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Brother and sister

Summary: What could've happened if Vader had caught Luke and Leia on Hoth? Imagine Leia seeing as much action as in the movies, if not more... I love it! And yes, Mara is in it.

Brother and sister
by Mimi 31-01-99

Disclaimers: None of those characters belong to me. See my front page for more details.

Luke Skywalker, known as the last Jedi Master of the galaxy, finished his cup of hot chocolate and prepared for bed. Mara Jade had once again left the academy for an undeterminate period of time on Smuggler's alliance business. He missed her so much... Sometimes, it seemed like the whole galaxy was working full time to keep them apart. As he got into bed, he wondered dimly if it would have been any different if things had happened differently during the Rebellion. If it would be easier for them...

Echo base had fallen. He had to get to his X-Wing before Vader located him. He could feel him very close by. Unfortunately, the Imperials had beaten him to the landing field. It was now a battle field. He fell a few of them, but a stormtrooper hit him in the leg and he fell.

Leia felt a burning pain lancing in her thigh, but when she put her hand on it, it disappeared. She turned back to the controller. The imperials had forced their way into the main hangar and were heading toward the command center. 'Fortunately, Han's escaped with the first ships.' She thought. " Give the omega signal. Let's get to the transport. Got your weapons? " The techs nodded, their eyes wider with fear. " Let's go. " They ran as fast as they could to reach the transport. Leia was leading the way when they ran into a squad of snowtroopers. She dove for cover and fired back at them. The techs weren't so lucky and were nailed in a matter of seconds. Evaluating the situation, she kept low and ran back the way they'd come from. She ran straight into Vader. " Princess Leia, we meet again at last. Strange how events tend to repeat themselves, isn't it? " She answered by leveling her blaster and firing at the black being standing in front of her. Faster than she'd have ever thought possible, he whipped out his lightsaber and deflected her shots in a whirl of motion. Next she knew, her blaster was ripped from her grasp. She backed to the wall, Vader cornering her. His troopers had finally caught up with both him and her, and she knew she had no chance of escape, but she was not going to give up without a fight. When Vader turned off his blade, she gathered her strenght and kicked him in the groin, and sent him backward as he bent forward a bit. Even that part was covered by an armure. Her feet hurt. She expected him to kill her right here and there, but he didn't. Instead, he straightened and looked at her for a long moment. She was getting even more nervous by his lack of reaction. Finally he said : " No more games, Organa. Take her to my ship. Make sure she'd securely bound. I don't want her to inflict anymore injuries. " He then turned back to her and said : " We'll have another debriefing, you and I. " She shivered in fear, but covered her emotions and spit at him. Troopers came behind her and bound her wrists behind her back. As they took her away from Vader, she wondered why he wasn't coming with them. What could possibly attract him back toward the hangar...

Luke collapsed in the snow, excruciating pain lancing in his thigh. Any moment now, he expected the muzzle of a blaster in his back, but he was left alone. The trooper who'd hit him didn't know he'd done so. He picked up his fallen blaster and crept closer to an X-wing strut. Maybe he could climb into the ship and blast off... no. A quick look at the engine showed where the imps had sabotaged them. As he concentrated on finding what he was going to do next, he felt it again. A black presence filling his mind and body with dread. He couldn't pinpoint it, but he could feel it was closer than during the battle. Vader had definitely come for him. He climbed painfully to his feet and headed for the south entrance. Maybe he'd manage to find a ship there. Or he'd die trying to find one. He limped for a long time, fighting against the cold and memories of his last time outside on Hoth. Suddenly, he stopped in his tracks. He was very close now. Luke changed direction and ran limply as fast as he could. His lame foot caught in the snow, and he went sprawling head first in it. When he raised his head, he found himself staring at a pair of black boots surrounded by a black cloak billowing in the wind. " Luke Skywalker. Indeed The Force is with you. " Luke scuttled back, trying to get as far as he could from this evil being. Vader could see the burnt on his son's leg and decided that he wouldn't need any weapon to overcome him. He stalked the frightened boy until he was backed to a rift of snow. He leaned forward to pull him to his feet.

Luke saw Vader bend to take him again, and he kicked out with all his strenght in his knees. " Aargh! " Then he kicked up with both of his feet and toppled the gigantic man. Vader went down like a falling tree. Losing no time, he climbed over the rift and resumed his run. He'd managed a few meters when all went blank and he collapsed, unconscious. He never knew what had hit him. Vader was still on his back when he saw the boy scurry over the rift and attempt to run away. 'That's it. No more games.' He reached out and knocked him unconscious with the Force. He put a veil on him to keep him out cold until they put him in a secure cell. He was too wily to take any chances with him. At least the Princess was more manageable. He went over the fallen boy and hitched him over his shoulders. He'd been right to order not to kill any pilots. He had known his son would be among them. He was so strong, physically, mentally, and forcefully. And now he was his again, and he'd be his forever. He'd make sure he wouldn't escape this time. He and the Princess. And since they'd both escaped him in the past because the other came to the rescue, now they had no chance to escape. He arrived at his shuttle, finding that his soldiers had made a lot of prisonners. He told them to take them to the spice mines of Kessel except for those holding a rank. Those ones were to be questionned. Nobody asked him about the boy draped over his shoulder. He boarded his shuttle. The princess was already strapped up in the prisoner compartment. When she saw Luke, he noticed her cool demeanor faltered a bit then became even more defiant. She saw her friend was hurt and focused her fear and helplessness into arrogant defiance of the 'man' responsible for all this. " What have you done to him this time? " " The same I will do to you if you do not behave, your Highness. " He sat Luke in front of her and tied him up like her. Luke's head was hanging limply forward and his limbs were completely relaxed. He was out cold for real.

The trip to the Executor wasn't very long, and too soon, Leia found herself being hustled down an all too familiar detention corridor. Two troopers were carrying Luke, still unconscious. She was worried about him. He'd never been out for so long on a minor injury. When they reached their assigned cells, maximum security she noticed, Luke finally woke up slowly, and his carriers pushed him in the cell, making him land on his stomach and face. " Luke! " She heard his expression of pain before the heavy door completely closed down. She was pushed in her own cell, but unlike her friend, she managed to land more or less on her feet. As she sat down, she realized that he must have been under Vader's control until they reached their cells, because the timing here was way too spooky otherwise. She wondered if he was all right.

Luke had barely begun to recover his senses when he found himself flying and landing badly on a very hard floor. He groaned loudly in pain. Did he just imagine it or did he heard Leia's voice coming from outside? He turned to look but the door was already shut. The move also elicited new pain in his neck and chest. He gingerly touched his face and winced as he felt pain on one cheek. The same the wampa had mauled. Great. At least he hadn't hit the sleeping platform. If he had, he would be in much more pain right now. He sat up slowly, remembering that his right leg was hurt. Leaning against the wall, he evaluated the situation. He was once again in Vader's claws, and if he'd heard right, Leia was in the same predicament. He was hurt and had nothing except his bare hands to fight with. Even his helmet had been removed from his person while he was taking a nap. It didn't look good.

He didn't know how long he'd been in this cell when troopers came in. They bound him and gagged him. He wondered why they did that last one. Then they took him into a gloomy room. " Luke! No! " He turned his head and saw Leia, strapped in a chair, her eyes wide with fear. The troopers attached him to the ceiling and the floor and ripped his upper clothes. He knew exactly what was about to happen. He looked at Leia, trying to be brave for her. He saw she was distressed. " Stop! Don't hurt him! " He screamed, trying to get her attention, and shook his head in denial. She looked at him and saw the resolve in his eyes. Vader saw it too. " Well? Are you ready to cooperate? Leia looked again at Luke and finally found the strenght to answer. " No. " " So be it. " He turned on his lightsaber and sweeped it, cutting his skin but not his bones or innards. The pain was excruciating and he screamed with each cut. Through the haze of pain, he saw Leia's resolve falter under his screams. He tried to restrain them. He managed to do so until Vader cut him more deeply. At last he stopped attacking him. Vader turned to the Princess who had paled considerably since the boy had been brought in. " His pain is in your hands, Princess. You have the power to stop it. Just tell me where your rendez-vous point is. " At this point, the Princess' expression was one of pleading and courage. A somewhat familiar expression. Where had he seen it last time... and on who's face. Luke heard Vader's taunts and moaned as loudly as he could manage, telling her not to cooperate, not to give in. That she was not responsible for his torture. But Vader kept speaking, ignoring his interruption. He could feel he'd cast a spell on Leia through the Force. She seemed unable to resist his voice. He had to snap her out of it. He tried to say her name through the gag, but he only came out as an inarticulate sound. Nevertheless, it was enough to break Vader's hold on her. Vader was furious. He turned to the annoying boy who was ruining his strategy and backhanded him. Luke reeled and fell unconscious for a few seconds. He felt like his head was swooning constantly. Everything was fuzzy and undistinct. Leia saw Luke snap under the hit and her resolve snapped with it. The Rebellion would be able to protect itself. Luke couldn't. She tried to lie first. " Ord Mantell's system. " Vader turned around, looking at her stricken face for a moment. " You lie " he declared. He turned back toward Luke and cut off his right hand. Her dear friend screamed in agony then almost fainted again. " No! " 'Luke, oh, I'm so very sorry...' Without turning around, Vader warned her. " Tell me the truth or he'll loose another limb. " She ignored Luke's weak contestations and revealed the Alliance's secret destination. She lowered her head in shame, and Luke let his head hang back in desperation. If she'd revealed that, there was no telling what Vader was going to ask next. And he seized the opportunity. He asked about all the Alliance secrets and people. Sometimes, Leia tried to resist, but Vader hurt Luke again, and in time she revealed everything she knew. When Vader was done with her, Luke was a sight. He had numerous cuts, had lost a hand, and had cracked ribs and broken bones where he'd been hit. Vader had some terrible punch. Before he left, she gathered her courage. " Let me be with him. He needs me. " Again that bothersome expression. Why did it seem so familiar? Vader nodded fractionnally, and left, telling the guards to give them an hour together before taking Skywalker to the medicenter of his quarters. The guards freed her and Luke, letting him collapse on the floor. She rushed forward to catch him, but he still fell heavily. The pain almost made him pass out again. She removed the gag from his mouth and looped an arm under his shoulders, careful not to rip his hurt skin. He was bathing in sweat and he was very pale. It was obvious he was in shock. " Oh, Luke,... I'm so sorry. I didn't want to- " He opened his eyes, lifting his good hand to her lips. " Sssshhh, it's o.k... It's not your fault, Leia. I begged you to resist him, remember. " " But if I hadn't, you would not be in such bad shape right now. " " Don't worry...aaah... I've been worse. " " You're in pain. And for what? In the end, he got all his answers. I should've answered him. " " No. That would've been worse. You would've betrayed everything we've fought for. " " I did anyway. " " You didn't. You had no choice. That makes the difference. You are not a traitor, Leia. You'll never be as long as you fight it with all your might. " " Easy for you to say... I'll never be able to go back to the rebellion after that. " " Neither will I... " " Why? You didn't say anything. " " I did everything. I led Vader to our base... He can feel my presence now, and I can feel his. " " The Force? " " Yes...ah! " " Let's take a look at those injuries. " She laid him slowly on the floor on her flight jacket, then went to the medikit by the entrance of the cell. It was small, to say the least. This was a torture room, so this kit had been put there for the torurer, not the victim. She went back to Luke. There was some disinfectant, an ice pack and painkillers, and that was that. She gave him one of those, put ice on his worst broken bone and dabbed delicately at his cuts. They were not bleeding. She saw his right hand and felt stinging tears well up in her eyes. She couldn't fight it any longer. She cried. Luke sat up painfully and hugged her, feeling like crying himself. " Luke, what are we going to do? "she cried. He rubbed her back, leaning his head in hers. " I don't know Leia... I really don't know. " He had felt during his torture that Vader wanted both of them alive. Why, he could imagine but not understand. He thought he'd prefer if he'd kill them both. They stayed entwined together for a long time, finding comfort in the other's touch and feel. For the first time, they didn't feel any awkwardeness in doing so. Perhaps because it was the only good thing left for them. All too soon, stormtroopers came in to take them back to their cells. Leia tried to resist, clinging to Luke's neck. Her strenght was surprising. When the trooper managed to pull her away, she whirled toward him and kicked him on the knee, snapping it. Another trooper acted quickly and butted her on the head, making her reel down. Luke snapped into action and, despite his pains, tumbled one of his trooper and kicked the other one away and into the wall. He was lunging at Leia's attacker when a stun blast hit him on the side and he collapsed on Leia.

When he came to, he found himself on a bed, in what looked like a medicenter. He turned his head and saw Vader. He awoke completely and tried to get away from his looming silhouette, but discovered that his hands, his right 'hand?' too, were bound to the bed, along with his feet. Where did he get that hand anyway? Last he remembered, he'd lost it. " C7 gave you another one. " Vader answered. Luke stopped struggling against his bonds, stunned that his enemy had answered his unspoken question. Must've been a lucky guess. " No. It was the Force. " he answered again. " How--- " " Tell me, Luke. Who are your parents? " " Don't call me Luke, you- " he stopped short as he felt a tightening around his throat. " Now be polite. Who raised you? " Luke kept silent, tugging at his bonds. He'd not revealed anything. " What harm is there to reveal who were your adoptive parents. " Luke stared at Vader, unable to believe what he'd heard. Finally, he relented. " My uncle Owen and my aunt Beru. " " Where did they live? " " ... On Tatooine. They were farmers, innocent people, striving for a living... " He focused his anger on the man in black " And you killed them, butchered them like animals. " " I didn't. " Tatooine. Everything was clear now. He'd felt attracted to that planet so many times, but he'd thought it was only because it was his former home. He'd never thought he was drawn to somebody down on the surface. To his son. " Your soldiers did. Under your orders. Their death is on your hands. " Silence. Good. Let him ponder his crimes. " What do you know about your real parents? " he asked. Luke didn't hesistate this time. He was glad to reveal his personal vendetta against Vader. " I've never known them. I know my father was a Jedi in the Clone Wars, and that you killed him in cold blood. " " I see. C7, bring the unit 435 over here, then proceed with the blood samples. " The droid brought a unit on the table beside Vader, then prepared a long needled syringe. Luke cringed and tried to worm away once more. He hated needles. He was securely bound, so the droid didn't have any problems completing his task. He chose a spot beside a cut and Luke screamed as he felt the pain induced by the needle's penetration. He gritted his teeth against it as the robot finished his sample. He injected the sample into the computer and dabbed the blood from his arm. The results came on screen a few seconds later. " Are you familiar with this kind of device? " Vader asked. Luke nodded. " Good. Then you know he breaks down the genes codes. " Vader picked up another syringe. Luke began to cringe again, but Vader inserted it in his own arm. Puzzled, he watched with rapture. Vader inserted his own sample in the machine and waited. Finally the result came on and Luke's eyes widened in fear and denial. " You see? I didn't kill your father, I am your father. " Luke shut his eyes. It couldn't be. It was impossible. " Luke-" " Nooo! It's not true! It's another one of your lies! It's impossible. " " Luke, my son- " No! I'm not your son. You're not my father. No father would do what you did to me. No. " " Listen! I had no choice. The Emperor commanded it. If I want to keep you alive, I have to obey him. " " What about this? " he asked tugging violently at his bonded right hand. " You gave me no choice. I couldn't risk having you trying to escape again. You're a fighter, my son, and I didn't want to hurt you again. " " Yeah, right. " he said, turning away from his father. " If you promise not to lash out, I'll free you. C7 is here to check you up and heal you. " " What a father you make. " he said, downcast and sarcastic. " That's not an answer. " " I'll be good. " " That's my boy. " He lifted a finger and Luke's bonds opened. He sat up slowly, wincing as he did so. Vader moved forward to help him, but he pushed the hand away. " Don't touch me. " he warned in a low tone. Vader subsided. It was not exactly how he'd imagined it'd be, but then, what could he expect from the boy. He had tortured him twice now, and had caused him more pain than anybody else in his life. In fact, it was going even better than it should be. " I will leave you now. Your sister still doesn't know about you and me. " " Sister? " " Leia. C7 will knock you out if you give him any trouble and guards will be waiting just outside this door. " Luke barely heard the rest. Leia? His sister?

Princess Leia rubbed her aching neck, wondering for the hundreth time if Luke was all right. She hoped he was. He was so important to her. Not that she was in love with him, but... she loved him. Not... just like Han. Han. Would she ever see him again. Would she ever have a chance to tell him how she felt about him and them. She regretted so much all her harsh words and mean monikers. She loved him. And she knew he lover her. Her thoughts were interrupted by the hissing of the door. She looked up to see Vader coming in with a med unit in hands. She backed to the wall. She still hadn't spotted any torture robot, but she was sure it was not far, waiting for his signal. " Don't worry, your Highness. I'm not here to torture you. " As soon as she heard that, her fear gave place to worry. " Where's Luke? Is he o.k.? " " He's fine. You really worry about him, don't you? " " He's my friend. " she said regally. She was so much like her mother. " Indeed he is. But he's become your friend in a very short time. I can feel it. Why so? " " He saved me. That's enough to consider someone your friend. " " I suppose. But it doesn't mean you'll enjoy their company. You enjoyed it from the very first moment, didn't you? " " I- " How did he know all that? " Have you ever wondered why it was so? Why he almost felt like a part of yourself in a very short laps of time? " " Yes... " " And? " " He's kind, enthusiastic, nice, and he understands me... " " I have another idea. All I need from you is a blood sample. " " A blood sample? " " You know what this unit does? " " Yes. " " I think there is more between you than friendship, and I can prove it. This is his sample. " He turned it on and datas appeared on the screen. " Why should I believe you? " " Why should I lie? " She pondered her decision a few seconds. What if Luke and her were related? " All right. " She rolled up her sleeve and exposed her arm. Vader took the sample and put it in the unit. They both looked at it. It was almost a perfect match except for the genes defining male and female. " What does that mean? " she asked breathlessly. " He's your twin brother. " he said, taking a sample of his own blood. " My-twin?! " How could that be? " You were hidden from your real father and separated at birth since he doesn't remember it either. But you can feel the connection between the two of you, can't you? " Now that she thought about it, yes, she could. That explained so many spooky things about them. Strange that Vader of all people knew about them. " Why were we hidden from father? " she asked. Vader injected his sample in the unit and showed her the screen. No. No. No. It was a trick. " I am your father, Leia. Your mother was probably pregnant when I started to work for Palpatine. I never knew I had children until I found Luke, and he led me to you. " He reached out to touch her porcelaine face. " You look so much like your mother. " Leia snapped her head away from his touch and got up, emphasizing the physical space between them. " No. Your are not my father. He died when you destroyed Alderaan. No father would torture his own children, imprison them, hurt them like you did. Luke is suffering because-- " " Luke is fine now. I've had him brought to my personal medicenter and a competent droid is taking care of him. " " You're lying. I felt his pain earlier. " " I'll take you to him, if you promise to behave. " " Meaning? " she asked, planting her hands on her hips. " No escape, no fight, no resistance. " he said, getting up. She thought about it for a moment. " O.K. For Luke. "

He took her to Luke. He was in a bacta tank, unconscious. The droid told Vader that he'd had to knock his patient out because he had been hurting himself. He had insisted on walking to the tank and staying conscious. So, the pain she'd felt was Luke being stubborn again. " As you see, he's fine and well cared for. I didn't want to hurt him this time, but the Emperor ordered me to use him if you were uncooperative. I had no choice. I want him to live. I have to obey my Master. " " What are you saying? Is Luke in danger? " " You are too, now. The Emperor wants both of you to join him, and nothing will stop him from getting you. But if I disobey him, he'll kill you and Luke. He knows I care about my children. " " Would some music help? Care. What do you know about care? About being worried for another's well being? Nothing. If you did, you wouldn't have put him through what you did. Surely, you felt a connection too, father, something strange about him and the way you answer psychically to him. That alone should've stayed your hands. " " You don't understand. " he started. She whirled on him. " I understand just fine. You are deluding yourself with the knowledge that you have children, but we are not your children. We never were. You were another man before you became Darth Vader, and that man was our father. And you killed him. " " It may be true, but it doesn't change anything of what I told you. " " I don't care. " she turned back to look at Luke. Her twin brother... Who would've thought. Her family wasn't dead after all. " I do. "

They were not returned to their cells. Instead, they were kept locked up in Vader's quarters. They didn't have access to anything sensitive, but at least, they were together and they were not harmed. They spoke about their past adventures and all their uncanny feelings and realized that on more than one occasion, they had had clear signs that they were twins. They also realized that they had been separated in more than one way. They had been kept worlds apart, he as a pauper, her as a princess, with nothing in common except the desire to do something more. In a way, the Rebellion had put them back on the same level and had given them an opportunity to become closer emotionnally. Since he'd gotten out of the tank, Luke had felt good, with no pain, no dizzy spells, and no nauseas. Since his suit had been shredded to pieces, he had to wear grey flight suit. Leia still wore her white suit from Hoth. They arrived on Coruscant and Vader took them directly to his castle, under armed escort. He gave them a room together and warned them that the Emperor wanted to see them soom. Just before going to sleep that night, Leia decided that she needed to give a break to her hair and let them down. Luke looked at her, mesmerized. He'd never seen her like that. Her hair was beautiful. Like in his dreams. He didn't say anything, but he thought Han would've liked it.

