“Please identify your ship,” a deep male voice reverberated throughout the shuttle’s cockpit.
Lilliya had safely arrived at the glittering planet of Coruscant and had disengaged the cloaking device in order to be detected by the planet’s security defenses.
“I am Commander Lilliya Tentle of the Galactic Raiders. I have stolen this ship from an unknown source in the Endor system,” Lilliya responded, her voice cracking in slight exhaustion. “Request landing and an audience with President Organa Solo. I have vital information of a security breach on the Endor system.”
“What is your identification?”
Lilliya sighed in irritation. There were times where she hated the numerous security procedures she had to go through. She punched in her identification code and waited for a response.
“Please hold for verification,” the deep voice said.
Lilliya rested her head on her hand as she waited, staring at the glistening planet below. It took all she had to not close her eyes and lose consciousness; the wound on her head began to pulse stronger, though the blood had crusted over into a thick, black scab.
“Commander Tentle,” the voice echoed, making Lilliya snap to attention, “we are unaware of a security breach from Endor system.”
Lilliya gritted her teeth. She knew they were going to be difficult. Ever since the Yuuzhan Vong war and the recent planet rebellions, the Galactic government had become a paranoid, security stronghold. In any other situation, she wouldn’t blame them. Right now, she was tired, angry, and didn’t feel like dealing with it.
“There was no time to send a transmission. My fleet had intercepted an unknown battle ship and we were destroyed. The Raider base has also been eliminated. I am the only survivor,” Lilliya responded.
There was a moment’s pause, and then, “We are unaware of a Raider base on Endor. Please standby.”
“Wait!” Being put on security hold was the last thing Lilliya wanted. She could just imagine the kind of idiots that were on duty at this time. “The Raider base is a secret government funded security outpost. If you check with your supervisor, you will find that the base exists. I don’t have time to go through checkpoint procedures. I have to let the Senate know of—”
“Dammit!” Lilliya slammed her fist down on the console in frustration.
Two aggravating minutes later, a female voice came through the com.
“Commander Tentle,” she said, “your identification has been verified. Your request for audience with the Senate has been granted. Please follow flight coordinates. Do not deviate. Thank you.”
That was a surprise, Lilliya thought. She had assumed that it would have taken an hour before she could pass security checkpoint and land. Thankfully she was wrong. Four sleek and heavily armored security ships appeared suddenly on all sides of Lilliya’s shuttle and escorted her down to the planet. Half organic and half metal towers and spires passed her viewscreen as she maneuvered her ship through the city’s maze. A floating docking port came into view and her ship automatically landed itself, hovering silently over the platform before gently touching base.
The security ships landed in formation around it. Lilliya carefully stood from her pilot seat, all too aware of her head spinning and her stomach churning. She removed the medallions, which, in turn, shut the ship completely down, and exited down the ramp. The ship sealed behind her, the crease disappearing. She wondered why she never noticed that before.
A tall, black shrouded figure stood before her. Lilliya shuddered. She had forgotten how disturbing the security officers looked with their black faceplates and black bodysuits. She could never see their eyes or what they looked like underneath their uniforms; it was only when they spoke that she could get a read on them.
“Commander,” the security officer spoke, its voice sounding metallic, almost computerized, through the faceplate. This one happened to be female and was probably the same officer who allowed Lilliya to land.
Lilliya nodded and stood in standard formation in order to be searched. Two other black uniformed guards approached her from either side—they were always so quiet and stealthy—and began to scan her. They removed her blaster and any other metal object, including the ship’s medallions she had hidden in her pocket. They unzipped her suit halfway, exposing the crystal necklace that glittered in the sunlight against her sternum. Lilliya always hated this part; it was so humiliating.
The guards scanned the necklace and one of them reached forward to remove it. Lilliya gripped the guard’s wrist before it could touch the necklace.
“Don’t,” Lilliya growled. There had been a time when she allowed them to remove her necklace. It had been weeks before she was able to get it back and during those few weeks she had never felt so sick and weak in her life. She considered it her good-luck charm and she never let anyone touch it.
