Star Wars: Legacy of the Force
Sacrifice: Helping Hand
Rating: PG
Shadow Chaser

I've just recently finished Sacrifice and this fic idea came to my head. I wanted to express Corran's feelings towards Mara Jade Skywalker's death since he knew her pretty well before she was Luke's wife. This is part of the Rumination series. She saved him from Exar Kun back when he was still training and provided him a sort of guidance to find Mirax when Tavira kidnapped her. So this is in dedication to Timothy Zahn's greatest character and to Luke's beloved wife – rest in peace and May the Force be with You.

Her touch was as light as a feather, almost a jaunty goodbye wave that I felt through the Force before it was suddenly gone. I awoke from my meditation in the quiet expanse of the Jedi Council chamber, to feel her pass beyond the veil in the Force. A sad feeling filled me then…

It would have been clichéd of me to say that a single tear fell from my face then, but it actually did.

I had lost so many good friends in the Vong Wars, the Killik's Expansion, and now this…the Second Corellian Insurrection. And Mara was one more casualty on that list. Pulling myself into the eddies and currents of the Force one more, I sought out Luke's presence…and recoiled from the void of grief that had filled Luke. Quickly shutting myself off from that avenue, I blinked more tears from my eyes and stared out at the glittering night of the half Vong-formed Courscanti skyline.

Mara Jade Skywalker ...

Many of the Jedi never realized how close we were, how close I was to the Skywalker family. We were total opposites, but she was a friend and a valued ally. I still remembered that she saved me from dying out in the jungles of Yavin Four after Exar Kun left my battered body on the grounds of his temple. I still remembered her pointing the direction for Luke to come help me rescue Mirax. I owe so much to the two of them and so much more to Mara.

A majority of the time we butted heads and took opposing sides, but we both understood the other side. We were the neutral party to our opposing sides. Me calming Kenth Hamner down, she calming Kyp Durron down, or at least the best she could without having to lightsaber him. She understood better my dislike of Kyp, much more than Luke could or ever would. And she was the grounding element that usually brought Luke back from his cosmic seeing eye of a grand scale of dark versus light.

She understood the complexities and simplistic realities that the Dark Side was present in everyday life ... that not all was a cosmic scale. After all, how opposite backgrounds could we be coming from?

She, the former Emperor's Hand, assassin trained, and espionage trained, considered a traitor to the Empire. Me, the former CorSec officer, Rogue Squadron pilot, considered a traitor to my own planet and people.

I let the memories of her float through my head as I kept feeling tears stream down, all the while a smile on my face as I remembered the good and bad times. I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't realize two people had come into the darkened council chamber until a hand touched my shoulder, startling me.

"Dad?" I looked up into the twenty-seven-year-old face of my son, who towered over me as I had been sitting down. Valin definitely got part of his genes from Booster ... I noticed, having not seen him for the past few years. I knew that he had been made a Knight and had been traveling on missions with his sister Jysella, but ... when had they gotten back?

"Daddy, don't cry ..." Jysella's voice made me look beyond Valin to see her staring worriedly at me. She was already twenty-two years old and looked like a good mix of Mirax and my mother.

"You've been projecting to us ... and we felt it," Valin sat down next to me, his hand a comforting weight on my shoulder, "Master Mara Skywalker is truly gone?"

I stared at him for a brief second, realizing that while I had closed off all of my emotions to everyone else when I briefly felt Luke through the Force, I had forgotten that my children were able to feel my presence in the most subtle ways. "Yes ..." I replied slowly, "I felt her passing."

"I'm sorry Daddy," Jysella enveloped me in a hug, "I know she was important to you and Mom ..."

I patted her gently on the back, "Don't cry Jys ... don't cry for my loss."

"I'm not crying for your loss, I'm crying because it also hurts ..." I realized that I had forgotten that Mara had taught some of the young children the basics of connecting the Force ... and that she had been Jysella's teacher ... and Valin's too ...

"How is Master Skywalker taking it?" Valin asked as I turned my head to let Jysella's rest on my shoulder as released me and sat on the opposite side.

I shook my head, "Badly ..."

Valin was quiet for a second before he spoke up again, "Are you going to announce it to the rest of the Jedi?"