Next morning, they were awaken by the light coming in their apartment. A red-haired woman stood in the light. Luke could only see her silhouette, but there was something familiar about her. His dreams. She looked like his dream girl. 'I must still be sleeping.' he thought. He closed his eyes. She came closer and pulled the blankets from him. " Get up, Jedi. " She'd completely uncovered him. She stood there, gazing at him, taken by his body. Fortunately, his suit had come with a pair of underwear, but he was still not comfortable about the situation. He took the blanket from her limp grasp and pulled it back on him, sitting up in bed. " I think we haven't been introduced. " Leia, who had awaken too, giggled at Luke's quiet sarcasm. The other woman turned and glared at her. " Shut up! I'm the Emperor's Hand. My Master wants to see you. Now. " The Emperor's Hand? That was a new one. " You have 1 minute to dress up. After that I take you to him anyway. " Luke jumped out of bed and literally flowed in his clothes. He had no desire to face his mortal enemy in his underwear, and he had the feeling this woman was not kidding. She stayed in the room as he dressed up and grabbed him by the hair when he was finished, pulling him out of the room. " You'll have your turn too, Princess. " she snarled and shut the door.

" Don't make any funny move, Jedi. Or you'll regret it. I must take you to my Master, but he specifically said that I could use every means necessary. Get the point. " " Yes. " Her gripped was very thight on his scalp and it was really starting to hurt. She let go of him and pushed him in front of her. He kept analysing his chances of escape, but, as if feeling his thoughts, the woman drew a mini blaster and stuck it in his back. " It's set on stun, but you won't escape all the same. " He nodded in acceptance. Finally, they reached the door he wished they'd never reach. It opened, and he saw the Emperor and Vader standing by the higher window. The whole room was protected by stormtroopers, and royal guards stood on each side of the Emperor. Luke felt the Emperor's mind press on his own as soon as he entered the room. He wished he really knew how to shield himself. That time with Vader had been Ben's doing. They reached the landing level, and he stood face to face with the worst being in the universe. " Thank you. " he said. Luke was unnerved by the fact that they all seemed to read his thoughts. " Oh, but we do, Young Skywalker, we do. It's only a matter of focus through the Force. I understand you haven't had any real training yet, have you? " He didn't answer, hanging onto his dignity. " I can teach you. I can make you as powerful as your father here. You only have to join me. " " Never. " he said, standing taller and straighter. " Never is such a bad word my child. You should never say never, young Skywalker. " He came closer. " Join me, or face the consequences. " " I'd rather die than join you. " " It won't be necessary. Take him to his room. " Troopers came forward and clamped binders on his wrists, then led him away from the 3 darksiders.

It was Leia's turn to face the Emperor. Vader had told him that Luke was the way to her heart, and he planned on exploiting that weakness to the fullest. She stood regally, defiantly, a ghost from the lost Alderaanian court. " Welcome, Princess Organa, It's been a long time. " " Not long enough. " " Long enough for you to discover your brother and father. Your dear Alderaan was nothing but a lie. " " That's not true. My foster parents loved me as if I were their own. My father destroyed them, along with the rest of the world. " " It was to bring justice back in the universe. " the Emperor said. " Justice? You know nothing of justice. " she snarled. " And I suppose you do. Please tell me, what is justice? " " I won't start a debate with you. Your kind of justice is no justice for the innocents. " " Ah, I see. What would you do if I'd give you the possibility to bring your kind of justice to the galaxy, along with your brother of course. " " You're lying. You'd never give us such freedom. " " I'd train you so that you could do it. " he explained. " Training? " she asked. " In the ways of the Force. I can show you such powers as you could never imagine. Powers that will be yours to do as you wish with them. " " Training in the Dark Side? Forget it. " " Tsk tsk tsk, such temper. You'll have to correct those bad traits, Lord Vader. They both have picked up very bad tempers. " " I will, My Master. " " Now, child, don't make the same mistake your brother did. " " Luke? What have you--- " The Emperor turned on the screen on a lateral wall and she saw her brother being tortured again. Even though the sound was off, she could almost hear his screams of pain everytime the whip hit him. " He refused to join me. " She turned to face their tormentor. " What do you want? " " Both of you in my Jedi ranks. As I said, once your training is finished, you'll deliver your kind of justice. " Leia thought about all the fors and againsts, about her other options. Then she heard Luke's scream. The Emperor had turned on the audio pick up. " Stop! " she screamed. She turned back toward the dark figures and took a deep breath. " We will join you. " She lowered her head as she heard Luke's reply " Leia, no! Don't---aaah! " " You will be mine? " She took other deep breaths. " We will be yours. Please stop hurting him. " " Presently. "

The room he'd been taken to was a torture room adjacent to the throne room. Nothing sophisticated this time. Just plain old cruelty. He hadn't seen a regular whip in years. It was extremely painful. He screamed and screamed until he heard Leia saying " We will join you. " No. He was not making her brake up again. They couldn't give in to the Emperor's Evil. " Leia, no! Don't----aaah! " He went unheard. " You will be mine? " " Aaaa! Aaargh! " " We will be yours. Please stop hurting him. " " Presently. " The whip stopped hitting him and he was left hanging there. That was it. The Emperor wanted them body and soul. They would have to embrace the Dark Side. No choice left. That couldn't be good. He'd have to warn her about the Dark Side. As he finished that thought, guards came into his cell and released him, then took him back in the main room. As soon as Leia saw his bloody form come into view, she ran down the stairs and went to her brother. She hugged him. " Forgive me, Luke. I had no choice. " " I know. " he hugged her back. Suddenly, the Emperor was beside them. " I prefer to make my rules clear. You obey me. You do as I say. And you respect me. And in your case, you don't attempt to escape. Is that clear? " " Yes. " they both answered. " Oh, and one more thing. I am your Master now, so you will call me so. Understood. " They both looked at each other, and looking down or away, answered. " Yes... Master. " " Good. Take them to their new quarters, Lord Vader. " " What about Luke? " " He asked for his punishment. " " He is hurt and in pain. He deserves medical treatment. " " He shall have none. " " Please. " The Emperor turned away, going back to his throne. Leia gritted her teeth. " Please, Master. " He stopped and turned to look at her. " He will be treated if he behaves during the next three days. " then he went up the stairs and never looked back. Leia helped her brother to his feet and troopers took him away from her to carry him.

Mara Jade looked at the receding forms of the Skywalker twins, and wondered why the boy's pain affected her so much. As soon as he'd come up on the screen, she'd felt herself blanch and she had had to work very hard to keep her composure. The Emperor came back to his throne. "Master, may I ask you a permission?" He nodded fractionally. She plunged ahead. "Since he's in shock, may I bring him some medecine. It won't alleviate his pain in any way, but it will reinforce his natural defenses. It'll help him fight the shock, and it'll keep him alive." She felt the Emperor's probe, looking for a lie and her real motivation. "you said you wanted him alive, Master." she said. He leaned back, satisfied. "You may tend him with you medicine." "Thank you, Master." She left, bowing low as she turned.
Back in her quarters, she admitted to herself that Skywalker was impressive. She'd noticed his constant defiance and subtle resistance when she'd brought him in, but above all that, she'd never seen anybody with enough guts to defy the Emperor, much less resist him, except perhaps Vader. Even while being tortured, he'd begged his sister to keep resisting, not to give in because of him. Now that was what she called strong. And from what she'd seen, he was also strong physically. She'd never frozen before, and he had not even been naked. But he'd really caught her unguarded. What was more, the shadows had worked for him, outlining his every detail. He was gorgeous, bodily speaking. As she made her way to their quarters, she wondered how old he was. He looked quite young.

They entered their new quarters, the guards dropping Luke once more. He cried out in pain, unable to restrain his noise. Leia whirled instantly, ready to defend him, but it was Vader who acted. As the troopers were reaching the door, they stopped in their tracks and clutched at their throats. They fell to their knees. "Next time, show more respect to my son." "Y--Y---Yes...Lord... Vader..." He released them and they hurried to leave the room. Leia was trying to get her twin back on his feet, but he was too heavy for her. Her father bent down and took his other arm. Leia looked up, surprised, and Luke tried to pull his arm out of his hold. "Leave me alone, Vader!" Leia looked at her stubborn brother. "Luke, stop it. Let's use his help, for the moment." "But--" "I can't carry you alone, and you can't stand on you own." Luke looked defiantly at her until he saw the turmoil in her eyes. He relented. Father and daughter worked together to take to a room with a bed. He laid down on his belly, restraining winces of pain for Leia's sake. She still felt his pain all the same and sat down beside him, stroking his hair lightly, her eyes shining with unshed tears. "Defiance of the Emperor is always hurtful. If you please him, he won't hurt any of you." their father said. Luke sneered. "Oh, just that? Would you like to have a star unhooked for you while we're at it?" he asked sarcastically. "He's right. We can't please him. He wants us to become evil, and we don't want to become like you." Leia explained. "I suggest you think about it before resisting again. You don't necessarily have to become evil to please him. Many of his agents are not." "Yeah, right." they both answered. "You fate is in your hands, children. When you'll have proven yourself, your situation will improve greatly." They both looked at each other in silence. Vader continued. "All you needs for food will be provided by the unit in the main room, and you have all the basic amenities at your disposal. There are clothes in the closets and you are both in need to refresh yours. Luke, use the Force to hasten your healing process. Imagine how your cells will regenerate themselves... Good night, children. I'll see you tomorrow." He left them and they both looked at each other in confusion. What had happened to him? One minute, he was harsh and mean, the second, he was caring and kind... "Whatever." Leia finally said. "Let's take care of you. Don't move." She got up and went to the 'fresher. 'As if I could' he thought, reveling in the comfort of the bed. She came back in with towels and disinfectant. "That's all we have." she said seriously. "We'll make do I suppose." She dabbed the blood seeping from his deep cuts slowly, with meticulous care. "Why don't you try to sleep?" "Not just now. Leia, what Vader said was true." "Uh?" "We can learn the ways of the Force without becoming evil." "How?" "Ben told me that I had to avoid dark feelings: anger, fear, aggression, hatred, etc. If we don't use those, we'll be okay." "It won't be easy." "No... It won't." "We'll do it. Now, sleep, rest." She kept tending him. A while later, she heard their front door open but she ignored it. "How is he?" She jumped in surprise,and turned around toward their visitor. It was the red-gold haired woman who called herself the Emperor's Hand. Unlike this morning, Leia could detect worry in her demeanor. She turned back toward her brother. "He'll be okay. Why? You want to amuse yourself with him again?" She came beside her. "I'm here to help him get better." She looked at the batted body lying on the bed and thought again that he hadn't deserved such a bad beating. He was just a boy. Leia watched the woman as clearly saw her reaction to Luke's state. "How will you help him?" She took out her container from her bag. "With this. It won't heal him, but it will help him." "How do you use it?" "You apply it on his wounds, like this." She scooped some of the jelly and coated a bloody mark with it." Without wasting another second, Leia scooped some too and started to work on his legs, now freed of his rags. Mara tended his back and took more time than necessary to apply the goop, admiring his slight, firm muscles. She went to his upper back and neck, and noticed that he'd been whipped on the face too. As she delicately tended his cheek, he opened his eyes.
He'd felt somebody's presence for a few minutes now, but when he realized there were 2 persons taking care of him, he opened his eyes. 'Wow!' they both thought. She had the most beautiful jewel green eyes, and her dark suit set off her fiery red-gold hair. She had a tender expression on her face: she was enrapturing. He had the most delicate blue eyes she'd ever seen. She hadn't seen his eyes this morning, but now she would willingly drown in them. His skin was tanned and his hair matched his tone. He looked very vulnerable, boyish, but she could feel power in his look: he was enrapturing. "Hi." he said. "Hi." she answered. "How are you feeling?" "A bit better." "You look better too." Leia said. Mara's stuff seemed to work. "I'm afraid we met too quickly this morning ; I missed your name." "I didn't say it." She pulled slowly away. "What's your name?" he asked. Seeing that she was hesitating, Leia took the lead. "I'm Leia, and this is my twin, Luke." "...Jade... Mara Jade." "That's a beaufitul name." he said. Leia sat down beside Luke. "I agree. I suppose you are part of the Emperor's Jedi team." "I am his Hand ; I am not a Jedi. He helped me discover my talents, but I am only sensitive to the Force. I am a multi-talented agent." "Oh... how long have you been with him?" "Why so many questions?" she said, getting up and away. "It's just for the sake of conversation." Leia said. 'And I want to know you.' Luke thought. She looked sharply at him, having heard his thought as if he'd spoken out loud. Could he feel attracted to her too? It looked like it. "I've been raised by him since I was 5 or 6 years old. My parents didn't want me because I could feel the Force." They both looked at her in compassion. She felt uncomfortable under their gaze. "How old are you?" she asked them. "Twenty-one" they both answered. Her age too ; he wasn't so young after all. "Have you had to turn to the Dark Side during your training?" Luke asked her. She thought about it. "Turn around and I'll tell you." He rolled slowly on his back, his sister helping him. The two women resumed their cares. "I've used its energies, but I never gave in completely. He says that I'm not dark, nor yet light. As long as I do his bidding, he doesn't mind. Have you decided to obey him?" "We're still thinking about it." Leia said. "The training is tempting, but I'm not sure he'll let us choose our side." "You might be surprised... but it's sure that if you defy him, you'll end up in a torture chamber again..." 'And that would be a shame' she thought. Knowing Luke's stubborness, Leia was afraid that he'd indeed end up again in chains. Normally, her stubborness matched his, but strangely, in this case, she felt like giving it a try... a careful try.
At last, Mara picked up her pot and prepared to leave. "Sleep well and take a shower in the morning. You should be okay." "Thank you, Mara." She looked at him and saw genuine gratitude in his eyes. It stunned her. "Sure." she said, then left quickly, fleeing the powers he had on her.

The next day, they started their Jedi training with their father. He taught them how to reach out, to relax, to focus, to let the Force guide them, and they made quick progress. They shared the thoughts that perhaps it wasn't going to be that bad after all. Since he behaved, Luke got his treatment and healed up completely. They discovered that if they didn't think about it too much, they could call the Emperor 'Master' without feeling bad afterward. Their father warned them that soon, they'd have to mean it, or there would be retributions, but for the moment, they didn't care. Sometimes, Mara checked up on them, but otherwise, they rarely saw her. Luke noticed that he always felt good when she was around, even if she was cool and secretive.
It had been almost a month since they'd started their training, when the Emperor started to encourage them to use all their feelings. They were practicing with fake lightsabers and remotes, their eyes blindfolded. It was difficult to avoid being hit, and every time they got hit, their anger and frustration grew. They both started to use their feelings as a focus, and they were getting better until Luke realized what was going on and ripped the blindfold from his eyes. "No! Leia, stop!" He reached out and shut down his remote. Leia followed her brother's advice, although she didn't know what was wrong. "What is the meaning of this?" the Emperor asked. "I won't do it ; I won't use the Dark Side." Luke said, not giving a hoot about the Emperor's rules. That was a mistake. "There is no Dark Side, young Skywalker. There is power, and there is more power. You do what you want with that power ; I am merely showing to you how to use it." "That's not true! The dark energies change you forever." "For better." "For worse." "Enough. Do what you want, but go back to your exercises." "No." he shut down the practice too and threw it at the man's feet. "No?" he asked dangerously. "Luke?" Leia said cautiously. "I won't paly his game." he told her." "As you wish." his master said and sent blue jagged bolts into the boy. Luke flew backward and crumpled under the constant attack. "LUUKE!!" Leia screamed. She ran toward her brother. The darksider knocked Leia backward too, sending a last jolt into the boy's body. "Stay away from him, girl. He asked for this." "No! He didn't... Master..." "Do you wish to share his pain?" She looked at her brother who was moving slowly in pain, unable to coordinate his movements. "No..." "Then stay out of this." To an unknown signal, guards came in and picked Luke up. "Take him, punishment 32." Leia moved to stop them, then relented. "No..." Luke struggled weakly, but it was useless. He looked at her, then he was taken away. "Now, where were we?"

Leia returned to her apartment, thinkg back to what had happened today. She had used her feelings to gain focus, but she'd let go of them when it was time to act. She had felt the dark energies, but had not used them. She was eager to tell Luke. Luke... She hoped he'd be back in their quarters. She could not feel him and it scared her. She hastened her steps... he was not there. The Emperor had not told her what was going to happen to him, nor for how long.
She was watching the news when Mara came in. She instantly felt the other's change of mood when she failed to see her brother. "Hi Mara, have a seat." "Where's your brother?" "I don't know." "What?" "He defied the Emperor." she said mournfully. "He is being disciplined... Figures..." "The Emperor tried to nudge us toward the Dark Side and he resisted..." "What about you?" "I resumed practice, and I used my feelings, but not completely. He accepted it. Do you know when he'll free Luke?" "Probably tomorrow. Discipline always lasts 24 hours." Leia's eyes widened in horror. "No..." Mara put a hand on her shoulder. "Leia, he'll be okay... in pain but okay. Our master doesn't want to kill him, only to teach him a lesson. And he considers that the more painful the lesson is, the longer it's remembered. Please tell that to Luke tomorrow." "I will..." "Try to get some sleep tonight." "It won't be easy." "I know."

Mara went to a terminal and hacked her way into the security level. She found in which cell he was being held. His hard time was over, and he was left pondering his behavior. She crept into the detention leel and slipped in his cell, making sure she had her resonator on herself. He was hanging from the ceiling, his feet off the ground. She saw that he had experiencecd the electric rod. She could also see the pain on his face. He finally looked up and his eyes bulged as he recognized her. "Mara?" "Sssshhh, farmboy." She put her finger on his lips. She freed his arms and caught him in her arms. He moaned loudly as his deadened arms fell down and she pressed her lips to his, kissing him. He opened his eyes, drawing slightly away from her in surprise, but she put her hand behind his head and pulled him closer. She thrusted her tongue in his mouth and he answered it wonderfully. At last, they stopped to breathe a bit. "Is this part of the punishment?" he asked wonderingly. "No, we're going to have some fun, you and I. I've wanted you for days now." "Me too, I think I love you." They kissed again and she lowered them both to the floor.

