Answers in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...
Emma Granger was working at her kitchen on a calm Saturday morning, readying things for the small birthday party later, once in a while taking a peek out the window to their back garden. This time, she saw birthday-girl herself balanced over one hand, eyes closed, while all sorts of items floated and spun around her. Emma chuckled, life has surely turned interesting those last few years. Her daughter was turning eleven years old today, and since the first time she made her Millennium Falcon model float, and subsequently crash to the floor, her powers had grown exponentially.
Emma and Dan were downright worried when they saw what Hermione was capable of. They didn't know of anyone who had powers like her, and they were scared of what could happen to their little girl if someone found out. The existence of projects like MK-Ultra left no doubt as to what certain factions of government, theirs or anybody else's, would do if they found out someone like Hermione existed. And if the governments weren't the problem, there was no doubt in their minds what some of the close minded members of humanity would do. Looking at the problems the minority communities were still experiencing, not to mention the gays and lesbians, Emma knew that all it would take was one bigot to take her daughter's light out of the world. So, being the good parents they hoped to be, they opted to keep things silent. Only through invisibility, through not drawing attention, could her daughter grow into whatever it was that she would someday become.
Yet, even as they were trying to keep Hermione away from prying eyes, Dan and Emma were trying to research what would be the cause of those powers of her. After all, Jedi did not exist in real life.
Well, not other than their daughter.
After Hermione demonstrated for them what she could do, repeatedly and without apparent effort, the two of them had sat down with Hermione and explained that they were worried, not scared of her or what she could do, but worried, about those powers of hers and what it might mean for her and her life.
For all of their lives.
The genie was out of the bottle, so to speak, and they couldn't put it back on. But, they wanted her to be extremely careful. No one could know about it, unless if they found anyone who either shared what she could do, or could at least explain what was going on. Hermione understood their point of view, and asked if she could continue to practice with her abilities, and keep studying with her meditation and Tai Chi. After consideration, and quite a bit of discussion, Dan and Emma agreed, but she would have to have some supervision from now on. And there would be some ground rules. No discussion of her abilities around strangers. No using them outside of their property (which was now growing some impressive hedgerows) after Dan has heard a discussion at the office about the new surveillance systems the Home Office was starting to install in the underground. No practicing without supervision. And no Jedi Mind tricks.
Hermione had laughed at that one, telling both of her parents that it only worked on weak minded individuals, just like in the movies.
She hadn't been laughing when she'd been grounded for a week for trying it on a stranger in the first place.
Jedi or not, she could still be grounded. And, what made it worse was she could feel just how disappointed her parents were with her.
Her studies, both her regular school subjects, plus whatever else she could put her hands on that would make her a better Jedi, continued as the months went by. At first her parents were a bit surprised at her reading lists. Although she'd always been a bookworm, the subjects she was now consuming made her prior efforts seem completely dedicated. Now, instead of simply expanding her knowledge of the basic subjects taught in school, her study topics were across the board. Books on diplomacy, on politics, on sociology, anthropology and philosophy shared space with English and Math books on her shelves. When asked about it one night, she had responded that the Jedi were not JUST about their use of the Force, and all the nifty tricks they could do. They held a variety of positions throughout the Republic. Diplomats and peacekeepers, teachers and healers, in almost any field, the presence of the Jedi could be seen, if one looked hard enough. Besides, she had pointed out, she was only nine years old. She had no real way of knowing what she was going to gravitate towards later in her life. Educating herself to the possibilities that were out there, that was the first step on an even larger journey.
But, as impressive as her quest for knowledge was, and always had been, Dan's greatest relief was the fact that his daughter, once a social recluse who dismissed those who were not like her, had been able to have a basic understanding of how people, not the world, reacted and behaved. Her sensitivity to the people AND the world around her, which first manifested itself as a weak form of empathic sense, had also increased by leaps and bounds. She could feel people a few meters all around her on the first week after first levitating the model, and now she estimated her radius to be at around a couple kilometers, and in this range she could feel almost every living organism, from human to the smallest insect, if she let herself immerse fully into her powers, or in the 'Force', as she wanted to call it. After that it became erratic, but it was still astounding.
It still gave Dan the shivers to remember when one day, a few days before Christmas, his little girl went deathly pale, then threw up all over the floor. When he'd asked what happened, if she was ok, Hermione looked at him, and as long as he lived, Dan knew he would never forget the look in his daughter's eyes.
"Lucas... He... " She shuddered. "That was a 'disturbance in the Force'..." She was silent while she got a glass of water to rinse the taste from her mouth, composing herself as she did so. "I just felt... Death... Panic.. Fear... People, a lot of people just died, Daddy..."
