uke and Liane, with Chewbacca in the lead, had left the cantina in a hurry and were running now through the old center of Mos Eisley to one of the older docking bays. The Wookiee was constantly grunting loud howls, expressing the hope he felt, now that he had found his old friend back. The entrance door of the old docking bay was open and through the dark entrance Liane saw a worn out disk shaped space ship. Its shape resembled the Grannd Traveler with which she had traveled with Yarnick and his brothers. The ramp was down and Luke and Chewbacca hurried inside the ship. Liane followed but slowed down her pace. She suddenly felt how strange feelings of enormous weariness, sadness and remorse began to surround her. Those feelings seemed to penetrate her body and her eyesight became blurry and out of focus. She had to steady herself against one of the ramp's pylons. The feelings seemed to ceased, but she still felt surrounded by a great remorse. She looked around and stretched out to the Force. Then she heard a whispering voice, "Leia, my sweetheart, please forgive me. Leia were are you?"
Slowly she walked up the ramp and entered the space ship. The weariness returned, as did the feelings of sadness and remorse. It was as if those feelings were engulfing her. She fell on her knees and covered her face with her hands. Again she heard the whispering voice, "Leia, my sweetheart, please forgive me. Leia were are you?"
Again the feelings ceased. She got back on her feet and heard Luke's voice and Chewbacca's howls and grunts. She walked in the direction of their voices, and got herself in the doorway of a narrow alcove, where on a couch the body of Han Solo lay stretched. She immediately recognized the lean figure of the space captain. Slowly she stepped inside the alcove, watching the series of tubes and small vials that connected the deadly pale figure to the life support system of the Millennium Falcon. Immediately she noticed the helpless expression on Luke's face.
"I can't be help him," She heard him whisper inaudible, "I can't reach him through the Force. I have not enough knowledge to wake him up."
Chewbacca was grunting and howling softer. The big Wookiee had sunk on his knees near the almost motionless body of his friend. Silently Liane stood between Luke and the big Wookiee. The howls and the grunt of the Wookiee were no more than a soft whimper, expressing the pain the big humanoid felt for his lifelong friend.
Luke was watching at the seemingly lifeless body of his old pal and friend. He felt desperate. This pale, almost transparent face didn't resemble Han's cynical features. How could he possibly tell Leia what had become of Han? Helplessly he clenched his fists and looked down at Han once again. He felt powerless, and defeated, despite all his Force knowledge as a Jedi. Suddenly he felt how Liane grabbed his arm. He turned and saw her face had gotten the same pale expression as Han's.
"Liane, What's wrong with you? Liane!"
He grabbed her shoulders to prevent she would pass out. Liane clenched her hands around the sleeves of his cloak.
"He is asking Leia to forgive him. He asking where she is," She gasped.
"Liane, what are you talking about? What's the matter with you?"
Worried Luke pulled her tighter to him, but she regained her strength and looked at him.
"Han is looking for Leia. He is calling her name over and over again. He asks her to forgive him. Haven't you heard his pleas, Luke?"
Luke shook his head.
"I didn't hear anything. What happened to you, Liane? You nearly passed out. Are you feeling ill?"
"I felt his pain. He is suffering. I heard him calling out Leia's name, begging her forgiveness. He is looking for her. He wants to get back to her, but he doesn't seem to know anymore where he has to look for her. He feels lost without her. There's so much sadness and remorse inside his mind. I have to help him, Luke, I can't let him suffer. Let me talk to him, like I did with Teebo."
"Han's a human being. The Ewoks are a much simpler life-form, Liane. I wonder if your Force powers will be sufficient to help him."
"I have to help him, Luke," She said stubbornly, "I need to help him my way. I know I can do that. I have helped you, when you didn't know how to cope with the painful losses of your past."
"I allowed you to help me," Luke objected.
"I know, you did, but I can't leave your friend suffering. I felt his pain as I entered this ship."
Liane walked over to the top of the couch. Her gaze looked around the room and she saw a high stool in the corner near the entrance.
"Could you bring me that high stool, please. I need something to sit."
Luke brought her the stool. Liane sat down and placed her hands around Han's head in a soft gesture.
The Wookiee looked up and started to howl in protest.
"Please, Luke, will you ask him to be quiet and tell him I won't do any harm to Han. Maybe it's better if you both leave me alone for a while," She said determined, and bowed her head to Han's face.
