[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Around and around.There are people at war outthere.A whole star system could die while you go back and forth." "I amknowing, I am knowing, I am knowing," said Dracmus."But believe me, thereis nothing more we can be doing.We Hunchuzuc know the deadline.We aretrying.But it is a very delicate situation.Push the Sacorrians of thenameless clan too hard, and they might commit suicide.Or die of shame.Anddie of shame not expression, like with you people." Dracmus seemed ready tooffer an explanation of that statement, but then she caught Han's eye andgot back to the point."The best thing you humans can do to hurry us alongis just to be here, looking impatient, checking the time, reminding us tohurry.I go tell negotiators you impatient, time growing short, and theywork faster." Just then, there was an odd, muted sort of beeping noisecoming from Mara's pocket.At exactly the same moment Artoo suddenly kickedup a fuss, whistling and chirping and spinning his view dome back and forth.Mara looked confused for a minute, and then seemed to remember something.She stood up, shoved her hand in the pocket of her coveralls, and pulled outa comlink."It's been so long since these things worked I forgot it wasthere," she said.She pressed a stud on the side of the comlink, and thebeeping stopped.'That's a call from the ship's monitoring systems.A highpriority message just came in." "Artoo," asked Luke, "are you getting ittoo? The same message?" Artoo let off an affirmative-sounding trill."Gottabe the same one," Mara said."I've got to go over to the Jade's Fire to readmy copy.Anyone care to tag along and see what it is?" Artoo confirmed itwas the same message the moment he plugged into the dataport on the cockpitof the Jade's Fire.That saved having to decode it twice.The decryptionsystem on board the Jade's Fire was good, very good.It unbuttoned themessage in only a few seconds-a job that would have taken Artoo a good manyminutes.Mara, sitting at the ship's command station, hit the play button,and a hologram shimmered into life a meter or so above the floor.It was afull-length view of Lando, shown at about half life size."Hello," he saidin a very solemn voice."I don't know exactly what your situation is, so Iwill send duplicate copies of this to all of you.A lot has happened.Thebad news is that the real enemy has finally shown up.It's the fleet fromthe Sacorrian Triad.Luke knows about it.They are the real enemy.Everything else-alt the rebellions-are not much more than diversions.Thefleet has a total of about eighty ships of all sizes, and they areclosing-very slowly-on Centerpoint.They seem to be timing it so they willget to Centerpoint just as the Bovo Yagen shot goes off.We haven'tinterfered with them-yet-and they haven't made any hostile gesture towardour ships.I doubt that's going to last long, though."That's the bad news,and it's bad." The image of Lando paused for a moment, and then broke into abroad smile."The good news is very good indeed.Don't ask me how, becausewe haven't had time to sort it all out yet, but the children have escapedfrom Thrackan-and they did it aboard the Millennium Falcon.They flew theship.And before you can turn blue, Han, the Falcon doesn't have so much asa scratch on her.But the punch line is-they captured Thrackan.Han, youshould have seen it.The kids flew a classic inside loop and put twodisabling shots right into Thrackan's stern.The Bakurans have takenThrackan prisoner.Anyway, I know you won't believe it, but the kids did itall-"I don't believe it," Han.said."Sssh!" said Leia."-and they are allsafe and sound aboard the Intruder.Chewbacca and two Drall who got mixed upin all this are being picked up from the repulsor right now.They're okaytoo, as best we can tell."But the real reason I sent this message is to askyou to come here.Gaeriel Captison has called a council of war for eighteenhours from now.We need you all there.Madame Captison wants a Selonianrepresentative as well.Please arrange that if you possibly can.Also, to beblunt about it, the odds arc good we're going to need every scrap offirepower we can get before the end of this.We need all of you, we need theJade's Fire, and we need Luke's X-wing.Send a return message as soon aspossible, reporting your intentions.But whatever you do, please hurry.Weare almost out of time."CHAPTER FOURTEENThe Last Good-bye Leia Organa Solo, Chief of State of the New Republic, ranfull-tilt down the access ramp of the Jade's Fire, onto the hangar deck ofthe Intruder, and nearly knocked over two of the honor guard as she rushedforward to her children, flinging her arms around the twins.Anakin escapedher first swooping hug simply because he was hopping too fast and too highwith excitement to be an easy target.But Han Solo was hard on the heels ofhis wife, and he scooped Anakin clear up off the ground.Luke joined thehappy little knot of chaos, hugging the children, greeting them, touslingJacen's hair, tickling Jaina, lifting Anakin out of Han's arms to hold himin his own.Threepio tottered around, offering his own greetings-andgenerally getting in the way."Anakin! Jacen! Jaina!" said Leia."Oh, let melook at you all." But then she threw her arms around all three of them, andheld them so tight it didn't seem likely she could see much of anything atall.Lando Calrissian joined the tangle of welcome, throwing his arm aroundHan, shouting a friendly insult in his ear, pounding him on the back, givingLeia a kiss, teasing the children.The other new arrivals, Mara Jade and theSelonian representative, Dracmus, followed.Admiral Ossiiege allowed himselfa thin, wintry smile as he watched the proceedings."Not the most dignifiedof entrances, eh, Madame Prime Minister? I would have expected more poisefrom the Chief of State [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]