The sky was scattered with a galaxy of stars, no sordid glow from the transitory conceit of inconsiderate civilization to pale them. Beneath its majesty the inconsequential glow of the campfire crackled ineffectually, its meagre light spent by the time it had flickered its amber glow across the three beings gazing up into the endless night, their measured thoughts unnamed…
"Why the hell do gun runners always want to meet up in the back of beyond?"
Han Solo glowered out across the empty clearing, then again at Luke Skywalker, who sat in the chair to one side of him, still staring at the sky whilst blowing tunelessly into the half-empty bottle of ale he held to his lower lip.
"I'm guessing 'cos they're carrying all those illegal guns." He said absently, glancing down to the campfire they'd set up about ten yards from the Falcon's ramp when Chewie had suddenly fixated on the idea of having a barbeque about five hours ago.
So far the gun-runners in question hadn't shown up to make their delivery, but it was barely midnight local time, and for once, the Falcon had actually arrived early. What they should have done was scope out the local terrain and maybe do an orbit or two with scanners set to wide-survey. Han being Han, they'd started a barbecue and pulled out a crate of ale.
Now, five hours later, the burnt barbecue was eaten and the Corellian ale was flowing.
"You know what's unfair?" Luke voiced thoughtfully.
Han didn't turn, "What?"
"I'm worth more dead than I will ever earn in my entire life…."
Han drop-shot his empty bottle into the fire and leaned over to pull out another, "Nah, nah… you're alive only pal- no pulse, no pay."
Silence held for long minutes, and something shuffled again in the undergrowth. Everyone studiously ignored it.
Luke reached out for another piece of teffy, a hotgrain flatbread cooked on the open fire with something undistinguishable and orange spread on it which he didn't want to ask about because he kind of liked it at the moment.
"Ya know what's sad?" Han took his turn.
"We're still on unfair." Luke reminded, "We're about two more bottles away from sad yet."
"Yeah but this is sad."
"See those three moons?……I have no idea what they're called. And I'm the navigator."
Luke scrunched his eyes up, pointing at the moons, "Well, you see that one off to the side?"
"Yeah?" Han prompted expectantly
"If you screw your eyes up, the surface kinda looks like a Twi-Lek in a hat. Without the Lekku."
Han studied it in deep concentration. "I think you spent way too long out in that desert without a hat on, kid."
Luke sighed, gazing down into his bottle, "I miss the desert."
Han half sat up, "You said you'd never miss Tatooine!"
"I don't miss Tatooine… I miss the desert."
"It was a dump!"
"Yeah… but it was a warm dump." Luke said longingly.
Chewie loosed a long string of growling gronks, glancing over to Luke with bleary eyes.
"Chewie says he'll take you back." Han translated, "Short break?"
"That's great… I'm already wanted by one half of the galaxy - I really need the other half to be chasing me for being absent without leave." Luke said of the Alliance.
"Ah, they'd never catch ya. Anyway, I think it's more like nine tenths of the galaxy."
Chewie sat up to issue another considered point and Han nodded absently in agreement, translating, "Yeah…ninety-nine hundreths." He tripped over his next words but kept going, "Maybe nine hundred and ninety nine…"
"Shut up Han."
Whatever was in the bushes made another move, and everyone paused to listen, though what exactly they could do about it in their present state, Luke wasn't sure. Perhaps that was why they all settled slowly back down without mentioning it.
"Ya know what's sad?" Han prompted into the silence.
"There are NO women here." Han turned to look meaningfully at Luke.
"Don't look at me."
"There are no women in your rebellion!"
"Yes there are… they just all avoid you. And it's not my rebellion."
"Well then whose is it?"
Luke considered, "Leia's… and she's a woman."
"Yeah, I noticed." Another long silence played out, in which both men took another swig from their bottles…..
"Are you gonna make a move on her or what?" Han's voice bordered somewhere between impatience and scolding.
"Are you?" Luke asked simply.
"Hey, I asked first."
Luke filled the silence by reaching for another bottle and cracking it open on the arm of his fold-out chair. "I don't think you're allowed to make moves on senior officers." He finally rationalized.
Han pulled a doubtful face, "Well that ground crew sweetie sure as hell made a move on you, Lieutenant Commander…"
"She was asking about the X-Wing."
Chewie grinned as he growled as reply, all sharp teeth and pointed amusement.
"Yeah…" Han swung the base of his bottle at the Wookie in acknowledgement of his point. "She was standing awful close."
"It's a flight deck - everybody stands close."
Han nodded sagely, "Yeah that is true, kid…I do stand close to people on the flight deck… I don't put my hand on their chest though."
"She was leaning in!"
"Yeah I don't do that either." Han added knowingly.
"I'm not gonna talk about it." Luke declared.
Han huffed out a laugh, and Luke let the silence hold for as long as he possibly could… "You really think she was hitting on me?"
"Too late now, kid."
"Story of my life."
Chewie launched into an extended run of bays and barks, the fur above his eyes wrinkling.
Han obliged; "Chewie says he was waggling his eyebrows all over at you on the flight deck."
"That's what that was!"
The Wookie keened a question.
"What'd you think it was?" Han translated.
Luke grinned, "See, I thought he was hitting on me!"
Chewie issued a brief gronk, leaning casually back, and Han grinned.
"He says you should be so lucky."