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Velus Preez

Star Wars: The Trials of Jaina Solo

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Velus Preez

This is the first chapter of a novel I am working on. It is a final rough that still needs some editing. However, I would like some feed back. It is set between the end of the Yuuzhan Vong wars and the Killik incident. I had the idea that each Jedi should have their own trials like Luke did in the cave on Dagobah. Though in my head I see entire novels about Jedi having to face the darkness within themselves. Obviously, the novels would reflect the personality of the character. In this case Jaina is already known to be "The Sword of the Jedi" but the Force in my novel decides that it is time to make her face her inner demons.

One

Jedi Knight Jaina Solo had her comm in her hand as she was reviewing the last holovids transmitted to her by the Jedi Council. Twenty nine transmissions altogether, some of the quality was distorted; the information about each individual was revealing. Each had made threats against the Galactic Alliance leaders attending the annual banquet held to honor fallen comrades aptly named Gala of Hero's. The holoprojector in her hand pad could barely keep up as she thumbed through the different pictures. Using an old Jedi technique Jaina memorized face after face, stats, features, habits, etc.

?Jacen, there is something missing.? She was trying to have a brief communication with her brother while reviewing the files. She pressed herself deep into the shadows and would have said the conversation was aggravating but she had grown to love Jacen again too much to get annoyed easily.

Her twin brother Jacen Solo could be clear but often chose to be ambiguous, the new things he was learning about the Force was drawing a wedge between himself and everyone else, and at this moment he was being deliberately vague. It was 1819 standard time on Coruscant, Chancellor (insert name) would give the Most Honored award at 1930 before an audience of twenty five thousand, and Jaina did not have time to read between the lines.

Jacen was trying to tell her something without breaking a confidence, he was broadcasting as much in the force. A sudden surge of awareness, she knew it was about a close friend; and she knew that it was important enough that he was willing to go to the limits of that confidence to let her know about it. This must be serious.

?She was supposed to tell you last night...?

Jaina scrolled through her holovids to find the twelfth file and grimaced. Something about the picture was triggering a memory. If only Winter was here. Kindac Tern: human, 50 standard years old, forgettable... It was an old memory, and she could feel it nagging at the edge of her recall. She never forgot and mission she went on for the Jedi Order. Maybe something Zekk worked? She made an entry on the holovid pad reminding herself to check the new archives for Tern's file. She passed the holovid projector back to a waiting R9 astromech. ?Who?? Tenal Ka, Tahiri or Alema Rar? Within the close knit friends of the Jedi Order, Jaina had just cut the list into half.

The seven of them were in their minds related, but not by blood; by choice. At the beginning of the Yuuzang Vong war they were mere children thrust together for safety. Becoming a family seemed only natural; 4 years after the war it still did. Not the oldest but, still the most mature, Jacen accepted the role of guardian of the group; as next in line Jaina protected it, kept her finger on the family pulse. She didn't mind the responsibility, but it often arrived at inconvenient times. What was going on?

?Listen, I have let on too much; forget I called.?

?Jacen--?

?Jaina,? his own frustration came back at her with a spark of anger in the Force, ?I didn't ask to be the one she chose to tell. I'm stuck. I'll push her to tell you; it's the best I can do.?

The family was close, but Jacen?he was the one she talked with in the middle of the night, by holo or by the Force, in all of the group they were the only two that shared common blood and it so happened that they were twins. They had shared the darkest of days; not the oldest but the closest, and there was no one she trusted more than him. ?How serious is it??

She retrieved her Jedi robes from the railing. She would be in the shadows behind Chancellor (insert name) during (his/her) speech doing her best to look anonymous while she did her real job--decide who in the throng might want to shoot the old (woman/man).

?I am having visions at night, not good visions either.?

Jaina, pulling on her robes and straightening her tunic, froze. Jacen had the guts to run into a scenario where he was out numbered twenty to one; the last thing he did was over dramatize. Something that had him that worried-- her lips pursed. ?Who, Jacen?? She could not take the weight off his shoulders if she didn't know. If Jacen had given his word, he would never say, but she couldn't just drop it. She needed something more than an honorable twin brother.

