“Mmh…” Ashe’s eyes blearily opened. Her head was pounding, “Whuh…” she suddenly snapped to attention and found she was belted into a co-pilot’s seat, “What the–!?” Her eyes flicked to the exterior. Iego’s moons and asteroids were far behind them. Hyperspace strobed in the ship’s viewport.
Ashe looked sharply over at Hanzo, who was sullenly piloting the ship.
“The kyber–” she started.
“Probably exploded, thanks to you,” said Hanzo.
“Thanks to your brother,” said Ashe, furrowing her brow.
Hanzo just grimaced and rolled his grip on the ship’s steering.
“You know I don’t miss. You know that blaster shot was going in one place, but then baby brother has to get his choobies in a bunch over some backwater moony and suddenly you’re out a brother, and we’re all out a hundred thousand cred score.”
She’s not a backwater moony! Hanzo remembered Genji’s voice and his stomach turned. Given how much they bickered, it was statistically likely that any last time they would speak to each other would be an argument, but that didn’t make it any easier.
“If he hadn’t—” Ashe caught herself and then gave him a sidelong glance, “I’m sorry for your loss,” she said, pushing her hair back.
“He was my brother,” said Hanzo, “My responsibility. I didn’t think he would…he flirts but I never thought he would get so involved so as to…”
“Well we’re gonna have to find another score… the Dawn had a lot riding on this, you understand,” said Ashe. She leaned back in her seat, “Kriff… Not looking forward to that Holocomm meeting…”
“You were in charge,” said Hanzo.
“And you told me you had your little brother under control,” said Ashe. Hanzo just tensed where he was sitting. Ashe sighed. “Look,” she said, “You and your brother were unique. Most people end up real lonely in our line of work, because when stuff like this happens… it hits harder when you were close to them.”
“You have Bob,” said Hanzo.
“Bob’s a droid, Hanzo,” said Ashe, “Droids can be fixed. Sometimes you can even keep a backup of their personality on a data drive. And with a handful of exceptions, most droids I can trust a helluva lot more than I can trust people.”
“If you hadn’t fired that shot…” Hanzo started and then trailed off.
“If Genji had just acted the way Crimson Dawn are supposed to act and let me shoot that moony, he’d still be here,” said Ashe, folding her arms, “But he didn’t. So he isn’t. That’s how things are with the Crimson Dawn, Hanzo. If you can’t live with it, you die for it. I’m sorry, Hanzo, I am, but that’s our life. That’s how it is.”
“Welcome to the Rebel Alliance.”
The woman stood in front of the two of them looking satisfied for several seconds, as if all their problems were solved. Mercy fidgeted with her bandaged hands and Genji looked around. Naturally a medical ship didn’t exactly scream ‘rebel alliance.’ There were maybe two other patients recovering, one simply sleeping and another being looked over by a medical droid with the Rebellion’s emblem on its shoulder. The woman standing in front of them was wearing an X-Wing pilot’s uniform, as well.
“…The rebel alliance?” Genji repeated, his own voice raspy, “What are you doing this far from the core worlds?”
“Relief work,” said the woman, folding her arms, “We’re also assessing the former levels of Empire control out here.”
“The Empire has fallen,” said Genji.
“Palpatine has fallen. The Imperial fleet is scrambling–They still have enough firepower to be a significant threat if and when they regroup. We were heading away from Millius Prime when we got your distress call, we assumed you had been attacked by them or something–the remains of the fleet have just been… falling on and cannibalizing any poor little ship they come across. The tide’s turned and the galaxy’s fighting back, sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Empire still has footholds all over it.”
“So you’re still fighting it,” said Mercy.
“Well of course!” said the woman, she extended a hand, “Tracer, Scout Squadron leader.”
“Mercira Zygarel” Mercy hesitantly shook Tracer’s hand with her bandaged one. “Friends call me Mercy. I was a healer in my village but if the rebellion has need of me…”
“…are you volunteering?” Tracer tilted her head.
“I thought I was volunteering before–” Mercy started but then looked at Genji, caught herself and cleared her throat, “They say it was a Jedi who took down the empire. The elders say was Jedi who saved my people back during the Clone Wars. I would like to return the favor, if that’s possible.”
“Could always use more healers,” said Tracer, looking around, “You know your way around Bacta?”
Mercy nodded. “Surgical procedures for a handful of species as well. Humans, Diathim, Toydarian, Twi’lek, Besalisk, Togruta, and Rodian. I–I know I could learn more if I could work with the Rebellion.”
Really not a backwater moony then, thought Genji, And I nearly got her killed trying to steal Kyber for the Crimson Dawn…
“And what about you?” said Tracer, looking at him. Her eyes trailed down to his leg stumps within the bacta suit, “You can stay here as long as you need to recover, but you don’t have to cast your lot in with us. Especially not after what you’ve been through. Do you have somewhere to go back to?”
Genji tensed slightly. “I–My brother…” he looked down at his leg stubs and took a steadying breath, “I need some time to think.”
“I understand,” said Tracer, clapping him on the shoulder. She looked back at Mercy. “You said you were both caught in… some kind of explosion?”
