Chapter 4: Commitment
Some say, as the last of the fires died down in the ruins of the Jedi Temple, that it symbolized the end of a magnificent era. Of a time when the Jedi Knights, guardians of freedom, stood alongside the Republic and helped her rise to prosperity to ensure peace and order throughout the galaxy.
For a thousand years, the Jedi Order produced exceptional men and women, known for their warrior skill and unparalleled understanding of the mysteries of the Force. It was a period of stability, of discovery, of innovation and growth.
It was the time of wise Yoda, of the ever grim Mace Windu. Of the maverick Qui-Gon Jinn, the blade master Agen Kolar and the calm Yarael Poof.
It was the time of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
It was the age of heroes, and it had come to an end in a swift stroke.
Yet Yoda knew a new age had already begun, its seed planted in the forests of Felucia, and cultivated in the swamp world of Dagobah where he currently resides.
The ancient Jedi Master considered himself fortunate, to be able to witness the start of a new order. Its foundations were certainly promising, and he knew a few more of his valiant Jedi had survived the purge. Many had died, but the surviving remnants of the Order gave Yoda hope.
Barriss Offee learned much from her old Jedi Master, and was widely acknowledged as one of the Order's best healers using the force. Yet, she did not inherit the faults Luminara had, and she seems to have grown wiser since he last sent her to Felucia.
Shaak Ti, the second youngest Master next to Kenobi, was a truly powerful Jedi in her own right. Her radical views in the high council often conflicted with the more traditionally inclined masters such as himself, Mace Windu and Luminara Unduli, yet she remained steadfast on her beliefs. She was also a cunning and devious Jedi, traits that would serve her well in the great conflict he foresaw.
Yoda easily jumped down the branch and headed to his tent, a few of the local fruit he had come to prefer gathered in his hands, rather than the rations Senator Organa supplied them. He would later turn them into a soup once they ripened and headed inside his tent, thoughts of the last two members of their new order, and the most crucial.
Aayla Secura was the epitome of a Jedi guardian, fearless... and even reckless at times. Powerful, she also had exceptional skill with the lightsaber and strategy, resulting in her being assigned the position of senior general during the clone wars despite her young age. The young rutian twi'lek had endured much in her life, and was able to overcome the dark side that had seduced her when she was a padawan.
Even then, suffering from amnesia caused by the highly addictive drug called Glitteryl, Aayla had fought against the dark side's temptation, showing the true strength of her character and admirable will.
Yoda knew the conflict within her that continued to plague her when she became a knight. She formed close friendships with those around her, to the point that the council was considering summoning her to explain the rumors about her.
In the end Yoda realized that the rutian twi'lek was more attuned to the physical reality around her than they were, and was genuinely happy for her when she formed a relationship with Harry Potter.
Yoda looked up to gaze at the sky, and with a casual gesture of his hand, cleared the fog that obstructed the view in seconds. He always liked to watch the stars when he was deep in thought, and the view of the heavenly bodies -the purest and simplest display of the living force soothed him. It always helped him to see through others' perspectives and gain new insights.
The young man that caused such an impact in the recent events continued to puzzle the ancient Jedi Master, even after months of spending time with him. Harry Potter was powerful, very much so, using his magic in ways that completely left Yoda in wonder and awe. He could feel the strength within him, but he used it in a completely different way to how the Jedi use the force.
Harry once observed Barriss using the force to heal his sprained ankle, and commented that what she used was a more raw state of energy. That left Yoda wondering if it was the Jedi that were the predecessors of the wizards, or if it was the other way around. There had to be a connection, he was sure of it.
There was one thing Yoda was certain, that the Force and Harry's magic were practically the same, but used in completely different methods that it seemed that each was using a different form of energy. Nevertheless, he couldn't argue with the results, and Harry was proving to be as reliable, and capable as any Jedi.
The power Harry had in his command often reminded Yoda of another, one who had the potential to be the best and most powerful Jedi that he had ever seen. Both were chosen by fate, but each used their power differently. One sought even more power to escape death, while the other freely gave his and life to save others.
He was certain that Harry Potter would play a greater role in the galaxy... and with Aayla with him, he could only wonder at the possibilities. Not even with his vaunted force sight into the future could he predict what Harry Potter would become, but he knew the wizard would always lend his strength and power to Aayla's cause.
