She shouted the name at the top of her lungs, her voice hoarse. Her face was covered in soot, her hair a mess. For a woman that normally kept a calm, cool resolve, she was entirely unhinged. She rushed through the streets, punching a Ranger in the face as he warned her against running about.
The Sith were actively hunting her in the streets, and she had arrived on the planet just then. The news reported on her house being blown up and she had to watch it on Holonet. Tapping into her old criminal ways, she had hotwired a speederbike to jet through the roads to make her way towards where her home once was.
It took her moments to arrive near the scene and she pushed and fought past Rangers.
“Where is he?!” She shouted in the face of a Ranger that was blubbering words she couldn’t make out. Crying out in frustration, she rushed closer to the remnants of her home. Smoke plumed from it and she could only make out the charred remains.
She remembered the day she set foot inside it for the first time, how excited she and Crix had been to have a real home. They had lived in a two bedroom apartment for his entire childhood, and this had been a new beginning.
Trys could only stare at the skeleton of the house before her, shaking her head in disbelief. Tears threatened to spill, but she only had one concern on her mind.
His mom was back - this was bad. So bad! He was going to get such a grilling over the whole, explosions and then ranger headquarters and all that... this wasn't going to go well was it? Part of him wanted to kind of run away but the other half of him was just glad that his mom was actually back. There were things he wanted to say to her and he knew that having her around would be a kind of stable element to his life right now.
Crix was too much of a teenager to acknowledge, even in the privacy of his own mind, that he really just wanted a Force-damned hug from his mom right about now. He was too tough to be thinking things like that, she'd taught him how to be that tough and led by example as well. Waving slightly to their Mon Cala neighbor, Mrs Vella, he left her apartment and walked across the hall to the door of the one he had shared with his mom.
Until, you know, explosions and such.
Looking at the rangers hanging around the place he was half tempted to turn right back around again - she looked to be in a bad mood. But he would be too so... he walked through the busted open doorway to their apartment. She was there just a few feet in front of him and... and... and why was he running?
He ran the short distance between himself and his mom and wrapped his arms around her tightly, resting his face against her and just holding her for a second.
"M-mom I..." he swallowed thickly and squeezed her in the hug tighter, "Mom..."
Crix was not a dumb person and he was never left for words but he couldn't think of anything right then. All that mattered for now was that his mom was back.
Trys almost had the wind knocked out of her as he came out of nowhere and hugged her. She heaved a sigh of relief and pulled him in tight, a massive weight slipping off her shoulders.
“Oh kriff,” She forgot about the no cursing rule, “Kriff kriff kriff…” She couldn’t help but chuckle softly, “Why weren’t you answering my calls?” She pulled back from the hug without releasing him, concern on her face in place of any anger, “Are you hurt? What happened?”
She looked around, seeing the Rangers openly gawking. They weren’t used to her displaying so much emotion. An icy glare back got them to quickly shuffle away and scatter. Trys turned her attention back on Crix, finally releasing him.
“We need to get out of here,” She said sternly. She barely got the words out before she heard the all too familiar snap hiss of a saber. Trys didn’t even bother looking before she grabbed Crix by the wrist and began to run in the opposite direction.
She could hear commotion behind them, and it sounded like a fight was breaking out. None of that mattered - she only focused on getting Crix to safety.
She was cursing... well he wasn't gonna tell her that cus it might draw attention to the fact that he'd been cursing like a ranger since the whole thing started. Still, it wasn't what he focused on because all he could focus on was the fact that his mom was back and that meant she was safe. He didn't care so much about himself but he'd run into the burning Ranger HQ to see where his mom was and everything that had happened since then just highlighted that that was the only result he wanted.
"My com got busted - it was on charge in the flat." he admitted, "It's why I went to the HQ! I figured it would be the safer place but then it, you know, started exploding and kriff."
They needed to leave?
She literally just got here, why did they have to leave? He didn't pay much attention to it however and instead he just did as he was told on auto-pilot for the time being. Of course when he heard the saber igniting it took him back - the vibration of the saber in the air took him back to the moment back at the HQ. With the ranger downed and the deranged Sith looking to finish her off and Crix with nothing to hand but the enemy's own turret.
He could smell the same smell of burning flesh but he wasn't sure if it was a memory or if it was the carnage they were leaving behind... it didn't matter. Crix drew the stun pistol that he had been equipped with for months now and held it tightly in a hand that shook despite his best efforts.
"Mom where are we gonna go?" he urged her as they pushed down into the emergency stairwell, narrowly avoiding several re-directed blaster bolts, which slammed into the wall beside them, "K-kark... mom we gotta do something to help them!"
There was a short-lived scream from one of the rangers they were leaving behind.
Trys barely heard him as they made their way down the stairs. The sound of blasterfire resonated behind them, and she could hear pained cries and screams. The sounds made her wince, but she still didn’t look back.
Somewhere along the way, Crix slowed down and pulled against her. She halted, whirling around to glare at him. His words and the tilt of his head to look at the commotion behind them got her attention. She tightened her grip on his wrist.
