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what we were and what we could have been

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Korkie had had a difficult nearly two decades. The end of the Clone Wars had been rough on the entire galaxy. The Separatists had lost their leaders. The Republic had fallen into tyranny. And Neutral Systems, like Mandalore, were one by one invaded, brutalized and conquered by the Empire. 


The end of the War was shrouded in as much mystery for Korkie as it had been for nearly everyone else. After the clones had left Mandalore with Satine’s killer, the monstrous Maul, the political arguments between Korkie and the other New Mandalorians and Bo-Katan and her Death Watch broke out at full strength. Those arguments soon became irrelevant--- in a startling short period the Empire arrived, led by Vader, who no one could identify. Korkie suspected he had been a Jedi--- where else would someone receive that kind of training--- but without insider knowledge, there was no way for Korkie to identify who the tall man had been.


Much to what he suspected would have been Auntie Satine’s chagrin, Korkie had left Mandalore after her fall, a decision he still doubts, to join the Rebellion as a political aid to Mon Mothma. It felt good, to help people, and now, with the destruction of the Death Star, there seemed to be tangible proof that they were doing real good for real people. 


Korkie’s excitement at this success was not entirely selfless. Korkie had learned, through Mon Mothma, that Princess Leia had sent the Death Star plans to a hermit called Old Ben Kenobi, out on Tatooine, and the droids sent on that mission had returned with a man called Luke Skywalker. Those two facts combined--- that a Skywalker was coming with a man called Kenobi--- lifted Korkie’s hopes that maybe Obi-Wan had survived the end of the War after all. 


Luke Skywalker, as well as his friend Han Solo were due to receive medals of honor any minute now, and so Korkie filters into the large throne room along with hundreds of others that had joined the rebel cause.


The ceremony is nice, though not all that different from any other celebration, and after the medals are given and the Princess of Alderaan speaks, the crowd erupts into a party with more drinks than a lower-level Coruscanti club, the kind where a death stick dealer would have without a doubt approach you.


Korkie’s mission is clear: find Luke Skywalker

It takes a bit of maneuvering and more elbowing that his Aunt would have liked, but eventually, Korkie squeezes through the crowd and gets a moment with Skywalker, though Korkie has to sort of insert himself into the conversation. As soon as the others wander off, the smuggler and Wookie to get refills, and the Princess to talk to another friend, Korkie takes his chance.


“You’re Luke Skywalker? From Tatooine?” Korkie asked, hope just beginning to bud in his chest.


“Yep,” Luke replied, popping the letter ‘p,’ “and you are?”


“Korkie Kryze, from Mandalore,” Korkie responded, “Ben Kenobi was with you on Tatooine, right?”


“Oh yeah, he lived out in the Jundland Wastes. He was supposed to come with me to Alderaan, but Vader killed him on the Death Star.”


Korkie’s mind came to a complete stop. Ben had been killed? By Vader? It didn’t make sense. The Obi-Wan Korkie had known was a fearsome warrior--- to the point that Auntie Satine had criticized it endlessly---the idea that he could be struck down in some random battle with a masked assailant refused to compute in Korkie’s mind. Obi-Wan couldn’t be dead. He just couldn’t His spiraling thought process was interrupted by a question from Luke:


“You knew Ben?”


“Yeah, we...uh… met once, during the Clone Wars. He was… close with my aunt.”


“Oh, I’m sorry then, he was a great man.”


“Yeah, I guess he was.”


Years of political training kicked in as Korkie excused himself (in what he thought was a graceful manner) and walked, then ran to his quarters further into the base. He shut the door to his small room, and slid against the shut door to the floor. Something in him stopped him from crying. He had never known the man, their only relation was one of blood, but the possibility had still been there. This war, the symptom of another war, which had come on the back of yet another war, could have ended. They could have been together. But that possibility was now well and truly gone. The loss of Obi-Wan was not like the loss of Satine so many years earlier. Obi-Wan had not raised him, had not held him as he cried, or expressed pride at his successes. Korkie mourned a dream, if he was being completely honest with himself, he was mourning a complete fallacy, something that could never have come true. And somehow that hurt just as much.