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Disclaimer: Clearly I don't own Star Wars. I do, however, own Serena and her mother, Tari :)
Chapter 7: The Rebel Base
As they approached the landing zone, Serena took in the scenery of the planet below. It was a lush planet, which she didn't expect. Since she had never been to Yavin before, she was unprepared for what she would see. Serena thought the planet would be barren, and she was glad to be proven wrong. She hated the heat of Tatooine and knew that if Yavin was all desert that she would dislike it too.
Luke seemed enthralled with the greenery. She knew that he hadn't seen much else other than sand on Tatooine, so this experience would have been shocking for him. She remembered when she had first gone to Tatooine. She had the same reaction as Luke was currently having towards Yavin, but after the shock wore off, she realized that she despised the constant heat the twin sun's gave off.
"We're about to land. Might wanna go greet your fellow rebels, Your Worship" Han said, cutting off Leia's retort to one of his comments. The Princess just huffed and exited the cockpit.
"Han, why do you have to provoke her?" Serena asked, exasperated.
"She's the one doin' the provokin'."
Serena rolled her eyes, "How old are you? Three? Just try to -"
Chewbacca roared, cutting off an argument between the Solo's, "We've landed."
Serena hadn't even felt their landing. She was preoccupied with looking around with curiosity. The Rebel base wasn't even remotely as large as the last she'd seen on that Imperial space station, but it was still pretty remarkable that the Rebels could keep a base as large as this out of the Imperial's sight. She'd often thought of the Rebels as careless, but as she laid her eyes on their base she had to admit that she was impressed.
Han sighed, "Let's move. Sooner we get outta here, the sooner I'll get my reward."
"Leia's right. That's all you ever think of, isn't it?" Luke glared and quickly left the cockpit. Han didn't seem affected by Luke's statement and Serena just rolled her eyes. She knew Han better than most, and knew he had a good heart. Her brother just preferred to keep it hidden.
"Well, we might as well follow them." Serena then turned and also left the cockpit. She wanted to catch up with Luke and try to calm him down. She knew he didn't quite understand Han yet, and wanted to help him understand why her brother acted like he did.
As she exited the Falcon she saw rows of X-Wing fighters packed within the base. The Rebels filled the base to capacity and still seemed to squeeze a few more in. Everywhere she turned there was a Rebel X-Wing parked and a Rebel pilot making repairs to the older ones.
Luke, Leia, and the two droids were standing and talking with a few Rebels. Well, Leia was doing most of the talking. Luke was examining the X-Wings with a look of pure joy upon his face. Any irritation the farm boy felt for Han just seemed to disappear as he looked at the ships.
"Like what you see?" She smiled at Luke's startled face.
He relaxed as he saw her amusement and responded, "I've always loved flying."
"I can tell. I wish I could fly ships well."
Serena flushed. She realized that she'd never mentioned her lack of flying skills, "Well...no. Han was always disappointed that I never had the potential. Most likely, if you let me fly your ship, it'll end up wrecked a few minutes later."
He laughed, "You can't be that bad."
"Wanna bet?" Han's voice came from behind them, "I let her fly the Falcon once - biggest mistake in my life."
"I didn't wreck the Falcon, though." Serena argued.
"Only cause Chewie was there." Han retorted, and turned to Luke, "I was this close to losin' the Falcon." He pinched his two fingers together, leaving a small amount of room between them.
Chewbacca roared in acknowledgment. Luke laughed.
Serena just huffed, "Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up."
Luke, Han, and even Chewbacca - much to Serena's surprise - ignored her embarrassment and continued to laugh at the younger Solo. Serena glared at them, but the men laughed even harder. With a roll of her eyes, Serena decided she would go talk with Leia, since the Princess was standing by herself not far off. The Rebels Leia had been talking to previously were nowhere to be seen.
"So where'd they go?" Serena asked Leia; there was no need for her to specify 'they'. Leia knew who she was referring to.
"Off to tell the commander that we've arrived. They asked us to wait here until someone can take us where we need to go."
