Started a new game of Oxygen Not Included after almost a year of not playing
I'm going to name all my dupes after the Bad Batch
And yes, Tech has the specific ability to do research.
UNDER YOUR COMMAND
Synopsis: The Bad Batch meet a new friend on Ord Mantell. She might just change their lives forever
Warnings: None this chapter
Chapter 2: Smith’s Fabrication
Wrecker’s fist shook the table where they ate, his brothers clutching their cups out of reflex. “Awww. I missed meeting the pretty lady! I always miss out on the good stuff!”
Sitting in the tiny apartment above Cid’s, four grown men in armor and a preteen girl made for cramped quarters. Tech was sitting at the table scrolling through the Republic news channels on his data pad while Hunter watched Omega slice her jorgan fruit with his smaller vibroknife. Echo sat off in the only other room adjusting his knee joint with a very worn looking tool, trying not to appear as annoyed as he was at the lack of space.
“Careful, Wrecker! A kid could lose a finger with this knife.” Hunter warned his much larger brother. Sometimes Wrecker didn’t know his own strength.
“No one actually said she was pretty, Wreck.” Tech said without looking up from his datapad.
“Echo’s been talking about her ever since we got back.” Wrecker turned his head to Echo in confusion, having picked up on his older brother’s tell more astutely than the others, even if he didn’t realize it. He shook his head and proceeded to continue cleaning his blaster.
Echo looked up to see four pairs of eyes looking right at him. “What?” He set the tool he was using aside.
“Smith was very nice, wasn’t she Echo?” Omega asked as she sat back in her chair, admiring her paper-thin slices of jorgan fruit.
“I said she was a nice lady for bringing Omega home!” Echo scoffed and shook his head. He took a cloth to the tool he had been using.
Tech smirked at Hunter, who tried to stifle a smile. “You also suggested we stop by her shop five times in the last hour alone.” Tech observed.
“MMMM….” Wrecker placed a thin slice of fruit in his mouth, juice dripping down his chin. “Nice work, Meg! You picked a good one too. Nothin wrong with likin a pretty girl, Echo. Not like any of us are gettin any action.” He pouted.
“Action?” Omega asked.
Hunter took the vibroknife from her hand and proceeded to clean it off. “Nice work on the jorgan fruit, ad’ika! We’ll have to get you your own knife!”
“Smith said a woman should always carry a knife on her for protection. Will you teach me how to use one to defend myself?” Omega bounced in her seat with anticipation.
“It wouldn’t be a bad idea. Throwing knives or even using one in close combat is marginally safer than a blaster. The clone cadets are using live rounds by her age.” Tech said, not even looking up from his datapad.
“They’ve had a lifetime of training by her age.” Hunter grumbled, sheathing his knife.
“A lifetime of training.” Echo repeated. “She’s got a lot of catching up to do.” Echo made his way to the table and helped himself to a slice of fruit.
Omega sat up straighter in her chair. “Where do we start?”
Wrecker found every stray piece of packaging in the city, it seemed, then bundled them all together into a makeshift bale with a crate strap. It stood at the end of the alley, a sloppily painted bullseye marking it’s center. It had been two weeks and four missions since Omega had gotten lost on Ord Mantell, and she was doing well with learning to throw knives, once she worked up the muscle to make it stick. Wrecker was standing behind the gangly preteen, adjusting her stance after every throw, the throwing line getting further and further from the target each day. Today she just wasn’t hitting the bullseye at all and it was vexing her.
Echo could hear Hunter’s bottomless well of patience instructing Omega through the tiny window as he sat at the table in their quarters, cleaning his prosthetics and tightening the joints on his legs.
“Never thought I’d be doing routine maintenance on parts of my own body.” He grumbled to Tech, who sat opposite him at the table, cleaning the parts of his disassembled blaster.
Tech smirked back at his brother. “You should go see that pretty mechanic. I’m sure she could lube you up.”
Echo shot Tech a dirty look as he turned the driver in his hand a little too hard against the elbow joint of his right arm. The tool snapped in his hand. “Dammit!” Echo swore and Tech reeled off a peel of laughter. Echo chucked the useless tool at his brother. “Fuck off.”
Tech dodged the flying metal. “Now you have an actual reason to go see her, Echo!” Tech laughed harder.
Echo pulled his shirt down over his arm and stomped out of the room. Tech could hear him grumbling. “Jare’la….. nynir…. dikut…..” Tech just chuckled as Echo slammed the door behind him.
Out in the alley, Hunter heard Echo before he saw his brother come through the entrance to Cid’s, putting an arm out to stop Omega from throwing another knife. The scowl on his face stopped Omega and Wrecker from commenting. “Where you headed, vod?” Hunter asked cautiously.
“Just need some air, Sarge.” Echo hurried past, out into the foot traffic of the main street.
“What’s wrong with him?” Wrecker asked as they watched Echo disappear into the crowd. Hunter just shrugged and turned back to the knife lesson with Omega.
Sector 5-5 between the bazaar and the space dock wasn’t hard to find. Smith’s Fabrication was clean on the outside with hand painted lettering in Basic, plus several other languages all around the large window. Standing across the street, partially hidden by a food cart, Echo noted the blast shield that was installed over the transperisteel on the inside. He could see the large wall inside with the prices of materials and time, catching glimpses of a droid flitting about the small space. But when he caught sight of Smith inside her shop, it took his breath for a moment.
Echo had been enamored by Smith at first glance. She was not a textbook beauty by any means. She was soft where he was angular, round where he was hard edges. She was small with an easy smile. She had a steel resolve to her though, that reminded him of Cid in some ways. He noted the knife she kept under her apron and was well aware she probably knew how to use it. How did a woman running a shop in a skug hole like Ord Mantell become so soft? How was she able to smile so freely? Her work spoke of intelligence and diligence, art and precision. The way she spoke to Omega and the crow’s feet beginning to show around her eyes when she smiled stirred an emotion in Echo’s chest he couldn’t even name.
