Open Onderon The Best Medicine

Bast Emblai

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Onderon
O-9
Iziz City, Public Health District
BactaCorps Medical Facility


A low buzz and steady beeping provided the music of the med pod. Rain pelted the window above the patient’s head. Funny choice, a skylight, all I have seen is only gloom, Bast thought dryly. Her internal commentary was wildly amusing to her, facilitated not only by her loneliness and guilt, but also enough anesthetics to make a bantha sleep for a month. The rangers fantastical musing was interrupted by a gentle, if slightly gravelly voice.

“Good evening, Bast. How are you feeling? We have given you the maximum dose of long term pain reliever so I do hope they are sufficient.“


The nurse shifted his patient onto her side to inspect the newly- installed prosthetic spine. The swelling had decreased, and the area was now a yellowish-green rather than a vibrant purple, indicative that the bruising was healing as well. The procedure she endured had been intensive. The ranger was flown in just two days prior, barely conscious and gravely injured. She had been given immediate treatment— emergency surgery to replace her exo-spine. Not only was removing the fused infrastructure of the device extremely difficult, but installing a new one on twice- damaged vertebrae took the skill of the most veteran surgeon in the med center. The nurse, not for the first time, wondered how she had managed to get herself paralyzed twice. However, considering her position as a Sector Ranger and casualty of battle, it would have been unwise to raise up the subject.

“You are healing remarkably. At this rate, you should be discharged within two weeks”

“And when can I return to work?”

“Do not worry about work right now. From what I have heard, you have been given a month’s leave by Ranger Command”

“That did not answer my question. Command is being kind, but they also do not want to have the liability of a wounded ranger, nor should they. When can I return?

Bast, having fallen into her interrogation routine, waited patiently for an answer, her eyes focused, her head cocked. The drugs had temporarily lost their sedation qualities, overridden by the habit of alertness on Bast’s part. Then it hit her. Not for the first time. It came in waves. Torture. Pain. Where was her team? Darmus? Corran? That poor boy had witnessed too much. She hoped he would forgive her. Did those she brought in make it? No, of course not. She had seen their bodies, like so many others. Her pockets had been stuffed with their badges. But these she knew. These haunted her. She had led them to their deaths. Her decisions had killed them. What do murderers get? They get justice. She had to get justice too. She was no better than anyone she had ever arrested. She was disgusting, the blood on her hands had to be washed clean. But how does one repent for the murder of 13? Her own death could only cover one of the ones she had caused, and another death would do the galaxy no good. No, she must save 14 lives, outweigh the damage.

“As soon as you are discharged, it is up to your Commanding Officer... um... Miss?”

“Sorry, yes. Thank you.“ The ranger swallowed hard and rolled back to analyse the ceiling.

 

Corran Velt

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A gentle knock sounded from the doorway into the hospital room. "Visiting hours haven't ended, have they?"

There in the doorway stood Corran Velt. Per usual, the young man was dressed prim, proper, and professional. Jacket secured up the collar, Ranger badge secured over the heart. Pants creased and tucked into polished boots. His look and attire was immaculate save for the purple bags under his eyes, hair a little wet from the rain, and a bacta-patch strip across his nose. The Ranger held a glass vessel that contained a bouquet of flowers.

"Oh, uh, visiting hours..." The nurse began, before his eyes spotted the badge, "... I'll just swing by later to check on her. Take all the time you need." The seasoned medical worker soon departed with only a quick glance over his shoulder. Corran waited a few moments before fully stepping into the room and pointing a thumb over his shoulder, "Is that your new boyfriend? I didn't know you liked them barrel-chested and husky." The jest was followed by a warm, if exhausted, smile. The operations on Cona and in the Manaan region had only recently drawn to a close and Corran himself had been lucky enough to have healed from his injuries with relative ease. Not many others could say the same. Though his wounds had mostly healed, his body remained exhausted. The constant missions had taken a toll, but there was no one else who could have volunteered. The cost among Rangers had been, in his opinion, too high. Though, on the upside, Corran did earn some R&R to recuperate. That's why he was able to be here; his first stop.

The young man placed the colorful assortment on the night-stand next to Bast's medical pod, "The flower shop said they were the best from the highlands. I just had to take their word for it, so don't hate me if they aren't your style." Corran's eyes scanned his fellow Ranger's condition before finally coming to face. He was no medic, but she seemed to be healing. Her complexion seemed healthy and Bast wasn't locked away in some high risk ward of the hospital. Corran then began to worry that her worst injuries weren't the ones that could be healed with time and bacta. "How are you doin', Bast?"

