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Saga - OT Mercy Flight (OCs) --COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mistress_Renata, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000

    I used to like snow, too, as long as someone else had to shovel it! Now, not so much.
    Absolutely... see her with Vader... "Sand? Please, for sand, you just need a good vacuum. Lemme tell you about SNOW!"

    And those past memories are very dark ones. She is very much out of familiar territory, and has no one giving her orders and telling her what to do, which, for a former Imperial, is very uncomfortable.
    She would if she could!
    Thanks! I find fighter battles hard to write, since I'm not a pilot myself, but what is Star Wars without X-wings and TIE fighters swooping around and taking shots at each other? I also like that most of the pilots in SW can't use the Force, and have to rely on skill and training. Just regular people, trying to do their job & not get killed.

    Okay. Monday's post...a terrible discovery. WARNING: Icky medical descriptions and
    (non-graphic) dead children.
    * * *
    Cold. So cold. Too cold. Ambri shrugged her shoulders and paused to rub her hands together. She sucked in her breath. It felt like knives gouging in to her palms and fingertips. Was this frostbite? Uncertainly, she flexed her fingers. On Hoth, they’d been warned about frostbite, but she didn’t actually know what it felt like or what it looked like. In this weather, she didn’t want to take off her gloves to check.

    She took a slow, deep breath through her nose, wincing as the sharp cold filled her lungs, and patted her cheeks and pinched her nose a few times. Her feet were blistered, she was sure of that—vibroblades inside her boots, rubbing the heels and the edges of her feet. No matter. When she found a hospital, they’d have bacta and synthflesh. Probably.

    She picked up the rope again, looping it over one shoulder and grabbed the rest behind her in each hand. She had to lean forward, and dug in, pressing her feet into the ground and pushing from her thighs to get underway, but she did it. With a crunch, the sledge slowly began to move forward again.

    She had to stop a few times to catch her breath. She refused to check the chronometer. It was getting darker, and she was really cold. She’d started shivering, and couldn’t stop. Her hands were numb from gripping the rope, and she’d had to stop and fix it a few times as the knots came loose. Once, she took a few gulps of water. The cold mouth of the canteen burned against her lips. The wet socks were definitely rubbing her ankles and the outside edge of her foot. Screaming sharp pain with each step.

    Left, right, left, right. She looked up. The slopes and woods to the right were diminishing. Now she could see a broad, open field behind a long mound that might be a fence. About a kilometer ahead, she could see buildings; a series of domes with a tall spire at the center. A house? There were no lights, but Ambri didn’t care. She stepped up her pace, and stepped on a slick patch, falling forward into a face plant. Ow.

    Painfully, she staggered to her feet. The improvised sledge had slid forward, ramming into the back of her legs. That was going to leave a bruise. She brushed the snow off herself, and checked the knots, tightening one or two that were coming loose. Then, resolutely, she continued towards the house. If that’s what it was. It was set back pretty far from the road, and the drive was uneven. It was hard to keep her footing.

    She left the repulsor a few meters away, and walked as quickly as she could to the door. To her surprise, it was partially open.

    “Hello?” she said. “Hello? Anyone home?” She started forward, then tripped. Something was blocking the door. Someone was blocking the door. Ambri hesitated, then reached down to the person, rolling them over. She jumped back in shock. A man. Black vein traceries under dead white skin, dark ooze from his eye sockets, his nostrils, his mouth and ears. Ambri choked, backing up into the cold for several long, deep breaths. Kassallian, and a victim of the plague. She looked into the silent house, dreading what she would find inside. And yet… Her helmet cam was active, had been for the full trip. And whatever was there would need to be documented. She took another deep breath, then stepped over the man and went inside. She dragged him into the hallway, out of the weather. Then she moved inside. It was pleasant and homey, curved walls and lots of cushioned chairs. There was a sort of fireplace towards the center of the room, although it was cold now, and tapestries on the walls, pictures of people outside in fields of flowers, sitting on the ground and sharing a meal of some sort.