“Volcanic!” Mercy blurted out, before easing up in her seat, “It was… a volcanic explosion… We were doing a–a-umm a geological survey and… some magma must have hit a gas pocket.”
“A surgeon and a geologist?” said Tracer, impressed.
“It’s a hobby,” Mercy and Genji said at the same time.
“Nasty luck, that,” said Tracer. She folded her arms, “Welp, as I’ve said, you can take the time you need to recover here. We’re headed away from Iego, but we have your ship–”
“Ichimonji!?” Genji sat up, feeling the bacta in the suit slosh up against him.
“Well we couldn’t very well leave it floating out there!” said Tracer, “It’s mag-locked to this vessel. But when you’re ready to go, just let us know. I need to get back to commanding the squadron, but we do have more to discuss. You just rest and recover and we’ll have more questions, later.”
“Understood,” said Genji as Tracer walked out. The door whirred shut behind her. Genji looked around.
A long silence passed between him and Mercy.
“You covered for me,” said Genji.
“Well… I don’t know what the Rebellion would do to Crimson Dawn, but from what I’ve seen of how they deal with the empire, they don’t strike me as very fond of bullies and liars.”
‘Bullies and liars,’ thats a nice way of saying ‘murderers and thieves’ thought Genji.
Mercy suddenly tensed up. “Oh no–I–I didn’t mean that. I don’t think you…” she caught herself her lips thinned, she didn’t know what to think of him at this point. He and Hanzo had given her nothing but lies on Thysoi, but now he was like this because he had jumped in to stop Ashe from shooting her. “You’ve been through so much already,” she said softly.
Genji gave a nod towards her own bandages, “You’ve been through a lot too,” he said. He flinched in bed. “Your wings–” he said in alarm.
Mercy spread her wings once iridescent and smooth, now ragged on the edges, with a hole burned through the lower corner of the other. They still had their iridescence but they were stained by fire, no longer moon-white and more warped, with patches of gray and still iridescent burned spots like black opal.
“…I’m so sorry,” said Genji, “About everything–you only wanted to help Jedi and the Rebellion and my brother and I…”
“I should have known better. I was so eager to get away from Iego I was willing to believe you–”
“That’s not your fault,” said Genji.
“And you wouldn’t have even taken me with you even if you were in the rebellion,” Mercy’s shoulders bunched up.
“Mercy, if we weren’t in the Crimson Dawn, I would have taken you anywhere in the galaxy you wanted,” said Genji, leaning forward slightly with the bacta sloshing in his suit.
Mercy’s brow crinkled. “But you were in the Crimson Dawn,” she said, still remembering the sting of the truth back in the caves.
“We were brought into it young,” said Genji, “My brother and I were really only able to survive the lower ranks of it because we had each other.”
“…Are you going to go back to him?” she asked quietly.
“If the Crimson Dawn finds out I’m still alive, they’ll probably kill me for destroying all that Kyber, regardless of how much Hanzo argues for me,” said Genji, “I’ll… I’ll have to find some way of letting him know I’m still alive, but I don’t know how I’m going to do that without alerting all of them. I’m not exactly in any position to fight them.”
“So what now?” said Mercy.
“I don’t know,” said Genji, “Everything I knew how to do before…” he trailed off, “Charming, and good with vibroblades in a tight corner. That’s it. No other redeeming qualities. And I don’t know how good the second one is if…” he trailed off and looked at his leg stumps.
“There are prosthetics available,” said Mercy, “I’m sure the rebellion…” she trailed off.
“Do you think they’d have me?”
“Do you believe in freeing the galaxy?” Mercy tilted her head.
“All my brother and I really believed in was survival,” said Genji with a sigh, “But… if that’s the only thing I believed in and that got me here, maybe it’s time to believe in something more.”
“And why should I trust what you say, now?” said Mercy, glancing off, “Why should they trust you?”
“You can’t. I’ll have to earn it,” said Genji, “You can trust that I want legs, and that the Crimson Dawn will kill me if they find out I’m still alive, though.”
Mercy’s eyes trailed down to his leg stubs. “Why did you step in like that?” she said quietly.
“The way you looked at me when you thought I was a good person… it made me want to be that person. I liked you, I did–I still do. But I understand completely if you never want to see my face again.” He brought up his bacta-suit wrapped hand and brushed the plastex along his lower jawline, feeling the bandages and some plastex, “I probably don’t want to see my own face right now,” he mumbled.
“It’s—It’s not that bad,” said Mercy. She smiled a little and gestured at the bandages lining her own face. “I won’t mind seeing it again. We match, at least.”
“And if you still look amazing–” Genji caught himself and then huffed, “A bit too soon, isn’t it?”
“Definitely too soon,” said Mercy with a bittersweet smile.
Genji let his eyes trail up to the ceiling of the med-bay. “So… Rebel Alliance, huh?”
“I… I think it’ll be good for you,” said Mercy.
“Well I’ve been robbing the galaxy blind for well over the past decade,” he said with a slight smile, “Probably should start paying it back.”