Rex assembled his troops into the gunships as Anakin and I were already inside along with several men. Rex came inside the gunship last and then it took off. The gunship's doors closed and only a little light came through the blast shields. I adjusted my brown robe as I searched for my lightsaber and blasters all set on my belt. All ready.
"General Skywalker, a transmission is coming from General Kenobi."
"Put it through, Rex."
Rex pushed a button on his comlink and then a hologram of Master Kenobi appeared in the middle of the gunship.
"I see you're starting your search, Anakin," Master Kenobi said.
"So how did your negotiation go?" Anakin asked.
"I haven’t finished negotiating. It’s hard talking to Hutts. But here's the story, Anakin. Jabba is only given us only one planetary rotation to get his son back home to Tatooine safe and sound. He wants you and Lina to be the only ones bringing him back."
"Why?" I asked. To be honest, I don't want to go back to that dirt planet.
"He put in a lot of trust into you both."
"Understood, Master. It won't take us that long," Anakin said.
"Well take extreme care. We have no idea who's holding Jabba's son," Master Kenobi said, cautiously, "When Karri and I finish negotiations with him, we will join you."
"Got it, Master."
"May the Force be with you both." With that said, the hologram disappeared.
"Lina," I look to Anakin. "Stay close to me, and this time listen."
"That won't be a problem, Master."
“This isn’t a joke, Lina.”
“I know. And I’ll try not to get you killed.”
Suddenly, an explosion happened outside of the gunships.
"Sir, we're taking heavy fire," the pilot of the gunship said through his comlink.
"Close the blast shields and get us under those guns!" Anakin ordered.
"Yes sir!" The clone called out. The blast shields closed and the troopers began preparing their guns.
"Red light, standby!" Rex said to his men.
We all felt the gunship land and the clone pilot announced, "Welcome to paradise, rock jumpers."
The clones, Rex, Anakin, and I waited for the blast shields to open. This is my real mission with them. I have to try my best!
The red lights turned green. "Green light!" Rex said. Then the blast shields opened. "Go, go!" Explosions and laser fire coming through the air. The clones ran out as Anakin led the group forward along with Rex by his side. I took off my robe and ignited my blue lightsaber.
“Move it, move it!” Clone trooper yelled out to his comrade as they were rushing through the trees.
Shots came from above the palace that was on a cliff hill. Droids.
I deflected the shots with my lightsaber and pushed forward.
"Follow me!" Anakin called out once I finally caught up with them. Man, catching up was harder than I thought...
Anakin, Rex, and the troops hid under the cliff to give some cover from the laser fire.
I kept my lightsaber behind me as I held the hilt in a reversal grip. "So this is where the fun begins, huh?" I asked Anakin.
"Race you to the top." I guess racing is a Skywalker thing.
"I'll give you a head start, Ani," I said as I moved a strain of hair from my face.
"Your mistake!" Anakin signaled his men to move onto the cliff side.
"Attach your cables!" Rex called out. Cables from the clones' blasters shot up until it attached to the edge of the cliff. Anakin leaped up to a vine as I did the same.
I deflected several laser fire and looked around my surroundings to see a way to get to the top faster. I looked to my left and focused on the Walker tank. This will get me up there a bit faster.
I used the Force to push me off the wall and swung my vine on top of the Walker's back. I held on to the dented metal of the Walker as I climbed onto the glass where a clone was controlling the Walker.
“Hey Trooper! I’m going to hang around here for a bit, all right?” I stood on top of the glass dome and ignited my lightsaber again. I deflected the shots away from the walker. Let’s just hope this slow junker can get me to win this race!
Just then, battle droids were riding on STAP-1, shooting at our Walkers. I used the Force and pushed one STAP-1 to another STAP-1, causing it to crash into one another. I smiled to myself, feeling proud, but then my confidence fell once I saw another STAP-1 come out of the smoke, flying towards me as it repeatedly shot laser fire towards the Walker's feet. The magnetic feet of the Walker disconnected from the wall, causing me to lose my balance. I gasped as I pushed the magnetic feet with the Force towards the cliff wall, hoping it wouuldattach again. So it did, but then that was the least of my problem. The other two STAP-1 battle droids came around again and were shooting from behind. I used the Force and blew two droids off the STAP-1, leaving one droid left. Before I could used the Force to fling the STAP-1, Anakin came out to the right side of me and landed on top of the STAP-1, removing the droid with his lightsaber. Then, he began riding on the 1-STAP.
