#tbb oc Tumblr posts

  • wild-karrde
    07.12.2021 - 1 day ago

    Guarded - Part 37 (Final Chapter)

    Master List

    A/N: Well, this is it, 310 pages and 164k words later. The last chapter. I want to say thank you for all the love this fic has received. It was a LOT of fun to write, and I'm so glad so many of you enjoyed it. I want to give a particular shoutout to @teletraan-meets-jarvis who started beta-reading for me during this fic, and it honestly wouldn't have been what it was without her help. Anyway, I hope you all have enjoyed this as much as I have!

    The trip to the Yavin base had taken a few rotations, but aside from the handful of pilots lost in the assault on the star destroyers, everyone made it safe and sound. They were grateful for that, although it did little to alleviate the immense feeling of loss that hung over the team.

    As soon as the shuttle touched down, Hunter and Iden were there to meet them. The three of them emerged, Senna and Crosshair carefully supporting Tech between them. Hunter’s heart broke at the distance in his brother’s gaze. He’s grieving. This will take time. Senna nodded at Crosshair before slipping her arm around Tech’s waist and walking him towards the base entrance, Hunter following quietly behind.

    Crosshair wrapped his arms around Iden, and she held him tightly, her fingers carding through his hair as they embraced silently. After a few moments, she pulled back, running her thumbs over his cheeks. He knew he must look exhausted. He and Senna had spent the few rotations of travelling sitting with Tech. He’d barely slept, thinking of Kestia’s final words to him that he’d heard in his mind.

    “You look like shit,” Iden whispered, her voice hoarse.

    “Sounds about right,” he huffed before he leaned down, pressing a kiss to her lips and resting his forehead against hers. “I’m glad you’re safe.”

    “You too,” she replied, closing her eyes as her hands slipped around his waist. “Is he going to be alright?”

    Crosshair sighed. “It’s going to take some time. I don’t think even he realized how much she meant to him until it was too late.”

    Iden nodded, her voice cracking a bit. “Never enough time.”

    Crosshair cupped her cheek. “No. Which is why I plan on not wasting a second with you.”

    She smiled, a tear finally breaking free from the corner of her eye. Iden held him tighter, burying her face in the fabric of his blacks as he cradled the back of her head, inhaling into her hair.

    “Good.”

    ---

    Hunter followed Senna and Tech through the base until they reached the dormitories. Senna eased Tech down onto one of the bunks, and he turned away from them, quietly curling in on himself. The Jedi turned to Hunter.

    “I’ll stay with him. How’s Echo?”

    “All things considered, he’s had worse days,” Hunter joked dryly. “Needs a day or so in the medbay, but then he should be right as rain.”

    Senna nodded. “He’s lucky, and I was perhaps foolish in hoping to turn Gadge. I could have gotten him killed.”

    Hunter slid his hand around the back of her head, bringing their foreheads together. “I’m sure he’ll tell you this himself, but he would want you to try and save that young woman. You did what you could, Senna.”

    The Jedi Master nodded, but her teeth were digging into her bottom lip. “There was still some doubt there, still some good. Maybe in her last moments, she realized that.”

    “Maybe.”

    He slipped his hands into hers, giving them a light squeeze. “Are you going to be alright?”

    “I didn’t lose the person I loved today.”

    “Not what I asked, Senna.”

    She sighed, her eyes falling to their interlocked hands before she raised her eyes back to Hunter’s, her voice barely above a whisper so that it wouldn’t carry to Tech. “I…I think it’s time I maybe go find Rex. I’ve already lost so much time, and it feels wasteful to have him be alive and out there and me just…not being with him. Especially when I see what Tech’s going through.” She sniffled. “I’m still so scared, Hunter. I’m so scared for him.”

    Hunter peeled the glove off of her left hand. “I know you are. But I also agree with what you said. I understood why you left, but I thought it was wrong. You made a decision based on that fear, and I don’t know much about being a Jedi, but I don’t think that’s the way you go about it.”

    She laughed quietly, tears finally spilling over her cheeks. “You’re right about that.”

    Hunter sighed. “My advice? Play it by ear. Finding him will be easy enough, especially for you, and you pick when the right time is to go to him. Not that I’m an expert in that department.”

    She rolled her eyes, and he gave her hands one last squeeze, running his thumb over the etching on her ring finger. “Alright, I need to go brief Organa. This won’t be fun.”

    “Ok. I’ll be here with him if you need me.”

    “Thank you.”

    The sergeant turned and left with that, and Senna moved back to the bunk Tech was curled in, climbing in next to him and carefully helping him remove his armor piece by piece and his boots. Finally, she sat up against the headboard and pulled him to her so that his head rested on her shoulder.

    “It’s going to be alright, Tech. I’ve got you. Just rest.”

    He said nothing, but gave her a gentle squeeze in response.

    ---

    Out in the hall, Hunter’s knees were almost taken out from under him by a blonde blur. She’s gotten so big. I can’t believe how fast she’s growing without any growth acceleration. He chuckled as Omega tilted her head back, grinning up at him.

    “I’ve missed you,” she laughed, but her face turned serious as she took in Hunter’s expression. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

    Hunter sighed, wrapping his arms around her to hug her back. “It’s good to see you too, Omega. It wasn’t necessarily a happy ending.”

    “But I heard you all escaped! Minimal casualties.”

    He ran his fingers through her blonde locks. “Yeah, but one of those casualties was the person we were protecting. The queen of Naboo.”

    Omega’s face fell. “I’m sorry. She must have been amazing.”

    Hunter laughed. “She was. An incredible woman.” He thought back to something someone had said to him once about coping with the loss of someone important.

    Don’t say “I’m sorry.” Ask them to tell you a story about the person they’ve lost. Help keep their memory alive and remember the times they treasured with that person.

    Squatting down, he took Omega’s shoulders in his hands. “She was very important to Tech. They had a very…special relationship.”

    Omega’s eyebrow cocked. “Tech?”

    Hunter chuckled. “Yeah, Tech. They were very similar, and I think he found a kind of camaraderie with her that we’ve never been able to provide. They were close. He’s hurting a lot right now, but when he’s better, you should ask him about her.”

    Omega nodded, but he could sense the next question coming a klick away. “Were they in love?”

    Hunter smiled sadly. “Yeah. Yeah I think they were.”

    “Oh.” She pondered that for a moment. “I should go see him.”

    “I’d let him have his space right now. Master Aven is in there with him. Hopefully, she’ll be able to get him to rest and maybe eat something. He wouldn’t want you seeing him like this.”

    “But I care about Tech too.”

    “I know you do, kid. And he knows that. But right now, he needs a bit of time. Just give him a small bit of space.”

    She nodded again, but he could see she was sad and worried about her brother. “Hey, why don’t you find Wrecker and head down to the medbay? Echo’s in there getting some minor treatment, and I know both of them would love to see you right now. Crosshair’s around here too with someone you’ll definitelylike.”

    Omega grinned, trailing along with Hunter as he walked down the hall towards the communication center.

    ---

    Gregar and Hunter had informed Senator Organa of Kestia’s sacrifice, and the grief on his face was evident. “I’m so very sorry we were unable to do anything from the Senate. I had so hoped that at least something would occur, but I’m finding more and more that diplomatic channels under the Empire are a waste of time.” Hunter could see the conflict within the normally composed senator, a vein throbbing at his temple. “I am glad the rest of you made it back safely, and rest assured Kestia’s sacrifice will not be in vain. We will carry on this fight for her and all those like her. Captain, I’m very sorry for your loss. I know words are of little consolation, but they are the best I can offer at the moment.”

    Typho nodded silently, and Hunter saw him swallow hard, and he flexed his fingers nervously, unsure of how to comfort the man.

    The senator addressed them both once more. “The people of Naboo owe you and Kestia a great debt. I cannot begin to thank you for all that you accomplished there. Your efforts did not go unnoticed, and have given rise to new rebel factions that are cropping up in occupied planets. I know it may be difficult to see the forest through the trees right now, but you may very well have given our fight against the Empire a much needed boost. We too are in your debt.” The senator paused. “I hope you and your people will take all the time you need to recover. If and when you are ready to get back into the fight, there is a place for you among us.”

    Typho bowed his head. “That is much appreciated, Senator. I will ensure that your words are passed along to our people.”

    Organa nodded. “May the Force be with you both.” His hologram flickered out of existence, leaving Hunter and Typho in the dark.

    “Gregar-“

    “Thank you. For everything you did for us. And for Kes. I’ll never be able to put my gratitude into words, Hunter. I know at times you doubted us, and with good reason, but we would have never gotten this far without you. Kes wouldn’t…she…” he choked on the words. Hunter reached out gripping his shoulder.

    “That’s what we do. And it was an honor to serve with all of you. I hope to do it again.”

    Typho nodded wordlessly. Hunter noted the tear that fell to the floor between them, but did not call attention to it.

    “You should get some food. And some sleep,” he said quietly.

    “Probably.”

    “Come on.”

    The two men exited the communications center, the door hissing shut behind them.

    ---

    The next morning, Sabé knocked on the door to Echo’s medical room.

    “Come in!” she heard a young woman call.

    Walking through the door, she had to suppress a giggle. Wrecker and a young blonde woman she’d come to know as Omega and had seen flitting through the halls sat on either side of Echo’s bed, a sabacc game splayed out over the sheets. Wrecker’s brow was furrowed deeply as he pondered his next play.

    “Wrecker, if you take any longer, there’s going to be a shift, and we’ll all be out of luck!” the young girl teased, and Wrecker grumbled some unintelligible response.

    Echo chuckled. “The kid has a point, you know.” Wrecker just glared at him before turning his attention back to the cards that looked miniscule in his large hands.

    Echo’s eyes met Sabé’s and he grinned. “Want in?”

    “Oh no, this seems like too high stakes of a game for me,” she teased, coming to stand at the foot of the bed.

    Echo watched her for a moment. Something’s off. His gaze travelled over her form. Beat up boots. A rucksack she set down just inside the door. D-4’s poking out of it. A blaster on her hip, and dressed in layers. His face softened at the realization. She’s leaving.

    Sabé ducked her head sheepishly as he watched her, giving him a sad smile. “Do you think I could have a moment alone with your brother, you two? If it’s not too much trouble.”

    Omega’s eyes flicked between the two of them before she grinned. “I think Wrecker would love a few more minutes to look over his cards in the hall, wouldn’t you Wreck?”

    Wrecker just grumbled again, but Omega hopped off of her stool, smiling at Sabé as she yanked Wrecker out into the hall by his arm. When the door hissed shut behind them, Sabé stood silently at the end of the bed watching Echo, unsure where to start.

    “You’re leaving,” he said quietly. It wasn’t accusatory, but Sabé’s cheeks flushed nonetheless.

    “I am.”

    “How long?”

    “Undetermined, but I’m sure I’ll be back here at some point.”

    He couldn’t hide the look of disappointment. She chewed on the inside of her cheek as she came to sit next to him on the stool Omega had previously occupied.

    “Gregar and I discussed it last night, and we both want to find out who killed Padmé. I think he needs this, especially after what happened with Kes, and I do as well. We’re planning on tracking down a few of the other former handmaidens and security personnel that served under her. Got a lead on a few of them out on Coruscant still, and we figure that’s as good a place as any to start.”

    Echo nodded slowly, and he felt her hand slip into his. “Can you live with me coming and going in the night?” she asked quietly. “I know your feelings on this must be complicated, and I don’t want you to feel like you have to make a decision now, but if you’re still interested in this,” she said, motioning between the two of them, “then please know I’d be interested in pursuing it as well.”

    The former ARC trooper watched her for a few moments before leaning over and pulling her in for a kiss. “If you’re sure you can tolerate that, then I’m all in,” he said, smiling. “I’ll miss you like hell, but I’ll be here waiting when you get back.” He paused. “Or I might be out in the field. But I hope I won’t be.”

    She squeezed his hand. “Well, whenever our paths cross again. Save me a kiss.”

    He pressed her hand to his lips. “You got it.”

    ---

    Hunter found Typho in the hangar, prepping a Y-wing.

    “Going somewhere?” he asked, and the captain turned, shoving his hands in his pockets as he leaned back against the ship.

    “I’ve got some things I need to resolve,” he said quietly. “Can’t let Padmé and Kes’s deaths be in vain.”

    Hunter nodded, trying to ignore the ache in his chest a bit. “Understandable.”

    The two of them stood awkwardly for a few more moments, the silence hanging in between them before Hunter spoke. “I know you still think you failed them, Gregar. I wish I knew how to convince you otherwise.”

    The captain raised his good eye to meet Hunter’s. “I’m sure I’ll come to that conclusion with time and maybe some perspective, but it’s all pretty fresh right now.” He took a deep steadying breath. “Kes was like a sister to me, and when I could no longer turn to my uncle, she was all I had left. Almost makes me wish I had settled down so that I’d have someone to lean on right now.” He huffed a dry laugh, and Hunter rubbed the back of his neck as he tried to find the right words.

    “Well, I know we’re not family, but you can always lean on us. Or me. I’ve never lost anyone as close to me as Kestia was to you, or even Senator Amidala for that matter, but I’m always more than happy to listen should you need it. One soldier to another.”

    Typho cocked an eyebrow at him. “How about a drink next time I’m around?”

    Hunter grinned. “You think they have any good whiskey around here?”

    Typho shrugged, the first genuine smile Hunter had seen from him since Kestia’s death cracking his features. “I think I’d be willing to find out.”

    ---

    Tech awoke with a start. Rolling over, he squinted at the datapad sitting next to Senna on the floor. He could just barely make out the chrono. Almost morning. Senna had fallen asleep sitting next to his bunk, the plate of food that she’d coaxed him into eating from resting by her. She had her head tipped back against the bunk’s thin mattress, snoring softly.

    Her neck is going to be sore sleeping like that. Tech pawed around in the dark until he found his goggles, slipping them on his head. It had been a few rotations since they’d returned, although he couldn’t be sure how many. He’d barely left this room. Senna had been a borderline menace getting him through the grief, but he knew he’d come to appreciate her efforts later. Slipping out of the bed, he carefully lifted Senna’s snoring form onto the cot, pulling the blankets up to her neck while she muttered something in her sleep. Tech bent down to place her datapad next to her on the mattress as well before slipping his boots on, finding a jacket and stepping out of the room.

    He allowed his feet to carry him through the halls of the base until he came to the outer hangar door. It’s been a few days. Could probably use some sun. I hear that helps. Or perhaps I’m just making that up.Quietly, he disengaged the lock and stepped outside.

    The morning sky was just beginning to lighten, shades of gold beginning to cut through the dark blue, giving way to hues of pink and orange. In the distance, he could see one of the pyramid- shaped temple ruins that the moon was known for. I wonder if I’ll ever have time to examine those.He’d been to the base several times, but never could seem to find the bandwidth. Kes would have loved that. For the first time since her death, the thought of her didn’t bring him to his knees. He shuddered slightly, noting the moment, but the thought of her smile warmed him. Yes, she would have found it fascinating.

    Slowly, he walked across the landing tarmac, the only sounds the whistling of the early morning breeze through the trees and the first notes of birdsong as the local fauna awoke. He reached the edge of the duracrete and paused, looking out over the treetops as the sky’s colors grew even more radiant.

    He didn’t hear her come up behind him and remained unaware of her presence until he felt her slide her smaller hand into his. Turning, Tech saw Omega staring out at the rising sun next to him.

    “I’m glad to see you,” she said quietly.

    Tech felt his heart throb for just a moment. “I’m sorry I didn’t come find you sooner,” he replied, his voice coming out more hoarse than he’d intended.

    She squeezed his hand. “It’s alright. I know you needed time.”

    Together, the two of them sat down, Tech’s long legs extended out in front of him as he rested back on his palms while Omega crossed her legs and tucked them near her, resting her elbows on her knees.

    “Do you watch the sunrises often?” Tech asked.

    “Sometimes. It’s nice to have a moment to myself before everyone wakes up and gets busy.”

    He hummed in agreement.

    “Tech?”

    “Yes, Omega.”

    She hesitated. “If it still hurts too much, you don’t have to talk about her now. But when you’re ready, I’d love to hear about Kestia and what she was like.”

    A lump lodged in his throat, not entirely from grief, and he fought back the tears that were welling up in his eyes behind his goggles. He could feel Omega watching him out of the corner of his eye and he reached over, putting an arm around her shoulders and pulling her close. He felt her slip her arm around his back, digging her fingers into his waist as she rested her head against him.

    “She was a lot like you in many ways. Bright. Inquisitive. Funny. You two would have gotten along swimmingly.”

    Omega squeezed him slightly. “She sounds amazing, Tech.”

    He smiled as the sun finally crested the horizon, the warmth striking his cheeks. Warm. Tranquil. Like stepping into the sun. Just like her presence in the Force.

    “She was, Omega. Truly incredible.”

    A/N: Thank you again to all that read/liked/reblogged this fic! Senna and the Bad Batch will be returning in "Reunion" (my next planned multi-chapter fic), and Crosshair and Iden will be getting their own TBD titled multi-chapter fic down the road, so stay tuned! :)

    Tag List: @imalovernotahater @canesjedi31

    #karrde writes#guarded #the bad batch #tbb #clone force 99 #star wars#fanfiction#fan fic#slow burn#romance#angst#fluff #crosshair x ofc #crosshair x original female character #crosshair x oc #tech x ofc #tech x original female character #tech x oc #echo x sabe #senna aven#tech#echo#crosshair#wrecker#hunter#naboo #hunter gets a date #grunter #just for you tj #but also
    View Full
  • wild-karrde
    07.12.2021 - 1 day ago

    Guarded - Part 36

    Master List

    A/N: Heads up for mentions of death and canon-typical violence in this chapter. As always, thank you to the wonderful @teletraan-meets-jarvis for beta-reading this chapter for me!

    “Coming up on the Leviathan now,” one of the Imperial pilots called over his shoulder.

    “Very good,” Echo replied. “Hunter, we’re ready on this end. You geared up on that side?”

    “Yes,” Hunter’s voice crackled through the comm. “We’ll lead you in. As soon as we get boots on the deck, get moving to find Tech and Kes. We’ll get everything rigged pretty quickly.”

    Echo smirked. “Sounds good. How’s Wrecker holding up?”

    “About as well as you’d expect.” They’d all managed to find stormtrooper armor to fit into with the exception of Wrecker. As a result, they’d decided he would go in disguised as a prisoner that was being escorted. It would only work up to a certain point, but it was the best option they had. There was no way we were leaving our explosives expert behind when we need to blow up an entire star destroyer. Echo could hear Wrecker grumbling in the background, but Hunter’s response came through pretty clearly.

    “You can keep moaning about the binders or you can stay on the ship. Your call.”

    Senna giggled next to him, and Echo nudged her shoulder, mouthing be nice. She rolled her eyes before she slipped the stormtrooper helmet over her head. Crosshair was scowling as he slid his helmet on as well, and Echo wondered what it was like for him being back in Imperial armor. Not a question I’m asking out loud.

    Senna strode to the cockpit, sitting down next to the pilot. “Alright, you remember the drill, yeah?”

    “Yes. We are escorting the transport of the Omicron-class attack shuttle to the Leviathan’s main hangar bay. I am to give clearance codes when prompted, which should happen shortly.”

    Senna patted his head. “Good man.” Echo noted the glossy look in the man’s eyes as he turned back to pilot the craft.

    “How long do they stay under like that?” he asked.

    Senna shrugged. “Until the task is complete usually. I told Hunter to stun their guy as soon as we land in the bay, and we should do the same. Make sure they can’t sound an alarm.”

    Echo nodded. “It’s eerie.”

    “And manipulative and I don’t like doing it,” Senna muttered, hiding her lightsaber in a hip pouch. “Feels…really low. To take someone’s agency and twist it.”

    “Sometimes you have to do the undesirable things to get where you want to be,” Crosshair said quietly.

    Senna glanced back at him. “For Tech and you and your brothers, there are few things I wouldn’t do. Doesn’t make this feel any less wrong.”

    Crosshair nodded, and Echo wondered again what kind of conflicts must be playing out within him. He was taking careful note of his brother’s demeanor as Iden’s warning in Keren bounced around in his head. He hoped he was up for the task.

    “Shuttle, please identify yourself and provide clearance codes.” The shuttle’s communications system interrupted Echo’s thoughts, and he moved to stand behind the pilot again. He felt Senna hold her breath.

    “Leviathan, this is escort shuttle 7434, escorting transport of enemy ship to main hangar. Sending clearance codes now.” The pilot reached over and punched a few buttons. The cockpit fizzled with tension, the seconds dragging on until the voice of the flight coordinator buzzed back through the speakers.

    “Clearance codes received. Please proceed behind your charge to shuttle bay entrance C.”

    “Understood tower.”

    Senna released the breath she was holding and Echo felt some of the tension leave his shoulders. Alright. First hurdle cleared.

    ---

    Tech was back in his cell, sitting on the edge of the cot, his shoulders slumped in defeat. He’d hoped against hope that this wouldn’t be the outcome, Kestia falling prey to the Empire, but he’d heard her whisper the words, felt her pull away from him. I failed, Senna. He buried his face in his hands.

    It had been at least an hour since Kestia had agreed to become an Inquisitor, and his mind hadn’t stopped racing since. Surely she wouldn’t. There’s got to be some other play here. How could she? He shook his head. He knew the answer. Had the positions been reversed, he knew he would have pledged as well to save her. Perhaps it is just that simple.

    The sound of footsteps outside of his cell distracted him from his worrying. He looked up as the door opened and three stormtroopers entered.

    “I guess I warrant one less now, is that it?” he snapped, and the trooper closest to him chuckled.

    “You know, you’re getting a bit snippy there, Legs,” Senna teased as she removed her helmet, her blue eyes glinting with laughter.

    Tech leapt to his feet and went to hug Senna before he remembered his hands were still in binders. Instead, he reached forward, clasping her hands. “Kes-“

    “We’ll find her. There’s no record of her cell, but she’s got to be-“

    “Senna, she turned.”

    The Jedi’s speech cut short as if she’d been kicked in the gut.

    “Are you certain?” Echo asked, ripping his helmet off.

    “I’m not. But I saw her take the oath. They were threatening to kill me.”

    “Then she didn’t turn,” Crosshair said. “If I know her, she’s biding her time.”

    Senna chewed her lip. “Either way, this is now far more dangerous than we’d anticipated. We need to move.”

    “Senna, we have to find her,” Tech said, desperation rising in his voice.

    She met his gaze, a sadness overtaking her features. “Tech, I understand why you want to do that, and we will try everything in our power, but if Kes has turned, it is critical we get everyone out of here as quickly as possible.”

    “She didn’t turn,” Crosshair repeated quietly, and Senna glanced at him.

    “I hope you’re right.” Pulling her comm from her belt, she pinged Hunter. “We’ve got Tech, but there’s been a bit of a complication.”

    Hunter sighed. “Please tell me we don’t know the newest Inquisitor that I keep hearing troopers talking about. Having one onboard was bad enough.”

    “There’s another one?” Senna whirled on Tech. “Did you see them?”

    Tech’s mouth was a thin line. “It’s Gadge. She’s the other one, or at least an Inquisitor in training so to speak. Turning Kestia was the last step in her initiation.”

    Tech could see fear flicker across Senna’s face for just a moment before she wet her lips. “Gadge and Kes are the Inquisitors. It’s unclear if Kes has actually turned or not, but I’m not sure we can stick around to find out. If she hasn’t, she’ll find us. I’m sure my presence here is very obvious to them. We need to get moving. Now.”

    “Roger that,” Hunter rumbled. “We’ve got the charges in place on this end. We’ll meet you in the hangar.”

    “Understood. See you there.”

    Senna nodded at Echo, who slipped his helmet back on. “Alright, here’s the plan,” she said quietly, taking Tech’s hands in hers. “We’re going to get to the flight deck and get everyone on board the ships. We’ll pretend you’re a prisoner transfer. If, and this is a big if, we see anything along the way that may indicate where Kes is or where her loyalties lie, we’ll try to find her, but if not, we have hundreds of people relying on us to clear a path for them to evacuate, and we cannot fail them. Is that understood?”

    Tech lowered his gaze, and Senna rested her hand on his shoulder, bending so that she was in his eyeline. “I understand what you’re feeling right now, more than most. But we’ve got to do this.”

    “I understand,” he rasped, swallowing hard. “Let’s go.”

    Senna gave him a grim smile before slipping her helmet back on and leading him and Echo back out the door with Crosshair bringing up the rear. They’d only gone a few paces when they heard approaching footsteps. Kriff.Tech glanced at Senna as her spine went rigid.

    It’s her. Senna can sense her.

    Kestia rounded the corner with two stormtroopers flanking her, and Tech’s breath stuck in his throat. He tried to keep his head down, afraid his face would betray him as the queen stalked towards them, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from her.

    “What’s happening here?” Kestia demanded. Tech’s heart sank as he took her in. She was dressed in a black tunic and trousers with a long flowing cloak, similar to Gadge’s. Her hair had been pulled back into a tight bun, and her green eyes glowed in the dim lighting. Her fingers were encased in black leather gloves that were flexing as she took in the scene in front of her.

    “Prisoner transfer,” Echo grunted from beneath the armor, and Kestia’s head snapped to look at him, her eyes narrowing.

    “I gave no such order.”

    “It came from above you,” Echo tried again. Kestia stormed forward, inches from his helmet. Tech tried to keep his breathing calm.

    “And who gave that order…Echo?”

    Senna reached out with the Force, throwing the two stormtroopers with Kestia against the wall before yanking her lightsaber loose and cutting them down. She whirled to face Kestia, who had her red saber activated, charging forward.

    “KES, NO!” Tech shouted, but Kestia continued her forward motion, lunging past Senna just as two stormtroopers rounded the corner. She cut them both down before they had time to register what was happening. Whirling, she faced the four of them, deactivating her saber and raising her hands.

    “I didn’t turn. I just had to save Tech.”

    Senna removed her helmet, grinning from ear to ear. “I thought that Force signature felt a little warm.” She clasped the queen’s arm in greeting, and Tech could sense her relief, which mirrored his own. “Now, let’s get the both of you out of here.”

    “I’ll lead. I’m assuming you have a shuttle in the hangar,” Kestia said.

    “We do. You can provide cover for the prisoner transfer. We have to move quickly. Hunter, Typho, and Wrecker are rigging this place to blow.”

    “Excellent.” Kestia paused, looking over at Tech. “I know where your armor is stashed. We’ll get that too before we get out of here.” His expression must have betrayed him, because she stepped closer to him, cupping his cheeks in her hands. “You thought I turned.”

    “I…I wasn’t sure. It didn’t feel right, not like you, but-“

    She kissed him gently, resting her forehead against his. “I couldn’t let you die.”

    “You should have.”

    “Not when there was another option. And look, it’s all working out,” she teased, the mischievous glint returning back to her eyes. “Now, let’s get out of here.”

    The five of them made their way quickly back through the halls of the star destroyer, marching through the detention level unhindered. They passed by several squadrons of stormtroopers, but Kestia walked with her regal persona, daring anyone to challenge her. No one did. Entering the lift, Kestia pressed a button for a mid-level deck. “Your armor is in storage here. Just a few doors down. Shouldn’t take long to retrieve it.”

    The hall was empty when they stepped off the lift, and Senna turned her head to look at Kestia. “This feels unnervingly simple.”

    “I agree. Let’s move.”

    She led them down the corridor to a coded door. Unlocking it quickly, she ushered them inside. “I’ll carry his helmet and his weapon. I think we can get away with him wearing everything else.” Crosshair released Tech from his binders, and he put his armor on quickly. Tech turned, noting Kestia digging around in a crate until she straightened, grinning from ear to ear. In her hands, she held the hilts of her twin sabers. She unceremoniously unclipped the red Sith blade from her belt and dropped it to the floor. “That’s better,” she grinned. Once Tech was suited up in his armor, Crosshair slapped the cuffs back on. Kestia tucked the helmet under her arm, clipping his guns to her hips next to her sabers. “Ready?”

    They stepped back into the hall and immediately froze. The lights had been turned out, leaving only the dim emergency lighting along the walkway. “Something’s not right,” Echo said quietly.

    “Whatever gave you that idea?” Crosshair muttered as he reached over and undid Tech’s binders. “Give him his blasters and helmet,” he demanded. Kestia quickly complied as Senna drew her saber, taking her helmet off and squinting into the darkness.

    “We’ve got company.”

    Just then, a red lightsaber blade illuminated at the end of the hall near the lift, the blade’s glow reflecting off of a line of stormtroopers. They could hear the clicks of boots behind them as well as another squadron closed in from the rear.

    Tech flipped the visor on his helmet down, counting the heat signatures around them. A dozen in front. A dozen behind.

    Gadge strode forward, waving her saber menacingly. “Oh, come now Kestia. I thought we were past all this. Now, all of these people will suffer because of you and your mistakes.”

    Senna stepped in front of the queen, igniting her saber, the blue glowing sharply in the dark. “You should let us leave, Gadge. I sense deep down, you have your misgivings about the Empire. You love your planet, but this isn’t the way to save it. You know that. I can feel it.”

    Gadge snarled at Senna’s appeal. “A true Jedi? I’d heard rumors that one had been seen on the planet, but now I recognize you from the records, Master Aven.” She crouched low, bringing her saber up. “Killing you will gain me the Inquisitor rank that Kestia is so keen to deny me.”

    Senna sighed, raising her saber. “If that’s how you want to play it.”

    Kestia slipped to the rear of the pack, igniting both of her blades, the white light illuminating the back half of the corridor brilliantly just as the stormtroopers opened fire. Tech whipped around behind her, firing at the troopers as she deflected their fire back towards them. Crosshair took cover on the right side of the hallway, crouching behind a blast door barrier before opening fire at the line behind Gadge. Echo took up a position on the opposite side of the hall, ripping his commlink from his belt.

    “HUNTER, WE’RE PINNED DOWN ON DECK 15 IN THE STORAGE FACILITY. KES IS WITH US, BUT GADGE IS HERE.”

    Hunter swore loudly into the comm. “We’ll be right there. Hang on!”

    Echo clipped the commlink back to his belt and began firing at the line behind Gadge, picking off a few before a volley of plasma sent him ducking once more.

    Gadge charged Senna, and the Jedi easily sidestepped her, deflecting a few blaster bolts back as Gadge whirled back around. Tech risked a glance over his shoulder and could see Senna’s right arm was still stiff from her injury in Keren, but she was holding her own, dropping to her knees as Gadge took a swing at her head from behind and parrying the blow back towards the Inquisitor in training. Gadge let loose an angry roar, spittle flying from her lips as she reached out, throwing a stormtrooper’s body towards Senna. The Jedi leapt into the air, easily avoiding it. She’s wearing her down, but we don’t have time for that.

    Tech focused back on the line of soldiers in front of him and Kestia. It felt as though their numbers were multiplying, more and more pouring around the corner with each passing second. He could see sweat dripping down the side of Kestia’s face as her lightsabers hummed in front of him. Wisps of her hair had come loose from her bun, sticking to the side of her face as she deflected each blast back to its source.

    “CROSSHAIR, A LITTLE HELP?” she shouted, and the sniper whipped his weapon around, taking aim at the opposite line.

    “We have to stop meeting like this,” she teased Tech over her shoulder, and he huffed a dry laugh.

    “Not my ideal plan for a date, but what can I say?” he joked, and she laughed, loud and clear.

    Suddenly, a burst of blasterfire erupted across the line in front of them, and Tech sighed with relief as he heard Wrecker’s loud cackle. The blue bolts from Wrecker’s DC-17m ripped through the line of troopers, and suddenly, Hunter and Typho appeared, firing rapidly at the line as they fell back around the hall. Crosshair turned back to the line coming from the lift, trying to cover Senna as much as he could while Gadge took another violent swing at her. The Inquisitor turned down the hall, screaming with rage as she watched her soldiers be picked apart by Hunter, Wrecker, and Typho.

    “It’s over, Gadge,” Senna tried again. “Give up. Come with us.”

    For a moment, Tech believed she might. But then her eyes fell on Echo and she grinned wickedly. Reaching out a hand, she lifted Echo off of his feet, and Tech watched in horror as his brother clawed at his throat.

    “You all surrender to me immediately, or the clone dies,” Gadge hissed. “I will have my victory and my title.”

    Kestia lunged forward. “Let him go! I’ll do as you say!” but Senna raised her hand, silencing the queen.

    “Is this really what you want to do Gadge?” she asked quietly, and Tech was amazed at her calm as Echo choked in the air behind her.

    The young woman silently sneered at Senna, who bowed her head, closing her eyes. Tech watched as she lowered her blade, thinking she was going to surrender, but quicker than lightning, Senna struck. Throwing her hand forward, she grabbed Gadge with the Force, yanking her forward and impaling her on her ice blue blade. Gadge’s lightsaber clattered to the floor and Echo dropped, gasping on his hands and knees before slumping onto his side.

    “I’m sorry,” Senna whispered, deactivating her lightsaber. Gadge slumped to the floor, clutching the hole in her abdomen and gasping. She spat on the floor at Senna’s feet. “You won’t survive this, Jedi scum.”

    “Perhaps not, but I’ll have lived for a better purpose than you have,” Senna said quietly.

    Gadge snarled one more time before passing out from the pain, her head thunking against the durasteel.

    Tech and Senna immediately moved to Echo’s side, Senna ripping off his helmet and digging for a pulse under his blacks. “It’s there,” she breathed. “He’s just unconscious.” Whipping around, she looked for Wrecker. “Wreck, can you carry him back to the ship?”

    The large clone crouched down, handing Tech the detonator he was carrying as he slipped Echo’s helmet back on and scooped up his limp form. Tech slipped the detonator into his belt. Better keep track of that.

    Senna turned to address Typho next. “Have Iden start the attack runs. If they can take out another star destroyer, that’ll be a bigger hole to get through. This one will be handled, so have them engage the one east of us. I think I recall that one not being equipped with TIEs.”

    “You’re right,” Typho confirmed, ripping his commlink out and barking out orders to Iden.

    Hunter gripped Senna’s arm to draw her attention. “Are you alright?”

    The Jedi met his gaze and Tech saw sadness in her eyes. “She was young. It’s a shame when you can’t save someone like that, but she made her choice. I’ll be alright.” Senna reached out and squeezed Hunter’s shoulder. “You, Typho, and Wrecker take Echo and get to the Marauder. We’ll follow you out on the attack shuttle. We’ll still get caught in the tractor beam, but once we detonate, we should be able to jump to hyperspace immediately. Make sure Typho distributes the coordinates to the base on the way.” Hunter gave her arm one final squeeze.

    “See you there.” With that, he replaced his helmet, tapping Typho on the shoulder as they raced towards the lift. Senna, Tech, Crosshair, and Kestia were close behind them. Suddenly, a blaster bolt whipped by Tech’s head and he whirled as another squadron of stormtroopers emerged at the far end of the hall.

    “GO! We’ll cover you!” Senna called over her shoulder, and Tech heard Hunter try to protest, but Senna shot him a glare. “We’ll be right behind you! Now GO!” Hunter heaved a deep sigh before the lift doors hissed shut behind them.

    “There’s another lift to the right!” Kestia shouted.

    “Let’s go!” Senna shouted, and the four of them took off down the hall, the two Force wielders deflecting the blaster fire from their pursuers as Crosshair punched the lift doors open. The four of them ducked inside, and Tech pressed the button for the hangar level.

    “Quite the day we’re having,” Kestia grinned.

    “Understatement of the century,” Senna joked back.

    “Can we tune up the comedy act later?” Crosshair muttered. “We still have to get off this thing.”

    The four of them exited the lift and started jogging towards the hangar just as they heard Iden’s voice over the commlink. “HUNTER? TYPHO? DO YOU COPY?” Senna took her commlink from her belt to listen in as they ran. “We’ve taken out the tractor beam system on the destroyer to your east! We’ve got a hole!”

    “Well done!” Typho cheered. “Get our people out of here!”

    “Roger that!” The four of them heaved a mutual sigh of relief, Senna releasing a nervous laugh.

    “Cap, you on the Marauder yet?” Senna asked.

    “Yes, taking off now and-“

    “Gregar, we can’t get loose. It was just the one dome on the underside, correct?” Iden’s voice was panicked.

    Tech and Senna shared a look as she raised the commlink to speak into it. “That’s correct Iden. You’re sure you destroyed it?”

    “Positive, saw it explode myself! But they’ve got us held still. We’re all stuck and being drawn to different destroyers.”

    “That’s impossible.” Senna turned to Tech. “Isn’t it?”

    Tech paused, looking around before jogging to a terminal just inside the hangar bay entrance. Typing quickly, he worked his way through the destroyer’s systems as Senna, Crosshair, and Kestia came to read over his shoulder. When he found what he was looking for, he swore quietly.

    “It’s not just a single tractor beam. They’ve got some sort of network set up. If one ship goes down, the others enhance their beams and take over. There’s likely a relay node contained within the ship that can’t be accessed from the exterior.”

    Senna’s eyes widened. “Alright, so if it’s a relay, if we just take out the signal source, then that kills the entire network, correct?”

    Tech nodded. “Yes, but it would have to be on the command vessel, which we are not currently standing on. That ship is just to our west, and we are not currently engaging it. And to my knowledge, we do not have the firepower to destroy a ship of that size.”

    “They’ll be torn to bits,” Crosshair whispered, and Tech saw his shoulders slump just as an explosion rocked the ship.

    “Are they firing on us now?” Senna yelled into the comm.

    “Your ship is one of the ones pulling them in. You need to get clear and blow it!” Typho shouted as smoke began pouring into the hangar.

    “But that won’t do any good!” Kes said. “They’ll just bounce in additional tractor beam signals. We have to take out the command ship!” She looked wildly between the others, trying to find some sort of hope, but found none. Senna chewed her lip quietly, her mind racing. Tech reached out to Kestia, taking her in his arms.

    “I’m sorry, Kes. We tried. I’m so sorry, but I think this might be it.”

    He felt her hug him back, burying her face in his neck before pulling his face down to kiss him hard.

    “No. It won’t.”

    Kestia looked over Tech’s shoulder directly into Senna’s eyes. Something passed between them and Senna’s face softened. A moment too late, Tech realized what was happening as Kestia raised her hands and with the Force, shoved him, Senna, and Crosshair backwards across the deck towards the shuttle.

    “KESTIA! NO!” Tech was screaming, but he couldn’t hear his own voice. He felt Senna’s hand wrap around his arm, dragging him backwards towards the ramp of the shuttle. Kestia was looking at Crosshair, and Tech felt the sniper’s hand clamp down on his other arm. He struggled as hard as he could, the muscles under his armor straining against his captors as Kestia finally met his eyes.

    I’m so sorry, my love. I have to do this. Carry on this fight for me. This is as it should be Tech.

    Her voice echoed in his brain, but still he fought as he watched her pull the detonator out of her pocket, and his stomach sank into his toes. She stole it from my belt.

    I’ll take the command ship down. A drop in the bucket, I know, but it’ll save you and the others, and so, it will be worth it. It will save those that fought for Naboo. It’s the least I can do.

    “PLEASE NO! KES NO!” Tears were streaming freely out of his eyes, slipping past his goggles and down his cheeks as another explosion rocked the flight deck. “LET ME GO! WE HAVE TO SAVE HER!” he pleaded, but Senna and Crosshair held him tighter.

    “You’ve got to let her go, Tech. It’s the only way everyone survives,” Senna said quietly, her voice cracking.

    “LET IT BE ME!” he shouted. “LET ME DO IT! IT SHOULD BE ME!”

    No, my love. This is my job. It’s what I was elected to do. To protect my people and the ones I love.

    Kestia raised her hands again and closed her eyes, sending them flying backwards once more until they slid onto the ramp of the shuttle.

    Forgive me, Tech.

    “I love you,” he whispered. “Please, no.” His voice was hoarse from the smoke and from shouting as she met his eyes one last time.

    I love you too.

    He felt her warmth that she pushed towards him through the Force, just as she had in the cave so long ago. Turquoise like the sea. Like stepping into the sun. Tranquil. A calm swept over him, and he allowed himself to be pulled up the ramp of the shuttle, his eyes never leaving the figure at the far end of the hangar. He could see her shudder before she turned on her heel, sprinting back out of the hangar and turning towards the lift towards the bridge of the star destroyer.

    Tech could hear Senna and Crosshair shouting as they placed him in a jump seat inside the shuttle. Crosshair raced to the cockpit to begin the pre-flight sequence. Senna was on her comm, shouting at the others.

