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Saga Specter Two - A Hera Syndulla Triptych

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Lane_Winree, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. Lane_Winree

    Lane_Winree Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 30, 2006
    Title: Specter Two

    Summary: Hera survives the events of Rebels, but the the bulk of her crew isn't nearly as fortunate. A triptych following Hera Syndulla through the major battles of the Rebel Alliance.

    Notes: Parts two and three that cover the Battle of Hoth and Battle of Endor are still to be written. Stay tuned.This story aims to blend Rebels, the OT, and some of my favorite elements of the Expanded Universe.


    1 - The Battle of Yavin

    Hera Syndulla only allowed herself to mourn when things got quiet. Fortunately, it hadn't been quiet in some time.

    The weeks--or was it months?-- since Lothal had turned into nothing but a frenetic blur. One day she was in the ancient temple that had been repurposed as the Alliance stronghold. The next she was dodging TIE fighters while trying to break free with proton torpedoes lifted from every loosely guarded Imperial storehouse they could find. The Alliance was hot to get their hands on as many warheads as possible. She wasn't sure why everyone being so hush-hush about it, but that wasn't her concern.

    Well, she corrected herself, it was her concern since she was putting what was left of her crew's continued existence on the line every time they filled the cargo hold with stolen munitions. Hera had already lost half her crew and she wasn't about to risk the rest of them without a solid explanation of why she should continue taking these jobs.

    Jobs that were well below their usual market rate, she reminded herself.

    "I'm going to need an entire crate of Bacta wraps," Zeb grumbled as they walked down the Ghost's debarkation ramp.

    Hera glanced over her shoulder. The Lasat had looked worse, but not by much. A few blaster wounds weren't enough to keep Zeb down, but the accumulation was starting to become a problem."Get yourself to the medbay. You can say hi to that Klivian kid that's always there with you."

    "Bright ray of sunshine that one is," Zeb muttered. Hera watched as he limped his way out of the hangar.

    She heaved a sigh as she glanced around the hangar, searching for a deck officer to get those proton torpedoes out of the Ghost's cargo hold. Perhaps she'd also get someone to help her fix up the hull plating. Her poor freighter had seen better days. Much like Zeb, she said to herself. She'd lost count of the number of hull panels that needed to be patched up--or outright replaced--thanks to TIE fighter laser cannons having their way with her ship.

    Then therewas the hyperspace motivator that was on the verge of fracturing into a thousand tiny pieces. But she wasn't exactly holding out hope that she could get a spare one of those. Hera would take her victories where she could get them. A few more of those and maybe they'd finally be able to get off this backwater planet.

    Out of the corner of her eye, Hera spotted a dark-haired man in an officer's uniform standing next to a parked X-wing that looked every bit as battered as the Ghost. "Hey!" she barked. "Little help here?"

    The man turned sharply on his heels, a look of surprise on his face. Then confusion.

    "...Hera?" he said.

    It took a few moments to go through the multitude of faces she had seen over the years, but she'd never forget his.

    "Wedge Antilles?" Hera briefly rubbed her eyes. He wasn't supposed to be here. He was just some kid doing odd jobs for old Booster Terrik, not some grunt for the Alliance. That had only been, what? Four years ago? Which would make him...

    I feel so old, Hera said to herself

    "I thought that was your freighter," Wedge said, approaching Hera and embracing her in that way only old friends could. "What are you doing here?"

    Hera gladly returned the hug, happy to see a familiar face. "Your superiors seem to want proton torpedoes in alarmingly high quantities. Any idea what's going on around here? You've got enough ordinance to take down a handful of Star Destroyers."

    "Not a clue," Wedge responded, shaking his head. "We've done hit and runs before, but going after capital ships seems a bit bold. But whatever it is, if Command tells me to go blow it up, I'll blow it up."

    Hera felt a knot growing in her stomach. The orphan appeared to have found his cause, all right. One that was probably going to get him killed someday, and Hera couldn't help but feel she had sent him down that path. It hadn't been that long ago she had tried to recruit him away from Old Man Terrik to join her cause. Wedge had declined. While his blood family had been murdered by the Empire and their hired guns, he couldn't possibly leave Booster and his all-but-adoptive family.

