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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. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Whew! [face_relieved] She met up with some persons who can help and get her warmed up and the medicine in the right place. =D= Renata you are terrific at the edge of seatness. The intensity of relief is that much stronger. ;) @};-
     
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  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    I hope she is with the people who need the medicine
     
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  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh wow. This passage made quite an impression on me when I beta-read your story, but reading it again in isolation it's a real punch in the gut: Ambri getting increasingly confused, not able to distinguish between the past and the present, and yet with this incredible drive to complete her task, even if it means crawling on all fours to get to her destination... It's all incredibly harrowing, and as the reader I too felt genuine relief at the final word "sleep".

    Now the medicine has been delivered! But Ambri still needs to get off the planet, and there's an Imperial blockade on her way.
     
  4. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Finally she finds people (and not just more snow or something)! And now it seems she has completed her mission.......but some severe hypothermia is pretty evident here and we still don't know who these people even are who are caring for her.
     
  5. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    [face_blush][face_blush][face_blush] A very great compliment! Thank you!
    Never underestimate Corellian stubbornness! :) Ambri can be pretty determined, when people's lives are on the line...
    Well, at least she's with someone...and they're not Imperial!
    Of course they are the locals, and you are about to meet them! :cool: (This installment is a bit long)


    * * *

    She was waking up and she didn’t want to. She wasn’t dreaming, but being asleep, the act in itself, was so pleasant. Warm, comfortable… she groaned, and tried to roll over, but something pulled at her arm. There was an annoying beeping sound coming from somewhere behind her. Reluctantly, she opened her eyes. She was still warm, under heavy, comforting blankets. The room was dim, and there was a cuff of some type fastened around her right wrist. There was a tube attached to her left arm, and the irritating beeping sound coming from behind her, with a soft ping now added to it.

    And now that she was awake, everything hurt. Feet, legs, back, hands, face, shoulders… She groaned, and tried to sit up. Almost instantly, a woman appeared at the bedside.

    “You’re awake!” she said, looking at the readouts from the machine behind the bed and making notations on a datapad.

    “How…how long…” Ambri’s voice was more of a croak.

    “Shh, hold on, here, drink this.” The woman held a cup to her lips. Ambri tried to take it, but her hands were thickly swathed in bandages. She took a sip. The liquid was warm and creamy, a touch of sweetness, and it tasted…grassy? Green? Not at all unpleasant, and the heat felt good. She took a few more long swallows.

    “Better?” said the woman, gently wiping Ambri’s chin with a cloth.

    “Th-thank you. Who are you?”

    “I’m Nurse Kalsey. Just hang on a minute, the doctor will be in soon, with Captain Allax.” Kalsey touched a button on the wall. Ambri looked around. It was definitely a hospital room of some type.

    “How long have I been asleep?” she asked.

    “About twelve hours.”

    “Twelve hours?!” She struggled upright. “I have to get back to my ship!”

    “You’re not going anywhere until the doctor takes a look at you,” said Halsey sternly. “Hypothermia, frostbite…we were pretty sure you weren’t going to make it.”

    Ambri made a face. “We didn’t have very good intel,” she said. “If I’d known this was an ice planet, I would have dressed for it.” Kalsey laughed.

    “An ice planet? We aren’t an ice planet, believe me!”

    “So what do you call all that white stuff on the ground?”

    Kalsey smiled, and adjusted a knob on the wrist cuff. “We’re in the winter cycle. We have a strange orbit. Two of your Galactic Standard Years of summer, two of winter, one each of autumn and spring. In two Standard years, we’ll be in the middle of spring and there will be flowers everywhere. You’ll have to come back; Kassallia will be at its best, then.”

    There was a motion at the door, and a woman came in, wearing a blue medical tunic, with another man and a woman in uniform behind her.

    “I’m Dr. Kembroche. How are we feeling?” asked the woman in the medical tunic.

    “Much better,” said Ambri. “I really need to get back to my ship.”

    “Mmm hmm, in good time. I want to take a look at the feet. Your vitals are better, but your core temperature is still low. Nurse?” They went to the base of the bed and began to cut the dressings from Ambri’s feet. She looked at the other newcomers.

    The woman was Kassallian, with the distinctive head ridges and pink-lavender skin of her people. She wore a mask over her nose and mouth, and protective goggles, probably against the plague. Her uniform was a rich, deep purple with bands of heavy gold embroidery up the front. The man’s uniform was simpler, a dove gray with bands of purple and an insignia in silver on his collar.

    “I am General Lucena Ky-Anour, head of the Defense Forces. You’ve already met Captain Allax, I believe.”