    She moved through the house, past a kitchen, an office of some type, a ‘fresher, and to the sleeping rooms. One had a large bed, unmade, and piles of laundry. In the other…Ambri jumped at the sight of a seated figure.

    “Hello?” she said. “Sorry, I don’t mean to intrude…” Her voice trailed off as the figure didn’t move. There was an unpleasant smell in the room, a sickly-sweet, rotting smell. Ambri gagged. It was a woman, holding a small bundle in her lap. Black ooze ran from her eyesockets and nostrils. Ambri looked around the room. Soft, stuffed toys, painted tapestries of cartoon animals, two small cribs by the wall…oh, no. She backed away, looking from the small bundle in the woman’s lap to the cribs. She didn’t want to see this. She didn’t want to go anywhere near. Documentation. That was part of the mission. Document what you see. I don’t want to do this. She had no choice.

    Cautiously, she approached the cribs, closing her eyes and putting her arms out in front of her. Her hands found the bar of the crib, and she stepped closer, looking down. She opened one eye, and closed it again quickly. She’d only gotten a glimpse, but it was enough. What she saw would give her nightmares for months. We’re too late.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    :eek: :( What a horrific discovery indeed and lends more urgency to the mission as if there wasn't enough already! But it almost feels like it's too late? [face_worried]
     
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  3. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Whoa--that's terrifying! To go in with good intentions to an incredibly hostile planet only to find out that it seems it's already too late to complete the mission is devastating. The descriptions are really good--I wouldn't really call it too gory--it's somewhere in the middle and brings a good balance to the overall feel of the scene. This definitely can't be good for Ambri's, what I'm guessing, already pretty battered psychological state.
     
  4. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    This isn't good. I hope Ambri isn't too late to save some. For her it is horrible
     
  5. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Wow, Mistress R! This is really really good. I love the character descriptions and the very intimate slant you put on the dogfights - space battles can be hard to do and still make them exciting. I am officially jealous you stole a good title before I could use it, too.

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

    K
     
  6. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Yikes, did I miss not one but two updates? Sorry for that; as you know I had a busy week but now I'm back.

    earlybird probably didn't realise how spot-on her comment was about Ambri being in hell. She was in a cold, snowy, freezing hell while walking on the road, and now that she reached the farmhouse she's in a hell of a different sort. That woman is incredibly driven to put herself through all this – she doesn't want to trek through the snow (and she's clearly not equipped for it), she doesn't want to see the dead Kassallians, but she knows that she must do it and she does it, regardless of the physical and emotional cost to herself. She lost Dzin on the way in, and now she is literally alone in the galaxy in that she's trying to save a whole planet single-handedly.

    Things have become very difficult now that her repulsor isn't working and that she has to drag that heavy load all the way to town. Will she find any help in the farmhouse? It doesn't look like it for now :(
     
  7. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    I'm back from vacation; sorry for the delay! It was warm and lovely in Florida, nothing like Kassallia.
    Maybe...and maybe not! Won't stop her from trying.
    I'm glad you didn't think it was too strong; I was a little worried. I figure that when in doubt, follow the Hitchcock rule: sketch in the outline and let the readers' imaginations fill in the rest. Let's hope there's a shrink on the Swan of Selonia!
    :D All battle scenes can be hard, I think. But they do add to SW (and you'd know, with your great descriptions of saber battles!)
    I don't think she's even realizing that; I don't think she has sight of the big picture. She is so focused on the simple thing: deliver the medicine.

    But can she do it? Well...
    * * *

    Sick at heart, she went back to the living area, looking around helplessly.

    Communications. There must be some sort of comm center! She studied a series of devices on the desk, and found something that looked like it might be what she wanted. She touched a series of keys.

    INPUT REQUIRED: CONTACT CODE ENTRY

    Ambri took a deep breath. “Activate voice command input,” she said. Nothing. “Voice command input!” Silence. She looked helplessly down. Only manual input? What was the contact code?

    She typed in random numbers. No matter what she entered, she got the same response.