    She couldn't blame him. Hera just wondered what changed and pushed him into joining the Alliance.

    "So where are the other Specters?" Wedge asked. "Still on board the…?"

    No doubt the look on Hera's face caused him to trail off. It was probably the same look she had seen on his face all those years ago. Hera had seen it from enough people to know there really was no way to hide that you had so recently lost someone deeply important. You might be able to put on a brave face, but the eyes always gave it away. She had seen it on Wedge the first time they met. On Sabine and Ezra. Hell, even Zeb.

    "I'm sorry," he said, a familiar glint of sadness appearing in his own eyes.

    Hera nodded, letting the topic die in the air. They had both been here before. They both knew there wasn't any more that needed to be said.

    "Why don't you meet up with me after I get off duty at 1800?" Wedge asked. "I've got some of that Corellian brandy stashed you and Booster liked. We can talk. Or not talk, depending on how we're feeling."

    Hera cocked a brow. "You're old enough to drink, kid?"

    "Around here, if you're old enough to fly one of these--" He reached up and patted the underside of the X-wing they were standing near. "--You're old enough to drink away the trauma that comes with it. But yes, I am."

    She smiled for what felt like the first time in months. "They let you fly? This Alliance of yours must be in worse shape than I thought."

    "Hey now," Wedge shot back, "anything I do wrong I can just blame on the crazy Twi'lek who taught me how to fly a freighter like it was a Z-95 headhunter."

    "Careful, kid. Just for that I'm going to definitely take you up on your offer to consume that brandy."

    Rolling his eyes, Wedge turned and offered wave as he walked off to return to his duties. Hera shook her head and turned her attention back to finding someone to offload those proton torpedoes. She had planned on heading off as soon as the cargo bay was emptied to work on an odd-job for some information broker she had gotten in contact with a few weeks ago, but Wedge's invitation convinced her that one more night couldn't hurt. A drink (or several) with a familiar face was just what she needed. Besides, she was tired. Her crew was tired. It wouldn't hurt to get a solid night's sleep on the ground of Yavin forest moon.

    She finally caught sight of a deck officer, but before Hera could catch his attention, he broke into a jog towards an empty landing pad where an old Corellian YT-1300 freighter was setting down.

    "What a piece of junk," Hera muttered.


    The minute that old YT-1300 landed, the entire Alliance base seemed to explode into action. Everyone was on high alert and no one would tell her why. They were plenty fast about getting those proton torpedoes off her ship and immediately loaded into the patchwork starfighters in the hanger, but no one could be bothered to actually pay her for nearly getting killed pulling those warheads out of that munitions dump on Iattu IV. It wasn't until she threatened to have Zeb pull someone's arms out of their sockets did they finally come up with the credits.

    Half the credits, anyways.

    Her Alliance contact claimed they were suddenly short on credit assets. Something about an unexpected reward they had to pay out, but they were going to make good… eventually. She just needed to stick around for the rest of the payment. As Hera had made her way back to the Ghost, she spotted some scruffy-looking scoundrel loading an entire cart worth of credchits into that YT-1300. She wasn't sure what cargo he had been hauling, but it must have been hot.

    Oh well. She was already planning on spending the night anyway. Maybe she'd try and see if Wedge could twist someone's arm to getting them their payment a little faster. Or maybe she'd just forget about everything and let his stash of Corellian brandy take her away for a while.

    That certainly sounded like a solid plan. Then the alarms started sounding and pilots started scrambling for starfighters. That was her cue to get some distance between herself and the Alliance base. Not too much, just enough to stay out of whatever potential crossfire might be coming. Gathering Zeb, she boarded the Ghost and took off, not bothering to wait for clearance from the base's ship traffic control. She would just park in Yavin IV's orbit until she had a better read of what was going on.

    From there, she killed the sublight engines and listened to the subspace radio in the darkened cockpit alongside Zeb. The Alliance's encryption was good, but a little work had gotten them access to the frequencies being used by the starfighter pilots who had left en masse from the base. Hera had seen squadrons and flights coming and going over the last few weeks, but nothing like this. It seemed like every able-bodied pilot was pressed into service. She could have even sworn she saw a few Alliance officers drag some poor kid off that YT-1300 and shove him into an X-wing.

