In those days we lived in despair and darkness, those were the days when the CIS occupied our world, I remember those day well they came down upon us like a storm sweeping away our planets small military, and any who dared to resist. Our planet fell in a matter of days I remember the sirens wailing as droid bombers flew overhead dropping bombs, I did the only thing I could I ran to the nearest shelter with my mother and sister, when the bombs stopped we emerged to find us living in an occupied city.

Those days were the most miserable we had ever endured, the droids coldly and systematically confiscated any weapons we citizens had, any who refused to turn over their weapon was shot right there on the spot. So many of our buildings had been turned to rubble and the smell of smoke stayed in the streets for a long time, we had a new governor now a Neimonian who told us he was here for our well being, he made up new laws every day, a strict curfew was enforced anyone caught outside their house after 20:00 hours was arrested, droids marched down the streets and tanks rolled by sending us a message that they were here to stay and always watching us.

Our food was rationed we could only have one meal a day on a good day, water and electricity had to be used sparingly the power plant had been damaged during the invasion. But despite these terrible conditions some refused to stay down, somewhere was the resistance who harassed the separatist as often as they could, I wished I could have joined them I would have gladly blown some of those tinnies away, but mother forbid it, she said I was too young and besides she had already lost my father, so I grudgingly obeyed.

Times were hard several times someone was executed for defying the new regime attendance was mandatory for these executions if you refused to go you would be executed next, I will always be haunted by the memories of watching those executions, the prisoner or prisoners was stood against a wall allowed a last few words and then a group of droids lined up opposite them lowered their blasters and fired, I still wake up in a cold sweat at the memory of those doomed men's last days, the holes in their chests, the smell of burned flesh and the image of their head lolling to one side as they slumped to the ground.

Machines can never understand how miserable a living person is the droids didn't care about our welfare or our feelings, they just carried out their orders with cold determination. School was reestablished a few weeks after the occupation I realize now it was political indoctrination not education. None of the teachers we had known before the invasion were there anymore and the building itself was more makeshift having sustained a lot of damage during the battle. Our new teachers were obvious supporters of "the cause" of the confederacy, they tried to hammer the fact that the republic was evil and corrupt and that they were here to set us free, for hours on end they would try to sway our way of thinking trying to brainwash us. One kid I knew disagreed with the teacher I don't know what they did to him but was taken out of class and when we saw him again he agreed with everything that was said.

After school I had to pick my way around the rubble of bombed out buildings to find my way home, avoiding getting in the way of droids. There really wasn't anything to do except maybe build things out of rubble, we had no news from the core worlds we didn't know how the war was going except what the separatist allowed us to hear and all we heard from them was propaganda about their crushing victories over the Republic sometimes we didn't know if they were lying or not it scared us. They had confiscated our long range communications along with our weapons we could get no news from the Republic, it seemed like this would go on forever.

I think the resistance knew something was going down before we did, they were probably in contact with the Republic, but they suddenly began stepping up their attacks, and then one day it happened, one morning I was outside my house when the sirens started up just like they had during the invasion I could hear explosions in the distance darting back in the house I climbed to the roof where I had a decent view of outside the battered walls of our city, I could see smoke and distant blaster fire, looking up I saw droid fighters darting over head I saw one get hit and plummet down, high in the skies I saw ARC 170s and Republic gunships liberation had come for us. I cheered and hollered at the top of my lugs before my mother dragged me down and bustled me and sis off to a shelter. Along the way I saw several gunships land in the center of the city and white armored troops spilled out of them firing on any droids that came near them, these were the clone troopers and I praised them.

The battle lasted six hours the droids were routed and the governor was killed in the crossfire, thought the separatist still maintained control over part of the planet our part was freed by the Republic, most the army marched on to continue the fight but a small garrison of troopers was left behind. The next few days were good days our food was still rationed but the Republic gave us a lot more than the separatist ever did, they also were working on trying to get the power plant working again, I spent the time on the "Clean up brigade" it was nothing really just doing simple tasks like collecting debris and putting them all in one spot, a few times I came across what used to be battle-droids and took great pleasure in throwing our old tormentors roughly into a pile of scrap.

Then one day I was picking myself around a ruined building and tripped on something I hit the ground hard scraping my knee against the hard floor. A shadow fell across me, "Are you all right?" A voice asked it was coming from a speaker in a helmet I looked up to see two clone troopers standing over me. "Yeah, I'm fine I think." I said, one of them offered a hand which I took and was hauled up. "Do you need medical attention?" The first clone asked, "No I'm fine just a skinned knee." It hurt like hell but I had had plenty before. "Better make sure it doesn't get infected." The clone said again "Here In got a spare disinfectant pack on me." I took it gratefully even though I was sure I didn't really need it.

