As soon a their ship had exited Coruscant's atmosphere, Obi-Wan sent word to Bail that they were away and Harry assumed that they were in the clear. However, his eased feeling was short lived. Their small ship was rattled by two successive strikes, and he had to grab hold of the hull to keep his body off of the floor.
"We have incoming!" Their pilot hollered, unnecessarily. "Three fighters coming fast!" At that pronouncement, another direct hit smashed into them. "I can't risk making the jump with us taking a pounding."
"Does this ship have offensive capabilities?" Obi-Wan questioned.
"Nothing that can help," the pilot responded. "I use this thing for smuggling. I outrun Imperials, don't fight them."
"We do not seem to be doing either at the moment," Obi-Wan lamented as the ship lurched again.
The pilot tried his best to outmaneuver the fighters, but it was proving to be fruitless. Realizing that they were truly in peril, Harry stood from his seat and stumbled to the rear of the small ship. There was a small strip of window in the back that allowed him to see their pursuers. The three fighters were bunched together in a pack, the one in the middle slightly ahead of the others. Closing his eyes briefly, Harry attempted to collect himself. He reached out into the Force, focusing on the fighter on the left. It was much more difficult a task with the vastness of space around them and the instability of his target. However, Harry kept his focus, aimed, and reached out through the Force, something that was becoming easier for him each time.
The three TIE starfighters were so close together that it only took a slight push to cause havoc among them. Harry pushed the left-side wing of the fighter back, turning it ninety degrees instantly, and without any warning to the pilot, it kept propelling forward, straight into the wing of the central fighter. A chain reaction followed, and all three of the fighters were suddenly spinning completely out of control. Harry stayed and watched as they disappeared into the blackness, while their own ship continued on, rattled but unmolested.
Harry made it back to his seat, and then strapped himself in. Their two rescued hostages looked at him in surprise, while Obi-Wan gave an approving nod.
"Where to?" The pilot called back, much calmer than before.
"We need to get to Alderaan, but we should take a more circuitous route," Obi-Wan stated. "We cannot take the chance of being tracked back there."
"I'll set my jump coordinates for Commenor. They aren't friendly to the Imperials, and we can take the Commenor Run straight to Alderaan. We'll get good and lost among the trade freighters."
Harry braced himself, and then felt that familiar uncomfortable lurch as the ship made the jump to Lightspeed. Then, there was silence again, and Harry still felt all eyes on him.
"I suppose proper introductions should be made," Obi-Wan suggested, clearly noting the uncomfortable quiet. "Master Fisto, Master Windu, this is Harry Potter. He is my apprentice should we say."
"I don't remember you," Master Windu stated, looking puzzled. The man was intense, and the silver streaks winding through his dark skin were unnerving. He could swear their were also specks of silver in his eyes. "Were you in the Order?"
Harry almost reflexively answered yes, thinking of an Order that he had been part of in another life, the shook his head. "I was never a member of the Jedi Order."
"I was in exile on Tatooine, when I stumbled onto Harry," Obi-Wan explained. "We discovered that he was Force sensitive, and I have been training him in the ways of the Jedi. He has vowed to help bring down the Empire."
"Training? Now?" Master Windu frowned. "Obi-Wan, it was a mistake to allow Skywalker to be trained at such an advanced age, and now you are training another twice his age? He will not be able to handle it."
"I won't be seduced by the dark side," Harry exclaimed.
"That is what all who have fallen have claimed. What makes you so different?"
"Because those children you train have never faced the things I have," Harry responded fiercely. "I've faced down darkness and evil since I was a year old. I've fought it with everything I've had my whole life, and it won't tempt me."
"What sort of darkness?" Master Fisto inquired.
Obi-Wan interjected before Harry could answer. "Harry has a unique set of powers. He was born with magic, and has powers similar but also very different from our own. The power stems from within him, rather than the surrounding world. I believe it is also what has allowed him to tap into his connection with the Force."
"The planet I came from was full of other magic users, wizards and witches," Harry continued on Obi-Wan's tale. "Some of these magicians practiced dark, evil magic that they used to kill innocents, much like the Sith. I spent my life fighting these people, and I would never join those like them."
