Ged’s manner shifted from easy going to serious. “I would have waited until morning but I heard you were up.” He said as he shifted in his seat, crossing his leg up on his knee. “I was wondering when you would be returning to the Virulent to resume your duties there.”
I sighed and looked out of the window. Dawn was still a few hours off. “I’m not.” I said after a few seconds. I turned back to look at Ged only to find him staring at me intently.
“May I ask why?”
“I’m happy here.” I said, wincing as another strange twinge of pain lanced my belly.
Ged cocked his head to one side and regarded me carefully. “Really.” It wasn’t a question and his sarcasm annoyed me.
“I would never have pinned you for the stay at home type of girl Merly.”
“Then you don’t know me as well as you think, Ged Larsen.” I said more sharply than I meant to.
He sat back and sighed. “You mean to tell me that you are staying here to wait for Thrawn to come back, playing the part of the devoted mate and you’re content with that?”
“You’re angry.” I said with some surprise not bothering to answer his original question.
It was his turn to draw a steadying breath. “I don’t often hear the word no.” He said being evasive.
“Ged, I’m happy here can’t we just leave it at that?” I did not want to argue with him. I did not want to have to tell him the real reason, I too could be evasive. Thrawn should be the first one to know about this child not Ged.
“Well, maybe this will change your mind. I need you.”
I grinned. I couldn’t help it. “You practice that line in front of the mirror?”
“No, and I don’t mean like that, you made that abundantly clear and I do know when to back off.”
“Thrawn spoke with you.” I said flatly reading between the lines.
“Let’s just say your place in the Grand Admiral’s life has been well clarified for me.” Ged said dryly. “You should have said something to me right from the start.”
I made a face. “Not this again.” I got up out of the chair and rubbed my belly absently. “I told you why I didn’t say anything and for the record when you actually asked about it I did tell you we were a couple, it was you who pushed the point.”
“But I was right wasn’t I?”
I scowled. “About what?”
“About the fact that a small part of you does like me.” His smile disarmed my annoyance.
“Well you were partly right, yes.” I conceded.
I walked around a little, “You were right when you said I do seem to attract the scyks.”
“And the lady wins the round.” He nodded. “Come sit back down and stop pacing about you’re making this scyk nervous.”
“What do you really want Ged?” I asked ignoring his suggestion to sit.
“We, I need someone to do a pickup.”
I raised my eyebrows.
“We need a civilian and a civilian ship. We have an agent missing and we can’t get to them.”
“You don’t need me for that; you need a tac-team.” I sighed. “Who is the agent anyway?”
Ged shook his head. “I can’t tell you that until you come onboard, the information is highly classified.”
“Well it doesn’t matter, find someone else. I can’t do it.”
“I told you, it’s personal.”
Ged stood up and rounded on me. “What the hell is going on with you? You’re one of the best agents we have no matter what you tell yourself. You speak multiple languages, you fly like a maniac and you are a force user. No one on the Rebel side even knows you exists, you’re a ghost in the machine. You can come and go as you please and no one would ever suspect you. You are the best person for this job and if you don’t do it chances are our agent will die, do you want that on your shoulders?”
I looked him in the eyes. “You have no idea what’s on my shoulders so back off.” I said very quietly.
He took a step back from me. “Merlyn….”
“Don’t.” I said holding up my hand. “You have a boat load of people perfectly capable to do an extraction. Why me?”
“I already told you why. Are you fishing for compliments now?”
“No.” I said icily. “I want a reasonable explanation for why you want me to do a job you have better trained people for and the ‘you’re the best agent we have crap’ doesn’t cut it. Tell me the truth or get out of my face.”
“I told you the truth. You have a civilian ship and you’re not on any of the New Republic’s lists as a known Imperial so you can slip in behind enemy lines.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Enemy lines… you sound like a bad spy from one of Jeb Holloway’s books.”
“I can’t say any more than that, not unless you tell me you’ll do this.”
“Well I can’t so stop asking me.”
Ged’s jaw tightened. “Merlyn, it’s your job!”
