hreepio and Artoo were hurrying along the broad avenues of Irithim. The golden droid was constantly talking to himself, while his counterpart Artoo was commenting on the ongoing lamentation. It took them some time before they reached the luxurious apartment block, where Han Solo lived. All the way Threepio was expressing his concern to his counterpart about what had happened at the space port. The two droids attracted some attention of passersby, but most of the humans and other species neglected the desparate gestures of the protocol droid.
"Why are there always troubles? When will we ever have a peaceful time? What's happening to master Luke and the princess?" the golden colored droid muttered, while he staggered along the pavement as fast as he could.
"dieEWTie-artIEToo-DIEkiokl," Artoo replied in a stream of binary information.
"Yes, you said that before, but why were they treated like prisoners? Have they done something wrong? Impossible! Not master Luke! Impossible, do you hear! He's a Jedi Knight! Everybody knows that," Threepio responded.
"TIEjooki-seeUITTIE-fleiwieet-guiKIEWt," the barrelshaped robot said sharply.
"Are you out of your mind! Where did you hear that? Have you been gossiping around again?"
"At the space fleet base? You have been sneaking around, haven't you?"
"They have been ... by whom? No Artoo, that can't be, he is master Luke's friend. You heard lies. I told you before never to listen to gossip. Let's see General Solo and ask him."
Threepio increased his pace with an unhappy Artoo, still releasing an endless stream of blips and beeps, rolling and bumping behind him.
"Yes, yes, I do understand you, you know I do," Threepio answered ... "but your story doesn't make sense. What has general Calrissian to do with this? And now stop it! I can think clearly with your hoots and toots overloading my memory banks."
Arriving at the Han's apartment, Threepio gave such a loud knock on the door, he actually frightened himself.
"Oops!! That was a bit too loud, I think. Let's hope he is at home. Shall I knock again?"
He knocked again. This time more civilized. Behind the door some noises were heard and the door swung open. Han Solo looked at the two droids and a sarcastic smile appeared on his face.
"Well, well, what a surprise? What's the honor of paying me a visit? Why are you knocking at my door?" Han said cynically, but Threepio said fast: "General Solo, Artoo says that master Luke and princess Leia have been arrested and put into detention. They are accused of collaboration with Darth Vader and the emperor. But, as you know, the Dark Lord of the Sith died during the Battle of Endor. Artoo also heard the rumor that General Calrissian has spread the rumors about master Luke's and princess Leia's origin, after which some officers secretly have informed the members of the High Council and the Lady Mon Mothma. This sounds so impossible, don't you think so. It can't be true, can it?"
For a minute Han watched the two droids with astonishment, then he started to laugh.
"Listen, goldenrod, I have nothing to do with it. Your master Luke's is always getting himself into trouble. You both know that, don't you? And now he also has involved the princess of Alderaan, his so-called sister. Well, that's nice, but it's their problem and absolute not mine. I'm staying out of it, for I have nothing to do with it."
Speechless Threepio looked up to Han. He thought Han's words were very peculiar and illogical at all.
"But, general..." said Threepio again.
"No, I don't want to hear anything more from you. You have told your story and now you know my answer. I don't want to get involved in anything what those two Jedi messed up. That's final! Now, get out!!"
With a loud bang the door slammed shut, leaving two droids totally flabbergasted on the doorstep.
"Let's go back to the base, Artoo, and see if we can get help from commander Antilles."
Han had walked back to his living room. Angrily he grabbed a small flexible transparisteel datapad from the table, clenched his fist and muttered some mumbled words.
"Do you think, your Highness, that, even if I hadn't had this order, I would have run to welcome you. It's over, princess. You're a Jedi now, well, be happy with that mumbo jumbo knowledge. If that's more important to you than our relationship, ok, but I'll be off. Lots of luck with that so-called brother of yours. Probably you'll come up with a good story in court, but I think that Mon Mothma will never have the children of Darth Vader in public office again."
Embittered he sat down on the couch with a moody and gloomy look on his face.