The Jedi had suffered a devastating blow, a powerful punch that had left them on their knees, reeling from the shock of defeat and treason. But a flame of hope remained, and it was steadily growing stronger. The frown in Yoda's face eased and the ancient Jedi closed his eyes and relaxed, as the creeping fog again blocked his vision of the night sky.
Though the age of heroes was over, the age of wonder had only begun.
Bela Vista City, Corellia, Core Worlds Territory
Harry and Aayla slowly walked through the street packed full of tourists of mostly humans, though there were the occasional twi'leks, Rodians and some strange white furred creature that towered ten feet tall. Peddlers shouted at the wizard, offering him the souvenirs they had on display for bargain prices.
"A beautiful trinket for your lovely twi'lek?" A man that looked to be in his forties asked Harry and Aayla as they were about was about to pass him.
Harry was still getting used to being addressed respectfully by the locals, and his lover had patiently explained that with her, a twi'lek accompanying him, they would assume that he was at least wealthy and influential.
They had just finished scouting the city and found that there wasn't a very visible presence of the Empire in the area. As Aayla predicted, there was strong anti-Imperial sentiment, and in the many bars and taverns they visited, they often heard anger against the newly established Galactic Empire. She was sure though, that Imperial agents and informants were around, hiding, ready to report to the Emperor if there was even a hint of rebellion.
Harry peered closer and picked a necklace made of a brown alloy. The design wasn't very appealing, but he was more interested in the material itself.
"What is it made of?" Harry asked.
"Bronzium." The merchant replied quickly. "I won it from a spice trader, it's said to come from Alderaan."
"Oh yes. It's where the best jewelries are made." The merchant smiled, showing uneven yellow teeth. "I'll sell it for thirty credits."
Harry's eyes moved to Aayla, and noticed the slight shake of her head. "For bronzium? I'll take it for fifteen."
"I have a family to feed!" The merchant protested, realizing this wasn't just another gullible tourist. "At least twenty credits, please. Imperial bastards are making it hard enough with their taxes for the honest man."
Harry smiled at the word honest and agreed, despite knowing he could have forced the price down further. He fished out a small dull gray colored chip from the pocket of his robes and handed it to the man. "Twenty credits."
The merchant's cheerful grin returned, and once he verified the chip's authenticity, handed Harry the trinket.
"I haven't seen any sign of the Imperial Navy anywhere. How's it making it hard for you?" Harry asked curiously as he stowed the necklace inside his pocket.
"It's making the suppliers and traders nervous." The man looked around and leaned across the table full of his wares to speak closer to Harry, the tone of his voice significantly lower. "There's talk of a blockade they're planning. This is just rumor of course, but it's causing a lot of suppliers to move their operations farther out of the rim."
"I'm sure those are just rumors." Harry replied. "They wouldn't dare..."
"Damn right!" The man agreed fiercely. "Corellian Navy's not going to put up with it. Let them try and I'd be the first one to sign up for the army, and damn the age restrictions."
"Good for you then." Harry smiled.
"Have a good day!" The man shouted as they walked away.
Both Twi'lek and wizard turned into a less crowded street and kept walking farther to the edge of the main market district. Once they reached a secluded spot in a narrow alley, Aayla pressed herself against her lover and felt his hands circle her waist. The two vanished instantly, the popping sound that disapparition made drowned out by the noise of the busy market.
"Do you think the rumor of a blockade is true?" Harry asked as he sat on the long couch of the lodgings that Senator Mon Mothma offered to them to use. "That's the third merchant we heard speaking about it."
"I cannot say." Aayla shook her head and joined Harry on the couch, resting her head on his chest. She closed her eyes when she felt his hands gently stroking her lekku. It had been a tiring day, with her senses on full alert to spot any spies while she let Harry fish for information from the merchants. "It might be rumors fueled by nervous citizens, but we cannot just ignore this piece of information, no matter how vague its sources are."
"I've noticed that the people are extremely confident, even proud of the Corellian Navy." Harry mused. "Are they truly that powerful?"
