By Barbara Anderson
see You Could Use Another Good Kiss home page
(Originally appear in Flip of a Coin #15, 1992)
In the corridor, just missing Leia's departure, See-Threepio stiff-walked his way to the door of Mon Mothma's quarters. He was waiting for Artoo-Detoo to arrive so they could report Solo's final location to the princess. Seconds later, the little astromech droid made his wheeled appearance, tootling mournfully.
"What do you mean, you lost him?!" Threepio brought his hand down on Artoo's domed head with a metallic clunk. In defense, Artoo beeped accusingly. "Yes, I know I could have followed him myself, but I had other duties more important than keeping track of Captain Solo!" The two droids stood in the corridor, unmindful of Mon Mothma's door opening, arguing while pedestrian traffic flowed around them. Artoo whistled, trying to explain that he knew where Solo was going, but Threepio wasn't programmed with a patience circuit. "You binary bumpkin! How will I ever explain this to Her Highness?"
"Explain what?" questioned Mon Mothma, startling both droids.
"Oh, dear," flustered the gold mechanical, noticing the woman for the first time, then recovering his programmed aplomb. At last, a human who appreciated his abilities. After a particularly trying day of dealing with Captain Solo and the increasingly confusing mistress Leia, Threepio was only too please to prattle on to the rebel leader. "Her Highness had asked me..." Artoo rolled forward, gently bumping against Threepio's foot. "...Me and Artoo," he amended, "to follow Captain Solo, but Artoo...temporarily misplaced his whereabouts." If it was possible for a droid to look innocent, Threepio and his counterpart had managed it.
Mon Mothma raised an eyebrow, not used to this unorthodox pair, also not privy to the fact that in self-defense of their sanity, Han and Chewie had done some unorthodox reprogramming of both droids. Artoo had been revived with class 10 shielded circuitry after the burnout at the Imperial bunker door. Perhaps a bit overdone for an astromech R2 unit, but Han had reasoned that you can never have too much shielding; one never knew when one might need it.
Artoo was a born rebel and easily accepted the modifications, but Threepio still had a stubborn innate desire to please, possibly encoded into his casing, defying removal. "We know where he's going," blurted the taller droid, trying to save his obedience module from shorting out, altered though it was. "A Minradian establishment named...Ouch! Artoo-Detoo!" The knee-high droid again rolled forward, this time crashing into Threepio's leg with considerable force, the droid's equivalent to kicking someone's shin. "I don't know what's gotten into him lately. Captain Solo has gone to the Crater's Edge."
Mon Mothma shook her head, having heard of the Minradian den of iniquity. "I'm not surprised," she muttered and continued her way to the shuttle bays.
"Artoo," complained the protocol droid, "that wasn't very nice."
Artoo-Detoo beeped two distinct notes, calling Threepio a name for which there was a human translation, but no droid body part equivalent, droids not requiring such a function.
"Well, really!" came Threepio's indignant reaction as his counterpart turned around and wheeled off.
After Leia left, Luke had his own mission to get ready for, so after letting Artoo out of the maintenance locker and soothing the little droid's injured pride, he found himself in the shuttle bays, wanting to check out the craft that was to take him, Lando, and two-hundred of the fleet's fighter pilots down to the planet's starship factories to take delivery of two-hundred new X-wing fighters.
The liberated factory workers, most of them slaves or prisoners of the Empire, had gladly worked harder than they ever did under Imperial rule to convert production from TIE-fighters to the more sleekly designed X-wings. The new ships would return the fleet's defensive and offensive capability to a level that would allow a lot of people to sleep easier.
The indigenous, sentient insectoid beings of Minrados were more than eager to welcome the Alliance with open arms, or such as served for arms, but the governments were not especially eager to trade one rule for another, however benevolent the other might seem. Clearly testing the Alliance, the planet's leaders had requested a seat in the New Senate and asked for a guarantee they would be compensated for their manufactured goods as well as receive continued protection against Imperial reprisal. Her hopes dashed for receiving the X-wings gratis, Mon Mothma had groaned, as did the rebellion's accounting department, but complying with the Minradite's conditions would show good faith and fairness on the part of the Alliance and would hopefully go a long way towards convincing reluctant systems to join them.
