Tigo spoke blandly. It's an established scientific fact that it is aerodynamically impossible for the Buzzhle-Bhea, a native arachnia of Topae to fly, yet it does. Perhaps your craft is of the same principle, Captain." Han just shook his head at such a profusion of seemingly-knowledgable prattle, and began unstrapping the wall-mounted stow-away flight chairs. He improvised safety straps from cargo binding. "Sit down," he instructed the children. "I'll strap you in for take-off." Han reached for a couple of their personal cases. "We'd better secure these...." "NO!!!" They all cried in unison. Han recoiled, as if blasted. "Why not? He yelled back. "Captain," Tigo began, " We want to keep these with us at all times. Surely, you can understand the psychological significance these small cases hold for us, in view of our forced departure from our home-wrold and all with which are familiar." "Are you feeling allright, kid?" You sound funny." "Oh, he always talks like that." Simon told Han. "Yeah," Pajam joined in, "we call him 'The Professor." "There is no substitute for knowledge." Tigo defended himself, not the least bit flustered. Han shook his head in disbelief as he strapped them into the chairs,. They sat patiently, each quite cooperative as the pilot finished his task. As he secured them, he mused to himself again, that, if all went this well throughout the trip, it would be a breeze. The chore completed, Han straightened and retreated a few steps to inspect his work, his back to the cockpit accessway. He didn't see Chewbacca approach, nor did he hear his entrance on soft, muffled, footsteps. What he DID see was the sudden, fearfully wide-eyed look on the children as they watched the mammoth being loom larger behind him as he drew closer an closer. "Look out! It's behind you!": "It's going to kill us!" Shanna began screaming at the top of her lungs, a high, piercing noise that caused the Wookiee to clasp hairy paws over his ears. He began to moan, an eerie, mournful, wail. Han, startled by the commotion, and believing that some assasin had come after the children, spun to face his 'attacker', drawing his blaster in one swift motion. A smile crossed his face at the sight of Chewie woefully holding his sensitive ears. Holstering his weapon, Han quiet the kids. "Hey, hey...it's alright, that's Chewbacca. He's my friend and co-pilot. Haven't you ever seen a Wookiee? Chewbacca uncovered his abused ears and directed a tirade of colorful language at Han, concerning his acceptance of children as passengers. Han glanced worriedly at the kids, hoping that their diplomatic talents didn't include an understanding of Wookeese. "Calm down, Chewie." He begged. "We'll only have them for a flight day and a half. They won't be any trouble." Chewie prowled the room, his angry growls lessening. He stopped, looked at his partner, and spouted an effusive verbal outage that could have been understood by anyone. "All right, so they're MY responsibility! Did I ASK you to help?" He glared at his friend, hands on his hips. Chewie would come around eventually; he always did. Han turned his attention back to the kids. "Now if we're all ready...." "Captain Solo?" Shanna spoke from the seat on the end. "What is it?" She blinked her lavender eyes and crooked a small finger, beckoning Han to come closer so that she could whisper in his ear. He shrugged and gave Chewie a puzzled look as he lowered his head. The boys watched with playful smiles on their faces, as if they already knew what Shanna was saying. This had happened many times before. Han's eyes widened. "Are you sure?" Shanna's curls bounced as she nodded her head. "Chewbacca scared me." "Okay." He began unstrapping the child. "It's in my cabin--down this hall, first door on the left." The little girl took off at a run. Tigo, Kebo, Pajam and Simon giggled loudy as Han paced the floor, waiting. A few mintes later, Shanna reappeared and resettled in her chair. "Now..." "Captain Solo." Simon began, "I think I'd better, too." Trying hard not to lose his patience, the pilot silently unstrapped the boy. "What about the rest of you?" Han questioned. Tigo and Kebo looked at each other, then nodded. Once again, Han unstrapped his passengers. His annoyance growing, he suspiously eyed Pajam, who remained silent. "How about you?" "I don't need to." He disregarded the boy's answer and began unstrapping him. "Go anyway." Pajam shrugged and began the walk down the hallway. Some time later, when he had once again finished tightening the straps. Han sighed. "Now, are we all ready to go?" Silence greeted him; he took it that all was finally settled. Then, Chewbacca