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       “Star Wars: A Smuggler's Entanglement. Part III of III.”, p.1

           scifiguy3553
 
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“Star Wars:  A Smuggler's Entanglement.  Part III of III.”
“Star Wars: A Smuggler's Entanglement. Part III of III.”, by scifiguy3553

  After escaping to planet Lehon from the Empire, Deacon 90 finally revealed to the Kaird family that he was once a Jedi!

  The Burned Cloak crew encountered Jedi survivors of Order 66 in the Rakata ruins. Encouraged by the Jedi Colony's embrace of him and the Kaird family, he reclaimed his name and identity.

  But the arrival of a Black Sun agent and his proposition may offer Deacon a chance at revenge against the Empire!

 

  …............................................................................................

  A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

  5 BBY, the Lehon System

  Deacon 90 winced upon seeing the large, gaping hole that the bottom, port side fake-thruster of the Burned Cloak had sustained during their escape from the Empire back in the Utapau System a day ago. True, the most important thing was that Madam Ccer, the wife of ex-Black Sun assassin, Kaird, and her grown children and her grandchildren were not hurt, but it also meant that Deacon had lost one-fourth of his smuggling capacity! The worst of it, Deacon never got the payment from the Utapaun Committee after fulfilling his end of the bargain between he and Kaird by smuggling his family out of the Nedij star system, while the galactic Empire had finally taken control out there. The Empire's confiscation of that system blocked that plan!

  But now that the Cloak crew had finally landed on one of Lehon's myriad of small islands on the blue planet, Deacon had a totally different concern. Ccer's brief summary of the ancient history of the Rakata society going to war with the more-advanced Kwa civilization over the Infinity Gates gave him pause about even landing on Lehon! Although it had been a hundred thousand, standard years since that war, the fact that the Rakata had won was disturbing! For even in their primitive-state, when the Kwa had encountered them many generations before the Kwa-Rakata War, their species was imbued with the Force...but then turned to the Dark Side after the Kwa imparted to them much knowledge of Force-science. The magical technology of hyperspace travel was used by the Rakata to enslave several other species on other planets, and, for that, the Kwa—rightly so!–battled the Rakata as they attempted to take Infinity Gate-knowledge from them.

  And the Kwa lost...

  This was more than antediluvian for Deacon 90. For he had grown up hearing how strong the Light Side of the Force was, and how those who used it were the trusted and good-natured beings in the Universe. Deacon was of the generation that he, also, heard about a prophecy among the Jedi; a prophecy of a young human male, as it turned out, not much younger than he was during the Clone War years. That young man, it was later rumored, had become a Jedi under the tutelage of the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi...and, like the Rakata, had squandered his Force-gift and turned to the Dark Side and destroyed a multitude of life!

  If the Light Side of the Force were truly stronger than the Dark Side, how in the Galaxy could an entire Force-civilization on the Light Side, like the Kwa, lose to the Rakata? How could a boy, supposedly born to bring balance to the Force, turn to the Dark Side, and kill so many padawans and Jedi? So many of his—

  “You're a Jedi,” one of Madam Ccer's female grandchildren said with a mixture of surprise and enthusiasm. She was joined by all of the Nediji-raptor grandchildren in excited leaps and chatter, while Ccer and her three adult offspring stared at the human with disbelief. Deacon could not help from smirking and shaking his head. He had encountered such reactions many times before on other smuggling runs.

  The Burned Cloak crew had left the ship behind on the large island. Deacon maneuvered the Corellian ship during landing into a grove of tropical trees and the sloping side of a small mountain. They were all walking toward a grouping of what appeared to be large ruins at a nearby distance. It was there, on this particular island, that most of Burned Cloak's sensors had registered the largest concentration of ancient edifices, roads, and more recent spaceship traffic from contemporary archeologists, smugglers, and unknown spacers.

  “I guess you can say, I used to be a Jedi,” Deacon responded to the little raptoid, as they all continued to walk at a fast pace. Given the tropic climate, he had left his dark jacket at the Cloak and sported his white, long-sleeved shirt and beige pants and boots. The Kaird family had stripped down to their basic thin-material jumpsuits.

