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[personal profile] catlinyemaker
No spoilers other than companion names.  (As a complete aside, just for sheer geeky goodness, here's Adiira and Quinn.)


Jaesa and Vette had their heads together over a datapad when Adiira and Malavai finally made their weary way back onto the ship. Once you were aboard the shuttle to the orbital with its climate controlled environment, it was easier to carry the cold weather gear than to wear it. Arms laden with environmental suits, they cycled through the airlock and gladly dropped their bundles onto the temporary workbench that Adiira had designated for servicing and storing the suits.

Adiira sank into a seat with a groan and pulled off her boots with hands that were chapped and red. Jaesa moved silently to the galley and came back with a mug that steamed, setting it ready at her master’s hand. Adiira nodded her thanks and wrapped both hands around the mug, breathing in the steam and closing her eyes. She stretched out to full extension in the seat, head pressed against the back of the couch.

“Someone turn the heat up another five degrees, please.” She heard the droid bustle over to the controls.

As her feet warmed more thoroughly it woke new pain; she reached down and grasped her toes, then stripped her stockings off too, and studied them. The cold had left chilblains in its wake; they were bruised and red and swollen.

Malavai tched from over her shoulder as he caught sight of the damage. He left the lounge for the medbay, came out shortly carrying a basin, and knelt at her feet. He rolled up her trousers, then gently picked up one foot at a time and set them in the warm kolto soak. One hand remaining on her knee, he looked up and spoke.

“My lord. We are not operating at peak efficiency by any means. The severe cold on Hoth is far too wearing. For the good of the crew and the mission, I strongly recommend that we take a short rest and recovery break.”

Vette looked up at that. “I know what we could do!” she cried, waving the datapad. Jaesa smiled, evidently anticipating the Twi’lek’s next words.

“My friends on Nar Shaddaa? The ones with the museum and all? They’re throwing a party, and they invited all of us.”

“What’s more,” Jaesa continued, picking up where Vette left off, “it’s a masquerade party. A fancy dress ball at the museum.” She went on, sotto voce: “It sounds like fun…”

Adiira’s eyebrows went up at that. “A charity ball? Hardly sounds like a pleasant time.”

“Nope,” Vette smirked. “At the museum, not for the museum. They finally landed a rich donor, and they’re celebrating, looks like.”

Adiira looked around the room at her friends. Vette looked eager, Jaesa hopeful, Malavai reserved. “Quinn? What do you think?”

“It hardly matters what we do, my lord, so long as we are away long enough to heal completely.” A small smile lit his face. “A party, with no purpose but entertainment? I think that might be an enjoyable change.”

“From people trying to shoot us in a frozen wasteland?” she asked, raising a wry eyebrow.

“Indeed,” he replied, with a private grin just for her.

She caught a soft “please” from Jaesa. That made up her mind. It would be good to get away, and the thought of a masquerade party was… intriguing. What would it be like, going among people who had no idea what she was - what she could do? Pretending to be just a civilian? She’d had a small taste of that, dizzy and weak as she’d been, when Malavai had escorted her from the Thul medbay in a borrowed tunic. If she had been more aware, she might have enjoyed it more. This sounded like another chance; maybe it would be fun.

“What shall we do for costumes?” she asked finally. Jaesa clapped her hands. Vette frowned in concentration, fingers busy on the datapad, and finally nodded as she brought up a holo display.

“We could go as a Jedi and her entourage!” she said, pointing to the display.

Adiira groaned. “Too much like work,” she said, waving the suggestion off.

The display flickered and settled. “Balmorran freedom fighters?”

“Ugh.” Malavai rejected that idea.

“Alderaanian nobles?” Jaesa wrinkled her nose and shook her head no.

“A Hutt and his dancers?” Adiira looked up startled at that to meet Vette’s snarkiest grin, and the room exploded in laughter.

The uproar fetched Pierce from wherever he’d been; leaning in the doorway, he looked over the group.

“Something up?” he asked.

“We’ve been invited to a party on Nar Shaddaa,” Adiira explained. “It’s a costume ball some friends of Vette’s are hosting. The invitation is for the whole crew, would you like to attend?”

“Nar Shaddaa, eh?” he rumbled, “I have people there too, my lord. Think I’ll pay them a visit instead if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all; if you’d rather visit friends that’s fine,” Adiira said. He responded with a half bow and turned to go.

“Just as well,” Vette muttered under her breath as his footsteps receded. “That guy gives me the creeps.”

Adiira shot her a reproving look. Turning her thoughts back to the party, she said: “surely there must be something that would be easy to do. No non-humanoids, I think. No fur suits.”

“Pirates!” Vette bounced in her seat; Jaesa nodded agreement.

“Pirates... a pirate crew,” Adiira said thoughtfully. Her mouth curved into a sly grin and she went on with a wink, “and Quinn can be our Pirate King.” He cocked an eyebrow at her and she smiled sunnily back at him, unrepentant.

“Is there anything too pressing on Hoth? Can we leave soon?” she asked him.

Malavai consulted his datapad. “We can leave now, if you like. There’s nothing that would be harmed by a few days break.”

“Make it so, would you, Quinn? I don’t intend to move from here until we arrive someplace warmer.” Adiira nestled back into the couch, sipping her tea and wiggling her toes in the kolto soak. Malavai nodded and left the lounge for the helm, while Vette and Jaesa conferred over the datapad, still discussing their costumes from what she could drowsily overhear.


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