Chapter 1

Location: Kuati Defense Force Headquarters, Kuat

"The galaxy is at war," was the start of the speech from one of the senior Kuati officers in the large meeting room where dozens of Generals and Admirals from numerous planets sat at a long black table, "The Chancellor has created a Grand Army of the Republic, but we've been left out of it."

There were murmurs from the middle-aged, and some even older, officers at the table. This didn't sit well with them, even after hearing it once more out of dozens of times. For many of these men warfare and the defense of their homes and the Republic as a whole was their duty, to some it was an ancestral obligation going back generations. To some such as the elite Knights of Anaxes, the finest warriors of the Core Worlds, their sworn oath was the defense of the Republic. To others such as the Kuati Defense Fleet they were the guardians of the Core Worlds, their mighty warships had stood guard over the vast wealth of the inner ring of city worlds and ancient member states of the Republic, guarding it and the hyperspace lines beyond from the threat of piracy.

There were more worlds represented here as well, Coruscant, Carida, Eriadu, Bestine, Corellia, and many others. The same planets that formed the bulk of the military in the days of the Old Republic were present. They were ready to stand to the challenge of defending the Republic once more, but something had prevented that. A new force that was slated to defend the Republic, the army of Clones from Kamino. Only a week into the war, and the Jedi were already in command of vast armies of Clone Troopers, and not a care was given for the long dormant volunteer forces of the local defense forces and militias, the only military the Republic had before the war.

"We all know why we're here," came another old voice from the commanding officer of Anaxes' military, General Sutre. He was an old gray haired man in white and red armor, shiny and clean, a red cape with a handful of gold lanyards across his chest and left shoulder with a broadsword vibroblade in a scabbard on his hip. He stood from his seat and spoke loudly and with a great deal of anger, "We've chosen to stand and fight! The war we have long awaited has begun, and we've been told to stay out of it!"

"Indeed we have, but we are to do?" the leader of Coruscant's forces stated honestly, "We have no unified force, no logistics, no command structure, nothing that we can seriously bring to the table as a single force."

"That is the strength of the droids and the clones I'm afraid, they've been built for this war," Kuat's commander, a member of the Kuat family, Admiral Yula Kuat, said sourly, "We haven't done that. We should have seen this coming."

Murmurs of sour agreement around the table sounded out once more. But one man in a gray KDF uniform rose from his seat, his name was Admiral Cynan Drexel, the most experienced and respected officer in the room. He still had a head of thick black hair with some gray started turn it into the darkest of grays in the sideburns and front. His dress uniform was coated in ribbons and badges from his younger days qualifying for Starfighters and his many acts of heroism in the line of duty that earned the respect he enjoyed. His face was showing signs of age, gaining some wrinkles and slight blemishes, but when he stood people listened.

"We can all agree on one thing here, we're not ready for war. Individually we can hold our own here in the Core. But the Separatists won't attack the Core, not with Kuat's dreadnoughts on guard along with the might of the planetary defenses of each major planet. This war will be waged where we can't fight it, from the Inner Rim to the Outer Rim," he began with grim honesty, "In my time teaching at the academy I had time, as many of you who have taught know, to think of scenarios that may or may not happen. This is one of the ones I created, and planned for. Admiral," he asked, tossing a data card to be plugged into the holo-projector that sent small holograms of the full file to each seat.

"What are we looking at Admiral Drexel?" General Sutre asked as he pulled up the file.

"Scenario OR-6359, a full-scale in the Outer Rim requiring the full unification of the militaries of the Republic. Granted, it's old and rather general but the parallels to our current situation are accurate."

"Admiral," Corellia's CO said with absolute shock in his voice, "What you're asking for in this plan is nothing short of creating an entire military. This is directly in contrast to the treaty that disbanded the Republic Armed Forces thousands of years ago."

"Indeed it is," Drexel said without pause, "But the situation has changed."

"Even if we could, I don't know if our political leadership would be alright with such a force being created from the units of our defense forces, after all, much of the Core's defense is based upon deterrence."

"There are sacrifices that will need to be made of course, but we have another untapped base of recruitment, beyond the Core, the militias and patriots beyond our normal responsibilities. We are not the only ones willing to fight for the Republic, those young idealists may be untrained, undisciplined, hell even uncivilized, but the Outer Rim is as ripe a place as any to find the raw material to create soldiers," General Sutre said calmly, figuring out a part of Drexel's idea.

