Wes looked down at the food congealing on his plate and picked at it with a fork. The green luminescent glop made a slight squishing noise that caused him to shudder. Ignoring the noise and focusing on the strange color caused a stray thought to flicker through his mind. "What do you think happened to that energy ball Stitch made out of Corran’s lightsaber?"
In their hasty retreat, Wedge had completely forgotten what Stitch had done to the weapon. "I don’t know. The report the Federation sent said something about he can manipulate energy but it didn’t say if he absorbs it."
"Or eats it," Wes offered, sure the stuff on his plate would move if he gave it the chance. "Of course it’d probably be tastier than this."
"I don’t think he ate it," Wedge muttered thoughtfully, "Maybe it went wherever his extra arms disappeared to. I’ll have to contact the Federation and get more information."
"Or you could do things the easy way and just ask him," Wes suggested, nodding to the cafeteria door.
No one but the two Wraiths seeming to notice the blue alien that had entered the hall and, like every pilot Wedge knew, headed towards food. Though the large pointy teeth were fearsome, Stitch was actually rather cute and fluffy. Perhaps the reports were wrong. Maybe Stitch wasn’t as destructive as his past suggested. Yes, he had created destruction long ago, but that was before the girl Lilo had entered Stitch’s life. Piggy had been created in a lab, but the Gamorrean was a valued member of the squadron. Perhaps Stitch was a similar case.
Wedge considered that possibility while Stitch wandered down the line of servers, hopping up and down as he tried to see what was being offered for lunch. The alien’s frustration over the difference in height was palpable but surprisingly Stitch did not react in any violent ways (Which Wedge expected from the warnings in the Federation’s reports.) Instead, Stitch jabbered wildly at the harried beings, ears flopping as he tried to see over the edge of the counter. Finally tiring of the exercise, Stitch jumped up onto the counter, balancing his tray with one paw as he pointed to each of the foods he wanted. Wes noticed that the alien adamantly requested more slime.
The servers were startled by his action, but none seemed too worried about alien. But then, compared to some pilots, Stitch’s manners are impeccable, Wedge thought with something that resembled humor. Perhaps this situation wasn’t as bad as the Federation claimed…
After receiving his meal, Stitch hurried over to their table and paused. He looked up at the bench that served for seating, then gave one of the servers a significant look. The Bothan scurried off into the kitchen, returning with a large soup pot. He turned it upside-down on the bench and Stitch hopped onto the kettle, setting his tray onto the table and grinning at the Wraiths. The alien happily poked a the slime with a spoon, "Yummy!"
Wes turned a peculiar shade of gray. "Yeah, absolutely delicious," he muttered, pushing his plate towards Stitch, hoping the critter would remove the slime that was supposed to be his lunch. "Stitch, can I ask you a question?"
Wedge groaned and considered banging his head on the table. Oh Gods, Wes has already taught Stitch to yub…
"What did you do with that energy ball?"
Stitch looked thoughtful, then concentrated, causing the extra pair of arms to emerge from his body. One of the arms held a transperisteel jar with a glowing sphere inside. "Keeping for Lilo."
"Is that safe?" Wedge asked, suddenly envisioning the jar exploding and releasing glass and energy everywhere.
Stitch nodded. "Won’t get away. Pretty light for Lilo."
"I’m sure she’ll love it," Wes added. "What girl doesn’t like sparkly things?"
"A pissed off Mirax," Wedge supplied, watching the ex-smuggler storm into the cafeteria, Corran trailing behind. The Jedi-Rogue was babbling apologies that Mirax was ignoring.
As they watched, Mirax spun around, causing Corran to backpedal out of her way. "How could you even consider harming such a charming creature?" To emphasize her words, she pointed at Stitch, who the Wraiths noticed had suddenly lost one set of arms and looked like the innocent pet he claimed to be. As Corran stuttered, Mirax gave him a triumphant look and moved towards Stitch.
"Hello, Dear," she almost cooed; from the glint in her eyes, Wedge knew she was trying to provoke Corran. The General noticed that Stitch’s antennae were missing, allowing Mirax to have access to his large ears, which she vigorously scratched behind. Stitch’s dark eyes would have crossed if they could and a loud purr vibrated from his throat.
"You know, CorSec, you father REALLY should have let you have a pet. Your fear of furry creatures is disturbing."
Corran glowered. Wes chuckled the way he did right before saying "Yub yub Commander" and Wedge knew that trouble was brewing. "I am NOT afraid of that creature." Corran answered coolly, his green eyes became calculating. "Mirax, do you realize the creature you’re petting is a Lieutenant?"
Her hand paused, causing Stitch to sigh unhappily. Mirax looked from Stitch to Wedge, clearly bewildered. "He’s a Rogue?"
"Or Wraith," Antilles answered. "Not sure which squad to put him in. Both have openings."
"I think he should be a Rogue," Wes supplied. Someone growled. It took everyone a moment to realize it was the Jedi, not the alien that had made the noise. Wes smiled serenely as he continued. "It’s obvious that Stitch likes the Rogues and he is an excellent pilot. Plus he can’t die. Consider the added propaganda factor that would add to our reputation."
It is truly frightening how intelligent Wes can be when he’s plotting. Wedge hadn’t even considered what possibilities were available if Stitch was added to the Squadron. If the claims of being indestructible were true, then he would be a vital asset to the New Republic. The creature was only staying for a month, but the possibilities for that month were mind-boggling. "Maybe he should be assigned to both squadrons that way Stitch will be available for whatever mission requires his…unusual…skills."
The suggestion seemed to mollify Corran. Stitch seemed to have no opinion, instead he began slurping up his lunch. Wes suppressed the urge to shudder.
"If he’s going to be assigned to both squadrons, where is…he…going to stay?" Under his breath, Corran muttered, "Maybe a kennel?" A yelp accompanied his thought as Mirax kicked him. He hopped away from her, favoring his bruised leg. "When did you start wearing steel-toed boots?"
"Since the moment I realized I needed to kick some sense into you," Mirax growled. Wedge winced, knowing that tone from his childhood with the ex-smuggler. Corran had better tread carefully or he’ll find some of that leftover slime in his helmet. "How could you suggest that one of your comrades. A being who you will be trusting with your life and the lives of your friends be put in a KENNEL!"
She winked at the Rogues then turned her attention to Corran. Wes leaned towards Wedge and whispered "He is soooooo dead."
"You keep saying that," Wedge muttered under his breath, careful not to draw Mirax’s attention towards him.
"That’s because he’s too dumb to realize it’s time to shut up and do whatever she says."
"True…" Wedge froze when he realized Mirax was looking at him. Oh Sith what did I do?
Instead of yelling, she gave him a bright smile. "It’s all settled. Stitch will be staying with us until he returns home." She gave Corran a withering look, "Right dear?"
Corran muttered but grudgingly nodded his agreement.
Wedge sighed, knowing that the situation was a thermal detonator waiting to explode. As if reading his thoughts, Wes shrugged and said one word. "BOOM!"
To be Continued...
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