The vast reaches of space seemed all but alluring to Leia Organa as she gazed dreamily through the transparisteel viewport at the dark and infinite panorama that surrounded her. Many regarded space as dull and empty, a desolate void of nothingness that existed between worlds.
Not Leia. She found it tantalizing with the whimsical promise of adventure and excitement, compelled by tales and lore she'd heard of spacers and pirates and the Jedi of old.
Nothing more than tales, she mused bitterly as a bright star caught her eye in the distance.
She'd often read data files and encountered HoloNet exclusives detailing the exploits of space pirates and daring smugglers, expertly maneuvering their rugged vessels in evasion of the Imperial Navy's finest starfighters, somewhere deep within the Outer Rim Territories. She'd seen holo images of the noble Jedi Knights, an order that was now all but extinct, its final traces in the galaxy ruthlessly hunted down and decimated by the Empire's sinister agents in one fell genocide.
Leia sighed, creating a blur of vapor to condense atop the transparisteel. She raised one finger and halfheartedly began to trace a cursory rendition of a nerf, a beast native to her homeworld, in the fogged viewport.
Who am I kidding? she thought to herself hopelessly. I'm never going to see any adventure.
At the age of fifteen and already a representative of her world in the Imperial Senate, Leia seldom glimpsed an opportunity for excitement. She knew she would never encounter a space pirate or bounty hunter, cross paths with a smuggler or ace fighter pilot. And to meet a Jedi…
That would be the day. Jedi were a rare sight in the galaxy these days.
She conceded to the fact that she was acquainted with Wedge and the other X-wing pilots that served the Alliance, but she'd yet to see them in a true-to-life space battle. And besides, they were acting as nothing more than a simple escort at the moment for their current mission to Sluis Van.
Leia sulked at the notion that she would never experience any real excitement, a disappointing reality that pestered her like a persistent mynock.
And here she was again, being dragged by her adoptive father on one diplomatic mission to the next, striving to further the Alliance's cause and enlist the support of distant worlds unfriendly to the tyrannical rule of the Galactic Empire.
She glanced over her shoulder at Bail Organa, who stood conversing with an operative at a comm station. He stood next to the console, tan-skinned and adorned in an indigo tunic and Lashaa silk robe, his short beard primly trimmed.
Noticing his daughter was watching him, he turned and gave her a kind and gentle smile before returning to his busy discussion with the comm operator.
Leia returned her gaze to the viewport, her brown eyes wide with wonder as they jumped from star to shining star. She heaved another sigh. Sometimes, being heir to the Royal House of Alderaan wasn't as magnificent as the stately title caused it to sound.
Even halfway through her teens, Leia's life had become so completely absorbed in war and politics that she sometimes yearned for a normal childhood; longed to indulge in the things she knew average teenagers her age were experiencing back home on Alderaan.
Well I'm not an average teenager, Leia recalled dismally, snapping herself out of such preposterous ruminations, I'm an Imperial Senator. And I'm a key figure in the Rebel Alliance. There's no time for a normal life.
Returning from her fantasies, she concentrated her mind on the task at hand.
She and her father were emissaries aboard the CR90 capital ship, Luminescent, traveling on a diplomatic mission to the Sluis system, where they were to negotiate a treaty with the natives inhabiting the rocky world of Sluis Van, home to one of the galaxy's most prominent shipyards and deep-space docking facilities; two valuable assets that the Alliance could use as great tactical advantages over the Empire in this raging Galactic Civil War.
If only the Empire hadn't already seized control over the planet, along with its resident shipyards.
It seemed the Empire was expanding its sickly reach to more and more worlds each passing day, Leia mused bleakly, as though Palpatine was gathering more systems into the iron fist with which he so oppressively gripped the galaxy.
And now, Leia once again found herself a passenger on board a hulking Corellian corvette, escorted by a squadron of X-wing fighters headed by Wedge Antilles, being shuttled to the Outer Rim world of Sluis Van where her father hoped to solicit a trade agreement with the venerable khedive, leader of the serpentine Sluissi race.
Thus far, the mission had gone smoothly and according to plan. Nevertheless, Leia could not seem to overcome this inexplicable feeling, almost like a premonition, of forthcoming despair. The unnerving sensation that something was just going to go wrong.
She bit her lip apprehensively.
The girl couldn't understand why or how she was receiving this unpleasant and foreboding vibe, but it was almost as if she were one of the fabled Jedi, picking up a current in the so-called omnipotent Force to which they so zealously devoted themselves.
Whatever it was, Leia decided, she didn't like it.