• Published 14th Sep 2012
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Star Wars: Republic Commando: Brothers All - TJbrena



Sev and another Commando escape a prison camp with the help of ponies, and struggle to find meaning.

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1. Jailbreak

Mandolorian: “Bal’kote, darasuum kote
Jorso’ran kando a tome
Sa kyr’am Nau tracyn kad, Vode an
Galactic Basic: “And glory, eternal glory
We shall bear its weight together
Forged like a saber in the fires of death, Brothers all”
- Ancient Mandolorian war chant

***
“Ugh… Fierfek.” Sev’s head was pounding. The last thing he remembered was… “Fierfek!” He remembered being cut off from his squad, surrounded by Trandoshan mercenaries and slavers after he helped to destroy a Separatist capital ship. He began to get to his knees, and he looked around.

He was in a normal-looking Trando prison cell. Granted, the only ones he’d seen before were specked with Trandoshan blood because he’d fought into them rather than out. It was hastily constructed, gray, ugly, fairly durable in general but also riddled with structural weak points. His armor was still on, although his backpack and weapons hung just outside the cell’s bars. Clearly the lizards wanted to add insult to injury.

Sev rolled over and pushed himself backwards, pressing his back against the wall. He eyed his heads-up display. The familiar icons that showed his squadmates’ formation were absent. He was cut off from them. The HUD also indicated that his health was less than optimal; it was orange.

He took another look at his cell, and saw that he was sharing it with what looked like some sort of livestock. It appeared to have a yoke around its neck, and was sleeping. The Trandos wanted to degrade him by keeping him with a farm animal.

When I get out, I’ll teach these lizards hospitality if it kills them, Sev mused. And it probably will.

That thought put a smile under his helmet. He looked at his left gauntlet, and realized the vibroblade was still there. He was armed and dangerous, even if the Trandos didn’t know it. He began to laugh; a few chuckles at first, but then a full-on half-minute of sociopathic mirth.

Di’kute,” He concluded aloud in Mando’a. Morons.

The livestock stared at him quizzically.

Must’ve woken it up when I was laughing my shebs off a minute ago.

“Ah guess yer awake then,” The livestock spoke. Its voice was deep, and had a distinctive drawl he vaguely recognized but couldn’t place. What was important was that he was speaking Galactic Basic, with what sounded like a masculine voice. “Mah name’s Big Macintosh. Ya can call me Big Mac if ya want.” The apparently sentient being indicated itself with a foreleg, not sure if Sev understood him.

Sev contemplated giving his name. If he merely gave his designation, it would indicate he understood the occupant perfectly by virtue of using a common language. If he gave him his name, he could play the fear angle if he had to, provided his name wasn’t a word in his cellmate’s version of Basic. The commando knew that the unknown was scary, and so was he; put them together and you had a terrifying enigma.

He tapped his gray and red chestplate. “Sev.”

“Strange name, but ah guess ah won’t forget it. Nopony with that kinda name ‘round these parts. And ah reckon we’re not three miles from mah family’s farm.”

A Trandoshan slaver wheeled a cart through the hall and tossed in a couple loaves of bread before continuing past the cell. Big Macintosh took a loaf and left the other for Sev. His face was surprisingly expressive, and seemed to indicate that he wished to offer the other loaf for his fellow prisoner.

“Y’all’ve been out cold on that there floor since ya got here a couple days ago. Ah think you’ll wanna eat some o’ that bread. Don’t taste much, but it’s kept me full. Ah think ah’ll look away in case yer mouth is real scary, which yer voice sure makes me think it does; Celestia knows ah’ve had mah share of scary for the last four days.” Big Mac covered his eyes with his hooves.

Fine by me.

Sev removed his helmet with a hiss that startled Big Macintosh and bit into the bread. The alien was right, it tasted bland, only a bit better than the dry rations he normally ate in the field. Still, just chewing on it made him realize how hungry he was, so he noisily devoured the whole thing in a minute.

“Ah didn’t figure ya were that hungry,” Big Mac chuckled, still covering his eyes.

Sev smiled and put his helmet back on. The alien uncovered his eyes to see that the noisy eating sounds were just what he thought: eating sounds.

“Heh. Ya sounded a bit like mah lil’ sis Apple Bloom when ya ate.” The red alien sighed. “Mah family must be worried sick.”

