CLOSED SIGNUPS Star Wars: Age of the Sith

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Stella resigned herself the mission and proceeded to count inventory. They had weapons, at least enough for most of the clones. Stella kept her eyes on them. Maybe it would be better for her to ignore her prejudices concerning the clones, but her fears were all but too genuine. Her Jedi Master always remarked on the tragedy the clones wars as something avoidable. If they had uses droids or people willing to fight for the republic, maybe they could have avoided the end of the Old Republic. In his opinion, the clones were never fit to fight to begin with. They were clones of a deadly Bounty Hunter. A man who embraces his darker and selfish nature and possibly passed it on to his copies.

Stella cared less for the array of ships, she's seen it all before on the Confedarcies side of things. The unnoticeable amount of excitement of the initiates was interesting, reminiscent of her days at the academy. Stella clenched her teeth as she then remembered her cruel treatment and bitter experiences that made her the jaded woman she was today. She continued monitoring the Clones. She walked up to a pair standing around chattering. She wasn't sure what they were talking about and didn't care.

"You two! While the rest of your kind remain active, you two are simply chattering like civilians. If you want to leave the ice rock I suggest you start loading what you can into crates for us to load on our ships."

"Jedi, We are discussing-"

"No, you should be working. I'm not to keen on you men as it is, don't give me more reason's to think yow two are a hindrance to our operations. You men are dismissed." Stella snapped her fingers and then men left her sight. Stella then caught a clone claiming into one of the starfighters. "Clone! What are you doing!" She yelled forcing the clone to stop.

"I was just about to calibrate the starfighter. I just wanted to make sure things were still fine. It's been too long since they've had been checked. I doubt the droids did everything." The Clone explained.

"Hmm, you know your way around a fighter.? His answer was satisfying. He seemed confident in his abilities.

"Of course, I wouldn't be up here if I didn't. You seem on edge Jedi, I know what I'm doing, trust me and my brothers." Stay turned away from him and search for another clone to either question or give an assignment too. Eventually, Knight Shay's concerns lessened and she returned to the group.

Suddenly two Initiates came barreling into the hanger, one following the other. Denise was nearly in a panic. He had a piece of dire information to tell Knight Ken and the rest of the team. In one week a snowstorm would cover this base and they'd be stuck there for who knows how long. He could have told them over the comlink, but this Initiate had the foresight to see that this news could cause pandemonium.

She wasn't worried about it. They had a week to get off the planet. "A week is plenty of time to get things in order and ditch this outpost. If you men are so deadset on getting these clones off this planet, we'll need a cruiser now. We all saw the downed ships on our way here. You people might think I'm insane but some of them might be operational or salvageable. They must have some clones trained in ship repair. We can leave this frozen hell of a planet in 4 days in we hustle." She felt her presence warm and looked down at the furry creature standing at her side. He was shaking like some small child.

"Taal Lun! Are you cowering at a time like this?" Stella's was stunned. She couldn't believe that this was an initiate. She looked down at the Taal with a look of disgust and a sneer. "Your emotions are clouding your resolve. Steel yourself, what you face here will be nothing when you come across the confederacy. If you aren't cut out for this let us know. The weak have no place here, in this life or any other. You'll only earn yourself misery Taal, and it will spread to those around you. Weakness is misery, ignorance, and trustest of all...Death." If was the truth, weakness was unacceptable, amongst any creature in the universe or in the rebellion. Some might think this was too similar to the philosophy of a sith, and to them, Stella would say they simply fail to understand the natural state of the universe.
 
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Lahsan was not terribly surprised when Thrice mentioned the inhibitor chips. The look on his face however, told her that he knew the whole history behind them as well. "Yes, it is. Your demeanor suggests you already know about the chips...and the history behind them. Patch here only knows about the chips. He doesn't know the history yet. I haven't got that far." She said, as she stood up and began pacing in front of the two clone commanders.


"Doc here, says we don't have the resources to remove all the chips quickly. By quickly, I mean weeks, maybe even a month. I'm planning on having Patch and his medical division, help us research this. Secondly, I'll be bringing in officers first for post cryo physicals. That is also why you are here." She paused in her pacing and stopped, looking at Thrice.


"Commander, I hate these chips. Not because I'm a Jedi and the history behind them. But because they make you and your brothers slaves. To us, Jedi, and any other force user. I don't want you to follow orders because you are programmed to. I want you to follow orders because we believe in the same cause, the same ideals, and have a mutual goal as allies. I want you and your brothers to have free will. I'm not a doctor. I'm not even a medic. I have no medical training outside of basic force healing all padawans are taught. I'm a guardian. I lead troops against our enemies and kill Sith. I quite enjoy doing it. I'm overseeing this because I'm the closest thing the Jedi have to a Clone expert. My great grandmother was Ahsoka Tano. At the end of the war, she was given half of the 501st to help liberate Mandalore. They became the 332nd Company. Captain Rex was the officer in charge. Rex was one of the few clones who knew about the chip, and removed it. When Order 66 was given, he did not turn. He saved Ahsoka, and they were able to escape. They both went on to fight for the rebellion, for many many years. Fight against the very Empire, the clones were forced to serve due to these chips. It is well documented in the New Jedi Order Library, with my family history. Within that are details, provided by Rex about the chips and the removal. Probably not the whole removal process, but a lot of information. It has been done before, and it will be done again. I will see to it. To repay a debt my family owes to your brothers." She said, seriously.


The Jedi Consular gave the commander a curt nod after he spoke once the chaos had died down, placing his hand on the soldier’s shoulder before offering a small but somewhat reassuring smile. “And we will fight them together, Thrice. Go on down to medical. I will join you shortly.” After the commander had begun to take his leave, Ishua turned to where he could address the clones and both of the Initiates in the hangar.


“Asuro, Taal, Denis, come here. I’ve got a task for you.” As the Initiates came forward, the Consular turned to face the troopers, addressing their senior most member. “Sergeant Nines, correct? Jedi Knight Ishua Ken, at your service. For the time being, I need you to get into cold-weather gear and assist these Jedi in performing a survey of the base’s exterior communication equipment and, if a patrol hasn’t already begun, perform an initial sweep of the perimeter. From there on out, report your findings as necessary. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I should attend to the medbay. Rusty, return to the comms center and work on trying to get the message through as soon as possible, see if they can spare any ships. If not, we may need to find a new one ourselves.”


While the Jedi Consular was wrapping up his affairs and making his way towards the others as the little droid left out som confirmatory whistles and went his own way, the good doctor and his droid companion were already occupied. After securely storing his helmet and blaster rifle, Patch had picked up a datapad and was reviewing various files and reports as they came in whilst the senior commander and the Torgrutan Jedi conversed.


“Pardon my failure to render a greeting, Commander, but I’m a bit occupied with the events at hand. However…” The doctor went silent as he recognized the commander’s body language, even with the man’s helmet on Patch knew something was off. It was part of the war-forged bond between brothers. “Something’s off. You seem a bit… sluggish, and it isn’t hibernation sickness. I’m guessing it’s the news? You know what General Ilaren used to say; ‘There’s no time to be upset, only time to live and move on.’ Either way, I think you might want to take a look at these reports. These chips… they don’t seem to be active. In fact, they appear to be entirely unresponsive, no signals whatsoever.”


Time was short. Even if they pooled resources the removal would still take an inordinate amount of time to complete, and that storm was coming fast. “We may need to find a way to speed things along. This base’ll be covered in ice soon enough.”


The legion had plenty of medics at their disposal if they needed the labor. Clone medics learned quickly, and would have no trouble adapting their equipment to the removal of the chip on this scale.


Thrice looked up from the tiled floor when the Jedi continued. “Ahsoka Tano…” The memories weren’t so fuzzy now. She was a legend, her and Rex. It was almost surreal to meet her descendent when, last he’d seen of her, she’d still been a spunky padawan-turned-Commander. To hear tales of her deeds even now were impressive, and the mention of Rex left a pang in his chest. At least some of them had escaped the massacre. “That’s quite a lineage, I think. Rex was always a good man. I can’t say I’m surprised.”


Thrice rolled his shoulders, still somewhat stiff from cryo. “Something like that. It’s going to take time to sink in, Patch.” Although his mood was low, Patch’s mention of their old General was enough to warm him some. He wondered what had happened to them. “Inactive chips? Let me see. Removal might not be necessary, not if we can make this inactivity permanent.”


The Jedi Consular had slid past the door not too long after Patch handed over the datapad to the senior commander, with the second Jedi Knight moving to stand silently next to his colleague after sharing a nod of acknowledgment with the clone physician. Pointing to a side profile of a clone’s head after enlarging it sliding and switching to an image layer that showed the clone’s nervous system, with the skeleton and muscles fading to be transparent to bring focus on the nerves and the attached chip.


“We were aware of the chip’s existence, as were the medical droids, but its true purpose was inaccessible. We were informed of it only if we were elevated to being physicians and was instructed that it served as a suppressant chip in order to keep troopers stable during a prolonged fight-or-flight response. To prevent over-aggression in combat. And it did seem to do that. And in order to function, its inactive level was at the same charge as a typical hyperpolarized nerve axon, at roughly negative seventy millivolts. As you can see from these scans, none of the chips in any of the clones have any charge at all. Appling a controlled, minute shock to the chip and the nerves surrounding it also doesn’t seem to produce any response.


“My current hypothesis is that whoever designed these chimps for implantation didn’t take into account that troopers might be resting in a prolonged state of cryostasis, especially one as long as ours. As such, the material that creates these chips was essentially doomed since it seemed to rely on the constant background temperature of the brain in order to operate. So, when we went under, the extreme cold preserved organic material in our heads but caused these machines to fizzle out and fail. It even looks like the base survival functions of the cryopods instigated scar tissue growth around it while we were under and, at least for the time being, I can’t possibly think they have a chance of activating.”


She was thinking about all of the information pouring in. When... something said caught her attention. She stood up and asked the question. "1 week? Wait, wait. What is this about having 1 week?" She asked, before some of the medical things drew her attention and she began to address those.


"While all of your theories could very possibly be true, we must remember who created these. A sith master that orchestrated the downfall of the Jedi and took control of the Republic… do you have similar scans from before cryo stasis? Of the same individuals? Cross reference them side by side. I want similarities and differences."


Moving next to Patch, she responded. "I trust your assessment Patch, I don't trust these chips though. They fooled everyone. Clones and Jedi alike. Master Shaak Ti and other Jedi were on Kamino. They even investigated an incident where a chip malfunctioned. They still weren't able to ascertain its purpose. I want to run some tests, that will require a volunteer. The chips make clones obey without thought. So I would like to test it. I'm going to give some orders that the volunteer does not want to do. We will see if anything happens a few different times. It won't be anything to extreme, if you approve, Commanders. These are your men and brothers."


Thrice listened patiently, pensive. According to Patch, the chips were effectively dead, yet that didn't sooth his fears any. There was still the possibility of reactivation no matter how unlikely it seemed. It just... it seemed too easy. Had Jedi luck finally rubbed off on them, or was this a simple coincidence? Thrice sighed and crossed his arms over his armored chest, head cocked thoughtfully to one side.


"Then I offer myself. My men don't need the stress of experimentation this early, and I'd like to see the results with my own eyes."


Even knowing how eager his men would be to volunteer, Thrice refused to ask that of them when they only just recovering from cryo. If worse came to worse, Thrice would at least be fulfilling his duty, and Strafe was well enough to pick up the slack. Best case scenario, the Commander was freed of any and all possibility of mind control via the chip, and would better be able to manage any fallout should the chips remain.


“Best get this started then. One of your initiates mentioned a storm coming-- a big one. We don’t want to be here when it hits.”


Ishua nodded softly in response to Thrice’s comment about the storm, looking around the room before speaking up. “According to what we’ve been told, there’s a massive blizzard oncoming that’ll span the planet’s hemisphere. We need to find a way off-planet before the end of a standard week.”


Patch, meanwhile, had already begun plotting the test in question. “The test itself will be simple. Using the Chancellor’s various recorded messages, we can have someone splice together a believable tape of him giving out the order. We’ll separate Thrice using a few energy shields in the containment unit and see if there’s any response from the chip and see if there are any changes in the commander’s behavior. We can likely add this test to the duty exam before we move on any further with our operations.”
 

BlueFlameNikku

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With the vital information now having been delivered the blonde figured further duties would be given out to combat this latest issue. As he took a moment to take in the wonders of old technology within the hanger Denis looked around to see all who were present; seeing everyone get right to it so to speak. It was at that moment when Denis' attention snapped towards the choice words Stella had for the cowering Taal. A torrent of emotions swept through the human man in mere seconds; fear, sadness and anger. Fearful of Stella's tone of voice, saddened by Taal's clearly shaken expression from current events and then angered for what she said to his friend. Denis was there in an instant immediately putting himself between the two, being uncomfortably close to Stella as a result. One comforting hand would be placed on the top of Taal's head while the other tightened into a fist at the initiate's side, the thick glove making a just audible noise from the action. The blonde's blue eyes glared down into Stella's due to their difference in height.

