e understand your concern, admiral, and we apologize for this late update about the situation on Ortel and what has happened on the planet. Our forces have already returned, but the disembarking of our wounded men and the final report of the events took several days," the holographic image of a woman said, "My government appreciates it and wants to express her gratitude, that you have made contact with us on this matter at a very early stage, weeks before we were preparing our ground assault on Ortel to rescue the hostages. Your government has provided our intelligence force access to all the necessary files and information about senator Zolgathrii, much of that intel info was unknown to us. The intel contained very valuable information about the group of senator Zolgathrii's supporters and we have taken steps against those who are living on Dalmaran. Extremely valuable was the detailed map of the senator's manor Dokanta. The floor plan has enabled our ground assault force to enter the senator's manor much easier. We want you to know that all the hostages have been rescued and have returned safely to Irithim."
The woman looked at the three leaders of the Provisional Coruscant Council with grateful expression on her face.
With some hesitation in his voice Kalip Ru'undo raised a first question, "Ma'am, is there any change that that the daughter of Darth Vader and senator Zolgathrii will turn up on Coruscant in the future,"
Valann had another even more urgent question, "Ma'am, if you please, can you tell us first, what has happened to the senator and the daughter of Darth Vader? Are they ...?
The holographic image of the woman nodded comprehensively.
"We share your worries about these two persons, but, please, let me explain in short the outcome of our actions on Ortel and what the further actions on this matter will be. You won't have to worry about an expected and unwanted visit of senator Zolgathrii. He is dead. The daughter of Darth Vader, Liane Solichor, has shot him, during the rescue of the hostages," the woman said, smiling as she heard the surprised, but withheld exclamations of the three leaders on Coruscant and saw their relieved faces.
"She shot him? Are you sure, Ma'am?" Kalip asked in disbelieve.
"Absolutely. Jedi master Luke Skywalker and Jedi Knight Leia Organa have confirmed how Liane Solichor shot the senator and why she did. In this short holo meeting I can't explain in full what has happened on Ortel and what her role has been in the events. You may expect a full holo vid report about the Ortel assault and its outcome shortly, but we assure you that the daughter of Darth Vader isn't as dangerous as we all have assumed in the beginning, including me and my advisors. "
"Ma'am, does that mean that your government won't held her accountable for the insurgence and the planned coup. Will your government pardon her for what she has done?"
"The High Court of the New Republic will decide about her part in the coup and some other matters. It's beyond my powers to judge her actions," the holographic image answered.
"Why has Jedi Knight Skywalker changed his opinion about the daughter of Darth Vader in her favor?" Jerno asked.
"Both our Jedi Knights managed to get better acquainted with Liane Solichor. They hope that their friendship will convince her that her training under our former enemy, is the wrong way to use the Force."
"Ma'am, Darth Vader, her father, was a Sith lord. He taught her the knowledge of the Sith, so I presume that she brings that knowledge into practise; that she is a Sith herself," Kalip concluded.
"Colonel, in itself your conclusion isn't wrong, but in practise all this turns out to be much more complicated and has many nuances, at least that is how Jedi master Skywalker explained it to me. Yes, Liane Solichor certainly has knowledge of the Dark Side of the Force, but the knowledge she has mastered under her father, doesn't make her a real Sith. At least not yet as master Skywalker told me. I'm sure he will convince her that the knowledge she has gained from her father belongs to the Dark Side of the Force."
"This all sounds incredible and hopeful, madam, but what if the woman doesn't cooperate and sticks to the former believes her father has taught her," Valann commented, sounding unconvinced.
"I fully agree with you, that there are uncertainties in our approach and especially in the approach our Jedi Knights have proposed, but we have great faith in their special Force insight. To reassure you; for the time being Liane Solichor will remain in close custody on Dalmaran, at least until there is a verdict of our High Court judges. We strongly suggest and hope, that you have faith in the way we will handle this matter. Don't be too much concerned about Darth Vader's daughter. We promise you, that concerning the case of Liane Solichor we will keep you fully informed."
"Thank you, ma'am, for your time and detailed explanation. It's a great relief, I think for both our governments, that the planned coup has been averted and that the instigator did not survive. Will you please send our well wishes to the hostages. We hope they will recover from their nasty experience," Jerno said with dignity.
"Thank you, admiral, for your concern. It has been a pleasure talking to my three very involved allies again. Under the leadership of your triarchy and your advisors the Coruscant government will do well and will be prosperous. Don't hesitate to make contact with my special advisor, if you have any questions about our agreement and other ways of cooperation. May the Force be with you."
The holographic image became blurred and vanished. The three leaders of the Provisional Coruscant Council looked at each other. Kalip sighed still feeling some concern, Valann looked relieved and Jerno seemed to be in thought. Finally he looked up.
"I certainly didn't expect that she would inform us personally. I expected that her advisor would bring us up to date. It's good to know that they take full responsibility. There is good hope that the approach the two Jedi Knights have proposed will secure the safety of our galaxy, the peace process and a strong cooperation between our two governments."
As soon as the Tychorion had returned to Irithim, General Madine had handed a first report about the assault on Dokanta, the death of senator Zolgathrii and the interrogation of Liane Solichor to the members of the High Council and the Supreme Chancellor. Mon Mothma and prosecutor Sorjon Tyloban instructed a special investigation committee to gather all the evidence of the assault on Ortel. The members spent many hours to question Luke and Leia, as well as the commanding general Madine and the captains Roxahm Polta and Daino Phylotar who had interrogated Liane Solichor on board the Tychorion. Also several of Luke's men who had witnessed how Liane had attacked and shot senator Zolgathrii cooperated in the examination. Those eyewitness reports, statements and other evidence formed the main part of the investigation of the committee. After three months the results of their thorough work were laid down in a final report which formed the burden of proof in the case against Liane Solichor before her case would be brought before the High Court. During all those months Luke and Leia didn't hear anything from Liane.
