Chapter 10: The First Temptation
"I have a bad feeling about this," Luke said as the Wildecat slide into an unused landing pad without a single incident.
"Come on, Master Skywalker," Ron shrugged, "It's not like Darth Shego let me go on purpose then let us back on board also on purpose just to have us walk right into a trap, right?" Ron blinked at the stare the Jedi Master gave him. "Oh right, that probably is it, nail on the head, huh? Drat."
"We're in luck then," Luke shook his head, "Walking blindly into death traps and coming out in almost one piece is our specialty."
Ron shook his head, and followed the Jedi Master out of the cockpit and on out of the customized freighter. The two Jedi quietly and quickly made their way to the door into the interior hallway of the battle station. "No guards … Unlocked Doorway … oh yeah, this is a trap."
"You think so, Master?" Ron asked, as they walked into the hallway, ducking to miss a blaster shot. "Yeah, I think so too!" Ron squeaked as they drew and activated their lightsabers in unison.
"Yeah, Ron," Luke said, moving his lightsaber to deflect a blaster shot, "after years of experience when you walk into a area with ease then get shot at unexpectedly, that usually means a trap."
"I'll remember that, Master," Ron said, leaping forward into a roll, before throwing his lightsaber at one of the blaster turrets firing at them.
The red bladed saber spun through the turret and Ron used the force to send it on through the remaining three. The still lit lightsaber flew back to Ron's opened hand and he smirked proudly, "That wasn't so bad."
"I wish you didn't say that …" Luke sighed as the door end of the long hall way opened and a group of strange troopers walked out. They resembled Storm Troopers, but instead of white armor it was shimmering chrome-silver and a full black face plate. "I really wish you didn't say that …"
"I'm going to kill him," Mara Jade raged as she stomped toward the bridge of the Mad Dog with Kim right on her heels. "No, I take that back. I'll clean out his rectum with his own lightsaber, THEN I'll kill him."
"Don't you think that's a little extreme?" Kim asked, shuddering at the mental image.
"I didn't say I'd turn the saber on, now did I?" Mara asked as the bridge elevator door slid open.
The two redheads entered the lift, and Kim finally got a look at the Jedi Knight's face. Mara's jaw was set twitching slightly and her brow furrowed in what to an outside observer would think to be rage. But Kim noticed that there was only a small flicker of anger in Mara's eyes, and it was vastly over powered by another emotion. "They'll be ok." Kim said comfortingly, and the anger instantly faded from the older woman's features.
"Luke's been lucky since the day he was born, Kim," Mara said softly, hugging herself, "that luck isn't going to last forever and … they don't call those damned things Death Stars for nothing…"
"Yeah, so people will get scared before they even fight it," Kim said, masking her own fear as best she could. "Master Skywalker and Ron are the two most resourceful people I've ever known. And Ron … is definitely going to survive, so I can give him a piece of my mind for pulling a fast one on me, same as Luke for you."
"Right," Mara gave a weak chuckle as the lift door opened. "What's the situation, Captain?" Mara asked as she and Kim entered the bridge.
"Right now, we're being careful to stay out of that thing's super canon's sights," Captain Barkin said, his eyes not leaving the Death Star on the main screen. "But they're not doing a thing, it's like they're … waiting for something." Barkin then pressed a few buttons on the control console in front of him. "Oh, never mind, looks like they want to play after all. Listen up! Launch all available fighters and have them go into attack mode as soon as they're in open space!" Barkin ordered as a large amount of TIE fighters erupted from the crimson Death Star.
"That's a lot of fighters …" Kim gulped seeing the blips appear on the radar screen.
"Eh, we'll get um," Barkin said confidently, before ordering the main canons to be brought on line.
"If you say so…" Kim said before noticing Mara looked somewhat pale, "Mara, what's wrong?"
"Luke …" Mara whispered, "Luke's in trouble …"
"What? How can you tell?" Kim asked, worriedly.