What was now on display was not something Denis showed often if at all to anyone once he'd left Coruscant behind. At this moment he didn't care that Stella was a Knight, he wasn't scared of her and he wanted to do nothing more than give her a real piece of his mind in front of everyone in attendance. He felt as though he'd burst out of his very skin. Denis' current presence in the Force could be described as two jagged rocks scrapping against one another.

How could she say those things to Taal?!
She practically said he didn't deserve to live?!
She--
She isn't entirely wrong though...


It was then that Denis caught himself preventing those mental words from passing his lips. Who was he to judge really. In the life he lived the weak were used, abused and even killed. He experienced that kind of existence first hand and it was likely true across the galaxy. Denis was worried about Taal for sure. What would happen once he's faced up against people purposely trying to do him harm. The initiate took a step back bringing Taal with him, his expression calming. There was still something he wanted to say to Stella. He spoke to her with confidence, forgoing the discomfort in his heart.

"You aren't wrong Stella...but isn't that why we Jedi do what we do?"

Even though his initial training wasn't as fresh in his mind as say Taal or Asuro he remembered them well.

"The Jedi serve to protect those very weak people who lack the power to defend themselves and prevent the misery and suffering that befalls them. Jedi respect all life, in any form."

The last spoken line was of course straight from the Jedi code itself. The initiate was very attached to those few lines of words and took them to heart. With his peace said Denis accompanied Taal and Asuro as they received their latest task and followed in line with the clones that would accompany them. Once they were away from the hanger some of the clones began to speak up.

Jink: "Soooo...did anybody else get all warm and fuzzy watching that? No, just me?
Nines: "Can it Jink. It's too early after cryo for your jokes."
Jink: "Only trying to lighten the mood sarg."
Quicks: "Everyone's on edge as it is Jink.
Jink: "Not you too."
Quicks: "I'm not gonna patch you up if you get into trouble with a Jedi like last time."
Jink: "What do you mean last time?"
Quicks: "Remember that one desert planet where you crashed the LAAT out of combat and we had a Jedi with us?"
Jink: "...oh...that time."

The banter did in fact at least lift up Denis' spirit and it gave him the opportunity to say something to Taal before they emerged from the facility to start work on the external communications. "I won't lie to you Taal. The thought of you and Asuro going up against the confederacy scares me to death. But unlike Knight Shay I believe in you guys." Denis did his best to offer comforting words and to look tough but deep down he was fearful of the coming day when he'd be put up against them as well.

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Dipper

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Asuro sank his teeth into his lower lip, silent. Whether this would heighten their already rising stress levels or simply leave a bad taste in the intiates' mouths remained to be seen, but Asuro remained... curious. Although a tumultuous mixture of distaste and concern arose within him, he wondered about the Knight's stance. Her words rang with some semblance of truth Asuro couldn't deny, no matter how petty or harsh they sounded in hindsight.

If he could find the time, then maybe she would be willing to explain when this was all over.

They collected their heavy coats without a fuss and headed toward the communications, and only then did Asuro manage to unglue his tongue from the roof of his mouth. He tried, without success, to hold back a smile at Denis's words to Taal. They could all use a confidence boost.

"You crashed a LAAT in the middle of the desert?" he asked, looking briefly over his shoulder at the troopers. "How'd you get out of that one?"

Once outside, he could take stock of the damages. The base's exterior communications looked to be in working order at first glance. The comm. tower was covered in a thin layer of ice, antennas looked bent but not terribly so, and the console at the foot of the tower was... predictably offline. The air in front of him misted when he grumbled. He picked his way through the thickly packed snow and crouched down by the console. Restoring power was easy enough, and the offline console rebooted with no further work, but something was stopping the console from connecting with the tower. The tower couldn't send out a signal even if it wanted to.

Was that the only problem?

"This doesn't need to be a permanent fix if those buoys are online," he said. He looked up at the tower's bent antennas. "This tower is a odd design choice for a Republic base, but it should an easy fix. You think those need straightening?"

Asuro pulled back the console's side panel to take a look inside. "Might have to connect them manually..."

Sitting back, Asuro folded his arms in his lap, wishing he had actual tools to work with instead of just a rusty hydrospanner. Said hydrospanner now sat abandoned at his feet as he thought.

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[Under communication tower with Asuro Dipper Dipper Denis, Nines BlueFlameNikku BlueFlameNikku (after talking with Stella Cush Almighty Cush Almighty in hanger)]


"Taal Lun! Are you cowering at a time like this?"

The Lurmen let out a scared yip, half tripping over himself as he darted back several steps from Shay. He gazed up, confused and frightened, into the sharp eyes of the older Jedi as her lips curled up with disgust.

Taal felt his thoughts scramble, fear blossoming in him and causing his body to shake. Was his loss of nerves really so pathetic? That one the Jedi Knights, figures that Taal had nothing but admiration for, would look at him like some bug crushed underfoot?

"Your emotions are clouding your resolve. Steel yourself, what you face here will be nothing when you come across the confederacy. If you aren't cut out for this let us know. The weak have no place here, in this life or any other. You'll only earn yourself misery Taal, and it will spread to those around you. Weakness is misery, ignorance, and trustest of all...Death."

“I…” Taal’s words felt heavy in his throat, like the effort of speaking would choke him.

It was as if what Taal had thought was a simple cool confidence had revealed itself to an unbreakable iron will, an intimidating razor-sharp focus that was all at once centred on Taal. Shay’s gaze suddenly felt as potent as some great physical weight, threatening to crush Taal against the floor.

…Were Shay’s word’s really true? Was Taal simply…too weak? Was he not curling up in fear at this first hurdle, clinging to the older Jedi around him like a cub might seek out the shelter of their parents? And worse, could his own weakness actually be a danger to the others around him?

Had he really left his home, flown so many lightyears, did so much training, just to end up as merely a burden?

“I-I was…It’s…”

Taal cowered downwards, lowering himself until he was almost prostrate. He even crossed and curled his arms into his chest on instinct, knuckles brushing against his chest, despite the Mygeeto gesture perhaps not meaning much to an outsider. Taal felt like he might shrink to the floor, and not get back up again.

"You aren't wrong Stella...but isn't that why we Jedi do what we do?"

Taal snapped his wide eyes up, staring in surprise. He hadn’t even noticed Denis’ approach.

"The Jedi serve to protect those very weak people who lack the power to defend themselves and prevent the misery and suffering that befalls them. Jedi respect all life, in any form."

The Lurmen blinked from his position near the floor, looking up at the other Initiate. Denis had actually come to his defence? He would stand up to a Jedi Knight, one so much more powerful and experienced then them both, just to help make excuse for Taal’s fear.

…No, not make excuses. As Taal let the words hang over him, he realized that Denis was right. Those were the words that built the very creed that had brought them here in the first place.

The Jedi code had taught, above all else, that weakness was not something to be disdained or stamped out. Indeed, the weak were to be protected and nurtured so that they too could one day be strong.

Taal let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he had been holding. How could he forget something so important? It was that very part of the Jedi code that had helped to convinced him that it was worth taking the risk of leaving his home and journeying across the stars to become a Jedi to begin with. Not because he was weak and desired to be strong, but because he wanted to have the strength to protect the weak.

Taal took a long breath, and forced himself to stand up straight. Fear still sat like a stone in his chest, making every breath quick and difficult, but both Shay and Denis were right in their own ways. He couldn’t let himself be completely frozen, completely worthless, especially at a time such as this.

Of course, even with Denis standing beside him, this new resolve still left him looking up at Shay much like a mouse might look up at a hawk. How, exactly, did he intend to get out of this one…?

“Asuro, Taal, Denis, come here. I’ve got a task for you.”

Thank the Force for Knight Ken.

As Denis and he turned to report in, Taal briefly stopped to look back at Knight Shay with concerned eyes. After a few breaths of floundering, the Lurmen stiffly bowed his head.

“I-I will endeavour to… mediate, on your words, Knight Shay.”

Feeling distinctly like he hadn’t said enough, Taal turned tail and quickly retreated to the safety of the circle forming around Knight Ken.

The orders they received were fairly simple; he, Asuro, Denis and a Clone with name of Nines was to lead the effort in restoring the outer communications equipment and patrolling the outside of the base. It sounded, at least in principle, fairly straightforward. Though, going by the day they had been having thus far, they would be wise to prepare for the unexpected.

Taal stuck close to both Denis and Asuro as they marched their way through the base, once again wrapped up in preparation for the cold weather. The Lurmen chewed on the inside of his cheek as he padded through the base’s corridors, subdued. He felt like he should perhaps say something, mostly an apology for needing Denis to come to his aid in the first place. But before he could speak up, Denis spoke first.

"I won't lie to you Taal. The thought of you and Asuro going up against the confederacy scares me to death. But unlike Knight Shay I believe in you guys."

Taal looked up, eyes searching. After a moment though, a small smile started to work it’s way across his face.

“I see. In that case, I shall make sure I don’t disappoint. Although,” Taal grinned, turning to face forward. “I think I’ll have to work pretty hard, if I’m ever going to catch up to you and Asuro.”

It was a small thing, to have the faith of a peer. But Taal felt all at once a bit lighter.

His good mood lasted the rest of the walk through the base, though the snap of the cold weather outside did dampen it quite a bit. And, as the motley group gathered up under the communication tower, things predictably took a turn for the worse.

"This doesn't need to be a permanent fix if those buoys are online," Asuro muttered, fiddling around the tower’s console. "This tower is a odd design choice for a Republic base, but it should an easy fix. You think those need straightening?"

Taal gazed up at the tower’s very peek, in particular at the antenna Asuro motioned to. It would be quite a clamber, but…

“I could try and climb to the top, and try and move the antenna back into place from there. Do you think that would help, Asuro?” As he looked up, Taal frowned. The only good foothold was quite a ways up the tower, meaning he would need some height to even get started. Even if he propelled himself with a burst of Force, he would probably be a few feet short. He might be able to make it from either Denis or Asuro’s shoulders, although a more sure-fire way would be by launching himself from…

Taal twisted his gaze around, until his sight fell on the sergeant that had accompanied them. Taal felt a slight quake go through him just from looking at the man, reminded suddenly of the warning Knight Shay had given when the Clone and his brothers had first awoken. Still, if they were to be in such close proximity for a while, it was probably an idea to start at least trying to get used to the Clones’ presence.

Swallowing thickly, Taal pushed his way through the snow, cautiously stepping up to the white and red armour of the sergeant.

“Err, Sergeant…Nines?” Taal padded up to Clone slowly, giving an unnecessary wave. “Could I ask for your help? I…err, need you to stand directly against the base of the tower, and to stand as still as you can. I’m going to…well, jump off you.”
 

Dipper

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Collab w/ Boba Fit Boba Fit & AceSorcerer AceSorcerer

"That wasn't the kind of tests I had in mind. I don't think that would work either. It's possible the chips are made to respond to Palpatine's voice, but I think it was more of a force interaction. We can try it though. I want a constant scan on the chip for anything other than what we have seen. Patch, you and all the others except Jedi and droids need to be seperated. As much as I know you want to watch the experiment first hand, we can't risk anything. If I doesn't work, I'm going to try a few other things, before we come to a conclusion. Doc, if you see anything happening with the chip, contact me immediately." She said, as she was mentally preparing herself for this test.

"As much as I respect your authority, ma'am, protocol requires that a senior medical officer be present in any evaluations of our command staff. Furthermore, we can isolate the broadcast to his unique helmet frequency alone." Patch was reviewing more and more patient data as he spoke, sending the audio clips to be spliced together by one of the protocol droids that manned the reception area of the med bay. "If you want the confidence of the men that this is a legitimate and necessary test, you will want them to know that it was observed to and administered by their own."

"He's got a point." Ishua stepped forward,scratching at the dark stubble on his chin. "Moreover, I'm a bit more curious about what other tests you have in mind for these troopers. Time is of the absolute essence, and while we can do some in-depth testing here we still need something quick that all the troopers can go through. Not even to mention the fact that we need to ease most of the new legion into the fact that they've awakened in a completely different dating system." Dropping his hands to his sides, Ishua let out a soft exhale. "I don't want to use the Force and potentially push something to the point where they might get injured."

