Actions

Work Header

Star Wars: Unexpected Consequences

Chapter Text


Title image showing Luke, Mara, and Lucinda

They had dimmed the lights in the lobbies of the medical wing with how late local night was growing, but the patient halls were still brightly lit to care for the wounded. Luke had no idea how many the skirmish caused beyond the one he worried about. He was beyond screaming how unfair the universe was—that went hoarse when he had to put the remains of his father on a funeral pyre—but he still ached when his loved ones were pained. Something that had settled as a thing when Leia acknowledged their family connection when she was shot on Endor. But losing this potential connection with Mara would hurt more than that had.

Lucinda's grip on his hand tightened as they rounded a corner and ended up in a recovery anteroom. Talon Karrde was already there with Winter and a young man with shaggy blue hair who Luke didn't recognize. They all had frowns on their faces upon seeing Lucinda.

Luke squeezed her hand back and continued forward. "Can we see Mara?"

"Through the window," Winter answered. "They are not allowing visitors just yet."

"Okay." He ushered Lucinda to an observational window with a bench she stood on to see the recovery room inside. Mara lay on the medical bed closest to the window. They had attached sensors to her skin, but it was already a pinker color than the last time he had seen her in Liberty's hangar bay. The breathing tube snaked through her mouth and inflated her chest in a steady rhythm. A white plasticene skullcap covered her red-gold hair with more sensor probes bristling over it. Her hair was on the pillow under her head, so the medics hadn't needed to shave her head.

Lucinda pressed both her hands against the clari-crystalline.

"Jedi Skywalker?" Karrde gestured for him to join the smuggler chief on the other side of the anteroom.

Luke patted Lucinda's back. Threepio and Artoo moved closer to support the little girl. Not that she noticed. He crossed the room, but Karrde spoke first. "You brought her down here to see her mother like this?"

Karrde kept his demeanor calm, but Luke could feel how the man's empathy made him seethe. He wanted Lucinda protected from this. Luke sighed and kept his voice low. "Lucinda already saw the worst when Mara came out of the ejector seat."

"You showed her that?" Karrde's eyes flashed.

Luke remained calm. "She is strong in the Force and worried about her mother. She slipped right past my shields." Shattered them, really. That hadn't happened in years, since Leia recognized her own potential and reached out to him while in pain. Lucinda's desire for her mother was just as strong.

Karrde huffed. "The Force showed her, but you didn't downplay what happened."

Luke bit back his instinctive snap to speak firmly. "I won't lie to anyone about their family." He could accept the desperate need to protect him for the lies he endured, but he would never follow that example. The truth was a better path.

"Well, you will have plenty of time to test that resolve. Per Mara's employment contract, if she was incapacitated, I was to deliver Lucinda into your care."

Luke blinked. "Me?" He winced as the reason blossomed in his mind. He felt humbled that Mara trusted him with her precious daughter. He made a better impression on Myrkr than he thought. "The only Force user who won't exploit her daughter."

Karrde was studying him, but before the smuggler chief said anything, the medic entered the anteroom. "Mara Jade's responsible party?" They all hurried to the human woman, though Winter and the droids hung further back. Lucinda jumped off the bench and grabbed Luke's hand. The medic blinked at them. "You're all with Mara Jade, Jedi Skywalker?"

"I'm responsible for her," Luke answered. "Captain Talon Karrde is her employer and Lucinda is her daughter." She waved at the medic and leaned against Luke's leg.

"Well then. Trader Jade suffered oxygen deprivation when the life support failed. She has responded well to the bacta treatment on board Liberty, but she will need some neural reconstruction. We're keeping her on a ventilator until that process is completed. We'll start that tomorrow morning."

"What side effects are we looking at?" Karrde asked.

"Short term amnesia once she wakes up. We have to induce a coma for the neural reconstruction and then we allow the patient to resume breathing and to wake up on their own from the coma. It typically takes a month."

"How well does it hold up?" Luke asked. "Will she need ongoing treatment?" If she did, he would make sure she got it. Whatever she needed.

