Disclaimer- I don't own Star Wars. That belongs to George Lucas, I think, assuming Disney hasn't taken over. I don't own the Republic Commando series either; that wonderful work belongs to Karen Traviss, bless her. The recognizable text in this comes straight from True Colors.
Author's Note- This one is a bit shorter, partly because the scene is, and partly because I have a Latin exam tomorrow. I've cut chapter one up into bits, from both Sergeant Barlex and the loadmaster's POV. Also, feel free to give a scene that you want to see in your review! All suggestions are welcome.
470 Days after Geonosis, Sergeant Barlex's POV
"Nice of you to join us, Omega," I said, in no mood to have to deal with more commandos, especially Mando ones. Prima donas, all of them. "And may I be the first to say that you like a bunch of complete prats?"
Those were fighting words, right there, but Omega kept silent, just adjusting their winged jet pack. Normally I'd be envious that these boys got toys that mine didn't, but these simply didn't look safe.
One of them activated his wing mechanism, and the two blades swung into a horizontal position with a hiss of hydraulics, nearly smacking me in the face, had I not ducked. Then the commando had the nerve to smile flapped his arms. "Want to see my impression of a Geonosian?"
I nearly hit him, my fists clenching inside my gloves. "What, plummeting to the ground in a spray of bugsplatter after I put a round through you," I snarled at him, unable to restrain myself.
"You're so masterful."
"I'm so a sergeant, Private-"
"Couldn't you at least get us matte-black ones?" the cheeky idiot who I was considering murdering interrupted. "I don't want to plunge to my doom with uncoordinated accessories. People will talk."
"You'll have white and like it," I snapped, in no mood to deal with the private's antics. "Anyways, I thought you bunch were born-again Mandalorians. Jet packs should make you feel right at home," I countered, and felt bitterness rise in my mouth. How could these men, so genetically close to me, my brothers, be so enthusiastically, fanatically Mandalorian?
"Off for caf and cakes afterward?"
I ignored the jab. "Orders are to drop extra materiel and other useless ballast, meaning you, and then shorten our survival odds again by popping in for a chat with the Seps on Miriam."
The cheeky private clasped his hands under his chin, feigning hurt concern. "Is is the Mando thing that's coming between us, dear?"
I nearly spit, but that doesn't tend to work out for my HUD. "Just my appreciation if the irony that we're fighting Mando mercenaries in some places."
"I'd better keep you away from Sergeant Kal, then..."
"Yeah, you do that," I told him. "I lost ten brothers thanks to them."
I'd heard of Sergeant Kal Skirata- Mando mercenary, fanatic, and devoted to turning all my brothers in Mandalorians. If I ever met him, I'd punch him.
The compartment went silent, but I didn't care. These Mando commandos were no brothers of mine.
The Loadmaster on the Core Conveyor
"Deeces," I told Omega Squad, not looking up from my datapad, and wondered if they had taken a swing at Sergeant Barlex for snarling at them. "And a few E-Webs and one large arty piece."
"How many 'Webs," one of the commandos asked.
"Is that the best we can do?"
I looked up at the new boys, and hoped they couldn't see me startle. Four commandos, bulky and menacing and in matte-black Katarn armor towered over me. It was an impressive site.
"We've been arming them for a year. Just a top-up," I told them, reaching for the rail as I hooked my safety line to it. I could understand why they weren't happy though- in their boots, I wouldn't be thrilled about their assignment either. It probably didn't help their mood that Barlex had gone off on them; just because they were commandos didn't mean they were Mandalorians...
"If it's any comfort, you look pretty sinister in that black rig. Even with the white wings. I don't think you're a bunch of overrated Mando-loving weirdos at all..."
One of them gave me a bow. "May all your future deployments be with the Galactic Marines on 'fresher detail, ner vod."
Before I could respond- or try to dial down what I'd say- obviously Omega was a reborn again Mando squad- one them got up in my face. "What's your problem pal?"
"Just wondering," I said neutrally, unable to let it drop, remembering my brothers' faces in my mind.
"Mandos. You ever fought those guys? I have. They keep popping up in Sep forces. They kill us. And you were raised to be good little Mando boys. Is that who you feel you are?"
Okay, so I couldn't dial my hostility.
"Let's put it this way," the one who had bowed to me answered. "I don't feel like a Republic citizen, because none of us are, in case you haven't noticed. We don't exist. No vote, no identifications docs, no rights."
One of them who had stayed silent the whole time shoved him in the back, the sergeant I guessed. "One-Five, shut it. Loadmaster, wind your neck in and don't question our loyalty, or I'll have to smack you. Now let's get to work."
So I did; I had a job to do and aggravating commandos wasn't it. The one had a point about the Republic- but going Mando instead? I couldn't understand it and I didn't. Our job was to fight for the Republic, ungrateful or not, and the Mandalorians were the enemies of the Republic. I cut off that train of thought. Omega weren't as good as Seps, they were republic commandos, and about to risk their necks in a mission any legion would call suicidal.
'Brothers all,' I reminded myself and told Omega to stay safe. The problem, Barlex would later tell me, was recognizing who our brothers were and which ones were enemies who merely wore our faces.