I got there soon as I heard.
And lemme tell you, that wasn't no womp rat shoot. I couldn't tell you how long I had spent in that Ascendancy jail waiting for the bureaucrats that drove me off in the first place to arrive at the brilliant conclusion that I should be exiled off my homeworld once an' for all; always told you that bill was comin' due sooner or later. Couldn't even tell you how long it took to get from whatever backwater they dropped me at to the first ship headin' near Republic space. But once I finally plunked down after an age and a half of traveling in that cesspit Nym calls a bar, it took all of two hours to learn you'd gone. And at that point, the time in jail, the sentence of exile, and the hellish backroad flight time? Wasn't nothin'. I'd one more road to travel down 'fore I could rest proper.
When I landed in Theed it was like comin' home again. I saw New Zeltros as the ship swung itself 'round into the hangar; it ain't changed much from on high, an' I ain't too sure how different it is from eye level. Hit the ground in a haze, still ain't sure if it was the lack of sleep or the thought that you ain't here anymore, maybe a bit o' both. Hadn't but the word of some guy in the bazaar that couldn't give two credits who you were, never mind that you'd been runnin' a town just two clicks north and were a holo star before that. But then, it took me a minute to remember that my Basic wasn't what it used to be, might be he hadn't half a clue what I was askin' him. Couldn't care then, don't much care now, but I'm gettin' off track.
I spent a good ten minutes combin' the forum outside the palace when I went an' gave up. "'Ch'at to bavrcso, vepihn to lcot'i" tah ber...'; to the right, facin' the stairs. Had a bit more energy after that, because I was gonna find that ignorant sumbantha an' we were gonna have us a good long sit-down about his direction-givin'.
An' that was when I saw you.
Well, somethin' like you.
The gazebo ain't nothin' like I remember you; small, simple, out of the center of attention. If I hadn't been specifically takin' the long way to cool my head I doubt I'd have ever seen it. But whoever made that hologram done right by you, hopin' you know. Ain't, y'know, aggressively pink or anythin' like that. But 'tween that and the epitaph, it was all I needed to see. Wasn't no gettin' around it, wasn't no denyin' it like I'd been doin' since I got back. You're gone.
And then...an' I'm still tryin' to process this...
Who should show up behind me but a fully decked out Imperial Stormtrooper? Helmet, armor, gun, the whole kit. Settin' aside the fact that he's by his lonesome on a world that looks to be Republic controlled...y'know that duster I wear all the time? That hand-me-down leather one? With the great big Alliance patch right smack on the chest? Doubt you'd be surprised that I'd just been happenin' to wear it, bein' that it was what I was wearin' when I turned myself in to the Ascendancy. But that trooper? Best believe he saw it. Couldn't see his face, but I'd have sworn on my life he was fixin' to throw down. Felt the safety of my pistol with my thumb, grittin' my teeth all the while; "Nah cseah s, nah non" I muttered; "Not here," I prayed - and I ain't the prayin' type - "not now".
If I'd sworn on my life he was lookin' to start a firefight, I'd have died on the spot. This trooper just...he goes and puts his arm around mine. Ain't a word said, ain't a fist raised, ain't an order to stop. He just...pulls me in. Like we'd known each other all our lives. Or, at least, like we'd known someone we felt we'd known all our lives. Like we'd both lost somethin' big and didn't quite realize how big 'til just then; big enough to cross some of the bitterest boundaries ever drawn between folk in this galaxy. Didn't get his name. Might be that's for the best; despite myself I still pick up some contract work for the Republic here an' there, an' if my extracurriculars are remembered there ain't no way I don't have an Imperial warrant out as well. But for just a few minutes - thanks entirely to you - it was just the two of us. No war. No politics. Just folk. Folk that missed another folk fierce enough to not break leather despite every instinct to do so.
Glad he left when he did. It's just been me here for the last hour or so, sittin', thinkin'. Had to make a quick run to my excuse for a ship still rustin' out in New Zeltros, an' I had to scramble my datapad to find the recipe, but I like to think I did your favorite drink proud.
I'll probably get some sleep here in a minute, ain't even gonna try to make it back for reasons that ain't got nothin' to do with the stuff I'm drinkin'. But I just wanted you to know that we still miss you. Until I drift off, I'll just be sittin' right here. Don't pay me no mind.
Write in your Journal. These are IC for the writer, but OOC information for the reader. Share your personal adventures with others. Give them a peek inside the character they might not otherwise get to see.
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