," Aayla murmured. "We'd better get down to the boarding ramp. It'd be impolite to keep them waiting."
Lagrange Point Station Osk
Command Tower Reception Room
Perhaps unsurprisingly it was Yoda who was first to become aware of the arrival of the party from Felucia. Being immersed in a meditative trance while the others discussed various matters of import around him. Indeed he was even aware their coming before the station's staff were, sensing their arrival moments after they dropped out of hyperspace.
There, not so far away really, were the familiar presences in the Force of Masters Shaak Ti and Aayla Secura. With them was the equally familiar presence of the former healer, Barriss Offee. It was the other two presences that caught his attention the most however.
Both were…clouded, almost semi-hidden from sight in a fashion reminiscent of Force Stealth, though with a distinctively different flavour in the Force. Whoever they were, he could sense they were there, likely because they did not know they were being observed and that they might need to raise their defences. Very little could be discerned through this occluding influence. But what he could make out was intriguing.
The first, radiated a sense of barely contained curiosity and intellect similar to Master Jocasta Nu. Someone who was ever on the search for new knowledge and understanding. An aura of compassion and wonder encompassing them. The second however was somewhat different, while there was a sense of intelligence and curiosity, it was somewhat more muted. The sense of power and protectiveness contained behind a thin facade was there for him to feel.
Yes, whomever these newcomers were, they were very interesting beings. He wondered just what part they had played in the events on Felucia. Regardless, soon enough they would be here and he could see for himself just who they were.
He came out of his meditative trance with a hum and shifted to regard those in the room around him. Bail and Breha stood away from him, murmuring quietly to one of the station's officers about where the ships arriving from Rendili were being directed to. Judging by the snatches of conversation he was catching, there was some debate as to whether or not the formation should be merged with another group.
A door opened at the other end of the room, admitting another man dressed in officer's grey into the room. "My apologies for interrupting Queen and Senator Organa. The group you anticipated have arrived and are en route to the station," He declared, coming to attention as he drew even with the group.
Yoda nodded absently to himself as he pushed to his feet and began to hobble towards the little group. Senator Organa taking it upon himself to respond to the man's announcement. "That is excellent news. If you could see them directed here upon landing, we have much to discuss with them."
The man nodded, "Of course Senator, I shall see to it personally." He said, before departing once again, this time taking the other officer with him.
The Organas turned to regard Yoda, "Have you…sensed anything about our visitors Master Yoda? I admit to some curiosity regarding them given what little I've heard."
Yoda nodded slowly, running a three digit hand over his head in thought. "Force users they are, though unfamiliar ones. Sensed their presences in the Force I have, and different; intriguing they are. Sense hostility I do not. Friends I hope they truly are."
The Queen regarded him shrewdly. "I was under the impression for years that Jedi were the only Force users of note in the galaxy. Yet in recent years they seem to be springing up all over the place. The Jedi, the Sith, The Guardians of the Whills, the Dathomiri Witches…"
The Grandmaster hummed agreement. "Uncommon they are, most preferring peace and solitude, but many traditions within the Force exist. All have a unique feeling to them. This pair, different they are from any I have encountered before," He smiled benignly at her. "Intrigued I am, and happy to be reminded that more to learn I still have."
"But where could they have come from, if you are not familiar with them? Felucia?" Bail asked, curiosity lighting his eyes.
The old Jedi shrugged. "Unlikely that is, familiar with Felucian shamans I am. Feel like those, these ones do not."
They settled into thoughtful silence for a time while they all digested what they'd discussed, and it was only a few minutes later that the door once again opened, allowing five figures into the room.
First, gliding gracefully into the room slightly ahead of the others was Master Shaak Ti. The tall Togruta woman, nodding regally to Yoda in greeting. Following her, only a step or two behind was Aayla Secura, the Rutian Twi'lek Jedi's gait sharper and crisper, but no less smooth than her compatriots.
It was the last three who produced the most reaction however. First were a pair of humans who Yoda was forced to overlook for the moment in favour of observing the reactions to the Mirialan who followed uncertainly in their wake.
It was proof of Alderaanian political skill and etiquette that there was no reaction from either the Senator or the Queen to this particular woman's presence beyond a slight wary tremor in the Force.
With that issue temporarily pushed aside his eyes once again fixed on the pair of unfamiliar newcomers, and he allowed himself to take them in properly.