    “As soon as the tractor beams disengage, be ready to make the jump out of here. I’m providing coordinates now.”

    “Senna, what’s happening?” Gregar.

    The Jedi wet her lips. “Kes is going to blow the command ship. She’ll crash this ship into it, and we’ll be able to escape.”

    “SHE’S GOING TO DO WHAT?”

    “Gregar, I’m sorry. It was her decision.”

    Tears streamed down Senna’s face as the yelling continued in her comm before Hunter’s voice finally came over the channel. “Understood Senna. We’ll be ready.” Gregar’s voice was in the background, but they couldn’t make out his words, but the anguish didn’t need translation.

    Senna placed the commlink back in her belt and knelt in front of Tech, grasping his hands as Crosshair began piloting the shuttle out of the hangar.

    “We can’t leave her,” he whispered, his hands trembling as tears poured from his eyes.

    “She’d be upset if you went back for her,” Senna replied, her voice trembling. “If she doesn’t do this, all of the soldiers that fought for her and this planet will be captured, very publicly tried, and likely executed for treason. She’s saving hundreds of lives by doing this. It’s what she wants most in the galaxy. To do this for her people.”

    Tech’s voice broke and he sobbed. “But she’s what I want most.” He collapsed into Senna’s arms, falling to his knees in front of her. His fingers gripped her tunic hard enough to where he was certain his knuckles would rupture from the force, but he couldn’t be bothered to care. Senna cradled the back of his head, rocking him back and forth gently and whispering to him as he wept, violent sobs wracking his entire body.

    “I know, Tech. I know. I’ve got you. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

    Crosshair looked back at the two of them, and Senna met his gaze with bloodshot eyes and tearstained cheeks. He nodded at her and she returned the gesture as she held his brother tightly.

    ---

    Kestia choked back her tears as she raced through the halls of the star destroyer. Alarms were sounding everywhere, and smoke from the various fires that had broken out burned her lungs. She hardly saw any of the crew on the ship, and for that at least, she was grateful. She stepped into the lift, slamming her fist against the level she needed and the doors closed. For a moment, everything was quiet and calm.

    What an odd moment to have before my death, she thought. A sort of peace had overtaken her. I’m not afraid to die. But I’m afraid for Tech. The thought wrenched a sob from her as she thought back to the moments before.

    Take care of him, Master Aven. I have something I must do. Don’t let him stop me.

    Senna’s eyes had widened in understanding, but she hadn’t argued. The Jedi Master had understood time was short, and while Kes knew she had spent several seconds trying to come up with alternatives, ultimately, she had come to the same conclusion.

    I will, Kestia. May the Force be with you. Always.

    The push had taken so much, her heart ripping apart in her chest at the expression on Tech’s face as the realization hit him. He’d reached out for her so hard, and she’d felt him in the Force.

    Crosshair, thank you for your trust and your forgiveness. I know what I must do. Take care of your brother. He cares for you more than you’ll ever understand. You’re a good man, no matter what you think.

    The helmet had snapped around to stare at her, but she knew she’d found his eyes behind the visor. He reached back, as much as he knew how to.

    It’s been an honor, Kes.

    It was more than she could have hoped for from him, and the thought brought a small smile to her face. Glancing up, she saw the lift was reaching her destination. The place I’ll draw my last breaths. I’d always hoped it would have been in Lake Country near where Gregar and I used to swim, but we can’t always get what we want. Taking a deep inhale, she calmly unhooked her lightsaber hilts from her belt. I’ve got to clear the bridge and get this thing piloted towards the command ship. That’s the only way everyone will be able to get out of here.

    The lift doors opened and Kestia stepped onto the bridge. A dozen officers and stormtroopers turned and looked at her as she ignited her twin blades and charged.

    She easily cut through the two guards at the door before moving to the officers standing on the main walkway. Those at the command consoles were scrambling for their weapons, and the room erupted in blaster fire as Kestia drove her blades through the next few people in her path. A bolt clipped her shoulder and she swore as she swung to stare down the source of the blaster fire. She sent the next round of plasma back at the man, and he slumped over his console. Before she could turn back around, a second blaster bolt hit her square in her left shoulder blade, and the lightsaber in that hand clattered to the ground as she roared, swinging back around to face a row of three soldiers behind her. She leapt off the walkway, gritting her teeth against the pain as she reached out with her left hand to push one of them backwards, sending the officer to the floor. Whirling, she deflected another round of fire at one of the remaining two before driving her saber through the second. She whirled on the prone Imperial, who had drawn her blaster, and before she could squeeze the trigger, Kestia was on her, slicing her arm at the elbow and kicking her in the jaw hard enough to send her head slamming into the hard, cold floor.

    Leaping back onto the main walkway, Kestia storming towards the pilot station. Two officers cowered there, and she reached out through the Force as Senna had taught her, closing her eyes as she worked her way into their minds.

    “You will pilot this ship on a collision course with the command ship.”

    She held her breath, praying that it worked. She’d never tried to manipulate minds before, but she’d seen it done by her previous master. Please work. I can’t do this by myself.

    “We will pilot this ship on a collision course with the command ship.”

    Kestia exhaled with relief as they turned back towards their stations. The star destroyer began moving, turning so that its nose was aimed directly at the ship controlling all of them. Kestia was reminded of the Battle of Naboo, where young Anakin Skywalker had taken out the Trade Federation command ship. History repeats itself, she thought, allowing a small smile to slip across her face.

    She felt the cold seep into her chest before the lift doors opened. How…

    Gadge limped onto the bridge, a blaster shakily aimed at the queen. “I won’t let you do this,” she wheezed. “I won’t let you ruin this.”

    Something in Kestia’s heart softened at the fear in Gadge’s eyes. She’s so frightened. “Gadge, this has to stop. The Empire isn’t-“

    The blaster bolt caught her in her stomach, and Kestia fell to her knees, clutching at the smoldering hole in her abdomen. Gadge limped forward, her jaw set determinedly. “I will stop this. Naboo will rise in the Empire.”

    “To what end, Gadge? To be the least subjugated of all the planets?” Kestia gasped. “To be the favored among the imprisoned? Is that truly worth all of this?”

    “Lord Vader swore-“

    “They swear many things. They swore we’d be left to live in peace when they first rose to power, that planets would maintain their sovereignty uninterrupted, but look out the window, Gadge. What do you see? Your homeworld burning.”

    The young woman’s eyes stared out the viewport, and Kestia saw something within her falter. Smoke had been rising from Keren and the other massacred cities for days, and even at this orbit, you could see the black plumes rising into the atmosphere. Kestia cast a glance over her shoulder and saw the command ship looming. Just a few more minutes.

    “It’s because they tried to stop us. We have to maintain control, or else there will be chaos,” Gadge attempted to argue, but Kestia could see her stumbling through her reasoning. Her Force signature was wavering like the air around flame, unsteady, unsure. Kestia continued to press.

    “I would argue chaos is massacring an entire city to maintain order, even with your own forces inside. Is that truly what you believe is right, Gadge? That everyone must comply or be murdered?”

    “That’s not-“

    “It is.”

    The blaster dropped to Gadge’s side and her fingers dug into the lightsaber wound on her stomach. Kestia felt faint from the pain radiating through her body, and she allowed herself to slump forward slightly, slipping her fingers into her pocket. Her thumb grazed the detonator as she gripped it before straightening. Slowly, she pushed herself to a standing position. Gadge whipped around, observing her as the conflict within her played out on her features. Gone was the Inquisitor to be that she had battled only moments before, replaced by a terrified young woman, grasping at her purpose, floundering.

    Kestia took a hesitant step towards her, holding out her hand towards her. “Help me do a little good, Gadge. For our people.”

    Gadge glanced at Kestia’s outstretched palm. “There’ll be more. This will change nothing.”

    “Not for nothing. Those that fought for Naboo will be safe. Another young woman that shares our gifts won’t be captured by those that would try to turn her from the light. Those that stand against the Empire will see it is not untouchable, that they can win. It will give people hope.”

    The young woman bowed her head, staring at her boots. Kestia was holding her breath, hoping against hope that her words were ringing true. Finally, Gadge raised her gaze to meet Kestia’s, her jaw set once more but this time, her eyes glossy with tears.

    “For Naboo…m’lady.”

    Gadge’s glove slid into Kestia’s hand and the two women turned and watched as the command ship loomed closer, only tens of meters separating the two ships.

    “For Naboo,” Kestia whispered as she pulled the detonator from her pocket and pressed the button. She closed her eyes and released the last breath she’d ever take.

    Gregar. Tech. The blue of the lakes. The warmth of his eyes behind his goggles.

    For Naboo.

    ---

    The captain’s legs gave out from underneath him as he heard his friend’s voice in his mind, calling out his name.

    “Kes,” he rasped. He felt strong arms wrap around him, and suddenly, Hunter was there next to him, keeping him from collapsing to the floor. The two of them sank to the deck of the Marauder together. Gregar’s gaze never left the smoldering wreckage of the entwined star destroyers. “I failed,” he whispered. “I failed again.”

    Hunter gripped his chin, turning Gregar’s face towards his. “No, you didn’t. She succeeded. Kes won.”

    Wrecker quietly made the jump to hyperspace.

    ---

    The explosion illuminated the cockpit of the shuttle, casting long shadows from the three figures that stood watching. Without a word, Crosshair slipped into the pilot’s chair, gripping the controls and turning them away from the deadened Imperial fleet. He could hear whoops and cheers over the commlink channel, contrasting sharply with the grief that filled the inside of their shuttle. As he watched, each of the ships around them blinked into hyperspace. Reaching over, he punched in the coordinates to Yavin-4, and in the next second, they too made the leap, stars streaking by the viewport.

    Crosshair turned in his seat towards his brother and Senna. Tech had slumped to the floor, his back against the hull of the ship, his long legs bent as he took his goggles off, dangling them from his hand. He just stared at the floor as tears silently fell, plopping onto the durasteel between his knees. Crosshair looked at Senna. Her eyes were red and puffy, and he could see the same desperation to help reflected back at him in her gaze. Quietly, he slipped onto the floor between Tech’s knees and gripped the back of his brother’s head, pulling their foreheads together. After a few seconds, Tech silently reached up and gripped his brother’s armor pulling him into an embrace before he started silently shaking with sobs. Crosshair reached back and felt Senna slip her hand into his as she knelt on the floor next to them, sliding into a sitting position next to Tech and wrapping her arm around his waist.

    The three of them silently mourned, holding each other in the silent cockpit of the Imperial shuttle as it carried them away from Naboo.

    A/N: Senna Aven is my OC, first introduced in "In Command," so if you'd like to learn more about her, I'd recommend checking that fic out! :)

    Tag List: @imalovernotahater @canesjedi31

    #the bad batch #karrde writes#star wars#fanfiction#guarded#tbb#crosshair#romance#slow burn#tech#echo#wrecker#Hunter #crosshar x oc #crosshair x original female character #tech x oc #tech x original female character #echo x sabe
    View Full
  • hyperesthesias
    07.12.2021 - 1 day ago

    Valor & Valediction

    𝙍ating: Mature [age of consent is required].

    𝓒ontent: Original female droid character. ; Implications of sex slavery. ; Action violence. ; Descriptions of injuries. ; Consensual sex. ; Chipped!Crosshair. ; Imperial mind control. ; Imperial unlawful detainment. ; Rampart is a douchebag. ; pregnancy mention if you squint?

    𝓢ummary: Before the start of the Clone Wars, Crosshair falls in love with a woman named Ada - a pleasure droid, whom he frees from slavery. Parted by tragedy when Ada is KIA, Crosshair is stunned to see Rampart revive her as part of a new, secret Imperial project. Now trapped on Kamino, Ada must find a way to both save herself and the man she loves from bondage and death. *This fic deviates from canon after episode 8.

    𝓦ord count: 19.6k

    𝓜ixtape: x ; x ; x ; x.

    𝓐uthor’s note: This is a companion piece to A Single Lock of Silver. You do not need to read one to understand the other, however I feel they only enrich each other! Please enjoy, and like, reblog, and comment your thoughts! 🖤

    𝓣agged: @2clones-1kamino ; @lost-in-fandom-land ; @nova-de-sketch ; @imalovernotahater ; @quarra.

    AO3 link.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It had been a cold night, one filled with rain and thunder, and with every clap Ada’s body would shiver and rattle. Unable to sleep, even in her perpetual darkness, she clung to the pillow on the bed she shared with the inn’s unusual guest. She didn’t like being unable to sleep; sleep was a welcomed thing, though she never got much of it. Between the duties her master gave her to service the guests who wanted to take advantage of her unique pleasurable programming, and the cold draughts near her charging port in the kitchen, she stole minutes and hours whenever she could. But the last few weeks, since the injured clone’s arrival, since he’d offered to sleep in the chair, for her to take the bed, she’d felt more rested than she’d ever been. That was, when there weren’t winds whipping at the windows, and cracks of thunder that parted the skies. On nights like those, all she could do was think. And remember.

    “Are you alright?” he asked.

    He was awake, too, then. “How did you know?” she called back, shifting in the blankets, searching sightlessly for his roughened voice.

    “I can see you,” he said plainly. “You look upset.”

    Her brow scrunched and she buried deeper into the covers. “You can see me? Isn’t it pitch dark in here? Not that I would know,” she almost gave a laugh at her condition.

    “Yes,” he answered. But he felt compelled to say more. He’d spent three weeks in closed quarters with Ada, the longest he’d spent so close to anyone other than his brothers “I have...enhanced eyesight.” She was a droid -- a mirage when he first woke from his sedated stupor when he’d been shot out of his perch and shattered his shoulder -- but she was much more than that he came to realize. She had compassion, tenderness. He only knew it because such things were foreign to him, and the presence of them in her were holiness in an unholy place.

    “Really?” she perked -- the thought enticed her: What could he see? How far, how much? Could he see the craters of moons far up above them? Or species that swam in obscurity beneath dark waters? “Do all clones have eyesight like yours?”

    “No. Just me.”

    Ada grew quiet again, thinking. She had never met a clone before, though she heard their voices from a distance -- they all sounded the same if one were to hear them though not listen. But she and her sisters had been similar: all built in equal fashion, all constructed for the same purpose, but each awakening with a mind incomparable to each others’. She understood the difference among assimilation -- though it was hard to trust that which she could not see, and patrons often valued her lack in addition to what they could take from her. “Are you...really a clone?” she asked, wincing -- though she did not know it -- at the thought of his ire should she offend him without intent.

    “I am.” She cowered from him. Fierce as he may have been, no one innocent had ever cowered from his shadow. The sight troubled him deeply. “My brothers and I are different. We were genetically enhanced. We aren't the same as other clones.”

    She smiled now, her cheeks brightening at the thought. “Reminds me of my sisters. That’s...what I was thinking about.”

    “Where are they?”

    “Gone.” It was the only word that needed saying.

    And he needed no other to understand it. He nodded with a hum.

    Ada shivered and buried herself even deeper in the covers that were piled on top of her. In the years he’d owned her, her master never considered that she could perceive -- touch and temperature, warmth and chill. The use of Crosshair’s bed was an invaluable gift to her, one she would miss deeply when he left. She would miss him when he left, too.

    “You cold?”

    She tried not to let her voice shudder with her chassis, but it was impossible. “Yes.”

    “Move over,” he said.

    “What?”

    “Neither one of us are going to get sleep if we’re cold. Move over,” he said again. His bristled nature stilled itself as he approached the bed, and still, she jumped, even when he sat gingerly on the edge.

    “Oh.” She moved a few inches to the side to make him room and stayed entirely still while he lay down. She could feel his weight adjust on the bed -- he felt lighter than she imagined, but he still must have been very tall. He did not reach out for her, he did not grope to rip the blankets from her. He stayed immovable on his side, lying quiet in the dark. So quiet was he that she worried he held his breath. But a small, soft brush of air wafted against her face in a smooth respire and she wondered what it would be like to breathe.

    “Were they all like you? Your sisters?”

    The quietness suddenly seemed too loud and Ada pressed the side of her head into the pillow, as if she could hide from it. “Yes. We were all...different. It’s why we were discontinued. Something about a ‘catastrophic neural network evolution’ in our line.”

    “You can think.”

    She nodded. “Yes. I can think. Feel. Understand. Understand...a lot.”

    Crosshair grinned with a chuckle and his arms crossed over his chest to keep himself warm. “My brother would be jealous. His enhancement is his mind, intelligence.”

    “Sounds like a pain in the ass,” she laughed.

    “So you’ve met him,” he smirked. “I don’t envy him. I’d take my eyesight over whatever they did to his head.”

    “Can you really see me? Even in the dark?”

    His eyes focused on her, glowing in the night by the light of the storm outside. She was beautiful, a vision he could attest to nothing else other than a miracle. “I can…” He could see the soft dips of her cheeks and the sharp edges of her chin, the way her brow arched over her darkened eyes; her hair, or lekku, as it rained down the curve of her shoulders. Had she always been so beautiful? How could he see and yet not notice?

    “Can I...feel your face?” she asked, an awkward stringent in her voice; she cringed.

    “What?”

    “I don’t know what you look like. But I’d like to see you...with my hands.”

    Cross swallowed, a discomfort flushing his face, the hardened shell of him resisting the desire to be touched by tenderness. But the vacuum inside him gave way and he relented to it. “Yes.”

    Her hands reached out to him, finding their landing on his nose. She smiled. He was sharp and angular, but not hollow. There was warmth in him still. His brow had lines that were just forming, his skin was leathered and weathered with wear; his lips chapped and broken from being bitten. She could feel the strain that was permanently etched into him, like stone. It made her sad.

    “What color are your eyes?” Her fingers grazed over his brows and lashes.

    “Brown,” he whispered.

    Her hand found his ear and by it the thick feeling of his hair; whether he knew it or not, he nestled into her touch, and her thumb rubbed against his scalp. “And your hair?”

    “It’s black,” he scoffed lazily. “It has grey coming in.”

    “Grey?” she laughed. “You don’t sound that old.”

    “I’m not,” he tried not to laugh with her, but resisting her was impossible. “I got grey early. I don’t know why.”

    “How old are you?”

    “Ten.”

    Her hand stopped and fell from his face -- he ached for it to return --, the brutality of his answer cut her deep; and in a moment they both understood, wordlessly, the obscurity of creation and worth. “Ten?” It was hard not to sound as if she were mourning. “I didn’t know clones aged so fast.”

    “We don’t live long. If we’re not killed in the field, we’re useless by the time we’re twenty.”

    Her lips pursed in anger and her brow stiffened. “An expiration date ensures perpetual product. Always ready to replace worn out renditions.” Something bit at the center of her -- something about value and incinerators, something about her sisters.

    “How old are you?”

    “Twelve. I think. I’m sure I’ve got a serial on me somewhere.” She tried to smile, to make light of it. But at the moment, she could not perceive light, and sometimes it was hard to believe it still existed outside her broken eyesight.

    A sardonic breath escaped him. “Never thought to check mine.”

    She stopped, stunned. “You...have a serial number?”

    “All clones do.” The look of shock on her silicone face was palpable, and he felt a semblance of guilt that he’d made her feel bad. “It’s...in the wrist,” he said and lifted his arm to show her, but was reminded of her blindness.

    Tenderly, he reached out his hand and took hers that lay on the pillow. She jumped, lightly, but did not fight him. He placed her small fingers on his inner wrist. “It has our number, our rank.”

    His arm was deft and muscular, rough, just like his face. If her fingers lingered long enough, she could feel his heartbeat just beneath his skin. She nestled her face closer to him, by merely an inch, and rubbed his forearm before she ran her fingers to his palm, feeling every callous as her hand enclosed around his own.

    His eyes closed and he swallowed again, something inside him breaking at the feeling of such benevolence -- a droplet of water to sate his parched tongue, but not enough to quench him. But that he had even a droplet in his life was, like her, a miracle. And he nestled closer to her, still.

    “I guess we’re not so different,” she breathed.

    His other hand made its way to her along the blankets in the hopes she could feel his approach. She did not pull away as his fingers brushed up against her arm and feathered across her silicone hair, caressing each curve of her with innocence. “I wish, for both our sakes’, we were.”

    “Fascinating, isn’t it?” Rampart mused. His hands clasped behind his back, he observed the muddied chassis of the recovered droid from the operating theatre on Kamino. It had been designed to hold clones, not droids, but uncertain times called for modified measures.

    Crosshair stood beside him, staring lifeless past the glass and towards the body of his lover as she was pulled apart and disassembled. Something in him broke -- and it was not the glass wall that parted him from himself.

    “And to think the very best part of its design was an utter accident,” Rampart huffed and glanced to the clone to his right. The Commander was usually quiet, preferring to observe rather than speak -- a quality Rampart appreciated in the clones as a whole -- but something proved different as he watched the other remain entirely still. He could barely see him breathe. It was haunting, this picture of a ghost beside him, and he felt a chill waft up his arm and the side of his face.

    “I know this droid,” Crosshair said at last. It was behind bitten teeth, his tongue scraped his incisors, and his throat closed in on itself.

    Rampart knitted his brows in disbelieving amusement. “This droid? You must be mistaken. There were only six hundred of them made, most of them incinerated before the start of the Clone War. Its function...not something you would have encountered, I’m sure.”

    “Ada,” he whispered. “Her name is Ada.”

    Stunned, the Admiral turned to the other -- a prying curiosity now turning the wheels of his mind. The clone was not mistaken: the droid had been identified as an ADA -- Advanced Delectation Automaton -- number 565.

    “I met her on Corellia. Six months before the war.” He’d buried her there, too.

    Rampart pursed and turned to the visage of the droid again, eyeing the clone. “How can you be sure this is the same one?”

    “The dents on her thighs,” he breathed, “I know who gave them to her.”

    His brow arched and the taste of a new opportunity gilded his mouth. “And what of him?”

    Crosshair’s visor turned towards the Admiral -- he had to pry his sight away from Ada’s corpse -- and when his eyes met his superior’s, his words fell from his mouth like a stone: “I killed him.”

    Rampart had known clones to show devotion to each other, to those who grew with them in batches, to the Republic -- but he was unaware of the minutiae of their loyalties outside of their given structures. If they had any. To hear this particular clone -- so stoic, so hardened -- give an account of revenge on behalf of another piqued him. His eyes narrowed and he attempted to read the other beneath the plastoid that encased him, and he found conflict written on him plainly. “You cared for this droid,” he concluded.

    Crosshair said nothing.

    Rampart did not know the clones to be subject to the frivolity of extracurricular feelings. His focus on them, as a whole, had been their expense, their numbers, their disuse. But in the Commander’s unique affinity for his new asset, Rampart believed him to be more advantageous than he originally thought. “Would it recognize you? If it wakes?”

    The word ‘it’ panged the centre of him, and Crosshair’s fists clenched. He watched as a medical droid cut through the metal of Ada’s leg and his head sharply turned away. “I...don’t know,” he swallowed the rock that’d pushed its way to the top of his throat and he gathered a shuddered breath as he shook his head. “Yes, she would. She travelled with me. With us.”

    “Your old squad?” Surprise brought his hand to his chin. He’d read nothing of the inclination in any Republic or Kaminoan reports.

    “Yes,” Crosshair managed to keep himself steady as his stomach flipped inside him. “We were...lovers,” the word spilled from him in uneasiness to admit such an intimate thing to a man who so far outranked him. He couldn’t face the Admiral, but glanced towards him in an effort to look anywhere other than Ada’s autopsy table.

    There was no sense in destroying the droid completely -- he could download every memory and file it possessed, but to have a live, functioning ADA in his hand to study and watch would have been far more invaluable than an empty chassis. He could see the weaknesses in how it learned, the strengths in how it bonded and interacted with every subject it encountered. And to have a subject with which it could communicate readily and easily was fortuitous. “Excellent,” he said at last.

    Crosshair furrowed and turned to his superior -- a cold flush passing his features. An unsavory word that contradicted his present view and circumstance.

    Rampart now had a datapad in his hand and he perused through files and memos that pertained to the droid behind the theatre. “After they’ve finished their exploratory procedure, the droid will be relinquished into my oversight.”

    “She’s not a battle droid.”

    “Indeed. Which is why it will stay on Kamino. It will be under your command. And as of yet, you are the only other here to know of this project.”

    Cross’ face tensed and his heart palpitated inside him. “'Project'?”

    Rampart handed the datapad to the Commander. “Project: Darktrooper. This is just the beginning. Once we know how its mind operates, how it thinks, how it reasons -- we will be able to apply that knowledge towards a further step in the Empire’s safety.”

    Crosshair stared at the file. The proposal: to create a legion of droids that could deduce, rationalize...think. A clone army at half the cost. Fear gripped his flesh and he clutched the datapad with an unexpressed growl -- a pain twinged in his temple.

    “See to it that the droid is apprised of the situation, have it report to me when it’s fully awake.”

    The rock in his throat kept his mouth closed, but the pain in his head parted his teeth: “Yes, sir.”

    “Come with me,” Crosshair pleaded in a whispered voice.

    Ada turned from him. Her eyes now illuminated a soft yellow-white since his brothers had returned to the inn, three days thence, since the one named Tech had repaired her eyesight. She could see her lover now -- handsome and stricken with war, she loved him all the same. But now she could not bear to face him. “I...can’t.”

    She was pressed against his chest as he held her in a desperate embrace. His hand caressed the shape of her head, his fingers trailing down the sides of her plastoid hair. “I won’t leave without you free.”

    She shook her head. “Even if I’m free, I’ll be hunted.” She returned his gaze. “There is no freedom for me.”

    She spoke like a deserter. And he wondered if the Regs -- his brothers, begrudgingly, still -- who had betrayed the Republic in an attempt to flee had really committed an act of betrayal at all. Or had they all been like Ada? Constructed and used, enslaved. But Ada was different. And there was no one else like her. Not to him.

    The back of his fingers stroked her face and he drew a breath as he looked on her more intently. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

    She smiled and rested her head on his chest, nuzzling into the cold plastoid of his breastplate. She hid the liquid in her eyes -- a benefit to those with either darker or more enthusiastic passions, though now instinctive to her emotions. She was afraid, but her trust in her lover had only grown in the months they’d spent together, inseparable. “I believe you.”

    Cross relinquished her from his arms, and reached for her hand instead. “Don’t bother packing. Items are replaceable. You aren’t.” He pulled her close behind him and led her out of the room which they had shared for the duration of his stay. He would be glad to leave this prison behind, but he did not relish returning to the one on Kamino. Though perhaps it would be different, with Ada there with him. He had not thought on how to hide her from the Kaminoans -- what excuses to give. But he was not a stranger to lying, and she was connected to him now; he would not leave his own behind.

    They travelled through the inn, towards the front exit where his brothers were waiting and recollecting themselves from their own brief stay. He kept them both to the shadows, hoping to get past the owner before he even noticed Ada gone.

    But a figure passed the peripheral of his sight, and before the shadow even spoke, Cross let go of Ada’s hand and unholstered his weapon -- aiming it at her owner’s head.

    In the brief moment his hand had let her go, the owner had his own arm locked around Ada’s neck -- her body a shield for the rest of him. He had a blaster of his own pointed wildly at Crosshair, his untrained hand sloppy in its shaking.

    “I knew you’d be trouble, clone,” the owner spat.

    Crosshair said nothing, did nothing. He glanced to Ada who struggled against the meaty arm around her neck -- she whimpered and yowled at the pain that constricted around her throat.

    “Shut up!” he spat in her ear.

    Cross could see the shadows of his brothers gather in at the sound of the conflict, he heard them draw their weapons at his own cue.

    “You can walk out of here alive,” Crosshair said, cool and even, “if you hand her over.”

    “Clones don’t own property --” the owner scoffed, “You are property! No, no -- this one’s mine. I’ve got too much at stake -- she makes me double than without her. You’re gonna have to pry her from my cold, dead, hands.”

    “Is that a request?” Crosshair’s finger ached against the side of the trigger.

    “Cross…” Hunter’s voice beside him warned -- that he might not use deadly force should it not be needed.

    But Crosshair made a promise. And he would free Ada if bloodshed was what it took.

    The owner laughed, baffled. He yanked on Ada’s throat as she tugged from him, trying to wriggle her way out of the grasp around her. “You got some nerve. I got all the bargaining chips, here -- I’ve got the droid. So what you’re gonna do is leave -- without her! Got it?”

    “Let her go -- last warning.”

    The owner began to back away slowly, the weapon still shaking in his hand; he moved his grip and wrapped his arm around Ada’s waist instead, pulling her feet off the ground as he began to take her with him.

    “Don’t do it,” Crosshair said once more, finger now on the trigger.

    He could see the owner’s finger itch and twitch against the weapon, his eyes darted from each of his brothers, beads of sweat gathered on his brow; Ada thrashed against him screaming to be let go --

    The owner lifted the weapon --

    But Crosshair lifted his first.

    A bolt flew past Ada’s face and landed center in the man’s head. Blood spattered against Ada and she tumbled to the floor in a heap with her former master. She shook, stunned -- unable to process the last second of what had happened. Her hand quivered to her cheek and she wiped from it red blotches of brain matter.

    Crosshair holstered his weapon and ran to Ada’s side, kneeling with her as he cleaned her face, wiping the gore from her hair and cheek. “It’s okay. You’re okay. It’s over.”

    She clung to him, gripping her hands to his pauldrons as her head collapsed into the crook of his shoulder and chest. She let out a muffled sob, and tried to quell her shaking.

    “It’s over. You’re free…”

    Crosshair sat in the corner of the medbay, datapad in hand. A steady beeping filled the otherwise silent air from the machines that monitored Ada’s rebooting process. It had been three laborious days of waiting and rebuilding, but the most the medical droids could say was that her systems were the likes of which they’d never seen and thus patience was required. Crosshair had no qualm in being patient, it was in his nature. But his teeth clicked against each other, the innermost part of his cheek and his lips had been bitten raw; his supply of toothpicks was wearing thin.

    One hung from his mouth, the taste of wood seeping into the back of his mind as the end of it wore and frayed soft against his tongue. He stared down at the photographs on the datapad -- photos of where Ada had been found. She’d been just as he’d left her: leaned against a tree that overlooked a lake. It was the lake she’d always wanted to see, the one she’d spoken of so many of the nights they’d spent together at the inn where they’d first met. She never truly got to see it, only in death. He figured she’d be safe there, happy there. And in the photographs she looked placid, almost happy if he stared at them too long. The flowers he’d placed in her lap and about her head were still there, dried and rotted now, while she remained untouched if but for dust. But there was something in the gaping blaster wound that pitted itself in her chest, and he enhanced the photo and squinted:

    It was a birds’ nest. Filled with spotted eggs. He wondered what happened to it, she did not arrive on Kamino with it, and he wondered if those who recovered her had not been so gentle as he might have been. As she might have been. It would not have been the first time she'd housed young, and had she known of the nest’s existence within her she would have welcomed it. She was always kind and giving, unlike himself: cold and biting.

    A trilling in the distance broke his concentration from the datapad and he put it behind him as he looked up. The sound of power piqued his ears and he tentatively stood in anticipation.

    A medical droid flew to Ada’s side and ran a quick diagnostic scan before returning to another machine.

    Nothing happened.

    Cross’ mouth ran dry, and he could feel his heart in his throat. His legs twinged to stand beside her, and he let a hiss of aggravation -- no one was telling him anything.

    But slowly -- and it was slowly -- he noticed the pale yellow lights of her eyes begin to illuminate her, and he swallowed thickly. Rampart was gambling more than he realized -- Ada could wake, in theory, but there was no guarantee that she would remember who he was, that she would not be as she was. And to him, she would have died a second time.

    Ada’s shoulders moved and he felt a breath respire from him as he took a step forward.

    She groaned at the blinding light above her eyes and turned her head this way and that to focus herself. Her hands lifted from the table and she winced at the feeling of her stiffened joints creaking into place. Her hands now to her face to block the light, she looked at them -- muted and dull, the silicone of her palms felt worn. She furrowed and tried to make sense of what she remembered -- what did she remember?

    Crosshair chanced to speak, though the words nearly caught in his mouth. “Someone’s awake.” Carefully chosen, he hoped to prompt her to his voice, to who he was -- bracing himself for the possibility that she had reverted to a base program.

    Ada moaned and turned her head towards the muffled sound of a voice beside her -- and as her vision cleared, as her hearing became crisper, she could make out the tall, tan figure of a man. A man she knew, one that made her inorganic innards flutter with an ethereal bond. She could not remember, for a moment, his name.

    Her hand reached out to him, and he took it, caressing it with his thumb, his fingers running over each of her own. He let her orient herself at a gentle pace, before he came a little closer, and a little closer still.

    The figure pushed the light that blinded her and all she could see was him in its absence. “Cross…?” the name fell from her mouth and little by little memories inside her loaded and reframed themselves -- she’d known him for three years, and she had cherished every moment. “Cross…” the name came with a weighted, beloved knowing and a smile turned her plastoid lips; she gripped his hand with a weakened strength, but she did not want to let him go.

    The breath he took was, he felt, the first he’d taken since he’d lost her six months ago. “Ada…” he whispered and knelt beside her table, that he might not loom over her. He kissed her hand, inside his, and drew her scent of metal and earth. “Mesh’la…”

    Her smile deepened as she turned her head to see him. “You look tired…” she murmured. Her hand parted from his and caressed his darkened face.

    His eyes closed as he nestled against her palm. “I’ve had worse,” he lied. He could not think of worse at the moment.

    She knew he did not speak in truth, but she did not begrudge him. Her head rolled again and another wince gripped her features. The pain of unoiled joints stung and scraped. It gave her clarity to her situation and she looked around her in great confusion. “Where am I?”

    “You’re on Kamino. In the medbay,” he said, even. There was much to fill her in on, he did not want to shock her into greater disrepair. “Do you remember what happened?”

    “All I remember is Saleucami, you and the others had engaged the Separatists,” she struggled to sift through the data -- it all felt corrupted, muddled. “I was at the ship, waiting for you. I was...getting ready for a quick exit, talking to the computer. I don’t...really remember much after that. I take it I was injured,” she reasoned. Ada looked down at herself on the table, she could not see any signs of injury, she must have been repaired. A sense of discomfort seeped into her at the realization of being uncovered.

    “Ada,” he tread carefully, for both her sake and his own. Guilt had plagued him in her death. If only he’d picked them off quicker, if only he hadn’t involved her in his life to begin with, if only Hunter hadn’t led the Separatists right to the ship in an attempt at a quick escape. His head panged at the thought of his brother -- at the thought of the traitor -- and he swallowed in an effort to continue his words. “You died.” His voice wavered and he pulled his sight from her to steady himself.

    Images began to replay in her mind -- her at the door of the Marauder, a blaster in her hand, pulling Tech into the ship as the others followed. She remembered a searing pain in the center of her -- where her heart might’ve been. But the data ended.

    Her hand had unknowingly gone to her chest again and massaged the area that’d fallen victim to the bolt. She shuddered and kept the fluid in her eyes at bay enough to calm herself. “How long?” she asked. “How long have I been gone?”

    “Six months,” he said. “A lot has changed. More the past three weeks.”

    “Where are the others?”

    “Traitors,” he said a little more forcefully than he might’ve meant it.

    Her eyes found him quickly and she furrowed. “What?” She searched his face and knew he held no lie within him -- but there was a tension on his lips, the kind that held them closed when he avoided a discussion. Something had happened, something terrible -- something that, even unbeknownst to her -- made her grieve. “I...I don’t believe that,” she baffled.

    Crosshair stood and gently took her other hand. With every ounce of deftness within him, he pulled Ada upright and steadied her. “A lot has happened. The Republic is now an Empire,” he said and reached for a linen rack at the side of the room. “Their loyalties changed. Mine did not.” The sentiment burned on his tongue and his face twitched.

    She watched him with acute eyes, knowing there was something more to what he was saying. His eyes did not match his lips, but his arms still cared for her. He brought her a sheet and wrapped it around her shoulders, covering her immodesty. He had done the same the day they left Corellia -- he’d wrapped her in a bright yellow shock blanket. Half to comfort her, half at her request; she did not relish the nudity she was forced into by her innate kind, it bothered her being exposed around him and his brothers. He’d admitted his ignorance, and procured for her wires and clips for her to use and fasten the blanket around herself.

    He did the same now. He reached for a cabinet beside the linen rack and made from it a roll of gauze and ties. “The Admiral wants to see you,” he said and helped her cover herself. “You have a part in this new Empire. And so do I.”

    His words brought a shadow into Ada’s soul and she looked up at him as he wrapped the gauze around her waist and shoulders to hold the sheet in place. “Will you be with me?”

    He tied off the wrappings and held her shoulders as he bent to look her in the lights of her eyes. “I will not leave you. Ever. I promise you that.” Never would he let her feel the way the man behind the glass wall felt: abandoned.

    The Admiral’s office was stark -- covered in muted grey walls and boards filled with organized notes and plans of action. A temporary home in a temporary base, the Admiral was used to shifting changes and relocations. Where others would see a boring nature in his office, in what he surrounded himself with, he found it efficient, adept.

    Rampart sat at his desk, a datapad in one hand, his chin resting in the other. The droid’s downloaded memories had proven insightful into its process of sudden evolution and its ability to learn. He saw all data from the droid’s -- from Ada’s perspective, and he saw now, the instinct in the clone to call the droid a ‘she’. She was, truly, a remarkable creature -- unquantifiable. He had his work cut out for him if he was to mimic her mutations and enhance them for the Empire’s betterment.

    He’d listened to only a few minutes of data, of her memories, having been downloaded since her rebooting. Blind though she had been at the time, he skipped to the part she and the clone had met: she’d nursed him back to health and kept him chaste company on lonely nights -- and some not so chaste before his stay concluded. Pitiful though her memories may have been, he learned more about the clone than he ever wanted to know. But titillating secrets were often not desirable rather than necessity. There was much to be learned about an enemy -- or an ally -- based on how they sought out pleasure. And the clone loved the droid, more than Rampart thought he should have.

    But more curiously, the droid loved him.

    The doors to his office brushed open and there entered both the clone and the droid. She was much smaller than Rampart anticipated: she came only beneath the Commander’s pauldron. She was meek in appearance, and despite the plastoid and metal that constituted her face, he could see fear in her. Sheets from the medbay draped over her gracefully, while gauze wrapped across her shoulders and breasts and around her waist. She’d been dressed carefully and with notice. He wondered which one of them it had been.

    The Commander walked the droid a few steps further into the office, and his hand did not leave her arm. He did not grip her, neither grab her -- but his fingers, long as they were in comparison to her bronze arm, lingered there about her.

    Ada looked from Cross to the Admiral and found herself uncertain as what to do with herself.

    “You must be Ada,” Rampart began and stood from his desk. He sauntered around and towards her, hands behind his back as he surveyed her.

    She knew that look in his eye -- she’d seen it many times before. It stiffened her throat and made her face harden. Power -- curiosity. A dangerous mix, she could feel it emanating from him in droves as he stood in front of her. Her back pressed deeper into Crosshair’s chest and she tried to hide a wince. She did not like where she stood: she felt trapped.

    “That is my name,” she said in reply and looked the man in the eye.

    He nodded, noting the awareness in her of her own personhood. “Are you aware of the state of the galaxy? Of what has transpired in your absence?”

    Ada moved uncomfortably at the thought of her death, at the memories that boiled beneath her skin. Her chest suddenly hurt. “Crosshair has told me some, but I am not aware of finer details.” She glanced to her lover behind her, and silently wished for some form of telepathy between them. But Crosshair did not move, he was stiff as a board, eyes ahead as the Admiral spoke. It unsettled her, the deviance in his usual sardonic nature.

    The Admiral glanced from Ada to the Commander, curious as to what he’d told her. “It is a pivotal time, Ada. The safety of the Empire, and all its citizens, is now my responsibility and my priority.”

    He spoke to her like a child. “Why am I here?” she asked, blunt, but she still did not move. “What is it you want with me?” She did not take him for a man of purposeless good deeds, she was unsure he even knew of her relationship with Crosshair, and she doubted he would ever grant a gift to a clone. She dreaded his answer.

    He stifled his amusement but a rigid smile escaped him regardless. She was bold -- she had fire despite her stature. Such qualities would prove useful. “All will be revealed in time, Ada. For now, my immediate priority is to learn, about you. What is your purpose?”

    She hated the way her name sounded in his mouth. “My purpose or my programming?”

    His simper deepened. “For some there is not a difference.”

    She felt a chill beneath her skin, and a horrible feeling gutted the centre of her. His words reminded her of conversations she and Crosshair had had in quiet moments spent in the dark -- whispers they’d let none other hear. “Then they deserve liberation.”

