Shadow Phoenix

By Armand Banooni and April Randall

Date: Monday, June 10, 2002 10:22 PM

(Note: This is before Midalah's rescue party leaves Nebula and returns to 
Port Lansing, to clear up any confusion.)

Lon closed his eyes for a moment wanting to give in to the exhaustion and 
just fall asleep right there, but something was nagging at him.  He still 
had things to do.

He stayed there with his eyes closed for a moment practicing the deep 
breathing exercises he was taught, trying to will the exhaustion to leave 

He then rose to his feet in one smooth move and blinked his eyes a few 
times.  He had to go see to his ship...or what was left of it.

Lon went to his ship, the Shadow Phoenix, still sitting in the gardens of 
the palace on Nebula, and slowly began to gauge the extent of the damage.

Mia caught movement out of the corner of her left eye.  She looked through 
the cockpit window to see a man circling the ship.  His clothes were torn 
and bloody, and she vaguely remembered him from earlier.  Hadn't he been 
piloting the ship then?

She reached over and pushed a button on the panel to release the hatch that 
led into the ship.  Mia sat back to await his arrival in the cockpit.

Lon heard the characteristic whine of the hatch opening.  Banishing a quick 
thought that he needed to fix that squeak, he headed toward it.  "Looks like 
she's rolling out the red carpet to my own ship."  He reached the cockpit 
and smiled his trademark crooked smile.  "Permission to come aboard, 

Mia stared at him.  "This is your ship, isn't it?" she asked, her eyebrows 

"Yup, last I checked.  Thanks to your piloting it still is."

Mia turned back to look at the controls.  "It doesn't have much in the way 
of hacking, but it's got nice firepower and maneuverability," she informed 

Lon all but flopped down into a chair with his leg dangling over the side.  
"I'm glad you were able to make use if it.  Hacking?"

"It would have come in handy if I'd been able to hack into the control ship 
for each team.  Most of the ships I destroyed were droid-controlled by an 
actual person located in the group.  I ended up guessing," her voice 
hardened.  "I don't like guessing when my life is on the line."

"You know this ship was designed to be able to fight if need be, but not to 
take on an armada.  You did well with what you had.  Sometimes you just 
gotta...use the force?"

She shook her head definitively.  "Nope."

"Ok, then sometimes you just have to take your best guess."

"And it was a lucky thing I guessed right, or your ship wouldn't be sitting 
here right now."  Mia looked to the cockpit exit and back to him.  "How's 
the queen and...who are you, anyway?"

"Ships can be replaced.  She will be fine.  She's got some minor burns I 
think and needs rest."  He looks surprised. "You mean you don't know me?"

"I have no idea who any of you are.  I was hired by a 'Tara Alderson.'  Know 

His exhaustion catching up with him a bit, Lon started laughing loud and 
hard. When he got himself under some control he replied, "Yeah I know her."

"Did I say something funny?" she asked, a little irritated.

Lon rubbed his eyes and brought the aftershocks of giggling he still had to 
a stop.  "No.  Not unless you knew the whole story and hadn't gotten any 
sleep in 4 days.  It's just that Tara seems to be pulling my bacon out of 
the fire a lot lately.  Or at least sending someone else to do it.  The 
name's Lon Solo by the way.  What's yours?"

"Mia Jesbar."  She turned away from him and back to the control panel, 
pulling up readings from several tests she'd done.

"Hey look, I've had a really long day.  I'm sorry if I offended you.  I 
really appreciate your help.  A lot."

She turned back to look at him.  "I'm not offended," she replied, almost 
amused.  "I just have better things to do than to talk about myself.  You 
know my name, and that's more than enough."

"I see.  You'd rather do tests on a computer?"

"A computer doesn't talk back," she replied simply.  "It does exactly what 
you want it to do.  I find them easier to deal with than some people."  She 
pulled up a reading on one of the screens.  "Speaking of computers, your 
ship looks fine.  No system damage, just some scratches on the outer hull."

"Like I said...thanks to your piloting.  Should be an easy fix.  Where did 
you learn to pilot so well, anyway?"

She avoided answering as she sat back in her chair, folding her arms.  "From 
an acquaintance.  What do you do for a living?"

"Ok, don't wanna say.  That's fine.  I'm a pilot and I transport things."

