Jade's Scion: Chapter 8 — Ben Rating: PG

Ben yanks back on the levers which drop his beloved ship from hyperspace. He smiles as the tunnel they were traveling in collapses revealing the chaos that is the Maw.

From beside him, he can her Jysella take a sharp breath. "What are we doing here?"

Ben almost laughs. "You'll see."

Ben loves this part of the trip. It is a fundamental test of his piloting skills. Man against nature. If he comes to close to a black hole, then his ship would be ripped to shreds, and on the way into Shelter, there is only two options: the right way, and too close to a black hole.

As he takes the first twist on his route in, he glances over at Jysella and sees the naked terror on her face. He can hear her short shallow breathing, as she is nearly hyperventilating, and can see how white her knuckles are from her death grip on her seat's armrests.

He instantly feels bad for her, for surprising her in this way.

Turning his attention back to the controls, he twists and turns until he finally reaches Shelter.

Letting out a breath, he notices that Jysella has started to calm down and he quickly looks back towards Shelter.

He glances at her again, and sees wonderment on her face, as if this was her first visit to Shelter.

Ben works at keeping a frown off of his face. He remembers coming here when he was a child — simple memories, the memories of a three-year-old, but memories nonetheless. Yet, if this Jysella is the girl he remembers from Ossus, then she would have been here at that same time and being older, would have — should have — just as many, if not more memories of it, than him.

Pushing that train of thought from his mind for the time being, he turns his full attention to her and smiles at her wide-eyed amazement.

She finally looks at him. "Welcome to Shelter Jysella, welcome to my home."

"How did you find it?"

Not entirely certain on what to say, he tells a half-truth. "I didn't. Mncle and one of his friends did, oh, fifty years ago or so."

Ben slips the ship through the magnetic seal, and lands. He quickly goes through the post-flight check and stands up. Looking down at Jysella he nods his head towards the ramp. "Come on, there's a couple more folks that live here that you should probably meet."

Together they walk down the ramp to me the people that had come out to meet them.

The first they stop at is a woman; she is about 1.7 meters tall, with brown hair and grey eyes, if she had to guess, Jysella would say she was in her early eighties. Even in her advanced age, the natural beauty which is hers shines through. Ben introduces her as Cal.

They come to a couple next, and Ben quickly hands over the credit chit to the man. This couple appears to be in their eighties as well, both of them about the same height as the other woman, they still posses the self-assuredness of people who have done much and seen more. Ben pulls Jysella forward, interested in both seeing how the man would react to his guest, and how Jysella would react to him.

Smiling, he begins the introductions. "Jysella, this is Tycho Celchu and his wife Winter. They were friends of my father. Tycho, Winter, this is Jysella." Ben pauses here for a moment before turning fully towards Jysella. "I'm sorry, I didn't get your last name."

"It's Horn." Ben watches as she shakes her head slightly, almost laughing to herself, and reaches out to shake hands with Tycho and Winter. She is once more talking. "It's a pleasure to meet the both of you."

Ben catches Tycho's eye and gives a quick shake of his head, letting the man know that he should not say anything important. That is, he should not say anything about her past.

Winter speaks up quickly, her years in espionage and as Leia's aide giving her the ability to quickly school her expressions into passivity. "The pleasure's ours, Jedi Horn."

Ben watches as the couple walks away, knowing he'll have to talk to them sooner or later, but for now he turns his attention to the final person in the group. A dark haired boy, of about ten standard years, Ben smiles down at the boy who appeared one day on his ship. He ruffles the boy's hair as he looks up at Jysella. "This is my future first-mate, his name is Jemsen."

As they finish exchanging greetings a thirty-year-old Tendandro Arms Nanny droid comes up and escorts the child to his lessons.

Ben gestures for Jysella to follow him once more. "I'll take you to your quarters."

As he shows her the quarters she will be staying in, Ben smiles at her again. "You have free run of my home, except those rooms that are locked. The mess is just a few doors down and clearly marked, and you can help yourself. My quarters and office are a few doors past that, and also clearly marked. Now, if you'll excuse me I have a few matters I need to attend to."

Ben quickly steps out of the room, and walks to his office. Sitting at his desk, he ignores the various papers there and opens a drawer, pulling out a bottle of lomin ale. He pours himself a glass and quickly downs it before pouring another.

As he pours the second glass, there is a swift knock on the door and it opens quickly and Tycho walks in, his aristocratic features pulled into a sad frown.

Tycho sits in a chair across from Ben, and takes the drink and drains most of it. For a few moments, he just stares at the amber liquid that remains in the glass. Finally, he looks up towards Ben. "She doesn't know me, or anything? How many naming day parties was I at? How often did I visit Ossus? I was there at the party for Corran's and Mirax's fortieth wedding anniversary. Yet I was a total stranger to her. I'm her hold father, and she has no clue who I am."

Ben nods. "I figured as much. She was terrified of the Maw, and did not recognize Shelter at all."

"What does it all mean?"

Ben frowns as he gets another glass to pour himself some more of the ale. "I wish I knew. I really wish I knew."

"What exactly happened that you would bring her here?"

Ben leans back in his chair sighing. "That last run was a setup. The Jedi were the contacts, and she was both at the sting and at the ship when I got back. I stunned her and intended to leave her in the landing bay. Yet I couldn't do that, I had to bring her with me."

"Another compulsion from the Force?"

Ben rubs his eyes and then squeezes the bridge of his nose, feeling the beginnings of a stress headache. "Yes. One day I hope to be rid of the Force."

Then Ben once more hears the words of the Force Ghost. "The Force does not leave you alone, because you are the Force's own."

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