I groaned. "Hey no fair, bro! I was going to do that!" I shouted to him as he flew passed by me.
"Got to keep up!" Anakin called back. I seriously was going to do that!
Groaning, I climbed back up onto the glass dome.
I looked into the glass and knocked on it with my fist. "Get this thing moving!" Then, I looked up and saw Anakin already made it on top of the ledge. Well, I'm learning quite a lot from Anakin. Take the risk with the droids and use it to your advantage.
Once the Walker finally climbed onto the ledge, I saw Anakin in front of three destroyer droids with the entire army of droids sliced in pieces around.
"Blast it, Lina! I told you to stay close to me," I heard Anakin whisper to himself.
"Shoot them down," I said to the trooper that was controlling the Walker. Then, the cannons on the Walker shot the destroyer droids.
I jumped off the Walker. "I can't get much closer, Ani."
"I knew you'd get here, little sis, eventually."
"Always in time to save your life," I countered back.
Rex came to us and placed one pistol back to his belt. "All clear, General."
"Nice work, Rex," Anakin pat his back. "Have some men look after the wounded."
"Roger that, sir," Rex nodded.
"The gunships are kept at the safe distance so contact them and put the wounded in there," Anakin added.
Rex nodded as he went over to a droid. Anakin and I followed Rex.
"Sir, you think we can renegade these droids?"
"There's too many droids here for them to be renegaded." Anakin said, "I sense Count Dooku's hand in this. Let's find Jabba's son and get out."
"Well...? What are you waiting for? Let's get through that palace!" I exclaimed.
"Patience, my young Padawan," Anakin smiled at me as he walked passed Rex and me. Rex and I both followed Anakin as Rex signaled some men to join our investigation. Anakin used the Force and pushed the button that opened the large gate. Inside the palace was dark and only illuminated light shone through from the entrance. Troopers turned on their helmet lights to help with the lighting.
"I don't like it here. It gives me the creeps," Rex said.
"You know, this looks like one of those B'omar monk monasteries that I read about in my studies with Karri at the temple," I said as my eyes wandered around the palace. Doesn't look like a palace much. More like a monasteries.
"Smugglers take over these monasteries over, turn them into their own personal retreats." Anakin added.
"And the monks let them?" I asked him.
"Smugglers usually get what they want, one way or another." Anakin answered. Just then, we heard metal clattering from a distance. Anakin ignited his lightsaber as I kept my hand on my hilt. Who is it?
The troopers shone their lights on a droid that was walking towards us.
"Who are you?" Anakin demanded.
"Merely the humble caretaker, oh mighty sir. You have liberated me from those dreadful battlebots. I am most thankful." The droid had said.
"Where is the Hutt?" Anakin asked.
"The battle bots kept their prisoners on the detention level. I must warn you, it is very dangerous down there, my friend." The droid said and then looked at me, "Not a place for a servant girl." Servant girl!?
"Do servant girls carry these?" I said as I ignited my blue lightsaber in front of the droid's metal plate.
"Calm yourself, Lina," Anakin said to me as he gave me a signal to move forward. I nodded as I deactivated my lightsaber.
"A thousand apologies, young one," the droid said to me but I ignored it, not caring for his apology.
"Captain, we'll get the Hutt. Stay here. Keep your eyes open," Anakin said to Rex.
I looked to see Rex and I saw him give me a slight nod as I nodded back with a smile. I guess this signal means Good Luck.
Anakin and I went below the detention levels, and into the dungeons where we saw droids inside the rooms. As we passed by the rooms, they followed us. I kept close by Anakin.
"Big brother, you know you're walking us into a trap?" I whispered to him.
"I know," Anakin said so calmly.
I raised my eyebrow at him. "We just passed two more droids, Ani."
"I know," Anakin said again. The droids kept following us.
My eyes detected five behind us.
I groaned, "I don't like this. Can I take care of them?"
