A/N: so first off, i'm estatic with the positive reviews this story has gotten. It really pushed me to get this chapter out. The good thing is I have a semi-idea of where i want to go, at least for the next few chapters. So I hope you guys like this one! ^^
He wasn't awoken with a start, instead he slowly opened his eyes breaking the meditative state he had been in. He could sense Han coming down the hall as soon as he had left the cock pit. Still, he was hopeful that the smuggler would let him continue to meditate. Unfortunately he knew better. So now he slowly rose to his feet, stretching his limbs.
"What is it?" he questioned raising an eyebrow as Han motioned for him to walk with him back to the cockpit.
"So that's our planet" Han pointed out the planet they were slowly approaching. "My friend –" "Are we still calling him your friend?" Galen interrupted looking over at him. Han shrugged before continuing. "Is on Naboo."
"A strong hold for the Empire. The planet is fairly peaceful though isn't it?" Galen questioned. He recognized the name of the planet from running a mission for Vader there. The planet was fairly peaceful, despite the number of Imperials that resided there. He was also aware that there was a fairly strong rebel contingent that ran in the countryside. That information he got from Leia.
"Exactly, but it turns out that the Empire has turned up security standards on some of their core planets. Apparently that rumor about the rebels is being taken slightly more serious. Basically, we have to allow them to search the ship" Han explained.
"That's not too bad, what's the problem?"
"My guess is they won't like what they see when they run the Falcon's name. Also when they see a Jedi I'm assuming they won't give us a warm welcome either."
Galen shook his head, waving his hand. "You assume too much. I'll take care of them. Just land the ship, don't you have any code names for the ship?" Han glanced down pressing some buttons on the console before nodding.
"I'm not sure how The Elegant Saucer will seem with two guys and a wookiee but they should be none the wiser. I'm not that known anyway" Galen gave him a surprised look at this admittance. Han Solo, world-class smuggler admitting that he wasn't the best in the galaxy for once. Well, scratch that. He said he wasn't the most known in the difference. Still, it was something. "What?" Han questioned noticing his look. The Jedi merely shook his head and said nothing before walking back to finish his meditation.
"Elegant Saucer, you're cleared for landing in bay 4"
"Copy" the pilot replied as he glanced over at Galen. "I did my part, you better come through wizard." Galen simply nodded and stood leaving the cockpit to make sure he had all of his belongings that he would need. Arriving on a planet that had a resistance of sorts, Galen couldn't help but think of those he had helped for almost an entire year. Hopefully he wouldn't be called into action here. They could just meet Han's associate, give him what was needed and be gone. The Rebellion was his past now.
A few moments later he heard the Falcon set down and the shutdown beginning. Making his way into the hallway, he waited a little ways off from where the ramp was being let down. Han stood at the top to greet the inspector. A simple boy, maybe just through his eighteenth life year. Still he wore the Imperial Inspector's uniform and Galen knew there was a group of Stormtroopers right outside should anything unusual be reported. As the man nodded to Han and walked his way, Starkiller stepped out into his path. "There is nothing to report here" he instructed with a wave of the hand.
"There is nothing to report here" he repeated in a monotone.
"You will tell them everything checks out now"
"I will tell them everything checks out now" with that the man turned around and promptly marched back out of the ship. He could hear the young man talking to the stormtroopers and the marching of boots growing distant as they moved along.
"Nice work kid" Han said as Galen walked over to join him at the top of the ramp. Galen merely shrugged as he tucked his lightsaber out of sight. Once Chewbacca had grabbed the pack with the datachip they descended the ramp and made their way along Han's directions.
"So what exactly is this friend of yours?" Galen questioned as they walked through the streets of Naboo. Despite being a planet within the Empire; there was not much diversity. Humans made up a large percent of the population and some underwater dwelling creatures that Marik wasn't even sure existed still. The humans here were elegant and held high standards of themselves. All that being said, walking around with a wookiee and the way Han dressed; they were standing out like a sore thumb.
"You might call him a loan shark" Galen rolled his eyes. Why did that not surprise him that Han Solo owed another person in the galaxy. "It's not like that though. He's a family man. Hence why he's setup on Naboo."
