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Ronin
20 February 2007, 05:03 PM
22nd Clone Command Regiment
All for One…

It is a crying shame when a being dies...
Even more so when that life is taken...
and taken from one so young...
he thought as he lined up his sight's reticule on the human child hidden in the bushes.
So confident that he hadn't been seen. That the alien's cold black stare would pass over him and his life could go on.
The sights settled on the child's mud-caked forehead and the alien released half a breath, steadied his aim. His heart beat slowly but it was like a war drum in his ears. He gently began to squeeze the trigger, finally caressing it through the firing point between heartbeats.

"Karking mother of a Hutt!!!" the six foot, camouflage-clad child screamed out as the dart imbedded itself in his forehead. "Sarge! You nearly had my eye out..." then the tranq took effect and Knight slumped back into the mud.

Garloz chambered another dart in his rifle. While he reloaded was exactly when he expected one of the other clones to strike. They'd better: that's how he'd trained them. And as expected darts thudded into his bulky bodysuit from three directions. One hit the suit's chest over his heart, one the back of his neck and one the side of his head below his right ear.

He was stood in one of the largest chambers in Tipoca city, located beneath the waves and sculpted to resemble a typical area of countryside on a temperate world. The Force only knew how the Kaminoans had got all the soil, grass and trees down there. Almost a kilometer in diameter the exercise chamber was sculpted with hills, dips and even a river. They were currently on their third exercise of the day: from the arena's outer wall the four clone commandoes had been tasked with getting as close to Garloz at the center as possible. They then had to put a dart or two into his heavily-padded bodysuit and exfil without being spotted.
So far Knight had failed before he had even got a shot off.

A rustling in the bushes off to Garloz's left had him fluidly turn and kneel (as fluidly as the bulky suit allowed). His rifle came up: a natural extension of himself, and three hundred meters out he saw the bushes part as a commando in green and brown DPMs, rifle cradled in the crooks of his elbows, crawled away from his firing point. Garloz watched for a second; the clone (Ghost, he thought it was, from Omega squad) was good, keeping low, avoiding disturbing the vegetation around him too much...but he was both moving a bit too quickly and retreating in a straight line away from the Nikto instructor. Nothing to be ashamed of, after taking a successful shot everyone felt the adrenaline and your natural flight-inclination was heightened. It took training to get over, and training was what these four would get over the next straight twenty-four hours.
Garloz put a dart into Ghost's right buttock and turned to find the other two as Ghost yelped in surprise.


Nothing. No movement except the artificial wind blowing the knee-high grass. Garloz felt hideously exposed: his sniper-instincts were screaming at him to get onto his belly and out of sight. But today he was playing the dumb enemy officer. Stood proud and just asking to be shot.

He had ordered them to remove their Katarn armour and bodysuits as soon as the four commandoes had reported to him. Sometimes soldiers got a little too comforable in their shiny armour and too reliant on their high tech weapons. Thus he'd dressed them in good old DPM fatigues, old leather boots, and handed each of them a Dressellian rifle chambered for tranquiliser darts. And so they didn't get too blase about being shot, he'd filled the darts himself: a capsule of venom from a Malastarian stingfly would be injected upon impact and the heavy doze of tranq a second later. Just enough bite. Not particularly inclined to play fairly, and not wanting to end up looking like a Spiner, he had donned thick goggles and a padded suit so he could record hits without needing medics on call.

Only two left. Maybe they're already slinking away. Both got pretty good hits with those first shots, he thought as he wandered about the artificial countryside. But he knew these four; one each from Alpha, Sigma, Theta and Omega squads. There was intense rivalry between commando squads and none of them would be satisfied with only one killshot.
He smirked to himself. He'd train that childish rivalry out of them tomorrow: pair them up in spotter-shooter pairs and finally a four-man team.
His flawless black eyes scanned the terrain. Scattered trees. Lines of bushes. Small hills. The river trickling gently off to his right. He had trained them to avoid obvious sniper positions: don't position yourself atop a hill or your silhouette will give you away. Instead move to one side or down the hill a bit. Obvious cover would also attract enemy attention if not fire as soon as a sniper took their shot.
Eventually he'd have them making their own ghillie suits too.

His wander took him to the river and he casually glanced along it both ways. A casual glance in which he took in several details: boot prints in the mud leading from a thicket to the river itself. And there weren't any prints or marks on the other side that he could see.
Sneaky. Must be Theta's Rat.
Rat must have moved either up or down the stream and come out on one side further along to hide his movement.
Then Garloz spotted him. A couple of hundred meters upstream, lying on the river bank in the mud, reapplying filth to his face and hands that had washed off in the crawl up the river. His camouflage reapplied, Rat began to crawl up the riverbank.
"You missed a spot," Garloz whispered to himself and sank a dart into the clean pink back of Rat's neck.

He then heard the whistle of a dart pass the side of his padded head. Garloz was, like most beings in his trade, rather cool and emotionless the majority of the time, but that was a miss. No clone trooper, definitely no clone commando and by the Seven Corellian Hells no student of his missed such an easy target!
He quickly scanned the area with his goggled eyes. There was only one commando left and they'd just bought themself a ticket to reconditioning. Maybe they could be retrained to clean 'freshers or paint battleship hulls with a toothbrush.
Garloz quickly found him. A prone figure out a dozen meters beyond where he'd dropped Knight. The shooter was lying atop a hill, his silhouette a clear giveaway. And they weren't making any attempt to move.
Lining up another miss, are we? Garloz thought to himself as he raised his own rifle again. And through his scope he saw it. A dart protruding from the prone clone's forehead, and drag marks in the dirt where someone had moved him.
That was Knight.
And Garloz had been fooled.

He heard the almost silent puff of a suppressed shot and then a stabbing pain in his right hand.
Lowering his rifle from his eye he looked at his hand to find a dart wedged between his index and middle fingers, the needle deep inside the flesh of his hand. His hands being the only non-padded parts of his bodysuit he could already feel the tranq coursing through his veins as the last clone commando sniper: God broke cover only ten meters away, a huge white grin on his muck-smeared face.
"No rules against moving sleeping brothers, is there sarge?"
"You sneaky bastard..." Garloz replied and keeled over.

JediRanger
20 February 2007, 05:28 PM
Once again, another good read Ronin. I'm guessing you did this on the train again? :D

chiefcaptin
20 February 2007, 06:34 PM
I love it. Reading about the training of the clones is great. My sergeant would have used live fire though. And he would have done it in the artic simulator.

PsychoInfiltrator
20 February 2007, 07:24 PM
Nice.

I really need to flesh out Dart's backstory a bit more... time is precious, and sleep is too!

Lieutenant Paladine
10 June 2007, 01:45 AM
Cool stuff Ronin.

I want more....