Din woke to something hot on his leg. He twisted, eyes blinking open to brilliant fire.
His pants were burning. He moved to swat the damaged patch around his ankle. Pieces of windshield, dirt and metal cascaded from his clothes as he flailed. He felt drunk, smacking the flames with unsteady, leaden strokes of his hand. His head rang, spinning.
The fire was patted down into smoke. Din squirmed away from the burning puddle of fuel that caused it. Pain spiked in his knee, which he grabbed with a start. His glove came away coated in blood.
Din's head wheeled around. The back end of the ferry sat smoldering amid the wreckage of its other half. Bodies sprawled in the dirt, some torn apart beyond recognition. Din searched for his weapons, but saw only burnt slices of twisted metal, nothing resembling a gun.
He grit his teeth against both pain and frustration. If any of his weapons had been destroyed….
Distant movement shifted his attention. A large building, likely a hangar, loomed on the horizon, almost invisible against the early morning sky. A few humanoid figures walked out from it, facing the wreck. Din couldn't distinguish any features at this distance – whether one or more among them might be the Zygerrian – but he could easily imagine it. Had to assume it, if he wanted to be smart.
Flopping forward on his hands and knees, he attempted to stand. His head roared with a catalog of pains and discomforts. He worked to unbend his shot knee, but it stung and buckled again.
Crawling, then – for the moment – Din pawed through pieces of the ferry. Chunks of tread, porthole frames. Each time he tipped away another chunk, he hoped to see his rifle, his blade, even one of the slavers' blasters. His hands found only char and dirt, and a scorched, severed arm that might have been Rokin's.
Din peered around the wreckage. The figures had broken into a run.
Din's side was burning. He felt for the blaster wound, but as he reached across his body, he brushed something. Shrapnel – protruding from his suit, just beneath the chestplate – slick with blood and buried who knows how deep. It resembled a sheared piece of steering wheel….
No time, Din realized. No time to guess at injures. Slavers approached. Probably slavers, didn't matter. He wouldn't know and couldn't afford to find out. Without weapons to fend them off, staying would only open him to capture. Capture was not the way.
So he would move. Every crawling stagger and scrape of boot on dirt demanded effort, but he quickened. Heavy limbs forced themselves forward. The pain flared, and he assumed that standing couldn't feel any worse. He was wrong, and his legs shook under his armored weight, but with both hands feeling along the clifface, he kept from collapsing. His breath came loud and harsh.
Din looked back in time to see something dark lurch up from under the mangled ferry door. A second later it was on him, sending them both to the ground. He yelled, as did the woman who tackled him. Vee. Her elbow cracked across his helmet. He reached up, finding her neck, rolling to pin her.
Foreign fingers seized the shrapnel in his stomach, pushing. Din swiped the hand away and snarled. He brought down his fist in the first precise motion since the crash, smashing Vee's nose and jarring her head against the ground. She stilled with her eyes wide open, unseeing.
Din searched her for weapons. Still nothing. He struggled upright. Blood dripped from his leg, trickled from his stomach. The figures were closer, and the charcoal sky had brightened with the diffused light of dawn. They would see him, pursue him. Din refused to be caught. He traced the cliff. Further down, it gave way into a hill. Climbable. If he could summit it, Din thought, he could break the line of sight, find a way to hide.
He looked back again. Blood trailed behind him. It had to stop, or they would track him. Din's head spun.
Too many problems. Too many….
He stumbled, then doubled over on the ground. He regretted the noise that followed a blinding pain in his stomach. Through shame or frustration or some mixture of the two, he forced himself up again, staring distantly skyward. Had those dark clouds been there before?
Good, he thought. Dark enough and maybe he could lose those running figures. Din finally found a rhythm that his legs didn't hate. It was uneven and awkward, but not quite painful enough to force another collapse. The cliff sloped, rounded off. Climbing would be worse – that was an easy assumption – but Din would make himself do it.
A distant hiss, like rushing water, filtered into his helmet. Louder and louder, each piece of it like a breath or a whistle, followed by tapping – tiny strikes – closing in from somewhere far away.
Din's gaze returned to the heavy clouds. Rain. No, ice. Shards of it cascaded from the sky, filling the air. They struck down with brutal force, smashing on the ground, splintering against Din's armor-plated body. Only then did he realize their shape, some jagged and pointed, many longer than his hand.
Din looked out at the spot where he'd seen the hangar. No trace, only ice, all-consuming as it pummeled the ground.
Pieces of it jabbed the spaces between Din's armor, pulling holes in his suit, tearing runs. It would be tattered – and his skin after it – unless Din found the strength to stagger back to cover. Turning hurt, and Din clutched his bleeding body with a groan, but he began scrambling back to the wreck without a second's pause. He couldn't see it, but he could feel along the cliff.
The chunks of ice seemed to double in size as he walked, pounding his back and his helmet. How was anyone supposed to survive a storm that could arrive in an instant and send frozen projectiles thicker than your arm straight down at you?
The ice downed him; one massive chunk sent his helmet bouncing off the dirt. His ears screamed. Din wasn't sure if he was groaning out loud or only in his head.
Something that wasn't ice touched his back. Din was rolled, then snatched up by a too-large body, pressed into unfamiliar warmth. He felt himself carried upward. Fast. Terribly fast.
Up what? The cliff?
The speed and sudden altitude made him dizzy. Din's head lolled, and his eyes shut.
-has ice rain been done before in the star wars universe? probably but i haven't seen it
-the setup's pretty much complete. we have the slavers, din, and whatever the hell just picked him up. as for how these elements play out, stay tuned!
-comments are appreciated. thank you to the two guests who left reviews! gimme your newest hottakes if you like