Chapter 1
Somber Greetings

Arriving back on Kashyyyk after 30 years has been exciting and refreshing for Kurrelgyrre. KG found his mother at her house in the trees and was overjoyed with the reunion. Since then, he has found some of his cousins and discovered that he is an uncle.

Finding friends was a bit different. Most of them had left Kashyyyk to search the galaxy for a better life. However, a couple had remained behind, content with their life in the forests.

One of them, Rashacco, works for the government of one of the provinces and spread the word that KG had returned home after becoming a Jedi Knight. Being the first Wookiee to become a Jedi Knight in almost 40 years and the first to reach Knighthood since the establishment of the new Jedi Academy, the government was quick to recognize Kurrelgyrre's status and publicly acknowledged it to the rest of the Wookiee population.

For a couple of weeks, masses of Wookiees flocked to KG's home wanting to see the new Jedi. Seeing the problem, Rashacco took him on a trip to the Wartaki Islands to get away from the majority of Wookiee civilization for a few days to allow the excitement to die down a bit.

Now camping on one of the smaller islands, Kurrelgyrre and Rashacco have been there for two days surviving in the trees.

"You know," Rashacco growls while resting on a branch nearby. "Quite a bit has happened over the last thirty years here on Kashyyyk and throughout the rest of the galaxy. I'm surprised that . . ."

Rashacco suddenly stops speaking upon hearing faint rustling from a leaf-covered branch nearby. The Wookiee official looks to Kurrelgyrre with a look of curiosity and slight anxiety on his fur-covered face.

Reaching out with the Force, Kurrelgyrre concentrates his sight on the source of the rustling. Peering through the leaves, he spots a patch of greenish-brown fur. Further observation reveals a pair of dark eyes quietly watching every move of the two Wookiees. KG suddenly notices that it is very quiet in the area.

Suspecting danger, Rashacco slowly pulls his bowcaster around from its place on his back. The only sound heard is the click of the safety being turned off on the bowcaster.

Without warning, a large beast about 4 meters in length launches from its hiding place right at Rashacco. The creature quickly knocks the Wookiee down and pins him against the branch, snarling into his face. Rashacco's grip on his bowcaster is slowly loosening under the creature's weight.

Roaring as loud as he can, Kurrelgyrre begins to reach for his saber holstered on his belt. The creature quickly snaps its head toward the Wookiee and lunges at him, leaving Rashacco behind on the wide branch of the wroshyr tree. With sharp teeth bared, the creature ferociously bites at Kurrelgyrre's leg, but KG swiftly dodges the attack.

Drawing his lightsaber, Kurrelgyrre activates the weapon, creating the long flame-blade from its metal handle. The Wookiee swings at the green-brown creature facing him. Despite the creature's attempt to move away from the single flame coming at it, the lightsaber easily slices through its right rear leg. The dismembered limb drops uselessly to the branch floor, still twitching from suddenly silenced nerves. The creature silently crumples to the floor under its own weight. It attempts to stand again but falls back down once more, obviously in pain from its wound.

Recovering from the tackle, Rashacco stands, looks at the fallen creature and lifts his bowcaster, aiming at the creature.

"Enough," KG says to Rashacco. "This creature has suffered enough. He has learned a valuable lesson this day."

Rashacco snaps his head to look at the Jedi and slowly lowers his bowcaster.

Kurrelgyrre looks to the wounded creature and reaches out through the Force to help it calm down. After a few seconds, the creature's aggressive look melts away as it appears to calm. Slowly, KG approaches the beast and gently touches its freshly wounded leg while letting the Force flow through him once more. A soft, blue glow emanates from the wound as it slowly closes, and some of the tension showing from the creature's pain disappears. Kurrelgyrre slowly backs away from the beast, and it manages to stand, hobble toward the trunk of the wroshyr tree and begin a slow, troubled climb down.

