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Ronin
21 February 2007, 06:10 AM
22nd Regiment:
Seela

Flight deck of the Venator-class star destroyer Valiant
Two mass-driver missile launchers mounted at the wing roots, just fore of the main engines. A rack of four rockets nestled under those down swept wings. A composite beam laser turret imbedded in each wing and another two beamers in larger ball turrets either side of the main cabin. A non-standard pair of Merr-Sonn Z6 rotary blaster cannons in the chin and one at the rear rounded out Seela's armament.
A Rothana Heavy Engineering Low Altitude Attack Transport - Infantry version.
Roll had flown nothing else in all his eight-year life and he loved it with all his heart. The larty was an ugly SOB to some, and Roll had to admit that it wasn't the safest ride but he wouldn't pilot any other vessel. Some of the other clones from his batch had moved on to V-19 Torrents or the newer ARC-170s and V-wings...but Roll loved his larty.
He strode round the gunship, the sound of his footsteps absorbed in the racket of technicians and droids prepping other craft for the upcoming mission. He was proud of his ship: the same one he'd piloted down into that arena back on Geonosis almost three years ago. He had no personal property, heck he himself was the property of the Republic, but what he did have was his pride. And he was damned proud that he and Seela had made it through thirty four months of constant war unscathed.
Well, almost unscathed, he thought, checking the new armour plating on the starboard wing. Carbon scoring still showed round the edges of the plates the techies had just hammered back into place. Most of the wing gone but Seela had still got Roll home.
His inspection took him to the gunship's front and the red-skinned Twi'lek dancer painted astride a bomb. He checked the Z6 rotaries, gently moving the barrels by hand to check the mounts were well lubricated. Nice and smooth. He then looked up reluctantly to check the canopies. Both were new and gleamed in the hangar's light. He could almost make out the thread of detonite imbedded in the transparisteel to blow the canopies before ejecting the pilot and gunner. Both were new canopies though only one had needed replacing. The damage to Seela's starboard wing hadn't been the only damage on their last mission.
Rock.
Since they'd been decanted from the vats Roll and Rock had flown together aboard Seela. The three had been inseparable. They'd taken turns painting kills on Seela's fuselage. Her body. Roll always the pilot, Rock always on the guns.
But a single shot had ended it all.


One week earlier...

The cockpit was a riot of flashing lights and alarms, the gunship rocking beneath them as Roll dove them toward the jungle.
"Steady, girl," he said to the airframe around him.
The planet's name wasn't important. It was just yet another battlefield for Roll, Rock and Seela. Jungle terrain. Roll's second least-favourite environment behind urban. Either way it usually necessitated long hovers over terrain that gave cover to the enemy but none to Roll's own shebs. And this was a hot one. Clouds of hot mist hung in the air, humidity was almost a hundred percent, and temperature close to 313 degrees...all in all it made the thermal scope pretty much useless. A blink and his HUD removed the blanket of orange IR, replacing it with an undulating sea of green treetops.
And up from the carpet of greenery flew streams of triple A. Red, blue and green, it was like a fireworks show. Not that he'd ever seen real fireworks, only a few microseconds of footage during a morale section of his flash-training back on Kamino. Fireworks and smiling children were apparently what he fought for and would be welcomed by at war's end. Both Roll and Rock agreed they'd rather be greeted by the real Seela. They wouldn't even mind sharing.
He put that to the back of his mind as a new sound cut through the cockpit.
A warning tone.
Hailfire.
His HUD immediately pinpointed it: eight o'clock, 2K and closing.
LAAT/i gunships weren't built for speed and there were few craft that could hope to outrun a Hailfire missile. Despite their speed and snaking flight, Hailfires weren't the most manoeuvrable missiles and Roll knew they might be able to out manoeuvre it: turning toward a missile coming at you from one side might at first seem like insanity, especially when your guts told you to run, but sometimes it was the right move.
Throttling up he pushed the cyclic forward and to port while also pushing on the pedals to swing Seela rocketing toward the missile.
Meanwhile behind him Rock switched over to rockets and armed a pair. With all the foliage he might only get a single chance to nail the droid. And all the time he tried to ignore the missile streaking toward them. That was Roll's job. Getting the droid before it shot off more missiles was Rock's responsibility.
And all the while they were silent. After years and dozens of missions together they didn't need the incessant nattering that clone commandoes found so necessary.
Roll gritted his teeth and pushed hard on the control stick, balancing increasing their speed against pitching nose-first into the treetops. The missile was not as visible as its smoke trail was; purple-grey and snaking toward them. The missile too was fighting to change course. Clearly the droid had expected the larty to both accelerate and run or to turn away from the missile. Neither of which would've worked.
Rock's thumb rested on the pickle. As soon as Seela spotted the Hailfire and gave him a firing solution, he'd loose the rockets and they could be on their merry way...aside from all the blaster bolts and laser blasts that were being shot up at them continuously. The sound of small arms impacts spanging against the fuselage was like the constant downpour back on Kamino.
It was going to be close; the missile lock warning became a constant drone in Roll's ears. The gunship was still rolled almost onto her port wing and was turning rapidly...and the missile's own arc was bringing it to bear.
Suddenly Rock's HUD lit up and painted a glowing green box round a rapidly moving form in the valley ahead.
Seela had found the Hailfire. And it was running. Rock nudged the reticule a little ahead of the large-wheeled droid as it tore it's way through the undergrowth; Seela was good, but Rock preferred to put the rockets a little ahead when he had to nail the Hail.
He squeezed the trigger, oblivious to the fact hat Seela's port wing was almost collecting birds' nests and the Hailfire missile itself was almost upon them. And as soon as Rock's rockets appeared in his peripheral vision Roll hit the ECM.
The Hailfire missile was designed to roll and snake toward its target, making it exceedingly difficult for even automated guns to shoot down. However, this meant it had to use sophisticated sensors to constantly track its target and adjust its flight-path. Sensors that could be jammed, if only momentarily.
While Seela's own rockets had been dumb fired. Skill and training, rather than technology, put both rockets into the fleeing Hailfire droid...as the droid's missile essentially found itself blinded. Its target was there one moment and gone the next. The onboard sensors automatically sent the missile into a widening spiral to reacquire the gunship.
And ploughed into the jungle canopy.
Rock chuckled to himself as Roll righted Seela.
"Droids," they muttered simultaneously.


