Chapter 1 An Accidental Passenger
Jesse Ryenae stood facing an imaginary opponent in one of the many practice arenas at the Jedi Temple. He fingered his lightsaber that was still warm from earlier, when he had dueled his best friend, Mon. That had been a long battle, as both were skilled fighters, especially for their age- only eleven. Master Gwinka had told Jesse that a Jedi master named Aryce Kuinnaad had been asking about him. Jesse knew Master Kuinnaad, everyone did. He often helped teach classes when he wasn't on missions. Everyone liked him. Even though Master Gwinka had told Master Kuinnaad that Jesse wasn't quite ready to be apprenticed yet, Jesse's hopes and dreams were soaring. Hence, the imaginary battle that he hadn't gotten to yet, that was suddenly interrupted by his friend, Gala, bursting through the door.
"Jesse!" she looked relieved that she'd found him. "I need your help. Please!"
Jesse was instantly alert. "What is it?" he asked trying to calm her down.
Gala leaned against the wall, panting hard. "Ko'arn went into the hangar!"
"WHAT! We aren't allowed in there. Why'd he do that?"
"It was a dare. Please Jesse, help me find him, so I can talk him out of doing it. I know I can." Gala begged.
"Paint a stripe on one of the ships. Please? If we get caught, I swear I'll take all the blame."
Jesse hesitated. He wasn't particularly fond of breaking rules, but he didn't want his friend to get into trouble either. Finally he gave in, "Oh, alright. But we can't stay for more than a few minutes. If we don't find him fast, we leave. Got it?"
Gala nodded, already halfway out the door. Jesse quickly followed, hoping this stunt wouldn't land him in too much trouble. After sneaking into the hangar, they wandered through the numerous ships searching for the initiate without any luck when the sound of footsteps made them both freeze, then bolt for cover. Gala squirmed between two boxes and Jesse jumped into a ship's storage hatch that had been left open. The footsteps came closer, and Jesse ducked behind some crates in the hatch as someone shut the door.
Swell. Jesse mentally muttered.
He felt his way around in the dark space, trying to find the door that led to the cabin. The sound of the engine starting made him search even more frantically. Finally he found the door. It was locked. Jesse groaned and concentrated with the Force. After several minutes, he managed to unlock it.
"Need a little more work on that." He told himself as he pushed the door open. At that same moment the ship jumped into hyperspace.
"It's just not my day." He said.
"Jesse Ryanae, what in the name of the Force are you doing on this ship?"
Jesse spun around and came face to face with the two Jedi he idolized most in the whole galaxy. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Jedi that had originally found him at an orphanage on the little planet of Kayan. He had once hoped that one of them would become his master, but since Obi-Wan was still Qui-Gon's padawan, he didn't think that would happen. Of all the thousands of Jedi they had to be the ones to catch him.
"Well?" Qui-Gon crossed his arms over his chest, obviously expecting an answer.
"Well…it's kind of a long story." Jesse began. "See, I was in the practice room when Gala came in and said she needed my help to stop Ko'arn from doing a stupid dare. He'd gone into the hangar, so we followed him. Then we heard footsteps and hid."
"So is Gala on this ship somewhere too?" Qui-Gon interrupted.
"No, she hid by some boxes. I hid in the hatch. And as soon as the ship started I was looking for the door, but it took me a while to find it, and then it was locked, so it took me a while to get it open." He quickly wrapped it up.
"I see." Was all Qui-Gon said.
"I didn't know the ship was leaving." Jesse said miserably. He was really in for it.
Qui-Gon looked up at the ceiling. "Jesse, stay here. I need to talk with Obi-Wan." He finally said.
Jesse nodded. He felt about two inches tall.
"Well, this is an interesting twist." Obi-Wan said when the door was shut behind them.
"Really. Just what are we supposed to do with him? There have already been too many delays with this mission."
"And it's not like the ship's going straight back to the Temple either." Obi-Wan added. "He could go with Master Jakka to Ryind."
"A planet under constant attack by a neighboring star system?" Qui-Gon gave his padawan a look.
"Ok, bad idea."
"Bad idea." Qui-Gon agreed. "He'll just have to stay with us. The negotiations shouldn't take too long, and we'll bring him back afterward." The Jedi master shook his head. "This ought to be fun."
Obi-Wan grinned and followed his master back into the cabin where Jesse was staring out the window. He looked up when they entered.
"Well Jesse," Qui-Gon sat down, "you'll find it interesting to know that this ship isn't going back to the Temple. After we disembark on the trade federation's ship, the captain has another Jedi master to drop off, and then it's going to the other side of the galaxy. So, you'll be staying with us."
"Really?" Jesse tried not to sound too excited.
"Really. But," Qui-Gon quickly added sternly, "we're not going to be turning this trip into a vacation. As soon as we get back to the Temple, I can assure you, you will be in deep trouble. Until then, consider this a learning experience."
Jesse nodded, trying desperately, and failing miserably, to look ashamed, but he was too excited. He'd never been away from the Temple before, much less off planet. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan tried not to grin at his badly concealed delight.
"Obi-Wan, go tell the captain about our extra passenger; I'm going call the Temple to make sure they don't send out any search parties."
"Yes Master." Obi-Wan left the cabin.
"Can I go too?" Jesse asked quickly. He wanted to see every inch of this ship.
"Go ahead." Qui-Gon once again had to fight the urge to smile. Must be going soft in his old age.
"Obi-Wan!" Jesse ran to catch up. "Master Qui-Gon said I could come too."
"You wanted to see the ship?" Obi-Wan asked, amused.
Jesse nodded enthusiastically.
"Alright. Come on then. I'll tell you about our mission on the way to the cockpit."