Not knowing what else to do, Dan forgot for a little bit just how special his daughter was, and didn't ask any questions. Instead, he just held his daughter till she stopped shaking.
Hours later, after they had cleaned up, the Grangers learned that a terrorist bomb had detonated on Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland. There had been 259 people on board, and there were no survivors.
As the news story was repeated over and over again, Hermione could feel echos, from the event itself or from the collective horror of the millions of people hearing about it on the news, she didn't know. Either way, it made her skin crawl and the cold sweats were present all night. "If this is how I react just from a couple of hundred people dying... How could anyone survive the psychic scream from the death of a planet?" she whispered to herself.
Even then, Emma reminisced, they didn't have a clue how and why that happened to her daughter. Their search for answers expanded to outside their family, their first stop was the recently established Jedi Church. Although a long shot, and in Emma's opinion, a ridiculous one, the 'Jedi Temple' they went to visit, the original headquarters of the entire 'religion' in fact, had held the best option at first sight. But after some discreet inquiries, and more than touch of condescension, a very understanding older man had explained that although they really did strive to follow the tenants of the Jedi Code and follow the ways of the Jedi, none of the Order, as they called themselves, had ever seriously claimed to be a real one, complete with abilities. "Of course, that doesn't include all the crazies," he had added with a chuckle. He didn't talk down to the Grangers though and admitted that he had at least one person a week asking questions just like theirs, usually reporters or agents from Inland Revenue who were still trying to prove the whole thing was a giant tax scam. In the end, he told them, we're all just part of the universe and hopefully 'we of the Order can help some folks find their way'.
With that obvious approach turning out to be a dead end, the Doctors Granger turned to the medical community they had established themselves as a part of. Scouring journals and archives turned out to be fruitless, no one had ever seen or documented anything like her powers. Taking her to a colleague, Hermione, who spun a tale about interested in a possible career in medicine, was examined from head to toe. Even a favor from a local MRI tech was called in by Emma, again, to 'show their daughter what was possible', but to all the tests they could have run without raising too many flags, Hermione was exactly what they hoped her to be, a completely normal young human girl.
But, no matter what the medical community said, there were things that set Hermione apart from others.
Every once in a while, Hermione felt 'twitches' in the 'Force', as she liked to call them. Most of them were outside of her focused range and when she tried to pinpoint them, they usually disappeared into the background 'noise'. More than once, when she'd detected one while they were driving, Dan had tried to help her triangulate the source of the fluctuation, but they had never managed to do so.
The family then decided to let the matter drop to the background of their lives. Hermione could do what she could do, and if she wanted to call it the Force, and herself a Jedi - 'a jedi-in-training, mom, or a padawan if you want to name it properly', then so be it. Their lives would go on, and if they found an answer somewhere, then fine. If not, she was still their daughter, and they loved her very much.
Life moved on.
Mid July came, and with it, Hermione was out of school for the summer, allowing the family the chance to take their annual holiday outside of England. This year, the Grangers had decided to widen their horizons a bit, and instead of their trips around Europe, decided on Egypt as their destination. As soon as she heard this, Hermione face was nearly constantly grinning. Amongst the books she had been entranced by as a child, the works of Ladies O'Connell and Croft and their tales of exploring the remnants of Ancient Egypt has been her favorites.
Even her Jedi training couldn't keep her bubbly happiness at bay, and when she wasn't re-reading the books she had on the region's story, she was unpacking and repacking all of the family's luggage, making sure that nobody had forgotten anything. Only after discovering that her last attempt had actually left all of their passports under the sofa, Dan had ordered her to concentrate and meditate. It wasn't actually that she'd left them out, he'd later told his wife, but the fact that things around the house were vibrating with what could only be described as nervous energy, whenever she walked by.
The trip to Heathrow had actually been worse. Hermione had been convinced, more than once, that she'd left something behind. It was only once they'd cleared security and boarded the Virgin Airlines 747 that Hermione had realized there was nothing else she could do until they landed, and so, she'd entered a deep meditative trance. But, the feelings around her when the Captain announced they were about to land shook her from her calm state and the energetic pre-teen once again made an appearance.
Stepping off the plane, Hermione's excitement at the fact the was actually IN Egypt got the better of her, and for over an hour, she let all of her concentration and inner discipline slide away, simply enjoying being in the moment, just as any other nine year old would have, albeit with slightly more grace and composure. Knowing she was going to be surrounded by masses of humanity also made her a bit more at ease with 'turning off' her Force sensitivity, at least until they made it to the hotel. She knew from experience that such a concentration of Life, with all the underlying background noise, made it practically impossible to sense anything worthwhile anyway.