For the first time, Mia smiled, truly amused.  "Ah, transporting.  I've 
heard it's a lucrative business."

"It can be," Lon said smiling.

"How long have you been transporting?"

"Most of my life."

"That's a long time."

"Yup.  So what will you do now?"

She blew out her breath.  "Get back to Port Lansing as soon as possible, get 
paid, and go back home."

"Where is home?"

"A ship," she answered simply.

"You live on a ship?"

She furrowed her brows.  "Yeah, but that's only when I'm not out doing a 
job.  Is there something wrong with that?" she asked, once again annoyed.

"Didn't say there was.  I mean that would be awfully judgmental of me to say 
that, wouldn't it?"

"Yeah, it would," she said shortly.  Mia looked again to the cockpit exit.  
"How long do we have to wait for the others to get here?"

Lon rubbed the back of his neck.  "I'm not sure.  Ricia was hurt and the 
rest of us are exhausted from the fight.  Is there anything I can do for 

She frowned as she looked closer at the blood stains that dotted his 
clothes.  "No, but it looks like I can do something for you," she said, 
standing up.  "Where's your medkit?"

"I'm not hurt that badly."

Mia shook her head.  "Let me guess.  You skipped medical treatment so you 
could come check out your ship?  I know it all too well because I would have 
done the same thing.  Now where's the medkit?"

Lon pointed to a compartment next to the pilot's chair.  "So you're saying 
we're a lot alike."

Mia knelt down to open the compartment as she threw him a glance of 
disbelief.  "Don't count on it."  She began to rummage through the 
compartment, looking for any sort of medical supplies.

"So then if not, tell me about you then.  Why so tight lipped?"

Mia rolled her eyes again but didn't look up.  Finally, she spotted a medkit 
and pulled it out.  "Here we go," she said, standing up and opening it.

"So not to sound ungrateful, but do you know what you're doing with that 

"You mean these?"  Mia held up a sharp pair of miniature snips close to his 
face.  "Yes.  I know how to use them, as well as pretty much everything else 
in here."  She dug around until she found cleaning ointment, then dabbed 
some on a cloth.  "Ready?"

He didn't flinch as she brandished the snips close to his face.  She'd have 
ample opportunities to kill him thus far if she had wanted to.  He did 
however let out a sigh when she took out the ointment.  He knew from 
experience that stuff stung like Bantha Nettles.

"Hit me."

Mia let out a short, humorless laugh.  "You thought I was actually going to 
hurt you with these?"  She motioned towards the pair of snips and shook her 
head, then reached forward and placed the bandage on a small cut on his 

Lon winced as she pressed the bandage on his head.  "Yeah, why kill me quick 
with the snips when you can torture me with bandages first?"

"It's a lot more fun this way.  You've never been tortured?"

Lon got serious when she asked him that question.  Though he tried, he just 
wasn't able to joke about that subject.  He answered her in a suddenly sober 
voice.  "Actually I have."

Mia stared at him for a moment, then quickly turned away to the medkit.  She 
put more ointment on a fresh bandage and turned back to face him, not 
knowing what to say.  "I'm sorry," she said quietly.

"No, it's ok.  You had no way to know.  I'm sorry I actually brought it up 
first.  I didn't mean to upset you.  I guess I should go."  He made a move 
to get up even though she hadn't finished bandaging him.

Mia took a step back, surprised at his sudden movement.  "I'm not done 
treating you yet."

"You've already been really kind and we owe you a lot..II..."  Lon was 
suddenly overwhelmed by all the events of the day compounded by his severe 
fatigue.  Not knowing what to say, he slumped back down into the chair.

Mia cursed under her breath.  "You're not going into shock, are you?"

Lon blinked and looked at her.  "Huh...oh no.  I'm just so tired.  Tired of 

She sighed.  "What exactly are you tired of?" she asked as she reached 
forward to clean another cut.

"A lot of things."

"Now who's being tight-lipped?"

"It's a two way street, right?"

She gave him a wry look.  "I guess I deserved that."

Lon shrugged a bit.  "Look, I'm not trying to be mean about it but you kinda 
have to give trust to get it.  A minute ago you didn't want to tell me 
anything, right?"

"Let's just say whenever I play medic I usually find it easier if I can get 
the patient to talk about themselves.  Makes 'em sit still longer."

"Interesting approach.  How about a new one?"