Seela was flying hungry: an empty belly. Not even her door-gunner composite beams were manned because she'd been sent to the planet on a hot pickup. A commando squad and two trooper squads had infiltrated the planet two hours earlier and secured a member of the government who was defecting. In the briefing room after dismissal the two had debated whether it was a willing defection or a persuaded one, Rock stating that when confronted by that many blaster rifles, everyone was willing. Before boarding Seela the pair were as chatty as any other clone or natural-born soldier...but once they were in her their existence was in her hands, hers in theirs and the atmosphere was solemn.


Ahead lay the city: grey ferrocrete in stark contrast to the lush green jungle surrounding it. Most of the buildings were low one or two-storey affairs but a few towers rose up higher than the treetops. Thick black smoke poured from one tower crowned with mangled antennae. That probably accounted for the lack of seppie air units in the area.
The commandoes' work, Roll surmised, but where were they?
Their briefing had indicated that the commandoes would be storming a town house in the north west of the city while the troopers held the perimeter, and Seela automatically designated it on the two clones' HUDs...though the smoke and gunfire in that general area was indication enough.

The seppie AAA had actually dropped off as they had neared the city but it suddenly picked up again as every peasant with a rifle started taking pot-shots at the gunship zooming low over their homes.
Rock sucked in a deep breath and adjusted his grip on the weapons controls as Seela’s sensors picked out countless individuals firing up at them. Blasters, slugthrowers, shotguns, rocks.
Roll throttled up, sending clouds of dirt and sand down the streets below and stopping some of the nearby shooters. He took them over the city as low and fast as possible, veering round the taller buildings. And suddenly the GAR taskforce came into sight:
speeding away from the wrecked townhouse, piled aboard a pair of no doubt stolen speeders were four clone commandoes and half a dozen troopers. And in hot pursuit were three speedertrucks full of assorted thuggery. While drivers attempted to weave between pedestrians and street stalls their passengers exchanged gunfire. The distinctive blue plasma bolts of DC-15's and DC-17m's from the clones...and red bolts from the seppies who were as varied as their weapons: Quarren, Trandos, Rodians, a few Humans and Weequay.
"Bugger this," Rock muttered to himself and cut loose with the twin Z6s.
All other sound; gunfire, explosions, screams and the roar of engines were momentarily eclipsed by the high-pitched whine of the two heavy rotary blaster cannons. They cut a swathe of destruction up the road, the first bolts landing just behind the rearmost GAR-commandeered speeder...and tearing through the lead pursuing seppiewagon like a huge vibrosaw. Flames engulfed the truck's cabin as its power cells went up and the smoking wreck, now stacked high with blasted corpses skidded to a halt in the road.


