Thank you so much to my reviewers, the only other story that I've gotten reviews on it took forever to get more than two. Okay, this is a bit longer, my apologies to the reviewers for the brevity of the first chapter, it ended at a clean break without another one in sight. Any input or ideas will be greatly appreciated-I don't have a beta so there's probably things that I've missed. My apologies if Tirne is confusing, her life doesn't make sense to herself much less to others.
A string of curses, strong enough to singe the ears off a Hutt-if they even had any-could be heard in the engine room of the Nightrider as Tirne battled with the inspace drive unit. Patience young Jedi, anger leads to the Dark Side. "Well Master Yoda, you aren't here at the moment and neither is Mace, so deal. Damn bucket of bolts. You just had to quit on me didn't you?" she grumbled.
Chimes rang, signaling the arrival of the welcoming committee. Tirne extracted herself from the cramped space and hurriedly tried to make herself slightly presentable before lowering the hatch to reveal an official and several members of a security deatail.
"You are the captain of the Nightrider?" at the Jedi's nod, he continued. "Name and home planet?"
Tirne shook her head. "Tirne Naberrie, I'm spaceborn but me mum's from Theed, capital Naboo. Ship's registered to her, Padme Naberrie." She hid her cringe at using her mother's real name, hopefully the Empire had lost enough influence so that the one time queen was no longer hunted. Granted, she supposedly hadn't gone by Naberrie since before her teens, but still... "My uncles went exploring beyond the Rim and my family joined them. None of us have even been to any of the Rim worlds since a few years after the Clone Wars."
The official narrowed his eyes as if he noticed something wrong with my story. "Why would you stay away for so long?"
She shrugged. "One of my uncles had a Jedi wife." Not to mention that almost every single one of their number had been a trained Jedi…including half of the Council. "Mum got sick and we don't have the means to treat her so she was frozen in carbonite and I was sent to find arrange treatment on Corescant."
This time he seemed to accept the story. Good, 'cause it's real, she thought. I just left out a few important details. "Sir? If you don't mind me asking, what happened to the Emperor?"
"Killed by a Jedi some twenty years ago. The Rebellion won. Not that it matters to us who holds the power in Corescant."
"So the Jedi are accepted again?"
He nodded sourly. "Most of the time." Tirne couldn't sense any deception.
"Uncle Marint will be pleased, he'll finally be able to bring Auntie Ayla back to see Ryloth once more."
The man shifted uncomfortably.
Damn, he probably realizes that Ayla isn't human, should've picked a different aunt.
"Perhaps you would like to visit our markets on your stay here?" he changed the subject. "You may find the parts that you need."
Tirne nodded. "I think I'll do that, thank you very much for your advice. I do have one more question though, what is the policy on blasters?" There was no way in the five hells that she would inquire about lightsabers.
"None concealed or worn in cantinas."
"Thank you very much for your help sir."
He nodded and turned to leave. Tirne spent about twenty minutes in the refresher, trying to get all the soot and grease off that were left from her attempts to jury rig the engines. She finished and managed to find a clean flight suit, her Jedi robes would have been preferable but she had felt something slightly off with the official even though she hadn't been able to sense anything. Her long hair she braided into several small plaits before pinning most of them up, only leaving a few to fall down past her waist as her mother had in a holo of her and her future husband when he was only a young boy. Uncle Mace had often joked that if her hair was brown instead of blond and if she was a few inches shorter, she'd be a carbon copy of her mother, as it was she was close enough to be a handmaiden during Padme's reign as Queen even though the increased height might have caused problems.
Her mother's small Nubian blaster was slipped into its holster under her sleeve and belted on her lightsaber, concealed in a utility pouch keyed to her fingerprints and Force signature. It took half a second longer to draw but was worth the bother of concealing.
The market was beyond her expectations. On the planet of Kekoie where the remnants of the Jedi had hidden, she would have considered herself lucky to find compatible power cells for her datapad, much less parts to rebuild the drives of Padme's old ship. One open air stall displayed intricate carvings. Sabe would like those. Tirne fingered the necklace that she had been given as a baby, it was merely a carved sliver of a type of material that Padme had called jodpur wood. Maybe she would have enough credits to get the twins a present. The Council was more family than many orphans had, but they just weren't capable of giving the care and emotional support that her mother had given her. Even though Tirne had only been fourteen, she had set herself up to raise her baby sisters-and to the Hells with the Council and their rules about emotional attachments.
They would have had a much higher success rate if the Jedi were allowed to have a life. Not that she'd say anything like that in their hearing…especially after they discovered the holocron in her possession. She was never going to live that one down. What raw trainee wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a Sith and Jedi holocron? Although, she thought, I noticed that they still haven't destroyed it.
