The voices behind the door stopped as there came a knock. Without checking for a reply, Poe burst into the room.
"Hey buddy, how ya feelin'?"
Jaycob joked, pointing to his leg. There was only one burning question in his mind that he needed to ask.
Poe rolled his eyes.
"You really care about her don't you? Don't worry, she's fine. She's on the bridge with the rest of the pilots at the debrief."
Jaycob sighed in relief and continued,
"Also doing fine, saw her tear up as you were carried away."
Jaycob was glad to hear such good news. He cared for them both equally, just one more intimately than the other. He valued Jessika's friendship, being like family, he wished nothing but good things for her. On the other hand, he wasn't sure if love was the correct word to describe how he felt about Tallissan Lintra, but it definitely felt something like it. However, he found it absolutely ludicrous that he's only known her for a little over 24 hours and already thought of spending the rest of his life with her.
But, intimate relationships in the Resistance was a recipe for disaster. The lone exception was between two Black Squad pilots: Temmin "Snap" and Kare Wexley, ending in a marriage back on D'Qar, long before Jaycob joined.
"So what now?"
"Not quite sure yet. Probably find another base and hide there 'til the FO give up their chase. Which reminds me, I need to get to that briefing. Don't worry, I'll tell the others you're fine."
Poe exited, once again leaving Jaycob alone. Upon further inspection, he realized that he actually wasn't the only one in the room. There was a single Medical 2-1B Surgical Droid, and judging by it's weathered down appearance, it was probably first used during the Clone Wars. He called out to it,
"How may I help you, sir?"
It replied in a monotone, quiet voice. Jaycob, desperate for entertainment, asked,
"You got any holopads around here?"
The droid scanned the room and marched to a table across from Jaycob's feet. It opened the single drawer attached to it and revealed: a holopad, a few identification cylinders, and spare energy packs. Fishing out the holopad, the droid handed it to Jaycob.
"My pleasure, sir."
Jaycob decided to use his recovery time to read the news, study flight maneuvers, and play a couple games of Pazaak. His recovery time would be short due to the miracles of bacta, but not short enough. Once finished with the holopad, he realized that it had only been 15 minutes since Poe left. He waited anxiously for another visitor to burst through the door, whether it'd be Tallie, Jess, Poe, or even his wingman, Jon'Kil.
"Droid, how long until I can walk again?"
"Well sir, with the current amount of bacta you're intaking, it will be about an hour before you'll be walking again. It is recommended you take at least 2 before engaging in combat."
Jaycob took it as 1 hour until he could fly again.
"Alright, can you patch me into the hangar crew?"
The droid took the holopad, pushing a series of different buttons, and patched him in.
"This is Jax."
Another familiar voice, Jax the head mechanic. In charge of overseeing all repair and upgrade operations both on the Raddus and back on D'Qar.
"Hey Jax, it's Jaycob."
"Ahh, commander! How're you doing?"
"I'm alright. Listen, I need a fix-up on my B-Wing. The cockpit took a nasty hit during the evacuation. Any chance you could have a team take a look at that? I need it up-and-running just in case we need to head back out."
"No worries Commander, I'll get right on it."
They both hung up and Jaycob tossed the holopad onto the sidetable. Eventually, the boredom caught up to him, and he fell asleep once again.
When he awoke, the first thing he saw was the deep black of space through the window on his left. The fleet had come out of hyperspace and he could see the medical frigate, the Anodyne. Turning to the right, he was delighted to see none other than Tallie, snuggled up next to him. Breathing softly onto his neck, she brought back flashbacks of the night on the former base. She sensed his movement and asked,
"Did I wake you? I tried to be as quiet as I could."
Jaycob replied, wrapping his right arm around her,
"...I was hoping you'd come by."
"Well, here I am."
She kissed him on the cheek.
"I gotta ask you something..."
"...That night on D'Qar, did you know that you were in my 'spot'?"
He made sure to put emphasis on "spot" to make sure she knew what he was talking about. Tallie shot a confused look towards him, then a face of remembrance.
She said sarcastically. Jaycob laughed,
"You know, the spot where you were sitting. That's where I tend to go to clear my head."
