The Talk: Take 1
Rating: PG
Astronut

Everything belongs to Mr. Lucas, Mr. Allston, or Mr. Stackpole.

She wore a pair of weathered pants and a tight, brightly colored tunic. With her short hair and dash of beauty paint, she looked far older than the little girl he had bounced on his knee the other day. As she zipped around the apartment, collecting various odds and ends and shoving them hastily in her drawstring purse, he stood in the doorway to the hall and called out to her. "Hold on, Syal."

The young blonde girl skidded to a stop, a look of annoyed indulgence on her face. Wedge cleared his throat and continued. "I need to, err, have a talk with you before you leave."

"Daddy, not now, Valin's going to be here soon!" Her voice was far calmer than a typical whining teen's, but her frustration with her father's interruption was clear.

"I know, dear, but seeing as this is your first date, I need to have the Talk with you." Wedge's emphases on 'talk' made the capital and its importance apparent.

"Dad!" Syal screeched, cringing. "Can't we do this later?" He couldn't quite define it as pouting, but her blue eyes begged him to postpone their imminent discussion.

"No, we need to do this now," he said firmly, sitting on the couch and motioning for her to do the same. When she finally complied, Wedge continued. "Corellia can be an exciting place, but dangerous as well. The same goes for young men."

"Daddy, I've already know all about this," she moaned, doing a credible impression of her Uncle Hobbie.

Wedge smiled slightly, but drove on in the voice he usually reserved for squadron business. "I know your Uncle Wes may have covered it, and your mother probably touched on the subject ..."

"Why would I talk to Uncle Wes about this? I mean he's nice looking and all ..." she trailed off, flushing red.

"What?" Wedge asked, wondering what Janson's looks had to do with this.

"Never mind," she shook her head, now seeming eager for him to continue. "What were you saying, Dad? I have to leave."

"It's just I want you to be careful. You never know when someone might try to take advantage of you and hurt you. And I just want you to be safe," he took her smaller hand in his, squeezing it tightly. It seemed like yesterday her tiny hand could barely grasp his smallest finger.

"Safe is different then sheltered, Dad." This time she mimicked her Uncle Tycho's calm philosophy. Wedge briefly considered limiting her time around her favorite Uncle.

He sighed, surrendering to a battle he had lost years ago. "Yes, I know, which is why I want you to have these." Reaching under the couch, he pulled out a small durasteel box and set it between them.

"What?" Her face and voice revealed her confusion, while her bouncing leg revealed her impatience.

"You should always carry two blasters, just to be safe." Wedge undid the lock and slipped open the latches, revealing a Blastech SR-81 Light Blaster and a Blastech A390 Compact Stunner. "These should fit you just fine. I'm sure your mother showed you how to wear them properly and you've been out on the range with your Uncles and me enough that I know you can shoot. These are yours to keep and keep you safe."

"Wow." Syal picked up the SR-81, cradling it in her hand and hefting it. Satisfied with the weight, she shifted it into a proper grip, pointing it towards the floor as she checked the sight. Her index finger worked the catch on the safety before checking the play on power selector. Finally, she flipped open the butt of the blaster, checking the charge of the battery before setting it back in the case and removing the matching holster. Syal repeated a similar procedure on the stunner. Smiling proudly, she placed the blaster in its new home in the holster now tied around her thigh and she slipped the small stunner into the cuff of her right boot. "Thanks Daddy." She stood and gave him a hug and a quick peck on the cheek.

"I love you, sweetie. I just want you and your sister to be safe." Wedge held his daughter for a moment longer, relishing in her warm grateful embrace, happy knowing he was doing his best to keep her safe, proud to know that she had the ability to stay safe.

The door buzzed. "Oh! There's Valin." Syal broke their hug, grabbing her purse and checking the placement of her blaster before skidding towards the front door. "Goodnight Dad. Thanks for these." She gestured to her new weaponry with a smile. "For a moment there, I thought you were going to give me the Talk. Bye!" The door hissed firmly shut behind her.

"The Talk?" he muttered, confused. It took a moment to remember what most fathers talked about to their teenaged girls before their first date. It took another moment and a brief mental image of a smiling Valin Horn warping to the grinning face of Wes Janson before he realized why most fathers talked to their daughters before their first date. It took a moment longer for the blood to drain from Wedge's face, as he sat frozen still. It took yet another moment for his voice to return.

"Iella!"

— To Take 2 —


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