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Aftermath of Glory (Tegaea)

Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

Great upheavals had taken place in the Galaxy. The alliance between the Protectorate and the Republic had broken with the incident of Polis Massa, the Jedi had gone on a Crusade to liberate the slaves of Metalorn from the iron grip of the Sith Empire.

Perhaps against her better judgement Siobhan Kerrigan had participated, taking a small force of Omega Pyre volunteers, fighting a gruelling tank battle and then engaged the Sith Master Velok - though she had not known his name at the time - in a duel, coming out on top as the Whiphid fled the battlefield after being subjected to her telekinetic prowess and the power of the bolter, but at a cost.

Bionics limbs had been fried by force lightning, her flesh leg had been stabbed by a spear of midnight black, she had also probably broken something when she was thrust out of her walker's cockpit after a missile forced it to its knees.

Such was the price of glory - or some might say the limits of glory.

The hour was late when the frigate burst out of hyperspace, carrying the task force, after having made a few brief stops along the way following a trek from across half the Galaxy. But even at this hour the industrial town that was Fondor was filled with frentic activity, smoke billowing out of the chimneys of countless factories, workers toiling in the shipyards to create the vessels that had made the Omega Protectorate such a power in the Galaxy.

A power its leaders intended to preserve, but a wind of change was sweeping across the Galaxy and it would take strength to maintain the power and adapt.
 
Exarch Tegaea Alcori was in bed when the frigate arrived. Sadly, for those of an interested mind, she was alone and asleep. After all, it was the middle of the night, Fondor time, and even Exarchs needed to sleep sometimes!

She was woken by a call on her commlink. It was her special communicator, the code for which very few had. It usually meant something very good, or very bad, had happened. Fumbling around, she turned on the lamp on the second go and answered the device.

“Hello?” she asked blearily. She had been having such a nice dream too. She was a bit hazy on details, but had involved @[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"] and honey….
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

The rumour was that Moira Skaldi never slept and that whenever she called someone she was in her sterile office, even when it was late in the night, or rather in the morning. Needless to say this was untrue, for occasionally she was at home in her functional rather than luxurious apartment, enjoying an episode of Yes, Senator.

However, she sounded far more awake than Tegaea. Perhaps the rumours about her being an HRD were true. Or more likely she was addicted to starcaf and a paranoid control freak, the sort who slept with a blaster under her pillow.

Regardless as head of military intelligence and senior policy analyst, she was one of the chosen few with the code to Tegaea's special communicator and thus the right to call her at this ungodly late hour. "Exarch, it's Skaldi. Home Fleet Command has received word the Sword Task Force has returned from Metalorn. Details are still scarce, but the Empire appears to have held off the Republic onslaught. Returnees are bound to land momentarily. Colonel Kerrigan is among them...she has been injured significantly." Moira could rival Maelion when it came to delivering reports in an impassive tone of voice. Perhaps one of the reasons why she had been happy about the HRD joining MICO.
 
There were many ways to be greeted in midnight calls, but Moira Skaldi’s voice was one of the less reassuring ones. She was, after all, the one who had once suggested that a third of Tegaea’s staff should be purged to encourage the others. She was what some described as ‘cold’, ‘efficient’ and more usually ‘a queen you don’t want to mess with’, though not within her hearing.

“Significantly?” Tegaea asked, her heart skipping a beat and a cold chill running down her back. “What do you mean? How significantly?” she demanded.
Deep breath. She’s alive at least.

“What other information do you have? Where are they landing?”
@[member="Moira Skaldi"]
 

Moira Skaldi

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Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

It was not much of a secret that Moira and Siobhan did not get on. However, although Moira considered the ex-Jedi overemotional and frankly an unstable sledgehammer, her tone did not show that. As for her being the 'queen you don't want to mess with', Moira would take that quite accurate description as a compliment.

"According to the medics she suffered significant electrical damage to flesh and bionics and was speared in her organic leg by some sort of...force weapon. Along with blunt trauma from being thrust out of a walker. The frigate will be landing at docking bay 31 at the Tower," Moira responded softly, pausing for a moment for Tegaea to process that.