"It's just a matter of creating the foundation to build these raw recruits into Republic Troopers. We'll need bases to train, drill instructors to mold them into soldiers, weapons, equipment, vehicles, and ships for them to fight with, NCO's and officers to lead them in battle, and we need it all as quickly as we can," Drexel laid out as plainly as he could.

There was a moment of silence as the others considered his words until Admiral Kuat leaned forward, "KDY still has a handful of slips we're keeping open for our own defense forces. It shouldn't be too hard to sneak in a few dozen Star Destroyers and Assault Ships."

"Carida's got the finest training grounds in the Core, we can have bases fully operational within a few days," Carida's CO added as the parts started coming together.

"Anaxes has its share of bases and industrial facilities, we can put those to use and make some real armor," General Sutre said proudly, banging on his chest piece.

"Rothana won't sell us any of their vehicles," someone else said, "But we've got contracts with Yultrane-Trakkata, should be a simple matter to up the quantity."

"Incom and CEC got passed over in their bid for starfighters and frigates as well," Corellia's CO also piped up, confidence and a plan and a force starting to fill the room.

Soon the idea of an army began fleshing out into a plan, a plan that could be executed, and executed quickly, as time was a precious commodity. The details such as specific items were not discussed, but a list of companies from which this new force would be supplied and equipped was listed out rather quickly. And once that was done another thing was needed.

"We also have the matter of who will be the overall commanding officer," General Sutre brought up.

"I agree, an overall commander will be needed."

Mumbles of agreement came up as the first instincts of the men present wanted to put forward someone from their own planets. But that instinct was overruled by military necessity.

"I would like to put forward Admiral Drexel for overall commander," Corellia's CO offered up, much to everyone's surprise. Corellia and Kuat historically had been rivals, if only professionally, so the endorsement of a Kuati by a Corellian was a surprise, "This is his plan, he knows it like the back of his hand. And he is the most experienced and respected officer in the Core. I think we can all agree on that."

"I agree," General Sutre said, "Admiral Drexel is my vote as well. All in favor?"

A vast majority of hands were raised in agreement.

"Very well, I accept the position. And the name of this…new force?"

"I think the Republic Volunteer Corps is as good a name as any," Admiral Kuat offered, "After all, it is what it is."

The other men and women agreed, the Republic Volunteer Corps was now official. As the group broke for recess many of the officers came up and shook Admiral Drexel's hand. Once that was done, and Drexel himself walked out, he was greeted by Admiral Kuat, an old subordinate and someone he'd mentored.

"Admiral Drexel," she said with calm respect, "Walk with me?"

The much younger flag officer was a distant Kuat, far from the highest in line for great power among the Kuat family, but she was still connected enough to politic her way into command of Kuat Sector Forces. And she'd done a good job thus far, nothing had happened that would preclude her from being classed as a poor officer, and Drexel knew his old protégé would do a fine job in her position.

"Of course ma'am," Drexel said as he fell into step with her.

"I have to admit, I'm surprised you took the job," she said once they were out of earshot.

"Referring to my retirement?"

"Of course, you'd been planning it for a while."

"Situation's changed," Drexel firmly but nonchalantly responded to that.

"Which is why I'm wanting to ask a favor of you," Admiral Kuat tentatively asked.

"And that is?"

"My son, Wain, he's just graduated from the academy. I'd appreciate it if you could put him on your staff. Knowing him he'll ask for a combat position."

"Concerned about him?"

"Of course, I'm his mother," she chuckled, "I always worry."

"I'll see what I can do," Drexel nodded, "But I'll need a favor in return."

"And that is?"

"I'd like my old flagship, the Basilisk," Drexel asked, making her snap her head to him in surprise.

"One of the dreadnoughts?!" Kuat snapped.

"It's the newest ship of the Mandator class, her crew's experienced, her engineers have a complete working expertise of her systems, and they know me, I trained them."

"That'll take some doing Drexel," she said with some discomfort, "Basilisk is the one of the Mandators is upgraded beyond the Ruusan limitations. The Admiralty won't like parting with her."

"Each of the seven dreadnoughts is under Kuat command. They don't have a say. Besides they have ships twice that size coming down the line."

"At least you're not asking for one of those," she sighed, "And what else? I know you want more."

"I taught you well," Drexel laughed, "I'll need Venators and Acclamators. We both know that Rothana won't sell us any of their equipment so I'd like the designers to modify the assault ships to accommodate some of the F-Line of Assault Dropships."

"Combat Bricks? Those things are rather expensive aren't they?"

