Vong War Annals – “Loose ends tied” 5.26.08

    “Now if you have any more problems,” Jeir said, his arms waving around with great emphasis, “you know how to contact us.”
    Jeir’s voice trailed off as Kal’or walked away from the group of people towards the VCX-820, sleeping gently in a grassy field.  He couldn’t quite bring himself to acknowledge it’s beauty, though he could admit how soothing the place felt.  It was strange how everything seemed a bit softer; cleaner than it had been before, when the war was on.  The planet wasn’t so bad after all.
    “Heya Kal’buir,” Kiiara said, waving at him from on top of the starboard mandible of the transport.  “You should come up here, the breeze is nice.”  The kid had taken off her headdress, her lock of black hair blowing freely in the air and lending further to her youthful appearance. 
    “I think I’ll do that,” he replied.  Though the battle had been quicker than others he had been through, he could smell the stale air and sweat even through his suit’s climate controlled systems now.  It would be nice to feel that cool air.
    “I can give you a lift,” Kiiara said, her eyes starting to close to concentrate.
    “Ha!” He huffed, squeezing his palms just right to turn on his jet pack.  There was a momentary hesitation–something he swore to fix lest it get him killed when he needed instantaneous ignition–the jet pack hummed and threw him up off of the ground.  He relaxed his hands gently, the thrust going out smoothly showing the decades of practice he had mastering it’s use.  Truth be told, he had always hated flying and liked to think of the jet pack as little more than a boost to a really high jump.  “I’ve got my own wings, ad’ika.”
    He pulled his buy’ce off, easing his aching joints down to sit on the hull and settling his helmet beside him–a rarity that left him feeling somewhat vulnerable, though he chose to indulge himself anyway with letting go of it for a short time.  There was a funny misconception of Mandalorians that they lived in their armor at all times, even slept in their beskar’gam.  While he had done that plenty of times, he enjoyed being in just a plain ol’ jumpsuit as much as the next person…just not when he was concerned about someone pulling a blaster or blade on him.  Which happened to be most of the time.
    “It was amazing, seeing you out there,” Kiiara said in that soft voice that was unmistakably hers.  “No offense Buir, but I hadn’t a clue you could move that fast.”
    “Ha!  Haha!” He laughed, then coughing hard and feeling the blood rush to his face.  “Well…it takes a lot to get these old bones movin’ now, that’s all.  I’m more reserved, I’d like to say, in expending my energy.”  Kal’or could imagine how it must have looked to the kid though, most of their time fighting together had been on opposite sides of the battlefield, and she had grown used to seeing either the resistance fighters or her Father fight.  Jeir was something to see, that one…he didn’t fight like any Jedi he had ever seen, but there was just something about seeing a Mandalorian in action that was not to be missed.
    Kal’or didn’t carry anything particularly exotic in his arsenal, at least not among the Mando’ade.  He was left-handed, and had his practically ancient KYD-21 blaster pistol holstered there.  The pistol had been old over twenty years ago, and while there was nothing particularly outstanding about the weapon the stopping power, minimal weight and lack of fuss with the weapon were reason enough for him to hold onto it.  If you were shot by a KYD-21 round, you were going down no matter how superficial the wound may be.
    His primary weapon, however, was only a fraction younger and far more deadly.  The WESTAR-M5 blaster rifle, popularized by the elite units in the Grand Army of the Republic so many years ago.  He had tried replacing the rifle/carbine hybrid multiple times over the years, and still nothing came close to the versatility and power the weapon hand in his hands.  The only time his pistol was pulled was when his rifle ran out of ammunition.
    Aside from those, there was little else to stand out.  His left gauntlet had a flamethrower built into it and a pair of rockets on top of it–a recent upgrade he had indulged in as two were better than the previous solo rocket he had–and his had a number of darts and bells and whistles in it. 
    And, of course, his jetpack.
    “What do you think Xenen will be like?” She asked.
    He had a hard time remember this was…what,  only the third planet she had ever set foot on?  And that was only if you counted her time on StarForge station, which was stretching the definition.  “You’ll find every planet’s the same, Kat’ika,” he started.  “They just smell different, sometimes the sun’s a different shade of hot and shadows are never the same between any one place ya go.  About it.”
    “How many worlds have you been to?” She asked.
    “Ohhh, I quite counting that a long time ago, dear.  For a Mandalorian, the only things that matters is the battle we are in…not so much where they’re at.  We’re nomads by nature.”
    “I see,” she said.  Of course she didn’t actually understand at all, few ever did.  Still, he smiled and let her think she did all the same. 
    Jeir came waltzing up from the distance, kneeling and doing one of his Force-jump deals that always managed to rattle his head a little bit…there was something about the posture and speed of the movement that would never sit quite right with his stomach seeing that.  “Show off,” Kal’or grunted.  He enjoyed playing the grumpy old man routine.
    “We’re about done here, folks,” Jeir said, hands on his hips and looking off towards the setting sun as though he were the hero of some cheap HoloNet action flick.  “They seem more than capable to handle everything else here.” 
    There was a long moment of silence between them all, Kal’or imagining that they all had a lot to think about after the many months of fighting.  For him, after the great fight always came a sense of emptiness.  There was always some great build-up to the end of the war, watching your vode fall at your sides and doing all that you could to get through to the next day.  And then, one day, it was just over.  The final battle always seemed to disappoint, to end quicker than it should with less blood shed than there should be.  He had fought hundreds of wars, thousands of battles and firefights and yet every time this emptiness came to him like an old, unwelcome friend.
    “Well,” Kal’or said, grabbing his bucket and standing.  “I call first run on the ‘fresher.”

***

    “Adenn Senaar,” Kal’or said, slapping his hands together. 
    The ship was in hyperspace now, the hum common to spaceflight almost non-existant now.  Kiiara was reading more about Mandalorian culture on a datapad, bless her heart, and Jeir sat across from him with a cup of caf in one hand and a cigarra in the other.  He seemed to be lost in deep thought for a moment, then nodding slowly to himself.
    “I like it,” he said.  “Mando’a, I take it?”
    “Yep,” Kiiara sang, not once looking up from her reading.  “Means Merciless Bird, I think.”
    “Kandosii!” Kal’or said, the equivalent of cheering or exclaiming praise in his native tongue.  “Ori’jate!
    Kiiara looked up from her datapad now, loving the praise he was giving her.  Kal’or looked over to Jeir, who was still nodding to himself.  “Settled then, is it?”
    Jeir smiled.  “Yes, yes it is my friend,” he said.
    Soon after they all retired to their beds for a well-deserved rest, the Adenn Senaar carrying them safely through hyperspace to their return at Xenen.

“:)
–Josh

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