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Bast Emblai

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Bast was entirely unable to suppress the smile creeping across her face as Corran made his entrance. She would never admit it, but she had missed him. Really, the exhausted woman was desperate for any company other that the stoic medical staff. They were kind and professional, but not particularly personable. She had taken a liking to the rookie she had met on Jakku, Corran Velt. He was honest and hardworking, kind, even. Perhaps it was the nature of the trade, but every other encounter the ranger had experienced with others who carried the badge were cold and short. A few members of the paramilitary like group actively disliked her after she had ratted them out for taking valuable spoils from crime scenes or battles. Now she was no better than them. But no one needed to be the whistleblower because any rangers involved in the mission would know of her failure. With all of the sector ranger’s dreams of being a mentor, setting an example, coaching, she had never imagined she would have to be doted upon by her coworkers while in a hospital bed. Of couse she was glad to see a familiar face, but shame tightened her throat and made her flush slightly, then processing the question, she hoped Corran would not mistake it for an indication of liking to the nurse. They both were, after all professionals.

“Not quite my type. He is a bit too tall. I like to be able to look my men in the eye without having to crane my neck” She retorted jokingly. At least he was in a joking mood. It probably meant he had not been forced to pay her a visit by command. Emblai turned her gaze to the vibrant flowers. “You have excellent botanical taste. They are gorgeous. Not to mention, they provide some needed colour to this dull room. Would you believe me if i told you I knew every shift rotation in this place? I have had severe lack of any amusement or beauty. I doubt you will find a woman who does not appreciate the gesture. In any situation, might I add.” Smiling wryly, she brought herself back to more serious matters than jabbing back at his previous joke about her love life.

“Well, I should be back to work in two weeks. What have I missed? Any mysterious murders?” She did not have the heart to ask about the funeral. She hoped he understood It was painful to think about and uttering the words would rip her open like a knife. “And uh... the others are alright? I mean the badges. Are they draped?” Her visage was somber and her eyes stung. “I truly appreciate your visit”.

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Corran Velt

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At least she liked the flowers. Corran had feared that the Corellian would be too tough for something as pleasant as a vase of pretty colors. The warm feelings behind to fade in his chest when she turned to more serious matters. Not because she asked, but because they were hard to talk about it. The whole thing was still so fresh.

As Corran's grin receded until it turned into a grimace, the young Ranger pulled up a chair from the nearby wall. Likely used for guests or medical personnel for their records and rounds. He lightly tapped his thumb against the nightstand which the more lively flowers stood. "You haven't missed much, Bast. A few major cases might be coming down the tubes regarding some corporate scuffle and copyrights, the Sith are still out there but..." Corran's eyes shifted around the room, as if looking for an answer on the wall or floor, "Some of the badges are draped. Some are notifying next of kin still. There's just so.... many to go through."

The young man's eyes began to water on the edges. He pinched his nose and rubbed his eyelids with a thumb and a knuckle. A quick sniffle and soft exhale signaled the determined professional managed to keep his composure. "I've done some notifying myself. It felt right; like my duty. There is a lot of grief, but many are thankful we were able to recover what we could. You... You did good work out there, Bast. You helped bring those Rangers home."

Corran's boyish grin returned when Bast told him she appreciated his visit, though it clashed with his mournful eyes. He cleared his throat, "I'm glad to hear you'll be back on your feet in two weeks. I was... afraid you'd never recover. Your wounds looked so bad on the station.... Do you think you'll stay on? In the field, I mean. There's no shame in a administrative role after what you've been through."

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Bast Emblai

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The increasing speed of the chirping heart monitor betrayed Bast‘s emotions her somber but stoic face had attempted to conceal. There was a tightness in her throat, clawing it’s way up from her painfully tensed chest. Her head throbbed. Corran had pulled up a chair and was trebling slightly as he answered her question. His eyes were wide and never lingered, as if it hurt to look at one place for too long, as if all the world was a burning sun. Years of reading people meant Bast did not fail to notice the tears brimming in her comrade’s eyes. She should not have asked, she realized now. It was too soon, the memory all too fresh. Carefully reaching out a hand and gently placing it on his shoulder, she spoke.

“Corran... I... well, we are called to run straight into fire, to put our lives constantly at risk. But notifying families, that takes a bravery some would say is just as, if not more difficult to muster. I cannot tell you it will get easier, my heart is broken every time, but I hope for your sake, you will find the peace that I am still seeking.”

Then, retracting her arm, her eyes hardened and her voice hitched.

“You have missed the point, I did not bring my men home. I...”

She now struggled to keep her composure. The thought of what she was about to confide terrified her, wrenched her apart.