"Wow!" he breathed. "That was worth the pain." "No pain right now?" "Not really... I still can't feel my arms, and I probably can't walk by myself, but I feel good." She kissed him again. "Was it your first time?" "With someone I love, yes." He kissed her. "You?" "The same." They kissed again, putting all their passion in it. Mara wanted him so much that she moved her hand to touch him. Unfortunately, she soon touched a wound and he jolted up in pain. He expressed his hurt in a very clear way too. She lifted her hand as fast as she could. "Sorry, sorry, I forgot, I didn't want to---" He moaned a last time. "It's okay... I just think we'd better save everything else for later." He moaned again. "Right... You know, talking about your pain, I hope you won't defy our master again. You don't have to." "Uh?" "You are very strong and resilient, Luke, and gooness is ingrained in you. You don't have to defy him in order to keep them. And you don't have to prove that you have them either ; you already have." "But--" "About the Dark Side?" He nodded. "You don't have to use it either. He'll always try to encourage you to use it, but in the end, you have the final word ; ask your sister. As for becoming evil, you are kind and compassionate, and as long as you'll hang onto these feelings, you won't turn. You have even changed me, and Vader is different too somehow since he's brought you in." "I guess you're right." "of course I am. If you train diligently, even in your own way, and stop resisting him, you'll please him. Even if it feels like you're giving up, you're not. You'll still be the strong farmboy who ruined my defenses with a simple look." She kissed him lightly on the lips. "Okay, I'll give it a try." "You won't regret it." She spread his pants beside him and laid down with him, touching his face with her fingertips. "You are so handsome." "You're ravishing too. Aren't you afraid to get caught down here?" he asked, trying to lift his hand, but failing. She took his hand and brought it to her face. "Not really. You see, you're not a prisoner ; you're a servant being disciplined. There are no guards down here. You're restrained, you can't use the Force, and the door is locked. That enough security for him." "But he or Vader could come down here." "Not right now. Do you know what time it is?" "I don't have the faintest idea." he conceded. "It's 0100 in the morning. Everybody is asleep. Everybody." "Except us." "Well, yeah. How about using that time alone to get better acquainted?" "I'd love too." And they cahtted all night, talking about their pasts, their dreams, their hopes. Mara told him about their first meeting, years ago on Tatooine and he understood why she felt so familiar somehow. By the time she had to leave, they both knew that they were really in love. That made it even more difficult for her to chain him up again ; but they had no choice. Since he'd rested, he was able to stand weakly on his own, and he helped her to string him up again. As soon as he took back his weight on his shoulders, he felt tremendous pain course through him. He clenched his teeth against his scream, straining his neck muscles to their limit to keep the sound from escaping his throat. Seeing his expression, Mara stood on tiptoes and kissed him softly until he looked a bit better. He had 10 hours to go until he'd be released, and she knew they were the most painful ones. At least he'd had a break during the night, so he'd be in better shape than most others. She drew back, looking at him sympathetically. "Hang on, only 10 hours to go now." "Only?.." "So, it's agreed? We keep our relationship a secret?" "Yes... you really think we can hide it from the Emperor?" "If you use the pattern I've explained to you, yes. It's called a mind block and only you can undo it." "O.K...aah!" "Heal fast, farmboy. I want to share many more things with you." She pecked his lips. "I will." She turned slowly and headed for the door. As it started to open, he said :"Mara, I love you." She turned back toward him. "I love you too, Luke." She paused before exiting his cubicle. "See you later, in better shape." "See you."

The last hours went by excruciatingly slowly. Luke pondered how he was going to behave now, and when the pain became too overwhelming, he remembered his wonderful hours with Mara. She was like a rare jewel... a jewel to treasure... his treasure. He'd finally found his dreamgirl.
At last, the Emperor came in. He seemed very satisfied with Luke's pain. "So, Young Skywalker, are you ready to resume your training?" "Yes... Master." That one had been hard to tell. "You will not defy me again?" "No, Master." "Good. Take the rest of the day to rest and heal. We resume your training tomorrow morning." "Thank you, Master." He seemed subservient enough. "Take him back to his room, carefully." "Yes, Sir." He moved to exit the cell but turned back toward his slaave. "Speak with your sister, boy. You'll see what she's discovered. She is progressing rapidly." He left.

The troopers freed him and took him back home, all the way back to his bed. They sat him on it and left him alone. He let himself fall back on it, feeling spent and dead to the world. His arms were extremely painful, and his burnts were very sensitive to the air. 'I'm better take care of those.' he thought. He reached out with the Force and brought the medikit to himself. Still relying on the Force, he put ice packs on his shoulders and brought his hands up to hold them there. Then he immersed himself in the ocean of the Force and worked on healing his body.

Vader was training her today. She was working with many remotes instead of one ; it was though, but it would've been easier ifshe'd been able to concentrate. He father told her so. "Concentrate, Leia." She took a deep breath and tried to relax. It didn't work ; the remotes hit her. "If those had been live opponents, you'd be dead." he scolded. "I know, Father. I'm just very worried about Luke." "Understandable, but not now. You must focus on the now and put everything else out of your mind." "I'm trying but--" "No buts. Do it or you'll die." She closed her eyes and focused her thoughts. After a few minutes, she turned on her weapon, ready to do it.
She had been doing better when suddenly, she felt her brother's presence reappear in the Force. She lost her focus for a second and got hit again. She rubbed her sore spot. "You'll have to work on your control." Vader said. "I know, but I felt Luke. He's been released." she said happily. "You did? Then you two are even more linked than I thought." "What?" "Since you are twins, you share the same 'spot' in the Force. He's like half of yourself, isn't he?" "Yes, even more so for the past month." "You'll make an amazing team. Now, go to him." "Father?" Had she heard right? "Go to him. He needs you. I'll come by later." "Oh, thank you, Father!" She almost hugged him, but she stopped herself. She ran to the turbolift and waited impatiently until it reached her floor. She quickly reached her quarters and went directly to his room. He looked terrible. She wanted to hug him, but she didn't dare try it. Furthermore, he was in a healing trance and she didn't want to disturb him. She could see the skin regenerating itself, sealing the wounds. She sat beside him, put a hand to his forehead and concentrated. She helped him to heal himself. He recognized her presence and welcomed her help. They worked together for a very long time until they broke the trance and he fell asleep. Leia opened her eyes to see the results: he still bore some traces, but they were much smaller than they had been, and they were no longer open. All his other wounds had disppeared. The Force was very powerful... She let him rest and went into the kitchen to find some lunch.
A few hours later, Luke awoke and got slowly to his feet. He was still a bit sore, but it was nothing compared to what he'd endured during the last 24 hours. He also felt very weak and very hungry. He took off his rags and wrapped himself in a bath robe, Vader's gift for their good behaviors. As soon as Leia saw him, she jumped to her feet and hugged him, almost making them fall in the process. "Oh, Luke, I'm so glad you're back on your feet. I missed you." She hugged him harder, thighter. "Ah! Easy with the hugs, please... I missed you too. I'm glad to see that you're fine." "Yes, I must tell you something--" "Would you mind telling me that while I eat? I'm starving." "No problem, I ordered your meal and it's waiting for you. I felt your hunger while you were sleeping." "What would I do without you?" he asked, putting his arm around her shoulders and pulling her to him. "Not much." she teased. As he ate ravenously, she told him what she'd discovered about the training, and what Mara said about the Emperor. He told her what he'd decided to do while he'd been 'disciplined' and she confirmed Mara's explanation. He was fininshing telling her to beware her dark feelings, and hang onto her good ones, when their father came in to check on him. Vader hadn't expected him to be in such good shape so soon. "I'm glad to see you are fine, my son. I suppose you healed yourself." "Yes, with her help." "You worked together?" They nodded. "Amazing... Perhaps it's time to change the orientation of your training. Would you like to train as a team as well as individually?" "Could we?" Leia asked, enthralled. "I don't see why you couldn't... I'll talk to the Emperor." He turned toward Luke. "I hope you've learnt your lesson. I don't want to see you to through anymore 'discipline'. You don't really deserve them." I have, Father." Vader had mellowed dramatically during the past month ; with his children at least. Mara must've been right about him. "I've heard about your progress. You are fast learners, children. Keep up the good work." "Thank you, Father." they both said. Vader was surprised to hear Luke acknowledge him again by that word. He realized that the boy was softening toward him. He was mellowing too he knew.

The next day went by without any problems. The Emperor was pleased with Skywalker's change of attitude. It was obvious now that he wouldn't make Dark Jedis out of them, but they wouldn't be Light either. As Jedi twins, they'd make an unstoppable team, and if he trained them as Hands too, they'd be able to diversify their actions. More over, if he allowed them to keep their compassion and all around goodness, they'd bring their kind of justice ; which means they'd take care of the scum of the galaxy and illoyal servants. Their actions would repolish the Empire's image and its citizens would become less rebellious. Yes... He'd let them protect their personalities, and if they came to want somebody in their lives, he'd allow it. He'd gain their trust and loyalty, and they'd become his greatest allies... all for his greater glory.

That evening, Luke went for a walk in the palace. Leia preferred to watch the holovid for news about the Rebellion. He felt more like doing some exercise to complete his return to health. He wandered in the corridors, thinking back to the last session. He hadn't used the Dark Side, and the Emperor hadn't reprimanded him. Naturally, his advice was always tainted, but as Mara and Leia had said, he gave them the choice to follow them or not. There was a line between light and dark, and as long as he wouldn't cross it, he'd be okay, and so would Leia. He was starting another line of thought when a strong hand grabbed his collar and pulled him backward, in a storing room. He landed flat against the wall and his attacker blanketed his body with his own. He kissed him, and he knew that taste. He opened his eyes. *Mara!* *Hi there, farmboy. Missed me?* *Do you have to ask?* he kissed her hungrily. *Not with a kiss like that, no.* She started to roam her hands all over his body and became more insistent when she noticed that he wasn't feeling any pain. *Feeling better I see.* "Mm, mmm." His hands felt like a living thing on her body. *100% back to normal.* *Excellent, then we have unfinished business to take care of.* *I was waiting for you to give me the green light.* He opened her shirt and removed the blaster holster from her forearm. "We won't need that." "Nor that." She took off his shirt and finally ran her hands over his smooth expanse of muscles. As they continued their game, they strained to remain silent, but it was quite a challenge.

During the following 6 months, Luke and Leia's training started to include fighting techniques, surviving techniques, computer and languages skills, piloting skills, and spying methods. They were trained both as a team and as individuals. Luke also learnt protocol and gentleman manners while Leia learnt mechanics. When they did well, they were allowed to go out in the city and have fun. They never failed though ; they were eager to learn those new skills and that made them extremely fast learners. When Mara was on Coruscant, Luke always practiced his fighting skills with her, and it always ended up with them making love. They loved each other so much... and so it went.

That night, they came back to their quarters and found out that all their clothes had been replaced. Instead of their regular dark colored suits, they now had a few black flight suits, a black cape and cowl, and many fancy suits and gowns. They also found a box of appropriate jewelry on their respective beds. They wondered what it all meant.
The next morning, they put on their blacks, knowing that that was what was expected of them. "It looks Vaderish." Luke said. "YEs... but it also makes us look older." She looked at him. "You look dashing in black, Luke." "Thanks, but I think I prefer some color with it." They went to the training room and were surprised to see a table with sapre parts and what looked like handles for lightsabers. Their father was there. "Congratulations, Children, you have completed the training." "We have?" they both asked. "Yes, you are now ready to become active servants of our master ; to deliver your justice. There is only one thing left to do: to build your own lightsaber." "But we don't know how." Leia pointed out. "The Force will guide us." "Very good, Luke. I see you've grown very strong." Luke shrugged. They came forward and sat at the table. "Now, concentrate, call on the Force, and let your hands do the rest. Don't think about it." They did as they were told and they started to assemble parts, connect circuits and in a matter of hours, they were done. They turned them on ; Luke's blade was emerald green while Leia's was amethyst. They both looked at each other and exchanged satisfied smirks. *Shall we test them?* Leia asked. *By all means, my dear.* They assumed battle ready positions, facing each other, and they both moved at the same time. They sparred for long minutes, smiling like little kids with a new toy. Vader watched them and felt strangely content by seeing his twins so happy. When they reached a stalemate, they both straightened and shut off their blades. "Excellent, you are indeed ready for action." "Thank you, Father" they said, bowing slightly. "The Emperor wants to see you in his throne room in one hour." "Enough time to grab some lunch and a quick shower." Luke surmised.

When they entered the throne room, they couldn't help but remember the last time they'd been in here. Luke even seemed to remember his torture. *It's in the past, Luke.* *I know.* They finally came up on the last platform of the stairs and stood straight in front of their master. "Young Skywalkers, I hear you have completed the training." "Yes, Master." they both answered. "And with mentions too, congratulations." "Thank you, Master." they said as one voice. "It is time to complete the circle, then. When you came here the first time, I promised you you would make your kind of justice in the Empire. Now, you may do it." "Thank you, Master." "If I'm right, you want justice for the innocents and exploited citizens. You want to expose those that exploit the system and the population." "Yes, Master." That summed it up anyway. "Then I have a mission for you. There is a reception tonight and I know that one of the generals who'll be there enriches himself on the citizen's backs. He overtaxes his sector, or so I heard, but I never found out who he was. I need you to find out who he is." "It'll be done, Master." "With pleasure, Master." "After this mission, your missions will vary. Sometimes it'll call on your spying skills, sometimes on your action skills, and sometimes on your commanding skills. I will give you your missions, but if you hear about problems concerning your field of activity, you will tell me. Understood?" "Yes, Master." "Naturally, I suggest you change your names for social functions since you are both well known and both considered dead." "... Yes, Master." "Excellent, before you leave, is there anything you'd like to know about your new life style?" "Will we be allowed to go out as we wish now?" Leia asked. "As long as you please me. Anything else?" "No, Master." "Good, then it is settled." He stood up and gave them each a card and comlink. "These are your identification tools. The card will give you access to credits and serve as a priority clearance everywhere, with no identity check up. The comlink contains a chip which will open every locked door in the Imperial military territory. Now, go to the armourer's to choose your weapons and tools. You are now part of my very select Jedi team." "Thank you, Master." They bowed low and left the room.

On their way to the weapon's attribution room, they shared their thoughts. *So, what do you think?* she asked. *That he'll use us to do what the Imps don't do. He won't let us really bring our kind of justice because it implies freeing the galaxy from him and the Empire... Still, we'll be able to do some good...* *Much good.* Leia corrected. *We can get rid of the bad imps, and fight underground activites. Black Sun would be a challenge. And there are many other things that could be changed.* she sent thoughtfully. *I'll trust your knowledge on that. I don't have your knowledge of the galaxy.* She pulled him to her sympathetically, her hand around his waist. *Don't worry, Luke. You're not missing anything.* They laughed softly. Despite the circumstances, they were happy.

They reached their destination and they selected many weapons. They kept the smaller ones to take with them while the bigger ones were put in a storage area coded to their hand prints. They went back to their quarters and prepared for the function. Luke selected a deep blue, satiny finished, flowing shirt and black pants. He hesitated a bit, but decided to keep his new pocket blaster and small throwing knife on himself. 'You never know how a function can turn.' he reminded himself. He finished his look by adding on the belt, a small half-cape on one shoulder, which he'd put on before leaving, and a silver bracelet and chain. Dashing.
Leia chose a forest green, very enticing gown, pulled up her hair like she had on Yavin 4, and selected very delicate gold jewels. She strapped her pocket blaster to her thigh and put a disguised vibroblade in her purse. Ravishing.
They both came in the living room, dressed up, but not completely. He put his cape on the back of a couch and she left her shoes and shawl by the door. "You know Luke, while I was dressing, I thought that this was the best we could get--" "And that we should do everything we can to keep it that way, I know." "You think so too?" "Yes." "Since the Alliance is still kicking, there's still hope for the galaxy, but not for us. So, I think we should just forget about it and fulfill our missions, and please the Emperor. We'll still do good for the oppressed ones." "Agreed, besides, you know that if either of us gets out of line, he'll hurt the other. I won't do that to you, I promise." "Neither will I, Luke. I will not try to escape." "Then let's make the best of the situation." they said together and laughed in surprise. "You are beautiful like that, sister. Han would love it." "I know..." she said. Han... She thought about him every day. "You really love him, don't you?" he asked, putting his hand on hers. She looked at him, thempted to deny her feelings... But this was her twin brother ; besides, what would be the point in doing that. "You know I do." she finally said. "Yes, I know ; and I know he loves you too." "He loved me." she corrected. "If he's still alive, he thinks that I'm dead." "Perhaps we can try to find him. I'm sure he hasn't forgotten you." "That's sweet, Luke, but I prefer no to disillusion myself." She looked slyly at him. "You're very handsome too, brother.., Mara would love it." Caught off-guard, he stumbled on his words. "Mar--what--why... What does that mean?" She nudged his shoulder. "oh, come on. I've seen the way you look at each other and the way you behave together. I can see things too, you know?" "Well, mmm,... You promised to keep the secret?" She nodded, eager for information. "We are in love, and we know each other very well now." "You don't mean--" He nodded. "I'm a farmboy, remember? I don't have to worry about what's proper and waht isn't." "Luke!" "Yeah, I've been bad, I know." Leia thought about it for a moment, and slowly, a smile crept on her lips. "So, that's what you were really doing when you were 'training' with her." "I did train with her, we just... always ended up in bed." "Oh... well, you're lucky to have someone to love like that..." "Leia, when we'll find Han, you'll have that someone too." "Thanks." The door opened and Vader came in. He was carrying a box in one hand. "Father." they said. "I see that you are ready for your first mission ; you'll blend in wonderfully. Have you changed your names?" "Yes, I'm the Duke of Sky, nephew of the potentate of Cela." "An outer rim planet... tempting for your prey... Clever." "Thank you, Father." "I am Lila, a new courtisane to the court." "Perfect, I came here because there are some things I would like to gove you, as graduation gifts." He took a lightsaber out of his robes. "I think you recognize this, my son." "Your--my--I mean..." he stuttered. "Your old lightsaber. I thought you'd like to have it back." He gave it to Luke who took it reverently. "Thank you, Father. I thought I'd lost it forever." "you earned it back. Leia, this,... was your mother's." He handed her the box and she opened it carefully. Inside was the most exquisite hair pin she'd ever seen. "It's beautiful." "I want you to have it. She'd want you to have it." "Thank you, Father. This is the most beautiful gift of my life." "You are welcome, both of you, I'm proud of you. You did exceptionally well, and you adapted to the situation. Do not worry though ; the Emperor knows you'd prefer to be somewhere else. But as long as you'll do his bidding, he'll tolerate what you say between yourselves. And I'm sure you will never disappoint him." "We will do our best, Father." "It'll be for the galaxy too." Leia added. "That's the spirit. Remember that and you will do miracles." Vader said, getting up. "May the Force be with both of you tonight." "Thank you, Father." He left. Leia got up and went to the mirror. She put the pin in her hair. "Now you're ravishing." Luke said. "And you're dashing with the cape on. Mara would jump on you." she teased. He blushed. "I suppose so... Ready?" "Yes." They exited their suite and went down the corridor, but instead of heading for the turbolift, they headed for a wall. They activated the secret door of the hidden corridors.