The first, a male, was undoubtedly the more militant and protective presence he'd sensed from afar. He was slightly taller than the woman with him, dark hair, with startlingly green eyes which stared out from behind an anachronistic pair of glasses. He stood in a way that clearly suggested the ability and willingness to throw himself between a threat and his companion.
The woman, by contrast was peering around her companion curiously, her eyes quickly fixing on Yoda, before blinking in surprise. She was slight, with a distinctly bookish air to her, with somewhat wild hair that was drawn back in a rough knot behind her head. He could feel her curiosity quite clearly from across the room.
Yoda once again reached out with the Force, tentatively feeling for their presences, only to be surprised when they both straightened quickly, their presences suddenly winking out in the Force and the male's eyes fixed directly on his own. For a moment the aged Jedi thought the human would protest, but was pleasantly surprised when he merely raised a challenging brow at him before smiling thinly and nodding slightly in recognition.
Yoda pondered that reaction for a moment. His senses skimming over them in the Force had produced an immediate response, one which suggested he might have inadvertently violated some cultural norm or more he was unaware of. However after tracing his probing touch back to him, the human male had assessed him, silently calling him out on the action before acknowledging on some level that he had not intended harm.
That was interesting, few Force sensitives, could shield their minds to such an extreme that their presence entirely vanished in the Force. Indeed, even the former Chancellor, now Emperor, had only been able to shield his true self to the extent that he appeared unremarkable. These two however were able to vanish entirely!
"Glad I am, to see you before me today," Yoda said, bringing himself back to the present as the group drew even with them. "Sense I do, that a great many things which have thus far remained a mystery, shall soon become clear."
Aayla stepped forward and gestured to the pair of humans, "Master Yoda, it is my privilege to introduce Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, who assisted me when times were most dire on Felucia."
Both humans offered slight bows, nodding their heads in greeting to those present.
"Yoda I am, Grandmaster of the Jedi Order, and with me are Senator Bail Organa and his Queen, Breha Organa of Alderaan; of great help they have been to me in these troubled times," He said indicating the pair with him, noting the way the Harry and Hermione seemed to collect themselves stiffly upon realizing the import of the people present with interest.
"My thanks you have for the assistance you rendered to Master Secura. If not for your efforts a great disaster would have befallen the Jedi Order," He assured them.
Bail stepped forward, "Indeed, you have the thanks of the entire Republic for your aid to the Jedi. Without them, times might have become very dark indeed. Even still, the situation at hand is dire."
With formalities having been observed, Aayla nodded to the Senator, "We have heard some of what is happening via the Holonet, but the information is sketchy at best. If I may ask could you tell us some more about what is occurring?"
Yoda hummed, nodding his head, "Come at a worse time this Order 66 could not have. Spread thin the Jedi were, seeing to a number of battles in the Outer Rim. Difficult it was to get word to the Jedi taking part in these battles."
"Order 66, Master Yoda?" Shaak Ti inquired.
He nodded seriously, "Yes, know you do of the biochip implanted in the clones. Believe we do that this order when given, activates the implant overriding the clone's will. When given this order was, turn on us the clones did."
"Do we know anything new about how or why the order was given when it was?" Asked Shaak Ti in return.
Yoda shook his head. "Know I do now that a number of Jedi attempted to ensure the Chancellor would step down when ended the Clone Wars did. Know also I do, that Anakin Skywalker approached them about an urgent matter before departing for the Senate building himself some time later. What truly happened there, none may know for certain."
Sighing Shaak Ti shook her head sadly, "I fear it would have been too late to stop the order going out because I only received the warning about the same time the Emperor was being confronted."
Aayla hesitated, stealing a quick look at Harry and Hermione and quietly shook her head, "Even if we had the time the consequences of stopping the order altogether could have been worse." She muttered quietly to herself, possibly unaware any had heard her. Yoda for his part wondered just what consequences she'd been referring to.
Shaak Ti and Aayla grimaced, before bobbing their heads in acceptance. "How many of our number survived?" Aayla asked.
"Many more than would have had you not warned us." Yoda replied, observing her with interest. "Manage to get word to many Jedi we did. Many have arrived here at Kuat already," He assured her.
Bail inclined his head at her, "My fellow Senators and I…well those loyal to the Republic at least, managed to aid many Jedi in fleeing Coruscant in light of the evidence provided to us by the Jedi. If not for that, who knows if enough of us would have defied the Chanc—Emperor and broken away?"
