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Ignited Survivor

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CHAPTER ONE

– PIECE OF HISTORY –

 

She felt heavy. Her chest, mainly. No matter how much she tried to breathe, the air just wouldn’t come into her lungs, and that was terrific. There was something in her back that she couldn’t yet understand what it was, but she felt like it was frozen. She couldn’t feel anything else; she reached for moving her arms and legs, but it was like they weren’t there. Everything seemed so paralyzed and cold that it was like her body was dead.

But there was something she could hardly feel – not much, far away, but yet it was noticeable, and it was coming along the lack of air in her chest… Slowly and softly… Burning.

Get help! Somebody get help!

As soon as the words sounded in her head, she felt the air entering her lungs all at once, and suddenly the heaviness broke in a million pieces, she felt her whole body like it was hitting the ground after a free fall, and the burning became almost unbearable.

Phasma opened her eyes, and a white light stroke into her corneas and she couldn’t avoid it, because an acute pain collapsed into her back, which was still paralyzed. For a moment, she couldn’t gasp for air again, and her heart raced unstopping, and yet she couldn’t move straight. It ached. And after some seconds she realized: she could only see the white light on her right side.

“Captain?”

That voice, it was not unknown, Phasma remembered it, it was the same one screaming in her head seconds ago… Female, high, sounding somewhat scared…

Finally, Phasma got to see a white roof with a lamp turned on. She tried to look around but her neck wouldn’t move, and all in her left was black. She moved her right eye then, and all she could see was a small room with some metallic instruments upon a table, and some lockers on the walls, which were light grey. What was that place? It didn’t look like the Supremacy, that’s for sure. She tried to move again, but one more time, she couldn’t. Was she restrained, by chance? No, whatever was preventing her movements felt internal, her body seemed not to respond to her commands.

“Don’t try to move, don’t try–” the voice stopped at the moment Phasma finally spotted a figure coming her way, and then it turned out to be a woman.

Her skin was light but her hair was brown, very dark, and so were her eyes. Phasma could see her whole face because her hair was very short – she seemed worried, it was visible in her delicate features. She was somehow… Familiar…

Phasma took a quick breath to talk, but when she contracted her throat to speak, nothing came out. That’s when she finally realized: there was something inside her mouth, and when she moved her eye down, she saw an oxygen mask on her face.

Her body was still not responding, so she looked at the woman again “Can you hear me?” she asked. Phasma blinked confused, trying to see all around but failing. What was happening there? She couldn’t remember anything, the last thing coming to her mind was returning from Luprora, capturing FN-2187 in the Supremacy, sentencing him to death, and then… “Let me take that out of your mouth…”

The woman walked to Phasma and held the mask with her hands. She was wearing a black t-shirt and grey pants, the Captain paid attention to that before she felt the plastic coming out of her mouth, and it hurt like hell.

Phasma coughed, not once nor twice, but many times. She felt her lips dry and her throat burning just like her whole body, mainly the left side of her face. “Do you recognize me?” the woman asked again, and Phasma looked at her, trying to remember where she’d seen her before, but she continued before she could “I’m SR-1134...”

The acronym wasn’t new for Phasma. Yes, she remembered SR-1134, she’d seen her a couple of times among the troopers in the Finalizer and in the Supremacy, but not much...

Again, Phasma tried to talk and failed, which lead her to cough once more. Her face hurt more whenever she did that.

“Don’t rush to talk, you inhaled too much smoke...” said SR-1134, and when Phasma heard that, something strangely – and suddenly – came to her mind.

Fire. A lot of fire.

Striving the most she could, feeling her throat burn like it was washed with acid, she looked at the trooper and asked, only with her lips’ movement, because her voice wouldn’t sound:

“What happened?”


 

ON THE SUPREMACY:

 

There was fire everywhere.

No matter how much she ran, SR-1134 couldn’t find anywhere that wasn’t consumed by the flames. On the floor, bodies over bodies of her fellow troopers were abandoned, melting and turning into ashes faster than she could see. She didn’t want to be the next, no she didn’t. And she could still hear the shots not too far. It was all lost now – all that’s left was running away.

