This story is dedicated to Markus who suggested the crossover and helped in the story's development. Enjoy!
The images on the Holonet faded as those gathered digested those scenes from an incredible, life and death battle. Marbe Kirel, in her 19th Century Earth persona, Marbile Beauchamps, continued her recount of her and her brother's Cretaceous adventure. One chapter of their lives was coming to a close; one sibling would return to Coruscant with Luke Skywalker, and Marbe would remain on Earth. However, there were signs of an unsettled future for both Jedi. This was told to Marbe by the hadrosaur Sarama, who revealed such in private.
"She revealed how I would encounter another, perhaps several, Jedi in my lifetime. Apparently, according to Sarama, many Jedi fleeing Palpatine's dark madness would find that space slip, among them would be two Dark Jedi who were destined to wreck their havoc on Earth. One family in particular would fall victim to the consuming darkness, but they would be unaware of the dangers of the dark side. Only power and control they seek, thus the Dark One finds his or her machinations easy, much like Palpatine so easily persuaded Anakin Skywalker."
"But," reiterated Charlie, "Anakin was caught at a weak moment. He lost his mother, and he feared losing his wife. Saving Padmé was paramount in his ultimate fall to the dark side. Now, about this other family of who Sarama spoke. I've researched this family and discovered they've committed the most heinous of crimes and misdeeds. Several actions resulted in needless death and suffering. Any idea who that Dark One was?"
Marbe shook her head, replying, "No, and to this day I have no idea who this person is or where he or she landed."
Jean-Paul, strangely silent as Marbe recounted Sarama's parting words, at last revealed, "I know who that Dark One is. Lorenz Kast, a Jedi from Dantooine who fell to the dark side during the Wars. His presence and influence had profound bearing on my own family. You say his ways with one family resulted in tremendous suffering. My forebears felt that suffering firsthand..."
Jean-Paul's eyes blazed, the sweat beating on his brow. Sensing his anger rising, he paused, gathered his composure, then continued, "I had a dreadful confrontation with a progeny of Lorenz Kast, just before emigrating to America. But not before befriending a special family and becoming acquainted with a remarkable young Austrian composer. The latter, I learned, is Jedi, and he has recorded his entire life on Earth, as well as those of many Jedi on Earth, through his music."
Now Charlie was intrigued, and a bit puzzled. Young Austrian composer? Who was this?
"Helmut Brück," replied Jean-Paul. "A minor composer, sir. A great friend of many of the more accomplished men of his field. He composed, at my request, a special suite for a French Jewish family. And he still lives, Monsieur Lavigne. He travels much and never settles in one place."
All right, so this Brück is one young Jedi Charlie should meet some day. What Jean-Paul partially revealed is intriguing enough. However, he wanted to hear more of the Tasous' last days with the Herd. How did they conduct the memorial service for Anakin and Kamura? What was Kirel's reaction to Marbe's decision to remain on Earth? What did the Herd see and experience once Luke Skywalker and friends left for home? What became of the turncoat droid HK-47?
"The Herd began experiencing a series of sights and sounds of the distant future," said Marbe. "That was what Sarama reported to me just after I left–"
Charlie interrupted, "How did Sarama – a dinosaur – manage to contact you? You and her are separated by millions of years. Transmitting messages over space is one thing, but over time portals...That is quite difficult!"
Marbe laughed, saying, "Not if you had what your wizard friend gave Plio..."
When was the last time the Herd buried its dead? Nearly two years ago when Aladar built a tomb of rocks atop Bruton's body, and he did the same for Kron. Despite the jarring differences between Aladar and Kron, not to mention a vicious fight between them, Aladar felt he owed it to Neera. After all, if Aladar and his lemur family hadn't encountered the Herd, then no one would have survived to see the Nesting Grounds. Now, two years after closing a sad chapter, the Herd said their final good-byes to two more, two had only arrived days ago. Who knew one of the traveling trio of iguanodons was Aladar's birth mother Kamura? Then again, not one of the Herd could imagine sharing their valley with human and droid visitors for a brief time.
Yes, it was a day for farewells: To Kamura and Anakin who bravely stood their ground against carnotaurs and a bounty hunters, the former taking a blaster bolt meant for her son. After the memorial, the Herd would say good-bye to their Jedi friends. Several from that faraway galaxy arrived just in time to dispatch the last of the carnotaurs, and they brought great news to their exiled comrades. The Empire had been defeated, Anakin Skywalker redeemed, and a New Republic will soon rise from the chaos which plunged the galaxy into darkness and despotism.
