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22 BBY

Coruscant

Hyperion Squad had been called into the office of the Director of Special Forces, General Iri Camas. The sat around the meeting table, made of a dark blue stone that Destroyer assumed was sapphire. It was beautiful, Destroyer admitted, albeit somewhat ostentatious. He idly wondered who had ordered it. Certainly not Camas, Destroyer was sure that the General would have preferred a much simpler one. Destroyer had only met two Jedi, but the impression he got from them was that they preferred things that were simple and practical over flashy and elaborate. Then again, the first Jedi they had met had constructed a lightsaber out of bone, so perhaps that wasn’t a hard and fast rule.

“You’ve been assigned to protection detail. Senators Silya Shessaun of the Thesme Sector and Bruenor Kymeri of the Belsmuth Sector. You’re to ensure their safety as they’re transported back to their respective sectors.” General Camas informed them.

“Protection detail?” Jawbreaker balked “With respect, General, we’re commandos. Isn’t this something for the Senate Guard to handle?”

Destroyer got the impression that Jawbreaker didn’t think too highly of General Camas. That might have had something to do with the fact that the general had refused to allow Jawbreaker to try to take out the Nulls when they had seized Arca Barracks. Jawbreaker had been perfectly willing to have Hyperion Squad go in and attempt to neutralise the unruly ARC troopers, but General Camas would have none of it. He had said that they didn’t want the Nulls dead, just put back into place. Even after Jawbreaker had argued that the Nulls were dangerous and insubordinate. It hadn’t helped that Camas had called in Skirata and bowed to his demands.

For his part, Destroyer couldn’t bring himself to dislike Camas. But then, he wasn’t particularly fond of him either. He was simply an adequate commander. Although-and this was something Destroyer would never admit to Jawbreaker-he was somewhat glad that Camas had not allowed them to fight the Nulls. Destroyer was a good soldier, he knew that, and Hyperion Squad could be formidable in combat. The Nulls, however, were even better, in spite of their mental issues. Going up against them would have been as good as suicide.

“As a matter of fact, there will be a squad of Senate Guards assisting you on this assignment.”

Jawbreaker raised a brow “Well, then I’m really confused. Surely our involvement won’t be necessary?”

General Camas sighed “I agree that this is excessive, but both senators have received multiple death threats in the past week. Senator Kymeri is a strong Republic supporter and Senator Shessaun is crucial in keeping the Thesme Sector from seceding. Needless to say, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine wants to ensure their safety.”

“What kind of ship will we be taking?” Jawbreaker asked.

“The Consular-Class cruiser, Point of Light will be your vessel.”

Jawbreaker placed a hand on his chin “A little conspicuous, isn’t it? Why not just take an AA-9 freighter? We can hide them amongst the civilians.”

“And ditch the Senate Guards,” Genet added, his arms folded.

General Camas snorted “You’ve met a senator before, do you think Wodrata would have taken a common transport?”

Jawbreaker paused to think it over “Point.”

“As it is, this should be a simple mission, nothing to sweat over. Now, since you’ll be aboard a ship for most of it, you’ll be leaving the anti-armour attachment for your rifles behind. And of course, no grenades, barring flashbangs.”

Jawbreaker nodded “Of course.”

“Good, glad you understand. Dismissed, Hyperion.” Camas ushered for them to stand.

As they made to leave, Jawbreaker paused at the door, and the rest of Hyperion Squad stopped with him “General?”

Camas looked up “Yes, Sergeant?”

Jawbreaker hesitated for a moment, before he asked: “Any word on Epsilon Squad?”

Camas blinked, surprised. After a moment, he frowned and cast his eyes down onto his desk. For a moment, Destroyer felt his heart stop. “Ah, Epsilon Squad…yes. Sergeant Vinegar and Private Orar made it back, but Corporal Horax and Private Qyzen…did not.”

Destroyer let out a sharp intake of air. Hyperion Squad and Epsilon Squad had always been close. To think that half of them had been killed on Geonosis was unbearable. How would Vinegar and Orar possibly feel, knowing that their squadmates were dead? Destroyer shuddered, it was not something he wanted to consider. Hyperion had been lucky to escape the desert world with no fatalities, and they had some close calls while performing their mission. They had been tasked with escorting Senator Rogwa Wodrata to safety after the woman had second thoughts about joining the Separatists. Genet’s LAAT had been blown out of the sky as they were being deployed, and Destroyer himself had been shot. It was only because of the durability of their armour that they had survived.

Jawbreaker closed his eyes and clenched his fists “I see. Have they been issued new troopers?”

Camas picked up a datapad and glanced over it before answering “Yes, O-Four of Terantatek Squad and Sentry of Kandosii Squad.” Camas hesitated, before adding: “I’m sorry, Sergeant.”

Jawbreaker nodded “Thank you, General.” And at that, he swivelled around and strode off, the rest of Hyperion hurrying to catch up.

Cabur spoke up, placing a hand on the Sergeant’s shoulder “Jawbreaker, do you want to-?”

“No. I just want to get this assignment done with,” Jawbreaker said brusquely, shaking off Cabur’s hand.

“Maybe we can check in on them and see how they’re doing when we get back?” Destroyer suggested.

“Maybe.” Was all Jawbreaker said, his pace increasing.

Apparently realising that their sergeant didn’t want to talk about it, Genet chose that moment to change the topic.

“So, why do we have to work with a bunch of honour guards who have probably never seen combat before anyway?” Genet complained.

“They were probably assigned, same as us. Although I doubt they’re going to be any more pleased than us about this arrangement. They’re probably going to complain that we’re stepping on their toes.” Jawbreaker sighed.

“Maybe they’ll appreciate the help?” Destroyer offered.

“Would you?” Jawbreaker asked.

Destroyer’s mouth twisted in thought “Probably not, no. The experts being forced to work alongside some newbies with little experience in the subject. I guess that can’t feel too good.”

Destroyer suddenly felt very awkward. This probably wouldn’t endear them to the Senate Guardsmen. He just hoped that they wouldn’t be too sore about it. With any luck, they would be professional about the situation.

