I had though "A Little Treason" was complete at the end of Chapter 1. Obviously, it wasn't.
For people that don't like reading about character death – avoid anything after Chapter 3. Just stop at Chapter 1 and consider that complete.
Queen –Thank you for reading and suggesting the additional chapters. Thank you for letting me use your Saleucami from your wonderful story "Homestead" which is still my absolute favorite.
Sybil Rowan – Thank you for beta-ing. Should I have put a comma in for the dash? :-) It is a much tighter, cleaner story for your additions.
Chapter 1 – A Little Treason
"Gentlemen, are we ready to commit treason?"
Order 66 had come in mere seconds ago. Even as Rex watched the hologram, hearing the announcement in his helmet, he had screamed Ahsoka's name in his mind. He had too much experience with the Force. It was as real and tangible as his blaster.
"Ahsoka! They will kill you!" He was terrified the two troopers with her would succeed in executing Order 66 before she got back to the main camp, making his long and careful preparations useless.
His men, his personal squad of Echo, Fives and Chopper, had run to his tent even as the order was being broadcast. Fives was still donning his helmet and Chopper's arms were bare of the armor he carried in his hands along with his deece. Private channel, Rex signaled with his fingers. Echo brought up what he didn't want to think.
"What if they've already terminated her?"
"Then we go right on being good little clones for the Republic," replied Rex. "And those nights of discussion were simply that, discussions, strategy, late night plans."
Echo nodded, though he didn't believe it. They couldn't go back to working without Ahsoka, knowing she had died at their brothers' hands. He had some tenuous ideas, half-formed plans. He hoped he wouldn't have to think them through.
Chopper was adamant that she'd make it, "She'll take them on and be back. Our problem will be with the rest of Shrike."
Rex nodded. When Ahsoka had received knighthood, the 501st had hived off Shrike Company with Rex at its head, and she as their commander. They worked well together. They all worked well together.
Rex tentatively at first, then more directly, asked each individual of his company what they'd do when Order 66 came with its first revisions in the first year of the war. The new troopers hadn't hesitated and he had clapped his hand on their shoulders with murmured words 'Good trooper'. Only three men had reacted differently.
Fives' face had paled. His voice stuttered as he had actually read, actually thought about what the order entailed, before dropping his head in miserable acquiescence to Rex.
Quiet Echo had raised his eyebrows and said, "I'd follow your command, of course. Sir."
Chopper had let his Captain know he would die before he let the Togruta Jedi knight get hurt. He had adored her since she had defended him in his court martial and won. Nor had Chopper ever been subtle, even among his brothers. Rex had thanked them each and let them know they would be discussing it. He knew, they all knew, that this order would have been programmed into them, drilled into them so they would execute it before thinking about it.
He didn't know when he had fallen in love with General Skywalker's padawan. Had it been the very first day he met her? She'd been barely 14 and pressing him on military orders. Had it been the moment she had called the young, occasionally self-absorbed, General Skywalker "Skyguy" and he had to cover his laughter with his fist? Had it been when they were both stricken with blue shadow virus, and she reached out to take his hand when they were in medbay? Had it been when he'd seen how capable and caring and compassionate she was? But a soldier doesn't make things uncomfortable for anyone he serves with; he certainly doesn't run after a young girl, particularly one who outranks him. So Rex waited, though he didn't know what he was waiting for, putting off possibilities of a future to when a future could actually exist.
When Order 66 was revealed in tiny print in the mountain of revisions, Rex told himself that the order was a contingency for something that would never happen. But the nightmares came in a dozen varieties of death. He saw himself whip out his blasters and fire and see her body crumple and watch her betrayed expression as she knew who had killed her. Or he would turn to fire and be cut down by her light saber and again, have to watch her expression as she realized what she had done.
Rex convened night talks with his three men. Discussion came, tentatively at first, in wide arcs of hyperboles and 'what if's' because classified orders had their own protective inhibitions and couldn't be discussed. Time and practice wore down their programming, and they could discuss it among themselves, but even after a year they could only call it Six. They acted out their actions in defiance of Order 66, because they knew without practice to the contrary, their bodies would have the blasters out and firing before they even thought of refusing. Now the order had come through when Ahsoka was with two clone troopers who weren't part of Rex's little act of treason. So he shouted in his mind, hoping that somehow his voice would reflect into the Force, warn her, and she'd be prepared.
"Rex! What happened?" He froze. Her voice, her presence, was in his mind with another entity, immeasurably larger. Compassion enfolded him. "Rex, you screamed, and I was attacked by the troopers. What happened?" He couldn't answer that voice in his mind. Though he was unaware of it, Fives and Chopper had led him to a fallen tree and set him down. Echo stood guard, though he looked more as though he were loitering. Fives and Chopper gesticulated as they spoke softly to each other.
The reality of the Force was terrifying. It surrounded him, accepted him, and laid itself bare for him. It was vast, and Ahsoka flew in it like a small bird coming to lair in his mind. He was laid bare before her, his soul naked, his mind – everything, every thought, every dream he hadn't realized he'd had, every hope and wish he hadn't dare breathe to himself. She saw it all. Tears fell from his eyes, hidden by his helmet, unnoticed by himself.
"CAPTAIN REX," her voice was sharp, "REPORT!" He started, his body jerked as he came to himself. She was waiting, her breath soft on his face. "Oh, my Rex," her voice soft as she saw into his soul, and he was pleased she'd used the possessive. "I didn't know."
"What's to know. You were a kid." He growled, throat heavy with emotion. "You're still a kid."
In some far distant universe, he heard Chopper's voice, "Told you."
She showed him a particularly erotic dream he'd had not too long previously, and he blushed under his helmet. "I am not a kid." He smiled at her sweet-fierce tone of voice. The presence in his mind turned unusually solemn. "I am safe, Rex, but I don't think that coming back to camp is a good idea."
"Definitely not!" Rex agreed.
"I will find a way off this planet, but I don't think I should try to meet you."
"Meet me?" His voice was soft with wonderment. He shook his head, "No, there will be standing orders for your destruction as a Jedi."
Again from a distance came another voice, Five's. "Guess you're right."
He paused, a whisper of a dream touching him. "Maybe one day?" Then he was business. "But if you can't reach me, Echo, Fives or Chopper will do anything necessary." They all heard his unspoken words … 'if I'm dead'.
"Of course." He felt the love she had for his men, both an extension of the love he had for his brothers, and their own offerings of self to the young Jedi.
"Oh!" He felt her stiffen, the shock that struck her as it rippled through everything. "I can feel them dying. The younglings, even the younglings." He felt her soul's anguish and heard her cry. "Oh, Rex, they're just children."
There was nothing to say to that, but for a moment Rex felt as though she were leaning against him, using his strength to stand. He reached his arm up as though to hold her then let it drop to his side. "Ahsoka, I don't want you to be alone. You'll need help."
"You did help. The troopers will be back, saying they have killed me, but I heard your voice and jumped off as the blast hit. I'm a little scorched," The mental image she sent of her rubbing her backside made him laugh. "But otherwise all right." She paused. "I am a Jedi knight, and I will be ok."
There was silence, but he could feel her warm presence in his mind. "Rex. I love hearing you laugh, and if you ever get the chance, come here," coordinates and a memory picture embedded themselves in his mind. "I will be there. And if you don't know this by now, I love you." Then her presence was gone from his mind with only a soft thought remaining – luminous beings are we.
He put his hand to his throat com and sent out a private message to Chopper, Echo and Fives. "Best of all worlds, gentlemen."
He could hear the troopers returning on their speeders, and Echo waved them in to report.