On the first day of the trial the Skywalker twins were waiting in one of the anterooms of the court building. They were called as the main witnesses for the defense. Uninterested Luke kept scrolling through some holographic news facts on a public infocom in the room. Although the coming case against Liane attracted his full attention, her well-being was of more concern to him. He felt worried, because neither Leia, nor he had heard anything from her.
"Leia, I don't understand, why we haven't heard anything from her. At least, her lawyer could have sent us a message. Why hasn't he? Master Derlon knows we're her witnesses for defense. "
"I don't know, Luke. I've tried to contact him last week, but his office refused any information."
"I urged her to leave us a message, if she needed anything, if she wanted more help. I told her several times, that we would help her. She understood! I'm absolutely sure."
Leia heard the concern in his voice. She placed her hand on his shoulder.
"Aren't you a bit too much worrying about her, Luke?"
Luke turned and looked up. He switched off the infocom.
"She has to know, she can really trust us and see us as their friends, only than will I be able to tell her more about the Force and the skills she possesses, but I have a bad feeling about what's going on."
"She can't be your padawan yet, Luke. First of all we have to await the outcome of her trial," Leia said, looking at her brother.
"I'm not talking a Force training. I want to reduce the fear she feels for the Force, that's all."
The door opened and a guard summoned Luke to follow him. Quietly Luke walked to the witness stand, casting a glance at Liane as he passed her. He nodded at her and smiled reassuringly, but she showed no sign of recognition. Her eyes had an empty look and her face looked pale. With a completely vacant look in her eyes she sat behind the defendant's desk next to her lawyer, Master Derlon, one of Leia's old Alderaanian friends.
After Luke had taken the oath, the prosecutor, Sorjon Tyloban, was the first one to question him.
"Colonel Skywalker, during the New Republic's actions on Morantan the defendant seemed to have consciously committed an assault on your life, hasn't she?"
Luke shook his head.
"No, your honor, she had no real intention to kill me."
"It's said, that the defendant has aimed her laser blaster at you, colonel, during her attack, screaming the words, I quote: 'I never surrender to you! Never! Do you hear! My father warned me for you, Jedi! I will kill all of you, especially you, Jedi Skywalker! ' These words come from your own report."
"That's true, your honor, but I have also reported that, after I had arrested her, I found that her laser gun was set to the lowest possible stun setting. The confrontation with me must have been threatening to her, your honor, for she knew who I was. I'm convinced that her attack became a deed of self defense after I repelled the blasts she aimed at me. I spoke to her on board the Tychorion and she haa confirmed my suspicions. She had been carrying out her father's strict command. He had ordered her to stun me, take me prisoner and keep me in detention at the Morantan stronghold, until he would return."
For a moment Sorjon Tyloban looked intently at the young Jedi at the witness stand, before he proceeded.
"Thank you, colonel Skywalker. Now will you, please, tell this court exactly what has happened on Ortel, during the rescue of the hostages."
Luke gave a comprehensive overview of the rescue of his sister, emphasizing on the way Liane had help him and Leia to get safely out of the underground levels of the Ortel palace, after Zolgathrii and his men had blocked their escape route via the elevator. He especially emphasized on what had happened, after Zolgathrii had aimed his blaster at him and wounded him and how subsequently Liane had shot the senator afterwards.
"After she had shot senator Zolgathrii his men first were retreating, but as they realized that the senator was dead they surrendered," Luke said and continued with a smile. "Without her intervention we certainly would have faced more casualties."
Sorjon Tyloban nodded, but didn't comment on Luke's last remark. He had no further questions, neither had Liane's lawyer. The prosecutor thanked Luke and called for Leia.
Liane's lawyer asked her about her treatment during her kidnapping. Leia told the court that Liane had treated her as a guest of honor. She denied that Liane had kidnapped her, but told the members of the High Court that her Jedi skills had revealed Liane's incertitude about her escape. She had accompanied the girl of her own free will.
"I made the decision to follow Liane Solichor, after it became clear to me, that she wanted me to support and help her, if she might have misjudged her escape plan. She wasn't sure of what she was doing, your honor. That's the reason why I decided to go with her. I went to Ortel voluntarily, she didn't take me hostage," Leia explained.
Liane's lawyer thanked Leia for her testimony. Sorjon Tyloban, the prosecutor, wanted to know if Leia truly believed, that Liane wouldn't escape again or plan a second coup.
"Your honor, I am convinced that Liane Solichor never took the initiative for a coup. It was senator Zolgathrii who tempted her to agree with his plan, for he had promised her he would bring her back to Morantan. The only thing Liane Solichor wanted was to get her freedom," Leia said with emphasis on her last sentence.
"Thank you, Miss Skywalker, for your honest testimony. We now will hear the testimonies of general Crix Madine and the captains Roxahm Polta and Daino Phylotar who did the defendant's interrogations on board the Tychorion.
In succession Sorjon Tyloban questioned the three officers about what happened during Liane's interrogation. General Madine and Roxahm Polta admitted they regretted Liane's uncooperative behavior, but defended her right to remain silent. Daino Phylotar, however, accused Liane of using of the dark powers Darth Vader had taught her to manipulate and bribe her guards. He also emphasized on the hostages she and Zollgathrii had taken to put the New Republic's government under pressure.
"I have to object against these accusations, your honor. This witness hasn't any direct knowledge about the way my client has treated her guards, nor did she know anything in advance about the three other hostages who went to Ortel on the invitation of the late senator Zolgathrii," Liane's lawyer protested.
"Request sustained, Master Derlon. Captain, do you have personal evidence about your accusations?" the judge asked.
"Zolgathrii killed her guards, after they brought Miss Skywalker to a rear exit of the detention building."
"Did you witness the killing, captain?" Sorjon Tyloban asked annoyed.
