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ARC_Commander_Colt

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Tales of the Mandalorians
« on: May 19, 2012, 04:06:16 PM »
You know about Kal Skirata, Mij Gilamar, and Rav Bralor. But what of the other Mandalorians? These are their stories.

Knife Fighter:
The Tale of Jun Hokan


Stepping into the small room, Jun Hokan fingered his intricate knife made of beskar. Meetings with Hutts usually involved violence, and more often than not it started before the contract was even accepted.
     Jun was dressed in green-and-tan beskar’gam, and a gun belt with two WESTAR-34 blasters filling its holsters rested on his waist. In addition, a matching WESTAR-35 was slung over his shoulder and around his jetpack. Jun, however, preferred his knife to any other weapon. It had gotten him through more issues than any of his three blasters.
     Jun took another step, sweeping the room with a gaze. A Houk bodyguard stood against one wall, and Gammoreans were spaced throughout the room, axes in hand. Taking literal center stage of the room was a trio of Mirialan females, their green skin covered–scarcely–in tight leather.
     Jun examined the bodyguards. DL-22 pistols. DH-17 carbines. Vibroknives. Light armorweave vests. Amateurs.
     Then Jun turned his attention to the Hutt. Known as Durga, this Hutt had a strange black birthmark over his right eye in the shape of a scar. As Jun approached, two Gammoreans and the Houk came toward him, but Durga raised his hand.
     The Hutt rumbled something in his language, and a silver protocol droid translated, “Let him pass. The Mandalorian is here of His Great Obesity’s desire.”
     Jun struggled not to chuckle at the nickname, because he knew size was actually attractive to Hutts, and the bigger the Hutt, the more attractive. So he merely stepped past the Houk, thankful for his helmet and its concealing visor.
     The Hutt said something again, to which the droid translated, “The Great Durga bids you welcome, and desires you to remove your helmet.”
     Jun nodded and removed it, looking briefly at the brown-and-green design and the T-visor that was traditional in Mandalorian culture. Then he held it under his left arm, leaving his right free to reach for his knife.
     Jun rubbed his shaved head, feeling the scar that ran from his left ear to his jaw. The scar he had earned fighting alongside Jaster Mereel in the Civil War.
     “My job, Great Durga?” he asked.
     Durga chuckled. “Your job,” began the droid, “will be to track another of Great Durga’s bounty hunters, who had the audacity to demand more than his share of payment when the job was done. He shot one of Durga’s highest bodyguards and fled.”
     “You got a holo of the guy?” Jun asked.
     The Houk stepped forward and activated a small holo. The bounty hunter was a Duros, with blue skin and red eyes. He wore a broad-brimmed hat and a trenchcoat. In custom leather quick-draw holsters, he had custom LL-30 pistols.
     “His name,” the droid said, “is Cad Bane.”


Jun didn’t know how, but he had been swindled into staying for dinner. The Mirialan dancers had begun putting on “personal” shows, which Jun studiously ignored–or at least, tried to.
     Instead, his thoughts were turned to Galidraan. The fact that he hadn’t been there was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because he would have been killed had he been there–all Mandalorians there save Jango Fett had.
     A curse, because his wife had been there.
     His wife, the woman he’d married and had a son with, had died by the hand of a Jedi. She had fought alongside Jango to the end, but in the end a Jedi had cut her down.
     And he had been left alone with his son.
     Eventually, even his son had left–grown to adulthood and married himself. Jun was proud of his son–but he missed him.
     One of the Mirialans saw him sitting alone and began swaying her way over. She stood behind him and ran her hand across his cheek before sitting on his lap, her back pressed against his chest. She sat so her chest was directly below his chin–if he looked down to get a bite of his food…he’d get an eyeful as well as a mouthful.
     He glanced at her and raised an eyebrow, and she gave him a lascivious smile. He was tempted–oh, so very tempted–to look down. But the memories of his wife were still too painful.
     The Mirialan stuck out her lip in a pout that made her somehow even more attractive, and she leaned in close, brushing her lips across his cheek. Jun’s entire body shuddered.
     He was saved when his comlink beeped. The dancer stood, disappointed, and walked away. Jun stood and pulled out his comlink.
     “Hokan,” he said.
     “Hokan, it’s Skirata.”
     Jun smiled a little. Munin Skirata was one of his best friends. Walking over to a private corner of the dining room, Jun answered.
     “How’s it going, ner vod?”
     “Good, Jun. A couple of us got a job battling a group of anti-government enemies on Yag’Dhul. You want to join us?”
     Jun chuckled. “Wish I could, old friend. But I’ve got a job. A really dangerous one.”
     “Oh? Who’s the target?”
     “Cad Bane.”
     Munin paused. “Tion’ad hukaat’kama?” Who’s watching your back?
     “No one, vod. I’m doing this one solo.”
     Jun could imagine Munin shaking his head. “Good luck, Jun.”
     “Thanks. Ret’urcye mhi.” Goodbye.
     “Ret’urcye mhi.”


