A bit of unpretentious comic relief lovingly hand-tailored for a fellow story-teller. Hope it fits, Val!

Fashionably Late


"Anakin, would you care to explain why the fuel gauge presently reads 'depleted'?"

Anakin Skywalker's dark brows beetled together in furious dubiety. "What the kriff- let me see that." He jostled his companion out of the way and scowled at the forward console display. "Boshuda! That vaping astromech service attendant back on Devaron said the cells were full."

"Well," Obi Wan Kenobi remarked caustically, "Apparently your droid friend had a loose-"

"Yeah, yeah, I get it. Ha ha," the younger Jedi grumbled, cutting short the all-too-familiar stupid joke.

Obi Wan's eyebrows rose, and Anakin thrust a warning finger under his nose.

"Don't say it." Even though he had to admit it was a pretty good question: how could someone who had worked for Watto the junkdealer all those years be so easily swindled by the proprietor of a disreputable Dock'n'Fuel station in the far Rims? Besides, he should have sensed the greedy Devaronian's underhanded intentions in the Force.

"It's the blasted war," his friend sighed, answering the unspoken thought.

Good point. They were so keenly attuned to vast treachery, to sweeping conspiracy, to the tragic vagaries of the front lines and the contemplation of cutthroat battle tactics, that they had grown practically numb to everday, pedestrian malice. As for a sly Devaronian businessman who happily took their Republic credits but didn't waste precious commodities like fuel on mere customers - his petty malfeasance didn't register so much as a blip in their war-weary souls.

Anakin glanced sideways at Obi Wan's profile and noticed – not for the first time, but with the same jolt of astonishment as the first time – that silver threads had appeared at his mentor's temples, that some of the worry-lines in his forehead never seemed to disappear, that there was a subtle hollowing beneath his cheekbones, one he perhaps thought to disguise with the obscuring beard. "Master," he said, a needling insecurity pricking at his armor of supreme confidence.

But when Obi Wan turned to look at him, the sliding fear crumbled to ash beneath an onslaught of sarcastic blue fire. "Second theoretical question," the Jedi master proposed dryly. "How do you suppose we shall get from here to there," - he pointed sharply to the nav-comp display – "with depleted fuel cells?"

For kriff's sake. It was a mercy Master Obi Wan didn't have time to teach in the Temple's classrooms but once every few months, and a good thing to that they saw fit to reserve his wisdom for lucky senior Padawans. He would instantly reduce the younger initiates to tears – whether of boredom, or intimidation, or both. Although, Anakin had to admit in all fairness, the younglings all adored the Jedi master, for inscrutable reasons of their own. The refined acid that Obi Wan called humor was a privilege he seemed to save exclusively for Anakin.

"I'll get us there," he muttered, fiddling with the routers, the thruster intakes, the drive regulator, the dampers, anything and everything he could tweak from the cockpit's confines. He wasn't quite sure how he was going to deliver on this promise, but he was certainly determined, and that was tantamount to a guarantee of success.

"Well?" Obi Wan demanded, peevishly crossing both arms over his chest.

"Keep your pants on!" Anakin snapped. "We'll make it."

"I certainly hope so," Obi Wan replied, pointedly. "The Clans will not be impressed if we arrive late to the negotiations."


The atmosphere was a great deal more turbulent than he had anticipated.

"Why is it, Anakin, that every time I find myself in a ship with you, we end up crashing?"

The beleaguered pilot clenched his jaw. "We re coming in for a landing, master. It's just a little bumpy. Are you sure those rendezvous coordinates are right? Scanners are showing some awfully mountainous terrain down below."

"Are you questioning my competence to program the nav computer, or your competence to ah, crash us safely?"

"I got us here on no fuel, didn't I? Trust me, Obi Wan. And this is a just a rough landing."

They lost altitude. Kind of fast. Actually, Anakin ruefully admitted to himself, it was more like a precipitous vertical descent. Even his stomach flipped a little at the nauseating downward rush of speed. He didn't even need to look at Obi Wan to know how much the Jedi master hated flying, particularly Anakin's version of flying.

"You know," the Jedi master complained, "When I said we would drop in –"

Another plummeting dive transformed the remainder of his jest into a hissing imprecation. Anakin managed to scoop them out of that one at the last minute, mostly by melding his will into the ship's innards, by some weird contortion of Force energy. "Uh… just strap in or something, master," he advised through gritted teeth.

