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Aftermath


Lunafox's Avatar


Lunafox
10.04.2017 , 05:36 PM | #11
Beautiful chapters, I enjoyed them very much, particularly Quinn's POV. It really does make sense for Theron to approach him. I look forward to see where this goes.

rachetsw's Avatar


rachetsw
10.04.2017 , 07:51 PM | #12
Thank you Luna. 😊
Proud Quinnmancer Proud Theronmancer

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rachetsw
11.21.2017 , 01:06 AM | #13
Chapter 7
Freedom

POV Emmogen

Trying to change my nightmare had been an unmitigated disaster. No matter what Emmynn tried I couldn’t break free from the terror I felt when Vaylin would show me her latest acquisition. Hylo, Torian, Sana-Rae, even tiny little Blizz. She was slowly working her way through the Alliance. I wondered idly how much force it would take Vaylin to toss Dr. Ogurobb across the staging platform. I needed a good night’s sleep.

I had a crazy idea. One that would no doubt get me in trouble. But staying in this room any longer and I would lose my mind. I needed to stage a breakout! I pulled out my comm link and hailed Torian. “Can you come to my quarters?

"Yes Commander. Is everything okay?”

“Yes. But please come quickly.” Now that this idea had taken hold I couldn’t wait to carry it out. “Oh and bring Max! Maybe Lyoban as well.” I closed my comm link and started pacing. By the time Torian arrived at my door I was bouncing on the balls of my feet.

The men filed into my chambers one by one and started finding spots to lounge, their heavy armor clanking noisily. I was about to close the door when Aleks slipped through the opening, winking at me. “Hey Girly!” I rolled my eyes, but couldn’t help the smile that suddenly flashed across my face. The sith took a seat as everyone looked to me expectantly.

“Thank you all for coming on such short notice. Shortly after we settled on Odessen I was given a list of valuable assets, people that Hylo, Sana-Rae, Beywan and Dr. Ogurobb thought could help us. I have been remiss in recruiting these last few names. There is one in particular that I think is right up your guys alley.”

Lyoban punched Max in the shoulder. “Finally, some action.”

“That’s what your mom said last night!” He grabbed the juggernaut in a headlock and messed up his hair. Suddenly punches were being thrown between the two men, and Max knocked Lyo to the floor. Just as quickly he stuck his hand out and helped the younger man to his feet, wide smiles on both their faces. Boys! I couldn’t help feeling lighter in their company.

“Where do you need us to go?” Torian asked.

“Zakuul. But I am going with you.” I said conspiratorially.

Aleks, Lyoban, and Max were excited to hear that I was going with them, but Torian looked concerned. “Emmogen, I don’t think this is a good idea.” The other men fell silent. “You have been through more than any of us can comprehend. You need to recover.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “First off, I am not asking permission.” I took a step toward him and poked him in the chest. Damn him! He didn’t even flinch. “Second, I am not some delicate flower who needs your protection.” Aleks let out a low whistle under his breath.

“So who is the target?” Lyoban asked, trying to defuse the tension between Torian and I.

“A wookie named Bowdaar. He is trying to free slaves from a fighting ring. He needs people who can fight.” I explained.

“Just a normal Wednesday night then.” Max shrugged, but the smile was enough to give away how excited he was about the prospect of a fight.

I looked from Max to Torian. “What do you say? Is clan Cadera going to join us?”

“Emmogen…” He shook his head.

“More for clans Lok and Fett!” Max cheered. He nudged Lyo with his shoulder.

“Mandalorians.” Aleks rolled his eyes.

“Hey now, don’t lump me in with these guys.” Lyo feigned offense.

“When do we leave?” Torian asked quietly.

“Within the hour.” I told everyone. I turned back to Torian. “Vor entye’.1

I dismissed everyone to prepare for our trip to Zakuul. I packed my own bag and strapped my blasters to my thighs. I was already feeling more like myself. I looked around my room. If these walls could talk…all the memories Theron and I had made here. Him singing to me when I had trouble sleeping. Holding me when I had nightmares. Laughter as he tried to learn Cheunh. The first night he had come to my room, so unsure of where he stood… My comm link beeped, interrupting my thoughts. “We are taking Lyoban’s Fury. You know it isn’t too late to change your mind.”

“I am on my way.” I disconnected before Torian could try to talk me out of my plan. When did he become such a stick in the mud? I grabbed my gear and high tailed it to the landing pad where the Fury was docked. I skidded to a halt at the bottom of the gangway, and charged up the ramp and through the door. “Is everyone aboard?” I shouted as I dropped my gear and headed to the bridge.

