QI’RA: Chapter Twenty-Four

Shortlived Celebration

Back on the planet Polaris, aboard First Light, there was a small celebration taking place. The members of the Shadow Council had arrived to congratulate Qi’ra on her risky mission and its near-impossible success. Regaining the coaxium meant their pockets would not be harmed and for that they were grateful. Even Ziya Rheeves, mean as she often was, offered her genuine compliments to Qi’ra, surprising her.

The celebration was created specifically as a sort of after-party for the triumphant outcome of the mission and for the most part, Qi’ra was having a good time. There were singing and dancing, eating and laughing; plenty of joy.

The evening only got better when T-38, fresh with new parts and her blond hair no longer braided but instead hanging to her shoulder, entered the room wearing her dark clothes and patented cloak. Bits of her human face was still bruised and scarred but she looked more alive than ever.

When Qi’ra saw her she ran to her, pulling her into a warm hug. As she ended the embrace she looked up at T-38, a smile on her face.

“For a second there, I’d thought I’d lost you.”

T-38 snorted. “Lose me? Child, do you know what I have been through?” She gestured at her robotic parts. “How do you think I have all of these parts? I’ve been through far worse, believe me, but I’m still here, aren’t I?”

Qi’ra smiled. “You’re still here.”

T-38’s gaze rose as Nienye approached, sharp in his dark green tunic and pants gilded with gold, a gold studded shawl hanging around his shoulders. When she saw him an appreciative smile came to her face.

“Thanks,” she told him.

Qi’ra smiled at Nienye who seemed genuinely stunned by T-38’s gratitude. Raising a glass of murky white liquid to her he replied, “Always.”

They shared a glance for a moment longer before T-38 turned, walking into the crowd. Qi’ra looked at Nienye.

“I think she finally likes you,” she said.

Nienye flashed a pearly white grin at her. “Finally.”

The party being held aboard First Light was a private event, so when the elevator doors opened and Imperial officers stepped out, entering the party, a hush fell over everyone. They weren’t supposed to show up for several days but apparently, they were impatient.

Nienye cursed.

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