The transfer of credits would take place on the headquarters frigate with a formal evening of dinner and entertainment planned for the newly appointed Minrados Ambassador. 'Formal' meant 'boring' to Luke and he was thrilled beyond words that he would be unable to attend as he was in charge of picking up the fighters. Like Han, he was uncomfortable in such a setting. Leia, however, had no such excuse and Luke knew she would be required to be there in an official capacity. While he sympathized with his sister's plight, he wryly remembered a Han Solo adage that fit his feelings perfectly: 'Better her than me.'
Grinning at the thought, Luke entered the docking bay and approached the streamlined shuttlecraft, built to travel through planetary atmospheres that acted like glue on a ship's hull. Even from the distance of the bay doors, he could see the maintenance crew of droids and techs busy around the ship, but what caught his eye was a familiar blonde head connected to a definitely female body bobbing in and out of the engines as she balanced at the top of a ladder. Even in tech coveralls, Spacer made a memorable impression as she began descending the rungs. With a combination of ideas culled from years of watching Han Solo, plus a few original moves of his own, the Jedi Knight planted himself just a few inches away from the bottom step. He was a little surprised, wondering where the nerve was coming from as his knees suddenly felt like butter under the Tatooine suns, but when her feet hit the deck and she predictably bumped against him, he knew it wasn't the Force guiding his actions.
Annoyed, Spacer turned around. "Excuse me," she sarcastically began. "Would it be too much to ask—" Then she recognized him and uttered a small, "Oh..."
Grease smudges and all, Luke liked what he saw and from somewhere he summoned a line Han would've been proud to call his own. "Depends." He grinned. "What did you have in mind?" But Luke didn't have the Corellian's wicked fondness for baiting people. Before Spacer could suitably fluster, he apologized. "I'm sorry." His blue eyes were genuinely contrite as they cast down to where their feet were toe to toe, then back up. "That wasn't really me."
With her heart beating unnaturally fast, Spacer slid away, pretending to check a pressure gauge. "Who was it?"
As he had often done in the past when confronted with a person of the opposite sex, Luke found himself thinking, What would Han do? Somehow this time was different, though, and he took some of his own Jedi advice and decided to act on instinct. He followed, running one hand along the hull until ostensibly by accident, it bumped into hers. "An impostor." He grinned at her uneasy look. "And he won't be back."
Again, she moved. "Well, that wasn't really me, either." Balancing on a landing strut, her upper half suddenly disappeared into an ion exhaust vent, leaving Luke to bite his lower lip in adolescent indecision. Inside, out of sight, Sara allowed herself a wide-eyes deep breath. What was he doing? Did she dare to think...? "I'm not usually that short-tempered," she ventured, her voice a hollow echo, reminding her of the hollow in the pit of her stomach.
"Everything all right in there? Luke asked.
Of course, reasoned the mechanic as her shoulders fell, he was only checking on the shuttle. "As far as I can tell," she answered, trying not to let her disappointment show. A small part...no, a large part of her had hoped that there was something else to the commander's attentiveness other than responsibility. Backing out, she babbled about the engines as cover for her nervousness. "Hydraulics are sealed, the converter flow ways are clear and there doesn't seem..." She stopped, staring hesitantly at the hand Luke had extended to help her out. It would be silly of her to refuse, not to mention insulting, and would definitely raise questions in his mind that she would have trouble answering, so she took the offered fingers and stepped down to the deck. "Thanks," was said matter-of-factly. "That was really the last check..." She had to get out of there. "...and you've got preflight, but everything seems to check out. I better leave." Tugging her arm, she found her hand still in Luke Skywalker's.
"I wish you wouldn't...just yet."
This time Spacer stared at him, her eyes meeting his without wavering, feeling as though nothing but air was holding her up. "Is there something else I can help you with?" The question, though daring and leading, was a tentative one, circumventing her real query.
Luke's thumb rubbed across her fingers. "I'd...I'd like to get to know the real you, Sara, and...I understand the feeling is mutual." He went for the straight, honest approach, again using something inside him that had nothing whatsoever to do with the Force, but through the Force, he knew something special was happening. The emotions he was receiving from her were of a kind he usually could only feel from people he was close to and trusted.
But Spacer colored up to her ear ridges, mortified that her interest was apparently public knowledge, even if that interest was also interested. Her expression turned frostier than Hoth in midwinter. "Really? Where did you get that idea?"
He didn't need the Force to sense the climactic change, though he would've welcomed any help in understanding where he had gone wrong. Thinking humor might melt the unexpected blizzard, he said, "A Jedi knows many things."