Rashacco continues to stare at KG with a look of amazement on his face. Seeming to snap out of a trance, Rashacco puts his bowcaster away and approaches the Jedi.

"How did you do that?" exclaims Rashacco. "That was a bolstyngar! They are never that friendly."

With a peaceful expression, Kurrelgyrre responds, "Trust in the Force, my friend."

A few short seconds pass before a familiar beep is heard from Rashacco's pouch. The Wookiee politician reaches in, pulls out his comlink and toggles its switch.

"Yes," Rashacco says.

"Rashacco," responds a female Wookiee's voice over the comlink. "Is Kurrelgyrre still with you?"

"Yes, he is. One moment." Rashacco hands the comlink over to KG, who takes the device and speaks into it.

"This is Kurrelgyrre," the Jedi says.

"Kurrelgyrre," the female replies. "You need to go back home. Someone has arrived at your mother's home. An offworlder. It looks like it might be urgent."

KG looks up at Rashacco, who now has a look of curious concern on his face. The politician gives a silent nod.

Kurrelgyrre answers, "We'll be back as soon as we can," shuts off the comlink and hands it back to Rashacco. As soon as he pockets the item in his pouch, both Wookiees begin rapidly making their way back to the airspeeder.

Returning to town, Kurrelgyrre leaps from the vehicle as soon as it stops and begins to run home. Caught by surprise, Rashacco quickly shuts down the speeder, fumbles to pull the key out and scrambles almost futilely to catch up with his Jedi friend.

Upon arriving at his home, KG bursts in through the front doorway to see a familiar Sullustan sitting in the front room. A brief second passes before the Jedi recognizes the offworlder as Snteil Seit, whom he encountered on Yavin 4 a few years back. Sounds of crying can be heard emanating from deeper in the house.

Without waiting for a response from Snteil, Kurrelgyrre rushes toward the source of the crying and stops at his mother's bedroom, where she and several other females have flocked near one side of her bed. One particular female, kneeling on the floor with her face buried in her hands, is loudly sobbing.

Lying on the bed is a young male Wookiee that KG instantly recognizes as Kyykash. The lifeless body, lying still on the bed with his strong arms crossed over his abdomen, feet together and eyes respectfully closed in a traditional death pose, shows signs of two blaster wounds on his chest. The size and amount of damage on the wounds shows that he was shot from behind at fairly close range.

Kurrelgyrre lets out a Wookiee howl of grief for his old mechanic friend. The females around the bed suddenly turn in response to the howl. KG's mother breaks away from the group, walks over to her son and embraces him for a brief moment. After releasing the embrace, she gives a sad smile and returns to the females near the bed.

Surprising to the Wookiee Jedi, Snteil silently appears next to Kurrelgyrre at the bedroom doorway. The two stand in the doorway watching the scene for a brief moment, when Rashacco finally catches up.

"Kurrelgyrre," Rashacco whispers, practically ignoring the Sullustan standing beside him. "I have some more news for you. Come."

The three walk to the front room, where Rashacco takes a seat.

"I received another call while I was trying to catch up with you, KG," the Wookiee noble continues. "Evidently, another offworlder seeking you is in the process of landing. He says he has come all the way from Coruscant with a message from Luke Skywalker. You should wait here for him to arrive."

KG responds with a curious look on his face, "From Luke? I wonder what it could be about? A mission?"

The next thirty standard minutes pass slowly, while the three wait for the unknown visitor. The group of females in the bedroom stayed with Kyykash's body, and the house has been unusually quiet except for the sounds of mournful cries from the one assumed to be the deceased's mother.

During the wait, KG turns to Snteil and says, "Been a long time. Last I saw you was at the Academy when Daala attacked. I'm grateful that you did the honorable thing and brought Kyykash's body home. What happened? How did he die?"

"Yes," Snteil replies. "It has been a while, KG. After the death of Davin, Kyykash and I left. It must have been, oh, I'd say several standard weeks ago that the bounty hunters caught up with us again. We eluded them for a while, but they finally caught up with us on Corellia.

