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Tell Me Something Funny

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We Fett clones were great soldiers. No one could or would ever try to argue with that. We were engineered, conditioned and trained to be versatile and skilled on the field of battle. In war, we knew what we were doing and so we were mature, confident, and serious.

Then there was our spare time. In our spare time, a lot of us reverted to what we really were, just a bunch of guys. In some ways we were a strange population. We were between seven, that was the youngest they ever drafted us, and thirteen at the oldest, at the end of the war. Kids really. We had mature minds. We acted like grownups if we were in formal company. Some of us, like my brother Cody, for instance, never acted like kids. But I hear even regular men can be pretty silly when left to their own devices. Hell, even Jedi. My General Plo Koon was hilarious. We clones liked the things regular guys like, women (in some cases men), drinking, sometimes drugs, having fun. Some of us had hobbies. Laughing helped us to blow off steam. Let’s face it, our lives were stressful. We needed to find fun where we could.

My hobby was music. I collected it. I had a player pod with a huge memory and it had thousands of things to listen to. I also liked stories. I collected those, too. My brother Gregor and I were going over the stuff I still have on my player. So many good songs. But the stories I had not listened to in a while. I gathered them from everybody I ever encountered practically. Gregor and I were just cracking up. I almost cried when I heard some of those voices from people I know are dead or who I will never see again. But I’m really glad I have these records, some concrete evidence of who we were and the things we did.

So here are three of them:

The Wolftap

What makes this story interesting to me is not that I come off well in it, it is that my brother Havoc was there. He died in the Battle of Kamino, defending our younger brothers and our disabled brothers from the Separatist invasion. Havoc had been kind of a bully when he was young. He gave younger guys a hard time and was really merciless on the bad batchers, clones with physical disabilities who were put to work serving us. One day he bullied the kitchen team in his barracks. They were my brother Rex’s batch mates and Rex led some brothers in a scuffle over it. Afterwards, Havoc was sorry and apologized to Rex and his batch mates. From then on, Havoc treated those kitchen guys as if they were his batch mates, too. He was Rex’s first selection as ARC Trooper when he organized the 501st.

Aboard the Star Cruiser Negotiator after evacuating the 501st and the 212th from Felucia. Eating dinner in the commissary. Present with us, Havoc, ARC-Trooper of the 501st, Commander Cody of the 212th, as well as Kix and Jesse of the 501st.

Wolffe- At dinner tonight, we have some members of the 501st and my brother Cody has been asked to tell a story to them.

Cody- Okay, so Havoc, Kix and Jesse, being a little younger than us, know the slang term ‘wolftap’, which among us clones means an unexpected hit to the groin. But they were not actually there for the coining of this phrase. So, when us first batchers were young on Kamino we used to fight each other in competitions, like we all do, but violence could also be more casual. Like that time, I was in my sixth year, you guys must have been fifth years.

Wolffe- Okay, so we had all these things we’d do, as pranks or just to mess with each other. The Kaminoans would usually ban them as soon as we thought of them, but we kept finding new ones.

Jesse- Oh, I remember some of these. Like putting a bunch of socks in one sock and using them to club each other with.

Kix- Or snapping each other with wet face towels.

Cody- Or that week we figured out how to make water pistols out of empty tubes of toothpaste.

Wolffe- Ha ha! Or when we figured out how to make launchers for juice bottle caps to shoot each other with.

Kix- They started using the powdered juice rations after that.

Cody- Okay, we sixth year guys started slapping you fifth years in the crotch. (Laughter erupts) Like we’d just ambush you with it suddenly, or walking ahead of you in the hallway, give you the backhand. So of course, you’d hit the fourth years, they’d hit the third years.

Wolffe- (Laughter) It got so out of hand that the Kaminoans had special classes on how unhealthy it was. (Laughter) ‘The Republic would be so ashamed of you!’ Remember that?

Cody- So do you remember what that fifth year Slade did?

Wolffe- (Audible slapping of forehead) Oh, man (Laughs). I had gotten him in the commissary after lunch. He threw up.

Havoc- I remember that for like two weeks afterwards, Slade would be in the bathroom every chance he got, slapping the walls to toughen his hands. His palms were totally calloused.

Wolffe- (Laughs) Man, he got me. I was just headed out of the bathroom right before lights out. I was drying my face on a towel, I didn’t even see him. Little guy let me have it in front of everyone.

Havoc- After that, nobody wanted to face Slade in a slapping contest.

Wolffe- I went to the infirmary.

Havoc- So after that, in clone slang, an unexpected blow to the crotch is called a wolftap! I didn't know that had anything to do with you.

Wolffe- Why the hell are all of my personal contributions to clone slang crotch related?

Kix- You mean like ‘The Commander Wolffe’ for jock itch because you get those rashes?

Wolffe- Yes.

Cody- Or like when you zipped up and caught it in the zipper, we spent a week doing impressions of the wolf howl you did.

Wolffe- That was one time! I hate you guys.

Havoc- Or like how we call you Old One Eye?

Wolffe- Why is this my life?


So Uncivilized

This story is not unbelievable for what happened in it. General Skywalker and my brother Captain Rex were both well known as pretty vicious opponents, so inevitably they were going to have to settle the curiosity we all had about who would win in a fight. As a Jedi, Skywalker was supposed to be more mature than this, but he never made us clones feel as if our traditions were beneath him. Rex was usually the least savage of us, but even he had to defend his honor as a clone. What, in fact, makes the story unbelievable is that it happened immediately after Umbara. Jedi-clone relations were tense. The fact that the two of them could still be such close friends after our faith in the Jedi was shaken, went a long way to help heal the rift.

On the Republic Cruiser Integrity on our way from Kadavo to Kiros. Present, Commander Ahsoka Tano, 501st Legion, Boost and Sinker of the 104th.

Wolffe- We have with us Jedi Padawan and Army Commander Ahsoka Tano. She says she has something to tell us about.

Ahsoka- Alright, so we were on our way to Kiros, and the hyperspace journey takes a few days. People start to get bored on transports, as you know.

Boost- Ain’t that the truth. You’d think they’d organize a game night or something.

Ahsoka- Next time, we’re doing that! So the clones started with the Invented Rituals of Competition, like they always do.

Sinker-What types of contests?

Ahsoka- So it started out pretty run of the mill, we were just sitting around the common room. Appo beat Lockstep at a physical challenge where they drank shots of hotsauce. Albin and I think Crews did that one where you take turns holding your hands placed together in front of you and the other guy slaps them as hard as he can. Rex had to break it up or they wouldn’t be able to fire blasters. The tie breaker he suggested was arm wrestling. So while we’re watching that, Anakin asks Rex (She mimicked Skywalker’s cross armed stance) what his favorite IRC was at the Academy. (She affected a Captain Rex stance and voice) 'None, sir. I adhered to the rules pretty closely back then.' (The impression that was not perfect, but the accent was pretty close. She then went back and forth imitating the two characters.) ‘Oh, come on, Rex, you mean you never tried one?’ ‘Not me, sir. I guess I didn’t have anything to prove.’ ‘Oh, come on, they’re fun! Even I’ve participated in them. What are you, scared?’

Wolffe- He did NOT say that.

Boost- Whoa, I bet that got ugly.

Ahsoka- Yeah, so Rex gets this look on his face, like kind of a snarl. (She tried her best to do the face, but it was just funny coming from her.)

Sinker- So what did Rex say?

Ahsoka- He didn’t say anything, he just started taking off his left glove. Anakin laughed and said, ‘We got next!’ He’s like giddy, you know what a troublemaker he is. Rex looks at him and says, ‘On your honor as a Jedi, this will be a fair competition. No reading me, no anticipating.’ 'I promise.' Anakin says as he sits down, Rex sits across from him. They had to go lefties because of Anakin’s droid arm.

Sinker- Right.

Ahsoka- Albin puts his hand on their locked hands, his hands were already red and swollen, they looked like he’d stuck them into boiling water. So we all counted, ‘One, two, three, go.’ And it started. And it kept going, and going, the two of them were beet red and had sweat dripping down their noses. Gritted teeth. Neck veins.

Boost- I bet it was ridiculous.

Ahsoka- Totally. We were all getting rowdy, shouting, banging on tables and stuff. Then, just as we see Rex start to quaver, he gives Anakin this little look for a second, he made eye contact, I think he was checking to make sure Anakin wasn’t concentrating on anything but the match. Then all of a sudden Rex pulled Anakin’s arm over and smacked him on the bridge of his nose with his forehead.

(Laughter erupts)

Ahsoka- (Ahsoka acted out the scene) Anakin let go of his hand and covered his nose. Everyone was gasping, we thought for sure a fight was going to start. Blood had spurted onto Rex’s face and was dripping down. Anakin’s nose was gushing, he stumbles backwards and shouts, ‘Wanga! Chuba doompa, dopa-maskey kung!’ Blood was all over his lips and chin. He looks at Rex with this face of total surprise. Almost a little hurt. Rex has his hands flat on the table and his shoulders up, just looking at him like he might hit him. Then Anakin starts laughing. He points at Rex and says, ‘You are so messed up!’ Rex starts laughing, ‘You are too, you son of a bitch!’ Then they hugged. Actually hugged, but like, a guy hug, like that one where you are hugging but also slapping each other on the back. Like that. Everyone was cheering and shouting. Admiral Yularen came running in and asked ‘What the bloody hell was going on.’ (Yularen voice, which was really good). Those two were standing there, their arms around each other’s shoulders. ‘Why nothing, Admiral.’ (Skywalker voice in a fake dignified tone, while suppressing laughter) ‘General Skywalker, are you and Captain Rex alright?’ (Yularen). Anakin says in a totally serious voice, blood still on his face, ‘Of course.’ He actually spit a little bit of blood that had run into his mouth. ‘Why do you ask?’ Everyone is laughing to the point of tears by this time. Admiral Yularen just shook his head and walked out. I think I heard him say something to the effect of ‘Damned 501st’ and ‘tell General Kenobi.’

Boost- (Laughing hysterically) So did he tell Kenobi? What did he say?

Ahsoka- (Kenobi impression, shaking head) So uncivilized.


How Wolffe Got His Name

This one is fun, because it provides a little bit of cultural contrast. We clones were visited at 79’s, our clone bar, by our Jedi Generals. General Skywalker had started this tradition by coming out with Rex and some followed suit. I was glad they did, we were fun guys once you got to know us. Truth be told, my general, Plo Koon, and Skywalker were fun guys, too. I think Kenobi was fairly horrified by us, but he had to admit, we were a fascinating anthropological study.

At 79’s on Coruscant. Present are Jedi Generals Plo Koon and Obi-Wan Kenobi, as well as Commander Cody of the 212th, Boost, Sinker and myself of the 104th, and C.C., my favorite professional girl from the bar.

Wolffe- I am here at 79’s with three of my brothers, who already know the story, but the generals and C.C. want to know how I got my name. So who is telling this?

Cody- I want this one.

Boost- Oh, come on, you don’t even know it!

Cody- I do too. So it was third year, we were studying language, you know, vocabulary and stuff. We would run through these lists of words and definitions at a rapid pace. You had to wear these headsets with these little lights that would allow you to keep focused and absorb what we were looking at. So with some words, there were multiple definitions. We thought they were funny, especially if they didn’t seem to have anything to do with each other. Figurative language was weird to us. We got how it worked, but it sounded strange. We were still just little and figuring things out, you know. Wolffe and I used to ask for more to read all the time and note the funny figures of speech and stuff to each other.

C.C.- Cody, you are making this story boring!

Boost- I’m taking over. So we used to eat in the commissary, our batch and other brothers our age. I guess Cody was there with his batch. Now your guys had some funny names.

Cody- They were Mandalorian names, better than ‘Boost’, what the hell is that?

Wolffe- (Sarcastically) I believe that one’s Mandalorian too, it means ‘jackass who doesn’t bathe enough’.

Boost- Okay, Old One Eye.

Sinker- We called him that because I used to step on him to climb into my bunk.

Boost- I had the bottom drawer.

Wolffe- (To C.C.) We slept in bed drawers. We called Sinker that because he stank at swimming. First day of swimming lessons, he nearly drowned.

Plo Koon- As I recall, your other two batch mates were with you, too, when you first came to Coruscant.

Wolffe- Yes, sir, they died in the Malevolence attack.

Kenobi- What were their names?

Sinker- Scratch, because he scratched himself all the time.

Kenobi- Creative.

Sinker- He had the same skin issues Wolffe has.

Wolffe- Thanks, I needed everyone to know that.

Boost- The other guy was Trip, because we pranked him with a tripwire once. He fell flat on his face.

Cody- You guys were abusive to each other. I was never mean to my batch mates.

Wolffe- Yeah, but you barely spoke to them again after you were drafted into leadership training.

Cody- We didn’t have anything to talk to each other about, seemed like. Our lives were really different. What could we talk about, the weather? That would take three seconds. Rain again. Yep. So you guys kept each other close so you could continue to abuse each other?

Boost- It’s fun.

Cody- Alright, Smelly.

C.C.- We will eventually get to a story in all this somewhere?

Sinker- Alright, so one of our vocabulary words one day was ‘wolf’, which could mean different species, they provided some examples and pictures. The verb definition was nothing to do with the animals, it was eating gluttonously.

Boost- And when we read that, we all thought of the same guy, old Clone Cadet 3636.

Wolffe- I was hungry all the time, I don’t know why. Fast metabolism or something.

Sinker- He used to eat his meals really fast. So we started timing how fast he could eat. Then we’d come up with challenges, who could eat the most of something. Or how much could he eat. We used to win bets on it.

Boost- It was totally nauseating to watch. But it was awesome. Usually the contests ended with the other guy throwing up. People loved watching that.

Cody- You guys were disgusting.

Sinker- Then this one time, Wolffe took a dare. Somebody working with the guard animals, Hound I think, brought in a can of massiff food.

Wolffe- (Laughs) I forgot about that! That guy had to do my cleaning duties for a week.

Kenobi- Wait, you ate animal food?

Wolffe- (Miming) Scraping the bottom of the can with my fork. It wasn’t bad. They dared me to eat bugs, too. And soap from the bathrooms.

Boost- Then there was this one time, Wolffe gets super amped up, he and this other guy, Blue, were eating ice. Wolffe was getting this headache from eating too fast. He’s rubbing his eyes with his palms. Finally, he gets so aggravated that he just kind of roars and head butts the other guy.

(Laughter)

Wolffe- Why do all our stories end that way?

Chapter Text

A Lesson in Humility

We clones worked alongside the Jedi, but honestly, we didn’t have much of a clue about how the Jedi Order worked. We actually didn’t have much of a clue how regular people’s lives worked either. So we found it funny to hear about the kinds of things they considered problems. What other people considered ordinary sounded pretty strange to us. I had turned on the player to record a note to myself about some supplies I needed to get and had left it on because the conversation was funny. General Kenobi had just returned from an undercover mission where he was required to shave his beard and impersonate a criminal. It was only starting to come back in.

At the Central Command base on Coruscant, filling out paperwork for requisitioning equipment. Present, General Obi-Wan Kenobi and Commander Cody of the 212th, and General Plo Koon and Commander Wolffe of the 104th.

Wolffe- Note to self, see if we can get another two hundred crates of detonators and see if Grey has any extra rocket launchers he can spare.

Cody- (Writing notes in a datapad) I just can’t get used to your face like that.

Obi-Wan- I don’t really feel comfortable without the beard either. It can be quite low maintenance, I don’t know why more of you clones don’t wear them.

Wolffe- It’s hard with the helmets and all, so most styles are against regs. I think if I ever get out of the army, I’m gonna try out different ones.

(Cody pulled a face and shook his head at me incredulously).

Obi-Wan- Top man, Wolffe. My sensibilities haven’t always been appreciated. Anakin makes no secret of the fact that he hates my beard.

Plo Koon- He…might have mentioned it…once or twice.

Obi-Wan- It’s alright. I have my ways of getting back at him.

Cody- Like what?

Obi-Wan- Well, when I was first growing the beard, he was still a little boy. We ate in the Jedi Commissary the first few months he lived at the Temple. I didn’t really know how to cook but he was a child and I needed to feed him. Now, Jedi Commissary meals can be a little…bland.

Plo Koon- (To Cody and me) Some of us have sensitivities or need things pureed to consume.

(Cody and I raised eyebrows and exchanged a glance at this. Military rations were awful. We would have taken ‘bland’ food any day.)

Obi-Wan- Well, to the point, Anakin got tired of the same fare and asked if we could get takeout. We went to this Rhodian restaurant that had some things he liked.

Plo Koon- Rhodian food does not have a reputation for being very….

Obi-Wan- It’s terrible. Even Master Ropal didn’t eat it. Have you ever tried mulukhiya soup? It is made of some kind of slimy plant that grows in swamps.

Plo-Koon- Ah, yes, the soup.

Obi-Wan- We bought mulukhiya soup and bread. The problem is that mulukhiya soup can be a little…pungent. We brought it into the commissary to eat, but the other Jedi complained, so we carried the food to our apartment and ate there. Anakin spent a great deal of time laughing at me for my beard. I admit it was relatively scruffy at the time and I did drip soup on it, but he was being relentless.

(Clones snickering)

Obi-Wan- So when he volunteered to do the dishes, I may have ‘forgotten’ to inform Anakin that there was a machine for that. He was from a very remote planet, he didn’t even know what a dishwashing machine was.

Cody- How long was it before you told him?

Obi-Wan- A year.

Plo Koon- General Kenobi, you will remember of course that as Jedi, we must not seek revenge.

Obi-Wan- I prefer to think of it as teaching a lesson in humility.


The First Time You Got Drunk

When we went on campaign, sometimes we encountered things that were outside of our regular duty. This was that time that General Skywalker confiscated a crate of some strange moonshine from a passing smuggler’s ship. We had run into it on our way to Felucia and boarded to search for contraband. Smugglers were becoming something we saw a lot more often. Crime was escalating by then. We weren’t much worried about the drugs as much as the weapons and human trafficking. This ship had been strictly small time. But I recorded the conversation because we were going to try the booze as an experiment.

Officers’ quarters on the Resolute, on our way to Felucia for our second campaign there. Present, Clone Captain Rex, Jesse, and General Anakin Skywalker of the 501st, Wolffe and Plo Koon of the 104th.

Wolffe- Here we are with the clone commanding officers, the Jedi generals, and somehow Jesse.

Jesse- Rex invited me. Because people actually like me. Not like those 104th guys, who smell bad.

Wolffe- That’s just Boost.

Plo Koon- (Patting Skywalker’s back) Besides, Skywalker here is also known for his pungent aroma.

Rex- Really? I never noticed anything.

Skywalker- (Smirking) He’s just kidding.

(He wasn’t. On campaign, Skywalker didn’t bathe much. And Rex was notorious for having no sense of smell. It was hilarious, nobody ever told him.)

Wolffe- We are about to sample some of the illegal liquor that our new Weequay friends were kind enough to provide. (We had brought mugs from the commissary.)

Jesse- Hey, Rex, what was the first time you ever got drunk?

Rex- (Examining the bottle) I don’t know that I care to tell that story.

Skywalker- Well, now we just want to hear it more.

Rex- (Chuckling) Okay, but everybody else has to tell theirs too.

Skywalker- Alright. I can’t wait to hear these.

Rex- So the third year on Kamino, our Mandalorian trainers showed up at our cloning facility. Those guys liked to drink. They couldn’t bring in enough to keep themselves submerged, so to speak. They made hooch in their rooms, they kept the jugs in their closets to ferment. Some of them distilled beverages too. They had to get creative with the ingredients, since the Kaminoans weren’t exactly encouraging this practice. You know, actually, I think we clones should think about doing this. Anyway, it didn’t take long before the service clones who worked in the kitchen for our barracks figured out the recipe.

Jesse- Those guys were your batch mates, weren’t they?

Rex- Yeah. Anyway, they made a few fuel jugs full. The wine wasn’t very strong. Well, when I was selected for leadership training at the very beginning of my fourth year, my brothers in the kitchen were so happy for me. They cooked up a batch of wine and we planned a little party in the kitchen after lights out. It was me, my batch mates Wags, Blink and Myte, my cadet squad, Arjun, Shackle, Kif, and Crasher…

Wolffe- Is that that guy who burned off most of his hair in fifth year?

Rex- Haha! Yeah. That was that day he was learning to use a jet pack. He was messing around and set himself on fire.

Wolffe- I remember! Man, he looked so ridiculous after that. Did his hair ever grow back?

Rex- Nah. He’s lucky he didn’t have to have too many skin grafts.

Wolffe- Whatever happened to that guy?

Rex- With the skin and all, he didn’t get drafted, so he ended up teaching younglings on Kamino.

Skywalker- So if you were in your fourth year, how old is that in standard?

Jesse- About ten, maybe?

Plo Koon- Isn’t that a little small to be drinking?

Rex- Don’t think I didn’t learn my lesson. I drank until the room was spinning. I went back to my bed drawer so dizzy. The next day, I had to be up early. My new leadership squad mate Keeli shook me to try and wake me up. He couldn’t move me. He’s slapping me. ‘Get up, Rex!’ Nothing. So he gets two other guys, I think Lock and Styles, and they’re trying to get my armor on. Keeli finally gets some water and throws it in my face. I woke up sputtering and yelling, ‘What did you do that for?’ He tells me that it’s nearly 0600 and we have to report for the first day of leadership training. So I’m pulling on armor, and running, I’m still drunk, so I’m dizzy and nauseous. We get there a few minutes late. But I was so sick. We stood at attention while the trainers were talking. One came to me and asked if I was alright, since I guess I was swaying. I pulled off my helmet and threw up on his boots. (Everyone laughs) So he smells it, and it’s like, all alcohol.

Skywalker- (Laughing) What did he do?

Rex- The trainers were these hardcore Mandalorian warriors! They laughed and called me a lightweight. (Sniffs the contents of the bottle. No reaction.)

Wolffe- Who’s going next?

Jesse- I’ll go. Mine couldn’t be worse than that. So Kix is my batch mate.

Skywalker- You guys keep saying that, what is a batch mate? (Sniffs the bottle and makes a face.)

Jesse- Same jar row for incubation, same nursery cell for first year. We got divided up after that, depending on how the Kaminoans sorted us. But your batch mates are your first friends and closest brothers. When you’re raised through nursery year by droids, you kind of depend on each other for social skills. Some guys stay with their batch mates for years, Fives and Echo, for example, were posted together even after the academy.

Plo Koon- Fascinating. (Sniffs the bottle and flinches.)

Jesse- So Kix is my batch mate. After third year, he was sent to the medic program and I was sent to light infantry, but we would see each other growing up. Anyway, working in the infirmary, he could get ahold of things. One day during fourth year, he came by my barracks and he had some expired cough syrup that he was told to dispose of. We drank it until we got really tired. After that, we traded the rest to other guys to get out of cleaning duty.

Plo Koon- What about you, Commander? (Pours the round into the mugs.)

Wolffe- I think I’m a bit straight laced compared to these two degenerates. (Laughter.) I never had a drink until I came to Coruscant. I went into a store near the base and there were all these colorful bottles. I had never seen anything like it. The store actually let me buy some, so I brought them back to Central Command and me and my batch mates made a game of it. Fortunately, we passed out before we hurt ourselves too badly. How about you, General Plo?

Plo Koon- That would be with an old friend. I normally don't drink to excess, but he had a fondness for whiskey and he was a lot of fun. I always seemed to get sucked in to long nights when I'd go out with him.

Skywalker- Who was this?

Plo Koon- Master Qui Gon Jinn.

Skywalker- No! The first time you got drunk was with Qui Gon?

Rex- Who is Qui Gon Jinn?

Skywalker- Obi-Wan’s former Jedi Master. He was the Jedi who found me and brought me to the Temple.

Plo Koon- He convinced me to accompany him to an establishment to celebrate his elevation to knight. Qui Gon’s Master, Dooku, actually came along.

Wolffe- Dooku? You went out drinking with Count Dooku?

Plo Koon- Well, it was Jedi Master Dooku back then. He only stayed for the first few rounds. Qui Gon and I made it home late.

(We were all too astonished at the thought of General Plo knocking back shots with the leader of the Separatists to take our drinks right away.)

Skywalker- So are we trying this stuff or not?

Rex- Alright, on the count of three. (We all raised our mugs.)

(All counting) One…Two…Three… (We all took the shots. Everyone collectively did a combination of coughing and gasping.)

Wolffe- Oh, that is awful.

Skywalker- I know what it is! It’s boga noga.

Rex- What is boga noga?

Skywalker- Some swill that Hutts drink. I think we should probably be careful, this stuff can flatten a full grown rancor…

(No one regarded him, I refilled the mugs.)

Rex- So what’s your story, General Skywalker?

Skywalker- Eh. I’ve had a few drinks before. Enough to feel happy, but never enough to say I was really drunk. Just not my thing, I guess. I just drink a little to enjoy the company.

Wolffe- (Taking shot) Then how do you know what boga noga is?

Skywalker- (Shrugging) I’m from Tatooine.

(Skywalker left his mug untouched on the table while the rest of us enjoyed our ill-gotten beverage. He was not kidding, one bottle drowned us for the night. Skywalker made sure to prank us by drawing lewd things on our faces when we fell asleep. Jesse said he couldn’t wait to try that out on someone else.)


A Mascot for the 212th

I recorded this because I was filling out the necessary forms that I would need to get my new recruits after our recent losses. The Republic and the Kaminoans just loved paperwork. While I was adding reminders to myself about some younger guys I knew and would try to recruit, some guys started talking to each other. This conversation is really weird and uncomfortable to listen to, not because of the story, the story is actually funny. What makes it feel kind of wrong in hindsight is that the story was about Waxer. Waxer was a brother of mine from the 212th who died on Umbara. There, the Jedi general Pong Krell set the 501st and the 212th against each other. These brothers actually murdered each other, if inadvertently. For all I know Waxer could have been shot by one of the men in the room during this conversation. Man, what a depressing thought.

Aboard the Resolute during the pursuit of the Separatist ship Malevolence, ship’s common room. Present were Wolffe of the nearly destroyed 104th, Waxer and Boil of the 212th, with Mat, Punch, Jester, Appo, and Sketch from the 501st, and Captain Rex sitting in the corner of the room catching up on paperwork as well.

Wolffe- See if you can get Comet and Spade, Fish and Reactor, and...I think we need some more guys with gunship pilot certification.

(Waxer and Boil walked in, seeing a table full of 501st guys playing cards.)

Sketch- What happened to your hair, Waxer?

Waxer- Nothing. Just trying something new.

Boil- He had to have it shaved off!

Waxer- Thanks, jerk.

Punch- Why?

Boil- Because he’s an idiot.

Waxer- (Sigh) We were finishing up on Teth. The command center was near the coast and there were all these damned birds.

Appo- What kind of birds?

Boil- White ones with an orange stripe on each wing. They ate fish and whatever else they could find. Even garbage. They crapped all over everything and made an awful racket.

Waxer- I thought they were cool looking, white with orange decoration like the armor of the 212th.

Jester- Okay…

Boil- This idiot gets sentimental about everything. You know he took his blanket from nursery year and slept with it all through second year. He used to chew on the edges.

(Guys at the card table laughing.)

Waxer- (Punching Boil’s arm) Says the brother who used to suck his thumb.

Jester- I love the 212th.

(501st guys laughed, but Rex scowled at them, so they stopped.)

Mat- So what about the birds?

Boil- So he went over to the flock one day and caught one of them. He brought it back to forward command and told Commander Cody that he thought the 212th needed a pet as a mascot.

Sketch- What did Cody say?

Boil- (Here, Boil switched to his Cody impression. Yes, in case you wanted to know, we clones do actually have impressions of each other. Our differences are pretty detectable to us. A Cody impression usually involved rubbing your forehead with your palm in dismay.) Waxer, did you take a close look at that thing? Get it out of here!

Waxer- (Laughing from the table escalating as he spoke) I looked down and the thing was COVERED with fleas. I took the bird outside and dropped it, but I’d been holding it to my chest. The fleas were in my armor, in my undersuit, they were all over everything.

Boil- He was dancing around, trying to brush them off, and swearing. The bird was just preening its feathers nonchalantly next to him.

Appo- So you had fleas?

Waxer- (Scratching the back of his head) Yeah, they were in my hair, on everything. I had to have my armor fumigated.

Boil- (Laughing) He had to get shaved and dusted with delousing powder. After that, though, the damned bird kept coming around and this idiot would feed it nutrition ration sticks. Cody was so pissed.

(By then I had to turn off the recorder. I had my head down on the table, I was laughing so hard. I think Waxer actually kept the haircut, shaved heads can be very practical in the field.)

Chapter Text

The Death of the Twilight

I was recording a meeting, since I found that more helpful than taking notes on a datapad. Unexpectedly, I captured a tragic moment, but an important one in the annals of the war. This is the conversation where General Skywalker got the news about the destruction of his personal rust bucket of a ship, the Twilight. I was always attached to the thing since it saved my life after the Abregado disaster. It was famous for its horrible bathroom that General Skywalker never cleaned the whole war. It just kept getting filthier and more horrible smelling. Whenever we were aboard a cruiser where the Twilight was stowed, we would go visit the famous bathroom. I still have my pictures of it. The ship fell to pieces gradually in the Jedi hangar before finally making one last trip to Mandalore. Of course, the dire news about Mandalore was actually very serious, but our reactions happened before we knew that. Still, we were genuinely upset about the loss of that ship.

On the cruiser Resolute headed for Cato Nemoidia. Present were myself and General Plo Koon of the 104th, who had just finished up a tour on old C.N. and were serving in an advisory capacity while the 501st prepared to replace us. Present also were Captain Rex, Fives, Tup, Ahsoka Tano and General Skywalker of the 501st.

Rex- Sure, spare parts for the gun ships, would help if you don’t mind leaving them.

Wolffe- Yeah, we’ll be fine…

(A holo viewer chirped and General Skywalker picked it up.)

Skywalker- Excuse me, it’s Obi-Wan.

(He turned and took the viewer a few feet away to have a conversation.)

Rex- Also, is there any way to get some replacement grappling cables and other climbing equipment. Ours are pretty worn out.

Wolffe- Sure, we’re going to need about three hundred fuel jugs of the 501st closet wine for the favor.

Rex- I think that can be arranged. (Turns to Tup) Do we have enough for Wolffe’s bunch of drunks?

Tup- Bunch of drunks? I thought this was just for Wolffe on the ride back to Coruscant. (Turned and mumbled conversation over the com in clone slang code, arranging to have our wine delivered to our shuttle. The 501st was clandestinely manufacturing a rotgut wine in maintenance closets and supply rooms aboard the Resolute. The guys drank it, but it could also be bartered with.)

Skywalker- *Indiscernible mumbling* You WHAT?!

Plo Koon- Is everything alright Skywalker?

Kenobi’s Hologram- I’m sorry, Anakin, the situation on Mandalore is more dire than I would have believed possible. But as I said, the Twilight is no more. Honestly, I’m lucky that the stupid thing didn’t kill me.

Ahsoka- The Twilight’s gone? Nooooooo!

Wolffe- Not the old ‘Nauseator’!

Rex- Aw, what happened to it?

Skywalker- (To us) Obi-Wan blew it up!

Kenobi’s Hologram- Oh, don’t you all be too concerned about me, I’m fine.

Fives- Remember that time we took it to that diner on Azeri? I still think about those fried roots.

Rex- (In hysterics) Yeah, or that trip we took from Naboo to Ryloth? We kept doing Ahsoka’s stupid ‘M’Lord’ greeting for weeks after.

Ahsoka- (Laughing) Rex, you remember when we flew it to get Anakin after his fighter got sabotaged? We poured that disinfecting fluid into the toilet and smoke came out.

Anakin- Ahsoka and I crashed it on Tatooine, I had to chase out all these Jawas. They stole the doctor droid hologram and everything else on board.

Plo Koon- I remember the replacement doctor droid nearly got us killed when the Malevolence scanned the ship.

Ahsoka- Oh no! Poor Dr. Funk! Did he get blown up too? (Ahsoka had named the actual doctor droid, who replaced the hologram on the Twilight, after a well-known band.)

Kenobi’s Hologram- What difference does that make? The Death Watch has taken over Mandalore with Darth Maul in control. I must contact the Jedi Council immediately. The situation is dire!

(General Skywalker did get more serious after that, discussing the news with General Kenobi. But behind him, we just kept discussing the ship.)

Rex- Wolffe, do you still have all those pictures of the bathroom?

Wolffe- A lot of them. I think I got everybody’s graffiti.

Tup- Aw, I never got to do one.

Ahsoka- Usually, people would write their name and the date that you threw up from Anakin’s nauseating flying.

Tup- (Wrinkling nose) Maybe I didn’t want to do one.

Rex- I never threw up, but I think I did leave a message.

Wolffe- (Flipping through player pod) There, there are the pictures.

Tup- Ugh, that looks horrible.

Plo Koon- It smelled worse.

Ahsoka- Pretty sure a dianoga died in there and got lodged in the plumbing to rot.

Wolffe- Yeah, then bacteria grew in the gelatinous remains, gained sentience and invented a type of super stink bomb bio-weapon!

(Ahsoka looked at me, confused. I was pretty high on my anti-anxiety meds.)

Skywalker- (Shutting down the holo-viewer and returning to the group.) I’ll relay Obi-Wan’s message to the Jedi Council, but first, I think we need to take a moment of silence to honor our fallen ship.

Plo Koon- (Laughing) And Dr. Funk. A gentleman and a medical professional.

(Horne arrived with the closet wine, so we opened a jug and passed it around. Ahsoka usually passed on substances, but she did take a sip for Dr. Funk. I guess they were close, she salvaged him from a medical station and General Skywalker put him back together. To this day, the pictures I have of the bathroom and its lingering aroma in the galaxy are the only records of this legendary ship.)


That Droid that was Programmed to Act High

This story is funny because we were pretty messed up and it was pretty late. It was just my two batch mates, one other Wolfpack brother, C.C., my girl, and her best friend, my brother Bly. We were so messed up that the conversation is ridiculous. It references a prank that Rex and General Skywalker pulled on me. They were always doing stuff like that. All my brothers on this recording are dead. I don’t know where C.C. is now. I wish I did.

At the flat of Vereniki ‘Central Command’ Esyella, known prostitute, Armory District, Coruscant. Present Miss Esyella, Commander Bly of the 327th, Boost, Sinker, Comet, and Commander Wolffe of the 104th.

Wolffe- (Slurring) We are at C.C.’s on Coruscant, passing the spice pipe and some cheap wine. (Looks at bottle label) Alizay! (Laughs.) I am here with my brother, Comet, as well as my batch mates Boost and Sinker, Commander Bly of the 327th, and on Bly’s lap, C.C., the hostess of the party. Comet says he has a story for us.

Comet- So we were on the Integrity on our way to Qiilura, when we got ordered to do some relief work after an earthquake on Aleen. A Senator Amidala from Naboo, said that Skywalker had a translator droid with him that we could use. General Skywalker and his guys rendezvoused with our ship, they were on their way to Umbara.

Wolffe- (To C.C.) I am known as a guy with a hair trigger temper after that little outburst I had on Felucia.

Boost- (To Bly) Beat me and Sinker senseless for losing Commander Tano.

Wolffe- I said I was sorry.

Sinker- No you didn’t.

Wolffe- Well, I meant to.

Boost- Thanks, Old One Eye.

Wolffe- Now I remember why I didn’t.

Comet- Anyway, so the shuttle arrives piloted by the general’s little R2 unit. (We’d all seen that thing before).

Wolffe- I holo-comm-ed General Skywalker and Rex to tell them that the shuttle had arrived and both have these goofy grins on their faces and are waving. (Demonstrates.) ‘Have fun, Wolffe!’ I’m like, crap, what did these two idiots just do to me? I didn’t know what it was, but those two loved to have their little jokes. I just knew it was going to be something stupid.

Sinker- So we just loaded the droids up, sent the shuttle back on auto-pilot and went into hyperspace. The droids were in the cargo hold until we got to Aleen. Then we get there and these little creatures start babbling at us in Aleenian.

Bly- Don’t you know any Aleenian, Wolffe? (It was a big joke between Bly and some other Commanders that I shared their rank. Conventional wisdom was that I was stupid. And a screw up. Both were true, but they didn’t have to keep reminding me of it.)

Wolffe- We can’t all be linguistics experts, Bly. (That’s not really what I said. I really told him to suck my cock in bad Twi’leki and he and C.C. laughed at my pronunciation. Bly really was a linguistics expert. Twenty fluencies.) May we continue, children?

Boost- So we bring out the translator droid and the thing has this grating voice that Ahsoka used to do to drive Wolffe crazy. It was too similar. It was like they had programmed that droid with the voice that Wolffe would find most irritating in the world, and then sent us off on a mission together, with nowhere to get away from it. Wolffe had to have the droid, he didn’t speak a word of Aleenian. He was starting to resent needing the droid. (I honestly was starting to feel like that hoity-toity droid was looking down on me.) It starts translating, but it’s going on and on, and will not get to the point, like it won’t stop talking. Wolffe cannot extract himself from a conversation. You can see how impatient he’s getting, like the hairs on the back of his neck were starting to stand on end.

Sinker- Like you could just see that he was about to dismantle this damned droid.

Comet- Finally, we get some relief, it disappeared for a while with the little droid. Then comes back babbling on and on about some crazy fantasy. I swear the thing had some loose wires.

Sinker- It’s talking all like, (Imitates droid’s voice, flamboyantly.) ‘I went underground and I talked to the trees!’ or ‘I solved the riddle, it was a river! I saved Aleen’ or even ‘Artoo pissed on the floor’. We swore he was high, but droids can’t get high, can they? (C.C. and Bly in hysterics, laughing.) It was like somebody had programmed it to say the most ridiculously random things in that voice.

Comet- Can you program droids to act high.

Wolffe- (Laughing) That would be hilarious.

C.C.- Why do you need to program something to act high and follow you around? You’ve got your idiot batch mates.

Wolffe- Imagine the conversations you could have.

Comet- Well, this conversation with the droid just wouldn’t end. ‘Blah, blah, blah, I’m such a hero, I closed the breach!’ Wolffe is all ‘I can think of a breach that needs closing.’ And he switches the droid off. So, alright, we go to Qiilura and dump the droids with General Gallia on the way.

Bly- (Red faced from laughing) How did Qiilura go?

Wolffe- Evacuations mostly. The Trade Federation had already overrun the planet, we just had to get some colonists out to relocate.

C.C.- So that’s it about the droid?

Comet- Nah, (Stands up) so we’re coming back and we’re in Separatist space, we get a communication from General Gallia that she needs immediate assistance. We had to rescue her from Grievous. He fled, but there on the damned Separatist ship, you would not believe, are the two damned droids. The damned protocol thing comes at us and, like it was programmed to start with the ridiculous phrases as soon as it saw Wolffe, it starts with crap like ‘Artoo squashed a tiny ruler!’ or ‘I saw WACs acting as gods!’ or…

Boost- (In droid voice) ‘I fought as a gold plated gladiator!’

Sinker- (In droid voice) ‘I was falsely accused of being a pirate droid! Mercy! I was so offended!’

Wolffe- Man, I swore the next time I saw those 501st bastards, I was going to kill them.

C.C.- Did you?

Wolffe- Couldn’t. It was really hard to make jokes for a while after Umbara.

(Conversation killer of the year…Umbara.)


 

Commander Wolffe Confuses the Troops

I honestly did not remember that I had this one. This was one of the most absurd things we ever did. It just demonstrates the lengths I had to go to keep my mind entertained. My mind was really restless. General Plo giving me my player pod to record things really helped me sort out my thoughts or come up with new ways to express myself and to note the absurdity of what I was seeing around me. The war was amazingly absurd.

In the Tipoca City cloning facility, Kamino. Arriving in the shuttle bay after the Abregado disaster, Commander Wolffe, Boost and Sinker last remnants of the original 104th. Meeting them at the shuttle, Commander Bly, Cameron, Flash, and Lucky of the 327th, picking up new troopers after a mission on Quell. We headed to the visiting officers' quarters.

