SFC JERHAL, 7/3RD, 5TH CO.
Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish

If nothing else, Ihlrath, you deserve remembrance.

I think I’m the only one whose not surprised you up and died, though - or at least, not surprised you up and died so soon.  But you were always the self-sacrificing type, the warrior, the protector, the leader, the therapist - all those things.

And we all know how their stories end up, right buddy?  They get killed.

And you know what, in your case it is pretty fucking tragic, I’ll admit.  But it’s not due to any of the circumstances really, or any sort of particular qualities that you had.  It’s tragic because you, like many Jedi, died before you could ever be Human.

If I were asked to give a Eulogy, being that we were friends for a time (and I still considered you one until your death, though we might’ve  been estranged), then I would say that you were a great Jedi, a great Warrior, and a caring individual.

But you were not a great man.

For as long as I knew you, Ihlrath, you had always tried to play both sides of the fence.  You were a Jedi, and a damned good one at that, and I think you loved your job and everything about it.  You took comfort in your identified role, and of your efficiency in executing it.  Even when things went bad, even when you were cutting a swath through dozens of soldiers who were no more evil than me or mine, just doing their jobs too, you loved it.

But while you loved your chosen roles, you tried to sneak away from them, hide under technicality and half-truths as you courted Alasha, Niatara, Vyen’a, and a host of others as you attempted to work through emotions that you probably had never dealt with before.  As a man, you were a child, being exposed to a much larger and more complex galaxy than the order had ever prepared you for.  And at once you were curious and afraid, I think.  You could never embrace your humanity - not fully - and people like Alasha paid the price for it.  Her heart had to subsist on hopes, half-truths, and technicalities, because you couldn’t fully embrace the largest part of you - your humanity.

That isn’t to say you weren’t a good person, or a good Jedi, or a decent individual altogether, but Ihlrath, your sole failing in life is that you were not a good man, and your death is tragic because you no longer have the chance to ever become one.  You would’ve loved it.  You would’ve cast aside everything for it in a heartbeat, had you been less afraid to give it a chance.

But you clung to your role as a Jedi even when your actions directly conflicted with that.  You rejected the full embracing of your humanity and true “control” over your emotions out of the typical Jedi arrogance and fear.  You thought you were above humanity and ultimately above the Jedi, too.  You fought for your convictions as hard as any individual could - if not harder, and you were a caring individual unto your friends and allies.  And that is why your death is not a surprise.

So goodbye, Master Ihlrath.  You were a warrior, and died a warrior’s death.  You were a tragic individual, and died a tragic death.  Your gravestone will contain your name, your dates of birth and death, and the conflict in which you died.  That is all a soldier can expect, and all a soldier will get.  I hope it’s enough for you.

Lust

He was shaking again.

Down to the very foundation of his bones he was shaking.

He felt the desire and the need and the want and the horrible, ugly LUST.

The Man felt these things and he shuddered at the thoughts that passed through his head, at how appealing they seemed and how ravenously he was willing to see them through and pursue them at how easily it would be to just let go, to let go of his self-control and let all these things happen and be so, so happy and content and TRUE.

But that was lies.  Filthy lies fed to him by the LUST.  TRUTH was not what the LUST could offer, only a vague, admittedly appealing version of it.  TRUTH knew what he was, but TRUTH could not simply tell him – could not tell anyone, for the sole reason that that was the very nature of TRUTH – to not be simple, or more accurately, to be not simple.  And TRUTH knew how LUST had so ruled his life.

LUST was something that existed in his life by necessity; that was so damnably important to his sanity, to his well-being, to his happiness.  And yet the last thing he ever wanted was to LUST ever again.

For once in his life, he wanted PURITY.  He wanted TRUTH.  He wanted to look at something and not feel the sinful, wanton urge to either wrought destruction upon it or mate with it or abuse or extort or hate or rage or any number of foolish, immediate things that had no bearing on the long-term.

But the LUST was still there, regardless, and it called to him as a mother to a petulant child, urging him forward into acts of great artistry and hedonistic extremity.  He was, by his nature, by his profession, by his chosen path, LUSTFUL.  It was, perhaps, his fate to feel these things and do these things and know these things more intimately than any other who might shirk the responsibilities he so bore.

