This story is dedicated to Markus who suggested the crossover and helped in the story's development. Enjoy!
The Herd gathered around Anakin as Aladar gently broke the news of Bruton's death. Anakin also learned what happened to Kron, so that was another blow to deal with. Although he had some reservations about Kron's later leadership abilities – too outdated and not enough compassion – Anakin admired Kron for his tenacity. Bruton also held a special place in Anakin's heart. While not so much an "old soldier" like his brother, Anakin loved Bruton and always felt very close to him.
It was Plio who told Anakin how Bruton died.
"The carnotaurs entered the cave, and Aladar got everyone up and out. We were almost out of their way until one spotted Aladar. It lunged at Aladar. I thought it was the end for him, but Bruton stepped in and kept the carnotaurs at bay. Poor Bruton...He already suffered terrible injuries from an earlier attack. But he was so brave, and at the last moment, slammed into a pillar, bringing down the roof. Unfortunately, Bruton didn't get out of the way in time. He was killed instantly, Anakin. There was nothing more we could do."
Anakin, in his grief, asked in a nearly choked voice, "Is he...still in there?" He nodded towards the cave.
"Yes," said Eema. "After we all got settled here, Aladar and the others built a nice tomb for Bruton. He's still there, baby. Don't mourn him, honey, for he was there at the right time and place. You know what he was like. He wasn't about to let those carnotaurs kill us all, so he did what he had to do."
Anakin said, "Well, at least he died a hero. It is a comfort to know he went doing the right thing. In time, I'd like to see this tomb."
On the far edge of the Grounds, Marbe and Kirel got a special tour courtesy Neera, Baylene, and Sarama. Stopping at the massive granite wall, Kirel noticed the entombed remains of a dinosaur. Staring at the old bones sent a shockwave of sensation through him. Never before had he gotten such a feeling. He sensed a deep rumbling in the Force, so did his sister but not the same feeling.
"Something is about to happen," said Marbe. "I can't quite describe it, but an event will take place both here and at home. Life as we know it will change so much."
"Yeah," said Kirel, "I sense something, too, but not like that. For the life of me, I keep feeling as if all is not safe for us. It's close yet so far away."
Still staring up at the dinosaur's remains, both Jedi wondered just what power this place harbored. Ever since landing on this planet and arriving at the Nesting Grounds, Marbe and Kirel felt more intuited with the Force than ever before. They wished Master Hox was here to explain this phenomenon but he was presently elsewhere with the styracosaur Mac. Apparently, the Jedi Master, during his time here became better acquainted with Mac, almost to the point that the pair were nearly inseparable.
"Dad was right, Marbe," said Kirel, still looking at old Gotoma's remains. "These animals are highly intelligent, and they display Force potential. Didn't you have time to talk with the one called Sarama? Neera says she has the power to foretell the future. In fact, Sarama's whole family is like that; her grandmother foresaw the Fireball disaster and Aladar's birth."
Marbe nodded, replying, "She and I conversed on several subjects, including her power of prophecy. She confessed of dreams and visions of our own galaxy. Sarama, in her dreams, saw the fall of the Republic and the rise of Lord Vader."
"Neera says," countered Kirel, "Sarama foresaw a sea disaster that will come eons from now. They even – and if this isn't a sign of their Force-sensitivity I don't what is – boarded the ship and interacted with its victims. I tell you, Marbe, that Charlie guy was right; Dad was right. These creatures are a marvel."
Marbe smiled, knowing she and her brother at last found a home among the dinosaurs. Yet she still had that nagging feeling all would not settle for her. That dream disturbed her greatly, and she wanted to share her visions with Sarama. She couldn't tell Kamura because part of that dream had bearing on that lady's deep secret. No, thought Marbe, let Kamura tell Aladar in her own time. Hopefully he will take the news well. If not, the idealistic, optimistic iguanodon could harbor latent bitterness and hatred towards his mother, sending him on the brink of the dark side.
"So, Xander, where are you from? How did you meet up with Anakin and Kamura?"
Under the shade of their favorite tree, Aladar and Neera settled with their newest residents. So much learn of what's going on in the outside world, news that doesn't make it to the sheltered Nesting Grounds too often. Oh, the Herd often got their news via the flyers that, on occasion, visit their valley, but those were few and far between. The one flyer, Delsie, whose sister Glennis arrived in the valley shortly after the Fireball, journeyed to the Grounds but those visits became infrequent since Glennis' recent death. That Neera explained to her guests.
"We didn't know Glennis existed until she came out of hiding to piece together what happened to Baylene's brother."
"Why," asked Kamura, "did Glennis hide herself?"
Aladar replied, "She was severely burned in the Fireball. All her children died in the blast, and her mate carried her all the way from our island to the Nesting Grounds. Poor Glennis was so disfigured, so she felt it best to keep out of sight."
"But," countered Neera, "she made herself known when Baylene needed to know her brother's fate. See, Glennis and Kenric were friends, and she was to deliver a message to Baylene that Kenric was coming home. But the Fireball struck and...Well, things got messed up."
Things get messed up, thought Kamura, like when I lost my eggs. I try not to dwell on that, but sometimes I feel as if things won't get messed up this time. I look at both Xander and Aladar...How much they favor each other, as if they could pass for brothers. Not just in looks but inside as well. Aladar is, from the little time I've known him, kind and compassionate, very idealistic, a good sense of humor, and a deep well of love for everyone and everything. Xander is like that, too. They can't be related for I asked Xander about his family, and he told me he's the only one left. Maybe I'm trying too hard to detect much of former mate in Aladar, but he does look like him. It's uncanny, as if my long-dead mate returned to the living. Could Aladar be the one? The one Ben Kenobi spoke of in my dreams? The lone egg that miraculously survived that carnotaur attack? It is a mystery that may never get solved...
Kamura didn't have to wonder anymore, because Neera related more of Glennis' story: How an unsuccessful hunting expedition became a boon for the lemurs, and ultimately for the Herd itself. Kamura would have to thank Anakin for asking Neera to tell more of the strange connection between Glennis and Baylene's brother.
"She often told him," said Neera, "how her mother brought an egg all the way from the mainland, only to drop into the forest below. A fight with birds brought that on, and that egg landed in the lemurs' midst. It hatched in Plio's arms."
"That was me," said Aladar, his eyes looking squarely at Kamura. "I could have ended up as a flyer's dinner, but fate stepped in and...Well, things didn't get all that messed up. Still, I often wonder about my parents – the ones who gave me life. Plio tells me not to dwell on what could have been, and to be thankful things turned out the way they did. Think of it: If Glennis and Delsie's mother hadn't dropped that egg, I wouldn't be here. My lemur family most likely would have died in the Fireball, and the Herd would not have survived to see the Nesting Grounds again."
Kamura blinked. Could Aladar really be her long-lost son? No, he can't, because all her eggs were smashed. Or were they?
Resting in the tree, Flit, his tiny greenish form concealed by foliage, overhearing the conversation, whispered in Kamura's ear, "He is the one. We saw the theft, and followed the egg all the way from the Nesting Grounds to river where a flyer picked it up. Oh please, let Aladar know you're alive and that you still love him."
Copyright @2006 by P.R. Parker. All Rights Reserved.