A/N: Getting back to a bit of writing and the Star Wars bug bit me. Especially since I was really hoping to be playing SW: BF2 at this time - but the dark side is strong with EA, so now I'm turning to this to tide me over until The Last Jedi hits theaters. This story is going to address some weaknesses, especially from the military sci-fi perspective, that was present in the TCW and some parts of how characters used the Force or DIDN'T use the Force and go with the flow from there. Star Wars is property of Disney, I wish it was mine.
Thanks to AJW for beta-ing.
Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker rushed towards the barricade that the clone troopers had set up on of wide sweeping boulevards of the capital city of Christophsis, and regarded the enemy lines for a moment, just in time for the angry whines of blaster fire to fill the air. The troopers, in their now thoroughly dirtied and stained armor, rushed to their battle positions, shouting encouragements to one another, and returning fire. In the distance, awkwardly walking into view on four legs, the top heavy spherical spider droid tanks, added their heavy fire into the mix. He sensed his former master approaching the battle line.
"They're back," Anakin commented rather unnecessarily.
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi regarded his old student and shook his head as he also saw the scope of the droid battalion that was heading towards them, "I told you our victory seemed too easy. We never should've have sent the ship back for supplies."
Anakin bristled at the implied criticism all too common with his old master, "it wasn't my idea to send the ship back."
Obi Wan pulled the lightsaber from his belt while keying the integrated com on his plasteel armor gauntlet. "All squads, another wave incoming, we need everyone on the line. Main artillery, open fire as you bear."
"Rex," Anakin gestured to the nearby clone captain, distinctive in his blue painted armor, "you and your men with me."
Battle was swiftly joined in the urban jungle of the city, and tidal waves of blaster bolts were traded back and forth between Republic clones and mechanised Separatist droid troops. The wide boulevards allowed the fearless droids to march in column and concentrate a hellish amount of firepower. The clones hunkered behind whatever cover could be generated via controlled demolition of certain buildings and skyscrapers, and had no trouble finding their targets, but the droid numbers were overwhelming. The droid's targeting was also proving to have markedly been upgraded. Anakin spotted quite a number of dead clones laying sprawled behind their cover, the victims of headshots.
Thunder seemed to echo through the air and buildings at this point, and the bright white heavy proton artillery bolts arced overhead to land amongst the advancing droids. The resulting devastation saw dozens of battle droids being rent to pieces from the explosions and in some cases reduced to utter molten slag on the battlefield from direct hits.
The Separatist line continued to advance.
Anakin waited for the spider droids to pass by their hideout on the roof of a skyscraper, and turned to Rex. "Follow me."
With no hesitation he jumped, embracing the Force, and unfurled his will above him on the air itself to slow his fall. He also pulled the gathering energy of his fall and also cast it away into the Force. It barely required any thought to adjust his trajectory as well to compensate for the droid's own movement and he landed on the droid perfectly. His lightsaber ignited in his right hand with its characteristic snap-hiss and already he was was forced to start spinning and twirling his blade to deflect the blaster shots from the neighboring spider droids.
Rex and his squad had followed down at a much more sedate and less spectacular pace with booster packs attached to their backs, allowing them a controlled fall and landed among the legs of the spider droids. They immediately concentrated their fire on the closest tank, aiming as best as they could for sensor clusters and attaching explosives to the spindly legs, whilst staying in the blind spots of the anti-infantry lasers mounted on top.
Anakin sliced off the laser on his current ride, and managed the angles of his blaster bolt deflections to utterly disable the spider droid Rex's squad was working on. The next few bolts sent his way were very awkward angles, and in a snap instinctual decision, he redirected them to hit the droid tank he was standing on.
He had already jumped away into a Force assisted leap before the explosion could threaten him, landing on another spider droid's long heavy blaster barrel. Greater volumes of fire was sent his way as more and more of the droids recognized him as a primary threat - it just gave him more ammunition and more angles to work from. He was especially satisfied when he managed a deflection right back into the droid tank who had shot at him - sending the bolt to utterly slag the barrel and turret of the offending tank.
