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One More Service

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Obi-Wan sighed in the telepathic conversation and his body in meditation followed it. Master Yoda, they should be told the truth.

No! As hard as it was to communicate like this, Yoda’s meaning was clear and strong as transparisteel. Lose them to the Dark Side for attachments we will not. Train them in what they must know to defeat the Sith, Master Obi-Wan. May the Force be with you.

May the Force be with you as well. Obi-Wan opened his eyes. The bunk room of the Falcon was empty save for him. Banging traveled through the bulkheads, but emotionally from the other passengers the repairs were not of a fix-it-now-before-we-die variety. Solo was peeved that his authority had been undermined but was letting Chewie talk him into agreeing with his Wookiee first mate. Obi-Wan didn’t need to intervene. It would be a pleasant trip to the next Rebel base if all the passengers managed to keep their tempers.

Leia waited outside the bunk room’s door ratcheting up her courage to confront him. The biggest problem with Yoda’s order was the older Jedi Master did not have to look these children in the eye and lie to them. But he would continue to lie because it kept these children safe. “Come in, Leia.”

The young woman let the door slide shut behind her. She wore her hair in a braid wrapped around her head, a subdued version of the Crown of Alderaan hairstyle. Her fingers twitched around a handheld holoprojector. “I’m not disturbing you, am I, Master Obi-Wan?”

“I’ve finished meditating. What are they working on?”

“Chewie decided the ship needs another bunk room so the females can have privacy. Mara Jade volunteered to help them.”

Obi-Wan frowned slightly at the frost in Leia’s tone in her last sentence, but her reflexive anger was not at the forefront of her concerns. He waved a hand for her to join him on the floor. “More bunks can only be useful. What is troubling you?”

She lowered herself into a cross-legged position gracefully. “You knew my mother, my birth mother. I’ve known I was adopted ever since Mama and Papa explained how I wouldn’t be Queen after Mama.” Her shoulders drooped. “I don’t know what my people will do now,” she whispered before shaking her head. “After I told Papa how well I got along with the Chommell Sector’s delegation in the Imperial Senate, he told me my birth mother was a friend from Naboo who needed help and they wanted a child. That’s all… that’s all we got to say about her.” Her breath shuddered, but she controlled her grief.

“You and Bail both put responsibilities to others before yourselves.”

“The Rebellion was more important,” Leia said. “It didn’t matter because she was gone and we’d talk about it some day. And now they’re gone.” She turned on the holoprojector. A blue-hued hologram expanded into the air: a semi-formal occasion for the House Organa. The court was present but everyone seemed relaxed. Leia’s finger hovered over a dark-haired woman sitting next to Queen Breha. “She was one of my tutors when I was a child. She was from Naboo and was always so kind but sad when she dealt with me. She died when I was very young. And now I see her resemblance to me. Is she my mother?”

Obi-Wan stared at the familiar face, older than the one in his memories. Forgive me for making you impersonate your Queen one more time, he thought. “Her name was Sabé. I’m afraid I never knew her family name.”

“You called her sneaky.”

“I did. We worked together during the Battle of Naboo to protect the Queen, and that was the only time we worked together.”

“That was a Clone Wars battle?”

“One of the early ones. I was still a padawan at the beginning and made knighthood by the end. Sabé impersonated the Queen so well that she fooled me and my master who were also tasked by the Jedi Council to keep the Queen safe.”

She looked down at the holo. “She survived the Purge and got a few years with me at least, even if they were in secret.”

“You were loved, Leia.” Obi-Wan focused on the faces of allies, people who he would have considered friends in another life, now all destroyed by the Empire. “Take comfort in that. It is something too many in the galaxy have been denied.”

“You’re referring to Mara Jade.” She scowled.

“I’m asking you to be fair, Padawan. The Emperor would have twisted you or Luke to his purposes had he learned of you as children. Mara has defected, so treat her the same as any other defector.”

She turned off the holoprojector. “Yes, Master Obi-Wan.” And he had to bite his tongue over the echo of her birth father in that tone. “Thank you for telling me,” she said softly.

Obi-Wan shielded his pangs of regret as she left. Thankfully, Luke was flying with the X-Wings. The Jedi Master had time to recover before any more questions about parents.