Thankful to be away from Durga’s palace, Jun flew his personal fighter into hyperspace. After he’d hung up his comlink, the Mirialan had assumed he was available, and had tried advancing on him again–and again and again.
     Jun flew his ship faster. The sooner he was away from that place, the better. Jun knew Cad Bane was considered the second-best bounty hunter out there–losing only to Jango Fett. And since Jango had been missing since Galidraan, Cad Bane was by default the best.
     So Cad Bane would be taking on the biggest bounty currently out there.
     Jun turned on his ship computer.
     “Computer, find the biggest bounty out there.”
     “Confirmed,” said the automated voice. “Largest sum currently on the head of a sentient is for seven hundred thousand credits.”
     “Whose head is it on, and who placed it?”
     The computer hummed. “The bounty is on a man named Hityamun Kris.”
     Jun knew the name. Hityamun Kris had once been a Mandalorian–as young as they came, in fact. He was only half Jango’s age. At the age of twelve, he had left the clans when Jaster Mereel had been killed. Ever since, he had been a street kid, finding jobs where he could.
     But that had been years ago. Kris must have been almost twenty by now. Jun had heard rumors about him–a bounty hunter on the rise, some said. Others insisted that Kris was a bodyguard to a Black Sun Vigo. Either way, the price on his head was huge. And Cad Bane was just the man to take it.
     “So,” Jun said aloud. “I track down Kris, convince him not to fight, and wait for Cad Bane to show up so I can take him down.”
     The computer beeped. “Why not just take Kris’ bounty?”
     “He was once a Mandalorian,” Jun said. “I don’t hunt my own people.”


Jun stood on Nar Shaddaa, watching the traffic with care. He had heard Hitch Kris would be running an errand for a Vigo today. Time to go.
     Jun lowered his helmet’s rangefinder and focused on one specific speeder. The sleek black vehicle sped across the skyline and landed at a building Jun knew was an office. He raised his rangefinder and took off.
     Breaking down the back door of the office, Jun walked in carefully, one blaster raised. Two security officers, on a Weequay and the other human, charged at him, and he shot them both down.
     Then he charged into the main office. Inside stood Hitch Kris and a human male in a business suit. Near the door were two bodyguards wearing Mandalorian armor. Both of them raised their rifles.
     Hitch’s eyes widened. “Mandalorian,” he said.
     “Hityamun Kris,” Jun replied. “I’m here to warn you. There’s a large sum of credits on your head, and I believe Cad Bane may try to collect.”
     Kris reached for his blaster, and for a moment Jun was afraid he would fire. But the man walked to him instead.
     “I can handle myself,” he said.
     Kris was wearing his Mandalorian armor, save for the helmet, which was slung behind his belt. His jumpsuit was gray, with light blue armor plates.
     “Come on,” Jun said.
     Abruptly there was the howl of a sniper shot, and the man in the business suit collapsed. Jun pulled out his second pistol and looked around. One of Kris’ bodyguards stood in front of the man, while the other scanned the area.
     Then the window shattered, and a white-skinned woman with red hair leapt in. She wore a sleeveless red jumpsuit and brown vest and boots, and at her sides hung a pair of pistols. She was holding a red-bladed lightsaber.
     “Aurra Sing,” Jun said.
     The bounty hunter sheathed her lightsaber and pulled out one of her blasters, training it on Kris. Too late, the ex-Mandalorian reached for his helmet, but Sing fired. One of the bodyguards leapt forward and took the shot on his throat.
     Jun fired his blasters. Sing leapt aside and pulled out her other pistol, firing back. Jun kicked over the desk and ducked behind it. Kris and his remaining bodyguard joined him, and together the three fired on Sing.
     Despite being outnumbered, the bounty hunter was controlling the battle–and winning. Then, too suddenly to register, a blue stun bolt shot from the door and slammed into Sing. She collapsed, and Jun looked up to see an IG-86 assassin droid standing there. Jun raised an eyebrow. Why would an assassin droid fire on stun, unless–?
     And then a rain of blaster bolts slammed into the droid, breaking it to pieces. Then Cad Bane entered the room.
     “I may be able to use Sing later,” Bane hissed. “But those droids are a decicred a dozen.”
     Jun grinned under his helmet. His target had arrived. Drawing his knife, Jun leapt forward. Bane fired his pistols, but Jun used his jetpack to maneuver around the blasts.
     Then he landed in front of Bane and lunged with his knife. The Duros ducked and dropped his pistols, at the same time rolling aside to grab a vibroblade from a sheath on the dead bodyguard.
     Jun lunged, stabbing the knife out in front of him. Bane’s slightly longer blade blocked the blow, but Jun was faster, and his knife was already low, going for Bane’s gut. The bounty hunter rolled back and slashed, and Jun reversed his grip on the knife, holding it backhand.
     Bane slashed, and Jun blocked. The backhand grip was easy to attack with, giving him greater speed and an easier block. But Bane was unpredictable. Jun would need to use all his tricks to win this one.
     “You’re good, Mandalorian,” said Bane. “Too bad you’re not Jango Fett. I’d like to meet my match.”
     Jun snarled and feinted left. Bane started an overhand slash, but Jun rolled aside and slashed out, and his blade cut through Bane’s trenchcoat, tunic, and shirt. Blue blood spurted everywhere, and Jun realized he’d accidentally hit what was, for a Duros, a vital organ.
     Bane dropped.
     “Nice job,” Kris noted. “You here to collect the bounty on me, too?”
     “No,” Jun said. “You may not be of the clans, but you once were. I won’t betray that.” He saluted with his finger. “Stay safe. Three deadly bounty hunters took a shot at you at once. I’m sure you’re not out of danger yet.”
     Kris nodded, then turned to his bodyguard. “Let’s go,” he said.
     And Jun left to collect his bounty.


