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

Part 1: Unlikely Allies

Rhen Var, one year later

Askara Jento lowered the macrobinoculars from her eyes as a cold, snow-filled wind kicked up. She was dressed in the cold-weather gear issued to the Grand Army of the Republic, though she had supplemented it with armor components from the Phase-I series of armor once used by the clone troopers. She didn't wear the limited armor that General Kenobi was reputed to wear, but she wasn't in the entire suit, either. Hard to believe it's been a year, she thought as she turned to the clone commander in charge of the unit she was leading.

"Commander Lok," she said, "have the scouts reported in yet?"

"Yes, General," he replied. "They've pinpointed the Separatist forces approximately five klicks away from them in Grid Section Delta-Three-Niner-Bravo."

"That's pretty close," she said, tucking her macros into their compartment on her belt. She was still getting used to being addressed as 'general' rather than 'commander;' though she was only fifteen standard now, her actions on Formulca a year ago and since had fast-tracked her to becoming a Jedi Knight. She'd kept her padawan braid with her as a reminder of what had happened on Formulca.

"Yes, ma'am."

"Are the walkers in position?"

"Not yet, General. They're having some trouble negotiating the terrain."

"We can't hold off on the assault much longer," she noted, turning back to the front. She adjusted the strap that secured the sniper blaster rifle to her back, then brushed a hand against the lightsaber hanging against her belt. While she still had Bel Rof's lightsaber, she kept it more as a good luck charm than to actually use; it was secured to the combat webbing she wore to carry extra power cells for her rifle. "We'll have to start without them, and adjust the battle plan accordingly. Flexibility and adaptability are the key, Commander."

"Right you are, General," Lok replied.

"Do you feel strange serving under a Jedi who looks younger than you, and isn't much older chronologically?" she asked.

"I assume that you know what you're doing, ma'am."

"Not precisely the question I asked."

"Sorry, General. No, I don't find it strange. While you haven't trained for war, as we clones have been, you seem to have an innate grasp of tactics and strategy, and you place trust in your subordinates to handle situations as they develop. You don't act as though you're in charge; and by that I mean you don't throw your rank or the fact that you're a Jedi around. You ask advice when you need it, and accept counsel when it's given. You're a commander, a general, that many of us are more than willing to follow."

"Thank you for your words, Commander," Askara said, smiling beneath the mask she wore across her face. "I've always known that this isn't the life I was raised for, but I had to adapt quickly when I lost my master and found myself leading a detachment of clone troopers against a vastly superior hostile force."

"I've heard about that, ma'am. It was tactically unwise to assault a numerically superior force in a superior position that also possessed foreknowledge of your presence."

"But you approve."

"You planned the mission well, you adapted to the situation as it developed, and you kept your soldiers alive. The audaciousness of your plan meant that a typical enemy commander wouldn't expect it."

She nodded in acknowledgement of his words, then said, "Order the troops forward. Let's follow the overall strategy, and keep our tactics fluid and strong."

"Yes, General."

The 773rd Battalion had been engaged with the droid forces for about a standard hour now. The droids had numbers on their side, and firepower, but the AT-TEs attached to the unit were closing the distance and had entered extreme range for their main guns. Askara's strategy had called for the bulk of the unit to pin the droid army in place, focus it's attention on them, while the faster recon and cavalry units flanked them and attempted to hit the rear of their formation. She used her sniper rifle to pick off the droid commanders, wet or metal, with equal calm; while Jedi were supposed to value the sanctity of all life, Askara had a more extreme definition of that. Each organic commander she took out was an enemy combatant, and this was a battlefield; if they truly valued life, she held, then they wouldn't have been there in the first place.

