Star Wars: Sororal Lineality title

01: MJ-0002

Story song: “Electric Blue” by the Cranberries

Another treasonous Moff dealt with, Mara thought to herself as she stalked down the corridor to her favorite training room in the Imperial Palace. It was like they were breeding like spider-roaches, and that was all they wanted to do with her alias identities too. No matter how many she rooted out, still more turned up. She let a shudder ripple through her body.

At least she didn’t have to worry about lecherous thoughts or actions for her next assignment. If Lord Vader had any, he kept them to himself. He even kept his hands to himself when he was killing someone!

She sniggered to herself as she rounded the corner. Nindo Daklan, one of her first trainers, was standing outside the door of the training room. She hadn’t expected to see him today. “Master Daklan, how are you?”

“Hello, Mara, I thought you were off-planet.” He stepped forward and then stepped back again as she approached. He couldn’t figure out where to put his hands, resting on his hips, tucked into his belt, and then behind his back in parade rest.

That armed her suspicions. Daklan always had his body under perfect control. Master told her to practice her mind reading skills when someone made her suspicious. She used the Force and dipped into his mind while her mouth continued the conversation. “That assignment is complete, so I returned to the Palace to wait for the next.”

His mind was screaming. They can’t meet! They can’t meet! He didn’t kill me when the potential died in training, but he will if she finds the other Hands in training! But Daklan only licked his lips before saying. “Enjoy the downtime while you have it, but this training room is scheduled for refurbishing. I’m just here to check that they have moved the equipment.”

Different rooms and different floors were always getting updated or redecorated on an unfathomable schedule, so it was a plausible lie. But it was a lie. She played with the lie to see what the reaction would be. “I can never remember what is getting refurbished. The stewards should do a better job announcing them. Are the training rooms in sector Senth-five thousand still open?”

She could taste the tang of Daklan’s relief through the Force. "As far as I know they are. Be sure to warm up properly." He added, like she was still a trainee that wanted to go straight to complicated maneuvers.

"I always do now. Take care." She waved goodbye as she turned back down the corridor. Once she was out of sight, she stretched out with the Force. She wasn't strong, but she had a knack for using it to sense where her Master and Lord Vader were in the Imperial Palace.

Another user that felt brighter, but not as overwhelming as Vader or her Master reached back in surprise.

Mara slammed back to herself and hurried to her quarters. Other Hands in training? Who had the Force too? Was she being replaced? But her Master always said she was special, that no one could help him keep order in the Empire like she could. She had completed all her missions to satisfaction. Why would he want to replace her?

Mara waited a few days until Vader had to go inspect one of the Star Destroyers in the Death Squadron in orbit around Coruscant. Her Emperor’s Hand code unlocked his dreary quarters and his private console. Time to see what intel he had been gathering.

Most of it was reports of skirmishes with the Rebellion. Nothing suspicious there; their Master charged Vader with finding them and ending their treason. But the files accessed most recently all had a name attached: Luke Skywalker. She frowned as she opened them. That name wasn’t on the list ISB kept of the Rebellion’s leaders.

The first image that expanded on the terminal screen was a young man with blond hair far too shaggy to be properly military. He wore a yellow jacket and was brandishing a blue-bladed lightsaber. A Jedi? The Rebellion had found a Jedi? Security had taken this image during the Rebellion’s attack on Cymoon 1. The Court still ridiculed the Corellian governor for letting a strike team destroy the largest weapons factory in the galaxy.

The next file was a salvaged recording from the security devices. The young man declared himself, “Luke Skywalker and I'm here in the name of the Rebel Alliance. Anyone who hates the Empire follow me,” and released a bunch of beings from a cage by cutting it open with the same lightsaber before the recording ended.

Mara frowned again. Weapons Factory Alpha on Cymoon 1 was an automated facility. Why were non-sentient laborers being kept there?

Lord Vader had already completed the grunt work of tracing the name. She found records of this Luke Skywalker's life on Tatooine and how the local garrison had killed his only relatives for harboring Rebels. Intelligence claimed he was a starfighter pilot and suspected he was a Jedi and that the Rebel Alliance was trying to claim sympathy from people who may remember General Anakin Skywalker from the Clone Wars.

She did not remember that name in her lessons on the Clone Wars. She saved copies of all the files to her datapad for her report to her Master and then opened a search on the Emperor’s Hand. As she had suspected, Vader had greater access than other terminals she would use. The search term brought up one record.

