This is a work of fanfiction. Star Wars is the property of George Lucas and LFL. No profits were made and no disrespect is intended with this fic.

From Empire to Rogue
Part Fifteen
by Banshee


Eight Years Earlier...

Terra was excited about her first solo trip to Alderaan. Callow had accompanied her on the initial trip, using the desire to meet his cousin and his family as an excuse since Terra would be living with them while attending the University. What she didn't know was that her father also wanted to meet this "Little Celly" Terra was so fond of.

Callow wanted to test the young boy for Force potential seeing as Terra and Tycho's bond was obvious already and he only saw his daughter's side of it. He had thought that it would wane during the time between their meeting and her return for school; instead, it had grown inexplicably stronger.

He doubted Terra was aware of how strong it had become during the intervening years and how strong it would yet grow to be. He had enjoyed watching her surprise at sensing the boy as soon as they entered Alderaan's atmosphere. When she left just a couple of months ago at the beginning of the semester break, his presence had followed her until the entry into hyperspace.

Terra smiled as she ran her hand over the control panel of her ship as she prepared for the reversion to normal space. This was _her_ ship, a gift from her father so that she could travel between home and Alderaan more often. It wasn't much, a number of years old and just large enough for a small sleeping area, 'fresher and kitchenette but Slynor's lack of scheduled off-world transportation made having a ship almost a necessity.

She had decided to return to Alderaan a week early from semester break, wanting the extra time to get settled into the Celchu household. She couldn't wait to see the look on the young siblings' faces when they realized she would be living there while she finished school since her cousin was being transferred to the opposite side of the planet. Terra had thought about living on campus but the Celchu's offered to let her stay with them; in exchange for room and board, she would help with the children.

Tycho's mom was glad to have the assistance since there was only so much the high-spirited Celchu brood could get away with whenever Terra was chaperoning. Plus, given that she seemed to spend so much of her time there anyway, it really wouldn't be much different from the status quo.

Terra exited hyperspace just outside the Alderaan system. An eerie emptiness, as if something vital was missing, settled over her as soon as the starfield returned to normal. She relaxed into herself and focused on the feeling, trying to pinpoint the source of her unease.

Her limited abilities failed her at first; but then, just out of reach, she caught a spark of familiarity. She briefly turned her attention to the planet in front of her, thinking she was mistaken. Tycho _had_ to be on Alderaan; she should be able to sense him by now.

When she couldn't find her young friend planetside, she frowned and grasped at the faint flicker, hoping to be proven wrong...

*****

Tycho lost track of how long it had been since the man left him in this locked space, chuckling evilly. The room was cramped, barely large enough for the small bed and 2-drawer dresser; the 'fresher -- if it could be called that -- was equipped with running water and not much else. There wasn't even a closet, just a short rod above the dresser for hanging clothes.

The lock deactivated and a boy of about sixteen came in; he was lanky, with long unkempt jet-black hair and lightly tanned skin. At first glance, he appeared human until Tycho looked up to meet his eyes. They were bright amber with feline-slit pupils that gave him an intelligent and caring, if sad, air. His clothes, too, had seen better days; they were well worn and designed for someone much stockier.

He seemed surprised by Tycho's appearance and examined the younger boy closely before giving the Alderaanian a thin smile. His voice had a soft purring quality and Tycho noticed a hint of pointed incisors as he spoke, "Hello, I am Ferrl."

Tycho cheered up slightly but was still somewhat nervous; he was beginning to have second thoughts. "I'm Tycho." He indicated the tight bundle of cloth the older boy was holding, "Is that a flight suit?"

The teen looked down at the scraps of silk and imitation fiber weave. "Flight suit?" he repeated, puzzled.

Tycho nodded pensively, "For my flying lessons..."

"Flying lessons?" Ferrl shook his head sadly and mumbled, "So that's what they told you."

Tycho's heart sank as his worse fears were confirmed. "They lied to me, didn't they?"

Ferrl sighed, this was the part he hated most about his grueling existence: having to dash the dreams of those who believed the stories his Master's henchmen told. He thought about his first few months among them and the countless others who had passed through. Most came from poor families; some were runaways; and a few, like Ferrl, had been "liberated" from various orphanages.

The teen didn't know how he knew what happened to them when they left, he just knew. Some were lucky: sold into servitude among the Great Houses where they were, at least, fed and clothed. It wouldn't do for the house servants to appear shabby or beaten. The bigger, stronger -- i.e. less tractable -- ones were sent to the slave camps. But most were just auctioned off to the bordellos. Ferrl still wasn't sure why the Master kept him around instead of selling him off, too.

He sat on the bed next to Tycho, still clutching the package he had been sent in to give to the young boy. The teen was well aware of the entertainment they were providing by way of the cameras hidden throughout the little room.

Ferrl again studied the new arrival; this one was exceptionally pretty, living up to his planet's reputation. Tycho was obviously well cared for; he was healthy and his clothes, while not new, were not old and tattered either and they fit.

He seemed open and trusting, but disappointed and quickly growing sullen; at thirteen, Tycho had managed to elevate sulking to a new height. He drew his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. "I want to go home," he replied obstinately.

Something told Ferrl the Master was in for a bit of a surprise; he doubted _this_ Alderaanian would be easily controlled. A smile crept across his face when he thought about his Master's initial reaction but was quickly doused when he followed the scene through to the subsequent temper tantrum.

Ferrl lowered his head, not wanting to meet the other's eyes. "The Master will be here in the morning and will want to meet you." He handed the bundle he was holding to Tycho, "These are for you. You will wear them when you meet him."

Tycho narrowed his sky-blue eyes. "And if I don't?" he all but growled. This one was strong-willed, all right; and he obviously was not used to anyone lying to him.

Ferrl took a deep breath and looked around; he had to find a reason to get out of here and away from the other boy. The more time he spent with the young Alderaanian, the more he was seeing what the Master would do to him. The image of a spice-addicted pleasure servant being auctioned to the highest bidder was not one he wanted to think about.

He stood slowly and headed for the door. "It will be better if you do as you are told. The Master will not be happy with either of us if you are damaged," he told Tycho softly over his shoulder before leaving, locking the door behind him.

In the hallway, Ferrl leaned heavily on the wall, silently cursing the twist of fate that had brought him to this Force-forsaken place.


Continued in Part Sixteen