Captain Dad
Diana DeRiggs

I can't believe my father is marrying nice Miss Faleur, and she will become my mother forever. Brother is pretending not to care about the wedding, but I know a secret: he's just as excited as I am. I don't remember too much, but Brother tells me that our parents had died in the war to take back Coruscant from the Imps. We had hidden in pockets and caves lining the ferrocrete canyons. I forget how long we had hidden, but one day a brown-haired man with a beard saw us take credits from a yellow-haired woman. The next day, Miss Faleur had shown up and took us to the orphanage, and she explained to us that a man named Captain Darklighter would be our father if we wished. Brother got all excited, because he had heard about him. He was some sort of hero in the war, so I got happy, too.

Since then, we've been living with the Captain. We call him "Captain Dad," even though he's Major Darklighter now. He calls me "Junior Flight Officer Darklighter" and brother is "Junior Lieutenant Darklighter." Sometimes it's just shortened to "Junior Flight" and "Junior Lieutenant." When I'm old enough, I'll become "Junior Lieutenant," too, and maybe Brother will be promoted also. I really like it when General Antilles and the other Rogues calls us by our nicknames. Major Horn even calls our father "Junior Captain Dad," even though Aunt Mirax slugs him each time she hears him. I like Aunt Mirax, and little cousin Valin, and Whistler.

At the wedding, all of the women and some of the Rogues and officers from other fighter squadrons cried. I didn't feel like crying - I felt like cheering and whooping! I didn't know I had to sit through so many speeches, but they were okay. Everyone laughed and clapped as each person stood up to congratulate our parents. Some even talked about me and Brother! We knew everyone there - even the Jedi Knights, and Jedi Master Skywalker and his sister, Princess Organa Solo!

They talked about a woman named Asyr. We never met her because she's dead, but I know she was special to Captain Dad, maybe before Brother and I were babies. We met Corgal, Miss Faleur's brother, who smiled a lot but who looked sad - he's Uncle Corgal now. I noticed General Antilles kept looking at him and at our new mother, when he didn't think Aunt Iella could see. I will need to tell him that Aunt Iella knows everything, even though she was nursing cousin Syal.

Come to think of it, I saw a lot that no one else seemed to see. I don't mean like when Lt. Colonel Janson and Lt. Colonel Klivian hopped into the fountain and did something they called a "Tatooine Rain Dance." Everyone seemed shocked or mad or were laughing when they did that. Captain Dad later told me and Brother that sometimes whiskey and lomin can make people do strange things, and that we should be careful if someone offered it to us, or any other drink, food, or chemical we didn't know about.

No one seemed to understand that it wasn't some chemical or drink that made the Lt. Colonels do the dance. I've been thinking about it a lot, and though I'm young like Brother tells me, I know what I saw. Lt. Colonel Janson and I have a secret. I think it's a good secret.

A pretty woman was at the door, just outside. I know because all the other ladies were inside the reception hall, and she was the only one outside. She was also dressed in beggar's clothes and moved like the many beggar's still on Coruscant and Tatooine. Brother tells me to respect them, because we could have turned out like that if Captain Dad hadn't adopted us. It makes me sad to know that those beings don't have someone to call family. So I try to treat them like I treat Captain Dad's friends, or Brother's pals.

She was different because though she shuffled when she walked, she didn't just keep walking. Her eyes kept looking through the transparasteel walls, and she didn't stand like a beggar. She had a funny hat on, probably to protect her from the storms, but sometimes, when the light was right, you could see she had bright, deep, purple eyes. I had never seen anyone with purple eyes, except maybe Senator Fey'lya in holonet projections. And this woman looked like she used to have fur, but had cut it all off - her skin was kind of marked in brown and cream patches, and it looked stubbly. And she wasn't looking at the party. She kept staring at Captain Dad and Miss Faleur, like maybe she knew them, but wasn't invited.

Lt. Colonel Janson found me looking at the woman. I know he likes to drink lomin, and he gets giggly and fun when he does, so he had been smiling and playing around with the ladies at the wedding. He's fun to watch. Sometimes the women hit him, and sometimes they smile or kiss him. He seems happy no matter what the ladies do to him.

He squatted down to my height and asked me if I wasn't too young for girls, yet. He looked up at the pretty woman and did something strange. He usually winks at them, but this time, his eyes got big, his mouth opened, and he fell down, right onto his butt.

The pretty woman looked at us, then. She looked scared, but she didn't run. She spoke to Lt. Colonel Janson. It was hard for me to hear, but she talked to him like she knew him, and I think she said she wanted to get closer to Captain Dad. I think she promised she wouldn't hurt him, but she wanted to get closer. Lt. Colonel Janson nodded, and the next thing I knew, he had run to the middle of the party and announced something about a bride's fling. He grabbed Miss Faleur and swung her around and around the room. He got Lieutenant Ekwesh and Lieutenant saBinring to toss her into the air and catch her. Major Loran danced with her until Colonel Celchu cut in. General Solo did a nice dance with her, called a minuette. Lt. Colonel Klivian joined in and got everyone to dance something funny from Agamar. Captain Dad watched all of this and clapped and laughed, along with everyone else.

All the while, the pretty woman moved into the hall until she stood right behind Captain Dad. She was really close to him, and I was a little worried. He was always warning us to be nice to strangers, but to be careful. He was all alone, since everyone was watching Miss Faleur. I saw her take a tiny piece of flimsi and reach toward him, but then she stopped. He must have felt something because he turned to look at her, but she was gone by then. I tried to tell Captain Dad where she'd gone to, but at that exact moment, the Lt. Colonels were siphoning the liquid out of the champagne fountain and hollering and daring everyone to lie under it and empty it. It was really, really noisy. Then they did the Tatooine Rain Dance right inside the fountain and people were running for refreshers or trying to catch the men before they broke anything!

I found the flimsi on the floor, near where the pretty lady stood behind Captain Dad. It was smudged a little, and I can't read anything on it, but I kept it anyway. I don't know what it means. Maybe when Lt. Colonel Janson is no longer restricted to barracks by Colonel Celchu and Admiral Akbar and General Antilles, I can talk to him. Captain Dad said something about "successive penalties" which sounded like a really, really long time.

We still call her "Miss Faleur," because she seems to like it, and she says "Mistress Darklighter" is too formal. Anyway, Captain Dad's mother, whom we call "Gramma D," is still alive. Miss Faleur's nice and Captain Dad loves her, too, I can tell. She cooks really well - everyone in the squadron says so. She told us she learned from her sister, who died in the war.

Last night, I dreamt that I called Miss Faleur, "Mama," and that she answered me like it was okay to do that. I tried to talk to Brother about it, but he is acting all snotty to me because I'm younger than him. He doesn't want me to hang with his pals anymore.

Yes, I think I will call her that special name today.


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