Disclaimer: Not mine.

Summary: Don't pick a side. (Han is never by-the-book.)

Your Contribution To The War Effort (A Mercenary's Guide)

Don't pick a side. If you do, don't broadcast it (this makes it easier to switch when the time comes).

Do not, ever, under any circumstances, get involved in the fighting. (Exception: unless someone pays you obscene amounts of money to do so.



After you get involved for the money—

(Because you will – you like money too much to allow any room for common sense. You've never really known when it was time to throw in your chips and call it a night.

Although here's a hint: when those planets started disappearing – that was the time.)

—But after you get involved, when it's too late to back out because you waited too long (and you will wait too long), remind everyone of your motives. Loudly. Say: you are a mercenary and you are in it for the money. Say: that is all (don't smile like that Luke I'm serious here) that's keeping you around. Repeat as necessary.

Some people will be harder to convince than others.


Here's another hint: that time, in that battle, when you are getting away scot-free – yeah, you really shouldn't have turned around.

Just so you know.


You will meet a woman and you will hate her (and that is a mistake, because you should have tried being indifferent instead. It's safer.)

She will try to involve you in her cause. She will appeal to your humanity (you don't have any), and your pride (you've never needed any), and your dignity (you've never wanted any). She'll eventually appeal to your greed (which works).

She won't try to charm you into staying, probably because it never occurred to her that that sort of approach might work.

(It might've – you liked her eyes.)


There will be days when you are bored, because even though it's a war and no one really has enough of (ships, food, water) anything, you're certainly not short on the mundane.

Flirt with her to pass the time.

It will be safe and mostly harmless – she never flirts back.

(Try not to think about what you would do if she flirted back.)


There will be stumbling blocks:

In the pilot bunk rooms, they'll pin up pornography on the walls, because it's a war and that's what boys do. And you'll wonder what's pinned along the walls of Imperial bases.

(Answer: Nothing. They don't have cocks or souls.

But here's a secret: those rumours will be started by Generals who know entirely too much about the dangers of identifying with one's enemy.

Here's another secret: they lied.)

So in your bunk rooms (and in someone else's bunk rooms) there will be pictures of naked girls, gasping at the cameras in orchestrated ecstasy. Some bastard will have stuck her face onto one of the more graphic pictures. And it will look ridiculous, her composed, restrained smile and the body, hands between its legs, touching itself.

When you see it, tear your eyes away as quickly as you can.

Do not: spend the night wondering what she would look like naked. The thought never occurred to you before – it shouldn't now.


There will be days that are absolutely terrible. There will be fighting (that you are being paid to participate in), and there will be blood on your hands (more than there is now). People will die and governments will topple and somehow you will manage to stay alive.

You will take this as irrefutable evidence against the existence of any higher power. (Because if there was one, surely you would be winging your way to hell by now.)

She won't die. But she almost will. And you will have to remind yourself that you are not being paid to save her.

You are being paid to show up and give her the means with which to save herself.


There will be moments that are wonderful. Not days, because nothing good lasts that long, but moments:

You will be getting drunk on black-market wine, celebrating a brief victory that will be rendered inconsequential tomorrow.

Opening up full-throttle in deep space, just for the hell of it, with no one chasing you.

Watching her bend (all the way over), reaching for a supply box as you sit at the consol, refusing to help.

Dancing in the pilot mess, wild, to the impromptu beat of clanging dinnerware.

Catching her up in a hug in the aftermath of a battle, still high on the adrenaline, her hair smelling of smoke and flowers.

Watching her apply lipstick one-handed, quickly, before a briefing.

Undoing her braids as she sleeps, slowly, quietly, then tying them around the bed pole while Luke looks on, giggling.

You may notice that most of these moments include her.

Try not to notice.


It probably isn't the best idea to fall in lust with the last Princess of Alderaan, but when you do (because you will, because you are that stupid) try not to let anyone know. Try not to let her know.

Make yourself a promise. Beat it into your brain, tattoo it into your cranium next to I'm a mercenary and I'm in it for the money.

Say: I will not sleep with her. Swear it.

Repeat as necessary.


But when you do (because you will, because you were fucked from the beginning: you turned that ship around, you hated her instead of being indifferent, and you really should have known better), you will know it was a mistake almost immediately.

She won't be a virgin. (But she might as well be, for how guilty you feel afterwards.) She will be absolutely silent throughout the entire thing, and come so quietly you'll almost miss it happening.

As for you, you will be fascinated, horrified at how much of her fits into your palm. Her scull, her wrists – all waiting to be swallowed up by your hands. You won't lay her along the bunk, instead choosing to hold her, cupping her shoulder blades and drinking her mouth.

Afterwards, hold the willow basket of her ribs and wonder what you've done.


It probably isn't the best idea to fall in love with the last Princess of Alderaan, but when you do (because you will, because you are that stupid)—

When you do—

Well, you're pretty much fucked then.


Here's another hint: you're really not a very good mercenary.