"I'm sure some of them felt Mara's passing ... but I think I need to talk it over with Kyp before anything else," a part of me dreaded talking to Kyp ...

And was fighting Exar Kun worst than this?  Come on, CorSec!

I blinked in surprise as Mara's voice spoke in my head before realizing that it was my own mind's manifestation of her, a grief response.

"Jys and I will tell Mom ... and Grandpa Booster. He knows how to get in touch with Talon Karrde and Lando Calrissian ..." I watched Valin get up along with Jysella before the he squeezed my shoulder in reassurance. "You'll be okay Dad?"

"Yeah," I gave them a sad smile, but a part of me surged with fatherly pride at how mature my son and daughter were in face of this latest grief.

They left without turning back or even saying goodbye, leaving me alone in the darkness once more. I glanced down at my lightsaber, hanging from my hip ... I knew revenge or at least some sort of justice was going to be coming for whoever killed Mara, but my lightsaber would stay quiet. It was for Luke to handle ... and I hoped the others would let him do what he wanted ...

Heaving a sigh, I got up, feeling some of the bones in my body crack slightly from being unused for so long. Damn old age ... I thought as I headed out of the council chambers and towards where I knew Kyp Durron usually hung out.

* * * * *

The main communications hub of the Jedi Council building was usually bustling with life on normal days, but right now, there were only four other people in there as I walked in. I briefly wondered where did the rest of the staff and technicians had gone before I noticed the reason why ...

The staff and technicians hadn't left ... they had fled the area ... and it was due to Kyle Katarn cursing and hammering away at some of the control panels.

"What the sithspawn do you want?!" Katarn's malevolent gaze pierced mine as I entered in before he straightened, realizing who it was.

"I'd take it you felt it too, Horn?" Kam Solusar's steady voice brought my gaze to the white-haired man who was staring at me, his wife Tionne next to him, silvery tears unshed from her eyes.

"So how do we announce it?" Kyp, for one of the rarest times I could ever think of, looked at me, a cordial tone in his voice.

I stared at all of them, including Kyle who had stopped his rampage against the consoles and was now glowering in one of the corners.

"You're the one Luke trusts the most right now besides Kyle," Kyp shrugged, indicating that he didn't like it that much. I also noticed that Kyp didn't mention either Kam or Tionne since they were semi-retired from active service and had been traveling around to the various enclaves to help the Masters there from time to time.

"Its Jedi business ... and we don't need to let all of the Galactic Alliance know about it at the moment. Not until Luke tells us. I'm willing to bet that some of the officials already know since they have their own spies everywhere and plus with Leia Organa Solo and her children off in Hapes, word may spread from there ..."

"What about the other Masters?" Tionne asked, her musical voice tinged with sadness.

"We can send couriers out to them to contact them through the Force ..." I trailed off, not so sure of myself anymore.

"Any idea on who killed her?" Kyle suddenly spoke up into the silence.

I stared at Kyp as he closed his eyes briefly, searching out through the Force.   All of us knew that he was one of the few who were able to feel the Dark Side more easily than a majority of us, having been possessed by Exar Kun in his teenaged years. "Nothing ..." he opened his eyes and shook his head, "whoever did it, hid his or her path really well ..."

A sudden beep from one of the consoles that Kyle hadn't smashed to bits told us that there was an incoming call from Luke's personal frequency ... I reached over and tapped a few buttons, letting his voice broadcast through the main speakers.

"Luke?" Tionne was the first to greet him.

"Master Skywalker, my deepest apologies ..." Kyp said.

"I'm sure ... you know ... by now," never in my life had I heard Luke sound so haggard and it chilled me completely to the core. I kept a tight grip on the edge of one of the consoles just to comfort and reassure myself that it truly was Luke on the comm.

"W-Who else is with you, Kyp? Tionne?" Luke sounded so dull ... heartbroken ...

"Kyle, myself, and Kam, Luke," I made sure my voice was strong so that he would pick up on it. I could feel through the Force the despair that was eating away at everyone in the room.   All of us respected Luke Skywalker deeply, and even were good friends with him ... none of us wanted to hear him in such a state.

"Good ..." Luke hesitated for a second before he took a deep breath, "I know ... who killed Mara. And ... in my absence to lead the Jedi, I'm placing you, Corran, in charge."