I can relate.

A few hours passed uneventfully before Trando slaver sauntered past the cell, very close to the cell. Sev saw a chance and took it. He jumped to his feet and grabbed the reptile’s arm, pulling it close enough to grab hold of its skull and smash it against the vertical durasteel bars. He pulled a keycard from its neck and stuck it into the slot on the outside. The cage opened rather quietly.

Sev gathered his gear quickly, strapping on his backpack and belt, as well as holstering his DC-15/s sidearm and DC-17/m blaster rifle. Big Macintosh just stared at him, confused at the freedom suddenly before him. Despite his obvious fear, Big Mac stood close to Sev, understanding that the strange being might be his best chance to go free.

The commando saw a control terminal nearby and had one thought.

Jailbreak.

***

RC-1000, called “Coruscant” on account of the triple zeroes in his numerical designation, with 000 being the military designation of the Republic's capital, was not having a good day. Or a good week. Or even a good month.

The whole of Beta Squad, whom he had grown up with, had been wiped out with the exception of him. He’d been transferred to Tau Squad, or “Trip Squad”, as they were known, for three of the original members each having three instances of a number in their designation. He’d replaced a dead member of their squad, which had been together since birth just as Beta had been.

It didn’t help that his squad was quite different from theirs. Tau had some of the best Clone Commandos there were. They had dark colors painted onto their armor for concealment, they fought with ferocity and skill like no animal Coruscant could think of, were in touch with their Mandolorian heritage, and were a strange bunch.

Beta had been average, or at least as average as elite soldiers trained from birth could be. They had more conventional, if somewhat laid-back personalities compared to Tau. They’d never painted their armor, opting to keep it the silver-grey it had been issued in, and keeping it fairly clean. Not clean to the point of shimmering or being free of scratches and a few scorch marks, but to a faint metallic sheen; just a bit of shine.

They’d found to their pleasant surprise that the color and their more conventional personalities had allowed them to get along with normal clone infantry better than most commandos. This led to a higher amount of missions that involved directly supporting infantry by operating behind enemy lines than most other squads received. They had a positive reputation among the infantry, to the point where the claim that Beta Squad was in the area boosted morale. That popularity had led to many condolences when his squad was killed in a boarding operation.

Despite their differences, Tau accepted him into their squad, sympathetic to his plight, which they fully understood was magnitudes worse than the loss they had suffered. Still, he didn’t socialize with them much, nor they with him, and he kept his armor the way it had always been, partly to honor his fallen brothers and partly to retain that same ability to cooperate with infantry.

He’d been on Kashyyyk with Tau when they’d been advancing towards an objective with a score of Trandoshan mercenaries chasing them. As Coruscant brought up the rear, a thermal detonator caused a massive blockage of the path they were on, separating him from his squad.

After judging that the rubble was too thick to clear with what they had, Coruscant told them he’d “make the lizards work for it,” and that he’d regroup if he could.

He’d cut down nearly every one of the mercenaries when one of their heavies showed up, and incapacitated the weary clone.

When he’d woken up, his helmet’s chronometer told him he’d been out for two days. He was sharing a cell with a sentient female quadruped, who’d introduced herself as “Octavia”. He’d given neither his name nor his designation.

They hadn’t talked much in the few hours he’d known her, but he recognized her accent as one of the more generic types in the galaxy. She’d insisted it was a “Canterlot” accent, the same as someone named “Fancy Pants” had. Coruscant had no accent of his own, and it seemed he sounded normal to Octavia as well.

She also claimed to live in a nearby town, and that she was abducted near the “Everfree Forest” a few days prior.
Outside the cell, his equipment lay on a table. He knew Trandoshans were arrogant and cocky, but he’d never expected them to be this cocky.

The sun had set, ending his first conscious day in captivity, when the bars to his cell opened. It sounded like all of the cells on the block were opening in fact. He couldn’t tell, because the lights went out when the bars raised.

He rushed to his gear and slapped it on. At this point, the only illumination was the small blue lights from his equipment, and some electronics in the hallway. The display on his backpack and the blue light of his visor were most prominent among them. He activated the integral helmet mounted flashlight to help his cellmate see.

“Hey Octavia, you comin’ or what?” He glanced at her.

