Fandom: Star Wars *AU*
Author: Jody betareject
Characters: Captain Rex, Chopper, Ahsoka, Darth Vader, Jester, Slick, Waxer, Appo, Jek, Commander Cody
Warnings: This tale bears minor hints at Het!attraction which may be considered offensive to some.
Ratings & Warnings: PG (dark themes)
Disclaimer: Not mine. None of it.
Summery: Order 66 changed everything. None of soldiers of 501st ever spoke of it, they did not need to; it was clear enough in their tired eyes. Orders were given; orders had to be followed. It did not make living with the awkward guilt or the haunting memories any easier.
Slick stood before his brothers-his executioners, with his head held high. There were no regrets; only the sad acceptance that they did not understand.
There was no fear either, only silent anticipation as he stared into the blank masks of his colleagues. Their Fingers shook over the triggers of their guns, though the rest of their bodies remained poised, tense. Though their faces were hidden, he could visualize their expressions. Slick had fought along side them long enough to know what was going through their minds.
Orders were orders, and when they were given crossing any line became acceptable. Slick knew what it really meant. He had faith that his brothers would soon understand too.
With a final salute, Slick closed his eyes, as a small smile crept into his lips. The sound of lasers echoed in his ears as it pierced his flesh, while its white-hot heat consumed him.
After a life of servitude, he was finally free.
Order 66 changed everything. None of his brothers ever spoke of it, they did not need to; it was clear enough in their tired eyes. Orders were given; orders had to be followed. It did not make living with the awkward guilt or the haunting memories any easier.
Rex, like his brethren had his own way of dealing with the inner demons.
The Akul-tooth headdress was hard yet smooth between his gloved fingers. An unspoken gift, one that reminded him that she was still alive, roaming free, somewhere in the expanse of the galaxy.
Twisting it between his fingers, he smiled sadly to himself. Its silent meaning kept him from falling prey to the despair.
After befriending Numa, a twi’lek youngling, Waxer found himself longing to have children of his own. He knew it was an absurd thought; clones were not created for breeding. Unfortunately, it did little to ease the longing.
Despite the war, he did his best to keep in contact with the Numa. The language barrier was always a problem, but he was getting better at it. The twi’lek youngling was the closest he had ever come to having a daughter.
Though he became involved with other women, Waxer never spoke of his desire to start a family. They just were not the right ones for him. Still, he had faith that one day he would find someone who loved younglings and desired a family as much as he did.
When Order 66 was given, he -like his brothers-was ready. Performing it was meant to be a proud moment in every clone trooper’s life. For Waxer it had the opposite effect. What he did that fateful night-what he had been ordered to do- had only confirmed his greatest fear. He did not deserve to become a father.
A medical droid adjusted the metal connections that bound prosthetics to his body. Soon false flesh would cover the metal, giving the illusion that his body was whole. Vader knew the truth and it was enough.
His hands would never truly feel the solidarity of a lightsaber’s hilt again. Nor the strength of an unborn child’s kick felt beneath the skin of its mother’s belly. He would never experience the soft warmth of flesh beneath his fingertips or the cool sensation of grass between his toes.
All he would ever feel now was the fading memories of sensations he once took for granted. His mind would not so easily forget the phantom presence of Anakin. It would haunt him forever along with memory of all that he had loved and destroyed.
Gone was the proud jedi knight who fought in the name of the republic, the hero-who-knew-no-fear. In his place was a feared sith lord, a powerful warrior who was second only to the emperor himself and a broken man who wondered if it was really worth it.
Swiftly Vader buried his thoughts not wanting to dwell on it further. He did not miss the sound of his heart whispering no.
Writing poetry was Appo’s secret weakness. It was the one thing never failed to take him away from it all.
Tonight, Appo’s fingers shook as he scratched at the data pad in his hands. The stench of laser fire, charred flesh and thruster exhaust clung to his worn armour. While the sound of younglings screaming for help still echoed in his thoughts. Their lifeless faces haunted his mind, and burned his eyes.
For the first time, there were no words to write. His mind said one thing, his soul another entirely. It would seem the war had even robbed him of this one small relief.
Clearing his thoughts, Appo forced himself to write the first thing that came to mind. The statement frightened him more than he wanted to admit.
What have we become?
Jek used to repair weapons as a means of passing time. A hobby kept his mind sharp. It also provided information on the enemy’s technologies.
Now it provided him with a barrier, a wall from which he could hide. To his brothers he was just another hevy, a man who put his strength behind the technological side of war. Only his best friend Rys and Grand General Yoda knew the truth.
Rys was gone now, killed in action by Dooku’s assassin, while Yoda had become a hunted criminal. Jek had yet to understand what the wizened old man had done to warrant such a fate. In truth, he did not want to know.
With the republic’s demise, everything changed. The jedi became enemies, the separatist remnants allies; even some of his brothers had become traitors.
One thing did not change, that was his guns. They would never turn their back on him, nor would they ever judge him for his actions. They could not die, nor would they ever leave. So long as he had his guns, Jek knew he would never be alone.
To Jester cleaning his rifle was more than just routine, or even a habit. It enabled him to let go of the battle. It also gave him a way to return to himself.
It was normal for Jester to polish his gun immediately after a battle. Often it took ten times as long as anyone else. In silence he would vigorously scrub at the durasteel plating of his weapon; his dark eyes glossed over, and fingers shaking.
It was no one’s fault that the blood and grime was only visible to his eyes.
Jester knew that his brother’s would never confront him about it. Nor would they ever openly speak of it. It was easier-safer-to pretend that nothing was wrong. It did not stop Jester from noticing the concern in their eyes. He knew he was being compared to Chopper.
The empire’s sudden rise to power was swift and without warning. The massacre-no liquidation-that followed were completed without question. No good soldier ever challenged an order.
It was not long after that Jester found that he was not the only one who saw the hidden blood and grime on their rifles. The discovery filled him both with guilt and relief. At least he was not alone.
Order 66 did not change him. Cody was not a man easily swayed by sights of violence or the chaos of political decay. Yet every man has his limits; upon receiving word to execute Order 37 on Bellassa, Cody knew he had reached it.
Only the old, infirmed and younglings remained for the firing squads. The strong, trained men and women had long since been removed during the initial uprisings.
Cody would give anything to close his eyes and not see the pale faces of the younglings, or the lifeless forms of their mothers or grandparents who used their bodies as living shields.
Order 37 changed him forever.
The laser pistol felt heavy in his hand and cold against his temple. It was a sharp contrast to the strange calm felt. The time had come to face judgement, and Cody would do it with dignity.
Standing tall, the young commander drew a deep breath and pulled the trigger.
Chopper was ready for it. In fact, he saw it before anyone else did. His awareness did not save Commander Cody from himself.
Everyone pretended like nothing happened, that nothing had changed. He knew what his brothers were really thinking. They all felt the guilt of their commander’s suicide. As if, they could have done something to prevent it.
There was only one thing could save a man from his guilt, himself. Chopper also knew better than to speak of it. His silence did not protect him from their concerned stares in the barracks or the hushed whispers in the mess hall.
Chopper knew they believed he would be next.
Ahsoka never let her thoughts stray too far, not anymore. Though her comrades were dead, her master now a sith lord and her brothers sworn enemies, it did not mean she had to join them.
Meditations once dreaded had since become her life support. It felt good to release the poison of inner turmoil and doubt.
Breathe in the light, expel the dark. The mantra was more than just mere words; it was all she had left now.
Not even meditation could rid her of the sound of Anakin-now Lord Vader’s hiss hush breathing. Nor could it spare her the mournful tones of his mechanical voice calling her name.