The Narrow Escape – Part 2

The doors to the medbay whoosh open to reveal the ship’s doctor peeling the charred remains of a shirt away from a splotchy blaster burn on the Captain’s shoulder. Aydrien brushes past the door before it’s finished retracting and plants herself firmly in front of her wayward Captain.

He flashes her an insouciant smirk. “Aaaaaaaayd,” he slurs. “My fav’rite firs’ m–”

She smacks him.

“We’ll talk when ya ge’ here? Well, yer here. Star’ talkin’.”

He rubs his cheek ruefully. “Ya know, on some ships they space folk as strike their superiors.”

“Good thing for you we’re not one of those ships,” she says, carefully enunciating every word, “because I would hate to have to lead a mutiny against you.”

“Now tha’s cold, ev’n fer you,” he retorts.

“I’m colder’n space, Stefan, when th’ Escape’s involved. We’re not gonna be able ta dock ANYwhere ya keep this up.” She crosses her arms across her chest, staring him down, waiting for his latest string of excuses.

He hesitates. “The full name is it? Mus’ be in real trouble this time.” He waves the doctor away. The shorter man regards the two warily but exits without a word.

“Ayd. …Aydrien.” The Captain hooks her hand and drags her closer. “‘Tweren’t my fault this time. I know. I know I always say tha’. Bu’ ‘t’s true. I me’ the buyer. Thin’s were goin’ swimmin’ly. Then we were facin’ a swarm a Imps.”

“Random Imperials swarmed your meeting.” Disbelief ices her voice, clipping her words. “I suppose they were supported by Bara the Hutt and Timda hi’self, in person.”

The Captain runs his hand down his face tiredly. “Ah know how it soun’s, Ayd, but… it’s true this time.”

Aydrien scowls. He’s a liar and a cheat but… if that’s a lie it’s a pretty audacious one…

“Why wou’d Imps care ‘bout a glit sale? We’re not ‘n Empire space.”

He refuses to meet her eyes. “‘Tweren’t stims.”

A pause. “…what?”

“Ya seen th’ accounts. We’re runnin’ dry, Ayd. Need a bigger score ta keep th’ ship fueled.”

She slips her hand free of his and steps back out of his reach. “What was it?”

“Weapons.” His eyes implore her to understand. “Tha’s where the creds are. Ya know tha’.” He stretches to take her hand back but pulls up short, wincing. She relents just a little, knowing the pain must be intense for him to let it show. She catches up the salve the doctor left on the table and sidles around behind him to dot it on the burn.

“For who?” she asks finally.

“Balmorra.”

A sharp intake of breath. “And ya din’t think ta maybe TELL ME!?” She spins and hurls the bottle across the room, seething. “We agreed ta stay out a politics,” she snaps, turning her back to him and kicking viciously at one of the table’s legs.

“Ah know. We need the money, Ayd.”

“You’re a bastard!”

“Tha’s wha’ mah momma always said. Pretty common on Nar Shaddaa.”

“Tha’s not wha’ I–”

“I know.” He answers quietly.

“How could you be so STUPID?” She rages on. “How’d ya get CAUGHT?”

“I know, Ayd.” His voice continues to drop.

“They’re gonna be after us from one end a th’ Galaxy ta t’other now, Stoffi.” Fury begrudgingly burns away at the futility of berating him after the fact.

“I know.” He makes another effort to reach her, brushing his fingertips against her arm. “This is th’ part where ya usually slap me again, love. A’ leas’ look a’ me.”

“I hate you.”

“I know.” He manages to wrap his hand around her arm and suddenly jerks her into his lap. She raises a hand to strike him again but he grabs her wrist and flashes that infuriating grin. “We’ll figure it out, babe. We always do.”

“I hate you.”

“Yer repeatin’ yerself.” He presses her imprisoned hand against his chest.

“Consider it emphasis.”

“Come on,” he adds, calculation clear in his voice. “Ya tryin’ ta tell me ya can’ out-fly a few Imps?” He watches, already knowing her reaction.

“Of course I c—” She gives an exasperated sigh and has to laugh. “I hate you,” she says again, this time fondly.

“I love you too, Ayd.”

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