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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14


Written by Elena Zovatto
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 3

Some hours later, the eight were finishing a light meal, while using the opportunity to brief one another. By unspoken agreement, Hank had taken the lead in explaining the history of the Earth in general, mutants more specifically and the X-Men in particular. He was just winding up the story of how he, his five companions, and the Shi'ar viceroy had come to be lost in space after battling the Phalanx.

"...so you see, we were just returning home. With the situation for mutants on Earth worsening by the day, our presence is rather urgently needed there."

Nomi had taken in all the information with interest. She had been rather taken aback by the description of her rescuers' home planet -- she hadn't expected conditions on 'Earth' to be so primitive. After all, the technological base she and countless generations before her were accustomed to in the Republic took interstellar travel for granted, but these people hadn't even managed to utilize fusion yet. And then there were the societal problems...not that her own society was perfect, by any means. She was thoroughly familiar with blind prejudice between species -- that was unfortunately common enough. But that a people could turn against their own for a fluke in genetics, was a revelation she had a great deal of difficulty in processing.

Even the Shi'ar civilization's technology was comparatively backward to her eyes, however far advanced it might appear to theirs.

It was beginning to appear to Nomi that she might well never see her home system again -- not that it would be worth returning to, if the Sith Lords had triumphed. Yet she felt that it was not the case ...

She straightened her shoulders in determination. Even if she could not return -- she still had a job to do.

* I may have lost my prior life, but that doesn't mean my responsibilities have vanished with it ... *

She took a deep breath.

"Thank you, doctor ...you have explained matters to me. Now, it's my turn ... what do you know of the Force ?"

"Electric? Magnetic? Gravity? Nuclear strong, or Nuclear weak?" Hank replied, puzzled.

Nomi had to grin.

"Not quite -- the Force I'm speaking of is all and none of those. I can see I'm going to have to start at the very beginning ... I suggest you all get comfortable. We're going to be here for a while..."

Over the next hours, the seven listened to the history of the Republic, of the Force -- and of the Jedi. Nomi did what she could to keep to the bare essentials, but even so, it was a story long in the telling. Consequently, it took quite awhile to even get to her own history, but she did.

She told them of her life, her marriage to Andur Sunrider, a Jedi Knight. He had seen the power in Nomi, greater than his own, and urged her to foster it, but she had refused. She had always had a timid nature, and was sure that she would never be able to bring herself to fight. All she had ever wanted was to live and raise a family with her husband, and things were wonderful for a number of years.

Then came the turning point.

Andur had been asked to deliver a shipment of adegan crystals used in the construction of lightsabers to Master Thon, on a distant planet. Although Nomi had never ventured to develop her talent in the Force, her natural ability had given her a very limited form of precognition. She just knew that something awful was going to happen on that trip...

So, despite Andur's protests, she insisted on accompanying him, along with their daughter Vima, who was still a toddler. Things had been going well -- until they ran into the thugs hired by Bogga the Hutt.

The crystals were very valuable, and the trap had been well-planned. While one of their number distracted Andur, another had sicced his pet, a poisonous lizard, on the Jedi.

Andur's lapse in concentration had been fatal -- he was dead from the creature's bite before he had hit the ground.

As she had cried over his body, Andur appeared to her through the Force, urging her to take up his lightsaber and defend herself and their daughter. With the Force and his guidance, she killed two of her husband's murderers, and the rest fled.

In the aftermath, she decided that she would deliver the crystals to the Jedi Master herself -- and eventually, so began her own training in the Force.

Her story wound up fairly quickly after that -- her life as a Jedi Knight, the Sith threat, Ulic's betrayal -- and how she had come to be in their quadrant of space.

After she had finished her tale, her audience looked upon her with awe and disbelief mixed in equal measure.

Bishop was first to break the silence.

" Why should we trust you ? How do we know this isn't just part of some trap left by our 'friends' as they passed by ? It seems rather convenient that we just happened to find you ... "

" Under the circumstances, I would have to agree with you."

The former XSE officer was surprised by her agreement, and raised his eyebrow in a silent query. Nomi grinned.

" Space, as you may have noticed, is a big place -- 'just happening' to find anything as small as a survival pod in it, is fairly unlikely -- but I have another reason for agreeing with you, and I'll get to that later ... I could show you my past with the Force, but for all you know, that might just be an illusion to deceive you. Have you no means to check my claims yourselves ? None of you is -- psychic ? -- is that the term ?"

