Demise of a dream - MsEcogeek, TheDiamondSword400 - Star Wars (2024)

I now pronounce you man and wife.” said the clergyman. “You may kiss the bride.” Luke Skywalker turned with a smile and embraced his new wife, Mara Jade, kissing her tenderly. Han along with Leia, who was visibly pregnant, applauded as they watched on happily.

* * *

So where are you going on your honeymoon?” asked Han a few days later when he visited the newlyweds in their apartment, sprawled out in a chair in their living room.

We hadn't really talked about it.” Luke confessed, a little embarrassed. They probably should have done so before the wedding but with everything going on with the preparations they had forgotten.

Well, Karrde told me about this out of the way planet called Tanalorr that's supposed to be some sort of a Jedi haven.” Mara suggested, raising her eyebrows in question as she glanced over at Luke.

That sounds perfect.” agreed Luke flashing her a smile.

I think that's the fastest this family has ever resolved anything.” Han joked with an amused smirk.

I'll contact Karrde and get our things packed.” said Mara, getting up with a smile.

I have to check out a possible new Jedi recruit in CoCo town before we go, so I'll see you later.” said Luke, giving Mara a kiss on the cheek.

I'll head out with you. I need to do some repairs on the Falcon.” said Han, pushing himself to his feet with a grunt, waving farewell to Mara as he followed Luke out the door. Mara walked over to the comms unit on the wall and typed in Karrde's number. He wasn't in so she left a message for him to contact her when he got back. She then went to the bedroom to start packing, pulling their travel packs out of the closet and gathering what they might need for the trip. About an hour later, when she was just about done, Mara heard a chime from the door. She paused and frowned. Who could that be?

I'm coming, I'm coming.”said Mara in annoyance, striding out of the bedroom and across the apartment. She opened the door and froze, blood going cold with shock to find a blaster pointed at her.

* * *

Mara, I'm home!” Luke called out as he entered his apartment. “It turns out the Force sensitive was just a con artist-” Luke broke off as he registered the sight in front of him. His home was a mess, everything thrown about in disarray that clearly indicated there had been a struggle. Luke reached out for the Force as he began to search for clues as to what might have happened while he was gone. Stooping over a broken chair, a vision blossomed across his mind.

Black security droids and two people, human men dressed New Republic security uniforms, attacking Mara. Mara fought but was struck with a stun bolt. Her wrists were shackled and then she was carried away.

The vision faded and Luke stumbled back a step.

Turning on his heel. Luke rushed out and headed for Leia's apartment at a run. He skidded to a stop in front of the door and pounded on it with his fist.

The door slid open a couple of seconds later to reveal his sister staring at him worriedly.

Luke, what's wrong?” asked Leia in concern. “I could sense your distress a mile away.”

Mara's been arrested.” said Luke, breathlessly.

Leia's mouth fell open in shock, brown eyes going wide. Han appeared from behind Leia, stepping out of the door that led to Jacen and Jaina room to stare at him in shock.

What for?” Han demanded incredulously. “Has she been using your good name to sell counterfeit Jedi souvenirs?”

No.” Luke responded, tone coming out clipped from stress. “I don't know why they took her.” he took a deep breath, struggling to regain control. “I had a vision while I was searching

Come with me. We'll find out what's going on if it's the last thing I do.” said Leia determinedly as she activated her holocom. “This is High Counselor Leia Organa-Solo, I need information about the whereabouts of the individual named Mara Jade.” Leia said to the information droid that appeared.

The sentient known as Mara Jade has been required to participate in the Re-integration program.” said the information droid.

Why the kriff would she need to do that?” Han demanded, leaning between them to glare at the hologram.

That information is restricted.” the droid replied.

Three pairs of eyebrows flew up in unison at that. Restricted? To them? Between the three of them, they should have enough clearance to override any restrictions.

Then why was she arrested?” asked Luke, tone deceptively even.

The sentient known as Mara Jade has been required to participate in the Re-integration program.” repeated the information droid.

That is a voluntary program.” Leia snapped, frustrated. “It should not necessitate someone being taken into custody. Explain yourself!”

That information is restricted.” The droid repeated.

I am a High Counselor!” Leia shouted, temper snapping in two. “There is no one with higher clearance then me! Tell me where Mara Jade is!”

The sentient known as Mara Jade has been required to partici-”

Ok. That's enough of that.” Han declared and stabbed a finger at the console, turning off the feed. “We're not going to get anywhere being run in bureaucratic circles.”

I don't understand it.” Luke said helplessly. “Why would the information be restricted? Why would Mara be taken?”