“All things considered, probably should have just let the Blue Boys babysit the senators. We’ve got better things to do. Other squads have been sent out already,” Genet muttered.

“Genet, don’t try to start anything with them.” Cabur warned “Last thing we need to do is make more enemies. Bad enough with the Separatists and the Nulls, we don’t want to get another group on our backs.”

Genet raised his hands “Hey, I won’t go and pick a fight with them…providing they do the same.”

“No, you won’t do anything, period,” Jawbreaker said, turning back to look at Genet “We’re professionals and we’re going to act like it. Understood?” He cast his eyes over each of them.

“Yes, Sergeant,” They said in unison. Genet was noticeably less enthusiastic than the others, and Jawbreaker gave him a long, hard stare.

“Genet?” Jawbreaker prompted, an edge to his voice.

Genet sighed, “Yes, Sergeant. No pre-emptive strikes or retaliations.”

Jawbreaker nodded “Good. Now, let’s get prepped.”

***

As General Camas had ordered, they had left their anti-armour attachments behind and had not bothered with grenades or high-powered blasters. They had also ditched their sniper attachments. Their jobs were just to ensure the safety of the senators while they were being ferried to their respective planets. Their jobs ended the moment the senators stepped off the ship, and snipers would just be cumbersome in such a small, confined space. In the end, they decided to only leave with their deeces and some flashbangs. Destroyer had also ran back to the barracks to collect something.

“Is the sketchbook really necessary, Destroyer?” Genet asked.

“Never know when you’re going to see something worth drawing,” Destroyer said with a shrug “Besides, I need the practice.”

“Honestly, I doubt you’re going to get much inspiration on the trip. All we’re gonna see is stars and some stuck up, pompous bureaucrats.” Genet pointed out.

Destroyer just shrugged again. He knew Genet was probably tight, but still.  

***

They stood waiting for them at the landing platform. The two senators, five Senate Guards and two other beings. Behind them was their transport.

The Point of Light, a Consular-Class cruiser. A mainstay of the Republic Judicial Corps before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, the line had since been repurposed. Now they boasted a set of double turbolaser cannons and two concussion missile launchers to better defend themselves. In addition, it had been repainted, so that it was white with a red stripe running down its back.  

The male senator, Bruenor Kymeri was a few years younger than Sergeant Kelborn, mid-fifties. He had black hair with grey streaks along the side and a carefully trimmed beard on his face. He stood ramrod straight, with his hands clasped behind his back. There were several medals pinned to his beige senatorial robes and looking closely, Destroyer could see the bulge of a concealed blaster pistol on his hip. He’s ex-military, Destroyer realised. The idea that someone could actually leave their army was a foreign concept to Destroyer. He was expected to fight for as long as the war lasted. After that, who could say?

Senator Silya Shessaun was much younger, in her early-thirties. She was blonde and wore blue Senatorial robes. She looked considerably more relaxed than Senator Kymeri, even somewhat bored. Her gaze flicked over Hyperion Squad one by one.  Her lack of interest surprised Destroyer. One would think that threats against her life would bring concern, but she seemed quite nonchalant. Destroyer wondered if she was the kind of person who was cool under pressure, or just wasn’t taking the danger seriously. Destroyer sincerely hoped that it was the former, a reckless or stupid senator would be a nightmare to protect.

There was a young woman standing beside senator Shessaun. Considering it, Destroyer realised that she was probably an assistant of some kind. Her black hair was tied back into a bun, and she wore similar robes to her senator. The woman peered at them curiously. Destroyer supposed that he couldn’t blame her, this was all no doubt new to her. Still, the staring did make him feel somewhat self-conscious. It reminded him of his training days, after a breaking charge had gone off in his face. The results had left him badly scarred. The other cadets had stared then too.

The other aide was also a woman, perhaps in her mid-twenties. She was pretty enough, although not strikingly so, and had mousy, brown hair. Destroyer noticed that had tucked her right ear behind her hair, but the left was uncovered. Strange. Perhaps asymmetry was fashionable on Coruscant?

Senator Kymeri beamed as they approached and strode towards them in greeting “Ah, Hyperion Squad! So glad that you arrived!”

“Senator Kymeri,” Jawbreaker said evenly, nodding to the man.

Kymeri eagerly thrust out his hand for Jawbreaker, and after a second’s hesitation, Jawbreaker accepted it. Kymeri began to shake Jawbreaker’s hand vigorously. “It’s an honour to meet one of the new defenders of the Republic. It’s about time we had an army again. The Ruusan Reformation was a travesty, an absolute travesty. It left us so open and vulnerable, frankly I’m amazed that we weren’t dragged into war sooner!”

Destroyer had no idea what the Ruusan Reformation was, and judging by pause, Jawbreaker didn’t seem to either “Ah, yes, well I suppose the Jedi and the Judicial Forces have been doing an adequate job in the absence of an actual army.”

Kymeri shrugged, his expression suggesting that he was not convinced “Oh, well enough, I suppose. But they’re no replacement for the real thing. As I said, it’s a good thing you and your fellow troopers are here to defend us. I’m sure the planets of the Republic will be perfectly safe under your watch, as will we.”

“Yes, Senator, we aim to do our best.”

Kymeri leaned closer to Jawbreaker and clasped his hand “I’m sure you’ll be quite capable. I know I feel more at ease under your protection that I do with the Senate Guard.”  

The Senate Guards bristled at that, and Destroyer inwardly groaned. That was just great, the Senator was inadvertently driving a wedge between Hyperion Squad and the Guardsmen. Looking past Kymeri, Destroyer could see Senator Shessaun frown.

“Oh…thank you for believing in us, senator,” Jawbreaker said, and Destroyer was sure that his sergeant had supressed a sigh.

One of the Senate Guards stepped forward and placed a hand on Kymeri’s shoulder “Senator, with respect, we should be leaving now. We’re on a schedule.”

Kymeri waved his hand impatiently “Yes, yes, of course. Well, if you’ll excuse me, Sergeant…?”

“Jawbreaker, senator.”

