Star Wars IV.5 pt iv

Leia didn’t fidget while she waited on the dias; this was a testimony to her upbringing. She understood the need for the ceremony; it had in fact been her idea, but she didn’t mean for them to carry through making everyone stand at attention while Luke and his pirate friends paraded through their midst. She had suggested that they stage the ceremony because it would be a politically powerful image; the Rebellion needed heroes with faces and names standing alongside the renegade politicians and Imperial defectors. When the order to assemble was given to the pilots, the techs, and the troops, they turned the holo-op into the real thing. Leia didn’t argue because her father had taught her that wise leaders know when to listen to those who follow them; she smiled while she urged everyone to hurry faster. But she could not deny these people a moment to bask in a victory when they had expected certain death.

Leia shifted in the formal gown she had been wearing since she boarded the Tantive IV only a few days ago. A lot had happened since then, and she really wanted to change clothes. Not only was the sheer white  Alderaanian silk filthy, but it was also completely inappropriate attire; the world it had been made of existed no longer. Ladies should not go traipsing through jungles in museum pieces. That thought was given voice in her mind by her father, who was now shimmering subatomic dust orbiting the sun she had played under as a child.

Her hands did not shake nor did her face betray her feelings as she hung the hastily cobbled medals around the necks of the heroes. Against her better judgement, she found herself warming to Han Solo; it was his relationship to Chewbacca that had done it. If a Wookie would suffer him as his partner and Captain then this spacer was no ordinary spacer and the Corellian bloodstripes he wore were genuine. He was a man of depth even if his surface insisted there was nothing beneath.

If Solo was made of secrets, Skywalker seemed incapable of keeping one. He smiled at her with the pure love of a puppy and she had to admit to herself that she felt absolutely safe when he was near. As ridiculous as he looked in that Stormtrooper armor when he appeared in her cell, the farmboy had delivered beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings. When she was with him, she felt like she was home in a way she had never felt before, even in the rare quiet moments in the ancestral Organa castle, a sprawling mountain retreat which was now only a memory in her brain and an entry in the Encyclopedia Galactica.

She stood and waited for the tech to get the shot, trying hard to think about the things that needed to be done rather than the things that had happened. The destruction of the Death Star was not the end of anything but rather the beginning of something bigger than any of them could imagine. She needed to evacuate this base and make contact with Mon Mothma and the other Rebels; they needed to seize the moment and a fleet to do it with.

When the flash came her mind turned from the future and dove into yesterday; she was back in that terrible moment when her cell door had opened and Darth Vader had entered with the interrogation droid. It had injected her with a concotion of drugs that left her nearly paralyzed with her threshold of pain brought so low that even the silk on her skin was enough to burn her. The Dark Lord of the Sith did not touch her; he was strangely subdued which only increased her terror. She anticipated brutality but when he instead simply sat on the shelf that served as her bed, the rasping of his suit filling the small chamber with an unyielding rhythm, regarding her through his inscrutable masque, she very nearly broke.

She had tried very hard not to think about that endless hour with Vader and now for some reason she was essentially reliving it. But there was someone else in the cell with them; a ghost, beautiful and sad, interposed itself and soothed her. Even now, she thought she heard a woman whispering that he would not harm her, that there was a good man buried deep in the machine…

The alarm klaxon broke her reverie. The troops were scattering and Solo and the Wookie were following the officers towards the command center. Only Luke and Leia were left with the droids in the temple. She reached for his arm and shook him, calling his name. He looked as if he had just returned from someplace very far away. “What’s going on?” he asked.

“They’re already here,” she said, and added as he didn’t seem to understand, “the Empire.” A voice was reporting that a destroyer had entered Yavin space. It was too late for plans, too late for staring stupidly into space. She grabbed his hand and began to drag him from the temple. “Come on. Let’s go.”

She pulled him through the temple, aggravated that he seemed lost in thought while not acknowledging her own woolgathering. There was something uncanny about these structures that encouraged introspection, however. Despite all that needed to be done, she had found herself asking about them earlier and even now found her eyes lingering over the bas-reliefs, wishing she could stay and study them. She had been interested in history and archeology before her life was lost to intrigue and politics.

Luke surprised her by breaking the silence. “Do you know how old these temples are?’ 
Leia responding automatically despite her surprise that this kid from the Outer Rim Territories could actually be curious about something. “They say they were built over 5,000 galactic standard years ago. But it wasn’t a native species. It was a spacefaring civilization that built these structures. We just don’t know why.’

Before they could begin a discussion of the peculiarities of history, they were in the command center. Solo made a crack that she ignored and General Dodonna reported on the ship that had just entered Yavin space. It was something new and big. Not as big as the Death Star, but it didn’t need to be.

Leia looked pensive. ‘We need to evacuate. We should have fled hours ago.’
Solo interjected, ’That’s what I was saying. We should all take off in different directions and never look back!’
Luke scolded, ‘We didn’t run from the Death Star.’
Solo retorted, ‘I doubt this thing has a convienently located button that blows it up, too. We’re not that lucky.’ Chewbacca howled. ‘No, Chewie, we’re not.’

Leia turned to General Dodonna. “Jan, order everyone onto the ships. Leave any equipment that can’t be immediately loaded. We aren’t going to have time to debate the plan. We’ll have to go with what we talked about earlier.”

“It’s a very risky course, Princess. You’ll be putting a lot of faith in a criminal.” he said, glimpsing at Han, who began to bristle but was cut off by Leia.

“We are all criminals, Jan. He’s just more honest about it than most.” She said, smiling at Han Solo, who for once in his life was left speechless.

To be continued…

4 Responses to “Star Wars IV.5 pt iv”

  1. YEA!!!! more please…..

  2. *love*.

    you write well from inside Leias head – and I do love all the little almost injokey bits, where we have the benefit of knowing what happens in subsequent adventures. 🙂

  3. […] actually have a lot of stuff to write about but I’m just tired tonight… Dahlia and Robyn, thanks, and I promise more as soon as […]

  4. […] Wars IV.V pt iv Part i Part ii Part iii Part iv Part […]

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