I heard a familiar chuckle. “You are like a rampaging gundark Ch’itiseb.2” His voice brought me up short.

“Distiago?” I turned the corner and was greeted by my big brother! He scooped me up in a bone crushing hug. “No one told me you were coming. I thought you were still on Nar Shadaa looking for Mako.” He set me down and let go of me.

“I just got back a couple hours ago.” He looked away, his eyes tight. “The lead was a dead end, just like all the others.” He let out a sigh. When he looked back at me all signs of frustration were gone. “It is good to see you little sister.”

“Sorry to interrupt your family reunion, but if you want to leave atmosphere before anyone notices you are with us, we need to go now.” Lyo pushed his way past us and laid in a course for Zakuul.

“We have everyone aboard right?” I asked.

“Yes. Although, I would have been fine leaving Torian behind.” When I didn’t laugh he adopted a different tone. “Joking, joking.” He spun his chair towards the controls. “Fury to Odessen Control, requesting clearance for departure.”

Odessen Control to Fury, you are cleared. My the force be with you.”

Lyoban engaged the engine and piloted us up, away from the surface. We were finally off! I was free from my prison! I watched as Odessen grew smaller in the viewport until it was just a small rock, floating among the stars. Lyoban threw a switch and I could feel the hum of the hyperdrive as it engaged. The stars became lines and we were speeding towards Zakuul. “Settle in everyone, we have a few hours before we enter Zakuul space.” Lyo leaned back in his seat and propped his boots up on the console. “Jen, I put your stuff in my quarters. I’ll bunk with the guys.”

“You are such a gentleman.” I kissed him on his cheek and left the bridge, Distiago trailing behind me.

“Hey Jen.” Max greeted me as I walked into the main area. “You want to play a couple hands?” He held up a deck of sabacc cards.

“No thanks. I would hate to take all your credits.” I grinned at him mischievously.

“Deal me in.” Distiago said as he took a seat. Aleks groaned and I stifled a grin. I was a fair player, but Distiago was better, and he played to win. This would be fun to watch. I rested my hip against the back of the couch and watched as Max dealt hands to Aleks, Distiago, Torian and himself.

“We need snacks, Jen, go make us some sandwiches.” Lyo teased as he joined us. I rolled my eyes, and punched him in the shoulder. “Deal me in too Max.”

I left the boys to their game and went to Lyo’s quarters. I left the door open so I could hear them joking with each other. Their laughter made me smile. We didn’t have a lot of time for laughter the past couple months. The sound was soothing. I pulled out my data pad and reread the details of our mission.

That done, I decided to read one of my favorite novels. I got swept up in the adventures of Orli and his Pirate Queen Eira. I was just getting to my favorite part when I heard a knock on the door frame. “Lyo says we will be on Zakuul within the hour. Better gear up Girly.” Aleks wagged his eyebrows at me suggestively.

I threw a pillow at him as I hopped off the bed. I grabbed my gear and started cataloging all the things I may need, Kolto darts, gel, scanner, sutures, steriwrap. Once I felt good that I had everything I needed I joined the guys in the center of the Fury. The ship touched down and we disembarked.

I led the group through Breaktown to the cantina that fronted the Arena Grand. There were people everywhere, taking bets, placing bets, trying to get autographs from past winners of the Arena Grand. I spotted our contact behind the bar. Bowdaar greeted us and explained what was needed. There would be ten rounds of opponents for us to fight. Each round would be a new challenge.

Max grabbed a napkin and stared figuring out how to divvy up the rounds. Figuring with four Mandalorians, a jugg and an inquisitor these fights would be over too fast. Being healers Aleks and I would take every other fight. Distiago, Lyoban, Max and Torian would rotate each fight. We were led to an elevator that took us to a tunnel below the stadium. We could hear the buzz of the crowd that circled the arena.

First up was Aleks and Max. They strolled into the center of the arena and waited for their opponent to be announced. Aleks drew on the force and put shields around himself and Max. Arlaia Zayzen stepped into the ring with her droids. Max targeted the left droid and focused on taking it down, blaster bolts sparking off its domed top. Lightning crackled across the room, shorting out the droid on the right. Aleks’ deep chuckle could just be heard over the sounds of the fight. Once both droids lay in a heap Aleks and Max turned their attention to Arlaia. Without her droids she was dispatched easily. Medical droids entered the arena and carted her away.

Distiago and I stepped into the ring. The noise of the crowd was deafening once we cleared the tunnel. There were bright lights, and cameras floating around, trying to get the best angles for the spectators. We took our position while our opponent was announced. Daruula Grah and his pet iknayids came scuttling toward us. Distiago smiled at me as we simultaneously activated our shields. The iknayids were annoying but easy enough to kill. Daruula was a pushover and our round was over. The crowd erupted in loud boos as he was carted off the field.

