Title:Recovering Home Timeframe: Two years post Revenge of the Sith Characters: OCs Genre: Drama Summary: After an Imperial attack on a Rebel frigate, a survivor thinks about all that he's lost. A writing exercise. Coincidentally aligns with March's OC challenge. *** I've made my choices, and now I have to live with the consequences, Galen Wentlas thought as he walked into the makeshift medical bay, the cacophony of the Resurgence's wounded filling his ears. He walked down the finely carpeted floor of what he guessed was a hastily converted ballroom of Aldera Palace, passing crew members with severe burns and cuts from shrapnel. He had left the Empire because he felt that it was wrong, and joined with the very same people that now lay wounded because of them. "Do you need a med droid?" one of the frigate's nurses said, looking at him. "I don't," Galen said. He realized that he probably looked like he may have needed medical attention. His dark green fatigues were tattered and torn from fighting inside of the dying ship, stained with oil and hydraulic fluid from climbing empty turbolift shafts. Blaster burns from enemy shots that were lucky enough to hit him but were unable to fully penetrate the armored breastplate littered the jacket. Weeks worth of beard growth dyed black was framed by the ash of a dying frigate. "I'm looking for Lt. Anya Reiher." "Is she wounded?" the nurse said. "No," Galen said. It wasn't due to lack of trying on the Imperials part, though. She had been captured with several other crewmembers by the boarding party, looking for prisoners to interrogate. When he and the rest of the strike team came across the group and attempted a rescue, the stormtrooper squad opened up on the prisoners. "Someone back in the hangar said she headed in this direction." "Well, there's plenty of volunteers, from the ship and the prince's staff. Just keep looking. She's here somewhere, then." Galen nodded and continued walking down the impromptu and irregular hallway, the already soft noises of his black boots on the thin carpet drowned out by the cries of the wounded and dying. He scanned their faces, the wounded of so many species and sexes, and the volunteers beside them, looking for Anya and others. He paused at a male Rodian laying on a small table with two long jagged slashes on his chest. He studied the Rodian's face and the placement of the ridge of horns on his forehead. "Can I help you?" the Caamasi attending the Rodian said. "I was seeing if he was a friend of mine," Galen said. The Caamasi nodded his golden fur-covered head, letting his long fur-less snout dangle slightly. He applied a clean towel to the Rodian's chest and held it there, blood already beginning to seep through. "There aren't many Rodians here, I'm afraid," the Caamasi said. "There were other places that the wounded were taken," he said. "I wouldn't worry until everyone still alive is accounted for." "I guess so," Galen said. "You wouldn't happen to know if there's a Lt. Anya Reiher here, too?" "Another wounded friend?" the Caamasi said, his dark pink nose curling downward in confusion. "No," Galen said. "We came in on the same ship from the Resurgence. I had to meet with the Senator with the rest of my team, and a member of the hangar crew said she came this way." He looked further down the room. "I mean, she seemed fine back on the ship." The Caamasi nodded. "We have several volunteers and medical droids helping your frigate's surviving medical staff until we're able to get some trusted doctors and more droids. Most of them are down there," he said. He pointed a finger down the path, his golden-furred hand stained green with the Rodian's blood. He removed the towel and reached for another one. "Thank you," Galen said and turned away to walk towards where the Caamasi had pointed. He paused, brow furrowing in doubt. He could have sworn that the Rodian's injuries were much more severe than they were when the Caamasi had changed his impromptu bandages. He found Anya minutes later, a large pile of boxes of bandages in her arms. Her light brown skin shone with perspiration in the bright lights of the room, muddled slightly with dark stains of dirt and ash. Her black hair, normally hanging just past her shoulders was now pulled away from her face in a tight ponytail. The exhaustion in her face melted into a weary smile upon seeing him. "Need help, Anya?" he said. He grabbed half of the boxes upon her slight nod. "They're not that heavy," Anya said, shifting the weight of the still large pile in her arms. "Just awkward." "They still are," Galen said. He made a quick adjustment of his arms as one box slid nearly completely out of his grasp. "Where are we headed with these?" "That 2-1B droid over there needs them," Anya said. She slowly turned towards the northeast corner of the room, and pointed there with her elbow. They walked through the narrow corridors between tables filled with crying wounded. "You hear anything about your bunkmates?" Galen asked. Anya frowned. "No," she said. Her own thoughts matched his own towards his own bunkmates. "That doesn't mean anything, you know," he said. "They may have been uninjured and their pod was picked up by another ship. The one we were on is pretty fast." "A lot of the other ships made it here," she said. "Yeah..." Galen said. "Well, not all ships landed here. They may be on the other side of the planet, or at some rendezvous point just as worried about us as we are them." "Maybe," she said. "We'll have to check when you can." She gave a long and desperate sigh. "There's just so much to do! I still have to get a room tonight, or find passage to my parents. I need to get new clothes." "I took care of the first one," Galen said. "I got us one together. I didn't mean to presume. I'll change it for you if you want me to." "No," Anya said, moving closer towards him, their arms touching. "That's