"Okay. Beyond the edge of the canyon, there is basically nothing between us and the factory. No cover, no boulders, nothing but snow."
You are describing your findings to your team. Pinkie and Applejack are both dressed nice and warm now in thick winter garb.
You continue. "It can be assumed that they have hidden traps or surveillance equipment surrounding the place. I saw some pathway markers out there, so there is some security. That means we can't just walk there. The storm is going pretty strong out there too, so that also means that flying is not an option."
"Damn it!" Rainbow grumbles and crosses her arms.
You ignore that. "That one pathway I saw leads directly to the factory, so there are probably some ground transports that make regular trips through the snow."
"What kind of ground transports?" Mandalore asks.
"I don't know, Mandalore. I didn't see any. If we had my ship, we could use some of my probe droids to look around." You reply.
Rainbow perks up. "Oh! I have a droid we can use!"
You all look at her. "You do?"
She smiles and nods. "Yeah! I'll go get him!"
Rainbow heads into the ship and you turn to everyone else. "While she's doing that, Pinkie, do you think you can hijack a transport full of weekend Sith soldiers?"
Pinkie smirks. "There isn't a transport I can't hijack, Anon! I'm not sure I'd be able to drive it, but I can definitely kill any bad guys inside!"
"That's all I need. I can drive." You reply.
Applejack speaks up. "Did you see any actual defenses along the perimeter of the factory itself?"
You shake your head. "I did not. I'm sure they exist, but I couldn't see that far away."
"I got my sniper rifle." She says. "Lemme go out with you so I can get a better look at what's what."
You nod. "Good idea. We could be here for a while waiting for a transport to show up."
She gives you a little sideways grin and nods. Suddenly, you hear a crashing sound from inside the ship, followed by a clatter. You all turn towards the doorway that Rainbow went through.
Mandalore cocks his head slightly. "What the hell is she doing back there?"
You shake your head and stay silent.
A few seconds later, Rainbow comes out of a small room holding an antiquated probe droid. It's spherical, bulky, and about a meter wide. It's a sickly green color, and its chassis is rusted in a few places.
You raise an eyebrow as she clearly struggles to carry this piece of junk. With a final grunt, she practically drops it on the ground in front of her and lets out a breath. She wipes her forehead and reaches behind it and you hear a click. The droid wiggles a bit as a single yellow light comes on next to its optic. It makes a buzzing sound that resembles a beep... Kind of.
The droid slowly rises into the air and Rainbow's smile grows wider as it floats to her chest level.
She looks at all of you and proudly holds her arms out toward the droid to present it to you. "This is Tank!"
No, this is trash.
The four of you just stare at the Chiss as she shows off what looks like the first droid ever made. Apparently, she's also a collector. You did not know this.
After a few awkward seconds, Mandalore speaks. "That droid is in dire need of maintenance, Rainbow Dash."
Her smile fades a little and she looks back at the droid. "Heh... Yeah, he's, uh, definitely seen better days."
Understatement of the millennium, right there.
You sigh. No sense in pointing out the obvious. "Does it work well enough to do recon?"
Rainbow nods. "Yep! Tank works great!"
She pats the droid twice and a panel falls off the front. She curses and quickly picks it up before frantically trying to fix it, as if doing so will erase what just happened.
Applejack chuckles and steps forward. "If you say so, Sugarcube. Here."
While she helps Rainbow put the panel back on the droid, you sigh and make your way to the exit ramp again. "Applejack, once you're done fixing... that, join me outside with it. Rainbow, you and Pinkie be on standby with Mandalore here on the ship."
Applejack nods. "Sure thing, Anon."
You reach the exit ramp and open it again, letting more icy air inside the ship as you walk down it. Once you reach the snow, you stand there silently and wait for Applejack and the droid.
You cross your arms and look around at the dark planet you're on. The wind is blowing a bit harder than it was before. This blizzard is getting worse. Hopefully, you'll be able to take off when you're done here.
What's Sunset doing right now, you wonder? Probably having a nice, easy time on Myrkr with Twilight, Fluttershy, and Big Mac right now. It's probably warm there.
You sigh as you think back to your fight. You and your big damn mouth.
Sure, Mandalorian supremacy of the galaxy sounds nice and all, but at what cost? Sunset means so much to you. More than anything else. Speaking to her how you did was inexcusable. If you lost her in the process of destroying the Sith and the Republic, then being at the top of the galaxy would be empty and worthless.
She does not deserve to be compared to Gilda in any way. Sunset is a million times the Mandalorian that Gilda is or ever was.
You sigh and look around again. You're alone, and you've got time. She deserves another apology.
You press a button on your gauntlet and try to contact her, but the sound is garbled and messy. This blizzard is interfering with your comms. You check your suit's systems to try and enhance the quality, but unfortunately, you have no long-range communications. You only have access to short-range.
"Damn it..." You shut off your comms and sigh again, tapping your fingers.
A few minutes later, Applejack comes out of the ship with Rainbow's probe droid following her.
She shivers and rubs her gloved hands together. "Brr! It's freezin' out here."
"Mmhmm. Sure is." You reply.
Her sniper rifle is slung on her back. It's a DXR-6 disruptor rifle. You are pretty sure that this specific model was illegal to own. You're a bit surprised that she has it.
