Star Wars is the property of George Lucas and LFL. No profits were made and no disrespect is intended with this fic.



Angel One
Part Five
by Banshee


Six months later, Wedge entered the briefing room and looked around to be sure all the Rogues were present. They had been assigned to this sector of space for three weeks now, allowing down time for Blue Squadron.

He wasn't sure how to react to this latest assignment. General Cracken had been more evasive than usual. He took a deep breath and addressed his pilots. "Well, I've got bad news and worse news." This pronouncement was accompanied by the usual series of groans.

Undaunted, Wedge continued, "The bad news is that our return to Coruscant has been delayed a few days. The worse news is that we get to play escort to one of General Cracken's shuttles on an assignment.

"The shuttle will be arriving in three days along with the returning Blue Squadron. We're to meet them in space and escort the shuttle to its destination. We will then escort that same shuttle back to Coruscant. We'll be given our initial coordinates by the Intelligence team when they get here.

"You all know how these Intelligence assignments work. We're on a need-to-know basis and, as pilots, we don't need to know. That's all I have for now," he finished dryly.

He grimaced to himself as all except Tycho left; he was not going to enjoy this. "I'm afraid your leave has been postponed for a few days," he told his rather crest-fallen second-in-command. "I'm sorry."

Tycho shrugged dejectedly and headed for the door, "It's not your fault. I guess I should have expected it."

****

The shuttle and its escorts arrived right on time. Wedge opened communications as the Rogues moved into escort formation, "This is Rogue Leader. Welcome home, Blue Squadron. Shuttle Griffin, please transmit our jump information."

A familiar echoed from the comm, "Well, hello there, General. Wraith Leader transmitting jump information now."

"Face, you mynock, is that you?" Wes asked before Wedge could reply.

"That's mynock, sir, to you, Rogue Four," Kell responded.

Tycho's puzzled voice broke into the conversation, "Wraith Leader, are you sure about these coordinates?"

Wedge switched to a private frequency with Tycho, "What's up?"

"These are the coordinates I was supposed to meet Terra at while on my leave."

"You're sure?" Wedge asked and then thought about whom he was talking to, "Never mind. You're sure." His astromech beeped a confirmation of the jump calculations. "I think I know now why Cracken was being so insistent that your leave be postponed."

"Wraith Leader to Rogue Leader. If you two are through, can we get this trip under way? I don't want to keep Admiral Sharlee waiting," Face interrupted smugly on their supposedly private frequency.

Wedge growled a reply, "You know, I'm starting to regret your transfer to Intelligence. You have entirely too many toys to play with."

Face chuckled and switched back to the frequency the Rogues would be sharing with the shuttle, "Shuttle Griffin, ready to enter hyperspace on your mark, Rogue Leader."

Wedge switched back to the common frequency, "Let's get going." With that, the shuttle and its twelve escorts entered hyperspace.

****

They exited hyperspace eight hours later to find a small lightly populated planet orbited by a moon, an Imperial Star Destroyer and several capital ships, all transmitting Guardiens ID signatures.

They were hailed almost immediately, "Welcome, Rogues and Shuttle Griffin. You are cleared to land in the main hanger of Mother's Arms. Just follow the beacon."

Wedge smiled to himself as they oriented on the ISD. He was beginning to realize why Cracken kept such a close eye on Terra: she was proving to be rather resourceful. A hail from Corran on a private frequency interrupted his thoughts, "Lead, I've got a bad feeling about this. I'm sure that's the Invidious."

Face responded before Wedge could, "Correction: was the Invidious."

"Do you Intelligence types even understand the word privacy?" Corran grumbled.

"This coming from CorSec?" Kell teased.

Face continued as if there had been no interruption, "Terra decided if Booster could have a Star Destroyer, she wanted one, too. We're just here to take out the trash."

The shuttle and X-wings set down without a hitch. Tycho felt eyes following him and he looked up to see a room overlooking the hanger. He couldn't see in the windows but he had an idea of who was watching him. He told his astromech to continue shut down and joined Wedge and Corran on the deck.

He could hear Corran telling Wedge he felt like they were being watched. He smiled to himself as the Jedi continued in a puzzled voice, "I don't think we're in danger. It feels more like a child's curiosity."

"That would be Ella, Terra's daughter," Tycho told them. At Wedge's questioning look, he added, "Terra said she's strong in the Force."

Corran was watching Tycho closely as the Rogues gathered. Face, Kell, and Shalla Nellprin, all of Wraith Squadron, joined them on the hanger floor and exchanged greetings with Wedge and Wes.

Terra and another Guardien entered from a doorway just under the observation room. As soon as she recognized Face, her steps faltered. "Garik?" she asked incredulously.

Face grinned wickedly, "Surprise!"

She reached up to rub the Captain bars on his collar, "I take it these are real this time?" she asked with a hint of amusement as he nodded.

She smiled and introduced her associate as the Captain in command of Mother's Arms. Face introduced her to Shalla, the only member of the assemblage she had not yet met.

During the greetings, a petite, dark-haired figure was lead into the hanger in wrist bimders. Wedge was shocked to recognize "Admiral" Leonia Tavira, long-time thorn in the side of Rogue Squadron.

As she drew closer and could hear voices, Tavira scanned the group and immediately zeroed in on Tycho and Corran. "You!!" she exclaimed as she headed towards the two men.

She never made it. With one swift move, Terra had Tavira on her back, pinned to the deck with a knee in her abdomen and a hand around her throat. Terra balled her free hand into a fist; Woolverine clawblades extended as the hand came forward, embedding themselves in the hanger floor a hair's breadth from Tavira's ear. The smaller woman nervously watched the fist that was held just above her face by the length of the sharp blades.

There was complete silence as Terra spoke quietly, dangerously, "If you ever again come near any of the Rogues, past, present, or future, I will do things to you that would've made Icehart squeamish. Do you understand me?"

After the shock had worn off, Shalla and Kell approached the two women. They were careful to move quietly rather than silently, wanting Terra to be aware of their presence, not wishing to startle her. Shalla laid a hand gently on Terra's shoulder as Kell leaned down to take hold of Tavira.

Terra stood, sheathing the clawblades in their forearm guards with a deft movement of her hand. As the two Wraiths escorted their captive into the shuttle, she looked around the assemblage of New Republic pilots, nodded once and then turned and walked out of the hanger.

Wes, who was standing with Hobbie behind Wedge and Tycho, leaned forward to comment, "Remind me never to get on her bad side."

Tycho turned a feral grin on the Rogues' self-appointed prank master, "Then just make sure you are real nice to me. Because, trust me, you don't want to see what she can do with those clawblades."

Hobbie grinned lopsidedly as the color drained from Wes' face. "You know, Tych, someone really needs to talk to Terra about this protective streak she has for you."

Face walked by as he headed toward the shuttle. "By the way, Wedge, General Cracken said he was expecting the shuttle to return to Coruscant with only eleven X-wings in escort. How am I gonna explain the extra?"

Wedge turned knowingly to his second, "I guess that means you can start your leave now, if you like. Unless you would rather come back with us and start your leave from there," he added with a smirk.

Tycho chuckled, "I think I'll start from here."

He watched as the others left and then turned to head into the ship. He wasn't sure how, but he knew where he was going. As he entered the observation room over the hanger, his daughter jumped into his arms.


Continued in Part Six