"The Corellians are known for having powerful warships, daredevil pilots... and their fiercely independent and proud nature." Aayla smiled. "At the start of the Clone Wars, the Senate tried to convince the whole Corellia system to support the republic. They knew the Corellian Navy would be a powerful ally against the separatist fleets. When the Corellian Senator Garm Bel Iblis announced to the Senate that they would not contribute to the war effort directly, it caused quite a stir in the galaxy, with many representatives labeling the Corellia government as traitors."
"That must have caused a few riots." Harry commented. "I can imagine the feeling, when one of your strongest allies suddenly refused to fight alongside in a war."
"The Jedi council was even forced to mediate." Aayla nodded. "But in the end, Senator Bel Iblis had made the correct decision, and the Corellian System is still free from Imperial rule."
"When do you think these delegates will get here?"
"Patience, Harry." Aayla smiled and gently kissed him on the cheek.
She had already determined that the location for the secret conference was secure, and there were no hidden traps and Imperial agents waiting to arrest the senators and world leaders. Whoever decided the location knew Bella Vista well, the city was big enough that tourists wouldn't be given a second look, but small enough to easily spot hidden Imperial forces or bounty hunters.
Their lodgings too, were in a resort that was on the edge of the tourist city. The whole compound was suddenly reserved, and when they arrived, Aayla learned from the staff that they were the only guests, despite arriving at the peak of the tourist season.
The resort staff wasn't complaining, the unoccupied rooms were still being paid for, and there was less work for them to do- aside from delivering meals to the room of what looked like a couple enjoying their vacation. The staff was also used to the whole resort being rented by the rich citizens of Corellia (and even from the other sister planets), with Senator Bel Iblis and his family frequenting the fairly low key mountain resort.
The staff only noted that the human male had strange green eyes, (whether where head them colored was still being discussed) and the twi'lek had a rare shade of blue skin and was one of the loveliest specimens they had ever seen.
"Is there anything else we need to do tomorrow?" Harry asked. He scooted farther to the side of the couch and allowed Aayla to rest her head on his lap, a reversal of their usual positions. The wizard let the twi'lek's lekku dangle down from the side of the couch and returned to stroke them with his left hand, while his right hand absently made circles around her navel.
"We've already determined that the venue is safe." Aayla replied. Her eyes were still closed, and extremely content with Harry's hands. He always knew how to make her feel relaxed and comfortable, even then when they first met. He had instinctively caressed her lekku, when he was comforting her on the small cave in Felucia.
"We just need to wait for Senator Mothma tomorrow evening... since she will be the first to arrive." Aayla yawned and slowly drifted to sleep.
Harry smiled and continued stroking Aayla's brain tails, watching the twi'lek slowly drift to sleep. He greatly treasured moments like these, when Aayla showed her vulnerable side to him, and only to him. No other soul had seen her behave like this, and that made Harry love her even more. Who knew that Aayla Secura, the renowned Jedi Knight was ticklish? That she was very playful and her melodious laugh was so infectious? That she had a very strong appetite that rivaled his best friend Ronald Weasley, and preferred if her food was as fresh as possible?
Feeling sleepy himself after the long day of walking the streets of the city, Harry casually waved his wand and cast a charm that would wake them an hour later. It wouldn't do to miss dinner after all.
Aayla frowned and turned on the bed as light began to stream from the window. Her frown deepened when her arm did not come into contact with the warm body she was now used to sleeping with. Usually it was her that always woke up before her lover, and she spent the quiet mornings cuddling with Harry and relishing the experience before she decided to wake him.
"Harry?" She asked, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. Something didn't feel right, and she sat up on the bed. A cold breeze caused her to draw the blanket closer to her bare chest and noticed that the large window was open. The twi'lek quickly rose from the bed and closed it, but not before her sharp eyes caught a familiar shape soaring against the morning light.
"Oh no." Aayla whispered. She heard the familiar black falcon's screech echo across the valley floor.
The Jedi knight immediately ran across the room and began to dress, hoping she would reach her beloved but sometimes impulsive and stubborn lover in time. She spotted their lightsabers among Harry's pile of clothes and immediately snatched the shoto, deciding that it was the easiest to conceal in the shift she wore and jumped out of the window.
The rutian twi'lek promised to give Harry a severe scolding when she reached him, especially when he was using his animal form that was coincidentally, similar to the long extinct but still revered symbol by the star system– the Corellian falcon.
