Hi all-this is a VERY AU fanfic that I started writing a while ago. The timeline is a bit screwy but its ficton and am letting the imagination run on this one. The basic principals are there. =)
If I get any positive feedback I will continue on it. Having fun writing it so please let me know what you think!
P.S. I own nothing...
He truly hated these mercenary missions. They were a waste of Kal Skirata and his boys' time. While he could be giving them valuable training, preparing them for the world that they were intended for, the Republic insisted that a mission would give them some "worldly" experience. In the meantime they also had Skirata and his men, no boys Skirata corrected himself for that's what they really were, hunt down a mole that the Republic had been tracking and bring him back to face justice. Kill two birds with one stone they had told the sergeant. Kal had done all he could to bite back the vicious retort that came to his mind.
Skirata had been personally recruited by Jango Fett and joined the Cuy'val Dar to train the Republic's Grand Army of clones. He had become instantly disgusted by the Kaminoan indifference and treatment of clone conditioning of the children who didn't pass the tests and were culled.
Kal had met a group of six boys which were deemed "Nulls" because of what the Kaminos saw as imperfect and had been secluded for termination. Null-11 and Null-7 later named by Skirata as Ordo and Mereel came to their brothers' aid. Mereel swiped a gun that Skirata had hidden in his boot and threw it over to Ordo who stood bravely in front of his brothers. He aimed the gun wildly at everyone in the room. Kal could care less at what happened to the Kaminos in the room, but he didn't want to see any repercussions happen to the boy.
He took the six children under his wing giving them each a name, developing their character, training and personally instilling them with Mandalorian values. For their sergeant's care and love and devotion, the Nulls had come to see Skirata as their "buir" or father and only accepted orders from him. Others at the facility deemed them Skirata's personal army because of their loyalty to the sergeant, but call it what they wanted Skirata made sure the Nulls were looked after.
The clones aged at an accelerated rate and Skirata hoped to one day to find a solution to this problem. The Nulls had been designed to be larger even larger than the Alpha-Class clones. They were the one of the first batches to be hatched and experimented with coming out with bigger muscle, extra strength, intelligence off the cart and were extremely cunning. Since the clones aged twice the normal rate as normal human the six Nulls were biologically nine though physically they were eighteen. Even at eighteen, they stood a good head taller than Skirata and he had armor specially designed to fit their larger bodies so they could maneuver better.
He had taken all six boys with him on this trip so each could hone in on their individual skills and also work as a team. The mole had led them to Corellia's capital Coronet, a bustling city of architecture, bazaars, and busy streets filled with all kinds of shuttles, ships, people and aliens that varied in races.
"Kind of like a mini-Coruscant," Ordo observed.
Clad in their regulation GAR armor, exception of Skirata who always wore his gold/rust colored Mandalorian beskar'gam, the group looked quite intimidating walking down the busy sidewalk. People and aliens alike eyed them and parted way.
"I could get use to this," Null-10 or known to his brothers as Jaing nodded appreciatively as another group of humans made way for him and his brothers.
"Jaing, if a nerf bowed at your feet you'd be happy," his brother Null-6 or Kom'rk teased. Kom'rk and Jaing were the jokers of the group. While all six of them had very different personalities they all had one thing in common: a short fuse that Skirata had to watch and try and keep in check. They weren't called Nulls for nothing.
Jaing pushed Kom'rk on the shoulder and soon a shoving match started until Skirata interrupted. "Gev!" He scolded and the two instantly stopped. "Don't get to comfortable boys," Kal warned. "Keep your eyes sharp. That di'kut is around here somewhere. Jaing, Kom'rk, got a tract on him yet?"
In their last run in with the mole they had been able to throw a tracking device on him right before blasting off Coruscant. "Fifty yards ahead!" Jaing said excitement clear in his voice.
"Oya, boys." Skirata continued forward.
"Buir, he's five yards away, but I don't see him," Kom'rk said slightly confused.
"Okay lads, I want you to spread out. Two in a team. Call in when you have position. We have been training for this and I trust you."
"We won't let you down," Mereel said determinedly.
