The two Rogues decided to take their charge out and about in an attempt to tire the tyke out. It was their hope that Colin would then sleep most of the day. They wound their way down the halls of Sivantlie Base, each taking turns in carrying the diaper bag or Colin, when need be. Wes had decided that trying to bring Colin anywhere would be a waste of time and suggested that they just let the kid lead them around the base. So they followed Colin down the corridors, each keeping an eye on him, lest he disappear on them.
As they turned down a hallway, the soft whine of repulsor-lift engines began to filter down to them. Hobbie and Wes exchanged a glance. They had made it to the X-Wing hanger.
"Door open!" Colin yelled, pounding his tiny fists on the metal.
"Easy there, my boy," Wes said, scooping him up into his arms. "You can’t walk around in here with out a leash or a restraining bolt." He stated, settling Colin on his hip.
Hobbie chuckled and shook his head as he hit the door panel. The door opened silently and the group walked inside. Eleven X-Wings sat arrayed neatly around the hanger, each one ready to go at the drop of a hat. The twelfth X-Wing was positioning itself into it’s spot before gently easing the craft down. The landing struts gently kissed the ferrocrete as the repulsors were shut down. The hatch popped open and the pilot jumped down.
Colin watched the landing with rapt interest and both hands covering his ears. When the hatch opened he took his hands off his ears. "Oooooooo." He breathed. "Me fwy!"
Wes looked down at him and shook his head. "No Colin. You’re not big enough to fly yet."
Hobbie smirked as he turned to the pilot approaching them. "Hey Wedge! How’s she runnin?"
Wedge flipped off his helmet and smiled. "Not bad. Zraii tuned her up this morning and I have to say, she’s lookin’ good. Hey, who’s the kid?"
Hobbie look at Janson and snorted. "Would you like to tell him, or should I?"
"Tell me what?"
"I don’t know, Hobbs. I don’t think Wedge would be able to take it."
"I won’t be able to take what?"
"You might be right, Wes, but you never know. He may laugh his ass off like I did."
"Um, hello??? Am I not here?"
Both Wes and Hobbie turned to face Wedge. "This," Wes stated, giving Colin a squeeze. "Is Colin."
"Yeah. He’s Wes’ kid."
Wedge looked between his officers before looking at Colin. "Wes’ kid." He said simply. "Nice try guys, but I’m not buying it. Next you’ll be telling me that Wes is engaged to an Ewok…" The look on Janson’s face stopped Wedge’s burgeoning rant. Wes had schooled his features to a mixture of mild amusment and melancholy. Wedge raised an eyebrow and then took a closer look at the child in the arms of his subordinate. "Nerfsith." Wedge shook his head. "I’m still not…"
The three pilots gave Colin a look of horror. Wedge clapped a hand over his mouth and mumbled, "Oops…I shouldn’t have said that…"
"Nerfsith!" Colin stated happily. He looked up at Wes. "Nerfsith, dada!"
Wedge snorted. "Oh stars, you weren’t kidding!" He gave Janson a bemused look and shook his head.
"Nerfsith." Colin giggled.
"Okay, that’s enough of that." Wes said sternly. "Let’s distract you with an X-Wing."
"Yeah. Yeah! C’mon, Colin. Uncle Hobbs’ll let you pretend-fly in his X-Wing." Hobbie took the tot from Wes and started off towards his craft.
"Yes, Colin fly." Hobbie nodded.
"Nerfsith!" He exclaimed. "Nerfsith, nerfsith, nerfsith…" he sang incessantly. The song carried throughout the hanger and Wes and Wedge groaned as they followed behind.
"Ya know, if I had experienced Colin’s capacity for being a pest earlier, I wouldn’t have doubted at all that he was your kid, Wes."
"Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence, Wedge. Remind me to return the favour when you and Iella have kids."
Sitting in Hobbie’s cockpit, Colin looked a lot smaller than he really was. He reached up to grab the stick, but ended up having to crawl up onto his knees to reach it.
Hobbie, standing on a ladder that a tech had rolled next to the X-Wing, looked on in amusement. "Can’t reach, huh? Here, let me help." In one fluid motion, he lifted Colin and slid into the pilot’s chair. Settling the tot on his lap, he reached behind him and grabbed his helmet. He placed it on Colin’s head and, much to the delight of the youngster, it slid backwards and settled there.
With his newfound height, Colin gleefully attacked the myriad of dials and buttons laid out before him.
"Hey! Woah! Not that one!" Hobbie cautioned, deflecting Colin’s hand.
"Which one?" Wes inquired as he stepped up the ladder.
"Ah. Yes. Definitely not that one."
Colin looked up at Wes, his helmet sliding slightly. "Nerfsith." He said with two-year-old seriousness. Before either pilot could react, he punched the Power-up button and smiled.
The whine of ion engines filled the hanger as Hobbie's X-wing powered up. Taking advantage of Wes and Hobbie's momentary paralysis, Colin batted a hand at the control stick before starting to push random buttons on the control panel. The first button he depressed kicked in the repulsor-lift coils, causing the craft to lift off the ground. He swatted the control stick once more, causing the nose of the fighter to swing to the left.
The 'Wing's fuselage hit the ladder and knocked Wes off balance and, before he could recover, another jolt from the moving craft caused him to fall backwards. His fall was broken by Wedge as the senior officer had been hovering near the bottom of the ladder to keep an eye on his subordinates and the child. The two Rogues lay in a heap of tangled limbs trying desperately to get up and get to the X-wing while simultaneously trying to stay out of it's path.
With a laugh, Colin wrapped his tiny hands around the control stick and started making explosion noises. He jerked the stick back and forth, causing the ship to drift dangerously close to the stationary X-wings on either side of it. Hobbie tried desperately to grab Colin and pry his hands loose, but each time he got a hold of the tot, the ship would buck and his grip would slip.
"Oooo! Button! POW! POW!" Colin exclaimed, running his hands over the control stick. The newest discovery of the Laser-trigger distracted the youngster sufficiently for Hobbie to get his hands around him. Before his tiny fingers could depress the trigger button, Hobbie's larger hands pried the tot away from the controls and pinned him against his chest. Frantically, he shut down the repulsor-lifts, landing the craft heavily and cut power to the engines.
Hobbie peaked over the edge of the cockpit and then handed Colin to one of the Tech's that had run over to help. He collapsed back into his pilot's chair and let out a deep sigh of relief.
Continued in Part Six