_Dreams of the Jinn_

By Rachel Schmutter and Ginna Wilcoxen

I follow the young woman who left the cantina so precipitously without

quite knowing why. Her dark brown hair and midnight-blue jumpsuit are

reminiscent of my own deceptive garb. The lightsaber hanging from her belt

would be a clear enough sign of her talent, even if it weren’t just as vivid

in her aura. She is a beginner, like me; but the feeling I get from her is

one of strong potential. She stops at one of the more remote rest areas on

the station, with several couches of varying sorts, some blue and yellow

feathery plants, and a wonderful view of the stars. I hold back as she enters

the area, as she hasn’t noticed me yet; then I approach openly. She turns

quickly, her hand not quite going to her belt.

"I’m Rachel," I greet her in an easy, friendly manner. "I don’t think

I’ve seen you around the Academy?"

She looks at me. "Academy? I think you have me mistaken for someone

else. I’ve never visited an Academy." Turning, she sits down on a blue

leathery sofa. "I’m called Octavia."

"It’s nice to meet you, Octavia. May I join you?"

"If you wish." She pauses. "You followed me from the cantina, didn’t

you?" Her dark brown eyes gaze intently at me.

I blink. "Yes," I admit. "I didn’t realize you noticed me. I’m sorry;

I don’t mean you any harm."

"Then why did you follow me?" she asks bluntly.

"I was curious about your lightsaber," I say frankly. "About why you

seem to hide it. It’s almost as if you’re ashamed of it." I perch upon a

nearby ottoman covered in a velvety fabric.

"It’s just a weapon to use." Octavia shrugs. "I don’t…" Her words

trail off. "Why do you display yours, for what purpose?"

I raise an eyebrow. "It’s a bit more than ‘just a weapon,’" I say

dryly. "The lightsaber is the symbol of the Jedi, who were the keepers of

peace and justice in the Old Republic for thousands of years." The words come

out in a singsong manner, memorized by rote as they were. "And now the Jedi

are returning, thanks to Luke and the Academy," I add more seriously. "I’m a

Jedi student. Why shouldn’t I display the lightsaber that is the symbol of my


"Keepers of peace and justice?" Octavia’s voice is thick with sarcasm.

The tension in her body suggests a complicated tale. "That’s just a silly

idea, a story to confuse people. As for the Jedi, what good did they do, then

or now?" She shakes her head. "I don’t believe that old tale; it’s just a

story to make some people feel superior."

"Who told you that?" I ask, puzzled. I’ve known plenty of people who

didn’t like Jedi; but this is the first time I’ve met anyone who didn’t

believe in them! "It sounds like someone who had a bone to pick with the Old

Republic, not to mention someone with a big chip on their shoulder." I shake

my own head slowly. "Granted, the old Jedi weren’t perfect; but while they

lasted, they held off the darkness of the Empire for as long as they could.

These days, the Jedi serve the people; and they try to keep the New Republic

alive as a galactic government that truly serves the people whom it


Octavia looks around uneasily. There is something about this subject

which disturbs her more than she wants to admit. Casually, I step over to a

particular potted plant and reach into the green soil. As I turn a hidden

knob beneath the topsoil in a certain sequence, a thick, transparent panel

slides across, from floor to ceiling, isolating a corner of the chamber from

the rest of the corridor.

"Other people can still walk by, but they can’t hear inside," I

explain, tapping the near-invisible boundary lightly. "And the wall is so

clear that most people don’t notice the lack of sound." I grin. "One of the

tricks I picked up from spending so much time on station. To get out, you

just rap on the bottom of that brown chair leg twice." I lean back

comfortably against my chosen couch again, letting Octavia respond in her own

time. I am almost surprised that she doesn’t test the wall release; but she

seems to be gradually relaxing. Maybe the cessation of outside noise is as

soothing to her as it is to me.

