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(( The following is on my SWTOR Smuggler, Jacqueline “Jackie” Rees. ))

Stomping out of the medical bay, Jacqueline Rees felt the edges of her vision darken. Singular, one-minded, she dove into the cantina stock, took up an untapped whiskey bottle, and stormed a straight line towards the Gunstar. Her eyesight tunneled, unheeding anyone nearby or any detail other than what was necessary. One foot marched in front of the other: Up the stairs, across the landing platform, up the ramp, close the ramp. It hissed shut. Silence.

She nearly uncorked the bottle right then. Stilling herself, gripping the bottle tight enough that it was a marvel it didn’t shatter in her white-knuckled hand, she checked in on Vanessa. Curled up in her covers in the crew’s quarters, the child slept. In her arms was a stuffed Manka cat, one of many leftover gifts of her adoptive father. Deceased adoptive father. Damn well should be. Tapping the keypad outside the child’s door, Jacqueline sealed it shut. Her datapad on her belt woke with a beep, signaling its receipt of the holocam stream inside.

The bottle uncorked the moment the door shut. Taking a swig, Jacqueline almost gagged. Two months sober and she both relished and rejected the bitter, woody taste. But the old familiarity of the drink eventually overtook her and she took another swig. Three later, and the flavor inspired a thankful sensation of nothing. Sliding down against the wall, she stared, eyes distant, bottle grasped in hands draped between her knees. Her datapad cluttering to the floor, the holocam of the child’s makeshift bedroom played back at her. Jacqueline only let her eyes slip toward it once, opting instead to listlessly stare anywhere but the screen of the child sleeping not ten feet away.

Eyeing the whiskey left in the bottle, she took another swig and tilted her head back, letting the liquor settle in her gut. Closing her eyes, Jacqueline exhaled. When the dreams attempted to take her, her eyes snapped open and she took to the bottle once again. For hours, she slumped against the wall in her drunken night post, till eventually she stumbled to the facilities to empty the contents of her stomach. She spent the remainder of the night there till a little voice within the bedroom sounded. Belatedly, after many uncertain moments of the child calling out alone, Jacqueline answered. The child was greeted with an exhausted stare and delayed embrace.

(( Related: Gotta Knock A Little Harder. ))

Author Ari
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