“...was the reason they never got back on the ship to return. I led my soldiers into a massacre.”

A tear slipped down her cheek and the Bast quickly turned away to wipe it. There was no shame in emotion, she just simply was not one to display vulnerability if it could be helped. Both rangers sat in silence.

“Sorry. I will, however be returning to field work. I am not suited for administration. I receive quite enough paperwork already.” With a weak smile, she tried to disguise her uneasiness. How could she trust herself? There was no reason to. Still, she knew nothing other than this life.


“Actually, a rescue operation for a labor plant on Coruscant is currently being drafted. I plan to go as soon as I can walk. How are your assignments going?” The change in subject was abrupt, and would hopefully not be viewed as insensitive. Bast had been dwelling on her failure almost every waking moment. She needed to think about something... anything else.

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Corran Velt

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The soft touch on the shoulder from a hardened Ranger was more comforting than Corran expected. It felt warm, like coming inside after walking in the cold rain. That made it all the more confusing that such calm and soothing words could come from such a tough Corellian. Bast had seen her share of tragedy even before joining the Sector Rangers and her support was heartfelt.

When she retracted her hand, Corran knew she had given all she could. He sat silently as the hospitalized Ranger tore her own soul to shreds and tossed it upon the alter of her fallen comrades. He wanted to say something. He had to. She was wrong. Wrong about all of it. Bast didn’t pull the trigger on her fellow Rangers. Pirates did. Several platoons worth of pirates ambushed the first wave against that station. No one could have prepared for that. Blaming herself wouldn’t bring them back.

Corran couldn’t speak. His throat suddenly felt parched and his voice wouldn’t obey. Too late. Tears elegantly streamed down Bast’s cheeks and quickly hid them from view. The young man wasn’t sure what to do. So he did nothing. He detested himself for it.

The change of topic to work temporarily banished the ill-feelings. Corran knew they would return, hauntingly, and he would have to wrestle with them. Eventually he would have to help Bast Emblai work through her survivor guilt, but now wasn’t the time, that much was apparent.

“It’s good to hear you’ve still got the fighting spirit to put the badge back on and get out there. You’re a tough woman, I’ll give you that,” Corran replied with a half-smirk. That much was true too. He admired Bast quite a bit for her empowering resolve in the face of adversity. Not even a second broken back could stop her.

"Rescue operation on Coruscant? I haven't even heard of that." The young man looked amazed. Even in a hospital ward, Bast the detective still could dig up information. "As for me, I haven't been assigned anything recently. I've been put on temporary leave - R and R to recuperate." Corran pointed to the bacta pact across his nose that made him look a bit like a Coruscanti street-tough, "Truth be told, you're the first person I came to see. I haven't heard from Ranger Onn, either."

Darmus had also survived the second wave, though some would see his actions as negligent at best, cowardly at worst. Corran, too, was worried about him. "It's... uh, it's been hard," Corran started, "Without assignments to distract me, I mean. Ever since I joined the Rangers, I've practically been living on my ship - never staying in one place for very long." The young man leaned his elbows on his knees and interlaced his fingers, "That's part of the reason why I came here. I couldn't be alone anymore. I was going crazy just trying to... 'rest'. Maybe that's why I haven't slept well."

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Bast Emblai

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The hospitalized ranger could not help but be a bit flattered she was the first person the straight-laced boy had come to see. Of course, he was not truly a boy, but he had an air of sincerity, energy, and innocence about him. Unfortunately, those were the qualities that seemed to fade most with age. The longer a person lived, the more tragedy they were likely to see. The greater the potential they had to commit mistakes they would regret.

She grimaced slightly as Corran indicated the patch on his nose. Having been submersed in her fair share of bacta tanks recently, Bast was none to fond of the smell, which somehow managed to be simultaneously sterile and musty. Having to wear such an accessory would be unpleasant to say the least. However, she still listened attentively as he spoke, automatically watching his hands for fidgeting, his face for tenseness, his feet for tapping. They were stereotypical indicators of discomfort, but nonetheless rarely faulty. He pressed his hands together, folding them, resting his elbows on his legs.

“I cannot say I have not been in need of company as well. Resting is difficult. If I could walk I would not be forced to lie here idly. I would be solving cases, fixing... well... what I could. I am glad command has given you leave. They have been too kind to me. I cannot resign because this is my life, what I do and why I do it. I have to admit, the uncertainty of not having any affiliation scares me a bit. It is quite strange that no matter how hard they train you to forget fear, you never quite can. So, I remain a badge-holder.” The woman paused, astonished at herself for her display of vulnerability. It was quite unprofessional. She chastised herself silently. “I trust you will keep this in your confidence? I am afraid I displayed more honesty than was prudent.

