Sorry if there are any formatting errors as this chapter was typed on google docs and the formatting didn't copy and paste here. I tried to fix as many of them as possible but some might have still fallen through the cracks.
This took awhile because my laptop died, taking what i had typed with itm and I have been borrowing my husband's laptop to write this on top of minding a baby.
Thank you for your patience.
Mos Espa, Tatooine, late afternoon . . .
Leia knew that she should have returned the datacard to her brother but the second she saw it she recognized it as the one that she had tossed away on Whetu so many years ago; the one that would have led her someplace where either she would be safe or stay until she could be reunited with her father if they had to separate.
She had acted rashly; fear had dictated her actions.
In the end her fears were completely unfounded.
The only file that was accessible on the datacard reminded her to stay hidden, instructed her to stowaway if needed and told her where to go:
Lars Homestead, Grid Ten, Northern Hemisphere,
Tatooine, Tatooine System, Arkanis Sector, Outer Rim
The name sounded familiar but she wasn't sure why. She assumed that she had heard or read about it in some sort of report related to the stolen Death Star Plans.
She wondered who the Larses were and why her father was sending her to them. She wondered if perhaps they, the Larses, were just one step on the journey. She now knew that Obi-Wan Kenobi had been living in the Jundland Wastes which wasn't too far from the Lars's Farm so maybe her father had discovered where Obi-Wan was and was so desperate to get her away from the Emperor that he had been willing to send her to the Jedi in hopes that the sins of the father wouldn't be visited on the head of the daughter; had hoped that his former Master would look after her as he would granddaughter or niece. After all that's what she was to Obi-Wan in some cultures.
After they had discovered that Obi-Wan had been living on Tatooine her father had ordered an investigation and the locals were familiar with Crazy Old Ben. It stood to reason that the Larses would have known of Obi-Wan.
Even if he hadn't known or suspected that Obi-Wan was on Tatooine the dusty, cesspit of a planet, far from the Core, would have been the perfect place to hide a Force Sensitive child.
The only problem that she saw in this line of thought was that her father hadn't and still didn't easily trust people that he wasn't familiar with to watch her and look after her.
He would leave her in the care of others but not after an in depth investigation or, with those he knew, not leaving the first time without giving them a detailed list of her likes, dislikes and habits. The Larses would have been complete strangers and would have had to stay that way in order to leave no trail for Lord Sidious and his network of spies to follow.
The first time her father had tried to flee with her, back when he had been given her, he hadn't put any thought into his flight except that he wanted to leave Lord Sidious and the Empire far behind to raise her in peace somewhere far, far away from Coruscant and the reach of the Empire.
Their second escape attempt had been more thought out and carefully planned but still failed as her father hadn't planned for just how quickly Sidious would have mobilized his forces to find them. Maybe if they stowed away on every ship they would have gotten away.
She shook her head to help get rid of the might have beens.
Since there wasn't a way to access the other files she didn't see a reason to not give the datacard back to Luke.
Yes, she would have to explain why she hadn't returned it to him back during their meeting but perhaps she could write off taking it as an attempt to make sure that he would meet her.
She immediately discarded that idea; he would know that it was a lie.
Alternatively, she could just keep it but doing so could damage her chance to get Luke and his group to work with her and the Elites to rescue Han.
If she wanted to move forward with Luke, she would need to give him back the datacard.
She worried that Luke would somehow manage to access the locked files but if she couldn't figure out how to open them then she doubted that Luke would be able to figure out how to open them.
Well, if she took it back to Coruscant and handed it to the ISB she had no doubt that they would be able to crack it but then there was a chance that the information on it could be detrimental to her and her father.
Goddesses, it might cause Sidious to look more deeply into what her and her father had been up to in the past year.
No, she would give it back to her brother and answer any questions that he might have in as little or as much detail as she felt comfortable with.
She just prayed that her rash action hadn't doomed this operation before it could start.
In the meantime, she needed something to take her mind off the mess she might have made.
She used the Force to call her commlink to her.
"C7, I need projects to keep myself busy; enough projects to last me at least two weeks." She told her protocol droid."
"I will compile another list of political sciences, treaties, histories and -." The protocol droid said.