“You’re not going to try and escape, are you?” She looked scared to escape. Not out of attachment to her captors, but out of fear of their wrath. “Those lizards will murder us! I saw them fight bears and win!”

“I can assure you that they don’t pose a threat.” Coruscant drew his DC-15/s sidearm. He’d made personal modifications to the capacitor to allow the pistol to fire sixteen shots in a row instead of eight before having to recharge, increase the rate of fire, and increase the energy delivered by 20%. It was his preferred weapon for close-quarters, and for lower intensity fights where his DC-17/m rifle wasn’t necessary.

It was time for an inventory check. He still had 600 rounds for his rifle’s blaster attachment, courtesy of a modification that diverted excess power to refill his used clips. His sniper attachment had 30 shots, as he hadn’t used it at all during his last mission, and his anti-armor attachment was likewise at the maximum capacity of 4 shots. He had just restocked his grenade supply before being captured, and hadn’t used any. He was practically in mint condition as far as equipment.

He activated the low-light visor mode. The darkened area lit up, becoming an array of grays, whites and blacks.

“You’re… You’re a royal guard of some sort. You must be with that armor. Is that even armor? I haven’t seen you take any of it off…” Octavia placed her hoof on her chin, indicating contemplation as she spoke.

“Well, my experience isn’t so much ‘royal’. Or ‘guard’.”

Coruscant walked to a bacta dispenser and activated it. The healing substance was absorbed into his armor, soothing his wounds. He picked up the bruised and cut Octavia and gave her a spray with the machine, and although she struggled at first, the bacta quickly calmed her as her minor wounds healed. He put her back down, and saw her look over her mostly healed injuries in wonder.

Guess they don’t have bacta here. At least, don’t know about it.

“Just a quick slice…” Hacking was his specialty, his trade, his art; it was unusual for a squad leader to have that kind of specialization, but that left other specialties for his now-dead squad. He’d replaced Tau’s hacker, who was famous for his prowess. He couldn’t match up to the missing RC-1888 or the famous Delta Squad’s RC-1140, but he came close. And anything he lacked in hacking ability he made up for in technical and mechanical ingenuity. After a few seconds, he downloaded a layout of the compound. The stupid lizards had built the cell blocks next to the forest, with no guards on the other side and a thick wall separating them from freedom.

This day is turning around fast.

“Now what?” She asked. “You grabbed some odd objects and danced your fingers on a strange light. I don’t see what you’ve accomplished.”

Coruscant readied his pistol. “Shut up and get behind me… Ma’am.”

He heard the familiar growl of Trandoshan slavers behind him, and put himself between them and Octavia. The one in front got the first shot off, his ACP Array gun striking his shields for the most part, and kicking up a bit of concrete as some of the accelerated charged particles impacted between his feet.

Octavia yelped at the loud sound of the weapon’s discharge, and the impact of the energy it seemed to be firing. She’d never known of weapons like that, although she could only extrapolate that they were energy weapons from the way they seemed to act like the ones from science-fiction books she’d read as a foal. As they emitted sound and light, they lit up the hallway with their flashes.

The retaliatory strike was swift and precise. Coruscant aimed down his sights and put a bolt of plasma between the lizard’s eyes. He then fired several more shots at the advancing hostiles, dropping each of them before they could get off any more shots.

“Me: five. Trandoshans: zero.” The commando moved down the hall, beckoning the other captives, who seemed to be an identical or similar species to Octavia, although they had different markings, colors and hair. They obeyed, and followed him.

When he reached the end of the hall the captives began to panic. They couldn’t see much, and they were following the disembodied lights, that had led them. They began to mutter fearfully.

“Why are we stopping?” One asked loudly, unable to move further.

“Hold your rations, uh, whatever you are,” Coruscant shouted to them.

“We’re ponies, you dolt!” Octavia said.

Coruscant produced a demolition charge and placed it on the wall. After gauging the thickness using the explosive’s built-in sensors, he began arming the weapon, which took all of twelve seconds.

“Alright, everyone get back and cover your ears!” The ponies reluctantly obeyed. Coruscant produced a detonator from his belt. It was SOP to have the squad leader detonate them.

“Fire in the hole!” He mashed the big red button with his thumb, and the wall was blown outwards in a thunderous cacophony the likes of which the ponies had never heard, even at a Vinyl Scratch rave.