”Your ship- I do believe you once said your family was in trading? Is it a freighter? I am sure you have some interesting stories from your days in the family business.”



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Corran Velt

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Corran listened intently as his fellow Ranger spoke. His face expressed feelings of understanding but with a hint of curiosity. Ranger Emblai, the veteran and hard-boiled law enforcement officer, was afraid of something. It wasn’t wounds, or failing, or even death itself. She feared losing community. Identity. That was a deep and revealing introspection that Corran didn’t expect to hear from Bast. She was as professional and disciplined, maybe even more so than Corran himself, with her fellow Sector Rangers. When she stopped herself and asked for the information to remain private, the young man couldn’t help but chuckle lightly.

“Yeah, well, you saw me cry in the middle of a field op, so, we’re even,” he teased her. “You don’t need to worry. Your secret is safe with me.” Corran realized he had been speaking so casually with Bast since he sat down. Like he would with blue-collar spacers he used to work with on merchant ships. Everyone else got the strict and stoic personality, because that’s how he was raised on the space lanes. Perhaps Bast wasn’t the only one who was revealing some vulnerability.

“My ship? The Crimson Venture,” The Ranger began, leaning against the back of his chair now with arms folded, “You guessed right. She’s a freighter. An old YT-1300. I didn’t inherit it from the family business, though. Pooled some money together and bought it from an estate sale.”

Corran's jaw shifted roughly and his gaze started emptily into the vacant space of the room across from Bast. Like he was chewing on a thought. "I never worked for the family business, unfortunately," The young man spoke in a low voice, "My father was in bulk hauling. He... passed in a hyperspace accident in the Mon Gazza system when I was very young. Or so I was told." The word accident was annunciated with a type of venom left for the worst criminals. A deeply held anger had reared its ugly held, but only for a moment. "I was pretty reckless as a teenager. My mom signed me up to work on a freighter of a business acquittance. That's where I learned my manners." Corran gave a crisp two-finger salute. The young man's eyes returned to focus on Bast. The sternness in his face visibly receded.

"I'm sorry. I'm supposed to be telling you about riveting tales from my trading years," Corran apologized, "You know... sometimes I wonder if I was meant to be a trader than a Ranger." He gestured with a nod to the environment; a hospital room. Echo Squad had members in rooms like this on other planets. Healing from mistakes he made.


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Falynn Tikarsis

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Falynn’s most recent operation had drawn her to Onderon, and though it was completed, she’d decided to stay in the capital for a bit before heading back to Coruscant. These moments in between gave her enough time to recuperate after a mission, and the change in scenery would be welcome as well. When she wasn’t on assignment, Falynn had taken to volunteering at medical facilities in hopes of lightening the moods of patients there. She did not regret resigning her position as a medcenter doctor, but still enjoyed being immersed in hospital life.

BactaCorps reminded her much of the facilities she’d worked in before. The mixed scents of antiseptic and bacta combined with low beeps from monitors were remarkably familiar. Dressed in a light jacket and collared shirt, with hair pulled into a tight ponytail, Falynn reported to the nurse who oversaw volunteers. Knowing rangers made some patients uncomfortable, he had frowned at the sight of her badge, but was not in a position to comment on it.

“Alright let’s see...” he glimpsed her volunteer ID, “Falynn Tikarsis. Well, our east wing has recently received some new people. Why don’t you check in on them? I’m sure they‘d be glad for someone to talk to.”

“Of course, I’d be happy to.” Falynn made her way down the corridor leading to the east wing. With the increased number of medical personnel present, it didn’t take her long to realize this area was dedicated to post-surgery patients. Those needing to be monitored for any signs of instability.

Scanning for occupied rooms, Falynn’s eyes fell on the datapad nearest her. Bast Emblai. A brief description told her that Bast had been admitted to the east wing of late. With a light knock, Falynn entered the room.

“Hello Bast, how are you—,” she stopped short. Two figures sat in the room, Bast on the bed, and a man next to her. A quick glance told Falynn she had interrupted their conversation.

“My apologies, I can come back at a better time.”


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Haji Sigidi

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His black boots squeaked with the nervous shift of weight on the buoyant lift floor, soaked from the rain. The backlight for the floor number flickered off and the panel rang a lulling ring. The doors parted to the pale hospital hall and Haji was revealed to the various nurses and volunteers, calmly ignoring him, going about their business. Haji double checked the plaque on the wall with the floor number and section listed, embarrassed for having the impulse. Out of his element and uncomfortable to be in this predicament, he clutched his side where a bulge resided under his muted butterscotch cloak with black stripes. When it moved, he winced and more water droplets sprinkled the floor. He stepped out into the hall.