"I need a break from my political studies and need a hands on project or I am going to scream and start fights that I shouldn't start. I need junk." She told the well-meaning droid.
"Are you sure milady? I don't know the first thing about things that you and your father like to tinker with and where to find them." C7 said with trepidation.
"If you need help just call the local junk shops and Jawas and ask if they have any badly broken droids, speeders, machinery and or things that they are looking to get rid of because they are old or useless. I don't care how much it costs, probably not much as they will consider them junk and we can find purpose for them." She told the ofttimes clueless droid.
"Won't purchases with your accounts here raise red flags with the Empire as you are supposed to be meditating on Mustafar?"
Leia opened her mouth to tell C7 just to do it but stopped herself; C7 had a point. Lady Vader was supposed to be on Mustafar not Tatooine. The purchase would alert her father, Lord Sidious and people in the ISB that she was on Tatooine; there was no way that she could pass the purchases with her official accounts as theft as the purchases would be what she would normally buy and no thief hacking such high profile bank accounts would buy junk on Tatooine; especially if it wasn't to launder the money.
And a quick search would reveal that one of her ships was parked in a docking bay under one of its many registered aliases.
"Use my racing and betting accounts to avoid attention. There's more than plenty of money in there. Come and see me and I'll give you the needed chips." She told C7.
"As you wish milady." C7 said.
Mos Espa, the Elite's Staging Warehouse, evening . . .
R2 watched the warehouse that he had determined the Elites were using as a base of operations. He had followed an Elite that he recognized in the marketplace back here but he didn't see a way to enter the place undetected.
The sound of Jawas nearby caught his attention and his guard immediately went up. He remembered all too well what happened last time he was on this planet and Jawas were around.
But they didn't seem interested in him but more interested in getting merchandise ready near one of the loading bays.
They were lining up droids and parts to ships, speeders and droids; chattering excitedly amongst themselves. He moved a little closer and heard the Jawas were excited because someone wanted to buy a lot of their stock and was going to be paying them well for it.
Hearing a cargo speeder approach from behind he moved the only direction he could: closer to the Jawas' wares.
The cargo speeder came to a stop, backed up to the loading bay and opened the cargo area and people inside started to unload what was inside.
R2 couldn't help but wonder why the Elites were buying so much junk. It was possible that it was a front; buy and fix junk before reselling it.
But were they any good at it?
He bet that they weren't as good as Anakin.
"Is this all of your merchandise?" A robotic feminine voice asked.
R2 swerved his dome and watched as a protocol droid with silver plating made their way over.
-Do you speak for your master?- The Lead Jawa asked
"Yes, I speak for my mistress; she is the one paying you for all of your merchandise." The Droid informed the Jawa Leader.
-Your Mistress wants even the useless junk?- The Jawa Leader asked; skeptical.
"My Mistress enjoys working with her hands and solving problems; she also has a way with machines. If you wish she will gladly let you buy back whatever you wish when she is done with it." The Droid offered.
The Jawas whispered to each other before coming to an agreement.
-If that is what your Mistress wishes we agree.- The Lead Jawa commented.
"Excellent, I will contact you when she's ready for you to take the fixed parts and droids off of your hands." The Droid said.
This was his chance to get in the warehouse. With all the new droids entering the warehouse he would blend in effortlessly.
He slipped in with the other droids and allowed himself to be herded into the warehouse.
The warehouse was huge and filled with all sorts of things from crates to machinery to people and droids.
The silver protocol droid moved in front of the newly acquired droids.
"I am C-7PO, I help our Mistress with whatever tasks she needs done. You have nothing to fear from your new Mistress. She treats all droids with respect and will not have you scrapped for any reason as she sees it as a waste. You will have nothing to fear from her father as he prefers droids to people and will not harm any of you. If you become damaged, they will repair you themselves as they are certified mechanics; they built me as a family project when the Mistress was a young child. Our Mistress will repair and service you as soon as she can and will give you assignments in her residents' Off World; your memories will remain intact and you will not be subject to memory wipes unless you wish to not work for the Mistress after a certain amount of time. If you choose to leave the Mistress's service you will be allowed to choose where you will be sent and go with a full recommendation. You are free to roam the warehouse in the meantime." C-7PO told the assembled droids.
