Episode II: Geonosis Aftermath Part 1
Crumbling rubble and a roil of pain cling to one another like lovers as AJ awakes with a start to the dark pocket of rock that surrounds him and the remains of First Squad. He lies against what he assumes to be the diagonal rock floor as the piercing beams of helmet-mounted flashlights slice into the darkness, illuminating the cavern, the dust glistening like a haze. AJs blue and black Karkarodon form is covered in a thick layer of dirt, his gills fill with pain as he reverts to his water breathing habit on instinct. A Clone Trooper is making their rounds, checking for pulses as he does. It’s the ARC Trooper, AJ struggles to remember his name. No, not name. Number. 2. 4. 1. 1. 2411 reaches over and pauses for a moment unsure of where to inspect for a pulse before reaching into his utility belt and retrieving a small medical scanner and running it once over.
‘You’re alright commander, you’ve got dust particles in your gills though,’ 2411 reported.
‘I’ve had dust particles in my gills since landing on this dust ball,’ AJ growled.
‘I’m trained to treat clone physiology are the gills going to be a problem?’
AJ shook his head in reply before asking ‘how’s the squad doing?’
ARC-2411s shoulders slumped ‘Commander DY14N’s unconscious, and we’ve got three wounded,’
At this AJ just shook his head, rising slowly off the floor as he did ‘what have we tried doing to get out of here?’ AJ began to question resuming his position of command.
‘Nothing so far sir, the procedure for something like this is to ascertain unit strength before attempting anything,’
‘Well then, have we done the ascertaining?’
‘Yes sir, First Squad is ready to move on your orders, sir,’
At this, AJ paused ‘Is anybody competent with navigation?’
‘All of us are sir,’ 2411 reported ‘Are you thinking of cutting our way out with that laser sword of yours sir?’ asked 2411.
‘it’s called a Lightsaber but yes that was my thinking,’
‘This isn’t like land navigation sir since the terrain has been destroyed this turns into a geological study and First Squad wasn’t assigned a Combat Engineer,’ 2411 reported ‘Alternatively we could try using the commlink sir,’ 2411 added as a suggestion.
At this AJ frowned ‘Are you sure I’m not concussed Two Four One, One?’
‘I wouldn’t know sir, I don’t know what’s normal for shark man physiology sir,’
‘We’re called Karkarodon’s 2411,’ he explained before adding ‘Well then let’s get on the hydro-acoustic,’ AJ instructed. 2411 simply stared at the Karkarodon as if he’d just spoken nonsense before AJ quickly translated ‘Activate your communicator and let the republic know we’re here,’
‘Yes sir,’ 2411 said with a nod before activating his communicator ‘Republic SAR Command, this is ARC Twenty-Four Eleven. Need immediate evac. Repeat. This is ARC Twenty-Four Eleven, need immediate evac,’ he said to the reply to static.
‘Here let me have a look at your commlink, I’ll see if I can boost the transmission,’ AJ said as 2411 spun around revealing the commlink antenna at the base of his Phase I ARC Trooper armours helmet. As AJ looked over the transmitter, he naturally reached down for the trooper’s gauntlet and began typing a series of codes into the system. An instant later a pulse of screeching noise echoed through the cavern before rocks and stone began to tumble down.
‘Take cover!’ 2411 bellowed through his vocoder as a stone slab bisected the cavern, separating 2411 from his Jedi Commanders. ‘Haar’chak!’ 2411 hissed as he rose from his crouch roll and began to search the stone for gaps ‘Sound off!’ he instructed as he did.
‘CT-2212, CT-2232 and CT-5352 are dead sir!’ reported a Clone Corporal, the double forward slash HUD Glyph of the troopers rank barely registering on the ARC Troopers visor, amidst the noise of the collapse.
