Disclaimer: these arent my people. I don't have any people, so Im boring Lucas'.

This is the epilogue to my...umm...mammoth story. Its just to get Luke and Mara into the swing of things and to reference how what happened during those few months would have affected Luke. Enjoy and *please* review.

Thanks,

Mina - vikki18@totalise.co.uk

Abhoration and the Alternative

Epilogue - 3 Years Later

"New Republic ship, this is Coruscant Air Control. Submit your landing permit for the Imperial Palace now, please."

"Air Control, I don't have a landing permit-"

"Unidentified ship, you cannot land without a permit."

"Control," Mara scowled "I can get permission but it would mean waking the Chief of State up."

"President Gaviscom is away on a diplomatic-"

"Not Gaviscom." Mara resisted the urge to throttle the comm "He's your acting COS, President Leia Organa Solo is much less tolerant of small officials who wake her up at unearthly hours." Mara whipped the shuttle into the row of traffic circling the palace.

"Unidentified ship," Mara scowled in distaste at the name, ever since she'd lost the Fire she'd been flying random ships that came into her possession, usually with Luke by her side. "You do not have clearance- "

For a minute she was tempted to reach out and the give the official a little nudge through the Force. Mara grinned to herself as she thought about the disapproving look Luke's face if she did just that. Before she could wipe the grin of her face and concentrate, there was a crackling on the comm and suddenly a strange voice followed by a sorely missed one filled her pickup.

Lieutenant, let the shuttle land.

That was the strange voice, probably a senior officer stood behind her landing official. He questioned the other man's authority on letting an unknown shuttle land without a permit or transponder, but was cut short by the slightly anxious voice of his superior. As she was wondering what was happening, Luke's voice filled the pickup and a soppy grin spread across her face, making her glad the transmission wasn't on holo.

"Lieutenant, I authorise that shuttle to land." Mara's sloppy grin got wider as she imagined the officer's face as he recognised Luke Skywalker.

"The authorisation code is-"

The lieutenant cut him off, which she had to admit, must have been a gutsy thing to do.

"Sir, that isn't necessary." He said, even as a green light flashed on Mara's readout, giving her clearance to land.

"I'm glad." Luke offered, and Mara couldn't keep quite any longer

"Go easy on him, Luke. I'm sure he would have let me land eventually." There was just a touch of menace in her voice when she said it and the lieutenant heard it.

"Uh yes, ma'am."

Mara stifled a laugh. "Docking bay 117, Luke," she said.

"Meet you there."

From the background the stranger spoke up again, "Sir, shall I register that ship to Mara Jade Skywalker?"

"No, leave it as it is," Luke's voice retreated from the comm and she pictured him retreating to the control room door. It occurred to her to ask him how he had known where she was but he was already out of the pickup.

The lieutenant started a spool of apologies but Mara gently told him it was all right and headed down to her docking space, noticing how the nice officer had given her one near the lifts.


---


Luke was waiting for her when she reached the lift and she melted into his embrace. She held tight to him as he kept his hand around her waist and they moved towards his apartment on the capital world. She reached a hand up to her red-gold hair, undoing the braid and letting it fall around her shoulders. As they walked down the corridors, people smiled at the newly married couple, nodding in greeting to them. She didn't know any of them and barely recognised but a few, but everyone no longer saw her as the smuggler Mara Jade but as the Jedi Mara Jade Skywalker, also the wife of Luke Skywalker.

They entered the apartment and Mara flopped down into the sofa (she had insisted Luke get some comfortable furniture and get rid of the minimalist style he'd had previously) and Luke wandered slowly over to the kitchen area.

"Drink?"

She savoured the sound of his voice, watching him walk as the lights through golden highlights across his hair.

"Mmmm.I think..."

"Hot chocolate?" He grinned at her as she nodded. She never did get tired of that smile. He finished making the hot drinks as she got up and changed out of her flight suit. When she came out of the bedroom combing her hair she found him staring blankly out of the window. She came up and wrapped her arms around his waist. "Hey, you awake?"

"Yeah, I was just thinking"

"You know that's bad for you." She quipped but didn't see as smile flicker at the corners of his mouth. "What's wrong?" she asked, edging herself between the window and him and staring up into his thoughtful eyes.

He stared blankly at her for a moment and then shook his head, moving back to the sofa. He sat down heavily and she perched herself next to him.

"I was justthinking." He said again, trying to make it an explanation. Mara shook he head not understanding.

Suddenly he gazed up at her and smiled "How did we miss it?" He asked.

"Luke, your plotting a course I'm not following."

"After Slastare. At that mining colony. How did we miss it?"

"Miss what?"

"Us?"

She looked at him then and leaned back into the sofa. " Ever heard the expression cant see the wood for the trees'??"

He laughed lightly but she knew that wasn't the answer.

"But that's not it is it? Why bring up the ssi-ruuk again?" He winced when she mentioned the invasion, some three years ago. Almost to the day, she realised.

"Is that it? The ssi-ruuk?"

He shuffled uncomfortably. "I got a call today."

When he didn't say any more she prompted him "Who from?"

He sighed deeply, placing the mug onto one of the small tables, "One of the inhabitants of Slastare."

She bristled slightly "Luke, listen to me, what happened-"

He shook his head "Mara, you don't understand." He looked up at her and she could see the confusion in his eyes "She thanked me."