Kymeri paused, a look of confusion on his face “Certainly a strange name. Ah, well, I look forward to getting to know you and your squad. If you’ll excuse us, I’ll see you aboard.”

The lead Senate Guard turned to his subordinates “Retiko, Murst, Okram, escort the senators to the ship. I’d like to have a word with Hyperion Squad. Blaire, with me.”

As the senators and the guards made their way to the ship, the female aide tripped, seemingly on her own feet. She let out a brief cry of surprise, before hitting the ground, where she lay in an undignified heap. Senator Kymeri sighed and rolled his eyes. Cabur hurried over to help her up, but as Destroyer was closer, he beat him to it.

“Th-thanks,” The woman mumbled, turning her face away from Destroyer and hurriedly putting her hair back in place.

“Ketya, try to be less clumsy in the future,” Senator Kymeri snapped, his face wrinkling as he frowned at his aide.

Ketya bowed her head, her face turning red “Apologies, senator.”

“Well, hurry up, girl! We’re on a schedule!”

“Yes, senator, at once, senator.”

And at that, the aide scrambled to catch up with the others. Destroyer frowned, Kymeri certainly treated Ketya differently to how he treated Hyperion Squad. It had been somewhat uncomfortable to watch, and he felt bad for the young woman. He watched her as she got aboard, the last one to do so.

Destroyer turned his head as he heard Jawbreaker speak “Now, Guardsman, what did you want to talk with us about?”

“Sergeant Trevayl, trooper. And I wanted to let you know that I don’t particularly trust you. Not since your lot made such an embarrassing spectacle of yourselves at your base. You’re insubordinate, dangerous and the Republic shouldn’t have to be blackmailed by its own soldiers,” Trevayl said, jabbing his finger at Jawbreaker.

Jawbreaker peered down at the extended digit for a moment, before shoving it aside. “With respect, Sergeant, that wasn’t me, and that wasn’t my squad. And if I had my way, the shabuirs behind it would have been locked away for their behaviour.”

“Great, not even our second mission and we’re already getting flak for something those shabuir Nulls did!” Genet complained over the helmet-comm, a clear edge to his voice.

“Genet, quiet!” Cabur hissed.

Sergeant Trevayl cast his gaze up and down Jawbreaker, apparently appraising him “Prove me wrong, Sergeant.”

And at that, he and the other Guardsman turned and marched towards the Point of Light.

“I don’t like them,” Genet said after a moment had passed.

“So much for professionalism,” Destroyer murmured.
Protection Detail: Part I
Jeez, I really need to work on The Last Fight, but every time I try, I just can't. In the meantime, enjoy this.
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19 BBY

Malrev IV

Hyperion Squad was receiving bad news.

“General Tur-Mukan is coming to Malrev IV. She’s checking in on all squads in Arca Company.” CC-01/327, the squad’s clone advisor reported, his holographic figure standing on the table before them.

Jawbreaker held a hand up to his head and looked stricken “Oh, Force no,” he said in a voice barely above a whisper.

“Noooo…” Genet groaned, slouching in his seat.

Ever since that Mando-loving traitor, Bardan Jusik had deserted, General Etain Tur-Mukan had taken over leading Arca Company. As far as Hyperion Squad was concerned (and many of the other Kelborn-trained commandos for that matter), Tur-Mukan was not much better than Jusik. She was another one of Skirata’s blind followers, and like the rest of them, she had an astoundingly poor understanding on the war and the Jedi’s role in it. Hyperion Squad had met plenty of Jedi over the course of the war, and more often than not, they had been incredible people, who certainly cared for the troops they fought alongside. And yet, with Tur-Mukan, one would think that all the Jedi did was blithely send men to their deaths while the Jedi themselves never set foot on a battlefield. It was incredible how her vision of what the Jedi were was so completely at odd with what they actually were.  

“Stow the attitude, Hyperion,” Advisor admonished “I know General Tur-Mukan is one of Skirata’s lot, but you show her respect regardless. She is a general, after all.”

“Permission to shoot her the second she starts showing Mandalorian sympathies? We don’t want her starting up the Mandalorian Protectors again,” Genet suggested, smirking.

It was impossible to see Advisor’s expression through his helmet, but by the way he was tilting his head, Cabur doubted he was impressed.

“I had better not receive word that you’ve done anything to offend General Tur-Mukan, Hyperion.” He turned to face Jawbreaker, holding his gaze for several long moments “Advisor out.”

And at that, the hologram vanished.

Jawbreaker scowled and clenched his fists so hard that his knuckles turned white.

Three years of war, plus having to deal with Skirata and his gang of thugs had taken their toll on Jawbreaker. Cabur feared that Jawbreaker was reaching the end of his rope. Some clone troopers would just snap, “Feeling it”, they called it. That Jawbreaker, of all people could be going through that shook Cabur. Of the four members of Hyperion Squad, he thought that Jawbreaker was the most solid, the most stable, the strongest. He was the squad’s rock. But even he had his limits, and Skirata and his lot were putting them dangerously close to the breaking point.

The Nulls, Etain Tur-Mukan, Bardan Jusik, Besanny Wennen, Jaller Obrim and Force only knew who else. Genet called them the Creepy Cultists of the Church of Skirata, and to Cabur, that was not far off. Skirata and his allies struck Cabur as being dangerously close to a cult. Cabur had no idea why, but some people found Skirata to be charismatic and charming. He attracted people to him, even people who ought to know better and they would hang on to his every word, believe every lie, stroke his ego and bend over backwards to accommodate him.

“Well…I’m sure this will be fun,” Destroyer said, smiling nervously.

“Yeah, fun like a blaster bolt to the belly,” Genet muttered, crossing his arms.

Before Cabur could say anything, General Alyss Vrax and Commander Sunny strode towards them.

“Hello, Hyperion!” She said brightly, beaming at them.

Cabur quite liked General Vrax, she always seemed to be in a good mood. Whenever one of her troops was injured or upset, she would always do her best to console them. A green-skinned, orange-eyed Mirialan, she was clad from head-to-toe in the voluminous black robes of her people. Clipped to her belt was a lightsaber that had been carved from a block of Durosian marble, and upon closer inspection, Cabur could see that that some that flowers of some kind had been meticulously etched into the hilt.