The guard turned to its supervisor. The two looked at each other for a second—there must have been an inaudible conversation—and then the guard stepped away from Lilliya. A hot breeze blew by, ruffling the loose strands in her hair. The movement sent her stomach on edge and it took all her strength to swallow down the nausea.
“You are clear to proceed. Follow me, Commander Tentle,” the female supervisor said.
The other two guards flanked on either side of Lilliya and she followed the tall supervisor into a sleek security speeder. Lilliya was grateful to sit down in the enclosed passenger side of the speeder. She was starting to feel too dizzy and she leaned her throbbing head up against the tinted window for support. The nausea subsided for a brief moment until the speeder shot into traffic at high speeds. Lilliya had to close her eyes from watching the traffic and skyscrapers zoom by. The officers didn’t seem to notice, though the main officer watched her intently from across.
It took about five minutes, though it felt like forever to Lilliya, before the Galactic Palace was in sight.
“Approaching GP station,” the hidden speeder pilot announced.
Lilliya forced her eyes open and carefully peered out the window. There, she was able to view the organic monstrosity that represented the capitol of Coruscant: the Galactic Palace, or GP station as the pilot had referred to it. Lilliya had never seen it before, but had heard plenty of it through rumors on Endor. Now that she could see its unique frame and jaw-dropping appearance, Lilliya could understand the obsession and fascination people had with it.
It was stunning. GP station originally was just a simple metal structure with varied tall spires. After the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of Coruscant, the palace’s metal exterior had been eaten away by the alien vegetation virus and was replaced by an organic, rainbow hued material with strange, rounded formations. Since the Alliance retook Coruscant, the ruling Senate at the time decided to keep the organic structure and renovate the interior. Later, decorators of every species added their own personal touch to the palace as a representation of unity. Now, the palace was a massive, red, green, blue and yellow giant with layers of spires and towers of every shape and size, with silver metal glinting in between its colorful skin. One would think that its multitude of shapes and colors would make the structure seem random and distorted. Instead, it shined a sense of brilliance standing alone in the center of a metal plateau surrounded by nothing but space; the other structures, apartments, and towers stood about twenty miles away, per security protocol. The palace seemed almost alive, the colors shifting and shimmering in the bleak sunlight.
Lilliya stared in awe of its magnificence, the palace’s immense size filling the window, blocking out the sun.
The speeder passed through the invisible security shield and landed on one of the lowest docking ports. The two guards that had flanked Lilliya exited the speeder first, Lilliya followed suit, and the supervisor behind her.
Hot wind smacked Lilliya in the face, almost knocking her over. The tall officer caught her before she lost her balance completely and straightened her back up.
“Thanks,” Lilliya murmured, glancing at the blank faceplate of the officer. She nodded in response, but said nothing.
Lilliya looked ahead of her at the entrance and allowed her gaze to trail upwards. The palace was so tall she couldn’t even see the top from where she was standing. For a moment, she was distracted from her nausea.
Out of the entrance came four droids, decommissioned as military droids after the Yuuzhan Vong war had ended and restarted as GP guard droids. They were frightening in size and appearance, resembling the skeletal-like faces of the Yuuzhan Vong, with ominous glowing red eyes. These things gave Lilliya the creeps, but that was the point, she supposed.
Between the foursome came a beautiful, white-haired woman. She was sleek, but small in frame, coming only to Lilliya’s shoulder, but moved like a dancer, stealth-like and smooth. The woman could have been any age, but her face resembled a child’s, young, sweet and pure.
The woman stopped a foot away from Lilliya, the GP droids standing guard inside the palace entrance.
“I am Mazy,” the beautiful woman said, her voice clear and like a bell. “I am the President’s personal aide. I understand you have requested an audience with the President.”
“Yes, I have vital information I think she should be aware of,” Lilliya responded, hot air continuously blowing all around her and Mazy, making Lilliya’s hair whip against her cheeks and eyes. Surprisingly enough, Mazy’s white hair, cropped short and spiky to her shoulders, stayed perfectly still, unmoved by the wind.