RIP: O'Niner, Droidbait, Nub, Cutup, Hevy, and Echo, the members of the Rishi Moon watch team. May Fives live on.

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Re: Tales of the Mandalorians
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2012, 04:05:04 AM »
Didn't quite finish it, but it sounds awesome :D
'That'll make 'em think twice...maybe even three times,' Scorch after blowing up trandos with a turret.

Vlet Hansen

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Re: Tales of the Mandalorians
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 07:22:30 AM »
That's why you should read up on the locations of vital organs in common species... good story!
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ARC_Commander_Colt

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Re: Tales of the Mandalorians
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 01:40:11 PM »
Thanks for the comments!

Buir:
The Tale of Munin Skirata


Dust kicked up, and eleven-year-old Kal Skirata rolled aside to avoid the fist that would have hit his gut. He flipped to his feet, coming up in a fighter’s stance, and Munin nodded his approval.
     Seeing the signal, Kal let his fists drop. Munin had been training him for years now, and the father was more proud of his adopted son than anyone he had ever known.
     “Good workout, son,” he said.
     “Thank you, buir,” Kal replied.
     Munin Skirata had adopted Kal years ago, when he had found the young boy half starved, holding a three-sided knife. The poor lad had lost his parents in a brutal war–of which Munin had been a participant.
     “Come on,” Munin said, wiping away sweat. “We should go get cleaned up; eat something.”
     Kal had embraced the Mandalorian way of life in a way Munin had never seen. The boy had fought off wild strill, engaged in personal combat with a man twice his age, and survived alone in the forest for two days alone. He had learned the language in weeks, and the Resol’nare in days.
     Munin couldn’t have been more proud if Kal had been his own flesh and blood.
     Munin and Kal entered their small hut as one, and Munin’s wife rushed out to meet them, kissing Munin on the cheek and rubbing Kal’s head.
     “Dinner,” she said, and Munin was thankful for what he had.

