A/N: This is the first of a series of stories about original adventures in the Clone Wars from the Confederacy of Independent Systems' point-of-view. This one's a one-shot; some future stories will also be one-shots, while others will be divided into chapters. This first story is closely based on the Star Wars: Empire comic What Sin Loyalty? which was told from the Imperial perspective. General Grievous has a supporting role here, and so does Lt. Daan, a female Separatist officer from the Star Wars: The Clone Wars comic The Starcrusher Trap, but the three main characters, Separatist troopers and a Separatist officer, are OCs, original characters.

Here's hoping you like it!

Clone Wars: Confederacy: Part 1: What Sin Freedom?

The planet New Plympto, towards the end of the Battle. It wasn't supposed to go down like this.

We expected plenty of a fight from the Republic, and we were ready for them. But it seems that in the Clone Wars, so many battles are lost by the Separatists because of incompetent battle droids. General Grievous regularly complains about their poor performances.

That's why now, in this Battle on New Plympto, the good General has supplemented his forces with thousands of organic Separatist troops, because we can think creatively, more so than the droids, more so than even the clones, and because we are not conditioned with programmed loyalty. And he needs us in order to liberate the Nosaurians from the corrupt Republic that refused them representation in the Senate, but won't let them go; and the Confederacy could use more valiant warriors and militias helping us fight our upright cause.

My name is Vi Shang, a Gossam commando of the Commerce Guild, and beside me is my friend and fighting partner, Ford Polkhas, a Koorivar fusilier of the Corporate Alliance. Our movement, the Confederacy of Independent Systems, or the Separatist Alliance, doesn't normally allow individual soldiers from different divisions of the Separatist Droid Army to work together routinely, but Ford and I have distinguished ourselves side-by-side in many battles, even some of our defeats, battles like those on Alderaan, Endor, Umbara and even far away Tatooine, and Grievous and Count Dooku have taken note of that and allowed us to have a partnership in this war.

Anyway, the Republic thinks that with its clone army and Jedi Generals, they can reclaim the galaxy so they can raid the galactic worlds with their complacency and foolishness. Indeed, Ford was especially disappointed that Commander Merai's mission to destroy Tipoca City on Kamino at the beginning of the war had failed and ended in his death. But they won't succeed. No matter how many planets they reclaim, no matter how hard they can try, the Republic will never annihilate the Confederacy.

"Help!" a chatty B1 battle droid was yelling nearby. "A Jedi is coming! He's gonna- AAHH!" as a human Jedi General sliced him up with his lightsaber.

"Useless things!" Grievous himself growled nearby. "I'll take care of this, you stupid battle droids!" Then he waded into the battle, cutting down all the surrounding clone troopers, who were dwindling fast. Grievous fought fiercely and without mercy, but couldn't quite keep up with the Jedi's fast strikes. "Where are my MagnaGuards when I need them?" he demanded to nobody but the air.

"The Jedi is going to get him," I said.

"Then we'd better do something," suggested Ford. "You have any ideas, Shang?"

I thought quickly and said, "Ford, go to the Jedi's front-side and distract him, I'll blast him in the back."

"Good idea," Ford said, and he moved to intercept the Jedi.

"Hey! You there, Jedi!" he yelled, firing a few shots at him. The Jedi deflected his blaster bolts with a back-up lightsaber, while I ran up softly behind the Jedi and shot him. The Jedi's last feeling was apparently surprise, as he sank to ground, dead.

Grievous, surprised at being helped by his troops, said, "Well done again, Lieutenants Shang and Polkhas," he congratulated them. "I owe you my life. You are two of the best of the best in the Separatist Droid Army. I only wish there were more soldiers as clever and talented as you; those battle droids are beyond pathetic, even sometimes when they're in great numbers."

"Well, thank you General, sir," Ford said, saluting him. I copied the salute.

"It looks like the battle is just about over," I said. "Do you need any help from us with the cleanup of the mess, General?"

"No, you two and the other commandos and fusiliers have done enough for one day," said the General. "Get some rest. You'll need your strength for the next battle. I'll leave the cleanup for the losers, the battle droids who survived the fight."