Watching her through her shop window, he saw her let her hair out of it’s wrap. A mess of unruly curls tumbling free before she bent at the waist and twisted them into the cloth, hiding them away once more. She stood, arms stretched high, hands tying the wrap into place and pulling at her shift, revealing a sliver of skin that was but a shadow from Echo’s vantage point, but made him shiver just the same. He glanced up and down the street to see if he’d been caught staring. Noting that the world was largely ignoring him, he looked back to see Smith with her hands on her hips, smiling down at her droid. The mid-morning sunlight caught the silver of her facial piercings, one on her chin and the other in her nose, the tiny jewels casting a prism of light through the window. When she turned, her earrings bent the rainbows yet again, the light bouncing around her. She turned to her work table and picked up a datapad, leaning her chin on her palm, looking relaxed.
“Damn it, hu’tuun.” Echo rapped his knuckles against his head and inhaled deeply. Don’t be a coward, he thought. It’s just a business transaction. With another cleansing breath, he made his way cross the street.
Smith’s face lit up when Echo stepped through the door of her shop. She honestly didn’t expect to see Omega or one of her friends so soon and she was pleasantly surprised.
“Well, hello soldier! What brings you in to Smithy’s?” She straightened up from where she leaned on the counter, setting aside the datapad.
Echo grinned as he entered, the shop very different from what he could see from across the street. It was homey and tidy for a shop specializing in the mechanical. Plants sat on shelves on every wall, tiny welded sculptures of people, animals, houses and machines, ships and speeder bikes covered every other surface. The desk behind which Smith stood watching him was made of two huge gears on top of which tiny humanoids made of wire were welded on, appearing to be repairing the gears and inserting bearings. It smelled of oil and solder with just a hint of something earthy underneath. Echo immediately liked it. Looking around, he finally landed on Smith’s expectant, humored face.
“Yes, um, sorry,” Echo began, flustered. “Did you make all this?” He asked, stepping into the shop properly. He came to stand at the end of the counter.
“I did! It’s scrap mostly. Some were gifts, some were commissions clients never picked up. Every now and again I have to scavenge a piece of art for a customer.” Smith chuckled. “What can I help you with? Echo, was it?”
Echo cleared his throat and forced himself to look at Smith properly, the heat on his face be damned. “I broke a tool I use on my cybernetics. I was hoping you might have a replacement, or possibly might be able to make one.”
Smith met his eye as he spoke, the heat in her own face unseen through the deep color of her skin. Her thumb scratching over the ridges of the datapad in a nervous rhythm might have been a give away had the man been paying attention.
“That I can do!” Smith’s face split into a smile that brightened the room. To Echo, she even seemed to stand taller when she smiled, her head tilting just so. “Do you have the tool?”
Echo frowned. “No,” he blushed deeper. “I chucked it at my brother, to be honest.”
Smith laughed, a deep thing that came from her belly, snaking up the column of her throat as she threw her head back and bared it to Echo’s gaze. “Oh dear. Well. This will have to be a custom job then.”
Echo couldn’t help but smile back at Smith. “Sounds expensive.”
Smith leaned over the counter. “Every job is a custom job soldier. Fabrication.” Smith winked.
Echo willed the floor to open up and swallow him whole. “Right. Yes. Of course.” He said wistfully.
Smith came around the counter with her datapad, gesturing to the big pricing board behind it. “Prices are up there, sit down here and let’s see what we’ve got.” She pointed to a stool, which Echo dutifully sat down on. Bending on one knee in front of him, Smith tapped Echo’s boot. “Slip this off for me.”
Echo slipped off his Republic-issue boot to reveal his durasteel foot and ankle, letting it dangle off the stool. Smith took a small tool from her pocket and scanned the joint without comment. Moving to roll up his pants leg, she simply asked, “May I?” and received a single nod in return, gingerly rolling up his pants leg and scanning the knee.
When she patted his thigh and asked, “How far does this go up?”, Echo was thankful Smith was looking down at her datapad. She was standing so close, he could make out a smattering of freckles across her nose.
“Um. The left one is just past the knee. The right only just spared my hip.” He replied.
Smith looked up at him then, her eyes soft. “I’m sorry.” She said. “I’ve done a lot of work for soldiers and casualties from the war, but you…” Smith trailed off, her eyes raking over his face and scalp, down his arm, to where his legs were hidden beneath his loose military-issue casuals. “You are something else, soldier.” Smith smiled, trying to give levity to her observation. “Let’s see that arm.”
Smith gently cradled the terminal end of Echo’s scomp arm in the crook of her elbow as she scanned the entire appendage, paying special attention to the elbow joint. Gingerly pushing up his shirtsleeve, she ran a finger over the seam between flesh and metal, eliciting a shiver Echo couldn’t contain. Smith smirked up at him. “Sorry. This looks a little irritated. Do you remove it and clean this connection often?”
Echo looked down at his arm, trying to see what Smith saw. “Not as often as I would like. We’re off-planet most of the time. Sonics don’t really do the trick.” He shrugged with his other shoulder.
Smith hummed an acknowledgement and began absently inspecting the ports on the right side of Echo’s neck and scalp, fingertips tracing light touches at the places where flesh met metal. She moved forward to his brow, where she caught his honeyed gaze staring back at her. She slowly pulled her hand back, rather unbothered by their close proximity. Echo shivered again under her touch, pulling back slightly where he sat. Realization was slow to drift over Smith as she studied him.
“All this damage… happened at the same time?” Smith’s blood ran cold at the realization.
Echo just swallowed hard and nodded.
A lump caught in Smith’s own throat. “How? How did you even survive?” She whispered.
They were caught in this moment. The air in the shop still and silent, nothing but the sound of their own blood rushing in their ears. No one had ever asked the question before. No one had even considered it, as far as Echo knew. He was a soldier who had lived to fight another day. He was born to die in battle. To have been scraped off the Citadel’s hangar floor to salvage his remains… none of his brothers would have considered it. When his smoking helmet rolled into view, he had fulfilled his duty to the Republic and that was that. Whatever was left was spare parts. Spare parts that were reassembled back into a soldier and reclaimed. How had he survived? He wasn’t even sure he had yet.
Smith’s eyes were not full of pity for him, though. No. They were full of wonder and reverent curiosity. She truly wanted to know the answer to that question. What drove a man, a clone, whose primary purpose was to fight and die on a battle field for a cause they could never enjoy, to withstand the torture that came with being rebuilt after such devastating injury? Was the will to serve the Republic so ingrained that a clone would fight so hard for that alone? Or was the instinct of a sentient being, clone or not, so strong, that life will always find a way? Smith dealt in making machines and tools, pieces to make things work, tools that brought machines to life. Here sat a man asking her to help him maintain the machines that gave him the ability to live as a man, more than half his body and likely much of his brain mechanical. And yet, the amber eyes burning through her were purely human, as was the rising blush on his pale cheeks and the shy smile that parted his lips when she didn’t stop staring.