    INPUT DENIED: INCORRECT CODE ENTRY

    Helplessly she wandered around the room. No doubt the hospital had a contact code, but she didn’t know what it was and didn’t know how to find it. Defense forces, planetary security… there must be a way to call them, but without their contact codes, she was stuck. One thing she could do… she took off her gloves and couldn’t suppress a yelp of pain. Her hands were blistered, raw and bloody where the ropes had rubbed. She found the ‘fresher, looking on shelves and in cupboards, hoping to find something to put on them. There was nothing that looked like a first aid kit. She had to settle for a few squares of synthflesh and a tiny tube of bacta gel in her own first aid kit. It didn’t seem to help much.

    She slipped off her boots, adjusting the wet socks and wincing at the wreckage of her feet. There wasn’t enough synthflesh, but she used up what was left of the bacta gel, and adjusted the wet socks so that they weren’t bunched up and rubbing more. She hesitated, looking deeper into the house. The homeowners surely had dry socks, and yet…it would be stealing. Not that they would ever need them again. But the Rebellion were there to help, not to steal. If this was an Imperial world, she’d have no compunctions. But it wasn’t. It was neutral. The holocam on her helmet was recording everything, too.

    Still, if her feet were frozen, she couldn’t complete the mission. Surely saving a planet justified one pair of socks. And she could always return them. After they were washed, of course. She went into the other bedroom, rummaged through the cupboards, and found a pair in a drawer. Then, she put them back.

    No. No, she couldn’t steal from these people. Even something as simple as a pair of dry socks. But she couldn’t continue with her wet socks rubbing her feet raw. She couldn’t remember what they’d said on Hoth, but wearing dry socks had been emphasized. Reluctantly, she took a pair. They were soft and thick, a dusty shade of grey-green. Just like Imperial socks.

    Ambri slipped them on. Warm and dry. Lovely. “I’ll bring them back,” she said out loud. “Or replace them. I promise.” She drank some water from the tap and put her boots back on. They were still wet, and her feet still hurt, but the dry socks felt wonderful. Back outside, the lift-turned-sledge was still safe, with a few faint flakes of snow beginning to settle on it. No sign of TIE fighters in the sky. No sign of life. Actually…

    There was a sound, coming from one of the other buildings. She wasn’t sure whether to be frightened or hopeful as she slipped through the door. There was a pungent smell, definitely organic. A herd of shaggy creatures were gathered in a pen inside. They lowed urgently when they saw her, pressing towards her. Some of them butted their heads against a sort of trough. Trough.

    The trough was empty, and Ambri could see a tap at one end. Water. They were thirsty. There were nerf herds and farms on her homeworld, but she’d never seen one. She was essentially a city girl. Still, she knew enough to turn on the tap. The water gushed into the trough, and the thirsty creatures surged forward, lapping it up as quickly as it flowed in. She left the tap running, and searched a bit further. There were sacks of some type of grain. She filled up several buckets, and poured it into the feed dispensers that she found in the pen. One or two of the creatures turned away from the water and began to guzzle the food. She didn’t know if it was too much, she just kept working until everything was filled to the top. She went to the back of the pen and unlatched the door to the outside. Maybe they’d be okay if they had access to the outside. With the family dead, they might have a better chance if they could get out.

    It was a bit warmer here in the barn, from the heat given off by the animals and their…leavings. She didn’t mind lingering a bit, waiting until they’d drunk their fill and then waiting until the trough was topped up to the brim before switching off the water tap.

    She went through an archway into another room, and whooped with joy. A landspeeder, of some sort! “Yes, oh, yes!” Climbing into the driver’s seat, she punched the power button. Nothing. “Oh, come ON!” She punched the power button again, and saw a readout on the control panel.

    INPUT ACCESS CODE

    “Come ON!” she repeated. She tried a few random numbers, and pried open the access panel. Years and years ago, someone had taught her how to bypass a security entry code. She’d never actually needed to use it. With her unitool, she cut a few wires, tried to reconnect them. Nothing. The thing remained dead. However it was configured, it apparently did not match what she had learned all those years ago. She threw the unitool across the room, swearing in Corellian and every other language she knew, before falling back against the driver’s seat in defeat. It served her right. She stole the socks, now she was trying to steal the speeder. The Fates were punishing her.

