Involved with Past and Future
"Wait," Lorana says, turning to face C'baoth in confusion. "I haven't been assigned to Outbound Flight."
"You don't need to be," C'baoth replies. "I've been granted absolute authority from the Jedi Council. Besides, you're not ready yet, and there's still much-"
And despite her Master's cajoling and browbeating and imperious commands, for once in her life she holds firm. Her answer remains the same: no. She finishes her tour, makes her polite farewells, then promptly leaves Yaga Minor for the Jedi Temple.
Eight years later, during the Siege of Saleucami, her mind keeps circling back to Outbound Flight. Did they ever make it? Is her Master still grasping for power and supremacy from all quarters, at any price?
She imagines the Dreadnaughts slowly detaching from the core, one by one, as families colonize the strange worlds of the Unknown Regions.
She jumps forward in time, and imagines the Jedi pushing through the hyperspace disturbance at the edge of the galaxy, into new worlds and suns and infinite novelty.
But far more often, she sees something else: Outbound Flight floating through space, a blackened wreck. Completely, unbearably silent. Whether it's a vision of the future, a glimpse of the past, or a mere flight of whimsy remains unclear.
The silence haunts her-the eerie, stagnant quiet of the dead.
Someone coughs behind her, and she spins around to find one of the clone troopers standing at attention. "We've begun to construct the trench around the droid positions, General Jinzler."
She nods. "Thank you, Captain. I'll be there."
She clears her mind of the past and possibilities, and heads out towards the trench. But even in the heat and clamor of battle, that lifeless silence waits for her-patiently, inevitably. As though she's merely postponed it.
But not forever.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
-"Burnt Norton," T.S. Eliot