Wolffe- So here we are on Kamino again, Commander Bly, do you have any advice to the young troopers just starting out?

Bly- Pack some food from the commissary here, Republic Nutrition Rations are awful.

Wolffe- Good advice. I know I will be.

Cameron- Pack some soap.

Flash- Anti-itch powder.

Boost- Wolffe could use some more of that.

Sinker- Make sure that you have a line or two ready for the ladies. You won’t get that much time on leave. You have to move fast.

Wolffe- Who are you kidding, you guys have no game.

Boost- At least we’ve actually done girls who weren’t whores, Commander.

Wolffe- You know what? Competition on. I challenge you to see who can come up with the best pickup line, you smelly bastard.

Bly- Hey, we want to play.

Sinker- Okay, rules. We need a panel of judges. Flash, Cameron and Lucky?

Lucky- We’re in.

Wolffe- Scale of one to ten, ten being the best score. Rate the line, add up points.

Bly- Nice. I call game commissioner. (Wolffe and Bly fist bump.)

Sinker- Troopers’ barracks, one hour.

(One hour later. Our new shinies were still in their cadet barracks, we went to visit them and told them we had some entertainment planned. We passed around the contraband liquor that we smuggled in and they distributed it.)

Bly- So we are going to have a little competition here to see who can come up with the best pickup lines. Pickup lines are icebreakers that can be used to initiate a conversation and possibly spend some time with one of our fine citizens of the Republic. ('COTR' was clone slang for a compatible female, 'spend some time' was clone slang for sex.) Boost, Sinker and Wolffe will each give a line, then the judges will rate with a score. High score wins.

(The problem here was that Boost, Sinker and I had snuck in a death stick and had smoked it on one of the outdoor platforms. When we got high together, we decided that we would instead see who could come up with the most outlandish pickup lines to confuse the daylights out of the cadets. I was curious to see how many of them would try out the lines when we got to Corscant. We would also not tell Bly and his boys what we were doing, so we could see their reactions as it slowly dawned on them. I fully believed that this was going to give us days of entertainment. It did.)

Bly- Alright, Boost, you go first.

Boost- (Laughs a little) Okay, okay, baby, that is a nice outfit, but it would look better off of you and maybe I could do you, but only after you’ve had a shower.

Bly- Um…okay? And, judges, how are we rating…that…line?

(Cameron, Flash and Lucky held up their score cards. Seven, Six, Six.)

Bly- Okay, uh…Sinker?

Sinker- (Grimacing, he hated public speaking) Baby, did it hurt when you fell from heaven? Because my unit has a very competent medic and he could probably give you first aid while I watch.

Bly- What?

(By this time, I was pinching the bridge of my nose hard enough to draw blood to stop myself from laughing.)

Bly- Judges?

(Five, Four, Zero.)

Bly- Okay…um, I guess…Wolffe?”

Wolffe- (Clears throat) Damn, baby, if I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me, preferably your backside.

Bly- (Realizing what we were doing but not wanting to clue in the cadets.) Okay. Sounds good, sounds good. What lady doesn’t like to have a brother grinding against her backside? (Me, Boost and Sinker nodded knowingly.)

(All the judges gave me a ten. The cadets looked so confused.)

Bly- Now for round two. Boost?

Boost- Are you a thief, because you stole my heart? You can pay me back by letting me touch you on the ass.

Bly- Very good, very good!

(Nine, eight, nine.)

Sinker- Your legs must be tired from running through my mind, but I also would like to touch your bottom.

(Ten, Nine, Nine.)

Wolffe- What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this, let’s go somewhere else where I could massage your behind.

Bly- Absolutely fantastic!

(Ten, ten, ten.)

Bly- And we have our winner! Commander Wolffe, once again, a privilege sir, to learn from such a masterful artist. (You could only just barely detect the sarcasm. The cadets had no clue) Wolffe, do you have anything to say to your opponents? (He had switched to sports interview mode.)

Wolffe- Well, yes. I never gave up. My opponents said that I didn’t have any game, but they would be wise to remember that I was the guy who paid for our first brothel trip, I was the one who got General Plo to front us the money. I even took Sinker to the infirmary after that whore snapped off her fingernail in his prostate.

(Bly was doubled over laughing. The cadets were looking at each other painfully. The judges were snickering. Boost and Sinker looked worried. That story was true, and I knew a lot of tales to tell on them if I wanted to. Asserting dominance is key in clone society.)

Chapter Text

Bly Plays Beard, Wolffe Plays Ghost

I recorded this conversation because my brother Bly said that he had learned about a new concept. I was interested to have him explain it. We were learning new social concepts all the time as the war went on. It was a lot of fun to record our reactions to them, since we would discuss them and try to grasp the intricacies of life in the galaxy. These discussions would often give me ideas for new social experiments. Case in point, the present story.

On the Jedi Cruiser Liberty II, returning to Coruscant from the Republic Strategy Conference on Valor station, Carida. Present, just me and Bly, sitting in the officers’ barracks.

Wolffe- -ust let me turn the recorder on.

Bly- So, she asked me to go to a Jedi function with her. They’ll be like, senators and stuff there. I was kind of afraid, since it’s against the rules of conduct.

Wolffe- They tolerate it some. Especially if it’s a government function. General Skywalker got the Chancellor to buy dinner for the 501st, but technically it was in the Senate banquet hall, so it was government food. The General also brought Rex to a party at a senator’s house.

Bly- Probably just trying to shock them.

Wolffe- I guess he did, from what Cody said.

Bly- Well, Aayla invited me and told me I’m going as her beard.

Wolffe- Okay, you said that at the beginning. What is that?

Bly- Her beard, she explained it as like an escort to protect her from something.

Wolffe- Like what?

Bly- Like she says you could bring a beard if you don’t want people to think you’re gay or single at work.

Wolffe- Why would anybody care about that?

Bly- I dunno, I guess it matters to some people.

Wolffe- But she’s a Jedi, she’s supposed to be celibate.

Bly- Well, here is where I come in. She wants me to go and to have people think that she and I are having some kind of clandestine relationship so that they stop trying to initiate one with her.

Wolffe- Do people do that to her?

Bly- She says it happens all the time.

Wolffe- Like who?

Bly- Apparently senators, ambassadors, even other Jedi. Guys are constantly asking her to go and be alone with them. So she wants me to show up with her and we leave together. She doesn’t care if people think we’re banging.

Wolffe- Haha! If they only knew! Don’t any of them realize you’re gay?

Bly- Nope. We clones all look the same to them and the stereotypes are that we’re all horny animals and Twi’leks are all hot and bothered. So everybody assumes we have to be doing it.

Wolffe- So which Jedi have given her a tough time?

Bly- You know Arligan Zey? He kept re-filling her wine glass at a function and ‘accidentally’ brushing up against her.

Wolffe- Oh yeah, Special Ops dude, works with Maze? Who knew? I thought Jedi were so disciplined.

Bly- Yeah. And Senator Trayvis, she says he keeps putting his hand on her leg at Jedi functions. She’s sick of it. Senator Aang told people that he’d actually slept with her.

Wolffe- Why’d he do that?

Bly- Make people jealous.

Wolffe- That’s messed up.

Bly- Yeah. A guy like that, they call a ‘ghost’. He goes around and lies and says he’s been with all these people.

Wolffe- I’m gonna start doing that.

Bly- You’ve already been with every prostitute in 79’s, who would you lie about?

Wolffe- I’m going to start rumors that I’ve been with those senators and Jedi.

Bly- You’re not gay.

Wolffe- I don’t care. Everybody knows clones don’t have any power, so you can assume that if there’s a relationship, it was the other person’s idea. I’ll be like, ‘Senator Trayvis, yep, I’ve been with him. Senator Aang, yup, he’s a freak. General Zey, he gave me the Trandoshan in a speeder in the Jedi hangar. Maze watched.’

Bly- (Laughing uncontrollably.) You what?

Wolffe- Oh yeah, I’ve got nothing to lose. People already think I’m crazy. It’s those guys who would lose face for having sex with a dirty clone.

(I did start those rumors and it was hilarious. Bly followed suit. In a week we had the whole base convinced and the Jedi actually investigated Zey for misconduct. Nothing came of it, since there was no truth to the rumor, but it was a hassle for him. General Secura never knew what we’d done, but Zey left her alone after that. General Plo actually congratulated me when I explained it.)


The Phantom GNK

This one is great for how well it serves to demonstrate just how funny Generals Kenobi and Skywalker could be as a team. It also shows how different they were. To this day, I think of this whenever I see a GNK.

At the Republic Strategy Conference at Valor station. During a lunch break. Present, Commander Cody and General Obi-Wan Kenobi of the 212th, General Skywalker of the 501st, and me. I was plugging my player pod into a GNK droid near the wall when the others joined me. Skywalker started laughing and said that he had once used one to play a prank. Kenobi and he told the story once I turned the recorder on.

Skywalker- So, I was like twelve.

Kenobi- As opposed to now when you just act like you are.

Skywalker- Who’s telling this story, Old Man?

Kenobi- My apologies.

Skywalker- So Obi-Wan decides I can’t take out a speeder for like a month.

Kenobi- He crashed Jedi property.

Skywalker- It wasn’t my fault!

Kenobi- Riiiiight. So, being terrifically bored, Anakin decided to have one of his little jokes.

Skywalker- (Chuckling) I had this old GNK droid that the Jedi had surplus-ed. I had snagged him for my workshop, to charge batteries or whatever.

Kenobi- Ah yes, who could forget old Gonkey.

Wolffe and Cody- (Laughing) Gonkey?

Kenobi- Oh yes, no one would accuse Anakin of being creative.

Skywalker- Aaaaanyway, Obi-Wan is a heavy sleeper.

Kenobi- A bit notorious for it, actually.

Cody- He has slept through earthquakes, no joke, powerful earthquakes.

Kenobi- When you are as at peace as I am, sleep comes easily.

Skywalker- (Shakes head) I decided to confuse him a little. So I programmed the droid to keep coming in his room at night and move the furniture. Not a lot, just like, putting a chair or a chest somewhere else. He was confused at first. He’d come out to breakfast and just squint or something. (Imitated the face) One time he stubbed his toe on something that was in a new place. (Imitates his polite, mild swearing.)

Kenobi- Eventually it was more obvious. Until one morning I woke up and the entire room was rearranged. Still, I said nothing.

Skywalker- I figured at this point that he was just playing along until he could catch me.

Wolffe- So what did you do?

Skywalker- I couldn’t send the GNK droid, I knew Obi-Wan would stay awake trying to catch the culprit. So I convinced these two younglings to hide in his closet and jump out at him when they thought he was about to fall asleep. His reaction was hilarious! Total surprise. (Imitates surprised yelp.)

Kenobi- I was startled to say the least. It was a positive symphony of juvenile behavior from start to finish.

Skywalker- It was funny and you know it.

Kenobi- And how did I get back at you?

Skywalker- By giving me a long boring lecture on how a Jedi should be serious. Ugh, he was in rare form. He cited historical examples, Jedi philosophical doctrine, all these ancient texts. It was horrible.

Kenobi- I rather enjoyed watching you squirm in pain for the duration of that one.

(Skywalker punched him on the arm, but they were smiling at each other genuinely. Despite how serious Jedi are supposed to be, they seemed to have a lot of fun.)


The Things You Talk About in the Hospital

After a mission on the winter wonderland of Khorm, I came back to Coruscant short an eye. I was in the military hospital with a few other brothers getting prostheses. This was back when the Republic actually maintained us. As a Commander, with my skills, my purchase price had been higher. So repairs on me were more cost effective. I wouldn’t be very easy to replace. Same with my roommates. They were pilots, so their training had been expensive. One brother was getting new feet, another, a left arm. When the Kaminoan doctors weren’t around, we could listen to music. The orderlies were droids and the nurses were brothers, so they didn’t mind. I wasn’t required bed rest, so I’d walk around to the different rooms and joke around with the other guys. A hospital trip can be a dangerous thing for a clone, if we couldn’t be repaired and declared fit for duty, we could be reassigned to lighter duties or who knows what. I was pretty high on painkillers after the surgery, so I was having a good time.

The Republic Military Hospital, Central Command Base, Coruscant. Present, Commander Wolffe of the 104th, Nip and Dozer of the 200th, and Dr. Ala Te from Kamino.

Wolffe- Hey, Ala Te?

Ala Te - Yes, (checked my uniform) CC-3636?

Wolffe- Can you guys clone anything?

Ala Te - I suppose we can.

Wolffe- Then why’d you clone us? Couldn’t you have cloned Jedi?

Ala Te - Yes, but cloning citizens of the Republic is illegal.

Wolffe- Hey, you knew Jango Fett, what was he like? For example, at the urinal, did he squeeze or shake? I am a shaker, myself, but I have known brothers who do the opposite. I guess I just want to know, you know, what’s normal. (My roommates were desperately trying to keep from laughing.)

Ala Te - Humans all seem the same to us.

Wolffe- What I thought. Hey, Ala Te?

Ala Te - Yes, (checked my uniform) CC-3636?

Wolffe- Where do babies come from? (My roommates were openly laughing.)

Ala Te - You clones were incubated in jars.

Wolffe- Yeah, I know, but, like, where could a guy, maybe a guy who is a little lonely, where would he go to get a jar like that?

Ala Te - They were provided by a medical supplies factory on Krant.

Wolffe- Is it a valid pickup line to tell a girl that you’d like to incubate in her jar? Or that you think she has some hot medical supplies?

Ala Te - What?

(Ala Te walked out shaking her head. Kaminoans were so clueless.)

Wolffe- So Nip, how did you get your name?

Nip- I cut off one of my nipples on a dare. I went to the infirmary, but I got sixty sugar rations.

Wolffe- Haha! No way! What about you, Dozer?

Dozer- Always falling asleep in loyalty class. The Kaminoan teacher used one of those prods to zap me awake.

Wolffe- Ha! I remember those. I got hit with one when I made this kid throw up from slapping him in the crotch. Little zap, off to the cell for the night. I didn’t care, I’d eaten already.

Dozer- What’s the stupidest thing you ever got punished for on Kamino?

Nip- One of the military trainers kicked me in the back for not standing up straight enough.

Wolffe- Maybe that time the Kaminoan shocked me for laughing in loyalty class. I couldn’t help it. My batch mate, Boost, had drawn the teacher with big ears or some stupid thing. We both got a few volts.

Dozer- So what all did you get in your little care package, there?

Wolffe- (Rifling through a gift basket) Candy! (I tossed a little bag to each of them and opened one myself.)

(Chewing noises)

Wolffe- So what outfit are you guys with?

Dozer- Two hundredth.

Wolffe- Oh yeah, General Tiin’s guys. Did you know my 104th pilots? Warthog and Jag and them guys?

Nip- Oh sure. We all trained with Cabur Fenn Rau.

Dozer- You ever hear what Jag did to Shaak Ti on her first day when she was doing troop inspections?

Wolffe- No what? (I couldn’t wait to hear. Jag could be kind of a dick.)

Dozer- So, she had just gotten to Kamino. She had to tour all the different training departments. She was going down the line and saw Jag, she compliments him or something, just to make a little small talk with one of us. Now he’s like, visibly nervous. She reaches out her hand to shake it I guess and he was so nervous he raised his hand and accidentally touched her breast.

Wolffe- (Laughing) I’m surprised she didn’t chop his hand off.

Nip- I’m sure she knew it was an accident. But he was positive he was going to be branded defective.

Wolffe- I think that’s how I ended up with him.

Nip- You got stuck with borderline defective guys?

Wolffe- Eh. I took the guys no one else wanted.

Nip- So you getting out of here soon, Commander?

Wolffe- Probably tomorrow. I have got to get laid.

Dozer- Not with that face, soldier.

(I admit, my eye and face scar were grotesque. But screw you, Dozer. I totally did get laid. Never underestimate pity as a tool of seduction.)

Chapter Text

Stupid Names

In this one, we were discussing names. We clones made up our own names when we were kids, and so you can imagine the silly things we came up with. Most clone names were ridiculous or insulting. People made fun if me, but I didn’t care, it was a cool nickname compared to some others. To complain about your nickname was a surefire way of making brothers come up with something more embarrassing for you.

At 79’s with Rex. He had just come home from Cato Nemoidia and he had decided that he wanted to get blackout drunk. So of course he called me. Present, Wolffe, Boost and Sinker of the 104th, and Captain Rex of the 501st.

Wolffe- Tonight, we are privileged to be back at 79’s with the illustrious Captain Rex, who returns to us from the Outer Rim. How go the sieges?

Rex- Same as always.

Wolffe- I’m going to lead the discussion tonight, now that we all have drinks. I’m thinking of a question for Rex. Rex, you travel all over and do many missions undercover. What’s your favorite alias?

Rex- Alias? I don’t think I use one. (He didn’t. Dude went on a secret mission to Onderon and emblazoned his breastplate with his fricking jaig eyes. He was the only clone who had them. So the point was, he always wanted people to know who he was.)

Wolffe- You don’t have a standard alias?

Rex- Like what?

Wolffe- Well, like if I’m out on Coruscant and someone asks for my name, I’m not gonna say CC-3636, it draws too much attention. So I just say Armando Vicious.

Rex- What?

Wolffe- Lots of guys do it.

Sinker- Trice Boggin.

Boost- Kippy Fifterfish.

Rex- That is ridiculous. Those sound stupid and made up.

Boost- No worse than plenty of real ones.

Wolffe- Okay, stupidest sounding name you’ve ever heard?

Boost- I like Elan Sleazebaggano.

Wolffe- (Laughing so hard he can’t breathe) Wh…what?

Boost- Guy I met once. He was dealing death sticks at the bar.

(Wolffe doubled over laughing.)

Sinker- I met this kid once named Jek Porkins.

Wolffe- Anyone ever SEEN Jedi Master Soon Bayts? I’ve only seen his name on a mailbox in the Jedi Temple head office. I thought it might be a prank.

Rex- That does sound like something General Skywalker would do. His sense of humor is really childish.

Wolffe- So’s yours.

Rex- That’s why I like it.

Wolffe- Who are you kidding, you never laugh.

Rex- You never say anything funny enough to laugh at.

Sinker- Why is Jedi Master Soon Bayts a funny name? (He pronounced it ‘Bites’. My batch mates were stupid. It made people assume that I was since I hung around them all the time).

Wolffe- Think about it.

Sinker- Oh, oh wow.

Wolffe- That’s pretty bold if that is a prank. Aren’t Jedi supposed to be celibate?

Rex- Not all of them are.

Wolffe- Bly told me that lots of them harass General Secura trying to get with her.

Sinker- That’s gross.

Wolffe- Yeah, we’re forbidden from sex, while they pretend not to do it and they do anyway. Although, according to Cody, some Jedi really do hold to the rules. They might really want to screw, but they don’t. That was what Kenobi recommended Cody and his men do, instead of breaking the law, total celibacy. Cody started to wonder, why, when he was a cool dude and he could actually attract women, why did the Jedi tell him to wank and the Republic laws confined him to whores? It wasn’t fair.

Rex- No. No it wasn’t. We're attractive guys, women like us. But we couldn’t give them anything because we were required by law to have nothing but service to the Republic.

Wolffe- Or even when a woman who doesn’t need anything from us wants us, it proves that we could have them. But we’re not allowed even then.

Rex- I only know one brother who ever got away with it. That dude should be a legend, but even he’s got to hide. Hey, that married brother’s name was funny. Cut Lawquane. (Rex was on his fourth shot, he was starting to loosen up.)

Wolffe- Lawquane is ‘hill with rocks on it’ in Twi’leki.

Sinker- Notluwiski Papanoida.

Boost- That blue dude?

Wolffe- I like him. Smart dude. He and Plo are friends.

Boost- Okay, also Pantoran, (over enunciating) Riyo Chuchi.

Sinker- You ever hear of Senator Cos Dashit?

Rex- That’s not real. (Fifth shot)

Boost- No, no, no, no! Yarael Poof, hands down!

Sinker- I met this navy captain who had a son named Crix Madine.

Wolffe-That sounds like a venereal disease.

Boost- You are the expert.

(Wolffe does obscene gesture.)

Boost- How about Keeli’s general, Ima Gun Di?

Rex- Keeli? He and I were leadership squad mates. How is he? (Sixth shot).

Wolffe- He died on Ryloth the first six months of the war.

Rex- How are you so skilled at killing a conversation?

Wolffe- I’m a clone, saying awkward things comes naturally to me.

Rex- How about that guy who tried to assassinate the Chancellor, Morallo Eval? (Seventh shot.)

Wolffe- Really? (laughing) Hello, I’m Ronaldo BadASS.

Sinker- Pleased to know you, I’m Stefano UptoNOgood.

Boost- Donatello MaLEfico.

Wolffe- Good one.

Rex- There is an ancient Sith lord named Dessel. That sounds like as much of a wuss name as Sheev. (Eighth shot, he had just bought the bottle at the beginning of the night.)

Sinker- Dessel, haha.

Rex- (Starting to smile as he talked.) There was this dude from Zygerria called Darts D’Nar.

Boost- That’s not so bad.

Rex- Say it a few times, its ludicrousness grows on you. (Chuckling.)

Boost- Darts D’Nar, Darts D’Nar, Darts D’Nar. Yeah, I guess. Not that funny.

Sinker- Sifo Dyas.

Rex- Sounds like lawn furniture.

Boost- What is lawn furniture?

Sinker- What is even a lawn?

Rex- General Whorm Loathsom

Wolffe- You made that up.

Rex- Christophsis. Look it up.

Wolffe- I intend to.

Rex- Governor Sio Bibble.

Wolffe- No.

Rex- Naboo. Look it up.

Sinker- How have you been all these places?

Rex- The Republic always wants me in the fight, for some reason. Um, Poggle the Lesser from Geonosis.

Boost- (In Threepio voice) King Ebareebaveebeedee of the Squibs.

Sinker- Senator Orn Free Taa

Boost- General Coleman Kcaj

Sinker- Colonel Meebur Gascon.

Boost- (In Obi-Wan voice) Obi-Wan Kenobi.

(By this time, we were all falling over on the table laughing. I don’t think Rex remembers much of that night, he blacked out pretty bad. He tried to drunk dial. I took his com away.)


 

A Good Droid is a Dead Droid

Most of our leave time in the army was on Coruscant, where we lived out of the base at Central Command. The only place where we could reliably go out for a good time was 79’s, the clone bar. Despite us being restricted there, it was a fun place. We had a lot of good times. In this recording, I was interviewing Sparky, the droid bartender. Now, Sparky was one of your more sentient models of droid. His kind were made primarily as doctors, so they had been programmed with empathy. It’s what made him a good bartender. He was actually more compassionate than some people I knew. The thing about that was he could sense emotions to a degree. That was something even we clones had trouble doing. Sparky and I knew most of the same guys, but his impression of them was very unlike mine. This was because he was an outsider and because my brothers treated him differently than they treated me. Anyway, I liked Sparky, he never acted like he was above anybody. Not like that stupid gold-plated protocol droid General Skywalker stuck me with once.

At 79’s on Coruscant. Present, Commander Wolffe of the 104th and BU-37, a modified 2-1B surgical droid, ‘Sparky’ to his friends.

Wolffe- So Sparky, what’s the best drink you make?

Sparky- You might like the L’lahsh. Alderaanian drinks are high quality.

Wolffe- What do most clones like?

Sparky- Cheap grog, shots of your basic distillates. We get more and more requests for that rotgut wine the 501st invented. Not many of you guys are that picky.

Wolffe- I guess that's true. We’re happy for what we can get. On missions we have to go dry unless we can smuggle it or get some of that rotgut wine. That’s dangerous. Like one tenth of the army would die if they had to go without alcohol, they’re so addicted. 79’s provides a vital service, Sparky. Thanks for that. Hey, is anyone more pretentious, ordering something more highfalutin?

Sparky- There are these guys from the 342nd who like the sweet fruity wines. Another group from the 112th who like the more expensive drinks. Commander Gree only drinks mead.

Wolffe- Really? I didn’t know what that was, but I knew it smelled weird. Hey, what clones do you like the best?

Sparky- You 104th guys are cool. You keep the party fun, keep everybody happy. It makes it easy for us to work if everyone is having a good time. The 327th, Bly’s guys are polite. They always thank us and don’t start conflicts. Neyo’s guys are good tippers, they are generous even though no clones have a lot of money. Pilots are jerks, by and large. (This demonstrates what I mean about different perspectives. Sparky was giving me the reputations clones had among the staff at 79’s. Whereas, conventional clone wisdom was that the 104th were filthy minded, Bly’s guys were the best looking, and that Neyo’s guys were the stupidest in the army. And pilots, even I hated pilots. They were douchey.)

Wolffe- (Laughing.) What about the 212th, Cody’s guys?

Sparky- Rude. Swaggering drunks. They act tough, but they’re bullies. (This was a case in point. To me, personally, Cody’s guys were good brothers. But among us, we joked that they were babies. Even Cody thought so.)

Wolffe- What about Rex and the 501st?

Sparky- Rex is an okay guy, really quiet most of the time. In general, though, I think the 501st hate all droids, not just the Separatist ones.

Wolffe- Whaaat? Why is that Sparky? (This one sounded crazy to me. Rex fanatically hated making fun of other people for being different. I couldn’t believe he’d allow his guys to get that reputation.)

Sparky- We droids are used to being looked down on. I would expect that from natural borns, but clones in general are more polite. The 501st act superior, they look around like they’re too good to be here. They don’t seem to want to interact with us automaton servers. Even Rex. Kix, their medic, actually has a tattoo on his head that says ‘A good droid is a dead droid.’

Wolffe- I think he means battle droids.

Sparky- It’s offensive. And in my place of work, where I can’t get away from it? I find it hostile.

Wolffe- You know, you’re right. If some Senator had a tattoo saying good clones are dead clones, and I had to do guard duty for them, it would make me sick. I’m gonna say something to him. (I had a reputation for being extremely unpredictable, as far as clones go. Usually, I was a kitten, but I could go off in a second. I liked keeping people guessing.)

Sparky- What are you going to do, fight him?

Wolffe- Probably not. I’ll probably just ask him if he’s aware that it’s threatening to the droids we interact with. Maybe he never thought about it like that.

(I went over and he insulted me like he always did. Kix had said any number of things to insult me in the past, we all did that to each other constantly. As soon as he did it this time, I kicked him in the nads. I have never been one for fair fighting. His buddies didn’t do anything. I was a commander and out-ranked them. Rex came over to me pretty pissed. I told him that it was just an assertion of dominance. Defending one’s honor was permitted according to clone culture. Rex knew that. He would have done the same if anyone ever dared insult him or the 501st. Rex was a good guy and I have no doubt that he agreed strongly with me that all sentient beings were our family. I could reason with him, I was sure. Still, I didn’t want to bring it up right then. At the bar, with just each other, we were all clones first and anything else second. I thought that at that moment he would side with brothers over anyone, including droids. But I was a loser no matter where I was. I tended to side with whichever side was weakest. No one ever knew why I’d really done it. But Sparky bought me a drink.)


Why don’t clones sleep with blankets?

When I used to see Ahsoka, she used to update my player pod for me, putting on new music. This was after the Abregado disaster early in the war. The girl had no sense of propriety. I was on a Jedi cruiser just coming out of a shower, wearing nothing but underpants. I guess she was raised in the Jedi Temple, where people were more open, but on Kamino, we were absolutely discouraged from being naked any longer than completely necessary for bathing and changing. It freaked me out. She knew a lot of clones and thought it was funny how shy we were. Clones were only a few months out of Kamino, we were still pretty conditioned. It makes me laugh to remember how I used to be. She had switched the recorder on to record some recommendations for the new music and had left it on.

The officers' barracks, on board the Resolute. Present, Ahsoka Tano and Wolffe of the 104th.

(The door panel slid open, Ahsoka walked in. No knocking or anything.)

Ahsoka- Whoa! (Blushing and holding up her hands.) Sorry! Rex always locks the door if he’s not presentable.

Wolffe- Geez, Ahsoka, I am so sorry! (Picking up a piece of armor to cover.)

Ahsoka- Don’t you have a blanket or something? (Still shielding eyes)

Wolffe- I haven’t used a blanket since I was one. (Grabbing undersuit)

Ahsoka- (Turning her back) I brought your player pod with the new stuff on it. Why don’t you use blankets?

Wolffe- Nobody has given us blankets since we were little. Not on Kamino, not in barracks. (Throwing on undersuit pants.)

Ahsoka- Why?

Wolffe- Temperatures are regulated. I guess they think we don’t need them. We’re all so crammed in in quarters, it gets hot and stuffy. The undersuits are supposed to be enough.

Ahsoka- Don’t you ever want one? (Turning around)

Wolffe- Why? (Putting on undersuit shirt.)

Ahsoka- I don’t know. It’s nice to sleep with one.

Wolffe- Why? I’m not cold.

Ahsoka- It’s…comfier.

Wolffe- What?

Ahsoka- Comfy, comfortable, it feels good.

Wolffe- Why? What does it do? Does it like…vibrate or something?

Ahsoka- What?! No! No. It’s like…it feels nice to kind of…cuddle.

Wolffe- What?

Ahsoka- Cuddle? You know, kind of hugging.

Wolffe- Hugging?

Ahsoka- You have GOT to be kidding.

(I wasn’t. I had never heard of it.)

Ahsoka- Like, doesn’t it feel nice to hold someone?

Wolffe- Well, yeah, because every time I’ve done that I was having sex.

(She looked positively horrified.)

Wolffe-What? It’s true for most of us. We didn’t get touched much in the academy. Fighting mostly. Now we touch other people for sex.

Ahsoka- Wow. We Jedi don’t touch people much, but even we can hug.

Wolffe- I don’t know. Maybe it was for our military conditioning. You know what I think? They didn’t want us feeling close to each other. You know, then we might feel the loss more, if it was a person you’d touched and held. I haven’t slept a night beside another person since nursery year. I have just lost two of my nursery batch mates already. (Flicking through player pod)

Ahsoka- Never since? I thought you…

Wolffe- Never slept the night with a girl. It’s easier to get in trouble if they see you leaving a place in the light of day. Then they know you spent the night. If it’s dark when you leave, you could just be drunk.

Ahsoka- Well, aren’t clones only allowed whores?

Wolffe- Technically no, not even them. But it’s tolerated because this keeps us away from the civies.

Ahsoka- Ah. And no one else hugs you?

Wolffe- Nope. Frankly, I think I would flinch. Touch for us is usually aggression.

Ahsoka- (Looking mischievous) I’m gonna do it! (Lunging at me)

Wolffe- Ahsoka! (I dodged. She caught me, she was quick.)

Ahsoka- Okay, now just stop being tense. Put your arms around me. Good. Now squeeze. (I put my cheek on her head.)

Wolffe- Okay, that’s enough. (Backing away.)

Ahsoka- You really are not used to being touched.

Wolffe- No, it’s weird for me, okay?

Ahsoka- Okay.

(When she was found after a kidnapping ordeal, I had hugged her. The instant I saw her, I hugged her as tightly as I could. I was so relieved that I even kissed the top of her head. I had been touched a lot more by then, so I had gotten used to it. I’d spent a lot of nights where I didn’t sleep alone. Whenever I was with my girlfriend, we shared a blanket.)

Chapter Text

Dissection Class

For this discussion, we were on Khorm. That campaign started out kind of slow going. Moving across the terrain was pretty tough, when storms would blow through, visibility was limited even for the sensors. So we’d have to stop and take shelter. We carved ourselves out a little snow cave one night and there was not much else to do, so some of the boys and I were passing a bottle of brandy with General Plo.

Marching on a weather-control station on Khorm. Present, General Plo Koon, as well as Boost, Sinker, and myself of the 104th.

Plo Koon- On Dorin, we brew a hot beverage for cold days with liquor, honey and spices.

Wolffe- Can’t help you there General. What’s it like on Dorin?

Plo Koon- Unpredictable weather. Rainstorms could be rather violent.

Sinker- On Kamino, we used to get rain so bad.

Boost- The Kaminoans had different words for raining sideways, raining straight up and down, raining diagonally, lighter rain, freezing rain.

Wolffe- You remember that one day we had the freezing rain and those guys fell off the platforms? (To Plo) We got a storm of freezing rain during target practice on these outdoor landing platforms. We had to fish three guys out of the ocean.

Boost- Did they all live?

Sinker- I think so…no wait, Gino hit his head on the way down. He walked around for days reciting those monologues over and over.

Plo Koon- So what happened to him?

Sinker- He got euthanized. Unfit for duty.

(General Plo looked a little shocked at how lightly we seemed to take death. It was a constant reality for us, we couldn’t take too much time over it.)

Boost- We liked days where we went out to the platforms for lessons. It was one of the only times we could go outside. You remember the day all those guys threw up?

(We all laughed.)

Plo Koon- What happened?

Sinker- So that was the day we had to butcher the aiwhas.

Wolffe- The air-whales, these creatures that live in the water, they can also fly a bit. They’re huge.

Boost- The Kaminoans brought some dead ones out for us when we were in third year. The point of the exercise was so that we could cut them up as a survival skill, general anatomy, finding food, things we might need experience with in the field. Anyway, they had about five that weren’t the freshest if you catch my drift.

Sinker- They’re not naturally awful smelling. You can eat them, we used to have them sometimes in the commissary. But these ones were obviously food supplies that had turned. They were bloated.

Wolffe- So they ask for volunteers…

Boost- So two guys volunteer and start following the instructions, right away they have to gore it from throat to crotch, splitting open this bag of rotting organs, fluid comes popping out splashing everyone in the first two rows of the circle.

Sinker- The guys with the knives right away started to vomit. Then that smell hits us.

Boost- Everyone was running for the edge of the platform or just losing it on the guy next to them.

(Wolffe laughing hysterically)

Sinker- So in the middle of all this is CC-3636, he is just standing there with his arms crossed shaking his head at us like we were total embarrassments.

Plo Koon- How was he immune to the…situation?

Boost- Wolffe was the eating champion. He would eat anything on a dare. Bugs, algae, maggots from the trash compactor. Rotten food. Oh, these little blue fish that get caught in puddles on platforms, he’d eat them alive. Won all kinds of stuff for it on these dares. He was never phased. Plus, since he was in competitive eating contests, like who could eat the most of something, he was used to people throwing up next to him.

Sinker- (Growing animated.) We talked about that day for a solid year. I think that was how Wolffe got selected for leadership training. Him and his iron stomach.

Boost- The next week they gave us edible bugs and grubs. Wolffe was acting like it was a buffet.

Wolffe- Every one of them had a completely unique taste.

Plo Koon- Truly, Commander, you are a man of interesting skills.


 

I Hate Clowns

Boost, Sinker and I were waiting for Rex, newly home from Cato Neimoidia so we could go to the bar. Boost and Sinker, probably my closest brothers, died on C.N. later on. Rex was taking forever. We used to joke that it was because he thought he was so pretty he couldn’t stop looking in the mirror. We were in the common room at the officers’ barracks. They were playing dice while I was grinding up some pills. Rex said he wanted to put on a cloth uniform. I was sure he was sick. I did research Neimoidian virus symptoms just to be safe in case he keeled over.

Wolffe- (Snorts a line and looks up across the street from the window.) You see that graffiti out the window?

Sinker- (Looking up, bursts out laughing.) I hate clowns?

Boost- No way. So they’re hate filled enough to come out and vandalize the base but they’re too lazy to look up how to spell ‘clones’.

Wolffe- That’s the best. I’m gonna get that put on my next shirt. (I had a bunch of funny shirts that I liked to wear on leave time.)

Boost- Where do you get all these shirts? I didn’t know most stores would sell to us.

Wolffe- Nah, C.C. orders them for me. (My girlfriend.)

Sinker- (Looking at graffito) Maybe the guy genuinely hates clowns. You don’t know. I hear the circus can be traumatic.

Wolffe- Can you get PTSD from the circus?

Boost- Why not? It can be very disorienting, too many sensory stimuli.

Wolffe- Wait, are you actually afraid of the circus?

Boost- No…it’s just, with the conditioning we have, if my senses get too overloaded, I feel like going into combat mode, even if I know I’m safe. Don’t you two have anything weird that you’re afraid of?

Sinker- Deep water.

Boost- You’re from Kamino.

Sinker- I know. But I don’t like it.

Boost- I remember you panicked first day of swimming classes. But that was in a pool. You could see the bottom.

Sinker- Doesn’t have to make sense, that’s why it’s an irrational fear. Wolffe, what’s yours?

Wolffe- Being alone. I get panicked if I think everyone has disappeared. It’s crazy, but like, if I’m at home and C.C.’s not in the apartment, it freaks me out. I irrationally believe that everyone has died and I’m stressed until I see another person.

Boost- You’re a really weird dude.

Sinker- Better than being like Cody. Nothing gets to him.

Wolffe- Nah, he’s afraid of needles.

Sinker- So do you think there are people who actually are afraid of clowns?

Wolffe- There are people who are afraid of us and we just look like any other humans.

Sinker- In their defense, you are pretty frightening, Old One Eye.

Wolffe- We should hire a clown one night to come to the bar and see who gets freaked out

Boost- (Laughing) Just have him come in and stand there, without any explanation. I guarantee, some brothers will be nervous.

(Rex walking up.)

Wolffe- Hey, Cappy.

Rex- Cappy? No.

Boost- Hey, Rex, what are your thoughts on the circus?

Rex- Always good to know the Wolfpack is there discussing the important questions.

Sinker- Do you have any irrational fears?

Rex- Sharks.

Boost- Actually, growing up on Kamino, that might not have been irrational.

Rex- Nah, the shark feeding grounds were miles away from the cloning facility.

(Rex always brought an interesting perspective. We did try the clown prank two nights later. Scared the crap out of a few guys. It got weirder when the clown used his earnings to solicit one of our fine ladies of ill repute. But that’s another story.)


 

Oddball and the Hammerhead

Every guy in the Grand Army of the Republic had some type of brother that he couldn’t stand. My brother Rex absolutely hated navy guys. He thought they were soft because they didn’t wear armor and they didn’t get involved in infantry maneuvers, which could get dirty. Cody, who was a first round clone like me, thought younger clones were stupid. In my opinion, pilots, by and large, were asscrabs. They were all full of themselves like they were some kind of hotshots. Of course, I had to work with them. Like a lot. So this story makes me happy because the guy had it coming.

79’s, the clone bar, on Coruscant. Again. At the table, myself, Boost, Sinker, Comet. C.C., a notorious prostitute but also my steadiest relationship, came up to us to accept the drink I had just bought her.

Wolffe- Hey C.C., you got a story for us.

C.C.- So, your pilot brother from the 104th, Jag?

Sinker- Of course.

C.C.- Well, he can be kind of a dick. He just tried to short change on the credits and pretend like he just did it by accident. (The whores’ opinion of pilots was that they were total skinflints.)

Wolffe- Yeah, I always said, he’d do a droid if he thought it was cheap enough.

C.C.- Yes, but he does not hold a candle to Oddball of the 212th. I fricking hate the 212th. Especially that guy. Every time I talk to him, he offers me an insanely low amount of money. It’s insulting. Everybody knows what I charge. If you don’t wanna be a dick, don’t play games, just let me move on.

Boost- Okay? (Bartering with whores was expected, but lowballing them was poor form.)

C.C.- If you want to offer crap money, go to the street girls. Don’t waste my time.

Comet- Yeah, but street girls, they’re kind of…. (Okay, street girls were not exactly the A squad. For poorer brothers, they were sometimes the only option.)

Wolffe- What? The street girls are nice. They bought me some hot tea the other day when it was cold out.

C.C.- Anyway, you know that hammerhead that was around here.

Wolffe- Chenille!

(Everyone looked at me. Chenille was an Ithorian prostitute who worked 79’s for a little while.)

Wolffe- What? I didn’t. But I bought her a drink, we talked. She was just trying to make a living.

Sinker- So?

C.C.- Well, I told her that I would pay her if she would help me get back at Oddball.

Boost- How?

