• Published 14th Sep 2012
  • 6,826 Views, 296 Comments

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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2. Introductions

Author's Note:

Whoops, accidentally clicked the unpublish button on this chapter, so I had to republish it. My bad. :twilightsheepish: - May 28, 2014

“An army of one man, but the right man for the job.” – Popular clone trooper saying

***

Sev awoke to the sound of hooves climbing stairs. He put on his helmet, slapped on his backpack, and grabbed his DC-17/m. He then scrambled to hide behind a large crate. That covered the three possibilities that had come to mind in the first second he spent awake.

Okay, three possibilities. One: it’s Big Mac and I’m just practicing. Two: it’s somepony else, and I’m as hidden as I can get. Three: a trespasser is about to meet a very timely end.

“Sev, ah got ya a bedroll an’ a pillow.”

The door opened, and hoofsteps sounded. It was just the one set, so Sev moved from behind his cover and holstered his rifle. Big Mac dropped the items on the floor, and Sev rolled them out for future use. The bedroll and the pillow were both quite fluffy, enough so that he wouldn’t even need to remove his armor because it would practically suspend him in a comfortable position.

“Thanks. We need to come up with a duress word or phrase, though.”

“A what?”

“Let’s say that some bad guy forces you to show them where I am, and they’re following you up. You use the duress word in a sentence and I’ll immediately know that there’s a bad guy.”

“Huh. Clever.”

“Not really, it’s SOP to try and set up a warning system when you’re staying in a single area. The duress word has to be a word or phrase that can be slipped into a sentence without drawing attention.”

“How ‘bout ‘Just warnin’ ya, it’s musty up there’?”

Sev clapped his gloved hands together. “Perfect. Now I just need something to do. It’s bad form for a commando to lay idle if they can avoid it. Literature, puzzles, games, work; it all helps keep the mind and body sharp.”

Big Mac looked downwards, a pensive look decorating his features. “Ah’ve got a few books ah could lend ya. Mostly history books and some Darin’ Do books mah marefriend recommended.”

“I’ll take ‘em. Any of the books about warfare and tactics?”

“What? No. Equestria ain’t seen war in a thousand an’ two years. We’ve got royal guards to fend off criminals an’ monsters, but no war.”

Sev sighed in disappointment. “Fierfek, so much for studying my hosts’ progress on my art. I guess I’ll just take whatever you’ve got, then.”

“Ah’ll have em to ya by nightfall.”

***

Coruscant awoke on the same couch he’d sat on the last night. What had specifically awoken him was the sound of tapping on the outside of his helmet. He opened his eyes to find that something white, horned, and of respectable size was poking at his armor.

“Hey, robot dude. You awa-”

Coruscant’s reflexes kicked in before he could even think. He drew his pistol with his right hand and grabbed the unicorn’s throat with his left, holding her against the wall and pushing the barrel of his DC-15/s sidearm into her soft belly.

“Calm the buck down!” She choked out.

Realizing what he’d done, he let her down, placing her back on the ground.

“Don’t startle me like that, please.”

The unicorn rubbed her throat where it had been squeezed. “Definitely won’t happen again. Name’s Vinyl Scratch by the way. I don’t think we were properly introduced last night, what with me throwing records at you.”

Coruscant looked around. “Where’s Octavia?”

“Oh, she’s at work. She plays like, a zillion instruments; violin, cello, double bass, and some others. She’ll probably be explaining that she was abducted, like all those other ponies.”

“How do you know about that?”

“Besides her telling me? I DJ at the only nightclub in Ponyville, so I hear a lotta shit. Must’ve been like, two dozen ponies in those monsters’ prison camp from what I heard. Everypony who came in was talking about some gray ghost with blue eyes that helped them escape, and the freaky lizard-monsters that foalnapped them. Now if you’ll excuse me, you’re sitting in my spot, and I’m kinda tired.”

The commando stood up and walked into what looked like a kitchen, while Vinyl laid down on the couch and drifted off. Her eyewear fell off as her lids drooped shut over their large crimson irises. She began to breathe softly.

