Star Wars: Darkest Hour
STAR WARS: DARKEST HOUR
Nineteen years before the Battle of Yavin, the First Galactic Empire founded by DARTH SIDIOUS is beginning to tighten its hold upon the galaxy. Its most visible component has become the military. New clone hosts and cloning facilities are very quickly swelling the ranks of the STORMTROOPERS, as is the forced conscription of young humans from occupied planets such as Coruscant. On that Core World, many find themselves faced with a decision: serve the Empire by choice or by force.
Rumor has it that not only does Sidious, also known as PALPATINE, want to hunt down any remaining loyalists to the Old Republic including surviving Jedi, but also to built a moon-size battle station with the code name of 'Death Star'. Are the rumors true? If any of the Empire's conscriptees fall out of line, will they be compelled to construct it at hard labor?
This is the story--the history--of the galaxy's darkest hour...
"Chasi?" Nylen Moranity, eighteen years old, swiveled her head around toward her best friend. "Can you believe this? Cha Drithma's just assigned us a huge paper on the causes of the Clone Wars by the beginning of next week! It's impossible. Not only is that far too big a subject to cover in only ten pages of flimsi, but I've got this urgent laboratory project to work on as well! Can't Cha Drithma understand that? I mean, I know she's Mon Calamari, but she should know humans better than that. We're not perfect--like her!" Nylen rolled her eyes, and Chasi Vtorie, also age eighteen, winked slyly at her.
"Don't worry. You just work on that lab project, and I'll work on the papers for both of us." Chasi was an exceptionally good student when it came to assignments of the essay variety. She was already a master of two and a half languages--galactic Basic (of course), Twi-lek, and beginning Mando. She brushed back a tendril of close-cropped red hair, biting her lower lip.
"I heard that, Vtorie." The holoimager projection of Cha Drithma, their teacher, turned slightly toward the flesh-and-blood human student. "You, and the 'someone' to whom you were talking, both know that cheating is strictly prohibited in this classroom. If you do what I suspect you're thinking of doing, you and your accomplice will both receive grades of zero for this assignment. I know you want to help, Chasi, but do so in a different way."
The rest of the class snickered, and Chasi sighed. Not only was it utterly humiliating to have had Cha Drithma overhear what she and Nylen had been murmuring, but it was even worse to be threatened with zeroes in front of everyone else! She bowed her head. Oh, well. I guess that's the price we pay for thinking of doing something dishonest. She still didn't know how Nylen was going to be able to finish her lab project on time, however.
As for the aforementioned teenager, Nylen scrunched down in her seat and leaned in closer to Chasi. "How dare she, huh? She never even pronounces your name right, first or last. It's chuh-SEE fto-REE-yeh, with the "EE" sounds in each word being more like 'uh-ee' said really fast instead of 'ee'." She shook her head. "You'll still do those papers, right?" Chasi nodded, and Nylen breathed a sigh of relief. Cloning, even the most basic kinds of cloning she was doing for her laboratory project, took several days. There was no way she could write a decent paper about the Clone Wars at the same time.
"Excuse me, class," said Cha Drithma, narrowing her eyes a bit. "We have some special guest speakers here with us today at this educational facility and over the holoimager. They represent the military of the First Galactic Empire, and they're here to talk with us about unique and immediate career opportunities for our graduating students." Chasi and Nylen inhaled sharply. This meant them, and neither was keen on getting shot at. Not at all...
Coldbreath awoke to a loud ringing sound. The dream he had felt to good to simply awake to. But the ringing was far to loud for his senses and soon he opened his eyes and answered the comlink.
"Yeah?" He asked the person on the other line.
"Ah Coldbreath. I am just calling again to say how greatful we were to that job you preformed on Corellia." The caller said. Coldbreath grunted into the comlink. Almost preparing to shut it off.
"It was easy. Right now I am going to Coruscant so whatever other jobs you have for me will have to wait until next week when I plan to go back to Corellia." The caller agreed and hung up. Coldbreath was sitting in the cockpit of his z-95 headhunter. It was quite old and heavily used by the time he bought it. He got a very good bargain for the ship as it was still serviceable.
Coldbreath's journy to Coruscant was purely recreational. All he wanted to do was drink a lot of lomine ale and see a few of his contacts. As he usually did during his annual trips to the various occupied worlds.
It was one of the hottest days the team had do endure on Utapau. The team of 12 ARC troopers and their jedi general were looking for Grievous and Darth Sidious. The ARC Commander was much more timid this day than any other. The process had already begun, it was only a matter of time now. They continued walking until a holoimage appeared on the Commander's left gauntlet.
"Commander Kyr'am execute Order 66," said the voice.
Kyr'am took his Deece off his back and fired at the jedi infont of him. The General was taken by surprise and was not ready for this attack, he dropped to the ground dead. Kyr'am walked up to the jedi and took his lightsaber.
"I'm so sorry sir... truly sorry."
"Commander Kyr'am wake up!" said the Imperial Officer.
Kyr'am looked at the man and eyed him up. No one yelled at Kyr'am but this time it was different. He had been chosen to try to recruit some students into joining up with the Empire. He didn't know why but he didn't ask questions. His old friend Sergeant Kal Skirata, the man who helped train him, always told him to never ask questions. He looked up to Kal'buir and listened to whatever he said. He had been sleeping outside the classroom when the officer woke him up.
"Go ahead in, I think they're ready for you," The Officer ordered.
Kyr'am opened the door and walked into the classroom. He was still unsure of why that Officer could order him around but he didn't want to end up like the other clones. He shut the door behind him and noticed the teacher was still talking to the students, clearly he had no idea how a real classroom operated.
"Excuse me Miss Drithma," Kyr'am began as he took off his helmet," My name is Alpha... Commander Kyr'am and I'm here to speak to your students."
"What did I do to get sent to this dar'yaim," Kyr'am thought to himself.
"Please proceed, Alpha Commander," the holoimage of Cha Drithma replied in her rather cold, formal way. "As for the rest of you, class, please pay silent and respectful attention. Your very futures could depend on what he has to say to you today." Without another word, the stoic Mon Calamari fell silent.
Nylen Moranity whispered closely in Chasi's ear: "A Stormtrooper clone, eh? I'm expecting a lot of 'uh's', 'um's', and 'wait a minute's' in this speech. After all, a copy of a copy isn't always so sharp!" She slapped her hand over her mouth to stifle an outburst of giggles. As for Chasi, she didn't think that her best friend's joke was all that funny. What Alpha Commander Kyr'am had to discuss was no laughing matter, and besides, he could probably shoot Nylen down in two seconds flat, point-blank range. Nylen could be a laugh riot at times (especially when Cha Drithma made a mistake in one of her lectures in class), but she was also a xenophobe. She thought aliens were better off working as dancers or waitstaff at cantinas than teachers, with which Chasi disagreed.
Still, the upcoming presentation (Empire propaganda session?) worried her. Who would want me for a soldier anyway? she thought. Since birth, I have had a moderate form of cerebral paralysis. I have enough trouble standing up on my own two feet and walking, let alone shooting things or people! Nylen's a star in Physical Fitness Training, but I'm the worst in the class. If it wasn't for my knack for languages and public speaking techniques, I'd probably be one of the lowest-ranking students in this whole facility. She looked at the clock, and a sudden idea flashed in her mind. I can't control time--not even the traitorous Jedi can do that--but what I can do is try to move the numbers on the digital clock on the wall through the Force. The shorter this speech is, the better. I'm not exactly keen on enlisting.
