|Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse
Author: GreatOne PM
Han gets into big trouble during negotiations with a strange culture for the RebellionRated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor - Han S. & Leia O. - Words: 2,722 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 4 - Published: 06-09-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5124576
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse
Han Solo couldn't believe it had been only two days since he'd been arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to die by drowning. What kind of people tied you buck naked to a durasteel post and watched as the tide came in, anyway? All because he'd asked some girl for a kiss! Sure, he'd only just met her a few seconds before, but he was joking, for kreth's sake! And he certainly didn't know the girl was the Potentate's daughter. Okay...so he did know that part, but it was the Potentate's fault he'd been drinking too much. These people were in dire need of a sense of humor.
The Corellian's thoughts drifted back to two days ago... a lifetime it seemed...
"Grand Potentate Tallis is a very strict man, Solo. You have to be very careful what you say to him." Leia Organahanded her pilot and guardian a long, handwritten list. "These are all the rules you have to follow. You need to memorize them, like I have. The Selear people are very rigid, and easily offended."
Solo took the carefully prepared list and crumpled it into a wad.
Glaring, Leia snapped out, "What's the matter? Can't you read?"
"I'll just follow your lead, your Worshipfulness. 'Sides, I'm much better at feeling my way around," he replied, leering meaningfully at her.
"That's just what I'm talking about," Leia said, exasperated. "You can't say things like that. We're trying to enlist this system's support, not push them into the lap of the Empire."
"Ah, don't get yourself so worked up. I'll tell them your lap is so much nicer than Palpatine's."
Giving a frustrated snort Leia stormed away, leaving the Corellian chuckling at her overwrought emotions. Leave it to Her Highnessness to exaggerate this planet's beliefs.
A few seconds later, Leia returned, shoving a box at him. "These are the clothes we're expected to wear. And blasters aren't allowed."
"I ain't going anywhere without - "
"Yes, you are," Leia interrupted. "They have laws. No weapons allowed, and we are not going to break their rules."
Han opened the box, pulling out a long, black robe with a solid white stripe running down the front from under the chin to the floor, a pair of white gloves, and black hood with the eye slitslined in white. "What the...?"
"People don't show each other what they look like, Solo. They don't even see the faces of the people they marry until their wedding night."
"You're kidding me."
The Princess let out a frustrated hiss. Solo could be incredibly annoying at times. "No. I'm not."
"How do they decide who they want to marry, if they can't see what the other looks like?"
"Parents arrange their children's marriages when they're a year old. It doesn't matter what they look like," Leia patiently explained. "This information was all on the flimsy you so nicely threw away."
Solo shook his head in dismay as he put on the robe, then pulled the hood over his face. With his voice slightly muffled, he informed the Princess, "I'll bet there are a lot of surprised Selears on their wedding night."
Quickly, Leia pulled her own hood over her head so the Corellian smuggler couldn't see her smile. "I know if it was me, and my parents had arranged for me to marry you, I'd die of fright on my wedding night."
"Nah... you'd be so overwhelmed by my stunning handsomeness, not to mention my manly attributes, you'd swoon in my arms and beg me to take your innocence."
"You are such an egomaniac, Solo." Leia turned and stalked away, glad Solo couldn't see her blush.
Fully covered from head to toe in heavy, loose black and white clothing, Han and Leia exited the Falcon, leaving behind an amused Wookiee, then made their way to the designated meeting place. Every single person they passed was dressed exactly in the same type of black and white robe and white gloves. It was impossible to tell the men from the women, unless you stared at the chest area and waited to see if movement showed any evidence of gender. Even then it was difficult.
The houses and businesses were morbid looking buildings, devoid of personality and character. The outer walls were checkered in black and white squares and none of the buildings had windows, only block numbers to let you know if you were at the right place.
Finally, they arrived at the somber looking, box-like palace. White metal walls, black and white tiled floor, white ceiling. No pictures, no sculptures, no plants. Nothing to break the monotony, other than the glaring, recessed lighting. It was as though the entire culture was allergic to color. If Leia was nervous or put-off by this planet, at least it was easy to hide beneath the cloaks. Han was getting jittery, wishing he had his blaster. This place was giving him the creeps.
The guards admitted them only after Leia gave them a detailed password, and the two Rebels were escorted to a long, narrow room. The only furniture was a black table, and matching white chairs. Only one person was currently sitting at the table, also dressed in black and white robes. The only difference with this person was a very ornate, bejeweled crown perched on top of his head. Han assumed this must be the Grand Potentate.
