‘Secret missions to unsavoury locals while flying unsanctioned craft without permission’
“Hardcase! Get outta there! Now!”
Those, were the very last words Hardcase had heard before the communications frequency cut off.
The voice of his partner. The warning still fresh, echoing inside of Hardcase’s head just before the explosion was felt. Causing his craft to spiral uncontrollably. Hardcase could only hope, he had managed to get far enough away from his pursuers. But there was no telling as the ships instruments had all but failed. And so, there was nothing for Hardcase to do, except to wait for the inevitable.
Seeing the landmass closing in on the craft. The noise of the crash, the fires inside the cockpit, his lungs burring without oxygen to breathe. And then… only the darkness enveloping the trooper’s body and mind.
The tone soft and familiar, caressing his ears. Feeling someone there, just above him somewhere close. Real close.
Hardcase tried to push his eyes to open.
The mild but ever constant ringing present in his ears. There was no pain however, but he could not move. Hardcase was finding it hard to remember too. Where he was? What had happened?
It took some effort, but Hardcase finally managed to crack his eyes open to be able to see the person who had been clearly hovering over him.
“Hey. There you are.”
The perfect smile greeted Hardcase. And it was easy to recognise it too. No loss of memory there, thankfully!
Hardcase’s partner, his lover, was there.
Then again, Hardcase had not had any doubts, he would not be. After all, they had been together for a while now and Wolffe was always there, when Hardcase woke up from any kind of a dream. Good or bad.
Because that was what it had been right? The darkness, the stiffness of his body still present? A dream? A bad one for sure.
Hardcase tried to move, to get up. But nothing seemed to be working. Which was strange. Was he still dreaming? Maybe it was one of those bad dreams, where one was sinking slowly and there was no way to get out if? It surely felt like that now.
What the kriff had happened if he wasn’t dreaming?
“Take it easy.”
Hardcase felt the calming warm hand on top of his torso. Wolffe having placed it there in the effort of conveying Hardcase the order of not to move.
Hardcase immediately obeyed. After all, Wolffe always knew best.
As to why Hardcase was saying sorry? Well, of that he was uncertain. Perhaps it was automatic?
As the moments leading to this, whatever it was he was in now, a state he could not move. As clearly, Hardcase was lying on his back, on some bed. It was a hazy blur to him still.
“Don’t be. You just need to rest. The sedatives are still affecting you.”
Wolffe told him then. Not that it was really clarifying anything for Hardcase. But at least, it was the meds doing their trick on his body and nothing else, thankfully! At least he hoped nothing was broken, at least permanently.
“Wha - what happened?”
Hardcase had all kinds of jumbled up flashing images running inside of his confused mind, but none of them were making any sense to him. Not at the moment at least.
“What didn’t happen!”
Wolffe just had to chuckle a little bit then.
Because, Hardcase had gone on a mission.
An undercover ops, which had gone terrible awry. Not only had Hardcase managed to fall into a trap set by their enemy. But, having had to improvise his escape from the planet he had been on, not wanting to wait for the backup to arrive.
In his own words ‘I won’t risk anyone else!’
And then not only ending up blowing half the separatists base in the process of said escape. But almost himself too. Because of a malfunction of the ship Hardcase had stolen for his daring escape had caused a fire in the engines which had cascaded into an explosion on the craft.
It was no small miracle Hardcase had survived the trip.
“You, my dear, violated a direct order! Mine to be exact.”
Wolffe sounded serious, even if there as a hint of mirth in the corner of this eye.
Then again, what had Wolffe excepted?
Hardcase was known of disobeying orders. Especially if things were going badly. Improvising on the run as he liked to call it. Then again, a lesser soldier would have easily had remained behind and inevitably gotten captured, tortured and killed.
But not Hardcase! No, he always seemed to find a way out. This had been the best reason for Wolffe to send him on this half cocked mission in the first place. Knowing Hardcase would be able to handle it even if it was a trap, as they had suspected from the get go.
Again, Hardcase was apologising. But this time he knew the reason why.
“Well, that can be forgiven. Seeing as it was trap set by the enemy to lure us in. And, luckily, you managed to escape. Even if it came with a cost.”
Hardcase sounded worried now. Trying to glance around his own body, while figuring out if he was still intact. But Hardcase could not raise his head so, he could not really tell if everything was still where it was supposed to be at. Trusting Wolffe to tell him if it was bad though.
“My poor heart! You almost gave me a heart attack!”
It was more coy now, but Hardcase did mean it just the same. As the last thing he wanted was to lose his partner. Missions be damned!
“Yes, well, luckily though, we both survived the ordeal.”
Wolffe’s smile was genuine, still hovering over Hardcase. Something he had done for a while now. Only waiting for Hardcase to wake up.
“But, don’t you dare to ever do that again to me!”
Wolffe warned Hardcase. His face serious again.
“I won’t, I promise.”
Hardcase managed a smile of his own. Offering his hand, now that he was finally able to move it just a tad, for Wolffe to take.
“I will hold you to that promise! You know that don’t you!”
Wolffe took Hardcase’s hand in his own and guided it to his lips for a kiss.