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. Set 3rd season ST:TNG, and a few months after RotJ, based on characters and situations by Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, and Chris Clairemont.

The Reluctant Jedi

Star Trek: the Next Generation/Star Wars

Susan M. M.

Chapter 4

William Riker came over to them, two glasses in his hands. "After all that speechmaking, I thought you might be thirsty."

"I am," Senator Organa admitted. "This isn't alcoholic, is it? I need to keep a clear head for the rest of the meeting."

"No, this is a favorite drink of mine from my homeworld, Earth. It's called iced tea." He turned to Luke. "I would have brought you something, Cmdr. Skywalker, but I wasn't sure what medications you were on or how they would react to different foods." Riker took a sip of his own tea.

"That's okay. Dr. Crusher just went to get me some more of that vitamin solution." Luke saw Han across the room, staring at Leia and Riker. If he closed his eyes and looked only with the Force, he could see Han's aura practically glowing in anger and jealousy. His senses stretched out, he suddenly realized someone else was 'looking' the same way. His eyes still closed, so ordinary vision wouldn't distract him, Luke scanned the room. There! There was the sensitive. He opened his eyes to see Guinan. "Excuse me," he muttered, standing up.

"Be careful, Luke. Don't overtire yourself, or Dr. Crusher won't let you attend the second half of the meeting," Leia cautioned.

Luke ignored her as he walked slowly over to Guinan. "You, you're a Jedi."

For a second she debated denying it, then decided against it. He knew. "I was once."

"When this is over, will you come back with us? We need Jedi knights to help re-establish the Republic. I need someone to help me find and train other Force-sensitives." He paused a minute, then admitted, "I need someone to help me finish my own training."

Guinan shook her head. "My place is here."

"But we need you more. Here you're a bartender. They can get another lounge hostess easily. I'm the only trained Jedi we have, and I'm not good enough to teach new Jedis, if we can find them. We need a Jedi Master now that Yoda's dead."

"I'm not able to fill Yoda's shoes." Guinan added, "Not that he ever wore any."

"They can get another bartender. We can't get another Jedi Mas- , er, Mistress," he told her earnestly.

"This is my home, and I am happy here. The Republic is only someplace I visited a long time ago. The ways of the Jedi I studied for a few years, because I was curious, but I have not been a Jedi, nor wanted to be one, for many years."

"Please, come back with us," he begged.

"Youngling, it's not at all certain you are going back, or have you forgotten what this conference is all about?"

"Luke! What are you doing standing up?" Dr. Crusher scolded. She hurried over to him. "Here, take a sip of this. I thought I told you not to let yourself get exhausted or excited. It'll slow your healing."

Guinan nodded, wandered off. Luke looked up at her, but couldn't think of anything else to say to try to convince her. He sat in the nearest chair and submitted meekly to Crusher's ministrations. He watched half-heartedly as Han approached Leia, glaring at Riker.

Luke sipped his orange juice, dividing his attention between Han, Leia, and Riker, and Guinan, chatting quietly in a corner with Belis. He gulped down the last of the vitamin-laced juice and started to rise from his chair. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder, pushing him back down.

"The doctor told you to rest, laddy-buck," Grau reminded him.

"But – "

Grau was holding a plate of red and brown somethings. He took one and shoved it into Luke's mouth. "Here, try this." Major Grau looked Dr. Crusher in the eye. "What do you call these things, ma'am?"

"Strawberries dipped in chocolate," she replied.

"If they manage to hammer out a trade agreement," he didn't sound very confident as to that point, "you folks ought to export these. They'd bring a pretty profit."

"I don't think your Captain Jeljurr is ready to sign an import/export treaty yet," Dr. Crusher noted dryly.

"Not my captain." Grau shook his head. "He's Fleet. I'm a Commando." Grau's voice changed, his tone both gentler and admiring. "I liked the way you stood up to him."

Luke saw Guinan and Belis finishing their conversation and beginning to part. Hoping that Grau was keeping Dr. Crusher distracted, he stood. Grau pushed him back down again.