Rex and his squad brought that one down a moment later with a few very well timed sticky grenades.
He slid down the upper sphere of his current ride, stabbing his lightsaber deep into the tank, carving a molten line in the armor and no doubt wrecking the internals. He landed briefly on the long blaster barrel as the tank started to collapse, Force jumping onto the last spider droid, this time arching right past its legs. His lightsaber arced and slashed straight through. The droid tank collapsed and he timed his next jump to land back onto the ground amongst the rear-guard of B1 battle droids and their larger B2 super-battle droid counterparts. They didn't even realize as yet that he was among them - given how focused they were on blasting the Republic line - before they were sliced and diced into pieces.
It was at this point that the Republic clone troopers counter-attacked with Obi-Wan, breaking from cover and pushing their own line forward, as Anakin and Rex's squad continued their assault from behind.
Soon enough the entire wave of Separatist droids were scrap and debris littering the streets. It was far from the end though, as Anakin and Obi-Wan consolidated and organized the new line of defense, while already another fresh wave of droids could be seen approaching in the distance.
Anakin shook his head as he saw the casualties among the clone troopers also sprawled among the wrecked droids, "We're going to need reinforcements." His lightsaber flashed up and down as the first ranging shots from the fresh enemy wave started reaching them, he also spied the dreaded forms of Separatist Armored Assault Tanks in the rear ranks of that wave.
"We haven't been able to get through to the Admiral," Obi-Wan's shouted over the din of battle, in contrast to his old Padawan he was far more economical and precise in his blade work. He shifted to only using the blade one handed as he talked into his com. "Captain, focus your artillery fire on the front ranks of the AATs, create a blockade with the wreckage and buy us time, we'll handle the rest."
The proton projectiles arced overhead and this time burst among the AATs. The initial salvo's results were not as accurate as Obi-Wan hoped but soon enough there was a nice blockage in wide boulevard of smouldering, wrecked tanks that neatly prevented the mid and rear tanks from advancing at all.
This obstruction was clearly enough for the Separatist commander, as while they hardly cared at all for how many droids were destroyed achieving their objectives, even they had logistical issues, a limited inventory and couldn't grind their assets into the teeth of the potent Republic defenses forever.
The B1 and 2s in front of the tanks stopped and turned around in perfect synchronization and started a retreat. The Republic clones weren't content to let them go uncontested and poured fire into the backs of the retreating droids.
A loud sonic boom and the hiss of repulsorlifts heralded the arrival of a YT-class cargo shuttle that roared into view from overhead. The clones, seeing it, started to cheer as the shuttle descended expertly among the high buildings heading straight for the rear landing zones.
"Looks like help has arrived."
Obi-wan and Anakin arrived at the landing pad after having organized the shifting of their defenses forward to the new front line. The shuttle with its wings in the upward landing configuration was a bustle of activity as troopers hurried in and out carrying crates of supplies and ammunition.
"Ah, the cruiser must be back," Obi-wan noted with satisfaction.
"Which means we'll be able to get our reinforcements."
"Oh, then it looks like our problems are solved."
"Fresh troops, new supplies… and perhaps they brought my new Padawan with them."
Anakin couldn't help but feel rather apprehensive at that last part, "Do you really think it's a good idea to bring a Padawan learner into all this?"
"I spoke to Master Yoda about it," Obi-wan deflected, "you should put in a request for one. You'd make a good teacher."
Anakin laughed incredulously at his former master, "No thanks."
"Anakin," his former master's voice immediately shifting into the well practiced lecturing tone, "teaching is a privilege, and it's part of a Jedi Knight's responsibility to train the next generation."
They stopped near the shuttle's open cargo doors, "a Padawan would just slow me down..."
