The next day started out quiet, as days in these particular lives go. Casual conversation with the usual crowd of Dalsuna, Tag, Mike, and Indy present, things seemed like they just might remain quiet for a time--and a well-needed rest was necessary. As Indy was griping about her Academy cadets, Orian, started talking about a private mission to save his friend, who had been kidnapped by a former smuggling associate.
    "...captured Namon," Orian growled.
    "Who's Namon?" Indy asked.
    Orian explained. "Namon Skies. A friend of mine. We smuggled together before I signed on to the RS. He vanished aboard the Odin. I don't know how he left without the ship."
    Indy nodded, the other went along with their business, not paying much attention to Orian.
    "...but it turns out Tekhan has him." Orian finished.
    "I see. Well, you know, if I didn't have kids and if I didn't have these cadets to deal with...." Indy smiled helplessly.
    "Don't worry about it. I didn't expect you to help anyway."
    Indy frowned. "How come?"
    Mike had been paying attention and put in his two cents. "I'd definitely help, but I got the same rescue, than I got an assassination."
    Orian snorted. "Nobody would bother. Guy's got a fortress from hell. Empire built it."
    Mike laughed. "We're taking on the Merc's guild, much better defended than any Imp's."
    Orian shot Mike a glare. "Don't start trying to outdo me here, Mike." He paused. "Anyway ... it's a suicide run. I don't want anybody getting in my way anyway."
    Indy frowned.
    Tag grinned, hearing the tracers of an impossible mission in those words. "Fun!"
    "All I'd want you guys to do is ... get shot at." Orian admitted. "While I get Namon." He smirked.
    "Boy," Dalsuna said, "glad I'm not going on that mission."
    "It isn't a mission." Orian objected. "It would be a favor."
    Tag considered going off on this 'impossible' run. "Sounds interesting...."
    Orian continued. "And if I had time, I'd go kill Tekhan. But of course y'all have to be willing to avoid fire from about twelve  turrets, fire from six gun towers, near five hundred stormies, two hundred mercs..."
    Tag laughed. "Child's play."
    "... seven AT-AT's and twelve AT-ST's. And that one thing."
    Tag cocked an eyebrow, a slow smile spreading across her face. "This is beginning to sound like fun."
    Indy was only one of the several people frowning at Tag. "You're not seriously considering...."
    An unusual sound came from the corridor outside the lounge. "What was that?" Indy wondered aloud.
    "Probably a probe sent by Tekhan." Orian chuckled, merely kidding.
    Indy's frown deepened. "No....I don't think that's it...." She looked at Tag. "I think you should go..."
    Orian, not truly grasping the depth of the situation, continued to joke. "An Ewok? Droid? Random miniature bantha?"
    Tag shook her head, sighing. "Go where, Indy? They'll find me anyway."
    Indy bit her lip, drawing her blaster. "I....I don't know...."
    "I've got the Charger just outside if you need an escape," Orian offered.
    There was fire in Tag's eyes as she drew her blaster. "I'm not running this time."
    "Well hell." Orian drew his blaster, also, just wanting to shoot something. "If something shoots you shoot it back."
    Tag looked over at her fiancÚ and then at his sister. "Miranda--take Dal and get out of here. I don't want to see him get hurt anymore."
    Dalsuna looked at Tag. "I'm not leaving."
    Miranda shook her head, drawing her carbine. "I'm not leaving without my brother."
    Tag looked toward Dalsuna, her gaze pleading.
    He held firm. "I'm not leaving without you, Tag."
    Indy, Mike, and Orian voiced their dedication to stand and fight as well. Orian shrugged. "So we're all pretty much stuck here. Let's just find out what it is. Probably already left after hearing us anyway."
    Indy poked her head out the door and jerked it back in the door as a blaster bolt exploded against the jamb, sending shards of molten metal scattering all over the place. Indy gulped. "Uhm....I think we're in trouble."
    Mike swore, pulling on his armor. Orian just grinned, pulling thermal detonators from random placed and handing them out like party favors. "Hey, that's why I bring these."
    Tag drew her blaster, still looking at Dalsuna. "Dal, for heavens' sake, stay under some cover!"
