Leia’s eyes fluttered open and she let the room and her unfamilair surroundings unwind around her. There was the distinctive antiseptic smell of a hospital and various monitors were beeping and whirring in her ears. Recent events slowly clicked into place and as she realized she was safe, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Turning her head to the side, she rolled over and pushed herself up to a sitting position as she let her legs swing down over the edge of her medical bunk.
She sat there for a bit as she let her body orient itself to an upright position. She was alone. Although there were two other beds in her room, they were empty. Wiggling her toes, she wondered if she should try to stand. One by one, she disconnected the tubes hanging from her arm, leaving the needles taped to her skin with the un-tethered tentacles swinging loosely like her hair in a ponytail. That thought gave Leia a start as she missed the feeling that her blanket of hair usually provided, suddenly noticing the absence of its weighty presence.
Raising her hand up to her head, Leia met with the prickly ends of fresh cut hair that stuck out right past her ears. Realization washed over her like a cool burst of water as her other hand flew up and hopelessly searched for the long braid of hair that was no longer there. It was just one more thing that was missing from her life now. Resting her hands down on her knees she looked at her knuckles all scabbed over and bruised and her fingernails freshly cut all the way down to the quick.
Exhaling heavily, she placed her hands on either side of her hips and slid off the bed and onto the floor. Once her feet made contact with the icy, cold tiles, shooting pains were sent up her legs and she had to twist around quickly to lean over the bed and prevent herself from falling onto the floor. Steadying herself, she slowly stood up straight, testing her legs and her equilibrium before she attempted to let go of the bunk and walk towards the door and hopefully towards some answers.
She ambled down the long hallway, relying heavily on the corridor walls for support. Medical personnel brushed passed her but she seemed to be as invisible as she felt, like an aberration in an alternate universe. She reached a crossroads in the corridor and stood at the corner for a long silent moment. Her eyes traveled down the three corridors, to the left, to the right and then straight ahead. Choosing the direction to take seemed to loom over her like the most important decision she would ever have to make in her entire life.
“Excuse me,” she whispered to a young woman in a white coat holding a datapad in her hands.
“Yes,” the woman answered as she looked at Leia from her hospital gown and right down to her naked toes.
“Which way is High Command?”
“Which way is what?”
“High Command,” Leia repeated but got the same puzzled look. “The executive offices?” The woman shifted on her feet and looked down the hallway, as Leia added, “Where is whoever is in charge?”
“This is a Medical Frigate, the Medical Director is in charge,” the woman answered with an aggravated shake of her head and then looking down at Leia’s toes again, she added, “What room are you in?”
“I’m right down this way. I was just heading back,” Leia pointed down the corner to the left, as she slowly edged herself around the corridor and replied, “Thanks.”
Leia begged her legs to move faster and it did seem that the more she asked of them the better they began to respond to her. When she reached the next crossroads she ventured away from the wall, walked straight across and continued on.
She formulated her next move as she approached another med tech and said, “Excuse me.”
“Which way to the lifts for the hangar bay?”
Again, the med tech looked down at Leia’s feet and before he could say anything, Leia offered, “Physical therapy, my doctor’s a real pain about it.”
“Oh,” he answered and then looked up at her and turned a little to the side to point down the corridor to the right of Leia, “Right passed that triage area, you’ll find the lifts. Take ‘em down to seventeen for the closest hangar.”
A rush of adrenaline shot through her system when the turbo lift doors opened to the familiar montage of X-wings, B-wings and freighters. Hobbling through the hangar, she missed the steady support of the corridor walls as she found herself struggling just to keep a straight line. Recognizing a face amongst a group of men in front of her, she did her best to control the trembling in her legs as she walked up and said, “Hobbie?”
“Princess? I heard that we’d found you! What are you doing walking around?”
The room began to swirl around her and she concentrated on Hobbie’s voice and his familiar face.
“You’re looking a little pale,” Hobbie added.
She could hear the concern in his voice and the muscles in her legs began to tremble violently. She opened her mouth to speak but her body refused to cooperate.
“Uh-oh, wait a minute."
She heard Hobbie’s words spinning around in her head along with the rest of the hangar.
His hands were on her or she had fallen into him, she couldn't be sure, but she heard him say, “Okay, here you go.”
Still unable to force her dried mouth to say anything, she just rested her head on Hobbie's broad shoulder and he scooped her up in his arms as if she weighed nothing.
As Hobbie began walking, he said, “Let’s get you somewhere to sit.”
Shutting her eyes she prayed to the goddess to help her not throw up on the one person that seemed unable to shut up. She felt him walking and then the noises of the hangar dropped away and she felt him set her down on a cool surface.
“Hey. Can you hear me?”
She was sitting up and she could feel Hobbie’s breath tickling the tiny hairs on her face, but her vision refused to put all those tiny dots together into anything resembling Derek “Hobbie” Klivian.
“Alright, let’s lay you down.”
“Where’s Han?” Leia croaked out, it seemed a good a question as any.
Hobbie seemed to freeze up and as he pulled away from her he drawled out, “Ooooh.”
Dammit to all hells! The frustration of not getting any answers sent hot blood coursing through her veins and her mind began to sharpen once again. She sat up abruptly and placed her hands on Hobbie’s shoulders, blinking furiously until she could recognize the fear in his face, “Tell me what’s going on, Hobbs! And that’s an order!”
“We don’t know where Solo is, ma’am. He’s been missing as long as you have. That’s all I know. I swear.”
“Where’s Mon Mothma? And Rieekan? Where’s the Alliance’s headquarters?”
Leia heard him expel a deep breath and she could make out the shadow of his hand as it crawled across his face, “There ain’t no Alliance…anymore…ma’am.”
Her mouth fell open and the bottom dropped out of her world. The urge to vomit hit her like a punch in the gut and she felt Hobbie grab her shoulders and gently lie her down. No.
“The Rogue Squadron, we’re just a search and rescue team now, that’s all.”
“Mon Mothma and all them big shots drew up some sort of peace treaty.”
“With that Grand Moff guy who slaughtered us on Coruscant.”
No! Shut up, Hobbie!
“But we don’t hear nothing from anybody anymore ‘cept the Imps.”
Leia leaned over and emptied the contents of her stomach all over Hobbie’s shoes and as she rolled over onto her back she said, “That’s enough, Hobbs.” And then draping her arm over her eyes, she whispered, “I’ve heard enough.”
To be continued...
To be continued...
(FYI: My only condition from Zyra was that Leia could NOT fall in love with Wedge. As if!)