Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Baby Named Janaree

AUTHOR’S NOTE.
This is a sequel to the fan fiction story Choice, by Cheree Cargill. The characters Janaree Organa Solo and Joharra were created by Cheree Cargill and the rest belong to Lucas Film Lmtd.
Because the story is based off Ms. Cargill's ideas, this story was created and publicy shared with her written approval. I wrote this story in 2001 and it was published in the Star Wars fanzine Bloodstripe 3 in 2002 (after many drafts and corrections, I might add).

(The events of Choice took place during The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi). Just over a year had passed since Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and See Threepio arrived at Cloud City, Bespin to seek refuge and repair the Falcon, only they were betrayed to the Empire by Lando Calrissian. Han was encased in carbonite and sent away to Jabba’s palace and a trap was set for their friend Luke Skywalker, with them as the bait. Lando came to his senses and freed the Princess and Chewbacca and they escaped to the Alliance rendezvous point in the Falcon. Two months later, Leia discovered she was pregnant, and it was Han's child. Her beloved Han, who she didn't know if she would see again. Following an agnozining and difficult choice, Leia knew what she would do. She and Lando traveled to a Coruscant med center in disguise, where the fetus was put in an artificial life support system to gestate for the remaining duration of gestation. Joharra, Han’s old friend, was to take care of the baby. Within the next year, Leia set Han free from the carbonite, killed Jabba, and with Luke’s help they escaped Jabba’s henchmen. In the next week, Leia discovered Luke was her brother, and a baby girl was born to Han Solo and Leia Organa. Shortly after, Han and Leia went to see Joharra and their baby. They named the baby Janaree Organa Solo. The two Rebels and their baby returned to the Alliance.

A BABY NAMED JANAREE

The rock planet Medran supported plant life in small crevasses and between rocks, its climate alternating between rainy and dry weather. This is where the Rebels built their base/headquarters after the Battle of Endor. Leia Organa was in the bedroom of her base apartment, packing clothes and personal items to prepare for a reconnaissance mission. It had been only three weeks since the Battle of Endor and the truce with the Empire at Bakura, Leia was thinking. When I learned Luke is my brother and... No! She wouldn’t allow herself to think about him, Vader, being Luke’s and her father and Janaree’s grandfather. Instead she chose to think about Han. Then her thoughts drifted to their baby Janaree, who was happily sleeping on her bed. Janaree waved a hand as she slept.

Leia looked at her wall chronometer. Startled as she saw what time it was, she silently cursed. She dropped her bag on the floor and started to get ready for an Alliance High Command meeting she was supposed to attend. She dressed in the appropriate clothes, and was braiding her hair when the door chime sounded. Leia ran into the small living room, and went to the door, palming the door switch with a slap. Han Solo casually leaned against the outer door frame. “Well, what are you waiting for? Come in,” she urged him. He entered, and closed the door behind him. Leia hurried back to her bedroom to grab hairpins.

“Thanks for coming to watch Janaree,” she called from the other room.

“No problem,” Han said. Leia had come back out and saw that Han had made himself comfortable, spread out on the couch.

Leia gave him instructions on the way out the door. “Janaree has a bottle in the cold food storage, and her diapers are by my bed. She’s sleeping on my bed right now.” She paused. “Are you sure you’re up to this?” she asked him.

“Hey, we’ll be fine. Don’t worry. Just get to that meeting on time.”

“All right.” Leia bent over and gave him a goodbye kiss, then hurried out the door.

“I love you too,” he replied, a moment too late, as she was already down the hallway.

Leia arrived in the meeting room and saw that it was set up with the seats positioned around a circular table. A wide slit in the table, big enough for a person to go in, opened to a space in the center of the table. Here Chief of State of the Rebel Alliance, Mon Mothma would stand. Leia noticed some beings talking in soft voices, and they glanced her way. She sat down at one of the seats, which was next to General Carlist Reeiken and across from an uncomfortable looking Senator Garm Bel Iblis. Leia recalled her father speaking highly of Bel Iblis, a great military strategist; however, Bel Iblis disliked Mon Mothma and left the Alliance. She wondered what brought him here. Leia recognized a few other people there: Admiral Ackbar, General Dodonna, General Calrissian, and General Madine. That brought her to wonder why the generals also were attending the meeting; usually only the members of the inner council were permitted to attend. Leia leaned over towards Lando and quietly asked, “What’s going on? Why was everyone called here?”