    “I doubt she’d remember me,” said Allax. He looked at Ambri. “I’m the head of Porta Azure’s Guard forces. We brought you in last night. You came to my house, signaled my wife. I’m curious…why did you choose my place?”

    Ambri hesitated for a moment, trying to remember. Last night was still fuzzy. “It was the only one with a light,” she said. “I thought I was too late and everyone was dead.”

    “A light?” General Ky-Anour frowned. “We’ve ordered a planetary blackout. Their ships have a lot more firepower than ours, and most of the towns don’t have air defense. Everyone is supposed to maintain a blackout, for what good it will do.”

    Allax grimaced. “It’s my youngest, Mari,” he explained. “She’s afraid of the dark, and she’s afraid for me when I’m on night duty, so she puts a light in the window so I won’t get lost coming back.”

    “I’m glad it was there,” said Ambri. “I’d about given up hope.”

    “Now who are you, exactly?” asked General Ky-Anour.

    “Wait,” said Dr. Kembroche. “Can you feel this?”

    “Uh, no.”

    “How about this?”

    “No.”

    “Hmm. How about now?”

    “OW! Yes, I felt that.”

    “Excellent!”

    Ambri waited a second to see if the doctor was going to poke her anywhere else, then she introduced herself to the two officers, and explained her side of the story, her encounter with Dr. Daya, the discussion on board the Queen (being careful not to name it or give any other specifics), the decision to run the blockade with the precious medicine and Lieutenant Dzin’s death. She explained her choice to walk, since she couldn’t find a suitable landing spot, and her fear of leading the TIE fighters to attack an innocent settlement.

    Ky-Anour shook her head at the last. “They’ve made several attacks already,” she said, “which is one reason we’ve gone to a blackout, and we’re relegated to using our land lines, since they can’t tap those. They destroyed the capital, Bellamonda, but they weren’t able to get their ground troops established, at least. We’ve been holding them off since the beginning of autumn, but this plague, this virus has weakened our troops. If they try again, I don’t know if we can defend ourselves now.”

    “I’m sure that’s their plan,” said Ambri. “Did they say why they wanted Kassallia?”

    “A base. They said they wanted a base.” Ky-Anour bit her lip. “We’ve always limited contact with the outside, ever since the Hyperspace Wars. Oh, we allow ships in and a limited amount of trade, but what news we’ve gotten about the Galaxy as a whole has not been reassuring. There are luxuries, sure, but it has always seemed that we’d be better off minding our own business in our own little system. It seems Fate has decided otherwise.” She sighed. “They contacted us about a week ago, said that they had blockaded the planet as a precaution, to make sure the disease didn’t spread outside the system. They also said that they would send medical teams to help us…IF we agreed to allow them to land and establish a base here.”

    “They’re the ones who created the plague in the first place!” said Ambri. “Dr. Daya said—“

    “Yes,” said Ky-Anour. “We saw the message your people included.” She cocked her head. “Why did your Alliance decide to help us?”

    Ambri looked down at her hands, buried in bulky white bandages. “We all know the evil and cruelty the Empire is capable of,” she said quietly. “We are committed to stopping it whenever and however we can. Ultimately, I know, we want to depose the Emperor and restore a democratic Republic, where everyone has a voice.” She looked at them. “I’m very grateful for all the care you’ve shown me here, but I really need to get back to my ship. They will be expecting me, and now that I’ve seen how badly affected your people are, I need to try to bring in another load.”

    Everyone looked at her then.

    “Another load?” asked Allax.

    “Medicine,” said Ambri. “Our starfighters could only carry so much. There are at least two more loads of medicine. Dzin and I thought we could do two runs, but…with him gone, I’ll have to do both of them. So I need to get back.”

    “You’re not going to be able to fly anywhere for a while,” said Kembroche. She motioned to Kalsey, who began to rebandage Ambri’s feet. “You’ve got a very bad case of frostbite, and your body temperature is still nowhere near normal.”

    “Throw me in a bacta tank for a while,” said Ambri. “An hour or so, that should take the edge off, at least, and then I can get back.”

    “We do not have bacta,” said Ky-Anour. Ambri caught her breath.

    “Daya said the serum would only be effective with bacta, or antibiotics!”

    “We have antibiotics,” said Kembroche, “but no bacta.” She took one of Ambri’s hands, and began cutting through the bandages.

    The young pilot looked at the others. “You can use what I’ve brought to synthesize more,” she said. “Dr. Daya left directions.” Ky-Anour and Allax exchanged looks.