    "I've been in a few light fights here and there," Dalsuna pulled out his repeating blaster and grinned at Tag. He'd put up a fight even if it killed him.
    Tag frowned heavily. "You're also hurt. Stay down, please?"
    Dalsuna flipped the couch up to a good spot and jumps behind it, using it for a firing barricade. "Happy?"
    "Sort of."
    Mike activated his helmet IR system. "Get ready for a smokescreen," he warned. With those words, he switched on the room defense smokescreen. Orian hunkered down behind the bar. Tag and Indy both put on IR headsets and readied for a fight. Tag hovered near the couch-barricade where Dalsuna and Miranda crouched while Mike and Indy were closer to the door. Indy's  voice droned out ranges. "Range.....four meters....."
    Suddenly, through her scope, Tag could easily see them. "They're coming in!"
    Mike lifted his arms, preparing his blaster and flame-thrower. "Time for burny," he said with a grim smile.
    "Keep clear of the door," Dalsuna ordered gruffly, an IR set covering his eyes as well. He had his blaster propped up on the edge of the couch, trained on the door. "This thing's got a repetition quicker than an E-web."
    Everyone sprayed the black-clad assassins who poured through the door with blaster-fire. Several of the assassins fell under the onslaught. The battle raged on until a crackling noise came from the wall behind the couch. If one turned to look at it, they could see sparks flying from the wall in a circular pattern about the size of a stormtrooper.
    "Frig! They're surrounding us!"
    The tides of battle had suddenly turned. The home team no longer had the advantage. There was only one option left.
    "We've got to get out of here," Dalsuna said.
    "I got the door," Mike called, firing again.
    Indy turned her blaster to the ceiling, shooting open a grate. She motioned upward. "Through there!"
    Dalsuna poked his head over the couch and took out another intruder before daring to look at their escape route. He  wondered how Indy expected them to get up there--not all of them were Jedi, after all.
    His questions were answered as Indy continued to set up their out by securing a rope for climbing out of the room. They began to slowly congregate under the grate, ready to jump for the rope at any moment. Indy was the first up, climbing as   Dalsuna and Miranda shoved the couch in front of the rope to use as cover. "Dalsuna," Indy yelled from above, "you're next! Get up here!"
    Dalsuna tossed his blaster to Miranda and hauled himself up the rope, joining Indy in the maintenance tunnels.
    Tag swore as part of the rear wall collapsed inward, admitting a new tide of black-clad Imperial assassins.
    Miranda immediately started blasting the Imps, joined by Orian and Tag.
    "Orian, Miranda, now," shouted Indy.
    Mike's voice joined hers. "Get up, you two!"
    "Get going Orian," Miranda snapped.
    "I got your back!" Mike shouted.
    Orian hopped over the bar, running through blaster fire to get to the rope. He fired several shots in random directions to see if he hit something before hoping up onto the rope, scampering up it rather quickly.
    Miranda kept the intruders at the back wall pinned down with a little help from Tag.
    Indy shouted down again. "Miranda!"
    "Miranda, go," Tag ordered, her stream of fire toward the back intensifying.
    In response, Miranda tossed her blasters up to Dalsuna and jumped up the rope.
    Mike swore. "They've got heavy artillery going!" He could sense the large projectile that had been fired.
    His wife screamed at him to get up the rope as Tag continued firing at the back. As the missile destroyed most of Mike's  breastplate and he passed out, he was wrenched upward with the Force from two directions--from Tag and Indy.
    Indy pointed in a direction in the tunnels. "Keep going until you get to deck nine." Shoving Mike's unconscious body behind her, she risked one last glance down, past the Losodas. "Tag! Let's go!"
    "You get going! I'll cover you!"
    Dalsuna shouted at her. "Tag! Come on!" He poked his blaster through the grate and sprayed the room with more fire before taking the thermal detonator that Orian had tossed to him at the encroaching intruders.
    "Just go!" Tag roared. "Now!"
    "I won't leave you!" Dalsuna shouted at her.
    "Indy, Miranda, get him out of here!" Tag ordered, holding her ground, making no moves at escape.
    Dalsuna felt his frustration and worry grow. "Dammit. Tag, let's go!"
    Tag shouted back. "Dal, move it now! I'm right behind you!"
    "Get moving!"
