Summary: The road to Hell is lined with good intentions. Is the road to the Dark Side just as well hidden? Things are changing and not all of them for the better. How will Ahsoka and the Clones growth effect them, each other, and those around them?
Life could be truly amazing at times. Life had ways of being able to line up into beautiful perfection. It was a very rare thing so when it happened it was always noticeable. Today was one of those few magical days.
Ahsoka and the 501st moved along steadily. They had a mission that should be 'easy' and it was on a warm and dry planet. After the last place they had been this was like walking on Naboo. More than a few of them still felt like they smelled of garbage even though that was impossible by now. Containers of cleaners and soaps couldn't have possibly been in vain.
The terrain on the planet was mostly sand covered rock that was broken up now and then with cliffs, gorges and grass. Since they'd been there though they hadn't seen any of the grass the planet apparently had. What they had seen was lots and LOTS of obnoxious bugs.
"Bugs are worse than the clankers!" Tup groaned as he swatted at the ones that kept landing on his helmet.
Thankfully the bugs came in waves and those were staggered pretty widely. Still they were awful when you hit a batch.
"At least you can hit the bugs." Five teased.
Ahsoka listened to the banter behind her with a smile.
"How are you doing Commander?" Rex asked. Somehow the girl who was so very bare seemed to be mostly bug free.
"Fine." She told him. "How are you doing?"
She smiled widely at that as they continued on. "I wouldn't expect any less from you Captain."
They had been walking for hours, but the battle would be coming soon in a sense. They were trying to walk to their destination without alerting the enemy which was proving fairly easy so far. They'd been there for a day already and had covered a lot of ground. Now and then droids would appear and they'd avoid them. Tomorrow or the day after the Clones would finally be able to shoot something which surely would make them happy.
Even with all the hours they'd been going Ahsoka continued to move along easily as she checked their map now and then. This was going to go well, she could feel it! A small yawn escaped from her and she brought up her hand to try to block it from view. She peeked around a bit trying to make sure nobody had noticed. It was a futile effort though, made clear when she saw more than a few helmeted heads look away and heard some chuckles.
"Getting tired kid?" Rex asked with a clear grin in his voice.
"No I am fine Captain." Ahsoka answered as she looked up and over at the other. "You getting tired? I think I see you slowing down."
"I am just keeping pace with you. Commander" He said as he flipped her words back at her.
Ahsoka pursed her lips at that. "Nice to know you still have your sense of humour after all this walking, Rexter." She could tell he was enjoying this and regarded him a moment longer before looking up at the cliff wall that they were quickly heading towards.
"Wish we could have landed on top of that instead of having to climb it." Fives groaned.
"I'm pretty sure there's clouds at the top." Hardcase said with a grin on his voice.
Ahsoka smiled back at them and then looked at Rex. "How much longer until sunset?"
"Should have another hour and a half." He answered. "We can make camp once we reach the top."
Ahsoka nodded and then grinned. "Just what I was thinking!" Her eyes surveyed the area ahead of her. "Well I'm going to scout ahead, find a good spot for us to camp."
"I don't know if that's wise Sir." Rex began as he saw Ahsoka rush off. He sighed as he watched the Padawan begin to move easily up the side of the cliff. "Come on! Can't let her get too far ahead!"
"Race you up." Fives grinned at Echo.
Echo looked up and then back at Fives. "I'm pretty sure that's against-" As soon as he saw the other begin to head up HE had to rush away and begin to head up as well. It might not be 'proper' but there weren't any droids around and being able to let loose a bit after a full day of very boring walking was good.
Echo startled as he saw someone joining in on his and Fives' little competition.
A hearty and almost demented laugh of glee came from Hardcase as he raced up the cliff wall with them.
"Oh you're on!" Fives said as he dared to look down and beside him, the laugh telling him all he needed to know.
Rex shook his head and began to move up himself with the others. He kept looking up to see where their Commander was. Sometimes he could damn the Jedi a little for making everything look so easy.
"Speedy little thing isn't she?" Rex heard Jesse say.
"That she is." Rex answered as he held off a groan. Sometimes he wished he could put an anchor on her.
"So how do you think this is going to go?"
"Well. Do you not think it will?" Rex asked as he felt his brow furrow. He made sure to keep an eye on what he was doing and to not get distracted.
