Within the majesty of the Aldera Royal Palace Princess
Leia Organa nervously paced in one of the luxuriously appointed meeting
rooms. The young woman had recently been appointed a member of the
Imperial Senate, replacing her esteemed adoptive father who had served
since the Clone Wars. She was dressed in the regal gowns of state in a
luscious shade of lavender. This was supposed to be a happy occasion ... a
celebration ... but the war overshadowed everything.
Standing serenely in the room was Viceroy Bail Organa,
whose brown eyes watched over his daughter like a thranta. Soon she
would be on Coruscant, traveling through the galaxy on missions of both
a diplomatic and covert nature. He would no longer be there to protect
her, to guide her, but deep down he believed she was ready. "You must
calm down, my dear," he said to her in a calm and steady voice. "She
will be here soon and if you continue in this manner she will surely
suspect something," he warned her, taking a step towards her and
offering a firm hand to rest upon her shoulder.
Leia came to a halt when her father placed his hand
upon her, turning her face slowly to look into his venerated eyes. "Do
not ask me to do this, father," she said in a meek voice. "...ask
anything, but this..." she continued as she looked down in shame, the
thought becoming less pleasant by the moment.
Bail let loose a soft sigh as he looked down at her.
He understood what she was going through, but also knew that this would
just be the first of countless difficult tasks she would be asked to
perform during the difficult years to follow. "We have no choice," he
explained to her rationally. "We need information to be able to halt
Imperial progress in the Ringali Shell, my dear," he continued as his
hand gently squeezed her shoulder. "You will be saving millions of
lives," he said to her emphatically. That was, after all, what this war
"What of her life?" Leia asked as she turned her head
to look her father squarely in the eyes. "She did not choose who her
father was," she implored, trying to rationalize not fulfilling his
"Neither did you," Bail said quietly as he moved his
head down, placing a soft kiss tenderly upon her forehead. He was
referring to Anakin Skywalker, not himself, but it was not yet time to
reveal that to her.
The door to the meeting room was opened by Captain
Cade Frost, a leading member of the Alderaan Guard, who was dressed in
the regal dress uniform that officers were required to wear when serving
in the palace. He snapped to attention in the presence of the Viceroy,
holding the large ceremonial door open. It was heavy, made of an ancient
wood, and carved with ornate designs of Alderaan's landscape. "Lady
Jelena Rodney," he announced, quite formally to those in attendance.
Lady Jelena Rodney stepped inside the meeting room,
her elaborate gold dress with blue accents doing much to reveal how much
of a woman she had become. Her long flowing royal blue train making her
fell as if she could parachute from the trop of the large palace. The
tiara that sat upon her head once belonged to her mother, its ceremonial
function now placed squarely upon her young head. "I never get used to
that..." she said with no formality, rolling her eyes at Captain Frost.
Bail's face turned to meet his guest and a kind smile
came upon his face. "You look lovely my dear," he said warmly as he
strode across the room to greet her. He had known this girl since the
day she was born, and represented her when she was introduced to
Alderaanian society. Her father was one of his oldest and dearest
friends, but the war threatened to change all that. He leaned down and
placed a friendly kiss upon her cheek. "It is lovely to see you again,"
he said as he pulled back. "If you will excuse me, however..." he said as
he turned to give Leia one last assuring look, "I have much to attend to
before the ceremony. I look forward to seeing you and the rest of your
family there." He moved swiftly away from the room, the large door
closing behind him.
Leia remained frozen where she was, her eyes looking
over Jelena and offering what was at best a lukewarm smile. They had
been friends since their earliest days in the royal court, and had only
just recently completed the Select Academy for Young Ladies together.
Eventually she moved towards one of the large sofas, moving towards the
tea that had prepared. "Did you have a pleasant journey?" she asked,
making nervous small talk.
Jelena had never seen her friend behave in such a way,
but she assumed it was merely caused by the nerves she was experiencing
about assuming the Senate seat. "It was unremarkable," she commented as
she sat opposite Leia and moved towards one of the crumpets that had
been laid out. "It is good to be back on Alderaan," she added as she
took a dainty bite.
Leia leaned back on the sofa and silently sipped her
tea. She had negotiated with representatives from planets throughout the
galaxy, helping to secure their support for the fledgling 'alliance'
they were attempting to create. None of those meetings had caused her
half the apprehension that she was feeling now. "I will be needing a
competent Aide. I can choose whomever I wish," she began quietly,
placing the tea back on the table in front of her. "I would like it to
be you," she stated plainly.
Jelena looked shock as she heard Leia's words. Her
eyes went wide with amazement, and her face lit up with an illuminating
smile. She would love nothing more than to serve her dearest friend in
the Senate and see the galaxy. But then she came back down to Alderaan,
sinking back into the chair and becoming visibly deflated as she
remembered her place. "I am sorry," she said in a genuinely disappointed
tone. "It would be my honor to serve you, but my father simply will not
allow it," she bemoaned, breaking the eye contact as she awkwardly
looked to the ornately finished marble floor.
Leia already knew what the answer would be. In fact,
that is why she asked the question. She needed an opening and now she
had it. Leaning forward from the couch she stared Jelena directly in the
eyes, her voice becoming less pleasant and more serious. "Perhaps there
is some other way you could serve me," she speculated in a hushed voice.
"Without having to leave your father's side..." she added, a reassuring
smile curling onto her lips. She could not believe what she was doing ...
she was maneuvering her friend and it sickened her.