One of the vendors had astromech droids. Perhaps one could replace her navcomputer. There was no way that she would be attempting to calculate a jump by hand ever again even with the help of the Force. That was just…far, far too nasty.
The smell of actual food made her stomach flip and reminded her of the main reason that she was making this trip now instead after the twins' Trials. Mace was going to be…well…ticked probably wouldn't cover it, but definitely more peeved than Boss Nass ever was, even with a certain bumbling Binks. Hopefully the rest of the Jedi would not follow for a few more months-just long enough so that she could pull off the charade. Too bad the cause of her current predicament was splattered all over the now destroyed plascrete of a hidden Sith compound, courtesy of a nice, shiny new thermal detonator. If he was still around she would have gladly turned him into her Uncles' 'mercy' without any qualms whatsoever.
What if they bar me from the Council? Or worse yet, the Jedi? It's not like I gave into anger-I didn't tear him apart piece by piece. Where would I go? I know that they couldn't ban Sabe and Shmi from seeing me once they passed their Trials, but what would I do if I join the ranks of the Fallen? I'm no merchant, I avoid killing, and smuggling would be too risky with a family. I could go to Dagobah like Master Yoda did but that would be no place to raise a family. Tatooine? Maybe if I had a partner or the twins to watch the children I could earn money podracing like the twins' father did as a kid…although they'd probably want to do it themselves. Naboo? Perhaps one of the Guard or a handmaiden or even an aid will do. She sighed, contemplating what the future might hold for her and her soon to be growing family. Mum? Why did you have to come from a family with multiples?
Tirne was jolted out of her reverie. "My apologies ma'am, I wasn't looking where I was going," apologized a man about her age or slightly older with nearly the same shade of hair.
"That's okay, I wasn't paying much attention either."
"I'm Owen, Owen Lars," the slightly shorter man replied smiling. "Would you like to come to the cantina with me? I'll pay."
She followed him into the cantina that he indicated at the edge of the market square but frowned slightly behind his back at the falsehood.
"I don't think I caught your name," the too familiar stranger interrupted her thoughts as they sat down at one of the few empty booths in the entire establishment.
"Tirne Naberrie. Lars? Mum's step brother in law had the last name Lars if I remember right. From Tatooine?"
'Owen' blanched. "Near the Judland Wastes, outside of Anchorhead."
The female Jedi smiled genuinely at the truth that she sensed. "I think that's where they were from, but I only visited a couple of times and my uncle wouldn't let us stay for more than a minute before ushering us out the door. He was always afraid that Vader would link him to us. I don't see why he was so worried, the Empire thought we were dead-they even had Mum's 'body' as proof."
"Why was the Empire looking for you?" he asked, intrigued.
She shrugged. "Aunt Ayla is a Jedi and mum had been part of the Republic Senate as the representative for Palpatine's homeworld."
His eyes narrowed almost imperceptively at the mention of the emperor. "Your aunt survived the Purge? How?"
"Our entire family escaped outside of the galaxy to a rim world in a nearby one. A couple of months ago we stumbled across a Sith compound. Before we trashed it we found some evidence that the winds had changed enough for us to possibly return home."
"There's a Jedi Academy on Yavin Four that was started about fifteen years ago. You may want to check it out."
"Oh? Who founded it?" she was almost laughing with joy. Maybe they would take her even with her family.
"An apprentice of Obi Wan Kenobi."
Nice evasion tactic hotshot. "Kenobi? That old fool's still teaching? One would think that he would've learned after his first apprentice to leave the teaching to those who actually managed to finish their own apprenticeships before their Master is killed."
"He was killed by Vader a long time ago. Wait, you knew Master Kenobi?" The shock would have been painfully obvious even to a non Jedi.
"I thought the people on Tatooine just called him Ben or 'that crazy old fool'," Tirne replied mischievously, 'Owen' had the grace to cringe. "When we went to visit mum's brother in law we'd always end up at his home. He and Mum had met years before when he was still a Padawan. Obi Wan and his Master had met Mum when she was a handmaiden for the queen that they were guarding. On that mission Mum met the man that she would marry ten years later. She was always telling me about her 'little Ani,' they had only been kids at the time but they later defied the Jedi Order by getting married."
"Why would they object to your parent's marriage?"
Tirne shook her head. "No one knows if Ani was my father, he was my sisters' da but no one knows if he was mine. According to the rules of the Jedi Order, a Jedi may not form attachments or fall in love. Ani was still a Jedi apprentice when he married Mum. Maybe as a Master they wouldn't have objected so much, but we'll never know for sure."
