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Ylesia


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Ylesia

 

Astrographical Information

Region: Outer Rim

Sector: Hutt Space

System: Cha Raaba

Orbital Position: 1

Moons: 3

Grid Coordinates: S-8

 

Physical Information

Class: Terrestrial/Tropical

Atmosphere: Type 1 Breathable

Primary Terrain: Islands, Jungles, Mountains

Points of Interest: Mountains of the Exalted, Hutt's palaces

 

Societal Information

Indigenous Species: Humans

Immigrated Species: Hutts, Twi'Lek

Primary Language(s): Galactic Basic, Huttese

Faction Affiliation: Neutral

 

JediRP Canon History: 

Designated as one of the main evacuation jump-points for the Rebel Evacuation of Nar Shaddaa. 

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Six hours of work after blasting their way through a blackaide, and six dozen patients. Likely a hundred more to go. A nagging part of her brain screamed that she should just lay down and sleep, but this was not the time. She had received medical training as part of her life in the naboo palace, and she would be damned if she didn’t put that to use. She ran a bloody hand across her brow to wipe some sweat from her eyes, then looked at the next patient on the triage list. 

 

Aidan Darkfire | IK-001366

 

She looked at the small datapad that was strapped to her arm and frowned. An Imperial Knight. She looked up again and her gray blue eyes focused on a man in white, blood stained armour sitting a few seats down on one of the jumpboard seats. She picked up her kit and walked over to him where she knelt and gestured to the armour on his side. 

 

“Knight Darkfire, is it all right if I take a look at that wound? Stablizing care only until we get planetside.” 

 

The red cross patch that was sown below the symbol of the royal house of nabboo she wore on her brown fatigues showed that she was at least medically trained, and qualified to assist him. Even if she did look every bit as young as her sixteen years portrayed. She held up a hypospray from her kit and grinned. 

 

”Or if you want I can give you the equipment to address it yourself. I know you have the force to help you out.” A dumb attempt at humour. But she did not have the energy left to try anything clever, and there were at least a dozen more patients on this level of the medical transport alone.

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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The trip had been long. While not entirely quiet (as the medical staff had been required to perform their duties), for Aidan it felt decidedly...muted. It was never fun processing the horrors he witnessed, but it was an important part of the healing process. At some point, one of the medics approached him, asking about his side. He hissed as he touched at the edge of the burnt stripe on his side, noting how weird it was to see himself through his armor.

 

"Put it like this, the Force helps those who help themselves. I don't really think I have the energy and focus to do it properly before it scars badly. So...I'm all yours. Of course, if it's just stabilizing care, I think I'll probably be okay until planetfall if someone else needs attention first."

 

He looked around, but nobody seemed to be in intensely critical condition that wasn't already receiving care. Still, Aidan wasn't the kind to take needed resources away from someone else when he could easily do without.

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“Well commander Darkfire, I will do my best.” She mocked a salute, then knelt down in front of him. She raised her eyebrows a bit and she indicated towards his side. “Raise your arm a bit if you can.” 

 

Her hand touched the burned and bubbled armour around the wound and she pulled the strapping aside to release the section, revealing the underweave that was equally damaged and blood covered. She pulled a set of shears from her kit and with deft  fingers, cut the underweave away from the burned and blackened skin. Next came a hypospray of disinfectant, which she discharged into the wound and around it. Then she pat dried the blackened flesh, before adding a fingerfull of bactane which she gently rubbed into the long furrow of flesh. 

 

Then she placed the gauze against the wound and wrapped it in place. 

 

She sat back on her haunches and looked up at the older man. Wiping her brow again, her fingers touching the bloodstained circlet of gold that stretched across the top of her forehead to disappear into the hair above her ears. The only mark of her now destroyed kingdom that she wore besides the flight insignia on her fatigues. 

 

“So you took a lightsaber wound. I hope you gave back more than you got?”

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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He flashed a very forced smile at her question. There wasn't a lot of anesthetic to go around, so he'd had to endure a fair bit of pain before the bactane finally began calming things back down. The disinfectant's notable sting made it feel briefly like his side was on fire, but it was only temporary.

 

"Yeah, something like that." He didn't, and he knew it. He was lucky to survive. He was always lucky to survive. But there was no honor in shoving wartime horrors off onto the nurse trying to care for him. That wasn't her job. But she still sat with him...which admittedly, Aidan found comforting. 

 

And then there was mildly awkward silence, which he chose to fill first.

 

"You said this was a lightsaber wound. You see a lot of those, then? Not many nurses outside the high and mighty order seem to recognize them, always try treating them like blaster wounds at first."

Edited by Aidan Darkfire

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She shrugged her shoulders, rocking back on her heels and forcing her overly tired legs to stand herself up. She kicked the heel of her boot against the decking, to get some more life into her right foot, then she looked back at the Imperial Knight. 

 

“I’ve seen what they do to innocent people mainly.” She gestured to her brown fatigues, the same ones the Royal Naboo starfighter wing wore. “Sith lightsabers made a quick killing of my people. That is when they weren’t obliterating all that I loved from orbit.” 

 

The young queen would sup from the cup of revenge in time, and there was a flash of anger in her eye, before she blinked it away with a smile as equally fake as his. 

 

“Knight Darkfire, I am Queen Namari of the Naboo. It is a pleasure to meet you, despite the circumstances.” wiped a bloody hand on her pants before extending her hand in the normal political greeting of the galaxy. 