?Can you free yourself later??

Time was in short supply, this was one of the biggest social gatherings of the year, but she wasn't about to decline. Zekk would do her a favor... ?The royal socialites and all the pomp should be wrapped up by 2230. I can run over after that.?

?We'll both be there even if I have to pull a Bindo Faint,? Jacen replied.

?Done. Even if it's just you, come over.?

?I'll be there. Besides when do I get see my twin sister these days??

Jaina spotted Jedi Knight Zekk across duracrete expanse, deep in discussion with the local Secuirty Chief.

This time the gala had attracted delegates from all Galactic Alliance member sectors. It was the first time the gala had been held since the defeat of the Yuuzhan Vong and 2 years after the reinstitution of some grand old traditions. Most notable amongst the gathered elite were the Bothans. Adept politicians in every sense and the most curious to see if any of their recent revered dead would be place in the annals of the Gala of Heros. Studying the crowd for a moment Jaina realized that there could be no less than one hundred fifty names added to Gala of Heros. She rubbed her temples, this was going to be a long winded night. To top it off, Jaina had drawn the unenviable job of saying whom among the delegates entourage could and could not attend.

?I guess it is not Tenal Ka that has this information eating at you??

?What makes you say that??, Jacen said with a hint of surprise.

?She just walked in with the Hapes delegation. Do you want to talk to her?? Jacen and Tenal Ka were trying their best to hide their love affair for that sake of her future throne. It was serious for Jacen too?he never let anyone get as close to his heart as she had done.

?No, not especially. I try to stay in touch with her as we all have, but only as the Force allows.?

Enigmatic again, Jacen was covering. Jaina could feel it, but Jacen could hide himself in the Force completely too, so maybe she was just misreading the situation. Still, understanding the complexities of Hapan social life, Jaina hoped her suspicions were only that. She couldn't bear to see Jacen stripped down to the less than property status that most Hapan males were held too. Besides Jacen would never allow it.

Jacen was in love. It sometimes anguished him that no one else could know. His face always lit up when Tenal Ka was present and that enigmatic control he retained around his presence in the Force and his emotions, disappeared. Jaina constantly hinted about the fact and Jacen would only have to mention Zekk's name and she was spun up into frustration. It was okay that he needed his sister to be a balance for him. ?Then you definitely need to come over tonight, let me just comm Zekk...?

?Don't you dare!?

?Give up??

?Yes, you two bit sonofanerfherder.? Jaina's face flushed.

?Good, me an you soon-to-know-who will be at my place at 2300.? Jacen said, not able to suppress the widening grin on his face.

She wasn't seeing anyone now especially not Zekk... But then there was still Jagged Fel. She wiped the memories aside; if not him she had little time to notice anyone. Her hands were full with all of the new Jedi Council demands and with trying to hold her little slice of family together. But knowing Jacen, if only to annoy her, he would try to set her up with some space jockey. He loved to meddle in her life; just like she did his.

And she knew if he did she'd have to grouse about it just for the principle of it, but she really wouldn't mind. There was never going to be time for a relationship in her schedule; it would simply have to be the will of the Force. ?Talk to you later, Jacen. I'll see you afterwards.,? she replied, warmly.

She deactivated her comm and the warmth ebbed. Something is not right. The war was to everyones satisfaction was over. Only fragmented segments of the GA still had Yuuzhan Vong that refused to believe the war was over. Some sense of knowing began to well up within her. A vision was forming on the edge of her perception...

?Jaina.? Zekk stepped forward.

The vision gone, she had no choice but rejoin the moment. ?Is the local security up for this??

?It is good we are here; I keep getting this, I-can't-pin-point-it feeling, but something is wrong.? Zekk was known for being a little melodramatic, but his danger sense was tuned as well as some Master Jedi's.

?I know, maybe we should call uncle...I mean Master Luke.? Jaina was always sure of herself, even when she knew that she didn't have all of the pieces. This was a puzzle best left to a Master.

?Let it play out. Something tells me we will discover more if we are the only Jedi present.?