Aayla nodded, "We saw that on the Holonet. I was surprised at how many systems chose to break away. Still…it's so few compared to the many who remained with this new Empire."
"Not so alone are we as perhaps we could have been," Yoda mused. "While efforts to speak with the Separatist leadership have been in vain, some still resist the Empire. More it would have been had Skywalker not attacked their council at Mustafar."
This appeared to produce a reaction, Shaak Ti and Aayla registering shock while Barriss, still quiet in the background appeared dumbfounded. "A great tragedy it is that fallen so far Skywalker has. Defeated he was at Mustafar, but fear I do that the last of him we have not seen."
Shaak Ti raised a hand to stop him, "I'm sorry Master Yoda, but could you explain that a little to us, I'm afraid I feel like I've missed something."
Yoda nodded, suitably chastened, "Know the full details of what happened there I do not. Save that when Senator Amidala and Master Kenobi confronted Anakin on Mustafar after he had slain the Separatist council which had taken shelter there," He explained patiently. "Used their connection to the Separatist fleets he did to shut down their military might."
For the first time since arriving one of the strangers spoke. Harry jerking his chin in a nod, "We saw the Separatist fleet over Felucia, they were just floating there, nobody controlling them," He said. "It's been a few days since we were there though, has nobody reclaimed them yet?"
Bail shook his head. "No, save for a few isolated pockets. For now the Empire seems content to allow them to drift. Not surprising I suppose, the Emperor achieved his objective, he no longer needs them for his war."
The younger human frowned, "That still strikes me as odd." "Around the same time as the council's deaths it was," Yoda explained patiently. "Why it is, speculate we do that it was Anakin who used their command codes to deactivate the fleets."
"Without the Council, Grievous or Dooku to direct things, it is likely the Separatist leadership is too fragmented to organize any efforts to retake their forces," Aayla explained. "Intelligence during the war indicated the Separatist Senate was highly factionalized and it was only Dooku and the Separatist Council who could get them to organize in any meaningful way."
"No doubt just as the Emperor desired," Bail muttered.
Harry cocked his head considering, "About what time did the fleets go inactive?" He asked.
"Do you think those command codes would still be present there?" Harry asked. "I mean, why did the Emperor use it to disable their fleets and not take control of them?"
Bail shrugged. "We suspect it has something to do with how Anakin was confronted by Padme and Obi-Wan soon after. It's possible that the Emperor and his agents were too preoccupied with other matters to further utilize the codes."
Harry's eyes sharpened on them, and for just a brief moment Yoda felt the swelling of something important in the Force. "If those codes are still there, is there any chance the Republic might be able to use them to claim those fleets for themselves?" ***
There was a beat of silence, all present too startled by the implications of that, which was broken a moment later by a startled bark of laughter from Master Secura. She smiled shaking her head. "Saving the galaxy again, eh Harry?"
Bail collected himself before Yoda could enquire about that turn of phrase. "If you'll excuse me I believe I have something urgent to discuss with the Senator from Corellia, his agents are doubtless in a better position to check into that than ours are at present," He said before making for the doorway at speed.
"You said 'Saving the galaxy again," Murmured Breha. "Am I to take it then that our friend here played a large part in events on Felucia?" She asked after the door had closed behind her consort.
"It's…a bit of a long story," Harry replied, looking sheepish.
"Well, it seems that as we are still waiting on the arrival of Master Kenobi and Senator Amidala, we have something of an abundance of time," Breha returned calmly, a small smile quirking her lips. "When Bail returns we should retire somewhere more comfortable to discuss such things."
Harry nodded, "If I might ask, from how far away are they coming?"
Breha didn't seem bothered by the question. "Mustafar is far in the galactic south. It is likely that at the earliest they will be arriving early tomorrow."
He inclined his head in thanks, though Yoda noted that his companion had withdrawn a pad of flimsi and was writing something down on it in response to that information.
It was only a minute later that the Senator returned, "My apologies for my sudden departure, but every moment could make a difference when it comes to this." Bail said looking invigorated by the possible boon before them.
"I was just saying to them Bail, that perhaps we should retire somewhere more comfortable to continue our discussions," his wife informed him.
He nodded, "If they are willing, I heartily agree, there is much that remains a mystery in all this, and I feel that you might have many answers." Bail agreed shifting his attention to the newcomers.
