Author's note: This story is the sequel to "Whatever Happened to Captain Rex?" which is also available here on FFN. See endnotes for a quick summary of the first story in case you missed it.

# # #

It was an easy enough matter for Travis to find the rescued troopers awaiting evac. Getting them to the transports alive would be another matter.

Travis glanced over his shoulder at the ragtag troopers marching behind him in the darkened corridors. Some of the clones had fashioned makeshift weapons with debris from the battle. A few had gotten ahold of Kaz'harian weapons, but not nearly enough of them. He wished they were all armed so they stood a better chance of getting out of here. Travis' body was a testament to the danger posed by the 100-kilo simians. He was bruised, battered, burnt, and while he'd been afraid to even peer beneath his bodysuit, he was sure his flesh resembled his Marine Corps armor. A smudgy mess of dark burgundy and black. He glanced back over his shoulder, wincing as even that simple movement pulled at joints that were shouting at him he'd pushed himself too far. He was in rough shape, but not as bad as many of these brothers. Most were limping through the stone corridors on bare and bleeding feet. Some could barely hold themselves up and were being carried along by others who looked hardly better. He couldn't afford to slow down out of deference to either their injuries or his own. The rescued troopers kept up with the brisk pace he set with ragged determination. They all wanted to get the fek out of here. They could make it. They had to make it.

We'll be fine, as long as we don't run into any trouble-

Travis cursed the errant thought almost as soon as it popped into his head. It was tempting fate, and sure enough, he'd barely finished the thought before they ran into what he could easily define as "trouble."

Travis led the group around a corner into the next corridor, his feet automatically finding the way back to the hangar without much conscious thought. He didn't stop to reflect on how he'd already become accustomed to the maze of interlocking passages that made up the Kaz'harian facility. He was just happy his muscle memory seemed to so readily remember the way back to the ship, especially considering his mind was getting increasingly fuzzy-

Travis gave a frantic hand signal, ordering the troopers directly behind him to hit the deck. If they hadn't been spotted, maybe they could quietly retreat-

They had no such luck.

Burning heat singed over his shoulders as blaster fire came close enough to char his armor, but not score a direct hit. He blinked and switched his HUD over to night vision to compensate for the poor light of the tunnels. He quickly assessed the enemy position, wondering how many he could take out. The Kazzies had backed up and taken cover around the corner. As more shots came at him, he noted with dismay the simians were armed with both slugthrowers and blasters. He heaved out a grunt of annoyance. It was fekkin' hard to defend against mixed weapons' fire. Slugs behaved entirely differently from blaster shots.

Travis steadied his rifle and returned fire. Whenever he could catch sight of a simian in the dim lighting, he focused on the small vulnerable portion of their necks.

This is no good. We're pinned down. We'll never make it to the transports.

Travis tried to dive back into the shelter of the wall as another wave of fire came at him, but the cover was inadequate. A blaster shot caught his rifle wrenching it painfully out of his already injured wrist. He cried out as tissues abused in a fight hours earlier tore even further. He awkwardly scooped up the rifle one-handed. But, he knew the odds of being able to accurately take out more of the patrol with one hand were not good. His DC-15s was designed to be fired with two hands. The designers hadn't taken into account that clones might actually be injured when they're fighting-

Someone tapped him on the shoulder, startling him. He wondered how long the trooper had been speaking to him trying to get his attention. Travis pointed to the ear of his helmet. The universal signal for problems with his comm system. It was easier than explaining he was deaf.

The trooper understood anyway. He started again, speaking more slowly and using clone hand signals. "You're injured. Let me help."

There was something in the trooper's steely gaze which evoked confidence. He was in well-healed scars across his face and arms, and one of his eyes was discolored. He'd seen his share of battles. Travis gave a curt nod and handed over the rifle.

"Chopper," the trooper enunciated slowly, introducing himself as he settled the weapon comfortably on his shoulder.

"Travis- eh, Lieutenant Travi- fek, doesn't matter..." he grumbled. Titles and ranks had never seemed less important than now. He just wanted to get these men out of here alive.

