mmediately after his return of Morantan Luke had requested a rehabilitation procedure for his sister. If she could get back to her work as senator, she might forget her pain and sorrows. Luke wanted the best for Leia, because he loved her with a deep and sincere love as her brother.
During the flight back on board of the Tychorion he had told general Madine, what had happened at their trial. The general who had a great respect for little senator of the former Alderaan system, made it his task to find the whereabouts of the Millennium Falcon and her hotshot pilot, Han Solo, but his efforts were in vain. Han Solo and his ship seemed to have vanished from the galaxy.
However a month after the assault on Morantan, general Lando Calrissian unexpectedly returned to Irithim and announced his resignation as a general of the New Republic's space fleet. Before he left the military base at De'olon space port he paid general Madine a last visit.
"Welcome back to Irithim, general Calrissian," Madine said politely, "I have heard that you want to leave us."
"Yes, Crix, I've come back to say goodbye to my old friends, for I've found another, more lucrative way to earn a living," Lando said with a broad smile.
"What are you going to do, if I may ask?"
"It's no secret. I've bought a casino on one of the islands on Tambrin. I'm still a gambler, Crix, and I have a good feeling about my new asset. During this last visit I want to talk to Han and Chewbacca, if they want to join me and cooperate in my new organization. I hope that Han will also convince Leia to accompany him and Chewie."
"The princess of Alderaan has obligation here on Irithim, as you know, baron," Madine said, addressing Lando with his former title.
"Is that true, Crix. I have heard otherwise. It seems that Leia has been forced to resign as a senator, hasn't she?"
Madine was suddenly wary and alerted.
"Who told you this?" He asked.
Lando laughed, "I have my informants, Crix, like you and Mon Mothma have, although I admit that mine are not always reliable, but with regard to Leia, I am convinced of what I have heard. Leia is going through a difficult time at the moment, isn't she, because the members of the High Council suspect her of collaboration with the former empire. Am I right, Crix?"
"The members of the High Council have been influenced by some officers who envy the heroes of the Civil War."
"That's true, and that's another reason why I have resigned, for I'm one of those so-called heroes too, Crix, and I don't want to become a victim of slander and gossip. I'm going to visit my friends this afternoon and I hope that Han, Leia, and Chewie will join me with the Millennium Falcon. On Tambrin I want to organize a great welcoming party for Han and Leia. I have also made arrangements for their wedding, and a lavish apartment where they can live as a married couple."
Surprised Madine had listened to Lando Calrissian's plans.
"You seem to be convinced already that they will join you, don't you?" He remarked.
"Sure I am. There's nothing to do for Leia and Han here, after the High Court has followed the advice of the High Council and the Supreme Chancellor."
"What about Luke Skywalker, Lando. You didn't mention him in your plan."
"If Luke wants to join his sister and Han, I won't object, but I think that our young Jedi Knight has other obligations. Didn't he has the mandate to train new Jedi Knights?"
"That's right, Lando, but I wonder if Leia will be willing to leave Luke alone. She is very fond of her brother, and Luke adores his sister, you know. Even more, since he has trained her as our second Jedi Knight."
"Leia, a Jedi Knight! That's wonderful, Crix. I must say that Luke hasn't been wasting his time. It's obvious that his sister would be his first apprentice. How did Han react to her Jedi training? I know that he is rather skeptical about that Force stuff."
"You'd better ask that yourself, Lando. The situation in Irithim has changed a lot since you left Dalmaran the last time."
"What do you mean, Crix? Is anything wrong with Han, or Leia?"
"You will hear when you pay them a visit, as you were up too," Madine said elusive.
"By the way, Crix, do you know where I can find the Millennium Falcon? After my arrival I've been looking around, but I couldn't get information from the deck officer."
Again general Madine felt wary.
"If you're going to see Leia, she, or Luke will tell you, Lando. I'm not going to say anything about this matter."
Madine rose to signal that their conversation has ended.
"Excuse me, baron, but I have an appointment with a member of the High Council within half an hour. If you see Luke and Leia send them my regards."
"I certainly will, Crix, are they still living in the apartment they bought together?"
"They do, Lando. Good luck with your new profession. I hate to lose you as a leader, but everyone must seek his own way of living."
Madine accompanied the former general to the door. Before Lando left, they shook hands. Madine returned to his desk and sat down thoughtfully. Finally he shook his head.
"This doesn't make sense," He mused aloud, "Shall I inform Luke and Leia about this conversation with Lando. I can't help but think that there is more behind his plans."
He activate his infocom and established a procon connection with Luke and Leia's apartment. The holographic image of Luke Skywalker popped up on the display almost immediately.
"Luke, Lando Calrissian has returned to Irithim and paid me a visit?" Madine said.
"I heard about his arrival, sir. He has resigned from active duty. Another friend will leave us," Luke answered.
"Yes, but..," Madine hesitated, "Luke, Lando will probably pay you and Leia a visit too. To say goodbye. You might expect him this afternoon or so."
Luke had heard the hesitation in Madine's voice.
"Is something wrong? I sense you're in doubt about Lando's visit."