    There was nothing she could do. Except go back out into the snow. And walk. Wincing as her bloody feet touched the ground, resigned, she went back outside. She had a mission. And now…she shivered, remembering what she had seen in the house. Now she knew the consequences if she failed.
     
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  8. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Ambri reluctantly taking something like someone's socks with a promise to bring them back and feeding thirsty animals--this speaks a lot about her values and morals that was interesting to see in her character. Seems like more endless snow coming her way!
     
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  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Ambri should take one of the animals to help her
     
  10. Kalio_Dynkos

    Kalio_Dynkos Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 17, 2004
    Well done. I like how there was a glimmer of hope throughout. Survival is a powerful motivation and you captured it. Nice work!
     
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I agree that there does seem to be some things to work with. If not the speeder, perhaps one of the animals -- certainly would be a faster way into town. [face_thinking] I love how Ambri's determination just gets stronger. :)
     
  12. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    What gizkaspice said! I love the moment when she hesitates to take the socks, it's such a small, mundane object that the owners of the house sadly won't miss, but to her it almost feels like a desacration. And the scene in the barn confirms that she's a kind, compassionate person. It's too bad she can't get the speeder to work, she's already getting frostbite :( but she's determined to do her bit, so I guess it's more and more and more snow for her in the immediate future!
     
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  13. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    I think she knows what it's like to be thirsty...and hungry. Who could let the poor bovids go hungry?[face_cow]

    Not a bad idea, although I don't think they're pack animals. And being a city girl, she's a little afraid of them!

    She is a bit stubborn, and certainly anyone would want to do what they could to help. But I'm sure she's going to be retiring to a nice condo on Tatooine when the war is over!

    Truer words were never spoke!

    Now I'm back from vacay and most of my life is sort of back under control... this one could be subtitled "What the Rebels don't teach you in pilot school..."

    * * *
    It was full night. The wind had died down, but the flakes of snow were still falling, icy whiplashes against her cheeks. The wooded hills rose up to either side of the road. Utterly black. The headlamp wasn’t giving off much light. She was tempted to turn it off. Light could tip her off to enemy patrols. But she simply couldn’t see where she was going, and she couldn’t afford a fall.

    She trudged along, gasping for breath and dragging the sluggish lift behind her, focusing on the snow ahead of her feet, about the only thing she could see in the wavering beam of the lamp. And then she heard something.

    It was ahead and to the right, the sound of something—or someone—crashing through the underbrush. Ambri stood stock still, straining to see. And then…two small, glowing pinpoints of light. She waited, watching, unconsciously holding her breath. A creature came out of the wood, into the road ahead of her.

    She wasn’t sure what it was, some sort of large canid. Its shoulder would come nearly up to her chest, and it was covered in thick, dense white fur. She felt her heart begin to pound even harder as she spotted sharp fangs jutting from its heavy underjaw.

    Ambri fumbled at her belt, seeking her blaster. She tried to pull it from the holster, before realizing that it was still secured by the safety straps. The creature continued to stare at her. She bent low, scooping up a handful of snow, and formed it into a snowball, throwing it wildly at the animal. It fell far short, and well off to the right. The thing grunted.

    Frantically, she clawed at the straps on her holster, willing the clasps to release. Now she could draw the blaster, and she aimed it at the creature, wishing she’d paid more attention to Captain Parnos, wishing that there had been more formal training. But when did pilots ever need to use blasters? The animal cocked its head, and Ambri took a deep breath and pulled the trigger. Or tried to. The trigger was stuck.

    “Safety lock,” she muttered, and glanced down, looking for the small lever that would unlock the trigger. It was hard to manipulate with gloves, and her stiff, frozen fingers didn’t make it any easier. But she got it unhooked and raised the blaster again. The animal was gone.

