End of the Beginning or Beginning of the End?

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Eri Ambicon
Surface Marshal
Surface Marshal
Posts: 404
Joined: 2008-04-20 16:56
Custom Title: Sniper, Shapshooter, Markswoman
Organizational Unit: Surface Marhsal of the Imperial Army
Location: ESD Lusankya, Task Force Conquest, Third Fleet

End of the Beginning or Beginning of the End?

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2011-07-04 19:41

((OOC: Thanks to those who helped me with the post and your input.))

"I'm sorry Miss Ambicon. We did everything we could for him but... Whatever technology was used, it was far beyond our understanding and... I'm sorry."

Mixed feelings ran through Eri as she stood beside the doctor, a middle-aged man in medical scrubs who seemed to have yet to get used to breaking the hard news to people. Laying on a table, her father, Cid, had suffered a severe brain aneurysm and the strange medical procedures that the Directive had performed on him to resurrect the body had only served to complicate any efforts to save him. Eri had already accepted his death once, she had been the one to pull the trigger before pulling it again and again as she released all those painful childhood memories and the loss of her childhood. But then when she saw him brought back to life, Eri wasn't sure what to think. At first, he didn't seem like the man she had once known, but as the fight wore on, he seemed more and more like the person she had once known.

"You... you did everything you could," Eri began as she wiped her eyes with the back of her left hand. "I... I just wish I could have said good-bye properly this time."

The doctor let the comment pass without asking, having been made well aware of Cid's medical file. "I'll be outside if you need a moment." Turning, he left the operating room, leaving Eri to once again try and cope with the loss of her dad. He had tried to make amends, somehow having retained enough of his memory after Eri shot his head with more holes than a hollowed out asteroid.

"I'm sorry," Eri began after the door closed behind her, sniffling as she wiped away more tears. "I thought we'd finally be able to return home, as a family." Though she said it, Eri was aware there was no home for them to return to right now, the Directive had destroyed the family house she had grown up in. They've taken so much away from me, Eri thought, finally breaking down and letting the tears fall down as she bent over and hugged the body on the table. No words materialized as she wept uncontrollably, letting out all of her life's frustrations, her tears falling onto the sheet that partially covered the body. "I'm sorry," she repeated, a sick, heart-wrenching feeling starting to form in her chest as if her stomach and heart were starting to wrap around each other. "I wish I never killed you in the first place!!!"

Though it felt like a huge weight had suddenly disappeared off her shoulders, the sadness remained as, despite her sorrow and grief and confession at having made what she considered the biggest mistake of her life wasn't going to bring him back to life.

For a long while Eri cried, occasionally mumbling an apology or wishing she could turn back the hands of time, hoping, just hoping that maybe if she wished hard enough, someone would grant it to her and she could be at home with her family, together with them, even if it was the three of them pitching in together to rebuild the house. The reality, however, hurt more than the pain of loss as whatever small vestiges of that playful, dreaming youth Eri had left slid away as the knowledge set in that her wishes would never come true, that her life, her Dad's life and even her Mom's life were forever changed and Eri knew it.

It had taken a while for Eri to recover as she walked down the hallway, the same doctor from before walking alongside her. Neither one of them said anything, nothing needed to be said as Eri already signed the various wavers to have her Dad's body shipped home where she would give him a proper burial. She would also have a proton grenade planted with him so the next bastard who tried to exhume the body with the idea of bringing him back to life would vanish from the face of the galaxy along with the body once and for all.

As they approached the recovery wing, the doctor stopped suddenly, drawing in a deep breath. Eri stopped and turned to face the man, noting the conflicting expression on his face. "Miss Ambicon, I... I think, before you go in there, you need to know that... We found a complication with your Mother's condition."

Eri thought she no longer had anything left in her to cry out, but somehow the doctor managed to make the tears return to her already puffy eyes. "Wha... What do you mean?" she gasped, wrapping her hands together and putting them against her chest.

"When she was brought out of the carbon freeze, we thought we followed all the normal safe procedures but it seems there's a clot in her brain, several of them actually. We're not sure how they formed but we do know that if they're not removed soon, they might get stuck in her heart or, worse, her brain and kill her."

"So... why haven't you done anything? I told you anything she needs, you do what it takes to make her better!" Eri said, her voice upset as she wondered if he had ever planned on telling her anything about this problem in the first place. "If it's about credits, I don't care how much it costs, I've hardly spent a single one since I joined the military and-"

"We would have operated," he cut her off before clearing his throat, "But she insisted that we leave her be."