It has obviously been heavily modified for her specific standards. The scope on this one was much larger than the ones on most other rifles, there was a longer barrel, and she had installed a wooden butt stock with a decal of three little apples on it, among other modifications. If she's able to get her hands on a piece of weaponry like that, you're not going to judge. More power to her, in fact.
She stops next to you and looks around a bit. Rainbow's probe droid stops with her, giving a little buzz.
"So? Where to?" She asks.
"Just up here a bit." You reply. "Follow me."
You turn and lead her through the rock formations toward the valley's edge overlooking the factory. It's not a very far hike, but there's a bit of a tense silence between you as you walk that makes it seem like it's going to drag on.
After a few minutes of walking, she clears her throat. "Y'know, I don't really blame you for doin' what you did on Coruscant... with Hoity Toity."
That's a bit of a surprise.
You merely glance at her for a moment. "Oh really?"
She nods. "I don't agree with what you did. I'm all for law, order, and due process when it comes to criminals, but I can't deny that there is some corruption in the Senate."
You chuckle once. "A bit more than 'some', but yeah, there is."
She pauses again before continuing. "I never liked Hoity Toity. Not one bit. I won't say I wanted him dead though. I would've done things different, if it were me, but, hearin' that he did die... Well, worse things have happened."
You look at her. "Be honest, what would you have done differently if you were in my position?"
She shakes her head. "I don't know..."
She stops talking and you both continue forward toward the valley's edge.
Applejack seems like a stickler for the rules, and because of that, she hasn't really cared for you since you killed the senator on Coruscant. Sure, you were friends when you dealt with the Rakghouls, but that's really it. This whole 'terrorist' situation has put a damper on your friendship. It's just one reason why you didn't trust her enough to leave her alone during your time on Mandalore after escaping from the Sith over Kessel. You had secretly instructed Tempest and Thunderlane to watch her and her brother carefully.
"I just..." She continues. "I hope you know that I'm only followin' orders... Big Mac is too."
You stop walking and look back at her. "I know, Applejack. I don't blame you at all for the corruption in the Senate. Neither you, nor your brother. Your Republic has all kinds of problems, but you two seem like you're good people."
"There are lots of other good people in the Republic too though, Anon." She replies.
"I know that." You nod.
Octavia Melody is one of those people. The Chancellor herself seems like she has a good head on her shoulders as well. The bulk of the corruption seems to lie primarily within the Senate itself, rather than the rest of the government. With a few exceptions, of course.
"There are just too many bad people with power mixed in with the good." You say. "Surely, you have to have seen this."
She sighs. "Won't lie, I have seen it... I hate to say it, but I actually agree with you on a lot of those points you make. I'm not quite as extreme as y'all when it comes to a solution, but your reasonin' behind it makes more sense than not. Somethin's very wrong with the Republic."
The two of you resume walking toward the factory. She pulls her hat down a bit, and her coat up over her neck more to shield herself from the cold.
"I don't wanna get started on talkin' about politics and stuff, but there's too much dishonesty and deception goin' around for me to care for... If it were entirely up to me, I'd get 'em all out and replace 'em with people who really want to do the right thing... Politicin' ain't for me though. I'm more of a 'boots on the ground' type of girl, you know?"
You shrug. "Well, thanks to me, there's one less Senator you have to worry about. So, you're welcome, I guess."
She shakes her head. "What you did to him was wrong, Anon. Now, Hoity Toity was definitely one of the worst ones in the Republic Senate, there ain't no doubt about that. He was spineless, cruel, and downright evil. I always had him pegged as a bad apple even before we saw what he wanted to do to Senator Melody. But..." She looks at you. "My main point is, from a moral perspective, I can't say I agree with or condone what you did to him, but I completely understand why you did it... He absolutely would've tried to weasel his way out of gettin' what he deserved if he had lived."
You look forward. "I did what was necessary. I probably could've done things a bit better, I will admit. Maybe limit the collateral damage some. I can... I can regret all those innocent lives that were lost in the process." You pause. "However, if given the opportunity to kill him again, I'd take it in a heartbeat. He needed to be dealt with right then and there. That is the only way justice could've truly been served."
Applejack sighs. "I disagree. I think he could've been brought to justice without bloodshed... But, like I said, I understand where you're comin' from. I don't blame you."
"Nor I you, Applejack. Your dedication to your Republic's laws and standards is admirable, even if they are a bit corrupt. You're a good soldier that is simply following orders. I can respect that. My people's standards are simply not the same as yours. I won't say that they're higher or lower, they're just different. Mandalorians and the Republic are a breed apart."
She chuckles a little. "Ain't that the truth."
You smirk and pause for a moment. "So are we good?"
She looks over at you and you both stop walking.
She smiles and nods. "Yeah. I'd say we are, Anon."
The two of you shake each others hands once before continuing your hike toward the factory.
Applejack is a good girl. You admire her down-to-earth sense of duty. You won't say she's wrong for believing what she does, you just disagree with her. Which is honestly a real shame. She would make a excellent Mandalorian.
Unfortunately though, she is not a Mandalorian. Just as you are not with the Republic. And that's okay. This little agreement your two peoples have could be the start of a good relationship that may last for generations.
It's a shame you didn't realize this before you and Sunset fought...
Oh well. Live and learn.