Welcome to the collection of oneshots set during "Last Hope". Not necessarily in chronological order, potential alternate-endings for some chapters, and not all necessarily from Theron's POV. Enjoy!
If I had ownership of Star Wars, do you really think I'd be writing fanfiction?
He should have known better than to think today would be an 'ordinary' day when he woke up this morning. Walking into the military docking bay showed him the error of his thinking pretty damn quickly.
Theron walked up the durasteel ramp to Admiral Aygo's command centre, the ringing of his boots on the metal decking doing nothing to distract the three men staring up at the ceiling. That was the former SIS agent's first indication that something was terribly wrong- Reanden Taerich, a longtime double-agent with SIS and Sith Intelligence, should never have been so distracted by something that he was unaware of an approaching person.
The looks on the men's faces were the second indicator that something was wrong. Reanden looked highly irritated, Admiral Aygo had an expression of what seemed to be abject horror, and Doctor Lokin just looked… equal parts amused and mildly perplexed. Although the old man had permanently worn a hint of a smug expression since he and the former Cipher Nine had arrived on Odessen four days ago, so maybe he was just closer to puzzled.
Theron came to a stop beside the older three, not earning so much as a glance or a word of greeting from any of them, and had been about to ask what the hell was going on when- was that a chittering noise from above him? The younger agent (indeed, the youngest man here by probably at least ten years) looked up, eyes widening… "... Doctor Lokin, what exactly is a rakghoul doing in the rafters of the hangar?"
"I'd like to know the answer to that myself," growled Aygo.
"He likes to perch up high. It lends him a good view of his surroundings," offered Doctor Lokin with a far calmer tone of voice than any man had a right to use when there was a rakghoul twenty metres over his head, chittering down at his audience with what Theron suspected to be a gleeful tone, if rakghouls knew what glee was.
"... It's a rakghoul. In the ceiling of the Alliance military hangar." Theron looked down from the lurking rakghoul to glare at Lokin. "You do know what rakghouls do to people, right?"
Aygo made some noise in his throat that could have been a furious, poorly-strangled snarl… or it could have been a terrified groan.
"He's quite tame, really." Lokin offered Theron a placating smile. "Scritchy wouldn't harm anyone."
There was a long pause. "... I can't believe you named your pet rakghoul Scritchy," Reanden finally growled out.
"It's a perfectly fine name!" Lokin protested.
"I can't believe that's your biggest problem with this entire situation!" Theron snapped.
Above their heads, 'Scritchy' suddenly made a louder noise, then appeared to regurgitate whatever (or whoever?) it had last eaten. The four-man audience quickly darted to the side as a small pile of rakghoul vomit decorated the deck where they'd been standing a moment ago.
"That," muttered Aygo, who appeared to be pale under his fur, "is the foulest thing I've smelled in years."
Theron gave the rakghoul a baleful glare upward, earning a smug chitter in response, then frowned at Lokin. "So, have you explained to the Commander yet why there's a virus-carrying creature running around loose in her base?"
Lokin's eyes widened. Apparently he'd neglected to warn Master Taerich of that bit of news.
"I'm not explaining this," Reanden groaned. "I'm having flashbacks to her mother learning about the gizka her brothers adopted on a whim."
"Did you just compare Scritchy to a mindless gizka?" Lokin inquired, a dangerous tone coming to his voice as he glared at his old cohort.
"The gizka wasn't at risk for spreading a plague to every single inhabitant of the base," Reanden growled. "We can't have T.H.O.R.N. out here if the worst happens!"
"Maybe we can get it out of here before the Commander finds out about it?" Aygo mused.
"Not likely," Theron muttered. "She was two minutes behind me, just got stopped talking to Lana."
Lokin and Reanden shared a mutually-terrified look before the old scientist looked back up at the rafters. "C'mon, Scritchy," he cajoled the rakghoul, and Theron secretly hoped he'd never have to hear the old agent trying to sound sweet and gentle like that again. "Let's come down before we have an angry Jedi on our hands, okay?"
Scritchy made a sound that Theron could have sworn was a cackle, and climbed to a slightly higher rafter to gloat at the humans (and one Bothan) below him.
Theron groaned, then looked to the entrance of the hangar as two lightsaber-carrying women appeared- one with short blonde hair, and one significantly shorter with longer red locks. "Blast it!"
Lokin's face paled to match his hair and jacket. "You're in on this too," he muttered at his three unwilling cohorts. "He broke out of his cage and we've been trying to corral him ever since."
"You don't even own a cage for it!" Reanden groaned.
Theron had his mouth partway open to tell both of the older agents to quit their bickering (and to tell Lokin that he had absolutely zero part in any of this mess) before Aygo suddenly clapped his shoulder. "Agent Shan," he said loudly, "I've got some new intel from my scout forces that you'll want to take a look at, right this way..." as he led the younger man away from the scene of Scritchy's escape.
"Thank you," Theron hissed under his breath as he let himself be led to safety from the rakghoul, two very irritated Imperial-trained agents, and the scene that was about a minute away from witnessing a Jedi Master's fury.
"Don't mention it," Aygo muttered. "Ever." He approached a desk on the far side of a starfighter and produced a couple of datapads, pushing one at Theron. "Besides, I actually do have things for you to look into. Ever heard of Qyzen Fess?..."
Theron did try to focus on the datapads, honest. But he was still watching out of the corner of his eye when Xaja Taerich stopped only a pace away from the rakghoul vomit that would have irrevocably stained her boots, then looked up to the ceiling, ignoring her father's failed attempts to distract her. "... Doctor Lokin," she finally said, her voice the precise level of dangerous calm that promised she was one bad explanation away from tearing the agent's head off, "what the hell is a rakghoul doing in the ceiling of my military wing?"
Four hours later, Theron was convinced he was going to be the first medically documented case of a human's eyes literally bulging out of one's skull. If he wasn't, Korin probably would be at the sight both of them were facing. "What the hell?..."
Xaja sighed as the little rakghoul capered along behind her, acting for all the world like a damned pet. "I apparently have been adopted by a foot-tall virus-carrying plague-causing critter." She looked down at Scritchy (who had come to sit right beside her left boot and stare up at her with something Theron felt he could call 'adoration'), then back at her brother and her lover with a scowl. "Not a word out of either of you."
"Not a word about what?" Korin asked quickly.
"Exactly." Xaja resumed walking, Scritchy in her wake. "Maybe I'll sic him on Vaylin…"
And so, Theron didn't breathe so much as a word about Xaja's apparent new pet to anyone (except joining with her family and close confidants when complaining about the little rakghoul). But if he did have a few holoimages that he'd taken covertly and at great personal risk of Xaja petting the little beast with something approaching affection… well, maybe he could pin them on Koth if she ever found out. But for now, he just grinned every time he saw the holos.