Hey guys! I'm super sorry for the LOOOOONNNGGG wait for this chapter! I just moved schools so it's been a little challenging! For those of you who have been waiting and favoriting and following, thank you so much! Anyway, enjoy the chapter!
Shinie= New clone trooper
Bantha fodder = nearly equal to bullshit
Osik = shit
A pain in the choobies= pain in the ass
verd'ika = soldier (but it's an affectionate way, almost like you would call a child)
sithpit= hell hole
Haar'chak= nearly means shit/fuck
jari'eyc = ugly
slana'pir verd'ika= get out little soldiers
Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya= train your sons to be strong, but your daughters to be stronger.
Shiny boy= slang for arc trooper or commando
Bug slut= an insult
Ni copad at kyr'amur gar. a Ni liser't.= I want to kill you, but i cant.
alor'ad = captain
ad'ika = little one
mir'osik= dung for brains
Rex was shocked. His mouth was hanging open and his eyes bulged, a very similar expression was worn by Cody as the news replayed itself in their heads. Was Rio really going to take over command to defend Christophis? Not that Rex doubted the blonde next to him, but she was young. She's not that much younger than Skywalker… Remind me to ask how old sh…
"Masters, don't you think Rio's a little young to be leading on her own?" Anakin coughed, he was voicing everyone in the rooms doubts, Rex watched him flash Rio an apologetic look. But before anyone had time to respond, Rio was already growling an answer to Anakin's question.
"In case you haven't noticed Master," she practically spat the word, "I'm nineteen. Only a few years younger than you di'ku…" He reacted before she could finish the word and used his gloved hand to hit her hard on the back of the thigh before Rex cut her off with his own words.
"Cody and I will see to it that the Commander will be well equip to lead." He flashed the Generals a lopsided grin. They all nodded in agreement and understanding at his words. Rex let out a breathe of air. He was glad they hadn't noticed Rio's disrespect. Why couldn't the padawan just keep her big mouth shut? Kriffing liberal hot tempered Jedi…
"Captain Rex, Commander Cody, and Padawan Tessler. Trust you with this task, we do." Yoda voiced, it set Rex's nerves at ease slightly.
"Are we going to be moved into more… Permanent, quarters then?" Rio asked, her tone was calm but Rex was ready to cut her off again at a moments notice.
"Is the old base we used two klicks from crystal city open, Generals?"
"Yes, that's where you'll be stationed for the next couple of months." Rex inwardly groaned. Of all the places he had been stationed, the base next to Crystal city was by far his least favorite. Not that it was dirty or had cramped quarters, no, even the surrounding area was beautiful. It was more the memory of Slick's betrayal that Rex had never be able to erase or scrub from his mind.
"Come Jedi Knights will. Make sure you are doing well they will." Yoda looked straight into Rex's eyes as he spoke, the Captain struggled to keep his gaze level with the Jedi Masters. What could he say? The little alien was intimidating.
"Cody and I will go prepare the men to move out." Rex nodded politely and turned to leave with Cody who was a few meters ahead of him. He heard Rio ask to be dismissed behind him, he didn't know if she would be allowed until he heard the soft padding of footsteps coming up behind him.
They walked in silence, Rex was looking down, unsure of how to respond to what had just transpired. It wasn't like they had known this woman for months, no it had been a simple two weeks and she was already expected to lead them. Deep in the recess of his own mind, Rex thought about what had happened the last time a Jedi other than Anakin or Ahsoka had lead them. The green smoggy forest of Umbara flashed through his memory, the four green and blue twirling lightsabers embedding themselves into his brothers.
Rex shook his head lightly and rubbed one of his eyes. Now was not the time to be dwelling in the past, especially about someone that was completely unlike Rio. His eyes turned towards her and for the first time Rex really examined her. Her boots were scuffed, the leather in desperate need of replacement just like her ripped apart nerf hide leggings. Rex took special care to notice the still healing red scab on her one leg before his eyes trailed upwards towards her new cream colored "borrowed" linen shirt. It was far to big for Rio and seemed to nearly hang off her small form.
"What?" The Padawan asked, her gray eyes still solely fixed on what was in front of her. Rex felt a hot blush spread across his cheeks at being caught staring but was determined to play it off.
"I'm thinking you need new… Attire…"
"What you thinkin' of alor'ad?" The girl drawled out, Rex had to smirk at her use of the Mando version of Captain. "Please tell me we aren't talking sensua bindings…" Rex rolled his eyes heavily before replying sarcastically.
"Definitely ad'ika, that's exactly what I meant." They walked in another brief silence again, Rex noticed some of the men were starting to stop and stare at Rio before whispering to each other. Guess it was inevitable… Rex knew Cody had probably already radioed ahead and told the men.