"I … I can feel it … Luke ..." Mara whimpered, her eyes wide and glazed over.
Kim took a deep breath, and pulled out her 'Universal Kimmunicator' that Wade had given her. "Wade, you there?"
"What's up, Kim?" Wade's digital voice came and young face appeared on the screen.
"Can you tell me where Ron is, on the Death Star?" Kim asked.
"Yeah, looks like he's in a fire fight and … oh boy …" Wade said, his features hardening in worry, "Total scan blackout in the next room and all inside past the point they are."
"Can we get some of our people in to help him?" Kim asked, her breath quickening with her heart rate.
"You guys have enough on your table, I'll give them back up." Wade chuckled.
"What do you plan to do?" Kim asked.
"Trade secret, Kimmie," Wade winked at the redhead. "Wade out."
Meanwhile, not to far away a Firespray-class starship floated beside a small asteroid. The pilot touched a few buttons on the controls and the small ship roared to life and the Wide Access Digital Energy (W.A.D.E.) communicator deactivated. "Ron, Ron, Ron, you just can't stay out of trouble, can you, pal?" the pilot said, pulling on a Mandalorian helmet as the starship Slave-1 shot toward the Death Star's location.
"Well …" Ron sighed, wiping some sweat from his brow with his sleeve, "That was fun." He said smiling down at his still lit lightsaber.
Luke glanced around at the fallen troopers, and glared at the young Jedi. "You know … it really was." He said a smile breaking across his face.
A loud hiss sounded ahead of them and the blast door slowly opened to lift. "If that isn't an opened invitation, I don't know what is, Master," Ron said as the two Jedi carefully entered the lift, and it jumped to life instantly. "Wonder where it's taking us?"
"Find out in a moment, I imagine," Luke said, closing down his lightsaber, and sitting down cross-legged.
"Meditate in a death trap?" Ron said, reluctantly shutting down his lightsaber as well.
"Trust your feelings and trust the Force, Ron," Luke opened an eye to smirk at Ron. "This is a sealed compartment with one way in or out, we're as safe here as anywhere on the station… unless they eject us into space. Then we may have problems."
"You think they'll do that?" Ron asked, a hint of worry in his voice.
"Doubt it," Luke said in a relaxed voice, "I doubt we'd have made it this far for them to just throw us out the back door into the vacuum of space." Luke then hopped up as the lift suddenly stopped and the door started to open.
"Unknown floor: central core, power converters, kidnapped Jedi Knights, and Evil Sith Lords," Ron joked as they cautiously exited the lift. The lift had in fact taken them to the core chamber, where a large catwalk led out to the central power converter. Below the catwalk was others leading to the converter and one very big drop.
"Ronald, come back you shouldn't have …" a voice spoke before them.
"Master Rue Fus?" Ron asked, feeling a trimmer in the Force. He quickly drew his saber, and glancing to the left saw Luke draw his own, obviously feeling it as well.
The two Jedi found the Jedi Knight in a large glowing red sphere just before the gigantic power converter. "I see you boys finally showed up, maybe you can get the stupid rat to shut up." Darth Shego said stepping out of the shadows, to smile ruefully at the two Jedi Knights. "Oh, didn't bring your little girlfriend with you this time?" Shego asked, her green eyes glaring into Ron's.
"Leave her out of this," Ron growled defensively.
"Oh why would I do that? We could have great fun, her and I," Shego smiled in amusement.
"Don't let her dog you, Ron," Luke said, "You get Rue Fus. I'll deal with her."
"You'll deal with me?" Shego scoffed, "Like you dealt with my father?" Shego laughed even harder, "Don't think I know how you 'defeated' my father, how he had you on the ground, begging you dear sweet daddy Darth Vader to save you!" Shego grinned, when she saw him narrow her eyes, showing she hit a nerve. She lit her light claws before continuing. "And least we forget, how it proved how spineless Lord Vader truly was, how he couldn't save you by facing my far superior father, but by attacking him from behind like a coward!"