R2's interest was piqued and at first he worried that he had found the wrong warehouse but several Elites that he had seen through the years walked by confirming that he was indeed in the right place.
Perhaps this woman and her father saw droids as people.
Anakin and Padme hadn't seen him and 3PO as replaceable or disposable when something had been wrong with them. Anakin had gone to extreme lengths to find him when he had been lost in the aftermath of the Battle of Bothawui and had salvaged him after the Separatists' failed assassination attempt of high-ranking officials in the Carida System and repaired him.
Luke was following in his parents' footsteps of seeing droids as important.
R2 followed the other droids as they rolled off to wander the warehouse.
The Eilites paid him and the other droids little to no mind as they moved things around.
"I think she's crazy for extending a hand of friendship to Skywalker; he's not going to accept. It jeopardizes our infiltration of Jabba the Hutt's Palace and Han Solo's rescue." An Elite that he couldn't see told a humanoid one.
"She might be but regardless we would be working against another group infiltrating the blasted Hutt's Palace. By letting Skywalker know that we are here too we hopefully won't be sabotaging each other and not get all of us killed rescuing that dumb lieutenant; but she loves him." The Humanoid responded.
It would be easier to work together instead of working against each other. R2 thought to himself.
"Also, her ladyship usually has good plans and rarely do they go horribly wrong." The Humanoid added.
"At least she doesn't punish us for voicing our opinions; Lord Sidious would torture us for expressing doubt in his plans." Another Elite commented with dread.
"Not even Lord Vader and his daughter dare question Lord Sidious's plans; at least not where anyone with loyalty to Lord Sidious can hear them." The first Elite commented.
"Do you think we should go to other cities to get her more junk? She's always in a good mood if she has something to keep her hands busy." The third Elite asked; changing the subject.
"I think that it would be worth it to at least see what they have to offer than get C7 to do the buying as most of us aren't supposed to be here and it will be suspicious if anyone but Tallie and Arden bought anything and even than it could raise questions as it isn't her birthday and she isn't scheduled to visit Tatooine any time soon and neither Tallie or Arden is going to be recalled before the Empire gains a deeper foothold here or they are asked to report in person." The second Elite commented.
"Do you think that we'll see a pod race before we leave?" The first Elite asked; moving on to another subject.
"Don't know; I'm not familiar with the calendar that they use here or how they decide when and where to hold a pod race." The third Elite answered.
R2 moved away from the three Elites and started to search for a computer terminal to plug into and see if he could get more information. Yes, he could just eavesdrop on conversations but that would take a long time and conversations weren't always pertinent to what you wanted to know and could end up waiting for hours for someone to say something incriminating before they said something that could possibly be damning but words alone wasn't proof of certain goals or ideals.
He was a little surprised by the high regard they had for Angel and wondered how she came to hold so much respect with them.
"Do you think he's going to accept your offer?" a woman's voice asked; coming seemingly out of nowhere.
R2 stopped and took stock of the area. There was an open door a short distance away the voice had come from the room on the other side.
"I don't know Mara. It's a lot to swallow and his compatriots have to be on board as well." A second female voice answered.
R2 noticed a terminal that he could plug into but he would have to cross in front of the open door and possibly be seen by the two women that he knew for a fact were inside the room on the other side.
"I still think that we could get in, get Solo out, you get your answers and go from there before he and his friends could have reacted and now they will know that they have competition for Solo." The first female, Mara stated.
The second female snorted.
"We don't have everything in place to do that." The second woman said. "Besides, I want Jabba dead before we leave this planet."
"Lord Sidious isn't going to like us killing Jabba." Mara cautioned the second female.
"Well, if Luke helps us then His Majesty will just blame Luke and the Rebellion and if he doesn't buy it then I'll think of something to curb his displeasure. Maybe even remind him that without Jabba controlling Tatooine and this part of the Outer Rim it will be easy to finally seize control of the Hutt's territory." The second woman said flippantly.
Mara gave a small laugh.
"You are your father's daughter: do as you please and put whatever spin you need to in order to avoid punishment." She said with amusement with a touch of a gentle warning.
