Title: Tookas in a Box Summary: Firmus and his wife throw a party. Said party is interrupted by their daughter carrying a box filled with cuteness. Word Count: 1,888 Characters: Firmus, Valyn and Keirei Piett, Kára Volshe, Avariella Ismaren Disclaimer: Firmus Piett belongs to Disney and Lucasfilm. All the other characters are Volshe's This is Admiral Volshe's 2015 Fic Gift. Her specifications are as listed: Their request: I would like a lighthearted/feel-good story, music, and a box full of tookas. I would not like Rebel 'propaganda'. Main characters? Any Imperial(s), a Duros, and one of my OCs (any of them! I don't mind!) Era: Saga _______________________________________________________________________________ “So how is your time off serving you, Firmus?” “Quite well, thank you.” Firmus didn’t know this couple. The man was another doctor at Valyn’s medical facility and she had asked for them to be invited. The impersonal small talk was making him cringe inside. “How is your work going?” he asked in deflection, trying to keep the pained expression from his face. To his relief, the man began speaking in great detail about his days in the medical profession. The woman next to him, presumably his wife, stayed silent and smiled politely. Firmus tried to pay attention, but the advanced medical terms flew over his head. He sighed inwardly, eyes darting around the room to find his wife as the man droned on about subjects and situations he couldn’t possibly understand. A soft, melodic trill sounded in the air above the idle chatter and gentle music, diverting Firmus’ attention. He had to stifle an audible sound of relief. “Excuse me.” He smiled slightly with an apologetic nod. “Someone’s at the door.” He walked off towards the front of his house, weaving through beings in fancy dress and trying not to rub his temples. The party had been Valyn’s idea. He had some time off and she thought it would be a good idea to socialize and for their three children to experience a bit of this sort of thing. So he played host, even if he wasn’t very adept at it. The small talk in particular was giving him unseen difficulty. Firmus caught sight of Valyn and Callista, his eldest daughter, in one of the corners of the room, chatting with two women and a slightly older Chiss male. They looked lovely, confidence and self-assuredness radiating from the pair of them. He smiled quietly, feeling a deep sense of pride in his family. The gentle chiming sounded in the air again and Firmus shook himself, traveling the last few steps to the door. Tapping a key, he opened a screen to check the guests and smiled as he saw the two women standing outside the door. “Ah, Admiral Volshe and Captain Ismaren, welcome.” Avariella Ismaren and Kára Volshe smiled at him, nodding slightly. “Good evening, Admiral.” Avariella said. “Might we come in?” “Absolutely, my dear Captain.” Firmus bowed slightly and gestured towards the brightly lit room. “My home is yours. Please, come in and make yourselves welcome. I have a couple seats that may serve you well tonight.” The two women smiled gratefully at Firmus as they followed him into the large house. Avariella subtly steadied Kára as she swayed, the unsteady movement imperceptible to all but Avariella and, perhaps, Firmus. He led them to a wall with a few chairs seated next to a table filled with various refreshments. The arrangement was strategically placed to allow the two women the ability to rest without isolating them from the social atmosphere of the party. Kára and Avariella sat gracefully, Avariella smoothing down her navy blue dress before accepting a glass of spiced Almakian juice with an appreciative smile. “Enjoying your time off, Firmus?” Kára asked, accepting a similar glass of juice. “It has its ups and downs,” he replied amiably. “I won’t deny I like the activity and bustle of commanding my ship. It keeps me busy. However, I’m very grateful for the time I spend with my family. I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, and I know they worry about me while I’m gone.” Kára nodded, taking a sip of her juice. “I have family that worry while I’m away as well. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a husband and children who worry after me as well.” Firmus nodded and turned to Avariella. “And you, Captain? Any family planet -side?” The young woman shook her head, twisting her glass idly in her fingers as she smiled slightly. “No family. At least that I know of. So no one to worry over me while I’m on duty. The closest thing to family I have is Kára and, since we serve together, we’re always there to keep an eye on each other. But I kind of like it that way, to be honest. There’s a certain amount of unique freedom in that.” A nod of understanding before Firmus’ eyes lit up as Valyn and Callista walked over. The Admiral took his wife’s hand and kissed it softly, earning a bright smile from Valyn, and grins from the other three. “Kára, Avariella, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you last,” Valyn greeted them warmly. “How has the Empire been treating you?” “Very graciously,” Avariella responded with a smile, as Kára nodded in assent. “We’ve been granted a few weeks holiday, as Firmus has, so we’re just enjoying our time off before returning to the The Sovereign.” “Well I’m very glad you could make it.” Valyn smiled. “I’m surprised at how many have been given a time of leave. Even Maximillian Veers is here.” Firmus chuckled softly. “I’m surprised he came, to be frank. Parties aren’t exactly his area of expertise.” Valyn frowned suddenly. “Firmus, have you seen Zeven or Keirei? It’s been awhile since they were with me, and I’m not sure where