Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:8:23) in in the Ralltiir system: Ralltiir (Refugee village) and Umbra.
Trooper Kaiya Crion, Commander Dillon Hobbes, Major Elayne Hobbes, and Commander Thaddeus Updike.

Commander Thaddeus Updike was seated in the rear passenger compartment of the Delta-class Stormtrooper transport Umbra as they proceeded towards the planet Ralltiir. Early in the war Ralltiir had been one of the few words foolish enough to dare oppose the Emperor and it had been punished mightily by the Emperor and the Imperial starfleet. Having fallen victim to a Base-Delta-Zero, one of the harshest punishments handed down by the Emperor short of destruction by a superweapon, almost nothing was left of its once great city. It was safe to assume that anyone who survived that as not a rebel before the attack became one after the Imperial attack. While it was not a 'challenge' like engaging the main Rebel cell operating in the Ringali Shell, it nevertheless made an effective proving ground for raw recruits. He looked towards Kaiya before moving his head over the raw troopers that were seated in the passenger compartment. He wondered how many of them would survive this trial by fire. Those that survived would gain seasoning for the real fight and those that perished would not let the team down when they were actually needed. It was a cruel calculation on his part, but an effective one.

Trooper Kaiya Crion had some objections to getting anywhere close to Ralltiir. There was something 'wrong' with that planet. She had spent time in Cambriele some time ago...long before the planet suffered its harsh punishment. She couldn't quite explain to Thaddy why the planets felt 'wrong'. It was like natural instinct was telling her to stay away. She did her best not to show her concerns around the raw recruits, having opted to leave her helmet on to shield her thoughtful expression from the others. There was no way of knowing what would be down on the surface other than trial and error. Her tail twitched, head rising towards her Commander. "I haven't been here in forever," she whispered to him. Her ears shot back suddenly. "Commander Updike, nyahhh! We're not alone!"

The Corsair Squadron of X-wings had been testing their own new recruits. Major Elayne Hobbes wanted to ensure that everyone was ready for the next attack. The small group was familiarizing themselves with the Shell when something unexpectedly wonderful happened: A Delta-class Stormtrooper transport appeared. Normally she would have left it alone and ordered the newbies to escape immediately. Instead, Elayne had an itchy trigger finger. Dillon had been a bad influence on their honeymoon when he, successfully, shot down the Grand Moff's craft. Which, by the way, she was still monitoring Imperial radio channels to find out if he was dead or alive. "Damn bastards can't leave Ralltiir alone. Let's shoot 'em down and go home." She reported to her squadron, who certainly had the upper hand in terms of numbers. Her hands adjusted on her controls. She looked down at her targeting system. She was already close to having them locked in her crosshairs. Elayne was going to take pride in making *every* Imperial suffer for what had happened to her.

Thaddeus watched as the sensors began to detect large amounts of enemy starfighters closer on their location, which caused him to become angry rather than afraid. "Damn the Navy. Damn them all," he said to Thaiya, as he loomed over the pilot's shoulder. "Take evasive," he ordered, stating the obvious, before moving into his seat and tightening his safety harness. "Strap yourself in, Kaiya," he ordered her, as he knew what an unmaneuverable tub these Stormtrooper transports were. He watched the X-wings close on their location, while the pilot attempted evasive maneuvers that began throwing the passengers around as the ship accelerated and performed a steep climb. "Never trust the Navy," he muttered underneath his breath, always looking for someone to blame.

Commander Dillon Hobbes sat in the cockpit of his RZ-1 A-wing starfighter, monitoring his targeting scanners. While the X-wings went after the transport, the role of his squadron was to cover the X-wings against the inevitable Imperial response. "Here they come. Pick up your targeting scanners," he ordered the pilots of Blackguard Squadron as they moved to intercept the closing TIE Fighters that were heading in to rescue the transport. "How's about you blast that thing before their friends show up? They're more popular than us," he warned Elayne, as he could already count three squadrons of TIE fighters closing rapidly on their location.