"Most of our patients need no further treatments. I wouldn't encourage seeking any more head trauma, but this won't impede her life afterward. Any further questions? Okay, visiting hours start at 1100 hours tomorrow. We should finish with the procedure by then." The medic left them and returned to the recovery room.

Lucinda released his hand and looked up at Karrde. "What's going to happen now? Are we making a base here on Coruscant?" Fear made her voice tiny.

Karrde shook his head. "No, I have to go resume business with the others. Ghent will stay here and work on his new project while Mara recovers." He glanced at Luke. "Lucinda worked out a deal with Doncella Retrac to keep an eye on Ghent while he works."

Lucinda looked at the recovery room door. "Do I stay here with Mommy?"

"That is Jedi Skywalker's department now, per your mother's contract."

Her wide blue eyes turned to Luke. They were so bloodshot from her tears while in the vision. He knelt down to be level with her. "Your mother wanted me to take care of you if anything happened to her. And I will. You can stay in my quarters or you can stay with Winter if that makes you more comfortable."

"Mommy's back in charge once she wakes up?"

Luke nodded. "Of course she is."

She looked up at Karrde. "Mommy still has her job?"

"Of course she does. This was just bad luck, Lucinda." Karrde dug into a belt pouch and pulled out a datacard. "Hopefully that will make the month more bearable. I'll send your payment care of Jedi Skywalker. But I have to go now."

Lucinda took the datacard. "Clear skies, Captain Karrde."

"I'll see you in a month. Clear skies."

"May the Force be with you," Luke said. The smuggler chief nodded and strode into the corridor.

Lucinda touched his arm. "I'll stay with you. That's what Mommy wanted."

"Okay." Luke gave her a reassuring smile. "We'll go in a few minutes so we can rest before visiting hours tomorrow."

"I'll send her things down with Threepio," Winter offered.

"Thanks, Winter." He stood up as she and Threepio left. The young man with blue hair—Ghent?—was poking at a terminal that was part of the anteroom's furniture. "What do you have to do with Ghent?"

Lucinda had turned back to the window and Mara lying in the bed beyond it. "I have to make sure he eats and sleeps. He forgets while he's in a project."

"Okay." That would give her something else to think about besides Mara's health.

Artoo whistled softly. {It is now two hours past the recharging time Doncella Retrac scheduled.}

"I know it's local late, Artoo. Come on, Lucinda. We'll come back tomorrow."

She took hold of his hand, but looked over her shoulder with a wave of sadness strong enough to set off his own. He wished he had reached Mara quicker and her recovery time less. They didn't deserve this. But Mara would be all right; a month was nothing to wait after nine years, and she would be healthy and whole again.

She spied Ghent as they reached the anteroom door to the corridor. "Go to bed, Ghent."

"I will." He crawled under the desk. "You go on ahead."

Lucinda huffed and turned to yell.

"It's all right," Luke said. "The medic will throw him out before he hurts anything." She didn't yell, and they headed to the nearest turbolifts.

She said nothing on the ride up and over to his floor. Luke had no idea how to even start a conversation with her. Let her start it, unless a question came up.

Touring his quarters came up first. "Let me show you around," he said awkwardly as he keyed open the door and they stepped into the foyer with three openings. "The bedrooms are this way." He took her down the right hallway, pointing out the guest refresher, her bedroom, and his at the end of the hall. Then they backtracked and crossed the foyer into the kitchen. "Are you hungry? Thirsty?"

She shook her head.

He led her into the dining area of the parlor, but there was nothing to explain about the table and four chairs around it. The transparisteel wall was dark with the other buildings' lights gleaming in patterns, and the stream of steady air traffic added a variety of colored lights. The comm console was in the corner between the transparisteel wall and the HoloNet viewscreen wall, and he pointed out both of them to her as she came around the gray sofa.

Her gaze drifted from the fireplace to the wall of framed holoimages he had hung. She relaxed. "It's normal sized. Your quarters, I mean."

"I don't need the room Han and Leia do."

"I was afraid I'd break something up there."

Luke smiled. "Me too. Just sit down and don't move."

Lucinda flashed an awkward smile at that, but it vanished when the comm console chimed.

Who would be comming him at this hour? He reached the console at the same time Threepio entered the quarters and stopped at the end of the foyer. "Ah, Miss Lucinda, Master Luke, I have her belongings."

