(Mail from Captain SpecForces Makh Dillon to the attention of Mr. and Mrs. Bardinn)
Mrs. Bardinn, Mr. Bardinn,
Although the Civil War against the Empire officially ended two years ago, conflicts continue to rage across the galaxy, to the great misfortune of our children, and our brave volunteers.
I have the terrible duty to inform you that your son Chom gave his life four days to preserve the wealth of his comrades, and the few citizens of the city of Yukon, planet Dorella. This small community, stormed by a mercenary militia identified as men working for a crime lord that we have apprehended this morning, was released the next day thanks to the intervention of SpecForces.
I know that it won’t give you back your son, nor soothe the pain you feel, but I can assure you that this lord will pay for all the crimes he may have committed. I would also precise that your son was particularly heroic. His daring behaviour permitted my men arrived as reinforcements to land their vessels, and evacuate the survivors out of the blockade in which they were trapped. I also know that he fell down by protecting Lady Chi’ta Kahirnee from a murderer shot, as she was unable to defend herself because of a nasty injury. When Lady Kahirnee, lying on a couch adjacent to his, thanked him , he simply replied gently placing his hand on her belly: "He must live, my lady , he must live"
These were the last words of this exemplary defender of peace. I have already initiated the procedures to assign him the Medal of Merit posthumously. Very soon, his personal belongings will be returned to you. To conclude this letter, I add I’m forever in your debt. If you need our services for one reason or another, I beg you to let us know without hesitation.
With all my sympathy and my respect,
Captain Makh DILLON Special Forces of the New Republic .
(Extract from the diary of Chom Bardinn, scout of the New Republic, in mission on planet Dorella, system Tallaan, sector Tapani. Like too many young recruits sent to an isolated world, Chom Bardinn was killed in an attack conducted by pirates. This data block was returned to the family of its owner by Lady Chi’ta Kahirnee, Knight of the Jedi Order, commissioned as negotiator.)
Entry datunda 5 nelona 5432,
(Note: this date corresponds the 4th day of the 5th month in Tapani Sector, so the 146th day of year 20 after the Battle of Yavin, according to the Republican calendar.)
At the time I write this, I have no illusions about our fate. It seems that face up, they are twice more numerous, and it’s been a week that we’re stuck in this damn city in ruins. Some wounded didn’t survive, we are running out of food, and even ammunitions become rare. The citizens of this city did what they could to help us – the least, since we came to their request, but it’s always a pleasure – but now I see the end, and it’s not joyful. Radar just show the progress of three sail barges, probably loaded to the muzzle of crazy angry pirates ready to shoot on anything that moves, and our reinforcements are still failing.
Before entering this fight that looks really desperate, I’d like to keep a souvenir of something that had never happened to me, and that will probably never again. In fact, even if the weather is fine when I write, what happened was more comforting than all the sunbeams that I have received. I could exchange a few words with Lady Chi’ta Kahirnee, the Jedi who came to try to solve the problem diplomatically, without success. Indeed, until an hour ago, I hadn’t the opportunity to approach her, and besides, I didn’t know if I have the right to talk to her, me, a common grunt – after all, I never dared to speak to a general, I’m not very brave when I talk to officers, I confess.
The first thing that surprised me the first time I saw her was quite simply her outward appearance, I was expecting a great bulky babe, wearing an armor leaving her half naked, like in the comic magazines I read when I was a kid, imperturbable and excellent warrior. I was heavily wrong. Chi’ta Kahirnee is actually a Drall, I had never seen. A kind of humanoid marmot in brown dress, barely larger than a boy of ten years, a bit stocky, and funny as hell. She spoke like a nerd, but with enthusiasm and joie de vivre of any of us. When she spoke, it gave courage and warmth around her, more than once I’ve seen her, but I never dared to approach her.
Today, finally, it happened. I was on top of a building gutted by a rain of proton torpedoes, to observe the movements of the pirates. The weather was clear, it was the calm before the storm. In any case, nothing was coming. This is when she climbed the stairs to join me. I’ll try to transcribe the conversation we had, even though I can not guarantee whether it word for word.
- Can I sit beside you?
- Sure, ma’am!
She sat in an old half shredded armchair, while I was leaning on a dresser, my binoculars glued to their eyes. For once, she was pretty quiet, with just a small reassuring smile. She didn’t seem worried, anyway. Me, I felt miserable! Not shaved for a week, not washed for two days, I really had the impression of being a bum. But curiously, unlike most pundits or noble that I met, it did absolutely not bother her.
- So, you see something?
- No, ma’am. All clear.
- I feel nothing, me neither. We still have time, if we are being attacked today, it won’t be before a whole hour.
- If you say so, ma’am...
A few seconds passed so, and then she resumed:
- I don’t have the benefit of knowing you, mister?
I dropped my binoculars to turn to her.
- Yeah, that’s possible. We hadn’t been presented, I think. I know who you are, and your title... but you’re interested to know who I am?
- Of course! she replied, smiling more frankly. So who are you, warrior?
Ah, I was really embarrassed, at this moment! I felt like a little kid meeting Rita Goodkiss, the space-rock singer, who would have offered him to take a walk on stage with her.
- My name is Chom Bardinn, ma’am Kahirnee, and I’m not a warrior, just a scout.
- Well, I am so please to meet you, Chom Bardinn.
And there she squarely presented me her hand! I was looking so silly!
- Uh... I... I don’t know how making baisemain, ma’am.
- Who’s talking about baisemain, Mr. Bardinn? You only have to greet me as if I were one of your comrades!
- Are you sure?
- I am!
I gently took her wrist, she shook mine, and we stayed like that even for a second.
