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Chapter 4

Jaina ran through endless red-lit corridors, despair flashing through the force. She could feel the pain of hundreds of life forms being murdered; her heart ached because she knew she would never make it in time.

Finally she burst through the doors to the bridge of the Ralroost. She froze in shock at the sight of officers hanging dead over their panels, some with blasters in their hands, but the lakes of blood around them left no doubt they were dead.

Before she could overbear the trauma of the massacre, a strong hand grabbed her chin hard, lifted her up and pressed her against a wall of the bridge.

She could hardly breathe and started to panic.

The person holding her was a Vong, his scarred face smiling evil.
“Welcome little Jeedai. We knew you would come sooner or later, even if there was no hope of rescue for the other infidels.
You are so weak.
Remember my face and greet the gods from me; you’ll get the opportunity to meet them now.”

He released her and drew his amphistaff.

Jaina landed un-gently on the floor. Holding her throat, she tried to stand up but failed miserably. She shakily came to her knees.
He’s right. She thought. You are weak and that's the reason why you’ll die here. You’ve failed everyone, these officers, your family who has sworn to protect the galaxy and even yourself. You are nothing.

Slowly she pulled her lightsaber and stood up. She looked at Ean Ku hopeless.
He’s even waiting for me to attack. I’m no enemy for him.
Her despair grew even stronger, but trying to ignore it, she started to attack. Her lightsaber whirling, slashing through the air, searching for a hole in the Vong’s defense. But she could not find one.

They moved to the middle of the bridge, to the command’s chair.
Before they went around it, Jaina saw something that made her cry out loudly.

Admiral Kre’fey was laying over his chair, eyes wide opened, the once white uniform now a deep red tone. A coufee was sticking out of his chest.

Jaina’s knees got weak at the sight of the honorable bothan, murdered without mercy.

Her shock opened a lag in her defense and the Vong used it immediately. Now only deflecting, Jaina lost more and more ground. Flinching back, she fell over Kre’fey’s body and thumbled to the ground, landing on her back. The air was knocked out of her and before she could react, the Vong stepped on her lightsaber hand.

A cruel smile creped across his face as he pushed his amphistaff deep into her body.

Jaina screamed but no words escaped her throat and she fell back, deeper and deeper.

Lights exploded in front of her eyes as she felt herself slipping away.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jaina woke up with a cry and sat straight in her bed, sweating and shaking heavily. Still sobbing, she tried to steady her breath.

Calm down, Jaina, don’t cry. It was just a dream.
She slung her arms tight around herself and just wished she could push the memory of her vision away.
But she could still see the dead bodies, laying over consoles and Admiral Kre’fey’s lifeless eyes, looking up at her.
She had failed them all.

Calm down, just don’t wake Anni up. It was just a dream, just a dream.

She covered her eyes with her hands and fell back on her bed, tears streaming down her face and through her hands.

Just a dream, a dream…
But she knew it was a lie.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jaina stood in front of her family’s quarters. She was allowed to have meal there if she wanted. Her brothers even lived there with her parents, but Jaina preferred her room with Anni. Although it was small, it had become home to her during the long and cruel weeks of war. At least more home than Coruscant had ever been.

Anakin opened the door. “Hi Jaina! Nice to see you again!”
But he couldn’t shut himself off the force soon enough for her not to feel his shock.

Jaina’s brown eyes were red-rendered, with big shadows underneath them and she was terribly pale.
She barely managed a nod and entered before Anakin had the chance to ask her about her appearance.

She made her way to the kitchen but stopped immediately at the sight of Jacen, her twin. He looked as pale as her, like he also hadn’t slept at all.

Please, don’t tell me he knows about it. She thought scared. She knew he had felt all her mood swifts through their twinbond the past month but hoped her hadn’t seen what she had this night.
But Jacen just looked at her, his softly eyes saying: I’m sorry. Whatever it is, I really wish you didn’t have to go through it.

Jaina stared back and hoped she could do anything for him. She reached with the force for Tenel Ka.
Emergency! Get here as soon as possible! She called through their new bond.

Anakin took her hand and guided her to the kitchen table, where her parents were sitting; Jacen disappearing into his room.

“Hi Jaina! Jacen isn’t well, so we’ll have breakfast without him.” Leia said controlled. Even she hadn’t seen her daughter in such a bad condition before.

The siblings sat down and started to eat, till the door chimed. Tahiri and Tenel Ka stood outside. As she saw Tenel Ka, Leia jumped up and rushed towards the door to greet her.
“Princess, we are honored to see you here.
Hello Tahiri!” Leia said politely.

Anakin walked around his mother and greeted his friend.
“Mom, can we go now?”
Leia nodded smilingly and they disappeared.

Tenel Ka remained in front of the door, looking both worried and curiously at Jaina, who just glanced at Jacen’s room in reply.
Tenel Ka’s stared at Jacen as he came outside to look who were the visitors. She acted in an instant, grabbing his arm she pulled him through the main door.

“If you allow it, Princess Leia, then I’ll take your son for a trip to the docking bay. Seems that my parents have sent me some bodyguards.”
“Of course!” Leia agreed happily and closed the door behind them.

Mother and daughter joined Han, who hadn’t left the table and was chewing some bread.

“Is everything okay with you, Jaina?” Leia asked worried.
Jaina knew she couldn’t lie; though Leia wasn’t a full trained Jedi, she could still detect every lie her children tried to tell her.

“Please, mom, I don’t want to talk about it right now.” She pleaded her.

Leia looked at her caring, reached out and squeezed Jaina’s hand.

“I just want you to know that we’ll always be there for you. If you need anything, you know where to find us.” She said softly.
Han also smiled approvingly and flashed her his famous Solo grin.

Feeling relieved, Jaina hugged them both and soon left.

“Give her time, Leia.” Han said quietly.
“I know, I just hope she’ll tell us before it’s too late.”

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