Luke beckoned Chewbacca and whispered in a low voice what Liane had requested. The Wookiee looked in Liane's direction and howled again.
"Come with me, Chewbacca. You can trust her. She can use the Force's healing powers in a much greater way than me. Maybe there is a chance that she can help Han."
With a last look at Han Chewbacca followed Luke to the flight control room of the Millennium Falcon. There the Wookiee told his Jedi friend the complete story of the fight and his search for help as Han's recovery didn't show any progress.
"So, they have left together," Leia said, after a long story of chief Chirpa and Threepio's translation.
"What did you do to those men, who had entered your village looking for Li... Eilidh?" Leia asked and looked at the group wisest Ewoks.
"Hado kano gizo dana, kuno sino figo Aay-lee?" Threepio said.
The golden droid listened carefully to the story of Wingret. Then he turned to Leia and Ian.
"Wingret and his fellow Ewoks have brought them deep into the forest. Each man separately. Chirpa has disarmed them first and they were blindfolded, so they shouldn't be able to find the village again."
"They seem to have found it again and it's worse," Leia said a bit worried, "They have regrouped. Threepio, asked them if they aren't worried that the men will attack the village again."
Threepio addressed Chirpa and the other members of the Ewok council. Again Wingret answered.
"Kano tana moko. Sodi lana kama miko, tune sudo kewi. Lada tima noa. Kiko!"
"Not all the men are still alive, he says. They have found the remains of four of the men. They've fallen victim to the condor dragon."
"What's a condor dragon?" Ian asked.
"A flying lizard about the size of a space shuttle, master Ian," Threepio answered immediately, "They are very dangerous predators."
"You seem to have met them, Threepio," Ian said, when he heard the disgust and the fear in the droid's voice.
"Oh, no, master Ian, not me. Good heavens, no. I only heard the Ewoks talk about them. They fear them."
"What about the other men. How many were there?" Leia asked.
"Wingret says, there were twelve men."
"So there are eight men left, and four of them are roaming the forest together. Threepio, asked Wingret and Chirpa, if they could recapture those eight men and hold them in captivity." Leia said.
Leia's request released a lot of talking among the council. Some of the members were clearly upset.
"Threepio, tell them it will be only for a short time. I will send a detachment to pick them up and bring them to Irithim. Tell them, that I fear for the safety of this village as long as those men are free."
"Haddo kano sano miko. Tedo mika Leia dida lizu edo jino Yeura. Leia miko dano kyno tano!" Threepio said.
"Kano miko sino Leia modo. Kano haddo kana miko." Chirpa answered.
"They thank you, mistress Leia, for your concern and your offer, but they keep a constant watch on those men. They are sure, that they can deal with those men themselves."
"I will warn the government anyway, when I'm back in Irithim," Leia said.
She turned to Ian.
"We know enough, don't you think so, my young padawan."
"Yes, master, I'm glad master Luke and Liane have left together. It's a pity that master Luke hasn't mentioned his destination. Can't you reach him and ask him where he is?"
Leia shook her head
"It's better if I leave it up to Luke to contact me. I think my brother deliberately is keepping his destination secret, my young padawan, or maybe he hasn't made up his mind when he left Endor with Liane. In that case he has chosen his destination after their departure. We must find out who is behind this second attempt to kidnap Liane. Commander Dendicott and his men are in detention, so there is another person who is interested in her. It could be that person you've seen in your Force vision. We need a closer look at this matter and do some more investigation. Let's get back to the space port. I also need to warn Mon Mothma about the situation here. "
While Luke was listening to Chewbacca's story, Liane surrounded Han with her Force healing powers. Gently she used the Force to ease the turmoil of desperate thoughts that whirled through his mind. Han's whirling thoughts began to fill her mind. Images of strange worlds and events flashed along at an incredible speed. the Force showed her many of Han's dangerous adventures and she met some women who had been his companions every now and then. Among this jumble of images she began to hear a loud screaming voice, a voice full of sadness, remorse, weariness and despair. At last the screaming voice completely filled her mind. She began to hear every word of the sentence, she had picked up partially, after she entered the Millennium Falcon.
"Leia, my love! Leia, where are you! Please, forgive me, my love. I was wrong. Leia, please come back! Help me! Help me, Leia, please, I want to have you with me! Help me! Forgive me what I said to you! I didn't want to hurt your feelings. Please, forgive me."