gave a short bark and shuffled off down the hall. "Oh no...not you too!" Han wailed amid the children's laughter. ************************************************************************************** Later, as the FALCON moved through the blackness of space, Han relaxed in the cockpit. "See, Chewie, I knew once they settled down, this would be the easiest money we ever made." He stretched lazily and laced fingers behind his head, positioning his feet on the edge of the console for support as he rocked his chair comfortably, closing his eyes for a moment of rest. "EEE...EEE...EEE!!!!! Loud screams came from the main compartment shattering the peacefulness of the ship, as well as Han's balance; he shot out his arms to keep from falling over. "What in...Chewie, go see what's happening". The Wookiee shook his head furiously, a low, menacing growl filling his throat. "All right, I KNOW they're my responsibility. I'll go check on 'em you big coward." A final loud roar sent Han out of the cockpit. Han was stopped cold, hit in the face by a piece of exotic fruit. Through the juice that stung his eyes, he could see the pandemonium taking place. The youngsters had shed their diplomatic robes, and now wore various colored jumpsuits. They were engaged in a furious battle of food throwing, stuff they had either broght with them or confiscated from the ship's galley. Bits and clumps were stuck to the walls, the instrumentation, lights and the children. "Hey HEY! you kids stop that!" Han wiped the juice from his face and started across the room, an ill-fated motion from the start. He promptly slipped on a mashed piece of avick fruit and fell flat on the floor. The clatter caught the children's attention, and they laughed in delight at the spectacle of their Captain sliding across the decks, banging to a stop against a ducting outlet. Shanna walked over to Han, and, in her most innocent tones, asked. "Are you hurt?" He eyed her as he grasped the nearest hand-hold and pulled himself up, trying to regain some of his lost composure. "Nah, kid. I'm alright. Hey,...you." He indicated a twin. "What's your name?" Kebo answered, "I'm Tigo." He hid a smile at his prank. "Tigo...go find me something to wipe this junk off my boots. There are some rags in my cabin." Kebo did as instructed; he ran to Han's quarters and grabbed a clean shirt from the locker, wadding it into a ball as he ran back. Jerking the cloth away from the boy, the pilot began swiping the bits and pieces of food from his boots in swift, angry strokes. "What in flames did you think you were doing, anyway?" "We were looking for crystals." Simon spoke up. "Crystals, I dont carry that stuff, that's for kids." "We ARE kids." Pajam joined in. "Yeah, I noticed that." Han agreed scarcastically. Recognition dawned in his eyes as he finished cleaning his boots. Taking the 'rag', he held it up by its shoulder seams. "Why....: he sputtered at Kebo, "you got one of my good shirts!" The twin just smiled and shrugged. Glaring at him, Han spoke through anger-clenched teeth. "You get your brothers and clean up this mess! Clean yourselves up, too." "What about Shanna?" "Yes, Shanna, too," Han threw the ruined shirt into a waste receptacle and stalked back to the cockpit, "And find something quiet to do" He threw back as an after-thought, "We'll eat later." Settling back into his pilot's chair, Han ignored the smug look Chewbacca gave him. As if reading the Wookiee's thoughts, he spoke. "One small problem doesn't make a disaster." The few moments it took Han to readjust his side of the console helped him relax and get hold of his temper. "Captain Solo?" Shanna's small voice broke the silence. "What now?" "I don't have anhything to do." "Go stay with your brothers." "They won't let me in." "Huh? Where are they?" "They're in your cabin. They're watching holofilms, and said I couldn't..." Han was out of his seat in a flash; he shot down the corridors at a lightning run, sliding to a stop at the door of his cabin; it was locked. "Open this door!" He commanded gruffly. He could hear the boy's giggles silence immediately, then caught rustling sounds as one of them released the lock. The door opened; Han winced as he recognized the sensuous images that flickered on the wall. With one quick move, he disengaged the projector, and the images faded, along with the boy's smiles. "What do you think you're doing???" He yelled. "You told us to find something quiet to do." Kebo answered. "I didn't mean THIS!" He waved the offending cartridge at him. "Captain," Tigo began. "You do realize that in prepubescent creatures, there is a certain curiosity