That made Eri's heart hit the floor. Turning suddenly, she broke out into a run, the drops of her tears dotting the floor as she ran. Reaching the room, she burst through the door. "Mom!" she exclaimed, looking at the figure resting peacefully on the bed, sitting upright. The woman looked over and immediately lit up, smiling happily.

"Eri." Before she could react, Eri was already wrapping her arms around her Mom, relived to see her still alive. "How's my princess doing?" she asked, returning the embrace. Feeling her daughter tremble, she gently rubbed her soothingly, trying to provide whatever comfort she could. Her right hand felt strange, the cybernetic replacement, while looking and feeling just like her old hand, still felt foreign and didn't fully register in her mind. "There, there. It's okay." Moving her hands to Eri's shoulders, she pulled away a little to look into Eri's face. There was so much pain, sorrow and suffering and it hurt to see her so sad it was almost like she was looking at a complete stranger who only vaguely resembled her daughter. "Oh Eri... I wish we could have spent more time together."

"So do I..." Eri wept, trying to catch her breath between sobs before asking, "Why... Why aren't you letting them treat you?" Seeing her look away, Eri felt like she had just been stabbed in the heart with a knife. "Mom?"

"I... It was... I can't handle it..." Struggling for words, it was clear something was bothering the woman and Eri knew exactly what. The ordeal was traumatic, the capture, tattooing and subsequent cutting off of the right hand before being lowered into a carbonite freezing pit right after seeing her late husband once again among the living. "Every time I close my eyes... I see those horrible people... the cold... Cid..." shivering suddenly, Eri quickly hugged her Mom again and made a desperate attempt to change the subject, the fear that she might go into shock.

"I don't want to lose you," Eri managed, hoping to sway the decision in the other direction. "I... Dad... Dad died.... again..."

"I know..."

That caught Eri off guard. "Y-You do?"

Looking over, Eri was surprised to see such a warm smile on her Mom's face as she said, "We shared a lot of good times together and, well, it's just one of those things you know. You'll understand one day." The smile faded as she added in a regretful tone, "I wish you and I could have spent more time together. I'm sorry I wasn't always there for you... I'm sorry I was hardly ever there..."

Eri shook her head vigorously. "No. It's okay, you had work to deal with and had to support Dad and I."

A sigh escaped. "That's no excuse. I wanted to be a part of your life as much as your Dad, more even. I wanted you to be happy and pursue your dreams, to become a musician. I know he had other plans and I'm ashamed to say I wasn't in the picture enough to help influence you more than he did..."

It tore Eri up to hear her Mom speak those words. The fact they were true made it hurt even more as Eri had always thought that she just didn't care all that much, preferring to hop around the galaxy as an excuse to stay away from home. Eri opened her mouth to speak but she couldn't find the words to express her thoughts.

"I hear that you've still kept up with the piano though," she continued, smiling once again, a forced smile though she made it look so easy. "I hear they have on here in the hospital auditorium." The twinkle in her eyes conveyed the rest of the message that she didn't need to say anything more.

Eri again couldn't find the words. Her mother was dying and yet, rather than be treated, she wanted to hear Eri play on the piano? She wanted to protest, or somehow force her into the operating room, but instead Eri nodded and lead the way, her mother controlling the repulsor bed and following her out the door before coming up alongside her daughter. The trip to the auditorium was painfully quiet, Eri fighting to keep the tears away. They were nearly at the room when Eri finally found her voice and opened her mouth to speak. Sadly, her Mom was faster than she was.

"This is nice," she began softly, smiling warmly, "Being able to spend time with you like this." Looking up at her daughter, her smile grew even bigger. "You've grown up into such a fine young lady."

"Oh Mom..." Eri laughed a little, feeling slightly embarrassed at the statement. She smiled a little and her Mom giggled a little. "W-What's so funny?"

"Just your reaction," she answered, adding, "Your father is right though, you really did inherit my smile."

They entered the massive room and approached the large grand piano that was at the other end. "What should I play?" Eri asked, having a list of songs she had committed to memory though maybe a little out of practice.

"Whatever you feel like." It was a response Eri had hoped she wouldn't hear as she didn't know what to play right now especially as she only felt sad and afraid. Taking her place, she glanced back at her Mom who was patiently waiting for her to play something. "Take your time. Just remember, let the music flow and play from the heart."