Gently Liane pressed Han's forehead with her thumbs and placed her fingers over his closed eyes. She now fully concentrated on the Force and as had happened with Teebo and the other Ewoks some new images entered her mind. She saw Han carrying a young girl on his arm. The little girl had put her arms around his neck and giggled as he kissed on her nose. The little girl pointed at another person and Liane saw Leia. She was pregnant again, and Han put his free arm around her and drew her close to him. For some minutes Liane watched the images of a happy Han and Leia with their family, then she bowed her head to his face.
"Han Solo, if you can hear me, listen to my voice." She whispered in her soft, low Force voice, "Han, please, listen to me? I have heard the sad words you're constantly moaning and I understand their meaning. I also have felt the pain those words cause. Listen Han, listen to what I'm going to tell you. Leia is waiting for you at Irithim on Dalmaran. She still loves you. She has forgiven you. She wants you to return to her, so she will be reunited with you. Stop blaming yourself for what went wrong, stop seeking the answers to your pain in what has happened in the past. Stop this endless circle of despair."
She felt a tremor in his mind and for a short moment the whirl of painful memories stopped. Han seemed to have noticed her soft message.
"Han Solo, you need help to find Leia Organa, don't you? I can help you to find her again."
Once more Han's body trembled, he was definitely listening.
"Leia, is that you? Leia, my love, hear me, darling, forgive me, please. Help me to get out of this dark maze! I have been looking for you everywhere, Leia, where are you? Sometimes I think I see you, but as I reach out to you, your apparition vanishes. Don't go away everytime, Leia! Stay with me! I need you, my love, I need you so much!"
Liane tightened the pressure of her fingers around his head. Her body started to ached again as she now clearly became one with the his great pain: his desperate search for Leia Organa, his remorse about what had separated them, and his desperate screams for her love.
Her eyesight became out of focus again. A gulf of nauseating pain made it very difficult to keep her balance, but she managed to keep her hands firmly around Han's head. The pain ceased again.
"I want to help you, Han, so you can find Leia again."
She felt Han's pain again, but the Force began to help her to ease his mind with soft penetrating feelings of comfort and compassion which she easily could pass on to him.
"Who are you?" Han suspiciously asked suddenly.
She almost let out a joyful scream. Han was responding to her presence in his mind. Now she could help him to find rest and start his healing process.
"I'm a friend," She whispered, still using her soft Force voice, "I want you to relax and ease your mind. I will support your attempts to relax and help you to ease your mind. I will help you to find Leia."
"Who you are? Go away! All I want is Leia, my only love. Leia, my darling, where are you?" Han moaned half aloud.
Because Han began to resist her soft penetration of his mind, Liane withdrew and only wrapped him in comforting and relaxing feeling, like she had done while helping Luke. She still saw the images of Han's happy family through the Force, but intuitively she knew that it would be too early to pass these image to him. Han wasn't yet ready to accept a new future, as long as he was wrestling with the dark memories of his past, so she only concentrated on putting his mind at ease.
Over and over again she repeated her words, speaking slower, softer and with more emphasis each time, until her voice was almost inaudible.
"Relax, Han, Feel how my voice is putting your mind at ease, don't linger on old memories. You're aware, that you still love Leia, I can feel that, and you feel remorse about what happened. What has happened between Leia and you, has become a burden of shame. Those feelings of shame, regret, and remorse are blocking the way out of the endless spiral of disturbing thoughts. Stop feeling ashamed about what happened, Han, imagine how happy you would feel if you would be united again with Leia. It won't easy, but only if you let go of the burden which is troubling you, you will find Leia again. You can make that happen, but only, if you relax, if you put your mind at ease, if you surrender yourself to my voice, and accept the help I want to give you."
More and more she felt how her strong Force use influenced Han's tenacious and stubborn resistance to her influence on his mind, and it took her quite a while before she felt that he surrendered a little bit to the growing feelings of comfort, compassion and relaxation she passed to his mind. After a long time having repeated her soft message again and again, she opened her eyes, carefully withdrew her hands, and looked at the face of Luke's friend. Gingerly she brushed a strand of hair from his forehead. The color of Han's face had changed dramatically. The bleak transparent glow had vanished. His breathing was more regularly, quieter, and less superficial. She had been able to bring him in a deep Force healing sleep. He had listen to her voice, and, if she could reach him again he probably would accept her help again. She was now certain, that she could help him to wake up, and recover.
"Sleep well, Han, and may the Force be with you," She whispered, before she left the alcove.