Jaina stood for a moment, this was not the Zekk she was used to. He stared off in the distance, examining, sampling feelings; nothing suggested it, whatever it was, was immediate. She turned the opposite direction and did the same. It was approaching, but where from? Time was getting shorter and there were still security teams that needed briefing. If they could only hold to it for another moment. ?Time?? asked Jaina.

?1842.? Zekk was still searching.

?OK, good enough, comm the remaining security, tell them their briefing is moved to 1900. Then meet me at the rendezvous point.? Jaina strode off without acknowledgment.

Two minutes later Zekk appeared. ?Okay what do you have in mind? Meditation??

?Yes, and for only 10 minutes. Whether it becomes clearer or not at least we attempt to fine tune the direction of the source.? Jaina sat and slowed her breathing. Zekk followed and time stood still. Future shadows passed, blurred, incomprehensible... A face appears and disappears into the sea of life. Zekk are you following this? Jaina broadcast into the Force.

Yes, wait, there... Zekk echoed in return.

Lower Hall, entry gate five or six... BEEP, BEEP, BEEP... ?That's it. Do we have audio security droids on hand?? Jaina stood and looked at the nearest chronometer. 1853.

?You know we don't, the room will be filled with politicians who will be making every back door deal they can in a sea of noise. You know the more that is spoken the less is heard?? Zekk noted his lightsaber charge.

?Get one here, quietly. I'll be briefing the remaining security.?

?Jaina... wait...?

?Just do it and program it for all type-one through type-twenty-two explosive timers. If the delegates get twitchy we can prove to them later that it was incapable of recording linguistics.? She left.

?Great, I am going to have some overly enthusiastic Bothan trying to have me assassinated.? Zekk gathered his strength and through the Force sped to the nearest security locker.

-----------------------------------------

Secuirty Briefing Room One oh Five

?If there is a threat as you can see all the entry points can be breached with little or no force and for most of you a shoot out is not your primary mission. I believe Jedi Zekk and myself can handle any major threats; all I want is for everyone here to channel them into the predetermined containment zones. Questions?? Jaina couldn't help but keep it military. She was used to flying an X-Wing. Maybe she would return... Whatever. In the Force she sensed Zekk approaching. ?Good. Now remember your primary focus is presence. Stay alert and keep your security gear on vocal standby. Dismissed.?

?It's done. The drone is in passive mode above the foyer at gate five and six.? Zekk was breathing heavy, sweat was forming beads along his brow.

?I think we are ready. What do you think of security?? She was giving him a moment to center himself. ?Some of these guys are pretty raw.?

?I agree.? With his stamina returning to normal Zekk once again looked over their assignment. The gala would be held in the newly rebuilt Cosucant Grand Hotel: 15150 floors, well over 200,000 rooms, 100 meeting rooms to observe, and then there was the Grand Ball Room, itself covered the upper fifty floors and had enough transparinsteel to allow for a shot from any angle--it was like trying to satisfy the hunger of a rancor, feeding it granite slugs...one at a time. Unlike the GA Government Complex where they could monitor, probe and scan anyone; this place was a sieve.

?Before we met earlier I convinced the Security Chief to close down all food service deliveries; it freed up another two hundred men for the ball room,? Zekk stated. ?And I moved two of his best Captains and squads to cover the Chancellor's entourage. I've worked with one of the captains in the past and he recommended the other, maybe they can strong arm the Chancellors staff into following protocol this time.?

?Good. Captain Nilta and I do not see eye to eye.?

?He is strong willed. One of the best, but this I think requires more subtly.? Zekk was more confident tonight. Examining himself for the moment it was as if he was finally finding his strength to carry on again, without Jaina.

?Nilta probably was just playing for show. The Chancellors cabinet is kriffing obstinate at times.? Jaina flushed for a moment and Zekk just grinned. Not like her to throw out insults but she was feeling a bit strained. She looked at her holopad and tucked it into her robes, ?Do you think any of them know how precarious this is??

To the Jedi Knights who knew their charges across the galaxy better than the Chancellor who assigned them and the Senate who acknowledged them, a gala event going off without an incident was as likely as a Hutt in a Nemodian ballet.

