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well how fast the New Republic would fall apart without me around."

Han tried real hard, but he couldn't quite strangle off a smile on that one. He compromised, letting it come out twisted. "All right, I give up," he sighed. "If I stop grousing, will you shut up?"

"Deal," Lando nodded.

Han turned back to the porthole, the smile fading away. Lando could talk all he wanted; but the loss of the Katana fleet would be a first magnitude disaster, and they both knew it. Somehow, they had to stop the Empire from getting to those ships.

Somehow.

Chapter 26

Mon Mothma shook her head in wonderment. "The Katana fleet," she breathed. "After all these years. It's incredible."

"Some might even put it more strongly than that," Fey'lya added coolly, his fur rippling as he gazed hard at Karrde's impassive face. He'd been doing a lot of that throughout the hastily called meeting, Leia had noticed: gazing hard at Karrde, at Luke, at Leia herself. Even Mon Mothma hadn't been left out. "Some might, in fact, have severe doubts that what you're telling us is true at all."

Beside Karrde, Luke shifted in his seat, and Leia could sense his efforts to control his annoyance with the Bothan. But Karrde merely cocked an eyebrow. "Are you suggesting that I'm lying to you?"

"What, a smuggler lie?" Fey'lya countered. "What a thought."

"He's not lying," Han insisted, an edge to his voice. "The fleet's been found. I saw some of the ships."

"Perhaps," Fey'lya said, dropping his eyes to the polished surface of the table. Of all those at the meeting, Han had so far been the only one to escape Fey'lya's posturing and his glare. For some reason, the Bothan seemed reluctant to even look at him. "Perhaps not. There are more Dreadnaught cruisers in the galaxy than just the Katana fleet.
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