For a moment she contemplated on what she had done, then she heard voices; Luke's calm voice and the grunts and howls of the Wookiee. She left the medic bay and walked in the direction of those voices. Suddenly she found herself in the flight control center of the Millennium Falcon. Abruptly the voices stopped and Liane noticed a worried look in Luke's eyes. He rose, took her arm, and carefully brought her to one of the couches.
"Feeling alright, Liane. Sit down."
Thankfully she sank down on the couch. She looked around.
"Can I have a drink?" she asked in a whisper.
"Certainly. Chewbacca, are the fresh water tanks filled? "
Chewbacca grunted an affirmative and jumped to his feet, filling the control room with his enormous body. He hurried away and returned with glasses and carafe filled with crystal clear water. Luke poured a drink and handed it to Liane. With a grateful smile she took the glass in both hands and slowly sipped the drink. Luke and Chewbacca watched her in silence. At last Liane noticed their gazes. She put the glass on the round table and sat upright.
"Han has fallen asleep. Finally. He must have been completely exhausted. He probably hasn't slept since he got wounded in that fight. He constantly has been seeking help from the only one he loves: your sister, Luke. Why he is feeling so disillusioned and ashamed, isn't clear to me yet. I want to ask him to tell me more the next time. You can have a look, but be silent and don't disturb him."
"You really have spoken to him?" Luke asked and looked at her in amazement.
"Almost from the moment I entered this space craft his remorseful screams and moans filled my mind. I have listened for awhile to those pleas and moans, and I have seen many images of his turbulent adventurous past. I also have seen some beautiful images of his future, but I haven't passed those images to him, for he wouldn't believe that those images the Force has shown me, are what he desires. For the time being I only will help him to ease his mind and feel more comfortable, like I did when I helped you. Luke, I'm absolutely certain that the images the Force has shown me are Han's future. He will be reunited with Leia, but it will take some time to convince him that there is a future for him with Leia, so I can show him what I have seen. I have offered him my help, and although I felt his skepticism and resistance, I could bring him in a deep healing sleep influenced by the Force. He sleeps now, and that will be a first beginning of his recovery."
Chewbacca, who had impatiently listened to Liane's explanation, jumped to his feet again and rushed over to the medic bay.
"Be quiet, please," Liane sighed. Luke watched her in admiration, recalling his own moment when she had used the Force to ease the painful memories of his past, like once her mother must have been doing in the Jedi temple on Coruscant to ease the mind of wounded men and women from all over the galaxy.
"You'd better take some rest too, Liane. You've been busy for hours. I'll be right back."
He rose and left the flight control room. He went over to the medic bay, where Chewbacca stood near the couch, watching Han's calm regular breathing. The Wookiee released some soft joyful grunts when he saw Luke. Luke looked at Han's face and saw the tremendous change. Liane was right; Han was asleep! Fast asleep it seemed. What would happen next? Would he wake up after this sleep? Luke placed his fingers over Han's face and turned inward. He felt the strong healing influence of the Force which penetrated his friend's body, helping him to start his recovery. For some moments Luke listened to the unheard and unseen messages that reached him through the Force.
"What do you think, Master Luke?" The soft voice of Liane asked him.
Luke took his hand away and turned around.
"Liane, shouldn't you take a long rest?"
She shook her head.
"I will do that later. What do you think, Luke? You're so much stronger with the Force than I am."
All of a sudden Chewbacca wrapped his hairy arms around Liane. He hugged her, lifting her from the ground in his arms, while he grunted his loud gratitude.
"Hush, don't do this. Put me down, please. Let your friend sleep for as long as possible. I understand you want to thank me, but Han needs a lot more of help. Luke, can we come back here, as long as we have to stay on Tatooine due to those galactic storms, maybe longer?"
"That's no problem, Liane. Chewie has told me, that he intents to find one of their old trading pals here. The guy's family runs a medic center on one of the planets in the core system of Nosanian, but like us Chewie can't lift off at the moment."
Liane frowned and said a bit snappy, "Tell your friend, that Han's problem can't be cured in any medic center as long as Han hasn't find a way to cope with his overpowering feelings of shame, regret and remorse, about what has happened between Leia and him. Those all-dominating emotions are blocking the way to his recovery. I can help Han to relax, put his mind at ease, and if he is willing to trust me I can show him the images of his future which the Force has shown me already. It won't do Han any good, if your friend leaves Tatooine after those galactic storms has ceased, as long as Han hasn't regained his consciousness."
