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Haruun Kal


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A moment can last a lifetime, from a battle to a kiss, and it was in those moments that many treasured for better or worse. That much was true for a group of survivors. Ever since they crashed many, "Moments," had unfold, from the truth of their service in a military to the eventually service to a new Galactic Empire. How long they were asleep they didn't know, only that the Ships Core stated it was undetermined. So here they were, on an unknown planet, and several years ago they quickly adapted to the wildlife. 


Of course, they were only known as Riggs, Thumper, and Tilt. Three Republic Clone Troopers of the Grand Army... Or what was the Grand Army, perverted and corrupted. At least from what the Ships Core AI had revealed, which was limiting as it was, it at least explained the chips buried in their heads. These chips were built to control the Clones for a grand scheme, however due to the ships experimental nature they went defunct and we're surgically removed. That has been two years ago, and this was now. 


The small Kiminoan medical vessel, which could only house a maximum of a hundred loving individuals, lied half buried into a mountain, wooden structure built into and onto the ship itself. They acted as platforms, makeshift room, and repair seemed to be made up of both wood and debris. On a platform that rested atop sat Tilt, who scanned the vast forest below and beyond. He had on makeshift Phase II armor, mended together by leather and hide and stitchings, however that wasn't his original outfit it still served for protection against the elements. His head had a clean shave to it, kept more close to the skin and he had a controlled goatee. 


Riggs and Thumper were nowhere to be seen, most likely hunting again for dinner which was why Tilt remained at the overlook watching and gharding. Since they had run dry of emergency rations hunting was the usual nowadays, and there were uses for almost everything  on the kills they managed. Pelts were used and stored frequently, meat was completely cut or shaved off, and the bones were used as parts or bait for traps. Inside the ship they had their own little museum built, skeletons of animals they had hunted, even insects and fish. It seemed grotesque or disturbing but it gave them something to do in spare times. 


Just as Tilt was thinking back to the Clankers they fought before something caught his attention down below. He readied his wood and metal bow and arched an arrow, his eye gazing until the point of the iron sight aimed at it's desired target. Brush moved and rustled, and from the shadows of the treeline below, an individual in makeshift clone armor walked out. Sighing, Tilt eased his bow and arrow and then his eyes were caught by Thumper dragging a large dead animal. A fresh kill. 


"I don't suppose you need help?" Tilt hollard from above and begun climbing down. 


"Bah! Thumper can get it!" Riggs says in his gravelly tone disgruntled about something.


"You can't be serious!" States the other helmeted trooper, "I told you that the crossbow doesn't work, it's something I have to fix on, but no, you decide against my better judgement-" 

Tilt put his hands up just as Riggs turned to say something, approaching and quickly says, "Easy Thumper. You said it was working last night. What changed?"


With a brisk sigh, Thumper picks up the large fauna and slings it over his shoulders, and begins to climb up the metal and wood stairs, "I don't have proper material. Normally, a crossbow is meant to be strong and sturdy but since that heavy rain the forge had been messed up. Too wet to really work with, so I tried my hand at simply using leftover materials. We don't have a blow torch, and I can't use the fires of the forge to help craft new items. So the bows broke, and we lost a major game because a certain somebody chose not to listen." 


Tilt and Thumper looks to Riggs who is already halfway up the large number of steps. The other clone trooper ignores them and continued on, with Tilt shaking his head and says to Thumper, "His patience is waning. He misses the battlefield." 


Sighing again, Thumper replies, "But this isn't the battlefield! He... You... Probably should talk with him, he listens to you better. You can tell he's always on edge, it's good for hunting, but Riggs doesn't relax for anything." 

Unbeknownst to the triad of clones, a weak distress signal- a weak Republic distress signal had been active for some time. It had been harsh lately, two of the clones taking this new life well while one reminiscing on their history. All he wished to do was get off this rock and get into the fight. Entering the ships main hall through a door, Tilt made his way to a log table where Riggs was looking over an old blaster, something he had been working on for some time. The gas used to fuel the weapon were long faded, and maybe only a few shots remained. 