Han's mouth pressed into a thin line, a dark look entering his eyes. The Force around him turned heavy and uneasy. “I heard a rumor from my contacts. I didn't say anything before because it was so ridiculous. I thought it was just a co*ckamamie conspiracy theory. But now . . .”

Luke and Leia traded a nervous look. “What was the rumor, Han?” Leia asked, encouraging him to talk when it became clear to them Han wasn't going to continue without pushing.

It's about the Re-integration program. The rumor claimed the whole helping defectors adjust thing was just a front. What they really do is rearrange the former Imperials' minds to ensure their loyalty. They call it 'Program Unfettered'.” Han told them, tone heavy.

Luke and Leia stared at him in shock. That was ridiculous. It was unbelievable. But . . .

Luke felt a cold chill go down his spine. He had a bad feeling about this.

Han,” Leia exclaimed hotly, righteous fury rolling off her in waves. “You can't be serious. The New Republic would never back such a thing!”

Han raised his hands defensibly in front of him. “Calm down, Leia. I'm just relaying what I heard.”

Well, we can certainly find out if it's true.” Leia said hotly, activating her secure datapad. She struck several keys, features hardening. “Restricted? Again? Well, we'll see about that.” She grumbled under her breath. A few minutes and a few more key strikes later she began to scroll down the datapad.“Let's see here, Operation StarBird . . . Code Red Eye . . .” a heavy pause. “Program Unfettered.” said Leia, her mouth pressing into a thin angry line. “Well, let's see just what you are.” she declared and opened up the file. Luke watched her worriedly as her Force presence grew more and more sour by the second as she read it. “No. No, they couldn't. It's barbaric.” Leia breathed in shock.

What is it?” asked Luke urgently.

This is the order to use a mind flayer at low levels on Imperials hoping to join the New Republic.” Leia stated, sounding dazed.

So the rumors are true.” said Luke, voice deceptively flat. His emotions were swirling like a hurricane inside him.

Leia shook her head helplessly. “There must be some mistake. This going against everything we stand for.”

No mistake, sweetheart.” Han drawled, crossing his arms and leaning back against the wall. “The New Republic's just participating in one of the oldest government traditions: being corrupt.”

A muscle in Leia's jaw ticked, a feeling of betrayal rising off her in waves. To learn that the thing you'd lost so much for, you're entire planet, had gone bad? Well, it was understandably hard to swallow. But Leia had never been one to wallow in denial.

It would seem The New Republic is wiping the minds of former imperials.” Leia said sitting back and cradling her head sadly. She continued to read over her datapad with a resigned expression.

And Mara's next.” added Luke, fear for his wife surging through him afresh. He couldn’t allow that to happen. Luke spun on his heel and strode for the door.

What are you planning, kid?” Han called from behind him.

Luke paused and looked back at them, not meeting the questioning look his sister shot him around the back of the chair. “I'm getting her out of here and leaving for good.” he declared, the words surprising him as much as it clearly did Han and Leia. But the rightness of it helped him keep his footing. “I'm sorry but I can't stay here anymore. I can’t trust that Mara will ever be safe from the Republic, I can’t trust that any of us will be safe.” Luke told them. He was sorry but he couldn’t stay here any longer.

Leia, get the twins and the droids, I'll get the Falcon. We'll meet up outside the Re-integration institute.” declared Han.

Right.” Leia said, rising out of her chair and rushing off.

What are you doing?” asked Luke, confused.

You didn't think we'd let you go alone, did you?” Han asked, raising his eyebrows pointedly.

I can't let you do this. You would be sacrificing everything you worked for.” Luke protested.

The New Republic I fought for is gone,” said Leia bitterly, coming back into the room with C-3PO and R2-D2 in tow. Jacen was in a sling strapped to her chest and Jaina was strapped to her back “I see that now.” Her eyes went hard. “and if you think I'm going to let our family be broken up by them, then you're sadly mistaken.”

What had he ever done to deserve friends like this? What would he ever do without them? “Thank you.” said Luke, softly.

Of course, kid. Now lets go get that wife of yours out of that hellhole and blow this dump.” Han said “I'll contact Chewie for back up and we'll be right behind you.”

Luke nodded in agreement and rushed out the door.

* * *

Stop, you can't do this!” cried out Mara, as she struggled in the grasp of the droids.

The more you fight, the worse it will be for you.” replied the officer. “Prepare the device for an occupant.”

That's a mind flayer! Even in the Empire it was only used in the most extreme circ*mstances.” exclaimed Mara in horror, unable to believe this was actually happening.

No, it is a 6-O-2 Mitigator.” replied the droid behind the controls in a flat voice.