"Everything has got to be just like high school, doesn't it? I can never be the popular girl." Elayne chuckled. She spotted the incoming TIEs. Thankfully, she had the total support of Dillon's squadron, which meant that she had her attention settled on the transport. She maneuvered her X-wing in her regular, insane ways. Several of the other X-wings had already begun shooting at the transport to weaken its shields. "Just a little closer... Closer... Closer..." Her scanners lit up to indicated that she had the shot. Her first shots greatly damaged several of the transport's canons. The next time, she hit the side of the transport and caused a fire to spark. A TIE fighter screamed as it flew over her head. "That transport is going down. One more shot for good measures?"

"Gahh!" Kaiya followed her boyfriend's instructions by rapidly strapping herself in. She pulled on her chest harness to make sure it was tight. Many of the newbies were less prepared than she, causing the inside of the transport to feel more like a barrel of monkeys than elite class warriors. She could tell the transport was taking on damage at this point. It lurched this way and that. A fire soon erupted, causing a whole new wave of concept. "Calm down and sit down!" The Cathar called out, forcing a commando beside her into his seat. "Strap in. We're going to have to make an emergency landing... Nyuuu..." She picked out all of the uncomfortable noises inside of the accommodation area. "Oooh." She was able to isolate a noise: the entry hatch near the cockpit was moaning. She thought it must have been hit. It was close to ripping off of its hinges and sending anyone who didn't buckle up out into space. "Thaddy, the hatch is going to blow. We gotta get down to the surface!"

Before the transport could respond the hatch did blow, sucking the row of troopers that were seated across from Thaddeus and Kaiya out into the void of space. Fortunately, the Storm commando armor the remaining troopers wore kept them from succumbing to the inhospitable conditions of space. The transport was now out of control headed straight for the planet. It kept spinning around until the gravity of Ralltiir took hold of the transport, bringing it down towards the surface rapidly. The heat built up around the exterior of the craft, but as the hatch had blown several of the troopers inside the ship were cooked alive inside of their armor ... a horrible way to die. Eventually, the Umbra crashed into the surface of Ralltiir and erupted in a massive explosion leading the Imperial authorities convinced that all hands aboard were lost. Commander Updike, however, had survived, but had become badly bruised as he had been tossed around the craft before being thrown free and clear of the burning wreck. As the TIEs descending behind the shuttle they detected no life left aboard, writing the ship off as lost.

"Good shot, Elayne!" Dillon shouted over the comm, before pulling back on the trigger and unleashing a deadly torrent of laser blasts at an onrushing TIE fighter. It exploded brilliantly just as his A-wing flew through the debris. "Blackguards, form up and prepare to return to the nebula," he ordered his wingmen, as he pulled up behind and above Elayne's X-wing to cover them all the way back into the nebula. There were TIEs all around them now and he watched as one of his squadron members erupted in flames. "Close formation," he ordered, behind a grimace, as he did not want to lose anyone else.

"Wooohooo! I got 'em!" She cheered happily. The approaching TIEs reminded her of the fact that she didn't want to lose her new recruits. Those at the Station would be glad that the Squadrons had successfully shot down a transport, along with several TIEs. "Let's get back to our bed!" She declared, but only to Dillon. A smile settled on her face. It seemed that she and Dillon had struck gold lately. Everything was going so when would the luck run out? "Corsairs, prepare to jump. Let's get out of here as soon as possible." She spotted the A-wing who suffered at the hands of a TIE. "Meet you back at the base, love." With that, the X-wings disappeared. She knew Dillon would be close behind. He was *never* far away.

While the Rebels celebrated, the situation inside of the transport was becoming worse by the second. Kaiya's warning came too late. The hatch blew. The trooper, who was not wearing his safety harness, that sat beside her was swept out of the transport. He was not the only one. Her gloved paws gripped her seat's armrests so hard that her claws ripped through them. The cabin had become cold, then boiling hot upon the Umbra's descent to the surface of Ralltiir. "Thadd...y..."

