Mon Mothma took another
sip of the still scalding hot coffee and turned her attention once more
to the text in front of her. She was revising it for the fourth time
now, and she was still not happy with the tone of the declaration.
After the defeat of the imperial fleet, the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of both the Emperor and Darth Vader, the Rebellion was entering a completely new stage. As a matter of fact, the evening before they had decided to declare the New Republic. All the worlds now part of the Empire were asked to join. She, Mon Simara Mothma, was going to be the head of the new state. She wondered briefly what title she was going to have, president, first minister or would they invent something completely new? Her thoughts were wandering and this was a luxury neither she nor the Rebellion, the New Republic, could afford. There was so much work to do, and revising the declaration was just part of it. It was to be distributed on as many worlds as possible, asking the governments to throw off the yoke of the Empire and join the New Republic. The text was supposed be self-confident without being boisterous, firm without being pushy, understanding without being wimpy. Impossible. Somehow the Imperial approach of ‘join us or die’ did have its advantages.
There was a bleep from her intercom, and her aide Lina announced. “Princess Leia is here to see you.”
Mon Mothma was relieved about the distraction. “Thank you.”
The door slid open and the Princess stepped in. She had changed from the camouflage outfit she had worn on Endor into a more formal dress of the characteristic white.
“Mon Mothma.” Leia smiled at her, but the smile looked forced. Something was disturbing the Princess.
Leia took a step forward and hesitated for a moment, finally she said: “I would like to talk to you about … something personal.”
She’s pregnant. The thought popped up quite unbidden in Mon Mothma’s mind.
“Of course.” Mon Mothma told Lina that she was not to be disturbed. Pointing to one of the chairs she said, “do sit down.”
Leia did not seem to have heard the invitation. She remained rooted where she stood, her arms folded, her eyes fixed on the floor.
“What did Luke tell you about what happened on the Death Star?” she asked after a long silence.
“He said that he was captured on the moon by Imperial soldiers, taken to the Death Star by Darth Vader, where he was tortured by the Emperor. Vader then killed the Emperor and died of the injuries he had sustained as a result of his actions. Luke said he burned Vader’s remains.”
Did Leia doubt Luke’s words, Mon Mothma wondered? Was either Vader or the Emperor still alive? Luke could have taken both of them off the Death Star in the shuttle he fled in.
Leia nodded, still staring on the floor. After another long pause she looked up at Mon Mothma. “You have been wondering what caused Vader’s sudden change of heart.”
Mon Mothma nodded briefly. Everybody was wondering about this, about what actually happened on the Death Star. Some people even thought that Luke was plain simply lying, others, including herself, were convinced that Luke Skywalker was telling the truth but left had out some important details, the reasons that tied the facts together. Why had the Emperor tortured Luke? Why hadn’t he just killed him?
Leia started to walk up and down the tiny space of Mon Mothma’s office.
“It’s a bit difficult.” Leia shot a quick glance at Mon Mothma. “Gods. I really don’t want to talk about this.”
“If it is…”
Leia raised her hand, silencing Mon Mothma. “I don’t want to talk about it, but I think I have to. Luke told me, Han knows as well. Now that we are all going to Bakura I think I want somebody to know. – Just in case things go horribly wrong there.” Leia sighed. “Just give me a bit of time. You will understand.” A bitter smile appeared on Leia’s face. “I think you will.”
She stopped pacing and faced Mon Mothma. “We all have been wondering why Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, Commander of the armed forces of the Empire, the Emperor’s right-hand man and generally an evil character all of a sudden turns round to kill the Emperor even though it cost him his own life. – And all of that to save the life of a farm boy from Tatooine.”
Mon Mothma nodded.
“There is a good reason for this.” Leia started to pace again. “Luke discovered who Vader really was.”
Speculations about who or what Darth Vader really was had not stopped since the black armoured figure had appeared at the Emperor’s side.
Leia paused again.
“How?” Mon Mothma queried when the silence dragged on.
“Vader told him.”
That was a surprise. Mon Mothma somehow could not imagine that Vader introduced himself to his prisoners with a ‘Hallo, you may know me as Darth Vader, but my real name is…’
For a moment Mon Mothma was confused and did not know where she should place the name, then she remembered and her mind tried to jump in two directions at the same time. The Anakin Skywalker? And was he related to Luke?
Leia stared at her, waiting for a reaction.
“Is he related to Luke?” Mon Mothma asked, deciding that this would be easier to answer.
Leia nodded briefly, looking very distressed. “Luke is his son.”
“Oh.” Mon Mothma said. “And he is the Anakin Skywalker who was a famous officer during the Clone Wars?”
“I think so.” Leia wrinkled her brows. “Obi Wan said something along those lines.”
Mon Mothma sat back in her chair. Luke Skywalker was Darth Vader’s son This was quite disconcerting news. Of course, it would explain somewhat why Darth Vader had changed his mind so suddenly and radically. But then, they only had Luke’s word that the Dark Lord was actually dead. Luke – and Vader – knew that for most of the people in the Rebellion the fact that Vader had killed the Emperor did little to rehabilitate him. The death of the Emperor had not swayed the battle in their favour. The second Death Star would have been destroyed anyway, the Emperor and Vader with it. So, if Vader was still alive he would do well to go into hiding and change his look, get new armour. Perhaps in a different colour? Though a two metre giant who wheezed a lot would be rather conspicuous in any colour.
