Not long after seeing Wedge in his office, Luke stood on the bridge of The Echoes of Endor listening to the countdown until they all came out of hyperspace - 3, 2, 1. The mottled grey turned into star lines, which eventually resolved themselves into stars. He grinned ruefully at Wedge, "I guess we'll finally find out exactly what's going on, huh?"
"I hope so, I hate riddles," Lorelei blurted out from behind Wedge and Luke as she made her way to the bridge. She looked out of the view port at the distant planets as their size grew as the ship made its way through the system. Looking at her Master, she smiled.
"I hope so. You know how much I hate inactivity and my pilots are not much better. Who's going to be meeting us now that we're here, Wormie, I mean Luke," Wedge said smiling. It wasn't often he got to tease his friend and he did it now to relieve some of the tension.
Luke looked down at the datapad he was carrying, "Hmm, well we're meeting the ambassadors from both planets at a neutral location in," he checked his chrono, and cleared his throat, "three hours. The location isn't here; I guess we have to pick one. Any ideas?"
"I'd say the most neutral place would be onboard The Echoes, right here in one of the conference rooms," Wedge told Luke. "Unless you can think of someplace better."
Leia seemed a bit hopeful with the peace talks they were about to start; the few days spending time with both leaders proved fruitful, they have been getting along without problem and she felt peace was on its way.
Leia stood with both generals on either side of her; she wore a long teal blue dress with gold trim, it was the traditional style of Aquillan dress. Her dark brown hair was braided and twisted in a bun at the top of her head.
"I still don't think this will do us any good." Terra Firma's general blurted.
"You honestly think so, Brother. We have always been good allies, at least listen to what they have to say." Aquilla's general argued, he openly used the term 'brother' as a remembrance of the friendship they once had.
Terra Firma's general agreed and smiled, "All right...Brother." The three waited for the security transport to take them to their meeting place.
Nac stayed quietly in the background as the two leaders and the New Republic representative waited for their transport. His blue friend came to him. "You wanted to see me Nac?"
Nac kindly slapped her over the head with all his strength. "YOU are an idiot. Do you know where they are going?"
"To meet with the New Republic fleet! A fleet that should have been destroyed when they fist came out of lightspeed!" Nac was furious, his red color brightened even redder with his mood. "But they weren't destroyed! Do you know why?"
"Because you gave them the WRONG hyperspace Coordinates! Why didn't you give them the coordinates to the spot I TOLD you to give them!?"
"Well, I thought it would be better to give them coordinates that would run them into a star, because it would then seem like an accident when they were destroyed; an accident on their part and---"
"Do you honestly THINK in that little nerf brain head of yours that they wouldn't figure that out?"
"What do you want me to do!?"
"Nothing!" Nac yelled. He calmed himself down and looked at his partner, "I have another idea and this time leave everything to me."
Luke stood in the shuttle bay and watched the shuttle carrying the two ambassadors come in. He watched as three figures emerge. One looked familiar... Leia? Luke was surprised, but like a good Jedi master, did not show it. So this is what Han was all worked up about he thought, as he led them to the conference room that he and Wedge had prepared. Han was waiting in the conference room already when the group entered; he immediately saw Leia, ran to her, and kissed her on the cheek. "Are you alright?"
"Han...I wasn't a prisoner, you know," Leia smiled. She looked over at her brother, quietly, while he was talking to one of the generals. He didn't show it, but she knew he was a bit shocked that she was there. Suddenly, two creatures came into the room; Han looked a bit surprised and looked at Leia.
"Those two are the advisors," Leia said quietly, pointing them out to Han. "I don't like the red one that much but that is nothing," she said smiling lovingly up at him.
As Leia commented on the red creature, Han looked up and thought to himself, Where have I seen him before? "Leia, he didn't hurt you, did he? Cause if he did..." his words broke off as Leia placed her hands on his lips, probably to keep him quiet.
