munnin: (archer)
[personal profile] munnin
Title: Act 1, Scene 1 - Sera. The end of the beginning.
Fandom: Star Wars.
Disclaimer: No ownership, no profit and no offence meant. Everyone is of the age of consent in their country and period of history
Author’s notes: This ‘verse started as a first anniversary gift for the members of the Canberra Star Wars Collectors Club. That story didn’t go very far but the idea stuck.

Summary: Order 66 happens while Sera’s away from the Arguments End.


For long, hollow seconds there was nothing. Nothing but the thunder of her own heart and the ragged grating of her breath. It stuck in her lungs, the acrid air thick with smoke and the smell of blood. The blood of friends turned enemies. In a single moment the world had turned and nothing made sense.

It had been a simple mission – swing past the training outpost of Ilanda and update the star charts needed by the Jedi strike team of the assault ship Arguments End. A milk run; a favour for a friend. Sera had friends of her own in the systems and the day’s diversion would pay off well in information and gossip – the greatest currency in the galaxy.

She had been welcomed in the small temple that served has both training outpost and monastery to the Jedi Order. She was no Jedi herself, just a trader, a smuggler, an ally to the order and long time friend to a noted Jedi Commander D’rue Norseman. Her own force sensitivity had never been enough to make her worth training, or brought her to the Order’s attention. It had not even been enough to warn her of what was about to happen.

There were clones on Ilanda, as there were throughout the Order’s dominion these days. Sera had grown fond them, especially the squads assigned to the Arguments End. Master D’rue preference for the unusual, for the outstanding and the atypical had earned his squads the nickname of the Odds. Each of them was distinct, as all clones were in their own way but that distinction was encouraged on the ‘End. The clones on Ilanda seemed rather more uniformed and standardised. Perhaps they were shinies, not yet tested in battle, devoid of the marks and scars that would set them apart.

It happened so suddenly she almost didn’t realised what it was. Blaster fire in the hall, the rattle of DC-15s and staccato trill of DC-17s. At first she thought it must have been a live-fire exercise but the whoosh of lightsabers igniting broke the illusion.

Her own blaster was back on her ship, a courtesy to temple but the little hold-out pistol sat snug in the hollow of her boot-cuff. The scene that greeted her in the hall seemed so unreal that at first she couldn’t react, couldn’t process it. Clone Troopers, those reliable props to the Jedi Order in this uncertain age were firing on Masters and Padawans alike.

A bolt grazed the wall at her back, a stray shot meant for the young knight ahead of her, slamming her back into reality and she returned fire. The next few minutes passed in the slowed-down hazy of battle; in the place between instinct and training that her Jedi partner referred to as the moment of clarity. At some point she stepped over a fallen clone and took up his blaster, a lightsaber in her other hand. There were younglings here, padawans so new in their training that they forgot all they had learned and ran in fear while others stood to protect their retreat.

She was no Jedi but there was no choice on which side she stood. The Odd of the ‘End might have been her friends but here, on Ilanda, clone troopers had become the enemy.

All sense of time was lost, she had no idea how long she fought. Only in the stillness that followed as the last shot echoed away did she come back to herself.

The pound of her heart, the rush of blood in her ears, each breath torn from her lungs.

Other senses slowly returned, adding their reports to a litany of damage. The hot trickle of blood pooling in the hollow of her collarbone where flying shrapnel had scored her jaw. The burn across the meat of her thigh from blaster fire. The rawness of broken skin across her knuckles. The heat of the blaster in her hand.

And then the sounds of greater suffering. Jedi around her; fallen, wounded, dying. Her own hurts were forgotten as the blaster clattered to the ground and she ran to help. It wasn’t over yet.

In the hours and days that followed, as the handful of survivors fought to understand what had happened, they learned the most terrible truth of all. It had happened everywhere.

Those in tune with the living force as Sera would never be; rocked themselves in quiet corners, trying to block out the emptiness where once the great Jedi Order had been.

For her own part she stayed; patched the wounds of the living and helped build pyres for the dead. If this new and terrible Empire meant to wipe them out, the few survivors couldn’t stay on Ilanda. Her contacts in the underground would help them find new homes, give them new identities, help them vanish as all Jedi must now vanish to survive.

But every night she looked to the stars. The Arguments End’s signal had gone dark in the wake of the attack. Had her friends on the Jedi strike team survived? Has the Odds turned? Or had the many ARC troopers in those squads held to their independence and refused the order? Had brothers in arms, Jedi and Clones turned on each other or were they out there somewhere fighting back?

She knew Master D’rue was still alive. Call it an article of faith. They had been friends too long for her to doubt, though the galaxy itself might divide them. For now, she would do what she could on Ilanda and trust in the force that they would find each other again when the time was right. They were survivors after all.

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September 2017

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