Besides her was Commander Sunny. Sunny, in contrast to both General Vrax and his name, was a very dour, quiet individual. Still, the leader of the 18th Solar Corps was an excellent soldier, of that there was no doubt. Violet suns were painted on either side of his helmet, and there was more colour on his torso armour and arm-plates. Alongside the paint, the armour also bore plenty of marks from blaster scoring. Under the helmet was a face covered in numerous scars, and his hair had been shaved at the sides. Sunny was a man who had seen battle plenty of time in his life, and it showed.

“General Vrax, Commander Sunny,” Hyperion Squad stood at attention, getting up from their table in the mess hall.

“At ease.” Vrax nodded at them.

“So, General, have you heard that General Tur-Mukan is coming?” Genet asked, before any of the others could speak up.

“Yes, I was brief earlier. It’s nice to see that the Special Operations Jedi are so involved with their troopers.”

Jawbreaker bristled at being referred to as one of Tur-Mukan’s men. General Vrax looked surprised and cast her head in the Sergeant’s direction. Before she could say anything, Genet spoke up again.

“Have you met General Tur-Mukan before, General Vrax?”

Vrax shook her head “No, I haven’t. Anything I should know?”

Genet opened his mouth to speak, but Cabur beat him to it “No, General, nothing worth reporting.”

Vrax looked somewhat bemused “Alright then, good to know. If you’ll excuse us, we should get in line. Nice talking to you, Hyperion.”

“Likewise, General.” Jawbreaker nodded stiffly.

The General and Commander Sunny walked off, and Hyperion Squad sat there in awkward silence. After a minute, that silence was broken.

“I’m going for a walk around the perimeter.” Jawbreaker got up and strode away from the others at a brisk pace, head bowed low. Cabur could see that Jawbreaker’s hands were clenched.

“It’s not healthy for him to bottle up his anger like that,” Cabur stated matter-of-factly “If he keeps this up, he’ll probably end up exploding at Skirata.”

“Or shooting him,” Genet said, and started to laugh, before trailing off, suddenly looking serious.

He had meant it as a joke, but saying it out loud made it sound less ridiculous and more possible than they all would have liked.

“You…you think they’d court martial him for that?” Destroyer asked, frowning.

“In a fair galaxy, they’d give him a kriffing medal for it,” Genet said, his tone bitter as he crossed his arms.

“Yeah, well, in a fair galaxy that poor kid would never have been snatched up by that psycho, Munin Skirata.” Cabur added.

They settled into an uneasy silence as they finished their meal. As he was finishing up, a thought suddenly came to Cabur.

“Catch up with you two later, I have something I need to do.” And at that, Cabur hurried out of the mess hall.

***

Cabur knocked on the door to the General’s quarters. “Oh, just a second!” The voice on the other side of the door sounded surprised. Evidently, General Vrax had not sensed Cabur approaching. He paused, that was odd, Jedi were usually more on the ball than that. After a moment, the door slid open and General Vrax stood there.

“What can I do for you, Cabur?” General Vrax asked, smiling.

Cabur peered at Vrax closely. Her smile seemed different, more…forced than it had before. And her eyes, now that Cabur could see them up close, had dark bags under them.

Cabur paused, before speaking “Um, is everything alright, General?”

General Vrax blinked, surprised, before answering: “Everything’s fine, Cabur. Just…haven’t been sleeping much, y’know? So, what was it that you wanted?”

As lies went, it was pretty transparent. Cabur wondered if perhaps the stress of the war was getting to her too, but decided that it was not his business to pry.

“It’s my sergeant, General. I’m a little worried about him. Three years of war, little rest, and well, it’s taken his toll on him.”

Vrax nodded “I see. I understand, too. All this time, it’s been rough on us all.”

“Indeed, which was why I was wondering, perhaps you could...use the Force to help ease his anxiety?”

“Not without his permission first,” Vrax said firmly “I appreciate that you’re trying to help your brother, but if I’m going to help Sergeant Jawbreaker, I want his consent. What you ask would require me to influence his mind. Not something I do lightly.”

“Of course, General. If I could convince Sergeant Jawbreaker to see you, would you help him?” Cabur asked, hopefully.

“Of course I will. But, only with his permission.”

Cabur nodded quickly “Thank you, General. I’ll be back as quickly as I can!”

And at that, Cabur turned and ran back into the camp, looking for Jawbreaker.  

***

“Is this really necessary?” Jawbreaker asked, frowning at Cabur.

“You have to admit, lately you’ve been pretty overworked. Between all of our assignments across the galaxy, and Skirata’s lot back on Coruscant…well. It’s been rough for you.”

“Granted, but still, this seems a bit much.”

“Maybe it is, but I just don’t want to see anything happen to you, Sarge. You’ve seen how some men get when they’re put under too much pressure.”

Jawbreaker offered a small smile “And of course, if anything happened to me, then you’d be put in charge of the squad.”

Cabur chuckled “Yeah, that’d be terrible. I take orders, I don’t give ‘em.”

They arrived outside the general’s quarters, and the door opened as they approached. General Vrax turned to Jawbreaker and put a hand on his shoulder.

“Sergeant Jawbreaker. Are you ready?”

Jawbreaker paused for a moment, and nodded. At that, the three stepped inside.

***

The day had come, General Tur-Mukan was arriving on Malrev IV. Naturally, Hyperion Squad was not happy. First, she would meet with General Vrax and Commander Sunny, then she would greet Hyperion Squad. Cabur looked over at his sergeant. He had his helmet on, so Cabur could not see his face, but his posture was much more relaxed than it had been the other day. General Vrax had done wonders.

“Well, here we go,” Jawbreaker muttered as General Tur-Mukan strode towards them.

“Hyperion Squad, so glad to see you! I hope you’re doing well.” Tur-Mukan exclaimed, smiling broadly at the commando squad.

“General Tur-Mukan,” Jawbreaker said, with no enthusiasm whatsoever.