Chopper took cover next to Travis in the scant protection of the wall. He took his shots with confident accuracy, one after another. A small collection of troopers sidled up next to them, returning fire with their stolen weapons. The cover fire gave Travis a moment to analyze their situation-

They were fekked.

More Kazzies joined the first group from an intersecting corridor. They fired at them with rapid-fire intensity, slowly making ground toward them. It was only a matter of time before they were overtaken-

When a trooper receives an order in their helmet and they're listening intently, they tend to tilt their head slightly to the side. The Kaz'harians generally wore earcomms, versus full helmets, but the distinct head movement was there. The Kazzies had received new orders and from their body language, they were confused by the orders. There was a flurry of movement back and forth between the Kaz'harians, and even what looked to be an argument before they all stopped firing.

Even with his deafness, Travis could easily feel the vibrations of battle in his chest and the sudden absence of this resonance was eerie.

What kind of trick is this now?

But, even more strangely, Travis could no longer feel the distance thumps of explosions from the dungeons. All of it had suddenly ceased.

Chopper and the other troopers stopped firing, blasters held in the ready position as they tried to make sense of the scene unfolding in front of them. The scarred trooper looked over at Travis and mouthed: "Orders, sir?"

Travis' HUD blazed to life with new orders from Commander Cody. "All units; cease fire. Repeat. Cease fire immediately. Kaz'harians are departing. RV at main evac points."

He blinked, trying to process the new orders.

Cease fire?

Why was his brain having more difficulties with the order to stop shooting than it was to start?

"Sir?" Chopper flicked him lightly in his shoulder plate to get his attention.

"We have new orders," Travis grunted out and quickly returned his attention down the corridor, but the Kaz'harians had disappeared.

While logic told him the rapid retreat could be a trap, his inner sense told him there was more to it.

Was the battle truly over?

He rose shakily to his feet and signaled to the troopers to move on. Adrenaline left his body in a rush and his feet were now much heavier than a moment ago. Chopper fell into place by his side still clutching the rifle. He was glad for the company and looking forward to safely getting these troopers to their transports. And, then, he was going to sleep until the end of the fekkin' war.

No. He'd get these prisoners to their transports, and then he was headed home. He had no idea of what sort of reception he'd get when he'd arrived. He owed Karyn a huge apology. But, the thought of seeing her again- even if she was furious with him- gave him the strength to keep moving.

# # #

Keen awoke to a world of darkness and motion. Why was everything so dark and fuzzy? And, who was carrying him?

"Gears! Watch the corners!"

"Watching them," grumbled a clone voice, so low Keen could barely hear him. "They're a blurry blob, like everything else."

Wait? No one else could see either? He was a medic. He had to help these troopers. His mind was already trying to run through the possible diagnoses that could cause such a situation. Keen tried to sit up, but his body was restrained by a tight strap. He panicked and tried to get free.

"Hey, rest easy, vod. We're taking you to a medical transport."

A medical transport? Well, that made sense, at least. He was a medic, after all. Who was the patient? He opened his mouth to demand more information. But his lungs burned and his throat...fek! Was it blistered?! The simple act of trying to speak sent him into a coughing fit so severe he was sure it would be the death of him. He could feel the touch of clone arms on his shoulders, trying to calm him, but he was suffocating and it was sending him into a panic. Medical training be damned, he couldn't breathe. Darkness closed around his vision. With the darkness came a sense of peace and a sense of relief.

This was it. His end. He would see his fallen brothers again.

Keen welcomed the darkness.

# # #

"Coric, there's no time for this," Rex swatted at the medic's hands as Coric leaned in to examine the long cut on his neck. It only earned him a swat back from the medic who refused to be deterred.

"Hold still." Bedraggled from his two months of captivity, he was still the same commanding medic he'd always been.

"It looks worse than it is," Rex tried to argue, trying to hide the wince that speaking brought on.

"He tried to tell us the same thing," Fives addressed Coric, both of them ignoring Rex's muttered litany under his breath that he was 'fine.' "Ahsoka and I cleaned it with antiseptic and then sprayed the wound with synthflesh to knit it back together."