"I hate it when you say that."

"You hate everything that happens inside a cockpit. What else is new?"

"Just hurry up and finish crashing us, for stars' sake!"

Anakin grinned at his snarling companion. The implacable Kenobi calm had a way of dissipating at about three and a half Gs, or anytime they hit freefall velocity. It was almost worth all the ships they had mangled and ruined over the years, just to see Obi Wan lose his composure like that. Idly, he wondered whether –

-But there wasn't time to wonder that, or anything else, because the ground came up much sooner than he would have guessed, and only the Force's warning and his sheer indomitable piloting genius allowed him to pull the expiring vessel nose-upward, skim it through the undulating green landscape in a breakneck hurtling rampage smack into a convenient body of slime-crusted water. For a moment there was nothing but grinding impact and their bones and muscles screaming in protest against the restraints and the Force blazing with their combined determination not to die, not this time….

And then they had stopped.

Obi Wan was thrilled to be alive. He showed it by exploding. "In the name of the almighty Force, Anakin!"

Anakin was giddy with his own adrenaline rush, too. "That was pretty intense," he snickered. "I think I wet my pants, master. How 'bout you?" He released the crash restraint, rubbed at his bruised sternum. Wow. Hard landing.

Obi Wan followed suit, peered vexedly out the viewport. "We are mired in a bog," he griped, clamping down on his ire and glaring meaningfully at his companion.

"Right." The ship's stern was already a couple meters below the surface, firmly stuck in oozing mud. "We'll go through the emergency exit." His 'saber quickly carved an emergency exit through the viewport. The glowing circle of transparisteel landed with a dull thud between their boots. "After you."

They leapt lightly off the ship's banged and dented hull, onto the closest bit of dry land – a squelching tussock of bog-reeds jutting into the quagmire that stretched, stinking, on every side. A heavy mist settled upon its bubbling surface like the soupy effluvia of a witch's brew.

"Lovely," Obi Wan grunted, critically peering through the murk. "We're a good forty klicks from the –"

"Watch out!" Anakin really needn't have issued the warning; his friend's saber was humming loud in the reeking swamp air a heartbeat before his own. Foul droplets spattered over them as a monstrous scaled form reared out of the muddy pool behind them, razored jaws gaping. Obi Wan swept back, his blade singing high and sweet; Anakin drove forward, 'saber thrumming deep as it clove the beast's head from its hulking body. Snout, jaws, slitted eyes plunged in a smouldering ruin into the mud, sending up a turgid cascade of filth, a dark and pungent wave that broke squarely over Obi Wan's front, befouling tunics, trousers, cloak and boots in equal measure.

The Jedi master deactivated his weapon with a very sharp snap of the wrist and fixed his companion with a fulminating stare.

"Sorry," the culprit meekly offered, fighting hard to repress his smirk.

Obi Wan, naturally fastidious, did not grant immediate forgiveness. "You are going to be the death of me," he muttered darkly.


"Got it! Signal's operative, should last until she's all the way under," Anakin called, a good hour later. He clambered back out of the sinking ship, sprang over the wide expanse of gas-riddled bog, and onto their island of refuge in one mighty bound. "Dinner ready yet?"

Obi Wan poked a stick into the fire with savage precision, provoking an angry shower of sparks and a leaping tongue of flame. "You will find dinner on your belt, next to your favorite implement of butchery and excess," he said, acidly.

Kriff. A whole night of this. Anakin sullenly withdrew a nutrient capsule and downed its contents dry, making a face of disgust in its aftermath. "Like you would have done anything different."

"I would have thrown it backwards just a trifle so as not to be soaked in filth, Anakin." The older man prodded his scrubbed but still damp boots closer to the fire with one bare foot, and folded his arms grumpily over his chest. Even reduced to one thin brown tunic and his undershorts, Obi Wan could muster an impressive amount of Jedi dignity under pressure. That was the kind of thing that marked a true master – never mind the showy 'saber skills.

"Should we try to lift the ship out?"

"And put it where? There isn't a truly solid piece of land in all this mess."

Good point. "Let's look on the bright side," he suggested. "We're both in one piece."

"That, my friend, rather depends on your point of view, doesn't it?'

Anakin snorted. "Whatever. I hope the Clans send an escort to meet us before your stuff is dry." He glanced at the sodden pieces of clothing draped strategically over boulders near the fire.

