Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling or George Lucas or James Kahn

Death Star II - over Endor - 4 ABY

Months had passed since the final death throes of Black Sun had collapsed. Xizor's niece, Savan, had been named as the next Underlord of Black Sun. Darth Vader didn't see any chance of her being able to hold onto the remnants of Black Sun. The organization might resurface, but Vader didn't believe it would return for another thirty or so years. In the months that followed this Imperial victory, former Grand Admiral Zaarin's insurrection was finally crushed by the will of Grand Admiral Thrawn and Emperor Palpatine. But several few Alliance victories occurred in those months, as well - including an AT-AT walker and a Lambda-class Imperial shuttle from the Imperial Army.

Vader wasn't too concerned with these victories, however. He doubted that the Alliances had much hope of success against the might of the Sith and their great Empire. The trap Palpatine had planned in the Moddell sector was drawing closer and closer. The trap would be a mortal failure if the Imperials working on the Endor Project didn't enhance their progress. This was why Vader had been delivered the task of traveling to the second Death Star, located so close to the Unknown Regions that no one would have bothered with it in any other situation, and giving an ultimatum to the commander of the station, Imperial Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod of the Quanta sector.

As Vader stepped from his Lambda-class shuttle, he was greeted by a welcoming party composed of Imperial officers and stormtroopers. Vader himself was joined by his own troopers from the 501st. In the center stood a Human male of forty standard years. The Sith Lord recognized Tiann Jerjerrod. He knew a little about the man himself. He did not like what he heard. No man in the Empire outranked the Sith Lords, but Vader had respected Wilhuff Tarkin enough to perform the tasks the Grand Moff asked of him - as he would obey the Emperor. While no less arrogant and confident, Jerjerrod lacked Tarkin's charisma and ingenuity. Of course, this could mean that Jerjerrod was merely sane. Vader had long believed that Tarkin more often than stepped over the thin line between genius and insanity. Unlike the Eriaduan, Jerjerrod did not challenge Darth Vader - he feared him.

A foolishly arrogant man like that is wise to fear me, Vader thought, as he approached the nervous-looking Moff. Jerjerrod stepped forward to greet the Dark Lord. He spoke with that same flattery that sp often seemed to plague the Core. Just so often, it never ceased to annoy the Sith.

"Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We are honored by your presence."

"You may dispense with the pleasantries, Governor," Vader growled. "The Emperor is concerned with your progress. I am here to put you back on schedule."

Jerjerrod paled. "I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can."

Vader stepped forward, a cold smile curling on his lips. "Perhaps I can encourage their progress in ways you have not considered, Jerjerrod."

Jerjerrod backed away, nearly stumbling over in his fright. "That won't be necessary, my Lord. I tell you, without question this station will be operational as planned."

"I'm afraid the Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation," Vader snarled.

"I fear he asks the impossible," Jerjerrod countered.

Vader favored the Moff with a cold smile. "Perhaps you could explain that conjecture to him when he arrives."

The Sith Lord was rewarded with the terror emanating from the Force - which was mirrored on Tiaan Jerjerrod's face. "The Emperor," the Moff managed. "The Emperor is coming here."

"Yes, my dear Moff," Vader said softly, his last three words emphasized with sarcasm. "And he will be quite displeased if you are still behind schedule when he arrives. Emperor Palpatine is not as forgiving as I am. Have you heard what happened to Bevel Lemelisk after the failure of the previous Death Star?"

The Dark Lord grinned, as Jerjerrod gulped at the memory. "We shall double out efforts, Lord Vader."

Vader nodded. "I hope so, Governor, for your sake. Emperor Palpatine accepts nothing but the completion of this battle station and the final and utter destruction of the outlaw Rebellion. And we have secret news now," he added to the Moff alone. "Mon Mothma has organized the entire Rebel fleet into a single armada, commanded by that Calamarian, Gial Ackbar. The time is at hand when we can crush them, without mercy, in a single blow. Endor will be the site where the last of the political and military insurrectionists will be crushed. After Mon Mothma's devastating failure, even the Jedi will be unable to save the Rebellion from destruction."

Looking in the distance at the forest moon below, the Sith Lord smiled. "The Force is with us, Tiaan - and we will suffice."


Jabba's Palace - Tatooine - 4 ABY

Jabba is cruel, ruthless, and deceitful - Jedi shouldn't be allying with a mobster like that.