"I think it will. It should go well and it's all planned out. Our time is doing exceptionally well also, so that should mean good things."
Rex smiled at that. "Yes. It should mean good things."
Jesse continued to climb with his brothers, occasionally looking up to see where Fives, Echo and Hardcase had gotten off to.
Once to the top Ahsoka stretched and inhaled deeply the actions causing her back to pop and her chest to ache in a good way. She blew out the breath then went to look down the cliff face; smiling at the progress that the three were making. She hardly ever saw Echo and Fives not talking together, and the fact that she couldn't hear anything from them just proved how much they were concentrating. Since she doubted that they were closed channel.
She shook her head a bit as she yawned, causing her to stretch again. "Yeaaaah... this is a good assignment." It was great to have a bit of 'down time' now and then. Yet still get credit for 'working'. She cracked her knuckles and then began to look around the area.
Ahsoka smiled when she found just what she was looking for. She moved into the cave like area and scouted around. It was a pale red orange in colour and was fairly flat and smooth all the way around to the ceiling. Still it looked natural and not purposefully made. It was an L in shape and in the shorter area there was an indentation in the wall that had a tiny waterfall that landed into a little pool. With a few more steps forward Ahsoka was able to see that the cave also had a way out. That could be good or bad. Either way though it looked like an alright place to be. They hadn't seen any droid squads for most of the day. Hopefully that meant none were in the immediate area.
Ahsoka continued to look around the cave. After a little bit more searching without finding anything eventful she moved closer to the little waterfall. It was so cute looking. She sat in front of it and then went to scan the liquid, her thirst growing. This would be great if it was drinkable. She swatted at a tickling sensation on her arm and then one on her stomach. Stupid bugs! She looked down but didn't see anything, nor did she hear any buzzing. Must be cave bugs! Maybe they'd go to sleep soon or they were only around the water.
She was pulled from her thoughts when her scanner beeped. A smile crossed her face when she read the scan. Yes! It was drinkable and safe! She was sure the guys would like that.
"OW!" She hissed as she swatted at a sharp pinch and looked down when her hand whacked something small but hard. Bah! It was a creepy bug that made a quick and large leaping get away. She groaned at the sight before she went to fill her canteen. Well, at least there was water, that was worth a bite.
Rex didn't like that Ahsoka was out of sight and had been for so long. He had no idea what he'd do if he heard blaster shots and the sound of her lightsaber. He tapped his comm as he continued up. "Commander?"
"Hey Rex." She chirped back easily. "I found a place to set up and it has drinkable water!"
"Don't tell me you drank it already." He said worriedly.
"I scanned it! And it came back clean." She told him. "I'm not stupid enough to drink un-scanned liquids!"
"I would prefer you to not drink anything until I or at least Kix is up there." He told her levelly. He held off his own sigh at the exasperated sigh he got back through the comm. "Just looking out for your well being Sir."
"I know." She said as she managed to not huff. "How are you guys doing?"
"Getting close, should be there in ten minutes.... though the three racers should be there any second."
"Alright." Ahsoka said with a happy smile. "See you guys soon."
"Yes Sir." Rex answered before he ended the communication. Times like this he REALLY hated climbing.
Ahsoka smiled as she waited for Fives, Echo and Hardcase to get to the top; grinning when they began to scramble up onto the ledge. Moments after they began to quickly argue over who had actually won.
"Commander? Did you see who made it first?" Fives asked as he headed over towards her. "Between Echo and I. Hardcase joined uninvited."
"What?! You just say that because I won."
"Say what you want Hardcase." Fives huffed before he looked at the Commander.
Ahsoka smiled at them. "I think you both made it at the same time." She told honestly at Echo and Fives. "Though Hardcase was the first Trooper up."
"YEAH!" Hardcase celebrated!
Echo and Fives watched her then looked at each other. "I think I clearly made it first." Fives said with a nod as he tried to ignore 'stupid' Hardcase.
"She said she thought we made it at the same time!" Echo argued despite himself. "And are you saying that the Commander is wrong?"
Oh that wasn't fair! "Guess that just means I was sloppy today." Fives countered.
Echo stared at him for a moment before turning away from him.
