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Marie Wadsworth

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SWFF: Last of the Jedi Episode VIII
By Marie Wadsworth
Saturday, April 21, 2012

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Recent stories by Marie Wadsworth
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Leia spends the night worrying about Han and Luke. Han reports he found Luke and they were involved in an Imperial attack off Tatooine. Luke and his friend, Wedge have a drink. A tribute to Episode II in this episode.


Episode VIII

Leia didn't sleep that night. Her thoughts focused on the two men she loved. She silently prayed an Alderaain prayer for them. She hoped they were all right. It concerned her that she didn't know where they were.
Dragging with fatigue, she walked to her office. A young courier respectively nodded toward her.
"A word with you, Leia," Mon Monthma requested.
She turned. "Yes?"
The elder states woman had a grave expression etched into her wrinkled face. "I've recently received reports that three Alliance ships took on 10 Imperial ships near Tatooine last night."
She inhaled a sharp breath, which she tried to cover up with her hand, at the mention of Luke's home planet. She hadn't considered the possibility her brother might go there after what had transpired at the diplomatic dinner last night.
Mothma gazed at her concerned. "Leia, are you okay?"
She didn't answer. A loud ruckus outside the door caught her attention.
A courier rushed over to them out of breath. "This guy is crazy. He thinks he can come in here and see Princess Leia without submitting to a security check."
"Is that so, General Solo?" Mothma said with a smile.
Not recognizing Han, the courier shifted to hide his embarrassment. "My apologies, General Solo."
"Forget it," Han said, dismissing it.
Leia looked at him teasingly. "You wanted to see me, General?"
"I found Luke," he said.
"Where was he?"
"Tatooine," he said with distaste. "For a reason that's beyond me."
"Don't tell me you two were in that mess," Leia said suspecting Han and Luke had been in the recent battle with the Imperials.
"Yeah, you know me," Han quipped. "I'm not too good at avoiding Imperial entanglements."
Leia shook her head.
"I'd like a full report, if you don't mind, Han," Mothma said.
"Not much to report. Wedge and I took out a few but the Kid took out six of the 10 Ties," Han replied. "Lately there's been a lot of Imperials causing problems all over the galaxy."
Mothma frowned slightly. Han's assessment of the situation was accurate. As the Alliance tried to mop up the last remnants of the Imperial fleet, there had been many attacks.
Concerned Han watched the respected Alliance leader walk away. "She's not too happy about all this, is she?"
"Would you be?" Leia asked rhetorically. "It's stuff like this that makes it even more important for more systems to join the Alliance."
"Can't we keep people like Queen Everon out of the Alliance?" the smuggler asked.
"I wish we could," she said with a sigh, "but we can't afford to do that no matter how annoying she is."
The wise-cracking Correlian's frown matched hers. "I hear ya."
"The bad thing is the Tion Cluster where Queen Everon rules has the resources to help us get rid of our sticky Imperial friends," Leia said. "So we have to entertain the notion of trying to get the queen to help us."
"How exactly are you going to do that?"
"I haven't figured that out yet," she said. "But I will."
"Well, you could think it over while you're taking a couple hours with me," he said suggestively.
She heard the underlying meaning in his suggestion. He'd asked her to make love to him before, but since the Alliance's victory over the Empire his requests had become more frequent. She constantly refused him even though she loved Han very much.
Mothma rejoined them. "Sorry to interrupt, but the queen's messenger wants to know when you plan to meet with her, Leia."
She gazed at Han. She'd take him up on his suggestion. The queen could wait.
"Tell her I'll meet with her this evening," Leia said, her arms slithering around Han's as she steered him out the door.
**
Luke made a flawless landing in the hangar.
He powered down his X-Wing. He pushed the canopy to the rear to open it. He regretfully dragged himself out of his seat.
Artoo whirred at him; he smiled. He gracefully threw himself over the hull, sliding down the side.
"Hey!" A familiar voice yelled.
He turned. Wedge waved at him; his smile broadened.
Wedge grinned. "I should have known you were doing all that fancy flying. I don't know any pilot who can fly that well."
He laughed appreciatively, shaking his head to dismiss his friend's compliment. As far as he was concerned Wedge was as good a pilot as he was.
Wedge offered. "Why don't we go have a drink?"
"Sure," he said easily.
"Great," Wedge said. "Let's go."
He glanced down at himself. His lightsaber was in clear view, an obvious statement that he was a Jedi Knight.
His eyes twinkled with amusement. "What like this?"
Wedge gestured at his wrinkled, worn and bright orange flight suit. "Why not? I'm going like this."
