The engines of the Corvette Argo
flared to life as the small vessel maneuvered sharply to port to
avoid a large asteroid tumbling in its direction. The vessel had
been operation in the Vergesso Asteroids for five days since its
Mission to Berea. The majority of the rescued prisoners had been
returned to assignments throughout the Fleet, but one prisoner had
proved herself worth further investigation. Although she was in an
Imperial prison labor camp, no records of her service in the
Alliance existed and her presence raised several red flags with
Quar sat at the head of the
conference table reading through information on his datapad. His
fingers tapped on the keyboard lightly as he scrolled through some
information. His free hand rubbed lightly against his unshaven chin.
A smirk came over his face as he felt the stubble. Quar admitted to
himself that he had been working too hard lately. He dismissed that
thought as he continued to wait for his guest.
Commander Derek Atio, the Argo's
engineer-turned-captain, sat in the chair next to Quar. His
inexperience in matters such as this would prompt him to rely
heavily on the council of others.
Tong was seated in the conference
room, in his standard tactical dress, with the Merr-Sonn disruptor
pistol on his left thigh. Cigarra smoke curled from his nose, while
his dead brown eyes faced the door, one tactical boot on the table.
QT beeped to herself softly as she
wheeled about the conference room. It seemed the astromech had a
problem with standing still, unless of course she was in the droid
socket of a fighter. But at the moment she was under her own
locomotion, so that meant the inquisitive little droid was rolling
Zev stepped down one of the main
corridors of the Argo on his way to the conference room, his
military boots clicking with each step. Dressed in his standard
green uniform, he spoke towards Lei, his eyes occasionally looking
in her direction. "I take it your stay on Berea wasn't too
Leilia Sangre had been getting a
passable bit of rest for a change, not having to endure a hard, icy
bunk and the moans and groans of other prisoners, when her sleep had
been rather rudely interrupted by the gentleman currently
leading her down the corridors of the ship. "Oh, of course not. It
was practically a vacation," she responded, her voice dry. "So...
where're we headed, and why?"
QT halted her beeping as she rolled
over to behind where Quar was seated at the head of the conference
table. She leaned upwards on her legs, leaning up to her full
height, but finding that did not get her high enough to see over his
shoulder, she extended her flexible periscope to spy over his
shoulder, to see what was on that datapad. She would have made an
excellent spook, it seemed.
As he reached the entrance to the
conference room, Zev reached the door's activator with his right
hand and thumbed the button. In an instant, the doors opened.
Turning to Lei, Zev motioned her into the room with his left hand,
ignoring her question. "I'm sure your stay here will be slightly
more enjoyable...though the food may be worse."
The fact that he did not answer her
question immediately put Leilia on edge. It was all she could do to
keep from reaching toward the weapon at her back. Still she followed
Zev's gesture, and rather cautiously stepped through the doors and
into the room, immediately scanning and taking stock of its
occupants. Three men and an astromech...she would be able to handle
that. Leilia relaxed ever so slightly.
Stepping inside immediately after
Lei, Zev returned the nod to Quar before assuming a seat at the
After taking a quick scan of the
information QT slid the flexible photoreceptor periscope back down
into its purple colored hatch before giving an innocent whistle as
she rolled away over to the edge of the table, where she looked over
at the new arrival, studying her with that single large black
"Welcome, please take a seat."
Lieutenant Quar Klynn said as he glanced up from his datapad. He
surveyed the female for a moment as he glanced over to the soldier.
He gave a slight nod to Zev before returning his attention to the
For a moment, Leilia looked like she
might refuse, but ultimately stepped further into the room, twisting
a seat around and plopping down gracelessly. "Suppose I should say
thank you, by the by," Leilia spoke as she got comfortable.
"I was figuring it would be another year, at least, before I could
get out of there on my own."
"So..." Quar said as he pushed away
the datapad from in front of himself. "My name is Quar, it is a
pleasure to meet you. I'm sorry, what is your name?" Quar let out a
half smile as he learned forward extending his hand towards Leilia.
"Leilia Sangre," came her response.
Though her voice and expression was amicable enough, she made no
move to reach out her own hand.
"Ok...then..." Quar moved back down
towards his seat as he rested his hands on the table. "I am just
some random pencil pusher here, I'm sorry if I seem a little
nervous." Quar looked a bit disheveled being unshaven and his shirt
creased and the first few buttons undone. Though it almost appeared
as if his faculties were not all there, his mind kept churning.
