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It was a time for mourning, and a time for celebration.
Five years have passed since the birth of the Galactic Alliance. In our early days, it was a time of prosperity. The Starbird's light shined throughout the entirety of the core, uniting it under one banner once more. The economy soared, crime fell. It was the nation dreamed of so long, in a galaxy who needed such a beacon to guide them.
When the war came, it threatened to shatter us. First fighting alongside the Imperials- then embarking on our own to make our mark. A successful start to the Stygian Campaign heralded calls of greatness. Good had come to drive out evil once more. But slowly, the front eroded, our fleets and armies left vulnerable in Sith space for months. Night after night, families questioned if their loved ones would ever return home.
Their questions were finally answered. Our fleet returned, the survivors wounded and wary, but back home nonetheless. It was only appropriate that our men and women returned the week of Unity Day - the dull spark of hope was kindled once more by their arrival, just as it was five years ago, when the charter was signed. Bilbringi was the first stop- repairs were much needed. They were met by the democratic envoy sent to secure the shipyards for the Alliance one and for all. While senators thanked the men for their service and signed deals, news spread like wildfire. Spirits soared high as the streets of Galactic City were cleared and prepared for the coming parade. And on the day of, they appeared in the sky, met by cheers and confetti thrown from rooftops. Five single x-wings soared above the crowds. The roars of the engines heralded another dawn.
Go forth, drink, and be merry, but remember to light a candle for those who didn't make it out of the Caldera.
OBJECTIVE I- PARTY LIKE IT'S THE END OF THE WAR
Public officials, military officers, allies, B-list celebrities. No invitation was spared for the Unity Ball. The exquisite ballroom of 500 republica is decorated in blue and gold, the bar open and ready. This is a chance to visit and recollect, or for our more opportunistic individuals, schmooze and forge connections.
SUB-OBJECTIVE: Grandiose not your style? That's alright. Shady bars on the lower levels begrudgingly open their doors to the seedier patriots, capitalizing on the revenue. Wayfaring strangers and lowlives welcome.
OBJECTIVE II- ORDER AMONG CHAOS
Even on a day as chaotic as Unity Day, there are methodical decisions. Security in most governmental buildings has been reduced to compensate for the crowds outdoors. It is well-known that the forces on guard duty take such lightly, perhaps enjoying a drink and watching the parade via holonet at their stations. Whilst the others celebrate, take advantage- cause a little trouble.
OBJECTIVE III- TRIBUTE PAID
For some, today marks a solemn day. Those who held to hope their MIA dear ones would return home were crushed when they didn't. Their grief spawned action; a memorial service in the Federal District, advocating for a more peaceful Alliance, is taking place. Those wishing to show support are welcome, and several soldiers have been invited to speak on their stories.
G R U N G E COMPNOR
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER
BILBRINGI | IMPERIAL PALACE BILBRINGING MY OWN OBJECTIVE
OPERATION : SKINWALKER Abaddon
| Joren Loft Armor | Sniper [ Suppressed ] | Rifle [ Suppressed ] | Pistol [ Suppressed ] | Grenade
Bilbringi. One of the last few bastions of Empire in an otherwise democratic Core. With the Galactic Alliance well on its way to begin its occupation of the world, the Imperial regime in place on Bilbringi would fall under the cover of the cheers and revelry of Unity Day. Lest, there was no Imperial regime present at all and in its stead a Populist governance looking to join the Alliance with open arms. One under the beck and call of the New Imperial Order. To retain this nexus of Imperial influence with proper cover, integration into the Alliance system, the NIO had to cement its presence here.
Skinwalker. An unmarked COMPFORCE operation to assassinate the leadership of Bilbringi and bring about installing a regime of 'Populists' hailing from the former ranks of the CIC which would do enough to blend with the whims and wishes of the Galactic Alliance, while being on call from the Imperator.
From a concealed position overlooking the entrance way to the Palace of Bilbringi, Grunge and his task force observed the actions of the sentries, spotting whatever security measures would be in place.
<"Trooper flanking each side of the main gate...I'll take the right, line up your shot and we'll fire on my mark."> Grunge uttered, shifting the sights until it was resting squarely on the head of the trooper. He began to squeeze the trigger to the brink of its 'break' from which it snap back and release the shot.