"The preliminary after-action report will be forewarded to you. Colonel Kerrigan's armoured unit pursued a Sith tank column intending to restore a hypervelocity gun as part of a Republic force. Part of the Sith armour split off to hold them off, during the course of the battle, after the Sith armoured unit sustained significant losses, Colonel Kerrigan engaged a Sith Master, a Whiphid. Description matches that of Velok, Sith alchemist."

Obviously this would not be part of Moira's report, but Velok was also a very delicate source within the Empire. He also had a habit of dying and returning from the dead. Moira had no idea how the latter part worked, but was content with him not dying this time. There were so few people in the Galaxy worth talking to.

"He was beaten and retreated after a lengthy duel. We lost a walker, one Hoplite tank had its crew force drained, another was crippled but the occupants survived. Two are undamaged, most of the infantry squad in the strike force is alive. Two enemy tanks destroyed, two more damaged and an APC wrecked. As of now the Republic has not communicated its further intensions regarding the 'Crusade' to us."

At this stage Moira could not know that soon peace negotiations would begin. Needless to say she found peace and fluffy puppies rather boring. "They have named a bomber after the Colonel," she added almost as an afterthought.
 
Perhaps it was because she was tired, or perhaps it was because she was worried about Siobhan, but Tegaea simply didn’t care about individual vehicles losses at that moment. Somewhat irrationally she found herself hating @[member="Moira Skaldi"]. This was why she put up with Siobhan; she was a person who she could sympathise with. There was nothing sympathetic about Moira. She was no better than Maelion Liates, and Tegaea was no fan of that Terminatrix either.

“Thank you for your detailed report,” she said flatly, rubbing her eyes. “I will be at the dock soon. Have the location sent to me.” She cut the link.

After staring at the lights of the city for a moment she got up, turned on the lights and got dressed. She summoned Anya and they took a speeder with the coordinates Moira had supplied.
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

"Of course, Exarch," Moira responded calmly. If she picked up Tegaea's flat tone, she did not let it affect her. Tegaea was quite right, Moira was frankly an inherently selfish, cold-hearted woman and she would take that as a compliment and she was also quite good at what she did. There were delicate foreign policy matters she wanted to discuss with the Exarch, but that could wait a bit.

By the time the speeder bearing Anya and Tegaea reached the coordinates supplied by their friendly neighbourhood sociopath, the assault frigate had already landed and troopers were disembarking. There was no fanfare, no flag-waving or parades, this was not the cause of celebrations, but there was an honour guard of sorts. Night had descended upon Fondor and the clouds had broken so rain dropped down, though fortunately it was not a downpour yet. Tanks were being off-loaded along with the surviving soldiers and crew members.

Some troopers were being carried out on stretchers or helped along by their comrades in the case of the more lightly injured. In the midst of the procession a medical capsule, functioning as a repulsorsled, hovered above ground, being flanked by two Omegan soldiers in battle armour. It held the burnt and scarred body of Siobhan Kerrigan, presently sedated.
 
Tegaea possessed enough self-control not to rush to the sled. Instead, despite the pain in her, she merely watched it, hands behind her back. Behind her back, her knuckles tightened until both her hands were painful.
Anya laid a gentle hand on her arm. “Come on, Exarch, let’s go see her.”
Tegaea nodded her head, and went into the hospital area where @[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"] was being examined. It was better than she’d expected, but worse than she’d hoped. Her wife was again a mess. It made her…she wasn’t sure.
She felt vaguely guilty that she wasn’t in the frontlines with her wife like at Vandalhelm…but on the other hand, that wasn’t her role anymore. One had to learn how to adapt. She also felt angry, not just at the Sith…Velok…who had done this, but at Siobhan too.
Doesn’t she realise how important she is? She doesn’t have to do this!

Even the strongest self-control can only last so long. A tear spilled from her eye, and she turned away so she didn’t have to see Siobhan’s pitiable condition.
“I…call me when she’s awake,” she said, controlling the tremor in her voice with difficulty.
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

Consciousness gradually returned to her, step by step, as she awoke in the hospital bed. She really had to start comparing them now to see which was the most sterile. The light was far too bright and she averted her eyes - or rather her flesh and blood one, her bionic one had been deactivated it seems - then rubbed the sleep from it. Her hand moved with glacial slowness, she felt tired. Perhaps she should go to sleep again.

