A/N: Well, here it is: the final chapter of Vode An! :) I'm so happy to have completed this fic, although its a bittersweet happiness. Originally, I had planned for this story to go so much further, but I'm glad to end it here and leave room for more fics in the future. Thank you all so much for sticking with this story (and its crazy short chapters); its been a ton of fun to write!
Stay tuned for the next fic in the series!
Holt looked around his pod's shared room for what he knew would be the last time. A half smile lifted one corner of his mouth as he took in the durasteel walls, the table in the center, and the four bunks. They'd all had so many memories here, but no more.
"I'm gonna miss this place." Jek walked over to one side of the bunks and touched the top one, looking back to Holt with a strange reminiscent look. "Good times."
Holt nodded. "We all will. But better times are ahead, I know it."
Jek grinned, the same insane smile Holt had gotten used to over the years. "You know, I used to wonder why our bunks were so long. But now I know." He laughed.
Chip grinned. "Remember our first night here?"
"Yeah." Holt readjusted the helmet under his arm. "You wouldn't shut up, Jek."
"None of us could sleep anyway, so what does it matter?"
Holt shrugged, smiling a little. "You all know four others are going to take this room once we're gone."
They all nodded, thinking over that scenario.
"We should do something, to claim it as ours," Jek suggested, pulling out his vibroblade. He scratched it into the plastoid top of the bunk and then glanced at his brothers, smiling insanely.
"Put your names on the bunks, as a parting gift to the next pod."
In a few moments, all the bunks had been carved into. Holt brushed away the bits of plastoid from the markings in Arabesh.
"Come on," he motioned toward the door. "We'd better go. Don't want to be late for our ride off this place."
They all filed out, and the door slid shut behind Holt. At the same time, a door was closing one chapter of his life, and a new one beginning.
"Ready?" Chip asked, tapping his helmet.
"As we'll ever be, vod." Holt slid his helmet on, and the others followed his action. The design was sleeker than the training helmets they'd been using up to this point; tons more upgrades than Holt figured he could ever hope to use. He was just glad Apma had given them their new gear a few days before to get used to it all.
"Let's go." He waved them toward the drop-out center. They walked in total silence, all occupied with thoughts of what could possibly come next. Their footsteps were quiet, but they walked in sync with each other.
The drop out center was bustling with activity as other commando squads prepared to depart. Apma walked among them, encouraging some and other times just observing the activity. Holt walked up to him, the others right on his heels.
"Sir." He saluted sharply, which Apma returned.
"Good to see you, Holt. Chip, Jek, Dov." He nodded to each. "Are you ready for this?"
"Yes sir," Holt replied, smiling underneath the visor. "At least, we hope so."
"You've all done well in your training. You'll be fine out there." Apma put a hand on Holt's shoulder plate. "Don't forget what I taught you."
"Brotherhood, stamina, loyalty," Holt repeated. Over the comm channel, he heard the others repeat the phrase in hushed tones. "We won't forget, sir."
"I know you won't. You four have been trained well; I'd like to think you're the best of the hundred and four." Apma smiled, nodding. "Go on, get in formation."
"Goodbye sir, and thank you." Holt grasped his sergeant's arm. "Ret'urcye mhi."
Apma nodded, smiling. "Ret'urcye mhi." One by one, he grasped each of their arms and repeated the phrase. Stepping back, he saluted them once.
Holt swallowed and turned to look at the large ship that would take them from Kamino into the unkown.
"We got this," Chip said.
Holt nodded. "Here we go."