Note: Sorry guys! Been a bit late aye? Haha My bad, I promise I'll try have the next one done soon! I'm totally back in my groove! YAY! Sachariah, I hope you enjoy. Because your too kind with your words of kindness! Lol xx
Rex stared out the window again watching the colours of the lights whizzing past him contrasting brightly against the dark night. The atmosphere in the speeder was awkward to say the least; he looked ahead noticing Niala Hall was close, Thank Shab.
"Comm still working?" He asked Ahsoka sitting quietly next to him to break the silence.
He shuffled again. "Don't worry, he'll be fine."
Ahsoka stared out the window intently, "I know," She slumped into her chair, "I'm more concerned about us."
"Because I'm a clone? Half the senators have never laid eyes on one of us, I'll be fine."
"No. Because I don't think those criminals who nearly knocked us out of the sky were what we thought."
Rex looked at Ahsoka, trying to gage some kind of reaction from her, some kind of information, when Echo's voice came from the front. "Entering Niala Hall now sir."
He looked up at Echo and nodded, the hall was incredible, the gardens out the front artificial but beautiful lit up with soft lights that added the high class stature of the incredible building. All occupants of the speeder memorised the front layout for future reference. As the speeder pulled up to the grand door, Rex exited and walked around to open Ahsoka's door.
"Sepies?" He asked her in a low tone as she eased out of the speeder gracefully.
"Possibly." She gave a curt nod and walked past him toward the door.
Rex closed the door behind her. Excellent He sighed and followed her up the burgundy carpet to give her his arm. Time to look the part Rex ol' boy. They slowly walked up to the doorman, an old man with shinning silver hair.
"A most good evening to yourself Sir," the doorman bowed to Rex, then turned to Ahsoka, "And Sir's madam. Welcome to the 250th Antei Satii ball. May I have your names."
Rex straightened up and smiled at the doorman, it was now time for the fake façade that would be 'Anakin Skywalker' to appear.
"Anakin Skywalker" he gave a small smile and took Ahsoka's hand, "And this is Miss Tano."
The doorman scanned through his data pad and gave a courteous nod and bow in response. "You are free to go in. Enjoy your night Sir." he bowed at Ahsoka, "And madam."
They began to make their way to the door, breathing a sigh of relief, until the doorman's voice flew back at them.
"Please excuse me for moment." Ahsoka gripped Rex's arm tightly, "Skywalker? As in Anakin Skywalker the Jedi?"
Rex panicked, this wasn't something they wanted reaching the ears of Adabilla, but this simple doorman wouldn't be a threat right? Rex turned around and smiled.
"Pardon my asking Sir, but what business does an acclaimed Jedi like you have at a Senator's ball?"
"I see." The doorman bowed politely before resuming his post. The pair walked through the grand glass doors into the entrance foyer to the hall; they both prepared themselves for the people they were to become tonight, snobby senators with too much money and too much time. Rex motioned his arm for Ahsoka to take so they could enter the famous hall and begin their mission.
The two stood there in awe at the structure inside, Niala hall looked amazing from the outside, but on the inside it was just simply incredible. The hall was a series of open rooms that catered for both privacy and publicity at the same time, circular tiers defined the different levels of the room, large glass windows that stood tall to the ceiling and exposed the most spectacular view of Coruscant, with balconies protruding from every grand doorway around the room. There were hundreds of stunning flowers from various planets arranged beautifully and spread around the room, creating such a natural and exclusive atmosphere.
However, the most central and alluring feature of all was the stunning water feature in the centre of the main room, it stood like a cylindric rush of water that seemed to have no end, it illuminated itself with a soft golden glow, brightening the flowers that decorated themselves around it. To Rex it seemed like an over kill, he didn't want to think about the astronomical amounts of credits spent on making tonight look 'good'.
"Beautiful." was all the two could breath in unison as they took in the sight and atmosphere of the hall, it was simply incredible.
Ahsoka leaned right and muttered to Rex, "Where do you suggest we begin?"
"I think our best move is to first find Senator Amidala, confirm we're here, and then it would be wise to begin carrying out our plan." He scanned the room, taking in the layout of the hall, processing and matching the map Ahsoka had acquired for study before the mission and filling in the gaps with the real visual in his mind.
"Excellent idea," Ahsoka smiled before adding, "milord."
Rex chuckled and straightened up, if that was possible the man had perfect posture. "I quite like the sound of that, gives me class."