    Ambri blinked and advanced cautiously. Pawprints crossed the road and disappeared into the woods on the other side. Was it lying in wait? Was it rounding up others? Was it looking for easier prey? She hoped it was the latter, but she couldn’t take the chance. She switched the safety on again and replaced the blaster in its holster, but didn’t bother to refasten the holding straps. She wanted quick access if she needed it.

    She picked up the rope that she had dropped, adjusting it on her shoulder. Her body weight was helping pull the load and she could easily get her hands free if she needed to. She took up the ropes again and pulled. It was always so hard to start up again after a pause. But once she got going, it was a tiny, tiny, tiny bit easier. She continued along the road, looking warily at the woods on either side. There had to be some sort of settlement nearby, there had to be! She had seen one. But how much further?

    I can’t do this!


    The family in the farmhouse… Ambri closed her eyes and exhaled. She had to do this. She would do this.
     
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  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    :eek: How nerve wracking, snow and possible predators. [face_worried] Ambri's not the only one hoping a settlement is close.
     
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  15. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    I am intrigued by this canid but good to know that it decided to leave Ambri alone! The snow is really showing its vengeance on poor Ambri.
     
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  16. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Poor Ambri, now a canid stalking her?
     
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  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow! I’m so glad I took the time to catch up on this story—it’s absolutely riveting! You are always such an ace at building up suspense—you really capture all the hardships Ambri experiences in her mission, from the weird experience of meeting that lone Imperial shuttle to begin with, to the dogfight which she escapes by diving into the storm, to the tedium of trudging through snow upon snow upon snow in cold, wet socks while manually pulling a fully packed repulsorsled, armed only with a blaster she only halfway knows how to use—to that eerie feeling of being the only one alive, possibly on the entire planet. And all the implications thereof: is it really stealing if I borrow that pair of socksor that landspeeder? How much time do I have, really? What’s the deal with this canid, anyway? It may be leaving her alone for now, but... Anyway, it’s all there—we live every eerie, chilling moment right there along with Ambri.

    It’s clear too that you’ve done your homework in terms of the biological and medical elements of the scenario; I’m admittedly no expert in this area, but I appreciated the way the workings of the virus and its antidote were explained, and it all seems sensible and plausible. (What a horrendous way to die, though! :eek: ) And I too liked Dr. Daya and wonder if Ambri will come across her again in the “now” portion of her mission.

    Definitely will continue following this—and hopefully doing a better job of commenting in a timely manner. Can’t wait to see where this unique and crucial mission will lead for Ambri!
     
  18. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Or the poor bovids. [face_cow] Yup, Ambri can't shoot. I really do put my characters through the ringer sometimes.

    First Hoth, now this. She doesn't get a break when it comes to missions!

    [face_blush][face_blush][face_blush] I'm glad you're enjoying it! I did do a bit of research on medical-type stuff, and drew on notes from an old, old fanfic I had here (long gone to truncation, alas! Had some medical fanficcers here advising me on the virus, including Emma3Jane. It's nice to put some science in science fiction! (Especially since I was an art major).


    Especially with hypothermia setting in. It does strange things to the mind, apparently...such as...


    * * *

    Left.

    Right.

    Left.

    Right.

    She had been walking through darkness forever. She’d stopped shivering. She didn’t even feel pain anymore. Or cold. It was only her. And darkness. And this heavy thing at the end of the ropes, slogging along behind her like some carrion creature, waiting for her to drop dead so it could devour her. If she dropped the ropes and stopped dragging it, she could move faster. If she knew where she was going. Where was she going?

    Left. Right. Lef—

    Her foot caught on something and she fell facedown. It took her by surprise. One moment she was upright, and then she was on the ground. It was very confusing. She reached forward. Her arm found only air. She crawled ahead a pace or so, but her forearms hit air again. She sat back on her knees, directing the headlamp on her helmet ahead of her, squinting into the darkness. The road was gone. There was a cliff ahead of her. Did the road go down? It seemed very steep. And ahead…she couldn’t see anything ahead of her, just darkness and a soft, recurring whisper of sound in the background.