To Yoda's mild surprise both of the other Jedi looked to the humans in their company first, deferring to their preference before voicing their own opinions.
For their part, the humans looked at each other, seeming to communicate silently though Yoda sensed no disturbance in the Force at their doing so. Perhaps they merely understood each other well enough that no actual words were required in this case?
Finally the woman nodded, "That'd be fine. Though we must warn you, much of what we're going to tell you cannot go beyond those present."
The Alderaanians were apparently unsurprised by this stipulation. "It will all be held in the strictest confidence," Bail assured them.
All eyes shifted to regard the Grandmaster at this point, and he found himself nodding slowly. "If regarding the safety of the Jedi Order it is, I can only promise so much. However endeavour to keep what secrets I can, I will."
The caveat in his reply resulted in more veiled looks between the humans before they nodded slowly in return. "We can work with that."
Breha smiled, ever the beneficent hostess, "Then let us adjourn to more comfortable places. If you will follow me?" She said, and they all fell in step behind her.
The suite set aside for use by visiting dignitaries was a vast improvement over the conference room they'd been utilizing before. Strictly speaking both were made with the same austere white panelling and grey deck plating. But where the first had been spartan in the extreme, the suites and the common area they were situated around, were lavishly decorated. A thick blue carpet covering the cold deck plating, thick comfortable couches and recliners had replaced the utilitarian plastoid chairs, and beautiful tapestries and banners hung around the room.
Upon entering the Queen waved regally to the guards posted about the space, "Please leave us, this meeting requires privacy." She said calmly. The guard captain, easily spotted by the silver and gold accents to his armour saluted before leading the others from the room.
Queen Breha led them to a circle of couches around a low table, situating herself and her husband upon one of them before waving to the others arrayed about them, "Please be seated so we can get to the truth of the matter."
Harry gave Hermione a silently questioning look, and she paused, clearly thinking for a moment before nodding. It didn't take legilmency to clearly convey their meanings between them. "Very well your majesty, although I must warn you, the truth of our presence here is stranger than most fiction you'd ever encounter."
The Jedi, and former Jedi, with them, save for Grandmaster Yoda had seated themselves on the couches. Perhaps it was because these couches were better suited to larger lifeforms, but the aged alien, who reminded Harry of a green house elf, remained standing, leaning heavily on his walking stick.
Harry drew his wand from its holster and conjured a small, appropriately scaled chair, beside Yoda who gave a small start at its appearance. He wasn't the only one. Bail and Breha both gasped in shock as well. Yoda recovered quickly however, and reached out a questing hand to feel at the fabric of this newly arrived piece of furniture. "Real this is, though not real as well. Fuelled, shaped, by the Force it is." He murmured, before tentatively taking a seat in it, shifting about a bit before settling and nodding his thanks to Harry, who had to give the aged alien credit for adapting quickly. "Even more curious this makes me. Look forward I do to your truth which is stranger than fiction."
Harry remained standing, though Hermione had taken a seat while he was preoccupied. He turned to regard the still stunned Queen and Senator. "My name is Harry Potter, my friend here with me is Hermione Granger. We come from a planet called Earth, and are what our people refer to as Magic Users."
Being openly addressed again allowed the pair of Alderaanians to collect themselves and Bail replied, after clearing his throat uncertainly. "Earth? I have never heard of such a planet, might I ask what system and sector it is in?"
Hermione spoke up here, "Truthfully, we do not know, and after I searched the maps aboard our ship I am inclined to believe that you won't find it on any map anywhere in this galaxy."
That brought them up short, Harry included, he hadn't been aware Hermione had found the time to peruse a Galaxy map for their home planet. Bail cocked his head curiously at her, "Can you explain that please Miss Granger?"
She nodded, "Simply put, this Galaxy has more galactic arms and is many thousands of lightyears greater in width than the Milky Way. Taking that evidence into account I have to say that this Galaxy is not our home Galaxy."
"I'm sorry, did you just say you're from another Galaxy?" Bail asked, before asking the obvious followup question. "How did you get here?"
Even Harry blinked at that statement from Hermione, but he cleared his throat and pressed on. "Er—yes, I suppose that makes sense, and we'll get to just how we got here in a minute. As I was saying however, we are part of a society of what you'd refer to as Force Users native to one of the hundreds of nations on Earth. Interestingly, the Force, or magic where we are from seems to be less naturally prevalent, however magic users, or Force sensitives are far more common. In Great Britain, our home nation, alone there were around ten thousand**** of us in that nation alone."
