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’ The cry could be heard across the front lines, despite the ongoing chaos of blaster fire, explosions, and screaming men and women everywhere. The echoes of fallen troopers and enemies invaded the mind of Ash Nelachi, but she attempted to hone in as much as possible of those in most need, and to get to them. Fast. It was a complete deadlock. The entire spaceport was occupied with Alliance response teams on one side, and invading Black Star marauders on the other. Ash was briefed on the transport, but before they could finish, stray blaster fire clipped their wing, and the ship crashed into the battlefield before she really knew what was going on. She hadn’t even landed yet, and she had to start healing. Now, there were pleas and cries coming from all around her. “MEDIC!” Ash opened her eyes. She knew where it was coming from. She bolted upwards from her meditation and Force-jumped into the air to get a bearing on the source. Blaster fire whizzed by her as she landed just behind the front lines. In one swift motion she unleashed her bright green lightsaber and deflected fire back at the enemy. She didn’t have time for this. She ran for the injured soldier. Tending to him was a young Zabrak, injecting fluid into his leg. “Two hits, hip and shoulder. His pulse is slowing.” He said it fast, mechanically. He’d already gone through this enough times today. “I’ve got it, go back to the line. They need you.”

“Yes, General Nelachi.” He ran back towards the makeshift barricade set up by transport containers and civilian landspeeders piled on top of each other. Dozens of troopers popped up and down from the cover. Ash immediately closed her eyes and placed her hands over the trooper. He couldn’t be more than a kid. Rodian skin temperature was supposed to be cold, but his was icy. She concentrated, and found the connection. Too weak. Her hands began shaking slightly. Channelling, transferring. She saw, and felt, his aura. It simmered around him, already fading. Not enoughtime. Quicker. She pulled on his fading aura, and concentrated even more. The Force was all around them now. The bluish-white energy swirled around her hands. She felt it. The cells regenerating. Skin healing. Life coming back. The Rodian’s temperature rose, just enough for him to open his eyes. He took a gasp of air and lurched forward. Ash braced his head and gently settled him back down, safe from the incoming fire above their heads. “…Jedi?” “You’re okay, no need to worry.” “But…” “I heal before I fight. It’s my job. And you’ve done yours. Trooper!” One quickly moved over to them. “General?” “Bring him to the relief line, supplies will be there. He’s in stable condition, keep him sedated.” “Yes, right away.” He grabbed the Rodian and slung him on his shoulder, while crouching to stay clear of the relentless red streaks that poured across the battlefield. More cries. More pleas. More healing to do. Then she heard a familiar voice.

“Back! Push them back! 4th Platoon, move right, cut the gap! Ash, some help?!” Ash powered her lightsaber again and dashed for the far side of the line. The wall of troopers was a blur, and she didn’t even notice the laser beams flying at her. She jumped over fallen ones. Can’t worry about that now. She saw three soldiers dragging five others back from the line. Lanvin’s distinctive bronze lightsaber swathed in the air as blaster fire bounced back from whence they came. Faint screams could be heard on the other side, the fire returned to their shooters. She was close enough to catch Lanvin’s smirk at the swiftness of it all. She stopped beside Lanvin as he Force-pushed one of the blockade’s speeders into advancing marauders. “It’s getting thicker. I can sense them jumping into orbit. Their numbers are greater than our assembled team.” “Stay hopeful, Apprentice. They’re determined. Aren’t you?” “Yes, but where’s the backup?!” A trooper popped out from cover, mounting his beam cannon. His head tilted into the scope and the trigger click unleashed a searing blue beam that burned at its target until it exploded. Figures flew into the air as the beam set an entire transport and everyone taking cover behind it ablaze. The barrel sizzled and he lifted his head from the scope. “Really? I doubt we need it. These guys are amateurs.” He took over again to recharge. Ash smiled at her apprentice. “Stop thinking so pragmatically. Where do you need me?” “I think we can hold, after all. Sorry for calling, Ash. Get back there.” “You’re doing well. Maintain the perimeter.” Before she Force-jumped back to the med station, she remembered, “And it’s Master Nelachi!”