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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Posted (edited)

Aidan was rather dumbstruck as the Queen revealed her identity, though honestly it was more his muscle memory telling him this person demanded respect, and that he needed to be formal... now was clearly no time for formalities, even though it was clear she 

 

"That would explain the tiara, I suppose." He paused briefly as he measured the next few words more carefully. "I'm... I'm sorry about what happened to your people. I'd heard it was bad, but I had no idea." 

 

More stunted silence as Aidan had clearly gone straight for the tender spot. "It's, um...it's a pleasure to meet you as well, um... your Highness?"

Edited by Aidan Darkfire

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“I am nearly a queen in title only, and until we free my people, they will continue to suffer and die under the hands of the Sith.” Her gray blue eyes looked deep into his as she stood up and placed her hyposyring back into its refill case. “When that day comes, I will make sure we are never so vulnerable again. Whatever it takes, I will do.” There was a dangerous air to her words, something that spoke deeply of vengeance and destruction. But she wiped that away with a friendly grin. 

 

Your family reputation precedes you Knight Darkfire. Maybe in the future I might ask you to help train my army.” She smiled and with her smile came the gentle suggestion in his mind that such a thing would be a really good idea. An amature mind trick, and one he would easily detect even as she did it unconsciously. A trick of a force sensitive young politician.  

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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Aidan turned shock and surprise into a forced laugh. Train an entire army, that was an absolutely great idea, let's have the mentally scarred lucky survivor be the training template for a whole new generation of political sacrifices. In fact, he'd never heard a better idea from a combat instructor except for every idea ever...oh. The realization was rather sudden, but it only caught him off guard because he wasn't expecting it. Of course, she was a politician, this might have easily been second nature to her and not an intentional slight.

 

"I always forget about the last name. It's kind of easy to get lost in the rank and file of the Imperial Knight uniforms, and frankly I'd gotten rather used to it. Look your highness, I can respect what you're trying to ask of me, but in good conscience I can't do what you're asking of me."

 

Aidan wanted to let it go, to let it be that, but here she was playing nurse in a warzone instead of still pretending she was royalty. She actually gave a damn enough to try and use his family name against him in desperation to help her people. If she were trained, this would be her weakness. There was the potential to do a lot more harm than good if she were trained and then fell, but the aggressions of the Sith demanded all hands on deck in the war effort to stop them, proven by her simple service with the medical crew. She had the willpower, and the drive. Aidan may have found his peace, but he still felt broken, scarred. At the least, he might be able to help sculpt something beautiful from the mistakes he'd made.

 

"But...you might be able to."

 

It felt like another of his classic moves, the Jedi would likely have rejected her long ago for her potential to fall, but they should have rejected him for the same warning signs. He proved those old stigmatized molds could be broken...and she also deserved a chance to prove it herself.

 

"Have you ever been tested for potential training in the ways of the Force?"

 

Desperate times. Desperate measures.

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A bit of the dried blood at the corner of her eye flaked away when she smiled. It was a frustrated smile, but not a mean one. She had heard a lot in her few years as the Queen of Naboo, but she had never even thought of training for the position of an Imperial Knight. She was no warrior, but yet that lingering feeling in the pit of her stomach told her that she could be. And what would be better for Naboo than a queen with the ability to defend her planet? She could feel the frustration begin to melt away into a vague hope that she had not felt since she had seen the black shapes of Sith Star Destroyers drop into orbit in the peaceful blue skies of Theed. 

 

She shouldered her bag of equipment and took two steps to the next patient, a twi’lek who had taken shrapnel to one of their lekku. A bacta bandage for now, then full submersion and surgery when they got planetside. She unwrapped a roll of sterile gauze before she looked back to the Wounded Imperial Knight.

 

“I have not been tested, but if you have one of those tests lying around you can give me while I work I wouldn’t be opposed. So test away Knight Darkfire.” 

 

She gave him a bright smile, and went to work. Her mind full of the possibilities that such training could bring. 

 

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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"Uh, well, it's not quite that simple..." Aidan looked around, realizing they did have plenty of medical equipment about them.

 

"If you can run a resonance scan on a sample of blood, we can get an idea from your midi-chlorian count. Other than that, we'd have to wait for one of the seekers from the Jedi or for the Imperial Knight HQ to reestablish itself. I think there's like some trick to telling, but I don't know it myself. I can say you have a rather strong and influential presence about you, a trait commonly found in those who learn the ways of the Force."

 

He sat back scratching his head.

 

"But...if this is something you're serious about doing, then we'll have plenty of time. This is more than some cool mind magic and flashy swords, this is a way of life. One that conflicts with a life of politics."

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Anne let her gaze linger, tracing the outline of the imperial crest on his armour, then back up to the Imperial Knight as she finished wrapping the damaged and twitching lekku. She lay her hand on the young woman’s face, whispering a prayer for healing before letting her eyes catch Darkfire’s. 

 

“You mean you can’t just look into my mind and find out?” 

 

It was weird to think that something that was portrayed as inherently spiritual in the holofilms could be reduced to a blood count. It took the mystery away from it and left a bitter taste in her mouth. The holofilms and docs she had seen in her childhood had portrayed the jedi as something like monks, spending hours in silent meditation. WHile the modern holos portrayed the IK as some kind of military organization. Relying on blade and word to carve their ways through the Sith. But still, it was an opportunity she would not want to miss. 

