Chapter 54

The moment I walked through the doors to our makeshift command center, I noticed nothing but chaos. Rebel personnel were hurrying all over the place, most if not all of them calling out to other people requesting status reports on a certain unit, ETA on reinforcements and supplies, orders that would later go on to units on the front line, and requests for coordinates for potential targets for our fighters and bombers. Since there was a lot going on, I told my soldiers to patrol the perimeter and check up on the standard guards.

I make my way through the crowded room and finally spot Sabine standing with some field officers. A sight that I see so often that I'm sure I'm going to form a habit of casually strolling into some command center in search of Sabine even if she isn't there.

"The appearance of that Inquisitor tells us that Vader and even the Emperor are focusing on our fight here," I hear Sabine say. "We should be more cautious with our advance through the city."

"I agree. It's possible that we may face some traps laid by the Imperials as we get closer to the palace. Mines, hidden guns, ambushes, you name it. They'll get desperate," one of the officers says.

"I have reports of some civilians still trapped in their homes behind enemy lines as well," another officer reports.

"The Empire could use them as bargaining tools or a shield," I say then.

"Ezra!" Sabine exclaims. "How long have you been standing there?"

"Not long. Don't ask how I'm feeling, I just want to get on with the briefing," I reply, resting my hand over my abdomen where my now healed stab wound is.

Sabine frowns and turns to the officers. "Give us a moment," she says as she takes my arm and pulls me through the room and out the door. She tells the guards to leave as well and they do.

"What's wrong?" I ask her when we're alone.

"You're pushing yourself too hard," she says. "I know what you're going to say, too. I just... I know you think you can keep fighting and you're a big shot general in the Rebellion, but Ezra you have to think about this."

"Sabine, all I can think about is ending this fight as quickly as we can," I say.

"Sometimes quick isn't possible, Ezra. You're trying to move faster than we can handle. You're pushing yourself harder than you should be right now. You barely get any rest anymore and if I allow myself to be honest, it worries me."

"Sabine," I sigh, but she cuts me off.

"I know! You're going to tell me that you can't rest while everyone else fights, aren't you?"

She took the words right out of my mouth... and she knows it.

"We're at war, I know this is never easy and rest is hard to come by in a warzone, but even when we're not fighting a battle you act like everything's a battle," she continues. "It won't be crowded for long in there so will you please just take a step back and relax a little?"

"I like to lead from the front, you know this," I tell her softly.

"I do, but you jump straight into the fight when you're barely recovered from some injury," she says as she places her hand on my stomach. My face heats up a bit and I glance at our surroundings. To my relief, nobody's around.

"Ezra, please look at me," she says, resting her palm on my cheek. Her thumb brushes over my twin scars and her eyes are filled with concern.

I sigh and touch her hand. "You do realize the moment I hear something's going wrong on the front, I'm going to be right there."

She smiles and kisses me softly. "I would be surprised if you weren't. Besides, the plan was for you to be in the air, remember?"

"Well, plans change," I reply with a smirk. "It's easier for me to protect people when I'm right up front anyway."

Sabine rolls her eyes but smiles again. "That's what I love about you, Ezra. Always wanting to help." Before I could say anything to that, she speaks again. "But right now, you should help coordinate our forces from here."

"Where will you be?"

"I think you know the answer to that," she replies, winking right before she puts on her helmet.

"You're stealing all the fun, you know," I say, shaking my head and smiling.

"That's too bad," she replies. "Besides, I'm needed on the front right now anyway."

"I'll be here. Probably."

"Ha ha. If you do go somewhere else, let me know," she says. Without another word, she activates her jetpack and flies towards the front line. I turn around in time to see a couple of the Chancellor's Guard approaching me.

"General, the perimeter is secure," one of them reports.

"Good. Stand post at the entrance and keep tabs on our forces here. Have them check in every thirty minutes. If there's a problem, report it to me and I'll dispatch reinforcements if necessary."

"Yes sir!"

I enter the command center and return to the holotable. The two officers are still there staring at the map.

"Where's the Commander?" the first officer asks. I glance at his rank: a Lieutenant.

"She mentioned something about heading to the front earlier, remember?" the second officer, a Lieutenant Commander, replies.

"That's right. What's the status of our forces right now?" I say.

"Our right flank is secure as is our center. Both are strong and are expected to receive fresh reinforcements within the hour. Our left flank is holding but they've been halted by heavy Imperial resistance," the Lt. Commander reports.

That's where Sabine will be, then.

"What of those civilians I heard about earlier?"

"We just heard that the right flank just cleared several blocks and sent some of the civilians there to safety, but there's still a lot more further behind Imperial lines."