Tur-Mukan frowned, tilted her head and glanced at Jawbreaker curiously. After a moment, the smile returned and she reached for her belt. She unclipped a small bag from it and held it out to Hyperion Squad.

“I brought you something. I thought you might appreciate some real food instead of the standard rations.”

Without reaching for it, Hyperion Squad leaned forward and looked into the bag.

“She brought us candy,” Destroyer said over the helmet-comm, his voice faintly bemused.

“You think that’s how she got Darman? ‘Come into my speeder, little boy, I’ve got candy’?” Genet asked, mockingly.  

Tur-Mukan’s smile started to slip from her face, and she began to look uncertain. The arm holding out the candy lowered ever so slightly. Still Jawbreaker made no move to reach for it.

Cabur sighed “Look, Sarge, just take it. We can give it to the troops when she’s not looking.”

Jawbreaker hesitated for a further moment, before slowly, reluctantly, he reached out and took the candy from Tur-Mukan. As soon as Jawbreaker had done so, she had lit up, and beamed at Hyperion Squad. Evidently she was not picking up on their disdain for her. Cabur wondered if she was ignoring it, or if she thought it was directed at something else. It was at that moment that Commander Sunny and General Vrax walked past, the General giving Hyperion Squad and Etain a wave as she did so. Tur-Mukan frowned and looked away from General Vrax. When she had passed by, Tur-Mukan shot each member of the squad a concerned, pitying glance.

Well, that answers that question, Cabur thought as he rolled his eyes. Besides him, Jawbreaker bristled.

This was not going to be an easy visit.
Kamino

26 BBY

“Sergeant Kelborn?” Cadet Five-Six asked, a curious look on his face. “Are we Mandalorians?”

Sergeant Ambu Kelborn gave the boy a long, even stare, before finally opening his mouth to speak: “No.”

Behind Five-Six, there was a loose gathering of cadets, all of whom were training under Kelborn. They were listening closely, evidently they had been eager to hear what Kelborn would say. Upon hearing his answer, the cadets looked decidedly confused.

“Oh, I just ask because Sergeant Skirata told us we were,” Five-Six explained, looking uncertain.

Kelborn inhaled and closed his eyes. Of course he did, Kelborn thought, greatly annoyed that Skirata was trying to go around Kelborn and get to his cadets like that.

“Yes, that is something he would say,” Kelborn said, trying to be calm, trying to supress the edge in his voice. “Well, let me explain something to you: Just because you’re cloned from a Mandalorian, does not make you a Mandalorian.”

“Sergeant Skirata said that we were. He also said that we should be proud of our heritage, that if we weren’t Mandalorians, our souls wouldn’t go to the…manda when we died. Said that he couldn’t bear the thought of us being dar’manda.” Another cadet, Oh-Three piped up.

Kelborn felt the vein in his forehead start to throb. Beneath his helmet, he was glowering, and his hands were balled into fists. Skirata and I are going to have a very serious talk about this, Kelborn though, seething.

“Cadets!” Kelborn barked, and instantly, all of his boys stood at attention “Gather around me, I’m going to give you all a history lesson. It’s a long lesson, and it’s ugly, but this is something you need to hear. I’m going to tell you of the history of the Mandalorians.”

And so, Kelborn explained to them the Mandalorians long and violent history. How they had enslaved the Basiliskans and stolen their technology. Worse, the Mandalorians had not just enslaved the Basiliskans, they had reduced them to mere beasts, turning them into mounts and creatures of burden until they had lost all of their sapience and regressed to animals. He told the cadets how the Mandalorians had done the same to the Fenelar people, stealing their starship technology and designs. Instead of subjugating the Fenelar, however, the Mandalorians had instead opted to wipe out the species. Every last Fenelar.

Kelborn went on to recount the horrors of the Mandalorian Wars, when the warrior society had launched their genocide of the Cathar over some psychotic notion of regaining ‘honour’ lost during the Great Sith Wars. Kelborn told his cadets of how the Mandalorians had attacked the night-side of the planet, had attacked the cities while the people were asleep and unaware, before herding them into the oceans, where they were vaporised by the Mandalorian fleet. It was the most notable of the Mandalorians past atrocities, but it was far from the only one. Kelborn moved on to how the Mandalorians had launched nuclear warheads at the civilian cities of Serroco, because of a perceived lack of ‘honour’ on the Republic’s part. How they had lit the people of Zongorlu on fire for entertainment, how they had set the xoxin fields of Eres III on fire, starting blazes that would burn for decades after the war, of how they had set their Basilisk war droids on Duros, bombarding the planet from orbit.   He explained how those who had been captured by the Mandalorians were press-ganged into their forces and often shunted to the front lines as cannon fodder.

He told them of how the Mandalorians had allied with the Sith Empire during the Great Galactic War, breaking their vow to Mandalore the Preserver, who had wanted the Mandalorians to fight for the Republic. Kelborn added how Mandalore the Vindicated had crushed the faction of Mandalorians who had wanted to do the right thing and side with the Republic.

He moved on to the Ithullans, how the Mandalorians had wiped them out because they saw them as a threat. How they had destroyed the reactor bulbs keeping the Ithullans floating cities in the sky, sending them falling into the Ithullan Depths of the planet until the world was wiped of its native life.

When Kelborn was done explaining the Mandalorians long and sordid history to his cadets, the boys all looked decidedly pale. Kelborn nodded, satisfied. He had wanted to explain to his charges why there was no pride in being a Mandalorian and he had clearly done so. He regretted that he had to shake them up like he had, but there was little alternative. They had to understand and now they did.

“You see? Mandalorian history and culture revolve around warfare, genocide, slavery and theft. There is no honour in what my people have done, and I am ashamed of our past. I don’t want you to consider yourselves Mandalorian because I don’t want you to be a part of something so vile. People like Skirata would like to pretend that our history is a clean one, or to brush it off. I find that unacceptable. Now, do any of you want to be Mandalorians?”

There was deathly silence from the cadets. Then, after a minute, Five-Six shook his head, his face ashen.

