Han and Chewie walked in one of the crowded Third Class corridors towards cabin 56E, which, according to their tickets, was to be their home for the next seven days. The corridors were crammed with hundreds of people, and the air was stuffy as well as laced with numerous odors.
"50E… 52E… 54E… 56E! Here we are, Chewie!" announced Han, entering cabin 56E, Chewie in tow.
Both of them marveled at the luxury of their cabin. Despite being a Third Class cabin, there were only two beds-actual beds, not bunks-which looked comfortable, a Wookie-sized writing table, a large closet, and an attached refresher. Most ships had third class cabins that crammed people together like kielers in a tin, minus the closet, refresher, and table. The Titanic's Third Class cabin was a far cry from the deplorable cabins Han and Chewie had seen many times before, during their experiences of stowing away in unoccupied cabins.
Chewie growled that they should unpack, snapping Han out of his daze.
Leia was watching Boltu'na unpack her valuable possessions from the luggage case. It was not that she didn't trust the Twi'lek maid; Boltu'na was merely very clumsy. She watched as Boltu'na handled a moss painting that looked like a humanoid's fecal matter splattered on canvas, and another that looked like a puddle of unsavory greenish matter.
Bail walked over and scrutinized the painting, "Terrible things you insist on bringing along, darling."
"Ma'am, these paintings are quite grotesque," agreed Boltu'na, "No disrespect intended, ma'am."
"She's right, for once," said Bail, "These things are trash, nothing more."
"I believe in making purchases that could be valuable in the future," retorted Leia, placing the painting on a chair, "The artist who painted these is a rising star."
"Pray tell his name?" asked Padme, staring at a portrait of (artistically) dismembered humans with her arms crossed over her chest.
"Something Khador," replied Leia, shoving a suitcase into her closet.
"The dear girl doesn't even know his name. It's trash, and that's that," said Bail, walking into his room, "Skollu'na, unpack my things."
Leia sighed, and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. Bail was such an uncultured idiot. Despite having been brought up in poverty, Leia had developed amazingly keen senses for art, and had received a degree in Modern Impressionism from Coruscant University. And Bail showed no signs of being a caring husband.
Now, where was she going to place the seven remaining moss paintings?
Han smoked a cheap wormgrass deathstick, and felt the caustic smoke burn its way into his lungs. Chewie woofed that he was killing himself, and Han threw the deathstick overboard with a sigh. Chewie took his life debt seriously, indeed. Who gave a frell about dying from nic-i-tain addiction? Certainly not Han Solo.
As he lit up a fresh deathstick, Chewie growled that he would have to restrain Han if he chose to go on smoking. Han paused, his spark-lighter in mid air.
And proceeded to light the deathstick.
He heard a loud roar as Chewie lunged at him. He shouted in surprise as Chewie hefted him over a shoulder and started walking towards the ship's stern. He pounded his fists helplessly against Chewie's back.
"Let me down, you fuzzball!"
Chewie barked out some laughter, and claimed that Han would be 'quarantined' from his precious deathsticks for several hours.
By then, Chewie's long, loping strides had brought them to the back of the ship. Chewie dumped him on a bench, and grabbed his box of deathsticks.
"Give 'em back, you walking carpet!"
A threatening growl from Chewie was what he got as a response. Then, Chewie told him tosit there on the bench for several hours. If he didn't, Chewie warned, his life debt might be 'reconsidered'.
Han sighed and lay down on the bench. Life, for this day, officially sucked.
Porcelain dishes that had never been used reflected the ceiling lights from where they sat on the spotless white silk tablecloth. Each seat at the table had at least four sets of cutlery placed on it, indicating the sheer number of courses that were going to be served for dinner. Everything was new and good.
Except for Leia's emotional wellbeing.
She sat there with a surprisingly-real smile on her face, pretending to listen as the Hutt-like human next to her prattled on-and-on about how his wives didn't satisfy him and how suitable she would be to replace one of them. Apparently, telling him she was engaged hadn't helped; she had told him that thrice already, and he mysteriously seemed to develop a hearing impediment at her words.
"Corellian Grass-Seed Pastry with Ithorian Butter, Ma'am?" asked a Ghostling waitress that had started serving appetizers to all those seated at the table.
She thanked the Force when the appetizer was served, and the Hutt-like human plowed into his serving of appetizer. She cringed internally as crumbs of Corellian pastry flew everywhere within a twenty-centimeter radius of his plate. Honestly, didn't he know how to use cutlery? She concentrated on wiping off the crumbs that had landed on her sequined dress.
She suddenly felt a strange emotion within her. It made her feel depressed, and trapped within a cage of loneliness. She looked around helplessly for a friendly face.
And found none.
Her mother was laughing (probably falsely) at the jokes a Chiss woman was telling her. Bail was discussing something intently with an anemic-looking Devaronian. Luke was eating his appetizer with rapid jabs of his fork, his attention fully focused on the pastry.
Leia felt nauseous, and rose from her seat. Covering her mouth with her hand, she bolted from the dining room. No one saw the tears in her eyes…
The Ghostling waitress gave Padme a puzzled look upon seeing Leia running off, "Ma'am, did the appetizer disagree with your daughter? Should I call for the doctor?"
Han lay on the bench, picking at the remains of his dinner. Absent-mindedly, he nibbled on a kroyie leg-bone, gazing at the endless expanse of ocean that the ship was moving on. Water seemed to surround the ship until the distant horizon, in all directions. He was BORED out of his mind.
