PUBLIC History Revealed (An Ethan Cuyan Short Story)

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Matthias

Walking Weapons Arsenal
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Apr 29, 2017
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Shithole, USA
Shots rang out across the firing range as the Marines went through another set of drills, discharging their battle rifles to be swiftly followed by the sound of empty brass cartridges clanging against the metal floor. All the weapon fire was coming in the form of short, controlled bursts that easily shredded the targets set up down range. Only at the last station was the firing not so fast, or not so neat. Because down at that station wasn’t a Marine, but a young man who called himself Ethan.

Emptying the magazines of their weapons the Marines patiently waited for Ethan to do the same. They all looked down the range towards the young Jedi Initiate as he finished his own firing drill. Most of the faces were smiling, as they all knew what the lad had been through to get to this point. They smiled at the young man’s courage and bravery, and some of the smiles were directed at the man standing behind the boy. It was their Captain, Matthias Jayne. The former trooper had saved the boy from the hell of his prior existence, and with no desire or expectation of reward or compensation, he took the boy under his wing. Many saw him as Ethan’s de facto father, some even going so far as to wonder if there was a de facto mother in the equation as well.

Finally, Ethan’s magazine was emptied and the boy proceeded to eject the magazine and safe the weapon. Looking down at his handy work, Ethan’s face became somewhat dejected. The shots were all over the target, some even hitting outside of the silhouette on the paper. Looking down at his weapon, the boy’s face was sunken as a hand came down on his shoulder. “Don’t beat yourself up Ethan, you’re improving. You could barely keep a three round burst under control before, now you’re hitting the target with all three rounds - mostly. A definitive improvement.

Some of the Marines nearby echoed their Captain, reminding the young man how much better he had gotten. Some came over to ruffle his hair, one female Marine even going so far as to plant a kiss on his forehead, causing the boy to blush and the Marines to chuckle. Matthias smiled as he gave his instructions to Ethan. “I want you to work through three more magazines, then clean the weapon before returning it the Master at Arms, understood?” Ethan nodded as Matthias looked at the Sergeant down the line. Nothing needed be spoken as the Sergeant nodded to Matthias, letting the Corellian know that the boy would be looked after.

Letting Ethan get back to work, Matthias retired to his quarters for a bit. He had paperwork to go through before heading back down to Jilly’s for lunch. Getting to his quarters, he passed Callie along the way. She gave the Captain a smile, “Good morning Captain Jayne. How is young Ethan today?” It wasn’t a secret that Matthias was putting Ethan through some of the same training his Marines were going through. It was helping to strengthen the boy both physically and mentally.

Matthias decided to walk along side Callie for a while, his hands folded behind his back. “He’s doing remarkably well Callie. He’s bouncing back from the trauma that was inflicted upon him faster than I expected. He’s also learning at an astounding rate. His mind is like a sponge, soaking up anything I teach him. The same goes for you and Davin. His grasp of Basic is amazing, and he tries to read anything I put near to him. I’d like to thank you personally for that Callie, you’re an amazing teacher.

The Hapan Jedi just smiled at the compliment. “Thank you, Captain. Ethan is quite capable, with a good heart and a good head on his shoulders. It pains me, the atrocities he has suffered in his short life, but he is in good hands now and with those that love him. I look forward to training with him more.” Matthias smiled at the compliments. “Aye, he’s a good lad. He’ll make a great Jedi I think. It’s good to see the Order regrowing, even in a limited capacity.

Callie smiled inwardly. She remembered Matthias’ reluctance and distrust of the Force and how he wanted the Galaxy to be rid of it. Now it seems he had come around, back to the man he was before he joined the GAR. Stopping at the foot of the stairs to Jilly’s, she turned to face Matthias, reaching out to run a finger along the patch covering his left eye. “When are you going to get Uri to build you a cybernetic replacement for your eye?

He cringed inward slightly, then tried to deflect the question. “What, you don’t think I look dashingly handsome with my eye patch? I think it’s quite fetching.” He struck a comical pose for her benefit. She just gave him the same look all women have been giving men for millennia when they dodge the question. Sighing, he answered, “I’ve gotten used to it, to be honest. Though I was thinking of getting a fake eye to put in there instead. I was thinking of getting a steel ball placed in the socket with the symbol of either the Republic or the Jedi where the pupil would be, but I’m still debating it.” Callie just gently shook her head. “I trust your judgment Captain, if you will excuse me.

Watching Callie walk up the stairs to Jilly’s, he saw Davin waiting at the top of the stairs. Nodding to the Jedi Master, Matthias turned on his heal and made his way back to his quarters. Once within, he sat down at his desk and pulled up the latest set of Training Reports and summaries from the Marines. He came across the supply report from Cal, which summarized all the ammunition his Marines were burning through, along with the state of the weapons they had sent to the Forge to be repaired. Raine was heard within cursing after the last shipment had gone in. Apparently she was learning to fix melee weapons. Matthias smiled, “At least we’re giving her plenty of stuff to practice on.