"This is exactly the reaction I was expecting." Rio murmured.
"Can you blame the di'kuts?"
"After what happened on Umbara? Frag Rex, course not." She stopped to look straight at him, he watched her put both her hands on her face and wipe some strands of hair back against her head. It was one of the first times someone had the nerve to mention Umbara to him and the Captain was unsure at how to respond. The events of the past week rang in his head, her injuring herself and nearly getting herself raped for the lives of her men. Rio's nothing like that tub of bantha fat… and we shouldn't be treating her like she is either.
"Give them time..."
"Incase you haven't noticed Rex, we're all a little short on time…" Rex looked at Rio with narrowed eyes, as much as he liked the Jedi she couldn't be allowed to wallow in self-pity.
"Kriff Rio… If you want their trust. Earn it." Rex's tone must have surprised her as her silver orbs widened at his words before her pretty face turned into a snarl.
"I kinda thought I had. You know, when I almost got raped for Oso and Coric."
"One action that only a few of us know about can't win over everyone. I may trust you, along with Fives, Cody, Oso and many others. But you need to inspire the rest of the men."
"And what if I can't?"
"Then this will be a terrible few weeks ad'ika."
Rio stood at the edge of the landing platform her shirt flapping around her in the air generated by the landing gunship. She watched Anakin and Obi-wan begin to walk towards the now landing bird with her arms crossed and lips pursed. Unlike the many times when Tula left on a mission, the padawan was only here in respect for Skywalker leaving. Obi-wan caught her eye and he flashed her a small smile. Her lips turned downwards automatically in response. The girl knew she was being hard on the Jedi Master, after all, he was just being a good example for her. But Rio didn't give a damn, all she could feel was contempt for the man who at the moment walked towards her.
"Yes Master?" Rio asked, she masked her force signature so he couldn't feel her anger towards him.
"Rio I nee…"
"So it's Rio now? Not Padawan Tessler anymore?" She cut him off, her control starting to slip as she clenched her fists. Her nails dug into the skin of her palm and within a few seconds she felt the sticky warmth of blood start dripping down her hands.
"You're not being fair young one. You know as well as I that Tula's death affected me as well."
"Then why don't you kriffing show it?" All of Rio's pretenses dropped and she stepped closer to Kenobi before she pushed him with one of her now blood-covered fingers. He didn't seem to notice the bloody fingerprint that stained his cream robes as he ran a hand through his hair and looked back down at her.
"These are dangerous times, we can't afford to show weakness. Be careful leading Rio," Obi-wan smiled, then he turned around to board the gunship. If he hadn't been standing right in front of her, Rio would have sworn what she heard next was a dream. The faint sound of his voice reached her ears and caused her eyes to swell. "Trust only your men. Whoever comes is not your family."
And just like that he was gone, taken from her in that gunship. Rio watched it climb higher in the darkening sky until it was just a white spec in her vision. The blonde turned her back on the landing platform, her thoughts traveled to what Obi-wan had just told her. Was there a traitor among the Jedi? Or was it just someone watching her specifically? And if that was true why were they so particularly focused on her? The silver-eyed girl shook her head and rubbed her temples as she walked, it was like a bad dream coming to life.
Rio heard her own footsteps echo on the hard ground as she walked back towards her own tent. As she walked by the blue mess hall tent she paused outside for a second wondering if a ration bar at this hour was a good idea, just as Rio was about to walk in her name was mentioned.
"What type of kriffing di'kut snot plan is this?"
"The little girl's got experience."
"Enough to lead one battle but not enough to handle us or the shiny boys."
"You talkin' 'bout Sparky?"
"Yeah we're "talkin' 'bout Sparky"." One of the troopers mocked the poor 212th soldier. Rio wanted to leave or at least go in there and knock some sense into these bucket heads but her curiosity of what they would say stopped her.
"Have you ever seen Demon Company's stats? They had the lowest casualties! That was under her command as well."
"Incase you haven't realized di'kut, Demon Company, they're gone."
"I heard that she gave up all her men to saver her own skin…" Rio audibly gasped, her rage surfaced. She started opening the tent flap when she heard someone get hit.
"What the hell was that for?" The same trooper yelled, presumably at the person who had hit him.
"Don't talk osik about things you know nothing about if you wanna keep your balls." Rio recognized the voice and force signature of Coric. "Let me tell you something about the General…"
"Coric we're under orders not to discuss…" This time the voice was Oso's. Within seconds Rio knew exactly what they were going to tell the men, about what happened with Loathsom.