Ahsoka rolled her eyes. "Gives you ego."
They made their way around the grand water feature nodding curteously at the dignitaries that passed them, feigning respect for those who they ultimately despise. It was actually more difficult than Rex was expecting to find the senator, his anticipation would spike at the sight of a human female sporting an elaborate brunette hairdo, only to be mislead in disappointment as they approached each stranger. Finally, Rex could hear the call of Ahsoka's name from a familiar voice; the pair turned and greeted their approaching ally. The captain noted the other trio that was in toe behind the senator.
Padme looked at Rex with confusion as she approached, he was prepared with an elucidation for the reason of him in fact not being the man she was expecting to see tonight, however he did not prepare one in the event there were 'extras' involved.
"Ahsoka. It is good to see you." Padme turned to Rex, he briefly noticed her slight frown at the sight of him. To his relief, Ahsoka obviously had worked it out.
"And yourself senator, it's been too long." Rex was surprised at the established formality she had adopted in the span of at least five minutes, he let her continue, unsure how she was going to approach the issue only the three of them out of the now group of six were tense of. "You remember Anakin of course." She smiled.
"Yes, of course." Padme acknowledged Rex with a warm smile, then turning to the three approaching dignitaries behind her, she first introduced two very 'sheltered',(as Rex would describe them) male humans. "I would like you both to meet Del Ballantine and Tallin Gouldur, both Republic treasurers." Padme then turned to the woman standing among them, "And this is Matsu Satore, the new Head of Indigenous relations on Tei'yamatii."
Both Rex and Ahsoka greeted the trio accordingly, although they possessed little interest about who these people were and what position they held, nevertheless courteously was a given.
"It's a pleasure gentleman, and ma'am." Rex shook the hands of each of the three guests, receiving astounded, but subtle, looks from the two women standing beside him. I'm sure I look like quite the idiot, this isn't even me, but I'm not supposed to be me. Am I overdoing it?
The man that was Goulder acknowledged Rex first, "It is a pleasure, uh, Skywalker is it?" Rex gave an affirmative nod to the man.
"Skywalker? The Jedi?" It was now Ballantine speaking.
Rex could see the slightly nervous glances he received from the two women, but skillfully countered a satisfying, -well what he thought to be satisfying-, lie. "I assure you I am no Jedi, sir. You must have me confused with General Harkin, who is an acclaimed Jedi himself."
Ballantine considered Rex's words, with slight confusion; the Captain offered further clarification to the lie, finding the man's puzzlement and misplacement rather humorous. "It is a common mistake made by many; I suffer no offense." Rex looked in relief as Ballantine seemed satisfied with the lie. No risk blowing our little veneer.
"Yes, well, very good." Rex inwardly huffed at the man's held pride.
"I am curious as to the roles both of you play in the government chain." The small group turned their attention to Satore, the woman was asking out of pure innocent curiosity when meeting someone new that one knew nothing of. Rex had to admit that he did not possess a prepared answer for this one, and from the lack of explanation from Ahsoka, he figured she didn't either. He confidently laid his trust in Padme, who as expected rose to the query with smooth, unwavering confidence.
"Anakin is representing our royal finance sector tonight, as Ailion couldn't make it due to illness, this is his partner Ahsoka Tano." Padme gestured toward the two, who stood very uneasy in their revealed bogus façades.
"Ah! Most excellent!" Goulder seemed delighted that his area of expertise was now being discussed, "I don't mean to mix work with pleasure, but I must ask, do you think it's wise to agree to the nominal 160 billion credit ten year revenue hike instead of the partial or complete repeal of the war tax cuts?" he asked good naturedly.
Rex could feel the tension, knowing what was racing through the minds of Padme and the Commander, but he just smiled knowingly, I'm sure, no positive; they believe I won't be able to answer this. It is definitely my chance to prove to them both that clones are more than just 'mindless' soldiers, well most of us. Rex in fact did know exactly what to say to this man inquiring about the actions of those in his fake profession, Rex read the holonet, kept up to date with news and current affairs, he always believed it was in his right to understand what he was fighting to save, what his brothers were dying to protect, and often Rex didn't like it, but it was a part of democracy. He had a vague idea in what to respond with to satisfy this man, and he was more than eager to share his views, it was rather refreshing to be able to have well respected people hear his opinion, a much more exciting conversation about politics with politicians than with fellow clones who most of the time thought the captain was 'too attuned' was rather exciting.