Coruscant opened a refrigerator and took out an apple. He removed his helmet and ate the fruit, throwing the core away before getting another and repeating the process. He shut the fridge and put his helmet back on. It had been one of the better meals he’d eaten, definitely better than the tasteless, textureless dry ration cubes he and other commandos usually subsisted on in the field.

The next thing he did was explore the residence. “Always study your area of operations.” He remembered his instructor, Carth Radek, had told his training company. “Know every little thing you can about where you are. Know their culture and language, to understand how they think. Learn their terrain and weather, to deny your enemy the home field advantage. Memorize their tactics and equipment, to know how they fight.”

Downstairs there was the living room, a bathroom, two closets, a pantry, a kitchen, and an entrance hall with stairs that pointed straight to the door. Taking the stairs up, he found another three bedrooms, one to his left, one ahead and one to his right, starkly different from each other.

The one on the right was messy, and had alternating white and blue vertical stripes on the walls. It was filled with wrappers, disks, electronics and half-eaten food; the adjoining bathroom was in a better state, but still disorganized.

Alien self-care habits didn’t concern him unless they were a potential assassination method. He shut the closet after making sure everything was as he’d found it. He didn’t want to offend his hosts by invading their privacy, but he’d rather know what his current residence was like.

The other bedroom, on the left, was tidy and fresh-smelling, decorated with pictures of musicians. The walls were painted a calm lavender. There was a rack that held several wooden objects with strings, which Coruscant assumed to be musical instruments. One was missing, which must have been the instrument Octavia had taken to her work. In the closet was a rack of small pink bowties and white collars, as well as a few other garments. Once again, one of them was missing, also taken to work. The bathroom was organized, with several different containers of colored, scented liquids adjacent to the rather large combination shower/bathtub. Probably for hygiene.

There was a third bedroom, straight up the stairs, mostly empty, with a similarly empty bathroom. The walls were white, the bed was fairly large, and the closet large enough to hold one’s arms out and spin without worry of striking anything.

I guess I could hole up here.

Coruscant stared out a window, at the busy market nearby. He took note of the goods they sold, the materials they used in their structures, everything.

But what struck him most was how different they looked. Not how different from him they were; he’d seen his fair share of alien species, and killed most of them, but mostly aliens looked similar to the members of their own species. One possible exception was humanity, but most of the non-clone humans Coruscant had seen were Jedi, which gave him a limited group to judge.

He was riveted. They were all ponies, the same basic species; yet they were all so different. They all had features that looked similar; not the same, but similar. They were different sizes and ages too. To someone who had grown up around people who were almost always visually identical, it was an alien feeling to him.

He had seen diversity in training manuals. He knew what alien species looked like. But the images always had that same context; what weapons they carried and where to aim a shot for the best results. This was the first time in his life he had really seen a diverse species.

Perhaps, to non-clone humans, he was unique.

After hours of just watching the ponies through the window, somepony began to knock on the door, and Coruscant hid. He didn’t need to be told that he needed to keep a low profile. He silently chastised himself for just staring out the window; he could’ve been seen!

He pressed his backpack to the wall and drew his sidearm. He set the weapon to “stun”, which actually required more power than the default “kill” as a result of the modifications he’d made to it.

“Vinyl, I’m back.” It was Octavia’s voice. The pistol slid back onto the magnetic strip on the left side of Coruscant’s hip.

A loud yawn came from downstairs, and hoofsteps approached the door. The door unlocked and opened, then closed and relocked. More hoofsteps.

“Why’re you back so early?” Vinyl asked, groggy from being woken up. “It’s only 4 PM. Don’t your sessions usually go ‘til 7?”

“Everypony who was foalnapped has the week off it seems. Tomorrow, a contingent of Royal Guards is going to arrive to investigate the disappearances. Some of them will be staying until the problem has been resolved.”

