Reposting this fic for now, will axe if the old stories reappear. Note, word processor still macros Jedi into JedI no matter what I do. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dramatis Personae Jacen Solo Tenel Ka Chume Ta’Djo Rayne Chief of the Guard. HAPAN CABINENT Adimine - Minister of Agriculture Audre - Minister of the Treasury Borghilde - Minister of Health Gunvor - Minister of War/Defense Hulda - Minister of Intelligence Ida - Minister of Commerce Ingrid - Tenel Ka’s Chief of Staff Runa - Minister of Justice Vendla- Director of Refugee Programs “Your highness, we should-” “I decide when we leave, we will leave before too long Ingrid.” Tenel Ka interrupted. Ingrid sighed, having served the previous two queens, she had known that she wouldn’t be able to persuade Tenel Ka to leave now. She hadn’t been able to convince her parents to do anything for the sake of political expediency, much less her grandmother. Ingrid fought an involuntary shudder. Her predecessor had been in league with the attempted coup shortly after Tenel Ka lost her arm. Treason was a capital crime, but the way Ta’a Chume had her executed was something she would never forget. “Yes your highness but-” “But we have many issues within our territorial borders that require your attention.” Gunvor interrupted. Gunvor was the sole male in Tenel Ka’s cabinet, he had also served in the Hapan Army for Thirty five years. As a result he had little or no concern for civilian matters. Tenel Ka gave him an impatient glare. “Gunvor, my current directives to our fleet and army commanders will hold for at the very least a week. We will be home again with days to spare. For the time being, I have a personal issue that I wish to take care of, do not disturb me for the next three hours. That goes for you as well Rayne” she said and strode purposely away from them. When they were out of sight Tenel Ka breathed a sigh of relief. She had not been alone for three years now, even the privacy of her bed chambers or personal quarters were monitored at all time by the guard. “You are never alone here.” Tenel Ka nearly jumped when Jacen’s voice spoke to her. “You know, that is seriously disturbing when you use my likeness.” The real Jacen said. The ‘other’ Jacen gave him an annoyed expression and shimmered, becoming a twelve year old child with blond hair and blue eyes. Jacen frowned slightly but let it go. “Very well Jacen, I bid you farewell.” the boy said. Tenel Ka frowned at the image, it reminded her of Master Skywalker somehow. Jacen’s smile was strained. “Good bye Sekot.” he said as the image faded. He let out an annoyed grunt. “That image brings up to many issues.” he muttered. “Whose image was that?” Tenel Ka asked. Jacen glanced at her. “Anakin Skywalker.” he told her. One of Tenel Ka’s eyebrows arched high on her brow. “I had never considered Darth Vader as a child.” she said. Jacen snorted. “Or Ta’a Chume?” he retorted. She gave him an amused look. “They still sell holos of her as a young woman on Hapes, as well as some of my more ‘illustrious ancestors’” Tenel Ka said. Jacen stared for a second and then shook his head. "That is way more disturbing than when Sekot uses my image.” he observed. He took in her appearance. “Still wearing Rancor hide.” he observed. Tenel Ka frowned. “Did you think I would change?” Jacen shrugged. “A lot of things have changed.” he said uneasily as Tenel Ka’s expression grew disappointed. “Not everything.” she said and stepped closer. “Some things will always remain.” she said, laying her hand on his jaw line. Jacen was surprised enough that he almost didn’t react when Tenel Ka abruptly kissed him. Fortunately there was enough Han Solo in him for him to put his arms around her upper back and lower waist and respond to her kiss. When they eventually pulled away they simply stared into each other’s eyes. “I missed you dearly.” Tenel Ka eventually said. Jacen broke eye contact, more than a little ashamed. “I’m sorry I-” “I know, and I don’t blame you, I didn’t make much effort to reconnect when you returned from the . . . Dead.” she said. Jacen nodded. “I know, I actually thought I was dead for a long time.” he said. Tenel Ka’s hand gripped the back of his neck as she hugged him tightly. He hugged her and then gently broke the embrace. “Hey, its all in the past.” he said to reassure her. “And what do you plan to do now?” she asked. Jacen almost told her exactly what he told Jaina earlier, but it was Tenel Ka and she deserved to know. “Honestly I really don’t know. I told my family, and well anyone else who asked that I’d wander here and there searching for the