When Cross and Omega were lifted up off the bed, the teenager squeaked in surprise, clutching desperately at the more lanky brother to keep from being dropped on accident. The motion hadn't been expected and she buried her face more in Crosshair's chest at the mention of Tech. She was so torn about telling them or not about who lay under the Purge Trooper helmet. All the signs were right there! Why was no one else seeing this?
"We couldn't leave you behind, Crosshair, not after Tech's sacrifice." The girl finally managed out.
Omega didn't know what to say, what to do to make Crosshair feel loved and welcomed back to the family. She was so emotionally numb, though it was a familiar, yet at the same time, foreign feeling that she'd only recently gotten exposed to it. Movement behind them made her look back over Hunter's shoulder, and it took a second for her brain to separate this unknown clone from Rex. He was younger by a couple batches at minimum, but his presence was different. He held himself differently, and his hair wasn't naturally blond, the dark roots showing through close to his scalp. He nodded to her before stepping around Wrecker, looked around the room, then quietly left again.
It puzzled her, but her mind was distracted by the choked sob that Cross gave and her attention snapped back to him. Quickly, she scrambled out of Hunter's arms and hurried to her brother, resting what she hoped was a reassuring hand on his arm. She wanted to hug him, to tell him it was OK, but he'd been so uncomfortable with her touching him (how much was because he was pushing her away versus actual touch aversion?) that she didn't do more.
Then he actually started crying and she wriggled her way in close, wrapping her arms around his middle and refusing to let go. She missed Tech... but he was there, under that purge trooper armor, right? That was him under all that darkness.
That reassuring smile pulled a sad one from her own lips, and her heart healed the slightest bit. She wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand now, squeaking slightly as she was scooped up and tucked against Hunter's chest. She squirmed until she was comfortable, wrapping her arms around his neck for support and curling up as much as she dared. The closeness after so long without was nice, and she missed his scent. It was a weird thing, but it beat the sterile atmosphere of the labs. Omega had no idea how to react to Crosshair wanting to see her initially, and she tiredly looked at Cross when they got to the medical area, all her energy spent on crying.
She wiped at her eyes again, trying to muster some measure of 'nothing's wrong, I'm perfectly fine', but she was too tired. Still, she studied the lanky man, and she could tell, somehow, that he was sincere in his apology. It made sense, but it still hurt like nothing else to suddenly be just so alone. She'd always had someone to interact with growing up: Nala Se, AZI, the Batch... and then nothing, practically. That first month, she'd tried to break through Cross' defenses, to break through whatever the Empire had done to him, but as time wore on, she found herself with less and less energy or drive to do so, and that's when she knew now she'd been sinking into a depression.
Her eyes focused on the present again, noticing how emotional Crosshair was the more he spoke. It was so much more then she'd ever seen him emote and she wasn't used to it. The teenager couldn't stop herself, though, when the man started putting himself down too. "You're our brother, Cross... We don't leave a brother behind."
Again, his voice was so familiar, so close to who she thought he was, but he didn't remember his name, or his number. The loss of his identity, of who he was, broke a piece of her heart that had been trying to heal and she sobbed, even as her father figure cupped her cheeks and made her look at him. Her eyes stung from the salt of her tears, but she tried her best to meet his eyes and stop kriffing crying. "Cross... Crosshair wants to see me?"
Why? After all these months, why did the man that hated her suddenly want her near? She didn't understand. She nodded, though, to give an answer without words, since her words and voice cracked and broke from just the one sentence she managed. She swallowed and tried again, "O-OK. C-can you carry me, Hunter?"
Her voice was small, weak, as if she wasn't used to asking for things without fear of punishment anymore, and she flinched, readying for some unseen repercussion. She didn't know why she did, but all that came to mind were the times Hemlock had given her a cold, emotionless stare and some comment about all her needs being met as it was. That hurt, every. Single. Time.
All these big emotions, and she had no idea what to do with them all but cry. A part of her hated it, but most of her just embraced being young and not supposed to go through such trauma at her age. She clung to Hunter, crying into his chest plate, welcoming the soothing, familiar, loving touch after months without it. She hadn't even had Lula to comfort herself. Cross had wanted nothing to do with her, leaving her all alone in a terrifying setting, away from her family.
"I was so scared, Hunter... I tried to be strong, I really did..." She sniffled, wiping at her face again as she tried to be understood. "I missed you guys so much..."
"We didn't really interact with him until just before you got there and saved all of us." She admitted, hugging herself, cautiously watching Hunter to see what he'd do. She sniffed, not quite wrapping her head around what she was feeling at that moment. Relief, grief, fear... The sheer trauma she'd been dealt and had no words for, no experience to pit it against. "But... his screaming... it was different then the others, different then Crosshair's screams and and..."
Finally, the dam broke and she buried her face in her arm to hide as she bawled. All the emotions wanted out, and they wanted out right then, whether she wanted them to happen or not. It'd been Tech she'd been hearing scream, she realized, and that pushed her over into this crying fit. It was Tech they were torturing day after day, and she'd heard every one. She huddled in on herself, her arms shifting to cover her ears, as if that would muffle the screams... even though the screams were in her own head.
Omega's eyes were wide and misty as she looked up at him. She wiped at her eyes with the heel of her palm to try and hide it. Weakness wasn't something to show. That's what her months of captivity taught her. She stood up a little straighter, glancing over at the purge trooper. "I heard him screaming... there was so much screaming, Hunter..."
A tear fell down her cheek, and her breathing hitched. She didn't want to leave Tech... Experiment 66... whatever his name was. He wasn't safe from the others if she left him. But she trusted Hunter and the others from the Bad Batch. She trusted Chibi. "How's Crosshair?"
