Disclaimers: See part 1
by AJ Marks
Marlene glanced around noticing the increase in troopers in the capital. Everywhere she went people were talking around the latest rumors. The latest included a group of Jedi who were helping the Queen who was speaking out against the Emperor. It came as no surprise when Republic troops landed on Naboo. Many here considered their former Senator, and now Chancellor a traitor to the freedom of the Republic.
She and her sister were making their way from a friend’s house, trying not to be out too late. The feeling that violence could erupt at any moment hung in the air. Noises erupted from in front of them as landing craft descended from the sky.
Naboo was under invasion by Republic forces. She noticed a few others running to the nearest house to get indoors. She and her sister moved to the shadows to hide, get away from any of the fighting.
Marlene kept an eye open looking around for any danger. In one of the streets she noticed soldiers lying, both Republic and Naboo. They were fighting nearby. She could hear blaster fire and shouts. She saw the Queen and several Jedi making a run to the space port. A large blast tossed several off to the side. One Jedi landed near where Marlene was hiding.
She looked at the female Jedi, and that she was still alive. Instinct took over and Marlene ran out to pull the Jedi into the hiding area with her. Her sister followed all the time complaining about what they were doing.
“You know we could be killed doing this, right?’ her sister said.
“I know, but it feels right,” Marlene replied back to her. “Now either help me or get out of my way.”
“Fine, but I get killed I’m going to haunt you,” her sister said, as they moved out to help the Jedi.
“Then we hurry,” Marlene replied, as together they pulled, dragged and carried the wounded Jedi through the street while avoiding fighting. Finally reaching Marlene’s apartment they moved the Jedi to a bed and quickly locked the doors.
Marlene took a moment to undress the woman, noticing how beautiful she was. The wounds were not life-threatening, but the knock to the head could cause trouble. Once the Jedi did not look like a Jedi, she washed the wounds as her sister looked for any approaching troopers.
She looked up as the woman stirred, and her eyes opened. Marlene noticed they were a pretty shade of blue even as the Jedi looked back at her, then around at the room.
“Stay still, you were hurt,” Marlene replied.
“The others?” the woman asked.
“I don’t know, I don’t think they made it,” Marlene replied honestly watching as the woman closed her eyes. She looked so sad to Marlene.
“You took a big risk,” Luke said, looking over at the smaller woman.
“It’s something she does quite well,” Eloria replied before Marlene could, glancing at her. “I sometimes think the reason we met was to keep her out of trouble.”
“Brat,” Marlene said, giving Eloria a playful shove. Luke noticed the way the two acted towards each other, they were in love.
“It’s true,” Eloria replied back to her.
“So that’s what you meant when mom said you fell at her feet,” Karen said looking over at Eloria.
“Yes, at the time Vader and Emperor were still hunting any surviving Jedi. We couldn’t afford to tell you the truth,” Eloria said looking back at Karen. Luke fully understood such actions now that he was older. Children had a habit of saying things despite the fact they wanted to keep a secret.
“Ben never told me either,” Luke said, wondering how many survivors lived on in silence. He listened as Marlene continued her story.
Marlene looked over to where Eloria lay. She learned the Jedi’s name shortly after the woman awoke. Since then the woman lay there looking up at the ceiling, not doing much else. Her sister left shortly after it seemed clear enough for her to leave. The fighting had stopped, and the troopers had won.
The Queen now was missing and the government lay in ruins. The Republic troops took over and she felt sure that a temporary government would be set up.
“I made some lunch, hungry?” Marlene asked, carrying in a tray of food.
“Not really,” Eloria replied, still looking up at the ceiling. Marlene wondered what was going through the Jedi’s mind. She never had a chance to talk to one before.
“You need to eat to recover,” Marlene replied back to her.
“My entire life has been destroyed, what do I have to recover for?” Eloria replied back to her.
True, Marlene heard about the news from Coruscant, and how they were saying the Jedi had betrayed the Republic. It was something many found hard to believe. Sweeping changes were coming to all planets and she was not sure things would improve.