Their moment was interrupted by the sound of the door to the shop opening, Tech and Omega stepping through. Smith stepped away as Echo rose from his seat, their closeness to one another not lost on Tech, who eyed them both as Omega fairly burst into the shop.
“Whoa! This place is awesome! Hi Smith! You have so many plants - where did you get them all!” Omega flitted about the shop, barely stopping at any one thing, inspecting each plant and wire sculpture as Smith waved an awkward hello to Tech.
“Omega was getting restless wondering where you wandered off to.” Tech adjusted his goggles. “Hello again, Smith.”
“Hello, you two! Echo and I were just finishing up!” Smith gave the newcomers a tight smile. To Echo she said, “I can make you something to fit all the adjustment points, and I’d like to get your cybernetics cleaned as well, more as a measure of maintenance than a fabrication service.” Smith winked as she made her way back behind the counter. Omega didn’t catch it, but Tech did and he flinched at the unexpected show of affection toward his brother. Echo felt so out of his element already he just took it in stride.
“How long? How long will it take?” Echo stumbled over his words.
“A few days? Not long at all, but I want to find some material I think will best suit the kind of tool you’ll need.” Smith leaned across the counter.
“Alright, then that’s that. Shall we get back then?” Tech started backing toward the door.
“Smith! Wrecker and Hunter are teaching me how to use a knife to protect myself, just like you said! As soon as I’ve saved up enough credits of my own I’m going to buy my own vibroknife!” Omega stood shoulder to shoulder with Echo, her eyes glowing with youthful eagerness.
Smith looked impressed. “Wow! I’m glad to hear it! Doesn’t mean you can go wandering around the city by yourself though. You’re still a kid, knife skills or not.” Smith glanced up at Echo who looked on at Omega with amusement.
“She’s right, ‘Meg. You don’t want to invite trouble. You only use your knife when absolutely necessary. That’s why Hunter is starting with throwing first. A close-range opponent can use a knife against you.” Echo said earnestly.
Omega frowned. “I know. I just want to be good at something.”
Smith and Echo shared a smile. “I’m sure you will be, with more practice.” Echo replied, knocking his shoulder against Omega’s
“You can practice more after some dinner, yeah?” Tech offered.
“Yes. Let’s get back. Thank you, Smith.” Echo held out his hand, Omega at his elbow beaming up at Smith. Smith took it with both of hers and gave it a squeeze, smiling down at Omega.
“Pleasure doing business, soldier.” Smith held on a little longer than necessary.
“Bye Smith! I like your shop!” Omega bounced out as Tech held the door.
Echo followed Omega out, Tech letting the door close behind him with a lingering look at Smith through the transperisteel. Smith just smiled back at the other man’s unreadable glare.
ire // a crosshair fanfiction
jedi!oc x crosshair
commander layah kerriss is set to become a general, but the council has one final task for her: demonstrate her leadership abilities with the gar’s rowdiest bunch, clone force 99. while the others are open to the challenge, one trooper in particular is none to happy to be taking orders from her.
pre-order 66, canon-typical violence, canon divergent but only because i wanted echo in this fic but that doesn’t give us much time before o66, mentions of fives’s d**th, jesse and kix are besties, crosshair is a bitch but we love him anyway
tw’s will be listed before each chapter. nothing too serious, but just in case.
slow updates, because i’m in college and i work a lot, but i already have some stuff written, so i’m gonna aim to update every two weeks.
first post coming this wednesday!
Echo loves reading reg manuals, even when the regulations don't apply anymore, because it reminds him of his squad and of Fives
Echo snores quietly but when he breaths out, his scomp link thing spins around and makes a whirling sound.
It drives Hunter insane.
I added another chapter to my previous bad batch ff
I also decided to keep rolling with their normal universe (for now 😅)
A/N: Heads up for canon-typical violence in this chapter. As always, thank you to the wonderful @teletraan-meets-jarvis for beta-reading this chapter! :)
Crosshair felt his knees go out from under him as smoke poured out of the room Iden had just entered seconds before, flame licking at the door frame. He felt Hunter push off from him, leaning heavily against the wall. He turned and met his brother’s eyes.
“GO!” Hunter yelled at him, and without any further thought, Crosshair turned and ran, leaving Hunter slumped against the wall.
The smoke burned his lungs and the heat from the fire made his eyes water as he tore around the corner. The bedroom was in shambles, the windows blown out, the bed flung up against one wall in a smoldering heap. He could see the scorch mark where the blast had torn through the wall and slammed into the floor. He frantically turned, searching for any evidence of Iden, the blood pounding in his ears.
“Iden?” he rasped as he slowly became more frantic.
He felt a presence behind him and turned to find Senna sprinting into the room. Her right arm was clutched to her chest, bleeding heavily, but her eyes met his through the smoke. Crosshair looked at her helplessly. “I…she…she came…”
“Be quiet for a second,” Senna said calmly. He watched as she closed her eyes, her brows furrowing. She cocked her head before turning it to face the refresher. Crosshair followed her line of sight, slowly stepping over the debris until his feet bumped against another set of boots.
“She’s here!” he choked, and Senna scrambled towards him. The door and main wall had collapsed, pinning Iden underneath. Crosshair fell to his knees, his hands feeling until he found her leg in the haze.
“Iden! Can you hear me?” he shouted, and she gently kicked him with her boot. He saw the glint of the Firepuncher next to her and yanked it out of the way. “Can you move?” he called, and he had to strain his ears to hear her response.
“Door’s…on me…got my…shoulder…under it. Can’t…move.”
His eyes met Senna’s again, the fear returning. This building is turning to ash. We have to get her out. Now. Senna wet her lips, digging her teeth into her lower lip as she looked at the wreckage, thinking. Finally, she turned her hip towards him, her lightsaber hilt glittering in the fire.
“Take it. Activation switch is on the side. I can’t help you enough physically to lift this off her with only one good arm. You’re going to have to cut it off chunk by chunk.”