"The lady told you to rest. And you don't disobey your doctor, laddy-buck, especially not when she's this pretty."

Twenty minutes later, Picard announced, "Ladies, gentlemen, if you're ready we'll recommence."

Everyone headed back for their seats. Worf's honor guard kept a close eye on the imperial stormtroopers. Unfortunately, not close enough.

Walking behind Leia, Jeljurr reached out and grabbed her. "Now, men!"

The six stormtroopers pulled out hidden weapons.

"Enough talk," Jeljurr decreed. "Now – "

Leia elbowed her captor sharply in the gut. She brought up her foot a few inches, then brought it down hard on his boot. Han seized Jeljurr and tried to pull him off. Luke telekinetically grabbed the weapons of the two closest stormtroopers. Grau grabbed the gun of the 'trooper nearest him, and would've disarmed the next one if Worf's security team hadn't already stunned him and the other two stormtroopers.

Jeljurr shoved Han away, a human's strength no match for a Mon Calamari's. Worf, Chewbacca, and Han all reached for the imperial captain. In their haste, Chewie tripped over Han, and both went down.

Worf aimed his phaser, prepared to stun both Jeljurr and Han.

"You gave your word," Grau snarled. He vaulted over the table and reached Jeljurr a fraction of a second before the Klingon could fire. Coldly, deliberately, he broke the captain's arm.

Jeljurr swore at the pain. "Fool! Traitor! Glory and victory could have been ours for capturing Leia Organa! I would've been rewarded with an admiralty!"

"From whom?" Grau sneered, handing him over to Worf. "Palpatine's dead and the empire's crumbling." He looked at him with disgust. "The war is over. It's time to stop fighting." The commando turned to face Han, who had just gotten up from the floor. He pulled himself to full attention and saluted. "General Solo, we surrender. Your prisoners, sir. Or your crew, if you'll have us."

"Like hell," Han spat.

Grau held his arm in position. "You refuse to accept my surrender, sir?"

"Craven! You beg this criminal to accept your surrender? Shameless as well as treacherous," Jeljurr accused.

"Somebody shut him up," Grau muttered. Worf put his hand over the imperial captain's mouth. "Thanks, lieutenant. Well, general?"

"I didn't last this long by trusting imperials," Han retorted.

"I trust him, Han," Leia told him. "We accept, Grau."

"With all due respect, ma'am, you're a civilian," the commando pointed out. His arm remained stiffly at 'present arms.'

"I'm an Alliance officer," Luke reminded him.

"Last I checked, laddy-buck, a general outranked a commander."

"Han," Leia urged.

"Conqueror's the sticking point, isn't it? With your permission, sir, I can settle that little matter," Grau offered.

"You ain't got my permission to breathe," Han growled.

Major Grau lowered his arm. "Captain Picard, permission to contact Conqueror?"

Picard turned to Velinde and Leia. The Orion shrugged slightly. The princess nodded.

Grau held his hands chest high, palms out, keeping them in plain sight. "I'm not familiar with your technology. It might be best if one of your people made the call." He glanced at the still scowling General Solo.

Despite himself, Picard smiled. "Your prudence is admirable, Major. Mr. Data?"

The android moved to the communicator and hailed the imperial ship. "Attention Imperial Cruiser, this is the Enterprise."

"Imperial Cruiser Conqueror, Commander Melur speaking." A middle-aged male human, as swarthy as a Klingon, appeared on the viewscreen.

"One of your party wishes to speak to you." Data stepped aside and motioned for Grau to approach the viewscreen.

"Melur, is Sgt. Anarine there?" Grau asked.

"Why, yes, he is," Cmdr. Melur replied, puzzled. In point of fact, he'd been wondering why the NCO had insisted on loitering on the bridge, but Imperial Commandos were a law unto themselves. "What's going on over there? Where is Captain Jeljurr?"

"Plan B, Anarine," Grau ordered.