Upon their arrival at the detention building Luke and Leia were separated. Luke had felt Leia's growing irritation and frustration, and one moment he had feared that her Jedi initiation had all been in vain. Leia was his sister and Darth Vader was her father, if Leia would give in to her growing anger, she could become a victim of ...!!!! No, impossible!!! He had given her a Jedi training. She would serve the Good Side of the Force. He had taught her how to control any passionate feelings. That dark path their father once went, would not seduce her.
Silently he followed the guards to his cell. After the door had been closed he sank on the bunk.
"What's going on," he whispered and for the first time since their return he felt a pang of desperation.
'Relax, Luke. Stay calm,' a comforting old voice seemed to resonate in his mind.
Luke recognized old Ben's voice and smiled.
"I'm all right, Ben. I am just worrying about Leia."
He started pacing up and down his cell. He had to find a way to comfort and reassure his sister; she needed his protection. He sat down again and closed his eyes. Unclear images of the future flashed through his mind again and he saw the difficult period that lay ahead.
Three floors below in the same prison block, Leia sat on the edge of the bunk in her cell.
"When I get out here, I'm not finished with the one, who did this to us," she muttered.
She was feeling very angry. She felt even angry with her brother, because he had tried to calm her.
"We should have stayed in Irithim! Why did I have to finish my Jedi training so soon? Was it, because you wanted to proof to yourself, that you are as good a teacher as master Yoda, that you can take his place as a Jedi Master? You!.. A Jedi Master!"
She laughed cynically, but suddenly she seemed to hear the echo of her words. Her face turned pale. She hid her face in the pillow and whispered: "Oh my, what am I saying? ... Oh, why am I accusing Luke ... Oh, Luke, no! Oh, please, forgive me, dear brother! This isn't your fault. You didn't push me; I went voluntarily, for I want to become a Jedi myself. These are uncontrolled emotions; my own dark feelings!"
She laid down on the bed and looked for the place inside her mind to calm herself. She felt exhausted by the events of that day and closed her eyes to relax.
In the middle of the night she woke up and immediately became aware her new situation. A feeling of loneliness and desperation grabbed her throat.
She looked up. Where did that voice come from?
"Who's there? Is that you, Luke??" She whispered tensely.
'No, Leia, I'm not your brother, but you must remember, what he has taught you. You're a Jedi Knight, Leia! Rely on the Force, if you need help. She will show you the path you have to follow. You must control you anger.'
Leia sat upright.
"Who are you? How do you know who I am?"
A vague bluish apparition appeared in the corner of her cell.
The voice continued: 'Leia, do you understand, what I'm telling you? Don't give in to your anger; don't give in to your frustration, don't let your emotions overtake you. Those are the ways, which lead to the Dark Side. Do you listen to me, Leia?'
"Yes, but please, can you help Luke and me! We didn't do anything wrong!"
A deep silence followed Leia's words.
"You're still there, aren't you?" Leia asked.
'Yes, I am,'the voice whispered, 'I'm sorry, my beloved daughter. I can't help you and your brother at the moment, even if I wanted to.'
"Father!!!" Leia exclaimed.
'Yes, Leia, I am your father Anakin Skywalker, but I don't deserve that title. I've never been a father to you or Luke. I've done a lot of harm to you. I wish I could undergo your ordeal, but I'm no longer part of your world. Your laws can not reach me. Luke and you will be held answerable for what I did in the past. You must feel frustrated, maybe even angered if you remember what I did to you, and I don't blame you for those feelings.'
"No, Father, I don't. The Good Side was stronger within you!! Luke told me everything about what happened on the Second Death. You saved Luke's life. You'll always be our father and I'm proud my father once was a Jedi Knight!!"
The silence after Leia's words lasted a very long time.
"Are you still with me, Father," Leia whispered.
'Yes, I am and I always will be, my lovely daughter. I don't know what to say. I've caused so much harm and you forgive me. Nobody remembers Anakin Skywalker, people only know me as Darth Vader, a Sith Lord, an enemy. In court the judges will confront you with your ancestry: you are Darth Vader's daughter; Darth Vader was your father.'
Leia nodded slowly, but her mind was clear now, proudly she shook her head.