Crosshair hesitated, but she nudged him with her foot. “Do it! We’ve got to get out of here.”
Echo came running into the room as Crosshair unhooked the saber from Senna’s belt. The former ARC trooper surveyed the scene before him. “What can I do?”
Senna stepped back. “Help him. Iden’s trapped underneath. Be careful, she’s pinned. I can’t do much and I’m not strong enough to Force lift that up with one hand. I might just bring the whole thing down on her.”
Crosshair ignited the ice blue saber and quickly began cutting away at the debris as carefully as he could, moving around to allow Echo to yank it off. Finally, they were down to just the door, and together, the two of them were able to shift it off of her. Iden lay sprawled underneath, and Crosshair scrambled forward on his hands and knees, scooping her into his arms. Her head rolled against his shoulder as her eyes opened slightly, meeting his.
“I don’t give a damn about the rifle right now.” He pushed some hair out of her face, sediment and blood smearing as his glove grazed her skin. A huge gash ran through her hairline, and blood leaked down the side of her head, soaking into his blacks and smearing his armor. His hands were still shaking from the adrenaline and the thought of losing her. Carefully, he stood, holding her in his arms as he made his way back out of the room. Echo scooped up the lightsaber, handing it back to Senna before he grabbed the Firepuncher and followed Crosshair out with Senna close behind.
Above them, the Star Destroyers had paused their bombardment of the city, but the damage was done. Keren was burning, smoke billowing into the night sky to block out the stars and dim the moonlight. Wrecker raced up to Crosshair, offering to take Iden, but the sniper shook his head. “I’ve got her.” He moved quickly to the speeders, loading Iden into the back of one before climbing in and propping her head in his lap. Hunter was in the passenger seat with Sabé and D-4 tending to the wounds to his side and leg which had reopened and were bleeding profusely again. The sergeant’s chestplate and helmet sat in the back on the floor near Iden’s feet.
Sabé looked up at Crosshair. “How is she?”
Iden’s eyes fluttered open again. “Head and back took most of the brunt. Significant concussion and laceration there and probably some bruising on my shoulder, but all things considered, I think I’m ok. Going to be sore in the morning though.”
“You’re incredibly lucky,” Crosshair muttered, taking the gauze Sabé handed him to press against the wound on her head. “I…I thought…”
Iden reached up to lock her bloody fingers in his gloved ones. “I know. I saw the bolt coming and managed to dive into the ‘fresher just as it hit. I’m sorry I scared you like that.”
His breathing stuttered again, and he bit down on his lip before running his fingers lightly over her cheek. “You’re safe. That’s what matters.”
“EVERYONE MOVE OUT! GET TO THE SPECIFIED COORDINATES! RADIO SILENCE UNTIL THEN!” Typho’s voice boomed out across the courtyard, and Crosshair finally looked around him. Their number had been reduced to maybe a few dozen. The yard that had been full of people laughing, drinking, and dancing just an hour before was now littered with bodies and wreckage. He watched as Tarren hustled a few younger soldiers away from a body.
“We can’t bring them. We have to go.”
“There aren’t enough speeder drivers, and the prisoners at the Government Education Center are going to be coming for us if they’re loose. We have to get out of here. Come on.”
Casting one last look at their fallen comrade, the soldiers moved on, climbing into one of the speeders. Typho clambered into the driver’s seat of theirs, giving Sabé one last nod. She returned the gesture before handing Crosshair a bacta patch and cleaning wipe and jogging over to the speeder Echo and Wrecker were in with Senna. The captain watched as all of the other vehicles pulled out of the yard, only leaving once he was sure everyone else was on their way.
“I don’t understand,” he said quietly. “Why bombard the entire city? It was useful to them. It had their people in it.”
Crosshair stared out at the landscape rushing by as the smoldering city remnants faded into the distance.
“Because they don’t care about people or weapons or resources. Not really. They only care about victory and subjugation. No matter the cost.” He sighed. “I told you they’d never let you win.”
Typho said nothing further as they tore through the night.
The sun was just starting to crest the horizon when the first speeder pulled into the cave behind the falls. Tech and Kestia guided them all the way to the rear, making room for the ones that followed. As they trickled in, Tech noted Kestia’s face progressively becoming grimmer. This is all that made it. Silently, he hoped others had gone to ground in other cities, but the expressions on everyone’s faces told him that wasn’t the case. Glancing at Kestia, Tech could see a similar realization beginning to sink in as her shoulders slumped and her expression faltered. It took an immense amount of willpower not to slip his arms around her to comfort her, but he knew now was not the time. Later.
The speeders carrying his brothers were the last two into the cavern. He gripped Echo and Wrecker’s arms in greeting along with a one-armed hug from Senna. Sabé had bandaged her bloody arm during the trip, and it was now wrapped and resting in a sling.
“You know, you only have one good arm to begin with,” Tech teased lightly, trying to lift the mood. He could see the Jedi Master was carrying a weight on her shoulders, her steps a weary trudge as she approached him.
“Yeah, and I managed not to damage that one,” she replied, some of the twinkle returning to her eye. “I’d have been a wreck if they messed up the computer in my cybernetic.”
Tech spotted Crosshair helping Iden out of the last speeder as Hunter leaned heavily on Captain Typho, limping on his injured leg. Senna placed her hand on his shoulder as the smile slipped from his face. “It was a hard-fought win, and then it was over. They showed up so quickly, we never stood a chance.”
“Did we ever?” he asked quietly.
Senna whipped around to stare at him. “There’s always hope, Tech. That’s what staves off the darkness. We had to try. That’s how we’ll beat them in the end. Winning battles we shouldn’t, instilling hope in others, and living to fight another day when we need to.”
“I hope you’re right,” he said grimly.
“You should know by now that I always am,” she snarked, nudging his shoulder with hers. “You should go help your brothers. Especially the grouchy one. He’s had quite the day.”
Tech nodded, moving forward towards Crosshair. The last time he’d seen his brother and Iden, they’d practically been at each other’s throats, so watching as he gently slid his arm around her waist, holding one of her hands was jarring to say the least. He’d suspected something may have evolved between them, but hadn’t had time to confirm it with the others. The tenderness Crosshair showed her and the way he looked at her pulled at something in Tech’s chest. Maybe forgiveness won’t be beyond him.