"I’m not that knowledgeable about the Old Republic," she admits at

last. "I just know what I’ve been told. As for the New Republic serving the

people who it represents…" She frowns slightly and rises to pace. "Jedi,"

she muses. "My father mentioned them once. The saber I carry is his. That’s

all I know. It’s the only thing that’s left of him."

My eyes widen in sympathy. "I’m sorry," I say softly. "I guess we have

something in common, then. My lightsaber is all I have from my mother. She

died when I was 15."

"What about your father?" Octavia asks, curious.

"I was 19 when he died," I answer quietly. "He was part of a very

active Rebel organization. We were trying to destroy the Imperials’ hold on a

planet which held all the Force users in concentration camps, regardless of

their alleigance, and constantly Force-damped them so they couldn’t use their

powers. We succeeded, and the world eventually fought its way free; but

everyone I knew died in the process."

After a long pause, I look up with a merry expression. "Don’t get the

idea that all Jedis die! My dad wasn’t a Jedi, and neither were most of the

folks in that Rebel group." Soberly, I add: "I’m not laughing it off; but it

happened years ago. I’ve come to terms with it."

Octavia sits back down and leans against the wall. She is silent for a

long time. "My father died when I was 10. Left on some mission, he said.

Anyway, he never came home. Never learned how he died, just that he died. He

called himself a Jedi, though my mother for told me for two years that was a

fable, a tale." Octavia stares at the transparent wall and the stars beyond.

I can sense the turmoil in her mind. ‘Why am I telling this to a stranger?’

she seems to be wondering. ‘What is it that makes me feel so easy around


I’ve wondered about that, too. People seem to find me very easy to

talk to, whether they know me or not. Come to think of it, it’s a little bit

like the way they are with Luke, or even Serris. Maybe I will be a Healer,

after all...

"I believed her," Octavia says. "I believed it was all a trick, a

joke. And yet you say you and others believe this." Turning to stare at me,

she asks: "How can you believe in it so?"

I look back at her unflinchingly. "Because I can feel it. Can’t you?"

Octavia closes her eyes briefly. "At certain times, when I’m making

deals, or getting the Captain out of his gambling troubles, and when I get

angry." She pauses. "Still, it’s nothing to put stock in. I mean, I spent two

years on Mayar; and during that time, I didn’t feel anything out of the


"You haven’t been doing this long, have you?" I muse. Answering my own

question, I continue: "No, or there would be some shading to your aura by

now." I sigh. "The things you've been doing--using your power to ‘lean’ on

people’s minds, to affect their thoughts, and especially anything you do with

it when you’re angry--all of these can turn a Force user to the Dark Side." I

regard her with deep concern. Now I know why I was impelled to follow this

young woman.

"My father mentioned the Dark Side at one time, but I never fully

understood it." She chuckles, but is startled at my grave reaction. "Why do

you look concerned?" she asks. "It’s not like it really makes any difference,

now, does it? I mean, you said so yourself: My aura isn’t ‘shaded’, whatever

that means. You talk in riddles, like my father did."

"It means more than anything," I say soberly. "Right now, you’re just

learning to use your powers; so the ethical choices you’ve made haven’t yet

left any great impression upon your soul. But the more you use the Force, the

more the choices you make will determine your future. When you have the

Force, there are only two possibilities: Either you learn to control it,

choosing to use the powers to protect, to defend, and to learn; or you

abandon morality and use the powers to serve yourself, harming others at

random and causing them to do your will. If you choose the latter path,

giving into the powers of anger and hatred, then the Dark Side will

eventually control and consume you.

