1 (edited by Ralin Drakus Wednesday, August 28, 2013 5:06 am)

Topic: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Ok; I'm taking the leap.

This is my first attempt at this sort of thing, so please forgive mistakes.

Also, keep in mind that this is a story with little to no reference checking about the real backstory of planets, charachters, or much of anything else; as at the time I started it (over 2 years ago)I had no idea how much had already been written about Boba and the rest of Star Wars post-Ep. VI.  So much if not all of this is completely imposable.  Just the rantings of a Boba/Mando fan before he even knew there really was much of an 'Expanded Universe.'   big_smile

If any of this IS possable, please let me know; as I'd love to do a more serious work based on this story if possable.

Anyway, hope you enjoy!  Any feed-back is greatly appreciated!


This first part will seem greatly off topic, but the dots will connected latter.

                                           *    *    *

STAR WARS:
RETURN OF THE MANDALORIANS


Introduction


This one's for you, Rebel.

"Fire!" Five bolts of high energy streaked through the trees at a Rebel trooper and several Ewoks.  Sergeant JC 225 watched the soldier he had targeted fold and collapse to the ground. 

"Stance Delta; fire at will."

With that order, the five Imperial Scout Snipers assumed a circular formation and began engaging targets at will.  Endor's dense vegetation and trees were ideal for them.  Unlike most scout troopers, the snipers were issued a camouflaged version of the basic scout armor.  Hidden in the thick undergrowth, the sergeant and his team quickly eliminated the targets in view with a few well aimed shots.  The report from their high power blasters was muffled by the dense surroundings and went unnoticed in the background of sporadic blaster shots and Ewok battle cries that still emanated from the forest. 

Their mission had been to patrol the woods in a relatively quiet sector south of the shield generator's secret entrance.  However, after a lost scout stumbled into camp with a concussion given to him by a female Rebel the day before, Sergeant JC 225 put his squad on full alert.  Hearing chatter of a battle at the bunker on their comlinks, the sergeant took it upon himself to leave his patrol area to check it out.  During the team's approach to the shield generator's secret entrance, they overheard one of the AT-ST commanders call for reinforcements to "pursue the enemy" The dead stormtroopers and burning AT-ST they passed betrayed a far different situation.

When all visible enemies had been eliminated and a crisp "clear" was heard over his comlink from each of his team members, the sergeant quietly turned to his second in command.  Using hand signals, the sergeant ordered them to hold position and remain hidden.  Moving from his cover, JC 225 crawled up a small hill that separated him from the secret entrance.  Reaching the top, he noticed two sets of droid tracks.  Strange.  Moving next to a tree on the hill's crest, he looked down on the bunker.  A team of Rebels ran from the entrance.  Their leader, a scruffy looking bard wearing a black vest over a white shirt, yelled to the others to get back as he trailed after them. 

JC 225 tried to zero in for a shot, but the Rebel dove for cover too quickly.  Every fiber of his being pounded a message to his brain; Eliminate the enemy leader!  His training, his very breeding demanded it.  His mission was to protect the shield generator, and killing the enemy leader would be the greatest step he could make towards accomplishing that mission.  Trying not to expose himself too greatly, he stood from his hidden position and tried to reacquire the target.  Zooming his scope to its highest magnification, he strained to pick up a movement through the foliage that blocked his view. 

Get up. . .  Get up you Rebel scum

Just as he thought he detected a slight motion, the sergeant felt a vibration through his armor in the tree he was using for support and cover.  A moment latter, the entire moon seemed to shake.  Dropping to his knees, JC 225 could tell the secondary explosion had come from the direction of the shield generator.  A wall of flame rose above the treetops from the direction of the main complex. 

We've failed.  I've failed.  The Emperor is totally defenseless on the Death Star.

Clearing his mind, the sergeant again searched for the enemy leader.  Unable to see him, JC 225 fired blindly through the undergrowth hoping for a lucky shot.  A Rebel trooper saw him and returned fire.  The sergeant wheeled and squeezed the firing stud again, sending a green energy bolt through the soldier's upper chest.  Swinging his rifle back toward the Rebel leader's hiding place, he still couldn't make out any movement. 

Got to get out of here; must receive new orders.

The Rebel trooper's companions quickly returned fire, but the sergeant was already gone; crawling back to his waiting team. 

"Our mission is failed; the shield generator has been destroyed.  We've got to pull back to the main complex for new orders."  Nodding, the team obediently fell into formation while their sergeant wondered if they would ever leave this moon again.

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

I like it. I like it alot.

[i]The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed[/i]
[url=http://lfgcomic.com/page/1]Interrogations are hard...[/url]

3 (edited by Ralin Drakus Sunday, February 10, 2008 1:27 am)

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Many thanks

It's the second part of the intro and later chapters that will start making real changes (or at least new theories and additions) to Star Wars info.

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Very cool dude

I could help u out like you asked if you'd like

just email me

BTW i decided to post an RPG: AGE OF SKYWALKER

http://www.bobafett.com/boards/viewtopic.php?id=2014

check it out when you get the chance.

"Kom'rk tsad droten troch nyn ures adenn, Dha Werda Verda a'den tratu."
  [url]http://mercs.firespray.net/forum/index.php?topic=39267.0[/url]

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Here is the second part of the intro.

This one starts taking some swipes at possably established material in Star Wars; and latter chapters will do so even more.  So if any of this is factually imposable, let me know so I can perhapes make changes latter or scrap this as a serious idea. 

If it is imposable, I hope you can enjoy this story anyway as a alternate history.

Here goes!


                                                                    *     *     *

Four Months Latter

 
Kam Tarik stood, arms folded, ignoring the comfortable chair he had been offered fifteen minutes earlier.  The middle aged senator from Taris stared blankly at the durasteel walls that surrounded him.  His only companions in the waiting room were two armed guards, who occasionally glared at him from their posts around an armored doorway. 

Born to an upper middle class family, Kam used his keen mind and ruthless tactics to take over Taris’s orbital construction yards by his mid thirties.  In his early forties, his enterprises were making three times more than his predecessors had ever earned. 

Then the Empire came.  Nationalizing his construction docks into the Imperial war machine, the Empire kept Tarik as an advisor.  For fifteen years Kam was forced to stand by as Imperial overseers ran HIS company.  When the opportunity finally came, he leapt at the chance to break away from the Empire.  Hearing of the Rebel victory here on Endor, he quickly organized a revolt and ousted the Imperials.  Kam then contacted the Alliance, who greeted him and his planet’s orbital shipyards with open arms.  Now four months later, he stood here waiting to meet the Alliance leader.

Looking at this place, perhaps Taris isn’t so bad after all.  The Alliance of Free planets, formerly known as the Rebel Alliance, had set up its headquarters in the refurnished main complex on Endor.  Though operational, the facility was still in rough shape. 

When the armored door finally slid open, Kam stepped aside for a small delegation of Sullustans as they exited.  A young man followed them into the waiting room and motioned to Senator Tarik, “The Chief Councilor will see you now, sir.”  Kam walked with the aid down a short hallway into Mon Mothma’s office.  Mon Mothma was standing in front of her desk, her customary long white robe offset by her auburn hair. 

“Welcome, Senator Tarik.  I am sorry that I was unable to see you sooner; please,” Mon Mothma motioned to a chair in front of her desk.  As Kam took his seat, Mon Mothma turned to her aid, “Thank you, Malan, that will be all.”  The aid bowed curtly and left through a side entrance.

“It was an unexpected pleasure to get your request for this meeting” Senator Tarik lied as he leaned back comfortably. 

Mon Mothma moved to her chair behind her desk.  “Not at all.  I try to meet all new members of the Alliance in person.  Also, there is a matter of great importance that we must discuses.”

I’m sure there is Tarik thought with no amusement.  No senator is asked to come this far for a simple welcome.  So, how will you try to steal my shipyards, rebel?.  Betraying none of the fear or suspicion he felt, Kam continued with the formalities.  “Please continue.  If there is anything I or my people can do, you need only ask.”

“I have a plan in mind for the concentration of prisoners of war; specifically clone stormtroopers, into a single camp.  We have considered many planets for this camp, and my advisors and I consider Taris the most suitable.”  Mon Mothma leaned back slightly and watched her words sink in.

Tarik’s considerable self restraint failed him as he became visibly shocked.  Is this a joke?  The senator wasn’t sure if he should be amused or insulted.  He nearly laughed as he asked, “You want to turn my home world into a prison camp?  I wasn’t even aware your forces were holding a large number of prisoners.”

A faint grin crossed Mon Mothma’s face; though it was born of her understanding, not from any pleasure.  “In a civil war of galactic scale it is inevitable that prisoners will be taken.  Though stormtroopers typically fight to the last man, the few we have captured on the hundreds of worlds we have fought for and liberated add up to rather a large figure.  You don’t really believe we of the Alliance summarily execute our prisoners like the Empire often does, do you?”

“No, I suppose not.”  Senator Tarik composed himself.  This may be a ruse. I’ll play along; for the moment.  “But why Taris; we only have a small city on the planet’s surface.  All are real assets are off planet;” Tarik carefully withheld any direct mention of orbital facilities, delaying the inevitable confrontation.  “We have no facilities that could even be considered for conversion into such a facility.”

Mon Mothma, despite her reputation as a fierce and unyielding leader, beamed a sense of trust and compassion.  “We understand that.  I will not force this plan upon you, as there is a limited danger.  However, I hope you will give me a chance to explain.” 

“Very well” Senator Tarik allowed, but he remained suspicious.

“My staff and I have done considerable research on your home world since it has joined the Alliance of Free Planets.  We learned that Taris was leveled during the Second Sith War by Darth Malak nearly four thousand years ago.  In all the time since then, less then five percent of the planet’s surface has been reclaimed.  This reclaimed land is in a single, concentrated area directly below the heart of your orbiting space stations; an area that took the least amount of damage during the Sith War.  The rest of the planet is barren except for some smuggler and bandit hideouts in the ruins.  With your permission, our plan is to set up a camp for captured Imperial clones in an area opposite of your city.  They will build their own facility using materials supplied by us.  When they have a livable compound, they will then commence working on a reconstruction effort.  They will build a small, functional settlement.  When they are done, they will be moved and the process can be repeated on some other part of Taris.  You can use the abandoned compound as a lure for immigration to your world.”  Mon Mothma let her shoulders relax slightly.  “It sounds like slave labor, I know.  I rejected this plan myself when it was first proposed.  But ever since the Emperor’s death, the clone stormtroopers in our custody have fallen into a state I can only describe as extreme despair.  Hundreds have let themselves starve to death.  They only existed for the purpose of enforcing the Emperor’s will.  With him gone, the clones apparently feel they have no reason to go on.” 

Senator Tarik narrowed his dark eyes.  “I have never heard of any of this.  I was led to believe that there are still clones fighting with the Empire now.”

Mon Mothma nodded.  “That is true.  Many clones are still fighting for the Empire, but they had officers to look up to.  They were somehow able to adjust to the Emperor being gone.  However, most of the clones I am describing were already in our custody or were abandoned by their officers on Rim worlds, so they could not make that adjustment.  Like your native Taris, hundreds of other worlds joined our cause after the Emperor’s death.  However, a closely held secret is that most of those worlds joined us unopposed only because their stormtrooper garrisons failed to counter the revolt.  Those clones not massacred in their barracks were captured, leading to the sudden explosion in number of prisoners we now have.  Overpopulation in our current prisoner facilities is part of the reason for this proposal.  Also, I feel that if we can get them to do something constructive, it might help to rectify some of the deeds they committed in their past.  With proper reeducation, it may even be possible they could one day become model citizens in the New Republic.”

The two shared a long silence as Kam pondered the proposition.  Senator Tarik finally looked up.  “You said there would be a ‘limited danger’ involved.  To what were you referring?”

“Yes, there will be some risk involved.  The worst possibility being that if the Empire should learn of the camp, they might try to free the clones.  However, we know that ever since the Clone Wars, the Empire has never attached much sentiment to their clone soldiers, or any of their low ranking combatants.  They have also never had a manpower shortage.  Therefore, we have concluded that the Empire views your orbital docks as a much more tempting target than a POW camp would.  In any case, we will endeavor to maintain utmost secrecy for this project.”

“The other risk in a venture such as this of course is a mass breakout.  I see this possibility as most unlikely.  One of my most trusted advisors recently visited our current prisoner facility.  He assured me that ever since the Emperor’s death they barley move around or talk, much less make trouble.  However, that possibility is another reason we chose Taris.  If the entire camp were to revolt, your planet’s inhospitable nature would leave them stranded.  No form of long distance transportation would be allowed to stay at the camp for an extended amount of time, and the camp will be placed at a location too far for them to travel on foot to any settled parts of your world.”

Senator Tarik again thought over Mon Mothma’s words.  If this offer is all it seems to be, Taris and I may be able to benefit in more ways then one.  If only. . .  When he finally looked up, a slight grin spread across his face.  “I think we can come to an arrangement on this.”

Mon Mothma smiled back and offered her hand.  “Excellent!  There are many details that we must work out.  But you must be tired; Malan will show you to your room.”  A moment after she pressed one of the buttons on her desk, the young aid returned through the side door entrance.   

“Until tomorrow then,” said Tarik.

“One last thing, senator.  You now personally own Taris’s orbital shipyards again, don’t you?”

A cold chill ran down Kam’s spine. Now it comes.  Turning slowly, he replied in as even a tone as he could muster; “Yes, I do.”

“Good!  The Alliance needs starships badly, and we are now in a position to pay well for your company’s service.  If you like, I will have the contract my advisers have been working on taken to your room.  Review it when you have the time; no rush.  And thank you again for coming.”

“My pleasure.”  Following the aid, Senator Tarik was completely baffled.  One question rang in his mind that he couldn’t answer.  What’s her angle?

