The cold, merciless sound of waiting… Waiting for something you know is coming, you cant stop it, you don’t want it, but there it is. Silence brings a wrench to your gut, the anticipation of rounding a corner you know is littered with enemies ready to end your life, and bring you that deafening silence. But there were no foes to fell, no death around the bend, only sorrow, and pain, A pain for which there is no cure, weapons unseen and just as silent as the waiting. The Stronghold is this chilling silent on that morning, the captain sits beside a bed, in which a golden haired child sleeps soundly, peacefully, Unaware of the coming news. The maddening silence is broken as the holo com beeps to life, Xin looks down and moves from the room, glancing back with a sorrowful eye and moving to a secured room.

“Good morning Captain Xin’geda, We have reviewed your proposal and the Academy of advanced robotics would be more than happy to grant asylum and tutelage to this young lady, We do have a few questions we must address beforehand.”

Xin’s voice had lost its sly and cool tone, sounding more like the Soldier he once was. “Ask away, please, i want to make sure everything is solid.”

“Well sir we have no next of kin to list in case of emergency, Nor do we have a name for her parents, I understand her parents are dead but we must have them for our records.”

Xin nods and opens his datapad, setting the holo com on the table in front of him “According to my records their names were Alice and Marcus Stormstar. And as far as next of kin you can list my name, My ship is fast enough i can be to you rather quickly.”

The Director nods and updates his records, pausing a moment “Sir, you mentioned the girl was potentially force sensitive, more than likelythe Jedi order will find her and attempt to take her for training, what should we do in this situation? As much as we understand your desire to keep her from them until she is old enough to choose, we are not exactly able to deny them the right to search for more young potential jedi.”

Xin tenses, looking extremely serious, looking the small holo of the man in the “eye”. “If the Jedi come, and attempt to take her, you contact me with the urgency, as if the entire school was on fire…do you understand Director?” His prejudice showing, he didn’t trust the Jedi order any more than the Sith one, perhaps even less. Dispite having a cordial relationship with the various masters that came around the base, his trust of them was the same for anyone else, Earned not given.

The Director looks visibly intimidated, nodding swiftly and updating the order just as quick. “Very understood sir, we shall send the shuttle manned with the people you requested right away, Please have her things packed and ready, and sir..”

Xin looks down at the man, lifting the com once again.”Yes?”

“I am sorry for this, My own child was taken by the jedi some time ago, i lost her in the Zakul attacks, They sent a padawan to battle the invaders as a test of her leadership skill, when i demanded an explanation they told me.. that she knew the risks of her assignment, and died trying to protect the republic. I will notify the staff to make a pass for your ship posthaste Captain, will make any visits you see fit much easier, Good day sir.” the com clicks off. 

Xin looks down at his hands as he tucks the com away, squeezing his eyes shut and shaking lightly, his breaths staggered and rough in the cool morning, exhaling a strained breath as he moves to the room again. There she was, sat on the end of the bed, bags to the side, swinging her little feet back and forth, tears streaming down her face. She looks up as the door slides open, looking at him with a face that could cut the hull of a Destroyer, a razor’s edge that cut him deeper than his long life of war. He moves to sit beside her, wrapping an arm around her. “You were listening huh?” She nods slowly, holding up a small device, then tugging on the inside of his coat as she climbed up into his lap, curling up against him, taking out the paired device. She chuckles lightly, wrapping his arms around her, kissing the top of her head.

“Daddy….do you hate me?” She asks, innocent as she was.

Xin froze as he looks down at her “No baby, i could never hate you..”

“Then why do i have to leave? Do the others hate me?”

Xin shakes his head “No love, no one hates you…its just not safe here, we do a lot of dangerous things and we dont want you getting hurt…”

“But daddy…this hurts too…” she stares up at him, her soft green eyes filled with tears.

“I know love…it hurts me too…more than i can describe..”

She presses her face into his chest, sobbing lightly, gripping his shirt tightly as she savors the warm embrace of the only person who she felt cared about her, sent her away. The shuttle pulls up to the Strong hold, the holds security systems begins booting up, Xin walks out carrying Emilea in his arms, her bags in the other, looking up at the camera’s he sets down the bag, clicking a button on his gear, the guns powering down for a short time. The shuttle door opens, a group of armor clad soldiers step out and stand guard, the attendants take up the bags and place them into the cargo holds. A young woman, Raven hair and soft features steps out with a smile, waiting for them to say their goodbyes. 

Xin sets her down, kneeling in front of her and wrapping his arms around her, squeezing gently as she sobs more heavily, gripping on tight.”I don’t wanna go daddy, please don’t make me go, please please please…i promise ill be good, please dont leave me all alone…” she sobs and sniffles, begging and pleading to stay with him, he shakes with feelings he has repressed for so long, picking her up into their hug, and stepping towards the woman. He pulls the girl from his shirt gently, handing her off almost coldly, kissing her head one last time. “I know love, i know… i wish there was a way… but your papa asked me to make sure you were safe and healthy, and you will be with get to learn and play…and have a childhood..grow up smart and strong…there is no future like that here, not one i can provide..” 

She cries and shakes her head trying desperately to claw back to him, tears and snot streaming down her face as the woman slowly walks into the shuttle.”Daddy no, don’t leave me all alone again please!” 

“Im sorry baby…i love you….be a good girl….” Xin repeats for the second time in his life, a tear escaping down his cheek. The guards step into the shuttle, her cries and sobbing slowly drowned out as the shuttle doors close, and the vessel begins to take off. Xin waits until his sharp eyes can no longer see it, looking down he shakes with an emotion he bottled for too long…

His rage filled him as he moves back through the hold, stopping at Jackies door, his fingers crack and knuckles pop before pushing on to the training room, grabbing the melee dummy and throwing it across the floor, it swings back to its “feet” only to be cracked across the face, a large dent in his jaw. His fists pummel the poor thing relentlessly, body blows, right hooks, left jabs, his fighting now more of a mindless beating than a fighting stance, every punch flowed with his emotions, the cracking of bone could be heard by any who were watching his volatile outburst, tears streaming down his face as he roared in fury. His knuckles broken, his hands cracking with each strike as this went on, and on, After what could seem like hours, he drops to his knees, shaking and letting out a howl of rage, sorrow, and pain. The pain was not in his hands, broken and bloody, his voice, gruff and strained, but in his heart, as if stabbed with a rusty blade, the pain of choosing what is needed of what he wanted more than anything.

Author Scond
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