"I'd rather get stabbed by the General Skywalker's shiny stick then listen to this mir'osik talk about Rio like that."
"Point taken." Tears of gratitude filled the young padawan's eyes, they were willing to do anything to protect her. And as much as Rio loved the thought of some of her favorite men getting stabbed by Skywalker, Rio couldn't let them risk getting in trouble for her so she walked into the tent, ignoring the hisses and gasps of surprise from the men Rio walked straight towards Coric and Oso. Coric's hand was holding onto the front of a 501st shiny's armor, a fist sized bruise already forming on the troopers face.
"Oso, Coric," Rio smiled at the men in front of her. They immediately looked down guiltily; they knew she heard them about to reveal what happened with Loathsom without her permission. "Say whatever you wish…" They both looked at her with grins on their faces, before Oso spoke.
"Yes Ma'am but are you sure?"
"As sure as I am that Hoth is cold as Ventress's heart." A chuckle went out among the men that surrounded the scene. "And Coric, let go of the poor shiny. He needs to get that face looked out to prevent himself from becoming any uglier than he already is."
"I'll take him to the med-tent then Comm…" She waved her hand at this suggestion, her hands required bandaging from the cuts made by her nails earlier.
"I've got it Oso, plus you boys have a story to tell." Without waiting for the trooper she walked out of the tent, the only sound confirming he was following her was the slight tapping of boots on the ground.
"K'uur, I don't want to hear your half-hearted apology." He fell silent behind her, and Rio made no move to make conversation. She looked up into the now pitch-black sky and saw the brilliant twinkling of the stars. Her hands were folded together behind her back when she walked into the empty med-tent with the trooper. She crossed the cluttered room stacked with boxes of the medical supplies she had convinced Admiral Yularen to send down. "Sit." The Shiny obeyed her without hesitation; Rio grabbed an unopened bacta patch and threw it at him. "It'll take the sting out."
"My name's Trip, Commander." He murmured at her, Rio hid her surprise at his comment by busying herself with finding wrappings for her hands. Once she located the thin pale bindings Rio gingerly started to take off her gloves before bothering to answer Trip.
"It's just Rio to my men, and even though it's unfortunate for myself. You dikut, are still one of my boys." Rio stated. She glanced up at his face and saw him sheepishly rubbing the back of his died white mohawk with one of his gloved hands. A smirk graced her features as he replied to her comment.
"R-Rio, I apologize…"
"Why are you apologizing though? If you feel that I am not ready to lead that is your own opinion." Her eyes were still fixated on wrapping the wads of bandages on the half circle holes in her hand. Haar'chak… They're deeper than I thought. "I have no problems with your opinions, mainly cause I know you'll be proved wrong as soon as you hear what Oso and Coric have to say. What I don't like, is the snot rumors that you were stating earlier. Don't let me hear you saying osik again Trap."
"Yes Ma'am, it won't happen again I swear…"
"If it does, well, I think Coric will be happy to deal with you." Rio responded cheekily, her eyes twinkling in the faint light of the med-tent. "Now get back to your brothers trooper." The Shiny gave her a small grin and salute before walking out of the med-tent and leaving Rio to attempt to wrap her hands on her own.
After fiddling with the bandages for a few more minutes and failing to properly secure them, Rio threw them to the ground in frustration. "Why can't you just stay on? Oh Force, I need Kix…"
"What about your Captain? Is he good enough for this mission?" Rio let out a laugh as Rex appeared in front of the crate she was sitting on. Her neck ached as she craned her head to look up at the much taller man who smirked down at her.
"I suppose he'll have to do." Rio teased. Rex bent down in front of her and picked up the wadded strips of cloth she had just thrown on the ground. Then he motioned for her to give him one of her hands, Rio obeyed without a thought and as he examined her hand she found herself fascinated by his short hair. In her years working with clones she had seem all different types of hairstyles but Rex's basic dyed hair intrigued her. It was a little longer than a buzz cut but still short enough to only look like light fuzz on top of his head.
Taking a section of her own hair Rio compared it to Rex's while he worked. Just from looking at it she could tell her hair was slightly darker than his while it was also shinier.
"Enjoying yourself ad'ika?"
"Give me your other hand." Rex ordered and she complied. "When did you learn Mando'a?"
"Well, Tula taught me most of it. You see, she helped Kenobi in Mandalore when they were still padawans. But Jep finished teaching me, I'm practically fluent, at least in how to swear…" Rex shook his head and let out a chuckle at her words, Rio liked the sound of his laugh.
"Very few Jedi speak Mando'a, or try to learn it."
"It's quite idiotic."
