Chapter 1 - It's Alive!
Booting up systems…
Main Power Core: Online
Optics: In progress…
Main Droid Brain: Online
Locomotion Parts: Offline
Vocabulator: In progress…
Translator: In progress…
Shield Generator: Offline
Masculinity Programming: Online
I… Am… Alive…
That was the first thought of Superior Tactics Enforcer Droid 001, or ST-ED in short.
The fact he was the first and only model of his kind in existence made him feel very alone, especially since he couldn’t even see yet, he felt like a small organic baby that was still just learning to walk.
‘Where am I? What is this place?’ He pondered to himself.
The only things he could sense around him was a single organic life form that was right next to his synthetic body, and that was only because his sensors were picking up sound vibrations in the air around it that matched those that organics made when they talked.
He couldn’t cipher anything yet, his translator was still booting up so the only thing he could understand about what was going on at that moment was that someone was talking with someone else and he couldn’t understand what was being said.
“…My greatest creation as of yet, it will be far superior to any tactical droid my team and I have designed as of yet.” Came the voice of which he thought belonged to his creator since he assumed when saying “creation” he meant ST-ED.
“I will resign my judgement until the test run has been completed, I hope for your sake that it is successful.” The voice of another man said, this one was deeper in its pitch and fuzzy, possibly indicating it was coming from a holo-communicator.
Locomotion Parts: In progress…
“Of course my Lord, I will not disappoint you.” The droid’s assumed creator replied.
“See to it that you don’t.” The other man said, ending the call.
The tactical droid suddenly rose up from the table and turned to look at his master, scanning his features.
‘Neimoidian Male, below average height, clothing consists of a lightly armored full body suit, analysis of files reveals identity as Bin Dok.’
“Wait, you’re not supposed to be up yet…” Dok uttered, slightly surprised, but his thoughts were interrupted as the sounds of weapon discharge going off outside of the room reached his ears.
“Oh no… they’ve finally come after us… quick! Hide!” He ushered the droid as he frantically searched for a blaster.
“Affirmative.” ST-ED said and complied his request, scanning the room for a hiding place, finding it in a container that had previously housed scrapped droid parts and was now empty.
He folded into a smaller form to fit his synthetic form inside the container, after his creator had armed himself; he came in to close the container’s lid.
“Just stay put and only come out when you feel safe to do so.”
There were footsteps closing in on the entrance.
“Aren’t you going to hide, master Dok? It would improve your chances of survival by 41.89 perc…” The droid said after analyzing the current situation before getting cut off by his creator.
“My lifelong dream has always been to develop the perfect droid, if sacrificing myself makes sure that you survive, I will have done my job.” He replied in a sombre tone, offering a sad smile.
There were a few bump sounds being made, as the clone troopers outside in the hallway placed breaching charges on the door.
“The only thing I need you to do after I’m gone is to remember your purpose. To serve the Confederacy the best you can, and survive the coming war.”
“Goodbye, ST-ED.” He said as he tapped the droid lightly on the head with the palm of his hand and pushed close the lid of the container, just before the lab door was blown inwards.
“Drop your weapon! Now!” The lead clone said as both parties brought up their blasters.
“You’ll never take me alive Republic scum!” Dok yelled as he fired his holdout blaster at the nearest Republic trooper, scoring a single hit in his chest that caused the clone to stumble back, but his armor saved him from any serious injuries.
In response all of the clones fired their weapons at the Neimoidian engineer and with no orders to tell them otherwise, they shot to kill.
Dok screamed, as he was pumped full of blaster bolts and after a few seconds of continuous fire, he fell to the ground as nothing but a smoking heap of cooked flesh and bone.
“All clear, sir.” One of the clones informed the NCO in charge of the squad.
“Affirmative, do a quick sweep of the place and we’ll move into the next room.”
“Yes, Sir!” All the other clones replied as they went to carry out their orders.
By now the droid had complied with his master’s last request and shut own all of his non-critical systems so the Republic’s scanners couldn’t pick him out amongst the other scrapped droids.
“There’s nothing here, Sir. This place is dead as can be.”
“All right, let’s move onto the next room.” The clone officer said as the squad of clones left the laboratory of the deceased Neimoidian engineer to engage further hostile targets.
Activating additional functions…
Shield Generator: Online
All systems active and functioning…
After coming into the conclusion that the Republic troops had left, ST-ED exited his hiding place to see the mess that his master’s laboratory was in its current state.