"Oh," Serena said, then paused. She didn't know what to say to Leia. Truthfully, they'd barely spoken at all. The young smuggler didn't want to go back to Luke, Han, and Chewie, since they seemed to be discussing the X-Wing fighters, and Serena knew she wouldn't have a clue what to say. She tried to think of some way to start a conversation.
Leia surprised Serena when she asked, "Are you planning on staying with the Rebellion?"
"Me?" Serena asked dumbly. She really hadn't considered it, "I don't really know, to be honest, but I doubt I will. I know Han won't, and I can't just leave him. Like it or not, he's my brother."
Leia nodded, "I understand that, I suppose. You should stick by your family..." She trailed off, a pained look upon her face.
Serena looked at Leia with sympathy. She knew it had to be painful to lose your family so suddenly, "I'm sorry about Alderaan."
Leia glanced at her and nodded. Serena was, once again, glad that she would not have to do a lot of comforting. Leia seemed reluctant to talk about it anyway, so Serena quickly changed the subject.
"How long does this usually take?"
"I doubt we'll have to wait long. The information I have is vital to the Rebellion. They won't make us wait for long."
"Ah, alright. Good."
Another long pause. Luckily, Serena didn't have to try to continue the conversation because the Rebels finally arrived with a large vehicle. Leia was the first to get on and sit down; the Princess gestured for the others to follow. Serena sat down next to Leia, with Han on her other side. As the vehicle moved, Serena saw that a large number of Rebel pilots were entering the hanger. She didn't know what they were up to, but it looked like they were planning a huge attack.
Serena knew that these people were desperate. Though they seemed to appear calm and collected, they were all vastly outnumbered by the Empire. Even if these men - and women - were more skilled than the Empire's many stormtroopers, Serena felt that the Rebels barely had a chance. Perhaps she was just a pessimist, but she knew that without the clever minds of the Rebellion's leaders, the Empire would have destroyed it a long time ago.
Serena felt the vehicle stop, and Leia instantly jumped off, a big smile upon her face. The young smuggler wondered who Leia was smiling at when she saw an older man with grey hair and a friendly, if slightly chubby, face. She assumed he was one of the Rebellion's leaders, or at least an important member, since he was greeting Princess Leia herself.
"I'm glad you're here. We feared the worst...especially after we heard of Alderaan." He said, hugging Leia. He briefly acknowledged the others with a nod of his head and a brief smile.
Leia brushed off the sympathy, as if preferring to avoid the topic, "We have no time for our sorrows, commander. We must see to getting the information from that Artoo unit to plan our attack. It's our only hope now."
At that comment, Artoo beeped loudly and jumped up and down. Serena smiled at the little droid.
The commander who remained unnamed nodded at Leia. He gestured to a few of the Rebels standing by and they all quickly rushed to Artoo. They picked up the little droid, ignoring Threepio's startled objections, "Be careful with him. He has seen a lot."
Serena rolled her eyes at the protocol droid. He was so...demanding. Han rolled his eyes alongside Serena and Luke noticed how similar the two siblings seemed at that moment. He grinned, ignoring the questioning looks both of the Solo's gave him.
"Please follow me," The commander ordered them all. He led them into a large room that the Rebels seemed to use for mission debriefings. It was already filled to capacity and Serena's eyes widened at the large amount of Rebels dressed in their pilot gear. She, Chewbacca, Luke, and Han were all forced to stand in the back, as there was simply no room left to sit down. Han rolled his eyes, clearly impatient to get his reward and leave; he leant against the wall with his arms crossed. Serena was reminded of an irritated child who didn't get their way. She laughed at Han's actions, and Chewbacca sent her a knowing look.
Luke was Han's exact opposite. He seemed thrilled to be there, and actually interested in what was about to take place. He also leaned against the wall, but his eyes were wide and he waited patiently for the debriefing to begin.
Serena sighed, feeling boredom beginning to creep in. She understood why Han was so impatient; she knew neither of them would be staying to help the Rebels. The girl felt a little guilty about it. After all, she felt that they would be quitting early after already being involved so far. She knew she would follow Han, whatever his choice, but she also knew that she would feel the guilt for abandoning the Rebels for a long time after she left.