Minutes later, they had reached their destination. They made sure nobody was around before opening the door. They separated, Leia heading for the ladies' room while Luke entered the room where the function was being held. For hours, they worked the room. It was a party of generals and admirals. While Leia worked one half with "Excuse me, I don't thing we've been introduced...", Luke immisced himself in conversations until he had to introduce himself. Every time they met a new general, they scanned him for greediness and fear of being discovered. Many of them were greedy, but up to now, they hadn't met found any fear of their master. Luke was looking for another prospect when he saw Mara. He hadn't known that she'd be here too... She looked like a dream. She saw him too. They quickly exchanged a few thoughts. *You are absolutely amazing tonight.* *You look eatable too, farmboy, or should I say Duke?* *I prefer farmboy, Lianna.* *We'll have to talk about this.* *I'm looking forward to it.* *Me too, gotta go.* *Later.* They both resumed their activites. Nobody even noticed that they had been gazing at each other... except the Emperor.
He noticed that a conversation through the Force was taking place, and he eavesdropped on it. So, Mara Jade and young Skywalker had a fancy for each other. He searched them out. No, more than a fancy ; they were in love. And they had consumed it. It hadn't affect their work though. So, he'd let them be ; besides, it was one more tool to keep the boy in line. He had ensnared the twins so thightly in his grasp that there was no way out for them. Still, precaution had always served him right.
*Still nothing?* Leia asked. *No... I still have a few left though.* *Me too.* Luke entered another circle of conversation. They were talking about their conquests. Great... One man was claiming that he'd tamed a planet by force, and another laughed at him. Luke looked quizically at him... Strange behavior for an Imperial. He scanned him. He was not really afraid, but he'd heard rumors that the Emperor disapproved his ways. He was saying: "Force... it's a waste of money and time. Money on the other hand controls them better. When you leave them just enough to live, they can't do anything else but that." Jack pot! Luke said: "Aren't you afraid that they are going to rebel someday?" he asked. "Not at all, they don't have the money. Who are you?" "I am the Duke of Sky, nephew of the potentate of Cela." he said, bowing his head. "Cela... It's in the Outer Rim, isn't it?" "Yes, but it's prosperous nonetheless. My uncle doesn't oppress his people too much, and they work well." "But they'd work better if you'd apply more pressure." his suspect said. "if you say so, Sir." "I will have to visit this planet soon and talk with his highness." "He is always open to suggestions." Luke said, scanning him once more. His prey was thinking about more money for himself. *Leia, I've got him.* She warned the Emperor while Luke kept an eye on their target. The generals changed subject and Luke used it as an excuse to change group while keeping an eye on the man. He checked the other generals, but he knew he had his man. He just finished his tour when stromtroopers came in, meaning business. Everybody noticed them, and their target discreetly made his way for toward the nearest unguarded exit. Luke followed him and warned Leia. They met around the bend of the corridor. "He's heading for his speeder. He went down that way." He indicated the corridor. "You flush him out while I circle him and block his escape route." "Gottcha." Leia removed her heels and ran silently after the traitor. She quickly caught up with him and drew her blaster. "General Runo?" He looked in his back and started to run. "Freeze!" she shouted. He kept running. She ran after him.
His pursuer was still behind him and catching up, but she hadn't fired yet. They wanted him alive. He was reaching the end of the corridor when a strong arm hit him in the chest. A knee followed, and a hit to the neck. The moves had been incredibly fast. He crumpled.
Luke stepped over the man and bound his hands. Leia kept her blaster aimed at the fallen man, but he was going nowhere anyway. She reached out to report to the Emperor. *Master, we have him.* *Excellent, child. Take him to detention.* He cut the link. Luke hauled the man to his feet and they all headed for the turbolift. Leia kept her blaster steady on the man, and told Luke: *You were incredible.* *Thanks, Mara's work.* When the man recovered his senses, he started to protest against his treatment. "You have no right to do this. I'll go---" "Not to Cela, at least. Those citizens will not be overtaxed." Luke said dangerously. "What are you talking about?" He was starting to sweat in fear. "Nervous, sir? Afraid that we know your secret?" Leia teased meanly. "No... I--" "Your system is overtaxed, and you keep the money for yourself." It was a statement, not a question. "That's not true!" "You lie." they both said. That stung him. Those kids were more than they seemed. Only the Emperor was supposed to be able to read minds. "We can to, Runo." Luke said. Runo was stricken. "Yes... it's true... I overtax my people, there, you happy?" "You won't be." Leia said darkly. They reached the detention level. Luke pushed his prisoner roughly out of the lift. He almost stumbled. As they discharged him, Luke ripped the insigna form the man's uniform. "He's no longer a general ; he's a traitor." The guards bristled and treated the man like the scum he was. They went back to their quarters.

'Lianna' entered their apartment and went to Luke's room. He was deep asleep. She crept on his bed and laid beside him, tickling his skin softly. He awoke and started when he saw her ; then he kissed her. *Hi there. What's your name again?* he asked jokingly. *How about discussing about it, my dear.* she answered, putting all her passion in her embrace.

Next morning, they reported back to the Emperor. He was very pleased indeed. He asked them what he should do with the man, and they suggested that he was sent in the mines in exchange of slaves. They also suggested that the money be given back to the people and that his successor be warned about exploiting them again. Their master agreed to all their requests ; they were reasonable. "Now, you are officially active. Your code name will be the Justice Makers. Nobody will know who you are, but they will know you exist. The Flame..." he said to Leia, "and the Fire." he said, indicating Luke." "Yes, Master." "I have another mission for you. It'll take place part here, and part on our third moon, but simultaneously. I will need your diplomatic skills, commander Flame." "With pleasure, Master." "You will have another partner for this mission, commander Fire. Meet my Hand." He gestured to the side wall and Mara stepped out of the shadows. "Although, I believe you already know each other." "Yes, Master." "Good. The counsellor you are after uses his diplomatic powers to enslave people of his world ; Diaro. Commander Flame, I will leave the details of your mission in your expert hands. You are dismissed." "Yes, Master." she said, bowing low. After Leia had left, the Emperor stood up and came closer to his two best agents. "You will infiltrate the scum's base, bring back its computer core and destroy the base." "Understood, Master." "Good ; there is one more thing I'd like to precise. I know that you are in love together." "Master--" "If your mission succeeds, I will allow you to live together when you are both off-duty." Luke and Mara exchanged a bemused look. "Thank you, Master." "We will succeed, Master." "Excellent, dismissed."

Leia was waiting for them in the anteroom. *I hope you're not disturbed by the fact that I am his partner in this mission.* Mara sent as soon as she could. *No, I will seek out the slaver while you destroy his business, and Luke can't do it alone. Besides, I really have diplomatic skills that he doesn't have.* *And I have mechanical skills that she doesn't have.* *You complete each other then.* They nodded in agreement. *And HE knows it too.* Leia pointed out. *While I was waiting, I thought about our code names and I thing that it refers to our individual skills. A flame is beautiful, subtle, but dangerous ; a fire is raging, devastating, powerful.* *So, you think he'll use your protocolar and diplomatic skills while I'll be in the middle of action?* *Yes, something like that.* she agreed. *Only when you're separated, because you will also work as a team.* Mara specified. *I hope so.* they both sent. They reached the empty lift and put an override lock on it. They would be able to talk out loud. "What did he tell you while I was waiting?" "That he knows about us, Mara and I." "And that we could live together if we succeed." "Oh, well... He took it well then." "He would, he's completely entrapped us now." Luke said, suddenly glum. "What?" Mara asked. "If you leave, he kills or harms us both. If I escape, you both pay for me. If we escape together, all the good we'll have done will be destroyed and the galaxy will pay ; and if one of us rebel against him, he'll torture the others. A perfect trap." He signed resignedly. "I hadn't thought about that new consequence." Leia said. "Then, only one option left: obey him and please him." Mara said. "Yes, for ourselves, and for the galaxy." "Together." Leia said, putting her hand over Luke's, sealing a pact. "Forever." Mara added, putting her hand over theirs. They remained silent for a while, then dropped their hold. "Let's get back to business. Do you have the data card?" Luke asked, looking at his lover. "Right here." she indicated her breast pocket. "Come and get it." she teased him. "Not now, Jade." he warned. "I know, but I had to test your focus." she explained lightly. "And?" "It's excellent." "You should've seen him when I met him." Leia smirked. "He wasn't that focused back then." The women laughed. Luke blushed.

After days of preparation, they were ready. They had studied the territory carefully, and even though she was not involved in that part of the mission, Leia helped the others plan their strategy. Now, Luke was packing up his travel/mission bag. She watched him from the door, leaning one shoulder on the frame, her arms crossed but relaxed. "Something's on your mind, sis. What is it?" "It's the last time I'll see you here." she said seriously. He looked up. "No." He saw her puzzlement written on her features. "I will come back here." "But Mara--" "Mara is often off-planet on missions, like we'll be too. When she'll be here, I'll spend my time with her, but this is my home. As long as we'll live this kind of life, I'll live with you... Until we find Han. Deal?" He held out his hand. "Deal."

Their mission went well, as all the others afterwards did. They exposed traitors, officers too greedy for their own good, and black market dignitaries ; and the galaxy knew that something was going on. The Justice Makers were on every channels, and people were clamoring their gratitude and debt to those unknown heroes. When they had separate missions, their parts were identified: "Beware the Fire." where Luke struck, and "Do not underestimate the Flame." where Leia did. It was all orchestrated by the Emperor of course, because they never left any trace of their doings. There were many special programs and magcards about the speculations concerning them. Some thought they were a group or many groups, rebels and/or independant. Since they'd only hit imperial targets, nobody ever suspected that they were working for the Empire, and that too was part of the Emperor's strategy. There were many ideas as to what kind of person they were ; it went from only men to only women, from experienced fighters to a new army, and from new weapons to ghosts. The twins just loved to dress casually and go to the market place. At the news distributors, they always eavesdropped on the conversations, and it was always about their alter ego whenever they were making the news. Women often fawned over thoughts of handsome, very muscular men who'd decided to make something of their lives... and some even mentionned how wonderful they must be in bed. Men, for their part, talked about a retired officer who'd gathered allies. Other people talked about a branch of the Rebellion who specialized in infiltration, or people with money financing a movement, or hardened looking men and women who were Rebellion-type but more efficient, etc... etc. It was always about a group of many people, always tough-looking, always very serious and dedicated ; they never ever realized that the fair haired, slight yet well built boy, and the long brown haired, small girl closeby were the actual Justice Makers, with some help from the Empire of course. Back at their apartments, they would always collaped in a fit of laughter, reminding each other of the most ludicrous and absurb ones ; it was very therapeutic. When Mara was home, she took part to their little excursions.
One night, they were all enjoying a stroll in the city when they heard a scream. They jumped into action. Two men were attacking a man in the back of a building. Luke attacked without delay, hitting the aggressor hard and painfully. He hit him again and again, never giving him a chance to hit back. Leia came up behind the other brawler and tapped his shoulder. "Excuse me?" The man turned and received her powerful fist in the face. She hit him again, then ducked under his swinging arm. The thugs had their hands full with the twins, so Mara took care of the victim. When the others passed out, they joined her. The man looked beaten up but okay. "What did they want with you?" Mara asked. "They said I owe them money, but it's not true. I never meddle with Black Sun." "They were trying to buy you then?" The other nodded. "Let's get you out of here." Luke said, picking the man up with Mara's help. "Anywhere safe we can take you?" "My bar over ther, but nowhere will be safe as long as Black Sun will exist." *Then it's our next target.* he sent to his sister.

While they were checking the files about Black Sun, which wer humongous, Mara asked Leia: "Tell me, how are your dancing skills?" "Huh? What dancing skills?" "Slinky, kinky dancing." Mara specified. "I--I've never done that. I don't know." she said, blushing. "The best way for a woman to infiltrate an underground installation is as a show girl." she explained. "I see... Can you teach me how to dance professionaly." "Sure." Luke looked up from his screen. "Wow, Leia... I can't wait to see you in a dancer outfit." he teased. "I'll be a knock out, farmboy." she teased back, leaning dangerously closer to him. That made him uncomfortable and she straightened, smiling victoriously. "She's got ya there, dear." Mara pointed out, smirking.

When they went to the Emperor with their request, he hesitated a bit before giving them the green light. Xizor was useful, but the rest of his organization was annoying. If he let his commanders loose on the Dark Prince, they'd get him. But there was time for that. He agreed that the biggest part of the imperial clean-up was done ; time for some dirty work. "To bring Black Sun down, you must bring down its fondations first. then it's head." "We have already identified Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine, Durga the Hutt and its Yselian operation and Ord Mantell's operations. Are there any other we should know, Master." Leia asked. "Five others ; take care of each of his Vigos and you'll destabilize everything." "Yes, Master. We will need ships and a commando for those operations." Luke said. "What kind of ships do you require?" "A big ship, a prisoner transfer ship, fighters, and two or three drop ships." "You will have one destroyer, and all the ships you need. All of them will be ghosts ships." "Thank you, Master." "May we still proceed the same way about the prisoners?" Leia asked. "Yes, but I suggest you kill the leaders. That way, they won't reappear." "We will, Master." "We will do as you say, Master."

"Vigos... vigos...Ah!" she said happily. She raised her voice. "Got it, Luke!" He came in the office and bent over to see the screen. "What have you found?" They both read and snarled in disgust and their targets were identified as slavers, taxers, and drug dealers. "Nice bunch of people." Luke said sarcastically. "Personally, I'll enjoy taking care of them." "Me too, killing them will be my pleasure." "When do we leave?" "In two days. I've just had words that our equipment is ready and being transfered aboard." "Good."

That night, Leia polished her dancing skills with Mara while Luke exercised as usual. He was really starting to build up... Unlike her initial expectations, she had become a graceful, enrapturing dancer, and she like it. She finished her last dance. "Well, that may not be proper for a princess, but I like it." she said. "You are excellent. You are a professional dancer now." Mara said, getting up. "Thank you, but I had a good teacher." "Thanks, when you'll offer your services, don't forget to look superficial and very beautiful. Oh, and don't jump when they'll give you your costume: it'll be a piece of fabric that will hide as little as possible." "Tsk tsk tsk, Princess. That's not very proper." Luke teased, joining them. Mara suddenly realized something. "Wait a minute, are you a real princess?" Mara asked. She didn't know much about her friends. "Not really, no. I was raised as one to hide me from Father." she explained. "And you?" she asked, turning toward Luke. He put a hand on the back of the couch and vaulted over it. He landed in a sitting position. "I'm a genuine farmboy." "You weren't raised together then." "No." "We didn't even know we had a sibling." "How did you meet?" "Well--" "Farmboy here decided to rescue me without much preparation... no. Make it no preparation at all." "It was done on the spur of the moment." he justified himself. "Anyway, we ended up in the garbage compactor and the droids saved us." "I still remember the stencyh." "Well, you swam in it." "You swam in garbage waters?!" "A dianoga dragged me under." She sat down beside Luke. "Tell me one thing. How did you manage to destroy the station?" "Since I was a fumbling incompetent you mean?"he asked, quirking a smile. She shrugged her shoulders lightly. "I've always been a good pilot, and the Force helped me." "Why did you want to save her if you'd never met her?" Mara asked. "I'd seen an holo of her on Tatooine... she was beautiful." Mara stared at him in disbelief. "Let me get this straight: you got in your head to save a stranger while you know you had no commando skills, and all this just because she was beautiful?!" She was incredulous. "Yes..." he admitted, embarrassed and ashamed. She started laughing. She laughed so hard she had to hold her ribs. Leia joined her. "It was not the only time he got us into trouble, you know." "Leia..." He was desperately trying to change the subject. "Tell me everything." Mara said enthusiastic. "Well..."
The rest of the evening was spent in laughter and blushing as Leia revealed Luke's past blunders and all he could do was getting redder and redder and hope that she'd forget some of them. "At least, you're safe with him now. He won't endanger you with blunders." "No, he's changed a lot, haven't you Luke?" "Mmm? Uh, yes... Yes. No problem now." "Well, perhaps he hasn't changed that much after all..." she teased and started laughing again. "Mara..."

Luke spent the night with Mara. The next morning, their master asked them to join him for the debriefing of their new team. He spoke first. "You've been gathered today to officialize your new assignment. You will be working in a counter-intelligence division. You have been chosen because you are loyal, dedicated, and you can keep secrets." He made them swear that they'd hold their tongues. Luke and Leia were standing in the shadows, looking over their team. There were 200 people assembled: the crew for the destroyer, though considerably reduced, and their commandos and pilots. "Remember" the Emperor continued, "your oath every time you will be tempted to talk about your duty. And now, I will let your commanders speak to you. Remember that they report directly to myself, and that you report exclusively to them. Your team is independant from every other division of the imperial army and fleet." He turned toward the shadows and indicated to the twins to join him. They stepped forward and came up on the stage. *Can you feel their surprise?* Luke asked his sister. *Yes, they didn't expect such inconspicious looking chiefs. You first, brother?* *Okay.* He stepped forward and didn't use the microphone at his disposal, like the Emperor had ignored it too. His voice carried all over the room, impressing his troops. "I am Commander Fire, this is Commander Flame. We... are the Justice Makers." Everyone attending was impressed now. "You are here because our next operation is to bring down Black Sun. To do so, we need troops to help with the attacks, and pilots and crew for the ships. As the Emperor told you, we are an isolated team, working in the shadows and outside the traditional line of command, and we are not identified by the Imperial crest. You are now part of that team too... so from now on, you will also be ghosts like us... and we are all going on a hunt." The troops were ecstatic and expressed their trust in their Commander. He stepped back and Leia stepped forward. The troops silenced down. "You are now Justice Makers too. If we want to succeed, it is imperative that we keep our identities and methods a secret. You were all surprised when you saw us because we were not what you expected. You've heard the rumors about us, and the more ridiculous they are, the better it is ; it gives people absolutely wrong images of us and it's perfect. As long as we'll be a mystery, we'll be able to bring justice to the galaxy and its citizens. When you'll go back home to pack up, it'll be tempting to reveal that you know about the best kept secret of the Empire, but you... must... not. If the secret disappears, we will disappear too, and lowly scum will keep taxing honest, innocent citizens, and enslave children. If you want to destroy the oppressors of these citizens, you must keep everything you have seen and will see for yourself as soon as you step out in the world outside this group. Understood?" "Yes, Madam." "Good, we leave tomorrow at 0500, loading starts at 0200, pad 0001, near the sea. Don't bring any imperial marked uniforms, only non-descript suits. Your operation clothes will be in your cabins aboard the destroyer. Any questions? No, then you're dismissed." The soldiers exited, whispering quietly and throwing awed glances at their young commanders, but they all fell silent as they reached the door. Luke and Leia exchanged glances ; they had the right batch. The Emperor came up to stand behind his two servants. They turned around. "Well done, commanders, well done indeed. You have captured their enthusiasm, dedication, and you have gained their trust. And they have heeded your warnings." "Thank you, Master." the twins said. "One thing about them ; if you doubt that one of them can keep the secret, knock him unconscious and erase his memory of you. Then, send him to the nearest base in a fighter. With a subtle implant, he'll awoke in flight and be convinced that he's fallen asleep, that everything is fine. You can also lose 100 soldiers before being short of crew men. Your ship has been heavily modified and will be easy to pilot for even a squeletton crew." "Understood, Master." "We'll pay attention to their feelings." "Excellent, dismissed, and good hunt."

They took a shuttle and went to their flagship to check it over. The outside hull had been modified and painted black ; the imperial design was barely recognizable. It wouldn't be identified as an imperial ship. In the hangar bay, they checked their troops carriers, the smaller attack ships, plenty of fighters and two prisoner transfer ships. All the weapons they had required were already aboard too. There were also some imperial ships to return the soldiers to base. The tool kits to dismantle a computer core were compact but complete, and many gadgets had been included in them. "Well, everything's ready." Leia said, summing up their inspection. "Yes, time to go."