"Any idea as to why there are still civilians in the city?" I ask then.

"There are a number of theories," the Lt. Commander says. "Either they never got the chance to leave in time, or the Empire made it seem like everything was just fine and prevented people from leaving. A local spaceport we captured early in our invasion showed a lot of outbound travel and very few inbound, however, so it's possible they knew what was about to happen."

I focus on the holomap and my eyes narrow a little. They knew we were coming?


I remain silent as I study the map and the formations shown on it. Because of our ships in orbit, we're getting live feedback of troop movements. As of right now, there isn't much movement from either side, but a nagging feeling still tugs at my brain. My gaze keeps drifting over the left flank.

"What do we have for reserves?" I ask then.

"We have a battalion from the 220th back in fighting shape and are currently on stand by. The reinforcements currently heading to the front lines are from the remaining 101st battalion," the Lieutenant replies. "They are replacing some of your troops from the center and right flanks."

"I want two companies from the 220th to reinforce the left flank, with another two close behind. Something about this positioning feels odd."

"I agree," the Lt. Commander says. "I wanted to reinforce the left flank sooner, but they insisted they were fine."

"Well, if their commanding officer has a problem with these orders he can take it up with me directly," I reply.

"Understood. Shall I relay the information to the company commander on the left flank, then?"

"Bring him up on the holo," I say.

The Lt. Commander nods and presses a couple buttons on the table's console. About a minute later, an officer appears on the holotable.

"Lt. Commander," he begins. "What can I do for you?"

"What's the status of your forces, captain?"

"We're holding just fine," the captain replies as an explosion erupts from somewhere around his area. He ducks his head a little and looks over his shoulder, shouting at his men to keep firing. He then turns back to the Lt. Commander. "The Imperials are putting up one hell of a fight, but they won't break us."

"We're sending two companies your way to reinforce you. I hope you can maintain control of that area for another fifteen minutes."

"Sir, we didn't request reinforcements. My men and I have everything under control," he protests.

"These are orders directly from the battlefield commander, captain. This is non negotiable. We cannot risk your line failing. Commander Wren should be on her way to you now as well."

"The Commander is here further down the line from me. She gave orders to hold the line here until the fighting is light enough to advance."

"Which is precisely why we're sending reinforcements," the Lt. Commander says firmly.

"Yes sir. Who are we expecting?"

"The 220th is on their way. They're rested and ready to get back to the fight, but don't have your soldiers pull back. We'll need all of them in the fight."


An distant explosion marks the end of the call and I look over at the Lieutenant. "What are they facing on the left flank?"

"Mostly the standard urban stormtroopers but there is some artillery behind their line. We have air support on standby for whoever needs it, though to my knowledge they haven't made a call for it yet."

"Either that captain is putting his men in danger or there's a reason he hasn't called for it," I say, thinking out loud.

"Those civilians we mentioned from the right flank is believed to stretch all over the area behind the Imperial line. He's probably being cautious."

"I hate to say it, but he'd be too cautious," I say.

"They have means to take out armor and artillery, sir," the Lt. Commander says. "It would be more accurate than our bombers in this fight."

"They won't be able to reach that artillery. Get me the Resolute."

"Right away, sir!"

The Lieutenant types on a console and the admiral on the Resolute appears a minute later.

"General," he says in greeting.

"Admiral, what's the status of the fleet?"

"It's quiet up here for right now, but there have been skirmishes from the remaining Imperial ships."

"Lieutenant, do we have known coordinates of the enemy artillery?"

"Not exactly."


"Our left flank is under heavy fighting and they're facing artillery. I'm asking if you can survey the area and execute a precision orbital strike against them."

"I'll see what we can do. Stand by."

The blue figure disappears for several minutes and my commlink on my wrist starts beeping. I tap the button and lift my wrist.

"Bridger here."

"Ezra, we're taking a lot of heavy fire on the left flank. I can't reach our air support."

"I'm waiting on a reply from the admiral in orbit. We're seeing about a precision orbital strike on enemy artillery positions but we still have yet to confirm their location."

"We can't see them from here and it's too dangerous for me to fly around to look. I can hear an AT-AT, too, but I don't have visual on that either."

"There's nothing we can do against their AT-ATs," the Lieutenant says.

"Only our own walkers can match them, but we don't have any on the left flank," the Lt. Commander says.

"Karabast. Sabine, I'm going to disobey your request and make my way there."


"There's no time to argue. I'll see you soon." I end the call and look to the Lt. Commander. "Contact me the moment we have a response from our fleet."

"Yes sir!"

I turn and walk out of the command center, passed the two gold-striped guards. I point to them and wave them after me. "Sergeant, tell your men to move out and follow me. We're going to reinforce the left flank."