Lunch would begin after this class period; as it stood, there were twenty minutes to go. Chasi concentrated with all her might and managed to increase the time on the clock from 11:40 to 11:42 AM. So far, so good. Let's see how fast the Alpha Commander thinks on his feet. She smiled.
Finally Coldbreath's headhunter flew through the darkness of space towards the grande city of Coruscant. Coldbreath had been there many times during his career and found it to be one of his favorite planets. However since the rise of the Empire he found it harder to do his own thing without being threatened about calling Stormtroopers. It was dreadfully annoying.
You do notice Coldbreath. As the force runs through the hearts of every jedi it runs through all living things as well. Some however are more sensitive to the force...
As Coldbreath was a very small time mercenary he found it hard to get good weapons. The only weapons he decided to bring with him to Coruscant was a second hand CDEF blaster and a sawed off Czerka 6-2Aug2. The rifle was a gift to him as payment for a job a few months back.
Suddenly Coldbreath recieved a transmission. He quickly patched it in. "Let me see here. Mr. Coldbreath flying the "unnamed". Your cleared" A bored pilot checkout said. Coldbreath smirked as he flew through the Coruscant atmosphere before landing
The planet was a wasteland, in truth. About eight months ago, the Republic had assaulted it and desolated most of the planet with an orbital bombardment. Now they had come back to visit because of some underground bunker.
The place smelled like badly overcooked meat left out in the sun for a few months.
Actually, that's really not an unreasonable assessment. Charred corpses of Neimoidians and the black and melted skeletons of their attendant droids were scattered around the building, and everywhere outside, a macabre trophy of a meaningless victory. Even the sophisticated filtration systems of his helmet couldn't keep this stench out. The massive structure, what was left of a Neimoidian hatchery, had most of it's ceiling scooped out like some malevolent God had smote it.
Kando grimaced. The main body of the Grand Army was scattered across the outer rim or the core worlds, trying to maintain peace and destroy what little was left of the CIS. When Intel discovered this hidden base, they had dispatched a grand total of one soldier in a beaten up piece of scrap that at some point might have actually been an effective combat vessel, say, around the time the Republic formed.
He spotted a likely spot, a small plume of warm gas, visible on his visor like a tendril of some kind of subterranean monster coming from the ground. He grabbed the inactive B2 Battle Droid that was over the spot and shoved it, revealing a small ventilation shaft, about the size of a man's fist. The ARC groaned and smacked the wall with his armored fist. That was the sixth one.
A bleeping sound came from the other side of a damaged wall. He pulled himself through a breach, seeing as a lift ascended to the surface, a Neimoidian and a few B1 Droids on it. The Neimoidian bolted as soon as the lift stopped, heading off in some random direction, not noticing the ARC in black armor. A blaster bolt caught the Neimoidian in the back of the head, leaving very little left.
The Droids turned and opened fire, a spray of red bolts in his general direction. Sloppy. He should have nixed the droids first. His Westar-M5 came up, firing a short burst of blue bolts that shattered one droid. The others ducked for cover.
Must have an intelligence upgrade. He shrugged and pulled out an EMP grenade. It would destroy the lift's controls, but he was taking an alternate route anyway. He tossed it, then locked his armor down in preparation for the pulse. His HUD went offline a second before the EMP exploded, disabling the droids.
Five seconds later, his HUD came back online. The droids lay inactive on the lift, and with a few shots from his pistol, none of them would ever bother him again.
No hatch. He sighed and reached into his pack, piecing together a miniature plasma cutter. This would take a while.
"A Stormtrooper clone, eh? I'm expecting a lot of 'uh's', 'um's', and 'wait a minute's' in this speech. After all, a copy of a copy isn't always so sharp!"
A copy!?!? Kyr'am was no such thing, he was the real deal and was not going to let this girl openly insult him like that. He was able to pick up this small whisper due to his advanced training.
"Actually Di'kut you are mistaken. I'm an Advanced Recon Commando aka ARC Trooper. I was one of the first clones to see combat and I'm one of the last real clones alive. Also as you can see my armor is different than that of a Stormtrooper, I still have my armor from the Clone Wars. So I am sorry to disapoint you with my "wait a minute's" but I'll try to do my best Di'kut." Kyr'am looked at the clock and watched it change from 11:40 to 11:42. It was either poor technology or the work of someone with the force. "Now I've been called here today to get you students to join up with the Empire." He looked at the clock and watched it change from 11:42 to 11:43. "You can join up as a Stormtrooper, and Officer, and for some of you who are able to use the force... like changing the time of the clock for instance, there's a spot for you too. I'm not going to stand up here and force you to join up with us but instead I'd like to take questions you might have about the Empire, or me... hell I'll answer questions about the Clone Wars too!" Kyr'am was actually happy to add that last comment in. He then wondered if anyone actually spoke Mando'a in the room, or if they would just think di'kut was just a way of being polite, he hoped for the second one.
Coldbreath landed his ship on a pad and quickly unloaded his small amount of cargo.
The only belongings he brought along with him were his mercenary garb, his weapons and most of his credits. The mercenary garb consisted of a long baggy brown torso that cut off at the biceps. The arms were covered in dark wrappings that went down to the arms. The legs were black pants that went over grey boots. After quickly changing into his mercenary ware he shifted his bone mask and started walking to the nearest Cantina. He cloaked his weapons so they appeared as hidden as possible, which wasn't as hard as he thought.
The local cantina was a simple dive area. He quickly went to the counter and sat down. He ordered a simple lomin ale to relax his nerves
Zalack Felth walked with Lieutenant Vakle both were Imperial NovaTroopers of the 1st NovalTrooper Division. They we're going to patrol near a school. "Captain Felth, I am goin to do one of those medical searches next month." Said Lieutenant Vakle who was a StormSurgon. "Roger"
Zalack led a sqaud near the school. there were four members in the sqaud. Himself, Senior StormSergeant Vladmire who was his Assistant, StormSergeant Chezh,StormCorporal Vinn and the infamous Private Xichlol.
"Ok Spread out and set up check points around the school, remember this is part of a grade Private Xichlol." Zalack said lifting unslinging his T-21 heavy rifle.
Senior StormSergeant Vladmire noticed a ship flying into the sky of the planet.
A plate of durasteel dropped down the three-hundred meter pit that, at some point, had been a working turbolift. He shrugged and attached his magnetic rappel line, then activated his magnetic boots. He slid in, then attached his boots to the durasteel wall and began half-walking, half-dropping down the pit. It was a rather disorienting experience, but at least there was no chance of him being detected as he came down.
He landed several minutes later, a small, nondescript door in his way, and no signs of a terminal or mechanical lock. Kando was getting annoyed, it was like they were trying to make his job as irritating as possible. He slapped a charge against the door and dropped against the wall.
The explosion tore the dore apart and flung shards of duraplast through the lift. Still, his entry was clear. Entry hall was clear, too, no signs of turrets, droids, security guards, little dogs, or even a decent holocam. There was a working terminal nearby, though. Kando sat, calling up facility schematics.
What in the name of Grievous' mum's bosom?
This was it. Three rooms, a control center, a personal chamber, and a holocomm room. He settled back against the wall, calling up the mission recording. The Neimoidian's face was clearly visible.
The former Trade Federation ambassador to the Senate and CIS bigwig. Well, ex-bigwig. The Empire would be glad to know he was dead.
Curious, he began investigating the terminal. Most of it was personal logs and communications with Grievous and Nute Gunray, irrelevant now. But wait...this was interesting.