"Well I just assigned the people we saved back to their units. I am
just looking here and I don't see an Alliance service record for
you. Can I ask how you got into that camp?" Quar smiled lightly as
he asked. His hands folded on the table as he leaned back in his
QT of course, had begun recording
the interview with Quar's first words. She had assumed a position
for best recording, and remained there to witness the exchange. She
was silent during the exchange, having retracted her third leg up
into her body.
"Pushing pencils sounds awful
boring," Leilia said, completely avoiding Quar's latest question.
"Sounds like you could use a break." Her gray-violet eyes flicked
briefly over each of the room's occupants, lingering for a moment on
the astromech, before returning to the tabletop in front of her.
"I thank you for your concern,
Leilia. However, how did you get in that camp?" Quar asked. He
already knew the answer to the question. However, he wanted to try
to look into this girl. One thing that he had learned is always ask
questions that you know the answer to. An eyebrow started to furrow
slightly as he glanced to Leilia quizzically.
Leilia gave a rather graceful shrug
of her shoulders, a faint smile tugging at her lips. "Why are folks
usually tossed into those places? I did something the Imps didn't
like, and got tossed onto that ice cube for my troubles." She still
was not giving a straight answer, and the lines of her body had
tensed up again. Apparently, this was a subject of some sensitivity
for the woman.
Quar's hands were brought into his
lap as he brought his calf to rest upon his knee. "So you were just
randomly walking around... and someone grabbed you and threw you
into a place where they put people committing treason against the
Empire. Leilia, I am trying to help you. I may be able to send you
to a planet to hide out - I don't know. What it comes down to is the
damn administration is coming down on me to get placements for
everyone." Quar said as he yawned heavily. "The sooner you help me,
the sooner I can go back to balancing spreadsheets and credit
"Ouch. Yeah...I can see how you'd be
just hopping to get back to something as exciting as that," Leilia
shook her head, slumping back in her chair and swiveling it to an
angle, giving her room to raise her legs, and crossed her ankles on
the edge of the table.
"Well maybe you can help me get back
to something as exciting as that..." Quar said, realizing his tactic
wasn't working. He brought his fingers to temple as he brough his
hands infront of his face. "So would you like to tell me about your
arrest on Ralltir?"
As quickly as that, the friendly,
semi-amused expression on Leilia's face shut down, her expression
became completely unreadable, her gray-violet eyes clouding with
some dark, unnamed emotion. "Not particularly, but I've got a
feeling you're not going to let it go with that, are you..."
"And I would hope after the danger
we put our men through you would at least tell me why you were
there." Quar said as Leilia's expressions became more stoic. "You
are a guest on this craft and the least you can do is answer a few
questions for us." Quar said with a small smile on his face.
Leilia's lips curled in a
barely-there smile, though the expression never reached her eyes,
which she kept firmly trained on an apparently fascinating scuff on
the tabletop. "...I killed a man. An Imperial officer."
"So you murdered a murderer. An
ironic end to an idiot." Quar said as he slightly swiveled in his
chair. "What did he do to you?" Quar asked in a tone that was poised
as a question between friends.
QT also weighed in with an ascending
beep that made it clear she thought that this woman deserved a medal
pinned on her chest. After all, the only good imperial was a dead
imperial. Or well, one that was safely dumped off one some safe
world or converted to the Rebellion was good too. But hey, dead
"Most of the time when you kill
people that the Imperials don't want dead, they try to kill you, if
not simply execute you. Just about everyone aboard here has done it.
And some of us long before we were paid by the Rebels." Tong's
scarred visage remained dead as he spoke, the quip meant to enhance
the intel officer's question.
"He didn't do anything...to me,"
Leilia murmured, her voice dropping in volume as a deep frown
furrowed her brow.
Lieutenant Klynn picked up the slow
pause in her words. "Was it a loved one?" Quar said as he leaned
forward. He showed what appeared to be a genuine interest.
Suddenly, the room was much too
small. Leilia practically shoved herself to a standing position,
pacing a few steps behind her chair and back, tugging fitfully on
one of the many thin braids into which her almost freakishly long
black hair was woven. Even in its braids, her hair whipped about her
ankles as she moved in obvious agitation. "I'd only met her twice.
Look, is this going to take much longer?"
Quar ignored her question and
continued. "They killed someone close to me as well. You have no
idea what I would give to kill the man that did that." Quar's smile
was completely gone. He nodded slightly as he brought his elbows
onto the table in front of him. "Who did they take from you, Leilia?"