She’d served as a TIE pilot not long ago, and although it was never her specialty, she still remembered how to fly. Fast and agile, she ran through the flames and tried to follow a safe route, as hard as it might be. However, it was hard to see where she was going, and when she got some view of where she was, she was paralyzed – only a few yards away, a young man with a First Order officer uniform was holding a retractable baton in the air, and then hitting with it hardly in a hard metallic surface, hard enough to crack it.

The surface of Captain Phasma’s helmet.

At the same moment, SR-1134 got back and luckily there was a small piece of the cracked floor right at her side, so she hid behind it. But she kept on looking, by its corner, only to see Captain Phasma falling into a hole on the floor, the flames all around still burning, and then, SR-1134 heard the sound of the ground breaking down.

She had the impulse to run, but her muscles were too rigid and paralyzed for it. The flames increased in the hole opened yards away from her, and she felt her heart racing even more. For a moment, everything seemed to be silent, all she could hear was the fast beating of her heart. The young man left in some seconds, along with a girl SR-1134 hadn’t even seen, and suddenly, she was alone there, with only the sound of the fire, and that last vision echoing in her head.

There was too much fire, and the fall was too big. Captain Phasma wouldn’t make it… But her armor would protect her, sure it would, she might… She couldn’t be dead. No, she couldn’t, and obviously, the First Order was way too busy right now to look for her in the middle of the wreckage, but what had happened that day was the purest proof that the First Order would soon be gone, so it was pointless to wait for them. No, SR-1134 had to do that on her own, she couldn’t let that happen.

She couldn’t let Captain Phasma die.

Getting up from the floor the fastest she could, she ran through the bodies and the flames, desperately looking for a way to go to the lower floors of the big ship. It was all broken now, it was hard to even walk, let alone run, but she had to try. When she reached the inner hallways, she saw people all around running as well, frightened, in pure panic, and she actually thanked for that, because in such a horrific situation, no one paid attention to what an insignificant stormtrooper intended by running all the way downstairs, until the last floor, which she reached in a minute that passed like an hour.

It would be completely dark down there if it wasn’t for the fire that was consuming the whole Supremacy. Luckily for SR-1134, there was a lot of light coming from it, so she could see, among the many overused TIE Fighters that were on storage there, waiting to be recycled, the chrome reflecting the firelight.

SR-1134 ran towards the reflecting red and orange, removing her helmet to see straight, although it was hard to breathe there because it was too hot and all the smoke made it unpleasant to say at least, but she went on, and when she reached her Captain, her heart nearly stopped.

Captain Phasma’s armor was hot on the outside, you could feel that it had just left the fire, and all the fabric underneath it was burnt, some parts of it still with some flames left, making SR-1134 panic. “Captain!” she screamed repeatedly but got no answer. Captain Phasma’s helmet was broken on the left side, and SR-1134 couldn’t help but look inside of it – the Captain’s face was a mix of blood and ashes, and you couldn’t see her eye, because it was too covered by all of it. Trembling, the trooper kneeled aside her fallen leader and desperately touched the side of her neck.

Please, beat, please, all I need to hear is a small pulse…

In the first seconds, she couldn’t feel anything, which almost made her own heart stop again, but then, with her shaking fingertips, she felt, far away, a solid heartbeat. But it wasn’t strong, it was like it was fading away faster than she could think.

It was just a matter of time.

Still trembling and with a fast and hoarse breath, SR-1134 didn’t allow herself to think too much; she just grabbed Captain Phasma by her two arms, with all the strength she’d gained within all the years of training, and drag her to one of the TIE Fighters, which she thought she wouldn’t be able to open because her arms were shaking uncontrollably, but adrenaline did its part, and she got to put Captain Phasma inside the small ship, and after closing its door again, she went to the pilot’s seat.

“It’s gonna work, it has to work…” SR-1134 repeated to herself, because she had to make her mind believe that, otherwise, it would all be lost, and she couldn’t let it be lost. She knew there was still energy in those almost recycled ships, so they’d be able to fly, but it would be pointless if the ship was already too broken to make the trip. Trip to where, she didn’t know – all she knew was that she had to get out of the Supremacy.