"I don't suppose there are any blankets in those supply packs?"

"Nah. We were supposed to be staying with our kind hosts, remember? The ship has an emergency locker, but the hold is already filled with mud. Don't think we can salvage anything in there."

Obi Wan released a grumbling sigh of resignation and settled into meditation posture, effectively ending the conversation.


The serenity of their repose was rudely shattered by the arrival of three probe droids. The first of these unwelcome interlopers fell in smoking fragments atop the campfire's lackluster embers, a victim of Anakin's blade.

"Stupid Seppie chizzsk," he spat out, blinking himself awake a half second after his reflexive attack on the intruders. Behind him, an energy bolt aimed at his head ricocheted off Obi Wan's 'saber with a startling zwack, and fizzled into the gaseous swamp-waters.

"Watch your back, Anakin," the Jedi master snapped, moving to stand behind his companion, blade still humming low in the damp night air.

"That's why I keep you around," the younger man quipped, eyes tracking the two other hunter-seekers which hovered, just out of range, etching slow circles about their prey, targeting lights and homing beacons blipping silent menace.

"Those aren't Separatist make," Obi Wan realized, after a tense minute-long stand off. "Those are recreational game-hunting droids."

"Oh good," Anakin growled, as another floating enemy made its appearance, slipping onto the dimly lit stage from behind a thick curtain of mist. "I'm glad they're having fun while they try to kill us."

The hunters let off a concerted volley of shots, which the Jedi easily rebounded into their sticky, burbling surroundings. The droids drew back another meter, still lazily circling like carrion birds.

"This is a fortunate development," Obi Wan decided, sweeping his blade in a casual flourish. "The Clans must be out and about, looking for sport. Perhaps we can locate the hunting party."

"Uh – I think it's the other way around, master," Anakin pointed out, glaring at the fourth droid to arrive on the scene. It eagerly joined the other members of the prowling pack. A moment later the foursome sent up a terrific cybernetic howling, an ear piercing ululation loud enough to shake creeper vines out of drooping branches and to pierce the cloying mists with triumphant shrieking sound.

"That's it." Anakin was done. He seized the nearest seeker probe with the Force, pulled its klaxon-wailing carapace across the short stretch of stinking bog, and promptly impaled its round metallic body on his 'saber.

Its compatriots retaliated by launching a concerted offensive against Obi Wan. His 'saber flashed and sang, arpeggios of blazing sound to match the howling siren-calls of the attackers. One exploded into sparks and dust as three shots were batted directly back into its body; the remaining two drilled the Jedi master with bolts, zooming forward together in outraged resentment.

Anakin lunged into the fray, closing with one, dodging and snarling, furiously carving through smoke laden air to reach the taunting, elusive target. Its counterpart struck Obi Wan's sword-arm a glancing blow, sending his 'saber tumbling across their tiny squelching oasis. The Jedi flipped away from the next blast, rolling over one shoulder and seizing the nearest weapon to hand – his mud-spattered pants, still draped over a nearby rock.

The droid charged, imbedded cannon spitting fire; Obi Wan spun aside, threw the filthy cloth over the things' optic sensors and targeting array, and ducked as it wheeled out of control overhead. He held out an open hand, bringing his weapon sailing back into his grip –

-and Anakin's 'saber carved through the flailing droid, sending a gentle rain of sparks and frazzled fiber-ash drifting into the swampy ooze.

Silence. Odiferous gases burped slowly out of the viscous slime. The Jedi master glowered, thin-lipped, at his former apprentice.

"What?"

"In your mindless enthusiasm for destruction, Anakin, you've managed to scorch my trousers."

The young Jedi grinned impertinently. "Be thankful you weren't still in 'em."

Obi Wan stalked across the narrow width of their island, rummaged in Anakin's pack. "Very well," he groused. "I'm appropriating your spares, in the name of the Republic. We need to get moving. Those droids approached from due west. With any luck, we can intercept the hunting party before dawn."

"Fine," Anakin agreed, valiantly struggling to keep a straight face as Obi Wan sullenly fastened the closure on his extra pair of dark trousers. "What's the matter? Too long for you… or too narrow through the middle?"

Obi Wan's shot a withering glance in his direction. "They are too tight in front and too baggy in the rear, if you must know," he snipped, crisply tucking his undertunic into the waistband.