"Oh but of course" Galen replied shaking his head. "Is there anyone you don't owe money too?"
"I don't owe him money. I owed him money. Being a family man he's a bit more caring then Jabba. I told him I couldn't come up with the money so he said that I could do him a favor instead" Han explained as if it were nothing.
"A favor that you would have been killed doing if it weren't for me"
"But you were there so everything works out" Han pointed out giving him that smuggler grin as they turned down a side street. They moved past a few more houses before Han finally stopped. Signaling that this was it, he moved up the stairs before stopping. "You stay here. The last thing I need is for him to see you and think of another favor for me to do." Sighing, Galen turned and began walking back down to the main road as Han and Chewbacca moved up into the house.
As he waited on the street corner, Galen couldn't help but wonder where he was headed. His ultimate goal had been to destroy the Empire, specifically Vader. But he had some things to accomplish first like taking care of Boba Fett. That was why he couldn't stay with the Rebellion. He had his own personal motives that he couldn't let distract them from their cause. Maybe once everything was done he would be able to return to the fight. Still, with their one trail to Boba evaporated it seemed that he was a long way from accomplishing his goal. Which meant he was even further from seeing Leia again.
Galen was disrupted from his thoughts as he heard a scuffle brewing nearby. Turning his head, he watched as Imperial Stormtroopers began to swarm around a man. The scene was quite a sight. There was currently one trooper knocked unconscious on the ground, another doubled over in pain, and a third was currently getting beaten by the man while reinforcements arrived. Turning his head the other way, he tried not to think about it. This was not his battle anymore. Yet he couldn't resist turning back to watch. The numbers had overwhelmed him as two troopers held him and another was delivering blows to the gut. He cursed mentally. Now that it was an unfair fight he could hardly just stand by.
Walking towards the scene swiftly, he pushed past a few civilians who didn't have enough sense to keep walking. "Let him go" he said, his voice deep and demanding. Immediately he caught the attention of the three standing guards.
"Mind your business civilian. This is Imperial business" responded the closest trooper, the one who was delivering the blows.
"I didn't know beating on one man was imperial business" Galen said, standing his ground. His voice was unwavering as he spoke. "Let him go."
"Alright, that's enough out of you" one of the soldiers holding the man let go and began to walk towards Galen. As he reached out to him, Galen moved faster than a normal being could blink. Grabbing the trooper's helmet he brought it down to meet with his knee, successfully giving the man head trauma and probably a concussion. The other two troopers were so stunned by this they barely had time to register what was happening before Starkiller was on them as well. Grabbing the nearest man, he delivered a force enhanced blow to the soldier's chest, certainly breaking the man's sternum. By the time he turned his attention to the third trooper, he saw that the man who was captive was now kicking the grounded trooper.
Realizing he was being watched the man stopped and turned to Galen in a defensive stance before realizing it was his savior. "Oh, thank you" he said offering his hand. Starkiller was far too worried about clearing the area to shake the man's hand.
"Come on" he said grabbing the man by the shoulder, he quickly ushered him down the alley which Han had taken them. "We need to get out of here before troopers arrive."
The man nodded, being brought back to the urgency of the situation at hand. "Follow me" he then took the lead, cutting down another alley. Galen made sure his comlink was on hand as he would have to be in contact with Han in case he wasn't back by then. Following the man, he took them through a winding series of streets that Galen was all starting to think looked the same. Ducking down a another pathway, the sunlight slowly grew dimmer and he realized that the man must have taken them to an underground passageway. Finally, they came to a halt.
"Where are we exactly?" Starkiller questioned looking back down the way they had came. It was always good to know your escape routes. Fortunately, or unfortunately, in this situation there was only one way for him to know. The man paused holding up a hand before he leaned forward and seemed to be muttering something. In an instant the door hissed open as the young man gestured for him to follow.
"I am Jaiden Naberrie. I owe my life to you" he said, avoiding the immediate question. The space expanded once they were inside. It seemed almost like an office in some ways. There were a few desks placed up against the wall. Some were occupied by beings typing away while others were vacant. Galen assumed this was all nothing important; or that he trusted him enough not to be worried. After all, he had just shared his name. Not a particularly smart move in his view of things.
