After watching the troopers following their leader into battle FN-3043 immediately sprinted over to FN-2358 who still remained unmoving on the ground.
FN-1217 was right behind him.
Upon reaching her he fell to his knees, his quivering hands hovering over her body as his gaze took in the deep, bloody gashes across her torso.
“Two-Three?” he said.
She did not respond.
He placed a trembling hand to her helmet. “Two-Three?” he said again, his voice cracking.
This time her head moved a bit.
“Two-Three!” he exclaimed with relief. “Wake up! Come on, wake up! Please!”
Seventeen stood by in silence, his gaze occasionally raking the forest in case of enemies.
Two-Three’s head inclined toward 3043.
“Double-Three,” she muttered weakly.
He smiled even though she couldn’t see it behind his helmet.
“Two-Three. You’re safe. We’re going to get you out of here.”
Her headshake was nearly imperceptible.
“No,” she croaked. “It’s too late for that Double-Three. You know what we were taught. You have to go.”
A flare of anger and surprise rose in his breast. “I’m not leaving you behind.”
As an explosion resounded through the night he felt Seventeen’s hand on his shoulder. “She’s right, Double-Three. We need to join our squadron.”
He wanted to argue. He wanted to remain by FN-2358’s side and assure her that everything would be okay but he was taught against that.
Stormtroopers were supposed to be heartless individuals who fought wars and cared nothing for their fellow comrades. Maybe it was something wrong with him but he almost didn’t want to follow his teachings.
His head fell in despair. She placed a bloody hand to his helmet, three fingers making bloody tracks down the front of the white mask.
“Go, Double-Three. Go make me proud.”
He grasped her hand tightly, tears welling in his eyes.
She nodded weakly. “Double-Three, I…”
Her voice faltered and, unable to finish speaking, her head slightly tilted to the left and her hand slumped in his.
His eyes widened beneath the helmet.
She didn’t reply.
Seventeen patted his shoulder.
“She’s gone, Double-Three. We’ve got to go.”
With tears streaming down his face and despair wracking his heart he was almost rendered immobile. That is until another explosion in the distance lit up the night.
FN-1217’s gaze rose to see where the detonation had come from and what he saw made him holler.
“X-Wings!” he yelled.