Coruscant stepped into the open and walked down the stairs. The ponies smiled at him. He wondered if they still would have done that if they knew he’d rummaged through their things.

“Oh, hey robot guy,” Vinyl deadpanned. She stared at his visor, the ghostly blue glow it emitted mesmerizing her.

“Come, sit down.” Octavia beckoned him into the living room. “You know, I’ve known you for almost two days and I don’t know your name. Or even what you are, for that matter.”

Coruscant sat down on the couch after closing the curtains on the windows for privacy. He could’ve sworn a mint green unicorn mare saw him, but he chalked it up to nerves.

“Your name, dude.” Vinyl breathed on her glasses and rubbed them against her fur before putting them back on.

He unsealed his helmet. The ponies flinched as the suit hissed from the slight decrease in pressure. Removed, it revealed a face completely alien to them.

“I'm RC-1000. I’m a human male; specifically a clone of the bounty hunter Jango Fett. I’m a commando in the Grand Army of the Republic. The GAR consists almost entirely of millions of clones like me, all of them cloned from the exact same genetic template, although most of them are infantry. While I am identical on a genetic level to other clones, as a commando I’ve been given specialized training, weapons, armor, and equipment befitting my elite status.”

“You’re… A soldier?” Octavia seemed worried, and leaned almost imperceptibly away from him. Likely a subconscious action, but Coruscant noticed it anyways.

“My particular specialty is hacking, although I’m also highly proficient in demolitions, sniping, reconnaissance, field medicine, sabotage, and assassination. Commandos work in squads of four, and said squads are trained from birth together. I was originally a member of Beta Squad - I was their sergeant - before they were killed in action while we boarded a Confederacy vessel; I watched them die, and I had to finish what was left of the mission alone. I was then reassigned to Tau Squad, who had recently lost a brother, leaving a spot open. I was operating with them on the planet of Kashyyyk when I was cut off from my new squad, and was forced to try and hold off a seemingly endless tide of Trandoshans. They overwhelmed me, and I woke up in captivity on this planet a few days later. The rest you know.”

Octavia fainted, and fell on the floor, her tongue hanging out of her mouth. Vinyl just looked at him, staring curiously at him. He put his helmet back on, but it still didn’t stop the discomfort her gaze caused. She looked away and walked over to Octavia’s limp body, poking her face. Her eyes began to open.

Vinyl and Coruscant both looked down at her as she stared back up at them.

“Yo, Octy. You okay?” Vinyl asked.

She opened her eyes, and her features were consumed with rage. “Oh, bloody Tartarus! I’m housing some violent alien brute with elite training, and I can’t get rid of him because nopony has spaceships. Ugh!” She trotted upstairs in cold anger. “Stupid sci-fi books, making aliens seem so friendly. Stupid cloning technology; I bet all the humans I’ll see will look the same as him. Stupid aliens, coming to our planet.”

A door slammed upstairs, presumably to Octavia’s room.

“Well that could’ve gone better,” Coruscant said.

“Yeah”. Vinyl chuckled. “So, where’re you crashin’?”

“Come again?”

“Y’know, sleeping?”

“Oh. Well, I saw an empty room upstairs with a bed. I was thinking I could stay there for the time being.”

“Cool. I’ll hook you up with some TV and internet later.”

***

Sev hated this waiting. Nothing but sitting around, idle. He’d disassembled and reassembled his DC-17/m a few times, to make sure it was in working order and to kill time. Then he’d done the same thing with his DC-15/s sidearm. Then he’d had lunch; a handful of dried apple chips with cinnamon flavoring.

The longer he waited, the more edgy he got. He began to watch the family who used this farm. They seemed fairly different in appearance, nothing like clones. It reminded him of the counter-terrorist operation his squad had pulled with Omega back on Coruscant; civilians going about their lives, blissfully ignorant of the hardship and struggle across the galaxy.

Night fell, and Sev was asleep again.

