-the fallen-
[serenno retrieval and rescue mission]
[ Julian Qar Julian Qar - Lord Halketh ]

The smell was unforgettable.

It was all that filed the inner spaces of their helmets, clawed away at their suits, and swirled inside their lungs. He could never rid himself of the screaming from Ziost, even where he stood the voices were all the same. Still haunting him, they just simply never left and would remain pinned to the inner reaches of his mind, pushing forth fractals of memories he wished to forget.

“Handle them with care, please” The Doc managed to croak, his voice sounded as hollow as the wind that carried that stench up their noses. A single golden lens scanned the area, there was no HUD in place to overwhelm his senses with its symphony of flat lines and ghostly imagery. “We are not leaving until we find them, that is an order.” Who was he to make such a claim? Julian didn’t care for their ranks. Today he had one goal, to carry their men home and find their foundation - no matter the outcome.

“You’re getting kinda ballsy, Qar.” The senior retrieval coordinator taunted from within his coms. “I didn’t ask for your input, Krushatt...” He snapped - he hated the sound of his voice today. Even the vibration of his breathing irritated him. But he would push past all the annoyances to dig away at the rubble that chipped at the pads of his synthetic fingertips.

“Two here Doc, KIA.” Another medic would announce while draping a white cloth over a mangled corpse. This was their flag for the retrieval team to pick up and carry who or whatever ever they could find back to the ship. Julian just shook his head at the obvious. They hadn’t found any survivors for miles. The Doc bit his tongue to stop himself from lashing out, muttering what words he wanted to say under his breath.

“What the fuck did you expect?”

Shaking hands stripped away his helm, tossing it amongst the pile of crumbled rock at the end of his boots. He couldn’t hide his grief behind its blackened visor any longer, they were all in pain, there was no use shrouding it. “Keep count, try and find their tags and make sure we got the drapes in place for the RTs.” The doctor offered him no other words, wiping his sweat-stained brow while they continued with their tasks.

“Doc, ship one is at capacity. We’ll be sending it off and starting on ship two in just a moment.”

Julian looked back at the coordinator, nodding. His eye moved past them now. He seemed fixated on the destruction just on the other side. There would be victory here but one not obtained without the price of blood and bone that covered the streets. Sometimes all they could find were holo tags, painted in ichor, laying on top of imprints of who could have been. There would be no body to bury, no send-off into life after, and no window into a future they spoke about huddled among one another before their drops into warfare. They would see no family, all that would become of them was an offering for victory, for freedom, for the cause.

Quietly the doctor continued his rounds on autopilot, his senses focused on any trickle of force energy making its way through him. All he could do was just keep his sights on recovery, even as the landscape groaned and crumbled around them. “Come on Halk…” Julian mumbled, perhaps now thankful he couldn’t feel the Titan slamming away against his chest from anxiety. Without him, without her, who would be the ones to watch over Carlac? The medic rubbed his tired face, pushing away those feelings. Retrieval. That was the goal.


The medical and retrieval teams continued moving forward, carrying with them more bags, more white flags, more boxes of fragmented souls. “Everyone, let's do one last round and then report to the ships...We've got as many as we could find.” Krushatt couldn’t hide the devastation in her voice.

Night was nearing over Serenno, they had picked apart every stone, every grain of sand for miles over the last coordinates the tracking beacons had pointed them towards. This was the place the undead army fell, shielding the living from the sith assault from up above. They were close, Julian could feel it, he wouldn’t allow darkness to stray him from his course. “Krushatt, we need their b- no one leaves until we find them. We need to bring them home. All of them.” She wouldn't question him then, knowing how stubborn he would become. His systems had made him that way even if he tried to melt into the fabric of his former humanity.

The ground beneath his feet sprawled out with jagged lines, branching out from above a cavern made not by the soil but another origin. Julian could feel the tired pulse of energy emanating from the space, it was a source he’d felt before though dimming with each moment he stood. “Jack, I need a retrieval medic and a gurney on my position. I found the Warlord.” It was a bold claim but one he would stand by, holding onto hope. That was what propelled him as he dug away at the ground, pooling all the strength he could into those titanium limbs. No normal man would be able to handle the magnitude of the weight alone, but he pushed past the blood seeping from the metallic connection of his organic leg. It wasn’t meant for this sort of impact.

