Happy Thanksgiving Ladies and Gents! We have here a nice, succulent 12,000 word chapter for you to enjoy with Turkey, mashed potato, and most importantly, cranberry sauce.
Looking at this story, it has been far longer than intended with regards to updates. Personal life only continues to get more complex, with the arrival of a little one and yet another job change, this time intentional and for the better. Still, it does not allow for much time to peruse this hobby, and for that, I apologize to you, dearest readers(voice dripping with faux sincerity).
On another note, I've run afoul of some questionable content in my works recently, so I'm putting a quick heads up in place, for those of you that are easily offended. THERE WILL BE USE OF THE IMPERIUS IN A NON CONVENTIONAL WAY IN THIS CHAPTER. Anytime that curse is used, there is a lack of consent. If this bothers you, turn a round and head for the door. If not, hit the +18 icon and let's get this show on the road!
Oh yeah, it's been a while since I've made use of the disclaimer. I don't own HP or SW, and make no money off these works. If anything, they make money off me! So leave me alone, evil lawyers.
"This meeting is now called to order." The raspy, deep voice of Sate Pestage echoed through the enormous open space of the former Republic Senate building. A large platform sat where, a long time ago, the last Chancellor used to address the Senate, garnished with a single, large table, and two dozen high backed chairs, whose occupants decided how thousands of systems were run.
Two of the robed individuals continued chatting, quite likely on purpose. Interim Chancellor Pestage's hold was shaky at best, and even small actions such as these spoke volumes about his continued chances of remaining the most important man in the Galaxy.
"ENOUGH!" the man hollered. The meeting got underway, though with several seats unoccupied.
Despite the title, Pestage did not in fact in fact head the meeting. That duty fell to Ars Dangor, the bodies' public spokesperson. Together, they were known as the Cabal, and they styled themselves the Emperor's Ruling Circle. They ran the day to day affairs of the Empire. Kept it running smoothly, at least as far as the bureaucratic side was concerned. The military of course was headed by another entity altogether, though with its recent capture from the Imperial Palace, it seemed those duties now fell to this group also.
It was also the primary reason why they were gathered today.
"Harry Potter." Ars stated without emotion as a holographic projection of the man in question popped into existence. The image was captured several months ago and showed a man of average height, slim build, holding himself with practiced confidence.
"Human male, age unknown. The ISB was kind enough to forward a dossier on this individual. Potter's file had its first entry eleven months ago, shortly after the Hoth Campaign concluded."
Grainy helmet footage showed the late Lord Vader locked in combat with an individual wearing a rebel deck hand uniform in a small hanger bay. Despite the poor resolution, Vader's opponent could be seen holding a thin object, colorful lights shooting from its tip.
"Our analysts were unable to determine just exactly what sort of weapon he is using, but the effects speak for themselves." Out of thin air, exotic, never before seen animals emerged. Inanimate objects sprang to life, and on two occasions, the human seemed to vanish from sight, only to re-appear elsewhere.
"His abilities are not well understood, but we believe teleportation, telekinesis and at least some sort of force sensitivity are at play. For several months, no sightings of Potter were reported, until the now defunct Inquisitorial squad was sent to apprehend him following viable intelligence that placed him on Florrum."
The members around listened with rapt attention. Security matters had previously never been shared with them, unless it pertained to civil unrest. Certainly not regarding Rebel commanders with exotic abilities.
"Though there is no supporting evidence, it is believed he overpowered the entire squad, leaving all but one dead."
Murmurs erupted from within the group, but Ars pressed on, not wishing to drag this out longer than it needed to be.
"Shortly after arriving in the system, his ship was crippled by an Imperial Navy Corvette. He intentionally surrendered himself and his crew, only to forcibly take over the ship once captured. Reports suggest he is still using the vessel at this point in time."
"Quite the rap sheet for one so young" an unnamed council member responded. "But I fail to see why this is being brought to our attention. The abilities are concerning, but at best he seems to be a Rebel Commander."
Lord Dangor patiently waited for the man to finish, not wishing to slight anyone around this table by simply cutting them off.
"Indeed Lord Roshier, I would agree with you, if it weren't for this;"
Another holo feed began to play, showing a wide angle of a room many, if not all, recognized to be the grande ball room of the Imperial Palace. Much of the senior Navy Personal and Moffs were gathered, with Darth Vader standing at the far end of the table.
The doors opened to reveal their man, as well as an unknown female. The feed had audio, and revealed just why Harry Potter had garnered this kind of attention.
"You realize I slew your master in direct combat after decimating most of your five hundred and first legion?"
The air around the man then began to shimmer. Every set of eyes on the council was riveted to the projection. "You think I came all the way here just to surrender to little old you?"
The ensuing fight was as swift as it was brutal. The Woman actually crossed blades with the Sith Lord, while Potter easily incapacitated the Naval officers and nobles. It was a sobering sight.
"I retract my previous statement, Lord Dangor", Roshier muttered without ever looking away from the still shot of the maroon coat wearing natural disaster that had killed not one, but two Sith lords, and was responsible for the theft of their most prized warship.
Their reason for being involved in security matters was simple. There was no one else left to address them.
Ars had to suppress a snort, though even he was still disturbed by the footage, despite reviewing it a half dozen times.
"This man must be eliminated with extreme prejudice." This came from the Director of Intelligence, Ysanne Isard, who looked pale.
"I concur-" Dangor responded smoothly. As did the other councillors. It was refreshing for one of these meetings to move ahead so smoothly without the usual petty bickering over force allocations and territorial spats.
Even now, a month after the Emperors death, things were still very much fluid. Dozens of star systems changed control on a daily basis, as newly minted Warlords jockeyed for position. Others simply didn't even bother making an appearance any longer, the strongest of which was Fleet Admiral Zsinj, who unfortunately controlled the better part of a quarter of the remaining empire's territory, along with a sizable amount of its fleet assets. And he was still expanding.
"-but this council's involvement must remain unknown, especially should Potter survive the attempt."
A valid point, as he could easily duplicate the raid they'd just seen once more, on this very ruling body.
"The bounty hunters guild then?" another suggested. The idea certainly had merit, and the guild never revealed the identity of client. The ISB would ensure of it.
"Then it's agreed. We offer a sum in the seven digit range, payable through precious metals to further distance the Empire from involvement."
"All in favor then?" Sate Pestage asked. Every man and woman in the room raised their hand, the vote unanimous, perhaps for the first time since the inception of the Council some twenty-four years prior.
"Hey Mr Jedi. Good to have you back" were the first words Luke heard upon regaining consciousness. The smell of incense lingered in the air, reminding him of the post work out meditation lessons with Yoda back on Dagobah. It hung heavily in the air as visible wisps where sunlight streamed through slits in the rafters of an otherwise dark room.
"Harry?" he acknowledged in a raspy tone, recognizing his friend's distinct accent. There was nothing quite like it in the galaxy. His tongue felt like sandpaper. "What happened? Where am I?"
Potter closed his eyes, nodding sagely. "All good question, young padawan." He'd learnt the term from Ahsoka and loved it.
"Let's answer them chronologically, shall we? First, you took a bit of a trip to the dark side when you decided to waltz into your father's metallic embrace back on Endor." Harry leaned over and cuffed him upside the head none too lightly, getting an 'ow' in response.
