Mercenary Politique, pt 2

By Armand Banooni, Dora Furlong, and Patrick Furlong

Tara landed at the rendezvous point early enough for Lon to meet with
the Alliance before the actual exchange occurred. Although it had
been many years since the Alliance and Empire actually exchanged
prisoners, everything went as routine as possible. Lon and Tara,
accompanied by Topaz, her bodyguard, met in the central neutral
ground to start the exchange. They discussed the plans and who was to
be sent out when, then returned to their own sides.

The process itself went quickly. Most of the returned Imperials were
sent to Imperial transports that Tara had waiting. The final three,
however, she had other plans for. Michael and Sidra belonged to
Darana and would be returned directly to her via a smaller shuttle.
Psylocke, on the other hand, the Emperor ordered Tara to return to
Coruscant immediately after the exchange. Tara was not going to take
chances and decided to take Psylocke back on her own ship. Anything
went wrong and she would know why and how.

First, she had to formally conclude the exchange and once more,
accompanied by Topaz, went to meet the alliance representative in
the neutral ground. "Does the Alliance have anything further?" She
inquired formally.

"No the Alliance is pleased. Does the Empire have anything further?"

Tara smiled, "No the Empire is pleased." 

Formal requirements out of the way both Lon and Tara relaxed
visibly. "What are your plans now Lon?

"I have no immediate plans...why?" He asked, curious what the merc
was up to.

Her response came as a complete surprise to him. "Why don't you come
back to Coruscant with us?"

"Us?" He raised an eyebrow.

She laughed, "Well I may have arrived here independently of the
imperial ships but I must return Psylocke directly to the Emperor. So
she will be travelling on my ship with myself, Topaz, and Victoria."

"I see. Then I think I will decline." He paused, "You see, I'm not in
a hurry to meet him."

"Nor would I have you in a hurry to meet him...I was thinking that we
could have some further business you and I." She paused, letting him
register her words. " However, we have just had a major rush on this

Curious what Tara was up to Lon quirked an eyebrow. Interrupting her,
"What kind of business would that be?"

"...we could both use some time to relax.... you could fly back to
Coruscant with us then we could discuss the possibilities after we
are sufficiently recovered from this." She finished. Once his
question registered her mind, a mischievous smile creeped across her
face, "The type of business you excel at Solo."

He was definitely curious, "What is it that you need?"

Tara was impatient, "This is not the time or place to discuss this.
Either you are interested or not? I have people to get back to the

For the first time, Lon noticed the lines that had crept into her
face. It had indeed been a long 48 hours. Neither of them had slept
much of late. He considers it for a moment, "I'm always interested in
profitable exchange. I have your assurance you won't have me meeting
any imperial authorities?"

Tara laughed wearily, "Actually you shall meet several authorities
there. However, you have my assurance that you are under my
protection." She knew he hadn't been comfortable at the palace during
her first trip there. But he had wanted to come along. She smiled
inwardly, 'Yes solo,' she thought, 'you are safer than even you
realize and hopefully, you shall never know what I have done to you.'

"You'll forgive me for asking but you realize with my lineage I have
to make sure." He bowed slightly "I accept your generous offer"

"Well then, after you Solo", Tara responded, indicating the way to
her ship.

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Part 3
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