Force.” he said. Tenel Ka smiled. “That is definitely something you would have wanted to do before the war. But-” “But the person I was is gone.” Jacen said a little more bluntly than Tenel Ka would have like. “Not entirely.” Tenel Ka said. Jacen frowned. “I’ve never directly lied to you, and I don’t intend to start, I want you to come to Hapes with me.” she said. Jacen took a step back, out of surprise more than anything else, Tenel Ka knew. “We are both different people now.” he said. “You are not terribly different Jacen, if anything you look and act more like Han than when we were children. And I have changed as well.” “I have a ship-” “Bring it, at the very least we will have a vacation, a well deserved vacation.” Tenel Ka said. “since you don’t have anything planned yet.” she said. “And I would be lying if I pretended I didn’t have designs on you.” Jacen’s opposition crumbled. He sighed and then chuckled lightly. “Alright you got me there. How long a vacation were you thinking of.” “Sixty years?” Jacen blinked and stared at her. Tenel Ka eventually relented. “A joke Jacen.” He continued to stare and then began to laugh. “A Joke!” he said with his booming laugh. He sobered. “but not completely a joke.” he said. Tenel Ka nodded. He started back toward the landing field, taking Tenel Ka’s arm as he did. “Lets tell Uncle Luke three months to start, I can’t take an indefinite vacation.” he said. “He’d probably allow a year, or even five if you asked for it.” She murmured. Jacen glanced at her. “You won’t get a year or five off. Why should I expect that?” he said. “You are not Queen of the Hapan Consortium.” Jacen smiled at her directness. “Jacen Solo.” Ingrid observed. “Indeed.” Tenel Ka said. Gunvor was happy to stay out of this conversation, Tenel Ka noted. “What sort of guest shall the guard treat him?” Rayne asked. Tenel Ka gave her a glance. “Do not ask questions you already know the answer to.” she admonished. She gave Ingrid a glare. “I will broke no interference.” she said. Ingrid nodded. “The propagation of the Royal bloodline has always been the affair of the Queen.” she observed. Tenel Ka frowned at her. “I am not presently in the intention of producing an heir, at least not now.” she said. “In that case which quarters should we provide for him?” Rayne asked. Tenel Ka considered. “Give him the quarters attached to mine, and disengage the locks between them.” she told her. Ingrid decided that further discussion was useless, and a potential hazard to herself. “The Ministers are prepare for holoconference when we arrive.” Tenel Ka nodded. “I would prefer to begin this as quickly as possible.” she said. “They are already waiting.” Ingrid told her. “I was aware.” Tenel Ka said. “My personal concerns could not wait, as selfish as that sounds.” “Definitely does.” Gunvor said. “He was about to convince himself that he needed to go on a multi year search for Force lore.” “You saying he didn’t?” Gunvor asked. Tenel Ka glared. “On what basis do you question my decisions.” she demanded, for once allowing her annoyance and mild anger show in her voice. Gunvor was unimpressed, the reason she had appointed him was that he would voice his opinions without censure or obedience to other’s wishes. “Men who return from war try to find a way to reintegrate into their previous lives, but this man lost family, was a prisoner of war, tortured physically and psychologically. Going away for a long time was his immediate way of coping with what happened to him.” “He did not require much convincing to change his plans.” Tenel Ka said. Gunvor gave her a tired- patient look. “Do you seriously think any man your age would not want to spend a vacation with you?” Gunvor said. “You are out of line.” Ingrid told him. Tenel Ka made a dismissive gesture at her. “He is in his position because he is willing to make his positions clear. Though in this case, his input is not desired.” she said. Gunvor stared defiantly. “He hasn’t had a break or real time to recover, so he has either been tempered by his experience, or . . . He could be a walking time bomb . . . Who is telekinetic.” Gunvor said. “What makes you qualified to make that judgment?” Ingrid said. “35 years of dealing with men who have experience war.” Gunvor countered. “Even the strongest men crack, and I’ve seen men crack under far less than happened to Jacen Solo. He is a potential threat.” Gunvor emphasized. “As am I.” Tenel Ka told him. “And we have contingencies if the monarch becomes insane, even for your abilities.” he said. Rayne bristled. Tenel Ka held up a hand to forestall the explosion Rayne was prepared to unleash. “I