Jade's Scion: Chapter 20 — Ben Rating: PG

Ben lifts his head up from the console, and looks out into space, the twirling stars adding to his own dizziness. Looking down at the console, he sees the bright splash of red across it, a mixture of blood and error lights.

Gingerly, he touches the spot on his head which seems to be the focal point for whichever ewok had been using it for a drum, and is rewarded with a sharp spike of pain. Pulling his hand away, he notices that his fingers are sticky from half-dried blood.

He stands, the cockpit swaying in a way that has nothing to do with the uncontrolled tumble of the ship.

Hesitantly he walks back to the engine compartment, keeping a hand on the wall for balance. Once there, he opens the door to a mass of fried panels and circuitry.

"What a mess you've gotten into this time."

Ben spins around at the unexpected voice, the disorientation he's feeling extending the spin, until he hits the wall and slides to the floor.

Opening his eyes, Ben looks around, wondering how he got to the engine compartment. Looking ahead he sees the Force Ghost looking at him with a worried expression on his translucent face.

"Are you okay Ben?"

Ben nods his head, the movement sending his stomach reeling.

"Can you stand?"

Ben looks at him, and grasps a cable that is hanging from the ceiling, using that to pull himself up.

"Good Ben, now walk towards me, towards the cockpit."

Ben slowly follows him, leaning against the wall for balance. He rubs his right ear. "Make it stop."

"What stop?"

"The ringing, make it stop."

"There is no ringing Ben, that's due to your injuries. Now just a few more steps and you'll be in the cockpit." Ben frowns at the ghost.

Ben enters the cockpit and slides into one of the seats, leaning his head back against the headrest.

Opening his eyes, he looks around, wondering how he got back to the cockpit. Turning he sees Anakin kneeling next to him, a look of worry and fear on his face. Ben opens his mouth to talk, but nothing wants to come out. He tries again. "Whu you doin' shere."

Ben frowns at Anakin's smile. It appears faked or forced somehow. "Helping you."

"Donch whan yer help."

"I know. I need you to activate the emergency beacon."

Ben looks at the console, and sees it there, ready, waiting, an insurance that he will be caught and put in jail.

"Can't, they'll 'rest me."

"If you don't you'll die here. Your injuries are severe and you've lost a good amount of blood. You are in no shape to make even simple repairs to your ship, let alone the ones that she requires right now."

Ben looks at the button, one that would guarantee his life, but at the potential cost of his independence, his anonymousness. Yet he also knows the ghost is right. Sighing, he reaches out and slaps it, activating the emergency beacon.

Ben leans back into his seat, allowing his eyes to drop close.

He sits up suddenly at the loud noise, and instantly regrets it. A wave of nausea overcomes him, and he leans over and throws up beside his pilot's station.

Standing, he fights off the light dizziness and decouples Fiver from the droid socket, ignoring the droid's whistles.

As he slowly walks back towards the cofferdam, he can hear the sounds of people boarding his ship. Stopping for a second in the common area, he picks up Jysella's lightsaber and sticks it into one of Fiver's compartments. Looking around the room, he is somewhat glad that he currently has no contraband on board. He pats the droid on the head, and starts walking towards the rear of the ship.

As he rounds a corner, he comes face to face with one of the boarders. The man stares at Ben, his blaster aimed directly ahead, directly for Ben's chest. Ben frowns; the white-shelled armor the man wears gives him both an anonymous and menacing appearance.

Ben smiles at him. "Thanks for coming."

The man doesn't move, doesn't reply, but his blaster remains trained on Ben. A few moments later a couple more of the soldiers walk up; one of the soldiers has officer's stripes on his uniform. "Put you hands on your head."

Ben complies. "What have I done wrong Officer?"

"This ship is a suspected smuggler vessel. Likewise, you are under suspicion of being the smuggler commonly known as Whitesun. Do you deny any of this?"

Ben frowns for a second, his thoughts still feel sluggish. "What is there to deny in your statement, all you said is you suspect certain things, how can I deny what you suspect, when you just told me what it is you do suspect."

He watches, slightly amused, as the three soldiers look amongst themselves, uncertainty coloring their actions.

Ben tenses as a new voice joins the conversation, one that is cold and hard, and that Ben has heard to often over the years. "Still trying to talk your way out of situations Ben? Why not rely on the Force? You could easily overpower their minds."

Ben turns towards the sound, a mixture of fear, anger and disgust climbing his spine. "Hello cousin."

Ben watches as Jacen Solo's mouth twitch into a smile, and he holds his arms open wide, as if wanting to embrace Ben.

"What? Are you not happy to see me?" Jacen takes a step closer. "My, my Ben, you really need to take better care of yourself."

"I was doing just fine, until you tried to blow me up."

Jacen's smile is feral and dark, and Ben has to suppress the urge to shudder. "You are a Jedi, and as such, need to follow the will of the Force and the Council. You have been on your own for far too long Ben; it is time for you to come in out of the dark."

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