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Chapter 5

“We have to follow them!” Jacen shouted at his friends and started to run the way back to the hidden stairs. Tenel Ka and Lowie had no choice but to follow him.
It seemed to take forever to reach the next stairs leading to an upper level. Just before he entered a turbolift that would take him up to the more civilized levels, Jacen stopped, almost causing Lowie to bump into him.

Jacen groaned and turned around to look at his friends.
“I’m so stupid!” The wookie and the dathomarian warrior exchanged gazes.
“Why don’t we just go to Peckhum? Taking the Lightning Rod will be much faster than taking the Falcon.”

When he saw that his friends weren’t convinced, Jacen tried to explain it.
“It’ll take ages till mum and dad are allowed to leave the capital. Mum is the chief-of-state, she can’t just leave now.”

“Except if she doesn’t go with us.” Tenel Ka noted.

“Okay…” Jacen admitted.
“But we’ll still be faster at Peckhum’s and the Lightning Rod than at the Falcon.”

And I won’t have to tell mum and dad that Jaina has fallen to the Dark Side. Peckhum isn’t force-sensitive, he won’t know it if I lie. Jacen thought.

He knew that his friends weren’t thrilled, but they trusted him. The three Jedi-students made their way to the place where old Peckhum lived and usually also Zekk.
It was an apartment in the mid levels, where most of the buildings were still intact. Luckily, the old man was at home.

He greeted them happily and waved them inside. Ever room was full of pieces Zekk had found in the lower levels and brought home hoping they might have some value.

Jacen immediately spoke.
“Peckhum, we need your help. Zekk and Jaina have been kidnapped. We must follow them. Can we take the Lightning Rod?”
Zekk’s friend only hesitated for a second. “They have been kidnapped? Sure, but I’ll fly.
And you, Jacen, will contact your mother.”

Jacen beamed and followed with his friends the old man. He led them out of the apartment and through a long, small hall in the building to it’s west end, opposite to where the friends had entered it.
On a square just barely big enough to fit it’s size, stood the Lightning Rod, Peckhum’s old ship.

They hurried inside and Jacen opened a comm channel to his parent’s apartment.
“I hope you have a good reason to disturb me…” His father answered the call.
“Dad? Zekk had been kidnapped, also by the shadow academy. We’re going after him.” Jacen told his father and quickly killed the channel before he could object.

Peckhum was already lifting the ship up and soon they entered the atmosphere and headed towards the stars.

“Where is it?” Tenel Ka asked and leaned forwards to get a better view.
Lowie at her side growled and pointed at one of the ship. Peckhum followed it as good as it was possible through Coruscant’s busy star system.

“Why are so many ships here?” Tenel Ka asked curious. Peckhum glared at them unbelievingly.
“Don’t you know it? Jacen, your mother will have dinner tomorrow with the new ambassador of Karnak Alpha.”

Jacen groaned. How could he have forgotten that?

The ship of the shadow academy had just disappeared behind a larger vessel. It took some time to round the larger ship and when they were finally back on their original course, the space in front of them was empty.

“Where is it?” Jacen asked, feeling his despair returning.
“I don’t know. Maybe it has made the jump to hyperspace when that larger vessel blocked our sight.” Peckhum replied, working on his instruments furiously.

No! How shall I find you now? Where’d you go? Jaina, where are you? Please, please, don’t leave me now. Not again.
Jacen grabbed the edge of the console next to him to prevent himself from collapsing and falling on the floor.
Empty, it is empty. How can that be?
Jaina, why did you turn against us? Why? What have they done to you?


Jacen suppressed a sob. Empty…Nothing…
Somehow, somewhere inside his brain, two pieces of a puzzle connected.

It is too empty. Jacen realized.

“Peckhum, does the Lightning Rod have any weapons?” He asked. The old man looked at him as if he’d suddenly turned into a rancor.
“No, why?”

Jacen didn’t answer. He immediately opened a channel to his parents.
“Mum?”
“Jacen? Where are you? What are you doing?”
“Mum, I don’t have time for that. Please don’t ask. Just give me the comm number of whoever is in charge of Coruscant’s planetary defense.”
“You mean, who is the commander of the ships for Coruscant’s defense?”
“Yes. Please hurry.”
“Wait a moment.”

Jacen waited impatiently, tripping with his fingers on the consoles.

“Got Wedge’s. He’s probably the best choice.” His mother gave him a long line of numbers. Jacen murmured a thanks and called the General.

Wedge Antilles sounded like he’d just fallen out of bed.

Sometimes it is good to be the chief-of-states son… Jacen thought smilingly.

“Wedge! Get as much of your ships as possible to…eh…” Jacen glanced at the controls, but Tenel Ka was already calling out numbers from behind him.

Jacen smiled at her. She had understood him. The space in front of them were too empty; but not only ships where missing, also the stars.

“Eh…Okay.” Wedge replied.
All around the capital, ships were changing their course and coming towards them.

“We’re just waiting for you orders.” Wedge told them over the comm.

Jacen felt pride swelling up inside of him.
Mum must have done this. She must have put them under my command.
Wow, my own fleet.


“Fire at …” Again, Tenel Ka called out the coordinates. “…on my command.”
He waited till all ships where in position.
“Fire!”

Light lit their ship and it’s passengers as the capital ships started firing.
Brilliant laser bolts passed by and found their target right in the middle of the empty space in front of them.

Suddenly, the space in front of them was filled with the huge form of the shadow academy.
Still, the ships of the New Republic didn’t do enough damage. Their enemy started to move faster and faster away from them.

“Follow them!” Jacen screamed.
“I can’t.” Peckhum cried back. “That would put us between some of the capital ships and them.”
Jacen clenched his fists at his side. Again, he had to watch helplessly how his sister disappeared.

“Can’t we do anything?” He asked whispering. No one answered.

They watched in silence how the capital ship of the New Republic pursuit the academy, but it was soon obvious they couldn’t keep up with the faster vessel.

When the shadow academy made the jump to hyperspace, Jacen hid his face in his hands.

Why can’t we live in peace? Why does this has to happen to my family? He asked numb.

“Jacen, my friend.” Tenel Ka’s calm voice soothed him a bit. He looked up.
“Why don’t we return to Yavin IV? We know that the shadow academy will show up there sooner or later.” She suggested.

That’s it. Thanks, Tenel Ka. Jacen thought.

He looked at Peckhum questioningly, who only nodded.

“Thanks, General Antilles. We don’t need our help here anymore.” Jacen told Wedge over comm.
He hesitated, but then added: “Please thank my mother.”
“I will. May the force be with you.” Their parent’s friend replied before the line went blank.

* * * * *

“…and then the shadow academy jumped to hyperspace and we decided to come back here.” Jacen finished.

Luke Skywalker sat with crossed legs in front of him. He looked troubled.

“You’re sure it was Jaina?”
“Yes, I am.” Jacen answered.

His uncle sighed. “That’s not good.”

Jacen agreed.

A noise made them both look at the entrance of the main chamber of the temple. Tionne stormed inside, her white hair flying behind her like a blizzard.

“Master Skywalker, a ship has just entered the atmosphere.”

Master and student ran to the huge windows of the chamber.

Outside, the giant form of the shadow academy hung in the sky, threatening and dangerous.

“Call all students. I need to talk to them.” Luke said to Tionne.
“The shadow academy has arrived.”

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