Switching back to his pistol, Coruscant checked for guards, and after finding none he indicated he wanted them to move out. “We’re clear, no hostiles! Go! Go! Go!”

The prisoners had never heard the word “hostile” used as a noun, but assumed it meant “bad guys.” They all fled in a single direction after looking at the moon, presumably to orient themselves. The night was still young, and it drizzled gently.

“Prey is escaping!” A slaver yelled from inside the building. The sound of multiple pairs of feet echoed through the hall and out into the forest. Coruscant threw a thermal detonator into the corridor, and saw it explode, taking the advancing slavers with it.

Satisfied with his rear guard action, he followed the freed captives. Octavia had fallen behind, and he could only catch up to her. They galloped through, and eventually out of the forest. Most of the ponies continued running for the nearby settlement, but Octavia collapsed from exhaustion upon reaching the end of the forest; she was one of Ponyville’s less athletic residents, and had just galloped for several miles non-stop.

Coruscant picked her up in his arms after holstering his pistol, and carried her towards the settlement. She was still panting loudly.

“Thank… You…” She said in between pants. “My house… Two stories… Near side of town… Lavender roof…”

Coruscant carried her for a few hundred meters more before she indicated she could walk on her own. He set her down, and she walked the rest of the way. Upon reaching the house, she retrieved a key from under the doormat using her forehoof, and used it to open the door, which had a ball-shaped knob. This perplexed the commando, who saw no visible means for them to manipulate objects.

Maybe they have limited Jedi-like abilities? Probably not.

***

Sev followed the sound of blaster fire and explosions, and Big Mac followed him. It seemed they’d just missed out on what could have been some good target practice, which disappointed Sev.

Fierfek,” he muttered.

“Is that the only word ya know besides yer name?” Big Mac demanded.

“No. Which way to your farm?” Sev finally spoke in Basic.

“Ah guess ya can talk.”

“I like being scary, and speaking a different language makes me even scarier. Everyone fears what they don’t understand.”

“If it makes ya feel better, the fact that ya wanna be scary is a bit scary. An’ other’n that, ah hardly know a thing about ya. Jus’ follow me.”

“Fine, you’re on point.”

Sev readied his DC-17/m for any potential attack. He followed the stocky alien for ten minutes before he yelled for him to stop.

“Trandos!” He loosed blaster fire at the lizards, and they fired their weapons at him. One of the slavers charged at him with its knives drawn, and another followed suit.

When the first one tried to stab him, Sev grabbed its forearms and used its momentum to thrust the blades into its stomach. The lizard dropped dead, and the next one lunged at him. He punched him in the face, stunning him, and took him as a living shield.

He then fired several more bursts as his hostage prevented them from shooting him. After splattering the ground with the blood of Trandoshans, he used his gauntlet vibroblade to slit the still-living meat shield’s throat. He let the corpse slump to the ground.

“Kandosii. Glad I could get in some kills after all.” He looked at the shocked Big Macintosh. “You hurt or something?”

“Ya killed ‘em… Half a dozen, jus’ like they were nothin’.”

“I’m a Republic Commando. Killing bad guys is my job, and I’m very good at it. Those Trandoshan slavers and mercenaries? They’re scum. I’ve got a few hundred kills under my belt, and they make up quite a few.”

Big Mac sighed. “Ah seen what those 'Trandoshans' did to ponies. Ah wouldn’t ‘a killed ‘em, but ah reckon ya’ve got more experience with those lizards than ah do. If these things attack again, ah won’t be able to hold ‘em off without yer help. There’s a barn at the farm that has an attic we only use once every three months. Got a buncha dried apples up there fer ya to eat.”

“Sounds good. I’ll need a place to shack up.”

He led the commando to the farm, and the barn. Sev climbed the stairs to the attic, and shut the door behind him.

“Ah’ll bring ya somethin’ to sleep on tomorrow. I gotta see mah family. Ah won’t tell nopony ‘bout ya,” He said through the door.

“Appreciate it, Big Mac.”

Sev heard his host’s hoofsteps go down the stairs. He removed his helmet and backpack, and moved a sack of dried apples to cushion his head as he lied down.

Thank the Force they finally made this armor comfortable to sit or lay down in.

