by Lyta Skywalker-Antilles
Jaded made her way down the corridor of the Victory Class Star Destroyer carrying a small box in one hand and a larger one in the other, they were birthday presents for her best friend and Commanding Officer, Tycho Celchu. The smaller box contained a small crystal found only on Jadedís home world of Naboo, the larger one containing a bottle of wine from one of the best vineyards on Alderaan, Tychoís home world. She was supposed to meet Tycho for a briefing a bit later, he was currently on a holo call from his family in celebration of his 21st birthday, but she wanted to surprise him, so she was going to his quarters, to set up a little birthday celebration for someone who had saved her life on a multitude of occasions. She paused just outside his quarters, and was entering Tychoís code, when a wave of intense fear, and agony washed across her, and just as suddenly was gone. She felt physical pain at the loss of all those souls, she watched as the floor slid up to meet her, as she passed out in front of the door.
Tycho Celchu made his way back to his quarters, a slight smile on his face, as he planned his next comm with his family, he would give his father a hard time over the loss of the signal, since it had come from the familyís communications company, and across their personal satellites. He turned the final corner just before his quarters, and looked up at a cry of pain, just to see his Second in Command collapse to the floor just outside his quarters. Moving quickly, he was next to Lyta Skywalker, kneeling, he pulled her up into his arms, and moved through the door, knowing it wouldnít be good to have anyone see the only female TIE pilot in the Imperial Navy collapsed on the floor in the corridor. He laid her down on the couch and was turning towards the communit when a light hand stopped him on his arm. He turned back to her, "What happened," he asked, concern coloring his voice.
Jaded shook her head, moving into a sitting position, "I donít knowÖ" she began when her personal comm chimed. Reaching up she opened the channel, "Lieutenant Skywalker," she said shortly.
"Lieutenant, we have a personal communication from your father," came the reply from the comm officer on duty.
Jaded glanced at Tycho, seeing him heading towards the door between the living area and the office, taking a deep breath, she made a decision she had been fighting for two years. Shaking her head, she motioned Tycho with a hand to a chair out of sight of the small communications unit. "Patch him through Lieutenant, Iíll take the call in Commander Celchuís office," she told the young man on the other end of the line.
A tall blonde man appeared on the unit, his face serious, "Jaded, are you alone," came the question she knew would come.
"Yes Captain, I am alone, patch it through," she told the man.
Quickly the blonde man stepped aside, and was replaced by the imposing figure of Lord Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith. "Daughter, you are well."
Taking a deep breath, she committed herself fully to her decision, "Yes father, I am well, through I just felt a great darkness, a strong disturbance in the Force," she told him, her voice firm, and hiding the fear and pain she felt.
Vader nodded, "Yes, the test was a success and the Death Star is now fully operational. We also managed to make an example of the largest Rebel Supporter, Alderaan," he told her.
Jaded swallowed, and clamped down on her presence in the Force. Looking up, she saw that Tycho had gone white, taking a breath; she knew she had to end this call immediately. "Then all is well for the Empire. Iím sorry to cut this short my Lord, but I hear Commander Celchu returning, and must end this call," she said quickly glancing over her shoulder, she reached out and clicked a switch, ending the call. Standing she moved around the desk to where Tycho was sitting, she knew what the Death Star was capable of, she had seen the plans, and visited the construction site during construction. She knelt down in front of Tycho, "I am so sorry my friend, and I should have gone as soon as the orders came down, I could have stopped it, and I should haveÖ" she began, her voice shaking at the memory of those voices crying out in her head.
Tycho looked at Jaded, a friend he had known for two years, his Second in Command for just as long and one of his closest friends. "You are Vaderís daughter," he asked, his voice just above a whisper.
Jaded took a deep breath, "I am the daughter of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, a great man who died too young and became the monster we know as Darth Vader," she calmly told him, looking him straight in the eye. "But he didnít save from death at the hands of my fellow pilots, and he sure as sith did NOT save me from the Darkside, you did, and for that I owe you my loyalty, not him," she said quietly. Taking another breath, she looked down, "I will understand if you want to remove me from you squadron at this time, I know this is something hard to accept," she finished quietly, sitting back on her heels waiting for his response.
Tycho sat in shock, he had heard rumors of a new superweapon, but had not leant the rumors much credence. "You knew," he said quietly, not a question but a statement. He sat in amazement at the things Jaded hadnít been able to confide in him, but just as anger started to rise at her deception, he also understood it, she couldnít tell people who she was, that would have gotten her killed, quicker than just being good had almost done, he had made his decision, but was waiting for her to finish what she had to say.
Jaded stood, looking out the view port of that Tycho had somehow managed to get, "Yes I knew. It was to be my next assignment, I did not want to go, but Vader insisted on it, wanting his daughter near him. I had been to the site while it was under Construction," she told him.
Tycho watched Jaded for several moments before finally standing and walking up to her, placing his hands on her shoulders, "I donít know what I should do or think. But I do need to know this, what did Vader mean by making an example of Alderaan, and what does it have to do with your collapse?"
Jaded turned, looking her friend in the eyes, "Alderaan is gone, destroyed, I felt their deaths, all of them. It was like millions of people cried out at once," she told him quietly, still trying to block out the memory of the sheer terror those people had felt.
Tycho sat on the couch hard, he felt as if the wind had been knocked out of him, "They are dead, all dead," he asked the air.
Jaded sat on the couch next to him, taking his right hand in hers, "Iím so sorry Tycho, I wish I knew what to do or say to take away the pain," she told him quietly.
Tycho sat quietly, tears silently streaming down his cheeks. Looking up at Jaded, he reached out and pulled the only person in the galaxy that he had left, the only friend he knew anymore, into his arms, burying his head into her deep auburn hair.
Jaded was surprised by Tychoís reaction, after a moments hesitation, she wrapped her arms around Tychoís shoulders and held him tightly, letting him cry it out until finally his shoulders stopped shaking and his breathing evened out.
Tycho finally pulled back after several minutes, taking a deep breath, he made his decision to trust her completely and put his life into her hands, "I am going over to the Rebellion, and I want to take as many of the squadron as are willing, I know who to talk to and who I canít," he told her.
Jaded considered the options before her, and stayed with the decision she had already made, "Iím in, under one condition. No one knows who I really am, it has to be that way, or I wonít be any good to you or anyone else," she told him firmly.
Tycho understood why she had to make that decision, there was no way she would be allowed within the Rebellion if they knew who she was, most likely she would be tried for her fatherís crimes, and spend the rest of her life in jail on some obscure Outer Rim world. "I can work with that condition," he told her, "I will come up with a plan, and we will make our move," he finished.
Continued in Part Three