Stormtrooper TK-4110 sighed. For the last five hours, he had stood guard at weapons depo 1456 on Tatooine, waiting for his relief.
He was a Fett Clone, one of very few left outside of the 501st. More than once, he had tried to transfer, but the elites wouldn't have him. He didn't know what he had done wrong, but oh well. Nothing to be done.
He had heard Stormtroopers complain about their jobs before, and not known why. Many of them got action that he would never see, worlds of wonder and splendour to shoot (he smiled inwardly, remembering the brief action he had seen in the Clone Wars). Saying that, many of those were recruits not Clones.
Recruits were lazy, cowardly, not dedicated to battle like Clones were. Clones were Iwarriors/I, always had been, always would be.
Just as he thought this, the door to depo 1456 opened: but it wasn't a Stormtrooper who entered, but a tall, robed figure. The robes were white as a Kamino corridor, flowing as the figure marched into the depo, dust barely touching the hems.
Those robes were familiar...
A lightsabre ignited, an azure beam that illuminating the man under the hood: handsome, red hair and light stubble, young.
"Halt, Jedi traitor," TK-4110 said, aiming at him. Jedi had betrayed the Republic. They were the lowest of the low. They had to die.
The Jedi regarded him, before settling into a stance. TK-4110 didn't care: he aimed carefully, and fired. The Jedi blocked. No matter. Jedi had betrayed the Republic. They were the lowest of the low. They had to die.
He fired again, each bolt deflecting into a wall. Again and again, TK-4110 fired his rifle, while the Jedi almost lazily blocked the bolts. No matter. The Jedi were betrayers, and the righteous fury of the Clones would win out.
The Jedi altered his angle of deflection, and suddenly, a bolt struck the Stormtrooper in his arm. Numbing pain shot through his body but he scrabbled desperately for his pistol with his remaining working arm. Jedi had had betrayed the Republic. They were the lowest of the low. They Ihad/I to die. No exceptions. It was his duty. His duty was his life. /pp
The Jedi telekinetically grabbed his pistol and threw it across the room. He walked over to TK-4110, and almost sighed.
"I pity you," the Jedi said. TK-4110 snarled, and went for the Jedi: the lightsabre deactivated and an arm caught the Clone and threw him to the floor. Stunned, all TK-4110 could do was slip into unconsciousness...
66 sighed. Tatooine was a horrid, rancid little sand dune, and the young Jedi-clone did not see why anyone would have chosen to live there given alternative locales to pick. But then, sometimes people did not: criminals and bounty hunters and general scum Iseemed/I common (although 66 knew full well that this was a generalisation).
In groups of two, three and occasionally four, the Jedi army's first hundred had gone out, covertly striking at small Imperial bases and causing minor annoyances. 66 and his friend One were together on this rock to ruin a weapon depo: One was distracting the majority of the guards, 66 was left to deal with one clone.
Like him but also very much not.
He sighed again. He hated having to kill them, brainwashed servants of a corrupt Empire, especially as their fate could have been his, but here it seemed he had no choice. He set the charge, and left the Clone where he lay.
As he walked out of the depo, he saw his comrade; One was blocking bolt after bolt, easily defeating the comparatively lacklustre efforts of the Stormtroopers who were arrayed against him. They didn't even act like trained soldiers, they just stood there firing, not moving, barely dodging, seemingly ignorant of the doom that they were ensuring for themselves. Pathetic. Nothing like the highly trained Clone Troopers Flint had told them about.
One grinned at 66 as he continued blocking. 66 joined him, blocking the last bolts the troopers sent, and then, when the troopers were all dead, switching his lightsabre off.
"Mission accomplished?" One said.
"There were no problems," 66 replied. "Come on, we need to get a ship. Do you remember your codename for the rental?"
"Zarik," One said, smiling. "You?"
"Kal," 66 said, solemnly. "Come on."
Together, the two walked away from the destruction they had wreaked. A moment later, the entire facility exploded, as the charges 66 had set went off.
Varrus Flint liked the reports he was reading. Each one seemed better than the last; five hundred Wookiee slaves freed, a star destroyer disabled, an ammunition depo on Tattooine obliterated... the Jedi Army, something he had been unsure about at first, had finally proven its worth. Years of training and planning had proven worth the effort.
Flint felt invigorated. Though a scant handful of his clone children had apparently been slain, there was no evidence left of the Jedi Army - the bodies were either vaporised in starships or else returned to Kamino by the fallen Jedi's brethren. No one had any idea how the Jedi had managed to succeed in this way. Of course, it had taken a lot of careful planning - meeting up on the remote planet Dantooine, setting up a camp there, as well as emergency cloning centres and training facilities, since the clones sent out could not return without risking the discovery of the cloning facilities still on Kamino. Add to that the actual targets to be selected…
Flint snapped out of his reverie as Nao Sar approached. Ja Nei was with him.
"The evacuation is proceeding," the Kaminoan said, softly. "We're sending the next batch of ships out in fifty three hours."
It had been decided to permanently relocate to Dantooine, in order to make certain Kamino would be spared any harm.
"We go last, I trust?" Flint asked. "In case something goes wrong and we need to begin again?"
"No, we go in fifty three hours, with the first transports," Ja Nei said, looking bemusedly at Flint, as though this fact should have been obvious to him. "Only Minister Nao Sar will remain here to conduct his business; he has contacts with the Imperial forces stationed here. His absence would be suspicious if it wasn't delayed."
"I would not worry, Master Jedi," Nao Sar said, smiling patiently. "We shall remain in effective isolation on Dantooine, still able to launch assaults as and when required."
"That is not what worries me," Flint said, angrily. "What worries me is if the Empire detect our presence on Dantooine, before we finish the evacuation from Kamino. I need to remain here until the last possible second in case that happens, to help rebuild this project."
"Dantooine is safe," Ja Nei countered. "Here is not, hence why we are leaving."
Flint sighed. In truth he didn't know why he was against leaving until the last possible moment, except that he didn't think it wise to risk moving the operation full time. /pp
Suddenly, he narrowed his eyes. The Force felt strange to him.
"Is there something I don't know?" he asked, his voice tense and dangerous.
Ja Nei looked at Nao Sar, and the latter sighed.
"As a matter of fact, yes," the Kaminoan said. "We believe the Empire has learned of our location. Though they do not know the nature of our project, they know there is one. They are sending troops led by Vader himself to investigate."
Darth Vader. Scourge of the galaxy. Coming here? Flint was torn between a sudden dread that chilled his heart… and a sudden excitement that seemed to warm his very soul.
"This is an opportunity," Flint gasped, suddenly enthused. "One we can scarcely waste!"
"What opportunity?" Ja Nei asked, dreading the answer she knew was coming.
"To kill Vader," Flint said, smiling. The warmth won, taking the chill away, and all there was left was the sense of rightness in this idea. "We leave a clone behind to fight him. One of our best."
"Which would you advise?" Nao Sar asked cautiously. Flint blinked, and started thinking. Which of his thousands of clone children would be the best choice to send against the Dark Lord? Who would stand a chance?
"I'd say JC-0001," he decided finally. "He's the oldest and the most dutiful, and I trust him to carry out his mission."
Nao Sar and Ja Nei looked at each other, each one of them somewhat dubious about this plan's potential for success. However, Jedi Flint was their expert on Jedi related matters, and the killing of a Sith seemed to qualify. Therefore the two nodded, now agreed without speaking a word.
"Very well," Nao Sar said. "See to it that he is briefed well on his mission."
"I will," Flint promised. This was one task he would see done right.