"I had an old friend there that I thought could help me out. He betrayed us. It was a trap, but Kyykash knew it was coming. He rushed the hunters so I could escape, but it cost him his life. I escaped.

"I did come back for the body; those bastards had left him to rot out in the street. It was obviously a trap, but what could I do? I couldn't just leave him there. So, I had Zeethree, you remember him don't ya? Anyway, I had Zeethree fly in low while I was in the belly turret and just laid waste to the whole neighborhood. Not the cleanest job in the world, but I got my friend out of there.

"Shortly after that, I came here. Such a waste of life. The hunters will just keep coming after me. It will never end."

Finally after several more minutes, a Wookiee dressed in a harness recognizing him as part of the local police escorts a well-dressed, handsome Human to the front door of the house. Walking through, the Human simply asks, "Are you Kurrelgyrre?" while looking at the one dressed in Jedi robes. At the response of a simple nod, the Human reaches inside his jacket and pulls out a small disk-shaped device and tosses it to KG across the room. Catching it in one furry hand, KG realizes that the device is a holoprojector. Holding it upright, he activates it.

The bluish image that appears from the holoprojector is that of Luke Skywalker dressed in standard Jedi robes, facing toward the Wookiee Jedi with hands clasped in front of him.

"Kurrelgyrre," the image says. "I apologize for delivering this message to you so shortly after you have graduated from the academy, but I have something I need to ask of you.

"Recently, my sister reminded me of a former apprentice of mine that I haven't heard from in some time. You remember him as your former teacher, Jan Tolbara. The last thing I remember him doing was a mission for the New Republic about six years ago.

"I traveled to Coruscant to check up on this, and they haven't heard from him or the rest of the group he was with either. The last transmission from him came from the Elrood Sector requesting supplies for a group of New Republic supporters there. He and the rest of his group are currently listed as Missing. I do feel that he is still alive.

"I would go search for him myself, but I have responsibilities at the academy. So, I ask if you could find him. Start in the Elrood Sector on the world of Coyn. That was his last known location.

"The person that delivered this message to you has agreed to assist you on this mission, and I feel that he will be a great asset to you. Thank you, Kurrelgyrre, and may the Force be with you."

The image of Luke nods his head, and the message ends.

KG lets out another howl. After a moment, the howl stops and KG seriously states, "Jan is missing? I must find him."

"Who exactly is this Jan?" inquires Snteil.

"Jan was one of my teachers in the Jedi way," KG responds. "He found me during a time when I went into hibernation, and helped me to not see the galaxy with bitter eyes.

"He trained me for a couple of years before Luke, er . . . Master Skywalker completed my training at the Jedi Academy."

"I seem to recall hearing rumors about Skywalker training someone about five or six years ago," Rashacco states inquisitively. "Is this Jan you speak of and that student the same?"

"Yes," KG replies. "Jan was one of Luke's first students, much like his sister Leia. Jan was just at the point to where he became a Jedi Knight shortly after I met him."

"So, he did complete his training?" asks Rashacco.

KG turns towards Rashacco and answers, "Yes, he did and in turn continued my training. Jan is a noble man in his heart, and one of the best examples of what a Jedi should be. He is an Honor-friend."

"Okay, let me get this straight," Snteil interrupts. "We have to go searching for a lost Jedi Knight? This ought to be interesting."

Turning to the Sullustan, KG says, "Indeed. And if he still keeps the same company that he had when we last traveled together, more interesting still."

"You know you can count on my help, KG," Snteil continues. "I feel I owe it to Kyykash to help you out. Besides, what better way to stay alive that to keep company with a Jedi?"

"You do yourself credit," Kurrelgyrre adds. "You do have a sense of honor, despite your chosen profession. I would welcome your company on my quest.

"Although, staying with a Jedi, especially this Jedi, may not be as safe as one might imagine," KG finishes with a serious tone and a solid stare into the Sullustan's dark eyes.