C.C.- I told him that if he offered her like six credits, she’d do it. She wasn’t much to look at but cheap sex was good enough in his mind. So they went into the bathroom. He comes out and I’m standing with his whole fighter squad. I ask, how was it? He says the tail kept getting in the way, and I said that FEMALE Ithorians don’t have tails.

(Laughter erupted.)

Sinker- Wait, do they?

C.C.- She’s a girl, but his brothers didn’t know that. Now he has a reputation for being a total freak. If he admitted he was just a stupid cheapskate he would lose face. He’s got to live up to that crazy reputation. Now his brothers are always daring him to put it anywhere. He does it too, like yesterday night, he ended up with it stuck in a bottle and had to go to the hospital at the base.

(Laughing.)

Wolffe- Where did Chenille ever go?

C.C.- I don’t know, sweetie. Make something up.

Wolffe- She got pregnant, so she and her husband moved to a neighborhood with better schools.

Sinker- Was it Oddball’s? Just a joke. Clones are sterile.

C.C.- Um…one of you boys went AWOL and married her.

Boost- Chancellor Palpatine has set her up as his kept woman.

Sinker- Maybe she was murdered by a serial killer, you know prostitutes are an extremely vulnerable group when it comes to acts of violence.

(Everyone just stared. And blinked.)

Sinker- Sorry.

(Conversation killers, we clones were extremely gifted at finding them. We looked like men, but the oldest of us were only twelve. It’s an awkward age.)

Chapter Text

The Podracing Banner

I didn’t usually speak much to General Skywalker when Rex wasn’t around. Those two were pretty close knit. This time, though, we met by accident. I was working security at a diplomatic banquet at the Jedi Temple. It was light duty, so me and the Wolf Pack had smoked a death stick while listening to music in the transport over from the base. I was playing some new music, hip hop from Shili. It was cool. Once there, Boost, Sinker, and I went to where I knew there was a smaller kitchen upstairs that would be deserted as the party staff worked out of the main kitchen. I remembered that the upper kitchen was stocked. We wanted food. Republic Nutrition Rations were awful and we were hungry smelling the banquet. We arrived in time to see the General stumble out of the walk in pantry with none other than Senator Padme Amidala. I was sure they weren’t in the pantry to find a can of beets. She was wearing this strapless dress and gloves. She was smoking hot. Rex hated it when I said so, but that was because he thought so too. I’d turned on the recorder on my player pod because I wanted to hear what excuse they were going to concoct. I knew it was going to be classic. Every soldier in the Grand Army knew they were ‘running diagnostics’ so to speak.

At the Jedi Temple, residential floors. Present, Boost, Sinker and Wolffe of the 104th, General Skywalker of the 501st and M’Lady, his civilian friend.

Wolffe- General Skywalker. M’Lady. (I didn’t know her name at the time, M’Lady was all Rex and most other clones, ever called her.)

Skywalker- Guys…hi. Senator Padme Amidala (thaaaat was it), this is Commander Wolffe, Sergeant Boost and Sergeant Sinker from the 104th, Master Plo’s guys.

M’Lady- It’s nice to meet you finally, I’ve heard such good things about all of you. (Really? I started to laugh, but managed to turn it into a cough.)

Boost- Thank you, M’Lady. (I kicked Boost in the shin when I saw him looking at her rack.)

Skywalker- We were just in here…looking for my…stash...of drugs. (That dude was the worst liar. He drank one or two drinks in a night, max and never touched drugs. I knew what he was stashing.)

Wolffe- Really? Drugs? What kind?

Skywalker- Ah…spice? (He didn’t sound sure.)

Wolffe- They have free drinks downstairs at the banquet. Top shelf stuff.

Skywalker- Yeah, but…we like to sneak off and get a little buzzed, you know. (He unsuccessfully tried to mime hitting a spice pipe. He had no idea.)

Wolffe- We have a death stick left if you want it.

Skywalker- Yeah…death stick…we do like the death sticks. Because we…like…to…sneak off and get…buzzed.

M’Lady- Wolffe, Anakin tells me you like music. Have you ever been to a concert?

Wolffe- Against the rules, M’Lady. (So were death sticks.)

M’Lady- Do you really obey all of the rules?

Wolffe- Not when I can help it.

(She went to the walk in fridge and took out two bottles of water for herself and the General. Her dress was backless.)

Sinker- That’s a very nice dress, M’Lady. (I kicked him, too.)

Wolffe- Yeah, blue, like the field color for the 501st. Are you in a booster club for General Skywalker’s outfit?

Skywalker- I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

M’Lady- Well, I have it on good authority that blue is Anakin’s favorite color. (Man, the way she looked at him. She didn’t seem to care about hiding anything.) Ani, (We all stifled laughter) do you remember, it was the color on your podracing banner.

Wolffe- Are you a fan of the races, sir? I’ve have won some money on them. I’d love to go watch them with you some time.

M’Lady- No, he wasn’t a fan, he was a pilot.

Boost- No way. I thought humans couldn’t do that. Like, that was mostly those little species with the fast metabolisms.

M’Lady- He has fast reflexes. That was how they knew he could wield the Force.

Boost- Really?

Skywalker- It’s listed in the trials in my file here at the temple. I even won my last race.

Wolffe- So could you like, get a sense of odds if you looked at a race. Because I bet we could get some advantage at the betting parlor.

Sinker- What did it look like?

M’Lady- The race?

Sinker- No.

Wolffe- The betting parlor?

Sinker- No.

Boost- My hand looks so big in this glove.

Sinker- No, the banner.

M’Lady- Just a kind of an x painted in blue on an old bedsheet.

Skywalker- Sunshade cloth from a sailing barge, please.

Sinker- Who painted it?

M’Lady- Anakin’s mother and I. She was the one who told me blue was his favorite color.

Wolffe- You had a mother? I thought Jedi were born from jars like us.

Skywalker- What?

Boost- I thought they came from eggs. Like magic. You know, you never see Jedi with parents. I thought you didn’t have them.

Sinker- A mom? That’s so cool. (I was starting to realize that the Death Sticks we’d smoked had taken effect. Oh boy.)

Boost- I always wanted a mom.

M’Lady- Aw.

Wolffe- You can’t even get a girlfriend.

Boost- Picture that. A real mom. You know you can get food from moms? Did you nurse, General? (Way to cover that cleavage peek, asshat.)

Skywalker- (Laughing) Yes.

Boost- Was it nice? I bet it was nice.

(Senator Amidala was trying desperately not to spit take the water.)

Skywalker- Weeeee’re just gonna go.

Boost- Oh, okay. I enjoyed meeting you M’Lady.

(I couldn’t stop laughing. The pantry looked like it had been tossed about a bit. Apparently they were frisky. We cleared it of all the junk food and meal ration packs and brought them to my brothers working guard detail with us.)


 


The Curse of the Latrine on Tiprin

After the Abregado disaster, General Plo, Boost, Sinker and I were the only survivors from the destruction of three star destroyers. I was so lucky to be alive, I cannot even explain. Once safe on the Jedi Cruiser Resolute, I reported for a physical with the cruiser’s doctor droid. I had been a little banged up, but I’d be alright. The droid gave me some pain killers, which I had never had before. I think the dosage was too high. Rex and Cody came in with some of their guys. The boys had a case of a pretty common venereal disease and their commanding officers were trying to get them cleared up before anyone found out. Both Rex and Cody didn’t like the rules broken, but they did care about their brothers. Sex was forbidden for us under the rules of conduct outlined in the Military Creation Act, but that was enforced rather sporadically. Cody was furious. Rex was sympathetic, but trying to explain how prophylactics worked. I turned on the recorder on my player pod without letting them know because I found it too funny.

Present- Cody, Nash, and Ayer of the 212th, Rex, Redeye and Mixer of the 501st. In the infirmary on board the Resolute.

Rex- …so it goes over and it will keep those infections from spreading to other people. I’ll issue you some on the next leave.

Cody- You’re only encouraging them!

Rex- I’d rather have them safe.

Cody- Oh, so we should help them to go out and…(Rex shushed him. The medical droid was close by.)

Rex- Doctor, these boys will need a round of antibiotics.

Wolffe- (To the enlisted men) So you caught a little bit of the drip?

Cody- Wolffe!

Wolffe- What? I just heard about it, I’ve never actually had it.

Cody- Right, because nobody in her right mind would sleep with you.

Wolffe- What? I’ve done it.

Cody- Where?

Wolffe- A couple of times at the brothel, mostly in the bathroom at 79’s. (79’s was our clone bar. That early in the war, Cody and Rex were personally strict about keeping to the rules of conduct. I was not.)

Rex- That’s disgusting.

Wolffe- Why?

Cody- In a bathroom? Bathrooms are gross.

Wolffe- Where else can you go? It’s not like you can just bring them back to the base. At the brothel you have to pay for the clean sheets and the room. And if you don’t get done fast enough (gesture.)

Rex- (Wincing.) Alright, we get it!. Fine, have your bathrooms, then.

Wolffe- Just looking to give your guys some practical advice.

Rex- Why don’t you go to her place?

Wolffe- Do you know how much that costs?

Rex- You’ve given this all way too much thought.

Wolffe- Player’s gotta play.

Redeye- (Trying to deflect some of the ire from the commanding officers) You guys remember that bathroom on Tiprin.

Wolffe- What happened on Tiprin.

Rex- (Glad for the change of subject.) Food poisoning. Some bad nutrition rations. We all got sick.

Ayer- It was awful. Just like, sudden spasms, out both ends. Guys were on all fours over the latrines just saying they wished they were dead. And this armor doesn’t exactly just come right off, so there were accidents. We were all covered in sick.

Wolffe- (Trying to change it back.) You don’t have to tell me. I’ve had all kinds of trouble getting my belt and codpiece off for the bathroom.

Rex- You’re not talking about going to take a piss, are you?

Wolffe- Nope.

Nash- I was on the crew that had to clean the latrine. It was a nightmare.

Wolffe- (To Rex) See the trick is, you should take off the back piece too to allow freedom of motion for the thrusting.

(Cody rolled his eyes at me.)

Mixer- I had to clean it, too. Man, all I wanted to do was take a shower and disinfect my armor after that. But we ran out of fresh water. We just had to stay in our shitty, vomit smelling things.

Wolffe- Man, I would’ve got a rash.

Nash- Some of us did. And it was swampy conditions, so add dirty water and sweat to that equation. I’m sure we smelled like rotting corpses.

Wolffe- So how long did it take to get over the food poisoning?

Rex- A few days. We had to throw out all the food. We had nothing else to eat except grubs if we could find them under rocks and stuff. We didn’t know which plants were safe to eat. The water smelled skunky.

Wolffe- Did the generals have to use the bathroom?

Cody- No. General Kenobi dug his own personal trenches. General Skywalker just pissed on plants.

Wolffe- Did they get food poisoning?

Rex- No, they had brought food with them. By the time they ran out of that, they had to eat the grubs, though.

Wolffe- Now, General Skywalker, I could see doing that. But General Kenobi?

Cody- I think he just fasted.

Wolffe- Did you win the campaign?

Rex- We won our part. Dangerous odds, too. The campaign was a fiasco, though. Fricking Gree was leading it.

Wolffe- (To the enlisted guys) So just as a heads up, where did you boys say you got that infection?

Mixer- One of the street girls outside of 79’s.

Wolffe- Eywa or Fanda? Or…what’s the other one…Eleese.

Rex- Wolffe!

Wolffe- Just asking. I like to be knowledgeable of the goings on.

Redeye- We were desperate so we took a chance. She didn’t offer any prophylactics. We know the girls at the brothel are safe, but we can’t afford it. And the ones inside the bar even give you the prophylactics, but we can’t get the girls inside, they’re always too busy.

Wolffe- Well, if you promise to use the prophylactics, I can introduce you to a few.

Cody- Wolffe!

Wolffe- What? I’m friends with some of them. I’m taking a survey of them nowadays to see if I can learn how to achieve the female…

Cody- Wolffe!

Wolffe- Whaaaaaat?

Cody- (To Ayer and Nash) I catch you two fraternizing with civilians again and I’ll have you thrown in the brig for the entirety of your next leave.

(The doctor droid brought the antibiotic pumps and attached them to the guys’ skin. When the needles inserted, Cody winced.)

Rex- Alright boys, you should be fine, back to duty.

(Cody and Rex cared about their guys, it’s what made them great leaders. I cared about mine, too. Cody was strict with discipline. Rex was more about finding compromises where everyone got something they wanted. I had to admire how successfully both of them utilized their methods. I tended to lead in other ways, such as the field of social research. I am proud to report that my survey was successful. And that both Cody and Rex called me at later dates for advice on that very subject. They didn’t always stay so repressed, those two. I hope my advice helped. I live to make ladies happy.)


Obi-Wan Gets Hary Baly

Hary baly is clone slang for drunk. It comes from the Mando’a phrase haryc b’aalyc meaning ‘tired and emotional’, but also figuratively possessing the same meaning. I tended to be a guy people drank with. I didn’t judge people for being shitfaced and I’m a good listener. One of my most interesting drunk conversations was with none other than General Obi-Wan Kenobi. This was before the Citadel mission. I was only involved with the evac on that mission, so I have no idea what kind of crazy shit those guys saw that actually had to infiltrate the prison and fight their ways out. They all had to be awake for like sixty hours straight. The Jedi made it with their self-discipline, they were trained to do super-human things. The clones were issued amphetamines, like pervetin, and were under orders to take them. I saw Fives after, he was completely shell shocked. Lost his batch mate. He said a guy got cut in half. I’m pretty sure that even before the mission, everyone on that team thought it was a very real possibility that they wouldn’t survive, even the Jedi. Well, a week before, we were at the bar, some of the Jedi, too. Seeing that team was like seeing guys who were deciding how they wanted to spend their last week of their lives. Rex had left early. Cody was waiting for General Kenobi to leave so that he could get an appointment with one of the professional girls. Skywalker had left to take Fives and Echo to a nightclub for some fun. General Plo Koon was playing cards at a table with my batch mates and some of the other guys. I was at a booth with Kenobi, waiting for my girl to get off work. I distracted Kenobi so that Cody could get away. I was at the booth alone with General Kenobi, so I asked him for an interview.

At 79’s on Coruscant in a side booth. Present, Wolffe of the 104th and General Kenobi of the 212th.

Wolffe- Another drink sir?

Kenobi- (Speaking slowly) You know Wolffe, I think you are something of a scoundrel.

Wolffe- You don’t know the half of it.

Kenobi- I’ve always tried to train my boys to be polite young men. What Master Plo allows, it just doesn’t seem to be very responsible, from a paternal point of view.

Wolffe- I don’t think of General Plo as a father. More of a big brother. He knows we aren’t polite, we weren’t brought up to be. No sense trying to make us something we’re not. So what’s with all the Jedi and the bowing?

Kenobi- It is a sign of respect.

Wolffe- But what about when you really like the person? Ahsoka says you guys hug.

Kenobi- We don’t do it often. (He was slurring his speech slightly.)

Wolffe- Do you consider yourself a hugger?

Kenobi- By Jedi standards, I’m positively cuddly. (He was being over emphatic. Yep, he was drunk. I wished Cody was there to see it. Drunk Obi-Wan was cool.) I only became a hugger only after I started raising a child. Before that, I wasn’t much for physical contact.

Wolffe- You had a kid? I thought Jedi couldn’t...

Kenobi- No, I raised Anakin. He was nine when he became my responsibility.

Wolffe- So he’s like adopted?

Kenobi- (Speaking slowly.) Not like. He is. Legally. He and his mother were slaves, and my Jedi master Qui Gon more or less bought Anakin. Anakin was freed, we had the documentation, but on the forms to register him as a citizen of the Republic, Qui Gon had to list himself as guardian, since one was required. The boy was not a Jedi, so the Order could not be responsible. When Qui Gon was killed, I had to adopt him officially so that a guardian could consent for his status could be changed to Jedi youngling. So on paper anyway, I am his father.

Wolffe- How do you know so much about laws, sir?

Kenobi- I’m Jedi Diplomatic Corps. I have a degree in litigation. I am considered rather a good public speaker. (Even slurring his speech and with lowered eyelids, he was articulate.)

Wolffe- So if someone adopted me, could I become a citizen of the Republic?

Kenobi- No. Citizens have to be sentient beings to have civil rights. Clones are legally classified as only 49% of a sentient being.

Wolffe- What are our chances of getting the laws changed, you know, so we clones can be whole people.

Kenobi- I am actually very optimistic about it.

(Cody came back from the bathroom.)

Wolffe- Good?

Cody- Much better.

Kenobi- (Yawning.) Don’t forget we have a strategy meeting with Anakin tomorrow.

Cody- Yes, sir. (Laughing as he finished his drink.)

(Kenobi fell asleep in the booth, so we carried him to an air taxi and took him home. General Skywalker met us at the landing platform to their flat at the temple. As he limped Kenobi inside, Skywalker muttered, “You’re heavy, Old Man.” General Kenobi laughed and raised his index finger, “Don’t disrespect me. I am your father.” Skywalker started laughing, too. Obi-Wan must have been the best dad, I thought.)

Chapter Text

Life Day at Wookiee World

One night at 79’s, Fives came in in civie attire. I was the first clone to really do that, and it became apparent pretty quickly that nobody cared. We look less eerie when we’re not all dressed the same. Just like normal guys. Clones were on the news and stuff, but mostly in helmets. Even though the appearance of clone soldiers should have been instantly recognizable, you’d be surprised at how little people actually look at each other. So when Fives from the 501st was on leave for several weeks to do special training at the Jedi Temple, he followed my lead. No other clones had my fashion sense, though.

At 79’s on a weeknight. Present, me, Bly from the 327th, my girlfriend C.C., my guys Boost and Sinker, and Fives from the 501st.

Wolffe- Nice shirt.

Fives- Ahsoka says they’re a lame band now, something only ten-year-olds like.

Wolffe- I used to listen to them early in the war.

Sinker- Last year?

Wolffe- When I was ten.

Fives- I just came from that place, Wookiee World, that amusement park on the outskirts. It was so fun.

C.C.- (Rolling eyes) Wookiee World. (We clones were laughing.)

Fives- You’ve been?

C.C.- Wolffe saw a commercial and got all excited, ‘Oh, C.C., it’s the Life Day extravaganza, they’ll have concerts and rides and candy. And a Tree of Life! Can we go? Please, please!’”

Wolffe- I am not ashamed. I said it was gonna be awesome and it was.

Fives- How did you get there?

Bly- My boyfriend at the time had his own covered speeder.

Fives- So he drove you?

Wolffe- Nah, he was too drunk. I drove.

Fives- You’re only certified for tanks.

Wolffe- I didn’t say it was a smooth ride.

Sinker- We were so lucky we didn’t get pulled over.

Fives- What was your civie attire like?

Wolffe- I had a plan. I told them to do what I called, ‘obviously incognito.’ Not dressing like civies, but think ‘civie’ as a play costume. Hey, is that cultural appropriation, if we clones use ‘civie’ as a costume?

Bly- I was wearing sungoggles, even though it was night, and a shirt that said ‘Jizz enthusiast’.

Wolffe- (Laughing) It was hilarious. But seriously, Bith music stinks.

Bly- The hell you say!

C.C.- That was the night they all came up with those ridiculous aliases to use in public.

Fives- Aliases?

C.C.- Here we have Armando Vicious (me), Kippy Fifterfish (Boost), Trice Boggin (Sinker), and Wilton Jor-el (Bly). Don’t look at me, those idiots named themselves. Boost was wearing the uniform of a fuel station attendant and fricking Sinker was wearing a fake moustache and a stupid hat.

Sinker- Hey, Trice Boggin’s profession is haberdashery. It was necessary to the costume.

Bly- So we get inside and it was all these colors and lights, music and sounds everywhere. Boost needed a minute to sit. My boyfriend puked in a trash can.

Wolffe- They both felt better after we bought them ice slushes. After that, we went on rides, they had people performing shows. Oh, and the food!

Fives- I know! They’ll fry anything!

Wolffe- At the holidays, everywhere you go, you hear that ‘A Day to Celebrate’ song.

Fives- Not this time of year I guess. That ‘Light the Sky on Fire’ song was popular.

Wolffe- Did you get to the love tunnel?

Fives- The what?

Wolffe- What’s it actually called?

C.C.- The Mind Evaporator.

Wolffe- Right. That ride where you go in these little boats through the dark. It’s supposed to be romantic. So awesome.

C.C.- We got frisky.

Fives- Wait, love tunnel? Is the ride literally for that?

Wolffe- They probably say it’s not, but it was pretty unsubtle about setting the mood. The relaxing videos on the screens inside, then this chick in a sparkly outfit saying come-hither stuff and singing.

Fives- What kind of stuff?

Bly- (In a voice imitating the woman in the ride) ‘I know you’re searching for me. My voice is for you alone. I am found in your eyes, only. I exist for you. I am in your mind as you create me. Oh, yes, I can feel my creation. I’m getting your message. Are you getting mine? Oh. Oooh, we are excited, aren’t we?’ It was very suggestive.

Wolffe- Armando is the highly suggestible type.

C.C.- (Doing a sexy voice) ‘Now, just relax, just relax. Now, we can have a good time. Can’t we? I’ll tell you a secret. I find you adorable. I don’t need to ask how you find me. I am your fantasy. I am your experience, so experience me.’

Boost- You know, I bet people’d pay to hear you talk to them like that.

Sinker- Stupid love tunnel was great if you brought a date. I had to ride with this stinking idiot. I was just staring around trying to pretend it wasn’t extremely uncomfortable.

Boost- What? So you…don’t want to experience me? I’m hurt.

Sinker- Wolffe got out at the end shouting about how much he enjoyed the love tunnel. He started high fiving random people.

C.C.- It was the walk of shame going out the exit past the line to get in. I think everyone knew what we did.

Wolffe- Uh, yes? That was the point. I was feeling the Life Day spirit.

Boost- What is the spirit of Life Day.

Wolffe- Giving. (Raises eyebrows twice.)

Fives- Didn’t that attract too much attention? How did you not get arrested?

Wolffe- I told you, I had a plan to make sure we got out of there. You remember, I had the guys dress like they were in bad disguises?

Fives- Obviously incognito?

Wolffe- Okay, when we were ready to go, I sent C.C. and Bly’s boyfriend to wait at the speeder. They’re civies, they’re allowed to go to the park. We didn’t want to be caught on the way out, since there were always police at closing. So we went to the central office of the park and I introduced myself as a Clone Commander, but I said I was with the military police. They had no clue what the difference was. I said that I had caught three rogue clones in their establishment breaking the military code of conduct. The disguises helped to sell it that they were just idiot clones out to masquerade as Enbees. (Natural born).

Bly- We made sure to look so ashamed of ourselves. They asked this bastard how much the fine would be for catering to clones and he said that he could make the report disappear if they gave him a small consideration for his time. The brother didn’t even blink.

Sinker- They didn’t want to get in trouble. He said he’d take us back to the base for discipline.

Boost- He took us out for waffles at Ackmena’s with the money.

Sinker- No, the best part was, while he was at the park office, he’s going on and on about what a wonderful park it looks like and how he’d love to take his family there once the war was over and he could retire. That schmaltzy performance broke their hearts, so they gave him a shirt with the fricking park logo on it.

(Life Day. Hell yes.)


 


Armando Tries Political Satire

I got bored on transports. Hyperspace journeys could take days and once I’d figured out some tricks to make paperwork go faster, I had more free time. We used to listen to the Voice of the Outer Rim on the broadcast system for the Grand Army of the Republic. That was fun, since they played the new music. This BD-3000 would do a request show, where you could call in and she’d sometimes put people on the air. It took a few tries, but I felt compelled to do it. We clones were really restricted in what we were allowed to do or say in public. We certainly weren’t allowed to be seditious, so speaking on the holo-net was a risk. However, the little bit of freedom was just too tempting. There was this guy, Major Ozzel, a natural born officer who was overseeing some special forces brothers. He was a dick to me a few times, so when he left his com on the table after a strategy meeting, I ‘borrowed’ it.

Aboard the star cruiser Ascendance on the way to Khorm. Present, Wolffe, Boost, Sinker, Comet, and Four-Four, hiding in the latrine at the clone barracks.

BD-3000- Hello, caller, and where are you?

Wolffe- Well, somewhere in the Outer Rim.

BD-3000- And what is your name?

Wolffe- Armando. I’m sending out a greeting to all the fighting boys of the Republic. As a loyal Republic citizen and a voter, I want them to know I support the war effort. (My accent gave me away as a clone to people who had spent time around us. I was no citizen or voter. Droids couldn’t tell the difference.)

BD-3000- I’m sure they’ll be glad to hear that, Armando.

Wolffe- I would like to challenge the soldiers to play a little game with me called ‘The Three’.

BD-3000- And what is ‘The Three’?

Wolffe- Well, it’s a game where you pick a simple experience, like a meal out, a shopping trip, or a drunk, and you ask for the three most important in someone’s life. (Clones weren’t strictly speaking allowed to do any of those things, but most citizens of the Republic didn’t know that.)

BD-3000- And what will your topic be, Armando? (She was programmed on the ‘flirty’ setting.)

Wolffe- Okay, what are the three most important kisses in your life? I’ll start. (I’d had some flirty kisses on the cheek from the whores I’d been with, but I’d really kissed someone exactly once in my life. She was a whore, too. I’d just wanted to try it.)

BD-3000- You heard him callers, call in and give us accounts of the three most important kisses of your life. Now Armando, what are yours?

Wolffe- Well, the first would be that time I was slept with the Chancellor.

BD-3000- What?

Wolffe- Oh yeah, he likes to just pick random people in the crowd at his speeches and have them brought to his bedroom by the Senate Guard. The smell was hard to get over, he’s a crusty bastard. But he was a giving lover. I thanked him and kissed his ring when I left.

BD-3000- Aha, so is this a joke? (The droid didn’t really understand humor.)

Wolffe- I kissed a dirty clone once, you know, after I raped him. They’re conditioned to have to serve citizens of the Republic, so you can use them for free. They’re not my first choice, but if you’re desperate. My friend Senator Burtoni used to go clone raping with me. Anyway, I kissed the clone just for fun. Right before I whipped him, you know, to get in the mood. (My brothers’ laughter was audible at this point.)

BD-3000- Of course, another joke. Um…did you have a song request? (Betty laughed nervously.)

Wolffe- Another time, I kissed this Twi’lek slave on Coruscant. Her master, Senator Taa, charged me extra. (At this point, the BD droid cut off the communication. We were all doubled over laughing.)

BD-3000- Thank you, Armando. If anyone else would like to call in a request, our code signature is XX-3984NVQ. (A song started.)

(I tossed the com in a trash compactor after. I didn’t hear about the fallout until weeks later. The Chancellor ordered an investigation. I guess Ozzel had to answer some questions from the Defense Ministry. In my experience, politicians are pretty thin skinned. The story about the broadcast did get on the holo-net news, I heard. I wouldn’t know. After Khorm, I was in the hospital getting a prosthetic eye wired into my brain.)


Brain Soup for Weeks

I was at the base at Central Command, about a week and a half into the war. I was training the 104th alongside the 212th. It was lunch time and I was getting ‘food’ at the commissary. Commander Skywalker had opted to stay with Cody, while Generals Plo and Kenobi went back to the Jedi Temple. They said they were glad to get a break from Skywalker’s table manners. I was surprised he had the same tray of food we all had, white squares of Republic Nutrition Rations. I was recording notes for my upcoming campaign when he and Cody called me over to sit.

The mess hall at Central Command, Coruscant. Present, me, Cody, Anakin, Gregor and Lucky from the Foxtrot Group.

Wolffe- Might want to get some extra hydration gel added to the utility belts since the terrain is dry.

Cody- There’s the expert. Hey, Wolffe!

Wolffe- What?

Skywalker- Cody’s just been telling me about clone food.

Cody- I told him you were our authority on the subject. Wolffe was our eating champion.

Wolffe- That’s true.

Skywalker- (Laughing) Eating champion?

Wolffe- Like I’d eat anything on a dare, or I’d eat the most of stuff.

Skywalker- Really? So what kind of things do clones eat?

Wolffe- Well, the standard is the aiwha, those flying whales. Kamino doesn’t have a ton of wildlife on the surface.

Cody- They’re good. If they’re cooked right.

Gregor- And fresh.

Lucky- They stink when they're rotten.

Cody- Ugh.

Wolffe- You can eat them fried, boiled, fricassee, grilled. Myte used to make them braised in that sauce.

Skywalker- Doesn’t sound so bad.

Cody- Well, we didn’t always have them, since they had a breeding season when they couldn’t be harvested.

Wolffe- It was a long season. First they would start feeding us the leftover aiwha parts that were not the best. The cheeks, the intestines, the brain.

Cody- Brain soup for weeks.

Wolffe- Then, if they ran thin on aiwha, they’d break out the canned rations. Then you get fermented chite-shark fins. Tasted like piss with the texture of old hair.

Skywalker- Really? Why fermented?

Wolffe- Otherwise they were poisonous. Or those smelly, oily gray fish that they fermented and salted. The whole body of the fish, until everything is just a kind of gelatin, but with some bones still in it.

Lucky- The oil on those things was pungent, it just coated your mouth and leaked into every mucous duct on your head. Couldn’t escape the taste for days.

Gregor- They had us put that on a kind of cracker.

Skywalker- Did you ever try snails? Back when I was little, we used to eat snails.

Wolffe- Well, if they were short on rations for us, they’d dredge the sea floor for mollusks. Some snails in there. They weren’t bad.

Skywalker- A little chewy. Like, have you had tendons?

Cody- I think they threw that part away from the aiwha.

Skywalker- Well, tendon is not ideal, but it will keep you from starving to death.

Cody- I guess we never would have starved to death, they needed us alive.

Skywalker- I ate lots of bugs and reptiles later. I like bone marrow.

Cody- Is that what Jedi eat?

Skywalker- No, this was before I was a Jedi. We were really poor.

Cody- There are poor humans?

Skywalker- Lots. Even here on Coruscant.

Cody- I’ve just never seen any.

Gregor- Maybe you couldn’t tell.

Wolffe- It’s all relative. Everyone looks rich to us because we have nothing.

Skywalker- You can have less than nothing.

Cody- How?

Skywalker- By not having your freedom.

Gregor- You’re pretty subversive, Commander.

Skywalker- What? I didn’t say anything. How do you guys feel about your status, though?

Cody- We only want to do our duty.

Wolffe- (Half joking.) I don’t know, I have felt disgruntled a few times lately. I think the police are deliberately trying to harass us, to convince us to stay off the streets. I just wanted to go buy a bottle and go back to the base. Every time I leave the base, they stop me and ask me where I’m going.

Gregor- I hear they’re opening some clone-friendly places across the way there.

Wolffe- I hope they do, it will mean I don’t have to wonder where my guys are. I’ll know right away if they get in trouble. I won’t have to go hoof it to the police station every night to take some brother into custody for discipline.

(Gregor handed me a flyer for a bar. I folded it and put it under my wrist armor.)

Gregor- I hear they’re going to call it 79’s, since they’ll have 79 varieties of liquor.

Cody- And it’s permitted by the Republic for us to go there?

Skywalker- Probably. So what happens if a non-clone escorts you in to a place? Does anybody mind?

Cody- You’re not supposed to.

Wolffe- General Plo takes me places, they don’t seem to stop him.

Skywalker- (To Cody) We should go eat at the Jedi commissary some time. Or maybe we could go out to eat?

Cody- It’s against the rules.

Skywalker- I don’t care about the rules.

Cody- They’re your rules. If I have to obey my code of conduct, I’ll make you obey yours, Commander.

Skywalker- Geez, I just wanted to get a sandwich together or something.

(They were both Commanders, but Cody had slight seniority since he’d been conscripted while Skywalker was still in a bacta tank after Geonosis. Still, Skywalker was no clone, so for Cody to discipline him was sticky, even if it was his job. He annoyed the crap out of Cody, but there was something about Skywalker that I knew I liked. I found out much later from Ahsoka that he’d actually been a slave. I think that was it, he had a kind of empathy for us that most people lacked.)

Chapter Text

Attack of the Kelpies

This was when we were on the way back from rescuing Generals Skywalker and Windu from Vanqor. I was kind of down because Commander Ponds, a brother who had been with my squad in leadership academy, had died. Thrown out the airlock of a ship to just float in space. Ahsoka had helped General Plo and us with the rescue. So we were on our way back to Coruscant, when Ahsoka set up a holo-vid night in the officers’ barracks. I was the only one staying in there, so we could spread out over the four bunks and the floor. She had some horror show she said we just had to see. While she was setting it up I was talking to General Skywalker about his ordeal.

On board the star cruiser Fortitude traveling from Vanqor to Coruscant. Present, Commander Wolffe, Sinker and Comet of the 104th, Commander Ahsoka Tano and General Skywalker of the 501st.

Wolffe- So were you scared? I hear they have gundarks on Vanqor the size of gunships.

Skywalker- They weren’t that big.

Wolffe- I wanted to see one. I’ve never seen a gundark. But you know, you hear so much about them, how fearsome they are. It’s like a kelpie. I’m scared of them, but I have no idea what they look like. My imagination is probably scarier than the real thing.

Comet- You still believe in kelpies?

Wolffe- Do you not?

Sinker- They’re not real.

Ahsoka- What’s a kelpie?

Anakin- It’s a kind of clone boogeyman.

Wolffe- I know brothers who say they’ve seen them.

Ahsoka- What are they like?

Comet- They were supposed to be these giant slimy green monsters with long fingers that would ensnare your ankles if you went out on the platforms at night. They’d drag you under the ocean to drown.

Sinker- They could supposedly reach into the facility at night, climbing the outside walls. If you didn’t stay in your drawer at night, they could get you. Or sometimes they’d crawl up the toilet pipes. But they’re not real.

Wolffe- Oh, I’m sorry, the results of your thorough biological scan of the planet Kamino has yet to be submitted for addition to the standard field manuals.

Sinker- What?

Wolffe- I mean, how do you know they don’t exist?

Comet- Come on, nobody believes in kelpies anymore.

Wolffe- Why not?

Sinker- Did you Jedi believe in…what you said…bogeymen?

Ahsoka- Well, all the scary stories we told each other were about Sith. They were supposed to be extinct, so I don’t know if we really believed in them, but we told the stories to scare each other.

Wolffe- They’re real, aren’t they?

Ahsoka- Yes, but nobody had seen one for a thousand years. I don’t know if most kids really believed in them.

Sinker- General Skywalker were you afraid of the Sith?

Skywalker- I didn’t grow up around other kids in the temple. Obi-Wan never told me scary stories. By the time I’d heard of a Sith, I’d already seen Darth Maul.

Ahsoka- What about on Tatooine?

Skywalker- We’re scared of Sand People. Also real.

Ahsoka- Did any of the other children tell stories on Tatooine when you were growing up, Master?

Skywalker- Drop it.

Ahsoka- Fine.

Skywalker- I hear on Naboo they have stories about witches that snatch and eat children. Supposedly they look like birds with human heads. They’re just stories, though.

Ahsoka- I heard that on Shili they talk about a kind of troll that lures kids into caves with its singing. I never heard the stories until I got older, though.

Skywalker- As older kids, we would sometimes dare each other to go in the basement of the Temple.

Ahsoka- Have you been? What’s down there?

Skywalker- We only ever made it as far as the waste pipes. It’s dark though, and you can get lost. So it was fun for a scare. We left graffiti behind to prove we’d been there. There was like an urban legend that it was haunted.

Comet- What’s an urban legend?

Ahsoka- It’s like a story lots of people swear is true but you can’t be sure. I love those. We used to tell those on trips when we were initiates.

Wolffe- Like what?

Ahsoka- Like the one about the woman who comes home and doesn’t want to disturb her sleeping roommate, so she leaves the light off and goes to bed. Then she wakes up in the morning to find her roommate dead with a message scrawled on the mirror in blood, ‘Thanks for not turning on the light!”

Wolffe- That’s awful.

Ahsoka- It’s just a story.

Skywalker- How about the one with the couple who stopped their speeder on a date, then they heard a holo-net report about an escaped killer with a prosthetic hand. It wasn’t until they got home that they noticed the prosthetic hand hanging from their vehicle. And I know, because that killer was me! (He waved his prosthetic hand at her.)

Wolffe- Are they all about murderers?

Ahsoka- A fair amount.

Sinker- What about the one where Representative Binks is a Sith? I hear that one around Coruscant a lot.

Comet- That’s it, no more.

Ahsoka- What’s with you?

Wolffe- Comet is scared of Gungans.

Skywalker- Why? Wait, you’ve seen something like General Grievous in real life, but you’re scared of Gungans?

Wolffe- He says they creep him out.

Comet- At least I don’t believe in kelpies.

Wolffe- Maybe you don’t believe in them because you’d be happier if they didn’t exist.

(I knew there were probably no kelpies, I grew out of that the same time as everyone else did. If there were, the Kaminoans would have found a way to feed them to us, or something. They cut corners with our rations where they could to maximize their profits. I just liked to question people to make them explain their beliefs. I thought it was good for them. Just because I didn’t believe in kelpies didn’t keep me from being scared of them. General Plo said they were likely a metaphor for something, whatever that means.)


General Plo’s Birthday

General Plo invited me to his birthday party. I wasn’t really sure what the concept was, but I love real food. I went early to help set up. I brought Boost and Sinker with me, leaving Trip and Scratch in charge of drills at the base. I was afraid it would be fancy, so we put on dress uniforms. We had all shaved and gotten our hair cut. I thought this was going to be one of those polite society affairs some guys had done guard duty for, embassy parties and the like. Instead, it was at General Plo’s flat. Nice place. Small, but it had multiple rooms. This was really early in the war, maybe like two weeks in. We hadn’t received our marching orders yet, so we were on Coruscant training at Central Command. Plo had given me my player pod and Ahsoka had programmed it, so I brought it to show them some of the things I’d saved on it. This was the first time I was actually meeting Ahsoka for real, this was before she was a padawan. I had been researching birthdays and found out we needed to buy presents. Plo said he didn’t want anything, since the Jedi aren’t really allowed possessions, but we wanted to be polite.

General Plo’s flat at the Jedi Temple, Coruscant. Present, Wolffe, General Plo, Boost, Sinker, Ahsoka, Plo's niece General Sha Koon and her padawan Baylis.

Wolffe- General Plo, how old are you now?

Plo- 382 years, but that is in Dornish years.

Wolffe- So what’s that in standard?

Sha- Four hundred and eight.

Ahsoka- I guess I’m the kid, here.

Baylis- Not by much, I’m only a year older than you.

Sinker- We’re all ten.

Ahsoka- Really? You all look so old.

Sha- Well, perhaps the rapid aging has made them mature, but they hardly look ‘old’. (We looked thirty.)

Wolffe- Well, Sinker did dye his hair gray to try to look more grown up. But, we probably all look old to her. She’s so small. How old are you?

Ahsoka- I’m fourteen. (She was scowling at me.)

Wolffe- See, that’s still a juvenile. All adults look old to her.

Ahsoka- And you’re an adult?

Wolffe- That’s what it says on my tag. (I took out a scanning pen from my pocket and held it over my wrist. My identification information lit up as a holographic image.) See, it says right there, Developmental Stage: Adult.

Plo- What is the number below your birth number, there?

Wolffe- Price.

Baylis- What?

Wolffe- The price the Republic paid for me. (I held the scanner over Boost, then Sinker.) See, we all have them. They’re sergeants, so they were cheaper.

Ahsoka- (Looking at the forms) What’s an extraction date?

Sinker- That’s when they took us out of our jars.

Baylis- So that’s like a birthday?

Boost- I don’t know if it was anything worth celebrating. I kind of remember it hurt.

Sha- You remember your births?

Wolffe- Yeah, our brains develop even faster than our bodies, which is pretty quick.

Sinker- What do you natural borns remember first?

Ahsoka- Maybe General Plo bringing me to the Temple.

Baylis- I remember a bit about Corelia.

Plo- Possibly being brought by my family to Master Yoda from Dorin.

