STAR WARS: TROOPERS

Google Doc Part Three

While Gavin is off chatting with Nine-Toes...Razor makes his way to Leon’s office.

After the encounter with the bandits, Razor spends some time analyzing the squad's performance and makes a few notes in his datapad. Upon arriving back at base He heads first to Leon's office to discuss not only the fight, but some other more important issues.

“Lieutenant, afternoon sir. Can I help you?” Leon asks as he stands upon the Lieutenants entry.

Razor helps himself to a chair in the room before replying, "Yes. I would like to hear your own assessment of you, your squad, and other any other..." The soldier pauses for a moment before continuing "... non-hostile participants performance today during the police action against Sledge and his gang."

“My assessment, sir, is I screwed up. I overestimated the tactical knowledge of my opponent and did not effectively employ my unit. Overestimating Sledge’s knowledge is not inherently bad, however, I did not employ Corporal Ragdos to be highly effective as his skills lean heavily toward long distance attacks. The squad being as experienced as it is was able to flow with the frontal assault kill the bandits, but it did cost us a tank. On the whole the unit did not take any casualties, so I believe we performed on par.” Leon answers while remaining at standing at ease.

The lieutenant listens to the entire report with an unreadable look upon his face. After Leon finishes his report, Razor takes a few minute to type in a few notes on his data-pad before saying "Thank you Sergeant." He turns his head towards the door to make sure it is closed before continuing "What about our new guest? What is your assessment of her?" [1]

“I think she could be a valuable asset. Her abilities are unique, and easily used as a surprise tactic. Not to mention those wings of hers, make her a potential reconnaissance asset.” [1]

The old soldier leans forward in his chair and says "My assignment here, Sergeant, is to assess whether or not your squad is storm commando material. I'm here to watch and not tell you how to do your job." He pauses a moment to find the right words. His face betrays his seriousness as he continues "But I have to speak up on this. You do know her nature Sergeant. She willing gave up that information. I would seriously look into a plan to take her out if she decided she no longer wants to be friendly. I'm sure she has made similar plans of her own." The old soldier leans back, "You've already had two former allies, comrades in fact, turn on you. Don't be taken in by the pretty face, play it smart." [2]

“Lieutenant, a weakness of mine may be a pretty face, but I know what she is. Yes, I have been betrayed twice, and I will kill the two that plan to tear down the Empire. That is both my professional and personal mission. With Rias, I may choose to see the asset, but sir, make no mistake she is just a weapon. And like weapons when they cease to be useful you just throw them away.” Leon clears his throat, “I apologize sir, if I crossed a line. I will take what you say under advisement and proceed...cautiously in regards to Rias.” [2]

Razor holds the sergeants stare for a few moments before sitting back, "Good to hear." He stands up "That will be all Sergeant." and turns to leave. "If you need me I'll be getting some lunch." [3]

“Understood, sir.” After Razor is gone, Leon sits back down staring at the empty doorway. I can’t tell whether or not that pissed him off or not, I hope not. Damn I hate not being able to read him. [4]

In the mess hall as Razor enters for lunch...

As Razor enters the mess hall he discovers that he is not alone.  Rias is seated at a table, quietly enjoying a midday meal consisting of some hot tea and a small sandwich.  Unlike their previous encounter, Rias notices the approaching soldier and looks over to him and nods in greeting.  “Good Afternoon,” she says, with a warm smile.

The soldier returns the greeting "Good afternoon" although lacking any smile, his tone is not hostile. Walking over to the machine that has filled the void left by Matthew culinary arts. He punches in the amount of calories and the recommended percentages of nutrients and vitamins. Out pops a meal, some kind of casserole, that most closely meet the parameters. Taking it, the soldier sits down at Rias' table and begins to eat. He'll let her make the first move this time. [4]

“For a moment there I figured you were going to sit as far away from me as you could.  Though I suppose if you want to keep a close eye on me...or is it that you’re still wondering about souls?” She asks, before taking another dainty bite of her sandwich.  Rias is in no hurry to finish her meal, instead she seems to savor the experience.

Razor smirks when he hears her first comment. He waits for her to finish before casually replying, "Well the way I fight, 'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer' is practical both on and off the battlefield.". He takes a few bites of the cube of balanced dietary perfection. The old clone uses the chews to consider his words before replying, "and yes, since you claim to have the ability to see such things that no one of this universe can claim to see, I would like to know more."

She thinks for a moment before speaking.  “The battle today helped me confirm a few things about souls in this universe, as opposed to my own.  They are different, not so much in what they are when they inhabit a body, but more of what they do upon death.  In my own world souls are drawn to various directions, entities, and deities, if you will.  In your world, from what I can tell souls are released back into the world as a whole upon death.  The spiritual energy in this world is...spread out far more than in my own, there are no poles that attract it, and it seems to recycle itself into the living things of this world freely.  It’s a far more contrived, if not complicated system in my own world.  Despite that I feel like the nature of souls isn’t much different, as if perhaps at one point they were the same, but certain events or entities forced a shift in how souls, or spiritual energy, interacted within a certain universe.” She says in a manner that reveals that perhaps even now she’s still considering the ramifications of this knowledge.

Razor ponders her pregnant exposition as he takes a few more bites of his food. "What do you know about this universes concept of 'The Force'? Based on your observation, it appears that 'The Force' belief system has validity in its current form." He takes another bite before continuing, "However, from what I'm hearing, you are describing spiritual energy as almost obeying a physical law like 'conservation of mass and energy' that spiritual energy is conserved in a closed system. Which considering your presence here and the ability to travel between dimensions could present a problem if each universe was a separate closed system. But, those questions can be asked later. What I would like to know is what you know of the soul in terms of the essence of the individual, what makes you who you are? Are you able to even tell that? Considering this universe, is the 'soul' just the sum total of the spiritual energy of a dozen trees or is there something beyond the mechanical exchange of spiritual energy?"

“Even I don’t have a complete answer for you on this one.  What I do know is that spiritual energy that forms into a soul becomes unique.  The reasons for this are probably related to the combination of matter, dna, certain characteristics of the spiritual energy itself, and possibly there’s a mixing of spiritual energy between parent and child.  Now, that uniqueness can persist, both in my own world in your world, the possibility is there.  I haven’t done much research into your world, but in what I have done I have heard of spirits surviving beyond death, which seems to suggest that even if it’s less common in this world, it is possible.  I have done a little reading on the concept of “The Force” and I think there are a lot of similar concepts to my own observations.  In both worlds, souls have unique characteristics, despite the different results upon death.  Almost makes me wonder if our two worlds are actually completely separate or not...but it still seems like they are.  I mean, without the similarities, I do not believe my own powers would even work in this world.”  She pauses, thinking, “But maybe...spiritual energy only affects an individual in a limited manner, and the development of the soul from there is a reflection of the experiences of that life form.  Basically, I think souls are malleable.  I think without that concepts such as corruption or redemption might have little meaning.”

Razor ponders her response for a moment as he takes a few more bites from his meal. After swallowing, he responds "This may seem strange to ask, but what of droids? You've seen them of course by now. Do they possess a soul or are they a cheap imitation of life instead of artificial life? Is..." The clone stops and stares off for a moment. It takes a sip of its tea. Now wearing its best poker face the soldier looks back at the demon and continues "...Is birth a necessity for a soul?"   

