(OC!) As the Clone Wars rage, one clone-troopers fate reflects the struggle that threatens to tear the galaxy apart. For CT-3033 has a frightening secret. One that could expose the darkness devouring the Republic... & the Jedi Order. Forcing them to face the questions posed by his very existence: Are clones Property of the Republic? or, Properties of the Force? (includes Novella:'Oni's Log')
Standing in the dusty arena on Geonosis, Master Thain Dural gazed above the audience stands, into the burning Geonosean sun. He coughed roughly. Not only because of the dust being kicked up by the barren planets winds, but also the smell of the dead. Seemingly unaffected by the breeze, it hung low to the ground. As if refusing to abandon the corpses that created them, the stench kept watch over the bodies, in defiance of the spirits that had already left them.
It wasn’t just the smell he was trying to avoid. It was the sight of so many dead Jedi that he really couldn’t take any longer.
They lay strewn about everywhere, intermingled with the smashed remains of the very droids that had slain them. The chaos of it was almost too much to believe, even though he had seen it all for himself, first hand. Forcing himself to face reality until his mind excepted it, the Jedi dropped his eyes again to study the carnage surrounding him.
Off in the distance, he could hear that the fight went on. But here, he remained.
With a hard blink to clear his vision, he finally let his sight fall upon the body that lay at his feet. Cold and covered with blaster burns, the sightless eyes of his apprentice stared right through him.
“You should not have been here.” He softly admitted to her, to himself. “I should never have brought you here.”
Reaching down, he delicately closed his padawans accusing eyes. At least, they seemed to accuse him every time he looked at her once lovely, violet-skinned, now blistered and scared face. Emotion almost overcame him.
With great effort, he recited part of the Jedi Code... “There is no emotion, there is only peace.”
The words of ancient wisdom now sounded hollow and trite to his ears. Since peace would not find him in this place of death, he settled on a less comforting ideal.. despair.
Taking his dead padawans lightsaber into his hand, the Jedi Master swore an ominous oath over her young, lifeless body...
“I will never train another.”
'Properties of the Force'
CT-3033 knew he was different. He didn’t know why he was different, or what was different about him, he just knew that he was not the same as his brothers... any of them. Each time, the realization sent cold shivers running up his spine. Because the one thing he did know about being different, was that being 'different' was BAD.
Dubbed 'Trey' by his pod-brothers, CT-3033 was a clone. Born in gestation tanks on the rainy planet of Kamino, he and the others like him lived an assembly-line existence. Meals, sleep, and training all carefully scheduled and monitored by the Kaminoans who ran the facility that was his whole world. Under there piercing, intolerant gaze, every aspect of the clones pyshical and mental traits were scrutinized to ensure adherence to the clonemasters very exacting standards.
Clones lived in constant fear being found 'defective' by the Kaminoan technicians. Units that failed meet up to the Clonemasters strict standards of conformity were taken away from their brothers to be 'reconditioned'. The few who returned were never the same. And none of those ever lasted very long in the fast-paced and deadly training that was the everyday existence for troopers produced to be the very best soldiers to ever put on battle armor.
Besides the grey-skinned aliens who oversaw their manufacture, the only other beings the clones had contact with were their Mandolorian instructors…hard, often abusive men and women. Mostly human, with a few exceptions, who drilled the clones in the arts of war and survival.
Although some were rumored to have soft-spots for favored pupils, on the whole, these warriors were no more compassionate or forgiving of failure than the beings they worked for.
So Trey kept his concerns to himself. But always there was the fear.
That his non-conformities would be discovered. That they would come for him one night, and his squadmates would awaken the next training cycle to find CT-3033's cot empty. His fear was for them, as well. If he was found to be too non-regulative, his entire pod could taken away. For their sakes, more than for his own, he would remain silent.. and try his best to perform up to specs.
Or rather, down to specs. He hated to think of himself as being 'better' than his brothers.. nor any clone for that matter...but he was.
Aside from the specially-enhanced ARCs, and of course, the downright unruly Null-ARCs.. who reigned havoc across the entire facility; every clone was his brothers equal.
To think of another clone as being 'less' than him filled him with disgust.. and doubt.
Fear, his instructors had told him, could be useful. All beings felt fear, they'd told him so. It heighten the senses and sharpened the mind. It could be used to push your body long past its normal limits. But, it could also leave you paralyzed in the face of danger. Learning how to properly use your fear was often the key to victory.. and survival.
Doubt, however, was a disease of the mind. Doubt would cause all the negative effects of fear, but without the benefits. Fear could keep you alive, he'd been taught... but doubt could get you killed.
CT-3033 feared his doubts more than anything else. More than death, even more than being found to be 'different'. That was the worst thing about knowing he was not the same as the others.. it filled him with doubt. And those doubts gave further rise to his fears. That should have made it manageable.. he'd been trained to turn fear to his advantage. Instead, his fear thwarted any attempt to bring it into line.. like a untamable Null-ARC, refusing to obey its master.
Laying prone in his bunk, Trey raised up and swung his legs to the cold floor beneath him. The darkened artificial lighting of the berthing area told him it was not yet time to begin the days training, but he knew he could sleep no more. Standing, he made his way as quietly as possible to the communal refreshers at the end of the row of cots. Reaching the lavs, he turned the valve that released hot, steaming water, and splashed a handful on his face.
Lifting his eyes to the reflective surface above the sink, Trey stood for several moments breathing deeply, trying unsuccessfully to banish the thoughts that plagued him.
Would today be the day they found him out?
He swallowed, finding his mouth suddenly dry. Lifting another dose of water to his face, he sipped the tepid liquid, then splashed the remainder to his face again, running his clawed fingers through the turf of dark hair he, and all his brothers, sported.. courtesy of their genetic-donor, Jango Fett. Seeing the exact replica of the Mando before him, Trey wondered if Jango himself had ever felt such fear. Catching his own eye in the mirror, he doubted it.
With a heavy sigh, he walked back to his bunk and lay awake waiting for dawn... fearful of the day ahead.