they’ve gone.” Firmus thought for a moment. “I believe Zeven was with Veers, the last time I saw him. I’m sure Keirei is around here somewhere. She knows better than to run off.” Valyn’s worried expression didn’t disappear, though she nodded in assent. A moment later, worry turned to concern as she noticed Avariella swaying slightly with a hand to her forehead. “Avariella, are you all right?” The woman took a shaky sip of juice, before smiling reassuringly at Valyn. “I’m all right, thank you. I’m just a bit dizzy. It will pass.” The group looked up as gasps and sounds of alarm passed through the party-goers. The gentle background music came to an abrupt halt. From the middle of the gathering, a high voice shouted “Dad, dad!” Firmus sighed and shook his head while his wife placed her hand to her forehead. A young girl with bouncing blonde hair and a ravaged purple dress - Keirei Piett - came running up to Firmus, clutching a big, open box to her chest. “Keirei, what in the name of - “ Firmus was cut off by his youngest daughter’s frantic explanation. “I found them in the side-street, dad! They were all alone in a corner and these boys were poking them with sticks!” Her parents peered in and shock crossed their faces. Kára gestured Keirei over to see. She and Avariella quickly placed their free hand over their mouths, trying to stifle giggles. Inside the box was a female tooka with five kits, all looking up them with large, curious eyes. Firmus’ mouth opened and closed a few times, trying to find something to say. “Keirei, why do you have a box of tookas?” “I told you, there were boys poking them with sticks! And it gets so cold at night, I couldn’t just leave them in the street!” “I…I see. And may I ask what happened to your dress?” “The boys wouldn’t stop when I told them to. So I tackled them and kicked them in the - “ “Alright, young lady! I think we get the picture.” Kára’s and Avariella’s shoulders shook with silent laughter as they took the box off of Keirei’s hands, tickling the heads of the kits gently. “Can we keep them, dad? They need a place to stay!” The music began playing again, enticing the crowd from the spectacle before them. Firmus walked over by Valyn as the two whispered quietly to each other. Valyn’s composure was betrayed only by the vexation in her eyes as she whispered back to her husband. A moment later, Valyn turned towards a side room and said “Come with us, Keirei.” Firmus followed his wife, looking to make sure Keirei was coming. The young girl looked back towards Kára and Avariella, the latter of whom set her glass down and took the tooka-filled box. “Go on, we’ll follow with the tookas,” the Captain promised. Keirei skipped after her parents as the two women stood carefully, letting the room that swam in their vision settle before following the other three, noticing Callista re-integrate into the party’s guests. Avariella set the box down on a table as she and Kára sat back down in the room. Firmus closed the door and sent a stern look towards Keirei. “What?” she asked meekly. “Oh you know what, young lady,” Valyn said in a tone as stern as the look on her husband’s face. “But they needed help!” Keirei protested. “We’re not necessarily chiding you on saving the tookas, Keirei,” Firmus explained, “But the way you barged in here in such a state.” The young girl paused hesitantly. “What do you mean?” “Don’t you think it would have been more prudent to leave the box in a room and then come get us quietly?” Valyn asked, voice tinged with exasperation. “Well…” “Not to mention, it would have been gentler on the tookas, considering the trauma they’ve already been through tonight,” Firmus added. “Don’t you think a quiet room would have been better instead of noise and stress?” At this, young Keirei’s face fell and she looked at the floor, scuffing a foot in embarrassment and shame. “I hadn’t thought of that,” she admitted quietly. “I just wanted to help them.” “That’s admirable,” Firmus commended. “However, help should be given the way that those in trouble need it. Not how we think they should get it. Do you understand?” Keirei nodded and looked up meekly. “Can we keep them, mum?” “Well not all of them, certainly.” Valyn told her daughter. “But you may have one. Zeven and Callista can have one too, if they would like.” Keirei squealed in excitement, then paused. “But what about the others?” “Well we can keep the mother. They look old enough to be weaned, so it shouldn’t be a problem,” Firmus reasoned. “But we’ll keep her as well, just in case. You’ll have to find homes for the other two kits.” Keirei turned to Kára and Avariella. The two women were doing their best not to eavesdrop on the chiding, and were tickling a few of the tooka kits. “Would you two like a tooka?” the blonde asked cheerfully. Kára and Avariella exchanged grins. “We’d be delighted to,” Kára stated. “However, as you are the one who saved them, I think you should choose your kit first. Keirei bounced to the table and looked in at the kits, eyes glowing in excitement. She reached in and picked up a brown tooka kit with darker brown and forest green markings and cuddled him close before turning to the other two with an expectant look on her face. Kára considered a moment before picking up a lavender coloured kit with darker purple and white markings while Avariella chose a light brown one with chocolate and sky blue patterns. Avariella winked at Kára. “The Empire shouldn’t have any issue with us keeping a pet in our quarters, right?” Kára straightened her dark red dress before scratching her new tooka kit behind the ear. “I think they’ll be most welcome,” she replied, voice bubbling with silent laughter.