In Retrospect

by Valerie Vancollie
valeriev84 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Note: This story was published in the Star Wars fanzine "Millenium" in May of 2001.

Leia sighed as she paced back and forth in her small, gray, cell.

"How could I have missed it?" she asked herself.

But she already knew the answer to that question: she hadn't wanted to see it. Subconsciously she had picked up the signals, the warnings, that something was wrong, but her trust in her friend had been so great that she had dismissed them. And she couldn't blame herself; Luke had been her trusted friend, a hero of the Alliance, how could she have thought him a traitor? Especially when there had always been another explanation for the warnings.

She brought her hands to her face and rubbed her forehead as she sat down on the hard metal bunk. Whatever the reason, she had missed the signs that something was wrong, and now she and the rest of the Alliance would pay the ultimate price: death.

Looking around the Imperial detention cell, she desperately wished she had something else to do but think of Luke's betrayal, but there was nothing. Nothing else for her to do while she waited for a couple of stormtroopers to come fetch her for a public execution before the Imperial Palace.

How could Luke have betrayed them? What had Vader done to him? She shivered as she thought of the answer to the latter question. Vader could have done any number of unthinkable things to Luke in the year between his disappearance after he had walked into the Dark Lord's trap on Bespin and his return to the Alliance two and a half months ago. Whatever Vader had done, it couldn't have been pleasant as Luke had been too loyal to the Alliance to turn quickly. Briefly she wondered if the bruises Luke had had when he returned to the Alliance had been part of what had made him turn or if they had been inflicted upon him so that she and the others would believe that he had spent time as an Imperial slave.

Leia closed her eyes and let her mind go back to the day when Luke had first returned. She had been in a conference with Mon Mothma, Admiral Ackbar, General Rieekan, and General Madine when Han had stormed into the room saying Luke was alive and not dead as everyone thought...

"Excuse me?" Mon Mothma asked, annoyed with Han's rude entry.

"Wedge found him," Han said and Leia's heart skipped a beat.

"Wedge?" she asked. "But he's on a mission, he went to free slaves at the Imperial outpost on Fraso."

"Exactly," Han responded, meeting her gaze. "Luke was one of the slaves there."

"What!" General Rieekan demanded as he got to his feet and Leia could see the concern in his eyes. The General had clearly come to like and respect Luke while working with him on Hoth.

"You heard me," Han stated. "Luke was one of the slaves Wedge and the others freed on Fraso. Wedge recognized him when he was hustled aboard the escape ship. Says he looks like hell but that it's definitely Luke Skywalker."

"Will they bring him back to base?" Mon Mothma asked.

"Yes Ma'am, just as soon as they've dropped the other slaves off on Sullust," Han replied...

Leia shifted so that she was in a more comfortable position on the hard bunk. After she had heard the news, she'd been excited and worried for the rest of the day. Excited that her friend hadn't been killed by Vader and worried about what he had experienced in the year since his capture. Considering the fact that he was a slave clearly meant that he had had no more use to Vader and that had really worried her. What had Vader wanted? What had he done to get it? What had Luke been through since walking into the trap on Bespin?

Han had tried to comfort her by saying that Luke was safe now and that that was all that mattered, but she had clearly heard the concern in his voice. By the time the shuttle had arrived, she had been nearly beside herself with worry. The only time she had been more worried was when Han had been encased in carbonite. She had been worried sick about him until she, Chewie, and Lando had managed to free him from Jabba's Palace.

The moment she heard that the ship containing Luke, Wedge, and the other Rebels who had helped in the mission had arrived in orbit around the base, she rushed to the base's docking bay. Han arrived shortly afterwards and together they waited for the ship to land and then for the ramp to lower. Then, finally, Wedge came down the ramp, partially supporting Luke who was limping slightly and had his head down.

"Luke," she called out as she moved closer to the ramp.

Luke lifted his head upon hearing his name and she gasped as she caught sight of the nasty blue-purple bruise that covered the right side of his face. The next thing she noticed was that the light that normally sparkled in Luke's eyes wasn't there anymore. Instead his eyes seemed empty, endless, and dark. This, she now knew, was the first clue that Luke had changed, but at the time she had thought that it was a direct result from the suffering he must have endured.

Luke had looked her over before looking to Han who had been at her side, and only then had a small smile appeared on his face, a smile that hadn't quite reached his eyes.

"Kid, you all right?" Han asked as he stepped closer to Luke. He then slipped one of his arms under Luke's right arm to help support him before he promptly pulled it back as Luke screamed at the touch and collapsed against Wedge.

