Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own Star Wars or anything associated with it. I do not own the Galactic Republic, the Seperatists, the Jedi, and so on. All I own are the characters of Special Tactics Squad 1-17, General Monka Monka of the Seperatists, Master Bel Rof, and Padawan Askara Jento. And if any of you want to use them, ask me first.
Author's Note: Special Tactics Squad 1-17 consists of Chief (CT-1543), Thirteen (CT-1313), Whacker (CT-5505), Sabre (CT-6674), Falcon (CT-6675), Hunter (CT-4509), Pillar (CT-2552), and Cryo (CT-0104) and, unofficially, Askara Jento. Sergeant Kal Skirata was the primary training sergeant for STS/1-17.
Special Tactics Squad 1-17
Formulca, Tarsis System
Jakran Boken was alone in his quarters in the base, still in his beskar'gam (armor); though his buy'ce was sitting next to him on the cot he used as a bed. He was studying the lightsaber in his hands, letting the memories it evoked wander through his mind. It had been about eight or so years since he'd even thought about his wife's lightsaber, much less looked at it. He never forgot her; even if he hadn't said Ni su'cuyi, gar kyr'adyi, ni partayli, gar darasuum, the Mandalorian ritual for honoring and remembering those who have died and gone on the Manda, he'd never forget his beloved wife. Her lightsaber was the only thing he'd kept of hers, to remind him of her. And now, after ten years, he'd run into his daughter. The daughter he'd left in the care of one of the very few Jedi he'd trusted, to become learned in the ways of the Force as he'd promised his wife right before her death. Seeing Askara again after so long had brought back a flood of memories. She looks so much like her mother, he thought, melancholy with the memories. Looking over at his helmet, he saw the sigil he'd added to it after he and Surra had become married. He had done it out of respect and love for her, in spite of the fact that she'd renounced that part of her life: it was the sigil of the Jedi Order. He'd put it on the lower left side of his helmet, near where it hooked onto the neck seal. I know I haven't been the best father for her; even if it was a promise to the one I loved, I still abandoned her. She bears me no ill-will about it, and even seems to understand my reasons for doing so, but I still feel as though I let her down. He sighed. I can explain to her, perhaps, about the Mando ritual for divorcing a parent, and tell her that I wouldn't blame her for doing so. Taking the other lightsaber from his belt, he studied its intricate grip and style. It is hard to believe you're dead, old friend, he thought, addressing Bel Rof's spirit in his mind.
"Ni su'cuyi, gar kyr'adyi, ni partayli, gar darasuum, Bel Rof," he whispered softly, adding the dead Jedi's name to his list.
Just as her father was thinking about her and her mother, so, too, was Askara thinking about him and her mother. She didn't have as many memories as her father did, but the memories she did have were no longer forgotten or dimly remembered. She remembered the last time she'd been with both of her parents; that memory stuck out so much because it was the last time of true happiness she'd had. She also remembered, dimly, feeling her mother's death through the Force when it happened. And she remembered, shortly before she used the Force to save her and her father's lives, asking her father where she'd been born. She shook her head, a smile of irony on her face. The Force has to be at work, she thought, for me and my buir to find each other again after ten years on the planet where I'd been born - and my mother had died two years later. She was actually surprised to find that, as she'd told her father, she didn't hate him. She had been a little hurt to know that he'd left her in the care of strangers, but she was finding that the joy of rediscovering a past she'd nearly forgotten about overwhelmed that hurt. She was surprised that he had helped her, even though he said he couldn't because of his word. And besides her lightsaber, he'd given her another a way for him to help her; if she could get the Separatists to attack him - without making them think he'd broken his contract - he'd be able to actually help them. The Force isn't without a sense of irony, she thought wryly. I'm a Jedi that is also half Mandalorian - by blood, that is. And the Mandalorians don't really get along with the Jedi, though it is a major understatement.
And, now, she was contemplating a thought that was rather shocking for her: possibly leaving the Jedi Order. Like Master Bel Rof, she didn't approve of the way most of her fellow Jedi treated the clone soldiers they led. A few saw them as the men they were; many, though, remained in ignorance, believing (or preferring to believe) the 'company line' that because they were created and raised to fight, that they knew no other life but war, that they were happy and content. She'd even heard that Barden Jusik, a high-ranked Jedi Knight that led part of the Special Operations Brigade to which the Special Tactics Command was officially attached, had left the Order in protest. Bel Rof had approved, even if he hadn't followed the younger Jedi's lead; he believed he had a responsibility to the mean he led to fight and possibly die with them. And he had.