"Kandosii! Alpha squad to Seela. What took you so long baby? We lost our reservation and were just gonna catch a taxi home!"
Roll rolled his eyes and he heard Rock sigh, Commandoes.
"Seela to Alpha. King, you have the package?" Roll responded.
King's initial reply was drowned out by a loud THUMP-THUMP from Rook. Alpha squad's heavy weapons man had seen fit to bring along a cip-quad.
"Say again Alpha-One. Say again."
The black Katarn-armoured King, sergeant of Alpha squad, patted a terrified-looking Gossam on the head. Roll had failed to see him in crammed in between troopers and commandoes on the open-top speeder.

"We got the hut'uun*. Now land that bird so we can get out of here!"
* coward
The clone trooper at the wheel of the lead speeder slammed on the emergency brake as he revved the repulsor coils, skidding it to a stop across the road like a barricade. Immediately the four troopers piled out the safe side and took up firing positions using the speeder's bodywork for cover. At the same time the rear speeder mirrored the move, blocking the rear, with just enough room for Seela to set down between the two vehicles.
Rook and Knight stood behind their speeder-come-barricade: Rook's cip-quad hammering the next seppiewagon into a fireball and Knight sniping at hostiles as they gathered on rooftops.
King and Pawn hauled the Gossam out of the vehicle as the remaining two white-clad clone troopers covered them; one falling to fire from a rooftop.
A shot from down the street drew sparks from the fuselage just decimetres from Rock's face and he clamped down on the trigger; the Z6s tore up the road as they chased the fleeing shooter and finally annihilated him in a burst of red mist.
Seela's doors slid open and ready as Roll lowered her to hover less than a meter from the ground. King and Pawn immediately tossed their prize aboard and the remaining clone troopers piled atop him. Even if the seppies tossed a grenade in, no one was going to scratch that little alien.
Rock swept the wing beamers across the rooftops ahead of Seela as King and Pawn covered Knight and Rook's own boarding. Shots continued to spang off the larty's armour and suddenly...
"Arrr Peee Gee!!"
They were a sitting duck. Since everyone there had the same voice Roll never knew who yelled it out but suddenly Seela veered to starboard as the rocket propelled grenade hit her wing and blew a hole through it.
"Fierfek!" Roll cursed uncharacteristically and struggled to regain control before Seela listed into the roadside building.
King leapt aboard as soon as she was level and extended an arm for Pawn as Roll fed power to the repulsors and she began to rise and Rock kept the Z6s sweeping the rooftops and streets.
Pushing the control column forward gently at first in case her wing gave out, Roll also swung her toward the jungle...and suddenly, over the sound of Alpha firing out Seela's doors and dozens of separatists in the streets and on rooftops shooting back, Roll heard a single shot louder than the rest.
Maybe it had been meant for him...
but suddenly the Z6s were quiet.
Roll waited a moment for his partner to resume firing.
"Hey, you tired of fighting or something? Shoot, dammit!" King shouted over the comm-net as more and more enemy fire began to hit the retreating gunship, denting her armour and punching through in places.
But there was no response from Rock.
Roll risked a look back to Rock's position, momentarily taking his eyes from their flightpath...and found Rock's canopy was dominated by a big hole surrounded by cracks like an arachnid's web. Rock himself was slumped forward, only the top of his white helmet visible...


