Did you think we forgot about you? We didn't, we'd just been really busy and wanted to make sure we had a decent amount written before we started posting and found ourselves under the gun. We are planning on only posting a new chapter every Friday, but we'll see if that changes. Without further ado, here is our second joint story, the plot chosen by you!
Leia Organa was almost positive that her heart had temporarily stopped beating. After the initial shock, she finally inhaled, almost choking in the process. Blinking rapidly, she hoped that somehow it was all an illusion of unfocused eyes. But her vision, as always, was crystal clear. There was no mistaking the information she had just received.
She wanted to hurl the datapad across the room and shatter it into a thousand tiny pieces. But she remembered that the Rebellion could not afford to have her haphazardly destroying its property in random fits of rage. If she succumbed to that every urge, it might be almost a daily occurrence thanks mostly in part to one obnoxious smuggler.
Speaking of whom, she wondered if under the circumstances it might be all right to literally kill him. It would be the swiftest course of action to right this wrong. The problem was, while she wanted desperately to blame him and scream at him and take out her frustration and anger in telling him it was all his fault, she was fairly sure he was just as clueless as he had been.
But then, if he didn’t know, should she even bother to tell him? He deserved to know about such a thing, didn’t he? Most often she didn’t think he deserved much more than a kick to the shins but somehow she wasn’t sure that she could keep something like this to herself.
Their relationship to that point had been… volatile, at best. The moment they’d met they’d simply referred to each other with sarcastic terms of ‘endearment’ in the midst of a hasty and ill-planned escape. “Maybe you’d like it back in your cell, Your Highness.” And, “He’s the brains, sweetheart.” Once upon a time she had thought it would be a lovely thing someday when a man would call her sweetheart. But it sounded bitter coming from that loud Corellian mouth.
She’d given it right back with, “Into the garbage chute, Flyboy!” Her attempts at ordering him around – even if her taking control of the situation had actually saved their lives – did not amuse him and it certainly didn’t give him cause to express gratitude for not letting them all get vaporized on the prison level. That ungrateful, conceited, infuriating…
Realizing her hands were clenched in tight fists, she consciously relaxed the tense muscles in her body. This couldn’t be true. It had to be some sort of horrible mistake. Was it the Rogues? Even they wouldn’t have gone this far. Perhaps Han himself? Could he think something like this would be funny? She suspected he might be as horrified as she was to learn the news.
Composing herself, she decided it was necessary to confront the arrogant Corellian and hope that he would cooperate in taking care of this immediately. She smoothed out the front of her snowsuit by force of habit, as the garment didn’t tend to wrinkle and if it did, given the circumstances of being trapped on a base on this frozen planet, nobody would care or notice. She sometimes wondered why she even bothered braiding her hair so elaborately when nobody looked at her as anything more than a ruthless leader. She might as well shave her head and cut down on hair-washing time.
Palming the door to her quarters, it slid open to the icy corridors of the Rebel base on Hoth. They had been stationed there for roughly two months now, and Leia had still not gotten used to the cold. It constantly bit her down to the core while she futilely attempted to pretend she didn’t notice. She longed for the warm summers of her home planet of Alderaan, lying in the sun by the ocean and feeling the gentle breezes.
Instead, she was stuck with an entire base built of ice, meaning it could not be warmed or it would melt. To step outside meant blizzards and sometimes stinging wind that gave you frostbite in only a few seconds of exposure. Sure, the sun would shine a fair amount of the time as well, but she would be deluded if she thought it might warm her skin at all. While its rays might cause a sunburn if you went out for too long, you would never sense any heat.
This was why this planet was such a perfect place for a hidden base. It would never be suspected that anyone would go there on purpose as it was barely inhabitable. It required constant replenishing of supplies from off-planet, which, fortunately, meant a lot of traveling for a certain freighter pilot. Her anxiety level always dropped dramatically when she was sure she wouldn’t run into him for a few days.
But now she needed to see him. Badly. And she was not looking forward to this confrontation. She stalked down the icy hallways passing various Rebels going about their daily business without giving her a second look, heading straight for the designated hangar where the Falcon usually sat between supply runs and when it wasn’t functioning and needed extensive repairs – which seemed to be quite often.
Rounding the final corner, she felt her stomach drop when she saw a big, vacant space where the Corellian freighter usually sat.
“Hey, Leia!” the excited voice of Luke Skywalker made her jump as she turned to face him as he approached her from her left.
“Do you know where Han is?” She spoke the words without even taking a breath, surprised at her own abruptness and feeling a little guilty for not even giving her best friend the courtesy of a greeting.
He stopped short of her, noticing her anxiety. “I think he’s due back from a supply run pretty soon. Is everything all right?”
He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and she only wished that the warm gesture would be enough to make her feel a little better. But she managed to calm a bit before responding. “Oh, sorry, of course. Everything is fine. I’ve just got some supplies that need picking up on Dantooine.”
“Well, I’m sure he’ll be back soon. Come on, let’s go get some breakfast.”
Leia followed absently, having trouble moving one foot in front of the other. How could she tell him that things were anything but all right?