    Where did the road go? She crawled back to the sledge, using the boxes to pull herself upright, and turned in a circle. Then had to turn back the other way, because she was tangled in the ropes. There were tracks, smashed down and flattened. It took her a moment to realize that these were her own tracks. Okay. Her tracks went to the cliff. She took a step or two, backtracking.

    The road had split! It hadn’t disappeared, it was right there! But now there were two of them going in a different direction. Now where was she supposed to go? She had the boxes. She had to protect the boxes. The boxes were heavy. She had to protect them. She had to…had to…give them to someone! She needed to find someone to give them to. Ambri looked around. There was no one in sight.

    “Hello?” She tried to call out, but her voice was a rasp, and her lips were cracking. She stood there for a long moment, trying to sort it all out in her mind. Why was she here? Where was she? Medicine. The boxes were medicine and she needed to deliver them somewhere. Okay. It was coming back.

    She stood a little longer, swaying, grasping for any shards of memory. Memories were being frozen out of her. Bergetta. Bergetta was her friend. Bergetta used to sing. Wait. No, Bergetta was dead. She wouldn’t sing again.

    Medicine. The medicine. A town. A cliff. A frozen ocean. Ambri jerked and twisted to look into the blackness behind her. There had been a town! A town built on the cliffs, overlooking the ocean, covered in snow! Yes, she was trying to deliver the medicine there! Where was there?

    She needed to focus. The town had been ahead of her, the sea behind, the road ran left and right. Imari used to fold flimsi into little planes and fly them around the room. The flimsi planes flew over the town. No, she had flown over the town. She had banked to…to…to the left! She had flown to the left, following the road! The people had walked along the road, too, she had watched them walk down from the plateau, towards the pits, walking down to die. And it had been warm.

    But it wasn’t warm, it was cold. She’d followed the road, to the right…between the trees. There had been a creature in the trees. A creature in the junk yards, but…its eyes ran black with ooze. Medicine. She had to bring the medicine. To the town. The town on the cliffs.

    She looked left and right. Then, she gathered up the rope, and slowly began to walk again, to the left, with the ocean, the darkness, at her right.

    Left. Right.

    Left.

    Right.
     
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  19. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow, is this trippy or is this trippy! With this recurrence of scattered, stream-of-conscious memories, we've got echoes of Marcel Proust and James Joyce mixed in with the GFFA (plus some Frost, both literal and figurative, with the road diverging in a winter landscape). I almost have to wonder whether some more sinister force than bitter cold is at work here, either guiding Ambri to a decision about which direction to go or, well, doing the opposite. Are these memories returning for some purpose? Is Bergetta a name we should remember? I won't try to speculate now, but I will just say that I love the way that Ambri's trudging footfalls—left, right, left, right—seem to foreshadow the crossroads decision she soon will have to make, also between left and right. (And that's part of what makes me wonder fi a bigger factor is at work here... [face_thinking])
     
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  20. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Creepy. I hope she will get there in time before she sucumbs to frostbite
     
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  21. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Sounds like she's just about to go insane---first the snow, then the loneliness, now determined to deliver the medicine but having noone in sight who to give it to. What a good insight into her psychological state here and this conflict between "left and right" which as Findswoman mentioned seems to definitely foreshadow her ultimate decision.
     
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  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    :eek: !!!!! [face_nail_biting] Oh I agree with the earlier posts. That is beyond surreal but in an alarming way. Everything is disjointed and fragmented, memories of past and prsent all jumbled together with the literal disorientation that comes in trying to navigate in darkness and snowy conditions.
     
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  23. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Very good stuff from the third instalment to Ambri unpacking her fighter, and going for a trudge in the snow.

    Excellent descriptions, characters feel natural, great attention to detail, with the marines, pathfinders and engineers all getting a mention.

    My favourite part was the throwaway line about Dr Daya's landing was going to require some shuffling.

    Your segues between responding to feedback, and chapter starts, could be clearer, I feel; but otherwise, great work.
     