His gaze drifted toward the weapon hanging from his belt. "Going like this is a bit obvious, don't you think?"
Wedge realized his Jedi friend meant his lightsaber hanging in clear view. He laughed. "So?"
Luke laughed softly. He removed his belt from around his cassock. He secured his utility belt around his waist and tightly pulled his cassock over his body.
He grinned. "This is a little better, don't you think?"
Wedge rested his hand on his Jedi friend's shoulder. The two friends exchanged grins.
"Come on, let's go have a drink," Wedge said as they walked out of the hangar.
*
Luke and Wedge entered the cantina. This particular cantina was a frequent pilot hang out even though aliens and other unsavory types patronized it.
Dim lights accented the club. Liquor was everywhere. Patrons played sabaac while others just chatted as galactic jizz droned.
Several patrons stared at the two friends. Wedge and Luke didn't pay any attention. They took two vacant seats along the bar.
A wry smile crossed his lips. He recalled how Ben had referred to Mos Eisley's cantina as "a wrecked hive of scum and villainy." But this place had to be worse.
A strange creature slid up on the seat to his left. The creature slowly set his drink on the counter top.
The creature fixed his gaze intently on Luke. "Wanna buy some death sticks?"
Locking his eyes on the strange creature's, he summoned the Force. "You don't want to sell me death sticks. You want to go home and rethink your life."
"I don't want to sell you death sticks. I want to go home and rethink my life," the creature repeated rising and then leaving the bar.
Wedge looked at his friend. "What was that all about?"
"Nothing," he said waving dismissively.
The burly bartender approached them. He wiped the inside of a huge mug.
Wearing a disgusted expression, he grumbled. "What can I get for you?"
"Correllian whiskey and leave the bottle," Wedge said. "Oh, and whatever he wants."
He weighed his choices. Not ordering an alcoholic drink would certainly earn him some harsh ribbings about being too goody two shoed to indulge, but he knew drinking in his current emotional state was wrong.
"I'll take hot chocolate," he said quietly.
The bartender stared at him like he was a wacko.
Wedge snapped his fingers, roughly ordering the bartender. "You heard the man."
Two ruly patrons who had overheard Luke's order chuckled. A lanky humanoid stumbled toward the Jedi. His glazed eyes grazed over Luke. He slurred. "Whhaaahuutt doeonn'tst Jedi Knights driinkkks?"
His companion laughed uproarishly. "Drinkinssssssss notsssss ssssometinsssssss Jedisssssss doessssss. Ain't in they'ssssss principlessss."
They sniggered. He ignored them.
The bartender brought them their drinks. He slapped their drinks on the bar. His gaze bored rudely into Luke.
Wedge slid a few credits forward across the bar. He neglected to give the bartender a tip.
The bartender scowled at Wedge. Sensing trouble, Luke lifted his gaze to meet the bartender's. The man understood Luke's unspoken intentions. He backed off and went about serving other customers.
Wedge didn't comment about the brief conflict. Instead, he slammed shots of Correllian whiskey in rapid succession while Luke cautiously sipped the hot beverage two female Jedi Knights had introduced him to not too long ago.
Lowering his mug, he gazed at his friend. "Why are you looking for pilots for Rogue Squadron, Wedge?"
"With all the Imperial problems lately, I figured Rogue Squadron is exactly what the Alliance needs, but I haven't discussed the idea with Ackbar yet," Wedge said. "Besides, reforming Rogue Squadron without you wouldn't be right."
"I'm flattered," Luke smiled. "Believe me there's nothing I wouldn't like to do more than to fly in Rogue Squadron again, but I think Mothma has a few things she wants me to do."
"Like finding and training other Jedis, right?"
"Sort of," he said, thinking about the time it would take him to train Leia as a Jedi if she asked him. "I'm not sure there are other Jedis. The only other person I know with Force potential is General Dadonna."
"General Dadonna?" Wedge said surprised. "Isn't he kinda old?"
He'd been 22 years old when he'd started training. Yoda had told Obi-Wan he was too old to start the training.
He hadn't known what to make of that remark then and didn't know what to make of it now. Was age a concern when it came to Jedi training? And if it was, how old was too old to begin training? He wished he could ask Ben or Yoda, but they weren't here.
"I don't think age has anything to do with it." Luke said. "But I'm not really hard pressed to find other Jedi right now."
Wedge poured himself some more Correllian whiskey. "So what are you going to do, Luke?"
"I'm not much for politics," he said dryly. "But Mothma wants me to be involved in helping form the Alliance's new government."
Wedge shook his head. "I wouldn't want that job. But hey, look, if you ever want to take a break you're welcome to fly with Rogue Squadron."
"Thanks," Luke smiled. "I'll keep that in mind."

 


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