Reciting the door number over and over in his head gave Haji mild distraction from the scratching at his side. He checked each one as he walked. Focusing on a calming aura as he was lessoned the impact this place might've had on him, patients in physical and emotional pain. But then there it was, the door he came to find. It was closed. His cheeks flushed red as he resolved to rapping a finger knuckle on the door before opening it and peeking inside.

"Excuse," he choked out upon registering the nurse's sharp reaction. She shot up from her seat, put her files down and shooed him out the door, closing the door behind her.

"She's to have no visitors now. She's resting."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought Nora was out of surgery?"
"She's only just. She's not cleared for visitors right now. You'll have to leave."
"Oh. Well I, I brought her something."
"I can put flowers in her room if you'd like, but you can't see her now. Have they been cleared? What? What is that?"
"Oh. What? No I don't have flowers, I. What? Oh, I just wanted to give Nora something. It's hers. She told me to bring it for her, but."
"What do you have under there?"
"I, uh."

She forced Haji back on his heels and before he knew it his elbow was bumped by something behind him, and out it came from under his cloak onto his boots like a newborn. The frantic tip-yip hit the slick ground running, it's little claws tapping and scraping for takeoff. The nurse shrilled and grasped the doorframe for support, and several people were taken by surprise as the little chicken darted between their legs and towards a room full of rangers that'd just been opened by a volunteer.

Haji chased after little Tippie towards the opened door.
 

Bast Emblai

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Bast smiled thankfully, relieved at Corran’s agreement to secrecy. It was highly preferable that the general public not know her fears and struggles. Her relief, however, quickly faded into concern as the ranger’s eyes left hers and stared vacantly at the spotless white wall behind her. His face hardened and is voice became clipped as he described the death of his father. Clearly it was still fresh and painful, so the former detective let it be. Now did not appear to be the time to delve into past tragedy. Instead, she shifted to sit up slightly, grimaced at the tearing pain in her back, and spoke.

“Ranger Velt reckless? I must say, that, I would have never guessed.” The corners of the Bast’s mouth turned up to form a slight smile. “Don’t worry. The riveting tales can come a different time. I do, however, want to say that although you would likely make a fair trader, you are quite a competent Sector Ranger. I think your contributions are more valuable saving lives and hunting criminals than sitting in spacelane traffic-”

“Hello Bast, how are you—,” The voice stopped as the two heads turned to the door questioningly. A young woman stood in the doorway, an orange tag reading ‘volunteer’ peeking from under her light jacket to her. She glanced hesitantly at them both.

”Please come in”. Bast, surprised, scanned her visitor. Why she had no had one previously during her periods of extreme boredom and loneliness was unclear. The volunteer with the odd sense of timing had dark hair with red streaks, pulled back slickly. She held a datapad. On her jacket was a very familiar badge. “I am Ranger Emblai. This is Ranger Velt.” She gestured to Corran. “Did Command send you here? I have been sending in my wellness reports. You must be a new worker.” Just as Bast extended her hand, the sound of running and general panic came from the hall. Furrowing her eyebrows, she glanced at the others to see if they had heard it and automatically reached for her blaster, despite it longer being on her belt.

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Corran Velt

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Corran appreciated that Bast didn’t dwell on his teenage years. There was emotion there like a sealed volcano. Too much pressure and… boom. She cleverly smoothed it over by moving on with a comforting and sure smile. That’s when a new visitor entered the room. Bast’s gunner eyes swiftly staring over Corran’s shoulder gave it away. Even bound to a hospital bed, she had the skills to survive. The young man turned his head to see the newcomer.

The woman’s attire was plain and professional, but to Corran she was striking. The young man instinctively rose from his chair and spun on his heel to face the visitor. Corran got to his feet and turned so fast that he nearly stumbled over the chair. He was struck speechless, out of innocent surprise and temporary embarrassment. Luckily, Bast performed the necessary introductions for him. The male Ranger only realized the visitor was his professional counterpart when Bast mentioned Command. The glint of the badge on the woman’s jacket confirmed the truth. Corran cleared his throat and adjusted his jacket with a swift tug, “Ma’am.”

A commotion echoed from the hallway. Not the shuffle of nurses passing by or the shock of loved ones getting news either. The feeling of relative ease the medical ward had provided vanished. Corran immediately stood in front of Bast, shielding her from whatever may come. The receptionist had asked the Ranger to leave his blaster outside unless on official business. Dutifully, he had done so. If he needed to, his fists would allow a last stand but ever since Outpost Blue, Corran intended to live for as long as his fighting strength allowed.