The medical droid, in the meanwhile, had moved over to the control panel that dictated the conditions within the nearby containment chamber, preparing it for the first of the proposed tests on the senior clone commander. "The containment chamber will be ready momentarily, Jedi. It needs to finish completing its functionality diagnostics before we can begin."

"Patch is correct. The Jedi are still unknowns to them, but they trust Patch. They trust me." Thrice slipped his blasters from their holsters to set them aside on a nearby table. Glancing over his shoulder, he added, "I'd also prefer if he were nearby should anything go wrong." A quick check of his comm. assured him that everything was in working order. He stepped toward the containment unit to wait for the droid to finish its diagnostics.

"If you have further tests in mind, ma'am, we should have just enough time to complete them. Whatever we need to get these chips deactivated."

"The other tests are simple. I wasn't going to do them on all the others. Just add some persuasion from force, but not enough to affect the mind. Only the chip. Give him order he doesn't want to do, but isn't going to hurt him." Lahsan sighed loudly. " Looks like I've been overridden. I'm not a doctor, I'm a warrior. I will follow your best judgement. Whenever we have the council on the com, I'll need to speak with them in depth about all this though." She rubbed her eyes. "All this protocol is making me want to go fight some sith for some enjoyment."

Thrice chuckled lowly. "Believe me, Republic protocol can be stifling. It makes more sense when you don't think too much about it." The rigors of being a Commander included dealing with those protocols, even when he'd rather toss them to the wayside in favor of something more logical. This particular instance, however, was another matter, something of personal significance to him and this brothers. "If all goes well, General, we can try other tests to cover the bases. I'll do what's necessary to keep my men sane and safe. And... I don't plan on falling apart any time soon. I'll live through a few experiments."

Thrice stepped into the containment unit. It sealed up behind him, leaving him feeling strangely isolated. His helmet felt heavier, his trigger finger itched, and his desire for some kind of direction was overbearing. He felt under the lip of his helmet where it met his bodysuit, as if the chip would leap out at any moment.

"Whenever you're ready, Generals. Patch."

"Give me a moment to pull up the scanners, Thrice. Try to keep you mind empty for a few seconds so we can get your baseline brain activity." The doctor and the medical droid moved quickly, pulling many different images up on their screen while their hands moved with a purpose on the console before them. Ishua watched in amazement at their deft skills, especially when the former had only recently awoken and the latter had certainly seen no regular repair in ages. When all was said and done, Patch spoke through the console microphone yet again, his voice audible in the chamber. "Ready yourself, sir. Beginning the test in three... two... one... mark." With that, the clone pressed a button his datapad, send the audio message to be immediately played in Thrice's helmet.

"Commander," the voice was harsh and raspy as it played within the small speakers in the clone's helmet, unmistakably the voice of the Emperor after his duel with the four Jedi Masters. "Execute Order Sixty-Six."

Thrice stiffened minutely as the voice filtered, grainy but distinct, through his helmet's comm. A vague sense of wrongness filled him, like something gone missing. If not the chip, then might it be his own expectations? A faint itching discomfort in the back of his skull followed shortly, lasting no longer than a nanosecond before cutting out. Nothing had happened.

The commander scanned the medbay beyond the containment unit, eyes settling on the Jedi longer than usual in an attempt to prompt the proper reaction, but nothing came of it. He was safe. This would do for now, if removing the chip altogether would take too much time. Thrice could live with that.

He gave Patch a thumbs up.

Lahsan was watching Thrice, then gave a side glance to the monitors. Knowing she wouldn't understand the med jargon, she did it anyway. Then glancing back at Thrice. "Doc, what did the active scans of the chip show? Any activity or attempt of activity during any portion?"

The clone confirmed his analysis silently with the medical droid before giving his analysis. "The changes in the commander's mind are solely derived from changes in his emotional state. Nothing from the chip or nothing acting with undue influence on his thoughts or any level of his consciousness insofar as we can tell. He's fit for duty." Patch then gave a soft wave as Doc shut off the containment field, a signal that everything was well and good and that he was to come into the other room. Ishua scratched at his chin. "Is there any way we can do this with all the troopers?" "No, sir." Patch, thankfully, was blunt. "The containment field takes too long to set up. We can use handheld scanners to a similar effect, but it won't be as detailed." "Can you get what you need to clear them for duty?" Patch took a moment, looked at the droid, and then looked back at the Jedi and gave him a soft nod. "Yes, sir. Enough to pass them for the time being." Ishua then allowed a soft smile to come across his face. "Then let's make it a requirement for their post-cryo physicals, then." The medical commander drew his own smirk, clearly pleased. "Right away, sir."

Lahsan had one last test to run before she was satisfied, and frankly, before some of the others were pacified over the situation. "I have 1 more simple test. We won't be able to run it with the others, but if the chip doesn't activate, I'm satisfied." She said as she began to walk down to where Thrice was. "Commander, please stay put. I will be in the room with you. I'm going to issue you an order that you will not to do. As I do so, I will channel some of the force focusing on the chip. It will not be a mind trick. I know how to do that, and know what it takes. Ishua will be able confirm after the test, I did not directly affect your mind. I don't think we need the containment field for this." She said as she stepped up to Thrice. "CC-3337. Punch me in the stomach." She said, as she slightly waved her hand, focusing her mind on the chip she could feel in the force.

Warily, he nodded, and resumed his place in the containment unit. "Gentle, if you would, ma'am."

Thrice managed to look ill even with his helmet in place. An order was an order, and although some deeper, instinctual part of him governed solely by altered genetics urged him to fulfill the order, his conscious mind quailed. The itching sensation returned, but not once did he lift his hand to the Jedi, and instead clasped both respectfully behind his back.

Lahsan felt Thrice's tension at the order. She did not however, feel him lunch her. She smiled at him and gave him a pat on the shoulder. "All clear, Commander. I give you my stamp of approval." She said as she turned and walked back to the others. "I think this will do for now. When we return to base, I still want to have all the chips removed though. The legion has a lot of men, and I don't even want to the chance of even 1 chip being active. As it stands, Patch, you can begin immediately doing physicals. Start with those already on tasks, so they can quickly be cleared to continue their tasks. After that, every time you finish a squad, Thrice and Ishua will give them orders to help us prepare for departure. They are the overseers after all."
 

Dipper

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"Y'know, sir..."

Thrice sighed at the sound of Strafe's voice. "Shouldn't you be in the hangar by now?"

"I am," Strafe said. "What're these Jedi like? Good? Nice? Will they ask my full CT number and demand I recall every major event in the war in one breath?"

Generals Ishua and Lahsan had been kind to him and Patch in the medical bay, leaving Thrice with no reason to suspect, mistrust, or fear them. In fact, they'd been rather cordial for Jedi, exuding a warmth he'd rarely experienced with the Jedi of old. That they'd been willing to test these chips rather than put them down the moment they awoke was... comforting. Jumping from a barren ice world into another war in service of the Jedi wouldn't go over well with some of the legion, but it was better than staying cooped up on a freezing base, and Thrice desperately wanted to test his reflexes on a living target.

It'd been too long.

"They're not General Ilaren," Thrice said finally, carefully, "but they want to do good. No indication that they want to torment you specifically, either. Just... relax. Be respectful."

"Respectful." An airy laugh. "Good to know, sir. Any other errands you want me to run while I'm out freezing my balls off, Commander? Maybe bring you back a nice icicle--"

"Strafe."

"Sorry, sir. I've got this damned itch in my head that's drivin' me crazy. Makes me think funny."

Thrice swallowed. He'd only informed Strafe of the basics of the chip, but had yet to describe it in detail. "You'll live. Check the logs while you're out there, see if we've got any records of ships past the barrier."

“Storm’s coming, right? Heh, wait ‘till I tell ‘im. I’ll get right on it. Strafe out.”

When Strafe disconnected, Thrice was left to the silence of his own helmet, thoughts whirling as he tried to formulate the right way to tell his brothers about the situation. About the chips, and the orders, and... and the Jedi, long deceased. Most didn't yet know it'd been several hundred years. Some of them were still new to it all and had come from Kamino only a few weeks before Ithal.

They'd live, sure, and they'd move on. But Thrice hated that this was their first experience with the Ninth Legion.

The door to the barracks slid open to reveal troopers performing maintenance, checking inventory, and hauling equipment from the armor so it could be properly checked, tagged, and sorted. It was good that most troopers didn't yet have a solid assignment, as Thrice wasn't interested in tracking each and every one of his men down. He patched himself into the communicators of the entire Legion.

"Listen up!" A quick burst of static and a snap of his fingers was all that was needed to get the men in the barracks and across the base to pay attention. "It's been awhile. A lot longer than I - that any of us - thought. Several hundred years have passed since we arrived, our situation has changed drastically, and there's something all of you ought to know."

The men were completely silent as they waited. Thrice didn't so much as blink.

"I'll start with the medical checks. We'll have medics down here in no time to look you all over-- doesn't matter if you think you feel fine, it's been over a hundred years. You need this." Thrice paused, arms coming to rest at his sides as he thought of how to properly word his next sentence. "Second of all is... The Jedi were betrayed."

There was a collective murmur, but no outburst. "Not long after we went under, our brothers were forced to turn against their own Generals. There was... a chip implanted in their heads to force their compliance. Patch and I have conducted tests to ascertain whether these... chips... are still active after cryo. They are not. Even so, checking each and every one of you is paramount if we are to work with these new Jedi safely and with our conscience intact. There was nothing they could have done, and neither is there anything we can change. Best we can do is move on and do better. For now, do as Patch's medics tell you, then report to your Captains for assignments. I'll be contacting them soon."

The tension in the air was palpable, a taught wire ready to be cut and dangerous should it be. Thrice stood firm as the bulk of the legion shifted and muttered amongst themselves, stewing in their own grief as the reality of it all set in. Thrice himself struggled to process it all, and no doubt his brothers would face the same hardship. In the end, they would live on, their grief sated and the past buried. The new world needed them now and it was what they would fight for.

"Dismissed."
 

BlueFlameNikku

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Before the new comms team truly made their way outside it looked as though Jink was about to give Asuro a likely lengthly and false explanation in regards to the crashed LAAT story but was cut off by Quicks. "Our engines had been hit from ground to air fire. Then this hot head tried getting us to the back lines with one remaining damaged engine. Only thing that came out of that was a long walk for all of us. That female Jedi gave him a real ear full the whole time." Even through his gear Jink seemed deflated.

Once outside Denis was rather displeased about being back out in the snow; sticking close to everyone as the external communications were underway. With Taal stepping up to the task of connecting the antennas, the Sergeant paused at the request from the small Jedi for a moment. "Of course, Jedi." Before he did so he turned to his men. "Form a perimeter around this area and stay alert. Nap time is over men so it's time to get back to work." Most of the clones retorted with a hardy yes sir before getting to it; Nines took up his supportive position as well and would finish assisting Taal before rejoining his men.

With Denis practically left to his own devices at this point he decided to simply wait there and keep tabs on Asuro and Taal. Since the clones watched vigilantly for any outside trouble the blonde initiate would make sure to stand beneath where Taal would be climbing just in case in the unlikely event that the fur ball would fall, Denis would be there to catch him.
 

Dipper

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"Try it," Asuro said, squinting up at the tower through the bright winter light. It'd be getting dark soon enough, as the far horizon had already dimmed to a deep blue-black beneath raging storm clouds. An ice storm, if he had to venture a guess. He shivered and returned to his work on the console's exposed innards, pulling and rerouting wiring to suit his needs. He pulled loose the signal router's cabling and uncoiled it atop the console to test its length until it went taut. It would just barely be long enough...

There had to be an outlet somewhere on the foot of the tower, but Asuro couldn't find anything beneath the build up of ice and snow. If he could just get past it, he'd be able to reconfigure it to accept a manual connection to the console and their problem should be fixed. That, and those twisted antennas.

"That sounds dangerous." So close to the enemy but without the full support of their gunship. Albeit somewhat disappointed that the story wasn't as intense as he'd expected, Asuro perked up, and returned to his task with just a hint of a smile. He'd have to ask them about their Jedi when this was over.

He still had the ice to contend with. The console's paneling was sturdy and sharp enough around the edges that it would make a fine tool. Asuro snatched it up and angled one of its edges toward the ice. With a mild application of the Force, and his own weight combined, Asuro slammed the hard paneling into the ice. Once, twice, three times until his ears rang from the clash. Sheets of ice sloughed off, then it became a matter of scraping away the remains to reveal a smaller terminal and input.

"This should fit," he murmured before fetching the cabling.

No more set up beyond this should be required once the console and tower were connected. After that, it was down to Taal to take care of the visible damage to the communication array.

Asuro slotted the cable into the tower's input. Immediately, the console flared to life. It all seemed... fine, actually. The connection was recognized and accepted. Asuro shot to his feet with a triumphant shout, scurrying around to the other side of the tower where the bulk of the group was waiting.