The first clue she had that anything was wrong was just a twitch in the Force. But it was enough to get her rolling out of the way as a hail of blaster bolts hit the spot she'd just occupied. Springing to her feet with a twist and a backflip, she was shocked to see it was clone troopers that had opened fire on her. Not understanding what was going on but trusting to her instincts - and the Force - she slung her rifle and drew her lightsaber in the smooth motion, it's orange blade springing to life. Letting the Force flow through her, she moved her lightsaber to pick off or deflect blaster bolts. She did know that she wouldn't be able to keep it up indefinitely, and more clone troopers would move to cut her off, if they weren't doing so already. Staying here was a death sentence, so Askara grabbed a concussion grenade off her belt and lobbed it with a Force-assisted throw at the troopers firing on her - including Commander Lok. As they dove for cover, she sprinted away while simultaneously slinging her sniper rifle around. Trusting the Force, she squeezed the trigger and dropped the rifle and web harness. The one bolt shot through the snow-filled air-

-and pierced the helmet of Commander Lok, CC-7793, knocking him dead off his feet. Literally.

She had no hope of escaping into the wilds of Rhen Var and surviving long enough to steal away on a ship; the only ships on-world were Separatist and GAR, and both would (now) kill her. Plus, there were no 'wilds' on Rhen Var to escape into, since the whole world was snow and ice. She had to get to the Republic staging area and commander a hyperspace-capable ship.

And now I have no chance, she thought as she saw the approaching line of walkers that she'd ordered up. Apparently, reinforcements had landed and were moving along with the walkers. Speeder bikes accelerated as the walkers' advanced sensors caught her; plus, her orange-bladed lightsaber stood out in the stark white landscape around her. She activated Bel Rof's lightsaber and readied herself for a last stand.

A last stand that was forestalled as a rain of blaster bolts shot down from the sky and raked the speeding clones off of their bikes. Snapping her gaze skyward, she was shocked to see the flares of descending jetpacks. She was getting a familiar Force tingle from the dropping warriors, but she couldn't place it. The eight figures touched down in a semi-circle, between her and the clone forces still approaching. The AT-TEs began aiming their main guns for firing. One of the figures turned to her, and Askara felt her mouth drop open in shock. Looking at her was the T-visored and finned shape of a gray-and-black Phase-I helmet.

"Are you alright, Commander?" Chief asked, his voice as familiar to her as her own.

"What are you doing here?" she couldn't help blurting out.

"Saving your life, ma'am," Sabre said, snap-firing a rocket launcher towards the walkers.

"But why?"

"The Supreme Chancellor issued Order Sixty-Six," Thirteen said. " 'In the event of Jedi officers acting against the interests of the Republic, and after receiving specific orders verified as coming directly from the Supreme Commander/Chancellor, Gee-Ay-Are commanders will remove those officers by lethal force, and command of the Gee-Ay-Are will revert to the Supreme Commander/Chancellor until a new command structure is established.' "

"We verified the orders," Chief said. "The Supreme Chancellor did issue the orders. However, we have determined that the orders are in error, as we have seen no evidence of Jedi officers acting against the Republic."

"You're disobeying orders?" she asked in disbelief.

"Absolutely," Whacker said, his sniper rifle picking off a gunner on one of the walkers.

"Undoubtedly," Falcon agreed.

"So do you have a plan for getting out of here?"

"It should be coming now," Cryo replied. Before she could speak, a roar began echoing in her ears. Looking around, she saw a rather unusual and unique starship coming towards them at high speed. Before she could react, it fired off a pair of proton torpedoes that impacted with the Republic line. Flaring its nose up to kill its speed, the ship switched to repulsors and a boarding ramp on its side opened and descended - even though the ship was well over five meters above the ground. Special Tactics Squad 1-17 activated their jump packs and soared into the air to land on the ramp, Askara using the Force to follow them. The ramp began retracting and closing as she landed, and Thirteen pulled her in.

"We've got to move fast, Commander," he said. "Republic fighters will be closing in, and cruisers will most likely be vectoring in to cut off our escape."

"But how did you know where I was in the first place?" she asked.

"We recieved a coded message from an 'independent reconnaissance unit'," Chief explained as everyone sat down and strapped in. "And . . . there was a transponder hidden in Bel Rof's lightsaber. Good thing you never activated that second blade of his."