"I know lads; now let's get this aruetii once and for all." Skirata watched for a moment as his boys broke apart and were swallowed up by the city. Kids, they were just kids and he had to keep reminding himself of that. Skirata inwardly sighed and turned to get into position.
He didn't get more than a few feet away when something hit him hard against his armored plates. He heard an "ouch!" and "oof!" and once Skirata regained his balance from the impact he looked down to see what had hit him.
A young boy lay sprawled on the ground, rubbing his forehead. "What are you wearing mister? Bricks or something?" The ruffian growled and finally looked up to see what he ran into. His eyes practically bugged out of his head when he got a load of Skirata.
The boy was fifthly and that was a nice way of describing his appearance. His face was smeared with dirt, soot and other particles Skirata couldn't and didn't even want to guess. His hair was an unruly mess of curls on top and straight on the bottom and in desperate need of a good wash. Skirata's eyes drifted to the boy's clothes which were hanging loosely on him. The shirt could have been white at one time but was now black with grime. Holes covered the better part though the child did some creative mending with what look to be tape and spare pieces of miscellaneous cloth. His pants were at least already black hiding the majority of the dirt, but holes exposed skinned knees. The soles of his shoes were coming off and Skirata could see the boy's toes sticking out of the tips.
"What are you looking at?" The child sneered. He was surprised at the boy's attitude toward him. Many beings would have taken one look at him and then run, but not this boy. He reminded him a lot of his Null sons and a bit of himself.
The street urchin finally got himself up and brushed his backside off, not that it did him that much good. The dirt clung to him like glue. The boy couldn't have been more than six years old, very scrawny and malnourished but Skirata could see the defiance and hardness in his hazel eyes.
"What are you doing on these streets alone? Where are your parents?" Skirata stood steadfast in front of the boy. He had a sneaky suspicion the boy was an orphan and had been on the streets for quite some time.
The boy narrowed his eyes at the Mandalorian. "Who wants to know," he snarled.
"I do," Skirata stared the boy right in the eye.
"None of your business!" The boy made a dash for it, but Skirata was quicker and grabbed the boy's bony shoulder. "Hey let me go!" he screamed. Not wanting to make a scene, Skirata covered the boy's mouth with his large gloved hand and took the boy down an alley.
The boy was kicking and punching with all his might and even tried to bite Skirata's hand through his glove. "Quiet! I'm not going to hurt you!" Once down an alley and away from much of the public Skirata set the boy down, but kept a firm grip on his arm. He unlatched his helmet so the boy could see his face. Majority of the time the public thought of clones and Mandos just as faceless beings and Skirata liked to keep it that way. It bestowed fear and respect into the public, but this boy was already scared and needed to see a face.
Realizing that no one paid any mind that he had just taken a boy down an alley and could have done just about anything to him, a deep sinking suspicion that the Corellian public just didn't care much about its orphan and street population. Perhaps this was a common occurrence? The thought made Skirata sick.
"Listen, calm down," Skirata kept his voice very calm and neutral. "I'm not going to hurt you. My name is Kal Skirata," he introduced. The boy finally stopped fighting him but eyed him wearily. "How long have you been out on the streets?" The child kept quiet so he tried a different tactic. He had done this with the Null boys to earn their trust. Skirata had found that his boys had a sweet tooth and he always carried some sort of decadent candies for them. Always making sure to have a couple in his pocket he reached for them to hand to the boy. Instinctively the youngling flinched and jumped has Skirata put his hand toward him.
"I'm not going to hurt you," Skirata assured. He could see the hunger written on the boy's face. Oh how he wanted the candy, but was afraid to take it. He was afraid that it was a trick or a cruel joke and he was going to get punished for it.
"Go on, take it," Skirata urged. The boy snatched the candy away from Skirata's hand and shoved it into his mouth, chewing on it with fervor. The boy closed his eyes enjoying the luxury taste of the candies. "Do you want some more?" Skirata asked.
The boy slowly nodded. "Let's make a deal then. You tell me your name and I'll give you another piece okay?" The boy looked at Skirata's hand giving into temptation.
"Solo," the boy finally said. How befitting, Skirata thought.
"Is that your whole name?"
"It's Han Solo, now do I get another candy?" the boy, now named Han Solo huffed.