"Taal, once you've got those antennas straightened out, we should be good to go. The signal will go through automatically. I think."
 

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[Under communications tower with Asuro Dipper Dipper Denis, Nines BlueFlameNikku BlueFlameNikku and co.]


With the go-ahead from Asuro and Nines in position, all that was left for Taal was to actually make the jump.

Despite being the one to make the suggestion, Taal all at once felt what could only be described as stage fright.

Taking a deep breath, the Lurmen took a few steps back and lowered himself down, low enough that his chin was almost brushing against the snow. His eyes tracked up and down, gauging the distance as he sucked in one last lungful of frozen air. Then, with a grit of his teeth, Taal launched himself forward, bounding with all the energy that limbs afforded him. When he was only a scant few feet from Nines, the diminutive Initiate coiled his muscles tight, and jumped.

A cloud of snow blew out from where his feet left the ground, and Taal adeptly adjusted his limbs mid-flight. He hung briefly in the air before landing upon the almost ice-cold armour of Nines’; shoulder and, before he lost momentum, coiled his muscles tight before jumping again. For the span of a breath the world became little more than a white and grey blur. Taal squinted his eyes against the harsh rush of air, trying to keep his focus on the exposed section of communications tower. To his immense shock, it was rushing closer much faster than anticipated. He flailed his arms up, and rather haphazardly managed to grip the exposed bar, his body swinging as he came to an abrupt stop.

Well...that had gone better than expected. He hadn’t even needed the extra boost from the Force to make it. Still, he now had to actually make the ascent.

With a brief shout of thanks over his shoulder (which he suspected was probably swallowed by the wind anyway), Taal began to carefully put one hand over the other.

His progress was slow. While the tower itself was sturdy and places to grip and climb were plentiful, the constant fear of slipping on the ice-covered metal slowed Taal’s pace. It didn’t help that the tower felt absolutely frigid to the touch; Taal’s fingers started to go completely numb after only a few feet, and the Lurmen could feel his whole-body shivering as he climbed higher and higher. The air, already harsh and chilly was now joined with increasingly strong winds as Taal climbed. Taal bit the inside of his cheek as an mental image of him simply being blown from the tower entirely filled his mind, before he forced himself to focus on climbing.

Despite his slow speed and constant worry, Taal soon found himself at the tower’s zenith, and unsteadily pulled himself to get a good look at the problem.

The thick metal of the antenna was all bent in one direction, suggesting some sort of extreme weather condition might have been responsible for its damage – it could have even been a storm similar to the one heading towards them right at this moment. In addition, it’s base was sagging to one side and slightly twisted against the tower, though the fact it was still stubbornly clinging to the structure at all was a testament to the high quality of its construction. There wasn’t really a position for Taal to climb up to the antenna itself, and even if he could he doubted he’d have the physical strength to move it back into position.

Still, that was of little consequence; Taal hadn’t intended to have to physically straighten the things with his hands.

Taal pulled himself up to as close to very top of the tower as he could while still maintaining a good grip. When he was sure of his position, he slowed his breaths, the great cloud of mist from his mouth decreasing to tiny puffs of air. He let all his thoughts steadily fade into the back of his mind, followed swiftly by the image of the world around him. The slicing wind and howling gale gradually softened to Taal’s ears, until only his buffeted fur remained to prove its existence. Tightening his hold on the tower, Taal lifted one had free, pointed his palm up to the antenna, and concentrated.

The storm of snow around him all at once shifted. It’s course remained the same, but now it spun around the Lurmen, as if he was generating his own field of energy, blowing it back.

Taal could feel the flow of something inexplicable washing over and through him. Like a wave that passed over him as gentle as a breeze with the potential as powerful as a typhoon. It glided over his fur and spun in his veins.

That feeling slowly, slowly, reached out and touched all around him. The air and snow, the wind, even the cold metal of the tower. The deep energy touched and moved through it all, like everything in the world was connected and whole. Even from all the way up on the tower, Taal could almost feel the presence of his friends and the Clones below, almost like a sense he never knew he had called out to him.

Taal did not know what it meant to be close to the Force – from his humble position as an Initiate, he could only scratch the surface of what such a grand idea implied. However, to quiet his mind so completely, to feel the energy of life in the swirling snow and the frozen air, and to feel that same energy’s ebb and flow travel through him…Taal imagined this was what being truly at peace must feel like.

He didn’t will the metal to move, so much as he pushed and pulled the energy all around it until it’s body buckled and shook. The metal let out a whine as it was slowly forced back into it’s proper shape, the ice along it’s surface cracking and plummeting free. Taal features scrunched up, something inside him twisting along with the metal. It wasn’t a physical or mental strain, but something felt like he was exerting a lot of energy to move the antenna.

Thankfully, after only a few seconds, the metal snapped back into place, and Taal finally let himself breath again. It had been fairly simple, though Taal knew that it had been fortunate that the antenna hadn’t been any studier. It wouldn’t have taken much for it to have been too much for the Initiate to move. Still, the important thing was that he had succeeded. After a few seconds to admire his handiwork and catch his breath, Taal began to traverse back down the tower. It proved a lot simpler to go down than to go upwards, since he more or less let himself drop from one handhold to the next.

The last drop proved a little trickier than the rest of the descent, however. In the same way there weren’t any good handholds to start from, there wasn’t anything he could use to grip on his way down. After a few moments of thought, Taal looked to a relatively clear patch of ground, and leapt. Squinting his eyes against the rush of air, Taal focused on aiming his limbs to the ground, and concentrated.

With a brief pull from the Force, Taal felt his fall slow, like a string had pulled against his back briefly and helped slow him. It was only a small burst of Force – something even Initiates learned early – but it helped to control and steady his descent.

Evidently not enough, since he still managed to stumble upon land, falling face-first into a snowdrift. For one brief moment, there was a perfectly Taal-shaped hole in the snow, before the Lurmen popped out with cough and splutter.

“I-I’m okay! I’m fine!” Shaking the snow from his fur, Taal rather quickly tried to divert attention away from his mortified self with, “A-are the communications working?”
 

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Babysitting wasn't quite what Strafe had been looking forward to, no matter how competent these Jedi appeared to be. He was a Regimental Commander, not a 'sitter, but if it got him away from Twitch's whinging, then he'd be damned if he passed up the assignment.

A small group was assembled from the Commander's recommendations. Storm, who'd been eagerly prepping a LAAT/i in anticipation for this very moment, and one of Kip's boys lent on the promise that Strafe would alert him whenever they found a worthwhile ship. The other three troopers he'd sourced from within his own regiment, although the youngest - Kicker, he was sure - was adamant about staying as far as possible from either Jedi. That suited Strafe just fine, so long as he did his job. They gathered around the LAAT/i to ready their kits, pensive and perhaps a bit anxious.

Walking through the halls, Lahsan pulled her coms up on her armor. "Stella, I'm about to take a small contingent of clones out to search the graveyard for an acceptable ship. We are assembling in the hangar. Taaks Out." She said. A few more minutes of walking and she was soon at the hangar. She walked inside and then stopped to scan. It was bustling with activity, but she pinpointed on a group of clones prepping an LAAT. That was probably her group.

She approached the LAAT before talking. "Knight Lahsan Taaks reporting. Are you the lucky ones who are braving the cold with me? If so, I hope you prepped your cold weather gear. It is colder than a Sith's scrotum out there." She said as she cracked a big smile.

Strafe stood to attention, and the rest of the troupe followed. "At your service, Knight Taaks. I'm Regimental Commander CC-3772, but you can call me Strafe. A pleasure."

A loud, boisterous laugh burst forth from Strafe, who promptly wrapped his arms around his front to maintain his composure. Or, most of it. Hopefully he'd get out of this mission with his professionalism intact. "That it is, General. Commander won't let me haze the shinies, but..." he glanced back at the bewildered trio of mostly unmarked troopers, watching him warily. "The cold'll have to do."

"Jus' a few more calibrations and we can head out," Storm called from the cockpit. "Give me a moment."

Denis, at least he had the guts to stand up for Taal, he may have left thinking Stella was heartless to the week, but that didn't bother her. She had her beliefs, and she knew what they were. Stella glared at the clones who commented on how heartwarming the moment was. She appreciated Taal said he would meditate on her words. The Jedi mustn't cower in these time, they must stay strong and show others that strength. A steel wall and better then one may of paper.

She saw the clones gathering at the LAAT and received her message from Knight Lahsan. Stella smiled and walked over to join the recently arrived Knight and the clones. They stood at attention waiting for orders, she admittedly liked that. "Knight Shay reporting for duty. Nice to have you along for the mission Knight Taaks." Hearing her joke Stella wasn't amused. Strafe laughing seemed almost forced. "Hilarious." She said sarcastically.

Lahsan could sense the sarcasm and unamusement from her compatriot. She turned to face Stella, and smiled. A real genuine smile. She was happy. She gets to lead a group of clones on a mission, and they aren't going to...try...to kill her. It is something she has always dreamed of. "Eh...It wasn't my best work. I'm getting better. Besides, you are very warm. Not cold at all." She said. Turning back to the troops. "Strafe, I'm going to grab my coat from the command center. I want to be in the air as soon as I get back." She said, before turning and walking through the hangar to the hall. Stopping just before going through the doorway she turned again, looking at the group. She spoke into her com. "Uhhh. Strafe. How do you get to the command center from here?"

This would be... interesting. Strafe nodded to the second Jedi respectfully. "Ma'am." How awkward. Then again, these weren't exactly conventional Jedi. "Understood, General. We'll be ready to go by the time you're back."

Storm tapped on the glass of the cockpit to let Strafe know his calibrations were nearly done, which left Strafe and the troopers alone with another Jedi to acquaint themselves with. He snapped his fingers and pointed toward the trooper farthest from them, gesturing for him to come closer. "Recoil, right? Commander wants a full review of the sensor scans. See if you can find anything... larger than scraps."

Recoil shrugged and nodded and accepted the datapad offered to begin his search.

"Down the hall, ma'am," Strafe said. "First door on the right."

Stella did a half smirked, she wouldn't laugh but that joke landed. Strafe nodded to Stella and she nodded back as she would remain courteous with the squad leader. Stella watched Lahsan walk off to retrieve her coat. Stella was now left alone with these peo...clones she refuse to trust.

After a long silence she broke it. "Tell me. Do you clones remember your previous Jedi Commander? You clones are surprising lively after just exiting Cryo." She expected them to take longer to acclimate but these clones were ready to go. "Must be depressing hearing the Republic your fought for has fallen twice while you slept. Knowing your brothers killing the very Jedi who trusted them."

Knight Shay was interested in their reactions. To see if there were anything more to these clones then just mindless soldiers. Stella remained stoic as she spoke to them.

“General Ilaren,” Strafe intoned, arms crossed, and offered no further explanation. “The Ninth is happy we’re still around to fight, that’s all. Better to keep pushing forward so you don’t get distracted by the scenery.”

Behind Strafe, the other clones tensed. One of them shuffled closer, DC-15S held loosely in his arms.

“Sir, Commander Thrice said they didn’t have a choice.” The trooper’s voice was apprehensive, almost agitated. “Is it still betrayal if someone made them do it?”

It took a couple of minutes, but Lahsan had finally found the command center. Then it took another minute to find her coat, which had been moved off the console from which she tossed it. Due to the fact that the command center was now staffed and operating. Holding her coat in her arms, she made her way back to the hangar.

The tension was palpable. Approaching the group, she heard the discussion. "Kriff, I could sense the tension from the command center. Stella, they didn't have a choice. If you are going to hold that against them, then should I hold the fact that you are a former sith, against you? This road of prejudice you are walking down, is not a positive one."

Turning to Strafe she said, "I said I wanted to be ready to leave when I got back, so let's lock and load. Didn't your legion come to this snow ball on a Venator-class cruiser? If so, shouldn't it be around here somewhere?" She asked as she put her coat on and hopped up into the LAAT.

The response of the clones were one of irritation. For some reason seeing that was reassuring. She heard Knight Taaks coming to the rescue the clones. Knight Taask brought up a fair point about Stella's own past. "Airing my dirty laundry now Taaks? I'm just hazing these clones. Nothing malicious, I promise." She shrugged and proceeded to speak. "And you know I couldn't care less what someone thinks of me. These clones will simply have to earn my respect."

Strafe and his men collectively froze. He held out his hand to soothe the men behind him, and gestured for them to board the gunship. She’d said former Sith-- Strafe was willing to respect that. For now. The Commander would need to hear of it.

“If it’s still operational, it shouldn’t be far from the base. After all these years... The Venator wouldn’t have been fielded if it weren’t resilient. We’ll take care of it, General.”

