The first time she lost Thane, she cried in Jude’s arms for an hour. Her roommate and best friend had held her and murmured what comfort she could. The thing was, neither Ciena nor Jude were able to understand why Thane had been so sure that the Academy was trying to do something to sabotage their friendship when they were two of the best cadets the Academy had in their current attendance.
Ciena couldn’t believe that the Academy would sabotage their people or that the Empire would allow it. They wanted the best and brightest to serve after the Academy and Thane’s willingness to risk everything had shocked both of the girls.
Ciena got herself pulled together long enough for Jude to get her back to their dorm room and after locking the door, she and Kendy sat on either side of their friend and just held onto her for the rest of the night.
She lost her closest, best friend in the world, but Jude and Kendy weren’t leaving her. They weren’t going to let her be alone.
All of those people -- her companions and compatriots.
Jude was among the dead and and for days, Ciena didn’t know how she managed to get through her duty rotations as she mourned her friend -- and worried about Thane. She didn’t know if his squadron had made it back to the Death Star when it had exploded or if they had still been on their mission to wherever he had been sent.
She couldn’t remember. Couldn’t remember.
Jude’s death and Thane’s fate wouldn’t let her recall where he had been sent before the tragedy that had torn into all of them.
It was the first time she had doubted herself or her place. She was a Lieutenant now, but she didn’t feel like one. In her head, she was still a start struck little girl hoping to get a glimpse of the best ships in the Empire.
Now she was waiting to find out if her very first friend... her first love now that she finally gave words to things he had meant to her... was going to end up being among the millions of dead that they were still cataloging.
Identifying last duty stations because there weren’t even any remains to be identified and sent home for their families to mourn and say goodbye to in the ways of their worlds.
She believed that she wouldn’t have to choose. She believed that they were wrong and that Thane hadn’t actually deserted his post and turned against the Empire. The two had gone through too much and lost so much for her to sit back and let him throw his life away. She believed that it was grief and stress that had affected him and she would be able to convince him to come back and take up his post again.
The scenes when she found Thane had been hurtful, beautiful and bittersweet. They loved each other, but didn’t believe the exact same thing about either the Empire, the Rebellion... or themselves.
She could give him a week to get off of Jelucan before she would file her report with her Commander. She loved him too much to do it any other way, but her honor was everything to her and she had made an oath to the Empire to serve them faithfully for as long as her commission lasted.
It was the first time she had been the one to lie to cover up for someone else and she vowed that it would be the last time.