PART THREE: Afraid
Razor: A few months into the Clone Wars
Silas’ hands shook as he picked up his DC-15A rifle and slung it over his shoulder. Battle shakes, as always. His breathing hitched and then quickened, in time with his hammering heart.
“What, you scared, trooper?”
Silas flinched at the sound of his commander’s voice. At his shoulder he could smell her breath: sweet with a sharp edge to it, like creamy mint toothpaste.
He whirled around with his helmet sealed and blaster-rifle primed, simply a reflex and nothing more. “Oh. It’s just you,” he said, his helmet filtering his voice, making it sound level and cool and controlled. Inside though, to his own ears, it was shaky and annoyed.
He positioned his eye-slit to face Commander D’Vor’s eyes. In many ways and at many times his helmet had been his sanctuary. But now, it was a T-shaped crevasse in an empty, cold sea of white. A shield. Masking the humanity of a living, breathing, feeling human. A human being just like her.
But he knew what she saw, not that, but this: her own reflection in a glassy dark visor. Not unlike the thousands of other identical clone troopers she had met once before.
“Yeah, I was joking.” She laughed. “For a second I thought you were trembling.” Still smiling, she backed up and away, probably to the bridge, he assumed.
No. Don’t think that. Don’t ever you dare think that. “Commander D’Vor?”
She turned at the door, hand hovering over the open/close button. “Trooper,” she acknowledged.
His hands still trembled as he fumbled about his helmet’s neck seal. The soft hiss was loud in the room.
“Are you afraid?” He grimaced, his raw voice unfiltered, unable to erase the stain of defensiveness in it. “Because I am. I’m afraid. But I won’t be when battle begins, because I’ve been trained, and I have a job to do. What about you?” It was nearly an accusation.
“Me?” She laughed, harsh giggles spasming along her body and shaking the lightsaber at her side. “No, I’m not scared.” She straightened, squaring her shoulders and clasping the hilt of her lightsaber instinctively. “I’m not scared at all; I’m a Jedi.”
Silas watched her walk down the hall, head high, arms swinging, step breezy and light. A walk that was not like a trooper’s, but of someone free and someone in command.