“I have no idea,” Lando commented. “Where’s Han? I though he was supposed to attend this meeting, too,” he added.

“I needed someone to watch Janaree,” she whispered.

“Speaking of her, there’s something I need to tell you-” Everyone quieted as Mon Mothma entered and took her place at the center of the table.

Mon Mothma spoke, “We have a new conflict. As you know, an Imperial TIE Defender was seen in the system. We caught the ship, but not before it made a transmission. It was an Imperial spy. We will need to move the base head- quarters to a new location, while avoiding confrontation with Imperial remnants. General Bel Iblis, if you‘ll please.”

They discussed and sometimes argued over where the new headquarters should be located. They also checked which new systems had recently joined the Alliance or had inclination to do so in future, and who would go on a mission later to speak to the planetary representatives.

“Does anyone have any other matters they wish this Council to consider?” Mon Mothma asked, much later.

Leia sighed, relieved that the meeting was just about over. No one responded at first; some had started speaking among themselves about personal business.

“I do,” Borsk Fey’lya, called out. All heads turned to his direction.

“Please tell us, and remember the rules of speaking about additional matters,” Mothma said

Now, he had everyone’s full attention and no others spoke. “I wish to inform you of something that has happened to a council member, and of course, I speak only out of concern for that being and in the interests of the Rebel Alliance.” Fey’lya turned to look at Leia. “Is it true that you have had a baby, Princess Leia?”

Leia looked over at Lando, her facial expression demanding an answer. Lando appeared apologetic. “I tried to tell you. I’m sorry Leia. Somehow the word got out or someone overheard,” he whispered to her. Her attention moved to the people sitting around the table. Everyone’s eyes were on her. She and Han had wanted to wait until after their upcoming wedding to tell everyone about Janaree. It was as she feared. The news of her having a baby had gotten out and spread through the base rapidly, finally reaching the High Command. The High Command never did know that she had gone to Coruscant to have the baby, which got her in trouble.

This is none of their business, Leia thought, feeling her cheeks warm. She looked around the room, at the generals and council members, some of which were friends. She couldn’t lie to them...could she?

A moment too many passed, and an inner council member impatiently said, “We’re waiting for your answer.”

She looked over at Reeiken for support. He shook his head but reached over and took her outreached hand, and squeezed it to reassure her. Their brief contact offered some reassurance to Leia. She took a deep breath, and stood up. She felt light headed and leaned on the table to steady herself.

“Yes, it is true,” she said. Some congratulations came, but mostly mumblings.

An anonymous council member commented, “We understand that mothers have to care for their young, but will this affect Princess Leia’s loyalties to the Alliance?”

Leia tried to hold her regal composure. The mumbling continued and got louder in volume, to the point where they became comments she could hear. She couldn’t take it anymore. “Excuse me,” she said, drawing their attention. “I ask permission to leave this meeting since all official business has been concluded.”

Mon Mothma nodded. Only a few people noticed Leia leaving. Mon Mothma pounded a gavel and called for order.

Leia hurried to her apartment. She stopped outside the door to straighten herself up and wipe away tear streaks. Princesses don’t let their emotions control them, she told herself. She took some relaxing deep breaths and palmed the switch. Upon walking in, she found Han was sitting in a standard issue chair, holding Janaree in his arms and rocking her. “How did the meeting go?” he asked.

“Everything went fine...” She decided not to tell him about the Council’s interrogation about their baby. She tiredly plopped down on the couch next to him.

“Just fine, huh,” he asked, suspicious of her tone.

“Haaann,” she moaned. She picked up a pillow and swung it at him. He reached up with a free hand and grabbed the pillow. Han leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek as he placed the pillow next to him on the couch. Leia leaned against Han, resting her head on his shoulder.