"Thanks, Threepio," Luke said. "Why don't you get Luci set up in the guest room while I answer this comm?" They trooped down the foyer and hall and Luke concentrated on the comm from Lieutenant Colonel Lazarus Armand. The name was unfamiliar to him. "Jedi Skywalker," he answered.

"Yes, sir. I am Lieutenant Colonel Lazarus Armand with New Republic Intelligence Service. I'm reviewing your debrief from on board the Katana during the battle."

"You have questions already?" And Luke had no desire to go to Intelligence section of the Imperial Palace and answer this man's questions all night.

"A few," Armand admitted. "And a potential deployment for you if things align."

"No deployment. I am unavailable for a month at least."

"But Jedi Skywalker, you… you discovered what the military is facing! How can you turn down deployment?"

There was movement in the foyer, but he couldn't see into it from the console. "I have other responsibilities for the next thirty-five days. I'll be happy to answer your questions tomorrow in person after I check on a friend in the medical wing." He shouldn't have to remind someone in Intelligence about Delta Source.

"Very well." Armand had gone stiff. "Can we see you before visiting hours begin? 0900?"

"That'll be fine. Goodnight." Luke turned to the rest of his living room.

Lucinda fidgeting in the foyer and she felt like a tiny ball of dismay and shrinking self worth. "I can go back if you have to work."

His heart squeezed to hear the waver in her voice. You can depend on me just as much as you depend on your mother, little one. "That's not my job. I will help them from here, but I'm staying here with you. Okay?"

She wasn't convinced, but nodded anyway. She held out a datacard. "I can't make it work on my datapad."

He got up and looked at the datacard. "Oh, it's one for a holoimage frame."

"I don't have one of those." Her lower lip trembled.

"This is what Captain Karrde gave you?" Luke asked. She nodded. "You can borrow one tonight and we'll get you one tomorrow." He handed the datacard back to Lucinda and went to his wall of holoimages. "I don't think the Rogues will mind you borrowing their frame." He turned it off and pulled the frame from the wall.

"You have lots of holoimages."

"Friends and family." Her face fell again, and he scrambled to say something to take her mind from her only family being in the medical wing and the only other people she knew in the galaxy leaving her here. "You've met most of them. It's nice to have a safe place to display them."

"You had to move a lot?"

"At least a dozen times in the last ten years. It's hard to keep track." Luke set the datacard with the Rogues' holoimage on the mantle next to the shaman staff from the Bright Tree Tribe. "You and your mother have moved that much too, huh?."

"Yeah. We don't have a lot of pretty things." She stared at the fulgurite sculpture of the Stone Needle that Leia and Han had gifted him after their trip to Tatooine. He had it set on a pedestal next to the console.

Luke bit back the want to give them both pretty things. He handed her the now empty frame. "Here you go."

She gingerly took the frame and slipped the datacard into the slot. The screen powered on and the image pushed out as it flickered to life. Mara and Lucinda's faces were together, pressing their cheeks together as they grinned at the holorecorder. Their eyes had the same wariness, despite the differences in color.

"Mommy." Luci's voice choked as her grip tightened on the frame.

The building against the green trees in the background looked familiar. "Was that taken on Myrkr?" he asked.

She nodded. "Captain Karrde insisted when we moved there."

Luke felt suspicious over why the smuggler chief wanted an image of them both, but was grateful he had given a copy to Lucinda. "Let's go put it in your room, okay?"

Lucinda nodded and went first to the guest bedroom next to his. He realized now that it wasn't colorful for a child with the beige walls and carpeted floor and gray furniture. Maybe Lucinda would want colored bed linens?

Threepio was putting her clothes in the wardrobe across the refresher in the short hallway into the bedroom while Artoo supervised from next to the bed. "Oh, Master Luke." The taller droid gestured as he turned. "We were trying to help. All her clothing is now in here."

She didn't have many. Maybe he could buy her more? Or would that hurt Mara's pride? He patted Threepio's shoulder joint. "Thank you, Threepio, it's fine. Leia and Han will be back soon, and I'm sure Leia will need your help." He slipped past Threepio into the bedroom.