Days later, they reached Tatooine. During the whole trip, their crew was awed in their presence, especially when they acted more human than typical commanders, but they always kept their distances.
Luke brought Leia down on the surface and she quickly dropped off the shuttle, dressed in shape-fitting clothes. She headed for Jabba's palace as Luke lifted off once again. The fortress was reeking from pain and suffering. Her resolve hardened. She went to the backdoor and signaled her presence. Guards opened the door. Show time. "Hi! Heard you need dancers, and I am a dancing girl." "All right, come in." They ushered her inside and told her to wait. She felt no suspicion in their minds. She was buried under make-up and had pinned up her hair around a pony tail. She also wore clothes that showed a great deal of skin ; she looked slinky. A twi-lek came to her and looker her over. She assumed the appropriate attitude and stance. "*So you seek employement here." "That's right. I am the best dancing girl of this planet and I've heard about Jabba the Hutt's dancing girls. It is said that you only take the best." "*That's true. You think you can satisfy his Excellency?" "Of course I can: I'm the best." Leia focused her touch on the other's mind. *You will try me for a week.* "*Mmm, here's the deal. We'll try you for a week. If you're as good as you say, you'll be hired. If not, you'll take your delusions someplace else." "You won't regret it." "*Mmmmph, come with me." She smiled slyly as she followed him, noting every detail of the place. It was a simple layout. "*Get some adequate clothes and join the dancers upstairs." "Okay." She chose a red 'suit' with pieces of fabric that hid as little as necessary, and completed by flowing pieces of fabric dangling both from her waist and wrist bracelets. As she dressed, she contacted her brother who was waiting in orbit. *I'm in.* *See you tonight. Be careful.* She joined the dancers and took time to study the environment, while looking totally innocent. Then, they danced and she quickly became aware that she was drawing a lot of attention. Gradually, she put a veil around herself and people's attention shifted to another dancer. When she was not dancing, she scanned the room, trying to collect as much information about the place as she could. She sent them to her brother.

Time to join Leia. Luke put on his operation suit, but left the cowl on his back. He put on his pack containing Leia's suit and her weapons. He joined his troops in the hangar. They were all dressed in black, their cowls on their backs. He briefed them, then they lifted off. *Leia, we're leaving. We'll be there in 15 minutes.*
10 minutes later, Luke put on his cowl, as did his soldiers, and exited the carrier. He led them toward the palace. He told them to set up their cannon and wait for his signal, then continued toward his destination. His troops followed his every move. "Can you see him?" "No... wait. I think he's reached the wall." "He'll probably scale it." They watched and saw their commander as he jumped extremely fast and landed on a projection at least 30 meters higher than the ground. "Did you see that?" "Uh-uh... unbelievable." Luke walked fast but silently on the projection until her reached the point where Leia was.

Leia opened her eyes ; everyone was asleep. She got out of bed, sending feelers through the Force, ready to knock out anybody who'd awaken. She crept silently across the floor, and into the empty corridor. She went directly toward Jabba's chambers. When guards could be heard, she quickly hid in a shadowy alcove, and as they passed by, she inconspiciously confiscated their blasters, calling them to her hands. She left them on kill. She finally reached her destination, feeling Luke's presence above her, on the roof. She hid in another alvoce in a corridor giving access to the big guy's antechamber, and two guards. *I'm ready, sis.* *Okay, I'll take care of the guards, then you crush the slime's party.* *Okay.* Leia scanned around the area. No one was nearby. She went to the wall on the side of the chamber and hid her two blasters behind her back. She bent a leg in the doorway and immediately heard disobliging comments. 'Assholes.' She stepped into view, curving her hips to arous them as much as she could. "Hello, guys. I have a surprise for you." The men laughed and elbowed each other. She wipped her blasters out so fast that they never was what hit them twice. Jabba didn't hear a thing. *Done, your turn, brother.*

*Thanks.* He was hanging from the roof by a sturdy rope. He turned on his lightsaber and swiftly cut himself an entrance. He pushed himself away from the wall and flew into the room... less than 3 seconds after making his first cut in the wall. Jabba started and stopped tormenting his victim. The scum was having a human woman and she didn't seem to be enjoying it at all. As Luke stepped menacingly toward him, Jabba froze in sudden fear. Luke forced his hands open with the Force and the girl scrambled away from him. Jabba moved to sound the alarm, but Luke drew the controls away and out of his reach. Finally, the filth spoke. "*What do you want?" Luke kept coming closer. "*I'm sure that we can make a deal." he continued, panicked. Finally, the Jedi stopped less than a meter from the throne. "*Who are you?" the outlaw asked. He was scared to death. "Your worst nightmare." Luke said in a very low voice. Then he jumped on the throne and sweeped his blade back and forth in the Hutt. It screamed satisfying screams of agony and died. Luke jumped down from the throne and went over to check the woman. She had huddled against the wall, hiding her eyes in her arms. "Are you okay?" he asked in his low voice. The woman nodded while sobbing, then looked up. The being's face was unseeable. He had a round, very opaque mesh over his face and his head and body were all covered too. "Thank you." she sobbed. He lifted one gloved hand to her hair as though to stroke it, but truly, he reached out and knocked her out. *Okay, Leia.* She came in and saw the woman. *Poor thing.* *Yes.* He handed her the bag and she dressed up. *Kinky outfit you have there, sis.* *Not warm enough if you ask me.* She picked up her weapons and put on her cowl. *Ready.* He activated his comlink. "Come on in." He waited until his felt that his troops had reached the wall to activate the alarm. He picked up the woman and put her on over his shoulder. *I'll get the computer, you go have fun.* Leia said, putting on the back pack. *Lead the way.* They started out in the corridor, and split up. Luke went to the throne room where his team had struck. He put the woman down and decided to take care of the reinforcements that he could feel were coming up the corridor. He hitched himself on a strut and crouched. When the guards came up under him, he jumped on the middle one and stared distributing hits. They never knew what hit them except a ball with kicks and fists. Luke hit behind him, in front, on the side with a kick, etc. He moved unbelievably fast. When he was finished with this buch, he turned on his lightsaber, set his blaster on stun and joined the brawl in the main room. He deflected shots, kicked right and left and stunned many guards. He went straight into the middle of the enemy group, letting his team pick the outside of the group. Between the two attacks, they quickly managed to stun one half of the outside circle. They could see their commander now, still kicking and moving swiftly. In the end, some watched him and they saw him deflect fire while kicking the side of the head of a Nikto and stunning a third one without looking at him. A burly adversary managed to kick his lightsaber from his hand and make him drop his blaster. The troopers were ready to shoot but Luke was faster. He turned toward the man and kicked him between the legs in the same move. He hit the man again, and as he came for a third attack, the other whipped out a knife and cut Luke's arm deeply. Luke drew back, holding his arm. The opponents circled each other ; it was a contest now. The other lunged and Luke sidestepped while turning, caught the wrist and hit his nemesis in the face with a hard elbow. He turned around, kicked the other's knee and brought his knee in the other's face, finishing him with a hit to the neck. He called his lightsaber and blaster back to himself and turned toward his amazed troops. He smiled secretely as he thought he could see their gaping mouths through their cowls. "Good job. Evacuate the palace." As they started to pick up the fallen captives, one of his men came beside him and asked him. "Will you be all right, sir?" Luke held his arm again and restrained a wince of pain. He knew worse. "Yeah." "Sir, that was... incredible!" "Thanks, now get to work." "Yes, Sir."

While Luke was having fun, LEia was slipping from shadow to shadow to reach the computer room. She met little obstacles. Most of the guards were down in the throne room. As she approached her objective, guards came around the bend. They saw her and instantly opened fire. She whipped out her lightsaber in one fluid move and deflected their fire. She whirled her blade back and forth while advancing on the nemy. She cut off their blaster's tips and knocked them out one after the other with a high kick under the chin, a hit to the chest followed by an elbow in the face, and a side kick sending the other in the nearby wall. She went back to the door pad and hacked her way in. She went to work, tapping commands to disconnect the computer core from the rest without busting it. After that, she opened the compartment and started freeing it from its leads.

Luke had scanned the palace and had found life on one level only. He was now coming up to the spot of life ; it was near the computer room. He went in to see if Leia needed any help. *How's it going?* *Fine, I'm freeing it from its last lead.* *I saw the guards. Did you have anymore 'meetings'?* *Nope, only those three, and they were no trouble. How about you?* She buried herself in the compartment and pulled the prize free. *Nobody got killed and they were quite easy to beat.* *Good.* She pulled herself out with the core in hands. *Give me a hand, will you?* He picked up the pack and she put the core in it. That's when she saw his arm. *Luke! You're hurt!* *Yeah, but it's okay. Don't worry about it.* *For the moment.* She put the pack on her shoulders. *Let's get those prisoners out of here and blow this place to kingdom come.* He put one man on his shoulders, and Leia picked up another one. *The explosives are set?* *Yes, and the place has been scavenged. We're the only ones left inside.* He picked up the other guard with the Force and put him on his shoulders too, over his first burden. He used the Force to make them lighter. A few minutes later, they were coming up on the gathering area. They felt the amazement in their incredulous troops as they walked with heavy burdens as easily as if they weren't carrying anything. They dropped their preys in the cell ship and locked it up. They knew that the scums' memories of the attack had just been erased. Luke activated his comlink. "Everybody's back home?" "Yes, Sir." He pulled out his remote control and depressed the button. The lower level of the palace exploded and it collapsed on itself, with little debris falling down. The twins turned toward the people they'd freed ; they were all unconscious. "Which group do you want to deal with?" he asked his sister. "I'll take the dancers." "Okay." He turned toward his men. "Load everything in the transport." "Yes, Sir." The twins split up and erased each person's memory of the attack and of Leia as a dancer. These people, like the former exploiters, would only remember an alarm, then waking up in the desert.

They left no trace of their presence anywhere. In the carrier, Leia turned toward her brother. "Now, let's take a look at that arm." Luke looked at her. "It's fine, no need to fuss over it." *Luke...* She gazed at him from under her eyelashes, warning him. "What?" She grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the small medunit in the back of the ship. "You're not fooling me this time." The troops looked in shock at the petite woman dragging their very dangerous commander, who was following without resistance. Leia felt their incredulity. "Commander Fire can be very stubborn sometimes." The men around them laughed discreetly at that. "What about you, Flame. You can be stubborn too." "You're worst." "Do not!" "Do too!" Now their men were laughing out loud. Leia sat him on the bunk and looked closely at his arm. "It was done by a real blade, not an ionized one." It had dried up, probably thanks to the Force. She picked up the disinfinctant and cottons and dabbed at his cut. She saw him thightening up in pain. "We'll have to wrap it. Take off your shirt." He couldn't resist to jab her a bit. "My, my, my, getting influenced by your new clothes?" "Do you really want to know?" she asked him slyly. "No..." He took off his shirt with her help. Since their suits were 'padded' to hide their shape, she had forgotten how well built he was now. He was really nice to look at. "I saw that." he said. She looked up. "What?" *It's not right to look at your brother that way.* *Uh, oh well, I admit. I was attracted... You've got to admit you're one hunk of a man... Mara's very lucky...* She started to wrap bandages around his arm. Luke felt her sadness and loneliness, her desire to have someone else to love besides him. He gently took her chin in his fingers and lifted her head. *Leia, we'll find Han. I promie. And if we don't, I know you won't spend your life alone forever. I can feel it.* She wrapped her arms around him, thanking him wordlessly, tears wetting his chest. Luke hugged her too, ignoring the curious stares of theirs troops. *Besides, who could resist such a gorgeous woman such as yourself? I couldn't, remember?* She chuckled as she remembered that he'd been in love with her at the beginning. "Thank you." she whispered. "Anytime." She helped him put his shirt back on. The troops looked at them, wondering about their commanders.

"Good job everyone. We couldn't have asked more from you." Leia siad. "Tomorrow, we'll start the clean-up operations. We need 5 volunteers." Luke continued. Everyone raised their hand. "Uh, okay... we'll draw names and advertise them at the entrance of the cafeterial. We'll meet them here at 1700 tomorrow, dressed for a night out. Any questions?" "Dismissed." After the troops left, the twins headed for the computer room. They plugged the core on the deciphering platform and started to hack their way in the program. They found all the datas which would be necessary to track down the operatives still running loose out there, to find where he'd stashed his money so that they could retrieve it, the locations of his bases and what was done to his victims. "Well, that's it." Leia said. "We have our work cut out. Do you think we chould kill those men working alone or not?" "We should kill them. They'll be easier to deal with. Besides, we'll be able to free enough slaves with those operation centers ; we don't need to bother with single scums." "I agree." He yawned. "Let's get some sleep, uh?"

The next day, after sleeping in a bit and choosing the volunteers, Luke healed his arm and trained with Leia. If possible, they'd make it look like a beating attack. They practiced their fighting skills, blocking hits, stricking, kicking, flipping the other, trying to make the other fall. At last, they felt ready. They chose outrageous looks and sprayed a special film on themselves that would keep them from leaving any traces like finger prints, hair or fibre, that could serve to identify them. They joined their team of 5 soldiers. The men had chosen good looks, but they started as they saw their commanders. Luke was wearing a very tight grey t-shirt that hid nothing of his built, black pants and boots, and dark wrist bands which hid his pocket blaster. A large belt was around his hips, the buckle hiding a wicked knife. His hair was tousled. Leia was wearing a two piece belly shirt and pants, both black, and her hair was pinned up lazily and picks were disguised as hair pins. A mini vibroblade was idden in her breast and her pocket blaster was in a pouch tied to her belt and shut by an easy snap closure. They looked like teenagers going out to have fun. The twins read their thoughts and exchanged a smile. **Perfect.** "Everybody's ready, Captain?" Leia asked. "Yes, Madam." "Then it's time for lift off." Luke said.

Luke put his arm around his sister's waist as they entered the bar, Leia mimicking his move. "Are you guys thirsty?" he asked to Leia and the man with them. The others were staying outside to warn them if their target left the bar. "You bet!" the man said, slipping naturally in his buddy's role. "Your treat?" Leia asked, looking up at her brother. "Of course, my love." Luke kissed her quickly on the cheek. They found a table in a corner which overlooked the whole bar. They ordered drinks and pretended to chat amiably, laughing at jokes and the usual banter between buddies. Meanwhile, Luke was busy scanning the room while Leia was taking care of the 'offices'. *Got him.* she sent. *He'll leave soon.* "So," Luke said, "are you still going to the Academy?" "Oh yeah, I can't wait to go there. I'll learn how to fly, how to do crazy maneuvers, how to destroy--" "How to be killed, you mean." Leia cut in. "You're making me sick, are you that eager to die?" "I won't die, I'll be the best." he said proudly. "Yeah, right. You've never been the best in anything, not even in bush piloting. What makes you think that you'll do better there?" "I will learn how to be the best. When I learnt how to shoot targets, I was the best." "Was not." "Was too!" "Guys, guys, we came here to have fun, remember? Not argue and bicker." "All right..." "Sure..." "Have you heard the last album of The Nebulons? It's great!" Leia said. She felt a change of mood in the offices, and she and Luke both looked up just as their target came through the door with his assistant and a bodyguard. They looked at their companion and indicated that they were going out. "Yeah, it sure beats the crap they're playing in here. Let's make a move." Luke said. As he got up, the man said: "Well, it was your pick, buddy." Luke threw a look at him and sent: *Excellent play.* The man paled a bit at hearing his voice in his head, and anybody looking at them only saw that a friend had crossed a line. They were reaching the exit when their hear receptors activated. "Commanders, the prize is out, heading down town." A few minutes later, they were outside and broke in a flat out run after their prey. As they ran, Luke asked the man: "What's your name?" "Sh.. Shau, Sir." "Well, Shau, you are a very talented actor." "I almost believed it." Leia added. "Th... Thank you... Sirs." He couldn't understand how they could speak and run at the same time. They slowed down as their prey came into view. "Kill the bodyguard on my signal-" "and cover us." "Yes---" One moment they were there, and the next, they were gone, having jumped together on a roof and continuing their run a few meters from the ground now.
Their target was coming up. **Now, Shau.** The bodyguard was killed with satisfactory speed, and they vaulted down from the roof, ripping the weapons from the scum's grasp. Leia attacked the human while Luke took on the tentacled being. Leia kicked the man between the legs, then crushed his nose with the heel of her hand, hit him with a bladed hand on the side of the head, stepped aside and kicked him many times in the belly, snapped his knee and finished him by beating his head repeatedly on her knee. She whipped out her blaster and shot him twice in the head. She looked up to see how her brother was faring.
Luke kicked the side of the being's head, then hit it in the face. He then jumped and hit its face again. As he came down, a tentacle wrapped itself around his wrist, and in a matter of seconds, he was caught in the grip of whoozy tentacles who were determinate to tear him apart. As he strained against the other's strenght, he brought out his blaster with the Force and fired at what he felt was the life center of the creature. It was instantly killed. As he freed himself from the last tentacle, Leia came beside him. "You okay?" "Yeah, he almost dislocated my shoulders though. You?" "No problem at all." "Ready for more?" "Yes, I've got all we need here." She held up a data disc. "I 'told' him to bring a list of his agents, and when and where we could find them." "Brilliant, we'll have to make this a standard procedure for that kind of operation. Let's go."
All night, they chased and killed operatives throughout the planet. When they left in the morning, the planet had been cleaned, and many persons had been saved in the streets during the night. Luke and Leia had fought like dangerous animals, twirling and kicking, getting to their feet in one jump, flipping enemies with their legs, twisting necks, dislocating limbs and snapping bones, jumping high and kicking straight forward or while twirling, defending themselves with ferocity if they'd fallen down, etc. Shau, Kcin, Kyle, Sen and Juno knew now that their commanders were incredible: they were both lethal weapons, with and without weapons, they had strange powers, they knew each other very well, and they were very human, smiling, warm and laughing.

Thanks to their fights, they were both hurt someplace or another, but they kept it hidden until they could reach the flagship. After completing the landing, Luke and Leia turned toward their team. "Excellent work last night, gentlemen." Luke said. "If you are interested, you can be our permanent underground mission team." Leia offered. They were all thrilled. "Then it is settled. Welcome aboard, gentlemen." "Now, go get some rest. You deserve it." Leia finished. Before they got up, Shau spoke up: "Commanders, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that you're the greatest officers we've ever met and that it's an honor to work with you. You were terrific tonight." The others expressed their agreement. "Well... thank you, Shau, gentlemen." "It was very nice." They saluted and left them alone. A while later, after making sure no one was around, they exited the shuttle. Luke's shoulders were almost dislocated and he'd been hit in an arm and the left leg. Leia for her part had almost broken a hand on an armor plate, had hit her knee on the same kind of stuff, and had twisted her ankle. And they'd both been hit many times. "How is your foot? Can you walk on it?" "Do you think you'd be able to help me? It's really painful." "Sure." He slung her arm around his shoulders and they headed for their quarters. They went straight for their private medcenter. Luke looked at Leia's wounds first, then she took care of him. They were both going to heal themselves with the Force, but is was always better to check wounds up first. Luke's shoulders were still painful though, so Leia told him to lay on his bed, on his stomack, and she massaged them. She felt his relief. As she worked at his pains, she started laughing. "What?" he asked, confused. He lifted his head and turned it to look at her. "Nothing, I was just thinking about our new team." "So what's funny?" "Do you realize that by 1600 tomorrow, everybody aboard this ship will know about how terrific we are?" "Oh, talk about holding his tongue." "Exactly." They laughed again together. After a while, they settled down. "In a way, Leia, they'll know they can trust us and treat us like peoples, not gods." "That'd be great." She finished his upper back and sat on the bed beside him. "Thanks, sis. You have wonderful hands." "You're welcomed, brother." He removed his weapons and dropped them on the floor, then got under his blankets. Leia hadn't moved. She was hesitant to step again on her ankle. He opened the sheets and told her: "There's still some room left." She looked at him. "Are you sure, Luke? I mean--" "You can't walk on yourself, and I'm not getting up till tomorrow afternoon." She got rid of her weapons and slipped in his arms, under the blankets. "Are you sure---" "Leia, we're twins. Besides, we're both still fully dressed and dead to the world. Nothing's gonna happen." He yawned. "i suppose you're right." *Good night, sis.* *Sweet dreams, brother.* Even though she literally was in Luke's arms, well built and all, she didn't feel any desire to turn on him and have him. Instead, she felt a warmth and comfort unlike anything she'd ever known. She fell asleep, thinking that they both needed a shower.

