Chapter 9: Trouble Intensified

Chewbacca and company climbed out of the floor compartment. Ben had also openned the one where he and the droids had been located in.

"Somebody's coming." Ben informed the others.

Up the ramp came two technitionss, carrying scanning equipment. When they reached the top, the techs were introduced to the waiting fists of Han and Chewie, up close and personal. Luke and Ben kept them from crashing to the floor. A moment later, Han called out "Hey down there, could you give us a hand with this?"

The pair of Imperial Stormtroopers guarding the ramp looked at each other and headed up the ramp. Luke and Han were waiting, with stun shots from a pair of blasters. Another muffled crash sounded.

"I hope this works." Luke stated, as he stripped a trooper of the armor.

"It should. The old man, the droids, Chewie and myself will go to the command office and take it over. You wait here as a distraction. Pretend that your comlink doesn't work." Han instructed, as he divested the other trooper of his armor.

Luke pulled on his own outfit. "My armor is too big. I can wear my own clothes under the body glove."

"You'll do. Nobody will pay much attention to you." Ben said, assuring the younger man.

Shaiey and Kev through Taelago Port the following afternoon after they had been arrested. Both had made some changes to their appearance to help protect them. Shaiey wore her silver circlet promemently across her brow. Kev had a blue and gold sash of the Taegan Royal Guard draped across his chest.

"So, how come I haven't seen this sister you have told me about?" Kev asked.

"Grandmother sent Teri to Castle Tagla for a vacation, and she isn't to be bothered. Not even by me." Shaiey replied, then added, "Do you hear that music?"

The teens headed over to where the somewhat familar tune could be heard coming from. A group of musicians, two males and one female, stood with some simple instruments. One of the men had longish, light brown hair, and wore dark glasses to cover his eyes. His companions were blue eyed blondes.

"Do you wish a song Lady?" The man wearing the glasses asked.

"Do you know the song Alliance of the Dark Force?" Kev asked.

"Yes, I know that song, but I can not play it." the dark haired man replied.

"Are you able to play the Princess of the Septe then?" was Shaiey's request.

"But of course. Do you know the dance?" the speaker requested.

"Play and I will dance." answered Shaiey. She handed her things to Kev to hold, and took up the ready position.

The trio started playing the song and Shaiey began to dance. The people of Taega stopped what they were doing to watch. Shaiey's moves, were somewhat mesmerising to watch. The older citizens who could remember before the Jedi Purge, recognized Shaiey's dance for what it was. It was the Dance of the Force, with it's flowing movements and dramatic actions, that also were valid and deadly combat moves. Only a fully trained Taegan Warrior could dance it. Seeing Shaiey performing it gave the older people of Taega hope.

The speaker for the trio knew that the two teens were his contacts with the Taegan Rebels. "You dance beautifully, Lady."

"Thank you. You all play very well." Shaiey replied. "Would you be looking for a job? My great-grandmother, Her Royal Majesty, Queen Sheela Tagla, is looking for some musicians."

"We would be honored to audition, Lady. Where and when should we meet you?" The speaker requested.

"Outside of Docking Bay thirteen tomorrow evening. Here are the directions." Shaiey handed a small map to him. "By the way, what is your name?"

"Kenj Atsihtis, Lady." Kenj answered.

"Atsihtis- Flight." Shaiey translated.

"How did you know?" Kenj asked startled by Shaiey's translation of his name.

"I know some Septea. We need to be going. See you tomorrow evening." Shaiey answered, then she and Kev departed, returning to the residential side of Taelago.

Luke followed Princess Leia down into the shute. As he slid down, he noticed an awful stench of decay and sludge. He then landed in a pile of garbage. Luke found himself fighting the urge to gag.

"Luke, try to blast open the hatch." Leia suggested.

"Okay." Luke answered, as he aimed and fired. He then found himself diving into the muck, trying to avoid getting hit by the lazer blast. It finally fizzled out on a large pile of refuse. Luke made his way over to help Leia out of the muck.

"So, who are your two companions?" Leia asked, nodding at Chewie, who had just landed.

"That's Chewbacca. His human companion is Han Solo." Luke replied.

A bare moment later, they heard Han's "YAHOO!" echoing in the shute. Within a few minutes, Han also landed with a splat in the sludge.
"What an incredible smell you've discovered!" Han said and pulled his pistol.

"NO! DON'T! We've already tried that!" Luke yelled as Han fired. All four dove into the garbage.

Shaiey sat listening to Kev giving out battle assignments to the troops. It had been a couple of days since their mission in Taelago.

"You have your assignments. DISMISSED!" Kev ordered the troops.

When the area had cleared, Shaiey began to speak. "Lieutenent Lappan, may I see you for a moment?"

"Sure. What's up?" Kev replied.

"I have your orders concerning the recon mission on the Northern Continent. You are to scout out all possible Imperial bases, whether they are mines, bunkers, outposts, etcetera." Shaiey stated, handing Kev the data.

"Well then, I have to be going. I'll see you when I get back then." Kev replied.

"No, you won't. Selleene and I have a mission of our own." Shaiey sadly answered. "I can't tell you any more than that. So, good luck, and may the Force protect you."