All records for the Emperor’s Hand Project are found in NW-79845

She scrubbed that search and all other traces of her activity on this console and left Vader's quarters.

So she was part of a project. What kind of project? Why were the records about it confined to that one room? None of this made any sense.

Her personal investigation had to wait while she shadowed Lord Vader as he carried out inspections for assignments to the Death Squadron as it readied to leave by week's end. He caught her, but her mental shields did not alarm Lord Vader. Or maybe he was in a good mood? He must have them. Regardless, he had only rumbled at her. “If you are seeking a position on the Executor, you must attend the Academy like all the other officers. And I doubt our Master wants you wasting your time with rules and regulations.”

She resorted to using droid surveillance—the mouse droids were everywhere, after all—and double checked all the files on this Luke Skywalker. She found more mentions of him in the raw database of seditious rumors ISB collected for analysts to sift through. Lord Vader hadn’t gone down that far in his research. He wanted all images available. She added the rumors to the report she was compiling for their Master, and hopefully it would look more substantial with the added words.

The Rebel Alliance credits Skywalker with the destruction of the Death Star. He is also a noted companion of Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, for being one of the group who rescued her from imprisonment aboard said Death Star.
Lord Vader was the only survivor of the Death Star calamity. Was this focus on Luke Skywalker trying to make up for that? Or was he just trying to eradicate all traces of the Jedi Order? He had sent out a bounty for Skywalker. That made two on the man’s head if he was the pilot that brought down the Death Star.

She tried to research General Anakin Skywalker from the Clone Wars, but someone classified those records beyond what her codes could open. He had existed because he had records, but that was all she could learn from this console. And she didn’t want to extend her luck on Lord Vader’s console again.

When the surveillance droid or the rumor database failed to come up with anything new for her report, she studied the collected holoimages. She lingered on a holoimage of a group of fighter pilots dressed in light-colored flight suits, opening a series of cells and freeing the prisoners. Luke Skywalker was leading them. The lightsaber hilt dangled from his weapons belt. He was blasting at something out of recording range and said something with a laugh to a taller man beside him. The dark-haired man grinned under his mustache. Didn’t the Rebellion have any regs for hairstyles within its ranks? No matter how many times she went through the collection, she always ended up staring the longest at this one and their joy at causing mayhem.

Finally, the Death Squadron deployed, and Mara sent her report on what Vader had done while in Imperial City to the Emperor’s eyes-only file storage. Since the Emperor didn't summon her to discuss her findings, the whole thing must have been a test or training. She swallowed her irritation and headed to NW-79845 as soon as the Imperial Palace went into the night cycle. Night cycle was the best time to assure most people were asleep, and she could temporarily direct the security droids and monitoring equipment to other sections of the Palace while she prowled. She was determined to find out more about this project and who would dare usurp her place. The special duty that her Master had found her to perform.

Her code opened the unassuming door in an undecorated corridor. She slipped inside and locked the door behind her.

The primary lights snapped on as she entered, banishing the shadows created by the running lights of the equipment that lined all four walls and the three bacta tanks in the center of the room. Two of the tanks were empty. Mara drew closer to the bobbing bipedal in the third one.

It was a pale skinned human female baby. No, older than a baby, but Mara lacked knowledge of children's ages. Her training had been in solitary classes, and people didn’t bring their children to Court functions. Human child then, injured so badly she needed bacta.

But why all the way down here, so far from the medical wing? And it didn’t smell like the bacta tank facilities there either.

A breathing mask hid the freckled girl’s face. Her long hair floating in the not-bacta-treated liquid was the same shade of red-gold as Mara’s.

Mara stepped back from the tank before she realized she had retreated and glanced down at her own freckle-splattered arms. So she had two points of similarity with this random child. That was no reason for her chest to feel as tight as it did, as though the Force was pressing down on her like acceleration. She whirled to the walls and strode to the console. The records on the Emperor’s Hand Project would clear all this confusion.

The Emperor’s Hand Project was created to amend the deficiencies of the Sith Law of Two. Only one Apprentice was deemed insufficient for the galaxy at large, so a series of clones was designed as the Emperor’s at will agents created from the female candidate he chose as the first agent. This series is designated Murdering Judges by decree of the Emperor, for their primary function shall be dispensing his judgment by lethal means.

