The fundraiser was a mess of royals and other such dignitaries. Rex thanked the force, that the senator had given him a book on ettiquet days before. Though as it was he couldn't recall a damned thing. Women old and young had practically hounded him since he'd been announced. It hadn't mattered that he was a clone or a mere captain. The old ones wanted to dance, while the younger ones wanted something in a different direction all together. The young men present engaged him in talking about sports and what lady or ladies had caught his eye. He talked adamently about sports,but the women. Well how could he even attempt to look when they'd done nothing but chase him all night. To which he recieved a good laugh from the men. As the night wore on he stuck by the senator more, it seemed to keep some of the gaggle away.Where the Stang was Ahsoka when he needed her? One look from her and they'd scatter, thinking of her lightly took his thoughts deeper. He smiled until he came across a thought. How would Ahsoka look in the dress that the senator was wearing? His eyes widened,as he strained to recover his composer.
"Yes I believe Captain Rex can be much more help then I, on the newest gernade from Kamino." Senator Amadala nudged him slightly."Yes quit right. Commander Flash has informed me that we will be testing the gernade on one of the nearest moons to Kamino, at the end of the week."
"What of the inventor?" said King Orium, one of the republic's new members. Rex shook his head. "I've inquired more then once. All the commander will say is it's his top student in his explosives class."As Orium was about to retort, an elderly hand clamped down on his shoulder."You can't expect to get answers when there are none to be had, at the moment. I have faith in our good captain that if it works, we will see the result in enemy casualties." The old man then winked at Rex. As Rex smiled back, he heard a pack of giggles from behind.
He'd rather have faced certain death then look behind him. The old man came around and turned him towards them, frowning at the mass of women he wagged his finger."You pack of wolves better leave the good man alone. His heart is spoken for. So mind your manners or your reputations will be brought into question." The young heads slunked away in defeat.
The old man turning to the senator said."If you'll exquise us, I believe we've earned some fresh air." The senator curtsied, "Of course your majesty."As they proceeded into the garden off the ballroom,Captain Rex wipped his forehead."Thank-you, your majesty."The king waved it off."Never liked tittles, never will.Just call me Olan. It was good enough when I was a private in the army and its good enough as king."He gripped Rex's shoulder in a camerodery way."Still my lord....I mean Olan,I couldn't have lasted much longer." The king laughed. "You did as well as any young man could've done with those jackles.Let sit down for a moment, all this excitement is tiring me out."
"Should we head back ." Rex said concerned for the old man."No, hell no. I hate the crowds. Wouldn't have even come if the women folk hadn't pushed me out the door. Thank the force I did though I wouldn't of been there to rescue you from the hungery hordes." Smiling they found a garden bench to sit on.
"So my young captain, who's the lucky lady?" Rex scrunched up his brow,"Lucky lady, sir?" The king eyed him."Now, now I'm not that old of a fool to have missed the look you got in there." He pointed back towards the lighted ballroom, continuing."A young man only gets that look when his heart gets tangled up with a certain woman."Rex sighed, rolling his head on his neck. Staring out at the vastness of space before righting his head."She's not married is she?" The king gently inquired.Looking down at the walk Rex said."No,she's a close friend. Someone I trust and respect. I've only just begun thinking about her being more then a friend."Smiling the king said softly."She sounds like a real prize-you haven't told her how you feel." Looking at his rough hands he thought of how impossible it was,before answering.
"How can I? She's in love with someone else,and a jedi in training".Rex's shoulder's
slumped.The king put his arm around Rex's shoulder's."Nothing is impossible young man. If you've never told her how you feel, how can you be so certain that she doesn't feel the same for you." Rex looked into the kings face.
"My wife is a queen,but before that she was a woman on the run from her family. We met,when I was only a private in my countries army. She was climbing back over the wall with food, medical supplies and arms, when I caught her. We lived happily for yrs. before her family found us. Told them she wouldn't come back unless they accepted me, which they eventually did. So I know about impossible." He finished, as a dark shadow glidded across the garden, smiling he got up from the bench."Wait here captain,I'll be right back." Turning into the garden's maze he disappeared. Moments later he reappeared."Come captain, meet my wife." Rex wondered. He hadn't seen anyone else out in the garden and no one could've gotten past without his notice. Cautiously he followed the king into the maze. Down into the center, where statues stood like senturies awaiting an attack."Come out my dear. He's a friend." Out from the garden's shadows a monster came.Rex immediately pulled his small personal blaster and placed himself in front of the old man. The beast reared up its head flapping its irradesent blue wings in a storm wind. knocking the blaster away from Rex.The old man clamped suddenly extaordinary strong arms around his arms. The monster's clawed feet dug into the gravel surrounding it." That is my wife,captain. " Shock made Rex turn his head to the king. Letting go of Rex the king approached the winged creature. "Its not everyday you change my dear. You can't expect him to not react,after all he's a military man." It puffed white smoke from its nostrals, before easing down onto its stomach."Come captain, you've spooked her. Come talk to her."
Rex cautiously approached. "Put your hand on her forehead. It takes a first contact before she can talk to your mind." Rex touched her slowly,warmth flooded his body and an image appeared in his mind of a sturdy older woman with whitened hair."Sorry captain,he convinced me that I should stay like this. I would have much preffered to done it in this form, but it takes a lot of energy to go back and forth from form to form." He nodded, in his head he asked,"What are you,madame?" "Madame,no just Dracina. A descendent from the first to cross into the Pathway. There are many of us, each one of us a symbol taken literally into form. I represent the serpent. Other's in the family are a lion, eagle,and much more. We are the protectors. Set up by what the jedi call the force, we call God. Now if you'll exquise me I'd really like to change, captain." Rex nodded as the connection was broken. Refocusing his eyes, Rex found the old king smiling as he sat against his wife's scaled side,Rex helped him to his feet . Dracina looked at her husband with ocean green, human eyes as she meandered into the shadows.