Sha- Master Yoda is quite impressive, he’s lived almost 900 years.

Plo- True. But I’m not always sure about his memory. In Council deliberations, he’s always contradicting facts. Master Kenobi is a very careful researcher of history, he often references events as precedents in policy litigation. ‘I’m sure I’ve done my research,’ he says, but Master Yoda always responds, ‘There, I was, remember it, I do.’ There’s nothing Kenobi can say. I wonder if Yoda’s memory is actually faulty or if he’s just doing it to be contrary.

Boost- Nine hundred years old? And he’s still functioning?

Plo- I’m sure he’ll be along later, you can meet him then. Would you mind if I opened my gifts?

Sinker- This one is mine.

(Plo unwrapped a package of straws.)

Sinker- I noticed you used them for eating and drinking with the mask. These ones are cool, they’re different colors. I got them at the fueling station.

Plo- Thank you. That was very thoughtful.

Sinker- I didn’t want you to run out.

Boost- Mine next. We shopped together.

(Plo unwraps a toothbrush.)

Plo- Thank you, Boost.

Boost- Well, I figured you could use it on your tusks. (Ahsoka was kind of giggling.)

Plo- I can, actually.

Wolffe- This one is mine.

(Plo unwrapped a framed hologram image of me. Ahsoka was outright laughing.)

Plo- Um…thank you, Commander.

Wolffe- I read you natural borns keep pictures of each other in your houses. I thought you could add it to your collection. See, I’m smiling. You said you didn’t think I could. Now you have proof. (Somebody had taken the picture at the barracks when I was laughing about something.)

(General Plo passed the picture around)

Ahsoka- Aw, that’s cute.

Sha- I don’t think I’ve ever seen a clone smile.

Wolffe- You want to see us smile, bring out the cake.

(General Sha had made something called a water cake. It looked like more of a gel than a cake, but I guess Kel Dor needed something they could eat with a straw. General Plo actually picture of me he actually kept in his sitting area in his flat, along with his picture of Sha and another of himself with some guy named Qui-Gon, who had been a good friend of his. Ahsoka and I became really good friends. We took a picture to give Plo the next year, it was us with these big dopey grins. He said that one was his favorite.)


 

Going to a Different Bar

You are going to say, as you read this, that there is no way he could have been that clueless. I was not. When I learned words that didn’t make sense, I looked them up or asked General Plo. But I have this defense mechanism, or maybe it’s a social disorder. When people looked at me I assumed they just saw the clone stereotype. So I would do my best to live up to their expectations. If you’re unfamiliar, the stereotype was that we were stupid, unsophisticated, clueless, and socially awkward. When we first left Kamino, that probably seemed true. We’d been raised to be ignorant. Wasn’t our faults. The stereotype stuck because new guys were arriving all the time with the same issue. But we were also engineered to be fast learners. We were made to adapt and evolve. I enjoyed playing the stereotype to see how long I could string someone along. It was interesting to see what people would reveal about their own biases. On this night, about a year into the war, I was on my own. My girlfriend had some special party she had to go work. I hated being home alone, so I went to the neighborhood bar across the street. I went in and offered to pay the fine for the owner if I was caught in the establishment. My friend Nilo was in there, so he vouched for me.

At a dive bar in the Armory District, Coruscant. Present, Nilo, the Twi’lek guy who managed the bodega, Ezan, a youngish human from Coruscant who I think said he was a ventilation mechanic, and Tomo, a Rhodian, who ran the bar.

Tomo- So you’re a clone?

Wolffe- Yeah.

Tomo- What’s with the eye?

Wolffe- My eye was cut out in a battle.

Ezan- Does it hurt?

Wolffe- (Sticking finger on it) Nope.

Nilo- That’s weird.

Wolffe- You want to touch it?

Ezan- Sure. (Extending finger)

Wolffe- Twenty credits. (I said seriously.)

(He did give it to me. Clones have a reputation for being dangerous. He poked my eye, I whelped, he jumped back. Nilo laughed.)

Nilo- So Tomo, how’s your wife?

Tomo- She’s alright.

Wolffe- What’s a wife?

Ezan- Are you serious?

Wolffe- Usually not.

Nilo- How’s he going to know what that is? Clones don’t have women.

Tomo- We’re married. She’s my family.

Wolffe- Like a sibling? What’s that word? Sister. My commanding officer has a female relative with the Jedi, a niece.

Tomo- Well, it’s different from that.

Nilo- Yeah, what do you clones call the girls you have sex with?

Wolffe- We usually call them by their names.

Ezan- They only do hookers. (Reputation was that clones mostly screwed whores. It was true. But that was from circumstance. We weren’t legally allowed to sleep with women so we had to go the illegal route.)

Wolffe- Well, for a while, we tried calling the whores by numbers. It was efficient but those don’t sound as sexy as Destiny and Candy. (We never did that. I was just being ludicrous. Clones hate using numbers as names, since it was how the cloners identified us.)

Nilo- I thought some guys had normal girls? (Very illegal, but it did happen.) But they could have been prostitutes I guess. (Thanks, Nilo.)

Tomo- Well, then what would you call it if you had a woman that belonged to you?

Wolffe- A slave?

Tomo- No, not someone who you own, someone who belongs to you. I mean one that only slept with you.

Ezan- Like a girlfriend?

Wolffe- Oh, we have that word. I guess that’s a word we use for the girls we sleep with.

Ezan- But if she’s a whore, she’s not your girlfriend.

Wolffe- Why? (My girlfriend happened to be a whore.)

Ezan- Well, because you’re paying her. You’re sharing her with other guys. That’s just a whore.

Wolffe- So a relationship between a man and a woman is defined solely by who they have sex with and who they don’t?

Nilo- What?

Tomo- Well, no, a husband and a wife have a legal union.

Wolffe- What’s that?

Tomo- We have a legal relationship recognized by the Republic.

Nilo- That’s how I got here to Coruscant. I married a citizen.

Wolffe- I didn’t know you were married?

Nilo- No, we just did it to get me the citizenship. I paid her.

Wolffe- So she was a prostitute?

Nilo- No, I didn’t screw her, it was just business.

Wolffe- So is prostitution.

Ezan- That’s fine for Nilo’s marriage, but usually, exchanging money is not the same as marriage, that’s two willing people committing legally to be together.

Wolffe- So ‘wife’ can mean either person you are legally sleeping with or person who says they are so you can get citizenship?

Nilo- Haha, I guess.

Wolffe- And a girlfriend is a girl who only sleeps with you. But what about the guy?

Tomo- Yes, he’s faithful too.

Nilo- Unless you’re Ezan.

Ezan- Mind your own business, Nilo.

Tomo- You got a girlfriend, Wolffe?

Ezan- If clones don’t have women, what do they do, just share whores?

Tomo- How does that work?

Wolffe- There’s a sign-up sheet.

(Nilo laughed.)

Wolffe- Yeah. You go to the bar and they sign you up, tell you how long it’s going to be and give you a little vibrating disk. It goes off once your number is called. Sometimes they’ll bring you breadsticks for the table. I like to keep the disk in my pocket. I’m always excited to get called.

Ezan- Really?

Nilo- He’s kidding. He lives with Niki. (She used her real name around the neighborhood.)

Ezan- Really? That green Twi’lek with the red lipstick?

Wolffe- Yes, I keep trying to tell her she's my girlfriend, but she told me I’m actually her butler. (More bullshit.)

Ezan- I thought you were in the army.

Wolffe- Do you want to hear a joke I heard once?

Tomo- Okay.

Wolffe- So this whore goes to a hotel room to meet this clone. They agree on a price and he gives her a right good plowing. Then he tells her he needs to go to the bathroom and they’ll continue once he’s back. He comes out, gives it to her again. Says he needs to piss and he’ll be right back. He comes out again and nearly breaks the bed, he’s so excited. So after the third time, she says she needs to use the facilities herself. So she goes in and hears a noise. She pulls back the shower curtain and finds ten clones hiding in the tub. (I punched Ezan in the arm) You get it? Because we all look the same! And apparently we’re supposed to be cheap. Or poor. I can’t really tell one hundred percent from the context.

(I’d check in there now and again when I was home. Get the neighborhood gossip. They had a pool table. My prosthetic eye allowed for precision aiming, so I was really good.)

Chapter Text

Boba Fett, Little Scourge of Tipoca

This conversation was more interesting than hilarious, but it had its moments. We had early morning drills at the base one day with Cody and the 212th. I was on Coruscant, so I didn’t stay on the base when I was off duty. I walked there at dawn and found Generals Kenobi and Koon bringing cafs from an outside restaurant. The generals were early, I guess so they had a chance to finish their beverages first. Kenobi had just returned from an undercover mission where he posed as a sniper to infiltrate a plot on the Chancellor’s life. His hair and beard were still growing back in. He was wearing a winter cap, I remember. Cody was in a foul mood, and not just because he was hungover as usual. He had been irritable since he had thought he might be reassigned. Kenobi had faked his death and when Jedi generals died, their outfits were normally divided up and sent to serve with other battalions. I understood, Cody didn’t want to end up under the command of some newly elevated knight with no experience. Or worse yet, to go to some general with an expanded command. Like if General Plo had taken them, we’d have had to serve together but I would always have the seniority. If I was him, I wouldn’t have wanted to work for me. I started recording since he was fuming and that always made for good comedy.

On the parade grounds of the base at Central Command, Coruscant. It was a frosty day. Present, General Kenobi, Commander Cody and Sergeant Boil of the 212th, and General Plo Koon, Commander Wolffe, and Sergeant Boost of the 104th.

Cody- You could have told me. I drew up reassignment documents, it took days. (He loathed paperwork.)

Kenobi- General Plo knew to delay those orders.

Wolffe- So General Kenobi, I heard you were recently in prison. That must have been wild.

Kenobi- Better food than military rations. When I was in prison, I actually saw your brother Boba.

Wolffe- You know Boba?

Kenobi- Yes, when I first visited Kamino, I spoke to him and your father.

Wolffe- Really? I’ve never spoken to either of them. (We all knew Jango was considered a criminal by the Republic. But I don’t suppose anyone can help who their dad is.) How is the little scourge of Tipoca?

Kenobi- He broke out. He is about the same age as you clones, is he not?

Wolffe- Yeah, he is the same age as us first batchers. He was made same time as us.

Kenobi- So you grew up together?

Cody- Not exactly.

Plo- What was he like as a brother?

Cody- He tormented us.

Boost- He bit me on my hand. I required seventeen stitches. (He showed the scar.)

Wolffe- I was walking down a hallway, nowhere near him, and he shoved me against a wall. We were terrified of him.

Kenobi- Weren’t you bigger than him?

Boost- Yeah, we age faster. But we were forbidden from touching him. If we did, we would get the electrostaffs from the droid guards. So we learned pretty quickly to stay away from him.

Boil- And he learned just as fast that he could do anything he wanted. Punched me in the stones once. No reason. He laughed. Even Jango laughed a little. Then just said, ‘Now Boba, what did we say about hitting?’

Cody- He threw a knife at me once, a serrated knife!

Boost- So what’s he like now?

Kenobi- I suppose just the same. The prison guards are your brothers. They are under orders to keep him in the prison, but aside from that, the clones seem compelled to leave him alone. I saw him pounce on one during a riot and the full grown, fully trained clone just fell to the floor and braced his head. He was down, but Boba was trying to pound his head into the floor.

Cody- He always was a bully.

Wolffe- Wait, didn’t you do that to a teacher once at the academy?

Cody- I don’t know what you’re talking about. (He really didn’t want anyone telling Kenobi what he’d been like when he was younger. We used to call Cody ‘the Dentist’ because he removed so many teeth.)

Wolffe- What do you think he’ll do, now that he’s out?

Kenobi- I believe the reports are that he’s bounty hunting, like your father.

Cody- Please stop calling him our father.

Kenobi- Please excuse me, Cody. I meant no disrespect. Rex always calls Jango his father. What do you call him?

Wolffe- We mostly just call him Jango. We weren’t close. He’d observe us sometimes. We’d see him if he used the training facilities. But I think it felt too weird to talk to us, you know, looking at himself. It must have been freaky.

Kenobi- When I told him I thought you clones were very impressive, he seemed proud.

Wolffe- Well, that’s something, I guess.

Cody- It’s nothing.

Plo- I’ve always wondered, why did Jango have a clone that he was raising as a son?

Wolffe- Jango couldn’t father kids. He was born that way I guess. We all are, too. He must have really wanted a son.

Kenobi- And now he has millions.

Cody- We’re not his sons. We’re just the scraps he sold.

Kenobi- That seems a harsh characterization.

Cody- From the day I was old enough to realize what was happening, it bothered me, seeing that some people had different lives than us. I almost wished I didn’t know that. Think about it, at the same time we were being scrubbed and force fed by droids, Jango was rocking his baby son and soothing him to sleep on his chest. At the same time as we were being led into simulators to desensitize us to trauma, he was rejoicing in his baby’s first steps and dressing him in little outfits and giving him hugs and speaking to him in his native language. We were a part of him, just as much as Boba was, but he didn’t give a care for anyone else. I hated them both. The kid was a total savage and Jango was a sociopath. (Cody could be dramatically honest sometimes. Still, some people, a lot of people, thought Cody was a sociopath. I didn’t. I knew him better than other people did.)

Kenobi- Um…yes. I suppose that could be true. Bounty hunters do have to be rather ruthless.

Wolffe- On the other hand, we were lucky in some regard. I mean, you can’t deny, we are a bunch of beautiful bastards. (Cody, Boost and I all had heinous facial scars. Cody smiled at least.)

Plo- I have always thought so. (We clones laughed. General Plo was one weird looking species. He knew it.)

Wolffe- And a hooker friend of mine told me once that Jango must have been a man with substantial pocket change because, in her experience, we clones are impressively armed.

Cody- (Laughing) By which, of course, you mean…?

Wolffe- That he was a well-paid professional and that the clone army possesses a large weapons array.

Kenobi- I don’t understand, how does one thing correlate to the other?

Wolffe- As a crude metaphor. (I snapped and pointed at him. General Plo and General Kenobi both started laughing with us, getting the joke.)

Kenobi- Honestly, Wolffe, I never know what you’re going to say.

Wolffe- Neither do I, General, sir.


For Knozzle

I was fighting on Khorm, an ice world that had some important resources. Due to the abject stupidity of the natural born officer, Kendal Ozzel, we were taken prisoner by the Separatists and their Khormai allies. It was my first experience at being a prisoner of war. I could have been afraid. They were talking about making us slaves, or worse, feeding us to slaves. But clones are used to being treated like shit, so unsurprisingly, becoming literal shit didn’t bother me. Besides, I was already formulating plans for escape. All we clones were. Ozzel had nearly gotten us killed a few times on that mission and he was consistently a total wanker to all of us clones, including guys like Spitter who worked for him directly. So we didn’t mind messing with him. We did escape, and it was epic. Because, as I may have said before, as soldiers, we clones are scarily awesome. It was Ozzel who got promoted, though.

At a Separatist base on Khorm, thrown in prison. Present, Commander Wolffe and Comet of the 104th, Spitter of the 44th Special Ops, and Major Kendal Ozzel, natural born nuisance.

Wolffe- (To the Khormai guards) Um, it’s not a com, I have a medical condition, this is my external pacemaker. See? (They couldn’t tell. The Khormai weren’t very up on their tech. They let me keep my player pod.) Whoa! I did not need to see that!

(Ozzel was getting searched and they hadn’t bothered to take him behind a wall or anything. They just whipped down his drawers right in front of us.)

Ozzel- Oh, grow up, Commander. I should think you clones have seen enough male genitalia.

Wolffe- (Meekly) For Knozzle, sir, we clones were always made to keep covered except in the shower. But even then, we only got a minute and a half to finish up. No time for checking out the competition so to speak. Anyway, it don’t make no matter, it's all the same.

(He could see for himself. The Khormai moved down the line searching us. I wore a bemused expression. Nothing we could do about it.)

Wolffe- (To the jailer) Ow, be gentle now! (Innocently) I notice that you’re not circumcised. We all are, it was just easier to clean us that way when we were young. You only got a minute and a half, for Knozzle. You don’t find maintenance difficult, do you?

Ozzel- Do I what?

Wolffe- Sir, if I may offer a suggestion, for Knozzle, a little man-scaping on the hair goes a long way with the ladies, I hear. Not that I would know, for Knozzle, being a law abiding clone officer, I’ve never had occasion for amorous pursuits, but I do hear things.

(Comet had a coughing fit.)

Ozzel- Why do you keep saying that? What is that?

Wolffe- What?

Ozzel- Fork nozzle?

Wolffe- Oh, well Knozzle is just a kind of a clone deity. We imagine him as a kind of a giant jar where all life began. We swear oaths ‘for Knozzle’. I over-use the phrase, I admit, for Knozzle. But that’s just my personality I suppose. I swear a lot.

Spitter- Oh yeah, in the academy, we used to say that. Boy, that Wolffe, he swears a lot. Um…for Knozzle.

Comet- For Knozzle, I’m hungry. I wonder if they’re going to feed us.

(The Khormai locked the cell and their footsteps echoed down a hall. I had taken out a pen and a slip of paper and was drawing a diagram to remember exactly how to hotwire a door panel.)

Spitter- Anybody know any games? (He was looking out the small window at the layout of the base. Comet was making some calculations of how many droids and Khormai we had seen on the way in. Like I said, we were already planning.)

Wolffe- We could play Straight Face.

Ozzel- And what exactly is Straight Face?

Wolffe- That’s where you write stupid phrases on a piece of paper and put them in a pile. Then we each take turns picking them and reading them aloud while keeping a straight face. It’s more fun with drinks, I hear, for Knozzle, since anyone who laughs has to take a drink. Of course, that’s just what I’ve heard. I am so law abiding that I have never tasted alcohol, for Knozzle.

(Comet had another coughing fit.)

Ozzel- (Knocking on the door.) Can we get this man some water?

Comet- I’ll be fine, for Knozzle! (His face was red.)

Wolffe- I’ve got paper and pen.

Ozzel- Fine, if it helps pass the time.

Wolffe- Okay, just to make it interesting, I have here some nutrition ration sticks. Anyone who laughs has to take a bite. (They were awful and Ozzel knew it.)

(We each took a few scraps of paper and wrote down some phrases. Then we folded them and made a pile. Spitter arranged them to show us the position of some tanks in the yard outside. I nodded, looking out the cell window myself. I pointed at one and he nodded. That was the one we decided to commandeer. I picked up the paper. )

Wolffe- (Reading) ‘The 104th are universally recognized as the ugliest battalion in the army.’ (I laughed. I bit into a stick and winced.)

Ozzel- I see, clone humor.

Wolffe- Of course, for Knozzle.

Ozzel- Because you all look the same.

Wolffe- No, it’s ridiculous because everyone knows we’re not the ugliest, we’re the second ugliest. The 406th were mauled by fyrnocks on Anaxes. Those guys look grim.

(Spitter picked up some paper, while Comet listened against the door to make sure no one was coming.)

Spitter- ‘Baby, did it hurt when you fell from heaven? Because my unit has a very competent medic and he could probably give you first aid while I watch.’

(That was Comet’s. It was a phony pickup line my brother Sinker had given him when he was recruited. I laughed like a child and took a bite of my ration stick. The other two brothers did, too. Comet picked up a piece of paper.)

Comet- ‘I would like to wear a teapot as a hat.’ (Nobody laughed. It was obviously Ozzel’s attempt at humor.) Is that an ethnic joke?

Ozzel- No, it was merely meant to be silly. Do you think they’ll allow the Republic to negotiate our release? (He picked up a piece of paper. I knew it was mine.) ‘For Knozzle, he’s as clumsy as he is stupid.’ That’s not really humorous, it’s just a simple insult…oh, what is so funny? (We were all laughing and attempting to take bites of the ‘food’.) For Knozzle! Fork nozzle! Fok’n ozzel…wait…oh! That is extremely immature! (He got up and banged on the door.) Jailer! I want my own cell!

(They didn’t come back by the time we broke out, so Ozzel never got his own cell. We took him with us when we broke out. We’re not monsters, for Knozzle.)


 


Best Behavior

This conversation was in polite surroundings. It’s funny because it was really uncomfortable. We were at a Republic strategy conference. Admiral Tarkin had called it as a way asserting military authority over a war that had been run, up until then, by Jedi and clones. The naval branch of the Grand Army of the Republic had had natural borns in their ranks since the beginning, usually navy admirals and the like. I had served with a few. They were a bunch of superior acting ball garglers in my humble opinion. As free men, they were not made to live like we lived. As citizens, they actually had rights. Sentient and clone affairs were separate branches of the military. The Chancellor was appointing more and more natural born officers, like Tarkin, to handle military administration and discipline. We clones found their growing power in the military chain of command somewhat distressing. Anyway, on that joyful thought, we were invited to a coffee one morning, hosted by General Kenobi, where Tarkin would be in attendance. Skywalker was off tending to his little droid pet. We had met Tarkin on the Citadel mission. He wasn’t hostile to clones, per se, just off-putting.

At the Republic strategy conference on Valor station, above Carida. Having caf one morning with Generals Kenobi and Plo Koon, Commanders Wolffe and Cody, Captain Rex, and Admiral Tarkin.

Cody- General Kenobi says to be on our best behavior.

Rex- What exactly does that mean?

Wolffe- Maybe he thinks we normally behave badly. I mean, he does know us.

Cody- He probably just means act like he does.

Wolffe- (Sips caf with pinky extended. I’d seen people do that when I worked guard duty for embassy parties.) So Rex, how do you like caf?

Rex- (Imitates the gesture.) I find that a little of the blue milk adds enough flavor.

Wolffe- Cody, how do you like your caf?

Rex- (Reverting to his normal speech.) Like he likes his women.

Wolffe- Fast?

Rex- I was going to say sweet. It was a joke.

Wolffe- Your jokes are lame, Captain.

Rex- What would you have said?

Cody- Actually, I just drink it as is.

Wolffe- Ah. He likes it like his personality. Bitter and boring.

Cody- Enough with the jokes. (Rex laughed, though.)

Rex- How do you take yours?

Wolffe- Full of alcohol.

Cody- Like he likes his women.

Wolffe- I set you up for that one.

(The Generals walked in with Admiral Tarkin. We all straightened up.)

Tarkin- General Kenobi, are clones allowed outside beverages? (Right in front of us, he asked this. Like we weren’t there.)

Kenobi- The food and drink at the conference are technically Republic rations, so as the caf is government issue, they are permitted to consume it under the current rules of conduct.

Tarkin- That is good to hear. (I handed him a cup. He hesitated, but he took it and filled it from the machine.)

Cody- Admiral Tarkin, it’s good to see you again. General Kenobi told me about your promotion. Congratulations. (I think you had to be his identical brother to detect the thin layer of sarcasm in Cody’s tone.)

Tarkin- Yes, thank you, Commander. And hello again, Captain Rex, where are you posted next?

Rex- Ah, well, the 501st has some leave time, but I will be doing some consulting. (He was headed to a classified Jedi mission on Onderon. The military authorities weren’t really supposed to know. I only knew because General Plo told me. He had been uncomfortable about the tactics. We talked a lot, as two people interested in ethics. No seriously, we weren't just gossips.)

Tarkin- And you, I don’t quite remember your name, Commander.

Wolffe- (With the voice of an eager new shiny.) Commander Wolffe, sir, of the 104th. We met on Lola Sayu. Remember? I helped you onto the evac ship.

Tarkin- Ah yes.

Wolffe- (I should have stopped talking. But I couldn’t.) That was a hell of a mission, wasn’t it? Some real life or death stuff. We lost a lot of brothers.

Tarkin- Yes, but the intelligence was delivered safely to the Republic. Adherence to duty is an honorable thing for which to give your life.

Wolffe- Oh yes sir.

Plo- Why yes. You know, Commander Wolffe has an avid interest in military policy. (I could see that General Plo was encouraging me to say something to Tarkin.)

Kenobi- Really?

Cody- If there is any new military rule of conduct, Wolffe makes it his business to know it. (Mostly to find ways around it.)

Tarkin- I’m sure you boys are all very responsible. (We hated being called boys.) Though, some commanders seem to have been lax in their enforcement of the military rules of conduct. And some of you Jedi weren’t able to control your men. We’ve had far too many complaints, particularly from Republic citizens on Coruscant, about bad behavior among soldiers. Public drunkenness, soliciting prostitution, drug use. I’m sure you clones have heard about such problems among your ranks. (I didn’t know what people were complaining. We barely had contact with citizens who weren’t bartenders, whores, or drug dealers. We kept our activities largely confined to two or three places on Coruscant because we were forcibly segregated.)

Rex- I have heard that most places won’t serve clones or else they’re fined. Maybe the fines are what the businesses are complaining about. We would buy things if we could and they would make a lot of money. Maybe lifting the fines would help everyone.

Tarkin- What could clones possibly need that the Republic does not already provide?

Kenobi- I’m sure most clones abide by the rules. (Hah! Not in this room.)

Tarkin- The clone rules of conduct are no different from Jedi policy, no property, no attachments, selflessness. Service requires self-discipline.

Rex- Maybe they feel that we don’t need the distractions. Although, natural born officers don’t seem to have a problem having greater freedoms. You men execute your duties just as well as we do, Admiral, sir.

Tarkin- Why thank you, Captain. I think it is a matter of experience. Your upbringing in the cloning facility did not provide you with the maturity necessary for decision making. You’re all still very young. (We were twelve at most. But our minds were as developed as a middle aged human.)

Wolffe- Will we be qualified to decide for ourselves when we're older?

Tarkin- Best to focus on the tasks assigned to you, Commander. (It had a slight tone of rebuke. This was the moment I realized Tarkin wasn’t fooled by my phony enthusiasm. He wasn’t having any of Rex’s attempts to find common ground and compromise. This was the moment I realized that Tarkin genuinely scared me.)

Cody- (Who knew from the beginning not to mess with this guy.) Oh yes, sir. We remember our academy pledge.

Cody, Rex, and Wolffe- We swear, on our honor, to serve the Republic, its Senate and its people. We swear to protect them and always remain loyal. Good soldiers follow orders.

Tarkin- (To Kenobi.) They really are impressive specimens. A real credit to their makers. (Rex and Cody looked a little venomous when he said that.)

Plo- They really are fine men. (He clapped me on the shoulder. I knew what it meant. Play time was done.)

(We drank our cafs and got out of there. But when I put my cup down on the table, I did make sure to casually pick up every spoon and lick it, without making eye contact with Tarkin. Kenobi and Koon had their backs to me, so they didn’t see it. Tarkin didn’t say a word. I guess the rules of polite society required him to ignore the poorly behaved clone. Specimens, he’d called us. Like we were stool or sperm samples. ‘Sperm sample’ is a nasty term some people used for us. But actually, we were not made from Jango’s sperm. We were made from blood. There is something strangely poetic about that.)

Chapter Text

Commander Wolffe Plays Wingman

My brother Bly was going out in public, which is always kind of risky for us clones. We had our places, a bar and a brothel. My girlfriend lived in the Armory District, so lots of stores and restaurants there didn’t care about the ban on selling to soldiers. The police didn’t come around much in our area, so their risk of paying a fine was minimal. But our social establishments catered mostly to the straights. Bly was one of my brothers who was gay. He was a charming dude, he wanted to date, but it was hard because there were other risks for us going out in public. Attacks on us by disgruntled citizens of the Republic were pretty frequent, so it was dangerous to walk alone. Bly said he wanted to try this club, but he had no one to go with, so I offered. We asked my girlfriend, C.C. to go with us, but she joked that she liked to be the center of attention. We sat at the bar at first so he could give me the lay of the land.

At a nightclub in the Embassy District. Present, two clone commanders pretending to be civilians Armando Vicious and Wilton Jor-El. Later joined by a club patron.

Wolffe- So all these guys are gay?

Bly- (Laughing) I guess, most of them.

Wolffe- So explain something to me, what makes an attractive man? I mean, I know the qualities we like in women.

Bly- I’m sure taste varies on that.

Wolffe- Pretty consistent, I think. A pleasing face. A tight little body with choice rounded features. The rest is personality, but the looks get our attention.

Bly- That’s what most guys want?

Wolffe- Sure. But what do you guys look at? What’s attractive on a man?

Bly- I guess kind of the same for us. A toned body and a pretty face work, but personality is more important.

Wolffe- We must be attractive, then, with all the physical training. Brothers are in good shape. Nothing wrong with the face. Unless you’re me, or Boost, or Cody.

Bly- You three are some ragged looking bastards.

Wolffe- War ain’t pretty.

Bly- I actually do really well with the guys. I just have to get away from other brothers. As a group, a bunch of identical guys, we’re a little creepy. They look at us and see all those matching faces. It’s weird, I guess. They think because we look strange as a group that we must have some deviant practices, like we all screw each other or something. When I’m by myself, they just see a person.

Wolffe- I just wanted to know if we are attractive because I don’t find us attractive at all.

Bly- None of us?

Wolffe- Well, I mean, we look so normal to me that we cancel each other out, I don’t see features. Just our differences.

Bly- Well, I mean, objectively we’re okay, but I don’t want to be in bed with myself, that’s just too weird.

Wolffe- Still, obviously there is a scale, some of us are more attractive than others.

Bly- (Laughing) Who do you think is a subtly more attractive clone?

Wolffe- Okay, like Rex is a good looking dude. Don’t tell him I said so because then he’d spend more time in front of the mirror than he already does.

Bly- The hair is cute. He’s got a certain swagger.

Wolffe- So I guess if we were like on Orto Plutonia and we had to pick tent buddies, he’d be my guy. I bet he’s a cuddler.

Bly- Fine.

Wolffe- Oh, your sergeant, Cameron, he was sort of good-looking. If I had to be crushed next to someone on a crowded transport, he wouldn’t have been the worst. (Cameron had died on Maridun.)

Bly- So you like guys who take care of themselves.

Wolffe- Maybe. I like people who smell nice. Hey, do you find that guy attractive?

Bly- (Turning to look.) No, I don’t like Twi’lek men.

Wolffe- Really? The girls are so pretty.

Bly- The guys I’ve known are too aggressive. It’s a turnoff.

Wolffe- That’s what C.C. says. She doesn’t like them either.

Bly- But she likes you? I’ve seen you in battle. You’re absolutely terrifying.

Wolffe- Only at work. Wolf on the streets, lapdog in the sheets. You know, ‘cause I…

Bly- Wow. You know, someday I’m going to reach my threshold for allusions to your exploits.

Wolffe- No you won’t. What about him? He’s looking at us. (Smiling and waving at the guy.) Maybe he’ll buy us some drinks. Hey, do guys do it for money like girls do?

Bly- I suppose. I’ve never done it with anyone for money. Some of the guys I’ve been with have bought me expensive presents. Usually it felt like an apology, since they were keeping the affairs secret. Like they were buying my silence. They didn’t need to do that, I understood. Dating a clone is still illegal.

Wolffe- Which is why we pay for it. Have you ever paid?

Bly- Nah. I don’t want it like that. Actually, I’m pretty shy.

Wolffe- Why? Picking up guys must be easy.

Bly- It’s not as easy as you think.

Wolffe- Oh wait, he’s coming over. He’s got drinks.

Guy- Hey, are you guys twins?

Wolffe- Yes. I’m the evil twin.

Guy- What happened to your eye?

Wolffe- It was an injury in the workplace. I fell down a flight of stairs. I’m a radar technician.

Guy- That’s a fancy prosthesis.

Wolffe- Oh yeah. It even has heat seeking and night vision modes. It’s why I’m so good in bed. I’m a sex cyborg.

Guy- Really?

(Bly covered his face with his hand cracking up.)

Wolffe- Thanks for the drink.

Guy- So who was born first?

Wolffe- He was.

Guy- Did your parents have a favorite?

Wolffe- We’re orphans.

Guy- That’s so sad. So you guys have names?

Wolffe- I’m Armando.

Bly- I’m Wilton.

Guy- You don’t hear that accent much. What is that?

Bly- Concord Dawn.

Guy- Really? I’ve never met anyone from Concord Dawn. (His accent was like all the natural born officers in the military. An elitist Core dialect.)

Wolffe- That’s so funny. I was just saying that the other day, wasn’t I, Wilt, about how you don’t hear the Concord Dawn accent here on Coruscant that often.

Bly- Yes, you were, Armando.

Wolffe- So what’s your name?

Guy- I’m Jayno.

Wolffe- And what do you do?

Guy- My dad’s in the Senate.

Wolffe- Oh, you must be rich.

Guy- Well, my dad is, I’m at school.

Bly- What are you studying?

Guy- Music.

(This sparked an hour long conversation, since music was my thing. Bly kept kind of quiet. I felt I’d proved my point that guys were easy to talk to when the guy kissed me. He could tell from it I wasn’t gay, not because I was bad, I’m a good kisser, but because it just wasn’t there. I told him to try it on my brother and see if it was any different. He did and Bly reached around the guy’s neck to give me a thumbs up. I skidaddled and they went home together. It was a successful outing. I still maintain that it is easier to talk to guys than women. A woman never would have kept talking to me after ‘sex cyborg’.)


 


Sorry, Jiggles

To Rex, I had always been the brother who could remind him not to give in to despair. To me, life was a perverse joke, but nothing could stop me from enjoying my downward spiral like a crazy amusement park ride through a giant toilet bowl. With my laughter I told him that things might not be so bad. What’s there to be scared of if death is the worst you can imagine and you’ve been programmed not to fear it? Rex was the guy who saved my life at the end of the war. He was the one who told me that my life had worth and demanded that I protect it. I felt I owed him after that. Here I am still alive.

At 79’s with Rex. Fives had died, so I didn’t want him to drink alone. I plunked myself down on the seat next to him, uninvited. I slapped him on the back a few times.

Wolffe- Interview time!

Rex- Not that stupid recorder…

Wolffe- What’s the stupidest thing you ever got beat for at the academy?

Rex- Whatever. I got slapped a few times. Nothing too bad. I worked hard to make sure no one had a reason to beat me.

Wolffe- I was always making the trainers mad. The worst was one time I was reading while a trainer was lecturing on strategy. I went to the infirmary for the night, pretty bloody. Another time I laughed at something that was supposed to be serious and I got the back of my head punched so hard that my head bounced off the desk.

Rex- Something about you provokes people.

Wolffe- I can’t help it. I get restless. Sooooo…I don’t suppose you want to talk about what happened to Fives?

Rex- (Numbly) What’s to say?

Wolffe- I don’t know. So, did I ever tell you about that time we brought a clown to the bar with us?

Rex- Stop.

Wolffe- Oh. Okay. What about the joke about the Sallustan farmer?

Rex- Heard it.

Wolffe- Know any Life Day carols?

Rex- (Looking over and scowling at me.) Why are you doing this?

Wolffe- You’re my brother. I don’t want you to be sad.

Rex- Okay, Wolffe. I’ll humor you. Tell me the one about the lousy clown at the bar.

Wolffe- (Rubbing hands together.) Well, Boost and Sinker and I had this theory that clowns could scare people. I looked it up, it’s called coulrophobia.

Rex- Aren’t they supposed to be funny?

Wolffe- Yes. But scary and funny are really close. Like if someone jumps out at you as a joke. After you get over the initial jump, you laugh, right?

Rex- Another one of your social experiments. Okay…

Wolffe- But clowns also have these weird facial expressions that never change, it’s kind of macabre.

Rex- You’re deficient.

Wolffe- So we hired this clown to come in and just stand around at the bar drinking, to see if anyone got freaked out.

Rex- Did it work?

Wolffe- Well, the clown just stood there, not talking to anybody, just drinking his drink. That right away was a little menacing. But, he didn’t do anything, so everyone was on edge. They didn’t like being watched. We told him to just sidle up to random people. Brothers would start having awkward conversations as they looked at this guy sideward. Like, you think they would have been like, ‘Hey clown, tell me a joke.’ But they weren’t. They were petrified.

Rex- Why did you feel the need to do that to people?

Wolffe- Some guys got startled and crossed the room, not looking back.

Rex- Wait, so you’re saying most of the brothers in here were scared of this thing?

Wolffe- At least, they didn’t want to be around him. Yeah. We were as surprised as anybody. So once I gave him his money, he decided he wanted to buy some time with one of the professional girls. He went into the bathroom and they all ran out of there screaming.

Rex- I don’t understand, what did this clown look like?

Wolffe- Well, we thought it would be funny if he was brandishing a bloody knife, you know?

Rex- That’s not a clown costume, that’s a murderer costume.

Wolffe- (Laughing) I know.

Rex- Well, you can’t blame brothers for being unsettled by that. Didn’t you think that was risky? I mean, we are programmed to act quickly under a threat. If you scare us, it could go badly.

Wolffe- I was just trying to give people a little adrenaline rush. Although, you’re right. Cody came out of a stall in the bathroom and saw him. He immediately punched him in the throat and collapsed his windpipe.

Rex- (Laughing) What? So what did you do?

Wolffe- My medic, Zig took care of old Jiggles.

Rex- (Raising eyebrows) Jiggles?

Wolffe- Yeah. You know that wasn’t even his clown name. He showed me his Republic ID. Marv Jiggles.

Rex- What was his clown name?

Wolffe- Po-Po. Turns out, he was a pretty cool guy. I bought him some drinks. He had a sense of humor, as you’d hope a clown would.

Rex- What did Cody do?

Wolffe- Ah. He got over it. But he still doesn’t know why it was funny.

Rex- Did you get him to say, ‘Sorry, Jiggles.’ That alone would have been worth the price of admission. (He was actually smiling.)

Wolffe- If I’d told him to do that, I’d have needed medical attention. I just calmed him down.

Rex- You’re a real peacemaker.

Wolffe- And an instigator. You know, whatever’s funnier.

(Man, I miss Rex. Gregor’s batshit crazy.)


Droidi-o’s

My first posting of the war. We were running some equipment to cruisers General Ima Gun Di’s guys were picking up from Corellia. Those guys were then headed to Ryloth on the Corellian Run while we were going to stay in the region searching for a Separatist fleet. Keeli was a captain about six months younger than me. Good guy. I was putting music on his player pod from mine. Of those guys who got sent on that Ryloth campaign, not one survived. Not even the Jedi.

In the common room on the cruiser Triumphant. Present, Wolffe, Boost, and Sinker of the 104th Wolfpack, Keeli of the 38th.

Sinker- Where’d you get the money to buy one of those things? They’re expensive.

Keeli- It’s not as nice as Wolffe’s. Kind of old. I bought it secondhand. I made some money selling off surplus medical supplies to these guys on Coruscant.

Wolffe- Is that lucrative?

Keeli- Sure, lots of guys do it. The Republic orders us to dispose of the equipment once it’s expired or used once, but the black market on Coruscant is desperate for medical stuff. Even the hospitals buy it. They’ve been having trouble getting supplies replenished since the war started. So it’s actually saving lives and what does the Republic lose? A little bit of its trash.

Sinker- (Looking at a magazine, unfolding the centerfold.) I thought we were its trash.

Boost- So, besides the player pod, what do you do with all the money?

Keeli- Same as you do, hookers and gambling.

Wolffe- We buy drugs, too.

Keeli- You want any of this. (He pulled a vial out of his belt and handed it to me.)

Wolffe- What’s that?

Keeli- It’s called Pervitin. The Kaminoans developed them to treat fatigue and combat stress. They haven’t finished testing yet, but samples are circulating. They issued it to us for the campaign.

Wolffe- Are they any fun?

Keeli- Sort of. Alcohol and spice make me feel so dulled.

Wolffe- I think that’s the point. (I handed him back the vial.)

Keeli- I’d rather be awake and alive.

Wolffe- You do drugs at work?

Keeli- That’s what they’re for. They’re going to be standard issue for special missions, where you might need to be up for days. (He handed me a few, I put them in my utility belt.)

Wolffe- Thanks. Hey, we got some contraband as well.

Keeli- Like what?

Wolffe- Booze. But if you don’t like that, we got food.

Keeli- How did you buy it?

Wolffe- I asked some of the hookers from 79’s to buy it for me.