Mazy nodded. “The Council is expecting you. They deeply regret your loss.”
Lilliya stiffened. Being reminded of the massacre she had left behind made her sick to her stomach. She had to strain to focus on making sure her mind was in the right place.
“You may follow me,” Mazy said, turning around on her heel in one fluid motion and heading back inside.
Lilliya followed her, all too aware of the black shrouded officers watching her leave, as if she would turn around and attack at any moment. The galactic government never took anymore chances.
Cool air seeped out from the inside of the palace as the sliding doors gave way to Mazy and her entourage. This alleviated much of Lilliya’s unsettled nerves. The six of them entered, the sliding doors sealing immediately behind them, and, much to Lilliya’s surprise, were surrounded in a dark blue-green glow emanating from little stalagtites jutting from the metal walls.
“Don’t touch,” Mazy called gently, as Lilliya had tried to reach out and brush one of the blue-green stalagtites as they walked passed.
Lilliya quickly retracted her fingers from touching one. She barely noticed how it glowed hotter in reaction to her.
“These stalags are one of the lighting decorations left from the Yuuzhan Vong occupation,” Mazy continued. “They are very hot to the touch, despite the fact that they give off a cool atmosphere making the rooms they inhabit feel like a cave. They are alive as is customary of Yuuzhan Vong.”
“Interesting,” Lilliya murmured. She did notice the drop in temperature from the moment she walked in—it made the pounding in her head subside ever so slightly—but she had assumed it was from the typical cooling system. The Yuuzhan Vong technology never ceased to amaze her.
They continued down the dark corridor for a few minutes more. Lilliya imagined this must have been a secret way into the palace. There was no way they would direct normal visitors through here unless they wanted to spook them first.
Finally, they stopped at a lift tube, rounded metal doors allowing them inside, and the tube shot straight up. Again, Lilliya was surprised that she felt no motion from inside the tube, but she imagined they were going very fast.
A moment later, the darkness gave way to light as the granite wall blocking the glass view pane disappeared. Through the glass, Lilliya could see the inside of the palace, the center of GP station.
It was bright as day and there seemed to be something that resembled a sun at the top of the ceiling, a ceiling that also seemed to have no end. All sorts of species—diplomats, politicians, tourists, high class families and lower class families—filled the center of GP station. It was incredibly to see so many people in one place. It was like a little city all on its own. Across the way, there were other lift tubes going in opposite directions, but none were going in the same direction as her tube. Lilliya leaned forward against the glass to keep her sights on the fascinating display—there was so much to see—as the tube reached higher altitudes. She was able to make out the sun-like light source as the tube neared the top. It was a collection of yellow stalags, similar to the blue-green ones in the tunnel, and they were all organized in a circular pattern, giving off almost blinding light.
As soon as they passed the “sun,” the view pane was blocked again by more black granite, although, Lilliya noticed, if she looked closer, she noticed the black was not entirely black at all, rather a thick mixture of florescent rainbow colors.
The journey quickly came to an end as the doors rotated open to let them out. The six of them stepped out into a simple windowless hallway with rounded ceilings lit by white lights and deep red carpeting stretched down the endless hall. This was probably an addition by the Galactic Senate, Lilliya thought, because of how bleak and simple it was designed. They made their way to double glass sliding doors; it didn’t take them too long.
Through the glass, Lilliya could see a small line of people sitting in simple chairs organized in a half-circle. Her heart began to pound nervously now. She had realized that she never really thought about what she was going to say. The truth would be simple enough, but to announce it professionally and eloquently was the hard part. She was never good at public speaking.
Too late to start practicing now, she thought, as the doors slid silently open, Mazy being the first one to enter. Lilliya followed and the four GP guard droids stayed close behind.
The room was just as intimidating. The floor was made of a thick multicolored green carpet patterned in a circular fashion. The ceiling was high and rounded, shimmering a gold color. The walls were mirrors, which made the room seem enormous. There were no windows.