Serena had been so lost in her thoughts, she had missed the beginning of the demonstration. She tried to pay more attention to the man speaking, "...with a small, one-man fighter it may be possible to sneak past the Death Star's defenses and get close enough to deliver the finishing blow."
Han rolled his eyes. Serena did find it to be a desperate plan, and she noticed many of the pilots murmured to each other, their faces showing a little anxiety at performing such a task.
"With all due respect , sir, " said one of the pilots sitting in the front, "How could a one-man fighter destroy such a massive station?" Others muttered their agreement.
"The Empire hasn't considered a small, one man fighter able to penetrate their defenses. There is a vulnerable spot located within the Death Star. The Empire has weak defenses in that area, and this is where you should be able to strike. It is only two meters wide. It's a thermal exhaust port, but with enough firepower it could generate a reaction that will destroy the station."
"Hell of a long shot," Han muttered, and Chewie growled in agreement.
"Remember, only a precise hit will cause the chain reaction. It's ray shielded so you'll have to use proton torpedoes."
"That's impossible!" The Rebel pilot next to Luke muttered, an irritated look upon his face, "Even for a computer."
Luke shoot his head, "No, it's not. Trust me, I used to bulls-eye womp rats all the time in my 3-16 back home, and they're less accurate."
Serena was still skeptical of the plan, and many others seemed just as skeptical as she was. Unfortunately, none of them had any better plan at the moment.
"Then man your ships...and May the Force Be With You."
Everyone stood up, and Serena heard the pilots discuss how ridiculous the plan was. What she admired, though, was that each one of them followed their orders dutifully, even though they disagreed. Perhaps they were hopeful that they could defy the odds, and Serena hoped they would be so lucky.
"I'm going with them," Luke said, determinedly. Han looked at the farm boy in disbelief.
"Luke, that's suicide! There's such a small chance of success!" Serena said, hoping to talk him out of his plan.
He glared at her, "I'm going, Serena. Why do you care anyway? You're gonna be leaving with your money soon enough." With that last comment, he stormed off, and Serena suddenly felt the guilt intensify. She hang her head, and Han placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"C'mon, sis, don't let the kid get ya down. He just needs to cool off."
"I hope so," She muttered, and followed Han and Chewbacca to the Falcon, to help them prepare to leave.
"All fighters man your stations." A voice ordered over a loud intercom as Serena helped Han load his reward into his ship. The Rebels were very generous to the smuggler, and Han's eyes positively lit up at the sight of such treasures. He had enough to pay off Jabba, and then keep some for himself. While Han was in heaven, Serena sat down glumly. She watched the Rebel pilots scamper off into their ships, making last minute adjustments and checking to ensure everything was functioning normally. She also secretly was looking for Luke; she didn't want to leave without saying a proper goodbye.
Serena sighed as Han called out to her, "Hey, sis, don't just sit there. There's credits to carry!" She rolled her eyes affectionately and moved to help Han. She was picking up one of the final boxes. Soon there wouldn't be a reason to remain at the Rebel base. She couldn't leave yet. Not without saying goodbye to Luke...
As she turned, she heard Han shout, "Hey, kid!" Serena almost dropped the box of credits. Han certainly wouldn't have been pleased to learn that she had spilled all of his new credits all over the floor of the hanger. She set the box down next to Chewie, and the wookiee growled at her, "Serena, are you not going to carry that?"
She waved him off, "I'll come back for it. I just have to do something first."
She heard Chewbacca mumble, "Lazy girl" and she smiled a little at his obvious frustration. She knew that Chewie ended up picking up the box of credits, because she heard him continue to grumble.
She turned and saw Luke talking with Han. He still seemed a little irritated, "Oh. I see you've got your reward and you're all ready to go?"
"That's right. Yeah." Han muttered, looking at Luke in irritation, "There's some old debts I've gotta pay off. Even if I didn't, I'd be an idiot to stick around here, wouldn't I?"
She shot Han a venomous look, which he ignored. She wanted to calm Luke down, not make him even angrier at them all.