Lanvin looked towards the enemy lines. The spaceport platforms were filled with fighters, transports and an open-hatched corvette that must have brought more than a thousand Black Star marauders with it. Above, more were trapped in the sky, unable to land. Lanvin could see them now, lowering into the atmosphere. Twenty or thirty stolen ships hovered silently above the chaos on the ground below. Bright red and yellow lights started glowing from some of them. A vicious whiz emanated from the air as the cannons on the hovering ships lit up the sky. The sparse clouds shrouding them dissipated under the heat. Ash heard Lanvin yell, “INCOMING AERIAL!” Ash croaked her head upwards from healing the wounded on the ground; she was early enough to see the first wave of fire hit. Lanvin on the front lines grabbed a crippled trooper and ran back through the spaceport’s maze of buildings. The dozens of beams blasted into the ground at the same time, heaving up the foundation of the spaceport’s structures, a tidal wave of debris coming towards them. While the first beams hit in pulses on the ground with thundering noise, Ash rushed towards Lanvin, leaping as fast as her Force-jumps could take her. The beams from the sky stopped and the whizzing of devastating energy was replaced by the thundering of rubble coming towards the transit terminal, where the med-station hid in safety behind towering pillars that held it up under a landing platform above. Ash looked on as Lanvin and the last line of soldiers ran towards her, escaping inside. The first tidal wave of scorching metal, rock, and concrete shadowed the sky, coming down towards them. Lanvin stopped and pivoted around instantly in front of the entrance. He put up his hands and positioned his feet. A bluish dome-shaped aura glimmered suddenly. In one deep breath Lanvin braced himself before the debris hit his Force-shield. The impact

slid Lanvin’s feet backwards and buckled his arms. The huge pieces deflected into the far sides of the entrance, crashing through the pillars around the entire Alliance team. He heaved, and pushed harder, as the last of the falling rocks hit the transparent barrier. The noises from the ships stopped. A wall of smoke rose above the gaping craters formed in the ground. As it cleared up, the marauders looked on from the landing pads, in between the devastated spaceport buildings, as the Alliance team emerged from behind the rubble. The ships began lowering into the atmosphere, and more Black Star rained down towards the space port. Ash tapped her boot against his shinguard. Lanvin shifted his gaze from the lowering ships to Ash. “Not bad, Apprentice.” “My pleasure. But I think we’re going to need some help, after all.” The heavy gunman from before took out the short-circuiting battery from his launcher’s back compartment. “Yeah, I agree.” He rose and approached the entrance, surveying the mangled remains of the spaceport. Ash and Lanvin followed. Dark smoke rose from the buildings still standing amidst the deep scorched craters and hunks of debris that littered the ground. They looked past it, and at the enemy lines. Figures stopped running back and forth. There was a second of silence before the first laser fired back. The chaos began again. Lanvin shouted orders and began running towards the empty frontlines. Blaster fire and missiles flew in both directions. The troops rushed forward, establishing a perimeter again while Ash called in through commlink.

<This is Master Nelachi of the Alliance response team on Texus 3. The Black Star has reinforcements. Repeat, Black Star has reinforcements. Requesting aerial assistance, immediately!> She ended the message, and looked upwards. One of the ships exploded. Figures fell from the sky into the crowd of Black Stars. Her commlink beeped. <This is Dragon 1. Ship was already in orbit, General. Glad you called; eyes up, we’re coming in close.> Six A-wings zoomed past Ash as she looked on. Each one fired two missiles into the crowd of lowering ships, and each missile weaved into a separate target. Ships began falling rapidly to the ground, and Ash saw explosions shoot up from the enemy lines. Their numbers were diminishing fast. The Alliance pushed forward above the rubble wall that had been left behind. Ash could hear Lanvin roar up front, while she turned back towards the quiet wounded that lay in the terminal’s aid station. “LONG LIVE THE ALLIANCE!” The commlink beeped again. She pressed it and cheery voice said, <What ‘alliance’ is he talking about? He’s a Jedi.> Ash looked skywards while cleaning up a wound to spot where she was flying. Soon enough, a bright red A-wing descended from the clouds, circling a much heavier, bulkier ship taking significant damage from the squadron. <How did you even hear that?> Ash asked, still staring at the fight. <Well, Lanvin’s pretty loud. And I have super ears, remember?> <Dragon 1, take care of the aerial threat while we recuperate on ground, please.> <Roger-roger. Dragon 1, out.>