"Ah, the kids fine Dipper, he looks like a tough one." I glowed at the compliment, "Well yeah he'd have to be a tough kid living under the Separatist." Dipper responded, both their voices were the same I had heard stories about these soldiers, it may seem rude but I didn't really realize it till later that it might have been considered rude, "Is it true you all look alike?" I blurted out, the two exchanged looks and then removed their helmets they did indeed look alike except the other clone had a different hair style than Dipper. I must have looked shocked because they put their helmets back on.

"Satisfied?" Dipper asked, "Yeah I was just curious, you two scrap many droids?" Dipper responded, "Oh yeah me and Score here took down several in the last battle." I wanted to listen to their tales of scrapping droids but Score suggested that they move on with their patrol, I told them goodbye and headed for home.

I ran into one of them the next day, he was standing around the business district keeping an eye on the few shops that still had merchandise there had been some looting and the clones were being asked to act like police while we underwent repairs, As I walked by one of the clones he spoke to me, "How's your knee?" I paused, "Oh, much better uh…" I was ashamed I didn't know which one he was, "Dipper." He touched the side of his helmet where there was a dent in it "You can recognize me by the dent I got in my helmet." I shuffled uncomfortably, "Sorry." I apologized "It's all right most people have trouble telling me and my brothers apart." I could see why.

"So why don't they call you Dents?" I asked, "Oh I got that dent after I got my nickname." "So how did you get your nickname?" He shuffled his feet uncomfortably "Well it was back when I was training on Kamino, I fell off a platform and fell into the sea, I got fished out before I could get myself drowned, and from then on everyone called me Dipper because I went for a dip, see?" It made sense and now I knew how clones got their names, "So what were you called before you got your name?" "Oh usually just trooper or CT 3456." No wonder they gave each other names. "Yeah I guess Dipper is a better name."

Dipper went on surveying the area the whole time we were talking, never losing focus I felt awkward just standing there so I asked him another question, "So how many planets have you been to?" "Including Kamino and here?" I nodded, "Yeah." "Four," "Wow I've never been off planet before. But I've always wanted to go to space what's it like?" "Kind of hard to describe it's just something you got to experience yourself, kind of like I can't describe a battle." I was going to ask him a few questions but it was getting late. "Well, I got to get back home my mom will start to worry about me, you know how mothers are." I almost slapped myself for saying that. "Uh, actually I don't know." I flushed with embarrassment, "I'm sorry I didn't mean to say that it just kind of slipped out." "Forget it kid." The clone said.

I went home then and thought about Dipper I wondered if I had offended him, but the next day round the same time I found him at his post, "Hi Dipper." "Hi kid." Well I guess he wasn't too offended, so I talked to him a bit about a few things until it got late and I said bye and went home, I made a routine of talking to Dipper and I learned some things about the Republic and the galaxy in general I never learned in school he had a few stories to tell of fighting droid and turning them to scrap, of his brothers who stood beside him and the jedi leading the way, I came to admire Dipper, Once I told him I never knew what it wa like having a brother and that all I had was a mother and sister, father had died a few years ago hauling cargo, he told me that he never knew a mother or sister since all he had was brothers, it was then that an idea struck me, "So Dipper what do you do after standing guard?" "Head back to the barracks play some Sabac with the others maybe." "Would you like to come for supper tonight?"

Dipper thought for a moment, "Are you sure it's okay?" I couldn't think of a reason why it wouldn't be, "Sure mom won't mind we have a spare seat at the table." He shuffled his feet uncomfortably, "Well I don't know…" "What are you not allowed to socialize?" "No not really I guess I'll be there." I was happy I convinced him, "I'll tell mom to expect you." After departing I went home where I found mom hard at work in the kitchen prepping for supper, "Mom we're going to have a guest for supper." She looked surprised, "What who?" "A friend of mine I hope you don't mind." "Well I guess it's all right." I thanked her and went upstairs and washed up a few hours later mom was setting the table me and sis had just sat down when there was a knock on the door.

Mother went to the door and opened it and drew back startled, "Oh, can I help you trooper?" "I've come for dinner I was invited." It was Dipper, I waved at him, "Hey Dipper." He nodded at me, "May I come in Ms?" Mom paused, "Oh, uh sure." Dipper went in found a corner to prop up his blaster and put his helmet next to it, he sat down at the spare, my sister just stared at him for a long time so did mom but she broke the silence first, "So uh Dipper was it?" "That's right mamn." "You're friends with Deran?" "Oh sure he keeps me company when I'm standing guard duty, he's a very smart boy you should be proud of him."