The grin on Fives' face could be heard right before he laughed.
Ahsoka watched the three clones for a moment longer before she cleared her throat to gain their attention. "Come on, I found a place for us to rest for the night."
The males headed over to where she was leading them, still lightly arguing as they followed. Once inside the cave they began to scout around and check things out.
Ahsoka let them do their thing as she sat down on a slightly raised flat rock. Her fingers reached a little bit down below her waist band and scratched at the bump that was forming. Blast it! She looked around to see where the troopers were and leaned a bit to see if they could see her. Once they were mostly out of sight she pulled her clothes away from herself and looked down at her skin. Ooh that was swelling kinda bad. She jerked when she heard them get closer and she got herself sitting in a normal position.
The troopers noticed her sudden movements and looked at each other. Should they ask about that? Jedi's were different but they found that the Commander was pretty much like them.
"Ah, everything alright Sir?" Fives asked.
"Everything's fine, just have an itch." She told easily. "Why don't you guys get set up, I'm going to go check on how the others are doing."
"Sir, yes sir!" They watched her head away before they went about claiming their spots. The men looked up as she left the area completely.
"Should be getting to our location the day after tomorrow right?" Fives asked.
"That's what Captain Rex had been saying" Echo nodded as he chose a nice flat spot near his brother. "Then we'll be outta here."
"Think we're going to have any trouble?"
"Don't think so." Echo said. "Be kinda nice to be able to shoot some clankers though." He couldn't help but laugh himself when he heard Hardcase exclaim in excitement.
Fives took off his helmet and sat down on his selected area. He rolled his shoulders and grinned. "Yeah it would."
Ahsoka tried to not scratch the stupid itch as she continued to watch the climbing troops. She wiggled a bit and had to step away from the edge so she could scratch without anyone noticing. Ooh she KNEW it wasn't good to scratch itches for fear of irritation or bleeding but it was just so itchy! Maybe she could take a moment and ask Kix if he had anything for itching. She fussed with her clothes momentarily and sighed as the pressure from them made the itching better once they were scooted down just a little bit. Ooh that was good. Maybe she could just do this and it would quickly get better on it's own. She'd see how it was tomorrow if it didn't keep bothering her today.
Black gloved hands appeared on the edge of where she stood, quickly followed by the white armoured bodies that they belonged to.
"Have a nice climb?" She asked with a grin as she offered to help up any who would take her hand. Which really wasn't many.
"Yes Sir." Rex answered dryly as he got up with the rest of his squad. "You said you found a place to rest?"
"Yes Captain. Echo, Fives and Hardcase have set up their areas already I'm sure." She smiled as she lead the way to where they'd be spending the night.
Rex followed and looked around the area, doing the cursory search. "You three scout?" He asked of the men as they stood from where they'd been sitting.
"Sir, yes sir!" They answered.
"Area is all clear and it also seems to be unfit for droids." Fives told.
"Good work." Rex said as he decided to look himself. He took in the craggy view that he was greeted with when he looked out the 'exit' path. He looked back when he heard the others coming into the cave.
"Kix, scan the water there. Make sure it's safe for us to drink." He said, not wanting to forget to do that before he looked back at what was before him.
Kix looked up at the order and moved to do so immediately. Water would be a nice luxury if it was safe.
Rex surveyed the exit carefully. Looking as it sloped down a bit and then lead out to another brief 'path' that then seemed to explode into jagged rocks. Rex saw that it would be best to continue on the path from the entrance, but if they had to he was sure they could go the way he was looking at now. His men could handle it. He looked back at his troops once he heard the sounds of them all talking. "Alright Men." he began as he got their attention. "We'll rest here tonight and then leave at dawn. That'll mean we either have one more rest stop before we reach our destination or if things go very well we might be able to get there for nightfall."
Ahsoka smiled at the cheers and 'Yes Sir!' that rang out. She settled on the spot she had claimed as HER seat and kept shifting her leg. Damn itch! Stupid pressure not working right now. She tried to fidget a bit, wishing her outfit had pockets so she could secretly scratch. She frowned to herself, wondering if the men itched, or what they did when they did. Just ignore it? She could ignore it. She was a Jedi! The itch seemed to pull at her skin and pinch it as if to prove her wrong, the feeling quickly re-dominating her thoughts. She was NOT going to succumb to an itch! This was ridiculous! She oriented herself and went to sit cross legged. She would try to meditate in the hopes that it would help with making it go away.