Han laid his head on hers and turned his head slightly so he could take in Leia’s sweet smell. “Are we still supposed to go on that reconnaissance mission?” he asked.

“Yes, I believe so. General Reeiken is now coming with us to map out the area of the planet where the base will be, and to perhaps work on a few satellites.”

“What’s wrong with the satellites? Nothing a little bit of Corellian overdrive, or Alderaanian in this case, can’t fix.” He made motions of fixing something. “A little bit of engine tape here, some metal patch there.”

Leia shook her head. “The damage is worse than that. You should have seen some of the pictures our team sent back.”

“Has anyone told you which planet that we’re going to? Have you seen any pictures of anything other than the satellites?”

“No. Just the images of satellites. That’s the only information the reconnaissance team sent to me. Why do you ask?”

“I want our destination to be a surprise.” Han told her. He gave Janaree to Leia and gave both Janaree and Leia a kiss as he stood up to leave. “Now, I need to go prepare the Falcon for the trip. I’ll see ya later.” As he was going out the door, Mon Mothma arrived.

“Is it all right if I come in?” Mothma asked.

“Of course, please do come in.” Leia stood, Janaree still in her arms.

“No, it’s all right, please, stay seated.” Mothma entered the small, two room apartment. “This is your baby. What is her name may I ask?”

Leia told her, “Janaree Organa Solo.” Mothma was a trusted friend. But even so, she expected that the older woman would show displeasure that a rouge smuggler had gotten her pregnant.

“Would you like to have a seat?” Leia asked her. “Can I get you anything?”

“Nothing, but thank you.” Mothma replied. She sat down on a small chair across from the couch. Leia too sat down, but on the couch.

Mothma looked into Leia’s eyes. “Leia, some of the members of the Council have volunteered to take up some of your assignments to reduce your workload.” The Princess sighed softly. Reeiken had warned her that a baby would affect the way she worked as an Alliance leader. But Leia wasn’t concerned with herself. Rather, she worried that additional assignments would cause further strain for the other members of the inner council. Following the collapse of the Empire, many of the Alliance’s diplomats set out to offer sanctuary to worlds previously occupied by the Empire. This strained the Alliance‘s human resources. They needed her. “Thank you, but I will keep working the same, and will manage,” Leia said, her voice confident. Leia’s face showed otherwise. She appeared fatigued and had dark circles under her eyes.

“Are you sure, Leia? You look worse for wear, “Mothma gently said. “Perhaps accepting assistance would be better for you, Captain Solo,“ She paused to emphasize what she said next, “and the Rebellion.”

“I’ll think about the offer.” Leia told her, unsure.

Mothma took Leia’s hands into to her own. “Leia,” Mothma said sincerely, “I know how difficult it is to raise a child and serve the people. I raised a daughter myself. Just let me know if you need anything.”

Leia was surprised; she had no idea that the brave Rebel leader had once been a gentle mother. “Thank you.” Leia gratefully replied. “I’ll let you know if I need anything at all.”

“Well, I will be going now,” Mothma told Leia.

“Thank you for stopping by.” They exchanged brief goodbyes.

Leia finished packing, picked up the bag, then gathered up Janaree and wrapped her in a blanket. It was raining and cold. Leia put on a large rain cape with Janaree beneath against her chest. There the baby would be warm, comfortable, and hidden.

Leia left her apartment and made her way from the base to the landing platform where the Falcon was docked.

Her baby, who was sleeping in her arms, woke up and stirred. Leia sent comforting thoughts to Janaree through the Force, as Luke had taught her. She also held Janaree closer to her warm body.

Almost to the landing platform, Leia’s duffel bag slipped off hers houlder and went down to her elbow. The weight of the bag was too much on her elbow, so Leia switched Janaree to her other arm and let the bag slip down onto the pavement. She squatted down to pick it up and put it back on her shoulder. She heard footsteps near her and cautiously looked up. She at first saw a pair of knee high boots. Then as she continued looking up she saw: familiar black trousers with a Corellian Bloodstripe along the side, a customized blaster in its quick-draw holster, and a once white shirt and black vest. His clothes were streaked with grease and smelled of engine lubricant; no doubt he had been doing pre-flight engine work on the Falcon. The Falcon never failed to need repairs.