Aleks and Lyoban went to take their positions in the center of the floor. Their opponent was announced as Gungus Boga, a Herald of Zildrog followed at his heels. Aleks once again shielded himself and Lyo, and stood waiting for the fight to start, lightning sparking between his red fingertips. Lyoban stood perfectly still, the only movement were his eyes, watching his quarry. As soon as the countdown hit zero Lyo flew through the air, igniting his lightsaber. Gungus drew his own saber and the two dueled, blue and green blades meeting again and again. Aleks took on the Herald, when he fell Gungus cast Zildrog’s Judgement, but it wasn’t enough to save him. Lyo brought down his blade and the crowd groaned as another one of their champions was struck down.

Torian stepped up beside me. He still looked like the thought I had lost my mind. “Ready?” He asked.
I smiled up at him. “Just like old times.” Something within him softened and he returned my smile briefly. I realized this couldn’t be easy for him. He was acting against his better judgement. Letting me have fun, blow off some steam, instead of keeping me safe.

We stepped into the ring and this time I was surprised by the cheers I heard amongst all the boos. Apparently we had won some people over. Torian activated his shield and then moved to guard me. Two thoughts flashed through my mind simultaneously. How Sweet. And. How dare he? I activated my shield and gave the back of his head a dirty look.

Our opponent came into the ring with a giant k’lor’slug scuttling behind him. We both targeted the slug and brought it down and then turned our attention to Conraad. As Conraad fell to a loud chorus of boos Chomper regained his footing. I caught Torian’s eye as he spun around me, putting himself between me and the slug. I saw the smile that stretched across his face. I am quite sure it matched mine. Chompers staggered and fell again and the crowd shouted it’s disapproval.

Aleks winked at me as he headed back into the ring with Disti. They fought Lanos and half a dozen skytroopers, but even with numbers on their side the fight was over quickly. The crowd was not shy about sharing their feelings. Loud boos were heard as Aleks waved at his would be fans.

Lyoban and I entered the arena together and awaited our next opponents. I shielded myself as Lyo sank into his crouch. We were met with The Breaktown Brawler, King Crush and Mister Ripper. “Ignore the Brawler. Take King, I’ve got Ripper.” I shouted to Lyo. He nodded and turned his red eyes on King Crush. I got Mister Ripper’s attention and drug him far enough from King Crush that their proximity wouldn’t cause more damage, but stayed close enough to be able to shoot Lyo some kolto darts if needed. King Crush fell and Lyo turned his attention to Mister Ripper. Between my blaster bolts and Lyo’s saber strikes it didn’t take long. We turned on The Breaktown Brawler and quickly dispatched him. There were more cheers this time than boos as we left the ring.

Aleks and Torian went to face Nocturno and Drake Raven. Even in the tunnel I heard the roar of the crowd. Clearly these two were favorites in the arena. I watched as Torian outmaneuvered Nocturno, trapping her in Drake’s stuns that were meant for Torian and Aleks. Together they defeated Drake Raven and Aleks picked up the device that dropped stuns and began placing traps around the floor for Torian to pull Nocturno into.

“Ch’itiseb, this was a brilliant idea!” Distiago shouted.

“Yeah, even Torian is having fun.” Lyo said, indicating the expression on Torian’s face. I had not seen that look in well…ever, at least not on him.

“Ch’itiseb.” Disti said quieter than before, leaning towards me so Lyo and Max wouldn’t hear. “I worry though. I see those looks between you two. Is this dredging up too much of the past?” I narrowed my eyes at my brother and made ready to answer him but before I could the crowd indicated the end of the round.

“Ready, Max?” I asked sharper than intended.If he noticed he didn’t comment.

“Born ready!”

We were joined in the ring by a rancor, Little Gut, and his handler Ronum Minkus. The latter promptly stealthed from the fight as soon as it started. There wasn’t much strategy for this fight. Avoid the rancor’s smash, and the random traps his handler was placing from somewhere in the crowd. Max and I fired bolt after bolt into the rancor’s hide and watched as his health barely ticked down. This was and endurance fight, we just had to outlast Little Gut. When the rancor finally fell with a thud the crowd went crazy. Nearly every voice was raised in our favor.

For the next round Alex, Distiago and Lyoban entered the ring. Arlaia Zaysen was back for more with a bigger droid. They fought the Doom Droid, dodging its laser burst. When Arlaia popped out they reminded her of their earlier fight. She took very little time before she jumped back inside her droid and powered it back up. But like all the other fights, she lost. The crowd screamed with delight.

