Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Negotiating With the Enemy


The entire room fell silent as Leia’s words sunk in. Han had always understood and shared Leia’s hatred for the Empire, and he knew that she would not take this kind of decision lightly. Nor did he think that she would easily so strongly disagree with General Rieekan’s view on things. With the Emperor and Vader gone, maybe it was possible that they could all reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

He wished he was close enough to her to at least hold her hand in reassurance.

It was Rieekan who spoke first, disappointment evident on his face. As though his own daughter had just betrayed him. “I thought you, of all people, would understand how important it is to continue to fight for our freedom.”

“Freedom from what, exactly?” Leia responded, her emotions starting to show through her voice. “The Emperor wanted control of everyone and everything, and he’s gone now. Perhaps now that we have been given the opportunity to actually talk to them we might actually be able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Maybe we can actually stop running and hiding and live a normal existence.”

Han and Leia had discussed many times how nice things would be if they could actually live something close to what most people considered normal. He knew how much she longed for that life. And he knew that she was likely to do whatever it took to get there.

Rieekan sighed. “I hope you realize what it is that you are preparing us to agree to.”

“I am quite aware, thank you. And there is no reason why we have to agree to anything that we find isn’t in our best interest. There is no harm in talking. Which is something that they have always been unwilling to do. We can always say no.”

Rieekan said nothing, so Mon Mothma interjected. “Thank you, Leia. Well, then, unless anyone else has any arguments against it, I suspect this means that we will be meeting with their negotiators as scheduled.”

All eyes glanced around the room, and more than a few looked as though they wanted to say something, but remained silent.

“Then it’s settled,” she said. “In three days we will start the negotiations. Meeting adjourned.”

Han stood immediately and walked over to Leia, subtly taking her hand in his and giving it a gentle squeeze. He didn’t have time to say anything before Rieekan walked up to her.

“I suppose I owe you some congratulations,” he said. Neither Han nor Leia expected those to be the first words he spoke to them.

“Thank you, General,” Leia said.

The general looked at both of them and smiled. “Your father would be happy for you,” he said sincerely.

Han looked down at Leia, feeling that he himself wasn’t quite sure if any father would be all that thrilled that his daughter had married a man like him. But if Rieekan thought so…

Leia’s eyes became glassy with tears and she reached out and clasped Rieekan’s wrist and smiled. “Thank you. I know he would.”

Rieekan reached up and put a hand on Han’s shoulder. “Take good care of her, Solo.”

Han looked down at his love and then back at the man in front of him. “I will, General.”

Rieekan smiled one more time and then moved out of the room. Han wrapped an arm around Leia’s shoulders and kissed her forehead. “Do you think we’re doing the right thing?” Leia asked.
He rested his chin on top of her head. “Sweetheart, I know you wouldn’t have us do anything that wasn’t in our best interest. And I know how hard it must be for you to even consider making peace with the Empire.”

She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a squeeze. “I’m glad you think so.”


A mere two days later they had arrived to meet up with the Empire. Han knew that Leia would never have expected to even entertain the idea of trying to make peace with the Empire, but then again, he was pretty sure she never expected to wind up marrying an ex-smuggler, either. Stranger things had happened.

While Han was no negotiator, he did still hold his rank as General, and Leia had insisted that he come along and be by her side during all of this.

The negotiations would take place over Endor, of all places. Without any military of their own and without any real ties to any government given their primitive ways, it seemed as good a place as any. When the green planet came into view, Han thought back to all of the things that had happened the last time they were there. The war that they’d all thought was finally over, the deaths of the Emperor and Vader, Leia telling him that Luke was her brother and the realization that he would no longer have to battle anyone for her affections.

They stood at the bridge of the flagship, staring out of the viewport in silence. He reached over and clasped her hand, trying to tell her that things would be all right.

Once in orbit around Endor, Han, Leia, Mon Mothma and Rieekan boarded a small transport shuttle to take down to the planet. The rest would be brought down later, once the initial negotiations had taken place. The ship landed on the landing platform the Empire had erected near the shield generator not so long ago.

Once docked and with the ramp lowered, Han took Leia’s hand and looked at her. “You ready?”

