Only You Can Prevent...
A/N: This 'incident' is alluded to in Untouchable and takes place sometime after All or Nothing.
"How long has it been?" With its lush jungles and rolling hills, the planet of Agamar was beautiful and all, but Stonewall couldn't have cared less about something like that, as he had much more pressing concerns on his mind at the moment. He flexed his legs and tried to stand even taller to see through the thick forest, looking in the direction of their camp and trying to ignore the bite of agitation that he felt deep within his gut.
Beside him, Weave checked his chrono. "Almost an hour. She said to give her at least an hour." The two men exchanged glances. Though his brother's expression was unreadable through his bucket, Stonewall thought he could sense Weave's apprehension as well.
The captain sighed and tried not to fidget any more than he already was. "I know, I know..." He frowned and made to step forward, then thought better of it as he recalled the adamant tone of Kalinda's voice when she'd ordered the clones to stay away from their camp. She wants to do something nice for us...I don't know why, but that makes me really nervous. He sighed again and wondered if he could enhance the zoom-capabilities on his HUD with only the power of his mind.
Behind them – seemingly without a care – Crest, Traxis and Milo were engrossed in an impromptu arm-wrestling tournament, crouching on either side of a fallen log while they took turns trying to best one another. Crest won the round against Milo and let out a whoop of satisfaction before turning to Stonewall and Weave. "It should be fine...she's a Jedi and all...what's the worst that could happen?"
Even as Stonewall tried not to flinch at the words, Traxis spoke, moving to take Milo's place. "Don't you know never to say that? Di'kut."
Milo moved to stand beside the clone captain and lifted his hand to shade his eyes as he scanned the forest, his helmet tucked under his arm. "I'm pretty stealthy...I can try to check on her if you want."
"Sneak up on a Jedi?" Crest said as he faced his scarred brother, rubbing his hands in anticipation of another victory. "Good luck with that, shiny." Traxis grunted in agreement and the two clones clasped hands and stared at each other while their arms strained. The others turned and watched the contest, though Stonewall's eyes kept flicking back in the direction of their camp; he couldn't have said what he was hoping – or dreading – he'd see.
After several minutes Crest's hand was slammed down against the rough bark of the tree and Traxis sat back with a satisfied nod. The bald clone sighed and rubbed at his wrist, then glanced back at direction of their camp. "How long's it been now?"
Milo replied. "Hour and five." He shot a look at the captain, whose shoulders were tense.
"That's it," Stonewall said, stepping forward. "I'm going in."
But he was spared from doing so when the Jedi emerged from the forest behind them as if she had stepped out of thin air; the front of her tunic was lifted up to contain an assortment of berries and fruits and she wore a sardonic expression while she smiled at the captain. "You weren't thinking of breaking your word to me, were you, Stone?" Her voice was chiding.
He tapped his chrono. "It's been over an hour, Kalinda...in fact-" Something was wrong, he could just feel it. Stonewall removed his helmet, sniffing the air with a wariness borne of long days spent preparing for the very worst. Indeed, his stomach dropped to his knees and when he spoke his words were clipped. "What's that smell?"
Weave followed the action, holding his bucket beneath his arm and glancing around. "I smell it too...is something burning?"
Kalinda's dark eyes widened and she let out a curse before turning to race for the camp, the fruits forgotten, pattering to the mossy forest floor. Stonewall waved the others along and they followed in her wake; soon the squad was faced with what appeared to be a forest-fire in its fledgling state. The entire area where Crest had set up the field food-prep station was aflame, thick, black smoke was drifting through the trees surrounding their camp.
Falling into familiar patterns engraved into his mind by a lifetime of drills, Stonewall barked orders to the others: Milo and Weave raced for their nearby ship to fetch the fire-extinguishers while the rest of them used blankets, water-jugs, or even their own booted feet to snuff out the edges of the flames to keep them from spreading. Kalinda even managed to halt some of it with her Force-abilities, coaxing the flames away from the main body of the forest, which was a little too dry for Stonewall's liking at the present moment.
But it was quite some time before they won the battle against the fire.
Finally, when most of the camp was in charred ruins and the troopers were exhausted, hot, and covered in soot, Stonewall turned to Kalinda and tried very hard not to let himself appear too frustrated. But before he could say anything, she shook her head and gave him a wide – albeit nervous – smile. "Surprise...I made dinner!" She grimaced as she looked around the area. "Well, I tried, anyway."
"I think it stopped being dinner about an hour ago, boss," Crest said as he gingerly lifted the source of the fire, a blackened saucepan with unrecognizable lumps of something within, now melted to the metal.
The clone captain closed his eyes and took a deep breath; when he looked back at the Jedi Knight, she was watching him carefully. Again, he opened his mouth to speak; again, she beat him to the punch. "I guess I got a bit...distracted looking for dessert." Another smile, soft and tentative. "I'm sorry."
"Nothing a few new tents, cooking station, and...er, saucepan won't fix," Weave said as he and Milo examined the tattered and charred ruins of their tent.
Milo nodded. "I never liked that tent anyway...it had a bunch of holes."
"And it added some excitement to the day, after all," Crest added in his jovial tone. "In fact, I was so distracted, I let Trax win. Good thing for you, huh, buddy?" He grinned at the scarred clone, who shook his head but said nothing as he took in the devastation.
But she was still looking at Stonewall with a hopeful expression, and as much as he wanted to be annoyed, he just didn't have it within him at the moment, particularly when her face transformed as he smiled at her. "Next time you want to do something nice for us...don't let it entail you going near anything flammable. Please promise me this."
She exhaled and studied the remnants of their camp before nodding and lifting her hand to her brow in a salute. "Copy that, Captain." Kali gave him another smile and he felt his stomach do the strange flip it always did when she looked at him like that.
Crest still held the saucepan and had taken to poking the mess with a stick. "So...who's hungry?"
These will be updated as I think of them...and if you have any suggestions or anything you'd like to see, please let me know! :D