I thought the New Republic was all about rights and fairness, nice of you to show me who you really are.” said Mara spat in disgust, voice dripping with sarcasm.

With your marriage to Luke Skywalker, we have to make sure you are not a part of Project Janus.” said an officer that was standing to the side.

A part of what?” Mara demanded, confused.

It was Imperial plot where several officers were turned into sleeper agents. They defected to the New Republic and, after gaining influential roles in the new government, had their mental programming activated and caused mass chaos and destruction.” said the officer by the wall informed her and shot her a suspicious look. “But as the Emperor’s Hand, I’m sure you already knew that.”

Enough of this.” the other officer snapped before she could protest. “Strap her down.” He commanded.

The droids started to drag her forward again then froze at the sound of a sudden commotion outside the chamber.

Mara blinked and then felt a sense of peace wash over her as a familiar mind brushed against her own. “You're in trouble now.” Mara declared with a smirk. She reached out with the Force, grabbing hold of the officer stand nearest to her. She threw him into the other officer, slamming both of them into the wall. They collapsed into a heap on the floor, unconscious, as the door swished open. Luke came charging in, black cloak swirling behind him, green lightsaber blazing and blue eyes dangerous, and dispatched the droids with a single wide sweep of the blade.

Mara crossed the room and pulled him into a kiss, filled with overwhelming relief and enjoying the feel of his arm as it wrapped around her waist. “Don’t you ever get tired of rushing to my rescue?” she asked him with a smirk as she pulled back.

How can I when you so rarely give me the chance?” Luke asked, amused. He drew back and pulled her lightsaber out from under his cloak. “Come on,” he urged as he handed it to her. “We need to go before any reinforcements arrive.”

Mara took the lightsaber, the weight of the hilt in her hand grounding. “I hope you have a decent plan for getting out.” she said as she followed him to the door. “We’re both not going to fit in your X-Wing.”

Han and Leia are waiting on the Falcon outside.” Luke told her as they stepped into the corridor. The scattered pieces of droids littered the floor, interspaced with the bodies of New Republic Security personal. She could sense that they were all unconscious, not dead. Though they were clearly being kept in their current states by a liberal use of Force Suggestion. “Even with Chewie, Winter, the twins and the droids there will be plenty of room for us.”

What are you talking about?” Mara demanded, shooting Luke a frown. “Why in the Force did you bring two infants on a rescue mission?” that seemed uncharacteristically reckless of him. Oh, Luke did plenty of stupidly reckless things in her opinion. But bringing babies to a firefight? Han, Leia, the droids and the Wookiee? That she could understand. She highly doubted he could have stopped them. Bringing the highly recognizable Falcon with them was a stupid move but that also tracked. Her extremely overprotective of his family husband bringing his infant niece and nephew here? No. That didn’t add up.

Because we might not be able to pick them up after we rescued you.” Luke told her, not looking her way as he hurried down the corridor. “We’re hoping to blast out of here before the New Republic even realizes what’s happening.”

Mara’s frown deepened, green eyes narrowing as she stared at the back of his head. His Force presence felt strange when he said that. She couldn’t quite put her finger on the emotion she was sensing from him. “Luke, what aren’t you telling me?”

He flashed her a quick look over his shoulder, expression deadly serious.. “We're leaving, for good.” he told her..

What? He couldn’t possibly mean -?! “Do you know what you're saying, Luke?” Mara demanded incredulously.

Yes, I do.” Luke said, voice solemn and calm in a way that often made her want to smack him with a roll of flimsis.

And Han and Leia are okay with you abandoning the New Republic?” Mara asked pointedly, giving the back of his head a hard look.

Yes. They are coming with us.”

The statement was delivered so calmly and it left Mara speechless. She had rather convinced herself Han and Leia were merely helping Luke rescue her, maybe drop them off somewhere safe. Not leave the government they had given so much to create.

Mara remained silent, still struggling to digest this information as they reached the doors to the landing pad. She followed Luke at a brisk pace, making a beeline towards the familiar looming form of the Millennium Falcon.

Leia, dressed simply in a grayish-tan tunic with a black vest, black boots and navy pants with her long hair tied up in a simple knot, stood waiting for them on the already lowered ramp. She traded a nod with her brother as they approached and the three of them ran up the ramp. Leia slammed her hand on the mechanism to rise the ramp and twisted her head around to shout in the direction of the co*ckpit. “Han, they're in!”

Then let's get out of here!” Han’s voice called back.