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

sounds good so far.
Im not exactly familiar with Taris, so I cant say if its accurate to the current timeline. However, an alternate timeline sounds most interesting...

either way, keep up the good work...

"Kom'rk tsad droten troch nyn ures adenn, Dha Werda Verda a'den tratu."
  [url]http://mercs.firespray.net/forum/index.php?topic=39267.0[/url]

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Really great.  I was really enjoying it.  Only one criticism.  I guess the one hole would be the clones.  WOuld they not be somewhere in their 70's or older by this time?  I'd say they'd be more of a burden the a help in the war.  I'm pretty sure if the Republic began disposing of their clones in the Clone Wars, would not the Empire have slaughtered all who hindered them?

[i]Like I told your captain, the orphange attacked me.  It was self-defense.[/i]  -Richard the Warlock  [url]http://archive.lfgcomic.com/lfg0002.gif[/url]

8 (edited by Ralin Drakus Sunday, February 10, 2008 1:42 am)

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

These are Imperial clones of Ep. IV - VI era, not Jango's.  It will become clear later how they connect to Jango's tampering with the originals

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Ok, this is the chapter that intro’s Boba.  Hope you all like my interpretation of his character, and feedback is always appreciated.

Enjoy!


Chapter 1   

Two years latter


It was good to be in command Slave I again.  The low hum emanating from the custom MandalMoters engines, the feel of the cockpit and its controls.  Though he would never admit to having such emotions, Boba Fett truly had a strong personal connection to the ship.  He had grown to manhood behind these controls. 

Since losing the vessel over Tatooine two years ago after a nearly fatal encounter with that young Jedi, he had used several different vessels.  Slave II, a Pursuer-class patrol ship once used by Mandalorian mercenaries in times past, had served as his primary vessel for roughly the last year.  It was a decent ship, but it couldn’t compare to Slave I.  The years of modifications and upgrades made to Slave I had created a ship in his own image; fast, efficient, and deadly.  No other ship would ever truly replace it.  Dengar, Fett’s partner since he found Fett dying in the Tatooine dunes, had Slave II in the Oseon system for a little time off with his wife. 

Too bad I can’t just tell him to keep Slave II and go his own way.  The galaxy’s belief that he had died two years ago had come in handy, however, and Fett wasn’t ready to throw away the advantage.  Slave I, a unique and exotic design, was nearly as famous as its owner.  Dengar was also useful for some menial tasks, like arranging contracts with clients Fett didn’t trust with the knowledge of his survival.  Therefore, he decided to have Slave I put into storage.  When came to ‘return from the dead,’ he could reclaim it and pick up his career as the galaxy’s best and most famous bounty hunter.

The collector who had purchased Slave I from the Alliance - The New Republic, I should say.  Still can’t get used to that thought Fett, never had the nerve to enter the vessel.  Rumors about Slave I’s security systems had scared off most buyers and reduced the price to almost nothing.  The only buyer with the guts to purchase Slave I hired a moving crew to transport the ship via freighter to his home on Toprawa.  There, he had it placed inside his beachfront villa as a new piece for his collection of strange artifacts.  Not wanting to ruin the belief that he was dead, Fett infiltrated the villa and took Slave I back rather then trying to bargain for it.  In any case, Boba Fett is not the kind of creature who buys his own property. 

Wonder how many credits it will cost to repair that hole in the roof, pondered Fett.  It had been the most difficult infiltration for him in some time.  The security had been tight.  A communications jammer prevented him from simply contacting the ship’s navigational computer and remotely flying it out.  He suspected that the collector must have a less then legal means of supporting his craving for rare and exotic items, considering the level of security systems employed.  Formerly employed, Boba reminded himself with mild amusement.

As Slave I dropped out of hyperspace, the planet Bandomeer raced into view.  As Fett kicked in the sub-light engines, he set course for the orbital station’s parking hangers.   


                                                                                 ***


How much more boring can this get? 

Lieutenant Surran and his two wingmen were halfway through their patrol shift.  With all that’s happening in the galaxy, command sticks a whole garrison here on Bandomeer; about as far from the action as you can get.  And I get stuck here watching them.  Surran banked his X-wing to the left, keeping to the predetermined flight plan. 

Suddenly, Surran’s comm unit broke through his mental grumbling, “Blue flight, this is Beta control.  A ship has just entered your sector.  Its transponder codes appear clean, but our initial scans show that it resembles a ship reported as stolen from Toprawa.  You are to intercept and detain.  An assault team is being preped and will board the vessel when you have stopped it.  Green flight is also scrambling and will assist if necessary.”

“Roger that Beta control; moving to intercept.”  Lieutenant Surran slid his blast visor into position over his eyes.  “Blue flight, this is Blue leader.  Move to attack formation three; and charge up your ion cannons in case this barve doesn’t want to cooperate.”  Bout time we got something to do. 


                                                                        ***


Boba Fett’s masked gaze snapped to the threat indicator that had suddenly come to life.  X-Wings?  What are they doing in this sector?   Three of them were coming straight for him.  As Fett considered prepping his weapon systems, his sensors picked up five more fighters coming from what appeared to be a new hanger on the space station. 

“Unidentified vessel, by authority of the New Republic, you are ordered to stop and prepare to be boarded.  Failure to comply will re. . .”   Fett switched off his comm unit.  He them performed a bottom-over-top loop that 180’ed his course in the blink of an eye.  I don’t have time for this.  Too much Republic activity here to safely store the ship, anyway.  What are they doing here?  Pushing Slave I’s throttles to the max, he began setting new hyperspace coordinates.  As the navi computer processed the destination, Fett looked up in time to see a large warship drop out of hyperspace directly in front of him.  A light indicating an incoming message from the dreadnaught prompted Fett to turn his comm unit back on. 

“. . . and after that, you miserable thief, I’ll have your skull mounted in my TROPHY ROOM!!!”

So, the collector really was angry about the hole in the roof, thought Fett.  He aborted his jump to hyperspace and made a sharp turn to his left.  As he did so, the number dots on his sensor screen grew larger as the Dreadnaught launched its own fighters.  This makes things a little more interesting.

                                                                        ***

Who the hell is that?!?   Ã¢Â€ÂœBeta control, this is Blue flight leader.  An unidentified warship has just dropped out of hyperspace and appears to be pursuing our target; how shall we proceed?”  Lieutenant Surran watched as the dreadnaught turned in response to the smaller ship’s maneuver. 

After a few seconds, the control station responded.  “Blue flight, this is Beta control; new orders incoming.  The larger vessel has been ID’ed as a pirate vessel.  More friendly units are on the way.  Hold position until reinforcements arrive.”

     Ã¢Â€ÂœAcknowledged, Beta control.  Holding position.”  Surran and his flight pulled back on their throttles and turned onto a parallel course with the dreadnaught.  Five old but still common Z-95 Headhunters left their mother ship and streaked after the fleeing vessel.  Their using their ion cannons.  Whoever’s in that dreadnaught, he must want that guy alive.  Poor bard doesn’t have a chance.

Lieutenant Surran was about to contact control and ask if he should assist the fleeing vessel when it again made a 180 loop. 

“Is that maniac attacking?!? ” called one of Surran’s wingmen.

“Keep the comm clear, two.  But yeah, I think he is.”

                                                                       ***

“What is that thief up to?”  Zan Miz’var, pirate and collector of unusual items, squinted through the forward transparisteel viewport of his flagship as he tried to make out what his latest purchase was doing.  Then he saw the red bolts firing from Slave I’s laser cannons.  In the seconds that it took for Slave I to pass the pursuing Headhunters, it destroyed two of them.  And rather then turn away from the oncoming dreadnaught, Slave I kept coming right at them!   

“Lock on with our turbo lasers and fire   Let’s just call it a bad investment and end this.”  Zan was not pleased with the order, as Slave I was an excellent addition to his collection, and a bargain at that.  However, watching the craft coming at him sent shivers down his spine.  He had been a follower of the late Boba Fett’s career.  No living creature in this galaxy can fly Slave I that well.  Too many of the systems were voice coded.  The only one who could be at those controls is . . .  But that’s imposable.  Maybe Fett had a partner nobody knew about who was familiar with flying Slave I.  Still, is it really imposable?

The panicked voice of Zan’s tracking officer cut into his thoughts.  “SIR  The target has dropped from our tracking sensors; we can’t get a lock! ”

“Check your system, find the problem now,” Zan ordered.  He looked back out through the view port as Slave I cut loose with its lasers on the Dreadnaught’s forward shields.  Heading strait for the larger ship’s bow, Slave I came incredibly close to a collision.    It dove underneath the dreadnaught just before striking it.  Zan turned from the view port to his tracking officer.  “Where did he go? ”  The officer could only give a befuddled shrug. 

Zan’s second officer was also looking through the forward transparisteel port when Slave I disappeared from view.  Still looking toward the ship’s bow, he pointed out the view port, “What’s that?” 

Zan looked and saw a small cylindrical object slowly sliding across the forward shield.  “That’s a seismic charge, SHIELDS FULL FORWARD, PREPAR FOR IMPACT!!!”

The shield control officers quicklypushed the proper levers all the way and watched as the forward shield indicator lights went bright green.  “Forward shields at maximum, Sir!”

Looking again at the canister shaped device, Zan and the command crew braced themselves for the coming explosion.  A moment later, the device continued to harmlessly bounce along the shield as the dreadnaught moved under it.  It was a trick!

His gaze darted back to the shield status board.  Zan felt a knot tighten in his throat when he saw the aft quarter shield’s indicator light was a dim yellow.  “EQUALIZE THE DEFLEC . . .” Zan’s words were cut off by a shuddering explosion.  Slave I had fired a full salvo of Dymek missiles into the rear quarter.  “Get the deflector shields equalized now ” 

The panicked defense officer looked to Zen.  “Sir, our shield generators were overloaded by that last attack, all our deflector shields are off line!”

Zan, doing his best to compose himself, looked back to his young lieutenant.  “Tracking, it’s up to you.  If you can get a lock, we can blow him to atoms!"

The tracking officer was nearly in tears.  “I’m sorry, sir.  He’s jamming us somehow!  There’s nothing I can do!!”

Then it’s true.  Only Boba Fett could do something like this.  “We’re in over our heads.  Plot a course back to the station.”

“There he is; to port!” shouted the second officer.  “Our fighters are right on him ”

Zan looked over his left shoulder out the bridge’s portside transparisteel viewer.  He had assumed the surviving fighters had been destroyed by now.  There were only two now.  Slave I was heading strait at the dreadnaught’s bridge, the fighters right behind it. 

As Zan watched Slave I pass less then a couple meters from where he stood, his eyes were caught by the fake seismic charge.  It had drifted right up against the bridge, and a red light was starting to blink on it . . .

                                                                     ***

Lieutenant Surran and his wingmen had just joined with their reinforcements when they saw the explosion.  It engulfed the whole of the dreadnaught’s bridge where the two Z-95s and the ship they were pursuing apparently collided with the larger vessel.  When the flash and flying debris subsided there was no sign of the smaller vessels.  The dreadnaught, its hull breached and exposed to the vacuum of space, was breaking up. 

Surran’s wingman again came on the comm unit.  “What happened?”

“Not sure.”  Surran continued to study the Dreadnaught as it lost structural integrity.  “Looked like the smaller ships ran right into the bridge.”

“Sure seems weird, that guy looked like a serious pro.  Hard to believe he’d 'accidentally' run into something like that; and at least one of those fighters would have pulled up.”   

“Yah, well, he pulled some close ones back there.  Guess he just ran out of luck; and the explosion must have fried the Headhunters to.  Come on; let’s get over there and see if anybody got out.”

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Back again.  Hope you enjoy!


Chapter 2


Slave I came out of hyperspace opposite Taris’s orbiting platforms incase the New Republic had also set up a base in this system.  Fett’s remote detonation of the seismic charge took out the dreadnaught and disintegrated the pursuing Headhunters, but it also did a lot of damage to his own vessel.  The rear deflector shields took nearly as hard a hit as the dreadnaught’s hull.  Fett’s high power antenna, mounted on the back of Slave I, took considerable damage.  Also, one of the power generators was off line.  Speed was cut by 30%, and if another fire fight was in Fett’s near future, he wouldn’t be able to keep the weapons charged for long.  At least the sensor jamming unit was still operating. 

Hope Danthon can get me out of here quickly.  Fett had dealt with Kesh Danthon several times in the past.  He ran a small time smuggling operation on Taris’s wastelands.  His headquarters was in a cavern created by the fallen buildings.  The hanger was perfectly hidden, nearly imposable to find unless you knew where it was and what you were looking for. 

The red glow subsided from around the forward viewport as Slave I entered the atmosphere.  Fett brought up the coordinates of the base and punched them into the auto navigation system.  As Slave I passed through the clouds on its downward course, Fett noticed something in the seemingly endless plain of broken rubble.  A landing pad. 

The black top of the pad made it visible from a great distance.  Fett again took manual control of his ship and put it on the deck, flying around and just above the great piles of debris and gutted atmosphere scrapers.  A scan of the area showed enough life signs to populate a fair sized settlement.  Gaps in the rubble allowed Fett an occasional glimpse at the area around the pad.  It was surrounded on three sides by ruin.  But to the south, a good degree of reconstruction had taken place.  Mostly smaller buildings under five stories, and there appeared to be clusters of warehouse like structures concentrated in the further reaches of the settlement. 

If Boba Fett had been the kind of creature who succumbed to such emotional fluctuations, he would have been shocked.  He had never heard of any major development projects under way in this whole system.  Since his ‘death,’ it had been harder to get information.  But he had enough trustworthy sources left that he should have heard about this.  Taris was a dieing city when it was destroyed.  Why would anyone be interested in it now?  First a New Republic base on Bandomeer, and now this.  What’s going on in this sector?

