Molly Losoda tapped Logan MacKenzie on the shoulder, smothering a smirk as the other man jumped. He’d been absorbed in mournfully watching some of the ground crew from Shay Memorial move his freighter from the Legacy’s landing bay to the tarmac–so absorbed that he’d missed the NRI agent’s approach. “You don’t have to just stand here, you know. You can get off the ship.”
“Right,” he said, tearing his gaze away from his craft and focusing on her. “Where are we, anyway?”
“Xenen,” Molly said simply, slipping past him and heading for the landing bay’s yawning maw. “Gateway to the Kartuiin Sector. Seat of New Republic military operations in this area of space.” She glanced back over her shoulder at him. “Aren’t you coming?”
He glared at her for a second, then shook his head and followed. “I’ll need to get my gear.”
“Someone’s taking care of that. I doubt you had much time to unpack, right?” Molly jogged down the ramp the ground crew had maneuvered into position. She stopped once her boots hit the tarmac and waited for him to join her.
“I have no idea where we are,” he said as he joined her. “Where did I end up?”
“Closer to the Rim than the bright center of the universe,” Molly said, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jumpsuit’s slacks. “I hope you don’t actually have problems with Jedi.”
He shot her a wary look. “Why?”
She spotted her mother vaulting out of the speeder, leaving a slightly bewildered looking Les Wyler in the front seat. Molly smirked and turned back to Logan. “There’s probably more Force users per capita attached to the Aurora Force—that’s what they still call the New Republic detachment out here—than there are in any other New Republic unit out there that’s not designed to be a strictly Jedi detachment.”
His nose wrinkled slightly. “Somehow, I find that hard to believe.” He slouched slightly in his jacket, a habit probably born of watching too many holofilms about dashing smugglers and rogues. “How does something like that happen? Accident or something?”
“Well, there’s an old story about that,” Molly said, keeping a surreptitious eye on her mother even as she turned toward Logan. “The old timers still repeat it sometimes and it’s an urban legend among the newer generations.
“Story goes that there was some kind of conspiracy back when the unit was created. It was supposed to be part of a task force to take the capital of the Minos Cluster–Aurora, hence the name. Torin Qel Droma was the commander back then, distant relation to the famous Jedi bloodline by the same name. The unit was maybe two dozen people at the time, a strike force that could be inserted into a locale, take it down, then move on to the next target. Probably half, maybe more, of that two dozen were Force sensitive. That includes Admiral Bridger, and she’s been in charge of New Republic forces in the sector for…gosh. My whole life.”
“So it’s a unit of Jedi led by Jedi.” Sarcasm mixed with bewilderment and disbelief in his voice.
“Nah,” Molly said. “There’s plenty of non-Jedi. And, you know, normal people.” She smirked, then gestured toward the diminutive woman approaching. “Brace yourself. They sent General Rendar to greet you.”
“Why should I…?”
She grinned, then. “She used to be the head of sector intelligence before she told Airen Cracken to shove her commission where the sun doesn’t shine.”
“But she’s still–”
“She came back.”
Logan frowned, brows knitting. “And the kid with her?”
“Les Wyler, Jedi Knight and apparently her newest protégé.” Molly patted him on the shoulder. “Good luck.”
With that, she shot her mother a smile and pivoted on her heel, heading back aboard the Legacy without another word.