The young female voice echoed from the interior of the shuttle, before a large supply crate - the kind that normally required specialized repulsorlifts and crane droids - came floating out seemingly by itself. Obi-wan felt the telekinesis use and raised an intrigued eyebrow while reflexively stroking his beard, before the Padawan herself came into view.
She was an orange skinned Togruta and rather more modest white facial patterning tattoos than was custom, though given her age it was to be expected, her head was framed with the characteristic montrals and lekku in a white and blue pattern, which extended down to just below her collar - giving a rough indication of her fifteen standard years of age. That was where convention ended though. She wore a suit with plasteel armor panels integrated to cover her torso, arms, and legs, with a blocky utility belt clasped around her waist and her feet were adorned with armored all terrain boots that reached up to her calves - all of it patterned in a grey-white fractal pattern camouflage. The only reason she looked like a Jedi at all and not a new type of volunteer trooper, was the two lightsabers strapped to holsters on her upper legs, and the Jedi symbols on her shoulder pauldrons.
"And, uh, who are you supposed to be?"
"Padawan Ahsoka Tano," she bowed her head slightly at them both. Obi-wan was impressed as she didn't seem to be needing any mnemonic gestures to keep the crate moving and talk to them at the same time. "Master Yoda sent me to hand deliver new orders given the interstellar communication problems we're having with Christophsis at the moment."
The crate settled down onto the ground.
"And those orders are?"
"You are both to leave the Christophsis system immediately and contact the Council for new orders, there's an emergency."
"Whoah," Anakin held up his hands, "I don't know if you've noticed, but we're in a bit of an emergency ourselves."
"Yes, which is why I arrived in a cargo shuttle with supplies, instead of just a passenger transport - and you can relay a signal via the Cruiser in orbit. Though you'd better hurry, the Seppies had five cruisers inbound on an intercept when I left. Admiral Yularen won't be able to maintain his position."
Anakin and Obi-wan looked at each other and rushed towards the com station.
It was a struggle to remain cool and collected after all the time I had worked in preparation for this moment. After thirteen years, since I could form coherent thoughts again and had regained self-awareness on Kiros, twelve years of training myself and at the Jedi Temple - here I was, standing barely two feet from Anakin Skywalker and Obi-wan Kenobi at a holotable. There was still a small part of me was as giddy as a fangirl, while another part just wanted to whip out my lightsabers and do the galaxy a huge favor by lobbing the Chosen One's head off. Thankfully, that impulse was strangled by practicality, common sense and a large amount of self-preservation. There was also the nagging thought that I was crazy, and utterly frakked to be here at all and should've just stolen the shuttle and disappeared into the far outer rim or the Unknown regions.
The holo-table lit up and the face of 'Jango Fett' appeared, clad in the dark gray naval uniform of the Grand Army of the Republic.
"Greetings Lieutenant," Obi-wan nodded, "I know you're busy up there, but we need our holo signal relayed to the Jedi Temple and Master Yoda urgently."
"Yes, at once, General Kenobi, stand by."
The clone officer vanished and was replaced by the computer flashing the Aurebesh equivalent of 'On hold' and a rather annoying periodic beeping. It thankfully ended after ten seconds when the holotable lit up with the diminutive form of Master Yoda.
"Master Kenobi. Glad Ahsoka found you, I am."
"Master Yoda, we are trapped here," Obi-wan reported grimly, "and vastly outnumbered. We are in no position to go anywhere or do anything. Our support ships have all been destroyed."
"Send reinforcements to… you…" the image abruptly began to flicker and destabilize, "we...will…"
The Lieutenant's face abruptly reappeared, "I'm sorry, General. We lost the transmission, the Seps jamming has found our frequencies as well, and this battle damage isn't helping. We have to leave orbit, more enemy ships have just arrived… we'll get back to you as soon as we can."
The holo flickered and vanished.
