"So let's see if I can get this right." Grif said. "There used to be a bajillion other Jedi out there like you, but now, they're all being hunted down?"
Jena and Strike were outside of the station in Zanzibar telling their story to the Reds and Blues they were just meeting.
"I wouldn't say a 'bajillion'," Jena said, "But basically, yes. There used to be so much more of us. Thousands even. And we've had a duty to keep the balance in the galaxy for thousands of years."
"And back in the Clone Wars," Strike continued, "I was bred along with a million others to assist the Jedi."
"Oh, really." Tucker said. "And how much do those pay?"
"At the moment, not even in job satisfaction." Strike said.
"About ten years ago, the Clone Wars ended, but that's when the Jedi were shot down by their own clones." Jena said.
"Treason, huh?" Sarge asked as he pointed his gun at Strike. "Give me one good reason not to turn your face into Swiss cheese."
"Because it wasn't our fault." Strike said. "My brothers… They couldn't help themselves."
"We discovered that when a clone is born, their breeders implanted a biochip in their brains with a secret command called Order 66." Jena said. "When activated, it overrides all their other priorities and impulses them to immediately kill the Jedi. Thankfully, Strike's chip got damaged prior to the order being given, so I was saved by him."
"What kind of nutball would put a secret 'kill-Jedi' command into soldiers just to give them to the Jedi in the first place?" Simmons asked.
"It was part of a complex strategy." Jena said. "You see, as it turned out, our Republic chancellor, Sheev Palpatine, is a Sith Lord."
"Oh, well, I hope he washes his hands regularly." Caboose said.
"What?" Jena asked. "No, I said 'Sith' Lord, not shi… You know what, never mind."
"What is a Sith Lord, anyway?" Tucker asked.
"The Sith are the ancient enemy of the Jedi." Jena said. "We thought they were all wiped out eons ago, but one of them, Palpatine, managed to sneak his way to the top of the Republic and commission the clone army. His plan all along was to ignite the Clone Wars and spread out the Jedi surrounded by hundreds of their trusted troops. Then, once the time was right, he gave the order and just like that, countless Jedi were lost at once. I don't know how many there are left these days. Palpatine called us traitors and is using his Empire to hunt us down as well as take over the galaxy."
"Wow." Grif said. "Honestly, this is the first time I've heard of a strategy that seems very plausible."
"Watch it." Strike said. "Do you know what it's like to be bred and trained in advanced military combat only to learn my sole purpose was to kill the very people I chose to fight beside?"
"Hey, it's not like our military lives were any better." Grif said. "Two teams in the middle of a box canyon in the middle of nowhere shooting each other, stealing each other's flags, and occasionally go on very bizarre adventures only to learn that we were meant to create simulations for real soldiers. We were used without our consent to be the training dummies for Freelancers like Washington and Carolina."
"So, you know, suck it, clone." Simmons said.
"It amazes me that you managed to live this long despite how aggravating you people can be." Jena said.
"Tell me about it." Church said.
"All right, everyone." Carolina said as she walked from the beach with Washington beside her. "We're moving out."
"Already?" Grif asked.
"Where are we going?" Simmons asked.
"The desert where you all were." Washington answered. "There's something there that might give us a lead. Just get in the jeeps."
Everyone went into their jeeps and rode them out of Zanzibar.
They arrived in the middle of the desert parking right beside an alien temple site. Washington and Carolina had already left to uncover a piece of equipment leaving the others behind.
"Man, this place is even more boring than I remember." Tucker commented.
"What was your experience here?" Jena asked.
"Meh, you know how it is." Tucker said. "I find an alien sword, a bunch of aliens choose me to be an alien ambassador, I find a temple full of alien artifacts, a bunch of jerks kill my team, Caboose buts Church in an artifact, and Church shoots the leading jerk with a laser."
"Laser?" Strike asked.
"Yep." Church said. "Just another way of being awesome. But back to the matter at hand, we need to be worried about Carolina."
"We noticed." Strike said. "She's not telling us everything."
"How come?" Jena asked.
"Who knows?" Tucker asked. "I tried everything I can to get some info out of her. I tried hitting on her. I tried sleeping with her. I tried making out with her."