"Don't EVER do that again, kid. I've been trying to fix you for weeks now. Your old man and I even temporarily called a truce to go save you from getting turned into a crispy strip of Bacon by Palpatine."
Beside him, Tano mouthed the word Bacon at Jade, who just shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.
At the mention of Vader, Luke perked right up. "My father! He's alive?" Luke said excitedly, genuine hope radiating forth. "The Emperor is dead?"
Harry's previously jolly behavior at having the Alliances' resident Jedi back faded somewhat. "Uhh, sorry Luke, but Vader died. I had to kill him to save you. After the Death Star blew, he took you to Coruscant and kinda converted you to the dark side."
The young Jedi looked devastated, opening and closing his mouth a few times, unable to speak. Harry subtlety pawed his wand, really hoping he wouldn't snap and give into rage after having just brought him back to the Light Side.
Fortunately (for everyone around), he just became mopey. Well, more so than usual anyway. Luke always had been a bit of a drama queen. With that awkward bit out of the way, their discussion was essentially on hiatus, for the moment anyway.
Harry though never did know when to shut up and added this; "Look, you should rest for a while. Whatever those old crones did to bring you back looked like it was hard on you. I mean, I had to cast a silencing charm because of all the screa-mfffff" Mara's hand shut him up.
Skywalker just laid there, eyes closed, while the others moved away to give him some space. Ahsoka though lingered for a moment longer.
"Hello, young Jedi." She greeted him in a calm tone. "I was a very dear friend of your fathers before Vader destroyed him, and I'm sure he's very grateful to you for attempt to redeem him." Patting him on the shoulder, she too rose and rejoined the others.
Across the room, Mara swatted her master on the arm. "Did you have to tell him about Vader like that?" she chastised him. "I mean, he woke up a few minutes ago. His mind is fragile right now."
Harry's eyebrow rose mockingly. "Really Jade? Since when do you care about the mental wellbeing of others, especially a Jedi of all people?"
The redhead glared at him but didn't respond to the jab. Potter then shrugged, addressing her earlier concern. "I don't like keeping secrets and can't lie to save my life." Harry admitted. "Besides, I was going to follow up by telling him the Empire is all but gone now and from here on out it would all sunshine and rainbows."
Beside him Tano failed to suppress a snort.
"Miss Tano," Harry lightly grabbed her arm before she could make her way back to the Justice's Hanger bay after the shuttle docked with the Corvette. Mara and Luke had already walked off the Shuttle (separately of course) with the Jedi now under the care of his ship medic. Merlin he needed to hire a proper doctor one of these days.
Giving him a questioning look he quickly let her go, muttering an awkward apology at the unintentional contact.
"I wanted to thank you for your help in this matter." Making to hand over a small unassuming briefcase, she shook her head.
"Captain, the Jedi don't require payment. We are, and always have been, servants of the people."
Potter smiled at her despite how cheesy it sounded. "I can appreciate that, but previously you enjoyed funding through the Republic. Consider this a jump start for the new Jedi Order. I'm sure you'll need it to rebuild your temple eventually."
Tano had no intention of ever joining another organization like the Jedi Order. Regardless she bowed, thanking him, and accepting the case.
"Also, if you could keep the mining colony a secret from Mon, that would be much appreciated. I don't think she'll understand, and right now I simply don't want the headache."
Ahh, so this was hush money. How very devious of him, asking this after she'd already accepted. Her own curiosity got the better of her though.
"What is your true reason for taking over the facility on Dathomir's moon? Was your plan not to mothball it? You certainly don't strike me as the greedy sort, not with the wages you offered them and this 'gift' you just gave me."
If the weight was any indication, there was a sizable amount of cred chips within.
The Wizard frowned. "It's true that I am quite wealthy, but wealth alone cannot guarantee a peaceful existence. Like the Jedi, my kind will always be in the crosshairs of entities looking to take advantage of us or because they see magic as a threat."
She could tell he was quite passionate about this.
"What I'm aiming towards is the creation of sovereign Magical state sometime in the future, and for that I need resources. Mara Jade is the first pupil of what will hopefully turn into a great many. Eventually a school will have to be built. A school that will need to be defended from outside threats."
So he did have leadership aspirations. How very interesting. "Why not place yourself and any future students under the wing of the New Republic?"
"Why don't you?" he answered her question with one of his own. "Your lips tightened when I suggested you restart the order."
She frowned, not sure what to make of the slip up. Harry then laughed, crossing his arms. "I won't have them turn my kind into pawns to use in their political games" he shook his head. "We are not like the Jedi. Or at least I'm not." Then his eyes narrowed slightly, though not maliciously.
"But that's the beauty of it. As the sole remaining, fully trained Wizard in this galaxy, I can make the policies for a people that do not yet officially exist, with the purpose of laying the groundwork for a system that can protect them from others and, if need be, themselves."
She sensed there was a story about the last bit of that statement.
"But I'm beginning to ramble." He shoo'd her from the hangar and they walked towards the bridge, where Mara was already waiting.
"Commander Tohna, plot a course for Chandrilla." He told his 2IC after which he turned to address the two women. "Now, how do you ladies feel about a friendly team building exercise?"
The two day journey from the outer rim back to the Core could be considered fun, depending on who you asked. With two full-fledged Jedi, a Wizard who liked to fight dirty, and a former hand of the Emperor whose morals were questionable at best, the suggested sparring match quickly got heated.
Potter suspected Luke hadn't quite let the whole 'I killed you father' thing go, despite his assurances to the contrary, while Mara had her own reasons for wanting to get even with Harry. Let's just say she wanted to 'slug' him and leave it at that. The only one somewhat sensible one was Ahsoka, and although not the oldest, she acted the most mature out of the four.
Speaking of sensible, or in this case not, was the curse that just left the Wizards wand in an effort to escape a savage beating.
"Imperio!" Harry hollered a second before twin saber blades of green and purple slashed through the space he'd just occupied.
The curse hit Luke and caused him to stagger. Across the large sparring arena, Harry re-appeared and fell into the loose sand, groaning from two fresh welts, courtesy of Luke and Mara's lightsabers on their training setting.
Those two additions made the total number closer to ten, and right now it seemed there wasn't enough bruise remover in the world to undo the damage.
'Attack Jade!' Potter commanded mentally, feeling the curse had taken hold. Luke complied. She of course knew what had befallen her ally thanks to Harry's sloppy verbal incantation and quickly parried, having expected the attack.
It bought the besieged Magician a few merciful seconds to catch his breath, until, out of nowhere, the white light of his third opponent's twin sabers whooshed to life. Harry had been forced to leave the Homo Revelio charm on himself permanently in order to combat the Jedi's inherent abilities to sneak up on people, just to stand a chance.
Rolling to the side, he willed the sand to form a protective cocoon around him before parting a large volume directly beneath him and slipping away into the newly formed subterranean pocket. Good thing too, a split second later Asohka's weapon pierced the cocoon, and wouldn't that have been painful had he remained there.
A quick and ill-defined sand golem sprang into existence, drawing her attention and allowing Harry to pop out of the sand like a Mole. But instead of aiming at Ahsoka, Harry snapped off a stunner towards the unprotected back of his pupil.
She flipped over the spell and shot her new Master a dirty look before re-engaging Luke. Behind him, Tano switched her blade from training to full power and was cleaving through the Golem's limbs, turning silica sand into blackened glass disks.