"Personally, I won't feel right
letting you wander this ship until you either explain why you
weren't executed, or until you're disintegrated and floating about
in the air purifying system." Tong's voice was as dead as his eyes.
No emotion whatsoever.
As Zev sat silently observing the
conversation, he could not help but elicit a small smile at the
Leilia chuckled faintly, the sound
just as devoid of emotion as Tong's voice. "Well ya know, if I had
an answer for you...I might just decide to share it. How the hell
should I know why I wasn't shot on sight? It's not like I put up
some massive struggle! I practically gift wrapped myself for the
executioner...flat out confessed and everything! Oddly enough, you
know what the Imp witch that arrested me said? She said, 'this one
had it coming.' Maybe that has bearing, maybe it don't. Whether that
answers your question or not I don't really care, but it's the best
I can do with the information I have."
That said to Tong, Leilia sighed
heavily, and flicked her eyes over the group in general. "Look...if
you don't trust me wandering around the ship, lock me up, do
whatever you feel you have to do. That's your prerogative."
"How about this question: why were
you found, in a detention camp, brandishing a weapon?" Tong knew
that he was not going to get anymore out of her regarding fact that
she was still alive, but she did leave a lot of questions open.
"The lady gave instructions that it
was to be given back to me once we got to the camp. I don't know
why." Leilia sighed again and sank back into her chair,
unconsciously rolling a bit of stiffness out of her left shoulder,
wincing slightly when the scar tissue hidden beneath fresh bandages
pulled uncomfortably from the movement.
"This witch let you keep your
weapon?" Commander Atio inquired, not connecting the two.
"A few truly unbelievable turn of
events. I don't know who you were dealing with. But they were overly
kind, I've never heard of such a thing." Tong really was taken
aback. When had Ralltiir turned so kind?
Leilia felt like bashing her head on
the tabletop. "Look...what exactly do you want me to tell you,
'cause at this point I'm willing to confess to being the Emperor if
you'd just back off a bit." She closed her eyes the minute the words
passed her lips. Being in this small space with a group of strangers
was wearing on her nerves; she's always been loner by nature: groups
of people always set her on edge.
Tong took a moment to light a
cigarra, and then shook his head. He was not an interrogator and
this crew definitely did not want him running one. He was sure it
would breach his terms of service with the Rebellion. So he let
Klynn handle it a bit more.
"Let's say we give you the benefit
of the doubt," Commander Atio said to Lei, "What do you propose we
do with you?" He paused and looked at her a bit confused, "It's not
like there's some command we can return you to."
"Heh. You're asking me? You're the
guys in charge of this..." Leilia glanced around the room once more,
"...group, right? Just throw me off on the closest inhabited planet.
I can make my way from there."
"We are a military vessel operating
under time of war," Commander Atio began to explain, "We can't just
detour to drop someone off."
It was then that Ari'acoda strode
in, obviously in a hurry. She looked tired, but she walked with an
air of dignity, twin lekku decorated in silk ribbon of deep blue.
She paused before Atio and Lei. "If you are finished with
your...questioning, I think it's high time that her arm was tended
Leilia blinked from the men to the
Twi'lek, a frown clouding her features. "Excuse me? What about my
"I still stand with the idea that
she is going to need to be swept up off the deck into a dust bin, or
vacuumed up by this obnoxious droid if she doesn't give a reason
otherwise." Tong glanced at the doctor for a moment, before
returning his eyes to the prisoner.
"I don't think we need to go to such
extreme measures," Commander Atio said as he turned to Captain Tong,
"but I'm still not sure what to do with her." He sighed and looked
towards Ari'acoda, "Well ... I don't see this conversation producing
more than it already has ... do whatever you can for her injury."
Leilia's eyes narrowed furiously at
the conversation going on around her, "No."
She turned a glare then to Tong
before giving a nod to the Commander. Ari frowned at Leilia,
puzzled. "It looks bad. The sooner you have it treated the more
likely we can be sure to save it."
"When you're on my ship," Commander
Atio said as he looked towards Lei, "You do what I say. Get
that arm looked at."
"Then jettison me for all I care,"
Leilia ground out, glaring heatedly across the table toward the
Commander. "Nobody's touching this arm."
Ari stepped back, taking a moment to
lean against the wall. If she did not have consent from the patient
in a case like this, she would not touch it. Not that she was overly
upset by that prospect. The arm looked like more than she was used
to handling. Now she watched the others with some interest.