 

“Well count me in, but I can’t afford to leave everything behind to go meditate in a temple somewhere. I have a people to save.”

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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Her words hung on him, and he knew it was time to stop leading her on and fueling any fantasies about the glamor of a life like his.

 

"Look, I wish I could just reach into your mind like that, but I never learned how. I don't know what specifically to look for. The blood test should easily confirm what I suspect, though admittedly sometimes false positives can just be coincidental."

 

He wasn't worried about that in the slightest. It was more how she'd take this next part.

 

"The only reason I'm making the offer is because there are so few of us left. Truth be told, you may have already been passed over by a Jedi seeker. You're already too old for their preferences, for one, and it doesn't take a psychologist trained at Coruscant's Ministry of Mental Health to see that you have a lot of pain related to what the Sith did to you. To use the Force in anger or frustration is to draw upon the dark side, and to become the very thing you want to protect your people from. I can help you help them, but maybe not in the ways you expected or even thought were possible."

 

He took a breath, glancing down at his armor. He could pass her off to someone else. He didn't trust anyone else. Not in the Imperial Knights, and few among the Jedi.

 

"And I'm not going to make you swear fealty to the Knights. Not if you don't want to. The Force does not bind us to its will, it is a choice, an acknowledgement, a symbiosis. I won't force military service onto you, but I will gladly show you what I do know. This life... it's a stark departure from everything you knew. Royalty, titles, you would leave it all behind. The rest of the galaxy doesn't tend to value us until they see our worth firsthand, and it's never about showing worth for its own sake."

He grabbed a blood sampler and a blank vial from the nearby hovercart, and held it out to her symbolically.

 

"Are you still interested?"

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She looked down and rolled up the sleeve on her fatigues with a blood stained hand. 

 

“I will not put restrictions on the force and where it might guide me in the future. But I will not forget the duty the force has put upon me to protect and foster the people of Naboo. They will always come first. For as long as I live.”

 

She took the syringe from the Imperial Knight and looked him again in the eyes as she pressed the needle into her arm. 

 

“I will swear whatever oath I need to. To Empress or Jedi council, to you or yours.” 

 

She withdrew the syringe and flicked the filled vial before handing it back. 

 

“So when do I start?” 

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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"Swear your oath to the Force, if you must." Aidan plugged the vial into the analysis unit, drawing up a resonance scan of her cells. A nearby screen showed a magnified view of one of her isolated blood cells, with a plethora of small specks swimming about.

 

"There. You see? Hundreds, if not over a thousand or so. That's in every single cell of your body. Those things are called midi-chlorians, and they tend to be present in much higher numbers in those who sensitive to the Force. Your average galactic denizen might only have around ten or so per cell. Count itself isn't a completely accurate indication of ability or potential, but it tends to be a strong indication of ability to benefit from training."

Aidan retrieved the vial and tucked it in a pouch just inside his armor.

 

"I'll need that to make my case. I need to contact my chain of command and get authorization, but as far as a time frame, you'll probably be contacted inside of a week or so. After that, we'll begin."

 

He flashed her a warm smile, but in his current state he couldn't help but still look a bit haggard. He knew she didn't understand what she was signing up for. Nobody ever did. But he had faith in her.

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The next several hours faded in and out of Sophia’s conscious memory. She remembered setting a timer to alert her to the Machine’s reversion to realspace–and then her memory blanked until she was being grabbed by one of her passengers–one of Dinsa’s parents, a Duros, who was driven almost to incoherence by the complex mixture of emotions unique to a parent who was terrified for their child’s safety and enraged by a perceived slight in customer service. The historian had no recollection, but a red mist had descended on her vision and she shoved the alien’s hands off of her shoulders, and proceeded to step uncomfortably close to the mother.

 

“I don’t think you understand, but I just took you and your family through hell. They’re shelling Nar Shaddaa. No targets, just people, millions of people. So I’m sorry,” she began to step forward, driving the Duros into the wall of the common room. “If the ride got a bit bumpy, but those psychopaths are just killing people there so you are very fracking welcome okay?” Sophia finished breathlessly.

 

She remembered the tears in her eyes and that she mumbled an apology before retreating to her quarters.

 

The next event that Sophia remembered was sitting on the floor in her quarters, her hands holding a fake Mandalorian-style helmet down onto her head as though shoving the plastoid shell down would protect her head from the migraine-like pounding. It didn’t help. 

 

A muted buzzing resonated within the little room–that was the realspace reversion alert. She must have fallen asleep. Amazing, that she could have fallen asleep while millions of people were dying to planetary bombardment and everyone that she cared about was fighting for their lives. A wave of nausea began to bubble up from her stomach. That provided the necessary motivation for Sophia to push away the helmet and leave her room, even if that was just to rush for the refresher.

 

She next regained conscious memory during the descent through Ylesia. It was a familiar planet to her; humid climate, turbulent and unpredictable weather, a day-night cycle that left that body’s internal clock frustrated and melancholy within a week. Emphasis on the turbulent, unpredictable weather, with an unexpected surprise of gravity that was just a little bit higher than what most spacers were prepared for. In some dim, conscious part of her mind, she reflected that seeing the blinking lights of hazard spot-lumas and the spaceports must have awoken her mind from its trauma-induced daze. Yes, it was probably trauma, she told herself, along with a healthy lack of sleep, caffeination, and fresh food. It would be a landing by instrumentation only.

