Chapter 29

"Xanatos … help."

That was the last thing the seventeen-year-old had heard before his master's side of the bond went completely and utterly silent. It hadn't been brutally severed, giving him hope that Qui-Gon was still alive, but it was unsettling to not even have the warm murmur of his mentor's presence in the back of his mind. He had paced for several minutes, struggling with feeling alone, before finally acknowledging that he needed to contact someone.

"Trouble is there … Young One?" Yoda asked immediately. Tense lines drawn across the ancient master's face hinted that he already knew the answer. "See your master I do not."

"We split up several hours ago to follow separate leads. I sensed Master was in danger, and then our bond became silent."

Xanatos prodded at the empty spot in his mind again, vertigo washing over him at the void. He noticed a slight bow of Master Yoda's head, ears flattening almost imperceptibly.

"Master Qui-Gon is not dead," Xanatos said firmly, outraged in fact, that Yoda would even make such a morbid assumption. "The bond isn't severed; it's just quiet, completely blocked."

"Traumatized your mind is …"

"I know what I feel," the young man challenged.

"Stay where you are Padawan Marojni," Master Yoda commanded, using the young man's formal title to emphasize his place. "Send someone to counsel you and guide you I will."

"I would appreciate any help you can send, Master Yoda," the young man replied formally. "Have them contact me as soon as they are in orbit."

"And stay where you are you will," Yoda prompted.

"I am truly sorry, Master," Xanatos replied. "I am not longer a mere child that needs to be rescued. I have more knowledge of this situation and don't want Master's trail to grow cold. Besides, he reached out to me; he called for me to help him."

Xanatos awoke to the steady, persistent beating of a drum behind his eyelids. Usually he metabolized his alcohol well enough to avoid this unpleasant part of hangovers, having decided in his youth that both the loss of control he experienced with being drunk and the hell to pay the next morning were not worth it. Why had he not followed his own advice this time?

Finally deciding to chance opening his eyes, he rolled over to check the time only to roll off the side of what he had assumed was his own sleepcouch. The brief fall to the floor jogged his memory somewhat. Xanatos quickly found the comlink resting on the tea table in front of him.

"Soren ..?"

"Glad you're up, Sir. You had me worried … both of you," his employee said.

"Where is my son?"

"In his room. I had you brought to the sofa in his suite. I thought you would want to be close when you woke up," Soren replied. "I assumed you would … be aware of him," he added worriedly.

"Yes, I sense him now. I am still catching up," Xanatos explained. "I'll get back to you once I have my bearings."

Force, how he hated being unconscious and the added disorientation of waking up unaware of what had taken place. However, years as a Jedi on the field had trained him to take quick control of the situation. He first drew on the Force to clear his mind and calm his agitation. Then, he went to check on his son. Crion was still out cold, and would likely take longer to recover as he had taken the brunt of the mental storm.

"Crion … Master … help."

The desperate cry had been powerful, shattering the durasteel shields Crion had maintained since coming into Xanatos' custody. It was utter shock that had robbed the boy of his consciousness. The frantic plea had resonated along the bond Xanatos shared with his son Crion and tugged at the ragged, scarred remnants of the one he had once shared with Qui-Gon Jinn. The sheer potency made him wonder how close the Jedi master was to Telos.

Damn Kenobi for getting himself into trouble! There was no way that Crion was going to overlook this. He vividly remembered being quite obstinate as a Jedi padawan when Qui-Gon Jinn was in danger, even at one time defying Master Yoda himself. Xanatos pressed a hand to his son's forehead. There was no resistance to the sleep suggestion, which would buy him time to find out more about the situation before having to face the young man. Before leaving, Xanatos carefully constructed strong shielding around Crion's mind. He wasn't sure what else might happen, and until his son could repair his own shields, Xanatos felt an overwhelming need to be in control.

Xanatos returned to main sitting room and logged into the communications consol. If he was honest with himself, he was shocked that he was even considering this course of action. With a resigned sigh, he logged in the frequency to the Jedi temple.

"I need to speak with Master Yoda immediately," Xanatos ordered, not waiting for the pleasantries and introductions. "Tell him the request is from Xanatos Marojni."

"I can relay your message and contact information, but it is the middle of the night cycle here," the padawan on duty said.