Luke's eyes flared for a moment before he took a defensive fighting stance with a content smile on his face. "I know what you're trying to do, Palpatine. I've fallen to the Dark Side once before. It won't happen again. I've mastered my hatred, save your little tricks for your lackeys."
Darth Shego growled like an animal, before pouncing at Luke, her claws only meeting Luke's green lightsaber.
Blade and claws met in a ferocious dance, as Ron ran to his master. "I told you to forget about me!" Rue Fus argued, as Ron fiddled with Rufus's cage.
"Can't you use your saber to cut out of here?" Ron asked, as he studied the base of the cage.
"Ronald, don't you think I would have already done it by now," Rue Fus sighed crossing his little arms, "Took my saber she has, know where it is I do not."
"Ok … stupid question, but I don't even know how to work these controls!" Ron said agitatedly, fumbling with the controls with his free hand.
"Ronald … have a lightsaber I do not but YOU still do." Rue Fus all but spelled out for the nervous Jedi.
"Doh!" Ron said, glancing down at the red lightsaber in his hand. "sorry …"
Ron then jabbed the base of Rue Fus' cage with the lightsaber. The shield sparked a few moments before it vanished, leaving Ron's teacher free. "Hurry, help Master Skywalker we must!" Rue Fus called as they turned to see the Jedi Master and Sith Lord exchanging blows.
Luke spun around and brought his saber across Shego colliding with her claw. "Give up," Luke growled, readying his next attack.
"And give up all this fun, Master Skywalker?" Shego chuckled, slashing at the master again, "Say you've mastered your hatred, have you? Then it won't piss you off if I told you that after I'm done with you I'll torture Mara Jade until she's crying for death to take her for betraying my father by falling in love with his killer's son?" Shego's eyes danced when she saw blinding rage fill Luke's blue eyes. 'Bingo…' she thought as Luke's shoulders rose and fell rapidly.
"Yes, I'll torture her with sharp objects, pump chemicals into her blood stream so that every inch of her body will cry out with pain, and on top of that I'll use electricity, until she's hoarse from screaming in agony," Shego said as she crouched back in preparation. "And then … once I'm done, I'll let my men have her. They've earn a reward for their faithful service. Some haven't had a good woman in some time."
Shego grinned at the rage filling Luke's features. "Hasn't she told you? As the Emperor's Hand she was more then just an assassin. You see … when a member of my father's forces pleased him, he would send his best Hand, Mara, to personally thank them for their fine service… I'm sure she'd return to that role easily enough… " Shego trailed off, grinning, 'That had to do the trick,' she thought.
"THAT'S ENOUGH!!" Luke shouted out angrily, stabbing out wildly with his saber, missing Shego's head by a few inches.
"Oh, you missed, and left yourself open," Shego grinned wickedly, "Too bad, I can't miss at this range," She whispered into his ear, before plunging her claw into his torso and on out his side.
At that moment, on the Mad Dog, Mara Jade doubled over, hugging her belly, screaming in pain, "LUKE!!" She called out, as Kim caught her to keep her from falling flat on her face.
"Mara, what's wrong," Kim asked worriedly.
"Luke, damn it, don't you dare leave me …" Mara ordered, trembling in Kim's arms and sending as much of her strength through their connection as she could, "Don't you dare …"
"Mara?" Kim asked again, as the bridge shook from a blaster shot hitting the deflector shields. "Captain, are there any extra fighters?" Kim asked glancing up at Barkin.
"Yeah, a few X-Wings, why?" Barkin asked, before ordering the bridge crew again.
"Get it ready," Kim said, glancing at R2-D2, whistling and beeping worriedly at his master's beloved's side. "I can't just set here and do nothing, me and R2's going out there."
The small domed droid's main sensor turned to Kim and whistled in confusion. "You heard right, we're going to fight." Kim said, getting up and dashing out of the bridge with R2 beeping excitedly behind her.
