After getting over my amusement at having my bedroom's decor determine my outfit, I creatively placed my ID and some cash upon my person and decided to make my way to the reception. I paused momentarily as I stepped out of the lift; I felt a familiar ripple through the Force, but couldn't place it. Whomever it was, was watching me.
With a very quick glance around the lobby I started for the door to outside. I glanced across the way to the building that was pointed out to Paula, Anakin and I before Ton and Gavin left us. The only way to get across, without having to hail an speeder-taxi, was to my left and up; a pedestrian bridge that was about seven levels up. As I walked to the bridge, the feeling of being watched intensified and then morphed into the feeling of being followed. I slowed my pace to let my shadow catch up.
I was almost three-quarters of the way to the entrance when I suddenly side-stepped, reached over my left shoulder, grabbed my pursuer and flipped him over onto his back in front of me. My actions were too fast to cause the crowd any alarm and many stopped to chuckle at the man's clumsiness. A soft groan issued from the prone form before me and I had to resist hitting myself upside the head. No wonder the signature felt familiar!
"I-I'm sorry, m-m'lady for trying to sneak up on you. I merely wanted to glimpse your stunning beauty from afar before I put my heart on the line and asked to escort you to the reception." The voice of Ton Phanan was tinged with mild pain. "Although I have to thank you for not breaking anything. Another trip to get something replaced would put a serious damper on the day." He got to his knees and looked at me curiously. "You're a Force-baby."
His statement hit me and it took all of my training to retain my calm, Jedi-exterior (honestly, Qui-Gon, how did you ever manage?) "I have no idea what you're talking about," I said, pushing past him.
"You are, aren't you?" He persisted, now dodging pedestrians. "Seriously, the last person that did that to me was Corran, when I tried to sneak up on him for a prank me and Face were trying to pull. Never try to pull one over on a Jedi."
"Guess you didn't learn that lesson so well." I muttered.
"I'm sorry? What did you just say."
Ton gave me a look that suggested that he thought I was daft, but he let the comment slide. "Our resident Jedi. Well, the Rogues' Resident Jedi. If you don't count Luke, that is."
I stopped in my tracks and turned to Ton. "Rogue Squadron has a new Jedi Pilot?" Not for the last time did I wish I had read Nicoll's novels. "It seems I've been away for far too long..." I added softly.
"You know Luke?"
"Not personally, no. I know of him." I've followed his career...
"Who hasn't? Listen, if you are a Jedi, I won't tell. Since by your reaction it's obvious that you don't want anyone to know."
I gave Ton a grateful look.
"Also, we were never properly introduced. Before I mean. On the way over." Ton continued. He bowed low with a silly little flourish. "Ton Phanan."
I grinned at him and gave him a quick half-bow, half-curtsey. "Alatįriėl Ancalimė"
He offered me his arm and I took it with a chuckle. Arm-in-arm, we made our way across the pedestrian bridge, stopping briefly in the middle to take in the view, and before long we were stepping inside The New Republic Starfighter Command's main building. A wave of frustration and minor relief washed over me before...
"Finally!" A disgruntled voice growled. "You guys are the first ones back. Go on ahead. Feni and Nigel should be joining you guys soon. They're downstairs getting ready."
"Yes boss!" Phanan snapped to attention and saluted - with the wrong hand, since I was still holding onto his right. "Wedge Antilles. Best Boss. Ever." Phanan whispered loudly as we walked past Wedge, who was seriously looking like he wanted to vape something.
I turned as we walked away to get another look at the man. "So that was the great Wedge Antilles? Funny, I thought he'd be taller..."
Ton merely laughed as we walked further into the compound.
Continued in 24