As soon as Lilliya’s little entourage entered, the quiet chatter the counsel was engaged in ceased immediately, all eyes turning on her. Lilliya’s stomach turned upside down and she swallowed hard in an attempt to swallow her nausea away.
“Council Members,” Mazy announced in her tiny voice, “I present to you Commander Lilliya Tentle of the Galactic Raiders.” Then Mazy stepped to the side and Lilliya had the floor.
That was it? Lilliya cleared her throat and scanned the counsel members in front of her. She didn’t see the person she was looking for—President Organa Solo.
“Good evening,” Lilliya said, her voice cracking with fatigue. “Unfortunately I come to you with bad news from Endor.”
No one responded.
So, Lilliya decided to spill it the best she could.
“My team intercepted a battleship with incredible power,” Lilliya said, trying not to let her fingers fiddle with each other. “The ship was already in attack formation and my team did its best to defend ourselves. We seemed to have the upper hand at one point, until the ship unleashed a type of weapon which obliterated the base on Endor. No one survived.”
There was a moment’s pause, then a man, human, spoke up.
“What kind of a weapon?” he asked.
“I’m not sure,” Lilliya responded, trying to recall the memory as best as possible. “I’m assuming it was a laser. The only thing I experienced was…blinding light.”
“Where were you at the time?” the man asked again.
“I was up in my ship with the rest of my team. We were engaged in a firefight at the time,” she answered.
“You assume it was a laser?” This time an Ithorian woman asked. “Could it have been something else?”
Lilliya tried to recall the memory, but all she could remember was one moment they were in normal space, and then the next she couldn’t see anything but bright white light.
“I’m not certain,” Lilliya said. She continued to scan the room. Now she was certain the President wasn’t in the room. “Where is President Organa Solo? I had asked to see her.”
“The President does not sit in on meetings such as these,” the Ithorian said. “We will discuss with her the situation as soon as we determine what the situation is exactly.”
“Oh.” Lilliya clenched her fists in frustration. She should have assumed that this would happen. She knew seeking an audience with the President was an almost impossible request. And at this point, she wasn’t sure how long she could hold on to her consciousness. Her head had begun to spin faster and she dared not look at the circular carpeting in fear of passing out.
“Can you tell us anything else about his mysterious ship,” the man asked this time.
Lilliya wondered why no one else spoke up. Or did it matter at this point? The President wasn’t here and the Council would take forever to pass on the information.
“All I know is that appeared out of nowhere,” Lilliya said, her voice beginning to lose volume. “I’m not sure where it came from. I remember that we couldn’t track its previous coordinates and it was already in attack position.” She took another breath to steady herself. She almost wished she could lean on one of the guard droids, but she wasn’t sure how it would take it. “The ship’s design was something I’d never seen before. I don’t think it’s from here.”
“What do you mean ‘from here’?” Another council member spoke, but Lilliya’s vision was blurring so badly she couldn’t see who it was.
“There’s a high chance that the ship is from outside the galaxy—”
“How could you be so certain? There’s also a high chance that it was made right here by one of our own Galactic planets,” the Ithorian said. “Maybe a planet that is doing illegal testing. Maybe a planet that plans on rebelling against the Galactic Alliance. Have you measured these options?”
Lilliya looked towards the Ithorian’s direction, but all she could see was a blurry mass. She thought of the shuttle’s design, how the instruments inside were like nothing she’d ever seen before. Her father had her study many different ships and their designs by all the species in the galaxy. She remembered all of them. None of them every came close to how the shuttle functioned. And the strange geometric key hole…which matched her crystal charm…
“It couldn’t have been…” Lilliya whispered, mostly to herself. She could feel it in her bones, that tingling feeling again.
“What was that, Commander?” another member said.
Lilliya shook her head to clear her thoughts and immediately regretted the action. The motion made her vision black and her stomach lurched. She could feel the bile rise up her throat and she reached forward as if to hold onto something. All she felt was air and then she noticed herself falling forward. She landed hard on the carpet, despite the extra cushion it provided, felt the acidic bile erupt from her mouth, and then the blackness took her consciousness.
