It is only after the frantic chaos of their retreat from the Yavin system dies down that Mon Mothma allows herself to stop and think about the rebellion’s newest hero. Before, there was no time to do anything more than rejoice in their good fortune, but now? His name is Skywalker. He was with General Kenobi. He carries a lightsaber and flies like he breathes and wears the face of a hero decades gone. She wants to laugh. “Where there is Kenobi, you will always find Skywalker not far behind”. It seems time could not change that fundamental truth.
As a senator Mon had known many of their Jedi protectors, but her interactions with the Republic’s most famous Generals had been surprisingly limited given their friendship with Bail and Padmé. She fights back the grief, both new and remembered, that rises at the memory of her friends. On the other hand, she thinks while blinking back tears, she had never been quite as recklessly brave as them, never had a reason to be on the front lines where the fighting was closer than the holocam footage ever showed.
But while she had never known Anakin Skywalker well, she knew enough to wonder at young Luke’s existence. While the Jedi were not necessarily celibate (as many a whispered tale would tell) they were dedicated to their calling, and the war had left little time for one of its busiest generals to have been involved in such liaisons with civilians. Also, Mon recalled overhearing more than a few conversations bemoaning the Hero With No Fear’s complete lack of interest in his more ardent fans. Yet somewhere out there had been a woman who had carried his child, who had passed on his name even as the Jedi were branded traitors to the Republic, who had given the Alliance this final piece of hope and she wondered…
“- coming from someone with the brains of a shaak doped up on gooja weed!”
Her musings had apparently brought her all the way to the hanger where it seemed Leia was once again involved in vigorous debate with Captain Solo about his personal failings. To one side she can see Chewbacca leaning against a stack of crates while Skywalker physically inserts himself between the aggrieved parties in an attempt to stop things from turning physical. She would have continued walking past, perhaps made a note to gently tease Leia about it during their next meeting, except… Luke’s body language looked so familiar, like a vaguely remembered dream from years ago. Then he raises his hands and turns to each of them and Mon knows that tone of voice. Mon knows that smile. Mon knows that manner of peacemaking and had wept for the woman who wielded it like a weapon. And here it lives again in a boy from Tatooine. It doesn’t seem possible. But perhaps?
She purposely marches herself towards the small group, making sure to keep her expression pleasantly neutral. Leia is the first to spot her, stopping mid word to stand a little straighter.
“Mon! Is everything alright? Our meeting’s not for another couple of hours yet.”
“No, nothing to worry about.” She is quick to reassure the princess. “I just had some spare time in my schedule and thought I’d see how Lieutenant Skywalker is settling in. It can’t imagine it has been the easiest of transitions.”
Luke flushes. “Uh, yes. I mean no, Ma'am, I’m fine.”
Mon smiles kindly. “Good. No problems with the other pilots then?"
"Oh no! Everyone’s been great!” His smile dims a little. “With all the losses it helps to have each other to hold on to you know? And apparently Biggs talked a lot, so Wedge says it’s like they already knew me a bit before we even met.”
Internally Mon winces. The point of this talk had been to get a feel for the young man, not to raise ghosts barely laid to rest. Luke’s expression is decidedly reminiscent of a kicked puppy, and she takes the opportunity to keep the conversation moving. “I do know. We’ve lost a lot of good people in the last few weeks. Which is why we need to take good care of those of us left behind. I assume you’ve been checked over by medical?”
Luke rubs his shoulder. “Yes ma'am. I’m all up to date on my shots too. They were a bit peeved I couldn’t give them an exact birthdate for their personnel files though.”
Mon suspects she may regret this line of inquiry. “Oh? Difficulties converting the local calendar to galactic standard? I know binary systems can be tricky to convert. Still, I wouldn’t worry too much, as long are you are of age - the Alliance does try to avoid employing child soldiers wherever possible.”
That thought sends Captain Solo into a fit of laughter, and Mon sees Leia send a surreptitious kick his way which only seems to make him laugh harder. Luke is blushing again.
“Shut up Han! Uh, no Ma'am, actually converting my age’s never been a problem for me. It’s just…” His voice trails off. “ I was born sometime around Empire Day, the first one. Aunt Beru said they never knew for sure, just that I couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old when a friend of my parents left me with them.” His expression is bittersweet. “I’m guessing that was Old Ben. He might have known more, but I never got the chance to ask.”
There is a wealth of loss and regret in that statement and Mon struggles to process the implications. Leia, force bless her, has no such trouble, immediately moving to reassure her friend.
“Well! I’m glad I’m not the only one to suffer that particular irony!” She says, reaching up to loop an arm around his shoulder. “Officially we only celebrated the date on the Alderaanian calendar, but every year some Imperial lackey would comment on how lucky it was to have a princess who shared the Empire’s day of celebration.” Leia smiles wickedly. “And every year I would have to demonstrate the flammable nature of Imperial dress uniforms. It’s a shame how unpredictable fireworks can be isn’t it?”
Luke laughs, and in an instant the overall mood of the room lifts.
Not to be left out, Solo interjects. “So you two share a birthday huh? I can see it. What with the tendency to destroy Imperial property and all it’s obvious - you two were clearly separated at birth. Shame their majesties kept the evil twin though!”
Leia’s semi-outraged shriek sends their newest hero further into a fit of choking laughter. It only becomes louder as the princess launches herself at the smuggler intent on wiping the smirk off his face, and soon Skywalker is doubled over, clutching at his stomach. To be fair, the non-stop litany of insults being wielded by both parties is impressive in its creativity.
Leia takes a moment from her assault to ensure his continued well-being before attempting to enlist him in her argument. “Luke, tell Han to stop being ridiculous!”
As Luke looks up, Mon is taken back to the days of the Clone Wars and the footage of General Skywalker about to undertake one of his signature risky maneuvers, with a toothy grin and a calculating glint in bright blue eyes.
“Oh I don’t know. I always wanted a little sister! Even one who needs to curb her pyromania. Maybe I should arrange another dip in the waste system for you?”
This time even Mon can’t keep a straight face as Leia attacks, laughing all the while, and sets about wrestling her teasing friends to the floor.
Obviously forgotten in the wake of some much needed levity, Mon turns to leave. Yet as their fond bickering fades into the background some clicks on her brain and Mon feels her heart begin to race. Luke Skywalker was born as the Republic fell. Padmé Amidala died as the Empire rose. Mon remembered the funeral, the cameras capturing the somber passage of the funeral bier, the blue silk of the burial dress and the white petals scattered around the face of the fallen senator.
And her stomach, full and round with child.
She had wondered at the time who Padmé’s partner had been, why she had gone to such lengths to hide her impending motherhood, but now it all made sense. An affair with a Jedi, particularly one as high profile as Skywalker, would require the utmost secrecy to avoid both scandal and the loss of two of the Republic’s greatest assets from the ongoing war effort. It would also explain the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death - one of the Emperor’s political rivals, carrying a Jedi’s child in the midst of a bloody coup? She has no proof, but Mon’s gut tells her that the son of her old friend is currently standing in the hanger behind her, unknowing of his heritage and the danger it carries.
She decides then. General Kenobi had successfully hidden his friends’ child from imperial eyes for almost two decades. Now it is Mon’s turn to protect their legacy. With a firm nod the Chandrillan steadies herself and heads back to her office.
She has a lot to think about.