Anakin snorted. Saggy in the back, his arse. He had it on good authority – Padme's – that he was pleasingly proportioned; but he still felt a brief pang of self doubt in the face of his former master's implicit criticism. That's just what Obi Wan did : he made other people feel small. Inadequate. "Just don't ruin those, okay? I hate breaking in stiff new ones," he warned, to cover his momentary lapse of Jedi confidence.

"These are an atrocious color, Anakin," his friend griped, finishing with his boots and shrugging into his somewhat crusty cloak. "When will you ever attain a more restrained sartorial sensibility?" Obi Wan plucked at his irrevocably stained tabards and outer tunic, and then tossed them into the bog pits with perfect detachment. "It's high time you outgrew this Sithly black costume fad."

"Just… shut up," Anakin replied lamely, feeling suddenly churlish. "Let's go."

And he led the way into the treacherous, reeking darkness, a silently chuckling Obi Wan at his heels.


The fen gave way at last to a rolling moor, one dotted with stark and looming monoliths of wind-sculpted stone. Long grasses danced beneath a stiff breeze; grey crept into the overcast shroud of the horizon. In the distance, the silhouettes of huge, broad-backed beasts appeared, each topped with the fantastic shape of an electro-spear-wielding rider.

"There is the Clans' hunting party," Obi Wan said. "They'll be following the remote tracking signal of their seeker droids."

The Jedi hurried across the waving expanse of the fields, the standing stones glowering down on them as they passed, their faces cast in inscrutable purple shadow in the dawn loaming. The shrill cry of a hunting thranctill pierced the skies, and a blasting horn call answered it. They had just traversed half the distance to the moving line of riding beasts when their path was unexpectedly blocked by a hissing ball of bristled fur and teeth.

"Don't move," Obi Wan advised. "It's displaying an instinctual defensive-fear response. A simple bit of mind influence and-"

But Anakin had already ignited his saber, sweeping it in a threatening arc. At the sound of his spitting and humming blade, the hostile critter turned tail and ran – though not before releasing a generous drenching of defensive fear response from the glands conveniently provided beneath its voluminous tail, for just such a purpose.

"Oops," Anakin smirked, secretly delighted by the Soresu-esque accuracy of the beast's defensive aim. Then, "Whew! That stuff stinks like a farting Hutt."

Master Obi Wan's droll sense of humor seemed to have fled with their assailant, for he made no reply as he tugged off one boot and then the other, stripped the sopping and undeniably odiferous trousers off, and threw the damp bundle at Anakin's head.

The young Jedi easily dodged this projectile. The pants landed in a stinking heap some distance behind him. "Temper," he chided.

The look he got in reply aroused a bit of instinctual defensive-fear response left over from his Padawan days, but Anakin relied on the Force to keep his Knightly serenity intact, as the other Jedi pulled his cloak closed in front and belted it on the outside, like an itinerant beggar-monk.

"And you owe me a pair of trousers," Anakin reminded him as they set off again.

"I owe you far more than that, my young friend," Obi Wan groused.

Fortunately, the detailed reckoning of his outstanding debt had to be delayed, for they had not tramped much further across the wind-swept moor before they were ringed in a wide circle by the hunters themselves. The Clan chieftains sat astride their tusked and snorting mounts, electrospears and bowcasters gripped in gauntleted hands, expressions obscured behind flowing beards of yellow, red, and umber brown.

The foremost riding beast lumbered forward, pawing the earth and snuffling at the Jedi's boots with its massive snout, stiff-bristle fur standing out along its massive withers. "Hail, strangers," its rider called down to them. "You trespass on Clan territory."

Obi Wan bowed. "Forgive the intrusion. We are the Jedi ambassadors from the Republic, here to meet with the Clan council. Our transport was waylaid; perhaps your party can provide us with reliable steeds?"

There was a murmuring and pointing among the gathered hunters. Anakin chafed at the muttering inspection of his person. Even though Obi Wan was the one missing a few essential garments, the younger Jedi felt strangely exposed here. He ran a hand unconsciously over his smooth jaw, noting that his was the only one not decorated with a magnificent fringe of virility.

At last the Clans members seemed to reach an accord. "We shall escort you ourselves, Jedi guests," the leader declared. "There was but poor sport tonight; we think our seeker droids have gone malfunctional."

The Jedi made no remark upon this supposition. "Our thanks," Obi Wan politely replied, mounting the long-tusked, pig-eyed beast brought forward for him. He looked quite at home perched atop its spine-covered back. Anakin frowned when a much smaller female mount was offered to him.

