Some hours later, their mystery guest still slept in sickbay.
McCoy incredulously pored over her condition.
by the computer's calculation and the
pod's own memory banks, she'd been in there for a couple of
centuries, and that's a conservative estimate. That thing
wasn't built for extensive use, and it appears that a few
hours of sleep are all that she needs to recover. That shouldn't
even be possible
"Even so, that appears to be what happened. Until she
wakes up and can answer some questions, I took the precaution
of disarming her," stated Bishop.
"Ah got questions all right. Why did she call Remy 'brother'
"Wish I knew, chère. Gambit's only brothers an' sisters
be in the Guild, dat I know of
I don' like it. I'm tellin'
you, she was in my head - diff'rent than Jean or the Prof
- but she was."
"Strange then, that none of us felt any mental probing.
Why settle on you, LeBeau? "
"Joseph, if I knew that, I know I'd be a whole lot happier
"Well, from these readings, she's just waking, so now
is the time. Come one, come all, for what shall undoubtedly
be a tale of a fateful trip
"Blue, give it a rest..."
Nomi was tired. She had no idea how long she had been in
the survival pod, but she suspected that it was a great deal
longer than she had anticipated. Mind you, she didn't think
she had much to complain about -- she was alive, after all.
She would still be there for her daughter.
* Vima will be so worried ...*
Dimly, she recalled falling into the Sith ambush. In the
battle that followed, she had defeated her enemies, but her
ship had been battered into a useless hulk -- right on the
edge of the Kesmiri wormhole. The Lightside Explorer,
or what was left of her, was already starting to break up
when she abandoned ship. The only survival pod that was still
in usable condition had suffered circuit damage, and the pod
thrusters were completely useless that close to the event
The only possible route was through the wormhole.
No one had even known if it were possible to survive wormhole
transit, but since the only other alternative was certain
death, it hadn't been a tough choice for her to make at the
* Although I guess I've settled the transit question. After
all, I'm here -- wherever 'here' is ... * she thought wryly.
She couldn't remember much of the trip through. To ensure
that the pod remained operable despite its circuit damage,
she had had to take some drastic action -- though she was
sure Master Thon's lessons on using the Force to separate
from your body weren't actually intended for the use she had
put them to ... living in a circuit board was definitely overrated.
She knew nothing beyond that -- keeping the circuit functional,
so that her body would also survive. Time really was meaningless
in such a state, and she had no idea how long she had so existed
, or how much longer she would have had to endure. Had it
not been for the presence she had detected in what remained
of her awareness...
Unfortunately, she couldn't remember much of her rescuers,
except for one -- her body and spirit had been through too
much. She hadn't even had the presence of mind to speak Standard,
but had used Bothan instead, since that was the last language
she had spoken...
As she slowly regained awareness of her surroundings, she
hoped that somehow she would be able to get a message back
to Yavin to reassure Vima -- and to find out if her friends
had managed to defeat the Sith Lords in her absence.
* I'm sure Cay and the others have been taking good care
of her ... I hope they're all right...*
With Hank and the others gathered about the bed in sickbay,
the newcomer gradually returned to consciousness. Her eyes
fluttered. Slowly, she shook her head and sat up, strangely
unconcerned about the rather outlandish collection of strangers
Hank was first to break the silence.
"How do you feel, Madam?"
Her reply was hoarse, but clear -- and in English, to the
surprise of the others.
"Like I've been wrestling a gundark ... but all things
considered, I'll take it. Thank you. Where are we ?"
" Tha answer to that question is unfortunately, 'we
don't know yet' -- we were blown off-course when we happened
to find you."
The woman smiled.
"For which accident, I'm thankful. You saved my life."
"Remy's the one who spotted ya -- we all just pulled
The stranger turned directly toward Gambit when she answered.
" Indeed... thank you."
Remy was suddenly acutely uncomfortable. How had she known
which one he was? No one had offered any names yet ... maybe
she only remembered seeing him when woke up before, and just
drew her own conclusions. Suspicious nonetheless, he answered
her in a perfectly neutral tone of voice. After all, there
was definitely one answer he wanted from her -- no sense in
being antagonistic ...
"Jus' had a naggin' feelin' I had t'check out, dat's
I'm glad I did. I got another naggin' feelin'
now -- why did you call me 'brother' before? "
She looked at the Cajun intently for a moment, as if making
some kind of judgement, before she replied.