Xanatos could feel the drums behind his eyes growing in intensity. The last thing he wanted was to verbally spar with an insignificant padawan who was worlds away.

"Let me explain something to you," Xanatos snapped. "I am not some sniveling commoner making random contact. If you do not connect me with Master Yoda, the next individuals you hear from will be the governor and senator from Telos, who will more than gladly accept any communications from me, even if it is the middle of the night cycle."

The padawan glanced at him wide-eyed for a moment. "I will see if Master Yoda will accept your transmission."

Xanatos waited, the symbol of the Jedi Order signaling he had been placed on hold. When the transmission resumed, he was staring into the stern catlike eyes of Master Yoda.

"Require something else do you?"

The decisively non-diplomatic tone was out of place in the revered master's countenance. He had been interrupted from something important, but it was highly likely Master Yoda had not been sleeping, as the padawan on duty had indicated.

"I would like to speak with Master Kenobi?" Xanatos baited.

"Not at the Temple is he … on a mission …"

"Is it possible for me to contact him," Xanatos pressed pointedly. "It is rather urgent."

The image of Yoda studied him for a moment, seeming to stare through him. "Then why contact me did you if speak to him your wish is? Contact frequencies he gave you in case needed his counsel you did."

The troll was good; Xanatos had to give him that. "I know he is in trouble. His distress in the Force shattered my son's shields. Crion still has not regained consciousness."

"If unconscious he is, then how know you what he felt?"

"I felt it too, through both my bond with my son and the old one I used to share with Master Jinn. I just regained consciousness myself."

"Curious." Yoda began to murmur, almost babbling as he rambled. "A strong bond between Master Kenobi and Crion I knew … between father and son an equal perhaps. Possible it is … true my meditations …"

Xanatos knew better than to question the revered master's sanity, but they were wasting time and he wanted answers. "As much as I would love to discuss the intricacies of the Force with you," Xanatos interrupted sarcastically. "I believe my son will be quite distraught when he wakes up, and the more I know, the better."

"Lost contact we did with Master Kenobi. Missed his check in three hours ago he did."

"Where was he?" Xanatos asked.

"To Kyatn IV he was sent?"

The name sent a shiver down Xanatos' spine. Why did his past always seem bent on showing up to haunt him again? "Why the hell was a Jedi sent there of all places, especially one whose strength is negotiation?" Xanatos knew the nature of that planet – he had a hand in making it the hellhole it was and he hadn't dared to go back in sixteen years.

"Question the decisions of the Jedi Council will you?"

"I am no longer a Jedi, so yes, I do question your decisions."

"Requested his assistance the Supreme Chancellor did."

"Since when do politicians dictate Council appointments?" Xanatos snapped.

"Since asked for his assistance with a recent legal issue Master Kenobi did."

Xanatos found himself at a loss for words. "I see," he replied simply and quietly.

The two stared at each other for a moment. "I have contacts on Kyatn IV that may be of help."

"Your assistance would be welcome, but a request I have of you. Keep your son away from the situation you should."

"At least we are in agreement over something," Xanatos murmured. "I will see what I can find out."

"May the Force be with you," Yoda said. A smile crept over ancient features. "Sense I do that Master Kenobi's salvation rests with you."

Before Xanatos could respond to the blunt assertion and vow his noncommittal, the transmission ended leaving him feeling uneasy. The drumming behind his eyelids surged with a vengeance. He opened his comlink.

"Soren, please join me in my son's rooms, and bring something for a headache."

It didn't take long for his employee to make the trip. He gratefully accepted the hypo handed to him, injecting the contents into his neck. The drums blessedly began to subside.

"Thank you," Xanatos said before eyeing the other piece of equipment. "What's that?"

"The doctor I brought in said that I should monitor your heart after you woke up."

"Nothing is wrong with my heart," Xanatos replied. "The Force is responsible for my current predicament."

"Trouble?" Soren asked.

"You could say that." Xanatos rubbed a hand across his eyes. "I need to skim through my former contacts on Kyatn IV."

"Anybody in particular that you are looking for?"

"Yeah." Xanatos let out a chuckle. "Anyone I haven't pissed off royally and who doesn't want me dead. That should narrow the list considerably."

Yes, keeping Crion away from the situation was the key. He had enemies on Kyatn IV, dangerous enemies who would take great delight in getting their hands on his son.