    “Yes,” said Ky-Anour, “but before we found them, we had already used a good deal of the serum. Here, at the hospital, they began using it to treat patients and inoculate those who hadn’t yet been infected. There are about three crates left, and we’ve sent two to a facility to manufacture more. The other one has been sent to treat the senior leaders of our people.”

    “Which means I need to get back,” said Ambri. “I need to make another run.”

    Kalsey had finished cutting the bandages off her hand. “Look,” said the doctor. Ambri caught her breath in dismay. Her fingertips were an angry purple, with yellow skin peeling away from them. The blisters on the palms of her hands had burst, and now angry, yellow sores and bloody scabs creased them. “Can you fly like this? You cannot take this chance.”

    Ambri was quiet. And she remembered the dead woman in the house she had passed, the small bundle in her lap and the horrible bundle in the crib. If she could get back to the Queen, bacta might help a bit. Worst case scenario, she might need to have her hands removed and have cybernetic replacements. Not at all what she wanted.

    “Could we send a signal to your ship?” asked Allax. “Maybe someone else could bring the rest.”

    Ambri shook her head. “The only other ships we have are too slow to evade the TIE fighters,” she said. “If I can’t get back, there won’t be any more medicine. I have to take the chance.” She looked Dr. Kembroche in the eye. “Please re-bandage my hands, only wrap each finger up separately. And if I can borrow some warmer clothes and maybe get a ride back to where I left my ship, I should be okay.”

    Kembroche frowned. “General, I would like to register my opposition to this plan,” she said.

    “Noted, doctor, but as Flight Officer Merrin is not under my command, I am in no position to stop her, short of taking her prisoner. Given what she has risked on our behalf, I am unwilling to do that.”

    Allax cleared his throat. “My people will bring you back to your ship.” He pointed to a cabinet in the room. She could see her flight helmet and chest box piled on top. “The staff here had to cut off your uniform, but the rest of your gear is locked in the cabinet, and I’ll get you a flightsuit and a thermal underlining, so you’ll be warm at least.”

    “And I’ll give you a signal channel that you can call in for your return, we’ll have a proper landing site waiting,” said Ky-Anour. She turned to Allax. “Right, let’s get things ready.”

    Ambri lay back while the disapproving Kembroche and Kalsey redressed her injuries. She was actually dreading another run through the blockade… at some point her skill and her luck would run out. And yet…what else could she do? The Queen was expecting her back. The rest of the medicine must be delivered. Two crates couldn’t possibly be enough to cure the entire planet!

    She remembered something she’d heard people saying on Hoth… “Take one chance, and then another until we win or until all the chances are spent.” Maybe, maybe… maybe she still had a few in the bank to spend. The ones she hadn’t been able to save…she owed it to them to try.
     
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  6. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Great to see her being cared for meeting the right people. And hope she will get the supplies.
     
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  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Whew, Ambri is determined but it looks like they were able to use what she brought and she will hopefully bring more, and will be dressed better for the weather.
     
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  8. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    What a relief for Ambri--- it’s not an ice planet! (But you get to have two years of winter!) This is just a bizarre orbit. And the Kassallian—what an interesting group of people, especially with that kind of skin colour!

    And Ambri's determination has no bounds--- she needs to delivery the entire medicine regardless what is thrown at her. I think this is the essence of what makes her a very likable character (at least for me).
     
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  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Grrr. It's so typical of the Empire to cause the plague, blockade the world to prevent its spread and claim you'll help if you get what you created it for in the first place. It's telling that they chose to pull this trick on a planet that had limited contact with the rest of the galaxy; the government of any world that had dealt with the Empire in the past would recognise the ploy for what it is.

    I loved the description of the Kassallians in this chapter – not only their physique, of which we had a glimpse in previous entries, but their clothing, their history, their customs, their strategy to fight back, and of course their planet's very particular climate cycle. I hope you can write your background notes in the fanon thread at some point; this is definitely a world in which I'd like to build a story at some point.

    And Ambri... I mean, how Corellian is this woman? It's apparently not bad enough that she ran the blockade once and almost froze to death; now she wants to run it again, not once, not twice but three times – because she needs to go out, in and out again! But yeah, don't tell her the odds and all that jazz. Oh, and great use of the RO quote at the end of the chapter :D
     
  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    High time for me to catch up! What a relief to see Ambri’s arduous journey come to an end at last, and to see her end up in the hands of people who can help her (and who thankfully don’t seem to mind that she’s “Rebellion”). Ambri’s steadily mounting disorientation is completely understandable and is believably portrayed. Thank goodness for that light in the window, even if it was technically in violation of the planetwide blackout! It may be nothing (or not), but it was interesting to me that one of those who find her is so surprised that she’s Human and not Kassallian, almost as if they don’t believe a Human would WANT to undertake the kind of mission that Ambri has undertaken. I’ll file that away for later.