"Yes sir."

I find a speeder bike and hop on. The sergeant starts barking orders into his commlink as I take off for the flank.


Wrecked vehicles and buildings turn into a blur as I speed towards the left flank and before I know it, I can see the line ahead of me. I slow to a stop a kilometer from the line and look through my electrobinoculars to inspect the condition of my forces. The 220th has already arrived but they're still fighting with everything to hold back the Imperials. Behind the Imperial line, I spot the AT-AT Sabine told me about. If it reaches our line, there's no holding it. The flank will cave.

The sound of several speeder bikes surround me and I look to see the sergeant to my right.

"Looks like hell over there, sir," the sergeant says.

"It doesn't look good," I say in grim agreement.

"What are our orders?"

I look at the Imperial line a little longer and spot just behind our lines, a portion of a destroyed building forms a sort of ramp.

"Everybody charge the lines. Force them back as much as you can but do not go so far as to get overwhelmed by enemy fire. I want people in the buildings and rooftops. Clear the buildings and divert their attention from our main line. I'll take out that AT-AT."

"Yes sir!"

"On me!" I call out as I tuck the binoculars into their bag and speed towards the line. My whole company of Guardsmen follow close behind. I activate my comms.

"Sabine, split your lines open now!"


"Just do it!"

I watch as the rebel line slowly starts to split open, soldiers running to the right or left. In front of them, the stormtroopers must've thought they were breaking the line and they surge forward. I start firing the laser cannons on the speeder and everyone around me follows my example, forming a devastating wall of fire into the Imperial forces.

I signal the sergeant to keep moving forward and I veer off to the right and line up with the building. Pushing the engines to their max, I ramp off the wall of the building, scraping the bottom of the speeder in the process, and soar towards the enemy walker. Its head turns towards me and I jump off my speeder just before its laser cannons could vaporize it. I draw my lightsaber and slice through the front left leg of the walker and hit the ground, rolling to my feet and leap towards the rear right leg, slicing that one off as well. After landing on the ground again, I turn and use the Force to shove the walker over.

"Hold it right there, Jedi!"

I look over my shoulder and see several dozen stormtroopers aiming their blasters at me. I don't care if they're going to shoot or take me prisoner. I'm not going to give them a chance to take me down again. Focusing on the Force, I jump into the air and do a backflip onto a balcony. The troopers start shooting at me and I go on defense, blocking and deflecting every blaster bolt they send at me.

It doesn't take long for my reinforcements to arrive as two dozen speeders tear through the remaining stormtroopers, their laser cannons firing further down the street at more advancing imperial soldiers. Below me, the Guard sergeant stops his speeder and looks up to me. I jump down from the balcony to meet him.

"Sergeant, form your bikes into a new line at the end of this block." He nods and continues ahead while I turn towards my troops behind me. "Everybody else, move up!"

There's a loud cry from my soldiers and they charge towards a newly formed line of speeder bikes. My Guardsmen have already dismounted and started shooting into the fresh stormtroopers with many of my own troopers slipping into buildings to flank the enemy. The sound of a jetpack catches my attention and I look to my right just as Sabine lands next to me.

"Quite the entrance you made, Ez," she says. "Would've been nice to know the plan."

"There wasn't much of a plan," I admit. "I didn't have time to think of one."

"Well do you have one now?"

"Keep a steady advance with the speeders behind us. If we hit another patch of heavy resistance we'll use the bikes as cover as well as the buildings."

"Those bikes won't last too long under sustained fire, you know," Sabine says.

"I know, but they'll do for now. Come on, let's finish this battle, then we'll think of something better."


{Two hours later}

"All lines are quiet, sir. It would appear the Imperials have withdrawn towards the palace," the sergeant Guardsman reports. "Our scouts have located several locations where they've entrenched themselves spanning several blocks around the palace. We've also managed to take most of their artillery in the charge but we expect they still have mortars."

"They've formed a defensive perimeter. They're not making any moves to try to push us out anymore?"

"Well, they have been losing ground for days now," Sabine says. "They haven't been able to get reinforcements thanks to our own blockade while we've been receiving a steady stream of fresh troops and supplies, but even those won't last forever. We need to capture the palace quickly while we still have the advantage."

"I agree, but we also can't get careless. We don't force our soldiers into a slaughter like the Empire would," I say. Although it happens anyway. Such is the price of war.

"What do you suggest then, general?" Sabine asks me.

"I want our scouts to keep watching their lines. I want troop movements, guard rotations, the strength of their lines, everything. If they're strong in one flank, they should be weak in another."