***

Big Macintosh was carrying the load of books he’d promised Sev. If he could keep a violent alien occupied, and away from prying eyes, then he was satisfied. The literature was in a large brown bag, a stereotypical farm sack, slung across his back.

He walked towards the barn, determined to carry through with the delivery he’d promised Sev. He wasn’t the Element of Honesty and his cutie mark was already there, but he considered himself dependable when it came to carrying through with any promise he made.

As he walked, his ears caught a familiar sound. It was like a gust of wind, followed by wings flapping quietly. Not an owl, maybe a bat or a nocturnal bird. It was the stifled giggling that gave her away. But he didn’t react fast enough.

A cyan and rainbow streak tackled him from behind. The sack of books fell to the ground as he play-wrestled with his marefriend for a few seconds, before leaving her on top.

“Hey Dash,” He drawled.

“‘Sup 'Tosh? Got ya again, didn’t I?” Rainbow Dash asked with a grin.

“Ah was about to turn ‘round when ya got me. What’re ya doin’ here?”

“I wanted to check up on you, since you just got back from that escape last night.” She looked at him seductively. “You know that thing I wanted to do? In the barn?”

“S-sure. Jus’ lemme drop off this bag of, uh, apples in the attic.” He began to sweat, and turned around after grabbing the bag with his teeth. If Applejack’s lying was as obvious as an octopus eating an elephant, his was as obvious as the scorching sun had been during his and Dash’s fateful trip to Prarieville.

Please let her buy it.

She didn’t.

***

Sev awoke half an hour after falling asleep, according to his helmet chronometer. The sounds that stirred him were hoofsteps on the stairs up. He also realized that he’d slept with his backpack on.

About time.

“I ain’t a featherbrain Tosh, I can tell those are books in that sack, not apples. You lie even worse than AJ!” A dry female voice laughed.

Company. Damn.

“Ah, uh, lost a bet and uh… Ah need to drop off what ah lost in the attic. The fella ah lost to ‘ll pick ‘em up later.”

The female voice was trying to hold in a laugh. “Pshh. You can’t lie to save your life. Hey, those are the copies of Daring Do I lent you! Aaand some other stuff that I don’t care about.”

“Ahm sorry, Rainbow, ah’ll getcha some new copies.”

Some quiet, unintelligible speaking from the female voice.

“Just warnin’ ya, it’s musty up there.”

The duress phrase. Wait, weren’t those the books he said his marefriend recommended? Oh, she’s his marefriend. Got it. Intimidate if necessary, avoid lethal force.

The door opened, and the bag of books hit the floor. Macintosh grunted as he dropped the heavy load.

“Seriously, 'Tosh. What the hay’s up here?”

The sound of flapping wings caught his attention, growing ever closer.

Come on. Nothing’s up here. Turn back.

The wings flapped harder, and Sev looked left to see that he’d been spotted.

“'Tosh, monst-”

Fierfek!

Sev’s weapons were holstered, but while he was going for nonlethal, he didn’t need them. He was a weapon. He sprung up, grabbed the mare by the jaw to stop any noise, covered her mouth with his right hand, and pinned her against the wall. She struggled, flapping her wings and flailing her legs, but it didn’t faze him in the least. The look in her eyes during those first ten seconds went from shock to aggression to quiet resilience as she calmed.

Sev! Let her go!” Big Macintosh barked.

Sev dropped her, and she landed on all fours. Steam came from her nostrils as she stared up at him, angry.

“Cool it. I’m not going to hurt you,” Sev told her.

She didn’t seem to believe him. “Sure seemed like you were trying.”

He leaned over toward her and gazed at her through his visor, the ghostly blue contrasting the blood red in a frightening manner. His left arm was closest to Rainbow Dash, and the same fist clenched as the wrist-mounted vibroblade extended in the blink of an eye. “If I wanted to hurt you, you’d be screaming by now.”

“You wouldn’t be the first thing to try.”

“I’d be the first to succeed.”

“That’s what the ones before you probably thought.”

“Yeah? How many of them did you kill?”