<"Three...two...one...mark."> He pulled the trigger, the sound suppressor dampening a great deal of the audial crack of the rifle as he fired.
The time had come , atlast the Alliance had come for Bilbringi. While the Citizens of the Alliance celebrated Unity Day , a Holiday based on the lies and deception that is the Galactic Alliance , Marlon Sularen the Lord-Imperator of Byss calmly sat down within his office at the Bilbringi Shipyards , jointly owned by SularenCo and the Bilbringi Imperial Remnant since 863 ABY. Ever since the Xa Fel Takeover and the ensuing Crisis between Byss and the Alliance , Sularen had grown somewhat overprotective of his Corporate Assets further expanding his Corporate Security Fleet to ensure the protection of his Assets from anyone who thought they could take them from his hands.
The Bilbringi Shipyards was rightfully his as per his deal with Vel'alari and the Lord-Imperator would ensure that anyone who attempted to take His Asset away from him wouldn't do so without a fight whether it be the REC , the Trade Federation or the Alliance itself. For too long Sularen had allowed others to knock him down and get away with it. He had been forced back to Point Zero over and over again by people of the likes of Cedric Grayson , Credius Nargath and Iveric Talvar and he wasn't going to lose everything again without a fight.
Sularen's unwillingness to get screwed over once more this time by the Chancellor of the Alliance was the reason for why nearly Two Dozen Claymore-Class Heavy Cruisers and a Trio of Lucrehulk-IIIs were hovering around the Bilbringi Shipyards. This mighty fleet , representing two thirds of the entirety of SularenCo's Private Security Fleet was present only to defend his assets and to ensure that by the time Sularen left , Bilbringi would have been secured as an Allied Planet under the leadership of Vel'alari in which would also ensure the continuation of Sularen's Joint Ownership of the Shipyard with the Chiss Warlord. Vel'alari was the rightful ruler of Bilbringi and had made alot of efforts to negotiate with the Alliance in the Past 2 Years , with Private Talks with Commodore Constantine Oliva of the GADF and Sularen's very own cousin Denzul Vosh-Sularen , the incumbent Senator of Byss plus her involvement at Byss partaking at the Defense of the Planet made her worthy of Ruling the Planet.
However the last two talks regarding Bilbringi had gone inconclusive and there was no indication on whether Vel'alari would remain or be removed and thus Sularen had invited the Grand Moff to the Bilbringi Shipyards to discuss their next move and on how to secure Vel'alari's Position on Bilbringi indefinitely
Staff busied themselves in preset trajectories, brushing past the Alliance's senator and her entourage without second-glances up from their datapads or their conversations. The foot traffic was steady, and not too unlike the Coruscanti space station –– much of the organics that tread along the durasteel mirrored the civilians of The Core. Bilbringi was a natural addition to the Core's expansion of prosperity. The industrial appeal was inarguably attractive.
"This should further prove the illegitimacy of those ownership claims, don't you think?" Dash asked eagerly as he and the elder Tagge approached the doors to the rather spartan waiting room of the Iron Crown. Rightfully named; the entire structure was like a metal skeleton that was entirely symmetrical. Tall, overarching, and the falsified environment as almost as regulated as if she were on Tepasi. Excellent conditions.
"It better." Brama murmured curtly, her attention drawn to the numbers scrolling in a countdown overhead.
"Don't mind those." Her aide interjected hurriedly, following her single-eyed gaze and making a calming gesture and pointing to his datapad. "We're right on time for our appointment with Mister Ovmar. I'm sure he'll be sending someone right down."
Meanwhile, Boyce and Gido sniffed eagerly at a small helper droid that stopped in its tracks, cornered by the two hounds.
Someone needed something and Ovmar had what they wanted.
Part of him wondered if he wasn't too old for this. Maybe it was time to consider retirement. Then he took a sip from his appletini drink, took another look at his schedule, and most importantly felt the excitement of doing another dance. That is when Jared knew. No, this was exactly what he needed. To be reminded that he was still alive.
It didn't take long before Brama was ushered in by an aide.
"Ah, Senator Tagge." Ovmar did not rise. Instead keeping seat in his seat, still looking over a datapad. "Please, take a seat, I am sure you are parched after such a long trip from the Core."
A singular hand flick that caused aides to approach with food and drink.
