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Restless Hearts

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Restless Hearts

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Theodorik:
Chapter 1

There's a story in my eyes, turn the pages of desire.
Now it's time to trade those dreams, for the rush of passions fire.

Gallo Mountains, Naboo

Daylight peeked through the lush forest canopy, extending gentle fingers of warmth to the planet’s surface.  A pair of hikers meandered through a winding mountain trail, exploring some of Naboo’s most pristine countryside.  According to the map held by Heemo Tossa, human male, age 21, the travelers were nearing an outcropping which offered a magnificent view.

The young man proudly clutched the map tightly in his right hand. He stole a glance of the purple female twi’lek escorting him and beamed.  Koyi Lom was not so much the outdoors type. She was here with Heemo because she had a crush on him, he had promised her a scenic overlook. Thoughts of a romantic first kiss filled her head.  Currently, however, she was struggling with the terrain, and her extremely fashionable attire was anything but functional.  Koyi was only 18 years of age, and a child of privilege, her parents both belonging to the Royal Nabooian Court.

The girl paused near a tree and sighed, her small frame dwarfed by its massive trunk.  There was a part of Koyi that wanted to take this trip just to disprove her reputation as a spoiled rich brat from Theed.  Now, she was cursing that notion, two kilometers into the journey and the wilderness had done anything but let up.  Dirt caked her bare knees and elbows, and there was a constant buzz of insects that she abhorred.  Maybe it wasn’t so bad being a spoiled brat from (and in) Theed.

Heemo, on the other hand, was beyond thrilled.  He looked down at the map in his clenched fist and broke into an even wider, hopeful smile.  The map had come from a friend of his fathers, who had been a liaison for the Queen around the time of the Blockade of Naboo.  He had frequent contact with the Gungans of the Lasay Swamps, due south of Heemo and Koyi’s position.  The man had claimed to know of several secluded and romantic places in the area, breath taking enough to charm a wealthy twi’lek.  One location in particular had caught Heemo’s attention, a rocky ledge that offered an alluring view of a crystal lake, and the Royal Lake Retreat alongside.

For what it was worth, this was Heemo’s first time trying to read a topographical map. He thought he was doing a fairly decent job navigating, all the while concealing from his date that he was strictly a beginner.  Unfortunately for the human, he was wrong on both accounts, and the patience of his companion had grown very thin.  Koyi began to vocalize her frustrations, subtly at first with exasperated sighs, then with more obvious grunts.   Her semi-audible protests were lost on Heemo, however, as he continued to ascend the increasingly difficult landscape.

“This is it!” Heemo exclaimed, abruptly halting his footsteps.

Koyi carefully tiptoed to join him, lightly clasping her hands onto his wrist.  Heemo stood at the rim of a precipice and peered onto the valley below. She gently edged forward to share his gaze.

“Oh my stars!” she screeched with delight.

It was a perfect vantage point, the lake and the Royal Lake Retreat in full view, from almost two kilometers away.  Heemo was satisfied with himself, and for the moment, Koyi was impressed.  The young man smiled broadly at his next thought; perhaps he could steal a kiss?  He rapidly spun on his right foot to face his consort, left leg dangling in the air gracefully.  The twi’lek let a giggle escape her lips as he energetically flirted with her.

It was when Heemo attempted to plant his left leg onto the soil in front of her that things went wrong.  At first, Koyi didn’t realize what was happening, as Heemo shot her a stunned look.  Words failed her as she stood wide eyed, watching the young man’s footing begin to falter.

“Koy-“, he gasped, reaching out to her.

Koyi had balled her hands into tight fists and drawn them to her mouth, frozen in terror.  She screamed as she watched Heemo tumble headlong down the steep embankment.  She dropped to her knees and attempted to look over the edge for him, but tears now began to cloud her vision.

Regaining her feet, Koyi turned to run, not entirely knowing where to, but she needed to get help.  She took a deep breath, in a failed attempt to calm herself, and began to bolt back down the winding trail. Branches ripped at her arms and legs as she did her best to recall the way back to the nearby village.  She was in a full sprint now, nearly blinded by tears as she struggled to remain on the path in front of her.  Suddenly, Koyi smashed solidly into something in front of her.