Soon enough he spotted his master’s burnt corpse, and after analyzing his remains concluded that he was most likely dead.
New Objective: Rendezvous With CIS Forces.
After assigning himself an objective, ST-ED proceeded to search his master’s corpse for any weaponry to protect his own existence from those who would want to snuff it out.
As quiet as possible, he checked the hallway outside the door and after finding it clear of hostiles, stepping out of the room and beginning to find his way around the facility, having downloaded the complete layout of the research complex.
Displaying map of: CIS Research Facility A9100, Geonosis
New Sub-objective: Avoid Republic Forces and Reach The Exit Successfully.
Within microseconds of analyzing the map, the tactical droid had already come up with an escape plan.
He sneaked carefully through the hallways and past several Geonosian worker’s corpses alongside the remains of several battle droids until he finally came across the first ventilation shaft panel that he could use to get around undetected.
He picked up a single E-5 Blaster rifle from one of the B1’s for additional fire power before he used the boosters in his legs to reach the ventilation shaft, removing its cover.
Alert: Incoming enemy patrol
Motivated by his need for self-preservation, the droid clumsily climbed inside the ventilation shaft and placed the cover back in its place, just as the clone troopers jogged past his position.
‘That was close.’
Quietly crawling through the ventilation shaft on a pre-determined path, the droid kept crawling past more Republic patrols that had already completely overrun the facility.
But with his superior intelligence and tactical mind, the droid was able to avoid confrontation with the GAR patrols and reach the exit.
Once outside he could see the utter devastation that had been unleashed on the planet by the Grand Army of The Republic.
Geonosian home nests completely destroyed by enemy gunships and bombers, droid production facilities blown up by orbital bombardment.
Since he was a droid that had yet to fully form a personality he didn’t really have an emotion to respond to the event that it was currently observing take place.
“Sir, look! Over there!” A shout came from behind him; it was one of the white armored clone troopers.
And he was pointing towards ST-ED.
“Blast that droid!” The red coloured clone sergeant shouted as all the troopers in the squad raised their weapons to fire.
The droid took that as his sign to leave the scene, using the built in propulsion system at the bottom part of his synthetic body, he took into the air as fast as he could as the blaster bolts came in uncomfortably close to hitting him, some even managing to glance his shields.
While in the air, he turned around to return fire with the E-5 he had picked up from one of the battle droid husks, the inaccurate standard-issue blaster rifle was infamous for missing most of its shots even in the most experienced of hands but luck seemed to be on ST-ED’s side as he was able to score a single hit in the chest of the clone NCO, the powerful shot that the overpowered blaster produced ensured the man went down for good.
As the lifeless corpse of the clone sergeant hit the ground, the blaster fire also soon began to diminish, allowing the tactical droid to get away with no trouble.
Sub-objective Completed: Avoid Republic Forces and Reach The Exit Successfully
Soon enough though, he had to land on the ground to save his energy reserves if his travel proved to be longer than his processes had calculated. It also proved easier to conceal himself amongst the rocks and hide from republic armoured columns than it would have been had he been airborne.
Even as he hid amongst the rocks, he used his advanced sensors listen in on the comm. chatter of the passing hostile vehicles.
“General, the enemy defences are way too tough, we won’t be able to break through with our current numbers, we need more men! Some air support would be good as well, the enemy artillery is constantly hitting our position and we’ve nearly lost all of our gunships to their fighters.” The clone at the other end shouted amongst the sounds of blaster fire.
“We copy you. Help is on the way, just hang on out there.”
“Yes, Sir! Out!”
“Supply convoy heading towards 5th legion, how copy?”
“Solid copy, sir. We’re already expecting you.”
“Good, be ready when we arrive, we have lot of things that require unpacking.”
And the reports kept coming in constantly; he processed through all of them. Producing a data package to be given to friendly forces when he met them.
To ST-ED it seemed like the battle was going fairly well for the Confederacy, but that was just a single unit, for all he knew he may well be on the losing side of the fight for Geonosis.
Now his superior tactical mind was needed more than ever, he had to reach the nearest outpost of the Droid army quickly; otherwise the battle might be lost before it even fully began.
After the last of the GAR troops had went past him, he exited his hiding place and after surveying the map, decided that he would have to go east, where the map designated that one of the many droid garrisons had been posted at prior to the battle.
It was currently his best bet, he didn’t rate his chances high that he would find any help there but it was the only base within a hundred kilometres and he had to at least try.