"You did good, Fives," Coric nodded as he assessed Fives' handiwork. "This will hold until we get back to the ship." He turned his attention back to Rex, running the micro medscanner he'd borrowed from Fives over Rex's form. His face was impassively neutral, as it always was when he was in medic mode. But, then his eyes rose up to meet Rex's gaze and worry dropped into his tone. "You are coming back with us, right?"

The worry in his tone tore at Rex and he ached for what his men had gone through during the time he'd been away. "Yes, we're headed home together."

Coric's face swam with relief. "You need some time in medbay, but you're stable enough- for now."

Rex's gaze swept over to where Captain Ko was anxiously waiting with his troopers. "Thanks, Coric." He checked his chrono. "We have to move. We've got 18 minutes to get out of here. We're barely going to clear atmo at this rate." He moved up beside Ko and together they signaled the troopers to move out. The 501st and 212th was heading home.

# # #

Echo groaned and shifted, trying to ease the relentless ache in his shoulder.

"Rest easy, Echo. We're getting you to a medbay."

"Kix?" Echo peered up in confusion, wondering where the medic had come from. His mind slowly made sense of his surroundings and realized he was on a med stretcher. Kix walking by his side and troopers he didn't know guiding the stretcher from the front.

"Yes, vod. Save your strength. We'll be out of here soon." Kix's voice was rushed and tense, unlike his usual calm medic tone.

Echo tried to move his body into a more comfortable position again, but it only made things worse. He remembered getting impaled in his shoulder and now he was sure whatever was left in his body was slowly cleaving him in half. He both wanted to stay awake and pass out. The pain was horrific, but somehow he knew if he gave in to the urge to rest he wouldn't wake again. He'd had a gone run of it, him and Fives. He'd be OK, but Fives wouldn't. He was a wild card without him.

Stay awake. I have to stay awake...

# # #

"Rex, the Seppie fleet is maintaining course and speed. We've got less than ten minutes."

"Thanks, Catcher," Rex responded into comms, pushing air out through his nose as they barreled through the corridors. He was exhausted. He wasn't just tired. He was hungry. And, he ached much more than he'd let on. But, he would rest later, once they were all home.

Coric had left his side to go check on the injured member of Leon's squad. Ahsoka immediately took Coric's place, a quiet, reassuring calm next to him.

It would be alright. Ahsoka was here. They could make it through anything together.

He kept up his brutal pace back to the hangar, knowing it was as hard on him as it was on the weakened men they'd rescue. Thankfully, they encountered no resistance and made good time back to the hangars. He bellowed at the men to get their shebs up the ramps and into the ships. He chased them all the way to the ramp of the ship Catcher had told him was one of the Corrie-bound ones; making dire threats about horrendous cleaning details if they didn't move faster. He halted at the base of the ramp in satisfaction and looked around. The hangar was almost clear.

"Catcher, evac status?" Rex asked.

"I don't have a manifest of the prisoners, but I believe they're all clear. All members of the Andoan Legion have been accounted for except for Mako, who is doing an emergency medical consult, and I can't get in touch with Lieutenant Travis."

"Rex!"

"Found him," Rex told Catcher. "I'll shove his shebs up a ramp." He disconnected from Catcher, and turned his attention to the Marine, grunting in pain as his injured chest was squeezed in an overly tight brotherly hug. "Fek! Travis! Get off!"

"Thought you'd left without a goodbye, you fekkin' di'kut," Travis grumbled, smacking Rex hard enough in the pauldron to send him stumbling back.

The 501st Captain grunted and reached up to rub at his aching shoulder. Then, he groaned again as just the act of raising up his arm made him hurt worse. He gave up on moving at all. "Travis, fek, quit it!" He resorted to his tried and true methods with the vod he knew better than any other. He smacked the Marine hard in the back of the helmet. The sound reverberated in the hangar.

Travis' burst of filtered laughter echoed out through the helmet.

Ahsoka was still standing beside him and seemed riveted by the exchange.