"I have been rather busy with the nipping pups, thinking they can supplant Iron Crown in the Galaxy here and there. I hope you don't take it personally, I am just eager to get down to business." A smile there, one leg crossing the other. "How can I help the Galactic Alliance help itself?" Only then did he take another sip from his glass.
Vel'alari arrived at the office she'd provided for the Lord Imperator quickly. Instead of her usual Moff uniform, she'd shown up in an elegant, long black dress appropriate for the celebrations presently going on. Her own fleet was also docked at the shipyard while festivities were proceeding. Rows upon rows of newly and recently constructed Imperial II-class Star Destroyers lined the shipyard's manufacturing docks, their pristine white hulls on display through the many windows and viewports of the central shipyard office complex where the festivities for Bilbringi's entry were already taking place.
She moved to sit on the other side of the desk from Sularen, a wide smile on her face. "Everything has gone just as we'd planned, for the most part. Everyone seems quite cheerful about the present festivities. I'm quite relieved most of what we'd planned has gone as we'd hoped. Now we just need to press my claim today and make sure we secure the military governorship for me that we've been aiming for."
Being escorted through the Iron Crown's hallways was no small task. The aide that lead Lady Tagge, Dash, and the hounds, expertly maneuvered through corridors and seemed to know the exact timing of all the automated lifts. Here and there, they'd pass off instructions to synthetic workers –– but still remained a marvel of efficiency. Both eventually and rather quickly, they arrived at the remarkably tall doors that the legendary Ovmar sat behind.
The fanfare to their arrival was quaintly nonexistent, and the collective of Alliance personnel poured inside the strikingly decorated office. Immediately greeted and launching into the purpose of their visit. It brought an appreciative smile to Brama's thin lips. Wasting time on needless chit-chat was a young man's game –– and Ovmar's approach to their discussion evidenced he was no longer keen on playing in the youth's league.
Brama hummed thoughtfully, folding her overcoat's skirt over her knees as she took a seat and leaned into the offered chair's support. Dash postured at a respectable distance; just close enough to take notes, far enough away not to seem intrusive. The hounds seated dutifully next to him.
"Nipping pups indeed. There seems to be a kennel popping up in your territory. We noticed a few hovering cruisers when we arrived." She agreed with a nod, and uncurled a finger to gesture at the strikingly green liquor in his triangular vessel: "I'll have one of those if you don't mind, is it strong?"
Dash indicated he'd like a water.
"Help The Alliance Help itself, hmm –– how apt of you. I'm sure the topic of this discussion comes as little surprise –– I'm here on The Senate's behalf to discuss the production of your ships and materials for the sustainment of The Alliance's war efforts."
Someone came in very quickly with a drink on a tray, producing a mirror of the lime-green beverage for the senator and a bulb of water for the aide. Brama thanked them, as did Dash, and swirled the drink around once-twice before giving it a curious sip.
"What does your agreement to that ask sound like?"
"Mm, yes, some Warlords and would-be business men." Ovmar smiled a mirthless one as he gestured for the aide to fill Tagge's glass with another appletini just like his. "Iron Crown has seen the likes of these figures over and over again. In ten years, it will still stand, while new pups will bark to join another kennel."
Jared Ovmar did not seem impressed.
But the former Lord of the Fringe did smile there, when Tagge agreed to go right to business, instead of bloviating some more. He could always appreciated another figure who had enough about the postering.
"Bilbringi Shipyards has no issue supplying the Galactic Alliance." He put down without issue. This was simple truth. The Alliance was winning this war, even if it was taking a long time for it to be decisive. "You are a straightforward nation. You run your business clearly, there are no ifs and buts, Iron Crown appreciates this."
There were times when things were less clear after all.
"But this is a corporate shipyard," Ovmar warned quite frontly without trying to spin a dream here. "-we do not want to be told who to supply to. As long as our materials aren't going to a battlefield you find yourself opposite to, we do not want to hear any complaints."
A shrug there as he leans back slightly and sips again.
"And of course, you won't support any attempts to supplant Iron Crown's rightful ownership over these Shipyards it has been running for decades. But I assume that goes without saying, no?"