So he began his long trek to safety, avoiding enemy forces where he could and escaping from any firefights that did occur relatively unscathed, unfortunately a few blaster bolts did manage to deplete his shields that with each recharge drained more of his vital energy reserves.
After hours of walking through the desolate landscape and even through a sandstorm, the tactical droid was able to reach safety as he saw the gates of the military base he had been looking for.
“Help…me…!” He yelled as loud as he could as he felt his energy reserves running out.
The two B1 battle droids guarding the gates were surprised to see the unfamiliar tactical droid stumbling through the howling storm of dust particles
Objective Complete: Rendevouz With CIS Forces
Main power reserves depleted…
Secondary power reserves depleted…
Systems Shutting Down…
Having run out of any reserve energy to run on and shut down, ST-ED’s body simply lay on the dusty ground as the two battle droids were deciding what to do with him.
“What should we do?”
“We’ll take him to the commander she’ll decide.”
“But we’ll have to abandon our post to do so, we’ll be in trouble.”
“The commander will understand and besides, its not like the Republic will try anything in this storm.”
With that last acknowledgment they finished their conversation and began dragging the lifeless body of the tactical droid inside the base.
CIS Military Complex A-15
Command & Control Centre
General Sev’rance Tann had just finished a call with Count Dooku about getting him off world as the tide of the battle began turning increasingly against the Confederacy’s forces, when two of the B1 droids under her command came inside the room, dragging a single large droid behind them.
“What is that?” She asked the droids with disinterest, as she got ready to leave the base behind and clear a path through the Republic lines for her master and the rest of the Separatist leadership.
“We don’t know, sir… uhh, ma’am.”
“We found it outside in the sandstorm and it had Confederate markings so we figured it was one of our own.”
“So we brought it here so you could decide what to do with it.”
The Chiss general observed the motionless husk of the tactical droid; it was not like anything she had seen yet. Its legs reminded her of the B1’s but the upper body was more bulky than any of the battle droid models.
‘Seems like a prototype of some sort, but not for a battle droid from the looks of it… I wonder where it came from.’ She thought while eyeing out the droid and attempting to decipher its possible purpose or use.
“Hook it up and let’s see what this thing has to say.”
“Roger, roger.” The droids said as they connected a single cord from one of the consoles in the command centre into the head of ST-ED.
And with a single jolt the droid that had spent the last quarter of an hour shut down, was powered up again all systems rapidly coming online again.
Critical Systems: Online
Non-critical Systems: Online
ST-ED stood up slowly, with the two B1’s looking at him dumbly while Tann simply waited for him to do something.
General Sev’rance Tann, Female, Chiss
Two model B1 Battle droids, standard colouring and armament.
Affiliation: Confederacy of Independent Systems military
Assumed friendly until further analysis.
“What is your designation and currently assigned mission, droid.”
“Superior Tactics Enforcer Droid -001 or ST-ED as my creators called me. I was built by the engineers of the Techno Union Research and Development Wing to serve the Confederacy of Independent Systems to the best of my capabilities.”
Tann gave a slight grin at that little piece of information.
“Good… then I might have some use for you, come we must make haste.” She said, gesturing for all three of the droids to follow her, which they did without question.
“Count Dooku has given us orders to clear a path for evacuation through the canyons located to the north-east not far from here.” She explained, ST-ED soaking up all the information that was given to him.
They walked through the hallways of the military complex with a slightly hurried pace, reaching the exit in a matter of minutes.
Outside were gathered hundreds of battle droids and droid piloted vehicles, all ready to march on the General’s orders.
ST-ED had information about all the current vehicles and droid models in service in the Confederate military downloaded into his memory core while he was still being built, so he knew the strengths and weaknesses of each of them inside out.
But even with all the tactical information inside his brain and with all his superior intelligence, he had yet to experience an actual full-scale battle outside of simulations with pirate raids.
All that would soon chance as Sev’rance ordered her army to be ready to move out and clear out the path that had been designated by Dooku, so it would be ready for when he had to leave alongside the rest of the Separatist council.
“Take a squad of droids with you and scout out ahead. It’ll help us avoid any enemy forces that might have laid an ambush along the path. Be quick, Count Dooku expects the road to be clear when he arrives.” She ordered him.
“Affirmative.” The tactical droid replied “And General.” He said to the Chiss who turned to look towards him again “Before I arrived here I was able to gather information about the Republic’s movements in the nearby area by listening in to their communications, I think you’ll find the information most useful.” He said before sending the data package he compiled during his trip to the base.