Master Windu stared intently at Harry, and he could swear the man was trying to invade his mind. "I sense feelings within you," Master Windu finally stated. "Attachments to others…love. Are you prepared to abandon them, to give up those attachments? A Jedi's life is dedicated to the Force, to not allowing emotion to control us."
"With all due respect, I think you are wrong," Harry challenged. "To think a person can live a life without attachment or love is naive and ignorant. Love is a powerful emotion, and it comes with other less constructive feelings as well, but learning to deal with them makes a person stronger. Forbidding someone from feeling them, or telling them to ignore it is more likely to lead to resentment and to anger."
"He is right," Obi-Wan sighed. "I don't know how much information you were privy to from within your captivity, but Anakin and Senator Amidala were married in secret. She became pregnant, and Sidious took advantage of Anakin's fear that something would happen to Padme in childbirth. Sidious promised him things…powers. Yet, in the end, it was Anakin himself that caused her death. He fulfilled the promise of his own nightmares."
"I'm not sure I follow your argument Obi-Wan," Master Fisto interrupted. "It would seem that Anakin's attachment was his own undoing."
Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, that would be to pretend that we were without fault. What would have happened if Anakin stood before the Council and confessed these things, to his marriage? He would have been expelled. I loved Anakin like a brother, and he never felt like he could come to me with his fears. We, our stubbornness, pushed Anakin to Sidious. And let us all not pretend that we have not embraced the same sort of feelings that Anakin had for Padme at least once in our own lives." The ship grew quiet again as Obi-Wan's words lingered. Harry saw that both Masters WIndu and Fisto were fully contemplating their friend's rebuke of the Order's teachings.
"Obi-Wan," Master Fisto called for the man's attention. "What happened to Anakin?"
Obi-Wan looked down at his hands, steeling himself. "After Anakin betrayed Mace and decimated the Temple, Sidious sent him to kill the Separatist leaders who were hiding on Mustafar. I stowed away on Padme's ship when she went to confront him there. Anakin became enraged when he saw me and used the Force to choke her. He was beyond reach, lost to the darkness. We fought, and I won…but I ultimately failed. I left Anakin to die, but I should have finished it then and there. Now he stalks the galaxy as Darth Vader, doing the Emperor's bidding."
"What of Skywalker's child? Did it survive?" Master Windu asked.
"Children, twins," Obi-Wan corrected. "The girl is being raised by Bail Organa, and the boy is on Tatooine with Anakin's family. That is where I was, watching over him. That is, until I met Harry here, and was stirred into being useful once more."
They fell into silence again, and Harry looked down to the lightsaber on his hip. Remembering Master Windu's question, he pulled it off and held it out. "I believe this belongs to you."
Mace reached out with his left hand and took his lightsaber. He held it for a moment, examining it briefly before handing it back to Harry. "Keep it. I've lost my right to it. May it serve you well." Harry hesitantly took the lightsaber back and clipped to his waist.
The journey continued on, mostly in silence. Mace and Kit had been through an ordeal for months and both were worse for wear. Eventually their ship came out of lightspeed, directly in front of Commenor. Then as promised, they proceeded onto the Commenor Run towards Alderaan. It was not long before the ship was touching down on the landing pad on Alderaan, and Harry breathed a sigh of relief to be back. Attendants were there waiting for them, and Masters Fisto and Windu were led away to receive needed medical attention.
"Has Bail returned yet?" Obi-Wan questioned one of the attendants.
The short, sandy-haired man shook his head. "No Master Kenobi. We've had no communications from the Tantive IV or from Senator Organa's Senate Chambers."
Harry looked at Obi-Wan with a frown. "Should we be concerned?"
"Not necessarily. We don't know what the situation was on Coruscant after we made our quick exit. It would have looked suspicious if Bail took off immediately afterwards. They may have hunkered down for a while for appearances."
Harry nodded. That was a perfectly logical explanation, but it still unsettled him. Nola was alone in most dangerous place in the Galaxy. Obi-Wan obviously sensed his trepidation, because the man patted him on the shoulder. "Have patience. Get some rest, and I will let you know if we hear anything. You did well today. We could have not asked for a better outcome."
Harry left Obi-Wan standing on the landing platform and escaped to his quarters. He changed into fresh attire, then sat on his bed attempting to relax. He tried to clear his mind, but it was hard when every one of his instincts was telling him to take a ship and fly back to Coruscant, Imperial army be damned. His internal battle was so fierce that at some point it consumed the rest of his remaining energy and caused him to fall back onto his bed and drift off into sleep.