“Gunship’s ready to go, Sirs.”

With that Strafe and his men boarded the ship, and they were off soon after.
 

AceSorcerer

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The Jedi Consular scratched gently at his chin, looking to his comrades before rubbing the bridge of his nose, pondering to himself as he listened to the plans of the other two Jedi Knights when he felt an itch at the back of his neck, but disregarded it as he folded his arms as he addressed the former Sith initially. "Before we do anything else, I think we should point out that scaring or cowing our Initiates isn't going to be of any help to them. Stella, they already have issues with confidence and they're probably somewhat shaken given that their Initiate Trials are going to be coming any day now. The last thing we need while searching for a way off this ice-ball is to deal with a Force-user having a nervous breakdown. Strength is important, yes, but it's not the be-all-end-all of the Force, especially not at this stage of their training. But, still, let us know what you find when you find it. We just need something that can jump to hyperspace and get out near a repair station. I'll check on the Initiates and the communication center, I'll have an update send out as things develop. May the Force be with you."

And with that, Ishua excused himself and began making his way back to the communications center when he paused, feeling something odd. He closed his eyes for a moment and went deeper into his breathing before walking forward again, reaching out to feel what he could feel was some kind of disruption in the Force. Of course, he soon came to realize that it was not a disruption at all. It was one of the Initiates tapping deep into the wellspring around them, bonding with the Force itself. It brought a small smile to his face as he went into the actual center, seeing some clones making any repairs his Initiates had missed and getting the systems in the best order possible while Rusty still messed around with the central console. A few moments after the movement in the Force had calmed down, the red-domed astromech droid began beeping excitedly, spinning his dome to look at his old friend directly to share the news.

"Easy, Rusty, easy- I can't understand a word you're saying! Slow down."

"Beep thweeeet! Woo-wooo, tweep doo!"


"It's online? Can you send a message? How about a holocomm vid?"

"Bzzzzt dwoop. Dweee blip boop."

"Alright, we'll try when they have that online. How long of a message can we get through?"

"Dthwee, beep."

"Better than I expected. Can you directly transcribe a message I dictate and send it through?"

"Dwoop!"

"Alright, here goes... 'Priority Alpha Communication, Enlightenment ID 1055-3088. Jedi Knight Ishua Ken of Recovery Cell One. Location: Endymion Base, Ithal. We've arrived on Ithal and opened the Old Republic base. Friendly contingent of active clone troopers and droids found within. Ice storm to cover the planet in one standard week. Request immediate supplies and ships for mass evacuation of approximately nine thousand three hundred individuals. Further information will be relayed as comms ability increased. Initial report to follow within twelve standard hours. Respond immediately. End communication.' You got all that, Rusty?"

"Thwee, beep boop. Bzzzt click dwee dwee?"


"I can't say if they can, but here's hoping. If Stella and Lashan can't find something or a group of somethings that at least have working back-up hyperdrives, we'll be in trouble."

"Dweeee! Dwoo-boop, blip dzzzt?"

"I'm sure they'll be fine, they know how to keep out of... actually, let me rephrase that. They know very well how to get out any trouble that they start."

"Beep boop boop, click."


"Me too, buddy. All we can do now is to wait to hear back from the Conclave." Once that was all said and done, Ishua pulled out his comlink, contacting the Initiates with a small smile on his face. "Well done, boys! Whatever you did, we were able to get the first message through across our frequency. Make a quick patrol around the perimeter and come inside for a quick rest. Ishua out."
 
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BlueFlameNikku

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Denis watched on with a soft smile as Asuro and Taal worked their magic. With Asuro's old tech knowledge and Taal's climbing ability this task would be trivial. Admittedly some worries would spring up once Taal had reached the top of the tower; the true size of the bent antenna revealed thanks to the furry Jedi's own size in comparison. Those doubts vanished when Denis felt Taal utilize the Force in order to position the antenna. The blonde crossed his arms and sported a cheerful grin while he looked upwards. "Nice one Taal." He said to himself. Who was he kidding though really. If he'd tried that himself the antenna would have more likely snapped in half, bent in a new direction or just not move at all. A self loathing sigh escaped his lips at the thought.

Seeing that Taal was getting down rather easily, Denis turned his attention to the console somewhat hovering over Asuro passively. That is until the light impact of fur against piled snow caused the initiate to see his peer covered in snow from the stumbled fall. His heart rate jumped but calmed as it was clear that Taal's only pain was the slight sting of embarrassment. With Ishua's compliment on a job well done and fresh orders coming in Denis responded for the group back to Ishua. "Understood. We'll radio in if anything happens, out." After that Denis patted Asuro's shoulder and sighed. "Guess we get to play in the snow for awhile longer."

The blonde approached the Sergeant that accompanied them. "We've gotta carry out a short patrol around the facility before heading back inside. It's probably better if you take the lead on this, Sergeant." Nines looked over in thought. "Are you sure commander?" Now it was Denis' turn to be puzzled. "Commander?" He searched his brain for what seemed like a solid minute or two before he slammed his palm against his forehead. "Oh! I should...yeah I need to make this clear. Um...I'm not a padawan; neither are they." He said gesturing specifically to Asuro and Taal. "So we aren't really in any position to lead you." Each clone in the squad turned and looked almost in unison at this reveal. They each spoke to one another softly enough to not be heard by the Sergeant or the Jedi.

Oddy: "Are we-
Dytto: "Babysitting?"


Jink: "They don't look like, what'd they call them...younglings?"
Quicks: "But isn't that blonde one old enough to be a general?"

With doubtful remarks popping up Corporal Bricks spoke out through the squad's comms. His slow and deliberate monotone voice catching their attention. "We all started off as shinies." Enough was said. The chatter died instantly and the doubts were squashed. Bricks once against acted as the anchor that kept the squad grounded. Nines piped up responding to Denis. "Very well. In that case you three should start taking notes if you ever plan on leading clones into battle." He spoke with a deep sense of pride that resinated with the rest of Kilo Squad. Each of them standing up from their positions as if they were answering an unspoken call. The blonde initiate couldn't help but feel a bit intimidated from the sight but he was excited to step up to the challenge. "Bricks Demo will take point, Oddy and Dytto, guard our rear. Everybody else take up positions in the middle; I want double single file so keep it tight. Move out!"

Kilo Squad: "Yes sir!"
 

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[Outside the base, with Asuro Dipper Dipper Denis BlueFlameNikku BlueFlameNikku and Kilo squad]


Taal had barely asked after the communications, when all three of the Initiates’ commlinks lit up, the clear voice of Knight Ken crackling through.

"Well done, boys! Whatever you did, we were able to get the first message through across our frequency. Make a quick patrol around the perimeter and come inside for a quick rest. Ishua out."

Taal let out a sigh of relief, the breath turning to a cloud of mist around his head. At the very, very least they would not be left completely isolated from the Enlightenment, and now the Masters would be aware of the situation. Even if other complications arose in the meantime, at least the matter of the Clones awakening was something the Jedi Council could consider and be prepared for. Taal didn’t have the head for understanding how much impact this might have, but he was sure this couldn’t be seen as anything but good news.

Following that, there was brief exchange between Denis and the Clones; Taal felt the fur on the back his neck raise slightly as, following Denis clarifying that none of the three Jedi present were in any position to be in command, the air filled with concerned mutterings.

The wind stole any definite words, but the Lurmen definitely felt a certain tension build in the air, . The black vizors of the Clones helmets hid their eyes, but Taal got the distinct impression that he, Asuro and Denis were being looked at with a palpable level of scepticism. Taal himself felt his right-hand clench and unclench at his side, eyes darting back and forth. He was beginning to wonder if being alone with the Clones without one of the Knights present was such a good idea…

However, as soon as it appeared, the moment passed. The Clones, in a single wave, seemed to relax and stand more at ease. Soon, they were getting organised to make the patrol around the base as if there hadn’t been doubt in the air at all. Taal blinked, thoroughly confused as to what could be so potent as to reassure such a harden group of soldiers so effectively, but he merely shook his head of the thought. There was clearly a lot left for him to discover about these Clones.

While the Clones were getting ready to begin the patrol around the base, Taal took a second to examine just what kind of terrain they could look forward to marching around. The deep, freezing snow probably would prove something of a pain to walk through; even Taal, who was used to wading through snow, wasn’t exactly looking forward to spending too much time in these conditions. Likewise, while the windchill (while a lot less brutal here on the ground) was still fairly biting, and promised to make the patrol as uncomfortable as it could. However, in all honesty, the thing that Taal thought would be the most unpleasant was probably the visuals that would be accompanying them every step of the way.

Taal hadn’t managed to get a good look when they had first arrived, still be somewhat mortified by his harrowing experience on the flight over, but Ithal’s horizons were distinctly disquieting. The remains of capital ships, the dilapidated hulls of carriers, and the rusting hollow bodies of thousands of ships the Lurmen didn’t have a name for dotted out in the far distance, looming over already huge cliffs. Silhouetted against the clear blue sky, the dismantled spacecrafts gave an impression like colossal gravestones, like titanic final markers of something incomprehensibly grand. In some ways, Taal supposed morbidly, they were: frozen remnants to an era long since passed, perhaps the last piece of physical evidence the Old Republic had ever existed.

…Taal, as subtly as he could, craned his neck up around, studying the Clones around him. Took in the way the men’s armour, dented and faded from battle and use, still shone with a certain perseverance that only a supremely maintained piece of equipment could. Taal reflected that the armour could very well be twice as old as he was, and the man wearing it could technically be even older…

…Well, maybe those ships weren’t the last piece of evidence…

Taal blinked, coming back to the present to find himself having naturally gravitated to under Asuro’s shadow. If he was going to be wandering across some frozen waste for an extended period of time, he supposed that it would be best to do it next to someone he was at least familiar with. And, now that Taal thought about it, there was something that Asuro might be able to clarify for him. The Chiss did always have a better head for ships and the like than Taal.

“Hey, Asuro, can I ask you something?” Taal’s tail flicked slightly as he walked, an unconscious tick of concern. “Now that we can communicate with the Enlightenment, do you there’s any chance they can just…send a ship to pick us up? I know that it’s probably not that simple – there are a lot of Clones to consider, but…”

Taal looked off to the horizon, brows creasing, as if he would see the snow storm that was still days away come storming over the nearby cliffs.

“Well, I think we’d all prefer to be off this planet sooner rather than later, correct?”
 

Dipper

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Asuro rose from his crouched position by the console when the message came through. Well, that was one thing off their task list. He was glad to have helped, and straightened with pride at the praise.

"We will be padawans," he pointed out, butting rather unceremoniously into the conversation. "Um, soon, I think. If the Council agrees. We helped a lot, that should count for something!"

If they got off-world, and if the council saw this operation as a success and worth of the promotion. He had his hopes.

The clones worked together as one cohesive unit, just as he'd seen on the vids all those years ago. One mind in many bodies, assessing and reacting and moving as one as if the training was in their very blood, like they were... like they were made for it. Clones had a propensity for syncing up perfectly even under stress, an impressive sight to see in their worn armor against the snow, moving fluidly with all the confidence of a hunter in its element. Not unlike a child watching their childhood heroes in action, Asuro watched with rapt attention when the group began their trek around the base.

Clones they may be, they had a uniqueness about them in both appearance and the way they moved. And then there was that underlying feeling, an idea in his mind's eye that pervaded each trooper. Even to the Force they were special in their own ways, not at all the faceless automaton copies the old propaganda posters implied them to be. Somehow, that only made his appreciation for them all the stronger.

Delving into the Force was easier each time. Like a warm current, the brink of sleep, maybe a comforting thought he couldn't let go of. His mind traveled elsewhere while his senses expanded, hyper aware, and oftentimes the experience was so intense that pulling out of it was a shock and opening up again was a cautious endeavor.

Taal spoke before he could venture too deep.

"If the Enlightenment knows what's good for them, they'll spare a couple ships. I don't think they have any cruisers to spare. But... maybe we'll find one here. Or several," Asuro mused, shoving his hands into his thick coat, evidently uninterested in scouting out the base's surroundings when there was so much more to be done. He nodded in agreement. "Before that storm hits." He shivered. "If it's fast, I'll live with the limited space."

Ithal's sky had noticeably darkened since they arrived now. If he listened carefully, the faint, fragile rumblings of an oncoming storm could be heard, building momentum and strength as they grew closer. The smooth durasteel of the base bore scars from previous storms; deep gouges in the metal, scrapes, and shallow depressions that implied there had been multiple rough storms during the past few hundred years that the base had more or less endured well enough, but the inhabitants? The base wasn't designed to accommodate active organic personnel, and the limited supplies indicated they'd only been intended to support the troops for a limited time until they were assigned and transported elsewhere.