"How? How could they do something like that? It just seems so cruel," her companion shuddered.
"Ayla hasn't complained but then that's probably just her training. Mum raised me on a ship, flitting between the stars. She didn't want to give my sisters to the Jedi when they were born but there was nothing she could do, she was dying. I was only fourteen and couldn't raised two Force sensitive children on my own so we were sent to Ayla and our uncles. I just hope that the med centers on Corescant can heal her. Sabe and Shmi deserve to meet their mother at least once before they become full Jedi."
"The name Shmi sounds familiar."
"It should if you're a Tatooine Lars, she's named after her dad's mum, Shmi Skywalker-Lars. You're probably her grandson, at least by marriage."
'Owen' froze. "Skywalker? As in Anakin Skywalker who became Darth Vader?"
"Oh? So that's story's common knowledge now?"
"No one really knows anything about Vader except his real name and that he used to be a Jedi and an apprentice of Obi Wan Kenobi's."
Tirne's good mood deflated. "So no one found his children? Damn, Mum will be disappointed; she refused to tell me where they were hidden so I can't look for them myself. I hope they survived."
Her companion burst out laughing.
"What's so funny?"
It took him a few minutes to stop laughing. "You really have been outside of the galaxy for the past twenty years haven't you?"
"Anakin Skywalker's daughter is the Prime Minister of the New Republic, Leia Organa-Solo."
"Organa? Alderaan right? Mum's going to get harassed constantly when she is unfrozen. I can't believe that no one noticed, Bail Organa was Senator Amidala's biggest ally and his wife, Sabe, was her bodyguard when she was the queen of Naboo as well as her best friend. What was Kenobi thinking? Wait…I forgot. According to Mum he doesn't think."
"Who's this Amidala person?"
"She was elected queen of Mum's home planet when she was fourteen and when her term was up she took then Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's seat as the representative of Naboo in the Republic Senate. Mum had been her handmaiden when they met Obi Wan and his Master and soon afterward met an eight year old boy named Anakin Skywalker, only human ever to compete in-much less win-podraces, slave to Watto the junk dealer and son of Shmi Skywalker on the planet of Tatooine." Thank you so much Mother for your dual identities. "Kenobi's Master was killed and Obi Wan convinced the Jedi Council to let him take Anakin as his apprentice even though he was five years older than the oldest child to be admitted to training for over a thousand years." Hah! Beat him by a year, more if I don't count the time they spent bickering over whether or not I was his daughter. Honestly, the Council is worse than a flock of old hens. "About ten-twelve years later Anakin was assigned to guard Senator Amidala while Master Kenobi investigated a conspiracy against her. By the time everything was finished, Anakin and Amidala had eloped without anyone's knowledge. Not even her handmaidens knew until she started showing, although many did have their suspicions. It's kind of hard to hide a pregnancy from people that are around you almost constantly and must be prepared to switch places with you on a moment's notice."
Luke contemplated the woman in front of him. Tirne Naberrie was her real name, at least as far as she was concerned, that much he could tell-and she was far too familiar with the Lars family. Uncle Owen had been incredibly tightlipped about Luke's family, but he had mentioned Shmi, his stepmother, who his father had bought from her owner but she had later been killed…something about sandpeople. Something had also been mentioned about her having a son that had been sold years before. If that son had been Anakin, then who was Tirne referring to as her sisters' father? "Didn't my grandmother only have one child of her own? And only one stepchild?"
"That I know of…" she trailed off as it donned on her what he had pulled. The woman squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. "But then, Owen Lars was married long before I was born. You may be from Tatooine but there is no way that you are my sisters' uncle-cousin perhaps, but not uncle."
"Touché," he replied laughing. Inside though, Luke was a jumble of swirling emotions. She knew that he wasn't telling the truth about his name, but he couldn't sense any deception, only evasion. Nothing that she had said was false, but then where did that leave him? "I'm heading to Corescant and then on to the Jedi Academy once I pick up supplies. I could give you a lift or do you have your own transportation?"
"If you can call a ship with fried computers and a dead inspace drive 'transportation,' then I guess I do, otherwise, no I don't and a lift would be much appreciated although I cringe at the thought of leaving the Nightrider here. Uncle Mace will kill me if I loose another ship."
"If it isn't too large, my ship could latch onto it, I have a freighter for hauling supplies," he offered.
"That would be-" Tirne was interrupted by a commotion from the entrance of the cantina.
"You have sixty seconds to send out Skywalker or we will come in blasting."