am aware of that Gunvor, and I have always known about the mad monarch contingencies. Jacen does not pose much more risk than the Consortium already has concerning me. And before me for at least five generations the Monarch has been mildly Force Sensitive.” That statement drew their attention. “Wait, Nika’rosh was . . .” “Yes, though she was never a Jedi, Jedi are not the only group of Force Sensitives aside from the Sith.” Gunvor grunted. “Well it doesn’t matter much then, though it still leaves you with whatever psychological baggage he has.” “I am not without my own problems.” Tenel Ka said. “You were not captured, tortured, . . .or whatever else they did to him. I saw that man meditating without a shirt, scars like that come from prolonged torture.” Gunvor said. Tenel Ka felt her stomach sink as she recalled the pain she had felt from Jacen before he vanished, two years ago. “I knew that Gunvor, I and his family could feel what they were doing to him before he was . . .blocked from the Force.” Gunvor stared her down and then nodded. “Very well my Queen, I will not continue my reservations.” he said. He glanced at the viewport. “We’ve arrived anyway.” he said. Tenel Ka followed his gaze, seeing the assembled Marines and Spacers. She frowned. “Very well . . . Gunvor, for the future leave orders that a Royal boarding ceremony is no longer necessary outside of the Cluster.” “They will ignore it but very well my Queen.” “You changed your mind.” Leia said. Jacen shrugged. “Tenel Ka was persuasive.” he said. “Come on Leia, kid deserves a vacation.” Han said. Jaina snorted. “We all do, Dad, but what does Tenel Ka really want out of him?” Jaina asked rhetorically. Jacen frowned at her. “First you think I’m nuts for wanting to delve the mysteries of the Force . . .” Han rolled his eyes “ . . . But wanting to spend a vacation with Tenel Ka somehow has convoluted motives. Make up your mind.” “I think it’s a good idea.” Han said. “You just want to be a grandpa.” Jaina retorted. Jacen and Leia both gave her varying glares of annoyance. “Hey! Han Solo is never going to be anyone’s Grandpa!” Han said. “So if I have a children, their rotten old Grandpa . . .” “Jaina!” Leia said in a warning tone. “Tenel Ka is you friend, one you have wronged more than once.” she said. Jaina withered slightly. “True, so how do we know this isn’t some sort of revenge-” “Your not fooling me Jaina, I know better, and you know better.” Jacen said sternly. Leia and Han exchanged glances. “Jaina appears to think I can be manipulated like I used to be. Whatever happens between myself and Tenel Ka is our business, not yours, I do not require nudges in the form of reverse psychology. Beside, I can convince Jag in 3 or 4 minutes that he shouldn’t let you out of his sight. I might even do that.” “Hey lets not get too extreme. Tenel Ka is one thing, I mean definitely a keeper, but keep Jag out of this outfit, he’s just bad news.” Han said. Jaina almost screamed her reply. “The hell he is! That’s it, I’m finding Jag and I’ll leave what I’ll do next to your imagination Dad!” “Jaina get back here!” Leia demanded futilely and then began to chase her. Jacen glance at Han. “ Thanks for the support Dad.” he said. “No problem, If you want to bag a Queen I say go for it.” Jacen frowned. “Dad this isn’t about-” “I know Sprout, it wasn’t that way with your mother, well after the first couple months anyway.” Jacen gave him a perturbed glance. “Dad, I honestly am going there for vacation.” “A vacation with a tall, athletic red head, who is probably my best bet for becoming Grandpa.” Han deadpanned. Jacen sighed. “Worst part is Jaina still thinks she got the manipulative genes from Mom.” Han gave him his ‘who me’ look. “Oh stuff it Dad.” “Name the first boy after me.” “Watch it old man.” “This will be our last War meeting. As such Gunvor will begin.” “Very well your Highness. Our casualty list for the Battle of Coruscant is complete to this date.” he said with a pained expression. “We lost forty capital ships and thousands of Marines, Soldier and pilots. Or numbers are three hundred thousand dead, another hundred fifty thousand wounded, mostly ground troops. There are also ten thousand unaccounted for, likely KIAs again mostly ground troops.” Gunvor stopped and looked at his Queen and the holo. “Personally, I’m very pleased with the outcome, We arrived with four hundred ships and five million troops. Our loses were incredibly light. Especially compared to the Corellian contingent.” several of Cabinet snorted. The Centerpoint disaster was three years old now, but Hapans still remained suspicious of the Corellian