"Bad idea," Wedge told Han. "You should see his back, it's covered with bruises."

Han then quickly helped Wedge carry Luke to the base's medical center. Leia had just motioned for 2-1B to come over when Luke started to come around.

"You okay, buddy?" Han asked as Luke raised his head.

"Yeah," Luke said, his voice shaking.

Then he caught sight of the approaching droid and started struggling in Wedge and Han's grasp.

"Luke, what's wrong?" Leia instantly asked.

"Let me go," Luke ordered, panic on his face and in his voice, his eyes glued on 2-1B. "Get him out of here! No droids, no droids!"

"Take it easy Luke," Wedge said. "He won't hurt you, it's a doctor."

"No! Get him out of here or let me go!" Luke said as he tried to twist out of his friends grasps, but he was too weak to succeed.

"Calm down," Leia said before she turned to 2-1B who had frozen in his tracks at the outburst. "I think you'd better leave the room."

"As you wish," 2-1B replied and obeyed.

The moment 2-1B left the room Luke calmed down and allowed Wedge and Han to led him to a bed. When he seemed to have recovered from whatever had scared him, Leia asked him why he didn't want 2-1B to look at him. Luke simply replied that he didn't want any droids to touch him and that he didn't want any near him either, not even Artoo or Threepio. Han then tried to make Luke laugh by making a comment about it being normal not to want Threepio nearby, but Luke only gave his friend another forced smile that hadn't quite reached his eyes.

At the time, Leia thought that he had probably encountered one too many interrogation droids while with Vader. But now that she thought about it, she wondered if it had had anything to do with the Force. Her father used to tell her stories about the Jedi and the Force, and one of the things he had said was that the Force could only affect living things. A Jedi, or a Sith, could use the Force to push around a droid, but they couldn't order it to do something as they could most, but not all, sentient beings. Now she wondered if perhaps Luke had been using the Force for something and the droids would have noticed it as Luke couldn't affect their minds. Could it have had something to do with his bruises?

Suddenly Leia realized that Luke had only allowed Artoo and Threepio near him once the bruises on his face had gone. Had those bruises been Force projected then? Could Luke do that? Quietly she shook her head; it was possible. She had never been able to fully understand how Luke did some of the things he did, no matter how often he had tried to explain it to her. But she had never thought him powerful enough to be able to fool everyone the way he might have done by Force-projecting his bruises.

Indeed, after he had returned to the Alliance it had seemed like his powers had increased. Could this be from the time he had spent with this Jedi Master Yoda after he had left Hoth as he had claimed? Or had Vader taught him? And if so, did that make Luke a Sith? This was all too confusing! Why had it happened? Why couldn't Luke have been normal like almost everyone else? But then, wouldn't they all have died at Yavin?

Frustrated, Leia jumped to her feet and started pacing her cell again. After having made sure that neither Han nor Wedge would leave Luke alone, she had gone looking for the human doctor she had known was on the base. After a short search she had found the doctor talking with Mon Mothma...

"Is Commander Skywalker all right?" Mon Mothma asked as soon as Leia entered the room.

"He's still in one piece," she replied before she turned to face the doctor. "However, he seems to have encountered too many interrogation droids as he refuses to let any droids near him, even 2-1B who's taken care of him in the past."

"Very well," Doctor Hsa-Lin replied. "I'll take a look at him."

"I'd like a full report on his health as soon as you're done," Mon Mothma ordered. "And your opinion on whether or not he's fit to come before the Council tomorrow."

"Very well," the doctor nodded.

Back at the medical center, Luke insisted that she, Han, and Wedge leave the room. This had been another of the signs that something was wrong. At the time she had simply thought that Luke hadn't wanted her and Han to see the pain he had undergone, but now she wondered if it hadn't been because it would have been harder for Luke to make them all see the bruises. Once, when she had still been a small girl, she had asked her father if the Jedi could do anything and he had replied that even the Jedi had limits to what they could do with the Force. Perhaps that was what had happened then. Perhaps Luke hadn't wanted them in the room because it would have been too hard for him to make them all see the bruises he had wanted the doctor to see.

Luckily, she and Han had been in the conference room when Doctor Hsa-Lin had come to give her report to Mon Mothma. The doctor had quickly told them that Luke's entire body was covered with bruises with all the colors of the rainbow and that he had wounds on his back which could only have been inflicted by a whip like those used to control slaves.