    Ten minutes in and it sounded like a massacre.

    Hera strained to make out what was going on from the jumbled and increasingly panicked sounding voices. Every now and then she could pick out Wedge's voice. Her stomach twisted itself into knots. Why was he out here? Why didn't he stay with Booster? Whatever this Death Star was, it was clear the Empire's new toy was not to be reckoned with. Hera had heard the rumblings from within the Alliance base and from her various contacts throughout the fringe, and it wasn't pretty.The thought of Wedge was going up against it, all because she had put thoughts of rebellion in his head, made her ill.

    She'd already gotten enough people killed.

    "We need to bug out now!" Zeb shouted. "In ten minutes we're going to be swarmed!"

    "Not yet!" Hera fired back. "They still owe us half the credits for that job. We leave now and we may never find them again."

    "Do you really think they're going to stop…" Zeb trailed off momentarily, his eyes opening wide. "...That."

    Hera looked forward and immediately felt her heart stop. There, cresting around the gas giant that was Yavin, was a terror unlike anything she had ever seen. At first she thought--or perhaps wished--that it was one of the planet's moons, but it was moving entirely too quickly. As the object grew larger in the viewscreen, it became abundantly clear what they were facing.

    "So that's what took out Alderaan," Hera whispered.

    "Hyperspace, Hera!" Zeb implored. "Now!"

    "Yeah," Hera said, fumbling for switches and buttons on the control panel to bring the sublight engines online. "Yeah."

    Taking a hold of the control yoke, Hera steered the Ghost towards an exit vector from Yavin IV's orbit and pushed the throttle to full-open. Nervously, she began to input calculations into the navicomputer to plot their jump to hyperspace. Hera had seen the holovids making their way around the holonet showing Alderaan to be little more than a debris field. If the Death Star was about to do that to Yavin IV, she wanted to put as much distance between herself and the Alliance as possible.

    "I'm hit!" Wedge's voice suddenly said through the subspace radio. "I can't stay with you!"

    "Get clear, Wedge, you can't do anymore good back there!" another pilot responded.

    Hera could hear the guilt and regret as Wedge replied with a simple and choked, "Sorry."

    Her hand hovered over the hyperdrive lever. She debated hailing Wedge on the subspace radio. There was no way this was going to end well for the Alliance, so he might as well bug out with her. It would only take a few moments to transmit the coordinates. A few moments they didn't have, Hera told herself as the Death Star grew larger and larger. Swallowing and gritting her teeth, Hera shut off the radio link and grabbed a hold of the lever, pushing it forward.

    The Ghost lurched forward, and then stopped.

    "Why the hell aren't we jumping to hyperspace?" Zeb demanded.

    Hera slammed her fists against the control yoke. "The damn motivator is dead!"

    "Fine! Put the sublights to full and get us some distance!"

    Swearing, Hera pushed every bit of available power the Ghost had to the sublight engines.There was going to be no need for laser battery reserves of shield reserves. The only thing that was going to save them now was getting as far away from the forest moon as possible.

    As she turned her head to gauge how far away the massive Imperial station was, Hera saw an enormous fireball filling the deep black of space. What had once been the Death Star was instantly reduced to an explosion. Then nothing more than charred shrapnel in the distance.

    "My stars," Zeb said quietly from the co-pilot's seat. "They did it."

    Hera felt her jaw drop. She had seen plenty of small victories against the Empire in her time. Small, seemingly inconsequential victories. But this? This was something else entirely.

    This was a crippling blow.


    Hera had managed to watch the medal ceremony from the back of the great hall. It all seemed so extravagant, especially knowing that the Empire wouldn't be far behind. On the one hand, a celebration was completely premature with the Empire still in total control. On the other, there was no denying this was the biggest blow ever dealt to Palpatine. The Death Star was gone and Tarkin had perished with it, all thanks to the blonde-haired kid from Tatooine whom Princess Leia was handing a medal to. That alone would be cause for celebration for many Outer Rim worlds.

    Think of the recruitment opportunities.

