HRD Rating: PG

First Sentence Challenge

"It's been said that the moment you are born you also begin to die and that as the tick tock of death's chrono is activated, it counts down to the moment one will return to wherever their beliefs teach with the how, when, where and why to be determined somewhere along life's path. Unless you become an ASRD produced by ODT. ODT's All-Species Replica Droid, mixed with Ssi-Ruuvi entechment technology allows anyone with the credits to spend to have a perfect, indestructible body. The process is painless, and the rewards-"

Jaina turns off the holocom with a frown. She remembers ODT, and the mess it created on Bakura so long ago during the Vong War. It is one of her many regrets not being able to find them after they escaped her. She frowns as she realizes that she cannot even recall which planet it was on.

She sighs as she settles on the couch, bending over to pick up the piece of flimsiplast that had been delivered earlier in the week.

Master Solo-Fel, it is with great regrets that I must inform you of the loss of your daughter. As far as we can tell, Lieutenant Padme Cherith Fel was shot down during operations against the Calivarhu Pirates. She was a valued member of the squadron and she will be missed.

Commander Thesis Hirstu, Rogue Squadron

She still feels the stab of pain at the one hundredth reading as she did at the first.

She knows from the experience of reading a similar letter regarding her beloved Jag, that the thousandth read will hurt just as much as that first read did.

She puts the letter back on the table and looks at herself in the mirror. The years have been kind to her, but they are still there. Her hair is still thick, though it is more grey than brown, and every year more and more lines and wrinkles appear on her face. She smiles as she remembers that Jag called them "laugh lines."

Startled out of her reverie by a sudden knock on her down, she walks over to it, and upon opening the door gasps.

There before her is someone that she had not seen in early fifty years. Not since she was eighteen. She looks him over; his body still appears the same, dark hair, tanned, chiseled features. Her eyes narrows, at the HRD in front of her, not entirely surprised that he still appears a mere thirty years old.

His smile appears genuine; his Force presence tells her that he is happy to see her. "Ah, Knight Solo, I'm so happy that you've not tried to skewer me on your saber this time."

"What do you want Stanton?"

"Oh you remember me! Then surely you remember my offer?"

"Go away Stanton."

"But think about it Knight Solo, if you and your daughter were HRD's then she would not be dead. Her indestructible body would not have been subject to the whimsies of explosive decompression."

Jaina's hand slides slowly down to her saber, caressing it. She considers what he is saying. For he is right, if her daughter had been an HRD then she would not have died during that particular space battle.

Stanton continues talking. "And think of this as well, we could give you your youth back. You're old now Jaina, grey and wrinkled. I still remember you when you came to see me all those years ago. Your beautiful brown hair, flawless and impeccable skin, you were nearly a perfect specimen of the human female. Now look at you."

Jaina never considered herself vain, but she once more recognizes the subtle truth, wrapped though it is in ego-twisting vanities, of what he is saying. Though she was never concerned with her beauty when she was eighteen, now at sixty-eight she wishes for some of it back.

But as they say, one can never go back.

Except she realizes that that is exactly what Stanton is here offering. Her beauty back, her youth back.

With the realization that he hadn't said anything in the past few minutes, she once more focuses on Stantion, who is still standing there smiling at her. "Oh I'm sorry Stanton, are you still here?"

He smiles at her once more. "I made you an offer once before, immortality, eternal youth and beauty. You turned me down, and I told you that I would come back one day and make that offer to you again. So Jaina, what do you say? Now that you are old, and you can see me, still here in the prime of life, how does immortality sound to you now?"

Jaina sits back down on the couch, thinking considering. She is not entirely comfortable thinking about things. That was always the province of her brother. But this offer makes her do so. Mainly because what he offers is so tempting, so tantalizing.

To be young again.

To be young forever.

And then the downside hits her.

She would be young again, and she would be young forever. Never to know death, never to be reunited in the Force with Jag and Padme.

That she cannot abide. For death is the last, great adventure she has. And she wants to take that step. To be with Jag as they travel the misty domain of death together.

To take this step, to accept his offer means never being able to.

And this she cannot accept.

She looks at Stanton, her hand once more caressing her saber. "I'm sorry Stanton, but you have nothing to offer me. Leave now, while you still have the chance."

Stanton takes a step towards her, his hand held out, his look pleading.

Then with a flash of her hand and the Force, her lightsaber blade is sticking out from his head. She calls her saber back to her hand as he falls to the ground with a crash.

Jaina looks at his still form a small smile appearing on her lips. "There, one less regret."

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