Harry Potter / Star Wars-over. While leading the final charge against a retreating Dark Lord, Harry is thrown through a destabilized Demon Portal, landing on a strange world in a galaxy far far away.
I don't own Harry Potter in any way. JKR has those rights... Also, Star Wars is owned by Lucasfilm/George Lucas, etc etc.
*Author's Note *
Back for another installment. I was planning alternate updates with this and Runemaster, but the last 3-4k words of my current chapter of Runemaster (already at 11k) is seriously fighting me. So, I dusted off this previously finished chapter and got it post worthy.
Beta'd by kathryn518
Inspirations: Sword and Magic by bluminous8
Chapter First Published: 2014-01-12
Chapter Last Update:
Chapter 9 – Meeting the Grand Master
"That's the five minute notification," said Shaak Ti softly as she punched a button on the console at her side to silence the alarm.
"What happens if you overshoot the target?" asked Harry.
"You mean, 'What happens if we exit hyperspace too late'?" Aayla confirmed Harry's question.
At the nod, she said, "We'll either plow right into the gravity well of the planet, which will immediately revert us to real-space and possibly damage the engines. Or, the reversion happens a bit too late, depending upon our angle of insertion, and we become a pancake on the surface of the planet."
"Fun," said Harry, who felt a bit sick after the explanation. "Just forget I asked."
"Ask your questions. Stuff like this is basic space travel knowledge and you'll need to know it now that you're here," said Maris.
"Yes," said Harry as his voice positively dripped with sarcasm, "I'm always on the prowl for new and exciting ways to end my existence swiftly and violently. Glad to have added a few new ones to the list."
The next few minutes passed in relative silence, until a steady beep from the main console called for their attention. "Reverting from hyperspace in 3… 2… 1…"
The mottled mess of hyperspace reverted to streaked star-lines that shrunk until stationary. Shaak Ti and Aayla's hands immediately were all over the instruments in front of them. Shaak Ti was completely focused upon sensor data in front of her that ensured there were no objects nearby for the ship to blunder into, and Aayla busily checked the ship's systems and ensured the shields were at maximum.
Harry however, sunk within himself and extended his senses out. He wanted to know right away if there were any other Force users nearby. He decided it was time to start calling it 'the Force' like the Jedi did, if for no other reason than to stop the looks he received when he said it was Magic.
He immediately felt a number of strong presences in the area, all of which came from the planet that took up a fair amount of the space in front of them. The largest source screamed for his attention like a flashlight in a dark room. The being seemed to be on a ship that orbited the planet.
"There's someone powerful on a ship out there. It's in orbit around the planet. There's a bunch of other people who are strong with the Force on the planet. But the one in orbit eclipses them all. Whoever it is, they're way more powerful than you, Shaak Ti."
"How much stronger?" asked Shaak Ti with a curious quick look.
"Significantly. The difference between you and Aayla isn't all that great. Whoever that is out there, they're leaps and bounds stronger."
Silence met that statement, until finally Aayla broke it. "I can think of only two people who it could be. Well, three actually. Skywalker, Master Yoda, or… you. You're obviously here, and they were the only two who possessed that much more raw power than anyone else. I doubt the Chancellor is hanging out in orbit over Alderaan without a fleet."
Shaak Ti had slowly become the de-facto leader of the group, so everyone vaguely looked to her for a course of action. Harry personally liked not being the one in charge for once.
"Let's approach the ship. More than likely, whoever is on the ship will sense us. Harry is masking his presence and Aayla has on the necklace to mask hers. That leaves them thinking that only me and someone else who will remain unnamed for now is aboard who is Force sensitive. We'll play it by ear from there."
"I'm still going to wear my combat robes," said Harry. "I also collapsed all the portals and storage doors and hid them in my trunk. Least this way if there's a problem we won't have to start from scratch with supplies."
Aayla gave Harry an amused half-exasperated smile, "You really are paranoid, aren't you?"
"It's not paranoia if they really are after you," Harry said with a laugh that didn't quite reach his eyes. "I had to learn that lesson the hard way. It's kind of ingrained now."
All three Jedi understood the unspoken implications, and did not inquire further.
Their ship approached Alderraan, without incident. The strong Force presence led them to a fleet of craft that made no indication they cared the ship was on approach. The group was amidst discussions on what to do next when an alarm suddenly sounded on the board.
"We were just scanned," said Aayla.
"Is that good or bad?" said Harry as he wished his knowledge of normal communications protocols was a bit more than 'press this button to speak.' Before any of the three Jedi could respond however, the comm. suddenly came alive.
"Unidentified Freighter, this is the Tantive IV. You are approaching restricted space. Please identify and declare your intentions," said a no-nonsense voice briskly.
"Go with the truth?" asked Shaak Ti.
"Might as well, they've already locked weapons on us. For what it's worth, that's the ship with the Force sensitive on it, right Harry?" said Aayla while she read the sensor information on the Correllian Corvette class ship in front of them.
"Yes," said Harry while he stared out the window at the ship and tried to gauge the intentions of the hidden power contained within.
"Tantive IV, this is the Marauder. I am Jedi Master Shaak Ti. My companions and I wish to speak to Senator Organa in person if you would allow it," responded Shaak Ti into the ship's comm.
"Acknowledged, Master Ti. Please plot a course parallel to our vector on our port side at a five-kilometer distance. Wait there for instructions," came back the voice.
"They're probably confirming my name and determining if the Force sensitive individual can sense us," said Shaak Ti, while adjusting the ship's course to match the instructed specifications.
Harry sat in silence with the others. Soon, he felt something pass over him, like a watchful eye, but the presence did not linger upon him or Aayla. It did seek Maris, and held even longer upon Shaak Ti before it retreated.
"Tell me you felt that?" asked Harry out loud.
"Freighter Marauder. It has been requested that you follow the Tantive IV into the atmosphere and land at the capital city of Aldera. You will receive instructions to land at a specific platform adjacent to the Alderaan Royal Palace while in-route. Do not deviate from your assigned course. Tantive IV, out."
"Well that's encouraging," said Maris with a smile on her face.
"Not to be a cynic, but they hold public executions at Royal Palaces all the time. Don't drop your guard yet," said Harry as he turned back to the few scanners at his console he fully understood.