"Some time soon, you will have to make a decision. If you remain

untrained, then you will become a pawn. If you are lucky, a Jedi teacher may

convince you to study with them. If not, a Sith lord may find you a

convenient toy; and you will find yourself deprived of your freedom." I frown

uncomfortably. "I’ll grant you that my opinion is slightly biased; but it’s a

known fact that the Sith are evil and enjoy causing pain and chaos. Not to

choose is to leave yourself open to attack by any who can see your

talent--and that means anyone who has the talent themselves. Even though I’m

only a student, I can see the power in you. That is why I speak of these


Suddenly, I grin a little, wryly. "I know it all sounds pretty wild at

first. But no one seems to have figured out a way to talk about all these

powers without making it sound simpler. One thing’s for sure; if I live to be

a teacher myself, I’m sure going to give it a try!"

Octavia stiffens. "Anything I’ve done has been for the good of my

ship, the Electria, from detecting danger to sensing when the engines are in

need of repair. Even saved the Captain’s life a couple of times." Her tone is

defensive. "I could never harm anyone I care about. My ship is like…no, it IS

the only family I have." Octavia slams her fist on the low table near the

couch. "I will NEVER lose my freedom. I’d die first. My father believed as

you did. Did it save him?! Does it stop the dreams that are driving me


"The only way you’ll lose your freedom is if you don’t learn how to

defend yourself," I say firmly. "As a Force user, you need to learn to

protect your mind from the control of others. My father sacrificed himself

for the freedom of others. Maybe yours did the same; I don’t know." Suddenly

I stop. "What do you mean about dreams?" I ask, peering at her closely.

"You’re a Seer, too, aren’t you?" I ask impulsively. "Do you have dreams that

seem to be real events, but not know when or where they are?"

"I am sorry for my outburst." Octavia settles down, calm and cool once

more. "Seer?" she asks. "If you mean do I feel as if I’m there, then yes. I

feel the heat, the sand, and I hear the hum of the sabers. It’s always the

same: Two men fighting with sabers, and one of them–" She stops. "One is

dressed like you, sort of; the other is in black robes." She fidgets

uncomfortably. "The last time I felt as if I was being strangled, and I heard

someone telling me to fight if I wanted to live."

"It’s all right," I assure her swiftly, all empathy. "This is a lot to

deal with all at once; and it’s clearly got a lot of emotional roots in your

background. I’m sorry about that." I frown slightly. "The Sight is very

unpredictable. The visions we See can sometimes be threats from the Dark

Side, sent to frighten us into not fulfilling our potential. Other times,

they are genuine warnings of future events. Sometimes they can even be

windows into the past." I sigh. "It’s one of the more troublesome gifts to

have, I’m afraid, not to mention one of the rarest. I’ve always had it

myself. But you can get used to it, in time."

"Then perhaps that’s why I feel at ease talking to you. You’re as

crazy as I am."

I chuckle appreciatively. "Could be." Thoughtfully, I ask: "Which is

the recurring dream that’s been upsetting you so much? The saber fight, or

the other one?"

Octavia frowns. "Being on the Electria, you get used to the idea of

possibly dying; and everyone knows I’m no good with a blaster. It’s the saber

fight, I guess. I don’t know. I want to call out a warning, to stop the death

from happening again, and I can’t. I can only watch." She shrugs. "Anyway,

nothing can be done about it, now, can it?"

"I don’t know. It may depend on whether the fight is in the future, or

the past. Do you have any sense of that from your dreams?"

Octavia shakes her head. "Not a clue. I’m not even sure how I do the

things I do, at times. I mainly stay on the ship and tend to its repairs. All

I know is that there’s sand, lots of sand; and it’s hot. The two fight; and

then it changes to a metal surrounding, almost like a ship or a building.

Then the older man dies."

"Is there anything unusual about the vision that stands out, that you

might be able to use to identify it?" I persist. "What kind of ship, what the

construction is like, what the men look like, the design of their outfits and

sabers? You said that one man was dressed sort of like me. Was he wearing a

brown outer robe, like a Jedi master would?"