"I am afraid I do only work in publicity," Rex smirked in what he described 'satisfaction' as both Ahsoka and Padme's eyes snapped toward him, he continued confidently, "However, we are currently negotiating a deal that consists entirely of spending cuts, leaving ourselves the flexibility to use the cancellation of the war tax cuts as leverage."
"Well, yes that does make sense. I do hope for a positive outcome." Goulder nodded in satisfaction with the answer, oblivious to the Togruta standing beside him staring in shock at Rex. "So your expertise is in war tax? Tell me, what is your outlook on the financial situation regarding supply and, well primarily, weapon expense for the Republic troopers?"
Rex's smile grew even wider; this is was just his kind of conversation. Perfect "You are talking to the right man, this is certainly my particular area of interest and expertise."
Ahsoka couldn't believe what she was hearing, Rex, was currently discussing politics in the most calm and knowledgeable way, and everything he was saying made perfect sense. Rex. Captain Rex. Flinching slightly at her thoughts, A Clone!. Ahsoka was impressed to say the least, she never knew this side of him, or his apparent interest in this, and she would have to confront him about this sometime.
Ahsoka strategically took this time to break away and explain the situation to Padme, she politely cut into the conversation between the three men, still quite shocked at Rex.
"Please, excuse us gentlemen. Senator Amidala and myself will return with some drinks in a moment." She excused herself and the senator, noticing Padme was quick to catch on. The men just brushed them off still deeply immersed in discussion, Rex leading in confidence.
The two women stood away from the group watching them talk, Padme crinkled her nose in thought then looked at the young girl next to her, "That, Is very impressive."
"I, agree." Ahsoka was just as baffled as Padme at the sight before her, but found it a rather refreshing and unique scene. The Jedi smiled at her most trusted colleague expressing his personal opinions with men that he would have never had the opportunity to express to, given his status as a clone. Ahsoka felt a slight pang of heartache at the scene, knowing that those men he was talking to, accepting him as one of their own, probably didn't even know what a clone looked like, given that they were even talking to Rex proved that. He is right, they have never even seen a clone. Ahsoka thought that was wrong, how could anyone think that clones were, well, clones. Copies of a man? No. They weren't copies, they were individuals and you only had to see the scene before her to understand that. Ahsoka hadn't realized she had been clenching her fists, when Padme gently touched her arm, pulling her attention from Rex.
"Why is he here?" Padme saw the flash of annoyance on the young girls face, she remembered Anakin's discussion on Ahsoka's attachment to the clones and hurriedly continued, "I mean to say, where's Anakin?"
"Uh, there was a, situation. He's fine, I think." Ahsoka noted Padme's rising concern, "A few crims just decided they wanted to interrupt smooth operations is all, nothing too serious, Master is just, er, not available right now."
"Isn't it a greater risk by having him, I mean, Rex here?"
"No." Ahsoka discreetly gestured toward the group deeply confounded in Rex's words, she huffed in annoyance, "They don't even know. As much as it doesn't seem beneficial to your knowledge senator, but I can confidently go as far as to say your most likely one of- no, only senator, yet alone civilians that could identify a clone."
Padme didn't respond, she just looked at the girl. Ahsoka wasn't sure if she had offended or enlightened the senator. Was it wrong that right now she didn't really care? The answer would most likely be yes, but she couldn't help it. However, Ahsoka was surprised when Padme seemed to prove she was wrong.
"Yes, I take comfort in that knowledge." She smiled. "So, you have a vague plan I hope?"
"Yes. We have back up en route after they take, Master back to medical." Ahsoka casually glanced at the waiter that walked past, and self consciously lowered her voice, "We can't risk going in until we have that back up, we don't know what to expect as of yet, we're still blind."
Padme nodded understanding, she straightened up and eyed the approaching waiter thoughtfully, and the man looked rather rugged and seemed far too interested in Ahsoka. He approached and lowered the tray of drinks to the two women, both politely grabbing the promised drinks to their companions. The waiter sauntered off, Padme turned to Ahsoka who was also eying the mysterious man thoughtfully. The young girl grinned and winked at Padme, the older woman chuckled as she watched Ahsoka gestured toward her hips and mouth 'must be the dress' as they approached their previous party. Padme spared a glance over at the male waiter they had just collected their drinks from; she disregarded the nagging feeling that was present at the thought of him.