"My mother did as she pleased too." The second female reminded Mara.
"True, but I never saw your mother in action. However, I have seen your father disregard orders he disagrees with and feels that doing something else will have a better outcome and can get away with it with minimal damage." Mara argued.
While the conversation was enlightening, he wasn't sure how long the two females would stay in the room talking. He needed to get the information that Luke needed quickly and get back soon so everyone could make an informed decision.
He decided to chance it. Between the droids that the Elites had brought with them and the ones bought for C7's mistress there were lots droids around the warehouse. If they saw him the odds were high that they would assume that he was one of the newly purchased droids.
He confidently moved forward; acting like he belonged in the warehouse.
"Hey, droid, come here." The unknown woman ordered.
R2 stopped and swerved his dome to look at the source of the voice; a petite brown haired, brown eyed Human looking woman.
Me? He asked her.
"Yes you, you are filthy. When was the last time that you were properly cleaned and serviced?" She asked.
I am unsure. He answered her, lying. Let her think that he had had his memory wiped like most droids often were before being sold.
"Well come here and I'll clean you up and service you." She told him.
You? He asked her uncertainty; he wasn't sure who this woman was and if she had the proper training to work on him.
She smiled in a friendly manner.
"Yes me. My father taught me how to repair and build droids from a young age." She told him.
He hesitated for a moment before entering the room; it would be suspicious if he refused or asked more questions.
He took stock of the room: small with a desk and chair on one side and a bed and a storage chest on the opposite side and a workbench on the wall closest to the door.
Standing by the desk was a red haired, green eyed human looking woman that had to be Mara.
"If you're going to work on the droid then I guess that I am going to retire for the night." Mara told the unnamed woman.
"Goodnight then Mara." The unnamed female said.
"Goodnight Angel." Mara said as she left.
The Force was with him if he had stumbled on Angel. If she was like other mechanics, he had experience with she would talk and might reveal things if prompted.
Angel retrieved the proper cleaning tools and immediately started scrubbing off the sand and grit off his coverings.
"What's your name?" she asked.
D2-PN. He lied.
"Looks like you were decently taken care of by your previous owner D2." Angel commented as she wiped off some sand. "In my experience the better you take care of something the less often you need to repair or replace something and on Tatooine most of the inhabitants are poor so they carefully maintain what they do have to make it stretch as long as possible; back in the Core you would have been replaced because you're closing in on forty years and almost everyone wants the newer and 'better' models because they are shiny, sleeker looking and supposedly perform better. I have had newer droids and they aren't as smart as the older ones and aren't as loyal."
Yes, I have met newer models that are all looks but have the intelligence of a rock.
"I know right? I wonder sometimes what the programmers are thinking when they program the droids? Granted I know that programming droids is hard as if you mess something up the droid could come out wrong like the EV Series Medical Droids." She mused
Yes, they came out wrong. I have met droids programmed or repaired by novice mechanics that, while quirky, with better personalities than an EV Medical Droid.
"I like you D2, I'm sure that my father would like you; he prefers the R-Series astromechs and likes it when they have spunk." She told him; as she opened the panel to service his right booster rocket; they hadn't been serviced in over two decades.
"I'm not surprised that these haven't been maintained; no reason to have booster rockets on this miserable dustball. No wonder why my father hates this place: the sand really does get everywhere. How in the name of the Goddesses and the Force did a wonderful droid like you end up here?" She muttered to herself as she started working on it.
Hate sand too. It gets in all my gears and components and slows me down. R2 told her.
Angel laughed again.
"Between the sand and the Hutts this planet is a horrible place to live. But I plan on getting rid of the Hutts starting with Jabba." She told him.
Why are you telling me this? I could be a spy. He asked.
"The Hutts destroy anything that could be used against them before tossing out their trash and all the entrances here short circuit any listening devices, all computer terminals are protected with passcodes, if the wrong passcodes are used the offending droid is shocked until they shut down, and if you were a spy you wouldn't have asked; you would have just kept encouraging me to talk or you would have shocked me the second I spoke of being here to get rid of Jabba." Angel told him.
It sounded silly but she had a point. He hadn't asked her any questions, beyond why she was telling him, even though he had wanted to ask her about her father.
