Lodestone: A Wynston/Ruth Alternate Universe
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01.06.2013 , 03:21 PM |
L + 15 years 36 days, part 3: Exodus
Ruth strode to the Fury's hangar and up the ramp without looking back. Colrand fell in line behind her, and she sidestepped to at least keep him on the side Quinn didn't station himself at.
"Where's Father?" asked Colrand.
"He's staying behind to manage things here."
"He's coming with us after, right? Or we're coming back here?"
"No and no. We'll talk about you visiting once the fight is over."
"Me. What about you?"
"I won't be returning."
Those dark blue eyes opened wide. "Mom, why? I thought it was working."
"It can't. I'm sorry. He loves you, Cole, more than he or I can say, but I'm not going back to him."
"I saw what he did about a threat to me and I saw what he did about a threat to you, and the difference between them, that's love. Real, selfless, what you deserve. He has it for you. For me he has affection, and I won't settle for that. I am sorry."
Colrand sat in mute misery for a couple of minutes before speaking again. "So are we going to see Wynston?"
Her throat closed. There was the one who had given her more, before she brushed it aside pretending this mission was like any other. Even parsecs away for months at a time he had given her something better than what she had traded it for. With an effort she said "Just for the mission. We're going to the
, you'll be safe there until we can finish this."
They sat in silence while tearing through hyperspace. Ruth spent the time berating herself. She was a fool. She knew Quinn was temporary. He had never trusted her, never really believed in her. Even if she could stand to have him near for one more mission, for Colrand's sake, he would never be hers. She should have known it was temporary. She had told herself it was temporary. Why didn't she believe it would be temporary?
Love wasn't that easy to shake.
Enough. She was going to take care of Colrand, no matter what it took. She was going back to where she should have been the whole time, and whether Wynston wanted her or not – and he wouldn't, not after she had so easily, so stupidly struck such a deal with the person he had always warned her against, had always been right about – whether Wynston wanted her or not she would help him with his mission.
," she said on her approach to the mothership, "this is the Wrath. Can you get me in touch with Wynston?"
"Wrath, just a moment while we try to contact him."
It was Vector's voice that came on next. "Ruth, we are glad to hear from you. But Wynston has already departed."
Vector sounded mildly surprised. "To deal with the Emperor's Voice."
L + 15 years 36 days, part 4: On the offensive
Ruth had handed over the location and some docking codes for the remote station the Voice resided at. Say one thing for the Emperor, nobody was going to stumble across him on a casual stroll around the galaxy.
Orphea didn't set up a full-scale invasion. Vector stayed home to mind the
while Orphea took Larr Gith, Scourge, two dozen veterans in Wynston's employ, and Jaesa.
They met with stiff resistance in the wide curving outer corridor of the station; red-uniformed Imperial Guard, some Sith, all powerful. Scourge and Jaesa were the meaningful vanguard; Orphea and her people with their blasters were just cleanup and rear guard. Would another Sith have been useful? Yes, but they didn't have that luxury. Better to just act.
Every meter was hard and messily won. Orphea was using her vibroknife as much as her blaster in this melee. But with time and bloody effort they pushed to a corridor piercing inward toward the heart of the station. Orphea checked the console. "Locked," she snarled. "Someone find me an access card from – those." She gestured back at the fallen Imperial Guardsmen. "Or something." She stared prodding at the console. This was unacceptable, being locked out here. That Voice had to die. Orphea wanted it over with. If Ruth were here she could just slice – forget it.
All at once, based on nothing Orphea had done, the door whooshed open, revealing a vast, dimly lit chamber.
Scourge nodded at Larr Gith. The Jedi marched ahead, the Sith at her back.
The door slammed shut between them.
Scourge scowled and tested the door with his hands. It stood as stubborn as before. Orphea didn't throw up her hands, but she seriously considered it. Something had to give. "Jaesa," she said, "stay with our people, defend this point. Scourge, if you get a chance at that door you know what to do. I'm going to stealth out to find a power substation, control center, something." Damn the risks, anything was better than waiting. Orphea flicked on her stealth generator. "See you later."
L + 15 years 36 days, part 5: Torn
Ruth stalked the outer corridor of the Voice's station. Several hangars had been occupied; automated docking codes got her into an empty one. Colrand was safe on the
; her work was here.
The doors to the station's inner chamber were all shut; she had half an eye on that and half an eye on the fallen guardsmen all around her while she walked. Someone had carved through here. A few people in plain civilian armor lay interspersed with the Imperial guard; Wynston's people.
Halfway down one corridor section, a splash and trail of blood started. Probably another dead soldier at the end. She rounded the curve and instead found Wynston lying flat on his back.
She sprinted the last few steps to his side. He was breathing, rapidly, shallowly, but blood was pooling around him. "Wynston," she burst. "Thank the Force you're alive…hold on. A few bad cuts, but you'll be fine. I…Wynston?"
He lay still but for his efforts to breathe. His red eyes were slitted while he gazed at the ceiling.
"It's all right," she said desperately. She looked at what he had managed to tug out of his satchel and she picked up where he had left off in unwrapping supplies. She took stock: he had a couple of deep crisscrossing cuts on his stomach, another across his chest. One that had broken some cybernetic implant at his hip. Two more that must have rendered his right arm useless. His blood was everywhere.
First the chest wound that seemed to be the worst source of bleeding. She didn't have the expertise to stitch anything up; she just broke open a kolto pack and bound it on tightly. Wynston's breathing was developing a little rasp. "Hang in there," she begged. "I'll get you home."
He was conscious. At least, his eyes were open and tracking her movement. But his face was emotionless and he remained silent save for the harsh shallow gasps. She moved on to the wounds on his stomach. "Wynston, say something. Please."
His head rolled to one side. His breath caught once or twice as if he were readying himself to speak, but nothing came out. Those red eyes never blinked.
She finished what bandaging she could do to at least keep things from spilling out, then took him up in her arms. She suddenly remembered that there was a fight to worry about. But if the Voice was under siege, Scourge and the Jedi could handle it, as they had in the past. And if they couldn't, well, Ruth would be back in a few moments to do it herself. She had a more important problem right now.
She rushed him back to her own ship and the medbay therein. She eased him into the kolto tank, strapped on the breathing mask. His eyes were finally closed. "I love you," she told him, and sobbed. "Don't you dare go anywhere." Then she lowered him the rest of the way into the tank and let him go.
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