    A weakness spotted already. That was the difference between her and her clone counterpart -- the ability to think freely. More freely than he’d anticipated. “Some might call structure freedom.”

    “But structure is not the same as subjugation.” If her words caused her demise a second time -- and she had the terrifying instinct they might -- she was glad to have seen Cross’ face at least one more time; that he had seen hers. “Illusions of choices and freedoms can be spotted when there are no other voices of criticisms.”

    “And what leads you to believe there is a lack in entertaining criticisms?” Rampart became aware only after he’d spoken it, the word ‘believe’.

    “You’re surrounded by clones,” she brushed her head against Crosshair’s breastplate, against his arm, unable to see his face. Her gaze flicked back to the Admiral. “You have no vessel for objections.”

    “Evidently not in them,” he approached her, fascinated. “But perhaps in you.”

    Ada braced herself, firm against her lover’s armour, and there was a part of her that knew that even if the Admiral attacked her, Crosshair would be unable to stop it. She raised her chin and kept herself from shivering, steadfast in her beliefs -- perhaps some of Cross’ stubbornness had rubbed off on her in the time they’d spent together.

    Rampart’s finger flitted beneath her chin. “Such a beautiful specimen,” he mused, entranced. “I look forward to seeing inside that mind of yours.”

    Ada pulled her face away and turned her sights from him.

    “Take her to the barrack beside yours and your squad’s. You have full command over her, I want her to report to the debriefing facility at 0900 tomorrow,” the Admiral addressed the clone.

    Cross’ face burned with an ire he could not express -- he was nearly blinded by the pain that plagued his temple. He caressed Ada’s arm into a guidance away from the Admiral and out of his office. He could feel Rampart’s scrutiny still on them both until the doors hissed closed behind them.

    Ada shuddered under the hand of her lover and she pulled her arm across her in an effort to comfort herself. “Well, he seems like a nice guy,” she griped.

    Crosshair didn’t say anything, his mouth sewn shut with a throbbing just behind his eye.

    His silence only fermented the suspicion in her -- he’d had an acute opportunity to make an acerbic quip, but he instead said nothing.

    The walk towards the barrack was equally quiet, every Reg in the halls whom she either saw or encountered was as muted and as martial as Crosshair. Something had happened -- something devastating. She intended to find out what, but how would be a challenge.

    The barrack was empty of any other occupants. There was a charging port in the corner, diagnostics equipment and tools lined the area and filled the rest of the empty bunks. It hadn’t occurred to Rampart that she slept. She figured not much occurred to him outside of his own ideas and motives.

    Crosshair shuffled some tools out of a bunk and dusted off the bare mattress. “I’ll get you a blanket,” he said. He removed his helmet with a quiet sigh and rolled his neck. He winced at the pain that persisted, though which had now lessened. His hand massaged his temple and he groaned, trying to will it away.

    “What’s wrong?” Ada asked and moved towards her lover, hands already outstretched to survey any wound he might’ve sustained.

    “Headaches,” he said with another wince.

    “Have you seen the med droid?” She placed her hand along his face. There was no visible injury where he kept pawing, and it worried her.

    “I keep going back. They keep giving me pain patches and sending me away.” He scoffed with scorn and opened one eye to see her. “Nala Se tells me it’s nothing to worry about.”

    She huffed and held in all the things she wanted to say about Nala Se -- there were multitudes. “And Nala Se is always so truthful.” She decided a drop of sarcasm might soothe his aches.

    He looked at her and simpered, hand still working his head.

    But the thought of Nala Se brought with it a fear in Ada; she hadn’t seen the little blonde haired girl in the halls as she usually did, and she tried to distill her worry into rationality. “Where’s Omega?” she asked.

    He flinched at the name and the pain in his head bit back with a wrath. Traitor. His mind wheeled and spun in its place, trying to push the thought of the girl from his mind, trying not to picture her face, but all he saw was her head in his scope. “She went with them. She is an enemy of the Empire.”

    Ada was taken backwards and her hand lifted from her lover’s face. “She’s a child -- she’s your clone, my...my daughter,” she shook her head, “What are you talking about?” And as she surveyed him now, she felt she was looking at a paper puppet of her husband, stuffed instead with feathers and down -- not the person he had been before. This was not Crosshair, this was a shell of a person.

    Crosshair’s eyes narrowed and locked onto her. He no longer had control of the wheel of his mind, the spinning turned to throttle and his gaze fixated on the woman in front of him. “You sympathize with her?” His hand fell from his head, the pain no longer present, it drifted downwards towards his hip -- towards his blaster.

    Ada’s fear turned to grief, and in the moment she processed the fact that her husband was dead -- that some part of him had been murdered -- she thought quickly. “No,” she said, her voice calm and even. “No, I don’t. I just got back. I don’t know what happened. I was hoping you would tell me.” She turned her body, her arms now at her sides -- leaving herself open and exposed to him -- and sat down on the bunk, giving him the opportunity to do the same.

    But Crosshair did not take it.

    The chip within him seethed with distrust, and though his arm lowered past his holster, his jaw locked and his sight turned from her. The pain in his head was unforgiving, both towards her, and towards himself “Another time. Get some rest,” he said and walked past her for the door. It hissed open and he stood there; he glanced over his shoulder but did not meet her sights. “I don’t want to hear that name -- ever again. That’s an order.”

    The door closed and Ada was left alone in darkness, parted from the one she loved.

    Her hand covered her mouth and she vowed freedom for her husband. He’d liberated her those many years ago -- she would not leave him without the favour returned.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ada spent her days on Kamino -- few though they were -- being ushered from her barrack to a suite on the far end of the facility. There, routinely, she was attached to a large wire that gave Rampart access to every nuance of the code within her. It allowed him to study and mirror what made her unique. He found joy in it, she could see it. A novelty in his palm, she was more of a toy to him than Crosshair was, and she played her part of plaything to perfection.

    Indeed, Rampart was unaware that the connection made between her and the databanks to which she was chained went both ways. The more he read of her, the more she read of the Empire, of Kamino, and all their filthy secrets.

    She wormed her way through every redacted file and forgotten project until she could all but predict the outcomes of each dossier. Should she survive her attempt at liberation, she would have plenty of secrets with which to bargain.

    Rampart liked to watch, she noticed. He came in for the last half hour of every session, like clockwork. One arm crossed in front of his chest, the other grazing his chin and mouth, he studied both her figure and her data -- and she relished the cameras at every corner. Not that cameras had ever stopped a man of power from taking what he wanted.

    “Don’t you get bored? Standing there?” she asked, unmoving.

    “Not at all,” he said with a flick of his hand. “It seems there’s more to learn about you with every passing day.”

    “That’s usually said with a little more romance involved.”

    He placated a smirk. “I have no lack of romance, with suitable women.”

    “And it's reciprocated?” The bitterness in her made up for the lack of humour in Crosshair as of late, and she found she spoke his tongue.

    Rampart drew an indignant breath as he put his hands behind his back and walked towards her; she was seated in the centre of the room, bogged down with wires and machinery, though not for long. An attendant droid followed him and began to unhook her from the databanks. “I’d be careful, with the words you speak,” he warned. “I find it fascinating -- however perverse -- the gift of life you’ve been given by Nala Se...”

    Ada pulled herself from his encroaching and flinched at his words.

    “...To have protected a cloning jar inside that chassis of yours. To have carried it with you all about Kamino for four and a half months, in subterfuge from those who would have laid a threat against...the clone of your lover.” His eyes narrowed at her and he breathed inches from her face. “I hear the Kaminoans want her alive. I’d hate for that to change.”

    Anger swept the center of her, and her processing core seized itself. She swiped at the Admiral and slapped him across the cheek. She’d barely realized what she’d done, until she saw the drop of blood that beaded at the corner of his mouth. He rubbed his jaw and glowered at her as he stood upright again.

    Ada stood from her seat, coming barely past his shoulder and pointed at him. “You can take what you want from my data -- but you touch a hair on her head, I’ll make sure you never see the inside of mine.”

    Rampart still massaged his jaw, swallowing the blood that seeped from the cut in his cheek, and he found it curious -- this innate motherly instinct towards her lover’s progeny. She was neither organic, nor had she truly birthed Omega, but she was as feral as any other mother -- whether wild or civilized.

    Another weakness to solve.

    Crosshair entered the room and evaluated the scene that was perfectly still in front of him; it reeled of tension, and he looked from Ada to the Admiral.

    “Take her to the barrack,” Rampart miffed and turned his back on them both.

    Ada wrapped her arms around herself as she and Cross walked down the halls, rubbing her fingers together; she’d forgotten how much an impact hurt. But she knew it’d hurt Rampart more -- she was solid, metal. He was not.

    “What was that about?” Crosshair asked, glancing down to her.

    She knew she couldn’t tell him the truth, not the whole truth, but lying to him left a tinge in her somewhere. She settled on a compromise. “A minor dispute on project direction,” she said.

    He had no reason to disbelieve her, and she had shown continual signs of distress since her waking; the anxiety that riddled her face now was not out of place. It unsettled him. It reminded him of a dingy inn room and a pain in his shoulder. “He is severe, but he gets results. It’s not a problem as long as you obey orders.” He meant it as a comfort.

    But it did nothing of the sort for her. It felt he was speaking mostly to himself.

    The barrack seemed colder than usual, a storm raged outside -- fiercer than the rainfall that’d persisted throughout the week. She clutched her arms closer to her and looked around the barrack for any other bedding she could use to insulate herself.

    “Here,” he said, and wrapped a blanket around her shoulders. “The storm is supposed to last for the next week or so. I’ll see if I can find you more supplies.”

    She smiled at him. He seemed different today -- and it had varied day by day. The day after he’d nearly threatened her he was grim and clouded, almost more of a droid than herself; the next he was mild and collected; and the next, still, aggressive and conflicted.

    She now knew why.

    The only problem she faced now was how to get the chip out.

    Ada sat on the bed, pulling the blanket around her forearms, her shoulders exposed. She didn’t like feeling confined or imprisoned, even by soft things.

    This time, Crosshair joined her. His helmet hissing as he removed it, he let a heavy, weighted sigh as he sat beside her; his long legs resting high above her own, he leaned an elbow on a knee and ran his hand through his hair.

    “You got more grey,” she smiled, and feathered her fingers through his short locks.

    He eyed her with a smirk. But it died, slowly, and a grief came over his visage as he reached a gloved hand to her gentle face. “You stayed the same.” It was a thought that did not often occur to him -- whether by force, to keep it repressed under denial, or by absence of mind, which was unlikely -- that she would linger in life long after he was gone. She would remain eternally youthful, at least in an indefinite refrain, while he would waste away in both body and mind in seven years’ time. If he survived that long.

    “I don’t...know what came over me. The other night,” he said, a deep shame in his voice. His head briefly shook and he looked at nothingness in the distance. “Sometimes...I can’t think straight.” He took in a stifled breath and glanced to her with one brow raised: “Maybe it’s not just my hair getting older. Maybe it’s just me,” he scoffed.

    Ada said nothing, knowing that any speak of what drilled itself into his head would get them both killed. For now, at least. She stayed quiet but brought her hand to his that rested on his lap.

    He swallowed something painful at the back of his throat and quickly brushed away the thought. “I got you something,” he said instead and reached for a pouch on his belt. From it, he pulled a neatly folded cloth and handed it to her.

    “You didn’t have to do that,” she smiled, surprised.

    “I did."

    She knew what he meant, without him needing to speak it: an apology without words.

    Ada unfolded the cloth with deftness and saw a small bottle sitting inside it; a soft, round cloth beneath that. “You...you got me polishing oil?” Her mouth opened with genuine glee and she picked up the round cloth, “And a buffing pad?”

    He grinned, bashfully, and nodded.

    There he was, she thought, and with liquid wanting to form behind her eyes, she cupped his cheek and brushed her thumb against his weathered skin. He felt so different than he had three years ago -- older, deeper, coarser. But as his face nuzzled into her palm, she felt what he did not wear on his exterior: a softness reserved for quiet gifts that lay on her lap.

    “I thought I could help,” he said. “You’ve got some scuffing on your back.” His hand went to her shoulder and ran down her back, covered with gauze and sheet and blanket. He could still feel her curve beneath all three and it sent a tingle to his face.

    She purred at the touch, and she looked at him -- desperately wanting to be with him. Ada feared she would not make it off the planet alive; she feared the same for him, though he did not know it. Any manner of touch, any semblance of intimacy she would take and give in return -- to both make up for lost time, and make up for time they may not have.

    “I’d like that,” she breathed.

    His nose nudged against her face when he leaned to take the oil from her lap, his fingers lingering a little longer than they might’ve against hers. Gently, he turned her with her back faced to him and when she parted with the blanket, she shivered with the cold night air.

    Cross removed his gloves and placed his warm hands on her shoulders, running them up and down her arms to soothe her and to bate the chill that threatened her. He passed his face over her soft head, breathing in her scent -- gun oil and metal. He swallowed thickly as heat gathered somewhere in his middle -- he imagined the taste of her.

    Ada could feel his breath against her skin and she rolled deeper into his embrace, his nimble fingers beginning to unravel the gauze around her breasts and waist. It spiralled off of her, and he was careful not to trap her with it. Free from its constraints, the sheet fell from her figure and gathered at the pile of her supple hips.

    Her back bare, Cross caught himself nearly starving at the sight of her. She glimmered in the dim light of night, her skin now the colour of earth and ocean, reflective of the dark hues that surrounded them from the storm that caught outside the window.

    Ada felt him restraining himself from his growing desires and she wiggled backwards towards him. The same heat in him had gathered in her, and she desperately wanted him to give into the hunger that had no doubt been neglected, that had deepened in the six months of her absence.

    She let a soft moan as his slick hands caressed the frame of her back, as his thumbs worked into the curve of her spine, across her shoulder blades, down the arc of her waist and to her hips. Despite the roughness of the calluses on his hands, his touch was gentle, intentional, and there was not a pang in her that he induced.

    His fingers rubbed into every scuff and score mark, massaging them in circles until they dissipated and her skin was left clean and unblemished. Ada’s head rolled as he stroked her neck, and she let another quiet groan at the feeling of his warmth. Cross knew every ache in her joints instinctively, and he worked his hands until she was completely slick with oil, until nothing brought her pain.

    Crosshair ran the last of the oil on his hands down the silicone of her hair, winding every curve along the cascade of plastoid that rested on her back -- knowing she could feel each and every motion, up and down her scalp. She was intoxicating, and his breath was stuck in his throat -- his thighs burning at the feel of her arms beneath his hands. He nudged his face against the side of her hair and nestled his brow against her temple.

    Ada turned to see him, eager to meet his eyes.

    He leaned forward and brushed the tip of his nose against her, looking from her eyes to her lips.

    She knew he would wait for her -- wait for her comfort, wait for her readiness, wait for her to make the first move. It was a kindness, and a necessity. And she took the offer he gave her, closing the distance between them -- pressing her lips into his.

    She whimpered into his mouth, sending a hum through his chest and down through his legs. His cock strained against his blacks, he caught her in his arms, pulling her flush against him; his other hand cradled her jaw. His tongue worked its way into her mouth and he massaged it with knowing, feeling every curve within her. Her hands digging into his armour, he held her just a bit tighter, feeling a throbbing in his thighs as she yearned for him. He broke from her lips for a heaved breath and he swallowed -- uncertain if this was merely another cruel dream. There were moments, days, as of late, he could not discern reality.

    But as she looked up to him, speechless, cupping his face in her hands, nuzzling her head against his, he knew it was no dream. His lover, his mate, had returned to him by some forsaken miracle. And in his clarity, he couldn’t let her go.

    “Do you want me?” he murmured, feeling the reflection of his breath from her skin.

    “Yes,” she soughed, combing her palms through his hair.

    Cross’ mouth craned and found her shoulder, leaving sloppy kisses and pecks against her neck. “I need to hear you say it.”

    Ada moaned at the feeling of his wetness trailing against her. “Yes -- I do, I want you.”

    Crosshair growled into her skin, pulling her close and spinning her around on the bed. Gently, never harshly, he moved her towards the pillow. “Lie back,” he said.

    Ada could feel her processors spin and whinney and at the fluttering feeling his voice gave her. She uncoiled the sheet that’d been wrapped around her and threw it over the side of the bed, lying back on the hard mattress. Her head rested against the pillow settling herself for her lover, before she caught sight of him struggling to disassemble his armour quick enough -- he stumbled shuffling off his greaves. “Need help?” Ada chuckled, biting her finger.

    He looked up at her with a raised brow and a scoff. “Takes fifteen karking minutes just to get out of this thing,” he huffed and rattled off his bracers.

    “You could ask for help,” she teased.

    He eyed her with a simper and the breastplate finally came off with a thud as it landed on the floor. Cross crawled into the bed, now clad entirely in blacks. “So much for a good re-first impression,” he murmured, his lips already landing on hers as he rested on top of her.

    “You never cease to impress me,” she mused and helped him unfasten the blacks. She pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it over the side of the bunk, it landed somewhere among the armour -- as did the pants he pried off himself. She hummed happily at the sight of him: he was already stiff and hard for her, and he was just as enticing as she remembered. He was long and girthy and her body ached and rolled at the thought of him inside her.

    Cross settled himself between her legs, massaging her thighs with his open palms. “Mesh’la,” he purred at the sight of her glistening body. The bronze of her bare skin glittered like stars in the evening light, and the silicone that covered her face, her breasts, her hips and thighs -- warm in comparison. He leaned forward again and coupled his lips with hers, they were wet with his spit and he intended to leave even more of a trail on her.

    He knew exactly what to do, following the path of silicone that continued down her middle in a seam. He wound past the sway of her neck, smothering the top of her chest, and lingered in the middle of her breasts. His mouth latched onto the peak of her bosom, and as he swirled his tongue he earned the reward of his name moaned by his lover.

    “Cross…” she whimpered, his mouth already working her into a frenzy. The sensor beneath him activated, and in response, her throat became lubricated and the entrance between her legs became slick from her innate programming.

    Cross lifted his mouth for air before he groaned into her other breast, his hand still kneading the one he’d left behind. His eyes closed, entirely enthralled in her, he rutted against the bed beneath them for any ache of friction. He could hear her soft whimpering, trying to keep herself quiet from the others in the barrack beside them. But he didn’t care -- he wanted them to hear. He wanted them to hear how lucky he was, how well he could give it to her, how much she thirst for him.

    He came up for another bout of air and found her in the throes of pleasure -- her hand flat against the wall of the bunk, the other gripping the bedsheet. He gave her a cocky grin and held her sight as he shuffled down towards the center of her belly: the most intimate and sensitive part of her. A bundle of wires -- of what would have been nerves -- lay just beneath the metal skin of her middle, and he dragged his tongue along the center of it.

    Ada couldn’t help the cry that came out of her at his touch -- she squeezed her fingers into the mattress as his tongue flicked her metal seams, as he suckled on the grooves that wound through her with a heave of pleasure.

    His hands working their ways up and down the undersides of her thighs wrapped round his head, he groaned into her body -- she reeled at the vibration of his voice reverberating inside her. He smiled at the sound of her mewling, and he wound his palms back towards her waist. They twisted into her breasts as he bobbed his head along the middle of her, leaving a wet trail behind his tongue.

    Ada shuddered at the feeling of suction against the convergence of her seams and she melted into the bed as Cross glinted his tongue across them. The more his hands kneaded into her breasts, the wetter she became, until she felt her mound and thighs were soaking. Dazed in bliss, she no longer made an effort to suppress her cries, and when her hand gripped his hair, neither did he. He let a feral growl, and she whined at the feeling it gave her chassis, her fingers digging deeper into his scalp.

    He loved it, it only made him work harder -- and she was close, he could feel it. She trembled beneath him shuddering each time he swiped his mouth over that particular convergence. She was sopping wet now, and one hand moved from her body to her entrance while his mouth still edged her on. His middle finger massaged her entrance before he pushed into her, slowly, at a pace she could take. He stroked his way inside her, grinning at the cry she let when he curled his finger back and forth. Her legs were shaking on either side of his head, and he worked her faster, relishing every second and every sputtering of his name.

    Her body was tense, shuddering with ecstasy. And the more his finger hit that one spot beneath that bundle of wires, the more she wound herself into euphoria. One more cry and Ada’s body revved and bucked. Her back arched, her hands groped for anything around her -- she flew into a peak, and a sudden wave of pleasure descended on her and washed her thoroughly from her head to her feet.

    Her voice trembled as she came down from her high, her processor dithering inside her.

    Cross came up for another gasp of air and he wiped his mouth with the same smug smile.

    Ada lay on the bed, nearly spent. Her eyes unfocused for a moment as she gathered herself.

    “Cyare,” he breathed, and scooped her into his arm to sit upright and on his lap. “I missed you.”

    Ada rested her head on his brow and put her arms around his neck, taking in the softness behind the sharpened edges of him. Grief clung to him still, despite the inebriation of pleasure. She wasn’t going to leave him behind. She wouldn’t let them be parted a second time. Ada nudged her nose against his and imparted on him a kiss -- heated and damp. “Show me.”

    Cross’ eyes flicked to hers with a smirk to her boldness.

    Ada settled herself on his legs, spreading hers just a little further; he was muscular despite his lithe frame. Her hands wandered from his neck to his chest, and down towards his cock. He was aching for her already, and as she stroked him once she could already feel him twitching.

    He hid a moan inside the crook of her shoulder, and he kept her steady with a hand on her back as she maneuvered herself to take him. The feeling of her was heavenly he had to admit, despite his hesitance to do so. She was tight around his length, textured inside for an ‘ultimate pleasurable experience’ -- but never did he take it for granted or advantage. She was his companion, not his commodity.

    Ada sunk deeper onto his length, letting a soft moan as she felt him fill her, all the way inside her. She rolled her head at his stiffness against her walls, letting a feathery whine. Once he was entirely inside her, she rocked her hips back and forth grinding them against his own for friction. She felt him sigh into her again and his grip around her back, her waist, became taut. She smiled at his quiet pleasure.

    His hips began to thrust into her once she’d become acclimated to him, and he held a shaky breath as he lifted his head to look her in the eye. She was beautiful, completely lost in his sensations as he filled her. Her whines and whimpers only fuelled him, and his thrusts became harder, deeper.

    The echo of his thighs against hers, metal, filled the walls; the wetness of her core making salacious sounds with his every thrust. And with her luscious soughs -- it drove him mad. He gnarled into her shoulder again and sucked on her neck, leaving a soft bite behind.

    “Cross…” she groaned at the feel of his teeth. She bucked against him with his every push inside her, rolling her hips against his cock.

    His mouth latched onto her shoulder, drinking in the biting taste of her -- relishing the feeling of her body warming to his touch. The suction wouldn’t leave a mark on her bronze frame, but he was still careful not to hurt her. With another nipping suckle, he let her go from his mouth with a pop --

    The release and the sound sent a vibration through her entire body and she rang like a bell.

    Ada stopped, her hands flying to her face in embarrassment. Had she any blood, she might’ve been blushing.

    Cross grinned and stifled a chuckle as he sat upright and took her face in his hands.

    “That’s so embarrassing -- I hate it when that happens,” she muffled.

    He kept his laugh quiet and kissed the top of her head. “It’s nothing to worry about, mesh’la.”

    His hands wandered down her back and he gently moved his legs from under her, he helped her lie back on the bed. Cross nestled himself between her thighs and leaned over her, keeping his brow to hers. He wanted to look her in the eyes as she writhed in exhilaration beneath him.

    Her legs on either side of his hips, he rocked into her -- a slow and steady pace, at first, he sheathed his length in and out of her, building a warmth inside her soaking core. She hummed, tangling her fingers in the grey of his hair, eyes fluttering closed at the feel of his skin against hers, inside hers. Her ankles tied him to her, and she pressed her mouth against his. He rocked harder into her and her mouth recoiled into him with his every thrust -- her growing moans fell onto his tongue.

    The bunk rattled noisily with each heave -- his hips giving her everything he had, fucking her into the bunk beneath them. Ada’s back arched again, her hands groping for his back, leaving marks as her fingers dug into his sinew. She let out another cry as he became sloppy, his body was rigid and was beginning to tremble -- he was almost there. She rolled her hips under him, earning a hiss from her lover.

    He gasped, a dampened breath washing over her face, and he trailed a hand down to her breast, massaging the tip. Ada writhed underneath him, groaning his name -- she had one more orgasm in her for him, he knew it, he could see it.

    It began to tingle under her skin, feathering out from her core with a wave of intensity, and she felt his hand, light, on her jaw again.

    “Look at me, mesh’la, look at me while you cum,” he nearly begged.

    Ada’s eyes locked on her lover’s as the orgasm seized her body and she spiralled into a mind numbing well of pleasure.

    Crosshair reached his peak at the sight of her, at the feel of her cumming on his cock. He let a guttural growl and filled her with his warmth. His body twitched as he groaned and let his head collapse into her shoulder, his breath stolen from him.

    Ada kissed his ear and hummed into his hair as he gathered himself, before he turned and lay on the open edge of the bunk. She nuzzled herself to see him, entirely drunk on the ecstasy between them.

    His hand cradled her face. “I missed you,” he said again.

    She smiled, hazy. “I can tell.”

    He gave her a tired grin, and nudged her chin with his fingers as he pulled her close. He felt he could never let her go. Never again.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ada woke the next morning to the feel of her lover’s stubble against her brow as he placed a kiss on top of her head. Her eyes fluttered open and she saw his image, backlit, in the clouded morning light; he was already dressed in his armour, his helmet underneath his arm.

    “I have to go,” he whispered, though he yearned to be anchored there beside her.

    She reached for his other arm that rested on the bed and took his hand. “Stay -- please,” she pleaded with him.

    Crosshair’s fingers brushed around the edges of her face as he sighed. “Mesh’la...I can’t.”

    Ada’s head sunk and she watched as he pulled away and backed out of the barrack. The door whooshed closed, and Ada was left alone, in the dark of the stormy morning. She could not gather the strength to sit upright for some few minutes -- the breaking wave of last night’s pleasure dissipating into an overwhelming fear for both of their safety. She knew Rampart would not leave her alive. She was too valuable for anyone else to get their hands on her -- she hated hands on her, when they were not her lover’s.

    Her eyes closed, taut, for a moment, before she rallied what courage she had in the center of her chest, within the gears that moved her -- and with a determined push, with what seemed to be the only strength left within her, Ada sat herself on the edge of the bed.

    A dim smile passed her lips to see her clothes neatly laid out at the end of the bunk: the sheet folded, the gauze wound tight. It was an iteration of Crosshair’s love for her, spoken in silent words. She clung to them, and kept them in her heart not made of metal.

    Rampart had wisened since the day before, Ada was now manacled to her seat in the center of the debriefing room -- both her wrists and her brow strapped to the chair beneath her. Wires fed their way in and out of her, though she could no longer move freely. She distilled her panic and kept her mind as present on her current plan as she could.

    With a deft hand inside the Empire’s code, inside the Kaminoans’ system, she scooped free the code and walls that meant to poison her, and with gentle words -- spoken in no organic language -- Ada melded them to herself, until they no longer recognized themselves as Imperial, neither Kaminoan -- until every code that passed through her fibres became her.

    She had complete control over the system, and everything Rampart saw. She meant to use it shrewdly.

    “I trust you’re comfortable,” Rampart said as he entered the room, hands behind his back -- his simper more smug than usual.

    Ada kept her ire in check and in time with the revving in her chest. “And I trust I didn’t leave any lasting damage,” she returned with a raised brow.

    Rampart scoffed with pursed lips, his tongue mindlessly passed over the cut in his cheek that’d since healed over. “I have certainly handled worse in the war.”

    “And now you’re here, overseeing a shackled droid.”

    “I think you misunderstand my presence, Ada,” Rampart began and started towards her. Despite her cuffs, he kept his distance -- he stopped a foot away from her. “I’m not here to supervise your connection to the computer,” he huffed at such a ridiculous notion. “No...I find you fascinating. The more I learn about you, the more I learn how to perfect you.”

    “You certainly know how to woo a woman.”

    Rampart’s simper became stiff and his chin lifted to her. “An inaccurate sentiment on all accounts -- you are not a woman.”

    “You are no longer a soldier. You’re a pseudo-scientist with a pipe dream. My creation was spontaneous evolution -- and you are not a god.”

    The urge to retaliate against the droid flushed his face and he soothed the burning anger that welled at the back of his throat. His hand seethed to strike her. He approached her carefully, one foot in front of the other with the knowing she was restrained. “I have no need for magic or inexplicable results. I have a team of researchers and an Empire behind me. Probability for success is in my favour.”

    Her head strained to lean forward as much as she could against her restraint -- she looked her captor in the eye and read the future written on his face in numbers and variables. “Your project will fail. And when it does, you will earn the disdain of your superiors. They will see you as nothing but an idealist -- an officer without his feet on the ground and his head in the clouds. And maybe one day -- very far from now -- someone will pick up your work and read it with curiosity, long after you’ve been retired -- despite your own desire to continue your good work. And they’ll take it into their own hands, and they’ll shift it, rearrange it, put all the pieces in all the wrong places -- until you, yourself, would never be able to recognize your own work. And they’ll call it good. And they will succeed. But your name will be forgotten, and the ingenuity for which you’ve been heralded would have since been seen as eccentric.” Her eyes still did not leave him, but her head was ceased in its shaking by the metal that kept her still. “And all the good you think you could have done will be gone.”

    Rampart struck Ada with the back of his hand, and he clenched his fist the moment it broke away from her face. The metal that encased her bit his knuckles and he drew a sharp breath. Rage tore into his eyes -- such insubordinate behavior required punishment, a lesson learned.

    Silence engulfed the air, loud and unfettered, it weighed heavy on the space between them.

    Rampart swallowed and returned his sight to the droid. “Talk is meaningless,” he said. “In the end, you are still here. And I still have what I want.” He straightened his tunic and turned his back; his palm massaged his knuckles as he left.

    “Don’t forget --” Ada warned. “What you want isn’t always what you’ll get.”

    The door closed behind him.

    And Ada's eyes fell shut at the stinging in her cheek.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    To poison a poisoner, one must be quicker than an antidote. Ada’s fingers wound so deeply into the Imperial system’s underbelly, her code was repeated back to her as truth. She could wordlessly control the movements of droids, of doors, and of machines anywhere in the facility. But it was a secret and a strategy she could only use sparingly.

    “How did it go? With the Admiral?” Crosshair asked as he escorted her back to the barrack.

    “He’s a well determined man,” she said. She would engage in no conversation that would rile her husband -- she had to keep him as calm as possible, as trusting as he was able, well into the night. And if all went well -- which she predicted it wouldn’t -- they would be off Kamino before the daylight rose.

    “His methods get results,” he agreed -- his voice was cold and detached through the modulator. He stood in the open doorway of the barrack as Ada passed through.

    “Aren’t you coming?” she asked -- she hid a panic that he’d turn and walk away, wrenching her plan that was already in motion.

    Cross looked behind him and deliberated; his shoulders tensed as he fought himself. “I can’t -- my squad --”

    Ada smiled and pet a hand to his helmeted face, it trailed down his arm and to his chest. “Your squad are highly trained soldiers -- I’m sure they can handle lights out without you.”

    Cross shuddered beneath his armour at the feel of her hand on his chest. The temptation of her offer riled him, and he watched as she wandered away from him and towards the bunk. She was beautiful in the evening light -- the way it glinted off of her, he felt enraptured, enthralled, unable to refuse her. He sighed and stepped inside, the door shutting behind him, he felt his decision for the night had been made for him. “I -- can’t keep doing this,” he breathed and removed his helmet. When his sight returned to her again, she sat on the edge of the bed, her arms situated on either side of her -- they only enhanced the curve and sway of her figure. He felt he could repeat the night before all over again if she’d permit him.

    “Maybe not,” she said, and beckoned him closer. “But maybe we can enjoy the time we have together while we have it.”

    He let another breath, and sat beside her with a meager grin. “Can’t argue with that.”

    Ada combed her fingers through his hair, pushing a few strands behind his ear. “You look tired.”

    He glanced to her. He didn’t feel any particular, unusual state of tiredness, but he hadn’t really stopped to notice either way. There was only the mission -- the mission that eluded him, that pained his head if he strained to think of it with any clarity. The mission which he dreaded to speak, but with no knowing as to why.

    “He’s been pushing you pretty hard, hasn’t he?” Ada asked.

    “His methods get results.”

    “You mentioned that.” There was no animosity in her voice, only a quiet humming, like in a dream. She traced the outline of his ear, running her hand down the sinew of his neck to his pauldron. “But right now you can take a minute to relax. At least for now.” She knew he’d never fully relinquish his guard. It was not in his nature, it was never a thought to cross his mind. But she knew, also, and fairly, that she held power over him -- a power she did not ever abuse, but to save his life. “Maybe I can rub your back tonight,” she offered with a smile -- it weighed heavy on her lips with an ache and a strain, but she did not show it. “You certainly gave me a massage last night, it’s only polite to return the favour,” she let a sultry chuckle.

    He eyed her with a raised brow and a conniving smirk. “You don’t have to ask me twice.”

    She giggled and moved as he began to disassemble his armour and peel off the upper portion of his blacks. “Why don’t you lie down, get comfortable.” She helped settle him on the bed, fluffing the pillow and letting him crane to lie flat on his stomach on the mattress. “You okay?” she asked and ran her hands against the outlines of his shoulder blades, down to the small of his back.

    Crosshair groaned at the touch -- her fingers were light, and he’d never known softness until the moment he’d met her so many years ago. Sometimes such soft things felt painful, foreign. Soft things don’t survive in war, and he worried over Ada with a constant fear -- that she may not survive.

    She hadn’t.

    He forced the thought -- the memory -- from his mind and took a breath as she wound her palm up his spine. “Thinking.”

    “That’s dangerous,” she smirked.

    “Nothing more dangerous,” he agreed. Especially for a clone.

    His muscles were tense -- they always had been, she was sure they always would be. They carried in them the means to kill, maim; things that never dissipated, especially from sinew and bone. “And what are you thinking about?”

    “You,” he hummed.

    “Good things I hope.” She hoped they were good things -- she hoped it would always be good things, that he would not resent her for what she knew she must do.

    He purred with a smile. “Always.”

    Ada’s eyes closed if but for a moment, and she plucked his single word, keeping it in the center of her mind.

    “I never thought I’d see you again,” he said. “Sometimes I think I’m dreaming.” She was not the only reason, though the one that caused him the greatest doubt.

    “I’m here,” she reassured him, rubbing her hands in small circles on his back, as if to tether him to her. “I’m here. And I’ll always be here.” They would always be together, she imagined -- far from Kamino, far from the war and all the things that caused them pain. A fallacy she clung to as a motivation for the grievous death she’d escaped, for the betrayal she would cause. But a mind was entitled to its dreams -- and she dreamt many things, rarely any of them good; yet the good she held to as the braid of a rope.

    Ada continued to rub her lover’s back, stretching every tense muscle into a state of repose, loosening every joint until Cross seemed as though he’d meld into the mattress. She could feel his breath slow -- imperceptible as it already was -- he was falling asleep, and her own heart rattled within her.

    His eyes were closed and his body was placid -- it was the only opportunity she would have.

    Ada reached one hand behind her, beneath the lip of the mattress, and pulled from it a pistol -- one she’d instructed a droid through the Kaminoans' systems to retrieve and hide for her. It was already set for stun, all she had to do was pull the trigger.

    Her one hand on his back, still meaning to soothe him, the other shaking with the weight of the blaster, Ada raised the muzzle to the back of her lover.

    Cross felt the tremble of her fingers on his skin, the absence of her other hand -- a stringent tension frayed the air. His eyes opened.

    He caught the glare of a blaster barrel behind him. His hand flew to the holster over the side of the bed among his armor, the weapon cocked before he turned around on his knees -- he faced Ada. The blaster shook in her hand and water lined her eyes. “What are you doing?” He could hear his pulse in his ears sewn in with the sound of his voice, grief struck him with a bolt through the marrow of him.

    “Cross,” her voice remained calm, but her weapon did not lower. “Listen to me --”

    “Put down the blaster.”

    “I can’t --” she swallowed a sob. “I can’t do that. I need you to listen to me.”

    “Ada put down the blaster now.” Pain reared in his head, shooting its way through his temple and through his eye, downwards towards his throat. “Give it to me.”

    “No -- I can’t. I won’t.” Her voice trembled with the tears that began to form and fall from her face.

    “Ada give it to me now --”

    “No!”

    The pain now nearly blinded him -- a white stab through the field of his vision and an ache that constrained his chest. He kept his hand level, his sight pinned on her, confusion gripped his features -- Why? What had he done? “Don’t do it. Don’t,” he shook his head once.

    Ada hesitated, watching the faith he had in her die with each passing second. If she lowered her weapon, there would be no hope left for either of them -- he would die in the service of a man who did not see him as human; and she would be left to rot, to be be smelted. But if she took the chance, if she fired, she would never be quick enough.

    The blaster grew heavy in her hand, and Cross did not move. His sight on her grew cold, empty and aching. And she wondered how much of it was him, and how much of it was the chip.

    She bit down hard as her eyes locked onto his -- stern resolve returned to her. “No.”

    Cross’ head shook again. “Don’t--”

    Ada lifted the blaster --

    Cross’s finger pulled the trigger -- a spiral of blue coiled around her in a brilliant flash.

    Ada’s body clattered to the mattress beneath them in a motionless heap.

    Cross’ breath held in his lungs, and he watched as the light dimmed from her eyes, her head at his legs. He sat back, the blaster falling from his fingers as his body shook at the sight of her. Bile began to burn the back of his throat as a well of memories flooded his mind’s eye -- a smoldering hole in the center of her chest, lifeless eyes fixated on nothing, as they were now. The glass wall within him cracked, and the moment his breath fled him he suppressed a retching.

    He reached to her, her skin cold and chilled -- it bit his fingers and burned his stomach. He pulled her body to him, scooping her frame into his arms, laying her across his lap. He looked into the dark of her eyes as he had so many times before: the night they met, the night she died, and now -- the moment she betrayed him. A caustic grief ate away at his innards despite the lack of movement on his face, all he could do was stare at her -- take in every feature of her face, still damp from the tears that’d plagued her only moments before. He brushed them from her skin, cradling her cheek in his palm -- the hand that shot her.

    Why? What had he done?

    Cross carried her body as he had once before, languid and limp in his arms. And though this time she would wake, he knew, surely, he would never see her again. Once Rampart had what it was he needed -- and his methods always get results -- she would be decommissioned. And if he was lucky, so would he.

    Upon instruction, Crosshair took Ada to the brig. He placed her lying against the durasteel bench, bitter and sterile -- unlike the sepulchral willow tree beneath which she’d been laid only six months before. His fingers caressed her face one last time, and he clung to the privacy of a helmet -- a tear fell and he drew a shuddered breath as he spoke a quiet and final goodbye.

    “Mesh’la…” he whispered. He bowed down to meet his head with hers, lingering a little longer than should have, unable to let her go a second time. But he pulled himself away, tearing himself in two as he parted from her, as he turned and walked away.

    Crosshair returned to his squad’s bunk -- pointless, if but for a restless night -- and awaited new orders in the morning. A new opportunity to hunt the traitors that pained his head.

    If only the pain would stop.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ada woke with a start -- a pain resonated all throughout her chassis, she could feel every cord within her vibrating. It made her dizzy and she moaned as she began to push herself upright. She was no longer in the bunk, she lay on something hard and cold, though she couldn’t tell where she was. The buzzing in her body disoriented her.

    “It’s a shame that you’ve insisted on causing such a ruckus.”

    She knew that voice. Her eyes narrowed and her brow furrowed as her vision cleared -- Rampart stood on the other side of the electric barrier that separated them. She was in the brig, she could tell now. Two guards stood behind Rampart, at the entrance; no other guards came with him.

    Ada stood and placed herself directly in front of her captor. “I’ve done nothing you wouldn’t do.”

    He scoffed. “And what is it you think I would have done in your stead?”

    She took his sight by force and held it. “Survive.”

    He kept her gaze, taking it as a challenge as he mused. “Survive. Though all things strive to do so, everything must come to an end.”

    “You won’t be the one that ends me,” she stepped forward, keeping his eyes. “I’ve taken a bullet, and I’m still here.”

    He met her pace until his breath bounced back at him from the field that kept them both at bay. “I’m the one who brought you back. I will be the one to take you out.”

    “Are you really going to be the one to do it? Or are you going to get one of your serfs to do the dirty work?”