"I remember back on our third mission, we needed to sabotage that vehicle depot the CIS were using," Riggs started looking over the rifles functionality, "It was this blaster I used to take a sharp shot at the detonator. One shot. And boom! Thumper was a bit sad he never got to blow the place, but we left with no casualties that day. And we really proved ourselves too, Captain." 


Tilt nearly straightened to the usage of his old rank but relaxed instead and replied, "Yeah... I remember that one well. Wayforward was pissed because he rigged the wrong fuel line. Worked all the same though, Commander was always a bit of an ass when it came to specifics... Look, Riggs, I don't know what's going on with you... Or I do! I just don't know personally, and both I and Thumper are worried about whatever it is is going on." 


Riggs remains silent for a hard moment, his expression becoming neutral before it finally fell, "I don't know, Tilt, that's the thing. We all seem to have our vices from you putting bones back together and renovating the blasted hull or Thumper trying to recreate explosives. I've been working with electronics and trying to create tools for us, bows and repairing weapons, but... I just think I miss the fight. Ya know, against the droids, fighting for a purpose- Having a purpose! Is... Is that wrong?" 


"No it's not," Tilt chuckled, "As a matter of fact I've been itching for a fight too. But you can't just expect things like that anymore, our purpose now is to simply live life. I can't sate your eagerness to get off this rock but no one has come for us in how long now?" 


Tilt sat next to Riggs who don't stared at his rifle. The clone was gripping the stock of the blaster rifle, and it left the Captain to question just what was hard about it. He knew what was difficult, to get out there and fight alongside their brothers once more, to serve alongside the Jedi in the fight against the CIS and the Sith. Liberating worlds and helping people. Clones weren't meant to have long lives... But the reality was that the trio would live them out. 


Tilt rests a hand on his brothers shoulder and said, "I'm not asking you to set aside your emotions. I want to be in the fight more than anything, but for the time being focus on our situation. If we can't help ourselves, what good are we to anyone?"

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The soft woot of a sensor on the bridge alongside a flashing  amber light in the console tugged The Mantis from his light slumber. Aboard the battered ore freighter, the Jensaarai Defender had rested, conserving the few supplies he had found in hopes that between they and prolonged meditations, he would survive the journey from the chaotic world of Mon Cal to wherever the force may lead him.

When he hd left the world, the rebel siege was in full swing. It had been easy enough amidst the chaos of the surface and the skies to make it to an unattended Sith freighter and slip through the battle, unscathed for the most part.


Righting his seat, the Defender’s eyes scanned the console for the source of the bleeping. It took only a moment, a faint distress beacon. Perhaps it was far off or it’s battery was dying, signaling it’s advanced age. Maybe it was caught beneath some level of obstruction that messed with it’s beacon. It was hard to tell. The Mantis tapped the console as he pondered the situation. He knew what he needed to do, it just took a few moments to convince himself of it.


Grabbing the yoke, the Defender manually brought the craft about. Somewhere within the fringes of whatever system he was traversing someone was or had been signaling for help. It was an old transponder code, one that the Sith craft did not recognize as legitimate. Still, it checked out. It WAS a distress signal.


Having just escaped a Sith held world and having committed what would surely be categorized as an act of terror, The Mantis was cautious; more cautious than he usually was. That was something to say the least. He sent no response, no message seeking clearance or classification. If there was someone on the world in need, he would find them himself. The craft was designed for hauling goods, weighty cargo. It was not made for advanced scans, searching for lifeforms and the like.


Slicing through the atmosphere of Haruun Kal, the beacon’s call became clearer. It came from a . . . ship? That made sense. It was the make and model of it that did not. It was a ship that wound have been natural amongst the old Army of The Republic, a Kaminoan craft designed for ferrying clones; not one that had any place plying the galaxy in today’s day and age. Unless . . . The Sith were resurrecting a lobgnlost army. That was a long long time ago. More than a lifetime. It seemed Sithly enough to make sense.