"Oh I am how long are you staying here for?" "Well I'm not sure actually depends on how things are going there are a few separatist still fighting on this planet and there are other battles to fight in the galaxy, I'm not sure." "Well it must be a tiring life going from one battle to the next." "Well sometimes it is but it's what I was born to do, literally." The dinner went well enough polite conversation all around, after dinner Dipper thanked mom for the excellent meal and thanked me for inviting him I told him I'd see him out. Outside Dipper thanked me again, "Thanks for inviting me most people wouldn't have thought about inviting a clone." I was puzzled by that, "Why not?" "I'm sorry you probably don't understand a lot of people think of us like the droids expendable all the same, and I guess for the most part they're right we fight so others will stay safe and so they don't have to be thrown into battle." "I don't agree I think you're people too, I think that you may look the same and all of you grew up the same but you're all different inside I mean." Dipper patted me on the back, "You're a good kid Deran, take care of yourself okay brother?" "Goodnight Dipper." It was only later when I had gone to bed that I realized he called me brother, I guess I did have a brother after all.

It wasn't long after that night I started to hear things that I found distressing, the remaining separatist were putting up more of a fight than was originally thought a few bombers slipped behind the lines and carried out terror-bombing missions they blew up civilian and military targets regardless, there was talk of a mass evacuation I didn't like the sound of that this was the only home I knew, and then more bad news, Dipper was headed for the front along with several others. He told me himself one day before he had to leave, "So this I goodbye?" I asked, "Fraid so orders are orders." I shook hands with him he was the only friend I really had at the time. "Be careful out there." He nodded and said he would keep an eye out for danger and that his brothers would too.

Two days after he left it was confirmed that we would be evacuating from home, transports were on their way now to pick us up, as I packed my bags with the few possessions I had there was a knock on the door, I let mom get it I wasn't expecting visitors. "Deran it's for you." Surprised I went to the door to find Score standing there I knew it was him because of the red line of paint he had customized his helmet with, he was carrying his helmet under his arm at the moment, "I thought I should tell you this, you deserve to know." "What?" I asked, "Dipper uh he's…" He trailed off and then finished the sentence, "Dead,"

I felt sick inside, "What? How?" I asked, "He died in the line of duty took several tinnies down with him." I felt my eyes watering, "I'm sorry, I know you two were friends I know exactly how you feel I feel the same way, Dipper was my brother." I felt myself sob, "He was mine too." Score clapped a hand on my shoulder, "I know kid I know." It was the same voice I had known and that was oddly comforting, after Score had left I just sprawled on the bed and cried my eyes out, I couldn't believe my friend was dead, how could that have happened to him? My mother found me and asked me what was wrong, "My friend Dipper is gone." Is all I managed to say.

My mom and sister tried their best to cheer me up somehow I managed to finish packing and get on that transport that took me away from everything I had known. Gradually I got less depressed though I was still sad about losing a friend, we stopped at a space station for our next hop we had to spend a few days there, it was the first time I had seen space up close it was like Dipper had said, you can't describe it till you have to experience it. The station was interesting filled with all kinds of species, it was amazing the shops, watching ships come and go, and the holovids. But one day there was some bigshot senator at the station and he was taking the time to make something of a speech.

He was waiting to board his ship surrounded by media and curious bystanders, "More clones is what the Republic needs to win. Why a few thousand more to throw into the droids will surely give us a victory." I had heard enough I stepped forward, "What do the clones think of you talking about throwing more of them into danger? How many have died already?" He laughed "Such a naïve child, they're clones that's what we made them to do fight and die." I felt rage boiling within me I wanted to beat that politician right into the deckplates. "They're people and you treat them like machines." I don't know if he heard me or not but I left.

I was still fuming when I heard a familiar voice a voice I knew well from many long conversations, a friends voice, I looked up to see a group of clones it looked like they were going to one of the transports, sighing I hoped this didn't seem to odd or silly, moving towards them I got their attention moving to the closest one I stretched out my hand and grasped his. "Thank you." I said, the clone was confused, "For what?" "Fighting for me."


Authors note: And I hope you enjoyed this story it just came to me one night I thought I'd write it, I always thought the clones don't get enough respect, anyway reviews are always appreciated. Sincerely-