Disney owns Star Wars. It's the very last drabble today, so please enjoy :)
A Padawan Named Ahsoka to Train
On the First day of Christmas, the Clone Wars gave to me—A Padawan named Ahsoka to train.
Clone Captain Rex was in his office reviewing the company roster when he got the first hint that something had gone wrong. Well, not really a hint, more like a blatant announcement. His second in command, Sergeant Coric burst into his office, out of breath as though he'd been running and managed to gasp out, "you're needed in the mess, Captain. There's… well… you'd better see for yourself, sir." Then he was gone.
Rex stared at the door for a beat, poleaxed. Then his training kicked in. He grabbed his DC-17 pistols out from his desk drawer (he didn't care what the regs said, there was no way he was going around unarmed), briefly cursed himself for wearing his barrack fatigues rather than his armour, and headed for the mess hall at a sprint.
He was more than halfway there when, rounding a blind corner, he ran smack into Kix. Both men went sprawling, limbs tangled as they crashed to the floor.
"Kiiiix!" Rex growled out, his left wrist throbbing from where he'd used it to break his fall.
The medic rolled off Rex, rubbing his ribs gingerly. "Sorry, sir!" he managed to gasp.
"What in the blue blazes were you doing, Kix?" Rex grumbled as he got to his feet and started looking around for one of his blasters, which had gone skittering across the floor in the collision.
"Coming to get you actually, Captain." Kix straightened and handed Rex the errant blaster. "Something funny is going on outside, sir. I think you should take a look."
Rex frowned. The mess hall and the exterior of the base at the same time? He asked the first question that came to mind, "Seppie attack?"
Kix shook his head. "As I said, sir, I think you should take a look."
Rex chewed on his lip, thinking. "We'd better check perimeter security first. Then I'll deal with whatever's in the mess hall. Here." He gave Kix his spare blaster, shutting off the other man's protests with a single look. The two clones moved quietly, but swiftly towards the main entrance to the barrack building, sticking close to the edges of the corridor in case they should run into enemy fire.
Covering the door with his blaster, Rex caught Kix's eye and nodded. The other man shifted his angle so that the arc of his fire covered the left side of the door, the medic's other hand on the door controls. Rex held out his free hand, three fingers up. Three, two, one. On Rex's signal, Kix hit the door stud and the blast door flew open. Rex rushed out, blaster at the ready, rapidly scanning the right hand-side of courtyard for danger. In the corner of his eye, he saw Kix was doing the same for the courtyard's left hand-side. Nothing.
Well, that wasn't quite right. Rex blinked rapidly, sure he was seeing things.
Kix came over to him. "I tried to tell you, Captain." He offered Rex his blaster back, grip first. Rex took it in a daze.
A white blanket had descended over the base, turning the bleak grey durasteel into a fluffy white wonderland. Somewhere under the white was yesterday's impromptu bolo-ball court, but Rex couldn't for the life of him see the orange goal markers. It was all a blur of white. Fat snowflakes were still drifting down from the grey sky. "Kix, is that… snow?"
"Yes, sir. Scanners confirm it's snow, sir."
Rex bent down and scooped a handful of the cold wet powder with his bare hand. "Weather Control had forecast sunny skies," he muttered as he squeezed the snow, watching it form into a small ball of ice with ridges where his fingers had been.
"That's just it, sir," Kix said. "Apparently, Weather Control says it's sunny today. Heads are probably going to roll over this."
Rex lobbed his ice ball towards a pile of white crates, watching as it broke apart when it hit. "I guess it really isn't our problem then, Kix."
"Well yes, sir. But that doesn't mean we can't have some fun."
Startled, Rex looked at Kix who had a mischevious look in his eyes.
"Permission for a snowball fight later, sir?"
A slow smile spread across Rex's face. "Mess hall first, I think, Kix. Then we'll discuss some impromptu hand-eye coordination and trajectory training."
"Using compacted frozen water?" Kix quipped.
Rex chuckled. "What else?"
The mess hall was impossible to get to, the corridor was choked with jostling bodies and men yelling at decibel levels that rivalled yesterday's revelry. Rex's frown deepened at this breakdown of discipline. He had to bellow in order to be heard over the din. "Atten-shun!"
And just like that, you could hear a pin drop.
He threaded his way through the ramrod straight troopers, casting reproving looks left and right, and deriving a smidgen of satisfaction from the blushes and embarrassed looks amongst the men. Finally, he was in front of the smooth doors to the mess hall. Coric was also standing there at attention. Bingo.
"Sergeant Coric." Rex glowered at his second. "Report."
Coric snapped off a salute. "Sir, as you know, it's time for the men's midday meal, but the mess hall has been barricaded off and a number of delivery drivers have been seen offloading unknown cargo inside."
"Why haven't you overridden the door controls?"
"That's just it, sir. It's the Commander's code that is locking us out."