“Droids?  Not a soul that I’ve seen.  I think it is possible that souls can be formed, or at least, can become attached to bodies without birth.  There are some strange creatures in my world, zombies, a very recent thing.  But...they do have a soul.. of sorts, that is not their own.  It is something that should probably be studied a bit more.  The relationship between spiritual energy and physical bodies is fascinating.  Unfortunately the person in my world that could probably have best explained it is gone.  Perhaps your world will have some answers.”  

Razor sits back, takes the last few bites of his meal. He considers for a moment going further, but decides against it. He'll have other chances he considers. "Well that is fascinating, assuming it is all true. I hope you don't mind me reserving for myself some skepticism since you are the only source I can go by on these matters." He downs the rest of his drinks and moves it to his tray to take it away.

Rias smiles.  “Nothing wrong with a little skepticism.  I haven’t had a discussion of this nature in a long time.  I guess partly because of the company I normally keep.  Who knows, perhaps I can show you some things back in my world sometime.  I don’t know when I’ll be back there, or what will be going on so, it’s just a thought for now.”  She stands with her teacup in hand and heads over to get it refilled.  “I assume you are off, have a pleasant day.”  She says to Razor as he prepares his tray.

"Perhaps..." He picks up his tray. "Until later." He deposits his trash in the bin and leaves the room.

 

Just after Gavin has a nice chat with Nine-Toes...

As Gavin begins to strap the hammer back up to the dolly, he sees a switch on the weapon that he hadn’t noticed before.  Rather than turn on a device he knows nothing about, Gavin decides to pry the fucker open instead.  [Repair Check: 1d20+16]

Inside is basically just some coils and some kind of power cell.  It seems like the hammer is capable of making some sort of energy shockwave upon impact.  Gavin shrugs.  “Might be nifty, but I don’t know of anyone big enough to use it.  Guess it’s just scrap.”  Gavin wheels the hammer back to the vehicle storage area and stows it in the Razorback so he can drop it off at the scrapyard later.  However, before leaving, he goes to hunt down Allen, to settle some unfinished business.

As usual, Allen is back in the workshop reclining perilously close to the tipping point of his chair.  That battle was way too expensive for its worth.  We lost an entire tank to quell one little bandit group?  Allen shudders for a bit recalling the battle.  If I had been about 5cm to the right when that hammer landed...  I really didn’t sign up for this sort of thing anyways.  How did I get dragged into toting blasters around instead of commanding droids or electronic warfare?

Gavin sticks his head through the workshop door, and seeing Allen there, enters.  “Hey, Allen.  What are you working on?”

“Nothing really.  Just reflecting on how being smashed by a giant hammer isn’t in my job description.”  Allen chugs the rest of his Space Dew.

“Yeah, I guess it really isn’t, is it?  Aren’t you supposed to be an R&D guy?  What are you still doing stuck on a backwater planet with us, anyway?”

You know, I have no idea.  Probably doesn’t have anything to do with a very technologically advanced and expensive Imperial project being destroyed...

Gavin attempts to take his lumps with dignity.  “Actually, that’s what I dropped by to talk about.  I know it’s been a long time coming, but... I just wanted to say I’m sorry about that whole thing.  I was inexperienced, we were facing an unknown threat... and I panicked.  I made a decision that seemed sound at the time, but it was a mistake... and I apologize.”

Ok that’s fine.  Didn’t want to work with those assholes anyways.  More interested in politics than innovation.  Decided to tinker with stuff in my free time.  Things have been going quite slowly however and junkyard parts can only go so far...

Gavin seems somewhat taken aback by how quickly Allen is willing to dismiss the incident.  “Oh, uh... Huh.  Glad to hear it.  Still, just let me know if there’s any way I can make it up to you.  I kept that giant hammer, by the way.  It’s actually more interesting that it appears at first glance... it looks like it has some capabilities that Sledge wasn’t even using during the fight.  It’s able to create some kind of shockwave.  Of course, it’s far too heavy for any of us to use.  You can have it if you need it for parts... otherwise, I’ll probably drop it by the scrapyard next time I go to pick up more parts for my droid.”

Well I’m not one to refuse help.  I’ll tell you what.  I’ll take the hammer for now to see if it can be used.  And if you can help me find a source of more than just scrap parts and find me something interesting, I’ll stop sneaking lewd subroutines into M-2.

Gavin laughs.  “I had forgotten about that... but okay, I’ll keep an eye out.  Though around here... I don’t think we’re gonna find much.  I’m gonna head off to the scrapyard anyway; I’ll bring the hammer around when I get back.  You wanna come along, or do you have enough junk for now?”

The conversation is interrupted by the appearance of a figure at the doorway.  The short, dishevelled red hair and hazel eyes betrays the identity of the figure: Elina Peri.  For the first time in a while she’s wearing her normal clothing, a well worn tank top and work pants with many, many pockets.  She looks a bit thinner now, probably a result of the sickness and recovery process.  “Hey everyone...I thought I heard something about the junkyard...and well I couldn’t help but poke my head in.  First time to be up and moving around since I caught the bug.”

I was just about to inform Gavin that I have plenty of scrap metal and such.  Did you have by any chance some more specialized stuff that hasn’t already been looted?  For the thing I’m working on, I need something that’s light and flexible but tough when needed.  A paradox I know but I can’t seem to get around it...  That and a very large load of miscellaneous electronics.

She thinks for a moment, “Light and flexible, but tough when needed...what kind of tough are you thinking of?”

You know, something that can absorb a lot of energy before fracturing.  *sigh* there has to be some sort of balance.  Too flexible and it will stretch too much to be of use.  Too hard and it will restrict movement.  

“Movement related....well there’s that synthetic cloth that I was messing around with.  I’m sure if we found a way to improve it, and replicate it in larger quantities, it might fit that bill.  I think to scale it up might require a greater energy source.“

“Elina!  Good to see you up and about again.  I was about to check in on you, and offer you a ride back to your house if you were fit to leave.  As I was saying to Allen, I’m still trying to scrape together some parts for my droid, and was going to head by the scrapyard, anyway.  I remember you showing me that cloth you were working on... it looked pretty interesting.  What kind of energy source did you have in mind?”

The power plant for a comparable sized droid would be too bulky.  Could powerpacks power that cloth at least temporarily?

 “Well, when I was testing it out, I was just using an energy cell.  But that was only powering something the size of maybe a small towel.  So...a network of energy cells maybe...but I’m sure there’s a much more efficient way to do it.  Also, it drained the energy cell rather quickly, so that's something else to consider."

“What do you need it for, anyway, Allen?  Is it for the, ah...”  Gavin catches himself.  “The Betsy project?”

“Betsy’s gone but her successor is underway.”  Allen opens a large container near the wall and removes two bulky looking contraptions studded with metal struts and wires.  “Look at these leg parts.  If you put them on (Allen does so)  It looks like you had polio or something.  Certain sections need to be flexible then rigid just like muscles.  Traditional actuators can’t do that well enough.

“Interesting.  So you’re working on some kind of... suit, rather than a droid this time.”

Meanwhile Elina begins mumbling to herself...”synthetic fibers....muscle tissue....” she shakes her head, “but it’s triggered by impact.”  Her brow is flustered now; a solution is not at hand it seems.

“Exactly.  Also it chafes”  Allen removes the offending objects.  “It’ll be a suit in form but it’s still a droid.  Anyways tell me if you find a suitable material.  I’ll be here fixing all the damage caused in that last battle.

“A suit and a droid?  That seems... odd.  I’d think that something that’s specifically designed to be one or the other would be superior to some hybrid.  But, whatever--I’m not the expert here.  If I find any material that seems like what you’re looking for, you’ll be the first to know.”  He turns to Elina.  “What do you say?  Do you have clearance to leave, or is Giff still keeping you under observation?”