Shego looked down at the fallen Jedi Master with a disappointed pout. "That was it? I was expecting more from the legendary Luke Skywalker." Shego crossed her arms, and sighed. "Oh well… Guess I'll have to go ahead and finish you then." She said relighting her claws.
"Step away from him!" Ron growled, his red lightsaber held out before him.
"Oh, do you wanting to be schooled in the ways of the Force too, little boy?" Shego asked, grinning at the Jedi.
"R-Ron, don't … she'll twist your thoughts, don't listen to what she tells you …" Luke warned dragging himself away from the Sith Lord, "Trust the Force, and use this …" He said tossing Ron his lightsaber. Ron nodded, biting down his nervousness, and lit Luke's lightsaber spinning it and his own sabers in his hands getting a feel for them.
"You going to play with the little laser swords or are we going to duel, my apprentice?" Shego asked, igniting her light claws again.
"I'm not your apprentice!" Ron challenged holding the sabers in an X formation.
"Yes you are, young Sith," Shego grinned, "You just don't realize it yet."
"I'll never be a Sith!" Ron stated, taking a fighting stance.
"Oh really? You know, your ancestors said the same thing, but your many generations grandfather was the greatest of all Sith Lords, and your many generations grandmother almost brought down the very republic she was sworn to protect." Shego took a step forward, "They learned that the Dark Side isn't so bad. I mean think about it Ron. What has the Light Side and the Jedi got? Peace, serenity, tree hugging? Do you not long for passion, lust, pleasure? The Dark Side can give you what you wish for much easier then what the Jedi and their Light Side have offered. Do you not want Kim?"
"No." Ron said taking a deep settling breath.
"Huh?" Shego tilted her head in confusion.
"The Dark Side can't give me what I want," Ron said opening his eyes slowly to gaze evenly at the Sith Lord. "Kim will be safe."
Shego narrowed her eyes, as her own breath started to come in angry pants, "I thought higher of you, Stoppable," Shego hissed, "So be it, Jedi, you're going down!" She growled, diving at Ron like a wild animal.
Ron took slow even breaths, moving his body only what was needed to deflect Shego's attacks. Ron's calm demeanor only infuriated the Sith more.
"YOU FOOL!" Shego screeched at the Jedi Knight, "You are nothing!" Shego screamed, throwing her clawed hand at Ron's face. He merely sidestepped on instinct, and brought Luke's saber upward, passing through the junction of Shego's elbow.
Shego screamed and gripped her wounded arm. She looked down at the dismember appendage at her feet, and then back at the Jedi Knight who bested her. "You … I'll get you back for this …" She breathed through pained gasps. "I will hurt you where it hurts the most …" She sneered, "Anyone associated with you is open season Stoppable, remember that …" she ended before dashing away down the catwalk.
"Excellent, Jedi Stoppable," Rue Fus nodded proudly from the unconscious Luke's side. "Served the Order and New Republic well this day, you have."
"Master Skywalker? Is he ok, Master?" Ron asked to his teacher.
"Yes, aided him in going into a healing trance I have," Rue Fus stated, "Fine shall he be."
"Good … so any idea how to blow this over grown tin can up?" Ron asked, glancing back at the power core.
"We have to destroy the power converter there, doing that and the core will eventually overload." Rue Fus stated, "But I fear we do not have any explosives to do such."
"You know, Kim says all the time I could destroy a chunk of Kashyyyk steel." Ron said standing up gripping his father's lightsaber.
"Ron …" Rue Fus said slowly, looking up fearfully, "Do not do what I fear you are thinking of doing …"
"It's the only way, Master," Ron said lighting his Saber, and using the Force to lift Rue Fus small body and the prone form of Luke and move them as far back toward the lift as he could get them. "Watch over Kim for me if I don't make it back."
"May the Force be with you … and protect you," Rue Fus bowed sadly, knowing this was probably the only way.