The last round pitted Torian, Max and myself against Aftershock, a walker, and the operator, Zotar. We had our hands full of traps and laser blasts and one electric field. After and intense and close battel we were the winners. Torian forgot himself and threw his arms around me and pulled me close. The shock on my face brought him up short. I wasn’t that girl anymore. I wasn’t his girl anymore. I felt a pang of regret. But it had been his choice first. I had just given him what he wanted. He released me and a blush crept across his cheeks. Clearly things had changed.

Bowdaar was overjoyed with our performance, it had gotten the attention he wanted. One of the largest slave owners in the fighting circuit wanted to make a wager. One more fight and all the slaves would belong to Bowdaar, or Bowdaar would belong to the slaver. This was why we were here. To help Bowdaar win theses slaves, and set them free. Bowdaar could take only one of us into the arena with him, and as the Alliance Commander he chose me. We stepped into the arena and were faced with the slaver and two droids. The droids were scrap before I finished my first volley. The slaver was ready to give everything to Bowdaar before I finished my second.

We left Zakuul in high spirits. Also with a promise that Bowdaar would soon be joining us on Odessen. First he had to take in all the slaves, and then he would set them free. It was a massive undertaking. Hopefully after a full night of fighting I would sleep well enough to not be bothered by nightmares.

1 Thank you (Mandalorian)
2 Sweets (Cheunh)
Proud Quinnmancer Proud Theronmancer

rachetsw's Avatar


rachetsw
11.27.2017 , 07:05 PM | #14
Chapter 8


POV Emmogen

I woke up screaming. I buried my face into one of Lyo's pillows and tried to muffle the sounds of my sobbing. I heard the sound of several pairs of feet running to the door and a chorus of male voices rang out.

"Jen?"

"Ch'itiseb?"

"Jen?"

"Cyar'ika?"

"Girly?"

I peeked at the door, and the sight of all five men squashed in the doorway would have made me laugh if I didn't feel so wretched. They were all barefoot, wearing undershirts and shorts, their hair sticking up at odd angles. They all looked more like boys without all that armor on. I rolled over and sat up. "Sorry guys. It was just a nightmare. Go back to sleep."

Max yawned and left to go back to his bunk, Lyo followed shortly after. Aleks lingered in the doorway a moment longer before he too went back to his bed. Distiago's eyes met mine and he shook his head slightly. I recalled his earlier concerns as I looked from him to Torian. I looked back at my brother and shrugged. "I am fine, go back to bed." He sighed, but he returned to his bunk. That left Torian l and I alone. He leaned against the frame waiting for me to say something. Finally I broke the silence. "Torian come in. I don't bite."

"Actually Cyar'ika..." He chuckled at the memory.

My face grew hot. "Not my finest moment."

"I beg to differ." He smiled as he sat down next to me. He reached out and took my hand in his, his mood turning more serious. "Are you alright?"

I closed my eyes and took a minute before answering him. "Not really. I hoped that by taking control of something in my life I could break this stupid cycle. Maybe then this nightmare would stop. I am so tired."

"Maybe if you talked about it..."

I shook my head no. He hadn't been present for Kaitia's death, but explaining to him how she died, and that every night someone else took her place...I couldn't burden him with that. He had loved Kaitia like a sister. "Let's just say that it is bad. And I am unable to do anything. I can't move or speak. I can't close my eyes, so I see it happen again and again."

Torian wrapped an arm around my shoulders and I leaned against him. I closed my eyes and yawned. "Cyar'ika, you should get some sleep."

"No, please stay. I can't go back to sleep." I begged him. "We can watch a movie or play sabacc."

"Whatever you want." He pulled me to my feet as he stood.

"Wait a minute." My brain registered his old term of endearment. "Torian..." I sank back down on the bed.

He arched an eyebrow at me. "Yes?"

"You haven't called me that since..."

"Sorry." His cheeks flushed as he rubbed the back of his neck. "Old habit...it's just...tonight felt like old times. Just, for a few hours I saw that girl I fell in love with on Taris. I saw what could have been if it hadn't been for Valkorian."

"Valkorian didn't write that letter." I said sadly.

He sat next to me again. "I will forever be paying for that stupid letter." He put his head in his hands. "You don't know what it was like..." His blue eyes filled with tears as he looked up at me. "I searched, with Mako, on my own. For years. Everyone told me I was crazy. You were dead and if I didn't let you go I might as well join you. I wanted to."

