Princess Leia adjusted her hood tiredly against the cold wind that was blowing through Naboo. It was beautiful here she though an idyllic paradise almost untouched by the civil war that raged through out the galaxy. Two days had already passed, and still no positive leads, how foolish of her to believe it would be this easy. Even with R2 D2 splicing skills and C3PO linguistics, she was still no further forward. The archives under heavy encrypted security had proved no barrier to R2D2 but still records from that era were surprisingly sparse. Whole areas of information either omitted, deleted or corrupted to such a level that she despaired of ever finding anything of import. She closed her eyes, a lone tear trailing down her cheek. Behind her the droids were still bickering, high pitched beeps and screech’s interspersed C3PO superior nagging. She tuned them out turning her face to the night sky, as her dream her last chance to find a family slowly disappeared with the fading night. It was time to end this farce, this childless dream, time to return to reality.
C3... C3PO… is that you?”, an older distinguished man was gazing at C3PO and her with varying looks of surprise. Princess Leia froze, her hand slowly edging to her blaster. Her eyes scanning the immediate vicinity, her mind already scoping out her escape route. Stupid Stupid she berated herself, letting her guard down. There was little options she was inside the main citadel, any fire power would bring down the city guards.
“Hello Sir, I am afraid you have the wrong droid, I am DX 99, Protocol droid, may I be of service sir?”
The man paused considering both the two drids and the hooded lady,, “Sorry my mistake”, he gave one long measured look at Leia before, slowly walking away. His steps echoing in the courtyard.
Leia slowly breathed out, her body still tense as she watched the man disappearing, thankfully C3PO cover story had held, still it was a close call. And how strange that on this back water planet they should have the misfortune to bum into a person that was acquainted with her droids. It was a close call.
“Princess Leia… your Highness??” C3PO shrill voice whispered , “R2 suggests that perhaps rather than searching birth and family history records , we should look at death and funeral records, funeral arrangements are unlikely to have been tampered with to such a large degree.”
Leia turned to them both a smile slowly blossoming on her face, “Of course…. OF COURSE, R2 you are a genius!”
R2 gave a modest beep, and shuffled on wheels. Princess Leia grinned her mind awash with excitement again. According to her Bail her mother died just shortly after her birth, to protect Leia’s identity, Bail had registered her birth several months previously and had refused to tell her the exact day, Another layer of lies, even her real birth celebration was denied her. If she narrowed the search vectors for women of child bearing age, connected to the diplomatic core and with notice of unnatural death. It would perhaps be just enough to narrow the search from millions to perhaps hundreds.
With a little skip to her step she whirled around back to the main citadel, she had work to do and little time to do it in. Thank the force she had the foresight to persuade Luke to leave the plucky little droid with her.
Darth Vader was ominously silent as the ship came out of hyperspace. The crew bustled around with absolute imperial efficiency and only the slightest shade of trepidation. Piet swallowed, it had been over a year since he started to serve the Vader as the admiral of the fleet. And it had taken that time for the bone numbing terror to slowly recede and grow into respect and admiration for the man he served. It was true that the lifespan of men serving under Lord Vader could and would be shorter than elsewhere in the empire, but only if grossly inept or disloyal. Otherwise the same loyalty and respect that the men under Vader’s command gave him was like wise returned. Unlike other commander’s in battle Vader could often been found on the battlefield, narrowing down the odds against them. Many a storm trooper could attest to theirs lives due to Lord Vader.
His wife had paled when he had returned from his last leave of duty on hearing of his advancement and who his commander was. But as stoic and as brave as his little Briac could be, she had just smiled and had squeezed him tight. Later at an official function she had taken matters into her own hands and had approached the Sith Lord himself. He watched with absolute horror as she had curtseyed gracefully and spoken at length to his Lord, and it had taken some time until he could reach his wife’s side. Bowing to Vader he had formally introduced his wife to his commander. Vader had looked at him appraisingly his black visage given nothing away. His mechanised breathing the only sound that Piet could hear. “Rest easy Admiral”, before turning to Briac and bowed to her as though she was of royalty. “Lady Briac”. With that he had turned and shortly after had left the function. Speculative glances were cast their way and Piet knew he had suddenly risen from an admiral under Lord Vader, to an admiral favoured by Lord Vader. The difference was conspicuous, and in the months that followed his command had prospered. But still he did not know what his wife and Vader conversed on. His wife had been obstinately vague and had just smiled before leading him to bed.