Activation and deactivation codes for half the CIS military. The CIS leadership had supposedly deactivated all droids, but this would be a way to reactivate them or deactivate them if they had lied. They probably already had codes that could do this, but this was, at the very least, a useful countermeasure, just in case.
He reached into his pack and withdrew a small transceiver. It would pipe a signal into Hyperspace, which would eventually reach the ISD Exactor, which would then dispatch a shuttle to pick him up.
Not often that I get an easy job. He pulled the data core off the terminal and headed back to the turbolift shaft, preparing for the long trip up.
The wind served more use to him than just to keep him refreshed or to ruffle his auburn hair. As he blew out another breath of smoke, he dropped the deathstick to his side and allowed the wind to take the cloud from his lips. His green eyes squinted into the bright sunlight as he looked out across the courtyard of the 'educational facility', but his ears were turned inside. A nearby window was left open for the cooling air to pass through, and through the space drifted the sound of security feeds from every classroom in the building.
As he listened, he picked out individual voices and listened for a time to the lectures occurring - some taught history, another was yelling at a student, a third explained anatomy. Finally, he locked in on one that he had been searching for - he picked out a voice that he was surprisingly familiar with...though normally, it came automated through the breathpiece of a Clone helmet. Chasten smirked to himself. He's quite eloquent, isn't he? he thought wryly to himself as he took another drag. Now he knew why the Empire didn't generally let their 'war heroes' do the talking.
Inside Cha Drithma's rather crowded classroom, one student did indeed have a question for Alpha Commander Kyr'am: "Yeah--how do you Clones use the refreshers? Do you go inside your suits or something?" Snickers from the class.
"Jen'dro Thul. You know that was a completely inappropriate query for our distinguished guest speaker, and now your paper on the causes of the Clone Wars shall be twenty pages instead of ten. I suggest you remain silent for the remainder of this classroom period, unless you have something that is actually constructive to say." Cha Drithma's image appeared displeased. The offending student groaned and slunk down in his seat, praying for lunchtime.
"I actually do have a question," said Chasi Vtorie, humbly resetting the clock to its proper time, which was now 11:41 instead of 11:45 AM. "A serious one. Is it true that the Empire is evil, or is that just a rumor that's been spread by loyalists to the Old Republic and surviving Jedi--if there are any?" A weighty pause. Most of the class was slightly unnerved by this question, as was Cha Drithma. "I don't understand why the Jedi, who are reported to have been the guardians of peace in the galaxy for millennia, would turn traitors."
"That's 'cause you're stupid!" mumbled Jen'dro Thul between his teeth, but he noticed the Alpha Commander staring simultaneously at both him and Chasi.
As Coldbreath sat at the counter he slowly waited, casually drinking from his glass of Lomin ale. It wasn't the best brew he drank before, but it was alright. He slowly waited while a human patron walked over and sat down beside him.
"Ah Coldbreath. What brings you to Coruscant?" The human contact asked him.
"Oh this and that. Kalee got very boring, everyone with their many wives and all. I guess I would hang out here a while until someone with a more high paying job needs me. Last week these guys from Coronet just wanted me to deliver this package of death sticks to these guys. It was so easy a kid could do it." Coldbreath said between gulps of his drink.
"Yeah I know the feeling. Well besides the Empire being here everything is the same. Though the stormtroopers are tightening their grip on Coruscant. Last week Joyn tried to buy a blaster and was almost shot by this patrol. They actually thought he threatened them with it." The human patron joked to Coldbreath.
"Knowing Joyn that was the last thing he was doing." He mumbled slowly. He quickly ordered another Lomin ale.
"Yeah. Better be careful Coldbreath. I know a few Stormtroopers would probably want an excuse to shoot you." The human patron stood up and walked out of the cantina. Coldbreath sighed as he downed his final drink and left. The whole Empire scene didn't feel to different to Coldbreath. Though the Stormtroopers were annoying, the Empire felt like the Republic just ruled by one person.
"Lets see. What should I do now?" Coldbreath sighed as he looked at a grand view of Coruscant. The large amount of ships flying by was always mesmerising.
Zalack and his sqaud stopped serveral students who were late to thir class.
"We should be off doing something other than serving as School Police." Seinor StormSergeant Vladmire said to zalack who was now clearing a Rodian Teacher.
"So your're the Rodeian language teacher correct?" Zalack asked the rodian.
"Yes, im coming back from lunch."
"Ok, your're clear to go."
"Your right Vladmire. I hate acting as a Police force." Zalack saw Lieutenant Vakle walking torwards him.
"Captain, me and a sqaud of Stormtroopers are here to provide relif to your day, by getting you out of this area you can focus on escorting a High Ranking Imperial Officer. General Okto in charge of the 1st StormPolice Unit. He's recived many threats from these people the Empire calls the Rebel Alliance. You are to escourt him to the Govenors office." Lieutenant Vakle said he was a tall man he wore shining black armor just like therest in the Nova Division, he also wore a Dark Red shoulder pauldron marking him as a medic.
"Roger Lieutenant. Vladmire you shall take point we'll follow him on foot. Xichlol you cover us from the school building. the rest of you follow Senior StormSergeant Vladmire's orders he's the SLIT Sqaud Leader In Traning.
"IAS Victorious coming on station. Alpha Ninety-Nine, do you copy?"
The ARC pulled his helmet off and looked up at the night sky, searching for the subtle disappearance of stars as the Acclamator entered low orbit. No sign, but that was hardly a shock.
"Loud and clear, Victorious. I've recovered the data core, and all hostiles in the area, including Senator Lott Dod, have been neutralized. Permanently."
"Really? Dod was hiding down there? Good work, Commando. We've got a Larty standing by. Ready for extraction?"
He bounced the data core in his hands, whistling a little tune he had learned quietly, until the quiet whistle from the incoming LAAT/I's engines turned into a deafening crescendo that blared out anything. A man in a Naval Commander's uniform stepped out of the gunship and smiled at him, beckoning him aboard. He gratefully stepped into the cabin, which promptly closed and took off.
"Did you retrieve..." Kando handed the data core to him. "...Oh. Tidy."
"Job done." The ARC smirked
"Right. Job done. You've been reassigned, Kando."
"What? No more crawling up the CIS' corpse looking for flies, Anders?"
"No, you've been taken off active duty. Placed on training assignment."
Kando groaned. This wasn't the first time he had heard about ARCs being reassigned to training, but this was the first official time he'd heard about it. "You've got to be kidding me. Teaching the next generation of mes? What's wrong with Walon Vau and the rest of the trainers on Kamino?"
"Nothing. The next generation of ARC troopers should be taught by them. You've been reassigned to Non-Clone Training."
"Small wonder the Captain didn't tell me himself. When am I getting shipped off?"
"Right after we land on the Victorious. Sorry to do this to you, Kando. These orders come down from over my head. Way over my head."
"We do as we're ordered, Commander. Where am I getting shipped?"
The tension inside the classroom in which Chasi Vtorie sat was so thick you could cut it with a lightsaber--if such things existed anymore, seeing as how the Jedi Order had been exposed as enemies of the First Galactic Empire. Of course, not only the Jedi used lightsabers, but when had kids such as Nylen and Chasi ever seen a Sith who wielded them? Never was the answer, and never would probably be the answer for the rest of their natural lives. Not that Chasi was anxious to meet one, but the thrill, even the thrill right before her very death, would fill her with a sense of destiny fulfilled.