Elina snaps out of her thinking process.  “Oh...I think I’m going to get clearance sometime today.  Giff said....I should just relax today but get up and move around a bit and let him know if anything seems amiss.  I might be headed home tonight I guess.  Hopefully Claptrap hasn’t destroyed the place in my absence.  So I was thinking of just walking around, seeing what was what.  I figure what I should do is at least get some light exercise or something.  Other than that, don’t know, haven’t really thought about it.  Outside of the cool projects going on, there’s....uhhh....not much to do in a military garrison.”

Gavin chuckles.  “Yeah, there really isn’t, especially in this one.  I don’t think they really went all-out in terms of entertainment and amenities, considering it’s just for a handful of troopers stationed in what is... not exactly a strategically important location.  Still, I’m sure we can find some way to keep you entertained.  What is it you like to do in your spare time, anyway?  Aside from developing experimental tech, that is.”

“I guess I’ve spent a lot of time amusing myself, just as is.  Chatting with Claptrap, trying to read the occasional science journal that I get my hands on, when I can focus on such things,”  She starts to stare off into space a bit now.  “Sometimes I just stare into piles of junk just to wonder what things could be made from a particular pile.  Sometimes I just tinker with things or build things just to do it.  MIght be a machine with no function, or a structure...that just is...” she blinks, and looks back at Gavin again, “I guess that’s not very useful is it?  I guess...whatever you come up with would pass the time better than just wandering the garrison, no need to stick to my normal pastimes.”  A slight grin appears on her face, just before she returns to her normal, somewhat spaced out expression.

"Hm.  Well, if you're that into building stuff, maybe you can help me brainstorm ideas for the droid I'm building.  I've repaired plenty of droids, but this is the first I've built from scratch, so I'm kind of flying by the seat of my pants.  Of course, if that seems too much like work, we could always

play a hologame, or something."

“You’re building something too?  Then sure.  Droids are probably the most fascinating life form If I may say so.  At least, I think of them as a life form,  even if the current definitions say otherwise, they’re only definitions.  And some...are more alive than others.”  She suddenly has an awkward look,  “But don’t take that too seriously...I understand the major differences between droids and organics...and I understand the...expendable nature of droids.  I just want to view them a bit differently when I can I guess.  So what kind of droid are you working on?”

 Gavin glances at Allen.  "We'll go ahead and get out of your hair, for now. Come on, let's walk and talk.". He leads the way out of the workshop, closing the door behind them.  "ah, that's a bit awkward.  To be honest, I think I feel the same way... But you wouldn't know it from my actions.  I was actually there apologizing to Allen for... Vaporizing the last droid he owned."

Her expression takes on a somber tone for a moment, “Must have been rough.” However her interested is soon piqued as she inquires about the new project,  “Is that why he’s working on the droid exoskeleton now?”  

"Yeah, I think it's sort of a replacement."   Gavin sighs.  "It's like I told him... We were in the middle of a battle, against an enemy with powers I thought only existed in legend... And I panicked.  made an error in judgement.  Vaporized it with a thermal detonator, trying to take out our opponent.  And that's all true, but... I think there was more to it than that.  To be honest, I think I viewed it as expendable... because it was very poorly programmed.  It’s kind of a terrible way to think... I mean, it’s not the droid’s fault it was poorly programmed.”  Gavin sighs.  “Well, whatever.  Most people wouldn’t give it a second thought, beyond the cost of replacing it.  But regardless, I won’t make the same mistake in the future.”

“And people wonder why droids break free of their programming.”  She says in an amused tone.  “Well as long as you keep thermal detonators away from Claptrap, I suppose I won’t hold that against you,” she says with a wink.  “Now for Allen, who knows...I haven’t really gotten to know any of you very well, but I suppose it’s unusual to try to get to know the local garrison. It’s a bit different from civilian law enforcement, after all.”

“That it is... that it is.  You know, sometimes I wonder if that’s not the line of work I should have gone into.  I really wanted to make a difference--and joining the corps seemed like an opportunity to help bring order on a galactic scale, rather than just on a local one.  And yet, what’s changed, really?  I feel like I could have gotten more accomplished by now if I had just joined the local Deet-Roit police force.  Sure, it would have only applied to one city, or even one neighborhood, but, maybe that would have been enough...”  Gavin snaps out of it.  “Sorry.  I didn’t mean to unburden my soul like that.  I guess you just caught me in a confessional mood.”  Gavin smiles.  “To answer your earlier question, I’m trying to build a droid that will act as my spotter.  I’m planning to try for the sniper designation, and it’s generally useful to have a good spotter with you in that line of work.”

“Mmm...don’t worry about it.”  She thinks for a moment.  “A spotter droid...sounds like you need a droid you can trust, because you made the teamwork sound very important.  I think programming it will be the hardest part.  Sounds like possibly you and the droid will need to be of one mind when out in the field.”  She grins sheepishly, “At least, that’s what I thought after seeing a short clip about sniping on a holovid.”  

“Sounds about right.  Any hot ideas to make it happen?”

She thinks for a moment, her head cocked to one side for a bit, then straightens out as she speaks, “I don’t think there’s any simple ideas that I can just hand out.  If you program the droid to have the capability to learn and adapt, then the rest is more like raising a child, or a pet, or befriending someone.  The interactions and experiences you share with the droid will help program it the way you need it.  Probably the most important part of that...could be perspective.  Once you can think like a droid, then you’ll probably know best how program and train one.”  

“Hmmm... interesting.  Programming on the fly, huh?  But... how DO droids think, anyway?  I kinda figured the smarter ones thought like us, mostly... taking into account the limits of their programming, of course.”

“I wouldn’t necessarily call it programming on the fly, but the general idea is probably accurate.  I think a lot of droids probably think different, there might be some similarities in certain models, kind of like shared personality traits, but over time I think even two droids that were programmed the same will begin to diverge.  Admittedly though, it’s possibly easier to think how a droid thinks than how an organic thinks, but maybe only slightly.  If you’re programming it, you have the luxury of knowing how the brain is wired, so you’ve got part of the equation covered.  Try to imagine yourself limited by that same programming, and then try to think about how you would handle certain situations with those constraints.  Failing that...I guess you just need to get to know a droid really well, or something.  I don’t know if it’s something that can be reduced to simple steps...” she ponders this thought for a bit before speaking again.  “I guess it might actually be harder than raising children, you don’t have to program children before they’re born after all.”

"Hmm.  That's... Actually very interesting.  I hadn't thought of it that way before. It's something I'll try to keep in mind.  Do you have any thoughts on the hardware side of the equation?" [1]

“That’s the easy part.  All you need to do is make sure the hardward and software are compatible, and if you are building the whole thing yourself, then you can just build it to be compatible.  Thanks to all the droid factories out there, the quality of hardware isn’t too big of an issue, so your biggest concern is to just to get parts based on function.”  She nods, “Yep, no problem at all.”

"Well, hopefully your scrapyard will have all the parts I need.  Trying to build on a budget, but I can always save up for new parts if need be.  I'm sure Burt can order any parts I can't find there." [2]

“Sounds good, it’ll be nice to have something to keep me busy upon my return to the scrapyard.  Hopefully I’ll be there tonight.  If I get bored, I’ll keep the projects going on here in mind and maybe start a pile just for that.”  