For SR-1134’s biggest luck, the ship turned on after a few seconds, and she could barely feel her own movements when she launched, leaving the fire and the wreckage of the Supremacy behind.

Her heart raced so fast now that she felt like it could tear up her chest at any moment, but still, she went on, flying that ship as if her life depended on that, because, in fact, it did – not her life, but Captain Phasma’s. She’d felt that her pulse was weak, it wouldn’t make it far. She had to be fast, the fastest she could, because whatever trip she was going to make now would be long if she wanted to go far away from that system.

After getting out of the Supremacy through one of the enormous holes in its surface, SR-1134 reached space and took a deep breath not to lose her thinking: where in the Galaxy could she go? Where in the Galaxy would she find help? If the First Order found her, she’d be considered a traitor; the right thing to do would be taking Captain Phasma to the Finalizer or the Absolution, for her to be treated in its med bays. But how long would this be considered safe? If the First Order fell, and it probably would… What would happen to Captain Phasma? What would happen to her, an insignificant stormtrooper who had just broken all the rules she swore to follow?

No, she couldn’t take the risk. She knew that disabled people – leaders included, even if just for a short time – were useless to the First Order. And so were stormtroopers, if they didn’t follow the exact orders they received. In the depth of her desperate thoughts, SR-1134 realized that she only had one option, indeed: flying that sheep the farthest she could, to a place where she could get Captain Phasma some medical assistance, because she’d die if she didn’t get it.

SR-1134 thought of the planets she knew that were far from the system they were at. As a pilot, she knew some, but not much. A lot of planets in the Unknown Regions or even in the Outer Ring were used as gun storage, but the First Order would find them easily on those. But planets without much technology wouldn’t have the medical supplies Captain Phasma needed, and certainly wouldn’t have someone who knew how to use them either. Perhaps she could go to Kessel… But that planet was way too crowded and received every kind of alien from all over the Galaxy. Easy to hide for common people, but not for a famous First Order Captain. It wouldn’t work.

That was when she remembered: Lah’mu. It was an agrarian planet far from everything the First Order would ever care about, and according to what she remembered from what she’d learned in her training, it had a scarce population, but a certain level of technology. Maybe it would be enough to save a life. Right now, she had to believe it would be, because she couldn’t think of anywhere else, and there was no time to wait for her memory to work better.

Doing her best not to lose control, SR-1134 looked in the TIE Fighter’s maps for the localization of Lah’mu and prepared to jump to hyperspace. With the corner of her eyes, she looked through the glass and saw the remnant of the Supremacy. At that distance, she could see that the ship was cut in half, with its pieces floating all around it, and the flames still burning. How it had happened and why was a mystery. For a short moment, while the ship collected the last seconds of energy it needed to jump into hyperspace, SR-1134 could feel a tear falling down her cheek, for all she’d ever known and fought for was now gone forever, and disappearing into the big galaxy was scary. But she’d have to do this. She’d have to start a new life.

Finally, the TIE Fighter jumped, and all she could see were the stars turning into soft scratched lines in the infinite black.

SR-1134 turned around and left the pilot’s seat to go to Captain Phasma again. Still shaking a little, she touched her neck again to check her pulse. It was weaker, but still there. Looking at her white gloves, she noticed some blood upon them. She’d rather not realizing that it came from the Captain’s neck, which was burnt underneath the black rubbery fabric that had melted generously. The trooper closed her eyes for a moment, noticing that her heart still raced, and even if she intended to open them again, she didn’t.

The last time she’d seen Captain Phasma was before Starkiller Base had been destroyed. Actually, a way before, since she had never gone to the base herself. She used to serve on the Supremacy, and rare times on the Finalizer, so the two of them didn’t see each other often. She knew the Captain memorized every trooper’s number, but she’d probably not recognize her. SR-1134 wasn’t important, she’d never been. She’d trained since her early childhood to be the best trooper, but so had all the other children who were on the Absolution under Captain Cardinal’s command. Some of them became Sergeants, others became officers. She, however, had become just a regular trooper, and so it had been for 28 years. Thinking straight, she was lucky to be still alive. Even luckier now, for being at the right place at the right time when the First Order started to collapse.

At least, she’d do something useful.