"You know if there is anything I could ever do, your
highness, I would gladly do it," Jelena responded quickly in an
enthusiastic voice as she raised her head to lock eyes with her once
more. The smile returned to her face, hoping that there would be some
way she could assist her.
Leia swallowed, her lip quivering slightly. She had
reached the point of no return and was about to cross it. "You have
access to certain information that in the right hand could do great
things," she explained slowly, her voice attempting to sound steady and
calm. "If you could provide me this information," she explained slowly,
"...it would be a great service not just to your people, but to the entire
Jelena blinked as she carefully processed Leia's
words. She could not believe what she was being asked to do, but she was
her dear friend and she felt compelled not to refuse based solely on
what she had heard before. "...what kind of information?" she asked
slowly, arching an eyebrow at Leia as she pulled back slightly.
"Information on Imperial activity in the Ringali
Shell," Leia stated bluntly. There was no longer any point to being coy.
There would be no mind games, no tricks. She would state her case
plainly and it would be for Jelena to decide. "The Empire is
perpetrating many atrocities in the region and without additional
information we will be unable to assist the people who are suffering,"
she explained to her, attempting to put it in as clear a perspective as
Jelena's heart sunk and she slumped down in the chair,
her hands nervously gripping at the padded arms. Her mind was a blur,
trying desperately to process the words that had just been spoken to
her. "My father..." she stumbled to get the words out, her breathing
becoming erratic. "...my father is committing atrocities?" she asked, not
accepting it nor believing it. She was defiant in her resistance to the
news, which if true would destroy her psyche.
Leia reached forward and placed a hand upon Jelena's
knee, attempting to steady her. "No. Not your father," she said in a
sweet, loving voice as she tried to provide a calming influence. "...but
many of those around him who he is oblivious too..." she explained,
believing that now was the time to keep pushing in order to sway her
loyalties. "By helping us you would be helping him," she concluded, as
that is how she saw it from a certain point of view.
Jelena's breathing was frantic and the news struck at
the very fiber of being. "Help my father?" she asked, sounding slightly
dizzy as she restated Leia's words. She did not quite see it that way,
but she believed her when she said there were atrocities beginning. She
had met some of the creatures, such as Arden Zevrin, whom she speculated
was capable of anything. "How..." was all she managed to say.
Leia nodded to her reassuringly as she motioned for
the Guard to come forward. "This is Captain Frost," she said to Jelena
as she introduced the man. "He has served my family well. You will
provide him with what information you can and he will deliver it safely
to us on Alderaan," she explained clearly and thoughtfully, going over
all the details.
Cade nodded respectfully to the noblewoman, placing a
small box in front of her. Opening it revealed what appeared to be a
tube of lipstick. "Inside this tube, milady," he explained, opening it
up to reveal the transmitter hidden beneath the cosmetic product, "we
have placed a transmitter. It is quite secure. By activating it I will
be able to home in on your location anywhere in the galaxy. Simply press
this button when you want to meet and I shall get to you ... wherever you
are." He was confident and believed in his skills, believing the mission
would be no problem.
This was all so overwhelming for Jelena, who looked at
the lipstick with doe eyed innocence. "I will do what I can..." she said
to Leia, breaking down as she slid the tube of lipstick into her clutch.
Betrayal was such an easy thing it seemed, able to start just by
reaching down and picking up one device. How far it would go, she dared
"Enough of this for now," Leia said as she rose and
extended her arms to help the young Rodney up. "We will be late for the
ceremony and you will be seated next to me as a guest of honor," she
said cheerfully, thankful that the awkward moment had passed. She would
never forgive herself if this mission ended with Jelena being hurt ... or
Following the ceremony, a tired Jelena paced outside
of her father's office in the family's ancient castle. She tried to walk
away several times, but could not bring herself to do it. She was just
about to leave when the door to the office opened.
Claudius Rodney emerged from his office, still wearing
the formal attire he had worn to the ceremony on Alderaan. He was not
expecting to see Jelena there and a surprised, but happy, look came upon
his face. "I did not know you were here," he said to her with concern,
"Have you been standing here long?"
"Oh. No...no I just got here," Jelena flubbed, now
apparently in the business of lying to her father as well. She squirmed
uncomfortably in front of him, finding it hard to look him directly in
"I was just about to go see your mother," Claudius
confided in her sadly. He had not visited the crypt of his late wife in
some time, and now that he was to be married he felt it was appropriate
to pay his respects and seek out her permission. "Would you like to come
with me?" he asked, tilting his head to look down at her.
"...I don't..." Jelena said as she shifted again. The
crypt of her mother was a place she rarely visited, but when she did it
was often a tearful, private event. "Not this time, father," she said
quietly as she looked towards his officer. "I was actually hoping to use
your computer to get on the HoloNet..." she admitted to him,
uncomfortably. There ... she had at least tried. That was enough for her.
Claudius laughed softly at his daughter and leaned his
face down to place a kiss upon her cheek. "Go ahead, my dear," he said
as he began to move down the corridor to where the catacombs began.
"Just do not stay up too late," he instructed her as he moved off. He
had assumed she wanted to speak to some boy and that is why she was
nervous. There was something comfortable and 'normal' about that, which
made him smile.
Jelena stood outside his office for several quiet,
agonizing moments after her father had departed. She took a step away
from the office, but then she froze, remember what Leia had said.
Thinking about the millions of lives at steak, wanting to help Leia,
help Alderaan, and help her father. She trembled, and swallowed deeply,
and then she did it ... she turned and walked into his office. She did not
look back. Nothing would ever be the same.