This story is dedicated to Markus who suggested the crossover and helped in the story's development. Enjoy!
What surprised the young Jedi more was the absence of any other craft. No Imperial Cruisers, no starfighters, not even a Rebel ship or freighter was encountered. Nothing but black space and a series of planets that didn't even support the smallest of organisms. Just as Marbe said, what kind of star system is this? There has to be a planet or moon where they could land. The ship still had plenty of fuel to travel to the ends of this strange little galaxy and back. Still, the Tasous worried that their personal provisions of food and water could dwindle, that is if they remained in space for too long.
"What's this planet coming up?," asked Marbe. "Looks like it might support us..."
"But what if it doesn't," said Kirel. "Here, let me get some readings. It's kind of red and green. From here it almost looks like Mustafar and Naboo all mixed up together. Let's see...Hmm...Just as I thought. It's scorching down there, and the atmosphere is crappy. Even the moons don't look like much. Just craggy little rocks floating around."
HK-47, listening to this conversation, suggested, "If you meatbags don't mind, I think the next planet might be your best bet. Didn't you two even take a look at the Holocron your mother forked over? She told me, just before you guys came to the spaceport, to let you see that Holocron. Has something to do with your dad and this planet he wanted you to go to."
Looking rather sheepish and a little upset, all the same, Kirel asked, "Why didn't you tell us this before we cleared Coruscant's atmosphere and got into deep space?"
HK just looked blankly with his master, saying, "Sir, Madame Belma expressly ordered me not to reveal this to you until you've gone through that time slip."
Time slip? Time slip! So that's what that was, and not a black hole. Marbe and Kirel looked at each other, now very worried that not only did they end up in a strange galaxy, there was the reality that they traveled back (or forth) in time. Is that possible? It was becoming increasingly obvious they could not return to their home galaxy, or could they?
Kirel turned to HK, asking, "All right, what's on that Holocron? And it better have a good explanation why we're stuck out here, and back in time!"
Marbe sat silently, saying nothing. The prospect of landing on a strange planet and having to deal with time past or future bothered her greatly. She sat there, almost in a trance, allowing the Force to guide her, speak to her. There has to be a plausible explanation, and Mother obviously had her reasons for letting her only children go off on a journey to parts unknown. Maybe, to Marbe, hers and Kirel's future lies somewhere on the next planet coming up. In her meditative trance she saw green hills, deep forests, cool lakes, winding rivers, towering mountains. In that paradise she could see creatures, animals exactly, but no humans. All right, so there may be humans elsewhere on that planet. Kirel and I will explore it, meet its inhabitants, get to know them and learn their ways. Perhaps we can teach them the ways of the Force. Then we'll be able to return home with our new friends and help the Alliance defeat the Empire...Oh my, what is this I hear?
Indeed, Marbe, oblivious to Kirel and HK arguing, heard just what another on that yet faraway planet heard: beautiful music. Only Marbe could actually see who was making those lovely sounds. She looks a little like me, but she's not me. Oh wow, she's good at...whatever that thing she's playing. Wonder if I'm looking into my future...or hers...Who is she?
Instantly the vision and music stopped. Marbe floated back to consciousness as HK produced the Holocron and handed it to Kirel. Shaking her head, Marbe went to her brother, asking, "Are you going to see what's on it?"
"I'm almost afraid to," said Kirel. "It's Mom's last words to us, I'm sure. It'll be like seeing a ghost."
Nevertheless, Kirel activated the Holocron per HK-47's instructions. Most Holocrons are activated by either pressing a certain panel or saying a special phrase. In this case it was the latter.
"Say 'Dvorak'," instructed HK.
"Dvorak?," asked Marbe. "What does that mean?"
"Your father," replied HK, "before he left to search for Master Hox, told Madame Belma that this is the code word to activate the Holocron. She said to me that it the name of a great man who lives – Well, will live – on this planet coming up. Don't ask me to explain. I'm just the messenger."
Kirel shrugged while Marbe mulled over this odd code word. Letting the Force speak to her, she somehow figured it out. She told Kirel, "Maybe say his whole name: 'Antonin Dvorak'."
She didn't know how that name popped into her head; it just came to her.
Kirel said the name, and at once the glowing image of Belma Tasou appeared. She appeared, albeit in hologram but as in life, just as the kids remembered her. Both fought those sentimental feelings, allowing the fact that their mother was now gone and there was nothing to bring her back. Mourn her, but let her go.
Belma spoke: "My dear children. I know my time is near, so I will try to make this as brief but as thorough as possible. By now, you have discovered that the Endurance has passed through not a black hole but a time slip. How do I know this? Your father, before departing for his mission, revealed much to me, about an odd excursion whilst a Jedi Apprentice. During a reconnaissance flight to the Outer Rim, he ran into trouble through hyperspace. At first he thought his starfighter had gone through a black hole. But this was not the case. He landed on a small planet, far from our galaxy. Upon exploring the surface, he discovered a herd of creatures never before seen. We have many kinds of flora and fauna throughout our star systems, but nothing like those your father saw. And they had the power of speech. Ricar made contact with these creatures, learning their ways. When he returned, he made a Holocron detailing these creatures and gave it to Artmo Hox. This was long before Hox disappeared. I believe Master Hox went through that time slip because the last message he sent Ricar described the planet perfectly but the creatures did not resemble those Ricar met."