Mara sat for a moment, thinking. "Why wouldn't she? You helped get rid of the ssi-ruuk from their planet."

"I brought them there you mean."

"Luke-"

"No, it's alright. I didn't really I mean that, it just. Well, I suppose it brought up old feelings," he said.

She moved closer and tucked a strand of hair back from his eyes. "Good, because it's not bad to think about these things. So long as you don't give the past too much control on the present, and the future. Because there is a future you know. There's us, and there's the Jedi and maybe more?"

He looked up at her and a sly grin crossed her face "Maybe?"

"We wouldn't be talking about children here would we?"

"I just dropped Jaina off on Malistare and" she shifted in her seat.

Luke grinned at her "Mara Jade? Broody?!?"

She punched him playfully in the ribs. "Well, yeah. Were not as young as-" she cut off mid sentence, gasping as a sudden rushing sound filled her ears. Before she could speak, the world began to black out around her. Luke was quick, catching her before she had a chance to fall. She could feel the soft fabric of his top against her cheek, but could hear or see nothing.

Luke shook her gently, driving down panic. He knew she was still conscious, and gently reached out with the Force. She came awake with a gasp, but didn't move in his arms.

"Mara?" He asked tensely.

"Luke? What happened?"

"I was hoping you were going to tell me." She levered herself up from his arms and leaned back into the sofa.

"I felt like I don't know. So weak." Her voice was faint but strong.

He stood up and offered her a hand to lever herself up with. She gave him a confused look, and stood without his help. He placed a hand around her waist and guided her towards the door.

"Where are we going?" She asked suspiciously.

"Medical centre." He said, his voice firm. He knew her well enough to know her aversion to being sheltered. She seemed about to protest but instead just followed him.

"You might be right." She said.

Luke stopped and turned to stare at her, surprised by her agreement. "Mara?" He asked, maybe more worried than he had been when she'd fainted.

"I don't know."

That really is the endI hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did

Author's notes and FAQ:

Q. You have Han and Leia at odds with each other at the beginning: since when has that happened?

A. I'm working on the theory that the yevethra crisis was traumatic enough to cause a few minor, temporary rifts.

Q. Ah, and what about Luke on a diplomatic mission? Not very Jedi Master-like.

A. Again - the Black Fleet Crisis has him tell Leia he's going to get more involved in her life. I take this as a step in that direction.

Q. Luke's drugging: nice plot device that. Can't see it actually happening though.

A. I had a problem with that, but I think the spice thing solves it, if you use your imagination.

Q. While we're on that subject, what were all those voices he heard?

A. It was the drug talking, working on his insecurities.

Q. Leia used the alias Antilles' in the hotel. Like that's not obvious.

A. Antilles is the gffa Smith' - Wedge Antilles, Captain Antilles, Bail Antilles(in TPM) so it's not so unfeasible.

Q. Hang on, this is all very nice but the ssi-ruuk we're destroyed by the NR taskforce ages before this is set.

A. Wellyeah. That was published in the Essential Chronology and conceived of by KJA, whose ideas I tend to try and forget anyway ;) I guess it's a matter of giving them more closure.

Q. More closure, eh? But you left the Imperium intact.

A. I know; I don't like things to be tied up in little packages

Q. Why didn't we get to see more of Rogue Squadron? Surely they'd be more heavily involved

A. The simple answer is I hadn't read the x-wing books before writing this. If you want a nicer answer Ill tell you it was because I didn't know who was still with the squadron at that time

Q. Okay, next point. This is a biggie: Qui-Gon doesn't disappear in TPM

A. Neither does Luke - they only think he has when they don't find a body, and since most of the history of the Jedi has been lost, how are they going to know it doesn't happen to all Jedi? Beside, New Rebellion hinted that Luke knew how to do the disappearing act ala Ben Kenobi, so it would be natural to assume that's what happened.

Q What's all that stuff about the drugs as a diversion?

A. I made it up in order to knock a Jedi out. Bite me.

Q. I don't believe Luke wouldn't be able to escape during his time on ssi-ruuvi ship. He could have broken the restraints.

A. Not if there was nothing to break: I'm working on the assumption that there were no seams. Think the bad terminator in T2.

Q. Uh-huhokay. Your plot centres on the implant working in all forms of ssi-ruuvi technology, droids and all. Is that really likely?

A. Are lightsabers?

Q. What happened to Borak's brother?

A. I never really thought about itpossible sequel materiel I suppose

Q. And the guard on the door he shoots?

A. Well dead.

Q. Mara seems to hang around an awful lot. Why?

A. I'm saying that all this is happening in Karrde's area of space, so he'll be interested in what's going on. Plus, there's the whole Luke + Mara thing to come in VotF.

Q. Didn't you get sick of beating poor Luke up?

A. Well, I felt a little cruel sometimes, but I felt this is what would happen: I have to write it like this otherwise no one will ever believe me.

Q. Was the elite using the darkside?

A. Hmmm... again, might be sequel material there.

Q. What's with all the Leonard Cohen quotes?

A. What can I say? The man is inspirational.

Q. Any chance of a sequel?

A. That really depends on if I get positive reviews to this first.

Wellthere you go. I hope that answers everything: email me any questions you like and I'll see if I can clear them up.

Thanks, and watch for new stories asap.

Mina.