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Dawn of a New Threat

Chapter 16

Admiral Petevish was hunched over a large desk in the main Intelligence center, carefully studying every detail on the datapad. Around him, the activity was bustling, as officers walked in and about, busily attending to their own projects. But whatever he was reading had his full attention, as he remained oblivious not only to the officers around him, but to the two visitors who had entered the room.

"Admiral?"

Petevish didn't stir. Luke cleared his throat to get his attention.

"Master Skywalker, Mistress Skywalker! This is an unexpected surprise... I'm sorry, I didn't hear you come in..." Petevish offered an apologetic smile for not having noticed his visitors sooner.

"I understand," Luke reassured him with a laugh, "You looked quite engrossed in that just now."

Petevish involuntarily grimaced. "Well, I only wish that going over and over all that we've been able to glean from the wreckage would reveal something -- anything -- about this attack..." His hands gripped the edge of the table in frustration. He then straightened from his slouch and tugged at his officer's uniform to adjust it.

"Well, I guess Han was right," Callista sighed, "If these were standard assassin droids, there's no telling who could have sent them."

She paused, and moved closer to the table where Petevish was standing. "Are these the pieces from the wreckage?" she asked, pointing to the charred bits of metal.

Petevish nodded in affirmation.

"May I?"

"Yes, of course," Petevish told her, as she reached for one of the pieces. Luke observed his wife with curiosity, until it suddenly dawned on him what she was doing.

Callista closed her eyes in great concentration. Gingerly fingering the rough edges of the cool metal object, she opened herself to the Force, probing gently, clearing her mind of specific questions, and letting the answers come to her.

"What are you sensing?" Luke whispered softly to her, careful not to break her concentration.

She saw him. His face was not quite clear, but his hands were. His hands, gripping something... a small object... a control pad. He pressed the buttons, bringing the droids to life! One by one their eyes lit up, unfolding from their embryonic pose, and rising to attention like a makeshift army... They wheeled their way into the crowd, laserfire erupting...

Blackness again.

The haze began to clear. She saw a figure... Running. He was running... away from the frenzy, away from the chaos. The same man! His hands... they still gripped the control pad, and he was running, running fast...

Instantly, her eyes flew open as her body rocked back with a sudden jerk. Aware once again of where she was, her breath returned to normal as she cautiously laid the piece of metal back down onto the table.

"Luke, we have to speak to Leia right away," she said worriedly, and Luke knew immediately what she was thinking before she even continued her sentence.

"It was... It was from Falor..." he whispered, the sudden comprehension coming to him now too, causing Petevish's blood to run cold like icewater through his veins.

"Falor?" Petevish repeated in disbelief, "You are certain, Mistress Skywalker?"

Callista nodded, her face lined with worry.

Petevish exhaled deeply as he looked down once again at the pieces of the wreckage lying on the table.

"Then we must get Ambassador Solo in here at once," he told the two Jedi, his voice slightly on edge. "We received some information about Falor yesterday that seemed harmless enough, but now... Now, I think we had better not take anything involving Falor for granted."


"Falor sent the droids..."

Leia could still barely believe what her brother was telling her, and yet, of course, it was true. She knew it too, intuitively, even without tangible proof.

She shook her head at the revelation. "I knew we needed to be careful, but..." her voice trailed as she struggled to come to terms with the new information. "Why, Luke? Why after the treaty had been signed? Why would they do something like this now?"

Luke shook his head. "I wish I knew, Leia. But it's obvious they wanted me and Parsis out of the way in order to create some sort of chaos."

She looked back at him, trying to absorb the madness of it all. The Falorians had never intended to abide by the treaty, and because of them, they almost lost Parsis and Luke. Her mind reeled at the reality before her.

"There's more, Ambassador," Petevish told her as she looked up at him intently, her large brown eyes unable to hide the anxiety she felt, though her Jedi reflexes fought to keep passive and calm. "A few days ago, a member of the Alpha Squadron, Cole Meys, was on his way back to Coruscant following a mission to the Outer Rims. He had been docked on the planet Dandoleer for repairs and... he observed something quite interesting while he was there."

"Dandoleer?" Han repeated, immediately recognizing the vaguely familiar name. "Did you just say Dandoleer?"

"You've heard of it, Han?" Leia asked him.

"Yeah," he nodded. "It's one of those small, out of the way planets where people like to go when they don't want to be found. Chewie and I had been there a couple of times, a long time ago. Not much there besides smugglers and fugitives. Kind of like Mos Eisley, only an entire planet instead of just a space port." He turned back to the Admiral. "And you said Meys found something there?"

"Yes, General," Petevish replied with the grim look he had worn in the last few hours since Callista's discovery. "While he was there, he noticed numerous ships gathering there, all of them with Falorian markings. It didn't seem suspicious, but it did get his attention."

"Well that doesn't seem to make sense," Han thought outloud. "What would Falor being doing on a planet like that? Like I said, there's not much there..."

"What kind of ships, Admiral?" Luke asked with curiosity, "Transports? Cruisers? Fighter ships?"

"A couple of freighters, Master Skywalker. Mostly transports, but also some small space crafts. As I said, nothing that would arouse any suspicion, but in light of what we've just learned... I don't want to take any chances."

He turned to Leia once again. "Ambassador, I know the treaty that you signed with Falor stipulates that we can not do any sort of surveillance, but under the circumstances-"

"Of course, Admiral," she said without hesitation, agreeing with his line of thought, "I'm just sorry I didn't take Han up on his offer earlier... Falor is clearly up to something after sending these droids, and yes, if you would like to dispatch some spies to Dandoleer or Falor... You have my blessing. If the Chief of State and my brother are in further danger, then the more we uncover about this, the better."

"I'm glad you agree, Madame Solo," Petevish replied in relief. He turned to Luke, suddenly remember that the Jedi Master had come to his office for a reason. "Master Skywalker, I apologize, in all that's gone on, I didn't get a chance to ask you what you had come here this morning to discuss with me."

Luke nodded, wishing he didn't have to add to the man's burdens. "Yes, I wish there were a better time to bring this up," he said regretfully, "but this is something urgent involving my family, and my wife and I needed to talk to you about it immediately."

Petevish eyed him with concern. "Of course, sir, if there's anything we here can do to help..."

"Admiral, I know that you have wanted us to remain here on Coruscant under heavy security while this investigation was going on. And... I imagine that after what we've learned today, you'll want me to take more precautions all the more... But, I have reason to believe that my children are in grave danger if we stay here. Something or someone is after them, and they are coming here to Coruscant. I know this seems risky, but my wife I have must get them somewhere away from here, somewhere hidden."

Petevish was silent for a moment. He knew that now more than ever, the Jedi Master would need protection from them. He would need to be surrounded by guards in light of everything they had now uncovered... But he was a father also. And he knew that if his own children were in danger, he wouldn't have let anything stand in his way in order to protect them. He understood that Skywalker's first priority would be his family, and if being forced to stay on Coruscant would place them in greater danger, then Petevish little choice but to agree to his request, however reluctantly he would do so.

"Master Skywalker, I confess, I would feel much better if your family remained here, but... I know better than to second-guess a Jedi's instinct. I give you clearance to take your family into hiding."

"Thank you, Admiral," Luke told him, relieved that he agreed.

Petevish smiled at him, hoping he was making the right decision.

"May the Force be with you."

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