A sound like shattering glass had both men entering the darkness where the queen had gone. A small sturdy woman in a respectable blue dress sat exhausted against the maze hedge. "Don't worry about my scales, child. They turn into my dress while the extra melt into pools of water. Now let's go have a real drink, not that over sugared stuff they serve at these parties." Each man gently helped her up.
"Why are you here? Is everything alright?" The king asked concerned. Dracina nodded her head."That's why I came, our daughter has given birth to my replacement. Lora told me I had better come and keep an eye on you lest you over do it.Said that the messenger's may not be able to control you like I can." The queen laughed.
As the three of them headed out of the maze, the queen said." You must keep my secret, captain. I have enemies who have no idea that I am a dragon. Should they find out they would kill not only me but everyone within my family."She looked at him in all seriousness. He felt honoured and humbled at the trust given into his keeping. Picking up her wrinkled hand he kissed it. "You have my word that not even death could make me tell." Dracina blushed"Such chivilary. However did you escape marriage this long?" He smiled thinking that the Olan may have been right. Impossibilities had a way of becoming possible. By mornings light even the senator had joined the trio. Promises of aide, clone bases and any other assistance that may be had in the future were made with the exception that Captain Rex would come to see them, soon.As the party seperated into their vehicles Padame remarked"It seems you made an impression."To which only a soft snore was the answer.
"Actually Captain Rex seemed to enjoy the fundraiser. That is after King Olan came to his rescue."Padame laughed."The poor man was chased by young and old alike for more than 1/2 the night."
"Well,well my good Captain's a ladies man.Wonder why he's kept it to himself?"Said Anakin's laughing hologram.He'd of course not only heard but seen the picture from a black eyed trooper. Captain Fancy Pants,at least a pretty pissed off one. Otherwise the Captain was in high spirits. Padame continued." Yes, Rex proved himself quite valuable.King Olan's not only promised us aide but the o.k. for a clone base."
"Sir, Gerneral Kenobi wants you on the bridge right away."Squawked Anakin's wrist com."Guess you'll have to tell me about Ahsoka when I get back to the ship. I love you,Padame."
"I love you too Ani. May the force be with you." After clicking off she went into the kitchen. It was a good thing that her mother and sister were arriving today. Otherwise she'd of gone to the Temple and prayed til he returned to the ship.
"Men for most of you this isn't the first time on this bug infested slap of rock. But its no time to get sloppy. So review all weakness in their armour and pray these new gernades work as well as they did on the testing grounds."Rex followed up wlith patting the new troopers on the shoulder and telling them to breathe. Rex recounted the test's in his mind.Commander Flash had grinned big when they'd landed, test droids had been set up for practice. Each test proved only to get him excited as the droids were first caught in a goo and then melted by a flamable acid that left nothing behind but a oily,smoking pool of melted metal. When asked if he could meet the genius the commander had actually laughed."You'll have to come by before graduation and try picking him out before Commander Cody has a chance."
Damn the man, Rex grinned. He'd even tried convincing Flash to rejoin the fight by getting a pair of mech legs. Sure the commander rolled pretty damn good with the dekar, but on the battlefield he'd be mistaken for the enemy.
"About to land sir. " said the pilot. "Alright check your rebreathers. Don't want to breath in the bugs after you've smoked 'em', now do we boys."
"No, sir!" Came the comeback, as they stepped off the transport. Rex looked around remembering how General Skywalker and Ahsoka had force pushed him off a retaining wall and then had to catch him. He still got queeze just thinking about it."Captain Rex you're with me, we're going in the front door.Master Kenobi and Cody will stay topside."Anakin said shaking a de je vu feeling off as he placed the helmet on.
"Ahsoka excellent work, your new leg seems to have you at full strength and battle ready." Said the evaluator."Yes, sir." Ahsoka smiled coming to attention."Would you like to return to the 501st?"
"If its not to much to ask sir. I'd like to graduate with the men."
"Why Ahsoka, they are just clones? Nothing but copies of a bounty hunter."
Anger rolled like waves in a storm into Ahsoka, she replied heatedly." They are not nothing! They are my brother's, my family! I will not have you degrade them, ever!" As she was about to use her force abilities, the evaluator smiled." Excellent. You've become one of them as only a jedi can, as family. Yes you have my blessings to continue, you do us all proud."
Shocked she allowed the evaluator to push her out into the awaiting crowd of clones. Who started to celebrate her final examination, as she was now able to fully participate.
"Yes!" cried one of the troopers as the screaming bug flamed from head to toe. Comments of that sort had been raining down in echos as the 501st pushed deeper towards the central nest."Anakin we have a problem." Kenobi's voice rang inside the helmet. When wasn't there a problem, he thought."What's up master?"
"The seperatists had a nasty little surprise waiting for us. The mines they're using are force sensitive. Our abilities draw them out of the ground like magnets. Many have been forced to leave their units to their second in commands."
"Captain Rex do you believe we'll be safe down here?"asked Anakin."Yes,general. For any mine to work as they suggest they would have to be buried close to the surface. We're miles underground." Rex said pointing to the tunnel's ceiling.
"Alright Anakin, just be careful. Who knows what other surprises they've laid out for us." General Kenobi signed off.
"General, do you think those tinny scum used the splinter group as test subjects?"
"I wouldn't like to think that Dooku's become that disturbed, but who knows. Let's get going we're almost to the nest." Checking his gernades and saber, he walked into the unknown darkness with Rex.