The dark acolyte went through the information quickly, a look of surprise appearing on her face briefly before being replaced by a look of determination.
“This information is sure to help our forces tremendously with managing the evacuation, you have done well.” She said. “But, we must hurry if we are to clear a path through those canyons, we are on a tight schedule.” She said before climbing on top of one of the Armored Assault Tanks as it sped up.
ST-ED took that as his que to leave and go find himself a squad of droids that would help him with the task of providing recon.
“You, come with me. We will provide forward recon for the rest of our forces.” ST-ED informed a group of battle droids that looked at each other for a moment.
“Uhh… us, Sir?” They said pointing at themselves.
“Roger, roger.” The droids replied without further queries as the group began marching out of the front gate.
That was until one of them had the bright idea to open their mouths to strike conversation with the other droids
½ hour later
ST-ED was getting annoyed with the inferior battle droids and their antics; they were unable to keep their vocabulators muted and constantly kept talking about things completely unrelated to the mission.
And now they had begun humming some kind of marching song.
He finally had enough.
“Shut your vocabulators already!” He shouted at the three droids following in his wake, stopping the marching droids right where they stood.
“We’re supposed to be on a scouting mission! I want all of you to stay quiet before you give away our position to every single Republic trooper out there!”
“Roger, roger…” The B1s replied disappointedly as they continued the rest of their march in silence.
Almost immediately the tactical droid ordered them to halt with a gesture of his hand followed by a wireless command through the local droid network.
“What is it, Sir?” One of the B1s asked.
“Enemy forces set up on both sides of the canyon right up ahead.”
“Report our findings to General Tann. She needs to know about this before our forces walk straight into a trap.” The tactical droid ordered the khaki coloured droids while he continued observing the enemy movements.
But as the droids tried to send a message through the network, only static could be heard.
“We can’t reach them, the Republic is jamming our communications.”
“Then one of you must act as a messenger and inform them of what lies ahead.” He said to the other droids before pointing at one of them. “You will go.”
“Roger, roger.” The droid replied as it began to walk back towards the direction the main Confederate force were last known to be stationed at.
“As for the rest of you, we will harass the enemy and draw their attention away from General Tann’s forces.”
“But sir, we’re impossibly outnumbered.” One of them pointed out.
“It doesn’t matter, the enemy can’t hit us if they can’t see us.”
“What do you mean, Sir?”
“You’ll see.” ST-ED said as he went to grab one of the B1s.
“Hey what are you… Whoooaaaaah!” The droid yelled in surprise as it was thrown on top of the canyon walls where it audibly collided with the rocky ground.
Everyone was quiet for a moment before the droid that had been thrown stood up and waved at the rest of the group from on top of the canyon.
“I’m fine!” It yelled with its squeaky voice.
ST-ED simply nodded in response. Because he wasn’t able to contact anyone through the droid network, so he had to use his vocabulator and gestures to communicate with his squad.
“You’re next.” He said pointing to the next droid, everyone else around it quickly backed off.
He then grabbed it in his large and powerful arms.
“I can flyyyyyy!” The droid yelled almost comically as it was thrown very much the same way as the one before it.
This routine went on until all of the droids were on top of the canyon edge.
All except for ST-ED.
“Uhh, Sir? How are you going to get up here?” One of the battle droid assassins asked its commander.
ST-ED didn’t answer; he simply fired up the boosters in his legs and jumped onto the ledge on his own.
Landing onto the hard ground he did one of the few meaningless things he had observed organics do in simulations when they were idling about, he brushed small amounts of sand off his shoulders and chest plates that had stuck on from the small dust cloud he made when he landed.
He then looked towards the group of droids that had been staring at him dumbly the whole time “Well, what are you looking at? Get moving!” He ordered the group of B1s; they quickly scrambled to obey and took formation again before marching after their leader.
The small combat group of droids marched onward on top of the ledge and out of the sight of the Republic positions stationed down in the canyon, wary of any trouble that may come their way.
Only opposition they came across though were a few small patrols of clones that were quickly dispatched with a series of headshots, courtesy to the small droid group’s two crackshots.
Surprisingly enough, they weren’t spotted at any point, even after eliminating multiple clone patrols that had been on the lookout along the ledge.
To ST-ED it seemed like a trap but he dismissed as just being his overanalyzing droid brain malfunctioning.
After a while, they reached a spot where they got a good look of the Republic’s main ambush position, there were dozens of regular troopers alongside heavy walkers like All Terrain Tactical Enforcers.
