A very short epilogue for my reader celebration series!
Word Count: 1,500
Warnings: mentions of PTSD (vague), mentions of threats (vague), discussions of sexual relationships (vague)
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Everyone had something to do, but no one was really doing it. That was how these get-togethers always seemed to go: each woman would come in with a project she intended to work on, but they were quickly forgotten in the wake of the conversation.
“Hey, how is Tup feeling these days?” Honey asked. “I haven’t seen him in the medbay in a while.”
Greens sighed. “He’s kind of feeling better? Getting him a prescription for sleeping meds helped a lot, but I still think he has PTSD. Most of the troopers probably do, if we’re being honest. But I got him in touch with a psychologist I know back on Coruscant. Hopefully, that will help even more.”
“Poor things,” Helper said sympathetically. “All of them.”
“War, you know?” Eon countered, sending a wave of dark muttering through the women.
“They had to spend so much time training,” Bug said, shaking her head, “No wonder they’re so terrible at everything else.”
Helper sputtered out a laugh at that. “They’re not so bad!”
“Yeah?” Bug challenged. “Is Jesse treating you better, then? Or do I need to have a… conversation with him?”
“You’re too late for that,” Honey told her. “Fives and Echo already threatened him with every nasty thing they could come up with.”
“How do you know that?” Greens asked, knocking back the last of her drink.
Honey shrugged. “Kix was on standby with a medkit in case they got carried away.”
“They’re sweet, but that’s unnecessary,” Helper assured her. “Jesse has been a perfect gentleman since… well, since he stopped being such an idiot.”
The women all gave an appreciative laugh at that.
“Maybe the one we should really be concerned about is Eon,” Patch said, nodding to where the historian was playing on her datapad. “I really didn’t like the way Fives was talking to you. Has he eased off a bit?”
“He’s a lot better now, actually,” Eon told them. “Echo told him to back off almost immediately.”
“And he listened?” Bug asked skeptically.
“Eventually,” Honey said, her normally pleasant voice holding a clear threat. “Between Echo, Helper, and I, we didn’t give him much of a choice.”
“No wonder the boys think you’re lucky!” Patch laughed.
“Speaking of lucky,” Eon cut in, “Do you guys know that the 501st has a lucky fighter?”
“Pilots are insanely superstitious, so I’m not surprised,” Helper said. “Which one of the fighters is it?”
“The one with Count’s painting on it, of course,” Eon told them. “It wasn’t hit once during any of the missions it’s been on since Denal painted it… including the one where it was flown by General Skywalker and Commander Tano.”
That was enough to impress the women. Skywalker’s plans were almost as famous for their cleverness as they were for their hit-or-miss rates of success.
“Where is Count, anyway?” Greens asked, glancing around like she could have missed an inventory specialist in the room.
“I’m not sure,” Honey admitted. “She said she was on her way a few minutes ago.”
“She’s probably soaking up all the time she can get with Denal,” Helper said. “From what the captain told me, he had a close call on their most recent mission.”
There was a short span of silence in which each one thought about her trooper and how their survival wasn’t guaranteed, but Patch broke the silence before the mood could grow too serious.
“I like Denal,” she said fondly. “He gave me an illegal hydrospanner.”
Eon glanced over at her, seeming taken aback. “An illegal hydrospanner? What’s illegal about it?”
“It’s been… augmented,” Patch replied.
Bug scrunched her nose. “How do you augment a hydrospanner?”
“For legal reasons, I can’t tell you that,” Patch said, jerking her chin toward the door, where Count and Shadow were stepping in.
“Count!” Helper greeted. “So that’s where you were! Welcome, Shad…miral.”
The admiral shook her head. “You can call me Shadow. I’m fine with it.”
“Good,” Greens muttered. “I never would have been able to call her ‘Admiral’ for an entire conversation.”
“Come in, please!” Honey invited. “Have a seat, get something to drink. We have snacks, too.”
Shadow glanced curiously at the table holding snacks and various bottles of alcohol. She eventually settled on a bag of snack mix and sat between Patch and Greens.
“Speaking of illegal things, though,” Bug started, a mischievous look on her face, “isn’t it true that you get a regular shipment of alcohol for the troopers, Count?”
