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The Ripple Effect

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The skies above the fourth moon of Manster are cloudy and gray; a fitting landscape for today’s mood. Alone in the cockpit of the Mahnya, scouting for Celice’s Liberation Army, Fee decides it’s a perfect time for somber reflections.

Such as the very empty gunner’s seat behind her.

It’s not like Arthur had been in her life long at all; they’d met only a month or so before, when she was still stuck on Silesia, scalvaging parts to repair the Mahnya’s hyperspace drive. He’d agreed to help, in return for a ride, and, well…

Somehow, they’d ended up becoming the best gunner/pilot duo in the whole Liberation.

(Arthur said it was the Force; his whole family had it - he could sense just when to shoot, just when to make that critical dodge-roll he’d hated so much the first time she pulled it. Fee shrugged at that. Arthur could use whatever the fuck he liked, but as for her? It was all sheer, dumb luck.)

Today was just a simple scouting mission. She had no need for either a copilot or a gunner - and yet, the empty space behind her feels heavier, somehow.

Arthur always went on scouting missions with her.

Of course, it was to be expected; they’d just rescued his sister on Alster, the second moon of Manster. Of course he wanted to spend time with the sibling he been missing for so long; anyone would want to spend time around Tinny! But seeing their reunion was still bittersweet, and it doesn’t change the fact that the seat of her best friend and copilot still sits empty.

(And he’d run up to her before she left, too, gripping her hands earnestly, a smile plastered across his face that did not betray his tension to anyone but her. “Fee! Be careful out there today, won’t you? Don’t go flying off into enemy territory by yourself, without me there, okay?”

How she’d laughed at that! “Arthur!” she teased, tone light-hearted, “you sound like you’re actually worried about me!”

There was a strange flicker of emotion across his face at that. “Yeah… I guess you could say that,” he said, but it lacked the subtle tease-back of their usual banter. She missed it, missed their easy jokes, and how calm they made her feel - so she poked at it again, gently, still teasing.

“Hmph. And here I thought you could only care about yourself! Well, it’s nice to be proven wrong!”

It backfired. An actually hurt look flashed across Arthur’s face, and he pulled his hands back, shoving them into the pockets of his long cloak. “Yeah…” he muttered, turning his gaze to the floor. “Well. I guess you’re just an exception.”

It hadn’t been the time for their jokes and teasing, and Fee realized it, tried to backtrack, to apologize - “Arthur…”

“Look, just be careful, okay? I’ll see you around.”

And with that, he’d whirled off and headed back into their base; standing alone in the hanger, Fee can’t help but feel absolutely awful.)

She sighs, trying to focus on anything but. She can apologize to Arthur when she gets home. Right now, she just needs to scout.

But Arthur won’t leave her mind, in that insufferable way of his; Tinny is there, too, and over and over again the scene plays through her head, of them hugging each other on the battlefield, reunited after ten and a half years of being apart.

And then, suddenly, it wavers, and in her mind’s eye she sees herself, hugging a robed figure with short green hair.

Ah. That’s right.

She left Silesia because she wanted to find her sibling, too.

Fee shakes the vision from her head and refocuses. She’s flying above the mountains, now, and there’s a slight turbulence about. “Whew, we’re pretty high up now, aren’t we?” she mutters aloud, to no one, before gazing about at the interior of her ship. “Hey… How’re you holding up, Mahnya? You’ve been around a real long time, haven’t you, girl… You used to be my aunt’s ship, after all! And now you’re named after her.”

It’s not lost on her, the irony of naming the vessel after another member of her family, lost - this time, one she’d never be able to meet, ever. She sighs, and lets the thoughts back in.

“Sety… where could you possibly be?” she murmurs, staring out at the horizon.

And then, as if in answer to her quiet plea, she feels it.

It’s like the distant, outer edge of a ripple on a once-still pond, reaching out for her and her alone. “Sety…?” she murmurs, reaching out with a gloved hand, as though she can somehow touch this distant, rippling presence.

For a moment, she almost feels his fingertips brush hers.

And then it’s gone, but the rippling isn’t; she feels him, senses him, knows him - he’s here, on the moon of Manster. It grows closer, and closer, the ripples, before ebbing away, as though concentrating…

And then there’s a blast from the Capital; she doesn't need the Force to see it, feel it moving through her. In her mind's eye, she sees the trademark fighters of Thracia surrounding the Capital, ready to attack.

She flicks her radio on.

“Green leader to Liberation, do you copy?”

“Green leader, this is Liberation! We hear you!” Celice exclaims, their voice loud and clear. She'd almost smile at that, if things weren't so grave.

“It's just as the reports were saying - there's a group of Thracian fighters heading straight for Manster Capital.” She breathes, as though to steady herself. “And that's not all. There was a sudden, huge surge of the Force just now, from the same place.”

Celice is quiet for a moment. “Are you sure?” they ask, voice wavering; Fee can't help but feel a hint of frustration, because damnit all she might not be Force-sensitive, but she can still recognize it-

Arthur's voice flickers onto her radio. “I felt it, too,” he says, simply, but it's like a crushing weight has been lifted from Fee's chest, and she can breathe easily once more. She smiles at the radio, even though he can't see her.

Something tells her he's smiling back.

“And I, as well,” comes a third voice; the grin is instantly wiped from her face, to be replaced by a scowl, as she recognizes her father's voice. “Set our courses for Manster. We must lend them aid.”

She waits for a moment, hears him take in a breath, like he wants to say something more - but he doesn't, and his radio clicks off. She's alone, now, in the cockpit, stuck feeling frustrated at herself for wanting more, and then not getting it.

Arthur's voice crackles through once more. “You did a good job, Fee,” he says, warmly and friendly and so very Arthur. “Now, just remember, don't go flying off into enemy territory without m-”

She flicks her radio off, and guns her engines straight towards the Capital. He'd understand - she's sure of it.


Dawn is just breaking when a cloaked figure rouses himself from sleep. There, on the winds, he can feel it, sense it.

Someone is here.

He sits up, and shakes his head. He'd believed that a long time ago. It was what drew him to the moon of Manster; searching for a presence he could never find, always moving a step or two ahead of him. How his father had managed to cast a Force signal from a place he wasn't at baffled and confused him - but then, so did many things about his father. Whatever he'd done, it had worked; he'd been lured to the moon with plans to bring his father home, and he'd stayed to help the people.

But this presence is… different, from his father's, somehow. Closer, more familiar to him.

He cannot physically touch a Force bond, but nevertheless, he reaches out - and feels his sister's fingertips graze his own.
He smiles, warmly. He's missed her.

Slowly, Sety pulls back his hood, and turns to face the whole of Manster. There, on the horizon, he sees approaching Thracian fighters - but the Force is with him, in him, and he is not afraid.

His sister is here. The Liberation Army is here. Soon, this land will be free.

He takes a deep breath, and decides to send his sister a message, in the only way he knows how.