Ron walked up to the Power Converter and looked down at his father's lightsaber. True, it was a Sith's saber, but his father had used it to protect, to protect his mother and Ron for much of his life, and Ron in turn used it to protect those who he cared for. Ron knew even if by some act of the Force he survived this, his father's saber would not. Ron lit the saber and lifted it above his head ready to slice into the converter. 'May this redeem what my father's done…' he thought before closing his eyes and focusing on Kim.
He pictured her eyes, her crimson hair, her emerald eyes, her warm smile and her fierce determination. "I love you, Kimberly Possible," Ron said out loud, and reaching out through the Force to her one last time, before bringing his arm down in a forward slash.
"Say hello to my little friend!" Kim sneered as she fired a photo torpedo from her X-Wing right into a TIE bomber's bomb bay then flew over the exploding mess of metal.
R2 beeped and whistled, and Kim waited for the droid's translation to come on her screen. "Thanks R2, I appreciate that. And flattery will get you everywhere, little guy." Kim said with a smile.
Kim made her X-Wing spin and twist to avoid an incoming TIE Fighter then shot it apart with her blaster canons. "Nice try, pal, but you'll have to do better then that!"
I love you, Kimberly Possible
Kim froze as Ron's words sounded in her head, "Ron?" She asked and a moment later an icy numb feeling washed over the left side of her body, especially her left arm, left shoulder, and left side of her face. That lasted a few seconds before an intense burning pain washed over her whole body, causing her to scream out in the most agonizing pain she had ever experienced. She released the control stick of her X Wing, and gripped both sides of her head and stiffened her whole body screaming even louder.
"Kim! Kim! What's wrong?" the Com Officer asked worriedly over the communications channel, "Kim respond!" but all she got was more screaming, as tears of pain ran down Kim's cheeks.
R2 quickly took control of the out of control X-Wing. Kim finally stopped Screaming, but not because the pain lessoned but because it became too intense to even scream anymore. 'Focus your thoughts, Kimberly,' a regal voice spoke in her mind, 'push your strength through your connection'
'I don't … under … understand …' Kim responded through the pain to the voice in thought, 'who are you?'
'It doesn't matter right now, Kimberly,' the voice responded, 'focus your feelings on Ron. Use the connection through the Force to share your strength with him, ease each other's pain. He needs your strength now more then ever …'
"How?" Kim whispered out loud through gritted teeth. "I'm no Jedi …"
'You don't have to be,' the voice responded with the sound of a comforting smile in her voice, 'use his power. Trust in the will of the Force. Give him your strength.'
Kim nodded and focused her mind on Ron as R2 guided the fighter back to the Mad Dog.
"Wake up, Jedi," a hand slapped Rue Fus' whiskered face before turning to slap Luke's. "Unless you want to die, wake up!"
"Ronald? What?" Rue Fus gasped, seeing his reflection in the T shaped visor of the helmet.
"Boba Fett?" Luke gawked focusing his eyes on the Mandalorian Armored bounty hunter. "Aren't you dead?"
"So much for Jedi being all knowing," Fett stated with a grunt, "Where's Ron?"
Rue Fus just looked sadly at the broken catwalk before them and the destroyed power converter laying in shambles on the central platform. "Kim's going to kill me …" Fett said before activating his rocket pack and flying over to the central platform to search for the sacrificial Jedi Knight.
"Stoppable!" Fett yelled digging through the rubble, "damned Jedi … takes everything from everybody … worse then the Sith ever wanted to be …" the Bounty Hunter cursed as he continued to dig. He finally lifted a large portion of rubble and froze at the sight. "Ron …"
Ron lay unconscious on the floor. The left side of his face was burned horribly and his left arm and shoulder were completely gone. "Don't you dare die, Stoppable," Fett hissed, lifting the teenaged Jedi off the ground, and hovering across the broken catwalk where Rue Fus and the injured Luke.
"Ronald!" Rue Fus yelped, his high pitched voice filled with worry.
"He's alive … barely. We have to get out of here before this place goes up." Fett said as Rue Fus levitated Luke's weakened body and entered the lift, just as the space station began trembling.