Kelborn nodded, satisfied.
Heritage
Manda: The Mandalorian over-soul where Mandalorians believe they go after death.

Dar'manda: One who is no longer Mandalorian.
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The Nalroni Mandalorian, Blitzer Sundar casually strode through the debris of what had once been a city. All around him was burning wreckage and the corpses of both friend and foe. From beneath his helmet, Sundar grinned at the carnage. This was meant to be a Mandalorian, to be surrounded by battle and the dead of your enemies. It was glorious. Faintly, he could hear the sound of blaster fire, but it was of no concern. His men were more than capable of dealing with whatever rabble was left.

He heard a loud droning sound from somewhere above him. Glancing up, he saw something that inspired awe in him, but brought fear to the aruetii. A five-meter tall, metal behemoth, it was brimming with weapons and heavy armour. Its appearance brought to mind a predatory beast, and the blood that dripped from its six clawed feet only added to that look.

The Basilisk war droid.

The droid had not been created by the Mandalorians, rather it had been stolen from the original creators. The Basiliskans, a pitifully weak species that had succumbed to the might of the Mandalorians. Not content with just conquering the planet and stealing the technology of the Basiliskans, the Mandalorians had also subjugated the species, turning them into mounts and beasts of burden. As far as Sundar was concerned, they had deserved what they got. They were weak, if they had really wanted to remain free, they would have fought harder.

Sundar was glad for the protection that his helmet offered, the noise created by the droid’s engines would be deafening without it. As the droid set down in front of him, the noise gradually died off, and it placed all six of its legs down on the ground with a surprising amount of grace.

Astride the droid was a Devaronian female clad in full beskar’gam and wielding a heavy blaster rifle. As she approached, she took her helmet off and lowered her weapon. Her hair was pure-white and her pointed ears had numerous rings set in them.

“Bowman,” He greeted, nodding at her “How goes the assault?”

“Very well, sir. The planet has all but fallen and the last pockets of resistance are set to fall,” Bowman reported. She grinned as she did so, revealing a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. In contrast to most Devaronian females, hers had been filed down to wicked points.

Sundar’s ears pricked as he heard several footsteps approaching. Several more of his soldiers were approaching and with them were perhaps a dozen children.

“Ah, fresh recruits!” Sundar said, holding his arms out in greeting.

“Sir, these locals were hiding nearby.” One of the Mandalorians reported.  

The children were cowering, and Sundar frowned. Their cowardice was a weakness that would have to be dealt with. Mandalorians were fearless and did not tolerate softness. The rally masters would have their work cut out for them with this lot. Perhaps he should put them under Bowman’s command, she would straighten them out.

Sundar knelt down in front of them and placed a hand on the shoulder of the closest boy. He tried to shrink back, but Sundar only tightened his grip, ignoring the wince of pain on the boy’s face.

“You are all very lucky, you’re going to be Mandalorians.”

Beneath his helmet, Sundar grinned.
The Right Thing: Prologue
The prologue for a series set during the Mandalorian Wars.
This will follow three Jedi as they participate in the Mandalorian Wars and how it effects them. Being enticed by the Dark side, disillusionment and difficult decisions will abound.
Now, if you've read my other fics, you'll have probably worked out that I'm pretty pro-Jedi, and I'll defend a lot of their actions. This series will be different because it's going to be pretty critical towards everyone, because even I can't defend the actions (or rather, inaction) of the Jedi during the Mandalorian Wars.
But don't get me wrong, this series won't be friendly to the Mandalorians either.
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Kelborn desperately wanted the day to be over with. As usual, the live-fire exercises had gone ahead, and as usual, some of his cadets had been injured. It was a small miracle that none of them were dead. The latest casualty had been Five-Nine, who had leapt to take a blast that would have struck Five-Seven in the chest. Five-Nine had been lucky; the bolt had hit him in the arm instead. In light of what had happened a few nights previously, Kelborn had relented and allowed Mij Gilamar to take a look at the cadet in one of the less crowded infirmaries.

“What’s your name, lad?” Gilamar had asked as he applied a bacta swab to Five-Nine’s arm.

“RC-1159, Sergeant,” Five-Nine replied, almost mechanically.

“No, not your number, what’s your name?” Gilamar pressed.

Five-Nine shot Kelborn an uncertain glance, before he turned back to Gilamar “Five-Nine?” he tried, sounding hesitant.

Gilamar frowned, then went back to swabbing. He was done soon enough, and declared that Five-Nine would recover quickly and have no need to miss out on further live-fire exercises. Kelborn dismissed Five-Nine, and was prepared to leave, when Gilamar stopped him.

“Your cadets don’t have names?” Gilamar asked, one eyebrow quirked.

Kelborn exhaled, already annoyed by the direction the conversation had taken. “I’m their sergeant, Mij, not their father. Naming them is not my responsibility. If they want to take on names of their own, fine; I won’t stop them. But I won’t do it myself.”

Gilamar held up his hands in a placating manner. “Alright, alright, I’ll drop it.” From the look on Gilamar’s face, Ambu did not believe for a second that the doctor was happy with Kelborn’s answer. “That wasn’t what I wanted to talk to you about anyway. I wanted to talk to you about…well, the other night. With Priest and Reau.”

Kelborn nodded and sat down on one of the empty beds. He had expected that this would come up at some point. “Go on.”

“They don’t belong here. I don’t know what Jango was thinking when he hired them, but they’re Death Watch shabuire, and we’d have been better off without them.” Gilamar’s hands were clenched into fists, and his brow was furrowed.
Kelborn nodded again. “I don’t disagree, Mij. I think it reeks of desperation on his part that he had to resort to the likes of them.” Kelborn sighed and raised his gaze to the ceiling “But then, I think it was desperate to recruit that fanatic Skirata, and that psychopath Vau and…well, me, to be honest. Fett and I aren’t exactly on the best of terms, after all. For Jango to come to me proves that he had limited options, almost as much as him going to Priest and Reau.”

Gilamar scowled “Hiring more aruetiise would have been preferable to them.”