Twenty years later

Hair now gray, Munin Skirata strapped on his green armor over his black jumpsuit, putting twin blaster pistols in their holsters. The True Mandalorians were gearing up for battle. They’d been hired by officials on the planet Korda VI to put down insurgents.
     Jaster Mereel, leader of the Mandalorians, would go down with his second in command, Montross, and his adopted son Jango would lead the second team. Munin would be with Jaster, and Kal with Jango.
     Landing on the planet, Munin’s combat instincts took over. He heard every one of Jaster’s orders and he followed them, but he couldn’t ever recall them. He ducked into a trench and blasted three of the alien rebels with his rifle.
     “…Last time we rely on second-hand recon!” Jaster was shouting. “Tell the men to fall back!”
     Munin was ready to agree, because these rebels were fighting like warriors, not badly trained rebels. Something was wrong here.
     Munin started to move back to the ship when Montross charged forward. Smacking his face with his palm, Munin started to go after him, but his blood ran cold when he heard Jango’s transmission.
     “Death Watch!” the lad said.
     Munin snarled. The Death Watch had been thought exterminated years ago! How could they be here now? And then another thought stabbed at him. Kal is down there.
     “Where’s Vizsla?” Jaster called.
     Jango didn’t respond.
     “Never mind,” Jaster hissed. “We found him.”
     Munin looked uphill and saw a large tank in front of Jaster and Montross. Jaster snapped something at Montross, and the blue-armored Mandalorian looked coldly at Jaster before activating his jetpack and flying away.
     Blast, Munin snarled.
     He charged forward, and saw Jaster shot in the leg by the tank. Vizsla said something to Jaster, and the Mandalorian looked up at his longtime rival, his body tensed. Munin knew he wouldn’t be able to reach Jaster in time. He knew it.
     Suddenly, Jango broke from the forest with a blue-armored Mandalorian, and Munin wondered if Montross might not have betrayed them, after all. But no, this Mandalorian had a smaller frame than the traitor.
     “Jaster!” cried Jango.
     Events seemed to go in slow motion. Vizsla smiled. Jaster tried to move. The tank fired. Munin ran.
     “Jango, get down!” said the blue-armored warrior.
     He tackled Jango. Munin froze as the tank’s bolts sheared through Jaster’s chest. He dropped to his knees in agony, and Munin knew it was fatal. Rage filling his blood, he raised his rifle to fire, but a hand rested on his shoulder.
     “Too late, buir,” Kal said.
     Munin turned and stalked back to the ship.


Kal Skirata saw Montross and seethed. The man was snapping off orders like he was the new Mandalore. Kal hated him for it. Montross would never–never!–be worthy of that title.
     “What about Jango?” one soldier asked.
     Kal didn’t hear Montross’ reply, but he was sure it was a lie. He stalked toward the gunship, seeing the hardened troopers around him reacting like rookies at their leaders death. Jaster had seemed…invincible.
     “Look!” the Mandalorian with Montross said.
     Kal glanced up, and there was Jango. He carried Jaster’s body, and good old Silas stood by his side, a blaster trained on Montross.
     In the ensuing argument, everyone agreed that Montross was out, and that Jango should be the new Mandalore. He may have been young, but he had proven himself.
     “Let’s get out of here,” Jango said.


Eight more years passed, and Munin knew that he was getting too old for it all. He wanted just one more battle, just one more glorious victory before he retired.
     Kal was away, fighting somewhere far away, so Munin kissed his wife goodbye and headed off to the city of Keldabe. There, he found out that Jango Fett was leading a strike team to the planet Galidraan. He joined.
     There were many Mandalorians on the mission, including a woman by the name of Hokan–old Jun’s wife–and a young guy named Myles.
     This would be Munin’s last battle, and it would be glorious.


Jedi.
     Jedi were here! Munin saw them, he heard Jango command them to open fire, and he did. His bolt went at the leader, a loudmouth with a blue lightsaber and a long, drawn face, and the bolt shot back at him.
     Munin knew that he was dead when the bolt slid between the armor plates on his stomach. He winced in pain and heard Jango say to switch to projectile weapons.
     He did.
     His missile slammed into a Jedi, killing him. Munin saw Hokan’s wife go down and felt a flash of grief for the man. But he felt more grief for his wife, and for Kal.
     He continued fighting until a Jedi with a yellow lightsaber stepped over him. Briefly, he knew that Myles was dead, that they were all dead, save Jango, and for that he wept.
     Goodbye, Kal, he thought.


Kal Skirata watched the reports, and he felt a strange sense of grief and calm overwhelm him. Grief for his father, and calm because he knew he would one day have revenge for Munin.
     He knew he would never see his father’s corpse, because the blasted Jedi had dealt with them.
     He thought, Buir.


RIP: O'Niner, Droidbait, Nub, Cutup, Hevy, and Echo, the members of the Rishi Moon watch team. May Fives live on.

GOODYSMOODY

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Re: Tales of the Mandalorians
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 08:28:46 AM »
Great job. This is awesome :D
'That'll make 'em think twice...maybe even three times,' Scorch after blowing up trandos with a turret.