With a new settlement so close, the likelihood of Kesh Danthon still running his operation here was about nil.  But with Slave I in its current condition, Fett decided to take the chance.  Even if Kesh was gone, he probably didn’t have time to strip the facility when he left.  There should be enough spare parts and gear lying about that Fett could make short term repairs.

After a fairly short flight, Fett approached the hanger.  He gave the clearance code, but as he expected, got no response.  The entrance to the hanger was difficult to see, even for someone who had been there before.  However, Boba recognized several of the crushed buildings in the area and the unique way they had fallen.  Using them as landmarks, he quickly pinpointed the hanger’s location.  Three great buildings once surrounded what was now the smuggling base.  Two of the buildings collapsed strait down, leaving a pile of rubble to the north and west.  The third building was split in half, with its northern side falling over the rubble of the first two, creating a cavern.  Somehow discovered by Kesh Danthon, he dug a crooked entrance between the still solid foundations of the first two buildings.  Being crooked prevented a passing ship from seeing into the hanger.  The opening was more than large enough for a small starship to fly into, but the overhang from the third building’s wall made the entrance difficult to see from the air. 

The hanger was totally dark.  Turning on Slave I’s navigation lights, Fett could see that it was empty.  He piloted Slave I to the repair pad, which was on the far side of the hanger.  As soon as the primary systems had been shut down, Fett disembarked and commenced getting things in order.  First, he located the hangers control room and turned the power on in the repair station.  He then commenced turning the base inside out looking for the required parts to repair the damaged power generator.  Fortunately, the base had a backup generator.  Fett was able to scavenge enough parts from it to repair Slave I. 

As midday came around, Boba had just completed hauling the scavenged parts from the generator room into the repair shop.  The shop, which was in the same corner as the repair bay, was surrounded on two sides by the hanger’s eastern and southern walls and on the northern and western sides by workbenches.  The western benches didn’t extend all the way to the northern side, which allowed access.  There, Fett set about modifying the scavenged parts for use on his ship.           

                                                                              ***

“Base control, this is Scout 5, over.”

Sure didn’t know about this place.  I’ve seen this ruble form some weird stuff, but nothing quite like this. Corporal Drada and his three troopers entered the growing darkness of the hanger’s cave-like entrance.  Whoever flew in here knew exactly where he was going; it’s hard to see until your practically walking into it   Must be some kind of hideout or supply catch.

“Base Control, this is Scout 5; come in.”  Some kind of interference is killing our comm-links.  Idiot   I should have sent someone back to base for reinforcements   Too late to think about that now; got to check this out.  If I don't do it now we might never find this place again.  A ship that size couldn’t hold many people anyway; we can handle this.

As the squad entered the hanger, they could see a glow coming from the far corner.  Blocking the light was the silhouette of the strange looking ship they saw fly into the cavern.   

Switching his combat visor to low light amplification, Drada scanned the hanger for any sign of life, weapon ready.  Satisfied that he wasn’t walking into a hive of smugglers or worse, the corporal split the team into two pairs.  Drada and the private at his side quietly moved toward the ship’s open loading ramp, while the other two went around the ship’s topside.  His A280 blaster rifle in firing position, Drada stepped onto the elevated landing platform that the ship was resting on.  Stopping next to the vessel’s starboard side, Drada gave his team time to switch their visors back to standard combat mode.  When everyone was ready, he gave the signal to move.  The corporal quickly moved around the hull and up loading ramp of the starship, while his partner kneeled down behind the ramp and covered the repair area.  Making a rapid inspection of the vessel’s interior, he noticed a military grade jet pack sitting in one of the passenger seats.  With no sign of the ship’s owner, Drada began to move back toward the exit. 

“LOOK OUT!!!”  The yell from one of Drada’s troopers was quickly followed by several rapid blaster shots.  As he ran to the exit, he saw his partner jump to the repair shop side of the loading ramp. 

Drada slowed down as he stepped off the ramp and scanned the repair shop for targets.  “What happened ?” 

“I don’t know ”  The private was in a kneeling position next to the ship’s portside wing, his back against the strange ship’s curved hull.  “I heard the shots, and when I got around the ramp they were down! ”  In front of the private were the two other members of the squad, sprawled on the dirty hanger floor in front of the repair shop entrance.   

“Take it easy, private.  We’ve got to take this guy out.  Cover me ”  The pair slowly walked toward their fallen comrades, blasters leveled toward the workbenches.  Just before reaching the bodies, Drada gave a hand signal to halt.  Kneeling, he reached into his belt pouch with his off hand while the private stood guard. 

As the corporal was reaching into his pouch, the private took a quick glimpse at one of the fallen troopers.  For the first time he noticed where his squad mate had been shot.  “HE’S BEHIND US!!”

                                                                       ***

The top of the landing pad that Slave I had landed on was made up of removable panels covering a pit.  These panels, which are designed to be removed from inside the pit even if a starship is sitting on them, enable a mechanic to work on the underside of a vessel.  The only panels that can be opened from the outside are those around the edges of the platform. 

Giving the edge panel he had been hiding under a shove, Fett emerged from the pit.  With only his upper torso exposed, Fett fired two quick shots from his E-3 blaster rifle at the young trooper who had wheeled about in his direction.  The corporal, who was still reaching for something in his belt pouch, swung his blaster around and fired a wild shot in Fett’s direction.  The muzzle of Fett’s blaster had already turned on the corporal.  Just as Drada’s blaster bolt streaked past its target, Fett fired a well aimed shot into the corporal’s upper chest.  The powerful bolt from Fett’s modified blaster burned through the corporal’s protective vest and knocked him onto his back.  Mortally wounded, the corporal was only able to roll onto his left side away from his attacker. 

Fett stepped out of the repair pit and checked the other downed troopers, kicking away their weapons.  Keeping his blaster pointed at the still moving corporal, he made a quick check on the private.  The man had died instantly, with the first shot striking him in the throat, and the second burning through his heart.  This New Republic and I just don’t seem to get along, thought Fett as he tossed the private’s weapon in the direction of Slave I.  Standing, he moved toward the corporal.  Looking down at him through the T-Visor of his helmet, Fett used his boot to kick away the dieing soldier’s blaster rifle.  “Nothing personal, trooper.  You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Gaging and barely able to talk, the corporal looked back at Fett.  “Yeah, same to you.”  With that, the corporal limply rolled onto his back, an armed fragmentation grenade slipping from his left hand.       

Without a moment’s hesitation, Fett lunged toward the repair shop and jumped over the nearest workbench.  As he sailed through the dimly lit air, the entire hanger suddenly glowed white.  The force of the explosion reached Fett just as he crashed down on the floor.  The workbench closest to the grenade didn’t have a back, and a shower of splinters flew through it.   Fett’s upper body was covered by a stronger, metal backed bench, but his legs were ripped by burning grenade fragments. 

Bold move, trooper.  You almost got me.  Fett rolled onto his back as the smoke cleared.  When he looked at his legs, he became deadly serious.  He was unable to move from his waist down.  The amount of blood flowing from his right leg indicated that an artery may have been cut.  “Maybe you did get me.”   

Grabbing a piece of electrical wiring from the floor, Fett tied it around his leg as tightly as he could.  Slinging his blaster across his back, he started to crawl toward Slave I.  Clawing his way through the open backed table, the pain started to set in.  As he passed what was left of the New Republic troopers, he noticed his vision was getting dim.  Halfway to Slave I’s loading ramp, Fett could feel shock from blood loss setting in.  Through force of will, he managed to pull himself onto the repair pad and reach the ramp.  As he tried to drag himself into the ship, the last of his strength left him. 

After all I have survived, this is how it ends; in a forgotten hole on a forgotten world.  Well, I’ve cheated death my whole life.  Guess it’s time to pay up.  Ready for the inevitable, Boba Fett closed his eyes for the last time.

Then he felt someone role him onto his back.  Opening his eyes again, Fett looked up to see a dirt smudged face staring back at him. 

“Hang on.  I’ll see what I can do.”  The stranger then stood and ran into Slave I. 

The only thought Fett could manage as he closed his eyes and darkness overtook him was, not another partner.

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Perhaps the untouchable Boba Fett isnt so untouchable?

This is really good. Cant wait for more smile

[i]The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed[/i]
[url=http://lfgcomic.com/page/1]Interrogations are hard...[/url]

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Well, we know he isn't untouchable from Ep. VI; but he's pretty close.  I wasn't sure about that scene just for that reason.  Boba probably would have noticed the Rebel's hand hidden under him.  But on the other side, he probably wouldn't have expected such a move from a average grunt; more the kind of "If I'm dieing; I'm taking you with me" move he would do to someone else.

Anyway, glad you like.  Anybody have any questions or suggestions out there?  More than happy to field them.

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

My story as a game??  Hmmmmmmmmmmm. . . . . . . .   I like the sound of that!   smile   Thanks terra

Any and all help is appreciated

Hoping to have the next chapter up soon

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Waiting eagerly big_smile

[i]The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed[/i]
[url=http://lfgcomic.com/page/1]Interrogations are hard...[/url]

15 (edited by Ralin Drakus Sunday, December 30, 2007 11:35 pm)

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

No suggestions yet for improvment??  Great!  I must be doing something right  big_smile   (or nobody's reading this  tongue )

Ok, in this one, I'm doing something that I've never seen done in Star Wars: i'm showing a corrupt and evil side of the New Republic.  I explain it some in the story, but the short of it is that all major groups have bad eggs in the mix, even the Rebels.  The Alliance needs all there best personel at the front, which leaves more suspect troops behind for prison duty and the like.  And some of those 'suspect' personel are here in my story.

Enjoy!   smile


Chapter 3

I’ve had this feeling before.  The memory of waking up in Dengar’s hidden lair on Tatooine after blasting his way out of the Sarlacc was still clear in his mind.  This place had a much better climate.  Boba Fett managed to open his eyes for the first time in what seemed like years.  Taking in his surroundings, Fett could see that he was lying in the spare bunk just inside Slave I.  Looking to his left, he could see the coffin-like prisoner cages in which he had transported so many bounties. 

He couldn’t feel his legs, though he wasn’t sure if that was a good or a bad thing.  As he was pondering whether he still had legs, Fett heard someone entering the ship.  A well built human walked by, carrying a sack in one hand and Fett’s EE-3 blaster rifle in the other.  He wore a ragged white shirt with the sleeves torn off.  His brown trousers showed signs of having been repaired many times over.  His light brown hair was cut in a short military style.  Setting the bag down in the portside passenger seat, he collapsed into the second seat next to it. 

“What’s in the bag,” Fett managed to say. 

The other creature showed surprising reflexes, jumping up from the chair and leveling the blaster rifle at Fett only a second after he heard Fett’s voice.  The stranger quickly lowered the weapon when he saw who had startled him.  “You shouldn’t scare people like that.”  Leaning the rifle against the chair, the weather-beaten figure walked over to his patient and checked the monitors that read out Fett’s status. 

“Will I live?”  Each word seemed to drain strength.  Fett was having a hard time keeping his eyes open. 

“I didn’t think so at first, you were really torn up.”  The stranger lifted the blanket covering Fett’s legs.  They were wrapped in medical applicator sleeves.  “Your wounds are healing faster then they should be.  Is this bacta?” 

“Kolto . . .  From Manaan.”

“Never heard of it.  Thought it looked different; I was afraid it was some kind of hydraulic fluid at first.  Works awfully good, I’ll give it that.”  The stranger covered Fett’s legs again.

Fett studied the other creature for a moment.  “What’s your designation?”

The stranger stiffened and looked back into Fett’s eyes for a moment.  “Designation?”

Fett was having a harder time talking.  “Clone . . .  Designation.” 

Tensing himself further, the stranger asked, “How did you know?” 

Fett examined the man for a moment.  “Your face. . . seen it before. . . on a clone.”

The former stormtrooper was surprised.  Though his face wasn’t an uncommon one for an Imperial clone, he wasn’t used to being recognized outside of his armor.  “I was given the designation YT 597 at the cloning facility.  And you had better rest before you talk yourself to death.”  With that, the stormtrooper increased the anesthetic flow into the bounty hunter and walked back to his chair.

Never been accused of that before thought Fett as darkness again took hold of his vision.

                                                                   ***

Colonel Nix Caldrone sat in his spacious office, feet up, leisurely watching one of the Republic sponsored entertainment HoloNet channels.  Never a field officer, Caldrone slowly worked his way up the military ladder working with support units.  The closest he came to battle was on Hoth while working as a commissary.  Ever since then, he had been about as far away from the action as he was now.  And he loved it. 

The Colonel’s desk mounted comm link broke into the swoop bike race he was watching.  “Captain Gran’ell would like to see you, sir.”  A look of disgust came over the colonel.  Just as the third heat was starting, thought Caldrone with dismay.  That Bothan laser brain had better have something important.  “Very well.  Send him in.” 

Captain Horst Gran’ell entered the colonel’s office with all the military precision and flare he could muster.  His perfectly clean and creased uniform contrasted greatly with Caldrone’s, which hadn’t been changed in a couple days.  As usual; thinks he’s in a bloody parade.  “Yes, captain. What is it this time?”  Though muted, Colonel Caldrone continued to watch the ongoing swoop race. 

The young Bothan stood rigidly at attention before his superior’s desk.  “Colonel Caldrone, I again beg to report that Scout 5 is overdue.  The team only had supplies for ten days.  It has been over two weeks since they left.”

“Is that so?”  Caldrone watched as a swoop bike narrowly avoided a course obstacle on the muted holo.  “I thought I told you that those recapture missions were pointless.” 

Captain Gran’ell tried to avoid showing the frustration in his eyes by stared over the colonel’s balding head.  “Yes you did, sir.  However, this patrol must be in trouble.  Only you have the authority to transfer troops from guard duty to patrol and security work.  If I had a few more men to search . . .”