Derek turned his attention to
Ari'acoda as Lei responded to Tong's questioning, "Doctor, how much
longer will they need you aboard the Comfort? I don't like
operating in the field without a ship's surgeon."
"Hopefully not much longer,
Commander. The last two patients are nearly no longer critical. Once
I finish my reports on them, I will probably be free to go."
The glare went ignored. Tong
remembered his own debriefing and felt that there might be an
applicable part there. "If you were put on a planet, left to your
own devices, what would you do?"
Leilia blinked once, the questions
catching her off guard. "Huh?"
"Say I put you on Corellia, or even
Tatooine. You were free to go. What would you do with yourself? It's
a simple question. How would you survive? How would you thrive?"
Leilia could not help but chuckle
lightly. "You put me on Corellia and I'd go back to my place on the
coast. Tatooine has loads of opportunities if you know where to
look. You must have me mistaken with some yokel fresh from the
"You are avoiding my question. What
opportunities would you take? For instance, take my XO Ordo, or
myself. You put us on Tatooine, we'll take up work as gun hands.
We'll kill, hunt, and bring in credits. What would you do on
Tatooine to survive?" Tong showed no excitement, no irritation, just
a flat demeanor, and a rather impersonal creature. Even for a
"Anything I could. You want a
bodyguard...I'm there...need a bounty dragged in, fine. Might take a
while to get myself a new ship...and let's not forget my knack for
breaking and entering. I promise, I'd get by." Leilia sighed for
what must have been the twelfth time that night, settling back into
her chair and resisting the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose.
"What did you feel when you killed
that man on Ralltiir?" Tong seemed to change tactics every time he
lit a cigarra, and each time it was marked, as this one was, by a
match flaring and igniting the end of his cigarra.
Again a question that caught her off
guard...but this time Leilia had an answer, spoke in the low assured
tones of total conviction and honesty... "When I killed him... I felt
"Then why kill him at all? It wasn't
for money. So without the emotion, at least deep inside, it was a
meaningless kill. It might as well have been to keep up appearances
between you and a dead sibling. And if that is the case, why risk
the kill in close proximity to the target? Blasters and explosives
have a much better range, and see you clear." Tong stated.
Leilia's eyes fluttered closed
briefly, before she lifted her bandaged left hand to eyelevel
frowning a bit as the limb quivered slightly form the strain. "I had
just watched my little sister burn alive at the end of this
hand...wasn't thinking very clearly after that. As for the close
proximity, it's what I prefer. Blasters and explosives are
Suddenly a loud explosion could be
heard and the Corvette shook violently. The lights flickered out for
a moment before a lower set of emergency lights kicked in.
Commander Atio immediately pressed
down the intercom on the control panel in front of him, "Bridge ...
"So it was emotionally motivated.
Make up your mind. You didn't feel a thing killing him, and yet her
death put you into a spin. Seems like you are filled with more inner
turmoil than a..." The explosion was not a welcome sign, but Tong
had nothing to do with the bridge work. He might have to repel
boarders, but that was not likely at this point, so continued calmly
smoking his cigarra, and waited for a report.
Lieutenant Wes Thrum yelped at
the sudden shake of the ship, but that was all the more surprise he
let show as he gripped the station in front of him and punched the
intercom in response the Derek's voice coming from it, his voice a
little more strained than he had thus far allow to be shown in his
short time with the crew. He was not fond of the prospect ahead of
him, "Sir, Bridge reporting, we just lost sensors. Not sure if that
explosion was internal or from an impact, the damage reports haven't
come back yet." There was a pause as he tested the controls in front
of him...which was when he noticed this ship was listing slightly.
"Verified! We've had a collision, and Lateral control just went
Ari'acoda's frown deepened and she
found herself pressing more tightly against the wall. Though this
lasted only for a moment. She must not let herself be caught looking
wet behind the ears, so to speak. She straightened and attempted not
to look quite as interested in the reports back from the bridge.
Leilia rolled her eyes ceiling-ward,
shaking her head. "What is this ship put together with? Spit and
bailing wire? It's amazing she's still flying at all..."
"Can it be repaired?" Derek asked
over the intercom before throwing a glare towards Lei, "This ship
saved you from that prison."
"Yeah, and I already said thank you.
What, you want a medal, too?" Leilia asked.