"To answer that will take some explaining on my part,
and that will involve me doing some catching up first. However,
I will answer your question in full, Remy LeBeau. I owe you
that much at least."
At this, Gambit's eyes flashed in anger.
"I don' like people goin' in my head, chère, 'specially
when dey not invited. How do you know my name? " he asked
"A good question ... just who are you ?" Bishop
"My name is Nomi Sunrider, but that isn't important
right now. Are your communications up? I have to get a message
through to the Yavin system -- I have to talk to my daughter."
Beast looked at her pityingly.
" Madam ... I'm afraid that may not be possible."
She turned toward him questioningly.
"What do you mean?"
" I'm not sure how to say this, Madam ..."
"Please -- call me Nomi."
"Very well -- Nomi -- you were in that pod for a long
Her eyes darkened in sudden understanding, and her face went
"How long?" she asked in a tight voice.
Beast spoke as gently as he could, but he knew there was
no way to lessen the impact of his words.
"By our best estimate -- a minimum of three hundred
At this, Nomi appeared to shrink back into herself in shock.
She lay back on the bed, her hands to her eyes.
* Vima ... oh Vima ... *
In her pain, she did the only thing she could for solace
-- she reached out with the Force, hoping to find some trace
of the essence that had been her little girl. She was not
disappointed -- Vima may have died long ago, but Nomi felt
the echo of her daughter's love in the atmosphere around her,
assuaging her grief.
After a few minutes, she regained control of herself, and
opened her eyes again, to find her rescuers looking awkwardly
away from her -- except for one.
Like the others, Gambit sympathized with the woman, but something
had just happened when she had collapsed, and what,
he didn't know -- it was like there had been a change in the
air. Whatever it was, it drew him toward Nomi, despite his
earlier anger, and sustained suspicion.
" Y' going t' be okay, chère ?"
She nodded with a weak smile.
Beast cleared his throat to gain Nomi's attention.
" I suppose introductions are in order ... the lady
on the left is called Deathbird -- Viceroy of the Shi'ar Imperium
-- which was the point of origin of our journey. To your right
are in order, Rogue, Joseph and Bishop. The lady at my side
is Trish Tilby, I am Dr. Henry McCoy ... and you appear to
know Remy ..."
She noted the air of suspicion in the room, and the lingering
question in the man's voice.
" And you want to know how," she replied easily.
" Er, yes ..." replied Beast, taken off-guard by
" As I said earlier, I will provide you with an explanation.
But before I can -- I'm going to have to sort out what reality
I'm in, if that makes any sense," she said carefully.
" I've never heard of this 'Imperium' -- I only know
the systems which united and expanded into the Republic ..."
" Which I have never heard of!" Deathbird
" There's many a system between Core and Rim,"
Nomi interjected softly.
" I'm simply trying to discover how far I am from my
home planet ...and I would appreciate any help in that effort."
" Well, we have other problems ourselves -- namely,
trying to fix this bucket of bolts so we can go home,"
Trish pointed out.
Nomi nodded her head in agreement, then turned her attention
" Granted -- but you will have your explanation, Remy
-- as soon as I am able to give it. You have my word."
Remy LeBeau had seen too much of life to like that collateral
from a stranger -- but he reached out with his power and found
sincerity -- and hope? -- in her words. Suddenly, he was aware
of her piercing gaze upon him. Distracted, he broke off his
exploration of her feelings, to find her looking at him with
a small, knowing smile.
" Okay, chère," he said softly.
" We play your way, f' now."
Hank again broke the silence that threatened to descend.
" Well, Ms. Sunrider, as your physician, I would say
that you could use a good meal. Perhaps we can all exchange
information over dinner ? "
A loud growl escaped the woman's stomach, and she blushed,
" That would be wonderful ."
As the eight made their way to the ship's galley, Hank's
voice could be heard in the hallway.
" Perchance, have you ever heard the story of Rip van
Continued in Chapter
"To win one hundred victories of one hundred
battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without
fighting is the acme of skill." - Sun-Tzu, The Art
Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction /
Fan Artwork / History Books /
Photo Album / Songbank /
Miscellania / Links /
Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof
are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an
unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by