“Can I help with anything?” he asked hesitantly, and Crosshair paused, meeting his gaze. The silence hung between them to the point Tech feared he’d get snarled at. Instead, Crosshair looked to Iden, who gave him a reassuring smile before slipping out of his grasp. “I’ll see you inside.” With that, she walked away, favoring one leg slightly.
The two brothers stood awkwardly for a few more moments, unsure of where to begin.
Tech finally waded into the shallows. “Crosshair, I owe you an apology.”
“For what?” The cold rasping tone was still there, but somehow, there was less animosity in the sniper’s words.
“I...I should have found the chip. I knew you weren’t capable of the actions you took while under its influence. You just seemed so...under control, which was very unlike how Wrecker reacted. However, I should have pushed back. I should have fought to-”
“You did the best thing you knew to do in a hard situation,” Crosshair said quietly. “I understand that now.” He raised his eyes to find Tech’s behind his goggles. “I forgive you, and I hope you’ll be able to do the same for me.”
Tech didn’t know what to say to that. He had been so terrified of this moment, and out of all of the possible outcomes he’d considered, this had been an outlier that he had not planned on. He had no words, no contingencies, so in an uncharacteristic move for him, he stepped forward and embraced his brother. Crosshair stiffened in his grasp before ever so slightly returning his embrace.
“I’m so sorry,” Tech whispered, his voice cracking slightly, and suddenly, it was as if they were cadets again. Tech’s memory rushed back to possibly the last time he’d hugged Crosshair when they had been children.
“I’m sorry those regs bloodied your nose. You shouldn’t have gotten involved,” Tech said, his broken goggles hooked over one arm as he held some bacta to the cut on his brother’s cheek.
“They should have left you well enough alone,” the young boy replied, shoving a wad of gauze up the nostril that was still bleeding, much to his frustration. “There was no reason for them to start shoving you like that.”
Tech shrugged, applying a bandage over the cut on Crosshair’s face. “I imagine they’ll continue to do that for as long as we’re around. We’re different, and statistically, those that differ from general populations in communities are ostracized.”
Crosshair rolled his eyes. “You mean those regs are sleamos.”
“In short, yes.”
The two young clones stifled their giggles in the darkened hallway they’d run to hide out in. Fighting was forbidden, but there was a code among the cadets, and no one would report it as long as they weren’t caught. Being caught brought much harsher punishments than a bloody nose and wounded pride. Tech stared at his brother for a few more moments before throwing his arms around his neck.
“I’m sorry again, but thank you.”
Crosshair returned his hug. “Of course. That’s what brothers do.”
Now, grown men, Tech felt Crosshair squeeze him a little tighter, fighting his own emotions that were threatening to overwhelm him. “I forgive you,” the sniper said quietly. “That’s what brothers do.”
Crosshair followed Tech down the stone staircase and through the halls of the safehouse towards the communications room. Everywhere, soldiers were slumped against walls or on the floor, slurping down whatever food they could find or tending to their injured. He saw Sabé and D-4 moving through the corridors like a ghost and her tiny spirit companion. There was a hollowness in her gaze that he hadn’t seen from the hardened warrior, and it just impressed further the significance and enormity of their losses.
Ducking through the doorway into the communications center, he immediately felt the tension in the room. The surviving militia leaders had gathered along with Typho, the queen, and his brothers. Iden caught his eye from near the holotable where she was standing, tossing him a slight raise of her eyebrow. He knew what she was asking, and he gave a slight nod. It’s sorted. She gave him a small smile before turning her attention to Typho as he began speaking.
“All told, the Imperials wiped out over two thirds of our forces. All of the munitions that we captured were taken back, and many of our speeders were destroyed before we were able to evacuate. We are also beginning to receive word that Imperial forces are laying waste to Moenia and other places where we took small victories. This was a coordinated response, meant to be overwhelming and make a statement. Our militia forces have gone to ground where they can and are waiting for their next orders.”
Kestia gave a hollow laugh. “Alright, well what is the goodnews, Captain?”
“I’m afraid there is none, m’lady.”
“Oh come now, what are our next possible moves? Surely we are not defeated.”
Typho sighed, rubbing his hand over his face. In the dim blue light cast by the holotable, Crosshair could see exhaustion creasing his features, frustration at what he knew they couldn’t overcome. It was as if the young captain had aged decades in just a few moments, but Kestia was unwavering.
“Kes, it’s over.”
“I refuse to accept that.” Her voice was suddenly cold, but Crosshair could sense her fear at what was coming. She knows he’s right.
Something within the captain finally snapped. “SO WHAT WILL YOU DO THEN? CONTINUE TO SEND THE PEOPLE THAT ARE MOST LOYAL TO YOU TO THEIR DEATHS NEEDLESSLY? WE CANNOT WIN THIS, KESTIA, AND YOU KNOW IT.”
The outburst was uncharacteristic of the young captain, but not unwarranted. Kestia’s eyes fell to the table, her eyes searching desperately for some miracle. “There has to be a way. There’s always a way.”
Gregar’s voice had returned to a much softer volume. “Kes, there isn’t. It’s time.”
“THERE HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY. FIND IT.” The queen slammed her fists on the table hard enough for the image to flicker. Crosshair could see her eyes glistening, but before anyone else could notice, she turned swiftly. “Find it,” she repeated angrily as she stormed out of the room. Gregar went to chase after her, but Hunter gripped his shoulder.
“Let her be,” he said softly. Tech was already hunched over the holotable’s computer system, searching for anything that could be used. Everyone focused back on the table, arguing vehemently in some cases over what their options were. The cacophony of voices provided enough of a distraction for Crosshair to slip out of the room, following the queen.
He found her at the entrance of the cave, looking out over the forest below from behind the falls, her arms wrapped tightly around her. He could see her shoulders shaking as she tried to hold back sobs of frustration. She turned her head slightly as he approached, his footsteps barely making a sound.
“Come to gloat?” she snapped.
“And why would I do that?”
“You were right.” Her voice trembled. “You were right about everything. We couldn’t stop them. Maybe no one can.” She shuddered, letting loose a dry huff of a laugh to try and cover her emotion. He stood next to her, hands clasped behind his back.
