-Drax held Aiala’s hand under the table as they waited for their host to speak. Across from them Ray sat with his arm around Teresa. Loo sat to Drax’s left, devouring his meal. Admiral Swood sat beside Aiala, quietly observing everyone. Off to the side Crash and 7-A mingled with two other droids that belonged to thr Skywalkers. Grand Master Skywalker sat at One end of the table chatting with Ados Maj, While his sister sat at the other making small talk with Captain Virana.
Drax felt overwhelmed by the scene playing out before him. He was eaiting dinner with Luke Skywalker. THE Luke Skywalker. “Breathe.” Aiala reminded Drax, gently kicking his led under the table. “He’s impressive, no doubt.I just..” Drax hesitated. “You just what?” Aqiala asked. “I thought he’d be taller.” Drax blurted, causing Aiala to chuckle.
After everyone had finished eating, Luke stood up. The entire dining hall fell silent. “My sister has told me much about you. You all come here from different walks of life, yet you’ve managed to set aside your differences and work together to achieve our goal: Freedom from Imperial tyranny. We’ve fought long and hard, but the war is not yet over. Your work on Dantooine has not only freed the Dantari, but has cast a light cruelty of the Galactic Alliance. By your actions, you have given billions hope that they too can take a stand against Emperor Moboduwan and his corrupt government. For that, I salute you.” Luke waited patiently, while the audience cheered before continuing. “The struggle is far from over. We still have much work to do. Even as we sit here, countless others still struggle under the yolk of imperial rule. We must never forget the ones that are left behind, or the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom.”
As he spoke images of Maya floated into Drax’s mind. What would she think of all this? Would she approve of his actions? Ray claimed to have spoken with her spirit on several occasions since her death. Drax refocused on Luke as the Jedi Grand Master wrapped up his speech. ”... and so with much admiration, and hope I say: May the force be with you.”
WIth that the crowd stood up and repeated in unison: “MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!” Cheers erupted through the Banquet hall as Ray, Aiala and Drax each took turns accepting medals. One at a time, Leia stepped up to each of them and hung the medals over their neck. “May the force be with you.” She repeated to each of them, a satisfied smile on her face.
Later, as the celebrants left to return to their quarters or report back to duty, Luke and Leia sat alone with the the heroes. “We have much to do.” Luke stated. “Once you have completed your business on Bespin, those of you that chose to accept my offer will join me to begin your training.”
“Those that shoose to remain behind will continue to work with me to bring Bodo down.” Leia chimed in.
Changing subjects Luke looked at Aiala and Drax. “I’m sorry Ms. Saren couldn’t join us.” Aiala smiled. “Veela chose to stay behind and work with the Dantari to help them rebuild and fortify against further Imperial incursians.” Luke nodded. “A noble act. Perhaps she will join us later.”