Wedge spent the next two days getting things in order, having the Wraiths assigned to the mission and finally have both squads ferry their X-Wings up to the Echoes of Endor where they all settled in to there assigned quarters and the ship's routine. They were ready for when Luke gave the word to head out.
Not long after Tesseli left the room, in walked a very beautiful woman, accompanied by a tall humanoid robot. She at first glared at the creature as she walked towards the large glass figurine made of Corellian marble, then turned towards him and commented, "Where is General Tesseli? We were to meet him here for a brief discussion."
Nac, known for being aggressive and direct, deliberately shoved the robot aside and backed her against the wall, "My lady. I will have you know that even though I am tolerating your existence here on this planet, you will be advised to not ask any questions at this very moment. You are NOT in position to do so, do you understand?" He breathed down upon her, placing his grimy hands around her delicate neck. The hold was so strong that at any moment, he could have easily snapped her in two, leaving nothing more than a crumpled body on the floor. This isn't going well as I had hoped. Han, where are you? You should have been here by now, she thought as the she started to struggle. Just then, the door opened. In walked a familiar figure.
"Get your hands of her, you incompetent fool! Do you realize that if you harm her, we'll have more of a mess on our hands than we already do?"
Meanwhile, as Wedge made his preparations for departure, Han made some final adjustments to the Falcon's control panel. He knew this mission was going to be unlike any other that he has shared with his old friends. There was a lot more at stake. "Where is that fuzz ball? He was supposed to be back hours ago with the parts I needed," he grumbled out-loud. Suddenly, without knowing why, he turned around abruptly, aiming his blaster at Luke, who had quietly walked into the cockpit. Han immediately withdrew his weapon and sighed a relief.
"Jeez, kid, you better watch how you sneak up on people. Just because you're a Jedi now doesn't mean you won't get your ass killed. You gave me a heart attack almost!" He sat in the pilot's chair and propped up his feet. "Is everyone almost ready to go? We should've left sooner than agreed, you know."
Han's thoughts must have escaped him, for Luke sat next to him and placed his hand on Han's shoulder, "Han, something is troubling you. I can sense it. You haven't been yourself since before the meeting. I know you better than this. What is really going on?"
Han looked at his old friend, looked out the window, then glanced back at Luke. He had a feeling that Luke may find out something was up, but he was hoping he could keep it quiet. At least his thoughts anyway. But when it comes to Leia and the children, Han thought, nothing is ever that easy. Not anymore. "You're right, kid. There is something going on. And I don't think you're gonna like it at all."
Dressed in a black jumpsuit and boots, Lorelei came through the docking bay with a paper containing a new set of coordinates for the jump to hyperspace. All the ships were preparing for the trip as she made her was through looking for wedge.
She found Wedge checking out one of the ships. "General Antilles!" she called out through the noise of the ship's preparations. She ran up to him and handed him the paper.
"These are the new coordinates for the jump. It was a last minute change from the planet." She didn't know why the numbers were changed suddenly, but she tried not to question it. They knew the best way around to their system.
Wedge accepted the flimsy from Lorelei, "Thank you. Don't leave yet." He looked them over and drew his datapad out of a pocket. He did some calculations on his datapad then looked to the young Jedi. "Tell Luke to meet me in my office on the double, and to bring R2," he said handing her back the flimsy with the new coordinates and then he strode off towards his office. As he walked, he keyed his comlink and told the answering tech he wanted Gate, his R5 unit, sent to his office. Wedge hoped those new coordinates had not been fed into the ship's navicomputer or given to Han yet. He called Han from the comm unit on his desk.
"You're right, kid. There is something going on. And I don't think you're gonna like it at all," Han said, but as he was about to continue, Han's comlink went off and Lorelei reentered the Falcon to see Luke.
Luke looked at her as if he was about to yell at her for disrupting the conversation.
"Master Luke, I gave Wedge the new coordinates to the system, but he needs to see you immediately, and you're to bring R2," she said quietly, as Han apparently was getting the same message over the com-link.
Luke nodded quietly and stood. He looked at Han and whispered, "This isn't over." He knew something was troubling Han, but what? Luke joined Lorelei out side. He thumbed his comlink and told one of the pilots to send R2 to meet Luke and the rest of the group in a few minutes.
Wedge didn't wait for either Han or Luke to sit down when they entered his office before he began, "I need to know where the new navicoordinates came from, who changed them and why." He eyed the two men in his office.
"There shouldn't be any new coordinates Wedge." Luke said calmly. "I didn't receive any changes."