Fett and the three Jedi made it back to the Wildecat and Slave 1, which Fett had landed in the same hanger bay as Kim Possible's prized spacecraft.
"Jedi, get Ron and Skywalker on the Wildecat, I'll pilot it out by Remote," Boba Fett stated letting the last standing Jedi to levitate Ron's broken body from the Mandalorian clone's arms. "How can you do this? How do you know Ron by name?" Rue Fus asked curiously.
"Another example of the Jedi's 'all knowing nature'," Fett snorted, "It's a trade secret, rat. Take care of that boy, he's the only good Jedi there is." He said tossing the small Jedi the remains of Ron's lightsaber. "He should be able to salvage his dad's crystal. Now get on board!" Fett ordered, turning and running toward his own ship.
Captain Barkin stood on the bridge of the Mad Dog as he watched with a smile as the latest Death Star began to go up. Outer panels of the massive space station began to explode violently. "Come on, Jedi …" He softly urged as the Mad Dog and the fighters of both sides began putting some distance from the unstable battle station.
Barkin shielded his eyes as the battle station exploded in a massive flash of light. "Com officer! Send a communication for the Wildecat. Any sign of them, people?!?"
"Just got a transmission from the Wildecat, sir," The Communications officer grinned, "They made it, as did another ship that's escorting them … but … but sir, Wildecat is asking for emergency assistance upon landing."
"Then don't stand there! Get a move on!" Barkin barked, "MOVE IT PEOPLE, MOVE IT PEOPLE MOVE IT MOVE IT MOVE IT!!"
Oh did it hurt. Ron thought as he slowly squirmed in the bed he was laying in. All he felt like he could do is groan in the soreness that was his body.
"Madam Possible," Ron heard a droid's voice speak up, "Madam Possible. The Master Jedi is awakening, Madam."
"Wha … Ron?" He then heard the sound of an angel's voice. He slowly opened his eyes, and though his left eye was a bit blurry, he could easily recognize the face of his best friend. "Hey, baby, welcome back …" Kim whispered happily, stroking his cheek soothingly.
"KP?" Ron whispered hoarsely. "What happened?"
"You got banged up pretty bad," Kim said, her puffy eyes tearing up for what was apparently not the first time. "You … do you want me to tell you everything now, or the watered down version?"
"Hit me, Kim," Ron whispered giving a weak smile.
"You … your left arm and shoulder was … just gone, Ron," Kim said, having to pause to fight down a sob, "it was replaced by a bionic prosthetic a lot like Master Skywalker's, and also the bones in the left side of your face was crushed and had to be rebuilt as well as a bionic left eye … once they get them fine tuned you'll never know the difference, Ron," Kim said, before breaking down in full, "I just thank the Force you're alive …I thought I had lost you…"
"I'm ok, KP," Ron whispered soothingly, taking her hand in his good hand, "Like you said, once they get fine tuned I'll be ok … how do I … how do I look?"
"There's some scars on the left side of your face," Kim said, holding up a mirror for Ron to see. It seem as though there was only a series of scars on his face around his left eye that resembled a star. "The miracle of Bacta and Master Skywalker and Mara's healing trances."
"See, being a Jedi has its advantages?" Ron smiled tiredly, only to have Kim throw herself on the bed beside him, hugging him tightly and snuggling into his chest and audibly thanking the Force and any deity she could think of for saving his life.
Ron rubbed her back, and whispered soothing things to her, and before he knew it she was asleep and he was rapidly following her.
But before sleep overtook him one of the things Darth Shego had said to him struck him again.
"Anyone associated with you is open season Stoppable, remember that …"
"How do you feel, My Lady?" Grand Admiral Thawn asked walking into the chamber occupied by the Dark Lord Darth Shego and her assistant Admiral Drakken.
"Other then this miner setback," Shego said, holding up her newly grafted bionic hand, "Everything is going according to plan."