Shaiey and Kev quickly shared a hug. The friends then parted ways.

The follwoing day, Shaiey dismounted from Selleene's back. She then jogged down into the lower part of the valley where a small ship rested.

"HELLO!" Shaiey called out when she reached the ship.

"Hey Your Ladyship." Kenj Atsihtis greeted, coming out from from behind the ship. "So are you ready for your flying lessons?"

"I sure am. So, what kind of ship is this?" Shaiey answered, then asked.

"This is an Incom T-16 Skyhopper. It's controls are very similar to an X-Wing's. So once you test out on this, you'll be able to basicly fly an X-Wing. So, let's get started." Kenj replied.

Luke followed behind Leia and General Jan Dodonna to a tiny office. He was feeling down, lost, and somewhat lonely. Seeing all of the activity of the Rebels as he walked, made Luke think of his friend Biggs, and if he made it to the Rebellion.

"Luke. Luke, snap out of it, we're here." Leia said softly.

"Huh? Oh, sorry. I'm just thinking of a friend who wanted to be here where I'm at." Luke answered, coming out of his reverie.

"General Dodonna needs you to fill out some papers. I'll see you in a little bit." Leia informed Luke, then she left.

Luke went into the office, and was handed a data pad.

"Pardon me if I ignore you. I need to go over the data one last time from the R2 unit. Just answer the questions as best as you can. Skip those that you don't understand. I'll help you with them in a bit." Dodonna instructed in a friendly voice.

An hour later, Luke had answered all the questions, and was waiting for his squadron assignment.

"To have an X-Wing? That is all that you want for your reward?" Dodonna asked.

"Yes Sir. That and to join the Rebellion." Luke answered.

"Well, you already did that. Your squadron is Red, designation Five. Be at the briefing." Dodonna stated, ending it with an order.

At that point, Leia walked in and said, "Come on Luke, I'll show you around."

Shaiey lay sprawled on the nose of the nose of the Skyhopper, watching Kenj through the veiwport as he worked on the controls.

"You can't blame me this time Kenj. I wasn't even in the ship." Shaiey stated, defending herself.

"I'm not. This time it's my fault that the controls jammed. And they won't unjam either." Kenj replied.

Shaiey flipped over, and slid down the nose. She neatly landed on her feet, then went over and lay on the grasss to watch the clouds go by. It reminded her of the day, much like this day, that she had heard the cry of agony that abruptly ended within the Force.

"What happened Mother?" Shaiey had asked.

"I'm not quite sure, but something is terribly wrong." Xana had answered.

Kenj had also felt it, because when he ran up he also asked "What happened?"

"Don't know. Mom says that something is wrong." Shaiey shared what she knew.

Fifteen minutes later, Selleene, Alara, and Raphen arrived. Xana returned from where she had gone.

"I know that you three felt that disturbance in the Force. Yes, well I know what caused it. The deaths of millions, the destruction of a planet." Raphen informed them, in a sorrow filled voice. Later on, they would find out that Alderaan had been destroyed.

"Hey Shaiey, wake up." Kenj yelled, startling her.

"What! Oh, sorry Kenj. I was thinking." Shaiey appologised.

"Nothing wrong with thinking. I do a lot of it myself, especially about my parents." Kenj replied.

"How come? About your parents that is."

"Well, my father was a Jedi Knight, and Mom was a Taegan Warrior. They were both killed during the Purge. I was about four, and I hadn't started eveloping my Force abilities yet. I was well hidden, but I saw my parents killed by Vader."

"It must be hard for you here on Taega then." Shaiey stated.

"Not really. Wait, do you feel that?" Kenj asked.

"Yes, we best get back to base." Shaiey replied, and they both raced over to the pair of nearby speederbikes.

An hour later, they arrived back at Sky Castle.

"Mom, we picked up another disturbance in the Force. Any ideas of what it was this time?" Shaiey asked.

"Yes actually, and it's good news. The Imperial space station known as the Death Star was destroyed. And it was accomplished by Alliance snubfighters." Xana answered, her voice full of joy. "We have just won a major victory against the Empire. We must celebrate this victory in grand Taegan style."

Shaiey was pleased that the weapon capable of destroying planets was itself destroyed. But that did not keep away the dark chill that settled around her shoulders. She looked over at Kenj, and saw that he too felt the dread hanging over them.

The award ceremony was over. Luke was back in his desert clothes, sprawled on his bunk. It wasn't that he didn't like his new clothes, but he felt that it was more appropriate to mourn Biggs's death in his own familar clothes. The sound of the door opening alerted Luke to his surroundings. Wedge Antilles had just come in.

"I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" Wedge asked.

"No, not really. I need to get used to sharing a room is all." Luke replied.

"I know what you mean by that. I had a hard time adapting myself."

"So, what's up?"

"Not much. However, just about everyone wants to know why you aren't at the victory celebration."

"I don't feel like celebrating right now. Wedge, my best friend just died up there. I've done enough celebrating already. Now it's time to mourn Biggs." Luke explained.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. Biggs was my friend too." Wedge agreed. "I have an idea, why don't you tell me about the Biggs you knew, and I'll let you know about the Biggs that I knew."

"Okay, sounds good to me." Luke agreed. "Now let's see..."