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12.16.2012 , 09:53 PM |
My first foray into AU territory!
Fortuna Audentes Iuvat
: Andrina Revel AU.
Andrina’s not a smuggler here, but rather followed her brother into the Republic military, where she is a member of a Special Forces squad (not Havoc) stationed on Ord Mantell under the command of Aric Jorgan. Andronikos never left the military and is the CO of his own naval squad, which specializes in running the most dangerous missions for the Republic.
In both timelines, Andronikos has
, and Corso has
. Aric retains his default look. (I should probably mention this in the other thread too, huh?)
The name of this AU is explained in the first installment, below.
Night of the Living Prompt: Seven Virtues
Fortune Favors the Brave
Andrina, Aric Jorgan, and Corso Riggs. 2,450 words.
“Riot Squad, SpecForce 910, report to Situation Room One on the double,” Lieutenant Aric Jorgan’s voice yelled over the Fort Garnik barracks’ PA system. “We’ve got a situation.”
The announcement came through so loudly that Andrina rolled out of her cot and tumbled onto the floor ungracefully. “Yeah, yeah,” she mumbled. She’d just come off duty two hours ago and was looking forward to a good long nap. So much for that.
“Sergeant Revel, you’re late,” Jorgan barked as Andrina hurried into the situation room, fastening her blaster belt to her waist and nearly tripping over herself.
“Apologies, sir,” Andrina replied, blushing furiously as she took her place in line.
Jorgan narrowed his eyes at her before turning around to the map of Ord Mantell projected on the wall. “Alright, everyone, listen up. We’ve got reports of separatist violence against civilians out in one of the farming communities. Preliminary reports say they’re looting for supplies. The blockade’s working, but I’m not going to have it succeed at this cost.” He pointed at a spot on the map. “This is a small farming community, mostly ronto ranches, well known on planet for its livestock and dairy products. Doesn’t look like a randomly selected area to attack. This whole area accounts for about twelve to fifteen percent of Ord Mantell’s annual agricultural production.”
Andrina shook her head in disgust. The separatists had, until now, followed the rules of engagement. The military had been strictly instructed to treat the separatists as precisely that, and not to recognize the separatist government, lest it be taken as representative of the Republic’s position. The separatists had, until today, limited their strikes to military targets. Why the sudden change? Jorgan had mentioned the land blockade as the cause, but there was a time not too long ago that the separatists had tried to put a blockade on the Avilatan coastline and airspace around Fort Garnik – and yet the Republic had still managed to get supplies through. They had not had to resort to unlawful tactics to keep the flow of food and supplies going.
“Everyone, pick up a pack out of this crate on your way out,” Jorgan instructed, pointing at an open supply crate on the dais. “New supplies just flown in today, courtesy of Captain Andronikos Revel and Shadow Squadron. Riot Squad, move out!”
They arrived at the farming community three hours later. Looking out the rear window of the transport shuttle, Andrina was deeply saddened to see burning fields, in which lay the bodies of brave farmers who died defending their lands and their families. Frightened livestock ran every which way, looking for a safe place to hide and not finding anywhere to go.
The shuttle touched down at the top of a hill and the squad filed out. Down below was a group of about twenty to twenty-five separatists advancing on a small farmhouse. A lone man stood outside the farmhouse’s front door, armed with a single blaster rifle. A man with shoulder-length brown hair stepped forward from the group of separatists and shot him at point-blank range.
Andrina broke from her squad’s formation and ran forward, drawing her weapons as she did.
“Revel! Fall in!” Jorgan yelled after her in frustration.
“This isn’t the time to ‘fall in’!” Andrina shouted frantically. “That guy just got shot in the face and who knows who else is in the house? This isn’t the time for formality. We need to move, and we need to move now!”
“Andie …” Jorgan growled under his breath as he caught up to her, grabbing her arm. “Whatever we may be to each other, in the field, I am still your CO, and when I say fall in …”
Jorgan didn’t have a chance to finish. The man who had shot the farm’s owner was on his way over, with the other separatists close behind. “Come to join the party, have you?” he said snidely. “How cute. You brought a date.”
“Drop your weapons,” Jorgan said in a warning tone. “Nobody else has to get hurt today. Not you, not me, and certainly not any more civilians.”
The separatist leader sneered. “Doesn’t work that way, kittycat. It’s your fault we’re not getting the supplies we need. Give us what we want and we’ll be on our way … and maybe we’ll let you live.”