Dash was astonished. Had this thing just asked if she’d ever killed? She stepped back a bit, trying and failing to hide her fear of the warrior. She liked action movies, but she didn’t know if she actually had it in her to kill.

Big Macintosh put himself between them. “Both o’ y’all cut it out now!”

He looked at Dash, an apologetic tone permeating his voice at first. “This is what ah was hidin’ from ya. He’s the reason ah escaped. Heck, he’s the reason all the ponies escaped from their cells! An’ those lizard things that captured everypony in the first place woulda killed me if he hadn’t distracted an’ killed ‘em first. Ah owe him mah life, an’ ah’m lettin’ him stay here for now. But ah’m keepin’ him secret, seein’ as he’s an alien an’ all. Ah’d appreciate it if you did the same.”

Rainbow Dash’s jaw dropped a distance that would make Pinkie Pie proud. Standing before her was an alien warrior who single-handedly released the ponies that had flocked back to Ponyville.

“Well to be fair, I only opened their cell doors.” Sev admitted. “Someone else led the others out, Macintosh and I just followed the sounds of blaster fire and an explosion. I’ve got the idea that there was another commando, but it’s probably something else. I did kill a guard through the bars without using a weapon, and Big Mac can attest to me killing six on my own. But those were just slavers, and the layouts I gathered from their network suggest it wasn’t a self-sufficient camp; there must be larger ones out there.”

“That’s a scary thought. I think you should talk to my friend Twilight about this, she can get you in touch with our Pri- Leaders, and you ca-” Rainbow Dash was cut off.

“No way, ah don’t think that springing this on her outta nowhere ‘ll do anypony good. We’ll keep him a secret fer now.”

Dash sighed. “Okay, 'Tosh. Sev, I’m sorry about earlier, but I’d like to hear about what you do later.”

“Sure. Drop by during the day, and say it’s you. Big Mac’ll tell you about the duress phrase. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

The couple left, leaving the commando to read to his heart’s content.

***

After moving them from her room, Vinyl showed him how to use his computer, TV, and video game consoles. He caught on quick, which made sense considering he was learning to use older tech rather than newer tech. His datapad could connect to the internet, which was convenient. He’d been wearing his helmet the entire time, partly out of paranoia

It was just after dark when a knock came on his door.

“Come in.”

Octavia entered and sat down next to him.

“I just wanted to apologize for what I said earlier. Thinking back on what you said, it’s not as though you had any choice in your line of work. And losing the only family you ever knew, watching them die… That’s horrible beyond words.”

“Thanks. Most civilians in the Republic see us as mindless drones, when every clone is still a unique person with human emotions. Although given our nature I can understand how the galaxy sees us that way; millions of men, all of them alike in appearance and purpose.”

“And you don’t resent the Republic for what they’ve put you through?”

“Not at all. We help protect the trillions of citizens of the Republic from the Confederacy of Independent Systems. They need us, and we need them.”

“Do you all sound alike, too? You don’t seem to have any accent; you could pass for a local if you were a pony. Everypony can tell I’m from Canterlot though.” She chuckled at that, and her laughter made Coruscant smile, though he didn’t know why.

“No, oddly. A lot of clones lack the accent that our template had, and our voices vary significantly.”

Silence pervaded the room for several seconds.

“I have to speak to the Royal Guards who are arriving tomorrow. They’re investigating the disappearances, and setting up a small outpost near the town. It’s long overdue anyways, what with this town being so close to the Everfree Forest. What should I tell them about the escape?”

Coruscant thought for a moment before responding. “Tell them the truth. A mysterious figure, whose name you never found out, shared a cell with you. After the bars opened on their own, it gathered some items and led the ponies out to freedom. Said creature identified the species guarding them as Trandoshans, slavers specifically. Just don’t tell them I’m here, alright?”

“If you say so, Mr. RC-1000.” Octavia began to walk out.

“That’s my designation, not my name.”

She stopped and looked over her shoulder. “What is your name then?”

“They call me… Coruscant.”