"No, your honor, I'm referring to the report of the investigation which has been done after the late senator Zolgathrii and this Dark Princess of Morantan left Dalmaran. After reading those reports I can only conclude that this woman is very dangerous to New Republic. I was strengthened in my conviction, while I was interrogating her on board the Tychorion. I've clearly felt how she tried to manipulate me with those dark powers, more than once."
Luke went over to Liane's lawyer and whispered some words. The lawyer rose.
"Objection, your honor. Colonel Skywalker just informed me that my client didn't make any attempt to manipulate her interrogators in any way whatsoever. She remained silent. She didn't answer any of the captain's questions."
"Sustained. Captain Phylotar," The judge said sternly, "You have to stick to facts. You're under oath. You're supposed to tell the truth about what has happened, and not your personal impressions or feelings."
Daino Phylotar gritted his teeth and cast an angry glance at Luke Skywalker.
"Let me state it this way, your honor. I felt manipulated by her uncooperative attitude. I wanted her to tell us the full truth about her escape plan, and the possible the dangers we might face in the future. We lost quite a number of our men. I wanted our prisoner to give us the names of all our opponents, but she just looked at us with an defiant and cold look, as if she didn't respect us. During the interrogation sessions she refused to answer my questions. Her lack of cooperation made me furious."
"She had the right to remain silent, captain." The judge commented on Daino's testimony. "Does the defendant has any questions?"
"No further questions, your honor," Liane's lawyer answered.
Thank you, captain, you made be seated." The judge said.
During all the testimonies Liane sat with averted eyes behind the defendant's desk, looking down at her hands. When her lawyer addressed her, she seemed to nod imperceptible, but not one moment she looked up.
The trial was suspended and Luke immediately asked for permission to visit Liane. She had been brought to a cell in the court building. When Luke and Leia entered, she sat huddled on the plastisteel bench.
"Hello, Liane?" Leia said friendly.
As she heard her name, Liane looked up. Both Skywalkers looked concerned at each other, as they saw Liane's vacant stare and her pale face. Leia sat down next to Liane and put her arm around her.
"Liane, what's the matter with you? You look very pale. Are you ill?"
Liane stared at her visitors with an vacant gaze in her eyes.
"I hope Luke Skywalker will be pleased: I've tried to be patient all the time. I would like to tell Luke that I've tried not to get angry. He said he is my friend, but only if I'm patient and don't be angry anymore."
She was speaking these words monotonously. She shook her head and looked at the two Jedi again without showing a sign of recognition. Leia looked perplexed at her brother. Luke shook his head imperceptibly.
'I have noticed her strange behavior already in the court room, Leia. Haven't you?'He said, using Jedi telepathy.
'Perhaps less than you did, Luke. She seemed disinterested to me,'Leia responded, 'We have to find out what happened.'
Liane's eyes wandered over the clothing of the two Jedi Knights.
"Who are you? Are you the guards? Can you get me something to eat? I'm a bit hungry. I haven't eaten this morning. I felt too nervous to eat," She said.
Those words were spoken without any emotional feeling.
"Liane, what's wrong with you, don't you remember who we are?" Leia asked, but Liane shrugged.
"What do you think, Luke? She seems to be apathetic. Hasn't anyone noticed her lethargic behavior?"
Leia rose and walked over to her brother, noticing in his eyes the same deep concern she felt, as she suddenly softly whispered to him through the Force: 'Luke.... Oh, no ... could it be, that she has been drugged? This isn't the Liane I know. What has happened to her?'
Her voice was full of compassion. Luke walked over to Liane and sat down on the edge of the bench next to the huddled girl. Gently he laid his hand on Liane's arm. Liane looked up at him. As her eyes wandered over his face, Luke saw a tiny spark of recognition.
"You're not one of the guards, for I saw you in the courtroom, this morning. You promised to tell the truth, but you lied. You said I saved your life, but I have done only wrong things. I don't even know you."
All these words were only expressed in a soft murmur.
"Liane, I've told the judges, what happened on Morantan and on Ortel. On Ortel you helped Leia and me to get out of Zolgathrii's palace unharmed. Don't you remember the escape route in the maintenance shaft?"
Liane shook her head.
"Escape route? Maintenance shaft? Who are you? You're a military man, for the man behind the desk addressed you with your official rank. Your clothes doesn't look like a military uniform."
"Liane, don't you remember me: I am Luke Skywalker? What's the matter with you?"
"I'm waiting for Luke Skywalker to visit me. Do you know if he will come? It's such a long time when I last saw him. So many days have passed. So many days. I have to remain patient. Only then Luke Skywalker will come to visit me again."
Again Liane's voice turned into a monotonous whisper. Luke looked mystified. What has happened to the girl these last three months? Has her solitary detention let her sink away in an apathy, or had they drugged her to keep her under control? Haven't the guards of the detention building notice her apathetic behavior and informed the medics and the commander?
"I have to find out, if she has been drugged," He thought.
He laid his hands on Liane's shoulders and forced her to look at him.
'Look at me, Liane!' he said on a soft, but demanding tone.
An empty gaze met his. He remembered the bright shining, shy look in those eyes, after he had promised her to become her friend and give her all the help she needed.
'Liane, what have they done to you? Tell me!! No, look at me!!'
"I have promised Luke Skywalker to be patient and wait until he will get permission to visit me again. He trust me, that I won't get angry," Liane said barely audible. "I have to wait, and stay passive and patient. Luke Skywalker has offered me his friendship; he wants to help me, but he also wants me to be patient. He doesn't want me to become aggressive or angry. He said I have to learn and stay passive and be patient. If I become angry he won't visit me and help me. I've counted the days since I last talked to him. This morning I have counted one hundred twenty-seven. I have to be patient..."
She tried to look away, but Luke gently turned her him again and forced her to look at him.
'Where have you been, Liane?' He asked coercively.
