High Court, New Republic, Coruscant, Six Months Later…
Some of the last of the remaining Imperials were standing trial in court as the New Republic continued to establish itself as the new galactic government. Leia Solo sat in the courtroom next to her husband, his hand laying protectively over hers. It had been months and months of trials and guilty verdicts and although Leia and Han hadn’t found it necessary to be present at every single one, there were a few that they couldn’t miss. This was one of them.
After so much of the Imperial Remnant had been swept away, this particular group of engineers and commanders had not only been difficult to find, but their capture had been highly anticipated by many. They were responsible for the development and deployment of most all of the Empire’s sadistic torture machines and weapons of mass destruction, including the interrogator droid that Leia had faced on the Death Star, the scan grid that Han had been strapped to on Bespin and the planet-destroying terror that was the Death Star itself.
As a tidy list of the expansive and gruesome devastation that the creations of these men and women had created was read aloud, Leia placed her hand upon her swollen belly and caressed it. As much as she tried to remain impassive and removed from the proceedings, clearly her discomfiture was being felt by her highly adept, Force-sensitive son that was growing inside of her. Han squeezed her other hand and glanced at her worriedly. She offered a reassuring smile as the judge called the courtroom to silence to announce the verdicts.
She and Han rose to their feet along with the prosecution, defendants and the rest of the spectators. It had been much easier to pursue justice on the Grand Moffs and other leaders who had ordered the total annihilation of entire cities or the torture of innocent citizens, but these cases and charges were not as clear cut. Many of the engineers asserted that they had no idea what the Empire was doing with their research and discoveries. However, with names like Death Star and The Agony Inducer already penned in their laboratories, it had been argued that it was nearly impossible for the inventors to be completely oblivious to their final uses.
The most damning evidence, in the end, was the fact that this same research facility recreated a bigger and better Death Star even after the destruction of Leia’s home planet of Alderaan by the first one of the same name. There was another twitch in Leia’s abdomen as she waited for the judge to read the final verdicts. She did not wish to see these people face corporate punishment, but she certainly hoped that they would spend the rest of their lives in a New Republic prison contemplating how they had chosen to utilize their goddess-given gifts.
Nothing could bring back that which these people had taken away, but at the very least, justice could be served and as these were the last to stand trial, this part of her life, of everyone’s life, could finally be laid to rest. After today’s proceedings, the New Republic and the galaxy with it, could truly begin anew, no longer with their attention focused on the past but with their eyes to the future.
The judge read the first of the charges. Leia’s stomach tightened. “Guilty,” the judge stated flatly and Leia slowly released the breath she had been holding.
Han wrapped his arm around her shoulders and squeezed. Leia ran her hand over her stomach. The judge read the next set of charges. The word rolled off the judge’s lips again, “Guilty.”
“It’s almost over, sweetheart,” Han whispered in her ear while the judge read the next set of charges. Some beings in the courtroom had begun whimpering, sniffling and some others even exclaiming in triumphant outbursts.
The judge had to call for order before he read the next verdict. Leia felt a twinge run along her stomach in anticipation. “Guilty,” was pronounced once again.
Leia closed her eyes and pressed her face against Han’s chest. He hugged her more tightly and kissed the top of her head. She would not let the tears come forth. All her tears had been shed years ago, all her grief released. Today was not about her loss or her pain but about freedom and closure. A million guilty verdicts wouldn’t compensate for the lives taken by the hands of the Empire and a million years may not heal all of the physical and mental wounds.
“Guilty.” She heard the word once again and it rippled through the crowd like a tumultuous wave.
She and Han had been sitting in an audience chamber that was supposed to be separated from the general populace but after the judge had begun to announce the verdicts it seemed that security had been overwhelmed by agitated beings. The noise of the courtroom had reached a crescendo and her stomach twisted painfully. The large human next to her jostled against her roughly and she had to struggle to maintain her footing as off-balanced as she was in her current state.
“Han, I think we should go,” she said, pulling away from him and looking up at his face.
“Yeah, I think you’re right,” he agreed as he began to guide her cautiously through the maddening crowd.