A second later Mara felt the deckplates under her feet shudder as the old freighter took off. She followed Luke and Leia as they made their way towards the co*ckpit. Luke sat down behind Chewie and Mara sat down in the chair behind him. The cityscape of Coruscant dropped away, the Falcon leaving the atmosphere quickly. “Strap in.” Han ordered, fingers flying across the console. “We’ve already got clearance to leave. I’m not wasting any time getting this dump behind us.”

That was fast!” Mara commented, surprised.

The perks of being a High Counselor.” Leia muttered, scathingly sarcastic.

Mara shot her a concerned look as she secured the safety straps around herself, the bitterness dripping from her sister-in-law’s voice concerning.

Okay, Chewie, punch it.” Han ordered his co-pilot. The stars outside the co*ckpit stretched as they shot off into hyperspace. Mara watched the four beings in front of her all subtly relax and felt herself do the same. They were safe. For now.

I programmed the navicomputer to take us to a patch of empty space so we can have a chance to figure out our next move.” Han told them. Then he twisted to shoot Luke an apologetic look. “Sorry to have put a halt on your honeymoon plans, kid.” he said.

Don’t worry about it, Han.” Luke responded with a dismissive wave. Then Mara sensed a wave of amusem*nt go through him and his lips quirked up into a smile. “Honestly, a kidnapping and dramatic rescue is far more par for the course with this family than a relaxing resort vacation.”

Han snorted loudly at that. “Tell me about it.” he responded, rolling his eyes in amusem*nt. “It’s practically a family tradition at this point.” he said then yelped when Leia gave him a flick on the back of the neck in reprimand. “What?” he demanded. “It’s true!”

These people. These brave noble idiots . . . “You really gave up everything . . . for me?” Mara asked softly, looking at them each in turn.

The three of them turned to look at her

Of course, this is your family now, Mara, and we would never leave you behind.” Leia said, voice solemn and reassuring.

Luke reached back and took her hand in his, giving it a squeeze as he poured all his love and reassurance into their Force Bond.

That's right.” Han agreed, flashing her a lope-sided smile. “You’re stuck with us, sister.” his face grew serious and his eyes flicked over each of them in turn. “Now the only question is: where do we go from here?”

Mara considered that for a moment. “I have a contact on Tanalorr.” she told them. “He’s trustworthy. We'll be safe there for as long as we need to stay.” she glanced at the others in concern. “But what about the New Republic? After everything that’s happened I can’t believe they won’t retaliate.”

Don’t worry about the New Republic. I've taken care of that.” Leia told them.

Luke, Han, Mara and Chewbacca all turned to stare at her. The silence stretched out but it was clear Leia was not going to elaborate on her statement.

Han cleared his throat loudly. “Well, that’s not at all cryptic or terrifying.” he declared then turned back towards the console. “Setting course for Tanalorr.”

* * *

The energy in the Inner Council Chambers of the New Republic was razor sharp with tension, the tempers of all those gathered close to snapping.

The security officers at the Re-integration institute confirm that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker broke in and fled on the Millennium Falcon with the former imperial assassin Mara Jade.” Senator Xiono said, tone icy.

I for one can't believe they would turn on us.” Mon Mothma countered stiffly, shooting him a cold look.

The door suddenly slammed open and an aide rushed in, features pale and anxious. “Chancellor Mothma, a message just arrived for you from High Counselor Leia Organa-Solo.” he informed her.

Play it, please.” Mon Mothma commanded politely. Perhaps they would finally get some clear answers on the matter. The lights dimmed and a hologram of Leia appeared, standing with regal bearing. There was a dangerous light in her eyes.

Chancellor, Senators and members of the New Republic, I am sorry it has come to this. But your decision concerning former Imperials is reprehensible, on par with the Empire. This is not what I fought for, this is not what my father, Bail Organa, fought for. You dishonor the memories of all who died to create this government with your actions. It is for that reason we have decided that our family will no longer be a part of the New Republic.” The hologram declared, voice hard as ice. “The day will come when you will need us, you will need the Jedi to defend you, but your actions this day have sealed your fate. Do not come looking for us, for you will not find us. If you try, you will fail and the truth about Program Unfettered will spread through the HoloNet like a supernova.” Leia paused, brown eyes seeming to stare into each of them for several long seconds. “You may consider this my formal resignation as High Counselor of the New Republic.” she declared. The image then disappeared. The lights came back on a second later.

There was a moment of stillness as what just happened.

This is an outrage!” Senator Xiono exclaimed in fury, dark eyes blazing.

When the citizens of the New Republic find out that the heroes of the rebellion have denounced us, they will riot.” said Counselor Fey'lya, his cream colored fur rippling in aggravation.

It is nothing less than blackmail. They should be found and brought to trial.” said Senator Xiono.