"I am, Luke. He told me about his future plans, and I've gotten a strange feeling about his words. I don't want to doubt them, but what he said sounded so... odd, and impossible. I wanted you to know this, for I know Lando's reputation as a gambler and a con man. I can't get the vision out of my head, that he is up to something. Don't let him fool you, or Leia, with his odd plans."
Luke saw at the worried look in Madine's eyes.
"Thank you, for telling me, sir. If Lando shows up here, I will listen carefully to him. He won't fool me."
Madine laughed, "He certainly won't, Luke. Well enough about baron Calrissian. Tomorrow I have an appointment with Sorjon Tyloban, the prosecutor of the High Court. I think, I have gathered enough facts to have your case reopened. I would be obliged, if you could accompany me?"
"The obligation is at my side, sir. Thank you, for all your help and support. Surely I'll join you."
"You don't have to thank me, Luke. It's my pleasure. You and Leia deserve all the help you can get. See you tomorrow afternoon at four in the lobby of the High Court building."
Madine disconnected and stared for a couple of moments at the empty display.
In the apartment Luke was still in thoughts, staring at his infocom's display too. What would he do? Madine sounded worried, he surely doubted Lando's intentions. What was going on? What if Lando wasn't showing up ...? What were Lando's plans, the general had mentioned. Well he had better wait until the situation arises.
Despite his Jedi training Luke felt some uncertainty about the information Madine had given him. He turned off the infocom and intended to go to his private rooms, when the door alarm announced a visitor. Luke immediately felt the visitor's presence: General Lando Calrissian.
"General Calrissian?!" He said with a formal salute.
Lando start laughing, entered and walked straight to the living room.
"Don't act like a fool, Luke. Skip those stupid formalities. I'm here as a friend, I'm no longer one of your superior. Is Leia with you?" Lando said and looked around.
" No, she is paying a visit to some friends. I expect her to be home in about an hour or so."
" I'm glad to see you again, pal," Lando said and patted Luke's shoulder, "Heard you had a difficult time, I'm sorry about that. But as a matter of fact I've come to see you on a very delicate matter, Luke. Can I rely on your help?"
"Depends. What's it all about? Tell me the facts and I'll consider what help I can give."
Lando start laughing loudly.
"My goodness, Luke, why are you always so aloof. You're always so cautious, always waiting for further explanations and facts."
Luke smiled vaguely.
"A Jedi's habit, Lando."
Lando neglected Luke's remark and continued very conceited.
"Listen, Luke, would you mind, if I propose to Leia?"
Luke was flabbergasted.
"Leia is engaged to Han." He answered." I think you know that, don't you?"
With a big smile Lando shook his head.
"Luke, your sister WAS engaged to Han Solo. But Solo has left Irithim and shortly before he took off with the Falcon, he broke off their engagement, because he didn't want to share his life with a Jedi Knight. Nobody knows, where he is at the moment. And you're not telling me, that your beautiful sister is going to sit here and wait until that hotshot pilot is coming back."
For a moment Luke turned inward to tune in on the power of the Force to ease his mind. This couldn't possibly be true!
"Who told you this, Lando?" He asked, no showing his feelings.
"Never mind, Luke," Lando continued, "My dear friend, ever since I met Leia in Cloud City I've been in love with her. Now that Han has broken off their engagement, it's a great opportunity for me to express my love to your sister and propose to her. I really want to marry her, Luke, and I don't mind being married to a Jedi Knight. It will even heighten my personal image. Luke, you can't deny that Han Solo isn't a good choice as a husband for your sister. He is only a small smuggler. What did he achieved to make sure your sister who is used to a life as a princess, gets a proper living with him? His only possession is his ship and he gained it in a sabacc game. With pure luck! "
Luke didn't answer. He struggled to control his emotional feelings. Was this Lando's plan, the general had been talking about.
"Lando, you'd better talk to Leia, before I give you my opinion."
"Of course, but I wanted to be sure, that you had no real objections."
Lando leaned back. Everything seems to go as he had in mind. Leia would surely marry him, now that Han has left her. This time Han Solo was the loser and Luke, kind and polite Luke, still seemed to be the simple and naive farm boy from Tatooine. Must be so easy for a Jedi Knight to find out the real cause of certain events, and to find out, who really had caused the break between Han and Leia. Didn't Luke know that it had been Han who had told him everything about the twins and their illustrious father, after their return from Leathan. Han had been outraged when Wedge Antilles had told him, that Luke and Leia had gone to Dagobah to complete Leia's Jedi training. He, Lando, had immediately had seen the great opportunity to get rid of his rival. Already after the Battle of Endor he had witnessed Han's jealous behavior, because Leia had often expressed her affection for her brother.
Luke cautiously had intercepted Lando's thoughts. He watched Lando attentively but unnoticed. There weren't many people, who really understood the full magnitude of the great powers a Jedi Knight possessed and could use through the Force. He remembered that during their trial Han had mentioned Lando as the spokesman about their relation to Anakin to the members of the High Council. Of course he would protect Leia against Lando's ridiculous plan. This time Lando would be the one who was losing. He would tell Lando using his Force abilities, that he had to find the Millennium Falcon and convince Han to head back to Irithim.
