Warmaster Tsavong Lah stared down on the infidel world of Coruscant; even now, the Shapers were remaking it into Yuuzhan’tar, the long-lost homeworld.
Word had long since reached his ears about the disaster at Iridonia. Domain Kraal’s utter annihilation at the hands of the Zabrak defenders and their allies in the remains of the New Republic were ill tidings.
In spite of the best efforts of the priesthood, rumors were spreading throughout the warrior caste. Officially, Domain Kraal had been Shamed by their inability to hold Borleias against the New Republic fleet; their destruction at Iridonia had merely proven that they truly were no longer part of the Yuuzhan Vong. Rumors persisted, though, that it wasn’t merely Domain Kraal that had lost the favor of the gods, but all the Yuuzhan Vong everywhere—that the sacking of Coruscant had been a mistake.
Tsavong Lah officially ignored such rumors, of course; but the loss of his father, the great warmaster Czulkang Lah, had long since shaken his faith.
If these Iridonians have the power to resist us where the rest of the infidels have not, will they not teach their tricks to their allies? Have we been undone?
This galaxy is a dark place indeed. In spite of himself, the warmaster shivered—the only outward sign of the uncertainty he felt.
Halyn sat with his feet up on the console, a rather reckless posture given the number of sensitive controls that could possibly lead to disaster. He watched the blue-white mottled blur of hyperspace shimmer around the Starwind as the light freighter glided towards Mon Calamari.
Another entered the cockpit module; the door hissed shut behind her. “How long until we reach Mon Calamari?”
Halyn glanced past his booted foot to a timer clicking down. “Twelve hours, give or take.”
Kelta Rose seated herself in his lap and wrapped her arms around him. “Good, then we have plenty of time for just the two of us.”
The Zabrak’s smile was a satisfied predator’s. “Tired of spending time with the kids?”
The red-headed Jedi shook her head. “They’re too busy trying to get Deuce to tell them stories of the old days. To them, the Civil War was some great period of romance and heroism—and somehow I don’t think the stories of a droid will shake them from that.”
Halyn closed his eyes contentedly. “Do those two remind you of anyone?”
“I was hoping it was just me,” she said with a shudder. “I hope it doesn’t take them twenty years to figure it out.”
They rested in contented silence for several minutes before Kelta asked, “Halyn, can I ask you a question?”
“You just did, but I’ll let you ask another.”
She straightened enough to punch his shoulder, but smiled. “Thanks. No, what I wanted to ask was…” she hesitated, “well, what’s your last name?”
Halyn laughed aloud. “That’s probably the silliest question you’ve ever asked me.”
“No, I’m serious,” Kelta said. “When I first met you, you were Halyn Lance, the Rebel general and hero. You’ve also been Jessik the pirate, and Sanshir the Iridonian loyalist. Which one are you?”
He didn’t answer with an immediate wisecrack; instead, he was silent for a few reflective moments. “I’m just Halyn,” he said at last. “I’m not the Rebel general—I haven’t been for a long time, and in some ways I never was. Jessik was someone I became for a while, but it was never really me—not really. And Halyn Sanshir, to me, is the kid who ran away from home and joined a freighter crew way too young.” He shrugged. “That just leaves Halyn.”
“Well, if we do get married, you’re going to have to figure this out,” Kelta joked. “I’m not changing my first name to match yours.”
Halyn sighed. “Get involved with a woman and the first thing she thinks of is marriage.”
Kelta leaned back and punched him again. “After twenty years, I’m allowed.”
“And she gets all abusive,” he continued on, “thinks she can tell you what to do and everything. It’s even worse when she’s a Jedi, of course, because then she uses Jedi mind tricks to get her way.”
Kelta smirked and waved her hand in front of his face. “You want to take off all your clothes.”
“That’s true,” Halyn said with a smile. “After all, we have twelve hours to Mon Calamari.”
“And twenty years of time to make up for,” Kelta concluded with a nod.
The Starwind continued on its course through the blur of hyperspace, toward distant Mon Calamari. Halyn and Kelta found a long-lost contentment in each other’s arms, though they knew it would be short-lived, lasting only until they were thrust into battle again. The war would not turn on their efforts, and they were comfortable with the role of warriors and soldiers rather than leaders and heroes.
They had spent their time as heroes, and were content to pass off the role to the hope of the next generation—a young Zabrak warrior and Jedi girl laughing and conversing in the forward hold.