Government. Tenel Ka cleared her throat. “I believe an assessment of our total war losses is in order. Gunvor please continue.” The expressions on all of the Cabinet was grim. Gunvor’s actually went a little pale. “Up to this battle, the majority of our engagements had been very costly. Our prewar strength consisted of a little over two thousand ship, primarily Eight generation Battle Dragons with a decent flank of Nova Cruisers. The majority of these prewar ships were destroyed, along with almost all of our Hornet fighters. We never truly had a prewar ground force, only sixty or so regiment sized units.” “Why were we so poorly prepared?” Adimine asked. Gunvor narrowed his eyes. “We were over prepared, We have never fought outside of the Cluster before this war. The Stellography of the Cluster allowed us to annihilate invaders en echelon long before they could reach our inhabited star systems. One of the reasons we did so well against the Empire was that their Navigation systems didn’t have accurate enough maps of the cluster, and kept slamming into stars they didn’t know about.” Gunvor explained tersely. The Minister of Agriculture nodded. Gunvor continued. “During the war we built Ten thousand ships, mostly 8-10th Generation Battle Dragons, some of our shipbuilding facilities couldn’t build newer models, as well as Nova Cruisers and our New Nest Carriers. The Wasp fighters were developed and faired much better against Coralskippers than our Hornets did. Our Army currently composes of sixteen Army Groups. Totaling a little less than a Billion soldiers” He said. “Total war losses includes three thousand ships, losing 25 million crewmen and our troop losses were especially heavy, totaling 40 million dead and more than 20 million maimed or crippled.” Gunvor glanced at his Queen, who held herself tightly under control, but displayed the pain she felt in the white knuckles and strained expression. The Cabinet members were all visibly pale. Gunvor regretted that he had to deliver a final blow. “85 percent of the casualties were male.” this statement caused surprise across all the Cabinet members and especially the Queen. “How is this so?” she asked. Gunvor visibly drooped. “The Army, nearly all of them were male to begin with, it largely existed to give escape outlets to . . . Less traditionally minded males and to prevent the Nika’Rosh from recruiting them. When the war began we needed battle ready troops. Our Cluster was in imminent danger, and Hapan Men answered that call.” Gunvor declared fiercely. He calmed slightly. “Our Navy and Strafighter Forces were split roughly half as were our casualties, the Marine contingents on Ship were almost all male however.” he said. Borghilde looked stricken. “In other words, the cluster is short 55 million men.” she said. The Cabinet exchanged dire glances. The Cluster’s population dynamics had always been unstable. The Male population on the clusters worlds ranged as low as 30% to as high as 45%. The high competiveness for males was one of the primary reasons Hapan women were known to be highly aggressive and underhanded. Runa openly blanched. “The loss of that many men especially to that age range . . .” “Yes.” Borghilde said. “Please enlighten those of us who are not as familiar with what this signifies.” Audre said. Borghilde glance around the room and then at her Queen’s image. “We lost 55 million military aged males, more likely than not, the vast majority were between 18 and 30 years old. This means that the elder generation, and the children too young to fight will be somewhat unaffected. This war however interrupted the usual life cycle for all Hapans. Men were already a fought over commodity for our young women, but if you take that many out of the equation, then we have a situation where many women will be competing over a single man where before the war it might have been two or three. At the previous level certain . . Agreements could be made . . .” she said with a glance at Audre. The others were well aware that the two had made an agreement over a desired man, the result of which left their respective children half siblings. Their agreement had been at times vicious, though in time it became a beneficial deal, though they would always seek leverage over the other because of it. “ . . . But this leaves us open to a number of undesirable scenarios, including partial population collapse.” Runa nodded firmly, indicating she was more concerned about the population collapse aspect. “There are also the Refugees.” Vendla added. Gunvor shot that down. “A lot of them will eventually leave, and they have the same