Gripping her lightsaber firmly, she walked over to the wall of her cell that was in the direction that her troopers were in. Putting the hilt two centimeters from the wall, she activated the lightsaber and watched the orange blade plunge into the wall. Acting swiftly, she began cutting a circle into the wall. She didn't make the hole too large, but when she used the Force to grab the duracrete circle to prevent it from slamming into the floor of the next cell, she realized just how heavy it was. Carefully setting it down to avoid making any kind of noise that would alert the droids, she stepped into the next cell and walked over to the wall opposite her to repeat the process. After a few more minutes - fewer than she'd hoped and more than she'd expected - Askara cut her way into the squad's cell.
"Welcome to our happy little abode, Commander," Falcon said. "We'd offer you some refreshments, but we're all out at the moment."
"We need to get your gear back," she said.
"Just one thing, Commander," Chief interrupted. "How'd you get your lightsaber back?"
"That Mandalorian?" she began.
"You stole it back from him?" Cryo said, impressed.
"Um, no. He gave it back to me." They all stared at her. "He did."
"Why would he do that?" Sabre asked. "He works for the Seps."
"He's my father," she replied. That little announcement hit with the force of a thermal detonator.
"Makes sense to me," Falcon said. "So how do we get out of here?"
"Like this," Askara told them, raising her hand to focus the Force and using it to pull the switch that controlled the energy bars. That got the attention of the droids guarding them.
"What was that?" they heard one of them ask.
"I think it came from the cells."
"Go check it out."
Unfortunately for the droid, it learned what happens when its thin, delicate neck meets the cutting light of an activated lightsaber. Thirteen caught the droid while Cryo caught its head. After setting them both carefully and quietly on the cell's floor, Cryo stood back while Thirteen grabbed the blaster.
"Let's get to work," Askara said, stepping out of the cell.
"How long is this supposed to take?" Pillar asked as he and his two brothers lay prone on the ground just outside the base's perimeter.
"I don't know, but they'd better hurry," Hunter replied. "Those droids look like they're getting ready for an assault."
"Do you think reinforcements have finally arrived?" Whacker asked.
"They'd have to punch through the blockade, first, but I think that's more than possible."
"Is Formulca that strategically important?"
"According to our pre-mission briefing, it's near a hyperspace lane that our ships can use to get to the Outer Rim."
"You could've just said 'yes'."
"I thought I did."
"Can it, you two," Hunter cut in. "Besides, it's up to us to let the commander and the others know when they can make their move. Got the grenades ready?"
"Troch," Pillar and Whacker said in unison, using the Mandalorain word for "certainly." All three clones readied the supply of grenades they'd cached before the attack and then dug up after their brothers and commander had been 'captured.'
"Ehn," Hunter said, counting down in Mandalorian. "T'ad. Solus. Oya!" Then all three stood up and began tossing thermal detonators into the Sep base, landing them among the Armored Assault Tanks and Multi Troop Transports. Or, rather, landing under them. Ducking back down, they began strapping the weapons and gear that had been hidden to themselves. Right as they stood up again, the thermal detonators began going off. Some of the AATs exploded from their fuel cells being ruptured, causing the ones next to them to explode. The MTTs didn't explode right away; the detonators just destroyed their repulsor lift systems, causing them to hit the ground. But one AAT's main gun fired as a thermal detonator not only ruptured the fuel cells but also created a short in the electrical systems that caused the fire control system to trigger the gun. The turret was facing straight ahead, which meant that the MTT across from it took the blast. While the front was heavily armored, this MTT was opened up to begin accepting a load of B1 battle droids. Which meant that the AAT's round went through the opened hatch, punched deep into the interior, and then detonated - causing the transport's fuel cells and reactor to detonate as well. The force of the explosion caused the MTT next to it to explode, and so on in sympathetic detonation. The force of the blasts knocked Whacker, Pillar, and Hunter flying. They hit the ground harder than they'd expected, but rolled with it and came up running.
"Do you think that'll do as a signal," Whacker asked, "or should we use flares, too?"
