Chapter Twelve

Ja'Ina and Kurloh made their way back to the infirmary after resting for a while. It had been a couple of hours since Soraa had been freed from the carbonite. Ja'Ina hoped that she would be completely recovered and ready to join her in Berini's crew.

The two women arrived at the infirmary and went inside. Fitty was still keeping close watch on his recovering friend. He gave a welcoming tootle to Ja'Ina and Kurloh.

"Hi Fitty," Ja'Ina replied. "Is she awake yet?"

Fitty answered back in his binary language, but Ja'Ina could see full well that Soraa was still asleep. She did look better, however, more like she was just sleeping a normal, peaceful sleep.

"Okay little fellow, we'll be quiet then."

Kurloh was confused by the way Ja'Ina addressed the astromech. "How do you know it's a he anyway?"

Fitty turned his domed head to point his photoreceptor at the Togruta. He panned slightly up and down, as if he was looking her over. He let out a cat-call hoot, to which Kurloh blushingly smiled.

Ja'Ina chuckled. "See? He likes girls!"

Just then, Soraa begin to stir. Ja'Ina turned and walked over to her bed-side and leaned down over her friend.

Soraa's eyes slowly fluttered open, as if she had to pull her eyelids apart from being stuck together. She turned her head and looked up at Ja'Ina. She reached over and tugged on the front triangular panel of Ja'Ina's breechcloth. Soraa spoke softly, "What's this, Ina? Do you have a show tonight?"

Ja'Ina warmly smiled to her friend. "No, Soraa. I don't have a show tonight. These are my new clothes."

Soraa sat up a little. Ja'Ina's comment surprised her and broke her thoughts through the mental haze. "Whaddya mean your new clothes? Where are we?"

"Do you remember anything since we came onboard?"

Soraa thought for a moment, furrowing her brow and scratching her head. She looked around the infirmary, hoping she'd recognize her surroundings, but she didn't. "I remember we took off from the hangar to fly to Krrad, and then were attacked… Something about pirates… And then I had nightmares about suffocating, cold… I couldn't see or hear or move…"

"You're okay now, Soraa. You're among friends," Ja'Ina reassured her.

Soraa sat up all the way and held the blanket to keep herself covered. She looked around again. This time she noticed Fitty standing right behind Ja'Ina. Over next to Fitty, she saw someone she at the same time recognized but did not know who she was. Soraa pointed at this stranger. "Who is this?"

"Soraa, this is Kurloh. She's the chief of security on the ship, and a friend."

Kurloh stepped forward offering the warmest smile she could. "It's nice to properly meet you, Soraa. You can call me Ku."

Soraa stared at Kurloh for a moment and squinted her eyes to focus on her. In an instant, her eyes widened and she retreated away from the Togruta, pointing at her. "You're one of the pirates! Ja'Ina, what in the galaxy is going on here?!"

Ja'Ina knelt down and reached out to her confused friend. "It's okay. Ku's a good person. So is everyone on board, relatively speaking."

"I remember you saying something about hibernation, sickness or something like that. What were you talking about?"

"You were frozen in carbonite for the last couple of days. But you're okay now."

Soraa was horrified. "Why did they do that to me?! Why did you let them do it?!"

"It's a long story," Ja'Ina replied. "But trust me; I didn't let them do it. Either way, you're gonna be fine now. You're just a little confused."

Kurloh added, "Yeah, confusion is normal after you've been revived. You've been through a lot, so it's understandable."

"What the hell's she talking about, Ina? Why would she know such things?!"

Kurloh answered for Ja'Ina. "Because, Soraa, you're not the only one aboard who's ever been frozen in carbonite."

That only further added to Soraa's confusion. Ja'Ina stood up and took Kurloh back away from the bed.

"Look, Ku, can you please do me a favor and go find Soraa some clothes?"

"No problem, Ina," Kurloh answered. "I'll go get her something." Without saying anything to Soraa, Kurloh briskly left the infirmary.

Ja'Ina went back to Soraa and sat on the bed with her. She spent some time updating her on everything that had happened since she was frozen and what their current situation was. Soraa's head was still swirling with anxious questions. It was difficult for her to accept and Ja'Ina sensed her unease.

"Don't worry about it, Soraa. Clarity will come in time. Just trust me, we're okay and everything's fine now. We have a new home and new purpose in life. We'll have the adventures we've always dreamed of."

"I'll try. Please be patient with me…" Soraa felt embarrassed by her weakness in her faith in her best friend. Ja'Ina had never let her down before, but this time was especially intense.

"I will. I know that Ku and the Captain will be, and I'll make sure everyone else is too."

At that point, Kurloh came back in with some clothes in her hands. She handed them to Soraa. "Here you go."

"Th-thanks, Kurloh."

"Please, 'Ku'. You may not realize it yet, but we are friends."

"Thanks, Ku."

Ja'Ina, Kurloh and Fitty all left the infirmary to let Soraa get dressed. A short time later, she shakily stepped out in a comfortable white robe. Ja'Ina and Kurloh nodded in approval. Fitty booped and beeped with them.

Ja'Ina patted Soraa's shoulder. "Come on, we're going to go meet with the Captain."

They made their way back up to Berini's top-deck suite with Ja'Ina helping Soraa walk on her unsteady feet. When they arrived, Kurloh rang the annunciator.

From within, they could hear Berini's commanding voice. "Enter."

The door slid open and the three women and droid entered. Berini was sitting on one of the couches with Aurelia, reading a holo-book with her. Berini handed the holo-book to the teen and stood up to greet the newcomers. Soraa stopped cold at the sight of the Captain. Recalling the events when they first came aboard the Queen Valkyrie, she shied back towards the door.

Berini tried to ease Soraa's mind. "Please, my dear. I'm not going to hurt you. Surely Ja'Ina and Kurloh have helped you to understand the situation." She spoke with a warm, welcoming voice – a mother's voice.

Soraa stood there glued to her spot. She didn't have her blaster pistol and was terribly nervous with being in the same room as the woman who had imprisoned her in carbonite.

Ja'Ina whispered into Soraa's ear. "Just breathe. Relax. There's nothing to worry about here." There was a tone in Ja'Ina's voice that soothed Soraa like never before. It was as if there was some kind of magic quality her best friend had recently acquired. Whatever it was, it worked better than a bottle of ale would have, and it allowed her to see the situation with more clarity.

Berini gestured toward herself. "Please Soraa, step forward."

With the new serenity she felt, Soraa slowly stepped towards Berini, who then reached out a strong hand to her. Soraa reached out and Berini took her hand and firmly shook it with a big smile. The young woman almost lost her balance from the vigorous handshake. Berini clasped her shoulder to keep her steady.

"Welcome to my family, Soraa! Welcome to the crew of the Queen Valkyrie!"

Soraa did not anticipate Berini's salutation, but she felt better about being there. "Thank you, Captain." She smiled back at her new captain.

Author's note: this ends the third episode of Soraa and Ja'Ina's adventure. Episode IV begins the chronicle of their new lives as bounty hunters.

You can find Episode IV at: www fanfiction net/s/8771880/1/The-Best-Laid-Plans-Episode-IV (just add the missing periods)

And, as always, thank you for reading!