LUST came in all shapes and in all sizes.  It came in all sins, big and small, colorful and strange.  It came in all good things, too, big and small, thoughtful and kind.  The LUST was there, simple desire, and it colored life in shades of happy white and horrible black and all manner of grey in between.  But none were forced to be so intimate with LUST as was he and his kin.  LUST was something denied by the fatecrafters, who so denied all other emotion that they might “control” their sinful urges.  LUST was something worshipped by the fatedestroyers, who so foolishly fell to it that they might as well be nothing more than tools for the LUST.  But for he and his kin, LUST was nothing but a fact of life.  It was not what consumed two extremes of the same philosophy for him and his bloodkin.  It was just something that was, older than time and history and man and the stars.

They existed in a place between the crafters and destroyers – a blessed place where the LUST was not all-encompassing, or all-deciding.  And yet, with lives as short and brutish as they had, those that picked up arms – for whatever reason - were forced to understand the LUST more intimately than either crafter or destroyer.  Rather than childishly indulging or virginally denying, The Ungifted slowly prod and explored, in methodical seriousness, the LUST.  They saw how it could be harnessed, and used, and the Armsbearers quickly did so in whatever way they could.  The Armsbearer was LUST’s greatest champion, as his life, even more brutish and simple and passionate was the epitome of what the LUST so embodied.  And the LUST loved its champions as its children.  It gave them many a great gift, and empowered them to feats unimaginable to the Crafters or Destroyers – things that were unimaginable for any mere Ungifted to accomplish.  Yet even the LUST had its price, and it was perpetuity.  An Armsbearer could never leave the LUST once it so took them, once it gave itself so wholly to them, and them to the LUST in turn, the LUST never released one from its hold.

And so the Man shook.  His body screamed for action: glorious, immediate action.  Something physical, something real, something that he could hold bleeding in his hands as he drained the last of its life, something that he could chase and corner and savor the ending of.  Something that he could end casually with 3 muscles in the trigger finger, something that warrants only the feeling of recoil.  Something that cared only for the carnal pleasures, something that forced him to rip and claw and pull and thrust and perform feats of sin and debauchery that would cow even the most depraved of souls in fear and awe.

But the promise of TRUTH and PURITY stood forever as a shining light, just out of distance, in the man’s peripheral, constantly alighting out of his vision even as he turned his head to gaze onto it.  And so the man shook.

 _____

And then the voice – the sweet melodic voice rang through the doorway, and the shaking stopped.  Suddenly TRUTH and PURITY were attainable, they were there, they were talking to the man, and he stood, clad in clothes he hadn’t remembered donning, in a room he didn’t remember entering.  At another perfect call, he answered, and joined the woman in the other room.  TRUTH.  PURITY.

Imperfection

Flames.

Orange and yellow and red mix in an angry combination that knows nothing but consumption.  In its single-minded purpose it has become exceedingly good.  It devours all that is fed to it ravenously, wasting as little as possible as it food fuels it to grow ever larger, to consume more, to grow brighter, to destroy, to CLEANSE.

Faces.  Faces are what is seen in the fire, the holy symbol of protection and intelligence and safety and food and comfort and warmth.  Faces of loves past, of loves lost and loves won and loves to be lost and won.  Faces of men who will never get to see those loves of their own, whether they spoke fond or ill of them.  Faces.  Faces are all that is left, and they too are packing up to go.  Memory is imperfect, as all things are in the realm of mortal thought, and the details of every man, once so stark and contrasting so hideously against their fellow individuals now blend wantonly in the scope of memory.  Names had vacated shortly before the faces, rank and cause of death and time in service and the more trivial details leaving long before that.

How far is it to fall, that cause of death becomes a trivial detail?  How far is it to walk, that it seems okay to allow the mistake of remembering one man’s other half as another’s?  It must be far indeed, as the legs upon which are stood are weary to the point of collapse.

A lake.

A ripple in the water as brown eyes stare into their reflection, gazing into the depths within the depths within the depths within the depths within the depths within the

Blues and whites coalesce in this tranquil pool, and know placidity only for the lack of any particular place to go.  It simply exists, it simply is.  It is there not to serve any single purpose or perform anything, truthfully.  It is whatever one wants it to be.  It NOURISHES.

Yet the lake is not unlike the fire, and in it the faces return as his features morph as the water is eventually disturbed.  Light reflects queerly off water, and what once was brown is green, or red, or dead, or all thereof.  But where the fire was fierce, the lake is somber.  Two halves fulfilling the same purpose:  Damned Remembrance.