"Anakin Skywalker is my father, not Darth Vader. I don't have to be ashamed; I'm the daughter of a Jedi Knight, but I understand that a lot of people will criticize me."
She silenced and felt calm and relaxed. She now had a good insight in her situation, but it didn't frighten her any longer.
"Father, thank you for coming; thank you for helping me."
'Trust your brother, Leia; trust the Force! Now find some sleep. The Force will be with you always, remember!'
Anakin's last words were a mere whisper, a soft whistle of wind. Leia rubbed her eyes. This was like a dream. Thanks to her new knowledge of the Force she had talked to her real father beyond the boundaries of time and death. She lay down again and with a comforting smile on her face she felt asleep.
Jerno, Kalip and Valann were standing on the terrace of the former imperial government building, looking out over the city planet. Everywhere they saw the remnants of the devastation that had been commissioned during the emperor's reign.
"It will never be as beautiful as in the time of the Old Republic," Valann mused, "Too much has been destroyed forever."
"That's right. I must admit that I regret the decision of the New Republic to found their new administration on Dalmaran and build a new capital, Irithim. With the collapse of the empire I hoped that Coruscant could be the center of a joint government," Kalip commented, while he looked at the ruins of a building opposite the government buildings, "To be honest, I miss the elegant beauty of the Jedi temple."
"Maybe we could request the New Jedi Order to restore and rebuild the temple again," Valann suggested.
Kalip shook his head, "That won't happen, Valann. In the peace treaty with the New Republic we've agreed, that the last Jedi Knight would have full permission to remove what ever is left of the Jedi Archive to Dalmaran. Probably he will build a new Jedi temple in Irithim."
"I still hope, that, once the Jedi Order will have been revived and is thriving again, the Jedi Knights will support our government too, so that the whole galaxy will profit again from their exceptional power, " Valann mused, looking at the ruins.
"Don't expect that to happen soon," Kalip remarked, "Our intelligence force has reported that the last Jedi Knight, commodore Luke Skywalker, has been arrested, together with his twin sister, senator Leia Organa of Alderaan whom he has trained as a Jedi Knight. Both Skywalkers are accused of high treason, because they have collaborated with emperor Palpatine. At least commodore Skywalker seems to have defected during the Battle of Endor. On board the second Death Star he has passed information about the Alliance army to Darth Vader and emperor Palpatine"
Jerno shook his head in disbelieve.
"If he has done so, which I doubt, then I think that it will take a long time before the Order of the Jedi Knights will be founded and thrive again, but the annihilation of the Jedi Knights is a big loss."
Valann continued on his earlier reflections,"If the Jedi Knights still would be as numerous as in the old days, we could have asked them to assist us in the case of those disappeared star destroyers, one of which as disintegrated due to a strange cause. The fate of the other ship is still a mystery. The Jedi Knights might found out what has happened. Maybe they even could locate the missing star destroyer."
He turned to Jerno and asked surprised, "You just said, that you doubted the accusations of the Skywalker twins?"
"I most certainly do, Valann. Commodore Skywalker has an exceptional track record as a commander of the Alliance's Gold Squadron. His commitment to the Alliance in their struggle against the Empire is beyond question. How could he have been an undercover agent for the emperor all those years? As for his twin sister, senator Leia Organa, I can't name a more honest lady with a greater standard of integrity. Her determination and dedication to the cause of the Alliance during the Civil War was even known to the emperor and Darth Vader, although she kept her high position as senator of Alderaan and representative of the Royal House in the imperial Senate until the emperor dissolved the council. Nevertheless, the High Court at Irithim must have strong evidence of their collaboration."
"Maybe our intelligence force should closely follow their law suit and report the outcome of it to us. If they are acquitted, we ought to make contact with Jedi Skywalker and ask him if he and his sister are willing to help us in our investigation of that last missing star destroyer, Jerno. An in depth investigation by two Jedi Knights might also be advantageous to the government of the New Republic. The case of these missing star destroyers is so odd and puzzling. We still don't know what has caused the disintegration of one of those star ships, and we still haven't heard any message from the crew of the other ship, although I expected that after they would have learned about the death of their comrades, they would have returned to Coruscant," Valann remarked.