Setting the ship down on a rocky ice shelf out of sight of the wreckage, The Mantis donned his Jensaarai armor and cloak, his weapons expertly affixed. Securing the craft, it’s industrial locks jarring into place, The Mantis set off into the clear air. The force swirled around the force user, shrouding his presence, his signature, his very essence in a veil of secrecy and unknowing. He was the shadow that was there and gone in a blink, something that at once one saw but could not see, doubting the very existence of what might have been but was not.


The Jensaarai was a ninja of the soacelanes. He, they, existed by not existing. Their presence was never known or sensed. They worked in the shadow. They were the shadow; not being of darkness, but beings of muted light. The sand in the bottom half of the hour glass. Created by the sins of the Jedi and the arrogance of the Sith, and yet drawn inexplicably to the light.


He moved, darting from shadow to shadow as he made his way from outcropping to rock along the mountainside. Crouched high in the crisp cool clear air, The Mantis overlooked the overwatch and the, was it really a clone? overlooking the mountainside below.


What was going on? Was this some sort of military outpost? Nothing seemed to add up and yet, The Mantis was here, alone. If this was a trap, he would spring it. If this was a rescue, he would carry it out. If this was anything else, then he would do his best to help those in need and stop any evil that might be seeking to permeate the galaxy alongside the Sith war force that threatened the freedom of the known universe.


Even as the force shaded his existence, The Mantis jumped, arcing in a long somersault, landing on his padded feet at the edge of the overwatch behind Tilt.  “Do not be alarmed soldier,” he spoke, his voice calm and commanding, almost ethereal in quality. “I am escaping an Imperial world under siege and picked up your distress signal. Are you ok? Are you alone? Who are you?” he asked, his eyes scanning the trooper before him, ready to spring backwards off the edge into open air if needed, or to heft a weapon from his armor and respond in self defense. Still, he hoped for better. He hoped this man was not the last survivor of some doomed vessel, a solitary Sith creation that would need purged. In his heart, The Mantis regarded the soldier and hoped for the best.

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"I guess I could try..." Riggs finally said in response to Tilt, "It ain't gonna be easy." 
"No one's saying it will be, but until our situation changes just do what you can-" Tilt was cut off by a voice completely different from any of the clones.
“Do not be alarmed soldier. I am escaping an Imperial world under siege and picked up your distress signal. Are you ok? Are you alone? Who are you?” 
Moments ago, Thumper was beginning to gut the catch of the day when he noticed a slight shadow. Mistaking it to be a bird, he looked outside to watch the thing fly only to see something move into the ship. It didn't have clone armor, and it looked... Wrong from his viewpoint. Quickly grabbing a bow and a quiver of arrows. Thumper quickly moved to an upper platform built into a sturdy tree and sat and turned, having a full view of Tilt and Riggs as they say and had a heart to heart. He looked through the welded rifle scope attached to the bow. There, just behind the Captain, a form took it's place. The Sargeant took aim and was ready to fire. 
Riggs was quick to raise the blaster, probably only having several shots left in the canister, all Tilt did was stare at Riggs with a dropped face. He dared not turn around and made a gesture to Riggs to lower his weapon. Taking a breath, the Captains mind races with a plethora of options. However one thing crossed his mind. If this individual wanted them dead, they would have done it. 
Tilt answered, "I could be asking the same thing. We'll play a game. You can ask any question and I'll answer, however I will ask the exact same question and you must answer. Now then, as to who we are. We are stranded Clone Troopers of the former Grand Republic. Not sure if it's a republic anymore after hearing about a Jedi Purge some years ago, but you're not that Galactic Empire so I'll give you that. Now, who are you? Why are you escaping a Sith world?"

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The Mantis stood unmoving. He could feel the weapons of the clones trained on him. Beneath his light armor and cloak, his muscles stood tense and relaxed, ready to spring into action in an instant. The force flowed about him, line a stone just below the surface of a river. It rippled and changed and obscured him beneath it’s wake, trailing a wake across the surface if the world, hiding him against the chaos of the natural. Yet, he stood here still.


He did not know who these clones were. Their faces gave away their genetic identity. Such knowledge was commonplace to those who read and studied history. The Jensaarai made doing so an integral part of their training.  