Harry couldn't help but shout in delight as the thermal updrafts took him higher up the valley, with minimal adjustments from his wings and tail feathers to control his direction. This was definitely the best view of the majestic mountain peaks and the valley below. The animagus decided to circle the valley once more before he decided to come back and wake up Aayla.
In the city, locals and tourists alike stopped as they heard a most unusual screech above them, echoing from the mountains. A few stopped and gasped once they spotted a single figure soaring above them, and those with scopes and binoculars immediately focused on the black shape silhouetted against the morning sun.
In a span of a few minutes, the Corellian population was abuzz with excitement at the return of the symbol of their people, long thought extinct and never to be seen except in holo projectors and pictures. Yet, one now flew in the valley, majestic and proud, a truly fitting symbol for the Corellian people.
While most just enjoyed watching the sleek bird of prey, a few headed to their repulsors, intent on capturing the falcon that they knew would fetch a substantial amount of credits in the black market.
Harry had just completed a circle and headed towards the direction of the private resort when his sharp vision caught sight of a few craft skinning the tree tops of the Corellian forest. He almost lost his concentration as a craft suddenly flew past, its turbulence wreaking havoc on his wings. He glanced to his right and noticed a craft flying beside him, with what appeared to be a half a dozen on board aiming strange looking gadgets at him.
He tucked his wings closer to his body and swooped towards the ground. He could see a couple of crafts circling above him, and before he hit the trees, he spread his wing and slowed down, barely skimming the leaves and branches.
Harry thought that he had lost his pursuers as he darted past the trees and branches when he spotted a bright red craft dart past him and began dropping strange looking poles to the ground. He quickly turned again and flew lower, hoping to avoid the ships by hiding under the cover of the trees.
His keen eyesight spotted a pair of the strange poles similar to the ones dropped by the ship earlier and he made sure to keep a safe distance from them. Just as he flew past the two poles, he immediately felt his whole body trapped in a strange field, and he could see strange blue wisps of energy enveloping his body.
The animagus tried to struggle, but it was if he was petrified by a curse. He tried to open his beak and flap his wings, but to no avail. He spotted movement in the bushes and glared as a man appeared in front of him, wearing a large smile on his face.
"...yeah, I got it! I'm tellin' you, I'm not joking! I'm standing here staring at it." The man was wearing goggles and appeared to be talking to someone using his communicator attached to his wrist.
His captor peered closer at him and with a valiant struggle Harry tried to move his talons closer to the man's face. The man leaned back after a moment and laughed. "...yeah, it doesn't appear to have any injuries. Fierce looking bird it is, a proper symbol for Corellia."
Harry noticed that the strange energy limiting his movement appeared to be coming from the tip of the two poles he passed, and he tried to formulate a plan for his escape. Hopefully Aayla was still sleeping- she would be surely mad at him if she ever found out about this. If the man deactivated his trap to transport him, he could easily transform and change the man's memories.
"I told you a ray field would work, it's much better than that plan of yours with the stun net... No, I don't want to sell it to the hutts. The Diktat would pay a hefty price, and I'll be famous!" His trapper chuckled. "Yeah, we will both be famous. It's damn lucky we were already on the area hunting, who knew an extinct falcon would appear?"
Harry was beginning to feel nervous about his predicament. He only wanted to fly for a bit, unable to resist the beautiful mountains that surrounded him. He first thought it was a simple and harmless idea, but now it appeared that he was risking the lives of his allies, and most importantly Aayla, with his carelessness.
He heard a sound above him, and suddenly a large branch came crashing down on top of one of the poles from where the strange energy came from. The blue wisps of energy binding him ceased and he fell to the ground, flapping his wings on the way down.
"What the..." As the man turned around, a blue figure landed on top of him hard, instantly knocking him out. Harry immediately transformed and stood up, only for the color to drain from his face at the sight of an extremely annoyed rutian twi'lek.
"Aayla..." Harry began, only to stop as his lover stalked towards him, her eyes watching him intently until she finally reached him.
"You!" The twi'lek jabbed a finger painfully on his chest, her gold brown eyes boring at his. "Don't you know how worried I was?"
"I'm sorry, I didn't know." Harry said weakly.
Aayla quickly grabbed his wrist and led him away from trap, her eyes darting around the woods for other threats. Above them, they could hear the various sounds of engines of the ships, and they quickened their pace as they moved deeper into the forest.