about the origins of life. Those films of your were most enlightening." "Look, Professor," Han spat. "I'm not too sure I know what you said, but if you want to learn about things like that, you shoud study....something besides THIS! From now on, my cabin AND its contents are off limits to all of you!" The boys looked up at him, their expressions innocent. A loud wail from the lounge sent them all scattering from the room. "Now what?" Han muttered under his breath. "What's wrong?" He asked, suddenly feeling tired. Blue tears streamed down Shanna's face; her brothers crowded around her. "Puf's gone." She cried. "I can't find him." "Puf? What's a Puf?" Han questioned the teary eyed girl. "He's my pet. I had him in my pocket and now he's gone." "Pet? Nobody said anything about pets..." He had horrible visions of the things, gnawing on vital power lines and cables. Shanna cried even louder. "Okay...okay!" Han gripped her shoulder, panic rising within him. What did one do with a crying kid? "We'll find him. Everybody start looking." The boys scattered; searching beside, behind, around, in, by and above everything for the lost Puf. Han joined in the search, exasperated. "Wait a minute!" He stopped in the center of the hold. "What's this thing look like?" "He's small and furry. He has one big pink eye and no teeth. He does have small stingers on each paw." Shanna snubbed. A full search of the entire living quarters turned up nothing but a mis- placed hexa-claw spanner. "Maybe he'll come out later." Han reassured her. "Don't start crying again, he's gotta be around here somewhere. He's probably scared of all the commotion. Don't cry." With all the recent excitement and activity, Han realized that it was now HIS turn to make the trip down the hall. "I'll be right back. Then we'll eat." He closed the door behind him, enjoying the solitude he was begainning to realize would be short lived. A few minutes later, as he exited his cabin, he felt a quick, sharp sting rip through his side, accompanied by the words, 'GOTCHA!" He flattened himself against the wall to avoid another zap. He grabbed the small arm extending from the shadows and pulled Simon out, eyeing the small gun clasped in his fist. "Don't do that again!" Han warned. "It won't hurt you," Simon explained, "it's just a replica." "'Ill let you keep it, but only if you don't do that again." Han stared at the boy intently and shook him slightly for emphasis. "Oh, all right." "Now-- up front with the others." The child ran to the lounge. "Hey, Chewie" Han called as he stuck his head into the cockpit, taking a quick look at the gauges and readouts, "ready to eat?" The Wookiee grumbled an answer between vigorous scratching of his pelt. "What's the matter, old boy--got fleas?" Han teased. His partner barked and growled impatient and uncomfortable words at his friend. "Okay, just let me finish feeding the kids, and I'll take my turn on watch." A loud yelp escaped the Wookiee and he clutched at the fur on his chest with both paws; digging and scratching in an effort to rid himself of the unbearable itch. After a few moments of conscientious pawing, he sighed with relief as a small, round, furry form slid from his chest and hit the floor with a soft 'plop'. The ball of fur squeaked and slid rapidly along the floor. Shanna heard it and came running. 'Puf!" She squealed as she picket him up. "You found Puf! Where was he?" "In Chewie's fur." Han laughed. Shanna looked at Chewbacca, her wide eyes growing wider at being so close to him. "Thank you for finding him." She said. The Wookiee was speechless; his blue eyes glazing uncertainly. ********************************************************************************* "I'm finished." Pajam announced. The meal had gone smoothly, after finding out who would eat what, Han had sat all of them around the gametable. "Do you think you kids can behave while I relieve, Chewie, then? Han asked. They nodded thier innocent little heads in unison. Hoping he could trust them, Solo went to take his turn on watch. Since this was a sublight trip, the instruments reqiured a certain amount of active monitoring. As he slipped into his chair, a series of short growls from Chewbacca prompted an answer. "The kids won't bother you." The Wookiee shook his head in doubt as he exited to the living quarters. Han peered into the endless expance of star-studded space. After checking the readouts on the instrumentation, he was pleased to find them almost halfway into their journey. He welcomed the quiet, and give himself over to the enjoyment of flying. It seemed only a short time had passed when he heard footsteps behind him. 