"I did." Lorelei broke in. "I was in the communications room when R2 received the transmissions. I was told to give them directly to General Antilles."
Han looked at both Luke and Wedge. He knew Leia's plan wasn't going to get past these guys. "I can explain.&uqot; Han started. "The transmissions came from Leia..."
After the confrontation, the woman left the room. Nac walked into his private office to oversea the new construction plans. A few minutes later another creature, the same species as Nac came in the room. She was a bit fatter than Nac and a shade of blue.
" What are you doing here!? Did anyone see you," Nac asked.
"No of course not, I am not stupid," The blue creature retorted.
"What do you want?"
"Lady Solo," the creature started, "sent new coordinates to the fleet to have them come out of hyperspace on the other side of the planet to keep from raising civilian suspicion."
"That's not good, how are we suppose to have our war," Nac asked.
"Its all taken care of."
"I changed the coordinates so that they come out of hyperspace on Terra Firma's borders."
Nac has scaled face lit up at the revelation. "You are brilliant my friend. Not only will that provoke the fighters to attack the fleet, but it will also make the Republic seem too faulty for them to assist in any 'peace talk's."
"As I promised, we will have our war and make our money."
"It is not just about money my friend."
The blue creature's eyes widened and were about to protest when Nac began to talk again.
"It is about honor and revenge. Go back to Aquilla and remember, we never had this conversation."
"Then they have either been tampered with before she sent them or there were sent under duress. I've checked these out by hand and run them through Gate's astronav program. We follow these and we're in big trouble." Wedge gazed at both Luke and Han, "Trust me on this or run them yourselves. Up to you."
"Tampered with," Han said. "How do you know?"
"Wait, wait...LEIA sent them?!" Luke asked surprised. "What is she doing there?! She is suppose to be on a diplomatic mission on the other side of the galaxy and-"
"Calm down Luke. Like you said, there is more to this story than meets the eye. She wanted to be there as a rep," Han cut in.
"Yea I know, once she has her mind made up there is no changing it but if some how the coordinates were changed without her knowing, then they don't trust her and she is in trouble."
A look of worry marked Han's face, "Then what do you suggest we do?"
"These coordinates, if we follow them, will take us right through a star near the system we're headed to. Check them yourself Han." Wedge handed him the new coordinates. "You see, they are just the slightest bit off, almost enough that it's not noticeable, unless looked at by someone who is use to flying a freighter and double checking the astronav just to be sure. It's one of the things both my father and Booster pounded into my head growing up - trust your navicomputer and your astromech but when you've got the time double check the calculations yourself. As to what we should do? Set our own coordinates. As for Leia, I honestly don't know other than to hope these were tampered with after she set them and that she didn't send them under duress."
Han looked at the coordinates and was surprised to see they were wrong, just like Wedge said, "I don't believe this."
"Believe it, and that is why I didn't want Leia involved," Luke said quietly. He looked at Wedge, "I'm glad I chose you for this mission Wedge, you know your stuff." He looked at Lorelei, "Go to my ship and get a copy of the coordinates we used on our last trip. We will use them."
Lorelei nodded and left the office quickly.
"I suggest we move out now, I don't want to waste any more time. And I suggest we come out of hyperspace early instead of coming right out in the system. What do you think Wedge?"
"Coming out early sounds like a good idea; I'd say that if we dropped out at the very edge of the system, just beyond the last planet's moons, we should be able to come in with little or no detection. I'll take the fighters out then and we'll ghost with the Endor to the planets." Wedge laid out his strategy to Luke and Han. As he waited for a response, he keyed his comlink, "Captain, How close are we to being able to leave orbit?" He listened, "Make that one hour Captain." Wedge shut off his comm, "Well gentlemen?"
Lorelei walked back into Wedge's office holding a small disk. She handed it to Luke, who after checking them handed them to Wedge. "I say let's do it." Luke said. "These are our coordinates. If these aren't good enough to get us to the system, we might as well hitch hike." Luke smiled at his friend.
"Well, see you in an hour guys." Han said as he stood and stretched. I need to get back to the Falcon before Chewie thinks I left him alone to work on the ship himself.
Everyone agreed and left the office to finish getting everything ready.
Wedge went and rounded up Tycho and Wes, "We're leaving in an hour,"
he told them, "Be ready to go." He left them to tell the fighter
jocks. An hour later, in orbit around Coruscant, the Echoes of Endor
was ready to follow the navi-coordinates that Wedge had given the
captain. The Falcon was docked in one of the hanger bays and everybody
was ready. Wedge gave the Captain the order to leave the system and
his small fleet was underway.
Continued in Part Four