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exhaled breath that she hadn't realized she'd been holding, Jaina saw the Millennium Falcon swoop across the sky toward the clearing.

The familiar blunt-nosed oval of their father's ship hovered tantalizingly above their heads for a moment that seemed to stretch to eternity. Then, with a burst of its repulsor-lifts, it settled gently onto the ground in front of them. The Falcon's cooling hull buzzed and ticked as the engines died down to a low drone. The scent of ozone tickled Jaina's nostrils.

Jaina knew the shutdown procedures for the Corellian light freighter, but she wished that just for today there was some way to speed things up. When she thought she could wait no longer, the landing ramp of the Falcon lowered with a whine-thump.

And then their father bounded down the ramp, gathering the twins into his arms, ruffling their hair, and trying to hug both of them at once, as he had done when they were small children.

Han Solo stepped back to take a good look at his children. "Well!" he said at last, with one of those lopsided grins for which he was so famous. "Except for your mother, I'd say this is the finest welcoming committee I've ever had."

"Dad," Jacen said, rolling his eyes, "We are not a committee."

As her father laughed, Jaina took a moment to study him, and was relieved to note that he had not changed in the month that they had been gone from home. He wore soft black trousers and boots that fitted him snugly, an open-necked white shirt, and a dark vest-a comfortable, serviceable set of clothes that he sometimes jokingly referred to as his "working uniform." The battered, familiar shape of the Millennium Falcon was unchanged as well.

"How do we look, Dad?" Jaina asked. "Any different?"

"Well, now that you mention it..." he said, turning
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