"Where have I been? I have been locked up in my cell all the time. Alone. I have seen no one, except for an older man. He was friendly and kind to me and wanted to talk with me. I didn't dare to tell him that I have done many evil things. He was very patient with me, but he wasn't Luke Skywalker. I'm waiting for Luke Skywalker, but he only will visit me again, if he hears that I have been patient all this time. Do you know Luke Skywalker? He is a Jedi Knight, but he's not a dangerous man. He has been kind to me. Can you tell him, that I'm waiting to see him again."
Luke put both his hands gently around Liane's head, very carefully, for he didn't want to frighten her.
'Liane, I want to see and look into your eyes.'
He held her vacant glance, before he used his Jedi skills to penetrate her mind and concentrate on her train of thoughts. He had few trouble to understand what was going on in her mind and felt a growing compassion with her. Once again he gently penetrated her mind with his Jedi voice.
"Liane, will you please stop with all those silly thoughts. Liane, are you listening to me? I'm with you now. I'm here. I promised you to visit you, remember. It's me, Luke, your friend."
His quiet, compassionate Jedi voice penetrated deep into Liane's mind. She blinked a few times and all of a sudden her gaze changed. It looked like she was waking up from a long lasting frightening nightmare. Amazed and relieved she looked at Luke, "Luke! You have come! You're not angry with me. It was so difficult to keep my promise to be patient and passive, like you wanted."
"What made you think I would be angry with you, Liane?"
Slowly Liane began to realize what was happening. She heard Luke's voice, his calm comforting words: warm, tender, full of friendliness and compassion. His gentle words echoed in her mind. She felt his hands around her face. He was with her and he wasn't angry with her! Her apathetic mind could no longer control her thoughts; a wave of emotions swept over her. Her hands grabbed Luke's arm, seeking solace from the rough material of his Jedi cloak and his presence. Luke took her in his arms and pulled her to him.
"What's troubling you, Liane? Tell me?" He gently whispered in her ear.
Still feeling shaken about what was happening Liane told him all, she thought he expected of her. Bit by bit the image of a Liane, struggling with her old aggressive behavior and the promise to be patient and passive, rose in Luke's mind. Over and over she had been recalling his words about her impatience and aggressive behavior. More and more she had clung to the meaning of her last conversation with him in a tense line of thoughts.
During her stammered confession, Luke caressed her hair to comfort her.
"You have been misinterpreting my words, Liane. No one will blame you that you feel alone and miserable during this long period of detention."
"I didn't want to disappoint you. I wanted to heed your words," She said.
"You have been too hard on yourself, Liane. Why would I be disappointed? Why haven't you told your lawyer what's on your mind? He could have left me a message. I promised you, that I will help you, as much as I can?"
"I didn't want to bother him with my problem, Luke. I've never asked for help. On Morantan nobody ever helped me, even my father always told me I should find a solution for problems on my own."
"Liane, you're no longer on Morantan. You're on Dalmaran, at Irithim. You knew, I promise you I want to help you. Promise me, you will ask me for help from now on! I insist."
Liane looked into his eyes and a relieved smile skimmed past her face. Luke let her go her.
"Liane," He said gently. "Will you promise me, that from now on you will ask me immediately if you need help?"
"I'll try, Luke." Liane answered.
"No, Liane, I want you to say 'Yes, Luke, I promise you.'"
For a moment his persistent words seemed to frighten her a bit, but she composed herself.
"I don't seem to have a choice. Yes, I promise you."
She smiled again. Luke answered her smile, before he continued.
"Liane, you've frightened Leia and me!"
"Did I? Why? What do you mean, Luke?"
Luke pulled her to her feet, and took her to a mirror on the wall.
"Have a look at yourself, Liane. We thought you had fallen ill. Leia, maybe you should have a further chat with her and help her to become a little more like Liane who helped us to safely leave Zolgathrii's manor on Ortel."
In silent admiration Leia had watched her brother. She had sensed how his use of his strong penetrating Force power completely had also enwrapped Liane with warmth and compassion. He had lifted her from her lethargic attitude. Leia walked over and greeted the girl with warm feelings of pity and friendship. Luke left the cell, leaving his sister to have another friendly chat with Liane and take care of her.
After the resumption of the trial Luke and Leia found a seat in the courtroom from where Liane could see them. Every now and then Liane looked up and both Jedi felt how she reached out to them. Their presence clearly reassured her and she showed more interest in what the prosecutor and her lawyer were saying.
At the end of the first session day Luke and Leia contacted Liane's lawyer, Master Derlon. The Alderaanian lawyer admitted, that he had noticed Liane's secluded behavior, but he had kept in mind that several reports about his client had mentioned her lack of cooperation, so he had approached her very carefully.
"She always responded very withdrawn in my presence. It took me a lot of effort to win her confidence. In the beginning I have visited her more than once a day, so she would get used to me. Finally she told me about what had happened on Ortel, but I had to admit that she still is a mystery for me."
"It's a pity, you weren't allowed to talk to us at an earlier stage, master Derlon," Leia said. "My brother and I could have given you the information you needed and we would have known much earlier what was going on."
"Your Highness, I will ask the commander of the detention building if he has been informed about her apathetic behavior. I saw a complete different client this afternoon. I'm glad you were allowed to talk to her immediately, and I'm really sorry I couldn't inform you earlier."
"My brother and I will do everything to make her stay in prison as bearable as possible. What do you expect the verdict will be, master Derlon."
"Difficult to say, Your Highness. My client has committed a severe crime against the New Republic. I fear she will be sentenced for several years."
"How many?" Luke asked with tension in his voice.
"Difficult to say, master Skywalker. Probably five till ten years, but probably longer."
"Five till ten years! Master Derlon, we have to lodge an appeal, if they sentence her for such a long time."
"I'm afraid, master Skywalker, but an appeal isn't possible in these kind of trials of high treason. The only option is that the Supreme Chancellor will show her clemency. "
"She has helped us on Ortel!" Luke said. "With Zolgathrii's death she settled the outcome of our intervention on Ortel!!"