A few of the men watched her before they began to converse with themselves again, relaxing and eating a few rations.
Rex quirked a brow at the Padawan. That was always an odd sight, one that he wasn't used to seeing her do. Was she looking out for them? Or was it something else? He would be sure to keep an eye on her.
The voices of the men drifted away as she was enveloped in the calmness of meditation. Ahsoka was right where she was, as well as a million parsecs away. This was wonderful right now. Nothing could bother her here. All was well and good on the outside, and all was safe and well on the inside. She let herself drift. That's when she felt a small nagging feeling. Something that was preventing her from moving onto complete meditation. She could feel herself frown a bit, which only helped draw her back more. It was a sharp feeling, a growing feeling that began to encase her mind. It was like a black foaming mass that was sweeping through her calmness. Demanding to be paid attention to.
She tried to fight it, tried to ignore it and concentrate on meditating but as soon as she reached that point she had lost the battle.
"Frell!" Her eyes snapped open and she blinked. It wasn't dark, everyone was still awake but clearly an hour had passed because the colours in the cave were blue and purples. The sun was obviously setting. Had she actually meditated for that long?
"Sir?" Jesse asked as he looked up at her from his spot.
"Sorry, I'm fine." She smiled forcefully. Ooh, the itching, she could feel it all the way up her side, she swore it was making her back and hand twitch. This was ridiculous! She got up. "Going to just, check on some things." She nodded at the tattooed soldier before she headed away out the 'front' of the cave. She swore he said something but she didn't catch it due to her thoughts being on something more immediate. Something more itchy! Once out of sight of the men inside her hand reached down into her clothes and scratched the lump that felt a million times bigger now. Her mind wondered how they didn't all see it.
Her montrals twitched at the sound she heard. What was that? Ahsoka looked up and stared right at Echo who hadn't noticed her yet. She was about to say that he shouldn't stand that close to the edge of the cliff before she realized what he was doing. She turned around and stepped back inside her face redder than normal.
A couple of the men laughed when they saw her enter.
"I warned you." Jesse said as he chuckled a bit. He knew not to make fun but a little bit at her expense wouldn't hurt at all.
Ahsoka wanted to curl up into a corner even as she outwardly took it all in stride. Not like this was the FIRST time it had happened. Thankfully Echo hadn't noticed, but the others had. Which meant that he WOULD know about it almost as soon as he came back. She went and took up her spot again, watching a few of the men play cards. She peeked around noticing Rex wasn't around. She guessed he was on patrol.
When Echo came back in he frowned a bit at the chuckles he got. "What?" When he got no answer his frown deepened. He moved to sit next to Fives a questioning frown on his face. "What's so funny?"
Fives couldn't be mature at the moment and coughed a bit to force stop his laughing. His brothers serious expression pressed at him to continue laughing and teasing but he kept himself in check. Knowing that fun and games did have an end. "The Commander just came back from a walk."
"Where'd she go?"
"Out the front."
"Yeah?" Echo was clueless at the moment as to what that meant.
"Where did you JUST come from Echo?"
"The fro-" His eyes widened in realization. He put a hand to his face as he felt Fives' hand slap him on the back and then shake his shoulder lightly as he said reassuring things. "I'm not going to talk to you for the rest of the night."
"I'm fine with that." Fives said, sure that Echo wouldn't be able to not talk to him for longer than a few minutes.
Ahsoka shifted off of her spot and slid down to where her bed roll was, which was a bit too close to Jesse but right now she didn't care. She shifted and put her feet near the wall so she could lazily watch them play Sabbac. She felt very tired now and like she could sleep if she just allowed herself to.
"Hey, where's Rex?" She finally asked.
"He went on a short patrol. He hasn't been gone long. Said he'd probably be about twenty minutes." Jesse answered.
"Okay." She said as she curled up a bit. Before she let herself fall off to sleep completely she scanned the men that were around. Echo and Dogma didn't look very happy. Echo probably because he knew by now and Dogma... hm. She guessed it was because the guys weren't sitting on guard and were playing cards. She contemplated talking to both of them but decided to let it wait. Dogma would disapprove but would ultimately let it go since she didn't have any problems with it and she did not think that talking to Echo right now would make ANYTHING better.