"The unexpected explosion of that missing star destroyer is still inexplicable. The commander mentioned that the hyperdrive navigator of his ship was suddenly overheating. It's very odd that the overheating of a hyperdrive navigator could be the cause of the explosion and the complete annihilation of the ship. All hyperdrive navigators of those types of star destroyer had safety precautions. In case of overheating the navigator shuts down by itself and starts a built in cooling down programm. Besides, there's also the question, of what kind of business they had in that far off galactic cluster near the border of the Unknown Territories?" Kalip said.
"It might be a coincidence, but there might an explanation for the disappearance of both ships," Jerno said thoughtful.
His companions looked at him inquisitively.
"What I think that has happened to both star destroyers is based only on a vague hypothesis of my own. There is no real evidence of the events the way they probably have happened, but there are some strange coincidences which raise many questions. I have done a discrete research to find a reasonable explanation for the disappearance of those two star destroyers, but there's no full proof of what really happened and it's very unlikely that the full truth will be ever known."
"Tell us your conclusions, Jerno," Kalip said and Valann nodded.
They walked inside and sat down. Jerno looked at his two co-leaders.
"What I'm going to lay before you, is, as I said before, no more than a hypothesis. I have no hard evidence, so, please, keep my words to yourselves."
Valann and Kalip nodded in agreement. For a moment Jerno looked away through broad window to the tall buildings that marked the skyline of Coruscant, before he continued.
"You both possibly remember, that after the Battle of Endor, a year before the final defeat of the imperial fleet near Jakku, a group of commanders, among them some high admirals, strongly opposed the secret negotiations with the leaders and the high military staff of the Alliance about a cease fire and a truce. After the final battle near Jakku it was assumed that most of the imperial staff, including those admirals, hadn't survived, as almost our complete fleet was destroyed, but recently I found an old holo recording in the archived data collection, which one of the admirals has sent from the moon of Avali, shortly after the end of the battle. The message dates back around the same time as the two star destroyers disappeared from Jakku's orbit. The holo message was a bit garbled, but the admiral mentioned that the star destroyer on which he was in charge, had come out of hyperspace in an uncharted meteor shower. He and his men had been forced to use the escape pods and the ground trooper's transport ships. They had landed on Avali, a small moon near the Urervik cluster. The Coruscant intelligence command center sent a reply and ordered him that he must return to Coruscant with his crew and the surviving stormtroopers for further questioning. In his reply the admiral confirmed the given order, for he answered that he, his crew and the ground forces would board of another imperial star destroyer which had come to their rescue and had gone into orbit around the moon to take the survivors on board. He would report immediately to the commander of the rescue ship and ask him transport him and his men to Coruscant. The Coruscant intelligence command center confirmed the reply. That was the last contact with the admiral. From then on, any further attempt to contact the second star destroyer appears to have stalled. According to the records of the Coruscant command center they have frequently attempted to contact the second star destroyer, sending automatic calls to the ship. However, the commander, his staff and the survivors have ignored every order to return to Coruscant and there hasn't been any log recording or other indication of an arrival in Coruscant's orbit. It is certain beyond doubt, that the star destroyer with the ID-markings mentioned by the admiral in his conversation with Coruscant has never returned to Coruscant. So far, all contact calls, orders and further investigation have come to a dead end, until recently, two years after the last contact, a star destroyer exploded near the Urervik cluster after the commander sent an emergency call about a fatal hyperdrive failure. That star destroyer was the same space ship that rescued the admiral and his crew at Avali. So I think, that not only the commander and his crew died in that crash, but probably also the admiral and the crew of the other missing star destroyer, which would make the amount of casualties even higher," Jerno said concerned.
"This hypothesis about what might have happened to our missing star destroyers, might indeed be a lead, Jerno. Our intelligence force should do a more thorough investigation on this matter," Kalip commented.