She shrugs and lets out a long breath. She closes her eyes, focusing

inward. "The metal area has laser sensors," she says searchingly, "and some

sort of reactor pit–it’s deep. The older man has shoulder-length brown hair

just beginning to show gray, and a beard and mustache. He no longer has his

brown robe, just his tunic and saber, which glows green in color. The

other..." Her eyes fly open. "The other is completely in black and his face

is painted or tattooed. His saber is red, but it’s double-sided, like two

sabers joined together."

She shakes the memory from her mind. "Keep talking like this and I’ll

convince myself it’s real. It’s just a nightmare, after all right?"

"That’s something, though," I point out. "I’ve never heard of a

lightsaber like that. We might be able to find pictures of them in the

histories, not to mention the one with the weird face paint." As I speak,

though, my own gift begins to shift and stir within me. There’s something

else that’s teasing at the edge of my mind--something that might help to

solve the mystery. Abruptly, I look down at Octavia’s lightsaber again. Even

half-hidden as it is, I finally realize the other reason that it caught my


"As long as you want it to be a nightmare, it will continue to

frighten you; and you’ll never get past it," I tell her. "Is that what you

want? And there’s no point in saying you want it to go away. It won’t," I say

flatly. "Not until you’ve resolved your vision somehow. Believe me--I know."

I feel ages older than Octavia, who is probably in her late twenties. But

though I’m only a little past twenty, I’ve had the Sight since I was a child.

Octavia looks appalled. "No! Who in their right mind wants to live

with a nightmare, especially of two men fighting, and seeing the one die

again and again." She leans back against the wall again. "I just don’t see

how to stop it." She unhooks the saber and lays it on the table. "Perhaps if

I get rid of this…but I can’t. It’s my father’s." Her voice drops.

"That’s a very unusual lightsaber, you know," I say, making an effort

to keep my voice calm. "It’s of a style that hasn’t been seen around here for

many, many years."

"It has to be at least 26 years old. That’s my age. I don’t remember

my father’s age."

"It’s much older than that," I say slowly, shaking my head. "I’ve seen

holocubes of the ancient Jedis, the ones who were killed during the purge by

Vader and the Emperor’s other tools. They often had sabers of a similar


Octavia shrugs. "So it’s old. I don’t see where you are going with


"I’m not sure, myself. But I just realized that there’s something

about it that seems to draw me." I sigh again. "There’s a way of using the

Sight which seems to be unique to me. Sometimes when I touch an object, I can

See things relevant to its history, or the history of its owners." I bite my

lip uncertainly.

(to be continued...)



Octavia stares at me, then pushes the saber toward me. "I don’t

understand what you may think you’ll know or feel; but if you wish to study

it, you can."

"I don’t understand either, yet. But it’s possible our paths crossed

for a reason." I nod in appreciation as Octavia lays down the saber. "Thank


Closing my eyes, I take several long, deep breaths. My body relaxes

muscle by muscle. Slowly, I bring my hands up above the table and lay them

down unerringly on the lightsaber. Leaving the power off, I raise it

gradually to hold it in a fighting position.


Octavia watches the so-called "Jedi student," half-fascinated,

half-skeptical. Although her eyes are still closed, Rachel’s entire body

seems to be focused on the lightsaber in her hands. Her head nods forward a

bit as if in sleep. Suddenly, she jerks upright. The lightsaber moves in her

hands, and Octavia could swear she recognizes some of the motions as those

from the battle she’s seen in her dreams over and over again. She stares,

disbelieving, as Rachel seems to replay the entire battle. Then, just at the

point where she always feels compelled to cry out, Rachel’s whole body

stiffens, her face pale and taut. She falls forward and collapses onto the

table. The lightsaber rolls out her nerveless hands to the floor.


Someone seizes my wrist in cold hands. "Are you okay?" The voice is

shaky. It takes me a moment to realize that Octavia is checking my pulse.