Luke remained silent, glaring at the floor. He didn't even look at Serena. Han turned, as if he suddenly had a great idea, "Why don't you come with us?"
Serena nodded. If Luke came with them, she knew she wouldn't be quite as worried for the Rebels, as much as she knew that was selfish. She really was only worried for Luke, and even Leia to an extent. The problem with Leia was that Serena knew she would not abandon the Rebellion. Perhaps Luke could be convinced to come with them.
"Come on! Do you really think I'll abandon these people? Why don't you stay? They could use a great pilot like you."
Serena jumped in, "Farm boy, there's a high chance that you won't be coming back from this fight. Do you wanna risk that?"
Luke stubbornly set his jaw, "Yes. I do. They're fighting for something important," Luke still seemed to want to try to persuade them to stay, "If you stay, their chances of success would be better."
"What's the point of a reward, if I ain't around to use it?" Han said, refusing Luke's offer, "Besides, attackin' that battle station ain't my idea of courage. It's suicide."
"Fine. I get it. You've got your money; that's all that matters. Take care of yourselves, I guess that's what you're best at." Luke finished venomously and stormed off. Serena knew that if she didn't chase after him, that would be how they parted, and she couldn't bear to leave it at that.
"Luke! Wait!" She called out. He seemed intent upon ignoring her, but she continued to follow him through the base.
"Luke Skywalker, stop this minute!" She ordered, and her tone of voice caused him to pause for a brief moment. It was all Serena needed, because she stood in front of him and blocked off any attempt for him to evade the conversation, "Look, farm boy, I wanna talk to you."
"What else is there to say? You've both made your points."
"Look, I don't wanna leave like that. I know you're mad at us, but you're going up against pretty poor odds, and I want to tell you goodbye...just in case."
He relaxed a little, but she could still see he was irritated. Eventually, though, he nodded at her, "Alright. I guess that makes sense." He smiled at her slightly, and extended his hand, "Good luck, Serena."
She smiled back and accepted Luke's hand, "See ya, farm boy." He rolled his eyes at the nickname but he was still smiling. Before he could walk off, Serena leant up and kissed him on the cheek, in the same place she kissed him before on the Death Star, "Good luck. I'm rooting for you."
He flushed and touched his cheek, looking at her in shock. She smiled at him and walked back in the direction of the Falcon. She heard Luke sigh wistfully in her direction - or perhaps she just hoped he was sighing wistfully.
She desperately wanted to stay. She knew she would miss Luke terribly. Serena thought that making amends with Luke would ease her guilt about leaving, but saying what seemed to be a final goodbye made her wish she could stay with him longer. She walked quickly back to the Falcon, never looking back, because she knew if she did she would end up staying behind.
Han looked at her with a knowing smile on his face, "You all done? Gonna miss your 'farm boy'?"
"My farm boy?" She questioned. Serena didn't like where Han was taking this conversation.
"You've got it bad for him, don't ya?" He smirked once again and she slapped Han on the arm.
"No! I was just worried about him!"
"Riiiight." He drawled out the last word and Serena gritted her teeth. She knew her face was now pink and Chewbacca barked out a chuckle. She glared at the wookiee but Chewie continued laughing, ignoring her embarrassment.
"C'mon you two. We've gotta get goin' if we wanna get Jabba off our backs."
"Yeah. I guess," Serena said reluctantly and entered the Falcon. Han followed and Chewbacca brought up the rear. They all sat down in the cockpit.
"Everything ready?" Han asked Chewbacca.
The wookiee grunted in affirmation, "Everything is ready."
"Good. Then let's get outta here."
The Falcon began to take off, and Serena looked out of the front window. She could see Luke and Leia standing together, watching them take off. She bit her lip; the guilt would be bothering her for a long time. She glanced at Han, and he seemed determined not to look at either of their former companions and turned the Falcon away so Serena could no longer see them. She sighed and watched as they began moving further and further from the Rebel Base, and into space.
Well, this took me a while to write, but I suppose you are all getting used to that lol :P Again, thanks for reading and I would appreciate a review, just to let me know you like it. More reviews encourage me to write faster! :D May the Force be With You all!