"Oh, well, if you feel so strongly about it, go ahead," Anakin insisted.
"All right," I smiled as I turned around, igniting my lightsaber. The droid shot it's blaster and I deflected it, hitting it's head. I sliced their blasters first and then their metal bodies.
I deactivated my lightsaber after relieving a breath. "Not bad, Lina. You remembered to destroy their weapons first."
"I'm improving your technique," I smiled.
Just then, Anakin ignited his lightsaber and stabbed through the droid that was by the doorway of the room. The droid fell and Anakin deactivated his lightsaber. "Of course, you did miss one."
"Well I didn't see that one."
Anakin chuckled and kept walking until he came to a halt in front of a door. "I sense our kidnapped Hutt is in here."
Just then, a rancid smell odor filled in my nose.
I groaned, "Ew.. I smell him too."
Anakin used the Force to open up the door and from behind the door revealed a small Huttlet crawling, letting out a fussy cry.
"He's a lot younger than I thought he'd be," Anakin said in surprised.
"He's just a slimey Huttlet. In about ten or twenty years, he will be like his father, Jabba," I mumbled. He's going to be selling slaves like his own father. That's how all Hutts are. Selling slaves, using slaves and paying bounty hunters.
"This will make our job a lot easier though," I added.
Just then, Anakin's comlink went off and I heard Rex's voice. Even though he's a clone, I can still tell it's him.
"General Skywalker, the castle is secure. And it's nearly midday."
Anakin pushed his comlink. "Thanks, Rex," he said into it. "We've got Jabba's son. Any sign of General Kenobi yet?"
"No sir," Rex replied.
"What are we going to do with this Huttlet?" I asked.
"Well you're going to carry it."
"Why do I have to carry him? He stinks!" I whined.
"Well, I’m your master and your older brother and I'm telling you to carry him. Now hurry up so we can get out of this stink hole," Anakin walked out of the doorway.
I sighed in defeat. "Fine... Come here, Hutt."
Anakin and I made it outside of the palace with the Hutt in my arms. I faced the Hutt towards me and looked at him with a small smile. I guess I can tolerate with this Hutt for a moment.
Abruptly, the Hutt began to cough as if it was sick. I held the Hutt close and used my other hand to touch it's forehead. He's burning up.
"Ani!" I ran to him.
Anakin turned to me. "What is it, Lina? If you want me to hold the Hutt, I'm not doing it."
"Master, be serious. This Hutt is sick. Very sick. He's burning up a fever."
Anakin put his hand on his forehead and sighed. "Right. We've got to get him back to the ship immediately," then Anakin turned to a trooper. "Trooper, get me a backpack!"
"Right away, sir!" the trooper rushed to get a spare backpack. Then he came back, handing the backpack to Anakin. Anakin and I went on our knees and try to place the Hutt inside the backpack but it was a bit too plump to fit.
The Hutt began to cry which worried me. "Man, this Hutt is a pain in the behind!" Anakin forcibly try to make the Hutt fit in the backpack.
"Ani! You're hurting him!
"Well what do you expect me to do?"
"Will you just let me do it!" I exclaimed as Anakin let me take over the Hutt.
"I hate Hutts," Anakin mumbled to himself.
"So do I but don't put your anger on the Hutts on this little guy."
"Well the Hutts put their chains on us when we were little!" Anakin exclaimed, causing every troopers turned their heads to us, including Rex. Anakin shot up from the ground and went to clear his head for a bit. Anakin has his head in the past...the same way I put the past in my head about Jango...
I shook my head to get away those dark memories from this moment. Carefully, I fit him inside without forcing him.
After the Hutt was secured inside the backpack, I got up and put on the straps of the backpack backward.
Rex came to my side. "What's wrong with General Skywalker?"
I looked at Anakin and he was alone by the starfighter where R2 was in the cockpit, rethinking about his past. I bet he's thinking about mom...
"Anakin, didn't tell you about our past. Our past before we were discovered by the Jedi Order?"
Rex shook his head, slowly. "No. He never brought it up before. What happened?"
I let out a deep breath, "Anakin and I were slaves to the Hutt Clan. Us and our mother. It's just a dark past that should never be mentioned again."