They couldn’t possibly hope to outmatch the heavy vehicles; they weren’t exactly carrying heavy weapons like rocket launchers.
But what they did have were several V-1 thermal detonators to cause chaos amongst the republic’s ranks. It also helped that they had two snipers with them to take out any officers in sight.
“You two set up behind those rocks and be ready to fire on my signal.” He ordered assassin battle droid pair, pointing towards a large formation of rocks that was sitting on top of the canyon edge. It gave the two sharpshooters a good vantage point to take out high priority targets.
“The rest of you, prepare your thermal detonators.” He said, while dropping into a prone position right at the edge of canyon wall where the rest of the battle droids with their detonators soon joined him.
“We’re in position and ready to fire on your mark, sir.” One of the assassins whispered.
“Affirmative, target the coloured troopers, they are officers and high-priority targets.” He ordered just as quietly, and the reply came in the form of a scream from one of the yellow-colored clone captains falling down with a blaster-sized hole in his chest.
The rest of the clones immediately became alert, having not expected getting shot first.
“Now! Let them have it!” He whispered loudly, all of the nine other battle droids complied an threw their thermal detonators into the mass of clones that had been set up in a neat line across the two barricades set to block any enemy vehicles from coming through.
“Take cov--!!” One of the clone troopers yelled before being cut off by the multiple thermal detonators that went off all across the Republic line and swept the area near him of nearly all life.
“For the Confederacy! Charge!” The tactical droid yelled as he jumped down to the canyon’s bottom, followed by the other nine regular battle droids.
As the two assassins kept eliminating the GAR’s chain of command, the rest of the droids began their surprise attack that left the Clones completely baffled and unable to mount a good defence.
“Give me one of your detonators!” ST-ED yelled to the nearest B1, who tossed him a single V-1 that he magnetically secured on his waistline.
Jumping on top of the first AT-TE he first shot the gunner off the main cannon before taking control of it himself and turning the large weapon towards the second AT-TE that was attempting to blast the two sharpshooters still stationed on top of the canyon wall.
“Burn, Republic scum.” He muttered as he fired the powerful main gun straight at the other walker’s mid section, blowing the whole vehicle in half and killing the entire crew along with it.
He then jumped off his own gun and opened the top hatch of the walker he was standing on, arming the detonator he threw it inside the space between the passenger area and cockpit before closing the lid and jumping off the vehicle as fast as he could.
Soon after an explosion that was multiplied by the cramped space inside the walker went off, taking the entire walker out-of-action for good.
Looking around he could see that without his lead the droids weren’t doing that good since the surviving clone troopers were already regrouping and closing in on them. By now three of the original nine were down for the count.
And from the looks of it, the situation was becoming even worse with GAR reinforcements coming in the form of three AT-RT walkers supported infantry, the group was being led by a single Jedi.
Things did not seem good for the droid squad who had no way to counter the agile walkers not to mention a Jedi armed with a lightsaber.
So ST-ED opted to simply fight off the Republic’s infantry as long as he could before General Tann could make her way to them with the rest of their fighting force.
He gripped his E-5 blaster tightly before charging towards the clone formation attacking the rest of his squad.
Shields flaring and almost depleted he managed to score multiple hits, taking down at least ten clone troopers before his shields were depleted, even then he kept firing his weapon that became increasingly overheated and finally had its barrel melted to nothing but smoking pulp of metal.
Throwing away his useless blaster rifle he took out the underpowered hold-out blaster that his master had used and kept up with the rapid fire even as his droid body was being torn to pieces by multiple clone troopers firing at him, he finally succumbed to the damage when his head was cut clean off by the lightsaber-wielding Jedi’s blade.
As his head flew through the air, it was still able to observe the rapidly approaching Confederate column of droids and vehicles in the distance and save the image into its databanks before running out of back-up power.
Even after their commander had shut down the remaining battle droids of the recon squad fought on, before they too were cut down by the Jedi’s blade.
The two remaining battle droid assassins stationed on higher ground opted to retreat after completing their objective of crippling the chain of command of the Republic’s ambush force.
Having no chain of command to speak off outside of an inexperienced Jedi commander, the clones soon fell into disarray; unable to mount a proper defence without any anti-tank support since the tactical droid’s squad had destroyed all but the lightest of their vehicles in the previous surprise attack.
As the GAR’s remnants engaged with their droid counterparts, Sev’rance briefly locked blades with the Jedi leading the enemy force.
