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bright_ephemera
10.16.2012 , 10:13 PM | #6
Flashback 2. We Won

Crossposted from the Short Fic Weekly Challenge thread, prompt Turning Points.


6 ATC

I cried the night the last Imperial transport left Kegled II. I don't know a soul on that planet who didn't. For thirteen years the brutal Imperial occupation ravaged us, robbed us, and tried to break us.

We're made of tougher stuff than that.

A lot of us were gathered in the local resistance HQ. The Imps had been dismantling their operation for weeks; on this night we all went topside to watch the last transports lift off from the spaceport and streak away.

Somewhere in the middle of the cheering I started walking. I dunno, I just wanted some time alone. I hopped up to swing onto the fire escape ladder on a nearby building and climbed up to perch on the edge of the roof and look out over West Ford City. My home, finally free.

That meant a lot of cleared records all around. My brother especially. Some of us resistance people were better than others at staying under the radar. I had a few outstanding warrants on account of I never met an Imp I didn't try to punch, strangle, or shoot. It didn't bother me much. But Kirsk, Kirsk was something else. He never took a combat assignment, but he loved to show up Imperial security with a slick slicing job or a daring theft. He always framed it to be as embarrassing as possible for the Imps he was messing with. I was run-of-the-mill scum to the Imps; he was an active, humiliating, spectacularly expensive sore spot. They didn't have his face – a point of pride for him as he walked down the street greeting Imp patrols – but if they ever attached the misdeeds of the fictional Smiling Bek to my brother, he would've been in for a world of hurt.

All in the past. Nobody was coming to arrest us now.

Habit propelled me to my feet and got my blaster ready when somebody opened the roof door behind me. It was just my friend Flash, though.

"Hey," he said. "Don't shoot."

"Hey," I said.

"Nice light show, huh?"

"The last streak was really the kicker."

"Yeah." Flash came up to stand beside me at the roof's edge and look out at the bright night city. "So, you coming with us next week?"

"What?"

"Word went out right after liftoff. Republic army's recruiting. Not here, of course, because there is no Republic presence here." We shared the standard, knowing snort at that. "But," he continued, "if a bunch of us should happen to stop by the recruitment office on Coruscant, I have it on good authority we won't be turned away."

This was news to me. "I…wasn't planning on it."

"Oh? What was your plan, then?"

"I hadn't really thought about it. We just cleared this place out, Flash. I've gotta get back home. You know I haven't been able to stay overnight with Mama and Kirsk for years. I've gotta make sure the shop's running all right, see that Mama's got the help she needs with it. That's where I belong."

"You're kidding, right?"

"I've been fighting for Kegled II. She's free now. It's about time I got back to my family."

"Vierce. You been dreaming about killing Imperials, training to kill Imperials, or killing Imperials, since before you lost your baby teeth. You gonna stop now just because we ran out of 'em on this planet?"

I thought about it for a while.

Flash gave me some time. Then, "Your mother will understand. And there's other planets out there have it as bad as we did. You join up with us, we can take care of that."

"There is that."

"I can't think of a better way to pay the Republic back for all the support they snuck us. Besides, it'll be fun. Join the Army, see the galaxy, cultivate the mystique of the dangerous rebel veteran…"

"Now you sound like Kirsk."

"Kid knows what he's about. Well, sometimes. I'll see you later, then. Right?"

I looked up at the stars. Something about it felt right. "Yeah. You will."

Flash headed out, and after a little while I went on back to HQ. The party was ongoing. I bumped into Kirsk on my way in; he had his arm around a pretty blonde I had seen around once or twice. He caught something in my face. He does that. "You're shipping out, aren'tcha?" he said cheerfully.

"Did everyone know about this Republic bandwagon but me?"

"Well, that's why I'm the intelligence guy and you're the thug. Lucky you, you have me to clue you in on these things."

"Right. Well, I am going. Not right this minute, but I'm going."

He shook his head and passed a hand over his slicked-back hair. "Thought you might. You are officially no longer allowed to call me the idiot in this family. Still. Pop two or three for me, wouldja?"

"Believe me, more than two or three will be getting theirs. You'll look after Mama, right?"

"Yeah, sure. If you're gonna flake out on us, I'll just have to step up." He smiled widely. "See you at home tomorrow." Then, to his girl, "Come on, gorgeous." They headed out.

I made a last round of the festivities, shaking hands and hugging what few friends have hugging privileges, and then I headed home. Tonight of all nights, Mama could use my company. And after everything we went through to get here, I could use hers. Doubly so if I was going to turn around and leave next week.

Seems I'm never home for long these days.
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