"You really don't trust anyone do you, Harry?" said Aayla, and when Harry looked up, she had a sad look on her face.
"I trust you three with my life," Harry said simply and returned his gaze to the console He missed the shared look between the three Jedi.
As the ship entered the atmosphere, Harry gaped in wonder at the beautiful terrain they passed over. It was as if everything was straight out of the Swiss Alps as they once were on Earth, unspoiled by war and rogue demons on the rampage. The mountains were spectacular, and the cities looked like works of art whenever they passed over settlements.
All those sights paled in comparison to Harry's first glimpse of the city of Aldera. It was a definite 'city of the future', if it could have sprung forth from some artist's mind. The city sprawled out in the distance, yet had a beauty that spoke of the desire to keep its balance with nature. It somehow seemed appropriate that the Alderaanian government took a pacifist approach in recent times. He had no idea what made him think the comparison appropriate in his mind or even if it made sense, but just the fleeting glimpse of the city made him think the inhabitants valued life above all other things.
He didn't quite understand the "change course vector" mumbo-jumbo the traffic controllers relayed to Shaak Ti and Aayla, but Harry instinctually knew only one structure he saw in the distance could possibly be the Royal Palace, and he was not disappointed to feel the Marauder change direction slightly towards it.
The palace itself was a very tall structure just slightly separate from the rest of the city of Aldera. It resided atop a mighty cliff-face, surrounded on all sides by snowcapped mountains. It was a spectacular vantage point and it was quite apparent the location had been chosen for its natural beauty.
Tall spires loomed high over them as they landed in the shadows of the royal palace. The Tantive IV landed on an adjacent platform. The group could already see a very well-armed group approach in airborne transports. Even more patrolled in visible range above them. Harry smirked when he thought that "pacifism" certainly didn't extend to the protection detail of their rulers. The incoming group moved in a tight formation, and there was a vehicle at the epicenter definitely under the protection of the other craft.
The four occupants of the Marauder began their descent onto the landing platform just as the transports arrived. Harry noticed both Shaak Ti and Aayla had smiles upon their faces, so that seemed to be a good sign for now. For now Harry moved behind Aayla, as Maris did so with Shaak Ti. They had decided for appearances sake to pass Harry off as a padawan of Aayla's for now, but wouldn't go as far as to confirm that lie if questioned directly.
In the distance, he saw people debark from the Tantive IV, but was distracted from looking closer by the approach of the group on foot. There was a man and woman at the center of the formation of security. The man was well dressed and groomed, and had a laid-back smile on his face that seemed to grow the closer he got to the Jedi. Beside him was a kind faced woman, who wore subdued shawls with her hair done in a very elaborate manner across the back and sides of her head.
The woman spoke first, "Greetings Honored Jedi, it's good to see four more of you who have survived The Purge."
"Thank you, Your Grace," and Shaak Ti bowed to the woman, who was obviously the Queen of the planet. He noticed the beginnings of a bow from Aayla, Harry followed and was happy to see that Maris had done so too. Harry hated protocol, and wished he had thought to ask about it on the ship when the traffic controller mentioned they would be headed to the Royal Palace.
The man next to the Queen spoke next, "Master Ti, Master Secura. It's good to see both of you alive, along with your Padawans. Especially you, Master Secura. It has been reported quite widely that you perished upon Felucia."
Harry saw Aayla throw him a mischievous look over her shoulder before she turned back to the man, who must be Senator Organa, the known ally of the Jedi. "Rumors of my untimely death were rather… untimely."
Hardly able to hold in his snort at how bad the pun was, Harry looked down momentarily, and looked up to see the Senator looking at him. "And what of your Padawan, Master Secura? And yours, Master Ti? Please introduce us."
Shaak Ti spoke first and gestured to Maris, "This is Padawan Maris Brood. After escaping Coruscant, I rescued her from pursuers that had just killed her former Master. For now, she has no Master, we three as a group are teaching her."
Maris gave a quick polite bow once to the Senator and the Queen while softly saying, "Senator. Your Grace."
"Our other friend is not a Padawn, Senator," said Aayla not giving Harry's name, and yet somehow resisting the temptation to blurt out 'He's a wizard!'
"Oh. My apologies, Jedi Knight. I know I have not met you before, welcome to Alderaan," said the Senator quickly and with a smile.
Harry held up a hand, saying, "No apologies necessary Senator, I am no Jedi."
Confusion flit briefly across the faces of most of the group before the four travelers. "But if you aren't a Jedi, what are you?"
Shaak Ti saved Harry from having to answer, "He is something else Senator, something else entirely. We wish to keep his anonymity for the time being for his safety. We apologize for the inconvenience. If it means anything, I will personally guarantee you will not find his name in any database or records anywhere in this galaxy. Let us also assure you, that Aayla, Maris, and I trust him with our very lives."
'Ugh, if they weren't curious before they'll definitely be curious now,' thought Harry in annoyance. These three females loved to drive Harry insane that was for sure.
"We can and will explain our fellow traveler to you later in private, Senator. I believe we're about to receive additional guests that include Master Yoda, who I assume is approaching on the speeder that is coming from the Tantive IV?"
"Yes, Master Yoda seemed quite happy to have Master Ti here when I spoke to him. He didn't seem aware of your presence, Master Secura," said Senator Organa.
"No I expect he wouldn't be aware of me or our friend," said Aayla without clarification as her attention shifted to the approaching group.
The Senator apparently realized many of his questions that concerned Harry wouldn't be answered for now, so he turned his attention to the approaching group, "Captain Antilles, I assume the flight down went well?"
"Yes sir, no problems, other than an overly excited Jedi Master," said a kind-faced man in uniform, who gestured to the green being next to him that plodded slowly along with the aid of a walking stick.
"Master Yoda," said the Senator with a bow.
"Senator Organa, Queen Breha. Again… my thanks you have," said Yoda in a stilting tongue that reminded him of Dobby, yet didn't at the same time.
Yoda resembled Dobby if Dobby had ever been allowed to go to seed. 'Wrinkled and decrepit' was the overall first impression Harry had of Yoda, but Harry knew first impressions had to be a deception here. The amount of magic that poured off the being was staggering, and he must be able to use magic to move faster if he hoped to have had a chance when he challenged the primary Sith Lord in direct combat.