With that thought he fell asleep. A real sleep this time instead of the unconsciousness he’d experienced before.

***

“Vinyl, I’m home!” Octavia shouted as she cantered in.

Coruscant heard hooves frantically clopping down the stairs, and saw a white and blue blur tackle Octavia as he closed the door. He immediately drew his pistol on instinct, until he saw what was going on.

The white and blue blur was a mare wearing some sort of purple eyewear, and she was gleefully crushing Octavia in a bear hug. He put the pistol back in its place.

“Octy! I was so worried! I thought something bad happened to you!” Her voice was without an accent, and a bit deeper than Octavia’s.

“Vinyl! Can’t- Breathe-” Octavia struggled to say. Her violet irises contracted and her eyes bulged a little. It was quite comical to Coruscant.

Vinyl released her and realized how bruised and malnourished Octavia was. Her glee turned to rage. “Who the buck did this to you!? I’ll kick their flanks so hard they’ll have to unbutton their collars to shit!! I’m gonna put their head in a vice and crush it like a melon!”

Vinyl punched a white wall to her left as hard as she could for emphasis, but when her hoof connected with it, it hurt more than she expected.

“Ow, buck! Since when are our walls that hard?”

Octavia suddenly looked nervous. “Um, Vinyl?” She pointed to Coruscant.

“Vampire! I’ll get my Deagle with the silver bullets! Don’t die!” She ran upstairs.

“What.” Coruscant said. It wasn’t even a question, because he didn’t think there was an answer. It was a statement expressing his confusion at the strangeness that had ensued since he entered the building.

Maybe there’s something in the water supply. I should probably stick to drinking recycled urine.

“Vinyl, wait! Silver bullets are for werewolves!” Octavia yelled. “You’re supposed to use crossbows on vampires! And it’s not a vampire!”

“Then I’ll use my all-purpose bullets! They’ve got silver, water, wood, fire, holy water, toothpaste, the magic of friendship, the power of love, Kryptonite and the color yellow in ‘em!” Vinyl yelled from a room upstairs

“But the order hasn’t gotten here yet! And I don’t think it’s any of the things they’re supposed to be effective against. Besides, you lost the Deagle at one of your parties!”

Coruscant slapped the front his helmet with his right hand. “You realize I’m not a monster, right?”

A gasp came from upstairs. “I’ve got this! Don’t worry, buddy!”

The next thing he heard was a dragging noise. The source was Vinyl, who was pushing a cardboard box full of large black discs.

“Eat bad music, monster!” Vinyl shouted. She began hurling the disks at him.

“Hey! Cut that out!” Coruscant yelled, pointing a finger at Vinyl.

“I won’t let you hurt my friend!” Vinyl rushed downstairs and grabbed Octavia in a protective hug.

“Vinyl, it’s not going to hurt anypony! I shared a cell with it, and it helped me escape!”

“Say what now?” Vinyl released her friend and her face gained a vacant, confused look, her mouth slightly agape.

“Look, you’re my best friend, and I know you just want to protect me, but could you stop being such a bloody idiot!? I thought unicorn ponies had more sense than this!” Octavia was seething, her face red. “Clean up this mess, and I’ll tell you what happened! Savvy?”

Octavia let out an exasperated sigh. “I’m sorry about her. She’s really a good mare, but she’s… Excitable. And addicted to Creature energy drinks. And somewhat damaged by years of drug abuse. And crude, and a slob, and lacking in musical taste. But she’s still my best friend… Would you like some tea?”

“I’m fine, thank you.”

“Take a seat, then.” She pointed to a couch in the next room, and he sat down on it, thankful for the fact that all Katarn armor had been modified for improved ergonomics. He sat straight up so that his backpack would barely touch the rear cushions.

The room had ancient-style paper books on wooden cases and slightly less ancient electronics. He began to think that he may have been the first person in the Republic to actually be on that planet. Their society seemed technologically primitive by modern standards; even 4,000 years ago space travel had been common throughout the galaxy, and judging from the stars’ positions he wasn’t more than a few light-years from Kashyyyk.

“I hope the rest of Tau is okay,” He said to himself.

Octavia came in with what looked like a pastry of some kind and sat down next to him. “What was that?” She asked politely, taking a seat next to him on the couch.

“Nothing. Just remembering.”