She blinked, but the Aurebesh on the screen did not change. Clones? Master had made clones of her? Master did call Lord Vader “Apprentice” when the Emperor wasn’t referring to him by title or claiming him as a friend. And Mara Jade was the Emperor’s Hand, so he was making clones from her? She turned and looked at the child in the tank again. Her daughter?

No one trusted clones. They had defeated the Jedi’s coup and the Separatists uprising, but the Clone Masters of Kamino’s treachery became evident as the troops aged out of service and volunteers replaced them in the stormtrooper legions. And despite that loyal service to the Empire, no one in the military or the Court had anything but distrust. Why would her Master trust things that could be altered so easily?

Because he designed the alterations, a faithless voice whispered in her head. She shook her head hard to fling it out. She moved the report to read more of it.

Prime Emperor’s HandBorn 979Active Service started 993Deceased in 998
MJ-0001Decanted 988Active Service started 998 
MJ-0002Decanted 991Active Service started 1001 
MJ-0003Decanted 994Deceased in 999 
MJ-0004Decanted 997In training 
MJ-0005Decanted 999In training 
MJ-0006Decanted 1002In training 
MJ-0007In growth cycle  

Her body felt like ice covered it. She had earned her title of Emperor’s Hand in 1001 after she turned sixteen. After she completed all the training, all the tests, proved herself capable and loyal beyond reproach. She earned it!

She… she was not a fleshy droid! She had parents! She vaguely remembered them from so long ago when her Master chose her to come to Coruscant and train to serve him and his glorious Empire! She couldn’t remember their faces now, but that was because she was so young!

But there were other files in this console. There was access with the Emperor’s eyes-only file storage—she found the report she had just uploaded—and the files went back to 993. Mara was only eight years old and in training in 993. There were records and trainers’ notes covering seven individuals, even though the trainers were the same. She found a detailed incident report of the training exercise that resulted in death, including an autopsy of an eleven-year-old girl.

The last one she dared to open was a recording. Her memory replayed on the screen: a child’s best dress colored green as the recorder tilted down, followed by looking back at the sad adults in the shadows of the shuttle’s lights. She heard the woman’s quavering voice, “Please, don’t take my baby.” Then the gnarled hand extended from the sleeve of the black robe and a tiny hand took it, and the recorder turned to the lit hatch at the top of the ramp.

Mara's surroundings registered in waves after that. Her glutes were tingling as she shifted from sitting in a collapsed position on the floor. The floor was cold stone. The recording was playing on a loop above her head. She hadn’t fainted because she wasn’t flat on her back. She climbed up to her feet and shut off the playback. Now the title of the file burned into her retinas, Primary Memory Imprint for Murdering Judges Clone Line.

Murdering Judge 0002, Mara Jade. Vader's eyes! The Emperor named her after what she was! She heaved herself away from the console. If murdering was all she was, she should start with HIM!

Her gaze landed on the child bobbing in the tank. Her anger doused in ice, leaving her able to think. She had sisters, this girl was her sister. An innocent that the Emperor was going to train to kill and let vaping Moffs slobber all over her. She wrapped her arms around herself. She had sisters. The self she had brushed against with the Force was one of her sisters, made from the same genetic material like natural-born siblings. If she used her skills to destroy her Master, she would leave them open to reprisal and revenge. They were still innocent, and she had a responsibility to protect the innocent.

She erased her search history on the console and made sure there were no other traces of her visit. She couldn't take her sister out of the tank without a specialist to do it or having a safe place to retreat to. She left NW-79845. She needed to find a place where she could take her sisters, where they could grow up without becoming murdering judges.

And then she would take care of Palpatine so he couldn’t kill any more of her sisters.

The next night was a Court function that she had to attend as the dancer Lianna. The Emperor didn’t need any special tasks done tonight, just attendance so the dignitaries would grow used to seeing her face. She used it to ask various governors and Moffs about their territories, playing up that she wanted to travel the galaxy. It helped eliminate some choices, at least. They would have to hide in the Outer Rim to be out of the Emperor’s reach. Maybe the Corporate Sector would do, if she could make an even trade for skills and credits. It wouldn’t do to flee one type of servitude to be trapped in outright slavery there.

How much training had her sisters had by now? Could they help rescue themselves or contribute to the others’ welfare? She would have to see them. She would have to tell them the truth. That part was less appealing to think about, so she danced with a few eager staffers close to her age to keep her mind focused on the now.