Skirata handed him another candy and he gobbled it up. "Where are your parents Han?"
"They're dead," was his short answer. He looked at Skirata expectantly. Another candy was handed. Skirata was going to run out of candies before the end of the questions, not to mention Han was probably going to have a stomach ache if he continued to eat only these and fast.
"Have you been on the streets long?" Skirata sat back on his haunches and watched the boy lick his fingers of the last remnants of the candies.
"I'm not technically on the streets. I live in a house with other kids. There's a Wookiee and an adult. Dewlanna really looks after me and the other kids. Shrike has us doing all kinds of stuff…" the little boy trailed off as if realizing he had said too much.
"What kinds of stuff Han?" Skirata had a dreadful feeling he knew. Young children that were abandoned or orphaned were usually put into orphanages, but the other side, the dirty side of reality that the public liked to turn their backs on, these unfortunates were picked up promised a good life in return to doing favors. The favors were a wide range and Skirata didn't like to speculate.
"I have to go," Han stood up suddenly and prepared to bolt. "Thanks for the candies." Skirata, being the sucker for had hard luck case couldn't see this scrawny, half-starved boy disappear and probably end up dead sooner than later.
"Han!" Skirata called to the boy. Han stopped and turned to the Mando. "Wait."
"Do you think this is a test? Why isn't he answering?" Ordo asked his brother Mereel. "Do you think he's hurt?"
Though all the Null boys were close to Skirata, Ordo and Mereel took it upon themselves to keep a close eye on their adoptive father, even having a small personal battle between the two of them for his attention. The other four boys took a step back and let Ordo and Mereel take the lead on this one.
"He's fine. Aden and Prudii called in and said they have the mole cornered. Let's give them some back up and I'm sure Kal'buir will be calling any second." Mereel rolled his eyes though his brother couldn't see the motion since his helmet cover it up. Mereel took a calmer approach to things than his brother. Ordo was stricter and had a much shorter fuse than the rest of his brothers. He did well in keeping in check with the help of Kal'buir. Mereel wanted to relish the hunt, enjoy the scenery and the girls. He had begun to notice the women around him when they went off planet and even started to flirt with some of them much to his father's and brother's dismay.
"Ordo, Mereel, come in," Skirata finally commed.
"Buir, Prudii and Aden have the traitor cornered. We're going to their location now, Mereel is sending you the coordinates," Ordo relayed.
"Good work boys. I'm on my way. We also have a matter to discuss when we meet." Ordo turned to his brother.
Upon arrival, Skirata walked into the warehouse that Mereel had directed him to go to. There the traitor they had been chasing around was tied up and gagged. They had specific instructions from high command not to neutralize the target.
"Well done boys!" Skirata said proudly. He knew that his sons would never let him down.
"Nothing to it," Prudii kicked the mole's foot, who gave out a grunt and stink eye at the troopers. "So after we dump this bag of garbage where to next?"
"Dropping this trash off at Coruscant and then back to Kamino," Skirata hauled the aruetii to his feet and looked him over. This is what the GAR had them chasing? A scrawny Rodian? "I should let my sons have some fun with you. Maybe that'll teach you to stop stealing."
The Rodian squealed under his gag and shook his head. "What do you think boys?"
"I could use some target practice," Aden shrugged.
"I don't think the Republic would like their goods all messed up though," Ordo said.
"Very true, you're lucky today. My boys are excellent shots. Come on," he shoved the Rodian forward. Outside in the holo car, young Han Solo witnessed a Rodian stumbling out of a building followed by the golden plated Mando who introduced himself as Kal Skirata. He had convinced Han to ditch his old life and come with him back to Kamino. Han feared that he was being led into a similar life that he was already in. Han figure though his life couldn't get any worse than it already was. The way that Skirata had talked to him with sincerity and honesty it was enough for the six year old to believe in.
Han also feared that once Shirke figured out that he was missing would come after him and punish Han or kill him once and for all. Though, Skirata was a Mandalorian and weren't they supposed to be the toughest warriors out there? He should have nothing to fear right? Dewlanna had always told him if the opportunity ever came up to get off Corellia, do it. Well here was his opportunity. He would sure miss that Wookiee.