"I know that Kyykash would want me to help you, KG," Snteil says after a moment of somber silence. "I know that if he were here right now, he'd rip my arms out if I didn't offer to help. So, as I said, you can count on me and my ship for as much help as you need."

KG looks Snteil directly in the eyes, catching his gaze, and answers, "You honor his memory well."

KG extends his hand in friendship. Snteil takes his hand in friendship by sliding his hand past KG's and grasping his forearm, in a traditional Sullustan grasp of friendship. The Wookiee returns the grasp.

Turning towards the new arrival, KG says, "You have my gratitude for bringing this message to me. I am Kurrelgyrre, Jedi Knight. Who are you, and how is it that you are able to help me?"

The Human replies, "The name's Del Ventim. I'm a representative of the Republic. I've been sent to assist you in diplomatic relations with planetary governments during your travels."

KG merely nods, acknowledging Del's presence on the mission. Snteil, however, interjects, "How quick are you with a blaster, Del? Better yet, how good are you in a quad-laser cannon turret?"

Del flatly replies, "I'm a diplomat, not a gunslinger or a bush pilot."

"I take it that's a no, then," acknowledges Snteil. "Do you even OWN a pistol? What about a ship?"

"Yes, and yes."

"Oh, well, good then!" Snteil states. "I wouldn't want to clutter up my ship with another passenger anyway. Zeethree is about all I can handle."

At this point, Kurrelgyrre interrupts, "We must be off soon, then. I take it we go in a convoy?

"Rashacco, can you see what information there is in the New Republic database on the Elrood sector, and specifically the mission? Look for a ship registered as the Smiling Sarlacc. I will need to see a star chart as well, in case of any spacial anomalies."

"Will do," Rashacco answers with a sense of urgency as he rises out of his chair.

"Meanwhile, I will need to contact the Jedi Academy and see what information there is on the mission and Jan's whereabouts.

"I've got a strange feeling about this . . ."

Rashacco points out that a public communications terminal is in the local constabulary, and he is willing to take everyone there in his speeder.

Kurrelgyrre, Rashacco, Snteil and Del rush to the speeder parked a short distance away. Reaching the landing area, the four enter the four-seat speeder and take off for the nearby constabulary.

Within a few minutes, a large wooden structure setting within the branches of several wroshyr trees comes into view. Arms of walkways reaching to smaller structures span the gaps between trees of the arboreal cluster, allowing their Wookiee passengers to move freely. Numerous speeders fly through the trees to and from the building, giving the area an air of importance.

"That's the constabulary," cries Rashacco over the sound of the wind rushing by as he directs the speeder toward the complex. "I should be able to grant us access inside."

Directed by a Wookiee on a nearby landing pad resting on a wide wroshyr branch, Rashacco softly lands the speeder and shuts it down.

Within a few minutes, the group finds themselves inside the front doors of the large building. Several Wookiees, each wearing a harness signifying their position and rank within the police force, are bustling about speaking with other constables or carrying equipment through the spacious lobby. In one corner of the lobby, six communications terminals with a fairly tall, padded stool fastened to the floor in front of each one set unused in a small circle. Even though the terminals appear a bit out of date and show signs of their age, they appear to be in working order.

"Senator?" barks a Wookiee from across the lobby.

As all four heads turn to see the source of the cry, a constable walks across the room to Rashacco, takes his furred hand and gives a hearty handshake.

"Senator Rashacco," the constable exclaims. "A pleasure to meet you, sir. What brings you here?"

Turning to acknowledge the others, Rashacco answers, "My associates and I need to use your communications terminals, constable . . ."

With a smile, the constable completes the sentence for him, "Shardack. Constable Shardack, sir."

"Thank you, Constable Shardack. Can you assist us?" inquires Rashacco.

"Certainly!" responds Shardack cheerfully. "These terminals out here are for public use. But, in my honest opinion, they don't work too well. I know of a few terminals in a back office that I don't think anyone will object to you and your friends using.