"Aw, no fair!" a battle droid sitting on a rock complained. "We worked hard, too!"

"Yeah! What kind of a Confederacy is it with droids-" said another droid, but got cut off by one of Grievous' own lightsabers cutting him and his friend in two.

"Any more complaints?" Grievous demanded of the other droids.

"Uh, no, no, I don't think so," they all said together.

"That's what I thought! Now, get to work!" Grievous yelled.

A tactical droid stepped up to Grievous, rather bravely, I thought, and said, "I'll make sure that they do not slack off, General." Its voice was as emotionless as all other tactical droids. Why can't those arrogant buckets see the wisdom in feelings and emotions? I wondered. I knew Ford was thinking the same thing.

"Make sure you do," Grievous sneered, "because if not, you can be expendable, too, you know."

"I understand, General," it said flatly.

"Uh, General, sir," I asked politely, "Can you tell me where Ford and I can find Commander Scorpus?"

"He's in the operation's center," Grievous informed them.

"Thank you, General," we said, and went to meet the Commander.

Commander Scorpus is an Ocorpian from Secundus Ando, the same world the legendary Separatist Admiral Trench hails from. The Ocorpians are a subspecies of Trench's species, the Harch. Despite all the conflict between the Ando colonies and their races, the Harch and the Ocorpians have had quite a respectful relationship. When the Harch joined the Confederacy, the Ocorpians willingly came along for the ride. They look similar to Harch, except that they have pincers on the sides of their faces to help put food into their mouths, and they have a tail with a sharp, venomous sting, like a scorpion.

Early in the Clone Wars, Ford and I saved Scorpus's life on Naboo while it was suffering from a deadly plague. We've stayed by his side as much as possible ever since, and despite his higher rank than us, he feels almost like a third member of our partnership. He has all the traits of a Separatist patriot, courageous, idealistic, strong, and resolute. Even the Count's sinister Dark Acolyte, Asajj Ventress, sees him as a true hero of the CIS, and she usually doesn't compliment anybody.

"Ford, Shang! It's good to see you made it through another battle in one piece," he greeted them with a smile as they stepped into the operation's center.

"Yeah, same here," said Ford. "We ran into some trouble with a formidable Jedi General, he nearly took down General Grievous, but we got him!"

"Good to hear," Scorpus said. "One less Jedi General, one less clone unit, one step closer to victory for the Separatist Alliance. You're both very good troopers, Ford and Shang, always on your guard and thinking on your feet. I've said it before and I'll say it again; you're the best of the best in the Gossam commandos and Koorivar fusiliers."

"That's good to hear, sir," I said, trying to be modest, "we like to live up to our station. The Confederacy of Independent Systems needs all the help it can get. However, we've noticed that not all the Nosaurians are pleased that we liberated their world, despite the fact that we offered to buy their rikknit eggs to replenish their economy."

"Not everyone in the galaxy thinks that our commitment to free will and freedom to live the way we want to is a sign of progress. Many people on the worlds we've taken see us as oppressors and occupiers, and I'm afraid the greed of the Separatist Council doesn't help those matters, anyway. My main concern is that my home world and the Harch and Ocorpians alike can be free to live their own way. In a sense, the CIS is a libertarian movement, or at least it aims for libertarian ideals when this war is over."

"I know the feeling," I said. "The Republic's occupation of my home world, Castell, ha taught me that the Republic is no longer a free democracy, at least, not one without hypocrisy."

Later, on board Grievous' new flagship, Invisible Hand

"Here, come take a look at this," Scorpus said to Ford and I. "It's a little, "trade secret" of the Confederacy."

They looked out the window of the observation deck at the skeleton of what looked like a huge space station.

"That's the Separatists' new secret weapon, a battle station that can destroy planets," he explained.

"Why would the Confederacy want a weapon like that?" I asked. "I thought we were supposed to liberate worlds, not destroy them."

"Don't worry," Scorpus assured us, "The Count says we're going to use it with great restraint, only using it on worlds of the Republic that put up the toughest and most violent fight against us. We're not going to be responsible for wholesale murder."