"I understand, Lil' Skywalker. It's personal, isn't?"
I nodded with a slight frown. "It's too personal..."
Rex came closer to me and said, "I apologize, Lil' Skywalker. I shouldn't had asked you. Please don't be upset. Your beautiful smile is gone."
I stood stiff and I blushed madly by Rex's comment. I haven't been called beautiful since- I need to stop thinking about Jango. Rex is not Jango. Rex is Rex.
I smiled at him. "Ahh.. There's that beautiful smile."
I laughed, "Okay. Okay! I'm smiling. I'm not upset anymore."
A slight chuckle came from Rex. "Good." Then he looked over to Anakin. "Go check on General Skywalker."
I nodded to Rex and began walking to Anakin. Anakin turned to see me. His facial expression looked sadden.
"I know, Lina. I know," Anakin sighed. "It's all in the past."
I nodded, "For now, we need to focus on the present which is the mission at this moment. We don’t have much time at this point."
"You're right.." Anakin took a deep breath before letting out a small smile. "We have to contact Obi-wan right now."
Anakin looked at R2. "R2, contact Obi-wan on Tatooine."
R2 beeped in response and in an minute, a hologram of Master Kenobi showed.
"Anakin, did you locate Jabba's son?"
"We have him. Looks like the Separatists are behind his abduction. This smells like Count Dooku to me."
"I think it's little Stinky you smell," I joked.
"I'll bet Dooku is using us to get Jabba to join the Separatists."
"Master Kenobi, we have another problem. This Huttlet is very sick."
"Not sure we can get him back to Tatooine alive, Master. This whole rescue may backfire on us," Anakin said in a worried tone. "Don't think dealing with the Hutts is a good idea."
"You know they control shipping routes in the Outer Rim," Master Kenobi said. "Jabba's cooperation is crucial to the war efforts. If you let anything happen to his son, our chances of a treaty with him will disappear."
Suddenly, we heard ships from above soared through the air. They aren't our ships.. It’s the Separatists.
"Master, we're in big trouble!"
"Defensive positions!" Rex called out to his troops.
"Anakin?" Master Kenobi questioned in confusion.
"I'll call you back, Master. We're under attack! We need the help here."
"I'll get there soon as I can. Protect the Hutt, Anakin." Master Kenobi said before his hologram disappeared.
Vulture droids flew through the air and began shooting laser fire towards us. Anakin ignited his lightsaber as he deflected the shots.
"Protect the Hutt!" Anakin cried out to me.
"Take it down! Take it down!" The clones shouted to each other as they try to shoot down the vulture droids from above. Then more shots came from the entrance walls. The Separatists had their ship docked on the ledge so they loaded their reinforcements. We've been ambushed!
R2 got out of his cockpit before the vulture droids shot down the starfighter.
"Lina, get inside."
I nodded to Anakin and took off towards the gates of the palace.
"Fall back! Fall back!" Rex ordered his men as he followed me, watching my back. "I got you, Lil' Skywalker."
Rex and I made it inside the gates as others arrived seconds later. Rex pushed me behind him as he used both of his pistols to shoot down several droids.
"Get moving!" He called out to his men. As the gate was about to close, Anakin slid under quickly. The gate was shut.
Anakin looked to Rex. "Captain, we'll stay here until General Kenobi arrives with reinforcements."
How long will that be?
I gave Anakin a saddened look. He looked at me and questioned, "What?"
"Do you think we can hold them off?" I asked. "We've got to find a way out of here. Our mandate is to protect his Hutt."
"That's what we're going to do, Lina."
"Our other mandate was to get this Hutt back to Tatooine," I pointed out, "and time is running out."
"I supposed you have a plan."
R2 began to chattered which gave me an idea. "Yes. Or I think so. R2 just gave me an idea."
Anakin sighed. "All right, Lina. I'll trust you on this one." Anakin looked at Rex, "Captain, hold them here as long as you can." Will Rex be all right? Will he be okay with the droids blasting through the gate? Can he hold them off?
"Will do, sir. You heard the general! Get ready to turn those clankers into scrap metal!"
