Disclaimer: I do not own KOTOR. That pleasure belongs to George Lucas, Lucas Arts, and BioWare Corp. Everything belongs to them, except for the silly little things that popped out of my head for fun.
After spending the last fifteen minutes trying to track down the Ebon Hawk's resident Sith Lord, Jolee Bindo stopped in his tracks and decided to try a new approach.
Closing his eyes, Jolee inhaled deeply and reached out with the Force until he found her. Walking down the hall, he made his way into the empty cargo room and whispered, "Mission."
"Stoopa Jedi hoodoo," a disembodied voice cursed.
Jolee grinned as he heard the familiar fizzle of a stealth unit drop, revealing his favorite blue Twi'lek.
Looking distinctly irked, Mission crossed her arms over her chest and tapped her foot impatiently. "One of these days, Frolee, you're gonna to tell me how you know it's me and not Juhani slinkin' about."
"The day you stop callin' me Frolee is the day I'll tell you, Noodles."
Mission rolled her eyes at the reference to her brain tails and nodded at the bottle he held in his hand. "Corellian whiskey? You going on a bender, old man?"
"Nope. Just gonna have a drink with an Ex-Sith Lord, is all. You happen to know where she is?"
Mission jerked her thumb towards the rear of the ship. "She's back in the maintenance bay with HK. Think she's workin' on her bike. Though it kinda sound more like she's beatin' on it than fixin' it."
"What about the others?"
The teen shrugged. "Juhani and Canderous are off trading notes on how her personal savior and his honored enemy are one and the same."
Leaning in, she confided, "Kinda creepy how well they're getting along all of a sudden. They're like really weird fan girls, you know? If you can you imagine Canderous as a chick…" Shaking her head, Mission shuddered. "Freaky!"
The image Mission's words conjured made Jolee's face sour. "Good thing all I wanted to do was drink. You just about killed my appetite, Noodles."
Mission snickered. "Then I did you a favor. All we've got are those crappy rations anyway."
"Big Z's keeping an eye on Carth. Doesn't trust Mr. Holier-than-thou Onasi not to ventilate his favorite Human."
Jolee watched a dark look pass over Mission's features as she spoke.
"Carth hasn't left the cockpit in the last three days, 'cept for trips to the 'fresher 'cause he's still pissed. T3 brings him his food."
Scuffing her boots on the floor, the teen huffed, "He barely even looks at any of us. It's like we're traitors to him or something, the stoopa chuba-faced fat-head!"
Jolee sighed tiredly. "He can't help how he feels, kiddo."
"I really don't care," Mission retorted stubbornly, curling her lekku around her neck.
"Uh huh, of course you don't," Jolee said rubbing his chin in a thoughtful fashion. "That's why your noodles are all in a twist—because you just don't care."
"Oh! What do you know?" Mission sulked before disappearing into stealth mode once more.
Jolee stared off into the direction of the maintenance bay and mumbled under his breath, "Not a lot. Not much at all…"
HK-47 met him just outside the entryway, blocking his path to the rear of the ship.
The assassin droid registered Jolee's approach by brandishing his rifle. "Statement: Halt, Bindo Unit. My master requires solitude while she attempts to reboot her hard drive."
"Reboot her what?" Waving the bottle of whiskey in the assassin droid's face, he exclaimed, "Move over, rust bucket! This whiskey ain't gonna drink itself!"
"Statement: My master does not wish to be disturbed, aged meatbag. Return to the main cabin or I will be forced to remove you."
"Go on and try it, rust-bucket!" Jolee shot back. "The only thing you'll be doing is picking your nuts and bolts up off the floor!"
HK loomed over him. "Smug Statement: I am not some inferior meatbag, Bindo Unit. I do not possess retinas for you to burn, or ears for you to bleed. I am superior."
"Give it a rest, HK," a tired voice ordered from somewhere within the room.
The assassin droid struck a dejected pose and powered down from sentry mode. "Reluctant Compliance: Yes, Master."
A woman in gray, grease-streaked coveralls sat cross-legged on the cold metallic floor. Tools lay within easy reach amongst the mess of parts that lay scattered before her.
Reaching over for a nearby part, she looked up and met Jolee's arched gaze. Tiredly, she suggested, "HK, how about you check out the weapons locker? Before our run in with the Leviathan, Big Z mentioned that he needed to know our current arms inventory. We'll need to know what to stock up on when we hit the next port."