He was glad that he hadn't been able to plug into the computer terminal; he didn't want to think of what would have happened to him if he had managed to get to it unseen.
"Maybe when this mission is over, I'll offer you the chance to work with my father. He used to have a droid like you D2 and might like having you around. If he doesn't like you one of my cousins might offer you the chance for you to work for them. Ryoo is an archeologist and could use someone to help her map the sites she's working on. If you don't want to work in the dirt or be in charge of other droids than you can work for my other cousin Pooja, she is an Ethics Officer in the Imperial Military and would love to have someone that would be willing to watch her back when she's interviewing certain people because I can't always be there to help protect her." Angel offered him.
I don't know. I will need to think about it. He told Angel; his circuits whirling with the revelations that she had given him.
"That's all I ask." Angel said with a smile.
R2 allowed her to work in silence as he processed that she had two female cousins with the same names and careers as Padme and Anakin's nieces; he had looked them up on several occasions to see how they were doing.
Was it possible that Angel was somehow Leia? She looked like she could be the child of Padme Naberrie and Anakin Skywalker but Leia was dead and Padme had had handmaidens that had been selected for their physical resemblance to her.
Angel hummed a song as she worked on his right booster and eventually started singing and R2 immediately recognized the song as one that Anakin would sing sometimes when he was working on him or with him on projects.
They had never found Leia's body though. Years ago it hadn't seemed strange as it had been theorized that a wild animal had carried her corpse off to it's den but he knew of some people on the Alderaanian Palace's Security Force that felt that something wasn't quite right about the abduction of Leia, her and Kira Stardust's deaths and the subsequent theft of Kira Stardust's body. It seemed too perfect that Miss Stardust, standing on a railing over a drop to the Gate River, had threatened to jump in if the Security Forces chasing her didn't leave her alone only was shot by persons unknown completely out of the blue; her body falling backwards into down to the raging river; Leia still clutched in her arms..
Wyllys Haugen had been one such guard, searching for a grain of sense in the mess, but for years found nothing. At least not until he had managed to clean up the recording from the morgue when Miss Stardust's body had been stolen.
R2 wouldn't have believed that a dead body had opened the morgue cooler it was being stored in, calmly collected evidence and dressed itself before leaving the morgue if he hadn't seen the recording himself.
What if Kira hadn't been holding Leia but a doll or a replica of a baby? Enough things had been lost in the Gate River that no one would have thought twice about finding a doll.
There was enough time between the discovery of Queen Breha lying prone on the Nursery Floor with a stab wound and the Palace Guards finding and chasing Kira Stardust to the Gate River for Kira to have handed Leia off to someone else and in the chaos that person now in possession of Leia would have walked out of the Palace or maybe even been escorted out with no one being the wiser; they might have even brought in a doll or a baby replica so that there would be no evidence of anything off with the plot.
It was ingenious.
The timeframe even worked.
Twelve days after Leia had been kidnapped Lord Vader's daughter's existence had been revealed to the galaxy. Even though it was a short trip to Coruscant from Alderaan it was very possible that whoever took Leia had taken some time to deliver Leia to Vader or perhaps the Emperor only announced it because some high ranked Imperials apparently voiced concern about Vader being able to his duties while caring for a newborn. The Empire updated Lady Vader's age on the right day was another point in favor, the lack of an announcement of Lady Vader's real name, no need to let the Jedi and whoever else knew that Leia was alive and with her father, Naboo's sudden coldness to Alderaan, they would have had reason to suspect that Bail might have known more about Padme's death but no proof to ask more or they had been dissuaded from asking as to not let Bail know that they had reason to suspect that he had known more than he had originally said. It would also explain why none of the Elites had called to report Angel to Lord or Lady Vader: she was Lady Vader.
Angel - no Leia continued to work on him as she sang; finishing his right booster rocket and moving to his left one. Vader had definitely taught her how to clean and repair an astromech.
She continued to sing and hum.
"How many owners have you had?" Leia asked; stopping her work long enough to push a loose strand of hair behind her ear.
I have had lots of owners. He told her. It wasn't an answer but it was the truth.
"I hope most of them were kind to you." She said.