"It's ok. I'll tell you about it later, all right? Let's concentrate on this for now." She glanced around the room and immediately sensed something wrong. Looking over at Luke, who obviously shared the same sentiment, she suddenly felt a presence she hadn't felt in a long time.
"Han," Leia looked up at her husband, "I hope you're ready for this because I have a bad feeling about this."
Lorelei saw Wes enter the room with his friends and she got up enough nerve to approach him, "Hello Major Janson," she smiled shyly, "I just wanted to say I am sorry if I embarrassed you at the mess hall today, I was only joking with you."
Wedge sat near the head of the conference table so that he would be sitting to Luke's right as he actually sat at the head. He watched as Luke led the delegates and Leia? into the room. He stood and waited for everyone to be seated.
Everyone began to settle into their seats; Wedge sat on Luke's right, while Aquilla's general sat on Luke's left, Leia and Han both sat on Luke's left. Terra Firma's general sat beside Wedge, and the rest of the crew involved took seats elsewhere.
Nac came into the room with a tray of drinks for the group but he didn't see Lorelei and bumped into her; he caught his balance and was able to keep the drinks from falling all over.
"Ack, you stupid girl, watch where you are going!" Nac snapped. "This is very expensive!"
"I'm sorry!" Lorelei apologized. "Let me help you-"
"No! Just move out of my way!" Nac moved past the young Jedi and placed the water on the table hand setting each glass in front of a specific member at the table.
Lorelei took a deep breath and sighed, she took a seat at the opposite end of the table, sitting between Chewie and Hobbie, and waited for the meeting to begin. This is going to be a long day, she thought. Wedge watched with interest the exchange between Nac and Lorelei. His comment seemed very strange since water was not in short supply onboard The Echoes. He picked up the glass of water set before him and under the pretence of taking a small sip he sniffed at it carefully.
"Luke," he said very quietly, without moving his mouth, "The water smells wrong." He looked around the table at his senior officers (Wes, Tycho, Hobbie) and shook his head at them as he placed his water down to let them know not to drink it.
However, the message was not passed to every member of the group. General Tesseli of Terra Firma took a sip of the water before speaking.
"Good morning everyone. I think we should get started." Wedge smiled at the Jedi Master, the Aquillan general, the Terra Firman general, then at everyone else.
Luke frowned subtlety, and sniffed the water for himself. His eyes widened just a little as he recognized the scent of a rare hypnotic drug in the water. His eyes widened a little larger and he groaned inwardly as he watched the Terra Firman ambassador take a sip. He opened his mind a little for a moment, and sensed no anxiety coming from the party from Terra Firma, but some of the things he did sense disturbed him greatly. He cleared his throat. "Perhaps we can begin by having the Aquillans tell us their side of the story, and then hear those from Terra Firma."
"Wes, get out your data pad and take notes please," Wedge directed his personal aide and friend. "This looks like it may be a long day."
General Maharba, of Aquilla, cleared his throat and looked out at the group sitting around a table. "Well, it all started about a year ago, when all supplies being imported onto our planet stopped coming; we didn't understand why so I contacted Tesseli and he claimed we didn't send out regular shipment of fresh water to his world, which is completely ridiculous!" He said with a bit of frustration.
"It DID NOT COME!" Tesseli yelled as he stood from his seat. "We got a message from YOUR government, saying all water supplies were being halted to our planet! I don't know why, we didn't do anything and my people need that water!"
Wedge cleared his throat and in a low, voice full of authority, "If you do not sit down now," he growled at the representative from Terra Firma, "I will call this meeting to an end right here and now and it will reconvene when all parties concerned can demonstrate to me that you can act in a civilized manner."
"General Antilles is right," Lorelei blurted out. She looked at both men, "You are both acting like a bunch of children," she said as nicely as she could.
"HA! Look who is talking, but a child herself! I can't believe we are here, with these people sharing our problems that are NOT their concern," Nac whispered to Tesseli as the general slowly sat down.
