This story is dedicated to Markus who suggested the crossover and helped in the story's development. Enjoy!
"Should we tell?," asked Flit.
"Maybe, maybe not," said Kit who so much wanted to reveal that eyewitness account of long ago. "After all, we saw the whole thing; so did our mom. It happened so long ago but I never forgot it."
"Yeah," said Flit. "after that carnotaur did his deed, that nasty egg snatcher grabbed the egg from Kamura's nest. It was the only one not smashed."
"Then," said Kit, "we and Mom followed it to the forest where he fought over it with another egg thief...It dropped into the water and we followed it all the way until that flyer grabbed it."
"Only," said Flit, "we don't know what happened to it after that. Aladar may not be Kamura's kid after all."
"Who said Aladar wasn't Kamura's son?"
That came from Delsie, a pteranodon who once in a while visited the Nesting Grounds when she wasn't on hunting expeditions. To tell the truth, Delsie's visits to the Grounds became more infrequent ever since her sister Glennis died. That lady once helped solve the mystery of a wayward egg her mother had fished out of a river. Mom brought the egg all the way across the sea to her home in the high cliffs, only to engage in a tussle with a bunch of ichthyronis. The egg dropped into the forest miles below, ending up on Lemur Island. It hatched in Plio's arms: the baby Aladar.
"As I said, who's to say Aladar is not Kamura's," repeated Delsie. "I was there, in the nest with my sister, when Mom dropped that egg. It was to be our dinner, but those nasty little birds..."
She sighed, adding, "Maybe it was all for the best. Think of it, kids. If Mom hadn't dropped that egg, Plio wouldn't have found it. It would've never hatched, and Aladar would never exist. The lemurs would've been killed in the Fireball, and the Herd would never live to see their beloved Nesting Grounds again."
Kit and Flit looked at each other, the former asking, "So do you think we should tell Aladar and Kamura? Come on, we, along with our mother, witnessed the whole thing, even your mom taking the egg. Oh boy, what to do? Here we can tell all, but we're afraid. What if Aladar ends up hating his mom for abandoning him? What if Kamura doesn't want to see the son she lost?"
Delsie, watching the Herd gather around Marbe and Kirel Tasou, said, "Let's get those kids settled in first. That Artmo most likely will show them those pictures of their father's journey to the Great Valley long ago, so let them be. As for Aladar and Kamura, I say let her tell him in her own good time. We won't meddle with this one."
When was the last time he laid eyes on Ricar's children? So long ago, when Marbe and Kirel were only days old. Of course, Artmo Hox left shortly after the twins' birth. The Clone Wars were raging on, and Master Hox was en route to the Outer Rim. However, something happened during hyperspace resulting in Hox's current residence. He never learned what happened to his former student until receiving Ricar Tasou's message. Ricar had recently rejoined the Jedi Order and set out to find the missing Hox, only to end up as prisoner on Grievous' ship. In his last moments, Ricar detailed more of his own visit to this planet, actually millions of years prior to this present time.
So, Belma Tasou, fiercely protecting her children and their destinies, made it possible for Marbe and Kirel to escape the Emperor's clutches. She guarded Ricar's secret of the time slip with her life, and died with that secret.
So many questions to be answered: What is going on back in their home galaxy? What of this Alliance determined to stamp out the Imperial regime? And is it true? The son of Anakin Skywalker has completed his Jedi training and is preparing to face the Sith Lord Vader. This Artmo Hox saw in his own visions, but he had no inkling of what had truly transpired since the day his starfighter penetrated the time slip.
"The Alliance is gaining momentum," said Kirel. "This I felt since landing on this planet. The Empire is building a second Death Star, the first having been destroyed by Luke Skywalker."
The Herd, looking on as Master Hox re-acquainted with the Tasous, murmured among themselves. What is a Death Star? Sounds utterly destructive, possibly more devastating than the Fireball. When Aladar asked about this, Marbe replied:
"It was a space station equipped with enough firepower to destroy an entire planet. In one of her messages to my mother, Leia Organa related witnessing the destruction of her home world, Alderaan."
Now Artmo appeared alarmed. He asked, "Alderaan destroyed? That was the sensation I felt; in fact, I sensed another Jedi feeling the same. As if a million voices cried out then suddenly silenced."
He turned to Kirel, adding, "You say the Alliance is gaining momentum. This second Death Star will be destroyed, but at tremendous cost. Right now I sense a raging battle, but it is not what you think. Surely, the Alliance loses many fighters, but the true confrontation is about to begin. The prophecy of the Chosen One is at realization. Balance will be restored, young ones." More news of home courtesy the Tasous, including nearly all Jedi slain or forced into exile, Master Yoda being one of the latter group.
"The Emperor ordered it, Master Hox," said Marbe. "We had to go into hiding after Father died. All surviving Jedi, even the families, were hunted down and slaughtered. Mother, in her last act, arranged our escape."
Kirel added, "With Father's help via that Holocron he recorded long ago. The one that describes his two visits to this planet."