This caused a notable widening in the eyes of a certain green, alien, Jedi Master. "So many you say?" He said, before visibly restraining himself. "Hmmm. A strange place this world you speak of seems, for Force sensitives to be so numerous there…" Yoda shook his head, closing his eyes as he thought. "Strange it seems, unbelievable almost, yes, yet ring true your words do. So truth they may well be."
Harry nodded, "It can be strange certainly, and I understand your scepticism. However, coming back to the question of how we came to be here, that is mostly Hermione's doing."
His friend gave him what could only be classified as 'a look'. "While it is true that I did most of the research on the…device that allowed us to come here, I would not say it was precisely my doing." She said, before turning her eyes back to those around them. "The device was an ancient magic—Force imbued archway kept in the research division of our Ministry back home. Previously, it had been thought passage through the archway resulted in instant death, as any who stepped through it did not return. However, I was able to make a breakthrough when studying the runes on the arch itself, and discovered it wasn't a portal to instant death as feared."
"It was a portal here, wasn't it?" Breha asked, surprising those present, and Harry had to credit her deductive reasoning. The Queen was clearly an intelligent woman.
Hermione nodded, "Yes—well, here as in this Galaxy. It actually dumped us on Felucia when we travelled through it."
"A grave risk it was you took, yet here you are, now of all times?" Yoda mused, tapping his clawed digit on his cane. "The will of the Force it may well be."
Harry considered that, then shrugged. "Our people do not see the Force in the same way you do, however I do know that some things are predetermined by something other than our own choices." He conceded.
Yoda nodded sagely. "Interested I would be, to speak of your people's ways. Very different they sound from those of the Jedi. But please, continue your story you should."
Harry nodded, "We only had time to set up our camp on Felucia before we started sensing some rather odd things. Sensations we later came to realize were Aayla casting her senses about through the Force."
Aayla indicated she wished to speak by leaning forward and catching Harry's eye. "I had been troubled much of that day, a strange sense of something in the Force I could not pin down. I feared a Separatist ambush, so I cast my senses about. Finding nothing, it was not terribly long after that I began to get brief glimpses or feelings of something in the Force around me. I was distracted for a time, by a battle against Separatist Forces, but the feeling just got more and more intense as time went on."
She indicated Harry should take over again with a small nod in his direction. "That was in all likelihood because we were shadowing her at that point, curious about this conflict we'd stumbled upon and the woman leading one of the armies. We lingered partially from curiosity and partially from caution, not wishing to perhaps give ourselves away by leaving too hastily."
Harry shook his head, "Something we did must have piqued Aayla's curiosity because she led a small patrol away from the formation, but not before one of her soldiers received a transmission. I didn't realize the significance of that message at the time, but I believe it was when her soldiers received the order to turn on her. They attacked her not far from our position."
Here Bail stopped them, "But that doesn't make sense, she warned the Jedi of the betrayal, how could she have done so if the order caught her by surprise like everyone else?"
Harry smiled thinly. "It'll make sense in a minute, please just bear with me a little longer." He requested.
Bail still appeared confused but accepted the request. Breha Harry noticed looked strangely calculating, her eyes dark as she considered something.
"We managed to rescue her, but not before she was gravely wounded, it took a good deal of time back at our camp to patch her up. All the while we were beset by visions, images of what was happening to the Jedi elsewhere. When she awoke and after we'd discussed what had happened, Aayla was understandably upset and impressed upon us the scope of what had just occurred." Harry explained patiently, before looking fondly to Hermione. "It was then that Hermione had a thought. Not unusual for her I assure you."
She smirked at his attempt at humour and shook her head. "The department I worked for in our government back on Earth studied many great and wondrous things. Some terrible things too, I confess, but great things as well. One of the departments there used to study the concept of time and magic's—the Force's affect on it."
Dawning comprehension began to show in the eyes of some of those gathered and she pressed on. "After an…incident in that department it was largely shut down, save for cleanup operations. However, one of the devices created to manipulate time on a small scale survive, albeit damaged."