The door slammed shut and Luke turned his head.
"Luke?!" Leia's voice came from the hall.
"I'm in the living, Leia. We have an unexpected visitor."
The separating wall slid open and Leia entered the room. Immediately Luke focused his thoughts on Leia. One moment Leia looked at him, then she looked at Lando. Lando rose and walked over. He smiled and kissed her hand.
"My dear Leia, what a pleasant surprise. Beautiful princess, the stars of our galaxy grow pale at your beauty."
Quickly Leia withdrew her hand. She neglected Lando's flattering words. She gestured him back to his seat and sat next to her brother. Stiffly she said, "I never expected you to come back on Irithim, Baron Calrissian, after you've have betrayed our friendship. Why did you come to visit us? Curious about what happened to me and my brother?"
Stunned Lando looked at Leia after these hard words. He stepped back. Was this depressed looking woman really Leia Organa, the princess of Alderaan? Those melancholic eyes, those sad lines around her mouth. Where was the mocking look in her eyes, her dignity, her self-assurance. Suddenly Lando realize, that not Han Solo, but he had lost the gamble. Han might be gone, but Leia would wait for him. She loved Han and that love would never faded.
"Well, Baron." Leia said calmly. "Are you going to tell me the reason of your visit?"
Luke smiled. Again he had intercepted Lando's thoughts, but Leia's remarks made clear, that she too was fully aware of Lando's intentions.
Lando hesitated no longer. The game was over! He had lost all his trumps. Maybe he had a small chance to limit his loss. Leia Organa would never marry him, but he had to keep her friendship.
" I'll tell you the reason, my beautiful princess, but, please, don't get angry with me. Everything I have done, I did because I love you. I've always lived with the hope, that you and I could be more than friends, but you made it clear to me now, that Han will always come first."
"That's right, Baron Calrissian. I never expected that you, I considered as a friend, would betray Luke and me, for it has been you who informed the members of the High Council about our descent, hasn't it? How could you! " Leia said with repugnance.
She looked up at her brother who surrounded her with his compassion and protection.
"Princess, I know when I have lost a game, but that's the risk a gambler has to take."
"GAME! RISK!" Leia shot furiously at him. " What are you suggesting, Baron? Are you saying you've deliberately ruined the friendship between Han and me, that you've deliberately put our future at stake in one of your disgusting games?! And you've never asked Han and me, if your bid wasn't too high?!"
Lando tried to produce a charming smile.
"Leia, please, forgive me."
"Forgive you, Baron? You're immoral. You're a heartless scoundrel. Thanks to you Mon Mothma heard about our descent and had to act as she has done. How do you dare to ask me to forgive you, after what you did to Han, to my brother and to me? You have informed the members of the High Council and set up Han against us, so you could profit of the situation. Get out of here, Baron Calrissian, immediately. I don't want to talk to you any more. Ever!"
"Leia, listen I wasn't the one who..."
With a smooth movement Leia raised her arm and said in a calm quiet voice.
'You will find Han and tell him the truth.'
Luke tightened his grip around Leia's shoulders. He reassured her.
"I will find Han and tell him the truth."
'You will tell Han to go back to Irithim'
"I will tell Han to go back to Irithim."
'You won't show up here again until you've found the Millennium Falcon.'
"I won't show up here again until I've found the Millennium Falcon."
Lando walked to the door.
"I let you know, Leia, as soon as I hear from Han. Will you forgive me then? And remember, Leia, I love you. I always will."
The door slammed shut. Leia looked up at Luke upset and uncertain. She pressed her face against his tunic and whispered "How could he think I would marry him? How could he do this? I thought he was our friend."
Luke stroke her hair and surrounded her with his love.
"Lando is a gambler, Leia, he always will be. He always wants to con Han. But I'm so proud of you. You really are my Jedi twin sister," Luke whispered softly in her ear.
Leia looked up.
"I know he's con man, Luke. This might not be a good use of the Force, but I felt so offended after his blunt confession."
She buried her face against his tunic.
"Luke, I wish Han would be back," she whispered. "I miss him so much."
"Master, can you hear us" a whispered voice said.
"Do you have any news?" The cloaked figure answered. "Keep it short. I don't want those rebels to intercept our connection. Can you talk freely?"
"We've found shelter in a sparsely inhabited district of Mas'onom. It's in the outskirts near the local space port. The area is mainly occupied by space traders. We're safe here for the time being. We've established some secret connections with some guards in the detention building in Irithim. After we handed them some money they agreed to keep us informed about what's going to happen to the girl."
"Well done. Any news about her?"
"Her detention has been extended indefinitely, but she is treated as a normal prisoner."
"So, she isn't heavily guarded. You have bribed her guards, you said?"
"Yes, master, but possibly we can do more. We've heard rumors that a group of dissatisfied politicians under the leadership of a senator from Ortel, a former Imperial sympathizer and an admirer of Darth Vader and emperor Palpatine, wants to overthrow the Supreme Chancellor's administration and establish a new government on Coruscant again. If we could tell him about the girl and give him information about her upbringing and the knowledge she has gained from Darth Vader, he might involve her in his plans. If he would take her with him after his coup, we might arrange a secret rendez-vous with him to hand her over to us once he has arrived on Coruscant or somewhere else."
