The projector sat on the edge of her desk, cycling through each of the damning holos.
She could have moved it, placed it elsewhere, out of her line of sight or in a drawer. After all , why did she need to torment herself with more of the dead? She’d lived through the Empire and the Galactic Civil War. She knew what dead children looked like.
She left it where it was.
The note, written on true paper, a luxury even among the wealthy, she had read once and then burned.
Your last strike on our forward base was excellently planned and carried out. I thought you might wish to see the results.
The boy was named Sander, he was ten. An excellent mechanic and a promising tactian.
The girl was Ysanne. She was nearly as good as her great-grandfather in the cockpit and loved being in space.
But they are the necessary sacrifices in war, are they not? As my uncles and cousins were on the Death Star, as my mother was on the Executor. But I avenged them, when your Republic government was destroyed. I wonder, General, what Lord Ren’s vengeance will be.
She stopped what she was doing and watched the holos cycle through beginning to end, the complete autopsy of both children – unnecessary, she could see that they had both been crushed by something, possibly a wall or ceiling.
She wondered what he had hoped to accomplish with the note, the holos. Did Ben… Did Lord Ren even realize why his General had ordered the useless autopsies?
Her mouth thinned as she watched another cycle of the horrible photos – she was no stranger to dead relatives, no stranger to dead children that were dear to her. Or had he forgotten she was Leia Organa, Queen of the Aldaraani?
The ghosts of her people surrounded her always, innocent and noncombatants, living in what should have been a safe place, a protected place.
The ghosts of her mother and sisters stood beside her, killed not for raising a hand against the new order her father had ushered in, but for raising their voices.
The ghosts of her father’s people, killed by his own hand and own design.
And now, joining them, welcomed among them, were two more children, two children she would have loved, had she been given a chance, had her – had Lord Ren not placed his own children in a place that he had known was on their lists of military targets. She had never hidden that list, knew that the First Order spies had access to it.
And he dared to place them into the same category as the military dead? Had he been in front of her, Leia would have killed him for that insult alone, for daring to compare the two acts.
She took a breath and then another, before she moved the projector, placing the children between their great-grandmother and their grandfather, the twin genocides of Alderaan and Hoshian Prime floating behind them.
He asked what Lord Ren would do for vengeance?
She would show him what Queen- General Leia Organa would do for hers.