The next morning a dreary rain misted over the nine ships of the Sky Corps’ fleet. The Vigilance was a hub of activity though. Due to the precipitation the plans for lounging around on top of the flagship’s upper exterior were cancelled, and the clones reluctantly had turned toward testing Radar and Link’s new video game.
“It’s like Rabid Tautans only with flamethrowers!” an eager Radar had told them. “You still race around the track with other players collecting creds, but now you can like shoot them and stuff!”
Two new gunships had also come in to replace those lost on Kooriva, so the pilots and a group of clones were down in the hanger deciding names and noseart. Cody had heard that one of them was to be called Your Bad Day and the other Flak Opera to honor the former 212th pilot Oddball, now commander of his own legion. The last he had heard, Daniel was firmly defending the idea of a great foot to be painted on either sidedoor of the gunship. So when the larty landed it would actually represent ‘boots on the ground’, but Daniel also liked the prospect of the legion’s tradition of squashing droids by landing the ship on top of it now involving two feet descending upon hapless tinnies.
But alas, despite the excitement and candidness, the higher ranking officers were all crammed into the bridge conference chamber by summons of their commander.
The room was silent save for the slight creak of Ty’s chair as he gently rocked on it, balancing on its hind two legs. At the other corner Red sat, eyes glazed, with a datapad stylus in hand, twirling it nimbly through his fingers. Captain Bolt was slowly turning his half-full mug with a metal thumb and index finger. Across from the cyborg, Grey sat staring hard at the grain of the metal table.
If a passerby had seen them, they might have thought that Cody was dealing some sort of detention upon them, their faces were so serious.
This was another usual officers’ meeting. One in which, as Ty fondly called, ‘head bashing’ or problem solving occurred. Cody had learned this a long time ago, back in basic simulation. He had found that if he could find a group of intelligent individuals with which had unique perspectives based on specific experiences. And then throw them together in a peaceful setting with a problem to solve, he had a better chance on planning an action to resolve that problem. Also since the captains were so involved with their companies, Cody had only to invite the four of them to talk on behalf of their men.
In a way, Cody took a special kind of pride in having such a cooperative, clever group of men. He knew Gree was attempting his own ‘head bashing’ meetings. The poor 41st commander couldn’t seem to keep a hold of his captains and was constantly losing them to other legions, Jedi promotions, or the inevitable……
That’s what I get for being a Jedi-less legion, he thought wryly, taking a drink of his tea.
“So Commander Tano went loopy?”
Cody brought his eyes up to meet his Captain’s.
“Could have, Ty….”
The burn-scarred clone leaned back in his chair, thinking again.
“All over some terrorist bombing?” asked Red shaking his head in disbelief. “Tsk tsk.”
“People do crazy stuff out of fear.”
Bolt leaned forward to rest his metal arms on the table.
“And you’re convinced she’s afraid?”
The clone commander checked his assumptions, his knowledge of Ahsoka’s past and current behaviors.
“She’s always been confident in herself,” he said slowly. “Such directness and self-belief accrue to a great deal of self-imposed feelings. If I’m right, she’d be so convinced someone was hunting her—as you’ll remember her stating to General Skywalker—she could only feel fear. But what do you guys think?”
Bolt raised an eyebrow.
“Jedi aren’t supposed to feel fear though. And even though we know this isn’t often the case, wouldn’t she at least be able to control it?” asked the cyborg. “She is the apprentice to General Skywalker.”
Cody nodded in acknowledgement.
“True, but as far as my small amount of experience with her goes, they never really came across as substantially alike. I’d say Rex is more like Skywalker than Tano.”
His captains nodded in agreement.
“She’s got confidence issues to be sure,” added Ty dryly. “A lot of Jedi had those, even Sora.”
Bolt dog-whistled and Ty shot him a conspiratorial smile.
“Yeah, with those powers and stuff it’s not hard to imagine,” the Ghost Company captain continued. “So when you track her, it might help if she’s preoccupied with trying to find clues for someone framing her.”
Grey who now had been gazing into the empty bottom of his mug finally spoke up without raising his head.
“Did they even say what clues she might be looking for?”
“No,” replied Cody, taking in this new development. “Though they did say where the last attempt to apprehend her was. Maybe we should discuss what she might be thinking as a lead to where she’s headed.”
The ex-commando shrugged.
“You’re the expert on what goes on down there.”
“Not really,” Cody corrected quickly. “I’ve just observed what goes on there. Like behaviors and stuff like that.”
“So all we know is that she was just apparently wandering aimlessly?”
The commander nodded.
“I think she may be just trying to avoid capture for now. ” He then addressed the group. “But if any of you have ideas on her objectives please tell. It’ll help when I first start tracking her.”
The room was silent for a while. Red shook his head.
“Let’s come back to that, Cody, I’m drawing blanks.”
“That’s ok. Let’s discuss suspects. Maybe she’s thought of some of these.”
“Ok,” said Grey finally facing them all. “so possible suspect list we thought up is: Crime bosses. They’ve got a lot of money to buy nanobots, much less friction inducing ones. Obviously some sort of hacker or something to procure an order from Jedi record books. And whatever other cohorts along the way.”
“Well, your list is the same as mine,” laughed Bolt. “Though I might include the company that the nanobots belong to, even if it’s an independent manufacturer.”
“Nanotech got a feed implanted in your brain or something?” Ty said, his words muffled by the hand that was hiding his face and smile.
Bolt burst out laughing.
The cyborg gestured with a hand to Cody.
“But he’s got nanogear too. We both know it’s not cheap, but more so it’s crazy complex. Anybody could steal the blueprints and info but to actually use it is another thing entirely.”
“You’re absolutely right,” said the commander. “I think we can all agree that this is undoubtedly a multi-person syndicate. We should send a taskforce after information pertaining to robotics in the science departments. Look for any unusual activity or displeased, unruly individuals therein.”
“We should look for Jedi too,” came Grey’s voice from the end of the table. “I’ve been wondering how else that guy made it into the Jedi Temple with all those ‘nanobombs’.”
“Is that even possible?” wondered Red. “I mean, those things are small! The amount it would take to blow a gunship would have to have compromised his organic body.”
“Good point. If the Jedi are correct that he had consumed the nanobots, he’d probably would have gained a good pound or so, not counting the additional weight of the explosives. That’d do some serious damage to his organs.”
Cody leaned forward to rest his crossed arms on the table.
“What if Letta and her husband have nothing to do with the bomb at all?”
The captains exchanged glances.
“What if a Force User triggered a reaction in the fuel tank of the gunship or caused one projectile to implode?”
Bolt shook a finger at him smiling.
“You know, that would actually be a lot cheaper. And involve less people.”
The commander held up his hands in a show of modesty.
“Just a speculation though,” he said, deflecting praise. “And if a Jedi really did that, we’d need to come up with an awfully good reason why they would turn against their Order so suddenly. I wasn’t alerted to any suspects from the Jedi so if they don’t think it’s any of their own, I highly doubt we could really uncover much of anything.”
Ty raised a speculative eyebrow.
“There is Hestella and her little brat.”
Cody laughed, nodding in acknowledgement.
“That is true.”