Blinking back the vision with an effort, I slowly sit up. "Yes, I’m

fine," I say unevenly. "I’m sorry--I didn’t expect it to hit me that hard." I

retrieve the saber carefully and put it on the table, then take a few calming

breaths. She gingerly releases my wrist. "Qui-Gonn Jinn," I murmur. "I

thought he was just a legend."

"Who is that?" Octavia asks. "I never heard of anyone by that name.

Unless..." I turn to see her staring at the lightsaber. She shakes her head

slightly and looks up at me. "My last name is Jinn. My father’s name was

Wai-Cha Jinn."

I stare at her. "No wonder there’s such a strong sense of connection

between you and this saber. It feels as though it has something to do with

your destiny." Cutting off my reverie, I return Octavia’s gaze. "I think

Qui-Gonn Jinn was your grandfather, Octavia," I say quietly. "The vision

you’ve been Seeing was his final battle." Octavia’s eyes seem slightly

glazed. I keep talking, trying to draw her back from wherever she’s

retreating to. "I don’t know much about him. I don’t really study the old

records very much, despite the way I may have sounded earlier–I’m much more

interested in the here and now," I confess, suppressing a grin as I remember

some of the puppy-sad, reprimanding looks Luke has given me on _that_ topic.

"But I had heard of a great Jedi called Qui-Gon Jinn who was reputedly the

teacher of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker’s first teacher."

Octavia shakes her head, stands, and walks out towards the stars. "No,

what you are saying is impossible. It’s not real, it’s only a dream." Turning

back to face me, she adds, "It’s too far-fetched. You can’t be serious?" Her

tone is skeptical.

"I only know what I Saw," I say simply. "I saw a middle-aged man with

long, greying brown hair and a kind face dressed in the robes of a Jedi

master. First he was in some arid, sandy desert, leaping into a ship of some

sort--that part was blurry. Then the image shifted, and he seemed to be

indoors, but it was much too big for a ship. He was in a great, bizarre

colonnade with all kinds of twisting and turning metal paths above seemingly

endless depths. There was another, younger Jedi there, but I couldn’t see him

as clearly. They were both fighting a monstrous looking man in black robes

with a double-sided lightsaber that glowed red, which he wielded more like a

combat staff than a saber. His face was grotesquely colored in red and black

patterns, and he had several small horns on his head and orangey eyes. The

younger man faded out of the picture as my vision focused in on the other

two. They fought one-on-one; and the Dark Lord managed to defeat him." My

expression hardens as I relive the vision. The demonic appearance of the Sith

lord reminds me chillingly of some of the old beliefs of my home world, that

all mutants are evil.

Quickly, I shove my own thoughts and feelings aside. The vision was

painful enough as a spectator. "Being related to him," I continue the thought

aloud, "the sense of his death must be hurting you far more than it did

me--and you saw my reaction," I gesture. "But there’s more to it than that,"

I add, settling down. "You see, the Sight is not only visual; it pertains to

knowledge as well. As clearly as I see you standing here, I *know* that the

man who died was Qui-Gon Jinn. I’m not sure about the younger man; but I

think the Sith lord was called Darth something." I frown, perplexed. "Like

Darth Vader? Maybe it used to be a title instead of a name."

Octavia stares at me. My empathy, heightened by the experience we have

shared, tells me that every fiber in her body wants to scream out that it is

a lie. Yet she can’t deny what I have said. Shaking her head, she turns

away. "No--it can’t be true." Turning back to face me, she pushes the saber

toward me. It rolls slowly across the table, coming to rest in the very

center. "It’s a trick," she says gruffly. "Take the saber."

"Octavia, it belongs to you," I say gently, leaning forward. "Whether

you keep the saber or not, you can’t deny your destiny. You will have to make

a choice whether to use your powers for the Light, or whether to turn down

the Dark path." I look at the older girl sympathetically. "Search your

feelings, Octavia. You know it to be true."

She does. I can feel it.