    "You first! Help Indy with Mike, he needs help more than I do. I'm right behind you."
    Dalsuna's voice was cold and dread was beginning to overtake him. Why wouldn't she just come up? "I insist, Tag--before I drop back down in there."
    Suddenly, the grate jammed back into place, sticking tight. "Get out of here!" Tag's voice roared from below.
    Dalsuna pounded the grate with his fist desperately. "Dammit Tag!" He practically screamed. "This is no time to be stubborn!"
    Over the din, the sound of a blaster clattering on the ground could be heard, followed by Tag's voice. "I surrender."
    Dalsuna went numb as his sister and friends tugged him through the tunnels and to sickbay. "Tag," he breathed, sagging against the wall next to the grate. Only her name. Only her name. Dimly, he heard Indy's words.
    "I've got a tracer on Taggie. I should have a lock on her in a few minutes...." Suddenly, there was a triumphant note in her voice, despite the fact that her best friend was gone and her husband was languishing for the next few hours in a bacta tank. "I found her!"
    At the sound of that, Dalsuna's head snapped up. "Where? Indy, where's Tag?"
    "Oh God...." Indy breathed.
    Getting up and walking over to her, Dalsuna demanded again, "Where's Tag?"
    "The Black Sky," Indy whimpered. "They took her to the Black Sky."
    "Who's 'they'?" Dalsuna asked, still slightly muddled.
    "The Imps. The Black Sky is an interdictor cruiser--Mike and I almost died there a few months back. Tag saved us both.  Now they have her..."
    Dalsuna felt his knees give way. He hugged his knees to his chest. "Tag..."
    Indy slapped a fresh power pack into her blaster. "There's no other choice," she said. "I'm going after her." She glanced at      Mike's body in the bacta tank.
    As Dalsuna began to shiver, Indy crouched down next to him. "Hey, calm down, it'll be all right."
    "Why does she have to be so damned stubborn?" He wondered aloud. He set his jaw. "I should've gone back in there."
    "If you had, all would be for naught."
    Dalsuna frowned at her words, not truly comprehending what she meant. He shook his head, grimacing in pain from the minor blaster wound in his arm. "You going to try to do this solo?"
    Indy nodded. "Yeah. I'm the only one who can. I know the ship's layout. I'll be OK."
    Miranda rested her hand on her brother's shoulder. "We should go. We can't do any good just hanging around here."
    "Yeah," Dalsuna sighed. He pounded on the floor with his fist. "I wish I could help on this one."
    Indy nodded understandingly as Miranda helped her brother up from the floor. "We'll bring her back to you, Knight," she promised.
    Dalsuna nodded reluctantly, heading for the door just ahead of his sister.
    As she watched her brother go out the door, Miranda glanced at Indy. "They're both stubborn. It's one of the things they have in common. Bring her home, Indy. We all need her."
    "I will," Indy said.
    Miranda nodded. "Thanks." She slipped out the door.

 

    Deeply pained and worn to the bone, Tag stared at her interrogators. "I'll tell you nothing, Loor," she mumbled, spitting blood out of her mouth. Her body blazed with agony and she lay limply in the interrogation chamber's lone chair, which had been set on an incline so she was at a seventy-five degree angle from the floor. Bands across her forehead, shoulders, waist, and legs held her in that chair.
    Kirtan Loor smiled at her. "You'll talk, eventually. It's all a matter of finding the right stimulus."
    "You're just as stupid as you were when you sent my parents to die in that alleyway. You made an enemy for life at that moment, Loor. I'll never talk," she croaked. Blackness clipped the edges of her vision. She was doped up to her eyebrows with interrogation drugs, and the beatings the ape in the corner had favored her with had left her bruised, broken, and bloody. She squeezed her eyes shut as Loor's face swam over hers.
    Loor's voice was a whisper. "Then here you die, Rebel. Now tell me your name."
    "Never," she hissed. "Never. You're too stupid to figure it out. Too stupid...." She drew a rasping breath and then was silent, barely breathing. Consciousness had left her.
    Loor waved a hand at the interrogation specialist. "When she wakes," he growled, "we will continue. You're dismissed."
    They left her alone then. Tag edged closer and closer to the final darkness, insensate, until someone came to her rescue....