Eri swallowed down the sadness that tried to resurface. 'Let the music flow' and 'play from the heart' were the first lessons she ever gave me... Briefly, her mind flickered back to her days as a kid, sitting at the baby grand at home, her Mom sitting on the bench next to her, teaching her about the powerful thing called music. Eri cherished those lessons not just because it was fun but because they were the only times she got to spend any real quality time with her mother and they were so few and far between. Placing her fingers on the keys, Eri looked up to the ceiling, trying to force the tears away. This is for you Dad... Mai... Everyone...

She started playing a tune she had only played a handful of times before. Eri had all but forgotten the upbeat tune she and Mai had played back in the lounge two years ago and, ironically, it was Wesiri who reminded her of those simpler times when everything in Eri's life had been going well and she didn't have a care in the world. Her fingers, overwhelmed with emotion, slipped up on the keys every now and then and Eri struggled to contain herself, cursing at each slip up while her Mom giggled, offering words of encouragement and support. Eventually Eri found her groove and the music flowed, filling the entire auditorium with the powerful sound of music. To Eri, the song somehow sounded hollow, she missed the violin accompaniment, she missed Mai, her Dad, everybody she had known and lost and as she played, in the back of her mind, she knew she was about to lose yet another person dear to her. Pushing those thoughts aside, Eri played on wanting to show her Mom how far she's come since they last played together. She wanted the music to lift up not only her Mom but her own soul and take it to place where she and everyone could enjoy it where there was no such thing as pain, suffering, death or sadness.

As it neared the end, Eri felt herself finally get into it fully, even feeling lifted up herself, buoyant, all the positive emotion pushing everything she had bottled up for the past while out of mind and soul. She no longer thought about the Dark Jedi and their selfish desires or the misguided decisions of Emperor Kane or the disaster that was Sarapin, Tsoss Beacon, Arkania, Empress Theta or any other number of recent campaigns. She didn't think about the countless people's lives she had ended, the children she killed or friends she lost. All that mattered right now was the music and the audience's enjoyment of it.

Finally the song came to an end and Eri sniffled once. She looked over to her Mom with a huge smile on her face, feeling years younger and happier than she had ever been in recent memory. Her Mom lay on the bed, eyes closed, her chest not moving at all with her head slumped to the side a little. There was a smile not unlike Eri's on her face too. For a long moment she sat in silence, waiting for the eyes to flutter open, a gasp to finally be released and some further expression of joy to escape...

Eri felt the pit in her stomach open up again as she waited, the seconds turning into minutes. Reaching over, she gently put a hand on top of her mom's folded hands. "M... Mom?" she choked out, her voice barely a squeak. "Please..." Hanging her head down, Eri started to tremble. "Please, don't leave me... You're all I have left."

Feeling something soft slowly grasp Eri's hand, she looked up with a gasp and saw her mom looking at her, light green eyes pooling up with tears that were trying to be held back. "Oh Eri, that was so beautiful... You really were telling me the truth. I-" the words got caught in her throat as she tried to express herself.

"Please Mom," Eri gave her hands a gentle squeeze, "Please, let the doctors treat you... I don't want you to go. There's still so much I need to show you, so much time we need to catch up on..."

A single tear finally found its way down. The resolve seemed to be wearing down. "Okay," she breathed in response, lifting her arms up and stretching them out for Eri as she came in close and embraced her tightly. Pulling back, she glanced once at the piano before looking back into Eri's bright, beautiful eyes that no longer seemed to carry the weight of the galaxy upon them. Picking up the small call button that was next to her, she activated it which would summon a medical droid over. "Could you play one more while we wait?"

Smiling, Eri laughed once as she turned back around. "Okay."

Watching her daughter place her fingers back on the keys, it was hard not to envision Eri as the little girl she once was, the smile on her face able to cure wounds better than bacta ever could. The sound of music was a powerful thing and, for the both of them, it's power further strengthened their resolve, to make up for past mistakes.
"There's no outrunning a sniper." - Eri

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Eri Ambicon
Surface Marshal
Surface Marshal
Posts: 404
Joined: 2008-04-20 16:56
Custom Title: Sniper, Shapshooter, Markswoman
Organizational Unit: Surface Marhsal of the Imperial Army
Location: ESD Lusankya, Task Force Conquest, Third Fleet

Re: End of the Beginning or Beginning of the End?

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2011-07-05 19:36

Laughter filled the air as did the sweet scent of tart pie. Sitting at a white wooden table in the kitchen with matching white cabinets and sky blue walls, a little girl eagerly waited with giddy excitement for her piece of the tasty treat, staring at the vapour that wafted up from the delicious pie, dissipating into the air above. "Is it ready?"