problem, the New Republic and Corellians recruited heavily from them for their Armies and Fleets, before and after they arrived here. Depending on where they were deployed and when, they could have even worse casualty rates.” Vendla shrunk a bit. “Very well, Audre? Ida?” Tenel Ka said, ending the conversation before it got worse. The Treasury and Commerce Ministers exchanged glances. Audre started. “The War certainly strained our economy, but in reality it really hurt us in resources. Fortunately there are enough uninhabited worlds and asteroid clusters that the hits can be counteracted. We’re going to pull out ahead actually, our sea based technologies are more suited to humans than Mon Cals, and the Corellians are competitive enough with them that they licensed a lot of our technology for their recovery. Our stabilization systems for our ship lasers was licensed by the Republic and the Imperial Remnant.” Audre concluded. Ida nodded and spoke. “Our commerce was effectively halted to the Corporate sector and we suffered serious losses commercially, but not much in material and shipping. The gravity traps kept our shipping pined to the cluster. Fortunately we’ve never had much in the way of commerce outside the cluster. It was a strain with the refugees, but our agricultural worlds were able to keep the cluster fed . . . Barely.” she said. Tenel Ka nodded. “Hulda?” “So far we have no indications of hostile acts. The Peace Brigade never truly threatened action against us, and Vong holdouts are well outside our sphere of influence. Our domestic issues were largely put on hold for the war. Our usual pirate problems were halted, it appears they ran afoul of Vong and our fleet successively. From an intelligence standpoint however we have new liabilities, the Refugees and the outsiders we recruited are a potential spy base.” Tenel Ka glanced expectantly at Adimine. “This year’s crop will have a large surplus.” Adimine said with a smile on her face, glad she could for the first time not have to report shortages due to war. Tenel Ka nodded. “Very well, I shall be taking a personal Vacation take the time with your staffs to create workable solutions to our problems. We shall meet again in three months.” she said. She glanced at Gunvor. “You neglected to tell them when our troops and Sailors can return home.” she said. He nodded. “Our ships will be involve with clearing out remaining holds in a 50 parsec sphere around the cluster. Our troops will have to garrison for at least the better part of a year, but the majority of our troops will be able to return home in six months.” he said. She nodded. “Good, like the others work with your staff and find workable solutions for our post war needs.” Gunvor nodded and left the compartment. “Your Highness . . .” “My mind is made up, I will tolerate no interference.” Tenel Ka told Ingrid. “He is not Hapan.” “Neither am I, not fully anyway. And neither will millions, if not billions of children born during my reign.” Tenel Ka said. Ingrid had a disturbed look. “Change comes Ingrid, our ancestors may have hidden from the galaxy for millennia, but we no longer can.” Tenel Ka told her. “But you are the Queen.” “I am, and I have sacrifice more than care to. I will not relinquish this.” “Very well, I will find a way to make this decision palatable.” Ingrid said. “No. I am Queen. I decide not the common people.” she said. “Instead worry about how badly the people will be affected.” Tenel Ka told her. Ingrid frowned. “Highness?” “Our population has always been precariously balance between possessiveness and practicality. Losing this many Males takes out the balance. We could have a very serious problem when the people realize this.” Tenel Ka said, getting up and walking out the door. “Find me solutions!” Ingrid’s shoulders sagged as her Queen left. Tenel Ka was on the border between livid and despair. If the doors to the Queen’s Cabin weren’t automated she would have slammed them shut. In the privacy of her quarters she finally reacted to Gunvor’s report. She covered her eyes with her hand, trying to fight back tears. 