"Very good, Master Luke. Have a good night."

"You too, Threepio." The taller droid shuffled out, and Luke stopped at the bedside table. "We can put the holoimage here so you can see it from the bed."

Lucinda brought the frame over and adjusted it on the small table. Artoo whistled softly. {It's past her recharge time, Luke.}

"He said recharge." Lucinda turned to them. "That means bedtime."

"Very good. You two have kept up with the Binary lessons."

"Yes, I like learning it. Do we have to stop now? Do you have another job for Artoo?"

"No, you and Artoo can keep working on Binary along with your other lessons." Lucinda made a face. "You can take tomorrow off from lessons," he offered, "but only that. Don't want your mother waking up mad at both of us."

"Okay. I better get ready for bed again."

"Fine. Do you need a snack or anything?"

She shook her head. "I ate supper with Doncella Retrac so I'm not hungry."

"All right. Good night." Luke left the bedroom, second guessing if he was putting her to bed right. It wasn't the routine he had when he was her age, but he wasn't Aunt Beru either. Lucinda was hiding her feelings and he couldn't blame her. Surrounded by strangers and her mother having serious medical issues, hiding was all the child had.

And tomorrow they had to find out what Intelligence wanted before seeing Mara in Medical again. He shook his head with a sigh. Better head to bed too.

He changed into his sleep clothes and crawled into his bed with his mind still whirling on how Mara trusted him with her daughter. He had to prove worthy of that trust. Both of them deserved that.

How to do that with Lucinda's care sent his mind into another whirlwind. Just when he decided to meditate in order to get any sleep, a wave of fear and sadness flattened him. He gasped for air. It hit all his earlier fears of loss, of losing Mara to the Force after finding her again.

His bedroom door slid open. Artoo rolled in, beeping. {Luke, she's leaking again. I wanted her to stop leaking. Ahsoka never leaked this much. Luke, please.}

Luke was already rolling out of his bed. "It's all right, Artoo. I'm coming." He followed the astromech into Lucinda's room. The little girl hugged her pillow to bury her face into it and curled up to hide her wracking sobs.

His aching heart couldn't take it. He scooped her up to his lap, leaving the pillow behind, and hugged her close. Her hands twisted in his sleep shirt as she sobbed against his chest. The words of an ancient lullaby that Aunt Beru sung came back to his voice, and he crooned them as he rocked her.

Artoo rocked on his legs to relieve his tension. Luke sang the lullaby again. Lucinda's sobs quieted. She pulled back and wiped her nose on her nightgown sleeve. Luke stroked her still plaited hair. She was still wearing a necklace, but he didn't bring that up. "What are you afraid of, Luci?"

"Mommy's gonna forget me."

"Forget you?"

"The medic said amnesah. I know what that is. You hurt your head and forget about everybody."

Luke winced. The holodrama industry had a lot to answer for. She had been stewing about this since the medic said amnesia and held her tears back this long. No wonder she broke down sobbing. "I think we both need hot chocolate."

He scooped Lucinda up and carried her into the kitchen. She didn't protest when he set her on the counter and washed her face without argument with the damp cloth he gave her. He waited until she finished and the drinks were heating before he spoke. "I don't think that's the amnesia the medic was talking about, but we'll ask her when we go tomorrow."

Lucinda blew her nose into the damp cloth. "But they called you to work tomorrow."

"I have to go answer questions tomorrow. And if it goes too long, Intelligence will see how hard it is to keep a Jedi locked up." He grinned at her and exchanged the cloth for a mug of hot chocolate. "We will go see the medic and your mother tomorrow and every day after that."

"Okay." She looked dubiously into the mug. "What's this?"

"Hot chocolate." Luke took the cloth to the worn clothing receptacle and came back for his mug.

Her wide, bloodshot eyes stared at him as he came back into the kitchen. "You can drink it too?"

"Yeah, slowly. Don't burn your tongue."

She sipped it, watching how he drank it. "It's good. I like chocolate."

"Oh, I like chocolate too. Lando introduced me to this drink." She sipped again, rather than comment on that. Luke let her have the silence. All too soon they had finished both mugs. He put them into the cleaning unit and swung her off the counter. "Let's try going to bed again."