After a moment she started humming again
Done, you can now fly again if you wish. That was a cruel thing for one of your masters to deprive you of. She told him as she put the panel covering his left booster rocket back.
Thank you. He told her.
"It's nothing." She told him.
Then she opened the panel where Anakin had meticulously etched medals for him since most systems didn't regard droids as anything more than dumb machines.
More than likely the strange 'markings' would mean nothing to her. They hadn't meant anything to those that had worked on him in the past but the mechanics had been willing to leave them alone when he had said that a pilot had given them to him after space battles as a way of commemorating their wins and survival.
"Huh, you had a pilot that gave you medals for battles that you were part of." Leia said as she cleaned his 'medals'.
Yes, no one else would commend a droid. He told her.
"My father told me that he had an astromech that he dearly loved that he lovely etched medals into the inner panels so that no one could see and order him to remove them. He told me that believes that the Emperor had the droid destroyed because he knew how much the droids meant to my father." She told him.
How terrible! He told her; meaning every word. It was terrible that his old friend believed that he and 3PO had been destroyed by Sidious for no reason.
He decided that Sidious's fall couldn't come fast enough.
"Huh, it appears that at one point you were owned by a citizen of Naboo." Leia said, puzzled, as she examined something inside. "How did you get here on Tatooi-?"
Her voice trailed off and she looked into his photoceptor; her eyes wide.
She knew that he wasn't a droid that the protocol droid had bought for her to fix. The real question was what was she going to do with her new knowledge and did she know what it meant.
"Luke sent you here didn't he." She stated calmly.
R2 hesitated for a moment. Yes.
"I'm not surprised; I would have done the same thing if our roles were reversed. He needs more than 'just a feeling' to tell whoever else has tagged along on this mission if our two groups are to join forces. You are free to go tell them that all I, Angel Naberrie, want from Han Solo is to hear from his own lips whether or not he's kept his promise to me. I don't care about their Rebellion right now and if certain things play out then we will need to work together to rebuild." She told him.
What do you mean? He asked her.
My creator plans on deleting the Emperor. She answered him in Binary.
Do you mean father instead of creator and kill instead of delete? He asked her.
Leia's cheeks turned pink but she nodded.
Binary hard to speak. Ignore errors. Ask for clarification if you no understand my meaning. She told him
The Emperor has hurt us for years but we can fight back now. Luke not tied to us the same way. What causes my creator and I pain will not cause him pain as the Emperor cannot use our bond as creator and variants to cause him pain like he does with my creator and I. She told him.
The Emperor uses the bond you have with your father to cause you both pain? He asked.
He remembered the story Luke had shared with them about how Angel had had some sort of seizure while they were on Naboo and how Mara had told her to 'block him out'. If Sidious was using or had made a deep bond between Vader and Leia it would work to his advantage as if he attacked one with Force Lightning the other one would also be immobilized in pain.
I will kill him for you. He will not expect or Sense my intent like he would Sense the intent in you and your father. He told her.
No date when to move against him or full plan. We want to move against him. When the Force tells us to strike, we will. If you want to help delete the Emperor, I will see what I can do. She told him.
"I'll finish with what I am doing and we will discuss what you will like to do." She told him.
She went back to work and he allowed himself to process everything that had happened.
I will not tell him that you are his sister or anything that you wish to keep a secret. I'll let you tell him if and when you feel comfortable telling him; it's your secret to tell. He informed her.
"Thank you," she told him.
They sat in silence as she finished her work.
"Done," she said as she replaced the panel. "What would you like to do?"
I need to get back to Luke. He told her
"Okay, there's a ship waiting at Docking Bay 77 for you. I will tell C7 for you."
Go through the third door on the left; it has a door that you can leave through without being seen but if you are seen it won't be the end of the galaxy. Just say that you are following Lady Vader's orders. She told him.
"My authorization code is IH02-10217756." She finished.
Aboard the Millennium Falcon, parked somewhere in the desert wastes of Tatooine . . .
"I say it's a trap." Pter said. "They have every reason to get rid of us and the fact that they claim to already be infiltrating Jabba's Palace to retrieve Captain Solo and say that they want to work with us so we don't compromise the mission to get Han out of Jabba's clutches is suspicious. If we say that we will work with them they will capture all of us and the Rebellion loses several important members in one fell swoop."