Again, not that Chasi wanted that particular destiny to befall her. She turned to Nylen and again to the front of the room as the Alpha Commander made some vague and slightly bureaucratic reply to her question of whether the Empire was evil. A smart commander wouldn't say anything that would either prove or disprove me, she thought, so my question was stupid. I should have kept my mouth shut and listened to the rest of his speech.
Suddenly, she felt a tiny parcel of flimsi make its way into her left hand. A missive, most likely from Nylen, though she was very careful not to make direct eye contact with her best friend in case Cha Drithma was still keeping a vigilant set of eyes upon her eighteen charges. Opening the note, she read: "Refreshers--now." Nodding, Chasi signaled for her teacher and the Alpha Commander to excuse her, as did Nylen, and together they slunk out of their seats and toward the classroom door. Hoping that none of the other students would think there was anything amiss--just two of their fellow classmates heading for an emergency constitutional--the girls walked rather briskly to the refreshers and ducked into one of the larger stalls together.
"It's almost lunchtime," Nylen said. "Let's both ditch school and the cafeteria altogether. Something's not right about all of this, and about our 'guest speaker.' I mean, did you notice how he answered your question about the Empire? It wasn't exactly the most subtle of questions to ask, Chasi, but it sure cut straight to the point. Agreed?" Chasi nodded again, though her eyes betrayed doubt about Nylen's plan and about the demerits they'd surely get.
"Look, either we get demerits or we get conscripted," grumbled Nylen, slightly frustrated at her friend's sense of needless propriety. "Who cares about following school rules when we're about to graduate and troopers like this Clone trazwad are breathing down our necks? Let's go." She and Chasi emerged from the stall just as the buzzer sounded to let them out for lunch. Within moments, the hallways of the educational facility were swarming with hungry, unwashed teenagers, the perfect setting for Nylen and Chasi to make their unexcused escape. They snuck through the corridors until they reached the exit, where after pushing open the doors, they started speedwalking...
Kyr'am ignored the students remark about the refreshers and called on the girl next to the di'kut.
"Is it true that the Empire is evil, or is that just a rumor that's been spread by loyalists to the Old Republic and surviving Jedi--if there are any? I don't understand why the Jedi, who are reported to have been the guardians of peace in the galaxy for millennia, would turn traitors."
Kyr'am had not been ready for this kind of question, espically one that was personal to him. He had forgotten where he was and heard a familier voice inside his head.
"Kyr'am how much longer until we reach Utapau?" the jedi asked.
"Another hour or two... I don't know who's more impaitent sometimes, you or your brother Bard'ika."
"Its me without question vode" the jedi replied back, "Say how are things going with you an Omega Squad?"
"Things are going fine with them..."
"I mean with Darman"
"Oh... he still wants to kill me"
"I would to after what you did"
"I probably would myself and then some" and the two laughed.
He snapped back to reality looking around at the students.
"The Empire isn't evil, our goal is to bring peace to the galaxy and we will do so once the CIS is gone. As for the jedi... they tried to kill the Emperor and therefore went against us."
The first part he believed to be true but he was just as confused as the girl was about the jedi. Kyr'am still didn't understand why they had to die, they could have helped defeat the CIS much quicker. He continued to speak until the bell rang. All the students rushed out of the class room, probably for food or maybe the day was over. He put his helmet back on and looked at the holoimage of the teacher.
"Thank you for your time ma'am," Kyr'am said as he walked out of the classroom.
He couldn't help but feel bad for the answer he had given to the one girl that was actually serious he ahd to lie to. The again he did notice her looking at the clock alot... and when she did the time would seen to change. With the added bonus of the question of the jedi and her seriousness of the question led Kyr'am to believe that she was either really close to the jedi or she had some force powers. The another thought entered his head, maybe she could help him out. He watched as the girl and her friend Di'kut walked down the hall, he followed them at a distant pace, but enough to follow their movements.
Coldbreath sighed as he began walking down a narrow archway along Coruscant's famous streets. Strangely enough he remembered walking down these very streets various years earlier. But those were before... during the bad days...
As he walked he placed his hand on his hidden blaster. It was a used blaster he had bought recently, though he could feel as if it had a long history behind it's previous owners. Coldbreath often thought about insignificant thoughts such as these when he was bored with absolutely nothing to do.
Coldbreath recalled this particular area of Coruscant quite well. He knew of a few contacts around there, as well as an educational facility. Coldbreath shrugged as he leaned on a nearby wall and began to look out to the high speed traffic of the city
Zalack and his qaud headed towards General Oktos position, an Imperial Forward Outpost along the edge of the 1st StormPolice's HQ.
Vladmire led the sqaud to the Outpost. The General wore a very nice White uniform, he had several medals and the Emperors cross a medal awarded to the best members of the Galatic Empire Millitary. a StormTrooper stood next to him he wore a black StormTrooper pauldron. "Gl-462 tell the Govenor that the escourt is on the way. The Govenor was always in touch with ethier General Okto or Colonel Neyo the commander of the 1st NovaTrooper Divsion.
Vladmire saluted the General. Then zalack stepped up to him and also saluted.
"StormCaptain Zalack Felth 1st NovaTrooper Division StormBattalion Compony A." Zalack said.
"Good Lieutenant Vakle has said well of you, im supprised that you and the Humans have become freinds." General Okto said with a wicked smile.
"When we are soldiers on the battlefield we dont have time to be predjidice." Zlack said with an angery look that was concealed by his NovaTrooper Helmet he wore a yellow shoulder pauldron.
"Well, how about we get on with this excourt shall we?" General Okto said with an angery look on his face.
Zalack noticed two grils from the school coming down the street.
"Didnt know school let out." Zalack said.
"well the StormTruency Officers will deal with it." Vladmire replyed to zalacks response.
"Well lets roll." Said an Imperial AT-ST pilot. they were going in a big convoy as a distraction while the General will go with a small StormPolice armored vehicle.
Chasten lost the track of the conversations somewhere halfway through the Clone commander's bull**** answer, shaking his head as he tuned the rest of the class out. It was like watching the Holonet - flicking through channels until he found one that was amusing. Unfortunately, he never found one that quite kept his attention, for in the next few minutes, the bell rang to announce the end of classes and the beginning of lunch. Sticking the deathstick back in his lips, he held it there as he stretched his arms over the top of his head, his shoulders popping satisfyingly. Finally, they could get out of here...
And so he had thought that he'd heard the footsteps of the troopers coming down the hall, and he turned towards the partially open door, expecting to see the commander...but instead, it was two young girls - both obviously students. His eyes narrowed slightly, and he placed himself squarely in the middle of the doorway. "Well, well, well..." he said, a smirk on his lips as he crossed his arms over his uniformed chest. "Where do you two think you're going?"
Nylen looked a bit nervous as she gawked at the Sith officer--in fact, more than a mere bit nervous. She looked as if she were about ready to faint or soil herself, whichever came first. It didn't take a Force Sensitive person to notice what she was really thinking: Can he read our minds? I hope not!
Luckily, the resourceful Chasi had an answer that was far more confident and believable than the Alpha Commander's had been, back during class: "We were both planning to go home for lunch," she said. "The food in this facility's cafeteria is nothing short of inedible, and we students need our strength to finish all the projects that we've got going on after school." She gestured toward Nylen. "This one's got a laboratory assignment--cloning--and we both have a ten-page paper due on the causes of the Clone Wars. We're buried!"
"Buried in homework, that is," said Nylen, "and if we're lucky, we can start on our assignments when we finish lunch and before we return back here." She smiled, her teeth shining like over-polished pearls. Would the Sith buy it?
