munnin: (Jedi)
[personal profile] munnin
Title: Act 1, Scene 4 - D'rue. Choices, not always your own.
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: Master D’rue questions the meaning of friend and foe.


Jedi Commander D’rue Nor-smen turned a corner at a run, all his focus on his pursuers. Now wasn’t the time to turn and fight. The station echoed with death, the force rippling with pain and discord. Feeling the layout of the hallway ahead of him, he could see the path to the hanger. For there he could-

The door in front of him opened and his boot gripped the durocrete floor in a sudden halt as he faced the three ARC troopers.

For a long moment all sound died for him. Only the thunderous tearing of his own breath seemed to make a sound.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inhale.

As loud in his ears as any missile run.

He knew the troopers at once, the expressionless faceplates as familiar to him as his own refection. They were Odds, marked with the black mace of his own squad.

Tem, his most trusted of the Odd’s clone commanders, raised his blaster, aiming squarely at D’rue’s chest.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inhale.

A ripple in the turgent chaos of the force guided him to step aside, pivoting on the ball of his foot as the blaster muzzle flashed. It seemed to whisper, a sound still too soft compared to the rasp of his breath.

The cloth of his robe singed and his breath caught as the blaster bolt grazed across his chest, missing him by millimetres.

Behind him, bodies fell.

Tem had fired on D’rue attackers, his brother troopers.

His ARCs had held true; the independency and the individuality of the Odds had been enough to override Palpatine’s orders. All was not lost.

“We have to go, boss. There isn’t much time.” Tem’s voice seemed to carry across the deafening silence.

D’rue fell into step with them as they hurried on, locking and barricading doors behind them. “Status report.” D’rue’s voice sounded even, carrying the commanding calm he wrapped around himself like a cloak.

“Fidelis squad have fallen defending Masters Jod’i and Keyani’s escape.” Tem’s tone carried both mourning and pride. Fidelis had always put the safety of their padawan commander above their own and their sacrifice had not been in vain. “No word of Master Nansi but Captain Mirkell reported Master Chrys made it to the Argument’s End, sir. They entered hyperspace at seventeen minutes.”

D’rue nodded, trusting their judgement. No doubt Chrys and Mirkell had rescued Jedi aboard. Getting them to safety was the wisest move they could have made. “The other squads?”

The silence from Tem was deafening, drawing out for long moments. Racket, the squad’s heavy artilleryman cleared his throat. “Only Fidelis were ARCs, sir.”

And only ARC troopers had the strength to question a direct order. There was a gut wrenching wave of guilt from the silent scout on D’rue’s left. Rocker had been in the workshop with most of Corvus squad when the order had come through. He had been forced to kill several of his brothers including the Corvus mechanic Tori with whom he was closer than anyone on the Argument’s End.

D’rue nodded and pushed back the trooper’s regret. Later there would be time to mourn, if they survived. With a flick of his fingers, he opened the next airlock, moving in perfect harmony with his remnants of his squad as they cleared the way across the battle torn flight deck.

There ahead, in a tumbled crate was part of the cargo they had come to the station for. The black commando armour, custom built for the Odds. Clearing the last attacking troopers, Tem flicked on the crate’s repulses and pushed it towards a suiting up alcove. “You need to look like one of us.” He ordered, shaking the packing beads out of the black-faced bucket. “Then we take a ship and go.”

Already shrugging off his blood stained robe, D’rue nodded. There was nothing more they could do here. He could feel the last flickering light of Jedi life on the station going out. Across the living force he reached for her, a Jedi Knight he didn’t know. She was young and afraid and injured beyond healing. He offered her what little peace there was to offer. A tear slid down his cheek as his presence brushed hers, being with her for that last moment so she didn’t have to die alone.

And then he was alone. The great void of light that had once been the Jedi Order sucked at him like a black hole.

Tem’s hand caught his shoulder, steadying him. “Boss?”

D’rue swallowed and pulled the vambrace over the sleeves of his tunic, pushing down the pain and reaching for his resolve. “Let’s go.”

Somewhere out there, other Jedi had survived – hunted and hurting, but alive. For them, he had to push on.

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September 2017

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