The Reluctant Jedi

Standard fanfic disclaimer that wouldn't last ten seconds in a court of law: these aren't my characters, I'm just borrowing them for, um, typing practice. That's it, typing practice. I'll return them to their actual owners (relatively) undamaged. This is an amateur work of fiction; no profit beyond pleasure was derived from the writing. Originally published in Our Favorite Things #25, by Elan Press. This story takes place in 3rd season ST:TNG and a few months after RotJ. Based on characters and situations created by Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, and Chris Clairemont.

The Reluctant Jedi

Star Trek: the Next Generation/Star Wars

Susan M. M.

Jean-Luc Picard smiled. It wasn't often he got a chance to relax and enjoy a glass of cognac and good company. His busy schedule as captain of the Enterprise made such simple pleasures a rare luxury.

Across the table from him sat Guinan, hostess of the Ten-Forward Lounge, sipping apple cider and nibbling on Scottish shortbread. "Are you sure you don't want a piece? It's very good."

"I've tasted Yeoman Cameron's shortbread before. I was one of the judges of the ship-wide baking contest," the bald captain reminded her. "I just don't think it would go well with cognac."

"Perhaps not," the dark-skinned humanoid agreed, her brown eyes twinkling. "How long until we meet Temujin and Boadicea?"

"Two days. I don't see why we need war games in this day and age. This is a vessel for peaceful exploration, not a warship." He sighed. "We've been so busy lately, I never did get a chance to ask you how you spent your shore leave on Lahnu."

"Window shopping. Browsed through a museum or two, wandered through the public gardens. Just relaxed. And you?" she asked.

"I managed – Merde! What's that?" Picard stared out the observation window.

Every head in the room turned toward the giant viewscreen. Voices tumbled over each other as crewmen gasped, whispered, and (in a few cases) shouted. A blinding white light exploded. Suddenly, a ship appeared in the distance.

"A ship jumping out of hyperspace," Guinan realized. Her voice was mildly bemused, but not surprised. The expression on her face was perfectly calm.

"That's impossible. The existence of hyperspace – let alone travel through it – is purely hypothetical," the captain protested.

"Don't tell them that."

"Bridge to Captain Picard." Data's voice came over the communicator.

Slapping his insignia to activate the comm-unit, he replied, "Picard here."

"Sir, a ship of unknown origin and intent has suddenly … emerged. It is approaching at approximately warp four," Lt. Cmdr. Data announced.

"What actions have you taken, Mr. Data?" the captain inquired. He was unworried. He trusted his android third-in-command.

"Shields are up and we are attempting to establish communications. We started hailing on all frequencies as soon as it appeared, but there has been no response yet."

"Whoever their pilot is, he flies like a Corellian," Guinan observed quietly.

Picard looked up at her, wondering what a Corellian was, and wondering, too, how she'd known the alien craft had jumped from hyperspace … almost as if she'd recognized it.

"Sir, the ship is hailing us. However, it is not a language the computer recognizes, and the universal translator needs a larger sample before it can attempt to synthesize and –"

Guinan interrupted, "That's a distress signal."

"You recognize it?" Picard was surprised. He could barely hear the alien transmission in the background. She not only heard but understood it. He reminded himself for the umpteenth time that as an El-Aurian, she was humanoid rather than human.

"They're requesting medical aid," Guinan interpreted.

Picard took her arm and led her to the wall intercom. This would require more sophisticated equipment than his insignia comm-unit. "Data, patch us through to the alien craft." Turning to Guinan, he instructed, "Identify us and find out the nature of their medical emergency."

As Guinan spoke to the strange vessel, Picard notified Sickbay and ordered Dr. Crusher to prepare.

"They have two people wounded, one badly," Guinan reported a minute later. "And I was right about their captain being Corellian. I recognize the accent."

"Tell them to lower their shields and we'll beam Dr. Crusher over."