Chewbacca grunted a long sentence and wrapped his arm around Liane's shoulder. A bit annoyed she look up.
"What is he saying, Luke?" She asked still frowning.
"Chewie says, that he will stay on Tatooine as long as you are helping Han, Liane. He says, that he feels that your help will do good to Han. He trust you, and agrees with your way of help," Luke answered.
Liane relaxed and looked at the hairy humanoid who seemed to have strong gentle feelings for his friend.
"Luke, maybe we should take Han to our apartment. It would be much easier for me help him there. It's a beautiful place which probably will help Han's recovery."
For a moment Luke considered Liane's proposal, then he shook his head.
"I agree that it's a wonderful place, but I have to object, Liane."
Again Liane looked annoyed, "What's the problem, Luke? Will that humanoid at the office desk object."
"He might, but that's a minor problem. No, I'm objecting against your plan, because Han is connected now to the life support system of the Falcon. Those tubes and vials you have seen, are supporting his metabolism and condition. Besides I also was thinking of you, Liane. Maybe we should reconsider Chewie's original plan, for that isn't as odd as it seems. If we could transport Han to a medical center the medic droids could take better care of his physical condition. I mean, they also could gives better nourishment of some kind."
"But those medic droids won't accept my way of help," Liane protested.
"They can and they will, Liane, with the use of the Force," Luke said smiling, "It's also advantages that those droids will keep an eye on your health too."
"I can take care of myself," Liane snapped.
"You certainly can, but I have seen on Endor that your way to use the Force as a healer is exhausting you. You need food and drinks at regular interval, and you need to take long moments to rest. Those medic droids take care of Han while you take a nap or having a meal."
Again Liane wanted to make a snappy remark, but Luke raised his hand, before she could say anything more.
"Liane, helping the Ewoks nearly put you on the brink of exhaustion. After we landed on Tatooine you almost needed a standard week to recover. Han is a human being. You've never used the Force as a healer before this way. You've just told us, that Han is resisting your way of help. Be reasonable. You know I'm worried about you and the way you are using the Force as a healer."
Liane made an slight attempt once again, but she considered his words and nodded in agreement.
"I agree, but only if you can convince those medic droids that I only need proper meals and drinks. I don't want to be under any medic surveillance and be controlled by droids day in, day out."
Luke laughed and Chewbacca let out a loud series of howls. Luke laughed louder.
"Chewbacca says, he will handle those medic droids."
Liane gave the Wookiee a slight smile. Luke had been constantly watching Liane during their discussion. He was aware that she was constantly using her Force skills to know if Han was still asleep.
"So I'd better help Han here in this ship and you and your friend are going to inquiry if there is a way to take Han to the Mos Eisley medical center. I'm going back to that medic bay now," Liane said while she rose and walked over to the passageway.
"Liane..." Luke hesitated, "There is no medic center in Mos Eisley."
Liane turned on her heels.
"No medic center. And what about Tatooine's inhabitants, don't they ever need some kind of medical treatment!"
"Of they do sometimes, but most inhabitants can treat injuries themselves. We are looking for a special equipped medic center with sophisticated medic droids. The nearest planet with the medic center in the Outer Rim region is in Ktafunda in the Palomintar System and you and I certainly shouldn't show up in that system, if you take my meaning."
Luke did some quick thinking.
"Listen. You and Chewbacca stay here in the Falcon with Han. I'm going back to our apartment and get information about all the planets with a well equipped medic center in this part of the galaxy. I'll also check the information about the path of the galactic turbulence and see which of those planets we can reach safely."
Liane nodded. Luke fastened his Jedi coat and went over to exit of the Millennium Falcon, but he returned, sat himself next to Liane and put his hands on her shoulders. He looked into her eyes.
"Are you sure you want to help Han your way?" He asked seriously.
"Luke, I've promised Han my help," Liane said determined.
"I understand. May the Force be with you, Liane. I'll be back as soon as possible."
Using the dense canopy of the Endor forest to protect themselves against another confrontation with their former attackers Leia and Ian returned to the Endor space port. As they were nearing the perimeter of the Endor space port, Ian steered the speeder among the lower branches, and followed the fence to reach the space port main entrance. Still cautious, they kept hidden between the dense foliage of the branches, watching the hustle and bustle of the space port for a while. They enhanced their senses, using the Force, to become aware of their environment. Albeit Endor space port seemed a rather small port which was mainly used for for trading local products, there seemed to be some other activities too, for they noticed the landing of a very modern space shuttle which came to a stop in front of the space port's office buildings, in stead of using one of the docking bay that surrounded the space port. Amazed Ian parked the space shuttle on a twisted knot of large branches and grabbed his macrobinoculars.