The exit was deadlocked in a bottle neck of beings trying to leave the courtroom and Han and Leia patiently tried to work their way through. Another pain, this one shooting and sharp, rippled across her stomach nearly making her hunch over from its affect. Disassociating herself from the emotional turmoil of the courtroom, Leia centered her thoughts on her body and concentrated.
“Han,” she breathed out, squeezing his hand to get his attention. “We need to get out of here.”
“I know, sweetheart. I’m trying.”
“No, I mean,” she hesitated, working through another wave of pain. “We need to get to a hospital. I think the baby’s coming.”
Han’s face blanched white for a quick moment before it was replaced by the grim determination she had had so many occasions to witness throughout their relationship. Suddenly the wall of humans and aliens that had stood before them began to part as if by a miracle or some sort of Force trick that Luke would’ve done. But it wasn’t the Force, or any miracle, just an overprotective, crazy Corellian that let nothing stand in the way of safety and those that he loved.
Han was letting out low, guttural growls of warning that would’ve made Chewbacca proud as he led Leia through the wide path that people had begun to make for them. As soon as they were in the great hallway of the courthouse, Han began calling for a medic on both his comlink and into the air for anyone within a parsec away to hear.
As the crowd thinned, Han had picked up his pace still speaking rapidly into his comlink, but Leia was hard-pressed to keep up with him, especially in her current condition. “Han, slow down. I can’t keep up with you,” she pleaded.
He turned back to look at her, almost as if he had forgotten about her in his hurried panic. What exactly he saw, she didn’t know. But it was enough to motivate him to scoop her up in his arms and head for the exit in long, loping strides.
Once outside, they were finally ushered into an awaiting ambulance and the medics began to hook Leia up to scanners and various monitors.
“Han?” Leia called out. Now, lying on her back she could only see the metal ceiling of the ambulance and three strangers hovering over her busily.
“I’m right here, sweetheart.”
She heard his voice and felt him squeeze her hand and she breathed a little easier.
“How is she fellas?” Han asked, from what she could tell he was hovering somewhere around her stomach.
“Her heart rate is elevated, keep talking to her. We’re trying to get a read on the baby,” one of the medics answered, the one to her left who was currently poking her in the arm.
“Her heart rate is always elevated when I’m around, that’s what got us into this mess in the first place,” Han joked, giving her hand another squeeze. “Try to calm down, sweetheart. They’ll be plenty of time for that later.”
Leia shook her head and smiled. If she wasn’t currently tethered to a million different monitors she would’ve slapped him. Her stomach tightened and she concentrated on working through another contraction. As the fist of pain loosened its grip on her, she replied, “You may never get another chance to get me in this condition, flyboy.”
“You’re doing great. Your heart rate is leveling. The baby’s sounding fine.” This came from the medic on her right and she breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
“Call Luke,” she whispered as the ambulance turned a corner and began to climb up an incline.
“Already done. He pinged me about ten seconds after you asked to go to the hospital. You’d think he was in labor, too.”
“Chewie?” She asked.
“Covered. And Rieekan, Lando, Mon Mothma, the entire Alliance is on alert. It’s like another Death Star is entering the galaxy.”
“Not funny,” she replied as her brain began to catch up with the entire situation. After nine months of waiting it was hardly conceivable that the time was finally here and no matter how much they had planned and talked about this, it still seemed…unexpected. “Are you ready for this?” She asked, trying to lift her head and find him.
“Would it matter if I said no?” He joked back as he slid a little forward so that she could see his face.
“I guess not.” She laid her head back down on the pillow and breathed deeply.
He ran his hand along her forehead and then down her cheek. “How 'bout you? Are you ready?”
She nodded her head and smiled at him. Out of every role that had been thrust upon her in her life, princess, politician, rebel, none had seemed to come easier and more naturally to her than wife and now mother. “I can’t wait to meet our son,” she finally answered him as another crushing contraction began to bear down on her.
Han held her hand and watched the monitors spike in distress. “I think the feeling’s mutual,” he muttered as he stood helplessly by her side.
To Be Continued....
To Be Continued....