"We have to let it cool down for five minutes first," came the gentle reply, "Otherwise you might burn your mouth."

The girl pouted, unable to wait the five minutes as that might as well have been five years. "But I'll be old by then!"

More laughter filled the room and the door from the outside swung inward. "Something sure smells good," a haggard voice said with an uplifted ton. "You really ought to stop spoiling us. You're home so infrequently, let me do the cooking dear."

"I don't get to cook much when I'm away," the woman with the pie confessed, setting it down on the windowsill to allow the outside air to help cool it. Removing the oven gloves, she brushed her long, straight blonde hair back behind her shoulders and added with a mock tone, "Besides, I'm not a fan of army rations."

A deep chuckle escaped from the big man as he pulled a chair out at the table and sat down, glancing over at the little girl who was still staring at the pie, willing it to cool faster. "My food isn't that bad is it Eri?"

"Huh?" the girl glanced over upon hearing her name, having no idea what was just said. "Uh..." Looking back and forth between the two adults in hopes of getting a clue as to how to respond, she let her eyes fall back on the pie and asked, "Is it ready now?"

Outside, the sun was beaming down on the windswept plains, the tall yellow grass rippling in the direction of the wind, the scattered blba trees that dotted the land bowing with the odd gust as the bright blue skies above helped complete the picturesque scene. The tall, three story home was one of the two only buildings within a few hundred kilometers from any other ones, it's white walls accented by dark blue trim and black window shutters as well as a natural wood deck that went all around the perimeter of the home.

The second building was a large metal hanger shaped building where a pair of spaceships, a trio of T-16 Skyhoppers and a couple of maintenance and pit droids made their home. The roof was retractable, and a small, well worn trail of shortened brown grass and patches of dirt marked the frequent trips from the house to the building and vice versa.

A lake a kilometer away glistened as water fowl swam peacefully upon its reflective surface, diving for critters that lived on the bottom. Small streams flowed into and out of it, stretching out beyond the horizon. In fact, one could travel for miles before running into another house as the world of Dantooine was far removed from the vast majority of galactic traffic.

At last, after what felt like days, a knife gently pressed into the soft, gooey top of the pie as three pieces were neatly cut out of it and put onto square plates before being served to the hungry family. "YAY!" Eri cheered before digging in.

Opening her eyes, Eri blinked several times, realizing she must have dozed off. She had been siting on a chair inside a recovery room that was still empty save for her. Glancing out the window, she saw only the black skies and the lights on from other buildings close by. Night had fallen and she quickly checked her chrono. She's been in there for an awfully long time... she realized, wondering what was taking so long.

Thinking back to the dream she just had, Eri wasn't sure if it had been only a dream or some sort of long lost memory she never knew existed. Her childhood was wrought with a lot of unpleasant experiences and her Mom was hardly around to bake the tasty tart pies she only vaguely remembered the taste of now, the citrus taste with the slight sourness complementing the sweet fruity flavour and the moist yet surprisingly flaky crust.

The door to the room opened up and a doctor in blue scrubs stepped in. When Eri looked up, he introduced himself before saying, "Miss Ambicon, I hope I didn't wake you."

"No, I was up already." Eri shook her head as she looked at the man, her eyes watering as she half expected him to be here only to drop news she didn't want to hear. "Is everything okay? Is she all right?"

"We just finished and we're bringing her here now but right now, she needs rest. And lots of it." Maybe it was his way of trying to drop a subtle hint that Eri should perhaps return to tend to her duties as Surface Marshal as she had already spent the entire day here and probably needed sleep.

Nodding, Eri didn't budge as she waited for the bed to arrive into the room and when it did, Eri felt relieved to see her Mom laying on it, sleeping peacefully through the sleeping agents left over from the surgery.

"You should let her rest," the doctor said before Eri could say anything further.

"I will... Thank-you." When the man departed, Eri felt her eyes start to tear up again. Resting her head down on the edge of the soft bed, her arms gently resting on her Mom's hands as she let herself drift back to sleep, happy that she finally managed to save someone important to her after so many others had perished.
"There's no outrunning a sniper." - Eri

User avatar
Eri Ambicon
Surface Marshal
Surface Marshal
Posts: 404
Joined: 2008-04-20 16:56
Custom Title: Sniper, Shapshooter, Markswoman
Organizational Unit: Surface Marhsal of the Imperial Army
Location: ESD Lusankya, Task Force Conquest, Third Fleet

Re: End of the Beginning or Beginning of the End?