"Bantha shit!" She yanked her hand from his gentle grasp. "And a certain Corellian has a big mouth!" Turning her back, she began angrily walking away. It wasn't what she wanted to do, but dammit, she had her pride; though a nagging little voice reminded her that pride wasn't much comfort or company.
"Sara!" Luke's voice almost broke. "It wasn't like that!" She continued her departure, reminding him quite a bit of his sister when she made up her mind. He stood there, feeling the way he used to on Anchorhead, socially inept and awkward. Some Jedi, he thought. Would've been nice, Yoda, if you had thrown in a few lessons on love. Helplessly, he watched as she got further and further away, knowing he had blown it, but not knowing why or how to fix it.
Upon leaving Mon Mothma's quarters, as if leading a full rebellion assault team, Leia made her way to the docking bays and to the Falcon's berth. Twenty feet away, she stopped, momentarily stymied by the sight of the blast doors closed and the magnetic lock flashing 'NO ENTRY' on the control panel. Even though she knew it would do no good, she covered the remaining distance and with growing frustration, slapped her hand on the unyielding metal. It stung her palm, but allowed some venting of the anger she felt. "Damn you, Solo," she muttered to herself. "I have had it!" With self-righteous resolve, the tiny princess changed tack and headed for the sealed glassite control booth overlooking the bay. She burst into it with all the equivalence of a force ten ion storm. Weaving with unerring accuracy, she came to a stop behind the console computer and flight controller she knew was responsible for ship traffic on this level.
"Captain Solo," she heard him say, a definite edge in the voice. "Millennium Falcon, please hold your departure."
Below in the bay the refurbished freighter shone like a jewel, her new hull not yet dulled by the repeated scouring of micro-meteors. Small sporadic jets of vapor vented from her lifters and landing pads, indicating her flight readiness. "No can do, Control," came Han's filtered response. At that, half a dozen heads swiveled to start at the speaker grill, not really sure they had heard correctly. "Better give me clearance."
"Millennium Falcon, the Minrad consular ship is coming in just below your exit vector. Do not, I repeat, do not leave at this time."
Han was very aware of the ship's approach; the rounded, bulging hull wallowing in like a pregnant Hutt filled a view screen. By his estimation, it was going to take at least ten more minutes before the craft was inside. With a deadline to meet, Han didn't have ten more minutes. "Tell the consular ship to back off."
"Oh, for the Sithin' love of..." The controller didn't finish, suddenly aware of the royal personage standing behind him; whatever he was going to say caught in his respectful throat. But then Leia let loose with her own string of Alderaanian expletives peppered with a few Corellian ones as the vibrations from the Falcon's engines reached the booth. "I can't!" pleaded the controller. "The consular ship is past abort and committed."
"Han!" Leia reached forward, jabbing at the board. "Don't do this!" In truth, she was a little shocked at his apparent disregard for the safety of the consular ship, but Han knew exactly how much effect the Falcon's back surge would have. The position of the alien shuttle was precisely displayed on the freighter's screens and the Corellian had a safety margin. Slim, but adequate.
On the level below, Mon Mothma, Ackbar, Madine, and an Alliance honor guard waited for the arrival of the Minradian Ambassador. From their places in the observation chamber, they could see the ship lining up with the rectangular opening to the bay. With a whoosh unheard by those behind the sealed windows, the air in the bay was sucked out into space as the outside magnetic lock was broken, allowing the craft to enter.
Suddenly, klaxons began warning the deck crews of a potential crash situation. For several levels above and below the alert zone, personnel began scrambling as blast doors and air locks closed with consecutive echoing clangs. In the control booth, the Alliance leaders milled about, exchanging confused looks, wondering what the problem could be as all seemed perfectly normal from where they stood.
At the sound of the alarms, Luke jumped, as startled as anyone. Almost without thinking, as automatic as an adrenaline surge, he reached out through the Force, but could find no immediate serious threat. He did find Leia, an acutely focused emotional maelstrom of worry, fear, and anger, giving Luke reason to think Han was somehow involved if not the direct cause. Somehow he wasn't surprised.
What did surprise his was another presence, another heart touching his and with a sharp intake of breath, he saw Sara running back to him. All awkwardness gone, all nervousness and anger forgotten in the possibility of danger and loss, she had dropped all pretense and the Jedi experienced the full impact of her love and concern. "Luke!" she shouted, sounding frightened.