"Shite" Harry muttered in English, realizing he needed to reduce the number of combatants if he wanted to win this one, or at least not be the first to lose.
The bet was that the first one down would have to plant a fat, juicy, and most likely wet, kiss on Admiral Ackbar during the upcoming ball, following the signing of the Declaration of the New Republic.
Of course it was decided that Force vs Magic was the lineup in this spar, with Mara gleefully tossing her wand aside before igniting her blade. And of course all three had bum rushed him right off the bat, fully aware how much better their odds were at close range. That may have had something to do with the memory Harry had shown them of his fight with Palpatine. Also, because Harry was limited to non-lethal spells, this was quickly becoming a rather one sided affair.
In fact, he looked and felt like a Piñata. Thank god he'd been able to dictate the terrain, hence the sand. It made great base material for transfigurations, and with a few Egyptian charms Bill taught him during the Weasley's second Africa vacation back in 04', he could mould it into nearly any shape he desired. With a wave, a large, unyielding dome of sand formed around Ahsoka. For good measure he transfigured a meter thick layer of steel around it.
It would buy him time, but not much.
Favoring another apparition to running, he popped into existence next to Luke, who, through the mental link, moved in tandem when the Wizard attacked. Together, they pressed Mara hard, slowly driving her to the edge of the arena.
Jade was no slouch though, using the force to kick up sand that blinded Luke and would have gotten Harry too had he not cast a bubblehead around his head at the last second. The sudden attack made him lose control of the Imperius link.
Having sand pressed into ones eyeballs at high speed sounded really uncomfortable if Luke's screams were any indication, but for now he was out of the fight.
A quick peek over his shoulder showed Tano had burned through her prison and was charging his way once more. Realizing he was about to lose, Harry did the only sensible thing and stunned Luke in the back. The young Jedi fell face first in the sand, unmoving.
Neither he nor Mara moved for a moment.
"You dirty cheater!" the Redhead then shouted, redoubling her efforts not to win, but punish him for weaseling his way out of the bet. Harry cast a cushioning charm on himself to escape serious bodily harm but even then the strikes still hurt.
"Who, me? What about that stunt with the sand just now." He shouted back, a pair of sand hands attempting to grab the Witch/Dark Jedi/Sithling by the ankles, but failing. "That's pretty low!"
Ahsoka propelled herself the last thirty feet or so with a force enhanced jump, only for Harry to turn and blast her back again with a banisher. The momentary distraction cost him though. The purple saber cracked him hard across the side of the head, and had it been on its lethal setting would have caused quite a mess.
Instead, he dropped like a sack of potatoes, the beginnings of a wicked bruise colouring his cheek and eye.
"By the force, that felt good." Mara muttered, before none to gently kicking Luke over so he wouldn't suffocate. Ahsoka checked on Harry and gave the other woman a disapproving look, before guiding the force to her fingertips and pushing it into the affected areas. Hopefully the Captain didn't have a concussion.
His eyelids fluttered open slowly, then shut quickly. Wherever he was, it was far too bright for his liking.
"Are you going to teach me the mind control spell?" a female voice asked from his right.
Harry flinched slightly when she spoke up, having fully expecting to be alone. Squinting, he looked around, got his bearing and plopped back into the pillow. Less than a month! That's how he'd lasted before waking up in the Iron Justice's version of the Hospital Wing.
Luke was occupying one of the other beds, and from the looks of it, was still out cold. Gently probing the tender side of his face, he winced. Tano had taken care of the worst swelling and discolouration, but it still felt sensitive. Not that he knew any of this.
In fact, he found it surprising that there weren't stiches holding that side of his face together. The Togrutan had excused herself shortly after dropping off Luke in the infirmary, leaving the former Hand to her own devices. And of course she wanted to know how to use the unforgivable. Heck, she probably wanted to learn all three!
Mara was about to repeat the question but needn't have bothered. Harry had simply taken his time trying to figure out the best way to say 'no' without her hitting him again. He sighed.
"In the last six months I've used the Imperius more than I care to admit. It's deliciously additive, like most dark magic. Even now, the urge to use it on you is there, always in the back of my mind, like an itch you can't quite scratch. Well, not can't. Just shouldn't." He clarified. "So no, I'm not going to show you how to cast it. You're better off not knowing what that feels like."
She shrugged. "It lets you control people and feels good? I think it's a win, win."
He narrowed his eyes. "You would, wouldn't you? Evil Wench!"
She stuck out her tongue and he laughed, the pain making him wince again. Harry threw his legs over the side of the bed but didn't immediately get up, instead checking if his equilibrium was all there. It wouldn't do too keel over in front of her after all.
"You know, I'd let you cast it on me again, if you wanted to. The Imperius I mean."
He looked up, forehead scrunched together in confusion. "You want me to use it on you?"
She shrugged, blushing slightly. "Like you said, it feels good. Back when you ordered me to tell you about the Inquisitor ship? I hated you for making me do it, but it still felt pleasant all the same."
Harry hummed in understanding, but categorized her as kinky regardless. He'd never considered using the unforgivable as a pleasure tool for the bedroom. It was just…weird. For a minute, neither said a word, and things were getting akward.
But if she was insinuating what he thought she was. Well, he did like redheads. Feeling bold, Harry picked up the Holly wand, pointing it at her.
"All right." He decided, not giving her a moment to reconsider. "Imperio." He watched as her eyes went from fear and excitement to glazed over. Shaking his head, he transfigured the bed into a plush loveseat without getting up, and placed both of his arms on the back, spread apart.
"Rise." He commanded, watching her carefully. It took a moment, but she complied.
"Approach me." Again she did so, but only after a little bit of time. He wondered if it was her Jedi side fighting the spell, but dismissed the hypothesis. Luke had faltered much quicker during their match. Perhaps it was the combination of being magical and force sensitive.
When Mara finally stood in front of him, he pulled her down gently by the waist with both hands, her knees sinking into the cushion, and essentially causing her to straddle him. To be honest, Harry wasn't even sure what he was doing by then. She'd tried to kill him several times, and while very attractive, the girl was equally dangerous.
Perhaps that was why his heart was thumping like a sledgehammer right now. The spell was still holding. He could feel the link. And it felt oh so good.
"Kiss me." He whispered, basically going for broke. She was definitely going to kill him for that later.
There was that hesitation again, but before long she leaned in and did. It was different from Leia, but a good kind of different. She tasted fruity, and even under the influence of the Unforgivable, she moaned when he slipped his tongue into her mouth.
She reciprocated, and despite his best efforts, the trousers were beginning to tighten. Harry knew he should stop there. Heck, he should have never even started! It was incredibly wrong, but he wanted to push just a tiny bit further before that Gryffindor courage left him completely, not to mention common sense and moral decency making a belated appearance.
"Remove your top." His breath tickled her ear.
And just like that, the link broke, causing a minor mental backlash. She grinned devilishly when it happened, incredibly pleased to have accomplished it.
"Tsk tsk Master, ordering me to do such scandalous things." She purred in his ear. "Imagine what your friends would think."
Harry looked flabbergasted for a second but quickly recovered, his expression settling on sheepish.
"Guilty as charged. Very good Mara, breaking the Imperius is no mean feat."