"Not speaking the languages that your troops know… When I was on Ryloth," Rio hissed, Rex had accidentally put pressure on one of the deeper cuts. "Tula made me my learn how to speak with the Twi'leks. It was extremely difficult, when I wasn't fighting or sleeping I was learning their language."
"Having to learn the tailheads language? Sounds like hell…"
"It paid off in the end, saved my choobies a couple times." Rex was silent for a second, as he was deep in thought. Then he finally finished wrapping her other hand and looked straight at her. They were eye level for probably one of the first times and Rio's breath unintentionally hitched. A smirk grew on Rex's face at her mistake and Rio inwardly cursed herself for showing her emotions.
"Commander, I have something to show you." Rex took his holopad from behind his back, and with a cheeky grin Rio started to tease him.
"Captain, if it's more photos of women I'll pass." The slug on the shoulder was enough to keep her laugh a mere hiss as it escaped her mouth. Rio patiently waited as he continued to scroll through his holopad until he stopped on something. After pressing a few more times, Rex handed it over to her. He stood up fully again with a slight cracking in his knees as he did. Rio let out a chuckle before turning her attention to the screen of the holopad, what she saw made her gasp.
It was General Loathsom, well a video feed of him anyway. He had from the images she was looking at, a few tanks and a small amount of droid squads.
"When did you get this?"
"The scouts just came back with the footage. They were dispatched a couple hours ago."
"What should be our plan Captain?"
"Commander, I think it's your decision more than mine…"
"I'm asking your opinion to compare it with my own."
"I think we need to take them out while they're still scattered. If the clankers make an offensive on us we could be pushed back."
"I agree, but we still need to move into the base fully tomorrow…"
"We could split our forces." Rio looked at him with her eyebrow raised.
"What man is gonna volunteer to stay out of a fight?" Rex looked down thoughtfully at her suggestion; he stroked his chin while Rio watched a smirk slowly appear on his face.
"I've got a plan."
Rex signaled for the men behind him to come to his position. The clone Captain smirked from beneath his helmet, the combined forces of the 501st and 212th made quite and impressive force. He caught a glimpse of Rio as she darted around the rubble of the blue buildings. Not that anyone could tell since it was to early in the morning for anything but the faint glimmer of stars above.
The Captain hadn't been surprised when Rio went along with his risky plan of attacking the final droid forces during the night. He also hadn't been surprised when Cody argued against it for thirty minutes. But he had been surprised when Rio gave the clone Commander a light smack on the back of the head, which was followed by a quick, "K'uur!"
Rex still chuckle at the mental image of Cody being scolded by the Jedi as he and his troops went to cut off the only exit points of where General Loathsom and his remaining droids were located.
"Captain, you sure sending her off alone is the best option?" Coric asked, his voice ringing inside the Captain's helmet.
"After what that bugslut did to her… she's definitely more than ready to slash him."
"If he touches her, I'll flay the seppie alive."
"Don't worry Coric, we all will."
Rex held his palm up as he and the troops behind him ceased all communication and made to move out. His nightvison visor lit the way in front of him as he and his troops silently paraded around their target area. The blue beeping on his wrist nearly caused him to jump as his comlink turned on and the rough voice of Rio rang out.
"Rex, I'm going to engage." His mind went blank, it wasn't part of the plan for her to attack when his unit wasn't in position to back her up.
"Commander, we aren't in position." Rex stated, she knew the plan, and Rex prayed she wouldn't be a di'kut and refuse to back down.
"Loathsom has a bird coming down for him. I'll take him out, cov…" Her voice started coming out scratchy from his comlink before it died out completely. Rex hit his gauntlet repeatedly and prayed the reason he lost contact with the beautiful blonde wasn't because she had just been shot dead. Hid brain suddenly filled with images of her body being covered in blaster burns from the Separatist droid forces, or worse, still alive with Loathsom.
"Come on lads! Let's move out!" Rex screamed, if the droids heard him, he wouldn't care, as long as he got to Rio as fast as possible, nothing mattered. Five's voice rang out in his head as he pushed the men to keep up with his swift pace.
"Rex, what's going on?" The clone Captain turned towards the Arc trooper to his right without slowing his pace and answered.
"The Commandar's going to engage Loathsom and the rest of his forces. Alone." Rex didn't wait for Fives answer before he picked up the pace, both his blasters in hand and continued towards the position where Rio was currently fighting.
Oh Hoth, just don't die before we get there ad'ika, the Captain thought to himself, before his mind blanked out and all he could feel was his boots hitting the ground.
"Is that all you got bugslut?" Rio screamed at General Loathsom who glared at her from atop of his tank as he signaled for his droids to keep shooting at her. Her arms felt like they were working in overdrive as she spun and blocked every shot that came at her. She inwardly cursed herself for leaving the wreckage of the small starship she had managed to hit out of the sky just minutes before.
