"If Alderaan is to stay free, you must take what I say as the truth." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi
Bail Organa had had the foresight to give clearance codes to Obi-Wan Kenobi for emergency landings on Aladeraan should he ever need it as a safe haven. He had done this out of gratitude for Obi-Wanís role in foiling his assassination attempt.
Obi-Wan was grateful now as he bypassed several layers of restrictions of Alderaanian air-space controllers and was able to land unobtrusively in the capital cityís space docks.
He would not be staying more than a few hours, only enough time to send R2D2 on his way. Alderaan was a strong, independent system that had not gone along willingly with many of the Empireís new taxes and regulations, but it was well known that Obi-Wan and Bail Organa were friends.
He could not stay here in the Jedi fighter any longer than necessary or Alderaan would fall under the Sithís magnifying glass. R2D2 was hesitant to leave the Jedi Masterís company, but Obi-Wan reassured the little droid that he would be among friends soon.
"Itís unlikely anyone will stop you at any point, R2," he said now, feeling a little odd as he squatted beside the blue-and-white droid after finishing his message. "Donít do anything too foolish, but make sure no one but Bail Organa sees this hologram."
The droid beeped an affirmative, then leaned forward over the crib of Luke and beeped and twittered softly. The baby looked up, his eyes big and gurgled back.
Obi-Wan was stunned by the droidís behavior even after all this time, it knew, without Obi-Wan even mentioning it, R2 knew that this was the end of the line of his travelling with the Jedi and his young charge.
"Do what you can do look after them, R2." Obi-Wan said, patting the droid on the chrome-plated head as it rolled away.
Half an hour later, having finished refueling the fighter and acquiring proper nourishment for Luke, Obi-Wan blasted off from Alderaan, and headed out of Imperial Space.
Alderaan was one of the most technologically-advanced planets in the Core, and the presence of a droid rolling free in the city was a common sight, even at the late hour that R2 was making his trek.
He easily found the governmental suites and offices that housed the Organa Clan and finally came to a halt outside the familyís private elevator. He beeped and whirred to the liftís low-grade computer, insisting that he had an urgent message that could only be delivered to Bail Organa.
The liftís central processing unit was not made for such hi-tech decisions, so after R2ís third query demanding the lift, its computer sent an alert upstairs that a droid was demanding entry and that someone should come talk to it.
R2 rocked back and forth on his wheels, rather impatiently. He had come a long way and didnít like being denied so close to his objective now.
The doors to the turbolift opened, and a shimmering gold humanoid stepped out.
"R2D2! What are you doing here?!"
C3PO looked down at his occasional companion, seeing him for the first time since the Jedi and Padme had split up the Skywalker infants under the pursuit of Darth Tyrannusí forces. C3PO had been in Organaís house since then, occasionally doing translation work for the former senator when he entertained diplomats from other star systems.
R2 seemed far less amazed to see the taller robot, twittered sarcastically in response.
"Well, I can see youíre waiting for the turbolift! I mean, what are you doing on Alderaan! Whereís Master Kenobi? Is he with you?"
R2 was short and direct with his reply.
"Why, I never! I come down here to help you out and you wonít even tell m whatís going on! Iím a very important staff member of this household and I shall not be belittled by a rust bucket rolling in off the streets!"
While C3PO was immersed in his tirade, R2 silently rolled past him into the turbolift and opened one of his many accessory hatches. A tiny arm reached out and keyed the upper most numerical coded pad on the liftís control panel.
Seeing the object of his wrath leaving, C3PO spun on his heels awkwardly and shuffled into the compartment after him.
"Just you listen hear, you may have been off cavorting with the Jedi on some wild adventure, but in this house we practice the laws of protocol and I wonít have you simply barging your way in here like you own the ..."
Mercifully, for the rest of the floorís occupants, the turbolift doors closed and the chattering and beeping disappeared to the upper levels of the Organa House.
After finally convincing C3PO that he would certainly give R2D2 the proper chiding, Bail Organa at last closed the doors to is private office, keying them to open only on his voice command, and strode across the room to where R2D2 stood quietly.
"Well R2, letís see what youíve got to tell me," Organa intoned solemnly, almost scared of what message the droid might be delivering.
He sat in his large chair behind his desk as R2 whirred his photoreceptors and projected a foot-tall hologram of Obi-Wan Kenobi onto the table.
Even at this small resolution, Organa thought Obi-Wan looked awful. His face haggard, his eyes had the look of a man who had seen death at close range.
The hologram bowed slightly, and Obi-Wanís voice, sounding as weary as he looked, rang forth from R2ís audio capacitors.
