Author's Note: Woo, two chapters for the price of one!
"Who is she?"
"I honestly don't know, she hasn't given me a straight answer. I found her lying in the middle of the desert, but she can't have been there for long, or the heat would have already killed her. I thought she might have come from a caravan, but she doesn't have any memories of it, and she's not dressed like a nomad." A weighty Qui-Gon-like sigh. "Where ever she came from, she's obviously deranged."
"Yes, that much is evident." Dooku's voice-yes, it was unmistakably Dooku's-sounded strained. "Well, whatever she is, she'll live. Keep her out of the way."
A soft answer. "Yes, Master."
Dooku's voice was concerned. "You going to be alright?"
"I'll be in the cockpit then. See to the girl." A soft swish announced the Master's departure, and I heard another sigh from Qui-Gon's direction. My, but he was angsty!
As my eyes finally opened, I saw that I was no longer in the desert. The air around me felt cool and sterile, and my surroundings distinctly interior. The walls were bland and nondescript, and the room was apparently empty, save the cot I was lying on. Looming above me on a moody cloud was Qui-Gon. I smiled at him, trying the pained heroine look. "Hey Qui..."
He looked at me grumpily and then nodded in acknowledgment. "You're up early. My Master thought the tranquilizer would take a bit longer to..."
I interrupted him airily. "Oh-I've always been a quick healer–" I sniffed. "–and the pain isn't too dreadful at the moment, I mean, it comes and goes-"
"You were only rendered unconscious by a simple sleeping drug. You shouldn't be in any pain at all."
"Oh." I murmured. I was starting to decide that I didn't like Qui-Gon so much as I had thought on Earth. Maybe Dook and I could put him in an orphanage or something before we got married. Mm, Countess of Serenno, what a lovely ring it had...
Qui-Gon gave yet another weighty sigh, and pulled himself up out of his chair. He seemed to be limping a bit. Perhaps this was the cause of all the excessive sighing. He seemed about to leave and that was no good-I didn't want to be alone in this crazy place-so I spoke up quickly. "So, um, how's your leg?"
He blinked in surprise and hesitated. Then his eyes narrowed slightly at me. "It's healing." I think he was probably remembering my apparent 'betrayal' and the whole 'left him to die' situation back in the desert place. I blushed slightly. Not that it was my fault, of course, as you'll remember.
I tried a charming smile. "Oh, yeah, too bad about that. Uh-funny things a person does when they're suffering from heat attack."
"A heat stroke, you mean?"
I shrugged. "Whatever you say, baby." I rubbed my head a bit, and sat up. "So, now, what happened when I was out?"
He glanced around the room. "I won't bore you with the details of our unlikely escape, but Dooku got us off the planet and now we're traveling through hyperspace. We should reach the nearest space port in about an hour or so."
"Wait-" I gasped, staring at him. "We're in space!"
Qui-Gon shrugged and dipped his head toward a small portal window. "You've never been in space before, I take it?"
I threw myself out of bed and toward the window, practically pressing my nose against it with glee. I could see streaks speed past, streaks I knew to be the hot white light of systems, suns and stars. They were mesmerizing. I watched them for a full minute before nodded vaguely to Qui-Gon. "No, of course I haven't been in space. You just don't get it–" I breathed distractedly, watching the bright blur of hyperspace.
Qui-Gon watched in some amusement, before limping over to stand beside me. "It's lovely, isn't it? I remember the first time I traveled through space, as a child. I was-"
"Lovely!" I laughed, interrupting his little nostalgic flashback. "Are you kidding! It's freaking weird. Think about it, Qui. There isn't anything holding us up. A little piece of corruptible metal is all that's keeping up from floating out into infinity. If the floor wasn't under us, we'd just fall forever. Well, I guess we'd implode first. I don't know exactly. But, it's food for thought, eh?"