Harry drew the broken time turner from his pocket, holding it up. He'd anticipated this topic coming up again in the near future. Hermione nodded to it, "That is—was, a time turner, it could, when functional, allow for transit back in time up to a period of a couple days. As it was damaged however it limited that time somewhat." Here she paused, and Harry noted all the eyes now fixed on the little device. "We'd initially brought it along for use in case of emergencies. However, when faced with what had just occurred I found I could not conscience withholding the opportunity to use it from Aayla."
"You travelled back in time, that is how you warned the Jedi." Breha murmured, clearly surprised to find herself speaking of such a thing.
"We did, only a few hours, just barely enough really," Aayla concurred. "We arrived at the Republic base on Felucia with barely any time to spare. We…overpowered the comm room's staff and sent our warning to the Jedi. The rest largely involves stealing a Republic ship, removing its transponder and then meeting back up at the appropriate time. You can likely guess the rest, we met up with Shaak Ti and Barriss some time later and then made our way here when the Imperials started to close in on us."
Yoda hummed, his eyes closed again as he pondered what they'd just heard. "Only truth do I sense in the Force from you, so truth it must be. Momentous this is, unprecedented…hmm. Grateful we are for your timely assistance, doomed we might otherwise have been."
Bail sat forward, shaking his head. "I'm sorry, I need a moment to accept this, it is just all so unbelievable, time travel!"
Surprisingly it was Yoda who responded to this statement, "Unbelievable? Hrmhmmhmm," He chuckled to himself. "Perhaps, yet often it is said, that nothing is impossible with the Force as ones ally."
They sat in silence for a time digesting it all. Finally Breha spoke up. "I assume being forced to flee Felucia has rather complicated the question of returning home? If the portal to your world is there…"
Hermione shook her head, "Yes and no, you see while the 'portal' deposited us on Felucia, it was implied from my studies that returning would not be as simple as turning around and walking back through. We were, only mildly surprised when we found no corresponding arch on Felucia. We have something of a…quest, if you will, before us if we are to find our way home. Add to that the fact we are searching for someone who passed through the portal before us, and we may be here for a long time before we can return home."
The others gathered, save Aayla stared at them in shock. "You entered the portal knowing there was no guaranteed means by which to return home?"
"In essence yes, we always knew this was a step into the unknown." Hermione agreed.
Breha looked them over appraisingly, "You are very brave to attempt such a thing."
Harry chuckled, "Gryffindors," was all he said, though it produced a chuckle from Hermione in response.
The Queen eyed them inscrutably for a time before nodding acceptance, "Come, we shall request some food of the kitchens, perhaps we might discuss you and your world some more over dinner? I find myself curious about the place you described."
"That is most gracious, your majesty," Harry said. "If you would not mind however, there may be a couple matters we should see to aboard our ship before we eat. Would it be alright if we left for a few minutes before returning here to eat?"
The Queen seemed unperturbed by his request, inclining her chin regally. "It is no problem, it will take the cooks time to prepare a meal anyways."
Harry bowed slightly at the hips, and Hermione curtsied slightly, "We will be back shortly then."
Aayla and the other two who had been at Felucia made to follow them out, but she herself was stopped when a voice called out to her. "Master Secura, stay a moment would you? Desire to speak of a few matters I do."
*Hyperspace is, according to the Star Wars wiki, an extradimensional plane used for faster than light travel, it is not merely travel at an incredible velocity. Thus the differentiation of 'real space' and hyperspace.
**While far from identical to it, this station's aesthetic is 'inspired' by the Fondor Shipyard map in Battlefront II. Imagine it being of even larger scope than that shown in the game and a closed circle as opposed to broken/open. It also lacks some of the, er… weaknesses built into that station's design for gameplay purposes. After all, if you were going to design a dry dock in real life you'd be a lot more careful about which delicate structures you exposed to open void and potential strafing runs.
***This idea was pioneered on FF by Plums.
****Estimates of Wizarding Britain's numbers are varied. And most are frankly ludicrous simply in terms of the numbers required to create a sustainable population. A few are somewhat more reasonable, but do not take into account just how large the Ministry is in comparison to the nation it governs. In almost all estimates Wizarding Britain is egregiously top heavy. I considered an even larger number to balance this out myself, but chose to refrain somewhat in the interest of not stretching credulity to the breaking point.
Author's Note: Hope you all enjoyed that. Thank you to my betas Temporal Knight, twilliams1797, Rimtuuk, HowInMadHowie and zcnk.