The shockwaves from the combined explosions rippled through the base. Not all of the tanks and transports had gone up from the various explosions, but most of the droids outside had gone up with them. Askara and the five clones with her were knocked flat when the shockwaves passed through their section of the facility, but they recovered quickly and hurried on their way. They had to get to the armory and see if they're helmets and weapons were there - though Askara had that disconcerting certainty that they were. Thanks to Askara and Thirteen's initial efforts, the entire team was now equipped with the blasters that were standard equipment for the battle droids. They knew they were outmatched by the sheer number of droids at the base, but if they could get to the power generator - as per the plan - then a few thermal detonators could destabilize it and blow the base.
"Are you sure that Mandalorian, father or not, will be able to help us?" Chief asked.
"I'm pretty sure," Askara replied.
Jak, fully armored again, strode into the base's command center amidst the strobe and whooping of the alarms. General Monka Monka was already there, yelling at the droids and trying to figure out what was going on. Jak's entrance, though, drew his attention.
"You!" he said, turning to face the mercenary. "This your fault!"
"You better explain yourself, 'General'," Jak said, not-so-subtly adjusting the angle of his blaster carbine. As he'd intended, the gesture didn't go unnoticed.
"You're supposed to be in charge of security! How is it that the prisoners were able to escape, then?!"
"Looking at the security holovids, General," he replied, "it seems as though the Jedi cut her way through the cells between her and her troops, then used a Jedi Force trick to open the cells. The rest is rather obvious."
"How did she get the lightsaber back?! You had both of the ones she had!"
"She's a Jedi. My guess would be that she used a Force trick to get the lightsaber off my belt without it being noticed."
"I'm holding you responsible! When Count Dooku learns of this-"
"You mean learns of your failure to contain the situation," Jak interrupted, his altered voice colder than vacuum. "You 'ordered' me to place the Jedi and the clones in the cell block. I did so, though I interrogated the Jedi before imprisoning her. You are responsible for this base, and the Separatist efforts on this world."
"You failed to keep your contract!" Monka Monka screamed. "You're fired!"
"Is that so?" Jak said. "You're certain about that?"
"Get out of here, you Hutt slime!"
"You'll regret that insult." Jak turned and left without another word. And the gossam sank down into his seat because his trembling legs would no longer hold him.
They found the armory, although it was a running battle as increasing numbers of droids started intercepting them (thankfully, no destroyer droids yet). Askara slashed the control panel, causing a short-circuit that triggered the doors open. Surprisingly, as she had predicted, their helmets, weapons, and gear were in it - along with a small case of thermal detonators.
"Either this is a trap," Cryo said, picking up his blaster, "or your buir was on the level."
"It wasn't a coincidence that he happened to be on Formulca at the same time we are," she said. She picked up a datapad that was next to the case and thumbed it on. Immediately, a schematic of the base popped up - with a route to the reactor highlighted in gold. Before anyone could say anything, though, a series of blaster bolts shot through the open door of the armory. Askara whipped around, her lightsaber flashing and picking off the incoming bolts.
"Alright, change of plans," she said, raising her voice to be heard over the noise of battle. "Guys, you take that datapad and head to the power generator room. Set the detonators then get out of there as fast as you can."
"What about you, Commander?" Thirteen asked, speaking for the first time since they'd 'infiltrated' the base.
"I'll draw their attention," she replied, batting a bolt back into a battle droid's head. Even though it had only been a few days since they'd crash landed on Formulca, Askara had changed a great deal. Chief nodded, and gestured for Sabre to grab the case of thermal detonators. "Ready?" Askara asked. At his nod, she leapt forward, her lightsaber flashing. "Go!"
She burst out of the armory's doorway, the squad right behind her. They cut right, blasting the droids ahead of them apart as she sent a push of Force energy through a group of droids attempting to follow them. Super battle droids started coming down the corrider at her, their arm-mounted blasters firing as fast as they could cycle. Askara sank into the Force, abandoning her control and letting the Force guide her actions. Her lightsaber flashed, darted, and swung, picking off and deflecting blaster bolts. If she had been more aware of her actions, she would have marveled at the speed and fluidity with which she moved. And while she couldn't sense the droids through the Force, she could sense the eddies they made in it; plus, the real-time warnings she got from the Force regarding threats to her helped immensely. Then she was among the battle droids and SBDs, her lightsaber weaving a stream of orange light as it sliced through durasteel and circuitry. She wore an expression of complete serenity on her face.