Ahsoka curled up a bit, watching the cards being played. The sounds of the cards being shuffled and put down onto the stone ground slowly lulled her into a sound and itch less sleep.
Rex came back exactly twenty minutes after he left and looked at Ahsoka sleeping. It was early and he looked at her with some concern before he took off his helmet and shifted to hold it under his arm. Maybe all that wall climbing was more taxing than he thought. Then again she'd been yawing for quite a while. He went to sit down himself. They'd all be turning in soon, but not quite yet.
"How did things look sir?" Tup asked as he looked up from his cards.
"All clear and quiet." Rex said.
Tup nodded with the others at that, it was good that there was no activity. Considering the distance they had to go still if they were found now then that would make things more difficult. Not that he thought that they couldn't do it. They had been through worse then what they were expecting from this planet. Still, best to be alert at all times.
Rex noticed the expressions on Dogma and Echo. Dogma's look was obvious, Echo looked like he wanted to put his helmet on. He wondered what happened there. If he continued to look like that into tomorrow he'd check on it. Otherwise he'd let it run it's course. Fives was right there, so whatever it was would surely be worked out.
It was a good hour later before the men stopped what they were doing and fell asleep themselves. The night was thankfully uneventful and the warmth of the day continued into the dark hours.
Ahsoka awoke with a jolt when something hit her on the back. She rolled over a bit to see what had disturbed her only to see Jesse's hand against her back. She used the Force to gently tuck his arm back up to where she guessed it should be before she went to stand. The lighting in the cave seemed to indicate that it was getting to be very early morning. She got up and carefully stepped out towards the front. Even if she was sure that all the men were in the cave sleeping soundly she still peeked out first, not wanting a repeat last night.
When she saw it was all clear Ahsoka moved out a bit more and looked around before she could do a few warm up exercises in the space she had. Not a lot of space to work with but plenty enough to do a few of the less 'jumpy' ones. Things felt good right now. The men would be getting up soon and they'd be on their way out. She also had to remember to eat one of the horrible ration bars at some point. Her stomach growled at her in protest, reminding her that she'd meditated and then slept her way through her dinner meal.
She twisted then stretched and promptly winced. Instead of the satisfaction of being stretched that she was looking for she got pain. Ahsoka's eyes looked down towards her waist. Without her belt covering it she was able to see that the material looked bled through and once she pulled the fabric away there came a sharp pinching. A thick, deep brown mixture seemed to be seeping out of the wound. She swore again as she looked at her clothes then went to pull her clothes out and down a little bit, just enough to have the rim of her leggings and skirt not bothering the affected area so directly. The lump wasn't as prominent as it had been, instead it seemed to have flattened out. It felt stiff to the touch, which only seemed to make more of that gross substance emerge from the center wound.
She jerked and looked back. "Ah... morning Kix." Just the man she wanted and didn't want to see. She shifted her clothes around, trying to hold off a pained expression when the fabric touched the clearly sore area.
"Are you alright?" he asked as he came over to stand in front of her. The way she turned to prevent him from doing that made him grab her by the shoulders. "Stop."
She sighed and did so, allowing him to get in front of her and kneel. He could see the discoloring on the outside of her clothes, though it wasn't something noticeable unless you were as close as he was. Which nobody should be. "May I?"
"Yes." She said as she let him do what he needed.
He cleared his throat as he hooked his thumbs into the waist bands of her clothes and pulled them down a little over an inch to give himself plenty of space to work with. He winced at the small pained sound she made. "How much does it hurt?"
"I've had worse." She told him honestly as she looked at his face, trying to read him.
He nodded at that and went to lightly touch the area. "Stay here." He said as he got up to get his pack. The light out here was better then inside so he didn't ask her to follow.
Ahsoka fought the urge to pull up her clothes. She never wore that much on her top which allowed a lot of her stomach to be exposed normally but somehow this was making her uncomfortable. She looked over when he came back and crouched in front of her, her head tilting back a bit as she closed her eyes. Stupid everything.
"Are you alright with standing?" He asked as he began to inspect the area again with his gloved hand.