"They must've thought that we were weak on this flank before," Sabine says. "Though we were starting to fall apart until you arrived."

"The right flank has been seeing a lot of heavy fighting as well. We can't keep our lines strong for very long. Eventually, one of our flanks will collapse if we don't act fast."

"The center was reinforced with fresh tanks and walkers, too," the sergeant says. "Where would you want them?"

"That depends on what they have," I say.

"There are six AT-AV walkers, eight AT-BW walkers, ten TX-130 tanks, and four new tanks that I honestly never knew we had before," the sergeant replies.

I look at Sabine, who looks as confused as I feel. "New tanks? I wasn't aware of anything new."

"What are these new tanks, sergeant?" Sabine asks.

"Let me see," he says, looking at a datapad. "They call it the All Terrain Tactical Crawler. It's similar in design to the AT-TE, but it has tracks instead of legs."

"So it's a tracked tank?" Sabine asks, sounding very interested in the new tank.

"Apparently, yes. All I know is those four tanks are currently around the airfield we set up outside the city awaiting orders."

"Do we have the schematics for it?" I ask him.

"I don't have them, but I would imagine the admiral aboard the Resolute might."

"Very well. When you get the chance, tell him to contact me. For now, go check the perimeter. Make sure everybody is restocked with ammunition and supplies. Get yourself something to eat while you're at it."

"Yes sir. Thank you, sir," the sergeant says. He salutes me before leaving the damaged, yet still mostly intact building that Sabine and I have been setting up to be our command post.

Once the sergeant was gone, I turn to Sabine's smiling face. "So you didn't know about the new tank?"

"Nope," she replies. "But I'm anxious to see it. We don't see many tracked vehicles very often."

"No we don't," I say in agreement. "But we can't let this distract us from our assault."

"I know, you don't have to explain it to me," she replies. "Now, about those walkers we do have at the center?"

"Oh right," I say, remembering the sergeant mentioned they're awaiting orders. "We can't split them all up and reinforce everything at once."

"Right. It won't do us any good."

We could keep the walkers in the center to prevent the Empire from potentially splitting our line in two, but if one of our flanks start to collapse they'll need to be reinforced. Moving those walkers from the center to the failing line would help strengthen and hold that line, but also weaken the center.

Six AT-AV, eight AT-BW, and ten TX-130 saber tanks. Those four AT-TC tanks will stay at the airfield and protect it. We haven't seen much Imperial armor on this flank so our best bet right now would be to move a few of our TX-130s here. Two wouldn't be a bad start.

"The new AT-TC," I say, beginning to repeat my thoughts to Sabine. "They should stay at the airfield. We have a good number of walkers and tanks at our center so we can move a few of them to either flank. I'm thinking two TX-130s should make their way here and if we need more support we can call in another two."

"And if we encounter any Imperial armor?" Sabine asks.

"Then we'll have one AT-AV further behind our line, assuming if it's an AT-AT or AT-ST," I reply. "If it's one of their lighter armored tanks, the TX-130 should be able to handle it, am I correct?"

"That's right. Those modifications Tenith made to the original design, although risky, have proven to be effective," Sabine replies.

Those risky modifications are mostly just taking modern armor plating and weapon systems and installing them on the old tank, but the real risk was attempting to update the software needed to run the new modules effectively, including the power core. Things could've exploded and almost did when the new cannons suddenly went active when an engineer accidentally plugged a live cable into the weapons panel instead of the repulsorlift and shot a decent size hole in the wall of the vehicle bay. He was lucky the tank wasn't facing the wall leading outside the station and even more lucky nobody got seriously hurt.

"If anything, we shouldn't need the AT-AV for the AT-STs," Sabine says then. "Even against the AT-ATs, a few well placed shots to the knees will bring it down."

"That's good to hear. Hopefully we won't need to use the AT-AV then. Anyway, we're bringing one AT-AV and two TX-130s here to the left flank. I want one AT-BW and two TX-130s on the right flank. The rest of the tanks will remain at the center as reserve."

"Understood," Sabine says. "I'll relay your orders to the center, then. Unless there's more?"

"That's it for now," I reply.

Sabine nods at me and steps out of the room while I look at a hologram of the battlefield from a small holotable that was just set up.


A/N: I will admit this chapter was technically finished for a long time, but just needed some finishing touches. I haven't had much time for writing since August when I went back to school and started a new job, but I never forgot about any of my stories. It's still difficult to know where I'm leading new chapters... Whoever wins the battle for Naboo is still a mystery even to me. As always I will write as often as I can manage and update stories as soon as possible. The next Through Eyes of Green and Grey chapter is in the works and it won't be long before the next chapter of Embers of the Republic gets started as well. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!