“Hiya Sweetheart.” Han greeted Leia and she noticed he too had a bag slung over one shoulder. Leia appeared to be struggling with her bag. “Here, let me help you with your stuff.” He picked up Leia’s duffel bag and slung it over his shoulder, next his bag.

“Thanks.” Leia breathed.

“Is, uh, the baby with you?” He asked in a very soft voice that Leia had to strain to hear. Leia pulled back her cape enough to show sleeping Janaree to Han. Janaree had a strong hold on Leia’s shirt with one of her little hands. Han’s expression softened. He stroked Janaree’s head, which was full of dark hair. A strong wind blew.

“Let’s get you and the baby indoors,” Han said as he helped Leia up.

The wind started picking up as Han and Leia hurried to the landing platform. Once they were there, Han hurried to the Falcon and lowered the boarding ramp. He dropped the two bags inside, then checked to make sure no one else was inside the Falcon. He returned to the entrance as Leia was coming up the boarding ramp.

“Han Solo, what are you up to?” Leia asked.

He shrugged. “Just making sure no one else is here.” Janaree woke up. “That’s why,” he said.

Leia sighed. She began to pull Janaree out from under her cape; Han quickly hit the boarding ramp’s close switch.

He’s really taking this idea of keeping Janaree a secret seriously, Leia thought. Leia put a hand on Han‘s arm, drawing his attention. “Han, there’s no need to keep the baby a secret any more.” Leia blurted out every-thing that happened at the meeting. The tone in her voice and her emotions went from anger to being upset, to being annoyed. Janaree, oblivious to what was going on, happily giggled and clapped her hands together.

“Borsk had no right to bring it up, that-” Han looked over at Leia. She looked angry. “It’s okay, Leia. You know they were going to figure it out sooner or later. Although Borsk better watch his mouth while he still has one.”

Leia put a free hand on one of her hips. “Han, threatening Councilor Fey’la won’t improve anything.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Han said softly.

A stench filled the air and Janaree began to cry. Han made a face, so did Leia. “Whew,” Han said. “I think a certain baby needs her diaper changed.”

Leia checked Janaree’s diaper. She looked up at Han. “Han will you-” She had started to say.

He interrupted her, “Oh, no. I’m not changing her diaper. Waking up at all hours of the night to feed her is enough.”

“It’s part of your duty, as a daddy, to help me out with taking care of Janaree.” Leia shook a finger at him. “Besides, we take turns feeding her, remember?”

Reluctantly he mumbled, “Yeah, I remember.” Then he tried to come up with an idea that would get him out of changing a dirty diaper and would still be fair to Leia. “How ‘bout this? While you change Janaree’s diaper, I’ll make a bed for Janaree for the trip.” Han crossed his arms over his chest.

Leia didn‘t like the idea and showed it in her poise. “Where would she sleep, on the floor? With five of us going on this mission now, there won‘t be room for her on the bunks.”

“Well I didn’t think of that,” he remarked. They had to improvise a sleeping space for Janaree. Han thought to himself, I didn’t plan on turning the Falcon into a nursery. Leia read his unspoken thoughts unintentionally with the Force. Han perceived this and growled, “Would you get out of my mind.”

Leia ignored his comment and tried to reassure him. “Any kind of setup will be temporary, only for this one trip. I’ll somehow obtain a portable crib, and bring with me next time. Han, I’m not asking that much of you. You don’t have to turn the whole entire Falcon into the baby’s room.”

Han told her, “You’re impossible, you know that?”

Leia smiled as Han brush kissed her lips, and whispered in reply, “I know.” Janaree’s crying became louder, startling them out of their reverie. “Well, wherever we’re going to make her bed will have to be decided on later,” Leia told him, anxiously rocking Janaree. “Right now she needs her diaper changed.”