    Rampart seethed, furor rushing his bones, he hissed at her: “I will take you apart piece by piece, until your head is in my hands, and I will pull every wire from your skull until I have what I want.”

    “I’m sure you’d love to get your hands on me.”

    “I wouldn’t stoop so low to defile myself.” He snapped, his breath quick on the tip of his tongue, he quieted himself -- chastizing his response. She was nothing. Nothing but a droid. He had no need to perturb himself with her agitations. He straightened himself and pulled on his tunic. “You are scheduled to be terminated by the end of the day, your code dissected and disseminated. The Commander none the wiser.”

    “Where is he?” She did not blink, though the worry for her lover was palpable through her words.

    “Disposing of the rest of his former squad. And without further complications, both Project War Mantle and Project Darktrooper will succeed unhindered.”

    Ada’s heart wept at the thought of Crosshair finding his brothers, finding Omega in the center of his scope. She tried not to flinch, but the bereavement at the thought of losing her daughter at the hand of her lover -- it pushed on her shoulders and she broke her sight at last from the man who held his strings.

    “I have learned a lot both from you and about you, Ada. Had things turned out differently, I would have rather you been more involved in what the Empire is achieving.”

    “Go to hell,” she spat, her arms wrapping round her middle mindlessly. Her only thoughts of Omega, of how it felt when she kicked inside her jar -- how terrified she must be wherever she was.

    “I’m sure we’ll see each other there sometime later, rather than sooner,” he said and turned to depart. “Although, I doubt your kind would be allowed entrance to even the most pernicious of places.”

    The door shut behind him, leaving her alone in the brig once more.

    Ada struggled to keep her thoughts together, her hand shaking around her mouth, she settled herself and sat back on the steel bench behind her. She had to escape -- she had to get out. She had to get to -- to what? To whom? Even if she absconded from the brig, she would be alone: her husband gone, dead to himself, her daughter murdered, his brothers, now as close to her as her own kin, dead as well. Even if she left she would have no one. Neither kin of flesh nor droid.

    Ada gathered herself, fighting the instinct to roll over, to give up -- she’d threatened Rampart before: that should he harm Omega, she would never let him have what he wanted.

    It was time to make good on that threat.

    Ada stared the camera lens through its eye and soughed a single word: “Loophole.” Rampart was not the only one with contingencies -- and with her hands meddled through the entirety of the Imperial system, she had as many tricks up her chassis as he had neurons.

    The camera lens shifted and whirred as it rewound its footage five seconds and kept the visual of Ada sitting on the bench in a loop.

    She stood, fists clenched and her wiring tense -- if she had breath she imagined it would have been shuddering. The guards muttered to each other on the other side of the brig, conversing casually, unawares as to her subtle movements. She positioned herself in front of the metal wall to her right, and gave herself a quiet nod. This is going to hurt like a gundark.

    In a single fell motion, Ada slammed her head against the durasteel -- a startling clang echoed and reverberated off the cell and throughout the room.

    The guards whirled round to see the droid rattle to the floor, fear roiled the ever present pangs in the sides of their heads -- fears of blame, fears of decommissioning.

    “Open the cell!” One bark to the other.

    The ray shield dissipated into nothingness, and both approached the latent droid tentatively. One rolled her over onto her back -- the metal lids of her eyes closed.

    “Get her to the medbay,” the same trooper breathed. “The Admiral won’t be pleased.” And they both would pay for it with their lives, they were certain.

    The other trooper lowered his blaster rifle onto the floor as he knelt and began to scoop Ada into his arms as his compatriot pulled from his belt a comlink.

    Before the trooper could press his finger to the call button, Ada flung her head forward and battered the helmet of the clone who carried her. He stumbled, disoriented, and she swiped the blaster from the floor -- firing a blue bolt of rings around his torso. The trooper left standing dropped the comlink, pulling his blaster upright -- but was pummelled with another stun to the chest.

    Ada’s hands vibrated with the recoil of the weapon -- something she’d never fully grown used to, despite all the hours she’d trained with Crosshair. Something inside her sunk at the thought of his name, of his face. She steadied herself and squared her shoulders, sitting upright on her knees to survey the two clones; she grabbed the comlink on the floor next to the one slumped against the jamb of the cell and nestled it in the folds of gauze around her waist.

    With the rifle still in her hand, she bolted for the other end of the brig. In the corner, close to the floor, was a large vent grate; she pulled it from its place and crawled inside, and set it back where it belonged before she turned to wind her way through the facility.

    She had the whole layout memorized, from days long past when Cross would slither through them just to catch a glimpse of Omega when she was an infant. Nala Se had let Ada care for her on days when the scientist’s dutiful obligations outweighed her moral ones. She’d told Ada once, that it was merely convenience to have Ada care for the infant, given her more human tendencies. But Ada could see in those cold, grey eyes, that Nala Se understood her to be more than a droid, to have maternal feelings towards what would have otherwise been an experiment. And Ada knew, also – as days turned to months, turned to prohibitions from seeing her organic daughter – that Nala Se came to love Omega in ways she would never be able to express in her aseptic confines. In a way, despite all the grief and maleficence she'd caused, Ada pitied the geneticist. And now, the girl they both loved was marked for death.

    She had to find them: Omega and Crosshair. But she had no shadow of an idea what she would do when she did.

    Ada crawled through the long corridors of the facility towards the docking bay -- where a ship had lay in wait for both her and Cross, had her plan come to fruition -- she heard a tumult. Running of boots and calling of orders -- she gripped the rifle and prepared for an assault on her hiding place. But she quieted, and listened as a medic barked in the oncoming distance:

    “Get me Nala Se -- I need a medbay prepared, he’s been unconscious twenty minutes. Burns to the face -- not sure where else. Dislocated left leg, right shoulder. Two packs bacta and pain reliever administered already, we’re going to need a full tank.”

    She peered through the slats in a grate nearby. A horde of clones led a grav-gurney through the hall and towards the medbay. Her processor revved inside her as she saw the face of the man lain out and bandaged: “Cross…” Her fingers kneaded the underside of the blaster and she followed the gurney back through the hall to watch where he was taken. Nala Se and AZI rounded a corner and escorted an unconscious Crosshair into a medical suite.

    Ada sat in the air duct of the medical suite, watching Nala Se and AZI pass back and forth bandages and bacta packs.

    “Is he still viable?” she could hear that distinctively calm voice just above the sound of AZI’s maglev.

    “His vitals appear stable, I have assessed the damage and determined he will make a full recovery.”

    Ada’s shoulders dropped at the thought -- if only she could get him out -- away from under Nala Se’s knife.

    “Prepare to transport him to my private medical facility. I want him moved to a hyperbaric chamber,” she directed and turned to leave with a datapad in her hand.

    AZI hurried off somewhere to fulfill his master’s wishes.

    Ada scanned the immediate area she could see before she unhooked the vent screen and clambered out of her hiding place. She ran to her husband’s side and set the blaster on the tray beside him, her hands caressing his wrapped face. She stifled tears to see him so battered -- mauled and unrecognizable. Her thumbs ran their way through his singed hair, and she clung to the hope -- the thought -- that perhaps her daughter had made an escape if he were so beaten.

    Cross’ eyes strained against the pain and the pressure of the bandages; his one undamaged lid began to flutter open and he was met with a blurred beacon of light above him, shrouding anything else in his view.

    “Cross?” he heard a voice, distant, rapturous.

    A tear fell on his skin and he winced at the twinge it gave him. But when he moved to wipe it from his face, his hand was met with another -- metal and plastoid. “...Ada?” he rasped.

    She smiled, though she doubted he could see it. “It’s me, I’m here.”

    “You’re here?” he struggled to furrow, but the gauze around him kept his muscles taut and flat. ‘Here’? Where was ‘here’? “Am I...dead?” he reasoned; the last he saw her, he knew her fate was the same as his state of mind: decommissioned.

    Her smile persisted, though weighted with sadness. “No. Not dead. You’re on Kamino. You were hurt,” she said.

    Memories began to flood him -- memories of the little blonde haired girl in his scope, memories of his brothers, of Hunter, begging him to come to his senses; memories of a blighted pain in his head that moved his arms and pulled his fingers on the trigger. His mind wafted and worked at the blinding sight of the ion engine --

    Memories of a dark inn room, where he’d been woken by a voice just as ambrosial. And a pain in his body just as feral.

    Cogency returned to him in a bolt of lightening -- a reprieve from the parasite in his head that reined his thoughts and mind’s eye, his movements. In a moment of clarity, he grabbed Ada’s arm and pulled her close.

    She jolted at the motion, he’d never grabbed her before; he’d never set his hand on her with force. But the look in his eye, reddened and burnt, it was one of terror, not rage.

    “Run,” he could barely get the word out. “Run -- leave and never look back.”

    “No -- I won’t leave you,” she begged, looking around for a way to smuggle him off world, something, anything. “I’m not going to leave you behind.”

    His grip on her arm tightened, both out of persistence, and as a pang grappled his body and held it hostage. “Leave -- leave now. They’ll find you,” he coughed, his throat and lungs ashened from the fire that scarred him.

    “I --” she was about to protest again, still looking round for anything she could use -- a bodybag, a bacta tank, anything.

    He pushed her with what little strength he had left.

    She stumbled backwards, grief clawing into her features. He lay there, panting, wearied. The sound of his laboured breath replayed in her mind -- three years ago when he lay shattered on a bed in that forsaken inn to which she would never return. They would part the same way they met: with whispered confessions and dreams of a life they may never have. But she refused to believe their severance would be forever.

    “I’ll come back,” she promised, searching now for words instead of any tangible solution before her.

    He shook his head. But his sight settled on her -- hazy and marred with pain. He longed to see her clearly, to hold an image of her with him for whatever few years he had left. “Don’t,” he breathed. “Don’t ever look back.”

    A tear ran down her face and she reached out for his hand again. He took it, this time gentle and soft: his scorched and shaken fingers entwined with hers, she was steady, firm. She always had been, even more than himself. She’d only ever made him a better person -- and he’d only ever treated her like one. He held her hand with a tender grip before he let her go --

    Voices and the sounds of maglev came from the distance and Ada swiped another tear from her face with the gauze round her shoulder.

    “They’re coming,” he said.

    She pressed her lips to his, stealing what little of him she could take, to keep with her until they met again. They would meet again. He was only too stubborn, too sullen to believe it now.

    His hand on her hair, he breathed in her scent, past the fetor of burnt flesh and searing flame: she was gun oil and metal, she was quiet nights spent in murmured darkness, and days filled with hope. His fingers ran down her neck and shoulder, where he pushed her again -- less harshly now – but insistent, still.

    She broke from him with anguish and greed for more time, more of him, and took the blaster from the tray. One foot stepped behind her, then the other as the voices gradually found their way further towards them, and she could barely pull her sight from her lover. She retreated into the air duct, behind the vent screen, and watched as Nala Se and AZI transferred him onto another gurney and escorted him to Nala Se’s private facility, the cognizance fading from him in passing seconds.

    The crawl back to the ship that awaited her dredged on her legs, she felt she could barely make it – that soon she would meld into the metal beneath her, fixated and lifeless. But by the time she reached the hangar she could no longer feel her limbs – her mind worked her body by instinct. Survival had been a language spoken on her tongue long before she’d met Crosshair: to hide, to vanish, to live by any means. Many years she’d lived with the unequivocal – and unnecessary – guilt, that she had abandoned her sisters somehow; that somehow, she’d let them down. That somehow, she couldn’t save them.

    But now, a much more present guilt added itself beside that burden: she had abandoned her husband. A guilt she could never outrun, and never forgive.

    With her ‘Loophole’ contingency, the camera surveying the ship was blind to her steal inside the bay. The ship primed and fuelled, Ada needed only to climb inside; her legs heavy, her side lonely. She stared at the empty copilot’s seat for a half second longer than she could spare. The door hissed closed with a definitive clang and she hurried to the controls, keeping at bay the grief and the cord that was to be severed within her.

    She would find him again. She swore it. Once she was safe from Rampart’s net, once she was armed with both weapons and knowledge – she would free him. Just as he had freed her, those years ago. She would not fail him again.

    With a deft hand across the console, Ada set the coordinates for somewhere in the outer rim – somewhere she could disappear.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    EPILOGUE.

    Crosshair lay in the pitch dark, sprawled on his bunk in the backroom of Cid’s bar. Woken by a ruthless dream, a torment of images, memories, of the woman he loved, he could no longer find the will to sleep. With his brothers still reposed, he lay in the promise of a wakeful night full of invasive thoughts; images played behind his mind’s eye of her smile, of her voice, her laughter.

    It had been three weeks since they last parted, and so much had changed. His hands shook as they rested on his abdomen, his throat stuck together at its dryness, and he wondered if he ever found her again – when he found her again, if she would even recognize the man he’d become. Part of him couldn’t find her fast enough, the other never wanted her to see him this way. But his Pride was his weakness, and he growled at the thought of being weak.

    All the things he feared she’d reject were only things he rejected of himself – the quiver in his fingers as he held the barrel of a rifle; how he had to work to find a target now. None of those things mattered to her – he scoffed at himself that he should think they would. All she cared about was him, how he treated her, how he spoke to her. And though his words were prone to the tendencies of his hands: violence and sniping, he’d never let a stray bullet hit her. Even when the chip had plagued him.

    A finger wandered mindlessly to the side of his head, the scar healing over, the burn wound showing signs of promise. It’d never be the way it was – but what would? His life now was completely incongruent to the life he’d lived only three weeks ago. Why should his skin stay the same?

    “Buir?” a quiet voice emerged beside him.

    He started and lifted his head to see Omega in the dark standing at the edge of his bunk. “What is it?”

    Her eyes dodged him out of sheepish embarrassment. “I…had a bad dream,” she said, almost ashamed that it had affected her so poorly.

    He hummed, recalling the dream that’d woken him; recalling the nightmares from years long past. He opened one arm to her and beckoned her close. “What was it?”

    She hesitated as she crawled next to him, and she settled into the crook of his arm, nuzzling against his chest. She lay on her back, staring at the same empty ceiling. “I don’t want to talk about it.” Her hands clasped on her stomach, she looked at him – she tried to make out his figure in the black of night, tried to see if his innate abilities had been passed onto her. All she could see was fuzzy darkness, she scrunched her nose. “Want to talk about yours?”

    He furrowed and looked to her. “What?”

    “Your dream. You were talking in your sleep earlier,” she said. “Something about a girl named ‘Ada’.”

    Crosshair’s face turned cold and he stiffened, unsure of what to say. He swallowed thickly, opening his mouth, but nothing came out. He’d tried many times over the past week to say something – anything as to the origins of her mother, of the admission she even had a mother, but nothing he could think of was adequate. At least, in his mind. But he knew, if he waited any longer he would only be lying to her by omission. And lying out of Pride would only ever serve himself. She deserved better. Ada deserved better.

    Omega smiled, and nudged him with her elbow. “Is she your girlfriend?” she teased.

    He huffed with a scowl invisible to her in the dark. But as his eyes wandered back to the vacant ceiling, he grabbed his Pride by the throat and stifled its pawing. He drew a heavy breath as he turned over and pushed Omega to do the same. “Get up. If we can’t sleep, might as well do something useful.”

    Omega snuck behind her buir, confused as to his sudden wave of energy, but willing to follow him anywhere. Even to the back kitchen of Cid’s bar. Boxes and crates were stacked in corners, and appliances hummed and rattled in the dim glow of the overhead stove light. Everything was filthy and covered in a visible layer of grease – she dreaded what he had in mind as ‘usefulness’.

    “How does Cid find anything back here? It’s a mess,” Omega dodged a roach as it skittered from beneath a refrigerator.

    “Don’t give her any ideas, she might make you clean it.” Cross stopped in front of an industrial fridge and reached up and over to its roof. “Echo keeps the good kark up here,” he muttered to her as he looked for a prize. His hands found two small boxes of sweet crackers, he tossed one down to her and took one for himself.

    Omega caught it and watched as Cross sat leaned against the fridge. “Isn’t this stealing?”

    He shrugged and shook his head as he tore open the plastic bag inside. “No. We’re brothers. We share.”

    She gave him an amused, yet sceptical eye and she sat in front of him as she opened her own box. The sweet crackers resembled creatures and fauna from across the galaxy, some were massiffs, others were fathiers, but most were unrecognizable.

    Quiet noises of crunching and the shudder of the fridge were the only things that weighted the air for some few minutes, as Cross tried to gather what to say. Pride aside, confusion was the driving force behind his silence. What if Omega had questions to which he had no answers? Or no answers he wanted to give? But he knew that if – when, he found Ada, she would be devastated if her own daughter did not know her, despite his opportunities to reveal to her the truth.

    “Ada’s not my girlfriend,” he said at last. Again, in confessions and bare vulnerabilities, he could not look Omega in the eye. “She was my…She was more than that.” He swallowed, choosing each word carefully, with reason, with hope. “I swore an oath to protect her.” He glanced to Omega: she was readily invested, sitting eagerly, gingerly, to hear more. His brow raised as he averted his eyes again. “She was a droid.” He took another bite.

    “A droid?” Omega’s eyes ran at the memories that began to surface and she smiled: “The droid that followed you guys around?”

    He nodded once. “She was part of us. She was…” he could think of no word, no concept, no idea that could fully encapsulate all of what Ada truly was. “She was a person.”

    Omega’s hand stopped in her lap and she put back the cracker from her fingers. “Is she…gone?”

    Cross sighed and ran a hand down his face. “No. No, she’s out there – somewhere.”

    “Did you get separated?”

    “The Empire wanted to hurt her. So I told her to run,” he almost couldn’t get the word out. The image of her terrified face the moment he’d pushed her had branded itself into his mind. He knew he would never be free of it.

    He could see Omega thinking, he could see her remembering all the brief and fleeting moments Ada had waved to her, given her a kind word in the halls of Kamino – small gestures that had both set her alight and wounded her all at once. Cross had shut off his connection to Omega completely – almost completely, but he hesitated to admit anything else. But Ada had never recovered from having her child ripped from her arms as an infant.

    “She was your mother,” he stated, with an imperceptible waver in his voice as he did.

    Omega’s eyes went wide with shock as she tried to meet his. “My…what?”

    “When you were cloned from me, there was a threat to your life. Someone wanted Nala Se’s work. Someone wanted you. She needed to hide you.” He took another swallow and another deep breath as he tread through the minefield of his memories. “Your mother and I met on Corellia three months past, I brought her back to Kamino. I tried to hide her, but…” he shook his head, recalling the dodging of corners and the counting of guards in order to keep her safe. “Nala Se found out. She knew she was different, so she…cornered Ada, struck a deal. Ada would carry your jar, inside her chassis, and Nala Se would keep her secret. But…” he scoffed almost with a laugh – but there was no snideness in his simper. “Your mother got attached. She couldn’t let you go. Then, when you were decanted, Nala Se took you – it crushed her. But I think she tried to make up for it, she’d let Ada take care of you every so often. Then one day…she didn’t.” He raised a brow and tensed at the memory of consoling his desolate lover. “Didn’t want you to have divided loyalty, I guess.”

    Omega’s breath shook as she recalled a moment from two years before – she sat alone, in the rain outside the facility on Kamino. She’d been hiding from the medical staff, unwilling to participate in the testing for which she’d been scheduled, terrified of needles and machines. She had only a rain coat to keep her warm as she sat beneath the canopy of the building, she’d been shaking, wiping her face every so often from salt water – both from the ocean and not. But a droid had come from nowhere, with bronze skin and a blue parka. She was so gentle as she placed it around her, sitting next to her with only a sundress to stave off the cold. How she’d found her, she reckoned she’d never know, but she never scolded her. They’d played cards with the half deck she’d been given by one of the clones that’d come in for a patch up job; and dominoes with the six pieces that Ninety-Nine had given her.

    Omega sniffed with smile and she brushed her cheek against her shoulder. “My mother.”

    “It killed her that she couldn’t tell you. But not even I was supposed to know.”

    She swallowed with another sniffle and squared herself as she pulled her knees to her chest. “We’re going to find her.”

    He nodded once. “We are.” Between Ada’s optimism and Crosshair’s stubbornness, Omega was the perfect picture of the two of them. It almost made him smile.

    “Do you think…she’ll want to see me?” she tried not to cower behind herself.

    That made him smile, and he reached a finger to her face, caressing her cheek and nudging her chin. Something about her looked just like Ada – something he couldn’t put into words, something he couldn’t entirely see. Something he knew he could never be, and never teach her to be. It scared him, this softness, the potential for loss. But the grin persisted as he nodded, knowing her truly to be her mother’s daughter.

    He wouldn’t have wanted her any other way.

    “She wouldn’t want anything else, ad’ika.”

    #crosshair#tbb crosshair #bad batch crosshair #ct 9904#crosshair fanfic #ct 9904 fanfic #bad batch fic #bad batch fanfic #star wars #star wars fanfic #swwriting #star wars writing #bad batch writing #clone wars fic #clone wars #clone wars fanfic #crosshair fic #crosshair x oc #crosshair x fem!oc #crosshair x ofc #i tagged a few people who ive noticed have liked and/or reblogged my ada stuff! #sorry for the random ass tag! lmao #ada 565 #crosshair bad batch
    View Full
  • ellielwolf
    07.12.2021 - 1 day ago

    The Evil Dead (Bad Batch) Part 1

    Before the Empire, after Skako Minor, the Batch are sent to find a missing battalion that were sent to a planet for aid. When they arrive, they find the walking dead and a strong Padawan struggling to survive with her surviving troopers.

    *battalion is made up and not of 501st, 212, or 104th or any other battalions you may know*

    ____________________________________

    “So what do you think we’ll find when we get down there?” asked Echo, curiously. The new member of the crew fidgets in his new armor as he works with his mechanical hand. The reg has been on a few missions already but still feels a bit out of place. (Being the new kid and all)

    “Since there aren’t any satellites for us to view from, we are going in completely blind. Especially since there has been no communication from the lost battalion of the 321st.” commented Tech.

    “Really, Tech? No communication from the missing battalion? Shocking!” said Crosshair, sarcastically.

    “I don’t like your sarcasm.” Tech grumbled, glaring at his silver haired Vod.

    “I would’ve thought you’d be used to it by now.” Crosshair said with a curt laugh.

    “Enough!” yelled Hunter, both amused and annoyed. “We are about to descend into unknown territory and I don’t want to be distracted by your bickering!” Hunter said. Tech and Crosshair cease their bickering but grumble a few expletives under their breaths. Then they continue with what they were doing before.

    “So what is our plan once we get down there?” asked Wrecker, the biggest of the group. The large clone is doing reps by lifting their GNK droid above his head with one arm. In his other hand, he is happily munching on some food.

    Sighing, Hunter gets out of the pilot’s seat and produces a device. “If you were paying attention earlier, Wrecker, you would know the plan already.” Hunter said, quirking a tattooed eyebrow at their muscle. The sergeant proceeds to press a button and a small holographic image of a planet appears. “But it’s always a good idea to remind everyone.” he added. The group stop what they are doing to form a circle around the holo.

    “We are to search for a missing battalion that was sent to this small planet called Falsea. The planet had recently suffered an unexpected meteor shower that caused considerable damage to a portion of the planet’s surface. A portion of the 321st, lead by General Isla Veti and her Padawan Kara Ber, were sent to deliver medical supplies and help rebuild. Exactly 2 weeks ago, all contact has gone silent and no one has been able to make any sort of transmission.

    “All satellite access is inaccessible as the meteor strike caused a strong dust cloud that obscures any camera feed. So we are being sent on a recon mission to see if we can find the missing battalion or signs of foul play.”

    Hunter presses a button and the holographic image of the planet changes into a view of a landscape that involves a large city. “This is the city of Ravagar. The majority of the meteor strike landed in the surrounding area of downtown Ravagar. Without the help of satellite, all we have is this old satellite map of the city. We have no way of knowing what the terrain has become after the attack.” Hunter explained.

    “So we’re going in blind in unknown territory?” questioned Echo.

    “Sadly, yes.” Hunter said, turning off the holo.

    “We’ve certainly handled worse.” said Crosshair. The gray haired clone straps his rifle to his back and takes out the toothpick from his mouth. “We still get the job done.” he said.

    ______________________________________________

    The Havoc Marauder arrives out of hyper space. Everyone is huddled in the cockpit so that they can see the planet. The planet Falsea is up ahead and looks nothing like the holovids that the Bad Batch were given.

    At first glance, Falsea was seen as a beautiful vibrant planet mixed with green and blue. The planet is known for the vast oceans and beautiful forests. A popular tourist destination that offers great food.

    Right now, the skies of the planet are completely obscured by a thick black cloud. There is no signs of land through the thickness. No wonder satellite and communications can’t get through.

    “How are we supposed to navigate through that?” asked Echo.

    “We’ve handled worse, Echo. We just have to make sure we’re on the right side of the planet to get to Ravagar.” replied Hunter.

    Tech prepares the Havoc Marauder for their descent into Falsea’s atmosphere. “This will be a bit bumpy so everyone better strap in.” Tech warned. He straps himself into the pilot’s seat and flips a few buttons. “It’s not a suggestion.” he added, noticing how the rest weren’t moving.

    There are times when no one questions Tech’s orders. This is one of them. The remaining four clones hurry to any available seat and prepare for the descent.

    “Here we go,” Tech said as he dives down into the planet’s upper atmosphere. The entire ship rattled and shook as they descended.

    Wrecker screamed as he stumbles into the wall, unable to get to one of the chairs in time. The large clone crashes into Crosshair, who isn’t able to maintain his balance due to the crazy shaking. Both men fall over and land on the floor. Echo and Hunter aren’t able to hold in their laughter as they listen to Crosshair curse in Mando’a. Unlike the other two, Hunter and Echo were able to strap themselves in.

    “Frag you!” Crosshair shouted at everyone as he manages to slip out from underneath Wrecker. “Sucks to be you!” Echo joked. The silver haired clone sneers at Echo as he straps himself into the seat beside Hunter.

    The rest of the descent is full of violent shaking that threatens the integrity of the ship. Tech is holding on strong as he navigates through the dense cloud. It appears to be an endless fog with no signs of letting up.

    It feels like forever until the navigation computer tells them that they are nearing ground. As they hear the beeping, the cloud begins to clear up. From black to grey to clear.

    A breath of relief escapes them all as the turbulence ceases. Only for a gasp of horror as replacement as they finally got a view of the devastation of Falsea.

    They landed on the outskirts of the Ravagar, surrounded by luscious green forests. But the city was devastated; towers and buildings have been knocked over and smoke from fires are poisoning the air. The place looks like the aftermath of a war.

    “No wonder we haven’t heard anything from the legion. Probably couldnt get a signal with all the towers knocked over and the storm.” Hunter said, sliding his helmet on.

    “That’s a plausible assumption but we won’t know until we enter the city.” said Tech.

    “Yeah, yeah. Let’s do this!” Wrecker said, pounding his fists together.

    The Batch assembles their armor and weapons and step outside of the Marauder. “I’ve scanned our location and have used the map of the city to triangulate our position. We are on the south end of the city. The Legion was ordered to land in the center of the city to arrange hospital care and food.” Tech said, pulling up a holomap. “There’s a large garden in the center of the city that is popular for plays and benefits.“ Tech said.

    “So you think they’ll be there?” Hunter asked.

    “It’s possible.” Tech said.

    “It doesn’t matter. Once we find someone, they can direct us toward the relief center.” Crosshair said, keeping his gun prepped at the ready.

    “First, we have to walk through that,” Echo said, pointing toward a giant force field that is doming the entire city. The force field wasn’t visible when they were in the Marauder as it’s energy appears to be thin. The closer they get, the brighter it becomes.

    “Why is there an energy field?” Wrecker asked confused.

    “Must’ve put it up in case of attacks from the Separatists?” guessed Hunter.

    “Another plausible explanation.” Tech said, keeping his eyes on his data pad.

    “Then how are we going to get inside?” Crosshair asked.

    “Maybe we can–” Wrecker is cut off by accidentally tripping on a large rock and falling forward. Everyone tries to catch him as he was about to crash into the force field. When he collides with the field, instead of being electrocuted, Wrecker falls straight through.

    The four clones gawk at Wrecker, stunned that he didn’t get electrocuted. Wrecker groans as he slowly stands back up. The large clone turns around and notices that he’s on the other side of the force field.

    “Whoa.” Wrecker said.

    “Why wasn’t he electrocuted?” asked Crosshair.

    “Either the generator is running low or this force field isn’t actually meant to defend.” theorized Tech.

    “Then what is it for?” asked Hunter.

    “I do not know.” Tech said.

    After Wrecker recollects himself, the Batch move forward into the city. They have to climb over or around rubble. The streets were broken into pieces, stores had shattered windows, and all kinds of vehicles were lying on the ground, destroyed.

    It’s like entering the aftermath of a war zone.

    There’s just one thing missing.

    “No bodies.” stated Hunter, sniffing the air.

    “What’s that, boss?” Wrecker asked.

    “After an event like this, there’d by bodies. But there’s nothing. I can’t even smell anything.” Hunter said.

    “Maybe they moved the bodies? To bury them?” offered Echo.

    “Still. Death usually leaves a smell.” Hunter said.

    That leaves a unwholesome feeling in everyone’s brain. It’s true. Despite the damage, the place is too clean. No bodies, or signs of anyone.

    “How far is the garden from here again?” asked Crosshair, scanning the area through his scope.

    “It’ll take us a lot longer since we have to avoid so much rubble. I estimate about two hours.” Tech said, his eyes locked on his data pad.

    Wrecker groans. “Seriously?! Come on!” he shouted.

    Hunter halts suddenly, raising his fist in the air to tell his team to stop. Immediately, everyone quiets down and waits for command. The team leader scans their surroundings, his nose twitching and ears peaked. Something has caught his attention.

    “We’re not alone.” Hunter whispered.

    Quickly, everyone takes out their weapons and prepares for whatever. They aim in the direction that Hunter has his eyes locked on. They wait for a few moments; bodies locked into place.

    Then, someone enters view.

    The person is walking slowly, almost stumbling. With the dust in the air, it is hard to make out who they are.

    “Hello?” Hunter called out.

    The person doesn’t respond but continues walking in their direction. As they come closer, the Batch notices that they are wearing Clone trooper armor.

    “It’s one of the 321st.” pointed out Tech.

    “I can see that, Tech.” Hunter said.

    “Hey! Trooper! Care to tell us what’s going on around here?!” shouted Wrecker.

    Again, the trooper doesn’t respond. They just continue walking forward.

    “Hunter,” Echo warned, not liking the looks of this. Hunter lowers his gun but keeps it cocked.

    Once the trooper gets close enough that they can see his face, everyone wishes they hadn’t. The trooper’s helmet had been beaten in, revealing the inside of his helm. What they saw is horrible.

    The flesh on the trooper’s face is rotting off. Blood is oozing all over the trooper’s face and armor. The Batch can see gnashing teeth and ugly red eyes that are narrowed in on them.

    “What the kriff!?” screamed Wrecker.

    “I think we now know why we haven’t heard from the 321st.” said Crosshair.

    View Full
  • wild-karrde
    06.12.2021 - 1 day ago

    Guarded - Part 35

    Master List

    A/N: As always, thank you to the wonderful @teletraan-meets-jarvis for beta-reading this chapter for me!

    “We have to get to them.” Gregar was frantic. “What are our options?”

    Hunter’s heart ached for the captain. He too felt a sense of urgency to find them, but he was just slightly better at hiding it. Gotta try to be the clear head here. Gregar may be too afraid for Kestia to be objective. They’d gathered back by the speeders to regroup. Whatever they decided, it needed to happen quickly as the other factions around the planet were awaiting their signal to evacuate. Hunter took a deep steadying breath.

    “We need to figure out where they’ve been taken first. I’d imagine either back to Theed or on one of the star destroyers. Echo, can we use the trackers Tech embedded in our armor?”

    Crosshair raised an eyebrow, and Echo shrugged sheepishly. “After you captured Hunter, Tech took the liberty of embedding trackers in our boots. So we wouldn’t be dependent on the person that caught us leaving our comm frequency on to ping. You have one in your boot as well.”

    The sniper shrugged. “A good call. Not all captors are as courteous as I was.” He smirked at his own joke, and some of the tension dissipated.

    Senna stepped forward. “If you all have the frequency of the tracker, I can nail down their location. I should be able to amplify the scan on my datapad.”

    Echo reached out, taking her datapad from her to enter in the frequency band. Senna nodded, walking away quietly as she punched away at the keys and began scanning.

    Hunter watched her go, taking another deep breath. “No matter where they are, we still need to take the airbase. The fighters there will prove invaluable no matter where we’re staging an assault. Let’s at least keep that part of the plan in place. Now, assuming they’re on a star destroyer-“

    “That’s a safe assumption,” Senna interrupted, walking back towards them. “They’re in space, and it looks like it’s a destroyer parked almost directly above us, hovering over Theed.” Hunter looked up, squinting to see if he could make out the silhouette of the destroyer, but he was unable to find the telltale triangular shape.

    “They’re at a high orbit,” Senna said, “but the good news is they’re fairly isolated. I’d recommend we switch to make this destroyer the one we target. If I’m not overstepping.” She bowed her head, stepping back quickly, but Hunter gripped her arm.

    “We’re taking all suggestions right now. I agree that we should target this destroyer.” He thought for a moment. “Alright, here’s what I’m thinking. We capture the airbase, that’s unchanged. Then, before the full assault, we take the Marauder and one of the Imperial attack shuttles and head up to the destroyer. We can act as if it’s an escort for the Marauder being moved. Senna, do you think you can convince a few of the Imperial pilots we capture to go along with it?”

    Senna nodded. “Shouldn’t be an issue. Just make sure you leave at least two alive.”

    Hunter continued. “We’ll need to capture the airbase before a distress signal can go out. Echo, you’ll have to find a control panel and disable it as soon as we get near the control towers. After we take the airbase, we’ll take two teams. Gregar, Wrecker, and I will ride in the Marauder. Rather than waiting for our ships to blow the tractor beam signal, we’ll head to the engine room and rig the reactor to blow. One less star destroyer to contend with won’t be a bad thing. While we’re doing that, Senna, Echo, and Crosshair will ride along in the shuttle, and you three will go find Tech and Kes. Echo’s slicer abilities should come in handy with tracking down where they’re being held. We stay in contact, and we get out of there as quickly and quietly as possible. Iden, you’ll stay behind and coordinate things on the ground with Saré and Inez.” The final two handmaidens had travelled to other evacuation points to help coordinate communications, and Hunter hoped that having them in place would be beneficial now. “Once we’re all clear,” he continued, “we’ll blow the ship, and that should give us the hole we need to get out of here.” He turned to Typho. “Does that sound alright to you, Captain?”

    Typho met his eyes, and he nodded. “It’s a good plan.” The captain straightened slightly, regaining some of his composure. “Let’s get to it then.”

    ---

    Tech’s head ached, and in the darkness, he could hear the sounds of a starship echoing around him. Slowly, he tried to detect the sensations of the space he was in. Cold. Hard. Recycled air. Humming. He struggled to open his eyes, the world around him blurry before coming into focus.

    He was laying on his side in a small cell, the cool floor pressed against his cheek. His body ached and was stiff. As he went to push himself to a seated position, he realized his hands were still cuffed in front of him. He groaned, rolling onto his back and sitting up. At least my goggles are still on. His helmet and the top half of his armor had been removed, leaving him in only his leg armor and boots. His belt had been stripped of the utility pouches, and his weapons had been confiscated. This is decidedly not good. Kestia was not with him, but he’d anticipated that. Still, his heart thundered in his chest.

    We’re definitely on a star destroyer. This type of cell wouldn’t exist on a standard Imperial transport. Unsure of how long I’ve been out. Hunter and the others will figure out something’s wrong when we don’t receive their signal, but then what will they do? Ideally, proceed with the plan and escape, but that’s unlikely. They’ll probably mount an ill-advised rescue mission. He scooted back against the wall, tipping his head back against it gently. Maker, I hope they hurry. Tech was more worried for Kestia than himself. He understood her value to the Imperials, and Senna’s words echoed in his mind.

    “There have been…rumors floating around about the Inquisitors. They’re looking to recruit more Force users, much like they tried to do with me. I fear with Kestia’s lack of alignment to one side of the Force, that she may be easier to tempt or persuade.”

    He was unsure if the Empire was aware of her abilities, but he knew Inquisitors could feel other Force sensitives, or at least, that had been what the Grand Inquisitor told Senna, and it seemed fairly true at the time. He had managed to track them down when they were nearby. Either way, Tech imagined if an Inquisitor was present on or around Naboo, it wouldn’t take them long to discover Kestia’s connection to the Force.

    The sound of footsteps approaching the outer door of his cell drew his attention, and he straightened his spine, eyes springing open just as the door hissed and two stormtroopers marched in with their weapons trained on him. They hauled Tech roughly to his feet, shoving him forward and out the door of the cell into the hallway.

    “Care to tell me what this is all about?” Tech asked, earning him a swift cuff to the shoulder from one of the stormtrooper’s weapons.

    “Move it,” the trooper snarled, and Tech heaved a sigh before complying. He noted that they’d brought four stormtroopers to escort him. Excessive. Then he noted the fifth person in the group, someone decidedly not militaristic in dress, and his blood ran cold as his worst fear was confirmed.

    A hooded figure in a black cloak stood wordlessly to the side, hands clasped in front of their body and their face hidden in shadow as they silently observed Tech being shuffled towards them. He noted the red trim on the inside of the cloak and the unmistakable glint of a lightsaber hilt hanging from their belt. An Inquisitor.

    The hooded figure wordlessly led him down the hall, flanked by the stormtroopers. Tech tested the binders he was in, knowing it was in vain. He glanced out the windows as they walked. We’re on a star destroyer above Naboo. He recognized several telltale landmarks on the planet’s surface. A rough shove to his back caused him to stumble forward, and he glared at his captors before continuing to follow the hooded figure.

    After what felt like ages, they finally turned down a darkened corridor and stepped into a cell. Tech tried not to let his emotions betray him as he took in the sight before him.

    Kestia hovered in the air, suspended in anti-grav cuffs. He could see a thin sheen of perspiration on her and noted several bloody holes near her collar. They used an Interrogator droid on her. Rage flared within him as he met her eyes. They glowed like emeralds in firelight, and he felt her reaching out to him through the Force.

    “How touching,” a female voice commented from under the hood. “Don’t worry, he has been unharmed as of yet, but much of that may depend on your cooperation, m’lady.”

    Kestia glanced at Tech, but he shook his head slightly. Don’t give in. Not for me.

    “Who the kriff are you?” Kestia spat. “I suppose it’s no surprise the admiral tired of me, so he sent someone new to do his bidding. I take it you’re an Inquisitor?”

    “Because you can sense my presence in the Force, correct?”

    Kestia’s head snapped around to glare at her new captor. “And how would I do that exactly? You wear a lightsaber and dress in black. It wasn’t a difficult deduction.”

    “Let’s not be coy, m’lady. Not when I can sense you reaching out to the clone.”

    “So, you are an Inquisitor.”

    “That depends on you, I’m afraid. You see, Naboo is special to me. It is my homeworld, as it is yours. If you agree to my terms, then I will be made an Inquisitor, as shall you, and together, we can protect our planet. You of course would maintain your title and I would work with you to ensure our people are taken care of in the new era.”

    Kestia’s eyes narrowed. “Who are you?”

    The hooded figure turned towards her, hesitating for a second before reaching up and removing her hood. Her hair was still shorn close to her scalp, revealing the tattoos that wove across it. “It’s been a while since we’ve last interacted, so you may not immediately recognize me, but-“

    “Gadge,” Kestia whispered.

    ---

    “Crosshair, are you in position?”

    “I am,” the sniper drawled. “I can see the gunners from here. Should be able to take them out easily.”

    “Excellent,” came the captain’s response over the commlink. “Iden, are you and Wrecker ready?”

    “When you are, Cap.”

    Crosshair heard the captain exhale sharply. “Alright, let’s go. Crosshair, you’re up.”

    With ease, Crosshair picked off the first trooper in the turret, swinging around and hitting the second one before he even had a chance to realize what was happening. “Turrets clear.”