" Yes, that's the term, but the answer is unfortunately, no," Beast replied with a frown.

Rogue sighed.

" 'Bout the closest thing we got is mah power, but that's outta the question."

" Your power ?" the Jedi questioned with interest.

" Tell me about it ..."

Rogue proceeded to explain her mutant 'gift' -- the ability to absorb the powers and memories of others -- and how dangerous it was to utilize. Not only did she stand a good chance of killing or permanently incapacitating anyone she touched, but she was herself in danger of losing her own personality.

The Jedi listened intently, and when Rogue was finished her explanation, nodded firmly.

" Very well -- do it. "

Rogue only stared at her in exasperation.

" Didn't y'all hear a word Ah just said ?!"

" Yes ... but I should be able to work around it -- your power is a part of your life energy, and is subject to the Force. I won't stop you from experiencing my memories, but I'll use the Force to damp your powers so that I'll take no harm of you."

" It's the only way we can be sure," Bishop mused.

Hank turned to Nomi.

" You realize that if your damping doesn't work, this may well kill you ?"

There was no hesitation in the Jedi's voice.

" I do, doctor."

Rogue was appalled at the idea of what she was expected to do, and had shrunk back toward the wall, afraid. Suddenly, she felt warm arms encircle her shoulders from behind in a gentle hug. Gambit then smoothed her hair with one hand, comfortingly, as his other his other hand came to rest on her shoulder. He spoke into her ear reassuringly.

" It's okay, chère. Don' worry -- Nomi, she wouldn' do this if she didn' t'ink it was safe. An' even if something does happen, it don' mean that it's goin' t' be the worst, oui ? "

Rogue nodded weakly as Remy released her, and she stepped forward reluctantly.

" If'n you're sure then," she stammered, " but Ah'm sorry ..."

Taking off her glove, she steeled herself, and placed her hand on the Jedi's brow.

Immediately, the rush of another's memories flooded Rogue's consciousness, but there was something different about the flow this time. It was controlled, regulated -- she had already heard the Jedi's history, now she was seeing it, living it ...

After what seemed like an eternity, Rogue came back to herself. Her hand was still on Nomi's forehead, yet the other woman still sat up, was still conscious, apparently concentrating.

Rogue snatched her hand back, disbelieving.

" Mah God ... you ... you're all right ? " she whispered.

Nomi smiled warmly.

" Did you see enough ? "

It was all Rogue could do to nod mutely.

" Any chance of it being faked ? " Bishop asked.

Rogue shivered.

" No ... no, Jean an' Ah have discussed that sort o' thing before, and Ah learned enough from her ta tell the difference ... it was real."

The Jedi turned toward Gambit.

" Now for that explanation I owe you ... as for how I knew your name, you told me yourself ."

" Quoi ? I never said anyt'ing t' you!"

Nomi raised her hand, placatingly.

" Let me finish -- you told me, but indirectly. This also ties in with Bishop's point earlier -- finding me was no accident."

" I hope y' goin' to get to the explainin' part soon, chère," Remy grumbled with mixed frustration and curiosity.

" Dis better be good ..."

" Remember that 'nagging feeling' you had that prompted you to scan the area in the first place ?"

Gambit nodded slowly.

" That was me."

" Hehn ?"

" Weak as I was, I sensed your presence in the Force, and sought you out. Despite the faintness of my call, you managed to pick it up -- that was your 'nagging feeling'."

" D'accord -- so what does dat mean t' me ? "

Remy couldn't explain why, but he felt uneasy. Perhaps it was because his gambler's intuition, which could always read a situation as well as a hand, was failing him here. He just couldn't see where the Jedi's explanation was heading ...

Nomi smiled at him.

" Remy, in my weakened state, your presence was strong enough for me to detect, and you heard me. And when you first spoke to me in the shuttle bay, you used the Force to reassure me. When you did that, I reached out with the Force again, and you reacted in kind."

At this, the rest of the company turned to stare at Gambit. Rogue, who now had extensive knowledge of the Force from her contact with Nomi, was stunned.

" It was at that moment you 'told' me your name ... the Force is with you, Remy LeBeau. And that is why I called you brother -- for in the Force, that is what you are. "


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