Han nodded his head in acknowledgement, “Right.” He smiled and motioned towards the corridor, “After you, your Highness-ness” He picked up Leia’s bag and followed her to his cabin.

Once inside and the cabin door closed, Leia laid Janaree down on the top blanket of one of the bunks. While Leia changed Janaree’s diaper, Han unpacked. For Han unpacking consisted of tossing his clothes into a pile at the bottom of his closet. Leia opened her bag and proceeded to dig through it. She frowned as realized she was out of the short supply of disposable diapers given to them by Joharra. She turned at the waist to face Han, asked him, “Do you have an old t-shirt that I can borrow?” Han carelessly tossed a t-shirt over his shoulder and it landed on Leia’s face. Leia removed the t-shirt from her face. “Hey!”

“Sorry.” Han flashed a grin. All she could do was shake her head.

Leia was caught up in thought while she changed Janaree’s diaper, thoughts of how they could arrange a bed for her and Janaree. She voiced the idea, “Janaree and I can sleep in the bunk above the holo chess table.”

“Nah,” Han replied, “It’s too small for you Leia, let alone the both of you. Not to mention, the noise of the engine panel would keep you both awake.” He paused. He then said with a lopsided grin, “You can double up with me in my bunk if we find a place nearby to put Janaree.” Leia half smiled at the comment.

Then an entertaining thought entered her mind: Han’s body spooned against hers, his warm breath teasing her ear. “ Now I do wish I’d brought a bassinet or playpen,” she murmured.

Han apparently heard her comment. Startling Leia, he held up his pointer finger and joyfully said, “Leia, you gave me an idea.” Han palmed the door switched a disappeared out in the corridor. Leia quickly, but gently, picked up Janaree, grabbed the dirty diaper, and followed him. Han took the corridor past Chewie’s cabin, through the escape pod bay, and finally stopped in front of the starboard cargo hold.

Once inside, Han started pushing and pulling crates together. Leia had set down a blanket and Janaree on a crate Han wasn’t using. Janaree made a gurgling sound.

Han stopped working with crates for a minute and wiped his sweaty forehead with a sleeve. He sat down next to Leia. “Hey, does Luke know about the baby?”

“I haven’t told him yet.” Her tone became quiet, “But I don’t know; he may have heard the rumors.”

“Oh, I see,” Han said in an annoyed tone.

“And what was that supposed to mean,” Leia asked impatiently.

“Nothing,“ Han growled. Trying to get to along recently for the baby’s sake, and the day’s events had tried both Han and Leia’s patience. He pulled the last of the crates together. The crates were lined up the shape of a square, one crate high, except the center was left empty. The empty center space would be where Janaree slept and played.

Han came over and sat down next to Leia. “It looks good,” she told him. They locked eyes and leaned in to kiss. Han heard a familiar echo, which could only be footsteps. He turned his head and Leia kissed his hair. “I’ll be right back,” he told her. “I think one of our crew members is here.” He was about to leave the cargo hold when Leia stopped him.

“Please throw this away,” Leia said. She held the dirty diaper out for him.

“Aw, sure.” He took the diaper and disappeared out the door. Han nearly ran into Luke, who was coming up the boarding ramp. He quickly hid the diaper behind his back.

“Hi Han,” Luke said. “Ready for the mission?”

“Yes, as ready as I will be,” responded Han. Luke had started to move past Han. When Luke did so, Han turned his back away from Luke.

Luke sensed his sister’s presence nearby. “Where’s Leia,” he asked as he looked around.

Han knew Leia still had Janaree and knew he’d better cover it up. It’s nearly impossible to lie to a Jedi and get away with it. However he was going to try. “She’s in the cabin unpacking her stuff and changing clothes.” Han lied as best as he could.

“Oh, well. Then I’ll wait to put my bags in the cabin.”

Good, he fell for it, Han thought. “Luke, I have uh, something to take care of. Be right back.” He walked backwards down the hall away from Luke.