Leia recalled the depth of anger she had read on all the faces in that room as they reacted to this report. Especially on Han's. His fists were tightly clenched at his sides and she saw determination appear in his brown eyes. Determination she had known that would not go away until he had done whatever he had in mind. And, knowing Han, that was probably a death threat directed at whomever had hurt Luke.

Hsa-Lin went on to say that she had also found several scars and marks on Luke's body that could only have been inflicted upon him by an Imperial interrogation droid, and even then only one working at full capacity. She advised that Luke was to stay in the medical center for at least a week. She would, however, allow him to come before the Alliance Council the next day provided that he could sit down and that they didn't put him under too much pressure.

Re-seating herself on the metal bunk, Leia sighed as she remembered that meeting in which Luke had explained what had happened to him since Vader had captured him on Cloud City. She had to hand it to Luke; he had played his part well, pausing in all the right places, thinking just long enough when they had asked him a question that had required him to give a detail on his torture. His experience had been exactly what they had expected it to be, considering that he had first been at Vader's mercy and then at that of a slaver.

She froze as she suddenly realized that which she had only picked up subconsciously during the meeting: Luke's answers had been too perfect, his attitude towards his position too much as she'd expected it to be. Had he been using the Force? Had he been probing them and telling them what they had wanted to hear? Was that why she and the others had had no doubts about his story?

If he'd done that, then what else had he done? If he'd been able to see what answers they had expected to hear, then could he just enter their minds and see whatever he wanted whenever he wanted? Was that why he'd come back? To get information from their unsuspecting minds? Yes, that was probably it, not to mention all the datapads he had looked over while resting in the medical center.

Suddenly, Leia gripped the edge of the bunk with her hands as another thought came to her. Quickly she looked back to all the times she had visited Luke in the medical center before she groaned aloud. There was another sign that she should have picked up on earlier: not once when she had gone to the medical center to check on Luke had her friend been asleep. He had been there to rest and heal, so why hadn't it come to her attention that he had never been resting? Did this have something to do with the Force as well? Or had she simply overlooked the obvious?

Realizing that she was gripping the edge of the bunk until her knuckles were white, she quickly brought her hands up to her forehead and started rubbing it. Now that she thought about it, she realized that even after he had left the medical center, Luke had always seemed to be studying one datapad or another when he hadn't been on duty. Nobody had been concerned about this as they had all thought that he had simply been catching up on the details of what had happened during the year that he had been away. But now she wondered if it wasn't more current data that he had been reading, data that he had gotten hold of which he normally shouldn't have access to. If this last was true then Luke had probably laughed at them whenever he had been alone: he was reading Alliance information he shouldn't be reading right in front of their noses!

He had probably been laughing a lot then as he had been alone for the majority of his free time. At first she had been concerned about this, wondering if her friend was okay, but she had relaxed when Doctor Hsa-Lin had said that it was only normal for him to try to be alone after what he had experienced. Doctor Hsa-Lin had also said that he needed time to readjust and that it would only make matters worse if she or anyone else tried to push him. After having heard this she and Han had gone to his room every now and then, but they had always left if Luke showed any signs of wanting to be alone. Little had she known that he had probably been gathering more information together for the Empire.

Indeed, she had thought that his longing to be alone was just part of his recovery, and that his cold manner had only been a way of protecting himself from any further pain. Now, however, she knew that his cold manner had not been a precaution, but another warning sign she should have picked up on. He had started by telling her and Han that what he did and had been through was none of their business, then he had started yelling at them whenever they had asked if he was okay. Han had gotten really angry because of this, but she had only thought that he had been trying to forget what had happened and had been trying to readjust to being back with the Alliance.

Little had she known at the time that Luke just didn't care about them anymore, that his behavior wasn't going to change no matter how long they left him alone. He had done his best to get them to leave him alone, to leave him alone so that he could get more information on the Alliance to give to the Empire. Briefly she wondered just how he had gotten hold of the high level information, but then, if he could read their minds, what was stopping him from getting the necessary passwords from the minds of the people who knew them?

She gritted her teeth in anger as she clenched her hands. In retrospect it all seemed so simple, so obvious, that it made her wonder just how Luke had managed to pull it off without making anyone he had interacted with during the two months he had spent with the Alliance aware of what he was doing. But he had. The fact that she was here, on Coruscant, in an Imperial detention cell, waiting for her execution, was proof enough of that. And, judging from what she had been told and had overheard, her fate was pretty much the same as that of nearly every Rebel in the Alliance. Indeed, she had to admit, Luke had done a brilliant job of gathering all the information he had needed before he had sprung the trap.