Belma paused as if allowing her children to drink in every word. She smiled then continued.
"Ricar, on the second visit, met only one human, and this man, who I believe you may meet, explained about the time slip. It had been breached by a dark lord of the Sith, one who played a crucial role during the Clone Wars. Alas, he is long dead, slain by Anakin Skywalker, or so Obi-Wan Kenobi told me."
Kirel looked at Marbe and whispered, "Dooku? He's the one who opened that time slip. Why? And did the Emperor know about it? Does the Dark Lord Vader know of it?"
Marbe shook her head, replying, "We may never know. Maybe it was a secret. You know, Count Dooku kept this knowledge of time travel to himself, perhaps intending to change history for the galaxy."
"In other words," said Kirel, "to grab glory for himself."
"Exactly," said Marbe, still staring at her mother's image. How beautiful yet sad Belma Tasou appeared, but she still conveyed that quiet determination which attracted one Jedi Knight.
Belma's image began to flicker. Her last words to her children were, "My dears, take care of yourselves. Your father reported that though the creatures he met are gentle, there are many dangers. Predatory beasts abound, and the plant-eaters take great precautions to keep them at bay. Ah, I nearly forgot...."
She took out another Holocron. "This I gave to R2T7. She has been instructed keep it safe until you've landed on that planet. On it are further instructions left by your father and Master Hox."
Belma took a long deep breath then said, "One last item before I close: Marbe, you may meet a displaced Jedi Knight. She was one of the last to escape the Great Purge, and at last report, she had headed far beyond our galaxy. Perhaps she is there, on that planet. In what capacity I do not know. I just had a feeling she is there. When and if you meet her, you will know. I must go now, prepare the skiff for your safe journey away from this madness. When the time comes, once the Empire has fallen, one of you will return to our world; the other will remain behind. Which one will stay is not clear. All I know that both my children have incredible adventures ahead. Great destinies await both of you. Goodbye, my darlings, and may the Force be with you."
La Terre Belle...Natchez, 1848
"What Mom said was so final, yet cryptic. Perhaps I saw it coming, what with hearing that music. At any rate, Kirel and I just waited it out until we approached Earth. We had no idea what to expect, although Mom explained best she could. My father...Oh my! Even in his Holocron, the one Kirel and I used to train in the Force, Dad never once mentioned his two trips to Earth. Or that it was Dooku who breached that time slip in the first place."
Marbe Tasou, now known in these parts as Marbile Beauchamps, paused in her recount of embarking upon an incredible adventure. Her guest, Charlie Lavigne, listened with great intent, but when Marbe mentioned hearing music whilst in a meditative trance, it sparked something.
Taking a curious item from his pocket, Charlie asked, "Did it ever occur to you that what you heard might be signs of your future? To be more specific, of your later descendants. And it intrigued me when your father used 'Dvorak' as your mother's Holocron code word."
Marbe still was not clear on that, and she had no inkling she knew the full name. She asked, "Does the name mean anything to you? I asked the hadrosaur Sarama but she could tell me so much."
Charlie smiled, replying, "That is because Antonin Dvorak, as of now, is only seven years old. He will grow up to be one of the world's most beloved composers. In fact, his music you will hear in your lifetime. I particularly love his string compositions, which reminds me...And I believe you should see one of your more illustrious descendants."
He showed Marbe the mirror. Well, it was no ordinary mirror. Upon bringing it to Marbe's eye level, Charlie whispered a few magical words in what Marbe knew was Latin. At once an image appeared, a lovely young woman sitting on a spacious front porch. The lady played an instrument Marbe recalled seeing during her first days in 19th Century America.
"Isn't that a cello?," she asked. "I saw many in that orchestra which played wonderful waltzes at the Creole Cotillion."
The young woman Marbe saw was beautiful and extremely talented. Yet she appeared sad, depressed. Marbe asked, "She hasn't had it easy. There is much anger and fear in her. Not good for one so in tune with the Force."
Charlie nodded. "Yes, I guess you can say that. With all her talent, and I'm told her way with the instrument rivals that of Yo-Yo Ma and Rostropovich, both imminent cellists of the day. Not too many can master that Dvorak concerto; even Maddie says its so intimidating..."
"Hmm...Lofty praise, indeed," said Marbe with a wide smile. Still, it was strange looking at an image of a woman who will live long after Marbe's death.
She asked, "Maddie...Is that her name?"
"Well, her full given name is Madeline Louise Newbury. As much as she hates her father, she still thinks 'Newbury' has a classy edge to it. And yes, I picked up on your feelings. She is a sad one, suffers from bouts of abject depression far too often. I worry about her. She is my goddaughter, and I promised her mother..."