Her momentum coupled with the solidity of the object translated into her being tossed back several yards.  She immediately reached up to her nose, as blood began to pour from it.  X-Rays later on would confirm it had indeed broken, when she ran directly into …

“What the hell did I run into?” she shrieked.

The rush of pain in her body pushed thoughts of Heemo aside as she lie stunned on the muddy trail.  She now bled from several places, most profusely her nose. The twi’lek fought to stay conscious, positioning herself on all fours, ready to crawl for help if need be.  Part of her had written Heemo off as dead, she would be lucky if she would emerge from these woods alive.

Koyi lifted her forearm to wipe her eyes.  She suddenly became aware of something looming above her. She raised her eyes to meet a menacing looking figure in camouflaged armor, weapon at the ready.  Koyi leaned into a sitting position. From all around her, four other armor clad figures rose up out of the underbrush, all with weapons drawn and ready.  Her hands rose to her now gaping mouth, blood continuing to flow down her face.   The twi’lek began to sob uncontrollably, she was unsure of who these figures were, but she was sure they were about to end her life.


A patrol of five Imperial Scout troopers, known as a “lance”, took cover beside the winding mountain trail.  As the patrol’s leader, Lieutenant Theodorik “Outlaw” Sturmwolke took the second or “slack” position.  The patrol’s first position or “point man” abruptly raised his hand towards his teammates, palm out, indicating for the troopers to stop.  An assortment of strange noises could be heard from ahead of the group.  The point man, Corporal Melke “Milky” Berran, turned to Outlaw and tapped his index and middle fingers to his forehead twice, indicating for Outlaw, the patrol leader, to come to his position. Outlaw carefully moved next to his point man, scanning the terrain as he crouched beside him.  He swore he heard a woman crying.

“’Law, do you hear that?” whispered the trooper.

He nodded slowly and shifted his weight to look at the trail they were alongside.  There was something moving through the brush, coming directly at them.  Outlaw thought it might be an animal of some sort at first, and then as she came closer, he realized a twi’lek girl was charging at him, crying uncontrollably.  The Lieutenant stood, holding his arms open slightly, a gesture he hoped made him look less threatening.

“Ma’am, are you –“

That’s when Koyi collided with Outlaw at full speed.  Instinctively, Outlaw leveled his weapon at her.  The remaining four patrol members did the same.  Even though they were on an exercise, they were wary of anyone this deep in the forest acting so completely delirious.  The girl leaned back, innocent blue eyes growing wide.  The patrol leader waved off his men.

“Frack, she’s a mess,” shouted one of the troopers.

“Ma’am, we’re not gonna hurt you,” Outlaw promised as he knelt down to her.

“You definitely need our help, young lady, don’t you?” he continued, realizing she was shaking vigorously.

Koyi was startled when Outlaw began removing his helmet.  She hadn’t expected him to look so, well, normal.  Theodorik’s emerald green eyes met hers for a moment; she saw something there, something soothing.  The other troopers began to gather around her now.

“I’m Theo.”

She nodded, instantly feeling very calm.

“Koyi.”

“Commo,” Outlaw calmly commanded, “call off the exercise and tell them we are bringing in a wounded civilian.”

One of the troopers had set a medical bag on the dirt in front of her and was beginning to pull out bandages and tape.  Another trooper was standing behind Theo with her hand to his ear, seemingly talking to himself.

“Wait! Wait!” she blurted out, losing control once again, “My friend, he’s really hurt, he fell off of that cliff!”

Koyi frantically pointed where she surmised the rocky ledge was.  Being honest with herself, she wasn’t really sure what direction she had come from.  Again, Theodorik’s eyes locked onto hers.

“Okay, Koyi, your friend, what’s his name?”

“Heemo, Heemo Tossa,” she paused as the team medic pinched her nose closed with gauze.

“He lost his balance and fell, I am not certain of where, but we had a view of the retreat, and …”

Outlaw gently held his hand up.

“Koyi, we’ve got this covered,” he assured her as he rose to his feet.

“Milky, Hammer, get up to that ledge and find Mr. Tossa,” he pointed up the trail as he spoke.

“Hooah, you got it El-Tee,” grunted Staff Sergeant Tobias “Hammer” Abstreiter.

