Ten Minute Tales #12

Star Wars: Ghosts of the Force II

A Clone Wars Tale

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Star Wars; that's Disney's property now. I only own Captain Pythis (CC-1010), Sergeant Saw (CT-3444), and the Republic Gunship Kamino's Rejects.

A/N: This story is for DragoLord19D, in memory of his grandfather.

Captain Pythis had received orders from his Jedi general to conduct an extended reconnaissance mission far forward of friendly lines. There wasn't much intelligence on this area, so the squad would be going in blind. Orbital and aerial surveillance was no good; the planet's swampy canopy prevented sensors and eyes from seeing what was on the ground clearly. It was odd for a planet to have just one ecosystem, but the world of Kenaar was one big swamp from pole to pole. That wasn't to say that orbital and aerial recon was useless across the entire planet; just mainly the region that the battalion was operating in.

"Sir, we haven't seen any sign of droids anywhere," Sergeant Saw said as he walked up beside his captain. He carried his trademark rotary blaster at the ready, and his armor was - like the rest of the squads - colored in broken swamp patterns. Like most of the 4th battalion, Pythis and Saw preferred the old Mark I kit, and somehow they're unit had always managed to miss the scheduled upgrades of their armors.

"Intelligence indicated a bunch of clankers were on their way to battle front, and their course would lead them through here," Pythis replied. "Maybe they're having more trouble with the swamp than we are."

"Any idea what's so valuable about this mudball, sir?" Saw asked.

"Not my place to know, Sergeant. Not that command would tell me anyway."

The squad's scout halted and raised a hand. "Sir," he said. "I've got contacts."

He didn't have a chance to reply as a super battle droid blasted his helmet with laser pulses.

"Man down!" Pythis shouted. "Take cover!" The rest of the squad ducked around or behind trees as more SBDs made their way out of the trees and mists ahead. Someone called for a grenade and a thermal detonator exploded amongst the droids, destroying one SBD and knocking two more off their feet. Those two picked themselves up and started coming again.

"Command, this is Cee-Cee-One-Zero-One-Zero," Pythis shouted into his helmet comm. "We've found the enemy and we're pinned down! Unknown number of super battle droids, possible heavy support! Need reinforcement now."

"Captain Pythis, this is Cee-Tee-Six-Three-One-One. The enemy has renewed their assault and we don't have any reinforcements available."

"We need reinforcement or extraction!" Just then, two SBDs shot another of his squad through the torso plate. With a roar of anger, Sergeant Saw whipped from around the tree he'd been using for cover, his finger tightened on the trigger of his rotary blaster. Blue blaster bolts chewed a storm through the front ranks of SBDs and began cutting into the next rank. Saw was ducking and moving, but it was only a matter of time before he was cut down.

And just then, the familiar and welcome sound of an LAAT/i gunship was heard. Looking up, Pythis saw a battered and scorched gunship drop out of the sky, it's cannons firing heavy laser bolts into the droid forces. There was a clank, and then the rocket launchers on its back fired and blasted into the trees, detonating something big. The emblem on its nose, just ahead of the troop compartment, was blackened and barely visible, but the legend "Kamino's Rejects" was visible.

"Alright, boys," Pythis said. "Command sent us some support after all. Let's send these clankers to the scrap heap!"

The surviving members of his squad rallied around Saw's defiant form and pushed forward.

After providing the much needed support, "Kamino's Rejects" had moved off. Pythis assumed it was to support another unit or to wreck some havoc behind the lines. Another gunship arrived and lifted them off back to the rear. The two fallen troopers were taken to the morgue, while Pythis - with Saw in tow - sought the general. When he found him, he removed his helmet and saluted.

"Thank you, sir," Pythis said.

"For what, Captain?" the Jedi asked.

"For . . . the support, sir. When my squad got pinned."

"Captain, you'll have to elaborate on that."

"Yes, sir. My squad encountered a superior force of Super Battle Droids during our extended recon. I lost one trooper immediately, and a second one after I called in for support."

"That transmission was logged. We didn't have any gunships or troops available at that time."

"But General. A gunship did arrive to support us. It bought us the time we needed to regroup and beat back the push."

"Captain, there weren't any gunships-" The Jedi paused. "What was the gunship's transponder code."

"It's transponder and comms seemed to be damaged, sir. It's hull legend, though, read 'Kamino's Rejects.'"

"Captain," the Jedi said, his expression strange, "the gunship you're referring to, 'Kamino's Rejects,' was shot down a month ago supporting a commando squad. It's crew was killed during the engagement. Are you absolutely sure about the hull legend?"

"Everybody in my squad got it on their helmet recorders, sir."

"By the Force," the Jedi breathed.

E/N: I'd like to thank DragoLord19D. This story was inspired by something he told me in a PM.