RATING: PG-13 - Violence
SUMMARY: Romance, betrayal and danger surrounds a conference being held on Ord Mantell for the newly formed Rebel Alliance.
FEEDBACK: - Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: All characters and things STAR WARS belong to Lucasfilm. The characters, Romulus Wort aka Darth Rasche, Voranda Sen, Zoebeida Dahl and Igraine Colbert are my creations.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the third Alternate Universe story in a series of five set between ROTS and ANH. It is set ten years after "The Corellian Connection".
"CROSSROADS OF THE FORCE" by RFK
17BBY - MOS EISLEY, TATOOINE
Two men slowly descended the ramp of a small star cruiser. The younger man regarded Obi-Wan Kenobi with deep brown yes that radiated hope. "Have you changed your mind, Obi-Wan? About Coruscant?"
The former Jedi Master heaved a regretful sigh. "I'm afraid not, Ferus. I have already taken a great chance by searching for you and helping you search for your friends, Roan Lands and that Garen fellow."
"But the more Jedi we find, the better chance we will have in creating a strong resistance against the Empire," Ferus protested. Several weeks ago, Obi-Wan had learned that Jedi Knight Siri Tachi's former padawan had survived the Jedi Purge. Obi-Wan decided to chance leaving Tatooine for the planet of Bellasa. There, he found both Ferus Olin and a young boy named Trevor Flume hiding from Imperial authorities. From then on, the trio set upon a series of adventures that included the rescue of Ferus' friend and business partner, Roan Lands; encounters with Boba Fett, a young bounty hunter whose father Obi-Wan had first fought on Kamino so many years ago; participation in a resistance movement against the Empire on Acherin; and the rescue of former Jedi Knight Garen Muln on Ilum. Following Garen's rescue, the trio and the Acherin resistance group set up a clinic at the Nixor Spaceport for the malnutrition Garen.
Obi-Wan gave the younger man a shrewd look. "Surely our experiences on Bellasa and Acherin have convinced you of the futility of such a movement? Now is not the time to confront the Empire, Ferus. We lack the manpower and the arms."
"And you believe that hiding out on Tatooine will help matters?" Ferus retorted.
A deep silence filled the small hangar occupied by the two men. A shaft of sunlight filtered through one of the hangar's windows, illuminating the gold highlights in Ferus' brown hair. For a brief moment, Obi-Wan had to restrain himself from over reacting to the young man's impudence. Until he realized that Ferus would understand better if he revealed the truth. Well . . . most of the truth. Obi-Wan took a deep breath. "Ever since the beginning of the Jedi Purge, Master Yoda and I have been in contact with my old master . . . Qui-Gon Jinn." He paused. "At least, Qui-Gon's ghost."
Ferus frowned. "How is that possible? Once a Jedi dies, he or she becomes one with the Force and loses the individual identity. Are you saying that it's possible to retain one's identity following death?"
"Qui-Gon has done it," Obi-Wan stated simply. "And he is now teaching both Master Yoda and myself." He gave Ferus an intense stare. "I could teach you how to contact Qui-Gon's ghost. And he can help you learn to retain your identity in the afterlife."
After a long pause, Ferus replied, "I'm sorry, Obi-Wan. Perhaps another time." The former glanced away in disappointment, as the other man continued, "I believe it is more important to find any surviving Jedi Knights."
"And confront the Emperor?" Obi-Wan sadly added. He sighed. "I see."
Ferus stiffened slightly. "Do you? I cannot help but wonder how your former padawan would have reacted to your suggestion. I cannot see him living in some remote corner of the galaxy, learning how to become a ghost."
Annoyed by the younger man's righteous tone, Obi-Wan replied sharply, "I assure you that searching for missing Jedi Knights is the last thing on Anakin's mind."
"Anakin is alive?" Ferus' deep brown eyes bored sharply into Obi-Wan's.