    As an aside: that Alouriset Estara, “musician, composer, teacher,” seems familiar somehow, and I think you may have tipped me off at some point that she (?) would make an appearance. ;)

    Great to see Ambri getting the care she needs after all the effort she’s been through; Dr. Kembroche and Nurse Kalsey are taking very good care of her, and it’s great that Gen. Ky-Anour (who I think is the first Kassallian we’ve met live in this story, no?) is here too, both to fill Ambri in on the situation on-planet and to hear about Ambri’s mission. I smiled at Ambri’s eagerness to return immediately to her ship and make another serum run. Of course I also understand the doctor’s reluctance to allow her to do so before recovering fully, but heck, this is a Corellian we’re dealing with her! Never tell her the odds, and absolutely believe that she has plenty more chances left in the bank. :D
     
  11. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Well, at least she made it through once!
    ABSOLUTELY dressed for the weather! Layers of long underwear, made out of Wampa fur!
    She just has no luck. First Hoth, now the wrong time of year for Kassallia. I was thinking about her paying a visit when the war was over.
    I don't have a lot of notes; I tend to build the fanon to fit the story, so there are some big gaps in the Kassallian databank that people would want to know about. But by all means, if you decide you need to borrow, shoot me a message & I'll give you some ideas of my influences.
    I think they were more shocked that an offworlder had come to help; their interaction with the rest of the galaxy is very limited. They import a few things, but generally try to keep to themselves.
    I thought you'd catch that! :D I don't know much about her, except that she is sort of the Kassallian equivalent of Mozart/Bach/Beethoven, a HUUUUGE influence in Kassallian musical history. [face_batting]

    Right! Time for Our Heroine to get back to the Patchwork Queen... if she can...

    * * *

    With her flight helmet on, Ambri took one of her remaining chances and signaled Minni to get her ship ready. She was in the back of a well-heated transport, surrounded by Allax’s people, who were urging hot drinks on her. She had a datachip with contact information and protocols from the General. The interface didn’t work with her datapad, but she knew that when she got back to the Queen the techs there could fix it so that her equipment could read it.

    She pointed out the farm where she had found the dead family as they passed, and Allax promised they’d stop on the way back to check it out and make sure the animals there could be cared for. Ambri had shyly confessed to the theft of the socks, but Allax had only smiled, saying he’d personally make sure the heirs were reimbursed. The ride to the ship seemed terribly short. It had appeared much longer and more difficult on foot.

    They climbed up the slope to her X-wing. Minni had powered up and steam was rising off of it as the snow and ice melted off the wings. One of the guards whistled.

    “I’d love to get into one of those!” he said. Ambri grinned.

    “I’m biased,” she said, “but of all the ships I’ve ever flown, this is my favorite.”

    They made her stay in the transport while they moved around, brushing what was left of the snow off the ship. They had brought a ladder to help her into the cockpit. She gritted her teeth; her feet were still in pain, both from the frostbite and the open blisters. But the bandages were thick and cushioned, and the socks had a heatsource, activated from touching a button. At least she was warm.

    Allax’s crew stepped back, watching as she lowered the canopy and did a systems check. In her absence, Minni had fixed the shields and made what repairs it could. She was ready to go.

    “Okay,” she said, taking a deep breath. “Minni, I want to make four jumps, backtracking on at least one. We’re going to leave on a straight shot, take off, and head straight out of system, say, 3 lightyears. Then ninety degrees left for another two lightyears. We’ll recalculate the final two jumps to the Queen from there.”

    The little astromech whistled and set to work, burbling quietly to itself. Ambri finished her flightcheck…all systems green. She signaled a thumbs up to Allax’s waiting crew, and fired up the repulsor engines, while turning the cockpit’s internal temperature to max. Slowly, the ship lifted off the ground. The snow was lighter and there was more light than there had been. She stayed low, and engaged impulse engines once she’d cleared the treeline, heading out to the ocean.

    “Minni, send a binary signal on frequency 2-126J. ‘Alliance is outbound.’” It was a low power frequency, out of Imperial range, which was why the Kassallians were using it. The signal came back in binary, and scrolled along her readout panel as it was decrypted.