This time Luke pulled the covers over her as she sat in her bed. "Here, let's take that—" He grasped the clasped ends of the necklace, and the magnetic ends came loose.

"No!" She grabbed his hands as he pulled the encased datacard from around her neck. "Can't look at it!" Tears welled in her eyes again. "I'm supposed to when Mommy's dead. But she's not dead!"

"No, Mara's not dead. We won't look." He used the Force to tug open the bedside table's drawer. "I didn't want it to get tangled in your hair, that's all." He dropped the necklace inside the drawer and pushed it closed. "You can put it back on tomorrow, okay?"

"Okay." She sniffled.

He wrapped his arms around her. "We're gonna get through this." She hugged him back. "Now let's try to get some sleep attempt two." She lay back on the pillow and he pulled the covers up to her shoulders. "Good night, Luci."

"Good night, Jedi Luke."

Artoo stayed with her as he left for his own bedroom. But he didn't drift off to sleep until he felt with the Force Lucinda fall asleep completely.


Lucinda didn't want to get up when they had to and when the sun was hitting the transparisteel wall. She had gotten used to the viewscreen not doing that. She hustled because Jedi Luke had an appointment and she didn't want to make him late. Mommy always said lateness was the worst rudeness.

They stopped in a quick-fry restaurant for breakfast. Just how many restaurants did the Imperial Palace have? Doncella Retrac had taken her to lunch at a different restaurant.

"Sorry about this." Jedi Luke slid into the booth seat across the table from her. "Artoo will order groceries and I'll be able to cook. Do you have allergies, anything you can't eat?"

"Nothing has made me sick yet. Can you cook?" She bit her lip. Chin had gotten so huffy when she had asked him that. Grown ups didn't like that question.

Jedi Luke chuckled. "Yes, I can cook. My tajine is almost as good as Aunt Beru's. I've found some new spices that work in lablabi." She had never heard of those and felt her face scrunch up with the confusion. "That's back home cooking. I'll make some asida and ojja tomorrow, but I've picked up a few other meals since leaving Tatooine. Is there something you like special?"

Lucinda didn't want to be a bother to anyone. "I like anything that's not burned."

"Smugglers can't cook?"

"Mommy can't." That was disloyal because there was so much Mommy was good at.

"I'll have to cook for your mother when she wakes up. Order what you want."

She blinked at all the choices and the credits listed out next to them. "How much do we have? I don't want to spend too much and then you can't eat."

"What?"

"I know Mommy didn't eat sometimes, so I had more food when I was a little, but I can do math now and I am a big girl. I can eat less if we need to."

"Order as much as you want, Lucinda. I have more than enough credits. You don't have to worry about that with me."

His subdued voice made her look up. His face was serious and a little sad. She hurriedly pushed in the order of a breakfast plate that had everything she liked on it. "I made you sad."

Jedi Luke took a deep breath. "It's all right. I just wish I could have helped you and your mother have an easier life then. One with no worries about food and safe from the Empire."

Luci thought about how Mommy was sick now because of fighting Imperials. No place in the galaxy was safe from them.

"Things are better for you both now?" he asked.

She nodded. "Captain Karrde is the best boss Mommy has had. She said so. And nobody on base had to worry about food or supplies to do their jobs."

"Good. That's good." A droid rolled up to their booth and slid their plates in front of them. "Eat up we have a busy day." Jedi Luke picked up his fork and dug into his meal.

After they ate, they went to a section in the interior of the Imperial Palace that had a lot more military uniform gentlebeings moving around, even more than the offices Doncella Retrac had taken her to. They ended up in an office waiting room and she had to wait there while a droid receptionist let Jedi Luke in the locked door.

Lucinda sat in a cushioned chair and pulled out her datapad. She would not work on a lesson, but she wanted to check on something Artoo had said about the Clone Wars. The Grand Army of the Republic had ten Systems Armies that were each led by a High Jedi General. They broke a Systems Army into two Sector Armies, each led by a Senior Jedi General. A Sector Army was made up of four corps that were each led by a marshal commander and a Jedi General.