Guinan turned to obey. Behind her, someone yelled, "Another one!"

Picard turned to stare out the viewscreen. Another, much larger ship had emerged in a second flash of blinding light.

"What is this, a convention?" someone asked.

"But that's not possible," Guinan muttered. "You can't track a ship through hyperspace."

Picard stared at her. How could a bartender know so much about a supposedly theoretical branch of esoteric physics?

"Their captain says he will not lower his shields with that … imperial cruiser so close," Guinan reported, appearing slightly puzzled for the first time.

A new voice came over the intercom, a woman's voice. Although he could not understand the language, Picard heard the calm determination tinged with fear, but not overwhelmed by it.

"She identifies herself as Princess-Senator Leia Organa of Alderaan. She claims diplomatic immunity and request sanctuary," Guinan relayed. "Now the other ship is speaking." She listened a moment. "Imperial Cruiser Conqueror, under the command of Captain Jeljurr. They demand we identify ourselves and they order the … Hundred-Year, no, my mistake, Thousand-Year, uh, Hawk, to surrender or be destroyed."

"Thousand-Year Hawk?" Picard repeated. It was an odd name for a ship.

"Maybe Millennium Falcon would be a better translation," she suggested.

"Identify us and warn them they are in Federation territory," Picard ordered. He activated his insignia comm-unit. "Data, have the computers recorded a large enough sample for the universal translator?"

"Not yet, sir."

"Data, have the computer access file nine-seven-ought-three-zed, then feed that information into the translator," Guinan requested.

"Affirmative," the android replied.

As soon as Guinan finished relaying Picard's message, they left the lounge and hurried for the Bridge.

"What was that computer file you had Data access?" Picard asked in the turbo-lift.

"Mostly poems and songs I liked well enough to save. However, it should give the translator a big enough sample to work with."

"Sample of what? What language is that?"

"The name translates as Galactic Standard. It's the lingua franca of the Galactic Republic," she answered reluctantly.

"The what?"

"A distant confederation of independent worlds … not unlike the United Federation of Planets, but much larger."

Picard swore in French. "Why haven't you ever mentioned them before?"

"The Prime Directive cuts both ways, Jean-Luc.

"Are you saying they're more advanced than we are?" he demanded.

"In some ways, yes. In other ways, you're even or perhaps a little ahead. I haven't been in the Republic in a long time." Two hundred years, she thought. "I don't know how things have changed."

The turbo-lift doors opened and they stepped out onto the Bridge.

Data rose and surrendered the conn. "The universal translator is now on-line and fully functional, sir."

"Excellent. Lt. Worf, open a channel to both ships." Picard took his seat. "This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise. You are in Federation territory and under the jurisdiction of the laws of the United Federation of Planets. Please state your purpose for this intrusion into Federation space."

"Senator Organa of Alderaan, claiming diplomatic immunity for myself and my ship –"

"Captain Jeljurr –"

" – a medical emergency – "

"Never heard of (untranslated) Federation. This is imperial territory – "

"I repeat, medical emergency –"

" – and subject to the Empire's laws. Yield at once!"

"Please, please, I can not hear either one of you if you both speak at once. Do you have visual transmission capability?" Picard waited as Worf opened a video channel, hoping to stall long enough to let tempers cool. "Millennium Falcon, you said you had a medical problem?"

A blurry picture of a dark-haired humanoid female appeared on half of the viewscreen. A sharp, clear image of a tall amphibian with red-brown skin and bulging yellow eyes appeared on the other half.

"A Mon Calamari," Guinan whispered.

"Thank you, Captain. I repeat, I am Leia Organa of Alderaan, Senator. This ship is functioning as a consular vessel; under interstellar law, I request diplomatic privilege for myself and my crew. We have two wounded humans who require immediate medical aid."

"She is an outlaw and a traitor," interrupted Jeljurr. "If you assist her, you are also a traitor. We will destroy you both."