 

Sophia reached towards her right side and found a stubby mug of tea that she had abandoned before the jump from Nar Shaddaa. The historian blinked and glanced down upon feeling steam. It was fresh–and she was almost certain that it wasn’t her that had brewed it. There were even a couple of biscuits beside it.

 

“Thank you!” She called out towards the passenger compartments.

 

The landing was routine by Ylesian standards–that was to say, a spontaneously-developing storm cell required a diversion and another fifteen minutes circling a landing pad, all the while nervously watching the anemometer and the fuel gauge. But Machine eventually settled, without even suffering any damage from a final insulting Ylesian cross-wind and Sophia’s exhaustion-induced hesitation.

 

She didn’t remember wishing her passengers farewell. She was… fairly certain that most of them were grateful to have reached safety, even if Sophia had some recollection of the stench of alien effluent. She might have even been hugged by a couple of them–a dull ache at her lower back suggested that little Dinsa had probably jumped right into her arms for an overly-enthusiastic tackling hug. None of them had attempted to stiff her or even negotiate down their fare, which was… a pleasant surprise, considering the acrobatics.

 

And then Sophia sat on the boarding ramp, looking slightly dazed and staring into the middle distance, periodically pushing her hair out of her face. She wasn’t entirely sure what to do next.

 

Her head was still pounding.

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A comm transmission came filtering into system, connecting with one of the transceivers aboard the medical frigate, passing the encryption handshake before being relayed throughout the fleet and those few Imperial Knights that had survived, mainly Aidan Darkfire

 

“With the destruction of the sovereign temple as well as the leadership of the Imperial Knights. You are commanded to go to ground until further orders. Operation Reforger. More to come. May the Force be with you.” 

 

It did not carry the insignia of the Masters of the Imperial Knights. But came directly from the hand of the Empress. Signed and dispatched should both command towers on the Red and Black as well as the flagship Misericordia be destroyed. A deadman’s switch for whoever may have survived the fires and destruction of the heart of Rebel Power. 

 

The imperial knights were to rebuild and reconnect with their cousins in the Jedi Order. Serving to bolster the barely alive rebel alliance until further orders came down the pipe

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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It seemed that even the force bowed to the will of the government bureaucracy. Something that prickled a slight irritation at the black haired imperial knight in the back of her head. But she was tired, and pretty much everything irritated her. And as the evacuation shuttle touched down, she gave him a nod of approval. 

 

“Well I will be here in and around the medical zone until the provisional government gets put back together. So look me up if you have the time, or if you want to talk about life or something over an MRE.” 

 

She leant over the next patient and began her assessment.

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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Aidan's commlink chimed, and he nodded an affirmative at her as he grabbed for it to check the priority message. "Absolutely. I imagine you're not going to be a difficult face for me to track down."

 

The shuttle shuddered as it touched down and initiated docking procedures, and he let her attend to her duties as he checked the message. Seconds later relief flooded his thoughts. This was an unfortunate thing, he'd lost many brothers and sisters in arms today, but on the other hand it solved quite a few issues he foresaw having with the upper leadership of the Imperial Knights. If this meant he was supposed to report back to the Jedi, that would mean a much more lax and receptive training environment.

 

As personnel began milling about the shuttle, evacuating the critically injured first, he flagged Anne down, showing her the message. "War has a way of accelerating timetables. I can say with certainty that the Jedi will be far more receptive to your situation than the Knights would have been. As such, you're welcome to remain in my company effective immediately if you like, I just need to explain the personnel requisition to whoever has been giving you orders."

 

He still needed medical attention, but it wasn't anything a long term bacta patch or two couldn't fix. There would be Jedi healers among the main body of medics, at least a couple if he knew his mother. They could point him toward the nearest Jedi outpost or enclave, likely a temporary setup among the rallying forces. They would have resources he could use, but more importantly, resources she could begin to use. Basic gear for training and the like. He would also need to file the official petition for her registration as his padawan with the Jedi archives, but these days it was digital and streamlined. He hoped. It was also probably high time he requisitioned his own ship...but it might take a journey beyond Ylesia to find one worth owning.

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Anne glanced up from her patient and gave the Imperial Knight a weary smile. It was not an ungrateful smile, just the smile of someone who was glad but also realizing that a long day was now going to become a hell of a lot longer. She tied off the bandage then gave him a crisp military salute. He was, after all, her superior in the armed forces of the Rebel Alliance and with the massive casualties in the command chain, he could be considered the highest level officer in the medical zone. 

 

“Well, Corporal Namari of the Naboo Defense Forces reporting for duty Commander Darkfire.” 

 

She shrugged at him after lowering the salute. 

 

“I was under general orders of the ground defense forces as a Medical Corporal in echo sector, so the commander would have been Blythe sir.” But Blythe had been shot through the head not five steps from her when the Sith Marines had landed at the Red and Black. So there was really no one to ask. 

 

She glanced again at his wounds and frowned. 

 

“We might want to get someone other than myself to look at that, I hear there is a renowned healer in that zone sir.” She gestured several hundred meters away towards where a group of refugees were clustered around a sandy haired Jedi in a tattered green tunic.

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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"Yeah, just...just Aidan is fine..." 