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2011-07-06 17:10

Three weeks had passed in which time Eri's Mom was discharged from the hospital, having been given a clean bill of health though it was recommended that she continue seeing a therapist to help her deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder. The two of them returned to Dantooine, their home having just been rebuilt to the same specifications as before. However, though the layout and floor plans were exactly as Eri remembered it, the place felt so empty, many of the things that couldn't be replaced, like childhood pictures, holos and other sentimental things were gone, destroyed beyond repair from the blast.

The two of them sat on the patio, waving farewell to Dr. Gray who just finished another session of therapy. It was hard to watch and listen to Dr. Gray and her methods, trying to force the horrid memories back to the surface like trying to use a Star Destroyer to ram a nail out of a piece of wood. The Doctor's credentials were good but now Eri didn't feel so sure of herself as each session ended with her Mom in tears, appearing no closer to coping with what had happened and what she witnessed. Gray assured Eri that progress was being made and to trust her implicitly. It wasn't easy to do, but Eri swallowed her better judgement and put her faith in the Doctor, trying to remind herself it was for the best.

The sun was starting to set, bright orange and red colours filling the sky. As the Doctor's shuttle departed, Eri glanced past the spot where it just had been at the small, recently made grave. She felt a pang of sorrow as she remembered the small funeral service only a week ago where they laid her Dad to rest. Hopefully for the last and final time, Eri thought, wishing more that he was alive right now to be with the two of them. We could really use you right now...

"It's beautiful isn't it?"

Eri glanced up from the small tombstone she had been staring at and over to her Mom. She was looking up at the bright, colourful sky. Following her gaze, Eri admired the colours, the clouds bright with the colours on the horizon. "It is," Eri replied. Being home for so long on personal leave, it was a difficult transition to make as each morning Eri had woken up thinking about all the work she had to do only to realize she wasn't in her quarters aboard the Lusankya. Her nights, however, were just as restless and her days were wrought with stress, if not for her Mom, for the army that she worried about, fearing one of the Generals was taking this opportunity to cement his position and argument to have her replaced before heedlessly following Emperor Kane and his warmongering path to the ends of the galaxy.

"You know, when your Father first suggested we move to Dantooine and live here, I was completely against the idea..." A laugh escaped as memories of times long gone resurfaced. "I was always a city girl, having lived on Coruscant nearly all my life before I met Cid."

Listening, Eri realized she had never heard the story about how her parents first met. Thinking about it some more, the sad realization emerged that she also knew so very little about either of them. "Why were you against it?" Eri asked, her lips moving before her brain could formulate the question she really wanted to ask.

"Everything is so remote out here and all the open space... It's... a huge change." There was a long pause before she added sadly, "I never really got used to it... Even after I had you. I guess I felt this compulsion to always try and return to an urbanized world..."

"Is that why you were never around much?" Eri managed to ask, feeling herself choke up at being so blunt about it. The long hesitation made her feel even worse for asking and wish she could once again turn back the hands of time and stop herself from being so stupid and insensitive. "I'm sorry, I-"

"No, you have a right to know... That was part of the reason, I will admit that. I missed the luxuries of urban living, being able to take a sky cab or a small shuttle anywhere to do or get whatever I need without having to worry about flying around myself. I never was much of a pilot, again, more a product of being a Coruscanti than anything else. Cid did teach me though, I remember the skyhopper races we'd have, you used to enjoy those so much." Sighing at those happy memories, she looked over at her daughter who looked back. "I wasn't around much because I wanted to make sure I could give you everything you wanted. Your Father's pension only went so far, especially after he took an early retirement instead of staying with the Empire as an officer." Looking down at the wooden deck below Eri, she smiled weakly. "I guess I should have realized spending more time with you was what you really wanted."

Eri didn't know how to respond to that. She couldn't lie and say she didn't mind or that she believed her Mom made the right decision but she also understood the reason, even if she had suspected and assumed it all these years. Maybe it just took hearing it from her to finally let it sink in. "We had our moments right?" Eri managed. Before she give either of them a moment to get dragged down, she changed the subject. "So how did you and Dad meet anyways? You never told me this story."

Looking back up, an eyebrow was raised. "He never told you?"

"He said he was looking through the scope of some rifle and spotted you through the crosshairs while he searched for someone else. He claimed in that moment, he had picked you out." Eri snorted a laugh, unconvinced and having dismissed that story as sniper humour. Her Mom started to giggle.

