A Tale of Two Planets
Part Four
by Commander Wedge

Lorelei had spent most of the trip meditating, going over the talks her and her Master Skywalker would have to make, training, and everything else imaginable. She was exhausted and hungry. She walked down the long corridor of the ship. She was a bit bored. Maybe she could go bother someone in the command bridge and see if they let her on, tell them it was her birthday or something. She found her way into the Mess Hall and went in line for food. After getting a plate of food, she sat down at a table by herself and watched all the other pilots and crewmembers do the same. She was hoping she could pull this mission off. She was a bit nervous about it all, but was confident enough.

Wedge and his pilots fell into the ship's routine with no problems; the trip would take one week. He entered the Officer' Mess with Hobbie, Tycho and Janson. The four got in line, after some bantering with the serving staff, chose their food, and found a place to place to sit. Hobbie and Wes were arguing over who was the better Sabacc player, while Wedge and Tycho ignored them until finally Hobbie asked Wedge to intervene and settle the dispute. "I'm the best player out of all of us. End of argument." The four men returned to eating but it wasn't long before Wes and Hobbie were at it again.

Lorelei watched the four pilots arguing and talking, but she didn't know what about. She chuckled to herself; they were a bunch of characters. She then had an idea; she took out a small booklet of paper and a small stick of charcoal. They were 'artist tool's tools that were not very popular anymore. Why would one use such primitive tools when holos were the most sufficient? But Lorelei loved to use them, she loved to draw; she took the primitive items and started to sketch the images of the four men catching the detail of the facial expressions and the shadows from the way the light hit. Yes...there was something so rewarding by using the tools of the long past. Wes looked up from his latest argument with Hobbie and saw the young Jedi drawing. He stood and motioned for Hobbs to follow and they walked over to observe her at her work. Wes sat down on one side of her and Hobbie on the other, "So, whaccha doing," they asked in unison.

Lorelei looked up and cleared her throat with a nervous cough. She hadn't meant for them to see but it was too late now. She handed him the pad of paper. "I didn't mean to um...be staring or anything, I just thought it was a good picture and should be taken down," she said quietly.

Wes smiled, "I don't think she got your good side Hobbs, but then I don't know if you have a good side," he said laughing as he showed Hobbie her work.

Hobbie snatches the drawing away from Wes, "She's pretty good. She's got Wedge down pat - right down to the hair in his eyes."

"Look at how she did Tych - he looks like an Alderaanian aristocrat."

The two pilots continued to laugh and tell Lorelei how good of an artist she is. "Why don't you show your drawings to Wedge and Tycho. I think they'd get a kick out of them," Wes told her.

"Me? Show them? You must be joking!" Lorelei blushed nervously. "B-besides it's not even finished, and won't be finished, since YOU two moved." She smiled. Perhaps trying to joke with them, like they do with each other wouldn't make her so nervous. She grabbed the pad away from Hobbie and looked at it with a sigh. "Do you really think they would like it?"

"Sure he would. He hates having his holo taken and this is so much better," Wes grinned.

"Well, thank you for the compliment." She smiled. These guys weren't so bad. They seemed nice but did she want to bother the General? After all, he DID get touchy when she accidentally called him Commander. She looked at Wes to take the first move to their table.

Janson and Hobbie stood on either side of Lorelei and hooked their arms with hers, "Let's go show Wedge," Hobbie said. "If he doesn't like them, Tych will."

Lorelei was lead up to the table where General Antilles was sitting with another friend...she was a bit nervous, but after a few breathes felt fine. Why the heck am I so nervous? I've gone in front of senates, spoken to groups of hundreds of people, performed in plays year after year, and I am nervous about showing some guy my drawing...blah! She wasn't about to make a fool of herself in front of the General, removed her arms from her two escorts, went to the table, and tossed the note pad on top. She looked at Wedge and grinned. "People say 'take a picture they last longer'. Well, I did. What do you think?" YES, that was the dumbest thing she ever said, but it was too late to take it back now.

Wedge looked up from his conversation with Tycho but before he could move Tych grabbed the sketchpad from on the table between them, "Hey Wedge, this isn't bad. Look. And you don't believe us when we tell you your hair is always in your eyes." Wedge made a face at the Colonel and grabbed for the sketchpad, which Tycho kept out of his reach, "Hobbie! Catch!" Tycho said standing and tossing the paper in Hobbie's direction. Wedge jumper up to intercept it and missed.

"Wes! Here!" Soon a vigorous game of keep away from the General ensued with all Wedges' officers laughing. "Come on Wedge," Hobbie said holding the pad of paper above his head, "You're gonna have to grow to reach it Shorty." He then tossed it Tycho with Wedge trying to block the tosses.

Lorelei hid a chuckle at the "grown men" playing keep away from poor Wedge...but after a few moments of everyone in the Mess hall watching, she gently lifted up a hand and with the Force, slowly brought the pad back to her own hands. She smiled at the four pilots. "I am sorry to do that guys, but this is my only pad and I don't want to ruin it."

She checked to make sure there were no rips. Lorelei had had the pad for a few years because the item was hardly used any more, it was hard to find on any planet and if a store did happen to have it, the price was high. It was actually given to her as a present from a friend, where she found it, Lorelei wasn't sure. Lorelei grinned and offered the pad back to Tyco. "lNow, are you gonna play nice," She asked then looked at Wedge, "Anyway, I think the General looks rather handsome with the hair in his eyes, it gives him a "dashing" kind of appeal." *winks*

Tycho takes the offered sketch pad back and looks at Hobbie and Wes, "We'll play nice now, wont we boys?" "Yes, Colonel," they answered together, chagrinned. "But," Wes said, "It doesn't make him look dashing, makes Wedge look like a kid."

