DISCLAIMER: *dances around* Yes, it's mine, my very own One Ring of Unlimited Copyright Powers! Wohoo! *Darth Maul Force-shoves me and steals the Ring* What? The Sith has stolen my Ring! Noooo!
All right, it ain't mine. It's Lucas's. Darn though! Just wait til I get my Ring back... mwahahaha!
Hope you enjoy this!
In hyperspace enroute to Ylesia...
"How much longer until we reach Ylesia, Master?"
"Another hour or so, Obi-Wan. Be patient. I know it's a long journey from Coruscant, but we're almost there."
"Yes, Master." 14-year old Jedi Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi stretched his legs out in front of him, stiff from a lack of motion in the small spacecraft that was taking himself and his Master Qui-Gon Jinn to Ylesia. Accompanying them were Jedi Master Cin Drallig as well as his own Padawan, Zara Taerich. The teams were good friends already, one of the reasons why the Council had picked them specifically for this mission.
Across from Obi-Wan, Zara awoke out of her meditation trance, shaking out her vibrant red hair. "Only another hour? That's good to hear. I can feel clausterphobia settling in."
Qui-Gon grinned at the girl. "So says the only person on this team short enough to stand straight in the cockpit without giving herself a concussion!"
Zara made a face. "It's not 'short', Master Jinn. It's 'petite'. There's a difference!"
"Yes, Padawan Taerich, of course." Qui-Gon stood up stiffly, stretching his arms. "Speaking of the cockpit, why don't you go see how your Master is coping out there?"
"Yes, Master Jinn." Zara unfolded herself from the seat she had been resting in, moving to the small door leading to the cockpit where Master Cin was seated in the pilot's chair, fighting with the ship's tempermental navigation system.
Qui-Gon finished rolling his neck in a circle before turning to Obi-Wan. "How are you feeling, Padawan?" His eyes radiated concern for the teen's well-being.
"I'm fine, Master." Unconsciously, Obi-Wan started rubbing the healed scars on his wrists. Only a year ago, he had been found in one of the Temple's many secluded gardens with slit wrists, after attempting suicide. Zara had been the one to find him, and had alerted her Master, who told Qui-Gon. Since that time Obi-Wan had grown much closer to his Master, although Qui-Gon still worried over the slightest sign of depression coming from the teen.
The Master's eyes caught the slight motions of Obi-Wan's hands. He sent a small tendril of the Force through the strong bond to his Padawan's mind, reassuring himself of the boy's well-being. Immediatley he was rewarded by a wave of contentment and peace flowing along the bond towards him, accompanied by a physical smile from Obi-Wan. "Don't worry, Master, I've never felt better. I'll tell you if that changes."
"I hope you will." Qui-Gon returned the smile, reaching out and squeezing Obi-Wan's shoulder. "I do not ever want to see you in the Healer's ward again, for any reason." His thumb gently carressed the boy's cheek before pulling away.
Obi-Wan stood, giving his Master a hug. "I'll try to avoid the Healers, just for you." That earned a chuckle from Qui-Gon as the Master wrapped his arms around the teen, holding him close for a few moments.
"For me, Padawan? I feel so special." The older Jedi's dry comment made his apprentice laugh.
They would have stayed still for a moment longer, but the ship's sudden drop out of hyerspace jerked them both down to the floor. "For Force's sake, Cin," yelled Qui-Gon, "a little warning wouldn't have hurt!"
"Sorry!" hollered the younger Master from the open door to the cockpit. "I just got a call from the authorities telling us to drop out of hyperspace now."
Qui-Gon pushed himself to his feet. "Now? We're still three quarters of an hour away, in hyperspeed!"
"I know, but who am I to argue with the powers that be?"
"This is coming from the man who called Master Yoda a troll to his face?"
"That was different! I was his Padawan then! And I wasn't at risk of being blown into oblivion by regional security!"
Qui-Gon paused only for a moment to help Obi-Wan to his feet before going to the cockpit. "What possible reason could the Ylesian authorities have for ordering us to slow down this far away? Did they give you a reason?"
Cin shook his head, his long brown hair moving with the motion. "No, they just told me to drop out of hyperspace or, ahem, 'face the consequences.'"
