Author's Note: What can I say? I got tired of every fan writer out there assuming (as the writers of the SW pro novels did later on) that Leia was going to head up the new government after the war, devoting her life to being a bureaucrat. I mean, really. How boring! She apparently spent her childhood, teenage years, etc., working for the Alliance…doesn't she ever get a break? I used some of the ideas in this, more seriously, in my later RimWorlds series stories.



by Pat Nussman


"Forget it!" advised the last princess of Alderaan astringently. She folded her arms over the breast of her brilliant scarlet jacket and glared laserfire at the young man standing before her.

Skywalker shot a questioning look at his companion; Lando Calrissian just shrugged. He withdrew strategically to a position on the wall furthest away from the princess.

Luke shifted his attention back to Leia. What was the problem? He, as the Obi-Wan of the New Jedi,, had delivered his ceremonial message from the New Republic Senate: the princess was unanimously elected as its President. It was the expected outcome of the long, grueling conflict with the Expire so recently concluded. Why wasn't she happy?

"But Leia..." He put as much appeal in his eyes as he could manage, which was quite a lot.

Leia ignored it. "But nothing," she snapped. "I've spent my entire life in one damned office or another., shuffling paper and writing speeches: for Alderaan, for the Imperial Senate, for the Alliance. I'm not doing it any more--not for the New Republic, not for anyone."

She thrust her chin up defiantly. "I've had it."

Skywalker and Calrissian stared at her, dumbfounded/

"No one has ever., ever asked me what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be." She glared at them accusingly.

The two men eyed her as if she were a bomb set to explode.

"What do you want to do, Leia?" Luke inquired cautiously.

Captain Han Solo strolled into the room, co-pilot in tow, just in time to catch Luke's question. He walked up behind the princess and slipped an arm possessively about her shoulders.

"She wants to be a smuggler, kid."

Han and the princess glanced-at each other, smiling. It was clearly meant as a brief exchange, but their gazes locked and held, a desire lighting their eyes which had nothing whatsoever to do with a lust for smuggler's gold.

Luke Skywalker didn't look nearly so content.

"She wants to be a what?" His voice soared upward on the scale, endina the sentence with a scandalized squeak.

With apparent difficulty, Leia dragged her attention away from the handsome Corellian.

"Actually, I'll be taking care of New Republic business in the Outland regions. He," she poked an elbow into Han's midriff, will take care of the smuggling. Or whatever.

"Particularly the whatever," added Solo.

Leia smirked. "Right." She winked at him, then turned a level gaze on Luke. "There are a lot of worlds still "unpacified"--it will be years before all the Old Empire territory is brought under control. So I--" she jerked a thumb confidently toward her chest,, "--will be keeping an eye on the Outlands and reporting to Rieekan, as commander in chief of the Republic Forces, while Han's tending to his, er, business." One side of her mouth quirked upward. "He has a wife as well as a Wookiee to support now, after all."

Luke raised one eyebrow skeptically. He rather thought Chewie could support himself--and he damn well knew Leia could.

Solo just grinned, while Chewie made some unintelligible remark that sounded like agreement.

Still, it was just a bit too much for Luke to absorb. Everyone had just assumed the princess would remain to set up and lead the new government.

"Leia." He tried a verbal appeal this time. "You're needed."

"Bantha crap," she replied succinctly. "There are upward of a hundred beings gathered here who can do anyting I can do. Actually, some of them can do it much better." He watched as she crossed the few steps to the window to gaze thoughtfully out at the masses crowding the streets of the former Imperial capital of Malebolge, now New Alderaan. A goodly number of them, he knew,- were jobless bureaucrats who had homed in after the final victory like carrion birds on a fat prey.

"I was a war leader,, " she continued quietly. "What the Republic needs now are leaders for peace. Administrators.'' Her mood shifting, she smiled sweetly at Lando. "And those are a credit a dozen."

"Thanks a lot, replied the ex-administrator sourly.

Leia waved one hand in a casual gesture. "Anytime, Calrissian."

Luke was still unconvinced.

A defiant expression settled onto the princess's face. "Listen, Luke Skywalker, I've spent my life doing what's best for the rest of the galaxy, while you-- she stalked forward and planted an accusing finger on the Tatooinian's breastbone, 11--spent your boyhood fancy-free, hot-rodding your skyhopper, bulls-eyeing womprats, and who knows what else." She punctuated her words with a forceful jab.

"Now it's your turn."

Whirling, she tucked one hand under Han Solo's arm and headed for the door. Chewbacca brought up the rear.

At the door., she turned once again and bestowed a broad smile on Luke. The smile was mischievous, but it was also a happy smile, and a freer, more spontaneous expression than the young Jedi had ever seen the princess wear.

"Have fun, kid."

Leia Organa-Solo left, and the door slid closed quietly behind her.



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