"Her intention was to overthrow the government of the New Republic, master Skywalker."
"She saw senator Zolgathrii's plan as a way to get back her freedom. He had promised her to bring her back to Morantan. Ten years! Will this be the way justice will done in the New Republic? "
"Master Skywalker, I will do my utmost to shorten Miss Solichor's imprisonment as much as possible. I'm sure this court will take into account, that in fact she has been a victim of Zolgathrii too."
Worried and ill at easy Luke and Leis left the court building. After Luke had brought his sister to their apartment, he went back to the detention building. He requested to see Liane and met her in the visitor's room. She still looked pale, but she smiled, when she saw him. They talked for an hour and a half and after Luke left her, he felt relieved, because he had been convinced that Liane would overcome her depressive, lethargic mood.
Three weeks went past. Every day Luke and Leia paid Liane a visit. Liane enjoyed the company of her new friends. She was amiable and friendly, and more than once she expressed the hope that the twins would help her to set up a new life after her imprisonment. However, Luke and Leia clearly felt, that the threat of an imprisonment scared the young woman. As time progressed and the day of the verdict approached, she became quieter and more nervous.
On the final day, Luke immediately walked over to her, when she was entering the court room accompanied by her guards.
"Within an hour we will know the verdict, Liane." He softly said and put his hand on her arm.
She nodded, but Luke sensed how scared and frightened she felt. One moment his gaze held hers.
'Leia and I are with you. We will help you. Remember, the Force will be with you. ' He said to her through the Force.
Liane blinked and a cautious smile appeared on her lips. One of the guards brought to her seat.
Luke took a seat as close as possible to her, hoping she would feel his presence.
The judges entered, and the prosecutor and the defender read their last statements. Liane was given the floor to speak in defense. Before she rose, she flashed a quick glance to Luke. His presence reassured her. Her voice trembled only one moment.
"Your Honor, I realize I have put the New Republic in jeopardy with my silly plan. I regret what I have done and I take full responsibility for what happened. I will accept your verdict."
Luke smiled at her as she took her seat again and it seemed like she heard him say 'Well said, Liane.'
Before the president of the High Court started to read the verdict, he made an extensive statement on the facts, which the members of the High Court had taken into account. Liane's actions on Ortel were in her advantage. It had been clear, that Zolgathrii had used her to serve his own plans, but she had agreed to his plans. She had prepared her escape plan, and had organized the kidnapping of Leia Skywalker. she was also indirectly responsible for the murder of the two guards. The court had found enough evidence on all the cases and Liane had pleaded guilty.
"Will the defendant rise and step forward."
The president waited until Liane had stepped to the bar.
"Liane Solichor, the High Court of the New Republic on Dalmaran sentences you to eight years imprisonment. This court has taken into account that your actions on Ortel have prevented unnecessary casualties, but your cooperation with senator Zolgathrii's plans to overthrow our government is seen as high treason and an severe attack on the safety of the New Republic. You'll therefore be brought to the New Republic federal prison on the planet Wegoyy. You will be transported to this new location this afternoon."
Liane became pale. Eight years imprisonment on another planet. She stared with wide-open eyes at the judges in front of her. LUKE! LEIA! They were her friends, her only friends. She wouldn't see Luke and Leia on Wegoyy; they wouldn't be able to visit her anymore. They promised to help her to set up a new life. She stumbled back to her seat. She almost fainted, her head ached and feeling completely dizzy she sat down, but the guards ordered her to follow them to her cell, awaiting her transportation. Luke and Leia immediately entered after the guards had left. They sat down next to the devastated girl.
"Liane." Leia said reassuringly. "Liane, listen to me, you will be back on Dalmaran soon. We will ask the Supreme Chancellor to pardon you. She surely will show her clemency."
Liane looked up at them with a furious look in her eyes.
"THIS ISN'T FAIR! THEY SENTENCED ME BECAUSE I'M THE DAUGHTER OF DARTH VADER. THEY WANT TO PUNISH MY FOR WHAT MY FATHER HAS DONE," She said. Her voice full of anger, "WEGOYY, I'M SEND TO WEGOYY FOR WHAT HE DID. I HATE THOSE JUDGES."
Some other guards who had heard Liane's yells and screams entered and walked over with their blasters set for stun so they could bring her to the space port of De'olon where a transport ship was waiting. Quickly Luke interfered, ordering them to wait out. He grabbed Liane's arm and pulled her with him.
"Stop yelling and screaming, Liane, you're making matters worse," He said emphasizing every word he said.
"Liane, don't mask your fears with screaming. It won't help you at the moment. Leia and I are still going to help you. We won't let you down."
Liane pulled herself free of his grib and looked at him with an angry look. Luke neglected her angry look and grabbed her arm again.
"I know your disappointed, Liane, so am I, but remember what I promised: I will visit you; I will visit you on Wegoyy. As much as I can. Leia and I will find a way to see you on Wegoyy as often as possible."
His soft spoken last words echoed in her mind, but despair and fear overwhelmed her. She had lost this new friendship; she had lost these new friends; she would never see them again. They wouldn't be allowed to visit her on Wegoyy. She knew only one way to respond to the overwhelming fear she felt. She shrugged off his hand which was still resting on her arm. All of a sudden she was the Dark Princess of Morantan again, the daughter of Darth Vader.
"I DON'T WANT YOU TO VISIT ME. I DON'T NEED ANY HELP. I'VE ALWAYS SOLVED MY OWN PROBLEMS," She said on a defiant and aggressive tone. "FORGET THAT FOOLISH PROMISE, LUKE SKYWALKER! THIS IS GOODBYE FOREVER!"
She walked to door of her cell and called for the guards.
"I'M READY." She snapped.
"Liane, listen ..."
Luke stretched out his hand, but Liane walked away and didn't look back at him.
In the afternoon a special prisoner transport ship took off from Irithim space port. Its destination: Wegoyy. Sole passenger: Liane Solichor. She sat in a corner on the cold floor of a cell.