It was after a time she couldn’t measure, because even if it were seconds, in her desperate thoughts it would feel like hours or even days, she felt the TIE Fighter finishing the jump, and the atmosphere of Lah’mu appeared through the ship’s front window. SR-1134 checked Captain Phasma’s pulse again, and once she made sure her heart was still beating, she went to the pilot’s seat and started controlling the TIE Fighter for landing. She didn’t know where exactly to land, so she entered the ringed planet’s atmosphere and overflew it for a couple of minutes, until, in the middle of the black sand and the lawns, she spotted a group of small buildings some miles away.

Taking a deep breath, SR-1134 flew low until she softly reached the ground, getting close to the buildings and seeing, through the window, people coming from all over what seemed to be a village when she finally landed in the entrance of it. She didn’t wait – the fastest she could, she went out of the ship and screamed. “Help! Somebody get help!” as soon as she reached the ground, she saw that people were coming her way, and some of them were holding blasters.

“Stop right there!” a man shouted. SR-1134 did exactly what he said. All of them wore simple clothes, some of them even a little bit dirty with sand. From what she’d heard from Lah’mu, it was a planet of farmers. But they had blasters, so they might have some medical technology and droids as well. “Are you from the First Order?”

It was only at that moment that SR-1134 remembered she was still wearing her stormtrooper armor, even if without her helmet, and she’d arrived in a First Order TIE Fighter. “Yes… I mean, no,” she gasped “You don’t have to worry about us, we’re not armed, we mean you no harm!”

“Us?” asked another farmer, a woman, this time, also holding a blaster “Who else is with you?”

“My Captain…” SR-1134 replied, feeling her heart racing when she thought that Phasma might only have a few more minutes of life. There’d be no time to explain the whole story “She’s seriously wounded, we need your help–”

“What’s going on here?” the male voice interrupted SR-1134, making her nervous. It had come from the middle of the grouped people, and in some seconds the trooper saw an old man appearing among them, and walking towards her. His hair was grey and he walked somewhat slowly, but he had a strong gaze in his greeny eyes, which were focused on her now “Why does the First Order send their troopers to a farm village?”

“The First Order didn’t send me, I’m not with them anymore,” SR-1134 explained. “I need your help, we don’t have much time… Is there any doctor in your village?”

“I’m a doctor, child,” the old man said, making the trooper breathe as relieved as if she’d waited years without gasping for air. “What’s wrong with you?”

“It’s not me, it’s my Captain,” said SR-1134. “She fell from the high, and our ship was on fire, she’s unconscious and her pulse is weakening…”

The old man kept on looking at the trooper, but before he could say anything, the man who’d talked first argued. “Hectre, you know who she’s talking about, they’ll certainly come to look for her–”

“They won’t!” SR-1134 interrupted. At that moment, tears fell from her eyes again. “The First Order is coming to an end, they won’t waste time looking for her. We’re on our own now, and she needs help!”

She didn’t intend to cry, but she couldn’t help herself. She looked at all those people, men, women, even children, and none of them said a thing, at least until the old man, Hectre, asked. “Please, bring the litter here, and prepare the med bay.”

SR-1134 closed her eyes in relief. Her tears burned her corneas underneath her eyelids, but she didn’t care.  “Thank you, sir…”

“Don’t thank me yet,” it was all Hectre said, and after that, some of the people ran to a specific building, in the center of the village, and came back with a white and blue litter. “Take me to her, child,” the trooper obeyed at the exact same moment, opening the TIE Fighter’s door so that the men and women who walked to there with Hectre got to take Captain Phasma out and put her upon the litter, and that was when the doctor looked at her for the first time. For SR-1134’s despaired, he seemed shocked, mainly when he too touched her neck. “Her heart’s about to stop, take her to the med bay, now!”

All the relief the trooper was feeling was broken in a million pieces at that moment. In a second, she felt her panic tears coming back to her eyes, but no matter how wet they were, she could still watch Captain Phasma being taken by the people to the house in the center of the village, to which SR-1134 ran quickly, passing through some rooms she didn’t pay attention to, and finally reaching a little med bay.