Princess Leia bowed deeply, then stuck her elbow sharply into Han's side. Reluctantly, the smuggler gave a half-hearted bow.
"You must be the esteemed Royal Princess Senator Leia Organa, the beautiful and graceful daughter of the late esteemed Royal Prince Bail Organa, and a very fine and handsome man he was," the Potentate boomed out loudly.
"Thank you, Grand Potentate of Selear. I appreciate your kind words," Leia said politely. She heard Solo give a muffled snort, and wished she could give him a swift kick in his ankle, but it would be too obvious.
"Have a seat, Royal Princess Senator Leia Organa," the Ruler ordered, sweeping his robed hand across the table. "And who is your escort, esteemed Royal Princess Senator Leia Organa?"
"This is Captain Han Solo, of Corellia," Leia said by way of introduction. Han gave a curt nod, refusing to bow a second time, but if Han had slighted the Potentate, it went unmentioned.
Both the Princess and Solo sat at the far end of the table, where the Selear escorts pulled out a chair for each of them. Han sat quietly, listening as Leia and the long-winded, and very loud, Potentate carried out detailed, and in the Corellian's mind, extremely boring, negotiations.
Five long hours later, Leia and the Potentate reached a tentative agreement on Selear supporting the Rebellion, in exchange for the promise of future trade favors once the Empire fell. It all sounded like a pile of giant bantha dung to Han.
The Grand Potentate stood up, indicating Leia and Han should do the same. "I would be honored if the esteemed Royal Princess Senator Leia Organa and her esteemed escort, Captain Han Solo of Corellia, would consent to join me, the Grand Potentate, for dinner."
"We would be honored to join you for dinner," Leia replied politely, bowing again. And again, Han refused to follow her lead.
As they walked a polite distance behind the Grand Ruler, Han leaned over and whispered to the Princess. "How the hell are we supposed to eat if we can't take off these hoods?"
"We'll just do whatever the Potentate does," she whispered back.
Dinner turned out to be one of the most bizarre meals of Han's life. The rules, as Leia whispered to him, turned out to be that the guests ate whatever the Potentate ate, in the exact order, and in the exact amount. If the Ruler ate three beans, the guests were then to eat three beans. If the Ruler took a mouthful of wine, then the guests took a mouthful of wine. And this was done by lifting your eating utensil, or glass, up under your head mask. And the Potentate liked his wine - a great deal.
By the end of the dinner, Han was feeling a bit tipsy, and judging by Leia's loud laughter at all of the Grand Ruler's lame jokes, the Corellian suspected the Princess was more than a bit tipsy.
Leaning over, Han decided it might be a good chance to flirt with the Princess. After all, how many times did he see her this loose? "Do ya think the Po'tater would mind if we dance?"
"Dance?" Leia giggled, then slapped Han's shoulder rather hard. "I don't hear any music... do you?"
That made the Princess give a very unladylike snort. "Sing? You? You probably sing like a drunken Gungan... with a head cold!"
The Potentate seemed to find this very amusing. Han did not. "I'll have you know I can sing. Sorta." Once the words left his mouth, he remembered that the only time he ever sang was when he was drunk. Still, that didn't mean he couldn't sing, did it? And he certainly wasn't drunk, just a bit lightheaded.
Leia's retort was cut short as another person entered the room. At first, Han assumed that it was just another waiter or waitress. Then the Potentate stood up, holding out his arms. "Bekki!" he cried happily. Han wondered how he knew one person from the other, unless Selearins had very keen senses of smell. The Ruler nodded toward his guests. "This is my beautiful daughter, Bekki. Bekki, this is the Royal Princess Senator Leia Organa and her escort, Captain Han Solo of Corellia. Say hello, Bekki."
"Hello," the girl/woman said obediently, and somewhat shyly.
Han stood up, bowing deeply to Bekki. "Would you like to dance with me, Bekki, daughter of the Grand Potentate of Selear?"
"Han..." Leia said, warningly.
Han ignored the Princess. If Leia wouldn't dance with him, he was prepared to dazzle this woman, just to show her Worshipfulness other females found him appealing. "If you don't wanna dance, how about a kiss?"
Sighing, Han sat down on his hard cot in the dark cell. That little sentence, spoken in jest, had caused all this turmoil and grief.
The Corellian wondered what time it was. According to his sentence, the tide came in shortly after dawn, so he was to be taken outside at first light, paraded through the public streets without clothes, and then chained to the post to await his watery fate. The Potentate had declared, rather pompously Han thought, that there was no greater humiliation than being naked in public.