"Hmm," she agreed. "The question is, can you?" Leaning back she incanted; "Imperio" as his eyes grew wide.
Harry felt the curse take hold, and to be honest it made him feel nostalgic. No one had used it on him since the war. And what a minx she was for figuring it out on her own! He'd gotten sloppy, verbally incanting it. She must have looked at his wand movements when he'd cast it a few minutes ago.
Of course she had. Why else would she have offered otherwise?
For a bit, nothing happened. He just sat there, content. The first order came shortly after.
"Kiss me." Harry would have done that without the Imperius, but he could see what she meant. He'd done a fair share of snogging in his day, but this felt way better than he remembered.
The euphoria dimmed slightly when she moved off him and towards the door. "Follow me."
Ok, nothing bad…yet. Harry still had his doubts about how good Mara Jade actually was, and while he could break the Curse at any time, he was curious what she would have him do.
They moved out of the sick bay and towards his quarters. Along the way, they ran into a young, female ensign who'd just transferred to the Justice a few weeks prior.
"Talk to her" the voice whispered. "Ask her to join us."
Sweet Merlin, labeling her as kinky was an understatement! But as amazing as the suggestion sounded, the girl they were coming up on was just a young, innocent thing. He'd interviewed her and found her to be attractive of course, but having that sort of a relationship with a subordinate was a recipe for trouble, not to mention sexual harassment charges.
He had his doubts that she'd even go for it, but as the Captain, it added a certain degree of influence he was not willing to abuse.
Harry instantly broke the curse and gave the Ensign a small smile and hello, before moving on, Jade still behind him.
"As lovely as that suggestion is, I'm afraid I must decline." He said with a bit of humour as she began to walk next to him.
"You can beat it too?" she sounded irritated, probably from having the link severed. It could make the castor a bit grouchy. Harry laughed.
"Luv, I've been able to shrug off that particular curse since I was fourteen." He bragged just a bit. Stopping by the entrance to his quarters, Harry faced her.
"So, what was your master plan?" he quipped, genuinely curious.
She bit her lip. "Actually I was going to seduce your young subordinate over here and make you watch."
He gasped in mock outrage. "How evil of you!"
Mara grinned, but leaned forward to kiss him. It wasn't as passionate as before, but somehow felt more real without one of them using the Unforgivable on the other.
"Good Night, Harry Potter." And just like that she walked away.
Harry groaned, deciding on a cold shower instead of the hot bath he'd planned for his aching muscles.
"Luke!" a little brown haired missile impacted the Jedi with enough force to nearly knock them both over.
Their resulting embrace could have been mistaken for one reserved between two lovers, it lasted that long.
"Leia, I'm so sorry." He gently grasped her arms, eyes damp, recalling what Harry told him about the force choking incident.
"It's fine." She reassured, trying not to tear up herself and ruin her makeup. Moving on, she quickly found Harry and hugged him next. "Thank you Harry. That's two you've brought back to me now." Despite his best efforts he couldn't keep the colour from his face. "Anytime Leia. After all were friends, right?"
He intentionally avoided eye contact with his pupil, too scared she might shoot force lightning into him or something. Dear god he hoped she couldn't do that.
Their shuttle had landed on what could only be considered a skyscraper. The building towered over the rest of the capital, nestled in a wide valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks. It was very picturesque, and were they not on the clock, Harry could have gazed at the sight for hours without ever tiring of it.
Blame it on being stuck in an underground base for over half a century.
"You'll be seeing Viri Nisha, one of Hanna City's top fashion designers and a very capable Seamstress." The Princess explained, not looking happy at the dress she'd have to get into very soon. Harry was pleased to see that he wasn't the only one unhappy about all the fuss being made over this whole declaration business.
Harry and Luke split from Mara and Ahsoka, with the latter being led away by Leia. Solo, wearing much more formal garments than was the norm, greeted them, and more hugging ensued.
"Buddy, great to have you back." Han loudly patted Luke on the back.
"Thanks Han" the Jedi grinned back, genuinely happy to see his friends again. In a surprise move the Smuggler hugged Harry next, which surprised both newcomers.
Something was fishy for Han to be this touchy feely. Heck, the only time Harry ever acted like that was after- NO! That son of a bitch!
"Harry, thank you for bringing him back. And just in time too! The declaration is going to be signed in two hours. When you contacted high command, Mon nearly lost it." The Correlian chuckled, recalling the scene. "She ranted on about how you always throw a wrench into things for almost half an hour! Honestly, I think I may have some competition."
'In more ways than one.' Potter thought, a fake smile masking his borderline murderous intentions.
"Uh-huh." Was the out loud response. The Wizard was tempted to hex the smuggler on principal, but he was saved by a flamboyant man wearing some truly strange outfits. And he'd seen Ron in his formal dress robes.
"Marvelous! Such strapping young men for me to mound." He clapped his hands together animatedly. "Oh, I have so many ideas we can test. Such a shame our time is short."
Han grinned, overjoyed they could partake in this wonderful activity like he had ('cough' been forced to). Over the next hour and a half Harry and Luke were subjected to this man's idea of 'the latest in men's wear', with predictable results.
"No! Enough." He pulled out his rarely used spare wand, an ash with a Sphinx hair for a core of all things. He used it for elaborate, and above all, delicate magics. Like turning the hideous outfit in front of him into a stylish copy of an Italian Kiton he'd seen while browsing through downtown Paris with Tracy what felt like several lifetimes ago.
A manikin appeared from thin air, which he moulded in the shoulders, waist and other areas to mimic his own body. The tux flew from the shell shocked muggles hands as he examined it, and wrapped itself around the foam shape.
Harry's little used, and even less advertised knowledge of robe fitting spells resulted in, while not perfect, a still very acceptable looking three piece that fit him like a glove. In fact, Harry liked it so much, a needle and thread zipped out of the designer's bag and embroidered a small rune that would help keep the magic from reverting the garments back to their base form.
"Marvelous. Simply stunning. It looks remarkably similar to something the Correlians favoured around seven thousand years ago." Their torturer for the last ninety minutes carefully stepped around the muggle suit, scrutinizing it closely. "I would venture that apart from Miss Nisha and myself, no one would even know where you drew inspiration for this. Oh, wait until she sees this!"
It amused Harry that his Magical abilities took the backseat to the very thing he'd created with it. Both Luke and Han frowned. Their outfits were nice, but whatever this Tux thing was, it looked sharp.
He decided against the bowtie, simply leaving the white dress shirt collar open. His first wife always told him it went well with his messy hair.
"Wow." Was the Princess's reaction when they all met ten minutes before the official kickoff. "You clean up nice." She added, looking him over. Potter smirked, not at the backhanded compliment, but the scowl on Han's face.
"Right back atcha, Princess." He laughed, giving her a playful wink. She wore a conservative dress in champagne colours. It looked good, but a little prudish. Well, at least compared to Mara's.
The dress she wore reminded him of a slutty version of Jessica Rabbit, if that was even possible.
Her fiery red hair was down, and she actually wore eyeliner! Hugging her curvy body was a white dress with cleavage that ended around her navel.
Long slits ran up the side of her thighs, exposing even more smooth alabaster skin. Finally, a pair of five inch stilettos finished the look, while also making her stand as tall as Harry.