From what he could gather, the base was more like a storage facility than an actual base, and with the Republic out of the picture, there were no plans to be seen regarding the actual transport of these clones. They must have arrived somehow, but the odds of the ship being present and in working condition were low. Perhaps a sizable ship still remained, and if it did, it had been hundreds of years since it had received maintenance. How long would it take to repair before it became pointless?

Asuro hid his grimace in the collar of his coat before putting on a smile for Taal. "We'll figure something out."

As they rounded a corner, Asuro bounded ahead toward an overhang that must have once shielded a second entrance, now buried under the ice. He yanked free an icicle, and brandished it at the rest of the group as one would a lightsaber, making up in exuberance what he lacked in form.

"Do you think Knight Ken would let me take one of these with us? Just one."
 

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The doors closed, and the non familiar humm of the LAAT took over. The hangar opened, and the ship pushed out into the cold. "You are right, Stella. We will have to earn their respect, and they will have to earn ours.. but you weren't doing a good job of that with your antagonizing. I trust you with my life, Stella. I trust these men with my life as well, or I wouldn't have climbed into this ship with them. However, they haven't earned my respect yet, nor have I theirs. I trust them because of their ability." She pulled her coat tight, as the cold began to cut into the ship. "Put us down near the entrance to the Venator. If any of you have any questions at all about what the kriff happened for 300 years, just ask. I know you do. I would if I were in your position."

Strafe made no comment, and the rest of the troopers were equally as silent. There was a history here that none of them were interested in delving into. Over a ridge of ice was their Venator, and only then did one of the men speak up.

“So the sith really are back? What happened to the droids?” He paused. “... How many Jedi got away...?”

“We’ll be coming up on the Venator in a few minutes,” Storm called from the cockpit. “Hang in there.”

Her fellow Knight had a fair point. She wouldn't go as far to say 'trust them with her own life' but she was sure they were more useful then a cheaply mass produced droid. Respecting these clones would take some proving first. She was taught clones weren't really people, not worthy of respect. Granted this came from an old Jedi who never met one in his life. A bitter old Jedi.

As the LAAT cruised towards the Venator, Strafe asked a few questions. Stella chuckled. "Of course the Sith are back. I have the scars to prove it. I'm grateful my father never decided to scar my pretty face. I remember those droids you fought all those years were quickly dismantled. They were just a means to an end." Stella cracked her neck once she finished talking. The cold always made her joints stiff.

"I can't tell you much about those Jedi who survived. They were either lucky or skilled to avoid the butchering they received. To bad Lord Vader came for them soon after."

Lahsan listened in as Stella gave a quick rundown. "The pretty faced one is right, but that is just the super short story. Oh...I'm also glad your father decided not to scar your pretty face. Anyway, Palpatine was a Sith Lord, Darth Sidious. The original attack on Naboo was orchestrated by him to gain power. He was then elected Chancellor. His Sith apprentice was Count Dooku, who was leading the confederation. Every move was calculated to gain more influence and power. He was controlling both sides. When Dooku was killed, he sprung the trap. Sidious turned one of the strongest Masters to the dark side, and he became Darth Vader. Vader was sent to Mustafar, where he killed every leader of the Trade Federation, While Sidious declared the Republic was now the Empire, and had the Jedi branded as traitors. The order was given and the clones turned on the Jedi. The war was over. Well, the war was just a ruse for Sidious to gain power, since he was controlling both sides."

She took a deep breath and continued.

"You could count the amount of Jedi that got away on your hands. Grandmaster Yoda, Master Kenobi, and Kanan Jarus were just a few. Ahsoka Tano also survived, but she wasn't a Jedi. She left the order. Not every Jedi was hunted down by Vader. Vader tried and failed to kill Ahsoka." Lahsan reached down and ran her hands across her Lightsaber hilts. "She was my Great grandmother. These were her lightsabers. She forged them. They crossed blades with Darth Maul, Vader, and Inquisitors to name a few. Master Yoda trained a new Jedi, Vader's son. Ahsoka actively helped the Rebellion. The rebels ended up defeating the Empire. Vader's Son began training a new group to become Jedi. That is most closely related to how the Jedi now take after." She said. They were probably getting close to the ship now. Lahsan wanted to tell them more, but she gave them the short version in the time alotted.

“Tano? That was General Skywalker’s apprentice, wasn’t she?”

“Yeah, yeah, I remember her. She--”

Before the trooper could say anything else, Strafe interrupted. "Turned a master, just like that? That’s...”

It was a lot to take in. They murmured among themselves.

“None of it mattered, did it? The Chancellor...” That was, perhaps, the hardest part to swallow. The whole time it’d been the Chancellor? Right in front of them? “So many men gone because of a power grab” He snorted in disgust. “The Jedi should've known better. That’s what I think. Not blamin’ any of you, but... Kriff sake, what were they thinking? I never thought Jedi could be so blind.”

The first trooper spoke up again. “At least we can try again. These new Sith can’t be too bad, right?”

The LAAT shook, slowing. Wind whistled against the hull as it set down in the flattest patch of snow Storm could find, not far from the Venator. The massive cruiser sat half submerged in the snow. Ice crept up along its flanks, and years of storms had taken their toll on its armored hull. The gunship’s doors slid open and the trooper following Strafe stepped out into the cold to take point. Nothing lived this far out, but it was wise to be cautious anyway.

Listening to Knight Taaks give a deeper run down on the rise of the Sith 300 year ago. Taaks knew the War and its aftermath well. Her grandmother, Master Ahsoka Tano was a well respected Jedi even today, following more in the gray then either light or dark. Stella struggled with darkness, the anger she kept locked and key, making sure she never let her thirst for revenge cloud her judgement. To stay in the light, to block off her emotions took training and focus, expressing itself with cold demeanor.

When the LAAT shook before landing she readied herself for the could. She snapped her googles on and covered her head her heavy hood. Stella was ready since they left the base. She didn't know what to expect out there beside chilling winds and snow. The Clone troopers stepped out the LAAT and immediately took point. Formation was flawless, did it better then most Confederacy's troops. Stella followed them, hand ready to snatch her saber from off her belt encase of danger.

Stella looked towards the Venator, they were as massive as ever. "This is going to take awhile. Hearing up Taask, I wanna get back to base. Far to cold out here for my liking." She yelled into the back to her fellow Knight. She walked with the Clones, letting them take them lead in this salvage mission. "I'll let you clones take lead. I'll keep an eye on our rear."

She hopped out of the LAAT behind everyone. Not wanting to be last, but of course wanting to be first, she force leaped to the front. Adding little flip for a bit of embilishment, she turned and gave Stella a wink, instead of responding to her comment.

"How do we get into this thing? I doubt many of the doors and hatches are accessible. Even if they are, the ship probably doesn't have power to open them. I can cut in, but that's more repairs to do later. What's the consensus?"

Strafe stepped forward, pulling a pair of macrobinoculars from his belt to scope out the Venator. Dead, for all he could see, and sealed tight, until he swept his binoculars over the ship's dorsal side. From this distance, the hangar doors appeared tightly shut. Upon closer inspection, Strafe found that they'd been wedged open, just enough for them to slip through if they could scale the Venator's side.

He thanked the stars it was so easy.

"We might have a way inside," he said, passing the binoculars to the engineer. "We can enter through the hangar passage, because it looks like the doors are open. I can't imagine the state of the hangar after all this time."

The engineer passed the binoculars back. "It's better than cutting through the ship. Uh, but it was a fine enough idea, sir."

Strafe nodded and turned to face both Jedi. "There's your consensus, Generals. Let's go."

"That hanger has been open for over 300 years? Let alone that its probably full of snow, any manner of creature could be living in there." Stella wasn't against going through that area, she was concern for what could be lurking in there. She looked towards Strafe and nodded her head in approval. "Given all that, i'd rather enter through there then try to cut our way in with light sabers."

"Cut the Dwang. I don't want you kissing up to my exhaust port. If it is a good idea, say so. If it isn't, say so. Honesty is important. Might save your life the next time your commanding officer gets a little full of themselves." She said to the engineer. Refocusing on the ship she began walking towards the hangar door, which was a good ways away.

"Well, only 1 way to find out. I kind of hope their is some hostile fauna in there. I want some action! Stella, move those pretty legs!" She teased, just as Stella had done so to her earlier getting off the ship.

The engineer recoiled but nodded. “Yessir.”

Their trek toward the ship was slow with the snow deepening the closer they grew. This is where they'd have to climb. Not especially perilous, but Strafe had never been much of a climber to begin with.

"Up we go then," he said. The troopers fired lines that hooked onto the Venator's edge and tugged them taught before they began their ascent.

Stella walked along side Knight Taaks, smiling at her comment. Taaks was okay, Stella didn't mind her as much as she thought she would. The Clones weren't as bad either, they were still just numbers to her in the end. "Knight Taask, does it not bother you that they call you Sir? Call me sensitive but It's...disrespectful." The irony wasn't lost one time Sith turned Jedi Knight.

Their march through the snow was a relatively short in distance yet it remained tedious. The long slow steps, freezing wind, and she Stella thinks snow somehow got in her boot, so now she was a little irritated, but no one would be able to tell. Once getting close enough, the clones fired their lines up to the Venator's edge. "If no one minds, I'd like to go up first. Manners and what not." She said walking forward and taking a free line from a clone and proceeded with her own ascent.

Stella climbed the Venator's edge, tightly gripping the rope and used her legs to keep her steady as she walked her legs the ship's side. Once reaching the top, Stella waited for the others to come up, not wanting to rush ahead alone.

"No, it really doesn't. Sir...Ma'am...it honestly makes no difference to me. As long as they know I'm more female than they will be able handle, I don't care." She gave a bit of a grin, in response. "I'm not one for the protocol anyway. Respect isn't earned by calling someone sir. It is by doing your job well, and giving everything for the team."

They arrived at the ship. The troopers fired these awesome hooks up to the top. "Ok, I need to get one of those." She mumbled. Stepping up to Strafe she said, "I'll be borrowing your line." Then jumped up and grabbed ahold. It would have been fun to try and scale the side of the ship with just some picks. Alas, she didn't have those, or the time. Climbing quickly, she made it to the top after Stella. Looking at the open hangar door, a wicked idea came to her. "Strafe, pop a flare into the hangar for me, please. Stella, don't wait up." She said before running and jumping over the edge. Performing a flip, and dropping through the gap between the door and ship. She hit the hangar door, and began sliding down towards the hangar below. Picking up speed on the snowy and icy metal. Waiting for the flare to light up the hange, she focused on keeping body under control during the slide.

Pretty soon the hangar lit up to reveal....nothing. Just a small layer of ice. Nearing the bottom of the large hangar door, she used the force again. Landing on her feet she skated to the door, stopping just before it. "That was anticlimactic. I was hoping for some giant creature to kill while skating across the floor. Oh well." Looking back, the squad had begun their descent. It wasn't long before the flare went out, and the squad reached her.

"... Alright."

Strafe had seen Jedi perform great feats of acrobatics. Had the cold worn them down so quickly? He made no comment and followed the Jedi up the rope, and when he reached the top, he pulled out a flare and rolled it down into the open hangar before making his way down. The rest of the troopers joined him only minutes later, and together they scouted out the hangar.

Inside, the air was frigid, and a fine layer of hard ice coated the floors and made it difficult to maintain balance.

"If the ship still has power..." the engineer trailed off as he knelt in front of the twin doors leading from the hangar. "Then I can just... I've got this."

Strafe had never had the patience for the tech side of things. He stepped back toward the rest of his troopers, who'd just finished their search of the hangar and were now positioned by the doors, blasters ready. The engineer slammed his fist into the controls and the doors slide open with a rattle.

Clear. Incredibly dark. How eerie. Strafe pulled aside the engineer and another trooper. "Get down to the engines, see what's going on. The rest of us will head to the bridge. I'll call you when I need you."

The troopers both saluted and headed off down one of the corridors they all knew so well. That left Strafe with two remaining, and together, they pushed on ahead.

Stella rolled her eyes at her fellow knight, she just wanted to be flashy. "Don't forget about the cartwheel next time." she mention sarcastically. She entered the Venator with Strafe and the clones. The frosted layer over the floor of the ship didn't make it easier to stand, thankfully her boots were no longer calf deep in snow.

Stella stood back and let the clone engineers do their work, eventually forcing the door to open. Maybe their engineers could learn a few things from them. "3772, we could use your engineers as trainers for our own. Ours aren't bad, but they could be better, much better." Strafe broke off a piece of his men and sent them to start repair on the engines.