Of course, the uproar had also caused the Grand Idiot Ruler to inform the Princess that the contract with the Rebellion was called off. Han didn't think that was any big deal. These people were all weird beyond words, anyway. The Rebellion was better off without them.
He just wished Leia felt that way, too. Thinking back to the trial, Han wondered if Leia was actually rooting for the Potentate to find him guilty...
Dragged before the Grand Potentate in heavy chains, but still in his robes, Han was pushed to his knees in front of the throne. A dozen spectators lined each side of the wall leading up to the throne, and Han assumed Leia must be one of those in attendance.
Clearing his throat loudly, the Grand Potentate yelled out across the room. "The charge is LEWD and LASCIVIOUS behavior toward the opposite sex. How do you plead, Captain Han Solo of Corellia?"
"OVERRULED!" the Ruler ruled. "Would you like to try again?"
Han was confused. "Try again?"
Then Leia's voice spoke up from along the wall. "He pleads Ignorance, your Grand Potentate."
"Are you representing this scalawag?" the Ruler asked, sounding miffed.
"Yes," Leia replied, stepping forward. "Captain Han Solo would like to apologize, and make any and all amends to your High Graciousness that you see fit. He was ignorant to your customs."
"Who says?" Han remarked to Leia.
"I say," she hissed under her breath.
"Whose trial is this, anyway?" Han argued back.
"DO YOU PLEAD IGNORANCE?" the Ruler shouted.
"NO!" Han yelled back, as Leia yelled, "YES!"
"I FIND YOU GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES!" the Grand Ruler continued on, in the same loud voice.
"Charges? I thought I was just charged with one count?"
"I, the Grand Potentate of Selear, find Captain Han Solo, GUILTY OF LEWD AND LASCIVIOUS BEHAVIOR toward MY daughter! And I find you guilty of IGNORANCE, of which there can be NO EXCUSE!"
"Thanks a lot," Han groused at the Princess.
"I was trying to help," she protested. "Honestly!"
Maybe the Grand Moron Potentate had a point. It turned out that being dragged through the streets of Selear wearing only heavy chains, while the local residents threw handfuls of mud at you, screaming the word 'IGNORANT' at you, was rather humiliating.
What was even worse, Han could see no evidence that either Leia or Chewie was going to attempt to rescue him. It occurred to Han that perhaps Leia hadn't even told the Wookiee about the trial and sentencing. She probably was mad enough that she wanted him to drown.
At the edge of town, Han was dragged out into the local mudflats, until the pounding surf was close enough that he felt the cool mist. A heavy steel post was anchored firmly into the thick mud, and the guards roughly tied him to the pillar. Then they hurried away, and Han could see why they were in such a rush to leave. The water was already several feet closer than it had been moments before.
In minutes, the cold water was around in ankles. It rose to his knees as the local residents stood on the dry beach, yelling in unison, "IGNORANT! IGNORANT!"
Then the water was around his waist, and rising rapidly. Over the roar of the crowd, Han heard a different sound - he tried twisting around to see the source of the familiar noise. Over the horizon, coming in fast, was the Falcon. Han hoped it was fast enough, because now the water was over his shoulders.
The saucer-shaped freighter made a sweeping turn over the city, and the Corellian could see the landing ramp was lowering. It was the last thing he saw before the water rushed over his head.
The next thing Han became aware of was a certain Princess leaning over him, giving him mouth to mouth resuscitation. Rolling over on his side, Han gagged out disgusting sea water. "That wasn't what I had in mind for a romantic kiss, Sweetheart," he managed to gasp.
"It wasn't too thrilling for me either, flyboy," Leia commented dryly, wiping her lips. "But I thought I owed it to you."
Groaning, Han sat up. "Owed me? I'm the one that messed up your deal with the Potentate."
"True, but I'm the one that got you sentenced to death."
Leia held up the wrinkled flimsy that she'd retrieved from the trash. "Apparently, the only crime on Selear that gets the Death Penalty is the crime of Ignorance."
Leia scrambled to her feet and backed away. "It was an accident, truly. I thought pleading Ignorance would get you a reprieve. I guess I didn't read their rules carefully enough."
Han stood up as well, suddenly realizing Leia had also thought to cover him with a blanket. So she made a mistake, Han decided. It wasn't like he was perfect - just almost perfect. He was about to thank her for saving his life, when she smiled sweetly at him.
"Are you sure women are overwhelmed by your manly attributes?"
She laughed and hurried away toward the safety of the cockpit as Han protested behind her, "It's the cold water!"
THE END (the ending inspired by that episode of "Seinfeld")