The Imperial Palace schedule held true. Dignitaries holding smaller soirees filled the night after a court function so they could form alliances or jockey for position. The Emperor didn't give her any surveillance orders, so Mara crept into the secret passages and to the section and floors she had deduced where the Hand training was taking place. She used the Force to pinpoint the correct quarters, and the door slid open without needing to slice her way in. Mara shook her head over the carelessness as she moved inside.

This sister hadn’t graduated to larger quarters yet. Mara still remembered how excited she had been to get quarters with a separate bedroom and parlor. Not that she ever had any genuine friends to invite into the space to entertain, and that became apparent in a few months of living there. These quarters had a sectioned off refresher to the left inside the main doorway. The right side comprised wardrobes for storage. The small hallway opened into a larger room that had a kitchen tucked against the ‘fresher, a sofa and a desk in the center portion, and the bed along the back wall of the quarters.

Dim lights under the kitchen cabinets and at the desk illuminated the room enough so Mara didn’t trip over the furniture as she tiptoed to the bed. The form under the blankets was much too small to trust with facets of a mission. Mara's shoulders slumped before she tightened her fists. She would get her sister out of the Palace. She would.

The occupant of the bed rolled toward the door. Mara crept out on the carpet and left the quarters. The doorway into the secret passage was only a meter away, but the other presence she felt was also on this floor, so she traveled in the public hallways. Her sisters were catty-corner from each other, but how structured was their training to make sure they never bumped into each other?

The next quarters were the same as the previous one, but this sister understood locking her door. Mara's code released the lock, and she slipped inside. She was just as quiet as she had been before, but it wasn't enough. The bed's occupant rolled out of it and threw a datapad at Mara.

Mara dodged it.

Her sister charged forward. "Get out of my room!"

Mara shifted her stance to grapple with the gangly girl that was roughly ten centimeters shorter than Mara, but a higher voice behind her froze them both. "Hello! Who are you?"

The charging sister skidded to a stop at her sofa. Mara whirled to look behind her. An even shorter version of herself in a nightgown grinned up at her.

"No," Mara moaned. This would get them all caught! She moved, snatching up her youngest sister, and bolted through the main doorway. Luckily, another entrance to the secret passages was across the hall. The tiny arms wrapped around Mara's neck as they ran inside.

"Wait!" The other sister flew out of her room and slid into the secret passage before the wall slid shut. "If this is a test, I will pass it! Who are you?"

"I felt you!" The sister in Mara's arms leaned back to see her face. "You didn't stay and say hello. That's rude." Then she craned her head back to look up at the secret passage. "This is tiny. I don't like it."

"I haven't been told about this." The taller one shifted to look past Mara to depths of the tight hallway. "What is this? Who are you?"

Mara sighed and swung the youngest down to her feet. "These are the Emperor's secret passages. The entire Palace is riddled with them. You'll learn about them further along in your training. More importantly, we aren't under surveillance here." She faced them both. "I'm the Emperor's Hand. My name is Mara Jade."

"That's my name!" They both said in unison, planting fists on their hips as they glared before looking at the other and growing confused.

Mara felt her entire body tighten, and she exhaled through her clenched teeth. That noise made her younger sisters look back at her. She unlocked her jaw to speak to them. "He won't even give us separate names."

"I'm training to be the Emperor's Hand." The taller one jabbed at herself with her thumb. "How can you be that and me?"

"We are clones of the first Emperor's Hand." Mara's lips twisted. "Her name was probably Mara Jade, too. She died in 998, and the Emperor made another sister his Hand in her place. The Emperor made me a Hand in 1001. You are being grown and trained to take our places.”

The youngest frowned. “But the Emperor came and got me. He says I’m special.”

Mara closed her eyes, not that she could erase it from her memory. “I wore a green dress. The lights of the Lambda shuttle put everything and everyone else in shadow. But a woman’s voice says, ‘Please, don’t take my baby.’ Then the Emperor’s gnarled hand reaches out and I take it and go with him into the shuttle.” She opened her eyes at the equally confused green eyes staring at her. “We all have that memory. I’m telling you the truth. This isn’t a trick or a test. I just don’t want you to have to do what I have done.”

“Do you have a plan?” The taller one crossed her arms over her flat chest.

“We’ll talk about the plan tomorrow night. Now, you need to get back to your rooms before they miss you. I’ll come back after rerouting the security systems.” Mara looked down at the youngest. “I’ll take you back to your room.”