"Excellent. Proceed and tell that senator that we will support his putsch financially, if he needs any money."
"Yes master. We will asked the guards to arrange a secret meeting with the senator and tell him about your proposal. We think he will be interested your support. We contact you again when we have made progress."
"Good. As soon as the girl has arrived on Coruscant you will take the necessary steps to transport her to the Outer Rim, and eliminate that senator and his followers."
The holographic image of the seated figure clad in the long dark robe vanished. The two humanoids switched off the holocom and looked at each other. They grinned.
"He has agreed. Let's carry on."
The following day Luke put on his uniform of the federal elite corps, wearing the distinctive of his new rank. He met general Madine at the appointed time. Madine walked up to his "protégé" with a big smile.
"Good afternoon, colonel Skywalker."
Madine's voice rumbled so loudly, that all people in the hall looked up from their desks. Luke saluted and Madine answered in the same formal way.
"Are you ready, colonel!"
"Ready to proceed, general!" Luke answered with a same big smile.
"Let's go forward!"
They walked up to the elevators, which brought them high up in the building to the prosecutor's chamber. Sorjon Tyloban welcomed his guests.
"Welcome, colonel Skywalker, my friend Crix Madine informed me you would accompany him. I see you're already accustomed to you new rank. It's good to meet you under different circumstances. Come in, come in. "
"This visit finds its origin in our former official previous meeting, your honor." Luke answered.
Madine grinned. Luke might have the look of an unsophisticated young man to others, but his Jedi training had given him quite a lot of experience and insight to cope with all kinds of situations.
"Crix," Sorjon Tyloban said. "Did you bring the required data I asked for?"
Madine handed Sorjon Tyloban a datapad.
"All you need to destroy that ridiculous verdict is in here. Take your time to study everything carefully, Sorjon. I'm quite sure you'll find enough evidence to support my request to nullify this judicial error."
Luke had been looking around the room. His eyes caught a hologram of the prosecutor in the Alliance's uniform. Tyloban saw his astounded face.
" I was a lieutenant-colonel in our intelligence force. We've never met during the war, colonel, but I also fought in the Alliance, like most of people in the New Republic's administration. "
" As Leia and I have done," Luke said calmly. " We've always believed, and still believe, in the ideals of the Alliance."
" That sounds like you don't agree with the verdict of the High Court?"
Tyloban looked sharply at the young Jedi Knight. Luke shook his head.
"No, your honor, justice had to be done. Leia and I agree with the words of the judge of the High Court; we should have told Mon Mothma and her advisor about our ancestry at an earlier time."
Tyloban turned back to Madine.
" Crix, I'll take this extra material to the High Council and the Supreme Leader. Let's hope they will start the procedure to reopen the case."
" How long will that take?"
" Can't tell you exactly, but two to three years is normal."
" You're joking, Sorjon! Three years?!" Madine asked surprised.
Luke felt disappointed. Two years at the earliest.
" Your honor, is it possible to get a quicker rehabilitation for my sister?" He asked hiding his regrets.
Sorjon Tyloban shook his head.
" No, colonel, I'm sorry. The High Court sentenced you both."
Luke sighed deeply. Another three years of waiting. It sounded so unfair.
" Colonel, may I ask you a question?"
Tyloban had sensed his visitors' disappointment and sought a way to change the subject of their conversation.
" Certainly, your honor," Luke answered politely, regaining his composure.
" I hope, colonel, you will forgive me for my inquisitiveness, but why did you refuge to tell the members of High Court what happened to the remains of your father, Darth Vader?"
" Your honor, I want to remember my father as Anakin Skywalker, the man who saved my life when the Emperor attacked me with Force Lighting, the most devastating power of the Dark Side. At the moment he killed the evil darkness embodied in Emperor Palpatine, he became again the Jedi Knight, he truly was. After twenty years serving the Force as a Sith Lord, my father finally remembered he once had been a part of the Good Side of the Force, a Jedi Knight. He paid with his life. He died before I could bring him to one of our medical frigates and became on with the Force. He only left the life support armor in which he had been trapped for more than twenty years. I burned that dark armor on a secret place to finally free his spirit, so he could live on in the Force, as Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight and the father of Leia and me. No one in our galaxy can hold him accountable for the evil he has represented. I'm aware that the members of the High Council and the Supreme Chancellor hold me and my sister accountable for his deeds, for we are his offspring."
"None of the members of the High Council hold you and Leia accountable for what your father has done." Madine said sharply.
"Some of them do, general, to many we are the children of Darth Vader, not Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, the son and daughter of Anakin Skywalker. We're both Jedi, like our father before us. We're servants of the Force and obliged to proof our loyalty again to the New Republic, if that's necessary to forgive our father deeds. However, I have an urgent request to High Council and our Supreme Chancellor; don't blame my sister for what Anakin Skywalker has done in the past. She never knew the truth about our birth. I told her on Endor that Darth Vader was our father. I had to, because if I would have failed my mission to bring him back to the Good Side, my sister would have been the last hope for the Alliance. She had to know she was a Skywalker too and my twin sister."