Yoda turned to the three Jedi and ignored Harry for now, "Master Ti. Master Secura. Padawan Brood. Excited I am to see you all alive. You, Master Ti, especially. Warning that you gave, saved us all, it did. Dark have been my visions of what would be without your intervention."
"It was Aayla who saved us all Master," her statement caused the entire group of observer's gaze to shift to Aayla. "She was the one who contacted me from Felucia an hour ahead of time to warn me of the clone's imminent betrayal," said Shaak Ti, with a mischievous look at Aayla.
"And I cannot take all credit for the events that transpired. I would not have been able to do anything at all without our new ally's help. In fact, I would be dead," replied Aayla quickly as she gestured to Harry behind her.
This finally brought the aged Jedi Master's focus upon Harry. One look in the Jedi Master's eyes and Harry immediately sensed a strong Legilimency probe. Harry slammed it back so forcefully that the Jedi Master nearly lost his balance and fell over while he staggered two steps backwards.
"What you just did is considered illegal and an imprisonable offense on the planet I come from, Master Yoda," Harry drawled and had a very hard time in his prevention of its development into a full-blown sneer.
Silence reigned supreme at his words. None of the non-Force users had any idea what had happened, though Senator Organa's cryptic look told Harry he very likely just guessed what had just transpired.
"Master Yoda, our friend values his privacy, and does not respond well to mind-probes through the Force," said Aayla. "He has been training us in the same techniques his people use as well, and I think all three of us speak in unison when we say we will no longer tolerate random searches of our minds without just cause."
Yoda looked to Shaak Ti, and not finding an ally there, merely stared back and forth between Aayla and Harry. He let out a long-slow sigh. "Clouded now is all of your paths," he said. Yoda looked up at Harry, "Very intriguing your friend is. Wish to converse more with him I do."
Harry looked at Yoda and shrugged before he returned his attention to Senator Organa. The slight to Yoda was seen by all and all understood the implication as it was intended. For now, Yoda wasn't worth the newcomer's time.
Yoda already seemed like a manipulative old man who, just like Dumbledore, was caught in his own ways and very unlikely to change. The true potential ally here was the Senator and his wife, the Queen. Due to his actions, Harry had just summarily written off Yoda as irrelevant. Harry had no idea what Aayla would do, and hoped she chose the same, but he had no idea where this would go. The Jedi Order had saved her from slavery after all, and he could not begrudge her the loyalty that would certainly inspire.
Lucky for Harry, Aayla seemed to be of like mind. He risked a quick glance at her face and Harry saw disappointment in her eyes as she stared down at Yoda. She turned to the Senator and said, "There is much the four of us wish to discuss with you, Senator. We would be honored if you could find the time in your schedule later to speak with us."
A small fleeting ghost of a smirk shot across the Senator's face that instantly told Harry that Organa had caught on to everything that had just been said, both the spoken and implied and he understood all of the implications. Senator Organa knew Harry was something different from a Jedi, that he had just dismissed Yoda out of hand publicly, and two highly respected Jedi Masters were on Harry's side and wished to discuss their future directly with the Senator himself without any involvement from Yoda. There was a fracture now within the Jedi Order, and it was not limited strictly to Skywalker's turn to darkness.
Harry himself could not help but feel relieved once the quick and sudden whirlwind of politics they had just passed through was over. He had wondered if some of the arguments he had made over the past few days had affected the trio, whether it was about the competency of some of the Jedi leadership when they had ordered the failed mission to arrest the Chancellor or Yoda's ill-thought attempt to assassinate the man later.
He looked over at Maris and saw she knew something important had just transpired, but wasn't quite experienced enough to see it. With Yoda's silent retreat a few steps away from the group and Shaak Ti and Aayla now in direct conversation with the Senator and his wife, Harry moved towards Maris.
'You alright?" he asked the teenager quietly as he saw she hadn't moved throughout all the hoopla, nor had been spoken to beyond the introductions.
"I know whatever just transpired was important, but I have no idea what actually happened,' said Maris into Harry's ear, the exasperation just barely leaked into her voice. "I just know it involved the conversation with Master Yoda and you being… rude."
"Yoda made a big mistake. He just tried to mind-rape me in front of allies. Then, before he could protest my accusation, a well-respected third party, Aayla, spoke up and defended me. And not only that, but she actually described out loud exactly what kind of attack happened since it was invisible to the Senator's entourage. They were all completely unaware that the attack even happened, and now they're all likely wondering if Yoda has used such things on them before without their knowledge."
"Then I barely acknowledged Yoda's rather blatant attempt to cow me into following his suggestion to meet with him later Instead, Aayla spoke for 'the four of us', which doesn't include Yoda, and then asked Senator Organa for an audience. Yoda has just lost a lot of political power he may or may not have had with the allies present here. And who knows how many people were watching the whole thing take place on security cameras."
Maris' eyes boggled slightly at everything. "All I caught was Yoda attacking you, and then you blowing off him wanting to discuss things later with you." She shook her head, "I don't think I'm cut out to deal with that sort of thing."
Harry laughed and smiled. "No one is, and no one should ever set out trying to learn this sort of stuff on purpose. Politics is messy and ugly. I've learned by necessity, and this is just basic bare bones 'don't make enemies when you don't have to'. And who really knows if I just did that with Yoda. For now, just keep your eyes open and observe. No one is expecting anything from you. You're going to be exposed to a lot of high level things that most people wouldn't ever see in their whole lifetime, and you're a teenager still. You'll be fine. Just go into it with an open mind and always remind yourself that things are not always as they seem with politics."
Harry said this whole thing with his hand on Maris' shoulder while leaning in close. "And if you want to know something else, don't react to what I'm about to say to you. Just keep staring at the ground for now and don't gasp too much in surprise. Me and you talking right now, is more manipulation for the crowd's benefit."
Feeling the small ripple of shock break through from Maris, Harry continued, "They just saw me act tough and proud to a Jedi Master who I assumed they all revered. They all know the Jedi Master did something wrong, but they don't know me. And now, they see me hanging back, talking to a young impressionable Padawan, smiling at her and trying to cheer her up."