Octavia sits down and stares at the wall. "It seems everyone is

telling to make a decision. Why now?" She glares at me. "For 11 years, I’ve

lived a quiet life--well, somewhat quiet, anyway–on my ship. Why is

everything turning my life upside down?"

"Because your powers are manifesting, and that means change," I answer

promptly, but not unkindly. "If others have also told you it’s time for a

change, then the Force is doing what it can to encourage you. You didn’t have

the fortune of growing up with your powers the way I did. That’s why even

though I’m just a beginning student, I understand some of the theory well

enough to help teach. But once the Force awakens in you, your choice can’t be

far behind." I attempt a wry grin. "Instead of looking at it as ruining your

life, you might be grateful that you’ve had such a long period of peace. It’s

more than I’ve had; and it will probably be a good base for you to build on."

"Great," Octavia sighs. "So," she says flippantly, "I just pack up and

throw a dart, and hope that this Force picks the right place?"

"No," I say frankly. "That is, you could do that; but it seems like a

silly way to start a new life to me." That seems to get her attention. "The

Force may help us along; but that doesn’t mean it tells us what to do all the

time, or always puts us in the right place. You still get to choose how to

live your life. More specifically, you need to learn about the Force, and

decide how and where you want to do that learning. It doesn’t necessarily

mean you have to give up everything else, either," I point out. "If I were

more like the other students, I would be spending a lot more time at the

Academy; but...well, I’m a very independent type." I can feel myself flush.

Octavia looks stunned. I guess she’s surprised I actually answered her

question seriously instead of getting mad. In a subvocal stream of thoughts

that’s so strong it’s difficult to shield from, she is thinking, "‘Be

mindful’..." That one phrase is what came to mind back then, back in her

quarters one night after the visions were particularly strong.

"This is a lot to take in," Octavia says softly. Much of the hostility

is gone from her tone, as if I’ve passed some kind of test. "Either way, I

have to be mindful of my decision." Looking up at me, she continues, "I am

sorry for my attitude earlier." She grins. "So how would I go about learning

more of this Force? I take it you don’t put out an ad."

I grin back. "That’s all right. I come on a little too strong with

this stuff sometimes. I guess I forget how new it is to the other person." I

chuckle at Octavia’s quip. "Well, you could take out an ad, but I’m not sure

you’d like the sort of people that would attract." I wink at her. "Basically,

anyone who’s interested in learning the ways of the Force is welcome at the

Jedi Academy. To be fair, though," I say, pausing, "I should point out that

there are other ways to learn." I scowl. "I may not like the Sith; but they

can and do teach... They teach the Dark Side of the Force, that is."

"We all come on strong in our own ways," Octavia smiles. "But you

stated earlier that the Sith and the Dark Side was something to avoid." She

pauses, too. "Comes down to choice again, doesn’t it?"

"Yes, that’s exactly it," I nod. "Now that your Force skills are

developing to the point where you need to be taught, you need to choose which

path you will follow. That’s why everything has been coming to a head now:

This is the time to make your choice. It’s true that some do change their

path later in life; but the first step is still important." I grimace. "Of

course, I’m inclined to say that the Jedi are more likely to give you a fair

choice; but I suppose we’re just as die-hard about recruiting as the other

side. What it really comes down to is that once you start down the path to

the Dark Side, it’s damned hard to stop. For most people, it’s impossible.

That’s why I figure people might as well start off at the Academy."

I steeple my fingers thoughtfully. "In my personal opinion, Luke is

fair enough that if he *truly* sensed that someone’s destiny was with the

Sith, he’d let them find it out for themselves; and then, instead of trying

to stop them from leaving, he’d probably just let them go. He wouldn’t like

it; but there are some things that even a Jedi can’t change..." My eyes glaze

over slightly as I look within myself to a number of distinctly upsetting

options for my own future.

"Really?" Octavia sounds highly suspicious.

"Well, I’ll admit that my guess about Luke isn’t based on much

evidence," I grin. "But," I add, growing sober, "the old saying about ‘once

you begin down the Dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny’ is one

thing that does seem to hold true."