Travis seemed to notice the Jedi for the first time. He quickly tugged off his filthy helmet and bowed deeply to the Jedi. "Ma'am. I'm Lieutenant Travis and you must be Rex's-"

"Commanding officer," Rex quickly supplied.

"I get it now," Travis gave a teasing smile. He turned to Rex and gave a nod of approval.

Rex glared at his brother. "You need to get on your fekkin' evac ship. But, there's something I need to tell you-'

"Captain," Catcher's voice cut in from Rex's gauntlet, "8:05. Mark. The medics have finished their consult. We're just waiting on you."

"Travis-" Rex started again, trying to find the right words and simultaneously swallow down the unwelcome emotions swelling in him at parting with his brother again.

"You're giving Catcher command of the Legion. It's the right thing to do." Travis gave Rex a genuine reassuring smile. "We'll be fine."

Rex reached forward and grasped Travis' arm in the traditional Mando'a handshake. Travis wrestled his arm free and grabbed Rex in another bone-crushing hug.

"Good luck, vod," Rex said, his voice suspiciously hoarse.

"You too, vod," Travis said.

Too much was left unsaid, but they were out of time.

"Now let me the fek go, that hurts," Rex ordered, but there was a teasing edge to his voice under his weariness and pain. Travis released him. "As soon as we clear atmo, light this place up."

The Marine nodded, patting a series of det timers on his belt. Rex's gaze swept the hangars, doing one last check. Empty except for the four of them.

"Now, go," Rex said.

Travis straightened and saluted Rex. Not a mocking salute. But, a full-on respectful salute of one officer to another. Rex straightened up and immediately returned the gesture, ignoring his body's complaints once again. Travis nodded, as if the past had finally been settled between them and took off for his ship.

Rex gestured to Ahsoka and led the way to the nearest Corrie-bound transport. He glanced back over his shoulder and saw one last view of the back of Travis, disappearing up the ramp on a ship bound for Ando.

His brother was headed back to a completely different life.

And, Rex was headed back to Coruscant.

This was it.

This was where it all changed.

As he and Ahsoka bolted up the ramp, the pistons brought the hatch to a close. The hatch closed silently, but as he was sealed into the ship Rex had an urge to demand the hatch be lowered again. He could still maybe make it to one of the other ships. He could say he changed his mind. Still maybe go back to Ando...

No.

He pushed the thoughts away.

He was just tired. He'd made his decision. No second thoughts. Ando was behind him. He glanced around trying to get his bearings on the unfamiliar ship. The ship tilted as it climbed atmo, and Rex's tired muscles couldn't compensate fast enough. He braced a hand against the wall as he struggled to stand, and keep his feet.

Coric and Kix were both hard at work in the main entryway, performing triage on injured troopers. But, Coric seemed to have eyes everywhere. His gaze whipped around and made eye contact with Rex as his feet swayed under him.

"Rex, you need to sit."

"Not now, Coric. I need to get to the bridge."

Coric frowned but didn't argue the point. "How do I get to the bridge?" Rex said, addressing the trooper who'd closed the ramp.

The trooper was staring at Rex with wide eyes as if meeting a holostar for the first time.

"Trooper!" Rex used the voice he did with errant shinies.

The trooper snapped to attention. "Captain Rex, sir. I understand you're responsible for getting us out there." His voice flooded with gratitude and relief. 'Thank you, sir. I'm Top from the 212th Airborne."

"It was a team effort, Top. Glad you're here with us trooper. How do I get to the bridge?"

"I'll take you there myself, Captain." Top took off at a light run through the corridors, surprisingly energetic for someone who was down several kilo from a clone's ideal weight.

Rex struggled to keep up. The Kaz'harian ship followed the same basic ship as a Jedi cruiser, but everything seemed larger and elongated. The corridors were endless. Finally, they arrived at their destination. Rex could see blackness wavering in front of his eyes, but he forced it away, as he tried to steady his breathing after the long run. Normally, such exertion would be effortless for him, but his body was making its' displeasure known.

