After enduring some good-natured teasing from Lando and Chewbacca about their lengthy absence, the couple joined the group for dinner and everyone headed to bed to prepare for their early departure the next morning. It took them two days to arrive on Arbra and meet up with the Rogue Squadron who was waiting for them there. That left the tiny group five days to figure out what they were going to do before the rendezvous over Omwat.
Not knowing exactly what they would find left the motley crew with little to plan. Once timing and some other tactical issues were squared away, Han and Leia were left with several days that they had virtually to themselves. Never being a very traditional couple anyway, the couple accepted this as probably the closest thing they would ever get to a honeymoon, and spent their days and nights accordingly.
Five days later, the entire Rogue Squadron along with the Millennium Falcon and Lando’s Skipray blastboat, The Winning Hand, dropped out of hyperspace and into realspace right outside the Omwat system. There was no huge battle already underway as they had prepared for. An armada of starships were hovered together over the nearby planet with the familiar markings of the Rebel Alliance. The party crashers were hailed by a fleet of B-wings and Y-wings and upon gaining clearance, were escorted onto one of the flagships.
Without much conversation or fanfare, Han, Leia, Lando, Luke and Admiral Ackbar were lead to a large conference room in the center of the starship. Upon entering the room, the heated discussions were abruptly silenced and the group was welcomed by the likes of Carlist Rieekan, Mon Mothma, Crix Madine and Jan Dodonna.
As room was made for Leia and Admiral Ackbar at the conference room table, Han, Lando and Luke took a seat along the outskirts of the room in some spectator chairs.
Once everyone was settled, it was Mon Mothma who spoke, “Let the records show that we have been joined by Admiral Ackbar of the Mon Calamari and Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan.”
“Solo,” Leia added simply and a murmur erupted throughout the room. She turned to the young woman scribing for the meeting and repeated, “Leia Organa Solo.”
“Well, congratulations,” Mon Mothma replied warmly before the meeting got back underway.
Leia remained silent as the discussions resumed. It didn’t take her long to figure out the issue. It seemed Mon Mothma was of a mind to actually try to make peace with the remnants of the Empire while Rieekan wanted no part of any such arrangements.
While she listened to both sides argue their points, Leia let her mind process the situation surrounding her. She reflected on her father’s words and her time as a Senator for Alderaan. Her thoughts were with her people and with the cause that had driven her for as long as she could remember. The painful memories of Alderaan’s destruction and all that she had lost under the tyrannical control of the Empire flooded her mind and she had to swallow the lump that had crawled up her throat and fight the tears that were begging to fall.
Leia turned her head towards General Rieekan’s voice as she realized he was addressing her.
Rieekan continued, “Everyone has weighed in. Would you like to offer us your opinion on the situation?”
She met the eyes of the man that had for all intents and purposes treated her as if she were his own daughter. And for the years that Leia had served with the Rebellion, following Alderaan’s destruction, she had looked upon him as a father-figure. His eyes were soft and sad and she gazed on them for a long moment.
When she spoke, she held her gaze with General Rieekan. “I think I have to agree with Mon.”
Another burst of hushed murmurs broke throughout the room. General Rieekan’s voice rose above the din and he asked her, “What about Alderaan? How can you turn your back on what they did to our people?”
“I’m not turning my back on them, I’m standing up for exactly what they died for – justice and democracy.”
The conversation around the room fell quiet and Leia continued, “If we continue to fight until we have total domination then we are no better than the Emperor or Vader was. It is not the total annihilation of the Empire that my father and the people of Alderaan stood for, and died for, and it is not what I thought this Alliance held at its heart.”
Her voice cracked just a bit and she took a deep breath before she said, “We stand for each person having a voice and a vote,” she shook her head and pushed the words out of her mouth, words that she knew were the right ones to say, “that includes…a Grand Moff who is fighting for the rights of his people just as much as it includes any one of us standing up here, for our people.”
Again there was a quiet murmur of conversation and Leia raised her voice a bit as she continued, “I have to admit that when I first heard of a treaty or a truce, my stomach…turned. But we have to look past our prejudices. Prejudices created by one or two deviant rulers who did not represent their entire populace.”
Her eyes moved around the table as she met the stare of each person gathered around there. The silence in the room was sobering and Leia spoke into it with strength to her words that came from knowing what was right. “The fall of the Republic came from the fall of democracy. From one side having more power than the all. Not even our side should try to rule in the same vain.”
(My condition from Zyra was that they had to leave the planet.)