“You just shot that man,” Andrina said angrily, stepping in front of Jorgan. “You just shot that man, who had nothing to do with any of this, because he didn’t give you what you want? He did nothing to you, and yet you cut him down without a single thought. What is wrong with you?”
The leader shrugged dispassionately. “He was being difficult. He wouldn’t give us what we needed when we asked nicely. Wife and daughter weren’t any better. Neither were the rest of ‘em. Anyway, the boys needed to get out and do something fun. They were getting antsy.”
Andrina’s breath caught in her throat. Was she understanding this correctly? Did this man just say he killed a man, two women, and who knows how many more, in cold blood for ‘fun’? “You’re sick, you know that? That isn’t ‘fun’! Cutting down innocent, defenseless people for your own amusement is an act of unspeakable cruelty. But you don’t care about that, though, do you?”
The leader gave her a predatory, almost feral grin. “We do what we must to survive. But you don’t care about that, though, do you?”
“Skavak, just kill the b***h already and get your a** back here!” yelled one of the separatists standing in the group behind him. “We need your help getting all this s*** out of the house and back to the base.”
“Charming friends you have,” Andrina said in a low, sarcastic voice. “Go ahead. Kill me, I dare you. We know your name now, Skavak. You’re already in trouble for targeting civilians in wartime. Kill me, and my CO will make damn sure you’re strung up on the Senate Tower for killing a Republic officer.”
“I don’t take orders from girls,” Skavak snarled, backhanding her across her helmet. She didn’t move an inch, not even when he hit her.
From behind the transparisteel eye protector of her helmet, Andrina glared at him. “I am not a ‘girl.’ I am an officer and a soldier of the Republic, and you’re under arrest.”
Jorgan and two other squad members stepped forward, guns at the ready. Skavak did not move, and by all appearances looked like he would come quietly.
Suddenly, with a quick fluid motion, he reached into his pocket and threw a toxic smoke bomb at the ground between him and the advancing soldiers. “People, grab what you can and get the f*** out! Let’s move!”
Andrina jumped out of the way just in time. Her squad mates weren’t so lucky. The smoke bomb landed right at Jorgan’s feet and she lunged at him to drag him out of the way. The other two had rolled partway down the hill and out of the toxic cloud. The rest of the squad had surrounded them protectively, and she faintly heard the sound of kolto probes being deployed.
Jorgan lay lifelessly on the hillside. Andrina’s heart stopped and she found it difficult to breathe. “Aric, no, please, no,” she whispered, turning him over and dragging him farther away from the smoke bomb’s place of impact. She pulled off her helmet, but breathing wasn’t any easier. “Don’t do this, please, not now. Don’t leave me.” She cupped his face with both hands, trying – and failing – to keep her composure. A single tear dropped onto the Republic insignia on his chest plate.
“Andie,” Jorgan croaked. “Andie.”
“Oh, thank the stars, Aric,” Andrina whispered, taking his hand. “I’m here.”
“We didn’t know … they had biological weapons capabilities.” Jorgan sat up unsteadily, coughing. His vision was clouded and his eyes stung. “Did you get any ID from that guy?”
Andrina put an arm around his shoulders and helped him to sit up the rest of the way. “Yeah. Skavak. What a stupid name. His parents must’ve really hated him.”
Jorgan put his head in both hands, squeezing his eyes shut and willing the ground to stop spinning. “I’ll look through the databases for intel on him when we get back. Go check the premises to see if any more seps are in there.”
“I’m not leaving you here, Aric,” Andrina said stubbornly. “You’re hurt and I’m not going to just let you sit here, ten feet away from the impact of a detonated biological weapon.” She removed his helmet gently and pulled a small vial out of her pack. “Here. Oral kolto suspension. You need to take this now.”
Jorgan made a funny noise in the back of his throat and did not take the vial. “Fake plastic strawberries.” He coughed again. “Andie, go. As your CO, I order you to go into that farmhouse.”
“No,” Andrina insisted. That didn’t sound good. She hoped against all hope that the toxic gas wasn’t beginning to affect his respiratory system.
Jorgan sighed. “You’re a stubborn little thing, you know that? It’s one of the many things I admire about you, but this time I need you to go and do as I say. I’ll take the kolto. Just go.”
Andrina nodded, then impulsively threw her arms around him and kissed him. “I love you, Aric. I want you to know that,” she said breathlessly. “Just in case I don’t come back and never get the chance to tell you.”