65 million dead. She had known on some level that the casualties would be borderline atrocious, but this was beyond what she expected She had felt the mass casualties when they happened. Had she not been trained by the JedI she might have been overwhelmed as her mother had by the death. Hapans were human, but only in the fact they were an offshoot of humanity. After three thousand years of almost complete genetic isolation, the speciation that was as yet in progress. It was also the reason she was an only child. The Hapans had diverged enough that it was a minor miracle that she had been conceived or born at all. Genetically, Tenel Ka knew she existed in the gray area between being a hybrid or merely mixed race. But in this war she had been very Hapan, and by result felt Hapan deaths more deeply. Her training had help greatly, but there had been times the deaths were near overwhelming. And she could not pretend her judgment was always clear and unclouded. Tenel Ka took her time, trying to calm herself with controlled breathing. “You alright?” Mildly startled she slowly turned to face Jacen. He stood wearing his jumpsuit with his sleeves knotted around his waist. Tenel Ka had known enough of Jacen’s habits to know that he had been meditating. “I’m sorry if I interrupted your meditation.” Tenel Ka heard herself say. “Not really, you are far from the most grieved person on this ship, let alone the system.” Jacen said glancing out the massive bay viewport. He jerked his head at his former Home world. “And its much harder when you have that to look at.” he said turning to face it. Tenel Ka looked as well. Coruscant was as yet a ruin. A Grey ball of metal thinly covered with green, laced with angry fiery lines of lava. “I forgot that this was home for you.” she said. Jacen gave a silent snort. “Never again.” he said in a voice devoid of any discernable emotion. Tenel Ka placed her hand on his back. “I’m sorry Jacen.” he turned and gave her a small grin. “Don’t be, I’m a Solo, a child of the Galaxy.” he said. She frowned. He sighed. “Sorry, I guess I was burying more of my emotions than I thought.” he said. “We all have.” she replied. He glanced at her. “Its okay to cry, I won’t think less of you.” he said. Tenel Ka’s eyes teered and she gave him a betrayed look. Jacen lifted a hand and stared at the banded scars that covered nearly ever inch of his torso, arms and legs. “I’ve done so for much more selfish reasons.” he said softly. “Jacen, you were being tortured.” she protested. “True. But I’ve been selfish in other ways too.” He said. “Ganner, Zonoma Sekot . . .” he said and then glanced at her. “You.” she frowned. “You speak of Danni Quee.” she said. Jacen sighed. “Danni wanted something more than I was able to give. She had feelings for me, and for a while I thought I did, but I didn’t.” Jacen said. He glanced at her at last. “Tenel Ka, you grieve for your people, that is nothing to be ashamed of. My problems are almost purely personal.” he said. She nodded. “Today I was informed of our casualty totals.” she told him. He nodded. “65 million.” she added. Jacen leaned his head back. He turned and pulled her into a hug. “It’s alright. They were casualties you could not avoid. They were ably lead, and died gloriously for a righteous cause.” he told her. “I know, I just can not-” Tenel Ka said through her tears. “Yeah.” Jacen said, holding her. Jacen shifted on his feet, he still had a few bruises beyond the cracked rib and whatever contusions and minor fractures. he received from Shimmra and Onimi, he was ignoring them for now. He still felt them as he grimaced. Tenel Ka lifted her head. “You are still injured from the battle?” she said sharply. Jacen blinked at the 180 in her attention. “Just a bruised rib.” he told her. “I think maybe a bruised bone here and there.” Tenel Ka took the time to look at his torso. “You thought?” she said slightly incredulously. Tentatively she touched the angry red-blue bruise on his side. “Well they can’t mar me anymore then they already have.” he said lightly. Tenel Ka, looked at his scars and gave him a dismayed glance. “I wish . . .” she started and then stopped when he shifted on his feet again. She then gave him an expectant look. “I might have . . . Hurt my femur a little, not a break, just a little stressing on the bone.” Tenel ka managed a slight chuckle. “Jacen sit down.” she said, pulling him to her bunk. Settling on the sheets she pulled his arm over her shoulder and returned her gaze to Coruscant. “I’m sorry I could not meet you when you escaped.” she told him. “I’m sorry I let Vergere prevent me from kissing you good bye.” He responded. Tenel Ka smiled and leaned her head into his shoulder and lower jaw. “We corrected that already.” she told him. He nodded. “I can’t pretend anything can make up for the lost time, or lives . . .” Jacen said, Tenel Ka drew her head back and looked at him. “ . . . But living miserably will not bring them back.” He told her. She smiled and returned her head to its resting place. “Your right Jacen.” she murmured. HE chuckled. “So what did you have in mind for this vacation you wanted me to take with you?” he asked.