    He watched as Hunter and Typho’s forces raced across the tarmac towards the main building while Iden and Wrecker worked to demolish the turrets he’d taken down. He felt a small amount of relief as he watched Senna’s blue blade whir around them, protecting Iden and her team from the onslaught of blaster bolts as they readied the charges at the base of the first turret. Hardly anyone better than a Jedi watching your back, even with her right arm still healing. He repositioned his gun to focus on the forces Hunter and Typho were engaging, which were larger in number. Rolling his shoulders, he took a deep breath and held it before he started picking off the heavies and commanders he could see from his spot on the hilltop. He watched as Typho and Hunter went back to back, firing at the stormtroopers that were closing in around them. One overzealous trooper charged Echo, but before Echo could even turn, Crosshair placed a bolt right between the trooper’s eyes. Echo turned, staring across the tarmac at the place his brother was nestled in the high grass, and Crosshair threw him a two-fingered salute before readjusting and beginning to thin the herd near Iden and Wrecker.

    They were pinned down, and he watched as Iden lifted her commlink to her lips. “Need a little help over here if we’re going to get far enough away to blow this turret.”

    “On my way,” came Hunter’s voice. Crosshair watched as Hunter waved at a handful of troops, and they all rushed towards Iden’s position. His brother drew the vibroblade he favored from the sheath at his forearm and leapt into the air, landing in the middle of the pack as he went to work, fileting anything within reach. The soldiers with him took up positions, peppering Iden and Wrecker’s assailants with plasma as they cleared the area around the first turret before detonating it. It took a few seconds for the rumble to reach Crosshair, but when it did, he smirked. Wrecker probably was underwhelmed by that one, but it was decent.

    The group moved back across the tarmac towards the second turret. Crosshair could see Echo had found a scomp port to link to and was crouched down with Typho covering him. Senna rushed to their side, helping fend off the dwindling troops as Echo worked. Finally, Crosshair heard his voice through the commlink at his side.

    “They never even got the signal up, but I’ve disabled it. Looks like we caught them during a time where they were undergoing comm maintenance. No one knows we’re here.”

    “Finally, a bit of luck,” Iden muttered through the comm and Crosshair smirked.

    The battle raged on for several more minutes, but it was clear that they’d caught the Imperials back on their heels. When their numbers had dwindled down to a few dozen, they finally surrendered, tossing their blasters to the ground.

    “Captured. Let’s get moving.”

    Crosshair slid down the hill, skittering on the loose gravel at the bottom before taking off at a dead sprint towards the tarmac. He paused as he watched Wrecker and Iden clear the second turret before detonating the charges they’d placed. Unnecessary since we’ve captured the place, but I imagine Wrecker was itching for just one more before we get out of here, he thought, chuckling under his helmet.

    He skidded to a halt next to Hunter and Typho, who were watching Senna. The Jedi was crouched in front of two Imperial pilots. Crosshair watched as she waved her hand in front of their face, saying words that didn’t quite carry to him. The two pilots went rigid, their eyes glossing over slightly before they stood, letting the hands they’d been holding on their heads in surrender fall to their sides. They immediately turned and strode towards the Imperial shuttle and the Marauder. Senna walked up to the group.

    “I hate doing that, but we’ve got ourselves some Imperial pilots.”

    Hunter nodded at her then. “We all know our jobs. Let’s get moving. Wrecker, Gregar with me.”

    Crosshair turned to find Iden standing near him. She reached out her hand, clasping his. She ran her thumb over the teeth marks still in his glove from when they’d repaired her knee. “When this is all said and done, I owe you a new pair,” she said quietly, a small smirk tugging at the corner of her lips, but he could see the worry in her eyes as she finally met his gaze. Reaching up, he pulled his helmet off briefly so that he could see her uninhibited by his visor.

    “You stay safe,” she said. “Make sure you get back to me.”

    “I wouldn’t dream of doing anything else,” he teased back before leaning down to place a kiss on her cheek. “Get everyone out of here. I’ll see you soon.” He paused, leaning closer. “I love you.”

    She grinned, whipping her head around to capture his lips in a kiss. “I know. Now get going.”

    ---

    Tech’s eyes widened in understanding as he realized who the Inquisitor standing before him was. The woman that betrayed us. She’s Force sensitive. He could see the revelation had surprised Kestia as well.

    “You…you weren’t on the registry,” Kestia said quietly. “We never knew you had abilities.”

    “Oh, that was intentional. My parents made sure I didn’t set a toe out of line as a child, and I couldn’t imagine what their reaction would have been if they found out I could move things with my mind or make people do what I wanted. I stayed quiet and hidden, at least until now.”

    “Why not tell someone when you were older? We could have helped you.”

    “Like you helped Naboo, m’lady? You put our entire planet at risk, all for your ego. So that you didn’t have to admit defeat, and look where that’s gotten you.” Gadge’s voice was venomous, her eyes glittering in the dim lighting of the room. “My personal feelings aside though, now you have a chance to redeem yourself. As I said, my request is simple enough: join us. As an Inquisitor, you will have ruling power beyond just that of Naboo. You will have the opportunity to help shape the galaxy as an extension of the Empire and Emperor Palpatine. Lord Vader himself has expressed great interest in seeing you join our ranks.”

    A chill ran up Tech’s spine. They’d heard rumors of Palpatine’s apprentice and his brutality, but to have a direct proxy standing in the room was terrifying. Gadge watched the queen intently as Kestia’s face twisted in rage.

    “You think I’d join you for power? You’ve severely misjudged me, Gadge. My loyalties lie with the people of Naboo, and that’s where they end. Not your Empire.” Kestia was the angriest he’d ever seen her.

    Gadge appeared unphased, picking at her fingers as she absently glanced at the queen. “Very well then. That is your prerogative.” She nodded at the guards behind Tech, and they kicked his knees from behind. He fell to the floor, barely catching himself on his bound hands. He heard the sound of a lightsaber ignite and could feel the heat from the red blade as Gadge lowered it just above his neck. “I’ll try a different tack then, m’lady. Join us or you watch the clone die. Right now.”

    Tech’s breath was coming in short gasps as he stared at the floor. Don’t do it, Kes. Please don’t do it. He tried to concentrate, to reach out to her like he’d done before, praying she could hear his thoughts. Don’t give in. It’s alright. Don’t do this. Please. The silence dragged on. Suddenly, Gadge buried her fingers in his hair, yanking his head back violently as she pressed the blade against his throat just enough to burn and blister the skin. Tech ground his teeth and hissed in pain. His eyes found Kestia’s, and his heart fell as he realized what was about to happen. No.

    “STOP!” she screamed. “ENOUGH! I’LL DO IT! LEAVE HIM ALONE!”

    Gadge’s mouth twisted into a sinister smile as she released Tech, shoving him to the floor. Tech watched helplessly as Gadge pressed a few buttons, releasing Kestia from her bindings. She collapsed to the floor on her hands and knees, and he tried to crawl to her, but the stormtroopers around him restrained him.

    “Kes, DON’T!” he said, but she turned to look at him sadly.

    “I’m sorry, Tech. I must.”

    “NO!”

    Gadge turned to look at him. “Your queen is saving your life, clone. I’d expect you to show a little more gratitude. No matter, you don’t have to be here for her oaths. Take him away.”

    Tech was dragged from the room, shouting for Kestia to reconsider. Her eyes met his as she raised herself to one knee, bowing her head to Gadge. The last thing Tech saw before the doors closed was Gadge lowering her blade to just above Kestia’s shoulders, knighting her in darkness.

    A/N: Senna Aven is my OC, first introduced in "In Command," so if you'd like to learn more about her, I'd recommend checking that fic out! :)

    Tag List: @imalovernotahater @canesjedi31

    #guarded#karrde writes#star wars #the bad batch #tbb#echo#tech#wrecker#hunter#crosshair#slow burn#angst#romance#fluff #tech x oc #tech x ofc #tech x original female character #crosshair x oc #crosshair x ofc #crosshair x original female character #echo x sabe #senna aven#naboo
    View Full
  • starwarstbbfan
    06.12.2021 - 2 days ago

    OK, so I'm in the process of creating a Crosshair x OC story! It'll be taking place after season one of the Bad Batch.

    I've designed three ocs that will be appearing in the story and I had a lot of fun creating them!

    First off we have Katya(I haven't thought of a last name for her yet). She will be Crosshair's love interest😏😍. She's a Bounty Hunter and a heck of a good pilot, and pretty handy as a medic.

    She's 26 years old and has been on her own since she was 13 after her parents died. Katya's also got a sharp tongue and won't take crap from anybody.

    Next we have Kuu, who's Katya's adorable adopted son! She's taken care of him since he was two years old and abandoned by his real parents. Katya loves him more than anything else in the galaxy and will go to whatever lengths to keep him safe.

    And last but not least, we have Emmy! She's Katya's good friend and right hand woman. She helps Katya with capturing bounties and they split the profits fifty-fifty.

    Emmy is a couple years younger than Katya and the pair are practically sisters. She adores Kuu and constantly spoils him. But don't let her sweetness fool you. If you cross her or harm anyone she loves, Emmy will hunt you down to the deepest, darkest part of the galaxy and make you PAY. She's an expert on weapons and is especially good with knives. 🔪

    That's pretty much all I have for her right now, though I'm considering having her get together with one of the other Bad Batchers😏

    I'm really excited to get started on the story and posting it! I hope you guys will like it!

    #star wars #star wars bad batch #crosshair tbb #star wars fanfiction #star wars oc #tbb fanfiction#tbb oc #the bad batch fanfiction #the bad batch fanart #star wars the bad batch #the bad batch #star wars tbb #crosshair the bad batch #tbb crosshair #crosshair x oc
    View Full
  • wild-karrde
    05.12.2021 - 3 days ago

    Guarded - Part 34

    Master List

    A/N: As always, thank you so much to the wonderful @teletraan-meets-jarvis for beta-reading this chapter for me! :)

    Tech stood at the back of the room, staying out of view as Kestia discussed options with Boss Riis. The Gungan was more amenable to the situation than any of them could have anticipated and was being incredibly cooperative. Kestia was once more in her regalia, or at least as much as could be pulled together from around the safehouse. Em had managed to get the mud stains out of the battle dress she’d worn with Tech during the first broadcast and Sabé had done a wonderful job braiding and weaving her hair into an intricate updo. The Scar of Remembrance divided her lower lip, and her posture had changed from the slumped form Tech had cradled the night before, straightening back into that of a monarch. As condescending as it felt to say so, he was proud of her.

    The Gungans were a proud people, but they were not so proud as to not recognize the danger that they were in. Boss Riis had agreed that evacuating the city would be their best course of action and had already instructed his advisors to begin coordinating the evacuation effort along with the dismantling and salvage of the nearby holy sites. That part had pained Kestia the most to request, but the Gungan leader had been incredibly gracious.

    “Sacred places isa only sacred if wesa daree to see dem. To worship dem. Wesa gon maken new places. Surviving and saving Gungans more important,” Boss Riis declared, and Tech could see some of the weight lift off of Kestia’s shoulders.

    “I’m terribly sorry we were unable to defend the planet and keep you safe, Boss Riis. My hope was that we would be able to deter the Imperials. However, with our recent defeats, I fear it will only be a matter of time before they find where the Bandorium is, and based on recent events, I do not believe your wellbeing will be taken into account. If there were any other way, I’d pursue it without hesitation.”

    The Gungan leader bowed his head in understanding. “Wesa grateful for yousa doin’ yous best. Wes forever in yous debt.” A figure appeared behind him, and Boss Riis paused to converse quietly for a few moments before turning back to Kestia. “My must besa goin.’ Maken much preparations. Tank you, my lady. Mesa hope yous able to leave disa place safely. May wesa spake again.”

    Kestia bowed her head as the holo flickered into darkness before turning to Tech, heaving a deep sigh. “Well, I suppose that’s that.”

    Gregar Typho gave Kestia a tight smile. “You’ve done everything you can, Kes. I know it’s hard, but it truly is the best thing for them.”

    She sighed deeply. “I know, but even knowing that doesn’t make me feel any better.” The captain stepped forward, placing a hand on her shoulder, and she reached up, giving it a squeeze.

    “You did everything you could, more than many would,” Typho tried again. Kes turned and gave him a sad smile.

    “I’m grateful for your words, Gregar. Truly.”

    Tech watched the interaction, not wishing to intrude. He admired the relationship Kestia had with the captain and was glad to see that it had been somewhat mended after their spat the other day. He’s like a brother to her, and arguably, he knows her better than anyone. The last point made him slightly envious, but he knew that would come to him with time. Just have to get off this planet first.

    A knock at the door caused them all to turn. Hunter entered, helmet tucked under one arm. “Sorry to interrupt, m’lady, but Senna’s returned.”

    The queen smiled. “Excellent. One less thing to worry about.”

    Senna had left the day after they’d arrived to head back to Fellen and retrieve the two Force users. Tech had been shocked so few had showed up, and even more so at their ages. Senna and Kestia had quickly agreed it was best to remove them from Naboo to protect them from the Inquisitors. It would of course ultimately have to be their decision, something Senna had been clearly nervous about, but the two women were hopeful that they’d come along. Glancing at Kestia, he could see the question lingering in her mind, which Hunter quickly answered without prompting.

    “Only one of them came with her.”

    Kestia’s face fell slightly. “And the other?”

    “Didn’t feel like he could leave his family.”

    Nuule. Tech recalled the boy’s name from the conversation with Senna. The young farm boy. He supposed it made sense. Tanelly, the girl. She did come. He pondered what had been different in her decision, but he supposed fear must have been a large factor.

    Kestia nodded. “Very well. We could not pull the boy from his family against his will. I am glad at least one will come with us.” She smoothed her skirts. “I’m going to go take this ridiculous thing off before I meet them. I’m not exactly a queen anymore.”

    “To her, you are,” Hunter said quietly, and Kestia’s eyes shone for a moment before she gathered herself.

    “Give me just a few minutes. Please ensure they get food and whatever they need. I have to imagine it was an arduous journey.” With that, she exited the room quickly, leaving Hunter, Typho, and Tech behind.

    “She going to be alright?” Hunter asked to no one in particular, and Typho and Tech exchanged a look.

    “I believe you’re more qualified to answer that question, Captain,” Tech said quietly.

    Gregar gave him a small smirk before shrugging. “I don’t know if any of us are. Kes has never given up on anything in her life, so I can’t imagine what’s going through her mind right now. We’re in uncharted waters for her.”

    Tech suppressed a small smile, nodding at the captain’s speculation. Kestia had been dealing with her grief when it was just the two of them at night, Tech listening while she vented her frustrations or cradling her as she sobbed when it all became too much. She was terribly conflicted about leaving but was determined to not allow anyone to see her falter. He was happy he could at least provide the emotional support she needed behind closed doors.

    The two clones strode out of the room with the captain, turning down the hall towards the kitchen area. They found Senna and a young woman seated at a table, scarfing down some food. Tech grinned at the Jedi, who nodded at him. I’ve never known her to slow down while eating, he thought. The young woman turned to look at them, wide eyed as she took in her surroundings and the people that inhabited them. This must all be a lot to adjust to rather quickly.

    The young girl was still looking around until her eyes focused on something behind them, widening slightly. Tech turned to see Kestia striding towards them, muttering something at Em as the droid puttered along next to her. When she finally reached the kitchen, the queen smiled gently, coming to sit next to the young girl.

    “You must be Tanelly.”

    The girl quickly swallowed a mouthful of noodle soup before nodding wordlessly. Then, seemingly remembering that she was addressing the planet’s monarch, she tried to bow rather ungracefully. Kestia laughed lightly. “It’s alright, my dear. You don’t have to be formal with me. Not here. You may call me Kes.”

    The young woman opened her mouth to speak, her speech stilted and shaky from her nerves. “If…if that’s what you’d prefer…m’lady…sorry, Kes.”

    Kestia took her hands, giving them a light squeeze. “I understand you’re like me. You have special gifts.”

    Tech was surprised Tanelly’s eyeballs didn’t pop right out of her skull with how wide they became. Senna must not have told her.The young woman’s mouth fell open slightly. “You…you’re…you’re a…you…”

    “I’m Force sensitive like you, yes.”

    Tanelly took a few moments to process this information, her eyes wandering until they fell on the lightsaber hilts resting on Kestia’s belt. Her jaw dropped.

    “You…you have lightsabers?”

    The queen laughed. “I do, and I’m sure one day you will as well, should you continue your training.” She glanced at Senna, who shrugged.

    “I’ve put the offer out there, but she’d like to consider it. As she should.”

    Tech raised an eyebrow at Senna. “You’d take a Padawan?”

    Senna rolled her eyes. “What, you think I can’t?”

    “No, I just wasn’t aware that was something you desired.”

    The grin on Senna’s face faltered slightly. “I didn’t think I’d need to.”

    The implication of the statement hit Tech like a punch to the gut. She didn’t think she’d need to because there’d be plenty of other Jedi Masters around to train them. Now, it’s just her and perhaps a handful that survived. She’s doing what she can to carry on the ways of the Jedi.His heart broke a little, but when he met Senna’s gaze again, she had recovered, giving him a wink.

    “I may not be all that good at it, though. I’ve warned her adequately,” she teased.

    Kestia turned to face the Jedi. “You’re a wonderful teacher and she’d be fortunate to have you.” Senna bobbed her head in gratitude at the statement.

    Tech’s eyes flicked up towards the far entrance of the kitchen as Echo entered, striding towards their table.

    “I’m sorry to interrupt, m’lady, but we’re ready.”

    Kestia nodded at him. “Very well. Let’s go talk through how we’re getting out of here.”

    ---

    Wrecker stood at the back of the room, taking in those around him. The few rotations of rest had done a lot of good for the soldiers that had escaped Keren, but he could still see some hesitancy in their expressions. They don’t want to leave either. He knew it was the right thing to do, and secretly, he was a little relieved. They’d done as much as they could here, and he agreed with Captain Typho that there weren’t many other options that wouldn’t just lead to more death and destruction at the hands of the Empire. Also, he missed Omega and was ready to see her again.

    Typho, Hunter, Tech, Senna, and the queen entered the room with Echo close behind, and the doors hissed shut behind them. The room was full to the brim as all of the soldiers had crowded in to hear what the plan was. Wrecker knew Echo, Iden, and Typho had spent the last few days weighing their options carefully, and knowing Echo, this would be the least risky plan that would get them out safely. Wrecker quietly lamented the fact that meant there would be nothing for him to blow up.

    Echo tapped a few keys on the map, bringing up a map of the planet and zooming in on what appeared to be an airbase relatively close to Theed. The room fell silent as Captain Typho stepped forward to begin the briefing.

    “Tomorrow, we leave our homeworld to continue the fight against the Empire. This is of course, not the outcome many of us hoped for, but we have done good here. The Gungans have successfully evacuated Gunga City thanks to our warning, and they are in the process of salvaging many of their sacred sites. We have protected some of Naboo’s most vulnerable and given them their best chance at survival. It should also not go unnoted that we stood against the greatest military power in the galaxy with what resources we have, and we won. We may be leaving, but our fight against the Empire has served as a loud rebuke to their authoritarianism. That is not for nothing, and I hope everyone in this room realizes it.” He allowed his gaze to drift around the crowd, searching out eyes, ensuring understanding. Wrecker liked that about the captain, that he understood the need for human connection among those he led. Typho turned back to the holotable.

    “We’ve already reached out to our brethren around the planet, and they too are planning their evacuation efforts. We will lead the charge here, in Harte Secur,” he said, pointing at the airbase on the map. “If we are able to capture the airbase, we’ll have plenty of fighters and transports to get our people offworld. The blockade is spread somewhat thin, so our plan will be to choose a fairly separated star destroyer, and then our fighters will engage it as the transports escape. Once we have taken Harte Secur, we will signal the evacuation to begin planetwide, converging on the location of the selected star destroyer. By focusing on the one point, they shouldn’t have enough bandwidth in their tractor beam to capture us. The fighters will need to focus their run on the tractor frequency dome on the underside of the destroyer. If you can take that out in advance, then that’s a massive breach in the blockade for us to slip through.”

    “What about TIEs?” one young woman piped up.

    “Our intelligence suggests that most of the destroyers are minimally crewed, and only some are equipped with TIE squadrons. We’re gathering intelligence now on which ones might be carrying fighters, and we’ll use that list to select the destroyer to focus on.”

    The captain zoomed back out, focusing instead on a location Wrecker recognized as the place they’d hidden the Marauder. “While the main attack is happening in Harte Secur, I want Tech and the queen to head to where we hid their gunship. Our spies report that they haven’t seen any activity in the area recently, so they suspect that the Marauder is still hidden in the hangar below this field. The Marauder’smaneuverability and speed make it a prime candidate to get the queen out of here. Tech, I want you to take her to the hangar, and then await our confirmation of victory at Harte Secur. Once that’s occurred and we’ve begun our attack run on the designated destroyer, you and the queen will make your escape. We will head to your base of operations.”

    “And where exactly is that?” another one of the soldiers piped up.

    “Coordinates will be provided once you break atmosphere. We don’t want to divulge too soon in case someone is captured. We cannot put the rebellion at risk.”

    There was a small murmur around the room, which quickly subsided when Iden shot them a glare. Wrecker liked her. He understood why she and Crosshair had gravitated towards one another. And she won’t take his shit. He chuckled quietly at the thought.

    “Any questions?” she asked sharply, and no one dared raise a hand. “Good.”

    The captain gave her a look, and she shrugged, stepping back. “Alright. We leave first thing tomorrow.”

    ---

    The base was quiet as Tech strode through the hallways, unable to sleep. I should try again to see if I can finally doze off. He’d snuck out of Kestia’s arms an hour ago to try and calm his racing mind, but it had been little help. Now, he knew there were only a few hours left before dawn broke and the day of their escape began.

    He punched the code to Kestia’s room and the door slid open with a quiet hiss. He slipped his boots and shirt back off before quietly tiptoeing towards the bed.

    “I’m awake,” came Kestia’s voice in the dark. The room suddenly flooded with dim lighting as she tapped the lamp on the nightstand on to its lowest setting. Her hair hung in her face, but her smile was radiant as her eyes found Tech’s behind his goggles.

    “I’m sorry. I didn’t intend to wake you,” he apologized.

    “You didn’t. I was awake when you left.” She lifted the sheets and he slid in underneath them. Kestia snuggled closer, wrapping her arm around his bare waist. “What’s troubling you tonight, my love?” she asked quietly.

    He placed his lips against her hair and hummed. “Plenty. If the intelligence is correct on the star destroyer that’s been selected. The Imperials could always shift their formation, and then we’ll potentially be contending with a fleet of TIE fighters, which are significantly more nimble than any Naboo fighters currently in use. What if they are unable to take Harte Secur? So much of our plan hinges on it, a single point of failure so to speak. I don’t like plans that have little to no redundancy, and yet-“

    Kestia silenced him with a deep kiss, her fingers grazing over his cheek bones gently. Tech melted into her, his hand slipping into her hair to cradle the back of her head as he tipped her back onto her pillow, hovering over her. Kestia gently slipped her fingers under the strap of his goggles, carefully taking them off and placing them on the nightstand next to the bed. As he pulled back from the kiss, she slowly ran her thumbs over the red indentations around his eyes and across the bridge of his nose. “I’m worried too, Tech. You’re right, the plan does hinge on a very linear sequence of things going correctly, but I have faith in my people and your brothers. They’ve never failed us before. And most of all, I have faith in you and that brilliant mind of yours.” She tapped her finger on his forehead and he huffed a laugh.

    “I fear my mind will have little to do with our success tomorrow. All I have to do is get you to the Marauder and then pilot us out of here. A fairly simple endeavor.”

    She grinned. “We both know nothing is that simple.”

    Tech ran his fingers through her hair once more as he propped himself up on his elbow. “I don’t know. I find this all, very simple.”

    “All this?” she asked playfully.

    Tech captured her hand and drew it to his lips. “You and I. This is very simple to me. It’s easy.”

    She rolled her eyes. “Tech, we’ve certainly had our ups and downs. I was sure you’d never speak to me again after you found out I’d lied to you, and I could have hardly faulted you for it.”

    “Perhaps.” He intertwined his fingers with hers. “But I think I always knew deep down that we’d find our way back to one another. As angry as I was, I understood you, and you make me feel understood in ways no one has. You allow me to speak about things I’m passionate about and engage with me. The things that I do that other people don’t understand, you’ve never questioned.”

    Kestia reached up with her unoccupied hand to gently take his chin between her fingers. “Those are things that draw me to you, Tech. They’re things I love about you.”

    The word startled him, and she noted it. “Does that surprise you?” she asked.

    Tech mulled it over. “It’s just not something I’d ever considered.”

    “Well, perhaps you should start considering it more.”

    He smiled as he leaned down, resting his lips against hers. “Perhaps I shall.”

    An hour later, with their limbs tangled together and their clothes thrown to the far reaches of the room, Tech and Kestia finally drifted off, the three words they’d whispered to one another still hanging in the air.

    ---

    Hunter sheathed his knife in the holster on his forearm as the morning breeze blew in from the falls that shielded the cave entrance. He’d slept alright, but had woken an hour before the sun was up, the adrenaline beginning to seep into his veins. He was ready.

    The sound of footsteps behind him echoed throughout the cavern, but he didn’t need to turn to identify who it was. He’d come to known Gregar’s heavy deliberate steps from their time together, just as he’d learned Kestia’s, and he grinned as he felt the captain come to stand next to him.

    “Early morning for you too, I see,” Gregar observed.

    “Normally is the day of a fight,” Hunter replied. “Although it’ll be a struggle to get Wrecker out of bed. Always is.”

    The captain laughed. “I’d hate to be the person to have to wake him up.”

    “We normally draw straws for it,” Hunter chuckled.

    The two men stood silently for a few moments, watching the early morning sky shift from golden to blue.

    “I’m going to miss this place,” Gregar said quietly. “I’m not well traveled aside from my work with the Senator, but I have to believe there are few places like it.”

    Hunter smiled again. “As someone that has been to many places in this galaxy, I can confirm there are few like it, but,” he said turning and placing a hand on the captain’s shoulder, “sometimes that’s the thrill. Seeing places unlike any you’ve ever seen.”

    Typho returned his smile. “I suppose. This is just my home.”

    “Leaving won’t change that.”

    “Very true.” The captain’s eyes lingered on the hand on his shoulder. “Do you think we’re doing the right thing, Hunter? Leaving it like this? I know I told Kes it was the correct move, but I still have this nagging feeling that something’s not right.”

    Hunter squeezed his shoulder. “In my experience, you’ll never feel totally confident in your decisions. There’s always at least a little bit of a lingering ‘what if’, but making decisions is part of being a leader, and you don’t get to where you are without making a series of correct decisions. I trust your judgement Gregar, as does Kestia. This is the call, and we’ll do our best to make sure it’s the right one.”

    The captain placed his hand on top of Hunter’s, giving it a squeeze. “I suppose you have a point. And I appreciate your confidence in my abilities. I doubt myself sometimes, more so after Senator Amidala’s death.”

    Hunter nodded. “That doubt is another good quality. It can keep your ego in check. Just ensure it doesn’t inhibit your leadership.” Giving his shoulder a final squeeze, he let his hand fall to his side. “Now, let’s go rally the troops.”

    ---

    Tech and Kestia were the first to depart, taking the bongo and exiting the cave. They’d all exchanged farewells and ‘good lucks’ before they left, Kestia hugging everyone. Echo had noted how she’d lingered with Gregar, and he had been glad to see it. The tension between the two of them seemed to have abated, and she spoke quietly to him off to the side before throwing her arms around his neck. The captain had stood for a moment before throwing decorum to the wind and hugging her back tightly. She had clasped Echo’s hand tightly before hugging him as well, and he’d grinned. Tech was punching away on his datapad as Echo approached him, pausing when Echo extended his right arm. Tech clasped the cybernetic, and Echo gave his arm a light squeeze.

    “Be safe.”

    “You too.”

    “We’ll see you back at base.”

    Now, Echo was zooming along the treelines outside of Theed as the group made their way towards Harte Secur. They’d managed to stay off the main roads with the speeders, keeping out of sight of Imperial patrols.

    Sabé was seated next to him with D-4 resting in her lap. Senna, Tanelly, and Tarren sat in the back, dozing on and off as he drove. He could see Sabé was thinking, her gaze distant as she chewed on one of her fingernails. Finally, he reached over, taking her hand from her mouth and slipping his fingers in between hers.

    “That’s bad for your teeth, you know,” he teased.

    She rolled her eyes, but she rubbed her thumb over the back of his gloved hand.

    “Nervous?” she asked.

    “Always, but it keeps me on my toes. You?”

    “Surprisingly, no. I feel like with all of the adversity we’ve faced, this is the simple part. Leaving. I know it was the hardest step to take, but I think it should be the simplest to pull off.”

    “A lot has to go right.”

    “We’re due for things to go right.”

    He sighed as they finally cleared the treeline, the towers of the Harte Secur airbase glinting in the sunlight as they maneuvered the speeders to park them out of sight. “I hope you’re right.”

    Quietly, the soldiers moved through the tall grass of the field south of the airbase. It was a clear day, warm with a slight breeze that whispered through the greenery around them. Echo wished for the fiftieth time that there was more cover surrounding the base, but this had been their best path of approach. Some trees. Rock outcroppings. Anything would have been nice. But, they’d been forced to cross over the grassland. Fortunately, it reached above most of their heads. Iden had informed them that this was the tallest it got before it died off in the winter months, so they’d lucked out on that front at least. Wrecker had to walk stooped low to keep his enormous frame obscured, and Echo was glad his helmet was on to hide his grin as his brother grumbled about having to keep his head down.

    The group finally made it to a hill that overlooked the tarmac, and Typho, Hunter, Echo, and Crosshair crawled to the top of it. Crosshair pulled his scope out as Typho and Hunter scanned the tarmac through their binocs.

    “Two turrets, one on each side of the runway. Crosshair should be able to pick their operators off fairly easily,” Hunter said quietly. “I’m not seeing any additional armaments, but-“

    “Hunter.” Crosshair’s voice was low but urgent, and the three others swiveled their heads to look at him.

    “East edge of the tarmac, back in the shadows.”

    Echo pulled his binocs from his hip, squinting through the viewfinder as he panned across the tarmac until he found the object Crosshair mentioned. His heart leapt into his throat.

    It was tucked under a tarp, but the silhouette was unmistakable, especially with the wings tucked upwards. All hope he had that his eyes were deceiving him vanished when an especially strong gust of wind pulled a corner of the tarp up, exposing the ship underneath.

    The Havoc Marauder glinted when the sun caught its hull.

    Echo’s mouth fell open. “Tech and Kes are walking into a trap.”

    ---

    Tech eased the bongo into the weeds along the shore of the river, powering down the vehicle. Punching off the rayshields, he clambered out of it before reaching behind him to help Kestia down. Together, the two of them jogged into the treeline, shielding them from view. Typho had given them the coordinates of the entrance to the hangar, and Tech quickly navigated them there, finding the false tree trunk that housed an access panel. Punching in the keycode, he stepped back for Kestia to speak the Naboo code phrase, granting them access. A chunk of grass slid backwards, exposing a dark stairway that led below the ground.

    Kes ignited one of her sabers, leading the way down as the panel closed behind them, plunging them into darkness. Quickly, they descended down to the main level, which opened up into the hangar that the Marauder had disappeared into when they’d first arrived.

    “I’ve been so excited to see your ship,” Kestia whispered. “I know how proud of it you are. With the time we have to kill, you should walk me through the modifications you’ve made.” She strode out towards the middle of the hangar, eager to lay eyes on the Marauder.

    “Gladly as soon as I find the lights,” Tech replied, feeling along the wall until his fingers bumped against another panel. His fingers brushed the switches, and he threw them upwards, but the hall remained dark, only the empty clicks of the switches echoing off the walls around them. “That’s odd,” he muttered.

    “Tech.” There was something urgent in Kes’s voice that made goosebumps break out across the back of his neck. Turning, he saw her standing in the middle of the floor, her lightsaber raised above her head as she turned. “It…it’s not here,” she said.

    He heard the scuffle of boots just as the first flash of a blue stun bolt struck him in his leg.

    “KES, RUN!” Her other saber ignited as the bolts began flying. Tech tried his commlink, but got no response. We’re being jammed. Tech ripped his blaster from its holster, prying his torch loose with his other hand. He clicked on the light and began firing wildly, but his heart sank as he realized the room was filled with stormtroopers.

    It was a trap.

    Another stun bolt struck him in the back, and he toppled, falling forward onto his hands and knees. He turned his head, watching as Kestia deflected stun blasts valiantly, but she was quickly overwhelmed, swearing loudly as one struck her right in the chest. Her sabers deactivated as she collapsed to the ground.

    “No,” Tech rasped just as the trooper nearest him unleashed one more stun bolt, and Tech’s world went dark.

    Tag List: @imalovernotahater @canesjedi31

    #karrde writes#guarded #the bad batch #tbb#star wars#fanfiction#fan fic#my fic#tech#echo#wrecker#crosshair#hunter#slow burn#romance#angst#fluff #tech x ofc #tech x oc #tech x original female character #crosshair x oc #crosshair x original female character #crosshair x ofc #echo x sabe #senna aven#naboo
    View Full
  • starwarstbbfan
    05.12.2021 - 3 days ago

    THE BAD BATCH: THE RUNAWAY

    Chapter 39 - The Next Morning

    ○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○

    When Scar woke up late the next morning, the first thing she did was run to the refresher and throw up, not even noticing the curled up form of Jace who was still asleep in the chair by the window. 

    As she kneeled by the toilet, already having emptied the contents of her stomach and now just letting out haggard breaths mixed with a couple miserable groans, Scar mentally scolded herself for being weak last night. Getting wasted did not make her feel better, instead now she felt worse off than yesterday. The fact that Scar doesn't remember all that transpired last night concerned her. Then it registered that she was back at Padmé's place and now Scar was confused on top of everything else. Did she actually manage to find her way back here last night? 

    After she was done dry heaving, Scar shakily got back on her feet and flushed the toilet before heading over to the sink. Turning on the faucet to the coldest water temperature setting, Scar splashed some onto her face to help wake her up, though she knew her mind would be foggy and sluggish today regardless of what she did. Let's not even mention the extreme headache. 

    Once Scar had brushed her teeth and straightened her hair that looked like a mynocks nest, she left the bathroom, her feet dragging on the floor as she went over to her bed and after getting on, flop face down on her pillow with a pitiful whine. Scar was debating whether or not to stay in bed a little longer when she suddenly heard a sound that told her someone else was in the room and after swiftly taking out her blaster she sat up and twisted her body to be facing the direction of the noise while holding the weapon out, ready to shoot. Imagine her surprise, and utter confusion, when her eyes landed on Jace who was just waking up. 

    "What the heck are you doing here?!" She exclaimed loudly, causing Jace to startle. He attempted to sit up but unfortunately fell out of the chair, hitting the ground with a thud followed by a quiet "ow" in a tired voice. Scar raised an eyebrow while lowering her blaster, silently thankful that it wasn't an intruder as she'd forgotten to take the safety off. Though she was still wondering why Jace was sleeping in her room. 

    Speaking of which, from the way Jace hadn't gotten up it appeared he'd fallen back asleep. Scar was unsure on what to do. On one hand she didn't want to wake him up as he looked so peaceful asleep (though she couldn't see his face as he had his back to Scar) and she found it adorable. This made her shake her head, blaming the hangover for the weird thought. She needed to find out what happened last night. Scar was too lazy to get out of bed though, and opted to throw a pillow. It hit the back of Jace's head and he grunted in annoyance. After a few seconds he rolled onto his back and reluctantly opened his eyes while sitting up, letting out a yawn. 

    "Nice bedhead." Scar said flatly, finding the way his blond hair stuck up in a hundred different directions hilarious though she felt too sick to voice her amusement. And Jace was still half asleep and could care less, though he did lazily run his fingers through his hair in an attempt to tame the mess. "What happened last night?" 

    "How much do you remember?" Jace asked, his voice raspy, making Scar's heart flutter for some odd reason and it made it harder to concentrate as she tried to recall last night's events. 

    "Um, I remember going to 79's...ordering one - no three - shots of whiskey… I think I ordered a cocktail… Rex and Fives…and I'm drawing a blank after that." 

    "You were flat out drunk when I found you and got into a fight with a patron." Scar grimaced in embarrassment, as she could hear the disapproval in Jace's tone. Then the grimace was replaced with a confused expression. 

    "Wait, how did you know I was at 79's?" 

    "I tracked your comm signal." Scar raised an eyebrow. 

    "Creepy much?" Jace gave her an exasperated look and threw his hands up. 

    "Well what was I supposed to do? You leave without telling me, so I come to check on you and you're not here. What did you expect?"

    "You could've called me."

    "I did." Jace stated, holding up one hand while continuing, "Five times to be exact."

    "Oh. Well you didn't have to look for me. I'm not some helpless little girl that needs a babysitter."

    "Oh really? What would you have done after, hm? You were so drunk - you can't even remember anything from last night! Something could've happened to you, and how would I explain that to Hunter? He already seems to have it out for me and I don't know why." 

    "Yeah I don't know why either." Scar claimed, clearing her throat awkwardly after. An uncomfortable silence filled the air, neither teen knowing what to say. After a minute Scar tried to stand so she could go to her travel bag and find something new to wear as she still had on yesterday's clothes, only that simple act made her entire world spin. She fell back onto the bed and pressed a hand to her forehead, her eyes squeezed shut as she tried to not throw up a second time. "Maybe I overdid it a little bit last night." She admitted in a shaky voice, causing Jace to chuckle mirthlessly and shake his head. 

    "You were pretty wasted, that's for sure." Scar chuckled as well, but there was something in the way that Jace said this that made her pause and her stomach churned, but not from the hangover. 

    "I...I didn't do anything stupid, did I? B-Besides the bar fight?" When Jace adopted an uncertain expression and looked away, it confirmed it for the female clone and she said his name in an almost pleading way, wanting to know how bad the damage was. 

    Jace took one glance at her pleading expression and sighed. Getting up from his spot on the floor, he made his way over to the bed and sat down beside Scar, and when their hands brushed together both teens froze and the latter wanted to jump away from the contact but at the same time wasn't totally appalled by it, which was strange. 

    "You did say some… pretty weird stuff."

    "Weird how?" 

    "Well-" Jace is cut off when Scar's holodisc started beeping. Scar looked over her shoulder at the side table where the holodisc laid and she contemplated whether or not she wanted to get up to grab it. 

    Jace noticed this and the corners of his lips turned up as he raised his hand and called the holodisc to float over. The curiosity and wonder in Scar's expression as Jace maneuvered the disk to float around her was enough to turn Jace's tiny smile into a full on grin. She wordlessly held her hands out and Jace let the device fall onto her palms. 

    "You gonna answer it?" Jace asked in a teasing manner when Scar didn't do anything but stare at the device that was now in her hands by the mystery that is the force. A million questions now filled her mind and if Jace's question hadn't registered she would have started firing her own questions like Tech would. Stuttering out a confirmation, Scar pressed the answer button and Crosshair's upper body appeared on a hologram. 

    "You look like hell." The sniper states right off the bat, noticing the bags under Scar's eyes and her messy hair and rumpled clothes. Crosshair then looked at Jace whose appearance was similar, "You both do. Long night?" The look Crosshair was wearing told Scar exactly what he was thinking and her face turned red while thankfully Jace didn't seem to understand what Crosshair was referring to. 

    Scar asked Jace to give them some privacy and the Jedi left, reluctantly so, as he wasn't ready to run into Padmé and talk about last night. He hoped that maybe she had left, but unfortunately the Senator was sitting on one of the long circular couches, doing something on a datapad. When Padmé noticed Jace enter the living area, she quickly set down the datapad on the couch and stood up, saying his name. 

    "I was worried that you had left sometime last night." She admitted, looking at the door to Scar's room closed then back to her cousin with an unreadable expression, though Jace could sense her confusion, "You... stayed in Scar's room?" She asked and Jace nodded, "All night?" 

    "She wanted me to. She was afraid she'd have nightmares and I offered to stay with her." Jace's eyes widened when it clicked what Padmé must be thinking and he quickly added, "I-I slept in the chair, by the window, by myself! Nothing happened!" Padmé grew amused at how flustered Jace became and smiled, knowing that he was telling the truth. This made Jace even more embarrassed and he looked down at his boots to hide the blush undoubtedly on his cheeks. He wondered if Crosshair was questioning Scar about him being there and felt bad as he knew the sniper liked to tease his little sister. Then the pink on his cheeks quickly disappeared and his face paled when he thought about what Hunter might do to him if he had any inkling that something happened between the two teens. 

    Jace glanced at the door and had half a mind to burst into that room and loudly declare that they had done nothing as he feared for both their lives. But Padmé stopped him. 