That was another thing she still couldn't get over: the way Luke had managed to make the Alliance a sitting lin-duck for the Empire. He had clearly used his status as an Alliance hero to get access to places around the base where he normally shouldn't have access to, either that or he had used the Force. Whatever method he had used he had been able to sabotage the Alliance's main defense systems and radar. Then, two months after Luke's return to the Alliance, he had helped destroy it.

She had been in the conference room together with Mon Mothma, Admiral Ackbar, General Rieekan, and General Madine when Luke had abruptly entered the room...

"What is the meaning of this?" Mon Mothma demanded, getting to her feet, her face clearly displaying her anger.

"The beginning of the end of the Rebellion," Luke stated calmly then pulled out his blaster from its holster and fired, destroying the controls that operated the doors to the room.

"What in...?" General Madine exclaimed, jumping to his feet, his hand reaching for the blaster he wore.

He aimed it at Luke, but it was torn from his grip by an invisible force and was sent flying across the room. It landed at Luke's feet, and reminded Leia terribly of how Vader had taken Han's blaster away from him on Bespin.

"Hands on the table," Luke ordered, his voice cold, hard, and demanding.

"Luke, what are you doing?" Leia asked as she obeyed.

"Making sure none of you escape while the stormtroopers secure the base," Luke replied as he stepped forward and sat down in a chair.

"Stormtroopers?" Mon Mothma asked, her eyes never leaving the blaster which was aimed at her. "There aren't any stormtroopers here."

Just as the words left her mouth, a loud alarm sounded over the speakers. She and Rieekan gasped in surprise as they instantly recognized the alarm as that signaling an Imperial attack.

"Why are you doing this Skywalker?" Admiral Ackbar demanded as he looked at Luke. "You're a Rebel."

"Correction, I was a Rebel," Luke stated. "Until about a year ago."

"Until Vader got you?" Leia questioned.

"Until you left me to Vader, yes," Luke replied, making her feel slightly guilty. "But then, if you hadn't, I would never have learned the truth."

"The truth?" she repeated, astonished. "Luke, you must know that you can't trust Vader, he wouldn't hesitate to lie to you!"

"No," Luke replied just as they heard a distant explosion. "Lord Vader won't lie to me, Obi-Wan, on the other hand, did."

Suppressing the urge to jump to her feet and start pacing her cell again, Leia sighed as she remembered Luke's words. What could have given him such confidence in Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith? He was, after all, the man who had murdered his father! And what had Obi-Wan lied to Luke about? She would have asked at the time but, just as she had opened her mouth to do so, a frantic voice had come over the speaker:

"Mon Mothma? Mon Mothma, are you there?" the Rebel asked. "Mon Mothma? Admiral Ackbar? General Rieekan? General Madine? Princess Organa? Is anyone there?"

"Don't," Luke ordered sharply as Admiral Ackbar's flipper-like hand moved towards the com which was lying on the table next to him. "Move again and I'll blast your hand off."

The threat quickly stopped the Admiral, but Leia clearly saw the desperation she felt on his face and on that of everyone in the room save Luke. Indeed, Luke actually looked pleased.

"Mon Mothma! If you're there please respond," the Rebel continued frantically. "Admiral Ackbar! We're being slaughtered!"

"What's happening out there?" General Madine demanded.

"If I didn't want to tell you then I wouldn't. Remember that I'm the one with the blaster here, so I make the demands, understood?" Luke stated and waited until General Madine reluctantly nodded. "Good. As to situation outside..." he began as an inhuman smile appeared on his face...

A smile that had sent shivers down Leia's spine at the time and which managed to do so even as she thought about it now. It had been that smile that had told her that Luke was truly lost to them, even though she had refused to admit it at the time...

"Exactly six hours ago, the Star Destroyers Merciless and Obliterator dropped off countless stormtroopers on the far side of the continent," Luke said.

"Impossible," General Rieekan stated. "Our radar would have picked that up!"

"Your radar hasn't been working properly since o-one hundred last night," Luke replied. "And neither have the batteries or any of the other main defense systems."

"What!" Mon Mothma exclaimed as she paled slightly.

"You heard me," Luke responded, his smile growing. "The Executor and about three quarters of the rest of the Imperial fleet is also in orbit around this planet."

"Three quarters of the fleet?" Admiral Ackbar repeated suspiciously.

"Yes," Luke replied with pure delight. "The rest has gone to either Sullust, Linso, or Mantooine."