"Nice.  How many droids have you built, anyhow?" [3]

She stops in her tracks to ponder this question seriously.  It seems that the calculation is not as simple as one might think, for the level of concentration.  “I’m going to say...forty-seven, and a half.”  She shrugs, “though some of them may not exactly meet a full definition for droid, being so simple, but I’d still like to think it counts.”

"Yikes!  That many, eh?  In that case, I'd definitely like to get some feedback from you on my progress so far.  it's in there," Gavin gestures to his door, "but it's still only half finished.  What did you do with all those droids, anyway? Sell them?  Surely they're not all hiding in the scrapyard, somewhere." [4]

“Hmm they might be.  A lot of them didn’t really have much in the way of function, and several were rather small.  Some were made before I had the scrapyard.”  She looks a bit troubled for a moment after that, “Well I know I’ve said a lot so far, but we’ll see how useful my feedback really is as you get to working on things.  I’ve never actually given feedback on it before, so I’ll just be trying to translate my own ideas into something that can make more general sense.  You know...because I’ve never really thought about what I was doing, I just kinda did it.  So, you’ve got me trying to analyze what I used to do.  Not a bad thing but...if anything gets lost in translation, I’d like to apologize ahead of time.”

  "Haha.  It's no problem." Gavin opens the door and walks into his quarters.  They are small and sparsely furnished, as is typical.  Aside from a bed, there is also a computer terminal in one corner, a closet for clothes and gear, and a makeshift workbench against one wall.  The workbench is covered with random tools and spare parts, as well as a small, half-finished droid.  A few schematics are tacked to the wall above the bench.  Gavin approaches the bench, and awkwardly presents Elina with the unfinished eyebot.  "Well... Here it is.  I couldn't find the schematics for exactly what I was looking for, so it's my own design.  Now that I think of it, I wonder if that was such a good idea, considering this is my first attempt at droid building."  Gavin grins sheepishly.  "I might have been better off building an existing model... You know, for practice."

The droid appears to be a half-empty metal sphere  with several antennae extending from it.  The droid's processor is already wired up, as is a comlink system and a self-destruct system.  A repulsorlift on the bottom will allow it movement, once activated.  Sensory apparatus, weapons, and other such parts have not yet been installed.

Elina moves in to closely examine the droid.  She considers the antennae for a moment, and then the casing.  She takes special notice of where the various parts meet.  She dusts her hands off on her pant legs, removing the leavings of machine work.  “You haven’t lost sight of form while focusing on function.  It’s nice, and you really didn’t need much advice on hardware, you’ve gotten this far already, its solid craftsmanship.”  She glances over a bit more before looking up at you, “Does it have a name?”

"Thanks.  That's a relief to hear.  As far as the name... I was thinking of calling the model an 'eyebot,' since its job is to be a spotter.  For the serial number, I was thinking of RU5-L."

“Russell...” she says, contemplating the sound for a bit.  “As long as it isn’t an indication of the sounds he might make while you’re hiding a bush somewhere, I think things should turn out well.”  She laughs until she realizes just how horrible the joke is.  She cuts her laughter short by scanning the room.  “You know...I’ve always thought of stormtroopers as faceless.  It wasn’t until your group showed up that I’ve really gotten to see that there’s a variety of people underneath that armor.  I mean for a barracks, even your room has some personality, kinda reminds me of my own room actually.”  She seems amused by this assessment as she takes one more good look at “Russell.”    

"Hah!  Yeah, hopefully not.  I'm doing my best to build and program him for stealth, but I guess I won't know for sure until I see him in action.  I can see why you'd think that about us troopers... But to be honest, I've met  more strange characters on the job and at the academy than I ever knew back home.  I guess it takes all kinds..." Gavin is tempted to shout out "Fry my hide!" at the end of that sentence, but manages to restrain himself.

“Takes all kinds huh?” She says, looking pensive, “Well I’m glad your group has the kind of people that took great risks to try to save whom they could during that outbreak.  I owe you guys my life.  I....I never imagine I could die from some plague working in a junkyard on a lonely outer rim world.  It adds new perspective on life...gives me things to think about outside of the junkyard and Claptrap.”

"Yeah, I didn't either... Always figured that if I was gonna go, it would be with a blaster bolt to the stomach.  Same held true back home, or on the front lines.  So what are you thinking about?  Leaving the planet, seeing the galaxy... That kind of thing? Or just dwelling on your own mortality?"

“Mortality I guess...it seems like I can’t even live a simple life in safety.  I can’t....can’t just give up the life I’m used to, but now, more than over, I feel like I should be looking for new experiences.  I feel like...I don’t...”  she shakes her head, “I’m just running with this idea, worrying too much.  It’s nice to look for a new outlook, but no need to be drastic, the threat is passed for now I guess.  Or do you think I’m selling myself short?”

"Selling yourself short?  How do you mean?"

She shrugs, “I guess I just feel like I should be doing more with my life.  Meet new people, build more useful things, I dunno...there’s all kinds of stuff you can do while alive right?  But not so much when you’re dead.  But then again if I don’t worry about it, then it doesn’t really affect my life too much, and when I’m dead I won’t worry anyway...but I still feel like I’m missing something now, so that doesn’t work either.”  She looks around the room again, as if searching for something.  That something doesn’t seem to be there, and so she abandons that search, then she laughs.  “Maybe I’m just not fully recovered yet, being seriously ill recently probably has had an effect.”

"Hm.  That might have something to do with it.  But you know, it's like my pops always says... It's better to regret something you did, than something you didn't do.  I hated it in Deet-roit.  I could have ignored my feelings, and just given up and stayed there like everyone else I know, but instead, I got out.  Maybe joining the corps wasn't the best way to do it... Maybe it was.  But I DID something, you know?  And I'd rather be here, trying to find my way in the galaxy, than back home dreaming about it."

“If only my dreams were more...concrete.  I guess I should think about things I want to do with my life, and I suppose it wouldn’t be a bad idea to celebrate my survival also.  I’m open to suggestions on how to celebrate...I don’t really do much partying normally.”  

“To be honest... neither do I.  I know Leon’s idea of a celebration would be to go get smashed at the strip club, but somehow, I get the feeling that’s not your idea of a good time.”

“Are there other kinds of clubs perhaps?  Not sure about in town, but maybe in one of the larger cities?”

“I imagine there must be, but I don’t know of any myself.  There’s always the local bar, but, eh... I wonder if it’s a good idea for either of us to do much drinking so soon after our bout with  a deadly virus.  Our systems might not be in top form yet.”

“Hmmm....the doc didn’t say I couldn’t drink after I’m released, and I’m not on any medications.  But really I don’t think drinking is so much what I’m aiming for, more just to have a good time.  Maybe even try to be social....or something.  There must be some reason so many people do things like that, right?  It’s not a droid thing, I understand droids better than people...but it seems like that sort of, going out and partying, is pretty popular for organics.”  She seems sort of amused by her own comment, not quite laughing, but she has a rather goofy looking grin, the kind that could lead to laughter at any moment.  

“Haha, okay.  Well then, knock yourself out.  Head to the big city and party for a while.  It honestly doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.  Maybe I can ask Leon for some leave time myself--”Gavin stops suddenly, and then frowns.  “Well, maybe not.  I don’t think I’ll be asking him for many favors any time soon...”

“Leon’s the boss around here right?  Did you two get in a fight or something?  Or are you in trouble?”  She asks.  She seems concerned by the sudden frown.  