"That might be more difficult than you think, Captain Jeljurr. Senator Organa,we are happy to extend the use of our Sickbay facilities to you. If you lower your shields, our chief medical officer will beam over."

"Beam over? Please repeat, Enterprise, that last bit didn't translate," Princess Leia requested.

"I am not lowering my shields, Leia," snapped a male voice on Millennium Falcon.

"Enterprise, this is your last warning. Everyone on that ship is under sentence of death. Giving aid and comfort to traitors is itself an act of treason," Jeljurr informed them sneeringly.

"Captain Jeljurr, I am not a citizen of your empire. Until a few minutes ago, I had never heard of it." And you're not giving a very good first impression, Picard thought. "You are in Federation territory, not your empire, and your laws have no jurisdiction here."

Worf signaled to attract Picard's attention, and at the captain's gesture, cut communications.

"You have something to report, Lieutenant?"

"Sir, analysis shows the composition of their shields is sufficiently unlike ours that it should be possible to beam someone over with their shields up," the Klingon reported.

"Inform Dr. Crusher. Guinan, go with her, please. I would rather not trust this to machine translation."

"Certainly, Captain," Guinan agreed.

"We'll lower shields just long enough to beam you two over – "

"Captain! Conqueror is opening fire on Millennium Falcon," Acting Ensign Wes Crusher interrupted.

"Guinan, go to Transporter Room Three and stand ready. We may have only a moment when it's safe to beam you and Dr. Crusher over. Mr. Crusher, move us closer to the alien ships. Maneuver us between them, if you can. Mr. Data, fire a photon torpedo – just a warning. Mr. Worf, reopen communications."

The crew hurried to obey Picard's orders.

"Attention alien craft, this is Enterprise. We are rendering medical assistance to Millennium Falcon's injured personnel. Political discussions and formal diplomatic recognition can wait until the wounded have been treated."

Millennium Falcon rocked wildly as one of Conqueror's plasma bolts hit her. Another bolt shot harmlessly past Enterprise.

"Jeljurr, I must warn you. If you fire again on that ship or us, it will be regarded as act of hostility against the Federation," Picard threatened.

Jeljurr's reply was short and untranslatable; Picard assumed it was obscene.

"Worf, contact Temujin and Boadicea. Inform them of our situation and invite them to join us," the captain instructed.

"Aye, sir." The Klingon officer opened a channel on a different frequency, disconnected it from the translator, and summoned the two frigates.

"Get me Dr. Crusher," Picard ordered. "Doctor, are you sure you understand the risks? You'll be beaming over to a ship under fire. We're not even certain that it will be possible to beam you through their shields."

"I'm beaming over to my patients, Captain. Guinan and I understand and accept the risks. Now beam us over there before I go work the transporter controls myself!" she threatened.

Worf frowned. As Chief of Security, he was responsible for the safety of Enterprise's crew, but the CMO frequently refused to be protected.

Picard sighed. "Mr. Crusher, drop shields. Ensign T'Ves, transport the away team."

"Crusher to Enterprise, down and safe," the flame-tressed doctor reported.

"Acknowledged," Picard's voice came over the communicator. "Be ready to beam back at a second's notice."

"Aye, Captain. I've already told T'Ves to stand by to beam us and the wounded directly to Sickbay's quarantine unit. Crusher out."


"Hello, we're from the Enterprise. We're here to help," Guinan announced. Belatedly, she asked, "Permission to come aboard?"

All organic beings on the Millennium Falcon were busy trying to stay alive. No human ears heard her … only a set of mechanical auditory sensors.

"Oh, my goodness!"

Dr. Crusher and Guinan looked up to see a tall, golden-plated, somewhat agitated robot.

"What are you doing here? How did you get here?" C-3PO asked.

The redhead had no time to deal with a flustered 'droid. "I'm Chief Medical Officer of the Enterprise. Where are my patients?"