Leia's heart sank as Luke mentioned those planets. Those were the three planets where the Alliance had minor bases. She was forced to lean on the table, head in her hands, at the thought of those bases being destroyed. Looking around, she saw that Mon Mothma was squeezing her eyes shut, General Rieekan was shaking his head, while both Admiral Ackbar and General Madine were rigid with fury. Everything that they had fought for, everything that they had sweat and bled for, was collapsing around them like a sand-castle as the waves attacked.

There was a heavy silence in the room for several minutes during which they heard distant explosions.

"Imperial troops have entered the base," a Rebel suddenly stated over the com. "Imperial troops have entered the base."

The announcement brought fear and dread to Leia's heart as she watched the young man who had once been her close friends. At the time, and even now while sitting in her detention cell, she had found it hard to believe that Luke had purposefully and willingly betrayed the Alliance and his friends.

"Imperial troops have entered the base," the Rebel continued saying until they heard blaster fire over the speaker seconds before the man screamed and all went silent.

"Luke," Leia said, unable to just stand around and do nothing while her fellow freedom fighters fought for their lives. "Think of what you're doing! You're destroying the Alliance! You're destroying all you used to believe in and fight for!"

"I know," Luke simply replied. "But since then I've been shown the truth."

"Luke!" she begged, horrified by his words. "The Empire is wrong! How can you side with those who bring misery and suffering to the people of the galaxy?"

"Only to aliens," Luke stated as he let his eyes drift to Admiral Ackbar before he looked back to her. "The humans that are suffering have brought it upon themselves."

"What! How can--"

"Enough," Luke ordered, interrupting her. "I'll not argue with you Princess Organa."

The use of her formal title kept her quiet, as it showed her that Luke really didn't cared about the friendship they had once had. As she sat there she looked around for a way to escape and to help her comrades outside, but she was unable to come up with anything. Luke had blasted the controls to the only door in the room and, even if he hadn't done that, he was still between them and the door. Briefly, she considered going for General Madine's blaster and stunning Luke, but the blaster was on the floor too close to Luke for her to even attempt it.

Luke had clearly considered everything carefully. And, from the noise in the hall outside the room, it was obvious that the whole Imperial attack was well organized. She and the others in the room heard the sounds of the battle for another half hour before an uncomfortable silence replaced the explosions and blaster fire.

"It's over," Luke finally stated as he got to his feet.

"How do you know?" Mon Mothma asked. "It could just be that the fighting is taking place so far away from here that we can't hear it anymore."

"It's over," Luke replied with such confidence in his voice Leia knew it was true.

They waited in silence for a few more minutes. Luke was obviously waiting for something while she and the others had sat there, unable to do anything. Finally the silence was broken by three, quick, sharp, knocks on the door. At the sound of the knocks, Luke instantly moved away from the door to the far side of the room. He moved quickly, but he made sure to keep his blaster aimed right at Mon Mothma the whole time.

"What's happening?" General Rieekan asked.

"We're getting company," Luke replied seconds before the door to the room was blasted open.

Leia instinctively ducked behind the table at the sound of the explosion and then slowly, carefully, got to her feet. She heard a blaster firing which was followed by a sharp cry of pain from General Madine. On her feet again, Leia quickly looked around the room and instantly took in the scene. Most of the door had been blown away and stormtroopers were quickly pouring in through the hole. The stormtroopers that were already in the room had their blasters raised and aimed at her and the rest of the Alliance High Command.

Her eyes then feel on General Madine who was lying on the floor in the middle of the room, tightly clutching the charred remains of his right hand. He had clearly gone after his blaster in a final, desperate, attempt to save them all. Luke, however, had been too quick for him.

Luke was still standing in the same spot were he had been before the door had been blasted open. He must have felt her gaze as he looked up and met her eyes. They had stood there for a moment, his ice-blue eyes drilling into her hazel brown, until she was finally forced to look away, unable to tolerate those once warm, gentle, eyes that were now alive with a dark fire.

"Bind them," Luke ordered just before she heard a familiar rhythmic sound.

Instantly, she looked to the remains of the doorway and saw Darth Vader enter the room. She gasped softly before she looked past the stormtroopers to Luke. Her former friend's eyes were fixed on the Dark Lord and, for a brief moment, she saw something in his eyes. However, at the time and even now, she couldn't identify exactly what it had been.

"Good work," Vader stated in his deep, rich, voice as he walked over to Luke. "One injured, but all alive. The Emperor will be pleased."