He trailed off as he craned his head around, catching sight of Sandy in a crowd just before wincing and hissing in pain as he carelessly also twisted his wound open with his torso movement. It only took a moment to recenter himself, take a breath, and start forward, waving a hand at Sandy as he made his approach. Weakly, he reached out to her, but he wasn't trying to distract her from her work, either, he was simply glad to see that she made it out okay. While the fonder memories of the last time he cloned her popped back up into his head, they were also tempered by the pain he'd felt at the time. The only thought in his head as he looked at her now was relief.

 

Hi.

 

It was time to start a new chapter in their lives.

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Womp. Womp. Womp.

 

The floor crunched under Sophia’s back as though a beast of prodigious size was stomping towards her. The historian stirred in her sleep; she was exhausted. Forty-plus hours of constant activity had crept up on her, and she had reached a degree of fatigue that no amount of caf, no primordial giants jumping up and down on her ceiling could awake her from.

 

Womp.

 

Womp.

 

Womp.

 

The crumping sound of explosions was growing closer. A shiver coursed down Sophia’s spine. That last one had been very close. Her eyes shot awake and stared at a ceiling made of books.

 

Womp.

 

And then little Dinsa, the Duros child that had sat next to Sophia during the flight from Nar Shaddaa, screamed in her ear. It wasn’t a happy scream of delight mixed with giggles, or even an incoherent gasp of startlement: it was the blood-curdling scream of pure terror, of someone confronted with danger so gargantuan that all they could do was stand, stare, and scream at their encroaching doom. That sent the historian straight past the grogginess of being awoken from her nap and into an adrenaline-fueled rush that launched her from the bed and onto the floor in a single spin and full-body leap. It was almost graceful.

 

And then she hit the floor.

 

Sophia stumbled and fell into a floor that seemed comprised almost entirely of saucers and half-empty mugs of caf. She pushed off the floor, smooshing her hand into the creamy stickiness of a cinnamon bun, and turned to collect the Duros girl into her arms. Dinsa was shaking like a malfunctioning repulsorlift array–seemed ready to shove off and take her chances on her own. Wading through the ankle-high tide of cold caf and soggy pastries, the historian made her way towards her bedroom door, yanked it open hard enough to leave a dent in the wall… revealing…

 

Another wall. This one, being made of books. And datapads. And a couple of holocrons. And a few of the more esoteric forms of media storage that a small number of species had invented. Sophia recognized a few of them as texts that she had been forced to memorize during her doctorate–a couple of encyclopedias… there was even a copy of her infamous biography of Admiral Bruce Slaughter in that wall.

 

“Hold on, love, arms around my neck. Good, like that.” Sophia adjusted the child onto her hip and tucked her shoulder in preparation of a charge. “Sophia… smash!

 

Charging forwards, she plowed through that puny wall and burst through, scattering manuscripts and books and leaving a path of literary devastation in her wake. Sophia almost slipped on one of the fallen books–she glanced down and saw the sultry cover of a volume of bodacious girl-smut–but she managed to regain her balance and avoid falling flat on top of the illustrated form of a sensuously-reclining Twi’lek.

 

“Alright, I’ve got you. Hold… oh.”

 

In the living room of her apartment, gazing out the window towards the view of Coruscant’s lower-Upper Levels, was a woman dressed in oversized Jedi robes. She was not an attractive woman, not in conventional terms. Handsome might have been the word best used to describe the woman. She was tall, with raven-black hair that was so streaked with gray that it gave the impression of a cascade of pepper. Her eyes were of a piercing, almost metallic light-green that made Sophia hesitant to exchange eye contact. The lines of her face–the hardness of her cheeks and bloom of scars that spread across her face like the veins of a delicate plant–the set of her shoulders–the power in her legs and back and the way she stared down the approaching shockwaves as though they were an opponent that could be fought and beaten… all of those gave Sophia a reminiscence of an enormous bird-of-prey.

 

“It helps to try and block it out. The screaming, I mean.” Armiena Draygo turned towards Sophia and smiled–or twisted her lips in a movement that approximated a smile. “You have to try and block it out, keep focused on the big picture. You can’t stop… all of this, but you might be able to help in the oncoming disaster. You’ll need to let go of that girl first. Her fate is out of your hands.”

 

Sophia took a half-step away, placing her shoulder and torso between the Duros child and the Jedi Grandmaster. Something hit the window and bounced off. The historian startled and watched as an old Imperial TIE Fighter shrieked away into the city-scape, one-winged and on fire.

 

Beyond that was the sight of a dying city. The sky blazed red-orange in a violent sunset that roiled with nuclear blasts. Far into the distance, the curves of a modern, post-GA tower crumbled and sank into a cloud of dust and debris that was quickly approaching the two women.

 

“I understand that it’s horrible. But you need to stop being… selfish. You’ve been lying to everyone about what you are, what you can do–lying to everyone, especially yourself. You need to let go of that–f–

 

What Armiena was about to say, Sophia never found out. Another nuclear blast landed closer to the apartment, almost directly in the middle of that wave of debris cast by the death of the nearby tower. Cast upwards by the blast, spikes of molten glass and steel pierced through the window–Sophia turned and fell over Dinsa, as though her frail body could somehow protect the child from the doom of a nuclear holocaust–

 

________

 

“Frack!” Sophia startled awake and threw away the helmet of her Mandalorian-style armor. The plastoid bounced as it hit the ceiling, wall, and rolled about on the floor, hollow and light against the durasteel plate. For a few seconds, the historian just breathed. She was soaked in cold sweat.

 

Oddly, she didn’t feel nauseous.