He was silent for a few moments before he turned to face her. She didn’t meet his eyes, but he could still see the tears threatening to spill down her cheeks. He took a deep breath, knowing he was the last person that should be trying to comfort anyone, but pressing forward anyway. “You know, during the war, we were often faced with insurmountable odds, particularly as soldiers that were widely considered expendable. It was a hard fact to face, day in and day out, but if we’d given up every time the odds weren’t in our favor, we’d have been killed on our first day out of our tubes.”
She nodded, biting her lip, still not meeting his gaze, so he stepped in front of her, lightly gripping her arms.
The queen finally looked up at him, and he was struck by how different she was from the last time they’d been alone together. That woman had been defiant and headstrong, but this one had been beaten down. Her shoulders sagged, and there were bags under her eyes and worry lines creased into her forehead.
“Just because you can’t win a battle doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. You reminded me of that.”
She scoffed lightly. “I got people killed.”
“No, people that were loyal to you died fighting for something they believed in, a cause you rallied them to.”
“Sounds the same.”
“You know it isn’t.”
She looked down and he finally saw a few of the tears fall down, splattering against the stone beneath their feet.
“It was all for nothing. And now I’ll slink away into the night and abandon everything and everyone.”
He sighed deeply before slipping his finger under her chin and raising her face back up to meet his eyes. “Listen to me. This was not for nothing. You have options right now, options that can still do a lot of good. You can alert the Gungans of the Bandorium. You’d be giving them plenty of time to evacuate and save what they can, time I promise you the Empire would not give them. They’d be lucky if the Empire didn’t just destroy the city with them still inside like they did with Keren.” He could see his words settle into her mind and the gears within starting to turn. A little bit of the light returned to her eyes, and he had to bite back a smirk. Kriff, no wonder Tech fell for her. They are practically identical when they start getting ideas.
“Leaving doesn’t have to be the end either,” he continued. “I saw the way your people rallied at your speech. That kind of leadership would be invaluable in a rebellion that’s still trying to get its footing. If it’s ever to have any chance against the Empire, it will need leaders like you.”
She flushed at that, but his grip on her chin tightened as she tried to look away. “I mean it. This doesn’t have to be the end. It doesn’t have to be a failure if you don’t let it. But you need to get back in there and take charge and keep it in perspective. Understood?”
She swallowed hard and nodded. “Since when did you become the one with the sage advice? I thought you were the snarky, moody one.”
He smirked at that. “Don’t tell anyone.”
She sniffled slightly, wiping at her eyes before she smiled up at him sadly. “Your secret is safe with me.”
“Are you ready?” he asked.
“As I’ll ever be.”
“Alright, then let’s get back in there. Tech is likely coming up with at least fifteen terrible plans, but he’d try them all for you.”
She sighed. “I know he would.”
He allowed her to walk back in a few paces ahead of him before slipping back to his spot at the rear of the crowd. Hunter caught his eye and he nodded at him as Kestia strode back towards the holotable. Sure enough, Tech was frantically typing, but she reached out and rested a hand on his arm, slowing his movements. The rest of the room had slowly fallen silent and now all eyes were on the queen as her spine straightened. Crosshair watched as she transformed back into Queen Kestia of Naboo, and she looked around the room, holding each of their gazes.
“I apologize for my outburst. As I’m sure you can all understand, I do not wish to surrender our planet to those that would do it harm. However, after some consideration I agree with the counsel of my friends. This is no longer a fight we can hope to win alone.”
A murmur broke out through the crowd, but Kestia continued, and the noise quickly subsided. “It does not mean that we’re giving up. We will work to ensure the sacrifices that have been made are not in vain. We will evacuate ourselves and those that are loyal to us to ensure that the Empire does not capture or harm them. We will join the rebellion and continue this fight in cooperation with those that wish to see a galaxy of sovereign systems, one that is not ruled by a power that only wishes to subjugate its people. The fight goes on. But first, we must save those that I have been trying to protect.” Her hand hovered over the holotable, hesitating for a second. Crosshair noted she took a steadying breath and looked at Tech, who gave her a slight nod before she punched a few buttons, zooming in on the map of Naboo until it was focused on Gunga City. “This, is what we’ve been trying to protect. The Bandorium the Empire wants so desperately lies beneath the Gungan capital and its surrounding holy sites. I want to immediately send word to Boss Riis so that he may decide what their next steps are. If they wish to evacuate the city, we will help them in any way possible. Once we have ensured the safety of the Gungans, we will leave Naboo.”
“And how do you propose we do that, m’lady?” Hunter asked.
She grinned at him. “I leave that planning in your very capable hands, Sergeant.” Turning to the rest of the room, she addressed them. “Please rest, eat, and clean yourselves up. There should be more than enough room in the barracks here for all of you. I must ask that no one leaves or communicates from this location. Tomorrow, I will meet with my command circle to determine what our options are. For everyone else, please take that time to heal and recuperate. Our time on Naboo may be drawing to a close, but it won’t be easy to leave. Take care of yourselves and thank you for everything that you’ve done up until this point. I owe you a debt I cannot hope to repay.” She bowed her head for a moment before giving Typho a final nod and exiting the room. A low murmur echoed around the small space, but it was less tense than the commotion from earlier. Crosshair noted Tech took advantage of the discussion to slip out of the room after Kestia. He smirked as he watched his brother go, popping a toothpick between his teeth, his eyes meeting Iden’s from across the room. She gave her head a jerk towards the door and he nodded before making his way through the crowd and following her outside.
Wordlessly, she led him down the hall of the safehouse to where the individual quarters were, reserved for those in command positions. She slipped inside one of them, and he hastily followed, not even waiting for the door to close fully before he was on her, pressing her back against the wall gently, cradling her face in his hands as he kissed her. He was careful around the bandage near her hairline. D-4 had done a good job of getting her fixed up.
“How bad is the concussion?” he whispered as his lips trailed across her cheek and gently made their way to the bandage. She was busy undoing his armor, letting it slide to the floor piece by piece.
“D-4 says not as bad as I’d feared, but I still should have someone wake me up every few hours to monitor me,” she replied, a twinkle in her eye as she gave his belt a yank. “Think you’re up for the job?”
“Most definitely,” he rasped, his teeth grazing against her throat.
“I need you,” she whispered.
“You’ll have me,” he replied, his lips pressed against the shell of her ear as he carefully worked at her clothes, pulling her tunic off of her shoulders. He worked his way down to her shoulder, trailing kisses across her collar bone.