Once they reached a secluded area deeper into the shadows of forest, Aayla spun around and pulled her lover to her, and she harshly whispered to his ear. "Back to our room, now."
Harry nodded and hugged Aayla's waist tightly. A soft pop later, the pair vanished as dozens of smaller craft and pleasure boats converged near the area, combing the forest for the elusive and highly prized bird of prey.
"Well?" Aayla asked, placing her hands on her hips as she regarded Harry. "What do you have to say for yourself?"
"Sit!" The twi'lek pointed to the couch and the powerful wizard instantly complied and quickly sat down, unable to meet her gaze. Aayla was truly formidable when she was annoyed.
"I know taught you better than that." Aayla said slowly, struggling to control her frustration. "Didn't you listen to any of the lectures Barriss and I gave you in preparation for this mission?"
"I did." Harry replied while looking at his knees. "I didn't realize that my animagus form would be such a big deal, since I saw a few other types of birds flying around yesterday. I just wanted to fly around for a bit..."
Aayla sighed and knelt down in front of Harry, taking his hands in hers and squeezing them tightly. She sometimes forgot that Harry was younger than she was, and not familiar with the technologies they used, despite the maturity he showed in numerous occasions. Even though he displayed strong commitment to help the Jedi's cause and his show of devotion to her, he also made mistakes from time to time.
She knew Harry was impulsive at times, and as stubborn as her old master when an idea formed in his head. She guessed that she did not give him specific instructions regarding his unique animal shape shifting ability, since he rarely used it and only she knew about that particular skill. Still, he could have shown more common sense and self preservation... she had almost lost him and it frightened her.
"No more flying without asking me." Aayla said sternly, forcing Harry to look at her by grabbing his chin and tilting his face towards her direction. "Got it?"
"Yeah." Harry nodded. "Again, sorry."
"Idiot. Don't do stupid stunts like that again." Aayla replied softly. Looking at her lover's face, the frown on her lips gradually eased, and she rose up and sat on his lap. Her fingers combed through his messy hair, confident that Harry had learned his lesson.
The force willing, the twi'lek hoped that the stir Harry had caused wouldn't disturb the highly secretive meetings that would start later in the day.
Mon Mothma tightened the hood she wore as the strong mountain winds buffeted her pristine white robe. The senator from Chandrila walked down the ramp extended by the transport ship, followed by a few of her trusted aides.
After weeks spent inside the artificial atmosphere of ships, the strong cold wind from the mountains was a refreshing change, and a serene smile crossed her face despite feeling the icy sting. She took a look around the venue of their meetings and noted that the compound was well away from the city proper. The vacation resort was comprised of one central building, and several smaller buildings she guessed were the guest rooms. Senator Garm Bel Iblis had chosen well in using this venue, since they had the privacy needed to conduct their negotiations properly.
Her aide gave a small cough and she followed her gaze, and noted what appeared to be the resort's manager approaching them. Their host assured them that the resort staff knew how to be discreet, and it showed when the man bowed and gave a simple greeting and introduced himself.
The man had balding hair, but a full white beard, but she noted that he had not asked for her name.
"Are there any guests that have checked in?" She asked.
"A couple checked in Unit eight a few days ago." The man replied instantly. "Other than that, the rest of the rooms are prepared, waiting for our esteemed guests."
"Thank you for your patience, manager..."
"Gim, Madam. Gim Al Etrum, at your service." The man said instantly. "I knew Senator Bel Iblis for many years, and it is my pleasure to welcome you here."
"Thank you, Manager Gim. I expect the rest of the guests to arrive shortly." Mon Mothma gave the manager a smile and accepted the keys to her own lodgings. She and her staff followed the man through a simple stone path, all the while admiring the view of the mountains that surrounded them.
"Here we are." Gim stopped in front of a pleasant looking two story structure with a balcony. "This is unit seven. Would you like a tour of your new accommodations?"
"I'm sure I can manage." Mon replied.
"Very good madam. Please do not hesitate to call me if you need anything."
Mon Mothma slid the card key into the slot, causing the door to slide open. What she saw inside truly impressed her. When Senator Garm Bel Iblis told her that their venue wouldn't be as luxurious as the ones they were used to in Coruscant, she had expected basic accommodations.