It was an intensely intimate moment as he reached for her, gripping her upper arms and wanting to take the fear from her face, wanting only to keep her safe. Not having Luke's Force ability, she could not know there wasn't any real danger. "It's all right," he assured her, placing one hand along her cheek. It was at that moment that Luke knew a powerful bond had just been created between them. Whatever happened, whatever the Force had in store for him, he wouldn't be alone. "I don't think we're in any danger."
"But the alarms...!" Spacer knew, as anyone who worked in the hostile, unforgiving environment of space knew, that disaster was only a single mistake away; no one got a second chance and alarms were not to be ignored.
"Something's happening," he agreed, "but I don't feel it's serious." He looked around as the deck crews were scrambling for safety and while he trusted in the Force, maybe she was right. "Go!" He guided her into the shuttle. "Seal it up until you get an all clear."
"What about you?!" she argued, standing her ground.
He took off in the direction of the bay lifts, wanting to reach them before they automatically shut down. "Do it!" he shouted. "I'll be all right." He glanced back half a dozen times to make sure she complied before disappearing down the shaft.
It was the flight controller on the Falcon's level who had sounded the alarms when it became evident that Solo was not going to wait. He keyed in a screen showing the consular receiving bay below. With a mixture of horror and disbelief, Leia watched the Millennium Falcon lift from the frigate deck. "Don't go!" she heard herself plead, as much for her heart as for the safety of the consular ship. The freighter's main thrusters fired, but with just enough force to give the Falcon a nudge, for Han had immediately cut back on the power flow, allowing the starship to practically coast out into space.
Nevertheless, minimal though it was, the back surge of ions impacted on the Minrad ship, and as a result, the ship wobbled and rocked as it entered the bay. Both Leia and the controller, as well as most of the control booth staff, winced as the craft skidded in, landing with a none-too-gentle jarring thud. She let her face drop into a played hand, muttering, "Oh, gods," then peeked between fingers to see the ship roll sideways off the rear stabilizing fins to finally stop with all the grace and appearance of a beached R'alla whale. The princess would have been even more appalled if she could have seen the craft's interior where the ambassador was lying on his back, rocking helplessly on the curved carapace with all eight of his arms and legs waving in the air, trying to right himself.
With the frigate far enough behind them, Han kicked in the full thrusters again. The ship vibrated powerfully around them until the engines settled into a steady rhythmic thrum. "Here, Chewie." He handed his copilot the Imperial data plaque without taking his eyes from the board in front of him. "Let's see what's so important on this." Chewbacca fed it into the Falcon's boosted computers, which produced a read-out of gibberish on the screen before them. Han twisted his mouth in disgust. "Code! I should've known it wasn't going to be easy. Nothing on this scam has been easy!"
There was an undisguised weariness in Han's voice that made Chewie lay a comforting paw on his captain's shoulder. The Corellian looked up to the furry, compassionate face and sighed, blowing out a heavy, drawn breath. "It hasn't been easy, furball. I don't like doing this to Leia. I should never had listened to her fool Jedi of a brother and I should have told her." He reached back, adjusting fuel lines, switching over to solar energy. "But no-o-o." Now he was talking more to himself, trying to rationalize for the umpteenth time why he had agreed to leave his lady out of the scheme. "Luke said she wouldn't be able to pull it off...would give it away with conflicting emotions. I must have been brain-wiped at the time."
"What about your conflicting emotions?" The fierce face was gentle in its inquiry.
"My...? Ah-h-h-h, Chewie, you know I can turn feelings on and off like a relay switch."
"They usually short-circuit, especially when the princess is concerned."
Han scowled. "Thanks," he said sarcastically.
"She is going to be very angry."
With total, absolute conviction, Han replied, "She is going to kill me."
I'm going to kill him, echoed the thoughts of the Alderaan princess as she entered the diplomatic shuttle docking bay. The glaring look she received from Ackbar as well as Mon Mothma and even General Madine left her with no doubt that they knew who was to blame for the near disaster. Momentarily, she felt very alone, but then Luke arrived, right behind her.
He tapped her shoulder and whispered, "Han?"
Leia pursed her lips in annoyance, her reply equally hushed and sotto voce. "Who else?"
