Disclaimer- Sadly, none of us authors own Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We wish we did, but alas, it belongs to George Lucas.
"Ladies and gentlebeings!" the announcer roared, "I bring to you the finale, the ultimate competition, the last game, of the ICE BATTLES!"
His voice bounced off the durrocrete stadium as the audience roared in approval. Below the harsh glare of the lights, players lined up in the ice ring, forms distorted by their bulky padding, bracing themselves for the crush that was soon to come.
RC-5576-39 leaned in with his brothers as he waited rapturously for the referee to drop the puck onto the ice, directly between the two teams. The countdown boomed through the speakers.
"The Wampas are gonna' win!" his brother RC-9203 interjected. The clone shot him a nasty look, then snapped his head back to the screen.
Another brother, who liked to call himself Sev, scoffed. "Are not! The Tauntauns are going to kick their shebse!"
For RC-5576-39, time suddenly slowed. The black puck left the referee's hands, an abyss of color against the sparkling ice and colorful uniforms. When it hit, it bounced, rolling over once, twice…
Then the puck was hit with a the sticks used for playing, a piece of hardened wood curved at the bottom and wrapped with cloth where the players' hands rested, and the commando almost lost sight of the puck as players clashed together, sending the puck spinning across the ice.
His breath came faster as he watched the puck near the Tauntauns' goal…only to be sent spinning off halfway across the field of ice. RC-9203 booed as Sev cheered, but the clone ignored them both. Something fascinating was happening before his very eyes, something he had never seen or experienced before.
Every day, he and his brothers learned to fight and compete for war, to learn how to win in the fastest and most effective way possible. These human men though, that he watched through a commandeered holo-com, were competing for fun.
It was something RC-5576-39 had never considered before and it captivated him.
Breathless, he watched the players dance across the ice in aggressive, sweeping moves that took skill and speed and strength; a familiar but completely alien battle-field to him. As the game went on, both teams scored, neck and neck with each other. The Tauntauns would take the lead, only for the Wampas to steal it back, and the cycle would repeat itself.
As RC-5576-39 watched, one player caught his eye in particular. The human man had curly black hair, like himself, only longer, and to the clone's eye, this player was superior above all others. He had scored, the clone calculated, 67% of the goals against the Tauntauns. As he scored again, sending the puck flying in an arc that the goalie couldn't stop, RC-5576-39 found himself jumping to his feet, cheering with his fellow unnamed brother as Sev groaned, his head collapsing into his hands in despair.
"Noo!" he moaned, as the audience on one side of the stadium, dressed in an eye-watering shade of yellow, cheered, leaping to their feet and filling the air with raucous approval. As the players regrouped, falling back into position, the eardrum-splitting timer shrieked, ending the game.
"And Gregor Filoni decides the game in favor of the WAMPAS!" the announcer screamed through his micro-com.
Sev shook his head, muttering under his breath, but RC-5576-39 ignored him, and RC-9203, who was slapping him enthusiastically on the arm in shared excitement. Hoquet game scores and stats flashed up on the screen as the announcer babbled, but the clone's eyes were locked on one curly-haired player in particular, who was surrounded by his cheering teammates as fans tried to reach through the barriers to...well, express their excitement somehow, the clone supposed. Honestly, the loud cheering seemed enough, but many of the attending beings seemed to need to get physically close to the hoquet star.
The clone dreamily watched the screen, an expression that could be identified as star-struck filling his face as the hoquet player known as Gregor Filoni rose to hero-status in his mind. His sergeant said there were no heroes, but after seeing the game, RC-5576-39 knew he was wrong.
"That's it!" he announced, his excitement speeding his words. "I know what my name's gonna be!"
RC-9203, who had Sev in a headlock, paused in place, making Sev cry out. "Yeah? What's is going to be?"
"Gregor," RC-5576-39 announced, voice firm. "My name is Gregor."
Sev scoffed as he squirmed out and away from RC-9203. "That's a stupid name," he sneered, dusting off invisible lint from his body-suit. "It doesn't sound clone-like at all."
The newly-dubbed Gregor scowled. "I don't care. Besides, you're just sore 'cause your time lost to the Wampas. And Gregor," he added, boasting, "is the best player ever!"
RC-9203 chimed in his agreement, and Sev glared at them both. "I don't what you two think," their brother informed them. "It's a stupid name, and I'm going to bed. We were supposed to be asleep hours ago; we're going to get in trouble."
RC-9203, being the one who had stolen the holo-com in the first place, objected strenuously, but Gregor ignored his two brothers as he climbed up into his bunk and closed his eyes.
He had a name now, a real name, not just something his vode made up. His name was a civilian name, automatically better than any clone name. He wondered how his sergeant would react- and if the bounty hunter had noticed his holo-com was missing. Gregor couldn't make himself stay concerned though. He had a name now.
He couldn't wait to tell his other brothers.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and please don't forget to review!
To head off some questions first though: One, RC-5576-39 is Gregor's identification number. While the show announced it as beginning with CC-, the proper, established start to the identification of a Republic Commando is RC, not CC, which is used for clones trained specifically for command. The two groups receive completely separate training and work in totally different environments.
Those of you who have Karen Traviss' Republic Commando series will recognize the name Sev. As she said multiple times in her books that names such as Sev and Fi were common, I took that as is. So no, the Sev here is the not the Sev of Delta Squad.
Hoquet is the old-fashioned name for what we would recognize now as the modern game of hockey; a thanks to JainDo for researching it for me!
This is the last installment of the Gregor Exploration Challenge; I hope you all had as much fun reading it as we writing it!