Rex stared out at the sight in front of him as they emerged from the lift onto the bridge. It was a mixture of order and chaos as clones struggled to make sense of the Kaz'harian controls. Cody was a calm in the middle of the storm, issuing commands and answering questions. At the helm, Hawk was struggling to reach controls that were too high and not designed for human-sized hands. Cody frowned and yanked a cushion off another chair and he handed it off to a grateful Hawk.

"Status," Cody said.

"Maintaining course and speed," Hawk reported. The additional height from the second cushion allowed his hands to easily reach the controls."Coordinates set for Coruscant… I think. Making calculations for the jump to lightspeed."

"You think?" Cody demanded harshly, knowing even as he said it he was demanding a lot from his bridge crew. They were in a battle zone flying a ship of foreign design.

"Everything's in Kaz'harian, sir," Hawk said. "The lettering is in Aurebesh and some of this design looks similar to that of an Acclimator. But, I can't read any of this writing. I'm not exactly sure what I entered."

"The commando captain, Leon, he's fluent in Kaz'harian-" Rex started.

"Yes, I noticed that," Cody's tone was brusque and clipped, the way it got when he was hyperfocused during battle. "He's already on his way."

While Leon could speak Kaz'harian, Rex wasn't entirely sure the commando also knew how to read it. He stood behind Hawk and studied the controls. The controls were arrayed in what looked to be a standard formation, even if there were some extra mystery buttons with an unknown purpose. If the language was at least somewhat phonetic, there was a chance Leon could translate everything before any of them hit a very wrong button.

"Three minutes and closing," Catcher announced over the comm call that tied all of their evac ships together.

"Have we been detected?" Cody demanded.

"No, sir," Broadside said, from the secondary engineering station.

Catcher spoke something off-screen to his crew. He spoke back to Cody. "We aren't seeing any signs of detection on our end either."

The lift swished open revealing the commando captain. "Captain Leon, reporting as ordered." The commando's helmet was tucked under his arm, and he stood at stiff attention. But, his features were pale and wan and his shoulders slumped with grief and loss.

Cody waved the commando on. "We need your translation skills, Captain. Weapons control, first and then helm."

Leon's face changed from grief to stony-faced determination. He nodded to acknowledge the orders and immediately set to work.

The viewscreen split into three views, one showing their position on the map heading away from Darkknell toward the edges of the Darkknellian galaxy. The second view showed the incoming Separatist fleet heading toward the planet and the third was a live feed with Catcher.

"Put the fleet behind the planet's moon." They could jump to hyperspace, but then the Seppie fleet could follow them. They were on stolen ships and there'd been no time to disengage all of the transponders.

"1:20 Mark." Catcher announced as they watched the Separatist fleet appear. It was enormous. Ship after ship lit up on their scopes.

If they'd still been planetside, they would have found themselves up against tens of thousands of battle droids. But, these same ships were also equipped with hundreds of vulture droids, and they were in no position for a prolonged space battle.

"60 seconds, mark." Catcher said up on the screen. "Incoming transmission from the Separatist fleet."

"Send them back a burst of static. Make it look like we're having comms trouble. Stand by, Lieutenant Travis."

"Acknowledged. Detonation will proceed on your order, Commander."

Catcher engaged the comms and did an admirable impression of a Kaz'harian for a few brief words, before disrupting the transmission.

"The main section of the Separatist fleet is dropping through the atmosphere on Darkknell," Catcher announced, "except for the two dreadnaughts. They are taking a position on the opposite side of the planets from us."

"Bring our ships around behind them with sublight thrusters, Hawk. Don't make any threatening moves."

"Understood, Commander," Hawk acknowledged, his voice light despite the incredible pressure upon him, "fly casual."

"Captain Leon, I hope you've figured out those weapons' systems. We're about to need them."

"Working on it," the commando tossed over his shoulder hurriedly. He returned to rapidly pointing out various aspects of the controls to the weapons officer.

"You two have about fifteen seconds to figure it all out," Cody's voice was tight.