"That's what I wanted to suggest. Kalip, you, as the commanding officer of our intelligence force, you must order your men to do some investigations and look further into this case. It's not a very high priority, but when they discover that the two commanders and their crew are the same men mentioned in the old recordings, it looks like they all died in that explosion. In that case, we have to issue an official statement and hold a memorial ceremony. After all, the commanders were two high-ranking officers, one of them has been an admiral in the imperial space fleet during the Civil War. Later the emperor has personally assigned him as a member of the commanding staff on Morantan and strategic advisor of Darth Vader. He spent many years on Morantan, but returned to Coruscant frequently to report to the emperor at regular intervals about Darth Vader's plans and progress. Through his reports the emperor learned about the existence of Darth Vader's daughter."
"Talking about Morantan and mentioning Darth Vader's reminds me of the danger her existence might have to this galaxy, Jerno. Do you know, if she still lives on Morantan?" Valann interrupted him.
"Our undercover agents have reported she still is, and I heartily hope that she will stay there forever," Jerno said.
On the day of their trial Luke dressed himself in his ceremonial Jedi suit. He wanted to show that the Force was his ally under all circumstances. In the courtroom he discovered with a warm and joyful feeling, that Leia was wearing her ceremonial Jedi clothes too, together with the insignia of the Royal House of Alderaan. She still was the princess Leia Organa of Alderaan and a member of the Senate. Luke took his seat and smiled to encourage his sister. His smile was answered with warm feelings of love and care.
The judges entered and everyone in the courtroom rose. Luke's hand slipped around Leia's and pressed it.
"This session of the trial against commodore Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan will be held behind closed doors at the express request of our Supreme Chancellor, Lady Mon Mothma. I order the public to leave the courtroom immediately," the president of the High Court announced.
It took some minutes before the courtroom was cleared.
"Will the defendants step forward, please."
Luke and Leia walked up to the main desk.
"You're commodore Skywalker, born on Tatooine and nowadays living on Dalmaran?" the president asked Luke.
"Yes, your honor, but I'm not born on Tatooine, but on Polis Massa, a asteroid in one of the smaller systems in the Outer Rim Territories. Immediately after my birth I was brought to Morantan, a nearby planet ," Luke answered calmly.
The judge nodded.
"You are princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, daughter of Bail Organa, born on Alderaan and also living on Dalmaran?"
"I'm bearing the title of princess of Alderaan, because Bail Organa officially adopted my as his daughter, your honor, but I was born on the same day on Polis Massa as commodore Skywalker. He is my twin brother."
There was tension in Leia's voice, but she kept her dignity.
"You may be seated and listen to the charges against both of you."
The prosecutor, Sorjon Tyloban, a renowned member of the High Council, rose.
"Your honor, members of this court, the High Council of the New Republic accuses the defendants of high treason and collaboration. They have withheld information, which is of vital importance for the safety of the New Republic. Indeed, commodore Luke Skywalker has been born on Polis Massa as is the princess Leia Organa. They are twins. They are the children of Padmé Naberrie Skywalker and Anakin Skywalker, better known to many of us as Darth Vader, former Imperial governor of Morantan and the second in command of Emperor Palpatine.
Both defendants have never revealed their descent and have kept their leading roles during our struggle against the Empire, but the members of our High Council suspect them of espionage for and collaboration with the Empire. There is evidence, that commodore Skywalker has surrendered himself voluntarily to Darth Vader during the Battle of Endor. He safely watched the outcome of that battle in the company of the Emperor himself and his father on board of the second Death Star. There's a strong suspicion, that he has passed secret information to the advisors of the Emperor, maybe even to the emperor himself.
However, when it became clear that the Empire was overthrown, he fled and joined the Alliance again. After the Death Star exploded nothing has been heard of Darth Vader, but we suspect commodore Skywalker is hiding his father somewhere. His twin sister, Leia Organa, who is no princess by birth and has no right to bear that title, has done nothing to prevent her brother's desertion. She never reported his disappearance to General Solo, who was in charge on our secret mission on Endor. After the defeat of the Empire, both defendants returned to their duties and kept silence about their descent.
Your honor, after you've read the evidences, it must by quite clear, that the defendants are a great danger to the safety of the New Republic. Especially because meanwhile both are trained Jedi Knights. For the safety of the New Republic I urgently request this court to exile them both from this part of the galaxy for the rest of their lives."