He made a note to raise the soles on his shoes by a half inch or so when no one was looking.
"Miss Jade, you look positively stunning." He took her gloved hand and gently kissed the back, much like he had so long ago when he'd met Leia. She seemed a little out of place in such formal clothes, but he could tell she approved of the compliment despite the lack of a smile.
Lastly, Ahsoka wore a shimmering silver dress that accented her orange skin. Luke approached her, effectively realizing how the pairing for the night were going to work. Led by Solo and Organa, they walked into the grandiose ball room, and somehow Harry couldn't help but feel like this was the Yule ball all over again.
He wasn't far off. The first half hour was set aside for formal dancing, which, while similar to the waltz, was still foreign enough that his performance was acceptable at best. At least he didn't step on Mara's toes, which if he had, would have cost him a limb. And yes, she'd threatened him.
With the first song out of the way, they switched partners, and Harry found himself dancing with Mon Mothma of all people. Oh, he tangoed with the woman all the time. He just didn't think it would ever be in the literal sense.
"Chancellor Mothma." He greeted her as they linked hands. With a frown, she moved the one near her rear further up where it should be.
"A little premature, Potter" she stated, referring to her soon to be official title. "Good work with Skywalker. He'll be invaluable to the New Republic."
The wizard looked around, finding him with Mara. The two looked uncomfortable. "I'm sure he will. But enough about the Jedi. I hear you've gotten yourself involved in a little skirmish while I was gone. Anything I should know about these Nagai?"
Solo had been a regular chatter box while they'd been subjected to the Seamster.
"You're well informed, Captain." She admitted, to which he thought; 'No, Solo just can't keep his mouth shut. Or his legs.'
"So far we've been engaged by a few raiders and uncovered several disruptive plots, but to what end, we're not sure. As for the species themselves, they appear near human from what Princess Organa reported."
Potter raised a brow, urging her to elaborate.
"Two days ago, there was a smaller summit, mostly attended by the non-combatant species of the Alliance. General's Solo and Organa were dispatched to reassure them, but captured by a small strike force of Nagai. Naturally they broke free and overpowered their captors."
"Naturally", Potter repeated, sounding highly amused. "And you say I get into trouble."
She shook her head but smirked. "Indeed."
The song ended and Harry found himself dancing with the very source of his last conversation.
"So I hear you had some fun while I was on Dathomir. What happened to you sitting in on those preliminary talks on Chandrilla, hmm?"
She gaped at him for a moment before settling on pinching his shoulder where her arm was resting. "Hey! Knock it off, you violent Woman." In retaliation he pinched her bum when it was facing the nearby wall, just in case a certain Smuggler was watching them.
"Stop it you!" she whispered, her face flushing. Truth be told, despite the earlier incident with his new Pupil, his pulse was racing simply from holding Leia's one hand and resting the other on her waist.
His body's reactions around her were becoming incredibly frustrating. Even worse was that she was only now opening up to him, albeit somewhat slowly. Where was this behavior before they'd gotten Han? Merlin this was getting complicated.
They chatted for a bit, mostly questions by him about what happened on Kabray. Harry found out about her Zeltronian fan boys, and mocked her relentlessly for it. All too soon though it was time to split apart again.
He ended up with a pretty, but complete stranger next. Not wanting to ruin her mood, he engaged her in light conversation and laid on the charm just a bit to make her feel appreciated for dressing up.
If it had the added benefit of making his pupil jealous, than that was just a bonus. At least so long as she didn't beat him up after.
He cycled through a number of these women before the music eventually stilled.
It was time for Mothma to make history.
"-and with ratification of this document, the Former Alliance of Free Planets shall henceforth be known as the New republic!"
The clapping lasted for several minutes, and Harry watched the half dozen floating Holo Recorders zoom around to capture the atmosphere, transmitting the momentous event across the galaxy. To Harry it would become the first of many regime changes he'd witness over the centuries, though he didn't know it yet.
And so, while speeches were made about the goals, values and ideals their fledging new government would stand for, Harry couldn't help but wonder just how long this Republic would last. After all, there had been a similar entity called the 'Old' Republic before.
With the speeches wrapped up, it was time to rub elbows with the galaxies most important people, at least within the New Republic's direct sphere of influence. Maybe he could find a buyer for the arseload of raw materials his facility was producing? After all, the war wasn't over, and new ships would have to be built to replace losses.
With practiced efficiency, he slipped into the role of aristocratic nobleman his position as the head of an old influential family had forced him into adopting from time to time, mainly during Wizengamot meetings. Near the end of Magical Britain's reign, the Potters had been nearly as successful in steering policy as the Malfoys had been during his formative years.
Mara was sticking close, looking the part thanks to her infiltration skills but not really that adept at holding long discussions.
After about forty minutes of this, Potter struck proverbial gold when he overheard a conversation between a high ranking Official of Tallaan's Ministry of Orbital Commerce and a Muun representative of the Intergalactic Banking Clan.
Potter politely introduced himself, mingled a bit when the topics allowed him to do so, and when the opportunity arose, discretely mentioned his (limited) holdings included a productive little mineral mining operation that was looking to actively support the New Republic.
The official, whose name was Orlek, showed interest, and by the time they parted ways Harry had a follow up meeting planning to discuss the potential of a formal Business relationship.
Realizing he'd need to conduct some financial business prior to meeting with the Tallaanian, Potter set out to find Winter. She was incredibly money savvy he found, and could hopefully point him in the right direction when it came to selecting a financial institution flexible enough to handle his more interesting…transactions in the near future.
Like converting tons of Gold Bullion into Galactic Credits.
Finding Luke by the bar instead, he leaned against the polished wood. "Getting yourself sufficiently drunk to work up the courage, eh? Don't worry, we've all been there."
The Jedi grimaced. "This is childish! Besides, you cheated."
"Don't try to Weasel your way out of it Skywalker, a deal's a deal." Harry stood firm. After all, it was the main reason he was attending this party. "And besides, even with you under my thumb, it was two on two." There was a pause, and Harry found himself oogling one of the Twi'lek waiting staff serving drinks.
"Really, I was doing you a favor. That sand looked like it hurt. Like a lot." He added, trying to justify himself.
The Jedi was finding it hard to keep his aura positive, or whatever they called it. "It did. Your apprentice sure fights dirty." He muttered, glancing over at the Admiral holding a fluted crystal glass.
"All's fair in war." Mara stated sagely, joining the two before flagging down the bartender with ease, something Harry had been trying to do since he sat down. That gender biased wanker!
"So is it happening?" Ahsoka Tano asked excitedly, though there seemed to be a bit of a slur there. Damn Togrutan lightweights!
"Yeah, it is." The Wizard said with glee. The girls both had shit eating grins on their faces.
"C'mon guys." Luke pleaded, knowing it was futile.
"Off you go, lover boy," Harry slapped him hard on the back, effectively forcing him away. Halfway across the room Han, Leia and Chewie were engaged in conversation with Lando. The fur ball though as usual was the most observant.
Maybe it was because Luke looked like he was about to face the firing squad.
After getting Han's attention, the other two followed his gaze, just in time to see Luke walk up to Gial Ackbar, tap him on the shoulder, and plant a nice big one on the Mon Calamari's wide, lipless mouth.
Conversations throughout the hall simply ceased no matter how interesting or important the topics.