"Right this way," Shardack directs, leading the four down a short hallway into a small room with four communications terminals that appear in much better shape than the ones in the lobby.

Making his way to the farthest terminal, Rashacco sits down and logs on, beginning his research.

After logging onto the system and initiating a call to the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4, Kurrelgyrre reaches a familiar face that appears on the terminal screen.

"Jedi Academy, this is Tionne."

"Greetings, Tionne," Kurrelgyrre states.

"Hi, KG!" returns Tionne happily.

KG continues, "Please tell Master Skywalker that I received his message."

"I will tell him," the Jedi female returns. "He's on Coruscant right now."

"I need some information on the Elrood Sector, the planet Coyn and on Jan Tolbara's activity there," KG adds. "Look in your database for a ship called the Smiling Sarlacc as well. My old teacher is missing."

"Hmmm, okay," she replies. A brief moment of silence floats in the air, save for the sound of Rashacco's conversation on the other side of the room.

"Also," Kurrelgyrre says, breaking the silence. "I must thank you again for the information on the Wookiee Jedi Kirlocca, from the days of the Old Republic. I understand that he may be the only other Wookiee Jedi ever known."

"My pleasure," replies Tionne. "It should be just another moment for all that information.

"What I have so far is that the Smiling Sarlacc did stop here at the academy about 6 years ago, while it was still being set up. It was a brief stop, according to the record left by C-3PO, where Captain Rusta'al was looking for Jan about somebody knowing about a Jedi Research and Development Center on Ossus. Jan was traveling to an ancient site with . . . you, KG. Something about Jan's test for knighthood.

"Here's the rest of what I have.

"The Elrood Sector, up until about 5 years ago, was under the control of the Empire. It was believed that a number of groups that supported the New Republic existed in the sector, but they were scattered and had no way of linking together. With assistance from the New Republic, the groups united and drove the Empire from that sector of space. NR Intelligence believes that some elements of the Empire may still exist there somewhere.

"The world of Coyn is a planet in the first star system that anyone entering the sector will come across. You might say that Coyn is the gateway into the sector. According to the planetary profile, Coyn is a fairly rich world and has a high level of commerce.

"What I have in the Academy database shows that Jan was assigned with the crew of the Smiling Sarlacc 5 years ago to the Elrood Sector for the New Republic. Some sort of classified mission.

"That's all I have," Tionne finishes.

Turning from the terminal for a second, KG asks, "Snteil and Del, check with your contacts and see if any of them might know some information on the Sarlacc's crew. The ship's captain is named Eriyani Rusta'al. Other people on the ship are Qualtis Majint, Dak Gribson, Arsan Telk and Kianna von der Thann."

The Wookiee Jedi looks back to the screen and adds, "That's all I need. Thanks!"

"Thanks for calling, KG," answers Tionne. "And, may the Force be with you."

As soon as Kurrelgyrre terminates the communications link, Rashacco turns away from his terminal and addresses the rest of the group.

"Here's what I came up with," Rashacco starts.

"The Elrood Sector is in the Outer Rim along the Rimma Trade Route and close to the Sluis Van system. The sector is known to hold a number of commercially important planets and was originally believed to play a major part in a smuggling route.

"Up until a few years ago, the Empire held control over the Elrood Sector, though not a strong one. It was, also, reported that several groups of New Republic sympathizers were scattered throughout the sector and had been requesting assistance to remove the Empire from that part of space.

"It took a little longer than I expected to get the information due to a friend of mine in the Senate attending a reception held by the Demaran senator. I pulled some strings, but I managed to find out that several missions were sent to the Elrood Sector to accomplish that task. The first mission was assigned to two groups with the first one being the crew of the Smiling Sarlacc.