Jaina considered the names of the Chancellors delegation briefly, twittling her fingers. ?No.? These were low level personnel. This event though grand was not exclusive and the key figures of this administration were quietly absent. Most attended this event because, like banthas, they were only fed scraps. The true elite would wait for an exclusive event at a more intimate gathering; the only true target here were the head delegates themselves.

Jaina adjusted her lightsaber hilt and checked herself over. ?See if anything is too conspicuous. And keep your eyes up...? She smiled as he walked behind her and just for spite he imaged through the Force her wearing something more... comfortable. ?Zekk!?

?Yes, your highness?? Zekk was laughing audibly. ?OK, OK, I give. We only have three minutes till start.? Now was the time to get into the right mindset. ?I swear Jedi Master Durron drank some bad juma juice on purpose. How again did I get selected for this noble mission?? he asked as he began to scan the room. They were having a conversation but their attention was neither on each other or this room. Gate Five and Six...what is there?

?You're better looking.?

?What?!? Zekk protested. ?And that is why I get asked for your comm frequency every night.? His partner Jaina Solo attracted gazers and spacers without trying. She looked like she had just wrangled a rancor; yet was as beautiful as a Coruscant at night and men and whatever other species took notice. Her face and demeanor suggested contained intensity and being a Jedi she seemed to stare past all the layers that the politicos donned. She made men uncomfortable; but they still had to try. Zekk enjoyed her as a wingmate, partner, whatever...but there like all the others there was, more. She knew that he liked her; she knew that he pursued her; she couldn't have been less interested. What it made for was an interesting relationship. They had tracked bad guys all over the galaxy, protected the innocent, and saved each other's life at least a dozen times. Jaina never flinched when the pressure was on.

?I was such a Hutt the other night. I blew it.? Zekk said defeated.

Jaina visibly flinched and glanced over, ?What is it this time??

?Tahiri.? Zekk placed his hand inside his robes and pulled out a small folded piece of leather. Flipping it open to reveal a small round sealed isochem dish. ?She sent me a brain beetle.?

It was so like the new Tahiri, Jaina laughed. ?Sounds like a 'never-if-you-are-the-last-man-in-the-galaxy' to me,? she remarked a little over dramatically. Was this what Jacen had stumbled onto? A little broohaha with Zekk and Tahiri? No, didn't fit, but it made for good entertainment.

?These things are dangerous. Where'd she get it??

?A forensic friend of hers I'd imagine. Seems like a tame alternative to what she was considering.? Jaina replied.

?All I did was invite her to a family event.?

?Zekk it is obvious you never had sisters.? Jaina took the moment to explain. ?Three years ago you asked out Alema, and she is getting a bit weird; last year you pursued Tenal Ka, which by the three moons no one understands; now you ask out Tahiri. You just told her she was your number three choice. It is a bit mind boggling, Tahiri will never let you live it down.?

?Can I help it if I have eclectic taste??

?You are hutt slime.? Jaina thought Zekk's relational handicaps were going to leave him single for life. ?Listen, you know her, she won't let this slide; better come up with a innovative apology.?

?Don't think I should try a different approach?? Zekk was reaching.

?Only if you want to fight someone that is only slightly less capable with a light saber than Master Luke.? He is hopeless, Jaina thought. If Zekk weren't so awkward he might actually be good for Tahiri; he was one of the few Jedi's that genuinely had good empathy skills and Tahiri needed that. Only time would tell if it would work. ?Tell you what. I need to free up sometime to meet Jacen tonight; swap the time with me and I'll smooth things over with Tahiri for you.?

?What are you going to say??

?To forgive and point out your good side.?

?Why don't I believe you??

Jaina smiled, ?I already told her your bad side.?

The timer on both their utility belts buzzed which signaled the start of the gala. Some of the lesser delegates would speak first culminating to the Grand speech by Chancellor (insert name). Jaina would be relieved when the evening ended. ?Come on Zekk when need to talk to the Security Chief about access to the Chancellor after (his/her) speech.?

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Andy

Hey, I'd just like to say welcome to Galactic Basic, it's always good to see new peoples around. Hope you enjoy the site.

If you need any help or have any ideas or suggestions feel free to send me a PM or email. :)

I'll get round to reading this tomorrow, it looks good! :D

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