Wedge glared at him and sat back down, "You do nice work with your drawing Lorelei," he told her.

Lorelei smiled at Wedge. "Thank you sir. I draw what inspires me. I have a picture of Master Skywalker in there, and a landscape of Coruscant, some friends...I have a few more pictures to fill the pad up though." She smiled and started to think, after this mission, she wanted to ask Luke to let her go. Art was her passion, not being a Jedi knight. Though learning the Force has served her well at times, she didn't feel it was her true calling. Realizing she had been staring into space, she cleared her throat. "Well, I don't want to bother you guys, so I will go return to my table if you like."

"You can join us, you don't have to return to your table to eat by yourself unless you want to," Tycho, ever the gentleman, said to Lorelei. "Wedge and I will make sure these other two act like human beings from now on."

Lorelei smiled at Tyco, pulled up a chair and sat beside him. "Thank you," She said. "So, may I ask what you guys were arguing about earlier?" She asked looking around at the pilots.

Wedge looked at the Wes and Hobbie, "Well Majors, are you going it answer her question?"

Wes was the first to speak, "We were not arguing, we were discussing who was the better Sabacc player and Wedge settled that, he is."

"Yeah," Hobbie joined in, "He rarely loses. But I still say I am better than Wes." He stuck his tongue out at his friend and fellow pilot. Wedge just shook his head - he was use to it and didn't put a stop to it, he knew how important it was to let his pilots blow off steam and lighten up, they spent enough of their lives facing death.

Lorelei laughed. "I have never played it. Is it hard?" She asked quizingly. She felt funny asking a question like that. She knew one thing though, telling them she has never piloted a ship before is out! Janson and Hobbie exchanged glances, "You've never played," Hobbie asked.

"It's not hard, is it Wedge," Wes continued.

Wedge leaned back, "It's as easy as flying an X-Wing, vaping TIEs and breathing," he said with a small smile.

"Yea, flying X-wings." *cough* "Um, you guys will have to teach me how to play sometime," Lorelei smiled.

Wes gave her his most 'I'm so incredibly cute you've got to love me' look and smile, "I'd be more than happy to teach you how to play. Just name the time and place and if Wedge-boy here will let me, I'll be there."

"I'm not going to let you be alone with her if I can help it. You can't be trusted," Hobbie told Wes, "I'll help teach her too."

Tycho and Wedge just watched and listened like two indulgent parents, they were use to the competition between their friends and fellow pilots.

* * * * * * * * * *

After receiving his assigned quarters for the duration of the trip, Luke settled in and meditated for a few hours. Finally rising, he decided to go and find Han. Letting the Force guide him, he found Han playing with some circuitry under the Falcons control console. "Han." he said quietly, hoping not to startle Han, but nevertheless he jumped three feet in the air and hit his head. Han yelped in pain as he hit his head and looked at Luke. "MUST you do that?" He asked a bit irritated. After calming down, he called for Chewie. "Chewie! How are we doing?"

The tall Wookie let out a series of aggravated grunts and growls.

"That's what I thought," Han trailed off. He took a big sigh and went back to tinkering. "So what's up kid," he asked. He knew Luke was not a 'kid' anymore; it was a force of habit he supposed.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lorelei laughed at both of them, "Well, when ever you guys have the time..." She laughed. "I am not much of a gambler." She smiled at Wes giving him the same look he gave her.

Wes and Hobbie gave each other predatory grins, "Oh that's ok. We don't mind," Hobbie stated.

Lorelei laughed and then looked at Wedge. "Remind me NOT to play with cash when being trained by these 'pirates'." She laughed.

Wes and Hobbie looked crestfallen at her comment to Wedge. "If I'm around, I'll make sure they'll behave," Wedge told her. "And don't let them scare you, they really aren't that bad, just have a reputation to maintain." He gave her a reassuring smile.

* * * * * * * * * *

Luke sat down in the co-pilots chair, "Wanna tell me what's on your mind or what's up with Leia? Preferably both." He settled down and waited for Han to come out with whatever it was he desperately wanted to say but either couldn't or wouldn't.

Han looked up at Luke a sour look washed on his face. He had promised Leia not to say anything to Luke about her being involved with this civil war but he already knew she was there; he wasn't about to break anymore promises to Leia. Besides, it wasn't his place to get involved; he only took this mission because Leia pleaded with him. "Nothing's going on Luke," he said, continuing to study the Falcon's controls.

* * * * * * * * * *

"Ahh, reputation, reputation, reputation, man's only weakness." She grinned. She looked at Wes with a cocky, but flirtatious smile. "Besides Mr. Janson, with the 'sweet and innocent' face like yours, you couldn't scare a Womp rat in the dead of night." She laughed and before any of them could protest, she slowly stood up, "Well gentlemen, I am off to see if I can find my room around here. I think I'll take a nap then study some history holos." She grabbed her sketchpad and smiled at the pilots, "Thank you for the company and conversation. And I will make sure you keep your promise about teaching me Sabacc." She winked and at that, walked out of the Mess hall and through the ship's halls.

Hobbie laughed so hard at Lorelei's comment about Wes looking so innocent he couldn't scare a Womp rat that Wes reached over and pushed his friend out of his chair and on to the floor. "I did not find it all that funny," he pouted.

"Well you two can discuss it later, we have work to finish," Wedge said as he stood. He left the chow hall, headed for his office, followed by Tycho, Wes, and Hobbie.

Continued in Part Five