'GOTCHA!" Knowing what was coming, Han ducked quickly, just barely getting out of the energy bolt's range. The yellow ray slammed into the console, ripping to shreds some exposed wiring. A dark cloud of smoke rose from the damaged spot, and the FALCON veered slightly off course. "I told you not to do that again!" He bellowed at Simon. He swore loudly, scorching the young boy's ears with raw Corellian maledictions. "Now, look what you've done!" He quickly ascertained that no major damage had been done. The gauge readings were affected, but with a few manual calculations, he could keep abreast of the condition of all major shipboard functions. "When I get my hands on you.!" He eyed the youngster maliciously. Simon fled. "Chewie, get up here." He barked into the intercom. Minutes passed, but no Chewbacca. Mumbling new combinations of the words he'd used earlier, Han went to investigate the delay. The first thing he saw was the Wookiee and burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter. Seated on the deck of the main compartment was his co-pilot, his fur decorated with bright yellow ribbons. Shanna cooed and talked to him as she combed his fur and tied another bow right on top of his head. Chewie raised soulful, imploring eyes to his friend, which sent Han into another fit of breath-taking laughter. The smile left Solo's face as an odor he recognized wafted into the room "Smoke!" Just as he said the word, loud alarms sounded all through the ship. Shanna squealed and clasped her hands over her ears against the clamor. Chewbacca rose quickly, shaking the embarrassing bows from his hairy body. Han ran down the corroidors, flinging open evey door, inspecting each compartment for fire. Chewie wrenched open the door to the main supply room, and billowing smoke cause him to reel backwards. A sharp call summoned Han, and together, they used air vacuums to clear the smoke from the room. THEN....they discovered the cause. Kebo, Tigo, Pajam and Simon were all seated in a circle, each holding a lit safety flare, their faces covered with self-contained air packets. Han grit his teeth. His booted feet slapped heavily against the deckplates; a seeming death-knell to the boy's ears. Grabbing two by their arms, he lifted them roughly to their feet, slipping the masks off their faces. Chewie tripped the switch that would silence the alarms, then held the two remaining culprits. "We were having a secret conclave meeting." Tigo told them, unflustered. "We were calling on the Graces to guide us safely to Lyra." "I think we should have a secret meeting in my cabin, and I'll grace your backsides with my hand." Han threatened, nearly trembling with rage. He lined the boys up in front of him. "Don't realize what you did was very dangerous? You could've KILLED us all." The boys didn't bat an eye at their Captain's not terribly excessive exaggeration. "I can't believe you're acting this way. That Regent told me you'd be well-behaved...diplomats...no trouble....." The youngsters watched in silence as Han vented his anger, arms slicing the air for emphasis. Pajam spoke quietly. "We're sorry, Captain Solo." Han studied him closely. "He stuck his finger close to the face of each for for further emphasis... If you do one more stupid thing like this, I'll...I'll..." He searched for an impressive threat. "I'll let Chewie eat you!" The boys flinched in fear. Tigo spoke up "Captain, Solo, Chewbacca is a Wookiee. While Wookiees ARE in part carnivorous, they certainly aren't canibal...." "Just get back up front." Han told them. The boys scurried out of the room and headed for the lounge. As Simon passed, Han caught his arm. "Where's that baby blaster?" "I hid it" He said and turned and ran down the hall. Han watcched the child vanish and consoled himself with the fact that, in about eighteen standard hours, he would be free of them for good. ********************************* "Now, I want all of you t take turns cleaning up." Han scanned the sleepy-eyed faces of his young charges. "Let Shanna go first." He escorted her to his cabin. "Clean up in my room." He crouched down to face her. "You DO have more clothes in that case of yours, don't you?" She nodded, ending with a give-away yawn. An unbidden smile curled the Captain's lips. "Okay, hurry up. I'll settle you in later. He left to go to the front. ****************************************************** "You want to take first rest now?" Han asked as he placed a friendly hand on his co-pilot's shoulder. You've done most of the flying, so far." He, too, was tired from all the things that had taken place since the children came