"Exuberant Reply:Excellent idea, Master! I shall ensure we are properly armed for future hostile endeavors."
Jolee stood aside and allowed the trigger happy droid walk past him. As HK-47 passed by, he whispered in a menacing tone, "Warning: Till our next engagement, senile meatbag."
Jolee snorted and glowered at the assassin droid until he disappeared down the corridor. "You sure that was a good idea?"
"Zaalbar and Canderous can handle it," Rhyska replied from her spot on the floor. "It's hardly a fate worse than death."
"Humph, that would depend on whoever you stuck him with."
For a moment, all Jolee could do was stare at the mess that used to be her swoop bike. The exterior looked like someone had taken a durasteel pipe to it and then popped open the hood. From where he stood, he could see exposed wires and holes were bike parts should have been. Wow...
Shaking his head, he ambled over and sat down beside her. Uncorking the bottle of whiskey, Jolee tipped it back and let the amber liquid burn its way down into his belly.
For the most part, she ignored him, focusing all her attention on repairing her bike. It wasn't long before he was bored silly. "Wouldn't it be easier to do this at the work bench?"
Great, sarcastic one liners... Gesturing to the bike, he tried his luck again. "So what happened here, Rhys?"
"Dunno, it was like that when I got here," she replied, picking up a hydrospanner.
A crooked smile crept across her face as she answered, "Seriously. It was the darnedest thing..."
Jolee took another swig from the bottle before offering her a drink. "Care to wet your whistle?"
Rhyska looked up and swept her bangs off her face. She eyed the bottled longingly, but after a moment she shook her head. "Thanks, old man, but this Ex-Sith Lord is gonna have to pass. I just gave up galactic domination. It'd look bad if I suddenly developed a drinking problem."
Jolee shrugged. "Suit yourself." Taking another swig, he asked, "Seriously though, what happened to your bike? Looks like it barely survived a Mandalorian siege."
Rhyska brushed his question aside. "I—uh, just decided it needed an overhaul."
Jolee scrutinized her through narrowed eyes. "Sure, kid. Whatever you say..."
"What do you want, old man?" Rhyska griped. "I know you didn't come all this way just to irritate me."
"Irritating young people is how old people amuse themselves."
"Is that a fact?" Rhyska asked, pursing her lips to keep from smiling. "Then I guess a young person might find some amusement in letting a third party inform Carth that you're guzzling down the last of his whiskey."
Jolee squinted at the bottle and verified, "His name ain't on it, so it's fair game."
"Sure, Jolee. Whatever you say…" Rhyska mocked.
"Not nice to poke fun at your elders," Jolee grumbled before taking another swig from his pilfered whiskey bottle. "You know, the first liquor I ever drank was Corellian whiskey? Okay, maybe it wasn't the first, but it did put hair on my chest."
"No kidding?" she replied absently as she picked up a wrench and made her way over to her bike's partially gutted engine.
"Yep, I had just turned twenty. Master Hortath had just sent me out of the temple. Like any typical youth, I stood there like an idiot for half an hour before I figured out that no one was going to come running after me. So I wandered into the depths of Coruscant--"
"I thought you were from Ossus?"
"If you were from Ossus, then how'd you end up on Coruscant?"
"You wanna hear this or not?"
Making a face, Rhyska groaned. "This isn't one of those The Little Gizka That Could storiesagain, is it? Gimme a break, Jolee! I can only work through one traumatic event at a time."
"No, this isn't about The Little Gizka That Could, you daft simian!" Jolee exclaimed, picking up one of the many parts off the floor. "I swear, for a Sith Lord, you don't listen very well."
"Ex-Sith Lord. EX, blast it!" she corrected irritably, swiping the component out of his hand.
"Whatever," Jolee said dismissively. "Now where was I? Right! I was wondering Coruscant aimlessly—hey, you ever been to Coruscant?"
Rhyska shrugged. "I suppose I have at one point or another, but I can't exactly recall it at the moment." Under her breath, Jolee heard her mutter, "If I ever recall it..."
"Right…Your noggin's all scrambled up." Jolee rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Well, for the duration of this conversation, let's just pretend it's all about me and not about you. How 'bout it?"
Pursing her lips, Rhyska reached for his bottle of whiskey and took a small, burning sip. Wincing, she coughed a bit. "Wrong pipe!"
