Chapter One: Which Way?
Nobody knows who-or what-discovered hyperspace. Only through that otherworldly dimension was faster-than-light travel possible, and it was very dangerous. One misstep would plunge you into the abyss-or worse.
Jaina Solo, however, wouldn't have it any other way. She was the daughter of Han Solo, after all. One of the galaxy's biggest risk-takers. Sometimes the thrill was the only thing that reminded her she was alive.
Besides which, she was a Jedi. A little trip through an alternate form of reality was nothing to her. She could feel where the instabilities were, and how much she could push the ships she piloted. Her favorite ship to pilot was the Rock Dragon. It nominally belonged to her friend Tenel Ka, but since she wasn't the best pilot, it fell to Jaina to fly the sleek Hapan starship. This particular time was quite special. She and a group of her closest friends were returning from a vacation on Coruscant. Now they were returning to Yavin IV in order to learn how to become Jedi Knights, the protectors of the galaxy.
By her side was Lowbacca, an adolescent Wookiee. The two worked in sync, checking for course corrections, bleeding off excess static discharge and a dozen other tasks. It almost didn't leave her enough time to glance out the window, but she was able to spot an area of turbulence set against the reddish haze of hyperspace. A small tingle ran up her spine, as the black vortex grew closer. "I have a bad feeling about that," she said as she began steering the ship away from it.
After a few minutes, Jaina was ready to breathe a sigh of relief as TheRock Dragon passed by that little instability. Then the comm system crackled to life. "Ah, Jaina? We got a problem back here." It was Jacen; Jaina's twin brother. "I found this really cool rat-like thing near the engines. Unfortunately it looks-" His voice was drowned out by an explosion amidships.
Alarm Klaxons began blaring as emergency lights dimmed. Lowbacca growled out a series of curses as he struggled to stabilize the ship. Not good, he growled.
Jaina checked the status boards. "Our starboard engine just blew! We're losing power and our hyperdrive cutoff switch is inoperative." Jaina fought rising panic. Without the cutoff switch, the Rock Dragon could be stranded in hyperspace forever.
Lowbacca pointed out the window and barked. His translator droid M-TD activated. "Master Lowbacca indicates that we're caught in a gravitic funnel and are being pulled toward-are you sure?" The Wookiee nodded. "Oh, my! We are being pulled toward that instability! We'll be dashed to a million pieces!" The ship began spinning as it came closer.
Jaina dumped all remaining power into the shields and inertial damping. She could only hope it was enough…
Tokyo, Japan. Downtown Jubaan District
She felt the impact, as sure as if the ship had hit her directly. After 10,000 years of existence, not much affected Meiou Setsuna. As the guardian of time for her universe, she had seen it all-literally. Atrocities, acts of compassion, genocide, the birth of new species…all had transpired in her lifetime.
All of those events, however, were a normal part of the timestream. A starship from an alternate universe crashing through a weak point in the space-time continuum was not part of the timestream! Setsuna knew she had to act quickly in order to determine the effects it would have on future events. She glanced the busy street she was on before stepping into a deserted alley. She gingerly sidestepped several mounds of trash as she made her way to the far end. Before her, a large ornate door appeared. It silently swung open, and the guardian of time stepped into the swirling mists.
A 'normal' person would only see the bright mist with beams of light before them.
Setsuna was no normal person. She instantly began perceiving the patterns. One trail, bright and strong, was the proper timeline. The coming darkness and the founding of Crystal Tokyo shone through. Setsuna looked down at another thread of time, darker and thinner than the last. That was what 'could' happen if the occupants of the starship were allowed to land. Death, tragedy and chaos awaited if they lived. It wasn't a certainty, but Setsuna didn't deal in certainties; she had to make the hard decisions on the fly. Sometimes it didn't work, but most of the time it did. She concentrated, and a small ornate rod appeared in her hand. Her scarlet eyes hardened as she spoke.
"Pluto Crystal Power, Make-up!"
Jaina's eyes slowly opened as the fog lifted from her brain. Her vision cleared to reveal a teenaged boy staring at her. "You're awake! Thank the Force!" he said. It was Jacen, her twin brother. He extended a hand and helped her to a standing position-only to cause her to almost faint again.
"Whoa! Are you trying to help or hinder me?"
Jacen shrugged. "Grumpy after waking up with signs of irritability. It's good to see you all right, sis."
Jaina sidestepped him and went for the controls. "Hah, hah. Have we contacted Coruscant yet? Mom and Dad are probably worried sick about us." She flipped a few switches and began trying to hail the capital planet, but there was only static on the comm frequencies.
She turned back to Jacen. "What's going on? It's working, so why isn't it receiving?"
She quickly sensed her brother's mood shift everso slightly into panic. "To be perfectly frank, we don't know. The comm system's working, but it's not picking up anything. To top it all off, Tenel Ka says the galaxy feels 'different'. She couldn't elaborate any further, but after a while we all felt it."
Jaina immediately reached out with the Force, letting it flow beyond her to beyond. She felt the fabric of the universe, the ties that bound reality together. It was quickly apparent that the fabric of space-time was different. She gradually reached out farther, past this system. There was less life in this galaxy, and it was concentrated on the outer rim, not in the galactic core where it should be. "What's going on?" she said, barely above a whisper.
Jacen put his hand on her shoulder and drew her into a hug. "Don't worry. We'll find out together."