She looked back down at what he was doing, nodding a bit even if she was sure he wouldn't notice it. "Yes I'm fine it doesn't hurt." She said, her voice wavering and being broken with a gasp as he got to a ticklish area. She looked away from him and towards the other side of the area.
"Ah...." He took out his scanner and checked it, frowning. "How'd you get this?"
"Think a bug bit me."
He frowned more. "When did this happen?"
"Yesterday when I got up here."
He made a low sound at that. "With all due respect Sir. You tell me when something like this happens. We're on a strange planet and bites and in this case stings can cause any sort of possible problems."
"Yes Kix." Ahsoka sighed and hoped today was getting the horribleness out of the way right now so it would spare her for when later came. She felt so stupid and embarrassed. It was obvious that you told people when something like this happened. Not like they'd tease her to death for getting assaulted by a bug. She held off a groan, of all the stupid things...
Kix sighed to himself and got some things out of his bag. "Scan says something is in there but I don't think I can or should do anything right now. It'll be fine until we get back to the ship tomorrow and the medics can get to you. I'm going to give you a shot and then I'm going to clean the area. It'll sting."
"Okay..." Damn it... She was never going to hear the end of this from her Master. Ahsoka closed her eyes as she felt herself be given the shot and then had to fight gasping as he touched at her again. How did this tickle?! Her mind wandered a bit as she felt the textured gloved fingers roam against her skin. She inhaled a little sharply as his hand got closer to her side.
Kix felt her tremble as his hands re-checked the area lightly and gently. He looked up at her with his eyes now and then, making sure she wasn't enduring through waves of pain just to appear strong. He watched her mixed expression, unsure of what to make of it. Well at least she wasn't in agony and for that he was thankful. Even if he was beginning to feel like he might be doing something wrong. He was not used to people reacting this way when he did work on them. He shifted to grab some medical cleaner onto a piece of medical cloth. Once enough had been applied he went to wipe the area gently, hearing her hiss through her teeth as he pressed. When she tried to step back from the pain he had to shift and put his left hand on the small of her back to hold her in place. "This will make it better." he told her as he held her still.
Ahsoka made a small sound and nodded, her face scrunching up at the stinging pain. She shifted back against the hand, amazed by how solidly he held her in place. The thought of that made a fiery heat explode in her chest and made her tremble in a bit of a different way. His hands were not those of a medical droids. Her eyes opened a bit wider, why was this happening? What was she DOING?! Her head didn't wander like this! Even if what Kix was doing hurt, feeling his hand on her back stole her attention. On his strong fingers that were placed solidly against her. Soon though it was over with and she slumped her body trembling from how tense it had become. "All done?"
"Not yet." he said as he checked the area visually. He looked at the read out again. "If you start to feel worse you TELL me. Understood?"
"Yes sir." She said softly, not liking the fact that she was in this position. The position of being in trouble, the actual physical position she was in with him and having it be more than a little liked bothered her on a level that she couldn't even begin to explain.
Kix then went to dab at the area again, making sure it was as clean as he could get it before he got a medical patch ready and made sure a good dollop of antibacterial medical gel was on it. He got ready. "Hey, look at that."
"Hm?" She asked looking around to see what Kix was talking about. Her breath caught in her throat as a violent pain ripped upwards and outwards from what had just been a simple itchy spot yesterday. The sharp breathtaking pain made her try to back away from it hard enough for Kix to pull her towards him. She had to blow out a breath and put her hands to her face to wipe away any stray tears that the shock had caused. There were levels of pain and she had felt a lot worse but it was just so different than other things she'd felt before. "Ow..."
Kix then went to pull up her clothes nicely once the sticky patch was in place. "There." He said as he stood and then looked down at her. "You sure you're okay?" His eyes searched her young face. She was flushed and her eyes couldn't meet his. The visual cues he was getting from her made him tilt his head. Had he done something to deserve this sort of look? Of all the clones he and the other medics were the only ones allowed to touch the female Commander without permission when not in battle. He had, had to examine her before. Maybe it's because he touched a ticklish area. It made some sense, he'd found a 'weakness'.
"I'm fine." She told him, unable to meet his gaze for a moment longer. When she heard the sound of a throat clearing she winced but still looked over. "Morning Rex."