Omega opened her mouth to make a name suggestion, but before she could, the other man looked back to the door, and she looked over as well. Crap. She'd been found! She shifted uncomfortably as they approached and scolded her, especially Hunter. She swallowed, forcing herself to answer, "The others weren't very nice to him. Even if he's not an ally, we're better then that... aren't we?"
She didn't know anymore. She'd been away from the others for who knew how long now, and a part of her worried that she'd lost something important while locked away. She rubbed at her arm slowly, trying to soothe herself.
"We're OK. He's laying down right now." She reassured, smiling at him gently. Her lips quirked to the side in confusion as she listened. What was with those in charge reducing everyone to numbers and designations. "That's a mouthful."
Think, think, think. He needed a name better then 'Experiment 66', even if he didn't think he deserved it or his original name. Her confusion turned to sadness, the slightest pout on her lips. "You need a better name then that. You're not just an experiment number."
Her concern was obvious on her face and she hugged herself, looking out towards where the others were. She was sure Hunter wasn't going to let her away from his side once he found her again, but she wanted to check on their tormented brother. "I'm Omega... but uh, you know that already, huh?"
She remembered they'd done introductions back at the base, but she also remembered he never gave his own. "What's your name?"
It had been months since the batch of clones, including Omega, had been brought in. He wasn't sure how many - it was hard to keep track in the laboratory, where they were often kept strapped to the lab tables. Crosshair had been interrogated, subjected to various tortures just to see what he could take, and revived just to endure more of the same when they did push him too far.
They'd done this in front of Omega, who was kept in the same room as them. When they were dragged back to cells, Omega often shared his, along with an ever rotating clone brother. They'd only ever shared the cell with the same one three times - Ace had been his name, and he was a pilot and gunner. But then he'd also disappeared like the others, never to be seen again.
He sat with his back to the wall, as far from the front as he could get, his eyes sunken in somewhat from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnourishment. Omega had always been given enough food, but he was given barely enough to function. He'd had to encourage her to eat all of hers after they'd caught her sneaking some in for him and had moved to punish her.
Cross wasn't having any of that and had launched himself at the guard, earning him a swift beating and a concussion. Emerie had scolded him when he'd woken up on the table again, but he'd just set his jaw and refused to acknowledge her and what she said. He was also distrustful of her claims to be a female clone, worrying that it was a ruse to get in close with Omega, who was hurting due to being apart from her family. His family.
But thinking about them made him think about Tech, and the horrific death that his brother had suffered in trying to find him. He'd warned them to hide, to leave and to save themselves... but Omega said only part of the message had gotten through. He blamed himself for Tech's death. How could he not? Every action on that bloody planet, every step taken to infiltrate the Summit was because of him.
He let out a soft curse, giving away that he was awake.
Staring up through the remnants of the cable car as it fell, his eyes were locked on Wrecker's face as he plummeted. A small glance to the side, to where he knew Omega was, and another to where he knew Echo and Hunter were. This wasn't supposed to be how this went. It should have been a relatively in and out job to plant the homing beacon. And it would have been, had there not been the complication of Saw's rebels.
There had been no time to see each of them before he'd taken the shot. They had to live, and to do that? He had to fall. He had one last glimpse of the car before the clouds surrounded him.
As he fell through the cloud cover, into the valley below, Tech got to work trying to detach his magnetic grappling hook. When that didn't go as planned, he cut himself loose from it. The forest canopy and the rocky cliffs were racing up to meet him at such incredible speed. If he didn't get his other, standard grapple ready it was unlikely he'd have enough time to even attempt to save himself.
Struggling for a moment, the sheer terror near paralyzing him, he finally got his hands working and fired the hook at what looked to be a very well rooted tree growing out of a downward sloping shelf on the cliffside. The hook found its mark but it wasn't a good anchor, stripping the branches and leaves from the tree. It slowed his fall down and jerked him to the side away from the train-car, but his arm was nearly torn off as he tried desperately to stop his fall entirely.
The arm was all fire and agony now, but he knew he had to make it move again. He used his left hand to call the hook back to him again, gasping in pain as it settled back into the gun and shook his hand badly. He closed his eyes. There's no time. You can't focus on it. He grit his teeth, forced his eyes open, and used his good arm to lift and somewhat stabilize it as he twitched his fingers until they deployed the hook again.
Tech had one moment of satisfaction, before the tension hit the line and his arm, already damaged from the last attempt, tore off entirely. He couldn't stifle the scream when it happened, the agony ripping past any control he had. He wasn't sure how much longer he fell, his body tearing through the branches of a tall tree, before he slammed into the ground and darkness took him.
When he woke, he could tell it had been a few hours. He could hear the sounds of a search nearby and pushed himself to his feet. Agony ripped through him as he moved, and he knew even without his scanners that he'd injured himself in ways that would need medical attention and soon. But he wasn't about to let whoever that was find him. The others would have left, assuming him lost - dead - and he should have been. Squinting around him, he realized that his goggles had been badly damaged and pulled his helmet off. The car was not far off, and he hobbled over to it, dropping the goggles nearby. Maybe that would be enough to get them to leave.
After a moment of consideration he tossed the helmet closer to where he'd fallen. It was beat up and had massive cracks through it. That plus the goggles and... he looked up into the canopy above. Somewhere up there was his right arm. So they had his helmet, his goggles, and a detached arm. Not a full body, but with where he'd landed, and all the things on the way down, he suspected there were shreds of fabric, skin, and perhaps flesh above.
It took all of his considerable will to force himself to stumble away, leaving as little of a trail as possible. He'd get through this. Somehow.