"Well, that's what he told me too, but I had been showing a condo in the prestigious Spacecraper Towers to a couple, newly weds. In the second tower just across the plaza, Cid was apparently in another suite and he was tracking some sort of rebel spy. Ironically, the people I was showing the suite to were his targets..."

Eri could already envision how this was going to play out. "So he shot them before your eyes?" The head shake surprised Eri. "Why?"

"He didn't want me to witness the brutality of his work as he would later tell me. After I showed the suite, the couple told me they would have to sleep on it so I was free for the rest of the day and went to the cafe in the lobby. I had just sat down when he walked up and asked if the seat next to me was taken."

"Just like that?" Eri blinked.

"Just like that." The answer was so simple and pure. "I can't say what it was but he had a disarming smile about him and knew all the right things to say. We ended up spending the whole afternoon there, getting to know each other and before I knew it, the sun was setting."

"Huh..." Eri wasn't sure what to expect but she hadn't expected anything so plain, not after all the war stories her Dad had recounted in his various states.

Another giggle escaped. "Not what you were expecting was it?"

Shaking her head, Eri confessed, "No, it wasn't. But I suppose that's better than what I would have suspected after hearing him first spotting you through a sniper scope."

Suddenly the comm started to ring inside. Eri got to her feet, bidding her Mom to stay put. "I'll answer it." Most likely, it was the NIF wondering when Eri would be returning to her duties or maybe some upstart General demanding her to review some reports. Maybe, if I'm really unlucky, it'll be the Emperor announcing he wants me to prep the army to invade Coruscant. Now there was a disaster waiting to happen. In Eri's mind, the NIF was already overstretched as it was and, with the massive losses recently, it was any wonder the NR didn't try to capitalize and launch a multi-pronged assault and overwhelm the NIF. Picking up the comm, Eri answered. "Hello?"

"Hello, Maureen?" an unfamiliar voice asked.

"No..." Eri replied, "This is Eri..."

"Oh, Eri! How are you? This is Rich."

Searching her memory, Eri had no recollection of anyone named Rich. "Hi." The uncertainty in her voice easily carried over to the other side as Rich started to laugh.

"You don't remember me do you? It has been a long time since I've seen you, you were probably only up to my waist at the time. I'm sorry to bother you, but is your Mom there?"

"She's recovering," Eri replied bluntly, "Can I take a message?"

"Who is it?" Maureen walked into the house suddenly, her voice reaching the microphone. "Is it Rich?"

"You're expecting a call?" Eri asked, now curious as to what all this was about.

"Maureen," Rich began, "I just wanted to let you know that I've got everything set up here and-"

"Oh! That's great!" A mortified expression appeared on her face as she cut the man off. "I'm going to have to call you back, bye!" The comm deactivated as Eri tapped the button.

"What was that all about? What's ready?" Eri felt hurt and upset that something was going on that she wasn't being made aware of. "Where's 'here'?" Seeing a guilty look replace the surprise, Eri felt the need to know even more now. "Mom, what's going on?"

"Eri... I'm sorry, but I can't remain here."

"Why not?" Anger started to rise up in Eri's tone and her Mom was starting to sense it.

"Eri, please..." Turning away, she put her hands in her face and started to sob.

"Mom, what's wrong?" Eri persisted, the anger in her tone like a sharp edge that she had no control over. Stepping closer, she turned the woman around and felt her tremble. "Is it the Doctor? I can get another one if that's what this is about..."

"No, it's not Gray, she's a wonderful person... It's... It's the house... this world. Cid's grave... It's all too much for me to handle right now." Falling into Eri, she continued to cry. "I'm sorry Eri, I was going to tell you but I just didn't know how."

"But, you're in no shape to be going anywhere," Eri protested, wrapping her arms around the woman. "You need your rest."

"I have a bunch of places through out the galaxy..." she confessed, "I'm going to go back to Coruscant and live there for a while until... until I can better cope with Cid's death... the... the..." She started to relapse, trembling even more and Eri realized that her Mom had a point.

"Okay," Eri felt herself break down yet again as she wept too. She found a small amount of irony in the moment and made an attempt to make light of it. "I guess I ended up trying to do what I thought was right for you."

A soft chuckle escaped between sobs, the irony not lost on Maureen either. "I'm sorry Eri but I really did enjoy all the time we spent together these past few weeks and I hope we can do it more often, I just... need to get over all this first... and get my life back on track. I don't want to burden you more than I have already."