The prosecutor sat down.
Wild thoughts rushed through Luke's mind. The prosecutor's words dragged their names, their dedication and their initiation as Jedi Knights through the mire. They were accused of spying for and collaborating with their former enemy, the Empire, and with the Dark Side of the Force.
"What's your defense against these charges, commodore Skywalker, princess Organa?" the judge asked.
"Your honor, I would like to defend both my sister and myself."
The president nodded.
"Your honor," Luke continued, "there certainly is some truth in the prosecutor's words, but I hope to convince you and the other members of this court, that my sister and I never have served of Empire.
It's true. Darth Vader is our real father, but we discovered that fact at the end of the civil war. His real name is Anakin Skywalker and he once was a Jedi Knight like we are.
Twenty-six years ago my sister was brought to Alderaan and adopted by Bail Organa and his wife. Anakin's former friend, who took the wise decision that by that time Anakin should not know, that he had a son and a daughter, prepared her flight. That same friend brought me to Anakin's step brother and his wife on Tatooine. Leia and I didn't know they had separated us for our own safety.
Bail Organa's formal adoption of my sister gave her the right to bear the title of Princess of Alderaan. I was brought up as a moisture farmer on Tatooine.
Some twenty years later I met Anakin's former friend on Tatooine. I left the planet with him after the Imperial stormtroopers had killed my foster parents. We went to Alderaan to deliver a robot to Bail Organa, but at our arrival in Alderaan's orbit, the planet had been destroyed by the Empire. We were taken prisoner on a space station called "The Death Star" and there I met the princess of Alderaan for the first time."
Willfully Luke addressed his sister with her title.
"The princess was a prisoner too. The pilot of the freighter, who has flown us to Alderaan, helped me to free the princess and we fled with her. Anakin's old friend didn't come with us. He was killed by Darth Vader."
Luke didn't mentioned Obi-Wan's name in his story.
"As you know, your honor, the Death Star was destroyed by the Alliance near the fourth moon of the planet Yavin. The rebels had to leave the system, but found refuge on Hoth. Every time we had to leave a new stronghold, the princess was our strong determined leader. She believed in the ideals of the Alliance and risked her own life to defend and save others. During all our fights we became close friends, as I too believed in the ideal of a free galaxy.
Anakin's friend had taught me the first principles of the Jedi lore and during our Civil War I got my Jedi training on the planet, where the last Jedi Master lived. Before I completed my training, I rushed to Bespin were my sister, my friend - the freighter pilot -, and his Wookiee co-pilot were kept prisoners. On Bespin I met my father and fought with him. During that fight he told me the truth about my descent. I was so shaken; that I lost control and my sister had to save me. I went back to my Jedi Master to complete my training. He ordered me, that it would be my task to save this galaxy from the Darkness. I had to destroy the power of Darth Vader and the Emperor. This burden became almost unbearable when I learned that the princess was my sister. If I should fail she would be the last hope for the Alliance. I had to succeed; there was some spark of good in our seduced father; I had to bring him back to the Good Side of the Force. I failed, your honor."
Luke's voice silenced for a moment.
"On the second Death Star I fought with Anakin a second time, because he threatened to seduce my sister to the Dark Side. I won, but when I refused to join the Darkness the Emperor nearly killed me. Anakin saved me, but lost his life. He died in my arms, your honor. He gave his life to save me and the Alliance by killing the Emperor."
Again Luke silenced. His Jedi powers showed him his past again.
"This is the truth, your honor," he continued in a soft voice," Leia and I never have deliberately withheld our descent. We never did or would do anything that could harm the Alliance. We believed in her goals and we still do. On behalf of my sister I hope my story has convinced you and the other members of this court of our innocence."
Luke sat down and reached for Leia's hand.
"Do you have any witnesses to confirm your story, commodore Skywalker?"
Luke shook his head.
"No, your honor, both, Anakin's friend and my father Anakin Skywalker, are dead."
The president of the court addressed the prosecutor.
"Do you have any witnesses or further evidence for your charge?"