Facial expressions were not easy to read on the species, but this one was a gimme. Luke's lips meanwhile were pressed into a thin line. He just patted his naval counterpart on the shoulder, turned, and fled the room, presumably to throw himself off the balcony. Mothma's cold eyes instantly found Harry and promised pain.
Mara and Ahsoka were in tears, and Harry would have been too were it not for the Leader of the Republic giving him the Medusa stare.
"Ok," he said, wanting to get out her line of sight. "I have to find an acquaintance and talk money. See you ladies later."
The evening grew late and Leia could feel the fatigue of the day's events catching up with her. Han had been unusually clingy tonight, though not in an obvious way. He'd just stayed close to her, enough for her to pick up on it.
Right now though, he and Lando were re-telling grande tails of their earlier years over champagne, giving her a moment of peace. Deciding to venture out into the mild night of Chanddrilla's capital city, Leia made towards the balcony.
She wasn't the only one with the same idea, as several smaller groups could be found mingling there. But the size of the multi terraced space meant she soon found herself a quiet spot overlooking the lit up skyline of Hanna City, simply enjoying the view.
Her tranquility was interrupted shortly after when the hushed voices of two people reached her ears. Curious, the Princess allowed herself to eavesdrop.
The two humans seemed inseparable, joined at the lips as they clumsily stumbled against a nearby wall, the male taking the brunt of the impact.
"Oww! Bloody hell woman, quit abusing me like that." She shut him up with her lips. "You deserved that for making me jealous of that short girl you danced with earlier." The justification produced a cheeky grin. "Miss Jade, don't you know jealousy leads to the dark side?" he teased.
"Shut up Potter, or I'll torture you in ways that will make you long for the tender mercies of my old Master."
Leia stood there, mostly hidden by a large potted fern, unable to peel her eyes away from the sight, despite there being not much to see. The lighting was minimal, mostly provided by the surrounding high-rises and a few decorative lamps illuminating the underside of the foliage.
Her friend and one time guilty pleasure from Hoth was kissing that Imperial Hussy he'd been travelling with for the last two weeks. Mon had mentioned in passing that Harry had reason to believe Jade was like him, and she in turn had relinquished custody of her.
Of course Harry, the bumbling fool he was, decided to let her go. Sure, it was to save Luke, but there was no doubt in her mind she was leading him on.
"Ahh, slow down there, Tiger" she moaned as he attacked her slender neck with kisses and the occasional nibble.
"I realize you're going through a dry spell, but were on a balcony."
He came up for air, nose brushing against her ear. The action caused another wave of goose flesh on her arms, he was pleased to note.
"Understatement of the century, luv."
He came up for air, nose brushing against her ear. The action caused another wave of goose flesh on her arms, he was pleased to note.
"Understatement of the century, luv. Although, if you're worried about prying eyes..." Potter looked up, directly at Leia, causing the girl to flush in embarrassment. "-then maybe it's time to teach you some privacy charms, hmm?"
"You're so naughty, Master." She mocked, running her slender fingers through his unruly hair and grabbing on. "But I must say, compared to the Emperor, you do come with some pleasant perks." Pulling his head down they kissed some more before finally resurfacing for air.
Even distracted, his wand swished, and a transparent bubble rippled around them. Like a wisp of smoke, they faded. Leia backed away, a bitter taste in her mouth.
The next morning it was business as usual. The New Republic was at War, meaning the few senior officers who'd been able to attend the Declaration were travelling back to their respective commands scattered across the galaxy. Some had even left the night before, their operations at delicate stages.
Those that remained on Chandrilla had been housed in a secure hotel set aside for VIP's a short distance from the main civic building. There Harry jerked up from the mass of white sheets and pillows, awoken by repeated banging on the front door.
Shuffling himself towards the edge of the massively oversized bed like a Walrus, he quickly located a fluffy bath robe (it was great that even on another planet in the future the idea of a soft garment after washing existed) and made for the door.
"Yes?" he asked cautiously, opening said door and probably saving it from being kicked down. On the other side was his Pupil, fully dressed and looking irritated.
"Did you just get up?" She asked, giving him a quick once over. "You need to get dressed. The others sent me to get you."
"The others? Get me for what?" he asked Mara's back as she waltzed in and pulled open the closet door. In short order his usual coat, trousers and boots were thrown in front of the bed.
"The meeting we all agreed to attend last night. You're keeping your new Chancellor waiting by the way."
"Our new Chancellor" he clarified. "Although technically we don't belong to the Republic." As if it mattered right now.
"Whatever." She walked up to him and pulled the robe off. "Hey! The Wizard protested while doing absolutely nothing to cover his nude body. Mara's gaze lingered a moment longer than it ought to have and whatever complaint was on the tip of his tongue was replaced with a semi pleased look.
"Don't even go there." she pre-emptively shot him down. "We don't have time."
Semi pleased turned into mischievous. "Is that the only reason, because I'll happily dig up a time turner from my bag and make some?"
Well wasn't that the strangest pick up line she'd ever heard, mainly because she had no doubt he was being truthful.
"Tempting, but no." Then she blushed a bit. "I'm still a bit sore from last night." Mara then threw his pants at his face in an attempt to shut him up.
It didn't work.
"Miss Jade, enough. You don't have to resort to flattery." He gushed, before yelping as a weak arc of force lightning connected with his buttock.
"Ok, I'm done." He stated somberly, rubbing the tender area. Five minutes later found the (unofficial) pair joining the others already seated.
"Potter, late as usual." Mothma was drumming her fingers on the conference table, looking very impatient. He also noticed the deep bags under her eyes, meaning it had been a long night for her, and probably not for the same reasons as his.
"Sorry, I was busy testing the quality of my Hotel room's bed. You can expect an in depth report on my findings shortly." He stated in lieu of an apology, just to rub in that he'd slept like a log. Not surprising after the marathon session he'd had with Jade the night before.
It took a lot to wear out a Jedi…in bed.
"Getting to the point." She said through clenched teeth. "The Nagai have stepped up their offensive against us. Potter, you aren't aware of this, but a few days ago General's Solo and Calrissian were involved in an incident on Kashyyyk. A Nagai sleeper cell was attempting to restart the slave trade and very nearly succeeded. Fortunately they were able to put them down."
Across the table Chewie roared something fierce until Han patted him on the shoulder. "I know big guy, and you made them bleed."
Mon didn't have the energy to complain about the interruption and simply sighed.
"At the same time, a dedicated Task Force created to investigate the Nagai was dispatched to Kinooine in Wild Space on a tip of possible activity there. We received their distress signal late last night."
Ahh, so that's the reason for the haggard look.
"Commander Skywalker, seeing how you know the team's leader personally, I'd like you to investigate."
"Of course." The Jedi immediately agreed, eager to get away from Harry and his craziness. "I'll make preparations to get off planet immediately."
He stood to leave, then paused. "Madam Chancellor, may I ask who is leading the expedition?"
"Dani and Kiro, Commander Skywalker." She said softly, praying they and the others were simply dealing with a bad emergency beacon. Luke was very close to those two, nearly as much as Leia and Solo.
Luke took off to find the Allia-New republic quarter master to procure a ship.
Mothma watched him go with an ache in her chest. Hopefully soon the time where she'd watch the brave men and women under her command risk and ultimately put down their lives would come to an end.