"I hope that's true," I said, "Though it must be true, because if it wasn't, Dooku probably wouldn't have allowed people like us to know about it."

"Hey!" Ford said suddenly. "What's that commando droid doing on the observation platform balcony?"

A BX-series commando droid leaped down from the balcony and brandished his vibrosword at Grievous and Scorpus. "What's going on?" Grievous shouted.

I shot him head-on with my quick reflexes, and Ford did the same to his back.

"Why did that commando droid sneak in and attack us?" Grievous demanded, looking around, as if he expected the battle droids to have the answer. He growled in frustration.

"Take it to maintenance, Shang. Have its programming read," said Scorpus.

In maintenance, a female human officer named Lieutenant Daan, who had once been a hostage of the Republic, reported that the droid was little more than a junked, out-of-commission droid that should have been trashed. But as it was further investigated, I thought I saw a programmed order to kill Commander Scorpus!

"You're sure of this?" Ford asked me.

"Beyond a shadow of a doubt," I replied.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous, Shang," said Scorpus cheerfully.

"That droid was a piece of junk, sir, and that's what saved your life," Ford said.

"No, it was your quick thinking and reflexes that saved me," Scorpus said, "and that's why I like both of you so much."

"Somebody was behind the attack in the observation desk," I insisted, "and I don't know why you're being so frivolous about this, sir."

"You're pushing yourselves too hard, especially you, Shang. You great soldiers, but you have to slow down. New Plympto was hard on all of us, and it's going to take time to get over it."

"But what if Republic spies have infiltrated the Invisible Hand, sir?" Ford asked.

"Listen, there's no way any Republican can get on this ship, it's too well protected," said Scorpus. "Relax it's my job, and Grievous's, to worry about the Jedi and the clone troops. Now, come on, it's time for you to escort me to that medal ceremony."

They were now walking down a hallway. "Grievous insisted I accept it, and I hear that Ventress may be there, too. She'll go almost anywhere to honor me if she doesn't have her hands full. The General wants to put a positive spin on this disaster, that's why he insisted on it."

"Disaster, sir?" my partner and I both said, surprised. "You and Grievous destroyed a Republic army and its weapons depot."

"Perhaps, but hundreds of innocent people died, too," said Scorpus.

"What do you mean, sir? Did we actually, commit some sort of atrocity without meaning to? I thought people fighting for freedom couldn't do things like-"

"Hey," I said a second later, "Why won't this door open?"

"I thought I wish I knew," said Ford.

"Shang! Ford!" Scorpus cried. But it was too late. Another commando droid appeared and ambushed us. This one, however, carried an electro-staff. He put a high voltage shock into Scorpus, then did the same to me, though for not as long. Ford told me to get down, and then he blasted the droid.

I survived my wounds, but Scorpus's wounds were critical. There is a saboteur aboard the ship, but we don't know who he (or she) is. Ford and I went to visit Scorpus on his hospital bed, fearing to lose our only friend, and not knowing who was responsible for all this.

"My sins have finally caught up with me, my friends," said Scorpus suddenly.

"You need to rest sir," said Ford, "Save your strength."

"Rest isn't going to help me now," Scorpus replied. "We both know that now. Everything's so clear. What if what we intend to do with the galaxy isn't in the galaxy's best interests? What if we're bringing justice and freedom the wrong way? What if the Republic's right, after all?"

"What does that mean?" I asked carefully. "What can the Separatists possibly have done wrong?"

"I know," said Scorpus, "because that night on New Plympto… we didn't hit an air base. We hit a Nosaurian med center. The clones were disrupting our communications, and I should have known better than to go in blind, but I was so sure I knew the lay of the land. To avoid the fall-out, Count Dooku, General Grievous and the Separatist Council covered up the incident, and declared me a hero."

"But didn't the clones know where the med center was and lead you right to it?" asked Ford hopefully.