I nodded. "I understand why you had to move on. But you need to understand what I went through. I woke up to Lana, not you. And then a stranger named Koth informs me that it has been five years since Marr's ship exploded. Valkorian is in my head, his children want me dead...My only thought was you
I had to find you, Mako, Blizz and Gault." I chuckled. "Full disclosure? I didn't give Skadge a second thought. But you...you I thought of constantly. It wasn't until we reached Asylum that I received your letter. I didn't take it well. Do you remember the nexu nest we fell into on Voss?"

He smiled slightly at the memory. "Yeah. I don't know who was more surprised, us or them."

"Well multiply their ferocity tenfold."

"Okay." He looked at me with a puzzled expression for a moment. I watched his face as my meaning finally sunk in. "Oh."

"There is a fine line between love and hate Torian. I have walked it." We sat in silence for a while. Neither knowing how to bridge this gap. I picked at the hem of my night shirt.

Torian finally broke the silence. "Loved or hated, at least there is something there. It gives me hope."

"Hope for what?" My hackles were raised. Definately hated!

"I said I needed to move on. I never said I did."

"Torian...Haar'chak! You can't be serious!" I said more loudly than intended.

"Shh. You will wake the others, and I don't feel like fighting with Distiago tonight." He urged me.

"I don't need my brother to fight my battles for me." I hissed as I crossed my arms. "Torian I loved you. I do love you. You were my first...everything." I paused. "Including my first heartbreak."

"Give me a chance to fix it." He urged.

"You had a chance. You could have stopped me on Darvannis. Told me then how you felt. Things could have been different. But you let me walk away. You didn't fight for me."

"That is what I am doing now." He shrugged.

"But why now? Because Theron is gone. You have no competition?"

"No. You were happy. I didn't feel like I had the right to ruin your happiness a second time. But it is very clear you are no longer happy."

I forced a huge smile on my face. "Hearts good. Never been better."

Torian stood and made his way to the door. "Have it your way. Just know that I am not buying it."

"Torian, wait. I am sorry."

He turned to me before leaving for the night. "Me too."

Great! I was pushing everyone away. Lana and I hadn't spoken since our argument. I had hurt Torian. Distiago was upset that I hadn't sent Torian packing. Koth still wasn't my biggest fan, but that feeling was mutual. And Theron? My stomach clenched at the thought of him. These were members of the Alliance command staff. People I trusted with my life, and yet I wasshutting them out so they couldn't hurt me. Who was next? Bette? Emmynn? Quinn? We were on our way back to Odessen, a base full of potential arguments.

I threw myself against the pillows and stared at the ceiling. I needed to come up with a plan, some way of coping with my insomnia, without picking fights with everyone in the galaxy. How did Theron live like this all the time? He hadn't slept a full eight hours since coming to Odessen. I could account for a lot of those sleepless nights. I smiled sadly to myself.

I missed Theron terribly. He had been gone for a month and a half, and other than the letter he sent right after his betrayal there had been no contact. Not that I would expect any. If I was right, he was under cover, trying to expose the threat to the Alliance. Contacting me would blow his cover. And to be fair, if I knew he was in danger I would risk everything to rescue him. I just wished he would finish whatever mission he was on and come home. I was losing bits and pieces of him every day. Yesterday I couldn't remember the exact shade of gold his eyes were. Today I couldn't remember the sound of his laughter.

Sleep was beyond me so I got up and got dressed. I needed caf! Disti found me on the bridge, my feet propped up on the console. I was watching the stars as we sped passed. He tugged on the end of one of my pigtails and gave me one of his wide smiles. "Good morning Ch'itiseb."

I smiled back at him. I knew I wasn't in trouble with him anymore if he was using my nickname. I raised my caf in a mock salute. "Morning. You are in a good mood."

"Seeing Torian in his bunk this morning did wonders for my mood." He saw the angry look on my face. "I just don't want him to hurt you again. So what is our play when we get back to Odessen? You know Lana isn't going to be thrilled when we stroll back in with you in tow."

"I would be more concerned about Emmynn." I chuckled. "I took off with her brother and best friends and didn't think to invite her."

"The Alliance couldn't spare both the Commander and the Empress. Besides the Empress has been busy with her consort." Distiago rolled his eyes.

I slapped his shoulder as I laughed. "Shush. You know if you found Mako you would be taking time alone to be with her."

His smile faltered. "Yeah, you are right. I wouldn't let that girl out of my sight." He took my hand in his and made me a promise. "We will find them. Mako and Theron."

Ch'itiseb - Sweets
Cyar'ika - Darling
Proud Quinnmancer Proud Theronmancer