...And Into Dreams

By Dana Terry

Alida held out as long as she could. The last time she'd been in a sensory 
deprivation tank, it had been for a matter of days. She had no idea how long 
it had been this time, but she doubted she was going to be released any time 

She must have slept, but she wasn't aware of it. Sleeping and wakefulness 
ran into one another, overlapping until there was only one state: the one of 


Nothing had changed. The Temple was as it had always been. Alida strode 
through the hushed hallways, her footsteps echoing off of the cool marbeline 
walls. Everything was just as it had been when she had left. How long ago 
was that, now? 


She smiled, turning to greet her friend. "Riana!" The other woman hurried 
toward her, her hand outstretched to clasp Alida's in greeting. 

"Your mission went well?" Alida asked. 

"Very well!" Riana exclaimed. "And we stopped at Alderaan on the way back to 
Coruscant." She grinned. "It's as beautiful as it ever was." 

Something felt wrong here. Alida couldn't put her finger on it, but this 
conversation just didn't feel right. "Riana, I..." she stopped, feeling 
almost foolish. What could be wrong, here in the Temple? She shook her 
head. "Never mind. I think I am going to go to the Meditation Gardens for a 
while. It has been a long day." 

The Jedi bid each other farewell and Alida turned down the long corridor that 
led to the Gardens. She inhaled deeply as she palmed open the door. The 
pleasant scent of the plants and flowers that lined the walkways of the 
Meditation Gardens had always been one of her favorites. She walked slowly 
down the stone path toward the bench where she had spent much time as a 
Padawan. Alida smiled as she reached her goal. Master Aaro had always known 
where to find her when she was upset. She would either sit on or kneel 
behind this bench, with its view of the well-tended flower beds. 

Her spirit was too uneasy for her to consider meditation just yet, so she 
sank onto the bench, leaning back and closing her eyes. 

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