Maris raised her eyebrow at this, fully comprehending now the double edged purpose of their conversation, "You're evil, you know that?"
"Nah, I just wanted to throw more salt in Yoda's eye. That little shit is just asking for it."
Maris laughed at that, a soft sound which she attempted to cover up with her hand but it was seen and heard by all. The Queen, who silently witnessed most of the events that occurred with a smile on her face, walked over to Harry and Maris. Harry, having grown up in a country with a Queen himself, had no problem showing her the respect she deserved.
"Your Majesty," said Harry, and his bow was mimicked by Maris.
She gazed at this, a small smirk of amusement and, dare he say it, mischief as well. "I know what you're doing. Much as I enjoy seeing the Old One taken down a few pegs, please be careful. For now he is still an ally we require."
"My apologies. I'll be more discreet with him the future, Your Highness," said Harry.
If anything, the Queen's grin increased with Harry's response. "You're going to be amusing to have around, aren't you, Mr.?"
"Potter. Harry Potter. Though I would appreciate keeping that quiet for a bit. No one knows who I am, and I would like to keep that secret as long as possible."
"You realize that we're all under long-distance surveillance, and half the security people in the palace already heard you say your name and are already looking your name up in every available data record they have access to," the Queen said with an arch to one eyebrow.
"I'm well aware that anyone attempting to eavesdrop on this conversation should have heard an annoying buzzing in their ears thanks to some of my abilities. If it worked correctly, the number of people in this Galaxy who know my real name still stands at four when not including me."
The Queen gave Harry another look of appraisal that now included a bit of respect before she gave a regal nod to him. "I look forward to a grand tale of your adventures than, Mr. Potter. It is of course, the price of my continued silence."
Harry beamed. "I think you'll find my truth stranger than any fiction you've ever heard. I'm looking forward to it, your Highness."
Queen Breha nodded him, turned to nod at Maris, and slowly walked back over to the group. He saw the Senator glance at his wife, and at some unspoken verbal communication, he then glanced at Harry and gave a curt nod.
They had a foot in the door with their allies.
"So what was that all about? I've never met the ruler of a Core World before, and you just started talking to her like you were old friends," asked Maris spoke up quietly from his side.
"That… was an extremely intelligent and savvy woman letting me know that I still have to work on being a bit more subtle when conversing with true politicians. I've only ever really been around and worked with war-time politicians, who were more used to blunt-force politics.. The ones that took over after the normal politicians were all assassinated."
He felt the tired sigh escape his lips before he could stop it. "In the end, the ways of God, government, and girls are all mysterious, and it is not given to mortal man to understand them."
Maris snorted at the last statement, "And just what exactly does that mean?"
"It means, I'm a simple man, and it's not my place to question a woman who's in charge." He winked at Maris, and moved off to stand just behind Aayla again. Maris soon joined them.
He caught the tail-end of the quiet conversation the Senator, Aayla, and Shaak Ti were were in, "…and so one war ends, and another begins," said the Senator, his disappointment quite palpable.
"Fortunately, we've been lucky so far," Breha spoke up. "Palpatine has made numerous mistakes and assumptions that have cost him dearly. His forces are already stretched thin in an attempt to pacify a galaxy in open revolt against him. This war is a conflict he assuredly did not anticipate. His plans have been thwarted, and his contingencies in some cases have fared no better. Your warning and news came out at exactly the perfect moment Master Ti. I dread to know what could have happened without it."
Harry didn't hear Shaak Ti's response, or even half of what Breha had ultimately said. He was still pondering her first statement.
'Palpatine has made numerous mistakes and assumptions…' Somehow, he knew that was the key bit of information he was missing from what had bothered him the past few days. He thought back to when this feeling had started. It had started during the take-off from Felucia, when they saw the endless rows of deactivated and silent droids. The group knew from news broadcasts that the droids were under orders to stand-down, but why? Why would Palpatine's forces be stretched thin if he had a droid army in his back pocket that he also controlled since he was secretly running both sides of the war?
Harry realized he had not considered the whole picture yet. The Holonet said Skywalker disabled the droids with a Master Control Signal lost his life afterwards. That likely meant if Skywalker had additional orders on what to do with the droid armies after the surrender, those instructions had most certainly not been relayed to them.
And the Master Control Signal had been used on Mustafar. If records or logs still existed…
Harry gasped out loud as he stared off into space. The conversation that had continued between Shaak Ti and the Senator halted at the sound.
"What's wrong?" Aayla asked, helpfully she had not said his name in the process. "I felt your shock, what happened?"
Harry shook his head, gathered his thoughts, and tried to ignore the look of thirty people he didn't know as they stared him down. He looked at the Queen and said, "Her Majesty said Palpatine is making mistakes. I think he's made a huge tactical one that he hasn't even realized yet."
He looked at the Senator and said, "Try and follow my train of thought. The Chancellor was controlling both sides of the war. He gave Skywalker the Control Signal to shut down the droid armies, but Skywalker was killed there on Mustafar some time shortly afterwards, am I correct?"
The Senator nodded, not sure where it was going, ceded that the facts were correct. Harry walked closer, placing a hand on Aayla's shoulder and looked straight at Shaak Ti. "When we left Felucia, the droid army there was still in stand-down mode. It was just sitting there, doing absolutely nothing. I bet every droid in the Separatist's army across the galaxy is still sitting there, doing nothing and awaiting its next orders. Orders I bet Skywalker was supposed to give them, otherwise Palpatine would not be 'stretched thin' as you said while he fights this war he didn't expect to embroiled in. He's probably too busy with all his plans ruined to realize yet that the new orders didn't make it."
The Senator slowly saw where this was going, a small smirk emerged from the corner of his mouth, and a glint of pure happiness formed in his eyes. Harry decided he would throw out the bit of pure supposition he had, since he had no clue if was valid.
"If the shutdown signal was sent from Mustafar, and Skywalker was attacked and then evacuated afterwards due to injuries or his death, is there any chance that a log exists somewhere of the communication signal that shut down the armies. If it does, is it possible to get that log, and then take control of the droid armies for yourselves?"
The gathered group was stunned into silence at the revelation. The Senator recovered first, turned to his wife, and said, "I must go tell this to Garm. The Correllians have far more resources to quickly make this happen than we do. Excuse me."