on board, but , he could rest better in his pilot's chair than the Wookie could in his. Chewie agreed and extricated himself from his oversized chair, and headed for his cabin. When Chewbacca was gone, the seared wiring once again caught Han's eye and he began poking throught the mess. With the wires threaded through his fingers, the Corellian was intent on repairing them, and didn't hear Tigo enter the cockpit. "Problem, Captain?" He asked. "Your brother did this with that 'replica' o fhis. I've almost got it working again." Tigo peered closely at the wiring. "I can't get it to register," Han muttered to himself, "when I join these ends, the cross-polarization shorts it out again. I don't understand it." "Why don't you magnetize the ends before joining them, then demagentize them afterwards." The boy suggested. Han staired at him. He should've figured it out himself, but he was too tired to think. He did as Tigo advised, then watched the gauges as he flipped the activation switch. They all registered normally. "Well...I'll be.... How did you know to do that?" "Since space is a vacuum, polarized particles aren't inhibited by air friction, nor do they migrate to their poles, since there is no magnetism. By magnetizing them, you mechanically force them to migrate to their proper poles, thereby preventing a short when you rejoin the wiring." Han gaped at the boy. "I read it in a book you have in your cabin." He explained. "The one by your bunk, right under the one entitled PLANET OF PASSION." Tigo thought he saw the pilot's cheeks flush a little pink as he turned to leave. Han found his voice, "Thanks, Professor." ******************************************************* "This should keep you all comfortable." Han said later as he spread a blanet over the four squeaky-clean boys, who were bedded down in the lounge. He turned and spread another cover over Shanna, who was settled in a small bunk near her brothers. "Now, have a good rest, and you won't look half-asleep when you meet your relatives tomorrow." Han dimmed the hold lights to their lowest, creating a deep 'twilight.' ********************************************************** "You sure you've slept enough? Han asked Chewbacca when the Wookiee entered the cockpit much later, a steaming cup in one hand. He nodded, and settled down at his station. "The kids are asleep,. I think I'll turn in, too. See you later, partner." As Han sank down on his bed. He realized that not only was he tired, but sore. He removed his boots, dropping them beside the bunk, and laid back on the pillow. A deep sigh passing his lips as he closed his eyes. ******************************************** "Captain Solo?" A small voice awakened him. His eyes fluttered open to see Shanna standing beside his bunk. "Go back to bed." He mumbled. "I can't sleep. I'm scared." "Well, what do you want me to do about it?" "Can I sleep with you?" "No." Han snapped, then regretted his harshness as her lower lip quivered. "Okay, hop up." He relented, drawing back the covers. Quickly, Shanna groped up on the bed as Han scooted over to give her room. and wrapped the blanket around them. "I miss my parents." She said. The words made him remember what the Regent said. They would be dead by now. He cradled the small form in his arms, feeling sympathetic. He knew the pain of missing home and loved ones. "Tell me a legend." She asked. "I don't know any" "Then make one up." Han thought for a moment, then began. "A long time ago there was a soldier. He'd had all the schooling, training and instruction he needed to help his home planet defend itself against its enemies. He made up his mind to be the best soldier his world had ever known. He almost did. He earned the highest honor given; The Metal of Excellence, someting only two other people had ever earned. Everyone was proud of him...his family and friends, the beautiful woman heloved. But, he found out that with the honor came jealousy, resentment, and betrayal. He though he was helping his Commander, and he was betrayed; named a traitor by those in authority, He was disowned by his family, scorned by the people, shunned by his friends and lost the woman he'd hoped to marry, all because of something he didn't do. He was court-marshalled and was going to be executed, but he had one friend left who knew the truth and helped him escape. They were forced into a life dealing with criminals,; meeting in deserted places and dark cantinas." "That's not a very nice legend." Shanna said sleepily,. "No, it isn't." ********************************** Han woke to loud noises in the corridor outside his cabin. Screams, yells, squeals