She stopped reading at that point, even though the list of smaller army units kept going. Artoo was right. The old Jedi became Generals during the Clone Wars, and Artoo could name a lot of them in the Third Systems Army. The droid claimed those were the ones he could remember best.

She pulled up Jedi Luke's biographical HoloNet entry. The New Republic made him a general after the Battle of Endor and a skirmish at a planet called Bakura that happened right after it. And he stayed a General until after a Battle of Mindor when he resigned the commission and left the military. That was four years ago. She frowned. He was only a general for almost two years; he'd go back in the military at that rank. She was pretty sure that's how it worked. And everybody kept calling him General Skywalker, even if he didn't like it.

She turned off her datapad. The New Republic wanted a Jedi General to go against Grand Admiral Thrawn.

And he wouldn't go because he was taking care of her.

She didn't want him to go. Mommy had left and now she may wake up and not be her Mommy. She felt safe with him, safer than with Captain Karrde, Chin, and Aves. But she was a big girl; she could do the icky and what she didn't want to do if it was necessary. Mommy accepted nothing less. And staying with Doncella Retrac wasn't that bad. She had showed her a different braid style, wrapping a thin plait around the top of her head and letting the rest of her hair hang free. She could go back.

The locked door slid open and Jedi Luke stepped out with another human male in uniform. His dark hair was graying around his ears and his eyes narrowed when he saw her. "There are services—" he started loud enough to reach across the waiting room.

"No." Jedi Luke interrupted. "You have a month and then I will help you. Let the analysts find the best planets to search and get the flight techs working on a way I won't wreck my X-Wing getting caught in a tractor beam."

"Yes, sir," the military man said like he was in pain.

"As soon as her mother's out of medical, I'll be available." Jedi Luke crossed the room and held out his hand. "Come on, Lucinda, we have an appointment in medical."

She slid off the chair and took his outstretched hand. They left the waiting room and Jedi Luke seemed calm about telling them no. She bit her lip. How to tell him she could go to someone else? She had no idea how to start.

They stepped into a turbolift, and Jedi Luke put in the directions. He looked down at her. "You weren't too bored, I hope."

"I looked up something Artoo told me. The old Jedi were generals in the Clone Wars."

"That's right. I don't think it was good for the Order, but I need to do some more research on what happened at the end of the Clone Wars."

"Artoo doesn't like my lessons. He says they sound Imperial."

Jedi Luke frowned. "Maybe I should look at them. Is that what you're worried about, studying Imperial propaganda?"

She didn't know what that meant, but shook her head. She wasn't worried about her lessons. "They want you to be a Jedi General again. You don't have to stay here for me. I can go stay with Doncella Retrac."

He knelt down, so he was eye-level with her. "Because Jedi were generals in the Clone Wars? You think that's what Intelligence wants?"

"You were a general and everybody keeps calling you one. They probably need a Jedi General against a Grand Admiral."

"That's very clever how you put that together."

She took a deep breath. "Getting Grand Admiral Thrawn is more important. He hurt Mommy and Captain Karrde. Mommy will understand after we explain." She added that in case he worried about Mommy pulling a blaster on him again.

"He's not more important than you." Jedi Luke rested his left hand on her shoulder. "A Jedi can't get so caught up in matters of galactic importance that it interferes with his concern for individual people."

That sounded nice, "But there's a war."

"Wars don't make one great. A Jedi is meant to fight, only to protect and defend, and waging a war quickly becomes not that. That's why I don't think being generals was good for the old Jedi Order. But that's not the problem right now. They don't want me to be a general again."

"They don't? But they want to deploy you?"

"For a scouting mission. For what is probably classified right now. But they have nothing ready for the mission. So we have time to wait. And if they get ready before your mother wakes up, we can talk to Leia and Winter about you staying with them. You're not going to strangers on my watch."

She didn't want to go to strangers either. Strangers might not understand she had to take care of Ghent and see Mommy. "Okay."

"Is it okay? We had a rough night, but if you'd feel better staying with Winter?"

"I want to stay with you! I don't want to go, but," she took a deep breath and let her gaze fall to the floor. "But I can do what's necessary."