Sweat built up inside of Kaiya's armor. There was screaming all around her as some comrades were cooked to death. She couldn't tell what was happening to her Commander. At some point during the descent, Kaiya lost consciousness shortly. The next time she awoke, she was no longer sitting inside of the transport. Instead, she was lying on the ground. The chest pieces which made up her armor had melted during descent. "Eee ... oooh... My head..." Her helmet had been knocked off. Her paws touched the ground. Her amber, catlike eyes focused on the flame and debris of the Umbra. There were bodies on the ground around it. Kaiya panicked. Struck by a sudden adrenaline rush, the pain she felt all throughout her body minimized. She rose, running towards the wreckage. "Thaddeus?!" She screamed. She turned around to see the TIEs closing in. She waved her arms. "Hey! Heeyyyy! *Don't leave*! People are alive down here!" She cried. As far as she saw, *she* was the only one alive.

Thinking with her senses instead of her emotions, she smelt out Thaddeus. On all fours and beginning to feel the pain, Kaiya surged away from the wreckage until she found her Commander. "Thaddy?!" She cried out to him.

Thaddeus was laying upon a slab of fallen duracrete that had once been an Auntie Mae's franchise before the war. He opened his eyes beneath his helmet, but he had to blink several times to regain his focus. Even then his vision was still blurred and he feared he might have a concussion. "Kaiya..." he cried out, weakly, as he placed his hands on the slab and attempted to get up. As soon as he turned around he could see that the ship was toast. They were in enemy territory with no supplies and no means of communication. This was *not* good. "Did you ... did you save anything from the wreck," he asked, before reaching up to his helmet and ripping it off his head so he could breath deeply. "Damn the navy," he repeated, which he was sure he would be saying multiple times until they were rescued.

He was *alive*. An initial rush of relief spread over the Cathar's body. It was short lived, however. They had *nothing*. The shuttle was a ball of flames. Both of them were in bad condition. Kaiya's body had been beaten and bruised when she was thrown from the wreckage. There was blood matted up in the fur of her face. As terrible as she felt, she was focused elsewhere. "Thaddy..." She remained on all fours to help support him up to his feet. "Nyu. I passed out on the way down. When I woke up, I was already on the ground. You don't look good, Thaddy. We gotta find someplace to hide." She looked around. They were standing in what had once been a city, but now was mostly debris. She reached towards her rifle. Her paws touched with it. At least she had managed to keep her E-11. If it functioned was the question.

The news that nothing had been salvaged from the craft was yet another development that made their already precarious situation even worse. When she suggested they needed a place to hide he looked around and saw nothing but bombed out structures that had been obliterated by orbital bombardment from above. "There seems to be nothing left standing," he said to her, with a frown, as he attempted to get back onto his feet. All they had was the equipment in their utility belts, and none of that was edible. "Where are we?" he asked, as he managed to get into a standing position. "Or, rather, where were we?" he said, correcting himself, as wherever they were was no longer a hospitable city, but a ruin.

The Cathar wasn't ready to sit and wait out death on the forsaken, destroyed planet. They didn't know what they were up against here, but their situation was already dire. "Nyu, nyu, nyu." She parted from him. Squatting deeply into her knees, Kaiya ripped the remains of her gloves from her hands. She gripped the old slab of duracrete which still had a worn image of Auntie Mae noticeable on it. There was nowhere standing, so she would *make* somewhere for them. "Uhhh..." She grunted and groaned, lifting the first piece of duracrete to an upright position. Even for the strong Cathar, Kaiya felt exhausted. She stormed around the immediate area until she found more duracrete. She only used the pieces that were mostly still together. As Kaiya used her remaining energy, her instincts kicked in further. She wouldn't rest until they were less exposed from the elements. The Cathar managed to create them a three wall structure cornered with some other barely-there businesses. When she finished, she was breathing hard. "My guess is that it's Cambriele or Demilla. It was someplace highly populated. There are still a lot of... smells.." She slowly lowered herself to her rear end.

