In the Grand Army, one was lucky to get a sanisteam, let alone a water shower. When the Leveler picked up Torrent Company, then, Captain Rex new he was in for a treat.
Captain Pellaeon of the Leveler always made sure the hot water on his ship was fully stocked, because he knew how much clones liked showers. Rex smiled as his gunship docked. He could see the man now, standing in the hangar and waiting for the clones to disembark.
One thing about Pellaeon, the man was loyal to his men.
Rex took his helmet off and walked forward, saluting Pellaeon. The other man smiled and walked up to face Rex.
“Now, now.” Pellaeon chuckled. “We’ve been through this. No saluting me as long as we’re both Captain.”
“Of course, Captain.”
“Race you to the shower, sir!” called Coric.
Rex turned to face Coric, who had his helmet off, as well. With a wink, Coric was headed to the showers. Rex glanced back at his other troops, turned, and followed Coric.
Sometimes, Rex would allow his men to take their showers first, but at others, they insisted that he go first, being CO, and all. This time, he allowed them to insist he go first.
As he took off his armor plates, he thought back to the previous battle. He’d lost many more men, and others had been wounded. Coric–lucky old Coric–had taken a blaster bolt to the knee and shoulder. Neither had pierced armor.
Coric had been with Rex since before Christophsis, and Rex was going to put in a request for Coric’s promotion to lieutenant upon return to Coruscant.
General Zey would love that.
Rex thought back to all the men he’d lost in Torrent Company. Christophsis had been the first real hard-hitter. He’d lost a lot of good men there when Sergeant Slick had turned sides.
Then had been Teth, where Rex had lost all but five men. Coric had been one of them.
After that had come JanFathal, and the deaths of two of Torrent Company’s shinies. Poor kids were killed in their first real battle experience.
And of course, there had been Hevy. Hevy had died on the Rishi moon to get out a signal to General Skywalker. Though not technically a part of Torrent Company, Hevy’d had the right spirit.
And there had been Sergeant Denal, Rex’s loyal right-hand man, who had been killed at the hands of the bounty hunter Cad Bane. Yes, Denal had been a sergeant on his way to commander.
In more recent memory were the second campaign on Geonosis, and the battles of Felucia and Saleucami. Rex had been injured on Saleucami, forcing Jesse, Hardcase, and Kix to continue on without him. He was lucky to be alive.
And then there was the Citadel. That blasted prison where Even Piell and Captain Tarkin had been taken, with its insane warden, Osi Sobeck. There he’d lost a rookie named Charger and–
Blast it, Echo, Rex thought. Why’d you have to be noble and ARC trooper-like? We could’ve found another way off Lola Sayu besides the shuttle, the blasted thing wasn’t worth your life…
Well. He couldn’t be brought back. Fives had been taking it hard, but Rex hadn’t seen Fives in weeks, since he was off doing ARC trooper things, and he was no longer a member of Torrent Company. By technicality, anyway.
In Rex’s book, if you were once a member of Torrent Company, you always were. Fives’ blue ARC armor would always be a welcome sight.
And then in this most recent conflict, Rex had lost two rookies. He hadn’t even gotten a chance to learn their names.
Well, enough of the past. It was sucking the enjoyment out of the shower. The hot water felt good against his taut muscles, and he was reminded that he hadn’t slept in days. He quickly rinsed himself, toweled off, changed into the off-duty red uniform clones wore, and headed for the dorms with his armor slung over his shoulder.
* * *
The next day, Rex was up early. He looked out the viewport. They were still in hyperspace. Well, time to get to work. He wasn’t helping anyone standing here. Before leaving the dorms, he stuffed one blaster into his belt. Best to be prepared for anything, he’d learned.
He didn’t do much, but he did carry some useless containers to the garbage chute. A clone was never truly off duty, in his opinion. But then he thought back to the rumors he’d heard, something about a mission that had never happened.
Citizens had reported seeing armored beings battling at a dock, one with a lightsaber. And Rex had heard that Commander Gree and the 41st had been on leave that week.
Rex had his own suspicions as to who it had been. There had also been word of a shooting across town, but all that had turned up were a few bloodstains. That wasn’t nearly enough evidence to convict anyone of anything.
Rex personally thought it had been Sergeant Kal Skirata, and Gree had confirmed that Skirata had been around Qibbu’s Hut, the spot the 41st had spent most of its off-duty time.
Gree also said that there had been two squads of commandos, another Mandalorian, two ARC troopers, two Jedi, and some shiny. Suspicious enough, Rex decided.
Not that he’d ever do anything to investigate–if Jedi and clones had been involved, then it had certainly benefited the Republic.
As Rex dumped the containers down the garbage chute, he heard something like a scuffle going on. Quickly, he whipped out his blaster and ran into the main corridor.
He saw two of his men wrestling with someone in a black coat and a mask. The man was holding a blaster, and Rex’s men were trying to keep the barrel pointed upward.
But to Rex’s horror, as he watched, the man overpowered one trooper–Forr, one of Rex’s new shinies–and blasted him.
“No!” Rex shouted.
He didn’t hesitate. He leveled his blaster and shot the man, straight in the chest. As the man fell, the other trooper–Tenn–ran to Forr.
“Why?” Rex asked the dying man.
“Y-you clones…killed my…f-f…family…”
Rex realized that this man must have had a son–or father, or brother–in the militia resistance in the last battle. The 501st had pretty much wiped out the resistance.
“I’m sorry,” Rex said.
The man turned his eyes to Forr. “M-me…t-too.”
Rex stood when he realized the man was dead. He turned and walked over to Tenn’s side. The trooper was desperately trying to revive Forr.
“Let it go,” Rex said quietly. “He’s gone.”
“He was my brother,” Tenn pleaded.
Rex nodded his understanding, picked up Forr’s body, and walked away. Tenn followed slowly, his eyes studying the floor.
Looks like I have another man to mourn, Rex thought.