Outlaw turned to the trooper behind him.

“Buzz, you’d better get Royal Fire Rescue out here, I don’t think we have any Medevacs available.”

Sergeant Sylvain “Buzz” Candro had already radioed both the field base for the exercise and the sectional headquarters notifying them of the situation.  He now selected a new channel on his terrestrial radio.

“Imperial Patrol Outlaw One-One-Nine calling Royal Fire Rescue communications, urgent message, over.”

“Imperial Patrol: go with your urgent, over.”

“R-F-R Communications, we have two civilian injuries, one possibly critical, south of the Lake Retreat, in the Gallo Mountain range. We are requesting STAR unit for removal, stand by for grid square.”

Theodorik:
Hammer and Milky meanwhile, had spotted Heemo, lying about 20 meters below them, clinging to the steep embankment.  He was noticeably bleeding and may have had a compound fracture of right leg, Milky noticed.  He zoomed in with his macrobinoculars to confirm.

“Yep,” he nodded, “That must’ve been nasty. Right leg, compound tib-fib, can see the bones sticking out from here.”

“Yeah, he looks like he’s had a bad day, no?” Hammer almost chuckled as he said it.

 Milky just shrugged, “Yeah, let’s get ‘em then, eh Sarge?”

Lucky for Heemo, the two Scout Troopers were esteemed graduates of Lancer School, and were both expert assault climbers.  Hammer selected a large tree 10 meters from the edge as an anchor point as Milky donned a seat harness.  The Corporal was both lighter in weight, and more experienced as a mountaineer, growing up in Doaba Guerfel, Corellia.  Hammer wrapped the tree with a piece of webbing, resembling a long woven belt, and then secured it with an aluminum d-ring.  Attached to the d-ring, he then connected a decent device, which would provide the friction as the Staff Sergeant lowered his man to the victim.

Milky took the end of the rope and worked it into a rescue knot, then clipped it to the front of his harness with another d-ring.  He ran the length of rope back to the Hammer, who laced the line through the friction device and locked it.

“This is 50 meters of line, right?” asked Milky.

The Staff Sergeant nodded. Corporal Berran knew it was 50 meters, but he was thorough enough in his work to double check everything.   Satisfied with his gear, Milky tapped his helmet with his gloved hand.

“Ready to lower?” he asked.

“Ready to lower,” Hammer repeated.

The trooper located topside slowly lowered the rescuer until he heard him call for a stop.

Milky’s decent had been halted as he reached the victim, as per his command.  He made quick work of tying a makeshift safety harness on the man with some more of the belt-like webbing.  He then attached the man’s hasty harness to the rescue line with a rope grab device.

“Milky calling Outlaw, come in Outlaw.”

“This is Outlaw.”

“Hey Lou, I’m on the cliff face with the victim, unconscious, breathing, some bleeding. I’ve got him secured and Sarge is gonna bring us up. We need Doc to look at him P-D-Q.”

“I copy, I wish we could give him proper packaging, but we just don’t have the gear for it.”

“Roger, we’re moving then.”

“Roger that Milky, keep me advised.”

Milky rolled the man onto his back as gently as the situation allowed, which wasn’t very much.  He leaned over, snaking one arm around the unconscious man’s middle. He pulled Heemo tight to him, resting the man’s arms over his shoulders.  The “embrace” was actually a tried and true rescue maneuver, and while it was normally uncomfortable at best, Milky was positive it would have been extremely painful for the victim had he been alert.

“I have him Sarge, let me know when you can haul us up.”

“Roger,” supplied Hammer, who had already begun to rig the rescue line for retrieval.

The pair dangling precariously below him weighed nearly 500 lbs combined. While Hammer was strong, possibly the strongest in the group, that was too much weight for one man to lift.  Fortunately, the decent device was also a pulley, and with the addition of another pair of pulleys and a rope grab, Hammer had created a block and tackle.  He would be lifting only 100 lbs, as the devices would give him a 5:1 mechanical advantage. This, 100 lbs, was very manageable for SSG “Hammer” Abstreiter. He gave Milky the appropriate warning and then began to haul the two men up the cliff face.


“R-F-R, we are located at negative five-seven-three-seven negative eight-eight-seven, how copy?”