Seto Du Couteau, Senator of Empress Teta
Objective 3: Tribute Paid Location: Memorial Service, Federal District Action: Thinking, Supporting those in mourning and demonstrators for peace Attire
Seto often wondered how much fighting someone could do, the limit of their strength and most importantly the durability of their spirit. His eyes scanned around the gathered crowds for the memorial service of the fallen and their demonstration for advocating a peaceful state of foreign affairs. There was always the debate that those who wish for peace only do so because they can no longer fight, their strength drained and their spirits broken. It was not a thought that Seto took seriously, while often the taste of defeat was bitter and swallowing the fact down with accepting defeat was much harder, to aspire for peace was just as difficult.
This was against the Sith and Eternal Empire was slowly turning into something akin to a perpetual war. This was a rather dreaded future that few considered possible months ago when the war first began. After several set-backs in the recent campaigns though proved the point that the Sith Empire weren’t on their dying gasps but on their second wind. It was an unfortunate notion that many of the War Hawks in the Senate had to consider since too many losses would only serve to make them look incompetent to their electorates. With the possible sway of public opinion leaning towards a more peaceful resolution, Seto wondered how many new faces would be introduced into the Senate halls.
It was for that reason that the young Du Couteau heir of Empress Teta found himself among the demonstrators and memorial service instead of the more glamorous parties in the 500 republica. The cameras and slew reporters would certainly make sure that the people of the Alliance knew about the cry for peace, an end to the bloodshed and loss of Alliance life. And a Senator in support for the people’s right to protest against the Alliance’s warmongering ways. Have to hedge my bets here. Seto continued to walk near the outskirts of the main crowds, he was not of the speakers, he wasn’t a part of the Alliance military and Seto knew better to play too heavily into optics and public relations.
Better to let the reporters and cameras tell the story for now.
Sularen watched as the Grand Moff of Bilbringi entered his office and took a seat. For two years they had been planning this together and Vel'alari had been waiting for this moment for nearly 4 Years now. Sularen knew that they needed to get this meeting right , and he had made plans for everything. Already Vice-Chancellor Aerarii Tithe , the head of the Subcommittee of the Admission of New Members and Sularen's Cousin Senator Denzul Vosh-Sularen another member of the Subcommittee had been contacted with Sularen informing them that the Grand Moff had interests in joining the Galactic Alliance and Legitimizing herself in the eyes of the Alliance Senate.
Everything was set , all Sularen and Vel'alari needed to do was get things right.
Everything has gone just as we'd planned, for the most part. Everyone seems quite cheerful about the present festivities. I'm quite relieved most of what we'd planned has gone as we'd hoped. Now we just need to press my claim today and make sure we secure the military governorship for me that we've been aiming for.
"Indeed. I have already contacted Vice-Chancellor Tithe of the Alliance who presides over the Subcommittee of the Admission of New Members which will hear out your petition to join the Galactic Alliance so that a compromise can be made if you are okay with that. With the results of this meeting , the Subcommittee will then elaborate whether Bilbringi shall join the Alliance as a Full Member or an Associate Member although there is also the option of not granting any sort of membership and simply annexing Bilbringi directly to the Alliance. Fortunately that will never happen."
"However given the enmity between me and the Senate it would be best if i did not partake in the talks although my cousin , the Senator of Byss Denzul Vosh-Sularen whom you have already met will be present being a member of the Subcommittee of the Admission of New Members which should give us some form of Diplomatic Leverage as Denzul has been instructed to convince the Vice-Chair of potentially integrating Bilbringi as a Full Member or at the least an Associate Member of the Alliance. I shall head for my Flagship which has been docked at the Shipyards where i shall remain in contact with Senator Vosh to provide you with assistance but before i leave do you have any sort of questions or concerns regard our plan?"
Auteme let out a little sigh, folding her arms in front of her.
"I haven't really- I mean, I just haven't really lost anyone to this. Ryv- it's been over four years now. He got captured, trying to save Lanik -- who I didn't really know -- you know, and I didn't see him for six months until he escaped. That whole time I was just... heartbroken. I was looking for a way to help. I never gave up hope that he'd be back, that he'd find his way home, so it always felt like I was holding my emotions at bay, and when he did finally get back, I was just crying. Sobbing. Couldn't stop.
"Loske, right now... it's the same thing. More hope, if anything, I mean- we know she's alive, and out there, even if her condition's complicated. There isn't really a part of me that can just... believe someone's dead. Believe they could be. Which is honestly crazy, I mean, you know how much I doubt everything."
