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Old 08-28-2006, 06:36 PM   #6
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Chapter 5: Reflections
The station was actually a rest point for cargo ships making trade runs to the Avalonian system. It originally was built as a research station but problems of timing supply runs to provide equipment proved difficult and it lost that status. It wasn’t much to look at as Ashira-Li directed the Ebon Hawk to one of the landing ports. Andros thought nothing of it himself and was wondering why the Jedi council would want Ashira-Li to come here. His first thought was that it was a means to see if she would follow orders. He was right on that count but it was also due to the fact that she could easily mobilize defenses as necessary. The council could not deny that she was gifted in leadership though she often insisted that it was not the case.

Ashira-Li said nothing as she powered down the ship and made to exit. She was not willing to say anything but she knew that Andros would always be there. She was just concerned for Miklos because if what he said was true, then his life and any of the other teams could be placed in jeopardy and she was determined not to let that happen. She made her way to the administration office where the administrator was poring over reports of the station with another individual. When she and Andros were announced, they both looked up. For the first time, in a long time, Ashira dropped her camouflage and revealed and expression of surprise. The second person was none other than Obi-wan who had stopped for a respite from traveling as was often recommended by any traveling the lanes to Avalon.

Miklos was hurrying towards the main hangar bay. He kept looking behind him to make sure no one was following but he kept sensing that someone was on his trail. He worked meticulously as he made his way to where the Rendili fighters were kept. Alarms were blaring indicating an escaping prisoner. He found the bay with the fighters and selected one that he had access to. As he started the engines, soldiers of the fleet were rounding the corner carrying heavy weapons that were intent on blowing up an unshielded fighter. With a quick speed and agility, Miklos activated the guns and fired, not to kill, but to buy time to escape. His cover was blown and he had to retreat. He recalled how he had gotten the vital information to discern the plans that Lord Dragus had in mind only to be discovered by Dragus.

He was sitting in the ventilation shaft listening to everything being said. Lord Dragus was speaking, “I already have a group on Belos causing starvation to the strongest of the warriors. They have blocked the main source of food for the hunt. They are too proud to ask for aid from the governor and they cannot survive long on the city dweller’s idea of food.”

“So we starve them into defeat?” Commander Trask asked.

“To attack with arms, they will fight back and our cause will be lost. They fight with the strength of three clones for each warrior when their blood gets up,” Dragus replied.

“Brilliant maneuver, Lord Dragus, but as to the details…” Dooku began.

“Something I will not explain at the moment for we are being watched as we speak,” and with a swipe, he used the Force to pull away the grating, revealing Miklos in his Jedi attire.

The commander was shocked and said, “Michal?”

“Not Michal but Miklos and a Jedi to add to that,” Dragus explained, “You have been under surveillance for quite some time, by the Jedi.”

“I trusted you!” shouted Trask and with uncontrolled rage pulled out his blaster and shot at Miklos only to miss. Trask then hit the alarm to indicate that a spy was on board and needed to be captured, preferably dead.

Miklos managed to get the engines started. With death defying stunts, he managed to break loose from the automated gunfire and head for space. He was pursued by the main fleet ship firing at him in an attempt to turn him into space dust. Miklos hoped that he would be able to make the jump into hyperspace alive and in one piece.

Obi-wan did not say anything but waited until the administrator finished giving her report to Ashira-Li. He had been rather awful that he had not resolved the bad tension between him and Ashira. She had done nothing wrong except to help when she knew she could. He had no reason to be angry with her but the ugly thoughts intruded every so often. Even when they were younger she always kept herself apart from everyone else but still gave all of herself to the younglings and the padawans. She always made time for him and Siri, teaching them still, not Jedi techniques but lessons in life. Sure they were from the Avalonian way but they always seemed to fit in their lives. He remembered this and felt bad. He tried to catch her eye during the meeting but she avoided his gaze.

Ashira-Li felt remnants of anger towards her and she decided to tread carefully. She avoided Obi-wan’s gaze as she listened to what the administrator told her. Belos was starving and they had been for four months. The migrant tribes that depended on the kataran and the deer for food during the yearly cycles were becoming sick and destitute. She remembered her last time on Belos when she left the Jedi before because she disobeyed. She felt the need to go and help and she suspected that was why Siri’s tribe was calling to her but she resolved to obey the council this one time.

The assessment was over and Ashira double-timed out of the administration office and disappeared around the corner before Obi-wan could catch up to her. Obi-wan was frustrated and he wanted to voice it but it was not needed. Andros pulled alongside him and said, “A rift will continue to grow if you don’t fix it.”

“How can I when she keeps walking away?” Obi-wan asked.

“Why would anyone want to talk when they sense anger bordering on hate?” Andros posed.

“I don’t hate her. I was angry,” Obi-wan admitted.

“You still are,” Andros replied. Seeing that Obi-wan was going to protest, he continued, “I suggest you try the vivarium. The gardens are quite soothing,” and he continued to his quarters to work. Andros smiled to himself because he knew how Ashira loved the gardens, their soothing presence and how it made her willing to talk.