“This is Royal Fire Rescue, we copy. STAR One will be inbound.  Imperial Patrol, can you move the patients to a secure landing site or do we need to airlift them?”

“Not known at this time, we will advise. We will stand by for STAR 1 on this network. Imperial Patrol Outlaw out.”

Outlaw walked over to Buzz, leaving Koyi with his medic, Sergeant Gavon “Doc” Zach.  Zach was a six year veteran Stormtrooper, and an accomplished and decorated combat medic.  The group called him Doctor Z, and he was the second best medic Theodorik Sturmwolke had ever met.  Koyi would be well cared for he knew.  It was her companion that was another matter entirely.

Outlaw crouched next to Buzz, and the communications specialist quickly relayed the transmissions with RFR to his Lieutenant.  Outlaw actually did know of a nearby clearing, large enough to set an airship down.  He had planned on using it as a back-up extraction site if they had anything unexpected happen. Theo suddenly let out a laugh.

“I guess something unexpected did happen.”

Theodorik:
Hammer and Milky had completely hoisted Heemo safely onto the cliff side when he began to regain consciousness. The pair carried the man, one grasping him under his knees, the other in his armpits, and made their way to the clearing as per their Lieutenant. Koyi, now sufficiently patched up, and her three scout trooper escorts also began to trudge toward the landing zone. They were just a few meters from the clearing when the roar of an airspeeder engine could be heard overhead.

“Royal Fire Rescue STAR 1 to Imperial ground patrol, we are inbound ETA of 2 mikes, how do you copy ground?”

Outlaw rolled his eyes. Frelling pilots, they had to always remind everyone that they were in the air and you weren’t.  They tended to throw the word “ground” or “on foot” in infantry men’s faces.
 
“You want me to answer the flying ego or do you want to talk to him?” Buzz quipped.

“I’ve got this one Buzzy.”

“STAR 1, this Imperial Patrol Outlaw One-One-Nine, redirect to my homing beacon which I am turning on … now.”

There you go, you civilian pilot puke, take orders from a lowly ground pounder, Outlaw thought.  The pilot acknowledged, the slightest touch of annoyance seeping into his voice.  The quartet reached the edge of the clearing, Doc Z paused at the edge holding his hand up.  After scanning the perimeter, he motioned everyone forward.  The move may have been a bit much considering the surroundings, but you never took anything for granted if you wanted a long healthy career as a scout trooper.

As the airspeeder loomed closer, Outlaw heard Hammer and Milky struggling up the trail with their patient.

“It’s us, don’t fracking shoot us,” Hammer supplied acerbically.

Doctor Z indicated that it was clear to come forward, and rushed to meet them.  The troopers exchanged information regarding the condition they had found Heemo in, as well as what they had done to treat him.  Doc would take over treatment of the young man, and without so much as looking at the boy, Outlaw knew it was the best chance he would have to survive.

The men lay Heemo down supine on the soft grass; Doc knelt down and dropped his medical bag in front of him, taking his helmet off as he often did when looking over a patient.

“Heemo, can you hear me?” he asked.

“Ungh … yeah man, I can hear you,” Heemo barely managed.

Doc rapidly ran through his trauma assessment using his medical datapad.  The device recorded the patient’s vitals: blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation, etc.  He changed modes with a press of a few buttons and scanned the man’s body again.

“Other than the leg, the only thing I’m worried about is the deformity he has at T-10 on his spine … uh, that’s the tenth Thoracic vertebrae … the abrasions are what they are, he has no significant blood loss … his difficulty breathing is probably due to severely bruised ribs, all I can really see is that they aren’t broken.”

Outlaw wasn’t sure if that was the end of his assessment or not, but he stopped talking as the roar of the inbound airspeeder droned louder.  Doc continued to monitor the device and speak to Heemo, offering encouragement to the youth.  It was a scary time for anyone, especially someone of his young age.  The medic did his best to keep Heemo at ease.

Royal Fire Rescue Shock Trauma Air Rescue 1 began to descend into the clearing 50 meters from the gathered group.  The craft was an Incom T-29, built primarily as an atmospheric shuttle, modified for use as a Medical Evacuation transport.  She was just shy of 11 meters end to end, and was a bit of a tight fit for her patients and crew when fully laden.  While it was less maneuverable than an Imperial Larty, she was a workhorse, and the ship had personality.