She frowned at him, reaching for a bandage she could place over a small, 
open wound.  "What do you mean?" she asked absent-mindedly.

"How about you talk about yourself?"

She shook her head.  "No.  Why are you so insistent?"

"Because I'm curious about you.  In the heat of battle, this lone woman 
helps us out of nowhere, grabs the helm of my ship, and single-handedly 
beats a hoard of other ships.  Tell me that doesn't make for an interesting 
back story?"

Mia suddenly smiled widely, about to laugh.  "I can just see you telling 
that story in some backwater cantina."

"You can bet on it.  So how about it?"

She grew serious.  "You have to understand that I don't tell people about 
myself.  The more they know about you, the more they know about your 
weaknesses.  I'm new to this part of the galaxy and I want as few enemies as 

"Then you're in the wrong line of work.  You can be sure by helping us you 
made some enemies today.  But I understand.  I won't press you anymore."

"You know, you can do me a favor.  You can tell me about this Corporate 
Sector.  Where did they come from?  How powerful are they?  Are they 
Imperial or Rebel-aligned?"

"They're on their own side.  The Empire let them be for too long and they've 
grown really powerful.  It sounds like they're making a killing on keeping 
this war going and they love it."

"Great," Mia said dryly, "so there's a third side now."  She looked at him 
closely.  "Do you support either the Empire or the Alliance?"

"Isn't that a bit personal?"

Mia frowned as she finished up the bandage.  This wasn't the answer she'd 
been expecting.  "All right.  If you tell me, then you can ask me any 
question you want and I'll answer it for you."

"Fair enough.  I'm pursuing training as a Jedi.  Does that help?"

She stared at him.  "You're a Force user?" she asked in disbelief, then 
turned slammed the medkit shut.

Lon looked confused.  "Something I said?"

"I don't like Force users," she explained.  "They have the ability to make 
you do things you don't want to do and they make a mess of everything with 
their powers."

Mia stopped and thought back to the Jedi who had tried to help her earlier 
by slamming two of the ships together.  "Although," she said in a softer 
voice, "I guess not all Force users are that bad.  I've heard you can trust 
the word of a Jedi."

"Why is it do you think that I want to be a Jedi?"

Mia knelt down to put the medkit away.  "I have no idea.  What would possess 
someone to join a group that tells them what to do?"

"Did you always know how to defend yourself?"

"Not always, but for long enough," she answered after a moment.  Mia sat 
back down in her original chair, facing him.  He certainly didn't look like 
a Jedi.

"But someone taught you?"

She nodded.  "And you need someone to teach you how to use your Force 
powers," she realized.

"And thereby may be able to defend myself a bit better."

"I can respect that," Mia said slowly.  "But a Force user could still use 
their powers against me, and I wouldn't have any defense against it.  That's 
what I don't like."

"Believe me, I know how you feel.  That's one of the reasons I'm doing it.  
Besides, the powers usually work on the weak minded."

"Are you trying to imply something about me?"  Mia's eyes narrowed.  "I've 
been trying for the past few years to build up a sort of mental block 
against Force mind tricks.  Hopefully it will do *some* good."

"Well yes, I am trying to imply something.  But not what you think.  I think 
you're stronger than you give yourself credit for."

Mia didn't answer for a few moments.  She had no idea what to make of this 
Solo character, but now he was complimenting her?  "Thanks," she finally 
decided on.

He smiled his crooked smile at her "Welcome. turn."

"Go ahead, ask away."

"What's the most reliable way to contact you?"

Mia sighed.  She should have seen this coming.  "You can contact the ship 
Parallax.  Happy now?"

"Maybe a little."

Lon stood up slowly once more.  "I thank you for the chat and your medical 
expertise, but I have some other things I have to do before we leave the 

"Do you want me to prep the ship for takeoff?" she asked him.

"Not quite yet.  You any good with repairs?" Lon smiles

"Not really," she confessed.  "I thought I hadn't destroyed your ship that 

"You didn't.  Damage is superficial.  It won't take too long when there's 

"Good.  Well, it was nice to meet you."  Mia watched him from her chair.

"And you as well.  We'll see each other again.  I'm sure of it."

"In this universe, anything's possible," she agreed.

Lon turned and shuffled out of the cockpit and could be heard yawning.

Mia shook her head, smiling, and sat back to await their return to Port 

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