James had said those words to the then-Supreme Chancellor Palpatine twenty-six years ago, during the Clone Wars. In the decades since, the Jedi Master had not changed his position. Even on his years as a smuggler, James had never worked for the Hutt Cartel – they were despicable. Yet, here he stood, uncover – standing in the very place James had long felt were beneath the ranks of the Jedi. Now, with Xizor's death over Coruscant and Jiliac Desilijic's assassination on Nal Hutta three years before, Jabba was the most powerful criminal in the galaxy - and James was standing in his fortress.

He no longer looked like himself, though. The archaic armor James wore was a relic of the Jedi-Sith War, and had seen use by the ancient Jedi Master Rohlan Hoth's famed Army of Light at the Ruusan conflicts. This armor, combined with James's cybernetic implants, brought on an ominous feature to James's appearance that the Jedi Master detested. His face bore facial hair and his hair was long and wild. But much of his face was covered by a helmet that bore an eerie similarity to the IG-88 assassin droids that plagued the galaxy after a failed experiment at Holowan Laboratories - glowing red sensors and a expressionless metal face. This was purposefully done. Due to his years as a smuggler, it was possible the Hutt might recognize him if he did not hide his appearance in this way. To any outside viewer, he was merely the mysterious mercenary Dente Iakobos, currently serving as a guard for the ruthless Jabba the Hutt.

Harry and Lando were here with him, also disguised as guards. Harry was disguised as the Alderaanian mercenary Jan Hagan. He was supposed to be a former noble who had lost his home when Alderaan was destroyed four years ago. Ever since, he's served as a mercenary, currently working among Jabba's guards. Lando was, also, dressed as a guard. But his name was to be Tamtel Screej. On the far side, standing among the bounty hunters, were Sirius and Lily. Sirius was again disguised as the Kiffar assassin Gravis Noir. Since much of Black Sun was destroyed on Coruscant months ago, there was no one alive to dispute Sirius's claim to be a former Black Sun operative who was now offering his services to the Hutt clans. Lily was believed by everyone here to be the enigmatic bounty hunter Io'sen. Due to the heavy armor of Mandalorian origin, no one was able to detect her species or gender - not even the quite perceptive Boba Fett, who stood nearby.

Both Sirius and Lily bore a combination of weapons that fit in with their back story - blasters, lightsabers, vibroblades, cortosis swords, and goblin-made swords. Goblin silver and cortosis were one of the few defenses against a lightsaber strike. Cortosis had, in fact, been used quite frequently by enemies of the Jedi during the Clone Wars and the Old Sith Wars. This included Sith and bounty hunters alike. The intimidating appearances of the supposed brutal assassins discouraged any of Jabba's court from denying their claims. In fact, Sirius looked so different from himself that, even to James, he was almost indistinguishable from another Kiffar, his old colleague, Jedi High General Quinlan Vos.

But even as James thought these words, he sensed that they were not alone in Jabba's palace. He sensed powerful Force signatures that indicated that powerful Force users dwelled in this palace. The first echo in the Force was filled with deceit and malevolence. This did not concern James; it was not out of the question that a powerful Force user existed among Jabba's court - even one trained in the ways of the Jedi - and deceit and malevolence was not unheard among the Hutts and their colleagues. No, this being was most likely not a threat. But the second Force signature . . . it felt familiar.

Slipping away from Jabba's dais, James silently followed the echo to an area deep within the palace - near the steps that led out of the throne room. A humanoid being in a plain brown robe sat alone at a table, drinking a container of Corellian brandy. He approached her table, and she looked at the Jedi Master. Beneath the hood of her simple robe, James saw the face of female Togruta. She was young - maybe thirty or forty; it was difficult to tell with aliens. Her orange face had the look of woman who hadn't smiled in years, and her blue eyes radiated powerfully - filled with anger and frustration and bitter feelings.

"What do you want, guard?" she demanded.

Slightly taken aback by her hostile reply, James said, "I was wondering if I could speak with you."

The vocabulator of his mask had transformed his voice into a low expressionless rasp - not unlike the voice of Fett and the clones that had made up the Old Republic's army during the days when James served as a general.

The Togruta shrugged. "Do whatever you want. This is only temporary post."

"What do you mean?" James asked, as he took a seat.

"Jabba is cold and merciless," the Togruta said. "I was almost executed here during the Clone Wars. I was but a child - a naive one at that - but it hardly matters when the Hutt Lord thinks he's been slighted in some way. I wouldn't be here if I had anywhere else to go. Besides, I don't think Jabba's long for this world anyway. I can feel it."

"In the Force," James guessed.

The Togruta's expression was implacable. "Like it's any of your business, guard," she said coldly.

"I'm sorry," James said. "If you don't want to answer me, I won't ask any more questions. But I do recognize you. What is your name?"