What she now saw, caused her to smile. The room was obviously well taken care of, with tasteful wood decorations, comfortable looking couches and large windows. She wondered how the Corellian Senator knew of this place and decided that she would ask him later when he arrived.
"I'll take your luggage to your room?" Her aide asked.
"Please." Mon nodded as she inspected a wooden sculpture that was beside the couch. Technically, she was still the official Senator of Chandrila, despite her now fugitive status after Imperial Intelligence released a warrant of her arrest.
As a show of support, the Chandrilan government refused to name a new senator, and instead sent a representative to take her place in the Imperial Senate.
"What do you prefer to eat for a late lunch senator?" Her other aide asked. "I just inspected the kitchen, and it's fully stocked."
Mon noticed the light in the cottage next to hers, and decided to consult with her Jedi allies. She was also curious about meeting Aayla again, having met the rutian twi'lek a few times during the course of the clone wars. Those few meetings left a deep impression on the Chandrilan senator, and she found Aayla Secura a truly formidable Jedi.
Her close friendship with senator Amidala gave her an unrivaled knowledge in Jedi politics, and knew Aayla was among the few who were more or less considered troublesome for they sometimes disregarded the Jedi code.
"Prepare additional food for two guests who will be eating with us." Mon instructed, moving to the door. "I'll be back shortly."
"It's good to see you, Senator."
"It's also good to see you, Master Secura." Mon returned the smile given by the Jedi knight.
The rutian twi'lek that now stood in front of her was as striking as she remembered a few years ago when they met on Coruscant. Tall, lithe and with eyes full of intensity and inner strength, the Jedi knight's presence always made her (and the other humanoid females she knew) uncomfortable regarding their own physique.
"Please come in." Aayla stood back to allow Mon Mothma to step inside. "We've been expecting you to arrive earlier. I'm afraid the food we've prepared for you is now cold, but I could ask the resort's staff to bring something."
"Please, you didn't have to." Mon replied, sitting down on the couch. "The traffic towards this city was heavier than I expected. It seems that what was a previously thought extinct avian species had shown itself around the mountains of Bela Vista. It's all over the local Holonet news, and tourists are flocking from all over."
"Yes, it was all the staff could talk about this morning." Aayla replied, her eyes travelling to a door leading to bedroom.
"This unexpected event is good for the meeting." Mon continued. "It's the perfect cover for this conference."
Aayla smiled. Harry's rash action had turned out better for everyone after all. "When will Senator Organa and Senator Bel Iblis arrive?"
"With the unexpected traffic heading into Corellia and particularly this city, I expect they will arrive before or during dinner." Mon answered. "As far as everyone knows, Bail is in his secluded vacation home in Corellia with his family, while Senator Garm is still in Coruscant, preparing for his privileged speech."
"Are you expecting any problems in this conference?" Aayla asked, seating down opposite the Chandrilan senator.
"A few." Mon nodded. "Bail and I have already agreed on my proposal, so this is just a formality, but convincing Garm is the highest priority for us. These talks must be successful, since we three must present a unified front if we are to convince the other leaders of our cause."
"And with the show of the Jedi's support, you expect Senator Garm Bel Iblis to agree." Aayla finished.
"Yes, we cannot yet move into the open, but the foundation for this rebellion rests on this initial conference. Corellia is a powerful ally, and Alderaan alone has enough political pull to sway a handful of worlds."
"The soul of the Republic." Aayla agreed. While many view Coruscant as the capital and premiere trading hub of the galactic republic before its fall, Alderaan was regarded as its soul, with the moral authority that previous Chancellors even deferred to in a critical matter. It was a fitting title for the planet, with its largely unspoiled natural beauty, standing in stark contrast to the overdeveloped and artificial Coruscant. It was a reminder for many republic citizens of their roots, and it also served as a model planet that many world governments aspire to become.
Mon Mothma looked at her watch and stood up, and Aayla followed her actions. "I've instructed my aides to prepare a late lunch for us, and I'm feeling famished. Would you like to join us Aayla?"
"I'll be glad to..." Aayla's reply was cut off when Harry entered the room, busy adjusting the straps of his vest. It was obvious that he had just finished taking a bath, since his hair was still damp, and his face was flushed.