"Luke, Leia, please, don't be angry with me, forgive my angry words. Why did I say this to you? Forgive me, pllease. I didn't want to be so rude. Forgive me, but I felt so frightened. I will never forget you two. I will probably never see or speak any of you again. Thank you for all your kindness, your friendliness, and, Luke, thank you for the promise you made. I know you mean it, but it's useless now. Leia and you have been wonderful friends. I have never met kinder people like you two. I have to go on alone. What will happen to me?"
She covered her face with her hand; tears dripping through her fingers on the metal floor. Nobody noticed her sobs. Finally she fell into a restless sleep, completely exhausted.
On the planet in the Outer Rim where the mysterious figure had made himself a shelter the holographic display popped up.
"Yes?" The mysterious person asked.
"Master, they sentenced the girl to eight years in detention. She is exiled, and brought to the New Republic federal prison on Wegoyy."
The mysterious person gritted his teeth.
"Eight years you said?"
"Yes, master. One of the witnesses has told the judges that she could be very dangerous to the New Republic, because she has the knowledge of the Sith."
The mysterious person started to laugh angrily.
"Who was he?"
"A captain who interrogated her after she had been captured on Ortel: Daino Phylotar."
"Daino Phylotar, you said. What a coincidence! Yes, the knowledge she learned from her father might indeed be dangerous to those Rebel cowards. Problem is that the guards at the Wegoyy prison aren't easily prone to bribery. They are screened for their integrity and appointed by the High Council personally. Eight years, that is way too long for me to wait."
He remained silent for some time. Finally he looked up at the holographic images.
"Go to Wegoyy, and seek out the names of all the guards and the commanding officers," He said.
"Yes, master. We will do as you please, but it might take some time to get reliable information," one of the spies said.
"I'm aware of that. Act very carefully. Don't attract attention. Report back to me if you've assembled the list of those names."
"Yes, master," The holographic images disappeared.
The cloaked person looked in silence at the display, before he nodded with a mysterious smile around his lips.
Luke, and Leia were very disappointed about the outcome of the lawsuit against Liane, but also general Madine expressed his disagreement with the verdict. He understood the greater impact the special friendship between the two Jedi Knights and the former Dark Princess of Morantan, could have. As a member of the High Council he used his influence to persuade the other members, that a regular contact between the Jedi Knights and Liane was of great importance in limiting the threat she might represent to the existence of the New Republic. He even approached Mon Mothma personally, and advised her to allow the Jedi Knights to visit Liane at Wegoyy. He reminded Mon Mothma that during her visits, Leia had established a good relationship with Liane, and that Leia's presence on Ortel had ensured that Liane's help prevented a possible coup. Mon Mothma listened sympathetically and made a commitment that the mandate that the Jedi Knights had to visit Liane would be extended to possible visits to her in the Wegoyy prison, but she had been reluctant about the general's request to pardon Liane.
However, the outcome of the attack on Ortel was fortunate for Luke and Leia. Three days after Liane was taken to Wegoyy, the Jedi Knights received an official message from prosecutor Sorjon Tyloban that their request for rehabilitation would be reopened. Meanwhile they had to be available if the members of the High Council or the High Court needed more information.
This forced Luke and Leia to stay in Irithim. Luke, who already made a plan for his first visit to Wegoyy, looked worried, when he read the message
"The more time passes between my last conversation with Liane, the more difficult it will be to win her trust again. She must know that my words of our friendship with her, aren't only words." He sighed. "I want find a way to visit her on Wegoyy, for I want her to know, that I haven't made that promise to comfort her. The verdict might have been right, according to our laws, but in this case it was to inflexible, Leia. She was scared to death, after she had heard that she would be sent to Wegoyy. Why have they done this to her?! This isn't the way justice should be done in the New Republic!"
"There's nothing we can do now, Luke. As soon as we know the outcome of our own case, we might be able to take the necessary steps to start helping Liane. I'd wish, that Liane would a bit less unpredictable in her behavior," Leia commented on her brother's words, "During all our visits she was a friendly person, but the moment she feels scared or threatened, she becomes angry and aggressive and falls back on what Anakin has taught her."
Luke sighed, "Her wrong use of the Force is threat to herself and to us all, Leia. The more she keeps relying on the use of the Dark Side of the Force, the more difficult it will be for us to teach her the ways of the Jedi, and to show her the use of the Good Side of the Force."
Six standard weeks later Luke and Leia were summoned to the High Court building again.
"Looks familiar, don't you think, Luke?" Leia whispered in her brother's ear, trying to keep her spirit.
Luke nodded silently. Leia felt his strong desire to go Wegoyy and see Liane.
At last the warden called them. Immediately Luke rose and pulled Leia with him.
The president of the High Court and the prosecutor Sorjon Tyloban noticed the barely concealed tension on the young Jedi's face.
Luke relaxed, before he looked at the president and the prosecutor.
"My sister and I want to visit Liane Solichor on Wegoyy as soon as possible, Your Honor. The Supreme Chancellor has told us, that our mandate has been expanded to make visits to the Wegoyy prison. Liane Solichor has become our friend." He said.
The president nodded.
"Then we'd better proceed, master Skywalker," He said and grabbed a piece of paper.
"Commodore Skywalker, your Royal Highness, princess Leia Organa of Alderaan," He started, observing the two Jedi Knights. "Yes, don't look surprised, because I address you with your formal title, for the High Court of the New Republic has done a renewed investigation on all the facts that had been brought in as an indictment against you. Your recent actions and efforts on Ortel have convinced the Supreme Chancellor of the New Republic, the lady Mon Mothma and the members of the High Council, that the offspring of Darth Vader never has been a threat to the safety of our New Republic. The indictment against you seemed to have been based on false allegations. This Court will carry out the Supreme Chancellor's special ordinance to acquit you, and to rehabilitate you in your functions and your titles immediately. The Supreme Chancellor apologizes and you will be compensated for the inconvenience of these recent period. She also expresses her sincere thanks to you for your share in preventing the coup of the late senator Zolgathrii. Master Skywalker, it is the Supreme Chancellor's explicit wish that you will continue your task as Jedi Commander; senator Organa, the Supreme Chancellor wants, that you will take your seat in the senate of the New Republic again, as the representative of the Royal House of Alderaan. She also has expressed the wish to meet you both personally in the oncoming months."