"Should we ready the fleet, My Lady," Thawn asked, "With their victory against the latest Death Star and the New Empire's fleet, not to mention the wedding, the New Republic will be drunk with celebration."
"Let them have their fun, Grand Admiral," Shego smiled, working her bionic hand, "let them relax and believe they are safe. Then once the time is right, we shall crush them."
"Forgive me for speaking out of turn, My Lady, but what is the hold up?" Drakken spoke up.
"Jedi Stoppable, he is a wild card in all of this, he has the blood of Revan and Bastila coursing through his veins," Shego hissed with her voice not hiding the jealousy. "He will be turned or he will be killed, should we strike with him on the other side, our job will be much more difficult." She then turned to the shadows, "Darth Fist?"
A humanoid with monkey-like features, mostly in his monkey-like hands and feet, crawled out of the shadows walking not only on his feet but also on his fists. He was dressed in a black tunic and loose fitting gi pants. "Yes, my Mistress?" Darth Fist asked, looking up to the green skinned Sith Lord.
"Thawn, Drakken, allow me to introduce you to my Apprentice, Darth Fist," Shego motioned her hands to the Sith Lord. "Lord Fist, I want you to stalk Jedi Knight Ron Stoppable, and once you learn as much as you can. Destroy his life, if he turns to the Dark Side, bring him to me. If he does not … destroy him."
"As you wish," Fist bowed, before disappearing into the shadows.
"So now what?" Drakken asked.
"Simple, Drew," Shego sighed, "We wait… and enjoy the wedding." She said turning to the view screen.
In the Central Garden of Coruscant, a mass gathering was taking place. In the center of it all, in the Chamber Halls of The New Republic, among their friends and family, Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade were publicly declaring their love for one another in holy matrimony.
Standing before Admiral Ackbar, Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade prepared to say their vows to one another.
"Mara Jade," Ackbar spoke clearly, "Do you freely bind yourself to Luke, to be his companion, partner, aide, and comfort all the days of your life?"
"I do." Mara said without missing a single beat.
"And you Luke Skywalker," Ackbar said turning to the groom. "Do you promise to forsake all others, to be Mara's comfort and confidant, friend, lover, and companion for all your mortal days?"
"I do," Luke said flashing his Skywalker grin.
"For a relationship that started with me trying to kill you, this has become more then I could have imagined," Mara stated with a smile, "I have never felt more complete then now, knowing that we'll be together for eternity."
"Well," Luke suppressed a chuckled and winked at his sister, "Since Leia always wanted to kill Han, I knew where this could lead. You are more then I deserve, all that I desire, and all I need to feel whole. I love you, Mara."
"The rings, please." Ackbar requested, "The Rings are a symbol of your love, unbroken and shining, they show the galaxy the vows you make here today."
"Got 'em right here," the best man Han Solo said glancing down at Luke's droid, "R2? Rings … please?"
R2D2 whistled and wobbled before a compartment opened and a small mechanical hand slowly came out holding two rings, then dropped them into Han's hand.
"You have exchanged vows and rings." Ackbar stated proudly, "I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
As Luke moved in for the kiss, Kim pumped her fist into the air and led the applause with a loud "Booyah!"
"I present to you," Ackbar stated, puffing his chest out more then usual as Luke and Mara turned to the crowd, "The Skywalkers."
Kim giggled at the Solo boys Anakin and Jacen who were both seated at a far table, both obviously bored out of their minds.
"Kim?" a soft voice called from beside her, and she turned to see Jaina Solo looking up at her curiously.
"Yes, Jaina?" Kim asked the young girl.
"Where are Jim and Tim?" She asked blushing slightly.
"They're both at the Wildecat," Kim smiled, "they don't like weddings too much."
"Oh …" Jaina said disappointedly, before looking back up, "Do you think you can tell them I said hi?"
"Sure," Kim nodded.
"Thanks," Jaina grinned before joining her brothers.
Kim then spotted Ron across the hall standing by himself, looking very sad.