Instead of vengeful pirates or calculating assassins, a small feathered creature scampered into the room. The aggression from the man’s face turned into a perplexed, furrowed brow. “What in the…” Corran thought aloud before glancing up to the currently nameless medical volunteer, “Is this some sort of new physical therapy technique?”

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Falynn Tikarsis

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Falynn was welcomed into the room by Bast, who introduced herself as Ranger Emblai. Her appearance seemed to especially surprise the man, who was temporarily caught off guard, but quickly managed pull himself together and express a greeting. He was introduced as Ranger Velt. Falynn had certainly not expected to see two rangers in the hospital, both who looked a little worse for the wear. Upon further inspection, she could see the telltale signs of fatigue present in both of them.

“Did Command send you here? I have been sending in my wellness reports. You must be a new worker.” There was no doubt that despite being injured, Ranger Emblai was still as alert as ever. She must have spotted Falynn’s badge if she was already speaking about Command with her. Moreover, being identified as a new worker confirmed her suspicion that the ranger had an observant eye.

Falynn smiled and was about to introduce herself when she felt a feathery creature scurry by. Was that a chicken? In all her years of working at various medcenters and hospitals, sure, Falynn had seen some strange things. However, a chicken...well that was something new.

“Is this some sort of new physical therapy technique?” Ranger Velt directed the question at her. He seemed just as puzzled by the sight of the little animal.

It was hard to keep a straight face while answering. “Oh yes, haven’t you heard? We’ve recently developed a new way to improve patients’ eyes. Tracking the quick movements of a small creature has shown to strengthen the superior, medial, and lateral rectus of the eye.” By the time Falynn got to the last part of her response, a smile was already slipping through.

“Though, Ranger Emblai has very keen eyesight, so I believe this chicken is no longer needed.” Without thinking to look behind her, Falynn closed the door to block any escape routes and moved to grab the elusive creature.


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Haji Sigidi

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Chasing after the chicken, hunched over, Haji ducked around one doctor and out from under their coattails and dodged a sidestepping visitor nearly spilling their coffee. Then a protocol droid faced down its worst fear, a hunchbacked organic hurtling towards it like a feral raccoon. But Haji slid into tango position, taking the lead as the two hugged each others' arms, and spot-pivoted them around each other, smoothly switching places and releasing the droid into a wobbling doozy. Haji spun around towards the door, nearly making it. And then the door closed.

Either because of his quiet nature, uncomfortable with loud noises, or his apologetic sense of general guilt, Haji flexed with the Force to help halt his momentum. Arms out, his fingertips landed on either side of the doorframe as his face came a hair's breath from the shut door panel, and he exhaled.

Confusion set in. Haji first eyed the door up and down with worry for little Tippie. Then his line of thought shifted through a frown, and then concern. He searched back over his shoulder, looking for answers in the faces now staring back at him. He saw the nurse, still blocking Nora's door. She shook her head, mouthing a questioning expletive. What indeed. Haji knew then he also needed to find out what was going on. So he turned back around to face the door. But before it might reopen, he took off.

Scurrying left, Haji went for the next door, opened it, and entered. An elderly man and his two daughters, or perhaps a younger wife and daughter, jumped in their seats to the intrusion. Haji shyly apologized to their chorus of questions but kept in motion towards the window. He had to squeeze between one woman and the foot of the man's white bed, leaving an awkward moment of more apologies and yes that was my butt before reaching the next apology in the form of flowers. Haji had to move them, so he again apologetically lifted the sweet smelling flowers of white and yellow in potted red paper wrapping to the food tray next to the man and proceeded to open the window. The sound of pouring rain rushed in and Haji breathed in the fresh vapors. He lifted his hood over his head and leaned out to take a look. There wasn't much in the way of scaffolding or window balconies unfortunately, noting nothing below and nothing above, but the idea had taken him. So he hopped up into the window, one leg out then the next, and lowered himself down to a hang. He didn't know what to do when he noticed the three people still staring at him so he smiled, sort of, blushing.

With difficulty, Haji shimmied along the windowsill towards the next one. Rain falling over him, he struggled to make the simplest movements despite the windows being so close. But eventually, using what grip he could manage on the glass window lining, his head would pop up with a view inside and he would discover the secrets of the chicken thieves, no doubt plotting some nefarious scheme.