“I thought I’d lost you tonight,” she said, her voice stuttering. “On the tarmac when the turret blew. I thought you were gone.” She buried her nose in his hair, breathing in the scent of smoke, sweat, and his skin. He raised his lips to meet hers, and she saw his eyes were glassy.
“And I thought I’d lost you when that room blew. I was so sure you were dead,” he cupped her face in his hands, gentler than he’d ever done, as if she’d evaporate if he held her too tightly. “War does that to people. Takes them before anyone’s ready. I’ve lost plenty of people, but I can’t lose you. Not you, Iden.”
She pulled away from him, her eyes burning into his amber irises, and she wet her lips. “I love you.”
The sentence fell from her lips effortlessly and the air between them hummed as he stared at her, his breath stuck in his throat. No one had ever said those words to him in his entire life, and he never could have predicted how it would feel hearing them from the person he cared for most. He’d burn everything to the ground to protect Iden, and as he mulled it over in his mind, he realized he’d never thought he’d say the words to anyone, let alone hear them said to him.
Iden sensed his hesitation. “You don’t have to say it back. It’s just that after everything, I didn’t want to wait for the ‘right’ time because who the hell knows if that will even come and-“ he quieted her with a hard kiss, digging the fingers of his right hand into her hip while his left hand cradled her face. He felt Iden tense in his arms before she relaxed against him, allowing her arms to rest over his shoulders. Crosshair dropped his hands under her thighs, scooping her up so that she wrapped her legs around his waist. Carefully, he carried her over to the bed and laid her down, gently cradling her head as he lowered her onto the pillow before he hovered over her, framing her face with his forearms as his thumb ran over her jawline. Finally, he pulled away from the kiss, panting as he stared down at her.
“I love you too, Iden.” The words fell from his lips as if they were the first he’d learned, the most easy thing he’d ever said, and in that moment, he knew he had loved her for a while. It hadn’t been immediate like those sappy romance stories, but it had grown between them steadily, starting from the moment he’d felt something tug in his chest as he’d held her in that speeder as Echo braced her injured knee. Of course he’d probably have never said the words without the push from her, but it was that pushing that he cherished. She challenged him, pressing him to be better than he was, confronting the views he held about himself, especially the negative ones. He had nothing to give her but himself, and all he wanted to do was surrender, to be hers.
He kissed her again, harder this time as they worked their clothes off more desperately. They kept whispering those three words to each other as he yanked the blanket over the top of them and pulled her to him, pressing his face into the soft place where her neck met her shoulder, the place where he could smell her the most. His hands traced her skin, committing every scar and stretch and dimple to memory once more as they melded together, the same as always and yet so very different. Iden whispered his name into his skin as they both came undone, and it was the sweetest prayer he’d ever heard, leaving him craving more. He’d never felt greedier for every second with her and in that moment, he thought how wrong Iden was. Time with her was a luxury, and he hoped beyond reason that, with respect to this particular amenity, he would be the wealthiest man alive. Crosshair resolved that whatever it would take, he’d beg, barter, or steal from the Maker themself if it meant he got to spend as much time as possible with her.
Echo rested his head against the edge of the mattress, his fingers still interlaced with Sabé’s as she finally peacefully dozed. He was sitting on the ground next to her bunk, resting his back against the metal frame. Her arm rested over his shoulder, and she’d fallen asleep holding his hand. He hadn’t had the heart to pull away and was pondering how stiff he’d wake up if he just tipped his head back and slept like this.
The sound of quiet snoring filled the room from the surrounding bunks, and Echo sat up straighter when he heard quiet footsteps approaching. Senna rounded the corner at the end of the aisle of bunks, coming to a stop across from him.
“She finally out?”
“Like a light,” he grinned, but he could feel the weariness in his smile. “She let me give her a stronger pain med for her shoulder about twenty minutes ago. That put her out pretty quickly.”
“Good,” Senna murmured. “She needed it.”
Senna cocked her head at him, and he could see the pain and memories in her gaze as she watched the two of them. He patted the floor and she ungracefully slumped next to him, slipping her left arm through his and resting her head on his shoulder. “I’m very happy you two got things resolved. Was wondering when that was going to happen,” she whispered, and he nudged her.
She grinned at him, but he could see the sadness hovering just behind her irises. Releasing Sabé’s hand, he reached over, grasping her uninjured arm and pulling the glove she normally wore off of it. Her hand shone in the dim lighting, and he gently twisted it until he was looking at her ring finger. The etched Jaig eyes stared back at him, and his thoughts drifted to Rex. He ran his thumb over the etching.
“You know, you should paint these blue. There are several people that have been awarded the Jaig eyes, but we both know there’s only one person these are meant to signify.”
Senna’s teeth dug into her lip. “Maybe I just like the aesthetic.”
“Yeah. Yeah it is.”
Echo considered his next words carefully. “Would it be so bad for you to see him again?”
“I know, I know. You’re fearful of the Inquisitors. But you’ve been here for how many months, Senna? How many have come looking for you, or for the other Force users for that matter? You’ve said yourself Kestia has a strong connection, so why wouldn’t they be here tracking her?”
“It’s not just the Inquisitors anymore,” she whispered, and he paused as her eyes welled with tears. “I’ve been away so long. How could he ever forgive me?”
“Oh, he’ll be angry. There’s no doubt about that,” Echo quietly agreed. “But he misses you, Senna. Maker, he misses you so much.”
She covered her mouth with her right hand to stifle a sob and Echo wrapped his arms around her, holding her close as she finally broke in front of him. His heart shattered with the realization that this was what she’d done alone after she’d left, and that he was just seeing a small glimpse of it. He cradled the back of her head as her fingers dug into his blacks, her grief overwhelming her. Echo rocked her gently back and forth, pressing his lips to the top of her head as she cried quietly.
When she finally recomposed herself, she sat back up, wiping her cheeks and nose hurriedly. “I’m so sorry. I…today was a lot.”
“When I thought I’d killed you Echo, it was the same fear I’d carried all this time for Rex and your brothers. That if the Inquisitors found you while looking for me, that I’d feel that guilt, that helplessness. And today, I felt that.”
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I never meant for that to happen.”