Wes worked fast. They were after all
in an asteroid field. Pulling up those patchwork hull pickups he'd
readied for just such an occasion. "Negative, Sir. The damage is too
widespread to be contained locally...I'm getting reports now from
affected areas of the ship, evacuation of the damaged sections is
Derek threw his glance down towards
QT frantically. "QT ... get to the access turbolift and see if you
can fix it from outisde ... quick."
QT whistled and beeped excitedly and
deployed her third leg onto the deck with a thunk. She shut
down her holorecorder and promptly began to wheel towards the door
as she patched into the shipwide network. She was already moving by
the time Derek was speaking. She rolled out of the room as fast as
her wheels could carry her towards the access turbolift, whirling
around the traffic in the corridors.
Tong could only close his eyes for a
moment, and after a deep drag from his cigarra, glanced over at the
ship's commanding officer. "We need to change that droid's name.
It's obnoxious enough without it."
"Right now that droid is our only
hope," Derek said to Atio quickly.
"Sir, request permission to have one
of the others ships in the fleet take formation ahead of us to give
a more visual representation of clear lanes of traffic until I can
pull us from the asteroid field...you do want me to pull from
the field, don't you sir..?" That last bit of question was more than
obviously nervous as Wes attempted to maneuver away from a rather
large asteroid with what limited to control he had. Damn those
lateral controls. The ship was not responding...so much for leaving
Lieutenant Thrum's eyes slowly
washed wide as the viewport tilted into something he was not at all
excited to see. The loss of laterals had locked the ship into a
descending spiral, dropping away and clear from the moderate
protection of the fleet...and directly towards an asteroid that
would have been bad news to a fully functional Imperial-class
Star Destroyer. "Sir, we're in a dead spin, controls are locked, and
I'd start praying for a miracle, because the five kilometer asteroid
dead ahead of us is looking gloom. Estimate time until impact
roughly eight minutes."
"QT!" Derek shouted over the
intercom, "You've got less than eight minutes to restore the lateral
controls or we're all dead."
QT rolled into the access turbolift
and did a quick check of her onboard systems, making sure everything
was green before she activated the magnetic skids on the underside
of her feet to allow her a measure of security while roaming the
hull of the ship. She responded with a loud beep as her clear
plastex dome spun around as she was deposited on the hull, taking in
a complete view of everything around her before she cross referenced
the visuals with the blueprints of the ship. Quickly locating the
lateral control failure she began to roll towards it, opening the
panels on her rotund form that contained her hydrospanner and heavy
After another long inhalation, Tong
had turned back to the prisoner. "Best make your peace with your
dead sister. You'll be seeing her soon. You'll get to explain to her
why you lied to us, and appeared as if you cared for the girl as
much as you would a two credit Gamorean prostitute, and took a man's
life to keep up appearances. I just hope we end up in the same hell
so I can see it." Tong kept a dead, even gaze on the bandages woman
while he spoke and completely unflinching in his demeanor.
"Well Miss Sangre," Derek said in a
calm demeanor, "Looks like you've only got a few minutes to come up
with an answer that'll satisfy Captain Tong. Better make it a good
Leilia actually growled at the
Captain, closing whatever distance was between them in short,
furious strides. "Look, pal, I know precisely two things about my
sister. I was supposed to protect her...and I didn't. You asked me
what I felt when I killed Drake Yukio...not what motivated me, not
my reflections afterward..."
"You want to know why I wasn't
killed on the spot...well believe me, so do I...and I wish they had!
You want to know why they let me keep my weapons...go ask them, I'm
sure they'd be thrilled to have you, if we make it off this bucket
of bolts in one piece!" Lei explained.
As Wes reached the end of a small
mental checklist of things he could not do to stop the ship or its
impending doom, he sighed gently and sat up a bit more fully, never
releasing the ships controls, trying in vain to maneuver the Argo
away from its current course of self destruction. "Four minutes
"Now would be a good time, QT,"
Derek once again barked into the comm unit.
QT came upon the hull breach and
studied it quickly. This did not look good, the lateral control line
was indeed cut, some sort of explosion or outgassing had damaged it
and since the auxiliary had been down for as long as QT had been
aboard the ship, which left them in a sticky spot. This was bad, as
it was impossible to reconnect the lines...unless. Her head swung
around the damaged area...searching. She did a quick search and
decided upon a course of action. She extended her fusioncutter/welder
and began to use it cut away the damaged portion of the lateral
control line. Slicing away the very pieces she was meant to fix. Her
heavy grasper arm went to work ripping back frayed bits of metal
that covered various other conduits, looking for something as her
fine work claw arm started tearing out wires. It looked for all the
galaxy as if she had gone crazy and decided to demolish the ship
"We aren't talking about me. We're
talking about you. Do you want to die? So you can sit in hell with
your sister, and cry on her shoulder? Or would you prefer to do
something about the people who would employ a man like you killed?"