She heard movement and tensed before a medical droid stepped in. "Please do not exert yourself, Colonel. You have suffered significant damage and require time to recover.

Right. Significant. Yeah. Getting thrust of your walker counted as significant. "But I got ladies to please and I gotta raze Korriban," Siobhan spoke sarcastically, trying in vain to move her hand.

"Not today. Probably not next week either," the droid said flatly. If a machine possessed a sense of humour it would be smirking right now. "It would also be advisable for you to take greater care of yourself in the future, lest we be forced to transplant your brain into an HRD. While the machine form is inherently superior, much would be lost and Exarch Alcori would be unhappy.

"Right, yeah. I don't think I can pull off 'impassively' well enough," Siobhan muttered, then something hit her. "Tegaea...is she?"

"She will be called in momentarily. Your condition has affected her."

Siobhan leaned back into her bed, sighing. There were many things she wanted to say, but she would not talk about that with a medical robot. She was a mess....again and Tegaea would see her like this. She felt guilty...not for what she had done, but for making her wife hurt. As the droid turned to leave, its mechanical fleet clattering upon the ground, she spoke up again. "Who won?"

"The Empire held off the attack," the machine responded monotonously and left it. So in the end it had all been for...exactly nothing. In retrospect she should have seen it coming.
 
The first person to arrive by Siobhan’s side was her friend, occasional lover, and permanent troll, Princess Anya Venari. She smiled and looked down on Siobhan.
“Well, you look like you’ve been in the wars! I’m not sure why you’re always getting bits chopped off. I’ve only been shot once, and that wasn’t very fun at all!”

A few moments later a rather more solemn Tegaea arrived. She kissed @[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]’s forehead and laid a hand on her flesh hand.
“Oh my love…what have they done to you?” she asked softly. She closed her eyes and held her wife’s hand tightly. “Anya, please…give us a moment.”

When the Princess had gone, Tegaea looked at Siobhan, her face stricken. “What were you thinking?!” she suddenly burst out. “You could have died! You’re an officer, you don’t have to charge into every breach and take on an entire armoured company by yourself! You promised you’d be more careful!”

It might seem petty for Tegaea to be getting mad at Siobhan when it was Siobhan who had been hurt, but grief and guilt can make reason seem twisted. Besides, she always considered that she was the only one who ever worried about anything, so she needed to worry for them both.
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

"Tegs...I...," but Siobhan could not get a word in as Tegaea suddenly erupted. She could do little but sink into her bed and listen to the tirade. It seemed petty, but made Siobhan feel terribly guilty as she saw the effect it had had upon her wife. There was a stab of anger as well - she had been doing her job, now she lay here broken.

Siobhan took a breath as Tegaea was finished. "I didn't do it by myself...had Hoplites and a walker with me. Well, the walker ate a couple missiles," she admitted lamely. "Then, well, we fought off the Sith tanks, they retreated after I threw one and I...fought a Sith Master. Technically I didn't lose any more limbs," she spoke, trying to play it off as a joke, but it sounded hollow. She looked down for a moment before raising her chin.

"I'm...sorry, love," she patted Tegaea's hand.
 
The simple apology at the end made Tegaea sag so she was resting on the side of the bed on her arms.
“Siobhan, I love you, but you must be more careful, please!” she pleaded. She kissed her wife’s hand. “I know it’s selfish of me, but it hurts me to see you like this. I want us to reach that mythical future where we’re relaxing on a beach by the sea with no Sith or Fringers or Jedi interfering with us. I just….”

She paused. “You know I can’t order you.” Another pause. “Well I can, but you wouldn’t listen…. But I don’t want you going out into the field for a while, not into the frontlines anyway. This time it was just a few fried circuits. Next time…” she didn’t finish, couldn’t finish. Why did love have to be so damn painful?

@[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

"I might die," Siobhan said softly, finishing the line her wife could not say. In a way she was glad Tegaea no longer did field work with her. If she did Siobhan would be thinking about her, always worrying. But now far away from the front lines Tegaea had to worry about her, unable to help.