While Kaiya attempted to erect a makeshift shelter, he was assessing the situation. Food was the most important thing on his list, but he doubted they would find any in this rubble. They would have to proceed on foot out of the city and into the surrounding area that hopefully had survived the Imperial bombardment. Never before had he hoped the Empire had failed in their goals of completely obliterating the surface of a Rebellious planet. "We've been through an 'ordeal'," he said to the excitable Kaiya, in a matter-of-fact voice s he looked upon her. "Let's try and rest in the shelter, and then when the sun comes up, and we can actually see where we are we can make a plan," he said, as he moved towards the shelter. Once there he began peeling off the pieces of battered plastoid armor that adorned his body so he could check for bruising.

The last year seemed to have so many 'ordeals'. Kaiya had never been injured so many times over such a short period. She didn't object to resting in the shelter. She wanted to check on Thaddy before she gave in to pain and exhaustion. The little Cathar slunk back into their pathetic home. "When the winds shift and the smell of the fire starts to fade, I'll be able to find us food." She promised him. Kaiya didn't bother attempting to remove her armor. Instead, she lowered herself to the ground. Pain corsed through her body from her head to her toe claws. The entire ordeal had shaken her. They had no means of getting help...or getting out. She was *scared*. Scared wasn't an emotion a proud Cathar liked to show. She looked towards Thaddeus as he began to remove his armor. "Are you okay, Thaddy?" She asked him. They both needed medical attention...yet another something they couldn't guess. She wondered if she should go into the flaming wreckage and look for medical supplies. If he was hurt enough, she would.

Thaddeus began examining himself as the armor was placed aside, and it seemed that he had some scrapes and bruises, but nothing broken. "I'm fine. Are you alright?" he asked her, as he realized he had been so preoccupied he had yet to check on her. "They think we're dead. Even if they thought we were alive they didn't waste resources on two troopers," he said to her, bitterly, as he clenched his jaw and looked at the ground. "Once we determine where we are we might be able to link up with an Imperial patrol," he said, tiredly, as he began inventorying the equipment he had in his belt. "We'll get through this. We just need to remember our training," he told her, reassuringly, as he began counting his power cells.

Her eyes fell. No one was coming for them. The TIEs had looked as much as they were going to look. Unless they determined a way to get out of this situation, they would perish on this planet. It didn't matter if it took a week, a month, a year, or several years. She opted to brush off his question instead of letting him know that she wasn't well. It was the Cathar pride showing again...or it was Kaiya not wanting to worry a man who already had enough on his mind. They were lucky they had lived. 'Remember our training' he said. Kaiya's mind went beyond her commando training to her tribe on Tatooine. This wasn't the first time she had been stuck in a bad situation...only last time her body was whole and powerful. The small cat girl crept closer to her better half. She rested her chin on his arm. "Don't use those.. Let my claws do the work until we can't rely on them anymore. We can try to find sharp objects to make knives out of and stuff." She lifted her head, inhaling slowly. The only scent she could catch was that of burning fuel. Her ears were distracted by foreign noises that it was difficult for her to pick out what belonged and what did. In short, even her senses had been overwhelmed. Her arms slowly wrapped around Thaddy. Her head buried against him. "I promise I'll be more useful tomorrow..."

As the fire began to burn itself out their only light source faded and they soon found themselves shrouded in darkness with no heat. "You're always useful," he said to her, as he returned her embrace, wrapping his arms around her tightly. "We need to stay like this all night to keep warm," he told her, before moving his face forward to rub against the soft fur of her face. At least she had that to keep her warm. He would feel the cold worse than her. "This isn't our fault. It was the Navy that fucked up on this one," he reminded her, as he planned to find the TIE pilots who failed to protect them after this was over and deal them a serious blow. He knew their situation was dire, but there was no need to share that view with her. If they followed their training they might be able to get out of this alive yet.