 

Sophia crossed the short distance from her stateroom to the refresher, stripping sweat-soaked clothing along the way. When she finally emerged from the sonic shower and splashed cold water into her face, she stared herself in the mirror for a few seconds and nodded.

 

“Yep. Back to Nar Shaddaa it is. This is going to suck.”

 

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The exhaustion was so utter that she could not have felt Aidan’s presence unless she had caught his eye. One glance up from her last patient and she could feel an involuntary smile creep up her tired face. She deftly tied off the bacta bandage and slowly stood up. She knew she must have looked a wreck, clothes burned and torn, and covered in dried blood. But for a glimmering moment she was happy. Pure unadulterated happiness that caused the pallour of two days of constant fighting and destruction to lift. If only for a moment. But what a blissful moment it was. 

 

She quickly walked towards the imperial knight, struggling with a thousand different emotions. Many which brought a healthy tear to her eyes, and which overflowed in dirty cascades down her cheeks as she gave him a light and wound avoiding hug. 

 

“I’m so glad you made it Aidan.” 

 

Her voice was a hoarse whisper as she placed one hand lightly upon the red bandage that covered his torso. Her eyelids fluttered closed for a moment, and she drew heavily upon the force. Letting the force move through her joy, through her love, and into the deep cut wound. Within a few minutes of work the wounds had at least stopped bleeding and a healthy scab had formed where burned and destroyed flesh had once been. 

 

Only then did she notice the young girl in the outfit of the Naboo starfighter corps. She wanted to ask ten thousand questions, but settled on the only one she cared for. 

 

“How have you been Aidan?”

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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"Oooooooh, gods, that feels so damned weird every time."

He reached a hand down to touch it, managing to finagle it a bit before Sandy slapped his hand away. It felt like a solid scab, and the skin underneath was still tender but nothing like the stinging burn it had been. It really was a sensation that he found difficult to describe, like being plugged into a wall outlet of life energy. Rapid regrowth was something the human nervous system was never designed for, and the nerves always tingled as if someone had dunked the skin in a carbonated liquid. Somewhere between non-painful electricity and static tingles.

 

"I'm...well, I'm alive, I suppose...I almost wasn't. So there's that. But otherwise, exhausted. Apparently the Imperial Knights have taken heavy casualties, I have orders to assimilate into the Jedi. And, well, I also think it's time I took an apprentice. I even already found a candidate."

Aidan tossed a thumb towards Anne.

 

"It's been a day. How have you been?"

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((For @Trill Scout Squadron))

 

Ten minutes and a mug of caf later, Sophia had returned to the cockpit and was busy harassing the Ylesian air traffic controllers. Most unhelpfully in this time of war, the Rebel Alliance had replaced the civilian staff with their own military controllers. Aside from clearly having a poor opinion of civilian freight, the military structure seemed to operate on an alien set of navigational rules that prioritized keeping shipping lanes as empty as possible above… all else.

 

Pacing from the cockpit to the common room and back again, Sophia stabbed the air with the tip of a half-eaten slice of flatbread. A drop of grease oozed from the indentation that her teeth had made in the crust and fell to the deck.

 

“What in the…” Sophia swallowed hard and thought better of cursing out a military officer who could easily terminate the conversation without any threat of accountability. “Ma’am, this is not according to regulation. Codes of Navigation section nine-point-three and subsequent clearly state that independently-operating freight may employ themselves in contracts with traveling refugee populations by their own means, and that their movements–”

 

“--Are similarly subject to the same requirements of conflicting military operations, Captain Moriarty. The Y’Toub system and all spacelanes between it, the Cha Raaba system, and any nearby systems are currently within a military exclusion zone. Civilian traffic is forbidden for the foreseeable future. This is for your own safety. Good day.”

 

In hindsight, Sophia supposed that she should have considered herself fortunate for even being extended that minor courtesy, but that that moment and in that silence, the historian just glared at the controls and proceeded to devour the slice of flatbread. And then she obliterated a biscuit that had been leftover from yesterday and a lukewarm cup of caf. It was rage-eating, the kind of wrathful consumption that scattered crumbs in terror and sent drops of caf fleeing for the hills–that is to say, about half of it wound up on the collar of her jacket, the floor, and everywhere except its intended target.

 

Had Sophia been of sound mind, she would have taken her medicine and gone to do something potentially lucrative. Hauling bacta or proton torpedoes or even rations would have been a perfectly sound alternative to risking her own neck for nothing but wounded pride. However…

 

Give her regulations, that schutta. There were lives to be saved,  post-trauma fever-dreams to be defied.

 

The historian plopped herself into the pilot’s seat and curled around her datapad. She began to type furiously, with the kind of productivity that was born out of late-night deadlines and anger. Anger, despite anything that the Jedi might espouse, was quite a productive emotion–possibly the most productive emotion that could be conjured by the human mind. It allowed a human mind to endure pain, exhaustion, indignity–it could inspire sapients to throw themselves on the weapons of their oppressors and fell empires… or at least individual ministers.

 

It certainly inspired Sophia to break through the layers of encryption surrounding the Rebel Alliance’s air traffic control systems with all the frantic activity and subtlety of the many-tentacled vaapad of Mon Calamari. While that grim determination resulted in the Machine being redesignated as a military contractor, authorized to transport munitions and even more colorful cargos into conflict zones, it also tripped a few security tripwires with the enthusiasm of that mythical beast dragging a ship into the depths Much like that great beast, Sophia barely took notice of the electronic havoc that she had wrought, and happily set off to the real work of her profession.

