My Month with the Gods
Wedge, Tycho and myself trailed slightly behind the others as they headed to the room that had been assigned to the hapless Rogue after his dip in bacta. "I really am sorry about Hobbie," I told them miserably.
"Guess you'll just have to come up with some way of making it up to him," Wedge told me teasingly. When he saw his jokes werenít helping, he gave me a quick reassuring squeeze before dropping his arm back to his side. "Like Corran said, having enemies goes with the territory. You can't always be watching over your shoulder for enemies that haven't surfaced in years."
Tycho seemed rather concerned, "Which brings up another point. Why now?"
Alarm bells started ringing as I thought about what he had said. "Wedge, he's right. The Rogues' reputation for retribution is well known. Why take the chance of attacking me here and making an enemy out of Rogue Squadron? It doesnít make sense, even for the Vipers."
Wedge nodded, "They were probably following you for some time. Why not earlier in the day when you were shopping with Mirax?"
Tycho grinned devilishly, "Iím not sure there is a being alive brave enough to interfere with Mirax when sheís shopping."
I smiled in spite of myself. "I donít think they could have gotten close enough to us without making a scene. Besides, if they dressed to fit in at some of the places Mirax took me, I would have recognized them too soon. No. They wanted dark and relatively unpopulated. They knew I would realize who they were but I donít think they wanted anyone else to."
Wedge shrugged, "Iíll buy those arguments. Here is another question. Why here on Coruscant instead of Jovan?"
A sudden thought stopped me in my tracks. Wedge and Tycho were a few steps ahead before they realized I wasnít with them. As one, they turned to face me with puzzled looks.
"We have to stop Admiral Ackbar before he sends in the Special Forces team." When they continued to stare at me blankly, I elaborated. "Our people were pretty much agreed that the Empire needed to go but many werenít all that ready to join the New Republic. They argued that we had just gotten rid of one oppressive government; the last thing they wanted was another.
"If the Vipers had succeeded in capturing me, you would not have known who was responsible. At least not right away. The independence proponents could have used that as an example of the kind of protection the average citizen could expect from the New Republic."
Tycho nodded in understanding, "If the legendary Rogues couldnít protect one general, what makes us think the New Republic could protect an entire planet?"
I grinned wryly, "Sending in that Special Forces team would play right into their hands. It wouldnít take the independence groups long to find out they were there and that would give them all the ammunition they needed for a public campaign about New Republic tyranny."
Wedge grimaced as the others rounded a corner, leaving the three of us alone in the hallway "I donít want to leave your family unprotected but if youíre right..." His voice trailed off when he noticed Tychoís expression.
The blond Rogue was grinning like he had just pulled one over on Wes, which was pretty scary now that I think about it. "Sandy, have you ever heard of the Guardiens?"
It was my turned to be puzzled. "Private security. Very expensive but very good. "
His grin turned into a warm smile, "The best, actually. One of their founders is an old friend of mine and they are always looking for new ships. I was thinking maybe they should pay a visit to XM. Of course, anyone who went out there would probably have a full security escort."
Wedge nodded knowingly, "Of course."
I returned his smile, "My grandfather has been trying to get someone from the Guardiens to look at his designs for years. Tych, if you could manage it, he would be your friend for life."
Wedge chuckled, "Gustav always did have a thing for blonds. Maybe we should introduce him to Hobbie, too."
I glared at Wedge, "Thatís not very funny."
Tycho was snickering now, too. "Yeah, Wedge. From what youíve told me, I donít think he would like Hobbie very much. After all, Hobbs keeps crashing perfectly good ships."
I slapped them both in the gut a little harder than was necessary. "Stop that. My grandfather isnít like that."
Wedge wrapped his arms around me, laughing. "Iím sorry. I couldnít resist a little payback for all the jibes youíve been getting in since youíve been here."
"I donít mind you picking on me, but my grandfather is off limits," I pouted.
Tycho cleared his throat to remind us we still had company, "If Iím not needed here, I better get in touch with the Guardiens. Iíll comm Admiral Ackbar, too, and let him know what weíve discussed."
After he left, Wedge and I continued down the hall to the waiting room. We sat without saying a word, listening to the others who were crowded into Hobbieís room. I watched Wedge out of the corner of my eye as I stared down at my hands.
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Iím sorry you had to find out this way," I said softly.
He just continued to look straight ahead, not saying a word.
"Wedge?" I pleaded.
"About this private ceremony. Just how private was it?" His voice was haunted. I could tell he was thinking of his parents who were killed when they essentially got caught in the crossfire between Corellian Security and fleeing pirates.
"We were supposed to have another ceremony a few weeks later complete with family and friends. The private ceremony was for Vipers only. Itís the only reason I agreed to the timing for the attack."
He turned to face me, the look in his eyes a mixture of emotion. "Did you love him?"
I closed my eyes in an attempt to block out the memories. "I loved the man he pretended to be. The man I thought he was." I could feel a tear roll down my cheek as I continued, "He just loved the idea of gaining control of XM. Iím just glad I found out before..." My voice gave out with a subdued sob.
We were interrupted as Hobbie came down the hall with the medic. The Rogue lifted his eyebrows questioningly at us; Wedge and I were quite the sight, Iím sure.
I was instantly at his side, "Hobbie, Iím so sorry." I threw my arms around him, forgetting his injuries for the moment.
He looked down at me with a lopsided grin and patted me lightly on the back. "Wedge, if sheís going to act like this every time I get out of the tank, can we keep her around?"
Wedge chuckled as he moved to my side. "Wes will fill you in later," he told Hobbie as he took my arm and drew me back to him. He waved the medic and his patient into the room ahead of us.
The medic address Wedge as we entered, "Weíll want to keep Major Klivian for the next fifteen hours or so as a precaution."
Wedge smirked, "The usual, in other words."
The medic snorted, "Yeah, the usual."
Continued in Part Thirteen