She smiled, but there was a hint of solemnity behind it. There had to be -- they were at the memorial, after all. Though the celebrations rose across the Alliance there were no shortage of those who had come here instead. Of all the places on Coruscant, this was likely the quietest.
"Crazy, but... it's the one constant, you know. I wanted things to be permanent, to have safety in something that'd always be there, but instead the only thing that's sure is that it'll come to an end. Doesn't mean we don't struggle against it -- but it comes anyways, and it's always hard to accept."
She turned to face him, signaling he had her full attention.
Coruscant - Unity Day Parade Party
Jedi Temple - OPEN
Every time she went to Coruscant it blew her away. There was simply nothing that she could compare it too. She'd seen the dirty streets of Corellia, the unnaturally calm oceans of Manaan, the stormy cliffside of her homeworld Pamarthe, and even the resplendent Silver Rest and tree cities of Kashyyyk. Still, nothing compared.
She just wished her Master was here with her.
There were so many people she felt like she could get swallowed up and when she tried to tap into the waves of the Force on the planet they were in constant flux. So she watched anxiously from the sidelines of the Jedi Temple shuttle pads as military transport after military transport returned dropping off wounded and battle shocked Jedi. Some didn't look too much worse for ware. Some of them though looked like the war had hardened them. She unconsciously reached up to her chest holder and gripped the leather around her lightsaber tight enough for it to creak.
It was Unity Day all across the Galactic Alliance, not just on Coruscant and Billbringi. Though much smaller than Coruscant City, Coronet was still massive, taking up most of the continent in a sprawling mass of cityscape and factories. It had been far too long since the last time Dracken had seen his homeworld. Pryce Senior, his father was getting old now. He needed a cane to support him due to a complication from an injury he sustained from the Breaking, his younger sister was nearly a woman herself, and the twins....Well, they were getting bigger but they were still kids. Gabe was on his shoulders patting his tiny hands on Dracken's head to the music, off-rhythm though it was. Gabbie held onto his hand tightly, her eyes wide with amazement by the CDF Starfighter Corps display above.
In the distance they arced over the Saber where two Green Jedi pilots joined them, arcing through the air and launching fireworks from their bellies. The parade was a spectacle on its own. Bands played the Alliance anthem and dancers danced on skiff floats. Imagery of Adhira Chandra
and other important Alliance figures flashed on big holoscreens.
The entire clan was here. Plus one. He looked over at Ava. She always joked that he never took the uniform off yet he insisted that he did. Despite his protests though...He was indeed clad in his dress uniform, rank plaque shinning, boots polished, Corellian General's pauldron shimmering.
Objective 1: Enjoy the ball
Wearing: This Dress
Tags: Open to Interaction
Adjusting her dress, Kat studied her appearance in the mirror, her hair was braided stylishly and her make-up was minimal but highlighting her beauty while making her scar look very faded. It was clearly her attempting very hard to look good, she wasn't sure why she was going to the ball, she had been spending time healing others who were seriously injured in the recent wars that the GA had launched against TSE. It was strong move by the GA and Kat couldn't deny that their tactic was working from her view, the Sith had been very strong not too long ago and nowadays it was weak. Splintered into several groups and divided like the Jedi. However, they were also infighting unlike the Jedi which was dividing their attention and allowing the GA and NIO victories.
She was thankful that she went for a slit in the dress, gave her much more freedom of movement. While she prayed that nothing would happen tonight, she had learnt a while back that one must always be ready for when chit hits the fan. Stretching her arms, Kat checked to see if she had any Echani jewellery that she might want to wear. There was a simple necklace she was gifted as a teenager by her father that she kept, though she wasn't sure it would go with the dress. Ugh, this was when she wanted her sister around to ask about fashion. Holding the necklace against her skin in front of the mirror, Kat's head tilted as she pondered. Did this work? Sighing, she shrugged, having no clue about whether or not this would be appropriate. Being a messy mechanic was much simpler than all this fancy social events. Deciding that it shouldn't matter, what mattered was that she wanted to wear it tonight, she donned the necklace and admired herself in the mirror.
Damn, she was looking good. She was usually shy about it or deny her attractiveness, but she couldn't lie to herself tonight. It was nice to admit when she looked good, it felt great.
