No Rest For the Weary (Juno Eclipse)

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No Rest For the Weary (Juno Eclipse)
Date of Cutscene: 05 July 2016
Location: Rogue Shadow
Synopsis: An exhausted Juno Eclipse reflects on the impossibility of challenging the Empire.
Cast of Characters: 428

Early on in her career, she had decided that there was a staggering variety of planets in the galaxy. Those lazily-turning spheres could be red or blue, green or yellow, grey or even white. Hot, cold, temperate, dry, wet – there seemed to be no limit to the landscapes off the hyperspace lanes, and no limit to the people who inhabited them.

Life beyond the ordinary had always fascinated her; of strange and fantastical life forms that didn't adhere to the neat and orderly (and humanoid) templates taught at the Imperial Academy. Xenobiology was a subject frowned upon in the iron grip of Palpatine's Empire, though. Whatever burgeoning interest she'd had in the field she had put aside once accepted into the Imperial Academy at Corulag.

She had been proud, then, even if she saw it now for the hollow achievement it was. Her inexperienced logic had hoped that such an achievement would win the approval of her father, but that had also been a lost cause.

There had been a lot of lost causes in her life, Juno Eclipse reflects, leaning back in the pilot's chair and watching the surreal blue of hyperspace streak past the Rogue Shadow's viewpower. The thought makes her weary, and unspeakably disappointed.

So much of her life had been wasted on lost causes and fighting on the wrong sides of battles. Once upon a time, she had been proud of the institution into which she had thrown herself whole-heartedly. Following the death of her mother and the withdrawal of her father, her fellow wingmen had become her family, and she looked up to her officers as the parental figures she had no longer had.

Eventually, she would learn how wrong she was; how dysfunctional that family was. She would learn what a mistake it had been to place her faith and trust in the Empire.

Juno Eclipse leans forward, slowly folding her arms over the pilot's console and resting her forehead on her crossed arms. The pilot exhales softly. It's too lacklustre to even be called a sigh.

"What's the matter?"

She jumps. Usually she can hear him when he approaches, the solid sound of his boots against the deck plating, but this time she had been so absorbed in her own bleak thoughts that she hadn't heard him coming.

"Oh. Nothing." Juno pushes aside restless images of forests burning and the thick, acrid smoke of a crippled reactor. "How did you sleep?"

"Okay, I guess. Are you okay?"

He sounds a little suspicious, this time. She just doesn't have the energy to pull herself upright, so she stays with her forehead on her folded arms, slumped over the pilot's console. The hum of the ship, heard as much as felt through the console, is strangely comforting. "I'm alright. I'm just... considering our next move."

It's a lie, but a gentle one; not half as false or damaging as it could have been.

Her eyes close, and she's about to genuinely consider their next move, when she feels a weight on her shoulder. Blue eyes snap open, staring sightlessly at the deck plating and her own boots. His hand, she realises numbly.

"Get some rest." He gives her shoulder an awkward pat. "I can watch the ship for a while. How long until we're out of hyperspace?"

Juno stares at her boots for a few seconds, silently checking and double-checking her own calculations. She can perform advanced hyperspace calculations without the aid of a navcomputer, but she likes to be certain, and anyway, she's too tired not to second-guess herself. With a sigh, she straightens, entering the calculations into the console in front of her.

"Nine hours, thirty-six minutes."

His hand, she reflects absently, is still on her shoulder.

"Go rest, Juno. PROXY can watch the ship."

"I'm exhausted." She pushes herself to her feet, with a brief glance through the viewport, as though hesitating. "I guess you're probably exhausted, too."

He stands, too, and pulls her to him, holding her close. It's just as well; if his arms weren't around her, she isn't sure she could stay on her feet.. She doesn't realise how weary she is until she feels herself sag against him. It's still ship's night, and she's barely slept. "Sorry."

"There's nothing to apologise for," he murmurs, and she can feel him sigh, pleased, into her hair. "If it weren't for you, we probably would've been caught by now. Come on; back to bed. You can't even stay on your feet."

"Alright." With almost tangible reluctance, she lets him guide her away from the pilot's chair and back to quarters.

She doesn't even remember kicking off her boots or jacket or crumpling into bed. What she remembers instead is the warmth beside her, and a comforting arm around her. Maybe – and it's her last coherent thought before sleep rises up to meet her – just maybe things won't turn out so badly, as long as we have each other.

Maybe they'll have some hope of a prayer, attacking enemies that they can never hope to win against.