The now very much undignified Senator ran for the transport he arrived in with a detachment of troops, and took off for somewhere else in the compound.
"Garm? Garm Bel Iblis?" Harry asked Aayla, and received a nod. "He's the Correllian Senator, right?"
"Saving the galaxy again? You think you would take a break from saving all of us." interrupted Shaak Ti with a smile.
Harry blushed at the look from Shaak Ti, "I doubt I saved the Galaxy from anything. We don't even know if the idea will pan out."
"But it might," said Aayla quietly, a very small smile upon her lips.
"Indeed," said Queen Breha while she gave Harry a look that made him feel as if he was an ant under intense scrutiny from a much larger being. "And now I look forward to your tale even more, especially the other implied times where you have saved the Galaxy."
Harry winced, "As you wish, Your Majesty."
The Queen motioned for the group to follow her. "I will arrange for quarters for your stay while you are here. My husband and I will meet with and discuss plans with you over dinner."
"Thank you, Your Majesty," said Shaak Ti as she quickly resumed her role as de-facto leader of their small group.
"You're welcome, please follow me," said the Queen, who turned to head back to the transports.
When they arrived at the Palace, they were immediately taken to an observation room on the upper levels that looked out over the surrounding mountains. The Queen left the five Force users together, and gave Harry a small smirk for her leaving him with Yoda after their small argument.
No one spoke after the Queen left. None of them quite knew what to say after the events on the platform. Harry walked over to some chairs by a guardrail and sat down, Aayla close on his heels. Shaak Ti and Maris sat at an adjacent table. Yoda didn't follow the group any closer to the guard rail. He simply stood there with his head down, looking lost and in thought some distance away from their group.
"Tell me again how we're having dinner with one of the most important Senator's in the galaxy, along with his wife who rules one of the most prominent planets in said galaxy?" Harry quietly asked, though his incredulity at his own statement bled through by the end.
Aayla didn't turn her head, though Harry could tell she focused on memories as she began to speak. "During the Clone Wars, I worked with Senator Organa a number of times. He was surprisingly involved in the conflict for a politician. Master Ti is probably the only Jedi behind Master Yoda with experience dealing with politicians, and has also worked with the Senator frequently."
In an attempt to ignore the pink elephant in the room that needed to eventually be dealt with, Harry leaned over and whispered to Aayla, "You didn't need to do what you did. I don't want to form a rift between you and the rest of the Jedi."
"I know, Harry. But like I said, you're stuck with me, and what Master Yoda did to you was unforgiveable," said Aayla with vehement force that was quite clear despite how quietly she responded.
"Well, hopefully I just didn't cause us irreparable harm. I just don't react well to people messing around in my head without permission," said Harry as he looked at the majestic mountains that surrounded the city of Altera in all directions.
She nodded sympathetically, remembering what he said about his past history during their Occlumency lessons, "He'll get over it. I don't know how you sweet talked the Queen, but I've never seen her act like that before. And the Senator was very amused by the whole situation. I get the feeling he's growing weary of the Jedi leadership. I assume you explained what happened to Maris?"
"Yeah, a lot of it went over her head. Hell, I still think some of it went over mine. I've always hated playing politics. The games just tire me out."
Aayla merely nodded her agreement, and they both sat in silence. Again, Harry could only marvel at the beauty of this planet. The people of Earth would never consciously put forth the effort to preserve such pristine vistas if Earth's civilization were to last anywhere close the length of time Alderaan's supposedly had.
The slow methodical sound of a stick as it hit the ground suddenly shook Harry from his observations. 'Time to get this over with,' thought Harry. He felt Aayla reach under the table and lightly squeeze his hand before she released it. The four travelers turned to the Jedi Master as he slowly approached.
"To you, apologies I must give," spoke Yoda without preamble to Harry. "Damaged the Jedi Order's relations with the Alliance already was. Now, matters are worse due to my actions."
Yoda gave a deep shuddered breath and looked down for a moment before he again faced Harry. Harry assumed the correct thing to do would be to somehow forgive the transgression. Despite himself, he gave a quick involuntary look to Aayla, who's face seem quite impassive, yet her Lekku's movement couldn't hide her internal worry from Harry after she had taught him how emotions affected them.
In the end, Harry made a quick decision to meet Yoda almost halfway. Dumbledore would've told Harry to forgive and forget, but that was a lifetime ago, and Dumbledore had fifty years to apply his doctrine of forgiveness, only to drown in bigots and Death Eaters because of it. It was a hard lesson to learn, but Harry knew all too well that granting forgiveness without consequence was the downfall of any society.
"I can eventually forgive your transgression, but I will never forget what you did. Your action speaks to a level of arrogance and self-importance that I have rarely seen in other beings. All I can say is that I would never expected such treatment after being around Aayla, Shaak Ti, and Maris for the last few days."
He didn't know where it came from, but he felt now was a moment he could probably get away with speaking a bit of what was on his mind.
"The Jedi Order is giving a very loud death rattle as we speak. First, you publicly fail to assassinate a Sith Lord on your own. With no backup at all. You just waltzed in, after this same Sith Lord took out four other Masters. So, clear as day, on dozens of security cameras, there you are, attacking the newly declared Emperor. I'm sure he really appreciated gaining the propaganda footage of defeating you. He'll very likely be playing the film for years on the worlds the Empire holds full control of. And then we arrive here and you pull a stunt like that in front of one of your strongest allies?"
They were all looking at Harry now. He wondered if he was being too harsh, but all of it was the truth, and Harry wasn't going to be an ally of anyone who couldn't handle criticism, especially when they're all working at the level of sensitivity they all apparently were.
"So my answer is no, you don't have my forgiveness. Forgiveness is earned, not asked for. Personally, I have no stake at all in any of this, other than I want to help Aayla, Shaak Ti, and Maris."
Yoda nodded as if he expected this, and looked to Aayla.
She looked a long time at the aged Jedi Master in front of her. "I was never aware of just how private memories could be, until I lost the memory of my whole life when I was drugged with glitteryll. You know I gained quite a bit back, but I still lost a lot of who I am. With… our friend's help, in eleven days I've managed to recover most of my past I had thought was lost forever. All of it was done using techniques that, for the life of me, I cannot comprehend how the Jedi Order hasn't discovered and used on their own. I have learned more new things and more about myself in the past eleven days that I have in the past eleven years."