The GP guards acted on instinct and steadied their weapons on Lilliya’s passed out form. No one from the counsel moved, except that maybe one of them gasped in surprise. Mazy’s quick movements had her all the way on the other side of the room punching in a code on one of the mirror panels. As soon as she did that, the closest mirror to Mazy vanished instantly to reveal a dark room.
From the room came a smaller woman wearing a simple white jumpsuit and cloak, her gray-brown hair wrapped in tightly woven braids on top her head, resembling a simple crown.
“Alright, I’ve seen enough,” President Leia Organa Solo said. “Someone get her to the infirmary.” Leia had been watching the whole time behind one of their security rooms. The security rooms came highly recommended and were almost always enforced upon her by the Council for safety reasons. “I want her revived and her identity verified.”
“What do you think about her story?” the human male asked. By now the council members began to get up from their chairs, some of them making their way to Leia, others making a circle around Lilliya.
“I want to make sure she is who she says she is before making any big decisions,” Leia said. “However, I want an investigative task force set up and prepared to ship to Endor just in case she is telling the truth.”
“Why do you think she would make this up?” Mazy whispered beside Leia.
Leia eyed Lilliya’s form suspiciously. One of Leia’s many talents as a politician was that she was also a Jedi. The whole time Lilliya was talking, Leia was searching her thoughts and trying to sense her presence within the Force. She found nothing. Just a blank spot, a void within the room where Leia could hear and feel everyone else, including the droids’ mechanical presence. The only time she ever experienced a void in the Force was when there was a Yuuzhan Vong, and they were infamous for their realistic disguises.
“For all we know, Lilliya Tentle is either dead or alive and well on Endor, and this is some sort of imposter,” Leia announced. She then turned to Mazy and quietly added, “See if you can contact the Raider Base on their private frequency. If you get nothing, I want you to lead the investigative team and head to Endor immediately. I don’t want this becoming a distraction before the Armistice Celebration.”
Mazy nodded, her gaze becoming dark with anticipation. She was Leia’s personal little spy/destroyer. She was a born killer inside a tiny feminine body. Leia had found her among the bowels of Coruscant and decided to take Mazy under her wing. Leia trained her to use her deadly talent for good and useful purposes. Although, Leia found herself wondering whether or not she was doing any good training someone like Mazy how to become even more deadly than she already was. These days Leia was questioning herself more so than usual. She wished Luke was more present in her life than he was. He focused all his attention on Ossus and the Jedi Order and never had time for his own sister, or even worse, his own son, Ben.
As Lilliya got carried away by a couple of emergency droids, the GP guard droids following closely behind, Mazy disappeared into the security room, the mirror reappearing behind her. Leia followed the guard droids out, but was stopped by the Ithorian council member.
“Are you sure it’s safe, if you think this is an imposter?” she said.
Leia glance at the Ithorian, then glanced back at the young girl with the golden hair being carried away. Though she did not sense the girl’s presence in the Force, she also didn’t sense any real danger. The girl, or whatever it was, was sick, and that had to be taken care of first.
“I’ll be fine,” Leia turned back to the Ithorian. “Please inform my husband that I’ll be late for dinner.” Again, she added to herself.
Lilliya awoke inside a white security chamber, her wounds cleaned and bandaged. An MD droid wheeled to her side as soon as she showed consciousness.
“Hello, Commander,” it said in its typical soothing male voice. “How are you feeling?”
“Fine.” Lilliya was able to croak out a response through her dry throat. Aside from still having a headache, her nausea had subsided immensely, and the dizziness was no more than a memory.
“You had a concussion,” the MD droid continued. “We had to treat you, but you should be all right. We also took a small blood sample to make sure you had not contracted a disease. Certain tiny insects can be very dangerous on Endor and they have infected a number of inhabitants.”
Lilliya never heard anything about dangerous insects, but she was sure she’d been vaccinated a long time before she ever moved to Endor.
“Thanks,” she mumbled. “How long have I been out?”