'At least Chewie brought me dinner,' he thought, peering closely at the kroyie leg-bone for any scraps of meat he might have missed. For a bunch of rich people, the folks who cooked on this ship sure knew how to cook.
Just as he was about to toss the inedible remnants of his meal overboard, he heard the poop-deck's access grill open. He quickly hid the trash behind his back. Those damned sailors loved the ocean, and Force help you if they caught you littering…
But it wasn't a sailor.
It was a woman, every bit as beautiful as the ones Han often fantasized about, and more. She was dressed in a glittering dress, which left her shoulders and back uncovered. It took Han a second to realize that he was staring at her. Seemingly not noticing his presence, she dashed past him, sobbing frantically. He grew alarmed when she started to climb the deck railing (albeit rather clumsily).
"Lady, what the frell are you doing?" he asked, in a panic. The last thing he wanted to do was to be witness to a suicide.
Especially with a deck security camera recording everything that happened on the deck.
The mystery lady remained silent, now straddling the railing. Han tried not to let his eyes wander to the high side-slit in her dress. He approached her, slowly.
"Don't jump, it's not worth it. If your boyfriend's been a scumbag, let him go. It's not like…"
"SHUT UP!" shouted the lady, now fully on the outside of the railing. One step in the wrong direction, and she would be swimming with the fishes.
"Look, I don't know what your problem is, but I'm a witness now!" snapped Han, throwing the remains of his meal to the deck, "And there's no way in the Seven Hells of Corellia Han Solo's letting you jump!"
"Like you can stop me!" she scoffed, "Kuck off, stranger."
"It's Han Solo, missie. Such language is unbecoming of a lady."
"Miss Leia to you,Mr. Solo. Goodbye."
Han lunged at her just as she took a step off the deck's edge. He caught her left wrist, and held on tight. She looked down, and started to scream. Loudly.
"HELP ME! HELP ME!"
Near the middle of the ship, out on the deck, four deckhands heard the cries of what sounded like a damsel in distress. They rushed towards the noise, which seemed to come from the stern of the ship.
To them, it sounded like a woman was being raped out on the deck.
Han pulled her up, but almost lost his grip as she trashed around, trying to get back on the ship. She was like a wild thing, impossible to hold on to, a flurry of movement and glittering fabric.
"Lady, calm down and listen to me!" he shouted, at a loss of what to do, "Stop moving and grab the railings!"
She complied, and soon he was hauling her back on deck. But he was thrown backwards as she tried to lunge onto the deck, and ended up on top of her. Her glittering dress was flipped almost all the way upwards, like a parachute that had opened in the wrong direction.
It was then that the deckhands arrived at the scene.
A moment of tense silence passed before one of the deckhands, a fierce-looking Togorian, yelled, "YOU STAND BACK, AND DON'T TOUCH THAT WOMAN!"
While Han scurried aside, the two human deckhands drew blasters, and the Togorian turned to the fourth deckhand, a cyclopean Abyssin, "Fetch the Master-of-arms!"
Han glowered at the group of first-class men and women gathered on the poop-deck in front of him. They shot looks of loathing at him, as if he were a spider roach, as though he was filth embodied as a human.
They were looking at him as if he was a rapist!
A tall Aqualish was the master-of-arms, and he had been the one to put Han in stun-cuffs. He (the Aqualish) viciously brought a hand across Han's face, drawing blood as his clawed fingers sraped off some skin. Han winced in pain, but remained silent. Several of the women gathered there gasped at the Master-of-arms' actions.
"Looks like someone tried to get some tonight, eh?" growled the Aqualish, grabbing Han's face and staring at him in the eyes, "There'll be none of that, not on my watch."
"Kuck, a man can't save a damsel in distress?" retorted Han.
"Oh, she was in distress? Of remaining a virgin for the rest of her life?" snarled the Aqualish, "You'd keep that filth-trap of yours shut or I'll shut it for you. Permanently."
Leia, who had been watching passively up to this point in time, rushed forward, and grabbed the Aqualish's arm. He turned to look at her, puzzlement clear in all four of his eyes.
"Yes, ma'am? What is the problem?" he said, his gruff Aqualish voice somehow morphing into a baritone voice fit to be that of a butler's.
"He really saved me. I almost fell into the ocean," she said, drawing both gasps and glares from the crowd of first-class passengers assembled, "I was leaning over to look at the…. Um… What do you call them?"
She made a twirling motion with her fingers, and the Togorian deckhand sniggered, "You were tryng to look at the propellers?"
"Yes, that's it!" Leia exclaimed, beaming, "If Mr. Solo hadn't been here to catch me, I would have been pureed by the propellings by now."
"Propellers, dear," said Bail, sidling up to her and slipping his hand around her waist.
"Was that the way of it?" asked the Master-of-arms, rattling Han's bones with a cuff to his back.
"Yes. Now can you kucking release me?!" snapped Han, fed-up of being zapped every time his hands moved.
"Manners, fella," chided the Togorian, unlocking the stun-cuffs.
"Sorry 'bout the slap," shrugged the Aqualish, "Just part of my job."
"Can you be a little less enthusiastic at it?" grumbled Han, rubbing his newly-released wrists. He felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned to see Bail, with Leia on his left arm.
"Mr. 'Solo', wasn't it? Since you have been so chivalrous in saving Leia, would you join us for dinner tomorrow?"
Han gaped. Him, having dinner with these richie-poofs? Ah Hell.
"Sure thing, Mr. Nice Guy."