“But Vader is dead.” Mon Mothma asked.
“Yes, of course.” Leia sounded somewhat irritated by this question.
“Anakin Skywalker.” Mon Mothma tried to remember. Anakin Skywalker had been one of the great heroes of the Clone Wars. A tall man whose rapid rise through the ranks of the fleet had been astonishing. There had been those who insinuated that he owed his promotions to his wife, but as she rose just as rapidly this was rather unlikely, foul-mouthed talk of those less able.
“It gets better.” Leia interruped Mon Mothma’s thoughts. She clenched her hands and heaved a great sigh. “Luke was not Anakin Skywalker’s only child.” Leia stared on the floor again. “He also had a daughter who was taken away by her mother to live on Alderaan.”
Mon Mothma was on the verge of saying ‘you knew her’ when she realized just what the reason for Leia’s distress was.
Leia was Luke’s sister and Anakin Skywalker’s, Darth Vader’s daughter.
Mon Mothma had known that Leia had been adopted by Senator Organa and that her real mother had died when Leia was very young but Mon Mothma had never wondered about who Leia’s real parents were – and why her mother had given her away though she was alive. Now, of course, this mystery was solved. And Mon Mothma understood why Leia was so reluctant to tell this tale.
“This must be very disconcerting for you.”
“‘Disconcerting’ does not even start to describe how I feel.” Leia’s frown deepened. “Usually I just try to persuade myself that it does not matter. He did not raise me, I did not know him, I have nothing to do with him – but then it just hits me like the blow of a hammer and my brain just completely short-circuits and I want to hide or run away or somehow cut him from me. And nobody understands why I feel like that. Han just says: ‘Ok, so you’re Vader’s daughter, so what?’ and Luke, Luke is just completely useless.” Leia raised her hands and eyes in despair, much to Mon Mothma’s surprise. She had never before seen the Princess lose the cool facade she wore. “Luke is so happy to have found some kind of a father-figures. God, I keep thinking how crap his uncle must have been that Luke is thinking that the Lord of the fucking Sith is an improvement.” Mon Mothma nearly dropped her mug hearing Leia talk like that. “And, of course, Luke really thinks that just because Vader saved his hide and killed the Emperor he has completely redeemed himself and all his previous crimes will be forgotten. And, hell, I can’t bring myself to tell him that his beloved father was really lucky to have died before any of us could lay hands on him.”
Leia stopped and sat down heavily. She stared at Mon Mothma.
“And then I am angry with my parents for not telling me. That I did not know who my mother and father were. I keep thinking that whatever else the man did, family, his children were obviously important to him, that in the end he was willing to give his own life for that of his son and that if I had known, if he had known, somehow he would not have tortured me, and he could have stopped Tarkin from blowing up Alderaan.”
Mon Mothma felt irrationally irritated by the fact that she had not thought of this. She knew that this facet of the tragedy would have never occurred to her.
“All those millions of people could still be alive. My parents would still be alive. – O, shit. I’m angry with my parents for being dead. I want to talk to them and ask them why they never told me. That they are not there for me to ask them about my mother – and my father.” Tears were welling up in Leia’s eyes. “I feel cheated, I’m so angry that all my parents are dead. All four of them.”
“You shouldn’t be so strict with your parents. They did what they thought was best for you.”
“I know. I know that they only meant well, but I’m still angry. I’m angry with my mother for dying when I was so young and that was certainly not her idea. But I would like to remember more about her. All that is in my mind are a few images, feelings, little memories. Luke asked me what I remember of my mother and all I could think of was that she was ‘beautiful but sad’, as if I could really say that. All children think their mothers are beautiful and … .” Leia squeezed her eyes shut. “Sad. I remember her sad. Since Luke told me I’ve wrecked my brain to find more memories, but there is just nothing there. I remember her wearing something like a uniform. She had short hair.”
Mon Mothma felt a sudden urge to hug the Princess and tell her that all would be fine, but of course, the Princess was too old to be hugged and placated like an infant.
“I remember your mother. I never really met her, unfortunately, but the Admiral…”
Leia’s eyes snapped open. “My mother was an admiral?”
“Yes. She was an admiral of the Old Republic and one of the most successful strategists during the Clone Wars.” Mon Mothma felt a vague sense of unease. Leia should hear about her parents, who and what they had been, in a more thorough and less hectic way, and not just the snippets Mon Mothma remembered. It ought to be more than just a few details that the Princess was told on route from one assignment to the next. But Leia wanted to know something, she had a right to know. “Anakin Skywalker and Shura Talassa were probably the two most famous faces during that war.”
“Shura Talassa.” Leia said the name of her mother as if to reassure herself of it. “Shura. – Did you know that I couldn’t have told you my mother’s name? I just couldn’t remember. And I don’t think I ever knew her surname.”
“She was a great woman.”
