the Empire would leave Coruscant.

In the hall outside, he slammed a fist down on the secretarys desk, putting a crack on the marble top.

Chapter 5

As Vollen and Keevo approached, Aryn realized what she was doing and let her hand fall to her side. She would not fight another Jedi, not ever. Besides, she sensed no hostility in them.

She tried to clear the emotion from her face as Vollen and Keevo avoided a train of cargo droids and approached her. Vollens brown hair hung loose over bloodshot eyes. He had not shaved, and the circles darkening the skin under his brown eyes pronounced his need for sleep. Aryn imagined she must look much the same. Her own emotional state made it hard to maintain her empathic shields. Both Vollen and his Padawan sweated apprehension. It came off them in waves.

Hello, Vollen, Keevo.

Both of them returned her greeting.

What are you doing here at this hour, Aryn? Vollen asked.

For a moment, she had no words. She thought it strange that she had known the question would be coming, yet she had not rehearsed an answer. Perhaps she had not wanted to lie. So she didnt.

Im doing something something Master Zallow wants me to do.

Tension visibly flowed out of Vollens expression. Relief from both of them flooded Aryn.

Then Master Zallow survived the Sith attack, Vollen said, making a fist and grinning. That is wonderful news. I know you have remained close with him. He turned to his Padawan. You see, Keevo. There is hope yet.

The Rodian nodded. Nictitating membranes washed his large, dark eyes. The oil moisturizing his pebbly green skin glistened in the overhead lights.

There is always hope, Aryn said, and ignored how false the words sounded to her. She could not bring herself to break their

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