Kim made her way to him, and smiled up at him, "What's wrong, Ron?" She asked worriedly.
"Hey … Kim …" Ron said uncomfortably, all but telling Kim yes there was something wrong.
"Ron, what is it?" Kim asked, taking his hand, "Talk to me."
Ron pulled his hand from hers; ignoring the slight hurt look she gave him, "We need to talk …"
"Umm … ok," Kim gulped, having a bad feeling about the way he said that. She held her breath as Ron led her outside the reception hall.
To say Mara was getting tired would be an understatement. "This Reception has gone on long enough," She whispered to her new husband somewhat irritably while shaking hands with another diplomat she had no idea who or where they came from.
"The price of being a hero," Like gave her a small one armed hug.
"Assassin was nice," Mara stated, flashing Luke a dangerous look, "no one wanted to shake an assassin's hand."
"Something's wrong …" Luke said suddenly, and Mara too felt the faint wave in the Force.
A moment later, Kyle Katarn came up quickly with Rue Fus standing on his shoulder. Rue Fus had a pained expression on his rodent-like face.
"Rue, what's wrong?" Luke asked worriedly.
"It's Ron …" Rue Fus squeak, "Pain, great pain …"
"C'mon, let's find him!" Mara said as the four began combing the reception hall.
After ten minutes of searching, Luke and Mara finally spotted him out back, seated on the steps of the Reception Hall.
"Ron?" Luke asked, as he and Mara approached him.
He was seated, leaning forward with his face in his hands.
"I did it … I did it for her own good …" Ron breathed a shaky breathe. "She safer this way … w-with Darth Shego possibly targeting me …"
"Ron what's happened?" Mara asked sitting beside him.
"I remembered a lesson you taught not too long ago, Master," Ron sniffled, looking up at Luke." You remember, you said that a true Jedi will face a trial sooner or later … you said you faced your father … and Mara destroyed her ship, her only possession … well … I think I just went through my trial …"
"Ron …" Mara said rubbing his shoulder.
"I …" Ron said glancing up to the sky, where the Corellian freighter Wildecat was making the jump to light speed. "I said … goodbye …"
"Oh Ron …" Mara whispered pulling the young Jedi to her in a firm hug.
"I'm sorry …" Ron sniffed, "This is your wedding day, you're supposed to be happy …"
"We are happy about that," Mara consoled, "Ron … I respect your decision, as does Luke, if you need us, we're here."
"Thank you," Ron sniffed.
"You want to help me show Mara the Jade Sabre?" Luke asked trying to cheer the young Jedi Knight up.
"Sure," Ron nodded standing up.
"Jade Sabre? What's the Jade Sabre?" Mara narrowed her eyes.
"Your wedding present, dear," Luke gave her a smile. "One Ron here helped me build."
"Well, then Master," Ron said, forcing down his sadness for the time being, "Lets show it off!" Ron grinned.
"You sure you're ok?" Luke asked sincerely.
"Yup, I'll be ok," Ron nodded. "You two go ahead, I'll be right behind you, besides it's your ship."
Luke and Mara looked at each other, then at Ron, before giving in and going on ahead to the ship dock.
Ron watched them go, and once they were out of sight he let his smile drop and glanced down at his life-like prosthetic arm. With a heavy sigh, he looked toward the sky. He was a Jedi Knight, a Knight of the New Republic. He knew it was his destiny when he stepped on Yavin IV soil, and now he faced his destiny.
And for the first time in his life, he was facing it alone.
Or was he?
TO BE CONTINUED IN …
KNIGHTS of the NEW REPUBLIC
The Second Purge
Disclaimer: the wedding scene was taken from the Dark Horse Graphic Novel: "Star Wars: Union" by Micheal A. Stackpole.
C. Cowboy: well, that's about it for Episode I, I know there are several questions left unanswered, but don't worry, they will be answered in coming 'Episodes'. I hope you enjoyed the fic, and don't forget to leave a review!