Late the next day, they sat in a meditation circle and reported to their master. Their debriefing was brief and very positive. "Well, he seemed pleased." Luke said. "Yes, I wonder what the news will say about us this time." The both started to laugh and got up. "Let's take a look at that bunker." he said.
Hours later, they joined their troops in the cafeteria. Throughout the whole meal, the conversations remained practically non-existent, and the twins exchanged discouraged looks. This was hopeless. Even though they were acting like their troops, they kept treating them like deities. They were gathering their rejects when Shau plunked down on the seat in front of them and started to speak with the commanders. Every murmurs about them and thoughts concerning them stopped. Shau ignored the obvious silence. "How is your leg today, Sir?" he asked. "You knew about that? You knew that we were hurt?" Luke asked incredulous. "I saw it every time it happened, Sir." "We tried to keep those for ourselves, you know." Leia said. "I noticed. That's why we didn't mention them to you yesterday." The other men watched, bemused that their commanders were talking with one of them, and that they were admitting that they'd been hurt. "You felt that we were ignoring them voluntary?" "Yes." "Well, you are very discreet. We thought we'd managed to hide it." Leia said. "Nope, so how are you today?" "Fine, really ; we slept in and took care of our wounds." Leia said. "We're like new today, but we're glad that it's a day off." "As are we all, Sir." This last comment showed their troops how human their officers were and they all broke the silence. Conversations started up again, and people looked at them a little longer, then shifted their gaze to their companions. Luke and Leia looked around themselves, then exchanged incredulous looks. **He did it!** They turned back toward Shau. "Thank you, Shau." Luke said. *We owe you one.* Leia sent. He smiled quickly and gave them a thumb up. "Sirs, why did you try to hide that you were hurt?" "For one thing," Luke began, "we had to complete the mission." "And second, we knew that we were going to heal ourselves later." Leia completed. "Heal yourselves?" "With the Force." Leia revealed. "The Force?" Luke felt like he was hearing himself, back in Ben's hut. He chose a different approach to explain it to the man. "You know the way that we seem to speak in you mind, the way that we jump on roofs, ignore pain, and appear as new today?" The man nodded, along with 5 or 6 others. "Well, we can do that by using the Force." "Is this why you are such fast hand-to- hand fighters?" "Not really," Leia picked up the revelations, "we were never fast enough for our trainer." They both smirked. "Yeah, I know an officer like that." a man said. "Sirs?" Another one asked. "I don't mean to be rude or impolite but... are you together?" "Why, do you think that we look like we're in love?" Luke asked, putting an arm around Leia's shoulders. "Well... it's kinda difficult to say, Sir, but you do look very close." "How close?" "Stop teasing them, L-- He's my twin brother, and there's a reckless streak in him that I just can't get rid of." "Me? Reckless?" The 8 of them laughed heartedily, drawing the attention of other men around them. "What she won't say is that she has a soft spot for my 'recklessness' Ow!" They all laughed again. "Where are you all from anyway?" Leia asked. They all talked about their previous assignments and how despicable their officers were. Many of them mentionned that they really enjoyed working with them. "And you, Sirs, where are you from?" They exchanged a quick thought. *We don't know.* *It's true anyway.* "We don't know. We were adopted at birth." They all kept themselves from commenting. Another man rose his hand. They looked at him. "How did you get the idea of this... enterprise?" They both swallowed hard. "Well... it's kind of complicated..." Luke began. "We were captured and, through my brother's torture, forced into service. The Emperor offered us that if we became Jedi and joined him, he'd let us bring our kind of justice to the galaxy. He kept his promise." Leia said, realizing that she'd spoken overtly against her master. She hoped that her last sentence erased that torture thing. "So, you are conscripts." Shau said. "I am too." "Me too." many men echoed. Luke and Leia could feel that they knew exactly what they'd been through. "Have you been disciplined?" one of them asked. Luke took a deep breath and spoke. "We both serve the Emperor now, and we're happy, but yes, in the beginning, I've been disciplined. But it's over now and I've decided to do his bidding because he allows us to do good things." "Just as your conscription has brought you to be part of this." Leia added. The troops understood ; no rebellion against the Empire would be allowed in this group. "Are Fire and Flame your real names?" "No, those are our code names. We also have new names now that we use in missions. Only 4 peoples know our real names: myself, my brother, the Emperor, and Vader because he captured us." She took Luke's hand in her own, feeling sorrow settling over him. He squeezed it tight. He then got up and prepared to leave. "Our names are of no consequences anymore ; we are dead. If you ever hear them someday, it won't matter since they don't mean anything anymore, except to us. Good evening, gentlemen. It was nice to chat with you, but I have things to do." He left before any of them could stand up or react in any other way. Leia watched him leave and noticed all the bewildered and confused eyes that followed his back as he exited the cafeteria. She could feel that he was very distraught. She turned back toward her companions. Every man still sitting around her was glaring at the man who'd asked the question. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset any of you, Sir---Madam." "You couldn't know, but as I said, circumstances were very hard..." "It's just by curiosity, so if you don't want to answer, just tell us ; but where or what were you when Lord Vader got you?" She thought about it for a second, about possible reactions and retributions... "We... we were with the Rebellion. Vader felt our Force presence and attacked..." "Well, now we know why you're not like typical imperial officers." "no, they're not, they're better." "Thank you all. This means a lot to us, and I can assure you that we'll do our best ot keep it going for many, many years... Now though, I will go to my brother. It was a very enjoyable meal, gentlemen. Thank you." She left before they could recover.
She found Luke planning strategies. He'd bottled up. She tried anyway. "Do you want to talk about it?" He turned toward his screen and looked at the datas. "No, I don't want to dwell in the past." The message was clear. "So, what have you found?" "Well, there are two shifts of guards..."

When they finished for the evening, the whole plan was ready, and it was a clever one ; Luke's best actually. Leia realized that he was trying to forget their situation by giving all he had to the galaxy.

A few hours later, Leia awoke, feeling her brother's frustration. She found him in the training room, fighting against imaginery targets, bathed in sweat, wearing nothing but tight green pants. She watched him as he chained up hits and spectacular jumps. He wasn't using the Force as she'd thought. She understood now why he loved so much this kind of fight: he could beat his frustration on a scumbag. She made her presence known. "Luke, what are you doing? It's 0300 in the morning." "I couldn't sleep." He kept hitting." "Luke..." "You should go back to bed, Leia." She had enough. She dropped low and kicked his legs out from under him. He fell down and she pinned him. "What's troubling you, Luke? Tell me." "He strained against her hold. "Nothing..." "Luke, tell me." He looked at her, hovering above his face, and he saw that he wasn't fooling her. "Can't you guess, Leia?.." Tears welled up in his eyes. "I can, but I want you to tell me, brother." "It's what we revealed tonight... about us." "That conscript thing?" She let him sit up. "Yeah... sometimes, I just can't stand it." "Sometimes, it's hard I admit, but--" "Don't you realize it? We free slaves and prisoners... but we are slaves ourselves!" He cracked up and buried his head in his arms, crying his despair. Leia moved closer and drew him to her. He continued. "I always have to quiet my stomach after each 'meeting' with that... fiend who enslaved us. We are even making the galaxy less rebellious toward the Empire, while we know perfectly well that it's still exploiting people." he went on crying. "We obey him because he threatened us and tortured me... I don't want to bow to him. I feel like I'm destroying who I am, who I was, what we were... He controls us, even out here, so that he can play better with us... I'm sick of it..." He cried, and cried, and hugged his sister tighter. She stroke his hair. "I know, Luke, I know... and I agree." He lifted his head to look at her in the eyes. "Then why aren't you crying too?" "Because I don't have any tears left. I cried myself to sleep every night for the first four months. I hid it from you." "Leia, I'm sorry..." "We can't do a thing, Luke... not a single thing... I also feel bad about all that respect stuff, and I know he planned all along to use us to lessen rebelliious feelings toward the Empire. I don't want to bow to this monster either, but I tell myself that as long as I am myself the rest of the time, I'm not betraying my past... and you are not either. Right now, I'm holding the same reckless, stubborn, determinate farmboy who became a hero. I can still see him very often, along with the more competent rebel commander he became along the years. All the Emperor gave us are new skills, not new personalities. Do you know what the men told me tonight? That we were much better officers than the usual ones because we are warm, kind, generous, and very competent. I don't see much darkness in their description ; I recognize ourselves. Our real selves. Now, are you ready to resume our excellent work?" "On one condition." "Which one?" "You leave me the physical stuff when we have to split up. I really need the physical outlet ; it's therapeutic." "Sure, I love computers anyway." "Thank you." "You remember what we decided on Coruscant?" "Yes, to be happy the way we can, to do our best for the galaxy and for the others." "You feel okay to do it again?" "Now, yes." He kissed her cheek. "Thank you, Leia." "Anytime, brother." They got up, helping each other. "I think I'll take a shower before going back to bed." "Would you like to sleep with me tonight?" "Would you mind?" "No, you'll be the one in my arms this time." "Ah, ah, very funny." "Don't hesitate to join me after your shower." "Okay." Luke took a very warm shower, focusing on nothing else but the water pounding on his body. He finally joined Leia under her blankets and settled in her arms. As he fell asleep, he understood why it felt so good ; she was strenghtening his mind by her simple presence.
The next morning, he slipped out of her embrace and went back to his room. He knew what he had to do to keep going: he needed to have reminders of their mantra in a few strategic places. As he programmed one as the welcome screen of his data pad, he reminded himself that except for that respect thing with the Emperor, he was happy, and he was still true to himself and his goodness.

That night, they brought down Jabba's operation center, hitting the place so suddenly that they caught the scums off-guard. The next night, they freed the slaves from the slave center and finished their mop up operations concerning Jabba. They were planning to attack Durga next, but the Emperor told them to wait because the Yselian rehabilitation treatment was not ready yet. Instead, they headed for Ryloth. On their way there, they heard about themselves again through the news and laughed at the preposterous theories and supposedly true witnessings. Their men laughed too, making it a point to watch those news with their commanders. Now they were part of the legend too. On Ryloth, the twi-lek was an easy kill, and bringing down his operations was a breeze. He never saw them coming, and since Jabba had not been a Vigo, he had thought that he was safe. He had so much control over everything that when he died, all his operations crumbled and they were no trouble to destroy. They captured his casino ships and sent them to Coruscant on auto-pilot.
The Nalroni was a little bit tougher because he was very cautious, but he fell all the same. For this one, Luke 'Duke' pretended to be a hot shot pilot who was starting in the smuggling business. He blended in wonderfully. When the attack came, it was swift and silent and none of them was even aware that they were being captured because Luke had tampered with the alarm system. That one became a real mystery for the news.
On Calamari, they changed their rules. They came in by the submarine entrances and killed everybody in the base because it was in the submarine city and they couldn't destroy it or gather prisoners. They ruined everything in the base and left as quickly as possible. Nobody saw them. The Vigo's drug network was tough to track down, but with some ingenuity, they did it. One less Vigo.
The next one was the Kien female. Leia slipped in her room and went over to her bed. The bitch woke up. Leia shot her to paralyze her with pain. "How could you? Children..." She then killed her. She retrieved the computer core and fought her way back to Luke. Many guards had fallen, but those left had shields. Luke had manged to get behind the resisting pocket and was stunning them one after the other, when they swiftly prepared knives. One of them threw his and hit Leia in the chest, piercing her lung. She collapsed. "NOOO!!!" Luke screamed. Using this opening, the others threw their knives, but he recovered from his shock, stopped the blades with the Force, turned them away from his troops, and sent them plunging in the enemies. He pierced their shields with the strenght of his will and they all died. His men were relieved that he'd stopped the blades in time, but Luke's focus was on Leia only. He rushed to her side. "Leia? Can you hear me?" He pulled the knife out of her wound. "Aaah! Luke..." she coughed. "Hang on! Use the Force, Leia. It'll start healing you." "Luke..." "Please, fight it. You have to! I need you." "I need you too, Luke." she whispered. "I'll help you get into it." He focused on his sister's mind and helped her fall in a healing trance. He felt the energies starting to work on her, but it only kept her alive. He picked her up in his arms, and turned toward his men. "Start the clean up. I'll be back." He brought her into a carrier and ordered his men to take her immediately to the medics. He uncovered her face, stroke her hair, and told her once more to hang on to life, adding his own strenght to hers. He left the carrier and went back inside the base, gathering as many persons as he could carry by himself, going back to the gathering area, then running back inside. After a while, many of his men noticed his franctic behavior and hurried up their moves. The place was emptied and estroyed in a record time. While his men were finishing the clean up, Luke started to erase memories. He did a quick but thorough job. After what seemed like an eternity, they came home and he ran to the medcenter. He knew that she was alive, but he could feel that her thread of life was very weak. She was in a bacta tank. She'd be okay now. He sat in a chair facint the tank, and watched her. He sent her strenght and soothing energies. A while later, Shau and Sen came in. "How is she, Sir?" "She will live and she should be all right." "We hope so, Sir. Everybody wishes her to recover promptly." "Thanks guys." "You're welcome, Sir." Sen left, but Shau lingered. "Sir, I couldn't help but hear your names when you rushed to her---" "Shau--" "They are not meaningless, Sir. Yours means strenght, hers means determination. I think that they suit you perfectly and that you shouldn't be afraid to use them in front of us ; you know that we don't reveal secrets about this whole thing." Luke gazed at him, surprised and cautious. "Um... thank you, Shau. We will think about it." he finally said. "Good night, Sir." He left. Luke pondered what the man had said, and fell asleep in his chair.
She finished strenghtening herself with the Force so that she was up and running in no time. Luke didn't let her take part in the last missions though. She made him 'pay' by sending remotes, which were set on sting, in his room while he slept. By the time he found the focus to shut them down, he'd been hit several times. She laughed as he laid back, rubbing his sore spots. "Okay, okay, I get the point. You're fine now... ow... I was just making it easier for you, you know?" "I could've gone tonight. I'm really back to 100% now." "Do you forgive me?" "Of course I do. After seeing you jump around like you did, I've had all the revenge I need. Good night." She gathered the remotes and left his room, but Luke still feared a second surprise attack. He fell asleep hours later, completely exhausted. "Commander Fire, Commander Flame, we need you on the bridge." "I'm on my way." Leia was sleeping. He came on the bridge, and the officer motioned him over to the radar control. "We have a ship coming in, Sir. No markings, no identification. It has a code clearance blue." "Have you spoken with the pilot?" he asked seriously. "Yes, she identifies herself as the Emperor's Hand." *Mara?* *Who else did you expect, farmboy?* "Let her in, Captain." "Uh... yes, Sir." Luke left the bridge and headed swiftly for the hangar bay. He came in just as she was climbing down her fighter. "Emperor's Hand." He bowed his head. *It's good to see you.* "Commander Fire." *I've missed you, Luke.* "What brings you here?" "The Emperor asked me to help you take care of your next target." "Then come this way. We'll be able to discuss strategies." *Just strategies?* she asked him. *Do you have any idea how much I want to kiss you?* he asked her in answer. *Oh, I do, believe me.* They reached his door, entered his quarters, and Luke was the fastest of the two. He turned on Mara and backed her to the nearby wall, and she pulled him as close as she could, trying to fuse with him. Seconds later, they started to take off each other's clothes.

When they joined Leia for supper, they told her that they had the green light for Durga the Hutt. Everything was ready and at their disposal. That night, they took care of the Hutt and his palace. Security had been tighter, warrier. The Viggos were getting nervous. They had captured so many prisoners by then that they'd freed all the slaves in the imperial facilities. Since those scums were a nuisance anyway, they were now killing them unlsee the Emperor needed slaves somewhere. Aboard their ship, curiosity ran loose about Commander Jade, but unlike their officers, she preferred to keep everything about herself a secret. The only ones who knew here were their commanders.

They planned carefully their attack on Yselia, and decided that the best way to do it in one night was to split up in three teams plus an aerial first move to keep the bases from warning each other. They also decided to leave a minimal crew aboard the flagship. They'd need one part of each team to take care of the slavers, while another would transfer the slaves to the transport ships. The airborn attack was wonderfully coordinated and the bases who weren't hit immediately became laxist and fell faster. Throughout the night, the 3 Jedis led silent attacks, cut down slavers boss with their lightsabers, retrieved computer cores before moving to the spice processing factories. They always took care of comlink communication, so the enemy couldn't give the alarm to the others. When the place was emptied, they blew it up and left nothing but rubbles. With the Emperor's agreement, they left their warnings, Mara identifying one as Luke's job, the other as Leia's, and back to Luke. When they lifted off for the last time, the planet was a cemetery. They had checked through the Force to make sure that nobody was left alive. Nothing was ever going to rise from those ashes. They celebrated that operation's success with their men ; they'd freed over a 1000 slaves, and they'd all be able to return to a normal life in a few months. The Emperor told them that the recruiters had been dealt discreetly with ; nobody knew about the powers that they had on other's minds anymore. Their next target, Rodia, was a piece of cake. Leia was hoping to find Han among the smugglers, but he wasn't there. After that successful operation, the holovid spoke almost only about the elusive heroes, and bounties raised to unprecedented amounts. Their troops proved their loyalty by laughing at the others' desperation. They assured their commander that working with them was much more rewarding than money. The twins exchanged glances, still amazed by their troops' dedication.

Mara was amazed too, and she said so to her lover as they trained together. He jumped, avoiding her sweeping leg. "I've never seen troops so loyal and dedicated." She hit him, from her prone position, with a foot to the chest, and he backflipped instead of falling. "What's your secret?" He turned on his foot to kick her. "Compassion." She blocked his hit but failed to see the hand that was aiming for her chest. She landed on her back. She got back on her feet. "You've improved, farmboy..." Then she smiled slyly. "But I bet you still can't beat me." "What if I can?" "Then you satisfy your fantasies." "And if you win, you satisfy yours ; I'm game." "You sure?" Before he could answer, she jumped at him, aiming her kick at his solar plexus. He avoided her and turned to hit her neck, but she ducked, then came back up with a hit to his stomach. He blocked it, and they both blocked the other's hits for long minutes, until Luke manages to grab her wrist and flipped her. He pinned her fists and squeezed her legs with his knees. She struggled to free herself. "Looks like I win, miss Jade." He kissed her and she seemed to relax under him, but it was only a strategy. She hit him in the groin with her knee and he moaned loudly in pain, cutting off the kiss. Since he'd lost his control over his muscles, his grasp was looser and she flipped him, blanketing his body with her own and trapping his legs. "It seems to me that I win, Skywalker." She kissed him and he forgot to moan in pain. *Not fair.* he complained. *Whoever said that it had to be fair?* They breathed a bit. "Remember our bet, farmboy, You are mine until we dress up again." "We are still dressed, Mara." "Not for long, handsome." She started to open his shirt. "Let's move this to my room, okay? Leia might come in." She got up and pulled him up, then before he could make a move, she moved behind him and twisted his arm high in his back. "Lead the way, farmboy." "Ow, what--" "In case you feel like playing dirty." "Aw Sith!.. It never even crossed my mind." "And now it's too late, love." They entered his room and came out of it hours later.

Ord Mantell was a touchy one. They had to have an airborn cover in case some of them escaped. Still, it went without a hitch. That was Mara's last mission with them. She had to fulfill a new mission. Their last night together was magical, and , in the morning, they exchanged kisses and farewells in Luke's apartment. Only Leia went with her to the hangar. "Good luke, Commander. It was good to see you." Leia said. "It was good to see you too." *Take care of him.* "May the Force be with you in your next operations." "Thank you." *I will.* She boarded her ship and lifted off. *I love you Luke.* *I love you too, Mara.* Then she was gone.