Worried thoughts of Rex came through my mind as I followed Anakin from behind. I continued to stare at Rex, still worrying for him. Rex caught my stare and nodded to me as I nodded slightly back.
"Don't worry, Lina." I heard Anakin said. "Rex has been worse situations before."
"Okay," I said, sighing. "I hope he can hold them off."
"He will. That's why he's my Captain."
Anakin and I walked down the stairway and found a code cylinder in the wall. "If there's a way out of here, R2 will find it."
"Make it quick." Anakin said to R2. R2 let out a few beeps.
"Finally asleep, huh?" I felt Anakin's hand on the backpack. "Put him down. Get some rest. It's been a long day for you, Lina."
"I can hold him, Master." I lied, "I'm not tired." I need to stay awake just in case Rex needs me. Once I left my guard down during an attack, the person I loved died.
I shook my head. I need to stop comparing Rex to Jango. Rex is not Jango. He isn't Jango! But it doesn't mean that I can't stay cautious.
Anakin sat on a bed. "Lina, I know you're completely exhausted." Anakin searched my face. "You're staying awake because of Rex, isn't it?"
I clenched my teeth. He knows me too well. He is my older brother, after all.
I nodded. "I need to stay alert just in case Rex needs me."
"Lina," Anakin stood up. "I told you. Rex will be fine. He has been through this situation so many times. I trust in Rex and you should too. Please Lina. Rest. Rex would want you rest."
I sighed in defeat. "Okay. Okay." I took off the backpack and handed it to Anakin.
"Rex will be fine. He's not a person who would give up too easily." Anakin added.
"I just hope so." I said as I laid down on the bed.
“Don’t worry too much about him. He’s my Captain. I put a lot of trust in him. You should start too.
I didn’t get to respond back because I have already fallen asleep. Yet, Rex was still on my mind.
~~3RD P.O.V (Lina's vision)~~
Captain Rex sat against the walls of the monastery, trying to regain his consciousness back. Then, he watched from his helmet, seeing droids scattering around the area. A dark disturbance in the Force lingered. A Sith apprentice, Asajj Ventress standing with a droid. It wasn't the first time that Rex had seen her.
"Take care of what's left of the clones," Ventress ordered the battle droid. "I'll go after the Skywalkers."
The only name that went through Rex's mind.
"Roger. Roger." The droid responded.
As Ventress was talking to the droid, Rex slowly grabbed for his pistol and shot the droid's neck, detaching from it's body.
Rex then targeted Ventress, shooting her, but it was no use. Her red lightsaber was ignited and deflected the shots. Ventress used the dark side of the Force to remove Rex's pistol from his hand and then, Force Choked him. Rex began to gagged as he grabbed his neck, trying to breathe for air. Rex was lifted off the ground as he stared down at Ventress.
"Where is the Skywalkers?" Ventress asked.
"I don't talk to Separatist scum," Rex managed to say as he was continuously being Force Choked.
A small smile appeared on Ventress's face, feeling amused. She released her Force Choke from Rex, causing him to fall to the ground.
Rex grunted and inhaled a breath of air.
Ventress's fingers swayed across from Rex. "You will contact the Skywalkers now."
"I will- W-Wait! I will not contact anybody! You are not getting me contact Lina Skywalker!" Captain Rex was thinking about Lina too much.
"Lina Skywalker, huh?" Ventress stepped forward, coming closer to Rex. She squat down to see Rex's eye level of his helmet.
"You addressed your Commander by her name. How cute?" A slight giggle left Ventress's lips. "You must care for her very much."
"I don't talk to Separatist scum," Rex said again but with more anger in his tone.
Again, Ventress giggled as she lifted her fingers and swayed them. "You will contact Lina Skywalker now."
"I will- N-No! I will not!" Rex cried out, feeling his mind becoming tight. "S-Stop!"
Ventress did it again, "You will contact Lina Skywalker now!" Ventress said it louder this time.
Rex shook his head, trying to shake off the Sith mind tricks. "Your mind isn't weak when it comes to your feelings, hmm?"
Rex didn't answer but it's true. He was too in love with Lina to betray her. He loved her more than anything. All he could think during this mission was her. He wished that he can love her but he knew the time wasn't right. There was never a right time for love when the war is raging on.