"Well, I guess we'll have to hold out a little longer," Anakin commented wryly.
Obi-wan nodded, "the supplies our new Padawan brought should help us last at least until they get back, if all goes well. Speaking of, proper introductions are in order, I am Obi-Wan Kenobi your assigned Master, and this is Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker."
"I think... there's been a miscommunication somewhere with you Master Kenobi… I was assigned to Master Skywalker."
"What?!" Skywalker looked like I had just pointed a gun at him, "oh no, no, there must be some kind of mistake." He pointed a rather childish accusative finger at Obi-wan, "he's the one that wanted a Padawan."
"Master Yoda was very specific. I am to report to Knight Anakin Skywalker, and he is to supervise my further Jedi training," I explained. God help me, I thought.
Obi-wan just gave his old student a teasing smile in response.
"But that doesn't make any sense," Anakin shook his head, "I never put my name down on the list…"
Obi-wan raised his hands to stop the impending argument, "we'll have to sort this out later. It won't be long until the enemy commander devises a way to counter our artillery."
Anakin sighed and began walking away, "I'll join Rex at the lookout post."
Obi-wan nodded, "certainly, but you'd better take her with you."
Anakin looked back at me, then Obi-wan before reluctantly making a come-hither gesture that I was to follow him. I wasn't exactly thrilled either. When Yoda had come to me in the Temple with the assignment I was very tempted to ask the little green muppet if he'd been smoking one too many. I had been going along fine in Temple without any form of official 'Master' - he knew that very well. And while the normal fate of any Padawan that wasn't selected was to usually go into the various service corps - with the talents I had developed through sheer hard work, determination, and copious amounts of cheating via knowledge from my previous life - Yoda would sooner eat his gimer stick before he would let me go into obscurity.
And so the wheels of fate and 'canon' wouldn't seem to be denied on this one.
The walk to the lookout post was rather awkward. I really wasn't one for small talk, no matter how much it was a general lubricant to social situations. So I contented myself by examining the lines of defense the clones were setting up in the streets, and while more than adequate by even my armchair general standards, the weapons mix the clones had were far from ideal. Not to mention the crap ergonomic design I remembered all weapons in the era suffered from, and no matter how you sliced it - street fighting in 'modern warfare' was always a nasty business.
After braving a few very rickety Antigrav elevators, we were on the the forward lookout post on the roof a few blocks from the city centre, where Captain Rex and his squad were all crouched with Macro-binoculars and scanning the distant streets in the direction of the enemy lines.
"What's the status Rex?"
"Quiet for now, sir. But they're most assuredly gearing up for another assault." I felt the clone captain's appraising gaze, "who's the youngling?"
"I'm his Padawan, Captain Rex" I corrected and jerked a thumb at Anakin. "My name's Ahsoka Tano."
Rex gave Anakin a confused look, "Sir, I thought you'd said you'd never take a padawan."
"There's been a mixup, the youngling isn't with me."
I flicked my silka bead string out from behind my montrals, the Padawan braid for hairless species of Jedi. "Pa-da-wan. Last I checked, Yoda was Grandmaster of the Order, and he assigned me to you. Order given, end of story, unless you want to resign, Master?"
"She's got you there, sir." Rex smirked his eyes turned to me again, "nice armor, by the way."
"Thank you Captain, custom, designed it myself. Fabricator droids did the rest."
"Looks like you prioritized flexibility, not surprising, given the crazy acrobatics and agility I've seen you Jedi pull off."
"Yes, speaking of which," Anakin gestured to the minimal 'armor' he wore around his shoulder and gauntlets. "I'm surprised Master Yoda let you wear that much armor at all."
