Dorrin stared at the mottled ball of blue, green, brown, and white below them, looming large after the microjump. He glanced at Molly, who was back at the Legacy’s controls. “Y’sure you can handle landing this thing?”
“It’s just like landing a shuttle, Dorrin. Except about ten times bigger.” She smirked at him. “We’ll be fine.”
He didn’t feel that reassured as he pressed himself back down into the command chair. “Right.” He hit a control, giving him ship-wide intercom. “All hands, assume positions for atmospheric reentry. Repeat, all hands, assume positions for atmospheric reentry.” He toggled ship-wide communications off.
“Engineering reports ready for reentry, Commander.”
Dorrin nodded. “Do we have clearance from Shay Control?”
“Good.” He looked at Molly. “Give me a five count, then take us in.”
She nodded, focusing on her boards. “Five. Four. Three. Two. One.”
The ship nosed down slightly, toward the atmosphere. Dorrin took a deep breath. By the Force. I hope she really does know what she’s doing.
It was a little after 0730 when Chance Kel-Solan peeked into her mother’s training room, blinking in surprise to see her mother in full armor, squaring off with a staff against Les Wyler. Tag Rendar sat nearby, watching like a hawk with mismatched eyes, perched on a crate of artifacts Karinlyyn hadn’t unpacked yet. The teenager swallowed, watching for a moment, then cleared her throat.
Karinlyyn’s head whipped around. “Chance, what are y–acch!” Karinlyyn bit back a curse as Les landed a blow square in her ribs while she was distracted.
He spun the staff to land another blow, but Karinlyyn was back in the fight, blocking it before it made contact with her again.
“Hold up, Les, please.” Karinlyyn paused another moment to make sure he was letting up before glancing at Chance. “What’re you doing down here this early in the morning, Chance?”
“Mom, it’s half past seven. I was having cereal and I heard you down here.” The teenager scratched the back of her neck, peering at Les for a moment. “What’re Les and Aunt Tag doing here?”
“Just some sparring,” Karinlyyn said.
Seeing Chance, Les relaxed and grinned at her. But remembering the circumstances that had landed him here, his face fell, and he looked away.
Chance’s brow furrowed. “Sparring for hours before eight in the morning? That’s a little extreme even for you, Mom. What’s going on?”
“I, ah, like training early in the morning. It’s invigorating,” Les put in, then looked away again, knowing she would either see through it or figure it out in a moment. It was no mystery around base or among his friends what a mess he had made of his life, his knighthood; the pain his actions had brought upon his family.
“…but with my mom? You’ve never squared off against Mom before.”
Tag cleared her throat then, drawing the girl’s attention. “Les and I talked and we decided that he’s in need of some additional training, since Jinx absented himself so early after he knighted Les, he wasn’t aware of how much Les had left to learn. So I’m going to teach him.”
“You, Aunt Tag? No offense, but you haven’t taught anyone outside of the family since before I was born.”
“Some things you don’t quite forget how to do.”
Chance frowned, looking skeptical as she glanced back at Les. Tag’s comm started to beep at her belt.
With gratitude to Karinlyyn, Les was able to meet eyes with Chance again, and even managed a smile. Maybe there was hope for him, after all. They seemed to think so. Feeling a flush creep into his cheeks, he turned his attention to Tag, who was answering her comm.
The Jedi exchanged a few words with whoever was on the other end of the comm line and stood up. “Looks like it’s time to get back to work. Want to come, Les, or are you going to stay here and make googly eyes?”
The flush turned into a full-blown blush. “I’ll…come along with you, if it’s all right.”
Chance blushed as dark as Les and she covered her face with her hand in an attempt to hide it. Her mother just grinned.
Tag nodded. “That’s fine. Thanks for letting me impose, Arin.”
“No problem, Tag. Something up?”
Tag shook her head. “Yes and no. Legacy is coming to ground with a freighter that took on the Vong. Pilot lived to tell the tale, so we’re going to go relieve the kiddies of him.”
“Ah. Sounds like fun.” Arin glanced at her daughter. “Go on upstairs, I’ll be up in a minute.”
Chance nodded a little, casting a quick glance toward Les. “You’re not going off-world again anytime soon, right?”
He shook his head. “Probably not for some time.”
She nodded. “Good. ‘cause I wasn’t going to let you go anywhere alone.”
Tag, standing near the door out to the garden, cleared her throat. “Come on, Les. Legacy’s coming down right now.”
Ten minutes later, the Legacy had settled onto the field at the edge of base, her hangar doors opening slowly so a waiting ground crew could move the Seraph’s Wake onto a waiting hovertruck. Tag hoisted herself off the hood of her speeder and started walking, motioning for Les to follow.
“This is more NRI than Jedi,” she said quietly to him as she walked, “but sometimes, the jobs end up meshing pretty well.”
She stopped near the edge of the ramp and waited to meet the freighter captain who had squared off with the Vong and lived to tell the tale.
~ Joint post between Erin and Skyy