Jolee laughed as she set the bottle down. As she tinkered with her bike, he felt the memories of that day resurface.
"Like I said, I wandered around Coruscant until I ended up in a diner. Got seated in a big old booth by some purple-haired, sour-faced waitress. She poured me a cup of caffa and went on her merry way serving the other patrons of Lenny's Pit Stop."
"I must have sat there for hours. Drank so much caffa I had the shakes. At first, I tried meditating to pass the time, but it was so noisy I couldn't concentrate. Then I realized that even if I managed to block out the sounds, I couldn't block out what I could feel in the Force. There was so many people and their emotions were so intense—like nothing I'd ever felt before. It reminded me how calm everything was at the temple, how quiet and still."
Jolee chuckled as he recalled memories of his youth. "I have to admit, when I was at the temple I was disruptive. I liked to cause scenes, ask questions to things no one wanted to answer. I was a very noisy and difficult apprentice."
Rhyska snorted. "Sounds like you had about as fun a time being a Padawan as I did."
"It wasn't all bad," Jolee said. "And despite my brash and curious nature, I never went against the Masters. Not once. There I was, all by myself in an unfamiliar place with no real goal other than out-waiting Master Hortath just so I could say I told you so."
Rhyska grinned cheekily at him. "You spent the night in that diner, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did," Jolee admitted sheepishly.
Rhyska laughed. "An all hours diner, eh?"
"Yup, I was just about to explain to a completely different, but still crotchety waitress, that I was without funds, when the strangest thing happened…"
"Ma'am. I don't have any credits on me. If you like, you could send the bill to the temple--"
"You want me to what?" the fluffy haired waitress asked incredulously. "What kind of Jedi are you?"
"I've got it, Varla," interjected an amused baritone.
"So some guy you've never met before flipped your bill? What'd he want?"
"Before I was so rudely interrupted," Jolee replied archly, "I was going to say that he was a handsome fellow. A little scruffy around the edges, built like he knew his way around a fight and he was wearing a flight suit."
Jolee frowned. "I thought girls fell over themselves for that kind of stuff..."
"I've always been suspicious of strange men doing random good deeds," Rhyska replied. "Creepy, if you ask me."
"You and Mission," Jolee tsked. "So cynical. Anyway, where was I?"
"Hot lookin' pilot pulled your butt out of a sling."
"A moderately handsome fellow," Jolee corrected.
"Who's tellin' this story?"
Rolling her eyes, Rhyska answered. "You are, Frolee."
"That's right! Anyway, it seemed like a fair trade. So I told him what happened..."
"So, some old Jedi relic sends you in the wrong direction because he doesn't have the stones to admit he's blinder than a mynock—an ailment that could be easily corrected at any medical facility, by the way—and you just went along with it." The swarthy pilot shook his head and laughed. "Tell me, junior, if he told you to jump off the landing pad, would you?"
"How stupid do I look to you?"
"I don't know, how long has Stupid been waiting for some blind Jedi Master to figure out he sent him in the wrong direction?"
"Awhile…" Jolee answered vaguely.
"Really? 'Cause the cook said you've been here all night," the scruffy fellow pointed out.
Looking around the diner, Jolee demanded, "Is everyone watching me or something?"
"Of course they are," the pilot replied. "It's not everyday that a Jedi wanders out of the temple for no reason. Apparently, yesterday's shift thought you were staking someone out."
"Oh. No, nothing like that. I was just waiting--"
"Did it ever occur to you that you might be waiting awhile?"
"They'll come for me," Jolee insisted.
"Sure they will, kid."
Frowning, Jolee stated, "For all you know, it could be the will of the Force that brought me here."
"The Force brought you to a diner?" the man asked dubiously.
"Maybe I'm here because the Force wants Master Hortath to admit that pride is his downfall." Jolee nodded as the thought took root. "Yes, I could be a tool of the Force."
The pilot erupted in a fit of laughter. "You're a tool alright! If the old fart can't admit he's blind, what makes you think he's going to admit that his blindness sent you out in the first place? The man has to accept he's in the wrong before being admitting he's the reason you're missing from the temple. For all you know, they think you just strolled out of your own accord."
Jolee slumped back into the booth, slack jawed. "Huh…that thought hadn't occurred to me."
"If you're waiting on him, you could be here for days."
"I suppose I could just go back on my own…" Jolee mused.
"What?! Are you crazy? And waste the opportunity of a lifetime?"