"Don't be silly, you haven't burdened me at all." Neither of them spoke for a long moment though Eri felt disheartened by the decision, that she wasn't asked for her opinion of it before it was made. She wanted to try and press her case but, on the other hand, she also wanted her Mom to be happy. I guess she doesn't find happiness here...

An aged YT-1300 freighter sat next to the large metal hanger behind the house, a middle-aged man with short black hair stood at the base of the ramp waving at Eri and Maureen. Eri still didn't remember Rich at all from her childhood but he did somehow seem familiar. It was enough to help reassure Eri that her Mom would be in good hands for the trip.

"Thank-you for taking care of me Eri," Maureen began, embracing her daughter tightly.

"I wish you would stay," Eri made one last ditch attempt, "I'm going to be worried sick about you now."

"As I you," her Mom said in return. "As I have been for as long as you've been alive. But I'll be fine. I need to get over this... I need to get working again but I can't do it here..."

"Yeah... I understand." Pulling away from her slightly, Eri stared into her Mom's deep green eyes. There was a sparkle there that she hadn't seen in a long time. "I love you."

After gently kissing Eri on the lips, she breathed, "I love you too. Stay safe and feel free to visit me any time you want."

An as-if sort of laugh escaped. "It's hard enough coming to Dantooine when I work for the Federation, I doubt the New Republic is going to willingly let met set foot on their capital." The two of them laughed a bit more. "I'll call you and, if you ever feel like coming... here, I'll be waiting."

"You mean home?" A knowing smile flashed on Maureen's lips. "I'll always treat this place as home Eri, you can be rest assured of that. And one more thing..."


"Keep on smiling."

Laughing nervously, Eri wondered what that was supposed to mean. "I smile..." she said, forcing one as she found almost no reason to be looking happy right now.

"You can do better than that." The knowing smirk turned into a really happy and joy filled expression, "We've still got each other and Cid is watching over us. I'm glad I haven't lost you and he would say the same thing." Seeing Eri look a little happier at the reassuring statement, the joy in her own green eyes starting to show through, Maureen giggled. "There we go!"

"Take care Mom."

"You too Princess. I'll see you soon."

It made Eri feel a bit better hearing that as, after one last hug and kiss farewell, Maureen walked to the waiting ship, looking back and waving as she climbed aboard it. Though it wouldn't be the last time Eri would see her, it sure felt that way but at least they were able to properly say their good-byes this time around. Eri waved back, unable to keep the tears from falling down her face despite her efforts to contain them. The ship lifted off and Eri continued to wave even as it ascended and disappeared into the clouds high above.

Wiping the tears off her face with her hands, Eri thought, Take care Mom... And come home soon.
"There's no outrunning a sniper." - Eri

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Eri Ambicon
Surface Marshal
Surface Marshal
Posts: 404
Joined: 2008-04-20 16:56
Custom Title: Sniper, Shapshooter, Markswoman
Organizational Unit: Surface Marhsal of the Imperial Army
Location: ESD Lusankya, Task Force Conquest, Third Fleet

Re: End of the Beginning or Beginning of the End?

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2011-07-06 19:34

Walking around the empty home, Eri stared at the barren walls and empty tables. Most of the furniture was the same as she remembered it, all of it brand new so some of the scratches and marker stains were no longer around as Eri remembered trying to show off some of her artistic skill- or lack there of- on the stimcaf table. Though the house was completely rebuilt, a lot of old memories still remained and it surprised Eri how much she actually remembered as she stopped every foot or so, recalling a different moment of her life at each point.

Her comm buzzed yet again. It was the NIF, no doubt demanding to know where she was and why she wasn't back yet. Her month leave was up, her Mom now back on Coruscant, having settled into her condo just a day ago. Dr. Gray would continue treating Maureen via holo calls so that was taken care of. Ignoring the buzzing comm, Eri no longer felt the desire she once had to care about whatever their petty concerns might be. Her life was in tatters though a huge part of it was showing signs of improvement but a lot of other things still gnawed away at her. The Dark Jedi for starters and that was another reason she didn't want to answer the comm as the Dark Jedi flooded the upper echelons of power and during her whole stay, Eri didn't once have to think of them and how their selfish desires could possibly affect her all the way out here.

Now that her Mom was gone, life was starting to creep back into the forefront of her mind. It had been a nice escape. Maybe that's why I didn't want her to leave... So I could remain here and escape from everything else. The comm continued to buzz for a moment but Eri continued to ignore it for now as she walked through the kitchen, half of a tart pie sitting on the counter. Her Mom baked it the day she left and Eri couldn't have felt happier to relive part of those cherished moments of her bygone youth.

