Beta: A huge thank you to cariel for beta reading this for me and make it all pro! =D
Author's notes: My apology for any and all inaccuracies pertaining to Asajj's past. I have no access to the comics so what little I could collect about it was found on the Wookie. Because it is written from her perspective (and the fact her parents died when she was a child) it is a bit skewed and differentiates from the actual events.
The reference to the tattoos (marking slaughter of warlords) is canon, though the matter of who gave them to her and why is not. I'm going with the idea that they were given to her from her days with her former master Ky Narec.
Asajj knew better than to question how the clone sergeant found his way to her. The clone soldier's skills surpassed the simple programs of the droids that served under her. It did not amuse her to know that he had risked his position as well as his life to strike this deal.
Unlike the man before her, Asajj had orders and she knew better than to question them.
"My superiors said you had some information to share with me," she began.
Playing the role of intermediary was not a position she enjoyed. Her master, Count Dooku, enjoyed it even less which was why she was here. It would be only later that she would discover that the clone soldier had specifically requested the audience of Dooku's assassin.
"I have enough information that can ensure you victory on Christophsis. However, only after my terms are met."
"Of course sergeant-" she began.
"The name's Slick." The tone of his voice left no doubt her in mind that he was disgusted at the use of his title.
Asajj held her tongue and reminded herself that she had her orders. It took all her self-control not to put him in his place to show that she was ultimately in charge. Instead, she nodded, keeping her expression stoic if not pensive.
Around them, the night air sung with life while the undercurrent of death revealed itself in the scent of rotting leaves. It should have soothed her; instead, it made her feel almost weary.
"State your terms, Slick."
The clone sergeant did not hesitate to state his business. "I have no interest in your credits. What I want are contacts that can provide safe passage off Coruscant, coordinates to a world where one can receive political asylum, and a functioning stealth ship."
This was not the expected response. She raised a brow and snorted in reply, "This is your great escape plan?"
Slick's expression remained stoic, revealing none of the annoyance that poured from his emotions. "I want safe passage off Coruscant, not only for myself, but for my brothers as well."
A naïve idealist, even better.
She knew what it meant to be a slave, to have to fight for one's freedom. Her earliest memories were of her parents dying at the hands of warlords. It had been their hopes that their only daughter, like so many other innocents, would never know the life they had to live.
Years later Asajj decided to finish what her parents had started. The tattoos that adorned her flesh were silent reminders of her dream to free her people from the suffocating grip of the warlords. They were also symbols of honour given to her by the chieftains she had freed. Each strike, each mark represented a warlord she had slain. Though she would never admit it, Asajj knew what it meant to be an idealist, to sacrifice it all for a dream, one that may never be. Harsh reality forced her to become both a realist and a cynic.
"That is a noble plan sergeant but how do you plan to pay for the fake IDs? Never mind food, fuel, and basic supplies? You don't even have two credits to your name."
Slick fell silent, his cheeks warming marking the obvious fact he did not consider this factor. He did not argue the matter further.
Asajj knew he would not; the clone soldier had little if any other option available to him. She gave him the first half of the payment. The remainder would be given after the information was proven accurate. The credits were more than enough to cover his demands and properly begin a new life.
Torn between disgust and desperation, the clone soldier reluctantly accepted the payment.
"Now that's settled, what do you have for us?" Asajj wondered what this man knew that made him worth so much.
The discussion that followed revealed that Slick was worth every credit given and more. Not only did the sergeant have access to extremely classified information, the man was also skilled with infiltrating high-level security programs. If what he said was the truth, it would mean that he could provide her masters with everything they required and so much more. It was not long before everything was cleared, leaving Asajj confident with the results.
"You understand that if your position should become compromised, you will be on your own."
Slick's stern look and simple nod confirmed that he was more than aware of the risks involved.
Asajj imagined that he was used to being on his own. Clones were in truth nothing more than glorified cannon fodder. It reminded her of all the reasons why she was grateful to be serving the Separatists over the Republic. At least they did not breed flesh to spill blood.
With the information, comm channels were exchanged, details were worked out, and plans were set in motion. Asajj was confident that her master would be pleased as well as his superior, Lord Sidious.
The moons were high in the night sky now and the air was rapidly cooling. With their business now concluded, there was no reason for either of them to remain. Yet a small voice deep within whispered that there was something more.
"Are we finished?" Slick's voice pulled her from her thoughts.
Asajj silently nodded in response. Without another word, Asajj, turned to walk away. She barely reached the edges of the forest clearing when she paused in mid-step. Turning back, she caught the sergeant making his way further into the jungle. She did not need to ask why he was taking the long way back to his ship.
Slick was both highly skilled and respected, even amongst her colleagues. His selfless acts of bravery in battle ensured that his name preceded him. Yet their brief discussion revealed another part of him that Asajj had not anticipated. His naïve hopes for the future and a life beyond the war reminded her of the innocence one saw in younglings.
It also reminded her of the other young soldiers, the padawans who now fought in the war. The Rattataki warrior wondered how many more there were out there like him. Trapped, desperate, and out of options. The thought was promptly buried but not before she realized how much it mirrored her own situation.
The man paused and glanced back at Asajj. His expression was guarded and his fingers wrapped around the gun he carried on his hip.
"When the time comes, remember this-" she began.
The first series of numbers were coordinates to a neutral world. The second set of numbers was the link to a private comm channel of a contact that promised to get her out when she had enough of the war. The last sets of digits were the security code to a safe house where she was told she could reside until the dust settled. She could not say why she gave the clone her most guarded secret, nor could she explain to him what it meant. What she did know was that she still had work to do, skills to learn and an act of righteous vengeance to fulfil. The war was not over for her yet, but clearly it was for him.
Holding her gaze, Slick quietly recited the numbers she had given, putting it all to memory. With a hint of a smile and a sincere word of gratitude, he disappeared into the shadows of the jungle.
Little did Asajj know that the numbers she shared would become a sanctuary for thousands of innocents seeking refuge from a tyrannical Empire. Nor could she have imagined that one day she would join them.