Leon ignored Cody's prodding as he stared intently at an unfamiliar console. His look was so severe it was as if he trying to intimidate the text into translating itself. His fingers traced over the letters and then his face lit up with understanding. He quickly began pointing out the correct controls to the weapons officer.

Rex wanted to offer to help, but all that he'd picked up about the Kaz'harian language were a few expletives. He wasn't sure those were on the weapons' controls. Although, he was sure if Fives had his own ship, that is exactly how he would choose to label the controls.

He watched tensely as they came around the backside of the gas giant and hovered just off the stern of the two giant Separatist dreadnoughts. Neither ship reacted to their presence.

"They think we're friendlies," Rex muttered, shooting Cody an impressed look for the bold strategy.

"Contrall, Lieutenant Travis, stand by..." Cody's attention was affixed to a long-range view screen, zoomed in on the enormous fortress. He watched the ships touch down around the hangar. "Fire!"

The two ships in front of them disappeared into a sudden fireball. Down on the planet, explosion after explosion lit up the Kaz'harian fortress as the dets planted by Travis' team took down the massive structure. A few of the Separatist ships tried to flee. But, even as they tried to get clear of the explosion, a massive secondary blast engulfed the entire fleet in flame.

"That was the fuel depot," Catcher reported. A third explosion followed directly on the heels of the other two. "That was likely the armory."

The flames were almost mesmerizing. Rex had seen many explosions during his time as a soldier, but this one ranked up there with one of the most destructive blasts he'd ever seen. He briefly spared a thought for the scarred Kaz'harian warrior headed home to his family in the jungle. Hopefully, he'd made it clear of the blast zone.

"Well done, Travis," Rex muttered into the comms.

"I may have overdone it a bit on the dets," Travis admitted. "Wanted to make sure the place went down, though."

Leon had already moved over to Hawk's side and was quickly translating the labels on the controls. Hawk's eyes widened and he quickly entered a flurry of commands into the console. He looked back over his shoulder at Commander Cody. "OK, sir, now I have a course laid in for Coruscant." He shot a grateful look to Leon. "We... eh... might hit a star or two if I'd stayed on the previous course."

Cody stayed calm. Rex was sure if it had been Wolffe this would have evoked one of his infamous eye rolls. "Alright, prepare to jump to hyperspace..." He swept his gaze around the bridge crew, noticing the troopers who'd been imprisoned on the planet were mesmerized by the sight of the fortress in flames. He allowed them a few more precious seconds to take in the sight, knowing this was something they needed to see. "Make the jump."

Rex stared out the viewport at the familiar flowing blue of hyperspace. The sight should've brought him relief. They'd done so much to get these troopers back home. But, his gut was twisted into knots. He was cut off from all of the men of the Andoan Legion. Their fate was their own now.

"We are on course for Coruscant," Hawk reported. "We should make it there in seven standard."

A week to get back to Coruscant. They were far out in the Outer Rim. It was probably for the best as it would allow these men to adapt to their new reality that they were free. Maybe even allow them a bit of rest before they were thrust back into active duty. Rex wanted to say something appropriate for the moment. Celebrate their victory. But, the spots in his vision coalesced into a blur of black he realized with alarm he was headed face-first into the deck plating. Somehow, though, Cody managed to get to him and grab one arm and Ahsoka gripped the other, preventing him from smacking his head.

"Get him to medbay," Cody grumbled, tugging Rex back to his feet. He arranged Rex's arm over Ahsoka's shoulders and gave them a gentle push toward the lift. He reached in and programmed the proper deck. "Make sure you stay there. You look like you were trampled by a gundark."

Rex was too tired to argue as Ahsoka held him up in the lift. She tightened her grip on him, slipping her arm around his waist for additional support. "Coric is going to have a field day with you."

Rex managed a light huff of amusement and realized this was the longest he'd held Ahsoka this closely. Despite the pain in his body, there was something so comforting about having her pressed into his side. Would it be wrong if they took the long way to medbay?

As it turned out, they did take the long way to medbay.

Ahsoka apologized several times as they got lost in the corridors. Rex had a hunch of where the medbay might be, but kept his mouth shut. After all, he was... eh... conserving his strength. But, as they continued to wander, the spots before his vision grew more insistent. He finally pointed them in the right direction and they reached the medbay all too soon.