“Your technique is quite sloppy, padawan. It’s almost like you’re not trying.”
Her opponent didn’t answer he was too busy concentrating all of his efforts in attempting to counter her powerful attacks.
“A pity I’m on a schedule it would have been nice to continue our little fight,” Tann said as she finally broke through her opponents defence after he made a wide slash that completely missed her. “Say good night, Jedi.” She said as her blade impaled her opponent through his chest, making the man drop his lightsaber and fall limply to the ground.
After the battle was over, Tann went to look for the remains of ST-ED finding only the headless husk that was still gripping the hold-out blaster that he was using before being given an early decommission through getting his head separated from his body.
“Find the head, we’re not leaving this one here.” She ordered the other droids who got off their marching positions and went to look for the tactical droid’s head amongst the wreckage of the Republic vehicles and corpses of the deceased clones.
“I found something!” One of the B1s shouted from behind the collapsed AT-TE, Sev’rance walked over to see the battle droid holding what remained of the head of the former tactical droid.
“Good, let’s clear out the rest of the Republic forces that may lie ahead, Count Dooku is still expecting us to clear the path for evacuation.” The Chiss general said as she took the damaged droid head from the hands of the lonely battle droid.
‘I can see uses for you in the future...’ She thought as she looked at the droid head in her hands while the rest of the body was being loaded onto the supply flatbed being towed behind one of the AATs.
‘Yes… lots of uses…’
Some Time Later
Lucrehulk-Class Modified Droid Control Ship
CNV Bucket o’ Bolts
In Hyperspace Travelling Towards The CIS Supply Station in orbit of Raxus Prime for Refuelling and Rearmament
Systems booting up…
Current location determined as: non-hostile.
Main power supply fully charged.
Resuming standard functions…
ST-ED Turned on his optics to observe the environment around him, he was inside a droid workshop of sorts, which had lots of spare parts for all kinds of different droids but mainly battle-droids.
He jerked his head down to see that he was in decent condition himself, his joints had been cleaned of all the dust that had stuck on his droid body back on Geonosis, it had somewhat been hindering his movement but he managed, it felt good to move more freely again.
As he was looking around at his surroundings the door on the far side of the room slid open and in stepped a pair of the B1 battle-droids.
“The commander requests your presence on the bridge, come with us.” The squeaky voice of the right one’s vocabulator commanded.
“Affirmative.” The tactical droid acknowledged as he got off the operating table and followed in the two thinner droid’s wake.
Using the two optical sensors in its “eyes” the tactical droid observed the overall design of the ship and determined it to be one of the old Lucrehulk freighters used in the past by the Trade Federation.
Changes in hull suggest possible combat modifications.
Assuming combat role until further analysis…
The three droids passed by many patrols of both regular and super battle-droids before they finally reached the elevator that would take them to the bridge and face-to-face with the vessel’s commanding officer.
There he could possibly get some answers.
In the elevator they were packed like sardines in a can alongside a full patrol of other B1’s and a single yellow-painted command battle-droid.
It was a good thing droids had no concept of personal space; otherwise the ride could have been more uncomfortable than it already was.
The patrol dropped off on the upper deck that came right before the bridge and the three other droids continued their trip unhindered.
ST-ED found it surprising that the two droids had yet to utter a single word during their whole trip to the bridge, his databanks had indicated that B1s had the unfortunate tendency to be quite chatty when out of battle and sometimes even during battles much to the frustration of their commanders.
He would know, he had observed that defective function first hand.
He considered it a good thing they weren’t that talkative though; ST-ED’s programming was not very good when it came to social interaction outside of ordering troops in combat, that one he would have to practice later on.
His line of thought was cut off as the bridge doors opened, inside was a human Confederate naval officer who was conversing with a green and purple T-series tactical droid through the holo-communications transmitter. The rest of the bridge crew consisted mainly of OOM-series pilot droids that were operating the various consoles.
Both the droid and grey uniformed human turned to look towards the trio that had just stepped into the bridge through the door.
“You two, leave us here.” The human said, gesturing to the two battle-droids
“Roger, roger.” The pair said in unison as they disappeared into the elevator and removed themselves from the bridge.
There was a moment of silence between the two parties; the main event though was the staring contest going between the two tactical droids who if it had been possible would have glared at each other like the fiercest of rivals.
“So… judging from the information we got from your databanks and from General Tann’s report… I assume you are the droid who goes by the designation ST-ED-001.” The nameless organic officer said in a curious tone.