In an instant, the giant gray-skinned sergeant had his knife at Melur's throat.

"Jeljurr's fine," Grau continued. "He's just not in command anymore."

"This – this is mutiny," Conqueror's XO protested weakly.

"No, just common sense. That ship we destroyed that was, uh, disguised as a freighter was Leia Organa's personal transport. She's on board Enterprise, with a Jedi knight and two or three generals, and they're none of 'em any too happy about losing their ship."

"On board? But that's impossible." The viewscreen showed Melur starting to edge forward until Anarine's knife stopped him.

"I told you, they've got a Jedi with them. We had no choice but to surrender. The ship belongs," Grau glanced at Han, "Princess Leia and her crew now."

Riker whispered to Deanna, "Bet he's a helluva poker player."

"This is treason," Melur accused.

Out of sight of the viewscreen, Jeljurr struggled, but Worf held him tightly.

"First, the war is over. It's stupid to keep fighting." Grau counted off the reasons on his fingers. "Second, with the emperor dead, there's no one to sign paychecks anymore, or hadn't you noticed? Third, the ship's armory is guarded by my commandos. Fourth, if you don't cooperate, Sgt. Anarine will slit your throat. That leaves Lt. Cmdr. Airu as next in command. His wife just laid their first egg, and he won't care who gives the orders, so long as he gets home before his firstborn hatches."

"But our duty to the Empire," Melur protested half-heartedly.

"What empire?" Grau demanded scornfully. He took a deep breath, then added coaxingly, "If we cooperate now, there's a good chance they'll let us go when we get home. If we don't cooperate, they'll take the ship anyway and we'll likely be tried as traitors to the new regime."

"I suppose we don't have any choice," Melur conceded. "Tell the princess the ship is hers."

"Anarine, have the stormtroopers confined to quarters, with our people standing guard. Secure the armory," Grau ordered.

"Yes, Major," the commando sergeant replied. He sheathed his knife.

"Is there anything else I can do?" Melur asked resignedly.

"Wait for orders," Grau advised, adding dryly, "I'm not even to breathe without General Solo's permission."

Melur nodded and broke communications.

Grau turned to face Han. Silently, he saluted again.

"Oh, all right. I accept your damned surrender." Han tossed a sloppy salute.

Grau lowered his arm. "Since the Imperial and Alliance delegations have been combined, Senator Organa speaks for us now." He glanced at Jeljurr, still struggling against Worf. "I suspect, Captain Picard, that the meeting will go a good deal smoother now."

Velinde asked, "Is there still any point in having negotiations, now that the two groups we're arbitrating between have merged?"

"The whole thing is highly irregular," Picard observed mildly, making a litotes.

"Well," Grau drawled, "there's still the trifling little matter of first contact."

**** ST:TNG/SW **** **** ST:TNG/SW **** **** ST:TNG/SW ****

After Worf and his security team removed Jeljurr and the stormtroopers, the meeting did go more quietly. Leia reiterated the Alliance's position, but Velinde begged a second recess before too much time had gone by, claiming she needed to check on her own ship. Dr. Crusher seconded the motion, pleading her patients' health.

Once Dr. Crusher had escorted the Alliance embassy and the remaining three imperial officers out of the briefing room, Velinde turned to Picard and swore.

"What now, Jean-Luc?" she asked when she finally exhausted her vocabulary of profanity.

"If we assist Grau and the princess with this mutiny, we are in violation of the Prime Directive," Picard replied.

"If we don't, the princess and her party will be dead once they're out of our gunsights," Belis pointed out.

"We can not interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign people," the Frenchman reminded them.

"Actually, this 'mutiny' appears to be a fait accompli. We'd only be interfering if we overturned their coup and put Jeljurr back in charge," stated Guinan.

Riker added, "From what Leia said, all they've done is restore a former government. Once the Bajorans overthrew the Cardassians, we opened diplomatic relations with Bajor."

"If Princess Leia is speaking the truth." Picard began to pace.