Rio hissed as a shot grazed her leg, she was to much on the defensive for her own good. So she pressed forward, putting one booted foot in front of the other she started closing the gap between herself and the squad of about seventy droids and two tanks that were guarding Loathsom. Rio picked up the pace of her approach, while it moved her forwards, it gave her barely any time to block the shots that came her way.
Krif, why did I not just wait for the boys? Rio knew though, she wanted to take Loathsom out on her own, she wanted him to know exactly who captured his sorry shebs, and that she held all the cards. That was why she pressed forward, her sabers swinging and slicing through the droids like they were air. Two commando droids that had hidden behind the others came to attack her together, their blasters firing in sync purposely to make blocking more difficult.
The blonde ran forwards to meet them. Just before it seemed like she would collide with their gray metal, she dropped to the ground and cut them in half. EAch saber taking one droid. Rio sprang up seconds after to slice a B1's head off. Once she got about twenty meters from Loathsom's position, the tank fired. She heard the recoil of the shot before she even saw it, felt it graze the base of her neck. Part of the shirt she was wearing turned a dark black, from the heat of it.
Rio needed to end this.
There were still about forty droids left facing her, not including the tanks. And at least five of those were commandos. Her thigh injury ached and exhaustion seeped into her bones. Thank the force these fragging droids can't shoot for osik at night. Her advantage on the droids in the dark was crumbling, since the Christophis sun was starting to bathe the blue city in light.
Rio had been pushed back to her original position by the star fighter because of the added blaster fire of the tanks. She needed the Captain. Taking cover behind one of the wings she sat and turned on her comlink for the first time since she had first been fired at.
"R-Rex…" She croaked out. Her mouth felt dry and Rio couldn't help but fantasize about a drink of water.
"Commander! You're holding up alright?" She stifled a laugh at his concerned tone.
"Don't worry Captain I'm still in one piece," one of the rounds from the tank hit the piece of metal to her right, causing an explosion like sound to ring out.
"How long before you're in many pieces?"
"Can it Shiny-Boy, just move your shebs so I stay this way!" With that statement, Rio turned her comlink off and got up again, limping slightly before ducking her head to see where the droid forces were. This unintentionally made her go face to face with a super battle droid. She let out a very un-Jedi like high pitched scream in surprise, and before she could reach for her light sabers, the droid was on the ground with multiple holes in it's chest armor.
The Jedi turned in surprise to see Rex, Coric, and a 212th clone trooper who she didn't recognize. A broad grin unintentionally appeared on her face as all of her men started appearing behind the Captain, all awaiting her orders. With a quick nod towards Rex, who nodded back she started shouting orders.
"Ok boys! Let's go turn these clankers into scrap!"
Then much to her men's surprise, she clipped her light sabers onto her belt and stood still. Rio was calming her mind, putting away all her fears, her hopes, her memories aside so she could focus on the task at hand. Not one of the men made a move to disturb her. Once everything around her was drowned out in her brain, she lifted her gloved hands and felt the force flow through her, she ignored the whistles of blaster fire as her men shot at the droids from behind her. And she lifted up the ship in front of her, Rio momentarily strained but with a few calming breathes was able to use the force to push/throw it towards the tanks.
It skidded and created a sound that was very much like someone being tortured before it crashed into both tanks head on. The one that was just a few meters closer took the brunt of the damage, as did most of the commando droids who must have been ordered to stay near Loathsom for his protection. There was movement on the top of the second tank, the one that hadn't been nearly as damaged as the first.
Loathsom opened the hatch of the tank and stumbled out, dripping blood as he did until he fell off the side and lay still. The remaining droids didn't seem to know what to do, so they stood their unmoving, until one of her men's shot found its mark. Rio started to walk towards Loathsom, her pace brisk, Captain Rex trailing right behind her.
One of the men behind her called out. "Rio, do you need us to come with you?" She didn't pause to look back before answering.
"I think Rex and I can handle this." So they kept walking, the closer she got to the separatist, the heavier her legs felt. When she could see the breathing but other wise still body of Loathsom, behind the wreckage of the tank Rio nearly puked. Rex's hand on her shoulder kept her going though, until she was right in front of the Kerkoiden male. Then she took out one of her light sabers and ignited it.
Loathsom looked up at her weakly, his eyes glazed over. Rio looked down at him, still acutely aware that Rex's hand was on her shoulder before she stated.
"Ni copad at kyr'amur gar. a Ni liser't. Are you ready to see the inside of a holding cell separatist?"