"General Solo" she moved on, putting the thoughts aside for now. "You will head to a recently liberated Imperial Prison world to pick up a pair of VIP's and transport them safely to the metalsmiths Guild on Vandelhelm."
The Smuggler scratched his scalp, somewhat confused while Harry made a mental note to approach these metal smiths later for a possible business partnership.
"Ma'am, what about the preliminary inspections to the new ship yards you mentioned yesterday?"
"I'm afraid this takes precedence. Unless we get this supply issue resolved our fleets are going too be crippled simply due to lack of materials."
"Consider it done, Ma'am." Solo gently swatted Chewie on the arm. "C'mon big guy, let's make like a tree and split."
Mothma resisted the urge to groan. The tree jokes she'd suffered through since establishing a permanent base on Endor were painful, to say the least.
"As for you Captain," she addressed Harry next, "I have it on good authority that you can get Information out of almost anyone. General Solo and his team were able to capture the ranking Nagai operative, an individual named Knife."
"Knife? As in the kitchen utensil?" Harry confirmed while trying not to smirk at odd name.
"Yes" she stressed, secretly begging him to keep the superfluous comments to a minimum.
"Right." He answered, deciding to cut her some slack. She looked like shite after all. "I can work him over for you. What do you need to know?"
"Any future operational plans on behalf of his species, and if possible the location and purpose of any other sleeper cells."
He stood and stretched with a sigh, getting ready to leave. "Consider it done, Ma'am."
Turning he walked from the room, only to reappear a second later.
"Err, just one thing. Where exactly are you keeping this bloke?"
It seemed as though after only reuniting the night before the group was destined to split apart once more. Well, at least partially. Chancellor Mothma and Leia were headed back to Endor, and technically so was Harry. But with the faster ship, he had a few hours to meet with Orlek and still manage to arrive back on the Forest Moon before the Chancellors ship would.
"You know, for someone not interested in ruling, you're amassing quite a bit of resources."
The pair of humans were making their way out of Tallaanian Embassy, breezing through security and retrieving their 'weapons', in this case a pair of blasters neither would use unless absolutely necessary. But it made the security staff less suspicious than them saying; 'Weapons? What weapons?'
Harry was scanning the busy streets on their way back to the off world launch pads, taking in the urban bustle of a peaceful populace where there was little chance of getting shot at. None the less he remained vigilant.
During the Ball, the Director of Alliance Intelligence, now New Republic Intelligence had pulled him aside. The conversation was one he could clearly remember despite the champagne.
"Captain Potter, a word please." The man looked serious. Then again he always did. "Of course, what can I do for you Director Cracken?"
The graying man licked his lips in thought. "Potter, are you aware that there's a rather large bounty on your head?"
Harry raised a single eyebrow. "I was not. What's the old marble worth then?" he asked jokingly. Cracken whispered in his ear. This time both eyebrows shot up. "That much?"
Harry shook his head, returning to the present.
"What's wrong with making some coin?" he asked, slightly distracted by a passing repurposed Imperial Security Droid that stood a good half meter taller than both of them. Harry had cast glamours and notice me nots on them both, which should fool any organics easily enough. It was the droids he was worried about. Did bounty hunters employ them? Or were some of them independent altogether?
Black Ball, who was rolling along behind them squawked a bit and the thing clearly lifted a hat in greeting. Despite being around for over half a year now, droids still fascinated him to no end.
"Really Master, don't tell me you're planning on just stopping with a single paltry mining Facility. Even if Zsinj can't find the operation, a bunch of cargo freighters coming and going from Dathomir will arouse suspicion."
She had a point. The Warlord wouldn't allow something like this to go unchecked.
"So what do you propose?" he asked, curious with how extreme her plan would be. Judging by who her former employer was, he was guessing rather straight forward and violent.
She shrugged. "Assassinate Zsinj. Take over his territories. Expand."
All right, that was bloody ambitious. "How many worlds does Zsinj control?" May as well humor her.
"Several tens of thousands." She answered, sounding a bit hopeful that he hadn't immediately shot her down.
Potter nearly tripped over his own feet. "Hmm" the low rumble came from his throat. "And you think the vast forces under his control will simply take this hostile takeover lying down?"
"Hard to say." They walked up the wide sweeping stairs to the monorail platform that would take them from the diplomatic quarter back to their shuttle. Harry could have apparated but wanted to take in the sights.
They tapped their wrist bands on the pay toll and the barrier opened, admitting them to the platforms beyond. He checked the privacy charms now that they'd be in closer proximity to other travelers.
"I agree that we need to do something about Zsinj, but killing him and taking over is not the way to go about it." She made to protest but stopped her. "Relax, I'm not a pacifist. This is simply about not biting off more than we can chew." He was momentarily surprised at the use of 'we' rather than 'I' in that last statement but hurried to explain himself and hopefully keep her from reading into it as much as he was right now.
"Running an Empire is a lot of work. I've said it before and I'm standing by it. Zsinj is smart, and from the reports I've requested from Alliance Intelligence, the man is also a damn good tactician. We'd have problems down the line if we disposed of him outright."
"Well what do you propose then?" she asked, irritation evident.
"We control Zsinj, and by proxy his empire. He leaves us alone, and we…" he ran a finger along her jaw before tugging a loose strand of red hair behind her ear. "-start our school."
Behind those green eyes, cogs were turning. They waited for a few minutes before the completely silent mag lev tram approached.
"We'd need to get close enough to cast the Imperius on him." He could tell she had questions. And to be honest, he wasn't quite sure of the answers himself.
"Does the mental control diminish with distance?" There it was.
"I'm not sure. On my home world it easily held across several hundred miles. With thousands of lightyears though…" he bit his lip, deep in thought. "-I'm not sure." But we can test it easily enough."
Gesturing at a random human exiting the car he pulled his wand and silently cast the unforgivable. The muggle didn't even notice. Jade did the same with a second muggle.
"We'll know when we enter hyperspace." He concluded, finding a seat by the window. She joined him, feeling the link between her and the random stranger she could control with simply a thought.
By the force, she loved Magic!
"So a school?" she finally said, having remembered the second part of his plan. He nodded in agreement. "Yes. I hope to train more Witches and Wizards."
She frowned. "You- we have a colossal advantage over the rest of the galaxy at the moment. Why even the playing field?"
Harry had been pondering that himself since his 'encounter' with the spirits of his friends and family. Yes, magic was truly a wonderful thing and could be used to benefit all sentients in the galaxy. But there's always two sides to a coin, and he was no stranger to the uglier one.
A future dark lord could wreak havoc amongst the stars on a scale that would make Voldemort and Grindelwald look like toddlers in a playground scuffle.
Should he really let this particular Genie out of the bottle? Would he be known as the catalyst that would plunge the Galaxy into countless millennia of even more destructive conflicts?
Clearly any pupils he would take on would need to be morally infallible to ensure they wouldn't use magic for selfish gain. Pretty much the opposite of his current student, and if he was being completely honest himself as well.
Merlin, he was a hypocrite.
"If you were the last force user in the galaxy, would you hoard all that power and knowledge for yourself?" he countered, genuinely wondering what her answer would be.
"Are you kidding?" she chuckled. "I'd take what I knew to the grave! The Jedi and Sith have been at each other's throats for millennia and had their fingers in most of the conflicts in the Galaxy during that time. Even I know the world would be better off without them."