"She was," Deanna affirmed.

"Personally, I am unwilling to commit the Federation to full diplomatic relations with this Alliance. The situation is too unstable, and I don't want us caught up in someone else's war," said the Deltan. "On the other hand, I have no doubt that the Alliance's cause is just. Nor do I doubt that contact – both commercial and cultural – between our peoples would be mutually beneficial." Belis shook her bald head. "You're the senior officer, Jean-Luc. It's your call."

"Merci beaucoup," he muttered sarcastically.

**** ST:TNG/SW **** **** ST:TNG/SW **** **** ST:TNG/SW ****

Five days later, Guinan hosted a going away party for the observer team that would be accompanying Conqueror's crew.

Picard bid farewell to his guests."Safe voyage home, Senator."

"Thank you, Captain. I hope to see you here a year from now," Leia replied.

"If not the Enterprise, then some other Federation vessel will be here next year to meet your envoy," he promised

A few feet away, Major Grau was telling Beverly Crusher, "I'm really sorry you're not going to be part of the observer team."

"I'm Chief Medical Officer, and I have a teenage son. There's no way I could join a year-long away team mission."

"I can still regret lost opportunities." The commando's voice turned serious. "There's a good chance I'll be court-martialled when I get back – either by the Alliance for being an Imperial officer, or by the Empire if the Rebels can't hold on to what they've grabbed. If I'm not dead or in the brig, would you mind if I tried to finagle a berth aboard the envoy vessel next year?"

"No." She smiled at him. "No, I wouldn't mind at all."

Leia shook her head ruefully. She and Picard couldn't help overhearing Grau and the doctor. "The major's gloomy predictions to the contrary, I'm anticipating a safe, quiet journey home. Between Luke, Grau's commandos, and the fifty Federation crew members, we'll be able to handle any problems if any imperial loyalists try to stage a counter-mutiny."

"The observer team is just that: observers. They can not interfere," Picard insisted.

"Of course not, Captain. We will respect your neutrality. However, I may be slow to correct mistaken impressions if Jeljurr's crew mistake your visiting scientists for soldiers." Especially since Grau had a word or two with Worf, she thought. The observer team consisted of astrophysicists, engineers, xenobiologists, sociologists, botanists, geologists, etc., taken from volunteers from the crews of the three Federation ships. All of the scientists and engineers accompanying them had weapons training. Several were actually security personnel, who had cross-trained in other fields. In case of an emergency, the Federation observers would be able to take care of themselves.

All in all, she reflected, she hadn't done too badly. A week ago she'd been a refugee, with no way home and nothing but the clothes on her back. Now she and Han were sharing command of an imperial cruiser. Han and Chewbacca were still mourning the loss of the Falcon, and Luke was upset because Guinan had refused to come along as part of the observer team, but they were all alive and almost whole. All in all, she thought again, we haven't done too badly.

**** ST:TNG/SW **** **** ST:TNG/SW **** **** ST:TNG/SW ****

Guinan sat down and sighed.

"Tired, my friend?" Picard sat down beside her.

"A little."

"From hosting the party," the captain gestured at the cleaning crew straightening up Ten-Forward, "or from avoiding young Commander Skywalker?"

"You know, Jean-Luc, for a human you are too observant." She looked out the viewscreen. Conquereror hung there in the sky, preparing for the trip home.

"Do you regret turning him down? I know if I were ten years younger, I would jump at the chance to go on this away team," Picard confessed.

Guinan shook her head. "I've been to the Galactic Republic. I wish them luck in restoring, but I'm not tempted to join them. I have a home… here on the Enterprise."

The End

*** ST:TNG/SW ***

Author's Note: Major Grau, Sgt. Anarine, and the Imperial Commandos' attitude toward stormtroopers were created by Chris Clairemont, in Marvel Comics' "World of Fire." Grau reappears in my SW/B7 crossover, "Two Empresses." Many thanks to E. B., editor of Our Favorite Things for improving this story and originally publishing it.