“Seal off that access panel,” Devi Haalen ordered sharply. Dressed in an Imperial Intelligence uniform, the twenty-six-year-old was quite the impressive image, standing on bridge of a ship he’d had since graduating high school and running away from home. Best described as deceptively slender, the tall young man was a lot stronger than he looked. And at the moment, three other Imperials were doing everything he demanded of them.
“Devi?” The voice of his young sister, Katri came to Devi’s ears and he turned to face her with a wide grin.
“You’re not supposed to be out here, little Kat,” he scolded the thirteen year old. Devi was the only one who could still get away with calling her ‘little’, but today even hearing it from him seemed a little frustrating to the girl.
“I know,” she shot back, “but I wanted to see you before you left.”
“I’m not taking this ship, Katri,” Devi said. “You could have waited in the house with Dad and Mom.”
“Not taking this ship?” Katri’s mouth dropped open. “But you told me... you’ve taken it everywhere since you left home.”
“Yes, and when you grow up a little more, it’ll be your turn,” Devi said. “Listen to me, Kat. I’ve named this ship Devi’s Treasure. I did that because I mean for you to use it while I’m away and of all the things I have, of all the people I know, I treasure you most.”
“Captain Haalen,” one of the other officers interrupted. “We had really better be going.”
“I’m your treasure?” Katri asked, grinning at her big brother. Devi chuckled and wrapped his arms around her.
“You’re Devi’s Treasure... and don’t you forget it, ‘cuz I’ll be coming back for my treasure, and I want to be entirely sure nothing’s missing, you hear?”
“Gotcha,” Katri promised. And just like that, Devi was gone.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Seven years later...
"Transport Devi's Treasure, identify your captain."
"This is Katri Haalen of Devi's Treasure," a pleasant female voice replied. "I'm the captain."
"Katri Haalen, your identity has been confirmed," the young Imperial lieutenant said. "However, your data file says nothing of crew and yet that ship you've got should have at least three others beside you."
"I've modified the control interface," Katri answered. "It's just me and an astromech here, so..." She paused. "I'm sorry, but is this necessary information? I'm an independent contractor. I get paid to ferry stuff from one place to another, usually no questions asked. Am I cleared to drop my cargo?"
The young lieutenant was not particularly happy with Katri's shortness, but he understood there was little he could do. And if he turned her away, then he'd be the one in trouble. "You're cleared to land, Ms. Haalen. Be advised, you are landing in a restricted Imperial facility. You are not permitted to..."
"Yeah, yeah," Katri sighed. "I've done this many times. I'm not permitted to leave my ship. Any steps taken on my part to do so will be met with blah, blah, blah... I'll open the cargo bay for your workers once I'm down." She cut the com line and rolled her eyes.
"Honestly, Efsev," she groaned to R2-F7, her astromech, "it's like I'm a beginner on every job. No, scratch that, it's like I'm a criminal, being read my rights..."
The droid let loose a flurry of whistles and beeps as they descended toward the assigned docking bay, and Katri laughed.
"So is that how it goes around here?" she asked the droid. "I finish the Imperial's sentence with, 'blah, blah, blah,' and you do the same with me?"
Efsev blatted his confirmation. Katri chuckled and brought the ship down to a gentle landing. Once she was down, she opened the cargo access. After a few moments, the young Imperial lieutenant stalked onto the bridge. Surprised, Katri stood and turned to face him.
"Impressive," he said sharply. "A civilian trained in the proper way of addressing an Imperial officer?"
Indeed, and not just that... a civilian trained to kick your ass if you disrespect her, Katri thought. She smiled faintly, imagining his reaction if she told him that. Instead, she said, "Makes the job easier. I deal with a lot of you guys."
"Yes, well I'm told you're not bad to work with." He extended his hand to her. "Lt. Vann Lasko."
With a wide smile, Katri shook his hand. "A pleasure to meet you, I'm sure. May I inquire as to the purpose of this... personal visit?"
"I'm just curious," Lasko replied. "Perhaps not the greatest trait for one in my position..."
"On the contrary," Katri cut in, "one in your position ought to have a great deal of curiosity. At the same time, you must know how to curb it when necessary. You have proven that ability to me already."
"Have I?" Lasko was surprised.
"Indeed," Katri answered. "As I was landing, you were curious as to the lack of other crew aboard my ship. It could be considered suspicious. A suicide pilot wouldn't need any other crew since he wouldn't be planning on a safe landing, so you asked. When I was slightly offended by your prying questions, you knew to back off. After all, I've been ferrying cargo for the Empire for three years now, so I have a proven track record."
Lasko was impressed. Katri Haalen definitely knew how to flatter a man. He'd simply been curious... none of the things she'd mentioned as to his motives were even remotely accurate, but they certainly made him feel good about himself. "That you do," he said, trying - and failing - to supress a grin. "Allow me a little more curiosity."
"By all means."
"Do you carry for the Empire alone? And if so, why don't you simply get a government job? I'm sure it's a bit more steady than your freelance work."
Katri nodded patiently. "Yes, it would be more steady, but that's not really what I'm looking for. I get paid better for working the way I do, and no I don't work solely for the Empire. Last week I ferried a shipment of solar panels from a manufacturer to Sienar Fleet Systems. Three days before that, I was hauling food from a supplier on Corellia to a Corellian restaurant on Corusc... uh... Imperial Center. Just before I picked up this shipment, I delivered a rare archaeological find from the dig to a private collector. So you see, my work is extremely diverse, hence the extremely profitable nature of it."
"I see," Lasko said slowly. "And why then do you take Imperial jobs at all? It seems your... other ventures are far more worthwhile..."
"Well, it's part of an agreement I made with the Empire," Katri explained. "I do a certain number of jobs for them and they won't force me into the military. And really, I don't mind. I have nothing against the Empire. I just don't wanna be a soldier. That's all. I like my freedom too much." Teasing, she added, "Besides, I'd look awful in uniform."
"I see." The words came more easily from Lt. Lasko's mouth, and with a smile this time. "Well, I'd better get back to my station. You'll be ready to go in just a few minutes. We're recharging your fuel cells and transferring payment." He turned to leave. "Oh, one more thing... I was instructed to give you this."
He passed a datapad to her and she accepted it. Once Lasko was out of sight, she looked at it.
"We regret to inform you that your elder brother..." she read aloud. Paling rapidly, she dropped the datapad, fell heavily into the pilot's chair, and whispered, "No..." Seconds later, as hot tears traced little trails down her cheeks, Lasko came over the com and told her she was free to depart. Blinking fiercely and brushing at her face, Katri busied herself with the controls, lifting off the ground. Efsev warbled a question.
"Huh?" Katri asked, distracted. The droid repeated himself. "Oh. I... it's from Imperial Intelligence. We're going home, Efsev. Devi went missing on his last assignment. And you know what that probably means..."
Efsev whistled sadly and Katri sighed, gritting her teeth in determination to avoid crying. "Yeah, I don't expect to see him again...Mom and Dad will need me..." She set a course for Corellia, knowing she needed her parents just as much as they needed her. Devi's Treasure jumped to hyperspace.
Coruscant loomed in the viewport of the Kappa-Class shuttle. Kando sat just behind the pilot, casually cleaning his blaster pistol while they awaited clearance to land.
"Imperial Center to K-EG 731, designate ship's manifest."
"K-EG 731, we're hauling leave parties from the Fifth Fleet, as well as some personnel transfers."