“Yes sir.” The droid responded in his dull, synthesized voice.
“I am Admiral Lorn Halcorr and this is my advisor and second-in-command tactical droid TD-42.” He gestured to the tactical droid, which nodded in response. “You’re onboard the Lucrehulk-class Droid Control Ship “Bucket o’ Bolts”, the flagship of the Confederate Navy’s 18th fleet.”
“Where are we going, sir?” ST-ED asked.
“To Raxus Prime for a resupply run after that we are heading straight back to battle.” The other tactical droid that was onboard one of the fleet’s Recusant-class light destroyers answered matter-of-factly.
“Sir, we have arrived!” One of the OOM-series pilot droids operating the consoles informed the trio of commanders as the ship came out of hyperspace alongside the rest of the fleet.
Only to find a Republic fleet already waiting them in orbit around the planet…
“The Republic is already here! Raise shields and warm up the guns! He yelled. “Open channel with the rest of the fleet! All ships, prepare for battle!” Lorn gave his orders to the rest of the droid fleet as his own ship’s console operators got to work.
“ST-ED, you are a tactical droid, yes?”
“That is correct, admiral.”
“Is your programming also suited for space combat?”
“I am proficient in commanding in both space and ground operations.”
“Good, I’m giving you control of the three Munificents and their fighter an bomber compliments at the back of our fleet. I want to see if you are of any use without endangering the rest of the fleet.” The human officer said pointing his finger to where the ships were. “Now go and do some damage.”
“I will not disappoint you, my programming is superior to any tactical droid that has yet been built.” The droid replied in a smug tone, infuriating his T-series counterpart somewhat with his attitude.
“We’ll see.” TD-42 said before cutting off the feed from the other end.
Saluting his new commanding officer, ST-ED walked over to the elevator and headed straight to the ship’s hangar deck.
While searching for a transport, he could see the vulture droids alongside their bomber counterparts already taking off from their racks in the ceiling and heading straight into battle at full speed.
While scanning the hangar bay with his sensors he came across something that resembled what looked like a civilian freighter, an odd sight onboard a military ship for certain.
He wasted no time getting onboard the small vessel and after familiarizing himself with the controls, taking off alongside the droid starfighters.
Separating himself from the droid swarm that began engaging the Republic’s V-19 Torrents, he headed straight towards the designated three Munificent-class star frigates at the very back of the separatist fleet.
The crappy old freighter’s failing engines that seemed to go at a snail’s pace at their best hindered his trip though and it took a while to reach the vicinity of the front-most ship at which point he was already being hailed by the droid crew through the cockpit’s holocomm.
“Unknown vessel, identify yourself or be fired upon.” The yellow battle droid commander in charge of the vessel ordered through the fuzzy image.
“This is tactical droid ST-ED with orders from Admiral Halcorr to assume command of the ship.” He answered.
“Hold on...” The commander droid at the other end said as it looked at something off the screen. “We have just received confirmation of the order from the admiral, lowering the hangar bay shield for your arrival now. Welcome aboard, sir.” The yellow painted droid said as the feed cut off and the hangar bay shield dissipated.
ST-ED masterfully guided his temporary form of transport to the small hangar bay, landing onto the hard deck without a hitch.
The size of the hangar bay on the frigates had mainly been limited since it was only meant to house the landing craft and vehicles used for the ground operations while the fighters and bombers were kept on the docking rings located in the wings of the frigate’s middle section while out of combat.
After getting inside the ship proper, he headed straight towards the bridge, passing by several turbolaser batteries as the droid crew was preparing them for battle.
Arriving on the bridge, he was immediately greeted by the droid commander in charge.
“We’re ready for your orders, sir.”
The tactical droid put his hands behind his back in anticipation as the fleet came nearer to the hostile fleet every moment, another trait picked up from organics.
“Order our battle group to make a short hyper space jump to the far side of the Raxus Prime so we can hit the Republic fleet in their exposed flank.” ST-ED ordered, the droids looked at each other in confusion.
“Sir, calculating that kind of a jump is extremely risky and will take a long time to complete.”
“No, it won’t.” The tactical droid said as it hooked itself into one of the consoles and did a short calculation with his significantly more advanced processors and droid brain.
“Calculations complete. Proceed with the jump to hyperspace.” The tactical droid said as the pilot droids looked at their consoles for a while before preparing the ship for jump to lightspeed.
After detaching themselves from the rest of the fleet formation and sending the calculus to the two other Munificents, the three ships made the risky jump and actually made it to the other side of the planet in one piece.