"I don't know, if they wanted to capture us why extend the hand of friendship?" Lando asked. "It doesn't fit with the modus operandi of the Empire's Elite. They would have allowed us to continue to infiltrate Jabba's Palace and then ambushed us there or asked Jabba to allow them to help capture us and in the months that I have been working for Jabba I haven't heard a single word about the Empire or anyone connected to the Empire asking Jabba for anything." He finished.
"Lord Vader despises the Hutts. I know for a fact that he's spread that distaste to the Empire's Elite and his daughter. He would rather cut off one of his arms than do something than order anyone under him work with the Hutts. Odds are that this is an unsanctioned mission and bringing us in will only complicate things." Ana commented.
"Has Lord Vader done work with the Hutts?" Luke asked Ana.
"Only under the Emperor's orders and not without complaints; I overheard Lord Vader argue with the Emperor more than once about working with the Hutts and Lady Vader liked to tell me all about how depraved the Hutts can be and how we shouldn't make alliances with murderers and slavers." Ana answered.
-That's rich coming from someone that helps keep a tyrant in power.- Chewie grumbled.
"Supposedly Vader has too much honor or misplaced loyalty in him to turn against the Emperor; that's what my father told me once." Ana said.
Honorable and loyalty. Those were two words that Rex had used to describe his father.
At the same time Luke wanted to laugh. If Vader had loyalty to the Emperor then he wouldn't have offered him the option to help Lord and Lady Vader overthrow the Emperor and rule the galaxy as a family.
"He was fiercely protective of people, especially to those that he considered friends. Hells, if you hurt someone, he had responsibility over you would be lucky to escape the encounter unharmed." Another part of Rex's description of his father played in his mind.
Had the Emperor done something to lose Lord Vader's loyalty?
Luke didn't know enough about the relationship between the two men to know how they viewed each other. Supposedly the Emperor called Lord Vader 'friend' but the very few spies that they had in the ranks of the Empire had added that Lord Vader instead called the Emperor 'Master' as if he was subservient to the Emperor instead of an equal or the Heir to the Empire.
Sith, a shiver went down Luke's spine. Yoda had spoken briefly about them and Rex had shared a few more details. The Sith were a dark mirror of the Jedi and unlike the Jedi who sought to bring peace to the galaxy the SIth sought to subjugate the galaxy.
Rex had told him that the Sith were behind the Clone Wars and all the death and destruction that came with war and the fall of a government. When he had asked the old soldier why the Sith had started the war Rex had told him that from what his father had told him about the Sith there had been a long standing feud between the Sith and the Jedi with the two Religious/Warrior Sects warring with each other for centuries before the Sith were finally believed to be destroyed over thousand years before the Clone Wars; they were back for revenge and to reclaim control of the galaxy.
Angel is telling the truth. She wants our help in overthrowing Jabba, mostly so we don't get in each other's way, but also so she and the other Elites can claim plausibility deniability when the Emperor learns that Jabba is dead. R2 said; startling everyone at the table.
As for the rest of the Elites: if Angel says 'jump' they will jump. The only other people that can override her commands to the Elites are Lord Vader and the Emperor. R2 added.
Ana looked confused.
"Lady Vader has no command over them?" She asked; surprised.
Angel commands them. Lord Vader and the Emperor can overrule her. R2 reiterated.
"And none of the other Elites will report her working with us?" Lando pressed.
They trust her and will do what she says; they want Jabba gone too. R2 stated.
"Not sure if we can trust someone, let alone a group that only wants to ally with us because we can serve a purpose for them. As far as we know they will turn us the second Jabba is dead." Pter commented.
Angel does not care about us or what we do. She only wants to ask Captain Solo a question. I heard her talking about it. She and Han used to be close. R2 stated.
Ana leaned forward.
"Does it have anything to do with 'the Starman and the Moon Goddess'?" She asked intently.
I do not know. The Elites talked about him a bit but nothing that I can see that would connect to the myth. R2 answered.
"Why do they want to rescue him?" Lando asked.
He was Angel's boyfriend. R2 said.