"I assume they weren't holding you for littering" Galen replied, a sarcastic tone with his voice.
"Yes well, in case you haven't heard, the Empire doesn't take kindly to those calling out against it" he said looking over his shoulder as Galen gave him a wry smile in return. Despite the relaxing calm he was feeling through the force, his instincts always had him alert.
"So what, you just like to cause a scene in public?" he questioned as they made their way through another corridor.
"Oh no, we're doing much more than that" Jaiden explained, continuing to lead. "The goal of the rebellion is to not only plant seeds of defiance, but also seeds of hope. We know that not everyone is willing to go up in arms but if we can give them hope that someone else is…well that's worth it I think."
Galen's face had frozen when he heard the word rebellion. In a way he knew that's what this was, but at the same time he couldn't help but kick himself. He had told Leia he was done yet here he was in an underground Rebel bunker. "I see" was his reply as he quickly used the force to mask his expression. Finally they came to a stop outside a passageway, which Galen could only assume lead to some sort of main control.
"I've brought you this far because I know who you are Starkiller" Jaiden said turning to face him. Despite his force aura giving off his surprise, his body language stayed the same. "We Rebels are a tight knit group but the stories of your missions are our hope. Before you step any further, I have to know if you're willing to help us."
Galen considered what he was saying for a moment and wondered if this was some setup conceived by Princess Leia but dismissed the idea. She respected his wishes. Thinking for a moment he heard the click of his comlink. "I'm sorry Jaiden, I'm not helping the Rebels anymore" for a moment a flash of fear appeared on Jaiden's face, thinking he had just secured the deaths of his comrades by bringing a former Sith apprentice down to their base. "Don't worry, I won't betray anything. I'm not aligned with the Empire either" Galen assured him with a nod.
A sigh of relief escaped his lips as he bowed forward and clasped his hand. "I respect your decision. Hopefully one day we will be making use of your services again." Galen gave him a nod as he began to make his way back through the winding corridors. Waiting until he was out of the ear shot of Jaiden he clicked the channel open and responded.
"How'd the meeting go?"
"Nice of you to respond" came the wise reply from Han. "The meeting went as planned. The question is what did you do? There are stormtroppers all over this place."
"There was an incident, apparently there's a Rebel contingent here" Galen replied, already sensing how the smuggler would reply.
"Oh no. I'm not getting involved in any imaginary Rebel business kid. Count me out and heading back to the Falcon."
"Yeah, yeah. Don't worry, I didn't sign up for anything – you on the other hand…"
"Alright kid, don't push it. Just get back here so we can high tail it before they decide to shut down the port." With that the conversation ended. Walking the rest of the way out, he finally reached daily light and realized that he didn't know how to get back to where they were so instead he contacted Han and arranged a meeting at the Falcon.
As he walked back, he couldn't help but feel a sense of guilt wash over him. Nothing was ever an accident, the force had intended for him to meet Jaiden Naberrie. Apparently the force was trying to tell him to return to the cause that he knew was righteous. However, given everything he just wanted to ignore the force. Unfortunately, even he knew that it really worked. Some way or another the force would just bring him back again. In fact it was through the force that he felt the tingling danger sense as he neared the hanger.
Glancing over his shoulder, he spotted two stormtroppers conversing, one of them pointing to him. Remaining calm, he quickly made his way towards the Falcon. Looking as he paced towards the ship, he spotted Han chatting with some other pilots, no doubt telling them of his many adventures. Galen let out a low whistle to catch his attention and motioned discretely that they should get going. To his credit the smuggler didn't need any further notice to end his conversation and comm'd for Chewie to get things going.
The distinct muffled voice came from behind him as Galen stepped a foot onto the boarding ramp. Turning he saw that the two soldiers were now jogging towards him with their blasters at the ready. Extending an empty palm in their direction the two guards were sent flying backwards into a pile of crates.
"Good move kid, way to be subtle" called Han as Starkiller jogged the rest of the way up the ramp. "Lucky we're ready to blow this place."
Galen made his way towards to cockpit as the ship shutter from being hit by blaster fire. Chewbacca let out a growl as Han pushed the thrusters forward. "I've got it" he reassured the wookie as they blasted into the atmosphere.