Turning to his personal console, he went to work on sending the latest readiness reports to Davin when a small blinking light caught his eye. Turning his attention he clicked on it and saw it was a video message from Albion. He opened it up and saw that it was from the Albion Bureau of Vital Statistics. He had written them shortly after his rescue of Ethan, sending them a DNA sample and a description of the boy, along with his approximate age. He really hadn’t expected to hear back from them. He clicked play on the file.

Captain Jayne, this is Proctor Arnum from the Bureau of Vital Statistics. You sent in a request to my department to assist in identifying a young boy you rescued. Normally we don’t do such requests, but seeing you also decided to include the circumstances of how you found him after the vigilante known as Vengeance left him chained to the wall, and the fact that the request came directly from you, I decided to follow through with it. I couldn’t make it a top priority, but I was able to identify the young man through his DNA. His name is Kenric Gillard, and he was identified as a potential Highborne, but disappeared at the same time his parents were killed. I attached the file on them as well. I hope this information helps, and that the young man is doing well. Have a good day Captain Jayne.

With that, the playback ended. Matthias found the attachments and opened them up. He glanced through them briefly before copying them to a datapad. Standing up from his desk and readjusting his eye patch before heading for the door, he went to the one place he knew he’d be able to find Ethan… Jilly’s.

Heading out the door, he made his way up to the place to find the best food in the sector. He looked around, and found Ethan sitting with the other Jedi - Cal, Callie, Davin, Lana and Raine all sitting together as the young man was going on about his training in a rather reserved manner, more like a young adult then the 16 year old he was. Collecting a bowl of fruit from the line, Matthias made his way over to the group. After hello’s were exchanged, he sat down next to Raine and across from Ethan.

Ethan, I hope you’ve been telling the group about the amazing progress you’ve been making?” His answer was a blush from the boy. “I said I was doing okay in my training, and that I was looking forward to all the training I can do.” Matthias nodded, sitting the datapad down on the table next to his bowl of fruit. After eating a few pieces, he looked to Ethan again. “I have some interesting news for you Ethan. I was wondering if you wanted to know what that news is.

The boy perked up a little, looking at the datapad. “What is it?” Matthias tapped the datapad twice. “I made an inquiry to the Bureau of Vital Statistics back on Albion shortly after we rescued you. I sent them your information and your DNA to see if they’d be able to identify who you were. I got a reply back from them today.” Matthias wasn’t sure, but he felt as if the others were leaning forward eager to hear what Matthias was about to say.

They told me who you really are, and who your parents were. It’s all right here on this datapad.” He slid the pad over to the boy who cautiously took the pad and started reading it out loud. He was having a bit of trouble with it, but he slowly made out the words. “My name is...Kenric Gillard? My...father is… Heinrich Gillard, and my...mother...is Sandra Gillard. My father was in the… Al-By-On (Albion) Nay-vye..Navy...the Albion Navy. He was a sh..sh...Sheef (Chief) En-G-Eye-Neer (Engineer). My mother was a...Nurse. They both were killed a-appro-approximately? Approximately ten years ago. Oh! It also says I’m sixteen years, not fifteen. It also says I disa-disappeared when they died. It also says I was tested and found to be a High-Bornee..Highborne.

Ethan stopped reading as he looked at the datapad. He looked at the others, then back to Matthias. “So my name is Kenric, not Ethan?” Matthias reached forward, tapping the datapad. “That’s just information. Yes, it may be who you are and where you came from, but it’s up to you how you use that information. And whatever you decide to do with that information, we’re all gonna support you.” He pulled his hand back as he popped some more fruit into his mouth. Ethan sat there for a bit, just looking at the datapad. Tears started to leak from his eyes as he continued to look at the pad. Wiping them from his eyes with the back of his hand and sniffling slightly, he seemed to come to some sort of decision.

Pushing the datapad back towards Matthias, the boy regained his composure. “Thank you for finding this out for me Matthias, but if it’s okay with you I’d like to keep being called Ethan. I don’t remember anything other than pain from my childhood, from that childhood…” He gestured at the pad. “...and I’d like to think that’s not me anymore. So..I guess Kenric Gillard the Highborne died with his parents. I’m Ethan Cuyan, the Jedi Initiate.” Matthias just smiled at the young man, taking the pad back. “I’ll hold onto this for you, in case you want to look into your family later.

Ethan just shrugged. “You can if you want. But as far as I’m concerned, my family is sitting around this table and serving aboard this ship. You all are my family.” And with that decided, he returned to the rather large sundae that had been slowly melting in front of him as Matthias had interrupted his feasting. Matthias looked at the concoction...it was a normal hot fudge sundae, but it looked like it had a large amount of...gummies on it? He just shook his head as he turned to look at Raine. He was about to give her a smile when she promptly shoved a gummy into his mouth.

Matthias gave her that smile as he chewed the gummy, and got one in return. Looking around the table at the others, the Corellian felt at home. He had found where he belonged, and felt a sort of contentment that if he didn’t know any better, he’d swear someone was using the Force on him. For now...life was good.
 

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