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and for a moment Leia thought the Bothan was going to launch himself physically at Karrde's throat. "We will not forget, this, smuggler," he hissed instead. "Your time will come."

Karrde smiled sardonically. "Perhaps. Shall we go?"

Chapter 27

The proximity alert warbled, and Luke straightened up in his seat. After five days, they'd made it. "here we go," he said. "You ready?"

"You know me, Han said from the pilot's seat beside him. "I'm always ready."

Luke threw a sideways glance at his friend. To all outward appearances, Han seemed perfectly normal, or at least as close to it as he ever got. But beneath the casual flippancy Luke had noticed something else over the past few days: a darker, almost brooding sense that had been with him since they left Coruscant. It was there now; and as he studied Han's face, Luke could see the tension lines there. "You all right?" he asked quietly.

"Oh, sure. Fine." The lines tightened a little further. "But just once I'd like them to find someone else to go off on these little jaunts across the galaxy. You know Leia and I didn't even get a day together? We didn't see each other for a whole month; and we didn't even get a day."

Luke sighed. "I know," he said. "Sometimes I feel like I've been running full speed since we blasted out of Tatooine with the droids and Ben Kenobi way lack when."

Han shook his head. "I hadn't seen her for a month," he repeated. "She looks twice as pregnant as she did when she left. I don't even know what happened to her and Chewie out there-all she had time to tell me was that those Noghri things are on our side now. Whatever that means. I can't get anything out of Chewie, either. Says it's her story, and that she should tell it herself. I'm about ready to strangle him."

Luke shrugged.
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