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  24. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    This is getting very dark – both literally, with Ambri losing track of the road at night, and figuratively. The predator in the previous entry felt a bit like a bad omen that has come to announce death, and now Ambri is beginning to lose her senses and her mind in the cold. Very trippy indeed, I hope she finds her destination soon [face_praying]
     
  25. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Yes, she's a little disoriented. Some of it is from the dark and the unfamiliar territory, some of my research suggests that mental disorientation is party of hypothermia which is setting in. People in an advanced stage do strange things; even complaining that they are hot and trying to undress. Fortunately, some part of her mind retains the knowledge that what is on the sled is important.

    Thank you all for replying! This next bit is rather long, but there is no good place to break it, so...

    * * *

    Left. Right. Left. Left behind. They had to leave the others behind. Gray ash, all gray ash. They couldn’t go back.

    Ambri was in a dream. The world was still dark. Still cold. She stubbed her foot against something, hard, and fell headlong, cracking her shin against something buried under the snow. For a long moment, she just lay there. She just wanted to close her eyes and sleep. It wouldn’t hurt, would it? Just for a few moments? Desire, just to curl up, just for a moment. They had all curled up in bed, piling up on Janson in the cold. A good joke. No. No. They were all around her, flames dancing around them, watching her with oozing dark eyes. If she didn’t get up, they would devour her. It was her punishment. She had to appease them. Dzin would scold her when she got back.

    Groaning, Ambri forced herself back to her feet. And blinked. Buildings. Tall, conical buildings. The windows were dark. It was silent, except for the whistle of the wind and the soft whisper of the waves in the far distance, beyond the ice. She looked up. She was in the middle of a square. It would have been a good place to land a ship, except that some idiot had built a statue there. Or something. She turned in a circle, getting tangled in the rope again. When she got herself untangled, she could see something, a sign, a plaque on the side of a building. Pulling the heavy load behind her—something inside her insisted that it could not be left behind—she went over to read it. A map?

    ALOURISET ESTARA​
    Musician, Composer, Teacher​
    27432 to 27506​
    Lived in this building from…​

    No. This was not what she wanted. Where was everyone? They were all gone. Gone to gray ash and black ooze. And light.

    Light?

    Ambri pulled off her helmet, and squinted. There was a light in one of the buildings, in an upper window. Light! She thrust her helmet back on her head, looped the rope of the sledge over her other shoulder, and pulled with a surge of strength.

    A hill. The building was on a hill.

    Of course it was.

    She took a deep breath. And pulled.

    She got to the foot of the hill and paused to catch her breath. The building was up ahead, to the left side of the street. The light shone in an upper window. The only light she had seen, steady and unwavering. There were lightposts, too, made of dark-painted metal decorated with swirls and filigree. They were dark, though.

    “Okay,” she whispered. She pulled. One step, two, three, four…her feet slipped out from underneath her and she was dragged backwards by the weight of the sled. Swearing, she got up, gritting her teeth at the pain, and tried again. The rope rubbed against her shoulder, agony, but she pulled with all the strength she had left, leaning forward so far that she was almost crawling. She did slip again, going to her knees, and she felt the sledge start to pull her backwards. She spread her arm and legs, trying to jam her feet against the ground and grabbing with her hands for anything to prevent a backslide. She lost a few feet, but she was still on the hill. Okay. Okay.

    She stayed on her knees and crawled, using her hands to pull herself forward. The rope ground into her shoulder, almost choking her but she clenched her teeth together and kept on. There was a lamppost ahead of her. She could feel the heavy sledge pulling at her, gravity wanting to defeat her, and she crawled to the lamppost, wrapping her arms around it. She braced against it and used her arms, ignoring tears running down her face, and got the sledge even to the lamppost. Now she let the burden slide up against the pole, preventing it from backsliding further. She looked towards the house.