Ahsoka handed Rex a glass of some kind of ale, noticing his quick glance at her own glass. She didn't miss the slight frown then breath of relief from him at the lack of intoxicant in her own drink. She brought the glass to her lips smiling at his protectiveness; it was certainly admired, if not adored. Whoa, since when do you 'adore' gestures like this, by… men. It troubled her that she allowed herself to be satisfied with that protectiveness he so often displayed.
Ahsoka reluctantly turned her attention back to Padme and her attempt to usher their 'extra load' forward so her and Rex could begin some kind of progress.
"Gentlemen, there is another group of dignitaries I'd like to introduce to you, if you would please follow me." Ahsoka smirked, Padme was all charm.
"Ah yes, of course." Ballantine nodded at Rex, shaking his hand. "You have rather very focused and appealing thoughts and ideas on this topic that I would love to see put into notion, Mr Skywalker. Please, I would love for you to push these further, look me up when you are ready to do that and you will have my full support."
"Thank you Sir." Rex nodded, Ahsoka relaxed at the familiarity in that saying from Rex, he was still there, the one she knew… and preferred. She nodded and shook hands out of respect and bid farewell to the group before turning to Rex and sighing casually.
"Well, alone at last!" She joked. She looked up at Rex who stared after the group, his face in a mask of thought.
"That- That was incredible, Si- Ahsoka!" His face lit up as he continued, it looked rather adorable… there was that word again, why? Ahsoka lightly took a step to the side creating the tinniest, amount of distance between the two of them suddenly feeling too close. "They listened to every word! Did you hear what he said? I had no idea that my ideas, my opinions, were so, uh, inspiring."
"It was very impressive, Anakin. I never knew you had such a strong interest in politics."
"Yeah, well, got to have a hobby right?" He gave a small grin that made a certain word push itself into Ahsoka's mind again; before she could elaborate on it he was back to business. "What was Amidalla's reaction?"
"Good, actually better than expected. I've briefly outlined what happened, also giving her some guide to our 'arrange', she can be expected to follow."
Rex nodded, satisfied with her answer. Things were going good, according to plan (as best they could).
Rex's attention was caught by the deep beat of the music filling the room; he looked toward the source ahead of them noticing an individual on the stage singing in a very exotic way. He noticed it was a male Twi'lek, but Rex noticed he didn't seem to present himself in a very masculine way, it was rather obvious, the outfit he wore and movements gave that away.
"That performer is male." Rex stated, unaware how to explain his question.
Ahsoka smirked, "Very observant."
"I mean, he's male. But he acts in a feminine way." Rex cocked his head to Ahsoka, his curious gaze expecting, patiently, an unasked explanation.
"Yes, he is gay."
"Gay?" Rex turned his gaze back toward the stage, "Do you mean the urban term to describe a being that is attracted to other beings of the same gender?"
Ahsoka broke into laughter, resting her hand on his forearm for support as her body swayed out of balance at her glee. Rex found her sudden outburst at his statement curious and rather satisfying at the same time, he may not understand why she found the recounted definition of the urban term funny and produce fits of giggles from her, but he did know he found it rather… adorable. He watched as her cheeks flushed purple as she giggled, and attempted to gather more air in between each fit.
"Yes," she chuckled, her laughter calming down, "The very one."
"Oh, I see."
Rex seemed satisfied with his response, and his curiosity about the man had been filled. He didn't find the 'gay' twi'lek offensive in any way, he noticed in reading the holonet that many beings did find this kind of 'lifestyle' offensive, and some he read had even described it as 'wrong'. Rex found he didn't mind, or really care for the twi'leks sexuality; frankly it didn't concern him at all, so he saw no problem in it.
"A few of the senators have similar 'views' and, support those views and his lifestyle. He was invited as a special guest, as well as guest entertainment. He is rather good, in my opinion. His music is very catchy." Ahsoka hummed along to the song being played. Rex listened and understood what she meant, the soft beat and the lyrics of forbidden love seemed so smooth and … fitting.
Rex felt a feint click in his ear as he recognized the sound of his hidden communicator acting lively, immediately he acknowledged it as contact from the outside. Ahsoka perked up as she too felt the slight hum, from the incoming connection in her own comm. She turned to face Rex, engaging their contact,
"Sir." Echo's voice crackled in their audio, "Got a minute?"
"Go ahead, brother."