"She is docile and agreeable in temperament," the Clansman holding the bridle assured him. "I would let my own child ride her."

"Thank you," he grunted, with a resentful glance at the jaunty set of Obi Wan's back and shoulders as he reined his cavorting steed round in a tight pirouette and set off after the hunting party's leaders.

"It's like Ansion, Anakin," he called back to his friend. "I hope you haven't forgotten how to ride."

Digging his heels into the decidedly placid she-beast's sides to make her amble along just a tad faster, Anakin privately hoped - without much confidence of satisfaction - that his mentor would later be afflicted with hellish saddle-sores. "Come on," he urged his reluctant mount. "Kriff it."


The Clans received the Republic's ambassadors with royal courtesy, including private chambers within the rough hewn walls of their ancestral seat. They were late for the scheduled meeting, but their tardiness was forgiven under the soothing influence of the Jedi master's eloquence and a well-placed mind trick or two.

Anakin waited impatiently in the chilly flagstone corridor for Obi Wan to emerge. The summit was scheduled to begin in less than a standard hour; it was up to them to convince the reluctant Clans to accept Republic protection and provide a strategic staging grounds in exchange. It was getting harder and harder to convince neutral and non-incorporated planets to stake any interest in the fortunes of the Republic; as the war dragged on, isolationism became as popular as the latest Coruscanti fashion trend. Unless the Negotiator managed to work another diplomatic miracle, this meeting was unlikely to go anywhere fast. Especially at the tail end of a mission already fraught with disaster, including significant wardrobe malfunction.

His personal misgivings were in no way alleviated when Obi Wan finally chose to join him in the corridor outside their guest chambers. The Jedi master had apparently managed to obtain a suitable replacement for his ruined pants.. .but…. "Nice skirt!" Anakin choked out, hilarity and disbelief vying for dominance.

"It is a kellt, Anakin. And it is official formal attire for all male clan leaders here. I would not mock the native customs, were I you; we are here as ambassadors."

"Kellt?" Anakin wrinkled his nose. "Looks like a skirt to me." It was an outlandish garment, a heavy pleated expanse of vibrantly patterned cloth, falling to just below the knee, skimming the top of Obi Wan's boots.

His friend raised a sardonic eyebrow. "These are the colors of Clan MacObee, Which illustrious line of chieftains has produced many scholars and bards over the centuries."

"If you say so." The lightsaber looked jarringly out of place, hanging against the brightly colored stripes of the kellt. He couldn't believe that his former master would submit to the indignity of wearing a dress. The diplomatic situation must be even more desperate than he had supposed.

"Shall we?" Obi Wan suggested, making his way down the ceremonial stairwell. The kellt didn't seem to put any kind of crimp in his trademark swagger, that was for sure.

Another thought struck him. "Is that a loaner or a gift? You're not wearing that back to the Temple, are you?"

"Why not?" the Jedi master inquired blithely. "I'm quite thinking of making it a permanent change. This is far more comfortable than your trousers, certainly."

Anakin was mortified on his friend's behalf. "Master! You absolutely cannot wear a skirt in the Council chamber. And, and… how can you possibly fight in that thing? It's not appropriate for saber combat."

"Master Koth's prowess alone should be sufficient refutation of that, Anakin. Stop displaying your Outer Rim parochialism. It's most unbecoming."

The young Jedi ground his teeth. Boshuda! Master Obi Wan was the stubbornest son of a vaping gundark in the entire galaxy. If he still had his right hand, he would have given it just to get the Jedi master back in a decent pair of pants. It was completely unfair that the much-vaunted Hero Without Fear should have to suffer the humiliation of being seen in public with his gaudily-festooned former (thank the merciful Force for that) master. But, as Qui Gon Jinn had told him all those years ago, life is neither fair nor unfair. It merely is.

As he followed Obi Wan down the steps to the official conference chambers, he tried to focus on that wisdom. And to ignore the niggling question that would not stop flittering suspiciously at the back of his mind: why hadn't the Clans seen fit to give him a kellt, too?


"Well. Master, you did it again."

"Yes." Obi Wan accepted the praise with bland equanimity. "The Council will be pleased with the outcome. This has become a key strategic locale; without the Clans' cooperation, campaigns in this sector would be problematic."

"So, uh, when's our ride home arriving?"

