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

From Empire to Rogue
Part Eight
by Banshee

A couple of days later, Terra was in her office on base going through messages when one in particular caught her eye. After reading it, she took a few minutes to compose herself before going in search of Tycho. She found him in the sim room with Tootles and suggested they go for a walk along the beach.

They walked for several minutes, her silence making Tycho rather nervous. "Is something wrong?"

She sighed heavily and headed for a nearby bench, "Letís sit down."

"G.A.?" Tycho asked softly after another span of silence.

She looked up at him and smiled thinly, "I got a message from Hobbie. He said to let you know he was thinking about you." Her smile turned into a smirk, "He seemed rather sure I would be able to get in touch with you."

He was surprised but pleased. "I didnít realize you could contact them. How are he and Biggs?"

She shrugged, "Actually, I canít contact them but they are able to get messages to me." She sighed and shifted back on the bench, looking out at the ocean. "He confirmed the rumor that the Death Star was destroyed at Yavin."

Tycho sighed in relief, a huge weight lifting from his heart. "Thatís great news. Why the gloomy mood?"

She closed her eyes and rested her head on his shoulder. "Biggs was at Yavin... He flew against the Death Star," she responded softly, her words forming a pit of ice in Tychoís stomach. "Heís gone, Celly."

Tycho wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. "I canít believe it. He is... was... one of the best pilots I have ever known."

Terra clasped her arms around his waist and snuggled deeper into his side, needing the reassurance his presence could provide. "I canít help but think itís my fault he went over to the Rebellion," she admitted to herself as much as to him.

"G.A.?" Tycho wasnít sure he understood her meaning.

"Iím the one that filled his head with all those stupid notions. The one who made him start questioning what he was being taught at the Academy," she replied guiltily.

He placed his hand under her chin and gently lifted it so that her eyes met his. "Somehow I doubt that you were the only reason he and Hobbie left to join the Rebellion. Theyíre both pretty stubborn individuals." He smiled tightly, "Besides, you told me and Adair all the same things and we didnít listen to you."

She sighed, "Actually, Adair did. But he has his own reasons for staying with the Empire."

Tycho raised his eyebrows in surprise, "What do you mean?"

"Do you remember his sister, Adelle?" When he nodded, she continued, "I learned quite a few things about his homeworld and letís just say that Adair is where he needs to be right now," she replied vaguely.

He was worried about the friend he left behind and didnít liked what she was saying but knew she wouldnít give him any more information than what she had already. "Guess that means a rescue mission is out of the question then, huh?" he joked in an attempt to lighten her mood.

She snorted, "No. For now, Adair stays where he is. I donít like it either but youíll just have to trust me when I say it really is for the best."

He nodded silently and she laid her head back on his shoulder. She was quiet for some time and Tycho noticed she had closed her eyes almost as if in sleep. He had seen her like this before when she was deep in thought or light meditation and had learned not to disturb her.

After a few minutes, Terra took several deep breaths and opened her eyes. Tycho was pleased to see the smile on her lips reach her eyes for the first time since he had left the Empire. "Tootles told me youíve been doing really well in the sims. You ready to go one-on-one?" she asked with an impish grin.

He laughed, glad of the change in topic. "I donít think Iíll ever be ready for that but I should be able to give you a little more competition than I used to."

"I donít know. I havenít been able to spend much time in the cockpit lately so it should be a pretty even match-up," she responded.

"Donít you have work to do?" he countered good-naturedly.

Her smile faded and he winced to himself. "I really donít feel like going back to my office right now," she said softly.

He nodded in understanding, "What else still needs to be done before we leave?"

She shrugged, "Not much. A little paperwork and I still have a few upgrades to install in the cruiser.The upgrades will probably take a day or two, though." Her smile began to return as she looked up at him, a twinkle in her eyes. "I was sort of hoping that since I need Tootlesí help, you would help, too."

He snorted, "Since youíre the boss, I donít have much choice. Do I?"

She grinned up at him, "And donít you forget it, either." She grew serious before she continued; "You donít have to stay with the Guardiens if you donít want to. We never really discussed it so I guess I just assumed you would."

He shrugged, "Where else would I go? Aside from the Rebellion, of course." He tightened his hold on her shoulders, "I really am glad you asked; that you think Iím capable."

"Youíll make a great addition to our pilot corps. The only drawback is that weíll both be so busy that we wonít get to spend much time together. Not to mention, I donít want to give anyone the impression Iím playing favorites."

He chuckled softly, "Does that mean I wonít be able to sneak into your quarters at night?"

She smiled again and snuggled deeper into his embrace; "Actually, I like having you near, knowing youíre safe but not everyone will understand our friendship. Iím not saying you canít but youíre getting a little old to be sleping in my bed."

He lifted an eyebrow at her. "So, Iím getting old even though you still think of me as a little boy?" His tone was gentle but she could still hear the rebuke in his voice.

She sighed, unable to meet his gaze. "Iím sorry. I guess I deserved that one, didnít I?" She lifted her gaze back to his, grinning mischievously, "Itís your own fault, though."

"My fault? And just how is it my fault?" he asked incredulously.

Her grin widened, "You were just such a cute little boy. Iíve always had a hard time getting that picture out of my head."

He pretended to pout, "Does that mean you donít still think Iím cute?"

She gently brushed his hair away from his face, "I think you are totally adorable. Which reminds me, I should probably warn you about all the attention youíll be getting when we get back to the ship. Over half the Guardiens are human females and our total number of females is just over two-thirds."

Tycho grinned broadly, "Two to one odds. I think I like that."

"Just donít forget to save me some time in your social calendar," she teased.

He saluted her and replied mock-seriously, "Yes, Commander."

She stood and pulled him up with her, "Well, I guess we should get started on the cruiser." As they headed back toward the base, she gave him a lop-sided grin, "I probably shouldnít tell you this but, technically, I wonít be your boss. Iíll be your bossí boss."

"So, not only do I have to follow your orders, Iíll have someone else relaying them to me."

She smiled, "And, depending on your placement within the squadrons, you may have someone else in there, too."

He grinned impishly, "Are they all pretty females?"

She shook her head in exasperation, "I had forgotten what it was like to be around males in full testosterone mode."

He laughed wickedly, "Iíll take that as a yes."

Continued in Part Twelve