Smoothing her dress out, she grabbed her small purse and left her place heading to the event. Arriving at the ball, Kat looked around and smiled pleasantly to strangers and gave small greetings. Kat was feeling a little nervous being alone at such a big event but she was happy to enjoy herself and she had been working hard with fellow healers recently. Walking over to the open bar, she ordered herself a drink, slowly nursing her Corellian whisky as she watched people interact and connect. Something she needed to do if she wanted to grow her business but it was hard, right now she just wanted to enjoy her drink and perhaps there might be a face that she recognised around. That would likely help her get the ball rolling.
Dagon had spent all night contemplating whether to come or not. The grief still sapping his strength and plaguing his mind. He'd barely paid his last respects to Ayana, struggling to even come face to face with her grave. Struggling to forgive himself, struggling to escape the suffocating grip of guilt, struggling to forget the heart warming memories with her that would remain forever only that.
"Sometimes there's simply nothing you can do, Auteme...nothing." the raven-haired Jedi replied coarsely. Exhaustion and sorrow well evident on his face. He wasn't sure how much he wanted to talk about it. Auteme was his friend but Dagon had always been the extrovert, except when it came to his own issues and problems - he'd lock those down deep inside and let them chew him on forever. Carry the weight himself. It was a family trait, he assumed. Or an instinct borne out of the disappearance of his brother - the only side of him which he had always been open to. Until Ayana.
But she was gone.
And he locked it all inside even tighter than before.
"You've come a long way from panicking over which sweater to wear on Life Day to maintaining the balance within the Order and dealing with political decisions affecting the fate of millions." a short laugh escaped his sealed lips, "It's been...hard on all of us. This war. And it seems like it's nowhere near an end but it's not that which concerns me. You see, I've not lost faith in us - we've always been just a few in numbers and making up the deficit with our actions, while the many stood on the sides loudly judging, passing verdicts. And yet the more we fight to save the galaxy...the more I am starting to feel the galaxy doesn't want to be saved." the latter sentence delivered grimly.
[Location: Bilbringi's Orbit(??) - ANV Resolution(Iblis-class Missile Frigate) - Docked with Spacedock - C.O's Quarters]
[Commander Giraan reporting in]
[Objective III - Prelude]
[To-Do List : Unofficial ceremony for lost crew, Prepare for repairs]
[Ambience: I'll Remember You]
It was time.
Tear-filled eyes scanned down the mirror as Teica slowly twirled about, letting her dress uniform shine--A polished blue overcoat leading in to an ankle-length skirt that overshadowed black dress pants. A clean necklace, marked with the symbol of the Alliance, adorned her neck, its gold-colored shape reflecting her quarters' bright lights. Black boots slipped on to her feat, and secured themselves via silver buckles. Her golden hair stood at rest, tucked around her shoulders and caressing her back. White gloves stretched over her hands while the commander crossed them in front of her.
Teica passed through the open gateway, before the doors swept to a close behind her. She walked gently and carefully, making sure not to let dust sweep up and dirty her outfit. Eventually, turbolift doors came to an open position, and she walked on down to the hanger bay. V-wings rested, lined up around the sides, while officers, pilots, technicians, and enlisted crew alike gathered in neat rows in front of a makeshift podium, all standing in a salute. Behind the podium, rectangular tarps, each decorated with a Starbird, lined the deck, covering the silhouettes of bodies--the true heroes of the Stygian Campaign.
She had cried the entire night earlier, knowing that the ceremony would arrive, knowing that she would have to address all the fallen, all the deaths that she caused. The commander took a position, standing at the podium's center, flanked by her senior-most staff. Her head was down for a few seconds, until she could regain her composure.
Eyes raised, Back straight, Breathing coming to a slow, Teica looked over the uniformed crowd, now standing at ease. It was time.
"Today, We gather in honor of the Lost, and their Sacrifices. Today, We gather to honor the men and women who Fought and Died for their families, their friends, their Alliance."
She felt the tears coming back, but the commander continued.
"Today, We gather to mourn. Today, We gather to celebrate. And Today, We gather to remember."
"Each one of you, Bridge officers, Technicians, Pilots...put your lives on the line Every Day. And through the Terror, Through the Horror, and Through the Suffering, You have persisted. Our fallen...have Persisted. You have saved lives, no matter the cost, and I thank you with every last inch of my heart."
