AN: Thanks for reading! Weird, the current plot on Clone Wars involves a bomb threat to the Jedi as well - I swear I didn't know about that when I wrote this.
"Defenders of the Force, Episode 1: New Blood"
The comlink's infectuous beeping woke Han and Leia up. Leia immediately scrambled out of bed to answer it, but Han pulled the covers over his face and sank his head into the pillow. He concentrated on not listening to Leia's conversation and letting himself fall back asleep, but somehow the talking managed to penetrate his mind anyway.
"Leia," Luke's scratchy voice said, "did you tell the senate about what happened yesterday?"
"No," said Leia, "but I was planning to, yes. If someone's out to destroy the Jedi, the senate should know about it."
"Well some parent beat you to it," said Luke. "I've already gotten calls from four senators wanting me to make a public statement about the bomb threat."
"Well you should," said Leia. "In fact, you probably should have done so yesterday."
"Tell him to go do so and let me sleep," Han grumbled.
"Well what am I supposed to say?" asked Luke. "We don't know who did it and we don't know anything about them except that they called themselves 'the Revolutionaries.' Rianna and I were up half the night searching the databases for any hints, but we couldn't find anything."
"Then say you're doing everything in your power to find the people responisble," said Leia.
Luke sighed. "That'll probably get half the parents pulling their kids out of class."
"Would that be the worst thing?" asked Leia. "Maybe you should cancel classes for a little while until the perpatrator is caught."
Han didn't want to listen - he just wanted to sleep - but something kept his ear tensed up for Luke's answer.
"No," Luke said after a few seconds. "What does it say about the Jedi if we cower away from a threat?"
"It says you got common sense, kid," Han mumbled. "It says you ain't gonna risk kids' lives."
"The Jedi are supposed to suppress fear," said Luke, "not give in to it. If anyone wants to take their children out of class, I'll let them, but school will go on as scheduled."
Han pushed himself to a sitting position, though his eyes still wanted to close. "Look kid, I know you don't want my opinion, but I'm givin' it to you anyway - you're bein' subborn and idiotic and you got no business keeping the school open."
Luke's hologram glared over at Han. "Look Han, do you have any idea what I'm going through here? Closing the school is giving in to the 'Revolutionaries,' whoever they are."
"Isn't that better than the kids gettin' killed?" snapped Han.
"They're not going to get killed," insisted Luke. "We're going to increase the number of security droids and everyone will be searched before entering the building."
Han flopped back down on the bed. "Like that'll stop anyone." He pulled the covers back over his face in an attempt to block out the rest of the conversation. Sleep, he repeated to himself. Sleep, sleep, sleep.
Maybe he did doze off for a few minutes, but the next thing he knew, Leia was shaking his shoulder. "Come on flyboy, wake up," she said. "We've gotta go help Luke with his statement before his rescheduled orientation starts."
"You go," Han groaned. "I'll stay here and get the kids ready when it's actually time to get up."
"It's time to get up now," said Leia, pulling the blankets off his face.
"Hey!" exclaimed Han, trying to grab the blankets that his wife held just out of reach. "Who's the working mom and who's the stay-at-home dad here?"
Leia leaned over, staring down at him. "Today we're both working parents. Luke wants support from both of us." She leaned further and kissed her husband's lips. "Come on, we have to get the kids up."
"Oh, they've gotta come too?"
"No," said Leia, "but I don't think you want to deal with getting them up after Luke's statement and having just half an hour to get them to class."
. . .
"I assure you, we are taking every possible precaution to protect the students from these Revolutionaries," Luke said from the podium in front of the Jedi temple, surrounded by friends, senators, and members of the press. "But this threat will not prevent us from training our future Jedi. The school will remain open and all classes will proceed according to schedule."
"Master Skywalker," a reporter called from the crowd, "many people want the school to be closed until the Revolutionaries are caught. Do you have anything to say about that?"
"As I said before, we will not give in to the Revolutionaries," said Luke. "Whoever they are, they will not stop us from training the young Jedi."
"Master Skywalker," said another reporter, "do you have any idea who these Revolutionaries could be?"
"Do you think the Sith have returned?" asked a third reporter.
"I don't know who the Revolutionaries are," said Luke, "but no, I don't think the Sith have returned. A bomb threat wouldn't be the way of the Sith."
The reporter scrunched her mouth. "And what makes you think the Sith wouldn't change their ways if they did return?"
"I don't know for sure," answered Luke, "but I know that a simple bomb would be unattractive when you have the dark side of the Force in your command."
"But if it's not the Sith, who would it be?" the reporter asked.
"I already told you I don't know."
"Well could you at least take a guess?" the reporter pressed.
Luke was silent for several moments while the holographers' cameras flashed in his face. "Well," he finally said in a hesitant tone, "judging by their note, they seem to think the Jedi were responsible for the previous Republic's downfall. They are clearly misinformed. Maybe if they are willing to talk to us, we could come to an understanding, but that can't happen unless they show themselves."