There was a long pause on the other end. Ninety-Nine sat back and closed his eyes, re-assembling his blaster pistol with his eyes closed.
"Shuttle, you are cleared to land. Shield Hexagons Alpha-Epsilon 12 and Beta-Epsilon 17 are beginning opening sequence. Commence landing cycle. You are clear to land at Manarai Mountain Spaceport."
Only a handful of months since the War ended. And everything has changed. What idiot thought it should be called The Clone Wars, anyway? It was a single war and the Clones were just the implement of war. If anything, it should be called the War for Galactic Reunification or the Galactic Civil War or something.
Kando's aggravation had very little to do with the illogical naming conventions. Aside from getting reassigned from active field duty to training grunts with less than an hour between, not counting transit, there was something undeniably wrong about all this.
Less than a year ago, this was a Republic. I swore to defend the Republic and follow it's commands above all else. Now, the Republic no longer exists, replaced with the Grand First Galactic Empire. Even in his head, the sarcasm was rampant. Clicking his heels and referring to Coruscant as Imperial Center made his teeth ache, bowing before Emperor Palpatine like he was some sort of God descended from on high...
If they thought they ironed out those disciplinary problems with the Nulls, the Kaminoans were drinking a great deal.
It was impossible to deny that Coruscant was anything but grand. The faint distortions of the two shield layers deactivating seemed to illuminate the grand city. It looked like a honeycomb of light. As they descended towards the Manarai Mountains, he glanced down at the Senate Building, almost in awe of the sight.
Depression and frustration marred what might have been a breathtaking experience as his first time on Coruscant. But as magnificent as the city was, Kando had, in truth, seen it all before, defending the Republic's core worlds or fighting in the Outer Rim Sieges. The cities out there were darker, less grand, and marred by war, but it was all the same.
He'd been in a fog for the past several months. He'd gone out on a routine assignment as far as ARC Assignments go, sabotaging a theatre shield on Cardooine. When he'd been extracted, he'd learned that General Grievous had attempted an all-out assault on Coruscant and kidnapped the Chancellor, Dooku had been killed, the Invisible Hand had been destroyed, Grievous had been assassinated, the Jedi had attempted a coup and become enemies of the state, the Republic no longer existed and was replaced with the Galactic Empire, the Clone Wars had ended, and a black-armored figure had been added to his chain of command. The infamous 'Darth Vader'.
Kando had looked away for a brief moment, and when he turned back, the Galaxy had changed. Now the ARCs were a useless arm, a selection of deadly commandos who had no purpose in the Post-War Environment. The work of Clone Commando squads had just been increased to cover the small gap.
Jango is probably rolling in his grave.
With a whistling sound, the shuttle landed. Kando remained seated, waiting for the Clone troopers and various other personnel debarked before he followed them out.
"That'd be me."
A man in a black uniform was standing to meet him, the pips of a naval lieutenant on his breast. The ARC pulled his helmet back on. "You're going to have to give me your DCs, ARC."
Kando stared at him through the black visor, wanting to see his lip tremble, his knees waver, his eyes twitch. Nothing. This lieutenant had iron on his bones. Not many could keep a military posture when they were trying to get a man who could kill them three times before they hit the ground to give up his weapons.
He handed the lieutenant his vibroblade and blaster pistol. "I travel light."
"You'll be guest lecturing at a local academy for the time being."
"What's their specialization?"
"It's a civilian school, actually."
The ARC would have pounded his head against the side of the shuttle, but that really seemed like too much effort right now. The Lieutenant gestured for him to follow to a speeder, marked with the emblem of the Empire.
"A Civvie School? I'm an ARC, not a chemist. If you're going to shelve me, at least let me teach enlisted personnel, not potential cannon fodder."
"That's 'Conscripts', Ninety-Nine. They don't like it when you call them Fodder." The lieutenant chuckled as he started up the speeder. "We've got you some quarters. The Captain of the Everlasting shot himself, so we're giving you his quarters. Should be cozy enough."
"Sleeping with a dead man. I hope you got the bloodstains up."
"Not really. He used a disruptor rifle on maximum power. Not much left to clean, really. Just his feet and hands."
Not for a second.
A smirk spread slowly over his lips as he listened to their story, a dark glint of amusement in his eyes as he looked between the two students. A glance over both their heads - for even though they seemed to be about his age, both were close to a foot shorter - notified him that he wasn't the only one that ad found the two. The Clone Commander had apparently decided to follow the two. His eyes flicked back down to the girls before they could notice that his gaze had hesitated. "Well, sounds like a fairly good idea to me. It would certainly be something that I would do." he said, his voice easy going and light - but then his eyes zeroed in on them. "Can I see your passes?"
"Our passes?" asked Nylen, sounding indignant. "You're not our principal!"
"Hey, wait a minute," said Chasi, stepping backward just a bit to protect her fellow student. "He's right, you know. We do need passes in order to go home, Nylen. Let's go see if the personnel in the office will let us have one." She paused, willing her friend to go along with her plan. If they had their passes, the proper authorization, then they could both leave school and be in the clear at the same time. Of course, they'd have to return, but hopefully the Sith officer and his Clone minions would be gone by then. She smiled.
"That's a good idea, Chasi," answered Nylen a little too quickly, and they both turned to go back inside the building. However, they noticed a tall armored figure standing behind them: that of Alpha Commander Kyr'am.
"What's he doing here?" gasped Nylen, sounding alarmed and annoyed, but once again Chasi had an answer that would avert a potential panic attack:
"It's Alpha Commander Kyr'am," she explained, "and he's come to give me a more detailed answer to the question I asked back in Cha Drithma's class. Right?" she asked the Clone, hoping that he had indeed followed them for that particular reason. Chasi had noticed his slight hesitation after he'd finished his rather murky reply to her and the rest of the Mon Cal's students.
The two girls had run into some kind of sith soldier.
"Can I see your passes?" the sith trooper asked rather coldly.
The girls tried to lie their way out and turned around only to see him standing there.
"It's Alpha Commander Kyr'am," she explained, "and he's come to give me a more detailed answer to the question I asked back in Cha Drithma's class. Right?"
In order to get what he wanted, he would have to help out the two girls. Even if the soldier didn't believe him, he still was a Commander and for some reason one of Vader's favorites.
"I must speak to this girl in private over my answer and as for her friend here, I have to teach her a lesson in respect. You should leave while you're ahead trooper. I'm already going to file a report to Vader... and you know he doesn't like it when I have to report a soldier for doing something wrong. You two, follow me and you soldier don't let me catch you in here again."
The Clone Commander turned in a direction and walked down the hall hoping the girls would follow.
"Can you believe that?" mumbled Nylen under her breath. "He talked back to a Sith!" Her violet eyes widened with incomprehension, whereas Chasi merely nodded and put a finger to her lips. She motioned for Nylen to follow her, as she herself was following Alpha Commander Kyr'am through the now-deserted hallways of the educational facility. Chasi caught a strong whiff of...
"Ugh! Processed vegetable matter. Not even bantha steaks," complained Miss Moranity, holding her nose. "Can't our cafeteria do any better these days?" She hoped this idle chatter would distract her from the anxious thoughts swarming through her mind--thoughts of conscription, enlistment, and war. Thoughts of being turned into some mindless automaton made out of flesh. Nylen entered an empty classroom behind Chasi and the Alpha Commander.
"Now, then," began Chasi, "is the Empire evil, or what? How did the Clone Wars even begin, anyway?" She winked at Kyr'am. "Yes, we need help with our homework. I figured there was no better way to get it than to ask one of the veterans who fought in it." She folded her hands in front of her, waiting.