Tong knocked some of the ash off his cigarra, but aside from that,
did not shift in posture, his hands hanging still loosely at his
side and his flat brown gaze on the woman.
Leilia's fists had actually
clenched, her left raising as if she was all set to try and knock
the man's block off...when her eyed widened abruptly, as if she's
just stumbled upon a vast realization. "...Oh I see, now..." she
blinked, and gave a faint, strained chuckle. "Why didn't you just
ask in the first place..?"
Wes' eyes never left the viewport,
never moved from the asteroid that loomed ever closer. By now, the
viewport was filled, and he could see craters and markings on the
surface of the space borne rock. "Two minutes..."
QT started patiently rewiring the
lateral control line, using wires ripped from non-essential conduits
that were still intact. Odd systems might start shutting off all
over the ship, but she didn't much care. This was slightly more
important than the autochef. She beeped to herself as she turned her
plastex dome around, and saw the incoming asteroid, and then turned
back to her work. This was not good at all...she was running out of
salvageable wiring to connect up the lateral line. Until of
course...she came upon a solution. She rotated her dome to look at the
asteroid, growing closer by the second and then rotated it back
around to look at the conduit. She beeped sadly once before her
heavy grasper arm grasped one of the uncompleted ends of the
conduit, and then with her fine work arm grasped the other, using
herself to finish the conduit. She then beeped for them to
reactivate the power, as it had been turned off to allow her to work
"I did. I asked you what you would
do if you were let loose. But you are so confused internally that
you can't answer yourself. So, I'll tell you my current course of
action. I'll let you run about, even deploy with us. But if you ever
point that whip at one of my men, or if I even think that you are
playing for the wrong team, I'll have that damned droid down here
vacuuming your remains up. Do we understand each other?" Tong
knocked another bit of ash away, let the six-foot-one one armed
woman tower over him. He was too comfortable with a boot on the desk
to move anyway.
Leilia was full-out grinning now,
and plopped back down into the closest available chair. "Pointing my
whip at someone doesn't do a thing, you know, but I catch your
meaning. You guys seem alright to me...I got no problems with
sticking around a bit."
Wes lifted his head slightly to look
at the bridge around him slowly, speaking under his breath, making
sure to take his finger off the comm. "Come on QT...you pull this
off... I'll have you plated in solid platinum..." He tapped the comm
once more. "Forty-five sec..." The Panel in front of him lit up
suddenly as R3-QT finished the connections, green started flying
across his readouts, and instantly he laid into the controls. They
were sluggish at first, refusing to fully acknowledge his commands,
as if they were not used to the newly restored flight commands he
was giving. Then, without further pause the ship suddenly lurched
and began to arc away from the uplifting asteroid. "Yes! Laterals
are back online, engines are responding, that little astromech
really did it!" He could not help but to laugh out loud as he pulled
the Argo back towards its previous position...they had missed by a
few ship lengths, but...no point in sharing data that was not
"Great job, QT," Commander Atio said
congratulatory over the intercom, "Lieutenant Thrum ... move us out
of the asteroid field."
"Gladly, sir." came the
acknowledgement of his orders before Wes scanned the visual readouts
carefully as he angled the Corvette towards a break in the floating
rocks and debris, easing on the engines at a careful seven MLGT, no
point in rushing out of the fire, best to tread carefully and keep
his escape options open. Luckily however, there was no further
incident in removing the ship from the asteroid, clearing the
virtual wall and moving the ship quietly out a few kilometers, just
to be on the safe side. "Clear, sir."
"If I'm not needed here..." a brief
glance to Leilia and then back to the Commander, "then I'm going to
head back. If we make it through this, I might be needed." With
that, Ari'acoda headed out again to make herself accessible should
anyone have been injured in the initial collision.
Leilia glanced up at the Twi'lek
medic. "Oh hey...hold up a bit..."
Ari'acoda paused, head turned to
look over her shoulder at the injured Leilia.
Leilia frowned slightly, her
bandaged hand flexing marginally. "Uh...this might sound
strange...but I want to keep these scars. On the other hand...if
you've got the know-how to give me a bit more mobility...well, I'd
Ari nearly stumbled as the ship
lurched and then resumed something resembling normal movement again.
