Atunda, 1/1 23 AI

Before Edam shipped out this time, he insisted that I make him a promise. "Ive," he said, "this isn't going to be an easy year for any of us, but keep yourself and Alys happy in any way that you sensibly can."

I know it would be unjust to assume that it's easy for him to say that. After all, he took a leave of absence for an unheard of week last year when I lost the baby. Between the three of us, we're all that each other has. My parents were on Alderaan, but I don't speak of that in polite circles. His mother died in childbirth and his father died just after Alys was born. At least they all got to meet her and she has memories of them. I dislike that she knows so much loss when she is only seven years old, but she is still a child. She still thinks that there is no chance that Papa will go to join Grandmother and Grandfather.

Relatively speaking, she may be right. Edam was transferred at the last round of reassignments to be one of the bridge officers on the Star Destroyer Avenger. That is in Vader's fleet and so far, though many have tried, no Rebel force has ever conquered that fleet. Needa is a good man with a family of his own and I do not believe that he will put his ship at unnecessary risk.

Edam asked me to make our family happy in his absence, so the first thing I did was to take some of the higher salary that had come with his promotion to Colonel and find a good school for Alys. There aren't many schools beyond Coruscant that will accept deaf students at all, but Coronet Academy is quite different. There is an equal mix of hearing and hearing-impaired children, but all have at least one family member who understands Galactic Standard Sign Language. In addition, every single student there is the child of someone serving in the Imperial armed forces.

We toured the school today--Alys will be starting the second form on Satunda and I did not relish the idea of sending her alone to an unfamiliar place. Her instructor will be Lady Sarlik, a soft-spoken woman from Chandrila who has a deaf husband.

Edam would approve of this place. It is a small school with fewer students to each teacher and the war is not ignored. No one ignores the honorable services of the parents. There is a holoscreen in each class room with the name of the child and a holo of both the child and the ship where Mama or Papa is serving or the logo of the division to which the parent is assigned in the infantry.

The only thing that struck me as wrong was a relatively minor thing. Traditionally, the GSSL sign for Alderaan has been the letter A opening like flower petals in remembrance of the Royal Gardens at Antibes. Today was the first time that I saw the new sign used for it. When talking to us, Lady Sarlik mentioned that I had grown up on Alderaan. She signed the letter A and then converted it into the sign for explosion. Alys seemed distressed by this and I demanded to know if she would be required to disrespect her mother's homeworld in that way. Sarlik looked rather abashed and asured me that this was not the case.

Despite this minor argument, everything went smoothly. We went to dinner in the Theater District to celebrate and got her new school uniforms. Alys has been remarkably patient in this whole process--she is accustomed to not having Papa there at night and she likes our new house much better than the cramped apartment that we all shared on Coruscant.

I want her to be happy here. I want Edam to feel happy here when he comes home on furlough. I hope I have made headway in that effort.