"Can't take chances with the lives of my troops," he shrugged.

"Well, which ones?" Kuat asked, wanting specifics.

"The F6 infantry carrier and the F6V vehicle carrier. Both use the same parts, and our own ships have used the same storage collars on them as well as a proven safety and combat record."

"We've got plenty of those laying around in storage somewhere. That shouldn't be any issue whatsoever," she affirmed to him, and then something else came to mind, "Have you thought about uniforms? In case you didn't notice but none of us have the same basic uniform."

"I was thinking about that earlier, and something tells me our friends from Anaxes already have the right idea. Instead of looking to now, they're looking to the past."

"Anaxes?" Kuat questioned as she arched an eyebrow, "Oh boy, can't wait to see what they come up with."

6 Days Later

Training Camp Bravo-6, Carida

The shaking of the CR25 Troopship as it landed was the last sign that the fifty recruits aboard the ship had before there was a thud as it touched down. Aboard was a mishmash of recruits from across Taanab. There were city kids from the ports, farmers from the countryside, and everything in between.

Among them was Wyatt Lullian, an eighteen year old volunteer from Taanab. He'd been a ranch hand most of his life, using a slugthrower to fend off predators and thieves on a few occasions. But he'd experienced nothing close to combat before. However his immediate reaction was to volunteer for military service upon hearing of the outbreak of war. Unfortunately his first attempt had been an insult, he'd been told that he'd be placed in a support role in the navy as a cook.

After storming out he'd then heard of a new opportunity for volunteering in a new force being created for volunteer troops. He'd walked into the recruiting office, got medically evaluated, and signed up to serve in the Republic Volunteer Corps.

Now, he was about to start his first day of training after departing Taanab with fifty other Taanab natives and a few others from other worlds. He was standing up upon the order from the crew chief wearing a red, black, and yellow uniform with a red and yellow helmet and orange goggles. He thought it odd, having never seen such an outfit before. He was still wearing his civilian clothes, a worn leather jacket, white shirt, blue jeans, and boots.

He had a thin unshaven beard as well that he had been warned would be gone the moment he arrived for training, along with his hair. Although nothing could have prepared any of them for what they were going to encounter here upon arrival. The ship's bow ramp hissed as it began opening and the light of numerous flood lights flooded in, and so did the Drill Instructors.

"Get outta there meat! Move it! Move it!" the first armored man yelled fiercely as he entered, storming up the ramp as other white and red armored instructors stood at the bottom of the ramp and were awaiting them, also yelling loudly.

The young recruits shuffled out as quickly as possible, disoriented by their sudden confrontation. As they ran out, whoever was carrying a bag had it ripped away and were shoved forward into a grid of boot prints where they were forced into a formation. Around them they saw in the hot humid night that other CR20's were unloading their own cargoes of recruits. Everyone was yelling, the recruits were all disorientated, confused, and unsure of what to do aside from where they were supposed to go and do.

But quickly enough all of the troops were assembled into five company-sized formations in the area where two rows of ten ships had unloaded their cargoes. However, to get there, entire companies had been forced into pushup position at least a dozen times.

"Battalion! Left, face!" one of the officers yelled loudly.

The units turned accordingly, somewhat poorly, but they managed to get it right. And upon the orders to get moving forward they began marching. They all realized that they were on a landing platform that was in a basin, and that three other such basins were to their left, and as they walked up the ramp they saw that the other ships were beginning to lift off, moving into the air as other columns of several hundred recruits marched up and out. It was a rather poor attempt at marching in-step, and hardly a moment went by when the Drill Instructors weren't yelling for them to get in step.

Eventually the masses were marched to a large grass field surrounded by boxy buildings and covered by floodlights. There were floating cameras filming the occasion as a tall stand with a podium on it. Wyatt now saw just how many people were here, several thousand in fact. He recognized a handful of the people around him, but no one beyond whoever had been aboard the ship with him, and even then he only had one friend who he'd signed up with, Eva Quartin, the girl whose father owned a packing plant where he frequently had to drive livestock to slaughter. She was standing beside him at attention like him and everyone else.

None were wearing uniforms aside from the white and red armored instructors, who they now saw had helmets as well. These helmets had the look of a mix of a Mandalorian and Clone helmet. It had a black T-Visor, thicker than the Mandos or the Clone in the horizontal portion with the vertical portion having two small pieces of the black visor jutting out like a rectangle on either side until it came to a line shaped like a frown on someone's face, giving the wearer a grim appearance. Above the horizontal portion was a shallow brim that went out over the top of the visor and back down to protect from glare from the front and sides. This came back to connect with the helmet itself and the actual plate was colored the same red as a stripe running from the middle of the chin all the way up to the top of the head and back. This stripe ended at a black line running above the ears behind where the red brim ended.

