Disclaimer: I own nothing, just playing in the sandbox. Chapter 1 Not for the first time, Baron Soontir Fel stared the bundle of blankets in his arms and wondered what he was doing. The glare on the infant’s face left no doubt of her parentage. He’d seen that same glare on his old classmate’s face many times. Even at just 5 months old, the child was a born fighter. She never failed to spit up on her captors, and his men had taken to drawing straws to determine who would change her diaper. Every weapon at her disposal was used to great effect. Had the situation not been so serious, he might have spared a chuckle at the idea of the galaxy’s finest troops being intimidated by an infant. But this was no ordinary infant, this was Jaina Solo. He glanced down at her, and the severity of the glare only increased. As a father himself, he never wanted to know the feeling of his children being kidnapped. And yet, somehow, he’d done this to someone else. As the bile rose in his throat, a tiny hand smacked his chin, and Jaina’s glare softened. She considered him quietly for a moment, looking at him in a way that made him feel like she was looking straight through him. A quiet burp was his only warning that trouble lay ahead. Smiling ruefully, he wiped the mess from Jaina’s mouth and resigned himself to yet another uniform change. Two uniform changes and three hours later, he made his way to a small conference room. He’d made sure Jaina was fed, changed, and comfortable, but at the moment she was inconsolable. Her wails could be heard through the entire ship, and if he didn’t know better, he’d have thought she could anticipate the meeting with Thrawn. As he entered the room, Soontir began to wish she hadn’t inherited the Solo lungs. “I see she has inherited her mother’s opinionated nature.” A raised eyebrow was the only emotion the Grand Admiral allowed as he studied the baby Soontir was holding. As he transferred the girl to Thrawn’s arms, her fist darted out to deliver a right hook squarely on Thrawn’s nose. Her wailing ceased, and the Solo glare was back in place. “I’m starting to think that she is a carbon copy of General Solo. I’d recognize that glare and right hook anywhere.” Her glare turned his direction briefly before she turned her focus back to Thrawn. “She will do perfectly, then. Order your men to cease efforts to capture the other twin. This little one is everything I had hoped for.” A silent battle of wills raged between the Imperial Grand Admiral and the Solo, a battle Jaina ended by spitting up on the Grand Admiral, a defiant gleam in her eyes. For the first time, the ghost of emotion flitted across Thrawn’s features, and he almost smiled. “Yes, she is absolutely perfect.” Soontir would not question the Grand Admiral, but he knew she was trouble. She was a Solo, and had already proven to be defiant and willful. Not only was she a Solo, she was a Solo with Jedi talents. ********************************************************* Shortly after her arrival, Thrawn used the assassination attempt by his bodyguard as cover for his move back to Nirauan. Jaina’s education was overseen by the legendary tactician, and included everything from dance to history, military tactics to art, music to science, and mathematics to life in the Imperial Court. The one piece missing was the piece Thrawn considered most critical: her Jedi training. That she had strong potential this way was no surprise given her lineage. And so it was that Soontir found himself inviting Mara Jade to Nirauan ten years after she had been overcome while trying to prevent Jaina’s capture. Thrawn insisted no one would mentor Jaina as well as the former Emperor’s Hand. He wasn’t surprised to find Jaina sitting at the edge of the hangar, looking out over the planet. She’d increasingly sought solitude as she aged, and it wasn’t hard to see that she was much more subdued than normal over the last couple weeks. What did surprise him, however, was his son’s presence next to her. He should have remembered that Jagged’s break from the academy was this week, and kept Jaina hidden. His children hadn’t been allowed to meet Jaina as a way of preventing any accidental disclosure should any of them meet someone outside the Empire of the Hand. Jagged, noting his father’s presence, whispered something in Jaina’s ear before walking over to join his father. Deciding that his discussion with the girl could wait, Soontir led Jagged out of the hangar to one of the debriefing rooms. “You have to understand that you must not whisper a word of her existence to anyone. Including family.” From the look on Jagged’s face, he knew his son would not understand. “What about her parents? Do they even know she’s alive?” From Jagged’s question, Soontir could tell that Jaina had been practicing slicing. Again. This time, it looked as though she succeeded in accessing her own file. No wonder she’d been withdrawn. “Cadet Fel, Jaina’s existence is highly classified. That you met her is unfortunate. If you compromise this, you will have destroyed everything that Grand Admiral Thrawn has worked to build, and very possibly start a war.” Soontir knew the secret of Jaina’s existence could not be kept much longer. If Thrawn was right, a war was coming. When that war came, Jaina, like her father, would be at the forefront with blaster drawn. He just needed Jagged to remain silent until then. “Can I at least see her again?” Just like that, his son went from Chiss Cadet to the little boy that just wanted to play with model fighters in the living room. His heart ached; he knew Jaina’s childhood had never been as simple as Jagged’s. She was a weapon, fashioned by Thrawn himself. Refusing to dwell on the life his actions had forced Jaina into, he put a hand on his son’s shoulder and guided him to Thrawn’s office. This would not be a determination he could make on his own.