Harry wasn't quite sure what Aayla meant with her speech, but it still felt abstractly like a vote of support to Harry. She made no mention of the Jedi Order really, and just said she had learned a lot from him. 'Why is this stuff so complicated,' thought Harry.
Shaak Ti must have thought it her turn. "I don't believe we should be dragging out criticisms of Master Yoda in depth at the moment. We all have our failings. I'll just say I'm very disappointed at the moment."
Maris, sat quietly, definitely knowing it wasn't her place to say anything at the moment. Harry knew just by looking at her though that she was behind him in this. He knew the three women were allies. He knew that Aayla and he were now as close as two people possibly could be without being considered a couple. But he didn't expect the sort of loyalty from Shaak Ti and Maris that he was feeling at the moment. He had only known those two for six days, and they were defending him against the leader of the group they had belonged to their whole lives.
Yoda nodded gravely at the words spoken and unspoken. He seemed very observant at least. He looked around, very likely in the hope to find someplace to sit down. Harry felt the sudden need to extend an olive branch, so he conjured a cushioned seat for the diminutive Jedi to sit upon.
The Jedi Master stopped dead at the action, and just stared at the seat which had appeared out of nowhere. Harry surreptitiously glanced at Aayla, whose eyes definitely twinkled madly in mirth at what Harry had just done. Shaak Ti was biting her lip in an effort not to smile, and Maris simply avoided the entire situation when she turned her face away.
Yoda took a half step towards the cushion, and prodded it with his walking stick in an attempt to ensure it wasn't just an illusion or hologram that Harry had produced. He reached out and touched one of the armrests with a gnarled hand, and grasped its edge firmly.
"Felt the Force from you I did. Briefly, quickly. Yet now nothing do I feel. Knight Secura different feels as well. Not as powerful as normal in the Force is she. Only feel her presence since closer to her now I am," said Yoda with his back turned to the group, still focused intently on the chair in front of him.
Harry could feel a headache coming on if he was going to have to rearrange the words in every sentence the little house elf spoke. Aayla spoke up in response, "It's the teachings we've been shown. Let me focus on undoing the suppression on my aura."
Aayla removed the necklace and handed it to Harry. Almost instantly, Aayla's magic flared and she returned to the level Harry had first encountered her at. Yoda spun around, looking intently at Aayla. "Suppression you say? Heard of this have I. Used it well the Sith Lords against us in the past."
Harry did all he could to avoid rolling his eyes, 'Here comes the age old Dark Magic routine.'
Shaak Ti was the one who responded to this, "And to that I ask, why the Jedi have not done the same? The specific exercises we have been taught have shown me more about the Living Force within me than any other exercise, demonstration, or lecture I have ever witnessed. We have been told that the basic exercises we have been learning are the building blocks of abilities I wouldn't have been able to dream possible before meeting our new friend. None of these abilities are of the Dark Side. I personally intend to keep up this new line of training."
"As do I," said Aayla. Maris didn't speak, but nodded when Yoda looked towards her.
"What lessons would this be?" asked Yoda.
Harry smirked and couldn't help but quote the most disappointing answer Dumbledore had ever given him, "A little bit of this, a little bit of that. The Jedi may have been around for 25,000 years, but did you think you held sway over the only way to access your Force? We have had 'Magic' on my world for at least 7,000 years. The people on my world appear to have gone down a different path when it comes to research and utilization of this energy we all seem to be able to manipulate."
"And use it to create chairs you do?" said Yoda in almost disbelief.
"No, not exclusively. That was just me being nice since it looked like you want to sit down somewhere, so I conjured you a chair," said Harry.
"Master Yoda," Aayla interrupted, definitely aware of how uncomfortable the conversation was. "What news from the other Jedi. We've been rather out of touch on Felucia."
"Lost many we have, yet far worse could things be. The last of the Jedi would we be amongst if not for the message."
Yoda moved forward and sat down in the chair. He wiggled around almost comically. His mind still tried to justify that he sat in a chair that was conjured from thin air. "Great revelations and insight have I gained recently. From both fighting the Sith Lord and reflection have most come."
Yoda turned to Shaak Ti, and his pointy ears seemed to wilt downwards in what Harry would almost call shame, "A great failure I have allowed to occur in our training of Jedi. Changed fundamentally for 1,000 years the Jedi have not. Exploited this the Sith have." Yoda turned to Harry and gave him another appraising look, "Our arrogance used against us they have."
Yoda was silent for a bit while he stared down at his walking stick and then looked up sharply at Harry, "When first did you meet Knight Secura?"
Harry had to think about that. "Maybe five or six hours before the order went out to attack the Jedi was when I first saw her. Maybe a bit sooner. I wasn't really paying attention to the time then."
"Corroborates much I have heard. My own observations as well. Lifted the shroud of the Dark Side has across the Galaxy when Knight Secura you encountered. Missing piece of puzzle this is. Important you both are now for the future of the Jedi."
Both Aayla's and Harry's eyebrows rose at this statement. That proclamation could be taken a number of different ways, many of which Harry didn't want to ponder at the moment.
"Change the Jedi Order must or die it will. Maybe died it has already. See clearly now I do that extinct the Order should have been without our friend's and Knight Secura's intervention. Adapt to face new enemies the Order must."
"Finally… nothing is the Jedi Order without Jedi. Failed to take care of our own we have. The pain of loss many have suffered and adherence to the Jedi Code prevented help from being sought or given. Changed must the Code be, or soon no more will the Jedi be."
Harry got the impression Yoda no longer spoke to them. He had instead spoke his thoughts out loud. The four travelers just happened to be witnesses to it. He couldn't help but feel they had witnessed a monumental paradigm shift in the very foundations of the Jedi though.
Yoda gave another shuddered sigh. "Far have you travelled to be here. Rest you should before state dinner with Senator and Queen," It was a clear dismissal, and Harry was happy to oblige. "Knight Secura, one moment stay please."
Harry looked up quickly to Aayla, who immediately had turned to Harry as well. She gave him a short nod and a smile, which told him that she would be all right. Harry gave a curt nod and followed Shaak Ti and Maris out of the room.