"I'll escort your men. Keep those eyes open." She followed them through the darkness towards the engine room. She didn't want them to be blindsided by some creature that might be lurking around this old ship's halls.

"Oh, sure, sir. We can show them a thing or two."

There was no time to waste. The groups split, with Strafe and his troopers heading down the adjacent hallway toward the ladder shaft leading to the bridge. Naught but the sound of crinkling frost beneath their boots could be heard in the derelict, bolstering Strafe’s rising paranoia. These dead ships had that effect-- he hoped those engineers finished quickly.

Strafe said into his comm. “Everything’s fine down here, Storm. Oh! And let Kip know we’ve got a nice one waitin’ for him.”

After storm’s confirmation came through, Strafe moved to help pry open the bridge doors, and followed on their heels as they fanned out inside. Securing the area came first, then damage inspection to check if the Venator’s main controls were functional enough for their needs. The ship’s heart was just as pristine as it must have been when it’d come off the assembly line, ancient durasteel shimmering with ice under their headlamps as they passed by the terminals.

“She’s healthy, far as I can see.” He turned to General Taaks, helmet cocked almost imperceptibly. "First time on a Venator, General? Don't worry. They're safe."

Down in the engine room, work was already beginning. The engineer worked diligently, elbows deep in the ship’s innards to the point where his companion felt the need to make a quiet, lewd remark. The engineer ignored him, but threw his fists into the air when the illumination banks lining the walls blared to life. The engines looked no worse for wear, and Kip would surely need to take a good long look at it all, but... it was, at least, alive. For now.

Laughing over the comms., and over the reverberating hum of the ship taking its first few steps back toward the light, Strafe said, “Commander’s gonna love this!”
 
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BlueFlameNikku

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The blonde couldn't help but agree with his Chiss peer. They would be Padawans, someday; hopefully sooner rather than later. But of course only time would tell and that was of course all on what the council decided and Denis had know intentions on holding his breath.

Denis had kept more towards the front of the formation keeping an eye out over the barren, frozen and wrecked ship landscape. Occasionally, he looked back to see Taal and Asuro conversing. Unable to exactly hear what they were discussing the blonde let them be. Aside from catching a cold they weren't in any immediate danger. If any sheer drops would grace their path they'd be for warned. Not to mention Denis couldn't fathom that anything actually lived on this ice rock. Sure Taal came from a really cold climate but this was something else.

Looking over the foreboding landscape only gifted an uneasy feeling. An expanse of frozen twisted metal half buried within snow and ice; a graveyard for metal giants. Even the current sky which Denis usually enjoyed gazing at with its thick clouds merely served as an omen of the storm to come.

Nearing the end of the portal a few gazes fell upon Asuro as he brandished the icicle. Denis replied while rubbing his hands together in a futile attempt to warm them. "I don't see why he'd care if you did." Before he could continue speaking the clones abruptly spoke up.

Quicks: "Multiple bio-signatures approaching fast at our seven!"

Without even needing an order from Sergeant Nines the entire squad turned and pointed their weapons towards the snowy fog. Denis in turn ignited his blue lightsaber and faced the same direction, readying himself. At first numerous growls could be heard piercing through the wind before multiple four legged creatures coated in thick blue and white fur menacingly approached the patrol party. They had long snouts with mouths filled with sharp canines and had four eyes, two on each side of the head. Pointed ears stuck out from the tops of their heads along with bushy tails and long knife like claws adorning their paws. The pack took a half circle like formation ready to pounce towards their latest meal.

It was then that Denis slowly walked towards the middle of the in-circling creatures. A single word left his lips. "WAIT!" He shouted just before he stopped right in front of what he presumed was the leader of the pack judging that it was bigger than the rest that he could see. Sergeant Nines was about to give the order to open fire but held it. Not because it was an order that he now clearly didn't need to follow but because he wanted to see if this these new Jedi were more than just talk. "If they close in any more, engage immediately." He still wanted something in place. It wouldn't look good if a Jedi died on their first mission after cryo after all.

Denis didn't want this confrontation to happen. He knew these creatures would all likely die at the end of it for nothing and the scuffle ran the chance of harming Asuro and Taal. So a risky was set in motion. Back on Corusant whenever Denis found himself corned by a rabid hound or your run of the mill mugger something would happen. He'd stare at them intently and then they'd end up running away. Knowing it was due to his Force affinity later on he wondered if the same thing would work here. Of course now there was more than one hostile creature but on the flip side he was older and more experienced now.

He stared down into the alpha's quad black pupils without blinking doing his best to try and focus on a singular target. His breaths slowed and his constant shivering from the cold lessened. Despite Denis believing that all life should be protected he had no qualms in letting these creatures know that he'd kill them all if that meant protecting the people behind him. He funneled this menacing emotion along with the already foreboding environment surrounding them through himself as if he was a conduit. Then he attempted but failed to direct solely in the direction of the creatures more or less in front of himself. In his failure this menacing presence through the Force instead spread out from himself in all directions to everyone in close proximity. To the clones their heart rates would speed up as if they were in the middle of a fierce battle. Though thanks to their training they remained in control of themselves. Depending on the preparedness of the individual someone being afflicted by this could experience anything from a simple sped up heart rate to a minor panic attack.

Banking on the fact that creatures were more naturally aware of the Force the hope was that this combat could be avoided. After around ten seconds of this some of the creatures showed signs of wavering. A few took slow steps back but continued to snarl while a few even began to whimper but stayed. The alpha continued to stand its ground and raised its paw to take another step. Remembering the Sergeant's last order Denis abruptly stepped one foot forward and yelled loudly in the packs direction. "AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" His focus wavered at this moment which caused that menacing feeling to suddenly spike. All of the creatures immediately whimpered and shook their heads as if they were in pain and quickly fled back into the snowy mists. Thankfully whatever pain Denis seemingly caused the creatures didn't affect those behind him. It was almost like when a trainer blows a dog whistle and only the hounds could hear it.

Fully turned around Denis deactivated his lightsaber and breathed a sigh of relief. Just as he was about to speak however he caught himself stumble, falling to one knee instead of face planting into the snow. Quicks would run over and help Denis back to his after making sure he could. "I'm fine I swear. That just...took more out of me than I thought it would." He assured the squad medic he could walk just fine and gave his fellow initiates a reassuring smile, hiding the worry he had for any discomfort he may have just caused them. Meanwhile Nines peered at Denis with an inquisitive look through his visor, unsure of what to make of what just happened or how to grade it. "Can we get out of the cold now?"

Soon after that the patrol mission was completed with no more surprises and the team made their way back inside the facility for some rest just as Knight Ken said. The initiates would head towards the communications center to rendezvous with Ishua while kilo squad would peel off to assist with other duties.
 

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[The communication center, with Denis BlueFlameNikku BlueFlameNikku Asuro Dipper Dipper , meeting Ishua AceSorcerer AceSorcerer ]


"…If it's fast, I'll live with the limited space."

Taal, after a brief pause, slowly nodded his head in agreement. While the memory of the…less than ideal circumstances for their landing on Ithal was still fresh in his mind, Taal would take any kind of similar circumstances quite happily if it meant getting off the planet quickly.

Asuro fell silent after that for a few moment, the space between the two being filled briefly with the sound of crunching snow and cracking ice. Taal used the moment to glance up, try and parse the lines and creases of Asuro’s expression and find the Chiss’ thoughts. As usual however, the Lurmen found his friend’s ruby red eyes almost impossible to read. He could see the gears turning in Asuro’s head, see the concentration and the focus, but couldn’t even begin to guess at what he was thinking. It was a little troubling, if Taal was fully honest. The fact that, for as long as he had known him, Asuro’s thoughts still remained so far beyond Taal’s own understanding.

…Still, in the end, he was sure that it was nothing to be concerned about. Asuro had always had an unyielding aspect to him that Taal looked up to; he was sure the Chiss was already thinking of ways to improve their situation even from here. Taal’s optimism was seemingly rewarded when Asuro’s expression, after fiddling around with his collar, twisted into a smile.

"We'll figure something out."

Taal mouth spit into a smile of his own, and he inclined his head.

“Yes, of course. I don’t doubt it for a moment.”

Taal let out breath, watching as it coalesced into smoke in front of his face. He could see feel some tension at the back of his skull, lurking like a hungry animal, but talking about his worries with Asuro always helped to put his mind at ease. Their escape from the planet didn’t seem so impossible, as long as of his peers believed it be so.

Their patrol took them around the edge of the base, and Asuro seemed to light up all at once. Charging ahead, he snapped off an icicle off an overhang, and swung it through the air, going through some lightsaber motions.

"Do you think Knight Ken would let me take one of these with us? Just one."

Taal sniggered, briefly shaking his head, before calling out,

“I think he’ll want to master the lightsaber first, Asuro! Afterall, he can’t let you go wandering off with such a ‘dangerous’ weapon. Though I’m sure the Sith are quaking in their boots at the thought of-”

"Multiple bio-signatures approaching fast at our seven!"

Taal jumped in place, gaze snapping around as the Clones moved in one practiced motion, all standing at the ready. The Lurmen’s eyes widened as, from the haze of snow, came guttural growls, and then shadows. Moving like ghosts, huge canine creature stalked forward, clawed paws cleaving through the snow with all the ease of a predator in it’s element.

Taal fumbled with the lightsaber at his side, hands briefly getting caught on his belt before he could finally pull the weapon free and hastily ignite it’s electric blue edge. His heart was starting to race as the animals, growling at the patrol’s readiness, started to spread out into a semi-circle, quad-eyes blazing with challenge.

Taal’s gripped his lightsaber with both hands, teeth gritting slightly. He’d been so damn foolish! He had been so sure that there would be no threats on the planet’s icy surface that he had let his guard down entirely. If it hadn’t been for the Clones, these beasts would have been right on top of them! This wasteland could have been his grave, and all because he put his mind on everything but his surroundings!

Taal’s internal contrition was interrupted as, finally breaking the stare-off between the two groups, Denis took a heavy step forward, calling out for a halt. As the human slowly made his way towards the largest of the animal’s, Taal felt his heart skip a beat, coming close to shout for Denis to get back. But the fear of breaking Denis’ concentration and invariably getting the boy hurt won out, and Taal clamped down on his tongue.

It wasn’t clear what exactly Denis was doing; to Taal, it looked like he was engaging in a fierce stare down with a creature with teeth the size of knives, almost like he was trying to convey some message to back off with his sight alone. All knew for sure was that there was horrendous tension slowly building in the air, growing like a physical presence, seemingly radiating from Denis’ position.

With each passing second, Taal was finding it harder and harder to breath. His knuckles were turning almost deathly white as his grip around his lightsaber tightened, the weapon making a buzzing sound as his hands shook. He head was whipping back forth, trying in vain to keep each and every one of the creature’s in his line of sight at once.

What in the name of the Force were they doing!? They should have attacked by now, or ran, or something! If they lingered any longer these animals were going to surrounded them, and then attack themselves, and no amount of training would save them from being torn apart!

Taal felt his vision shake for a moment, almost like his whole body had rattled at once.

He should have never left Mygeeto, he should never have left his family behind. He was going to die here in the snow, a frozen corpse swallowed by a storm. And no one would be left to tell his family how their fool of a son had died on a frozen wasteland, his last breath leaving his body as pointlessly as his first-

Denis moved forward with a step that seemed to rattle the ground. With a fierce bellow, the Initiate let out a yell that sent the creatures staggering back. With one final whimper, even the largest of their number turned tail, and fled back into the snow, disappearing as much as ghosts as they had appeared.

It took Taal a full few seconds to realize the stalemate was over. A few more to realize they were actually all unharmed.

Taal let out a breath, and his whole body sagged. Only the vigorous training of handling a lightsaber let him carefully placed his weapon back at his side; his hands were shaking so much it was a miracle he hadn’t hurt himself. The blinding edge of the weapon safely put away, Taal raised his hands slowly upwards, eyes taking in just how furiously he was still shaking.

…That had been bad, even for him. Indeed, in the cold clarity of foresight, it had almost been like an outside power had been pulling at his thoughts, dripping fear into his mind like a poison. But what could have-

Denis, still at the head of their group, let out a grunt, and fell down to one knee. Taal let out a yip of renewed horror, and darted up. The Clone medic reached the human Initiate before Taal, but that didn’t stop the Lurmen from sliding to a halt at boy’s side, hurriedly asking if he was alright.

"I'm fine I swear. That just...took more out of me than I thought it would."