Kelborn shot the doctor a sharp, disapproving glance. “You don’t give the non-Mandalorians enough credit, they are no less worthy of being here than us. Their methods, their teachings are no less valid than ours.”

Gilamar scoffed, and his expression was decidedly sceptical. “Come now Ambu, they just aren’t as good as we are, and you know it. Fett wanted the best trainers for these commandos, and that’s what we are.”

Kelborn snorted, “Yeah, well, you might have missed it during your little nap, but I watched one of those ‘aruetii’ clean one of our ‘best’s’ chrono, so I’d show some respect if I were you.”

“Carr? He got lucky with Priest, and Reau would have killed him if you hadn’t intervened.”

“I only managed to beat her and Priest because Garrett softened them up first. Besides, he has more combat experience. I left after Concord Dawn, Garrett has spent most of his life as a mercenary. As far as I’m concerned, he’s better than Priest and Reau, and he’s certainly better than me.”

Gilamar did not seem convinced. His brow was furrowed and he gave Kelborn a hard, uncertain look.

Kelborn sighed, exasperated by the other man’s stubbornness “Ok, I can see that I’m not going to convince you right now, so I think we’re done here for day. I’m tired anyway, I want to go back to my quarters. Goodnight, Mij.”  

And at that, Kelborn turned and walked away.

Kelborn entered his room, once more regretting that he had taken Fett’s offer, in spite of the fact that he had few other options at the time. Kelborn sighed and threw himself down on his couch, too drained to bother to move to his bed.

There was a knock at the door, and Kelborn perked up. It could only be Garrett Carr, it was rare for anyone else to visit him. He had forgotten that Garrett was coming over that night to play dejarik. It was a pleasant escape from his dull existence on Kamino. Kelborn moved to open the door. He had been correct, it was indeed Garrett.

“Come in,” Kelborn said, motioning for Garrett to enter.

Kelborn could see Garrett glancing around the room, as he had the previous times he had entered it. It was as close to home as Kelborn could make it, and while it was not much, it did help him a little. On the desk beside his bed, there were numerous holos of his family: his wife, Iadee, and their children. Flare, their eldest, the budding conman, much to his parents dismay, Resvi, their middle-child, and only daughter, and Sanma, who had been just ten when Kelborn had left for Kamino, five years younger than Resvi, and nine years younger than Flare.

Garrett’s eyes flicked to another wall, the one lined from floor-to-ceiling with Baragwin-made weapons. On his first visit into the room, he had asked Kelborn about it.

“Baragwin weapons are the best in the galaxy. Kal Skirata can keep his Verpine slugthrowers, I prefer a good Baragwin assault rifle. They can rip through even the heaviest armour in seconds.” Kelborn had gushed.

He had explained that he had brought them with him to help train his commandos. The DC-17’s were good, he admitted, but it was always wise to learn how to use other weapons as well. Garrett seemed not only to approve, he had been downright excited.

“We’ve got to get these babies down on the range, bud! I can’t believe what a stockpile you’ve got on your hands!”

Kelborn had nodded and placed a hand on his chin. “Well, I know a guy who could supply more of these weapons. I’d have to convince Jango to contact him and purchase them, but I might be able to talk him into it.”

Garrett had reached out to take one of the rifles, then turned to Kelborn, “May I?”

Kelborn had nodded, and Garrett had plucked one from its mount on the wall. Garrett whistled in appreciation, as he weighed it carefully in his hands. After a moment, he had nodded, satisfied, and put the rifle back. As he did so, he had noticed a different rifle, this one different. Instead of being a Baragwin made rifle, this one appeared to be based off of an ancient Mandalorian rifle, like the ones they had used during the Mandalorian Wars. Written on the side were three letters in the Mando’a alphabet. S-N-O.

“What’s this rifle here?” Garrett had asked, pointing it out.

Kelborn had looked somewhat saddened “That was my brother’s. According to our father, it belonged to our ancestor, J’mee Kelborn, who fought with the Republic during the Great Galactic War.”

Garrett had looked stunned “But that would make it over three thousand years old!”

Kelborn had chuckled, walked over to the rifle and tapped it lightly “Built to last.”

“And what do those letters stand for?”

Kelborn had looked mildly embarrassed, and he looked away “Oh, uh…Spare No One. J’mee Kelborn was supposedly a fierce warrior, he had something of a reputation…”

Seeing that Kelborn did not want to talk about it anymore, Garrett had opted to move on. “So, shall we play?”

And so, they had their first dejarik match. It had been rather one-sided, with Kelborn beating Garrett with ease. Since then, however, Garrett had been getting steadily better, becoming more cunning in his moves, learning to strategize. He had still not won, but perhaps that would soon change.

They sat down at the dejarik table and prepared to play. Kelborn had a bottle of tihaar by his side, and he had placed two shot-glasses within reach.

After a few turns, Garrett shot Kelborn a curious look as he poured himself a drink “Hey, could I ask a favour?”

“Hmmm?” Kelborn did not look up from the dejarik board, he was too busy planning his next move. He flinched when the k’lor’slug hissed at him and reared up, mouth wide and filled with razor sharp teeth. Kelborn looked up at Garrett’s bemused face and cursed the fact that he had been spooked by a hologram.

“You’re friends with Vhonte Tervho, right? You think you could put in a good word for me?” Garrett asked, a sly grin on his face. “I saw her running the other day. She’s got those long legs, and that red hair. I like red hair.” His grin broadened “And long legs.”

Kelborn stared down his nose at Garrett. “I’ve known Vhonte since she was 16. At that age, she was hunting acklay and cutting the horns off of wampas, while they were still alive. Do you have any idea what she can do now?”

Garrett shrugged and, if anything, his grin got wider. “Hey, I’ll take my chances.”

Kelborn gaped at Garrett for a moment, before he turned his attention back to the board, and had his Mantallian Savrip crush Garrett’s houjix underfoot.

Garrett frowned, before perking up again. “Okay, forget Tervho then….” He looked to be deep in thought, his brow furrowed. “Hmmm, well I suppose there is Rav Bralor.”