It seemed like a very un-Jedi like thought to Aayla, but the only question that repeated in her mind currently was 'Now what?'
The short interrogation of Harry was distinctly uncomfortable. He had turned the tables rather decisively on the aged Jedi Master. Aayla doubted Yoda had apologized to any being in living memory, and Harry had the guts to not only deny immediate forgiveness, but to call Yoda to task to become a better person to earn that absolution. Aayla wondered if anyone had ever scolded Yoda like he was a mere Padawan in centuries, but that was precisely what Harry had just done.
Yoda's speech also implied much, but said very little. It was all well and good to say the Code needed to be changed, but there have been movements for years, even centuries, to throw out some of the more personally invasive rules in the Code. Most often discussed were nearly all the changes in the Code implemented during the Order's overhaul in the aftermath of the last great Sith War 1,000 years earlier.
She watched Harry walk out the door last amongst her friends. He gave her a last furtive look that left no doubt in her mind Harry would do anything for her, and that she would likely do anything for him. She smashed those feelings down for now though. Such thoughts had no place in her mind while around a Jedi Master, who despite being chastised for his actions earlier, could still make her life very difficult if her thoughts were made public.
"How fare you since The Purge?" Yoda quietly asked.
She paused only a moment, before she answered, "I've fared well, Master. I was in a bad place right after Harry rescued me, but he helped me get through the aftermath."
"Learned my lesson have I," said Yoda once the room had plunged into silence again. "Search your thoughts I will not. Cannot help though to feel emotions can I. Attached to him you have become."
Aayla closed her eyes and inwardly cursed herself for her transparency, especially in front of someone as observant as the leader of the entire Jedi Order.
"Master, I-…" began Aayla, but she was cut off by Yoda.
"Understand I do. Your life saved he did. All of our lives maybe saved he. Point though, this is not. For 1,000 years has existed the Taboo. Wanted this change the Jedi did not at the time. Imposed it upon us the Senate did. Someone to blame for war they looked for, and found married Jedi for targets they did."
"For four thousand years before Reformation, Jedi had partners. Jedi had families. Taken away from us this was by the Senate," Yoda looked up at her now, after having spoken to ground in front of him previously.
"Now, no more is the Republic. And no more will the Jedi, a dead Republic's decrees follow. Dark and lonely has been your path to this day, Knight Secura. Second-guessed you have been, and denied a Padawan learner your right has been. Happiness with Master Fisto, should you have had, but not allowed to flourish in the light. Too late it is for that, but possibly not for another."
"May you find your happiness in the one that will change us all. My blessing you have."
Aayla knew at some deep distant level she had just experienced complete utter brain shut-down.
If Aayla had ever been asked to give an example of a time when her mind naturally cleared for further Occlumency studies, this would be the prime example she would use. She blinked her eyes forcefully, and had to resist the urge to pinch her arm to check if she in the throes of a dream. Never in her wildest dreams would she have thought a Jedi Master would grant her permission to pursue a bona-fide relationship with someone.
"I… I…" was all Aayla stammered out before Yoda waved her away her confusion.
"Rest you should. Much I have to meditate upon. Not the least of which is possibilities upon future a new droid army."
Aayla had to smile at the reference in spite of how mentally flustered she was currently. She was still slightly in awe at Harry's ability to logically link numerous completely unrelated events and bits of information into something that was mind-boggling in its implications. She remembered being annoyed at his insistence on the Marauder that he was missing something. That he just knew it would be huge if they could figure it out.
And it most certainly was huge.
"Thank you, Master Yoda," she said finally. "I must meditate upon this to determine my course of action."
She began to leave the room, but turned quickly and mentioned, "Be careful on that cushion Master. They often aren't permanent depending upon how much power… he put into them. It will eventually disappear suddenly and without warning in a few hours."
She saw Yoda's eyes widen at the implication. "Remember this I will. As young as I used to be I am not. Thank you, Knight Secura."
Aayla left the room, and started to walk… somewhere. She had no idea where she was going, but she just let her feet find the way. Not twenty seconds later, she rounded a corner to see a worried Harry as he leaned against a corridor wall.
He saw her approach and his mood instantly picked up. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I think I'm going to be fine. Come on, let's find our quarters."
"Our quarters?" asked Harry with a raised eyebrow, while he handed her a datapad that he had obviously been given in the few minutes they were apart. It was an access datapad, and it had directions to the rooms the Queen had ordered prepared for them. Yoda appeared to be quartered in an entirely different part of the Palace, and the four travelers seemed to be all placed together.
"Our quarters. You think I'm giving up our sleeping arrangements?"
"I hoped not, but confirmations are always pleasant things to receive," there was silence as Aayla instructed Harry through a quick tutorial on how to use such a datapad in the future. He always picked these things up incredibly quickly, and she wasn't surprised to see immediately mimic her initial actions on his own and determine where they were in the building and how to get to their room in the most efficient way possible.
They had set off towards their quarters when Harry reiterated his question, "So everything is okay?"
Aayla didn't answer at first. She was fairly sure of Harry's feelings, and knew he would never make any sort of move towards a romantic relationship so long as he thought there wasn't a chance of doing so because of the Jedi Code.
"Just some changes to the Jedi Code," Aayla finally said, as she decided to withhold how it specifically would affect Harry and her for now. She herself hadn't fully come to terms with it and she needed to do that first. Only now did she realize how hard it would be to undo decades of conditioning to behave in certain situations with regards to the opposite sex.
Dinner was an interesting affair that night. The four travelers dined alone with the Queen and Senator in an informal dining room. Their hosts explained the location with their assumption the Jedi and their friend would not have formal clothes to warrant the pomp of one of the more formal rooms. The Queen also quite mischievously said she looked forward a gathering around the fire in one of the adjacent rooms while Harry told of his grand adventures.
Harry enjoyed his first taste of 'new-universe' food. They were served a kind of fowl that had been served with a very tangy sauce and very colorful vegetables. He had to endure Aayla's snickers at his side that she couldn't wait to get him to try some of her favorite foods. Her vague descriptions of things still half-alive that wriggled did nothing to mitigate his fears.