Obi-Wan cursed himself inwardly for his slip of the tongue. He, Master Yoda and Bail Organa had promised each other to maintain silence on the Skywalker family's situation. More importantly, Obi-Wan had not been able to reveal Anakin's brief stint as a Sith apprentice. Especially since Ferus already knew about the identity of Sidious' present 'emissary' - Darth Rasche.
"To be honest, I'm not quite certain anymore," Obi-Wan finally answered. "He was last seen by Solipo Yeb, the former senator of Andalia. According to an acquaintance of mine, Anakin had given Senator Yeb passage from Corellia to Avaram about a year ago. It seems he has become a freight pilot . . . and an occasional smuggler." He spoke the last words with slight distaste.
"I see." Ferus' face became expressionless. "In other words, seeking Anakin's help would be a complete waste of time."
Obi-Wan heaved another sigh. "Perhaps not. I am certain that Anaking might consider hel . . ."
"No, I'm afraid that you may have been right the first time, Obi-Wan," the younger man insisted. "That searching for missing Jedi would be the last thing on Anakin's mind. Obviously, being a freight captain and smuggler is a more profitable endeavor."
A retort hovered on the tip of Obi-Wan's tongue. He considered reminding Ferus that the latter had left the Jedi Order, while still a padawan . . . in order to form a business partnership with Roan Lands. But the former Jedi Master also recalled that an incident between Anakin and Ferus had precipitated the latter's departure from the Order. And he remembered that Ferus' business with Lands involved finding new identities for those who had exposed corporate wrongdoings. Since the creation of the Empire, the two partners seemed determined to create a Jedi sanctuary on an asteroid near Ilam. It would seem pointless to remind Ferus of his defection from the Jedi Order. Especially since it would pale in comparison with Anakin's defection. And if Ferus knew the truth about his former apprentice, his low opinion of Anakin would only strengthen.
Obi-Wan took a deep breath. "Well, it seems that the matter is closed." He started toward the hangar's exit. Then he paused, as whirled around to face the younger man. "But what if you do happen to encounter Anakin? What then?"
After a brief hesitation, Ferus shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, Obi-Wan. Perhaps I might suggest that he join Roan and me in our endeavor. I simply don't know."
The younger man's voice hinted reluctance. Which did not surprise Obi-Wan. Both Anakin and Ferus had never respond well to one another. Come to think of it, Anakin's relationship with Romulus Wort - now Darth Rasche - had been equally strained. "I'm sure that the both of you will decide upon the right course," Obi-Wan added. "As for this decision to go to Coruscant . . ."
"According to Galen, Fay-Tor might be there," Ferus said, interrupting the older man. "I must find out for myself."
"But to take the boy into danger with you," Obi-Wan argued. "Are you sure that is wise?" He referred to Ferus' young companion, a young orphan named Trevor Flame, who had remained aboard the starship.
Ferus quickly dismissed Obi-Wan's fears. "Do not worry about Trevor. As you have seen, he is quite capable of handling himself. Besides, I cannot think of no finer companion."
Nodding, Obi-Wan replied, "If you believe so." Then he fell silent. The two men reached the hangar's entrance. Beyond the opened doors, pedestrians rushed along one of Mos Eisley's narrow streets. "Well . . . this is where we part." Obi-Wan held out his hand to the other man. "Take care, Ferus. And be careful."
A smile touched Fergus' lips, as he shook Obi-Wan's hand. "I will. And I suggest that you do the same."
"Oh, and please do keep in touch." Obi-Wan sighed. "May the Force be with you."
Ferus gravely replied, "May the Force be with you, Obi-Wan. Good-bye." He turned away and strode back to the starship, inside the hangar.
Obi-Wan covered his head with his cloak's hood and slipped into the crowd that thronged the narrow street. Several minutes later, he glanced up in the sky and saw Ferus' starship zoom into the stratosphere. He wondered if he would ever see the younger man, again.
END OF PROLOGUE