His announcement floored me and I blinked furiously in surprise. "What ... ?" I had expected him to announce that Kam or heck even Kyp would be in charge ... but me?!

"Right now, I can't focus on the Jedi or the Council's needs ..."

"Luke, you're headed towards the path of the Dark Side," Kyp's words were ominous, "don't do it for revenge ..."

"Its not revenge, Kyp," Luke replied, grief evident in his voice, "I ... just need to handle it. Don't take it from me ..."

None of us knew what to say after that line. I felt a stabbing pain in my heart ... yes ... I too felt the need for revenge.   After all, I was one of the few besides Kyle to feel Mara's passing. But ... even so ...

"Luke, do what you need to do," Kyle suddenly spoke up, moving towards the center table, his face neutral.

"I will watch over things in your stead. The Jedi need you ..." I said grimly, understanding what Kyle had been trying to say.

"May the Force be with You," Kam spoke up solemnly.

* * * * *

It was at least seven hours later and I had gotten a very restless sleep.   Booster had called mid-way through my sleep along with Mirax both of them expressing their condolences and for me to pass them on to Luke when he returned. He had also mentioned that Talon Karrde had received the message, but hadn't said a thing. I knew that the ex-smuggler was probably dealing with his own grief in his own way.

I found myself back in the control room, along with Kyle who looked like he had gotten no sleep at all and looked like he had instead, taken a lightsaber to a few more of the damaged control panels. Kyp, Kam, and Tionne had taken upon themselves to tell the rest of the Jedi of Mara's passing.

A jittery feeling passed through me and I knew I had to say something to Luke before he went after Mara's killer. I patched a comm. through to Luke's StealthX, "Luke ... this is kind of hard to ignore.   Everyone's getting anxious to saddle up and lend you a hand."

"There's only one person I need to respond, my friend. And she's coming. But ... thanks," he replied, sounding eerily calm.

I scratched my head, puzzled. "What do you mean, she's coming?"

"Lumiya. I can feel her strongly now."

I glanced at Kyle to see if he recognized the name and his eyes widened in surprise. Apparently he knew ... I hit the mute button on the comm. quickly before turning to Kyle. "Lumiya?"

"Shira Brie ... Dark Lady of the Sith Lumiya ... she's a former Emperor's Hand ..." Kyle replied quickly, "I read some of the New Republic's files on her when Mon Mothma handed me my missions."

It made for a twisted sense, I thought as I un-muted the comm. "It's a trap, Luke," I warned him.

"For me and her, then."

Now that did not sound like the Luke Skywalker I knew ... and for the first time since the Yuuzhan Vong war, I reached out into the Force and brushed Luke's presence. He felt eerily calm; almost a perfect clarity ... and I realized ... this was the true Luke Skywalker within the Force. This was the man who single-handedly rebuilt the Jedi Order ... this was the man who was behind the awesome power of the Force ... and he was frakkin scary.

But something puzzled me ... if Lumiya was luring Luke to a trap ... why now? The investigator inside of me was puzzled.

"She's making it too easy," I spoke up.

"Corran," Luke replied calmly, "don't worry about me ..."

"You know any one of us would gladly do it for you," I was worried that Lumiya was setting a deadly trap that Luke couldn't detect. And of course, any one of us would go out there and rip the Sith Lady apart ... especially Kyle. Hell, I would go out there and mess with the Sith Lady's mind with my powers ... just to have her fall into a black hole and a supernova at the same time.

"I do ... And that's why I have to," Luke broke the comm. as soon as he said those words, leaving us in silence.   I pondered over his words before nodding mostly to myself.

"He's right, you know," Kyle said, making me look up at him, "none of us can claim that ... even though we want to badly."

"He will make Lumiya pay ..."

"But he won't fall to the Dark Side ... ever again ..."

"So to honor Mara's sacrifice, we can't fall to the Dark Side either ..." I smiled faintly, "its funny ... she saved both of us from our inner demons ..."

"So we'll save Luke from his inner demons," Kyle nodded, "right?"

"Right," I felt a new purpose and clarity then ... clarity I hadn't felt for a long time. Mara's sacrifice was the helping hand to let us join together and face the new darkness that threatened the New Jedi Order.

Thank you Mara Jade Skywalker, I thought then, for everything.

~ FINI ~

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