by K. Lee Brown (Narya's Bane)
the usual warning applies: I own nothing here, except the possible story line. at this point, I plan on pretty much all characters even belonging to someone else, and I only hope I can do them justice.
Summary:: Myn and Gara/Lara/Kirney have long deserved to find a way to be together. Most who've read Solo Command know how unfinished it seems to have gone…
Until you see, in Betrayal, a small reference to Donoslane Excursions.
What is the journey that takes us to that point? Well, here is one humble fan's thought…
-- --- --- --- ---- --
I wish I was like you
Find my nest of salt
Everything is my fault
Ill take all the blame
Aqua seafoam shame
Sunburn with freezerburn
Choking on the ashes of her enemy
- Nirvana, "All Apologies"
Kirney Slane focused on the feel of her shuttle as it coasted along a particularly calm airway. While she missed the exhiliration of high speed, deep black maneuvers, it felt good to simply play the lanes and slide. It was an entirely different kind of thrill- one she quite doubted that any of her previous identities could have really appreciated. Her eyes closed briefly, and she could sense every motion of the ship beneath her as it glided on the jetty. Then, sighing, Kirney pulled on the controls and lifted out of the wonderful wind.
"All right, Kolot," she whispered mournfully. "Time to go home."
The ewok peered over with very human eyes and considered the pilot. Then, with a toothy grin, he played at a joke that never failed to make Kirney laugh when she was having a rough moment. "Yub yub, Captain."
Kirney tossed a truly Imperial glare back at her furry copilot, but he just continued to give her that expert smile until she cracked up. By then, Kolot had already taken control of his prosthetics and was readying the ship for a gentle landing. Truthfully, he managed the controls with only slightly less dexterity than his human counterpart- and spoke Basic just as well as she, these days, albeit with a very cute accent. Usually, he used his vocal prowess only in practice, or to calm the captain when she had one of her strange "episodes." Kolot was amazed how much strength a single stupid phrase could have: it could take away faith from a person who had nothing, or bring a human back their hitherto unrecognized will to live…
It truly had been touch and go for a few days in the beginning, though Kolot was sure he hadn't understood at the time. Now he found the memories chilling. Kirney had been practically unharmed by her last fight, just bruised, yet for almost 24 hours after they'd found her she was in a strange daze, didn't recognize anything or anyone. So, after taking the former prisoners of Zsinj's facility to a safe location, Kolot and Tonin had taken the necessary days to try wheedling their pilot friend back to herself. And when she emerged, surprised to be alive, it was only natural that she should come to Corellia.
Almost a full standard cycle had passed since then. Kirney had sent out two communications directly after arriving on Corellia and asserting her new identity. There had been a shuttle to find, and this one in particular had caught Kirney's attention. She always said it was the speed, the cleanliness, and the special modifications. Tonin often hinted to the ewok that there might be something in the name:
"Talon's Revenge, requesting clearance to land." Kirney's voice was still spry and steady, but there was a slight hitch whenever she announced her ship that made Kolot suspicious that Tonin may well be right. Then again, the modifications truly were perfect for their work, and the name had come with the shuttle in the first place.
Kolot watched the pilot, knowing that planetside Tonin would do the same. Today she seemed calm, and even chipper, with a slight smile pulling at the sides of her mouth. There was no reason not to be happy, Kolot mused: they were safe, and fed, and the shuttle needed no work. Kolot could stay on the ship safely, and Kirney could go get some food, and they would all be together this trip home. No worries.
Once groundside, Kirney and Kolot went to cooling down the Revenge. The fuzzy hands worked aptly beside Kirney's human form, though for the moment the woman was faster. They were just cleaning up when the door to the shuttle opened and a characteristic blat called to them.
"Just finishing up, Ton," Kirney assured, turning to the excited droid. "Calm your cables, your highness." Both nicknames were fairly new, one evoking memories of comedy and the other of a squadron she could not go back to. Kirney shivered briefly, but soon ran a hand through her short, red hair and sighed.
"Kolot- can you take care of the rest?"
Kirney smiled and addressed her friend, the only one who had stayed with her. "Well," she began, "what do you have for me?"
"How many comm. calls?"
"Sithspit! Did you check for holomarketers?"
"Ok, just asking. Core, aren't you droids tetchy!"
"Of course, I'm only joking Ton."
It was amazing. Not two standard cycles ago, Kirney would have dismissed the whistle as nothing but the mixed up ramblings of a stupid machine. Now, she felt the whine like it was a voice, and it had more understanding than some humans the woman could mention.
Finally, she had to ask the question…
"Anything from the Republic?"
A mournful whimper this time, and Kirney decided to drop it. She knew that Tonin wished for a reply to the more personal message Kirney had sent last year, to a certain pilot who'd been part of Wraith Squadron. Kirney, however, was curious about the aftermath of her OTHER message, which had received a few hits already…
Kneeling beside Tonin, watching offers for cargo, Kirney let her mind wander to that other encoded message and its aftereffects…
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
"This message is for Leiutenant Corran Horn, Rogue Squadron. From Kirney Slane, acquaintance from Corellia. Corran- it's been a while, I know, but I was hoping you might be a doll and help me. See, some ghastly thing has happened and I have to restart the business…"
Corran looked at the screen oddly, thinking hard about what he was seeing. Surely this wasn't Lara Notsil, confiding in him somehow? But the resemblance was uncanny…
"I know your wife works for some very interesting people. I had hoped you might convince her to put in a good word for me among her—clientele. Maybe get me a few random runs coreward. If it's not to much to ask. I know we don't know each other well, sir, but I would be remiss if I didn't say you have impressed me- and your reputation speaks for itself. I appreciate any aide you may be able to give me. Slane, out."