"What about Princess Leia, then? I heard that she had gone over to the

Empire; but she came back."

Stifling my amusement due to my highly confidential knowledge of the

details of _that_ little shenannigan, I answer: "Yes, it does happen

sometimes. Luke himself was working with the Dark Side for a while; but he

managed to find his way back." I look out at the quiet stars for a while.

"Maybe there are some very pivotal people who are truly destined for one side

or another," I say slowly, "but the rest of us are just sort of scattered in

between. And as much as it may seem that us ‘little people’ are less relevant

than such massive powers, when it comes right down to it, it’s really all of

us added together who can swing the balance one way or the other. So every

decision that we make is important."

Octavia is almost unnervingly intent upon my words. "Do you really

believe that?" she asks. "I do not like having to make such big decisions in

a hurry."

I give her a rueful grin. "Sorry about that–just more of my innate

melodrama manifesting itself," I confess. "I’ve been studying this sort of

thing since I was a young child, so it’s actually pretty natural for me to

think in those kind of images. But another thing that I learned at a very

early age is that ‘with great power comes great responsibility; want it or

not, like it or not.’"

The image of a man--much like a shorter, dark-blue-skinned version of

Yahr, but with pointed ears and a slender tail--flickers through my mind’s

eye. That was always _his_ special saying. His impudent grin is positively

irrestible; yet his heart was among the gentlest of all of us. Octavia,

seeming to pick up on my bittersweet mood, looks concerned.

"Rachel? Are you all right?" she asks. She reaches out to touch my

hand lightly. I shield tightly, since I don’t know yet what could trigger her


"Yes, I’m fine," I assure her. "I was just remembering my Uncle Kurt,

the person who used to tell me that. He was a Jedi, too. He wasn’t a full

Jedi Master or anything, and it didn’t seem like he was ever going to be. He

was a healer." And a sneak, I think privately, grinning to myself. "But he’s

a perfect example of what I was talking about. He wasn’t the most impressive

of the people I worked with. Our teacher was probably the most powerful Jedi

Master on our world. But without Kurt’s help--his humor, his gentle wisdom,

his constant encouragement, and his utter reliability--we would never have

been able to accomplish what we did; and our world would have basically died.

There would have been no one left."

Octavia is hypnotized. "Do you believe that our every decision is so

important?" she asks. "I do not think I want to be a part of anything like

that. I would rather stay on the Electria."

I laugh. "No, I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about saving

a world," I assure her. "That was a pretty extreme example! I did mean that

the decisions you make may have far-reaching implications. But the most

important thing to consider is what is best for you. You know now that you

need training; but how and when you find it is entirely up to you. If you do

anything you’re uncomfortable with, it will only interfere with your

development. It’s time to find your own path. You will, if you let yourself."

She looks relieved. "I see. Well, you have given me a great deal to

think about. I think I will go and do just that, if you will excuse me."

"Of course." I smile and nod to her. "It was nice to meet you." I

chuckle. "Don’t think you have to say the same–I’d be awfully surprised if

you could say so with a straight face!"

Octavia smiles. "I can certainly say that it has been interesting,"

she replies.

"Maybe we’ll see each other again?" I suggest. "Under less trying

circumstances, of course," I add with a wink.

"It may be," she says, reaching down and correctly triggering the wall

release. She’s quick-witted, all right, I note. "My ship will be on the

station for some time. After that, well, we will see."

"Fair enough," I agree.

I shake her hand and watch Octavia walk away. Her posture is as stiff

as ever, her glance as wary. But for a moment, I see her hand come to rest on

the hilt of her lightsaber. Instead of tensing, it just sits there for a

moment. Then, slowly, her hand cups gently around the hilt, almost as if she

were truly holding it for the first time.

I smile to myself. Whichever way it goes, I think, she will be all