"The conditions of the mission dictated that radio silence must be maintained within the sector. However, Coruscant received a transmission from the Sarlacc, routed through the New Republic cruiser Valiant, requesting supplies for a group that they located on Coyn. Unfortunately, the Sarlacc did not arrive at the designated rendezvous. A search was conducted for them, but they weren't located. The Smiling Sarlacc has been declared Lost."

"Well," Snteil states. "Perhaps I can be of some service. I don't know if it will be any help, but in my line of make a few contacts. I know a few people who find ships that can't be found by anyone else.

"It comes with the territory of being a bounty hunter," the Sullustan adds with a wink.

"Now, I'm not guaranteeing anything, and it's not the quickest way in the world. But, it might at the very least give us a starting point, yes?"

Without warning, Snteil's comlink signals an incoming call.

Activating the comlink, the voice of a 3P0 protocol droid answers, "Zeethree here, sir. Refueling of the Aurora is complete, and I do suggest you hurry back. I don't like the way these Wookiees are looking at the ship."

Snteil replies, "Copy that, Zeethree. I'm on my way!"

Turning to the other three, the Sullustan continues, "KG, Del, I must head back. Will you accompany me? This does not bode well. Zeethree would not be this worked up over nothing. KG, I think you would be most helpful in this. I don't know what's going on, but I'm sure it can't be good."

"Sure," Del answers with a nod, while Kurrelgyrre rises out of his seat and begins to head for the door.

"Alright!" cheers Snteil. "Thanks, guys. Let's go!"

As the three leave the room, Rashacco stands and mumbles to himself as he exits the room, "They're not going to get very far without my speeder."

Shortly, the four reach Rashacco's speeder and depart for the Aurora. Within minutes, the speeder lands in a parking area near the landing pad and rush to the ship.

Before reaching the landing pad, blaster fire is heard coming from near the ship. Seconds later, a large group of Wookiees flees through the main entrance to the landing pad. Most of them are carrying tools on belts and harnesses and calling out exclamations like "Crazy droid!"

A smaller group of Wookiees catches sight of Snteil near the landing bay doors and quickly make their way to him. The lead Wookiee, dressed as some sort of technician, leans down and asks in an aggressive tone, "Is that your droid in there? If it is, it needs a serious memory wipe!" The other Wookiees behind him express their agreement and walk away in a huff with their representative.

Sarcastically, Snteil responds after them, "Uh, yeah! I'll look into that!" He, then, turns on his heel and storms toward the hatch leading to the landing platform.

Stretching out with his feelings, Kurrelgyrre senses a general feeling of slowly subsiding fear from the Wookiees walking away.

Del begins to follow the Sullustan with a look of dread on his face.

Opening the personnel entrance hatch, Snteil slowly steps into the landing bay and dives back out for cover as a blaster shot hits the wall above the hatch.

"ZEETHREE," Snteil yells as he gets back on his feet.

"Oh! Sorry, sir!" cries the voice of the droid Snteil recognizes as Zeethree. "I thought you were one of those Wookiee ruffians!"

Peeking through the hatch reveals Zeethree, a reddish 3P0 protocol droid with a grayish Sullustan-style head, standing at the foot of the boarding ramp to the Aurora while pointing a long blaster rifle skyward.

"What in the hell are you doing?" exclaims Snteil. "How many times have I told you NOT to use a pistol? If you keep this sort of activity up, I just might do as the Wookiees suggested and wipe your memory!"

Looking at the weapon in hand, Zeethree looks back to his master as he storms toward him and replies, "It's not a pistol, sir. It's a BlasTech T-21 rifle. It still has 4 shots left in the clip, sir. I only used 21."

Snteil stomps right up to the droid, snatches the rifle away and says, "Zeethree, go to my quarters and plug into the computer. Those Wookiees wanna wipe your memory. I don't want to take the chance that they might. Go download yourself onto the disc."

With an electronic sigh, Zeethree responds, "Yes, sir." The 3P0 droid turns and walks up the ramp onto the ship.

