The Tale of Aleister and Taranae

Raider II-class Corvette “Instigator”
38 ABY
Hours After the Conclusion of GJW XIV

Aleister Mavros stood in the Instigator’s medbay, watching Fenrir’s unconscious body bob up and down in a bacta tank. The massive Shistavanen had to have the worst luck. In all the chaos, someone had managed to land two shots. Normally two blaster shots wouldn’t even slow down the wolf, but both had hit him flush on the spine, leaving him unable to move.

The Dreadbringer was topless, the bulk of his gear piled haphazardly back in his quarters. Currently he was clad in his usual black breaches, a pair of plain black slippers and a comfortable robe of crimson, embroidered with Sith patterns. His lightsaber rests on a nearby table, ready to answer his call should it be needed. The Sith was staring at the bacta tank’s readout when the door-chime pinged, indicating that someone was requesting access to the secured room.

“Enter.” Aleister called out with his usual calm detachment.

The door slid open to reveal Taranae Rhode, the true focus of his attention. She was dressed in a set of simple medical fatigues, the sleeveless top revealing her heavily bandaged shoulder. The sight of her injury stirred something inside Aleister. Was it pity or concern; or displeasure? That was concerning, seeing someone like that should have filled him with glee, it always had in the past. So why now did he hate to see it? Is it because of her?

“I felt you here.” The woman began. “I was just down the hall. Getting my shoulder patched up.” She stepped into the room, the door shutting and sealing behind her, entombing the pair in a little world of their own.

“I know, I was going to come check up on you when I was done here.” Aleister responded over his shoulder.

Taranae walked up to stand at his side. She pretended to look at the monitor, much like she assumed Aleister was doing.

“How is he doing?” She asked without turning to Aleister.

“He’ll be fine. The medic says that his armor took the worst of it. He should be back on his feet in a short order.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“So… how’s the shoulder feeling?”

“Oh. Doing ok. Doc says I should probably use a sling for a few days.”

“Good, I need everyone in fighting shape. Something tells me that this is only the beginning.” Aleister said in a thinly veiled attempt at hiding his concern. Taranae smiled.

“Of course sir. Good to know that our ‘terrifying’ leader cares about his people.” She responded with a playful nudge of the elbow. But to her surprise, and concern, she watched as the hand nearest her twisted into a contorted state, then he spoke.

No.” That one word held more malice than most feel in a lifetime. “No, I don’t. Or, I normally don’t. Or shouldn’t.” His words began pouring out, almost as if he was arguing with himself. For all his skills, if Aleister Mavros has one true weakness, it’s a severe lack of social skills. One rarely needs them when you know you’re better than everyone else.

As he spoke, his hand continued to clench and unclench. Taranae watched the fingers twitch and spasm. And something told her to take that hand. But would that be too much? Would that upset him? Aleister was known for flying off the handle at the slightest thing. But maybe this would help? Could it be that he just couldn’t articulate his thoughts?

Sighing, the redhead turned on her heel and strode towards the door. Looking back over her shoulder, she saw Aleister stiffen. Had she misread him? Her mind fumbled for a reason as to why he was acting so strangely but came up empty. She stopped and tried circling her arm to test the doc’s attempt at patching up. She grimaced and hissed as the pain shot through her shoulder and she bent over, grabbing her injury with her other hand. Before she knew it, a supporting arm was there, steadying her and guiding her to the floor.

“Sit down you lunatic!” he hissed through his clenched teeth. “We don’t need you passing out right now.”

She smiled as he gently guided her down until she sat with her knees raised and her feet flat on the ground. This was more the Aleister that she knew. Always a quick retort to bring himself back to how he was. She was unsure why he always tried to hide behind the facade of being the best, but deep down she knew he felt something for her. She had no idea what or how deep those feelings ran, but she used it to her advantage at every opportunity. She had gotten away freely with anything she wanted to within reason just by playing on that hunch. Right now, it seemed that hunch was correct.

She glanced over at the bacta tank as Aleister tried to look her in the eyes at Fenrir’s unmoving form. It was a good thing he was unconscious as his injuries would have caused him immense suffering.

“Listen to me,” she heard Aleister whisper. She turned her head to face him. “You’re injured and I’ll bet the doc told you to rest. So why did you come in here really? You should be in bed.”

“I came to check on ya!” she beamed. “But looks like you’re fine an’ dandy so I’ll be on my way.”

She began to rise, using her good arm to lever herself up from the floor. Again, a supporting arm attempted to help her up. She batted it away with her hand as she regained her footing.

“I don’t need no help!” she spat. “I told ya I’m fine!”

Holding her shoulder with her free arm, she slowly approached the door. She turned as she thumbed the open switch. “Anybody’d think you were gettin’ the feels, Dreadbringer.” she quipped as the door opened. She stepped backwards out of the door and as it swished shut, Aleister heard the words “If you were, I’d haveta kill…”

Taranae mocked putting a pistol to her head and pulling the trigger as her voice trailed off when the door shut. “Ya.” she finished. Her shoulders slumped and she let out a loud expletive that had a medbay member glance at her and tut.

“Ah shut ya mouth!” she shouted and headed off to the room she had been allocated to rest up. She knew she had tried putting on a brave face in front of her superior, but it hurt like the hells. She was sure Aleister had feelings for her, but she wasn’t sure how to reciprocate. Kelly, her wife, had left for regions unknown and Taranae wasn’t even sure if she’d ever return. Yes, she was surrounded by crewmates on every mission, but she felt lonely and lost. To make a good friend would be great. But how far would the friendship go? She wondered.