She shook her head, holding all further questions as the ship flew out of Rhen Var's atmosphere. She could feel its manuevers as it dodged turbolaser and cannon blasts. She could sense when it was clear of the planet's gravity well, and feel the shift to hyperspace. She'd just unlocked herself and stood up when the ship's pilot strode in. Her face lit up in delight and genuine happiness and she rushed forward, hugging her father.

"Vore'e, buir," she said ('thank you, father').

"Kar'tayli ad meg hukaat'kama, ad'ika," Jak Boken replied, rubbing his daughter's head. (Know who's watching your back, daughter.)

Part 2 - Shereshoy

Seven years later

Askara sat waiting in the cantina's darkened interior, one leg propped up on the opposite knee and her arms crossed. Not one other person in the cantina, as unsavory as they were, so much as sent an uncomfortable look in her direction. And with good reason; like wookies, no one was dumb enough to upset a Mandalorian, especially one who had at least two blasters and a thermal detonator in reach. Underneath her buy'ce (helmet), she was wearing a satisfied smirk. She knew it wasn't appropriate for a Jedi to experience satisfaction at such a situation, but she hadn't been a Jedi ever since Order 66 and the Purge. She hadn't given up using the Force, but she only ever used it as a danger warning or to get a reading on someone during negotiations. Other than that, she had given herself completely over to her Mando identity. She'd even changed her name, though that was as much due to protecting herself from Vader and his Jedi hunters as a desire to identify herself with the Mandalorian heritage she'd gone 11 years without.

"So you're Carta Boken?" said a voice in accented basic. Turning her head to look directly at the person, she saw a tall, bearded human male.

"It's Kar'tay Boken," she said, her voice altered by her helmet. "Sit."

"Sorry about that," he replied, taking a seat at her table. "I'm not too familiar with you Mandalorians."

"You asked for this meeting," she interrupted. "Do you have a job?"

"The people I represent would like to procure your group's services."

"What's the job?"

"Do you have a problem dealing with Imperial troops?"

"If you're wanting an assault force, you're talking to the wrong people."

"No, nothing like that. But there may exist a possibility that Imperial troops will be encountered," the man said. "The planet has an Imperial garrison, but it isn't near where the job will happen."

"Snatch and grab?"

"Yes, actually."

"Living or non?"

"Both, actually. I'll be blunt. My employer's daughter was kidnapped by a rival with Imperial ties. He wants her back, obviously, as well as the records his rival possesses, and is willing to pay whatever price you set."

"What's your employer do?"

"Officially, he runs a transportation and shipping business from theMid to Outer Rims. Independent contractor. Unofficially, he runs supplies for the groups that are opposing Emperor Palpatine and his Galactic Empire."

"And you know the reputation of the Kade Mando'ad, of course."

"Yes. It's rather at odds with the sterotypes common to Mandalorians."

"So you want to hire us to extract your employer's daughter, then?"

"I'm simply the agent, though I have the authority to sign your group up and give you a retainer."

"You do realize we don't exactly have a reputation for subtle methods, don't you?"

"My employer is fine with that."

"Fine. Minimum of twenty thousand credits."

"I can give you that as a retainer, and eighty thousand more upon completion."

"He's desperate, your employer. One hundred thousand credits for a simple extraction? Fifty thousand, with a five-thousand non-refundable retainer."

"Alright," he said, setting a stack of credit chips on the table. Here's the five thousand, in two-hundred denominations." Then he put a datacard on the table as well. "That contains a frequency for contacting my employer directly, along with the funding to use for a Holonet transmission."

"Give us two standard weeks, and we'll be contacting you." He nodded, and left the table, then the cantina. She pocketed the credit chips and datacard, then activating her helmet's comm.

"Buir," she said. "We've got a job."

"Come on in, then, ad'ika. The boys and I are waiting."

"It won't be an easy one."

"Our tasks never are. You did good, Kar'ika."

She smiled and shut off the comm, then stood and left the table. As she neared the cantina's door, a pair of gamorreans moved into her way. She didn't have to look to know that someone was behind her, and really wasn't surprised to hear an accented voice say in Basic, "I think you've got something to share."