They gathered at the mouth of the cave, at a safe distance from the canyon. Aladar, accompanied by Xander, Mac, and the Wookie Chewbacca, rolled stones over Anakin and Kamura's bodies, covering them completely. Aladar, ever the steadfast leader, finally gave into his grief. His sorrowful howls could be heard all over, and both Plio and Neera soothed him with words of comfort and wisdom.
"Mourn her not," said Neera. "That's what Master Yoda would say. Kamura did what she had to do, to save you. She believed it was making up for what happened to her nest. Aladar, she did what any mother would do. If necessary, I would do the same for our children, as Belma Tasou did for hers."
Plio concurred, "Think of it, Aladar. Those kids lost their mother at a most uncertain time in their lives. They didn't know what the future held, but their mother must have felt it. And I agree with Neera: I would die for you, for Suri, for any of my family if needed."
Aladar was very appreciative of the comforting words, and he wished he could turn back time, go back to that day he lashed out at his mother in anger. But that was in the past, as Master Hox said. The present and future are all that matter now.
"I am feeling less sad," Aladar told Luke Skywalker after the memorial. "In those days when we shared our home with Artmo and the Tasous, I've learned much of your Jedi ways. How to trust my feelings but not let my guard down. Uttering those angry, hateful words at my mother, blaming her for abandoning me, was wrong. I guess I gave into my anger too easily. Xander helped me see that, and he lost family, too."
Luke smiled, then grew serious, saying, "The hurt will go away in time, Aladar. I learned that when I faced my father and convinced him there was still good. It wasn't easy, keeping my anger and frustration inside. I hated my father at first, when he revealed himself to me back in Cloud City. I hated him for what he did: Torturing Leia, destroying her home, freezing Han in carbonite then selling him to Jabba, trying to turn me to the dark side. He finally realized he could no longer destroy what he loved all along: Me. I am part of my mother who he loved dearly."
Aladar didn't quite understand. If Anakin Skywalker, in the guise as Darth Vader, did such horrible things, how could Luke ever forgive him? To this Luke explained.
"Because there was still good in him. I could feel it. Despite the atrocities he committed, I couldn't go on hating him. Hate is not the Jedi way. Such feelings lead to the dark side. Sure, I was angry and frustrated as I witnessed Alliance starfighters slaughtered by the scores. Just as you felt angry toward your mother. You thought she abandoned you, and I felt the same for my father at first. But he finally turned back to the light as you did. He died to save me, as Kamura died to save you."
Now Aladar finally understood what Plio and Marbe said. What really made him feel better was the fact he forgave his mother and reconnected with her, if only for a few fleeting minutes. He took one last look at the rock pile entombing Kamura and Anakin's remains.
With a sigh, he said to Luke, "Well, at least she and Anakin are at peace. I suppose you will take Kirel and Marbe back with you. It was great knowing them, and if it wasn't for them or you, all of us could've been killed."
Then he thought of something. He asked, "What about Kirel's droid, HK? He was the one who told Len Targ where to find the kids. Artmo Hox put a restraining bolt on him. He's still standing where Hox left him: By that rock where Gotoma's remains rest."
Luke asked, "Who was Gotoma?"
Aladar smiled, replying, "Why don't we go back to the valley. There I can tell you all about Gotoma and why he was so special."
"Oh, so you're the infamous HK-47, former assassin droid who sold out your master to Len Targ. I'm certainly fortunate not to have dishonesty and disloyalty in my programming. You will certainly be sent to another owner upon our return. Perhaps, as I was, you may sent to the Jawas or, more dreadfully, the Hutts. I speak from experience, and neither situation was not at all pleasant ."
The protocol droid C3PO looked at HK with dread. He knew what happens to droids who outlive their usefulness. In HK's case, especially after this episode which nearly got three Jedi killed, he could be sent to Tatooine or another Outer Rim world for reprogramming. No doubt the assassin droid would also have his mind wiped. He's seen too much, and such knowledge could prove dangerous. The Empire may have been defeated, but it was not completely dead. Already, upon the destruction of the second Death Star and Palpatine's death, surviving Imperial forces had scattered throughout the galaxy. They would undoubtedly regroup to challenge the fledging New Republic, but that would be dealt with once 3PO and company depart Earth for home.