"I seriously doubt she would go through with all that even if she's not too focused on finding the Director." Jena said.
"Oh, you're just the worst person ever." Tucker replied.
"Of all time." Caboose added.
"Attention, Blue Team and indiscriminate visitors!" Sarge called out from the distance. "We would like to propose a temporary truce so that we may discuss our current situation! Do you accept?"
"Does your sergeant think we're fighting him?" Strike asked.
"It's this delusional thing he's got going on his head." Church said.
"Maybe it's a trap." Caboose said.
"I doubt they're smart enough to think of that." Tucker said. "Then again, neither are you."
"How do you know that?" Caboose asked. "Are you in with them?"
"Yes!" Jena called to the Red team who approached. "We accept! What's this about?"
"It's our mutual friend/enemy/companion," Sarge said, "Or 'friendenemepanion' for short."
"We're all starting to get a little concerned about Carolina." Simmons said.
"Take a number." Strike said.
"What does any of this have to do with the trap?" Caboose asked.
"Listen, everyone," Church said, "I realize that's asking a lot of you since we're all a little uneasy about Carolina."
"No." Grif said. "Uneasy is sitting next to a homeless person on the bus. Carolina's a trigger-happy psychopath."
"I don't think it's just that." Jena said. "I think she's… hurting."
"Duh." Simmons said. "She's been hurting us the whole time she's been with us."
"Not what I meant." Jena said. "Look, among a Jedi's special abilities is the power to read the emotions of others."
"You mean you're a psychic?" Sarge asked.
"Are you Batgirl or Wonder Girl?" Caboose asked.
"Let me continue." Jena said. "Look, I don't have a lot of experience with the subject because I was still in training at the end of the Clone Wars, but Carolina's emotions are so powerful, even a novice can sense it up close. She's filled with anger, obviously, but there is also resentment and sadness. It's like she has no choice but to not trust us."
"Well, I'm not satisfied." Church said. "We need to find out why."
"Okay. I'll ask her." Caboose said. "And I promise not to bring up the trap."
"No, Caboose." Church said. "Don't!"
"Okay, fine. What would you like me to ask her?"
"You could ask her if she has the hots for me." Tucker said. "I think I might've felt an emotional connection the last time she hit me."
"Tell her you'd like to make a hot, emotional connection with her trap. Got it."
"Oh, that's even better!"
"Tucker, stop being a pig." Jena said. "And Caboose, no more talks about traps."
"How about ambush?"
"No! Look, we need a subtle way of getting information. A way to get close to her without her knowing."
"Hey, Caboose," Simmons said, "You were the one who moved Church into that floating alien ball thing, right?"
"Hover-Church can also solve crimes."
"What are you thinking, bub?" Strike asked.
"Well, how would you feel about putting him in something a little… different?" Simmons gazed and stared at Carolina's Mongoose. Jena chuckled for a bit at the suggestion.
"Oh, forget you guys!" Church said.
"You are going to solve so many crimes!" Caboose said excitedly.
After a few minutes, Church got transferred from Tucker's helmet to the Mongoose.
"So how do you feel, Tooth Fairy?" Strike asked with a smile on his face.
"I feel like running over each and every one of you." Church spoke from the car.
"What are you complaining about?" Tucker asked. "You finally got your own body."
"My own body? Look at me! I'm an effing tonka truck!"
"Do you want to understand Carolina's motivations or not?" Jena asked.
"Besides, you can literally pick up chicks with this thing." Tucker said.
"Oh, sure, 'cause every girl just dreams of settling down with Optimus Prime!" Church retorted. "HONK! …Caboose, don't ever press that button again."
And right on cue, Carolina and Washington returned.
"Tucker, bring Epsilon over here. You come too, Isa. I've got some questions for you."
Tucker and Jena followed Carolina in an Elephant where Washington was trying to use the computer.
"So… what do you need Church for?" Tucker asked.
"I just told you." Carolina said.
"Yeah, but I mean, you could just talk to me instead. 'Sup, girl."
"Why would I ever want to do that?"
"Well, you know, we're a perfect match."
"No, you're not." Jena said.
"All right, Isa," Carolina said, "Do you have any leads on the Director?"