Luke stopped and watched both men. Silently Sorjan Tyloban nodded, "Thank you, colonel, for having entrusted me with your point of view."
"There's another question that's puzzling you, isn't it, your honor?" Luke said.
The prosector looked surprised.
" Yes indeed, but how do you know?"
"A Jedi can see through people, your honor. You were thinking about our female prisoner from Morantan. You were wondering, if she is related to me and my sister, because the rumors go that she also is a close relative of Darth Vader, like we are?" Luke said and continued, "She's still a mystery for me too, your honor. Princess Liane is five maybe six years younger than we are. If she is related to Leia and me, she only can be our foster sister, for our mother died at on Polis Massa shortly after she had given birth to us. It's unlikely that our father re-married, given the circumstances after his last fight with general Kenobi on Mustafar. He was kept alive in a life supporting suit, he couldn't live a normal life anymore. In my opinion, she can't be his real daughter. Possibly Anakin has sensed her enormous Force powers and took her as his apprentice to bring her up her at the Dark Side. She is able to use some Sith knowledge, but I've also sensed a lot fear for the power of the Force in her. At first I thought she was particularly afraid of me, because my father seemed to have warned her against me, but during my first encounter with her I felt that, underneath her agressive outbursts, her mind was disquieted with a tremendous amount of anxious emotions of rejection and uncertainty about the way she's using her Force power. "
" Is she a danger to the New Republic, colonel?"
" No, she's not a real danger yet, your honor. At the moment she is mainly using her dark training to mask her fears and uncertainty about the use of her powers, but her insufficient knowledge makes her vulnerable and an easy victim to be seduced to the Dark Side of the Force. Her uncertainty about her Force use, also makes her pliable. If she would fall in the hands of a Sith master, like emperor Palpatine, he might sense and exploit her powers and the knowledge she has gained and turn her into a Dark Lady! On the other hand I might bring her to the Good Side of the Force, if I would win her confidence and she would learn to trust me."
In a flash the Force showed him the young woman in her cell. She was crying. With deep compassion Luke used his skills as Jedi Knight, to reach her and give her comfort. He pitied her and wished he could find a way to help her.
" Colonel Skywalker, I will do my utmost to get your case reopened. Your own story and your awards in these files proof enough. You and your sister have to be patience, but you both will get your rehabilitation in the future. For the time being I give you permission to visit our prisoner from Morantan and support her your way. I will inform the commander of the detention building about your assignment. At the moment, I can't reinstate you in your rank as commodore of Gold Squadron, or allow you to make use of the special mandate you had to look for and train new Jedi Knights, but I hope you are convinced of my good will. You have my explicit permission to use your private space shuttle; I'll lift you flight ban. I will seek a similar kind of temporary reinstatement possibility for your sister. I'll let you know, what can be done for her."
Luke's eyes brightened happily.
"Thank you, your honor. This is quite unexpected. Thank you for your permission to visit princess Liane and for lifting my flight ban. I will tell my sister you will seek a way to find some reinstatement function for her too," He said with cheerful smile, " If you don't need me any longer I would like to leave and tell Leia this good news."
"You may leave, colonel." Sorjon Tyloban said with a smile.
" Can I pay you a visit tonight, Luke? I want to discuss what can be done to find Han Solo," Madine asked suddenly.
" Sure, we're home and you're always welcome."
Luke saluted and left the room. He felt a great relief, but also disappointment. He had gotten a permission to fly again, but he hadn't got his rank and special mandate back. He could visit Liane and help her, but he couldn't continue with the training of new Jedi Knights. This was a hard time and it remembered him of his youth at his uncle's farm. Suddenly Luke felt a tremor in the Force and he heard Ben's reassuring voice.
'Relax, son. Be patience. In time you will get back your rank and task as Jedi Master.'
Luke drove home, calmed by Ben's advice. He knew he had to accept the situation, but it was difficult, because he felt his sister was involved unnecessarily.
When he entered his apartment Leia was standing on the terrace. She was wearing her Jedi clothes, but despite the wide cloak, she looked fragile and sad. Luke took in his arms and kissed her.
" You're alright?" he asked concerned.
" Did Madine achieve anything?" she asked eagerly.
" A bit. The prosecutor will study our files, but the reopening of our case may take two to three years. This is all so unfair, Leia."
"Did Sorjon Tyloban say anything else?"
Luke looked in Leia's eyes and he started smiling.
" Yes, he asked me about father's funeral and about our relationship with Liane. He has granted me full permission to help her. Oh, and I may fly again. He has lifted my flight ban. And he also promised he would do his utmost to find a temporary rehabilitation for you."
" And you said, nothing has happened. " Leia said and pulled her brother to the couches. Briefly her face showed a happy smile. "This is good news, my dear brother. Now you can go back to Dagobah."
"To Dagobah, Leia? I'm not allowed to train new Jedi Knights? I haven't got the special mandate back," Luke said and looked at her excited face.