“As I’ll ever be,” she replied, not releasing his hand as they made their way to the exit. Rieekan led the way while Han and Leia were next and Mon Mothma trailing behind.

There in front of them were several Imperial officers, all clad in their dark green uniforms. While in theory this idea had initially made sense to him, Han suddenly felt a knot of uneasiness in his stomach and felt Leia’s pace slow as they continued moving forward. She didn’t seem to like this anymore, either.

“Welcome, Your Highness,” one of the officers said as he stepped forward. “Welcome back to Endor.”

Leia swallowed next to him, and she spoke up a little more quietly than Han would’ve expected. “Thank you.”

“I understand you wish to negotiate with us?”

“That is correct,” Leia replied.

“Well,” the officer said. “We are going to make this all very easy. You come with us quietly, and we won’t kill you.”

Han couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He turned around to see Mon Mothma step out from behind them and walk over to join the officers before she said, “I’m sorry it has to be this way.”

Rieekan looked shocked. “How could you do this? Have you always been-“

“No,” she cut him off. “Not always. But how long are we supposed to keep fighting, Carlist? It’s better this way.”

“So you think,” he said, his face conveying the betrayal they all felt.

Leia spoke next. “But why would you help me get Han free in the first place? Why set any of us free if you were only going to bring us into this trap?”

It was the officer who responded. “This is far more than just having you under our control, Princess. We intend to make your Alliance believe that we have reached an agreement, when in actuality, we will simply be the ones in control. They will continue to take their orders from Mon Mothma, and we will continue to rule the galaxy as we see fit.

“Like hell you will,” Han said as he reached for his blaster.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, General Solo,” the officer said.

“Lucky for all of us you’re not me,” he said, preparing to fire.

The blast hit one of the officers, though not the one who had done most of the speaking. The retaliating fire made Han wince, only the bolt didn’t hit him.

He felt Leia collapsing against his side and instantly he reached down and caught her before she hit the ground. Crouched down beside her, he searched her face, noting the pain there but also noting that she was still fully conscious. One of his arms found her shoulder and the blood that oozed from it.

Finally, her eyes met his and she mouthed, “I’m okay,” and he felt a huge sense of relief before he felt the rage taking over. Looking up to his attackers, he brought his blaster back up and aimed to fire, but he found a series of blasters trained on both him and Leia.

“The next one goes right between her eyes,” he heard one of them mutter. As much as he wanted to blast every one of them for even thinking about hurting her, he knew that even he wouldn’t be able to take out all of them before either he or Leia was dead.

Reluctantly, he threw down his blaster and looked at their attackers. He tried to silently will them dead with only his eyes, and for a moment he thought that maybe it had worked.

That is, until he realized that the laser blasts that came out of nowhere to take down their attackers had come from above, and certainly not from his blaster. Han looked up to see Luke’s X-wing, showering their enemies with direct hits and ensuring that there would be no more retaliating blaster fire. He cradled Leia in his arms to protect her instinctively, even though he knew that her brother never did anything accidentally.

With the Imperials taken down, Han surveyed the damage quickly, grabbed his blaster off the ground and then helped ease Leia to her feet and back onto their shuttle to return to the flagship. “Come on!” He shouted to Rieekan who appeared to have made his way over to where Mon Mothma was lying lifeless.

The general followed close behind and the three left what Han was sure would be their last attempt at negotiating with the Empire.

Look at me, actually adding a plot twist. I don't know what came over me. I just felt like Push was the only one who had really moved the plot along and I had been filling it all in with useless crap so I decided to try and shake things up. Push's condition to me was that Leia had to get hurt. Not too bad, though. So it's not really my fault Leia got shot.


  1. I remember when I first got this update from Zyra, I was stunned. Great plot twist. I certainly wasn't expecting it. I thought we were close to wrapping this story up and then this... It was good though and I had to go back to the drawing board...

  2. I loved the plot twist. : ) I couldn't keep my eyes from wandering ahead.

  3. I was not expecting that...though maybe I should have since I mean, they were dealing with punk ass imperials! And poor Leia, people always shooting her in the arm. Awesome.