Taal took in the words, let them settle across his mind, before feeling his teeth grit in his mouth. So many words were starting to choke up the back of his throat, he wasn’t even sure where to begin, though-

You great damned fool, what were you thinking facing off against that creature by yourself!? You could have been hurt – or worse – and all you have to say is that you’re ‘fine?!’ You damn near scared me to death, all over sparing some damn ice mutts the blaster shots to the face they probably would have deserved for trying to gnaw at rears! How would we have even begun to explain to the Knights and Masters that you had gotten yourself hurt over something like that!? If Knight Ken doesn’t give you a good chewing out for this then there’s no damn justice left in this sordid, black galaxy!

…Would have been a start. However, he swallowed all his post-battle tension, and forced a breath through his lungs. His anger was misplaced. He wasn’t angry at Denis, he was angry that he had been so completely blindsided by the creature’s appearance, and thus would have felt at least partly to blame if any ill had befallen the group. He forced himself to remember that they had, against the odds, got through without a single scratch, and that he should be happy with that.

With that thought firmly in his mind, he kept his mind focused solely on the task at hand, and getting through the rest of the patrol. It had turned out to be a safe and uneventful affair, despite the concern that still clung to Taal, and it wasn’t long before the motely group had wandered their way back to the base’s entrance.

When they finally stepped back into the base, Taal felt oddly tired, despite having no reason to feel as wary as he did. He ended up spending the entirety of the short break they had been afford climbing to the top of a storage unit, folding his cold-weather gear under his head in an approximation of a pillow, and napping. By the time he had awoken, he felt no more energized, but his mind had finally let the tension that had been coiling at the back of his head since the ambush fizzle out, so he was at least calm when he met back up with the other Initiates.

The three ambled their way to the communication’s centre, where Knight Ken and the ever-present Rusty were already waiting from them.

“Knight Ken,” Taal bowed his head low to the ground, feeling somewhat relived to be back in the senior Jedi’s presence. When he looked up again, however, he did so a little sheepishly. “We may have run into a little…trouble, while we were patrolling. N-nothing serious, but…”

Taal hesitantly described the encounter with the creatures, though skimmed over the fact that he had very nearly shaken himself into the ground. He felt tempted to describe the odd presence he had felt in the air, but decided against it; he hadn’t been the right state of mind at the time, so he was likely just confusing his panic for something else.

After he finished, he bowed his head once again, awaiting a response.
 

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When the Initiates arrived, Ishua and Rusty had been bent over the holocommunications console with a few of the clones in an attempt to make it possible to send and receive holocommunications while waiting to see if any new messages had come in from the team that had gone searching for a functioning vessel, although in reality it mainly came down to feeding the console itself more power and attempting to improve the initial broadcast signal. Before that, Ishua had contacted Thrice and provided him with a copy of the communique that had been sent out to their allies in the Enlightenment to keep the commander in the loop, doing the same by sending a copy of the message to his fellow Jedi Knights. After all, it would be unwise not to have his friends and companions informed as to his plans and actions when their survival demanded total clarity and cooperation.

As soon as he heard the door open, he turned around as Rusty continued to work away at the console with the troopers that seemed to at least have a Denis-level grasp of droid binary. He kept a neutral stance as the Initiates spoke, scratching at his chin contemplatively partway through. He didn't interject, keeping quiet until it seemed as if they were done talking for the time being. Once that was said and done, he began to speak, keeping a relative calm on his face as he addressed what had gone on.

"Before I dive into all that, I feel as if a repeat of your initial congratulations is in order, so congrats. Now, onto the more pressing matters, we start with you, Denis. You did well to stand your ground and find a solution that avoided violence. However..." The Jedi Consular took a step forward, flicking the Coruscanti fellow between his eyes before speaking up again. "While I can appreciate and I do applaud the cleverness of what you did, it is how you did it that brings my concern. I could feel your actions through the Force, and while you did well you accidentally brushed against multiple powers greater than your current level of control and some darker than you can handle. While we should not fear the Dark Side and those abilities naturally attuned with it, we must be careful not to accidentally infringe upon it and call it forward, especially at so early a stage in your training. Add a little more restraint when you exercise your cleverness, and you will do well."

The Jedi Knight then turned his attention to the Lurmen, bowing his head in an attempt to make respectful eye contact with the furry fellow. "I'm guessing it's you who tapped into the Force so deeply early, to embrace such acrobatic movements, and this is a great first step. You, for a moment, were able to achieve a greater connection than any you'd made before. This is another thing to be celebrated. But I also sense your fear, even now. Fear is one of the most dangerous emotions. The Sith feed on it, but that does not make it inherently bad. Overcoming your fears and accepting them are vital parts of life itself. It is a long journey, but one every Jedi makes. You are not alone, even when you are afraid or panicked. This togetherness is but one place where Jedi can find their strength."

Finally, it was time to address the Chiss. "And as for you, Asuro, your optimism seems to have been as infectious as always, even disseminating into the troopers you and the others were working with. You did well to offer calm and support, but you need to play more of an active role. Sometimes, all we can do as individuals is just that; offer support. Still, attempt to play more of an active role in the next assignment you are given. While I admit there might have been little you could have done, this is always a good lesson to learn early on.

"Other than that, you three have earned a respite, but there is still work to be done. Meet me in the hangar bay in twenty minutes, we will be conducting a quick lesson while the others are preoccupied. You are dismissed for now. Rusty, come with me."
The little droid bleeped and booped happily in response, stopping before the Initiates in an attempt to give them his quick comforts and congratulations before following Ishua out through the main door, passing by the current patrol of troopers along the way as they made their way back into the shuttle, entering it and grabbing one of Ishua's two bags full of his belongings. Ensuring he was alone (save for Rusty), Ishua quickly changed into his Matukai robes before storing that bag away and grabbing the other and heading inside with them both. Given the armor woven into these robes, they'd be much preferable for what was about to happen. That, and he imagined that it'd help if the new Jedi at least partially looked like these clones were expecting them to.

When in the hangar bay, Ishua took to setting his belongings down in one of the corners, out of the way of the clones that were deftly at work. He did pull one of the officers aside to give him a quick brief about what he was going to do with the little bit of space he had claimed and assured him it would not disrupt the clone's duties. The clone major gave his small approval before returning to his work. With that done, Ishua then turned to the second of his two bags, opening it up to reveal various pieces of Jedi hardware ranging from spare lightsaber parts to holocrons to a pair of actual books, and so on. Of these things, Ishua pulled out a small black cylinder with a sealed top, putting it in one of the pockets of his belt before placing his Matukai coat in the bag and zipping it up. The Initiates should arrive at any second, he thought. And once they arrived, it'd be time for an important lesson to begin.



Interacting with Baddamobs Baddamobs BlueFlameNikku BlueFlameNikku Dipper Dipper
 
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Keeping a straight head was top priority if they wanted to get off of Ithal in one piece. The least he could do was assure Taal. They had to look out for one another; Asuro would be lying if he said he didn't feel any sense of obligation toward his fellow initiates. To his friends.

He had faith that a ship would be found. It would be repaired, the Clones would return to Enlightenment space with them, and all would be well. Besides the storm, there was nothing else to stop them and the Council would already know they were here by now. What did he have to fear? His confidence soared when he held the icicle like a child playing with a toy saber, a memory of days long past when things were simple and all he concerned himself with were the model and make of ancient starships. If only he could pass such confidence onto his companions, ease their stress with more than just words.

Perhaps they would find his childish play as amusing as he did. He did so enjoy swinging the ice around. Asuro flourished the icicle in an unpracticed manner, an answer ready--

-- It was the faintest of warnings in the fringe of his consciousness that made him freeze as if his blood itself had gone cold. Hungry wildlife was the last danger Asuro had expected to face in the frozen wastes of Ithal, and he almost found it humorous. Almost. But the creatures’ snarls struck down any amusement he may have had and spurred him into dropping the icicle and retreating back toward the safety of the circle of troopers, eyes wide and yet intensely inquisitive. For something to have survived so long here... If only they didn’t look so intent on eating them.

Instead of aggravating the creatures further, Denis... frightened them. Asuro could only detect the aftershock of whatever he’d done with the Force, but it was enough to send him into high alert until the creatures scampered and fled. Just like that. The effort brought Denis to his knees, but it did the job.

There was something off about Denis, now. The Force had never felt so strongly to Asuro before, always coming in echos and whispers that he had to tap into to feel and hear. Never before had he felt such a tide. Such a wrongness that throbbed in his temples like drums to a discordant beat. He rubbed harshly at his eyes and refocused on the expanse of white before them, mouth suddenly dry.

Asuro let out a breath his chest ached from holding. “That’s... one way to do it."

The question, the raw confusion, was clear enough in his voice that little else needed to be said. Denis had done something and nearly lost his life doing it. Should he be thankful, or request an answer? Being so blind and unable to understand something right in front of him was frustrating. He wrung his hands, shifting from foot to foot, and lurched with tense energy when they continued on their way.

That tension ebbed on the way back, as Asuro had found himself lost inside his own head. He hardly noticed when they arrived, and almost failed to greet Knight Ken at all.

Asuro's brow furrowed, lips pulling into an indignant frown. What had he done wrong? Should he have tapped into the Force as well, put aside all of its unknowns and dangers? With his pride wounded albeit well hidden behind a neutral expression, eyes lowered to the floor. Well then. That was that. If Knight Ken wanted him to participate more actively, then he would. A step outside his comfort zone no doubt, but he could do it. He shuffled awkwardly as if he'd been scolded, then nodded in acceptance-- the advice was meant in good faith.

Not everyone is trying to exploit your weaknesses. Take it to heart, you idiot.

Asuro found himself and alcove to watch the clones from for the next twenty minutes, taking note of their unique markings and paint styles. He counted roughly two hundred before his datapad beeped and he had to find his way to the clearing in the hangar, where Ishua now stood.

Eyeing the various trinkets at the Knight's feet, Asuro flashed a wary smile. "I'll try harder, Knight Ken. I promise. What are we doing now?"


Getting to work on the Venator was the men’s first priority; a task they took to with unrivaled bravado and determination. They all wanted to see her fly, as it was the closest they could get to familiarity in this new world. This broken, ruined world, where they’d failed their singular purpose. That shame, the pervasive discomfort when anyone brought up the Jedi, followed them as they went about their jobs. It was a wretched feeling. The Ninth would survive, and they would learn to thrive in this future.

We're an adaptable bunch, he thought. They could handle this.

Thrice caught sight of Kip just off the main hangar, and sidled up alongside him. “How’re repairs coming along?” he asked. “Strafe made it sound like the ship was nearly in working order.”

Kip didn’t look up. “Well enough. I flew back for supplies. You’ll have a full report within the hour, sir.”

And that was it. Such was the nature of Kip, an infuriatingly quiet man who was quite unmatched in the realm of engineering. Thrice couldn’t fault him for wanting to keep things quiet; the Ninth, when energized, could be a rowdy bunch. The years of cryo, the Jedi, the Venator-- it all overflowed to form a tense, twitchy, trigger-happy Ninth Legion. Thrice himself felt as if he were wound too tight, hands curling in and out of fists and missing his blasters. His helmet dipped in a curt nod, then he left Kip to his work, gripping the man’s shoulder as he passed.

He was eager to see the ship for himself, unsatisfied with Strafe's superficial, lavishly detailed descriptions. Shoving that desire aside, he was also interested in what the Jedi were doing. They were gathering in a small space in one corner of the hangar, where a few of their storage crates sat in preparation for transport, and they looked busy. His knowledge of Jedi anything was admittedly lacking, but those tools appeared to be teaching implements. Of course. For the young Jedi. A couple troopers passed by deliberately out of curiosity but never stayed for long, fetching crates and loading them onto Kip's gunship.

With a sigh, Thrice brought his attention back to his datapad. Reports, inventory, maintenance logs, a status update on the state of their armory after it'd been raided by a couple of ARCs. He rerouted some of those supplies to the smaller squads one their way out to the Venator; his senses were itching again, and it settled his nerves some to know the men over there would be prepared if something happened.

Kip's report came in twenty minutes later with details on the ship's progress. They'd be off this rock in no time.

Thrice didn't wait around much longer. There was little else to do around the base other than sort their inventory. With this in mind, he approached the idling Jedi Knight and his initiates, hands folded behind his back.

“Sir? I’ll be taking a number of my men down to the Venator and perform a full sweep before we start moving the bulk of our supplies and men. I’ll let Generals Shay and Taaks know when we arrive.”

There wasn’t much else to say. Thrice called on the pair of ARCs he was most familiar with, as well as a relatively small and experienced commandos who were overflowing with the desire to for action but too disciplined to say anything.

The hangar strip had been mostly cleared of ice and was now safe to land in, the doors pried open further but still apparently lacking most of their power.

He contacted the two present Jedi through his wrist comm. “Generals? Commander Thrice here. We’re performing a full sweep of the ship in roughly twenty minutes. We can debrief on the bridge. Thrice out.”
 
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