Caldrone cut off his second in command with a wave of his hand.  “We’ve had this discussion before, captain.  With so many of our troops on loan to the Taris security force, I cannot waste personnel chasing every runaway stormtrooper who decides to die out there in the wastes.  If you can’t keep track of your people, maybe you should stop wasting your time out their in the ruble and focus on making the lazy barves we have work harder.  You’ll have to make due with the forces you have.”       

Seeing that he would never get what he wanted, Gran’ell gave up.  “Very well, sir,” he said in despair.  Turning on his heel, he left the colonel to his swoop race. 

                                                                        ***

“Who was the last Mandalorian to use a Basilisk war droid in battle?”

“Mandalore Ordo, during the Onderon civil war.”

“Very good, son.  That’s all for today.

“Dad, when will the Mandalorians be strong again?”

“Soon, son, very soon.  If everything goes as planned, I will be the greatest Mandalore ever to lead our people.  And you will be my right hand, son.”

“Why won’t you tell me how you’ll do it?”

“We have powerful enemies, son.  Enemies that can see even into your thoughts.  Soon I will tell you everything.  But not untill we've left this place.  But come now; the Geonosians are executing the two Jedi and the female.  Count Dooku has invited us to watch with him.” 

“NO!!!”  Boba Fett sprang into a sitting position, unsure if he had yelled out loud or only in his mind.  Breathing heavily, Fett could feel a cold sweat running down his face.  Control yourself! Boba ordered himself.  Haven’t had that dream in years.  Looking around, he saw that he was still lying in Slave I’s spare bunk by the loading ramp.  Clearing his head, he removed the blanket covering his still legs.  Look at this waste.

Having heard Fett’s yell, the stormtrooper ran into the cargo area.  Fett was unfastening the second kolto sleeve.  With a cold look, Fett regarded YT 597.  “Do you have any conception of how expensive this is?”

Bewildered, the stormtrooper shrugged.  “No.”

“Considerably more then your clone hide is worth.”  Sitting on the edge of the bunk, Fett carefully put the applicator sleeves into their compartment next to the nearly empty kolto tank they were attached to.  “How long have I been out,” asked Fett in a more even tone as he tried to stretch his legs. 

The stormtrooper had to think for a moment before answering.  “You got hit nearly two weeks ago.  I had a hard time stopping the bleeding; you shouldn’t hide your medical supplies so well.  Your right leg got infected before I could find that bacta applicator; or whatever it is.  You’ve had a pretty bad fever for the last few days.  I don’t know if you remember, but you woke up about five days ago.  That was the first sign of hope I got that you wouldn’t die.”

Fett thoroughly checked his legs.  The sleeves had been left on far longer then needed.  Nearly all outer traces of any wounds had been healed.  “Any more patrols come this way?”

“One came close, but I led them off.”  YT 597 watched as Fett got to his feet, one hand against Salve I’s bulkhead for support.  “You sure you’re ready to be moving around?”

“I’ll get by.”  Looking at the prisoner cages opposite the bunk, Fett saw his Mandalorian armor and helmet inside the top compartment.  Sitting back down, he motioned to the armor.  “Give me those.”

The stormtrooper walked over and picked up the worn pieces of equipment.  He stared into the visor of the helmet for a moment.  The black gleam from the T-shaped macrobinocular plate seemed to stare right back.  When he put the armor down next to the scared figure before him, he looked at Fett for a moment.  “You’re one of them, aren’t you?”

Picking up his helmet and examining it for tampering, Fett seemed to ignore the question. 

“A Mandalorian I mean.”

Stopping for a moment, he concealed his surprise at the question and continued to check his scared helmet.  “You could say that.”

“I thought so when I saw the T-visor on the helmet; but I wasn’t sure until I heard you talking while you were out.” 

“What did I say?” asked Fett.

“Not much made any sense to me.  But I picked up a lot of words and phrases.”

Fett began to examine the rest of his armor.  He noticed the attempted repairs to the lower portions of the flight suit.  “Go on.”

“You talked a lot about the Mandalorians, reforming the clans, and I guess their history.”

“A creature will babble about the craziest things when it’s delirious.”  Fett began to examine the red painted armor gauntlets and their weapons. 

“You also mentioned your father.”

Fett froze.  After a moment, he slowly looked up and locked his gaze into YT 597’s eyes.  Setting the gauntlets down, he rose to his feet.  Fett’s voice had an edge that YT 597 could almost feel, and his piercing glare seemed more deadly then the blaster slung over his shoulder.  “I have many secrets in my life, stormtrooper.”  Thou obviously still weak, every molecule of Fett’s body seemed on a hair trigger, waiting for the order to tear the stormtrooper apart using only his bare hands.  “It is most unwise for a creature to meddle in them.”

YT 597 held his ground.  “I don’t mean to intrude into the secrets of your past; but I must ask.  Was your father Jango Fett?”

Boba's eye's widened slightly; a show of surprise that only a few had brought to him in all his life.  He had never called his father by name, and knew that he wouldn’t have said it in his sleep.  “How do you know that name?” 

“Stormtroopers have secrets, to.  Since we were first used in the Army of the Republic, clone troopers have passed down a legend that we are the descendents of the last leader of a great warrior race called the Mandalorians.  His name was Jango Fett.  We have also been told that he raised a clone as his son.  The legend says that someday, after the death of our master the Emperor, that Jango or his son would return and lead us back to our roots as Mandalorians.  I humbly ask again, are you the son of Jango Fett?” 

   In all his years, Boba Fett had never thought much of Imperial stormtroopers.  Not exceedingly bright, suicidal in their tactics, and blindly faithful to the Emperor.  He knew that his father had been the template for the clone army of the Republic.  Boba also knew that he was in fact a clone of Jango, and not his literal son.  But he never thought of stormtroopers as his brothers or his equal.
 
The stormtrooper standing before him didn’t look much like him.  He had a lighter completion, strait brown hair, and a less defined jaw.  However, they were exactly the same height.  Their physical build was also very similar.  New genetic material had obviously been introduced in the nearly forty years since his father had been selected as the template for the clone army; but was it possible that some of his father’s blood still ran in this creature’s veins?  Father; why didn't you tell me this??
 
“I am.”

The stormtrooper dropped to one knee, his head bowed.  “Then I pledge myself into your service, my master.” 

“Are you insane?”  Fett looked down at the kneeling creature.  “What do you know of the Mandalorian ways?”

The stormtrooper looked up into Fett’s eyes.  “Nothing, my master.  But you could teach me.”

Fett narrowed his gaze, “And why should I.” 

YT 597 paused for a moment, searching for an answer.  “Because. . . Because we are brothers; because it’s my birth right.  A birthright given to me by your father.”

Fett turned and hobbled away a few steps.  He had grown accustomed to the universal belief that he was an emotionless shell.  In many ways he had proven that believe correct.  Deep in his soul, however, there was one sentiment he had held on to.  The hope of one day living his father’s dream.  The dream of leading a Mandalorian Crusade as his forefathers had.  Searching the Galaxy and beyond for worthy opponents.  Finding Honor and victory where defeat is assured.  In his own way, that is the life Fett had been leading ever since his father died on the sands of the Geonosian arena.  But it wasn’t the same, and he always knew it wasn’t.  He had watched for opportunities to reform the clans, but they never came.  The current inhabitants of the planet Mandalore were a shadow of their former glory.  Fett secretly visited the planet periodically, ostensibly to buy replacement parts for his armor and weapons.  In actuality, he was gauging the people.  In his estimation, the people of Mandalore would not fight as a whole again for generations; if ever.  Those who had any desire for the old ways joined the so called ‘Supercommandos.’  Few were little more then local militia parading about in Mandalorian armor.  He had begun to accept it as a fact that he would never lead the Mandalorians back to glory.   Twice he had the chance to live in the Mandalorian ways, but he refused them because they were not on the scale he and his father had dreamed.  Perhaps this stormtrooper offered him another, if not his last, opportunity. 

YT 597 was still on his knee, watching Fett as he pondered the issue.  “Master?”

Fett turned.  “Stand up.  A Mandalorian kneels to no one.”

“Yes, my master,” said the relieved former stormtrooper as he rose to his feet.

“And don’t call me master.  To be a Mandalorian is to be part of a brotherhood.”

“Yes ma . . . oh.  What should I call you?”

Fett paused for a moment.  Looking down, he stared into the black visor of his helmet.  “Call me Mandalore.”

YT 597 snapped to attention.  “Yes, Mandalore!  What is your first command?”

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Interesting alternative: What if Boba Fett was motivated to become Mandalore?

I like it, cant wait to see where you take this. Good job.

"Kom'rk tsad droten troch nyn ures adenn, Dha Werda Verda a'den tratu."
  [url]http://mercs.firespray.net/forum/index.php?topic=39267.0[/url]

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

virulent_messiah wrote:

Interesting alternative: What if Boba Fett was motivated to become Mandalore?

I like it, cant wait to see where you take this. Good job.

It's all speculation and wishful thinking on my part.  I’m about as big a Mando fan as I am a Boba fan; maybe more.  So it really moves me to combine my two favorite StarWars characters/topics.

And if not for the existing EU that came out before Ep. II, this is probably the general path he would have taken.  Traviss and others are trying to send him that way now; though they’re moving around the existing EU rather then just ignoring it like I’m doing tongue

Should have more soon, and thanks for the support

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

terra wrote:

It's really a shame that you don't know any programmer. This story really sounds like it could make a good game.

Would be fine with me *can see myself now; buying my own customized Mando armor with the money I get for my story   tongue *

But seriously, this is all just an alternative history unless this can be altered into fitting behind the scenes of ALL the other stuff he does in *so called* canon writtings.  Not giving up that that might be possibe, but it's not likely.

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

This is great! One of the better Boba Fett fan fics ive read. But i must offer a bit of criticism: the stormtroopers of the Empire, dont have any trace of Jango in them. The only true copys of jango are in the 501st. And the Stormtroopers have a much smaller life span then the Clone Wars clones. Like a normal Stormtrooper, would be ready for combat at age 5, or so. So YT 597 would be ageing rapidly. Thats all i can think of, but other than that its all good. I hope you finish it, im looking forward to seeing the end.

[i]"Sir, Finishing this Cake."[/i]

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Here's the next part; hope you all like   big_smile

Chapter 4


Who would have thought joining the Rebel Alliance would prove so profitable, thought Colonel Caldrone as he disembarked the private shuttle that had been sent for him.  The landing platform was suspended between two of Taris’s still standing towers built before the bombardment that destroyed the city generations ago.  Walking toward the closer of the two towers, he was met by his old friend and new business associate. 

“It is good to see you again, colonel.  Please, come to my office.”  Senator Tarik motioned to the walkway leading to the tower. 

Walking toward the entrance of the masterfully crafted atmosphere scraper’s rooftop lobby, Caldrone could see several hundred of his prisoners loading into transports on a lower platform.  Credits right out of my pocket, he thought with a frown as followed his host.

The upper lobby was circular in shape, with rooms and offices along the sides.  It was exquisitely lit, with a transparisteel dome overhead.  Senator Tarik’s office was spacious and tastefully decorated.  The back wall also made of transparisteel, offering a magnificent view of the light cloud cover below.  As usual, the colonel’s favorite drink was waiting by the chair he always used on these visits.  Despite the pleasantries, however, Caldrone noticed the senator’s mood darken sharply as soon as the two were alone. 

As the colonel took his seat, Caldrone regarded his host.  “Before you start, I know what you’re going to say.”

“Really, I thought I had a most unique set of questions in store,” hissed Tarik.  “Why are my workers loading into transports and heading back to that camp of yours again??”

“The same reason as last time.  I would have arranged this meeting myself if I hadn’t got your message.  I’ll be calling back the work details for a short time.”  Caldrone took his drink and sipped at it.

“Another inspection?”  The senator didn’t try to conceal his displeasure.

“I told you on my last visit that the POW camp on Sullust would be closing; well, it’s happened.”  The colonel took another sip before continuing.  “They’re getting ready to send them here.”

Senator Tarik arched his eyebrow.  “Really?  Then why the inspection?  You told me the last one was to make sure your facility was ready.”

Caldrone chuckled slightly.  “Yes, I did.  However, I failed to take into account the Chief Inspector’s dislike for me.  He suspects that something is amiss with the camp and has been trying to catch me for some time.  He’s the reason camp commanders aren’t told about upcoming inspections.  Apparently he’s grown fond of clones and has taken it upon himself to see that they aren’t ‘mistreated,’” Caldrone said in a most sarcastic tone.  “If it wasn’t for the regulation restricting civilians from my site he’d probably never leave.”  Caldrone grinned and shook his head as he lifted his glass again.  “Once I’m shed of this latest inspection, I’ll be able to ‘loan’ you almost twice as many workers as before.”

Tarik’s mood was considerably lifted.  “Excellent.  In that case, I have another project for you.  I want a debris field cleared on the east side of the city.  It’s a perfect spot for a housing program that I have just promised to build.”

“Really?  How many do you want?”

“All I can get.”

“Very well.  As soon as I’ve got the new prisoners settled in, we’ll be right on it.” 

Tarik punched some figures into his datapad.  “How does this amount strike you?”  The senator showed his guest the datapad, which had a large number displayed on the screen.

Caldrone’s eyes widened.  “It strikes me down to the bone,” answered the colonel with a fat grin.  The first payment Caldrone received for ‘loaning’ the prisoners under his care was more then he had made his whole career with the New Republic.  Since then, the payments had steadily increased.  It was a shame so many prisoners died while on the work details.  While clearing rubble, prisoners often triggered collapses of the debris or uncovered toxic material that had remained preserved under the fallen buildings all these centuries.  Getting themselves killed meant they would be unavailable for future ‘loans.’  However, not reporting their deaths allowed Caldrone to sell the senator all supplies allotted for them, rather than just skimming those supplies the prisoners didn’t really need. Everything has its good and bad side, thought the colonel as he finished his drink.