Eema and Baylene looked at each other; the latter whispering, "It must be that bad at home, or else they wouldn't have found the need to flee here. What sort of monster orders others murdered? We don't do things like that here."
Eema shook her head, replying, "Beats me, Baylene. Funny that we've encountered humans in our visions and dreams, now we have three of them in our midst. Sometimes I wonder how this world will be once the humans are the ones calling the shots."
Aladar, nearly embarrassed that the other dinosaurs accompanying the Tasous had yet to be introduced, looked at the one called Kamura. Somehow she seemed familiar in a sense. Perhaps it was that deep nagging feeling he had ever since experiencing those odd dreams. Last night, Aladar dreamed he was in another valley, only this one was much larger. The familiar Herd faces were there, but now they lived in harmony with another herd. What made this dream so unreal was the other herd was made up of creatures who died out eons ago. The same dinosaurs of legend. In his nocturnal journey, Aladar conversed with a sauropod family. There was the parents, the grown son, and a grandson. Rounding out the group was a human female who the proud father proclaimed was his longlost daughter.
"Though her form is not like ours", the elderly apatosaurus said, "she is still part of the family and we love her so."
Then the scene shifted to the old lakebed. There Aladar heard the music again, only this time a man was singing as the same woman danced a jaunty jig. Many of the Herd joined in the merriment, and one stood out among the rest. This was another iguanodon, and he looked just like the young buck who arrived with the Tasous. He spoke to the dancing lady, asking if she felt better. Odd how the pair were nearly inseparable during the Herd's trek to a new home.
What new home? Aladar couldn't explain it after he woke up. Some dream...The entire Herd leaving the Nesting Grounds for an unknown destination. Yet in that dream I saw us with that other herd...And the woman...Who is she? She almost looked like Marbe Tasou...
Len Targ, after making several orbits around the planet, landed his ship just short of the desert. Ah, so the droid HK47 was right; the Tasous are here for there is the skiff. Len also noticed footprints belonging a creature of sorts. Strange little planet, he thought as he gathered his speeder bike and blaster. From my readings, there is not one human settlement anywhere. Only an assortment of flora and fauna.
Hmm...These prints are unlike those of the animals in our galaxy...Three-toed creatures...There are three of them...The tracks are quite fresh, not more than two days old. Wait! Didn't Worge mention a creature Count Dooku kept on Dantooine? Whatever made these tracks could be similar....No matter, since it's the Tasous I'm after...And HK47...
His eyes followed the trail made by those creatures. He assumed the Tasous followed those same tracks, so getting on his speeder, Len Targ made haste across the desert. He had those coordinates courtesy the protocol droid. An old lakebed in on the other side of the desert; the canyon is just beyond the lake. From there is a cave. Enter the cave, then follow the path to the breach that leads to the Nesting Grounds. Sounds simple enough. However, right before Len departed, he received a message from HK47. The droid couldn't talk too long as the Grounds teemed with spies.
"Do not reply to this, Len," said HK on the comlink. "And don't enter the cave just yet. When you arrive, let me know, for I have an idea how to deliver the Tasous and Master Hox. Be on alert for predators. They lurk everywhere."
Predators...So that's what made those tracks. By his calculations, Len Targ concluded he could easily catch up to those beasts within the next two days, barring any interference that is. Perhaps the Emperor would be satisfied knowing the fugitive Jedi ended up as an animal's snack. Yes, why not record all the gory details on the Holonet then transmit back to Coruscant? Surely the Emperor would still pay a handsome fee, and give the renegade HK47 as a bonus.
Len smiled to himself, thinking of what that generous bounty could buy. Wasn't there a young lady he met in a bar in Imperial City? Didn't she say she loved men who weren't afraid to show a girl a good time, and that meant spending wads of cash? Now, what was her name? Parva Eugui, the only child of an old starship pilot and thoroughly devoted to the Empire. Wasn't old Orson Eugui, who died in the Clone Wars, HK's last owner? Hmm...there is something afoot...
Usually protocol droids, once they change hands, have their minds wiped. But Len, despite having known Parva Eugui for only a short time, was privy to much information. Apparently, Parva, just before the Tasous went into hiding, gained access to the family's home. Posing as a droid technician, Parva, on call from Belma Tasou to perform minor repairs on both R2 and HK, secretly restored some of the latter's memory. This was done as a favor to Palpatine who issued the dreaded Order 66. The Emperor wanted all Jedi dead, and that included their families and supporters. He knew Ricar's surviving children would surface some day, and there was no doubt they were training – in secret – as Jedi. Such a thing could not happen as any Jedi alive remained a threat to the Empire.
Good old HK47, whose non-existent conscience and lack of morals served the Emperor's agenda well thus far, should thank his former owner. Too bad HK, once the Jedi are a wisp of a memory and Len returns triumphant to Coruscant, will end up in Jabba's palace. Ironically, Len Targ didn't know the infamous crime boss had met his end long ago, and the one who strangled the life out of him now engaged in a life and death battle for the soul of the Republic.
Copyright @2006 by P.R. Parker. All Rights Reserved.