Luke pressed Leia's hand and looked at her. The president of the High Court and prosecutor Tyloban left the court room. General Madine walked down from the public gallery to congratulate them. Together they left the building.
"Well, I'm glad justice has been done, although I'm losing you as my second-in-command, Luke"
For a short moment Luke looked at general Madine, but he understood the scope of the general's words: Mon Mothma had granted them their rehabilitation. He started laughing and took his sister is his arms.
"Leia, we've won! Nobody will ever blame us for being Anakin's children."
He spun around with her in his arms.
"Luke, stop act like a fool," Leia laughed with a happy look on her face. "General, I'm absolutely sure, that you know more about this case, don't you?"
Madine shook his head, "I only told Mon Mothma, she should reconsider that stupid verdict after we'd returned from Ortel. That's all I have done. Once again my congratulations on this deserved victory."
He watched the Jedi Knights, as they walked to their landspeeder.
'We need you and your talents to protect our freedom, Jedi Knights,' He thought. 'If you hadn't been with us on Ortel, our victory wouldn't have been so easy.'
Back in their apartment Luke flung himself on a couch and pulled Leia next to him.
"Leia, do you know, what this means?"
"Of course I do, dear brother, now you can continue your task as Jedi Master again and tell Wedge he will be your next padawan."
"Oh... I wasn't thinking about Wedge's Jedi training, Leia. I was thinking about Liane. Now I can leave and visit her immediately. As Jedi Commander I'm allowed to use one of the new federal ships which are so much faster, than the Astræga. "
Leia looked at her brother with a serious frown.
"Luke, Wedge deserves it to become your padawan. He has grown strong in the Force and he is fully dedicated to the task of Jedi Knights. He is our dearest friend and I would love it to see him to join the New Jedi Order. My dear Jedi Master you can't take Liane as your apprentice as long as she imprisoned. Besides you can only have one padawan at the time."
"Your remarks are true, Leia, but so far I have only shown Wedge the Force abilities he has. He never realized he is sensitive to the Force, so he still has to learn a lot, before he will become a padawan learner. No, Leia, Wedge's apprenticeship has to wait. I'm sure he understands. My first concern is my promise to Anakin. The sooner I start this task the better it will be. Liane has to unlearn the many wrong things he has taught her, Leia, " He sighed.
"I will use my influence as a senator to have her transferred back to the prison in Irithim. That would make your task a lot easier and I would also be able to visit her again, " Leia said, while she laid her hand on his arm. She smiled at him.
"There are a lot of questions concerning Liane, Luke. Does she really see us as her friends? What Sith knowledge has she learned from Anakin? Does she want to become a Jedi Knight? And there is still the strange threat, Zolgathrii mentioned that he would bring her to the Outer Rim. Now, my dear brother, you'd better find out if you can leave for Wegoyy soon. I'm going to dress for diner. Madine has sent me an invitation."
She stood up and walked to her private rooms. When she returned to the living, Luke had gone.
Later that evening he returned to say goodbye to his sister.
"How long will you stay on Wegoyy?" Leia asked.
"I'm going to Dagobah and Tatooine first. I need to talk to Anakin about Liane's upbringing in that Baroontarian community. Through hyperspace I can reach Tatooine is less than half a day from Dagobah. From there it's a little more than a day to Wegoyy."
Leia accompanied him and Artoo to the spaceport. She understood why her brother wanted to see Liane immediately and she fully supported his plan. She only hoped, that he would be aware of Liane's unpredictable behavior.
Meanwhile Liane was experiecing a lot of difficulties, as she had to adapt to the harsh regime as an inmate of the Wegoyy prison. The most difficult was the general order to keep a strict and absolute silence among the prisoners and the guards. Liane who had become used to the allowed visits and chats with Luke and Leia, neglected these rules right from the day she arrived. Several times she underwent a severe punishment as she disobeyed the rules. The enormous difference between her imprisonment at Irithim and on Wegoyy frightened and scared her. To mask her fears she fell back on her old behavior with violent outbursts of aggression, yelling, screaming, and scolding. Especially the use of her Force powers were punished with a long list of humiliating tasks and chores.
During the first two weeks of her detention she was dragged from her cell more than once after she had violated the prison rules. The guards brought her to the courtyard where she had to stand upright during the night hours only dressed in her indoor prisoner outfit, while the temperature was dropping. In the morning she had to beg the commander for mercy, before he would give his permission to bring her inside to the relatively warmth of her cell again. On other occasions they didn't bring her proper meals for several days. She only received a bottle of brownish draught to satisfy her hunger.
These penalties brought her mentally and physically on the brink of exhaustion, but the most frightening experience was the SL-chamber which stood for a torture with Sounds and Lights. Only one time she had been locked up in the isolated cell and the guards had tortured her for more than four hours with constant shrieking sounds at different frequencies and flashing oscillating lights in different colors. Completely broken she had been brought back to her cell to recover.
After her torture in the SL-chamber she had given up all her resistance and defiant behavior, and from that moment nobody was bothering her any longer. She was treated with indifference and she no longer expected any sympathy or compassion. She was ordered to work at the droid maintenance level, where she had to maintain, repair and reprogram the many maintenance and guard droids. Days became weeks and the weeks turned into months. Every day slipped by in the same ritual. She did her chores properly and now that she was cooperating with the regime, she was allowed to take an electronic reading pad from the prison library to her cell.