"Yes, your honor, we have one witness."
"You'd call him in now!"
Shocked Leia and Luke looked at each other. Han was here to testify against them?
Han was brought to the witness stand.
"General Solo, did you know that Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker were siblings?" the prosecutor asked.
"She told me on Endor, when we were watching the exploding Death Star."
Leia shook her head.
"Did Commodore Skywalker ever tell you that Darth Vader was his father?" the prosecutor continued.
"Not on Endor, your honor. Leia and Luke told me the story of their ancestry in a confidential conversation several months after our victory." Han answered hesitatingly.
Leia wanted to interrupt, but Luke took her arm.
"I hear hesitation in your voice, general?" the prosecutor remarked.
"Your honor, I ... It's difficult.... I...." Han stammered, "It would be an explanation, why they have been so close together since the Civil War ended. They are living together in the same apartment"
Luke felt Han's jealousy, but first reached out with his Jedi powers to calm his sister. Leia was furious!
"What are you suggesting, general Solo?" the president of the court suddenly interrupted.
"Well, your honor. On Bespin Leia confessed that she loved me. I thought her words were true, and therefore I think it's strange, that she lives together with another man, who claims to be her brother, and leaves with that same man on a long journey for several months, without telling me anything."
On the faces of the judge and the prosecutor were faint smiles.
"So your jealousy is the reason to testify. Are you aware that doesn't make you a reliable witness, general."
"I'm aware of that, your honor," Han admitted.
The judge nodded to the prosecutor.
"You may proceed, master Tyloban."
"Did you give the confidential information about the defendant's ancestry to this High Court or to any members of the High Council, because you're jealous, general? Did you seek revenge?"
"No, your honor. I've told nobody. I don't know how they get that informat... "
"Any idea who did, general? What's making you hesitate again? Do you personally have a problem with the defendant's descent?"
"No, your honor. I don't care about Leia's descent. I only have doubts about their family ties, for I know that years ago commodore Skywalker had fallen in love with princess Leia. "
The president of the High Court shook his head. He handed Han a piece of old parchment.
"You'd better read this, general, before you proceed and say something, which you will regret afterwards."
Han's eyes rushed over the contents. His face turned red and then became very pale. His hands trembled.
"Is this an official document, your honor?" he asked.
"It is, general. Research by this court on Morantan has revealed this official document. This is an official birth certificate. It confirms the birth of a twin, a boy and a girl. Their birth took place about twenty-six years ago on Polis Massa. After their birth they were hidden in the house of the Baroontarian Chieftain, Eremian. The boy was called Luke; the girl got the name Leia. The high priest of the Baroonta clan has confirmed to our representatives, that the twins have lived among the members of his clan after their mother Padmé Naberrie Skywalker had died on Polis Massa, until the girl was adopted by Bail Organa of Alderaan. Some time later the boy had been brought to his step uncle and aunt on Tatooine by General Kenobi."
The president reached for the document Han was still holding in his hands.
"Anymore questions by the prosecutor?"
The prosecutor shook his head.
"Do the defendants want to ask the witness any questions?"
"Yes, your honor."
Luke rose and looked at Han with pain in his eyes.
"You know, Han, who has told the High Council all this, don't you?"
Han nodded and bowed his head.
"It's of no use to hide the truth, Luke, but it must be Lando," he said in a hoarse voice.
Furiously Leia jumped to her feet.
"How could you betray our confidence, Han Solo!"
Han stared at the two Skywalkers.
"I was mad at you, Leia, because you weren't at home, when I came back for Leathan. In my anger I told Lando who you really were. This doesn't however change the facts between you and Luke. You love Luke more than me and I know, he loves you. It's better for all of us, if I won't stand in your way. I hope you'll be happy together."
"No further questions, your honor," Luke said.
"This session will be adjourned. It will be continued immediately this afternoon after lunch hour."
The judges left. Han also stood up and walked past Luke and Leia. One moment he slowed his steps, as if he wanted to say something, but then he turned and left the court room without looking back.