But the New Republic needs its heroes.” Admiral Ackbar argued. Tactically, they were in a poor position. Their government was still in its fragile infancy. Dragging a Jedi Master, the Princess of Alderaan and one of the heroes of the Battle of Endor back in chains and trying them for treason would be disastrous.

Enough! We will let them disappear. They have earned that much from us.” said Mon Mothma, tone lowering in resignation on the last word. Then her features hardened. “Prepare to enact Operation StarBird.” Mon Mothma commanded.. “Have the spaarti cloning cylinders activated.”

Are you sure, Chancellor? How do we know the Empire's clones of them will be stable?” asked Counselor Fey'lya, the Bothan’s tone cautious. The thought of unstable clones of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo running around the galaxy did not sit well with him.

We don't, but we have to have hope.” Mon Mothma replied, not meeting his eyes. She stared at the spot Leia’s hologram had stood, the bitter feelings of betrayal and resignation swirling behind her carefully composed mask. She did not want to do this but it was necessary, just like Project Unfettered had been necessary. Leia was forcing her hand. It was for the good or the New Republic.

Her actions were justified.

* * *

This is the place Karrde told me about. Tanalorr, purported Jedi haven.” Mara said, leaning over Han’s shoulder to eye the landscape they flew over. Long brown grass and scattered forests blurred past beneath them. Craggy gray mountain ridges rose at intervals.

Looks rustic.” Han commented dryly.

Look.” Leia said, leaning over Han’s other shoulder to point out of the windows at a tall structure that was coming into view. “What’s that?”

Luke leaned over Chewie’s shoulder to get a look. “It looks like a Jedi Temple.” he said with wonder.

That must be the place then. Everybody back in your seats so I can land.” Han ordered. They complied and the Falcon came in for a landing, settling smoothly onto solid ground.

Stepping out of the Falcon, the small group looked around, admiring lush landscape and the ancient temple rising in the distance.

So where's this contact of yours?” Luke asked, glancing at his wife.

Here he comes now.” said Mara, pointing to a man about Han's age with very familiar red hair and green eyes who was striding out of the temple and making his way towards them. If Luke wasn’t mistaken, the man was also a powerful Force Sensitive. “Cal!” Mara called out, raising her hand to wave at him in greeting.

Mara! You finally made it.” said Cal with a grin as he came up to them. He reached out to grip Mara's hand and pulled her into an embrace, much to her surprise.

Letting her go, he turned to the rest of the group, singling out Luke with a look of interest. “You must be Luke. Mara’s told me a lot about you. Welcome to Tanalorr.” said Cal, holding out his hand.

It's good to finally meet Mara's cousin.” Luke replied with a smile, taking Cal's hand in a firm grip and shaking it.

I only wish it was under better circ*mstances.” Mara sighed, crossing her arms over her chest.

I'm sorry? Your cousin?” Han broke in incredulously then winced as Leia elbowed him in the ribs.

Cal’s lips quirked up in amusem*nt at the sight. “It was a surprise for us too.” he admitted with a shrug, glancing back over at Mara with a fond look..

Karrde found him shortly before this whole debacle.” Mara explained solemnly.

What do you mean ‘debacle’? What's happened now?” asked Cal, Force presence spiking in sudden concern.

We've left the New Republic.” Luke stated simply, reluctant to say more.

You did what now?!” Cal demanded, green eyes widening as he looked between them incredulously.

It’s a long story we don’t want to get into right now.” Leia said, sounding very tired.

Ok, I can respect that.” Cal acquiesced, albeit reluctantly. “Well then consider this your home now. Let’s get you all settled in and perhaps get you a bit to eat. Then you can tell me however much you feel comfortable with.”

Thank you, from all of us.” Luke thanked him sincerely, feeling the surge of gratitude from the others that matched his own..

Hey, you’re family. Think nothing of it.” Cal said with a smile, turning back towards the temple. He paused and shot them a look. “Does anyone else know you're here?” asked Cal, green eyes narrowing. The ‘Is anyone going to show up looking for you and cause problems?’ clear in his tone.

No.” Leia said, a dark look settling over her features. “No one will be coming after us.”

Chewie’s gonna swing by Kashyyyk once we’re settled in here to check on his family.” Han told him, shooting a concerned look at his wife. “He might bring them here. We don’t want to risk anyone using them to retaliate against us.”

and Karrde knows about this place.” added Mara. “He can keep a secret.”

Minimal contact, that's good.” said Cal with an approving nod. He turned once again and gestured for them to follow him to the temple. “Now let's go get you lot settled in.”

Demise of a dream - MsEcogeek, TheDiamondSword400 - Star Wars (2024)


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