After Skirata had exited the building Han saw six similar looking soldiers come out. Each one had a different color on their armor. Han recognized these soldiers to be clone troopers. He had never seen a clone trooper in person before and he was both in awe and a bit afraid. They were tall and a somewhat menacing looking. Their T-shape visor showed no life behind it. Han's eyes fell down to their weapons and he took a large gulp. They were dangerous alright; just what had he gotten into?
"Buir, who is this?" one of them pointed at Han. Han backed himself to the furthest point in the car and stared at the troopers. He didn't want to show them he was terrified even though heart was in his throat. This was a lot for a six year old to take in.
"Just get in and I'll explain everything on our way back to Triple Zero."
Han was forced to sit next to two of the troopers. They did not take off their helmets and it was hard for Han not to keep looking at them. He tried to keep his eyes forward but his curiosity got the better of him.
"What are you looking at kid?" the one on the right snapped at him.
"I'm not sure, care to show me?" Han shot right back at him.
Skirata smirked at Han's witty retort, but he was going to have to teach the boy to real in his temperament if he was going to live with them. Something like that could really have severe consequences.
Once settled on their ship and safely into hyperspace, the Nulls began to undo their armor and clean it. "You all look the same!" Han exclaimed.
Ordo, Mereel, Prudii, Kom'rk, Aden and Jaing all looked at one another and then turned to the little boy. Skirata walked up behind Han and placed his large hands on his small shoulders.
"Han, this is my squad, Ordo," Kal pointed to each one and they just stared at Han, making him dance anxiously on his feet. "Mereel, Prudii, Kom'rk, Aden and Jaing. They are called Null-Class Advanced Recon Commandos. They are a part of the Republic Military. Boys, this is Han Solo."
"Whoa," was Han's response. A snicker escaped from Prudii, Kom'rk and Jaing. Ordo continued to frown and Mereel and Aden looked confused at their sergeant.
"Why is he here?" Mereel finally asked. They all observed the boy carefully and Ordo crinkled his nose at the stink emanating from Han. He was still dirty, grimy and in desperate need of a shower.
"It doesn't matter why, he's here now. What matters is will you accept him? Will you teach him as a brother? Han isn't much different than you." At all six dubious gazes, Skirata continued. "He has learned to live on the streets, only knowing the harshness that life has bestowed. Can you six accept him as one of you?"
Again they looked at one another as if telepathically deciding. It was difficult to let an outsider into your unit. Skirata had seen it with many squads trying to reform. Some had not been able to join and become a cooperative squad and a non-cooperative squad is a dead squad. Even though they may have been the same genetic material, personalities were different and clashed all the time.
"A little brother huh, I like the sound of that. Finally someone we can boss around," Jaing stood up and walked over to Han. Han backed away a few steps, bumping into Skirata's legs. Jaing was much taller than Han at the moment so he squatted in front of the boy and be at eye level. "Welcome to Null Squad kid. We're a bunch of crazy guys so you'll have to run to keep up."
"I can keep up with anybody, I'm Han Solo," the boy puffed up his chest.
"Good, you're going to need to keep thinking that," Ordo grumbled to himself.
Finally bathed, cleaned and a full belly for the first time in a long time, Han crashed on a spare bunk and was dead to the world.
"Buir, what will high command think?" Ordo asked as Skirata sat with feet propped up on a table and trying to relax just a little before landing. He was thinking the same thing, but in the end they didn't own him. He would just tell command to go to hell. Though in reality what was he really thinking about bringing a six year old boy back to Kamino with him? He was a sergeant, training troopers to go off and fight in a pointless war. Well, he would train Han as he had trained his boys so far. No different at least he hoped.
"They can go to hell for all I care Ord'ika." Skirata took his feet off the table and sat a little straighter in the chair and looked meaningfully at his son. He was aware of the little sibling rivalry between Ordo and Mereel and now that Han was here, Skirata figured it was one more step that Ordo would have to compete with.
"Ord'ika, you know that I care for all you boys just the same. No one is better than the next. Han here, he reminded me so much of you boys I guess that's why I took him under my wing. Just because he's here doesn't mean I don't care about you or your brother's any less. You understand me?"
