Chapter 24 - Epilogue

Its been five years since Shira had disappeared. Carth had done everything she asked. The Republic was ready for any attack that may come. Even though the Jedi were still rebuilding they informed him that they had enough for any coming war. Carth ran into Canderous who was now Mandalore the leader of all the Mandalorian and even they were ready to help the Republic in honor of Shira. The Ebon Hawk had returned with a new crew but Shira wasn't among them. He questions them all especially the Jedi referred to as The Exile. She informed him of her story that she had found herself almost dead on the Ebon Hawk and that she did not know where it came from. There were no signs of the previous owner only the two droids that were left on board. The Exile happily released T3 and HK into his possession. HK was not pleased not that it didn't surprise him. Carth had hoped that they would have any information on where Shira went but it seemed that she had wiped their memories before abandoning the Ebon Hawk. After a full sweep of the ships systems he still could not find any clues. He returned the Ebon Hawk to The Exile and ordered her to search for Shira. She did as he commanded but he had no hope. All signs lead to the one truth She must be dead.

Carth sat in his office staring out at Telos. A bottle of Menkooro whiskey was clenched in his right hand. It was a gift from Shira he found it next to the bed after she had left. It had a note on it saying "Just thought you might need this. I am sorry" the note was her last attempt to be funny it did not work it just brought back memories of her. Carth decided to drink it on the same day every year to mark her leaving. It was a bitter drink to have but he needed something to dull the pain. Sitting on his desk was a small holopic of the two of them holding each other on the day be proposed to her. Next to it was a holopic of the old crew from the Ebon Hawk. He couldn't remember when they took it but it was a pleasant reminder of the good old days These were some of the few pictures he had of her. He cursed himself everyday for not taking more when he had the chance.

There was a knock on his door and Dustil entered the room. "hello father"

Dustil one of the few people that can make me smile in these dark times. He turned to face his son "hello son"

Dustil eyed the bottle, "Still drinking that I see"

Carth shrugged and put the bottle away, "what can i do for you? I am sure you are not here to talk about my drinking"

Dustil raised his hands in defense, "no, no I have just come to see how you are I know this is still a very dark day for you. I understand how you..."

"No you don't" he hissed

"I didn't mean any offense father I only meant that if Mission ever disappeared I wouldn't know what to do with myself"

Carth smiled to himself Ah yes my son married to Mission i always knew those two would take to each other like a moth to a flame, "And how is she?"

Dustil looked surprised at the question, "she is well, preparing for a trip to Kashyyyk as we speak. She is off to see Clan chief Zaalbar"

Carth smiled once again, "Well i am glad to hear it give Zaalbar my best"

"I will father but I..." Dustil paused walking closer to Carth's desk "I came to report something rather interesting to you. It would seem that a small unknown ship has entered Republic space"

Carth raised a brow, "any idea of origin?"

"reports suggest that it could be Sith but it is not like any we have seen before"

Shira words rang in his head 'if I fail they will come for all of you' . "It could be a scouting ship. Where did it come from?"

"We think the outer rim"

Carth stood up immediately "Get a ship ready and waiting for me. We move to intercept it"

"Father?"

Carth pulled his favorite jacket on and placed his two pistols in their holster, "That's an order"

Dustil saluted and ran out of the room.

-()-()-

The Sith ship was small and seemed badly damaged but it defiantly looked like a scouting ship. Carth didn't waste time and boarded the ship as soon as it was trapped in their tracker beam. Internally the ship was old, parts of it was falling apart. At first glance it seemed empty and there were no real sign of anyone living in it. Carth carefully made his way to the cock-pit. Ragged breathing caught his attention and he charged in. What he found was far from what he was expecting.

"hello flyboy... I was trying to be stealthy... it seems I still have a lot to learn"

"Shira?"

"in the flesh. Well at least i hope i cant really feel most of my body"

Carth stared down at her. Her clothes were ripped up and stained in blood. Her face badly bruised and cut up. "What happen? we need to get you a medic. Medic! Get a medic in here!"

Shira smiled and waved him off, "oh i'm fine nothing a Jedi cant fix. You by chance don't happen to have one near by do you?" she motioned to her cuts, "i would heal all this myself but I don't seem to have the strength at the moment"

"we need to get you help. Medic! where the fuck is that medic"

Shira giggled, "As i said i would prefer a Jedi I rather not be in another Kolto tank. Trust me in the past five years i have had more than enough of small enclosed spaces. Here..." She lifted up her arms "help me up would you"

Carth snatched her up in his arms. Mentally he was still in shock but his body reacted to her touch immediately. He couldn't control himself and capture her mouth in his. His tongue hungrily tasted her and wrestle with hers. He could taste blood but that did not stop him and soon he could taste her sweetness again.

Shira winced in pain and broke the kiss, "God i have missed you" she whispered, "but if you dont mind could i possible get some help"

Carth smiled and nodded he was still speechless that he was holding her in his arms after all these years.