"Alright I must confess..."
she sat up,
"...Remember after Starkiller, at the debrief, Leia told me and Jess to get the bombers on the same page?"
"Yeah I remember."
"Well, I asked her about you. I guess she knows you better than I do, because she pointed me in the direction of that 'spot'. I went there later on in the night, and just happened to be there when you came along."
Jaycob was surprised that Jessika, out of all people, was the one to bring Tallie into his arms. He immediately felt bad about arguing with her back on D'Qar, and yelling at her for wanting him to fall back during the evacuation. He wished he had treated her better, being the only true friend, other than Poe, he's really ever had. Tallie cut in,
"But, I'm glad she did."
She positioned herself over him, his lap in between her thighs, face-to-face. Looking up at her, Jaycob said,
"I'm glad she did too."
This time, Tallie initiated the kiss while Jaycob lay motionless. He kissed her back just as intently as before, making sure to savor every second, propping himself on his elbows to provide some support. Tallie undid her bun, letting her long hair flow down her shoulders and onto his face. There wasn't much Jaycob could do since he was already as comfortable as he could be. Periodically the two would stop kissing each other to get some air back into their lungs, but would continue right afterward. Slowly, Tallie started to take off her flight suit, letting the sleeves fall to her sides, revealing the white tank top underneath. Jaycob pulled her in closer, kissing her neck and progressing downward, Tallie replying with rapid and excited breaths. In that moment, being with her, he was the happiest man alive. In between kisses, Jaycob whispered,
"I love you."
Tallie pulled away and looked him in the eyes, a bit surprised by his remark. But she smiled and responded with,
"I love you too."
With just those 4 words, she imprinted her seat in Jaycob's heart, next to his brother, forever becoming an unforgettable part of his life. He continued kissing her, profusely, not wanting it to end. The few minutes of heaven didn't last long, the couple only being able to take their tops off as Tallie's communicator rang. She tried to pull away, but Jaycob clung to her, begging,
"Just let it ring."
"I can't...you know I can't."
She finally managed to wiggle from his grasp and take out the device. But, Jaycob took the device and held it above his head, causing her to push her body against his, in an attempt to retrieve it. The trap had worked. Jaycob tossed the communicator on the sidetable and tackled her on her back, causing her to giggle. Their lips interlocked yet again and Tallie wrapped her legs around his back, tightening her grasp even closer than before. They wrestled playfully and kissed, exchanging laughs as Jaycob tickled her soft stomach. She extended her hand to reach for the communicator, but Jaycob reached out and filled it with his hand.
"Why are you in such a rush?"
"It could be serious. You know it's protocol to answer it as soon as you can."
"But you're busy."
He responded selfishly. She stopped struggling for the communicator and laughed.
"As much as I'd love to just stay and make out here with you, it could be important."
"More important than me?"
"Nothing is more important than you."
A warm feeling rushed through Jaycob as he smiled, his cheeks turning red. He planted one final kiss on her lips and released her.
"That's all I needed to hear. Turn it up to full volume."
Tallie obliged, grabbing the communicator hesitantly, trying to figure out if it was another trick.
"You swear you're done?"
"All pilots report to the hangar. The First Order followed us, they've tracked us through lightspeed. All pilots report to the hangar and all personnel get to your stations."
It was Poe.
"Tracked us through lightspeed?"
Tallie repeated, taking herself off of Jaycob. She started putting her flight suit back on, but stopped when she saw that Jaycob did the same.
"Wait, are you sure you're able to go back out there?"
He hadn't felt anything as he strapped back on his boots, nor when he was intermingled with her. He took these as signs that he was ready.
He replied, flashing a sheepish smile towards her. She smirked, planting one last kiss on his forehead. Before exiting the medical bay, Jaycob said,
"You know when we come back I'm marrying you right?"
"Oh I'm counting on it."
The couple walked at a brisk pace towards the hangar, hand-in-hand. On the way, several soldiers and officers saluted them, knowing that coming back from the battle alive was unlikely. Even though the First Order were without a Dreadnought, a large fleet still backed them up, this time with a much bigger ship. The supreme leader's flagship, Supremacy, made it's first appearance, shocking Resistance forces.