The Togruta sighed heavily, and said, "Akanah Yun. I know yours, guard. You're Iakobos, the mercenary. I, also, know your motive are not pure. With mercs, there's always an ulterior motive."

James nodded. "That's probably true," the Jedi agreed, not committing to any particular answer. "Why do you stay here?"

A brief look of sadness passed over Akanah's face, and she said, "I have no where else to go. My people and many others have been ostracized by Palpatine and his Sith-forsaken Empire. Until he falls, it is unsafe for me to be anywhere within the Emperor's control."

Beneath his helmet, James closed his eyes, letting go of the brief anger that had surged through him at her words. Emperor Palpatine had harmed many peoples. Evidently, this Togruta woman was one of them.

"Why don't you join the Alliance?" he rasped.

Akanah scoffed. "A foolishly naive rebellion run solely by Mon Mothma, another Human. Nonhumans can never know true peace under any Human-led government. I will never serve under a Human. Besides, I could never work with the Jeedai," she added, her voice thick with disgust. "That pathetic, arrogant Order has wronged me too many times. They were nothing but the puppets for the Old Republic - and they allowed the Emperor to pervert the democratic government."

A sudden thought occurred to James. "You're name is Akanah Yun now," he rasped. "What did you used to be called?"

Akanah's voice was filled with disgust and scorn. "I haven't used that name during the Clone Wars. But I vanished into the criminal underworld - much like you did, James Potter."

James was taken aback. "How long have you know?"

Akanah smirked. "You Jeedai think you're so clever. I saw through the facade the minute you approached me. Even you cannot hide from the Force, Potter. The amount of times I saw you on Coruscant, trailing after the weak Senate like some loyal lap dog - I left that faulty system when I had the chance."

James frowned at that thought. Left that faulty system? But before he could ask the Togruta any more questions, his attention was drawn to Jabba's dais. It appeared the Hutt had visitors: C-3PO and R2-D2. Currently, the astromech droid was transmitting an ten-foot image of Luke Skywalker - a message Luke had recorded shortly after the battle over Coruscant months ago.

"Greetings, Exalted One," Luke said. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight and friend of Captain Solo. I seek an audience with Your Greatness, to bargain for his life."

Luke paused for breath, and Jabba's throne room erupted into howls of laughter. To James's dismay, this strange Force-sensitive Togruta was among them. She scoffed scornfully, and muttered, "Foolish arrogant Jeedai. His death will just be another Human out of the way."

Out of the way? James thought. For what? It had sounded as if Akanah had some sort of plan for a nonhuman rebellion - a revolution that would usurp the power of Humans on Coruscant. Whoever she was, James felt that she could be an adversary to both the Empire and the Alliance. But before he could ponder on it, Luke continued.

"I know that you are powerful, mighty Jabba, and that your anger with Solo must be equally powerful. But I'm sure we can work out an arrangement which will be mutually beneficial. As a token of my goodwill, I present to you a gift - these two droids."

James was slightly amused, as C-3PO jumped back in offense. "What? What did he say?"

"Both are hard-working," Luke finished, "and will serve you well."

With that, the young Jedi's image blinked out completely, leaving only C-3PO to mutter despairingly in his wake. "Oh, no! This can't be! Artoo, you must have played the wrong message."

James and the others had been right - it was best to leave C-3PO out of this. His reaction served to convince Jabba that Luke's gift was genuine. The Hutt laughed heartily, mocking Luke's request in his own language.

The crime lord's Twi'lek majordomo, Bib Fortuna, whispered in something to Jabba in Huttese that James didn't catch. This prompted Jabba to chortle and growl to C-3PO in Huttese, {There will be no bargain. I have no intention of giving up my favorite wall decoration.}

James looked over to where Jabba was looking: Hung on the wall was a large block of carbonite, Han Solo's features pushing through its surface. James could still see the suffering on the Corellian's expression.

Once Jabba had sent the droids to be delivered to the sadistic EV-9D9, a droid that had once plagued Lobot on Cloud City. Akanah glanced at James, and said, "Go on, Jeedai, do what you can to try and save your friend. I will not give you away. Your minor Human goals are beneath me. I seek a larger prize."

With that, she got up and slipped away, leaving James wonder to what to do. It was true that he would have to work to rescue Han, but still - what was to be done about this strange Togruta? Once Han was safe again, James needed to relocate Akanah and find out how to dissuade her from this hateful goal. If she had truly once been a Jedi, she had fallen so low from their way. James couldn't deny it: He sought to save her, as well as Han.

He shook his head, and muttered aloud, his voice muffled by the helmet, "Oh, Merlin. Things are about to get a whole lot more complicated - and Akanah is only the beginning. . . . "