"No," said Scorpus, "It was my own certainty that doomed those poor people. Shang, Ford, you're good soldiers, the best of the best. I'm proud of you. But you must accept an unpleasant truth; the Confederacy isn't always the shining example of justice and freedom we want it to be. And the Republic isn't wholly bad, either. It's filled with shades of gray everywhere…"

Then Scorpus died.

"Somebody killed Commander Scorpus. It was not a programming malfunction, that we both know," I said to Ford.

"Yeah, and don't Scorpus's last words haunt you? I know they do for me."

"Yes," I said. "I believe in the Confederacy, with every fiber of my being. I fight for it. I'd die for it."

"Me too," said Ford.

We stood and thought for a minute, until-

"His last words should haunt you two cretins," a woman's voice said from off to the side.

Whumpf!

"That felt like an impact on the ship!" Ford shouted.

"It's the first of many the Invisible Hand will feel before the war is over," said Lieutenant Daan, who was pointing a blaster at them. "This ship is in the middle of a battle. And don't even think of reaching for your rifles!"

"You? You're responsible for this mess!?" I shouted.

"The battle on New Plympto. The droids. You're behind all of it!" Ford declared angrily.

"How condescending. Why all the concern for Scorpus, Seppies?" demanded Daan. Scorpus was a monster, just like all the other Separatist leaders who claim they want freedom from corruption. He deserved to die. But of course, you being Separatist troops, you'd gladly believe any CIS Shadowfeed propaganda they would show you."

"What about you?" I demanded in turn. "What did the Jedi and the Republic pay you to turn against your own people? Was it the stupid Chancellor himself who bought you?"

"I didn't do it for the money!" she yelled. "It's Dooku who bought Nute Gunray and all his corporate pals for the Separatist leadership! I did it because the Jedi gave me a chance to reform myself, to do some good in the galaxy."

"The Confederacy is good," I shot at her. "It gives people who are tired of corruption and complacency-"

"The Confederacy is an engine fueled by greed! Greed, and hate!" she shot back. "It'll consume itself in it's own malice and wealth by the time the war's over. Then the Republic will-Hey! Where did your friend go?"

I wasn't sure myself, but then Ford jumped up behind her and knocked her blaster away. We wrestled with each other, but Daan somehow managed to overpower us, pushing us both to the floor, and amazing feat for such a small human against two big, tough soldiers.

"You may stop me," she said, looking into our faces, "But you can't stop the Republic! The will of the people to live safely and securely in a war-torn galaxy is greater than Dooku's greed. You're most likely to die on board this ship, while I escape, though I have no doubt your other monstrous friend, General Grievous, will escape with his life."

But then, there was an impact outside this part of the ship, and a wall collapsed hard on Daan, quickly killing her. And a few moments later, we notice a few Jedi starfighters and a squad of ARC-170s closing in on the Invisible Hand, right where we were. The Separatist fleet was already losing this one.

And as we watch our possible end come, Ford and I have a moment of clarity, like our late commander.

Despite our best efforts to restore justice and freedom to the galaxy, the virus of the Republic's corruption is spreading, invading the chinks in our armor, contaminating and destroying us from both without and within.

And in our moment of doubt, we fall. Just like that. It's all over.

The two of us sit on a section of the wall that killed Daan. The influence of the Jedi runs so deep, I doubt if the Jedi in particular will ever see the truth about their Republic.

They've pierced the Confederacy's shell, and infected its spirit.

If those fighters do destroy General Grievous' flagship, or at least hit the area they're rapidly approaching, the area where we are, Ford and I will meet our deaths without fear or hesitation, like Scorpus and Trench both trained us to do.

We clasp our right hands together.

Let the Republic have this victory. In the end, it'll only expose the truth-reveal the Jedi and the cowardly citizens they protect for the hypocrites they are. Our sacrifice will not be in vain.

The fighters are almost close enough to launch their missiles. We close our eyes and accept our fate.

This day will be remembered.

The fighters fire their missiles.

They can't silence a billion voices…

THE END

A/N: The bit at the end where they close their eyes and accept their fate, and their final thoughts; I imagine Admiral Trench might have had similar thoughts during the few short seconds he awaited his demise in Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Cat and Mouse.

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