    "We need to talk about last night." Padmé said, her demeanor now serious and Jace tore his gaze from the door to look at his cousin and he saw the desperation to explain last night's events in her eyes. So, after reluctantly putting his fate in Scar's hands, he joined Padmé on the couch and motioned for her to start talking. 

    ○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○

    "Please don't tell me I saw what I think I saw." Crosshair said once Jace left the room, and when Scar hesitated he took it as a confirmation and he sighed while shaking his head, "If Hunter finds out he's gonna blow a gasket. He might spare you, but I doubt even Wrecker will be able to hold him back from murdering the boy, then having him ressurected so he can kill him again."

    The reason Scar hesitated to tell the truth was because she didn't want to tell him or the others of her… adventure last night. She got drunk, wrecked a bar, and that's just stuff Jace told her. She knew there was more he wasn't telling.

    Maybe letting the guys think I spent the night with Jace wouldn't be such a bad thing… but then Hunter will kill Jace. Would that be such a bad thing? 

    Scar sighed, knowing that she couldn't let that happen. Hunter's stupid moral compass had rubbed off on her. 

    "What is it?" Crosshair questioned when Scar sighed and she did again before responding. 

    "I don't think anything happened between me and Jace - at least from what I can remember." Crosshair narrowed his eyes. 

    "You think?" Crosshair repeated, and his features darkened, hands turning into fists, "Did he do anything to you? Forget Hunter, I'll kill the boy with my bare hands if he did." 

    "No need to be so dramatic Crosshair." Scar began massaging the base of her neck as she tried to figure out the best way to tell him what happened, "I said "think" because… I might have gone to a bar and might have gotten a bit drunk and started a fight. But I don't remember anything after the third shot of whiskey and the first cocktail." Crosshair remained silent for about ten seconds and she expected him to begin lecturing her, but surprisingly that's not what happened. 

    "That would explain the bill sent to Tech's datapad. You're lucky I was borrowing it when the message popped up that said we owed 200 credits in drinks and damages." Scar winced and dropped her head in her left hand, the other still holding the holo disc up. 

    "Do the others know?" Crosshair shook his head and Scar became relieved. 

    "I figured I'd talk to you first and get the story because the second you tell Hunter you went to a bar on your own he'll lose it." 

    "Please don't tell Hunter!" Scar pleaded, terrified of how the Sergeant would react if he found out how wreckless she'd been. It's not so much she feared him yelling at her as much as not wanting Hunter to be disappointed in her. "Or Tech either, he can't keep a secret to save his life." When Crosshair didn't give an answer she said, "Please!" 

    Crosshair could see the desperation and remorse for her actions in her features and decided to have mercy on the poor girl. 

    "Just add it to the pile of things. I've already got the whole thing of you and Jace cuddling over your head." This made Scar roll her eyes, though she was relieved that Crosshair was going to keep her secret.

    "Yeah, yeah whatever. Just get rid of the bill and I'll stop by the bar on my way to the ship to take care of the bill." Crosshair nodded once. 

    "Alright. I've been needing a new thing to shoot at for target practice." Scar blinked. 

    "...Uh I meant just delete the message, Crosshair." She clarified, and Crosshair gave her a mischievous smirk. 

    "Where's the fun in that?" Despite the weight on her shoulders, Scar smiled a little, afterwards telling Crosshair to contact her when they reached Coruscant. 

    ○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○●○

    Hope you liked this chapter!

    I have an exciting announcement! I'm in the process of writing another story! It'll be a Crosshair x OC story! I've already designed his love interest and a couple other ocs that'll be in the story as well! I'll post them shortly!

    ~B.C.

    #star wars bad batch #star wars#crosshair tbb#hunter tbb #star wars tbb #tech tbb#wrecker tbb #star wars clone wars #star wars clone oc #clone trooper oc #star wars the bad batch #sw tbb#callista fett#jace channing#jedi oc#padmé amidala#tbb oc#tbb fanfiction #star wars oc #star wars fanfiction
    View Full
  • seriowan
    04.12.2021 - 3 days ago

    chapter three: stay safe, princess

    summary: Separated from the other Bad Batchers, Cora and Hunter are caught in an Imperial game of cat and mouse. Faced with a broken ankle and little hope of escape, they make their final move. As it turns out, luck was on their side in more ways than one.

    warnings: fluff, tension, angst if you squint, soft!hunter, Martez Sisters Cameo

    word count: 4397

    Spotify playlist

    •·················•·················•·················•·················•

    RUNNING.

    Why were they always running?

    Cora hated running, especially when dying was her only alternative.

    Hunter was gripping her wrist like he was paranoid that she would disappear.

    Ironically, Cora was actually hoping she did disappear if it meant no more running. Hunter's hold was beginning to hurt.

    Her bare feet were blistered, bleeding, and coated in mud as she scrambled to keep up with Hunter's full-powered sprint through the jungle. She was sure that her ankles were going to snap if she let herself slow down.

    Then again, Hunter was also completely forbidding her from stopping.

    They'd started running the moment he sensed that they weren't alone. Without a moment of hesitation, he grabbed her hand and spun her around, dragging her after him as he hauled her ass into the trees.

    How could he have been so stupid? He'd let his guard down and for the first time in his life, completely neglected seeing the unit of stormtroopers in the trees? Stormtroopers! Men in plastoid white suits! How could he have been so distracted-

    "Hunter!"

    Cora let out a yelp as she hooked her foot on a root and stumbled. Her hand ripped out of Hunter's grasp; the action made his heels dig into the mud as he slid to a stop.

    Looking back, he managed to duck just before a red ion blast could remove his head from his shoulders.

    The Stormtroopers were right on their ends. A few more steps and they would round the corner that they had barely taken, exposing Cora who sat right in the center of the open trail.

    A clipped ankle and exhaustion made her a painstakingly easy target.

    Hunter instantly ran to her side, looking over her shoulder every second. He tried to raise Cora onto her feet but froze the moment she let out a yelp of pain.

    "I think I broke my ankle," she whimpered, voice quivering with an apology. Pain stung in her eyes as she looked back over her shoulder.

    The stormtroopers rounded the corner, aiming their blasters directly on Hunter and Cora.

    "Cora you have to get up," Hunter insisted, hauling her up into his arms. She let out another shout and the two wearily looked at her foot.

    Purple skin swelled with blue spiderweb veins. The inflated red bump of a misplaced bone protruded out beside the ball of her ankle.

    The sight made Cora's face turn green and within a short second, she fainted in Hunter's arms.

    A string of curses slipped out of his lips, followed by a brief (and full of relief) thought: At least Omega wasn't around to hear that.

    Multiple platoons of stormtroopers rounded the corner and just before they could unleash a storm of red ion blasts, a familiar cry reverberated from the trees around them.

    "OHHHH YEAAAA-"

    Wrecker burst out of the forest, clad head to toe in his blacks and boots, with Echo and Tech soon following his lead. They ambushed the platoon, armed with long sticks that they used as spears, vines they bound around the troopers, and boulders (only which Wrecker could lift) that they bashed on the soldiers' heads.

    It was as if Hunter blinked and in a second, the soldiers were all unconscious and scattered across the ground like a pile of dead leaves.

    Wrecker even clapped his hands together as if to pat them clean.

    "That was easy," he smirked, turning back to where he had been previously hiding. "You can come out, Omega!"

    There was the faint sound of a rustling bush and the cracking of a few broken branches before Omega came tumbling out of the jungle brush. She somersaulted onto the path, wincing as she landed right on her bum.

    Her head turned just as Hunter approached his squad, Cora still pale and unconscious in his arms.

    Omega's eyes widened so fast that Hunter actually felt worried for a second. She leaped to her feet and was at Cora's side in a second, anxiously grabbing her hand as she looked up to Hunter with tears in her eyes.

    "Is she okay?" She questioned nervously, giving Cora's hand a tight squeeze.

    "Broke her ankle," he responded as he handed Cora to Wrecker. "She'll be alright, kid."

    Careful to avoid the swollen ankle, Wrecker held her as though she was a fragile doll, cradling her in his arms as Echo examined her injury. He gently shifted the ankle to the side and Hunter stepped forward, brows furrowing in disapproval.

    "Poking at it won't fix it," he said as he faced the stormtroopers. He frowned and shook his head, "They took us by surprise. What about you?"

    "We heard them marching past our camp," Tech noted as he adjusted his glasses. "Apparently, you and Cora are far more interesting targets."

    "We've got to get her help," Echo interjected. "Cora's ankle will get worse the longer we leave it untended."

    Hunter nodded once and faced the squad. "We've got to get Cora help and make a plan to get back our ship."

    "Uh, guys?"

    The four turned toward Omega, following her pointed finger up to the jungle treetops.

    "I don't think finding help will be very hard."

    •·················•·················•·················•·················•

    LUCK was on their side in more ways than one.

    For starters, the Batchers found out that the planet they had crashlanded onto was Segard-6, a jungle planet notorious for its ability to trap pilots in its spontaneous storms. The natural barrier left it a hotspot for secret Separatist operations, but now that the war was over, new residents had taken home in the abandoned facilities.

    The rebels, Hunter decided, were like mice. While they weren't as vile as rats, they still picked at scraps and made do with whatever junk lingered in the galaxy.

    That being said, he respected their cause as well as their burning desire to fight against the Empire.

    The rebels were their second bit of luck. They hid in the trees like scavengers, watching the Batchers and the Troopers as events unfolded. If Omega hadn't seen them, they would have remained in the trees, hidden until the very last moment and only showing themselves if desperately needed.

    Their third dose of victory was that these rebels held two very familiar faces.

    "You again?"

    Rafa Martez looked just like she did two months ago, minus the obnoxious yellow jumpsuit and squeaky black boots. She traded the last outfit for a baby blue turtleneck sweater, topped with a pocket-covered vest and paired with ripped cargo pants. Like always, her sister Trace was by her side, grinning happily at Omega.

    They came out of the bushes before their platoon. Their raised weapons (outdated blasters from the beginning years of the clone wars) were only lowered when Rafa raised her hand and signaled for them to relax.

    "I didn't think I'd see you any time soon," she smirked, "Especially not on this dump."

    "Trust me," Hunter humphed, "It wasn't on purpose. We're just as surprised to see you here."

    "I can tell you didn't plan for the trip." Rafa's eyes scanned their lack of gear, freezing on Wrecker when she noticed the girl in his arms.

    It was as if a flip switched. Rafa began barking out orders, demanding some of her fellow fighters to take Cora from Wrecker's arms while instructing the others to check their surroundings for any more troopers.

    Wrecker let out a few noises of protest when the rebels gently removed Cora from his grasp. He didn't like the thought of strangers touching her, especially since they were people he didn't know or trust. Hunter's arm across his chest stopped him from following after the rebels. They watched as Cora was limply carried into the jungle, her fingertip twitching just before she was swallowed by the brush.

    Rafa quickly bid Clone Force 99 and Omega to follow her and Trace to their hidden camp. They weaved past thick tree roots and crawled underneath tunnels of vines and shrubbery.

    Wild jungle animals howled around them, alarming Omega into walking closely between Hunter and Echo.

    Echo kept an assuring hand on her shoulder, gently squeezing when he'd feel her tense in fright.

    "It isn't much," Rafa said as they neared their camp, "But it's enough to keep us mobile. The information that you got from that ol' Battle Droid helps us stay a step ahead from the Empire."

    "Thanks by the way," Trace sassily remarked, "For bringing the Empire here, I mean. Now we've got to pack up again and we've only been here two weeks!"

    "Not that we expected to stay any longer," Rafa interjected with an eye roll. "We don't stay in one place for too long or it'll attract attention."

    "We had no intention of drawing the Imperials to your camp," Tech noted from the back of the group. "But you'll be relieved to know that it is a small troop of soldiers led by hired guns. This is hardly enough activity to draw Imperial reinforcements."

    Echo nodded, pushing a giant leaf out of his way. "An escape is easy if you plan it right."

    "We'll need help getting to our ship," Hunter said to Rafa. "Based on the number of troops in the ambush, I'd say the rest are guarding our ship."

    "They don't want us to leave Segard-6," Tech said, having just heard the planet's name from a conversation between Trace and Omega. "Kedata has proven just how badly he wants Cora."

    "The new chick?" Rafa questioned curiously. "What's the story with her?"

    Omega jogged to Rafa's side, looking up at the woman as she began to recall the events of what had happened on Naboo. From witnessing Senator Ungo's horrid fight with Cora to watching her get saved from nearly drowning in a swamp, Omega told Trace and Rafa everything.

    Trace let out a long whistle. "Wow, she sounds like the life of the party."

    Hunter's face fell. He thought of the look on Cora's face right before he noticed the troopers in the trees.

    He wanted to make her a promise of safety. He wanted to tell her that he was going to make sure she got to Tatooine alive. He just wanted to make her less worried; to ease some of her anxiousness.

    Yet she looked so hopeful. Like she was waiting for him to say something entirely different.

    What was she expecting?

    The sound of voices caught his attention. He raised his head as Rafa pushed aside another thick wall of vegetation.

    The sight made Hunter's face loosen with surprise.

    Yeah, the rebels were definitely like mice.

    They were all running across the landing dock, scrambling to pack and clean up their belongings. The old Separatist facility had been turned into a rebel nest, full of ships and faces that the Batchers had seen before when dealing with Saw Gerrera's group.

    Trace and Rafa greeted a few people and explained their clone situation to a few more. A few nervous glances were cast their way, but Hunter understood the downsides of wearing the face of a newfound enemy.

    The Martez sister led the Batchers into a pitched-up tent where a slew of old and outdated weapons sat dumped atop a capped wooden crate. Though they were old weapons, they were familiar ones that left Wrecker gasping out of joy.

    "This is just what I needed," he gruffly laughed, nodding his head with a pleased expression. "Not as good as my ol' gear but it'll make do."

    "We've got more than we can carry," Trace explained with a frown. "We've lost pilots to fly the rest of our ships so we're leaving some of them here. We can't have this stuff slowing us down, but I'm willing to bet you guys need some firepower."

    "And food," Wrecker added with a firm nod. He patted his stomach, grinning sheepishly.

    Rafa smiled. "I'll get an update on the girl. In the meantime, there's some food left in the med-tent and Trace will bring you extra clothes."

    She and Trace left the tent. A few minutes later, the four men and Omega sought out the food that had been offered.

    They didn't realize that they were practically starving until they got to the pot of food and cleaned the entire thing out. Omega lost count of how many bowls she had eaten and soon found herself lying on the ground beside the campfire, her head resting against a log as she snored away.

    Wrecker soon mimicked her and the two were leaning against one another beside the crackling fire, sleeping away from the fatigue while their toes were warmed up by the crisp flames.

    Hunter couldn't find it in himself to rest. Apparently, neither did Tech or Echo. Echo, wanting to know about Rex's whereabouts, got up and went to look after Rafa.

    Tech went back in the weapons tent to retrieve an old Republic scanner. He pulled it apart and began rewiring everything the second he got back to the campfire.

    Hunter remained seated on a log, elbows relaxed across his knees as he looked into the fire.

    He shut his eyes and took a deep breath.

    •·················•·················•·················•·················•

    CORA woke up slowly and painfully. Her ankle was throbbing, earning a few tears and whispered curses that she was thankful no one else heard.

    She looked around, brows furrowing in confusion when she noticed that she was in some sort of military barracks. The bottom bunk that she laid in creaked and moaned as she straightened her back against the pillows.

    The sound of snoring caught her attention. She turned her head to the bunk bed across from hers, brows relaxing with relief when she saw Wrecker sleeping comfortably on the bottom, Tech on the top, and Hunter and Echo on the top and bottom of the other bunk beside it.

    Cora was quick to realize the little lump underneath the blankets in the bed beside her own. She reached over, careful to keep her ankle from moving, and poked her finger against the blanketed lump.

    "Omega?"

    The lump filled with life as Omega shot up. She threw the blanket aside and jumped to her feet, instantly sitting on the edge of Cora's bed.

    Omega happily turned around and yelled, "She's awake!"

    Little by little, the soldiers woke and made their way to Cora's bedside. She noticed their change in clothes; their blacks had been exchanged for comfortable robes and scattered across the floor were weapons and backpacks full of supplies.

    "I'm guessing this wasn't given by the Stormtroopers." Cora motioned towards their supplies.

    "We came across a band of rebels hiding within this sector," Tech explained as he lifted a makeshift datapad. "Our joint appearance with the Empire has caused them to flee. They've given us a few supplies."

    "And the troopers?"

    "We got 'em," Wrecker assured with a dismissive wave and a wicked smile. "Well, we kind of beat them into the ground."

    Cora smiled and nodded. Out of instinct, she moved her leg and instantly froze when her ankle shot a pulse of pain throughout her body.

    They noticed her tense and frowned. Echo gently grabbed the blanket, questioning a soft, "May I?" before Cora nodded and he pulled the blanket over her ankle.

    It wasn't pretty, but the work done was definitely enough to keep her on her feet. Her ankle was wrapped in a metal brace with a pad on the sole of her foot, giving her a soft surface to step on when she'd walk.

    Echo's expression clearly showed that he wasn't as impressed as Cora. "It's sloppy work. I could've done a better job with my eyes closed and my robotic arm."

    "We've spent enough time waiting," Hunter interjected softly, an apology on his face as he looked to Cora. "Are you able to walk, Princess?"

    A droplet of crimson flushed throughout her face. She nodded, wearily looking up and down her brace.

    "Y-Yeah. We should get back to your ship."

    "Lucky for you, we've got a few speeders that should make your trip back easy."

    The new voice made their heads turn to the entrance of the tent. Trace and Rafa Martez, dressed for their departure, walked up to the Bad Batch and greeted Cora with two smiles.

    "Happy to have you here, Councilwoman," Trace grinned, earning a curious look from Rafa. She placed a stack of clothes on top of the bed, saying with a sheepish smile, "These are for you. I don't think you want to be in that dress any longer than you have to."

    Cora's cheeks burned hotter as she flushed with embarrassment. "Oh, I'm not a councilwoman anymore, but thank you. And thank you for this," she said, gesturing to the brace around her ankle.

    "It's the least we could do," Rafa shrugged, giving Hunter a knowing smile. "We owed you guys for what you did with the Battle Droid."

    Cora knew that was a story for another time. She held her hand out towards Omega who helped her place her legs over the edge of the bed. Standing took a second longer than usual as Cora got used to the needle-like pain shooting up her leg.

    She grimaced.

    "You said you've got speeders?" Echo said, stepping forward to help Cora keep her balance. She kept a hand on Omega's shoulder, the other arm over Echo's shoulders.

    "Only two." Trace raised two fingers. "And they're old."

    Hunter shrugged. "They'll work. Echo, get Omega with you on one of the speeders. Tech, you and Cora take the second. Wrecker, you're with me."

    "What will you do?" Cora questioned, nervousness laced in each word.

    "The lack of Imperial activity has led us to believe that they are guarding our ship to prevent an escape," Tech explained.

    "We're going to cause a distraction that will give Echo and Tech enough time to get you and Omega onto the ship. We'll follow you after." Hunter's attention turned to Echo. "You've got to make sure the ship is ready for immediate evac once we're on board."

    "Just make sure you give us enough time to get it fired up."

    "This is great and all," Rafa interrupted with an arched brow. "Really, it's cool to see all your brain cells becoming one smaller brain, but we've got to get going before we get a surprise visit from Imperials. The last ship is waiting on us; you sure there isn't anything else you guys need?"

    "We'll figure it out," Hunter smirked. "You get going."

    "It was nice meeting you Cora," Trace grinned. She turned to the others. "I'll never complain when it comes to seeing Omega, but you guys are like a joint package with these Imperials. Personally, I hope I never see you again."

    "The feeling's mutual," Wrecker laughed loudly, clapping Trace's shoulder.

    Trace and Rafa gave their final goodbyes before leaving the barracks. The soldiers and Omega soon followed, leaving Cora to change into the clothes that Trace had given her.

    Peeling the dress off of her body was like peeling away a layer of herself. It was the layer from Naboo, the girl whose fear surpassed her courage.

    She threw the dirty dress onto the floor, tears burning in her eyes as she sat on the edge of the bed in her underwear and bandeau.

    Her home was in the past. Her mother and father's legacy was in the hands of the Empire. Cora had gone from a Senator's apprentice to councilwoman, to Prime Minister in-training, and finally to a fugitive.

    Tatooine, she hoped, would be a new start. She hadn't heard much about and all she knew were from her parents.

    A barren desert where things go to die, she remembered her father saying.

    Maybe that was her fate. The thought caused a fresh surge of tears.

    "Cora?"

    Cora flushed red with panic at the sound of Hunter's voice in the tent doorway. She forgot she was in her intimates and with her broken ankle, moving fast was no longer an option.

    It didn't help that she forgot she was crying.

    Her nose sounded stuffed and her eyes were rimmed with red. She was scrambling to toss over the baggy pair of pants that Trace had offered. Figuring how to pull it over the brace was the hardest part.

    All while she struggled, Cora managed a strained, "One second!"

    "Are you alright?"

    "I'm fine- ah!"

    She slipped.

    She slipped.

    At least she had her pants on. The lack of a shirt was just as embarrassing, but she didn't really care now that her ankle was burning with pain all over again.

    The heavy thud was the only noise Hunter needed to storm into the tent, eyes immediately looking around for any sign of danger. When he saw Cora on the floor, wedged in between the two bunk beds with tears and a wince of pain on her face, he was by her side in a second.

    He didn't even realize that she was just in a bandeau. His grey eyes of worry were locked onto her face as he cupped her cheeks and wiped her tears with his thumb.

    "Are you hurt?"

    "My ankle is broken," she said frustratedly, a pointed look on her face. She'd stopped crying, yet a few tears still dripped from the corners of her eyes.

    Hunter managed a dry laugh.

    "I meant from your fall," he mused.

    "Maybe my dignity is the only thing that's wounded," she murmured under her breath.

    Confusedly, Hunter frowned. His eyes traveled down her neck and he began to notice the way her arms were crossed over her chest. When the realization was made that she had no shirt, he leaped away and turned around with wide eyes and pursed lips.

    "I-I"m sorry, I didn't realize-"

    "I-It's okay," she sputtered as she quickly pulled the sleeved shirt over her head. "I wasn't talking about that-"

    "-I should've waited-"

    "-I meant my dignity as in I'm a klutz-"

    "-I didn't see anything-"

    "-there's nothing nice to look at, anyway-"

    They fell into silence.

    Hunter didn't say anything. Cora paused, looking up at his broad-shouldered back. She bit her lip, paranoid that she said something to offend him.

    Her fingers reached out, gently touching his shoulder.

    "You can turn around now," she muttered softly, cheeks pink with a mixture of embarrassment and nervousness.

    He hesitated, waiting for a second longer before he turned and faced her. Their height difference made her tilt her head up in order to meet his eyes.

    It was a peculiar moment between the two, but Cora felt as if she had known this man all of her life. He looked at her with a softness that she couldn't describe.

    He didn't look like this at Omega. His attention with her was fatherly, protective. He listened to Omega with 110% attentiveness, careful to latch onto every word that she said about whatever she talked about.

    With Cora, it was... effervescent. Little bubbles rising to the surface of a cold drink. It was the river's reflection of the warm sunset, a bright burst of color yet calm in its nature.

    Hunter's knuckle grazed her cheek. The colors of the sunsetting sky burst across her vision as she shut her eyes and sucked in a slow, deep breath. He brushed aside a strand of orange hair that had fallen across her eye, smiling with just the corner of his mouth.

    "I think you're very nice to look at," he spoke quietly as if he wasn't sure if the words would leave his lips.

    Cora opened her mouth, stunned and unsure of what she was about to say when suddenly, a little giggle echoed from the entrance of the tent. The two turned their heads.

    Four pairs of eyes stared back at them. Some looked curious, others looked full of sly happiness, while the smallest set of brown eyes looked ready to burst with immeasurable delight.

    Hunter's whole body turned and the look of softness that had been on his face was replaced with absolute fury.

    Light laughter echoed from the tent opening as the four pairs of eyes suddenly disappeared and the sound of crunching footsteps echoed farther and farther.

    "I'm going to kill them," Hunter growled, a scowl on his lips.

    Cora's hand gently touched his bicep. He turned, his face softening as he matched the small smile on Cora's face.

    "Let them have their fun."

    Okay, maybe he'd let them have their fun this one time.

    With a nod, he turned back to the tent entrance and cleared his throat. He extended his arm out, allowing Cora to loop her arm with his and hold herself up. She put her head against his shoulder, wincing at the pain in her foot as the two started to walk.

    "Thank you."

    Hunter arched a brow. "For?"

    "Everything."

    He nodded and helped her on the bike, holding her hand as she took her place behind Tech. She looped her right arm around Tech's waist, the other holding onto Hunter's hand for a moment longer.

    "Don't make us wait too long," she teased.

    The smile on her face did little to mask the worry in her eyes.

    She had no idea that Hunter could feel the pounding of her heart against her ribcage. She didn't realize that he felt the slightest shake in her hand when she touched his fingertips. She was oblivious to the way his eyes caught the slightest trace of nervous tears in her waterline.

    So he did what he thought was right to ease her worry.

    He raised her hand to his lips and placed the softest, fastest kiss against her knuckles.

    "Stay safe, Princess," he whispered as their eyes locked together.

    She nodded once, her eyes lingering on his face before she pulled her hand from his touch. Tech fired up the speeder and the two, as well as Echo and Omega, dart forward into the jungle.

    The movement was so gentle, so fast, that Hunter felt as if he blinked and she was suddenly gone. The emptiness in his cold palm felt strange.

    He listened to the speeders as they slowly became quieter and farther. Wrecker walked up to him, adjusting the grenade launcher that he had propped on his shoulder.

    "We gonna talk about it?"

    Hunter scowled.

    "No."

    Wrecker smirked and nodded once. He turned around and spoke over his shoulder, leaving Hunter with an annoyed expression.

    "We'll talk about it later, then."

    Wrecker let out a belly laugh and hauled another grenade launcher over his shoulder.

    "Now let's blow up some Imperials!!"

    previous --- masterlist --- next

    #bad batch x oc #the bad batch #bad batch fanfic #star wars the bad batch #tbb#hunter#crosshairs#tech#wrecker#omega #hunter x oc #echo #bad batch star wars #bad batch#crosshair#star wars #clone force 99
    View Full
  • shadowsstorystuff
    04.12.2021 - 4 days ago
    #bad batch #the bad batch #clone force 99 #tbb hunter#tbb wrecker#tbb crosshair#tbb tech#OC_Shadow #clone wars fix it #self insert #bad batch x oc #bad batch x shadow #clones#tcw
    View Full
  • heavenseed76
    03.12.2021 - 5 days ago

    Under Your Command: Firsts

    Synopsis: The Bad Batch meet a new friend on Ord Mantell.
    This chapter includes content that is part of Writer Wednesdays @clydesducktape @autumnleaves1991-blog
    She might just change their lives forever
    Warnings: Sexual themes, cis/het sexual themes, MINORS DNI
    Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Read on AO3

    The streets of Ord Mantell had grown dark by the time they left Cid’s, a red-faced Corporal requesting a few hours leave from his Sargent, who gave it without question. The walk through the dusty streets was quiet, Echo carrying his helmet under his arm, stealing glances at the woman beside him every so often. Neon lights from cantinas and shops glinted off her jewelry and highlighted the ringlets flowing off her shoulders. A couple of times Smith turned to Echo, pointing out a business or landmark, and the artificial light would catch her eyes just so; something would swim in his chest and force him to smile back.

    A hand on his arm, pulling him in the direction of her shop, Smith lead him to the back of the shop where they entered into her small but tidy home. A small kitchen was separated from a living room that was stuffed full of real paper books and a single antique chair. A small refresher sat open at the end of a hallway from a set of stairs leading to another floor. A door off the kitchen could only lead to the back of the shop.

    Echo stood in the threshold of Smith’s home, as she removed her jacket and hung it on a hook, placed her satchel on the kitchen table and turned on the light. He held his helmet under his arm still, standing in a relaxed parade rest, just inside the door. Smith saw his hesitation and gently took his helmet from him, setting it on the table.

    Smith said softly, “Come with me.” She held a hand out to Echo, who took it with some hesitation. Glancing down the narrow hallway, it seemed to telescope into a never-ending sea of paper and leather binding, data pads and binders. Tomes lined floor to ceiling shelves that were in disarray, several lamps creating cozy haloes of light in an otherwise dark hallway.

    Smith led the hesitant clone through the hallway and past a stairway, into a glass -ceiling courtyard where Smith’s forges, cutters, grinders and all manner of tools were kept, all neat and ready to be used. Several projects lined one wall, the second story of the building overlooking the courtyard on three sides. Underneath the overlook was storage and more tools, and in one corner a quenching tub on a skid, which is where she led Echo now.

    “I don’t do blacksmithing often, so this doesn’t get used much, but for my clients with cybernetics, it comes in handy.” Smith turned to Echo and beamed. “It’s a quenching tub.” she replied, when all she received in response was a furrowed brow. “I have a special mix of purified water, bacta and hemp oil that will clean all your connections and your skin. You can take all the time you need. Free of charge.”

    Echo’s frown grew deeper. “What’s the catch?”

    “I’m not gonna watch, if that’s what your thinking!” Smith chuckled. She watched the man’s ears turn red at the insinuation. She turned to him fully and grew somber.

    “While I was scanning you, I realized, all this damaged had to have occurred all at the same time… so… I sent the data to my droid. You are listed as property of the GAR. But the design of your cybernetics aren't registered anywhere..”

    “So, you can’t help me?” Echo seemed to deflate before Smith’s eyes.

    “No! Not at all! I mean, yes, I… I have no problem building something for you! I’ve already built a tool for your adjustments. But I have a proposition for you.” Her voice was a whisper. “You let me reverse engineer some of your specialized parts, servos and programming, and we patent them together.”

    Echo took a step back in disbelief. This was not what he was expecting at all.

    Smith took his hand and squeezed, keeping him close. “Hear me out!” She stepped back into his space. “While you were off doing whatever it is you do for Cid, I did some research. Your cybernetics aren’t patented, by the GAR or anyone else. You are wholly unique, clone or not, Echo. I don’t know how or why you acquired this hardware, but, this war can’t last forever. You’re gonna need something to fall back on some day, if you survive it.”

    Echo scoffed “If I survive it. My brothers and I age faster that natural born humans. Even if I see the end of this war, there won’t be much to enjoy afterward.” He looked down at their joined hands.

    “What about Omega? You call her your sister. Is she like you and your brothers?” Smith asked sincerely.

    Echo looked up into Smith’s open, honest face, brown eyes fathoms deep and unblinking in their surety. “No, she’s not. She’s not like us.” Echo swallowed hard.

    “Patenting and selling these designs could take care of her for the rest of her life, Echo.” Both Smith’s soft hands covered his singular calloused one.

    Echo squeezed back. “Let’s do it.” He smiled.

    Echo soaked in a steaming hot tub of fresh water, bacta and sweet-smelling hemp oil behind a rolling screen while Smith put his clothing in her cleaning unit. He nearly fell asleep to the sound of her working on the other side of the screen, occasionally disappearing into her home. Despite being completely bare in the home of a woman he was desperately attracted to, he found himself totally relaxed in her presence. There were few people in the galaxy he felt so safe around, none of whom didn’t live on an Omicron-Class attack vessel with him. To be out of his armor and at her mercy was a completely new and foreign sensation; not one he was entirely unwelcoming of; he had even removed the magnetic field dampener from his head that helped filter his thoughts from the electronic chatter that plagued him, leaving him especially bare. Echo reveled in the feeling of being at Smith’s mercy as the hot water cleaned and sanitized him.

    A loud rap on the metal edge of the rolling screen gave him a start, causing the water to slosh over the edge of the tub. Smith’s bubbly laugh rounded the corner however, easing the tension.

    “You awake there soldier? I have your clothes, and the driver ready for us to calibrate.” Smith reached around and set the clothing on a chair just inside the screen with a towel on top.

    “Thank you!” Echo called, as Smith’s shadow retreated.

    Drying himself and dressing in just his briefs, Echo made his way back out to the workshop where Smith was waiting with her calibration tools and the new tool she had made for him. She sat on a stool at the big work table as he came from behind the screen with the towel around his neck looking sweetly boyish in his embarrassment. Smith bit her lip to keep from grinning at him as he walked over to her, his muscular physique still damp from the bath. Despite Echo’s misgivings about his cybernetics and prosthetics, she thought he had nothing to be ashamed of and had a hard time reigning in the desire to outright ogle the soldier as he sauntered into the workshop in just his underclothes.

    Starting with his arm, Smith showed Echo how to attach the tool, which was hexagon shaped and had a different driver on each side. Each plane had a different little symbol on it that corresponded to which part it was for, so he didn’t have to guess. With her calibration tool, she placed his joint inside and then slotted the new driver into it and let the calibrator do it’s thing, the box-like tool beeping and flashing a green light when it was done. Smith gently took it off and set it aside, opening the jar she had attempted to give him at Cid’s. She applied a small amount to his upper arm where the metal of his prosthesis met his skin and then applied the calibrator to the next joint. Echo let Smith manipulate his limbs as she worked, listening intently as she explained each step before she did it. Her touches were firm but gentle, using only enough of the salve to moisturize and not lubricate his skin and the metal around it.

    Taking the calibrator off his upper arm, Smith added a tiny bit more of the salve on the underside and Echo flinched. Smith burst into a fit of giggles. “You’re ticklish!” She laughed. The tension between them seemed to shatter.

    “I am not ticklish! I wasn’t expecting you to poke me there!” Echo protested. It held no heat and he smiled through his proclamation.

    “Whatever.” Smith smiled and shook her head.

    Setting aside the calibrator she took a generous amount of the salve and began to massage it into Echo’s scalp. Their height difference proved to make the task awkward and they danced around each other for a moment, Echo finally sitting on the stool so Smith could reach.

    With both hands she spread the sweet-smelling oil over his scalp and around the nape of his neck focusing on the disused access ports spaced evenly over his skull and the thin skin around them, massaging around each piece of durasteel. Echo closed his eyes and let his head fall heavy into her warm hands as she worked. Try as he might, he couldn’t help but let a small, satisfied groan slip from his throat as she worked the tense muscles at the base of his skull. Smith was loathe to move away as she finished, watching as his face moved from pinched nervousness to smooth relaxation as she worked. She held his chiseled, handsome face in her hands and spread her thumbs over his brows.

    “Feel good solider?” Smith smirked.

    When Echo opened his eyes their faces were mere inches apart, his honey-brown eyes looking directly into her earth-dark gaze. His vision flicked down to her smiling mouth and back to her eyes as he held his breath, frozen in her embrace. Smith watched as he wet his dry lips and made her body move: away from where she was stood holding her client.

    Smith cleared her throat and picked up the calibrator again, tapping Echo’s hip. He pulled up the edge of his grey boxer briefs so she cold have access to his hip joint and she applied the tool, kneeling before him. Echo tried to look anywhere but down at the woman on her knees in front of him. Smith worked in silence on his left leg, standing to retrieve the jar of salve when she was nearly done with the knee. Kneeling back down she did each ankle and then silently asked Echo to turn so she could do the other leg.

    Mortified, Echo stood from the stool, his arousal obvious in his briefs. His first instinct was to cover himself up, which only drew Smith’s eye directly to the problem.

    “Sorry.” Echo murmured. He cleared his throat and closed his eyes, trying to will his erection to go away. “I haven’t had a… This hasn’t happened since, um… I didn’t think I could… do this.. anymore….” He explained with some trepidation.

    Smith just kept working on the knee joint without pause. She glanced up at the blushing trooper. “Just be glad it does! It would suck if you lost an arm, your legs and your dick. The hand you have left would get lonely!”

    Echo looked down at Smith, incredulous. He laughed dryly as she removed the calibrator from his knee. Smith stood and set the machine on the table, still standing too close to Echo for comfort. She eyed his muscular chest and abdomen, which, gaunt as he might appear when he was wearing armor, was still impressive. Smith was thankful her own arousal wasn’t evident, as her gaze roamed his body. Meeting his eyes disarmed her and she reached for the salve once more.

    “May I?” Smith asked quietly, gesturing to Echo’s chest where he had several more unused access ports.

    “Please.” Echo replied, watching her with hooded eyes.

    Smith applied the salve over the ports, Echo sucking in his stomach when she ran her fingers over the two lowest. He hissed, Smith pulling back in amusement. “Not ticklish?” Smith asked as she continued, smile on her lips.

    “Not at all.” He replied breathily. Smith looked up to find Echo watching her, his face slack, completely blissed-out, as she moved closer toward his still-hard cock. She stopped moving and Echo grabbed her wrist, letting out a shuddering breath.

    They considered one another for a moment. Standing under the glass dome of Smith’s workshop, while the soft, small slip of a woman applied healing salve to a battered clone trooper who had looked death in the eye and lived to tell the tale. To most people Smith was a plain, short and slightly plump dark skinned human woman who spent most of her days making metal parts and tools for ships and machines on a seedy Mid-rim planet. Echo saw obsidian ringlets framing a kind face and smiling eyes, a sharp mind and wry wit wrapped around a hemorrhaging heart. A heart that accepted him as the man he was, the whole, capable man and not the piecemeal cyborg he had been turned into against his will. She saw in him a potential to take back some of what was taken from him and help him benefit from the hand he’d been dealt. And for the first time since he’d been released from his imprisonment on Skako Minor, Echo felt truly human.

    Echo brought the fluttering pulse point in her wrist to his mouth and placed a reverent, chaste kiss there. Smith inhaled sharply at the unexpectedly tender display of affection. It had her surging forward on her tiptoes to press her lips to his, letting the solid weight of his prosthetic arm pull her closer. His kiss was unsure and soft, sweet and unpracticed. Smith reached up to cradle his face in her hand and guide the kiss, stoking his arousal further. He guided her hand to his shoulder so he could feel the silky skin of her throat, moving to take a handful of her hair and simply hold it. Smith sucked gently at his plush bottom lip and pressed flush against him, his impressive arousal pressing into her belly. It was too much.

    Echo pulled away abruptly and held Smith from him by her shoulders, blood rushing in his ears, willing himself not to completely lose it altogether. “I’m sorry, mesh’la. This is - it’s too much.” He said, panting.

    “Maker, no, Echo, it’s ok!” Smith tried to soothe as he trembled. It was her turn to be embarrassed. “Um, wait here. Ah, get dressed and I’ll be right back!” She touched his face, and then quickly retreated into the kitchen.

    Echo took a moment to gather himself, focusing on slowing down his breathing. When he thought he could put his blacks on without finishing in his pants like a cadet, he got dressed and went to find Smith in her kitchen, pocketing the tool she had made for him.

    Smith was leaning against the kitchen counter drinking a glass of water with her arms crossed in front of her. As Echo entered the space she stood up straighter looking properly chagrined.

    “Echo - I’m sorry if I crossed a line or something -” she began.

    “Hush now.” Echo crowded her against the counter. He seemed bigger, more sure, in full armor, but the boyish half-smile was still there. He tucked an errant curl behind her ear and caressed her cheekbone. “You know what side of the line I’m on, mesh’la. I’ve just never… I have very limited experience with women. Can you teach me?” He whispered.

    “Would that be part of our agreement?” Smith winked.

    Echo took a step back. “It doesn’t have to be. If this attraction is one-sided, tell me.” He said, flustered. “I’d still like to work together!” It was incredibly endearing.

    Smith laughed. “No Echo. I like you very much. And I would very much like to help you with your limited experience.”

    Echo’s face split into a grin. “Good.”

    Smith put her arms around her trooper’s neck. “Good.”

    #Writer Wednesdays#sw tbb#swtbb echo #sw tbb hunter #swtbb tech#swtbb wrecker#swtbb omega #sw tbb fanfiction #star wars tbb #star wars oc #echo x original female character
    View Full
  • echosrobotarm
    03.12.2021 - 5 days ago

    ire // a crosshair fanfiction

    jedi!oc x crosshair

    chapter two: introductions

    word count: 1542

    "okay, hear me out, master . . . i go with anakin and the 501st, and clone force 99 can continue doing their own thing."

    "the council chose clone force 99 specifically so that you would learn more about adaptability in high stress situations. successfully integrating with their unit would more than prove to the council that you're ready to become a general."

