As a wise green man once said, wars not make one great, but they sure do give you a front row seat to all the juiciest gossip this side of the Slice, and this excerpt from C.B. Lee’s short story A Good Kiss delves into a character we’ve watched awkwardly try to sidle through the argument between Han and Leia; Chase Wilsorr, the box carrying rebel who does his best to not get between the scoundrel and the Princess.
“New holoprojector for you,” Chase announces.
Toryn Farr turns as he sets down the heavy package. “Can you set it up? I’m expecting—” She snaps back to her comm station, intently listening through her headset.
Chase waits awkwardly until she relays a short series of commands back, fidgeting with his pack until Toryn finally notices he’s still there.
“Was there something else?”
“Bantha milk, from your sister. She says remember to take breaks.” Chase offers the bottle with a smile.
Toryn’s gaze softens as she takes the bottle. “Wilsorr, right?” The chief communications officer smiles at him. “Thank you.”
Chase beams proudly. Raysi Anib was right. People do value him when he values himself.
Oh. General Rieekan is right there.
If you don’t ask the question, you’ll never have the answer.
“General Rieekan? Would you like some caf? I was doing a run to the hangar and had some—”
“Thank you, that would be great.” Blunt. Short. To the point. The general doesn’t even look away from the plans he’s poring over, but he gestures at his empty mug.
Chase pours caf out of his thermos. Now’s his chance.
“General Rieekan, I hope you know that I—”
The hawk-eyed man turns his scrutinizing gaze toward Chase. “Who are you again?”
“Chase Wilsorr, sir. I requested sentry duty and was denied—”
“Oh, right, Lieutenant Dana’s trainee.” General Rieekan frowns.
“I hope that—”
“Listen, son, I’m very busy. I know you want to help, but the best thing for you right now is what you’re suited for. Major Monnon explicitly said—”
“I know that I’m not good with weapons, sir. Or hand-eye coordination. Or fighting. Or any of that, really. But I could take shifts on sentry duty, I really—”
General Rieekan claps him on the shoulder. “That’s the attitude and determination I like to see. I have a critical mission for you.”
Chase’s heart pounds with excitement. “Yes?”
Chase curses as he hefts another heavy supply crate through tunnel 05-92 to Echo Station 5-4 outside the base. He knocks on the durasteel doors and waits for them to slide open.
Rainn Poras smirks as he sets down the crate. “Hey, thanks for the critical delivery,” he says with a sarcastic smile.
Chase rolls his eyes.
“These blasters need to be recharged—they’re all in this crate here.”
Chase grabs the other crate, his eyes stinging in the cold wind. He can’t even enjoy being out here at the sentry point, being able to see the sky and the sunshine. Ice and snow stretch out into the endless horizon—nothing on the tundra, everything swaths of the same off-white, white and gray and blue unrelenting ice.
“Can you believe he applied three times to sentry duty?”
“Apparently Lieutenant Dana keeps running out of excuses to keep him busy.”
“Is it true Wilsorr tripped over his own feet during weapons training and destroyed three barracks?”
Their voices carry as he makes his way back through the tunnel, and Chase grits his teeth as he shuffles forward. I am important, he reminds himself, even as he doesn’t believe it anymore.
“Don’t listen to them. I mean, I can see how the general was thinking—you didn’t think your duties were critical before, and he’s said they are, so—”
Chase plops down on the crate he’s supposed to be delivering to the hangar, sighing. “Should I just stop trying?”
Jordan shrugs. “I think if you really want sentry duty, you could keep asking for it, but I also think you’re great just the way you are.”
Chase bites his lip, quickly looking away from the way Jordan’s shoulders look in his thermal shirt. “How are you not cold?” Jordan’s jacket is lying discarded next to the hoverlift stacked high with bales of fungus.
“Gets too hot throwing these around. This is nothing.” Jordan grins at him, his warm brown eyes sparkling with mischief.
Chase likes the way words fit in Jordan’s mouth, like they’re round with delight, his deep accent making ordinary words sparkle with Jordan’s quick-witted amusement. These moments with Jordan are always the best part of his day.
Jordan leans forward, placing his hands on Chase’s shoulders, rubbing them with his palms. “You cold, Yavin baby?”
“N-no. Yes. I told you, I’m from Takodana! I mean. Cold. Uh, not anymore. I—”
Be open to possibility. Others won’t know how you feel unless you tell them. Your most confident self is waiting for you to open the door.
Chase opens his mouth, and then closes it.
“I gotta go,” Chase mutters, stumbling backward and grabbing his crate. He breaks into a quick jog. He’s not running away from his crush. He’s not. He’s just . . . getting back to work.
Chase’s breath billows in front of him in quick puffs as he leaves the tauntaun pens with the crate. Ugh, why didn’t he stay? Was that flirting? Maybe he should have said something witty or suave. “I’m from Takodana!” Chase mutters to himself. Un-kriffing-believable.
Ugh. Hoth. He hates it so much.
Where was he going again?
Right, main hangar.
Chase makes a quick right into one of the main tunnels; other personnel walk quickly through, and the sounds of the command room echo through the wider corridor. Ahead of him are familiar voices.
Chase can see Captain Solo striding ahead of Princess Leia Organa as she quickens her pace to match his. “Yes, you’re a great help, a natural leader—”
Oh, not this again. Chase has seen them pretend to argue all over the base; in the mess halls, in corridors, in the hangar. Not that the argument against fickleberries baked on meatpies was without merit—Chase is clearly for combining savory and sweet and loves that Alderaanian custom—but honestly, to drag it out for an hour just to annoy the other person is too much. And now they’re in his way. Can’t they flirt somewhere else? He’s got a job to do.
Captain Solo leans closer, and every centimeter of his handsome face annoys Chase to no end. Some people can’t just sweep into the Rebellion with their own ship and accept actual critical missions from General Rieekan and banter with the princess all over Echo Base. Some people aren’t handsome and don’t have a presence like Han Solo. Some people are just ordinary people, okay?
Chase grips his crate tighter and steps right into the scant space between them and ignores the rising argument behind him.
“You could use a good kiss!” Captain Solo bellows. It echoes throughout the corridor.
The absolute nerve.
Chase bristles, his knuckles turning white as he picks up the pace. He’s so tired of people like Solo. You know who’s never been kissed? Chase Wilsorr, that’s who. He could certainly use a good kiss. It offends him that Captain Solo and Princess Leia are just arguing about it, the way they’ve been dancing around each other since they’ve arrived on Hoth, clearly pretending to hate each other. Don’t attractive people have anything better to do than to taunt everyone else on the base with their unresolved tension?
- Audio CD – Audiobook
- Dickinson, Seth (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 11/10/2020 (Publication Date) - Random House Audio (Publisher)