Kelborn chuckled at that. “Rav? Oh, you’ve got to be joking. I’m close friends with her cousin, Varos. Bruiser Bralor we called him, because he was two meters even, built like a Wookiee and carried a war hammer.” This time, Kelborn grinned. “Rav is tougher than he is.”

Garrett laughed. “Easy there, buddy, you don’t need to oversell her.”

“I think you might have some issues, Carr.” Kelborn shook his head, but he had a smile on his face.

“You’re right; Rav’s too old for me anyway.”

“You two are the same age, Garrett,” Kelborn said.

“Exactly. Way too old for me. How about-” Garrett began, only for Kelborn to cut him off.

“If you ask me to talk you up for Isabet Reau, then I’ll have to ask Ulirii No to take a look at your head.”

Garrett paused, before bursting into laughter. “All this time, I’ve been thinking that you didn’t have a sense of humour, Ambu. I was wrong,” he said, through continued chuckles. “It’s just a bad one. Really, really, bad.”

Kelborn joined in, until Garrett ordered Grimtaash the Molator to finish off Kelborn’s M’onnok that was. The mythical Alderaanian creature waved its hand, and the M’onnok burst into a shower of sparks.

Kelborn mock-scowled. “You’ll pay for that, Carr.”

Garrett smirked in response, then examined the board, planning his next move. After a moment, he looked up at Kelborn again, a thoughtful look on his face.

"Tell you what. Why don't you invite the ladies over for a game of sabacc or something? If you're here, and they see how much time I spend keeping dear old Grandpa Kelborn company, they'll know I'm not a disgusting hut’uun," Garrett suggested, using a Mando'a insult that he'd picked up in the past few weeks.

"But you are a disgusting hut’uun."

"There's no reason they need to know that."

Kelborn chuckled softly, before considering the idea. “Well, truth be told, I’m more of a pazaak man myself….But what the haran, it could be fun. I’ll have a talk with Vhonte and Rav tomorrow, see if they’re interested.”

Garrett grinned and reached over and clapped Kelborn on the shoulder. “Good man! You think this’ll impress them?”

Kelborn smiled and shrugged. “Somehow, I very much doubt it. But if you want to try regardless, that’s up to you, I suppose. Just don’t blame me if Vhonte or Rav beats you senseless.”

“Well, it’s worth a shot anyway.” Garrett poured himself another shot of tihaar and quickly threw it back, grimacing as he did so. After a moment, he recovered and took on a curious look. “Hey, is Kannen Doom single?”

Kelborn sighed in exasperation and reached for the tihaar.
Friends in Strange Places Part II
The second part of Friends in Strange Places, the first part being written by zang-zip and can be found here: zang-zip.deviantart.com/art/Fr…
Thanks to zang-zip and DC-26 for beta reading and providing additional ideas, they were great, working on this with them was a lot of fun. Be sure to check out their work, because it's much better than mine.

Part 1
Part 3.1
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Ive been tagged by :iconkweh-chan:

MY QUESTIONS:

1.) Do you like Star Wars?
I love Star Wars! Some of my earliest memories are of watching Star Wars.

2.) Have you ever flown in a plane?
Yep. It's weird though, I have a problem with heights,mbut not with flying.

3.) Do you need white noise (like a fan) in order to sleep, or do you prefer silence?
I prefer silence, but sometimes I fall asleep while listening to my iPod.

4.) What was your favourite toy as a child? Do you still have it or like it?
A stuffed dog called Rags. I think it's in my wardrobe.

5.) What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten? Was it any good?
Um, the weirdest thing I can think of is a rabbit, but that's not really that weird. It wasn't really that nice, but then again, it was pretty scrawny.

6.) If you had to choose between a dog with three legs or a cat with one eye, which would you choose and why? (I'm running out of questions...)
A cat, because cats are adorable.

7.) What your favourite show on or off TV?
Probably Supernatural.

8.) Do you/did you like school?
Eh, not really. But I got to meet some cool people, so there's that.

9.) What would you eat as your last meal?
A large plate of steak sandwiches.

10.) (You knew this was coming) Do you like Neimoidians? 8D
Yes! Neimoidians are awesome!

Questions:

1) Who your favourite actor?

2) What was the last book you read?

3) Who is your favourite fictional character?

4) Who is your least favourite fictional character?

5) Why did you decide to watch me?

6) What is your favourite animal?

7) What was the last movie you saw?

8) If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

9) What is your favourite game?

10) Favourite food?

I tag :iconhamsterand2dogs: :icontheelevateddeviant: :iconkommandant4298: :iconneocasko:
  • Listening to: Fragments-Jeff Williams
  • Reading: Star Wars: Revelation (felt like torturing myself)
  • Watching: Hunger Games
  • Playing: Halo 4
  • Eating: Steak
  • Drinking: Pepsi

deviantID

Ultrabountyhunter
Sam
Australia
Ahem, well, hi all, Ultrabountyhunter here. Well, for starters, I really can't draw that well. Anyway, I'm into a wide variety of...stuff, from Trick 'r Treat to Invader Zim to The Adventures of Sam (anyone remember that show? No? Oh well then...sigh), so I'm probably going to favourite a wide range of pics.

Current Residence: Adelaide
Favourite genre of music: Rock
Favourite cartoon character: Zim or Minimoose (actually, just about any Invader Zim character) Personal Quote: Contrary to what producers seem to think, clip shows are NOT a source of entertainment
Interests

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bear48 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Professional
Llama jump by Droneguard :llama: :headbang: :squee: :headbang: :llama: Llama jump by Droneguard

Thank you for the Llama :llama:

Llama jump by Droneguard :squee:  :squee:  Llama jump by Droneguard  :squee:  :squee:  Llama jump by Droneguard

thank you for making my birthday even brighter www.youtube.com/watch?
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Thanks for faving! :iconsupertighthugplz:
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You're welcome!
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Thanks for the Watch and ALL the Faves, You Rock!!!
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Welcome!
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Thank you so much for faving!!! It means a lot to me :heart:
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Welcome to Dreddheads, Citizen. Dredd smile by QUELLER-UA

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