Now was the time to say goodbye to these remarkable creatures. Threepio wished he could stay longer, get to know the dinosaurs better, but duty calls at home, so Master Luke and Captain Solo says. The droid could see Aladar, Eema, and the Skywalker party, also accompanied by the Tasous and Artmo Hox, coming up the bluff. Something Aladar wanted to show Master Luke, these remains resting on the granite wall. Threepio looked up at the old bones and wondered what made this long-dead animal so special. That was explained at once as Aladar approached.
"So this is the legendary Gotoma," said Han Solo looking up at the ancient dinosaur's bones.
"You told us," commented Leia to Eema, "how he founded your Nesting Grounds. That it's a place for rejuvenation and regeneration."
"And," said Luke wistfully, "a place to touch the Force." He smiled, turning to Aladar, adding, "I know many of your Herd, especially Sarama and the elders, are Force-sensitive. Master Hox and the Tasous revealed that much to me. They also told me of Ricar Tasou's two visits to this planet years ago, before the Clone Wars."
"Only," rejoined Leia, "Ricar came here in the distant past. Encountered creatures much like the Herd but more ancient. They, in turn, became part of dinosaur folklore and legends. Eema and Baylene tell these stories about the Great Valley herd, and Ricar Tasou recorded his entire visit."
Luke recalled seeing those Holonet images of Ricar Tasou's visits to Earth's Jurassic Period. He also remembered what Master Hox said about the time slip, that it was originally breached by a Sith apprentice whose actions led to the Clone Wars: Count Dooku. One of the Fallen Jedi who went to the dark side, Dooku was Darth Sidious' apprentice during those uncertain days before the wars. Somehow, Dooku found and opened that time slip, then came to this planet, staying long enough to kidnap one the valley herd. A child apatosaurus, the youngest of the Longnecks. This crime occurred days before Ricar's initial visit, and the young Jedi recorded the child's best friend's account. Of course, the friend, a hadrosaur named Korie, was sworn to secrecy. Tell no one what you saw, Ricar cautioned, lest another human from that faraway galaxy should find his or her way to this planet. Perhaps Dooku planned to take more dinosaur children, train them as beasts of war. But that never happened since Dooku, under the influence of Sidious, was caught up in the thick of the wars. He met his end at the hands of Anakin Skywalker, the same time the kidnapped dinosaur miraculously and mysteriously disappeared from its prison on Dantooine.
Whatever happened to that little one was all in the past. No one else knew about the crime. What weighed on Luke's mind now was the fact many displaced Jedi and Force Masters, on the run from the Emperor's purge, found that time slip and came to Earth, but ended up in various eras. One Jedi, a Nabooian named Bruno Dibon, was one of the first group of Knights to pass through the slip. This Luke learned from Obi-Wan Kenobi who was the few Jedi privy to Ricar Tasou's secret mission through time portals. Master Kenobi had wanted to explore the time slip himself, discover what secrets it held. However, Obi-Wan had his hands full training a young Anakin Skywalker; then the wars came. An opportunity lost for one Jedi, but a boon for so many more.
Still looking at Gotoma's remains, Luke felt an unsettled rumbling in the Force. Deep within he could ascertain only two Jedi would return with him to Coruscant. The other would remain behind to begin a lineage of Jedi on Earth. Already Luke knew which one would remain as, in the corner of his eye, he could see two figures emerging from the cave's mouth. One he had met before, not long after he burned his father's body armor on the Endor moon. The other figure seemed familiar but strange, all the same. To Luke this man looked every part a strong Force Master, but his ways with that potent energy far differed from the norm.
Another rumble in the Force commanded Luke's attention to Gotoma's remains. Luke blinked in astonishment. Was he seeing things? Then again, nothing surprised him anymore. Those bones seemed to glow. Sinew and skin appeared, then the long-dead creature seemed to come to life. As in past occasions, Gotoma appeared to the Herd, but this time he had some pertinent and potent words for the Jedi present. Some would portend the future – unsettling and uncertain for one, life threatening for another.
The Herd and Jedi gathered around to hear the old dinosaur's words. Whatever he had to say, and the reason behind those newly arrived gentlemen's presence, not to mention more on that strange music everyone had heard and experienced over the past months, would not go over too easily for one, perhaps two persons present.
Copyright @2006 by P.R. Parker. All Rights Reserved.