Cold winds whipped across the abused land all around them. The shelter moaned and creaked like it was trying to decided if it would stand up, or bow to the winds. There was darkness. With the darkness, the temperature began to dramatically decrease. It was yet another way they would need to overcome the environment. Kaiya had fur, but she couldn't share it with Thaddy. So, she lay close to him with as much as her weak, exhausted body pressed against his. "Damn the Navy..." She repeated his words from earlier. He needn't remind her of how bad the situation was. If Kaiya awoke the next morning and her senses were still in turmoil, she would need to accept the fact that they weren't getting out. Her senses were supposed to provide a major advantage...especially in times like this. "I'm gonna keep you safe 'n warm, Thaddy." She promised him as she held him close. Her eyes slowly shut. She could handle the day no more.

Thaddeus and Kaiya were not the only hungry creatures lurking in the remnants of the city. From the surrounding area as the humans withdrew the creatures moved in, taking over the fallen structures and desperately searching food. Like Kaiya the Ralltiir tiger also had a powerful nose, who was drawn to the distant aroma of blood. The tiger perked its head up and began sniffing until it zeroed in on the newly arrived Storm commandos. It unleashed a powerful roar before leaping from duracrete slab to duracrete slab until it drew close to them. When it was in sight the tiger roared loudly, snarling at them and showing its teeth. It flashed its claws and leapt into the air, pouncing Thaddeus in search of its first warm meal in ages.

"Nyu..." Kaiya inched closer to Thaddy. She was asleep the second her eyes closed. As she let go of their reality, Kaiya fell deeper and deeper asleep. Kaiya's exhaustion gave the Ralltiir tiger a chance to sneak up on them. If not for the roar, the Cathar wouldn't have woken up in time to save Thaddeus. Her amber eyes opened wide. Her body was aware of the situation before her mind was. With a powerful push of adrenaline, Kaiya left behind all her pain and thrust her powerful body forward. Instead of landing on a nice, warm meal, the tiger was faced with a hissing, furious Cathar. The tiger's claws dug into her shoulder as Kaiya forced it backwards onto the ground. She lifted her paw. Her sharp claws retracted. She attacked the tiger. By no means was this a one-way battle. The tiger's claws were so strong that they could cut through the plates of her armor. "Thaddyyy... Run away!" She could feel the power behind each swipe of the tiger's claws. The tiger and Kaiya rotated again. This time, Kaiya was on her back with the massive beast on top of her. "*Now*!" She demanded. In the absolute darkness, it had to have been even harder for him to tell what was going on. Kaiya's growls rumbled throughout their whole shelter. She wasn't done.

Thaddeus was just getting comfortable when he heard the roar of the Ralltiir tiger and found himself in danger of becoming dinner. "Kaiya!" he screamed, when he saw her fighting the much larger, more ferocious east. "I'm not leaving you!" he said to her, as he searched for any means of assisting her with the battle. As he reached to grab a slab of duracrete he saw the tiger claw at her shoulder, which made him furious. He moved towards her, carrying the slab, and did his best to bash the beast on the back of the head with it, but it only seemed to make it angrier. They were an urban jungle and they had just encountered the predator at the top of the food chain. The tiger roared, which caused Thaddeus to backpedal a bit, tripping over some debris, and falling onto his back. "Damn it, we need a blaster," he said, as he struggled to get back up.