    //GOOD LUCK MERCY FLIGHT

    “Minni, exit trajectory?” Swooping low over the frozen ocean, watching where the white icecover broke into black, choppy waves, she waited. Minni hooted, and Ambri pulled back on the stick and felt a kick as her thrusters sent her high into the atmosphere, headed for space.

    She adjusted her long range scanners. The TIE fighters were out there, looking for her. One long, straight shot, that was all she wanted. Straight from the planet to the hyperspace jump point, no evasive maneuvers, no interference. “Minni, where’s my exit?”

    //EXIT POINT APPROACHING 2.46 MINUTES.

    It was going to be a long two minutes. She counted them off by heartbeats, bringing the hyperspace engines online, and heard an alert. TIE fighters, four of them, closing in from the left, just above and behind her. Not good. She diverted more power to the rear deflector shields and pushed her speed to max. Another signal. Four more fighters, straight in from the right.

    I really, really don’t want to divert! The fighters on the right were on an intercept course, and she sighed, minimizing her forward shields to their lowest and strengthening the right flank. She kept her S-foils locked for cruise position. Run, run, run!

    The fighters on the right were firing, and she dropped the stick, bobbing and bouncing. Two blasts found the shields. Alarms went off. It was a good hit, dropping her shields to barely 12%. Another hit would finish her.

    “Minni! Exit point?”

    //EXIT POINT APPROACHING 54 SECONDS

    I don’t think we’ll last that long. The fighters on her right had broken off, splitting. Two joined the others who were now solidly behind her. The others were looping to try and come at her from the front. I really, really hate you slaimos! It was tempting, so tempting… lock the S-foils to attack position, try to pick off the ones in front of her, evade the ones behind her…but it was a false temptation.

    Right. Ambri pulled up auxiliary power, balanced the shields to the rear, and put everything else into the engines, heading straight into the two TIE fighters ahead of her. Their guns were probably ranged at 250 meters, like hers. If she could close that distance, get in closer, she might—maybe?—get inside their range and their shots would miss. Maybe. If she was insanely lucky. If not, well…at least it would be over quickly.

    “Right Minni, let’s kick it!” She throttled to full, watching as the engines screeched to the max, 105%, 106%, and past it, jigging and bobbing slightly. The fighters ahead of her were firing, but the distance was closing. One shot hit her right wing, and she could hear an alarm sounding. The engines were intact, but screaming at her. They were shooting again, but she was too close now, and banked sharply. The shots went above and below the ship. She was beginning to worried she’d actually ram into them, but they were pulling away, alarmed by the crazy woman and her tactics.

    She heard another sound, another alarm. Target lock, crud! One of the pilots behind her, no longer worrying about hitting a wingmate, was shooting again. “Minni! Where’s my—“

    Minni whooped. Exit point. We’re out of here! She punched the throttle for the hyperspace engines and watched the stars vanish around her. And then there was silence. Ambri exhaled. The fighters couldn’t follow her into hyperspace. No, not fighters. Eyeballs. She had to remember the lingo.

    For this run, at least, she was safe.
     
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  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ooh, edge of seat followed by relief she got through. How many more runs does she need to make? [face_worried]
     
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  13. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    WOW she is safe. I hope she will get more help doing the next run
     
  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Well, that was a close call with the TIEs... but even they don't know how crazy the crazy woman is! Flying straight at them is probably the least insane of her antics in this story so far.

    I love the interaction with the astromech. Nice little droid there with just enough personality to whoop victoriously when needed, but not crazy enough to argue in the middle of battle :)

    And back to the Patchwork Queen. Mission accomplished... for now.
     
  15. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Ambri back in her element! And what a close call…..and crazy lady has now a new meaning!

    and this...“Ambri had shyly confessed to the theft of the socks, but Allax had only smiled, saying he’d personally make sure the heirs were reimbursed”

    Oh, Ambri…..she’ll never get over taking those socks but we forgive you!
     
  16. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Friiiiday! I had the day off and got SO MUCH DONE! So I can kick back for the rest of the weekend. And...maybe do some writing! :D
    One or two, maybe? We'll see!
    And as I said.. .we'll see! At least this time the Kassallians are expecting her.
    What most people call crazy, Corellians call desperate measures. :xwing:
    Well, stealing from Imperials is fair game. But not these folks. Still, when you've risked your life to bring medicine through a blockade to stop a planet-wide plague, the local authorities are inclined to be a bit lenient. O:)

    So... back to the Patchwork Queen, who have no idea what's been happening...

    * * *
    Patchwork Queen, this is Two Flasks, inbound, need landing clearance.”

    “Acknowledge, Two Flasks.” A pause. “Ace of Flasks?”