and laugher, joined with the patter of small feet running from one end of the ship to the other. He looked over his shoulder. Shanna was gone. "Chewie". He muttered to himself, knowing the Wookiee wasn't about to discipline passengers who weren't HIS responsibility. He flung back the cover, sat up and grabbed his boots. He stuffed his feet into them and headed for the door. "HEY!" He began yelling even before he was out of his cabin, and was abruptly stopped by a sharp pain in one foot,. "Oh..h..h.." He yanked off the boot, his big toe throbbing. Hobbling on one foot, he saw Puf firmly attached to his big toe. Two of the boys sped by, chased by Shanna. "HEY!" Han called to her. "Get this thing off my foot. It hurts!" The girl stopped and giggled at his predicament. "You're scaring him." She explained. "He won't turn loose while you're yelling." All the boys had gathered 'round, enjoying this attack on the Captain. Han yelled even louder, hurling curses in all directions. The children scattered. Finally, after much pulling and twisting, he managed to disengage the furry critter. He hobbled to the cockpit, pulling his boot back on. He didn't have to ask what kind of mood Chewbacca was in. The Wookiee's low, menacing growls told him that he'd already had a run-in with the kids. "How long 'til we reach Lyra?" Chewie's answer brought both relief and dread. "I only hope I can LAST six more hours!" He replied as he went to round up his passengers. 'GOTCHA!" A strong bolt caught Han on the hip before he could get out of range. He winced and rubbed the sore spot. "Kid - I'm gonna space you AND that blaster!" He threatened. "Catch me, first." Simon taunted. "HELP...HELP...." Desperate pleas filled the main compartment. "Captain Solo come quick!" Shanna called. As Han went to answer the summons, Puf squeaked behind him, wanting to once again have the comfortable boot to sleep in. "Wonder what's wrong now." He muttered, visions of his ship-not to mention-himself and the children- adrift in space, rendered hepless by some 'harmless' prank haunted him. "Pajam's stuck in that tunnel." She pointed to the gun turret. Pajam was inside, busily pushing buttons and flipping switches. "DON'T DO THAT!! Han bolted up the ladder. "Get down from there!' "I want to shoot the gun." Pajam insisted as he continued to punch buttons and pull levers. The machine kicked, giving a deafening round of cannon fire into space. Han, caught off-balance by the sudden, jarring jolt, slid down the ladder and landed soundly on his bottom, sprawled at the foot of the ladder. Shanna jumped up and down, clapping her hands and laughing. "Do that again!" "What's the matter, kid, you get some kind of sadistic thrill watching me land on my as..." 'GOTCHA!" Simon struck again, this time sending a stinging bolt of energy into Han's shoulder before heading to the aft compartments. The Corellian yelped. He sat there a moment, eyes glaring. Maybe what that planet needed was a new set of diplomats...He rubbed his shoulder. "Get down here!" He ordered Pajam. 'NOW!' The boy did as he was told, apparently satisfied with finally firing the gun. "Where's the twins?" They are making our meal." Shanna told him. Han closed his eyes in exasperation. "You two come with me." He took hold of Pajam and Shanna's arms and marched them to the gametable. "Stay here, and I promise you, I'll let you get to Lyra in one piece. But, if you so much as move, I'll fit you into those little personal cases you brought." They exchanged wary glances. Han headed for the galley. He was encouraged by the fact that there was no sign of anything burning. The entire tiny cubicle, however was covered with trays, bowls, food and supplies. "What are you doing?" Han asked. Both boys jumped, startled to see him there. "Look at this mess." Han shouted. "Don't you know how to use a galley. Use the computer buttons!" "They're jambed." Kebo stated. "Yes, I tried to lubricate them with clavis oil, but they still won't work." Tigo informed him. "We had to fix the food manually." "Put that away and get out of here." "But, Captain, we're hungry." "I'll think of something, go join your brother and sister at the gametable. Soon, four of the five passengers were seated in one place. "Where's Simon." Han asked "He's hiding." Shanna told him brightly. "I can SEE that. WHERE is he hiding?" "He doesn't want you to know." Kebo said. "That's why he's hiding. "He's afraid of you." Tigo added. "You threatened to take away his blaster." "He keeps shooting me with the..." Han caught himself before spilling another choice word. ....thing." Now, he was making excuses to