"I just pointed out to him how many more Jedi would still be alive today had they ran out onto the Plains of Geonosis wearing something like this, instead of just their robes and the other casualties we've suffered so far in the war. We can trust the Force all we want, but we can't physically move our arms fast enough to deflect the large volumes of fire massed droids are capable of putting out, even with the Force buffing us. Not to mention explosions and shrapnel. Tradition has its place, but not in face of circumstances like these." I felt it unwise to share my general opinion of the Jedi not tossing the Ruusan Reformation down the toilet the instant they were organized as leaders of the Grand Army of the Republic.
"Strengthening, enhancing, much easier word to use," I explained.
"It does have a ring to it," Anakin agreed, "so Padawan Tano, Captain Rex here will show and explain our fortifications and procedures to you."
"Uh… right," Rex was surprised at suddenly being put on the spot, "come along, Padawan."
I followed the clone officer obediently. Nice Skywalker, just foist the burden that is me off on your subordinates.
If there was one thing I could say about Rex, he utterly deserved his rank, and he just gave off this vibe that said 'I am a badass that knows a hundred ways to kill you, I know it, but I don't show it off.' Well, that was the gist of what I was sensing and seeing from him. I had a feeling I would learn way more about the business of soldiering from him, than anything Skywalker could teach me. Since the latter had only been doing this for the past three months versus Rex who had been doing it since he was decanted from the clone vat - which was six odd years ago.
Our tour through the fortifications moved past the giant artillery cannons, and this close they seemed utterly colossal in size. I half expected the darn things were actually ground side versions of the guns mounted on starships - the base on which they rested were alone five meters in height. For all that impressive firepower though… they had a weakness that Earth militaries had long ago learned to exploit, and in turn compensate for.
"So just how do clones get the different ranks?"
"Even though our genetics are essentially identical to each other," Rex explained, "our environments as we go through accelerated maturation are tailored to encourage the development of the traits needed in each clone. A select number, me included, were exposed to training and stimuli that encouraged leadership traits to emerge. If from there all goes well in testing and we demonstrate the required skills," he tapped the blue stripe on his armor that ran down his right arm.
"Huh, makes sense. And speaking of which, I just want to clarify command issues here, Captain. I understand that I'm just a Padawan here and technically speaking I outrank you and can give you orders, but off the record, it's nerfshit. I'm an amateur at best, you're the expert, but also understand that I have Force abilities and perceptions that will help keep your men alive."
Rex was visibly surprised, "I… understand, Padawan Tano. If you're going to have a permanent posting under General Skywalker, then I've no doubt you're going to be getting plenty of experience with us."
I felt the currents of the Force shift significantly and turned towards the distant enemy lines. "Looks like the Seppies are returning."
Rex's question was answered when a shaft of energy stabbed into sky before abruptly blossoming into a red shifted petals that eventually formed the dome of a ground based deflector shield, that was steadily growing.
"That's going to make things damn near impossible."
The various clone commanders, Obi-wan, Anakin and myself were all assembled around the holotable in the command post, including a very familiar droid that was plugged into it - R2-D2. I had nearly completely forgotten that the snarkish tin can was actually Anakin's personal astromech during the Clone Wars. The droid was helping manipulate the holomap of the local terrain as Obi-wan delivered the briefing - using the scanners to indicate the extent of the Separatist shield in real-time.
"The shield generator is no doubt in the very centre of the circular area its encompassing, and they're extending it just ahead of their troops advance. They've also reinforced their AAT tank division with Persuader class droid tanks."
I winced internally, the 'snail tanks' were droid tanks that came with an absolutely deadly armament, despite looking ridiculous and their nickname, their main side mounted armament of heavy repeating blasters, augmented with Ion cannon secondaries, and missile launchers.
"Our heavy cannons are going to be useless against that shield," Rex grumbled.
"As they get closer I suppose we could try to draw them into the buildings, that might level the playing field a bit," Obi-wan mused.
"Too bad they didn't design these types of heavy cannons to be mobile," I pointed out, "then we could've just kept moving them around, fight a battle of maneuver, but as hindsight is perfect, the obvious solution is to take the shield back out of the equation, and bring our artillery back into play."