“Halketh! It’s Julian, I’m gunna get you out! Don’t move, ok. Stay still.” He had no idea if he were talking to a corpse at this point but he would keep up with his words. “Almost there, almost there!” The final pieces of rubble flung off the body, finally revealing their wounded Warlord. He was there, alive, just barely but Julian could still feel the pulsing of the force around him.

“Halk, You’re ok, we’re gunna get you out bud, just hang on, I gotcha.” Julian continued his script, pulling the synthetic orb from his pack and crudely shoving it into the blacken socket on his face. Seconds was all it took for the calibration to take effect, the HUD booted up, scanning over the body as soon as his diagnostic unit had touched the man’s flesh. He felt warm to the touch, the doctor was thankful though uncertain of the extent of his injuries. Quickly a heard of medics rushed to their position, attaching the man’s body with every medical device they had one hand. “Steady, Steady. He's got a few broken bones and internal injuries. We'll run more tests when we get back to Carlac, make sure you stabilize him.” He would guide them as they lifted an unconscious Halketh’s wounded roving gurney.

Krushatt was following behind them, it was odd to see her there, she was supposed to be with the last of the RTs on the ship. “Everything alright, Krushaatt? I thought you'd be with your team.” The doctor tilted his head, walking closer to the specialist finally seeing her face clearer now. Her eyes were red and puffed out, she was wiping tears from his face - she had been crying. Julian felt a drop hit his gut. “Kr-Krushatt... Jack..what the fuck happened?” He tried his best to offer her space, his mind overwhelmed with about a dozen possibilities for her behavior.

They just needed a break when her voice finally broke the ruthless noise in his skull.

“We f-f..h..h..Jules...we...f-found"

"Wh-who did you find...Breathe, Jack...who?"

"W-we found Cassiy.”

It was worse than they'd expected.


"W-where is she?"

His voice, his voice was not just something they heard, it was all they felt. Time stood still for them as soon as he uttered those first three words. Julian paused before moving closer to the Warlord’s bedside, he had been out for hours on their trip back home. They figured it would be some time before he body would stir awake giving them moments to prepare for the announcement. No one was ready, not even Julian.


The doctor couldn't offer any other words. He watched as the miralukans expression shifted erratically behind his crimson blindfold. He couldn’t see her, he couldn’t feel her anymore. She was the line between his mind and their world and now, who was he without her? Julian just stood still, like stone unmoving. What organic mass had been left in his body vibrated with intensity as Halketh choked on his words, gasping for breath. They knew...they knew at that moment he knew, his words were just like the autopilot Julain had felt before. His words were a mere attempt to bring hope into his aching heart, if he spoke them, maybe just maybe in those moments, she would rush through those doors to be by his side.

But she wasn’t.

"I don't see her- where is she?!"


The medics’ bodies started to feel the ache of burning manifesting itself as Halketh’s chaos swelled, grasping at their hearts with his agony. The force gripped at each body that stood in that space, funneling his pain, the grief he felt over her. Halketh didn’t want to believe it, not now, not ever. This mission was routine, this would be just like the others, there wasn’t a moment where anyone or anything was miscalculated. This was not a part of the plan.

Acting fast was all Julian could do and without thinking his stimmed the Warlord’s line, rendering him motionless, forcing him to sleep. Halketh would have his head for this, he was certain of it but they couldn’t risk such volatile clouds surrounding their ship on the way home. Julian could feel his pain so vividly, so much so that he toppled over the man’s body, clutching his chest.

Oh, force how you move me beyond my will to feel.

“Sir, she didn’t make it...”

He whispered to the man’s comatose body. The silence was all that surrounded them, the emptiness the force left behind would be all they tasted. For now, they stood around his bedside, listening to the rumble of the ship’s engines as it ushered them into the darkness of space.