On Coruscant, Prince Xizor was getting very nervous. The Emperor could see it in his demeanor. "What is troubling you, Prince Xizor?" "Those Justice Makers. They have destroyed all but 2 of my Viggos and their operations. I can't even start them up again because they leave nothing but rubbles in their wake. I need your help, my Master." "What kind of help?" "I already offer stupendous bounties for them, but it doesn't work. I need to know if you have any information on them that would be useful." "Unfortunately no. Ever since they started to hit Imperial targets, I've had a full contingent hunting them down. As you know, they are elusive." "They are like ghosts. I'll warn my 2 Vigos to triple security. These 'heroes' will have a surprise... Nobody is infallible." "I will tell my unit to double their efforts, Prince Xizor." "Thank you, my Master."
After the Dark Prince left, the Emperor turned to Vader. "It seems that my children have managed to crack his outer shell." "Indeed... You will go to them. Tell them what we've heard." "Yes, my Master." Unlike Mara's arrival, Vader's was swift and treated with protocol. The troops who'd talked with the twins knew that this was their captor ; and yet, their commanders didn't seem afraid or resentful toward Vader. It was strange. Luke and Leia led their father to their rooms, and into the planning room. They all sat down. "First, the Emperor sends his greatest congratulations. You are astounding ; and I add my owns to his." "Thank you, Father." they said quietly. "Xizor came to speak with the Emperor. He is rattled and afraid. He said that he couldn't reactivate the cells you've destroyed because of your thoroughness. He's afraid to loose his last Vigos and will command them to triple security." Luke whistled softly. "No direct approach then." "No, furthermore, he knows that you attack like ghosts. You'll have to be even more careful than usually." "Yes... we'll need to infiltrate the bases first." "Yes, I'm afraid so, Leia." "Well, no problem, uh Luke?" "No, we're getting pretty good at that." "Excellent, I'm so proud of you, children. Not only because you've unbalanced that snake, but also because you're doing what I wanted to do when I joined the Emperor." "Father?" Leia asked. Luke was speechless. "I wanted to bring justice to a galaxy in chaos. Unlike you, I turned to the Dark Side and my judgment changed... After I fought Ben and fell in a lava pit, I became who I am..." The twins listened attentively, enraptured. "But you, my dear children, are making my dream come true. I'm so proud that you've become what I once wanted to be. Sometimes, I wish that I could do it with you." He took their hands in his. Luke and Leia were dumbfounded. What'd happened to Vader, and who was that man speaking with them? "My real name is Anakin ; you brought me back from the shadows. Vader is still around, to keep appearances, but your compassion and all around goodness reminded me that there was more than hate, fear, and aggression in life. I'm still trapped in the Dark Side, but I am lighter now." He focused on Leia. "Leia, I'm sorry for what I put you through when I captured you, both after Tatooine and Hoth, and I'm sorry that I suggested to the Emperor to use your brother to break you. I'm really sorry, daughter." Leia's eyes were misty. "I forgive you... Anakin." He turned to Luke. "I'm also sorry for hurting you so often, my son, and for plotting to turn you like I did. You'd have been miserable..." "It's okay now, Father... Anakin." "It'll never be okay, my son. You'll always bear marks because of me..." He stood up. "May the Force be with you, always." They stood up too and followed him toward the exit. In Leia's apartment, he turned slowly, then faced forward again, but he didn't move. "Father?" "Is there something troubling you?" Anakin turned slowly, and they felt a great deal of hesitation rippling through him. "Children... Luke... Leia... May I... May I hug you?" The twins looked at each other, then moved toward their father. Vader stepped toward them too and hugged them. His armour made it a bit awkward at first, but they adapted their hold. They remained entwined, father and children, for long minutes. Just before disengaging, he said: "I love you, my children." "We love you too, Father." They let go and accompanied him back to his shuttle. "May you succeed, Commanders." "We will, Sir." "Nothing will stop us." They bowed their heads as he bowed his, then he turned and boarded his ship. *He really felt like a father to me.* Luke sent. *Me too, a strong, loving father.*
In his meditation room, Vader had removed his helmet and remembered how wonderful it had felt to hold his twins in his arms. Luke had become as well built as he'd been, and Leia had the slight, delicate feel of her mother. He let his tears roll down his cheeks. How he regretted the past... He hadn't cried for almost 25 years...

Luke assumed once again his smuggler disguise and infiltrated the fish's organization. During 2 days, he collected datas and transmitted them to his sister. They attacked through the ventilation systems after Luke had shut their security down but convinced the computer that they were still on. Then, he skulked into the big shot's apartments and waited for him. He came in with two other beings. They turned their backs to Luke. He fired three times, killing them all in the blink of an eye. He shot them again, then took off his clothes, revealing his black suit, and burned his disguise. He moved toward Leia, picking enemies as he went. Unlike Leia, his presence was known and he had to fight them. Even though he had his saber and was shooting to kill, he got hit a few times, both by energy bolts and feet and fists. In the end, the got the same results, but Luke was glad to be able to rest this time. "Tough one?" "Yeah, their security was really tight... more imposing." "Especially for a lone fighter." "Yes, we'll have to reevaluate our plan..." A few days of cleaning up and they were onto their next target: the last Vigo. This time, it was Leia's turn to infiltrate as a slave girl. She blended with the dancers, nobody ever realizing that there was an intruder in their midst. Every night, the scum had a woman. She made sure that she'd be chosen for the night of the operation. She hid her pocket vibroblade in her panties, and hid it behind her back when the guards left her alone, her feet chained to the bed. The scum came in and saw her ravishing form. She pretended to be afraid as he slittered up to her. Just as he was about to kiss her, he said: "Don't worry, gorgeous, I'm known as the greatest lover ever." Leia's eyes changed from fear to determination and she brought out her blade. "I bet you are." she said then plunged her blade in the man's heart. He had just noticed the change in her eyes when his life ended. She took care of the computer and, unlike Luke had, slipped out of the base undetected before suiting up and joining him. It worked well.

Finally, only the head of Black Sun remained. They had the plans of the castle and the location of Xizor's office and apartments. They decided to take their cover team with them and followed a subtle approach. A shuttle was waiting for their convenience above the area and they came in through the sewers. In no time, they'd reached Xizor's office. He was in there, a nervous wreck. They killed the guards and burst in. Luke covered the blond woman while Leia covered the snake. She motioned him away from his desk. He moved away, his hands raised, and the woman jumped Luke. He fired, but it seemed useless. He caught her wrists, dropping his blaster and hitting the woman hard between the legs, but she kept closing on his throat. Xizor used that distraction to hit the blaster away from the intruder. He got kicked hard in his window, and a lightsaber blade materialized at his throat. Meanwhile, Luke was reaching out to knock the woman out, and he realized that it was a droid. He moved his focus to her connections and moved them. Her hold loosened a bit and he kicked her away as she exploded. Xizor saw it happen. "Noo!" "Yes." Leia said, cutting him down. She turned toward her brother ; he was on the floor, his back to her. "Luke!" She kneeled beside him and turned him on his back. "Aaaah!..." Shrapnels were buried in him ; his shoulder, his guts, and his leg had been hit, and pieces of his suit had burnt all the way to his skin. "Luke! Hang on!" "Leia... pu... ter..." "No, we've gotta get you out of here first!" she started to pick him up. "No... heal... fff..." He went limp in her arms, but she felt that the Force was supporting his life. "You stubborn farmboy..." she said, laying him back down. She finished her mission, then called her men in. "Help me, he's hurt. We have to get out of here now." They all hurried to the nearest landing platform. Once everyone aboard, Leia went to a garbage chute and dropped 2 thermal detonators. They had one minute left. "Bye bye Black Sun." She hurried aboard and they watched the explosion from a safe place. Leia was beside her brother, trying to remove the shrapnels. She left his abdomen alone ; the metal almost went all the way through to his back. "You hang on Luke, you hear me? We haven't been through all this together just to celebrate separately. We've won, Luke. Please win this battle too." The Emperor contacted her. *Congratulations, Commanders. You've completed your mission?* *Yes, Master. No one was left alive after the explosion.* *Excellent. Commander Fire?* *He's been hurt, Master ; badly hurt. I'm taking him to the medical center.* *Keep me informed.* *Yes, Master.* Leia looked at Luke's clothes. Agents were hurt all the time, and no questions asked, but the Justice Makers would be easy to identify through Luke and her, and she didn't have time to take him back to their ship. She ripped his sleeves and cowl, tore up the area around his wound and removed his lightsaber. She tore up one of his leg too. She then ripped her cowl, let her jacket hang open and out of her pants, and cut her sleeves to a shorter length. The men in the shuttle looked at her, and she said: "I knew I should've brought other clothes." They laughed.

Her gambling worked. The medics didn't even suspect anything. It was Luke's turn to swim in the bacta, after an operation, and her turn to keep a vigil. Vader came in, late at night. "How is he?" "Better. They're planning to get him out in a few hours." "What happened?" "I don't know exactly. He was fighting with a blonde woman when she exploded." "Guri. He must've been too close to her when he triggered the explosion. She was an HRD, trained as an assassin." "An HRD? Amazing, she looked so real." "Yes... so, Black Sun is no more?" "Nothing survived us." "This is your first miracle. The galaxy will thank you for years." He put a hand on her shoulder and left. Early the next morning, the door opened again. Leia turned tiredly to take a look at the newcomer, turned back to her brother, then she realized what she'd seen and turned quickly toward her master. She bowed respectfully. "Master." "How is your brother, my child?" "He... He's recovering slowly, Master. They assured me that he'd be all right." "I'm glad ; I wouldn't want to lose one of my best 3 agents." "Master?" "You've accomplished the impossible, child. You have ruined the biggest underground organization and all its subordinates. All there is left now are small independant operations, and you'll deal with them in time. Truly, you and your brother are miracle workers and my subjects suffer less because of you. With Black Sun's money, I will be able to lighten taxes of every kind. Perhaps I will even be able to lift them completely. But the galaxy will thank you for that because you will pay their taxes." Leia was speechless. "Isn't it the kind of justice you were seeking?" "Yes... Thank you, Master, for the galaxy." "Thank you, commander." He bowed slightly and left her dumbfounded. Luke wouldn't believe her.

Mara Jade heard the news from her master and she rushed to the medicenter. Leia was asleep, and LUke hadn't come to yet. She stroke his hair lightly, then kissed him on the lips. He reacted. She drew away and watched him as he made his way back to consciousness.
When he finally managed to open his eyes, everything was blurry. He focused on the shape closest to him, and slowly, he saw red-gold hair, then Mara's kind face came into focus. "Mara..." he whispered. "Ssshhh... don't try to speak too much ; you've been through surgery before your swim." *Where's Leia?* "Right here, welcome back, Brother. Have you slept enough now?" *I still feel tired.* "It's normal after all the blood you've lost." "I heard about your success, great job!" *We did it?* "Yes, we destroyed Black Sun completely. The Emperor told me that we were miracle workers. Father too." "They did---aaah!" "Told you not to speak, farmboy." "Did you really expect him to heed your words, stubborn as he is?" The two women laughed while he moaned in pain. "They did ; furthermore, the Emperor told me that Black Sun's money would pay every citizen's taxes, and he thanked us and bowed his head to me!" *What??* "And he came in to check on you. He said that he didn't want to loose one of his best agents." *I don't believe it.* "That's a first... I've never seen or heard that he'd worried about one's health, much less bow his head to a servant... I guess it means that he respects you... in his own way of course." *Of course...* "So, what now?" *We rest a bit.* "You rest. I'll clean up the planet. Would you like to join me, Mara?" "As long as he's incapacitated, there's nothing else to do of my nights. I'm in." *Mara, I'll get you for that.* "You've said it before, love." "Watch out, Mara. He can be very stubborn and determinate... like for insisting that I finish the mission while he's bleeding to death." she turned a stern look at her brother. *Hey, I'm here, right?* "Yeah, he's even stubborn enough to resist death. I'll watch myself when you're around, Skywalker." "Well, not today at least." She kissed her brother's forehead. "Be a good boy and rest, Brother." Mara leaned down and kissed him. *Heal fast, love. I missed you.* *I missed you too.*

Two weeks after completing the clean up, they were well rested. They'd gone to entertaining places, spent lazy evenings, did what they'd wanted to do during their long months away from Coruscant, and naturally, Luke and Mara enjoyed each other's company. Now, they were ready to take on their next mission: bringing down the smuggling business so that transport rates would be accessible for everybody.

Their first target was the Smuggler's Moon. Their strategy was that Luke would insert a special program that would sound an alarm for an Imperial attack. They worked together on creating the program, then they acted. The smugglers ran to their ships, lifting off on record times. and got hit by improved ion weapons, then hauled into the darkened hold of the ship. Luke and a big team of pilots used the modified underground ships they'd captured and shot every ship that was clearing the lower atmosphere. Leia was in the hangar, wearing infra-red goggles and reaching out with the Force, telling her teams which ones were prisoners, and which ones weren't. There weren't that many innocents. The operation was big, but it was well managed and gave results. Even the clean up, which was a daunting task because of the size of the moon, went well.

Smuggling groups had been falling one after the other, and they were now down to picking on smaller groups. Luke had infiltrated their new target and was now waiting for a good opportunity to flush them out. He was lounging around, assuming an unworried attitude when he noticed a black jacket over a white shirt. He turned toward it, but missed the face of the man by a millisecond. He casually looked around, trying to spot a gigantic Wookiee, but he didn't see any. He must've been wrong.
But he hadn't. He was heading toward his ship, ready to start the operation, when he recognized the Millenium Falcon among the ships. He crept closer... It had been Han, and he was babying his ship like he used to. Luke smiled, thinking that some things never changed... then he frowned. If Han was going to flee with the others, he'd get ionized, Leia might not recognize him, and he'd disappear with the other prisoners. There was only one way to avoid this mistake. Luke approached his friend stealthily, silently, until he was right up behind him. As Han stiffened and turned, his hand dropping to his blaster, Luke hit him with a bladed hand to the neck. The older man collapsed, unconscious. "Sorry Han..." No choice, really ; somebody might've heard a stun blast. "It's good to see you again." He carried Han inside his ship and quickly programmed it for lift off and a course toward the flagship. Then, after making sure that nobody was around, he brought his friend to his ship and, reluctantly, tied him up and secured his chair in a position turned away from the cockpit. He lifted off, clearing his ship through the web of fighters, and headed for space. *Leia, I've found Han.* *You have?! How is he?* *Furious about his current situation. I'm bringing him aboard.* *I can't see him right away... Take him to a cell, I'll see him after the operation.* *... Okay, you're the boss.* He activated the program and the free-for-all started.

Han didn't know what'd happened to him. He'd been fixing his ship when he'd thought that he'd heard someone behind him, then nothing. He was tied in a chair, and tried as he might, he couldn't see his kidnapper. He thought that is was strange that the man hadn't come to see him and crow at him, nor had he hurt him again. He could hear the other's breath, but that was it. They landed and guards dressed in black came in, hauled him up, kept him from looking toward the cockpit and took him to a cell. Once alone, he thought back to the past afternoon: he'd thought he'd seen Luke Skywalker in the gang... but the man had been too well built, uncaring and darker haired to be his long lost friend. From the corner of his eye, he'd looked so much like the earnest boy he'd known... and his thoughts drifted to Leia. 'Forget it all, Solo. She's dead ; they're both dead.'
A while later, guards brought him in a well furnished room. Han expected trouble, so he put on his sarcastic face. "Leave us, please." Wait a--- he knew that voice. "Yes, Commander." He turned toward the voice. A small, slight woman was staring out a window, her long, chocolate hair flowing down her back over a deep blue sea gown. She turned toward him and he caught his breath. "Hello, Han." Her voice hadn't changed. "Leia??? But--I--You're---" "Dead?" She didn't move. "In a way, I am, Han... but only for the rest of the galaxy. Inside the secret, and myself, I'm still the same Leia." She did look the same, and she still hadn't moved from her spot. He recognized her diplomatic tact. "What happened to you? and Luke?" "We... we were force to join the Emperor. He trained us as Jedis and agents." "Jedi? You are a Jedi?" She lifted a finger and his bonds fell from his wrists. He looked like he was about to collapse. "Sit down, please, before you faint." she smiled gently, and Han still wondered if it was ruse or if she really meant her gentleness. He sat down. She came closer. "I suppose that Luke is also a Jedi." "Yes, but don't worry, we are not Dark Jedis like F--Vader." He looked at her doubtfully. "Where is Luke right now?" "He's here, with this group. He's the one who brought you in. He said that he was sorry for hitting you, but it was the most silent way to do it. How is your neck?" "A bit sore." he admitted. "Wait here." She went in the medcenter and collected ice. She could feel Han's confusion and hoped that she'd be able to make him see the truth of her words. She came back and moved behind him, delicately setting the ice on his neck. "Better?" "Uh... Yeah..." "I'm sorry we didn't bring you any before, but we were in the middle of an operation." "What kind of operation? What are you doing out here?" She sat on the couch beside him, but kept a respectful distance between themselves. "I suppose you've heard about those elusive heroes who are acclaimed all across the galaxy..." "The Justice Makers?" She nodded. "Who hasn't heard about them?" "Well, we are the Justice Makers, Luke and I, along with those men you saw." "You??? You were the ones who brought down all those imps and Black Sun?" "Mm mmm, and we're now bringing down the smuggling business." He thought about it for a moment. If this was true, they might just still be their old selves. Then a smile appeared on his lips. "what's funny?" "I can't imagine Luke doing all the things I've heard." She smiled back. "You'd be surprised... He's extremely competent now." "I'll judge that for myself." he said, smirking. Oh, how she'd missed that smirk. "Don't try him too hard or he might hurt you. I don't want to see my brother send the man I love flying into a wall." Woah, the right angles were coming too fast now. "What did you say? Luke is---" "My twin brother, and I love you, Han Solo." She leaned closer and kissed him tentatively. Han recovered and kissed her as he drew her to him. *I'm so sorry I never told you when I could, Han.* He drew back, startled to her her in his mind, then touched her face lovingly. "I thought every day about you." "Me too." They kissed again. "Han, is Chewie here too?" "He's dead... Jabba killed him when I paid him... said it compensated for my delays..." "Oh Han... I'm sorry... you know, Luke kind of avenged you since he killed Jabba." "Yeah... I still can't believe that you're alive." "I can prove it to you, Captain." She kissed him again passionately and undid his shirt. She explored his chest and attacked his belt. Han was stunned by her behavior, so unlike the haughty princess he remembered. "This princess has mellowed, Han." "Can you hear my thoughts?" "When I want to. Love me, Han. I've missed you so much." Han obliged her.

The next morning, they joined Luke for breakfast. It had indeed been him that he'd seen in the lounge. Neither man knew how to react. They shook hands. "Hello, Luke... You've become a great actor." "Thanks, sorry for hurting you yesterday." "It okay." Then, Han couldn't resist it anymore and pulled Luke in a bear hug. "It's so good to see you again, Kid, and alive." Luke hugged him back. "It's good to see you again too, Han." As he drew away, Han tried to punch him, but he blocked the hit and stopped his own fist from hitting his friend in the stomach. Han saw it too. "Wow, Kid!.. That was fast!" Luke relaxed. "What was that all about?" "Uh... Paying you back for yesterday." "And testing you." Leia added. "I told you that he was dangerous." She pinched Han's arm. "Ouch! All right, now I believe you. Sorry, Kid... It's just--" "I know, I know... I was a fumbling idiot when we last saw each other. Leia and Mara have laughed about that often enough." "Mara?" "His lady." "Ooh... What is she like?" "A red-gold haired, magnificient and unique woman." "Then I hope you'll introduce me to her." "I will, but I suggest you restrain your scoundrel sweet talks ; she won't fall for them... she's an imperial assassin." "What? Aren't you afraid of her?" "No, that's her job, and I'm not her job. Besides, Leia and I are as dangerous as her now." Han turned toward the princess, ralizing what her brother was insinuating. Leia saw his surprise. "I didn't kill you, did I, my love?" Han recovered his composure. "So, the two of you are imperial assassins?" "Not really... We don't kill innocent people--" "Or disloyal imps. We only deal with missions that'll improve the galaxy." "But we have the same training than Mara." They came up to the cafeteria and Han had another proof that his friends were still good ; the atmosphere was one of friendship and sharing, like during the rebellion. They all sat with troops and talked with them. Luke told them that they were off for another smuggler base, and others asked them about their new companion, if they'd seen the latest rumors, and other light subjects. While his friends chit-chatted with their troops, Han got up to get another serving of the surprisingly excellent food. Not at all like what he remembered of his cadet training. He took the opportunity to ask a man how he'd describe his commanders. "Sir, the commanders are incredible. They are very close to us and are unlike any imperial officer any of us has ever had. They are warm, kind, and human. During the missions, they are completely different though." "How different?" "Well, seeing them sitting with us and looking like teenagers, you'd never think that they are both lethal weapons, both with and without weapons. They have strange powers, and they can bear amazing wounds before collapsing ; they are dangerous people. "And you're not afraid of them?" "Not at all. They are only dangerous if you are a scum of the universe." He leaned closer. "They have both been through a lot, and sometimes we can see shadows of the past in their eyes, but most of the time, they smile and laugh with us. Everybody aboard this ship is honored to work with them, and we all trust them without question ; they are remarquable." "Thank you." Yep, everything matched. His friends hadn't lied. And they really were his old friends, considering that ant what Leia'd said about the Rebellion... things only she and Luke would know, and that nobody would've bothered to pull from their memories.