“You will come back,” Jorgan said quietly. “I don’t want to hear you talking like that.”
Andrina stood up, carefully avoiding any contact with the residual smoke from Skavak’s smoke bomb, and put her helmet back on. She drew her blasters and began heading for the burning farmhouse.
Andrina turned back around at the sound of Jorgan’s voice. “Yes?”
“I love you too.”
I love you too.
The words gave Andrina a renewed sense of hope and purpose, to make sure that she and everyone with her came out of this alive.
Andrina heard a rustling noise from the nearby barn and she drew both blasters, advancing slowly. “Republic Special Forces. Come out where I can see you with your hands up!”
A tall figure stepped out of the darkness into the rectangle of light from the doorway. It was a young man around her age, wearing a red plaid shirt and brown pants.
“Stay away from me!” said the man, his voice high with fear. He pointed a small blaster in front of him, moving it from side to side. “This is Torchy, and I’m not afraid to use her.”
Andrina lowered her blasters and holstered one of them. “Republic Special Forces, sir. I’m here to help you.”
“Oh yeah? How do I know you’re not really with the seps?” said the man challengingly.
“They’re gone. They ran away. You’re safe now.” Andrina’s voice was calm, soothing. “Sergeant Andrina Revel, Republic Special Forces No. 910 out of Fort Garnik.”
The man lowered his blaster slowly, taking in her SpecForce uniform, and took a tentative step forward. “You’re the one who chased them off. I heard your voice earlier. Thank you.”
“Just doing my job. What’s your name?”
“Alright, Corso. I need you to tell me if you’ve seen or heard anyone else come through here in the past ten minutes.” Andrina put a hand on her holstered blaster, just in case.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Corso replied. “Not since I heard that guy yelling outside. I ran in here when the seps came. I grabbed the key from my parents’ room and tried to get the spare blasters that Dad had locked away, but … but I don’t think I got to them in time.” His already unsteady voice broke. “My family … are they … ?”
Andrina shook her head sadly. This was quite possibly the hardest thing she had to do as a soldier. “I’m so sorry.”
Corso collapsed against her shoulder, sobbing quietly. “I’m gonna kill ‘em. I’m gonna kill ‘em all,” he whispered. His breathing was jagged, uneven. Andrina’s heart went out to him. He had just lost everything he had in the galaxy except his life. She couldn’t even begin to imagine. She patted his back comfortingly until his tears subsided.
After a few minutes, Corso looked up at her, determination blazing in his still-wet blue eyes. “I’m going to make the damned separatists pay for what they did. I’ll do whatever. I know it’s not going to bring my family back or anything, but I’m not going to take this lying down.”
“Come with us,” Andrina said gently. “You can help us to make sure your family didn’t die in vain.”
“I will. There’s nothing left for me here,” Corso said, staring at the charred remains of what was once the house where he was born and raised. “Can I – can I have a couple of minutes alone? I want to say goodbye to my family before we leave.”
“Of course.” Andrina gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze before stepping back to a respectful distance while he paid his last respects.
It was about ten to fifteen minutes before Corso came back. There were fresh tear tracks on his cheeks. “I’m ready. Ready as I can be, anyway,” Corso murmured. He followed her up the hill to where the rest of the squad was waiting.
“Everyone, this is Corso. He’s the only survivor from this farm, and –”
“And I want to help,” Corso interrupted, stepping forward. “For my family. For everyone who died today, but didn’t have to.”
“Welcome,” said Jorgan. “When we get back to the fort, we’ll get you something to eat and a place to sleep. I promise, we won’t let your family be forgotten.”
Later that night, back at Fort Garnik, Corso lay on his side, looking bemusedly at the empty nightstand by his new bed in his new home. “I can’t believe they’re all gone,” he mused. “I never thought it would happen like this. I never wanted it to happen like this.”
“Just know that your family’s now in a place where nobody can hurt them again.” Andrina pulled the blanket up over Corso’s shoulders and turned to leave for night duty. “Rest now. I’ll be just outside if you need me.”
Andrina closed the door quietly and slid down the wall outside her barracks into a seated position. She glanced up and took a long, hard look at her squad’s seal painted on the door.
Fortuna audentes iuvat.
Fortune favors the brave.
It wasn’t always easy, but that was the motto that directed her every move on the battlefield and off it. And it made her proud.
The Girard Legacy
The Short Fic Weekly Challenge