He looked suddenly troubled, staring down at the floor. "I-I'd never really thought about it like that-"
I shrugged and dashed past him, out of the room. "Oh, I've got to get a better look, I'm going to the cockpit!" I left him standing there, rooted to the spot.
As I left the little room, I found myself heading down a long hallway with various doors and side-passages. It was a rather bland hall, like the hallway of a cheap motel, stained with various unmentionable solutions and stinking faintly of alcohol. I skipped down for a bit, looking for Dooku. The ship was pretty small, and it seemed like we were the only ones on board. I only had to peer into a few rooms before I was in the front of the ship. After a moment, I had found Dooku, puttering around in the main cockpit, flipping between monitors.
Upon my entrance to his haven, Dooku looked up. For a moment he stared at me blankly, clearly confused by my extreme good looks–or, alternatively, he had forgotten that I was on the ship in the first place–and then his brows settled into a frown. "I thought I assigned Qui-Gon to watch you..."
I shrugged, as seeing Dooku once again had rendered me strangely mute, and flopped down in the copilot's swivel chair awkwardly.
"Alright," Dooku sighed, glancing in the direction from where I'd come. "what did you do to him? He's just a boy, you know..."
I squeaked. It was an interesting noise. "I didn't do anything! He's back in the room, confronting his fears about flying."
Dooku gave me an even stare, leaning back in his chair and tapping his fingers across the consol. "Qui-Gon doesn't have a fear of flying."
"Shows how well you know him, then!" I scoffed, bending forward to poke at the monitors.
He stiffened. "I've practically lived with Qui-Gon for seven years. I would say that I know him fairly well." Dooku stood, agitated, and flipped a button, displaying a holo map. I think he was trying to ignore me. "My Padawan does not have a fear of flying."
"Well, now he does!" I gleefully cackled, watching Dooku's face change with horror.
My response was another snicker. For a while the cockpit was filled with tension and silence as Dooku alternatively glared at me and shook his head. I made use of this time in nicely checking out my new friend. Dooku was looking good, naturally, younger than I had known him in the movies, but still with that unmistakable Dook quality. Even exasperated, he retained his aloof sense of dignity, and I had the feeling I was in the presence of a mind far greater than my own. I quickly tired of pondering and turned back to him. "Um, so, where are we going? Coruscant?"
"Try something a bit more quaint," he hit a button on the consol and a flickering hologram of what looked like a large, misshapen ball of tin foil appeared. "Hitgat 2. It's a satellite space station."
"Um, not Coruscant?" I repeated, a bit confused. I studied the floating lump again, and then glanced back up at Dooku. Then it clicked. "Ooh, I get it." I grinned at him. "We've already been reassigned to a new mission, haven't we? Not even a break between trips? Geez, that's rough. Gotta hate that Council, hm?"
"No, and we aren't going there on a-"
I cut him off, laughing companionably. "Yeah, those silly Jedi. Silly Republic. I know, 'A for anarchy,' rage against the system and all that jazz, right Dooku? I hear ya, man, I hear ya." I was definitely appealing to my audience here. And I could tell he was listening, too. I changed my tone to a softer, coyer level and leaned in closer to him. "You know, I feel the same way about the Council and everything. I have this uncanny feeling we may be soul mates--our views are so similar..."
Dooku was staring at me in silence, amazed. I was obviously the only one who had ever truly understood him. "What?" he asked weakly.
I nodded emphatically. I did indeed understand. "And it's gotta make you mad, doesn't it? The stuff with the Council... really mad." I leaned over the chair and nudged him. "Almost mad enough...to... go crazy and become a Sith? No?"
I think at this point I may have crossed a line with the Sith part. Perhaps I took it a bit too fast. Dooku snorted, rolled his eyes and stalked out. "You're insane."
"I know what you are but what am I!" I yelled after him, spinning in my copilot chair. I got no response, not surprisingly. Dooku could dish it out, but he sure couldn't take it. I studied the spinning holograph of the tin foil ball again, trying to make sense of it.