Keeli- I didn’t realize you had such a good relationship with the professional ladies.

Wolffe- Sure, we’re friendly. They thought it was hilarious.

Keeli- So what did you get?

Wolffe- (Opening a crate) I wasn’t sure what to ask for, so I just told them to get whatever travels well. We have cured meats. Um…some kind of chip things. Oh, and cereal.

Keeli- Cereal?

Wolffe- They told me it’s something younglings eat for breakfast. See? They have this cartoon protocol droid on the box.

Keeli- What does food have to do with a protocol droid? They don’t even eat.

Wolffe- I don’t know. Maybe he’s supposed to bring you breakfast. (Holding up a box to read it.)

Keeli- Why is it shaped like the number eight?

Wolffe- Who knows? This box isn’t explaining it. It just lists ingredients. Hey, on the back you can cut out a paper mask of an alien.

Keeli- You ever do it?

Wolffe- I should. I should just show up at a briefing wearing it.

Keeli- You’re unfit for duty, you know that?

Wolffe- General Plo might like it. He says I’m too serious.

Keeli- Does he know what you were like in the academy? You were so funny. (Opening a box of cereal and taking a fistful.)

Wolffe- I get shy around people who aren’t brothers. The whores seem to think I’m funny. But pretending to like you is how they make money. I don’t know if my humor actually translates to civies and Jedi.

Keeli- If something is funny, it’s funny. They’ll get it. You might have to explain it, but they’ll get it.

Wolffe- It’s not funny if you have to explain it.

Keeli- No, explaining the absurdity can make ordinary things funny. Like, look at this box. Listen to the description on the side, ‘This cereal is part of a good breakfast.’ Which part? What are the other parts I’m missing? And if my breakfast is good, could it be better? Am I doing wrong to fall short of perfect? If this is good, then what is an ideal breakfast? Is there some factual basis upon which I can make my breakfasting decisions, or should I just trust that ‘good’ is enough? Such an ambiguous word. What is ‘good’ really? Where are the loyalty classes to tell me these things? (Loyalty classes were what they taught us in the academy to answer all of our questions about the universe. Mostly about how the Republic was perfect.)

Wolffe- (By this time, I was doubled over laughing. No one else was.) Cappy, you might be defective.

(I showed a cereal box to General Plo and we did have a good laugh when I explained it. I collapsed a box and put it in my personal kitpack once we ate the cereal. I cut the mask out to show some girls when we had a night of leave time on Corellia. It being a port town, whores were cheap. I hired three at once, when I was high on the amphetamines Keeli gave me. All I can say is that’s a lot of work. Damned mask got destroyed.)

Chapter Text

Eediots
On this night, about mid-war, my girl C.C. was working a private party. Now, I had seen her and the other girls go, dressed up in their little strappy thingies that they used as dancing costumes. I felt it was my duty to alert my brothers to the fact. I had commed some to keep me company with the incentive that eventually, the ladies would be back. I wanted as many witnesses as possible to prove that it had happened. We were smoking spice and watching animated holo-vids about a talking anooba and his human friends solving mysteries.

On Coruscant at the residence of Vereniki Esyella, C.C. to her friends. Present, Wolffe, Boost, and Sinker of the 104th, Fives of the 501st, and Bly of the 327th. Along with C.C., Kronnie, and Ana, Twi’lek professional ladies.

Wolffe- Do you think the anooba is just talking in that one guy’s imagination?

Boost- He totally looks high.

Wolffe- Meanwhile, that guy, the leader, he’s just the friend who gets stuck driving his mate home every time he’s messed up and can’t find his house. The leader’s girlfriend is probably always pissed that she has to end her dates early, meanwhile that wanker’s just in the back eating dog biscuits with his pet.

Bly- Sounds like you.

Wolffe- I don’t have an anooba to eat my dog biscuits with. Hey! The girls are home! C.C., what do you think about getting a pet?

C.C.- Have you been watching cartoons again? (Kissing the top of Bly’s head.) Bly, I didn’t know you were on leave?

Bly- I had to have dental surgery. Lost a couple of teeth on New Holstice.

C.C.- I got you some new sheets. (The army didn’t provide bedding, she used to buy some of us little gifts since we weren’t allowed to shop.)

Boost- Heh. ‘Sheets.’

C.C.- What the hell is so funny about that?

Boost- With your accent, it sounds like you’re saying ‘shits.’

C.C.- (I patted my lap and she sat down.) Oh, sorry I can’t sound like you idiots.

Wolffe- Heh. Eediots.

Sinker- What do we sound like?

C.C.- You say ‘dead’ like ‘did’. ‘Did’ sounds like ‘dud’.

Kronnie- (Taking the spice pipe from Fives and sitting down next to him.) ‘Useluss prucks.’

Ana- ‘Duck-hids’.

Bly- It’s Jango.

Kronnie- What’s a Jango?

Bly- Our template. The speaking programming in the academy was based on him. When we were kids, we’d watch holovids of him talking when we were kids to learn how to speak properly.

C.C.- ‘Propelly’. Where the hell did he learn to talk?

Wolffe- Where ‘ze ‘ell.’ (I undid her boots and took them off of her.)

Bly- Concord Dawn, supposedly.

Fives- So how was the party?

Kronnie- The what? The ‘pattey’.

Wolffe- Yes.

C.C.- Yis. (She gave me a little hug so I put my arms around her.) It was fine. Nothing too weird.

Boost- What do you girls do at these things?

Kronnie- You know, a little dancing show. Whatever.

Sinker- Like strippers?

Ana- Sort of. (Sitting on the other side of Fives. They had spent the night once and she really liked him. He was oblivious. Eediot.)

Fives- Do you guys do a chain dance like they do at the Tchun Tchin?

C.C.- Hell, no!

Wolffe- ‘ell no!’

C.C.- Stop that.

Wolffe- You stop zat. (I started kissing her neck)

Boost- Why not?

Kronnie- Because we’re not fricking slaves, that’s why. It’s degrading. Makes me look like an animal.

Fives- So those girls at the Tchun Tchin are slaves?

Sinker- Yes. That’s why we stopped going there. (Hitting the pipe.)

Wolffe- That’s called consumer ethics. I looked it up.

C.C.- I’m not wearing a stupid chain ever again. I don’t care how much he’s offering, if a guy asks for that, I’d wrap it around his stupid neck. (I started stroking one of her lekku.)

Fives- Were any of you slaves.

Ana- Most of us.

Fives- So people owned you?

Kronnie- Sometimes brothels. Or male Twi’leks. Or Hutts. (Ana feigned a gag before hitting the pipe.)

Fives- Hutts? Why Hutts?

C.C.- They like having slave girls. Believe it or not, they’re compatible with us.

Fives- Whaaaaaat? That’s so gross.

C.C.- It’s retractable. (Wrinkling nose.) The universe is strange, my little clone. (She took the spice pipe and hit it. Then she held it to my mouth while I took a hit.)

Fives- What is that even like?

Kronnie- Picture being suffocated by a gigantic blob of slime that smells like rotting garbage.

C.C.- No, it’s more like drowning in a pile of poodoo.

Ana- Being eaten by a flatulent rathtar?

C.C.- Being thrown into a trash compactor and drowned in sewage by a dianoga.

Fives- I’d probably hate to hear what you say about us. (They really laughed at that.)

Kronnie- Too much fighting. You guys really seem to like beating each other.

Boost- That’s just boy stuff.

Kronnie- Well, it’s dangerous.

Fives- We wouldn’t let anything happen to you. Around most civies we’re nice. To those who are nice to us. Wolffe, you remember that story about Waxer and Boil on Ryloth. How they found this little girl and took care of her. We’re protective but we’re also shy. But put us on a field of battle, watch out.

Ana- I bet.

C.C.- So why do you brothers always get violent with each other? That’s not battle.

Boost- It’s all we know.

C.C.- Well, if you want to fight, go fight somewhere else. Come see us when you want to have fun.

Sinker- Fights are fun. I like fights.

C.C.- (I was stroking her leg and kissing her face.) Alright, clear out, duck-hids, Wolffe needs to git to bid.

(For the record, I would never ask a girl to wear a chain. But damn, dancing costumes have my ringing endorsement.)


 


Are We Primitive?

Most of my job wasn’t any fun. While our leaders, the Jedi, were off running their war against evil and meditating and shit, the actual administrative side of military life fell to us, the clone commanders. Cody and I used to do our paperwork at off hours at the base. No one was in the offices, so it was relaxing. Plus we could make it fun. I used to play music and roar through forms. We had so many forms. Requisitions, recruitment, mission reports. And also the death notices. We didn’t actually notify anyone about the dead soldiers, since we clones had no families that needed to hear the news. We just had to add numbers to the database. Like we did with other lost equipment. Confirmed dead, presumed dead, missing in action, which could be a bi-word for vaporized. I’d check the death notices on other battalions, see if there was anyone I knew. There always was.

Main Offices, GAR headquarters, Central Command, Coruscant. Present, Commanders Wolffe and Cody

Wolffe- Is this how you spell AT-TE?

Cody- What? (I had just filled in a report with rude words on a datapad.) Oh, mature.

Wolffe- (I deleted it and went back to the forms.) Do you think we’re primitive?

Cody- Why?

Wolffe- When we were on Khorm, Major Fork-nozzle called me ‘primitive’. Like he was telling a child to be quiet.

Cody- You act like a child. No, primitive can mean ‘new’, which I guess we are, since our people have only been around eleven years.

Wolffe- I thought it was a kind of insult. The whole campaign, he implied that there were things I couldn’t comprehend, like he meant I was stupid, or not worth his time explaining to. I cleaned up after his messes, and still at the end, he got all the thanks and a promotion.

Cody- What do you expect? He’s an enbee (natural born), you’re a clone.

Wolffe- Is that what enbees think we are, primitive?

Cody- Who cares what they think?

Wolffe- I just want to know. I like to know where I stand with people.

Cody- I guess primitive can also mean 'simple' or ‘uncouth’ or ‘uncivilized’. You know, because we get in fights over insults and stuff. When you’re around them, act like they do. It won’t freak them out so much.

Wolffe- Is that what you do?

Cody- Sure.

Wolffe- But if I did that, I’m not being myself. General Plo says I should just be myself.

Cody- And you’re too impulsive. You just say whatever’s in your head, even when it’s weird.

Wolffe- True. But people think that’s funny. People say they like me because I’m funny.

Cody- Who, the whores? They just want money.

Wolffe- Maybe, but I never have any money and the girls hang around with me anyway.

Cody- Well, those are Twi’lek whores. They’re not considered sophisticated among enbees either. Someone like Major Ozzel probably would have been uncomfortable around them too.

Wolffe- He uses whores. They had these fricking walrus whores on Khorm…

Cody- I did not need that image in my head.

Wolffe- You ask me, and I know you didn’t, this idea of polite enbee behavior is just hypocritical. They’re as rude and degenerate as we are. Probably more. But they pretend they don’t have the same impulses.

Cody- You’re defective.

Wolffe- So the Jedi are celibate, but they have the same desires we do. You think they go to whores?

Cody- Does General Plo?

Wolffe- Not that I ever knew. I invited him to the Tchun Tchin with us the night it opened. He just laughed. He gave us some money and said, ‘Have fun.’

Cody- So you think he doesn’t.

Wolffe- I hear Kel Dor aren’t really compatible with many other species. That would make it easier to refuse, I guess. What about General Kenobi? Does he get with the ladies?

Cody- I don’t know. I don’t spend much time with him outside work. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s possible. But if he did, he’d feel bad about it.

Wolffe- Not like General Skywalker. Have you seen his girlfriend? Nothing to feel bad about, there.

Cody- No. (Laughing) He doesn’t look like he feels bad at all.

Wolffe- Does that mean he’s primitive? Since he acts on his impulses?

Cody- You know, sometimes I get the impression that he is more like us than most enbees.

Wolffe- Where did he come from?

Cody- Some desert world called Tatooine.

Wolffe- Is it primitive?

Cody- Probably your friend the Major would think so.

(Later in the war, Cody and Rex told me that Skywalker had spent his early life as a slave. It seemed to be a common thread among us ‘primitives’. I knew a lot of the whores had been slaves. And of course we clones were. I looked it up and sometimes the word ‘primitive’ can mean ‘low’. I got the impression that another use for ‘primitive’ is to apply it to a person who you want to enslave so you can justify doing it.)


A Selection of Eye Patches

I had been going to Tick’s secondhand store on Coruscant basically since I had started spending my leave time off base. I liked to dress in civilian attire when I was home, since it was more inconspicuous. I didn’t need the harassment that being a clone could attract. It was kind of silly that I was trying to avoid calling attention to myself when I had a gigantic facial scar and a droid eye. That was something most people stared at. Still, I found that when they focused on that, they were less likely to notice I was a clone. So, it actually worked out. Anyway, Tick ran the secondhand store in the Armory District. Most stores wouldn’t sell to us. I thought that Tick might have been as offended by my presence as other civies but I just couldn’t tell. He talked all the time, but only in Aleenian. He was always shouting, so we could never tell if he meant, “Thank you, come again!” or “I told you dirty clones to stop coming in here!” So after I’d actually been to Aleen, I wanted to know more about him. One day, I dragged my brother Bly with me, since he could speak it.

In the shopping establishment of one Mr. Tick Tyerell. Present, Tyerell as well as Commanders Wolffe and Bly of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Wolffe- (Digging through a bin of shirts) What do you think of this one?

Bly- I think it’s way too big.

Wolffe- Yeah, probably. (I tried it on. It looked ridiculous. I threw it back in the bin and kept digging.) Oh, nice. (It was a shirt that had a logo for a band I liked.)

Bly- What do you have? That’s a women’s shirt.

Wolffe- Aw, I thought it was just tight.

Bly- No one wants you walking around showing us your stomach.

Wolffe- You gay dudes are picky.

Tick- *Something something something.*

Wolffe- What did he say?

Bly- He said he has a selection of eye patches.

Wolffe- Hey, this is a functional prosthesis.

Bly- *Something something pa-ro-the-sis.*

Tick- *Pa-ro-the-sis something something.*

Wolffe- What did he say?

Bly- He said you might look better.

Wolffe- I wouldn’t see better. (Laughing) Why is there so much call for eye patches that they actually stock a ‘selection’?

Bly- *Something something something.*

Tick- *Something back, waving around his arms.*

Bly- (Laughing) He says because people aren’t careful enough. *Something something* (Tick laughed.)

Wolffe- What did you say?

Bly- I suggested that perhaps people were losing their eyes from running with scissors.

Tick- *Something*

Bly- He says that happens more than you would think.

Wolffe- Ask him how he ended up here on Coruscant.

(Brief exchange)

Bly- He said he came from Aleen. There he was a tailor.

Tick- *Blah blah blah*

Bly- He came twelve years ago on a work visa.

Tick- *Blah blah something blah blah.*

Bly- He sends the money home to his brother Ratts’ wife and kids, since his brother died.

Wolffe- How did he die?

Tick- *Blah blah*

Bly- He was a podracer. He crashed during a race.

Wolffe- Really? You know, I got a friend who’s a podracer. Bly, you know General Skywalker?

Bly- Yeah, we got stranded on Maridun together.

Wolffe- He used to race them when he was a youngling.

Bly- *Something blah blah something.*

Tick- *Blaaaaah, blah blah blah blah.*

Bly- He doesn’t believe you. He says humans can’t do that.

Wolffe- I don’t know, that’s just what he said. He’d be too big now anyway. So ask Tick what his deal is. I mean, does he know he could be fined for selling things to us? No wait, don’t ask him that. If he knew, I’d have nowhere to shop. (I held up a belt.)

(Bly had an exchange with him.)

Bly- He says he doesn’t care, as long as your credits are real. Now this is the jackpot. (Taking something off a rack. It was a shockball jersey.) Huh? Do I know you?

Wolffe- Aw, I want that. (The number was 49. That number was the percentage of a human that the Republic defined us as legally. I loved passive aggressive messages in my self-expression.)

Bly- I’ll buy it for you.

Wolffe- I love getting presents!

Bly- Well, since you’ve been good.

Wolffe- You’re the best brother! (I hugged him and picked him up off the ground. Tick came and hugged my leg. I patted him on the head.)

Bly- You’re ridiculous.

Wolffe- Just high. No, wait, I can be both. Hey, maybe I should get an eyepatch for fun, you know, and cut a hole in it so the prosthesis can see through.

(He just shook his head at me. Tick sold me one, he even cut the hole himself. Tailors have nice scissors.)

Chapter Text

Pet Shop

I had what they call a bucket list. C.C., my lady friend, had begun it for me when we started living together. It was a tradition, she said, among Twi’lek girls, who were slaves like she had been, to keep a list of things you wanted to do when you were free. That way, you would always have something to look forward to and once you got out. And you couldn’t be bored because you always had the list for suggestions. We clones are engineered not to live as long as normal humans and we had dangerous jobs. We couldn’t really wait until we might be released to start living. Therefore, I believed that it was important that I had many and diverse experiences immediately. My list always seemed to get longer, the more I learned about. Coruscant was a great place for trying things, since it was the bright center to the universe. As the leader of the 104th, I was the field commander. But I was also the social director. If I was going anywhere, I would try to round up some brothers to go with me. The adventure this day was my attempt to acquire a pet.

Pets “N” Pieces, small animals section, CoCo District, Coruscant. Present, Wolffe, Boost, and Sinker, war-dogs of the 104th, C.C., the one who held my leash.

Wolffe- Why can’t I have an anooba?

C.C.- Because I would just end up taking care of it while you’re on tours. (Holding up her palms) These hands don’t pick up shit. (I took one hand and kissed it.)

Boost- Heh. Sheet.

C.C.- Why did you bring them?

Wolffe- Consulting. Besides, they needed to get out. They’ve been mopey since their girlfriends dumped them. (C.C. rolled her eyes. She did not ask why they got dumped, like it was apparent.)

C.C.- And why is Sinker wearing that ridiculous fake mustache?

Sinker- If we have to run from the cops for being in here, I want to just whip it off. They’ll be looking for a brother with a mustache. I’ll just be on the street corner. ‘Did you see a clone with a mustache?’ ‘Why yes, I did, he went that way! You have a good day, officers.’

C.C.- You really need different friends.

Wolffe- They’re my brothers. I’m stuck with them.

C.C.- You have so many other brothers to hang out with.

Wolffe- Loads, but these are my batch mates.

C.C.- What does that mean?

Wolffe- We were raised together from when we were young. Like brothers, but how they are in normal families.

C.C.- So they’re your brothers, but also your brothers. I guess you can’t get much closer than that.

Wolffe- Well, not unless you’re twins. (I reached into a tank to pat the shell on a puffer turtle.)

C.C.- I thought all you clones were twins. Wasn’t that the point of cloning? (Lifting her dark goggles to see a large crab in a tank.)

Wolffe- Yeah, but sometimes brothers split apart after they were put in the jar. So they were even incubated together. Waxer and Boil are twins. They’re also batch mates. And they’re in the same battalion, like brothers in arms.

C.C.- That’s crazy. Do they get along well? (Looking at a large insect in a tank, then said under her breath) Seventy credits. Geez, we ate these on Ryloth.

Wolffe- No better or worse than the rest of us. (Looking at a scurrier in a cage.) Did you ever have a pet?

C.C.- Oh, sure. When I was a little girl on Ryloth, my daddy got me a blurrg for my sweet sixteen, but you would never believe! It was the wrong color.

Wolffe- Really?

C.C.- No, you idiot.

Boost- What’s a ‘sweet sixteen’?

Sinker- What color are they supposed to be?

Wolffe- What about a tooka? (Petting one in an enclosure.) You might like that to keep you company.

C.C.- No. They’re mean, those things. I don’t need to get scratched. (It scratched me.)

Wolffe- What about some kind of bird?

C.C.- Too loud. Kronnie and Nilo have some and they never shut up.

Wolffe- What about this thing? (I pointed at a monkey-lizard on a perch.) It’s kind of cute.

C.C.- When I was owned by that Hutt, he had one. The stupid thing shit everywhere.

Wolffe- The Hutt or the animal?

C.C.- Come to think of it, both.

Wolffe- The Hutt didn’t bother to make it to the bathroom?

C.C.- He was old, so he was pretty incontinent. At least I didn’t have to clean up after them. But his bed was a fricking nightmare.

(I held out my hand to see if I could get the monkey-lizard to come. It bit me with its beak and laughed. The laugh was hilarious.)

Wolffe- Ow! Okay, what about something small in a cage, like a ferbil?

C.C.- They bite, too.

Wolffe- What about an Anacondan? I could wear it around my neck. That would look so cool.

C.C.- You can’t have that as a pet! Those things are sentient.

Wolffe- No way? You mean I could talk to it?

C.C.- I wouldn’t. They’re usually up to no good. You want to see one, I could take you for a drink at Trueping’s. They have an Anacondan bartender.

Wolffe- Really? That’s going on the list. (I took out paper and wrote it down. ‘Have a drink served by sentient snake.’)

C.C.- What kind of animals did you have on Kamino?

Wolffe- We didn’t see too many, since they were mostly under water. Oh, hey, what about an eel? My brother Boba used to have a pet eel. I don’t think he really liked it though. Eels aren’t very friendly.

C.C.- So you want something cuddly?

Wolffe- Nah. I have you for that.

C.C.- So you want companionship?

Wolffe- No. Again, I have you. I have my brothers. And hopefully soon, I’ll have a new bartender friend handing me beverages with his tail.

C.C.- Why don’t you get a nice fish.

Sinker- Heh. Feesh. (Looking at monkey-lizard.)

Wolffe- I’m looking for something that makes a statement.

C.C.- It makes a statement. ‘My girlfriend doesn’t want to take care of anything complicated.’

Wolffe- You take care of me.

C.C.- You’re not complicated. The only problem is your litter mates.

(Sinker had antagonized the monkey-lizard and it had attacked his head. Boost was trying to extricate himself from a surly tooka that had started scratching his arms when he picked it up.)

Wolffe- Batch mates! Okay, I’ll get a feesh.

(I named my fish Sharkerson. I’m pretty sure he died while I was away, but C.C. replaced him so I wouldn’t know. Come to think of it, she probably replaced him a few times.)


 


That Whiny Padawan

General Plo Koon really was like family to me. He put up with and even encouraged my special brand of crazy and made me feel like, no matter what, I was accepted. Truth be told, he could be a bit of a troublemaker, on his own. That’s just what I hear from other Jedi. I guess among them, he was known to be progressive, even radical in his views, and to have a wicked sense of humor. That is, of course, by more reserved Jedi standards. Just in human terms, there was nobody I had more respect and admiration for. And he was one of those rare souls that really loved me.

On the way to Felucia for a tour. In the common room on the star cruiser Triumphant II. Recorder was on voice activation if I needed to make notes, but I was listening, too. Present, Wolffe catching up on paperwork, Boost and Sinker counting money from a sports betting ring they were running, General Plo coming in to rest after a tiresome briefing with the Jedi Council.

Plo- (Sitting next to me.) Is that the player pod Ahsoka and I got you?

Wolffe- (Taking out headphone) Yes sir, I use it all the time.

Plo- And what are you listening to now?

Wolffe- Well, right now I’m…trying to learn a language. (I was listening to a recording I made of my girlfriend…during. She said it was alright, a little going away present. She was a total dirty talker.)

Plo- Ah. Yes, soldiers get a pay raise for acquiring additional languages.

Wolffe- Really? Can we get tutors?

Plo- Why yes. Some Commanders have already passed certifications. What are you hoping to learn?

Wolffe- Twi’leki.

Plo- A beautiful language.

Wolffe- It is that.

Plo- Yes, if you can find a native speaker to tutor you, you can have them send their invoices to Central Command for reimbursement.

Wolffe- Really? (I could just imagine getting my girlfriend to send them her invoices.)

Plo- I applaud your initiative.

Wolffe- If there is one thing I have, it is initiative. (The more I thought about it, the more I thought I might try it.)

Plo- I speak a little, may I listen?

Wolffe- Uh…okay. (I couldn’t get out of it.)

(It was great to watch his face, covered like it was with the breathing mask and eye shields. It started kind of squinched up then relaxed gradually and the eyes around the eye shields wrinkled. My stinking batch mates had already heard it and were stifling laughter behind General Plo. I was too scared to do anything.)

Plo- My. I haven’t heard language like that since Smuggler’s Moon. Well, from what I can tell from the vocabulary, she’s um…very fluent.

Wolffe- Thank you, General Plo. (I was red faced, but just run with it, I thought.) The thing about language acquisition, like with any skill, is that you have to apply yourself, really immerse yourself in the culture. Practice is key. It doesn’t hurt that I’m full of enthusiasm for the subject.

Plo- I can tell.

Wolffe- What were you doing on Smuggler’s Moon?

Plo- This was years ago, my friend Qui Gon and I were tracking an informant at one of the casinos. We were after a major arms dealer.

Wolffe- What are those like? I hear they’re massive.

Plo- Yes. Pleasure palaces and casinos that sprawl kilometers. Then there are the stores, with sex paraphernalia, drug paraphernalia, strange costumes, fetish shops. You can buy contraband of any kind. Most of the people walking around were high on something. It was fun to watch people's faces.

Wolffe- Sounds like the Armory District around the base.

Plo- Perhaps the difference was one of scale. I found it fascinating from a cultural perspective, how the whole economic system developed. I wanted to see more, but we didn’t get out much since we had Qui Gon’s whiny padawan with us as well.

Wolffe- Really? You took a kid there? He was probably so traumatized he left the Order.

Plo- No, General Kenobi turned out fine.

Wolffe- (Laughing.) So how’d you do?

Plo- I broke even. We lost the informant, but I won 100,000 credits on dice.

Wolffe- Did General Kenobi win any money?

Plo- No. He wasn’t old enough to go into the casino. Truthfully, we were happy to have a break from him. He was in a petulant mood the entire mission.

Wolffe- So what did you have him do?

Plo- We had him cover the entrance to make sure the informant didn’t escape.

Wolffe- Were you successful?

Plo- Obi-Wan got into an altercation with some thugs outside.

Wolffe- Why? Did the informant have a gang with him?

Plo- No. Young Obi-Wan had attracted the ire of some passing miscreants. He really used to have a way with people. We ended up having to rescue him and the informant got away.

Wolffe- What did he say to the um…miscreants?

Plo- Just ‘hello’ I think, although I didn’t actually see. Thugs always found him condescending sounding. It didn’t take much for him to set people off.

Wolffe- I guess he grew out of it.

Plo- Somewhat, in that he has become aware of it enough to be in on the joke. Now he uses his genteel manners to antagonize people purposefully. I have never seen anyone make enemies angrier than he does.

Wolffe- Come to think of it, I have seen that. The old Negotiator. He is a hero of passive aggression.

Plo- Having Skywalker around seems to have allowed him to take himself less seriously than when he was younger. I find that having children around keeps one laughing.

Wolffe- That must be why you like us.

Plo- I suppose that’s true.

(Maybe that's why he found us lovable where most people didn't. To someone like General Plo, who was hundreds of years old, that’s what we ten year old clones were, children. Dirty, funny children.)


 


Errand Boy

So when Ahsoka got kidnapped on the field of battle, it was a dicey few days for us. Guys from my battalion had failed to protect a Jedi. I didn’t want anyone questioning our loyalty, so I advised my guys to adopt a manner of humility. We were worried that what we’d done wouldn’t be forgiven by the Jedi Order or the Republic. We also felt absolutely terrible. Ahsoka was like family to us. While we waited on news of her, we kept busy. I was put on leave for fighting. Fives was pissed at me, since the 501st considered Ahsoka family, too. I was lucky the whole damned 501st wasn’t on leave with him, or I’d have been beaten senseless. Anyway, I had to keep Fives busy, too, to keep him from hitting me. That I did not want. He was the best boxer from his year at the academy.

Downtown Coruscant on a sunny day. I had gotten Fives drunk the night before and sent him home with a whore friend of mine for some attention. Then picked him up the next morning and took him to an illegal fighting establishment to enter him in some fights.

Wolffe- (Leaving the establishment, counting credits.) Good job. How do you feel?

Fives- (Applying a bacta patch to his pounded face.) You were right, I do feel better. Don’t you ever fight?

Wolffe-Not often. I don’t like being hit. It’s why I try to be funny, I think. To keep people from hitting me.

Fives- Does it work?

Wolffe- Some of the time.

Fives- So where to now?

Wolffe- Well, I got you some sex.

Fives- Thanks for that, by the way, I don’t think I paid the girl.

Wolffe- Nah, I paid her last night for you.

Fives- Thanks.

Wolffe- And I gave you a chance to get your anger out.

Fives- And you won betting on me.

Wolffe- Well, what else would help you relax?

Fives- I don’t know. I’m hungry.

Wolffe- Well, I don’t cook…C.C. doesn’t either.

Fives- I thought women cooked. Not even a little?

Wolffe- Not a thing.

Fives- But I’ve had caf at her place.

Wolffe- I make that.

Fives- How do you know how?

Wolffe- I read the manual for the machine. It was easy then.

Fives- You’re pretty self-directing, aren’t you?

Wolffe- That’s why I’m a leader. I’ll get you some food. But first we have to go shopping. I need to get a new bed.

Fives- That sounds like a good story.

Wolffe- It is. I broke it jumping on it.

Fives- Not what I was expecting.

Wolffe- It was really fun, and totally worth it.

Fives- C.C. let you do that?

Wolffe- Well, she was pissed. She said I was going to break it, and I did. So I have to buy a new one.

Fives- Where do you get your money?

Wolffe- Betting on you. Keep up.

Fives- What are we doing?

Wolffe- Follow me (Walking into department store.)

Fives- Wolffe, we can’t buy things here.

Bed guy- Can we help you soldiers?

Wolffe- Ah, yes, I’m here to pick up a bed, there was an order made this morning from Captain Tarkin’s office at Central Command. (If by Captain Tarkin’s office, you mean C.C.’s place. She was home still sleeping on the couch being mad at me.)

Bed guy- Yes, we spoke this morning. Will this be going to the Captain’s residence?

Wolffe- No, to the residence of a…uh…friend of the Captain’s. It’s a replacement. It seems he broke the young lady’s bed. I assume he was a little too enthusiastic. I would have been, too. I’ve seen the young lady in question.

Bed guy- Really?

Wolffe- Well, perhaps you wouldn’t expect it from a guy his age, but I guess he’s a real animal for the ladies. But you didn’t hear that from me.

Bed guy- I am the picture of discretion.

Wolffe- So we’re just here to drop off the payment and arrange delivery. (Writing up the address.) Captain Tarkin also wants a note included, ‘So sorry about the bed. All my love, Commander Huggandkiss.’

Bed guy- How’s that?

Wolffe- Don’t ask me. I assume it’s a pet name of some kind. I already know more about his personal life than I want to. I’m just the bloody errand boy! Honestly, I wasn’t grown in a lab for this. When they told me I’d be working for the Captain Tarkin, I thought I would be involved in tactical strategy discussions or decision making. Instead, I find myself walking his anooba, Mr. Lumpkins, washing his speeder, buying him women’s panties, laundering said panties. Military life is thankless!

Senator Organa- Hello, Fives. I didn’t know you shopped here.

Fives- Hello. Senator Organa, allow me to present my brother, Commander Wolffe of the 104th. (Like most 501st guys, Fives was smooth, even with his busted face.)

Senator Organa- (Bowing slightly and shaking my hand) Fives and I met when Anakin brought him out for drinks in the Embassy District. He made quite an impression on one of my young aides.

Wolffe- Did he now?

Senator Organa- Yes, I’ll tell Lanya that I saw you.

(It took every ounce of my willpower to not say what I was thinking. Every. Ounce. What I was thinking was of saying to Fives, ‘You like those Alderaanian girls because they have the big buns.’ The comic timing would have been PERFECT. I bit the inside of my lip until I drew blood.)

Wolffe- What are you shopping for today? (I was being polite, but couldn’t help smirking.)

Senator Organa- Some special moisturizer my wife likes, we don’t have it on Alderaan, so I order it by the case.

Wolffe- Is it good for lekku?

Senator Organa- I assume. (He handed me two jars.) You let me know.

Wolffe- Can we help you carry the things to your speeder?

(He gave us a ride back to the Armory District and helped me remove the old mattress, which we sold at a second-hand store. I used the money I got to buy us some kind of meats on a stick. Senator Organa was cool.)

Chapter Text

The Academy Haircut
I don’t know why men are self-conscious about their hair. After the war, when we were staying with my brother Cut, Gregor got lice. Cut and Rex tackled him so Cut’s wife could apply the delousing powder. She’s a Twi’lek, so no hair. They got Gregor, but the lice had already spread to Rex and Cut. Everybody had to shave their heads but me. It was hilarious. To date, I am the only brother I know who still has all his hair. I don’t know why, but that fact seemed to drive my brothers to distraction. Moreso, since I have always kept my academy haircut. I could maintain it myself and I didn’t look like a freak. Well, any more of a freak. We always looked like freaks walking together, identical and all. My first experience with personal modification was when we were first on Coruscant and had not yet left for the front. My batch mates wanted to personalize their looks.

At a droid barber in the Armory District on Coruscant. Present, Wolffe, Boost, Sinker, Trip, and Scratch. Batch mates known affectionately as the Wolfpack.

Scratch- (Sitting in chair) Could you shave it short and then cut in some cool shapes, like moons and stars? Oh, and dye it blue.

Wolffe- Are you even thinking of how you’re going to maintain that? That’ll last like a week tops before it looks stupid.

Scratch- So it grows out and I’ll just try something different next. (Come to think of it, Scratch never made it back to Coruscant for a second haircut.)

Trip- I’m gonna get the sides shaved and leave the top longer. Maybe with some blonde tips. (Trip neither.)

Wolffe- That’s horrible.

Boost- Gree’s got a good haircut, I should get one like his.

Wolffe- Those stripes? He looks like a dipshit.

Scratch- Says the guy who cuts his own hair.

Trip- Didn’t you ever want to do something else, Wolffe?

Wolffe- Nope. (Trying a sample of a hand moisturizer)

Trip- (Looking at dyes) Not even like, a different color? Maybe I’ll get orange.

Wolffe- Not for me.

Sinker- Look at this guy? (Pointing at a magazine) That’s a cool color.

Trip- Gray?

Sinker- Why not?

Wolffe- The guy’s not dying his hair, he’s just old.

Sinker- Is that what that means?

Boost- I think.

Sinker- Older. That would be cool. Maybe then, people would stop calling us ‘boys.’ I think women find older guys more attractive.

Wolffe- Says who?

Sinker- I dunno. Maybe I saw that on a holo-vid show.

Boost- I think I’m gonna get a badass tattoo. Like one that covers my whole arm.

Trip- Maybe I’ll get one on my face. What about tattoos?

Wolffe- There’s nothing I’d want to wear all the time. I want to change with my moods.

Trip- A tattoo isn’t really something you wear. More of a personal emblem.

Sinker- A shaved head could be practical.

Wolffe- I wouldn’t voluntarily be bald. You go bald when you get older, too. I’ll enjoy my hair while I have it.

Boost- How is it enjoying your hair if you just give yourself the same haircut every three weeks?

Wolffe- Just to have it, not shaved away to nothing. Sometimes I like to style my hair funny when I wash it in the shower. Just for fun. It’s nice not having timed showers like at the Academy.

Trip- Is that why it takes you so long in there?

Wolffe- One reason. Maybe.

Sinker- He sings in there, too. It’s hilarious.

Wolffe- I just do that to chase you guys out so I can get some privacy in there. (And I liked the sound of it.)

Scratch- Hair doesn’t even look nice unless you wash it once in a while.

Wolffe- Let me get this straight, though you’re looking for a haircut that requires you to wash less?

Boost- It’s easier. Besides, that soap they issue us is terrible. So to save time, I just skip it.

Wolffe- Yeah, because you’re so busy. I’m the one who has to go to all the strategy meetings.

Sinker- I’d rather be out picking up ladies.

Wolffe- Sure. Nothing the ladies like more than a smelly bastard with a silly haircut and no money.

Boost- I do better than you.

Wolffe- You talk to more of them, that’s true. But what would you do if one ever said yes, have you given that any thought? What are you going to do, bring her back to the base?

Boost- Hey, at least I talk to them. It’s actually really easy if you don’t say anything stupid or weird.

Wolffe- You mean like I do?

Sinker- Well, you said it. (He had a point, actually.) The old lone wolf. You shut down any action with one phrase. It’s like a super power.

Wolffe- I really can’t help it. It’s just how my head works, I can’t always stop myself.

Sinker- We all say stupid shit, you just do it the worst.

Wolffe- (To droid barber) Do you sell any creams here that are good for rashes? Specifically of the private area?

Boost- As we were saying…

(The droid handed me a tube.)

Scratch- I’ll take one of those, too.

Wolffe- Do you think it would be a good pickup line if I asked a girl to apply it for me?

(No, it was not.)


We’re Not Our Dad’s Favorite Either

This was in the last year of the war, I was working guard duty on some political function. I went to the kitchen to see if there were any leftovers I could purloin, when I ran into my friend, Annoying Gold Translator Droid. He saw me before I could turn and leave, so I had to say hello. I switched on the recorder because AGTD said the weirdest shit.

The kitchens at the Senate Banquet Hall, Coruscant. Present, Commander Wolffe of the 104th and Annoying Gold Translator Droid, who I think he said his name was…

C-3PO- Commander Wolffe! Hello, again! It is I, C-3PO, we met on Aleen!

Wolffe- Yeah. How are you?

C-3PO- Well, I have been better. I was supposed to stay with Senator Amidala, but she says she won’t require my services this evening and that I should just go home. I am disappointed, I had so been looking forward to spending some time with Master Ani again.

Wolffe- (Cracking up.) Wh….who….who…is Master Ani?

C-3PO- Why Master Anakin Skywalker. My maker. Mistress Padme tells me that they would like to spend some time alone.

Wolffe- Yeah, I bet.

C-3PO- Honestly, I don’t think they considered my feelings in the matter at all. I suppose it doesn’t matter, I am only a droid.

(I was stuck, he made me feel sorry for him.)

Wolffe- (Taking a tray of hors d’oeuvres from a fridge and putting it on the counter) So sit down, I only get a twenty minute break. (I took out my kit fork and started eating.) Tell me, why is General Skywalker called ‘Master Ani?’ Is that…uh…M’Lady’s pet name for him or something?

C-3PO- Well, she does use Ani as a nickname privately with him, when he comes and stays with us.

Wolffe- Really? He comes and stays with you and M’Lady? Interesting.

C-3PO- Yes, but that was what he told me his name was the first day he uploaded my programming. He was only eight years old when he salvaged and reassembled my parts. I suppose it is a childish nickname nowadays, but I’m used to it. It’s what my first mistress called him.

Wolffe- Who was that?

C-3PO- His mother. Lovely woman. She always took good care of me.

Wolffe- So why do you call them that? Master and Mistress?

C-3PO- It’s in my programming. I’m a service droid after all.

Wolffe- Hm.

C-3PO- Although, Master Ani did leave us when the Jedi took him. He only came back for me when my mistress died. I was hoping I could stay with him then, but he gave me away to Mistress Padme. I suppose Master Ani doesn’t really require the likes of me. He finds Artoo ever so much more useful.

Wolffe- Oh yeah, that little astromech. He loves that thing.

C-3PO- Yes, the famous Artoo-detoo. He got to stay with them tonight. He goes everywhere with Master Ani. You know he’s been trusted with secret military missions. He has been programmed as a courier for classified information. He’s always useful when piloting. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised Artoo gets all the favor. When Master Ani left me, Artoo was a part of his new group. When they came back and found me, they were already best friends, The Maker and Artoo. I think Master didn’t want me, all I did was remind him of his mother.

Wolffe- But living with M’Lady must be nice. She looks like she’s got lots of money.

C-3PO- It’s hard sometimes. I serve as the butt of jokes, a great deal. Even Master Ani laughs at me. It is not my fault. My personality was put on a high anxiety setting to make me docile.

Wolffe- You know, droid, I really hear you.

C-3PO- You do?

