turn your face towards the sky--
turn your face towards the sky--
and it'll be the stars that change your mind
and it'll be the stars that change your mind
and it'll be the stars that change your mind
these are all the things we should never forget
these are all the things we should never forget
these are all the things we should never forget
turn your face towards the sky--
turn your face towards the sky--
and it'll be the stars that change your mind
and it'll be the stars that change your mind
and it'll be the stars that change your mind
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Nothing to Prove

Zekk placed his hands on Jaina's shoulders, shook her gently. "There's a chance Raynar and I won't make it back. He has to go, and so do I - but I won't put you in that kind of danger."

Jaina looked past him out the cockpit viewports, pretending an interest in the Sorosuub ion skimmer that had just cruised in the docking bay. What gave Zekk the right to decide whether or not she could put herself in danger? Her hands clenched and unclenched a few times.

"If that plague gets loose, none of us will be safe anyway," she pointed out, still trying to make him see reason. "There's a lot at stake, and everyone's taking risks. Lusa and Sirra and Uncle Luke are all going o the inspection team headed for Ryloth. They'll all be in danger. So will you. You'd stand a much better chance of coming out of this alive if I came along, you know." A long silence stretched between them.

"I don't know if you can understand this," Zekk said at last. He pulled her close to him - a move that surprised Jaina. His voice was tight with emotion. "I made some choices back when I joined the Shadow Academy - the wrong choices. I was willing to put the whole New Republic at risk just to prove to myself that I was as good as you and your family. All I managed to prove to myself was how wrong I was.

"I came close to killing you once, because Brakiss had convinced me - or I had convinced myself - that you thought I was unworthy. Now the New Republic is in jeopardy again, and I'm one of the few people who can do something about it." He gave a mirthless laugh. "Funny thing is, this time I don't feel like I have anything to prove. I just need to know that you're safe, that your family's safe, that old Peckhum's safe. I want to make sure that humans, Wookiees, and all other species are safe from anyone who rules by murder and hate…or because they have something to prove."

Zekk pulled back, and his emerald eyes bore into Jaina's. "I'm going to try to save Raynar's father. But if I can't, I'll do whatever I can to keep the galaxy safe - whether it means blowing up his ship, or my ship…or everything."

Jaina sensed the fierce determination in Zekk. Her eyes filled with tears, and she tried to blink them away. Yes, she understood. She understood only to well, and she knew there would be no changing Zekk's mind. She unclenched her fists, slid her arms around his back, and squeezed him tightly. ….

"Well then," Jaina said, somewhere between a laugh and a choke, "what are we waiting for? We have a ship to get ready for its most important flight ever. You got everything we need, Em Teedee?"

"Yes, indeed, Mistress Jaina."

Zekk pressed his cheek against hers. "Thank you," he whispered. (23-5)





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