This is a trilogy set in the Imperial world of Star Wars. Books 1,2, and 3 are listed on the side bar as PDF, epub and mobi formats. There are also extras. THERE SHALL BE NO STEALING OF THE BOOKS AND REPOSTING THEM FOR DOWNLOAD ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE INTERNET!


The Things We Leave Behind 6

The moment the turbo-lift door opened I ignited my lightsaber but the only things it destroyed were the speckles of dust floating in the air as we stepped out onto the platform. The area was empty and silent. The same shuttle I had used when I was last here was sitting, waiting as though we had been expected. I sighed and swore under my breath making Ged raise an eyebrow at me.

“Problems?”  He asked as he looked around.

“No, but the last time I used this thing it wasn’t exactly friendly to stopping when I wanted it to.” I replied. “It was the Emperor’s personal shuttle. He used it to traverse under the palace in secret. I don’t have the codes and I can’t slice it, I tried that once before.”

“Well that’s useful then isn’t it.” Ged muttered, stepping into the shuttle. I followed him, looking over my shoulder to make sure that no one was lurking somewhere behind us but there was nothing. As soon as I entered and sat down, the shuttle flickered to life, the door closed and it moved forward with a soft jerk.

“It appears to like you.” Ged said. He was staring at the control panel trying to figure out how it worked.

“The system is automated with motion sensors, nothing more.” I suddenly felt exhausted. “But unless you have magic codes or something to change how this thing works you might want to sit, it takes a while for it to get to the end destination.”

“Hmm.” He stared at the control panel until I thought he would burn holes in it and then he tried what I tried the last time I was here. He punched in various codes and he pushed all the buttons he could see. I just sat there watching him in sleepy amusement until he made a noise of disgust and hit the panel with his fist.

“Like I said...” I told him again, folding my arms across my chest and suddenly feeling exhausted. “You should just relax.”

He gave me a look which I interpreted to mean something rude and then paced the short length of the shuttle car and back. When he returned he sat down across from me and took out his data-pad. “I found the fresher.” He said without taking his eyes off the pad he was fiddling with.

“The Emperor spared no expense when it came to his comfort.” I replied with a shrug.

“So where exactly is it we are headed?”

I gestured for him to give me his data-pad and I called up the map of Coruscant. “This is the palace,” I said pointing at the dot on the map, “And this is the medical facility in the Works District.” He watched as my finger traced a straight line form one point to the next. “The shuttle stops here, right under this building. The whole trip takes just over an hour; this shuttle thingy is very fast. This was the Emperor’s private medical and research facility. It was here he saved Lord Vader’s life after he was almost killed on Mustafar by General Kenobi. It also housed his cloning facilities and other laboratories.” I explained.

“Why does it only go there?” Ged asked staring at the pad as it would suddenly give him better answers.

I shook my head. “I think that’s what the Emperor had programmed it to do, all I know is that’s where it took me when I was here last and there wasn’t much I could do about it.”

“I thought you said you could slice.”

“I have some skills but I’m not a genius. I learned how to bypass and slice ship systems but not this stuff.” I gestured in the direction of the control pad by the shuttle’s door. “This is all protected by codes only the Emperor understood, I tried and I am not that good. Even the codes I have from Lord Vader can’t bypass this stuff. The only reason I ended up here once before was because that was what the Emperor wished to happen.”

That piqued Ged’s interest so I told him what had taken place the last time I had come this way. I left out the whole conversation I had had with the ghost of my dead jedi mother because I didn’t think that Ged needed to know that but I told him everything else. When I was done there was a lengthy, heavy silence between us and then Ged shook his head.

“I don’t understand, he was already dead so why would he lead you here with these strange clues? I mean if he had wanted you he would have just taken you when he was alive, you obviously have skills he was intrigued by.”

“It’s complicated.” I growled.

He gave me a look which said ‘un-complicate it for me’.

I sighed heavily. This was a conversation I didn’t really want to have.

“Merly out with it, now!”

“He didn’t think he was going to die at Endor. He thought he was invincible. He had this whole plan laid out about how he was going to destroy the rebellion, kill Lord Vader and take Luke Skywalker to be his new apprentice. He totally miscalculated the love between a father and a son, he completely screwed up.” I retorted.

“Vader betrayed him.” Ged spat.

I closed my eyes and bit back on the sudden sorrow I felt. “No,” I said shaking my head, “Vader protected the last link he had to the woman he had loved more than anything else. Palpatine was the one who had betrayed Lord Vader.”

Ged took a deep breath not wanting to get into this with me. “We can debate this at another time. Just answer my question.”

“I think the Emperor waited before cornering me because it was more useful to have me where I was, doing what I was doing rather than trying to bend me to his will against my own. I would have fought him hard enough that he would not have been able to get what he wanted from me, the way he wanted it.”

Ged just sat back and watched my face, waiting for more.

“Don’t you see? He didn’t want to break me in the usual way because I would have been useless to him like that. He wanted bend me in such a way that I had no choice to do what he wanted; he wanted to use me, to twist me and warp everything I knew into something else and still have it feel as though  it had been my choice to go down that path. That was his power, he manipulated everything and it was all just a game to him. I think he enjoyed the fact that Lord Vader had taken some sort of liking to me, there was an attachment there the Emperor could use and then when Thrawn ....” I choked on his name, remembering the bitterness of Thrawn’s supposed disgrace and had to stop and take a deep breath. “Well he used that as well and it was all very public and messy.” I stopped before anger overrode my common sense. “The Emperor had learned about what I could do earlier but he left it alone. Let’s just say I was of more use to him as I was, at least until Endor and then things changed.”

“Changed? How?”