"Tegs, I'm a soldier...these are the risks I face every time I go out, you know that. Well, and you were always the smart one between the two of us," she paused for a moment, patting her wife's hand, though she grimaced slightly at the motion. "But I'm sorry...I never wanted to cause you pain. There's nothing and no one more important to me than you."
 
Quite unbidden, the tears came, and Tegaea couldn’t stop them. She cried, her head low over Siobhan’s hand for a moment until she dried her eyes and took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry. I’m just so…I keep thinking that this time you might not come back, and I couldn’t bear that. I want you to stay away from it for a while. Please, Siobhan…you don’t need to be in every skirmish.”
She looked at Siobhan hopefully, wishing she’d comply.
@[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

At the risk of sounding cliched, Siobhan was tough as nails. No matter what was thrown at her she got back up again and fought on. She had killed a Primarch after getting crippled and having her leg hacked off. She could lift and throw a tank with her mind, she had given her everything in the fight against Velok.

Force lightning, drain, getting thrown across wide distances by shockwaves and getting stabbed...all that she could take and perhaps even make a lame quip about it.

But she could not bear seeing Tegaea hurt like this. Perhaps love had made her go soft, but such was the case. Right now she would do anything to make it better.

"Please, love, don't cry. I'm sorry," she said in what she hoped was a soothing tone. "I promise to...take a step back from battle, unless it's something important." Of course the exact definition of important was another question, but it was a concession.
 
Tegaea’s mind had picked out the clause, but it was a start. And besides, she knew better than most that Siobhan was a vital part of the Protectorate’s defence. She was a woman with a reputation of storming the gates of hell itself and winning…albeit with a few lost limbs. Her name was worth a thousand mooks.

She smiled and gave Siobhan a kiss. “Thank you, love.” She smiled a little wryly. “I’ve got your old friend Doctor Osway back to fix you up. I should be jealous, she’s seen more of you recently than I have!” she joked.

@[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

"Don't be silly, you know she comes nowhere near close to you in terms of command and control and she's not a redhead," Siobhan joked, winking at her. "I'll make it up to you though. Promise." But then for a moment she turned serious. "So....the Republic lost the battle? Have we heard anything new from them?"
 
“We’ve heard nothing yet. I assume the Chancellor will contact us…I hope anyway. Probably after her nap,” Tegaea said sardonically. She wasn’t that opposed to a teenaged Chancellor…so long as said Chancellor wasn’t an egotistic puffball or a warmongering fool like the previous two had been.

Doctor Osway entered. This Twi’lek was nothing like Shari in that other reality. She looked at Siobhan a little amused.
“I see you are in my care again, Colonel. If you’re a really good girl I’ll even let you watch Game of Stars while you recover!”
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

"Yeah, things got kind of messy back on Metalorn," she said. At this stage Siobhan could not know that she would meet the new chancellor on Coruscant and introduce her to smoking. She also had not heard yet that a Jedi Master would be charged with war crimes.

"Really? That's real great of you. I really feel like a big girl now. I just missed hospital so much," Siobhan quipped lamely as Osway stept in. It meant she would get to watch the new episode with Gungan cannibals! "See, best of professional care, love. Nothing to worry about. I'll be a good girl," she added, turning her gaze back to Tegaea and managing a smile.

Incidentally at the same moment a message was sent to Tegs' communicator back at her apartment, coming from none other than Moira Skaldi, requesting an audience tomorrow to discuss the Protectorate's foreign policy situation. The message was laconic, though the blonde sounded tired and described the situation as 'problematic'.
 
Doctor Osway wheeled Siobhan away while Tegaea headed back to her room. After sitting on the bed and staring at the wall for a while, she laid down again, as it wasn’t yet dawn. Fitfully she slept until her alarm buzzed.

She had an appointment with @[member="Moira Skaldi"]. That sounded…joyous. With a sigh the Exarch got dressed and headed for the turbolift which would take her to the appointed meeting room. Only time would tell if Ms Skaldi was in a pleasant mood or not.
 
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