Hours later something, roused him suddenly from his slumber. His eyes opened and he lifted his head to look around in the darkness of the room. His vision finally settled on a figure standing his doorway. The figure closed his door then staggered over towards him. His eyes adjusted to the darkness, and he felt himself relax when he saw the whole, yet slightly haggard, form of Nola in front of him. Her once crisp uniform was wrinkled and the her braided hair had loosened, but her eyes showed exhaustion. He sat up fully and grabbed onto her hand pulling her closer.
"Are you okay?" He asked.
She nodded, letting him pull her even closer, until she was practically sitting on his knee. "I'm fine, but my nerves are shot. Whatever you and Obi-Wan did sent Coruscant into a complete frenzy. Everything was locked down and the stormtroopers were interrogating everyone. They took us into rooms one by one and questioned us. I don't think I've ever been so nervous in my life. I was just waiting for them to arrest me or just shoot me outright."
"They didn't, and that's all that matters," Harry consoled, caressing her arm and trying to offer comfort.
"I know," she responded, gathering her resolve. "What happened with you?"
"We broke into the Jedi Temple and found two Jedi Masters being held captive. We rescued them and brought them back with us. We had to fight our way out though, so I'm not surprised the Imperials were upset."
"Everything worked out well then. It was a success," Nola declared.
"It was," Harry agreed. "You look like you could use some sleep."
"That does sound good," Nola nodded, then smiled nervously. "Would you mind terribly if I stayed here tonight? I've spent all day surrounded by people who wouldn't have hesitated to kill me. It would be nice to not be alone."
Harry raised his brow in question, but then found himself nodding. Nola stood again, and Harry moved all the way back to the top of his bed. At the same time, Nola removed her uniform jacket followed shortly by the pants. She was left in a tight grey undershirt and shorts. Harry had to force himself to look away from the large amounts of skin that had just been exposed, distracting himself by slipping his legs under the sheets. Nola slipped herself in next to him and cozied up to his side. Harry found it much harder to ignore her exposed skin when it was actually touching him. The comfort of the warmth next to him was amazing though, so he was able to settle down and drift off again quickly.
He woke early the next morning to Nola practically lying on top of him. As much as he wanted to stay and enjoy the close proximity, he managed to extract his body from the bed and leave her sleeping. He left his quarters and located Obi-Wan. The Jedi was seated at a table with Bail Organa and their two rescued hostages. Both Jedi Masters wore new tunics and looked much better than they had the previous day, though truly that was a low bar considering where they had been. Master Windu, who had been missing an arm just hours before, now bore a mechanical prosthetic that looked like it was a fully functioning appendage, moving digits and all. They all greeted Harry as he entered and took a seat.
"I have to say, just days ago it would have been unthinkable that I could be sharing a table with four Jedi," Bail smiled. "It feels good to have good news for a change."
"As much as I am grateful to be here Senator, I fear there is little time for celebration," Master Windu noted.
"Mace is right," Obi-Wan continued. "We struck a blow yesterday at the heart of the Empire. Their reaction will likely be swift and harsh, meaning tighter control on systems like yours. I do not think it would be safe for any of us here if the four of us remained on Alderaan. We are within the Emperor's reach."
"Where will you go?" Bail asked.
"Dantooine, to rendezvous with General Reeikan," Obi-Wan informed the Senator.
"After we make a quick trip to Degobah to pick up a small, green friend," Mace smiled for the first time that Harry had seen, but then it was quickly gone again. "We need to find out more about this new Sith sect. It would be unthinkable to allow a new Sith Empire of generations ago to rise again. With the Jedi Order all but gone, there would be nothing to stop its complete domination. We must cut off the head of the snake before that happens."
"Where will we go to find such information?" Harry asked.
"Korriban," Mace responded instantly. "The home of the ancient Sith. If there is a new order of Sith, it is hard to believe that they have not been drawn there like the many before them."
"We are going to just land on a Sith planet?" Harry asked doubtfully.
"As I said, we are going to entreat Master Yoda to join us," Mace noted. "We will need all the help we can get to face this threat and to eventually take down Sidious. He accused me of treason once, but he has not seen anything yet."