The armor itself that these men wore was a very close match to the armor that the clones wore, but with a few slight differences in the shape of the shoulder pieces and the addition of two pads a foot long that draped from the belt on both hips with clips for secondary weapons or other equipment. There was also a much larger amount of paint and detail painted or molded in. Red stripes were on the edges and middle of the arm and leg plates. On the chest piece the borders of the armpits and bottom were red and a black, segmented, neck-guard draped down over the navel and around the collarbone to cover where the chest piece was connected to the back plate. The shoulders were cupped in a hook-shaped bowl shoulder pad and a full utility belt completed the package over a black undersuit. There were other such differences even among the troops, each had a Republic emblem on their right shoulder piece over the red stripe down the middle but each man had his own planet's image emblazoned on the left shoulder.

Some said Anaxes, some said Carida, a few even said Kuat or Coruscant. But Wyatt was relieved to know that these were not Clones training them, these were people, with lives, homes, and loved ones like him. They had something to fight for other than being bred for war. As they stood there they saw someone walk up to the podium wearing a double breasted black and red and yellow uniform and a red officers' cap with a disc on it. He didn't recognize him at all, and once more saw that the uniform was of an old design, looking like the ones used by the Republic a long, long time ago.

"Recruits, you have been gathered today because you are united in purpose," the man said aloud, his voice echoing thanks to the speakers to his left and right, "You have volunteered to fight for the Republic. If that is so, please raise your right hands."

The formations of recruits all did so, holding them up the same as he did, elbows at a right angle.

"Now repeat after me. I, state your name, do solemnly swear" he said, and was repeated word for word, aside from the names, "that I will show true faith to the Republic. I pledge to defend the Republic and its interests from all enemies who wish to destroy it, even it means my death. And that I will obey the orders of the supreme authority and those officers appointed over me."

With that he brought his hand down and placed both hands behind his back.

"Welcome to the army," Eva proudly said from next to him.

"Oh yeah," Wyatt grinned as he tried to keep quiet.

"Drill Instructors, the recruits are sworn to duty, training commences now."

With the announcement Wyatt and his comrades were ordered to fall out. Nearby were several buildings they were all forced to stand outside of as lines began being ordered inside. Wyatt waited at attention in dark of the humid night for his turn until an instructor ordered his unit inside. He was one of the first, and the first thing he did was pass through a scanner with his arms held out and then had a medical droid inject a set of steroids into his arm along with an ID tag into his neck. Moving to the next station he was sat down into a barber's chair and the automated clippers just went to town, buzzing off his whole head of hair and his beard. And once that was done he was jumped by an Instructor.

"Get up out of that chair! Get your ass in your uniform! Move!"

"Yes sir!" Wyatt responded, and then the DI went off.

"I am not a sir! I am a Non-Commissioned Officer! I, work for a living! You will refer to me as Drill Instructor!"

"Yes Drill Instructor!" Wyatt yelled in response.

With that he was ushered to a long table where he was ordered to grab a bag of equipment and uniforms. They were ordered to get into the mostly blue uniform with black boots. The uniform went on and then he was ushered into a barracks where he was pointed. Stowing the equipment he was given he now stood in the front of his bunk alongside Eva, who had stuck with him the whole time. The others, also stood side-by-side along the long barracks, amounting to a full platoon of forty-two people. They were missing their officer, but were about to meet him.

"Welcome to the Republic Volunteer Corps!" a voice bellowed out, and in walked a man in the same armor but his helmet was off, and he walked in amongst the unit, "You are hereby designated as the First Platoon of Echo Company, Third Battalion of the 25th Regiment of Volunteers in the 3rd Volunteer Legion. I am Lieutenant Yuno, your platoon leader, It is my job to keep you alive. But you will have to listen and obey the orders you are given. That starts now. Do you get me?"

"Yes sir!"

"Very well, get into your racks, get some sleep, because tomorrow we begin."

Well, that's the first chapter of my second attempt at this story. I've got a much better idea of what I'm planning on doing with this story as far character development, plot lines, etc. So let's see where this one goes shall we?

Next Chapter Preview: Inspections and impressions from a Jedi, but which one?