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of disbelief. "Hey, a Wookiee not hungry? Hah! And you say I make dumb jokes."

Tenel Ka shrugged. "It is a thought."

"Okay, well," Jacen said, "I'm not kidding now-what if something went wrong with the skyhopper? What if Lowie crashed in the jungle?"

"Impossible," Jaina replied. Though she whispered, her tone was clearly firm. "I checked all those systems myself."

Tenel Ka's eyebrows raised a fraction. "Ah. Ah-hah. So because you checked them, the systems could not malfunction?" She nodded, and Jacen could have sworn that he saw the shadow of a smile lurking at the corners of her lips.

"Never mind-there's Lowie," Jacen said with relief, waving his arms to attract their Wookiee friend's attention.

"See?" Jaina said smugly. "Told you nothing could happen."

Jacen pretended not to notice. "You're just in time," he said as the Wookiee joined them. "Master Skywalker should be here anytime now."

No one really knew why this special twilight meeting had been called, but it was fairly unusual. Everyone who lived, worked, or trained at the Jedi academy had arrived, filling the chamber with a hushed excitement.

Jacen whispered, "Where were you, Lowie?"

Lowbacca responded in a low rumble, quieter than any Jacen had ever heard a Wookiee use. Without warning, Em Teedee announced in a clear metallic voice, "Master Lowbacca wishes it known that he had a most successful expedition and-" The translator droid cut off in midsentence as Lowbacca clamped a ginger-furred hand over the droid's mouth speaker.

"Shhh!" Jaina hissed.

"Can't you turn it down?" Jacen whispered.

Curious eyes turned to stare at them from every section of the grand audience chamber. Lowbacca hunched down in his seat with a chagrined look that needed no interpreter. He craned his neck
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