Those words had startled her then and still did. The Emperor? Was Luke meeting with Palpatine? Or had Vader just said that to show how pleased he had been? Or had it been something else altogether? Sighing loudly, she desperately wished for some answers, to know exactly what had happened to Luke, to know why he had betrayed her, Han, and the Alliance.

Han. Was he still alive? The last time she had seen him had been just before that faithful council meeting. He'd said that he wanted to talk to her and he had asked if she'd come to the Falcon the moment the meeting was over. Thus he'd probably been in the docking bay when the Imperials had attacked. Had he survived the battle and gotten away? Although she didn't doubt Han's fighting skills she did doubt that he'd just leave her behind, how he'd risked his life to come for her on Hoth had proven that. Had he been captured while looking for her? And if so then where was he now? Or had he died in that battle? While she desperately hoped that the latter wasn't true, she knew that in the end it made little difference. Indeed, Han would probably prefer dying in battle then being captured and executed. But she had to know!

At first she had hoped that Luke would come to her cell so that she could ask him if Han was still alive. That and she had hoped to ask him why, why he had joined the Empire. But Luke hadn't come. The last time she had seen him was when she had been led out of the council room. The stormtroopers had just taken her through the remains of the door when she had turned around and called out his name. Luke had looked up from his conversation with Vader and had briefly regarded her with cold eyes before he had turned away, dismissing her as if she had been no more than dirt on the floor. His casual dismissal of her and of their former friendship had hurt, it had hurt so much that she hadn't resisted when the stormtroopers had dragged her away.

As she was led through the halls she tried not to look at the bodies on the floor for, although there were some stormtrooper bodies, most of them were the bodies of her comrades. She was escorted to the docking bay where she boarded a shuttle which had taken her up to the Executor. She knew that is was the Executor because of the sheer size of the docking bay and because of the distance she traveled while the stormtroopers led her to the detention center. Once there she was processed and put into a cell.

She had spent approximately a week and a half in that cell during which the Imperials had probably gone over the base for any information that Luke had been unable to obtain. Then she had been brought to Coruscant, put into another detention cell, and told that she would be publicly executed before the Imperial Palace in two days.

Well, two days were up and here she was, waiting for her execution, unable to do anything. Briefly, her mind went back to the last time she had felt this helpless, it had been over four years ago when she had been waiting for her execution on board the Death Star. How ironic that it had been Luke who had saved her from that fate only to be the one to put her back into the same situation now. It was almost as if Luke had the right to decide when she should live and when she should die. She shuddered at the thought of Luke holding such power and tried to think of something else.

Suddenly, she became aware of another warning she had missed: from the moment Luke had returned to the Alliance all Imperial activity nearby had halted. Indeed, the only incident she had heard of had taken place on the other side of the galaxy. She should have noticed this, however her pride had insisted that they had simply stumped the Empire and she hadn't given it a second thought. Now she realized that the Empire had become quiet to give Luke enough time to gather all the necessary information and to avoid placing him in a position in which he had to shoot down TIE fighters to keep up his cover.

Briefly, she tried to picture Luke in a normal TIE fighter, but she pushed the thought aside as she was unable to stand seeing Luke work for the Empire. Besides it wasn't like Luke to risk his life in some shieldless craft when he could have better. Suddenly, she wondered if that was one of the reasons Luke had joined the Empire: because with the odds against the Alliance it seemed safer to be with the Empire. She tried, but failed to push the thought from her mind.

She wanted some answers, she wanted to know why Luke had betrayed them, why he had joined the Empire, and why he trusted Vader. But the way things were going it didn't seem like she'd ever get the answers she so desperately wanted.

Then she felt her entire body tense as she heard two pairs of footsteps in the hall. Then, the door to her cell slid open and two stormtroopers entered.

"To your feet," one of them ordered as he stepped forward, manacles in his hand.

Knowing that resistance was futile at this point, she got to her feet and let the stormtrooper bind her hands together in front of her. Even if she somehow did manage to get away from these two guards, there'd still be others down the hall, and others outside the detention area. She was, after all, on Coruscant, the heart of the cancer that was spreading itself across the galaxy. The heart of the Empire.

No, she wouldn't resist, she wouldn't give the Imperials the pleasure of watching her squirm, of letting them know how scared she felt inside. Instead she'd go out there with her head held high and face her fate. She'd die for what she believed in. She'd die opposing Palpatine and his Empire.

She'd die a Rebel.

Please let me know what you think!
Finished: July 1999