Ash didn’t need a brief to understand why the Dragons were here. Dragon Squadron was basically the New Order’s own Alliance-sanctioned fighters. But that remained the only assurance with this mission; understanding the Black Stars’ motivation in capturing a fringe moon like Texus 3 escaped her. If there was a time to receive a briefing, it was in that transport. It was typical that it would get shot down before she could learn any information about the conflict, and why she was fighting for—or against—something she didn’t even understand. Ash didn’t know what the point of the battle was, or why she was here, and frankly why these men and women of all species had to sacrifice themselves for what she considered aimless terrorists loyal to an Empire that had been abolished decades ago. The nurses shuffled around the makeshift mats and med-tech droids navigated the aisles of wounded lying down. She caught a glimpse of a Zeltron nurse, brushing the cheek of a trooper who had lost an eye from shrapnel. His smile seemed as if it was permanent, and the Zeltron nurse, even with her sterile-looking uniform, exuded beauty. Ash was convinced that the best healer, despite her own powers, was the willingness to love, and to hope. It was better than any accelerated cell regeneration or channelling of life energy through the Force. There were ways to reach enlightenment for ordinary beings. You just had to look, and feel, in the right places. The Zeltron nurse looked up at Ash, who was staring right at her. She smiled gently and focused back on the trooper. Ash wanted to know her. She wanted to know a lot of people she stared into the eyes of, and told them that they were going to live. The fact of the matter was, even if she could channel the Force into saving lives, she never knew if the words she told them were true. And she wanted to trust someone as much her

comrades trusted her. She wanted someone to confide in, to be open to— she wanted a friend. Ash looked up; she didn’t know how much time passed. The nurse was gone, and she couldn’t find Lanvin among the recovering front lines a few yards forward of the terminal. As she regained focus, the sound of distant explosions in the air and speeding fighters in combat returned. Nearer to ground, it was only sizzling, crumbling, and groaning. She walked outside, and noticed Lanvin standing at the edge of where the pulse beams blasted deep into the ground. It was as if a crevice split a line between the two sides of the port. She approached him, and he continued to stare off into horizon. Texus 3 was the only habitable moon around the planet Ur. The horizon showed Ur in a bluish tint, and Lanvin was fixated on it. “I never asked you where you were born, have I?” Ash said calmly. “Coruscant. My parents fought in the Liberation, my brothers during the Civil War.” “Oh, so that explains the patriotism.” “I guess. Must I really supress all emotion?” Ash paused and looked up at him. He dwarfed her by several inches. She didn’t say anything, and Lanvin scoffed. “I know you don’t. I don’t think Wroonians can.” “Well, blue-skinned doesn’t mean we are blue people.” The two paused to gaze upon Ur once more. The system’s sun from the other side of the horizon reflected off Ur’s surface, giving it glowing look. They glanced back at the terminal, and saw the countless rows of injured troopers lying almost motionless. “Why is a Jedi healer assigned to teach me how to become a Jedi fighter?” He didn’t move his eyes from the casualties. Ash turned her head towards Lanvin, whose eyes drifted.

“I’m teaching you how to become a Jedi Jedi.” He turned towards her now, and matched her stare. “Well, I’m pretty good at that so far.” They stood silent, looking at the distant planet. Ash began walking back. Before entering the terminal, she turned around. “Yes, you are good, Lan. Better than most.” Lanvin paused, and bowed slightly when facing her. “Thank you, Master. You saved lives today.” She sat down beside the Rodian soldier, who was sedated and breathing quietly. Lanvin sat on the rubble outside, head pointed towards the faint shadow of Ur. She took one last glance at him before she put her hand over the Rodian’s forehead. It was just cold enough. “Yes, I guess I did.”