Kari gave a long, low sigh.
She was bored.
It had been four days since she had finished Quan’s lightsaber; a project which had consumed her totally. She had poured every waking moment, every thought, into its design and construction.
And now it was finished.
And she had her time and thoughts back and no direction to push them in.
The woman had used the day after handing the weapon over to Quan working on Reggie. He now moved a little faster, though could still be outpaced easily by most species, and she had managed to upgrade the strength of shield he would project – This had been distracting, and she enjoyed spending time with the little droid, but the complexity and freshness of the task could not compare to constructing a lightsaber.
Since then she had found herself slipping into a boredom induced depression. Like a drug addict, she had enjoyed the dizzying highs of working on the ancient weapon, now the downer had set in and the world seemed like a drearier place.
As though shuffling around in a world of grey was not enough, Valin was avoiding her. She didn’t know why, exactly, but she assumed he was feeling awkward about the trap in the mines. She frowned slightly as she pondered how long her exile would last.
Kari loved her brother; of course she did. But sometimes he didn’t think about the consequences of his action. In his mind, no doubt, he was avoiding an embarrassing “I told you so” from his little sister. To her, he was denying the only human contact on the ship she could actually talk to at a time when she felt empty. Void of purpose.
She tried to remind herself that it was not his intention.
She currently sat in the cockpit watching the spiralling blue of hyperspace rush past her. For the twentieth time in half an hour she checked their speed and fuel consumption, sighing again as she found them well within expected limits. Spinning in her seat she looked at the ceiling, desperately wracking her brains for something to do: she could not work on the hyperdrive while it was in operation, she did not have the parts she needed to continue upgrading the guns, the mysterious drive which occupied so much of the ship was always an option, but it had not been programmed in standard, so she would require Kaz’s protocol droid to communicate with it and that, in turn, meant A) speaking with Kaz or B) waiting until he was off the ship.
Option B, her mind decided instant, almost before it had finished forming the idea. Grudgingly, Kari realised that after another day or two of feeling like this she may reassess this notion.
Spinning slowly back and forth on the chair, as far as the associated consoles would allow her, she blew out a lungful of air and dropped her head again. As she did, she found herself looking at the navigations computer; her eyes followed the line charting their course and watched for a moment as the small blip representing the Ghost moved along it a tiny amount.
Sitting forwards, she tilted her head to one side slightly, looking at the image and the numbers on the small screen, the green icons bathing her face in a luminescent glow. Kari leaned in slowly, resting her forearms on her knees as her brow furrowed.
“That’s not right…” she muttered to herself, getting up from her chair and walking over to the computer, sitting herself down at it and rechecking her figures. Getting up again, she moved to the vacant pilot’s chair and brought the ship out of hyperspace, coming to a full stop.
The woman knew a mistake had been made, but was not confident in correcting it; she was relatively competent at astronavigation, but with a former combat pilot on board, she was aware she was not the most qualified, so she waited.
It did not take Quan long to appear, having felt the ship stop moving. Kari heard the familiar clanking of someone running up the metal steps to the cockpit, and turned to face, “What is it? What’s wrong?” the man asked as he burst into the small room. She could see a mild panic in his eyes as he looked past her into the space beyond, clearly expecting to see an Imperial Interdictor-class cruiser ahead of them. Seeing nothing, he looked to Kari, who pointed in silence at the NaviComm.
Quan moved to the console, settling himself down into the chair and, just as she had minutes before, reviewed the figures and their trajectory, “Ah…” he said, before glancing up at Kari, a slight rosiness tinting his usually stalwart face, “We’re going the wrong way…”
She nodded her agreement.
“Must have made an error in the rush to escape” he explained, already moving to correct his mistake.
Kari came to stand next to him, crouching down so that she could watch.
He glanced at her and smirked “You’re always learnin’ huh? Always looking to absorb some new information”
She nodded again.
“No harm in that, I guess,” he conceded, before adding with a light chuckle, “ I swear, Kari, one day you’re gonna to know just about everything there is to know!”
She blushed, glancing away for a long moment.
“Well…maybe not everything…” he thought to himself; wondering if even the most basic of interactions would ever be possible for the young lady. He forced the concerns from his head and offered a gentle smile, trying to reinforce that he had been teasing, then, turning back to the computer, he started to explain what he was doing; rather than simply and mechanically going through the motions, as he had so often since the Clone Wars. He talked her through plotting the course, explained the number combinations she needed to work with in order to find the optimal route, and how to compensating for large stellar bodies. He also revealed a few personal tricks he had picked up along the way.
Kari said nothing, but he could tell from the wide eyed expression on her face that she was listening attentively; no doubt her brain was already weaving what he was telling her into her existing knowledge of the topic, altering misconceptions and discarding that which it already knew, forming one giant tapestry which she would be able to call on next time.
He looked at her for a second and a thin smile came to his lips – for someone so gifted in some areas to be so limited in others….the force truly did love infinite diversity, he pondered, before refocusing on the lesson, and continuing.
It did not take him long, even while vocalising his every move, to plot the new course in and soon the Ghost was jumping back up to hyperspace on its way to Darlaak. Just as the ship lurched out of real-space, Valin appeared in the doorway to the cockpit, “What was that all about?” he asked, looking at the pair.
Quan gave a slightly guilty look and opened his mouth, but was surprised to hear Kari’s voice as she said quietly, “I needed to optimise engine performance and output…we were burning too much fuel”
He nodded, “Couldn’t have waited til we got there?
“It could” she agreed, “But would have cost us 19.3% more than was necessary”
Her brother nodded and gave a smile, “Sounds like a good reason to make a quick pit stop”
She offered a faint smile.
“Listen,” he said, scratching the back of his neck awkwardly, “I…I was just going down to grab a snack, you want to join me?”
The smile rapidly expanded into one which illuminated her whole face, she nodded emphatically. Valin smiled back, “You too, Quan, obviously…” he added quickly, not wishing to cause offense. Then turned to leave.
Quan glanced up at Kari and mouthed, “Thank you”
She blushed gently but maintained a pleasant smile, before she followed her brother.