children. What next?! Tigo took a deep breath, an act Han knew preceeded a drawn-out explaination. "Perhaps you should negotiate with him. All circumstances..." "I KNOW what I'd like to do,." the pilot glared at the youngsters, his vicious thoughts plainly written on his face. He sighed deeply, pushing the images from his mind. "Look at this ship! I didn't take this much damage making a gewaway from Jhera!" "GOTCHA!" Han reacted fast to the cry, catching a running simon in a tackle; the discharged beam flashed just above his head. "Let me go! Let me go!" The boy shrieked. Han carried him to the table and settled him on the couch with his siblings. "Ill take that." He jerked the 'replica' from the pudgy fist. Simon's lip quivered as he fought back tears. "We were just playing.: Kebo explained. "Didn't you ever play when you were a kid?" "Of course he didn't." Pajam said. "He never WAS a kid...Who'd have wanted to be HIS parents." "I want this mess cleaned up. No more running through the ship." Han was adamant. 'Shanna, you keep that fuzzy thing with you. I don't want him climbing into Chewie's fur again....or my boots". He passed out survivor's rations as he scolded them and outlined what he wanted done. "This is a STARSHIP, not a playground. There's a lot of delicate equipment you could damage and that'd put us all in a lot of trouble. Now." His voice became calmer, "I'm going up to help Chewie and I don't want to hear anything out of you. Get ready for planetfall in three hours." Han left without a backward glance. Chewbacca was still growling when Han arrived. "Yeah, Chewie, I know. Where there's big money in a little job, there's got to be a catch." The next two hours passed quietly. Han hadn't heard a sound from the children, and his frazzled nerves were returning to normal. As they neared Lyra, he rose. "Ill get the kids ready." He told Chewie. "Just set a course for the East Port." As Han entered the living area, the children were nowhere to be seen. Everything had been cleaned and put away. He checked the galley; it was spotless. "Hey, kids." He called down the corridors. Silence. Han hustled to his cabin, remembering what had happened the last time they'd been this quiet. He found that even his room had been straightened, but no small faces greeted him. A sense of panic engulfed him, as he searched the ship; they didn't seem to be anywhre. "Chewie" He called over the intercom. "Have you seen the kids?" The Wookiee's negative growl didn't encourage him. Visions of the children discovering a new 'toy' ran through his thoughts; his apprehension grew. As he made another pass toward the supply hold he heard muffled giggles. "Oh, no...they DIDN'T"......He knelt and lifted the metal cover of the smuggling compartments. "All right....everybody out...." "Captain Solo?" A tall man approached Han in the ship's bay on Lyra. "I'm the Cunnin Diplomat's Uncle, Arodef." "Good." The Corellian stated flatly. "Believe me, it's my PLEASURE to turn them over to you." He handed the man the children's papers. "I trust they were no problem?" "PROBLEM?" Han eyed each of the youngsters lined behind him. Once again, they were silent, dressed in their diplomatic robes. Five pair of sedate eyes locked with his. He was ready to tell their uncle just how much of a problem they'd been, then...."No..no problem" Arodef nodded, pleased. "Good. Come with me, then children." "May I speak with Captain Solo before we leave?" Tigo asked. A nod from his uncle prompted the boy to contine. "Captain, I've been chosen as spokesperson for the others. We'd like to thank you for letting us enjoy our flight We may be children, but we weren't entirely blind to the situation we left behind. For a while, you allowed us to ....forget. We're seldom allowed to enjoy ourselves. We're expected to display diplomatic deportment at all times, now more than ever. Thank you for letting us just be children for a while." Han didn't know waht to say as they slowly followed their uncle. "Captain Solo?" Shanna stopped in front of him. Han crouched down. "Yes." "Are you promised?" He hid a smile. "No...no...I'm not." "Will you be promised to me?" She hugged his neck tighty, "I love you." Han cleared his throat softly, embarrased "Sure ...yeah. I'll be promised to you." The little girl brightened. Don't forget. " She called as she was ushered away by her uncle. "I won't." Han watched until they were gone from sight. "You know, Chewie, if I ever have any kids, I hope they'll be just like them." Chewbacca snorted as he headed back into the FALCON... now he KNEW his Captain had another soft spot, and it wasn't the one in his heart.