Home seems like such a simple concept to people... But to the people on the Exile fleet, it's something people take for granted. The Exiled Cassians hadn't known a home in three centuries, the Granoks could swear Gnox was lost yesterday, the Mordesh will sooner admit to Chua being a better scientist then them than talk about Grismara and don't even mention Arboria around an Aurin. Edwyn was raised on stories about homes, the Chroniclers probably were hopeful that maybe one day they could have one... After Arboria, it seemed like the Exiles would be a flash in the pan for Galatic History. Suddenly news of this Nexus place arrived and boy did people celebrate. 'Course, some more than others... The Aurin tried to get into it but it was strained and anyone with eyes can tell. Celebrations were done... Today unneeded personnel and civilians were going to Cyro-sleep for a few years. Edwyn was one of them, though if he was about to sleep for seven damn years he's going to have a cigarette before he does. The Emperor himself couldn't stop him from that. The Spellslinger set the crooked tobacco stick between his lips, cursing as he tried to light it with the makeshift lighter most Exile soldiers get handed. Barely more than a glorified plasma charge pack that's more likely to blast off your hand than light the cigarette but you make due. Finally succeed the Exile sighed, relaxing back against the patchwork bulkhead taking a deep drag from the unhealthy stick. He breathed out the smoke slowly, his eyes half-lidded as he watched people file off towards the cyro-chambers. His eyes scanned the crowd lazily... Excitement was the main emotion you could see really. People were excited at the idea of having a home, of being safe, of not having to fear a Dominion patrol finding the fleet. Safety is an ideal that the Exiles have never got to enjoy. As his eyes traced over the crowd it came to an Aurin family, a young Aurin girl was holding onto the hand of who he presumed was the mother. She held a stuffed little animal he couldn't recognize, likely some animal from Arboria that she described to a toy maker. He rolled the cigarette in this mouth as he eyed the Aurins slowly marching to Cyro-sleep. Of all the Exiles, they're likely the least active at the moment... Even more than the Mordesh. It may of been decades, even centuries, since the loss of Gnox, the Cassian Civil War and beyond... But for the Aurin, it's not even been a year yet. All but maybe the youngest Aurin will remember it. The Exile narrowed his eyes, his mind drifting off to memories. XxX All things considered, the drop was fairly clean. He got assigned with a couple other Exile Peacekeepers to assist a platoon of Granok mercs in evacuating one of the Aurin villages. Considering it was a hotspot, the landing should of been a lot rougher. The dropship landed with only a minor shake, the doors opening to reveal the damage. Fire as far as the eye can see, the beloved trees of Arboria were burning from Dominion flamethrowers and that fire wasn't being kind to the village either. With no time to waste they charged out, Edwyn keeping behind the Granok commander after all he was the big rock guy with the massive gun, he's much more suited for point than Edwyn. At first, nothing happened during their charge... Then Hell came loose, blaster fire came zooming from the bushes killing one of the Exile Peacekeepers before the boy had the chance to even reach the village. "Return fire!" The Granok roared to his men, opening fire into the bushes, their shots tearing apart the burning flora and judging by the cries not holding back on the Dominion troops. "Come on! We got to get the villagers!" Edwyn remembered shouting to the Exiles as they left the Granoks to do their thing, the village was being torn apart by Dominion soliders, the Aurin tried to put up a fight but they couldn't do much against trained soldiers and superior firepower. Edwyn raised his pistols, firing off shots and killing a Draken flamethrower before he could set a house on fire. "Clear each building, get as many Aurins as you can!" Edwyn shouted, the men splitting off under the gunfire of the Dominion. Edwyn returned fire as best he could though the smoke made aiming difficult. He slammed down a door in an Aurin home, revealing a family cowering in the corner. "Come on!" The family skittered up, running out the door as Edwyn distracted the Dominion soldiers with his gunfire. He could see his fellow Exiles clearing the buildings... Some of the running Aurin didn't get lucky with the gunfire and unfortunately took shots to the back. Some even grabbed the weapons of fallen Dominion, helping the Exiles return fire. Though it mattered little as the ground shook, the Dominion fire stopping as they ran to cover... The shaking grew wilder and wilder until suddenly bursting out of the trees came a Dominion tank that immediately fired and completely destroyed a house that Edwyn was running towards. The Exile fell onto his back, sitting up to see a broken, burnt hand sticking out of the rumble of the crumbled building. Shaking himself he stood up, running towards his soldiers, vanishing in a flash of light to void jump into cover. "Get to the dropship! Now!" The combined Exile and Aurin fighters kept up firer as they marched back towards the dropship, ushering the Aurin into the dropship. The Granoks, having finished a wave of Dominion soldiers, joined the fray one of the mraising a rocket launcher and firing it. It hit the Dominion tank dead center, sending it up in flames rousing a cheer from the Exile soldiers. Though it was short lived as another pair of tanks came crashing through the burning buildings, their turrets opening fire on the Exiles blasting apart the Granok commander. "Get on board now!" Another order was called as they were pushed on before it was too late, Edwyn was the last to get on turning around to see the destroyed village. His world seem to freeze as he saw a young Aurin climb out of the wreckage of a building, he looked barely older then fifteen in human years really. He limped as fast as he could towards the dropship, grasping a bleeding right leg as he did. Time seemed to slow as the tanks turret focused on the back of the young Aurin as the dropship's walkway began to lift. The last thing Edwyn saw before the walkway closed was the rounds going straight through the Aurin's chest with a blast of blood. XxX The sound of a horn woke the Spellslinger out of his memories, looking up it appeared there was only a few hours left before the freeze would begin. Turning his gaze back to the lines of people, he saw the Aurin girl starting to climb into one of the Cyro-tanks. She set her toy down beside her feet as she laid back, her head turning to look towards Edwyn with wide, blue-green eyes. The Aurin and the Human stared at each other for a few seconds before she gave a wide friendly grin and gave him an energetic wave. The Human blinked, a slight mile coming to his face as he raised his left hand to wave back. He stopped looking to the back of his hand, a crossed his wrist he had gotten a tattoo after Arboria simple words he's taken to heart "Live free or die free". IT's become a motto for him and how he sees the Exiles now... The Exiles will live free from the Dominion tyranny and slaughter or they'll die fighting it and they ain't about to turn on each other. The Exiles watch each others backs, because no one else will. He lowered his hand, dropping the cigarette and crushing it under boot. His hands slid into his pockets as he turned to head towards his assigned Cyro-tube. He'll sleep for now and when he wakes up, it'll be on Nexus... And maybe then he'll be a free Exile with a home.