It was nothing but a simple room with grey walls and some litters stationed in specific places, aside from where they put the one Phasma was upon. There were instruments and devices in some tables, and some lockers too, but she didn’t pay much attention to that either. The whole rest of the village seemed to be outside that building waiting for what was going to happen, but inside there, there were only three men and a woman, alongside Hectre.

He quickly ripped off a piece of fabric that was still covering Captain Phasma’s neck and ignored her burnings to inject something into her veins, while one of his assistants brought a device and connected it to her. A hologram appeared aside the litter, then, and SR-1134 quickly realized it was a heart monitor. However, he showed a heartbeat too weak to be from a living being.

“Give me more to inject!” Hectre ordered, and SR-1134 trembled without any control of herself when the monitor started making alert noises, noises she didn’t want to hear, because she knew that, if they became silent, she’d done it all for nothing.

The woman gave Hectre a new injection, and he applied it to Captain Phasma’s neck one more time. SR-1134 closed her eyes and cried, holding onto the last hope she had, the noises still echoing, and then, they were silent for a second. The trooper couldn’t open her eyes, she could hear her bones shaking and her tears falling, but then, suddenly, the monitor made another noise. And it repeated, in a regular time interval.

SR-1134 could finally breathe again.

“It was close,” Hectre said when the trooper opened her eyes to dry her tears a little. She actually hurt her eyelids with the roughness of her gloves, but she didn’t care. “Now let’s take a look at the damage.”

While SR-1134 strived to make her heartbeats go back to normal, she came closer to the litter and watched Hectre and three of his assistants start removing Captain Phasma’s armor. The chromed parts were not that hard, but when they got to the rubbery fabrics, the trooper felt her nose being infected by the smell of blood. And her stomach twisted when they pull the fabrics out, revealing several burnt blisters and pieces of melted skin.

“You don’t have to look at it if you don’t want to,” Hectre told her. The trooper seriously considered running out of that room and throwing up elsewhere, but she stopped herself. She had to stay.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” she replied. Hectre nodded, waiting while his assistants removed every fabric from Captain Phasma’s body, which was burnt in pretty much everywhere the chrome didn’t cover, mainly her face, SR-1134 saw that when they took off her helmet.

For a moment, she kept on staring at that face she had never seen before. She might have been surprised to see the light blonde hair, and the pale skin, or even the strong, however gentle, features of the Captain’s face, about which she’d heard speculations inside the First Order ships pretty much her whole life. Why would Captain Phasma always hide her face? Would she be too ugly or monstrous to show her true self? SR-1134 had never believed that, and now she had the proof she was right. Yes, she could have paid attention to all that, but she didn’t – all she could look at was the red and black burn that covered the left side of Captain Phasma’s face.

Hectre slightly touched it to examine it, and then turned to SR-1134. “Her eye is blinded.”

The trooper sighed deeply. “You can’t save it even with bacta?” she asked.

“We don’t have bacta here,” said Hectre. “If you wanted high medical technology, you should’ve gone somewhere in the Colonies or the Core, not the Outer Rim…”

“I couldn’t. They’d find us if I went anywhere too populated or visited. It was too dangerous to take the risk–”

“So this is what you got,” Hectre interrupted, and at the same time, his fourth assistant brought him a portable scanner, which he turned on and slid some centimeters away from Captain Phasma’s body. Quickly, another hologram appeared, showing a human skeleton with some signs in red. In fact, many signs.

“What does that mean?” SR-1134 asked. Hectre took a deep breath.

“Twenty-seven broken bones…” he slowly said, still staring at the hologram. “Fractures in three vertebrae–”

“Disabling fractures?!” SR-1134 inquired.

“I think not…” Hectre replied. “But it’s far from being fast healing, too,” SR-1134 closed her eyes to sigh. She didn’t know if she was relieved or worried now. “Third-degree burns, and soot in her throat and lungs,” the elder doctor turned to the female assistant. “Put her on an oxygen mask and minister anesthetics. We’ll keep her asleep for some time, and clean the lungs when we get to wake her up. The rest of you, go get some herbs for the burns,” While the assistants left, SR-1134 watched the woman putting the inner part of a big okygen mask inside Captain Phasma’s mouth, leaving the outer part upon her nose and chin. The trooper knew nothing about medicine, but maybe it would help her breathe, since Hectre had said her lungs were damaged too. After the woman finally walked away, the doctor turned to SR-1134. “It’s a serious situation. I’ll do whatever I can, but as I told you, we’ve got limited access to medical supplies.”