"Greetings to you Bail, if you are seeing this, then R2 has completed his mission and deserves both our congratulations. Unfortunately, I come to you with dire news on all fronts. I shall burden you with it all because I know not where else to turn. I have been cast as an outlaw to the Empire, banished outside of Imperial space on the condition of death should I return. What I will tell you will stretch the limits of belief, but if Alderaan is to stay free, you must take what I say as the truth."
Organaís eyes focused intently as the holographic Jedi took a deep breath in the recorded image.
"The Emperor is not who he seems. He is not merely Senator Palpatine from Naboo, he has been the Sith Lord weíve been searching for all along. His other name is Darth Sidious. It was he who was behind the occupation of Naboo. Dooku was his servant, and the two of them orchestrated the Clone Wars to build up the military, so he could do what he is doing now, slowly making the Empire into a police state."
The holographic Obi-Wan shook his head and pressed on.
"Thereís more, perhaps even worse. Anakin is not dead. Somehow he survived the end of our duel and was remade by Palpatine. He is now the Emperorís servant, he wears a monstrous suit of black armor and calls himself Darth Vader."
"As you might have feared, Master Windu has fallen. Vader ambushed him and struck him down in the Jedi Temple in our aborted mission to regain as much training information as we could. Vaderís troops captured me, and as you can probably tell, gave me quite a beating. He released me however, and told me my sentence was to live life as a walking dead man, banished to the Outer Rim for the rest of my days."
Bail Organa had been about half an hour from going to bed for the evening when C3PO and R2D2 entered his quarters. He was beginning to feel like he might not sleep for a long time.
"All is not lost, however, I maintain hope that Yoda lives, for surely Tyrannus is dead or Vader would not exist. I go now to seek him out where I abandoned him earlier. After that, I will take Luke to Tatooine in hopes of having Anakinís family adopt him. It is my belief that he will never return there after what happened to his mother, and that Luke will be safer there than anywhere in the galaxy. I will remain as close to Luke as I can, I promised Padme as much, but she cannot know any of this. The more people who know the location of Luke and Leia, the more in jeopardy they will be. I buried the knowledge of their existence deep in my mind when Vader captured me, and he did not discover it, so intent on exacting his revenge was he. It must stay that way, if Vader and the Emperor learn of them, they will stop at nothing to possess them, and they will destroy anyone in their way."
"I am sorry to place this burden on you, Bail, and I am sorry I cannot give you this news in person, but I could not risk jeopardizing the safety of your people or that of Luke. Tell Padme her son is safe, but no more. Hopefully that will keep her spirits afloat, so she can raise Leia to be a leader like herself."
Organaís face fell at the mention of Padme. When Master Windu had failed to return in the span he had deemed necessary, she had begun to worry incessantly. Already a slight woman, Padme had become more and more frail since her arrival at Alderaan, paranoid for the safety of Luke and Obi-Wan, and now fearful that her actions had caused the death of Master Windu as well.
And especially now that she felt trapped on Alderaan, perhaps never to see her homeworld again, Padme was constantly depressed, withdrawn from even her handmaidens who sought to bring her solace in any way possible.
As much as he could sense the love Padme felt for Leia, he knew that it was not enough. She was constantly reminded of Anakin every time she looked into the baby girlís eyes or held her in her arms, and she felt she had failed him as a wife, by not being able to save him from falling to the dark side.
Organa had sent for the finest physicians he knew to try and map out a pinpoint for the former Queenís weakening state, but he knew in his own mind that her malady could not be cured by any remedy. Padme Amidala was dying of a broken heart.
Seeing Organa staring off blankly, R2D2 paused the message. Organa smiled at the droid and motioned for him to continue.
"I am indebted to you Bail, and although I feel I have failed the Republic, the Jedi and my Padawan, I have advice to give to you. I know the people of Alderaan are peaceful and do not believe in fighting, but there may come a time when it is necessary. It may be that our generation is too set in its ways to resist, but I have no doubt that the day is coming when the Emperor will declare this galaxy his own, and any freedoms you may have will vanish before your eyes. If you choose to resist, you will continue to place yourself in peril, old friend, but the reward is the freedom of your people, and I know you will make the right choice."
"As I said, I will stay on Tatooine and watch over Luke, but I am forever indebted for you. Should your situation ever become dire, I have placed a transmitter inside R2D2 that responds to one in the hilt of my lightsaber. Should you ever need my help, he will know where to find me."
Obi-Wanís hologram looked over R2ís head, squinting at something, then returned his view to Organaís face.
"I must go now, I bid you good luck and thank you for all your help. May the Force be with you."
The hologram flickered out and R2 whistled softly. Organa noticed the message light blinking on his deskcom, it was Padme. She had heard that R2 had arrived and wanted to know what was going on.
He told her heíd be in her quarters shortly. He closed the communication and buried his head in his hands on the desk.. R2 sat quietly, not knowing any combination of electronic beeps that could express sympathy for the look of fear and mourning on the former Senatorís face.