"To see the world around you! You're a Jedi in training, right? You thought the Force sent you out of the temple. Maybe it did, just not for Master Hortath's sake."
Jolee arched a brow, curiosity piqued. "Then what for?"
"Jedi are the stewards of the Republic. Don't you want to see what it is you're protecting?"
"How about you come with me and I'll show you around Coruscant? A real look at the real people."
"I don't know…" Jolee shook his head uncertainly. "What if they come looking while I'm out?"
"Who cares? You waited for them to show up. They can wait for you," the pilot replied. "Besides, it's not like you can't go back anytime you want. Any cabbie can get you back to the temple."
"Oh, come on! What have you got to lose?"
"I could fall to the darkside…"
"The darkside?" the pilot shook his head in confusion. "We're only going down a couple levels. It might not be the uppity crust of Coruscant, but you don't need to make it sound so dirty!"
"Not Coruscant! I'm talking about what a Jedi fears most. If we let anything tempt us, we could fall to the darkside and become one of the Sith."
"Would this be the same master that sent you out?" the pilot asked, his voice laced with sarcasm. "Never mind. So, what you're telling me is that temptation leads to the darkside?"
"Yes." Jolee nodded emphatically.
"Well, then. I think I can fix that for you."
"I have a sure fire way of ensuring that you'll never fall to the darkside."
Jolee shot him a dubious look. "Now I know you're messing with me."
"I'm not messing with you," the pilot insisted. "If I understand you correctly, Jedi prevent falling to the darkside by avoiding everything that could make them fall, right?"
"I'll help you face your fears," the pilot stated.
"Your fears, kid. If you face them head on, fear of falling to anything will never bring you down."
Arching a brow, Jolee mulled over the pilot's offer. "What exactly did you have in mind?"
A slow, sly smile spread across the pilot's face. "What's your name, kid?
"Jolee. Jolee Bindo. What's yours?"
The pilot grinned roguishly and offered him a hand. "The name's Laraq Daschel, but everybody calls me Dash."
"So what happened next?" Rhyska pressed impatiently.
Jolee chuckled at her impatience. "Dash showed me around Coruscant. I went to places most Padawans hadn't seen before, at least not without their master. It's one thing to be told that there is suffering in the galaxy, it's quite another to realize that it's just a few levels below where you stand."
"Yeah, I know exactly what you mean," Rhyska said, her eyes darkening as she reminisced about Mission and Juhani's home world. "I might not remember Coruscant, but I do remember Taris."
"Yeah. Taris was rotten to the core. The farther down you went, the worse it got."
Jolee nodded. "Right. Zaalbar mentioned that the Tarisians had banished their outcasts to the lowest level of their society—quite literally. Those Upper Tarisians sound like real winners."
"They were the main reason I preferred Javyar's Cantina instead of the fancy one up top," Rhyska admitted. "Nothing but a bunch of rich snots!"
"Speaking of disreputable people and bars—besides just walking about and people watching, Dash took me down to the space port. First time I'd ever seen swoop races. Man! That was really something. I happened to pick the winning bike at the races and won myself a few credits."
Eying him suspiciously, Rhyska queried, "Only a few?"
"Alright," Jolee admitted gleefully. "More than a few. More than enough to take care of the tab at the end of the night when we hit the bars. It was fantastic! There was dancing, drinking, and girls! You should have been there!"
"I wasn't born yet."
"Excuses, excuses!" Jolee tsked as he grabbed the bottle of whiskey and took a drink.
"Anyway, there was a girl--Sacha." Jolee sighed and smiled. Leaning over, he confided, "She was my first dance, my first kiss, my first—"
"Thanks, I got that part. Moving on," she urged with a wave of her hand.
"Ah, my darling Sacha!" Jolee moaned clutching the bottle of whiskey tight.
"Do you need some alone time? Because I could just leave..."
"No. No, I'm good," Jolee insisted, setting the bottle back down. "Anyway, I was sitting at a table with Sacha, Dash, and a couple other people I had just met when a news holo started going on about the Ukatis system…"
"How messed up can you get?" Dash cursed at the holovid.
"What are you talking about?" Jolee asked, his attention divided between his irritated friend and the scantily clad dancer sitting on his lap.
Dash knocked back the rest of the blue green concoction in his tumbler before answering. "So the king of Ukatis sets up a blockade that effectively cuts off food and medical supplies to his already starving people and there's nothing the senate can do about it. What a load of Bantha crap!"