“Well, you saved her,” said the trooper.

Hectre sighed. “She’ll wish I hadn’t.”

After she heard that, SR-1134 was quiet for a minute. Has she done the right thing, really? How much would Captain Phasma suffer from now on? Would she ever be the same as before?

“I didn’t ask your name,” Hectre took her out of her thoughts.

“SR-1134,” she replied.

“Well, I think no one here will be comfortable with calling you a number,” the elder doctor told her. “You have a long stay ahead of you, so maybe we can call you… Sarii. Is that okay for you?”

“Call me whatever you prefer, it’s fine,” the trooper answered, the most honest she could. “And why do you say I have a long stay ahead?”

Hectre took a deep breath. “Your Captain will need a very long time to recover. This if she recovers.”

“She will. She’s the strongest person I’ve ever seen, trust me,” SR-1134 hoped. Suddenly, a memory came to her mind. “Once, when I was still a teenager, we went to battle and she was hit in the head by a double blaster shot. Many of us troopers were punished for letting it happen, I still don’t know whose fault it was, but I watched her being taken to our ship’s med bay, and I heard she went through some kind of surgery. The fact is: she was fighting again two days later.”

Hectre didn’t seem much impressed by that. “We’ve heard of her here. We live pretty much isolated, but we have some contact with the rest of the Galaxy, enough to know about the First Order and its leaders… I’m impressed you brought her with you when you ran away.”

“Why?” asked SR-1134.

“Let’s just say she’s not famous for being fair and humble,” Hectre replied.

SR-1134 looked down. “Will your people mind that she stays here? That we stay here?”

“If you don’t bring trouble with you, they’ve accepted you when I accepted to treat her. Welcome to our village, Sarii.”

Again, the trooper looked down. Sarii. It didn’t sound bad. She’d always dreamed of having a name… “Thank you, sir…” she said.

“Please, just Hectre. Now let’s leave her for now. You must be tired and hungry,” the doctor said, walking to her and giving her Captain Phasma’s helmet, which she held softly, cause her hands had just stopped trembling. She stared at it, and it reflected her worried brown eyes almost perfectly.

Whatever happened next, at least she knew she hadn’t failed at one thing: saving her Captain’s life.


 

Phasma was staring at SR-1134, her nostrils and throat still burning to breathe, and the burning in the rest of her body kept on torturing her while the trooper finished talking.

“…they agreed to shelter us, and Hectre will treat you until you’re fine again,” she said. “But, as I told you, he said it will take long…”

For the first time since SR-1134 had started telling her what happened in the Supremacy, Phasma looked away and tried to look at her body for single second. Right now, her intimacy was covered with white fabric, and the parts that burned, with a green and black herb.

Cold as she was known to be, she moved her lips without making sound again. “We cannot stay.”

“Captain, you’re wounded, we have nowhere to go–” said SR-1134.

“The First Order will come for me.” Phasma silently said again, serious.

“I’m afraid they won’t…” when the trooper said that, for some reason, Phasma felt too much conformity in her voice. That was not what she expected to hear. SR-1134 breathed for a second and then talked again. “The First Order suffered great losess after that battle… The stories are told all over the galaxy, even here in Lah’mu…” she stopped again, but Phasma kept on staring at her, forcing her to continue “You’ve been asleep for fifteen days now, Captain. The First Order… They already held a symbolic funeral for you.”

At that moment, Phasma felt something she’d rarely felt before her entire life: she was static and speechless. How could SR-1134 know that the First Order had done that? In that isolated agrarian corner of the Galaxy? But why wouldn’t they do it? They hadn’t found her… Or, well… They hadn’t even looked for her. And the trooper had said they were losing. Although Phasma didn’t want to accept that, it seemed like the Resistance would be the winner in the end.

And she was now officially a useless piece of the Galaxy’s history – the memory, that no one would remember in a short time, of the great Captain of the First Order.