Later, back in Leia's quarters, they all sat together. "Who is the Fire?" Han asked. "I am. I specialize in direct attack." "So, you're the Flame?" "I work behind the scene, infiltrating. But I also see action." "And I also infiltrate." "Our skills differ---" "When we work separately." Han laughed. "You two really are twins. How did you find out anyway?" Their mood darkened a bit. "Look, if it's a secret, I--" "No, it's not that." Luke said. Leia took Han's hand in her own and took a deep breath. "Han... there's something... I haven't told you..." "When Vader captured us, he compared our genes ; that's how we descovered about us." "But we've also learnt about our father... Anakin Skywalker--" "Who became Darth Vader." Han satred at them, unable to believe them. "He already knew that I was his son... that's why he was hunting me down... During Leia's 'debriefing', he noticed how much she looked like Mother, or so he said. He proved to me that he was my father, then did the same with Leia." "He's changed since then, Han." Han digested all that, then he stopped on a word. "Don't tell me that he tortured you again!" "No... He tortured Luke in front of me... until I had revealed every secret I knew... I had no choice." "He tortured his own son!?" "He had to obey the Emperor... but he dumped me ina bacta tank afterward." "Generous of him." Han said sarcastically. "We thought so too." Leia said. "When you said you were force to join the Emperor... how did it happen?" Luke shut his eyes in remembered pain and Leia looked down. "The same way he broke me. All I had to say was that we'd be his and Luke's pain would stop..." "You had no choice... Did you resist him?" "I did... and I decided that I'd never do that again..." "He set very strict rules at the beginning, but as we progressed, we earned back some freedom." "He never forced us to turn to the Dark Side though." "Why didn't you try to escpae? Why don't you do it now?" "He trapped us." they both said. "At first, we were always escorted everywhere, then we discovered that if we did escape, Vader would find us easily now and we'd live to suffer the consequence..." Luke started. "Then, when he made us active agents, it was clear that if we escaped,t he galaxy would suffer because of us, and if one of us escaped, the others would be tortured until he or she returned... and before you ask, if one of us disobey, the others pay." Leia finished. "So you just serve that monster?!" "What we do brings good in the galaxy." "And we are happy that way." Han got up, looking at his friends. "Happy? Happy?! You are not happy! You're slaves!" We know that, Han. Belive me, it's not easy to accept." Luke said. "But you did! I can't believe you--" "Han, we understant how you feel... we both cried many times because of it." "But unfortunately, it is the only way available for us. As long as we please him, we are fine, and the galaxy profits from it. The best way to deal with that is to adapt to the situation. If we could, we'd leave, but we can't and that's it." Luke said, getting up. "We've learnt to do our best for ourselves and for the universe." "Well, I couldn't do it." "Are you sure about that?" Luke asked. "Yes, why do you ask?" "Because it is your only option too." "What?!" "Han," Leia said "you can either choose to stay with me and become part of your team, or we send you in jail with the next transport, and we don't want to do that." "But if I stay with you, I'll become like you..." "Better than being a prisoner, buddy." "I won't be able to obey that snake!" "Han..." "Han, let me show you something. Relax your mind..." Luke showed him his time in 'discipline' and made him feel the pain he felt, for just a few seconds. "Aaah!!" Han breathed heavily, then looked at his friend, understanding. "YOu didn't really feel that, Luke?" "I still remember it vividly, Han. It's what he calls discipline. What you felt, I felt it for 24 hours." "What?! How--" "That's the only thing I had to do..." "The Emperor believes that the more painful a lesson is, the longer it is remembered... Han, if you stay with me, with us... you'll have to please him or he'll kill you or hurt me... but if you leave me, you'll hurt me even more than he'll ever be able to. I love you, Han. I've loved you for years and I want to spend my life with you. I want to share this work with you. Please..." "Leia..." "Think about it, please." She kissed him and he held her for a very long time, until he remembered Luke... who had disappeared. "Where did he go?" "Back to his rooms." "I never heard him." "We are like ghosts, Soo." "Well, you sure aren't a ghost right now." He kissed her again.

A while later, he went to Luke's apartments. He found him training. He was bare torso, and Han could see the straining muscles under his tanned skin. The Kid had really grown since Hoth. "Hi, Han." "Hi, you've really changed since Hoth, Luke." "I'm still the same farmboy underneath." "I see... how do you do that?" "Do what?" "YOu speak will doing sit-ups, and you're not even winded." "I'm in shape." "I can see that... was that part of your training?" He sat up and looked at his friend. "What's on your mind, Han?" "Can't you tell?" I would not invade your thoughts like that. I only do it in missions." "Oh... What was your training beside Jedi skills?" "Well, we learned hand-to-hand fighting technics, computer and languages skills, piloting skills, spying and undercover strategies, battle strategies, mechanics, and I learned protocol. We also learned how to use any kind of weapon." "Quite complete... How long did it take you?" "Around six months, why? Have you made your decision?" "Oh, there's no problem making up my mind... your sister is too irresistible to abandon her, but I'm still doubtful about the rest." "Han, turn on the data pad on the table." "Uh?" "Turn it on and watch it. It won't bite you, you know?" he smiled. Han did as he was told and his eyes widened when he saw the welcome screen. He looked back at his friend. "I told you that it was not easy for us. This is my way to deal with my tendency to resist. In a way, you only have to bear up with it in his presence, then you are back to your own self." "If I stay, do you think that I'll go thorugh a similar training--" "No, you will be with Leia and you'll be an officer during the operations, but she and I will still be his commanders because we can do more than the average. No offense meant, Han, but we use the Force a lot during those missions..." "So I won't be along to protect her." "She'll probably protect you, Solo." Han still seemed dubious. "Would you like to see us in action?" "Yes... I think that'll be the only way to change my perception of you." *Feel like some practice, sis?* *You bet. See you in five.* He stood up. "Come with me." As Han followed his friend, he noticed all the faint scars that covered his back. He winced ; he hadn't realized the pain that his friend had born.
Leia was waiting for him, barefoot. "We'll have a public this time." Luke said. "I'm honored." she said, winking at Han who sat down, not knowing what to expect. The twins face each toher, circling, and Leia attacked. Luke blocked and attacked, and Leia parried, and so on. Han had never seen anybody move so fast, let alone two. They were serious, but they didn't show any sign of anger or agression.
After 2 hours, they stopped fighting, clapped 2 high fives and smiled. Han was staring at them, incredulous. He'd seen them but still couldn't believe it. They were astounding... And Luke had said that they'd learnt to use any kind of weapon... They were indeed extremely competent and above the average. "Han, you okay?" Leia asked. "Yeah... yeah. That was amazing! You're so fast! Is it the Force?" "No, it's practice and practice, and more practice." "Wow! You'll have to teach me that!" "With pleasure." "Luke is the expert, so I'll let him teach you." "Okay."

Later that night, Han sat in Leia's common room. He still had trouble thinking about the Kid as an expert, even less the miracle worker he'd become. Somehow, he was less surprised about Leia, but Luke... Suddenly, music drifted from somewhere in the apartments and he turned toward its possible source. He gaped as he saw Leia ; she was wearing her dancing girl costume and was dancing in a ravishing way. She moved forward toward him and danced for him for long minutes. Han was thunderstruck. When the music stopped, she collapsed gracefully in front of him and they locked gazes and she didn't need the Force to know that he loved her. They moved toward each other and met in the middle, kissing ferociously, with all their passion.

Later, while resting in Leia's bed, Han cleared his mind of questions and asked her about what she'd meant about Vader changing since Hoth. She told him about his apologies after Hoth, then how he really seemed to care about them once they were in the Emperor's custody. Also, how he gave them gifts to make their life more comfortable and how, recently, he told them about his being lighter than before. Han gaped. "I can't believe it..." "We couldn't either, but he really is like a father with us now." "Who else knows about that?" "Mara and the Emperor." "Real hush-hush stuff, uh?" "Yes, because we are a secret. Even our men don't know our full names, and we try not to use our names in front of them." "I see... So what do I do now that I'm staying with you?" "YOu do?" She grabbed his head and kissed him. "Mmm, my dream has come true. I'm not leaving you again." "Oh, Han..." She rolled on him and kissed him deeply. *I love you so much, Han.* He broke the kiss. "That's a neat trick... you don't have to speak to communicate your words?" She kised him again. *No, it saves breath for something better.* He could only moan in agreement.

Weeks later, they came back to Coruscant. The smuggling business was down. Han had seen them after they'd come back from missions. Sometimes, they were fine, sometimes they weren't. He'd blistered the first time he'd seen Leia wounded, but when he'd seen her all healed up the next morning, he'd become less agressive. Luke had also amazed him when he'd come in, walking on a leg with a deep cut. What he'd loved most about their missions was to watch Leia as she dressed for undercover missions, concealing weapons while looking absolutely magnificient. It was funny too to watch Luke change styles and attitudes every few days. As he'd said, he was still the stubborn farmboy he'd known though. Leia had told him about his stubborness and resilience, and Luke ahd told him about Leia's still adamant determination. Now, they were on their way to visit 'daddy' Vader, and Leia could feel Han's fright. She squeezed his hand reassuringly.
Even though she'd told him about Vader's new attitude, Han still found himself gaping in surprise. "It's good to see you again, children. I hear you've completed your mission. Congratulations!" "Thank you, Father." "In fact, we've completed a personal one as well." Leia said, pulling Han forward. "I can see that, Captain Solo, right?" "Uh,... yes." "I could feel an emptiness in Leia's heart before,.. but it's gone now. You fill it up." "I love him, Father." "And I love her too." "I want him to live with me." "In other words, you want the Emperor to accept him." He sat down and invited them to do the same. "Tell me, Captain, how do you feel about working for the Emperor?" "Uh... well... If I can be with Leia that way... I'll do it." "Mmm, good enough... as long as you stay in line." "We'll help him." Luke said. "I don't see why there should be any problems, but make sure you call him: "Sir." to show that you know the rules, and practice your curtsey. You'll have to bow to him. I suppose that Leia told you about his rules." "Yes,... Sir." "Follow them and you won't have any problems." "I will,... Sir." "Good, but I can feel that it won't be easy for you... you'll have to help him." he said to his children. "We will, Father." they both said.

Two days later, after receiving their new assignment: whichever they wanted it to be, and they wanted to take care of each planet in turn, they introduced Han to their master. The Emperor looked at the tall man and Han squirmed under his gaze. "What would you do with him if I'd allow him to stay with you?" "He'd be one of our officers, Master. He is a natural leader, a hotshot pilot, and a fine strategist." "I see." The Emperor rose from his seat and came closer to the pilot. "Are you aware of my rules, and the rules protecting the Justice Makers?" "Yes... Sir." "And you will abide by them without any resistance?" "Yes, Sir." "Good." He turned toward Leia. "Commander, if you take this man, you will take precautions ; you cannot have children." "...Yes, Master." "Captain Solo may live with you and take part in your operations." "Thank you, Master." He turned back toward Han, and Luke nudged his friend with the Force. "Uh,... thank you, Sir." "I will speak with Commander Fire. You are dismissed." Leia bowed respectfully, Han a little bit less so, then they turned and left hand in hand. "Your sister really loves him." "Yes, Master." The Emperor went over his window. Luke didn't know what to expect. "I am very pleased with you, young Skywalker. You've become my best agent ; you've accepted your situation and you've even helped your friend to accept it. More over, you are loyal, dedicated and cunning, and very enduring I'm told." "Thank you, Master." "I have decided that one of my agents would be transferred in your team ; Mara Jade will be permanently assigned to the Justice Makers." Mara stepped out of the shadows, as surprised as Luke was. "Mara--thank you, Master." he said, smiling for the first time at the Emperor. Mara came to stand beside him. "Thank you very much, Master." she said. He turned toward them. "You deserve it, both of you. You have earned it. Go now, and do not disappoing me." "We won't, Master." they both said.

They exited the room and fell into each other's arms, smiling and expressing their joy. Luke spinned with her in his arms. Han and Leia came around the bend and watched them. "Well, I guess that this means that he didn't rebuke him." "Hmm, mmm, and I suppose that this is Mara." "Yes, come on, let's see what this means." As she came closer, she heard Mara say: "You truly are a miracle worker, Skywalker." and she kissed him quickly. "What happened in there?" "He's just made Mara a permanent part of our team." "Oh, guys! This is wonderful!" Leia said, hugging them both. "What is so wonderful about it?" Han asked. "They'll also live together, Han." "Oh... then congratulations!" "Thanks, Han. Mara, this is Han Solo. He's my best friend... and an okay pilot." "What do you mean okay pilot? I--" "Pleased to meet you, Solo." She offered her hand and Han shook it, focusing on her. "Pleased to meet you too, Mara." Then he focused back on Luke. "What do you mean, Kid? I can fly circles around you no problem!" "Don't bet on that, Solo." Mara said as they walked toward the turbolift. "I thought so too, but farmboy here is an incredible flyer." Luke noticed that people around them could hear their conversation, and Leia was talking about their last mission. He cut her off. "Let's save that for until we are home, uh?" Leia looked around them and agreed.

As soon as their door closed, Leia told Han what she'd started to tell him as they sat down in the living room. "His flying skills were the reason why he was the one picking of the ships during the smuggler operations." "He's unequaled." Mara agreed, then dropped a double thermal detonator. "No wonder that the Emperor told him that he was his best agent." Han turned toward Luke in surprise, and caught the blush on the Kid's cheeks. "What makes you the best?" he asked his friend. "I dont know, I--" "I do." Mara said eagerly. "He's strong, determinate and stubborn, more so than anybody I've ever met." "And he's extremely strong in the Force, he puts his heart in what he does, he's dedicated and his very, very enduring." Luke was scarlett now. Han laughed. "I think you've said enough ; it you continue, he'll melt down." The two women laughed with him while Luke recovered his composure. "They're exagerating, Han, I'm not--" "Then how do you explain that Black Sun incident? It's enough to prove that you're the most stubborn of us all." Leia asked. Before Luke could defend himself, Mara cornered him. "How about his endurance with that Nal Hutta's thing?" "And that strenght thing against the Wookiee?" "You beat a Wookiee?" "Not really, I--" He moved to stand up, but Mara held him down and put her hand on his mouth. *Mara!* "He did!" "Wow! What else did he do? I want to know everything." "Not much, Han. It's al-- *Stop it, Jade!* *No, you deserve praise and you'll get it now.* *I'm not that extraorinary ; you and Leia are too.* *You really are the best, and you'll accept it.* Leia had started the accounting from the beginning, when he'd begged her not to give in, then continued with each amazing thing he did. When he seemed submitted enough, Mara let go of him ; but every time that he started to say something, she silenced him again. Han was listening to every word, enraptured by the story. At one point, he looked at Luke who was being silenced by his lover, while they were saying how dangerous he was. It was funny to see him being controlled by his girlfriend, while it was obvious now that he could fight her off if he wanted to. He remembered that he was a tough cookiee, but there was tough and tough. When the story ended, Han had a new respect for his friend. "It could apply to them too, Han." "On a lesser degree only." Leia said. "Would not!" "Would too!" the two women said. Luke subsided and Han laughed. "Gods, I'm starving. How about grabbing some lunch?" Mara asked. "Absolutely, today calls for a celebration!" She got up and went over to the unit to order a gourmet meal. Mara stood up and grabbed Luke's shirt to haul him up. "Excuse us a moment." *Come with me, farmboy.* Han watched them as his friend followed the fiery woman to his room. The door closed and a second later, he heard something heavy hit the floor. Leia came back to sit beside him. "Well, looks like the mighty's fallen." "Very true." He leaned toward her and captured her lips in a passionate kiss.
Luke followed her docilely in his room. As the door closed, she pulled him to her in a swift move and topped him before he could react. She straddled his chest and kissed him deeply. *I'd forgotten how much I love you Luke.* *Meaning?* *If I could, I'd have you for dinner.*

They shared a most wonderful dinner. While the twins warned their people about imminent departure for after tomorrow, Han found himself alone with Luke's lady. "It was very funny to watch you restrain Luke before dinner." "Oh, he's too modest for his own good." "He's always been... How did you meet him? If that's okay with you." "I brought him to my master. Our first meeting was... peculiar, to say the least." "Peculiar?" "I drew his sheets off him and found myself thunderstruck by his body, then I pulled him out of the room by his hair." "Peculiar indeed, like meeting under attack in a detention block." "You were part of that crazy rescue mission of his?" "Yes... what happened next?" "When I saw his eyes... all my barriers crumbled and I fell for him... and I'm still falling... there's something about him... them, that changes everyone around them..." "Change?" "I fell in love when I was a cold, dispassionate murderer ; Vader didn't try to exploit them and mellowed ; and the Emperor cared enough about Luke to check on him when he came back from Xizor's palace and bowed his head to Leia. He's never checked on an agent's health, nor has he ever bowed his head even slightly to anyone... the final proof is my reassignment. Normally, all agents are single, and no agent live with another one." "Strange... must be their compassion." "Or their presence through the Force..." "Do you love Luke?" "More than anything else. And you and Leia? How did it happen?" "It's along story." "We have time." "Well, it all started when she and Luke came back from her cell..."

Along with Leia and Han, Luke and Mara travelled all over the galaxy to head off reported problems on the planets. They were never through their job: there were many planets to take care of, and after a while, bad guys always rose to the occasion. They were less numerous by fear of the Fire and the Flame, but some didn't think that they'd get caught. They were wrong. Along theyears, their missions varied from undercover, to commandos, to formal functions. Han adpated quickly to his new life and trained with Luke to learn his fighting techniques, and Leia practiced a lot with him to help him improve. He became very good in a very short laps of time, and the four of them became a dream team. They were happy, except for the facts that they often got hurt and couldn't have children... But it was the price to pay for their happiness...

Luke heard the call of an animal by his window. He slowly opened his eyes. Yavin was already small in his window. What time was it anyway? He checked his chrono...1100. How did he sleep for so long? His students must've tried to wake him up... or perhaps they hadn't. He watched the fiery ball disappear from his window as he remembered his dream. Reality was better than what could've happened. His sister was better off, and they were free, all of them. Sure, it would've been easier for Mara and him, but to what price?.. Besides, anything could happen... you never knew what the future had in store for you... 'Enough philosophy, farmboy. Time to get up.' As he got dressed, he tought that sending Jedis on troubled planets would be a great way to make them justice makers... And that he should really think about including hand-to-hand combat techniques in their formation. It was another way to avoid killing your enemies when you didn't have to. And, he'd have to train himself with Mara when she'd come back. He was getting rusty.


Copyright 1999, Skyjade