"Not to train another Jedi Knight, Luke, but to study master Yoda's writings! You've told me that master Yoda has left them to you. You've been already to Dagobah several times to study them, haven't you?"
"Yes, I would love to find enough time to read and study his archive. I want to learn the rules of our old language: Jediese. If I could master the language I could revive it among future Jedi Knights."
"Exactly! Now that your flight ban has been lifted, you can go to Dagobah to resume your studies. Maybe it's an even better idea to bring master Yoda's archive to the temporary Jedi Archive on Na'ctaMagh'Ba. Go to Dagobah, Luke, collect all those valuable writings before they deteriorate and perish due to the moist conditions on Dagobah. Take them with you and bring them to Dalmaran. It is a better place to safe ancient Jedi writings."
Surprised Luke had listened to his sister's exuberant talking. Suddenly he started laughing.
"My dear sister, how long have you been thinking about this plan?"
"Ever since you've have shown me master Yoda's ancient scrolls. I think, master Yoda would be pleased, if you bring his writings to a safer place."
Luke grabbed Leia's hands and held them tight.
"You're marvelous. It's a splendid idea. Moreover the accommodation on Na'ctaMagh'Ba is a much more comfortable place to study, but I need the general's permission to leave the elite ground forces for awhile; I'm still on active duty. You're coming with me, aren't you"
Leia shook her head.
"No, I want to stay in Irithim. If Lando would find Han and could persuade him to return to Irithim, I want to be here, Luke."
"Besides one of us has to help Liane to find her way to Good Side of the Force."Leia continued, "Maybe, Sorjan Tyloban would allow me to fulfill that task as the temporary reinstatement function he had in mind. It could be even better if another woman seeks a way to win the princes' confidence. You're still her enemy, remember.
" That will be a difficult task, Leia."
" My dear Jedi brother." Leia said teasingly. "I'm a Jedi Knight, like you. Don't worry about Liane, I will take care of her. You'd better stick to your study, now you have the opportunity. Will you take Artoo with if you go?"
" I don't think so. The access path to the underground Jedi Archinve isn't fit for him. I should have to leave him at Mas'onom space port all the time. No, the droids stay with you, Leia. We'll discuss the way you can help princess Liane, after I'm sure I have the general's permission."
The door alarm interrupted their conversation. Leia opened the door and came back with general Madine. He put a large container with Corellian wine and other delicacies on the table.
"I brought some Correlian specialties because I wanted to make a contribution to your invitation, Luke. "
"You didn't tell me, dear brother, we were expecting a visitor," Leia said with a teasing smile.
Luke look embarrassed.
"I'm sorry, Leia. I forgot to tell you, I invited the general. General, I apologize. Would you joins for dinner."
"My fault as well, general, " Leia interrupted, " I was so eager to hear what has been decided. I'll instruct Threepio and Artoo to make dinner for three. Threepio will be delighted to show his skills as a butler. "
Surprised Madine raised his eyebrows.
" Your droids can cook? That's a great advantage, saves you a lot of work."
" It does indeed, general. I only have to do some minor preparations. Luke has programmed Threepio and Artoo to prepare our complete meals," Leia said looking a her brother with a warm smile.
" Sometimes it's very advantageous that I learned to program moisture vaporators as a moisture farmer," Luke commented.
Leia looked at the container on the table.
" Can I take some of these ingredients, general."
" Most certainly, your Highness."
Luke invited Madine to the couches on the broad terrace which had a splendid view on nightly Irithim.
" Can I get you a drink, sir."
" Open one of those bottles, Luke. I'm sure you'll like this wine."
Luke filled three glasses and offered one to general Madine. After a few minutes Leia joined them.
" Dinner time is delayed, but Threepio assured me he will be ready within an hour." She said while she took her seat.
"Your Highness, did Luke tell you that Lando Calrissian has visited me? He has resigned and is leaving Dalmaran to become a wealthy casino owner on Tambrin. At least that's what he told me. Perhaps we could ask him, if he could get information about the whereabouts of our mutual friend Han Solo," Madine asked cautiously.
For a moment Leia's face got a grave expression, but then she regained her composure and answered politely, "He has paid us an unexpected visit, general. Not to say goodbye, and he didn't mention he resignation, nor did he tell us about his new profession, but he has promised me to seek the Millennium Falcon and tell Han I want him to come back to Irithim. "
Madine looked at Leia with a frown, "He didn't tell you about his real plans?"
"His real plans? He told me that he has fallen in love with me and he has asked me to marry him. I've rejected his indecent proposal."
The general shook his head, "I feared that there was more behind his plans and his unexpected return. He must have gotten information somewhere that Han Solo wasn't on Irithim any more. Luke, didn't you tell me that during your trial Han told you that Lando probably was the source of the gossip about your ancestry to the members of the High Council?."
"Before he left, he denied being involved, sir. I sensed his denial was meant honestly."
"Of course he could deny being involved, for his words reach the members of the High Council indirectly."
Luke and Leia put down their glasses and looked astonished at their visitor.
"What do you mean, sir? If Lando didn't tell ..." Leia asked in wonder.