"No. I'm trying my best here, but I can't just turn it on and off whenever I want."
"Well, keep trying." Carolina commanded.
"Listen." Washington said. "It's important that we figure out what's on C.T.'s data pad."
"Who?" Jena asked.
"C.T." Tucker said. "That's the jerk who tried to take this site from me before."
"He's also the leader of a resistance who fought against us Freelancers." Washington said. "He got this armor from a rogue Freelancer, and we need to find out what they were looking for. Hopefully, it could lead us to the Director."
Tucker took a look at the image on the screen. It was a circular machine with a blue lens at the front.
"Hey, I know that thing!"
"You do?" Jena asked.
"Yeah, that's Church. Caboose transferred him from a memory unit into that thing a long time ago."
"Where is it now?" Carolina asked.
"Last time I saw it, we left it in an abandoned warehouse after Church found a new body." Tucker said.
"WHAT?!" Carolina asked angrily. "I can't believe we came all this way for nothing!" She stormed away.
"You guys are not making my life easy right now." Washington said.
"Do we ever?" Tucker asked.
"Is this an everyday life with these people?" Jena asked.
"More or less." Washington said.
Later that night, Carolina had already left on her Mongoose (with Epsilon equipped) and drove off to the direction of a beach fortress. Meanwhile, the others decided to spend the night inside of the alien temple.
"So you can do all those neat tricks with this weird thing called the Force?" Simmons asked. "I'm sorry, Jena, but that defies all science that I've ever seen."
"It's true." Strike said. "This kid's gotten us out of more scrapes than the battles I can count. She could move boulders without even touching them."
"Wow!" Grif said. "Can I do that?"
"I doubt it." Jena said. "Not everyone is as connected to the Force as others. And whoever is strong enough, the Jedi usually raises them from birth in our temples."
"Wait, so you were forced to be a Jedi?" Tucker asked.
"The Jedi was very strict. We had to be." Jena said. "If we had any ties to our pasts, we'd risk getting attached, and that could lead us closer to the dark side. And a Force-sensitive Jedi who's crossed into the dark side can lead to some very bad problems. That's where some of the Sith come from."
"Wow." Simmons said. "Got anything positive to add?"
…"Wanna see a funny trick?" Jena asked.
"How funny?" Grif asked.
Jena approached Grif and slowly waved her hand over his face. "You will run into the wall."
"I will run into the wall." Grif said blankly. He turned to the wall and dashed as hard as he could until he made direct impact with it. That earned several laughs from the others. "OW! What was that?"
"The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded." Jena said.
"Hey, who are you calling weak-minded?" Grif asked. "Why I oughta…"
"Ooh! Ooh! Make Grif do the Chicken Dance!" Simmons requested.
"Don't you dare…"
"You will do the Chicken Dance." Jena commanded with another wave.
"I will do the Chicken Dance." Grif repeated. He proceeded with opening his hands, swaying his wings, and clapping his hands repeatedly.
Everyone busted out loud at the sight of that. Even Jena laughed. In fact, for a moment, she had completely forgotten about the threat of the Empire out there or any other of her worries.
The next morning, the Reds, Blues, Jena, and Strike returned outside where Carolina returned on her mongoose.
"Alright, people! Pack it up!" Carolina ordered. "We're moving!"
"Where to now?" Strike asked.
"There's an old ship that crashed into a Freelancer outpost a few years aback."
"Outpost 17-B?" Washington asked.
"We're going to Valhalla?" Simmons asked.
"Back to our old base?" Sarge asked.
"That's right, everyone! We're finally going home! And you're taking us with you!"
That last voice was Church's, who spoke out much to everyone's surprise. But what's more surprising is where he spoke from. It wasn't from the Mongoose like originally planned. Instead, his holographic form hovered right next to Carolina's AI module. He and Carolina were now working together.
Author's Note: This went further into the Season 10 story than I originally planned, but I had a reason for that. When I was typing, I was basically rewriting the canon story, but with added dialogue, and the Jedi exposition wasn't helping. I needed to add in a funny moment, and I thought using the Jedi mind trick for the Chicken Dance would be hilarious. And the ending where Church and Carolina revealed their alliance was a good ending for this long chapter.
Any and all comments are welcome.