 

    The Resistant rocked with the impact of another volley. "Fire anything we have left!" Dalsuna barked. "Don't we have any fighters?"
    "Echo Raiders have scrambled, but they're having a hard time with those TIEs out there. Count's about ten or twelve squads, sir!" called his communications officer.
    "What about reinforcements?"
    "None available."
    The ship rocked again, throwing Dalsuna away from the navigation console he'd taken--his navigator and deck officer had both been caught in an explosion earlier in the battle and were severely injured. He clawed his way back to the console. "Arm all torp and concussion missile launchers. Fire on my mark at the VSD off the starboard side and the gunboats on the port."
    "Launchers armed!"
    "...two, one, mark!"
    Their volley slammed into the already-damaged Victory-class Star Destroyer off their starboard bow. The ship--the Hornet's Nest II--began to disintegrate as the torpedoes and missiles chewed through its weak shields and into the hull.
    Off to port, several gunboats were hit, but not destroyed. The shields on two buckled and another three took critical hits to vital systems. The damaged ships that could started running after unleashing one final volley of missiles and torpedoes at the modified Marauder.
    Impact cost the Resistant gravity and sent everyone and everything that wasn't properly strapped down flying through the air--including Dalsuna. Centrifugal force shoved him up against the wall as the Resistant's engines died, leaving them spinning around in space with nothing to stop them. "I need auxiliary power to life-support and artificial gravity!" Dalsuna croaked at one of his strapped-in officers, "and I need it now!"
    A few seconds later, with all of their auxiliary power fed into the gravity and life-support systems, Dalsuna found himself staggering to his feet, still barking orders. "Communications, recall the Echo Raiders."
    "Sir, communications are down. Short-range, long-range, holocom, everything."
    Dalsuna swore softly. "Sithspawn. Do we have intra-ship?"
    "Yes sir, for the moment."
    "Good. Tell Commander Selan to work on the comm systems and tell me the instant they're working again--long range comm is our priority. Do we have sensors?"
    "Yes, sir," the tactical officer piped. "The Echo Raiders' fighters are detaining the damaged ships. Doesn't look like they're panicking, but I think they realize that things are wrong."
    Tag's people...they should. As pain blossomed in his chest at the idea of Tag, Dalsuna banished those thoughts. "They're good people. I think they know what to do. Full damage report,"
"Buckling of the hull on our starboard wing, doesn't look too bad. Hull breaches on Decks three and four, emergency magcon fields are working for the moment. Ehh.... CU pulse controls are fused, but we managed to fire all five of our ready warheads. Missle bays are empty, no odinance. Engines non functional, looks like the starboard powercore has overheated and melted down. Five of Twelve turbolasers non functional. All six anti starfighter batteries non functional. Sensors are failing. Life support is holding. Emergency power is online and stable, looks like Auxilary power is still alright if we can reroute the feeds to the engines and get some main power online."
    Dalsuna sighed, wiping the blood out of his vision. They had left for patrol an hour earlier, but as soon as they circled around the moon they caught an Imperial fleet preparing to jump out of the system. An Interdictor was spotted just leaving the system. The Resistant had fought off an entire Imperial fleet by itself, with minimal fighter support. At least two Imperial Star Destroyers lay in the debris field, on fire and unpowered. Another three were heavily damaged before they withdrew. Smaller support ships were minorly damaged in passing. The battle had cost much for the Imperials, but more for Dalsuna and his crew aboard the Resistant. Without a comm system, they would not beable to call for help if they needed it.
    "I'm heading down to engines. I'll have to see if I can't get them back online. When I do, I'll let you all know." He glanced at a young tech with a soot-smeared face. Chief Tyquinn Myzek had come up to replace the Resistant's badly injured deck officer during the battle. "Mister Myzek," Dalsuna said, his voice grating in his throat. "See if you can't find a ship that's in shape to fly. Let me know if and when you do." With those words, Dalsuna disappeared down an access hatch, heading down to find a way to fix their off-line engines.
    Selan caught up with him in the corridor. "Comm antenna is almost gone, but we have short range if we get power to the systems."