Zara spoke up from where she was still sprawled across the floor. "I did read before coming that they're doing checks on all entering or exiting spacecraft, looking for something."
"Even on Jedi craft?" Obi-Wan extended a hand to Zara, which she took.
"Evidently." A blinking red light on the com link console caught Master Cin's attention before he could ponder anymore on the subject. He looked at the code before accepting the transmission. "Jedi Craft X5720L."
"This is Ylesian Space Security, Jedi. Please bring your ship up to the docking port ahead of you and to your left, bay D36. Have all personal belongings, droids, weapons or other substances ready for inspection."
"Copy, Security. Ship arriving at port in an estimated four minutes."
"Roger, Jedi. Ensure that your craft has been turned off upon entering the port."
"Copy. Jedi Craft X5720L out." Cin began to guide the small spacecraft to the designated docking bay. "I think your theory is correct, my young Padawan."
Zara nodded, watching the space station slowly approach.
Obi-Wan looked uneasily at his Master. He felt distinctly uncomfortable with this situation. "I have a bad feeling about this, Master."
Qui-Gon nodded. "So have I, Padawan. The Force is disturbed here. I sense the Dark Side."
"That makes three of us," muttered Zara, still watching through the viewing screen.
"Four," piped up Cin. "But I don't think there's anything we can do. I'm already being pulled into the docking bay by the tractor beam."
Qui-Gon sighed. "Trust that the Force is with us. Keep your wits about you."
The com crackled to life again. "Jedi Craft X5720L, come is Ylesian Space Security."
Cin turned to the console. "Copy, Security. This is Jedi Craft X5720L."
"Please turn off your spacecraft now and make your way to the entrance of your craft. The tractor beam will pull you the rest of the way."
"Copy, Security. Engines disengaged... now." Cin turned off the ship's engines as he spoke. The only machine left on was the oxygen supply.
"Be ready to disembark in two minutes with your pocessions, Jedi. Security out." The com died.
"Hmm." Qui-Gon turned and floated his way back to the main cabin, no longer under the influence of gravity. "I wonder what it is they're looking for."
"The reading I did didn't give any explaination." Zara gripped the doorframe as she flew back to collect her pack, Obi-Wan behind her. "Did the Council not give you any explaination?"
"No," answered Cin as he followed the Padawans out of the cockpit. "Master Yoda only said that Ylesia had requested Jedi aid, nothing more. He was worried about some rumours he'd heard, though, so he decided two teams would not be amiss."
"Rumours?" Obi-Wan looked back at the tall Master. "Did he say what the rumours were?"
"No. He didn't even give a hint." Cin caught hold of his floating pack. "I think we're about to find out what those rumours concern, though."
The station's gravity had kicked in by the time the Jedi made their way to the exit of the spacecraft, sending all four abruptly to the floor. They were back on their feet within a moment, though, just before the door opened.
A burly security officer stepped to the end of the ramp, squinting up into the dim interior of the ship. "Welcome, Jedi. Please, step away from your craft as it undergoes inspection. Who is the pilot?"
Cin stepped forward. "I am."
The officer handed him a clipboard. "I need you to sign this waiver acknowledging that we have your expressed permission to inspect your ship before it enters Ylesian space, Master Jedi."
"Certainly." Master Cin took the clipboard, scanning the document for any hidden surprises. Not finding any, he quickly signed his name at the bottom of the sheet and handed the clipboard back to the officer.
The man scanned the document briefly before tucking it away in his jacket and sending a group of security officers into the ship for the inspection. He then turned back to the Jedi. "What is your purpose on Ylesia, Master Jedi?"
Qui-Gon spoke up. "The Senate received a call for aid from your planet's leaders and sent us to help. However, we have not been told what the situation is. Do you know of any issues on the planet?"
The officer shook his head. "No, Master Jedi, I am not aware of any problems."
Qui-Gon nodded, relaxing for a moment before he inquired, "The last time I came to Ylesia, we were not subjected to a ship search. When was this policy brought in?"
The officer paused. "It's been the policy for years now. I'm not gonna argue with the government for telling us to do this, not even for Jedi. If you'll excuse me, Master Jedi." With that, he briskly marched into the ship, presumably to supervise the inspection.
Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow. "Were the security guards this rude when you were last here, Master?"
"Hush, Padawan," Qui-Gon gently reprimanded. "that was rude as well. They're just doing their job. However, I sense something amiss here."
Cin nodded, a frown on his face. "I'm beginning to wonder if signing that waiver was such a good idea."
Qui-Gon shrugged. "What's done is done, Cin. We'll just have to see what will happen next. If you didn't sense anything wrong with signing the form, it's probably fine."
Cin slowly nodded, not convinced. All four Jedi turned upon hearing the sounds of more security officers enter the docking bay. Two muscular men, obviously drunk, laughed racously as they looked at the Jedi, leering suggestively at Zara. The red-head leaned against her Master, who put a protective arm around her shoulders, glaring warningly at the officers.
"Master Jedi!" The first officer appeared at the top of the ramp, glaring at the ambassadors beneath him. Behind him, the officers sent to investigate the ship massed together, forming a very intimidating group.
Qui-Gon raised his hands slightly. "What seems to be the problem, officer?"
The indignant man strode up to Qui-Gon. "Master Jedi, are you aware that you are carrying restricted substances onboard your ship?"
"Restricted substances?" Qui-Gon was surprised by this accusation.
"Yes, Jedi, as in illegal drugs. We will need to search your baggage to determine who the smuggler is." The officer glared suspiciously at Obi-Wan and Zara, the only teenagers in the space station.
Qui-Gon slowly set his pack down in front of the officer and stepped back. "Search as much as you like, officer. You will find us innocent of all charges."
"We'll see about that," muttered the officer as one of his men grabbed Qui-Gon's pack, rooting through the Jedi's few belongings. Three other officers took the remaining Jedi's packs to be searched, while the remainder of the group leveled blasters at the accused.
Several minutes passed in silence. Qui-Gon's pack was thrown to the side, cleared of evidence, as was Cin's. However, the man searching Obi-Wan's pack suddenly crowed, "Aha!", pulling out a handful of dried leaves of some plant. The officer with Zara's pack also emerged triumphant with similar evidence, a cruel smirk on his face.
Qui-Gon noted, to his worry, that the officers who had entered the bay after the Jedi had landed were rapidly closing in on the four, creating a near-impenetrable ring. He turned to the chief officer, trying to hide the anxiety in his voice. "I swear, I do not know the reason behind this plant found in our apprentices' packs, but we can vouch that they would never participate in such illegal activities like this."
"Tell it to the authorities." The officer then gestured to his men. A trio of hulking brutes grabbed Obi-Wan and Zara, dragging them away from their Masters. Zara cried out as her arm was roughly twisted behind her back.
"Release them to our custody, officer." Cin spoke fast, trying to keep the Padawans with the older Jedi. "We will take them back to Coruscant and deal with them as we see fit. There must be some mistake here!"
"No can do, Jedi. We will deal with them according to Ylesian law. I recommend that if you want them to ever be released, you do not hinder their arrests." The officer turned to the men holding the teenagers. "Take them. You know what to do."
"Yes, Captain." One of the brutes smiled evilly as he and one of his buddies started dragging Obi-Wan down the corridor away from the docking bay, the boy struggling as he went. The third lifted Zara under his arm and marched off after the first two.
"Stop!" Qui-Gon's voice rang with authority, but both teens could identify the fear rolling off of his Force presence in enourmous waves. "You cannot do this. The Jedi will not stand for it!"
The captain turned to face the Master, cruelty written into his every feature. "They won't, eh? Well, I think they will."
"What makes you think that?" challenged Cin, gripping his lightsabre.
"Oh," the captain grinned, "maybe the fact that they'll never hear from you four again." He pulled out a blaster and levelled it at Cin's chest. "I'm so sorry, Jedi."
Neither Master had time to react before the bolts hit them.
"No!" screamed Zara as she and Obi-Wan began to struggle in earnest to reach the fallen Jedi. "Master!!"
The captain sighed, as if bored. "Silence them."
A large fist hit each teenage skull. Both Padawans collapsed, unconscious.
To Be Continued...
Whatcha think? Please review! (Hint: Reviews might help updates come sooner!)
Thanks for reading!