Han threw away the diaper, then went to the refresher unit and washed his hands. He stopped by his cabin in the Falcon and grabbed a few pillows and blankets out of a cabinet. Looking out for Luke, Han quickly hurried into the cargo hold and closed the door behind him.

Leia had just finished feeding Janaree and was burping her over her shoulder. Han laid the pillows and blankets out in the center of the crates. “Your brother is here,” Han told her.

Leia eyes lost focus as if she were using the Force. “I know, I can feel his presence in the Force just as he felt my presence.” Then, suddenly, she no longer sensed Luke, but another: Janaree’s presence in the Force!

Leia saw an image in her mind. It was of her holding baby Janaree, cuddling her, and expressing love. “I’m your mother, yes Janaree.” Leia sent expressions of love to Janaree through the Force in return. Janaree felt this love and cooed. Han came over and sat next to Leia. Leia then sent a projection of Han’s love for Janaree and herself to the baby. Janaree also saw this projection in her small mind. In return, she sent a projection to both Han and Leia. It was of Han, Leia, and herself together as a family.

When Leia looked at Han, he had a confused look on his face. “The baby, you... How did you two do that? The picture in my mind.”

“The Force, Han. It’s genetic. So Janaree has a natural talent for it too. But without training, all we can do is communicate through the Force.”

“Uh, I guess so,” was all he managed to say.

Something in the back of her mind warned Leia that someone was coming…looking for her. She quickly laid Janaree down in the bed Han had made for Janaree, and sat down on one of the crates. “Someone will be here any minute,” Leia warned Han.

Han came over and stood in front of Leia. He pulled her into his arms and warmly kissed her on the lips. Leia pulled out of the kiss. “This isn’t right. A person will be...” She trailed off as Han put a silencing finger to her lips. They drew close and kissed again, this time continuing to press their lips together in a warm embrace. Leia forgot someone was coming.

General Reeiken opened the door to the cargo hold and started to walk in. He paused when he saw that Han and Leia in the close embrace. I’ve barged in on their personal time, he thought. Leia saw Reeiken and started to blush. She pulled away from Han. “What?” Han’s voice was muffled by Leia’s mouth. Han turned and saw Reeiken. Reeiken stepped back out in the hall as Leia hurried out of the cargo hold. Han just shrugged and also left the cargo hold, but headed in the opposite direction from Leia.

Occupied in thought about just what happened, Leia nearly bumped into Luke, in the Falcon’s central corridor. “Whoa, Leia.”

“Luke,” she said, coming out of thought. “It’s good to see you again, brother.”

“And you, Leia,” Luke responded.

“So, have you heard any new news recently?” She tried to strike up a conversation.

Luke thought about it for a second then answered, “Nope, not recently.”

Leia said, “Ah, I see.” They fell short on conversation, which was unusual. As Han went by, he told them it was time for lift off. Leia was relieved to get out of the awkward situation presented. Luke and Leia went to the cockpit, joining the others. Reeiken stood. Both Luke and Leia offered their seat to the older man, however he declined. Chewie finished warm-up procedures. “Everyone aboard?” Han asked.

“All here and accounted for,” Luke said, smiling.

The Falcon lifted off and Han carefully guided the ship through buffering winds. Finally the Falcon broke through the atmosphere and there was nothing but open space in front of them.

Once they were in the realms of hyperspace, everyone settled in for the long trip ahead. They were gathered in the Falcon’s lounge, in the forward cargo hold. Han and Chewie were playing a game of Sabacc on the holo-chess table. Luke had earlier taught Leia a few things in the Force. Leia sat next to Han, watching the game. Luke sat on the floor meditating. He came out of his state of meditation, stood up, and stretched. “I’m going to get something to eat in the galley. Anyone else want something to eat or drink?”

Reeiken had been studying information on a data pad and readouts on flimsies. “No thanks.”

“No,” Han said distractedly. He didn’t look up from his hand of cards. Chewie shook his head no.

“Leia?” Luke asked his sister.

“Huh? Oh. Sure, I’m hungry.”