    "Good," Dalsuna paused, "Maybe we can get the engines running so we don't fall into the moon," they descended two decks and into the engineering section. When he left the bridge, it had been strewn with parts of consoles and datapads, the aft engineering section was littered with hydrospanners and tools of all sorts. Some were placed there by some techs, others were placed randomly by combat.
    "Right," Selan said expression turning darker, "Number one power core is offline. The word is that it's completely baked. Cryo-systems couldn't handle the work you bridge buddies were putting them through. But considering the mashing we gave the Imps, I think it'll be well worth it."
    "Yeah. I hope Tag's alright. How's our computer system?" Dalsuna stopped and reached up, opening a lach in the ceiling. An access door popped open and a three rung ladder dropped into place, at neck height.
    Selan chuckled, "It says: 'We're doomed',"
    "Perfect," Dalsuna grumbled sarcastically as he grabbed the upper rung and hauled himself up into the compartment.

 

    It was almost another ten hours before Dalsuna made it back to the sickbay on board the Imladris. He was dirty and grimy and he knew it, but he didn't care. He had to know--had Miranda made it safely out of the firezone with Dragon Squadron and the Bullian quadruplets? More importantly--had Indy been successful in her attempt to rescue Tag?
   Within an instant of entering sickbay, he knew the answers to both questions. Miranda was there, with Mike and Indy and     Deadmeet, sitting around a small table drinking cups of caf. Tag was there, too--lying in a bunk asleep, covered in blankets. Dalsuna barely hesitated a heartbeat before rushing over and holding his unconscious fiancee against him, his eyes closed tight.     He vowed never to come this close ever again....
    Mike, who was watching, winced. "Careful there, Dal."
    Dalsuna's heart thundered against his ribs. "What happened?"
    Mike set down his mug. "Torture....and some of that real rim surgery."
    For a moment, Dalsuna was silent. Then, he eased Tag back down onto her pillows, staring down at her bruised face, wondering, with his black eye and bruised cheekbone as well as the cut across his forehead, if he looked much better than she did. He shook his head. "Can we ever have a normal day together?" he asked her, knowing she wouldn't answer him. It didn't matter. She was here, and she was safe, and he was with her. That was all that mattered at the moment.
    That and finding out who'd done this to her.
    Dalsuna looked at Mike, "Who did this?"
    Mike frowned slightly. "The torture, or the surgery?"
    "Both."
    "The torture was all Imperial," Mike told him. He was relating what Indy had told him after her return and after they'd treated Tag. "Indy says she thought she saw Loor... and I did the surgery."
    "How many ships did you see?" Dalsuna demanded.
    Indy spoke up. "Just the Black Sky. Why?"
    Dalsuna looked down at his blood- and engine grease-spattered uniform. "When I went up to the Resistant, I saw a lot more than that. They were packing. When we were heading out to Minos, we saw a large taskforce. We identified the Black Sky just before it left the system. Then we tore into the imps."
    Deadmeet spoke up. "Good. Impies deserve a thrashing."
    Dalsuna ignored the comment. "We hit some larger ships and disabled a couple."
    Mike nodded thoughtfully. "Hmmm, perhaps a full blown assault may be in order...."
    Deadmeet got excited at the prospect of blasting an Imperial fleet as Dalsuna continued, perching on the edge of Tag's bunk. "We managed to get some prisoners...."
    Mike looked at the other man. "Do you need them interrogated Dal?"
    "Ooh, let me help!" That was Deadmeet.
    Dalsuna nodded. "They're being detained by fleet. We don't have names, nor did we round them up--our fighter cover was minimal, and after the battle, we didn't have comm with them. Before that, we had eight to twelve squads swarming us, and Tag's pilots were all we had to keep the off us."
    Mike's brow furrowed. "Why didn't you launch the Dragons?"
    "Because when I sent Miranda with your kids back here, they needed the fighter screen."
    "Ahhh," Mike nodded, understanding. Miranda hadn't told them much. "Thanks for that."
    Dalsuna shook his head and sighed. "The Resistant needs dry-dock--for a long while. I burned out one of the powercores."
    "There's a drydock at Tertius Prime...." Indy said slowly.
    Dalsuna hadn't heard her and kept talking. "We took some heavy hull damage. I think it was the last round of warheads the gunboats fired at us. It sent us spinning... but the Impies didn't come after us. We gave them a good licking."