"No matter how scary it is. You are very brave." He squeezed her shoulder until she looked back up. "I will tell you if you need to, okay? As long as it's not classified."

She nodded, relief making her chest feel light. "I don't want to be a bother."

"You're not. Don't worry about that." He patted her shoulder as he stood back up. Not too soon, because the turbolift slowed and opened its door, letting on more humans and Bothans Lucinda hadn't seen before. She caught Jedi Luke's hand and moved closer to him.

The turbolift's next stop was in the medical wing, and everybody got off. But they didn't follow her and Jedi Luke to Mommy's room.

Ghent had planted himself at the terminal in the waiting room and didn't look around as they entered. She shook her head. "Ghent, did you sleep at all?"

"Yes, Luci. And I didn't drool on the keyboard." He craned his head closer to the screen. "It's been a quiet night and day, if you need to know that."

She couldn't imagine why anyone would make a medical place noisy, but Ghent never looked at anything like everyone else did. The door to the recovery room slid open, and the medic from last night strode out. Her insides quaked again.

Jedi Luke put his hand on her back as they headed to the medic. The medic beamed. "Jedi Skywalker, Miss Jade, Trader Jade responded well to the neural reconstruction. She's off the ventilator and breathing well on her own. You can visit her. She probably won't respond, but hearing voices of loved ones helps the neural pathways."

"That's good, but we have a question." Jedi Luke looked down at Lucinda, so the medic did too.

Time to be brave again, even though she wanted to run. "Is Mommy going to know me when she wakes up?"

The medic frowned. Jedi Luke spoke up, "Mara's amnesia."

"Oh! That'll be short term. She won't remember the battle, maybe even as far as getting to it. But she's going to remember your entire life, sweetie."

The want to run exploded like a flash-bang. Jedi Luke and Captain Karrde could tell Mommy how the battle went. "Really?"

"Really," the medic repeated. "I'll let you visit now."

Lucinda darted to Ghent instead of the recovery room door. "Did you hear that? Mommy's going to remember me!"

He stuck his finger in the ear she had just yelled in and wiggled it. "I didn't know it was a question."

"Get off the console and go eat."

He frowned. "I was here all night if Mara needed something." His stomach growled.

Luci shook her head. "Me and Jedi Luke are here now. Go eat."

"You're so worried about me eating, I'm surprised you didn't pack me a lunch." But he pushed away from terminal while typing a code into it at the same time. Once he was satisfied with what it was doing, he turned away and headed to the waiting room corridor.

Lucinda watched him go. Otherwise, he might sneak back to the terminal. Then she turned back to the rest of the waiting room and the recovery room door. Jedi Luke was gone. He must have gone inside already. She headed to the door and stopped.

Jedi Luke was at Mommy's bedside. She wasn't wearing the cap on her head now, and his right hand petted her red-gold hair as his lips moved. Luci was too far away to hear what he said. He lifted Mommy's hand from the bed, kissed it, and set it back down. What did that mean?

He looked up and waved her to Mommy's bed. "Finished with Ghent?" he asked as she climbed into the chair on the other side of the bed.

"I sent him to go eat, and he actually left. I hope he finds some food. What do we need to do?" Did she need to kiss Mommy too?

"Just talk to her. Tell her what's going on."

"Hi, Mommy. I'm staying with Jedi Luke, oops, Skywalker." Her eyes opened wide. The medic said Mommy could hear them.

Jedi Luke bit back a grin. "It's okay, Mara. I gave her permission to call me that."

"Captain Karrde had to go back to working with everybody else. Ghent is here. He finished the first job, something dealing with an Ackbar, and Doncella Retrac hired him for a different one. I made sure he got paid for it. Captain Karrde's supposed to give me a personal piloting simulator for taking care of Ghent, and Doncella Retrac is paying me in a simulation program." Should she tell Mommy she asked for an X-Wing one? Better not push it.

"You asked for a simulator?" Jedi Luke asked.

"I started off with a skyhopper. Captain Karrde said no to that."

He chuckled. "She's an excellent negotiator, Mara."

She kept talking, telling Mommy about hot chocolate and her lessons, and Jedi Luke offered his comments.