"Put a choke valve on it, Goldenrod," Han cut him off. "Leia?"

Leia looked out the cockpit canopy at the Imperial Star Destroyer and eight Dreadnaughts arrayed against the beleaguered planet ahead. Clustering around it like mynocks around an unshielded power generator. It was to have been her last diplomatic mission before settling in to await the birth of her twins: a quick trip to calm a nervous Filvian government and demonstrate the New Republic's determination to protect the systems in this sector.

Some demonstration.

"There's no way we can make it through all that," she told Han reluctantly. "Even if we could, I doubt the Filvians would risk opening the shield to let us in. We'd better make a run for it."

"Sounds good to me," Han grunted. "Wedge? We're pulling out. Stay with us."

"Copy, Falcon," Wedge said. "You'll have to give us a few minutes to calculate the jump back."

"Don't bother," Han said, swiveling around in his seat to key in the nav computer. "We'll feed you the numbers from here."

"Copy. Rogue Squadron: screen formation."

"You know, I'm starting to get tired of this," Han told Leia, swiveling back to face front. "I thought you said your Noghri pals were going to leave you alone."

"This has nothing to do with the Noghri." Leia shook her head, an odd half-felt tension stretching at her forehead. Was it her imagination, or were the Imperial ships surrounding Filve starting to break formation? "This is Grand Admiral Thrawn playing with his new Dark Force Dreadnaughts."

"Yeah," Han agreed quietly, and Leia winced at the momentary flash of bitterness in his sense. Despite everyone's best efforts to persuade him otherwise, Han still considered it his own personal fault that Thrawn had gotten to the derelict Katana

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