 

Within a few hours, a short conga line of trauma medicines and anti-radiologics were being loaded into the VCX-100 light freighter, with its proprietor happily guiding the loading droids through the cargo hold. Happily, and obliviously, for the vaapad that had plowed through several layers of military encryption had forgotten that the passengers left bobbing amidst the flotsam probably had harpoons at their disposal…

 

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“Considering we had the majority of the non training Jedi Order on location at Nar Shaddaa…” She lifted her tired head and scanned the crowds of refugees. “We are likely in the same boat as the Imperial Knights.” It was an odd turn of phrase, but she had been raised on the backwater world of Gala after all. Where such old phrases were commonplace. But she did not speak her fears, though the Jedi Order had always been much larger than the revanchist faction of imperial allied Knights. They had likely been just as decimated. And as a Jedi Council member she would need to see the compiled list of names, likely many pages long of all those that died as heroes in this latest engagement. 

 

Would the fighting ever end? Would they finally have the chance to catch their breath? She did not speak that worry to Aidan, but instead leaned in for another hug. Pulling him close, close enough to smell the scent of death and fire in his hair. She probably smelled the same, but she did not care. A few seconds later she pulled herself back from him. 

 

“The Jedi have always been welcoming to the Imperial Knights. If you need help rebuilding, we will help.” 

 

They had been fighting alongside each other for what felt like a decade by now. She looked from Aidan to the Queen and gave her a quick curtsie before beckoning them both towards one of the barrack prefabs that had been placed in the low point of the triage zone.

 

“That is the Jedi barrack, please take a shower or whatever you need. There is food and fresh clothes for the both of you.” 

 

What she did not say was how empty the barrack was, or that they had a lot of extra equipment and rooms because of how few Jedi had actually made it safely home. 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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It had been hurried, last-minute, and unplanned; but the four men that comprised Trill Scout Squadron had managed to find a less-than-conventional means off of Nar Shaddaa, to Ylesia. It would be a fun story to tell, eventually. Years from now, sipping beers about a campfire when the war was far from the forefront of their minds. For now, they were all just happy to have found replacement gear and sonic showers.

 

The four men were pertinear inseparable and save for their second, Corporal Ragnar Krans, the whole group found themselves staring out at the bustling base. It was a side-effect of their training, in spite of their eclectic spread of personalities, they relied on each other not just in combat, but in day-tp-day activities.

 

“Way more calm here.” Christoph chortled happily. “What say we go find us a training track and see if there are any local flyboys who fancy themselves fast?”

 

The commander of the team, Benjamin Wood, just rolled his eyes. It was always something with these boys. They liked showing off. They were good and they knew it. If there was a chance to make some backwater kid drool, they’d embrace it. Slide them an app for the Corps too of they thought the kids were good enough. “Just change into something more civilian. Heaven knows we don’t need another Ryloth episode.”

 

Christoph hung his head sheepishly, trading a smirk with Steve. Ryloth had been a bit of a PR nightmare and the team had spent a month in the beig for it. “In our defense,” the stoic Steve interjected, “we had no idea those gates were keeping back that big of a critter.”

 

”Yeah. Yeah.” Benjamin waved his hand as if dismissing the whole thing. “You know the drill, civies for off site fun.” His voice turned a bit more playful as he adjusted the bucket helmet under his arm, “I assume you can rustle us up something fast and fast?”

 

Both Steve and Christoph smiled, but before they could respond, Corporal Krans hustled up. “Whatever you’re planning, it’ll have to wait a hot minute. Intel says some laser brain has been hacking naval comms. Real smart in the middle of a full scale evacuation. Not. Traced it to a nearby hangar bay.”

 

”Looks like we have to keep the white on a bit longer,” Benjamin sighed, slightly relieved. Dirt track racing with the locals would be fun, but for a group who operated at such a high octane, it inevitably would cause some manner of chaos. Might as well put that explosive potential to good use.

 

”Bah,” Cheistoph started before being cut off by the toungest member of their team.

 

The Chiss cut in, his mind already focused on the task ahead. “Arrest, eliminate, or exclude?”

 

”None of that Steve, be simpler that way.” Rags responded as he reached down towards his waist and counted the explosives there. It was an action that was almost second nature and he did not even look as his fingers drummed along his freshly restocked belt line.” This is another intel op. No paper. Asset recruitment at best. Repossession  and containment otherwise.”

 

__________________________
 

Less than 45 standard minutes later, two Imperial speeder bikes roared into the main entry of the ceilingless flight hangar containing the VXC-100 This Machine Kills Fascists. Christoph and Rags were taking point as they approached and stopped the steady stream of droids and supplies.

 

Far above along the lip of the bay, Benjamin lay, scoped rifle in hand, the weapon trained on the assumed owner of the craft. At least she was the one that looked to be giving orders. His bike was parked down the rather perilous climb outside the hangars.

 

”Good day Captain Moriarty,” Rags spoke aloud, his voice the standardized mechanized voice of Imperial foot soldiers, indistinguishable one from the other. “By Imperial Order 3243-21-A46, your ship, This Machine Kills Fascists, is remanded to dry dock indefinitely and you are to be detained for questioning.”