The downdraft from the airspeeder began whipping the tall grass and leaves around them into a fury.  Outlaw clutched Koyi tight around the shoulders, shielding her from the debris. The twi'lek exhaled sharply as she felt her spine tingle, this man had such a gentle way about him. She was sure that he was a stone cold killer when he had to be, however.  The thought frightened her and thrilled her all at the same time.

STAR 1 touched down and its huge side door slid open with an unapologetic bang.  A pair of medics bounded out, one male and one female, equipment slung over each shoulder.  They strode towards Doc as the engines of the airspeeder wound down.  The female spoke first; she dropped one of the bags she was carrying as the team medic rose to meet her.

“Hey there, what do you have for us?”

The voice sounded strangely familiar to Outlaw. He began to walk in their direction as she and Doc exchanged information on the patient.  She turned to her partner and asked him to get something from the “bird” as she called it.  As he turned to the craft to oblige, the female medic began to pull off her helmet.  Theodorik froze in his tracks. Standing before him was the love of his life, the woman that had captured his heart all those years ago back in Tyrena.  He had thought his feelings for her had eroded away with their time apart, but apparently he was wrong. As he set his eyes upon her, all the feelings came rushing back to him.  She glanced over momentarily and met his eyes, suddenly her expression changed.  Her old forgotten feelings came rushing back to her as well.

Another shooting star goes by, and in the night the silence speaks to you and I.
And now the time has come at last, don't let the moment run too fast.
I can feel you tremble when we touch, and I feel the hand of fate, reaching out to both of us.
There's a story in my eyes, turn the pages of desire.
Now it's time to trade those dreams, for the rush of passion's fire.

Theodorik:
Chapter 2

This time, this place, misused, mistakes.
Too long, too late, who was I to make you wait?
Just one chance, just one breath, just in case there's just one left.
'Cause you know, you know, you know …

The last time Theodorik saw her, they were back on Corellia. She stood by the starport entrance in Tyrena, Corellian cherry blossoms in her jet black hair.  She was like a cherry blossom to him, lighter than air, delicate, and rare.  The flower was only in bloom for a very short time on Corellia, only about a week. The velvet petals would gently fall like pinkish-white snow, generously blanketing the ground below the majestic trees that had begotten them.  He thought back to the day they had parted ways, how they promised each other that it was not a goodbye, just a temporary separation.  His mouth formed her name tenderly, barely above a whisper.

“Kamiko.”

Three years had passed since then. He had promised to visit her, but he hadn’t.  She had promised to write him, but she hadn’t.   The Rebels destroyed the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin, and the young scout trooper Sergeant was thrust into battle.  Kamiko followed her mother’s career path into medicine.  The two had always intended to reconnect. The war had other plans however, and as the fighting raged on, Theodorik found himself in officer school, and then in command of a team of Special Forces Operatives on Lok.
 
Possibly just to stave off her boredom, Kamiko Sakura had chosen to become a firefighter and a paramedic.  She was always the adventurous type, but far too placid to join the military and take other lives.  Her usual partner in crime was gone, and she filled that empty space in her heart with the thrill and challenge of the Royal Fire & Rescue Service.

Time stood still as they looked at each other.  She still had the same jet black hair, pulled back in the familiar pony tail that Theo had loved to toy with.  Her bangs dangled loosely in her face, he remembered how she was constantly blowing them aside with a huff.  Her complexion was fair, contrasted by pouty pink lips, and her radiant, violet eyes.   It was those eyes that Theo had missed the most, so full of emotion.  They could be lively and playful, as Kamiko was rather animated when she was happy. Her eyes could also be stormy and menacing, when she confronted pain or wrong or death.  Kamiko was passionate about the things she loved and loathed equally.

Firefighter/Paramedic Kamiko Sakura’s normal professional demeanor was clearly unsettled.  She could still picture him standing there in his uniform.  He gently tucked her troublesome bangs behind her ears before kissing her.   He refused to say good bye, it was only for a little while, and he would get his older brother, an Imperial Stormtrooper Colonel, to station him near a good University.  They were going to be together forever.  He gazed at her with those hypnotizing green eyes of his and promised her it would be all right.  Kamiko traced her finger down his strong jaw line to his lips, hoping it would happen the way he depicted it.  A month later she heard about Yavin and she knew. Theodorik's sense of duty would kick in and Kamiko might never see her scout trooper again.