Behind his unmoving masked helm, The Mantis spoke softly and with calm surety. “The Republic is no more. The Galactic Empire, no more. The Sith, sworn enemies of the Jedi, seek to purge the galaxy of them, of anyone that might stand in their way. They have the truth, yet corrupt it. They have given themselves over to the depravity of their own minds, over to the shadows of the galaxy. As for me, I am but a thief, a man of honor, a lowly vagabond trying to survive in the shadows without succumbing to them. As for why I am fleeing, I think that would be obvious. I stole something.” The Mantis fell silent after he answered. This clone wanted to play games. Very well, he had one more question, “Why do you have a distress signal activated?”



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The Republic was fallen but so were this Galactic Empire? And the Sith still existed which... Didn't surprise the Captain none the least. They were like insects, no matter how many died more popped up, however back in the day they only had to deal with the likes of Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress, Maul, and the hidden Sith Master. Whatever the case it seemed the Clones were asleep and abandoned for longer than a few years.
 Tilt was silent for a moment as to the question of the distress beacon, trying to remember what this individual was talking about until it hit him. The ships automated beacon used for dire situations. Because why not? Tilt answered, turning to look at the individual though they were still shaded, "This vessels AI core had turned that switch when we crashed. So it's stayed on for however long. It's something we forgot, almost, and every now and again we remember the thing only when we actually want off this planet. Originally we'd hoped someone picked up on it, but since it's been this long we hadn't cared too much for it." 
Though Tilt couldn't see the individual properly he took a long look at them. The key phrase played out in his mind, if they wanted to kill the clones they would have done it by now. They seemed hounded by the Sith and the Jedi still existed which meant a fight was alive but perhaps not well. In this situation... It was time to leave. The reality of it was this: the individual came to see if the Clones were alright, the individual was on a run, and it was then Tilt would need to take advantage of the situation. They were leaving the planet. 
The Captain then brought up his bloodstained green and orange-camoulflaged gauntlet and pressed down a button, "Thumper, stand down and report to me immediately." 

Lowering his arm Tilt turned to Riggs, "Get ready." 
Riggs with a sense of haste quickly toon off down a corridor and behind a curtain of live green vines. The Captain then turned back to the shaded individual and said, "Forgive our... Hostility. It's... been a long time since we have seen another face. I'm Captain Tilt, the other one down the hall was Sargeant Riggs and making their way here is Sargeant Thumper. And you are?"

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The Jensaarai slowly nodded. To be stuck on a world so long, to be out of touch with the realities of the galaxy for so long, it was almost criminal. Who would have done such a thing? It was apparent though that these were not forces of the Sith; although, where they allegiances might lie was still an unknown.

   “I go by many names Captain, many of which are unpronounceable even to me, but you may call me Pryf.” he answered the clone’s question before turning to conversation quickly away from any further inquiries and back to the topic at hand. “If you and your men are to accompany me, I would ask that you provide some manner of consumables so we all might survive the trip. I had to leave with little notice and am not well equipped for taking on passengers; although, I would guess you and your men have had it worse.”


”As soon as you are ready, we can be off.”



It did not take long before the Jensaarai and his newfound passengers were settled, albeit somewhat haphazardly in the highly used and abused ore freighter. The Sith Imperial creat on the side of the ship would help them blend in once they entered more charted space lanes. The Mantis left it unsaid that he hoped the chaos of Mon Cal had prevented the hauler from being entered into any sort of galactic stolen vessel registry. The thing would need abandoned, scuttled, or stripped sooner than later. Still, it served their purpose.


As the craft lifted off from the world, the still-armored man, set about engaging the autopilot to see them clear of any gravitational wells before he made his way back to the dirty cargo hold where the clones were able ton stow whatever gear they had wanted to bring along. It was not accommodations any self-respecting ship’s captain would be proud to offer passengers, but it would have to do.