    "You want me to take a look at the Resistant? I might be able to get it running," Mike offered.
    Dalsuna shook his head slowly. "She is running. Selan got her back in orbit, and we've got some people patching her up right now..."
    "That's good. I'd rather stay here anyway."
    Dalsuna couldn't blame him. Sickbay aboard the Imladris seemed to be the safest place around lately--a haven for them all. "I was thrown over the consoles in the last hit... we kind of lost gravity and..." Blackness suddenly overwhelmed him, and he slumped off the edge of the bed, hitting the ground with a dull thump.
    Mike swore regretfully, abandoning his caf in the wake of Miranda and Indy. Miranda reached her brother first and used a medical scanner to do a quick injury assessment. "He just hit his head... mild concussion. Looks like a few bumps and bruises... nothing else."
    Mike nodded. "Oh good, at least that's not too serious....."
    "We've had enough of 'serious' the past few days," Indy remarked bitterly.
    Miranda shook her head at her half-conscious brother, figuring she knew what had happened. "That's what you get for not strapping down."
    As Indy went and got a bag of ice, Miranda explained.
    "The bridge crew stations have five point harnesses--we've lost gravity from time to time, so they're good to have around."
    Frowning, Indy knelt back down. "And he didn't use any of them? Taggie'll kill him."
    Miranda frowned as well. "I'm not sure...he should've been."
    On the floor, Dalsuna came around, opening his eyes and staring at the ceiling. "I feel tired." He closed his eyes again. "Damn...should've taken the time to strap in. The flight control console blew up and took out my deck officer. The explosion caught our navigator as well. I had to take control of the ship." He wiped the still-undried sweat from his brow with his sleeve, frowning as it came away bloody.
    "I've got to go check on Tag." Indy excused herself from the conversation and straightened, turning to look over the unconscious commander lying in the bed behind them.
    Mike took out a medkit, despite Dalsuna's protest.
    "It's just a little cut."
    Deadmeet frowned at him from across the room. "You don't need to loose any more blood."
    Mike nodded in agreement. "And as small of a cut as it may be, it needs to be cleaned out."
    Dalsuna wrinkled his nose at Deadmeet and Mike. "I've got enough for the time being...it's already stopped..." He winced as Mike took a swab of peroxide to the cut on his forehead. The stinging eased as a small bandage was applied. Dalsuna caught the edge of Tag's bed with his hand and drew himself up to his feet as Miranda reentered sickbay after taking a short walk to the observation deck while her brother was distracted.
    "What'd you do to my ship?" she demanded.
    Dalsuna stared at her levelly. "My ship..."
    Miranda rolled her eyes. "Fine.. I don't care... what did you do to it?"
    "I taught some Impies a lesson--don't bring a fleet into my view. Besides, the Resistant is in one piece--more or less."
    "Dal, come over here," Indy said quietly, watching as Tag started coming out of the anesthesia that had kept her unconscious after her surgery.
    Dalsuna started turning immediately, but his sore body and strained muscles refused to move all that quickly.
    Indy leaned over Tag. "How are you feeling?"
    With one eye open, Tag mumbled, "Don't ask," and closed her eye again, sighing.
    By that time, Dalsuna had fully turned, and he looked down at Tag, his gaze hopeful. "Tag?"
    Tag opened unfocused and hazed mismatched eyes. She squinted up at him. "Dal? Is that you?"
    He smiled in relief. "Yeah. I've been thinking....about our wedding." He paused as Mike put his hand on his shoulder.
    "Dal I don't think this is the best time...."
    Dalsuna ignored him and continued speaking. "I took some time to...well...I'll let you decide." He grinned. "Do you think we should have a weapons check at the door or not?"
    Tag smiled faintly. "Might be a good idea."
    He chuckled. "I'm thinking no... we might need them before the ceremony is done." He leaned over and kissed her forehead. "You look almost as bad as I did yesterday."
    Tag mumbled something to him about him looking like something a Jawa dragged in before beginning to drift off again.