One evening the guard on duty brought her back to her cell. Before she could enter her cell the guard passed her and entered her cell before her. He unlocked the small panel next to the door. He pressed several buttons and closed the panel with a with key, before he turned to Liane. With a gesture he ordered to enter. Liane slipped past him and walked over to the corner of her cell where she put down the data pad on the small table. Suddenly she felt that the guard had followed her. She turned and backed off to the far corner of her cell. The guard was a young man, a little older than herself. He had dark brown hair and lively blue eyes.
When he saw the frightened look that had appeared in her eyes, he raised his hands to reassure her.
"Don't be afraid. I mean you no harm." He said friendly
Liane pointed at the four cameras and the microphone in the ceiling of her cell. He laughed. His blue eyes looked at her with friendliness.
"I switched them off. You can speak freely now."
Liane shook her head.
"What do you want? Why are you following me?" She whispered a bit terrified by the sound of her own voice after such a long time of silence.
"I want to have a word with you."
"We're not allowed to speak," Liane whispered, "Who are you?"
The young man said down on her bench and beckoned her to sit next to him. Invitingly he held out his hand.
"I'm Ian Tydon, your guard."
"I know you're my guard. You're always accompanying me to my cell," Liane said still remaining in the far corner of her cell.
"You can trust me. I have no harm! I only want to talk with you about the reading you do every week. You load your data pad with numerous books which aren't the most easy ones to read. I had to study several of those titles myself, when I was a student at the academy. Are you really interested in computer science and programming?"
"I'm refreshing my knowledge, as I have to do droid repair and programming here. I have been studying similar books on Morantan, before I was captured by the New Republic."
Slowly she walked over to the bench and sat down still looking at her unexpected companion.
"So, you're indeed from Morantan. Wasn't that Darth Vader's planet?"
"Yes, he was my father. He is dead."
"Darth Vader was your father? So that's the reason why they brought you here. The new government must be really afraid of you."
"They probably are," Liane said. Her eyes went to ceiling again. Ian followed her stare.
"Don't be afraid. You're safe. I told you I switched them off."
"Won't the other guard at the control desk notice a blank screen?"
"He won't, I typed in a security code which indicates this cell block is being cleaned. So the guard in the control room is set off guard."
"Am I really the only prisoner in this cell block?" She asked.
"You are and I'm assigned as one of your guards; we have the order to monitor what you're doing when you're in your cell." He grinned.
"Must be a very boring job," Liane answered now with a twinkle in her eyes, "I hope they will have a more interesting assignment for you, because I have to stay here for eight years."
"I read your file. You don't seem a real criminal to me. Did you really try to overthrow the government of the New Republic?"
"I was involved, but I didn't fully understand, what I was into, until it was too late. I only wanted to get my freedom back after the ground forces of the New Republic had captured me and brought me to Dalmaran. I have been really stupid not to wait for my first trial."
She saw the curious look in Ian's eyes and on a whispering tone she told him parts of her story. After she had finished her story, Ian shook his head.
"You have been naive, and you said it yourself, you have been stupid, Liane. May I call you Liane?"
Liane nodded. Ian Tydon continued, "You have lived a too protected life on Morantan. You didn't know anything about what was going on in the galaxy. You should never have trusted a delegate senator like Zolgathrii. You learned a tough lesson, but you've quickly adapted to the rules here, otherwise the commander wouldn't have allowed you to work in the droid maintenance department so soon. Rebellious behavior leads to nothing."
"I've learned it the hard way, I guess?"
"You have, but as I said, you have adapted quickly."
Ian looked at his chrono.
"If you like to talk with me, I can arrange it. To be honest I hate the long silent hours here during my watch."
"I would love to, Ian, but are you sure you won't get problems doing this?"
He shook his head.
"Leave that to me. I'll keep you out of trouble, I promise, Liane."
He walked over to the control panel and reset the code. He turned around, walked over to the door and stepped outside her cell. There he turned and winked, but Liane sat at the small table and had grabbed her datapad. The door slid shut. Liane heard the lock click. Outside in the corridor Ian Tydon walked back to the control room. Smart girl. Didn't say goodbye, just went on with her daily routine. Nice girl too. He fastened his pace.
In the control room he cast a quick glance at the control panel. His fellow guard looked at the screen with a big yawn.
"Brought her back in a clean cell, didn't you?"
Ian nodded and watched the screen. Liane was now sitting cross-legged on her bench and was looking at the screen of her data pad.
"She is quite a student," He said.
"As long as she isn't causing us any trouble I don't care how she spends the hours in her cell. She is subdue now, and more cooperative. No more yelling and screaming. And she also stopped using those nasty talents of her, that gave you the feeling you're strangled from a distance. I wonder, where she has learned that. It's lucky Dendicott is a very stern guy; he knows how to break the resistance in headstrong prisoners like her. By the way, it's your turn to bring her her diner."
Ian Tydon refrained to comment on these remarks of his fellow guard.
"Then get to the mess, Neato, and get yourself a proper dinner too," He said looking at the wrapping paper which contained a half eaten bun. "I'll take over here, while you're gone."
Don Neato rose and stretched.
"Boring job! Watching a reading girl every evening. I'm glad you've talked to Dendicott about our watch and could arrange these dinner serving switches. I'll come back after an hour and take over from you."
"That's alright. Take your time, enjoy your meal. I'll lock the door on the inside. Use your infocom when you come back and I'll unlock the door."
"Nice watch, Tydon," Don said, he jumped off the control platform and left. Ian Tydon lock the door and set a code on the inside. He grinned. His plan was developing the way he wanted. Don Neato was a nice guy who loved food and he, Ian, would encourage him to take as much time to have dinnertime as long as he want it. If Don would have gotten use to the dinner hour he would certainly stay away longer which would leave him more time to chat with Liane. He would leave her cell door open so he could hear the alarm of the infocom. Ian Tydon felt attracted to the young woman who didn't have the looks of a real criminal.