                                                                                                              ***

“So it’s true Imperial clones are descendents of Jango Fett, and he was the last leader of the Mandalorians?” 
   
“Yes; for the most part.”  Again donning his battle armor, the new Mandalore adapted the power coupling of an energy converter in the hanger’s repair shop.  He had never enjoyed talking; in fact he usually hated any form of communication with sentient creatures.  But speaking of the old Mandalorians to this eager listener didn’t seem so bad.  Perhaps the former stormtrooper reminded Mandalore Fett of himself as a boy, listening so intently to his Father’s tales of Mandalorian Honor and glory.  “My Father was the first clone template for what would become the stormtrooper corp.  Whether or not some of his genetic material is still used I do not know.” 

“As to who was the last leader of the Mandalorian clans, my Father was the last one with the vision to make them great.”  Glancing back at YT 597 for a moment, Mandalore began to appreciate just how farsighted his Father was.  Being paid to create and train a clone army for the Republic, while secretly teaching the clones about their Mandalorian heritage.........brilliant!   Only Dad could have gotten away with something like that.  Why didn’t I have the vision to see what he had been doing?  There were so many clues that he laid out for me.  All the stories that he told me; was I really so naive to believe they were nothing more them bedtime tall tales?  Why didn’t I understand?  He told me that we would one day lead the greatest army ever seen; while that very army was being created all around me in Kamino.   

Looking back to his work, Mandalore continued his answer.  “The first to try after his death was a clone.  Alpha-02, a clone of my father, joined the Separatists and led two hundred Mandalorians on a strike against the Republic.  They failed, of course.  About two and a half years ago, a handful of Mandalorian police units joined the Rebels against the Empire, but none of them claimed the title of Mandalore.  One of their leaders, Tobbi Dala, was killed in that resurgence.  He was one of the few creatures that still deserved the title Mandalorian.  I still owe him a dept.” 

YT 597 looked puzzled.  “How can you repay a dept to a dead man?”

“It’s a personal matter,” responded Mandalore.

Sensing he had intruded, YT 597 changed the subject.  “What is the significance to the name Mandalore?  Is it a title or is that your name?”

Mandalore completed his adjustments to the piece of equipment he had been working on and turned to YT 597.  “You know my father’s name but not mine?”

“No Mandalore; should I?”

“Most in the galaxy would after seeing my armor and that ship.”  Taking the adapted power coupling he left the work station and headed for the mechanic’s pit under Slave I.  “Mandalore was the name of our first leader.  He conquered the world that is now named for him.  Since that time, each leader of the Mandalorians has taken up his name and identity.”  Mandalore stopped under an access panel leading to Slave I’s damaged power generator.  “Give me the hydrospanner.”

“Yes, Mandalore.”  YT 597 turned and looked into the exposed tool chest.  Looking back, “What’s a hydrospanner?”

Mandalore Fett looked over his shoulder.  “You don’t know what a hydrospanner is; the most basic repair tool in the galaxy?”

YT 597 looked down at the greasy and oil smeared floor ashamedly.  “No, Mandalore.”

“I don’t suppose mechanic work was a high priority in your training.”  Mandalore set the energy converter down on a small bench and walked over to the chest.  “This is a hydrospanner.”  Mandalore showed the former stormtrooper the implement.  “And this is a fusioncuttor; I’ll need it in a moment.”

YT 597 examined the tool he had been given.  “So, what’s the plan, Mandalore?”

Mandalore’s upper body was inside the access hatch.  “Give me the fusioncuttor.”  Taking the tool, he cut out the damaged power coupling and began replacing it.  “That’s not really your concern.  Suffice to say that I know of some creatures in the galaxy that will join us and be worthy Mandalorians.”

“I mean before we leave.  How are we going to free the rest of the clones in the camp?” 

Mandalore completed his repairs and started to replace the access panel.  “That isn’t an option.”

YT 597 clenched his fists.  “What do mean?  Aren’t they coming with us?”

Mandalore turned to face his new partner.  “I once asked if you were insane; should I ask again?  First, how do you propose we take the camp from the Republic garrison?  I estimate they have nearly ten thousand troops on Taris and fifty on Bandomeer.  Even if their sceond rate at best, they're still more then enough to stop two of us.  Second, how do you plan to get off this rock?  My life form sensor picked up nearly a million creatures in there.  Slave I is a good ship, but transporting that many creatures is a little beyond its limits.”

“What’s Bandomeer,” asked the still tense YT 597.

Mandalore returned to fastening the access panel.  “It’s a nearby system; and it’s the reason I’m here.  The New Republic set up a base there.  I didn’t know why at first, but when I found this place it made sense.  Putting troops on the ground here would tie them down.  Using them as a response force, however, allows them to be moved most anywhere if needed.”

YT 597 folded his arms as he watched Mandalore.  “If there is a garrison there, how do you know it’s meant to counter a breakout here?”     

“Simple.  The camp here is the only reason the Republic would be wasting personnel in this sector.  I scanned the space station and found several new additions, including barracks type facilities.”  Tightening the last bolt, Mandalore Fett faced YT 597.  “As this is a safe area, the only logical assumption is that the soldiers have been stationed there to react to any revolt here on Taris.  Also, being a reaction force, they are ready to move and can be quickly withdrawn if needed elsewhere.”  Mandalore carefully put his tools into the chest and started for the exit.

“I can’t leave my brothers.”

Stopping at the pit’s access hatch, Mandalore looked over his shoulder at the other creature.  “You must; or you will not travel with me.”  He then walked out.  As he ascended Slave I’s ramp, his helmet’s motion sensors detected YT 597 running after him.

“Mandalore, wait ” 

Mandalore stopped just before entering his ship, though he didn’t turn. 

“Give me a chance.  There must be a way.  If we work together, I’m sure we can do it.”  When the T-visored helmet finally turned toward YT 597, he could see his reflection in its dark gaze.   

“Good.  You are loyal to your brothers.  I was afraid you would be as blindly obedient to me as you were to your Emperor.  You are more of a Mandalorian then I expected.  I can have Slave I ready to leave in two days.  We’ll need a plan before then.”  Mandalore continued into the ship. 

YT 597 stared blankly at the space where Mandalore had just stood.  Two days.  OK.  Better get started then.

“Also,” Mandalore stepped back out Slave I’s main entrance.  “This is the only time I will test you in this way.”  He raised his gloved hand and pointed toward YT 597.  “From now on, you had best remember your place and do as you’re told; unless you have it in mind to challenge me for the title of Mandalore.”  He then disappeared back into Slave I.

“Yes, Mandalore.  Whatever you say.”

                                                                                                                             ***

Captain Gran’ell watched as several hundred prisoners started to erect the east wall of a new building.  The dust from the destroyed buildings choked the air and obscured the work area.  Two guards watched from the shade of a nearly completed mess hall. 

“Lucky their so tame.”

The voice from behind startled Gran’ell.  Looking over his shoulder, he saw his sergeant observing the scene.  “Why’s that?”
   
“If we were to have trouble with them, we’d need a lot more troops.”

Captain Gran’ell folded his arms and turned back to the work detail.  “We have more.  They’re all in Taris on ‘loan’ to the colonel’s new friends.”

The battle hardened sergeant rested his left hand on his sheathed force pike.  “It’s not just our numbers, sir.  The men stationed here are the dregs of the New Republic.  I’ve personally observed dozens of unnecessary beatings and killings of the prisoners.”  A veteran of Hoth, the sergeant had no love for stormtroopers.  However, he took pride in his uniform, and hated to see it disgraced by lazy and undisciplined prison guards calling themselves soldiers. 

“I’m not overly concerned for the welfare of these Imperial goons.”  The captain began to rub his fur covered hands together.  “If I had my way, I’d be with the fleet getting ready for the big push into the Core Worlds.  It must be coming soon.”

“Very soon.  To bad we won’t be in it.”

Captain Gran’ell closed his eyes for a moment.  “Speak for yourself, sergeant.”

The sergeant looked away from the prisoners and at his captain.  “Sir?”

Gran’ell opened his eyes again and started for the command facility.  “Come to my quarters tomorrow; early.  We may not be out of the war just yet.”

                                                                                                                                            ***

YT 597 watched the opening into Slave I’s hull just above and to starboard of the ship’s transparisteel viewport.  “Why won’t it work,” frustration in his voice. 

“Because even if your friends are as bold and courageous as you and I hope, they won’t stand a chance of breaking through the main compound’s gate.  The automated turrets will wipe them out as they approach.”  Mandalore stood up over the damaged communications monitor, exposing his upper body.  “Give me the fusioncutter.”

YT 597 grabbed the tool from its place in the repair chest and put it into Mandalore’s gloved hand.  “Not if you destroy the turrets with the cruiser.”

“I’ve told you.  The New Republic may have moved the cruisers away from Bestine.  I could come back with only a broken down freighter, or with nothing at all.”  Mandalore Fett was referring to a theory he had mentioned of stealing a retired Imperial cruiser from the scrap yards over the planet Bestine.  The planet was once a famous producer of Old Republic Acclamator and Venator class cruisers.  The Empire latter converted the planet’s orbital shipyards from producing to dismantling the ships when they were decommissioned.  Converting the docks was a very slow process due to mishandling of funds and man power shortages.  The vessels had been left in a combat ready status, and had often been ‘barrowed’ for short missions by the Imperial Navy.  The first cruisers were just being broken up when the locals overthrew the Imperial governor and joined the New Republic.  The New Republic continued the dismantling process, but most of the vessels should still be operational, waiting to be scraped.  “Even if they are still there, stealing one from a defended space station won’t exactly be easy for a team of eleven.”  He then descended back into the access hatch.

“Well, what if we combine my first plan with your idea about stealing the cruiser.  We wait a couple weeks for the supply ship to arrive, steal it, load it with all the men it can carry, and assault the ship yard with a small army   Then we can come back with the cruiser and take even more out.”

Mandalore continued his repairs as he responded.  “You’re still left with the problem of how to get by the defense turrets and to the landing pad.  Also, the transport would probably take off as soon as your little rebellion got stared.” 

“Fine.”  Folding his arms, YT 597 searched his brain for another idea.  “How ‘bout this.  It’s not hard to get out of the camp, in fact it’s easy.  Why don’t we get a larger ship and start smuggling men out a few at a time ”

“Because as soon as the guards realize prisoners are getting off planet, they’ll either set up a blockade to keep us out or will ambush us.” 

YT 597 picked up the wrapper of an eaten military ration bar and flung it toward Slave I.  He watched it flutter through the air and float harmlessly to the floor less than a meter from where he sat on a makeshift table.  “Well, do you have any ideas?”

Finishing his work, Mandalore stood up and leaned on the edge of the access port.  “Not yet.  I will begin working on one when I get back.”

“Back?  Back from where?”

“The command building.”

“Command building?  You mean the command tower in the camp ?!?”

Mandalore pulled himself from the opening and stood over it.  “Yes.”

“You’re going to break into the camp command center   How?”

“The same way I infiltrate any target; carefully.”  Mandalore began to lower the armored panel that had been suspended over his head.  “Perhaps the answer to getting your brothers off this rock is on the base computer.”  Mandalore Fett paused and looked down at YT 597.  “We have to decide what to call you.”

YT 597 returned the look, confusion written on his face.  “Call me; what do you mean?”
   
“A real name.  My second in command should have more then a clone designation; unless you have some objection.”
   
YT 597 was both surprised and proud.  “Your second in command; this is a great honor.  But I’ve never been more then a basic trooper; are you sure I’m worthy?”

“We’ll find out soon enough.”  Mandalore resumed lowering the armor plate.  “First, I need to meet some more of these brothers of yours.  I must be sure you’re not an anomaly.”

YT 597 cocked his head slightly.  “What do you mean?”

Mandalore looked at the other man as the plate continued to slowly descend.  “I need to be sure you’re not crazy and made this whole thing up about a secret Mandalorian cult in the stormtrooper ranks.”

“Do you really think I could make all this up?”

“Your story is possible, but as yet unproven.  I must be sure.”  As the armor plate slipped into place, Mandalore released the overhead lift’s clamp and commenced sealing the panel.  “I’ll be done with this shortly.  Stow away the gear so I can lock down Slave I.  When we get back, we can talk about getting you that name.”       

                                                                                                                           ***

Captain Gran’ell didn’t expect it to be this easy.  After he had left his sergeant, his hopes of finding something incriminating on his commander’s personal data base started to fade when he began to contemplate all the possible security precautions that might be employed.  The whole system is wide open   Not even a simple access code or a means of verifying identification. 

With time to spare, he leisurely worked his way through the hundreds of files. He finally came upon what he was searching for.  Listed before the captain was a list containing several rows of numbers.  Gran’ell recognized one row as the number of troops transferred to the city of Taris per month.  This other column must be the number of clones sent out on the work parties; and this row must be the credits received.  For that many credits I’d be doing the same thing.  If these files were to fall into the wrong hands, the colonel would be locked away for a long time.  Either the accountant in him made him keep all these records, or he’s planning on blackmailing Senator Tarik for his retirement. 

Satisfied with what he had found, Captain Gran’ell copied the files to his datapad and exited the office.  As he entered the adjacent waiting room, he checked the time.  That wasn’t even close. 

Resetting the door’s lock, he settled into one of the room’s chairs.  Over an hour latter Colonel Caldron’s secretarial and assistance droid, B-8ZU, entered the room at the usual time. 

“Captain Gran’ell, my personal memory base does not recall an appointment at this time.”  The dull gray colored droid cocked its head slightly to the left.  “Is something the matter?”