“You order alcohol for the troopers?!” Helper asked, throwing an appreciative look at Count.
“Of course I did!” Count said defensively. “Who deserves it more than them?”
“That doesn’t mean they should have full access!” Honey snapped. “Some of them are on medications that can’t-”
“I trust them to know their limits,” Count told her. “Anyway, please tell me we aren’t going to just complain today. I brought Shadow so she could have some fun and relax a bit, not listen to all of us yell at each other for providing necessary and valuable goods to the men of the Resolute.”
“Let’s talk about something else, then,” Greens suggested, raising her eyebrows. “Something more… personal. Anyone down to share some details about their bedroom lives?”
“What?” Helper asked, half laughing, half horrified. “Slow down, Greens! Some of us haven’t gotten there yet.”
“Really?” Patch asked, then gave a shrug. “To each their own, I suppose, but I wasn’t wasting any time.”
“Me, either,” Eon agreed. “After all, tomorrows aren’t guaranteed…”
“The boys live in barracks and we live in the same section of rooms as the Jedi!” Honey reminded her, chuckling helplessly. “Could you really bring yourself to get physical around them and their enhanced senses?”
Count lifted a finger, muttering, “Can and did.”
“Not me,” Helper said. “Jesse and I want to wait until we’re back on Coruscant.”
“Hardcase and I are waiting, too,” Bug announced.
“Was that your idea or his?” Eon asked.
“His, but I agreed.” Even sitting down, Bug managed to jut one hip out to the side as she gave them all a saucy smile. “I told him that, considering what I wanted to do to him, I needed room.”
“And he was okay with that?” Greens sounded skeptical.
“Well, now he’s changed his mind, but I’m holding firm,” Bug replied. “I’d rather wait until we’re not literally at work.”
“Captain Rex and I had the same idea,” Shadow said serenely. The rest of the women quieted slightly. It was the first time the imposing woman had spoken, and it would set the tone for her interactions with them. In the moment of lessened chaos her murmur was loud: “That didn’t last long.”
The women all laughed, Bug the longest. When she had finally settled down, she wiped an eye and asked, “Shadow, would you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?”
Her question was met with groans from the others. Patch leaned in, whispering, “It’s a trick - don’t fall for it.”
“Don’t listen to them,” Bug urged, giving Shadow her most pleading expression. “Introvert or extrovert?”
“I think I’m going to have to ask why before I answer,” Shadow hedged.
“Let me explain,” Helper offered. “Bug believes that every introvert gets adopted by an introvert-”
“Which they do,” Bug interjected.
“-and so she classified us all as introverts and extroverts and set up an adoption program,” Helper finished.
“Yeah, and they all betrayed me!” Bug complained. “They split up into Count and Honey, Patch and Eon, and Greens and Helper! No one for poor Bug, who’s so full of love and compassion and extroversion!”
Bug’s apparent despair was cheapened slightly when she paused to squint at Shadow.
Clearly moved to help, Shadow admitted, “Well, I do consider myself more introverted than extroverted, but I have to be extroverted for my job, so I really don’t need to be adopted…”
“I just heard introverted…” Bug told her, a manic gleam in her eyes.
Shadow glanced at the others for backup, but Count shrugged at her. “You did tell me that you wished you had some more friends on the Resolute.”
Shadow looked back at Bug, who had such a hopeful look on her face that it was almost painful to see. She sighed and Bug beamed.
In a moment, Bug had crossed the group to wrap Shadow in a tight hug. “My child!”
“This is going to be fun,” Patch commented to the others, who grinned back.
The compact room was crowded with eight women and their snacks inside. It felt even smaller with the buzz of conversation filling the recycled air. Each woman thought of the others not as an extension of her job, but as a coworker, a teammate, a friend. Each one had been assigned to the Resolute to gain work experience, help the war effort, or fill a temporary shortage of workers, but they had come away with so much more than anyone could have anticipated.
A/N - Thank you for reading along on this celebration! I hope you saw yourself in one or more of the characters and that it gave you a chance to recognize just how incredible you are! Thank you to those who left comments on this work or took the time to reblog!
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