    "obi-wan . . . i mean no disrespect when i say this, but you don't think i'd learn enough about adaptability from the general who all but considers 'no plan' to be a viable plan? anakin avoids planning ahead like the candorian plague! plus, i'd have jesse and kix and—"

    "all of whom you've worked with extensively. you know anakin's methods, you know the way his men fight. there is nothing there for you to improve with them. with clone force 99, you will be in charge, in charge of clones you've not acquainted yourself with, rather than reporting to another general. that is why you're not going with anakin or myself," her master explained, brows furrowing together in mild frustration.

    "yes, master," she replied, resigned to her fate.

    "after you've completed your assignment to them, perhaps the council can be persuaded to allow you to be assigned to the 501st with anakin and your friends."

    his former padawan sighed, folding her arms over her chest. her face turned skyward as she felt the disturbance of a ship slicing into the atmosphere with all the grace of a one-winged keeradak. an omicron-class attack shuttle skittered across the sky, coming in hot to the landing dock. the commander and her general's eyes both widened marginally, glancing sidelong at each other for a brief moment before they both dove for cover. the ship sputtered to a halt and landed with a succinct thud.

    she glanced at her master, giving him a wicked grin. "i've certainly seen anakin do worse," she chuckled, hopping to her feet and extending a hand to the general. he huffed, the corners of his lips reluctantly tugging upwards into a small smile.

    "indeed," he concurred.

    the pair strutted over to where the ship's ramp was beginning to open and descend. first out was a trooper with a red bandana, longer hair than the average clone, and a skull tattoo covering half of his face. the three that followed, layah would've hardly known were clones. one had thick goggles on with his nose all but buried in a datapad, another was absolutely massive with a scar decorating one side of his face and a milky-white eye to match, followed shortly thereafter by a lithe, silver-haired clone with a tattoo of a target over his eye. quite the odd bunch, she found herself thinking.

    "general kenobi," greeted the first trooper with a respectful nod of his head, "commander kerriss, i presume?" he asked, extending his hand to shake hers. his callused hand was warm and his grip firm. "the name's hunter."

    "hunter is the squad's sergeant," obi-wan supplied.

    "yes, ma'am. these are my brothers. tech, he's the brains of our squad," he nodded to the trooper with the goggles, who glanced up from his datapad long enough to give her a small but sincere smile. "he'll bore you with all kinds of useless information for as long as you'll let him. this is wrecker, he's got quite a knack for explosives," hunter said as he gestured to the tallest trooper, the one with the scars on his face. despite his outwardly intimidating appearance, the trooper gave layah a big goofy grin. "and this is crosshair, not much for conversation, but you won't find a better shot in the galaxy." the silver-haired clone regarded layah with a cold stare, eyeing her what almost appeared to be disdain.

    "it's a pleasure to meet all of you," she stammered, giving each trooper a once over and a nervous smile.

    another trooper came into view, descending the ship's ramp. something about him was familiar, exceedingly so. with a soft push in the force, her suspicions were confirmed.

    "and i believe you've met—"

    "echo?" she finished his sentence, mystified. layah slowly walked past the others to meet the trooper as he descended the ramp. he was missing his right hand, which had been replaced with a sort of cybernetic enhancement. there was also a device snugly attached around the base of his skull, his head was bald, and his skin was pallid, more so than any clone she'd ever seen. and yet, she could sense it, his signature still the same in the force, so strong and beautiful and alive.

    his nerves had gotten the better of him, knowing his appearance was a bit jarring, particularly to those who had known him before. he wasn't exactly the same spitting image of jango he'd once been. the trooper let out an almost inaudible huff suddenly as the jedi nearly knocked the wind out of him, pulling him into a tight hug. he chuckled, his arms slowly wrapping around her smaller frame as he relaxed into her touch.

    "good to see you too, commander," he said, pulling back to give her a proper look. echo recognized that same weary look in her eyes that he'd seen in rex's back on skako minor. it aged the young jedi in a way that didn't suit her, though the arc trooper supposed war really suited no one.

    "rex told me you were alive, but that was just about all i could get out of him. obi-wan and i were stationed on cato neimoidia for what felt like ages with our comms consistently being jammed by the seppies and all i could hear from rex was 'he's alive. echo is alive,' and i thought he was pulling my leg or i misheard him, but . . . stars, you're here. you're alive," she spluttered, tears threatening to spill down her cheeks as her hands crept up to cup his face as if to confirm he was real.

    "can't get rid of me that easy, commander," he joked, earning another beautiful smile from his friend, making his heart swell.

    behind them, the general cleared his throat, earning the pair's attention. layah's eyes were wide with embarrassment, cheeks rosy, and she stammered out an apology as she came back to obi-wan's side. "good to see you again, echo," he greeted, his warm gaze resting on the cybernetically enhanced arc trooper, who gave a nod and a smile in response.

    layah's eyes met the hostile gaze of crosshair, whose lips were pressed into a thin, unimpressed frown. her smile fell like that of a scolded child. she turned back to face her former master, finding a soft and reassuring smile on his face. she gave a weak one in response, her attention quickly being captured by the rowdy squad of clones as they fell into a heated debate over some mechanical updates the trooper named tech had made to the ship.

    "layah, if i could have a word with you, please," obi-wan said, stepping away from the troopers who were contentedly chatting amongst themselves. layah obediently followed her master, looking up at him expectantly. he turned to face her, regarding her with a wistful look she rarely saw from her surefooted mentor. "i suppose this is where we part ways, for now at least."

    "obi-wan . . . what if this all goes horribly? what if . . . what if i'm not ready? what if—"

    "you have never failed me before, my padawan, i should not think you would start now. i've watched you grow into a formidable warrior and an excellent leader. you are more than ready for this task," obi-wan said solemnly, his eyes brimming with emotion. he sighed heavily, collecting himself. "i am so, so proud of you."

    a stray tear slipped down her cheek as she gazed up at the man who helped raise her. he was the closest thing she'd had to a brother or father, somehow simultaneously filling each role perfectly. he'd been by her side since she was first assigned to him years ago, and this would be her first time truly on her own. she wanted to speak, but found her voice failing.

    her master smiled knowingly, his hand resting on her shoulder. "you needn't say anything, my padawan."

    she snaked her arms around his waist, burying her face in her master's chest, catching him by surprise. "thank you, obi-wan, for everything," she murmured, voice muffled by his robes and garbled by tears. his arms came to wrap around her smaller frame, squeezing her tightly in an uncharacteristic display of affection. his breath seemed to stutter a moment, almost imperceptible, but she felt a single tear fall onto the bare skin of her shoulder.

    finally, he pushed her away somewhat playfully, wiping his cheek with his sleeve and forcing the sadness from his smile. "go on, now. go prove to the council what i already know to be true, that you will make an exceptional general."

    she nodded, taking one last look at her master, before turning to her new squad. without looking back, she strutted over to the group, her chin up and her lips forming a confident smile. she would make her master proud.

    a/n: i just finished one of my finals and got bored so i decided to go ahead and post the second chapter. crosshair is such a wet cat of a human being. i love him and his mean ass so much. also some soft obi-wan because i have daddy issues and obi-wan is the peak star wars father figure. i actually have his lightsaber tattooed :)

    #crosshair fanfiction#crosshair fic #crosshair x oc #crosshair tbb #crosshair bad batch #crosshair#star wars#clone wars#bad batch #the bad batch #tbb#sw tcw#hunter tbb #hunter bad batch #tech tbb #tech bad batch #tech#wrecker tbb #wrecker bad batch #tbb echo#echo tbb #echo clone wars #echo bad batch #obi wan #obi wan kenobi #obi wan needs a hug #jedi oc #grand army of the republic #star wars fanfiction
    View Full
  • lizartgurl
    03.12.2021 - 5 days ago

    Training or the art of finding an excuse for physical contact™ (courtesy of @dilpickledd)

    #So I'm getting really good with shading 👉👈 #Rlly proud of these babies #star wars#lizart#my art #the bad batch oc #the bad batch x oc #hunter the bad batch #hunter#sergeant hunter#tbb hunter#♥️♥️♥️♥️#my ocs#saachi gunder #sword make brain go brrrrrr
    View Full
  • queenquazar
    03.12.2021 - 5 days ago

    Whispers of Ghosts (4)

    A/N: Y'all... this turned into a beast of a chapter REAL quick. However, I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Thank you to my dear friends (you know who you are <3) who commented and gave really good recommendations.

    Please drop a comment, like, or reblog! And thank you to those who have done so! You all have my heart. If you want to be added to the tag list, message, ask, or comment! Happy Reading!

    Warnings: Random drug tests, crack head level wet dream with descriptions of sex (MDI!), discussions of slavery and death. Let me know if I missed anything. A Dyslexic wrote this.

    Previous Chapter-- Next Chapter

    Bright Eyes was out of place, and by the seven suns, she felt it as she made her way to the upper-level Kaminoan offices, summoned by the Prime Minister himself. Her heart thumped in her neck, heat building and pulsing in all the wrong places as her body begged to bolt in the opposite direction, back down to the safety of her office. Dutifully though, her feet kept walking towards the inevitable reparation from those who demanded her presence in five minutes. Her comm went off, and she unlatched it from her belt to patch the speaker through as she rounded the corner for the lift.

    “Bright Eyes, we’re landing in ten.” Hunter’s voice flitted through the comm, rough and spectacularly calming. Her shoulders relaxed at the sound; glad he was alive. “Should we expect you in the bay again?” Bright snorted and entered the lift, tapping one of the many white circular buttons near the top. Her palms felt clammy, but her thoughts still seemed orderly enough, not quite in a total panic. After all, she hadn’t done anything nefarious in a week or so… at least from what she recalled.

    “I wish. Lama Su summoned Nala Se and me. I’ll be… busy.” Hunter scoffed on the other end, chuckling lightly as the sound trailed off.

    “They catch you smuggling nail polish?” Bright shook her head, then rolled her eyes at her own nervous stupidity. He couldn’t see her movements, and she was rather stupid for doing it. She pressed her lips together.

    “No, well, I don’t know. They haven’t tossed my rooms since Shem disappeared last week, and I don’t know what they want; I just know they summoned me to their upper offices, and with both Lama Su and Nala Se there, I can’t imagine it being anything good, hell, I’ve never been in a pleasant meeting with a Kaminoan, they have such a flat affect unlike you boys, most of you have expressive eyes, like you, and-”

    “Cyar’ika. Breathe, honey,” Hunter instructed, and she huffed but complied nevertheless. For all Bright’s resiliency, she wanted him to talk her down from her ledge, out of her spiral- a mantle Shem and Bright carried for each other since their first days together. “If you got called upstairs for a meeting, it’s just a formality. If you go down, then you should worry. If they summon you down, comm me-“

    “Even in the middle of a mission?” Bright joked as the lift slowed and opened, really just trying to lighten the mood to ease the anxious fire in her bones.

    “For you, yeah, I would,” The sound conviction in his voice was heart pausing and fluttered in Bright’s belly like a butterfly's wings. For her? Did that mean if it were anybody else in the GAR or universe, he wouldn’t? She rolled her eyes. She was only exceptional because of her work and it was ridiculous to think otherwise. “If I don’t pick up, comm Cody.”

    “Are you kidding me? Cody chases after Jedi, cleans up after the 212th and the entire GAR. He would never pick up for someone as far down the food chain as myself.” She stepped into the halls, admiring the stormy ocean below in the window-lined halls. The window ledge came to her shoulder, set up for the lanky Kaminoans and she had to tilt her chin up to catch the full view. Cody did hold a soft spot for the SWs and kept an eye out for them in whatever way he could. If there was an emergency, it wasn't improbable for him to help her, as would Hunter, apparently. Bright Eyes blinked and for a second she came back to the significance of her being called up above the waters and main areas.

    “Wait, Hunter,” She stepped into a side hall and leaned against it to watch both ends for eavesdroppers. “Are you implying that if I were to get called downstairs, I would… disappear?” If the Kaminoans kept their dirty dealings below the water, maybe Shem was still on the planet. Bright Eyes could find her and find out how to get the papers off-planet and sweet talk Cody into pulling rank to get Shem off Kamino unharmed. She could have it all settled by the next month, and the shallow shifting in her tummy would be gone, and she wouldn’t feel so tired and paranoid. A giddy feeling bloomed in the pit of her belly. She could do this.

    “Bright, don’t go downstairs,” Hunter ordered. A soft growl in the back of his throat had her leaning further into the wall, pressing her lips together. She had to try something to help Shem; it would be neglectful to allow anyone to wallow in the tunnels and tubes below the murky waters, nat born or not.

    “Sargent, I have to try,” She whispered after a few seconds of silence had passed. “Shem is like a sister to me, and I can’t-“

    “Sweetheart,” Hunter’s voice softened to a gentle lull, as if he used any other tone, she’d break apart. Her eyes shut as she focused on Hunter. “I understand more than you can believe about protecting your own, we’ve done it since we were cadets, but you cannot do it at the cost of yourself. Don’t let Shem take you to a place that hurts you both. You will not come back up if you go below the water.” Bright Eyes didn’t like it; she wasn’t naturally inclined to follow orders, preferring to follow her own morals over others'. She checked the time, needing a second to properly process the information when she didn’t feel like throwing up.

    “I have to go, Hunt,” She mumbled with a laborious push off the wall. “Have a safe landing. I’ll be in for evaluations as soon as I’m free.”

    “Bright Eyes,” His voice dropped to a gentle whisper, coaxing her to try and imagine him whispering to her. She couldn’t quite remember the way his tattoo framed his eyes, but the honey brown color was exact. The way they shined and flickered reflected the depth that she remembered catching the first time she caught his eye in the hanger. “Stay alive, cyar’ika.” Hunter’s voice trailed off like he had more to say, which Bright was confident of, but she didn’t have the chops to comment on it- or the time.

    “That’s my line.” It was the lamest thing she could say, and she cursed herself for it until Hunter snorted out of amusement on the other end.

    “I’m not the one about to meet with the Kaminoan Prime Minister and his chief scientist.”

    “Ugh, yeah, whatever, Sargent. Bye.” She dropped the comm from her face, shutting it off with a gentle smile. It was as much of a smile as she could muster up as she marched the few yards to the meeting place, the doors opening with a hiss. Bright Eyes banked on Hunter being right about the meeting being a formality. She brushed her hot palms on her skirt.

    “SW, welcome. Please, have a seat,” Lama Su greeted first, blinking his large black and grey eyes at her slowly. The Kaminoan’s eyes reminded her of a fish’s eyes. Nothing swirled behind them but black and white ideologies and facts of nature, but she wasn’t fooled. She saw through the smoke and mirrors of servicing the GAR for the better good of the galaxy for the pension received. It lurked in the far corner of his eye, making the bare colors swirl in the unreadable way that secrets tended to churn up.

    Bright Eyes placed a fist over her chest and bowed out of decorum before moving to a chair. With an inaudible huff, she hopped a bit, using her arms to plunk into the spoon-shaped chair, uncomfortably disproportionate to Bright’s small human frame. It had to be taller than Wrecker or at least the same size, and even for the tallest member of the GAR- probably Crosshair. It was disproportionate between species. The familiar white noise of HVAC units and rain patters kept her fingers from tapping on her thighs or, worse, picking, as she and Lama Su both braced in the seconds after formalities for the actual conversation.

    “SW, it is my understanding you have a strong devotion to your duties, and I do not wish to keep you from them. However, it has been brought to our attention your participation in importing contraband from core worlds.” The problem with Lama Su was not one of ethics, it seemed. It revolved around soothing words and half-truths manipulated for the demise of others. Fellow SWs and troopers alike watched the Republic Senate be on the verge of significant civil rights legislation, only to be thwarted by Lama Su’s cunningness. Her teeth ground slightly as she folded her hands in her lap, crossing her ankles. The corner of her eyes crinkled as they narrowed.

    “I haven’t left Kamino since being stationed a few years back, Lama Su. How can I bring in contraband if I don’t leave?” She spoke slowly but clearly, aiming to sound confident. Bright Eyes tilted her chin up and took slow disciplined breaths. Insecurity crawled up her neck like a weed’s roots, even more so when Lama Su narrowed his swirling eyes at her, tilting his head down like a boxer would before the bell rang. She just had to talk herself out of the situation and buy into her own words.

    “Clones found a box of rolled spice in your office this afternoon. How do you explain yourself?” Bright’s eyes mimicked his, narrowing into a rare sneer she saved for moments like this. Contrary to popular opinion, Bright had a fierceness in her bones that made her good at the things she did, it was a natural tenacity she kept close to her chest like a Sabbacc card.

    “Do you know how many people come and go without my knowledge in my office? Do you know how many other SWs share offices?” Bright Eyes hissed.

    “So quick to blame others, SW?” Nala Se entered the room, a small kit in her hands. “I would not expect that of a woman of such prestigious standing amongst the Clones.” Bright Eyes fucking hated people calling her boys clones. It was degrading. She also hated when the Kaminoans mocked her to her face as if she was stupid enough to not read through the lines.

    Bright Eyes could be described as a lot of things, but stupid was not one of them.

    “And I would expect such scientific people to test their hypothesis before declaring conclusions.” Bright’s voice sounded similar to Crosshair's slow drawls. Still, unlike the hiss, her words chomped into whatever soft spots it could reach, tearing away weaknesses from bone.

    “We will conduct a blood test for toxins in your system. If you fail, you will be allowed four standard hours to pack your belongings before being sent to Cosecant for-“

    “With all due respect, Prime Minister, I am aware of the consequences for breaking GAR or Kaminoan rules.” Bright held out her arm. “Did you test all of the SWs?” Nala Se floated forward and opened the kit on the small table beside her, connecting a tube to a vial.

    “That is classified information. We can only provide the results of your test,” Nala Se’s voice deceptively soothed as she tightened a pink band above Bright’s elbow.

    “I didn’t ask about that. I asked if you provided one to them.” She stiffened as she placed a small sensor with a needle over the inside of Bright’s elbow. Within seconds, the sensor found the vein and poked, pulling a quick flow of blood out of her body into the vile.

    “We did.” Lama Su stood and bowed his head to me. “I will be in contact.” The sensor beeped, and the needle retracted from her skin. Nala Se quickly covered the puncture point with a folded cotton pad and rolled the band down to hold it in place. Her long fingers were cold against Bright’s soft and warm elbow.

    “Why did they toss my office, Nala Se?” The Kaminoan blinked at her kit once before turning her head back to Bright, unreadable.

    “I’m afraid I do not understand your inquiry, SW.” The tube was sealed and went back into the pack.

    “Please,” Bright Eyes scoffed. “Don’t play politician; it doesn’t suit you. You’re a scientist. What are the facts?” Nala Se started to the door and paused, glancing back for a moment at the SW still perched in the tall chair, before leaving the room with one piece of advice.

    “SW, it will do you well to… mind your work.” The door slid shut, leaving the SW in the room with the humming HVAC. Bright Eyes buzzed her lips, sinking deep into the chair as her arm started to ache.

    The Kaminoans were in her office. They had overridden her code or framed her. By law, they had to share the phlebotomy lab results. Her results would be clean, and she would fly back under the radar to smuggle the testimonials out. She had to find Shem first. But what did Hunter know? What did she risk by going down? Did the facility stretch on like a weed’s roots? Or like the roots of a flower? Bright scooched to the edge of the chair and braced with one hand to jump off the chair, her skirt fluttering as she landed. One thing at a time, she instructed herself. Gathering up questions and using a pin to pull apart unnecessary threads would do her no good and it wouldn't do Shem any good either.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “SW!” Wrecker exclaimed as Bright Eyes entered the Batch’s barracks. The smell was slightly better, the stench of cleaning supplies wafting in from the bathroom. Wrecker grunted as he pushed up from his squat position; the box droid draped over his broad shoulders wiggled its little feet. Bight giggled at how cute it looked, wiggling when Wrecker clearly had it secured. “If you’re looking for Hunter, he’s with Tech.”

    “Oh, thank you, but I’m not looking for them. I’m looking for you.” She smiled, setting her tablet on the table to hoist herself up onto it, getting comfortable in the environment. Little electrical parts were scattered in chaotic piles beside her thigh.

    “Me? Why me?” He set the droid down, which waddled away like nothing had ever happened. Wrecker beamed with a crooked kind of smile at Bright Eyes, reminding her of a ray of sunshine. She wracked her mind for the Mando’a word for sunshine but couldn’t recall it. She’d have to ask Rex the next time he touched down.

    “Why not you? Besides, I’m already here.” She gently spoke, swinging her feet. “And unfortunately, we have to do the psych evaluation.” Wrecker rubbed the back of his neck bashfully before tugging a doll into his arms, sitting in his bunk. He closed himself off, the brightness from his smile dissipating. Bright’s lips pressed together as her chest hollowed. Seeing him deflate disgusted her, reminding her of her friend from school who’d entered into a violent partner relationship. She, too, became a shell of a person in front of Bright’s own eyes.

    “We don’t like doing those.”

    “I haven’t met a trooper who does,” She gently sympathized. “Your doll, it’s cute.” Wrecker’s face lit up, and he turned the doll so she could see the markings on the front and the busted seams, which allowed the stuffing to poke out. Bright had a small sewing kit in her room. She could fix it up in fifteen minutes.

    “Her name is Lula! She’s a tooka.” He tucked it back into his arms, squeezing it slightly.

    “She looks soft. How long have you had her?” Bright Eyes asked, resuming swinging her legs.

    “For a year? I’m not sure. It was a gift from a little girl I saved on a mission once.” His eyes bounced anxiously around the room, causing Bright Eyes to narrow her eyes. Troopers had plenty of reasons to be anxious; some didn’t like talking about their feelings or deployment history. Others were anxious about the consequences SWs could deliver… like they ever actually delivered them.

    “Do you get the chance to save little kids often?” She joked, hoping it would put the trooper at ease. He shook his head, still shut off. Bright Eyes exhaled loudly. She needed to change tactics if he was going to open up and out of the entire Batch; he seemed the aptest to honestly speak to her.

    “Tell you what, big guy,” She slid off the table, piquing his interest. “I have been tied to my desk all day and need to stretch my legs. Wanna come with?” He nodded, setting Lula on the bed after he stood up. Yeah, it was a complete lie, but sometimes one just had to lie for the greater good. They got out into the hall, walking in silence for a bit, as Bright Eyes opened her tablet. In all honesty, she hated being on her feet this much. Her ankles were already feeling raw from her boots rubbing over the same spot.

    “What do you write in there?” Wrecker asked, bending over to sneak a glimpse of her screen. The corner of her lips curled upwards as she tilted it towards him to look at. She had nothing to hide from him.

    “Whatever, I think I’ll forget mostly. Or I’ll write down if there is something I want to explore further. Your medical record said you’re deaf in one ear? I have a note to look into a cochlear or other accommodations if you would be interested.” He grinned, his natural eye glittering.

    “Nah, I do fine without it! What other things do you have typed on us?” He wiggled a finger in front of her tablet, making her smile and gently smack it away with a giggle.

    “I can only share what I have for you, Wrecker.” She affectionately spoke. She stopped after two troopers walked past them, and together, Wrecker and Bright watched them disappear, leaving them in the corridor alone. She stopped and turned to him, schooling her face into something more professional.

    “Wrecker, I know this is used as a screening question for mental illnesses. If I catch enough symptoms, the GAR will have you discharged,” He nodded grimly, himself turning on his professional persona. “I’ll always lowball your symptoms on the reports to keep it under the Kaminoan’s radar. However, suppose there are services you qualify for or coping mechanisms you need to be taught; in that case, I need the evidence to advocate for them. I’m not mandated to report anything to the GAR unless you’re in danger from yourself or threatening others. But, if I’m going to help you, I need to know the truth. Okay?”

    “You’re telling me that you don’t report that stuff to the GAR?” Wrecker questioned, raising his eyebrows while his cybernetic eye swirled, jerking between her left and right eye.

    “My job is to equip you to thrive, not just survive. You can’t do that if you’re dead.” She spoke firmly. Wrecker broke into a wide grin before opening his arms to scoop her smaller frame-up. Bright Eyes squeaked, throwing her arms around his neck, and dug her nails into whatever fabric she could. She giggled and bent her knees, hugging him as tight as she could. She loved hugs. Tilting her head, she rested it on his shoulder joint, squeezing tight.

    “I like you, tiny!” He plopped her down, gently holding her arm to steady Bright Eyes’ stumbling steps. His large and rough hand curled all the way around her elbow, jarring Bright Eyes slightly. Not many could make her feel small, she wasn’t the smallest woman in the universe, but she supposed she didn’t let enough people try in the first place to make her feel docile. Blinking, she smiled and smacked his bicep harshly.

    “Come on, big guy, I only have a few more questions.” Wrecker had moments of bashfulness and pride alike, recounting moments of brute strength in battles and soft moments of heroics like saving the little girl. He came off a little brutish, but as they spoke, he kept bumping into her. He just had a hard time being aware of where he was in space. His body awareness could have been impacted by whatever caused the spider web of scars and the cybernetic eye, or it could simply be his disposition. That made him seem more brute paired with the boisterous vocal volume, but his heart was big enough to cram two GAR fleets in.

    After she finished the lap and questions with Wrecker, they returned to the room where Tech stood in the middle of, fiddling with components on the table.

    “What are you doing now?” Wrecker asked, lifting Lula up into his arms and collapsing into his bed, emotionally drained from their conversation. Bright Eyes had done enough of these to be able to do five in a day before needing to withdraw and recharge, enough for one squad.

    “I am trying to reconnect the HVAC system to allow us to manually override the controls. The Kaminoans have changed some of the central wirings while we were on mission.” She sat on the table again, watching Tech fiddle with the parts. “Did you know, SW, Kamino is known to rain more than any other planet, and because of the temperature differences, the Kaminoans have to adjust their HVACs every three cycles?” Tech interrupted, pausing to adjust his glasses as he looked at her. She blinked at the change of topic.

    “The more you know. Does it help you to have these projects?” She inquired. Tech picked up a sauder and a strand of metal.

    “If he’s not fiddling, he has his nose in his holopad.” Crosshair stood up from behind the wall of crates, gun case in hand, revealing himself like she’d imagined a hawk would- slowly, knowing he could snap Bright Eyes in half within a blink of an eye. She couldn’t tell if she felt put off by it.

    “And I suppose when you’re not sleeping or eating, you’re shooting?” Bright Eyes teased back, making Wrecker laugh. Crosshair rolled his eyes, the faintest upturn on his lips revealing his amusement at her.

    “Sleep is for the weak.”

    “Actually, we cannot survive without sleep. Your brain will make you hallucinate after three or four days, then your body will forcibly make you go to sleep. If you don’t, you will die after a week or so. Besides, you slept last night, even if you did have nightmares.” Tech’s ramblings forced the room to go uncomfortably quiet. A toothpick flew centimeters from her face, poking Tech harmlessly in the cheek.

    “Tech, di’kut,”

    “I have an enhanced mind, I am far from,”

    “That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” Crosshair hissed, standing up. His fiery eyes glared at Bright Eyes, threatening a world of hurt. So, Bright quickly spoke up to ease the sniper.

    “I’ve already told Wrecker this, but I don’t inform the GAR of mental illnesses unless you’re going to put somebody or yourself in danger. I take care of my boys. Dying over some nightmares or anxiety is overkill. Civies function fine with them; you can too.”

    “How touching,” Crosshair mumbled, now chewing on a new toothpick. Bright Eyes furrowed her eyebrows slightly at it, reminded of the testimonials. She had to get it done soon. Her eye twitched slightly.

    “Check my stats if you want proof.” Her side throbbed for the first time that day as the bacta cream wore off. She tried to ration it for as long as possible for the days it was awful, like the night before when she’d woken up in a thick sweat.

    “Can you hand me those pliers?” Tech asked, opening his hand without looking. She glanced behind her, spotting a pair, and quickly handed it over, feeling Crosshair still studying her. But he apparently found what he wanted as he collected his weapons kit and started out the door, stating he would see Bright Eyes at 0700 the next day. After saying something about the gym, Wrecker left too, leaving Tech and Bright Eyes alone in the room.

    “Do all of you have nightmares?” She asked softly after some time had elapsed. Tech kept fiddling for a moment, finishing whatever he was doing before standing to his full height to look at her. His eyes looked deceptively bigger with his glasses- it would have been comical if it weren’t for the conversation’s subject matter.

    “Yes. We all have nightmares. Crosshair’s are by far the worst and has them almost nightly. I believe you would categorize them as night terrors. Hunter has them after missions, but Wrecker has them at random. It is a byproduct of repressed memories, I assume?” He paused to look up, seeking Bright as the professional verifier of his information. She blinked, not prepared for the sudden questioning about neuroscience. While she knew many things involving her profession, she might have forgotten about a lot of the biological explanations of mental health besides vague chemical imbalances and anxiety responses. Neuroscience tended to fall towards psychologists and psychiatric professionals.

    “Well, it’s a combination of factors. Your baseline anxiety levels are higher due to combat, so your fight, flight, freeze, and fawn responses are all heightened as well. If your amygdala can’t regulate it during sleep, it may trigger nightmares or night terrors if you’re Crosshair.” His eyes widened then he placed the pliers on the table.

    “The amygdala causes it?”

    “Partly. Suppose the brain thinks there’s immediate danger. In that case, it will trigger the hippocampus to recall old memories resembling danger or creating false realities. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s any one thing, though, and I can’t tell you much more than that.” Tech nodded in approval of her statement, and she sighed, thankful that it appeased him enough. Again, this wasn’t her area of expertise.

    “Such is the way of the mind. Do you have nightmares of the day you got shot?” What? She felt led stiffen around her spine as the blood dropped from her face and into her gut, making her feel even more nauseous.

    “I’m sorry, what?” She whispered, snapping her gawking jaw shut with a click of teeth. The SW prayed she misheard him; she really didn’t want to think about it. She wanted it to go away, and it just fucking wouldn’t, just like her fucking scar, just like everything else. There were no solutions, and she was exhausted. Bright Eyes inhaled and exhaled slowly, she couldn’t think about it or she’d shatter apart. She refused to break. She’d tape the pieces of herself together and figure it out like she always did, even if that meant avoiding talking about it like the plague.

    “In your file. It said you were placed on medical leave due to a blaster wound. I’m assuming it wasn’t an accident as all contracted GAR personnel go through weapon safety training.” She blinked twice, her hand already pressing to protect the scar.

    “Oh, um, no, well, I, I had- have- really bad anxiety afterward, still do sometimes, in emotionally charged settings.” She grimaced at how disjointed her thoughts sounded. She needed to change the topic immediately. “Anyways,” Bright Eyes cleared her throat, moving awkwardly into the standard questions the evaluations provided her with. At the same time, Tech tinkered, successfully multitasking. As they finished, Hunter strolled into the room, quickly removing his helmet, his curls slowly unfurled, unsticking from being compressed against his scalp.

    Hunter gave her a long look, eyes flickering over her face, studying her. She shifted in her seat before dropping her eyes from his, suddenly overtaken by the feeling of wanting to hide. She didn’t like feeling so exposed to him.

    “Why do I smell blood?” Hunter questioned, heading to his bunk to place his bucket on a shelf. Tech shrugged.

    “I do not have any cuts on my hands.”

    “Bright?”

    “Blood draw. That’s what Lama Su wanted me for.” Bright lamely offered Hunter a glimpse of the inside of her arm where the bandage sat. “They accused me of using spice, which I don’t use because of random blood tests.” Hunter shook his head. Untying his bandana, his curls flopped around his face, bouncing slightly. Bright tilted her head to the side, watching how his hands moved quickly and yet gently so as to not pull his hair.

    “Did you talk to Crosshair or Wrecker yet?” He glanced over at her with his pretty brown eyes. Bright Eyes shifted in her seat, insecure of how she was sitting.

    “I’ve talked with Wrecker, but not Crosshair.” Bright hated how breathy her voice sounded, but his eyes sparkled as they slid down her face to her lips, and she swore she could feel the path they took as her skin tingled. She licked her dry lips as her wrist buzzed from her comm.

    Code black. Suicide watch, children’s wing 15.35. 2200-2300 and 0600-0700 hours.

    “Fucking hells bellow,” She slid off the table, glancing between the men. Hunter squinted his eyes at her, concerned. “I have a suicide watch tonight,” She muttered softly, her shoulders slouching with her breath. “Kid’s block,” She pressed her hand against her neck, feeling calmer with the pressure. Hunter walked over and placed a hand on her shoulder. His warmth took off some of the edge she felt, lifting a weight she didn’t recognize off her shoulders. She covered his hand with hers and tilted her head to look up at him. “Thank you.” His hand was rough and steady and, seven suns above, it took every ounce of her willpower to step away from him and his dark musky scent.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bright left the room deflated, her heart beating slow and deep in vibration Hunter could feel through the humid air. Hunter could feel her emotions flip like a switch as soon as her comm vibrated, and it worried Hunter, feeling the physical intensity of her disappointment and sadness. He moved to his bunk and started to unclip his armor. Suicide, unfortunately, was common in each batch of cadets and squads. But the rumors that whispered in the halls of those who’d taken their life had decreased in the last year or so.

    “Is she gone yet?” Crosshair entered the room with his case and moved to slip it back under his bunk where he preferred it. He didn’t smell of strong blaster residue and metal from long sessions. Something must have stopped him from shooting.

    “Yes. I also realized that I made you feel uncomfortable in her presence. I am sorry,” Tech spoke. Hunter raised his eyebrows, turning to Crosshair who shrugged and also started to unclip his armor.

    “What happened?” Hunter asked, taking some cleaner from Tech’s table and sat it on the floor beside Crosshair, uncapped. The burning metallic smell in the air mixed oddly with the clean industrial smell wafting from the cleaning agent. He grit his teeth and stepped back to allow all of it to diffuse together.

    “I mentioned his night terrors, of which she suffers from. Technically, I believe it stems from her undiagnosed PTSD. However, she only admitted to having Anxiety.” Hunter closed his eyes and sighed as he grabbed two rags from the table across from Tech.

    “Tech, we were ordered to not make her life more miserable,” He reminded, throwing a rag at Crosshair who caught it, throwing his own rag on the floor next to Crosshair’s bunk. Hunter needed to grab his armor and move it over so they could share the tub.

    “Cody cares too much about her. She doesn’t do anything,” Crosshair grumbled, grabbing his backplate and dipping the rag in the solution to buff out his armor. Hunter huffed and set his armor on the floor, resting his back against Crosshair’s wall of crates.

    “Actually, she is the one who started what is referred to as the Testimonial Project or TMP. Shem organized the transfer of papers to Cosecant. Commander Cody, who has never been directly linked with TMP, is known for being a strong supporter of SW involvement on Kamino. It would be beneficial to keep SW Bright Eyes around to help the Clones.” Hunter sighed as he leaned back, his muscles sore from the post-mission flight.

    “Then why is Shem dead?” Crosshair questioned, using his foot to slide over the jar to the Sargent. He thanked his vod and grabbed his shoulder piece.

    “SW Shem has not been confirmed to be dead yet. She was arrested for direct violation of Kaminoan laws. Bright Eyes, on the other hand, does not actively participate in illegal Kaminoan activities-“

    “That we know of,” Hunter interrupted, pausing his movements to glance at Tech. Crosshair glanced up as his hands continued in the memorized motions of methodical cleaning and upkeep. “The Kaminoans don’t need evidence to arrest her, and I have a feeling she’s going to get into serious trouble soon.” Hunter set the rag he was using down to use his nail to break up some black residue baked into his shin plate.

    “What do you mean? What did you two discuss on the mission?” Crosshair set aside the small black piece in his hand to turn and face Hunter full-on, similar to Tech, who leaned against the table to see both Hunter and Cross.

    “She wants to find Shem. Bright thinks she’s down in the lower levels-”

    “If she’s in the lower levels, she’s dead.” The doors hissed open, stopping Crosshair’s sentence, and Wrecker came in, tilting his head to the side as he glanced from Tech to Crosshair and finally to Hunter.

    “Whatever happened, it wasn’t me.” He held his hands up in his innocence and stepped over to his bunk. Hunter’s lips curled into a faint smile at his immediate assumption.

    “We aren’t talking about you, Wrecker. We’re talking about our newest SW trying to kill herself.” Crosshair’s harsh words made Hunter’s eye twitch. He fucking hated the idea of her dead and despised the dismissive tone Crosshair took with her.

    “Technically, she isn’t trying to kill herself. She is making poor decisions she has not thought through the consequences of. Hence, her upcoming death-”

    “All of you are fucking morbid. Nobody is dying,” Hunter spoke up, exhausted by the many different ways to discuss Bright’s death. Crosshair snorted and glanced down at Hunter, setting his armor on his bed to rest his elbows on his knees.

    “What’s the plan?” He muttered, eyes narrowing in excitement.. Hunter could hear Crosshair’s teeth rubbing against the wood, crunching it between his back molars. It fucking sounded awful. He grabbed his back plate and rubbed the cloth against it hard enough to drown the sound.

    “We need to keep an eye on her. Commander Cody won’t be happy if she gets hurt,” Hunter glanced at Tech. “Keep an eye on the cameras. If she’s in an area she doesn’t belong in, whoever is closest gets her out.”

    “And do what, Hunter? Ask her nicely to walk away?” Crosshair slurred with narrow eyes. Hunter shrugged.

    “Maybe. If that doesn’t work, comm me. We’ll drag Bright Eyes out as a last resort. Got it?” The others nodded in response, muttering varying affirmatives. Hunter grunted and picked up the cloth again to finish his armor pieces. Bright was an intelligent woman, and he banked on that intelligence to keep her from going down into the tunnels and getting caught. She'd be just as dead as Shem was if she didn’t heed his warning.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bright Eyes drifted bonelessly, like light and air, like what a star might feel deep in the galaxy, surrounded with a thousand other stars, pulsing with energy. There was her, but she wasn’t alone. A large hand brushed along her arm, so soft it could do nothing but soothe her taut muscles in the abstract darkness, making her chest wash over in warmth. No, she very much wasn’t alone. She was with him.

    “I told you to relax,” A voice whispered in her ear. Warm lips ghosted over her skin, not quite kissing it, his breath just heating the small area, leaving a little bit of condensation on her sensitive skin. Bright Eyes arched closer to the man standing at her back, eyes closing as she huffed, wanting more of him than just his hands and sweet words.

    “I'm trying.” Her hands reached behind her for some semblance of touch, but she just… couldn’t. One second she could feel the heat of another body at her back, and then as she tried to touch, he disappeared. The man reached behind her thighs, tugging her into his lap. Bright Eyes gasped, high pitched in the back of her throat as she reached for his bare shoulders. Her bare chest brushed up against his, drawing a contented sigh from her lips. Pressing closer, her hands slid from his broad shoulders to his back, dragging her nails slightly to revel in the strength of his touch.

    “Cyar’ika,” Hunter’s eyes appeared from the darkness, making her gasp at the intensity and detailed depth seemingly sparkling out of the dark nothingness. His right hand slid from her hip, squeezing the extra skin and fat, before continuing up her flank. Bright Eyes gasped at the ticklish sensation before his large hand cradled underneath her breast and used his thumb to sweep just under her nipples.

    “Hunter,” She breathed, rolling her hips on his thigh.

    “Pretty little thing, aren’t you?” He condescendingly chuckled as he tipped forward to plant little ghost kisses along her neck, all of them missing the wet heat of his lips. “So sensitive.” She wanted to swear at him for taunting with his touch, but Bright’s head spun with his body consuming hers. He swallowed her up, covered her, pressing and squeezing, and- stars above- he bit into her neck, making her gasp loudly.

    Where the hell was she? Bright Eyes furrowed her eyebrows and glanced around, seeing nothing but darkness and Hunter’s broad body above her. When did she get under him? Hell, when did they get naked? Hunter rolled his hips into her, pressing his hardness against her thigh. Fuck, she moaned and pushed back into him, angling her hips up.

    “Fuck, pretty girl. You feel so good.” She shook her head as he gripped her thigh and hoisted it up to his hip. She wasn’t ready. His touch suddenly made her gut shift sourly. Warning bells went off at the shift, cold sweat coming to dot her hairline; something was not right.

    “Wait. Hunter? Wait, wait, wait.” She couldn’t speak; her throat closed up like it was full of dry cloth. She rocked to her side, his touch disappearing like morning smoke off the ocean. She was cold without him.

    A grating beeping sounded, making her groan and open her eyes. It was a karking dream. Somehow in the midst of her stupid wet dream, her body apparently decided to take matters into her own hands. She groaned before pressing the heel of one hand against her eyes, her dominant hand between her thighs, pressing lamely against her clit. Her alarm beeped louder, demanding Bright Eyes’ attention. She removed her hand, wiping the wetness on her leggings.