Well there you go.
Maybe the time for magic had come and gone. It also didn't sound like Mara would ever be amicable to teaching. Putting all that aside, he revisited the Dathomir situation.
"Zsinj will be busy consolidating his power and securing his territory." He summarized, building a rough mental timeline. "Similarly, the mine is running at reduced capacity while the workers gather their families. The site is secure for the moment and the single bulk cargo freighter won't be at capacity for a while yet."
Mara stared ahead, neither agreeing nor disagreeing, just listening. And brainstorming on her own.
"We have at least a month, maybe even more to plan how to get Zsinj under our thumb. I don't want to tip off Alliance intelligence, so any information will have to come from outside sources."
Jade was tapping a manicured nail against the edge of the seat in front of them, deep in thought. He didn't have a concrete plan. After the mission to recover Skywalker's mind it became obvious to her. Taking control of the Mine was a spur of the moment act for him, just like when he'd stolen the Super star destroyer. Both were unexpected, unplanned but with the benefit of giving him something to focus on.
For it to snowball into something as large as manipulating the most powerful of the Imperial splinter groups simply to protect a few insignificant cargo haulers made no strategic sense though.
In fact, it bordered on the ridiculous. On top of that she knew Harry didn't have the drive to conquer and rule. The man beside her simply did what he wanted because he could.
"We could always make our own intelligence." She finally suggested.
Harry looked at her quizzically. "What did you have in mind?"
Whatever he'd expected, watching himself get decapitated by Mara's lightsaber a scant ten minutes later was not it.
He gulped as the head rolled down the grimy alleyway, and for a moment he could have sworn Mara moaned in pleasure. The shattered remains of an empty vial of Poly juice crunched under her feet as she went to collect the head, placing it in the refrigerated box he'd cast a stasis charm on a few minutes prior, before shrinking it with some effort.
Harry refrained from correcting her on the wand movements and incantation, not sure if he could get away with it.
"So your plan is to deliver my head on a silver platter?" he asked weakly before vanishing the rest of the body. There was no real guilt or remorse that he'd just helped her kill some Chandrillian low life criminal.
"The head of the very man who slew the Emperor and Darth Vader? Oh yes, hot stuff, you'll be my ticket into Zsinj's good graces."
He bobbed his head in affirmation. Rumour had it that Zsinj was bit on the paranoid side. He rarely left his flag ship, making infiltration a good deal harder than the Palace on Coruscant had been.
"All right, let's say you're successful and Zsinj allows you to work for him. Then what?"
The former hand shrugged. "That will depend on my subsequent findings, and how you wish to proceed. Like I said, we can kill him, control him, or simply weaken his powerbase enough to make it a lucrative takeover target for one of the other Warlords. Any of these options should ensure the mine remains secure."
Harry sighed, wondering how this situation had turned into such a major SNAFU. He hadn't intended for this to happen. It was supposed to be about saving Luke. Yet here he was plotting the demise of one of the most powerful men in the galaxy just to secure an asset he'd seized on a whim.
Unfortunately he couldn't wash his hands of the place that easily now. The miners were bringing their families to Koratas, and if left alone they'd likely run afoul with Zsinj.
Mara's plan was by no means fleshed out, but at this point, it was better than nothing. He also had no doubts that with her new mastery over the Imperius, she'd have the man wrapped around her little finger within a few days of meeting him.
Not for a second did he think she was simply offering to do this for a paltry mining operation, no matter how profitable. 'Perhaps that's why she offered to do it?' he mused. Either way something needed to be done, lest he have all those people's blood on his hands.
At the very least his temporary 'death' would benefit him in the short term with the whole bounty hunter issue. It would give him time to find out who placed the hit, and more importantly, make them regret ever doing so in the first place. He had an inkling as to which group was responsible, but wanted to make sure.
Fortunately as of right now, no bounty hunters had dared taking on something as large as a Corvette in a straight up firefight, but there was bound to be attempts now that he was back from the relatively unknown outer rim planet.
He made a mental note to Ward the ship as soon as time allowed. It wouldn't do for a saboteur to sneak aboard and ruin everyone's day.
"You'll depart for Zsinj's territory directly from Chandrilla then?" Harry asked. "I can give you the stealth shuttle or enough credits to buy a ship. It's your call."
She shrugged. "I'll take the shuttle if it's all the same to you. The charm work you did to it is dead useful. No one would think twice about taking a seemingly bone stock Lambda class shuttle."
'That's because of the Muggle repelling charms I placed over the thing' he thought. Potter then grinned mischievously. "Right, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the Jacuzzi tub I installed on the way here."
Mara flicked his ear, and together they apparated to the Shuttle's launch pad.
"I'm surprised you're letting me leave like this." Mara purred into the same ear she'd just flicked. They were standing in front of the ship, and both suddenly became aware that this was going to be goodbye for at least several months. "What happened to not using magic for evil, hmm? I'm bound to have to Imperio some people to get myself situated."
He snorted. More like one person with a mustache wearing admiralty bars. "It's true. I've only known you for a few weeks, and while your moral compass isn't pointing quite where I'd like it to be, something tells me you won't go on an indiscriminate killing spree either."
Harry really hoped he'd judged her character right, otherwise the guilt of any future war crimes she'd commit might actually get to him.
"Besides, I don't like telling people what they can and can't do." He sighed, scratching his head. "Just don't go overboard and contact me when you're established." At this point, it was a given that she'd be taking over instead of simply 'gathering intelligence'.
He wasn't one-hundred percent on board, but at least this way he wouldn't be bogged down ruling a sizable fraction of the bloody galaxy. She'd figure that part out herself soon enough. Harry turned and looked her in the eye.
"And remember, I can still wipe the floor with you. If you push me, I'll come down on you like a bag of hammers."
She grinned, pulling Harry to her and kissing him hard. "I'll let you know how it goes. Come visit when you have time. This future Empress could use a strapping new male Concubine to add to her collection. Not to mention a tutor for all sorts of dark and evil majiks."
"Wench!" he growled, squeezing her arse.
Harry then handed her a mirror and explained how it worked. "Call me up if you need a magical solution for a problem." With a warm smile that made him weak in the knees and another kiss, she disappeared up the ramp of the shuttle.
He briefly wondered if he'd been honey potted but decided that he didn't care. The booty call alone had been worth it.
"Wel,l Black Ball, looks like it's just you and me again." The little droid tilted its 'head' up at him, whistling away as the ship rose into the air with a hum.
So a lot of this stuff is from legends with my own twist to make it work. About a week after the Battle of Endor the Rebels renamed themselves the Alliance of Free Planets, but the republic didn't form until 5 ABY. I snuck in some canon stuff like Operation Cinder earlier but won't use the Battle of Jakku or any of the other canon content after that (cough cough Episode VII & VIII)
Mara Jade WILL make a comeback. She'll be busy for a good while building a substantial powerbase that will rival the New Republic. Harry let her go because she is far from fully trained. Between her existing skillset and these few new tricks, the former Hand she'll have a good chance of taking over as a Warlord.
More mixed messages from the Harry/Leia front. To be honest, at this point I'm almost doing it solely to troll people who don't like the pairing. I love their butt hurt comments about how it ruins the story. Call me sadistic.