Careful to avoid brushing the wall and dirtying his cream cloak, The Mantis stepped inside and nodded to the troopers, his voice an enigma, but warm, behind his helm. “We should be clear to jump within the hour. Never knew a hauler that couldn’t be outpaces by a legless bantha rolling uphill, but we’ll get there. Wherever there is. Tell me, where is it you boys are looking to go?” he offered a datapad, he had found amongst the ship’s supplies. It was open to a heavily regulated newsfeed of the Sith Imperial News Corps. Still, short of telling stories, it was the best way to offer the castaways a glance at the greater galaxy. He only hoped they could read through some of the more obvious propoganda. “I warn you though, not everything is as it appears in the holonews feeds.” It would not be hard to find news of the desecration of the industrial shipyards of Mon Cal at the hands of terrorists and dissident factions of malcontents and vigilantes. A bit more digging might also reveal a few still shots of potentially wanted subjects now branded enemies of the state for what might be considered war crimes against the Imperial government of Mon Cal. Among them would be a single blurred photo of what might have been the clones’ newfound host with the charges of terrorism, use of incendiary devices to inflict wonton damage, and criminal destruction in the first degree. Something about blowing up medicinal production facilities on Mon Cal . . . 



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With that being said, Pryf may seem promising... At least for now. Tilt still had some level of suspicion but that's to be expected. Still yet, Tilt hasn't out up much a fight regarding questions only wanting to know the who, what, where and how, and once they get further he would press for more answers. And now the question was where exactly they were going, of this Pryf was going particularly nowhere then Tilt had a few ideas... If said planets were still around.


Riggs about a half hour later could be seen carrying wood boxes worth of... Stuff. Many of which were filled with weapons and equipment only the Clones would use, as well as cooked and packed vegetation and meats and various hides. Well, the pelts and hides probably didn't need to go but what better way to earn a few credits? Thumper in the meantime had been scrubbing the broken Kiminoan ships database, last thing they needed were for some rat kriffer to track them down or have information on the Clones.


Once the pair were finished the group went onto the stolen vessel of Pryf and settled down in the cargo hold. The place was dirty, grime and dirt and whatever else littered the area making it clear it was heavily used. The trio of clones sat on small crates, already had pulled out dried blue and purple venison strips and eating them. There were spots on the strips of meat, oddly enough, but the clones didn't seem to care at all.


The Pryf approached the troops and told them they would jump within a few hours. And the question came as to where they wanted to go. After a minute Tilt said, "Possibly Coruscant, Naboo... Wherever you were headed, we don't particularly have a real idea."

"We'll head to where they have an 8 ball and hookers, now That's an idea!" Riggs butts in as Thumper took the data-pad and begun scrolling through the various news articles.


"But tell me, Pryf," Tilt began leaning back with his arms crossed into a crates side, and ignoring Riggs, "If the Sith are still around that means the CIS is as well, correct? My biggest concern is having little allies to compete against the two giants. And before you go and say about how, "You read about the Clone Wars," reading is a lot different than actual experience. And of they're still using droids then it makes our situation a little easier... But in a sense more difficult."


Tilt continued, "I'm willing to help out with the predicament. We fought CIS and their corrupted forces, so if they or similar factions are still around we wouldn't mind cracking some skulls. The first thing we must do is have our equipment repaired... But I'm getting ahead of myself. Firstly, where are you coming from exactly, and where were you going?"


"Hmm," Thumper sounded, looking up to Pryf with an amused glance, "Arson, sabotage, first degree criminal destruction, other war crimes, and blowing up medical facility on Mon Calamari. Now I'm not a betting man, but the image I have on this Holonet page kinda looks like you-"

Riggs bursted with outrage, "That planet is under Sith control? What the fu-"


"Easy!" Tilt snapped, his voice harsh and quick, then sighed and shook his head. He turned his gaze back to Pryf before offering a piece of venison strip, "There are a lot of places we've reinforced, liberated, and our company were amongst the few who helped trained militias and provide aide to civvies. Our commander thought it, "A generous thing," to do so, so for a planet we knew is in enemy hands kind of hurts."