The vivarium was one lush garden that supplied the necessary food supply for the station. The lake that supplied the water was peaceful and was the place that Ashira-Li chose to sit. She sat near the edge of the lake in a position comfortable to gaze at her reflection. She was staring at herself and she remembered things she wanted to forget.

She faced the council, painfully looking at Masters Windu and Yoda. Avalon had been saved and Lady Argonon had been placed under arrest for treason to the Avalonian system and was going on trial for her crimes. She had disobeyed willingly and knowingly and she was going to accept responsibility. She looked at Yoda, nothing discernable on his face. Master Windu was speaking, “You have disobeyed the council and yet, due to the current circumstances we cannot settle this issue now. When we return to Coruscant, your disobedience will be dealt with accordingly.”

Ashira remembered that she was surprised at the decision but accepted it like a proper padawan. She was completely caught unawares later when she overheard the council by accident. She had been wandering the hall and the passageways of the palace. She came to a hidden door behind the staircase and she heard the council talking.

“She has become increasingly defiant in the last few years, letting her emotions get ahead of her,” Master Windu was speaking.

“Struggling she is to find her place she is. One foot in the Republic and the other in Avalon,” Yoda replied.

“She puts her own feelings before the concerns of the Jedi and the Republic. I would keep her at the Temple and not allow her to go on missions until she understands that the choices she makes must be for the greater good.”

“An exceptional student of the Force and a hidden and unusual talent; she’s a natural leader. Sense she can when she goes too far.”

“No good will come of it if she can’t learn control,” and the council walked down the hall. Ashira fought back tears that threatened to rise. Even a Jedi cannot always hide the feelings of the heart. She knew what she had to do and she went to do it. She left behind everything, including her lightsaber that she had built, in the manner which one chooses exile. She landed on Belos only to find that Qui-gon Jin and Obi-wan Kenobi would be looking for her to bring her back.

Ashira was looking at her reflection. She said to herself after a sigh, “I will never pass for a Jedi in the eyes of the council. Could it be that I am not meant to be one?”

She did not see Obi-wan come up behind her. She continued to muse, “If I were truly myself, I would disgrace the Jedi and break my family’s heart. When will I see and show who I am inside?”

She was had undone her braid and was stroking her dark hair to give it its sheen. She still did not see Obi-wan nor noticed him until he gave a little clearance of his throat. She glanced up and seeing that it was him, turned away. She kept her face away and tried to turn her whole body away. It was one time where she was letting her feelings of pain roll off and one time she could not control them.

Obi-wan watched her movement and sensed her hurt. He slid into a seated position beside her. He tried to smile at her but she kept her face turned away. He looked around trying to figure out what to say when he noticed a Judan blossom fall beside him. He remembered how Ashira once explained to him and Siri the meaning behind this tree that was mentioned in much of the Avalonian poetry and shown in the art. He spoke softly but loud enough for her to hear, “There are beautiful blossoms on the Judan trees here, more so than the ones growing on the surface. Look,” and he pointed to a small bud, “One is late. When it is ready, I am sure that it will be the most revered of all.”

While he finished his sentence, he did something extremely bold. He took the blossom that he saw and fixed it in her hair. He was surprised at what he did and hoped that he had not stepped over his boundaries. Ashira felt the movement of her hair and turned to look at Obi-wan. They locked eyes and she smiled pensively and he returned it. She was proud that he remembered the Judan blossom but surprised that he would attempt to use it as a metaphor. The fact that he addressed it to her was enough and she felt his anger melt away. Andros had been watching from afar. He was pleased for he knew things as well and hoped that they would come to pass. Ashira and Obi-wan continued to look at each other as if thinking of what to say but they were interrupted.

A siren was sounding from the docking bays: ship was inbound and it was badly damaged. Ashira, forgetting the blossom was still in her hair, quickly tied her tail and asked while looking, “What is that?”

“It sounds like it is from the docking bay,” Obi-wan replied, and he got up to follow her.

“I guess we better find out. Our help may be needed,” and Ashira took off towards the hangar bay and Obi-wan followed, noticing that she had not removed the blossom.

The hangar was in a general uproar over the arrival of a rather beat up fighter ship but it was surprisingly in tact. Ashira-Li and Obi-wan arrived just as the counsel to the Lord Governor arrived having heard the alarm from his quarters. He was there to escort Obi-wan to Avalon. He did not recognize Ashira and brushed her off when she asked what was going on.

Seeing that she was rudely brushed off, Obi-wan was going to voice his disapproval when she held him back. She motioned to a better position to see who was being pulled from the fighter. As they got closer, she let out a gasp, “Miklos,” and stepped to help.

He was alive and his injuries were not bad. That much was clear but he was sapped of his physical strength. Looking at the ship, she guessed that he used ever bit he knew of the Force to keep it together. She watched as the medics took him away while he was saying that Belos was in danger and she noticed the governor’s counsel speaking to the administrators and Obi-wan.

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