“Then, you make a new one,” Marlene answered. “I could use the company, and I’ve always wanted to travel. You know a lot about other planets.”
“Traveling might cause unwanted attention,” Eloria replied back to her.
“Staying here would attract attention as well,” Marlene said. “I know most of my neighbors, and they know I live alone.”
“Then I’ll leave,” Eloria said, causing Marlene a bit of grief. She did not want the Jedi to leave without her.
“Take me with you then, I don’t want to stay here,” Marlene stated. Eloria remained quiet for several seconds.
“Where I’m going, you can’t follow.”
“I take it she followed?” Luke asked Eloria.
“Yes, followed me to the spaceport and onto the transport,” Eloria said, looking over at Marlene. She was angry at first, but now felt grateful the smaller woman followed her heart. “And it was a good thing too.”
“What’s that?” Luke asked.
“She prevented me from making the biggest mistake in my life,” Eloria said, recalling her anger back then. “I was going to take on Anakin and the Emperor.”
“It wasn’t the fact you were going to take them on, but how you were going to go about it,” Marlene said.
“Oh boy,” Karen said, and Eloria saw their daughter roll her eyes at the thought.
“Yep, she was going to barge in there with her lightsaber blazing,” Marlene said, looking over at Elroia who shrugged.
“I’ll agree, it wasn’t the best option at the time,” Eloria said, seeing both of them look at her with knowing eyes.
Marlene managed to make it onto the freighter. She barely managed to spot Eloria in the spaceport as she walked towards the ship. Marlene had snuck aboard before it lifted off towards some unknown destination.
Making her way around the hallways she finally spotted the passenger area and walked over. Several people were already there, a few looked her way, noticing her right away. She continued to look around, trying to find a spot to sit, or Eloria whichever came first.
“Hey pretty thing,” a voice said, causing her to turn and see three me walking over to her. They all wore armor with a look of a criminal gang to them. “We’ve got ourselves a nice isolated spot you might enjoy.”
Marlene might look innocent, and she had only read about some things, but she knew enough to understand what they were talking about.
“Um, no thanks,” she said politely and started to move away. She found her path blocked by one of the men.
“You misunderstand pretty thing, this ain’t a choice, it’s an order,” the leader of the group said, smiling as he looked her over. “Come on, let’s go,” he ordered reaching out to grab her.
The hand never made it as another hand closed around his wrist. The three men looked over at the newcomer, a tall woman wearing a brown robe, her eyes staring right at the leader.
“I don’t think the little lady wants your company. I suggest you crawl back to your cave and not bother anyone else,” the woman said with a growl, but Marlene recognized Elroia’s voice.
The three men stepped back before heading off to find their fun elsewhere.
“Thought I told you not to follow me,” Eloria said turning to face Marlene.
“I don’t take orders very well,” Marlene replied.
“I need to do this alone,” Eloria replied back to her, dragging Marlene off to a corner so their conversation would be private.
“He deserves to pay,” Eloria finally said after a few seconds of them looking at each other.
“So, you going in there and confronting him with no plan does what? He’s on his home territory, what’s your plan, don’t Jedi usually have a plan,” Marlene said, asking her question.
“Someone has to do something,” Eloria said.
“Yes, I’ve always believed things go in a circle, he will get his, but not this way. You need a better plan otherwise it will only get you killed, and then what was the point,” Marlene said, trying to get through to the Jedi.
“If that’s what must happen, so be it,” Eloria said.
“Then you’re no better than he is, you will have fallen to the dark side,” Marlene said, watching as Eloria blinked at the statement.
“You are stubborn,” Eloria finally said to Marlene, who grinned at the compliment.
“And you’re not, Miss ‘he has to pay’ Jedi?” Marlene said.
Eloria opened her mouth then shut it to think. “It has to be done, for everyone.”
“Then you have to get a plan, you’re going to be outnumbered two to one, how does that help your chances of success?” Eloria asked. “We need a plan.”
“Yep, I can help you out a lot,” Marlene said. “I might look innocent, but I know a lot.”