"Aayla, mind taking a look if I've done this properly?" Harry said, unaware of their guest. "I can't seem to tighten it..."
The wizard paused, finally noticing the woman with short hair looking at him with a curious expression. "Uh... hi?"
Mon Mothma's blue eyes regarded the newly arrived human male and a smile formed on her lips, amused at his frazzled appearance. She was not privy to how many Jedi had managed to survive the purge, and she only knew that Aayla and another knight were being sent by Yoda as a show of the Jedi's support to her cause.
"Hello." She replied to his greeting with a curt bow.
"Harry, this is Senator Mon Mothma of Chandrila." Aayla said, moving beside Harry. "Senator, this is my partner, Harry Potter."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Master Potter." Mon said, taking note that the twi'lek didn't introduce the young man as her padawan, nor state his rank within the order. She also noticed Aayla's hand around his waist, and he appeared to be used to the possessive gesture.
"Just Harry, senator."
"Harry then." Mon nodded, "I thank the both of you for coming all the way here, despite the danger posed by the Empire."
The Chandrilan senator arched one eyebrow when she saw Aayla turn towards Harry, stepping even closer to him. The familiar manner with which the twi'lek helped her partner made Mon wonder if there was more to their partnership. Her curiosity was piqued when Harry gently stroked Aayla cheek with the back of his hand and gave the rutian twi'lek a warm smile before facing her again.
Certainly, this was no ordinary Jedi-padawan team. What she saw was a lover's caress, and judging by the small smile on Aayla's face, they were already intimate with each other. She wondered if the twi'lek was willing to share her story during their late lunch. After all, even if Mon Mothma was considered by many of her peers as one of the sharpest minds in the galaxy, she was still a woman, and women loved their gossip.
GALACTIC HOLONET NEWS!
Emperor Palpatine, leader of our glorious Empire recently proposed to the Galactic Senate the Tarkin Doctrine. This doctrine will pave the way for total peace and security in our Glorious Empire.
The Tarkin Doctrine, also known as the Imperial Communiqué #001044.92v, was initially proposed by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin of Eriadu.
The Tarkin Doctrine contains revolutionizing ideas and here are some of its contents:
Oversectors will be established over Systems that have a high crime rate, rebellion or have supported the Confederation of Independent systems. These Oversectors will disregard existing territorial and cultural boundaries. Each Sector will be overseen by a Moff personally assigned by the Emperor himself.
Communications centers will be distributed to every ship and station to improve communications with the Empire Center.
The systems that continue to rebel will be ruled through fear of force rather than fear itself. Oversector groups or combination of oversector groups will remain the deterrent and if needed, deliver the threat against these systems.
Research and Development of more powerful Starships and weapons to inspire fear into these Crime infested systems.
Imperial Senate Votes on Renaming Coruscant as the Imperial Center!
Coruscant, the center of our Glorious Empire is now officially called the Imperial Center as of 0600 galactic standard time. The planet is the known center of the galaxy as it hosts headquarters of thousands of intergalactic companies, weapons manufacturers and traders and a vital trade route towards outer systems.
The planet is also the official residence of Emperor Palpatine and his official home is the Imperial Building, formerly known as 500 Republica.
Moff Wilhuff Tarkin promoted to a Grand Moff by Emperor Palpatine!
A grand ceremony this morning promoted Wilhuff Tarkin to a Grand Moff, the highest military position in our glorious Empire. This position gives Tarkin an equal rank with Lord Vader, the Emperor's apprentice. Wilhuff Tarkin is known as a brilliant commander and a master Tactician, proving himself countless times in hundreds of operations before and during the clone wars.
Wilhuff Tarkin is a long time acquaintance of Emperor Palpatine. As Chancellor, Palpatine immediately assigned Tarkin a military governor position in recognition of his talents and ruthlessness against enemies.
Captain Galven of the CR90 Imperial Corvette Harbinger tapped his fingers on the arm rest of his command chair in boredom. It was missions like these that he hated, since cargo duty tended to be monotonous and boring for the newly promoted captain.
He preferred serving in the Resolute, at least the clones and officers that served in the task force flagship were competent and efficient. His current crew consisted of twenty clones of questionable quality and ten, newly graduated officers from the Imperial Academy.