“Do you understand why I feel so angry? I did not even know my mother’s name. When my mother died my parents told me that I was not to ask questions about her, talk about her or even think about her as she, or her soul, would not find peace if I would cling to her memory. I had to let go of her, they said. I was … four I think and of course I tried to do as I was told, but now I can’t remember her.”
“Different religions …”
“It had nothing to do with their religion. They just did not want to answer my questions. They knew I would want to find out who my mother had been and in time I would have asked questions about my father as well. It was dangerous and they probably tried to protect me but I think they were also jealous that I loved my mother so much, even though they raised me and cared for me and my mother just breezed into our lives every now and then.”
“Don’t be so hard on your parents, Leia.”
“I try not to, but had I known who I was so much would be different. My parents might be still alive, and I could ask them. I want to know what happened. I want to know who my real parents were. What they did and what happened that made everything go wrong. What happened to turn Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. And now there is nobody I could ask.”
Mon Mothma cleared her throat annoyed by the sound but Leia stopped and looked at her expectantly.
“Your parents, your foster parents that is, probably did not know more about what happened than anybody else who lived through these days. I don’t remember exactly but I try.” Mon Mothma paused a few moments, trying to bring her memories into order. “Anakin Skywalker died twenty-four years ago. I was twenty-six then. The entire affair was a big scandal and the press was all over it, trying to figure out what exactly caused the accident that claimed your father’s life.” Suddenly Mon Mothma remembered a few of the sordid rumours going through the news but she wasn’t going to tell the Princess, who was staring at her, gripped with fascination. “Somehow the events preceding the accident, the cause of it, involved your mother and General Kenobi.”
“You mean, Obi Wan had an affair with my mother?”
“Well, some people hinted at that and both, your mother and General Kenobi, disappeared after the accident. Both, though at widely different times, were later involved in the Rebellion. I did not meet your mother. She was part of a different group. At that time there were many small factions fighting against the Emperor – and each other. But I think it shouldn’t be too difficult to find somebody who knew your mother then. It should not be difficult to find people who knew your parents before the Accident.” Mon Mothma sighed. “I met Anakin Skywalker once, not really met him, saw him at an official banquet. Military personnel and politicians kept out of each other’s way as much as possible then. Anakin Skywalker was a great hero of the Clone Wars. I was never much into hero-worshipping but I had a younger cousin who was, Feana.” Mon Mothma was herself surprised how much she did remember, once she put her mind to it. She had not thought about this time of her life far years. She remembered Feana calling her in tears when she heard about the accident. “And no matter what the Jedi Order claimed later, Anakin Skywalker and Shura Talassa were at least as much responsible for the Republic emerging victorious from the War, as the Order was.”
Leia stared at Mon Mothma wide-eyed. “I’ve never heard you talk like this before. About the Jedi and all.”
“I haven’t been thinking like this in a long time.”
Leia smiled at her briefly then her face clouded over again. “I thought, Luke said that Anakin Skywalker was a Jedi as well.”
“He was, I think.” Mon Mothma tried to remember exactly the course of events that eventually lead to the dissolution of the Order, but the facts were too confused and vague. The dissolution happened after Anakin Skywalker’s death, but somehow. “I …”
The com-link on her table bleeped again.
“Excuse me.” Mon Mothma pressed the receiving button. “Yes?”
Lina replied, “There is an incoming message from the Mon Calamari homeworld and General Dodonna wanted to talk to you about the negotiations tonight.”
“Just a moment….” Mon Mothma looked at Leia not knowing what she should say.
“It’s okay.” Leia smiled the same bitter smile as before. “I have to go anyway, we are leaving for Bakura soon and I still have to make some preparations.” She rose from her chair. “Thanks for talking to me.” She looked at Mon Mothma. “I don’t actually know what I would …” She paused again. “I don’t know. If something should happen on Bakura, you can deal with the information as you see fit. I don’t want to make any decisions now. Perhaps later I can see things clearer. I just wanted somebody to know. I hope you are not upset that it was you I used to relieve myself of the information.”
“Not at all.” Mon Mothma stood as well. “I understand your distress.” Leia’s face said ‘no you don’t’ as clearly as if she had said it out loud. “I will do some investigation about your parents till you come back, quietly of course. There should be some material in our archives. The Emperor did destroy a lot after he came to power, but there should be something left. I will see what I can do.”
“Not at all.” Mon Mothma smiled at Leia. “I hope your mission to Bakura is a success.”
“So do I.” Leia nodded and left the office quickly.
Mon Mothma stared at the door after it had shut again. This was one hell of a development. Princess Leia Organa turned out to be the daughter of Anakin Skywalker and Shura Talassa, heroes of the Clone Wars, Luke Skywalker was her brother and as a final, well, irony of fate, Darth Vader was underneath his mask and armour, Anakin Skywalker. If this would happen in a holo-soap – and she had nearly forgotten there was such a thing as holo-soaps – everybody would have said this was completely impossible. Who knew what surprising revelations would turn up around the next corner? That she would marry some Imperial officer and they would thus unite the warring factions?
Today, she would believe anything.
Chapter 6: In which
Admiral Piett encounters an old friend and learns more about the Battle
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