Flight deck of the Venator-class star destroyer Valiant
Roll shook himself out of his reverie. There was a new mission to fly and scuttlebutt said the war was nearly won.
Fireworks and smiling children.
But it wouldn't be the same without Rock there too, Roll thought as he caressed the hand-painted Twi'lek dancer.
It was then that he heard a footsteps approaching. He'd never heard such precise steps since Kamino. Almost marching. Looking up he found a clone walking stiffly toward him, the yellow-trimmed white armour and destinct helmet denoting larty crew.
The newcomer stamped to attention and saluted at exactly regulation-distance in front of Roll. He could almost hear the man's tendons strain he was so stiff.
"Sir! NG-8305 reporting for duty, sir!"
Roll had known they would replace Rock but he hadn't expected it to happen so quickly. Then again he couldn't fly Seela into combat without a gunner.
8305 took Roll's silence as a cue to continue.
"She's a fine ship, sir. I look forward to riding her with you," the young clone said, looking over the gunship's battered, scarred and patched fuselage and wings. "What's her name?"
Roll could hear the nervousness and excitement in 8305's voice.
"I hear we'll be flying some boys from the twenty-second, sir," 8305 continued, "have you ever worked with them before, sir? I hear they're some tough sons of-"
"Eighty-three-oh-five," Roll interrupted quietly and his new gunner snapped back to attention, almost rocking back on his heels.
"I've flown with the twenty-second once or twice before. Don't be so nervous," he quickly changed the subject, "and her name is Seela. What, 8305, is yours?"
8305 stood motionless and speechless.
Sighing, Roll continued, "Well, I can't call out eighty-three-oh-five every time I need you to blow something up, or the three of us aren't going to last long."
Silence.
"Get your shebs aboard. Get her warmed up for me while I think up a name for you. And hurry. Kappa and Sigma'll be here soon."
8305 snapped off another salute and boarded Seela just as the black-clad commandoes arrived on the flight deck. Unlike Alpha, these boys weren't an original pod; both were mongrel squads but together they had forged a brotherhood on the battlefield. Roll looked to 8305 in the gunner's position. Perhaps they too could form the same bond.
He gave Dutch a firm handshake and nodded to the others as they took their places in the cabin, then he himself boarded and strapped himself into his ejection seat. 8305 was busily running through the pre-flight and warm-up. The kid was so eager to please, so fresh and full of enthusiasm...just like Rock and Roll had been three years ago. The commandoes too had changed. The war had changed them.
"Eighty-three-oh-five, your name is Gra’tua," Roll said, breaking the silence.
"Yes sir thank you sir!" the young clone replied, "sir...what does it mean?"
"Vengeance. Gra'ika. Vengeance."

And Seela carried them out of the Valiant on their final mission.

chiefcaptin
21 February 2007, 06:43 AM
Wow! If you keep writing them at this rate you could write a novel! Trains are good everyone! Another very high quality fan fic from Ronin.

Ronin
21 February 2007, 06:57 AM
Actually I got about 80% of an Alpha squad story written (about 4 A4 pages) today, so I hope I can post that sometime before the end of the week.
And I am planning to compile them all once myself and Johnny Putrid finish off a much larger story we've co-written that fits into the set. I also hope to write a sequel to All for One... sometime; a little more detail about Garloz, and following one of those four commandoes on a mission....aaand there's the young-Garloz story I'm slowly working on, where you find out how he got the name "Whitefeather". :)

Actually, the Alpha squad story has a couple of unnamed clones at the moment: a bombardier and a rear gunner in an ARC-170. Any suggestions? :)

JediRanger
21 February 2007, 07:17 AM
Well, once again great story Ronin. As for names, how about Trigger or Det, or if you want to use some Mando'a...how about Jatne (best) for a cocky rear-gunner and for the always effiicent bombardier...Iviin, which is short for Iviin'yc which means fast and quickly. B)

coldskier0320
21 February 2007, 09:05 AM
Actually, the Alpha squad story has a couple of unnamed clones at the moment: a bombardier and a rear gunner in an ARC-170. Any suggestions?

How 'bout 'Yoss' for the bombardier? I couldn't help but think of Yossarian, the bombardier main character of Catch-22 when you asked for a name. :)

IzVenjari
21 February 2007, 07:39 PM
Originally posted by Ronin
Actually, the Alpha squad story has a couple of unnamed clones at the moment: a bombardier and a rear gunner in an ARC-170. Any suggestions? :)

Rear gunner: Zig, Strafe, Goose
Bombardier: Flatfoot, Range, Pin, Pockets

:D I like Goose the best

Ronin
22 February 2007, 12:29 AM
Cheers gents!
While I do want to include more Mandalorian-named clones, I think I`ll go with Yoss (Catch-22 is so good!) and Zig. :)
The Alpha story is growing, so I might make it a two-parter or more.

chiefcaptin
22 February 2007, 06:12 PM
I agree that Alpha squad is awsome. I've thought so since I first read their names in the 22nd Regiment: Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned OOC thread. Names after a chess board is genius.

Ronin
23 February 2007, 05:02 AM
I'm glad you like Alpha :)
There's the story I mentioned above that I'll post as soon as JP has checked it over...and another Alpha story I wrote today that I particularly like...

Lieutenant Paladine
10 June 2007, 01:39 AM
I love your stories.

You make one hell of a story teller.

great names by the way.