“Nothing matters other than getting you to safety,” Trys said quietly as she began to tug at him again. Her plan was to hop on the speederbike she stole and zoom out of the district here entirely.
Meanwhile, a small explosion ensued behind them, followed by the shriek of a woman. At this point, Trys could hear some small children crying for help. It was then that she gritted her teeth and looked from Crix to the speederbike.
“I hotwired that thing so you’ll have to cross some wires to kick it off,” Trys began to step back as she reached for her blaster. She handed him her comlink as well, “Call Darmus or Nick but drive to your school. Tell them to meet you there. Do NOT go near any Ranger buildings!”
Nothing else mattered? They weren't talking about something stupid like... like... like his grades in music class! They were talking about the lives of their neighbors and her co-workers. He knew that it was a mom's job to care about the kid more than anything else but it was hard seeing in action when she had tried so hard to teach him better than that in the past.
But now she wanted him gone and he wavered slightly.
"Mom we can't just let them get away with this!" he urged her as he took in the sight of the speeder, suddenly very uncertain that he would even be able to pilot it considering his lack of piloting skills, "I... we.. we don't just abandon people, mom."
He swallowed thickly but he was about to do what she said. Crix could talk a good game but he usually defaulted to his mom's decision making. She knew what she was talking about and she was tougher than a wookie in an arm-wrestling contest - she was a paragon of what he thought a good person should be.
What a good ranger should be.
But the screaming and crying children was too far. The shaking of his hand stopped and his resolve firmed up as he stepped away from the speeder and looked her in the eyes.
"There are children in there mom - I'm not gonna leave them to some Sith karkers!" he told her, taking a deep breath, "I went to the HQ already. I killed one of them. I'm not afraid to fight them and they need to be fought mom! You taught me that!"
Trys growled in frustration, but she knew there was no talking Crix out of anything once he decided to be stubborn about it. She almost told him to do as he was told, but he would forever hold that against her.
“Wait...what?” She paused in the middle of all the commotion, her eyes widening in slow realization, “You...you killed?” Trys’s jaw dropped as she had a difficult time accepting this. All the trouble she went through to shield him from her life just to have it all collapse in one fell swoop. Her voice cracked slightly as she spoke, “Crix I’m so sorry…” She pulled him into a tight hug again, biting her lip to keep her emotions in check, “I never wanted any of this for you. I tried so hard-”
Trys jumped back from Crix and drew out her blaster. She reached over and grabbed her helmet from the speederbike. She wouldn’t tell Crix to leave again, but she had to know he was safe. She popped her helmet onto Crix's head. Trys also took off bits of her armor to put it on him instead.
“Stay behind me at all times,” She warned him as she began to make her way up the stairs again. Up ahead of them there was nothing but thick smoke and the blaring of theft alarms set off on the speeders parked nearby. She could still hear some faint screaming and one of the neighboring buildings was on fire.
“Shit, Mrs. Ellis might still be up there,” She grumbled as she looked up at the higher stories of the building and the kind, elderly woman that lived there. She had always made a point of baking cookies for Crix and paid him to occasionally cat sit for her. Trys sighed as she thought of Talak and his abilities to more or less walk up a building.
Yeah he hadn't actually wanted to let that slip actually. He knew he wasn't exactly dealing with it very well on his own but he still hadn't wanted to admit it to his mother. There was a part of him that worried she would blame him for the killing and see him as the aggressor. It felt stupid now but he had immediately assumed that his Ranger mother would have even thought about charging him for it. Even just seconds after admitting it aloud to her, he knew it wasn't anything like that and that he had blown it completely out of proportion.
Kind of like the time he'd accidentally caused some scratches to the side of her speeder that one time and he'd been convinced she was going to get him thrown into juvie. It didn't make sense but it was a feeling that just kind of happened - he really hoped it was just a kid thing he was growing out of.
He swallowed thickly, not quite so caught up in the moment as she responded to what he had done. Crix nodded a little bit and returned the hug but before he could say anything more about it, there were more explosions. It was alright though - she wasn't mad and she was worried.
Typical mom stuff that made his chest feel warm.
Taking the helmet, he grumbled slightly as his horns scratched awkwardly at the roof of the helmet. It was better than going without for sure. He gripped his blaster pistol tightly and nodded.
"Got it mom." he assured her, "I made my stun baton into an improvised grenade earlier today so all I've got is the pistol."
Which sucked but it was what it was.
Mrs Ellis was higher up than they were...
"Guess you don't have one of those fancy grapple guns..." he shook his head, "I can rig the speeder to just ascend but it'll wreck the motor."
Another explosion came from above but not as far above as Mrs Ellis' floor. Crix watched as a ranger was bodily flung from the building, screaming, to land against the ground a few feet from them with a thud, a crack and sudden silence. He stared at the now deceased ranger, gender and identity hidden by their armor, before looking up to see a Sith standing in the opening in the wall, red saber drawn.
He fired off a stun shot at the Sith, muttering as it casually blocked it with a swing of it's saber.
