Redemption - Part 3
The Noble Blaze glistened in the hot mid-day sun at the Rahvkuss Spaceport.
No, thought Ellie, it’s not all the original Noble Blaze . Somebody borrowed it and had to eject the cockpit, and Kit and the other Jedi had spent some time rebuilding the Lantillian Short Hauler to make it fully operational. Though she hadn’t given any specifics, Ellie suspected that Kit had the ship sent to Simondz for a final over-haul… and a few modifications.
“I didn’t think it would hit me this hard,” Brin said, running his hand across the belly of the ship. “We had some moments in this baby. If not for all the near death and destruction, I might say I miss it.”
“Get ready to do it all again,” Ellie said, hitting the controls to lower the hatch. She grabbed her gear and Brin followed her onto the ship. Each of them claimed their old bunks with no discussion and went to the lounge.
“Hey, who put this up?” Brin pointed to a framed picture hanging above the booth. It showed Ahdio, Ellie, Brin, and Gli, smiling on a pleasure barge, drinks in hand, all of them young and skinny and beautiful. “That was Nal Hutta, right? Right before-“
“Right before I went to Helska. When Bacall contacted me.”
“Yeah… I was going to say right before Gli got drunk and entered the stripping contest.”
Ellie smiled. “Kit must have found it and put it up there.”
“She retrieved it from my databanks.” Brin jumped up and slammed his head on the archway of the lounge, and turned to see the newcomer to the conversation.
“Blast it, Ellie, mention we’re not alone on the frakking ship! Who the hell is this?”
“Brin, meet R9-B8A. I call him Beta.” The astro droid spun to face Brin. The new design of the R9 was an update of the R2, with some streamlining of the components on the dome.
“So is it Bate or not?” Brin asked.
“He has Bate’s memory banks, but a lot less personality… on purpose, I might add.”
Beta spun toward Ellie. “Should I begin pre-flight checks?”
“Oh yeah… we’re out of here in less than 15 minutes.” Ellie headed back to the ramp to meet Pah’le pushing a hovering crate, which Ellie guessed to be medical supplies. “I have a med bay, you know.”
“Of course, Ellie, but one should always be prepared. I’ve brought along some prototypes I wouldn’t mind testing out… some bacta bandages and medkits I’ve been working on.”
“Go for it. Thanks Pah’le,” Ellie let Pah’le pass her and go onto the ship, and she sat down on the ramp. She checked her chrono to find it was nearly noon…
Nora walked slowly into the docking bay, and Ellie stood to meet her. “I’m not sure of what you want me to do, exactly,” Nora said. “I have no idea of what to expect.”
“I need a co-pilot and someone on sensors.”
“I can handle that.”
“I could use someone to help keep the ship running.”
“You’ll have to teach me.”
“And I need someone good in a fight.”
Nora laughed. “You’ll need to seriously teach me that.”
“Don’t worry. Its in your blood,” Ellie said, and they walked together onto the Noble Blaze.
Pah’le, Brin, and Beta were all waiting in the cockpit. Ellie took her pilot’s seat, taking a moment to feel the yoke, the small vibrations of the ship transferring their energy to her. She had once felt like part of the ship, its movements extensions of her own, and she tried to feel that again. Not through the Force, exactly, but in that relationship between pilot and ship.
“So where we going?” Brin asked from the seat behind her.
“Beta,” Ellie said, flipping the switches to give her control of repulsors and thrusters, “set a course for Dantooine.”
“Dantooine?” Pah’le asked. “What might we find there?”
“Hopefully, some friends.”