Rex's irritation dissolved, replaced by bewilderment. "Commander Cody?"
"No, Captain. Commander Tano."
Rex brought up his wrist to open a comm channel to the Commander, then smothered a curse when he realised his com-link was back in his barrack room along with his armour. He strode forward and rapped sharply on the durasteel door. He leaned closer to the door. "Commander Tano?" he called.
The door flew open revealing the diminutive Jedi padawan standing there.
"Oh Captain Rex, Great to see you! Happy midwinter!" She beamed up at him.
"And to you too, sir." Rex faltered. "Uh, Commander? Is there a reason you've locked the men out of the mess hall?"
Ahsoka looked past him for the first time, her montrals flushing charcoal as she caught a glimpse of the crowd outside. Her hand flew to her mouth. "Oh! I'm sorry, I was hoping to be done by now."
She stood aside, gesturing to the inside of the mess hall. "I thought you and the men deserved a midwinter present, and seeing as you all seem very fond of civilian food…"
Rex could only gape at the extravaganza of food that was laid out in the mess hall. Three of the large tables had been pushed together to form a continuous table that was laden with food stuffs of every description. In a daze he wandered over to the buffet, noticing new dishes with every glance he took. Steaming piles of greens, sliced meats, savoury smelling stew-looking things… Some foods he recognised from the Holonet, but he had no idea what most of it was. He looked down at a particularly unappealing looking brown liquid that was still bubbling and noticed a small, handwritten flimsy label that informed him the brown sludge was actually pletik soup and that it was savoury with a spicy kick to it.
Rex picked up the small placecard and studied it. It looked like the Commander's writing. He replaced it carefully and looked at Ahsoka. She looked very small, hands twisting behind her back, eyes searching his face, not at all like the confident Jedi padawan he'd gotten to know since Christophsis.
"If you don't like it, I can get rid of it," she blurted out. "I just thought…"
He went over and with barely a hesitation put a hand on her shoulder, looking into her eyes. "No. It's perfect, Commander. The men are going to love it. Thank you so much."
Ahsoka's earlier smile returned in force and Rex went and stuck his head back outside where his men were still obediently standing at attention.
"At ease, men. Now the Commander has, for reasons beyond me, decided that you lot deserved a midwinter gift." He glanced down as Ahsoka came to stand beside him. "Now say thank you, and get in there and do that spread justice."
A cheer broke out amongst the men making Ahsoka's lekku darken again. Rex and Ahsoka got out of the way as the men crowded into the mess hall, almost tripping over one another as the men in front halted, taken aback by the Commander's gift.
Once they were all inside, Rex went over to the intercom panel, opening a channel to speakers all over Torrent's barracks. "Attention. This is Captain Rex speaking. All members of Torrent Company report to the mess hall." With a click, he closed the line and grinned at the Commander whose smile went from ear to ear.
"Come on, Commander. We'd best get you something to eat before those walking appetites scoff the lot."
She giggled slightly at his remark, but she went back into the mess hall. Clone Captain Rex followed his Commander into the room, ready for his first ever midwinter feast.
"Urgh!" Ahosoka moaned slightly, clutching her side. "Maybe exercise after eating wasn't such a good idea after all..."
Captain Rex dove for her and dragged her down behind a nearby crate just as a sparkly white missile sailed overhead. Had he been an instant slower, the Commander would've gotten a face full of snow.
Her eyes narrowed. "That was Kix."
"Yes, sir," Rex said. "He seems to be very adept at this type of hand-eye coordination exercise."
His drollery earned him a roll of her eyes. "Snowball fight, Rexter. It's a snowball fight. Apparently it's a traditional Alderaan midwinter pasttime."
The slight crunch of footsteps on snow caught their attention. Ahsoka caught his eye and grinned. As one, they popped up and peppered Kix, who was trying to sneak up on them, with a flurry of snowballs.
"Bit odd for snow on Coruscant though," Rex remarked as they flopped back down behind the pile of crates that was serving them as cover.
"Well…" Ahsoka flushed. "I may've asked R2 if he could tweak Weather Control, just for today."
Rex just stared at her.
"I thought you and the men deserved a proper midwinter with all the trimmings."
Rex swallowed, finding his voice which was gruffer that normal. "Thank you, Commander. I know the men really enjoyed themselves today—I know I did."
The Commander held his gaze for a long time then she peeked out around the crate and ducked back down, her eyes shining with excitement. "Come on, Rexter! We can take 'em!"
Rex caught side of a line of snow-covered clones advancing towards them. "Roger that, sir!"
And so, let slip the dogs of war…
My favourite out of all of these pieces has to be Day Six - General Grievous Slaying, Day Eleven - Palpatine A Plotting comes in at close second. I'd love to hear which piece you enjoyed the most :)
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you have as much fun on your Christmas as I have had on mine this year. Thanks so much for reading this story and I hope you enjoyed it.