I heaved a very deep sigh and then told him what had happened to me on the second Death Star and when I was done he was silent for a very long time. When he finally spoke his voice was gentle and full of sorrow.

“No wonder you hate him so much.” He shook his head slightly, “I never understood why because to me he was like a father. He took great interest in my career from a very early age and he helped me often. He was my mentor in so many ways I can’t even count them. I knew that he could be ruthless but I never experienced his cruelty first hand.” He reached out and placed his hand over mine and I welcomed the warmth. “I’m sorry he did that to you but why at Endor, why wait so long to use a gift that would have been of great use to him?”

I shrugged, “I don’t know. I’m sure he had his reasons.” I said quietly. “It’s not a talent I enjoy having and for a very long time I managed to shut it out. It was something that I had little control over and it wasn’t a strong gift, or so I thought. Under the training I received that changed. As I learned more about how to control the force so this delightful little gift grew too.  It’s a trait found in the Kiffar people. My birth mother was from Kiffu and she was a powerful jedi. I inherited this from her. I kept it a secret for as long as I could and although Lord Vader and Thrawn eventually learned about it they did not tell the Emperor, he discovered it by himself. He set a trap for me and I fell right into it. I assume he was waiting until I was strong enough to control it properly before he decided to make use of it.”

“So exactly when did he find out about this gift of yours?”

“Shortly after the battle of Hoth.” I shuddered at that terrible memory and Ged didn’t press for more. “A secret such as this is almost impossible to keep secret for long, especially from someone like Palpatine. It was only a matter of time and he wanted that time to perfect.”

“Does the Grand Admiral find your talent of use?”

I made a noise of disgust, “Thrawn doesn’t need to use my force tricks Ged, he’s brilliant all on his own.” I snapped. “And besides he knows what it does to me, he doesn’t feel the need to put me through that just to find out information he can get from more reliable sources.”

“He certainly has a different way of doing things, I will give him that but none of this answers why you were led here after the Emperor’s death.”

“I don’t think he’s dead.” I said simply.

If I had ever hoped to see surprise on Ged’s face that was the moment I had been waiting for. “What?”

I opened my mouth to explain about my dreams and my theories about the Emperor’s cloning projects but before I could speak the shuttle car shuddered suddenly and began to slow down. Ged looked at me sharply. I just shook my head and shrugged.

“It didn’t do this the last time I was here.” I said.

“Hide.” He hissed at me readying the blaster.

“What? No! I can fight, there’s two of us and we can...”

He pulled me up from the seat and shoved me hard, “Go! Hide now. That is an order!”

He didn’t need to tell me again but looking for a place to hide wasn’t so simple. I ended up ducking behind one of the plush seats near the fresher, waiting what felt like forever for the shuttle car to finally screech to a violent stop. For the longest moment there was nothing then the shuttle doors opened. I heard blaster fire and shouting, the sounds of a fight and then silence.  My heart thudded so loudly in my chest I was certain the entire planet could hear it. I fought against the fear and calmed down as I had been taught but it wasn’t easy.

“Come on out.” An unfamiliar voice yelled. “I know there are two of you here so if you do not come out now I will kill this man and then I will kill you.”

I hesitated to see if this was some sort of a trick and a bolt from a blaster seared the air above me. I didn’t wait for the second one to maybe miss the air and hit me instead. I got up from my hiding place slowly with my hands up. There were two bodies on the floor, Ged was on his knees with two men flanking him, one held a blaster to his head, his hands had been bound in front of him and there was blood on his lip where someone had hit him. He stared at me without any emotion on his face and when I tried to reach him through the force I was met with resistance. I thought for a moment about fighting back, I had my lightsaber in my satchel but calculated that by the time I had fished it out Ged would already be dead and as much as he annoyed me I didn’t want to see him hurt.

The third man of the group stepped forward and smiled as he watched me.

“Well well, come here little bird, I won’t hurt you.” He said with a gentleness that didn’t fit the situation then he looked down at Ged. “You didn’t tell me you were bringing such lovely company.”

I made my way down the aisle to stand in front of him, “Lee Vander I presume?” I said staring into dark blue eyes and sounding calmer than I felt. He was tall and shockingly handsome, even with the vivid white scar than ran diagonally across his right cheek and I remembered that at one time in his life he had been the poster boy for the Imperial Navy although then his hair had been shorter and there hadn’t been any scars.

He smiled but it never reached his eyes, “You know of me? How delightful. I, however, do not know who you are. So why don’t we start with your name?”

I hesitated.

“Name. Now.” As he spoke I understood that behind the handsome face and beguilingly calm manner was a man who would give no mercy, take no crap from anyone and would kill without a moment’s thought. Something in his life had changed him from grinning Imperial pilot to a stone cold killer. It made me sad and I was glad that Jorae was not alive to see what his hero had become.

“I will not ask a third time.” He said softly.

“Amyshka.” I said defiantly, pronouncing it with galactic basic intonation instead of how it should have been spoken. “Amyshka Pavjaska.” Out of the corner of my eyes I saw a flicker of emotion on Ged’s face. He had not been expecting this but the name Merlyn Gabriel had been known so I decided to use my Dantassi name instead. I could have sworn I saw Ged smirk, just a little.

“Well Amyshka you made the right choice. It would have been a shame to kill something as pretty as you.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes. “Wow, you’ve been watching far too many Holloway holo-dramas.”

Ged laughed and it earned him a smack to the head with the butt of a blaster rifle.

“Pretty and mouthy. Ged you bring me all the fun toys.” Lee Vander replied.

“You bastard!” I swore at him.

 Lee Vander just gave me a mirthless smile and then pointed his blaster at my chest. Before I could say or do anything else he shot me.