"Those ships will try to intercept us" Starkiller said, pointing ahead to the nearest Star Destroyers.
"They won't get to us in time" Han spoke confidently as he pushed the Falcon to her limit. The force user didn't know whether Han was extremely lucky or just knew the capabilities of his vehicle. Probably both because sure enough they were beyond the Star Destroyers and into hyperspace before a shot could be fired at them. Letting out a breath the smuggler turned to look at him. "What was that all about?"
"One of the troopers must have recognized me" Galen replied as he took a seat.
"So you're wanted by the Empire, and being contacted by Rebels. Is there anything else I should know about kid?" he raised an eyebrow as Chewbacca growled, backing his question.
"No. That's all in my past. I'll be leaving your company soon. I just need to pick up transport" Galen said as he stared off for a moment as if remembering a distant memory.
"Whoa, whoa. We make a pretty good team kid. You want to break that up?" Han questioned, folding his arms across his chest. Galen didn't know if he truly believed those words or if he really meant that having a Jedi around was insurance for any bad deals.
"It's something I have to do. When I'm done I'll look you up, if you're still alive of course" a smirk crossed his features as he glanced at the cocky pilot.
"Haven't you learned anything yet? I'm sleeping with Lady Luck" Han returned the smirk as he turned around to face his navigation panel. "So where is it that you're going anyhow?"
Galen remained silent for a moment, staring out into the viewport before finally speaking, "Yavin 4."
"Yavin 4? What is that a deserted moon? What could you possibly have there?" Han looked at him skeptically. Galen was starting to realize that even if he didn't trust Han he was going to have to start doing so. Despite their rocky relationship he had proven himself. Who knew if they'd be meeting again in the future.
"I have a connection there, he has something I need" when Han simply raised his eyebrows wanting clarification, Galen let out a sigh before continuing. "A ship. I need to recover my ship."
A look of understanding crossed the smugglers features as he leaned back into his chair. "Okay. I can see where you're coming from now" he stated before adding with a devious grin, "You don't need any help getting this ship do you?"
"No, it shouldn't be any problem getting it" Galen replied, before letting a rare friendly smirk appear, "Besides, what makes you think I'd need your help."
Han proceeded to throw his hands up in the air, "Well excuse me. You hear that Chewbacca, we're just the side show" he commented looking over at his wookiee co-pilot. He sounded serious, but Galen knew he wasn't. And for the first time in a while, in the middle of hyperspace with a wookiee and a smuggler, he laughed.
"You are cleared for landing"
The voice came through the transmission the intercom after Galen gave Han the codes to send in. The force on Yavin 4 wasn't much. In fact the base wasn't even fully functioning or completed for that matter. Still, the last thing he wanted to do was have unnecessary guns point at him when they landed. Or even worse, have them open fire as soon as the landing ramp opened. As Han swung into the place that resembled a docking bay, Galen turned towards him.
"Well, thanks for the ride" he gave him a half smile. "It's been fun" offering his hand, Han paused before grasping it firmly.
"If you ever need anything kid, I'm sure you'll know how to find me" he gave him that classic Han look that Starkiller had come to recognize over the past few days.
Galen nodded, giving him a grateful look before turning to Chewbacca. "I'm sure you'll be able to handle keeping his ass safe from blaster fire" he grinned giving the furry warrior a salute. In return he got a throaty growl which he could only assume was a positive answer. Bidding them fair well once more, Galen headed towards the exit ramp. Patting his belt, he made sure he had his concealed lightsabers before exiting the Millennium Falcon.
Walking through the steel doors, he could hear the thrusters of the Falcon as she took off into orbit again. As he entered he felt like every head was turning towards him as he walked past. That was possibly because every head was turning towards him as he walked past. Some offered words of welcome but Starkiller simply continued on. Sometimes he would offer a nod or slight grin but nothing more than that. He was focused on finding his ship and he already had a lock on the force where he could get it.
Maneuvering through some construction crates, waiting for vehicles to pass, he finally reached his destination. Approaching the man, he glanced back at Galen, a pleasant look of surprise on his features. Holding up his hand, the young Jedi spoke first.
"General Kota. I believe you have something of mine."