Gran’ell had never liked or trusted droids.  CZ-37 had always been an object of his many prejudices.  But success had put Gran’ell in a good mood.  He decided to be civil to the droid this time.  “Nothing’s wrong.  I was just passing by and decided to drop in to see if there were any updates on when the colonel would be returning.  There’s something I would like to discuss with him.” 

The droid searched its memory banks for a moment.  “I have received no updates concerning Colonel Caldron’s return.  Therefore, his return is still estimated at fourteen hours, seventeen minutes, and nine seconds.  Is the matter you referenced urgent?  I can easily contact the colonel and alert him of any emergency.” 

Why can’t he just say the colonel will be back later tomorrow?  CZ-37’s inability to use plain galactic basic when giving time or a date was one of the many things about the droid that got on Captain Gran’ell’s nerves.  Never-the-less, this would not be enough to ruin his current state of mind.  “No; don’t bother.  Just make an appointment for me to see the colonel after the camp inspectors leave.”  As the captain stood and moved toward the exit, he gave a rare grin.  “I’m sure he’ll be interested to hear what I have to say.”

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Well one thing.  I hav to say I'm not a fan of how you portray the trooper as completely innocent of the world.  It seems ridiculous.  Is he a POW?  If he is, it means he has fought.  He comes aross as very child-like and I'm sure anyone who has fought in war would be much more hardened. 

It is a really interesting concept and I look forward to Chapter 5.

[i]Like I told your captain, the orphange attacked me.  It was self-defense.[/i]  -Richard the Warlock  [url]http://archive.lfgcomic.com/lfg0002.gif[/url]

22 (edited by Ralin Drakus Sunday, February 10, 2008 1:38 am)

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

You’re making an assumption that he’s a veteran of many battles.  As stated by Mon Mothma in the intro, most of the thousands of clones in Rebel custody were captured without a struggle when they received word that the Emperor was dead.  Not saying he isn’t a veteran of battles, to be honest, I never worked out his backstory.  But this is something to be kept in mind.

Also, you seem to be comparing my portrayal of Imperial clones to real-world veterans.  Keep in mind, a clone has NO contact with the ‘real’ world other then through his blaster’s sights.  Child like when dealing with a situation this clone is in might be an excellent term.  Not only is he for the first time experiencing some level of freedom, he’s learning of a way of life that he *in this story* has been dreaming of all his life. 

And don’t think any of this makes him less hardened or dangerous.  His attitude toward Fett might very well be childlike, but his dedication and skills are as focused towards his duty as ever.  The life he’s been dreaming and waiting for is one of unending war until victory or death.  Not the dream of one who is weak.

Will post the next chapter soon, sorry for the delay    smile

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Mandal_ShadowWarrior wrote:

This is great! One of the better Boba Fett fan fics ive read. But i must offer a bit of criticism: the stormtroopers of the Empire, dont have any trace of Jango in them. The only true copys of jango are in the 501st. And the Stormtroopers have a much smaller life span then the Clone Wars clones. Like a normal Stormtrooper, would be ready for combat at age 5, or so. So YT 597 would be ageing rapidly. Thats all i can think of, but other than that its all good. I hope you finish it, im looking forward to seeing the end.

Thanks a lot for the tips on Imperial clones, Mandal.  I wasn't sure about whether or not any of Jango's genetic material was still used, but it doesn't really matter either way.  That part about Imperial clones having a really short life span hurts though............not sure if I'll be able to take that into accout in my story or not.  It really kills my long term plans.  You sure about that?  How many good years do they have?  And what's your souce?  *not doubting you, but I'd like to see where you got that as I've tried to look it up and failed; and I'm curious just how canon that is*

Here it is, hope you all enjoy


Chapter 5



As the last vestiges of light faded from the Taris wastes, Mandalore Fett and YT 597 watched as the work detail they had been observing started back for the barracks, their shift over.  The guards used force pikes set on low to prod slow moving individuals in the right direction.  None of the prisoners resisted or tried to defend themselves.  They slowly walked back to their barracks, heads down, stirring a cloud of dust as they dragged their feet up the path leading back to their camp.  Those jabbed by a pike only raising their hands defensively and stumbling back into line.

Mandalore scanned the formation as it worked its way out of the ruble and into the city of simple barracks’s, mess halls, and support buildings they had constructed.  There must be five thousand prisoners in each of those work crews; and only about fifty guards combined.  They must really be sure of themselves; that will work to our advantage.  Several binary loadlifters used another trail away from the site. Most had been working to haul away the debris freed by the prisoners, while others used pincer like graspers to crush chunks of foundation too large for the men to move.  The ponderous droids worked their way to a large building at the edge of the completed settlement that apparently served as their hanger. 

So this is the fate the New Republic gives to the most feared army in a thousand years; mindless slaves building their own prison.  A fate far worse then death for a Mandalorian.  The question now becomes is there a soul of a warrior locked in those minds, waiting to be freed.  Or are they just what everyone believes; useless servants of a dead tyrant.   

The sound of coughing and gagging from the column filled the clouded air.  The air filter in Mandalore’s helmet kept the dust out of his lungs; and the guards wore breath masks.  However, YT 597 only had a rage to cover his nose and mouth with, while his brothers had nothing.   

Stalking the column from the hill-like mounds of debris that rested above the camp, the pair stayed out of sight.  The column passed the first erected buildings, moving toward the mess hall.  The mess hall was in the center of a well lit open area about one hundred and fifty meters in diameter, with barracks surrounding the outside of the area.  A light hung over the entrance to each of the buildings.  The mess hall had large flood lights on poles above each of its four corners.  The buildings were prefabricated multipurpose plasteel storage units converted for use in the camp.  As the column approached, two doors opened.  Inside, Mandalore could see stacks of food parcels on the left and right of each door.  The guards then split the disorderly column into four single file lines, two entering each door.  Shortly after entering the building, the columns exited the rear and broke up; each man finding a place on the ground to sit and eat.  Shortly after all the prisoners had left the mess hall, one of the guards removed his breath mask just long enough to blow a whistle.  Upon hearing it, the prisoners slowly rose to their feet, leaving the parcels and whatever might have still been in them for the sanitation droids that scurried from their port adjacent the hall.  Forming back into their column, they marched to a long, narrow building on the outskirts of the eating area. 

“They’re being marched to the showers,” whispered YT 597.  His emotionless expression couldn’t conceal the anger in his eyes.

Mandalore detected the hate that was building in the man next to him.  “What happened there?”

YT 597 looked away for a moment.  When he returned Mandalore’s gaze, he was grinning slightly.  “That’s where I woke up.”

“What do you mean?”

YT 597 looked back toward the showers.  “After I learned of the Emperor’s death my mind seemed to be in a nebula.  I have almost no memory of my capture, coming here, or of the things I did while I was a prisoner.  Only incomplete images and scenes; like in a dream.  All that changed about four weeks ago.  I remember standing in one of the shower booths, my clothes still on, trying to get off the layers of dust that had hardened to me.  One of the guards walked by and said something.  I didn’t say anything back to him, I don’t think I even understood what he said; I just kept rubbing at the dirt that was caked to my face and chest.  Suddenly my entire body seized up.”  YT 597’s stare hardened; his memory replaying the incident before his eyes.  “The guard had stuck his force-pike into the water around my feet.  I could feel the electric currents running through my body as I was frozen there.  When he finally pulled it out, I just collapsed onto the floor.  I could feel the water evaporating from my skin.  As he walked away, I clearly heard him talking to himself.  He said ‘I bet that felt like he was hit with a Mando disrupter.’  He said it with a laugh.”  YT 597’s hands had formed white knuckled fists as he recounted the story.  “Strangely enough, despite the pain, I felt like I’d waken up from a long sleep.  For the first time since the Emperor’s death, I was aware of my surroundings.  I felt alive again.” 

“Go on.”

Hearing Mandalore’s voice brought the former stormtrooper back to the present.  Though he relaxed his hands, hatred still kindled in his stare.  “I managed to shake off the effects of the shock and got to my feet.  The only thing I could think off was killing the guard who had done that to me.  I looked out of the stall and saw him walking down the row; he was still laughing.  I stepped onto the walkway and ran after him.  It had been so long since I had run my legs nearly buckled under me, but I kept going.  He heard me coming and started to turn just as I reached him.  I hit him with all the force I could.  He must have hit his head pretty hard when we landed, cause he didn’t even try to get up.”  YT 597 again cast a burning gaze in the direction of the shower building.  “He looked up at me as I stood over him with the pike in my hands.  I set it to maximum and shoved it down into his chest.”  YT 597 looked down at the white dust at his feet.  He picked up a handful and watched it slowly pour out of his palm.  “I don’t know how long I pressed the pike into him.  I only stopped when one of my brothers grabbed me.  He told me follow him; that we had to hide in the ruble.  I guess he had been awake for some time, but had been acting unchanged.  We ran toward the entrance.  A guard somewhere behind us must have seen the body and yelled out.  As we ran through the doorway, the man who was helping me ran into another guard.  They both hit the ground.  I stopped; I didn’t know what to do.  He yelled at me; telling me to run.  The last I saw off him he was struggling for the guard’s blaster.” 

  Mandalore watched as the still soaking prisoners were ushered outside.  “And you blame yourself for leaving him.”

YT 597’s sharp stare darted to the man next to him.  “I could have helped him ”  Together we could have killed the guard and escaped.”

“Perhaps.”  Mandalore’s dark visor gleamed slightly in the moonlight that was falling around them.  “Your heart is in the right place now.    You were confused and disoriented, and can’t be blamed for your actions then.  What matters is that you would have helped if you could.  In the future you will know what to do.”  Mandalore leaned slightly closer to YT 597.  “Tell me.  When you killed the guard who had mistreated you; how did it feel?”

The question surprised YT 597; his eyes looked away for a moment.  Looking back at his leader, a slight sneer showed on his face.  “It was good.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know.”  Running his dirty fingers through his short brown hair, his mind wrestled with the question.  “It felt good because I was getting even for what he had done to me; but not just because of that.”  YT 597 closed his eyes, searching for the words to explain his feelings.  “It felt good because he thought he was strong and I was weak.”  Opening his eyes, he clenched his right hand and returned Mandalore’s dark gaze.  “Because he was armed and armored while I had nothing; because I won in the face of certain defeat and killed him with his own weapon.”

Mandalore gave a slight nod of his head.  “So it is true.  You have the heart of a Mandalorian.”  Mandalore put his hand on the other man’s shoulder.  “Come; let’s see if your brothers do too.”

Slightly confused by Mandalore’s reaction to his answer, YT 597 shook his head and followed his leader down the jagged slopes and broken foundations toward the camp.  When they finally reached the cleared area that the camp rested in, the work detail had been broken into groups of five hundred and each sent to a barracks.  Moving undetected behind one of the barracks, Mandalore and YT 597 watched as the guards emerged from the dull gray metal buildings and met with the perimeter defense units who arrived to relieve them.  Over one hundred strong and armed with heavy blaster rifles rather then force pikes and pistols, the perimeter defense unit’s job was to keep the prisoners in their barracks and foil any escape or riot attempts.  As the guards headed back to their own barracks, the perimeter units broke up into three man groups and started patrolling the camp. 

Pulling his head back from watching the Republic troopers, YT 597 turned to Mandalore.  “This could be tricky; there’s more night guards then there used to be.  You don’t need any ID to open the door; you just turn the handle.   But there’s no way to open it from the inside.”

“Let me worry about that; step aside.”  Moving around the corner of the barracks, Mandalore positioned himself in a kneeling stance facing the mess hall.  With a flick of his wrist, a targeting reticle appeared before Mandalore’s eyes on his HUD.  Extending his arms strait ahead, his left hand supporting his right, the bright red crosshair moved in unison to the center of his line of sight.  Breathing slowly, Mandalore patiently waited for the perfect window of opportunity.  With a seemingly benign clenching of his fingers, a dart fired across the open field toward the mess hall from his Mandalorian armored gauntlet.

YT 597 looked to see what Mandalore had shot at.  A team of guards was half way across the open area and calmly walking in his direction.  “You missed.”

“Keep watching,” responded Mandalore as he reloaded the launcher; this time with a HE explosive rocket dart..........just in case.

The moment Mandalore stopped speaking one of the mess hall’s floodlight trees erupted in sparks and fell to the ground.  “How did you do that,” asked a saucer eyed YT 597.

“Never ask stupid questions while on a mission; come on.”  Already on his feet, Mandalore swung his blaster rifle from his shoulder and into his hands.  When they reached the front of the building Mandalore shouldered his weapon and sidestepped his way to the door, keeping the guards to his front.  “Open it,” he ordered.

Turning the handle, YT 597 slid the large door open just enough to slip through.  He starred into the blackness of the barracks for a moment.  “Don’t shut the door or we’ll . . .” Before he could finish he heard the door’s lock snap back into position.  He turned to see Mandalore stepping away from the closed door.  “. . . be trapped.  Well, we’ve got a long wait until the guards find us in the morning.”

Mandalore walked past YT 597.  “Trust me,” said Mandalore calmly as he stepped deeper into the complete darkness of the prison barracks.  His helmet’s light amplification adjusting automatically, allowing him to clearly see the two rows of triple bunk beds stretching to the end of the building.  It was painfully obvious that the building was overcrowded.  Many prisoners were sharing beds, while dozens more slept on mats or just blankets on the floor.  To Mandalore’s right several prisoners waited in line to use the barracks’s single refresher.  The stench from the backed up unit even penetrated the air filters in his helmet. 

Leaving the refresher, a prisoner slowly shuffled back to the bunks.  Although he was identical in height to YT 597, the prisoner had dirty blond hair, a slightly leaner physical build, and a different face.  There was more diversity in the barracks than Mandalore had expected.  The Empire must have been using well over a dozen models of clone when the Emperor died.  There are at least ten different faces in here. 

