Walking towards the doorway and to Hobbie, Leia stopped and said, “Wait a minute,” as she looked down at her arm and the needles still sticking into her flesh. Closing her eyes, she gave one quick yank and with a sharp intake of breath she opened her eyes just in time to see Hobbie getting sprayed with her bright, red blood all over his orange flight suit.
While Leia shrugged her shoulders and gave him a sheepish grin, Hobbie muttered, “Um, if we could get through the rest of the day without any more of your internal fluids spraying all over me - that would be great."
"I'll see what I can do," she said as her stomach lurched at the sight of her own blood. "But I'm not making any promises."
They approached the hangar and Hobbie whispered "Just stay close behind me.” And as they ducked between a couple of Y-Wings he glanced back at her and asked, “What are you certified on, again?"
"Well, I don't know if I can find any of my certs right at this moment. But let's just say I can fly whatever you can get me.”
“Right,” he muttered and then added, somewhat excitedly, “Oh, what was I thinking? This way.”
Unsure if Hobbie was reacting to her boasting or if he had figured something out, Leia followed close behind him either way, her eyes constantly scanning their surroundings. When Hobbie came to an abrupt halt, Leia slammed right into the back of him and he turned around and shot her a look, but Leia was too busy letting her heart drop down to her toes – her eyes on something right over Hobbie’s shoulder.
Leia whispered, “Is that…?”
“Yeah, I should of thought of it first off, kinda a no-brainer, huh?”
It was Luke’s X-Wing.
“What about Commander Skywalker, Hobbie? What’s the status on his whereabouts?”
“I don’t really know. He wasn’t on Coruscant when everything went down, but somehow we ended up with his X-wing and no sign of him.”
“Is that Artoo?”
The droid encased in the X-wing’s body spun its dome and whistled and Leia felt a small smile creep across her face. One down, four to go.
Hobbie turned around and then said quickly, “You better get going, Your Highness. We’re a medical frigate so you won’t get much resistance once you’re in the air, but the longer you’re here-”
“Gotcha,” Leia replied as she began to ascend the X-wing’s boarding ladder.
She sunk into the seat and felt her brother’s presence wrap around her like a blanket of strength and encouragement. She shut her eyes and concentrated on his life force, reaching out tentatively with that same feeling she had stumbled upon in Bespin. Taking a deep breath she expelled the disappointment she felt at not being able to sense anything, other than that Luke had been in this cockpit – something any number of people could have told her without one bit of Force sensitivity.
Artoo let out a shriek behind her and she lowered the helmet on her head. She felt the X-wing rock on its struts and she realized someone was ascending the ladder. Artoo’s shrills became more panicked and his dome rocked back and forth. Snapping her harness in place, Leia scanned the control panel searching for the hatch closure. She flipped the switch and heard the hiss of the pneumatic lifters lowering the hatch, when a hand grabbed the edge of the transparisteel encasement and stopped its progress.
“Artoo, get us moving!” Leia yelled as she spun around to look at who her interloper was.
She was met with the same hazel eyes that had saved her days ago and as he slapped a blaster in her hand, he held out a flimsi and said, “Meet me here.”
Wedge was gone before she could even respond and the hatch on the X-wing was closed and pressurized before she could comprehend what had just happened. Looking down at the flimsi, she read the coordinates and then turned her attention to the controls of the X-wing and lifted herself up and out of the hangar. Hobbie had been right, she met with no resisitance - other than a few grounds crew waving their arms at her - and she was out in the cold expanse of space without incident.
When she had reached a safe distance from the medical frigate, she looked back at the flimsi and punched in the coordinates. It wasn’t until she was in the safety of hyperspace that she closed her eyes and let herself feel the faintness and nausea that still plagued her. A beep from Artoo prompted her to open her eyes and read the message crawling across the X-wing’s display.
“It has been too long,” the X-wing’s computer translated the little droid’s beeps and whistles for her.
“Yes, it has, Artoo,” Leia replied. But the droid’s words weighed heavily upon her mind, the several different meanings that could be implied by them scrolling through her own internal translator. It has been too long, Artoo. Let’s just hope it’s not too late…
...to be continued...
...to be continued...
(My condition from Zyra was: "no matter what happens, whether anyone stays or goes, Hobbie can't go with her".) Zyra was apparently very worried about the other men in Leia's life during Han's absence...