Corran looked at the screen another second before responding with a shrug. With his Jedi training, he had picked up nothing from her but a fear and determination while in her presence, which was little enough to go on. Yet as a CorSec trained investigator, he could go beyond those skills and read her face far beyond that basic understanding. She was as genuine as he'd seen her, and actually quite calm if not hopeful. This was certainly the same Lara Notsil he had met when the Rogues had first joined their Wraith brothers, only moreso.
Corran considered the options and finally decided to simply decode the message.
Kirney was looking for more than simple work. He knew that much immediately. From the mention of his wife, he had first thought that Slane might be looking into smuggling, but then he considered that those runs were not Mirax's most interesting.
The most interesting times were when Mirax worked for Cracken.
Corran took a moment to think about the possible threat to the New Republic. Was his hunch in this matter enough to go on? Perhaps no, but it had served him well in the past. Truthfully, he simply didn't get any deception from her words, only simple uncertainty. Besides, it might be that the best place for her was in Intelligence, where it would be easier to keep an eye on the strange agent who had changed loyalties in what appeared to be a swift manner…
No. Corran realized he didn't believe that for a second. He knew it was something that had plagued her, aggravated her… she'd probably even cried about it once or twice, he thought, thinking of other Intel types he'd known…
But this wasn't going through Mirax. On the other hand, Mirax (Corran was sure) was just a way to get the message across. Why the young girl had chosen to confide in him, Corran had little idea… he only hoped that, right now, he didn't let her down.
With great deliberation, he thought of what to put in the letter that he had to write to Iella and how to explain why he trusted someone the New Republic probably wanted to imprison on contact and kill later.
----- ----- - -- --- ---
In retrospect, the revelation that Cracken already had "Lara Notsil" on his list of future contacts should not have been quite so strange. Kirney watched the last of her offers with feigned interest, thinking back to the reply she had finally gotten…
"We have had you in our sights all along. Did you think that our agents were blind? We simply thought to keep you at an arm's length, see what you would do. And in the end, wasn't that for the best? You were our wild card- but now you are out of the deck. We will gladly help you out, Miss Slane."
Cracken had sent a male agent to her for a day, and together they had solidified the final quirks in her persona. Now, she was able to run a very clean business and had what seemed a history from years back… though the person she was existed for only a single cycle. Her data chits were all but legitimate, and in return she simply did runs for NRI whenever they needed a calm, cool front to what they were doing. Well, maybe that wasn't everything: Kirney was keenly aware that her every move was documented, and most likely monitored by the moment. She rarely left the immediate system, never knowing if her action would be seen as "shady" and her privileges (and therefore identity) revoked.
Still, she had her freedom. Mostly.
A toot shook Kirney from her revelry.
"Right. We have to pick one, don't we."
The toot got more excited.
"Calm down, Ton! What's going on?"
And then a final twittle, and Kirney finally noticed that the small direct holo-link in the corner had activated. She moved nearer the device sitting down before hitting the activate button…
Good thing too, once she saw the Face on the other end.
"Kirney Slane, I presume? I'm…sithspawn!"
Kirney forced a smile and raised her head. "Well, at least you've admitted it. First step towards recovery, isn't that right, old friend?"
"I'm sorry. I'd…forgotten that you were so versatile Miss Slane." The shock didn't last long- that was good, Kirney thought. It meant there was possibilities for them getting along.
"I see you remember your good classmate Syrn. I was afraid time had made me look too old."
"No more change in you than me," Kirney answered truthfully. "I know we didn't part on the most pleasant of terms."
Pleasant terms indeed! Kirney let a small frown come to her face, and closed her eyes fast against the torrent of memory. Last time they'd spoken, truly spoken, he'd revealed her as a former Imperial Agent- and, worse, one of Zsinj's operatives and a possible traitor. The mistake of announcing this over a squadron communiqué had nearly gotten Kirney, in her guise as Lara Notsil, shot down by one of her best friends!
Then again, fair was fair. When he'd realized the mistake, "Face" Loran (now communicating under the name of Syrn, apparently) had gotten between "Lara" and her would-be-assassin and nearly gotten himself vaped instead. No hard feelings there, Kirney decided- best to let sleeping nerfs lie if they would.
"Perhaps not," Loran admitted sheepishly. "Still sorry about that."
Kirney waved his apology away. "Water under the bridge for chums like us, Syrn. But to what do I owe the pleasure of this rare call from the Poster Boy?" Somehow, Kirney felt it best to sneak that in- showed she still considered herself part of the squad. Using it proved the right answer: strain she had hardly seen in the actor's face had melted away as she said it.
"Was hoping me and some old friends could drop by. We've got ourselves into a pretty interesting situation…"
Kirney smiled. Ah. She'd heard the Wraiths had been taken into NRI, but hadn't figured they'd communicate with her directly at any time. Apparently, Face hadn't been briefed on who his contact was either, or he'd not have slipped in the beginning at all.
"I'd love to have you. Need a ride?"
"Oh, if it's not too much trouble. You know how I hate to fly myself. Quite dangerous out there."
Kirney raised an eyebrow, but didn't comment. "Hmm. I suppose I can come by. Send me coordinates?"
Uh-oh. Kirney thought about his quick acceptance of sending the coordinates… that meant that he was somewhere that she could get to honestly from Corellia as a civilian. And quickly. And pick up some wayward intelligence ops without it seeming very strange.
What in fires had the Wraiths gotten themselves into now?