“Okay.” She seized Mara’s hand, which made opening the secret passage door difficult, but Mara was reluctant to let go. The taller of her younger sisters slipped out to her room. The other two took the roundabout secret passage to the other corner of this floor.

Then the younger tugged her into her room once they were in the hallway, all the way to the bed. “Nobody likes clones,” she said sadly.

“No, they don’t.” Mara looked down at her, wondering how long this would take.

“Do you like me?”

“Yes.” Mara pulled the blankets further out of the way, so her youngest sister could climb into bed. “I like you. You are my sister. But you can’t let the trainers know that you know.”

She climbed onto the bed. “Oh, I’m the best at hiding things. They won’t know.”

Mara hoped it was true, because otherwise the Emperor would destroy them as a bad batch and start more clones in the tanks to replace them. She didn’t let that worry show on her face as she pulled the blankets up and smoothed them over the smaller body.

Green eyes blinked at her. “That’s nice. Nobody’s done that before. Good night.”

Mara’s chest tightened. No one had ever seen her to her bed either. “Good night.”

Nothing happened during the day, which relieved Mara’s fears. They were too young to play a role in the plan, but they wouldn’t give it away.

The taller one popped out of the secret passage closest to the youngest when Mara arrived that night. “Just how many of us are there?” She asked with an intense impatience for having to wait for the answer.

“I saw records for seven, but one of us didn’t make it through training. The youngest one is still in the tank. How old have you been told you are?”

Her freckled face scrunched. “Twelve, but that’s not right, is it? We’re actually younger, like the Clone Troopers were only ten but looked like they were in their twenties in the Clone Wars.”

Mara nodded. “We are younger. The one who died was between me and you.” She bit her lip, but she phrased it as a request, a play on the age differences. “Don’t tell any of the younger ones. I don’t want to scare them.”

She nodded, and Mara got the youngest she had found on this floor. They convened their meeting in the secret passage again. Before she explained the plan, such as it was, the youngest seized the floor. “We need more names.”

“More names?” Mara asked because that seemed low on the list of priorities, like for when they were on another planet.

The youngest nodded. “You can be Mara still since you’re the oldest. And you should be Naava,” she pointed to the twelve-year-old. “And I will be Ona!”

The twelve-year-old tilted her head. “Are you naming us aurbeshical?”

“Yes. Do you not like it?” Ona’s lower lip trembled.

“I’m okay with Naava,” Naava blurted.

“Yes, that was a good idea,” Mara added. “But remember not to tell the trainers.”

“Of course not.” Ona tossed her head.

“Right, now the plan. We need a safe place to go where the Emperor can’t find us. So I’m going to make a fake mission to leave the Palace and find that place.” Mara had already considered her cover story to go to Scipio to investigate some irregularities with Lord Vader’s account with the InterGalactic Banking Clan and had worked on her ‘evidence’ most of the day after she had awakened. “Once I have a location, I will come back here. We will find the rest of our sisters and in a highly coordinated maneuver, we will get the one in the tank out and leave the Palace.”

Naava crossed her arms. “What about the Emperor? What if he just starts making more of us after we go?”

“Good point.” Mara wished Naava hadn’t seen that this soon. “We will have to add sabotage so he can’t do the second part. But we can’t do that until we have an obvious line of retreat and ways to keep everyone safe.”

“When will you go?” Ona asked.

“Tomorrow night. If I stay much longer, chances are the Emperor will send me on an actual mission and that will mess everything up. Now, I need you two to work hard on your training because you will use those lessons to free the rest of our sisters and so no one suspects anything while I’m gone.”

“How long will you be gone?” Naava asked with a hard frown.

“With travel time, two weeks.”

“We can feel Mara with the Force when she comes back,” Ona said.

“Yes,” Mara agreed. “Just don’t make the Emperor aware you are looking. Or Lord Vader. If he comes back from chasing Rebels before I do.”

Ona agreed, and Mara had to let that go. She didn’t depend on the Force for things like that. She sent them back to their beds and hurried back to her rooms to make her preparations.

No one questioned anything she had forged in the systems. No one. She was still a little giddy over that as she performed her flight inspection on the Lone Scout A-2 flight pool had assigned her from the shuttle pool. She walked under the wing after completing her visual inspection of the front. Time to board and launch.