Conversation was light during the dinner, and did not focus upon the war that had just ended, or the tragedy that had just transpired, or the nearby echo of new war drums that were upon them. They focused mainly upon the history of Alderaan itself. The more Harry heard about the high morals and beliefs of the civilization that had migrated here 25,000 years previous, the more he began to think this might be a good permanent place to live someday far in the future if fate ever gave him a chance to settle down in peace.
After the dinner ended, they retired as a group to a lounge. There was the fire, and Harry had to laugh in spite of himself after he remembered Breha's request from earlier.
With everyone seated, the Senator spoke, "In here, there are no titles, no stations. Please call me Bail here."
"And I, Breha," said the Queen.
Harry nodded, "I'm Harry Potter, from the planet Earth."
"Which star system is that? Which sector?" asked Bail with open curiosity.
"Truthfully?" asked Harry, before he shook his head. "I have no idea. I think it'll all be explained by my story."
He went on to explain how his planet did not have space flight as advanced as seen throughout this galaxy. He also quickly summarized the existence of Magic to his people and that was an alternative method of Force control to the one the Jedi utilized.
He talked about the Demon War his planet faced, and how everyone, Magicals and Non-Magicals, banded together to face it. He talked briefly about some of his abilities and duties as a Battle Mage, then spent much more time on his love of healing and his studies there. Finally, he described the Final Battle and how it ended with him flung through an outbound portal where he found himself face first in the dirt of Felucia.
After he described the attack upon Aayla and the subsequent death of Barriss Offee, Harry briefly summarized the injuries Aayla had sustained, and how he had healed them. Aayla herself turned around and bared some of her back to show the still-present scar tissue from the blaster hits. She mentioned how Harry has been spending an hour each night healing her back so that eventually the scar tissue would disappear.
At this point, Harry brought out his trunk, surprising both Bail and Breha at its sudden appearance. His Pensieve was produced and placed on the small table in front of them all. The idea they were about to view a memory intrigued them both and Harry was quick to oblige if it would explain what happened easier.
He showed them the memory of their mission back in time, and the communication with Shaak Ti to get out the warning. Shaak Ti was still highly amused by the fact that Harry stood next to Aayla the whole time and she was completely unaware of it.
From there, they briefly discussed how Aayla and Harry had hidden ships for use later, and Shaak Ti related how she had joined them on the planet after her rescue of Maris from her attackers. The group avoided discussing Harry's ability to shrink things such as supplies and the pocket dimensions created for the ship. These were secrets that all four had readily agreed would be kept from everyone for the time being. For now the trunk that appeared from nowhere could be explained by cloaking technology, and the four weren't quick to disabuse the Senator and his wife of that incorrect notion.
Bail and Breha had remained quiet for most of the explanation. There were questions occasionally, but they were good listeners and were very interested in Harry's tale.
Breha was the one who spoke first, "So you likely cannot return home?"
Harry shook his head, "No, I don't believe it's possible. I've got tons of information on summoning portals, because that was the only kind we had ever dealt with until that day. All the books and tomes I have inside that trunk pertain to pulling something to a planet, not sending it away. And with the Jedi's lack of knowledge on any of the abilities that I have, I don't really hold much hope of ever returning back to Earth."
After a brief silence, which no one wanted to break, Harry continued on, "But it's not like it's that bad a thing. I've met some great people here so far. Willing to fight for what's right and not what's easy. It sounds like I can be a great help now that I'm here, so I figure I may as well do my part."
"His coming here has been quite fortuitous to the galaxy," said Shaak Ti. "Many thousands if not more across the galaxy owe their lives to Harry and they will all likely never even know it."
"Besides, someone's got to keep Secura here in line," Harry said, feeling the conversation was getting a bit too serious while gesturing to the Rutian who had sat quietly next to him up to that point. "She is rather hopeless sometimes."
"Hey, I am not hopeless," Aayla said quite indignantly, but he could tell she was definitely aware of his attempt to change the mood of the discussion.
"Shall we discuss the day you attempted to do the laundry?" asked Harry innocently.
"It was an honest mistake," Aayla pouted while she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Well, you should apologize to my shirts that are now pink because of you."
"Keep this up and I won't cook you dinner next time we're on the ship," retorted Aayla.
"You've never cooked once the entire time I've known you," said Harry in exasperation.
"Yes, and it's going to stay that way if you keep mentioning the laundry," said Aayla slowly with a glint in her eyes.
The audience had watched the tennis match with rapt fascination. Shaak Ti and Marris were silent in their observation, though both held onto tight smiles while they watched the argument they had both witnessed at least four times already. Bail and Breha on the other hand, had their eyebrows steadily rise as the barbs continued to trade between the two.
Breha however, was the one who eventually saw what Shaak Ti saw within moments of first meeting Harry in Aayla's presence, and had a slow impish smile that began to encompass her face.
She was the one who spoke up first to interrupt the ongoing verbal sparring match, "Well, if I can interrupt our two lovers here," she said. The statement instantly quelled all words coming from Aayla's or Harry's mouths.
"It is quite late, and my husband and I have much to do tomorrow. You all may stay in the palace guest quarters for as long as you like. It has been an honor meeting you both, Harry and Maris, and seeing Shaak Ti and Aayla once again. Please sleep well tonight."
The gathered spoke their farewells, and began their slow trek back to their rooms. Maris said good night and instantly went into her room, but Shaak Ti stayed behind and watched Harry and Aayla.
"What's up, Master Ti?" asked Harry.
"Oh nothing, I just figured I would stay out here and wait for a bit."
"Wait for what, Master Ti?" Aayla asked nervously, which brought a benign smile to Shaak Ti's face as neither Harry or Aayla moved towards their assigned room.
"Oh, I guess nothing after all," said Shaak Ti in the tone of someone who had just had confirmation given over some juicy piece of knowledge.
Shaak Ti shut the door to her quarters, which left Harry and Aayla alone in the hallway.
"People are going to start rumors if they see us sleeping in the same room," said Harry. "We could hide it on the ship and in the tent, but it won't be possible here."
Aayla look Harry in the eye and smiled, "I'm not worried about rumors. I never have been in the past, and I'm certainly not worried about them now. Come on, Harry. Let's go to bed."