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Old 09-06-2008, 12:55 PM   #23
Corinthian
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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.

Almost.

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.

"ARC-Ninety-Nine?"

"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."

"Lovely."
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