"Mara, look out for that...tree!" Luke Skywalker had to duck down into the seat of the skiff in order to avoid the rushing limb that threatened to decapitate him. The limb whizzed by as they were traveling at tremendous speed. While the skiff was dodging the oncoming trees and foliage, Luke was reminded of another high-speed chase he had been involved in while in the woods on the Endor moon so many ages ago. The difference this time was that he was a passenger.

His wife, Mara Jade Skywalker, was the pilot of the low grade skiff they found at a moment's notice. She was too focused to concentrate on her husband's words, despite her yelling out, "Do not tell me how to fly, Skywalker!"

"Did you jam his comlink?"

"Already done! Though, I don't think he'll contact anyone!"

It was hard to understand her speech while the wind was thrusting against them. Luckily, the Skywalker couple had their Force bond for such occasions to hear themselves. "Why do you say that?" he yelled his question to her. He grabbed the edge of the front dash to hold on to after Mara made a sudden bank to the left to miss a large tree stump.

Mara straightened out her swerve as she tried to catch up to the craft ahead of them. She yelled out, "Tell you later! I'm a bit busy!"

Luke kept a hold of the dash as she swerved to the left and right almost at random to avoid the trees and limbs in her way. By the look of determination in her face, there was no way she was going to relinquish the controls.

The craft they were chasing was very fast and the pilot could maneuver fairly well. After a few minutes of flying low to the ground, the craft suddenly lurched upward towards the treetops. Mara tried to compensate but the ancient skiff couldn't handle such a quick bank. She overshot the turn and almost ran themselves into a giant yerchwood before she corrected it and went upward to follow the craft. She uttered an audible, "Sithspawn!" as she continued her pursuit of the craft, which was quite well ahead of them now. "This guy's good!"

Luke shouted, "I thought he was just a security officer!"

"He's too good to be just any officer. He's had training! And I think I know where!"

Luke pressed down his foot onto an imaginary brake as she made the skiff reach speeds it wasn't ready for. The old repulsor engines behind them whined in protest. "Let's talk about it after we survive!"

"Good idea! I'm catching up to him!"

Sure enough, Luke noticed that she was gaining on the craft. The blue-white crescent-shaped engines started to get closer. He wondered what she had in mind before they were fried from those engines. At least the craft leveled off and the treetops were now out of the way and below them. Her acceleration had increased mightily as the craft seemed to suddenly come closer in view. That was when Luke realized what it was doing.

"Mara! You're not gaining on him! He's slowing down! There's no way this heap could catch up to him!"

"You're right! But, why would he, unless–"

Suddenly, they got their answer.

Slightly above the craft's repulsor engine was a small compartment that started to open. Usually, the hatch was for dumping excess debris out before a jump into hyperspace. As soon as the door of the compartment fully slid open, several objects of the same type came jettisoning out. They were all small black discs and they scattered into the air being whisked away into the wind. It took no time for several of the discs to attach themselves to the thin hull of the skiff. Some of the discs landed inside of the cockpit beside Luke and Mara.

As soon as Luke recognized what the discs were, he shouted even more loudly to his wife, "Grenades! Mara, we've got to get off this thing!"

"I know! We've got some time! I can catch up to him!"

Luke had already decided he wasn't going to let his wife be that brave and sacrifice themselves. Even for Jaina. "No, Mara! We're going now!"

With that, he charged at her from the side as if playing a game of shockball. He grabbed hold of Mara's waist and catapulted both of them out of the skiff and into the air. He could hear his wife's curses at him as they fell towards a nearby treetop. They must have been a good twenty meters in the air, but Luke used the Force to nudge him and Mara to the edge of the yerchwood's large branches. With a sickening crunch, they both hit the top branch, but their momentum kept them from stopping altogether. As they went down, they hit each branch along the way. New cuts and scratches were formed and grunts of pain emitted from husband and wife were heard intermittently between each hit of a branch. When they could sense the ground coming near, they each used the Force to cushion their sudden landing. They landed sure enough with two thuds and they tumbled within the thick foliage.

It was Mara who picked herself off the ground and inspected her scratches and small wounds from the fall into the tree. Luke was a few meters away doing the same. From up above they could hear an explosion. The remains of the old skiff.

She then lit into her husband. "Damn you, Skywalker! I almost had him!"

"And you're welcome, by the way."

"Yes, thanks for letting me lose him. And Jaina."

"Excuse me for wanting to save my wife from a fiery death."

"I was getting closer so I could get alongside of him. I could have reached his main thruster line to sever it with my lightsaber. He would have been going down by now."

"But those grenades were going to go off."

"For your information, those were Merr-Sonn V-6D sticky mortars. They have a time limit of two minutes before they detonate." She stopped as if thinking to herself. "He modified a debris hatch and outfitted a mortar launcher into it. No ordinary security officer could think to do that."

"All right, exactly who are we dealing with here?"

Mara looked at him with scratches on his face and leaves on his tunic. "Only elite TIE pilots and Imperial commandos could get their hands on Merr-Sonn mortars."

"Are you saying he was a former stormtrooper?"

"More elite than that. With the mortars and moves like that in that ship, I'm thinking 501st."

Luke shook his head. "He couldn't be. We've already met what's left of the 501st on the Outbound Flight mission."

"That's the current version. He may be a former member."

"Terrific. What does he want with Jaina?"

"I don't know," she answered with a mix of regret and sadness.

Luke's comlink chirped and he reached into his tunic pocket and answered it. The voice of Lando Calrissian cried out through the small speaker.

"Luke! We were following your chase and we lost you. Then we detected a sudden heat source kinda like an explosion. Tell me you and Mara are all right."

"We're all ok, Lando," Luke said with relief.


Luke's relief disappeared. He gulped. "Well...Jaina–"

The speaker started to squeal and made shifting sounds as if were being grabbed by another person. This time, Han Solo's voice came on to question, "Jaina is what?"

Luke gave a pained look to Mara, who only shrugged in sad defeat. Luke stumbled to reply, "Han...uh–"

"Just tell me, Luke! What happened to my daughter?"

Luke sighed in his own defeat and admitted, "She's been kidnaped."

After a beat, Han asked in an almost casual exasperated tone, "Again?"