There was no time for further recriminations or explanations because the shuttlecraft door was opening. Looking very impressive with caps low over their eyes, the Alliance honor guard assumed a straight stance with hands held behind their backs. There was no established protocol for greeting an ambassador from the planet of Minrados as this would be the first, so a generic ceremony had been planned. See-Threepio had been of some help and he stood with the Alliance leaders, ready to assist with further advice.
With a proud, yet hard-line resolve, Leia took her place in the receiving line. If she was expected to lead, even as a royal figurehead, then, for now, lead she would. But she intended to give them more than they bargained for.
The ramp extended, allowing four Minradites to exit the shuttle. They marched out in two-by-two formation, stopping on the deck of the frigate to flank the ramp walkway. In oposable triple pincers, they held amber-colored staffs, intricately carved from a translucent, resinous material. Leia's trained mind immediately saw a galactic market for the beautiful substance and the obvious local craftsmanship; she was always looking for possible negotiation angles. With even more acutely trained observational skills, she was taking in their appearance. As any diplomat knew, the real differences between people were in the thinking processes, but much could still be learned from just appearance.
They were somewhat insectoid with two large, multifaceted eyes below a semi-circle of four smaller sensory ones. They also reminded her of a sea creature she had seen on the beaches of Alderaan, for hard chiton covered most of the body with a curved, spiky carapace that gleamed in iridescent shades of blue, purple, and green. She counted six segmented limbs, specialized for upright ambulation and manipulation, plus two smaller ones, knobby and globular in shape, folded in over a plated abdomen. From the biology tapes, Leia knew they were used in reproduction. The mouth was a pair of mandibles with sensory feelers hanging from above and below, giving them an almost comical whiskered expression, softening the overall fierceness.
Different from her, yes, she thought, but not offensive. Infinitely more attractive than a Hutt. Ever since being chained to the monstrous slug, she tended to view other races with Jabba at the bottom of her comparison scale.
The ambassador himself appeared, standing at the entrance for a moment to survey the Alliance reception. Around his shoulders, or what would have been shoulders on a humanoid, were at least a dozen multicolored scarves trailing almost to the ground, each ending in a different eleborate, hand-worked design. He harrumphed—not easy for your basic bug-eyed crab—pompously adjusted the lengths of cloth, and, apparently satisfied with the honor accorded him, started down the ramp.
Leia stifled an ill-timed groan. she had him pegged in an instant with the authoritative position and elevated status gone straight to his head. Ambassadors didn't seem to come in any other variety lately; a large percentage having silently chafed under Imperial domination and now wanting all the 'perks' that went with the title. The Minradite V.I.P. was apparently no exception. Even Mon Mothma winced, envisioning hours of kowtowing to the ambassador's whims—but only, she vowed, until those fighters were in the frigate's hangars.
Then all hearts stopped as the consular ship gave a final settling lurch. It was only a small lurch, but enough to jiggle the ramp and its lone occupant. The ambassador's large faceted eyes dilated and whirled as he was thrown off balance. The four upper limbs waved in panic while the leges criss-crossed in a frantic, uncoordinated dance. Within seconds, he was hopelessly entangled in the waving scarves and tumbling down the ramp, finally coming to rest in a very undignified, ungraceful heap between his own honor guards.
There was a second of stunned innactivity; then with staffs crossing and clattering in all directions, the Minradite guards exploded in chaotic quadruple confusion, tripping and falling over themselves in an effort to be the first one to help the new official. Mon Mothma's lower jaw sort of hung and she rolled her eyes to the stars for divine assistance as she saw her two hundred X-wings fly right out the diplomatic starboard airlock. The ambassador was slapping aside the attentions of his men and trying to regain his lost dignity; the Alliance honor detachment was struggling to keep a collective straight face; Luke, standing behind Leia, almost had to use the Force to keep himself from laughing out loud. Even Threepio had somehow managed to look aghast.
Gods of Alderaan! thought Leia as she viewed the total fiasco, What a mess! Breaking position, she strode forward, wading through the tangle of segmented appendages and hooked one small hand under a chiton-covered arm. "Ambassador Tweelzu," she purred, sounding genuinely distressed, "Let me assist you."
Not needing to be instructed, as this was his primary function, See-Threepio followed the princess in a whine of servomotors, translating in the clicking sounds the Minradites used for language and giving Leia's title and identity in the process. The official stopped his fussing, staring at Leia while Mon Mothma almost had a major stroke on the spot, seeing not only the X-wings but a whole planetary system disappearing in a diplomatic flash. But the ambassador quitely clicked his mandibles and allowed the small humanoid to help him stand.