"That shuttle has covered its identification markings, that's odd. Have a look, master," he said and handed Leia his binoculars.
Leia zoomed in on the shuttle. No movement was visible around the shuttle yet. The crew inside hadn't left the ship to report to the space port officials to give a reason for the odd landing spot, but Leia noticed that the ramp was slowly lowering, although still nobody was walking down to the platform.
"This is really odd, Ian," she said aloud, "it's a normal for any landing space ship to ask permission to land in one of those docking bays. You have to transmit the identification of your ship, otherwise the space port officials may deny the landing."
All of a sudden a strange figure appeared on the ramp's passageway. The cowl of his long dark cloak had been folded backwards. Leia zoomed in again and uttered a soft cry of surprise. She looked at her padawan. Ian's facial expression had become tense.
"Who is that person?" He whispered, "Master, why he isn't part of the Living Force. He is there, I see him, but why can't I also feel his presence through the Force. Everything else here I can feel, even the shuttle, but not him. Around him there is nothing, nothing at all, only a strange impenetrable darkness, as if he is wrapped in a dark cloud."
Leia took a powerful holographic camera from her belt. She set it to maximum zoom and quickly took some images.
"That is our man, the one you have seen in your Force vision, Ian. The one who probably has attempted to kidnap Liane twice," She said.
"What do you mean?" Her padawan said nervously.
"Have a look at these images. I took several pictures of him using the highest possible magnification. Compare these with the drawing you made of the man you've seen in your Force vision."
Leia turned the display to him. Ian backed off.
"You're right, master. It is him! This is Darth Golluth. I have seen this man in that nigh... Force vision as you call it," Ian stared at the sharp outlined face.
Leia nodded and frowned, For a moment she was silent.
"Ian, if he has come to Endor himself, some one must have informed him that Liane has found a place to live on Endor." She mused.
"Commander Dendicott, or Rand Phylotar, master?" Ian suggested.
"They are both in detention in Irithim, together with Rand's brother Daino," Leia answered.
"So it's him who has send those men we've met on our way to the Ewok village?"
"Whoever has informed him about Liane's whereabouts, I didn't expect him to show up here personally. This very odd behavior, Ian. This could mean that he desperately is looking for the knowledge Liane has learned for my father, which would mean that his Sith knowledge might be weak, otherwise we would have sensed his presence through the Force even before he walked down the ramp of the shuttle. And you're right, my young padawan, the Force has shown us a strange phenomenon, for we can't feel his presence through the Force. I too sense a dark cloud around him."
"Why? Is darkness a quality of the Dark Side? Is a Sith Lord able to be invisible to the Living Force? Are you sure, that his strength is still weak?" Ian asked and shivered.
"Stretch out with your feelings, Ian. What do you experience, my padawan? There aren't any tremors in the Force around him, so it could be that that dark cloud blocks Force tremors. We have to ask my brother, but I think, that Darth Golluth isn't a Sith lord at all, or not yet. I remember that Luke could feel my father's presence on board the Executor while we were trying to reach Endor unnoticed. A real Sith reveals his presence through the Force too. Come on, I want to know who has been the commander of that shuttle. We'll enter the space port from the rear, before he might become aware of us."
"Can he sense our presence, master?" Ian asked
"I'm not sure. This is very odd, so we have to act very cautiously."
They retreated between the foliage and returned to the speeder. Ian started the engine and drove to one of the rear gates. Leia had already activated her infocom and contacted the space flight tower.
"This is Leia Organa speaking. Where is that shuttle coming from, commander Lengko?"
There was a static noise for some moments, but then the commander answered.
"Your Highness, I'm very glad you're contacting us. That shuttle landed without permission at a prohibited spot. It didn't state its identification and origin, but it seems to have come from the Imperial star destroyer Basilisæa. That imperial star destroyer went into orbit around Endor some ten hours ago. The shuttle is under command of admiral Vestor of the Basilisæa. Some of his crew and an unknown passenger of whom the commander refuses to mention his name and status, have accompanied him"
"What does he want? Did you receive an acknowledgement from Irithim with permission for landing?" Leia asked sharply.