When the prisoner tried to pass, Mandalore turned and stepped in front of him.  The prisoner stopped for a moment, then tried to walk around the armored figure.  Mandalore stepped to the side, again blocking the clone’s rout.  Unable to get by, the prisoner just stood there.  Examining the creature before him, Mandalore observed the prisoner’s slouched posture, his distant expression, and unfocused eyes. 

Using his left hand to lift the prisoner’s head, Mandalore raised his right index finger and moved it back and forth in front of the prisoners face.  “Look at me, trooper.”  The prisoner showed little response.  “LOOK AT ME ”  The clone shuddered slightly and looked up; though his gaze was distant and unfocused.  “I am Boba, son of Jango Fett; does that mean anything to you?”

The man began to show a glimmer of reaction.  His eyes cleared for a moment, and he seemed to try to concentrate on the words he had just heard.  However, he began to fade again. 

In a quick motion, Mandalore grabbed the prisoner by the shirt with his left hand and struck him across the face with the other.  The prisoner’s eyes cleared again and he raised his hands in a show of defense. 

Using only one hand to hold the prisoner up, Mandalore pulled him closer.  “I have come to rebuild the Mandalorian clans; will you join me?”

The prisoner looked blankly into Mandalore’s visor, confusion spread across his face.  Then, as if some part of his mind had suddenly been unlocked, he understood what had been said.  Shaking his head slightly, he rubbed the side of his jaw where he had been hit.  “You’re the lost son of our Father Jango Fett,” asked the prisoner weakly.     

“I am,” responded Mandalore as he let go of the prisoner’s shirt.   

YT 597, who had been watching the exchange, came forward and put a hand on his brother’s shoulder.  “It’s true.  He’s been teaching me about our heritage.  With his help, we’re going to escape this place and live our dreams.”

The former stormtrooper gathered his thoughts.  He was still confused, having just awakened from the murky existence he had been living in for over a year.  He again gazed into Mandalore’s visor.  “You have come to return us to the ways of our ancestors?”

“First answer two questions.”

A ray of hope was beginning to show on the prisoner’s face.  “Anything.”

“Are you part of a secret Mandalorian cult inside the Imperial stormtrooper corps?”

The prisoner turned to the man standing next to him.  YT 597 gave him a nod.  “Yes.  Now that the Emperor is dead, all clone stormtroopers wait for the day when a true Mandalorian comes and leads us back to the ways of our fathers.”

Mandalore tilted his head back slightly.  “I am that Mandalorian.  Will you follow me on a crusade that will forever be remembered in the annals of our people?”

The prisoner had a light in his eyes that even YT 597 could see through the darkness of the barracks.  “Yes.  I’ll follow you to the ends of the galaxy if you ask me.”

Mandalore put his hand on the man’s shoulder.  “And perhaps beyond; if that is where our destiny lies.  Come, we’re leaving.”

As Mandalore and the prisoner moved deeper into the barracks, YT 597 looked back over his shoulder as he followed.  “But you locked the door. . .”

                                                                                                                                      ***

A chill ran through Colonel Caldrone as he stepped out of the shuttle and into the night air.  As the small craft lifted off, Caldrone scanned the landing pad.  The first project to be ‘financed’ by senator Tarik, it was his pride and joy.  Originally designed to be just large enough to land a single large freighter, the senator made a friendly suggestion that a much larger pad would be much more profitable for Taris and for the colonel.  Claiming there had been a mix-up with the design plans he had been sent, Caldrone was able to explain away the size and cost in materials.  With the war raging and supplies in high demand, it was actually easier for him to skim extra resources into the camp then it would have been in normal times.  The New Republic was swamped with matters far more important then his camp, and inconsistencies on his projected supply needs could never be fully investigated. 

Rubbing his hands together, he entered the primary control tower, which was part of the durasteel wall that surrounded the pad’s perimeter.  Entering the operations deck, Caldrone was greeted by the night watch officer.

“Colonel, welcome back.  How was your trip?”

“Tolerable, lieutenant.”  Caldrone was only able to conceal most of the satisfaction he really felt about the trip.  “Is the inspection team on schedule?”

The young officer dutifully checked his arrivals readout.  “Yes sir.  TOA is still estimated at zero nine hundred hours.” 

“Very well.  I’ll be in my quarters.”

The young deck officer started to turn back to his panel, but then a thought hit him.  “Colonel; how did you know we had an inspection coming?  We only got the landing authorization a few hours ago.”

Damn!!!  Caldrone thought for a moment.  “My droid contacted me shortly after I left Taris.  Why?”

The lieutenant realized he had overstepped his bounds and shifted to the defensive.  “No reason sir.  It just seemed odd that you would already know considering you where off station.”

“On your toes; that’s good.  Just save that observant nature for those murderers out there,” said Caldrone as he pointed out the south viewport toward the prisoner camps. 

“Yes sir; I will sir,” the lieutenant responded, unsure if he was in trouble or not.     

Old fool; letting yourself get caught by a young punk like that.  This is no time to get sloppy.  One more inspection and the galaxy is yours.  Caldrone took the lift down to the underground section of the facility.  The most sophisticated part of the compound, it was largely built by professional builders during the early stages of the camp’s construction.  He decided to detour to his office and update his financial files.  Locking his office door behind him, Caldrone settled in behind his large desk. 

“Security sign in; Colonel Caldrone.”  He couldn’t be more pleased.  Caldrone was always full of self satisfaction while recording another large addition to his accounts. 

The screen to the colonel’s computer came to life without his having to switch it on.  “Voice print access code recognized.  Welcome, Colonel Caldrone.”  The soothing female voice always made it a pleasure to activate the system.  "This system has had a security breech.”

Caldrone arched his eyebrow.  What’s been going on here?  “Source of security breech.”

“Data files were reviewed without authorization 15.24 standard hours ago.”

“Show security footage starting at the time of the unauthorized entry,” ordered the colonel as he rubbed his forehead.  The screen went blank for a moment, then returned to life.  The image of Captain Gran’ell, captured by a secret holo camera hidden behind a see-through panel opposite the desk, nervously opening the phony data files came to life.  As time passed, Caldrone could see Gran’ell becoming more comfortable as the files he accessed opened without difficulty. 

Take me for a fool, do you?  Caldrone hadn’t expected any trouble from his subordinates, but never the less took the precaution of setting up a dummy file that would easily be available to unauthorized entries onto the system.  He tapped a button on the corner of his desk, then proceeded to update his real financial records. 

As he was finishing, CZ-37 unlocked the door and entered.  “It is good to see you again, Colonel Caldrone.  I hope you had a pleasant trip.  What do you require?”

“Did I have any callers while I was away,” asked Caldrone as he completed the last entry. 

CZ-37 tilted its head as it tapped into its memory storage.  “Yes.  Captain Gran’ell was here fourteen hours, seven minutes, and twenty two seconds ago.  He requested to see you after the inspectors have gone.  He also said that you would be very interested in what he had to say.”

“I’m interested already.”  Caldrone grinned to himself as he shut down his desk terminal.  “Set the appointment for later that night so nothing will disturb us.”

“As you wish, Colonel Caldrone.  Will 10:30 that evening be late enough?”

Caldrone stood from his desk and looked at the near edge of his desk.  “That’ll be just fine.”

                                                                                                                                        ***

The harsh Sullust heat even burned through the captain’s heat resistant suit.  Through the volcanic haze, Captain Panah could see one of the stasis ships, its engines going from a low red to white, lifting off in the distance.  Its four oversized landing struts, shaped like the foot pads of an AT-AT, revealed their own engines as they slowly bent back into flying position. 

Who would have thought WE would ever use these damned things.  Turning around, he scanned another one of the monstrous vessels.  The engine compartment, which was an extension off the back of the squared hull, loomed over him and the main loading ramp.  About as long and far more massive then a Mon Cal Star Cruiser, the ship had only one purpose; the transport of slaves.  They carried millions of Wookiees and other enslaved species to the Death Star projects; and their deaths.  One and a half million single creature cells line the walls of the ship’s interior.  In stacks of four, the cells were designed for the prisoner to lie on his back through the entire journey.  Once all the cells were secured, they would be filled with a sedative gas that would render the prisoners unconscious for the duration of the trip, giving the ship its name.  After the battle of Endor the only three vessels of the type known to exist were captured.  Abandoned, they were still orbiting the far side of the moon where the Imperial fleet had left them.  We should have blown the evil things into space debris then and there.   

Prisoners were supposed to be inserted into their cells using some sort of device that was never recovered, making it necessary for New Republic guards to force prisoners to crawl into their cell.  This inefficient loading method was the reason all three ships were being used for the transfer.  Each ship was capable of carrying the entire camp population.  However, it would have been nearly imposable to load prisoners into the top rows and would have taken days to get them all on board.   

As his last act as head of security for the Sullust POW camp, Captain Panah watched as the last group of prisoners and their guards slowly emerged from the underground facility and made their way toward him.  Taken from the top security section, these were the only dangerous prisoners Panah had dealt with in the year since the camp had opened.  Attacks on guards and constant escape attempts had condemned these men to a life of chains and isolation.  Most were basic stormtroopers, each identical to one of the twenty seven clone variants that were cataloged in New Republic records.  Two hundred and seventy eight, however, were different.  All identical to each other, they didn’t match any clone seen before, and were initially the only fully conscious prisoners in the camp.  Slightly taller than the standard stormtrooper, they were completely different psychologically than any stormtrooper, clone or not, that anyone had seen before.  They seemed to posses a leadership trait that was remarkable for a clone.  Mixed in with the general population, they somehow began to wake up the other clones and started making trouble.  The number of conscious clones jumped to over a thousand, and all were getting harder to handle.  The decision to segregate the conscious clones before their numbers could grow further sparked outright attacks and large scale escape attempts.  Someone in New Republic intelligence decided that it would be better if no one knew about any of this until they could figure out how the unique clones were able to bring others back to their senses.  Several attempts by intelligence officers to interrogate the maximum security inmates as to how they had maintained or returned to clarity had gone sour, including the death of one New Republic intelligence officer and severe injuries to another. 

Standing at the foot of the stasis ship’s ramp, Panah watched as the prisoners shuffled past.  Tightly chained around the ankles, they made very slow progress.  The guards, who had their force pikes and shock shields out, struggled to watch the prisoners and fight off the heat at the same time.  The prisoners were only wearing the full body coveralls they had been issued.  The searing heat was cutting through them like a vibroblade.  Worse, their arms were secured behind their backs by maximum security forearm braces, preventing them from even protecting their eyes from the burning ash and dust that filled the air.   

“What do you think?”

Captain Panah looked over his shoulder to see the base commander.  “I don’t think they’ll give us any trouble, sir.”  Looking back at the column, Panah observed as the prisoners started up the ramp.  “They’re dangerous enough, but they’re also smart enough to know when to play along.”

“Maybe; just make sure your men are extra careful getting those barves into their cells.  It’ll be distracting enough getting them in there even if they wanted to cooperate.  If one starts to resist, it could spark a full blown riot.”

“We’ll be careful, sir.”

“I know you will.”  The general held a hand over his mouth and nose.  Unlike the others, he wasn’t wearing a breath mask. 

“You still think this is a mistake, sir?”

“Colonel Caldron says he has the facilities to deal with them, but I just can’t get over this feeling in my gut that something is wrong.”  A smile crossing his face, the old general looked over at his second in command.  “Maybe I’m just nervous about getting a field command again.” 

Captain Panah got a chuckle out of that.  “I doubt that, sir.”

“Anyway, it’s not my decision to make; about them, I mean.”  Turning to face the captain, the general extended his hand to his longtime subordinate and friend.  “Hurry back, captain.  There’s a lot of fighting left out there, and some fool wants us back in it.” 
Grinning, Captain Panah took his general’s hand and gave him a nod.  “I will sir.” 

                                                                                                                                 ***

“Come on, sergeant.  Let’s get these barves to Taris,” yelled the captain to one of the sergeants.

Barely able to squint due to the intense heat, the clones shuffled up the ramp as fast as their shackles allowed.  As they got farther into the loading bay, the heat subsided.

“Hurry, keep moving; our brothers behind us are still burning,” came whispers through the ranks.

Toward the back of the column, the shackles burning into his flesh, one of the clones never took his watering eyes off Captain Panah.  No longer.  When we reach Taris, we’ll put up with this no longer.  You’ll see, rebel.  Chained and shackled as we are, we’ll show you how we can die, thought JC 225.  Like Mandalorians

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."

24 (edited by Terra Sunday, June 7, 2009 12:30 am)

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

I love the things you say, the way you think, the things you write.

No matter what happens with us, I hope you will never give up on writing, because it's something you really do well.

I love you.

Cast iron and treadmills? Oh yes. Still sculpting me to what I really want to be, and I love it. :)

25 (edited by Ralin Drakus Wednesday, April 16, 2008 1:52 am)

Re: Return of the Mandalorians(FanFic)

Wow, I took my sweet time cranking this one out   tongue   Hope you all enjoy.  And  if you check this Mandal, could I get the info I requested on top of my last post?  Thanks


Chapter 6


I detest space travel.  Everything is so cold and devoid of life.

Standing on the observation deck of the Star Flyer, a large SoroSuub luxury yacht formerly owned by the Imperial governor of Fondor, Guntah watched the glow of the hyper tunnel swirl around the ship as it blazed through hyperspace toward its destination.  Like most Ithorians, Guntah preferred to live a simple life among the forests of a warm green world.  The destruction of his village eight years ago by the Empire forced him into the wilds of space and war.  Drifting from planet to planet, he eventually joined the Rebel Alliance.  Finding work as a quartermaster, diplomat, and even as a councilor on occasion, Guntah finally found his calling as a prison supervisor.  Despite what Imperial stormtroopers had done to his home and herd years before, he held no ill will toward them.  He made it his mission to see that prisoners under his care were treated with respect, and every effort be made to rehabilitate them.  He found that most who voluntarily joined the stormtrooper corps were ignorant of just how evil the Empire was.  They had been deceived by Imperial propaganda and lies that made them believe they were on the right side.  When and if they were confronted with an obviously barbaric order, they were forced to accept their officer’s explanation that it was a necessary means to an end.  Under Guntah’s care, they were confronted with the truth, and most accepted it.  Many prisoners from his camps were so appalled by what they had done they requested to join the fight against the Empire. 

