Author: Findswoman Title: Mending Things; or, The Seamstress of Massassi Base Era: Saga–OT (0 and 3 ABY) Characters: Lualani’Draba’Takiil “Lua” (OC), mentions of assorted members of the Rebel Alliance, and an EC narrator whose identity you will probably be able to guess. Genre: Vignette, drama, character study Summary: A portrait of one of Massassi Base’s more unexpected denizens, through the eyes of one of its best-known denizens. Notes: Written in response to the prompt I received in @Mira_Jade ’s awesome Secret of the Rune Challenge: This story features two characters, one an OC and one an EC, who are doing their best to persevere after suffering some of the worst distresses imaginable. Once again, I thank @Raissa Baiard for beta reading and helping make this story much better. 0 ABY Things are always astir here at Massassi Base, day and night. Pilots training in simulators, keeping up their skills and aim, while the mechanics keep the real vehicles in tiptop form. Ground troops running obstacle courses through the humid jungle terrain. Lookouts constantly scanning the horizons; officers clustered around the chart readouts making plans. Naturally the medics are always busy. And off in one of the small alcoves at the back corner of the Great Temple, at her own table, there is the seamstress. I remember noticing her the day I arrived, after Han, Luke, Chewbacca, and I escaped the Death Star. There she was, sitting at a little table in that alcove, guiding a torn uniform jacket carefully through a squat, cylindrical machine. Her hunched posture made me guess she was no longer young. I wasn’t sure of her species at first; she had leathery, green-gray skin and a flat face. She was Drabatan, I later learned. The species name was familiar to me from what I had heard of their homeworld (Pipada, if memory serves) being stripped of resources by the Empire, but I had never before met anyone from there. To meet a survivor changes everything: her world, and everything it has lost, has a face now. I asked Draven about her. He told me she had arrived not long before I had. Her son had been one of the demolition engineers who went to Scarif—one of the sixteen courageous fighters who gave their lives to win the plans to the Death Star. Draven had been the one to comm her and tell her the sad news. She had been silent with grief a long while, he said—such a long while that he thought the connection had been lost. Then she asked him something he had not expected: if she could come to the base so that she, too, could join her son’s cause and carry on his work in some way, even though he was gone. She said she could mend things. Draven could not refuse her, of course. So she has been here since then, at her table in the alcove, mending things. And you would be surprised at how many things that need mending at an installation like this one. Flight suits with all their straps and zippers, uniform jackets and caps with all their buttons and snaps and rank bars, torn equipment tarps, worn-out gloves, socks full of holes. She mends them all at her little table in the corner alcove, all alone, all day. * * * Sometimes I could hear her humming to herself in a quiet, high keen. At least I thought it was her; it always came from that direction. Perhaps it was one of her machines instead? In any case, whenever I was in that part of the temple, I would stop for a moment to listen, and maybe even briefly watch. Always briefly, though, as I always had somewhere to be and something to do. * * * After the battle, just before the medal ceremony, I took my dress to her. It was the white one that used to belong to Amilyn, so naturally it was a little long. I took it out of the bag and held it up to show her. I shall never forget what happened next. First she shuddered violently, as if she had just seen something horrible and disturbing. Then she immediately collected herself and said something about how lovely it looked. Next, we did a fitting. I stood there wearing it while she moved about (nervously, one might say—faster than I had ever seen her move) making marks on the sleeves and sides and hem in green chalk. All the while she hummed in that quiet, high-pitched keen. (That is how I found out it had been her all along.) Later that day, I passed by there again and saw her working on it. She was just about to feed it into the machine, then stopped and looked away. Then she tried again, managed a few stitches—but then stopped again. Then, again, more stitches—and then she stopped her machine. For a few moments she held her head upward with her eyes squeezed tightly shut, then put her head down on the desk and stayed in that position, motionless. I recognized that look, I recognized that gesture—because there are times when the disaster hits me again which bring me very close to doing the same thing myself. (They tend to frown on that sort of thing during staff meetings, however.) So, I looked around (to make sure no one was watching, I suppose), then went over to her, sat beside her on her bench, and gently—very gently—put my arm around her. She was shaking slightly: weeping, or whatever her species’s equivalent might be. I said nothing, and she said nothing. Then the disaster overcame me again, and I was in tears, too, for all that was destroyed and lost. And we stayed there, grieving together, a long time. * * * The ceremony went beautifully, and the dress fit beautifully—as if it had been made for me first. Amilyn herself complimented me on it. But it was the seamstress who really deserved the compliment. From the dais, I scanned the crowd for her. She was there, toward the back corner, applauding with her hands held high and her face aglow with a broad smile. I did not see her at the celebration afterward. Some time later, I heard (once again, from Draven) that Drabatans never wear white clothing. They use white only for graveclothes. * * * 3 ABY Things are always astir here at Echo Base, day and night. The pilots and ground troops still keep hard at work on their training, the mechanics on their repairs, the lookouts on their scanning of the horizon (the bleak, cold, white horizon). We officers still huddle around the chart readouts, making plans. Naturally the medics are still always busy. And off in one of the small alcoves at the back corner of the main hangar, the Drabatan seamstress still sits there, mending things.