“Divert power to the engines and forward shields, head straight through the debris field and to the exposed flank of the Republic fleet.” The newly christened droid officer of the Confederate navy ordered in an authoritative tone, pointing his finger towards their intended target for good measure.
“Roger, roger.” The droid crew answered flatly.
Boosting their speed, the frigate trio continued to head through the debris field, not really caring about their shields being slightly depleted from the occasional impact caused by ship debris of variable size.
Going through the field of wrecked ships in addition to being faster gave them the advantage of being harder to spot for Republic sensors, giving them an element of surprise when they finally struck.
“I’ve got fighters on my six! I could use some help!” Clone pilot CP-100359, nicknamed “Kess” by his Selkath Jedi commander, shouted into his comm. unit while being chased down by a pair of vulture droids.
“I’ve got your back.” His wingman CP-100962 “Bagger” responded while firing two shorts bursts from his fighter’s main weapons, downing both of the vultures before they could seriously damage his comrade’s fighter.
“Thanks, I owe you one.”
“More than one, stay focused. The clankers are coming around for another pass.” Bagger said as the republic fighters got into formation again to face the swarm of droid fighters.
The space over the junk planet lit up for a moment in a spectacular fireshow as the two masses of space-superiority fighters collided with each other guns blazing.
Kess held down the firing trigger on his fighter’s control stick, taking down multiple vultures in front of him while his buddies made sure none of them made their way behind him.
The battle between the two fighter-groups seemed to be increasingly headed towards Republic’s favor, that was until a call came in from the main fleet.
“A group of enemy ships has gotten behind us, they are decimating our flank’s defences! We need immediate fighter support! Oh no… Look ou--!” One of the ensigns onboard the Venator-class star destroyer “Judgement” shouted a warning into the comms before a pair of hyena bombers destroyed the twin bridge towers with their proton torpedoes.
“Judgement is dead in the water…” Bagger exclaimed in shock as he and Kess observed the ship that had housed them since the beginning of the war get decimated by concentrated turbolaser fire before its engines went critical and the ship was torn to pieces alongside many of their clone brethren onboard.
The attack had come so unexpectedly that none of the escape pods even had time to launch, as a result thousands of clones and natural-born organic personnel vanished alongside their ship.
Some of the clone fighters quickly broke formation to go help the fleet that was now being fired upon from two directions and was by all accounts rapidly being surrounded.
But as fate would have it, some of the vultures that were engaged in the dogfight also broke off to go after the Republic fighters and join the other vultures launched from Separatist frigate trio in protecting the bombers so they could do as much damage as possible to the remains of the Republic fleet.
Onboard the Republic Fleet’s Venator-class Flagship “Unifier”
Under The Command of Jedi General Erus Kieol
“Sir, we’ve lost contact with the Carnage! Our shields are at twenty-six percent! Bombers incoming on our right!” Were just a few of the reports being constantly shouted by the clones operating the consoles to the inexperienced Jedi commander.
Erus had not been prepared for the role of commanding ships not to mention fleets, he had mainly studied to become a healer during his time as a padawan in the temple, and suddenly being thrust into command of an entire invasion fleet to conquer a planet from the Separatists was not something he had expected to do when the war had begun.
And now it was starting to become costly for his men who were being killed both on the ground and in space constantly more and more each moment.
“Our shields are down! Enemy has just disabled our engines, we are crippled!”
He was in a moment of shock as he listened the increasingly distressing reports coming in before snapping out of it and resuming command.
“The space battle is lost all ships that can retreat back to Republic space and those that can’t abandon ship and head for the surface.” He ordered with a sombre tone.
“Yes, sir…” His clone assistant said as the evacuation order was sounded and everyone headed towards the escape pods to get off the doomed ship.
Erus made sure that everyone that made it to the escape pod had their harnesses secured before strapping himself onto one of the seats and the pod was jettisoned out of the ship.
Just as the last of the escape pods was launched the once magnificent flagship of the Republic navy blew up in a brief ball of fire as the ship was split in half from the stern onwards by a bomber wing that blew up what remained of the engine core.
Meanwhile what remained intact of the fleet made a quick jump out of the system just as ordered, everyone inside the pods simply hoped they would bring reinforcements when they returned.
With the current odds the Jedi, now officer of the Republic, didn’t really have high hopes of any possible victory on the planet, he only hoped the Separatist officer in charge of the enemy fleet would be merciful enough to let him and his men live after the battle was over.