“Chief Inspector?”

Guntah turned to regard the human.  It was a young ensign, a new member of the ship’s military crew.

“We will arrive at Taris shortly.  You should prepare your team for debarkation.”

“Thank you, ensign; I shall.”

The visibly startled young man wasn’t sure if he heard the words or not. 

“You heard him,” said an emotionless robed figure at Guntah’s side.  “He can speak telepathically through the Force.”   

“Oh, well . . . uh.”  Unable to find something appropriate to say, the ensign walked away embarrassed.

“Perhaps I need a sign to warn creatures.”

“Perhaps,” responded Fin.

Fin.  Once known as clone stormtrooper FN-647, heavy weapons unit. Now he was Guntah’s constant companion, translator, and lone success with clones.  He found Fin on his first assignment after his promotion to Chief Inspector of New Republic Prisoner of War Facilities.  Fin had been pulled from his barracks by a band of vengeful guards who proceeded to beat him for hours.  Sensing the man’s pain through the Force, Guntah found him near death.  Nursed back to health, he was no longer affected by the state of confusion that affected his brothers.  However, he also experienced severe memory loss.  He couldn’t remember anything before waking up in Guntah’s care.  Once he was recovered, Fin showed remarkable learning abilities.  Guntah was even able to teach him to understand the Ithorian language; something Guntah had never been able to do with another humanoid. 

Guntah stared at Fin for a moment.  Why are they so different?  Why can’t I get through to them?  And why did Fin wake up; it wasn’t the beating.  Thousands of clones under New Republic care are mistreated and still don’t recover.  He returned his gaze to the viewport.  When I reach out to them through the Force, it’s like they’re mentally not there.  It’s as if they were droids switched to some kind of low power setting.  If only I could find a way to flip that switch.  With that thought came another; one that disturbed the Chief Inspector.  I only hope no one else finds that switch before I do.

Guntah ceased his ponderings as the Star Flyer dropped out of hyperspace and the gray/white globe known as Taris came into view.

                                                                                                                              ***

“But what was wrong with me?  What’s wrong with the others,” asked the newest member of the clan.  UH 238, as it turned out his designation was, had asked one question after another since getting clear of the camp.

YT 597, who was still smeared with dust covered grease after crawling through the barrack’s oversized air filtration system, rolled his eyes at the latest query.  I didn’t ask this many questions when I first met Mandalore, did I?

“Simple.”  Mandalore’s voice echoed slightly as the trio entered the tunnel leading to the secret hanger.  “While you were still in a cloning tube, you were being programmed with certain characteristics and responses to certain orders and situations.  Most of these imprints were ordered by the Emperor himself.  One of those responses must have been for you to go into a sort of shock in the event the Emperor was reported dead.  Perhaps he considered the possibility of faking his own death, and in his absence thousands of stunned clones would be captured.  Upon his return, you would reactivate and cause chaos behind the Rebel lines.”

“Guess that makes sense.”  UH 238 considered that for a moment.  “But if we’re only supposed to wake up when the Emperor returns, how did you wake me up?”

As the group entered the hanger, Mandalore punched a button on his wrist guard, turning on the workstation lights around Slave I.  “The human mind is a difficult thing to manipulate.  Jogging a strong memory seems to be all that’s necessary to break this particular subconscious order.  In your case, I made sure I had your full attention, then I reminded you of your Mandalorian aspirations.”

“You really got my full attention,” said UH 238 as he rubbed his still sore jaw. 

Mandalore didn’t respond.  Slave I’s loading ramp opened as he stepped onto the repair platform.  Unfastening his jetpack and setting it in the passenger seat, he motioned to his apprentices to follow him up to the cockpit capsule.  Sitting in the pilot’s seat, Mandalore powered up the cockpit controls and brought up a schematic of a large space station. 

“What’s that,” asked UH 238 as he took his place next to Mandalore. 

Mandalore zoomed in on one of the orbital station’s platforms.  “That is our objective.”

“Isn’t that one of the platforms over Bestine,” asked YT 597, who was standing opposite UH 238.  “The place where they keep those retired cruisers you were telling me about.”

“Correct.”  Mandalore focused the viewer on a massive Ion cannon that sat on one of the station platforms. 

YT 597 folded his arms.  “I thought you said it would be nearly impossible to steal one of the cruisers from there with only the men this ship can hold.”

The blue background on the screen glowed dimly off Mandalore’s visor as he studied the schematic.  “No, I said it wouldn’t be easy.”  Leaning back into the command chair, he continued to scan the readout before him.  “Stealing nine of them will be nearly impossible.”

YT 597 and UH 238 shared a wide eyed look. 

“Stealing one would only allow us to free a few thousand men from the camp.  Nine, however, gives us greater carrying power and the beginnings of a fleet.” 

“Why nine?” asked UH 238 as he leaned forward for a closer look at the readout.  “I mean, if we’re going for a fleet, why not take as many as are space worthy?”

Mandalore switched the space station readout for a schematic of Slave I.  “Because I don’t think you or any of the men in the camp can pilot a star cruiser.  I can slave the navigational controls of several of them to this ship, but Slave I’s computer can only handle the load from nine other vessels of that size.”  Turning to his left, Mandalore looked up into YT 597’s unsure eyes.  “I can promise you both that we will almost assuredly be killed in this foolish venture.  And even if we do succeed, we may not be able to get more than a few thousand of our comrades off planet.”  Mandalore looked over his other shoulder at the newest member of this mad enterprise.  “I can also promise you that I will do all in my power to make this work.  If we are worthy, this will be the beginning of the greatest Mandalorian crusade of all time.”     

YT 597 felt himself fill with pride.  This was the first time Mandalore referred to the other prisoners in the camp as brothers.  Now he was certain Mandalore was the leader who had been foretold in the prophecy.
     
With a deep breath and a nod from YT 597, UH 238 returned Mandalore’s gaze.  “Where you lead, we follow, Mandalore!”

“Good.”  Mandalore stood, this time leaving the ship’s secondary power on.  “I have some loose ends to tie up with Slave I’s electronics.  Tonight I will infiltrate the camp’s command center.  We will need to study the base schematics and know the exact troop strength.  Perhaps their computer will also have some information about Bestine.  Then we can leave this place and recruit a strike team to take the cruisers.”

                                                                                                                                          ***

The sun was getting high over the camp.  A slight shimmer could be seen on the landing pad’s dark surface as the temperature continued to rise. 

Let’s get this over with.  Colonel Caldrone, hands clasped behind his back, waited for the Star Flyer’s exit ramp to lower.  Sweat already beading on his forehead, Caldrone clenched his teeth with agitation.  Standing behind him was the entire command staff, save for Captain Gran’ell.  Caldrone, having met the Chief Inspector before, knew of his telepathic abilities.  Though he was able to mask his own feelings, the colonel wasn’t so sure about Captain Gran’ell.  Therefore, he saw to it that the captain would be far too busy to pay his respects to the Chief Inspector this trip.  Caldrone straitened himself as the hydraulic arms that controlled the ramp began to extend.  Finally.

Guntah and Fin waited for the ramp to complete its decent before starting down.  Halfway to the pad’s surface, Guntah could see Colonel Caldrone and his staff waiting a few meters away.  Caldrone was wearing his customary phony grin.  Of all the camp commanders, Caldrone was the one Guntah least trusted.  Unable to actually read thoughts, as most assumed he could, Guntah could read feelings and emotions.  The high level of deceit he felt in Caldrone prompted Guntah to quietly request the colonel’s reassignment.  Without hard evidence, however, New Republic officials were unwilling to take action.  Investigations into Caldrone’s reports and financial records seemed to indicate that he was doing a stellar job.  Never the less, Guntah remained suspicious.  What is it you’re hiding?

As the Chief Inspector stepped onto the landing pad, Colonel Caldrone approached.  “Welcome to Taris, Chief Inspector.  How was your trip?”

“Long, but worthwhile.  We had an excellent view of your facility during our approach.  I am eager to take a closer look.

“As you wish.”  Motioning toward the nearby control tower, the combined staff of Caldrone' and Guntah followed their respective leaders into the building’s entrance.

Guntah could feel the deception radiating from Caldrone as they walked.  I can’t be wrong about him.  I must find out what he is hiding.  Guntah turned and walked into the control tower.  “I want to personally inspect each level of construction; from the completed sections of the settlement to the initial ground clearing sites.  Parts of my team will also request to see the same thing at different locations.  I trust that won’t be a problem.”

As Guntah and his team of over fifty entered the tower, Colonel Caldrone looked back at his staff and gave a nod, then closed his eyes and sighed.  This is going to be a long day.

                                                                                                                                 ***

Standing with his sergeant in one of the advanced work sites, Captain Gran’ell had watched the star yacht enter the atmosphere and land.  With a shake of his head, he returned his gaze to the prisoners as they labored on a new field. 

The old sergeant scratched at the stubble growing on his chin.  “You really think we can blackmail the colonel into reassigning us?” 

“I’m sure of it.”  Gran’ell squinted to keep the dust out of his eyes as a binary load-lifter passed.  “The stuff I found combined with what I know would put him away for a long time if I was ever to talk.  Reassigning a few personnel would be nothing compared to what I could ask.”

“Just remember, he’s not stupid.”  Looking over his shoulder, the sergeant watched one of the guards laugh at a prisoner who had tripped and fallen.  “He’s bet his entire future on keeping his little business secret.  I don’t think he’ll let us walk out of here with his neck in our hands.”

“Maybe, but as wide open as he kept those files makes me think he is stupid.  But if he isn’t, I have a backup plan.  It won’t be as neat, but it should get the job done.”

The sergeant looked back at Gran’ell.  “What are you talking about?”

“If all goes well, you’ll never have to know.”

                                                                                                                               ***

YT 597 leaned against the opposite bulkhead as Mandalore replaced some burned out wiring.  “If we do make it out of here, would it be possible to come back?  I can’t stand the thought of only being able to take a hundred and eighty thousand when there are so many here.” 

“One thing at a time, boy; we’ll make that jump when and if we get to it.”  Mandalore prepared to retrieve his tools when a thought came to him.  Turning to face YT 597, he stared at him for a moment.  A dry smile crossed Mandalore’s face, thou it was concealed behind his Mandalorian helm.  “I think I will call you Rann Taler.”

Giving a confused look to UH 597, who shrugged as he took another bite out of military ration bar he had been chewing on, YT 597 looked back at Mandalore.  “Rann Taler?  What made you choose that name?”

Mandalore crossed his arms.  “Any objections?”

“No, it just seems kind of sudden.  It’s all right, I guess.”

“Good.  Then that’s what I will call you.”  Picking up his tools, Mandalore returned to the open compartment.  “It’s a twist on a New Republic officer’s name; Rand Talor.”

A streak of disgust showed on YT 597’s face.  “Why would you name me after a Rebel?”

“Don’t judge the galaxy by what you were taught as a stormtrooper.  The two of you have many similarities.”

Intrigued, YT 597 leaned back against the bulkhead.  “Like what.”

“Devotion to those he is responsible for.  Of all the military commanders that I have studied, he is probably the one most concerned for the welfare of his troops.”  Delicately checking the live cables for shorts and burnouts, Mandalore recalled the Rebel’s profile.  “He commanded a platoon on Hoth; he was a lieutenant then.  His unit stopped three attacks by Imperial ground troops.  When one of the AT-ATs moved on his position, he kept his soldiers from bolting into the wastes like the others.  Against the odds, he was able to get most of the survivors to the hanger.  He was the last to board the ship, making sure his troops were safe, despite threats from the transport’s captain that he would take off without him.  The last I heard, he was being considered for promotion to general.”

UH 238, finished with the ration bar, looked for a place to get rid of the wrapper.  “How do you know so much about him; have you met him?” 

“No; luckily for him we never met.”  Finding a dead wire, Mandalore returned the power sensor to the box.  Raising the tool tray, he revealed a larger compartment underneath.  Inside were several spools of varying sized and colored wires.  Taking a roll of green coated electric wire, he began measuring off a length.  “Like all Imperial defectors, he had a considerable bounty.  I never tried to collect, but I studied him in case we ever crossed paths.”

Moving between Mandalore and Rann, UH 238 headed toward the loading ramp.  “He used to be on our . . . that is . . . the Imperial side?”

“Yes.”  Mandalore tightened his left hand into a fist.  With a slight flick of his wrist, a short double-edged vibroblade shot out to full extension on the off side of his gauntlet.  Holding the spool in his right hand, he used the dagger like blade to slice through a small loop in the wire that was clenched between his fingers.  “He was part of Brenn Tantor’s volunteer stormtrooper corps.”

UH 238 stopped short of the exit.  “Tantor; I know that name.  Wasn’t he one of Lord Vader’s generals?”

“He was under Vader’s command for a time.”  Placing the piece of wire he had just cut in an open belt pouch, Mandalore began to extract the piece of burned out wire he had discovered.  “Someday I’ll teach you about him.  His history has some valuable lessons we can learn from.”  Looking over his shoulder, Mandalore watched as UH 238 started for the exit again.  “And don’t throw that out there.  Anything that leaves this ship could potentially be traced back to this ship.  The incinerator is in the cargo hold.”

“Yes Mandalore.”
   
“When are you leaving for the camp, again,” asked Rann as UH 238 walked passed. 

Mandalore delicately pulled the damaged wire free.  “At dusk.”

"You set a code to live by.  I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted...I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other men, and I require the same from them."