“Yeah, he’s the boss.  I guess.  Unless you count the new guy...  And no, it’s nothing like that.  I just need to have a talk with him soon... one that will probably put him in a bad mood.  But that’s life.  I’m... I’m sure it will be fine.”  Gavin doesn’t sound very convincing.

“Maybe you should just get it over with...or do you need more time to think things through?  If not, I feel like waiting will just make it more difficult.  Maybe you need drinks more than I do hmm?”  

“No, no drinks.  I need a clear head for this.  But you’re right.  I probably should get it over with.  I’ll... go see him now.  You go ahead and make yourself at home for as long as Gif keeps you here, and let me know if you need a lift back to the scrapyard later.  Thanks for looking over my droid... feeling a little better about that project, at least.”

She smiles, “Not a problem, If I come up with any useful ideas, I’ll let you know.  For now, good luck!”  She stands up and heads for the door, “I’ll wander around some more, maybe get to know some of the others if people aren’t busy.  I may take you up on that ride offer later.”  She steps out, carefully considers which direction she should go, and then turns to the left and heads down the hall.

Gavin heaves a sigh, and leaves to find Leon.

In the infirmary, same Bat-channel, same-Bat time....maybe.

After finishing his recommendation and weapon requests for Gavin, Leon, leaves the office heading for the infirmary. It has been awhile since he last checked on Anton’s and Revy’s condition. Not too mention not having spoken to Nahja since returning from the fight with Sledge. Sledge...Now I have to have an entire tank rebuilt. That bastard sure could do a helluva lot of damage. Admiral Keyes should be arriving soon too. Entering the infirmary, he sees Nahja, sitting by Revy’s bed. Leon walks over and gives her a kiss, before turning to Giff. “How are our last two patients doing, Giff?”

Giff looks up at Leon, surprised.  “Well they don’t seem to have space madness, sir.  I let Elina take a walk around the garrison, I think she’ll be released soon.  As for Anton, his organs aren’t hungry anymore, so I think he’ll be okay.  He should be fit soon sir.  So things are peachy...though I’m still wondering, do you have space madness?”

"That's good news, and no I don't have space madness. What about Revy's condition?"

“She’s extremely tired.  That’s my best guess, I can’t find anything really wrong with her anymore.  Either way Nahja told me to prepare to duck when she wakes up...so I’ve been practicing.”  As he says this Giff ducks suddenly...then looks around the medbay for a few moments before standing back up.  “I think that was a successful ducking exercise...though perhaps I need to be a bit faster.”

As Giff and Leon converse, Anton stirs.  He glances around the room for a moment to figure out where exactly he is.  It doesn’t take long for him to figure it out, after which point he sighs and lies back down in the bed.  “Shit...” he mutters, and seems content to just stare at the ceiling for a bit.

Nahja stays with Revy while Giff and Leon converse.  Revy hasn’t moved for more than two days, though she no longer has physical signs of injury.  Nahja remains calm however, for she has already had plenty of time to go through various phases of worry, guilt, and sadness.  Only the waiting remains.  Nahja speaks in a hushed tone, “I hope it’s peaceful where you are right now...it would be nice for you to have some peace at least for a little while.  I want you to find real peace at least once before you die you know.  The next time you lose, could be the time you die...whether you care or not, I do” she sighs, and runs her fingers through Revy’s dark hair, “even if you don’t want peace.  I honestly don’t know what it is you want, and I don’t think I ever will.  I don’t know if anyone can.”  Silence.  Nahja remains there in silence, as if the closeness to Revy is something worth holding on to whether Revy is conscious of it or not.  

Hearing a muttered curse, Leon turns toward the sound and sees Anton staring at the ceiling. “Corporal Strayer, good to see you alive and kicking again. That virus did a number on your internal organs from what I’ve been told. How do you feel?” Leon asks while moving to Anton’s bedside.

“I almost died Sarge...and that wasn’t even in a battle.  It’s uhhh...weird feeling, hard to deal with.  Made me feel kinda helpless, I couldn’t just fight it.  So now...I dunno, I’m angry....or bitter?  I can’t wait to get out of this bed, I need some workouts and range time to get my mind off of this crap.”  Anton grumbles, then shrugs.  “Can’t be helped for now I guess.”  

“I understand the sentiment. I’d be pretty pissed too. You weren’t the only one to have that virus kick their ass. Ragdos only recently recovered himself too, and a Army started showing symptoms too before we got our hands on the vaccine. Don’t beat yourself up too bad. Some things we just can’t control.”

“Yeah yeah...I know.  Still can’t wait for things to be simple again, where I have an enemy I can see and fight.” Anton looks around for a moment, then grins, “I think I’ve also decided that once I’m cleared, I’m gonna get some drinks in me, go out on the town, or something.  I guess It’d be appropriate to celebrate a brush with death after all.”

Leon, lets out boisterous laugh clapping Anton on the shoulder. “With thoughts like that I bet you’ll be out of here by tomorrow. Glad you got your head on straight. There’s nothing like celebrating a brush with death.” Leon leans in and whispers, “Trust me, I’ve nearly died more times than I can count now.” In a normal voice, “I’ll stop back by tomorrow with some liquor and we’ll have a drink.” Leon heads back over to Nahja, and sitting on the edge of the armrest placing an arm around. “You look more worried about Revy now, then you did. Is everything okay?”

Nahja calmly turns to Leon and smiles.  “Oh don’t worry about it.  I just worry about her, even though I know such things don’t much matter to her.  Honestly being here like this is the closest I really get to her.  I know the fact that she tolerates my presence more than most people means something, something special, but it’s still difficult to deal with.  This last incident has been hard on us both, so I don’t know how it will resolve, or if it will resolve, or if there is anything to resolve once she wakes up.”  Her expression darkens, “I...I know terrible things happened to her when she was captured.  I was spared having to see it all...but that doesn’t make the realization any easier.  It’s never been this bad, and it’s never been because of something I did so wrong.  She just had no idea what kind of power Allister had now...”  her expression changes, to one of anger, it’s a fiery expression, and the emotive power of a Zeltron leaves no mistaking the extent of her feelings as she looks up at Leon once more.  “If you or Revy don’t kill him...then I will, as soon as I figure out the best way to do it.”

Leon’s eyes harden and his jaw is set, “Allister and Creed will die I promise you that.” Leon takes deep breath and exhales, his jaw slackens and his eyes are less full of intent to kill. “I can’t say I’ve ever seen anger like that in your eyes. Not even when we were on opposite sides. I hope Revy wakes up soon. I hate seeing you so worried.”

“I’m sorry, I just don’t feel right, feeling anything else right now...now that my thoughts have wandered back to it.  I had it easy, I was spared the violence, spared the violation.  And at the end of it all it was for nothing.  She suffered for my sake, and her efforts were in vain.  Sure, we are both alive...but....ugh...Leon...I wish I could just make it go away...wish I could forget it.  Until she wakes up...the whole situation is in limbo.  I try to keep my mind off it when I can, but inevitably it draws me back in.  Oh Leon...” she leans her body in closer to Leon, burying herself in his arms as if they could shelter her from the terrible thoughts that linger.  

Leon holds her tight letting her draw comfort from his presence. “Nahja...I’m sorry I wasn’t there sooner...It’ll be okay...You’ll see...” [3]

Leon’s embrace may not truly be shelter, but it does provide comfort.  Comfort and warmth.  The shaking of her body is evidence of the quiet sobbing that has begun.  She remains that way for a while, but slowly and surely, it almost feels as if the darkness is leaving her.  She reaches a state of stillness that allows Leon, for a moment, to feel the beating of her heart.