"You gotta go! You *gotta*!" She screamed at him. Despite her attempts to shoo him, they only drew Thaddeus to her once she was bleeding and injured. She silently commended him on his efforts to kill the tiger, but now the beast was even more angry. It remembered the reason why it entered the shelter to begin with, and, once more, hunted for human meat. It stalked Thaddeus while Kaiya stood back on her feet. "No!! *Bad*!" She jumped on top of the tiger's back. "Y-You don't need a blaster..." Her body was flung about by the massive tiger. "You just gotta ... know where to hit..." She reached a paw over the tiger's shoulder. Her claws collided with its throat and ripped. She sliced its jugular vein. In hindsight, as blood began to rain everywhere, it may not have been the best idea. The beast only struggled for seconds long before it choked on its own blood and died. Kaiya lay on top of it. "Thaddyyy." She cried. In her time as a commando, she'd gotten used to only dealing with human enemies for the most part. She forgot how badly it could hurt to fight with something that had claws as she did. Her paw applied pressure to her open wound. She didn't know if they had time to wait until morning. They needed to get out of there *immediately*!

"Kaiya!" Thaddeus cried out in a panic as he watched her attack again, but to his surprise he watched her deliver the bloody death bowl to the tiger. "Are you alright?" he asked her, as he hurried over the tiger's corpse to check on Kaiya. There was so much blood that he could not tell whether it was hers or the tiger. "Please be okay," he pleaded with her, as he checked over every inch of her body. He saw where the creature's claws had attacked her and he cringed, realizing they did not have a first aid kit. "We need to gather what we can and find higher ground," he pleaded with her, as he looked around in the darkness. *Anything* could be out there waiting for them, stalking them.

Kaiya's little tough guy act was starting to melt away. Nothing made her stupid like Thaddeus Updike. She would disregard her own personal safety for him every day for the rest of her life. If she hadn't fought the tiger, he wouldn't have lived to see the morning. "I'm not okay," she whimpered. Her paw reached up to touch along her chest. Kaiya had found her match in that tiger. If they were ambushed again, the Cathar wouldn't be able to fend all of them off. Thaddeus was right. They needed to find higher ground. She pushed herself to struggle back to her feet. Her hand touched with his. He couldn't see in these conditions, but she *could*. With her heart pumping fast, Kaiya gave him no time to examine her further. She stepped into the cold discomfort of the planet. Her eyes looked around for a better place to call their shelter. "Shit, I can smell more of those tigers. Here..." The little Cathar crouched down in front of him. "Get on my back." Kaiya had a plan. If it was a good one or not remained to be seen. "Hurry!"

"More?!" Thaddeus exclaimed, as they had *barely* survived their encounter with one. He sighed, feeling useless without a weapon to defend themselves with. "On your back?" he asked, wondering if she could support him. The last thing he wanted to do was injure her more. He moved forward, gingerly climbing onto her back. He delicately settled into position when he heard another Ralltiir tiger roar in the distance. "Whatever you're going to do ... do it now," he pleaded with her, as he could hear motion in the darkness. He suddenly felt surrounded.

Even Kaiya didn't know if she could support him. She was overly exhausted. She was bloody. She was. . . *focused*. Her paws gripped onto his legs for extra support. Without another word, Kaiya began to run. Her agile body and powerful feet helped her navigate through destruction, through the dark, and through *hell*. "If I die," she said, "You're gonna get out of here and you're never gonna look back." They weren't alone anymore. Kaiya didn't share that detail with Thaddeus. She could hear the footsteps closing in from a distance.

Her vision had not failed her. Kaiya reached a mountain near the edge of the obliterated town. She couldn't tell if it was natural or simply made by destruction. The incline on it was steep. The tigers wouldn't be able to scale it...and Kaiya would have a difficult time herself. "Hold on tighter." Her claws dug into the mountainside. She began to climb in what was nearly a vertical climb. The roar of multiple tigers sounded beneath them. The Cathar didn't look down...she simply continued on. Her breathing fell heavier and heavier. She was so spent. "I smell a fire at the top of this mountain." She told him. "I don't know what else is...!!!" Her claw dug into a weak spot which caused her to lose her balance. Her eyes dipped downward. The tigers weren't *that* far away. She forced herself to cling to the side of the mountain. She wanted to tell Thaddy that she couldn't do it. Tears were pouring from her eyes from immense pain. "You *have* to grab my blaster. We're not going to be alone." The edge of the mountain top was so close. Only one question remained: could Kaiya actually make it?

