There wasn’t a day that went by that Hera didn’t regret her decision. She knew if she had chosen differently, she would still be wondering if she had made the right choice. But that didn’t make it any easier. Every new rebel that joined had a fire in their eyes, a youthful bounce in their step that reminded her of a lonely orphan who had found a home aboard her ship. Catching a glimpse of the rebellion’s symbol, remembering when it had once been a starbird painted by a fiery young Mandalorian. New recruits training with blaster and hand gave her flashbacks to a warrior who hid a layer of warmth under his muscle. When the lights were out and the darkness surrounded her, she recalled all the times she had closed her eyes to try and understand how a blind Jedi could do all that he did. Missions were never dull, there was still the thrill of flying, the comm chatter, the adrenaline rush. But when it was all over there was an overwhelming stillness aboard the Ghost that not even Chopper could fix.
The war raged on and the memories only grew. A new young teen joined their forces, one who could yield a lightsaber. It was too painful to watch him train, to wonder that if things had been different, maybe someone else would be in his shoes. Battles were won, and battles were lost. The Empire created weapons Hera had never dreamed of. Pieces of the past were fit together – but that didn’t matter, the ones she wanted to talk to about it were gone.
And then the war shifted, the Rebellion grew and the Empire fell. There was rejoicing all around, celebrations rang out across the galaxy. And Hera tried to celebrate, but her smiles were forced. The war was over, but at what cost? She knew she needed to move on, to continue fighting and helping clean up the Empire’s mess. That was easier said than done, but she knew where she needed to start.
The once green planet shone grey in her viewport. Hera could almost hear the words once spoken so long ago.
“What have they done? Lothal looks like it’s dying.”
Where it had all started, and where she had made her choice. The Rebellion over family. A lump grew in her throat. Hera never cried in front of others, not anymore. But the only one around was Chopper and the emotions she had been holding back for so long were too much. Loss, anguish, regret, guilt. They all broke out in silent tears, tears she should’ve shed long ago. For the family she would never get back.