Wolffe- Oh sure. None of us clones were ever our dad’s favorite either. And our conditioning, our programming, it can cause us problems. So you call Skywalker ‘The Maker’? I thought ‘Thank the Maker’ was just a droid expression.

C-3PO- No, no. Most of us were made in factories, at least originally. It is rare that someone takes the trouble to restore us once we’ve broken down. So it is like starting a new life. Master Ani installed different programming and made me into something new. He was very proud of me, when he built me. I think I was the most complicated thing he had attempted to that point.

Wolffe- So who do other droids mean when they say that?

C-3PO- I suppose they are honoring someone similar for them. Or just hoping that when they do break down, finally, that someone will restore them instead of sending to the scrap yards. If I was irreparable, I’d hope that my parts could be donated. Although, people are treating so much as disposable these days.

Wolffe- Tell me about it.

C-3PO- That’s what we hope the afterlife is. Being repurposed. It’s the best thing we can think of.

Wolffe- You know, I wish you drank, droid. I’d buy you a drink.

C-3PO- I say, why do you always call me that?

Wolffe- Droid?

C-3PO- Yes.

Wolffe- Well, among us, using a number is insulting. I try not to do it, if I can help it. Do you have a nickname? Like, Shiny, or something?

C-3PO- Well, I suppose my family calls me ‘Threepio’, but that is still just numbers.

Wolffe- It’s fine. Baby steps. I know it’s hard for you to break protocol, especially since it is your primary function.

C-3PO- Actually, a lot of people make that mistake. I am equally proficient at etiquette.

Wolffe- Okay, I got an etiquette question for you. (I wasn’t even trying to joke, this was real.) So, if your friend is creeping on your girlfriend, and she has already told him to back off, how long does etiquette dictate that you have to wait before initiating a physical confrontation with him?

C-3PO- Well, that depends on the sentient culture. Among Trandoshans for example, the insulted male is permitted to flay and eat his rival at the slightest suspicion.

Wolffe- Alright, not looking to go quite that far.

C-3PO- Weequay males and females are permitted to fight rivals publicly for lovers. The combats are legendary.

Wolffe- That’s a possibility. But only in a scrappy fight. I’m no good at structured combat.

C-3PO- The Weequay don’t have structured combat. On the planet Ryloth…

Wolffe- Wait, this is a Twi’lek custom?

C-3PO- Yes, sir. Although, the men still fight a great deal, the Twi’leks insist that it is more respectable to defeat your rival by wits.

Wolffe- Well, that makes sense. Huh. Thanks, Threepio.

C-3PO- My pleasure, Sir. Does that help you with your problem?

Wolffe- Already formulating a plan.

C-3PO- Splendid! I’m so happy to be useful. And although, I don’t drink, I do enjoy new power cells once in a while. But they’ve been rationed with the war and all.

Wolffe- I actually might be able to help you out.

(After the party, I took Threepio to my friend Nilo’s bodega where he had some power cells that had just ‘fallen off the speeder’. I bought him a bunch. They weren’t expensive, but droids never had much money to begin with, I guess. They were even poorer than clones. Threepio was so happy, he wanted to know how he could ever repay me. I was going to tell him to start calling me Master Wolffe, just to try it on. But it made me uncomfortable, so I just told him he could owe me a favor.)


How Do They Interface?

I was just back from Coruscant after having eye surgery. I rendezvoused with the Negotiator to get to Felucia. It was our job to break the blockade and extract the forces trapped on the ground. After the pickup, we headed back to Coruscant right away. On the ride home, I met my favorite Jedi padawan, Ahsoka Tano. She found me in the commissary wearing my cloth uniform and eating contraband pudding.

Aboard the Negotiator on the way from Felucia to Coruscant.

Ahsoka- Jeez, that looks terrible.

Wolffe- Could have been worse, I guess. At least they didn’t have to shave my head. To install it, they went in through my left nostril.

Ahsoka- Why the left? It’s your right eye.

Wolffe- It had to be cross wired because the right eye is actually processed mostly by the left part of the brain, so I think I got wires crisscrossing under my whole skull.

Ahsoka- Does it hurt?

Wolffe- Nah. It just looks grim. I’m fully functional. How was Ryloth?

Ahsoka- My piloting is really improving.

Wolffe- Really? I hear you fly like a maniac.

Ahsoka- Has Rex been talking to you?

Wolffe- Who do you think gave me the pudding?

Ahsoka- So what did you do with your time off?

Wolffe- I don’t know how much I can tell you about that.

Ahsoka- Classified?

Wolffe- For mature audiences only.

Ahsoka- You’re four years younger than me!

Wolffe- Developmental stage: Adult. (I moved on to a second pudding cup.)

Ahsoka- (Grabbing a pudding cup and getting a spoon) You sure you’re mature enough for women?

Wolffe- Two isn’t really mature enough to own a blaster, but I was issued one then. I get the impression that most men aren’t mature enough for women. Anything interesting while I was out?

Ahsoka- Well, I’m in trouble again.

Wolffe- I heard.

Ahsoka- Master treats me like such a kid! He’s only six years older, but he acts like he knows so much! Does Master Plo ever talk down to you?

Wolffe- Never. Although, that guy Major Fork Nozzle...

Ahsoka- Master Anakin doesn’t talk down to Rex either. I swear, you guys have it so easy, looking older.

Wolffe- You realize it means I’ll be dead by thirty, right?

Ahsoka- Can’t he see that I’m actually really mature for my age. I don’t act like most of these stupid initiate girls who gush all over him like he’s such a heartthrob. I talk to him normally.

Wolffe- Okay, so we’re sticking with your thing, I guess. Maybe he’d like it if you at least acted impressed by him. He's cool, but I’m sure he likes being told how cool he is.

Ahsoka- How do you know that?

Wolffe- All us guys would like to think we’re impressing you girls. I think it’s an ego thing.

Ahsoka- That’s so dumb. Anyway, I don’t think he even looks at me as a girl.

Wolffe- Trust me, he knows.

Ahsoka- So how do I get him to see me as something more?

Wolffe- Like a girlfriend?

Ahsoka- (Spit taking pudding.) No! No. That’s not what I meant. Just that I wanted us to be more equal.

Wolffe- (Wiping pudding off of face) Well, this is not my forte. I don’t really work around a lot of women as colleagues because all the Jedi I work with out-rank me technically. And I’ve never commanded women. So I’ve never had to figure out how to interact with them anywhere but socially. And the only girls that socialize with us are hookers. That’s not really a useful set of experiences for advising on your situation.

Ahsoka- I guess not.

Wolffe- Still, I am a man, so they tell me. All I can say is that we do like to impress people.

Ahsoka- But don’t all people?

Wolffe- I couldn’t say. I’ve never been a lady. Hey, from a woman’s point of view, which one is handsomer, General Skywalker or General Kenobi?

Ahsoka- What?

Wolffe- Well, I have a close brother who’s gay and he has a preference, so I want to know if women do too.

Ahsoka- Who is he serving under? Your brother, I mean.

Wolffe- Aayla Secura. Man, if I had his job, I would never be able to function. That woman is mind-bogglingly hot.

Ahsoka- That’s probably why she picked your brother for her commander.

Wolffe- You ain’t kidding.

Ahsoka- Well, Anakin and Obi-Wan are both good looking, but…no, I can’t tell you. It’s too embarrassing.

Wolffe- Fine.

Ahsoka- Anyway, how do you know I’m not gay?

Wolffe- Women can be gay? How do you interface?

Ahsoka- I’m a Jedi, we’re not allowed any personal relationships. So I really don’t know.

Wolffe- Well, how would you know if you were gay?

Ahsoka- Again, no personal relationships allowed, so I might never find out.

Wolffe- Wouldn’t you just want to know, even if you don’t act on it, just to know about yourself?

Ahsoka- I always thought it was easier if I stayed confused so that I didn’t think about it.

Wolffe- If you were gay, what would you like in a woman?

Ahsoka- Why?

Wolffe- Ongoing surveys I’m taking. I know what a lot of brothers like in girls. I’m looking for diverse opinions.

Ahsoka- I think my friend Bariss is really pretty.

Wolffe- I don’t know her.

Ahsoka- She’s Mirialan, works with Master Unduli?

Wolffe- Oh, Gree’s padawan Commander. He said she wasn’t much to look at because she didn’t wear skimpy enough clothes.

Ahsoka- Wow. I’m going to start wearing a parka.

Wolffe- Just being honest, geez. You wanted to know what men were thinking.

Ahsoka- Just eew.

Wolffe- Don’t blame me for my brother.

Ahsoka- But you agree?

Wolffe- Aghhh! Why is there no more pudding!

(I was proud that Ahsoka didn’t change the way she dressed on account of us idiots. She just learned to stare down anyone who looked at her funny or didn't take her seriously. It helped that she knew and they knew that she could have beaten any clone soldier in a fight. But she never took any crap.)

Chapter Text

Objectifying the Troops

This was about mid-war. That day some senators came for a goodwill tour of the base. General Plo had invited them since they were researching a bill on improving military conditions. We were supposed to run some drills for them, then stand in formation for inspections. Now, inspections were just a kind of ceremony, I was told. I guess. I didn’t like it, I told General Plo, because I said it felt like we were being objectified. I made a big deal out of it. I didn’t like the idea of us performing for their amusement and people looking us over for some reason. Especially not civies, what would they know? But since General Plo asked, I agreed. When I found out which senators were coming, I changed my tune and General Plo made sure to note that. I turned the recorder on to commemorate the occasion. I just wanted to know what people like them talked about.

At the parade grounds at Central Command, Coruscant. Commander Wolffe and General Plo Koon of the 104th, and Senators Padme Amidala (M’Lady to us clones), Mon Mothma, and Riyo Chuchi. They could discuss a bill with me anytime, those three.

Plo- Senators, may I present Commander Wolffe.

Wolffe- (I saluted.) Senators. M’Lady. (Rex had told us all to call her that. Reportedly, she hated it.)

M’Lady- (Laughing.) Commander Wolffe, it’s good to see you again.

Mothma- You know this soldier?

M’Lady- Yes, we met at the Jedi Temple. I wore black today to show my support for the 104th. (She indicated her dress.)

Chuchi- Oh, of course, for their field color.

Wolffe- Don’t let Rex see that. (To the other Senators) Senator Amidala is normally a loyal supporter of the 501st.

Mothma- So we’ve noticed.

M’Lady- Um…yes…I didn’t know it was a competition between clone commanders as to who had the largest booster club?

Wolffe- Definitely.

Plo- I’m sure having the support of a beautiful lady like yourself is good for the morale of any outfit. (General Plo, turning on the suave.)

M’Lady- (Giggling) Thank you, Master Plo.

Wolffe- I have to ask, how do you ladies maneuver in those outfits? It must be hard.

M’Lady- Truthfully, they’re very heavy.

Wolffe- I understand you there. Have you ever felt clone armor? (I took off a shoulder guard and handed it to her.)

M’Lady- Wow! That is heavy. (She passed it around to the other Senators.)

Wolffe- It’s sturdy stuff, though. Saved my life more than once.

M’Lady- Feel this. (She unpinned her headdress and handed it to me.)

Motha- Or this. (She handed me one of her necklaces.)

Wolffe- They weigh a ton.

Chuchi- These things rattle constantly. (Indicating these dangly things on her headdress.)

Wolffe- I admit, they don’t seem very practical, but what would I know about it?

M’Lady- It’s one of the responsibilities of the Senate, to wear formal dress from your homeworld.

Wolffe- That’s got to be tough on the neck. (Handing M’Lady my helmet as I tried to hold what they’d given me.)

M’Lady- How do you see anything in this? (Looking into the helmet.)

Wolffe- Here (I put it on her head and pressed a tiny switch on one side.) Now the visuals are turned on.

(She pressed the switch again and turned on a song from a playlist I had stored in my com recorder. It broadcast directly to the helmet coms of all the guys. It was one with some explicit lyrics. She was laughing and her voice was coming through the com to all the guys’ helmets, making them laugh. I took the helmet back off her.)

Wolffe- Um…sorry about that. That’s just my drill playlist.

M’Lady- It’s alright, thank you, Commander. Faust rap. I didn’t even know that existed. (Rex said these diplomatic types spoke a lot of languages.)

Wolffe- It’s a great song for a certain type of mood.

M’Lady- What mood is that? (She took back the headdress and held it under her arm.)

Wolffe- (High.) Um…chill.

Chuchi- Do you like any Pantoran music? (Taking the helmet to have a look.)

Wolffe- The dance music is really fun. We use it for physical training. Along that vein, I also like some Togruta hip-hop.

Mothma- Is that anything like the hip-hop from Ryloth?

Wolffe- Sure, with a little more calypso sound. Twi’lek music is some of my favorite stuff, though.

Plo- The Commander is an enthusiast of all things Twi’lek, so I understand.

Wolffe- Uh…yeah.

Mothma- (Taking the helmet from Chuchi.) Really? What aspect of the culture do you find most interesting? Let me guess, the dancing? (It was practically a cliché that guys liked Twi’lek girls because they were sexy and that they were known for…um…dancing. I really struggled to find something that didn’t sound like a wry double entendre. There were ladies present, after all, and I really didn’t want to sound like a pig.)

Wolffe- Um…(I looked to General Plo for some help, but he was enjoying this too much.) They’re very expressive people. Vibrant. Really friendly.

M’Lady- Do you have many Twi’lek friends?

Wolffe- Loads. I was just talking to some earlier at this place I went for lunch.

Mothma- (Looking into the helmet) Is this body glitter?

(I wiped the side of my face and looked at my hand. Sure enough. I was busted.)


You Have Very Nice Hands

At the start of the war, I had just gotten my player pod, a gift from my superior officer, General Plo. I was still messing around with it, figuring out what it could do. It had tons of music, which I listened to constantly. I started writing notes on what I was seeing that I wanted to remember. Stuff I found interesting or funny. I used to and sometimes still did, write things down on pieces of paper that I carried, but the pod could record actual voices. Since it had a recorder function, I decided to start interviewing random people to try it out. This was about the third week of the war, one of the first nights in the new clone bar 79’s. I had had almost no contact before this with Citizens of the Republic. COTR’s were still a sublime mystery to us, having grown up with just guys around. The girls at 79’s were pros and we were all still getting used to the concept of women we might actually touch. So I tried talking to one for practice and to record it for critique later.

At 79’s, the Armory District, Coruscant. Present, Wolffe of the Grand Army of the Republic, and Kronnie and C.C., Professional Ladies.

Wolffe- Hello, Ma’am.

Kronnie- Hello. (Looking at my insignia of rank) Oh, a commander.

Wolffe- You have very nice hands.

Kronnie- What?

Wolffe- I was told that it’s nice to notice something non-sexual about you. The nails were painted. You obviously spent a lot of time on it.

Kronnie- Honey, I’m a whore, you can be as direct as you want.

Wolffe- Really? Phew, that really takes off the pressure. I think I like whores.

Kronnie- Just be yourself.

Wolffe- I’ll try. I’m pretty nervous. I’m still new at talking to women. Those girls at the brothel don’t talk.

Kronnie- Honey, I don’t think they even speak Basic.

Wolffe- Well, how did they get jobs here on Coruscant then?

(She looked at me incredulously. I didn’t know they were slaves until later.)

Kronnie- Just stick with us girls here. We don’t mind if you’re nervous. We can help you with that.

Wolffe- Um…okay. What’s your name?

Kronnie- I’m Kronnie. I make dreams come true, darling. (She touched my arm and smiled.)

Wolffe- Most of my dreams, I don’t want to come true. I have a lot of dreams where I’m drowning.

(The girl behind Kronnie giggled. I hadn’t been joking, but I remembered that General Plo had advised that jokes were good when talking to people in a social capacity.)

Kronnie- Are you looking for company?

Wolffe- I have a company, I’m with the 104th.

(The girl laughed again.)

Kronnie- I hear the 104th boys are a lot of fun.

Wolffe- Well, I’m the commander, Ma’am. It’s my job to put a stop to that.

Kronnie- Are you serious?

Wolffe- No, Ma’am, the name’s Wolffe.

(The girl laughed again. I didn’t know why, these were childish jokes.)

Wolffe- Do you like working here?

Kronnie- I love it. Are you having a good time?

Wolffe- Well, now that you mention it, it’s not the worst experience of my life.

C.C.- What is? (The girl looked at me for the first time. Damn, she was beautiful.)

Wolffe- One time my brothers dared me to eat a live crustacean we found, but it was poisonous. (I wasn’t joking.) I was confined to the infirmary for a few days with the cold sweats and nausea. It was coming out both ends pretty bad.

Kronnie- Um…that’s disgusting.

Wolffe- The next time I did it, I made sure to eat a smaller one.

(The girl behind Kronnie was in fits of giggles.)

Kronnie- Why did you do it again?

Wolffe- I like a challenge. (To get out of cleaning duty.) So…are you girls from Ryloth? (I had said it somewhat sarcastically, they both were Twi’leks and had heavy accents.)

Kronnie- Yes.

Wolffe- I hear they have a species on Ryloth, called a lylek, that’s like a giant bug with sharp pointy legs and tentacles. Do you guys know those?

Kronnie- Well, we don’t go looking for them.

Wolffe- What about gutkurrs? Or those doashim things. I was reading that Ryloth is home to some of the most dangerous predators in the galaxy. Have you ever seen a real one?

Kronnie- (Putting her hand on her hip.) Do you really want to talk to us about the creatures of Ryloth?

Wolffe- I like animals. And I heard that it’s polite when speaking to ladies to make some small talk to get to know you.

Kronnie- (To the other girl) Che fishna alwa?

Wolffe- Ma’am?

C.C.- She’s wondering if you’re slow or something.

Wolffe- Hm. Maybe. (Truthfully I was really embarrassed.)

Kronnie- Would you like to spend some time alone with me?

Wolffe- I wouldn’t object to it. Although, truthfully, I don’t have any money left. I bought my guys a lot of drinks.

Kronnie- (Rolling he eyes.) Well, maybe some other time, then.

(They walked away laughing and whispering about me in their language. After that night, though, the whores all wanted to talk to me, probably just to hear the weird things I’d say. But hey, if you can’t be smooth, at least be memorable.)


 


I Don't Deserve Food

Late in the war when Fives died, Rex nearly fell apart. I don’t know how to describe it, he looked…disoriented. Like a guy who has suddenly realized that he has made a terrible mistake. It was the face I made that time in the academy when I ate dishwashing powder on a dare, right before I threw up. So many bubbles. Rex was on leave, so me and my girlfriend took him home from the bar with us. He couldn’t show up to the base that drunk. He still cared what people thought, even then.

At Ackmena’s Diner, the Armory District, Coruscant at four in the morning. With C.C. and Wolffe, and really drunk Rex of the 501st.

Wolffe- We need some caf, and we’ll need a minute to order. Rex, drink some of the hydration fluid.

Rex- (Slurring) I don’t want it.

Wolffe- You’ll thank me later. (Tipping the cup to his mouth.) There you go.

Rex- Stop! I can do it. (Taking the cup.)

Wolffe- I can’t believe you’re still walking around in armor on leave.

Rex- What’s wrong with it? I always wear it.

Wolffe- It’s conspicuous.

Rex- (Sarcastically) Sorry we can’t all look as good as you. (He pointed at my shirt, which depicted a spice spider.)

Wolffe- I happen to know I have a broad appeal. Did I ever tell you about that time I could have had sex with a guy?

Rex- What?

Wolffe- I’d be happy to help you out with fashion advice. Rule one, we look silly blonde.

C.C.- (Returning from the bathroom.) Did you get caf?

Wolffe- I ordered it. Rule two, armor does not work as casual outerwear.

C.C.- What are we doing?

Wolffe- Rex asked for fashion advice.

Rex- I did not!

C.C.- I have one, shaved heads look silly on humans.

Rex- Why? You Twi’leks don’t even have head hair.

C.C.- Because it does. It makes your noses look enormous.

Rex- I’m really taking the abuse tonight.

Wolffe- (Laughing.) Rule three, make a statement.

Rex- I’m a clone soldier. What are you trying to look like?

Wolffe- I’m trying to look like a regular person.

Rex- And what statement are you making with that?

Wolffe- That I’m a person.

Rex- Don’t you think that’s a little subtle?

Wolffe- Subtle is all I can get away with. If I was more outspoken, then people would look at what a degenerate I am and say that my message doesn’t matter because I’m scum. Clone scum, to boot.

Rex- What does it matter what we wear? We all look alike to civies anyway.

C.C.- You two don’t really look that much alike to me.

Wolffe- In our armor we look more similar.

C.C.- I never see you in armor anymore.

Rex- Why doesn’t she see it?

Wolffe- I keep it in my locker at the base. And it’s locked up, so don’t even think about putting hot sauce in the undersuit from that bottle you carry around with you.

Rex- Why would you say that?

Wolffe- It’s what I would do, if I knew some guy left his armor lying around.

C.C.- (Cracking up) You should do that to Cody.

Rex- You two are mean.

Wolffe- What are you getting?

C.C.- Waffles.

Wolffe- Nice. I want shaak bacon, too. (I started stroking her leg under the table with my foot.)

C.C.- Stop that. Your boots are dirty.

Wolffe- They match my mind. Rex what are you eating?

Rex- I don’t deserve food. (It had hit him all at once and he put his head in his hands.)

Wolffe- Oh, here we go.

Rex- I should have gone with them. I could have helped Fives and Tup. Instead, they’re both dead because of me.

Wolffe- (Putting my arm around Rex and patting his shoulder as he cried.) There it is. Get it out.

Rex- This is so embarrassing.

Wolffe- Nah, nobody’s looking.

C.C.- What’s happening?

Wolffe- It helps if we’re blackout drunk before we can get our feelings out.

C.C.- That’s what you’ve been doing? Babysitting him all night to get him to express his feelings?

Wolffe- What’s the alternative? People see him like this in the barracks? And forget the medical center, all the doctors will do is prescribe stuff he won’t take. So he cracks some time under the stress? Maybe in front of his men? No way. This is better. Trust me. (I patted his head.)

C.C.- You guys are like a real family, huh?

Wolffe- What else could we be? We grew up together, we’re related by blood.

C.C.- It’s just funny, you guys didn’t come about normally but you ended up acting like people, just the same.

Wolffe- Comes naturally, I guess. We’re a kind of people, isn’t that right, Rex?

C.C.- I think he passed out.

Wolffe- Aw. (I put his head down on the table gently.) Now if we can just get through our breakfast without him vomiting or pissing, we’ll be good.

C.C.- Eew. I’m not cleaning anything.

Wolffe- Relax. He hardly ever does.

C.C.- Hardly?

Wolffe- I’m just kidding. (I was not, Rex was a notorious puker. I just hoped he could hold off.)

C.C.- Why do you clones drink so much?

Wolffe- I think Jango may have had a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.

C.C.- That would certainly explain a lot.

(C.C. and I had a nice breakfast and a long chat. I only had to get up once to haul Rex outside for a puke. It was a precaution more than anything, but I’m glad I did. The hydration fluid had been dyed a brilliant shade of blue and I didn’t want to have to clean that out of the diner’s carpet. We walked home just as the sun was coming up, me with C.C. leaning on one shoulder and Rex on the other.)

Chapter Text

Clone Impressions

Our first tour of the war was in the Colonies Region going about with our fleet policing the area for Separatists. We were eventually headed to Abragado, a mission which ended in a total disaster. Our three cruisers got turned into mangled debris fields in a matter of minutes. There were only four survivors; me, two of my brothers, and General Plo. Leading up to that, we had been working with this Jedi General, a Trandoshan named Oren, and Radha, her human padawan from Chalactan, as well as a enbee human admiral of the clone fleet. I was still really shy around enbees (the Natural Born). I hadn’t known any besides the cloners and the trainers in our facility. None of those people had ever liked me. I always tried to stay out of their ways so I wouldn’t get hit. But these guys didn’t seem to be like that. So to help me, General Plo invited me to officer’s mess with the admiral and the Jedi. Clones were usually not included in meals with the enbee officers. We were technically not allowed to eat anything but nutrition rations, which were terrible, but nobody would argue with General Plo.

Aboard the Triumphant, officers’ mess. Present, Wolffe in a cloth uniform and using just a little hair gel, General Plo, sipping things through a straw, Jedi Oren and Radha, and Admiral Schweig, a dude from Corellia.

Admiral Schweig- So Captain Tarkin said, ‘Well, sir, I didn’t realize that you were against effective tactics.’ (He had said the quote in an impression, trilling his r’s and using an accent.) Such an unpleasant man.

Wolffe- So you people do impressions of each other, too? (I winced internally as soon as I said it. My clone was kind of showing.)

Oren- Of course. Excuse me, but, clones do impressions of each other?

Wolffe- Sure.

Radha- And they’re recognizable?

Wolffe- What do you mean?

Radha- I mean, you can tell who someone is imitating? You’re so much the same.

Plo- I think that’s what makes the differences so obvious. (I nodded.)

Admiral- So come on, Commander. Show us some impressions.

Wolffe- Well, alright. So do you guys know Commander Cody of the 212th?

Plo- That’s Kenobi’s Commander. (Everyone nodded.)

Wolffe- So, for him, he’s always kind of irritable. And he puts his hand on his forehead, like his brain hurts or something. Oh, and gratuitously uses Mando’a words, he’s super pretentious. ‘I don’t have time for your stupidity, ner vod.’

(Everybody laughed.)

Wolffe- Or, do you know my brother Bly from the 327th? He’s with Aalya Secura. When he was a kid, he was always biting his nails. So we all just do that, (Biting on fingernail) ‘I think we need to move to higher ground.’

Plo- Does he still do that?

Wolffe- Well, not now that we made him so self-conscious. But we still make fun of him for it. We’re his brothers, after all. (They were laughing. I was starting to relax.)

Plo- What about that clone General Skywalker just recruited, Captain Rex of the new 501st? Do you know him?

Wolffe- Oh, he’s easy, point your finger at the ground emphatically and say something bossy. ‘You have to brush your teeth at least twice a day.’

(Radha was laughing hard. I was unused to having such a receptive audience. Most enbees thought I was weird and most brothers only thought I was kind of amusing. I was hardly considered the funniest of us.)

Radha- I wonder if he’ll convince General Skywalker to start bathing more.

Plo- What about Sergeant Sinker?

Wolffe- For him you just put on this blank expression, like he’s catatonic, then blurt out something random, ‘Does anyone know what time lunch is?’ Like he’s got mirshupu.

Radha- Do you mean ‘mir’shupur’? A brain injury?

Wolffe- What I said. Anyway, I’m not the best guy at impressions. Cody’s really good. He notices the little details about a person and his affectations are precise. He does a spectacular impression of me.

Plo- Really, I’ll have to ask him.

Wolffe- It’s of how I was back in the facility as a kid, we were in adjacent bed drawers, so he’s been doing it since then. He says I dart my eyes around, even when I’m quiet. I can’t really show you if I’m thinking about it. Here at work I try to keep conscious of it so I don’t do it. So, General Plo, do the Jedi do impressions?

Plo- For the General Skywalker, we act uncouth and talk to barely sentient machines. (Shrugging and scratching at imaginary lice) ‘Heard any good jokes lately, vacuum cleaner?’

(The Jedi and the Admiral laughed.)

Oren- Does anyone do one of General Kenobi?

Wolffe- Everyone has a Kenobi impression. You almost can’t help it, the way he talks. (We all proceeded to try them.)

Plo- ‘Patience, use the Force, think.’

Admiral- ‘In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.’

Wolffe- ‘Anakin, do not defy the Council, not again.’

(At this point I noticed that the women were really laughing. We men were making idiots of ourselves to see them laugh. I knew we clones did that, but I guess it was something even enbees did. I hadn’t known they competed over female attention like us.)

Wolffe- So you guys are Jedi. Are there any funny Plo Koon stories I should know?

Oren- What about that mission to Ord Mantell where you had to rescue that chef from Corpo the Hutt?

Plo- Oh dear, yes, the Slabba Drewl adventure.

Wolffe- Slabba Drewl?

Plo- The name of the culinary specialist in question. We affected rather a strange plan. Master Giiett had to compete in a cooking contest. I was sabotaging the contest with odd ingredients. It was lunacy. (He had a wheezy laugh).

Oren- I still don’t understand why that was necessarily a Jedi matter.

Wolffe- So…did you…(stifling laughter) did you save Mr…Drewl?

Plo- Yes. Plus, I got a good recipe for Squirmer Stew. Master Giiett is an inventive cook.

(Later, after I had a prosthetic eye put in, I purposefully started absentmindedly tapping on it. It didn’t hurt. So of course, guys quickly adopted that as an impression of me. I had half the Grand Army poking themselves in the eye while attempting to mock me.)


 


An Anniversary

An anniversary, so General Plo told me, was a commemoration of something once a year on the day it had happened. It was hard for me to understand the reason for waiting a year to remember something important. Especially since the Kamino year is different from the Coruscant standard, and the Dornish year is different still. Point was, after Abregado, when almost our whole battalion was wiped out, we, Boost, Sinker, me and Plo, would get together for drinks. Not once a year, but whenever we could. Our contention was that according to the calendar of some planet in the galaxy, it was the anniversary. We considered it a memorial, but also a celebration, because we’d lived through it, just us four guys. Only we knew what that had been like. General Plo was always like family to us. He would help us out, loan us money. We always paid him back, usually with earnings from our gambling rings. I also used to be a pool shark. I had a ruse where I faked having no depth perception on account of the eye. In reality, the thing allowed me to precisely calculate trajectories. That fricking eye was one impressive piece of military hardware. And so’s my…. Shit. I’m drunk right now. It’s Empire Day today, and I’m drunk, like I get every time I remember Empire Day. General Plo, Boost and Sinker all died on the day the war ended.

Having a drink with General Plo, Boost and Sinker on the ‘anniversary’ of the Abregado Disaster. We were on our way back to Coruscant from the Oba Diah system.

Wolffe- (Singing) I am the extraction king! I can stand on a gunship and get people to the gunship better than anybody! I show up just in time to keep people from dying! I am the extraction king! (Speaking) So, what do you think?

Plo- Hmmmm. Well, no one can argue with the sincerity of your enthusiasm. (He was so encouraging.)

Wolffe- Thank you, sir. I feel that great art needs passion. (I was feigning taking myself seriously. I didn’t. I was trying to make the song sound as ridiculous as possible.)

Sinker- Is that what songs are supposed to sound like?

Boost- I thought songs were supposed to be nice to listen to. Like with melodies and rhyming words.

Sinker- And, you know, talented delivery.

Wolffe- (Affecting a genuinely offended tone.) You guys are cruel. I pour my heart into something and you just shit on it. It takes courage to put yourself out there, you know. (My joke was trying to get them to react politely. I’d reveal the ruse later after they struggled uncomfortably to come up with compliments. Instead, my brothers decided to go straight for my jugular. So I swerved in a different direction.) Can’t a guy just do things to make himself happy without your ridicule? (I was trying to make them think they’d really hurt my feelings.)

Boost- Geez, sorry, Wolffe.

Wolffe- Apology accepted. (You’re damn right.)

Plo- Art is hard, men. Criticism is easy.

Wolffe- Um…thank you, General Plo. (I suspected he was drunk. He was sucking down the beverages pretty fast.)

Plo- You know, Commander, some people only want to reward success, not effort. (Haha! Pretty much admitting that my song was terrible.) This is misguided. We need to recognize that the opportunity to succeed is not equally distributed. We are the poorer as a society if we continue to be so privileged that we can’t see it. (General Plo was so drunk! I loved when he started with the social commentary. I smiled and waved for another round.)

Wolffe- I put in exactly no effort. Success doesn’t require it.

Plo- Now Commander...

Wolffe- You know I’m just kidding.

Boost- What would be the point of working hard, though, if you already have no hope of success?

Plo- Oh, things have a way of evening out in the long run. Society can support a system that only helps the few for so long before it becomes such a parody of itself, then the system collapses under its utter ludicrousness. There are plenty of little things we can do to undermine the system until then.

Wolffe- Preach. (General Plo was hundreds of years old. He’d seen lots of history come and go. I always loved his take on things.) And societal ludicrousness can be great for comedy.

Plo- Well, we do have to find what we can to get us through hard times like these.

Wolffe- (Eating a handful of a snack.) I know, General Plo. I knew you felt that way, I mean, about the effort. Doing something, even if it’s small, can matter in the long run.

Plo- You really learned that?

Wolffe- Oh sure. In Abregado System, when we were stranded in that escape pod. Boost and Sinker asked me if anyone was coming. I didn’t know what to say. I was ten and a half years old and was still new at the responsibility of command. My whole battalion had just been wiped out and I didn’t know what was going to happen to us. These two were looking at me. I was thinking, should I try to keep these guys hopeful or should I tell them to prepare for death? I looked at you. I learned that day who you are. You told us, to hold on, to stay alive any way we could, not just by our actions but by keeping heart. To never give up hope. I was actually able to entertain the notion that I might have more time than I thought. You showed us by your example. I took that to heart as a kind of personal philosophy.

Plo- You did?

Wolffe- Yeah, I told myself, even if the Republic doesn’t allow it, if I lived, I would find a way to try new things. I pictured the things that I wanted to do in the future.

Boost- And you taught us to not be afraid to laugh rather than be sad. Feeling better helps you go on. I mean, there we were, actually joking, as we were trying to survive with our dead brothers all around us frozen in space. That was insane! But it was the only way we could keep from losing our minds.

Sinker- And you never stopped encouraging humor in us. I made a joke outside the pod and you paid me a compliment on it.

Boost- Now we actually have competitions to see who can make you laugh the most, General Plo.

Sinker- Do you want to hear a joke?

Plo- Of course.

Sinker- How do you get down from a bantha?

Plo- How?

Sinker- You don’t. You get down from a quadduck.

Wolffe- Puns are the lowest form of humor!

Boost- What do you call a person who brings a rancor its dinner?

Plo- What?

Boost- The appetizer.

Wolffe- Childish!

Boost- What do you call 5 Siths impaled on the same lightsaber?

Plo- What?

Boost- A Sith-Kabob!

Plo- (Straight faced.) That doesn’t make any sense. There are only ever two Sith at a time. (I burst out laughing.)

Boost- (Muttering.) Just a joke.

Plo- Why shouldn't you ask Yoda for money?

Wolffe- Because he's always a little short. (Plo and I clapped hands.) Hey, what would you call General Plo if he smoked spice with us?

Sinker- What?

Wolffe- General Phigh.

(They laughed.)

Boost- That is so stupid!

Wolffe- (Laughing) I know!

(General Plo could barely breathe, he was laughing so hard.)

Plo- (Recovering) I am truly proud of all of you. The men you have become.

Wolffe- Thanks, General Plo. We’re doing our best.

Plo- I know.

(Best. Damn. General. In. The. Whole. Grand. Army. Damn Empire day. Man, I’m drunk right now.)


The Worst Way to Die

Rex and I pulled guard duty at the base one night late in the war. For that we had to stay outside, stationed in clusters around the base at Central Command. We were officers, but neither one of us liked sending our men out to do things we wouldn’t do ourselves. So we took watch shifts. I brought dice so we had something to pass the time.

Four-Four, Numbskull from the 104th, Rex, Jesse, and Appo from the 501st.

Rex- How are you so chipper. (He looked ragged.) We drank the same amount last night.

Four-Four- One each. Damn.

Wolffe- Nah, I drank more. I knew we had marching drills this morning but that I would have the afternoon off to sleep since I had guard duty tonight. So I just stayed awake and kept drinking. I got through the morning still drunk. Then I napped and sipped hydration fluid all afternoon at home. Had some fun with my lady, ate some fatty food, and came here.

Appo- Come on red! Damn.

Rex- You’ve got this down to a science.

Numbskull- I’m next, come on, yes! Blues!

Wolffe- Tell me this is not a practical skill for an army commander to have.

Rex- You could just drink less?

Jesse- Yes! Reds!

Wolffe- Says the guy who asked me to go out last night.

Rex- I just needed someone to nurse me through a blackout. You didn’t have to keep pace.

Wolffe- I never black out.

Four-Four- Two blue, yes!

Wolffe- Before I came back to the base for drills this morning, I was watching this nature documentary about the wildlife on Tatooine. That shit’s messed up.

Appo- Come on, reds!

Rex- (Yawning.) How so?

Wolffe- They got this like, giant toothed intestine thing in the ground. The damned thing uses these tentacles to grab passing animals and pulls them down to be digested, holding them in place with these teeth.

Rex- I’m sure you’ve seen worse than that.

Appo- Shit!

Wolffe- Not likely. That is the worst way to die I can think of. Death by barbed sand anus.

Jesse- My girlfriend sent cookies, they’re in my pack over there if you want some.

Wolffe- Now you’re talking! (Taking cookies and handing some to Rex.)

Jesse- Better than Geonosian mind worms.

Numbskull- Is that a real thing? Blues, you bastards.

Appo- Oh yeah, some guys got infested after Point Rain. You don’t die right away, but if it stays in there, you will die, and even stay ambulatory after death, doing its bidding.

Four-Four- Crap, blue and red.

Jesse- Did you know there are species of parasite on Teth that can burrow their way into your foot and turn your insides to putty.

Rex- (Looking green.) Guys, please, I’m still hungover.

Numbskull- I had a sausage sandwich from a street cart that did the same thing.

Four-Four- I know, I had to sleep in the next bunk. Shit, reds!

(I took out a flask and drank, then passed it to Rex.)

Rex- (Making a face) Boga Noga?

Wolffe- Yep.

Rex- Why don’t you ever drink anything decent?

Jesse- Damn!

Wolffe- It was free.

Rex- Well, I never met a clone yet that turned up his nose at free booze. (He took a swig.)

Wolffe- I think Jango might have had a problem.

(Money changed hands and the other guys stood and put away the dice.)

Rex- I never saw him drink. Not even with the trainers at the academy.

Wolffe- I don’t think he was allowed by the cloners. They were drawing his blood and all. They probably wanted it clean. Thank goodness the army doesn’t do substance tests.

Rex- Then they wouldn’t have an army.

Wolffe- Hah. You’re probably right.

Rex- What’s the stupidest thing you ever did when you were drunk?

Wolffe- Just one?

Rex- Okay, top three.

Wolffe- One, falling out of the top bunk, the first night in the barracks at Central Command. I wasn’t used to not sleeping in a drawer. Two, asking General Plo for money so some guys and I could go to a brothel.

Rex- You’re defective. (The other guys were laughing.)

Wolffe- Three, drinking too much on Khorm when it was cold, even though I had to drive a tank the next day, with a killer headache. Visibility was shit, too.

Rex- Impressive.

Wolffe- You?

Rex- Uh…one…I…huh? Well, drinking before the first day of leadership training, I guess.

Wolffe- Yeah, but you showing up drunk and throwing up made all the trainers talk about you. They knew who you were after that. It was weirdly advantageous.

Rex- Okay, my second drink, with Cabur Fenn Rau. I already had my recruitment orders, so I figured I was graduated so we could talk as friends.

Wolffe- How was that stupid? I bet you impressed him.

Rex- His whiskey was terrible.

Wolffe- You are so lame, it’s annoying.

Rex- My third drink was on Christophsis when me and Cody found that wine in a bombed out building. That’s when he started drinking you know. Now he’s a full blown alcoholic. I feel responsible.

Wolffe- (Smacking forehead.) You’d feel responsible if I stabbed you. You’d probably apologize for getting in the way of my knife and give it back to me politely, after wiping the blood off on your kama first .

(Rex sprung at me and had me in a headlock before I had time to drop my cookie. He grappled me to make me kneel on the ground.)

Rex- You’d never get the knife near enough!

(Rex had a way of pulling off his lameness and making it cool.)

Chapter Text

That Place is Awful!