They enjoyed the fresh evening air, strolling the perimeter of the fortress' huge central courtyard. "According to the transmission, within a six hour window. We'll contact the Temple and give a full report once we're on board the cruiser."

"Huh." Long bargaining sessions always made Anakin feel a bit antsy. "How 'bout some sparring, then? You've still gotta convince me you can actually fight in a skirt."

Obi Wan's brows lifted, fractionally. "Your Padawan seems to manage well enough," he observed dryly.

"Yeah, but she knows who the master is. Guess I'll have to teach you who wears the pants around here, too."

That did it. Thirty seconds later they were faced off in the center of the stone-flagged courtyard, weapons in guard position. Thirty-one seconds later, they were fully engaged in playful combat, sabers whirling and clashing in a blinding blue flurry. Stray fowl shrieked and rose into the air. A few spectators gathered at the edges of the courtyard; the stones beneath their boots were showered with dancing sparks as the blades sizzled together. They lunged, spun, drove hard against each other. The kellt, as promised, did nothing to impede its wearer's agility; soon enough they were exchanging mock blows at a dizzying rate, twisting, ducking, leaping and spinning in vain attempts to break through each other's defenses. Laughing, they redoubled their efforts, abandoning restraint. The sabers screamed their joyful rivalry, their perfectly unified discord, their flawlessly synchronized opposition. They ended in a bind, clashed a few more times, parted for a brief moment, grinning through panting breaths.

A polite eruption of applause, accompanied by a delicate ripple in the Force, distracted the combatants from the narrow focus of their contest.

"Oh!" Anakin eloquently summed up the situation. He bowed a greeting to their fellow Jedi, who stood curiously observing their sparring match from a safe distance. "You're much earlier than we expected."

Obi Wan echoed his polite bow, deactivating his 'saber and clipping it neatly back at his side. He betrayed no sign of embarrassment at being caught dressed in a ridiculous fashion.

Anakin looked hopefully to the newcomers, expecting at least a wry remark, if not an outright jest. But the threesome were apparently so appalled by the spectacle that they had been rendered speechless, Jedi training or no. Master Luminara Unduli and her apprentice Barriss Offee just stood there, tattooed lips curving in matching smiles that eluded all interpretation, their dark headdresses and robes framing their astonished visages in soft black. Siri Tachi, by contrast, was frozen in place with her lips just parted, as though on the verge of speaking words that would not issue forth from her throat. Her cheeks attained a lovely flush as her glittering eyes travelled slowly from Obi Wan's boots, over the kilt, across his sweat-dampened tunic, up to his ruffled hair. She looked like her legs would barely hold her upright, she hated that stupid kellt so much.

"General Kenobi," she managed to choke out weakly.

'Master Tachi," this person replied, swiftly smoothing down his hair with one hand. "I take it a gunship is awaiting our departure?"

She nodded in affirmation, still tongue-tied in a most unJedi-like fashion.

"Very good. Anakin and I are ready now; the sooner I can report to the Council, the better." He grabbed his discarded cloak and strode toward the portcullis gate, the welcoming party falling into step behind him.

"Hey," Anakin addressed Barriss, as they trotted behind the older Jedi. " Think old Master Yoda will approve of the new look?" He jerked his head toward the garishly patterned kellt.

It was a sly jest delivered with a wink and his most engaging smile, but Barriss only blinked as though her mind had been wandering other avenues entirely. "Hm? Oh… yes. Quite," she vaguely agreed.

Well, for stars' sake. Anakin's eyes narrowed. Huh. Maybe he still had much to learn about the ways of the Force. Maybe he should start wearing a kellt himself. He was the Chosen One, after all. He of all people could surely pull it off. "Do you think…?" he began to ask his companion, but the young Merindian Jedi shook her head emphatically before he had even finished the question.

"No," she shuddered. "It wouldn't be the same on you. Stick with the synth-leather."

Right. Padme probably wouldn't think much of the kellt anyway. She had plenty of dresses in her own extensive wardrobes – and besides, she didn't seem to care what he wore. She was his angel, and only cared about what was on the inside. He shrugged, and glanced ruefully down at his plain, unadorned trousers, and then decided that some things depended very much on your point of view.

And since the three ladies seemed to be very much enjoying their present point of view, he picked up his pace and strode ahead to the waiting transport, leaving this mission and its strange revelations far behind.

After all, there was no accounting for taste.