"Retreat! Fallback!" a commander droid called out, and the battle droids turned and tried to flee the attacking Jedi. The SBDs fell back, as well, but it was a firing retreat. Not that it did them any good; she deflected the bolts into the walls, floor, ceiling, retreating droids. Before she was aware of it, she was outside among the buildings of the base, with more blaster fire coming at her as the rest of the droids converged on her position. She was still batting blaster bolts around when a disturbance in the Force caught her attention.
A rain of blaster bolts pouring into the droids was accompanied by a roaring sound. Looking up, Askara saw the flares of a rocket pack. Then a familiar armored figure touched down in front of her. Standing, her father tossed her Bel Rof's lightsaber before jetting off again, his blaster carbines spitting blaster bolts at the droids. The lightsaber sprang to life the moment it landed in her hand, it's amber blade blending nicely with the orange fo her own. As her blades twisted and turned, picking off blaster bolts, Askara watched the father she hadn't seen for ten years in action.
Cutting off the thrust of his jet pack, Jak tucked himself into a ball and flipped in mid-air, then straightened out and spun around, one carbine in its 'rack' on his back, the other in his hands firing out bolt after bolt of coherent light in a spray of automatic fire. Though not possessing a drop of the Force, his aim had been honed by years and years of fighting, beginning since he was eight years old. Each bolt hit a super battle droid, though one bolt wasn't enough to penetrate their armor; but it wasn't just one bolt that hit, it was several. They wore away at the armor and punched into the interior, causing damage or outright destruction. Hitting the ground, he let momentum put him into a kneeling crouch, his carbing going to the other slot on his back and a trio of mini-rockets blasting out of a forearm launcher while the other hand pulled out a long-barreled blaster pistol. The trio of rockets pierced the reactor compartment of a just-unfolded destroyer droid, detonating it with an intense explosion that destroyed or damaged all the droids around it. The blaster pistol spat out stuttering streams of bolts with each pull of the trigger, peppering battle droids with smoking holes. Then blaster bolts from outside the encircling droids caught both warriors' attention. Pillar, Whacker, and Hunter had arrived.
And just then, the shaded valley became brighter than the day around it as the base's reactor detonated. Everyone and everything was knocked to the ground from the force of the explosion and the shock wave. Jak stood up, his armor smoking and pierced from the bolts he'd been unable to avoid. He walked over to the clone troopers and held out a hand.
"Need a hand, vod?" he asked. Whacker, the one he'd approached, looked him up and down, then grasped the hand.
"Thought you were working for the Seps?" he asked as he helped his brothers to stand.
"My employment was terminated. Irreconcilable differences."
"Thanks for the help," Pillar said, slapping Jak on the shoulder.
"So you three are clones like the other five, right?"
"Last time I looked in a mirror."
"You don't seem like it to me." Then Askara came walking over.
"Have any of you heard from Chief and the others? I don't have my comm," she said.
"Right here, Commander," Chief called out. Everyone turned and saw the five spec ops troopers staggering towards them.
"Are you guys alright?" she asked.
"We'll be fine, ma'am," Thirteen told her. "Got some good news, though. Republic reinforcements broke through the blockade right about the time we began our break out. Larty's are incoming, ETA is twenty minutes."
"In that case, I should be going now," Jak said, rolling his shoulders.
"Do you have to, buir?" Askara asked.
"Buir?" Pillar, Whacker, and Hunter said in unison. She laughed.
"I'll explain later, vod," she answered. Then she looked at her father. "I'm sure we can explain things."
"I'm certain you can, ad'ika," he said, calling her 'daughter' in Mandalorian. "But I can't risk it. Not at this time."
"I understand," she replied, her gaze falling to her feet. Jak reached over and raised her chin so she was looking at his visor slit.
"I know you do," he said gently. "But know that I do love you, ner ad. We shall meet again; trust the Force on that."
"I will, buir." He stepped back a ways.
"Know, too, that I am very proud of you."
"We'll take care of her, sir," Thirteen said, stepping forward and holding out a gloved hand. Jak didn't hesitate, but walked right over and shook the clone's hand.
"I'll hold you to that," he replied. "Keep her as safe as you can."
"No matter the cost," Chief agreed, stepping up beside his brother. Nodding to them both, and taking one last look at his daughter, Jak Boken turned and walked away from the burning ruins of the main CIS base on Formulca.
End Note: Talk about an explosive chapter. I know the ending may seem a little cliche, but I think it works. The battle scenes might have been a little short, but I felt that they were pretty intense. Reviews very welcome.