The back of her neck pricked as the Force fluttered around her. Danger? The ship was fine.

Alarms blared down the corridors leading to the hangar bay. Mara glanced at the comm on her wrist, but nothing was signaling to her. She looked up to see a small section of the back wall slide open like a door. A girl in black came running out from behind the TIE Fighter down for repairs and sprinted across the open hangar space, her red-gold hair streaming behind her.

A squad of stormtroopers jogged through the main doors and started firing. Flight technicians screamed and ran for cover. Mara slammed herself against the entry ramp support and pulled her blaster pistol out of its thigh holster. Naava skidded to a stop and fired a blaster rifle at the stormtroopers. The stormtroopers aimed their blasts at her.

“Osik!” Mara fired from her position at the stormtroopers. Naava glanced around until she spotted Mara and started running toward the ship. Mara continued covering fire, dropping two of the stormtroopers closing in on the ship.

“You need help!” Naava said as she jumped onto the ramp, turned, and started firing her rifle again. She hit one stormtrooper.

Before Mara could scream anything, the hangar bay physical doors began to slide closed. “Osik!”

“I can hold them off!” Naava ducked in the cargo hold of the ship and then returned fire.

Mara used it as cover to run inside and straight to the cockpit. She strapped in as she powered up the repulsorlifts and powered everything else. Coordinates inputed into the nav computer for a quick jump. Shields were taking too long. Blasts were getting inside now. “I’m closing the entry hatch!” she screamed over her shoulder.

It slid shut as she lifted off the landing skids. A barrage of blasts made it inside, and Naava screamed as she fired back before it closed.

Mara fired the thrusters and shot out the doors. And into strafe from the patrolling TIE fighters. She accelerated, taking advantage of the clear skies surrounding the Imperial Palace to head straight for the nearest opening in the planetary shield. They were in luck. A lumbering Ghtroc 720 was pushing cargo containers through it, keeping it open against all orders to close it. She skimmed over the slower ship and threaded between it and the portal ring. A chasing TIE Fighter slammed into it behind her, exploding in the upper atmosphere.

The nav computer finished the calculations. She swerved around another freighter coming to Imperial City. She pulled the hyperdrive lever as soon as they cleared the gravity well and the rest of the space traffic. Stars blurred into lines and then quiet blue clouds of hyperspace. Mara slumped against the seat.

She marshalled her thoughts. That… that was a disaster. She could never go back to the Imperial Palace now. She was going to end up on a bounty list. The blaster bolts that had hit the interior put the tang of ozone inside the ship. She wrinkled her nose as she unfastened her restraints. She and Naava needed to have a serious conversation on hierarchy and obeying directions.

“Naava, just what the hell were you thinking!” she yelled into the cargo hold as she got up. “What did you do to set off an alarm?”

There was no answer.

Mara ignored how her stomach was twisting as she marched back into the cargo hold. Naava was sprawled on the deck plate. “Naava!” There were medpacs onboard; she had made sure of that. Her knees ached she dropped hard to the deck plate, but she forgot about that as she rolled Naava’s thin form.

The blaster bolt had hit Naava’s upper chest, leaving charred fabric, skin, and muscle. There was no pulse.

“Naava.” Mara’s throat tightened and tears welled. She slid her hand over her sister’s face and closed her cloudy green eyes. Whatever the alarm was, they used lethal force against a twelve-year-old. The torrid liquid made trails down her cheeks. None of them were safe, no matter what age, no matter what skills, none of them! But the planetary shield was on fire behind her. There was no going back now.

She lifted her face to the ship’s ceiling. “I have to save my sisters! HOW?!”

And the Force answered.

She was standing in the cockpit of a Lambda shuttle, and a man in black stood up from the copilot’s seat and faced her. His blond hair was neatly styled instead of the shaggy mess from the holoimages she had seen and seriousness weighed down his expression, but it was Luke Skywalker. “We got you here. Can you do the rest?”

She opened her mouth to respond, and the vision vanished, returning her reeling to the Lone Scout A-2’s cargo hold. Luke Skywalker, the Rebel Jedi. Would he help her for the sake of cloned innocents? Would the Rebel Alliance?

They had a common enemy. She had to make them see that. Yes, when this ship reached the coordinates she had put in, she’d listen for where the Death Squadron was and follow them. And beat Lord Vader to Skywalker. That would come later. Now she had to bury her sister in the cold vastness of space.

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