The dried jerky Tilt offered was red and blue in nature with splotches of purple and orange cooked on there. While the meat looked questionable it was cooked with a variety of fruit and spices found around the forest. It was a beautiful mix of spicy and sweetness, the former hitting quicky and a tad hard while the latter kicked in seconds later berry hitting the senses like a kitten with a brick. All these while the meat still held superior in it's salty and cooked flavor. Beside Tilt was a clay jar of jerky, some pieces the same color as what he offered while others varied in appearances, color, and whatever else.


"That's war for you..." Thumper absentmindedly comments as he was quickly reading through various articles. He found the obvious propaganda, hell, he even laughed at some of it, a few pieces he cracked hard while the group were talking. He then says, "You would have to be an idiot to believe half of this! Then again, I wouldn't put it past half the galaxy at this point."

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The Jensaarai nodded in thanks, tucking the piece of dried meat into a fold in his robes to save for later as he listened to the men talk and update themselves. Of course they would have questions, it was only natural. Unfortunately, he would not have all the answers; even those he did have he could not reveal the full expanse of, lest he saturate his own opinions into them or reveal himself and his people to the plagues of darkness about the galaxy. Still, they deserved to know something of what the galaxy they  were reentering had to offer.


At the outcry of emotion regarding Mon Cal, The Mantis opted to interject. “It is my belief that a resistance force had or is currently driving the Sith forces from that world. The war you may remember is gone gentlemen, but for those willing to stand on the side of what  is right and honorable, there are still a great many battles that will need fighting. Droid armies still plague the galaxy. Even the Jedi have one now. So too do slave armies run amok and some users of the force put themselves above all others. I am no Sith or friend thereof, in fact, this ship is to be used in such a manner as to right the wrongs perpetuated about the galaxy and allowed by the forces of darkness. If you are willing, there is an old Imperial, and dare I say past Republic, world and populace that could benefit from the skillsets I am sure you possess. What say you to taking the fight to the enemy, being a bit of a rebel against the hordes of darkness that seek to overwhelm our galaxy these days?” he asked, his voice a bit playful at the question before he added a bit sarcastically, “It is where I was going originally. But if you’d like, I can take you to Coruscant. Last time I was there the Sith crashed the moon into the thing. Killed trillions. Lots of real estate available.”

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Listening intently to Pryf, Tilt was piecing certain things together that could help make sense of how much they've missed. So far, a lot. Probably much more than what they were being told. Riggs settled down upon hearing that the Mon Cal were liberated, but he still had that burning anger toward the oppressors. Thumper meanwhile just listened while reading more about the galaxy news from the Sith broadcast, either chuckling, sighing, or whatever noises he came up with. When Pryf mentioned what had happened to Coruscant the three troopers had their eyes fixated on Pryf, jaws dropped at the actions the Sith had taken. They looked to one another and their expressions were a mixture of shock and disbelief. 


Tilt had answers, or some at least. Droid armies were still a thing, worlds the Grand Republic and it's Jedi had rescues were under siege, and the Sith were larger than ever it seemed and crashing moons into worlds. Before the Captain even responded Thumper asked, "A whole f**king moon?! How did they manage that?!"


Tilt quickly interjected and responded to Pryf, "We're in. You don't need to say anymore. Coruscant is fine, we have plenty of food for the long haul."


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The Mantis smiled, his body relaxing visably. “Well then, if you are in, Coruscant is not where you want to go, not yet. Not sure the four of us can take it alone. Not yet. Lets brush the rust off those guns of yours and go help some folks in need. Any chance you fellows can make yourselves look a little less like clones and a little more like unsavories? Ryloth won’t be too friendly to us rebels; maybe even less to government-types sniffing about.”


As their conversation waned, The mysterious rebel returned to the cockpit to launch them to hyperspace and towards their rendezvous on Ryloth. He was not sure who they would be meeting there, but he knew if these clones were serious about doing the right thing they’d be a great asset to the Rebellion. If they were shady, his fellow rebels would be able to sniff it out and Ryloth would be a good place to leave them if they became too unsavory.


Once launched, the masked spy set about changing from his armor into a grubby Imperial jumpsuit, accenting it with his collapsed staff and a few vials of agridium powder to play the part of the would-be hijacker of said ship.

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