    It wasn’t much farther. Just a few meters. She sat for a few moments, resting, starting to drift off into sleep…no. No sleeping. They were sleeping with black ooze in their eyes, but she could not. She started up again, winning the hill one slow, painful inch at a time. And then she hit a patch of ice. She could feel herself falling back, felt the heavy sled of the precious serum sliding inexorably downwards, back towards the square. Angry and in pain, she shouted in wordless frustration from the bottom of her lungs and flailed out with her arms, throwing herself towards the same lamppost that had given her a brief, sweet respite. She caught it and held on. For a moment, she didn’t think she could hold on. But she did. Got her arms around it, got her body braced, and pulled the sledge, and pulled, and pulled…and the sledge finally was back in place, anchored by the lamppost. She sat there again, for a long time, trying to catch her breath, and using every unsavory epithet that she had ever learned in her life.

    Her head was clearing a bit, and she eyed the distance to the house. Okay. Okay. She unlooped the rope from her shoulder, and carefully tied it around the lamppost. The sledge shifted a bit, but it didn’t slide back. Ambri crawled around to the back, and gathered up snow, packing it into a hard pile behind the sledge. It wouldn’t stop it from backsliding, necessarily, but it might slow it down a little.

    And now she could get to the house. She couldn’t stand up, she was too tired. So she crawled, on her hands and knees like a dog or a supplicant, up to the door of the house, and reached up to the control panel. It was really a light, wasn’t it? Or maybe she was dreaming this? She found the signal caller and punched it, again, and again. She pounded on the door.

    “Hello?” she called hoarsely. “Hello?” She pounded the signaler again a few more times, then sank down to the entry mat, and thumped the door a few more times. “Hello…?” The doorway was shielded from the harsh wind, and she closed her eyes…just for a moment…just for a moment…

    “…hasn’t progressed very far.”

    Ambri cracked her eyes open and winced. There was light, a lot of light. And people, gathered around her, bent over her. “Urrr…mddd…” she said, trying to sit up. Hands were on her, moving her to lie flat on something. The snowflakes were falling on her face. They tickled.

    “The clinic has no room. But the Aeditus has offered up the Sanctuary; we could take her there.”

    “M-m-m…” Ambri tried again, but her mouth was dry and her lips were cracked.

    She could hear another woman nearby. “I didn’t know what to do, so I called you. She just showed up on the doorstep, ringing the bell to wake the dead. It woke the kids!”

    A man responded, “No, no, you did the right thing. The kids are okay?”

    “Yes, I told them to stay in their rooms, but I think they’re at the top of the stairs.”

    Ambri took a deep breath. “M-m-med’sun!” A woman bent over her.

    “Yes, shh, it’s all right. We’ll get you some medicine.” She could see the woman exchange a glance with someone out of her eyesight. The woman was human. Ambri turned her head. There were several other people there; they all seemed to be human, and they were wrapping her in blankets.

    “M-m-med’sun!” She turned, trying to point at the sledge of crates, almost toppling off the gurney. “I…I…b-brought…”

    “Lie still!” Another man, older, wearing some kind of uniform with the sound of command in his voice. “Lie still, we’ll get you to a hospital.”

    “I…brought…med’sun. Brought. Block-ade.” She turned again, trying to point. “Med’sun. For…for…for…” She couldn’t remember what Dr. Daya had called it. “Plague,” she said. “Med’sun. For…the plague.” The people around her went still, then turned to look at the sledge. One went over to it. Another bent over her, the woman who had spoken to her.

    “But…you’re human!” she said. “She’s not Kassallian, she’s human!”

    “Yes,” said Ambri. “Cor-Corellia. Block… Through…the blockade. M-med’sun.” One of the men pulled a crate off the sledge and brought it over to the others, who directed a glowrod on to it. The Imperial logo blazoned on the crates was now visible. The commander took out a vial of the serum, which seemed very blue in the light, and turned to stare at her.

    “Who ARE you?” he asked.

    “Ga…gala…” Ambri sighed. The blankets were warm, and she was so sleepy. “R-Rebel. Rebell-ion.” With a sigh, she shut her eyes. Sleep. Lovely!
     
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