"Is everything alright?" he asked, his eyes moving from Kix to Ahsoka. Something about the sight made him tense up, and was unable to keep the frown off his face.
"Everything is fine." Ahsoka assured. "Just had to have Kix check over something."
Rex eyed Kix a bit, watching the other closely. He'd of course never suspect one of his brothers of wrong doing, still he felt protective. Also the way she wasn't looking at either of them made him move closer. "Kix? Is that true?"
Kix nodded. "Everything is fine." he could tell that Rex was on the alert for something.
Ahsoka huffed a bit. "I just TOLD you it was fine." She said at Rex with a frown.
Kix watched the two have their silent stand off and then he finally spoke. "Everything is as fine as the Commander says." He assured. He could go into details as it was honestly nothing serious. Though he was pretty sure if he did his Commander would hate him forever, especially if he did it right here. He was sure she could last longer than Fives and Echo with any 'shunning' she would do. If it became a concern he could tell Rex in private.
Ahsoka looked up at him and gave Kix a look. "I'm going to go in and get my stuff packed and change once you guys are all out of there. Everyone else awake?" She tried to push the funny feelings aside.
"Yes Sir." Rex said. "I'll clear them out."
She watched him go and then looked down at the top edge of the sticky patch that just peeked out from her clothes. Yeah... best to change lest she have disgusting stuff drying and then starting to smell on the very clothes she was wearing. She moved in to pack up her bed roll which had been strangely comfy last night. She offered a small smile at Jesse, managing to not tease him the way the others would about him rolling over and 'whacking' her with his hand. It wasn't her place as their commanding officer, it also wasn't something she wanted to draw attention to in case it was awkward. She supposed it wouldn't be but right now everything felt more than a little strange. Once everyone was out, she quickly swapped her skirt and leggings to her pair of tight maroon pants. She gave herself a moment to adjust to the new amount of pressure on her sore before she headed out to the now helmeted group. "Ready?"
"Yes Commander." Rex said. "I was just telling the men that heading this way would be the most direct and easiest way to go. I scouted a bit last night and found that it is the better way to go."
Ahsoka smiled. "Alright. Lets do this."
The walk had indeed been easy, up until noon. When they had run into their first group of patrolling droids. They managed to avoid them though, not wanting to tip their hand. From that meeting on there seemed to be many more droids and less and less areas to hide and tuck away in to avoid being spotted.
"We must be close." Ahsoka said.
The group moved along, Fives and Echo took the lead now and then, switching out with Jesse and Dogma and Tup and Hardcase in a steady rotation. As the day drew on, their area of sparse but still rocky landscape came to and end. They had reached the plains. It was completely flat, and there didn't appear to even be any foliage that was higher than knee height.
"This'll be fun." Dogma said with a frown.
"We made it farther today then I thought we would." Rex said. "There's still time and we're not that far. Commander, I think we should go for it. We can put a stop to the clankers here tonight and get the information we need."
Ahsoka thought and looked back out, her eyes scanning the landscape that was now a hue of purples. They could do this and then go home. She looked back at the team that she was with knowing that they were all set to do whatever she wanted. "Alright. Come on, lets do this."
Rex nodded. "You know the drill, two teams!" He ordered.
Ahsoka listened to Rex separate the group they had and looked back out to the landscape. No place to hide, but no place for the clinkers to hide either. Once it was time she headed out with Rex, along with Kix, Tup, and Jesse. Dogma went with, Fives, Echo and Hardcase. If they weren't going into battle right now she'd tease Dogma on how happy that group combo must make him.
Their swift movements ate up the distance quickly. Ahsoka's eyes scanned the area, trying to make sure nobody saw them. They couldn't risk the information they wanted being dumped before they got there like last time. Hence why they'd been taking his mission so 'slow'.
Ahsoka continued ahead with the others. "Nobody seems to be out here."
"Maybe they're confidant in their searches." Jesse said as he too looked around, keeping an eye on what was behind them.
"Let's hope that's it." Ahsoka said as they reached the edge of the huge sinkhole. Down below was the squat factory. She laid down, the situation allowing her to ignore the protest that erupted from under the medical patch. "Alright... there's more than what I was expecting. Get the other group to stop at the location we agreed on."