Despite a brain fast going fuzzy, Jolee managed to pull his gaze away from the delightful Sacha just long enough to process the information the holovid contained. "Why would the king do that to his people?"
"I don't know, because he's a domineering control freak? You think a huttslug like him needs a reason? Anyway, he's a piece of oppressive Bantha crap. And if the senate was going to do anything, they would have done it by now." Giving Jolee a sidelong glance, Dash asked, "What about the Jedi? Are they going to do anything about it?"
Jolee shrugged and shook his head. "This is the first I've heard of it…"
"Really?" Dash drawled. "Now that is interesting…"
"That was the first time I ever felt truly useless," Jolee confessed. "There I was training to be a Jedi Knight and I wasn't even using my skills to help people."
Jolee shook his head. "The night rolled on after that, but shortly afterward, Dash introduced me to my first shot of Corellian Whiskey."
Rhyska's lips quirked into a small smile. "How was it?"
"I tossed it back and damn near choked to death," Jolee admitted with a laugh. "Whoo, did that stuff burn! My eyes were watering and I swear it was going down the wrong pipe, but I got better as the night went."
"I bet you did."
"Eventually, the night ended and my darling Sacha vanished."
"Ladies of the night usually do."
"Dash took me back to the diner and I took up temporary residence in their refresher."
"Paid homage to the Goddess of Refreshers, did you?"
"I made several offerings."
Rhyska's lip curled and she shuddered.
"Dash, the jerk, didn't even have the courtesy of being as piss drunk as I was," Jolee grouched. "He stood over me and said…"
"Congratulations, kid!" Dash exclaimed with a few hearty slaps to Jolee's back. "You are officially drunk. In just a few hours, you will officially be hung over. Now, you might be wondering why you're all messed up and I'm not. The answer is simple. You overindulged and I, having learned my limits, neatly avoided your fate."
"I hate you!" Jolee spat, tasting bile.
"You can't hate me," Dash stated calmly as he leaned against the refresher door. "You're a Jedi."
"Ugh…how can I feel so sick when there's nothing left in my stomach?"
"There is a price for everything we do, Jolee. In that respect, I suppose the Jedi are right. Everything we do effects everyone and everything we come across."
"I guess it goes without saying that the price is more painful and obvious when we have seriously messed up." Glancing at Jolee, Dash winced as the younger man dry heaved into the refresher. "Overindulging in anything will mess you up. Extremes will mess you up. Find a balance between the two and you'll see that you don't have to give up the small pleasures in life for fear that you'll somehow end up on the darkside, or whatever it is that gives you Jedi the heebie jeebies."
Head hanging off the refresher receptacle, Jolee drug the sleeve of his robes across his mouth. "A happy balance, huh?"
"That's the secret of life, kid. Balance..."
An evil smile curved Dash's lips as he added, "Say, Jolee? How about I get you a greasy nerf burger with a side of ashtray and a big tall glass of Gamorrean lard shake?"
Jolee turned ashen and began to heave.
Rhyska laughed heartily. Her eyes tearing up as she exclaimed, "Ooh, I like him!"
Jolee smiled. "Dash left after that. His ship was leaving and he had places to be, so I sat at the diner for awhile and tried to make my hangover pass faster—which, of course, made it worse."
"Did your master track you down?"
Shaking his head, Jolee replied, "Nope, I decided I wasn't going to wait anymore. I went back on my own. The fact that I came in smelling like a distillery didn't escape their notice. I was, of course, chastised and made to atone for my unscheduled jaunt through Coruscant."
"Other masters questioned my motivations for leaving the temple in the first place." Jolee flashed Rhyska a sardonic look. "Unsurprisingly, Master Hortath hadn't bothered mentioning our run in before my sudden disappearance."
Jolee sighed. "My time outside in Coruscant haunted me. Life in the temple seemed to lack the luster I had been briefly exposed to. I questioned my master about the news holo I had seen about the Ukatis system. I thought, surely a system full of suffering people would call the attention of the Jedi. But no. It didn't."
"Yeah, oh is right," Jolee grunted. "You know, like most Jedi, I don't remember my birth family. I don't know what planet I'm from. For all I know, I could have been from the Ukatis system. I have no ties to anything except the Jedi. They were the only family I had ever known and after that discussion, I couldn't even relate to them anymore. Two weeks later, I walked out of the temple."
