fleet shipsthe so-called Dark Forceahead of the New Republic. "I wouldn't have thought he could get them reconditioned this fast," Han added as he twisted the Falcon's nose away from Filve and back toward deep space.

Leia swallowed. The strange tension was still there, like a distant malevolence pressing against the edges of her mind. "Maybe he has enough Spaarti cylinders to clone some engineers and techs as well as soldiers."

"That's sure a fun thought," Han said; and through her tension Leia could sense his sudden change in mood as he tapped the comm switch. "Wedge, take a look back at Filve and tell me if I'm seeing things."

Over the comm, Leia could hear Wedge's thoughtful intake of air. "You mean like the whole Imperial force breaking off their attack and coming after us?"

"Yeah. That."

"Looks real enough to me," Wedge said. "Could be a good time to get out of here."

"Yeah," Han said slowly. "Maybe."

Leia frowned at her husband. There'd been something in his voice. . . . "Han?"

"The Filvians would've called for help before they put up their shield, right?" Han asked her, forehead furrowed with thought.

"Right," Leia agreed cautiously.

"And the nearest New Republic base is Ord Pardron, right?"


"Okay. Rogue Squadron, we're changing course to starboard. Stay with me."

He keyed his board, and the Falcon started a sharp curve to the right. "Watch it, Falconthis is taking us back toward that TIE fighter group," Wedge warned.

"We're not going that far," Han assured him. "Here's our vector."

He straightened out the ship onto their new course heading and threw a look at the rear display. "Good they're still chasing us."

Behind him, the nav computer beeped its notification that the jump coordinates were ready. "Wedge,

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