-()-()-

Once they had return to his ship Shira wounds were all stitched up to stop any bleeding. She assured Carth and the medics that once she had rested and regained her energy she would be able to heal any internal injuries herself, "well since there is no other Jedi on this ship" she joked, "i will have to wait and do it myself. Carth led her to his quarters and as soon as they were alone he embraced her once more. It all seemed unreal to him. Like someone was playing a trick on him but the way she kissed him, the way she touched him, he knew she was the real deal.

Shira broke the embrace panting, "I longed for this moment but i need time to rest my injures are stopping me from any pleasure this would bring"

Carth smiled warmly at her and shook his head, "I cant believe you are here alive. Five year of nothing and now your back"

Shira lowered hers eyes, "i am sorry it took so long"

"I waited like i promised. I never faulted and i did everything you asked. The Republic is ready for anything, so are the Jedi and even the Mandalorians"

Shira gently cupped his cheek, "thank you Carth for your loyalty, your help and everything you have done. You don't know how many live in the future you have saved"

Carth placed his hand over hers, "i am just happy to have you back"

Shira smiled one of her sweet smiles that he fell in love with, "I love you"

"I love you to"

The two of them just stood there gazing at each other just enjoying being in each others presence. After several minuets Carth motioned for them to sit. Shira followed him to a large couch that faced a beautiful view of space. He then pulled out a bottle of Menkooro whiskey and Shira laughed with joy at it sight. It seems even the darkest reaches of space couldn't destroy her child like quality. He poured both of them a glass and joined Shira on the couch. As she sipped on her drink Carth spoke, "you realize once we return to Telos they will want to know what happen. When i say they i mean everyone."

"I know"

"what are you going to tell them?"

Shira bit the bottom of her lip, "The truth. Not every single detail but the basic of it all"

"would you mind telling me first?" he asked

Shira smiled weakly, "it's a long story but i will try to shorten it for." She took a deep breath, "Malak and I in our search for power found ourselves in the outer rim and there we awoke the true Sith. They were coming to wipe us all out and back when i was Revan i was a pawn to them. I was meant to weaken everyone so they could come in and destroy" Shira paused and gazed out at the stars. "When i regained my memory i knew i had to go back and stop them and if not that at least stall them"

"Where you able to stop them" Stupid question idiot.

Shira snorted at the questions, "what you think for five years i was relaxing on a beach somewhere. No, for five year i fought an army. I never stopped fighting. I was forced to sleep in small caves the outer rim is not a peaceful place." She returned her gaze to Carth, "I finally did it though" She smiled, "i wasn't able to stop them. There is just to many of them but i was able to freeze their plan. Put them back into that slumber Malak and I awoke them from" She ran her hand threw her hair, "It wont last but it wont effect us or many of the generations after us. I have given the galaxy time to become stronger then them so when the time comes, and it will come, we will have a chance."

"Lets just hope the galaxy doesn't start a war until then" I would hate to see all her work crumble like that.

Shira chuckled at the comment, "yes lets hope" There was silence between then for a few seconds before a cheeky smile formed on her lips, "It seems you sent a Jedi after me"

What Jedi? Then it clicked, "oh The Exile?"

"yes the Exile I remember her from the Mandalorian wars. She's a good solider she found my ship before you."

"we found her with the Ebon Hawk and your two droids"

Shira giggled, "i cant imagine HK being very happy with me for doing that to him"

You can never please that droid, "No but i think he enjoyed his time with The Exile. How did she get the Ebon Hawk?"

Shira shook her head and shrugged, "i don't know before i reached the outer rim I gave T3 orders to return to you. HK was in an uproar that i planned on leaving him behind. I had to shut him down and block his memory with any information about me. On its way back to you T3 must have picked her up or something."

"so where is The Exile now?"

"off with her flyboy to Nar Shaddaa. It seems we Jedi have a soft spot for pilots"

Carth laughed and Shira joined him. The two of them moved closer together and held each other. The universe has given me a gift and i will not neglect it, He thought as he gently stroked her hair. A small red object on her hand caught his attention, my ring. He lifted her hand, "my ring you still have it after all this time"

"of course nothing and no one would be able to take it away from me"

Carth kissed her hand and squeezed her lovingly, "so are you ready to pick our life up where we left off."

Shira giggled "Just try and stop me"

Carth chuckled simply perfect

"so?" she asked "its a bit of a trip back to Telos. Tell me everything that has happen in the past five years"

Carth gazed out into space and began to tell her every event that had happen from the moment she had gone. He could feel his heart swell with joy at her touch and her the sound of her voice. Their future was uncertain but for now he was happy with the peace he felt with her and he thought cheekily It has been five years without her touch and i intend to make up for lost time. He gazed down at her she had fallen asleep in his arms. He lifted her up and rested her on the bed. He gazed at her perfect body he looked past the scars and bruises for to him she was just as beautiful as the first day they met. I am truly blessed to have her back and i will kill anyone who tries to take her away from me again. He pulled her close to him and allowed sleep to take him. His lasts thoughts being of the future that they would make together.

Finn