I stood at the heart of it all, battle scarred red and black armour thrown into relief by the fires that this battle had caused. In this time of darkness, there was no outward black and white, no visible difference between dark and light, simply shades of grey. The only black and white on show here was Stormtrooper armour, cast aside like the shells of dead crustaceans, which had once, in fact, been men.
I didn’t enjoy killing, not when it was like this, the level of training that these flash taught, Spaarti grown clones were little better than droids at this level, and the small band of Mandalorians I had by my side were more than a match for them.
Seventy armed and armoured men and women entered that loading bay, and only the six of us remained. It was, I mused, all in a day’s work. Not the most pleasant of days though, particularly not since this was supposed to have been a simple drop. Escort a “businessman” to Phelarion for Prince Xizor, ensure that the transaction went smoothly, and return him to the Prince, back on Coruscant, with the goods intact. The Muun was hiding between a pair of cargo containers, whimpering. I found my lip curling, beneath the impenetrable T slit of my helmet’s visor, as I made a disparaging gesture to one of the other Mandalorians present. It was so very tempting to lift one of those crates with the Force, and just let it slip from my grasp, but I did not.
“Muun!” I barked, my tone that of firm command, “We’re leaving, now!”
Keeping this quivering mess alive is challenging to my very core, killing him would be too easy!
Switching to internal comms, I motioned two of my comrades: “Atin, A’den, make sure the ship is secure. Ijaat, Soli, make sure our perimeter is clear. I don’t want this job going wrong, any more than it already has. Dom, come with me, we’re on babysitting duty. Things never seem to go right when I get a job from Xizor, but I’m determined to make the best of this one. We’re going home as a team, or not at all. Get to it, vode!”
Dom and I made it over to the Muun, who was barely on his feet by this point, and half dragged him along, him clutching to the remarkably small, but apparently extremely valuable item that Xizor had sent us here for.
“Galaar is secure, ner vod. Ready for your remote input.” A voice crackled through my helmet’s headset.
“Copy that.” Came the swift reply. “Okay vode, let’s move out!”
As we made our way towards the ship, I kept my eyes on the HUD’s three-hundred-and-sixty degree field of view, half expecting the threat indicators to light up with targets, but none appeared. Doing jobs like this almost made me miss the war. Fighting beside the Fett clones, Commandos, ARC Troopers, and White Jobs alike, I knew who the enemy was, and I could point and shoot, knowing that almost every squeeze of the firing stud would lessen the chance of my brothers being hit, even if only by a tiny margin. The thought made a tight smile appear on my face, as I hefted my modified Deecee in my offhand.
Today though, my enemies were everywhere, and the people who sent me out might as well have been the worst of them, not caring whether or not we came home, as long as their ends were met. I didn’t care what this new regime said about the Jedi, from those who I’d encountered, I could say without a shadow of a doubt, that they cared. Blind fools they may have been, but they cared.
I gripped the wrist of an older Mandalorian, as he did mine, and I looked him square in the eyes, telling him “I’ll take care of them as though they were my own flesh and blood. You have my word. Haat, ijaa, haa'it.”
I never swore any oath to the Republic, and certainly not the Empire, but I swore to protect the troops I served with, and I lost far too many, but I did everything I could, so they said. Some comfort that was.
Compared to this life though, war was a cakewalk.