"That thing's bigger than the Dreadnought!"
"How'd they find us?"
"We should be in the escape pods."
Were all things Jaycob and Tallie heard as they proceeded through the maze of corridors said by passing bystanders. On the way, they ran into Poe, literally. The combined force of the couple almost knocked him off of his feet.
"Jaycob, what are you doing?"
Poe asked, looking concerned at Jaycob's leg.
"What do you mean? I'm headed out there."
"Not with that leg you're not. Lintra, you can go."
Jaycob watched Tallie slip out of sight, and disappear into the hangar. He wanted nothing more than to chase her down and make sure she was safe.
"My leg is fine, Poe. I can still fly."
"No, I saw the way you winced when we collided. That leg will hinder your piloting skills, you'll be shot down in a heartbeat. You're staying here."
Jaycob took this as an insult, shocked that his friend would say such a thing.
"If I get shot down, so be it. Besides, you said it yourself, you can't think of anyone better to lead White Squad into battle."
"White Squad? There's nothing left. That trick you pulled to protect the bombers, although brave, was foolish."
They were yelling now,
"If I didn't do it, the whole mission would be busted! The bombers were getting torn up out there!"
"We had the TIE's covered!"
"Whose plan was it to destroy the Dreadnought in the first place?"
Jaycob asked hypothetically, and answered,
"It was yours! So don't go blaming me for the loss of White Squad, when the entire bombing fleet would be here right now if you hadn't come up with such an ill-advised plan."
Jaycob brushed by him and made his way toward the hangar. Poe followed still barking orders,
"As your superior officer, I command you stay here!"
"You were demoted, remember?"
Jaycob's fast walk turned into a light, limp-filled jog. Poe, persistent as ever, followed. However this time, barking orders at his droid to rev up his X-Wing's engines.
"Don't blame me if Tallie comes back and you're not here."
Poe said, overtaking Jaycob.
The thought of Tallie being alone actually scared him. So much so, that he stopped right outside of the doorway to go over his options. There were only two of them: stay here and wait for Tallie, or go with her now and risk being shot down. If he went with the second, she'd come back to nobody. But what if Tallie was the one to not come back? He didn't know if he could take another loved one's death again.
He shook his head and made up his mind, he was going out there. Both BB-8 and Poe entered the hangar before he did, already half-way to their X-Wing when Jaycob barely got past the doorway. He hadn't made it more than 5 steps in before Jax the mechanic yells,
“Incoming! Scatter the fighters! Get out!"
A shadow-like figure zoomed past the hangar garage, shooting two triangle-shaped torpedoes inside, destroying the closest X-Wings and A-Wings of Black and Blue squadron. The hangar turned into a vacuum, sending the fire further in, disintegrating rows and rows of starfighters. Jaycob could do nothing but watch helplessly as the fire inched closer to the familiar blue and white A-Wing.
He screamed. But it was too late. He was swept off his feet and shot backwards, through the door in which he came. The sheer force of the blast's shockwave caused his helmet's visor to break into hundreds of tiny little pieces, sending shards of glass into his eyes, mouth, and nose. The back of his head was the first to collide with the wall behind him, followed by the rest of his body. Poe, being further ahead, was also launched back, using Jaycob as a cushion from hitting the wall. Poe fell forward into someone's arms and got taken away. The glass in Jaycob's eyes prevented him from opening them fully, but he could see the remains of the ships and their pilots through the red of his blood tears. The only thing he could think of was Tallie. Her starfighter lay upside down, completely destroyed. It was set ablaze, turning the blue and white paint into black ash. Jaycob slumped forward, falling onto his stomach, while keeping his eyes on the hangar. With all of his might, he tried to crawl to her, only to be blocked off by emergency blast doors.
The last thing he saw was a pair of gloved hands dragging him away from the hangar.
He couldn't hear or see anything anymore, except for the ringing in his ears and the blood in his eyes. The seemingly new White Squadron had perished. The entire Resistance navy had perished. And most importantly, Tallie had perished. Jaycob hoped desperately that it was a dream; he'd wake up, still on his hospital bed, and find her laying next to him, perfectly placed in his arms.