    “Fucking hell, shut up,” Bright Eyes clicked on the light before turning off the alarm to sound for her final suicide shift. The hot wetness between her thighs throbbed quick, and even as she pressed her thighs together, the urge to be sated roared in her body. She needed relief. She needed caffe. She wanted Hunter. She wanted him to barge into her room, slice her thin clothes from her body with his vibroblade, and press into her again and again and again until she snapped and soared into oblivion.

    Bright Eyes dragged herself up to the bathroom and used a wet cloth to cool her tacky cheeks and neck. She dried off and glanced in the mirror. Dark bags already formed under her eyes as her skin puffed from the choppy few hours of sleep and whatever that dream was. She could take care of herself after breakfast. Yeah. After breakfast. She would come back to her rooms and rub her clit fast and… Bright Eyes sighed again. It wouldn’t be enough. She couldn’t touch herself anywhere close to the way even dreamlike Hunter could. She pulled on a pair of leggings and a heavy tunic belted around the smallest part of her torso.

    Entering into the halls, Bright yawned loudly. She was an SW. Sleeping with her clients, in this case, any trooper on her caseload, was not acceptable. She’d lose her license if anyone found out. She shouldn’t even be having wet dreams about it like she was a stupid teenager again. The entire situation was utterly ridiculous, and she needed caffe.

    Bright rounded the corner to the children’s wing and found a tired woman sitting in a chair, scrolling through her datapad, deciding to use the watch time to work on case notes.

    “Is he finally asleep?” Bright Eyes whispered to the light-haired woman as she sunk down, back against the wall, beside the other SW’s chair. She knew of the SW, SW Manmathu, through Shem’s chatter, but never had directly worked with the middle aged woman before.

    “Yes. SW Keiko got him down before I took shift,” She stood up and sighed as she glanced across the rows and rows of bunks, the squad’s four pods stuck out from the walls as they too wanted to be closer to their vod, hoping he lived through the night. “Do you think he’ll be okay?” Bright forced a light smile on her face, regardless of her churning stomach.

    “He made it through another night. He’ll be okay for one more day. That’s all we can do for him.” He still had to deal with the fall out of his severe Depressive episode and that would be the real challenge. “Go get some sleep. It’s late” SW Manmathu nodded and gave Bright a timid and exhausted smile before leaving Bright alone. Once the doors to the hall shut, Bright bathed in the emergency lighting along the walkway. Leaning her skull on the wall, she sighed long and slow, letting her shoulders sink down. Her neck still buzzed from the wispy touches and kisses from her dream, and it was so wrong for her to feel such a deep pull in her belly from it, aching for more. Bright could not let her body- or her romantic notions- impede upon her work. It was too important to be sacrificed for a man who was likely to be dead within the year like every other damned man created on Kamino. She could only see two options- not acting on her emotions and keeping her license to work, thus seeing major civil rights passed for troopers. Or, acting on her emotions, and losing her license (and the chance to help get legislation passed), and seeing Hunter die within the year. It wasn’t a hard choice to make.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There could never be enough coffee on Kamino to make her function the hours after a suicide watch. On a typical day, Bright Eyes’ endless vat of patience ran thin before her 0730 caffe, the glaring Kaminoan décor deepening the fixed squinting glare on her face. She sipped her caff as she entered the Batch’s room, hoping to the stars and suns in the heavens above that Hunter was not there. Bright wasn’t very inconspicuous when she was embarrassed. It would be easier to avoid the situation altogether rather than have him question why she couldn’t look him in the eyes- or why her heartbeat was so fast. Hell, what if he could smell her? Bright immediately shoved that thought aside, not liking the heat which washed through her body.

    The room hummed with white noise and not much else except the occasional click of metal against metal. Bright Eyes walked around the stack of crates to find Crosshair cleaning his rifle, toothpick between his lips.

    No Hunter, thank the stars.

    “Morning, Ram’ser,” Bright Eyes muttered as she sat on the floor, tucking her legs under her to lean against the crates. Lifting her cup, she took a slow pull of hot caffe. Crosshair swept his eyes along her body without turning his head from his rifle.

    The SW decided it was too early for his sneering glare.

    Bright Eyes took another slow pull, closing her eyes briefly. She imagined her one functioning brain cell trying to do the job of three in a whirlwind tornado in her very empty brain.

    “You look like hell, SW,” Crosshair muttered, also keeping his voice low as to not disturb the calm morning peace. For once, the sun peeked around the vast rolling clouds, like it was playing peek-a-boo with the inhabitants of Kamino. The splashes of color in the early morning reminded her of her first Kaminoan sunrise and the flaking colors from torn burial shrouds.

    “Aren’t you a charmer?” She hummed lowly, sipping again. “I had to do suicide watch for a kid last night. How was your range time?”

    “Why do you care?” Bright Eyes huffed, suppressing the urge to roll her eyes, and chose to resettle her legs crisscrossed.

    “I’m curious.”

    “Curiosity killed the cat, sweetheart,” Crosshair placed the pin back in place and cradled the rifle against his shoulder to check the scope, keeping the barrel away from her. “But you know that. Don’t you?” Bright Eyes frowned and inhaled the steam dancing over the lip of her cup. Her one brain cell flew out into fuck-knows-where, leaving her with her instincts and no more fucks to give.

    Yeah, it was shaping up to be that kind of day.

    “I know that satisfaction brought the cat back to life, Ram'ser," Bright paused, glancing up over the edge of her mug. Crosshair's head slowly turned to glance at her.

    "You can't bring the dead back to life, SW. Didn't Hunter tell you that on your little call?" Bright glared at Crosshair, sneering deeply, if not deeper, than him.

    "I'm not one for following directives."

    "Like being directed to call police troops on psychotic cadets?" Fucking hell. Bright gawked at him, watching his eyes harden even more. Prickles of discomfort nipped at her exposed skin.

    "What? Did you boys have a fucking gossip party about me? How much of my file have you read?” Crosshair placed the rifle back in his lap and began to wipe it down.

    “Enough to know how stupid you are.” The comment stole the breath out of her lungs, covered by a slow pull of caffe, giving herself a second to refrain from snipping back at the sniper. She wasn’t stupid. She knew how far her intelligence could get her and utilized it as much as possible. She liked being smart, flaunted it as much as she could without insulting others. She just did stupid things due to her stubbornness… like secretly plotting how to find Shem.

    “Why do you think I was stupid?” She finally asked in a neutral, quieter voice, before tilting the cup to swirl the bitter liquid around.

    “Nala Se controls everything on this shit hole. Undermining her is a death sentence, SW.” Every instance of undermining Nala Se wasn’t personal. Bright’s job required stepping on toes to advocate for her boys; Nala Se usually was the face to the issue. She sipped again. “Shem was wrong to flaunt smuggled imports around Kamino,”

    “What? Like your toothpicks aren’t smuggled?” She couldn’t help herself as she recrossed her legs when one foot fell asleep, sending fuzzy static up into her ankle. Crosshair slid his eyes over her face again, reading her expression.

    “I’m not the one smuggling sensitive information, SW.” Her eyes snapped up to his, cutting the thick silence between them. Unlike Hunter’s eyes, Crosshair didn’t carry willing warmth. He was closed off, using roughness to keep people an arm’s length away.

    “It doesn’t matter. I don’t know who smuggled out the papers for Shem or where they went.” Crosshair sniggered and grinned.

    “Good thing you know me. I’ll ask around.” Bright snorted, trying to raise an eyebrow at his offer.

    “I’m sorry, you would?” Crosshair tilted his head, beginning to disassemble his rifle to put away.

    “Like I said, curiosity killed the cat,” He sat tall before he smirked with a glance over at her. “I’ve also bet Tech 10 credits on you getting them off-planet successfully.”

    “Wait, the whole Batch knows about the testimonials?” Bright rubbed her eyes again and laid her legs in front of her. “Great.”

    “You can thank Tech. Shem, however, did confirm it.” Bright gulped down the rest of her drink, letting the warm liquid settle in her belly.

    “I’m going to need more fucking caffe with you boys, aren’t I?”

    “You’re more than welcome to pass us along to the next SW.” Crosshair latched his gun case shut and used his hands to reverently slide the case under the bunk. “But you won’t do that, will you SW? Just like you won’t stop with the testimonials.”

    “I'm not passing you off. You boys deserve consistency. And, nobody else is going to do it,” Bright Eyes muttered. “Somebody has to clean up the Kaminoan’s shit, and I’m tired of seeing you boys doing it.” Bright Eyes watched the pale brown liquid swirl. What the Grand Army of the Republic did- fuelled by the Kaminoans- was, without a doubt, slavery. Slavery the Jedi and Republic Senate funded and encouraged, hiding the atrocities under thick propaganda and hush money. It left a bitter taste in her mouth, one she refused to share with the troopers.

    “No one asked you to advocate for us... Do you think you can change this?” The question he posed wasn’t judgmental. It came out soft, seeking an honest answer from Bright Eyes. She sucked in a deep breath and shrugged.

    “I’m not sure any person can, but I’ll try my damndest to throw whatever wrenches I have into it.” She glanced up at him, fire burning behind her eyes, and Crosshair curled his lips into a smile. "I'm not a trooper, but I'm a witness to the bull shit that happens here. It's exhausting and, quite frankly, unnecessary for the creation and support of a military." Crosshair nodded slowly, and Bright sensed that was the end of that conversation. She sighed, feeling tension lift off the back of her neck, and launched into his evaluation. They talked softly for a while longer, Crosshair returning to his cautious-minded speech as they dived into very personal questions, keeping his emotional armor up, but not lashing out as she expected.

    During her academic years, professors who hadn’t been in the field of social work for decades loved to drone on about the importance of engaging clients. Build up a rapport, or a semblance of friendship, before the real work begins. She did not have that luxury with the troopers, either because of revolving SWs or the tragic death rate of troopers. Nobody seemed to have enough time in the universe during wartime. For not having a solid rapport with the sniper, her evaluation wasn't as awful as she thought. Bright Eyes scanned her case notes for gaps, pleased with how much she could actually read in her exhausted state.

    “Crosshair, chow hall’s open,” Hunter spoke as the doors opened. She couldn’t see him with the wall of crates, but it didn’t stop the utter embarrassment and rush she got out of hearing him speak, vivid tingles and brushes lighting up her skin where the dream him touched. Bright Eyes huffed, shifting slightly on her sits bones. “Bright, did you get breakfast?” She narrowed her eyes at Crosshair, who just smirked between the two of them. Her skin prickled with the secrets he knew.

    “Is caff breakfast?” She spoke up, recrossing her legs. Hunter side-stepped the crates and raised an eyebrow at her. “No?”

    “No, ma’am.” Oh fuck. The sound of his voice not only warmed her skin, but for some reason, that entire sentence stole the breath out of her lungs and sent warm heat elsewhere. Hunter chuckled and tapped the crate with his palm once. “Come on, you need to eat, cyar’ika."

    Bright huffed and stood up with her datapad in one hand and cup, empty except a stained ring of brown in the bottom, in her other hand. Hunter sidestepped her, gesturing to the door with an open palm.

    “How did suicide watch go? You look tired.” Hunter glanced down at Bright, giving her his undivided attention. She smiled lightly at him, just enjoying the simple and easy nature he carried.

    “Funny, Crosshair said something similar when I came in. But, it was uneventful, thank the stars.” Hunter nodded, slightly brushing his armor against her shoulder as they both stepped closer together before keeping their space.

    "Crosshair can be… blunt. Did he give you any problems?" Hunter’s face fell slightly, making her mirror the movement.

    “No, he was good. He answered the questions I needed to be answered. It wasn't anything I couldn't handle." Hunter seemed to sigh, relaxing at the news.

    “Good. Wrecker and Tech told me about their psych evaluations. Wrecker likes you.” Bright Eyes laughed, a grin spreading as they steered down a different adjacent hall. Their arms brushed by mistake, and Bright stepped away, frowning. She had to stop with the infatuation. Bright Eyes was not about to risk Hunter’s life and her career for a wisp of a second in time. Her head swum enough with her exhaustion, much less the emotional rollercoaster she seemed to be harnessed into.

    "I'm glad to hear it! I only have you left out of the Batch to finish up. You won’t need to do another eval until you come back from another mission.” A yawn crawled up the back of her throat, and she quickly covered her mouth to be polite.

    “Music to my ears, mesh’la,” Hunter muttered, glancing down at her with a softness in his eyes. She bashfully smiled and nodded. She knew a fair amount of Mando’a from her proximity to the troopers and some trainers, but there were always new things to learn. “Do you want to get it out of the way during breakfast so you can get some shut-eye after?” Bright Eyes nodded with a smile, watching Hunter walk in front of her to get the door to the mess hall open for her. Like a gentleman from the Inner Rim, he held the door open for her. She, with all the grace she could muster up, glided around him. Just because she couldn't fantasize about Hunter, didn’t mean he couldn’t fantasize about her.

    "Crosshair told me there's a bet running in the Batch involving me. You wouldn't happen to be involved?" Bright smirked as she set her things down at a table before moving to the chow line.

    "No. Somebody needs to stay neutral," Hunter paused and smirked at her, making his tattoo lift slightly up. Bright leaned forward and bit the side of her mouth. "But I'll always bet on my girl."

    Tag List (message, ask, or comment if you want to be added!):

    @uponrightful @itsagrimm @critter67-blog

    #the bad batch #tbb hunter#tbb oc#tbb fanfiction#tbb #tbb sergeant hunter #sargent hunter #clone force 99 #bad batch #hunter x reader #sergeant hunter x reader #sergeant hunter #hunter x oc #sargent hunter x reader #hunter #hunter x you #clone x reader #clones #clone trooper hunter #clone wars #sw tbb hunter #sw tcw #star wars x oc #star wars x reader #starwars the bad batch #star wars
    View Full
  • starwarstbbfan
    03.12.2021 - 5 days ago

    A drawing of my two ocs from my Bad Batch story. Callista and Jace. Two awkward teens falling in love, what could be cuter than that!😍 And we've got the beloved Havoc Marauder in the background.

    #star wars bad batch #star wars #star wars tbb #star wars clone wars #star wars clone oc #clone trooper oc #jedi oc#padawan oc#callista fett#crosshair tbb#hunter tbb#tech tbb#wrecker tbb#jace channing#tbb art#tbb fanfiction#sw tbb#sw fanart #the bad batch fanfiction #the bad batch fanart
    View Full
  • echosrobotarm
    02.12.2021 - 6 days ago

    ire // a crosshair fanfiction

    jedi!oc x crosshair

    ⋆ ✧ ⋆ a galaxy at war! ⋆ ⋆

    ⋆ ⋆ clone force 99 has ⋆ ✧ ⋆

    ⋆ ✧ ⋆ ⋆ successfully integrated ⋆ ⋆

    ⋆ ⋆ former arc trooper echo ⋆ ✧ ⋆

    ⋆ ⋆ ✧ ⋆ into their squad of defective ✧ ⋆ ✧ ⋆

    ✧ ⋆ ⋆ clones. meanwhile, commander ⋆ ⋆

    ⋆ ⋆ layah kerriss, padawan of jedi master ⋆ ✧ ⋆

    ⋆ ✧ obi-wan kenobi, is ready to become a ⋆ ⋆

    ⋆ ⋆ general, but not before one final test: ✧ ⋆

    ✧ ⋆ the young jedi must prove her leadership ⋆ ⋆

    ⋆ capabilities with the gar’s rowdiest bunch, ⋆ ✧

    ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ clone force 99, the bad batch. ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

    ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

    chapter one: the assignment

    word count: 1866

    "sarge! hang on a sec," called commander cody, jogging up to the havoc marauder as clone force 99 piled in, preparing for a flight back to kamino.

    hunter turned to him, descending the ramp to meet the superior officer. "commander," he greeted, extending his arm for a handshake. "what's got you in such a hurry to catch us?"

    "figured i'd catch you lot before you head back home. general kenobi's padawan, the one from the battle on felucia—"

    "yeah, i remember her. did something happen? she alright?"

    "she's recently completed her training, and the council wanted to give her a chance to gain a bit of experience without the general there giving the orders."

    "why’re you telling me this, commander?" hunter asked, growing suspicious.

    "they've assigned her to you, or rather you lot have been assigned to work under her. far as i know, she's not been promoted to general just yet. she takes after general skywalker and has a bit of an issue with following rules," cody explained, forcing a grin.

    "so the council figured why not throw her our way and see how we handle each other," hunter added, rolling his eyes and giving the commander a chuckle. cody nodded in reply, giving hunter a tight-lipped smile.

    "she's a smart one, little fireball that she is," cody said fondly. "they've been throwing a lot at her lately. stationed the 212th on cato neimoida for a month, before that it was raxus, and in between she's been running on missions with general skywalker and the 501st. the council's been running her ragged. she'll be back on coruscant later today, but she's expected to accompany senator amidala and senator organa to alderaan soon after. something about a festival and she's their security detail. festival's a week long, so until then, you fellas are free to go," said the commander, offering his hand in farewell, which hunter took without hesitation.

    "thanks for the heads up, commander. i'll let the boys know."

    "have a safe ride home," he called as hunter ascended the ramp, "and sarge, take it easy on her, will ya?" hunter nodded, smiling as the ramp closed behind him.

    "what was that all about?" tech asked as soon as hunter entered the cockpit.

    "probably telling hunter 'bout the fight cross almost got in with those regs at 79's last night," wrecker said with a hearty laugh. he bumped his brother's shoulder, who just huffed in response, rubbing the spot wrecker'd just hit.

    "general kenobi's padawan is a knight now, which means the council's looking to make her a general. they're assigning us to her next week," hunter sighed, waiting for the imminent barrage of complaints from his brothers.

    "that's commander keriss, right?" echo was the first to respond, perking up at the prospect of reuniting with the jedi. he hadn't seen her since . . . well, since the citadel.

    "we fought alongside her and the 212th briefly on felucia, yes," tech replied, setting the autopilot and turning to face his brothers. "commander layah keriss, 22 standard years of age. found abandoned on kijimi at 9 years old, no known parents to speak of. she's served with the 212th since the beginning of the war. viewed favorably by many of the clones in the battalion, less so by the council," he recited from his holopad.

    "so the council's assigned us their reject. i, for one, am honored," crosshair sneered, resting his elbows on his thighs as he leaned forward in his seat. "if the regs like her so much, why not keep her with them? we don't need some jedi telling us how to run our missions."

    "i'm sure it's temporary. there are plenty of other divisions for her to be assigned to. this is nothing more than her test run," tech put in, well aware of crosshair's aversion to outsiders.

    "well i think it'll be fun," wrecker declared loudly.

    "color me shocked," crosshair grumbled.

    "well, regardless, the gar's going to assign us to her whether we want to or not. least we can do is try to be nice," hunter said sternly to the group, staring at crosshair in particular. his other brothers were often more welcoming and accepting of change, whereas crosshair recoiled from it like a frightened lothcat.

    "no promises," said the silver-haired clone, disinterestedly turning to watch the stars streaking by as they traveled through hyperspace.

    ~ ~ ~

    "i don't think i've ever smelled a bigger load of absolute bantha shit in my life," scoffed jesse, throwing his head back in a fit of laughter. "you, a general?" he began to laugh again, leaning kix for support. layah rolled her eyes, tossing back a shot.

    "that's if she can keep up with them," kix butted in.

    "and if her and that one trooper don't tear each other's throats out. the sarcasm will be absolutely insane. i almost wish we could come with just to watch it all go down," jesse added, sporting a handsome smile that lit up his face. she'd miss that infectious energy, from both of them really.

    "oh, yeah, that one clone with the grey hair. weaselly kriffing fella, i'll say that. you'll have your hands full with him, commander," kix winked, nudging her shoulder good-naturedly.

    "then there's that absolute wompa of a clone, wrecker."

    "guy picked jesse up by his neck!" kix cackled, banging his fist against the table. "it was crazy!"

    "yeah, he was lucky i wasn't ready for him or else—"

    "else what, jesse? you'd have been more prepared to be lifted like a rag doll?" kix sneered before taking another drink.

    "no!" jesse snapped indignantly, his nose scrunching up in annoyance. "i'd have knocked the giant fucker on his ass!"

    "sure you would have, buddy," layah cooed mockingly, patting jesse's shoulder.

    "kriff off, commander." the trooper sulked, folding his arms over his chest. the jedi flopped against his side, hugging him and laughing. her smile slowly fell, a bittersweet feeling washing over her all at once.

    "i'm gonna miss you guys," she said suddenly, peering between the two soldiers who'd become her closest friends. they seemed to soften at her admission, a frown appearing on kix's face.

    "layah, i'm sure we'll see you soon. you'll probably be with them for two or three weeks, a month at most," he reassured her, taking her hand in his across the table, gripping it tightly between his slender, callused fingers.

    "and if it's longer? what if i go off with them and—what if i come back and one of you are . . . one of you are . . . stars, i can't lose either of you. after last time, i—"

    "layah, we're not going anywhere," jesse murmured, slinging his arm over her shoulders and pulling her in close.

    "you can't possibly promise that," she argued.

    "but i just did," jesse said with a goofy grin. "wipe that pitiful look of your face, commander. you're stuck with us for the long run."

    "yeah, we'll be back together in no time," kix added. they sat in silence for a moment or two, relishing each other's company for the last time for however long it would be until she returned to them.

    "don't go off and do anything stupid while i'm gone. i know that can be tough under anakin's leadership, but please, be safe," she begged, giving them each a stern stare. "don't go trying to be the hero. just stay alive, please."

    "of course, commander. we'll save that for you when you get back," said kix.

    "you two are like family to me, that's something the jedi order has never given me. i just . . . i hate having to be separated from you guys. every time i come back . . . someone else is dead and i-i kriffing hate it. they send you all into battle after battle as if you aren't human men. you're not kriffing machines!"

    "commander, we were bred for war, bred to be expendable," the medic supplied, a resigned look on his face. "it's sad, but it's the truth and we both know it."

    "and i have my opinions about that as well."

    "i know you do, glowstick," kix said with a fond smile.

    "you're one of the most opinionated jedi i've ever known, that's for sure," jesse chuckled.

    "got that right," kix agreed.

    "shut up, jesse," she grumbled.

    "i'm gonna miss your sorry ass too, commander. but maybe this will be good for you. maybe you'll finally make friends outside of the 501st." kix smirked at jesse's comment.

    "funny," she replied dryly.

    "let's get you up to your apartment, commander. it's getting late and the two of us have to head out early in the morning," kix said finally, coaxing her up and out of their booth. jesse followed closely behind her. the trio scanned the room, realizing they were among the last few people at the bar.

    "oh, kriff. i didn't realize it was so late." she snorted out an unattractive laugh, clinging to jesse for support.

    "drinking half the bar will do that to you," jesse scoffed, halfway holding layah to keep her from falling over. the jedi mumbled an argument under her breath as they trudged up the lofty steps to her apartment building, several blocks from the temple. the troopers still weren't sure how the commander managed to swing that, given the council's stringent rules.

    it wasn't anything fancy, but it was her own. the small studio apartment was decorated with memorabilia from her many missions with her master and anakin, from droid heads to carefully dried plants from far away planets, the eclectic apartment was the only home she'd ever care to know. having bounced between various orphanages as a young child, layah was unable to ever latch onto a place and call it her own. this cramped but cozy place overlooking the coruscant skyline was all she'd ever need, a respite from the horrors of war, a warm place to rest her weary head, a soothing place to meditate and relax.

    "promise me you'll comm me if you can? not all the time, just to check in occasionally? i don't know where they'll send me, but i'll try to do the same," layah slurred as jesse lowered her onto her bed. his hand brushed her cheek as he moved the hair away from her face.

    her eyes were already drifting closed, and the arc trooper allowed his gaze to linger over her soft features. it was no secret that many of the troopers were fond of commander keriss, but perhaps none were as taken by her as jesse. he admired her strength and her kindness, and her beauty spoke for itself, but he knew as well as the others that she was destined for greater things than him. his vod startled him from his lingering thoughts with a gentle pat on the shoulder. he rose to his feet, but not before giving her a quick kiss on the forehead. she hardly stirred, only letting out a soft sigh.

    "c'mon jesse, rex is gonna be pissed enough as it is," the medic ushered his vod towards the door. the pair spared one last glance at their friend before closing the door behind them.

    a/n:

    typing on tumblr sucks because my opening crawl is gonna look janky since there’s no way to center the text well :( but regardless i’m excited to start posting this bc i’ve never posted a fic on tumblr before, despite having been on tumblr for 8 years lol

    #crosshair fanfiction#crosshair fic#star wars#clone wars #the bad batch #bad batch #crosshair x oc #crosshair tbb #crosshair bad batch #crosshair #hunter bad batch #hunter tbb #echo bad batch #tbb echo #echo clone wars #tech bad batch #tech tbb #wrecker bad batch #wrecker tbb #clone wars kix #kix my beloved #clone wars jesse #arc trooper jesse #commander cody #star wars fanfiction #ire crosshair fic
    View Full
  • violetjedisylveon
    02.12.2021 - 6 days ago

    Bad Batch Werewolves List

    List for my Bad Batch Werewolf AU!(in as chronological of an order as I can get it, I kinda wrote a story without thinking of how ot would fit in.)

    Trigger Warning!

    This AU includes and talks about child abuse, self harming, deprication, self hate and blood, sorry if that is something troubling to you.

    Werewolf Omega

    Howl-oween

    Nothing wrong with what you are

    Werewolf Omega & Hunter

    View Full
  • sarasanddollar
    01.12.2021 - 1 week ago

    Incorrect quote by @thebaddestofbatches 🤧

    #the bad batch #tbb tech#tbb hunter#tbb crosshair#tbb wrecker#tbb echo #the bad batch tech #the bad batch hunter #the bad batch crosshair #the bad batch wrecker #the bad batch echo #tech#hunter#crosshair#wrecker#echo#tbb fanart #the bad batch fanart #the bad batch x oc #tech x oc #jedi oc
    View Full
  • salty-rey
    30.11.2021 - 1 week ago

    aight

    i’m posting a Rex x OC fan fic bc I’m gonna be busy with finals!

    I wanna do an OC this time but I’ll be back with some y/n fics. I just gotta focus on work now.

    so I hope you enjoy this part one fic! 

    #star wars#tcw#tbb#captain rex #tcw x reader #rex x oc #rex x reader
    View Full
  • itsagrimm
    29.11.2021 - 1 week ago

    Imperial Tech 7

    I listened to this while writing.

    CN smut, masturbation, mentions of apparent suicide, dead body, blood, deadly injuries, soldier life in a fascist state, general disregard for human dignity, getting carried, soldier life in a fascist state, constant surveillance.

    How clear can I be that there is nothing good about fascism and living in fascistic totalitarian societies?

    2700 words

    Imperial!Tech X gn reader called ONCE

    Summary: They need to get rid of a body. ONCE is really tired and generally done with the Empire. Tech takes a shower, is a crazy pilot and has an epiphany.

    >>NEW ORDERS - OLD PROBLEMS<<

    The tiled floor of the refresher room was impeccably clean. Tech locked the door behind him. It was in the middle of the night and unlikely that he would get disturbed in the large communal washing room. But he felt vulnerable without his glasses and wearing those while getting himself clean felt inefficient. He stacked his armour piece by piece on the floor, got out of his blacks and finally placed his glasses on top before stepping under the hot water.

    Only then he allowed himself to think.

    Y/N.

    ->sex repulsed reader skip until the next mark <-

    ONCE’s sweet taste was still on his tongue. He hummed contently thinking back at their soft muffled moans under his hands, trying to be as silent as possible. Their strong body working under his ministration. Their hazy gaze at him after the orgasm rocked through their body.

    Tech knew it had been the right thing not to risk it all and give in to Y/N’s wanting eyes but instead sneaking them back into the bunk room. It just was too dangerous.

    But he had wanted it so much like nothing else before.

    Tech turned the water as hot as possible to burn away the feeling of longing.

    It didn’t help. His wayward mind spiralled back to Y/N. His Y/N.

    He felt himself getting hard.

    The refresher room was a pleasant, blurred canvas for his fantasies without his glasses. He imagined his Y/N to be here with him. Their patient, strong-willed eyes full of delight.

    He gripped his hard member thinking about leaning Y/N against the tilted wall and kneeling at their feet to lick at their core and suck at their clit. It had made them give out these surprised gasps and trembles. After working them open and having them shaking he would lift Y/N up, pressing both their bodies against each other and finally doing what he wanted to do so badly. He imagined their surprised look when he would lower them on his member and press them against the wall.

    His strokes became harder and faster.

    Oh how he would work to rock them both into oblivion, their breasts wiggling with every push of him into their body. Oh their hands on him, gripping at his shoulders and scratching his skin. Oh their lips kissing and biting and moaning - loud this time.

    Oh how Y/N would moan his name.

    Hot semen spilled over his hand.

    ->sex repulsed reader continue reading <-

    Tech leaned against the wall, alone.

    The hot water ran out and Tech stood under the cold water like an unhappy Wookie in the rain.

    He finished washing himself, pushing away his sentimentality. This was the first time he felt like this. Every time he had felt for someone else except his brothers the feeling was fleeting. But Y/N was different.

    Yes, it was very much physical attraction. But he wanted more. He wanted all the little laughs and shared memories and caf while working together on the ship at night and playing games while shooting down enemies and reading reports before falling asleep together and patching little injuries and all of the ordinary couple things. Tech could only imagine how nice that would feel. He knew very little outside of the army life but he knew he wanted Y/N with him.

    Being alone, despite knowing now that Y/N felt like him, was sobering.

    And he was getting cold. Quickly he dried himself, got his glasses and packed his stuff. He needed rest. And then he needed the Empire to do his bidding for once.

    XXX

    ES-03 body was shattered. What’s left of his face down on the dusty yard ground.

    “Looks nasty.”, ES-02 commented, “Kriffen Disgusting. Remind me not to jump of a balcony when I get too tired from you all.”

    “Will do.” ES-04 replied while covering the body with a blanket. “So, another one?”

    “Apparently.” Commander Tech stated while looking down on the ever-present holopad. “Admiral Rapart considers our squad too unstable for now. We will have to make do with a missing member on our next missions.”

    ES-02 chuckled. “The Admiral thinks our squad’s third position is cursed.”

    “Don’t be ridicules. There is no such thing as a curse, ES-02.” Tech replied sourly.

    “Sorry sir.”

    He just waved. “The elite squad is tasked to search and capture the former members of clone force 99. So, say your goodbyes or prayers to our lost member and then back your stuff. We are leaving for Kamino in 2 hours standard.”

    “Sir, yes sir.” Like one well trained body the Elite squad saluted their commander.

    ONCE looked down at ES-03’s body or what was left of him. He died because Tech murdered him. ONCE was not sure how they felt about that. ES-03 had been a danger and if Tech had not … disposed? Was that the right way to put it? Well, if ES-03 had not died last night, ONCE would likely be in custody and on their way to be tortured to death or dead already.

    Better him than ONCE but still, the uncomfortable feeling of being responsible for his death stayed.

    “Was ES-03 religious?”, ONCE enquired.

    “The only thing he was devoted to, was his career. Don’t think we can do much here for him anymore.” ES-04 replied.

    They stood in awkward silence, unsure of how to proceed.

    “Jap, that’s it then.”ES-02 finally broke the quiet helplessness, saving them all - without cursing this time. It was nearly reverent.

    “I will pack ES-03’s stuff. Can you two arrange for his body to be sent to his family?” ONCE asked.

    ES-04 just raised his eyebrow. “You think the Empire bothers with sending back bodies?”

    “We can’t leave him here on the floor.”

    “True. I will try to arrange something.”

    ONCE nodded and left for the barracks to pack both ES-03 and their personal stuff.

    Inside the stuffed room, they moved mechanically. Clothing of a dead man, clothing of a dead-inside ONCE. Armour of a dead man, getting armour on themselves. Personal items. Personal items.

    ES-03’s minimal pack mirrored ONCE small collection of possessions.

    A practical, neat pile of stuff.

    If ONCE died, would that all be that they left behind too?

    Was that all the Empire granted them? When ONCE signed up, they had expected more.

    With practised hands they packed up their pile, put it two army issued duffel bags and left the room with their luggage without looking back.

    XXX

    There was a soft knock on the door.

    “Come in.” Tech called and looked up from his work.

    It was ONCE. He felt his mind slow.

    “What can I do for you, ES-01?”

    They looked uncomfortable.

    “Commander, I packed ES-03’s belongings for transport to his family.”

    Surprise crossed Tech face. “I am sorry. The Empires procedure with dead soldiers is to cremate on the site what cannot be reused. There will be no transport. I already notified central command on Coruscant. They will inform the family. That is all.”

    ONCE face shadowed with regret.

    “That’s it then?”

    “That’s it.”

    ONCE put down both bags with as much frustration, resignation and finality as one could put in such a move.

    Tech’s mind wandered, unsure of what to do while fully aware of the omniscient surveillance of every imperial soldier.

    He cleared his throat.

    “ONCE, would you like to stay here and just rest a bit? You look like you need it if you don’t mind me saying that.” He was not sure what kind of answer he wished for, having ONCE close or seeing them so distraught in plain sight.

    Instead of an answer, ONCE collapsed themselves into sitting position at the next free wall and closed their eyes. Tech smiled with content, happy of the outcome. After what he estimated only a few hours of sleep, ONCE tendencies to regret and overthink emotional implications, the general stress of being in service to the Empire without the advantage of training and genetic modification every clone had, ONCE likely was exhausted.

    He reached for his belt pocket and grabbed one of his emergency blankets, tucked the already half asleep ONCE under it and returned to his tasks.

    His mind kickstarted again.

    What were the most important things he had to consider now?

    Keeping ONCE save. Getting the chip out. Finding his brothers.

    And then what?

    ONCE was as save as anyone could be on an imperial military base.

    Moving the squad to Kamino gave him access to all medical equipment he needed to get the chip out and research it.

    His brothers sooner or later would turn up, Tech was sure he could detect their movements if he stayed alert enough and checked the galaxy wide GAR comm chatter and holo news. Echo and Crosshair might be able to pull of laying low long enough. But Wrecker sure would not. And Hunter, with his need to be the hero, would not either.

    Tech smiled and looked back at the passed out ONCE.

    XXX

    ONCE woke up to the sound of a ship leaving atmosphere. The popping of sound itself catching up to the gravity fighting engines was a hellish noise to wake up to.

    “What is happening?!”, ONCE shouted, against all training into the comms.

    “Stop adding to the noise! It’s the kriffing ship. The commander wanted to leave as soon as possible so all we got was this trash pile.” ES-02 replied. “Would love to come over for a prayer circle but I do not dare to get out of my seat.”

    “And I thought you are the brave one.” ES-04 commented. “The commander carried you here. Said you passed out after all the stress, that’s why you wake up only now.”

    “Oh.” ONCE made a mental note to tell Tech he did not need to show off his clone strength by carrying them around all the time.

    “So, what are we flying?” ONCE asked after another most dramatic set of popping sounds and screeching protesting metal.

    “WE fly into our doom with this. The commander called this bantha shit a Theta class T-2c shuttle, and I kriffing hate it.”

    “Looked pretty damaged from the outside too. As if it had been flying through heat a lot.”

    ONCE grimaced. Tech apparently really wanted to leave Ryloth and had taken whatever was available.

    With a final pop the shuttle made it out of Ryloth’s gravity well.

    ES-02 swore a few times. ES-04 just nodded in agreement.

    ONCE looked around but found nothing of interest so they got up, took of their helmet and went to the cockpit.

    Tech was alone, concentrated on flying and did not turn to check who had entered.

    “ONCE.” He just stated as if greeting them.

    “How did you know?”

    “The other two would not come here without a reason. They do not particularly like me, and it is not in their typical social demeanour to … kiss the ass of superiors.”

    ONCE chuckled at Tech’s choice of words and took the seat at the co-pilot panel.

    “Thanks for not waking me up, Tech. But I have legs and I am fine with using them.”

    He turned his head. “I tried waking you. But I must admit that I wasn’t trying hard. I will do so next time.”

    “You think I will pass out from sleep deprivation soon again?”

    “Unlikely. We are heading for Kamino as our new home base for the next weeks. It will suffice for our purposes. But I estimate 75% of your foreseeable awake time will be in training sessions or staring at monitors to help finding the former clone force 99.”

    “That nearly sounds tame. Except for Kamino itself of course. The Kaminoans have scary eyes.”

    “Not only that.”

    Something in Techs voice was cold and made ONCE shiver. They knew little about the life’s of the clones before the war. They could only imagine the terror to be created and trained as a product.

    “One day, if you want, you can tell me about that.” ONCE said.

    “I will.”

    They sat in silence. Tech working on the controls and ONCE checking the co-pilot monitors for irregularities or comm messages.

    Outside, the maddening blue swirls of hyperspace rushed past them with incomprehensible speed. Inside, there was peace.

    XXX

    Tech ordered a shift change after a few hours of comfortable chatter and even more comfortable silence.

    ONCE was happy to leave the co-pilot seat and stretch in what felt like ages while ES-02 and ES-04 took over. It was strange to keep calling them by their numbers and not their names. But ONCE felt little inclination to ask. It felt too personal to know their names when they could day as quickly as the other previous members had.

    Back in the passenger lounge Tech started working on some odd-looking device.

    “What is it?”

    He looked up and considered his words. “This is a very important tool that I have neglected for a while. You will see its purpose soon enough. I am counting on your help when it is done.”

    Unsatisfied ONCE just got into their seat and watched Tech working.

    His hands were skilful as ever. It was as if he never needed to think before acting. With fast precise movements he worked his long fingers as if he had done so a thousand times. And yet the thing he was working on looked nothing like ONCE had ever seen before. It looked heavy yet small. But that was hard to tell in Tech’s hands with the little scars on it.

    ONCE shivered, remembering what these hands could do.

    “Are you cold?” Tech asked and adjusted his glasses. “I am reading that your limbs are colder than the core of your body. Would you like me to adjust the ships climate control for you?”

    “It’s ok. I can manage.”

    He just starred at ONCE. “I know you can. Does not mean you need to. Here take my gloves. I am not wearing them anyway right now. And over there is your bag in case you need another pair of socks.”

    “That is very considered.”

    ONCE opened their mouth and closed it again, aware of the helmets and the listening devices.

    Tech tilted his head in expectation.

    “Oh it’s nothing. Just feeling a bit …ah… public. You know what I mean.”

    “I see. I will put it on my list of urgent tasks. Unfortunately, every solution in that regard can only be temporarily.”

    “You really are a genius, capable to find solution to every problem, Tech. For this problem however there is only one solution.”

    “You think so?”

    “I am certain.”

    XXX

    Tech’s mind raced. He wanted to move to ONCE, whisper how close to danger their words were and shield them from any possible harm in his arms.

    But he could not.

    And then it was like a blaster cartridge that had been stuck finally clicking into place. ONCE was right. Every security for ONCE was only going to be temporary. The only real safety they could ever have, was outside of the Empire. Tech felt dumb. For once in his short life, he had been outsmarted. His brothers had bested him, ONCE had bested him. They all had understood far sooner than he had what was happening around him and what had been done too him. Tech put down the tools and the chip-scanner he was building.

    With measured breaths he steadied himself before looking at ONCE, oh so clever ONCE. Tech felt a longing like no other for them, breathing in their subtle pleasant smell and feeling his mind wandering off again.

    Instead, he just nodded. “You are right. I can’t believe I have not considered that.”

    ONCE smiled at him and he felt happiness washing over him like wave and carrying him away.

    “You are a busy man, commander.” ONCE winked. “Also, I am using the only advantage I have against your intellect - my out of military experience.”

    “Don’t play yourself down. No need to be humble.”

    ONCE blushed.

    He liked that. Crosshair would have a good answer on what to do now. But Tech never bothered in diversifying his social abilities. He felt utterly lost on what to do know.

    A ping on his comm saved his grace.

    “Commander?” ES-04’s voice was modulated through the comm’s. “Good news. They have your former sergeant in captivity. What was that traitors name? Hunter?”

    XXX

    Do you like my writing and would like to be tagged? Write me a message.

    XXX

    @darkangel4121 @magisticly-wonderful @gabile18

    #imperial!tech #imperial tech #the bad batch #tbb#tbb tech #star wars the clone wars #the bad batch tech #tbb tech x reader #tbb tech fic #tbb toxic tech #tbb tech x oc #tbb tech x you #tbb tech smut #star wars fanfiction #the galactic empire #tbb echo #clone force 99 #the bad batch au #tech bad batch #tech #tech's exceptional mind #grimmwriting
    View Full