of freighters.

Even from half a kilometer out, Aryn could see the lines of people and droids riding the autowalks and lifts within the spaceports central bubble. The whole structure looked like an insect hive. A portion of the bubble near the top housed a luxury hotel. Each room featured a balcony that looked out on Alderaans natural beauty. Seeing them, Aryn thought of her exchange with Syo.

A Jedi must sacrifice, she said.

She was about to do exactly that.

Im sorry, mistress, said the droid. Did you say something?


What entrance, mistress?

I need to get to level one, sublevel D.

Very good, mistress.

The aircar descended from the traffic lane to stop at one of the entrances on level one of the spaceport. The droid offered his hand, which featured an integrated card scanner, and Aryn ran her credcard. The Order would be able to track her from its use, but she had no other way to pay. She stepped out of the aircar and hurried through the automated doors of the port.

Once inside, she moved rapidly, barely seeing the other sentients on the walkways and lifts. Conversation occurred around her, but, lost in her thoughts, she heard it only as a distant buzz. Music blared from a darkened cantina. A young couplea human man and a Cerean womanwalked arm-and-arm out of a restaurant, heads close together, laughing at some shared secret. Droids whirred past Aryn, carting cargo and luggage.

Pardon me, they said as they whizzed past.

Vidscreens hung in strategic places throughout the facility. She eyed one, saw a view of Coruscant, which then cut to the High Council compound on Alderaan. She avoided looking at any other vids as she went.

She kept her eyes focused on nothing, hoping that the late hour would spare her any contact

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