"No, your highness. Admiral Vestor has asked permission to me and my staff to do some short investigations in the forest in the neighborhood of the Ewok village."
"This planet is part of the federation of the New Republic. If Imperials set foot on it without the explicit permission of the Supreme Chancellor, they violate the treaty between the New Republic and the Provisionary Coruscant Council. Commander, I want to talk to Admiral Vestor personally. Tell him to report at your command center at once."
Leia slowed down her voice.
"Raman, put my meeting with Vestor on a holographic recording."
Ian looked at her.
"Master, the admiral will recognize you as a Jedi."
Leia shook her head.
"We're going to change clothes. Put on your uniform, Ian. My shuttle is docked in that hidden bay to the left. Start the engines and make it look as if we have just make an emergency landing."
Ian drove to the docking bay where Leia's private shuttle stood. Leia rushed inside and switched on the holographic infocom of her ship. She made a few attempts to reach Mon Mothma at Irithim, but there wasn't any answer forthcoming, she reached out to the Force to Wedge Antilles.
'Leia, what's wrong?'
'Where are you, Wedge?'
'Mon Mothma has sent Yarmod and me on a mission to Lumeara. Do you need help?'
'See if you can contact Mon Mothma, Wedge,and inform her that the Imperial star destroyer Basilisaea has entered in Endor's orbit. Have you heard anything from Luke? He has left Endor.'
'No, I haven't. I can't come to Endor, Leia, there a meeting with the Lumearean leaders at hand. I can warn general Madine. Maybe he can give you support, or contact you via procon.'
'That will take too long, Wedge. I will address the admiral as a member of the Roayal House of Alderaan and a member of the High Council. I will order admiral Vestor to leave Endor's orbit immediately.' She said.
'Leia, be careful. I'll warn Mon Mothma and general Madine after the meeting.'
Their Force connection vanished.
"Could you reach master Antilles on Irithim, master?" Ian asked concerned.
"No, I couldn't. He and Yarmod are on Lumeara. He will warn the Supreme Chancellor and general Madine. We have to avoid a confrontation between that a Sith Lord and the Ewoks. If he is able to use Sith power to extract information about Liane, the Ewoks won't be able to resist him. I don't know how powerful he really is, and our little friends have to be protected. Do as I told you. As soon as I have settled this matter, we will leave too."
Several moments later Leia returned from her private cabin in her official ceremonial dress, wearing the the full distinctions and decorations of the Royal House of Alderaan.
"Be careful, master. May the Force be with you."
"Thank you, Ian. May the Force be with you. "
"Do you expect the Basilisæa to invade Endor?"
"They wouldn't dare. That would be an act of war. "
Leia left the shuttle and drove to the command center. When she entered the admiral of the Basilisaea whirled around. Leia sensed his confusion about her arrival.
"I didn't know you where here, Your Highness."
"I wasn't, admiral. Commander Lengko's message reached me on my way to Rasth," She said icily and quickly continued, "Your presence here is an infringement. Endor is a member of the New Republic. I order you to leave at once! Your shuttle landed without permission of the Endor officials and carries no proper identification. Our forces have been warned and are underway, they can arrive any moment. I've been informed that your command ship, the star destroyer Basilisæa has illegally gone into orbit around Endor. We will open fire without warning, if you haven't left this moon on the arrival of New Republic's forces."
Admiral Vestor looked at Leia with a mocking, cynical grin.
"Words, Your Highness, words, and lies, as always. Rasth is more than two days away from Endor. The New Republic space force can't bridge the gap between Endor and Dalmaran in a shorter time."
Leia stood her ground and shot back.
"How do you think I came here, commander? Commander Lengko warned me the moment the Basilisaea went into orbit, some ten hours ago. Rasth is nearly as afar away from Endor, as Dalmaran."
"You're suggesting you've come from Rasth within ten hours. Impossible!" The admiral snarled, "Even the fastest Imperial ships can't travel at such speed through hyperspace."
"What about the technology of overdrive hyper drive traveling, admiral. I remember that Imperial scientists were trying to implement it on the second Death Star, so it could be translocated at two times light speed."
"Even if you have managed to steal that technology it wouldn't be sufficient to be here so soon."
"What if our scientist have improved that imperial technology. Your ship can travel with three times light speed. We're going even faster now, six to eight times and more if necessary. You'd better leave Endor, admiral, otherwise you won't have a star destroyer to command."
Suddenly Commander Lengko walked into the room.
"Your Royal Highness, the New Republic space ships have announced their arrival. They are awaiting your commands."