Then she canted her head slightly towards Leilia, considering her
request. "Hmm. I think I can do that. Simply a matter of reducing
the inflammation beneath the flesh and allowing the joints to mend
while reducing any diminishing effects to the scarring above. I'll
have something ready for you by morning."
"Heh. Thanks, doc," Leilia replied
to the medic, her smile actually lighting her face up a bit. She
felt better right now than she had in months...she could npt help
but wonder how much better she would feel if she had actually hit
"It's what I'm here for." Ari'acoda
returned the smile and then excused herself, her intentions to study
up on what sort of treatment would do what she had promised the
Her plastex dome spun around like a
top as smoke from overloading circuits blew out, the fires quickly
consuming the available oxygen in the dome before they died, luckily
limiting the damage. All of her compartment covers popped open as
crackling blue electricity played over the extend of her case. She
let out a wild series of beeps and blurps as she held on to each
ends of the conduit for dear continued existence.
Wes frowned as he scanned the
readouts of the ships activity. One droid had gone extra-vehicular
activity but had yet to report back in. He tapped the comm unit once
and leaned back slightly in the chair. "Sir, I'm still reading the
R3 unit on the ship's exterior. If the droid doesn't come back under
its own power I volunteer to go EVA and bring her back in." That
single droid has just saved their asses...best believe he was not
going to let it get lost in the cold of space now.
"Lieutenant," Commander Atio
reported over the comm, "We need our pilot on the bridge right now."
Atio looked across the conference table at Lei, "Let's see what you
Wes clipped a single affirmative
word back over the intercom before the internal line would be closed
once more. "Understood."
Leilia rolled her head on her
shoulders a few times, working out a bit of tension before glancing
toward the Commander. "Alright then...what do you want me to do?"
"Go out there and see if you can
save QT," Derek explained, "She's one of the crew."
Leilia couldn't help but smirk. "Oh,
so nothing too difficult my first day on the job...where do I
suit up...or should I walk around on the outside of the ship as is?
I'm sure some of you would like that..." she gave a pointed glare
"There's a suit in storage near the
access hatch," Atio explained.
Tong barely paid the glance, pointed
or not, mind as he lit another cigarra, and waited for the
conclusion of the issues. "And there is always gear for any
occasion, though not always adequate gear, in the squad bay."
I'm sure I'll be able to make due
with what I've got," Leilia murmured dismissively, already heading
for the doors to attend to her mission.
Leilia was geared and suited up in
short order, though getting the suit on proved to be a bit awkward
with her messed up arm. She hummed some low, tuneless melody beneath
her breath, like she off to a typical day at the office. In no time,
Leilia had located the access hatch to the outer hull. "Well...this
is peachy...just get off an ice block and what do they do...go
take a stroll in deep space, Lei..." She continued muttering as
she secured the airlock with a few keystrokes on a bulkhead control
panel, before opening the access hatch and poking her head out into
the void. "Alright, you little squirt...where've you gone off to?"
The droid could be seen over the
edge of the ship, still using her grasper arms to complete the
connection. This might turn out to be a bit more of a problem than
she had originally anticipated. After all, just going over and
touching the droid would probably turn an organic into slag, much
less what it was doing to the droid at the moment. But, removing the
droid would also sever the lateral line connection that she was
completing. Rendering the ship inoperable until a replacement was
Leilia was quick to spot the
messed-up little astromech, and shook her head slightly. She
double-checked to make sure she was secured to the ship, contrary to
her earlier statements...she really didn't want to be jettisoned into
space, and made her way toward the jumbled little thing. "Well, you
are a mess aren't you? This certainly complicates matters..." Leilia
frowned slightly, crouching down analyzing the situation. It was not
like she could just perform a snatch and grab...she would be
atomized, and the ship would lose control again... "I'm asking for a
raise after this..." All of a sudden, Leilia blinked once. "Well...
duh...wake up, Leilei...and QT... hope you'll forgive me for
QT whirled its head around and
sizzled, unable to offer any solution to the problem that faced
Leilia at the current moment. Rather she was left to figure it out
on her own.
Leilia set down the box of tricks
she had brought along for this job, a small selection of tools and a
variety of different wires... "Let's pray, alright?" Leilia selected
a particular insulated wire, stripping the ends and using a few
clips to attach the wire to a bit of exposed framing of the ship and
QT shell...redirecting the electricity in a harmless direction, so
she could work.