The former couple was jolted back to reality by Sergeant Zach.

“Here comes your rescue board and your immobilization gear.”

She turned to him with pursed lips, wearing a slightly confused face.
 
“Hmm? Oh my gosh, I’m sorry sir, yes … let’s get this man packaged,” she stammered.

They worked quickly to get Heemo immobilized and ready to take an airspeeder trip to Theed University Medical Center.  Kamiko confirmed his fractured vertebrae and commended the troopers on their interventions with both patients.  She had only been distracted by her former flame for a mere 30 seconds, she was hopeful the group had not noticed.  Quite the contrary, everyone had noticed.  For his part, Theodorik knew they noticed, but he was their Lieutenant and didn't care. Honestly, he was so in love with the girl that they could kiss his Corellian ass if they took issue with it.  Kamiko was visibly blushing now, and it made her look even more resplendent.

The young female medic and her crew moved Heemo into the airspeeder with well rehearsed ease.  The pilot climbed into the flight deck and the engines of the T-29 began to rumble.  The two medics stored all their gear and were securing everything for their flight. Koyi settled into a seat in the back, the male medic smiled as he buckled her in.  Theo was standing a few feet from the craft, unsure of what to say to his long lost love.  That’s when Milky came jogging over with Kammi’s flight helmet, she’d left it on the ground where they packaged Heemo.

“Hey Ma’am, you’re forgetting y-“

His Lieutenant snatched it from his grip.

“Kammi!” he shouted, holding the helmet just out of her reach. Maybe if he could get her to lean over enough …

Kamiko gracefully swung her body out of the airspeeder, one hand clutching a grab rail, the other poised to grab the headgear.  Theo smiled sheepishly at the woman; she fixed her eyes on him in a sultry gaze, eyebrow raised.  He exhaled sharply, surrendering her helmet.

“Theo,” she locked eyes with him,”it was great to see you.”

Theodorik “Outlaw” Sturmwolke stepped clear of the airspeeder as the male medic grabbed for the door.  He shrugged at the Lieutenant and banged it closed.  The craft awkwardly lifted off the ground and rocketed off over the trees and out of sight.

“STAR 1 to Imperial Ground Patrol, we appreciate your business. You gentleman enjoy your hike. STAR 1, out.”

Outlaw spun around to his crew and paused as the drone of the airspeeder faded into the afternoon.

“Fracker,” Outlaw muttered. Hammer spoke up.

“Hey ‘Law, you know the difference between a pilot and his ship?”

‘What’s that Ham?”

“The ship stops whining after you shut off the motor.”

The quintet erupted into laughter.

Theodorik:
Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0343 Hours, Tuesday

Outlaw rolled over in his cot to look at his datapad. Damn. Almost 0400 hours and he hadn’t gotten any sleep; he couldn’t stop thinking about Kammi.  He had played yesterday’s events over and over in his head, still unsure what he was going to do, if he did anything, about the situation.  He attempted to get comfortable, repositioning onto his back, hands threaded behind his neck.  He sighed vigorously, staring at the ceiling of his tent.  He silently chastised himself for not returning like he had promised.  They had always been together, in one way or another.

It was hard to really say when they first met, technically speaking they had met when Kammi was eight years old and Theo was eleven.  Kammi and her parents moved from a small town in the hills to Tyrena, and she went to school with the youngest Sturmwolke, Danyella.   The two girls were fast friends, and it seemed like “Little K” was always around the Sturmwolke house.  By the time she was 12, she was almost like family and she had become as close to Theo as she was to his sister.

Danyella was always a bit of a princess, her parent’s only female child.  Kammi’s parents on the other hand, were always working at the Hospital, and they took a stand-offish approach to child rearing.  As a result, Kammi became more comfortable with 15 year old Theodorik.  They shared a love for practical jokes and sarcasm, spending days out on the city streets talking smart and picking fights.  The small framed girl became quite a scrapper, although it was often left to her partner to bail her out when her mouth overran her muscle.