    A few years ago, Hera would have been overjoyed by a day like today. The losses, setbacks, and tragedies since then had dulled how much happiness she could take out of these sorts of victories. A part of her recognized today was a day to rejoice, but a larger part of her was waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. She was right to trust her gut. About ten hours later, the first Star Destroyer dropped out of hyperspace.

    Hera scrambled back into the Ghost, hoping beyond hope that the Alliance technicians had managed to get the hyperdrive motivator repaired. As she barrelled up the ramp she caught sight of Sabine, sitting by the dejarik table in the galley.

    "Top turret, now!" Hera barked.

    Sabine silently nodded and complied. A few years ago, she probably would have flashed a grin and made some wry remark at the prospect of taking out some Imperial TIE fighters. Sadly, the Sabine that had been so full of life had been gone for some time. Ever since Ezra went missing…

    Hera shook her head and continued her sprint towards the cockpit. She didn't bother wasting time strapping herself into the seat. Moving through a very quick and very abbreviated pre-flight checklist, Hera brought the Ghost off the ground and bolted towards open space. About the time the Star Destroyer came into view, Hera was wishing she had randomly selected any other escape vector.

    "Incoming!" Hera shouted into the ship's comm system.

    Green TIE fighter laser cannon fire filled the forward viewscreen. Hera put the Ghost into a quick roll to just evade the bulk of the blast, but a few stray bolts singed the freighter's shields. They'd be able to take a few more of those hits, but Hera would prefer to not test out the shield generator repairs today.

    "Chopper!" Hera called over her shoulder. "Get in here!"

    Through the open cockpit door behind her entered a battered C-1 astromech that responded with a series of indignant whirring and blurts.

    "I need hyperspace coordinates!" Hera shouted as she threw the flight yoke forward, ducking under another volley of TIE fighter fire. An illumination out of the corner of her eye told her that Sabine had managed to take care of that particular threat.

    Chopper blurted for clarification.

    "I don't care where!" Hera snapped. "Anything quick. We just need to get out of here and catch our breath!"

    Pulling out of the relative dive, Hera took stock of her scanner readouts. Red blips were approaching and approaching fast. And a lot of them. She had been in worse jams, but not many. Just as she was about to point the Ghost in the direction of some open space, a trio of TIE fighters dropped into her field of view. Cursing, she squeezed the trigger twice, firing blindly into the formation with the forward guns. One laser blast caught the hexagonal solar array of the closest TIE fighter, causing it to spin out of control before exploding on Hera's starboard side.

    "We've got two on our six and I can't hit them!" Sabine shouted through the ship's comm. "Vector to point oh-six-nine!"

    Without hesitating, Hera quickly adjusted the flightpath, trying to help line a shot up for Sabine. Just as the pair of TIE fighters were coming into her field of view, eight red laser blasts blazed in front of her and obliterated the targets. A pair of X-wings cut across her flightpath shortly after.

    "Good shooting, Rogue Two!" a familiar voice said. Hera recognized it as the blonde kid from that YT-1300. The one who had apparently managed to blow up the Death Star.

    "Thanks, Lead," Wedge Antilles' voice responded. "Breaking off formation, I'm going to clear a path for this freighter."

    "Acknowledged, Two. Stay safe and make the jump as soon as you can."

    "Copy, Lead," Wedge responded. "See you at the rendezvous."

    Hera breathed a sigh of relief as Wedge's X-wing dropped into a coverage formation behind the Ghost. "Rogue Two, it's good to see you."

    "Likewise, Captain," Wedge responded. "Rest of Rogue flight has cleared out an escape lane. Protocol right now is bug out to a coordinate of your choosing before meeting at the rendezvous."

    Hera frowned. "Kid, even if I knew what the coordinates of that rendezvous were, I don't know if it would be in the interests of my continued existence to join you there."

    "It probably isn't," Wedge replied earnestly. "But we need people like you, Captain. I think you made the same pitch to me once. I left some instructions with old Chopper on how to find us, so I hope this isn't the last I see of you, Specter Two."

    Swallowing the lump that had just formed in her throat, Hera placed her hand on the hyperdrive lever. A glance at her console indicated that Chopper had worked out some jump coordinates.