ARC_Commander_Colt

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Re: Tales of the Mandalorians
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 03:29:28 PM »
Thanks! I've got one more for now, but there will be more later.

Hardcore:
The Tale of Llats Ward


A heavy blaster cannon slung over his shoulder, Llats Ward moved through the crowd of Mandalorians to sit at the rear of the war room. Jaster stood up front with Montross and Jango.
     Ward was a Mandalorian human in his twenties, only a few years older than Jango, and he, along with Silas, had become Jango’s closest friends, besides old Jaster, who thought of Jango as a son.
     As Jaster told them of their plan for defeating the insurgents on Korda VI, Ward watched the other Mandalorians: Jun Hokan and his wife, old Munin Skirata and his boy Kal, B’arin Apma…
     As soon as the meeting was out, Ward took his rifle from his shoulder and walked toward the ship that would take him to Korda VI. He would be riding down with Jaster and Montross, while Jango would lead the second team.
     “You ready, Llats?” someone asked.
     Ward turned to see the black-armored form of young B’arin Apma, who was only nineteen. Ward smiled.
     “Always, B’arin.”
     The two grasped each other’s arm at the elbow, the traditional Mandalorian greeting and farewell gesture. Then they went their separate ways, boarding their ships.
     Ward lived for combat. Too young at the time, he hadn’t been there to fight Death Watch, and for that he was greatly sorry, and he wanted to make up for it by fighting with his people from here on.
     “Take it up!” Jaster told the pilot.


The ship landed, and the landing hatch swung down. The first soldier off the ship was shot down, and the second was hit in the shoulder. The armor plate on the shoulder reflected the shot.
     “Go! Go!” Jaster said.
     Ward leapt from the ship and fired his blaster cannon efficiently, cutting down insurgents with every shot. Jaster ordered them into the trenches, saying that the rebels were better trained than their intel had suggested.
     “We’re pulling out!” he said.
     Munin Skirata started to push Ward toward the ship, but Montross disagreed with Jaster’s order, and Ward snarled inside his helmet as the blue-armored Mandalorian charged out against orders.
     “Death Watch!” Jango called.
     Ward’s eyes widened. Death Watch was gone! Wasn’t it? Vizsla had never been found dead, Jaster had always said. And he’d always worried that the group would one day rise again.
     Now it had.
     Ward was pushing the others back toward the ship and he lost sight of Jaster, Montross, and Munin in the clatter.
     “Where’s Vizsla?” asked Jaster. And a moment later, “Never mind. We found him.”
     Every instinct in Ward’s body said to turn around now, right now, and go help his leader. But he had his orders. So he kept getting the men back to the ship.
     Five minutes later, Montross came back without Jaster, reporting him dead. He said to get aboard the ships and leave.
     “What about Jango?” Ward asked.
     “He died trying to save Jaster,” replied Montross. “Let’s move!”
     Ward shook his head sadly, but a moment later he said, “Wait! Look!” Jango, Silas, Apma, and the remnant of their squad were coming down the hill, Jango holding Jaster’s body.
     “Help me get Jaster off this rock,” Jango said. “Then we’re going to find Vizsla.”
     Montross argued with that, and in the ensuing argument, everyone there took Jango’s side over the brutish Montross.
* * *

Llats Ward watched, his face drawn in horror, the recordings of the Massacre on Galidraan. Years had passed since Korda VI, and Jango had turned the Mandalorians into a real group of warriors. They had gone to Galidraan expecting a simple defeat of rebels, and they’d gotten it–but then the Jedi had shown up.
     “How many?” he asked.
     “All of them,” B’arin Apma said grimly. “Except Jango. They took him alive.”
     “All of them!” Ward exclaimed. “I should have been there, B’arin.”
     “And you would have died, too,” Apma replied logically. “Look at this. Jun Hokan’s wife is dead. Myles too. And Munin Skirata.”
     “Poor Kal,” Ward said.
     “Hate to be the Jedi who killed Munin,” Apma noted seriously.
     Ward nodded his agreement, sadly watching as the names continued to roll. Jaster would have never let this happen. Not that it was Jango’s fault–but Jango was young and eager. Blast Montross!