Had it not been for Kamiko Sakura, it’s altogether likely that Theodorik wouldn’t have earned the reputation as a dangerous character.   Ten years separated him from his twin brothers, and they had grown up on Ordo with their uncle as warriors.  Their father had softened in the years since the Clone Wars, where he fought alongside the clones he had trained on Kamino.  Theo could have stayed away from violence if he chose, the only one that seemed to lead him there was his little sidekick.

Perhaps as a survival mechanism, Theodorik had developed into a street wise smooth talker.  He didn’t have to throw knuckles with someone to get them to see things his way.  He could charm everyone and anyone and see through any scam.  The only thing that had escaped his attention was the massive crush that Kamiko harbored for him.  Not really having a female’s influence in her life, she didn’t have the first clue how to approach the subject with him.  She managed, for the most part, to put the feelings aside and merely savored the time they spent together.

As he grew older, Theo caught the attention of more than a few of the ladies.  These times would bring Kammi to tears in private, but she would always put on a happy exterior for her Theo.  She would gleefully tag along with him on many of his dates.  Occasionally, one of Theo’s girlfriends took issue with Kamiko always being around.   One of his most fond memories, her 15th birthday party, had begun with such an argument.


It was early April, and the cherry blossoms were in bloom in Tyrena.  Anna and Theodorik had been dating for 5 months, and things were going well enough.  Theodorik had just turned eighteen, and the lovely Anna was a few months shy of her eighteenth birthday as well.  The young couple occupied the sofa in the Sturmwolke living room, legs intertwined.  Theo was leaned back, hands on his chest, eyes closed with a pair of headphones in his ears. Anna was reading a hardcover book from Mr. Sturmwolke’s collection.

The girl was the complete package, what could be described as every boy’s dream.  She was a statuesque 5’9’’, with long pin straight platinum blonde hair.  Her eyes were calm and confident, a cool shade of blue.  She was intelligent, analytical, and most times, emotionless.  Things needed to have an order, a purpose; everything she did was carefully planned.  Theo had tried wooing her because she was so unattainable, turning away nearly every potential mate.

Anna was intrigued by the boy, fascinated even.  Of course he was what any girl, herself included, would consider gorgeous: tall and muscular, stunning green eyes and wild brownish-blonde hair.  More important to her, was she was intrigued by his family history. His father had fought in the Clone Wars, in the 75th Shadow Troopers Regiment, but what she found most interesting was his heritage. His parents, Nicholae and Katara Sturmwolke were both born on the Outer Rim planet of Ordo, into a Mandalorian Clan. The family had been very tight lipped about their emigration here to Corellia, Anna doubted even Theodorik had all the details of the story.
 
For the moment, however, Anna was content to spend her days with Theo, and thumb through his father’s books.  Theodorik didn’t understand why people chose to read hardcover books these days, especially with datapads and holographic imagers accessible to everyone.  His female companion would often rebuke him for such thoughts, citing the benefits of reading a ‘classic’ novel in the manner it had been written. As she worded it, “the way the author intended you to read it.”

The young man would’ve joked, “If that was the case, it would be just ink on paper, ya know, in the author’s hand.”

She wouldn’t have laughed. Honestly, she never laughed, not really, not the way he and Kammi laughed.  He remained in silence, lost in his music.

He sang to himself, “Still don’t know what I was waiting for, and my time was running wild.  A million dead-end streets.  Every time I thought I’d got it made; it seemed the taste was not so sweet.”

Theodorik grimaced at the words.  Kamiko loved this song.  She had introduced Theo to it, and he was instantly very fond of it.  That little girl knew him well, he thought.  He laughed to himself, “little”.  She was turning 15 tomorrow, and she was becoming a beautiful young woman.   A smile returned to his lips when he thought about her.  He had been noticing her much more lately; he had been barely able to ignore the jolt he felt in his stomach when they were together. Lost in thought, he unknowingly sang the chorus to the song aloud.

“Ch-ch-ch-changes! Turn and face the strain, ch-ch-changes! Don’t wanna be a richer man! Ch-ch-ch-changes! Turn and face the strain, ch-ch-changes! Time may change me, but I can’t trace time!”