“I’ll take that as a yes. What do you want to eat?”

“Whatever you’re having is fine,” she told Luke.

“Okay.” Luke turned and started to leave.

Han looked up from his cards and called to Luke. “Wait, I’ll take a glass of Corellian Ale.”

“Alright.” Luke turned back around and headed back to the gallery. Luke could not find the bottle of Ale. He looked in the cold storage unit. He moved the food and few drinks aside, so that he could see what was in the back. He found the Ale next to a baby bottle half full with baby formula. Luke decided he’d have to ask Han about it later. Han and Leia were possibly wondering what was taking him so long.

Luke poured the Ale into a large mug and set it down on a food tray. He then turned and pulled Leia’s and his plates of steaming food out of the cooker and set the plates next to Han’s glass on the tray. He picked up the tray and started to head back towards the starboard cargo hold. Oops, I forgot to close the cooker door, he thought. Luke’s hands full, he reached out with the Force and nudged the door closed. He though to himself, This wouldn’t be something Yoda would be proud of me using my abilities for.

Luke thought he heard a baby’s cry. It became louder when he came into the escape pod bay. Curious, he continued to follow the crying, which became louder the closer he came to the starboard cargo hold.

Luke stopped in front of the door leading into the cargo hold. He reached out in the Force for any living thing. He didn’t want to just walk in, knowing that Han carried just about anything. For all he knew, it could have been a baby rancor or bantha. When he reached out, Luke brushed a small presence that beamed brightly in the Force. He could tell it was a human girl, obviously very young, from her crying. Also her presence was similar to someone Luke knew, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

There was no one else in there, so he went in. Luke set the food tray down on a crate, which was along the wall. He went over to where a bed was in the center of a square of crates. He looked down onto the cutest baby girl, who was lying on blankets and pillows. The baby looked up at him with teary hazel eyes. “Aw, come here,” Luke said softly. He picked up the baby. Not too sure how to hold her, he picked her up with his arm behind her back and his hand supporting her head. With his other hand, Luke slowly brought the baby up to his shoulder. “Shh.” He rocked back forth gently, trying to soothe her. Finally, Janaree’s cry softened. Luke couldn’t decide what to do then.

To Luke’s relief, Leia came into the cargo hold. “Here, let me take her,” she said kindly. She cradled Janaree in her arms. With her free hand, Leia unbuttoned Janaree’s pink one-piece outfit and checked her diaper. Luke saw a stuffed ewok doll in the baby’s bed. He picked it up and placed it in Janaree's arms. Janaree took to the doll and sucked on an arm. She stopped crying, instead, just whimpering a little.

“Not her diaper,” Leia said. She sat down on one of the crates and tossed a blanket over her shoulder. The blanket came down over one front side of Leia and Janaree’s head. Leia began to nurse Janaree. Janaree’s crying stopped altogether and she cooed. “There, she was hungry.”

“Your baby?” Luke asked, eyes growing wider by the moment.

Leia said quietly. “I’m surprised you haven’t heard. Word got out somehow and I thought by now that the whole base knew.”

Luke didn’t hear Leia’s last comment. “I’m an uncle then.” Luke sounded awestruck. He sat down next to his sister, to her left. “What is her name? How old is she?” He had many questions to ask, excited.

“Whoa slow down. Her name is Janaree Organa-“ Han came into the cargo hold. “Solo.” Leia finished saying.

“What did I do?” Han asked, reacting to the name Solo, which Leia only used with him when she's mad.

“Nothing Han, I was just telling Luke our baby’s name.” Leia said, then told Luke, “She is four weeks old.” Han winced.

Luke sensed Han and Leia’s tension. He told them, “It’s alright, but why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

“We weren’t sure we wanted to tell anyone yet. We were going to wait until our wedding. Of course, I planned on telling you before then. I’m sorry Luke.” Leia looked sincere.

Luke gave his sister a hug, encompassing her and the baby. “It’s alright. However, I hope I don’t become an uncle again until my sister is ready.” His tone indicated that he was serious.