There was silence for a few moments.
"Oh," someone said softly.
-If Han was dating or somehow involved with one of the Empire's Elite it explains why he never mentioned her to me. I would have unintentionally pushed him to reconnect with her if I knew that he had a girlfriend and have her travel the stars with us.- Chewie said thoughtfully.
"If she is a spurned lover this could end badly. 'The Hells hath no fury than that of a scorned Woman'." Pter commented.
"If he had scorned her somehow then she wouldn't be trying to rescue him." Lando said. "You don't go toe to toe with a criminal just to get revenge on a guy that left you without a word. Besides, the myth of the Starman and the Moon Goddess is a story about love between two people of different social positions in life that do a lot for each other; the Mood Goddess is the one that saves the Starman's life after he is fatally wounded."
"She was a Goddess and he was a mortal who had turned his back on the Gods. I am not sure that the parallel works." Ana said wryly.
"But as a member of the Empire's Elite she would have been like a goddess and Han would have been a lowly mortal." Pter argued.
"I think that it's romantic." Lando said with a smile. "They must have used it as a way of communicating with each other to other Elites. If so it's no wonder Lady Vader slapped him: in her eyes Han abandoned Angel and had the audacity to want her to tell Angel, someone that she's no doubt known since they were children, that he still loved her."
Lando was silent for a moment.
"If the Force tells you that it's safe to trust Angel then I respect that." Lando said.
-I will follow you as well.- Chewie added. -The Force never leads a Jedi wrong.-
Chewie's declaration made Luke feel better.
"I still don't like the fact that we don't have information about Lady Vader and what she might know or might not know about this; she doesn't like Rebels so I can't see her being okay with this." Ana commented.
"But if Lady Vader isn't part of this operation, we should be fine; afterall, our intelligence puts her on Mustafar which is pretty far away doing something and more than likely will soon be joining her father wherever he is." Pter argued.
That was true but if their spies were correct then Lord Vader was at a top-secret Imperial Project: a Second Death Star and where the father was the daughter wasn't too far behind.
"If Angel tells you that Lady Vader has nothing to do with this or she can guarantee that she won't show up unexpectedly than I will follow your lead." The princess finally said.
Mos Espa Pod Race Arena, the next day . . .
Luke slowly made his way to the spot that Angel had told him to her in the arena. He kept his Senses alert for trouble.
After a few minutes he spotted her in a box that a sponsor could sit in during a race.
"Well?" she asked; bypassing a greeting and going straight to getting an answer.
"Everyone is onboard with joining forces; if you can promise us that Lady Vader will not learn of this operation or show up or at the very least isn't a potential problem." He told her calmly.
"Is that all?" she asked; surprise on her face and radiating in the Force.
"Yes, they worry about her learning that you and other Elites are working with us and putting a stop to it either by showing up or calling her father or the Emperor to force you to stop or turn on us and bring us in." he explained.
"You don't have to worry about Lady Vader learning about this operation." Angel told him firmly.
The Force whispered that it was true but that there was more to it.
"How can you be sure? There're many ways that she could learn about this operation. And if she knows about this operation what's going to stop her from betraying you to kill some Rebels?" Luke pressed.
Angel looked thoughtful.
"Isn't it enough for your allies to know that, with the help of the Force, that you can tell that you don't have to worry about Lady Vader?" Angel asked; curious and a tinge of worry.
"I can tell them all they want but they need more than me telling them that we don't have to worry about a dangerous foe potentially ruining everything.' He informed her.
"So, they don't trust the word of a Jedi?" she asked in a slight mocking tone.
"They are paranoid and sometimes they need more than just what feels like empty words."
Angel laughed hollowly.
"Just like during the Clone Wars." She commented.
She closed her eyes; meditating.
Luke waited patiently for her to get her answer and allowed his mind to wander. He was brought back to the booth by a gentle prod from the Force.
He looked up to see that Angel was looking at him intently.
"I can promise you that you don't have to worry about this operation getting back to the wrong people and it either being called off or someone more dangerous than us showing up." She began. "I can promise you this because . . . ." She hesitated; her could Feel her tapping into the Force for courage and strength. "Because I am Lady Vader."