Imperfection is

 ____

The eyes close, before opening again to view the much warmer ceiling than the one he expected.  The eyes- the man, looks to his side, and the space is found empty.  Crushing loneliness comes to rest at the pit of his stomach before his sense of smell returns to him.  The comfortable, wonderful aroma of home-cooking finds its way to his synapses.

The man greets the day with imperfect memory of his dreams, and thus with a smile.

Insanity

A question is posed in simple, nebulous wonder.

What am I?

A voice, harsh and grating, carved from the unyielding stone of pain and blood:

I am the vanguard of death, the harbinger of your destruction, that which the strongest of men and the most stoic of ladies is so shaken to the very core by.  I am that which lurks in the dark and that which guards against it, I am the provider of justice and the cause of so much injustice, I am the contradiction that contradicts the contradiction of contradiction.  I am the bringer of death, I am a murderer.

Another, softer :

I am the bringer of joy, empathetic to the fault I notice all around me, and I learn their mannerisms quickly.  I see those around me and I know their faces and their names and their very beings at their core.  I see them and I wish only to leave them happier than I met them.  I am the friend, my attention and ministrations intended only to guide those around me on a path that can lead to sustained joy.  I am a lover.

Still again:

I am the spirit of persistence, that which never quits and that which never rests.  I am as eternal as the night and as relentless as the coming dawn, I shall always rise and I shall always fall, waxing here and there as my mood so suits, and so to follows my body and my mind, my spirit existing in a place between and outside of these, existing only to link the two and represent myself in the physical world.  I have no purpose and never will, I am that which shall watch those around me wither and die, and remember them in the world born of their ashes.  I am a survivor.

More voices.  Each growing louder than the last in an attempt to assert that no, they are the answer to the most base of questions.  That they are the final, simple, clean response that has been so sought after so many minds, and found so wanting by endless hordes of voices that came both before and after.  And as they stumble over each other, their volume rising to an unbearable roar as all understanding is lost in a cacophonous symphony of inanity, all is suddenly quiet.  A final voice rings out, soft and timid and sure:

I am the contradiction.  I have no explanation and I need no explanation, I have no purpose and yet I pursue imagined purpose in a clumsy flailing of sin and foolishness.  As a newborn babe, I am unknowing, grasping desperately at straws in the dark, attempting to make sense of the world around me with as much success as a madman attempting to convince passers-by that the voices in his head are indeed real.  I am doomed to repeat this forevermore as no explanation exists, yet my existence is defined by my attempt to understand, for I can imagine no other purpose than explaining what and why.  I am insane.

The voices recede.  All is quiet again, but not for long.  Slowly, a whisper pierces the darkness, almost imperceptibly at first, slowly building and building and building in intensity until they become a murmur, then a chant, then a drone, and then a roar.

iaminsane…  I am insane…  I am insane.  I am insane!  I AM INSANE.  I AM INSANE! I! AM! INSANE!  WE ARE INSANE!  WE ARE ALL INSANE!

______

Brown eyes awaken in a cold sweat as a body yet again shoots upright.  It lies in a meager bed, thin sheets falling from its body, the grip of moisture not enough to cling them to the body as it heaves in heavy draws of breath, attempting to grasp and banish and understand and fear and hate and deny the darkness with which it was just faced.  The eyes look down, as they so often do when the body is alone.

But the body is not alone, streaks of glorious, beautiful red strands lay haphazard across the other half of the small bed, undisturbed sheets veiling the only argument the body – no, The Man – has to deny the voices from which his slumber was disturbed.  The woman.  The sum of all his strife and woes and pain and why he chooses to suffer still.  She is all and is forever and is necessary and kind and good and great and amazing and- and she is why he is not insane.

She is the only reason he is not insane.  Insanity could never produce something so perfect.

Shoot, Move, Communicate, Survive?

Left, right-on-left, right-on-left, right left, yo left.

Left.

R-ight on-left.

Left.

1.  2.  3.  4.

1 2 3 4 - Shoot, Move, Communicate, Kill!

1 2 3 4!