Leia nodded her head, voluntarily. She elbowed Han, who also nodded his head.

There was a moment of silence before Han asked carefully, “You do know about the wedding, right?”

“Yes,” Luke answered with a laugh. “I think I was one of the first people Leia told.”

Leia lifted the blanket slightly to check on Janaree. She had fallen asleep in the middle of her meal. Leia finished feeding Janaree, then pulled off the blanket.

First Janaree’s head, then the rest of the front side of Leia appeared. Leia brushed back Janaree’s thick, dark-brown hair. Luke reached down and tenderly stroked Janaree’s cheek with a finger.

Han had wandered over to the one crate along the wall. “I seem to have found what happened to my drink and your food.” Han took his glass of Corellian Ale off the tray and took a gulp of the foamy, green drink.

Leia carefully stood up and laid Janaree on her back among her blankets and pillows on Janaree’s bed. Han came over and put his drink down. He reached over and pulled one of the blankets over Janaree. He also placed her ewok doll next to her. Leia motioned for them to quietly follow her out of the cargo bay and into the hallway. On the way out, Luke dimmed the lights. The cargo bay door closed silently behind them.

About three hours later, Janaree woke up and started crying. Han gave her a bottle. She chose to stay awake and looked around at her surroundings with wide eyes. Han felt this a perfect time to take Janaree out with him to the lounge. He arrived in the lounge with Janaree in his arms.

General Reeiken got up out of his seat and went over to Han and the baby. “Is this your baby?” Reeiken asked Han.

“Yes,” Han answered somewhat nervously.

Janaree wrapped a tiny hand around one of his fingers and Reeiken spoke to her. “Oh, last time I knew, she was as yet unborn. My she’s grown since then,” he added in a baby voice, the voice that is used to talk to young children.

That surprised Han. Leia joined them, and stood slightly behind Han. Leia smiled, as she had heard part of it.

**You have a cub, Han,** Chewie stated in Wookie. **Have you had a bonding ceremony?** Chewie tilted his head.

“We’re not married . . . yet. Leia and I are getting married in a month.” Han gave a lopsided grin. “We share the work.”

“Responsibilities,” Leia corrected.

“May I please hold her,” Reeiken asked. Han looked at Leia, who shrugged her shoulders.

“I don’t see why not,” Leia whispered to Han.

**I want to hold the baby after the General’s done,** Chewie said.

Reeiken carefully took Janaree into his arms. “I haven’t held a baby since Leia was very young.” Leia blushed slightly.

A red light on a nearby engine board flashed. “It’s about time to come out of hyperspace. If everyone will please take their seats.” Han motioned to the acceleration couch at the holo chess table. He grabbed Leia’s hand as she went by. “Not you, Princess. I would like you to be in the cockpit with me when we come out of hyperspace.”

Leia raised an eyebrow in interest and question. “And what about the baby?”

Han put a hand on the small of Leia’s back, leading her out of the room.

“She’ll be fine with Luke and the General. Remember that surprise I was telling you about…" Han started to say as Leia, Chewie, and he went down the hall.

Out of the corner of his eye, Han saw Leia trying to take a glance at the starchart on the console. He covered it quickly with a hand and shut it off. Chewie barked a question. “No, Chewie. We’ll be fine without it.” He sent a sharp look to Leia; however, his scowl melted into a lopsided grin when his eyes made contact with hers. Han took the hyperspace levers and pushed them forwards when the countdown clock went to zero.

Leia leaned forward in her seat. They came out of hyperspace in front of a brown and green planet, which had two badly mangled satellites orbiting around it. To their right was an asteroid field, the remains of a destroyed planet. Leia’s eye’s widened as she instantly recognized the system. “The Alderaan System.” she whispered. “Oh, Han.”

“I know.” He wrapped his arms around her. “Mon Mothma, Ackbar, and Reeiken have decided that Delaya would be a perfect place for the new base.” Chewie got up and left the cockpit without saying a word. Han and Leia stood arms around each other, and looked out into space together.

They had brought their baby home.

Sunday, May 5, 2013