Rolling his eyes, Snteil turns back to the other two and calmly states, "I should have known better. Stupid paranoid hunk o' bolts. I'm sorry, guys. I got us all worked up over nothing."

"No problem," KG says. "I remember one time how my friends and I went up against a psycho R5 unit. I slashed at him with my lightsaber. I missed him and he backed off, but he charged forward at me with my lightsaber still outstretched. Basically, he skewered himself."

"Yeah," Snteil replies. "Those R5's weren't the best in the bunch that they made. Well, now that I'm here, I'm gonna go through my databanks and see what contacts I might have around the Coyn system that might help us out, and I'll send out an underground message that we're looking for the Smiling Sarlacc. It can't hurt, anyway."

The Sullustan, then, walks up the ramp of the Aurora and disappears inside the ship. He is soon followed by the Wookiee Jedi.

Sitting down at the communications panel and arranging the systems to connect to a nearby interplanetary communcations beacon, Snteil initiates a link to the distant Elrood Sector.

Several minutes pass while Snteil connects through numerous relay systems. Finally, a familiar voice comes over the speaker.

"Like taking candy from a baby Ewok," mumbles Snteil. Realizing what he said, the Sullustan looks nervously at KG and adds, "Not that I would DO that of course!"

Kurrelgyrre merely shakes his head. He seems lost in thought for a second to another place, another time.

After establishing a link with his contact, Snteil requests a search for the ship called the Smiling Sarlacc. His contact, named Harker, doesn't recall the name of the ship off the top of his head. However, he is willing to spread the word to some of his friends and contacts to see if anyone has seen this ship recently. He states it may take some time to get an answer on it, though. First estimates are that the answer will be "on his desk" within a few weeks, just enough time to reach the Elrood Sector from Kashyyyk.

After the link is terminated, Kurrelgyrre inquires, "We ready to head to the Elrood Sector?"

The Sullustan nods in reply.

Soon, the two walk back down the ramp to rejoin the others, where Snteil asks, "To the Elrood Sector then?"

"Sure," comes Del's simple reply.

Leaning toward Kurrelgyrre, the Sullustan pilot quietly interjects with a wink, "He's a man of few words, huh?"

"Alright then," Snteil announces. "If we're all stocked up on supplies, then let's get up there and plot a hyperspace course!"

Grasping his comlink, KG activates it, calls his astromech droid and orders, "Arsix, get the Phantom ready for takeoff."

Rashacco states, "I regret to say that I will be unable to join you. Political duties here on Kashyyyk keep me pretty well occupied. But, do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything I can do to help."

"And I wish I could stay here on Kashyyyk as well, my friend," Kurrelgyrre adds after shutting off the comlink. "But, a Jedi may never rest for long. Jan is my honor-friend, and I owe him much. Take care, and please look after my family while I'm away."

KG grabs Rashacco's arm in a friendly wookiee handshake and says, "May the Force be with you."

Rashacco returns the handshake, smiles in response to the salutation and returns, "And also with you, my friend."

Without waiting for a response from the others, Rashacco turns and leaves the landing pad.

Turning to the others, Kurrelgyrre asks, "I take it we are going in a convoy, then? I would like to take my fighter along."

"That's fine with me," Snteil responds.

The Sullustan turns to Del and inquires, "Will it be a 3 ship convoy, or will you accompany me?"

"I'd prefer to bring my own ship if you don't mind," answers Del.

During the discussion, Zeethree walks down the Aurora's ramp, looks around for a second and asks, "Master Seit, may I have a moment of your time?"

"Yes," answers Snteil. "What is it, Zeethree?"

"Sir," Zeethree says. "I was wondering when these other two rogues will be leaving. I do not feel comfortable with them being here. Who knows what they could do to the ship, or us for that matter."

With an audible gasp, Snteil's jaw drops open in shock. After a brief moment, he snaps out of the sudden trance, turns to his two new companions with a sheepish smile on his face and nervously states, "Uh, heh heh, excuse me for a moment."