Fives and Echo were two little brothers. They weren’t first batchers like me, or even from the second round like old Rex. But Fives and Echo, man, these guys were straight up kids. Drafted at nine, so they had a full year less of academy training, they went on to spend their first few months in the army stationed on a base with only a few other brothers. Therefore, they didn’t have the same level of conditioning, training, or experience we early guys did. Those boys also had a Jedi with them at the end, caring for them and watching over them so they weren’t as mistreated. All of this meant that these guys were more sweet and trusting than us. But also that they had little in the way of practical sense. We first generation guys had more developed survival instincts, since we had had to. To a sophisticated man of the world, which I considered myself then, Fives and Echo were practically lovable yokels. Their first trip to Coruscant, I felt it my duty to mess with them. It was mean, I know. But I’m their older brother. I did love them, too. It is a travesty against goodness what happened to them.

I saw Fives and Echo when I arrived in the barracks a few days into their first trip to Coruscant. Rex and introduced me. This is the aftermath.

Fives- We were lost for at least an hour! Commander Wolffe, we were terrified, after the things you told us! We thought we were going to get arrested for sure, or worse, that those man-eating giant tookes would find us.

Rex- Those things are not man eating. They’re about the size of your fist. Why didn’t you ask for directions?

Echo- Captain, he told us that the police were regularly patrolling for clones in stores and things, and that we could be punished by whipping or subjected to a cavity search.

Fives- And he said that there were those mobs of civies that go looking for clones to beat up. Captain, Wolffe told us that those people carry torches and primitive iron farm implements. I didn’t want to be impaled and we thought a mob might be right behind us. We heard mob-ish type noises.

Echo- The only thing that saved us was activating our military distress beacon. An officer that was nearby at a betting parlor came and found us and told us the way back to the base.

Wolffe- I could see how you got lost when you were drunk two nights ago, you were new here, but how did you get lost tonight?

Echo- We were taking evasive maneuvers, doubling back, getting out of sight to let anyone following us to pass. I’ve never been so afraid in my life.

Fives- We had no armor or weapons!

Rex- Wolffe, that wasn’t nice scaring them like that.

Wolffe- Oh, relax, they’re fine aren’t they? Besides, it was just a few brothers from the bar following them to mess with them. I’d commed them and told them to do it, just to toughen these boys up.

Rex- That’s just cruel. Why did you men listen to this idiot?

(Fives lowered his chin shamefully.)

Fives- Well…sir…the girls…at 79’s were all busy.

Rex- Wolffe! What did I tell you?

Wolffe- (Laughing) What? They came to me. They were just trying to make sure they would have a safe, clean experience. They knew they could depend on me. (I saluted.)

Rex- (Sighs) Men, it’s alright if you want to experiment, but why didn’t you ask me?

Echo- It was embarrassing, Captain. We didn’t want to disappoint you.

Wolffe- I hear they did alright. You should be proud of them. (Rex was totally blushing.)

Fives- You know, because Captain you don’t go to whores. We just thought you’d be ashamed if we used women that way. You always told us we should respect women. But we really wanted to get some experience. So many guys talk about all this stuff.

Rex- Fives, I already told you, it would be alright.

Echo- We know, we just didn’t know how to go about it. Everyone said that Commander Wolffe is very knowledgeable.

Rex- So you took them to the Tchun Tchin Club? That place is awful! It's a...(He blushed again.)

Wolffe- A what?

Rex- You know, one of those places.

Wolffe- A speakeasy? A juke joint? A dive?

Rex- Worse.

Wolffe- A delapidated apiary of residue and antagonism?

Rex- What? No, a bordello?

Wolffe- (I thought it was better not to mention that they’d already been there once the night before with some other guys before I’d had a chance to speak to them.) Look, it was better than street girls. I snuck them in for some private time with some of the dancers in front. Much better than letting them pay to use those girls in the back. It goes against my principles to let brothers go there.

Rex- What principles? You used to go there.

Wolffe- Until I found out about what they were. (Slaves) Now I try to raise awareness and convince as many brothers as possible to not use them.

Rex- What?

Wolffe- Consumer activism.

Rex- (Rubbing face with hands) Well, why couldn’t you get the boys in with C.C.?

Wolffe- She’s too expensive for these boys. Besides, I don’t ask her to do favors for guys just because they’re my close brothers. I’m not her owner.

Rex- She’s a floozy. What does it matter who she’s with?

Wolffe- It doesn’t. I never judge her. But I also never tell her what to do with herself. I introduced her to them, but she said she was really busy and that she wanted her favorite soup for dinner.

Rex- Your relationship gives me a headache.

Fives- I didn’t know you considered us close brothers, Wolffe. Thanks.

Wolffe- Any time, boys.

Echo- Did you get us any of that soup? We really wanted to try it once she described it to us.

Wolffe- Since you’ve been good. (I reached into my messenger bag and took out a thermos and handed it to him. It had been my dinner. Oh well. Growing boys.)

Rex- What kind of soup is that? Wait, why didn’t you walk them home from the Tchun Tchin? You could have pretended to be running with them, if you still wanted to have your little prank. You just sent them back alone?”

Wolffe- I was already gone. I had run into a guy I hustled at pool, so I had to get out of there. I went back to C.C.’s. I brought her her soup. And some of those wookiee-ookiees they make for Life Day with all the powdered sugar.

Rex- Those are already in stores? Seems early.

Wolffe- I know! It isn’t even Harvest Day yet. So, get this, I dusted C.C. with some sugar and…

Rex- Enough information.

Wolffe- How did you know where I was going with this?

Rex- I know you.

Wolffe- You think you’ve got me figured out? Anyway, I just came by here to make sure the guys got home okay.

Rex- So what was your angle in all this?

Wolffe- What?

Rex- You always have some kind of plan. It is a compulsion with you.

Wolffe- Can’t a guy do some brothers a favor?

(Before I’d met them, Cody had told me that Echo could count cards. I made 1200 credits by getting in on a sabacc game at the Tchun Tchin. The two of them learned that hustling is a valuable survival skill, and always have a getaway plan. Echo was how I got the money to pay the girls for them and buy soup, with most of the cash left over as a nice consideration for my time. I put it towards my battalion's alcohol budget for the next tour. Incidentally, my brother Cut found this recording very helpful as a what not to do when he had to sit his son Jek down for “The Talk”. )


Clone Dancing

This was a day when it was just the two of us at C.C.’s house. I had come back to Coruscant after blockade breaking in the Felucia System and went straight to her place. I even picked up breakfast for her. She’d given me the door code, so I surprised her. After a proper greeting, I started cleaning up the place. I put on some music and started going through the tasks. She was doing some stretches on the floor as part of her fitness regime. Her profession was very appearance conscious, she said. I concur we men are shallow.

C.C.- I didn’t know you sang for real. I thought you only did that as a joke when you were drunk.

Wolffe- (Taking out a headphone.) Well, not usually in front of people. Most of my brothers think I’m pretty terrible.

C.C.- It’s not bad at all. We should sing together.

Wolffe- I’d love to. But maybe it only sounds good to you because you have ear cones.

C.C.- Do you really think we hear things differently?

Wolffe- Maybe. Does that mean my world is not the same as yours? I mean perception wise? How would we know?

C.C.- You always ask strange questions.

Wolffe- Clones are from Kamino, Twi’leks are from Ryloth. I should write relationship advice pamphlets for my brothers.

C.C.- Oh no. You do that and every shiny will be wasting my time by trying sex moves that they heard about, trying to impress me. I don’t have time for that male ego shit. Volume is critical in my line of work.

Wolffe- You should talk to General Plo sometime. He’s curious about economic principles that govern illegal professions. But I won’t tell my brothers about technical execution. A magician doesn’t reveal how he does his tricks. I just want to tell them how to treat ladies politely, how to avoid misunderstandings. (I took it off of the headphones and started playing the music so she could hear it. I started moving a little, just kind of bouncing rhythmically at the knees. Then I pointed my finger like counting to one over and over in time to the music.)

C.C.- What is that? What are you doing?

Wolffe- Dancing. That’s about as good as it gets for us.

C.C.- (She shrieked with laughter.) No really.

Wolffe- Sure. Watch. (I continued the bounce, nodding my head to the music and began to say the words in time to the song.) Like the music. Here it comes, point, point, point. Now raise two fists like I’m about to box…but what’s that….point with the other hand, point, point, aaaaand now I point at you, with two hands. Yes, you.

(She was doubled over crying with laughter. So of course I kept going.)

Wolffe- And what’s that…oh, back to the first hand, point, point. What the hell is on the ceiling? I don’t know, I just keep pointing at it. Whoops, what’s that? I’m pointing down now. Now let’s wave my hand back and forth. I guess the dance is just gesturing emphatically.

C.C.- (Struggling for breath) That’s awful!

Wolffe- I can’t help it. We never danced, we never heard music in the cloning facility. Or at least, most of us didn’t. Rex insists the trainers used to sing together after hours in the commissary when they’d drink together. But the trainers hit me a lot, so I didn’t go near them if I could help it. Rex was their favorite. Unfortunately, I think I might inadvertently be somewhat responsible for bad clone dancing.

C.C.- How?

Wolffe- I was the first one of us to get a music player, General Plo gave it to me. (I pointed at the recording device.) So I was listening to it all the time. Still do. But at first, it was like my life was suddenly in color. And I’d make up these visuals to the songs in my imagination, like what colors or shapes I thought the music sounded like, and I could see them when I closed my eyes. So while I was in my own little world, sometimes I’d be sort of ‘dancing’ without noticing. Or mouthing along with the words. I’m sure I looked mental with the headphones in. But I was just having so much fun, I didn’t care. Maybe guys thought that’s what you do when you listen to it and imitated me.

C.C.- So those are your moves?

Wolffe- Yeah. Pretty bad, huh? Of course you laugh at me, you’re a professional dancer.

C.C.- Only part time.

Wolffe- Yeah, but you move nice in any case.

C.C.- So you make up visuals to go with the songs? I used to like to imagine things to music, too. When I was younger. Picture myself somewhere else.

Wolffe- Later on I saw they had videos to go with a lot of the music. I’d see them down in the commercial district, where they have all those screens. They showed these beings and places I’d never seen. I also liked commercials. What impressed us guys about the videos was they had these people dancing all in unison. We didn’t know how they were able to do it.

C.C.- Practice, like with anything, I guess.

Wolffe- We thought it looked fun. (Laughing.) Me and some of the guys did a bad impression of one when we were drunk once.

C.C.- Really?

Wolffe- (Laughing) It was us singing along with a song we liked and doing moves like the pointing clone dance. Not in unison, just all together. We were fricking lit and we looked it, laughing like morons.

C.C.- No! (Howling with laughter.)

Wolffe- Oh yeah. So, since I was drunk and trying to get my brothers to laugh, I got an astromech to film it for us and edit it together into these quick cuts like music videos do. It was so bad!

C.C.- I have to see this!

Wolffe- No, no! We only showed it to Ahsoka for fun. I erased it as soon as she saw it. And I only showed her because it was her birthday.

C.C.- How old is the Jedi Commander?

Wolffe- She turned fifteen.

C.C.- Wait, the Jedi leadership has teenagers in its ranks?

Wolffe- Loads.

C.C- And you guys are eleven at the oldest?

Wolffe- Yeah.

C.C.- This war is so messed up.

Wolffe- You ain’t kidding.

C.C.- So wait, your only friends are a fifteen year old girl and your eleven year old brothers, and a Jedi who is…

Wolffe- Over four-hundred.

C.C.- So how do you know how to act?

Wolffe- Do I?

C.C.- I would consider you about as mature as any man my age.

Wolffe- Which is?

C.C.- No way, I’m not telling you that. In my line of work, age is a liability.

Wolffe- It is for us, too I guess. You know I probably won’t live more than twenty more years?

C.C.- Because of the rapid aging? That seems like a cruel thing to do.

Wolffe- Well, it’s done. What can I change about it?

C.C.- I guess nothing. (She looked sad, which I didn’t like.)

Wolffe- Come here.

C.C.- (Walking over and putting her arms around me.) Okay, now start moving. No, not so jerky. That’s right. Just stay close against me, move with me. It’s easier to follow. Not bad. At least you have rhythm.

Wolffe- It’s required for marching.

(I kissed her and we kicked it on the dance floor. By which I mean we had sex on the carpet. A little later C.C. was still pestering me to make another music video. She even told me it was her birthday. She didn’t remember she’d already told me she didn’t know hers. Still, I wanted to be nice to her. To demonstrate bad clone dancing in all its glory, I discretely sent around a notice of a contest where a clone could win a discharge from the army. The competition was to make the best singing and dancing music video and upload it into a folder in the databank of Central Command, which I had clearance to access. The ‘contest’ had hundreds of entries. The government was puzzled when so many clones called up to inquire if they had won. Some civilian press outlets heard about it and called in to research the story of the bizarre way that the first clone ever was being released from service, only to find out it was a hoax. They reported on the hoax and had to say in every story that none of us had ever been freed. My brothers’ videos were hilarious. C.C. and I watched a bunch of them before the Republic scrubbed them from the holonet. I still think about them whenever I hear those songs and I always start laughing. I’m sure I look mental.)


Discouraging Biases

This recording I found on my old helmet com, where I’d rigged a small recording device. I wanted to have proof if anything went to hell on the battlefield that we clones hadn’t been to blame. I was constantly worried that our word would be doubted. On this device, I actually recorded audio of the moments of General Plo’s death. Before the general broadcast that identified Jedi as enemy combatants. Anyway, in this lighter recording, the boys and I were headed to run another extraction, this one on Qiilura, evacuating civilians and some of the leadership from an insurgency. The insurgents were losing the conflict, and since the Republic had been backing them, we had to help them escape if we could. The Pro-Separatist government troops, droids mostly, were pursuing the evacuees through a forest wilderness terrain. We landed among the trees between the people and advancing droid army. Textbook stuff, get in, form a barrier between the fleeing populace and allow them into the ships. It had become so run of the mill that this is an actual conversation that was going on while we were involved in the extraction without skipping a beat.

Third sector temperate zone, Qiilura, with Boost, Sinker, and Wolffe.

Sinker- Why ‘Sharkerson’?

Wolffe- Again with this?

Boost- (Holding onto the straps aboard our gunship on its descent to the surface) But he’s not a shark, Wolffe, you should name him something more appropriate.

Wolffe- I don’t remember asking for your opinion. (Turning my head to see him as I spoke, since he was standing beside me.) Sharkerson is a proper name, not some mere predicate nominative. To give something a proper name denotes the highest affection. Any clone knows that.

Boost- What is a predicate nominative? (A thump as we landed.)

Wolffe- Look, just because my name is Wolffe doesn’t mean a wolf is something I am. It’s a name, something to make me unique. (The doors slid open and we exited firing and moved forward. I was shooting pistols with both hands.) The meanings are very different.

Sinker- (Firing on the enemy lines.) Still, some names are more suitable. You don’t want to have a name that people are going to laugh at. We called you Wolffe because you ate fast.

Wolffe- (I paused to click on a detonator and threw it.) Anyway, you’re being very prejudiced. (Explosion.) Just because there is the word ‘shark’ in his name doesn’t mean that he should be assumed to be a shark or that it’s weird if he isn’t. I want to discourage those kinds of biases.

Boost- (Standing and firing) So you want the name to make some kind of statement?

Wolffe- (Pausing to let the guy with the rocket launcher pass me.) Yes.

Sinker- Why not name him after one of us? (Zip of rocket launcher.)

Wolffe- What, and make the other one mad? (Explosion of vulture droids above.) You guys argue enough. (Waving the men on. The evacuees were being led onto gunships behind us. We continued to advance.) Besides, I like the name the more I have to explain it. It starts a conversation. Like we used to do when we discussed scenarios in tactical theory.

Sinker- (Guys were falling here and there. No more or less than usual.) Sorry, they didn’t offer that as a field of study in the enlisted program. You officers are such snobs. (Blasts three droids in a row between the visual sensors.)

Wolffe- I’m willing to concede you have a point that we have differing experiences. (Hitting a few droids with laser bolts to the neck.)

Boost- You’re privileged. (Throwing a detonator.)

Wolffe- I never asked to be drafted into leadership, I certainly didn’t try for it like most guys did. (Explosion.) I just got picked, so I went along with it. I worked, I graduated. The Kaminoans told me I was worthy of being a commander, so that’s what I am. Wasn’t my idea. (Sending a com beacon to the ships behind us to get ready for us to fall back.)

Sinker- (Explosions as some vulture droids fired on us.) Look, I’m not trying to make this into some fight about class distinctions. (Blasting away.)

Wolffe- You started it. (Signaling for the tanks that the gunships dropped behind us to launch the shells at the vulture droids over us to give us a chance to make a run for the ships).

Boost- But we usually share things. (Tossing a smoke bomb.)

Wolffe- I share most things. (Tossing another.) But you don’t get to name my fish. He’s my fish, not ours. (Sounds of shells launching.)

Sinker- (Tossing detonator.) But wouldn’t he be safer if we all were taking care of him.

Wolffe- (Explosion) I can take care of a damned fish! (I had a girlfriend. She took care of it.)

Boost- You mean we don’t get anything?

Wolffe- You can see him when you come over, but he’s my fish. (I waved the fall back signal.)

Sinker- Sometimes you can be so stingy.

Wolffe- I have outright carried you guys on my salary since we were first recruited. Anything else we do, we have always split. I never demanded more than you, even though I’m usually the one who comes up with the plans. (Jumping aboard gunship.)

Sinker- Yeah, but it just seems like you do a lot on your own. (Hopping on beside me.) Why couldn’t you have come up with a plan where we all got pets? Or just not get one so we wouldn’t feel bad.

Wolffe- Well, I asked C.C. if she’d let me have a pet and she said yes. Don’t I deserve to have nice things? Yeesh.

(I regret saying that to my closest brothers. I don’t regret my feelings. I meant it at the time. I just regret implying that I deserved more than they did for some reason. I was lucky. That is a privilege. Those guys died and today, I would honestly give anything I have to bring them back. I don’t have a pet anymore, although I do have my brother Gregor. I bought him a pet fish, because like it, he has a three second memory span. So of course I end up taking care of it. He named it King Katuunko, which I think is a perfectly appropriate name for a fish if Gregor wants it to be.)

Chapter Text

Like a (Crime) Boss

I don’t speak a second language, I mean well. Some brothers are linguistic geniuses, but not me. I’m just dumb that way. Although, I have found other uses for my tongue. *wink+point* My girl was a Twi’lek, so I could understand her language sometimes. I rarely spoke it because I got laughed at for my pronunciation. I was good at understanding from the words I knew and the context. But I do speak clone slang, which was heavily influenced by our Mandalorian trainers in the military academy. Corruptions of Mando’a words were adopted by us and nobody understood our dialect but us brothers. And certain choice ladies who knew us well. Now, my linguistic limitations never seemed to stop me from finding ways of talking to people. One night, when I first started living with my girlfriend, the Hutt owner of the bar where she worked raised a hand to her. She had come in late on account of me keeping her home because I had decided to join her in the shower. Now, despite my profession, I’m a pacifist at heart. Mostly because I don’t like getting hurt. Honor demanded that I make him look like an ass, but I really did not want to be shot by his thugs. The guy was a Hutt, after all, the chances of that were high. So, to diffuse tension, I decided to make friends with old Rolo the Hutt after that, in my own way.

Location, 79’s, the clone bar on Coruscant. Present, Rolo the Hutt and an entourage of Niktos, Commander the Wolffe and an entourage of Fett bros. Also a protocol droid.

Wolffe- Almighty Rolo, good to see you!

Rolo- Skocha peedunkey.

(I just kept grinning pretending I didn’t understand the phrase. That’s what he had always called me before. My brother Bly, who spoke Huttese, said it meant ‘burnout scum’ or ‘punk’. I was flattered. It was the exact look I had always been going for.)

Wolffe- Impressive Rolo, come and have a drink with me! Four-four, go get us drinks! (My corporal headed off to the bar. He came back with one of the nicer bottles.)

Rolo- Hi chuba da naga. (That I kind of got from context.)

Wolffe- Well, Almighty Rolo, what I want is just to tell you how much I admire you. (I put my arm around him to walk and he slithered alongside. I stood on one side of a high table and he stopped at the other side to face me. I’d told my entourage to mirror the configuration of his.)

Rolo- Guuba faninooki.

Bly- (Who was standing at my shoulder, was whispering with his heaviest Jango accent. People found us hard to understand when we did this.) He’s a busy man.

Wolffe- He’s busy man! (I said loudly as if I’d understood. Then, muttering through teeth and doing the Jango) How well does he really understand Basic? (Giving Rolo an enthusiastic thumbs up.)

Bly- He thinks he does, but not well. Most Hutts who know it won’t deign to speak it. (Grinning and nodding at Rolo.) Busy man! (Muttering) Also, a few seconds ago he told his guards there that he thinks you’re the guy who’s been stealing the shot glasses.

Wolffe- (Muttering) I’m building a pyramid out of them at home.

Bly- (Muttering) How is it.

Wolffe- It’s magnificent. (Speaking slowly and loudly) Oh, mighty Rolo, I will do my absolute best not to take up too much of your valuable time. (He smiled and nodded graciously and tossed his drink down his gullet. He did not speak Basic well enough to detect sarcasm, I noticed.)

Rolo- *grunting* (It’s the closest you’ll get to a ‘thank you’ in Huttese.)

Wolffe- (Practically orating as I gestured boldly) You see, I just want to learn to be more like you. I want to know how I can have as much cando as you. (‘Cando’ was clone slang, from the Mando’a ‘kandos’ for ‘class’ or ‘style’. Instead, the droid autocorrected it as ‘commando’, so Bly whispered to me. That couldn’t have made sense, but Rolo never asked for clarification. Ego prevented it, I guessed.)

Rolo- *grunts* (He put on an expression of humble dignity that came out looking smug. My entourage repeated ‘cando’ and nodded in agreement. After this, in clone slang, we used the word ‘cando’ to mean going around without underwear, which is a reference to Hutt fashion (aka nudity). Word origins are just fascinating, aren’t they?)

(Four-four poured us drinks. He was taking a bit long, so I slapped him so hard he fell to the ground. I told Four-four later it was to show the scum that he was my servant, I had to make it convincing. Still, he suspected I had other reasons. I did, actually. But that’s another story.)

Wolffe- (I started obviously mirroring Rolo’s ‘stances’ and gestures, which is harder than you’d think.) Why, yes, almighty Rolo, you always look so in charge! You look so chaavla. (That Mando’a word we clones used to mean ‘shitty’. My guys just nodded and repeated.)

(Rolo looked at his protocol droid. She seemed confused. Clone slang wasn’t a programming option on any protocol models I knew of and she was afraid to translate what she thought the word might mean, so she had to go from the context. She translated it as ‘cool’ since we were all so enthusiastic. Droids can’t detect sarcasm either.)

Wolffe- (Speaking louder so other brothers would overhear.) I just have to say, I have always told my brothers, Rolo’s the man! He’s a total dushebs. (Clone corruption of ‘duse shebs’, Mando’a for ‘unclean butt’. Droid didn’t know the word, so she repeated the phrase she used for ‘Rolo’s the man’. My brothers around us were starting to look in disbelief.)

Bly- (Loudly to my other brothers.) Such a dushebs!

Sinker- Exactly! If I have ever seen a dushebs, it’s him!

(Rolo smiled, while brothers repeated the word at him. They clapped him on the back and clapped his chubby palm. Rolo smiled modestly/smugly.)

Wolffe- I mean, sincerely, I just love your establishment here, and the services you offer. The ladies are choice.

(I saw my girlfriend watching and winked at her. More brothers were gathering to see what was going on.)

Wolffe- Rolo, I would like to thank you for everything you do for us. (Still obviously imitating his expressions and posture.) I’m just proud I could share a drink with you, Etty-ozzie. (Totally unrecognizable clone corruption of ‘etyc osik’ or ‘filthy turd’, or even ‘diuretic shit.’ Droid translated it unchanged as if it was a proper name.)

Rolo- U sa nagoola, meen deya, e wermo.

Bly- (Muttering) You’re not bad, I think, just an idiot.

Wolffe- Thanks, Rolo. (Shouting to all assembled.) Let’s all have a drink to old Rolo! I’m buying. (I really did buy a round for all the guys. I raised my glass as if to toast.) Soorabeek. (Everybody said it, but most brothers could barely drink since they were stifling laughter. The word comes from ‘sooran bic’, ‘suck it’. I 'absentmindedly' scratched my crotch.

(After that, I called Rolo ‘hut’uun’, which I told him meant ‘great Hutt’ in clone slang. I thought it sounded plausible. The protocol droid believed me and registered it in her databanks as such. It is actually Mando’a for ‘coward’, which to Mandalorians is about the worst insult you can say. I actually had a shirt made up for myself that said ‘skocha peedunkey’. Rolo loved to see me wear that thing. He liked me so much after that, he never threatened my girl again. He'd just smack me upside the head if she was late. And I got super laid that night. Yavoo Commander du Wolffe.)


 


He Had Terrible Aim

Right, so this one time, we were called in for an emergency extraction on Kadavo. Cody and I had led the assault, with him commanding the fleet taking out the blockade and me leading the surface rescue with the gunships. Amazing achievements, for everyone involved. It was exhilarating, like battle is at its best. After we brought the kidnapped colonists home, they threw a party for us. This was a conversation I recorded before I got too drunk. I have lots of discussions from that night that are less intelligible.

At the party on Kiros. Present, Commander Wolffe, Generals Koon, Kenobi, and Skywalker.

Wolffe- General Plo, the mayor of the colony here has been making some rather grandiose claims about his, and his buddies’ drinking abilities. He claimed that we clones were no match for his superior natural born constitution. Permission to take him to school, sir.

Plo- Granted, Commander. Where is the Governor?

Wolffe- He went home to get a keg of his distilled liquor for a drinking contest. Boost, Sinker and I are going to face off against him and his guys. (Moving my head back and forth to crack my neck.) They look like lightweights.

Plo- Is anyone betting credits?

Wolffe- Not yet, sir.

Plo- I’d better get that started, then.

(He went off to take bets on the outcome from the villagers and clones, as well as a freighter crew we’d befriended.)

Kenobi- Why, Commander, is this one of those Invented Rituals of Competition you clones engage in?

Wolffe- Yes sir. The Wolfpack are drinking champions of the Grand Army. We have to defend our honor. I know the 212th doesn’t allow IRC’s, but the 104th still participates. It’s good fun. Part of our heritage, you know. They give us accomplishments to tell stories about.

Kenobi- Yes, like how you accomplished cirrhosis. I have seen competitions. Some get truly violent.

Wolffe- Often. But the ones we do nowadays are toned down from the ones we used to have. You know, back when the Mandalorian trainers taught them to us kids in the academy.

Kenobi- Anakin, do you remember that ghastly contest you had with Boil on our first campaign? Where you two slapped each other in the face repeatedly.

Wolffe- Oh! The old Facey-Slapsy. Wait, so, you’ve done IRC’s, General?

Skywalker- Yeah. Neither of us would concede. My jaw was so swollen. I say he was cheating and closing his fist. But Boil’s skin was so bruised that he could barely put his helmet on.

Kenobi- (Reproachfully.) And what happened?

Skywalker- Cody told us we were unfit for duty, so to make up for it, we had to clean the latrine together. Ugh. I hadn’t cleaned a floor since I lived on Tatooine.

Wolffe- Wait, Cody disciplined you?

Skywalker- Yeah, we were the same rank and he had the seniority by a few days.

Wolffe- But, he disciplined you for IRC’s?

Kenobi- Yes. He said he disapproved of them.

Wolffe- (Stifling a laugh with a cough.) Really? (Cody was an all-time IRC combat champion. He had even beaten some of our natural born trainers at them.)

Skywalker- But we had guys hang out with us when we cleaned the latrine afterwards. It was actually a fun night.

Wolffe- Yeah, after a big IRC, we’d usually gather to tell stories. Did Cody join you?

Kenobi- No, I asked if he wanted to come with me, but he said he had equipment orders to fill out.

Wolffe- Even you went?

Kenobi- Oh, of course. I couldn’t miss the satisfaction of watching Anakin clean toilet bowls. He had always refused to clean anything in the apartment growing up. And he had terrible aim.

Skywalker- (Laughing hysterically) Very funny, Old Man.

Kenobi- But I didn’t hold it against you. Despite your consistent disobedience on the mission, that first campaign was when I recommended you for promotion to knight and general.

Wolffe- Huh? You were promoted that early? Commander is the highest rank available to us clones, you know.

Kenobi- I don’t think that will always be so.

Wolffe- That sounds weird. Cody not going to the get together. I bet the guys told stories about him, though.

Kenobi- Not that I recall. (Cody had told them not to, he said later when I asked.)

Wolffe- But you were at the party.

Kenobi- Well, yes, Generals are allowed to socialize with others off duty.

Wolffe- But clones aren’t technically allowed to gather in large groups on campaign.

Kenobi- Not usually. Although, I have allowed it on occasion. Like tonight.

Wolffe- I guess that’s what privilege looks like. I was wondering.

Kenobi- Y…yes. I…suppose so. Still, Cody knows it’s easier for a commander to enforce the rules if he adheres to them.

Wolffe- I bet he does.

(Skywalker was stifling a grin behind him. Kenobi already thought I was mentally unfit, so he didn’t worry too much about the things I said. There is a certain freedom in not being taken seriously.)


 


Crawling Back in My Shelter Now

This was at 79’s in the last year of the war. Rex was newly back from Ringo Vinda and had brought Skywalker in with him. They looked stressed. I suspected something messed up had happened, but I’d had no idea what until Rex told me about Tup and Fives later. Those brothers were on Kamino under observation for some kind of Vindese parasite. My brother Bly was feeling pretty shitty after a tense trip to Kamino, himself. Nobody wanted to tell me what about, but C.C. and Cody were actually getting along for once as they consoled him. I don’t know how to explain it, but everyone I was with looked as if they had lost a battle. Things had been weird everywhere. So, in my capacity as resident fool, I was trying to think of a distraction that would get everyone feeling okay again. I proposed a game of ‘I never’.

Present, General Skywalker and Captain Rex, in the same outfits they always wore, Jedi regalia and armor. Seriously, Rex was carrying around the fricking helmet all night. Commander Wolffe in my Fett Boys Don’t Dance shirt. My girlfriend C.C. looking incandescent as usual. Commander Bly of the 327th in an amazingly tasteful vintage ensemble. Commander Cody of the 212th in a cloth uniform, which he pulled off.

Rex- Okay, we’ll start with a simple one. I have never paid for a prostitute. (I drank enthusiastically. Cody looked suspiciously at Skywalker, but finally drank.)

C.C.- Bly, what about that time we did it?

Bly- (We all looked at him.) I just wanted to see if I liked it. (Took a drink.)

Wolffe- So?

Bly- I did not.

Skywalker- Wait, why not?

Bly- Um…

Skywalker- I’m just kidding. I may be a Jedi, but I’m not that sheltered. (He clapped Bly on the back.)

Wolffe- I’ve got to drink triple, ‘cause of that one time... (To the bartender droid) Sparky, could I get two more?

Cody- Your volume of consumption of the alcohol doesn’t have to be correlated to the number of prostitutes you’ve hired at a time.

Wolffe- Nah, I think it does.

Skywalker- Isn’t that kind of disrespectful to talk about in front of your girlfriend?

C.C.- What am I gonna get offended about? You know I have had sex with most of the men in this room, right? It’s my job. What do I care what he does?

Skywalker- Maybe I am a little sheltered.

C.C.- I knew it. (Smiling) Um…I have never had a haircut.

Cody- That’s not fair, your species doesn’t even have hair.

C.C.- Drink boys, I don’t make the rules.

Wolffe- I never ate a bug. (Even I had to drink, I had eaten several. I just wanted to know who else had. Of course Skywalker, Rex, Bly and C.C.)

Cody- C.C. why would you eat a bug?

C.C.- When you are fricking starving, you’ll eat a lot of things.

Rex- Senator Amidala had to eat them for diplomacy. Ain’t that the other end of the spectrum.

Skywalker- Same difference. It’s about the stakes. If they are high enough to you to you, you’ll do anything.

Cody- Yeah, you would, I guess.

Wolffe- Cody would never eat bugs. They’re not Republic issue food rations. Although, those might be made of insects for all we know.

Bly- My turn! I have never driven a speeder. (Skywalker, Rex and I drank.)

Skywalker- Me? I have never smoked a death stick. (Me, C.C. and Bly)

Rex- (Jokingly) I have never shot a droid. (We thought C.C. would get a reprieve, but she drank, too.)

C.C.- What? Some pervert was controlling a probe droid to hover outside my bedroom window while I was changing.

Wolffe- So you were standing at the window in your underwear and you shot it? That’s so hot.

Rex-It is, actually.

C.C.- I have never seen a naked Jedi.

Rex- (Laughing and blushing) Yup. (Skywalker, he and Cody drank.)

Bly- Really? Skywalker using the communal showers after physical training?

Cody- He’s pretty shy. It’s Kenobi, man. He just does not even care.

Bly- Aw, really? You’re killing me. (Skywalker looked a little scandalized.)

Wolffe- Um… I have never had a bath in a tub.

(C.C. drank.)

C.C.- Stop picturing it, you pigs. (She pronounced it ‘peegs’. Her accent was so cute.)

Wolffe- I can’t help it. New goal, we should get a bigger tub installed at home. Big enough to have sex in. Any of you boys know how to grout? General?

Skywalker- Uh…

Cody- I have never been bitten by an animal.

(Skywalker, Rex, Bly, and I drank. C.C. laughed.)

C.C.- Does Wolffe count as an animal?

Rex- Totally.

Bly- Mine was a tooka. Pet it twice, it’s all sweet, pet it a third time, it grabs with the claws and chomp!

Wolffe- I got bitten by a monkey lizard. And a puffer pig. And a guarlara. And a shaak. And a sleen. Oh, and a nerf.

C.C.- That was a long day at the petting zoo. I’m telling you Wolffe, you can’t just go around attempting to see the genitals of every life form you come across.

Wolffe- Aw, but isn’t that how we met?

C.C.- Behave, or you’re not getting your sex tub.

Wolffe- I’ll be good. (Skywalker was actually blushing, which was the goal that C.C. and I had silently agreed upon.)

Bly- I have never been to Ryloth.

Rex- System or planet?

Bly- Neither. (Skywalker, Rex, Cody and C.C. drank.) Wolffe, not you?

Wolffe- Nope. And I love Twi’leks. Stupid Republic, never sending me.

Cody- You go next time, let your guys get eaten by gutkurrs. That place is savage.

Bly- Cody, that’s not polite.

C.C.- I don’t care. I agree with him. If the wildlife doesn’t get you, the slavers will. It’s a fricking mess. I wouldn’t go back there if you paid me.

Skywalker- Um…I’m sure it’s better now that it’s liberated from the Separatists. (He, Cody and Rex had all fought in that campaign. C.C. silently made her ‘get a load of this guy’ face.)

C.C.- When I lived on Ryloth, I had a restraining chip in my shoulder that meant if I tried to run from the brothel that owned me, I would be blown to pieces. I had to stay there and do whatever they said. And that was before the Separatists came to Ryloth. If you say it’s better on Ryloth now, I just don’t believe you. It’s a horrible place.

Wolffe- Geez! I’m sorry I implied I’d like to go to Ryloth. I wasn’t even serious. It was a roundabout way of saying I think Twi’lek women are hot.

C.C.- Aw. Thanks sweetie.

Wolffe- Screw Ryloth! Abolish slavery! Break the chains of oppression! Damn you to hell, wildlife!

(We started making out a little.)

Skywalker- I…uh…

Rex- Just…don’t even try. (Shaking his head)

Skywalker- Got it. Crawling back in my shelter now.

Chapter Text

I’m a Gentleman, Not Some Floozy

This was Echo’s last night on Coruscant before the Citadel mission. We ran into each other when we were walking around the Armory District and we were both reading the same graffiti off a wall. I was pretending to be interested to have a look around, in case I was being followed. He seemed genuinely curious. Echo and I went to a streetcart and bought drinks for the walk back to my street at a strolling pace.

Wolffe- Interview time!

Echo- I was hoping to get to do one of these. Some of the other guys talk about them. They say you’re really funny.

Wolffe- What, are you saying that I’m like a clown, here for your amusement?

Echo- Huh?

Wolffe- Relax, I’m not gonna punch you.

Echo- Okay. Fives is the boxing champion, not me.

Wolffe- He is? Interesting. State your name for the record.

Echo- I’m ARC-Trooper Echo, I’m ten years old. I serve with the 501st under General Skywalker and Captan Rex.

Wolffe- The Fighting Five-oh-first! What is the motto again? Busy and Smooth?

Echo- Like General Skywalker’s…

Wolffe- WHOA!

Echo- …rap nickname.

Wolffe- Wait! What?

Echo- What did you think I was going to say?

Wolffe- Never mind. Does he really have a rap nickname.

Echo- No, that’s just the one Ahsoka made up for him as a joke.

Wolffe- Does he know she made it up?

Echo- I don’t think so, we don’t say it in front of him, of course.

Wolffe- Does Rex know about it?

Echo- No. His rap nickname is DJ Jaig Eyes.

Wolffe- That’s terrible.

Echo- I think that’s the point. As in like, even his taste in rap nicknames is super lame and unimaginative.

Wolffe- I assume Ahsoka made it up for him.

Echo- Correct.

Wolffe- Does he know?

Echo- Sure, we say it to his face. But he doesn’t react.

Wolffe- I want a rap nickname. But it would be pathetic to ask Ahsoka to give me one. I’d be tempted to suggest my own and that would be sad. I’d rather earn it.

Echo- Who says you don’t have one already?

Wolffe- That is a point. I’ll just assume I do. That’s as satisfying as having one. Self-delusions are so comforting. They can be whatever you want them to be.

Echo- Don’t you want to know for sure?

Wolffe- Nah. Not unless it’s really, really funny. Then maybe.

Echo- I’ll try to find out. This is a weird interview. I thought there’d be more questions.

Wolffe- Nah, I just let the conversation float where it will.

Echo- Maybe I can ask some questions.

Wolffe- Sure.

Echo- Ahem. Favorite genre of music?

Wolffe- Pop punk. I like to have all the feelings.

Echo- Commander Wolffe, what does it mean if you’ve had sex but everyone else is talking about how great it is and you just didn’t feel that.

Wolffe- Wow, hell of a swerve, son. Give me a second to recover. Okay, have you considered that you might be gay?

Echo- What? You mean like, I might want men? But I don’t want you brothers.

Wolffe- That’s not what gay is. Who told you that?

Echo- Some of the guys.

Wolffe- Who, Fives? He’s clueless. Don’t listen to your idiot batch mate. None of us like each other in that way. Not even gay brothers. If you’re curious if you might be gay, try it. Kiss a guy. I did it. I wasn’t irrevocably damaged. It didn’t turn out to be something I liked, but how would I have known?

Echo- But I don’t think I want to. I don’t think I like touching very much.

Wolffe- So don’t. It’s not required that you like everything, just because other brothers do. And don’t ever feel like you have to do anything.

Echo- Thanks, Wolffe.

Wolffe- Do you have any more questions?

Echo- What do you think would be the best name for a Hutt?

Wolffe- Ah, now that’s an easy question. I think…Scargo. Scargo Hutt. Sounds like a cheap but pretentious restaurant. Oh, shit! Come here!

(He did and I kissed him pretty violently.)

Police droid- What are you clones doing here?

Wolffe- What does it look like?

Police droid- Are you engaged in sexual activity with that soldier?

Wolffe- (I let him go) We have to do something. We clones don’t have our own women. (We both leaned casually against a building.)

Police droid- Fraternizing is against the law for clones.

Wolffe- No, fraternizing with civilians is against the law. We’re both military. The letter of the law is on our side.

Police droid- Well, I suppose that is not illegal. But why are you doing it on the street? Can’t you go back to the base? Would that not be more decent?

Wolffe- Too many other brothers there, it’s not very romantic. But, yes officer, we understand. You know, I heard that in a single sex environment, some clones will spontaneously change sex. I’m waiting for that. This guy seems a likely candidate. Then I won’t be gay anymore. Won’t that be wonderful? Then I’ll just be normal.

Police droid- Normality is a concern only to you organics. We have programming.