  “Hey...where's your lightsaber,” said an older, female grandchild, suspiciously; she quickly walked around him looking for one tethered to his person.

  Deacon laughed. “Oh, I dismantled that a long time ago. Hey, if we can construct a lightsaber, why not disassemble it when we're done?”

  “So, what'd you do with the crystal,” the same grandchild asked, but before Deacon could respond, Ccer shushed her!

  “Why don't you want to be a Jedi anymore,” said another of the grandchildren; an older male.

  Deacon inhaled as he thought on the question while they all stepped through the jungle. “It's not quite as simple as wanting to leave the Order...things happen in life that make you wonder about your belief in a way of life, and, well...you take another course!”

  “Smuggling,” Kairdda, Ccer's daughter, asked curtly; her violet, raptoid eyes on him while she continued to high-step through the jungle.

  Again, Deacon had experienced such condescension from others during previous jobs. He ignored her attitude. “Your father hired me for his mining operation during a very bad time in my life and other Jedi. Remember, it was a few years after the Clone Wars, and the Emperor, a few years after that, had basically declared the Jedi enemies of the Empire! The smuggling came a little later; when the Empire began a blockade against some of the star systems that wouldn't cooperate with the notion of a one-galaxy empire. Supplies and food-staples really got expensive throughout the Galaxy because of the blockades!”

  “And smuggling picked up some of the slack,” Cceru, the eldest of Ccer adult children, asked; a bit more sympathetic.

  Deacon's head whipped around and he looked at Cceru; pleasantly surprised at his understanding. “Indeed...you could say that.”

  “We can't be judgmental toward the Captain, now, Kairdda,” Cceru finally spoke up. Being the Nediji elder, the short trek in the jungle was a bit burdensome for her. “We've all known that your father also supplemented the Operation with smuggling. And it gave you all a good life!”

  “It doesn't mean I have to agree with it,” the younger female raptoid quickly responded.

  “So, did you fight in the Clone Wars,” another of the male grandchildren asked.

  “Actually, no. During those few years of the War, the Jedi Council assigned me to Teth; a system controlled by some of the Hutts back then.” Deacon chuckled to himself. “The irony is, I was sent there with Jedi Master Plo Koon to stop the piracy; when the Galaxy was still the Republic!”

  There was laughter in the band, which was finally reaching the clearing to the ruins that showed up on the Burned Cloak's sensors.

  “Yeah, I'd bet Master Koon would be proud to see that you're a smuggler now,” Tog, Ccer's youngest of her adult children, said in good humor.

  But Deacon's smile melted away; his eyes cast down as they all stopped to rest just before going up to the ruins. “Master Koon was killed on Cato Neimoidia; that planet with the bridge cities...a f
ew Jedi that survived the Massacre were able to intercept some communication-chatter between several clone troops and a nexus point that was encrypted, but it is believed to have been the Emperor! The code, Order Sixty-six, kept coming up in the transmissions.”

  Deacon then turned to Kairdda; a half-smile on his face. “That, young Nediji, is another reason why I smuggle. Word got around not to hire or even socialize with Jedi. Your father, as flawed of a raptoid he is, had the heart to hire me in his mining and factory operation, and the heart to move his family away from such evil power!”

  It was the most serious any of the Kaird family had seen the rather meek man. Ccer cast a look at her family to indicate that it was a good time to stop asking questions. The Cloak group then proceeded to the first set of ruins before them...

  The ruins were of white stone. Whatever other materials used in the municipals' buildings had long-since crumbled due to crippling time. Some of the vestiges loomed high, but certainly were no competitors of Coruscant's stately artificial canyons! Many of the structures still had stylized, monumental vignettes depicting what the Rakata were of that eon: tall, amphibious-humanoids; clad in modular clothing that covered mostly their torso. Their cranium arced high—as if it were a tall hat, and their eyestalks were more like another set of appendages. The narration of the monuments often showed the Rakata in a victorious stance; a double-bladed hilt raised high above their heads with the sword positioned horizontally. Sometimes, this particular motif had their vanquished set below the Rakata figure—a Wookie, a Noghri, or a Human, among many others. Depictions of other planets and the Rakata's starfleet were also common. No doubt, the monuments were meant as a warning sign to any visitors to Lehon during those ancient times as they were a trophy to themselves, and certainly a reminder to any slaves on their planet!

