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It had been several weeks on Zonama Sekot, and they'd been too busy for Tahiri to have much room for complaint -- except for the part where they were pretty much cut off from contact with the outside world. But again, busy; too busy to make calls, really, since when they weren't exploring the planet they were trying to forge relations with the Ferroan colonists, understandably skittish about this group of newcomers that aside from Tahiri, Corran, Luke, Mara, Jacen, and Saba included Danni Quee and Tekli. Whatever downtime Tahiri had from that was spent in training with Corran, or answering Tekli's endless questions about the deterioration of her mental state and what she'd done to fix it. She'd laughed and offered to see if Karla would be willing to explain the process more clearly to Tekli and her mentor Cilghal, but she hoped no one else would ever have to undergo the process.

Tahiri had thought mostly-untouched worlds like Dagobah and Yavin Four (and Ithor, before its destruction), with their abundant life forms, had been rich with Force energy, but they were nothing compared to this place. They found Harrar on one of those expeditions -- Nom Anor had left him for dead, but he'd managed to survive, though badly in need of healing. Tahiri and Tekli had taken him to the nearest Ferroan settlement to tend to his wounds and, neither of them being very well versed in diplomacy, had sent Danni to get Luke and the others; that in turn had led to the alliance that they thought might give them a shot at ending this war.

It had been an awkward but enlightening meeting: according to Harrar, Supreme Overlord Shimrra's predecessor had encountered Zonama Sekot decades ago, and taken it as a sign not to proceed with the invasion. Shimrra had taken the throne by force and proceeded anyway. Beyond that, Zonama Sekot seemed to have a lot in common with Yuuzhan'tar -- not the renamed and reshaped Coruscant, but the original bearer of that name, the long-since-destroyed Yuuzhan Vong homeworld. Maybe Tahiri had been right when she'd guessed that this planet was where they were from.

After that, it was only a matter of time before the Millennium Falcon showed up along with an entire Fleet strike force in search of them -- not surprising, since they'd been out of contact for so long. Tahiri was glad to see everyone: Han and Leia, Jaina (whose surprised expression when Tahiri ran over and tacklehugged her was worth the moment of mortification), Lando and Tendra Calrissian, Booster Terrik and Mirax (okay, Corran got dibs on being glad there), Master Cilghal, Tesar Sebatyne, and just about anyone surviving that you could name who'd played a significant role in the war. It seemed like the reunion would go on forever.

Everything fell together pretty quickly after that: Sekot had already agreed to go to Coruscant -- yes, they were taking an entire planet there. It was just a matter of drawing up battle plans . . . and growing living ships for some of the Jedi, assuming they could bond successfully with Sekotan seed-partners. Tahiri sat that one out, as did Jacen, and for some reason none of the seed-partners took to Jaina. That, unsurprisingly, made her cranky, so Tahiri stayed out of her way. Besides, she was interested in spending a lot of time with Jacen, which Tahiri wasn't so much.

***


A couple of years ago, Tahiri would never have expected to be part of a key planning meeting, but here she was, listening to Luke's briefing, contributing where she could to the discussion about how the World Brain on Coruscant would react to an all-out attack, agreeing as they decided the only way to do this and save as many lives as possible was to take a small strike team into Coruscant to take Shimrra out.

By "small," they meant "six," and Tahiri volunteered pretty much immediately. She was almost surprised when no one objected; she was used to being told she was too young, or too inexperienced. But the objection didn't come, and she thought of the look on Anakin Skywalker's face when he'd told her none of them were kids any more because of this war, and she almost -- almost -- missed it.

When they got the news that Corulag had been reclaimed and Wedge Antilles's battle group was on the way to Muscave to lure Shimrra's armada away from Coruscant, it was -- despite Jaina's protests that she should be with her squadron, quelled by Mara and Han's insistence that she was needed here -- pretty much time to be on the move.

"Pretty much" turned into "immediately" almost before anyone could express the sentiment: Booster Terrik sent a message that a Yuuzhan Vong battle group was headed straight for them, which meant . . .

"We were hoping for more time, but that's not going to happen," Luke told them. "The Yuuzhan Vong are on the way, which means you're going to have to get your ships airborne and give yourselves a crash course in piloting them." He swung to face Tesar Sebatyne. "The shuttle will take you and the rest of the Wild Knights to your blastboat and fighters."

"Good hunting," Saba told him, and Tahiri agreed silently.

Jaina jumped in with an impatient "Now do I get to fly my X-wing?" that got her a look from Mara.

"We've been through this."

"But-"

It was Harrar who interrupted now, which earned him a lot of surprised looks -- getting into the middle of a near-argument between Mara and Jaina was not something most people wanted to do. "May I say something?" he asked. "Assuming some of you are going to Coruscant, your war party will benefit by having both Jaina Solo and Jacen Solo as comrades. Our warriors are very superstitious, and the sight of the celebrated Jedi twins -- united -- could demoralize them. The capture of one such as Jaina Solo would count for more than her death. Our forces failed at Borleias because Supreme Commander Czulkang Lah was fixated on capturing the Jedi who had come to be associated with Yun-Harla. It was my personal failing that I supported Czulkang Lah's actions."

And maybe it wasn't the smartest idea, but Tahiri wasn't as intimidated by Jaina now as she had been once; she was also much more sure of herself these days. It still felt a little weird, though, when she spoke up. "At Borleias I told you not to accompany Luke and Mara to Coruscant, because I was afraid that your presence would endanger them. Now I agree with Harrar that you should go."

"Nice to see that everyone is so comfortable with deciding my destiny," Jaina grumbled. That look would've made Tahiri back down once, but hard to do that after witnessing a gremlin-bitten Jaina on more than one occasion. Still, she felt she'd said what she needed to say and didn't push after that.

It was agreed in the end that Cilghal, Tekli, and Danni would stay on Zonama Sekot, at which point Luke decided that it was time for a morale boost. He drew his lightsaber and held it over his head, the rest of the Jedi -- including Leia at Han's encouragement, which made Tahiri smile -- followed suit, igniting their blades to form a crackling, glowing, multicolored tent of sorts.

"This day has been years in the making," Luke intoned. "What we do from this moment forward will test our fealty to the Force in a way that the Jedi haven't been tested in more than a generation. Be mindful that we are not the purveyors of conflict and inequity, but the guardians of peace and justice. Above all, we want what the Force wants, no matter where that leads us. If some of us are not seen again today, that does not mean that our actions will have been in vain or will not be remembered."

Tahiri listened intently, trying to remember this moment as clearly as possible; if she made it out of this, she'd have to tell Ben about it. As Luke wrapped up the speech, she took a deep breath to echo along with everyone else, "May the Force be with us!"

[OOC: NFI, NFB, OOC okay, dear god. That was a lot of summarizing and a little BSing of fairly dry stuff. Also this kind of sucks because hi, my computer ate this one and the two other files I had originally prepped. -_- Adapted from The Unifying Force by James Luceno, two more to follow tomorrow, and then I'm done.]

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Tahiri Veila

July 2013

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