In her excitement, she didn't notice the customs officer who took over the processing of her family give her a long look over his antique glasses, then glance down at her age on her clearly British passport. Nor did she notice the extra questions, seemingly social in nature, that her parents were asked. If she had, and had she noticed the slight shimmer that was behind the official's shoulder, then she might have been able to add another piece to the puzzle which her life now seemed to represent. Or at least maybe get a hint at what questions she should have been asking...
Instead she got one more stamp in her passport than her parents, and a blessing which would hopefully insure a peaceful and fun-filled visit.
Hermione turned her powers on briefly again just to find a cabbie who could take them to their hotel without them paying through their noses for a fare. While they lucked out on the honest department, they weren't quite so lucky in the 'normal' bit. The driver was a chatterer, and while they were interested in some stories about the land and its people, it was hard to understand a man who spoke a mile a minute, mixing what Hermione believed to be four our five different languages, among them German and badly accented English.
Thankfully, for the sake of their ears and their pockets, it took them little time to get to the hotel, and since it was still reasonably early in the afternoon, they left their bags at their room and decided to visit a museum nearby, which had been pointed by the chatty driver in a moment of less-broken diatribe. The short walk along the streets had Emma salivating about what would look good on her, on Hermione or displayed at their house, and Dan sighed, while at the same time amused with her reactions. He had to admit that the stores and street vendors had some really beautiful products, with impressive craftsmanship. He had no powers of his own, but Dan could clearly foresee an appearance of Packmule Dan in the near future.
They paid the museum's fare and walked on in, and Hermione, now that the things had calmed down enough to not be painful to her senses, let go, and soon as she did, she was startled to find something really odd among the relics on display. While everything had a Force signature, as small or big as they were, there seem to be a constant among them, living things glowed brightly, some more than others, while objects looked more or less 'illuminated' by the Force, as something is illuminated by a close candle on a darkened room, aglow, but no light itself. However, some of the objects in the room did indeed have a glow to them, but it was not natural, it seemed as if someone 'poured' Force energy over the objects, creating a sort of coating over them. Also, the Force energy wasn't exactly even among them, it seemed whoever did ...whatever it was they intended to do, made each slightly different from the other.
The Force imprint was stronger in a small pot and a small mirror frame, Hermione noticed, and she also noticed that the dating and place of discovery of both pieces were exactly the same. She kept on walking down the museum, checking everything with desperate intensity. Once she turned a corner, she gasped and her legs faltered. Dan held onto her, checking around to what could have caused such distress.
"What happened, Hermione?"
Still with an wild look in her eyes, she turned to him. "It's...I don't... it's not...," she shook her head, took some deep breaths and refocused. "I sensed the Force in some of those objects, dad. It looks like they were like batteries. The pot and mirror had only a bit, enough for me to see over the rest of the artifacts, but that... that thing is like a torchlight," she said pointing to a closed sarcophagus.
Dan came close to the glass enclosure and its content, checking the tag taped to the inside. It said basically that it had been found in Giza and the year of discovery, and that was it.
"Could be that the mummy in it was like you?" Emma asked, equal parts surprised and scared.
"No, mum. I can feel it pretty clearly. The mummy is what it is supposed to be, just a corpse, no Force presence, so to speak. It's the sarcophagus itself."
Dan noticed an olive skinned man to a side, dressed in a beige suit and sporting a tag that identified him as one of the museums' guides.
"Excuse me?" he approached the man, who turned to him with a smile on his face.
"May I help you, sir?" the guide asked, his English spoken with an Oxford accent.
"Yes," Dan paused as he reread the name on the staff members badge. "Kontar, did I pronounce that right?" Upon receiving a nod, he continued. "My name is Dan Granger, and my daughter," he pointed to Hermione, who was still attentively checking the sarcophagus,"is quite interested in that sarcophagus, for some reason, and the tag isn't exactly forthcoming with an explanation. Could you help us?"
"Of course. People usually don't pay much attention to it for some reason, but it has quite an interesting story. Shall we?" he said, walking in the direction of the rest of Dan's family. "Excuse me, young lady, but your father told me you're interested in this particular sarcophagus and its inhabitant, am I right?"
"Yes, sir," she said, looking at him.
"Well, it was found in 1921 in an archeological dig over Giza, just after a small landslide revealed a hidden room that had been overlooked in the past. The archeologists discovered a few other antiques in the room, most of them are shown here. They're mostly ordinary pieces, quite common around their time period, and the only thing worthy of notice is that they're exquisitely well preserved for their age. Carbon dating proves they're authentic, which was one of the archeologists' worries after the finding. The main thing, however, was the strange way everything was done. The ways mummies are preserved vary according to the time period the mummification was done, and the region. You see, the process evolved with time, the oldest mummy we have found dates from aproximately around 3300 BC, but the heights of the process came at around the 21st Dynasty, which spawns between 1077 to 943BC.