"This way, ma'am." Threepio led them to a cabin where two men lay writhing in pain. A small barrel-shaped 'droid beeped and squealed indignantly at their entrance. "It's all right, Artoo. They're here to help."

R2-D2 squawked in electronic protest, but obediently rolled out of the way.

"I know the princess ordered you to look after General Calrissian and Master Luke, but she's a doctor," C-3PO explained. "Besides, Her Highness only told you that to get you out of her way and into mine! I am perfectly capable of tending them without your assistance."

Ignoring the bickering 'droids, Dr. Crusher began preliminary examinations of her patients. First she ran her medical tricorder over both men. Then she activated her communicator and relayed the information to the medical computers on the Enterprise. "Two male humanoids, one apparently in his mid-to-late 30s, one in his mid-twenties. Both are badly burned. The older man has a broken arm – compound fracture – and is in a severe state of shock. His left ankle is – was – sprained, but is partially healed."

Guinan braced herself against the wall and closed her eyes. She felt a sensation she hadn't known in decades – the ripple in the Force caused by the presence of a trained Force-sensitive.

"Your Highness," C-3PO addressed the wall intercom.

"I'm busy, Threepio," Leia replied testily. And she was. Very. She was attempting to fly the Falcon single-handed whilst Han and Chewie manned the guns.

"Two women have boarded the ship, Mistress Leia. They say they're from Enterprise."

"What? That's impossible," protested the rebel princess.

Guinan pulled herself together and stepped up to the intercom. "We have a teletransportation device which permitted us to board your ship. We will use the same device to transfer the wounded to our Sickbay."

"Please! Lando needs to be put in bacta right away, and Luke's not much better."

Guinan didn't reply. She didn't know how to tell the princess that the Federation was generations away from inventing anything like bacta.

The Falcon rocked wildly as another blast from Conqueror struck.

"The port shield's almost gone! When is your captain going to stop trying to negotiate with those barbarians and start fighting?" Leia demanded.

As Guinan tried to explain about Picard wanting to avoid an interstellar incident, Dr. Crusher called the Enterprise. "Four to beam up. Stat!"

The transporter officer's lightly accented voice came over the communicator. "I regret I am unable to comply, Doctor. We are under attack and are shields are up."

"Damn! The minute the shields are down, then, T'Ves."

"Understood, ma'am."

Beverly Crusher shook her head and tried to tell herself that swearing wouldn't help matters. Her temper being as fiery as her hair, she didn't believe herself. A movement to the side caught her eye. She whirled, demanding, "What do you think you're doing?"

Luke Skywalker struggled with his blankets and tried to get up. R2-D2 rolled closer to the bed and clicked a mechanical scolding.

"You stay right there in that bed, young man," the doctor ordered.

"I've – got to get – to – to the gun turrets. L-Leia needs help – can't fly the Falcon by herself. Gotta relieve Han – "

"You're not going anywhere except Sickbay," Crusher replied.

The Millennium Falcon shook, rattled, and rolled.

"Another blast like that and this ship won't make it," Guinan predicted, grabbing C-3PO to keep her balance. Luke tried to sit up. R2-D2 extended a mechanical arm to hold him down.

"Lemme up, Artoo," the blond man ordered weakly. "I gotta – I gotta –" He collapsed back on the bed.

Guinan grabbed the android even tighter when she heard Luke's voice in her head.

*I've got to relieve Han at the gun turrets. Leia's not a good enough pilot to handle the ship in a firefight. We need Han at the controls.*

Guinan looked up sharply, but Crusher gave no indication of having heard anything. The dark-skinned woman was shocked. Force-sensitives were trained in mental control until it became pure reflex; Luke must be seriously hurt for him to lose control so badly he broadcast unintentionally. And for him to transmit so loudly, so clearly when she was practically mind-blind …he must be a strong sensitive, she realized, maybe even ….

"O sweet Vree," Guinan swore. "A Jedi."

End of Chapter One