Ordo didn't look at Skirata. "Ordo," At the sound of Skirata's stern voice Ordo looked at his sergeant. "You know that right?"
"Yes Buir. I'm sorry for being such a di'kut," Ordo hung his head down in shame.
"Nothing to be sorry about, it's just all a part of growing up. You're a fine lad and an excellent soldier. Just remember you boys always make me proud. Give Han a chance; show him what I have shown you."
Ordo half smiled. "I will Buir. I promise."
The journey to Coruscant didn't take that long and after dropping their cargo off to GAR headquarters, a hop skip and a jump later Skirata, the Nulls and a very wide-eyed Solo made their way back to the barracks on Kamino.
"Keep up Han, you can get trampled if you don't," Skirata warned. Han ran with his bony legs right up to Skirata's side. He was soaking everything in like a sponge. Clone troopers passed by him and Han would stop to stare only to be pushed on by the Nulls.
"You all live here?" Han asked bewildered.
"Not all the time," Jaing answered as they entered the locker room. "We're sent out on missions like the one we were just on, or we'll be in training for the better half of our time. Have to keep our senses sharp!" Han sat down on one of the benches and took in his surroundings. While the Nulls got changed out of their armor and into sweats and a work out shirt Han being the curious six year old that he was, got up and started to look around the locker room. His curiosity getting the better of him, Han looked inside an open locker until an angry accented voice made him jump.
"What are you doing in here kid!" Han turned around to see a baffled and angry looking man behind him.
"Uh…uh…" Han stumbled over his words. Knowing only one way how to react, Han kicked the man in the leg and ran to find his new found friends.
"Hey, get back here!" The angry voice shouted at Han. Han rounded a locker and Skirata stood there with an amused look on his face.
"First day here and already causing problems?"
"I wasn't doing nothing! I swear!" Han defended. The angry man skidded to a stop.
"Skirata, what is this?" By this time, attention had been drawn and the Null boys had gathered by their sergeant. Other clones who were present watched with peaked curiosity.
"Walon Vau, this is Han Solo. It's a long story but Han is here to stay with us for the time being."
Vau gave him a disbelieving look. "You have got to be kidding me. You can't bring a kid into military barracks or the base."
"I just did. For all everyone knows, he's my long lost son. Isn't that right Han?" Skirata looked down at the boy.
"Uh yeah," Han said unsure.
"You're going to get your shebs handed to you Skirata!" Vau stormed off.
"Han, here are some sweats I found for you. Get changed, today you start training as a Mandalorian."
"Training? Already?" Han groaned. What had he gotten himself into?
Han had never been so sore in his entire life. He could hardly lift his arms to climb up onto the spare bunk Skirata had made for him. At first he thought it was cool watching all the clones working together, fighting in sync, going through fake and live shooting scenarios and he wanted to do it too, but Skirata said that he had much to learn before even thinking about becoming a part of a unit.
He had to unlearn what Shrike had taught him. Life wasn't just all about him, it was about working as a team and that his team would depend on him every moment that he breathed. If he became weak or selfish, then his unit would fail.
Skirata had also said that he needed to learn how to defend himself and learn the correct ways of combat. Skirata commented on how scrawny and helpless Han was. Only fueling Han's anger and pride to show the Mando that he wasn't helpless or scrawny Han pushed himself as hard as he could. He would show him, he would show everyone.
Skirata showed him how to hold a blaster properly and shoot straight. He had made him run, jump, do pushups, sit ups, chin ups to build up endurance and body strength.
By the end of the day Han couldn't move. "So, you think you can make it as a trooper?" Ordo and Mereel sat down on their bunks, readying themselves for sleep.
Han bleakly turned to look at them. "I'll make it. Just watch." He wanted to prove it to those two more than anything. He knew they were watching him and he wouldn't fail.
"Tomorrow is a new day, I'd sleep if I were you," Ordo warned.
Over the next few months, Skirata had been able to convince the GAR command to let Han stay with him through much persuasion and a little black mail here and there.
The other sergeants got to know Han and accepted him into their circle, though sometimes Han could push them to breaking point. He would get into things he shouldn't, ask too many questions or talk too much and just bug them when he felt bored. Skirata would have to direct Han's attention back and continued to train him and his men.