good." Painfully soon, the two approached the droid doctor. The three yellow bulbs in each of its eye sockets glowed towards them out of a blue skull-shaped head. It gestured to a nearby serving tray with a skeletal arm of bare metal. "Place the boxes there on the tray," it said. Anya's shoulder's sagged under some invisible weight after she had placed the boxes of bandages up, and her lips had the slightest hint of a tremble. Already finished unloading his own armful, Galen began to raise an arm to comfort her. "I'm fine," she said, her shoulders immediately perking back up and lips tightening into a thin line of determination. Galen drew his hand back and slowly nodded at her. She looked back at him, and her face softened only slightly. "I'm sor--" "This whole thing's stressful," Galen said. "I know." She nodded. "Why don't you go ahead and make sure the room has everything we need. Food, clothing, anything else you can think of. I still have a lot more things to do here before I can leave." "Just... Just don't overdo it," he said, and gave her the location of their room. "If you see anyone we know, let them know that I'm all right." He walked back to the main door, looking once again at the wounded. A human man barely into his twenties looked back at him, his non-bandaged eye staring coldly at him. Five steps ahead, two Bothans with wounded legs and arms ceased their talking and looked at him with angry eyes. They think I had something to do with it all, he thought. On the surface it did make sense. Like the admiral that had led the surprise attack on the small fleet, he too had defected from the Empire, and around the same time as well. It was natural for them to be suspicious. Yet their stares cut deep. He was still lost in these thoughts when he arrived at their quarters. The door was currently unlocked and opened with a soft hiss. The walls inside were a light blue with a silver trim in the middle. Dark azure chairs and a matching couch were arranged in a semi-circle on the carpet, facing both the wall with the main entrance and the large window to the right. Between each chair and couch were stands made of a dark wood. To the left was the door leading to the refresher. "I certainly need a shower," he said, scratching at the metabolically dyed black stubble on his face. "And a shave. And... Later," he said. He walked to the chair facing the window to the right, luxuriating in the soft cushions. He looked to out of the window, through the still large opening provided by the silver tapestries. The late afternoon sun reflected off of a large lake flanked by mountains green with trees. The shimmering water moved in subtle waves influenced by the wind. He consulted the piece of flimsiplast that the Senator's aide have given him, a small piece of flexible wood pulp that had a comlink frequency written on it in black ink. "Let us know if you need anything," the aide had said. Galen input the number into his comlink and was greeted with the voice of the aide. A few pairs of uniforms for himself and Anya were an easy task for them, as was a new datapad. He pulled the old datapad out of a pocket in his suit and laid it down on the table. The screen in the middle was cracked in multiple places and the top left corner had slipped out of its casing. The bottom right of the device was bent towards him. It was an older model, a gift from his mother upon graduating from the Republic Judicial Fleet Academy nearly eight years previously, but it was still considered a decent model for the present. He pulled the data card out of the pad and inspected it. It had somehow escaped the destruction of its holder in a collapsing Coruscanti skyscraper. It wasn't Coruscant anymore, though, he thought. In just the brief two years from the death of the Republic and the birth of the Empire it had become Imperial Center. The home planet that Galen had loved so much had become an alien world made all that stranger by the vestiges of what remained. With that heartbreak still on his mind, he had returned from the mission to find that the Resurgence was under attack by an Imperial fleet. Memories flashed into his mind at the thought of the frigate: finding the ship upon defecting and placed completely out his element when he was assigned in a hangar control bay instead of behind the piloting controls, meeting Anya in that very same control room when she came to repair the malfunction console and finding her so very incredibly beautiful, coming to know more of her than her appearance in the weeks and months that followed and coming to love her, making love to her for the first time in those cramped bunks that were barely wide enough for just one person, his bunkmates giving him a good natured teasing about being locked out of their own room, Belok the Rodian always laughing about his own corny jokes. Galen's eyes stung with unshed tears. He blinked, allowing them to fall down and the others building up to follow them. He sat and wept for long minutes until the door opened with an unexpected hiss. He quickly wiped his eyes, not wanting some random aide or another member of the strike team to see him so vulnerable, no matter how justified his feelings were. Anya stood in front of the door. Her arms hung limp at her sides, trembling as small sobs wracked her body. He was there with her as fast as he could be, traveling the meters between the door and the chair in what seemed like a mere second. Through his body armor, he could feel the tightness of her own embrace even as he began to hold her. "Alexis," she said. "She..." Any other words that she may have wanted to say were drowned out by sobs. Galen held her close, a sinking feeling deep inside of his gut that Alexis wouldn't be the only friend that they had lost that day, just the first to be confirmed. "It's..." His own words failed him. "I'm here," he was finally able to say. "I'm here."