"Your Highness," began Threepio, "He says..."
"Never mind." Leia held up a hand. "I know a thank you when I hear it." The Minradite continued to click, whistle, and clack in rapid Minradese, now brushing himself down and straightening the colored, moiré patterned scarves.
"Oh dear," muttered the droid. "He says he doesn't wonder why the Alliance needs more fighters if that's the way all our pilots fly."
Leia cringed inside with an instant of absolute fury directed towards the path of a certain Corellian freighter, but chose to take the ambassador's remark as rhetorical. "Threepio, please tell him that we're grievously sorry for the problems incurred during his ship's arrival and the Alliance will do everything it can to make sure the rest of his visit is without incident."
As Threepio complied, the princess presented Mon Mothma, Ackbar, and Madine, who were all admittedly impressed with Leia's skill in defusing a potentially disasterous situation. With the immediate amenities over, Leia again slipped her hand around the being's 'elbow' to lead him away, talking soothingly while Threepio translated. Behind them, the Minradite guards managed to reassemble themselves.
"Ambassador Tweelzu," Leia said. "Is it permissible to call you Tweelzu without the honorific? You have no idea how distressed I am by your dreadful arrival. You must let the Alliance make it up to you." She squeezed the upper limb, not knowing if the slight pressure from her small hand even made an impression on the hard chiton. "I'd like to personally show you around the headquarters frigate. We're quite proud of her, especially as she was partially built on Minrados—before the despicable Imperial takeover. We feel a kinship with your planet and it was a thrill for us to liberate the system."
Wondering why she wasn't gagging at this point, Leia shot a pained glance over her shoulder at the Alliance leaders and her brother. Luke smiled, shaking his head in sympathy, watching as his sister picked up the scarves, one by one, obviously asking questions and showing great interest in the ambassador's answers. She really was quite good at this. The last thing he heard Leia say before he returned to the shuttlecraft was, "Let's get this admittedly boring, tedious, but necessary business with the fighters and the credits over with and then I can show you just how hospitable the Alliance can be."
Han and Chewbacca were having landing problems on Minrados IV. While under Imperial control, Minrados Spaceport had been staffed with Imperial personnel. No one without Imperial clearance had been allowed to occupy a position of any importance or allowed access to any information, particularly procedures dealing with ship landing and lift-off. Consequently, the spaceport controllers now manning the port were inexperienced, unorganized, and basically making it up as they went.
"Berth one-oh-three!" exclaimed Han, when informed of the Falcon's assigned landing space. "That's hell and gone from the gates!" Mentally, he envisioned the lay-out of the spaceport. "What's the status on ground transportation?"
The answer that personal or government cabs were the only means available only added to the Corellian's growing irate frustration. On foot, it would take at least an hour to cross the field, never mind how long to the Crater's Edge. Not for the first time, he wished he knew why time was so Sithin' important, and that reminded him. "Any luck on that code yet?" he queried the Wookiee. Hunched over the computer screen, Chewie just shook his massive head, not wanting to break his concentration nor the flow of data, and instead held up a huge paw with two fingers only an inch apart, indicating he almost had it.
Han nodded, pleased something was going right. Now to see if some Corellian inspiration couldn't fix their landing problem. "Minrados Control, we need a closer berth to the gate. Ah-h-h," he hesitated, "We're transporting perishable medical serum for an outbreak of Fronk's Fever in your city's northern quadrant." Concentration or no, Chewie looked up in pained disbelief while Han shrugged in half-excuse and half-pride.
"Millennium Falcon," came the hesitant reply, "We have no word on such a mission or disease problem."
"Great!" ad-libbed Han, "That means it hasn't reached you yet. Word hasn't been put out because they don't want to start a panic. If we get the serum there in time, the outbreak could be contained. Oh, and..." he grinned at his copilot, "We'll need authorized ground transport to get to the Alliance clinic." Now Han looked just plain pleased with himself. The mental image of the inept, confused port controllers scratching their heads in doubt made him grin even wider.
"Millennium Falcon, you're cleared for berth number six on an emergency basis."
"Thank you." Han beamed as his hands moved over the Falcon's controls to start her approach and landing sequence.