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Bast Emblai

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The sudden cascade of chaos occurring after several painfully monotonous days was quite a shock for Bast. First Corran’s reaction to the other ranger’s entrance. He had almost fallen when standing up to greet her, not exactly typical for a trained and dextrous young man. A slight tinge of red had crept into his ears and cheeks and he adjusted his jacket, uncharacteristically nervous. Unsure of whether the blush was out of embarrassment or something else, she threw Corran a questioning look.

Then came the commotion. Her comrades, sensing the rapid movement as well, stiffened. The rookie (If he could be considered one anymore) took up a defensive position in front of her. Although grateful for the attempt at protection, Bast’s view of the door was also temporarily obstructed. Therefore, she could not help but gasp when a cream-colored feathery creature scrambled up onto her lap and just as quickly jumped off, dashing under the cot, then through the jungle of wires and tubes coming from the control panel beside her. Corran released the tension by cracking a joke, although his face betrayed his confusion. Her newest visitor retorted back sarcastically, but the detective could not keep her eyes off the frantic chicken, now scrabbling at a vent. The slick-looking woman had wisely closed the door and had begun running around, arms outstretched, attempting to catch the terrified animal. Rather helplessly, Bast looked on, unable to keep from chuckling a bit at the absurdity of the situation. She could not say she had a particular fondness for pets or wildlife, yet this sparked amusement in her. Something that she had not felt since the outpost.

“Perhaps... we should call security? Unless this is a new therapy animal. Strange, I was under the impression they were not allowed on floors with high- risk patients.“ Then, with no warning, her tone of voice changed. “The window! There’s someone there.”

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Corran Velt

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The medical volunteer assured the two other Rangers that the fowl was indeed part of physical therapy, though an amused smirk that sneaked its way onto her face gave a subtle hint that this visitor was teasing. Corran decided to play along as well as actually secure the feathery creature for removal. "It improves eyesight and tracking, does it? Well it seems to also be eager to test our dexterity," The young man jested as the chicken skittered about the room. While helping the volunteer with herding the fowl into arm's reach, he couldn't help but be impressed on the medical terminology she rattled off about the eye tissue. Corran didn't even know what those were or how they worked. Was this medically-inclined Ranger part of a new program to get more experienced life-savers in the field? Operation Blue would have gone radically different if experienced doctors had been there. More Rangers coming home on stretchers and less in body bags.

Corran practically dove to his knees to entrap the chicken in a bear hug but with a rapid flap of its wings, it fluttered in the air practically into the medical volunteer's arms. The young man couldn't help but chuckle as he got back to his feet again, "Who needs security when we've got our own chicken expert right here, Bast?" He bowed his head in joking reference to the other woman.

That's when Bast cried out. Overcome by adrenaline and lingering paranoia from the assault on the station, Corran looked like he was seeing red. The deep bags under his eyes seemed to highlight the urge to destroy any incoming attacker in his gaze. Practically at a sprint, the man would throw up the window and attempt the grab the peeping-tom by their hooded cloak, haul them into the room and pin them down. "Come here! Trying to finish us off!? I won't let you!"

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Falynn Tikarsis

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After chasing the chicken around the room, Falynn managed to get ahold of it with Ranger Velt’s assistance. He had conveniently driven it into her open arms. The fowl was quite a restless creature, constantly scratching at her in an attempt to escape. Having been raised in a city her entire life, Falynn curiously examined the cause of all this chaos. Cream-colored and rather silky, it was unlike other chickens she’d seen before. I wonder where it came from...and whose is it? Perhaps someone in the hospital is now searching for their missing pet. Falynn was sure chickens weren’t native to Onderon.

She laughed quietly in response to Ranger Velt’s reference to her. After working numerous shifts in a highly stressful environment, Falynn had come to appreciate good-natured humor. “Well, I’m sure I lack the experience to be called an expert, but it might have to do until I find someone to take the chicken. Before I leave, let me properly introduce myself. I’m Falynn Tikarsis, or as I’m sure you’ve both guessed, Ranger Falynn Tikarsis.”

All of a sudden Ranger Emblai shouted in the direction of the window. The atmosphere swiftly darkened as both rangers became on high alert. Even Falynn moved into a defensive position, preparing to face what was at the window. She noticed that Ranger Velt’s mood immediately snapped into one of apprehension. Seeing this reaction, Falynn wondered what emotional wound, which was so vividly expressed in his eyes and Ranger Emblai’s voice, had been opened. As Ranger Velt would race for the window, a thought struck Falynn and she realized the intruder’s attention would not be as focused on the other rangers, but rather on was in her possession.