"Easier said than done, padawan," Rex commented.
"Well, I for one," Anakin interjected, "agree with her. Someone has to get to that shield generator and destroy it."
"Right then," Obi-wan nodded, "maybe you two can tip-toe through the enemy lines and solve this particular problem together."
"Very well, Master Kenobi," I agreed.
"I'll decide what we do," Anakin pointedly said. I managed with great effort not to visibly roll my eyes in annoyance.
"If our main force engages them here, at this intersection," Obi-wan pointed it out, which R2 helpfully highlighted in red, "you two can penetrate their lines at this junction."
"They won't have much time either, the droids far outnumber us, so our ability to street fight is limited without the use of heavy cannons. They will march forward under the protection of their shield until they are right on top our artillery, and then they will simply blow them away."
"All our roles are understood?" Obi-wan prompted. Everyone nodded, "May the Force be with us."
I tightened the strap on the backpack full of thermal detonators and tried not to think about their explosive potential, "So, got any ideas of how to get through their lines, Master?"
Anakin briefly lowered his macrobinoculars from scrutinizing the enemy advance from a covert position we had found on the right flank of the advance - the upper floors of what had been a very nice apartment building. The steadily advancing shield was slowly filling the entire view of the distant horizon. Clearly the Separatists had made quite a few advances to the old Gungan designs with their industrial base behind it.
"From your tone at the briefing, I thought you were the one with the plan."
"Well yes, it just has a flaw I haven't figured out."
"Let's hear it then," he challenged.
"Flanking them would take too long, even at the speeds we could achieve, so we have to penetrate their tank line straight through the middle. Therefore, we need some way of remaining undetected to the myriad of sensors that droids use."
"That's the part I was stuck at. Even if we could use some form of electronic counter measures to obscure our life signs, that still leaves their straightforward optic and thermal sensors." Or figure out the kinks in developing a Force Cloak technique that Jedi Shadows used - if they actually existed - which I could never confirm. Perhaps if I had another decade or so...
"Precisely, so unless you could convince them you were a droid as well…" he trailed off in thought.
The plan he came up with on the fly was on the surface utterly ridiculous. Anakin had found the lid of an old munition container that had been left behind by the droid army on its many back and forth battles with the Republic in the city, and we were using it Metal Gear Solid style, to hide under on the right side of the main boulevard, letting the advancing tank columns and droids walk right by us.
"Relax, Padawan, these munition containers are specifically made to contain potential accidental explosions, consequence of which, is that the alloy shielding makes us undetectable inside to droid sensors."
"Letting us blend into the background as scrap." The din of marching droids, rumbling tanks, and repulsors was thankfully also being muted to a degree, but I could sense and feel it acutely through my hands and knees.
"And their energy shield just passed over us," Anakin commented.
I dipped my senses into the Force and could feel the compact high density batteries in the droids that any Earth scientist would have gladly given an arm and a leg to study. The compact hypermatter fusion cores in the droid tanks were like tiny suns with glowing trees of energy radiating out in every direction. It took nearly three minutes for the entire column to pass, and Anakin gave it another minute before we both lifted the box onto our backs and began crawling forward.
It was slow going but we couldn't afford to discard the box until we were within sight of the generator at least. We crawled forward for nearly fifteen minutes then there was a problem…
"Master, I'm sensing a droideka in our path, and numerous subterranean droids of some kind buried around the shield generator."
"You can sense droids?".
"Master, I don't need to lecture you of all people on the Force, do I?"
"Uh, no. You've learned Technometry?"
"Yes, it's not something that's really taught officially at the Temple, which in hindsight is a ridiculous oversight in a war against droids, but I just taught myself and figured it out after a year or so of trial and error - seemed a good idea."
"Okay, I know of a way to deal with the Droideka, the key is to keep deflecting its shots while we retreat as fast as possible, until it lowers its shield to roll after us, then abruptly stopping. Their deployment phase is when they're most vulnerable."
