A Tale of Two Planets
Part Seven
by Commander Wedge

Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie and Lorelei stood grouped together as the medicals carried Tesseli to the med bay. Maharba came to join the group. "Poor guy, I don't know what happened," he expressed sincerely.

"Neither do we." Han said watching as Wedge and his group left. Chewie let out a long group of grunts.

"You're right Chewie." Han said.

"What is he saying?" Lorelei asked.

"He thinks it is curious how this happened right when we are trying to have the meeting."

"A coincidence?" Maharba asked.

"Not likely," Leia replied.

Luke glanced at Wedge as he and the rest of the Rogues vacated the room. The look on Wedge's face screamed Whyren's. He looked pointedly at Han and Leia as Maharba left, "I have a very bad feeling about this."

"Yeah, me too, Luke, me too," Han said quietly.

Leia let out a sigh, "I wish I knew what came over Tesseli."

Lorelei stayed quiet, she wasn't sure of what to answer, she just kept thinking about that Nac character. Suddenly she felt a bit over heated, which was strange because the room felt fairly cool. She lifted her left hand to wipe her forehead where she felt some drops of water on her fingers, from when I almost knocked over that water, she thought to herself. She didn't pay it any mind, and continued to listen to the conversation.

Wedge, Wes, Tycho and Hobbie reached Wedge's office. After closing the door behind them, Wedge sat behind his desk, pulled out an unopened bottle of Whyren's Special Reserve and four glasses. He generously filled the glasses, handed them out, sat back and sipped at his. "I hate these diplomatic missions," he said to everyone in general, "I'd rather face a wing of TIEs by myself than sit though what's going on."

As Wedge sat drinking his whiskey, Emote came out of Wedge's bedroom and toddled over to the desk. Climbing up into Wedge's lap, he reached out and took the glass of whiskey. Sniffing it carefully, he took a sip and wrinkled his nose, "How Wedge drink that? Not smell good. Burns Emote's throat and tummy."

Wedge could not help but laugh at the last part, "Yeah, well you're to young to drink, besides, it is an acquired taste."

Emote shook his head at Wedge then reached over and opened a desk drawer and pulled out some toy snubfighters, "Wedge play fighter pilot with Emote now," the little Ewok asked handing Wedge a miniature painted to look like his own X-Wing.

Wedge took the offered toy, "Not now Emote. Why don't you go and find Emic and play with him?"

Without getting down off of Wedge's lap, Emote looked at Tycho, "Where's Emic?"

* * * * * * * * * *

Nac flaunted a proud grin on his face. Tesseli took the water, and his new plan was about to be set in action; the plan didn't go all as expected, Maharba was the one who was suppose to have the water with the high dose of the drug in it, but that Jedi girl caused him to mix up the glasses. It didn't matter though, as long as one of them was gone.

* * * * * * * * * *

Two hours later, Lorelei excused herself from the group; she, Luke, Leia and Han were awaiting the results from General Tesseli's exam, he apparently wasn't doing so good, and the doctor and med droid didn't know why. She wasn't feeling good herself. What had started as feeling over heated turned to chills; she figured maybe it was the ship's system's atmosphere, or maybe she was coming down with something, which was strange because with the Force, she had prevented many colds and sicknesses. She walked down the halls of the ship, heading for her room to lie down when she passed Wedge's office. The door was closed, but she could hear all the men she had met at the mess hall in there talking, plus a new voice, one that sounded like a child; she wanted to say hi. Maybe she could stop in for just a minute before taking a nap. She gently tapped on the door.

Tycho smiled at Emote, "He's was taking a nap in my quarters when I left. I left him in Shard's care." Shards was Tycho's astromech unit named for what was left of his home world, hid name was short for Shards of Alderaan. Tycho pulled his comlink, "Shards, is Emic awake?" The R2 unit whistled and beeped the affirmative.

"Bring him along to Wedge's office. Emote is here, and would like to see him."

Shards tootled his acknowledgement, and Tycho replaced his comlink in his pocket. "Emic will be here in a few moments," Tycho said to Emote. Then he turned back to Wedge. "I don't like this whole deal. Nac is a troublemaker, and instigator. If Tesseli has worked himself into a heart attack, then it's in part due to him. The thing I find odd is Tesseli seems to truly want this meeting, so why all the hysterics?"

Before anyone could answer there was knock on the door. Tycho said, "I'll get it, it's probably Shards and Emic." He walked over to the door and opened it to find Lorelei standing there, and coming down the hall was Shards with Emic. "Come in Lorelei," he said, and then waited for Emic and Shards to enter. Finally, he closed the door, and sat back down after seeing that Lorelei had a seat.

Lorelei sat down as the astromech and Emic came into the room. She let a little cough and smiled shyly, "I hope I am not interrupting anything," she said. "I was going to go lie down and I thought I would come by and give you a quick update on the General." Some excuse, she thought, she supposed she just needed some company. She felt uncomfortable being on this ship not knowing anyone. She hated being the 'new kid.' She rubbed her eyes a bit with her thumb and finger, then closed them after a small headache began to develop, What a time to get sick, grrr. She sensed the headache through the Force and tried to push it away, she hated doing such things, but she was not about to get sick on this trip. Maybe it was just stress from all this confusion. "The doctors can't find out anything," she started, "No cause of the coughing fit, they are testing that water he drank. We should know soon if anything was in it."

