Disclaimer:  Not mine.  Someone else's.

Re-did the last chapter.  Not much changed, just realized there was a scene missing.

Chapter 8:

Minos rolled on to her back and brought her hand to the burns on her chest.

"Ow," she groaned.  That had hurt… a lot, but it definitely beat being dead.

Her two daughters were regaining consciousness beside her, and feeling much the same pain she did.

"Are you okay, ma'am?"  Narrol's smiling face hung over her.

"A little sore.  That hurt."

"Consider the alternative."

She nodded, "I'm sorry, I didn't get your name."

He smiled, "Face Loran.  Commander of Wraith Squadron."

"My family?"

"We got word, they're fine.  We'll get you a basic Bacta treatment; you probably won't even need a full dunking, just a few patches; and you'll be just fine."

"I didn't know you could tune a blaster that way."

Face shrugged, "Neither did I.  Myn had to give us step-by-step instructions on how to do it.  Pretty brilliant, really.  The bolt has enough energy to burn, but not to kill.  It also induces shock in most vertebrates, so the blood pressure plummets and the breathing shallows and slows.  It won't fool any medical scanners, of course, but to a guy checking a pulse, it does a pretty convincing imitation of death."

"Doesn't make it hurt any less."  She winced as she tried to sit up, aggravating her wounds.

"No, it doesn't," Face nodded, sympathetically, "Incidentally, thanks."

"For what?"

He jerked his thumb at the stormtrooper who was picking himself up off of the metal floor, "We've all wanted someone to shoot Janson for a long time."

"So tell me," Wedge asked as Myn stood before his desk, "how did you know that Hoth was due to become the base of operations for Wraith squadron?"

"It… made sense, sir.  Centrally located, low traffic.  Perfect place to put a somewhat secret squadron."  Actually, Kirney had put that one together before they'd even left Corellia.  She'd known that they had to convince whoever Corva was sending after them that the target was dead, otherwise they'd never been free.  Having Wraith squadron in orbit above them made them a rather convenient asset to use.

"What are your plans now, lieutenant?"

"I need to get Gus and his family to Coruscant, as I promised, then I'll return the craft to Corellia.  It's not mine, and the owner will want it back."

"Of course," Wedge nodded, "When are you leaving?"

"Within the hour, sir.  As soon as they've all been treated.  The Aliens fared far better than the humans did.  They're somewhat more resistant to blaster fire than we are."

Wedge smiled.  Givin and Verpine each possessed a tough exoskeleton which provided a fair amount of protection against blaster fire; and Wookies, they were just plain hard to kill, "and your treatment?"

"All but complete.  The burns were over a pretty small area right around the heart.  I'm lucky he was a good shot."

"Very well, dismissed."  He looked down at his notes, then back up at Myn, "Oh, Lieutenant?"


"When you make it back to Corellia…"


"Tell her I said 'hi.'"

Myn faked obliviousness fairly well, "tell who, sir?"

"Dismissed."  He watched as Myn spun around and marched towards the door.


Myn stopped a few feet short of the door, "Sir?"

"I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but you still have nine days remaining in your leave of absence."

"Yes, sir."

"Just to let you know: if you come back before those nine days are up, I will find some way of having you court-martialed."

"Yes, sir."

"Just so that you understand.  Dismissed."

Wedge was glad nobody could see him smiling as Myn walked out the door.

The large landing craft stood on a large floating landing pad over the endless cityscape of Coruscant.

"Well, Gus, I suppose this is goodbye."  Kirney held her hand out to him as the ten stood trying to shield themselves against the brutal winds at this altitude.

Gus nodded, "I suppose it is."  He looked over at Myn, "Thanks, we couldn't have done this without you."  He turned back to Kirney, "and you, I don't know how to thank you."

Kirney shook her head, "you don't have to.  You already helped me more than you know."

"I don't understand."

"I'm not sure I do either.  Thanks."  Kirney turned to Minos, "Minos, all I can say is 'good luck,' I wouldn't wish living with this guy on my worst enemy."  She smiled as she jerked her head at Gus.

"Well, he grows on you."

"Yeah, funny how that happens, isn't it?"  She smiled, "Incidentally, I hear you shot Wes.  Good job."

Minos shrugged, "He was the closest."  She reached behind her back, "Which reminds me," She held out Kirney's blaster to her, "I imagine you'll want this back."

"Thanks," Kirney's grin widened as she took it from her, "I take it he didn't notice the switch?"

"Didn't notice either of them.  When you handed him your rigged blaster to replace his, or when he took his own blaster back after I got gunned down."

"Yeah.  I thought for sure he'd notice you snatching his blaster from my hands when you were pummeling the crap out of me."

"Oh, sorry about that.  You'll live?"

"I'll live.  The bruises will be gone by this time next week."

Minos smiled warmly, "You're a good woman, Kirney, make sure you remind him of that."  She nodded in Myn's direction.

"I will."  She turned to Gus, "and just so you know, if I find out that she's not happy, I will personally hunt you down and shoot you."

Gus smiled, or whatever passed for a smile on a Verpine's face, "I don't think that'll be a problem."  He fished around in his pocket, then held out a few bills to her.

"What's this?"

"Well, I told you I'd pay the other half on arrival.  We've arrived."

Kirney didn't move, "keep it.  You've done enough."

"Take it.  So have you."  He cocked his head slightly.  He grabbed her hand by the wrist and pressed the bills into her palm, closing her fingers around them.

"Thanks, Gus."

"Don't spend it all in one place, and if you can, try not to spend it alone."  He looked at her, knowingly.

Kirney smiled, "I don't think you need to worry about that."

Lara's Hope rose gently out of the atmosphere around Coruscant.  The deep purple of the stratosphere gave way to the black of space.  Kolot had left the bridge for a while, leaving the two alone on the bridge.

"So, what now?"  Kirney asked, sitting in the co-pilot's seat.

"I've got nine days leave of absence," he looked at her, "what say we disappear for a little while?"

"You sure you want to disappear with a wanted fugitive?"

Myn stood up, gripping her hands in his, pulling her to her feet.  He drew the diminutive redhead closer and whispered: "I could get used to it."

As the two drew closer, neither knew what was going to happen at the end of those nine days.  But as their lips touched in a kiss which embodied desperate hopes of a very uncertain future, all was right in the universe.

The end