"Master, you're making a rancor out of a nerf. It's just one of them."
I stood up abruptly, flipping the box off of both of us, my lightsabers leapt from their holsters into my hands and ignited into viridian green blades. They were there for potential attacks from more distant droids, but I simply gestured with the left blade, towards the droideka which was reacting to our sudden appearance on its sensors. It had its shield up, but that didn't matter to the ability I practiced with the most - telekinesis. Even if the shield could stop the esoteric energies of the Force, I'd still just lift it with my metaphorical mental hand via the shield itself.
The droideka was now suspended in mid-air utterly unable to bring its weapons to bear at all.
"That's great," Anakin said wryly, "and how did you figure to get past the shield that would deflect a lightsaber strike?"
I answered him via the droideka abruptly seeming to crumple as if it was in a trash compactor. Its shield flickered and vanished, as it crashed to the ground in sparking, twisted heap of now useless metal and broken parts, only fit for salvage.
He raised an eyebrow at me, "Not really a conventional Padawan at all, are you?"
You have no idea, I thought in amusement. I merely gave him a mild smile, shrugged, and approached the intersection where the generator had been set up.
The shield generator was surprisingly small considering the size of the shield it was still producing and enlarging. It was a flat disc like mobile structure that stood at four meters tall and ten meters in diameter, that was shooting a beam of crimson energy into the sky, looking oddly like Kylo Ren's lightsaber blade writ large…
There were no other droids visibly guarding the thing, which likely meant the Separatist commander had thrown his entire conventional inventory at the Republic lines.
"Padawan, how many droids do you sense buried around the emitter?"
"Eighteen droids, their size is about two and half meters tall, armed with typical heavy blasters, they have motion sensors sticking up out of the ground. So, Mine Droids if you will."
"And how would you solve the problem?" he inquired.
I shut off my lightsabers and pulled off the flap of the backpack full of explosives, eight thermal detonators zipped out under the direction of my will. I gave a mild gesture and they flew off, covering the distance to the shield generator. I felt Anakin use the Force and ten detonators zoomed out of the bag and follow mine.
I gave him a lopsided smile, as I attached the detonators to the structure and with minute applications of the Force, also pushed the buttons to arm them. I felt him do the same, but clearly he had a similar problem as most OP Manga characters; too much power, not enough control. Two of the detonators he attempted to manipulate finely enough to activate their buttons was crushed utterly.
"You need to get more practice, Master," I teased.
"Don't get snippy with me, padawan," he retorted with a scowl, but I could sense his heart wasn't in his expression. "There set, now please tell me you brought the remote detonator?"
I nodded and we retreated further to take cover behind a building.
The explosion was most satisfying and while I've always wanted to do the 'walk away from an explosion like a bad-ass', it was really a Hollywoodism. Even if you were out of the lethal range of any explosion, the shockwave would still knock you flat and potentially burst your eardrums. The blood red overhead sky of the shield swiftly winked out as its sustaining beam vanished, replacing it with the typical blue and cloudy white sky of any viable garden world. The explosion was also big enough to set off secondaries that neatly destroyed the Mine Droids as well.
"So I'm curious," Anakin looked up at the sky, "on your last Assessment before going into Padawan rank…" He was referring to a general Trials where the potential padawan was given all a manner of scenarios to work through. It was essentially the Jedi equivalent of an X-Men Danger room; using holograms, droids, and even a Master of the Mind Arts that essentially hijacked your senses to plunge you into any number of scenarios. "How many of those tests did you solve with Telekinesis?"
"All of them except two."
"Yeah, not much use for that in the Diplomacy test, I imagine and the lightsaber duel."
We heard the distant rumbling of the heavy cannons, as they wreaked their devastation on the droid army again.
"So I didn't get to see you fight with your lightsabers… what form do you use?"