A sudden motion catches the attention of Giff, and Leon.  Revy’s upper body lurches upward suddenly. Her eyes open, they quickly begin scanning the room.  Giff realizing that this is the moment he has trained for, and ducks.  Revy’s eyes suddenly focus on Giff for a few moments, but then once again scan the room.  They settle on the image of Nahja and Leon embracing, and then finally make contact with Leon’s eyes.  Her stare is one of an infinite void,  offering only fear and expectation from others but not revealing anything about the person behind the eyes.

Leon stares into Revy’s eyes for just a moment before whispering in Nahja’s ear, “Revy’s awake.”

Before Nahja can say anything Revy extricates herself from the bed.  Giff, still ducking, is about to say something in protest when Revy glares at him.  Giff is silenced, and decides it’s best to continue ducking.  Revy moves towards Leon and Nahja with a determined look.  She looks Leon right in the eyes and demands, “Tell me what happened, happened to me, happened to Nahja, how did we get from that prison to here?  I don’t want her sugar coating everything or leaving out details, I need to know.”

Nahja glances up at Revy, “Revy...can’t you wait....”  Her voice cutoff by Revy.  

“If you can’t take it, then leave.” She says, letting her eyes meet Nahja’s long enough to get her intent through to her.

Nahja does not move, and once again buries her head in Leon’s chest.

Leon gently rubs her back for a moment before meeting Revy’s eyes, “I’m not quite sure what happened to you. Only that you fought against Allister and loss, and was then tortured. I don’t believe much happened to Nahja.” Leon pauses for a moment. “I was informed that Nahja was captured by Creed, and I went to confront him. Instead of fighting him I made a deal. However, when the time is right I will kill both him and Allister. In a nutshell that’s how you came to be here at my garrison on Mon Gazza.”

Revy tilts her head slightly, “What kind of deal?”

Without hesitation Leon replies, “One in which I help him achieve his goals. Those bastards are going to wind up dead fast if they think I’ll up hold that.”

“Hmm....I guess I can’t hold it against you if I couldn’t beat them either.  But...I get the feeling you didn’t back away from a fight just because you were afraid.  There was something else wasn’t there?”

“Perceptive. I had three choices. Let Nahja die, let Lieutenant Keyes die, or join forces to save them both. The third option fulfilled my current obligations to the dead and myself.”

“A real no-win situation, so you are trying your hand at cheating.  All right then.  I only want one thing from you then.  When you do decide to take them down, I want to be there.  And another thing, if you give me reason to doubt your plan...I’ll fucking kill you.”  Revy’s last words are accentuated by a very cold stare, it seems even understanding the risks, she’d drag herself through Hell just to make that possible.  In fact, you are uncertain if you’ve ever seen Revy looking like that, and out of the corner of your eye, you even see a surprised look on Nahja’s face.  

Internally Leon feels uneasy with Revy’s final words and the surprised look he catches on Nahja’s face. His instincts and training as a soldier take charge not allowing the uneasiness show. “You have a deal.”

Revy’s mouth slowly forms into one of the most malicious looking grins you have ever seen.  “Perfect.  That’s one piece of business out of the way.” She glances down at Nahja, then back to Leon.  “Now there’s the other piece of business that’s on my mind.  What have you two been doing since I’ve been knocked the fuck out?”

“Well things have obviously gotten more serious since we’ve had more time to talk, and haven’t ended up on opposite sides of the same gun fight.” Leon answers casually.

Revy raises an eyebrow...just as someone else enters the infirmary...

Gavin enters the room, looking slightly ill.  He stops short when he sees the room’s occupants, and gives the two women a brief, somewhat bug-eyed stare.

He clears his throat, and turns to Leon.  “Sergeant.  I... hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

Leon looks over his shoulder to the entrance, “What can I help you with Gavin?”

“I’d like a word with you.  In private.”

“Well that is a tad of an interruption, but alright.” He turns back to Nahja and Revy, “I’ll leave the two of you alone for a moment to talk. Then I’ll answer more of your questions Revy.” Leon slowly slips out of Nahja’s embrace, moving toward the entrance. “Let’s talk in the hall then. Shouldn’t really be anyone lurking.”

“Yeah, it can wait...just don’t disappear on me.”  Revy says, before turning to Nahja.  “Well...I guess you should update me as well.” She says as Leon and Gavin head towards the door.  

“I’m sorry... ‘lurking’?  I don’t quite follow.”

Leon just shakes his head, “Don’t worry about. Let’s just step out into the hall.” The doors to the infirmary slide open and Leon steps out into the grey hall of the garrison.

“Very well.  If that’s what you want.”  Gavin follows him, and walks some distance down the hallway, so as to be out of earshot of the infirmary.  However, he keeps one eye on the infirmary door.

Gavin sighs deeply before beginning.  “Sergeant, you mentioned earlier that you were grateful to have me around to act as a conscience, of sorts.  Well... there has been something that has been weighing on my conscience for some time now.  Sergeant, it's getting harder and harder for me to ignore the company you keep.”

Gavin continues.  His words seem stiff and formal, as if giving a practiced speech.  

“Over the time we have worked together, I have come to view you as both a leader, and a friend.  Your position as both has led me, perhaps unfortunately, to overlook certain... indiscretions.  But I can no longer ignore the fact that you have been openly fraternizing with enemies of the empire.  Enemy combatants that we, ourselves, have faced in battle, during our service to the empire.  Or that you seem to be currently giving them free access to our garrison.”

Gavin gives Leon a hard look.

“Not to put too fine a point on it, Sergeant... but I'd like you to explain why, exactly, I shouldn't turn your friends over to the authorities... and you along with them.”  Gavin swallows hard.  Despite the relative cool of the corridor, sweat beads dot his forehead.

Leon takes a deep breath leaning with his back against the wall. He lets a long pause draw out as he weighs his words. “I meet Nahja, on Coruscant while on leave at the Academy. It was just after the attack. Joanna wouldn’t speak to me because I lied to her about, Kyle, someone she held pretty dear. He died during the attack when he was crushed by debris in the hanger. I told her he was alive and fine. That she should takeoff and get out of the hanger before rebels blew it to hell. But that’s beside the point, though it may help you understand my decision with Creed and why I helped the Admiral. Can’t recall if I gave you those reasons yet. Anyhow, I fell for Nahja, while I was on Coruscant. That didn’t stop me from my duties in combat. As you have referred to the time our...two units were engaged in heated combat on Ralltiir.” Leon stops for a moment before continuing. “Nahja and I have talked and have come to a sort of solution to our issues of political leanings. And as for Revy, we have a common enemy. The enemy of your enemy is your friend. Or something like that for this case. She wants to kill Allister and Creed more than she wants to fight us, and I think we will need every bit of firepower when we move to kill Creed and Allister. Maybe those aren’t good enough reasons. But it’s really all I have. As you have said we have worked together for a long time now...” Leon trails off not quite sure what to say next, even though he has known a confrontation between him and Gavin had been brewing for some time.

“Political le-- POLITICAL LEANINGS?  Murphy, we’re talking about enemy combatants, here.  Traitors to the empire!  As in... literally, guilty of treason.  And you’re telling me you’ve come to some kind of... understanding?  I’d love to hear the details on that.”

Gavin appears to be absentmindedly fiddling with a Sabacc card as he talks.

Leon eyes sharpen momentarily, “No need to yell. I’m standing right here.”

“As for the details, it’s pretty simple really. She’s agreed to join the empire. And I’m talking about the woman I love, not an enemy combatant.”