- Uh… I…
- Do I impress you, sir Bardinn?
- Yeah… uh… no… uh…
- It is rather I who should be impressed. You seem older than me, you seem to have already experienced a lot of hard times.
- But you’re a Jedi, ma’am.
- Yes, but I certainly don’t have your battlefield habit.
Those words made me feel odd.
- You know, ma’am, this is the first time I talk to a real Jedi. I must say that in the Sector Tapani, they are not very numerous, even since the battle of Tallaan.
- There is no reason to feel embarrassed, or weaker, or less important than me. No one is greater or smaller than another in this universe.
- I have not been faced with what you have seen at this moment. I haven’t proved myself against the Precursors of Kathol, and everything else. To be honest, I have not dared to speak with you because I didn’t feel worthy.
- What a strange idea!
I got up, I took a few steps to get my words, and I continued:
- For me, the Jedi are even more important than generals, presidents, and kings...
- You’re talking about hierarchy, but the Jedi never take consider it, in terms of relationship. All their contacts have the same consideration.
- In fact, the first time I saw you, I told myself that I would never have the right to talk to you. I thought you never would be interested to a scout yokel.
Her smile faded away, she took a resigned air.
- Even though I don’t like war, that does not prevent me to respect people like you. Not the fanatics using the war to justify and satisfy their bloodthirsty instincts, but volunteers ready to sacrifice their life to save weak and innocent people.
There, I admit, I struggled to retain me from crying.
- Ma’am, I’m going to disappoint you, but I’m scared! I fear death!
- Do not worry, this is quite normal.
- Yeah, but look at me, look at you! I’m bigger than you, perhaps more hefty, and I’m scared! And you are ... you seem more fragile, and yet you do not look frightened. Compared to you, I’m a milksop.
- Don’t say that, Chom. If you are here, it means that you’re dominating nonetheless your fear. Your desire to help the people of Yukon overcomes your fear, and believe me, you can be very proud of yourself.
- You... you really believe so, ma’am?
- I do. Just as I’m sure this will be my last mission, Chom. I am happy to accomplish it with someone like you, and I hope that we’ll succeed, but I confess you I’m afraid not to make it, too.
- Afraid? A Jedi, being afraid? Seriously?
She looked at me quite seriously and took a couple of seconds before continuing:
- Although we belong different species, I’m like you, Chom. Even Jedi can feel fear, sadness... and love. To be honest, I would not even have been here today, although I am proud to help you in the best of my abilities.
- Oh yeah? I can... may I ask you why, if this is not too intrusive?
- You can, Chom. Maybe we won’t survive this battle, so now, I can tell you. It may comfort me.
There she stopped and spent a few moments to get her words. A moment, I thought it would be better for her not to be bothered about this, and I was going to tell her, but she finally said:
- I... I’m pregnant, Chom.
I made a two meters long grimace. I then mumbled:
- What? You? And you are here?
- This is madness! What are you doing here? Your superiors have sent you here then… I don’t get it.
- I would not have come if I had learned it in time, Chom. I know it since two days only.
- Two days?
- During the evening when we tried to make a little party, I went to see Dr. Brand, he made me take the test... and told me that if I had the discomfort, this was not due to a simple flu.
I swear by anything you want, on the head of my parents, I would have done anything for she go away. Anything to make sure she can get out and be able to care for her baby, and never be in danger.
- Shit!... Well, I mean... How great! This is awesome! This is too much!
- I wish I could talk to my husband . You believe that when the battle is over, we’ll be able to send him a message?
- If we make it, I will repair the communicators myself!
She gave me a big smile. And then, I really had the impression of seeing an angel saying hello. A funny, small, very hairy angel, with long teeth, a homespun brown and a blue scarf, but it gave me comfort as I had never had.
- Now, I get what your Jedi powers are, Ma’am...
- The only real power comes from your heart, Chom. I know, it’s cliché, but it’s true.
- Yeah, as you say.
The wind began to whistle a little louder, and as the sun set, the temperature fell.
- I would like to stay with you some time, but I’ll have to leave you. I need to talk to your friends, try to bring them a little warmth, too.
- Don’t worry for me, ma’am , peers also need you . And now, you better not get cold.
- I... Can you leave your job two minutes, the time to take me to the camp?
- Sure, ma’am!
Nothing in sight, I felt that I could bring her back. We left, she held my hand, not to trip over the rubble of ruined buildings. Two minutes later, we came back in the building which serves as our HQ. Once on the threshold, she turned to me, and I knelt down to be at her height.
- Ma’am , if I don’t... well, really, thank you for the conversation.
- It’s up to me to thank you for having treated me as well.
- I’ll have to go back now.
- I’m sure you’ll fulfill your duties your best.
- I... oh, blast, How foolish! I have the feeling to be the guy who serves the pretty princess in fairy tales, when he goes to fight!
- In this case, it is necessary that we parted as it should be, according to the rules!
And once again, she did something I didn’t think she would: she removed her scarf and tied it around my arm .
- That will bring you luck, Chom. Well, I hope.
- I’m sure, ma’am Kahirnee.
- And thank you for everything. May the Force be with you.
This is the moment I went back in position, completely disoriented by the words of the Jedi. I took my datapad, and I recorded this conversation. Now I’ll turn it off, the alarm just rang, I just have time to finish this paragraph.
I bet someone finds this datapad in a few years, under a big pile of rubble, but if that were the case, I beg you to tell my mother and father that my last thoughts were for them. With a Jedi in our ranks, even if there is little chance of escape, I go serene because I’m sure we did it for a just cause. They just call me, the sail barges are in sight. May the Force be with us, and with Lady Kahirnee!
Chom Bardinn, ID number BR-61-651