 

“Please do not resist.” Christoph added, emphasizing the unneeded seriousness of the phrase as both of the cannons affixed to he and Christoph’s bikes were trained on the woman. It would be a brutally effective way to go. Quick too; just the way they liked it.

 

Rags- “It appears that you’ve been digging into some codes without authorization.“ Rags continued. “Very poor choice lady.”

 

Christoph-“One would say almost lethally poor.”
 

Circling about the the backside of the ship, the Chiss, Steve appeared, slung carbine in hand. “In a warzone such as this, the act of repurposing military and government supplies and equipment for personal, corporate, or outside government use without legitimate prior authorization constitutes piracy. A crime punishable by death under order of the Empress.”

 

The words hung in the air. The silence of the hangar was heavy and thick. If one had a knife they might even be able to cut it. All three scouts stood, weapons trained on Sophia. Overhead, Benjamin’s. Regimented slow breathing  kept her in his crosshairs as well.

 

 

”Of course,” Rags began, “it may be possible for such criminal acts to be removed from public record.”

 

”Or at least authorized under the Bothan-Kuat Intelligence Act.” Christoph added with a smirk beneath his helm. “That is,”

 

”If you were to be registered as a classified intelligence asset.” Rags finished. “We may have a task that a non-affiliated freighter and . . . “ he paused looking Sophia up and down, “decidedly not Imperial captain, might be of use for.”

 

”If you aren’t scared of getting dirty.” Steve finished grimly as he jerked his head skyward towards the rim of the hangar to where the glint of Benjamin’s rifle caught the midday sun.

Character sheet

 

Benjamin Wood

Ragnar Kran
Christoph Sokol

Krilst’eve’nuruodo

 

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Aidan placed a hand on Sandy's shoulder and let his body mostly relax, reaching out to her in ways only he knew how. Their bond was scarred from past horrors, but for now it was enough. He delved deeply into the Force, freely giving her his energy as he poured most of what he had left into her. She would need it, and as soon as he was rested up he too would likely be back out with this crowd to assist Sandy and Anne as the casualties came in. Wearily he opened his eyes back up, looking back at her with a smile. Already the exhaustion was setting in around his eyes as he replied to her.

 

"Thanks. A good shower sounds nice. Anne? We should settle in for now, find some beds. Tomorrow we might start your training, or we may get tasked to the casualties, we'll see what it looks like after a wakeup. And I suppose if all else fails, you can just meet me here in twelve galactic standard hours."

He gave his comm's chronometer a quick check to verify the time and showed the young queen, then gave Sandy a short kiss goodbye before leaving in the direction she had indicated. He was mildly curious over what Anne would do, but he was also very tired at this point.

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The hum and glow of his Emerald blade came into focus as it shifted around the darkened corridors of Nar Shadaa's underbelly. Off in the distance, he could hear blaster fire, screams, and communications. Above him was lit asunder. And surrounding him was the billowing of smoke. Then an explosion sent his mind unconscious. 

 

Next came the memories of his extraction, the sight of his Master sitting next to him as the shuttle shifted and rocked as it entered the array of the dogfights resounding around them. His Masters smile shifted toward him. "You're going to be fine Sanguis. Just rest." Æowülf spoke as he crossed the Padawans arms across his chest and covered him with the sheet. "You did well my Padawan. So rest."

 

Feeling the Force take hold of his mind, he could not fight the encroaching darkness of unconsciousness and when he awoke, he awoke on Ylesia. Sanguis jumped to his rise, the sore muscles of his form and wound upon his face threatening to tear open just before he flinched and reeled back in their pain. As his gaze shifted about, he could not find Master Bëndár within sight of the makeshift triage he had awoken in. Tearing himself from the cot, he ransacked his gear, bringing forth his comm and pinging his Master. But there was no answer to be found, only that of a message that awaited his finding.

 

As he sat back, he read the message from Æowülf with tears in his eyes. Mixed emotions filled his presence as he threw the comm back to his gear. So it had come to pass. Nearly thirty years under his Master, Æowülf Bëndár, and like his arrival, his Master had disappeared into the unknown. And Sanguis Æquitas had been raised to the rank of Jedi Knight, no ceremony, no farewell, just words. He knew this day would inevitably come, but in the course, he couldn't help but feel partially abandoned, tossed aside. And yet, that was Æowülf. The elder had always carried a ghostly presence about him.

 

And like his Master, when the triage nurse came to check his vitals, she found the room abandoned and Sanguis in the wind. Where ever he went now, the Force would be his guide.

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Anne took an involuntary step back when the Jedi master turned the hug into a quick kiss. It was something so incredibly intimate that she felt out of place to be standing so close to the two almost legendary figures. She knew the woman by reputation more than name, her pretty blonde face had been all over the imperial war holos in the early stages of the war. Having been one of the few jedi to actually fight the Sith menace in the outer rim. And Aidan she had a deep respect for, he had come from a long family tradition of warfare, and he carried the familial scars of such an ancestry close to his skin. 

 

So the queen of Naboo looked politely away from the two warriors in their embrace. Wishing instead that she was with the two of them with lightsabers blazing, cutting the hearts out of the Sith Lords who had desecrated her planet. In good time perhaps. In good time. 

 

She looked up to the two of them as they walked towards the Barracks.

 

“I look forward to it, Master.” 

 

She stopped infront of one of the very empty refresher units and looked back to the two of them. 

 

“See you soon.”

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Queen Namari of the Naboo

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