"No directions from Master Hortath?" she teased lightly.
"Nope," Jolee said. "Just hailed me a cab and went to a bar near the shipping yard. Sat there and watched news holos all day long. When the news about the Ukatis blockade came up, I paid attention. As it so happened, a few of the pilots in the bar were also payin' attention, too. Heard some interesting things about how an individual could get around a blockade, if he had a fast enough ship and a slick enough pilot."
Jolee nodded and smiled slyly. "Really."
Taking a quick look around the bay and down the corridor leading to the Hawk's common room, he whispered, "Don't tell Carth, but I could hand him his backside flying this baby. I just don't wanna hurt his feelings is all. Sensitive guy, that one."
For a moment, all the amnesiac Sith Lord did was stare at him and then she sighed. "Okay, so this maybe wasn't a typical Jolee Bindo fable, but I know you're trying to tell me something, old man. What is it?"
"Maybe I just wanted to share a little bit of myself."
"Yeah. Take from my own life experience what you will, but I learned something really important from Dash before he left. I learned that a person can still do the right thing without being a Jedi. Apparently, it happens all the time."
"Everybody expected me to grow up and be a good little Jedi. When I left, they expected me to fall to the darkside. If I were a Corellian I could have made off like a villain with odds like those!" Jolee exclaimed. "The point is, it's okay to be your own self. You don't have to be what everyone else expects or wants."
"So, basically you're saying I could just be me—whatever that is."
"So, I don't have to be a Jedi Knight or a Sith Lord."
"Nope. You don't have to be Canderous' Mandalore, Juhani's Avenging Angel, or Carth's whipping girl. You could just be you." Nudging her slightly, he teased, "Whatever that is."
"But what if I don't know who I am? I've been so many things to so many different people and then I was just wiped away. Like nothing. I wish Bastila were here. At least she had answers. Now, I feel like I have no clue as to what I'm doing."
"That's what friends are for."
"The last friend I had in my former life went all crazy and Sithified. Countless others died in the war or followed Malak to the darkside." Rhyska pointed out. "Being friends with me isn't exactly safe, Jolee. I mean, the crew's been beat to hell and back just because they're with me."
"Bah! Being here was their choice. They can leave anytime they want, ain't nobody keepin' here. And believe it or not, most of them are here because they are your friends. Sometimes, havin' someone to lean on is all that keeps a body going. You do right for your friends, they'll do right for you."
Turning his attention to her bike, he rubbed his chin. "Now, I'm no expert, but I know my way around an engine or two. If you need a hand--"
"I'd like that," Rhyska quickly accepted. Handing him the hydrospanner, she looked him in the eye and said softly, "I appreciate your help, Jolee."
Glancing at his stolen whiskey, nodded to the bottle. "You better hope Carth doesn't find out about that."
Jolee imagined the Republic pilot wouldn't be too happy. After all, the only thing left for drinking was Tarisian Ale and after his last experience with it on Taris, he refused to go near the stuff.
"I can keep a secret if you can."
As they got down to work repairing the swoop bike, Rhyska looked up and whispered, "Hey, Jolee?"
Rhyska flashed him a crooked smile accompanied by a heartfelt, "Thanks."
"Anytime, kid." Jolee returned her smile, happy that her eyes looked a little less haunted and a little more hopeful.
"Hey, you mind if I take another drink?"
"Why no, I don't," Jolee replied wickedly. He waited until the she tilted the bottle back before saying, "Did I ever tell you about the time Andor Vex and I..."
The little Twi'lek couldn't hear what the old man said from her hiding place just outside of the maintenance bay, but whatever it was, it was enough to make the Ex-Sith Lord cough up a lung.
She uncurled her lekku from around her neck and sighed with relief as Jolee's cackling and Rhyska's half-hearted threats and curses reached her.
Just as she turned to leave, a crotchety voice called out, "Hey, Noodles! C'mere and give us a hand."
In the shadows of the hallway, Mission Vao smiled.
Author Note: This piece was written for the KFM Dueling Circle Secret Santa Challenge '07. A Jolee Bindo one shot formerly titled, The Gray Line. I like the new title better. It was just recently revised. Hopefully, it runs a lot smoother than the original.
Much thanks to Bryn Nevan for being an awesome beta! To the readers, feel free to flame or praise, as the mood suits you. Constructive, of course. Let me know how I'm doing.