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Haji Sigidi

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Someone in the bed. Just like the last room. And someone over there. Maybe there were two. The rain made this plan impossible. Haji squinted and grunted, his fingers and biceps aching already. And as he had, he'd fogged up the window. And before he knew it, Haji was surprised so suddenly that he nearly lost his grip. Just as he slipped a step from the shock, foreign hands gripped him and threw him inside with a spattering thud to his back on the floor.

Between the pulling grip on his hood and his inescapable reflex to look up at his aggressor, the collaboration had immediately drawn Haji's admittedly large hood entirely over his head so that by the time he was indicted of attempted murder on the floor of the court, Haji was utterly in the dark.

"Wait! Wait!" Haji's fragile voice called out from under the layers of linen, feebly squirming to no avail under the larger man's applied weight. He did however manage to break through the seal of his suffocation if only enough to reveal his youthful little nose and panting pale lips, and he felt himself inexplicably drawn into looking right at Tippie even while blindfolded. He pointed at the chicken with a pinned arm and asked with his boyish tone, "What have you done with Tippie?"

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Bast Emblai

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It was strange what the trauma of a mission gone wrong could do to a man. Corran threw the window open and pounded on the intruder with such ferocity she heard a loud exhale as the cloaked figure had the wind knocked out of them. The figure now pinned to the floor, appearing to be a young male, struggled valiantly, but the ranger was stronger. The sound of boots, presumably either Corran’s or the other man’s, squeaking on the now wet floor accompanied heavy breathing were quickly interrupted with a frantic call for them to wait.

Bast thought of advising whoever had just attempted to break into the room that perhaps making such an entrance into a room full of trained members of a paramilitary group was not the wisest idea. Whatever his intention, by entering uninvited through a window, he had made himself an immediate target. Indeed, if she had been able to move more than her toes, she would have joined Corran, flipping the hooded boy onto his stomach and forcing his hands behind his back so she could pat him down for weapons without the fear of him drawing one. At this moment, however, the two other more welcome guests in the room had the situation under control. Falynn had the poultry gripped tightly in her arms and seemed not even to have broken a sweat. Velt had gained almost complete control over the young man who was now lying damp in a puddle on the floor.

“Well now we certainly have to bring security in here to mop up the floor or I will slip and break my neck as soon as I try to walk” Although she did not typically find capturing people was a professional or ideal time to wisecrack, Bast was so relieved she was safe that thoughts of public relations and kindness went right out the window the boy had come in.

Slowly, struggling, a pinned arm stretched toward Falynn, or perhaps what she was holding. His voice was young, surprisingly so. "What have you done with Tippie?" he cried.

“Stop fighting. Relax. What is your name? Is Tippie yours? I assume you are referring to the chicken. Both of you seem to have unconventional ways of entering rooms.” Significantly calmer, Bast attempted to speak more gently with the clearly terrified person on her floor. It would be better for all of them if he was at ease. “He will let you go if you do not make any sudden movements and just talk.”

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Corran Velt

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The struggle was over quickly. It wasn't obvious if it was because Corran's physical power ended the tussle quickly or if his opponent was putting up very little resistance. In the male Ranger's mind, this cloaked individual was a space bandit from the Cona system, a survivor of the First Wave massacre and came to assassinate the few Rangers that lived. The covered face could only be a grinning criminal, intent to strange Bast in her bed and stab Corran in the back. His eyes stared like daggers at the rain-soaked figure beneath him. To anyone else, it was like Corran was mentally elsewhere. Even his heavy breathing sounded crude, primal, and angry. There was only kill or be killed. That was until, the hooded figure talked.

Almost immediately, the brutish, violent aura dissipated. The Ranger even sat up, taking a lot of his physical weight off the detained individual. "Tippie?..." Corran asked aloud. The hooded figure was pointing towards something. Corran followed their directions and his eyes settled on the fowl in the medical volunteer's arms. This boy - no, teenager - was either a master of exotic murders or there had been a huge misunderstanding. Not entirely back to reality, when Bast said to 'stop fighting. Relax.' Corran thought that was partially directed at him. Letting go of the cloaked person, the male Ranger rose to his feet and brushed off his pants. It didn't help much; they were still wet from the rain and the struggle. Nevertheless, Corran didn't stand too far back from the hooded figure, in case he had to manhandle the situation again. It was clear that the adrenaline had left his system though.

"Ranger Fal... Ranger Tikarsis, was it?" Corran gestured to the figure on the eggshell white floor, "Would you check this citizen for undue injury? Maybe let them see if that physical therapy animal is this... Tippie?"

The man's eyes looked even more exhausted, perhaps even a little frightened, then before. The hand he gestured with was noticeably shaking.

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