"I formally practice Form Five: Djem So, with integration of Jar Kai due to the dual blades, and I'm adding my own twists and tricks along the way."
"Well, at least they matched our primary styles." Anakin abruptly pulled out his handheld holocom that had been vibrating in his belt, and a tiny full body image of Admiral Yularen appeared.
"Attention, all Republic units, if you can hear me, we're through the blockade, the Separatist armada is in retreat. Your reinforcements should be landing imminently."
"Nice, come along, padawan, we've got more work to do."
"Oh, am I staying, Master? Not going to clear this mixup are we, by sending me back to the Temple?"
Anakin Skywalker stared at me thoughtfully after pocketing his holocom. "You're creative, unconventional, and I doubt you'd've have fit very well with Obi-wan. He's a bit of a…"
"Stick in the mud? A fossil?"
Anakin coughed to hide his laugh, "I was going to use the word, conservative, but yes. So, yes, you're my padawan. Now come along, snips."
Arrgh, was he really saddling me with that nickname…?
It wasn't long before the sky overhead was echoing with the droning engines of Low Altitude Assault Transports or LAATs. Skywalker signaled for a pickup, one of the craft homed in on our position and landed, the side deployment doors opened and Captain Rex looking thoroughly battle worn in his armor was on board with a few troopers.
"Great job, General Skywalker." Rex nodded at me in turn, "you too, kid."
Ten minutes later after navigating the bustling military air traffic we were touching down right next to a landed Acclamator class Assault Destroyer that was disgorging troops, tanks and artillery from its cavernous holds. Obi-wan was there already, talking with the holographic projection of Master Yoda issuing from R2 and the pilot landed our LAAT within a few meters.
"Master Yoda, Master Obi-wan," Anakin greeted them respectfully, briefly bowing his head to the Grandmaster. I mirrored his action and met the probing wise eyes of Yoda…which was conveyed very well even through a hologram. I really wish there was a darn species name for Yoda's race. Whatever it was, it wasn't even listed in the regular Jedi Archives, nor even his homeworld or its name… I wonder if even those dicks at the Council of First Knowledge knew.
His eyes turned to Anakin, "Hmmm, trouble you have with your new padawan, I hear?"
"I was explaining the situation to Master Yoda," Obi-wan said.
"If not ready for a Padawan you are, then perhaps Obi-wan we can…"
"Just a minute, Master Yoda," Anakin folded his arms, "while I admit, I didn't imagine accepting a Padawan until after the war but from what I've seen of Ashoka… her kind of thinking is exactly what we need out here. With more experience and training under her belt, she will definitely make an impact."
"Then go with you, she will, to the Teth system."
"Teth? That's Wild Space, the droid armies aren't even in that sector."
"Kidnapped, Jabba the Hutt's son, has been."
"You want me to rescue Jabba's son?" Anakin couldn't help a bit of incredulity escape into his voice. Jabba was of course, the Hutt who still controlled Tatooine, the planet Anakin had been enslaved on as a child - and who still continued to thrive there with all the vices and evils that the Hutts were known for. It was perhaps one of the things that made me wonder why the Jedi in the past hadn't gone crusader on the Hutts and the slave trade in general, but we probably had the blinkered, corrupt Senate and the damn idiotic Ruusan Reformation to thank for a lot of the evil shit that still existed in the galaxy.
"Anakin, we'll need the Hutts allegiance and their hyperspace lanes to make further inroads against the Separatists."
"Negotiate the treaty with Jabba, Obi-wan, will. Find the renegades that hold Jabba's son, your mission will be, Skywalker."
"Very well... Ahsoka, get Rex and tell him to organize the troops, we leave immediately."
I bowed to Master Yoda and hurried off to the LAAT that Rex was still waiting in, letting the elders have their conversation.
"Captain Rex, download everything from the database on the planet Teth and prepare for local conditions. We're going to rescue a baby slug."