Turning with a sigh that was inaudible outside her helmet, she saw a faleen male with a scar down one side of his face.

"Hello, Sturvis," Kar'tay said. "How long did it take you to get the gett'se to confront me this time?"

"You'll pay for your insults, Mandalorian."

"And you think two pigs will help you do that?"

"If you give me the credits you just got, I'll forget all about it." She sighed and shook her head. Then she turned around with right arm raised and put a blaster bolt between each of the gamorrean's eyes. Then she turned around and put a bolt into both of Sturvis's legs, causing him to cry out as he fell to the floor. She aimed her blaster right between his eyes.

"Ke nu'jurkadir sha Mando'ade," she said coldly, then pulled the trigger. Holstering her blaster with a spin and toss, she pulled a thirty-denomination credit out of her belt and tossed it to the barkeep. "That should help clean up the trash," she said, then turned and left.

Back at the Gai bal Manda, she met her father at the ship's open boarding ramp. Taking off her buy'ce, she grinned up at him and winked, before tossing him the pouch of credits.

"So what's the job, ad'ika?" he asked, snatching it out of the air with practiced ease.

"Snatch and grab," Kar'tay replied. "We've been hired to rescue a shipping magnate's daughter, and steal the records of his rival. He was going to pay a treasure, but I convinced him to a lower price, since what was offered was a rather obscene amount."

She'd walked up the ramp, so Jak slapped an arm across the back of her shoulders.

"It's good to have you back, ad'ika," he said warmly.

"I wish things hadn't happened like they did," she said, "but I'm not upset with the result."

"Shereshoy darasuum," he said. (Together forever.)

"Shereshoy darasuum," she agreed. "You sure you don't mind having a group?"

"We're all family," he told her, "whether we're related or not. Aliit ori'shya taldin." (Family is more than bloodties.) Then he smiled at her. "Besides, Kade Mando'ad is a fitting name, considering that two of us have trained to use lightsabers."

"Yeah, you're okay for an old guy," she said, punching his side.

"Give me some credit."

"I just gave you five thousand of 'em."

"You cheeky little di'kut," he said, rubbing her head.

"I take after my buir," she retorted. Then her face became thoughtful. "Buir?"

"Yes?"

"Do you think we could do that? Recruit Force-users?"

"We Mandalorians don't exactly have a good history with Force-users."

"I know, but these wouldn't be Jedi or Sith," she said. "We'd be the ones training them."

"Wait, wait. Force using Mandalorians?" he said, stunned. She grinned.

"It's a Jedi's worst nightmare. Remember Jusik Barden?"

"True, but both of you are an exception."

"Who says we have to be? I'm not saying we be altruistic or anything, but how about we get paid for doing good? Or at least killing off the worst of the galaxy's scum."

"You know, Kar'ika," Jak said, cupping his chin in thought and rubbing it slightly, "that doesn't sound like too bad of an idea. After all, that's what your mother was going to do for you in a way. She was going to train you in the ways of the Force, teach you how to build a lightsaber. While the two of us raise you as Mando."

"So we can do it?"

"Let's see how this job goes, then we'll talk."

End Note: And that's that. The end of Special Tactics Squad 1-17. I hope everyone's enjoyed the story. I liked how the characters matured as the story went on, especially Askara.

Now I have a request of you readers; besides leaving reviews, that is.

I enjoyed this story so much that I want to do another one, but I can't decide whether to do a sequel or a prequel. A sequel would pick up from where this chapter left off, talking about the start of the Force-using clan of Mandalorians known as the Blades of Mandalore (or Kade Mando'ad). A prequel would center around Jakran Boken, Surra Jento, Bel Rof, and would explain in more detail the TMT 'Keeping a Promise' (which can be found in From the Jedi Archives). Also, it would feature a character from another Star Wars fanfic, Kyrr Geron of the story Kyrr Geron by the dude person (y'all should check that story out, it's ori'kandosii).

Anyways, my request is for you readers, in your reviews, to give me your opinion on whether I should do a sequel or a prequel next.