Author's Note: Short chapter, but as the title says, it's an interlude. I thought I should put this in so when I follow on with the plot no one will get confused or start questioning motives, etc. :) PS: School ends on Friday so I should be updating more over the summer.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: INTERLUDE - REASONING
Mon Mothma wearily stacked up the flimsies and stuffed them into the folder as everyone quietly filtered out of the conference room. She placed her elbows on the table, resting her head atop of her small hands.
It had been an exhausting meeting. Long, and all about how the Rebellion was going bankrupt and how they think they found an Imperial spy droid near base so they may have to evacuate...
Oh, life was going well.
With a sigh, she collected herself and sat up briskly – her eyes were drawn to someone who had silently stayed in without her knowledge.
General Riekkan tilted his head in greeting.
"I had thought everyone had left."
"I wanted to ask you something."
He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table with his fingers intertwined in front of them. "During the meeting, if you remember, the subject of Lady Skywalker was brought up."
He paused for a moment, watching her. If anything, the Supreme Commander looked politely interested as to what he had to say.
"Why are we holding the girl?" he asked softly, quietly. "We both know it's more dangerous to keep her; Vader's efforts are probably redoubled."
The older redhead let out a sigh and stood up, tucking the folder carefully under her arm. "I explained to you my reasoning, Carlist."
"It didn't satisfy."
She stopped. "You know as well as I do that Vader would never annihilate a base if he thought his daughter was on it."
"Vader won't, but what about the Emperor?"
"Nor him, she's too valuable; we all know that while Palpatine issues the orders, it's Vader that does everything." She paused. "Both you and I know who he was," she added quietly, looking at Riekkan sadly. "He's powerful enough to make his own choices."
"It's likely that the Emperor doesn't even want the Princess around; it would divide Darth Vader's loyalties. That air attack on Kessel wasn't by us, Commander -"
"I know, but just because we were blamed doesn't mean he ordered it. For all we know, it was just a bunch of angry Hutts and he simply exploited the incident for propaganda against us."
"While that could be true, I still think it is too much of a coincidence -"
"That's all it is, Carlist, a coincidence."
He sighed, knowing full well that she was not about to budge in her stance.
She turned to leave.
Riekkan spoke again.
"One more thing, Mon."
"What is it?"
"Is defense the only reason you're keeping her?"
He watched her pause and stop, her blue eyes briefly flickering downward.
"Leia -" She hesitated. "She's her mother's daughter, I know that much." Her voice became urgent. "From the times I've met the girl, I could just sense it – she has the intelligence, the eloquence, the omniscience of Padmé. Yes, she has remnants of her father's temper and both of their stubbornness – but it's more than looks, Carlist, she's like her mother."
For the first time, she looked agitated. The folder of flimsies was dropped onto the table as she fiddled with her sleeves, turning around twice.
"If only we can get her to trust us, to perhaps befriend us, maybe -"
The woman stopped and looked at him.
"The Princess was raised by Lord Vader. She doesn't have an ounce of democracy or a sense of justice. If you're going to try to get her to turn, you're on a wild banth -"
"But she does! By the Force, Alderaan -" she faltered, her voice cracking. "I could tell. She didn't understand the destruction, she didn't see the reason, she didn't know why so many people had to die. I don't know how, but something was carried on from her mother's side. And if perhaps we get her to see the Empire's holistic evilness, perhaps maybe she will go to the right side -"
"Mon, 'right' is relative."
"But I know that 'right' isn't slavery, oppression, and destruction."
"But for her? Mon, you can't rely on the fact that because the girl's mother was Padmé –- and even so, if it ever did happen, what use would it be to us? The most damaging would be a blow to the Empire's morale, and it's not like Stormtroopers have much of that anyway -"
"The girl is a diplomat. She's ambassador to Palpatine himself, for gods' sakes. Call it favoritism, but he'd look after his Empire's interests so she's the best – not only that, but we can make a guess at strategic intelligence and since she's at the top, Force knows what sort of information she can give us."
"She'll see through it. If she's so smart, she'll know she's being manipulated."
"Manipulated?" The Supreme Commander seemed disgusted at such a term. "Persuaded, perhaps."
He was quiet for a moment.
"You know you don't need my permission," he murmured after a bit. "But whatever you're about to try – be careful. Because for all we know, it could be the death of us."
With that he left.
She watched him leave, and was finally alone. With a long breathe, she sank into a chair and felt more tired than she had in a long time.