"Yes, but if we don't start somewhere, nothing will get done." He looked at General Antilles and forced a smile. "I AM sorry for the interruption, it won't happen again."
Han watched the interaction and stifled a yawn, this wasn't his place, and he hated these type of meetings. He continued to look at Nac and the general, something was off; the general, though with a VERY short temper, he did want to be there so why was his "advisor" trying to start something about the talks. Hmmm, he thought.
"Well, if I may continue?" Aquilla's general asked.
"Please do," said Luke with half an eye on the aide from Terra Firma.
"Well," Maharba continued. "After the mix up, I tried to straighten it all out, but then there was an attack on one of our ports; our entire water filter supply was totally destroyed."
"Yes, we bombed them, but not before their soldiers looted out section of The Greenery!" Tesseli defended.
"The Greenery?" Han asked.
"The Greenery is that large spheroid base that rotates between both planets. It is a neutral port for both planets resources are used to grow food and build tools." Lorelei spoke up.
"You have done your research," Maharba smiled.
Lorelei grinned. "What I still don't understand is why someone would loot it."
"There are many anarchists in our worlds; anyone could have done it. No matter how friendly a nation is, there is always someone trying to start trouble," Maharba explained.
"Don't tell us practically the entire New Republic fleet was called in to stop anarchists," Han blurted out in an irritated voice.
"No one called the New Republic here," Nac explained coldly.
Leia sat quietly next to Han; she slipped a soothing hand into his under the table, "Look, we only want peace. If both nations could just listen to what each other is saying, you'll see there is really no grounds for all this fighting."
Luke sat and listened to the proceedings. It was starting to sound more and more like there were factions on both planets that were trying to incite a war between them. What they would gain from that, he had no idea, however that would be the first thing to look into. Tesseli looked over at Maharba. A mournful, almost embarrassed look appeared on his face. "They are right *cough*."
Suddenly, Tesseli's throat became quite dry. *cough* "Excuse me," he said to the group.
"Are you ok, General?" Nac asked.
"Yes Nac." He coughed a bit more and decided to take some more water from his glass; he finished the entire glass and tried to calm down.
"I don't know what got into me," Tesseli proclaimed.
"It's all right," Maharba said sincerely. He then looked at Leia, "I don't really understand, we have faced all this destruction from Firma's government and-"
"We have faced destruction from yours!" Nac intervened.
"Gentlemen, please," Han pleaded, but before he could continue, Tesseli started another coughing fit.
Chewie let out a small grunt of concern.
Lorelei, also concerned, looked at Master Luke and Wedge, "General Antilles, maybe we could have a short recess," she asked shyly.
Wedge slowly nodded his head, "Meeting adjourned. Wes, call medical in here to see to the General Tesseli."
Wes stopped typing on the datapad and pulled out his comlink. "Medical, this is Major Janson down in the conference room. Please send medical assistance, ASAP."
"Acknowledged, Major Janson."
Minutes later, a 2-1B and a human doctor appeared at the door. Wes pulled the man aside. "Hey, Doc, this man has been slipped some kind of drug and he's acting crazy and can't swallow. Just be careful. If you need restraints, let me know," he said in low tones.
"Thanks, Major, I'll keep that in mind."
Lorelei slowly got up from her seat and went to Tesseli's side, "Do you need some help sir," she asked. Gently she put a hand to his back and patted it firmly to try and helped the choking, coughing the general was going through.
"No, he doesn't want help," Nac scolded the Jedi. "He is probably stressed out because you people are here." The red creature pushed her aside harshly.
Lorelei sighed and walked over to Luke and Wedge. "I don't like that creature, rude little guy," she stated quietly so not to be heard by the creature.
Wedge walked over to his senior officers, "Let's leave this mad house and go to my office. I want a drink, and not water."
"Sounds like a good plan, Boss, I could go for a Whyren's right about now myself." Wes grinned as he stood and put away his datapad.
"A Whyren's? I was thinking of at least a couple," Wedge laughed as
the four men left the conference room.
Continued in Part Seven