“Oh really.  So she’s agreed to turn herself in?  Throw herself at the mercy of the empire?  Confess what she’s done, give them any intel she has, and hope that they will show leniency?”

“I said join Corporal. Not admit guilt to any alleged criminal activity as you are implying. And you should remember it was her team that activated the portal for us to leave that god forsaken overrun beach on Earth the last time we were there. And if that isn’t enough for you. Remember who helped save your family on Deet-Roit.”

“It would not be the first time that enemy units have been forced to work together against a common threat.  That fact doesn’t change what side any of us are on, however.  And yes, I DO recall that incident on Deet-Roit.  In fact, I seem to recall SOMETHING about her using a stolen code cylinder, and you CLAIMING that she was a member of Imperial Intelligence.  I take it you’re rescinding that claim.”

“I’ll say this much about that incident. The code cylinder is in my possession at the moment. You never know when you may have need of some special credentials. And I’m thinking this is less about Nahja, and more about you questioning my loyalty to the Emperor.”

“What if I am?  I mean... what would you expect?  You’ve been running around with these people... by your own admission, you’re involved in a... relationship with one of them.  And whenever I’ve tried to bring it up, you’ve either lied or tried to brush it under the rug.  What am I supposed to think?”

Emotion drains from Leon’s eyes and his tone of voice steady, cool, and precise, “Gavin, if I had wanted to sweep this under the rug, we wouldn’t be having this conversation here in the hall. We would be in my office, where there are no recordings. I’ll let you sort out who would be walking out of that office if that were the case. Instead, I stand here leaning against a wall, letting you vent your concerns and imply that I am a traitor to my Emperor. Yes, in times past I have given you half ass tactical reasons. But do remember, my loyalty is to fight and die for Palpatine. I shall do that with every breath I have. But I will have a sense of peace when I go. Are you truly terrified of a woman who has spent her time here sitting in the infirmary, and under constant surveillance? Perhaps, I’ve placed a friendship with the wrong soldier in this unit.”

“Don’t make this about me, Leon.  I want nothing to do with this on a personal level.  I’m just a soldier who’s trying to do his duty.  The fact of the matter is... it may be that you truly believe every word you’re saying to me right now.  Maybe your loyalty is as steady as it ever was.  But even if you mean well... Well, I’ve seen the way you look at her... the way you behave together.  I think it’s possible your feelings for her have clouded your judgment.  Maybe you’re on the level... and she’s not.  Maybe she’s using the feelings you have for her to her own advantage.  Have you considered that?  How do I know she’s not still on the rebellion’s payroll, and is just... stringing you along, hoping to get more info for her employers, or trying to gain our trust to set up a betrayal?  How do YOU know?”

Still void of emotion, exuding an unnatural calmness, “You say you have seen the way we behave around one another? And you have to ask whether she is plotting a betrayal? For a soldier who thinks an awful lot like a cop, I’m surprised you ask that. Yes, you are a soldier, Gavin, we follow orders. Captain Krieger’s orders were to report here, relieve the current force of duty, and man this station. We are not under attack. I am curious though, you see my judgement clouded? Is it my decision in regards to Isard? Or with Creed? The Admiral and my warpath to recover an Imperial pilot? Or is it just that you see me at peace and happy even when I’m not killing, enemies or civilians that get in the way of doing my duty? We both know I’m not long for this world with the way I fight. It’s a miracle that Giff has managed to keep me alive this long.”

“Don’t try to complicate things.  Obviously, I’m referring to your decisions regarding Nahja and Revy, and any other... friends of theirs.  Nothing more.  If you truly believe that Nahja is with us, and not against us, then you should convince her to defect to the empire--officially.  She may possess intelligence that is useful to the empire, or, if the rebellion isn’t aware of her... ‘change of heart,’ she could be used as a double agent.  If she comes clean, and the empire accepts her change of allegiance... then, I’ll believe she can be trusted.  As for Revy... I really don’t think we can ever really trust a mad dog like her... but I get the feeling she isn’t particularly important to you, anyway.”

“I trust Revy to do two things: to try and kill Creed and Allister and to try and kill me if she doesn’t like my plan for killing those two bastards. The later will destroy her only connection to another person in the entire universe. But you must have an overabundance of wax built up in your ears, as I already told you she was with us. As far as complicating things...things aren’t black and white as you would have them to be Gavin. The universe is grey. As for my decisions with Nahja...Let’s see there was the I’m going to fight her on the field, let’s not engage in a firefight in a room with an interdimensional portal machine in the room, accepting her help on Deet-Roit to save your family, oh and letting her come to a fortified stormtrooper garrison were she would be under constant surveillance. Seem to be pretty solid decisions. Which would you have not gone with? Accepting her help on Deet-Roit? Or engaging in a firefight with the interdimensional portal machine in the room?”

Gavin raises an eyebrow.  “I think you know exactly what I mean.  You don’t want to face facts, and you’re doing whatever you can to deflect this discussion from its main point.  I don’t blame you.  I know you have feelings for Nahja.  You don’t want to be having this conversation right now, or even thinking about the things I’m bringing up.  But you must have asked yourself these same questions.  As much as you’d like to ignore them, I KNOW they must have crossed your mind at some point.  Right now, I just want you to think... long and hard about what we’ve talked about.  I’ve said my piece.  And that’s all I’m going to do for now.  Think about what I’ve said... and we’ll resume this conversation tomorrow.  And decide where we’re going to go from here.”

“Gavin. Gavin it isn’t me who needs to think. Each question, each implication, I have answered. But each question put to you has been sidestepped, as if it is a landmine. If you want to discuss this later then fine. I will warn you now however, that you will not be allowed this...level of open forum again. You will answer my questions. You are dismissed, Corporal Ragdos.” Leon’s tone hasn’t changed since it went cool and steady, his hands still rest on his thighs thumbs hooked on the pockets.

“I’ll be glad to answer any and all questions you may have, Sergeant.  Until next time.”  Gavin turns and walks down the hall, flipping the card through the knuckles of his left hand as he goes.

Seems I’ve given that corporal too much leeway. Leaving as if he was an equal or superior. That will be fixed. Leon sighs and stretches his hands as he walks back toward the infirmary after Gavin turns the corner. On top of that I almost lost it and shot one of my own soldiers. Granted I could possibly use mutiny as a reason, but that may not hold up well. The doors to sick bay slide open and Leon walks back inside. Time to finish this discussion with Revy.

Upon entering the room Leon finds Revy and Nahja hanging out by one of the beds.  Giff is more relaxed now, apparently at ease, or at the very least someone told him that he did not need to be ducking anymore.  Revy looks up at Leon as he enters, a mischievous grin appears on her face.  “So...I’ve gotten most of the scoop from Nahja.  I guess I need to officially determine whether or not I approve....right?”

“Great sounds like I may not like your approval process,” Leon says as a grin crosses his face. “And I think I’m gonna hate even more what you’re gonna do if you disapprove.”

Revy laughs, “If you’re man enough, you’ll be fine.  I think it’ll be fun.  Besides, I’ve been knocked out for....some really long period of time, and you look like you’re a bit stressed.  Up to the challenge?”

 

“I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge. What’s the challenge?”

“You’ve got a gym of some sorts in this garrison right?  Just need a good spot for an old fashioned bare-fisted brawl.  Doesn’t matter who wins or loses, so long as you don’t quit, you’ll be okay in my book.  If you wanna make things interesting we can always make some bets on the outcome.” Revy seems thoroughly excited by the prospect of physical violence.