"Your Highness, next to my effort to find the whereabouts of the Millennium Falcon, I see it as my obligation to find out how Mon Mothma and her advisors got the information about your ancestry. Indeed it wasn't Lando Calrissian who told her, but some officers overheard him in the officer's mess at the base, while he and his crew were celebrating the victory near Leathan, where Lando, Han Solo and the Wookiee supported our space force. I'm sorry to say it, but there are officers who envy you, Leia, and especially your brother who had gotten a special mandate to use his time to rebuild the Jedi Order. After the end of the Civil War you and your brother have been honored as the heroes of the Civil war, and you also belong or have direct access to the high echelons of new administration of the New Republic at a very young age: you as a senator and your brother as a Jedi Master. Those officers are jealous about the prerogatives you both have. They have brought Lando's words higher up in the New Republic's administration, until the members of the High Council heard the rumors and asked Mon Mothma to start an investigation to find out the truth about your descent."
Luke shook his head in disbelief.
"First of all, general, I'm not a Jedi Master, I'm a Jedi Knight, or as Ben and master Yoda told me: the first Jedi Knight of a new generation of Jedi Knights. I never thought that Leia and I could have any enemies."
"Well, you know it now." Madine said with a sigh. "I'd wish it would not have happened to you, but it seems unavoidable. I'm still doing some investigations to find the names of the ones who have spread the gossip and slander. Maybe you can sue them, because they brought the rumors to Mon Mothma without evidence."
"Leia and I aren't seeking revenge. Somehow the truth would have been told anyway. Maybe it's good it's known that we are the offspring of... Darth Vader, a...Sith lord."
Madine heard the hesitation in Luke's voice when he referred to the former dark enemy of the Alliance.
"It mustn't be easy to carry that burden, Luke, but I'm sure you and Leia will find a way to cope with it. "
"We do, general. As Jedi Knights we never deny the facts of our past. For us our father, Darth Vader, once was Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight who was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force by emperor Palpatine. I will never defend his reign of terror. He was wrong; but I've always felt the good in him; the emperor hadn't gained full power over him. "
" I heard your hesitation, Luke, when you mentioned the name under which he is known to many of us. Even for me it difficult to accept that he wasn't all evil as you said."
For a moment they all sat in down in thought. Finally Leia looked up and said, "General, although Lando has gotten the information from Han who in his anger told him about our ancestry, because I had gone to Dagobah to complete my Jedi training, I still wonder why Lando talked to his crew members in the officer's mess, about what he heard from Han?"
She looked at her brother.
"That's obvious, Leia," Luke said thoughtfully, "He needed to discredit us, so that Han would be called as a witness to confirm the accusations against us. Han knew who was our father, we have told him ourselves, shortly after the Battle of Endor, and later we once again told him the whole story of Anakin's fall to the Dark Side. If Han would turn himself against us, he would break off his engagement with you, and Lando had the opportunity to carry out his own plan: his marriage proposal to you. Lando conned Han, as I said after Lando's visit. I'm glad, you send him off the way you did, telling him to look for Han and tell him to come back."
"Lando couldn't be sure, that Han would resign and leave Irithim," Leia objected.
"Lando and Han come along way together, Leia. They always have conned each other. Han has won the Millennium Falcon from Lando in a game of sabacc, and although Han always says, that he won the game fair and square, I'm not so sure about those words. Both are scoundrels, Leia, but a pair of scoundrels with a good heart, and they are good friends," Luke said, sipping from the wine, before he continued, "It has created an odd situation which I should have been aware of in advance."
"How could you, Luke. Stop blaming yourself for what happened," Leia said gently and smiled at her brother, "And now, we should stop talking about Lando Calrissian. General, you have gained a lot of success in your search for the truth. Luke told me that Mon Mothma's prosecutor has lifted my brother's flight ban, and that he is allowed to look for possibilities to gain the confidence of our female prisoner from Morantan."
"That's indeed good news, but it's a bit ridiculous that you both have to wait two to three years for an official alteration of some misinterpreted information and get your rehabilitation. You must be very disappointed, aren't you?"
" We'll have to accept the facts, general. The delay offers a great opportunity for my brother." Leia said.
" I don't understand. Are you telling me you accept you have to wait for two or three years? You're both much too active to sit here and be idle."
"Every drawback has its advantages, sir, when you can look at it from different points of view. The outcome of our trial also has a positive impact." Luke remarked.
Threepio interrupted Luke's explanation saying that dinner could be served. Madine rose and offered Leia his arm. Leia lead the way to their cosy dining room. Madine was astonished when he saw the brilliant set table.
" It seems, Threepio, you're enjoying your post as a servant." He commented.
" I most certainly do, sir. I'm very glad that master Luke and mistress Leia have to spend so much time at home at the moment. I've always wanted to get a quiet post like this. Adventures are not my way of life. Shall I call Artoo, mistress Leia." the fastidious droid said with a bow.
The three humans laughed heartily while they took their seat.
" Threepio has a very direct way to express his points of view," Luke said with a laugh.
" Luke, you just said, that the outcome of your trial also has a positive side. In which way?" Madine asked.