Kyr'am led the two girls into an empty classroom and waited for them to enter before closing the door.
"Well the good news is that even if that sith is a higher rank than me I won't get in trouble for it."
is the Empire evil, or what? How did the Clone Wars even begin, anyway?" She winked at Kyr'am. "Yes, we need help with our homework. I figured there was no better way to get it than to ask one of the veterans who fought in it."
"Alright I'll help you with your homework assignment but I need your help with something. I saw the clock change and I have a very good feeling it was you. So I'm also guessing you're force sensitive... I was wondering if you could possibly locate two jedi for me... Bardan Julisk and..." his voice choked up a little at the next name "Etain Tur-Makan... I don't want to hurt them, I just need to know if they're okay."
Those were the only two jedi he cared about and he really needed to know if they were alive or not. If they were he would go try to find them just to see how they're doing, he'd tell Vader he was on recon or something. He wanted to see them again... espically Etain.
Katri Haalen was seething. It had been two weeks since she'd learned of her brother's disappearance and they were getting nothing out of Imperial Intelligence on the matter. She'd stayed with her parents as long as she could manage, but then she went to Imperial Center to see what she could find out on her own. The bad news was that her criminal informants had nothing. What made it worse was that Imperial Intel somehow learned that she was snooping into their private business... and they didn't like that much. And so, Katri found herself handcuffed to a chair, glaring across a desk at an overfed bureaucrat in an Imperial uniform.
"Just exactly what is your interest in our agent's status?" the man stupidly asked.
"Are you brain-dead?" Katri spat. "He's my brother. Look, I already know you don't know exactly where he is. Your people were caring enough to tell us that. But you do know where and when he last reported in. That is the information I want."
"You intend to do your own investigation, I take it?"
Katri rolled her eyes. "With black market resources and whatnot. I happen to know this adorable little twelve-year-old who could pry this information out of your cold, hard, data storage units. If you don't tell me, I'll go to her."
"A slicer at twelve?" the pompous fool snorted. "More threats like that and you'll end up in a mental institution." He shook his head. "I'm not giving you the information you want. It's directly tied to some highly classified documentation and personnel movement." A pause. "Unless..."
"Unless I come to work for you," Katri supplied, having long since figured out how an Imperial's mind worked. "I told you people three years ago that I'm worth more to you as a merc."
"Some mercs take classified jobs too." With this statement, his IQ improved a little from Katri's perspective. She couldn't suppress a slight grin.
"Are you talkin' about giving me a security clearance of some sort?" she inquired.
"It would be project driven," he replied. "You'd get information based on whatever assignment we give you."
"And what sort of assignments are we talkin' here?"
He didn't answer immediately. "Can't really tell you unless you agree."
"I'll get information on my brother's last known location." It was not a question; Katri Haalen had just given him a direct order. He knew it, but he didn't care.
"Count on it."
Arching an eyebrow, Katri tugged gently at her restraints. "Care to let me out of these?"
Chasi Vtorie's heart sank. Though she was indeed sensitive to the Force, she could only perform the most rudimentary tasks with it so far: moving books and papers out of her way, speed-reading, slight telepathy, changing the numbers on a holodigital clock. There was absolutely no way she could locate two Jedi who were either in remote exile or dead. She told Alpha Commander Kyr'am this, still trying her very hardest to pick up a trace of the life and light that only a Jedi would broadcast through the Force. Nothing. She sighed.
"I'm sorry," Chasi told Kyr'am, "but these certain Jedi you're looking for are nowhere near me. I sincerely tried my best, but the Force was silent." She hoped that answer would satisfy the Alpha Commander, if not please him.
"This is stupid," grumbled Nylen, whose stomach growled softly. "The Jedi are enemies of the Empire, so the only reason this Clone would be looking for them is to kill them. Besides, why would a Jedi be so dumb as to remain on Coruscant? To find a place to hide? I don't think so--not with the whole city-planet crawling with Stormtroopers and Imperial Officers. I think the real reason he brought us here is to try and conscript us, even though he said he wasn't going to in class. I'm going to set things straight, all right?"
Chasi shook her head rapidly, but she couldn't stop the nimble Nylen from launching into a cheer that suspiciously resembled the ones she always did for their educational facility's melee sparring team. It went like this:
"Do you THINK we'll FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT?
You are WRONG and NEVER RIGHT.
I'm a bad SPARRER, and besides THIS,
Chasi's got CEREBRAL PARALYSIS!
"She's DISABLED! OH, she's DISABLED!
I'm UNSTABLE--in fighting, UNSTABLE!"
Chasi thought her "boon companion" was unstable in more ways than one, but she decided not to press the point. After all, this was an almost perfect way to convince the Alpha Commander they were both unfit for military conscription. Nylen--sometimes you're an idiot and a genius all at once!
"I'm sorry," Chasi told Kyr'am, "but these certain Jedi you're looking for are nowhere near me. I sincerely tried my best, but the Force was silent."
"Oh..." the only word Kyr'am could say as he fell into a chair," t-thank you for trying" he managed to add.
"This is stupid," grumbled Nylen, whose stomach growled softly. "The Jedi are enemies of the Empire, so the only reason this Clone would be looking for them is to kill them. Besides, why would a Jedi be so dumb as to remain on Coruscant? To find a place to hide? I don't think so--not with the whole city-planet crawling with Stormtroopers and Imperial Officers. I think the real reason he brought us here is to try and conscript us, even though he said he wasn't going to in class. I'm going to set things straight, all right?"
Kyr'am never ever yelled at anyone when he wasn't in combat but this remark got him very angry. The girl then did a cheer which only got him madder. He stood up and pointed his blaster at her.
"Now you listen here, those jedi are my friends and don't you dare call them stupid! Bardan Julisk is a very good jedi and so his Etain. She's smart, funny, and she's very very pretty. Do you know what its like to shoot your friends because someone forces you too!?!? Do you really think we clones want to do this!?!?" Kyr'am realized he had a blaster pointed at a student and quickly put it away.
"I'm sorry... I truly am its just been hard this past year for me. If you still want to hear my story I'll tell it and if not I understand." He looked right at the girl with force powers, "As for you don't ever do what you did in public again, keep yourself hidden. Any other clone or trooper would have either forced you to come with them or killed you right on the spot. Don't share your force powers with anyone or they will kill you. I won't report your abilites back to base and I don't want to recruit either of you. You shouldn't suffer the same pain I have... its just not right."
"Well, that's a relief," smiled Nylen sarcastically, rolling her eyes. "He's not planning on conscripting us after all. I guess that means we can go?" Chasi shook her head at her best friend, ashamed and afraid for her. Nylen's most potent weapon was her mouth, and it could yet cause her annihilation.
"What?" asked Nylen after a moment, placing a hand on her almost-invisible hip. "You actually want to join the Empire, or listen to this Clone babble on about his two Jedi friends that he was forced to kill? There's something that we humans have called willpower, the ability to resist temptation and refuse to do something morally wrong. I guess Clones don't have it, which wouldn't surprise me because they're only copies anyway. Copies of an original which wasn't so attached to the Light or the right side of a cause, anyway. Come on. Let's go to lunch, and then we can ask for a pass to take the rest of the day off. Goodbye, guest speaker, and please don't let the door hit you where the Force split you on the way out!" She let out several guffaws and signaled to Chasi. "Coming?"
Chasi shook her head once more. "You go ahead. I'm planning to listen."