The shinies, as he and the armies had come to call untested clones, were noticeably less disciplined than their older counterparts. They had instantly obeyed his orders, but the manner in which they carried them was different from the regular clones he was used to commanding.
Galven wanted to decline the promotion, but there was no other choice, and it was Admiral Yularen himself that suggested that he take command of a corvette of his own.
While the outer circle fleet patrolled the planet systems that defected to the separatists, Galven was assigned logistics duty, conducting supply runs from imperial supply bases and back to the fleet.
Two days earlier, he was ordered to pick up a classified cargo guarded by a detachment of the famous 501st legion in Mustafar. The cargo was to be delivered straight to the Imperial Center at fast as possible.
"What is it?" Galven asked. So far, this mission had been the most uneventful he had experienced since being promoted to captain a month ago. He knew the route they were taking was often patrolled by Imperial warships, and his ship was powerful and fast enough to deal with any pirates.
"I'm detecting a large ship heading towards us." The lieutenant replied.
Galven immediately stood up and walked over to the lieutenant's station. "Can you identify it?"
"It's too big for any pirate ship Captain." The inexperienced lieutenant adjusted a few of his sensors, and his face brightened. "I got it sir! It's an Acclamator class warship!"
"It's probably a patrol ship." Galven mused, moving back to his command chair. "I thought only Venator class cruisers were assigned to patrol this region though."
"It's almost beside us." The lieutenant reported. The bridge crew looked to their left and saw the enormous bulk of the Acclamator class ship moving past them.
"Try hailing them, and send our security codes." Galven ordered, by now familiar to Imperial navy protocol.
"There's something wrong sir." His communication's officer said. "I can't send the signal!"
The corvette suddenly shook violently, sending those unaware to a painful collision with the durasteel floor and walls. Captain Galven managed to stay on his seat as the Harbinger dropped out of hyperspace.
"Sir, that ship just disabled our engines!" His lieutenant cried out. "Why are they shooting at us!"
"Fool!" Galven snarled at his inexperienced communications officer, thinking that he had been to slow to send out a signal. He was about to move to the communications station when the ship shook again, and this time he could see through the transparisteel windows pieces of his cannons floating away.
"Sir! They just disabled our weapons..."
"Shut it!" Galven elbowed the communications officer out of his station and ignoring his executive officer. He frowned when he noticed that the ship's transmitters were unable to detect any other frequencies. His eyes widened when he realized they were being jammed!
They heard a heavy thud, and the ship shook once more, though it wasn't as violent as the one before. Galven was extremely familiar with the strange sound. It meant that the renegade warship's crew was boarding them.
He ordered his entire crew and the clones with him to hold off anyone trying to board them. The corridor was narrow, and he knew they could hold off whoever was coming through while hoping another Imperial ship noticed their predicament. His communications officer was still on the bridge trying to send out a distress beacon.
The main hatch suddenly slid open in a burst of smoke and dust, and Captain Galven ordered his men to open fire.
Red bolts streamed through the just opened hatch, but his eyes widened when he saw a green beam of light appear suddenly, deflecting back them back to his men. One by one they fell, and the remaining few hid in their covers, terrified to be hit.
Captain Galven stepped back when he heard the familiar hum of controlled plasma cutting through the air and he gasped as the smoke cleared, revealing a terrifying sight.
"Jedi!" He whispered. He pointed his handgun at the traitors of the empire and fired, only to fall down dead as his fire was ruthlessly deflected back to him. It happened so fast that the Galven had not been able to comprehend what had happened, as he suddenly felt a burning sensation on his shoulder.
"I want prisoners." The Jedi declared. Behind the Jedi knight, men in blue combat uniforms, along with some with the white armor with maroon stripes similar to those worn by clone troops stormed the corridor.
Rahm Kota glanced at the Imperial officer moaning in pain while the Antarian Rangers made a sweep of the ship, the scars on his face prominent due to the frown he was wearing.
Captain Galven suddenly felt himself being lifted by an unseen force, before he was slammed hard into the wall, a strong firm hand holding his neck while his feet dangled in the air.
Rahm Kota ignored the screams from the man, and leaned closer. He wasn't feeling merciful these days, after what these men did to his Jedi brothers and sisters. He forced the man's eyes to meet with his, and used the force to dominate the officer's mind. "Tell me everything."