"Thank you, commander," Leia answered keeping her official composure, "Tell them to close in on the Imperial star destroyer Basilisæa."
"Commander, I want a communication with the Basilisæa," Admiral Vestor said.
"I'll put her on screen, admiral," the commander said.
The large screen on the opposite wall flickered and Leia saw the command center on the Basilisæa.
"Report approaching ships, officer," Vestor snapped.
"Nothing to report, sir, except that all traffic to and from Endor has been postponed or prohibited. We picked up an official encrypted order that no ships are allowed to land or leave Endor. Our communication officers cracked the code immediately and it seems that the New Republican fleet will arrive any moment using a new technology of cloaked traveling. I guess, ..."
Leia chuckled imperceptibly, but kept her regal composure. Her old rebel friend Raman Lengko was fully supporting her powerplay. He had heard her bluffing about new developments of the New Republic's space fleet and had acted accordingly, by sending out a fake command to ground all traffic at the spaceport. It seemed that the Imperials had become a little nervous.
"I'm not interested in your guesses, officer. Prepare to move the Basilisæa out of orbit the moment my shuttle is back onboard," Vestor snapped.
He turned to Leia.
"I will leave, just as you ordered me, your Highness. At the moment I'm unable to prove that you're lying, but we will return and pick up what belongs to us."
"Thank you for your warning, admiral. I will make sure that you get a warm welcome after your arrival. You have your clearance to leave," Leia answered icily.
The admiral left the building and Leia saw him walking over to shuttle.
"Can you open the frequency with the Basilisæa, commander. I want to hear what is being said on board that ship, " She said.
Together with some of commander Lengko's trusted men they tracked the conversation between the shuttle and the officer in command on board of the Basilisæa. Leia saw the shuttle hover and vanish into space. Some minutes later they heard the confirmation of the shuttle's arrival in one of the Basilisæa's docking bays.
"The Basilisæa has started her sublight engines, commander," the officer on duty reported. He looked at the screen, "One, two, ... yes, she's gone into hyperspace."
Leia walked over to commander Lengko.
"Thank you. You're still an excellent partner, Raman," She said, laughing relieved.
"You're still excellent in this kind of show of strength, Your Highness. This time we won, but what about the commander's remark that he will come back?" Raman Lengko answered.
"I already have sent out a warning to Irithim. You probably will get reinforcements for several force groups. Especially to search for a group of men who has arrived on Endor while commodore Skywalker was staying in the Ewok village? "
"I can't recall their arrival, Your Highness. Do you know what kind of business they had?"
"Attack the Ewok village again, Raman. The Ewok leader told me that they have captured twelve men and left them far away form the village in the Endor jungle. Some four have died, but as my companion and me visited the Ewoks, we were attacked by another group of four."
"They must have landed somewhere in the forest area. Traffic control can't cover all incoming and outgoing ships yet, Your Highness. We're working on it and the system has already improved, but there are glitches and dark patches. For instance the forest around the Ewok-villages is difficult to spot. Can you tell why they were after the Ewoks?"
Leia shook her head.
"I'll send those reinforcements, Raman, to help your men to capture those rogues."
"We will be on our guard. Thank you, Your Highness."
"I want to leave immediately."
"You're all clear. You can take off whenever you want."
Leia nodded and wanted to leave, but she hesitated.
"Raman, can I have a look at your logs? I want to check the readouts of the ID-cards on the day my brother left."
Raman Lengko went to a console and typed his entrance code.
"Go ahead, Your Highness. If I may ask, what are you looking for?"
"I want to make sure, if my brother really has left Endor alone, as you told me. I'm almost certain that he has taken some one with him."
"I know commodore Skywalker had a special warrant to escort a person by the name of Solichor and bring her to Dalmaran, but when he left, he didn't report to me that he was taking some one with him. I would have known, for he would have needed my permission to take some one without an ID-card on board his space ship."
"That's right, Raman. Let me see. Yes, here's my brother entering the platform and here... Thank you, Raman, that's what I need to know," She looked up. "My brother has indeed left Endor, and he has taken my foster-sister with him."
Raman Lengko looked puzzled, but he was so wise not to ask any further questions.
Leia left the command center and drove back to her shuttle.
"Ian," she called, entering the ship. "Is she ready for take off? We have no business here any more."
Some twenty minutes later the official shuttle went into hyperspace and headed back to Irithim.
To be continued...