SHOOT


the e-313 heavy repeating blaster is an air-cooled, shoulder-fired magazine-fed, semi and fully automatic capable handheld blaster weapon. Assume a proper prone-supported firing position. the 4 fundamentals of marksmanship. Flip your selector switch from Safe to Semi.  immediate actions, remedial actions, fix your malfunction any way you can.  And Watch.  clear every weapon you pick up, you never know who fucked with it.  Your Lane.

MOVE

keep a low-silhouette when moving over walls.  Cover me while I move!  violence of action.  I got you covered! do not cross lanes.  Moving!  you should be eating dirt while you low-crawl.  Set!

COMMUNICATE

comms are key.  Hey you.  you have fired shots, be loud, communicate with your team, they already know you’re here.  This is me.  status, 1 up, 2 enemy down, door.  This is what I’m saying.  move move move.  I’m done speaking.

KILL

shoot him in the chest.  If you see a red lightsaber.  the enemy will spare no effort to kill you, return the favor.  The bad guy is probably a Sith.  he is in your sector, so what if 3-man just shot him, shoot him again.  You should probably shoot the fuck out of him.

SHOOT, MOVE, COMMUNICATE, KILL.

SHOOT, MOVE, COMMUNICATE, KILL.

KILL, KILL, KILL, KILL!

———

Brown eyes open slowly, staring at the same dusty broken fan in the same dusty room.  With a groan brought on by aches and pains and discomfort, a dusty body rises from a dusty bed enveloped in dusty covers, bringing the eyes up to look over a dusty desk littered with dusty items.


One item however, stands out from the rest.  Free of dust, it shines in the light filtering into the room from the open window.  The eyes recognize the item, it’s the item that has the image of the woman.  The beautiful, beautiful red-headed woman, so amazing and kind and nice and tender and


The eyes look down.


They see a dusty communicator that’s run out of batteries from a night of talking with the woman, for once after so long, and for the last time for a long time.


The eyes brighten.  The body leaves the bed, stretching, groaning, and staring out of the window into the sandy, dusty desert filled with so much pain and death and hate.  And yet the body dresses, and retrieves a weapon, and opens the door.


A smile.


Another day.


And the most amazing woman in the galaxy to come home to.


Shoot, move, communicate, kill.

Herp derp OSUT

((As Nea mentioned on her own tamblr, I am to be going to OSUT (One-Station-Unit-Training) for the US Army at Ft. Benning for the next 14 weeks or so.  I head out tomorrow and will ship out the morning of the 8th.

It’s been fun as hell guys, and it will be when I get back.  Keep it chill.  Last post for a while.))

Haha, wow.

Okay.  So.  This has been the best week of my goddamn life.

Me and Nea went on that vacation.  It was fucking great.

We went down to Nar Shaddaa.  Not the place I usually see, but the place where she grew up after the whole crash dealie and I got to meet some of the people she worked with, who knew her from her street-fighting days.

Goddamn there are some good people there.  I’m happy they found her.  They took good care of her.

Anyway then Nea took me to a very- private place for her, she said she hadn’t really gone back in a long time and it meant a lot- it meant more than a lot that she brought me there and why am I using dashes and shit like I’m talking I am writing this is dumb I should just erase that crap.  Oh I’m using a pen fuck.

Anywya Anyway so we had our moment.  I don’t really wanna record it all here cause it was private but we had our moment, and then we went and Nea got us a room at those big-as-fuck floating casinos.  The real high-class ones.  Someone on the inside owed her a favor and it was great.

We did a lot of stuff in that room, but not a lot of gambling.  I’m not sure that’s good for business.

So we spent a few days just with each other, we went and saw the sites but mostly we just talked and held one another and joked and laughed and smiled and kissed and ate and drank and had a lot of fun.

I gave her my dogtags.  I’ll get new ones.

We spent a lot of time sad too, cause we both know the shitstorm we’re both about to step into once I go.  We can face anything together, we both know that, but apart?  Well that’s gonna be the real test of our commitment to one another.  And I know commitment.  I can handle it, I think she can handle it too, but we won’t know until it happens, and that’s the scary part.

On to better memories though, Zentoyo decided to be way too fucking nice to me and organized a going-away party for my redeployment.  That was way too kind of her.  Like legit, I almost teared up when I got the e-mail.  She’s such a good friend, and always has been one.  I didn’t even mention her in this thing.  That makes me feel bad for some reason.