Nylen's violet eyes grew wide. "It's propaganda, Chasi! Don't be so stupid! Whatever he's planning to tell you, it'll make you want to join the Empire!" Now it was her turn to shake her head. "I can't believe you. I'm going now." She turned toward the door and said, "Evil is evil is evil, no matter if it's dressed in a Clone suit or an Emperor's uniform. It has to be fought and destroyed, or at least resisted. I thought you'd be stronger than this."
Once Nylen had departed from the empty classroom, Chasi turned to the Clone. "Forgive her, Alpha Commander," she said, "even though in this case, you really don't have to. My best friend, even though she is my best friend, is all body and mouth--no brain. She doesn't consider the ramifications of what she's saying, and all she cares about is what's to her own benefit. I've seen her talk back to teachers, principals, everyone--without principles to back her up, her talk of 'evil is evil is evil' notwithstanding." She paused for a moment, motioning for the Clone to sit down across from her. "Tell me about the Jedi, if you would," she began. "You were about to, I believe."
"She doesn't understand what we clones have been through, the friends we've made and have been forced to kill. I did not kill Bardan or Etain, and I do hope to find them soon."
Kyr'am took a seat across from the girl and thought about the Jedi for a second.
"I could talk about the Jedi but it wouldn't fill up those ten pages you need, maybe I should tell you my story instead. It will answer any questions you might have about the Clone Wars and hopefully keep you away from joining up with the Empire"
He sat waiting for the girl to answer and how such a polite girl as herself would pal around with such a little monster that if he ever saw that evil little girl alone he would not hesitate to shoot her.
"I'd like to hear it, and not because of the paper." Chasi turned her head toward the Commander, waiting for him to narrate.
Meanwhile, out in the foyer near the cafeteria, several Sith officers, Clone troopers, and military-minded school personnel were manning tables which held enlistment papers for every single one of the students in the educational facility if they were so inclined. However, not everyone was, including Nylen Moranity. She wandered through the swarms of her fellow schoolmates lining up, shaking her head in embarrassment and revulsion. I can't believe these people, she thought. They're signing their lives away, and for what? Supposedly so they can get their higher education paid for in full, but don't any of them realize that the Empire is counting on all of them getting shot at so that it won't have to pay the bill when--and if--they return from war?
Holding her nose as the stench of processed vegetable matter drew nearer, Nylen hoped she'd at least get to eat a few bland pieces of starchy bread.
Kando stepped into the foyer of the academy, groaning inwardly. The lieutenant had suggested that he make an appearance, as this was projected to be the high point of the recruitment drive at the local academy. So, here the ARC was, poster child for classified operations.
It was patently ridiculous.
He had taken his helmet off, showing the face of Jango Fett. Most of the other Clones had their helmets on - in fact, none of them that he could see were barefaced. People got nervous when they could see many identical faces in the same room. It was fascinating, really.
Kando wended his way through the crowd, not interested in sitting at one of the tables. He wasn't under orders anyway. Inevitably, someone would recognize the symbol on his pauldron and start pestering him for a real autograph from an ARC. Civvies were the same everywhere.
Meanwhile, in the Command Star Destroyer above Coruscant, Grand Moff Yal surveys a junior officer.
"How goes recruitment, Captain?"
"Perfectly well, sir. These clones have nowhere to go, sir, and will gladly follow the Empire."
"Good. Ensure the recruitment stays that way. Lord Palpatine would want soldiers for his conquest... a conquest that would bring the Empire to near invulnerability!"
Frustration was becoming a constant state of being for Katri Haalen. Even now that she'd been given a specialized security clearance, certain elements of Imperial Intel were not willing to deal with her. The division Devi had worked for was being particularly difficult.
"I fail to see what this information would do for you, Ms. Haalen," Devi's direct supervisor said stiffly. "Your brother's mission has very little to do with yours."
"My mission is to retrieve Devi and the information he was after, no matter the cost," Katri snapped.
"Which does not indicate that you need to know exactly what he was after."
"It would certainly help," Katri shot back, "especially if Devi turns up dead and I have to go after the information myself."
Ten minutes and a few shouting matches later, Katri learned what her brother had been after... and that he'd last been seen on Coruscant.
"He mentioned brief interaction with a few Sith troops," Devi's supervisor said wearily. Katri had worn him completely out. He passed her a photo. "There. That's your next lead."
Smiling pleasantly, Katri said, "Thank you. I'm out of your hair now." With that, she left, heading back for Coruscant.
Meanwhile, at the Annihilation, Grand Moff Yal remembers.
"How many troops do we have left, Captain?"
"About 50 sir. These pirates are getting more vigilant! We should surrender, sir!"
"We're not losing Taris to a bunch of pirates, you'd do well to remember that,Captain! Set up defensive perimeters, scouts on top, grunts on the bottom!"
Finding one Sith soldier on a planet swarming with billions upon billions of people was no walk in the park, Katri decided as she showed the photo of this one man to yet another pompous airhead. For something like the zillionth time, she saw the stupid grin on an idiot's face as he asked something to the effect of, "Lookin' for love?"
Or that's what she thought. But she quickly realized that's not what came out of his mouth. "Eh... come again?" she stammered.
"Chasten Niven," the man repeated. "You're right around the right place. Think I can call him out for you." The stupid grin grew wider. "He your loverboy or somethin'?"
Katri sighed wearily. "Just call him," she ordered sharply.
"May I say who exactly?" The idiot was suddenly determined to be bureaucratic about the whole ordeal. Katri was not in an obliging mood.
"Emperor Palpatine's much-younger-lover," she spat, waving her security clearance in his face. "This tells you that you don't need that information. Now call for Chasten Niven." Glaring up at him, she added, "Or do I need to report you to your supervisor and do it myself?"
That got him moving.
"I'd like to hear it, and not because of the paper."
"Very well then... Kamino was a cold desolate place, very fitting for a clone. There were different kinds of clones I suppose in jedi terms like a padawan, kinght, and master but you can't really switch of what role you are. Most clones were just standard issue soldiers, some of us became ARCs and some of us became clone commandos. There were two kinds of ARCs, Alpha's and Null's; I was an Alpha. Jango Fett, the host of the clones, personally trained the Alpha's himself. I got most of my training from him but I decided to watch the clone commandos, that's where I met the greatest mandalorian to live Kal Skirata. Apparently we Alpha's were seen as the bully type of clones because the commandos were a little startled. I decided to help train the commandos and learn some skills from Kal'burr himself. I learned it wasn't just commandos he trained but the Nulls too. Shortly after there was an attack on Kamino. We ARCs were deployed into combat to defend the others. Kal and I were able to get the Nulls into combat was well and they fought well with their Alpha brothers. We were then deployed into combat finally going to see some real action and off that horrible planet. I had a quick assignment on Qiilura and that's where I met her... Etain Tur-Mukan. Grant it I was too shy to say anything and it was against protocol to do so I believe. After her master was killed I assited her secretly until a squad of commandos took over for me... what a mistake that was. After that I assisted Anakin Skywalker on a mission on one of Naboo's moons. Only the best ARCs assited him in this and I took a nasty saber wound to the gut saving Skywalker's life. It was there I learned that jedi can be good people and actually become your friends. After recovering they sent me on an easy mission I was to assist Commander Gett and his troops..."
Kyr'am suddenly stopped his story remembering something he had blocked out... something bad. He began shaking in his chair and fell onto his knees.
"Order 66... I...I watched her die... killed by a jedi trying to save a clone.... I could have done something... I could have saved her!"
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