. . .
The orientation proceeded according to plan, though the auditorium wasn't as full today as it was yesterday. As Luke predicted, some of the parents did take their children out of school, which left the auditorium only half-full.
Mae was sitting with Anakin and Tamyra again, but she was having difficulty listening to the teachers talking about their different classes. She felt like she was waiting for something that could happen at any moment, but what was it? Did she really expect another bomb to go off? That was stupid, right? She looked over at Tamyra and suddenly wondered if being blind meant she had better hearing than everyone else. Maybe Tamyra would hear a bomb ticking if there was one . . . or maybe she wouldn't.
She shifted her eyes, wondering what a Revolutionary would look like if there were one here. Maybe the Revolutionaries were just a bunch of kids playing a prank . . . but the bomb was real.
Suddenly she noticed her father on the stage. When did that happen? How much of the orientation had she missed by not paying attention?
"Future Jedi," Luke was saying, "as we saw yesterday, your lives will not be predictable. You may find your lives threatened again. It could happen soon, but you will have the Force to help you."
They would have the Force to help them? What was that supposed to mean? Mae seriously doubted that having the Force would prevent their bodies from exploding if a bomb were to go off. She leaned forward and folded her arms, feeling like she wouldn't be able to breathe properly until this orientation was over.
"The previous generation of Jedi would tell you that fear is something to be avoided," Luke continued. "They would say that a Jedi must not know fear because it's a path to the dark side. However, I say that you should acknowledge your fear. We are all scared - and that includes myself - but the trick is not letting fear overcome you."
It won't matter whether or not we have fear if a bomb goes off, Mae thought. Even though yesterday she had been wanting to go back to class as soon as the bomb was disabled, now that she'd had a chance to think about it, she was almost wishing her father had listened to the parents who wanted him to close the school until the Revolutionaries were caught.
"Mae?" Anakin whispered.
"Do you think they'll come back?"
Mae sighed. "If they do, I don't think Dad's ready for them."
"Whoever these Revolutionaries are," whispered Tamyra, "they seem to have a bigger agenda than just blowing up the temple."
"What do you mean?" asked Anakin.
"Well, think about it," said Tamyra. "If they only wanted to blow up the temple, they would have just blown up the temple. They wouldn't have bothered threatening us and giving us a chance to get out and defuse the bomb. No, this was a statement. Something else has to be coming."
Mae turned her attention back to her father as he finished up his speech. "I look forward to teaching all of you," he was saying. "Thank you for coming to orientation, and may the Force be with you."
Mae hoped she hadn't missed anything important.
. . .
"Dad?" Mae asked after the orientation, when most of the students and parents had left the auditorium.
"Yes, sweetheart?" said Luke, heading over to his daughter's seat. "What is it?"
Mae stood up, her eyes peering over her father's shoulder. She had grown taller than her mother in the last year and now she was hoping to reach her father's height. "Dad, are you sure you know what you're doing?"
Luke patted his daughter's shoulder. "I hope so."
"So you're not sure."
Luke sighed. "Come on, Mae. Let's walk a little."
They left the auditorium and headed into the hall, stopping by a window that overlooked the city. "Mae," said Luke, "you know what Master Yoda told me before he died, right?"
"That Aunt Leia was your sister?"
"No, besides that," said Luke.
"Did you really make out with her once?"
"Really? Well Uncle Han says . . ."
"Forget what Uncle Han says," Luke said sternly. "As I was saying, Master Yoda said, 'Pass on what you have learned.' Every time I welcome new students here I think about that." He gazed out at the speeders flying by in their orderly lanes. "That is the most important responsibility the Jedi have - teaching the next generation. It's the only way to ensure the future of the Jedi."
Mae looked over at the dome-shaped senate building. Probably her aunt would be leading a discussion on the bomb threat this very afternoon. They might decide this was a matter of Republic security and force Luke to shut the Academy down.
"Dad?" she asked after a few moments.
"Do you think I'll like being a Jedi?"
The question seemed to take Luke by surprise. His eyebrows went up as he turned to look at his daughter. "Well . . . do you think you'll like being a Jedi?"
Mae shrugged, pressing her nose against the glass as she scratched at a pimple on her cheek. "Well, if these Revolutionaries reveal themselves and we get to fight them, I might enjoy that."
"Don't talk like that," Luke said suddenly.
"Because the Jedi don't enjoy fighting," said Luke. "They only do it when it's necessary."
Mae sighed, blowing a stray hair out of her face. "Do you think it'll be necessary soon?"
Luke didn't answer.
The father and daughter stared out the window, wondering what the near future would hold.
TO BE CONTINUED
AN: All right, that's the end of this particular "episode" (yeah, it was short, but it was mainly just an introduction). The next episode will be in a new story, which will hopefully come soon.