Anna wound up and gave him a solid whack with her book.

“Valorum’s ghost! What was that for?” he whined.

“I’m reading. Stop singing!” she hissed.

“Sorry,” he muttered. Okay, subject change, he thought.

“Anna, we still on for Kammi’s birthday party tomorrow? She said she really wants us to be there.”

“You mean, she really wants you there.”

“What’s that mean?”

“That she has a blinding crush on you, and would do anything to be close to you and only you.”

“Anna, that’s not true at all! Wait … What’s that seeping into your voice? Jealousy?”

Anna scoffed, “Spare me Theodorik, jealous? Of that street urchin?”

Theo’s voice became very even.

“Anna, watch the words you choose when you talk about my Kammi.”

Theodorik cringed at his choice of words, more specifically, word.  My Kammi, as in mine.  Anna was silent at first, not even lowering the book from her face.  Slowly her hands retreated to her lap, still tightly grasping the novel; she glared at her boyfriend, her voice measured.

“If you ever for one second think … that that girl …” she hung on the last word icily.

“Could ever … ever … offer you more than I can …”

She squinted and jabbed a finger in his direction.

“Then you are sorely mistaken.”

“Okay Anna, poor choice of words … listen …” he paused gathering his thoughts.

“I know that Kammi has a crush on me, but trust me, it’s just puppy love. What we have is a little more real than that? Dontcha think?”

She crossed her arms and dropped her face into a tight scowl.

“Anna, baby, she’s just a kid,” he lied, “but she’s like family. I am just protecting her and her big mouth.”

Anna finally softened, her chest heaving with a dramatic sigh.  Theodorik realized the possibility that his young sidekick was more than just “like a sister” to him.  It wasn’t exactly an “Aha!” moment for the boy, not as if he suddenly admitted he was in love with Little Kammi, but it was a seed.  A seed that unbeknownst to Theodorik was taking hold and growing roots.  Inwardly, he admitted that Anna was a trophy for him, now that the thrill of the chase was over, it was boring; she was boring.

Later that night at the party, Anna put on her good girlfriend act, smiling and mingling.  Danyella, still months away from her own 15th birthday, was the center of attention, at least as far as all the 15 year old boys were concerned.  Theo found it amusing, the sharp looks and chiseled features of Clan Sturmwolke weren’t wasted on the men.  He did his best not to dwell on it, but his younger sister was devastatingly gorgeous.  Her skin was darker than Theo’s, an olive color more reminiscent of their father’s side of the family. Her brown hair was shoulder length and wavy, and it had a playful bounce as she moved.  Hey eyes were a little bluer than the rest of her siblings, but they were bright against her darker features, giving her an exotic look.

Danyella was flirty and carefree, so much so that she came off as a dunce.  But caution to the poor soul that underestimated Dee-Dee.  She was every bit a Sturmwolke, calculating and devious.  Those that crossed her would suffer her revenge. It was nothing more than teenage drama, of course, because after all, the girl was only fourteen.  But she had "ruined" a few of her enemies, even if it was merely socially.  Theodorik shook his head, noticing his sister smiling coyly at a young man who was telling a few jokes.  Looking around the room, he noticed all the girls around their age were mirroring the same coy, reserved smile.

Then Theodorik's eyes settled on Kamiko. She was grinning that wild wide mouth smile of hers, howling like the boys of the group were.  He gave her a smirk, that’s my Kammi, he thought.  He said the words again to himself, my Kammi.  For a moment, he thought about what it would be like to be with her.  He pondered the age difference, and the possibility that kissing her would be like kissing his sister.  They had grown so close, maybe she thought of him as a brother and he was misreading her feelings? What if they didn’t work out as a couple, would their friendship survive?  So many questions swam through his head.

“Theodorik,” Anna said, “Baby, are you okay?”

Theo realized his face was contorted with pain.

“Yeah, yeah … I need to visit the refresher …”he replied nauseously.

He rose, went into the refresher, and promptly vomited.  He wiped his mouth and looked at himself in the mirror.  It occurred to him suddenly, he was nervous.  He had never felt nerves like this over anything, let alone a girl.  Theo took a long deep breath.
 
“I have to talk to her tonight,” he told his reflection,“I have to see how she feels.”

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