DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN OUTLAW STAR OR ANYTHING RELATED TO IT. IT IS THE PROPERTY OF ITS RESPECTED OWNERS AND ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO THEM.

Starcrossed

6 Years after the Galactic Leyline mission, things had been pretty eventful ever since, not as eventful as the Leyline adventure itself but enough to keep them busy. Gene and Melfina actually got married and Gene even gave up his playboy ways…sort of. Aisha was the same as ever: loud, crazy, and without tact. Basically, the way everyone loved her. Suzuka also hadn't changed; calm, quiet and collected; save when it came to her new apprentice, Jim Hawking. Jim had become an impressive fighter all around, from sword techniques taught to him by Suzuka to his gun play and over all talent which rivaled Gene's. A year after Suzuka and Aisha rejoined the crew, the gang relocated back to Heifong 3 where they began to make a killing in repairs, deliveries, and bounty heads. Things got crazy at times but it was nothing they couldn't handle but things, as they always do, were about to change.

They were all in for the night, save Jim who was out looking for parts, and preparing to go to bed when Gilliam alerted them, very loudly, that there was a message for Aisha. Too tired to care and lacking interest, Gene said,"So what? Gilliam, you made all that noise about a stupid message?" Aisha, always quick to confrontation especially when it came to her things, yelled out, "HOW DARE YOU SAY SOMETHING OF MINE ISN'T IMPORTANT! Thank you, Gilliam. I will listen after the Neanderthal goes to bed." As Jim would have said and as Suzuka and Melfina were thinking, "Here we go!"

"WHAT DID YOU CALL ME!?" Gene yelled.

"DID I STUTTER?!" Aisha replied.

"Come on, you two. Please." Melfina spoke up in her typically calm voice.

"Alright, fine. Whatever you say, Mel." Gene said.

"Whipped." Aisha's smart mouth couldn't help but let out.

"Alright! THAT DOES IT!"
Mel froze because it looked like they were actually were about to scrap and there was not a thing she or Suzuka, who seemed not care either way as she always did when they got like this, could do to stop them.

Just as they were about to begin, the Peacemaker walked in. Jim, who had become a bit of an imposing figure with his broad shoulders and very well developed arms, walked through the door and both Gene and Aisha froze. "I leave for a little while and you two are at it again. I would go into my usual 'Knock it Off' speech but just seeing that you both froze when I walked in proves that it does not bear repeating," Jim said with a confidant smile. "Ah, whatever," Gene scolded, "The only reason you are still around Aisha is 'cause…" "Gene," Mel quickly cut him off. "Yeah, right. Anyway, I'm going to bed. Good night, Jim, Suzuka, Gilliam," said Gene, purposefully overlooking Aisha. "Good night everybody," said Melfina, "See you all in the morning." "I shall turn in as well. Good night all," said Suzuka, "Jim, be sure that you train a little before you go to bed." "Of Course, Master," Jim replied.

Jim calling Suzuka Master always made Gene laugh a little at first, now it just brings a smile to his face because he has seen the change in Jim. A change for the better. With everyone gone, save Jim, Aisha went ahead and played her message. She didn't mind playing personal stuff in front of Jim because she also noticed a change in him. Then again, its not like he was ever untrustworthy but lately he took it to a new level. As he began doing his basic exercises, Aisha let her message play.

"Aisha Clanclan of the Ctarl-Ctarl Empire. This is a direct order from your Father to return home immediately. Your marriage is to take place in two Terran weeks. You will quit that ridiculous job with those Terrans and return home immediately. This is not a request."

Aisha was stunned to say the least. Her father had always been harsh, as most parents are, but this was too much even for him. She couldn't believe what she had just heard. Married?! To who? And Why? Then again, she knew why. Though she may act differently, Aisha is not an idiot. She knew the only reason for her married to be an arranged was because it would convenient for her family and their status among the empire. But why so soon? Jim, who practicing in silence heard the whole message, and he knew that things could only get worse now. Then Jim saw something he never thought he would see; Aisha began to cry. Jim was amazed, not at the fact that Aisha was crying, he always figured that she had a sensitive side, but at the fact that this upset her this much. Jim figured arranged marriages were typical for the Ctarl but even if they were, this really hurt Aisha. After Jim thought about it for a second, it hurt him a lot too.

Wanting to be there for her, Jim walked over to her to ask her the question he already knew the answer to: "Are you alright, Aisha?" She realized that she was crying and wiped her tears, put on her best smile, as good a mask as she could put on, and answered, "Sure! I mean, I'm getting married! Why shouldn't I be happy?"

"I don't know," Jim said, "You tell me."

"Ah, Jimmy, I'm fine. It will be great being married, you know?"

"Are you sure?"

Aisha, finally broke down, she couldn't even fake it anymore.

"Jim, I don't want to do this," she said in the most monotone voice she ever used.

"Then don't," Jim said, trying to give her hope.

"Jim, you don't understand. First off, my father sent that message. That's reason enough to go back. Secondly, the Ctarl take marriages, especially arranged marriages, very seriously."

Jim, in a rare moment, had no solution. All he could say was: "Aisha, I don't want you to leave. Please don't go."

She wanted to cry again. She had remembered Jim showing similar sympathy toward her at the Leyline when she stayed behind to take on one of the Kei pirates. But this time, it was different. She could sense it in his voice and his mannerisms. He held her close; hugging her tightly not wanting to let her go but she knew in her heart, no matter what she wanted or what Jim wanted, the will of the Empire overrides everything. This was the end of her journeys. The end of her time with her friends. The end of her time with him.