Once more humming her little tune,
Leilia sifted through the wires in her stash...selecting three of
various colors. Her left hand not up to snuff to a precise task,
Leilia grasped the wires in her teeth, twisting them into a thicker
cord with her right hand. That accomplished, she stripped the ends,
tapping them against one of QT's grasper arms experimentally. When
Leilia did not go sailing into space from an electric zap, she went
back to work, wrapping the ends of her wire cord around each of QT's
little arms. "Droids don't feel pain do they? That'd be kind of
weird, really... "
QT, now that the vast amount of the
current that was moving through her was grounded, was freed of the
paralyzing grasp of the massive amount of electricity that had
flowed through her. She beeped and her dome swirled about before
turning to look at the organic next to her. A little surprised at
seeing who it was...well, maybe they considered it a suicide
mission. Of course, the ship would have lost its control again the
moment the power and control signals through the main lateral line
were diverted. Her grasper arms let go of the ends of the conduit.
The damage to the astromech was not as great as one might expect, as
she had expected the overflow of voltage, and had managed to
safeguard and prepare vital systems, isolating or switching them
off. There was still a good deal of damage to some systems, but she
was still mostly functional. Now there was still the problem of
bridging the gap.
"Ok, little guy...er girl
uh...whatever...there are some folks inside who're anxious to have
you back. You about done here? If not, I'll give you a hand." Leilia
grinned lightly at the droid, rummaging through her tools and wires
for anything viable to use for a rather complex patch job. "You
provide the bailing wire, and I'll provide the spit...alright?"
The droid rocked its body up and
down in imitation of a nod. As she considered what to use as a large
gauge connection of the conduit. Of course, somebody on the ship
might be concerned by the sudden lost of steering power again. Until
of course, QT got what might be called a stroke of genius. She
looked to where her lariat was sticking out on one side, retracting
her other appendage except for her blackened grasper arm which she
used to pull the length of conductive cabling, and hold it up in
front of the organic. And if she could grin, she just might.
There it was...the controls were
dead again. Wes sighed softly and leaned forward a bit on his
station, luckily they were far enough away from the field to not
bother him, but any ship without steering was a dead ship after a
long enough time. He tapped the comm on his station, patching in
through the suit's system directly. "I'm hoping the fact that I just
lost lateral control again is a good sign...?"
Leilia gave a grin and nodded once,
before taking the corded wire she had originally intended to link
QT's two grasper arms, adding a few more to it for durability,
before linking up the damaged cable. It would not be an especially
strong connection, but it ought to hold long enough to limp to a
nearby planet for proper repairs. "Think that'll do it, QT?" Leilia
asked, wrapping some insulating tape around the exposed wire ends.
QT swung slightly in an imitation of
nodding as she thought that indeed, it would hold. She gave an
ascending whistle over the com, making it clear that they had
everything was under control. Her grasper arms were used to remove
the grounding by isolating herself by using parts of the insulation
to pull it away. And they ought to be fine.
"Alright then...let's get you back
inside, alright?" Leilia carefully got to her feet, carefully
patting the little astromech on the top of her dome. "Your buddies
are worried about you."
The readouts leapt to life once
more, green slowly cycled back across the controls as the computer
systems of the Covette once more ran through its internal
diagnostic. Wes smirked in a humorless manner, "Guess that's a yes."
QT beeped again and trundled up to
Lelia's side and bumped against her side, whistling and beeping
excitedly. Obviously she seemed quite excited that she had actually
come out to rescue here when nobody else had. And with an injured
arm no less. The excited whistling and beeping was meant to be some
sort of thank you.
Leilia could not help a little
chuckle. Astromechs were so weird. "Well, come on, then," Leilia
headed back for the access hatch, gesturing for QT to get a move on.
QT whistled an affirmation before
she followed off after Leilia, headed towards the turbolift access
that she would have to use to return down to the inside of the ship.
Astromechs and stairs did not tend to mix.
Once certain QT was safely on her
way back into the ship, Leilia slipped back down through the access
hatch she'd come through before, double-checking and triple checking
the air locks and cabin pressurization levels before descending back
into the ship's innards. Even though a job well-done had put her in
a good mood, a frown began to take over her features as got out of
her extra-vehicular suit and made her way back to the meeting room
where she had been with the other crewmembers prior to her little
spacewalk. Unconsciously, she clenched and unclenched her bandaged
left hand as she walked.