" It gives us the possibility to gain more Force knowledge, sir. Leia and I have spent a lot of time discussing the ways of the Force these days. It's lucky we both are Jedi Knights. There's a lot to learn for both of us. Just before you entered, my sister, has inspired me with a new plan, but I need your cooperation. "
" What kind of plan, Luke, tell me." Madine said interested.
" After the end of the Civil War Leia and I have been busy for almost a year to secure a huge collection of datacrons, containing the contents of the whole former Jedi Archive from the rubble of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. You have probably heard of our search, haven't you?"
" I heard of it sideways. Go on, Luke. You tickle my curiosity. "
" We've brought these datacrons to a safe place on Dalmaran. The digital copies contain a tremendous amount of old Jedi knowledge of how the Force can be used. I have been able to go through some of the content, but there's still a lot more to learn. After I had told Leia I'm allowed to fly the Astræga again, she came up with a plan to secure my old master's writings which are still in his former home on Dagobah. It would be better to store master Yoda's writing at that same safe place on Dalmaran."
" Where is that safe place?" Madine asked.
" On Na'ctaMagh'Ba, the prohibited Dalmaranian continent. In a dry cave under a mountain ridge we have set up a temporary Jedi Archive."
"You need authorization of the Dalmaranian government to access their territory." Madine said.
"Mon Mothma has arranged a permanent access to the continent for us and any future Jedi Knights, but that was before we lost our former assignments and mandates. There is also another obstacle. You've made me a lieutenant-colonel in your elite ground forces, sir, and I'm still on active duty."
" Tell me more about those ancient writings your Jedi Master has left you." Madine said neglecting Luke's last remark. " You have been studying them, haven't you, Luke?"
" Only a minor part, sir. Master Yoda's writings are in Jediese, the old language of the Jedi. Master Yoda didn't have time to teach me the language, for my Jedi training was done under great strain. So far I had little opportunity to study his writings. Mastering the details of the Jedi language requires a long and intensive study and a full commitment to the job. I only can go to Dagobah and continue my study, if you would accept my resignation, sir?"
" Sounds interesting. Reviving the Jedi Order is very important to all of us and to the New Republic, Luke, you do realize that, don't you? We still have many adversaries, and the more knowledge about the Jedi you gain, the better it will be for the future of the New Republic."
" I know, sir. I hope you will accept my resignation. When I come back I will apply for active duty again."
" That would leave you without an allowance for the time you're away. No, I have a better plan. You're not resigning, but I will send you - let's call it - on a long mission to Dagobah. Alone or together. How's that?"
Luke's cheeks flushed slightly.
" Thank you very much, sir. That's a very generous offer."
" You're welcome, Luke. Make sure you master that old Jedi language. You'll never know, when it'll be needed. The New Republic only can rely on you for the old Jedi knowledge. Are you accompanying your brother, your Highness?"
" No. If Master Tyloban agrees, I want to take over Luke's task to win the confidence of princess Liane and take care of her. That is to say, if the prosecutor would allow me to see that task as my temporary reinstatement function. It would give me something useful to do, while I am staying behind in Irithim."
Madine watched Leia for a moment.
"I will talk about your suggestion with Sorjon Tyloban. I will keep an eye on you while your brother is away, your Highness. I'll expect you to keep me company as the base as often as possible and I want you to have diner with me every evening, and this is an official order."
Luke and Leia started laughing.
" In the past I would counter order, general, but now I'll accept your offer wholeheartedly." Leia said with a thankful smile. " Threepio and Artoo are also staying with me."
After they had finished their dinner, Leia invited the general to stay for a while, which he accepted gladly.
Madine had no relatives and most of his time he spent at the base. He owned a luxurious apartment on top of one of the high rise buildings in the center of Irithim which he mainly used for sleeping. Always on his own he loved to spend his free time among his men in the officer's mess at the base or with some close friends who gladly invited the amiable bachelor. He had a fine sense of humor and was an ardent story teller who could draw on many adventures.
The night was far advanced before Madine got up to go to his apartment. Luke and Leia accompanied him to the door. They shook hands. Madine turned to Luke.
" Thanks for the invitation, Luke. Oh, and don't worry about the authorization you need to access Na'ctaMagh'Ba again. I'll talk to master Tyloban about it."
" It was all our pleasure, sir. Thank you for your offer. "
Madine turned to Leia.
" Your Highness, don't forget what you promised me. Let me know when your brother is leaving."
Leia smiled happily.
" I won't forget, general."
A week later Luke Skywalker left Irithim at De'olon space port in his private shuttle Astræga. At the spaceport he tenderly kissed Leia goodbye. His sister watched until the tiny spacecraft had disappeared. General Madine, who had accompanied them, invited Leia to assist him with his work at the base after they would have enjoyed an extensive lunch.
Later that night Madine accompanied her to her apartment. Back in her apartment Leia felt lonely without her brother. She missed his company, but most of all she missed Han. For the first time since her return to Dalmaran as a fully trained Jedi Knight she was on her own. There was no one to turn to and no one to seek comfort from. She only could rely on the Force and seek support from the ancient Jedi knowledge Luke had taught her.