"...To spare her any more pain, to protect her."
Marbe Tasou gathered her thoughts then said, "Mr. Lavigne, since you left us, you never knew what happened afterwards. That is, once we met Kamura and her friends en route to the Nesting Ground. This was before we found Master Hox's crashed starfighter wherein contained our father's last words to him."
"Before," Charlie said, "you reached the grounds and met Aladar's Herd."
"Yes," she said, "and we didn't know Master Hox had been there. Remained in that cave all that time without any of the Herd knowing he was there. Of course, by the time we reached the Nesting Grounds the Herd had already met Master Hox."
Marbe laughed, recalling, "And Eema, upon seeing Master Hox's astromech droid the first time, got quite a jolt."
Charlie joined in her humor, laughingly replying, "Oh yes, I heard about that from Yar. I imagine seeing that little droid would give one pause. I often wonder how those in the Valley reacted upon meeting your father."
Again, Marbe smiled. She felt, even though it took much to get used to, at home in this southern paradise. In her role as plantation mistress, she remembered her mother's many social affairs. In a way, she, although she had no U4PO, or any droids, to help with the myriad household tasks, there was one house servant she relied upon more than anyone. And she had met this woman many years ago, when her parents still lived, before things began to fall apart.
Jolting back to reality, she asked Charlie, "Sir, I know you must return to your friends soon. But, and I wouldn't mind if you declined, could you stay at least a few more days? You see, Jean-Paul and I are giving a ball this Friday for some politicians we've befriended..."
"Ah, yes," remarked Charlie, "I almost forgot this is an election year." Then, his eyes twinkling, he asked, "And who is your husband backing for the White House? General Zachary Taylor or Mr. Lewis Cass?"
Marbe replied with a grin, "Sir, my husband isn't interested in politics per se. He finds such men amusing, that's all."
She grew serious then added, "Sometimes, when these men come through our door, I'm so often reminded of the many Senators who sat at my parent's dinner table. I can still sense Bail Organa and Padmé Amidala as if they're still with us. When I look at the men who come here, I try to detect in them some of the great Senators of our old Republic. Mr Henry Clay has been here, and he reminds me of a Senator from Tatooine, very magical with words and such."
Charlie, putting away the magic mirror, agreed to stay on a few days, but he told Marbe he must return to meet with friends concerning Maddie's future.
"I understand," said Marbe. "Allow me to put you up in our finest guest suite."
She went to the bellpull and gently tugged it. Within seconds a lovely black woman with sparkling hazel eyes entered the room. She said, "You rang, Miss Marbile?"
Marbe smiled at her favorite house servant, replying, "Orielle, Mr. Lavigne is stopping with us for a few days. Please ready the Coruscant Room. Toby will take up Mr. Lavigne's belongings. And tell Mammy Grace to make her special pecan pie for dinner tonight."
Orielle curtseyed politely, then eyeing Charlie, said, "Very good, Miss Marbile."
She still looked at Charlie, then said, "I know you. You were in that place during Ricar's last visit. You helped me to escape that sharp-toothed predator. I had lost my lightsaber, and..."
Charlie, now realized just who the "displaced Jedi" Belma referred to in that Holocron. He turned to Marbe, asking, "And where did you two finally meet up?"
"In a slave market, in New Orleans," replied Marbe. "I recognized her at once, and Jean-Paul so desperately outbid this Missouri gentleman who would have taken Orielle to St. Louis. I would've never seen her again." Orielle smiled then laughed, saying, "Imagine, Senator Thomas Hart Benton getting a Jedi Knight as his house help! I wonder what he'd make of my new lightsaber!"
Upon listening to Orielle's account of being nearly sold to a prominent U.S. Senator, Charlie and Marbe enjoyed a hearty laugh. Marbe quipped, "She has been a godsend. Orielle agreed to come here, to this time period, although she, by the color of her skin, would most likely find herself a slave. She has helped me adjust to life here. So different from what we knew in our home galaxy. We still keep in touch with my brother and how he's faring with Luke Skywalker as one of the new Jedi Knights."
Charlie understood this, then asked Marbe to continue her recount of how she and Kirel finally found their way to Cretaceous Earth.
She said, "We cruised through space, past that red planet you call Mars," she said. "We could see the faint outline of the Earth but didn't know what to expect. Once we arrived, we were so taken with the sheer beauty of Earth from space. It almost reminded us of Naboo or Alderaan. Of course, once we landed, it was quite a shock...No humans, not even a creature, no other lifeforms – yet. Just vast wastelands and canyons. Then we met you, then Kamura and her friends. It was quite a shock when she introduced her new mate, Anakin. Imagine my surprise that this animal shared the same name as the one who, as of then, became completely engulfed by the dark side. Ironically, the iguanodon Anakin was nothing like the young man who fell so awfully from grace..."
Copyright @2006 by P.R. Parker. All Rights Reserved.