Leaving the pie for later, she walked outside and down the matted trail towards the hanger and the blba tree close to it where a black gravestone sat. Picking a wildflower from the grass, she approached the grave and read the inscription.

'Cid Ambicon. Loving Husband, Devoted Father, Peerless Sniper. Force be with you.'

Gently placing the flower on the still fresh mound of dirt at the base of the stone, Eri fought back tears from her face. "I was actually hoping you'd have stuck around the second time," Eri began, looking up to the sky for a moment as she found it amusing she was trying to find comfort in speaking with a dead man. "Mom could really use you right now and... So could I."

Her comm once again resumed its incessant buzzing, trying to ruin the moment. "I wish I knew what I should do and I wish you were here to tell me, or give me advice. I love the army and many of the people in it, but, I'm not a commander, I care too much about everyone that I want to see them all return home to their own families and friends." Eri glanced down at the grave again, almost wishing the Directive would come back and resurrect him a second time. "I... I wish I had reached you sooner, before you passed again. I wanted to say thanks Dad, for everything... Even if you weren't the most pleasant person to be around, I now understand how you felt. You gave me the strength and determination to get me though all the things I've done, all the death and loss. You taught me everything you knew... I guess now it's Mom's turn but I'll continue to be the little girl you can be proud of.

"I know you're probably looking down at me thinking that I shouldn't be like this right now, but I really need you. Mom really needs you. It hurts that I never got to properly say good-bye again." Drawing in a deep calming breath, Eri knelt down and rested a hand on the gravestone. She could go on and on, but she already envisioned him shaking his head at her in disappointment by now. "I'll see you soon, Dad, and then maybe someday we can all live as the family we were meant to be." Then she gently pressed her lips against the stone. With a near breathless voice, she added, "Thank-you and take care."

Getting back to her feet, Eri walked away from the grave and once again her comm started to buzz. Drawing in a deep breath, Eri finally relented, feeling as if she had finally completed everything she possibly could at this point. "Yes?" she responded as she approached the house.

On the other end, Lyric sounded relieved. "I've been trying to contact you for hours," she sighed, "I was about to send a commando team to investigate."

"I'm fine," Eri glanced back at the grave, realizing she actually did feel fine, not great but she did feel a substantial improvement over her previous mood that had clung to her for the longest time. "Is something wrong?"

"Some of the other Generals are starting to get... concerned." She didn't need to elaborate on the type of false concern the other military leaders were displaying as Eri was well enough aware of that already.

With a sigh, Eri entered the house and picked up the tart pie with her free hand. Sighing, she said, "I'm closing up here right now. I should be back in space in at Bilbringi in a day or so." Closing the comm, Eri put the device aside and fetched a fork from the drawer before digging into the tasty pie. As she ate, she envisioned the little girl sitting at the table, her Father across from her also eating the pie while her Mother stood at the island counter, wrapping the rest of it up before eating her own piece. Eri smiled fondly at the mental image as she ate her way through more of the pie.

Stepping off the shuttle aboard the Lusankya, Eri was greeted by a couple officers and Lyric.

"I'm sorry about your Father," Lyric began, "My condolences."

"He was already dead," Eri replied, "I think he just took a little longer to realize it than he wanted to. But thanks." With a light-hearted smile, Eri continued walking, the others following closely.

"How is your Mom if you don't mind my asking?" Lyric continued, feeling concerned for the Surface Marshal.

"She's getting better. I think we both just need to adjust to the changes in our lives." Eri smiled warmly as she looked at her concerned friend. I know that look, I had that very same look back on Sarapin. "Lyric, I'm okay, really. I know what it is I have to do now, what I'm meant to do, and I think that's why my Dad was brought back and then taken away a second time, so I could properly realize and acknowledge it." Handing her a slice of the tart pie, she added, "Here, I told you I'd bring back some of my Mom's baking." Eri had a second piece in her hand that she intended to give to one of the few surviving friends she had right now.

Exiting the hanger and walking down the corridors, Eri looked at the drab hallways, a similar sensation filling her that she experienced only once before, her very first day when she arrived on the Nemesis three years ago. The various warships of the NIF had felt like home for Eri as she hadn't visited her real home for so long but now she no longer saw them as such. Home away from home, she thought, the bright smile on her face greeting the various officers she passed, politely saying hello to each person she encountered as she walked with a slight bounce in her step.
"There's no outrunning a sniper." - Eri

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