She crossed her fingers hoping her argument might work and watched Eloria drum her fingers on the armrest of the chair.
“Hope I’m not making a mistake then,” Eloria said, Marlene grinned feeling excited. Things would work out, she felt sure of it.
Eloria looked at the group as they looked back at her.
“I learned later that Vader wasn’t on Coruscant, he was off fighting Obi-Wan and Master Yoda was facing off against Darth Sidious. In my frame of mind I wouldn’t have been much help, and I could have endangered Master Yoda,” Eloria said recalling it all. “The head wound was still affecting me.”
“Perhaps you’ll consider helping out here?” Luke asked after a moment of silence.
“No, the old Jedi Order that trained me has passed, this is your order. Learn from the mistakes of the past,” Eloria said.
“Well, perhaps you might help with information about the past? Rebuild the Jedi library,” Luke asked.
“Perhaps, I do know where some hidden Jedi artifacts are,” Eloria said. “As long as there is no missions, I’ve had enough of those to last a lifetime.” She looked over at Marlene who huffed.
“Don’t blame all of those on me,” Marlene said.
“Getting captured by the Hutts? Almost killed by Bobba Fett? If you followed orders those would not have happened,” Eloria said.
“Hey, that was genuine stuff Waldo was selling me when the Hutts came in, Not my fault you can’t stand shopping,” Marlene said.
“Shopping I don’t mind, all day, no,” Eloria replied.
“No stamina my big bad Jedi,” Marlene said, tilting her head, giving her a lovey look.
“You’re lucky I love you,” Eloria said.
“What can I say, I’m irresistible,” Marlene said, smiling as Karen cleared her throat.
“You’re not alone here,” Karen said, rolling her eyes.
“Are we embarrassing you squirt?” Eloria asked.
“Gee, I wonder?” Karen replied. “Just wait, paybacks are coming.”
“Can’t wait,” Eloria said, looking at Karen.
“Yeah, the stories we can tell about you,” Marlene stated, smiling at the thought.
“Argh!” Karen said, turning to look at Luke “Make them go away?”
Luke only raised his hands in mock surrender.
“A wise Jedi, knowing when not to get involved,” Eloria said.
“It’s a universal rule Karen, parents are ordered to embarrass their children,” Marlene said.
“Great,” Karen mumbled.
The four of them made their way to the shuttles. Eloria and Marlene would be leaving, heading back home while Karen underwent her training to become a Jedi. Eloria felt some hesitation within Luke, and motioned for Marlene and Karen to go on ahead and turned to him.
“You really knew my father?” Luke asked.
“Yes, he had a kindness in him for others. It was that kindness which the Emperor used to turn him to the Dark Side. He wanted to protect everything, no Jedi can do that,” Eloria said, recalling young boy who came into the Order.
“Am I anything like him?” Luke asked.
Eloria understood the question, could he become his father. “You, like Anakin, have great powers. You’ve seen the Dark Side. That knowledge can be a powerful defense, something Anakin did not have. Also, the Emperor was a master manipulator, he knew what Anakin’s weaknesses were. Also you are not bound by the rules of the Jedi Order, which also helped push Anakin towards the Dark Side.”
“When I found out he was my father I wanted to deny it, now, I wish I knew him better,” Luke said.
“Understandable, we always want to know more about our parents, have more time with them later on,” Eloria said, her own parents killed when she was young. Marlene’s parents passing away a few years ago.
“If you ever want to help, you’re welcome here,” Luke said to her.
“I think I want to retire, travel around with Marlene while we can and leave saving the galaxy to the younger generation,” Eloria said.
“If you ever want to settle after your travels,” Luke said.
“I will be back, Marlene will want to see her daughter,” Eloria said, as they made their way over to where the other two waited. “Ready squirt?” she asked Karen.
“Yeah,” Karen replied, hugging her mother.
“Just remember you’re not invincible,” Eloria said to her daughter.
“I will,” Karen replied.
“Okay, be good, stay out of trouble,” Eloria said, giving Karen a kiss on the top of her head.
Eloria walked up the shuttle ramp wondering where they should travel first.
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