Fiearius let out a disgruntled ‘hmph’. “Why do you think we’re here?”
“Vacation?” said Finn brightly, jabbing a thumb back toward the door. Dropping his hand, he shrugged. “Nah, you picked a good spot. Goddora was never that popular on Archeti. Most are glad he’s snuffed it; probably won’t run into anyone who wants violent revenge … ”
“Well, that’s comforting,” said Leta dryly. Quite ready for this conversation to be over, she glanced to Cyrus. “Ready to go?”
Cyrus, who didn’t look remotely ready by the expression on his face, stuck the map in his pocket and nodded. “As I’ll ever be.”
Leta was surprised to see a look of pity flicker on Fiearius’ face.
“Hey,” he called, catching Cyrus’ attention. He used his one good shoulder to push himself from the wall and he stepped to his brother. “Take care of yourself, alright? And don’t worry about the fuel, I’ll find someone dumb enough to hook up to a ship in the middle of town.”
Cyrus frowned, taken aback. “I thought you were on a break…”
Fiearius shrugged one shoulder. “Ain’t no rest for the wicked.”
“I…don’t think that’s what –” Cyrus began.
“You’ll do fine.” Fiearius patted him on the shoulder cheerfully before turning back to Leta. “And you,” he told her bluntly, his eyes drifting toward a glare. “Don’t you dare let him die.” He kept his long, intense stare on her face before breaking into a wide smile. “Have fun, kids!”
Cyrus rolled his eyes and beckoned Leta to the ramp. She started to follow, but not without throwing a distracted look toward Fiearius, her needy patient. “No more window jumping, got it?” she growled, suddenly alarmed by whatever business deal Fiearius was planning himself. “Your arm’s barely — “
Before she could finish her threat, another voice rang out, causing everyone to turn.
It was Corra. She was hurrying down the stairs, fully armed with at least three guns strapped to her tiny body. She practically flew across the room, nearly colliding with Cyrus as she skidded to a halt and grabbed his arm. “I just heard,” she panted through heavy breaths, “I can’t believe…you’re gonna go…do this…without me.”
Looking dumbstruck, Cyrus opened his mouth and finally stammered, “I didn’t want to bother you and I thought–”
“And I can’t believe,” she went on breathlessly, ignoring his stammers and rounding on Fiearius, “You were gonna…let them go…on their own.” She looked at him furiously. “These two! Are you…crazy?!”
Appearing as perplexed as his brother, Fiearius blinked down at her slowly. “Depends who you ask?” he offered unhelpfully.
Corra released a frustrated groan, sucked in one more heavy breath and glared at Cyrus. “I’m coming with you,” she informed him matter-of-factly, her tone practically daring him to challenge her.
Cyrus was apparently up to the task. “Are you sure?” he asked, stupidly. Leta saw an odd, confused hope fill Cyrus’ eyes, like he couldn’t quite believe what was happening, but he wanted to. Actually, in her week aboard, she’d never seen Cyrus look at anyone like that. “I mean, after–”
“I’m coming with you,” she repeated harshly.
Cyrus seemed incapable of putting words together anymore, so Leta wondered, “What made you change your mind?”
Corra’s frown softened, and she gave a sheepish, kind smirk. “I can’t just let you guys go out there alone,” she admitted, sounding breathless but determined. “If something happened? I’d…I’d never forgive myself. If we can’t look out for each other, who will?”
Sincerity blazed in her round brown eyes, and Leta was taken aback. It made sense that she wanted to help Cyrus — they were clearly friends, perhaps more than friends — but Corra grasped her forearm too, like they’d known each other forever.
“I — guess you’re right,” said Leta finally, beginning to smile in spite of herself. At least until Finn interrupted.
“This is really touching,” he said, beaming at them all. “So how come no one’s invited me, eh?”
Still grasping Leta’s arm, Corra turned back to Finn and frowned. “Because I don’t trust you,” she stated simply. “Any ‘friend’ of his,” she gestured to Fiearius, “is bound to be trouble.”
“Well, fair point,” Finn conceded. “Shame you won’t ask my help though. I’m more than just a pretty face, Corra… ”
Indignantly, Fiearius laid a protective hand on Finn’s shoulder. “S’alright, mate. They’re just jealous.”
Rolling her eyes, quite ready to be away from both Fiearius and his obnoxious friend, Leta steered them toward the door and fell into step beside Cyrus.
“Let’s just get this over with,” she muttered, but now she felt slightly more confident in their chances. After all, unlike her last three painful months on Vescent, at least she didn’t have to face this task alone.