The guards brought Luke and Leia to a locked antechamber next to the courtroom. Luke brought Leia to a couch and sat next to her with his arm around her shoulders. Leia stared to the opposite wall. Then suddenly she jumped to her feet and turned to her brother.
"Why, why???" she said frustrated, " why has he done this?"
Luke rose and put his hands on her shoulders. Tenderly he brushed her hair aside.
"Relax, Leia. Han's behavior is foolish! Letting himself being lead by his jealousy. He should have known better."
He shook his head. Why had Han told Lando everything he knew? And why had Lando betrayed them? So many questions? Why? Why? Why?
Leia found her composure and concentrated on her own feelings for Han. She felt disappointed, but deep inside her there were still those warm feelings of love for her unpredictable space pirate. She still loved him with all her heart. She looked up to her brother.
"Luke, don't blame him. It's not his fault. It's Lando who caused all this. It's true; you two have been rivals ever since we're together. He's always been jealous at you. I should have realized that. He's fooled by Lando too. I'm sure about that. I only wonder why?"
"Off course, Leia, I forgive him. I also understand, that it's his jealousy, but it might take some time, before Han will understand that. It'll be a long time before we'll see him again, Leia. Do you realize that?"
"If there's no way to convince him, Luke, I have to accept this truth, but I hope ... "
She silenced and thought about the images she had seen on Dagobah. She shook her head. No, that future wouldn't be true. The future was always in motion and could change. Han would see the truth and apologize and then they could marry very soon now.
At two o'clock the trial continued. The courtroom was now filled with people who knew the Skywalkers. They called encouraging words when the twins entered. The judges entered and the president asked the defendants to step forward and hear the verdict.
"Commodore Skywalker. Normally this court takes its time to thoroughly study all the evidence, but the evidence in this case is quite clear to all the members of this court. Before I tell you and your sister what's been decided, we have one question? You've told this court, that Darth Vader died in your arms. What happened to his remains, commodore?"
Luke shook his head.
"Your honor, you won't get an answer to that question. Darth Vader is dead; you have my word on that. Anakin Skywalker, my father, died as a Jedi Knight and he has joined the Force. The location of his grave is my secret and that'll never be revealed."
Luke looked at Leia. She smiled. The judge and the members of the High Court looked at both Skywalkers with admiration. The judge rose and took up a datapad and rose.
"Commodore Skywalker, your Royal Highness, this court will now pronounce judgment on your inattentiveness. Deliberately we speak of an inattentiveness and not of high treason, for there's no evidence that your descent has done any damage to the Alliance. However, this court shares the opinion of the prosecutor and the members of the High Council that you have withheld the information of your descent more or less deliberately. If you had informed the High Council right after the fall of the Empire, there wouldn't have been taken any further steps against the two of you. We think however, that by that time you found it embarrassing to become known as Darth Vader's children and that you decided to wait for a better moment. Two years have passed since our victory and this court is convinced that there must have been enough opportunities to inform our Supreme Chancellor and the members of the High Council. You haven't done so, and that's seen as deceitful and has to be reprimanded.
Commodore Skywalker, this court knows that you have a special mandate in our federal space force to search for and to train new Jedi Knights. This mandate will be withdrawn with immediate effect. This court thinks it's irresponsible to charge the son of Darth Vader with this task. You will also loose your rank as commodore. You will get an assignment to our ground troop forces.
Princess Leia, this court will execute a similar reprimand for you. Your diplomatic status gives you access to highly confidential information. You will resign immediately as senator. You're also not entitled any longer to use the title Princess of Alderaan."
The president of the court and the other judges left the courtroom. Taken aback Luke and Leia watched at each other. Misconception and betrayal has deprived them both from their occupations. This was an unexpected outcome. Dismayed they left the building and returned to their apartment.
Luke sat down, highly disillusioned.
"Degraded! Both of us! But what have we done? Nothing!"
Leia pulled her brother's arm.
"Luke, it could have been worse. The judges found no evidence for the alleged collaboration, but, yes, we have been negligent. We should have revealed our descent a long time ago."
"Maybe you're right, Leia, but I'm going to appeal. If there's no proof of collaboration, then it must be possible to get our rehabilitation."