  After the Cloak crew silently walked several blocks within the fossilized municipal, Ccer pointed toward the apex of what appeared to be a ceremonial edifice. Crowning it was a cloaked figure; its cowl adorning it with some, perhaps, nondescript design on the trimmings. The figure appeared slightly stooped, but not in a humbling manner. Perhaps, it was the physiology of the being, or a feigned attempt at magnanimity?

  “The Kwa,” Ccer simply said. Indeed, the two species were difficult to confuse. “From the earliest era, no doubt. When the Kwa bestowed knowledge of the Force to these baser-beings!”

  “The structure does look as if it might have been a temple,” Deacon agreed.

  “You know, Jedi,” Cceru said thoughtfully, after they had all stopped to look at the statue, “there is a possibility that these enigmatic beings were the predecessor to all Jedi in the Galaxy!”

  “They were,” said a human female's voice from another ruin across the way. “Tens of thousands of standard years before the Je'daii Order.”

  By the time the human had finished talking, Deacon 90 already had his BlasTech drawn and, surprisingly, Ccer and her children had their own blasters out, too! Deacon had not noticed any of them carrying any sort of weaponry.

  “Hello, Jedi Corel,” said the human as she cautiously walked from behind a crumbled piece of an entryway.

  She was actually wearing the traditional tunic that Jedi were famous for in the Galaxy! And that was the problem. Many of the surviving Jedi, like Deacon, had discarded their tunics and even lightsabers so they could hide from the Empire and blend in with galactic-society. Of late, even the Sith—the anti-matter, as it were, of the Jedi—were having a renaissance of their own and were also out to destroy whoever was left of the Jedi Order.

  Deacon and the Kaird family could now see that hundreds of Jedi were popping up from the ruins all around them! They were a bit on the feral side, but that was to be expected. The tribe was of many species from throughout the Galaxy. Many of the older ones, recognizing Deacon, waved frantically; others wept for joy at the discovery of, yet, another Jedi alive; still others were children...offspring of Jedi pairing! He wondered just how strong the midi-chlorian count were in those children! Apparently, Deacon reasoned, the Survivors of this Jedi Colony had adapted to the existential threat to their lives and their society by allowing themselves to have mates and reproduce. Of course, the ancient-held practice for the Jedi was to embrace solitude in life and devote oneself to the Order, and even the Republic. But desperate situations called for new thinking and new ways of living...that was something that Deacon had already done, as a smuggler. But at that point, he began to realize after seeing so many others that had survived Order Sixty-six, Deacon had to go back to his original name...Jedi Selo Corel, of Corellia.

  Careful not to crowd Selo and his raptoid companions, the Jedi tribe mostly remained by the ruins while a handful of them greeted the new arrivals. Selo finally remembered the human female that had first called out to him. She was Jedi Fri Dunn, of Bespin. They had gone on a few assignments throughout the Galaxy for the Jedi Order. The last time they worked together was on Coruscant, doing a security detail for several of the Galactic Senators just after the Clone Wars ended.

  A male Pa'lowik that walked with a cane that was actually a lightsaber in disguise, also in traditional-Jedi garment, was one of the oldest in the entire Colony. Vee was another old friend of Selo, and a Jedi Master that had fought for Lowick's independence from the Galactic Republic...many years before it was the Empire! There were several others that went up to Selo and embraced him. After nearly a standard hour of this, the Colony finally settled down a bit and Jedi Master Vee and other elder Jedi Masters requested an impromptu feast to celebrate “the Return” of another Jedi, as they put it. The Lehon jungle-islands had a plethora of fruits and vegetables and no natural predators to worry about, so the gathering of food on short notice was no problem.

  Truth was, however, Selo was not exactly sure if he was returning to the ways of the Jedi. But he kept that to himself during the feast.

  …................................................

 
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