Leia spent the rest of the evening slumped over her desk and its customary mound of paperwork. Her meeting with Han had gone better than she expected. Begrudgingly, she admitted that Han had been somewhat civil and mature about the entire thing and although he had teased her a little, it wasn’t nearly as much as he could have given the circumstances.
Married to Han Solo. Ha! She still couldn’t get over the absurdity of the entire thing. What a cruel trick of fate that mission to Atzerri had been. This was the last thing that she needed to deal with or think about and the very last person that she wanted to feel somehow indebted to. After all, he was already keeping one secret, about how they had woken up together. Now she would be further beholden to him, so to speak.
But there was nothing she could about that now. She had only to concentrate on getting them out of the situation as painlessly as possible. Thumbing through a few datafiles, she pulled up the mission notes on the Atzerri operation. It shouldn’t be that difficult to get the High Council interested in reopening the case. There was still a trail of untouched credits waiting to be scooped up on that planet. The problem was Han. Although she was key to the mission, Han was most definitely not and after their cover had somehow been blown the first time, she was more than sure that the High Council would be more than a little hesitant to send the pair back for a second try. No, more than likely, another operative would be assigned to her and that just wouldn’t do at all. But a problem was much easier to solve when you were prepared for it.
“What about the mission to Atzerri?” Leia asked casually as the High Council meeting was drawing to a close.
“What about it?” Mon Mothma asked.
Leia took a deep breath, trying her best not to appear too eager. “Although Captain Solo and I had to abort the mission due to the burglary, there are still several depositories with large sums that we hadn’t visited yet. Those credits are still out there waiting. And I think we can all agree that now is not the time to leave any money on the table.”
Leia’s heart was racing inside of her chest. Of course nothing she said was untrue, but she couldn’t fight the feeling that everyone could see straight through her charade. That everyone somehow knew her little secret.
Mon looked over to Madine, her eyebrows lifted in question.
“She’s right,” Madine said. “There’s still plenty enough credits there to warrant a mission. And it’s been long enough that the heat’s probably cooled.”
“Enough to send Leia back? She’s the only one coded to open the accounts and I’m not comfortable sending her into known danger. These missions are dangerous enough as it is,” Rieekan interjected.
Leia usually appreciated the general’s concern, but right now she cursed it. Keeping her fingers crossed mentally, she awaited Madine’s reply.
“I wouldn’t send the Princess into a dangerous situation, General. I assure you,” Madine replied. “With that in mind, we’ll have to find a suitable operative to accompany her. Sending Solo back with her would be out of the question.”
Leia’s heart sunk. It was just as she had feared. But all hope was not lost…yet.
“Well, that puts a limit on things doesn’t it? He’s about the only civilian ship we have docked right now. Everyone else is preparing for the move,” Rieekan said.
Rieekan’s point was the one she had been counting on and she thought it a stroke of luck that he was the one to mention it and not her. “The Captain may still be of use,” she said as all eyes turned to her. “We could take the Falcon, as before. But this time, Chewbacca could accompany me. He didn’t leave the ship the last time and I’d be less likely to get burglarized with a Wookiee at my side.”
She hated insinuating that she would be safer with Chewbacca than Han, knowing that Han’s ego would take a blow to hear her say it, but he would have to get over it. It was for the good of their marriage! Or to the end of it, at least!
“That would definitely work. Quick thinking, as always, Princess,” Madine said.
Rieekan still looked less-than-pleased, but she would deal with him later. A few logistical comments volleyed back and forth across the table, but in the end, it was settled.
Leia leaned back in her chair, her brain unable to absorb much of anything now that she had cleared this hurdle. The High Princess of Alderaan would be traveling to Atzerri to get a quickie divorce. As her eyes roamed over the faces round the table, she wondered how all of them would react to such news as that. The disdainful glare from Mon Mothma. Shock from Madine. Confusion and perhaps hurt from Rieekan. That infamous reproach of Jan Dodonna’s. She could also imagine the vultures in the holorags foaming at the mouth to get the scoop of this story. She could see the pictures scattered across the holonet of her and Han. Imagine the speculation surrounding the affair. And then there was one more look that crossed her mind. Han Solo’s smirk. His cocky, arrogant, smug grin that she could see him wearing during the entire ordeal. Oh, that man! Why did it have to be that man?