    "You know I don't do anything without my crew voting on it, Rogue Two," Hera replied somberly. "Stay safe, kid."

    "You as well, Captain."

    With that, Hera pushed the lever forward. The stars in front of her turned into streaks, and the streaks gave way to the molten black and blue of hyperspace. Heaving a sigh, Hera undid her restraints and left the bridge. She needed to talk to her crew.


    The vote wasn't exactly clear. Sabine had abstained, as she had from pretty much every vote Hera had put forward of late. Zeb was in favor of meeting the Alliance at the coordinates Wedge had somehow managed to slip Chopper while she wasn't looking. According to him, the Alliance still owed them nearly twenty-thousand credits for those warheads. That left Hera as the deciding vote.

    In the end, she'd agreed with Zeb. They'd meet the Alliance, collect the rest of their reward, and see what other jobs they might have lined up. With the vote taken, Hera told Sabine and Zeb to go get some sleep. Meanwhile she made her way back to the cockpit, as she often did when she needed some time to herself.

    Hera keyed a button on the console to lock the door behind her. It had been six months since they had left Lothal for good. Six months of taking any job they could find just so they didn't have to think about what had happened there. Six months since any of them had been able to sleep without nightmares.

    Six months since Vader had murdered Kanan.

    She glanced over at the co-pilot's seat. Six months ago there would have been someone there to keep her company on these days-long hyperspace jumps. Someone who would have pulled her into an embrace and kissed her, just to lift the weight of the Galaxy off her shoulders for a few moments. But now he was gone. Letting out an unsteady breath, she gritted her teeth and buried her face in her hand as the tears came.

    Hera Syndulla only allowed herself to mourn when things got quiet. For the first time in six months, it was horribly, painfully quiet.
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    A very gripping story. Like your OC's
  3. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Chosen One star 6

    Nov 7, 2010
    Great start. Looking forward to Part 2!
  4. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 25, 2005
    Oooh, nice!! I was looking for fic just like this. The ending is just perfect, and so, so sad. I loved seeing Wedge. And you wrote Hera perfectly! And this:


    Excellent beginning!!
    Gemma and Kahara like this.
  5. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Nicely written, very dynamic characters. I don't know much about the Rebels series but I like how you write Hera.
    Kahara likes this.
  6. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    You're a million light-years ahead of me - I only just finished reading A New Dawn and I'm not started on Rebels yet - but this story sounds just about right. Bravo!
    Gemma and Kahara like this.
  7. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005
    Excellent and believable merging of Rebels and A New Hope, and very powerful last line. Looking forward to the next two parts!
    Gemma and Kahara like this.
  8. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Your nom for best author made me re-read this brilliant little fic, and it reminded me that reading more of your stuff must go on my list of things to do. Also, while I'm at it, I'll politely insist that your readers are asking for instalments two and three of this triptych :)
    Gemma, Kahara and jcgoble3 like this.
  9. Jags_Scoundrel

    Jags_Scoundrel Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 12, 2003
    How did I miss this before? [face_dunno] Wow. You've taken the characters from Rebels and woven them into the OT so skillfully. All of your characters are written perfectly. And the ending made me tear up just a little. :_| Bravo! =D= Looking forward to parts two and three! :D
    Gemma and Kahara like this.
  10. Kahara

    Kahara Chosen One star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Would really like to see the other two in this series. It's an interesting take on the future of the Ghost crew, with them having lost some of the crew and most of their idealism. (Poor Hera. :() And now they're getting pulled back in... I'm really curious where this involvement with the Alliance will lead.
    jcgoble3 likes this.
  11. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    I liked how you have blended Hera in with Wedge --- that's an interesting friendship --- would like to see more. Tag me in Please.
    Kahara likes this.
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Hi, Lane! How did I misss this? Recently discovered Rebels and like Hera (and Kanan) a lot. Nice interweaving of the OT with Rebels. =D= Very seamless. :cool:

    You can really get the sense of loss and bitter grief dulling the edge of what should be a strong sense of accomplishment and victory. [face_thinking]
    Kahara likes this.