More years passed, and Llats Ward kept busy to hold of grief. He fought in a dozen wars and took more than fifty bounties.
     He was getting ready for another job, reading the pre-battle plans, when he decided that he’d need to gather some allies.
     His first call went to Jun Hokan.
     “Hokan,” the man said.
     “Hokan, it’s Ward.”
     Ward had always known Hokan as an honorable man, and a good one to have at your back in a fight. He’d gone into a great depression after his wife had died.
     “How’s it going, ner vod?” Hokan asked.
     “Good, Jun. A couple of us got a job battling a group of anti-government enemies on Yag’Dhul. You want to join us?”
     Jun chuckled. “Wish I could, old friend. But I’ve got a job. A really dangerous one.”
     “Oh? Who’s the target?”
     “Cad Bane.”
     Ward paused. “Tion’ad hukaat’kama?”
     “No one, vod. I’m doing this one solo.”
     Ward shook his head. “Good luck, Jun.”
     “Thanks. Ret’urcye mhi.”
     “Ret’urcye mhi.”
     Ward’s next call went to Kal Skirata. In the days after his father’s death, Kal had thrown himself into many battles, trying to avenge the man’s death with the blood of rebels or mercenaries.
     “Kal!” he said. “It’s Llats Ward.”
     Kal, now matured past seeking revenge, answered, “Good to hear your voice, Ward.”
     “Kal,” Ward said, “I’ve got a job crushing some insurgents on Yag’Dhul. Want in?”
     Kal chuckled. “Insurgents? Will be just like old times, when all the good guys were alive. Jaster…my father…”
     Ward pretended not to hear Kal choke up.
     “I’ll come,” he said.
     “Great!” he said. “See you soon.”
     Ward settled back in his seat then, considering whom else to invite. He knew many Mandalorians that would love to go, but he didn’t know if he could trust them. Dred Priest, for example, was a piece of scum–Mij Gilamar said the man would have been a perfect Death Watch candidate–and Priest’s alleged girlfriend, Isabet Reau, wasn’t much better.
     Finally, he called Janx Ferro. Ferro was a warrior like Ward, always on the move, finding the next war. He was a great fighter, especially with his twin blaster pistols.
     “It’s Ferro.”
     “Ferro!” Ward greeted. “Llats Ward. I’ve got a war to fight, and I need soldiers.”
     Ferro didn’t hesitate. “I’m in.”
     “Cool. I’ll send you the details. Ward out.”


* * *

Twenty calls later, Ward had thirty warriors willing and able to go. Kal Skirata would be his second in command, while Janx Ferro would command strike team two.
     As the gunship landed, Ward cocked his rifle and made ready. As soon as the landing ramp opened, he charged out, firing. The blaster cannon tore through one of the rebels, then two, then three.
     “Strike team two, go!” he ordered.
     Ferro, wielding his twin blasters, leapt from the ship and took down two rebels with one shot. Then he activated his jetpack, his team of fourteen warriors following. Ward had always eschewed the traditional jetpack, instead wearing a long leather cape.
     Firing his cannon, he tore through a battle droid the rebels had reprogrammed. Kal stood beside him, wielding a Verpine sniper rifle.
     “No one said they had droids!” Kal said.
     “This is like Korda!” one Mandalorian said.
     “Not like that!” Ward bit off. “Never like that.”
     He blasted another droid, charging forward. Kal slung his sniper rifle over his shoulder and pulled out two Verpine shatter guns.
     Within hours, the battle was over.


* * *

Ward almost dropped dead when the blue-armored Mandalorian walked into his office almost a year later.
     Jango.
     “Fett?” he said. “I’d heard you were captured after Galidraan.”
     “I was,” Fett replied. “Long story, but I’m free and Vizsla is dead.”
     Ward smiled. The Mandalorians had never been able to track down Vizsla and Death Watch, so that pleased Ward.
     “You’re one of only seventy-five Mandalorians who know about my return. I will make an official announcement tomorrow.”
     “Why me?”
     “I’ve selected you for a special task. I want you to train an army of elite commandos for me. There are going to be one hundred training sergeant total, with seventy-five Mandalorians. If you accept, you will be well paid. If not, I’ll find another Mandalorian.”
     Ward considered. Wars had been more and more scarce of late, and he needed a challenge. Really, it was no decision at all.
     “Deal,” he said.


* * *

Ward stood in front of the twenty-five squads of soldiers and tried not to gape in awe. Every one of them had the face of a young Jango Fett, their hair cut short in military style.
     “Attention!” Ward said.
     Clones! This was amazing. He wondered whom they would fight for–never mind; none of his business.
     “I am Sergeant Ward. Let me tell you about your culture, the Mandalorians.”


RIP: O'Niner, Droidbait, Nub, Cutup, Hevy, and Echo, the members of the Rishi Moon watch team. May Fives live on.