The surface shook with mighty violence as CT-0002 stood at the base of the RAS Mornbright’s boarding ramp. Around him, Clone Battalions rushed to staging grounds for evacuation off-planet while LAAT/infantry Gunships conducted low flight Search And Rescue passes over the rock red terrain of Geonosis. CT-0002 was older than many of his brothers being exactly the second Clone Trooper of the Jango Fett genome to ever successfully be grown by the Kaminoans. Of course with this meant that his accelerated aging had taken on some interesting side effects that his younger brothers wouldn’t experience till much later and in fact may never as the Kaminoan cloners perfected their engineering techniques for later generations of the Grand Army of the Republic. Because of these, peculiarities, CT-0002 hadn’t partaken in the Battle of Geonosis, instead, he had been assigned along with many of his brothers to the security to the landed Acclamator-class transgalactic military assault ships that’d disgorged thousands of clones for the fighting. The Area of Operation had been experiencing frequent tremors ever since the fighting had finally subsided, but CT-0002 had a lot of time on his hands over the course of the battle and knew the difference between the tremors of the war-torn Geonosis and the accidental collapse of a tunnel. As such, being the dutiful clone turned towards his Non-Commissioned Officer
‘Sergeant CT-Twenty-Nine Twenty-Nine!’ he called as he rushed over, DC-15 tucked as he ran. The clone adorned in the pesto stripes and circles of a Clone Sergeant looked up from a datapad.
‘Yes, CT Tripe Zero Two?’ he asked almost disinterested.
‘I think I know where some survivors may be,’ he said, his tone urgent. At this, the Clone Sergeant stood straighter.
‘Sector Six Nine!’ CT-0002 succinctly reported.
‘Right,’ CT-2929 said as he spun on his heel ‘Corporal CT- Eleven Seven Seven! Get me on frequency with the Platoon Commander!’ he boomed as a Corporal snapped to attention and with the snap reply of “yes sergeant!” leapt to his task.
Clone Lieutenant CT-13/12-2939 sat in the closed comfort of his Low Altitude Assault Transport/infantry gunship, his armoured hands on the flight stick of the repulsor driven aircraft as he conducted low passes over the Geonosian dunes in search of survivors. His co-pilot, Clone Lieutenant CT-3423 monitored the transports scanners as 2939 himself conducted a visual inspection of the ground below him, the skies were devoid of creatures and debris so besides his flight leader, Clone Captain CT-2342 he had nothing to worry about. That change an instant later as CT-3423 adjusted his scanners and spoke over his console.
‘Change of plans, we’ve got rough coordinates for possible survivors trapped below debris in sector six nine,’
‘Understood,’ CT-13/12 reported as his co-pilot relayed to Flight Lead and their transport diverted left and back towards the ruins of the northwestern factory.
ARC-2411 sighed as he saw the oxygen metre in his Heads Up Display tick down. They had another half an hour of air left before they would begin to suffocate in the very suits, they’d lived out of most their adult lives. Not wanting to risk any further movement of the rocks, neither half of the cavern had risked using communicators nor tried cutting through anything to get to one another. Another flight of gunships roared overhead. Their repulsorlifts pushing against the rocks atop the cavern, causing dust and debris to dribble down before once again moving off as they had a hundred times before. Except, this time they didn’t. Noted 2411 as a frown contorted across his face before exploding in a note of realisation as he activated his commlink and began to speak.
‘Republic SAR Command, this is ARC Twenty-Four Eleven. Need immediate evac. Repeat. This is ARC Twenty-Four Eleven, need immediate evac,’ he said with controlled intensity followed by a long moment of static. His heart pounded in his chest as he waited for what felt an eternity before the cold synthetic voice of a clone came back in reply.
‘ARC-2411, CT-Twenty-Three Forty-Two. We read you. A pair of LAAT carriers are on station to lift the roof, stand-by for evac,’ the Clone pilots voice explained before the stone roof began to grumble as it was pulled away by the cables of a carrier gunship before rappel lines, stretchers and clone medics leapt into the space below an instant later. The healthy clones were securely attached to rappel lines and the wounded were lifted onto the stretchers before being hoisted back into the secure troop bay of CT-2342s republic gunship.
‘They’re aboard!’ bellowed a Clone medic as the aft doors closed and the gunship rocketed away.