    Ambri swallowed. “Didn’t make it,” she said. There was a pause.

    “Acknowledge, Two Flasks. Cleared to land.”

    The hangar was crowded as she approached. The ground crew were there, she expected them. A few looked past her as she came in, not having heard the news about Dzin. But she also saw Hchch, and Parnos, and Dr. Galdaz, looking grim.

    She engaged the repulsors, and carefully rotated the ship so she could relaunch, although it would need some repairs first. The blast to her wing had loosened her upper laser array, which was sparking alarmingly, with the wiring and cables exposed. She wasn’t going anywhere until that was fixed. Which was fine, she needed to see if Galdaz could do anything about the frostbite anyway.

    Even after her long sleep on Kassallia, she was exhausted. She powered down and unlatched the canopy, trying to undo the flight harness. Her fingers were sore, and nerveless. She couldn’t get the clasp undone.

    “Got this,” said Bermet. He was the Ugnaught crew chief, less than a meter tall, with the balding head and heavy features of his people. He was also a genius with machinery, and took special pride in maintaining the two Incom starfighters berthed in his hangar. He undid the harness and took a hard look at Ambri. “MEDIC!”

    “I’m—“

    But she was being swarmed. In an instant, Galdaz was beside Bermet, eyestalks swiveling. He pulled up his comm. “Get the bacta tank ready,” he said. Then, to Ambri, “Frostbite?”

    “Uh, yes?” How did he know?

    All of the ground crews were well-trained and well-practiced in extracting injured pilots from a cockpit and Ambri soon found herself on a hover stretcher, with Galdaz beside her, carefully pulling off her flight helmet to toss to Hchch. She tried to turn her head. “I got through,” she said. “Got one load. Dzin didn’t make it. I need to make another run. Things are very bad.”

    “Uh-huh,” said Galdaz. “We’ll talk about this later.” He was using a laser scalpel to get her hands unbandaged, and he swore when he saw her fingers.

    “I can fly with prosthetics,” she said.

    “We’ll see. May not come to that.” He said something to someone over his shoulder and Ambri felt something cool pressing against her neck. It was impossible to keep her eyes open.

    “I have to…go back…”

    “Get some sleep. Just sleep now.”

    Another long sleep, she didn’t know for how long. She woke with the sour, acidic taste of bacta in her throat and the smell on her skin.

    “Ah. You are awake.” She turned her head and blinked. A medical droid was near her bed, a 2-1B unit.

    “Ha-how long have…have I been out?” she croaked. The taste of bacta rose up at the back of her throat and she had to suppress an urge to gag.

    “Twenty hours, 27 minutes and 36 and one half seconds,” the droid responded. She gasped, trying to sit up.

    “I have to go back!” she said. “I have to make another run!”

    “Negative,” said the droid. “You are currently confined to the medical bay.”

    Ambri glared at him. “Look—“

    “Nourishment has been mandated.” The droid reached in to a cart and pulled out a metallic cylinder with a straw sticking out of it. Ambri rolled her eyes, and reached for it. The droid pulled it out of her reach. “Negative! Manual self-feeding is prohibited at this time.” Ambri looked at her hands.

    Each was in some type of plasti glove, taped tightly around her wrists. She realized that they were filled with bacta, mini-bacta tanks. Padding had been placed between each finger so that they couldn’t touch.

    The droid cocked its head. “The damage to your manual appendages was extensive,” it explained. “Further treatment is necessary. Physical contact will be detrimental during the healing process.” She sighed. There was no point arguing with droids. They had their programming, and stuck to it firmly.

    She didn’t really feel hungry, although she should. The memory of what she had seen on Kassallia, coupled with the acidic taste of bacta made her question whether she’d be able to keep anything down anyway. But the droid was determined to feed her. “Fine,” she said, “I’ll eat, but would you please signal Dr. Galdaz?”

    The droid hesitated, processing the request. “Acknowledged,” it said, and held the container to her again, putting the straw where she could reach it. Some sort of liquid protein drink, chalky with a fake fruit flavoring. Disgusting. She was willing to bet this was captured Imperial stuff.

    Her mouth felt tight, her face felt tight…she blinked, realizing she was bandaged! She must have been more badly affected than she’d thought. She’d gotten about half of the disgusting concoction down when Galdaz arrived, with a weary-looking Gram behind him.

    “Sir!” She tried to sit at attention and salute. The results weren’t satisfactory, and Galdaz squawked in protest.

    “Keep your hands still!” he said.