Kix was barking orders to what looked to be a small army of volunteers helping with the wounded. Coric was there, too, but he was intently focused on treating troopers.

Rex was content to simply stand there, his arms looped around Ahsoka, (purely for medical reasons, of course), and revel in the warm glow that these men had made it out alive. Maybe Coric wouldn't notice him and he could just stand here for a few minutes. But, his body had other plans. Vertigo hit him with an alarming lurch and he and he couldn't keep his legs under him.

Ahsoka struggled to hold him up as he became a dead weight.

"Just a little dizzy," Rex muttered, trying to push himself back up fully upright.

"Coric!" Ahsoka shouted.

Rex winced. He didn't think the Jedi padawan could shout that loud. She was starting to sound like him.

Coric appeared so suddenly Rex was certain the medic had developed the ability to appear and disappear at will. He gripped Rex under his elbow and together he and Ahsoka pulled him over to the nearest available bunk. Fek. Ow! Not a bunk. A friggin' rock slab. What did the Kazzies sleep on anyway?

All the movement brought on a new set of problems. The dizziness transformed to nausea. He coughed and fumbled with his helmet. Coric removed Rex's bucket with practiced ease and thrust a tray under his chin. Leave it to Kix and Coric to be in a medbay for just a few minutes and already have the location of the supplies figured out. Rex lost what little was in his stomach. He nodded when he was done.

"When was the last time you ate?" Coric pressed him back into the bunk and shined something in his eyes.

Gah. They were on an enemy ship, but somehow Coric had still managed to find a fekkin' penlight.

"Coric," Rex grumbled, swatting at the light.

"Rex," the medic repeated sternly, "when was the last time you hydrated?"

"Eh," Rex muttered blankly. He had no idea. Coric thrust a pouch of some liquid into his hand and Rex sighed with relief as the liquid hit his system. It was likely electrolytes as his dizziness began to clear almost immediately.

His relief was short-lived as Coric ordered Ahsoka to help him strip Rex of his armor. He hissed in pain as the armor was pulled free of all of his injured parts. Coric cast a curious glance to the inside of Rex's chest plate, tapping at the extra durasteel in there. "It was almost as if you'd knew you were going to be shot."

Rex didn't answer. He was too focused on trying to sit upright while Coric and Ahsoka worked.

Coric stripped him of his bodysuit, leaving him in just his briefs. Rex took a glimpse at himself and then sighed wearily. He was bruised everywhere and his chest was scorched from the blaster burn. He hissed as the medic probed at his chest wound and then his ribs, pushing and watching for reactions. Rex hissed as Coric found all of the places the Kaz'harian leader had pummeled him in the chest.

"You've got fractures here… and here." He pushed again at Rex's ribs and this time the 501st captain couldn't hold back a yelp of pain. The medic continued on with his examination before declaring with finality: "I'm giving you priority into bacta."

Rex opened his mouth to protest. Surely there were troopers who needed it more than him. He also had too much to do. They were on a ship of unfamiliar design and he had to figure out where the men were going to sleep and-

Coric put up a silencing finger, indicating he would tolerate no dissent. "I'm calling in my medic card on this one."

"How long?" Rex asked with a sigh, acquiescing wearily. This was more than simple stubbornness on his part. The fate of the Andoan Legion was at stake, and he and Cody had to get their stories straight. "I need to debrief the men and-"

"Less than a day. All of that will be easier if you're not dead on your feet."

Rex couldn't argue with that logic. He nodded his acquiescence and never saw the hypo Coric deftly slid behind him his neck.

# # #

Endnotes:

Chapter 1 picks up immediately after the events in the first story and references OCs from the first story. If you have no desire to read the first story, the short summary of it Rex is injured and sent away. He bands up with a misfit group of clones, becomes their new leader, and uses this group to rescue the 501st which has gotten into a spot of trouble while he has been away. Also, canon characters who are dead in the TV series tend to live on in this story.