"Show me again," Han told Ordo. They had been getting along much better and all the Nulls had to accept Han as their little brother. Han picked up on their training quickly which they appreciated and even let him join in on their live simulations games.
"One more time, this is it." Ordo huffed. Ordo was showing Han how to hold the new and latest rifle without injuring his shoulder.
"Okay, now try shooting it." A blast went off and Han was knocked on his butt. Ordo burst out laughing.
"Stick to the smaller guns kid," Ordo laughed as he took the rifle from Han.
"Stupid gun," Han grumbled. "Owe," he rubbed his shoulder.
"Good job runt," a condescending voice taunted. Ordo and Han turned to see the prodigal son of Jango Fett saunter up to them. His name was Boba Fett; he was unaltered so he didn't age as fast as Ordo or the other clones. He may have looked like all of them, but he was rotten to the core. Boba was nine years old and big for a young boy. He always saw some sort of satisfaction in reminding the Nulls that they would be dead long before him and that his father was their creator. Ordo ground his teeth together and tried valiantly to hold back his temper, at least for his buir's sake, but Boba was getting on his final nerve.
"Now I see why the Kaminoans left you alive, they left you as a baby sitter for runts!" Boba scoffed. Ordo was about to react when Han launched himself at Boba.
"Take it back!" the young boy screamed as he punched at the bully anywhere he could get at.
Boba reacted quickly and kicked Han's legs from under him. Han fell to the floor and Boba was on top of him and socked him in the jaw. "You'll never be a Mandalorian. My father can beat up Skirata any time any day. He's not good enough to lick the dirt off my boots!"
Han squirmed under Boba's punches but the pressure was suddenly lifted off of his chest when Ordo grabbed Boba by the back of the neck.
"You want to say that again?" Ordo's voice was deadly.
"You heard me you crazy bag of genetic glop," Boba growled. Ordo looked at Han who was still lying on the polished floor trying to catch his breath. Blood trickled down from his nose onto the sterile floor.
Ordo didn't say a word but instead dragged the younger clone to the nearest refresher kicking and screaming. "Let me go! You'll pay for this Ordo! Let! Me! Go!"
Ordo ignored his protests and picked up the boy, stuck his head in the toilet and flushed it a few times. When he let Boba come up for some air he made the astonished clone look at him.
"You ever come near Han or say anything about Kal Skirata again, it won't just be your head that gets it; do you hear me?" Ordo threatened. Boba wiped his drenched face and nodded, getting a few sprinkles of toilet water on Ordo's shirt. "Get out of my sight!" He shoved Boba out of his way and went back to Han.
Han was sitting up now, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I'm sorry Ordo," his voice nasally.
Ordo bent down to examine Han's wounds. His nose looked in bad shape maybe broken and he had a small gash on his chin. "Don't be sorry you didn't do anything wrong. The shabuir just has a chip on his sleeve." Ordo took Han by the arm and supported his back while Han kept his head tilted slightly back to help keep the bleeding down.
"I know, I just wanted to prove I could hold my own in a fight too," it was almost too hard for Ordo to understand Han as they walked down the glass pristine halls to the infirmary.
"Han, you don't have to prove anything. Remember what Kal'buir told you. You are powerless if you can't rely on your brothers."
Han's eyes lit up at Ordo despite being obvious pain. "You think of me as your brother?"
"Yes Han," Ordo said with rare patience, "you are my brother. Now come on, I don't want those leather necks yelping at us because we left a mess. Let's move."
Despite the fight, it had to be one of Han's best days. Ordo had officially called him his brother and boy did it feel good. Han felt much older than six at the moment. He finally felt like he belonged, like everything in the galaxy was right.
"Ordo," Han turned to his new brother. It had been a long day, he knew that everyone needed as much sleep as they could get before the next round of training began.
"Go to sleep Han," Ordo groaned under his pillows.
"Ordo," Han persisted and this time propped himself up on his bunk and waited for Ordo to respond.
"What?" Ordo said grumpily.
"Can I join you the next time you get to go on a mission? Brothers have to stick together right?"
Ordo blinked at the boy a few times. "That's right kid, brothers have to stick together."