But anyway she threw me a party, and a lotta guys I knew and plenty I didn’t or only sorta knew were there and everyone had a real good time and it was all super buenotasticbonne.  And of course Z being Z went the extra mile and somehow got into contact with Nea and convinced her to dance for me.  That alone would’ve made my jaw drop, but then she got Nea a slave outfit.

Holy FUCK I have the most beautiful girl in the world galaxy.

And hoenstyl honestly the fact she’d even wear that for me - hell the fact she’d just dance in public for me - hell the fact she did either of those things alone would floor me, but she did BOTH.  My god.

We are way too in love here, it is not good for our health.

But the rest of the party was good.  Even some 7th made it to Nar Shaddaa to see me off.  That was real nice of ‘em.

I love those guys, really I do.  I’m proud of them.  I think they can handle it on their own.  They’ll still be here when I get back.

That leaves me a lot more comfortable than I’ve ever been.

God I normally don’t misspell anything but I misspelled three things already wow.

Anyway I’m really tired because Nea and I have been waking up and going back to sleep and waking up and going back to sleep and absolutely nothing else in between for the past several hours on the much-longer-than-necessary-because-fuck-you trip back to Voss.

I’m gonna say my goodbyes to Vy, then leave Nea with my tags, some holos, and anything else she wants.

And when I get back I’m gonna live up to every single promise I made her.

I love this woman so much.

Romeo. Echo. Bravo. Lima. Oscar. Golf. India. Foxtrot. Yankee. Oscar. Uniform. Charlie. Alpha. November. Romeo. Echo. Alpha. Delta. Tango. Hotel. India. Sierra.

cynwise:

Sadly.

((Derp Yep))

jen-baen:

DUDAL
Warmup sketch. 2 buddies from Lardass.

jen-baen:

DUDAL

Warmup sketch. 2 buddies from Lardass.

Chillin’ ‘n’ illin’

So I’ve been real tired and have been preparing for my redeployment to my old unit lately, so I’ve been letting SSG Morgan, and SGT Astor and SGT Greysen sorta take over.  They’re all capable, they’ve learned well.  Astor and Greysen need to learn a bit more about squad tactics, but that’ll all come with experience.  I feel comfortable leaving these guys.

I don’t get to say that often.

I’m proud of my men, all of them, especially those who’ve been with us for a long time such as CPL Jayl, SGT Astor, SGT Greysen, 1LT Teral (who, while he may now outrank me, I saw grow from a freakin’ CPL), Advisor Johv, and Contractor Vyen’a.

I’m gonna miss ‘em.

However I did meet with Nea’s employer the other day.  It was not particularly pleasant.  He’s the typical “Oh look at what you made me do to you” type of sith, and it was not enjoyable how Nea completely fell for every single angle of deception he used.

She’s afraid of him, very afraid.  This concerns me.

I had an entire 9 man squad ready to file in as needed if he tried anything, so we didn’t have to worry - at all - about him overpowering us, there was no need to fear.  We had all the advantages, political, positioning, firepower, etc.  But Nea’s scared of him- damn scared, so she played by his rules.

And now all those advantages are lost.

She said she wanted to buy time - for us, and I told her it was time we could’ve taken.  She didn’t need to make a deal with the devil to get it, but she did anyway.

Again, because she’s scared.

I’m scared too.

I got frustrated, and that on top of my fear boiled over when Nea used MY NAME in front of the sith.  I- that caught me off guard, and I snapped at her.  Got too angry, too fast.  I saw the fear in her eyes directed at me and-

And she thought I was leaving her.

No.  Never.  Never ever ever ever ever.  I took her back to the base, and we went up to the ship after I introduced her to my superiors and some of my brothers in arms and we talked.  And- we had our little spat, our little disagreement, but now we’re stronger for it.  We both get each other more, we both trust each other more.  And I got past the name thing.

The name won’t mean anything if it’s spoken by anyone other than her, or someone I tell it to.  It won’t mean anything.  They don’t get it.  I only tell it to people who get it.  Maybe that’ll help the Psych-assholes who’re gonna read this at the end of the year.

Anyway, I promised her we’re gonna go on a vacation for a few days - just the two of us.  And it sounds damn good to me.  Gives the new NCOs a chance to grow and I get some time with the woman of my dreams, and everything will be safe and perfect like it was before the Sith decided to be an asshole.

Not even 10 more days.  Damn.