After somehow managing to get down a ration bar she found in the cockpit, Leia had actually fallen asleep. The trip only took a few hours, and Artoo’s insistent beeping that awakened her told her that they were arriving.
She stretched as much as she could in the cramped cockpit, wondering momentarily how anyone could stand to fly in one of those things for long stretches of time when most pilots had longer legs than she did.
Her brief sleep had been dreamless, and judging how she felt upon awakening, also not very restful. Wiping the fog out of her eyes, she reached for the controls and her vision zeroed in on the large battle cruiser hovering in the distance. These were the coordinates that Wedge had sent her to, and this was where she hoped to get some more answers.
Once docked in the hangar bay, she exited the cockpit and noted that the dizziness she had been experiencing every time she tried to lift her head was finally subsiding, likely having something to do with finally being able to keep down some sustenance.
By the time her feet hit the ground after descending the ladder, she saw Wedge approaching her from his craft. “Come on, Leia. Let’s go.”
Tired of not getting answers, she held his arm and stopped him. “No, Wedge. Please, just tell me what’s going on. Where’s Luke? Does anyone have any idea where they’ve taken Han?”
She could see that Wedge understood her concerns and he looked off in the distance before turning back to her. “We don’t know where Luke is, at least not right now. When we last saw him, he had gone down to Coruscant after the battle to look for you and Han, but he found out you were taken. Apparently he did find Chewbacca and C-3PO. They took off in the Falcon to look for you. But we haven’t heard from them in weeks.”
Leia took a deep breath, unsure of whether this was good news or bad news. “And nobody has any idea where Han is?”
Wedge looked down at his feet and shook his head sadly. “No. I’m sorry. They took who they could from the rubble, hoping that with enough important hostages they could force the Rebellion to sign this ridiculous peace treaty. I don’t know what happened to Mothma and Madine. It’s like they just got tired of fighting. How many battles can we take without winning the war, you know? How many Death Stars do we have to take down before it’s over?”
Leia reached up and put a hand on Wedge’s shoulder. “I don’t know, Wedge. But we have to keep at it, you know?”
He looked up at her and gave her half a smile. “Funny you should say that,” he said.
“Oh, no. What are you up to? Where are we?”
Wedge took her arm and pulled her to follow him. “Think of it as a rebellion against the Rebellion, if you will.”
Leia just shook her head in amazement. It was nice to know that even in her absence at least some of these people understood the importance of taking down the Empire. The mere idea that they had signed a peace treaty sounded ridiculous. If she knew anything, she knew that the Empire’s idea of a peace treaty was simply getting the Rebellion to surrender and follow orders.
While obviously some of High Command had caved in to their demands, the galaxy would not be able to function under the rule of the Empire, whether the Emperor or Vader were still around or not. There was always another Sith Lord waiting to take over…
Wedge led her to a large briefing room where a few humans and Admiral Ackbar were standing around. “Leia!” She heard a familiar voice exclaim.
It was General Rieekan. He had never been one to show much emotion, but he couldn’t keep himself from rushing over and pulling her into a fatherly hug. Leia had forgotten how nice a warm hug could feel, and she returned it with what little strength she could muster.
The general leaned back to look at her. “You don’t look well. Are you all right to be walking around? We were so worried we’d lost you.”
“I’ve been better, but I think I’ll be all right, General. Please, just tell me what’s going on.”
Rieekan heaved a sigh. “It’s been hell since you were gone, Princess. There’s no better word to describe it. High Command argued for hours over whether or not to sign this so-called peace treaty. They had us over a barrel. They told us if we signed they’d release you.”
“Carlist, you know as well as I do that one life isn’t more important than the millions who are now under the rule of the Empire because of that decision.”
Rieekan shook his head. “Leia, you’ve already given so much to this cause, we didn’t want you to give your life as well.”
“You know I would have if given the choice.”
He nodded. “I know. But would you have given General Solo’s life? We’ve been told that they have him, and if we attempt to dishonor the treaty, they will torture him to death.”
Leia felt all of the blood drain from her face and had to rest a hand on Rieekan’s shoulder to steady herself. “So you know Han’s alive?”
Rieekan shook his head. “Honestly, we don’t know for certain. But we didn’t want to take the chance. Not yet, anyway. Not before we at least got you free. Commander Skywalker has been out trying to find him, but we lost track of him as well.”
Leia was starting to wonder if it would’ve been such a bad thing to have been left in her cell to die. “Carlist, I think I need to sit down.”
Push's condition to me was: Wedge has to know where Luke was last headed when he left them. Not too tough to follow. Things are definitely picking up now. You don't know what to expect anymore, do you?
Also, if you hadn't seen it already, we are asking our readers to go ahead and ask us anything you want to know in the comments section of this post.