Rex nodded. "Dogma. Are you in position?"
"We are Captain. Whenever you're ready."
Ahsoka inhaled slowly. "Alright." She slid off her personal pack and then took the one that Rex wore. "Don't loose my stuff." She warned him with a smile. "I'll never forgive you if you do." She offered a smile at him before she moved forward and peeked down. She then looked at the groups that were patrolling around around the factory. She waited until there was an opening and leapt.
Rex and the others could only watch as she dashed across the ground and then leapt up onto the building. She was on her own now.
Once on the roof Ahsoka opened up the pack she wore and pulled out the breathing mask. Once it was adjusted she stood up and bounced easily into the exhaust.
Even with the mask it smelled. She inhaled deeply as she carefully watched her decent down into the facility. Once she was far enough down she began to cut a hole into the stack. Once it was cut she used the force to push the heavy metal of the chute and wall into the hallway and gently lay it down. She was in the right spot.
Dogma frowned when he saw the droids on his side break their patrol pattern suddenly. "Captain Rex, the clankers are heading for the doors, looks like they're heading back inside, and quickly."
"Shoot them. We don't need more of them inside then there are already. We'll cover this side." Rex said as he waved at Jesse and Kix before the three of them began to shoot the droids that were in their sights. They continued their attack easily, due to where they were positioned they also had lots of room to shoot them down in before they got anywhere near where they were located.
Dogma continued to shoot with Fives and Echo while Hardcase had taken it upon himself to already move into the dangerous area. Mowing down everything with his much loved Z-6 rotary blaster cannon.
Dogma was unable to not grit his teeth while the sounds Echo and Fives talking seemed to echo in his helmet. "If you two do not stop talking I'll hurt you."
"You're too by the book and rules to ever do that Dogma." Fives said with an audible grin.
"I'll make the exception." He answered through gritted teeth.
The two talkers did eventually comply. There was only so far you could push Dogma before he'd get so upset that he'd go to Rex. That wasn't so bad, the bad was that he'd think that Rex wasn't taking his complaint seriously. Then he was quiet and not fun.
Tup lowered his weapon when the droids suddenly stopped and powered down. "The Commander did it!"
Rex and the others stood watching the now very still area. He opened a channel to Ahsoka. "Good work Commander" When she didn't answer he frowned. "Commander? Commander respond." Another pause of nothing. "Ahsoka?" His body tensed as he stood up. "Come on men." He went open channel. "Dogma, bring your team in. We're going in to find Commander Tano."
"Maybe her comm was damaged." Jesse said with a frown.
Rex hoped that was it. As they made their way he went to call for a pick up in preparation of her being hurt.
Within minutes all the men but Tup were inside the base which was now completely dark and quiet. Their helmet lights traveled eerily across the corridor floors.
"Captain." Fives began once his group entered the base from their side. "Any sign of the commander?"
"Not yet." Rex said. "We should head for the Comm room and the area surrounding it."
"Yes sir!" They said as they spread out into a search pattern.
Rex moved through the halls, his brow furrowing deeply, trying to figure out all of the different things that could have happened. Maybe it was a damaged comm, and she was heading outside.
The path to the central communications and power rooms got tricky with how many shut down droids there were. Considering how easy travel had been it was clear that all the droids were heading inwards to where the Commander must have been.
"Fives check the Comm room, Echo you check the power room. Everyone else continue checking the halls." Rex ordered as he looked at the shut down bodies. All was quiet on the open channel. Maybe she had gotten up and left. If she had though Tup would have told them already.
"I found her!" Echo said through the open comm. "She's been hurt." He felt cold as his helmet light illuminated her prone form. He rushed over to her as quickly as he could, having to kick the droid bodies out of the way. "Yadaj dakl, ignot! Blasted clankers! Worse than when they're active!" Once he got over to her he crouched. "Commander?" He asked as he went to gently shake her. The violent knot in his chest loosened when he heard her make a sound. "She's alive!"
"Move." Kix said as he rushed over to check on her. "And grab her lightsaber."
Echo looked for the weapon and grabbed it up once he found it. "Is she going to be okay?" he asked as he looked up at the others coming in.
"I hope so." Kix said as he went to roll her over very gently. His eyes widened at what he saw. Ooh Commander...