“Let’s try this.”
Again, Ventress swayed her fingers but this time she shouted and put her full strength. "You will contact Anakin Skywalker now!"
Rex's mind gave in as he felt defeated and exhausted from the Sith mind trick that affected his will terribly. "I will contact Anakin Skywalker now."
Rex was no longer himself. Ventress now controlled him with the dark side of the force.
With a loud gasp, I shot up from my vision, remembering everything. Rex. Rex. Rex. He's going to die. He's going to die!
I hopped off of the bed but then Anakin grabbed my arm. "Let go of me!"
"Lina! What's wrong? What happened?"
"R-Rex! He's gonna die! S-She's-"
"Anakin, come in," we heard Rex's voice from Anakin's comlink.
"R-Rex!" I shouted. "He's being controlled by-"
"We’ve held the droids sir."
"That's not like Rex."
"What is your location?"
"Ventress," Anakin growled.
"S-She’s going to pay..." I yanked my arm from Anakin but it was no use. Anakin's fingers gripped onto my arm tight. "Let go!"
"Lina!" Anakin exclaimed. "Your mind is clouded right now. Snap out of it! Calm yourself! Listen to what I said earlier. Trust in Rex!" Anakin is right. My mind is taken over from the thoughts of Rex. That vision... My mind was too clouded. I was about to fall into a trap. Trust in Rex... Trust in him. He will pull it through. I just gotta trust in him.
"If I let you go, Lina, will you promise that you won't run to Rex?"
I relaxed myself, taking a few deep breaths before nodding to Anakin. He released his grip on me.
"Do you sense Rex? Do you sense him alive?"
I nodded after I felt his presence existing. He's alive and still well. He's not fading away.
"Remember. Trust in Rex. He doesn't go down too easily. I fought with Rex in so many worse situations and conditions and he still pull through somehow." Anakin grabbed the backpack with the Hutt still inside. "Now let's go. Ventress will be coming after Hutt to kill him. We need to get to the platform that's only a few floors above us. R2 had already found it."
"Time to aid the Skywalkers," Master Kenobi said through the starfighter’s comlink.
"Let’s just hope their mess isn’t too much to clean up," I said, smiling to myself. As I followed Master Kenobi's starighter, I looked around my surroundings, seeing a pack of clones pilots following behind us. I have never flown this often before. Only once in a blue moon because Lina would always take the offer of flying but I wouldn't blame her. I gotta be honest though, she's much of a better pilot than I am. Now I'm under Master Kenobi's Padawan, I probably have to get used to piloting if we're going on these kind of missions.
Our starfighters made it through the atmosphere of Teth and immediately, the scanners detected about ten vulture droids coming.
"Master!" I said, as I held onto the com-channel, "Vulture droids inbound. I count ten."
"Get ready, Karri. This is where we fight through the first wave." Master Kenobi responded back. "Just let the clones focus on taking out the vulture droids. We have to reinforce Anakin on that platform. Also make way for the gunships so Cody can get through."
"Yes, Master," I said, groaning from the vulture droids on my tail. Shifting my head to side to side, I counted two vulture droids behind me. There's a technique that I learned from Lina whenever I'm being tailed by multiple droids like this.
"R-10! Cut the power," I said to my astromech. R-10 beeped in understanding and then, the engine was cut. My starfighter flipped through midair, having us behind the vulture droids. "Turn it back on!"
R-10 beeped and quickly the engine was back on. I boosted the engines and shot straight towards the two targets in front of me. The two vulture droids were shot down, resulting into heat of metal.
"Great shot, Commander!" I heard from Oddball, a piloting clone.
"Thanks," I said before taking a deep breath. Lina may be dumb at times, but she's seriously smart when it comes to piloting or when she’s under pressure. Her tactics are usually risky but somehow they work. She saved my life many times. I admire Lina’s smart tactics but I get an anxiety attack whenever she does something reckless. I care for Lina a lot. That’s why I scold at her so often. She’s my best friend and actually the only true friend I’ve ever had in my life.
Next Chapter: SWTCW - Chapter 4
(If easier, you can find the next chapter on my profile.)