Trys quirked an eyebrow at him for a moment, “Why do you know to ‘rig’ things? We need to discuss this later..” She muttered before turning away to deal with the commotion in the other direction. She wasn’t thrilled to learn all these new things about Crix, and it made her realize that she was foolish to think she had shielded him from anything. She had been off world many times and he was left to fend for himself.
She ran up to see a woman grabbing two of her children and running towards her. There was a man with a saber behind her that was raising his hand to unleash some sort of power. Trys didn’t hesitate as she leveled her blaster and fired off a few shots.
The Sith hadn’t expected her and only managed to deflect one shot, the other one finding purchase into his shoulder. Trys jumped over to crouch behind a nearby speeder, reaching for her comm to call for backup before she remembered she had given it to Crix.
“Shit,” She muttered as she peeked over the other side towards the Sith. He raised his hand and sent a speeder flying her way, and she quickly had to duck and move. She used the opening to fire a few more bolts at him.
The Sith standing above Crix began to coil the Force around the younger man’s neck. However, unbeknownst to him, there was a very grumpy old lady with a frying pan in her hand slowly creeping towards him now that Crix provided a distraction.
Ah crapbaskets, he'd just admitted to his mom that he knew how to hotwire a speeder and twig it's engine to do things against the manufacturer's warranty. Still, it wasn't like being told he wasn't allowed to hang out with swoop bike gang members was the worst thing that was happening to him today. She didn't even know about the gang members yet! For now all they had to focus on was the burning building.
And the Sith.
And their troopers.
"Swear down Mom - it's nothing bad."
Just how he subsidized his pocket credits. Reaching up to his borrowed helmet, Crix tapped at the console to contact someone in the Rangers office.
"This is Crix and Trys Aran." he called out along the com, "Our home address is under attack by Sith, requesting..."
He didn't trail off so much as finding himself cut off, an invisible hand wrapping around his throat from the Sith above him. The Force, used against him as a weapon, was something he had never experienced before and he REALLY didn't like it. The twisting, nervous, energy deep in his gut recoiled at the touch that felt, somehow, corrupted and wrong.
As if he knew what the Force should feel like and this really wasn't it.
Before the lack of air could become a more serious problem however, the frying pan came down and the Sith's concentration was broken soundly by the bonk on the head. As the Sith staggered forward, Crix gritted his teeth, anger flashing through him at the damned Sith and the choke and the way he was doubtlessly going to attack the old woman who had hit him. He brought his blaster up to fire but his free hand moved almost on it's own, making a pulling motion as he pulled the trigger.
The stun bolt would hit the Sith but only after he already started falling, his leg suddenly giving out mysteriously underneath him and his weight dragging him down. Crix's stun bolt caught the Sith in motion, not stunning his outright but making him sluggish enough that he couldn't save himself.
He hit the ground with a thud and a crack, the finality of it all filling Crix with a sort of dread he hadn't felt before. As though that same feeling in his stomach was disgusted at what he was doing.
"... repeat, Aran, repeat last transmission."
Crix swallowed thickly and ignored it.
"We need reinforcements and fire crews to the Aran residential address. Send paramedics as well for after the building is secure." he cut the com, "Mom! Reinforcements called - let's push up!"
He fired off a duo of stun blasts at the Sith she was facing, making him split his attention even if neither shot was an actual threat.
Trys was both happy and dismayed to see Crix join her in the middle of the shootout. Thankfully, he had her armor on and it protected him at least a bit. Before she could say anything, he blabbered about reinforcements and promptly fired at the Sith. Who was this kid? When did he become so self assured?
She had to marvel at her son for a moment, and it was in the most bizarre of circumstances. The bolts at the Sith gave her a small window, and she quickly rose up to fire two more shots. One of them found purchase and she could hear him cry out and drop to the ground.
Trys knew he wasn’t dead, but he was down. She rose up again and fired once to blow a fuel tank of a speeder next to him, and then again to set a fire. This would keep anyone else at bay for now.
“Help the people out of the buildings!” She called out to Crix so he could guide the tenants away from the area. There was no telling what kind of danger lurked around them. She didn’t have that tingly feeling in the back of her neck like Crix did.
Had he really actually said that? Was that something that people actually said in battle or was it just something the holos and rumours brought in? ... oh Force he'd probably just made himself sound like a total tool in front of his mom in the heat of batttle. That was actually the excuse he was going to use if and when she called him on it.
Feck it, he was going to just have to keep going and hope the shaking in his hand didn't come back. It hadn't started until after the fighting before so he hoped it was something that only kind of cropped up after the battle was over. But then his mom suggested something that would probably be fine even if he did start shaking again.
Suggestion... yeah that was probably not the right word to explain the words from his mom. The mixture of her experience as a leader and that fact that she was, of course, his mom, meant that the words made him straighten his spine almost immediately and hop to whatever she wanted of him.
He was halfway across the distance to do what she wanted before he even realized it.
Rushing up to the doorway, he noticed that the door itself seemed to be broken, closed almost three quarters of the way. The people behind the door couldn't get a good grip but he could. Wedging his back against the door, he pushed away from the doorway with both of his legs, forcing the door open with his entire body, letting people, quite literally, climb over him to escape to freedom.
"Hey - watch the feet!"