If only she could have saved them.Teica paused, now with tears streaming from her eyes and continuing downward without obstruction. At first, it seemed that the commander would break down, would bring the entire ceremony to a broken halt. But, her back stayed straight, her arms stayed crossed behind her, and her feet remained steady. In the air, she felt the unease, the tears, the muffled sniffles.
Her head raised, and she turned to face the row of tarps. Unsteadily, her hand came to her forehead in an impassioned salute.
"I thank you all for your Courage, for your Sacrifice, for your Service. For..." The commander closed her eyes.
Objective: III- TRIBUTE PAID
Ship: Mariner IV
All fallen, be they soldiers, mothers, fathers...children, Marina's heart went out for all those whom perished under the iron boots of tyranny.
She had come here on Coruscant to pay tribute, a heart felt prayer to those whom had fallen and not seen of the fruit of their suffering and sacrifice that had come to bear.
Marina had not participated in the liberation of Bilbringi. Her efforts had taken her elsewhere to other campaigns. Marina were no soldier, nor were she a fighter in the sense of bearing arms and bloodshed. She were however one of the many humanitarians who answered the call of those needing help and aid.
She would transport supplies, medical equipment and doctors to the front lines and leave the battle torn systems with wounded and civilian refugees.
She had settled her ship down in one of the many landing docks that were prevalent throughout the greater city planet.
Coruscant.... she had been here quite a few times and for many different reasons. But this time it were to pay tribute to those fallen in the name of freedom and independence... and to rejoice for those ideologies that had come to fruit. It meant that a multitude of Bilbringis and their children would no longer live under oppression.
"That doesn't mean we stop trying to save it," she said.
"I don't know if we can help everyone, I don't know if we can fix the galaxy, I don't know if we'll ever get to a point where we can say, 'I am complete'. But we always strive for it, move towards those goals, because even the attempt is fulfilling." Of all the things she knew, deep down, the most heartbreaking was that she'd probably never see the galaxy heal from the war and injustice that tore at it. But as long as they kept pushing the line, making things better, bit by bit, it was worth it.
"When I draw on the Light, it's- it's always memories that fuel it. Even when things are... frosty, or when people are distant, and all that, there's still a part of them that's always with us. Love -- in whatever form it takes -- doesn't stop at death. And I know it can hurt to lose it, but that doesn't mean you stop, because there's only more Light that can come of more love." She placed a hand on Dagon's shoulder (it was a bit awkward, given how much taller he was) to signal her support.
Ironic, his own connection with the empyrean necessitated the opposite approach - a complete detachment and distancing from any memories. That wasn't always the case. It all had changed after that approach was corrupted when he faced off his brother on Ziost. The tribulations resurfacing in his mind were interrupted by his friend's softly placed hand on his shoulder.
A thin smile. Despite the grief, despite the pain, he smiled and looked up at the memorial ahead. He could've sworn he saw her there smiling too. That stupid, shy smile of hers. And just like any afterimage it vanished into thin air leaving behind only the memories of what once was, of what would never be again.
"I think we owe it to them." his head slightly jerking at the memorial. "To at least try. That's why we followed Ryv, right?" the question was rhetorical. None of them had acted out of a desire for fame, nor legacy, nor gratitude. But out of compassion. All the mistakes, all the failures - now they felt just a bit more...justified and less so in vain. "Regardless-- despite everything, despite everyone."
If anything, Auteme came from the other side of things. Both her parents served the few Sith heading the Confederacy of Independent Systems. She hadn't lost anyone to the fight. But, like Dagon, she couldn't ignore the plights of others. There was every manner of reason to push back the darkness; she wanted to make sure that no one else suffered as much as so many of her fellow Jedi.
"Careful, Dag," she said. "Not despite -- because of. Because there's so much love out there that sometimes we can't see, and we shouldn't just assume it isn't there. We don't owe anyone -- we honor them by doing what we do."
She gave him a light pat on the back and looked over to the memorial. For a long while she stayed silent. All around them were mourners; some were dark pits, struggling and crying out for their loved ones. Some were quiet, as though watching a pittering of rain trickle down the window outside. Others still, through their sadness, had a kind of celebrative joy for the ones they'd known.
She didn't know if she was right. In truth, it was up to Dagon to decide.
"So, ah, what was she like?" she asked, rephrasing her earlier question.