    She looked at Captain Gram. “Sir, I need to go back. I need to make another run. The situation on Kassallia is bad, very bad. We must get more of the serum to them.” She opened her mouth to go on, but Gram held up a hand, to stop her.

    “We’ve reviewed your flight logs and the datadump from your droid,” he said. “We’ve looked at the cam footage from your ship…and from the helmet.”

    Ambri exhaled. “Then you know..?” she said. “You’ve seen it. You know how bad it is.” Galdaz and Gram exchanged looks, but said nothing. “You know why I have to try another run!”

    Galdaz shook his head. “You are in no shape to go anywhere,” he said firmly. “And your ship is still being repaired.”

    “We’ve reviewed the message from General Ky-Anour,” added Gram. “They can be ready for another run, if you can get through. But the shape you’re in…”

    “She can’t do it,” said Galdaz firmly.

    “Sir, I can!”

    Gram grimaced. “I’m inclined to wait until we’ve heard from the Swan and from High Command,” he said. “We lost Dzin, we can’t afford to lose you, too.”

    Ambri took a deep breath. “I’ve been in bacta for nearly 24 hours,” she said. “They don’t use it down there at all, and I got through the blockade in worse shape than I am now. Plus, now the Kassallians are expecting me. I won’t have to walk it to the delivery point.” Gram looked at Galdaz, whose ears were flattened.

    “I do not recommend it, sir,” he said. “Flight Officer Merrin has done beyond what was expected.”

    She felt something clutching at her insides. “Sir, I have to!” She glanced at Galdaz. “Captain, please, if I could have a word with you…privately?”

    Galdaz pursed his lips. “You may have ten minutes,” he said, “and then more rest. 2-1B, with me.”
     
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  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wow, you can feel Ambri's insistent urgency and understand it completely! Galdez is concerned as heshould be and has valid points but someone needs to make the run with the rest of the supplies. [face_thinking] Looking forward to what Ambri has to say to the Captain. @};-
     
  18. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    She is very determined but maybe she should listen to the doctor
     
  19. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Poor Ambri--knowing work has to be done but feeling completely helpless due to people around her not letting her do anything! Gonna agree here--she should listen to the doc this time, if even for a bit!
     
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  20. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I don't think I have much to add to that ^^^

    But then, Corellian stubbornness will probably win.

    One thing I like about this story is how you reveal things gradually. We knew from the hospital in Kassallia that Ambri is in bad shape, but because we're seeing everything from her POV we don't realise how bad until she gets further clues herself. At the same time, we also realise now how isolated Kassallia is in the fact that they could only give her basic treatment, and how desperate they must have been for more serum to let her go.
     
  21. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Ha, yeah, CORELLIAN!

    Ha, fat chance! But maybe she can take leave on some nice beach somewhere. Too bad Scarif went boom.

    Yes, not quite as advanced as the rest of the Galaxy (I think they still have the Galactic equivalent of landlines).

    Oh, it is something she really doesn't want to tell him...but it needs to be said.

    So...Ambri's past revealed! [hl=black](She has a lot in common with Bodhi Rook).[/hl]

    * * *

    Ambri waited until he had gone, and looked at Gram, pleading. “Sir, I have to do this! It’s…it’s important.”

    Gram crossed his arms. “Explain,” he said.

    Ambri shivered. The shame…of what had happened…of what she had done. She’d hoped to forget about it, had hoped no one would ever know, but the faces haunted her.

    “I…I was in ITS, the Imperial Transport Service. We flew ferries, shuttles, cargo ships…nothing exciting or anything, we went where we were told, flew what we were given and didn’t question orders. One…one day…we were told we picking up a group of refugees, to be resettled on a different world. So, we landed, and they all got on board. They weren’t human; I’m not exactly sure what their people were. They looked similar to Bothans, but they were taller. Just people; families, elders, children. They weren’t refugees, though, they were prisoners. Guarded by Stormtroopers.”

    “We flew them to a different system, and unloaded. I thought it was strange…when we landed, there was no sign of any settlement. No shelters or any sort of facilities. Just a plain, with a deep open mining trough to the left, and a pit.” She hesitated, then. Gram waited. After a moment, she regrouped, and continued. “The landing platform was up on a plateau, and the Stormtroopers unloaded the ships and marched the people down to the plain. I went outside, to do a pre-flight check, before I went to pick up more, and…and…” She stopped, trying to catch her breath. Her heart was pounding.

    “You don’t have to tell me anything else,” said Gram.