“About twenty minutes. Not long.” This time it was a woman’s voice who spoke. Lilliya turned around on the hard medical bed to see Leia Solo leaning against the wall of the security room. Leia pushed off from the wall and slowly made her way to the disheveled girl.
“Hi, I’m Leia—”
“Yes, I know,” Lilliya interrupted. She was entirely surprised, but thoroughly pleased that she was finally able to meet the president. “I’ve been wanting to speak with you.”
“I’ve heard everything,” Leia responded. “I have sent a team out to investigate Endor and to confirm your story, and maybe find out some answers to your mysterious ship.”
Lilliya examined Leia for a moment. She was a small woman, dark hair lightening with age, but she had a beautiful, almost serene face, eyes glowing a rich, dark brown. Those brown eyes also scrutinized back, Lilliya noticed quickly. She wondered if the president trusted her or not.
“I’m sorry to have to do this to you, but it’s security protocol,” Leia said, gesturing back to the four guard droids.
Lilliya glanced to her side to see the droids waiting for her and shivered. She hated this part, but should have seen it coming. Lilliya’s response was a single nod as she hopped off the bed table and shuffled to the droids. Her muscles still ached with fatigue. It was a shame they couldn’t give her anything for that.
The droids ushered her into a sterilization tube and began to strip her down behind an opaque shield. Leia watched curiously for any signs of a Yuuzhan Vong disguise, while continuously probing her with the Force, and still coming up empty.
The MD rolled over to Leia’s side. “She comes up clean. Her blood is not Yuuzhan Vong. And she is indeed Lilliya Tentle. I have her medical records from when she joined the Galactic Raiders.”
Leia frowned, distraught by this news. How else could she be invisible to the Force?
“So she’s human,” Leia grumbled, as though she was determined to catch an imposter and was disappointed to find her legit.
Lilliya had now entered the sterilization tube and was blasted with a white cloud-like chemical.
“That’s the interesting part,” the MD said. “Come take a look at her DNA.”
Leia moved over to a computer to see a representation of what Lilliya’s DNA strands look like.
“Now, here are a human female’s DNA strand.” The MD pointed to the adjacent DNA.
“They look the same to me,” Leia said, shrugging indifferently. She looked up to see that Lilliya had moved on to the x-ray screening. Leia still didn’t entirely trust the girl, even though the doctor proved her identity.
“Yes, they are very similar, are they not,” the MD murmured mostly to himself.
Leia glanced up curiously at the droid, then back down at the DNA representation.
“See here,” he pointed. “There is an entire block missing and replaced by a completely different pattern.
Leia squinted at where the droid pointed. It took her a second to see it, but there it was, a section of the DNA that normally curled like a human’s was sharp and erratic. Still, however, Leia wasn’t impressed.
“So she’s a humanoid, so what? There are lots of different species out there that look like humans,” she said. Leia was tiring of this topic and wanted to get back to interrogating the girl.
“Yes, you are right about that,” the MD said, almost giving up on his own interest in the discovery.
Lilliya had finished the screening and was now donning a thin white dressing gown to replace her bloodstained Raider uniform.
“Except that,” the MD continued quietly, “this DNA does not exist in any record of any species throughout the entire galaxy.”
Leia’s frown deepened and she shot a surprised look at the MD.
“I‘m not sure what she is,” he said, and if an MD droid could shrug, he would have done just that. Instead he rolled back to his computer station and continued his work.
Lilliya came out of the sterilization room, a look of annoyance settled on her face. The four GP guard droids stayed close behind.
“Hold those files under my private documents,” Leia muttered to the MD droid, quietly enough that Lilliya couldn’t hear. “No one is to access those files but you and me.”
The MD nodded.
Leia then quickly turned to Lilliya and approached her casually.
“I’m sorry to put you through all that,” Leia said, as Lilliya shivered in her dressing gown.
“It’s nothing,” Lilliya said.
“I’ve got it from here,” Leia said, turning to speak at the guard droids who began to follow them out. They stood at attention in the security room and watched Leia and Lilliya walk away.