Dalsuna, taking the hint, stumbled over to a sink and started to wash the grime off his face. After a few minutes, he found himself coughing and retching, his lungs spasming in an attempt to clear away the heavy soot that still lingered in his airways. "Ohhh..." he choked out, "smoke is not good for the lungs." He leaned on the rim of the sink, splashing the cool water over his face, washing away the grime and blood as best he could as he continued his narration about his battle. "We spent about an hour spinning in space before we got the comm system running again. Selan worked on the comm while I did my best to get the engines working again." Almost as an afterthought, he added, "By the way... your belongings might have been somewhat tossed around...I guess I should have told you to stow everything away."
    Indy shook her head as she tucked another blanket over Tag, who was sleeping again. "I'm not going to worry about that."
    Dalsuna turned off the water. "Been a while since we lost gravity... the fish in my quarters must've had a fun ride...if they're not flipping around on the floor."
    Miranda had reclaimed her seat and mug, taken out a large datapad, and started going over the repair list for the Resistant. She looked up at her brother, shaking her head. "Amazing how three hundred plus warheads can disappear in a one hour battle."
    Dalsuna grinned, toweling his face dry. "Put to good use. Won't be using most of those ships soon."
    Orian poked his head into the room. "How's the injured?"
    "They'll both survive, I think," Indy reported to Orian.
    Orian wandered into the room. "Can I hear the whole story? I've been busy playing with the computers back there."
    Dalsuna turned to Mike, knowing what the other man wanted to do. "Mike, they might even be stranded out on the rim of the system. We hit their engines pretty hard. You might be able to find them and pick them off without a whole lot of trouble."
    Indy glanced at Mike "You gonna try?"
    "Are you telling me I missed a good fight?" Orian frowned heavily.
    "What do you think?" Mike took out a datapad and throws up a quick battle plan.
    Dalsuna rubbed his chin. "If their drives did fail, they can't be too far away. They lost about six squadrons of fighters and two capital ships in our scrap..."
    Deadmeet frowned, slightly confused, "We doing a search party?"
    Mike had an excited smile on his face. "I'm definitely gonna kick some Impy ass, but I need volunteers."
    Dalsuna shook his head. "Resistant's not going anywhere. I'm not leaving Tag, either." He flipped a datapad to Mike as several of the other volunteered for the mission. "These are their last known vectors. If you hurry, you can still catch them."
    Mike, Deadmeet, and Orian withdrew from sickbay, heading for the lounge to talk IronMan into helping them kick Imperials and plan their assault. Indy took out her scanner and began checking over Tag, while Dalsuna remained silent, his hand clasping Tag's warmly.
    Miranda looked up from her datapad. "Dal, what did you do to the powercore?
    "It melted down."
    Miranda sighed heavily. "Damn... that will take the longest to fix."
    Indy put away her scanner and tapped Dalsuna's shoulder, getting his attention. "Looks like your fiancee will survive, but I'd not let her get too active."
    Dalsuna smiled wryly. "I'll try not to, but you know her...you tell her to stay out of trouble, and it has a tendency to find her."
    Indy smiled gently. "Yes I do know her--and when she's this bad off...she tends not to push things too far."
    It was then that Tag coughed and winced, waking again. Dalsuna turned and looked down at her, smiling faintly. She stared up at him for a moment before saying, "You're a mess."
    Dalsuna laughed. "If I'm a mess... you're a what's left after orbital bombardment."
    Waxen-faced but amused nonetheless, Tag smiled. "Dal...kiss me, please?"
    "No problems there," Dalsuna smiled, then leaned down and kissed Tag on the lips
    Tag sighed painfully, trying to forget what's happened in the past few days, to remember only the good things.
    Dalsuna looked down at Tag. "Are you all right?"
    Tag smiled ruefully . "It hurts."
    Dalsuna brushed some hair off of his fiancee's face. "I know." He perched on the edge of her bunk.
    Indy tapped Dalsuna on the shoulder and motioned for him to move. "I'm going to take Tag to the Sanctuary."
    Tag sighed, regretful. Her fingers tightened around Dalsuna's hand. "Oh, Dal....give me a kiss, honey....apparently, I'm begin sent back to the Sanctuary."
    Dalsuna leaned over and kissed her warmly. "I'll come with you tonight... there's nothing I can do with the Resistant."
    Tag smiled up at him. "All right."

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