    “B-but I do! The people, most of them were marched down to the plain, and taken to the left, into the mines, as slave labor, I think. But the others, the ones who were too old, or too sick…or too young…they were all marched down to the plain, into the pit, and…and I could see it all from up there, the Stormtroopers, they…they…” Ambri dropped her eyes to her lap, ashamed to look at him. “They had flamethrowers,” she whispered.

    Gram reached out and gently gripped her arm, above her wrist. She was gasping for breath. There was a rustle at the door, and Galdaz stormed in with fire in his eyes.

    “Time’s up,” he said. “Merrin needs rest.”

    “Not now, Doctor.”

    “Captain, I must insis—“

    “Not now, Doctor!” Galdaz opened his mouth to argue and Gram turned to glare at him. “Out!” Galdaz hesitated, and stomped out. Gram turned back to Ambri.

    “You were not responsible,” he said gently.

    “I was part of it!”

    “You didn’t give the orders. You didn’t make the decision.”

    “I flew the ship!”

    “Did you know what would happen to them?”

    “N-no! They said we were evacuating refugees! I believed them! ”

    “And what did you do then? Afterwards?”

    She swallowed, and dropped her head further towards her chest. “They…they ordered us, the pilots, to go back and bring more. And I…I refused. The officer in charge, I don’t remember his name, something with an M… he yelled at me. Said it was a direct order and I…and I…” Ambri bit her lip. “I triggered the self-destruct sequence. The ship blew up on the launching pad.” She looked at Gram. “I didn’t give the order, and I didn’t shoot those people, but I bear a share of their death. I was complicit! And now, this, Kassallia… The Empire is trying to kill all of those people and I have a chance to stop them! I…I couldn’t save those others. But I can save these. Please, Captain! Please let me go!”

    The Captain didn’t speak for a moment. Then he asked, “They didn’t shoot you? For destroying the ship?”

    She frowned. “No. They thought I had been suborned by the Rebellion. They questioned me…who were my contacts, who was my cell leader, how much was I paid…” She laughed without humor. “I didn’t know anything about the Rebellion, except what I’d seen on the news! I didn’t even know enough to make up a good lie. In the end, they sent me to prison, with a death sentence. As a test pilot. Test pilots have a life expectancy of about six months. Most of their testing facilities are prisons. Eventually, I was able to escape, with a few of the others.”

    Gram sighed. “I need to sleep on this. You sleep, too. You’re still in no condition to fly, and neither is your ship.”

    Galdaz stormed in. “Captain!”

    “Yes, yes, we’re done here.” He looked Ambri. “I’ll consider what you said.”

    She lay back on the pillow then, submitting to Galdaz’s proddings and answering his questions. Finally satisfied, he gave her a painkiller with a heavy sedative and she slept again, deeply, without dreaming.
     
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  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ah, I understand Ambri's sense of necessity, at least a huge chunk of it. [face_thinking] Once she did know what was going on, she was proactive and refused to continue the carnage, which says a lot, and now she wants to continue to save lives.
     
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  23. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    I love her backstory! (I like backstories in general and this is a good one). She feels guilty and knows she was part of something terrible in her past, but she wants to make up for it and save lives and not have it be repeated for Kassallia--because she knows something can be done and she needs to do her thing right now, man! You have really captured well the emotion in her words and we really understand her all the better.
     
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  24. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    good emotional backstory. Now her drive to help is to save lives
     
  25. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh gosh, catch-up time once again—sorry about that! [face_blush]

    I am so glad and so relieved that Ambri got back safely to the Patchwork Queen—she really played a dangerous game with those TIEs, especially with her X-wing in the condition that it was and with herself in the condition she was. (But the odds are never to be asked for, of course! ;) ) But wow, now we get to see juts how much of a physical toll her first run took on her, and like earlybird-obi-wan I don't think it would be a bad idea for her to listen to the doctor; with her hands so damaged, precision work like flying a starfighter is going to be all the more difficult and dangerous. (That said, I too would have been driven spare by that med droid she woke up to! :p )

    Ambri's backstory is very compelling (and is indeed very similar to [hl=black]Bodhi's, though where he was ferrying artifacts away from his homeworld she was ferrying people being passed off as refugees[/hl]), and after reading it I much better understand Ambri's drive to complete this mission at all costs. Good on Capt. Gram for being such an understanding and compassionate listener, too. He still understandably is going to have to think it over and weigh it against the advice of his colleagues, and that's only fair, but I appreciate that he took the time to hear Ambri's entire story. This said, though, I hope that he won't take too long to come to a decision, given the urgency of the situation on Kassallia.

    Looking forward to more whenever it's ready, and I'll try to be less tardy about commenting next time. Keep up the fab work! @};-