“My job!” I raised my voice, starting to get angry. “My job? I don’t work for you, I don’t work for the Empire any more at all to be honest and I sure as sarlacc don’t have any specific job! I am not one of your agents, or one of the Emperor’s Hands or any other fancy title you can come up with no matter what you think. I was Lord Vader’s office girl and that was hard enough. I have done my time, Ged and I am not doing this sort of work for you or anyone else. I am not an agent.”
“I beg to differ. Thrawn has used you on several occasions as just such creature. You are an Imperial agent whether or not you believe it and I am damned sure Thrawn would tell you to do as you are told in this case.”
“I wouldn’t bet on that and my answer is still no. Find someone else.”
“Why?” He asked sounding almost hurt.
“I told you it’s personal!”
“That is not an answer.”
“It’s the only answer you are going to….” Suddenly pain ripped through my abdomen and I doubled over, knees buckling to the floor, yelping in agony.
I gasped as I curled over my belly protectively, my forehead touching the floor as I fought against the pain.
“What is it, are you okay?” he asked kneeling at my side.
I gripped his arm, “Get the doctor now.” I gasped as a second, sharper pain tore through me. The air danced and I could feel myself getting light headed. “Doc… now… please.”
He picked me up and almost ran out of the lounge. “Where’s the med center?” He barked at someone in the corridor. I never heard the answer because I screamed as a third even sharper pain sliced up into me. By the time he had reached the medlab Doctor Thracer was already there and waiting, someone must have alerted him we were coming.
“We’ll take it from here Admiral Larsen.” I heard the doctor say as I was laid on a gurney.
“Is she okay?”
“I have no idea but as soon as I do I’ll let you know now if you don’t mind….” Doctor Thracer said gesturing for Ged to leave as the med droid moved me into the next diagnostic room.
Once the door was closed I reached out to the doctor and caught his arm. “Is it the baby?”
“I don’t know yet. What happened?”
“Arguing.” I breathed. “One minute we’re arguing then all of a sudden it felt as though I was being impaled on a knife.”
“Still hurts.” I said through gritted teeth.
“Okay you need to calm down and breathe slow deep breaths for me, can you do that?”
I nodded and concentrated on doing what he had told me as the diagnostic scanner in his hand hummed quietly. When it was done the room seemed unusually silent.
“The baby is fine.” He said as calmly as he could but there was worry underneath his words. “I’m giving you something for the pain.”
“What is wrong?” I asked wincing at the sting of the hypospray.
“There is a small tear in the placenta.” He said.
“Is it bad? Can you fix it?”
“It could be very serious but this tear is very small and luckily the bleeding is minimal.”
“Bleeding? I’m bleeding?”
“Yes, but it’s very minor and we’re going to deal with that now. You’re okay, do you understand. Bacta will help repair it however this means from now on in you rest and by rest I mean no stress, no exercise, no running around, no flying, no travelling, no heavy lifting or sneaking down to work in the pit, no anything and absolutely no arguing with admirals, any admirals. I should be confining you to a bed here but I know that won’t happen, so will you promise me to rest?”
“Bacta, you’re not going to put me in the tank!” I struggled to sit up but he wouldn’t let me.
“No, it can be done locally and the med droid will take care of you once I get you sedated.”
“Ged, does he know? He can’t know, not before Thrawn… he…must … not…know.” I could feel myself get ramped up again but Doctor Thracer placed a hand on my shoulder.
“You know what I said about no stress well that starts right now. I will tell Admiral Larsen you are fine, that it’s nothing to worry about. I will also tell Admiral Larsen that I want to keep you here for observation and that you need to rest which you do and the mild sedative I am giving you will make you sleep so even if he wanted to ask you questions he won’t get any answers. The Virulent is scheduled to depart once the supply loading has been done so he will be out of your hair soon enough but I have to tell you, my dear, you had better talk to Thrawn about your condition sooner rather than later. You won’t be able to keep this a secret for too much longer.”
He smiled, “Because you’re starting to show.” said and before I could argue I felt the push and sting of the hypospray. The drug worked quickly and I slid into a dreamless sleep letting the medical droid do its work.