Suddenly Giff appears near you both.  “I really must object to any sort of violence on my watch.  Can you just imagine the problems that a space concussion could cause?  It could bring about space madness!”  

Leon laughs. “Calm down, Giff. A little fist fight never...well, a friendly little match never killed no one.” Turning back toward Revy and Nahja, “I accept your proposal. Are you sure you’re physically ready? You did just wake from a coma.”

“That’s how I like it.  I gotta break myself in again after all that fucking sleep.  Don’t worry, I won’t use it as an excuse if you beat me.  I’m ready to go whenever you are.  Just... gotta get out of this damn gown tunic thing.”  She looks around to find her personal belongings, which doesn’t take long as Nahja was a step ahead of her, holding the bag that she was seeking.  Revy takes the bag, “Okay, now I have everything I need.”

“And that’s my clue to leave. I’ll meet you in the gym then.” Leon turns around and heads back towards the door.

In the gym Leon starts laying out some mats for Revy and himself to brawl on. It’s been quite some time since he had last practiced his close quarters combat skills. He chuckles a bit while laying them out remembering how the drill sergeant and consistently kicked everyone’s ass in Tau squad back on Carida. “Oh man that was funny shit trying to teach Rossq how to fight. All that guy ever had on his mind where junk.” Leon busts out in a boisterous laugh. “Except for that time when the drill sergeant made him eat and pass his goggles. Almost miss those days.”

“Reminds me of my childhood.”  A familiar voice can be heard from behind you.  Revy is once again wearing her familiar garb.  She heads for the gym supplies to get some athletic tape and begins to wrap her hands.  “This should be fun, though we might both regret it in the morning,” she says with a laugh.

Leon laughs. “Perhaps so. Perhaps so. Alright, so whenever you’re ready.” He waits for Revy to motion the fight to begin and then quickly connects a right jab swinging high with a left hook.

Revy rolls in and through, converting the hits into glancing blows, returning with punches of her own.  Her left turns out to be a little on the dangerous side as she manages to sink a solid hit straight into Leon’s gut.

Grunting Leon manages to keep her following right from impacting into his head absorbing it with his biscep, before recovering with several well placed punches forcing Revy to take to the defensive.

The momentum of the fight is quickly slipping away from Revy.  Maybe getting into a fight right after my recovery was a bad idea....but fuck it, blood’s pumping.  She grins for a moment, then throws herself at Leon with a reckless abandon.  

Revy’s offensive forces Leon backwards a couple of steps as he weaves between the her flurry of blows and blocking what he can’t dance around. Finding the timing of her punches he forces her off the offensive with several punches. I thought this was going to be a much tougher fight...Could it just be because she just came out of a coma?

There’s going to be a lot of bruises, she thinks for a moment.  Forced into blocking for more punches than she wanted, she’s really starting to feel the hurt.  Her own reckless offense is tiring her out as well.  She tries to get one more solid hit in, but Leon manages to roll with it, leaving herself exposed.

Rolling with that last punch Leon sees just the opportunity he had been waiting for. Dipping in inside of her guard he lands a full force blow in Revy’s gut. As her body reacts to the impact of the first punch he shifts his stance for an uppercut, sending Revy to the ground.

Somewhere in hyperspace, around the same time...

An Imperial shuttle bores a hole through space on its way to Mon Gazza.  In the passenger section are seated three individuals, two belonging to the Imperial Navy, and one stormtrooper.  Seated together are Rear Admiral Joseph Keyes and Lieutenant Commander Figg Nutonne.  Keyes’ face shows the signs of age and stress, his youth was spent on politics and war, but he is not so young as to be finished with it all.  Next to him Nutonne sits with an air of superiority about him.  He is younger than Keyes, but also seems to avoided all the scars of a military career, possibly through his own cunning.  The contrast between the two men could not be greater,  with the strangely styled mustache on Nutonne’s face almost enhance the point that he does not belong.  Perhaps it was these stark contrasts that have kept him in service of the Admiral.  Admiral Keyes was known for finding great use out of things that others could see no benefit from.  His resourcefulness and an eye for the minutiae in all things alone may have brought him this far.  Seated across from them is yet another piece that perhaps doesn’t fit.  A lone stormtrooper wearing the all black uniform of the stormtrooper corps.  The trooper has short, brown hair in a bob cut, sky blue eyes, and a light complexion.  The trooper was shorter than average, with a thin build and soft features.  On either side of the trooper were large duffle bags packed with all sorts of gear and belongings.   The trooper’s name is Raine Kaimura.  

“Are you sure that your brother can handle this assignment?”  asked Keyes.  

Figg replied, “My brother may be a horrible excuse for a soldier, but he has his uses.  I need an atypical person, and I don’t think anyone is more atypical than him.  It takes a special level of failure to become that different.”  

I wonder if he realizes that he’s practically describing himself...probably not. Keyes thought before stammering out a hasty reply, “If you say so.  And what of Corporal Kaimura, are you sure you want to part ways already?”  

At this remark Raine looks up, silently joining the conversation at hand.

“Don’t forget that Kaimura has only been here a short while, and considering the circumstances, I’d rather not keep someone around who might bring death upon me, even if Giff is my useless brother, I doubt he’ll lead to my downfall.”

“Aren’t you being a bit harsh?  Did you even bother to read the report details?”  Interjected Keyes.

“Oh yes, of course I did.  It’s clear to me however that someone who hasn’t the heart for this sort of thing IS dangerous.  Think of this as a favor, a position in a combat unit that is guaranteed to see action, and soon.  It will either fix the problems...”

“Or kill me.  Death is a simple thing, I don’t have a problem with it.  What happened to the Ensign is not my fault.  It’s not my fault that HIS body failed him.  I...I tried.”

“Did you?  You know for all that he did for you, I bet you could have tried harder.  Besides, I happen to know that some things had gotten very....iffy...in the days leading up to the incident.  I suspect that could have clouded your judgment.  I know all too well that I am not a likeable person, so I can’t rely on someone who might factor their hatred of me into their medical duties.  The only reason I pulled you out of that mess is that I needed a medic handy to get the papers signed to get my brother out of his unit.  You’re not even a volunteer, do you think I want someone who is stuck serving without any sense of duty to be my medical aide?  Ridiculous.”

“You can blame or pin whatever you want on me.  It doesn’t matter if I’m drafted or not.  It doesn’t matter whether I liked the Ensign or not, it doesn’t matter whether or not he died.  It doesn’t even matter if I like YOU or not.  I’m pretty damn used to people not liking me or being against me.  Dying is such a simple thing, living is such a complex thing.  I prefer the complexity of living to the simplicity of death.  I may be drafted, I may be held in service indefinitely, but I will make something from that instead of taking some easy way out.  I’ll live a beautiful life, and I will impress that upon others.  I’ll use the complexities of life to cheat the simplicity of death.”

“Oh...such fancy talk.  Words are such useless things though.  No matter, you’ll still be out of my hands soon enough.  You had better enjoy the last moments of my presence.”

Keyes looks at them both and sighs.  “This conversation is over.  Commander you may end regretting your decision, who knows.  Corporal, I think you’ll find your new squad to be more...hospitable.  At any rate they’ll put you to good use and let you stand on your own merits, I’m sure of it.”

“Thank you sir,” Raine says with the faintest of smiles.

Figg mouths “Thank you sir” in a ridiculous manner; a childish jab in Raine’s direction.

Keyes just shakes his head.  I’m glad this flight is almost over, the sooner we arrive, the better.