* * * * * * * * * *

Luke called a recess to the negotiations until the status of the General could be obtained. He watched Lorelei for a moment, she looked a little flushed, but she left the room before he could say anything. The Aquillan general was led to temporary quarters and the aides from Terra Firma were given likewise. In the meantime, he thought it would be prudent to put a Level Two security watch on all participants in the meetings, especially that creepy little red guy from Terra Firma. In order to get that however, he needed to see Wedge who was currently hiding in his office with a bottle of Whyren's. He walked down the hall and tapped on the door.

Emote watched Lorelei, Shards and Emic enter Wedge's office when Tycho opened the door but instead of his usual jumping down and going to his friend, Emote stayed in Wedge's lap holding on to his X-Wings. He looked at Wedge, "Someone else comes too," he said. Just then, another knock was heard at the door. "Come," Wedge called.

Wes was sipping on a glass of Whyren's trying to hold still while Emote wiggled, playing with his toy X-Wings next to him. He moved the glass to his lips again and Emote turned around and reached for the glass. "Please let Emote taste, please Friend Wes, let Emote taste."

Wes held the glass just out of Emote's reach and quickly downed what was in the glass. "Sorry, Emote, Wedge said no, so I can't give you any. Wedge, hit me with a double." Wes got his glass filled again, and again Emote reached for it. This time, Wes let him have a little sip. Emote immediately screwed up his face the best he could and spit out the mouthful of whiskey. "Nasty! Why Wedge, Wes, and Tycho like so much? That nasty!" Wes laughed, "It's like Wedge said, Emote, it's an acquired taste. In the meantime, you've got my last clean dress uniform dirty." Wes grinned.

Lorelei let out a small chuckle at the Ewok, "Poor thing," she giggled, "Had to learn the hard way about drinking." She smiled as Master Luke came in the door.

Luke walked in the door and smiled as he spotted the bottle of whiskey, and the spot on Wes's uniform. He cleared his throat, "Wedge, I think we need to put a Level Two security watch on everyone that we brought up from the planets plus all others involved in these talks, you, me, Leia and Han included. There's something here that just doesn't feel right."

Lorelei looked questioningly at the Jedi Master, "A Level Two security watch? What is that Master?"

"A Level Two is pairs of security officers are spread over the ship and when the party being watched leaves their quarters, the nearest security team inconspicuously tails them; when they get to another team's territory that team takes over. All teams report every 15 minutes," Luke explained patiently.

Wedge looked at his long time friend, "I can set that up Luke, no problem. Sit down, sorry all I have to offer you is Whyren's but Emote drank all the hot chocolate I had in here and I haven't had it replaced by supply yet." While Luke found a place to sit, Wedge got on his comm to the head of ship's security and arranged for a Level Two security watch. When asked if he were to be included in it, Wedge looked to Wes who shook his head and mouthed, "You've got the best bodyguard in the galaxy, me." Wedge smiled and told the chief no, he had his own personal bodyguard.

Luke thanked Wedge for his assistance and took the offered glass of Whyren's, "Desperate times..." he trailed off and gave Wedge a little half smile. Then remembering the other reason he had come, he turned to Lorelei, "Are you feeling well?" he asked his voice filled with concern for his young student.

Lorelei's head bolted up from the resting position on her hand. Her Master knew something was wrong, this is where the Force can be a double edged lightsaber, she thought to herself, But maybe he didn't use the Force, her pale face probably gave it away. "I'm fine," she replied, "I am sure I am just coming down with a cold or something."

She tried to sound sure of herself. Her throat suddenly felt a bit dry and she let out a cough. "Excuse me," she said quietly. She turned her glance to Emote and watched as he played with his friend.

Luke decided to trust her judgment but decided to keep an eye on her. He turned back to Wedge "What are your feelings on all of this?"

"Luke, I hate the whole idea of sitting here playing a combination of diplomat - which I am not - and guard dog, which I have from the start. The only reason Rogue Squadron was chosen for this mission is because impossible is our stock in trade. That, and we are the highest profile squad the NR has. How do you think I feel being forced into this mission?"

Lorelei listened quietly, but the talking seemed to get louder and louder in her head until she couldn't take it anymore. She pulled her self up from her seat. She seemed a bit shaky as she stood but she held her own. "I'm a bit tired, I need to go lay down," Lorelei commented quietly. *cough* She didn't mean to seem rude, leaving like she did, but she felt awful, and didn't want anyone, to see her like she was; she ran out the door, and tried to get to her room when everything went blank!

"Luke, your Jedi doesn't look too good, maybe you better go see to her," Wedge said to his friend as Lorelei rushed from the room.

* * * * * * * * * *

Leia and Han watched helplessly as they covered Tesseli's body with the sheet. Leia couldn't understand what happened, how, when.... it was horrible.

The med droid came to them. "We tried every thing, but nothing would work."

"What about the drinks? Some, my brother and General Antilles included, have reason to think the drinks were all poisoned," Leia stated.

"You are correct about that, tests have shown traces of a rare mineral, that only grows in this system, unfortunately, no one knows what it does exactly; it can be used as a poison, or a hypnotic, depending on the dosage."

"What do you mean?" Han asked.

"Well, a small dosage of the mineral will cause a slow sickness to develop; unfortunately, it will spread through out the body until the body can't function but that wasn't Tesseli's case, he took the entire dosage which started the coughing process and then his death."

"I can't believe this," Leia said, "Now what do we do?"

"I don't know yet," Han replied pulling her into a protective embrace.

"What happened to the General?" Nac burst into the med bay in a rampage. "I was just informed that the General DIED? This is an outrage! I KNEW you People were trouble!"

Continued in Part Eight