She huffed a laugh. “We never mean for things like that to happen. They just do, especially in our line of work. But…it made me realize how much time I’m missing with the person I love. He’s still out there fighting, putting himself in danger, and here I am, half a galaxy away, trying to keep him safe, but I can’t. Not truly. Rex will always charge into the danger, just like you did.” She chuckled again before sniffling. “I told you, you two are so very alike.”
She nudged him. “You know what I mean.”
Echo sighed. “I do.” He squeezed her metallic hand. “So, what now?”
Senna met his gaze, her eyes glowing in the dim lighting in a way he wasn’t sure he’d seen since their time together before Naboo.
“We finish the job here first. Then…we’ll see. I’m still afraid of bringing an Inquisitor to his doorstep. But, we’ll see.”
Tech slipped into Kestia’s quarters to find her sitting on the edge of the bed they shared, hunched over, her eyes on the floor.
“Kes?” his voice was barely above a whisper, and he thought perhaps she didn’t hear him before he saw the slightest shudder ripple through her. Quickly, he closed the space between them, kneeling down in front of her, his hands resting on her thighs. “Kestia, look at me.”
When she finally lifted her gaze, his heart shattered. Her normally emerald eyes were dimmed with grief, a puffiness around them betraying her. Tech could still see the tear stains on her cheeks and the redness from where she’d hurriedly tried to wipe them away. He knew the decision she had just made was likely the most difficult she’d ever been faced with, and while he was certain she’d made the correct call, he could see that knowledge did little to soften the blow. She’s leaving her homeworld behind. She feels as though she’s giving up, and she’s not, but only time can give her that perspective. He rubbed gentle circles on her thighs with his thumbs, as she watched him. Comfort with words wasn’t one of his strengths, and now, he floundered under her stare, desperate to ease her in any way he could.
She broke the silence first, her voice hoarse. “I...I know it’s the right thing. I know that. I do. But I can’t help but feel as though I failed all of the people I swore to protect. I was so sure that somehow, right would win out. What a fool I am.”
Tech scooted forward on his knees until he was between her legs, slipping his fingers into her hair and pulling her forehead to his as he embraced her.
“You are no fool, Kestia Sandsen,” he whispered, using her birth name. “You are a great leader that loves her people and her planet. You would do anything for them, and you have exhausted all of your options. You are not foolish for your optimism, for your hope. That hope is what will help us win against the Empire eventually. Not today, but in the end. I know it.”
She sobbed against him. “How can you believe that? Especially after today?”
“Because,” he replied, pulling her hand to his lips and grazing them over her knuckles, “I believe in the rebellion and most importantly, I believe in you. People like you are how we win, Kes. That is where my confidence stems from. You.” He held her gaze before she slipped onto the floor with him, wrapping her arms around his thin frame. “Grieve tonight,” he said quietly, pressing a kiss to the crown of her head. “I’ve got you, but tomorrow, we begin again.”
A/N: Senna Aven is my OC, first introduced in "In Command," so if you'd like to learn more about her, I'd check that fic out. Also, it's heavily alluded to here, but I will be writing a sequel to "In Command" called "Reunion," so stay tuned for that! :)
Tag List: @imalovernotahater @canesjedi31
"Echo is a bad bitch too, now!"
-my partners reaction, after watching the clone wars for the first time
Today's Main Prompt is Scars. We know Wrecker has some, but how about the rest of the Bad Batch? Does Omega possibly have a scar?
Today's Alternate Prompt is Downtime! How does the Batch relax? Is cards and music or a bubble bath?
We're past the halfway point of the art week, but it's still okay to post your art from earlier prompts in the tag! And again, don't be scared to tag us @unwhitewashthebadbatch in case we miss your art!
Hunter addressing the squad: And if you have any suggestions then feel free to put them in the suggestion box.
Crosshair: But- that's just a trash can?...
Hunter: It sure is!
☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ:⠀ *⋆.*:･ﾟ .: ⋆*･ﾟ: .⋆☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ *⋆.☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆
Echo: I just slept for almost 12 hours but I'm still tired so I'm going for 12 more.
Tech: Echo, that's a coma.
Echo: Sounds festive!
☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ:⠀ *⋆.*:･ﾟ .: ⋆*･ﾟ: .⋆☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ *⋆.☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆
Echo: Why are you on the floor?
Crosshair: I'm depressed.
Crosshair: Also I was stabbed, can you go get Tech?
☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ:⠀ *⋆.*:･ﾟ .: ⋆*･ﾟ: .⋆☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ *⋆.☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆
*The Batch having dinner together*
Echo: Crosshair can you pass the salt?
Crosshair: *Throws Tech across the table*
☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ:⠀ *⋆.*:･ﾟ .: ⋆*･ﾟ: .⋆☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ *⋆.
Hunter: In your opinion what is the height of stupidity?
Tech: *Turning to Crosshair* How tall are you?
☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ:⠀ *⋆.*:･ﾟ .: ⋆*･ﾟ: .⋆☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆*･ﾟ *⋆.☾ ⋆*･ﾟ:⋆
Echo: What's a word that's a mix between "sad" and "mad"?
Tech: Disgruntled, miserable, desolated-
es cincos sabado!
There’s an alternate universe where Fives lives and joins up with the Bad Batch when they find Echo and Hunter quickly figures out that Tup has primed Fives to be extremely susceptible to long-haired ninth cyclers with tooka eyes and uses this to his FULL advantage
“Those are children,” Echo comments. It feels very important that someone besides him should know this. Why does no one seem to care that their highly experimental squad is comprised of literal babies? Kix sighs. “Karking demons is what they are."
In which there is a considerable age-gap between Clone Force 99 and Echo. Geneticists everywhere are now aware: the Mandalorian tradition of adopting anything that will hold still long enough is strong in the Fett-genome.
RATING: T, WORD COUNT: 6k+, CHAP: 1/3
Some days it's hard to see
Made it through the maze
To found my one of the million
And now you're just a page torn from the story I'm living
The scar, I can't reverse
And the more it heals, the worse it hurts
Gave you every piece of me
No wonder it's missing
Don't know how to be so close to someone so distant
And all I gave you is gone
Tumbled like it was stone
Thought we built a dynasty that Heaven couldn't shake
Thought we built a dynasty like nothing ever made
Thought we built a dynasty forever couldn't break up
It all fell, it all fell down, it all fell down