Shaking his head at his lapse into memories, he approached the Lord with trepidation. He was not entirely sure why they had come here, but was sure it had something to do the rebel Luke Skywalker. His lord seemed to be obsessed with finding him. Even the emperor was taken a personal interest in this farm boy turned rebel, as though he was a bigger threat than the entire rebel force.
“My Lord, we have reached Naboo, blockade and anti grav fields are being currently set up”
Vader turned to him, “and the Naboonian Government?”
“ Yes my lord, the Government has been hailed and the current Queen Madelea has assured us of every co-operation”.
“Which is meaningless. She will play the diplomatic game and she will play it well”. Vader turned back to the planet, his mechanised breathing steady as always.
“She is beautiful, is she not?”
“My Lord?” queried Piet confused unsure whether he was talking about the planet or the Queen.
Vader held up his hand, “8 divisions ready to depart for the surface, I will lead them myself, have every Tie fighter mobilised and patrolling the planet surface. Signal the warships Helio and Destroyer to circle the dark side of the planet, we hunt for the Rebel leaders Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker and Admiral I want prisoners not bodies - the intelligence access file is XA3D5. Have the intelligence officers encrypters check against small craft entering Naboo recently”.
“Yes My Lord”. Piet bowed and hurried away barking instructions to subordinates and already planning a containment field and every likely scenario that could occur. He would not fail.
Vader looked down at the planet broodingly the force called to him, he could feel it. His son was here.
Princess Leia clutched the info pod of downloaded data. Her eyes bright with excitement. She was back in her ship analysing the information R2 had downloaded. She had the list down to ten women. But she needed more time, just another day.
Typing an encrypted message to Han, she smirked as she realised how this was going to send him Sith mad. Maybe this time he would give her the spanking he threatened her with. Her grin broadened at the thought.
MESSAGE TO RASCAL & WALKING CARPET
DEPARTURE DELAYED - NEED 1 DAY REPRIEVE CAN YOU COVER WITH THE BOSS.
FAMILY CELEBRATION COULD BE SOON
LOVE BOUNTY HUNTER ANGEL XXX
Hopefully that would keep him placated. Swivelling around she turned to the R2D2 waiting patiently by her side. He beeped enquiringly and Leia laughed delightedly. “Yes we are going hunting now.”
Turning on the security lights and locks, she was surprised to find the docking bay in gloom and only small spotlights flickering on and off and droid loaders the only signs of life. She peered into the darkness, feeling uneasy but with no reason why. Dismissing the feeling as nerves, she strode forward her blaster a heavy weight in her bag. Taping her Port ID number in, she made her way out the docking bay, the feeling intensified, she was being watched. She froze. R2 whistled.
It was over so fast, that Leia never even managed to scream. The lights flickered off as dark shapes fell from the above her. A blow to the arm, and a sweep of her legs and as quickly as that she was disabled. A heavy weight settled on her chest, as another’s hand smothered her mouth. With ruthless efficiency her feet and arms were bound. She bit down as hard as she could and the man or creature holding her grunted but his hold did not lesson. Fighting back the panic that assailed her she struggled knowing it was hopeless but not willing to give in. From the squawks and then silence from the droids they had already been immobilised. The swiftness and efficiency of the attack could only mean Imperials or bounty hunters. Planetary Guards would not care if she screamed for help. Hands professional but ruthless, swept her body, weapons removed. A beeping noise told her they were doing a full body scan, and hands that were holding her mouth suddenly pried it open as something was inserted and then withdraw after a short interval. The men seemed to relax then, and Leia realised they had been looking for suicide contraception’s as well as weapons. She was lifted to her feet, the hands replaced by a gag and a hood. A sharp pain on her arm and she swayed realising they had drugged her. She was picked up and slung over a mans shoulder. Other hands then grabbing her pulling her into a vehicle. Hushed words and she was positioned on a hard floor, jostling as the vehicle moved. Her world started to fade, panic giving way to absolute terror. Bounty Hunters or imperial spies the result was the same. The Empire had her. Her last thought as her consciousness faded was to cry out like a child, ‘MOTHER’.
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