“Those guys can be really creepy,” Leia mumbled, trying to spark conversation between her and the tall blonde.
Lilliya only nodded.
“Well,” Leia smiled, “now that we know you are who you say you are, I would like to invite you to stay in one of the senate apartments in the palace. To accommodate your loss of home and family.” Leia put her arm around Lilliya, noticing for only a second the immense height difference between the two of them, and walked with her out into the hallway.
“Thank you,” Lilliya said. “I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”
“You’ve had a long day,” Leia said quietly. “I have to ask, how is it you are the only survivor?”
Lilliya squinted and stared off into the long corridor. There was nothing on the walls and still, there were no windows. The atmosphere seemed colder now.
“Just lucky, I guess,” Lilliya answered, not really sure how to explain it and not really wanting bring back the memory just yet. She was barely holding on as it was.
Leia’s real intention was to see if there was hole in her story, but she quickly realized she wasn’t going to get anything out of the tall girl. She was either two things: tired and needed rest before more interrogation, or a spy acting tired and therefore Leia needed more time to break through to her. Nonetheless, the girl was going to be under heavy surveillance just to be sure.
“What happened to the shuttle I flew in to get here?” Lilliya asked, breaking the silence this time.
“I had a science team take it and investigate it,” Leia answered. “They will try to determine what it is we’re dealing with, exactly.”
Lilliya nodded in approval and the two of them continued the rest of the journey in silence. Lilliya hadn’t yet noticed that they had arrived at the Senate Apartments. The hallways were much brighter in décor, and both sides of the walls had long panes of windows to view Galactic City. The glass corridor led to a public living center filled with colorful plants and aromatic flowers. Senators and other politicians lounged on the large red and gold sofas, a few small children running through the many different hallways. Lilliya imagined they were at the top of the palace because she could see nothing but the cityscape on either side of her. They journeyed a couple floors up and stopped at a silver door.
“These will be your quarters until you can get back on your feet,” Leia said, punching in a code that slid open the door with a quiet hiss.
Lilliya stepped in and observed her surroundings. These quarters were much fancier than she was used to on Endor. On Endor, she only had a simple bunk bed, a desk and small closet. This room was decorated with dark reds, greens, and golds, all swirling together. There was a large sofa in the living area in front of an entertainment holographer. The kitchen was black marble and fully equipped, and an enormous window looked out to the city. The two suns were already beginning to set, which cast the entire apartment in a gold-red hue. To her right, a small door led to the bedroom.
“I think I’ll let you get settled in,” Leia said from behind Lilliya. “There are few items of clothing in the closet over there and I’ve left you with a few credit chips that should help you get by. Tomorrow I’ll send for you and we’ll continue our interview.”
Lilliya nodded solemnly and for the first time, Leia felt sad for the girl. Maybe this girl was harmless and really was only trying to warn the government. Leia was becoming paranoid in her old age. Paranoid and grumpy, she thought. She looked back up at the tall girl who wandered around the living area aimlessly. But the simple fact that she couldn’t get a read on her through the Force nagged at her constantly. It was like standing next to someone who repelled the Force, or who went beyond the boundaries of the Force and was hiding somewhere—some place Leia couldn’t reach or touch. This thought made her nervous and she hoped Luke would arrive soon to Coruscant for the YVA celebration, if only to solve this strange mystery.
“Get some rest,” Leia said. “I’ll let you know if the investigation team finds anything.”
Lilliya turned to see Leia leave the room, the sliding door sealing with a hiss. Lilliya moved to the bedroom to find another large window facing west into the double sunset. There was a white marble desk with a simple holopad and credit chip card lying on top, and a simple black chair. Across the room was her bed, also large in size and adorned with velvet red comforters and silver satin pillows. Lilliya moved straight for the bed and flopped face-down. She didn’t bother drawing the shades down to block the golden light from the sunset. Lilliya squeezed her eyes shut and willed herself to sleep. Shoving her face into one of the silver pillows, she let out a quiet sob that lasted for a total of ten seconds before sleep took her.