Without pause, Snteil violently grabs Zeethree's arm and pulls him away from the group.

"Heaven forbid, we could just start shooting at things," KG says in a sarcastic manner. Snteil merely rolls his eyes and turns back to his droid.

In hushed tones, he scolds, "What in the hell are you trying to do? These are my friends. Well, one of them is anyway. The other I just met, but he's a New Republic Diplomat. And, the Wookiee is a Jedi Knight! Don't you remember him? They are NOT rogues . . . well, no more than you or I. So, show them a little respect, or I'll have you dismantled . . . and this time I mean it!"

Zeethree glances at Del and KG standing a short distance away, looks back to Snteil and responds, "Like I haven't heard that before! I'm a valuable member of this crew. You can't afford to have me dismantled!"

Rolling his eyes, Snteil responds, "Fine, fine. Yes, you are an important part of this crew. Now can you calm your circuits down long enough to see things rationally?"

KG looks at Del and whispers, "Perhaps they need a moment alone."

Upon hearing the whisper with his sharp hearing, Snteil glances at Kurrelgyrre and cries, "Watch it, furball! I heard that!"

KG merely smiles and replies, "There was a time that I would anger to such a comment, whether deserving or not. Now, that time is but a memory."

"Uh huh." Snteil responds sarcastically. "Yeah, whatever."

The droid looks at Kurrelgyrre for a brief moment and then continues, "You might be right about them being friends. I do recognize that lightsaber the Wookiee is carrying."

Kurrelgyrre calls out to Snteil, "You know, I could arrange for his memory to be wiped!"

With forced politeness, the Sullustan answers, "No, that's okay!"

Turning back to Snteil, Zeethree shakes a metallic finger toward the Sullustan and adds, "But, don't say I didn't warn you if something happens to us or the ship."

"Right, I'll consider myself warned. Now, if there are no more complications or INTERRUPTIONS . . ." Snteil sternly warns as he glares at Zeethree. "Let's get out of here."

Zeethree turns and heads back up the ramp without another word. As Snteil approaches KG and Del, he mumbles, "Never have your droid programmed by a former spy."

Stopping at the foot of the ramp, Snteil turns to the other two, gestures toward their ships and impatiently asks, "Shall we?"

With a simple acknowledgement, the trio quickly makes their way to their ships.

KG looks out over the treetop village of Wookiees, taking in one last look of his home. After being away for thirty years, he now finds himself leaving it again. As he begins to wonder if he will ever see it again, a quote from Jan, his former teacher, comes to mind, "Don't dwell in the past, and don't look to the future so much that you ignore the present. Concentrate on the here and now."

Snapping back to the present, Kurrelgyrre continues toward his ship setting nearby.

KG climbs into his Incom Z-98 Phantom and prepares for takeoff. Coordinating with the others, the Wookiee Jedi instructs Arsix to pull up a map of the Elrood Sector. He begins to discuss the information obtained about the sector and what is known about the activities of Jan and the crew of the Smiling Sarlacc with the other two as the ships complete their pre-launch cycles.

Once the ships are fully prepared, Kurrelgyrre calls the landing area control center and receives permission for departure for the Phantom, the Aurora and the Saucy Lady. Once permission has been relayed, the three ships take off.

Flying a few hours to the outer reaches of the system to avoid any unnecessary hazards when entering the coordinates for the Elrood Sector, the ships reach open space. Using the course calculated between Zeethree and R6-X0 from the coordinates obtained from Rashacco's research, the ships come into formation and prepare for the jump.

"On my mark," KG states over the comlink. Upon receiving confirmation from Del and Snteil, the wookiee Jedi counts down, "Three . . . two . . . one . . . mark."

In synchronous fashion, the hyperdrives on all three ships engage. The familiar bright points of light of space quickly change to long streaks as the ships rapidly speed away from Kashyyyk's star system toward their distant destination: Coyn, gateway to the Elrood Sector.