"You're not gonna die, Kaiya," Thaddeus pleaded with her, as they struggled up the mountain. He had no idea how she was able to keep going. He never would have made it as far as she did. "A fire?" he questioned her, as she nearly slipped and fell, which prompted him to hold on tighter. "What do you smell?" he asked her, as he reached around her waist and fumbled about until he found the blaster pistol in her holster. He took hold of it with one hand, while clinging to her with the other. They never should have agreed to this training assignment. He was too far up the chain of command to be dealing with such trivial matters. Now it seemed they were going to die, forgotten on this bombed our shell of a world. He was furious at everyone but himself and Kaiya.

"Mmm..." She felt weaker now. She pointed her nose in the air. "It's really hard for me to tell what's going on.. The smell of blood is screwing up everything. I can't stop climbing anymore.." She reported to him. When Kaiya had recovered from all of this and was tucked in Thaddy's bed in the Void, she would begin pointing her claw at those responsible. For now, she was taking life one minute at a time. A final shot of energy enabled Kaiya to thrust their bodies over the edge of the mountain. Her body lay against its hard surface. She was *done*. She began to whither on the ground. She wished she were back at the Void. At this time, she'd still be purring right next to her human lover. Instead, they were fighting to live together. Kaiya forced herself to raise her head and look at the new situation she had brought them into. There were multiple fires. A small community of tents were huddled together. There were people...but not very many. "We come in peace..." She whispered. (D)

When they reached the top of the mountain the last thing he expected to see was other people. Whomever was here was likely to hate the Empire for what they had done to the planet, as he was careful to keep watch over a broken Kaiya with their one remaining blaster. "She needs help," he told them, still uncertain of who they were. For all he knew the people in the tents were worse than the Ralltiir tigers they had sought to escape. "It's going to be okay, Kaiya," he whispered quietly to her, as he placed a hand upon her back. He had no idea if what he was saying was true, but he needed to remain confident for both of their sakes. He swallowed anxiously, uncertain of what to expect, or what they were up against. (d)

After losing the transport, fighting a tiger, climbing a mountain, and more, Kaiya and Thaddeus were finally thrown a single bone. The occupants of the small settlement took pity on a bloodied Cathar and a commando who had enduring a fall from space that everyone had seen. A man who wore furs of the very same type of tiger who had attempted to kill the couple, made himself the obvious leader. "Treat them," he muttered to a man to his right. "We will help you..." He sounded reluctant. "...So you might leave when you're on your feet again." The leader had little to say. He sneered at Thaddeus in a way that silently said he thought little of the Commander.

Several villagers, who served as medics directed Thaddeus and Kaiya towards a tent. There was a warmth that could be felt throughout the whole camp. Kaiya could have never provided so much for Thaddy. "What's going on..?" She asked. Her excitement had been drained from her body. The Cathar was barely able to move. With each step, she depended on Thaddy that much more. "I don't.. I don't feel good.." She warned him before her vision went blank. Her body decided it was time for her to go down, so down she went. The little Cathar had passed out.

"We'll leave as soon as we're able," Thaddeus told the man, whom he never took his eyes off of. As they were led through the camp he looked everywhere to get a sense of how many people were there, and whether they had any long range communication equipment. Unfortunately, he saw nothing that would be any use to them. "I don't know what's going on," he said to her, as he reached his hand down to gently pet her head. "We'll fix you," he said, trying to reassure her, but before she could hear him she had lost consciousness. He snarled, angry at the entire galaxy, as he waited for the medics to arrive. He doubted, however, whether they had the means to restore her. He hung his head, continuing to pet her, as he began to lose what little hope he had left.

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