This mummy is dated to somewhere close to the 14th Dynasty, during what we call the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, which ended in 1640BC. We have several ways to compare the mummification process, and this one was done using methods that would only be perfected nearly four hundred years later. Aside from that, something kept the mummy in far better condition than we would expect, given the time passed and circumstances we found the chamber and sarcophagus. At the same time, while every burial chamber holds the information to the identity of the person buried within, the only mention of any sort of identification we have is this symbol here, which means 'healer'," he said, pointing to a hieroglyph over what would be the representation of the mummy's heart.
Dan and Emma traded glances between them, which was missed by the guide.
"No mention of a family, or descendants?" Hermione asked, which sparked the man's interest.
"No, nothing of the sort. Why?"
"Because usually a genealogy study, if possible, would give you pointers to the identity of the mummy within," she replied, which made the man smile, a bit surprised with her reasoning.
"That is correct, young lady, however we have no other information on her origins. We speculated a lot, based on her burial location and what was found with her. We know her to be female, and she was fairly successful in her practice, due to the number of offerings left behind, but there is no mention of sons or daughters anywhere among her remains."
They nodded, and the guide continued.
"There's a brochure for sale at the gift shop which has a more comprehensive explanation of her findings, and I believe a book as well from the archeologists that found the chamber, it all depends on the level of information you want."
The Granger family traded glances among themselves, and a smile came to Dan's face.
"We'll check it out, Mr. Kontar. Thank you for your time," he replied.
"It's what I'm here for. Feel free to ask if you have any more questions," the guide replied with a smile.
"We will, thank you."
In the end, they bought both the book and the brochure and promptly returned to the hotel. They asked for room service for their dinner while Hermione utterly devoured the reading material provided. She was finished close to midnight, and while Dan had gone to bed earlier, Emma was waiting for her daughter to finish.
"So, anything worth mentioning, Hermione?" her mother asked.
"No, nothing. The book is for general consumption, if they found something odd they kept to themselves, and we'll probably never have access to their original notes and such," she replied, placing the book to a side. "I was hoping..." Hermione continued, forlorn.
"I know, sweetie," Emma said, coming closer and hugging her daughter. "How are you feeling?"
The young girl shrugged. "I don't know. I mean... I thought I was an aberration, a mutant of some sort, but finding that sarcophagus... Was she like me? What are we? Are there more of us nowadays? Am I unique? I have so many questions and no answers..." the bushy haired girl said, sadly.
"I'm sorry we can't do much, Hermione, but we'll keep on trying. Just know that we love you, no matter what," her mother said, which brought a small smile to her face. "Now, let's go to bed, tomorrow is a big day."
They prepared for bed, but sleep was a long time coming for both women.
Hermione left her senses wandering, while only a small part of her was focusing on keeping things afloat and her one-handed stand. She felt the comforting knowledge of her mother's presence in the kitchen a few yards away. She also felt her slight longing, even under all the happiness Emma felt by readying things for the birthday dinner later on. It was one of the very few occasions where either one of her parents played 'hooky' with their jobs to be with her. Dad was still at the clinic, tending to his patients, but promised to be back early, so they could have an early dinner with low-sugar cake and sugar-free sodas, then go to the mall to catch a movie.
She smiled a bit and everything around her wavered for a second. Focusing again and chiding herself for the distraction, her balance returned and the items returned to their regular orbit around her. She knew already what her gifts were, mum had finally relented on her learning Tai Chi sword styles and her father had promptly spoken with Hermione's master about it. She was already fairly good with the ribbon, and if she knew if she used her powers, almost unbeatable. The sword style was something she wanted to do, because she felt the need to round up her Jedi training, even if she'd never have a functioning lightsaber. And that brought another smile to her face, her dad had bought her a ForceFX Luke Skywalker lightsaber and hid it on his closet, the second gift of the night. It was the closest she'd get to the real deal, but she couldn't complain.
But suddenly her senses got bombarded by the oddest feeling ever, as if something was compressing Force power over a tiny bit of space, like a mini black hole, a few meters away from the house's walkway, a point she knew was out of sight from anyone walking down the street. Then, as suddenly as the Force build-up grew, it exploded away, leaving behind a person with the strongest Force presence Hermione had ever felt. Flipping back to her feet in an effortless move which would give some gymnasts conniptions, she bolted to the house's back door, while tracking the person's movement towards their front door.
Hermione ran on in, giving her mother a start.
"MOM, THERE'S A JEDI OUTSIDE!" she yelled.