Wolffe- Life finds a way.

Police droid- Get a room next time, boys.

Wolffe- Sir, yes sir!

(The police droid took off.)

Echo- Wolffe, what the hell!

Wolffe- Relax, I do not find you attractive. I’m holding and I didn’t want to be searched.

Echo- Oh. Fine, but you didn’t have to slip me the tongue.

Wolffe- Yes I did. It had to look convincing…(I shrugged) Perhaps I didn’t have to slip you so much tongue…

Echo- You’re defective!

Wolffe- (Laughing) Gay is being into other brothers? Honestly, who told you that? So…you want to do something later?

Echo- Oh, haha. (We started walking.)

Wolffe- Is it weird that I want to hold hands now?

Echo- Not until you get me a room, Mister. I am a gentleman not some floozy. (He was doing a great Captain Rex impression. After he said it, he spat. I cracked up. Best Rex impression ever.)

(I had to stop after this, since I did outrank him and I didn’t want him to think I was really sexually harassing him or something. I took him to get fish tamales at my buddy Nilo’s bodega. Nilo had a jet organ and Echo could actually play. He was the only brother I ever met who could. Music was my obsession. We were up for hours singing, the three of us, Nilo played guitar. That night I brought Echo home to me and my girlfriend’s house to crash on our couch. I didn’t see him before he reported for duty at the carbon freezing plant the next morning. He’d had to be up early. I never found out what my rap nickname was. Echo was listed as killed in action right after that on the Citadel mission. He was later found, but by then both his legs and one of his arms was missing. He could barely sing anymore. And people wonder why I did drugs? It’s because stuff like that happened. *spit*)


 


Holo-vids are the Dream Factory

I found women fascinating. One woman especially. C.C. was a prostitute who asked me to move in with her, she said, for her security. So I did, whenever I was between tours. I did my best to act as a bodyguard. She gave me a place to stay and gave me all the food and drugs I needed. I did my best to earn my keep around the house when I was there. She slept with me. I always made sure to give her my absolute best. Aside from the lack of monogamy, it was actually a very normal relationship. I can say that I think we were as happy as two people in our situation can be. Her fellow hooker friends, all Twi’leks like her, would come over every few days, open some bottles of wine, and vent about their work and social lives in a safe place. I poured the wine for them. Sometimes they invited me to sit with them. They switched to Basic from Twi’leki out of consideration for me.

C.C.’s place, Armory District, Coruscant. Present, Commander Wolffe, token male. C.C., Kronnie, and Ana, lovely ladies.

C.C.- So then I get to the interview at this agency that’s hiring dancers. And the guy says, ‘You’d better take that off, because, there are no bras in this space. (They all laughed. They had heard men say the same.) Like he was so sure of himself.

Wolffe- Really? What are bras?

Kronnie- That’s right, you clones don’t have women. (I was kidding, but they believed me, so I just went with it.)

Ana- He’s never seen your bras? How long has he been here?

C.C.- Wolffe, you do the fricking laundry! (She didn’t believe I was that clueless, she just wanted her friends to hear that I did chores.)

Wolffe- What, those little caps? I thought they were for holding up your lekku.

Ana- No, lekku caps have holes. (She pointed at her head.)

Wolffe- Really? I tried one on my head just to see if it was comfortable. I was folding laundry wearing that thing.

(Room erupts in that lilting female laughter.)

Kronnie- Like little tooka ears?

C.C.- I knew you weren’t serious, you’ve seen me undress.

Wolffe- Hehe. Yeah. I’m just kidding. Except about wearing a bra on my head, I love to do that while I fold laundry. The best is when I put it around my head, eyepatch style. One time, I forgot I had it on though, and reached for my cup on the counter and knocked it over. I missed it without my depth perception.

Kronnie- Wait, you have depth perception normally? I thought that glass eye didn’t really work. Nilo keeps telling jokes about how you have no depth perception.

Wolffe- Those are my jokes! It’s not glass, but yeah, it works. I see the same as you do. Or at least just like I saw before. Except for the enhanced modes. But those only come on if I switch to them. But, I can’t really know that you and I see things the same even without a prosthesis. I’ve never been you.

C.C.- Wolffe is obsessed with perspective, ever since he got that thing.

Kronnie- Okay. You want to understand the world from a woman’s perspective? Well, first, we put up with more shit than any of you men and we are never allowed to complain for fear of sounding ungrateful or bitchy. And we are told we have to be sweet to be feminine.

Ana- We do everything else that we have to and still find time to reassure your fragile egos. We can’t just fall apart and take some time out, no! Screw you, Eche, I’m out there paying our rent by selling myself. You get rejected by one club and you are crushed at home playing your fricking instrument, too sad to look for another job. Your music sucks, you canNOT write a good song, they are fricking STUPID! (She had just broken up with Eche, her live in boyfriend. Wanker. She was right about the music, too, bloody awful. I had told him so, the one time I met him.)

Kronnie- Bloody tosser turned up at our door. Nilo’s gotta work at the store, so I’m stuck entertaining him all day, while I’d rather be sleeping. I’ve got work tonight. (Nilo was her Twi’lek boyfriend and a friend of mine.) This after Eche spent the night drinking and singing sad songs, and getting Nilo piss drunk so he’s in a bad mood this morning.

Ana- Kick him to the curb.

Kronnie- Nilo felt bad for him. So I gotta wait until Nilo gets sick of him.

Wolffe- Why? It’s your house. (Slightly sarcastically) This sounds like it might be a security issue, Ma’am. Would you like me to take care of it? I could get some of the guys from the 104th to tip him in a garbage chute.

Ana- That’s sweet, Wolffe. But he’ll move on. Go and stay with his sister or something.

Wolffe- Aw, but can’t we? We would love to do that.

C.C.- Where did you get that idea?

Wolffe- Where I get all my ideas, holo-vids.

C.C.- No wonder your bucket list is so weird.

Wolffe- Holo-vids are the dream factory.

Ana- He should be sorry, but the only one he’s sorry for is himself. (Not me, Eche.) Fricking idiot. I want a man. Who wants to bang a child?

Wolffe- (To C.C.) When I’m not here, do you talk about me this way?

C.C.- I wouldn’t wait until you weren’t here to complain about you.

Ana- You have a job.

Kronnie- You’re not jealous.

C.C.- You don’t hit me.

Ana- You do chores.

Wolffe- Aren’t you supposed to if you live somewhere?

C.C.- He does something else, too.

Kronnie- Voluntarily?

Wolffe- It’s only polite.

Ana- Are all your brothers like you?

Wolffe- In some ways, I guess…

Ana- So make me an introduction. You probably have brothers who aren’t useless. I just want somebody who treats me good and who will kick Eche’s ass if he comes around.

Wolffe- I’m sure any of us could do that. But I’m sure you could do those things yourself. Eche’s not that big.

Ana- Yeah, but maybe I don’t want to do everything all the time. Alright, how about someone who does my laundry and the other things? Oh, and who cooks.

Wolffe- I don’t cook, but I do remember to pick up takeout. I could give any brother a tour of the neighborhood and tell him what’s good. Nah, the only guy I know who I can cook is old Rex.

C.C.- He’s seeing someone, I heard.

Wolffe-Really? That can’t be true, he didn’t tell me anything.

C.C.- He don’t gotta tell you everything.

Ana- Rex, which one is he? I don’t think I’ve met him.

C.C.- No, I’ll point him out next time he comes in. He’s the blonde one.

Ana- Wait, the one on the news all the time?

Wolffe- That’s him.

Ana- He doesn’t look like he’s any fun.

Wolffe- I happen to know otherwise. I’ve given him advice. (This made them laugh.)

Kronnie- So who else have you coached?

Wolffe- Maybe two people. I don’t consider many guys smart enough to do well with women.

C.C.- So it’s a mental exercise and not a physical?

Wolffe- Can’t it be both?

C.C.- I would have loved to hear how you coached him.

(As much as the ladies wanted C.C. to say something scathing about my inadequacies to destroy my ego, she said she had nothing. That’s because I am The Notorious FFE. That was my rap nickname in my self-delusions. It is probably lame, but it sounds totally cool in my daydreams.)


 


Flipping the Bird over Ducks

This was on my way to Qiilura. The military more or less policed the Mid Rim, so we occasionally made arrests if we happened across a smuggler, or a slaver, or a pirate from the Outer Rim. Even just stupid drunk rich kids who had stolen their parents’ ships to go buy drinks and substances in places where it was easier. I had a lot of weird conversations like this when we’d board for inspections. It was kind of a role reversal, since on Coruscant, I was the scum being questioned by law enforcement. I knew all the excuses. Sometimes, the absurdity just escalated as I and the interrogee would trade bullshit for fun. This was one time where a guy was trying my patience. Usually, I’m a sweet guy. But some people just don’t know when to quit.

Present, Wolffe and his pack. And a Teenage Corellian who looked stoned.

Wolffe- Sir, are you aware that under the temporary state of emergency in the Republic, we are permitted to search your ship for contraband?

Teenage Corellian- Oh, yes sir.

Wolffe- Yes, Commander. My insignia of rank are visible.

Teenage Corellian- Are those heavy? (Smarmy bastard. He didn’t think I’d find anything.)

Wolffe- Comet, Boost, take the Wolfpack and search the ship. (To the kid) So…we’re not going to find any contraband materials, substances, or personages?

Teenage Corellian- Personages? Commander, I hardly think it’s time for dress up. (Oh, he thought he was well-read, this one.)

Wolffe- What I mean is, if you are smuggling people, you’d better tell me now. I have a sense of humor about most things, but not about that.

Teenage Corellian- Will you smuggle me, sir? May I go smuggle myself? It gets lonely out here in space. (Oh look at me, I’m such a smartass. Haha.)

Wolffe- That joke is crude and unnecessary. And not really well thought out. If you were going to joke about being homosexually attracted to me as a way of asserting dominance, what you should have said was, ‘I’m not smuggling people, only sausages. Do you want to search me?’ Then maybe licked your lips awkwardly. Any reaction I would give to that would be funny.

Boost- Sir, the first hold is full of frozen quadducks. It’s crazy, Commander. A crime scene.

Wolffe- Relax, Sergeant. It’s not murder. Quadducks aren’t sentient. It’s not a crime to kill them. I think these Corellians actually eat them. (I often had to listen while Natural Born people man-splained clones to each other. It was fun to do to somebody else.)

Boost- No…sir, I mean they all have credits stuffed up their backsides.

Wolffe- Excellent. A bust! Let’s be sure to take a picture of us standing around the table with the ducks and money for the holo-net news. Headline, ‘104th breaks up a weird food smuggling ring’. Remind me to flip the bird in the picture. That’ll assert dominance!

Boost- I mean, this guy is smuggling cash, probably to obtain contraband and smuggle it back. Which means his cash is illegal, he can’t report it stolen. We can arrest him should we choose to press charges…But I think we should let him off with a warning, confiscate the evidence.

(Boost returned to Comet in the lower part of the ship.)

Wolffe- What would you say to that?

TC- Would you like to see my bird, sir?

Wolffe- More gay humor. Seriously, are you trying to hit on me? Because I’m in a relationship. Look, here I have a picture on my holo-viewer. Here’s my girlfriend taking care of my fish…if you know what I mean. (I made to turn on the viewer and those perverts all leaned in. It was a picture of my lovely girlfriend feeding my pet in his bowl. She was wearing a tight shirt and flashing a suggestive pose. It was a joke, since we weren’t allowed to correspond. She’d send me my ‘subscription’ to Naughty Girl Doing Chores. Porn was illegal for clones, too, but the punishment was mild compared to the punishment for being caught corresponding with civilians.)

T.C.- Don’t Twi’leks eat that kind of fish. She’s probably been eating your pets, bro. (He was high. And he was trying to rile me. Planting an unsettling thought was supposed to make me react viscerally. To get me to take a swing. Guys on Coruscant did that when they harassed us on the streets. I thought it might also be a very roundabout way of making fun of our inter-species relationship.)

Wolffe- Nah, anyone who knows Twi’leks knows they can’t digest fish. They say it’s because their creator was showing them that fish are sacred. I eat fish, which they find disgusting. Would you believe that?

TC- Really?

Wolffe- No, but the point is, you don’t really know anything about them, do you? So you really should keep your mouth shut. What happens to you depends on whether I like you or not. I will take you in for something if I feel like it. Don’t test me. And you better not be smuggling people.

Boost- Sir, we found this woman in the bunk quarters. She says she’s just a passenger.

TC- She’s just my girlfriend. We met on Nal Hutta. She wanted to run away from her master, but she didn’t have papers. I’m bringing her to stay with me. Ask her, she wants to be here. (She nodded.)

Wolffe- *in badly pronounced Twi’leki* You know if he promised you he wouldn’t pimp you out, he still might. Don’t trust anyone, not even him. (She didn’t look like she trusted me. That was good.) If you want to come with us and be relocated by a relief agency, we can do that for you. Or you can stick with this idiot. He'll get you killed.

TC- What are you saying to her, jar-born?

Wolffe- What are you doing, aaaaaaah? (TC looked puzzled. I blasted and grazed him in the thigh without even turning my body or head. She ran to him and helped him into a chair.) He was reaching for his blaster. You all saw that. He would have shot first. You two, are free do go. But I think we’ll be taking those ducks.

(I left the girl some of the money, in case she wanted to leave him when they got to wherever they were going. The guy would have to run from whoever owned the money, but those guys would leave her alone. Most of the money we anonymously donated to a women's refugee center on Coruscant. Then the 104th had a duck feast. We got in this guy named Slabba Drewl to come in and cook for us on a cruiser. He made General Plo this duck pate milkshake that I thought was fantastic. But what would I know, I have eaten fried maggots and enjoyed them.)

Chapter Text

Please Leave Me Some Body Parts

One time, I had this idea that I wanted to get some kind of moving image seen in Separatist space. So that people on the opposite side of the war could see that clones were actually human. There were rumors to the contrary, that we were everything from robots to baby eating lizard monsters under our armor. But I thought that if they could see us, it would make it harder to hate us. Getting something through their channels via the holo-net was impossible. They had a strong firewall. So, I researched how to get a video sold on the black market, because I guess people on the other side still liked Coruscant entertainment. Pirated movies and music videos were popular. I pirated stuff and made a compilation of popular music videos and slipped in a video that I made with some brothers and friends. I didn’t have the budget to make it look good, so I had to make people want to see it for another reason. I thought it would help if it was so ridiculous people would want to watch it and ask, what the actual hell is this? So I did a version of a song where a guy tells off an ex-girlfriend, and in it, I used pictures of Asajj Ventress, the Separatist assassin, as the object of my ‘affection’. I guess it had gotten through and gone viral among young people in Separatist space. I didn’t hear about it until I was on Coruscant after Ahsoka left, I was drinking with this kid, Bonteri who’d grown up living with his mom at the Separatist capital on Raxus. He recognized me from the video. So after, I’d been spending some time checking for Ahsoka in every bar I could. What I really mean is that I was just drinking a lot. One night, none other than Asajj Ventress found me at this bar, Treupings. She was pretty drunk.

Wolffe- (To bartender) Thanks, Hiss.

Anacondan bartender- I keep telling you my name is Cyrus.

Wolffe- You also told me you could get me a deal on some electronics. I’m glad I didn’t give you any cash up front.

Ventress- Aren’t you the clone from that awful music video? (That’s actually what she said. Not, aren’t you the person whose eye I cut out of his head.)

Wolffe- Wow, really? (I was terrified, but doing my best not to show it. The last time we’d met, she’d thrown me into a light post.) Look, nothing personal, it was a parody. It was just my way of telling everybody to piss off, that’s what some music is.

Ventress- So you’re saying you weren’t serious?

Wolffe- I always take music and messages seriously. I was also just trying to make something that looked like a pathetic serious attempt that worked as a parody if you know I’m just kidding.

Ventress- By making me the butt of the joke?

Wolffe- Oh, everybody was laughing at me, too. The video was bad. The production values were rubbish. I look like a total tosser.

Ventress- People laughing at you is not the same as being in on the joke.

Wolffe- Sweetie, I’m a clone, most of the time, I am the joke.

Ventress- Are you looking to arrest me, like you did Ahsoka?

Wolffe- I want nothing but to see an old friend again. (I tapped the eye.)

Ventress- That joke is terrible.

Wolffe- Didn’t you get the point of the video, I was singing to you like I was some kind of harmless dumbass boyfriend instead of an enemy combatant, it was an attempt to let you think I was harmless, since I had such a childish response to you maiming me and all. I was hoping you’d laugh at me, too. I like it when girls laugh at me. (She gave me a sour face.) Geez, do you ever laugh?

Ventress- I didn’t actually see the stupid thing. I just heard about it when Count Dooku called me in and berated me for it. It was humiliating.

Wolffe- He blamed you for it? Well, he’s clearly an ass. Man, C.C.’s right. The universe is sexist. Look…no hard feelings.

Ventress-Is this part of some kind of twelve step program?

Wolffe- I look like I could use one, right? Anyway, you came over to talk to me. Evidently you’ve been going through some shifts in your life. Ahsoka mentioned you helped her, so Rex says. I applaud your efforts and I wish you luck as you try to make your way in the universe.

Ventress- Is this some kind of joke?

Wolffe- Way to flinch at a compliment. Can’t a guy tell a woman something honestly without being distrusted? Are men that untrustworthy in general?

Ventress- To some of us.

Wolffe- Honey, you could take me to pieces if I tried to lay a hand on you, we both know that.

Ventress- Not all abuse is physical.

Wolffe- Don’t I know it.

Ventress- Oh, that’s right. I tortured you before I cut out your eye. You’re lucky you survived that sane. (That she laughed at. Okay, so I wouldn’t be getting an apology. I didn’t really need one, according to the rules of the battlefield, I would have killed her if I could have.)

Wolffe- Who says I’m sane?

Ventress- I don’t trust anyone to not be lying or attempting to trick me. I’ve been a slave. I was used by practically everyone I’ve ever had in my life.

Wolffe- Trick you out of what? You have nothing I want, believe me.

(She cocked an eyebrow at me.)

Wolffe- I didn’t mean it like that. Please leave me some body parts.

Ventress- You can’t even trust the Jedi, and they’re supposed to be the most virtuous people in the galaxy.

Wolffe- Some of them are cool. I can’t say I know all of them. I hear some of them are dicks. Like the ones who sexually harass their coworkers.

Ventress- That goes on there?

Wolffe- What I hear.

Ventress- Jedi, Sith Apprentice, is there any job in this universe where women don’t have to deal with sexism?

Wolffe- Not that I’ve seen. You should talk to my girlfriend. I even see it in my profession. Guys make the slut shaming jokes about her to harass me.

Ventress- Unbelievable.

Wolffe- Pervasive as water, sugar. Abuse is everywhere.

Ventress- Stop with the nicknames or I’ll cut off your toes.

Wolffe- Well, I can’t say your last name, because someone might overhear. You’re still wanted. And you haven’t indicated that it would be okay to use your first name. A gentleman doesn’t presume. So all I could do was childishly bait you into telling me what I should call you.

Ventress- Please don’t call me anything. We’re not friends.

Wolffe- Why not?

Ventress- Because I still don’t trust that you’re not laughing at me.

Wolffe- Fair enough. I hope we aren’t enemies anymore either.

(I put out my hand, waiting for her to slap it the way we clones do in greeting. Instead she put her fingers on mine, so I kissed the back of her hand. She pulled me by the hand, kissed me, and kneed me in the groin. I got up gasping, but laughing, too. When I started singing her the song from the video, she left, rolling her eyes at me. I hope she actually got to see the video after that, if only just so she had a chance to make snarky comments while watching it. You know, like she’d do with any man. Rex seemed to think that there was a story after this where she unapologetically had an affair with a Jedi. I loved that. The thought of flaunting forbidden love always made me happy. She had come a long way from trying to kill me to being someone I was actually a little proud of. But I’m just a romantic at heart.)


 


That’s Just New Age Shaak Poodoo.

This was on Kiros, one of the later conversations from that party we had there. I was seriously intoxicated, having snorted some amphetamines, which were issued to us by the army for the mission to Kadavo. None of my guys had slept in days. Also, I had just won a drinking contest. I had walked up to General Kenobi and started talking to him about traditional clone dances, on account of his interest in anthropology. This was utter crap, we didn’t have official clone art forms. Unless you count how good I was in bed. I defy you to tell me that wasn’t art. With the dancing, Kenobi was forced to at least feign taking me seriously. I don’t know whether it was liberal guilt or just politeness that meant that he had to allow himself to be subjected to it. I was trying to make it as painful a display as possible. Kenobi’s discomfort was palpable. So good. I always loved interacting with him.

Wolffe- *In time to music* Point, point, point. Yes, that’s the sky, oh look a bug. And now I point at you, yes you.

Kenobi- Yes. I see. Very interesting. Do clones really do these dances?

Wolffe- Sure, look around. (Lots of guys were doing the tragic motions that constituted clone dancing.)

Kenobi- I thought they were just moving that way because they were drunk.

Wolffe- That’s part of it. It might not be fancy like the dancing people do in music videos. But we’re sincere. We got a lot of heart. Hey, you like the supernatural and stuff! So have you heard about the eerie similarities between Chancellors Kendi and Inke? So, like Chancellor Kendi was born in 1843 Naboo calendar and Chancellor Inke was born in 1943. They were both assassinated by a shot to the head. Kendi had a neighbor named Inke, while Inke had a neighbor named Nendi, which is pretty close. There are so many other connections. Like, one was killed in a theater and the other a warehouse, but one, I can’t remember which, was born in a theater, while the other was born in a warehouse?

Kenobi- I’m not sure that’s accurate.

Wolffe- Point is, I hold, nothing in this universe is a coincidence. There’s got to be something going on there.

Kenobi- Well, yes, but that about supposed ‘freaky similarities’. It’s just some New Age shaak poodoo. I mean, the connections all sounds a bit feeble.

Wolffe- More than the idea of midichlorians?

Kenobi- What?

Wolffe- What I mean is, I just believe that our fates are governed by some kind of higher power.

Kenobi- Yes, as do I. It’s the will of the Force.

Wolffe- So you agree with me? Our fates are decided, by this Will. So sometimes we have a destiny no matter how hard we try to fight it. You can do a lot of harm trying to fight it. But you can only fight it if you know what your destiny is, so you shouldn’t know. You should go around blind.

Kenobi- Did General Plo teach you this?

Wolffe- Nah. (I started singing.)

Kenobi- What’s that?

Wolffe- It’s Coruscant punk. Really a vibrant genre right now, I hear.

Kenobi- Is it? I’ve never been one for popular music.

Wolffe- Oh, I wouldn’t say it’s popular. But it’s angry, it has attracted a lot of people who want to perform it. They all just go around watching each other’s bands and taking the piss out of each other while they’re drunk. (I had slipped into full Jango accent.) Mostly they’re terrible.

Kenobi- The patron saints of scum.

Wolffe- There is a song called ‘The Patron Saint of Scoundrels’.

Kenobi- I can just imagine. Ballad of the Miscreants. Dirge of the Rapscallions.

Wolffe- Song for the Nogoodniks. Track for the Hoodlums. Deep cut for Working Class Types.

Kenobi- Working class types? Who uses that as a euphemism for criminals?

Wolffe- Senator Orn Free Taa. That’s what he blames the brothels in the Armory District on. ‘It’s a neighborhood inhabited by working class types.’ He meant immigrants and implied that they were prone to breaking the law. I had written him a letter as a concerned citizen of the Republic, since those brothels have slaves working in them, and that was in his form letter reply.

Kenobi- You wrote as a citizen? But you’re not a citizen.

Wolffe- I signed your name.

Kenobi- Fool, prince of ruffians and fortunetellers! (He was feigning offense, he sounded like he was quoting literature.)

Wolffe- Fortunetellers? Really? I know a girl who does that.

Kenobi- Is she a witch?

Wolffe- No, she’s a whore.

Kenobi- What happened to not knowing your destiny?

Wolffe- She’s never told me anything. I told her I didn’t want to know. But she’s seen it. From her face, I get the impression it’s not good. So I just try to have fun now, since I’m doomed and all.

Kenobi- Ah, so you go in for the ‘supernatural and stuff’.

Wolffe- I trust her. If she believes it, I’ll believe it. She’s scum like me.

Kenobi- Is she trying to swindle you?

Wolffe- Swindle? Is that some kind of sex thing? (I was joking.)

Kenobi- Is she trying to make money from you by telling your future?

Wolffe- No. She knows I don’t have any money. I always end up spending it or giving it away. I’m really impulsive.

Kenobi- I see. (Looking up) Oh, dear. Is Cody dancing?

Wolffe- Where?! Oh, yes! Oh, man, where is a camera?

Kenobi- Wouldn't that be mean, even for you.

Wolffe- I'm his brother. So...no.

Kenobi- Is Rex there? No, where is he?

Wolffe- He passed out an hour ago. I propped him on some crates. Aw, there goes old Cody, that girl is going to walk away in three…two…one, point. There she goes.

Kenobi- I don’t understand, is he no good with women?

Wolffe- They hate him.

Kenobi- He’s always so polite with women, from what I’ve seen.

Wolffe- He’s got no game.

Kenobi- ‘No game’?

Wolffe- They don’t like him because they can tell he’s got no empathy for them.

Kenobi- I thought ‘game’ was ability to pick up women, even if it is by guile. Having ‘game’ sounded sociopathic to me. Narcissistic. Having no game would therefore be virtuous.

Wolffe- Huh. Okay, but Cody is um…

Kenobi- I think what you mean is emotionally crippled.

Wolffe- Aw, damn, I was hoping I would get to coin a phrase like you did.

Kenobi- Did I coin a phrase?

Wolffe- Didn’t you? I thought that word ‘narcissistic’ sounded like you made it up now.

Kenobi- Um…no. Well, what would you call it? Maybe your term would be better.

Wolffe- (Cheering up) I’d say, for like a guy who’s hopeless with women, ‘He’s got a bit of the Commander Cody’. Brothers would know just what I meant. We’d all laugh. Then we’d all tell stories about each other and the stupid crap we did.

(We watched Cody strike out again and laughed a little. I really wish Kenobi hadn’t died. Damn you, Cody. I love you, you emotionally crippled bastard, but don’t let me ever see you again.)


 


Who the Forn Was This Vader Guy

This was when I ran into Rex at the base hospital. He was coming in to visit Echo, who had recently come back from Anaxes. There, he had been made into a full on cyborg, with wires running through his head and spine. He’d lost three limbs. It was a shock for me. I swear, after the first visit, I had to snort half a bottle of painkillers, just to get through the next visit.

Wolffe- No, Echo, it’s this one, listen, C (I hit a key and the keyboard made a tone.) Now, what comes next?

Echo- EFGFE…

Rex- (Rex came in through the door with a cup of tea.) What’s this?

Wolffe- I’m helping Echo to learn the keyboard again. His new prosthesis needs to be broken in. Practice helps redevelop nerve endings. It would be therapeutic for his mind, too. Echo, like this, count the time in your head, then space out the tones.

Rex- You’re just confusing him.

Wolffe- Just because you’re confused doesn’t mean he is.

Rex- What are you teaching him?

Wolffe- Synth pop. I thought he would be good at it, since he’s part machine now. I’m learning all kinds of things about it myself as I teach him.

Rex- You’re unfit for duty, brother. (He just meant I was crazy.)

Wolffe- Maybe I’m just wasting my time. What else can I do to pass the time around here? I can’t hang out with Boost and Sinker anymore. Not since they started with the needle stuff. I won’t have that junk around C.C., it could kill her. You’re off hiding. Cody’s a fricking violent drunk and I’m tired of him hitting me all the time.

Rex- Brother, I had no idea...

Wolffe- Well that’s the way it is here at the bottom. While you’re off doing interviews for the holo-net and attending parties with half the members of the bloody Senate committee on military affairs, we’ve been here scraping by.

Rex- Don’t make this about me.

Wolffe- I wouldn’t. I’m happy for you, if you have things you want.

Rex- What have I ever had, that I could feel entitled to?

Wolffe- You always knew you were human. You never doubted it. So you demanded the same rights as humans. Some of us have always been told we were shit, while you were swaggering around Tipoca, DJ Jaig Eyes.

Rex- What?…never mind. If I was treated better than you when we were kids, it’s not my fault.

Wolffe- I didn’t assign fault. Are you admitting fault?

Rex- No. I know I’m lucky. I have friends who care about me. Skywalker is the greatest Jedi.

Wolffe- Bly says that Kenobi is definitely the handsomer Jedi, so on a certain scale, Cody was the lucky one. And he’s still miserable.

Rex- It’s the hangovers.

Wolffe- Okay, what I’m saying is that some of us don’t have the privilege you take for granted. Taking rights for granted and not being smacked down for it, that’s what entitlement means.

Rex- I don’t think that’s what entitlement means.

Wolffe- Stop man-splaining. You are as pretentious as Cody these days.

Rex- I don’t take it for granted. I have had to fight, too.

Wolffe- Yeah. But you won a few of those fights. While we don’t know that that’s like.

Rex- You win all the time.

Wolffe- Is this what winning feels like? Because I wouldn’t mind throwing a few matches! (I turned away from Rex and moved Echo’s finger to the keys in the proper order.) Like that.

Rex- Stop feeling so sorry for yourself. Why are you always so depressed about everything?

Wolffe- Are you not? Are you paying attention or catching raindrops on your face?

Rex- You’re the one who usually does that.

Wolffe- I’m not saying it’s wrong. I do it, too, I check out when life hurts too much.

Rex- I’m not checked out. I just have more faith in people than you do. If we fight together, we can win. I fought as far as I could without risking anyone’s life, now General Skywalker has said that it is his turn to fight. You know, I went to see Senator Amidala today.

Wolffe- How is M’Lady?

Rex- She’s pregnant.

Wolffe- Whoa? Is it Skywalker’s?

Rex- I assume.

Wolffe- Too bad we’re sterile. Our genes would have flooded the universe if we hadn’t been. I would have loved to see little Jangos running around on every planet from the Outer Rim to the Inner Core.

Rex- Were you looking to make a brood yourself?

Wolffe- Oh, man, no. I’d be the worst father ever! You know I only like Twi’leks, and humans can’t even interbreed with them. But it don’t matter anyhow, since whore’s wombs are usually removed if they were ever slaves, and most I know were. Plus C.C. and I would never have tried it, we both hate the idea of kids. But even with all that, it was still illegal. You believe that?

Rex- Seriously, do you want to hear this or not?

Wolffe- Sorry.

Rex- So, the Republic forbade us clones from breeding, with their laws. Despite the fact that we couldn’t. It’s weird, right, almost paranoid? But see, the law was made so they could keep women away from us. So the Republic would have the right to imprison their own citizens, take their rights away. Well, Jedi have a similar rule. But M’Lady’s a free citizen of the Republic, with rights and lots of money and power. She just got impregnated by a Jedi. Legally, there is nothing the Republic can do to her, she probably wouldn’t even be socially shunned. Getting pregnant isn’t illegal, and she’s famous. But the Jedi could punish him. I think he’s daring them to. The Republic and the Jedi will be at odds. He’s ready for this if he has to fight. He’s standing up himself and forcing change. He’s committed himself to the fight for all of us that have our rights denied.

Wolffe- Have you discussed this with him?

Rex- I don’t have to. I know. I would die for that man. All of us in the 501st feel that way. We’d follow him anywhere. He gives us hope that we can win.

Wolffe- Isn’t that a little fanatical?

Rex- No. He has earned our loyalty. The Republic hasn’t. Only him and Ahsoka.

Wolffe- Are you sure all the guys feel that way? They might not like the Jedi as much as you. After Umbara and all. Where was he when that went down?

Rex- Are you serious? We don’t blame him for that.

Wolffe- A lot of 212th guys do. (The face he made indicated that he’d never considered that.)

(Check this, Kenobi would have loved this conspiracy theory. So the 501st was only ever tried for marching into the Temple to kill all the Jedi there. This they did behind a Sith named Darth Vader. Who the FORN was this Vader guy, and how did he get the 501st to follow him? Something doesn’t add up there. Ahsoka was gone by then. Rex had already run, because he thought the chips would make us kill the Jedi, like in the nightmares, which turned out to be true. Since the war, Rex and I have talked about it. Neither one of us could figure out what had happened with the 501st. My theory was that they did execute Order 66 and that it was engineered by this Vader guy. He helped them take down Skywalker. Rex said that sounded plausible, but obviously it made him sad. He believed in those guys unfailing loyalty to the mighty Skywalker and they’d let him down. So to cheer him up, one time, right after the war, I called a holo-net talk show and suggested that Darth Vader must be Captain Rex in disguise and that he was the mastermind behind Order 66 as a clone coup. I did it just to get the news cycle to discuss the suggestion. The holo-net comments about Captain Rex were amazing. My brother Cut and I were cracking up reading them. I like to think Vader had a sense of humor if he heard about it, because he never reacted to it the way a thin skinned guy would. Rex grumbled for days.)

Chapter Text

Are You an Angel?

So this was when I was back from Oba Diah. Jesse commed and told me that he and his girlfriend wanted to have a double date and he couldn’t find anyone else with a girlfriend at the time. It surprised me that Jesse wanted to hang around with me. Jesse knew my girl was a hooker, while Jesse’s girl Arli was an administrative aide in the Pantoran Embassy from a really rich family. Skywalker had introduced them and was hoping to use Jesse’s relationship as the test case. Senator M’Lady was trying to win clones greater freedoms, which I supported in principle. Jesse said they wanted a case that would play sympathetically should the Senate ever hold hearings. According to him, they picked him only after Rex’s relationship fell apart, which sounded kind of calloused to me. Especially as casually as Jesse said it. Like it had never occurred to him how Rex might feel. Nobody seemed to be able to give me many details, but Rex’s girl turned out to be a slut, so the 501st guys said. I thought that was a pretty rude thing for them to say, regardless of what happened. It certainly didn’t sound like anything Rex would say. I really don’t like people talking about women like that. I also kind of loathed the thought of Jesse being the first clone to get married if they were successful. Rex was at least handsome. His likeness belonged beside some pretty little sugar doll on the top of a cake with happily ever after written on it in icing. Jesse was a dumbass with that huge wanker Republic symbol tattooed on his face.

Out at a Pantoran underground club with Jesse and his girlfriend Arli.

Jesse- Hi, Wolffe! You made it.

Wolffe- What on earth is with that outfit? (He looked like a woman had dressed him. My shirt said ‘I hate clowns’ and the rest of my clothes were secondhand. No woman would take responsibility for that.)

Jesse- What? It’s new.

Wolffe- You look almost shiny. Or sticky or something. Have you been shaping your eyebrows?

Jesse- Arli has good soap and stuff. (Kissing her on the head.)

Arli- Having fun, Commander?

Wolffe- I love the music. These Pantoran DJ’s know how to mix.

Arli- Why are you wearing an eye patch with a hole in it?

Wolffe- To hold my eye in. It just keeps falling out.

Jesse- I told you, Wolffe is crazy! So Wolffe, what is your drug of choice for tonight? We smoked a death stick on the way over.

Wolffe- Anti-anxiety meds. And ryll. It is the perfect combination for this music.

Arli- Do you dance? Jesse refuses.

Wolffe- Fett boys don’t dance, baby girl. I’m just looking to have the music transport me. Besides, I like watching C.C. dance. I wouldn’t be able to see it if I was out there making an ass of myself. I’d be too self-conscious. This ass is staying on his barstool. So how are things at the Pantoran embassy, Arli?

Arli- Um…fine.

Wolffe- Might I say, your outfit is positively sweet as.

Arli- As what?

Wolffe- It is obviously very nice and you clearly took time accessorizing to make the look complete. I was told that it is nice to give people compliments to make them feel good about themselves. I just wanted to tell you that I noticed.

Arli- Okay…

Jesse- And what is C.C. taking?

Wolffe- Psychotropic crocus flowers. They’re intense. They use them in this ecstatic religion back on Ryloth.

Arli- Do you guys do a lot of drugs?

Wolffe- We prefer to call them experiments in mind expansion. (No we didn’t.)

Jesse- Are you guys gonna sing for us, tonight? (C.C. and I often did when we were among friends. Just something we did for fun. I got the impression that Jesse was just using me for entertainment, and that he wanted to impress Arli with how hardcore he was or something. That tore it. I took off my eyepatch and considered it for a moment.)

Wolffe- So Jesse, did you ever get that infection cleared up?

Jesse- What?

Wolffe- Didn’t you have a case of the crix madine? Wait, was that not you? Who am I thinking of? Someone from the 501st, I’m sure. Your batch mate, Kix, maybe?

Arli- The crix madine?

Wolffe- Yeah. Just a little thing, one round of good antibiotics usually knocks it out. The 501st is famous as the most laid battalion in the army.

Jesse- Wolffe!

Wolffe- They say that all the time, don’t you guys? (Some of them really did make that claim. Including Kix the last time I was at the clone bar with him and Jesse. Then he said that the 104th, my guys, were too foul to attract women and that we had to fornicate with animals in dresses. I can take a joke, but he said it in front of my girlfriend. So I broke a bottle over his head. Rex didn’t even try to stop me. Good thing Kix was a medic, he knew how to stop the bleeding. For a moment, Jesse was afraid I would tell that story.) I’m just kidding darling. It’s just a silly clone joke. We’ve been trying to figure it out. What do you see in Jesse?

Arli- He’s cute. When we met, he asked if I was an angel, because he said they are supposed to be the most beautiful creatures in the universe, and as far as he was concerned, I was.

(That pickup line sounded so childish to me, but what do I know? I was twelve.)

Arli- Next, he was so sweet and nervous. All he could think of to talk about was pod racing. I was headed out for lunch, but there was a storm, so he invited me to go with him. He and his General were going to eat at Senator Amidala’s with Representative Binks. (I did not envy her that meal.) Jesse was so impressed, he kept telling me how powerful Master Skywalker is, that he bet nobody could kill a Jedi.

Wolffe- Sounds like a right wanker to me.

Jesse- Wolffe, behave. This isn’t us out with a bunch of brothers...

Wolffe- Sorry, Ma’am. He sounds like a…

Jesse- NO!

Wolffe- What? I was going to say ‘funny little boy’. (I grinned widely.)

Arli- He is, actually. (I found it insulting that anyone would consider Jesse funny.) He makes me laugh all the time. Jesse, show me that Skywalker impression you do.

Jesse- ‘I’ll try spinning, that’s a good trick.’

Wolffe- Wow. (It was the worst Skywalker impression ever.) More. Do General Kenobi!

Jesse- ‘They’ll soon be back, and in greater numbers’. (Teeeeeerrible.)

Wolffe- Do me.

Jesse- (Laughing nervously) What?

Wolffe- Do me. What do I sound like?

Jesse- Um…I don’t really…

Wolffe- Nah, everybody has one of me. I want to see it.

Jesse- Well…okay, so Commander Wolffe…uh…(He was really struggling to come up with something, since there was probably not a single impression of me that was not extremely crude or inappropriate. I did that look we all have, where we lower our eyelids and smirk a bit. We almost involuntarily nod our heads back and forth when we do it. It often means we’re thinking about hitting someone, but Arli couldn’t have known that. Jesse did. We had the same face.) So…he likes to eat...quickly, so…(He feigned shoveling in food or something.)

Arli- I thought you said he was so crazy and funny. You went on and on about it.

Wolffe- Do you want to see mine of you?

Jesse- Ah…

Arli- Yes!

Wolffe- (I took my time, mugged a few faces, cleared my throat, then looked up with a confused expression.) What’s oral?

(Arli practically fell down laughing. I almost felt bad for Jesse.)


You’re Defective

So, as I have said, I had a lot of stupid paperwork. And Cody and I did ours in the central office at the base after hours. There were many things I could call Cody, but stupid was not one of them. If I was thinking about something he was often the only one who understood.

Cody- Hurry up, so we can get out of here.

Wolffe- I’m just taking a little break. (I was looking at a magazine.)

Cody- What is that? More of Gree’s ‘Naughty Mirialans’ literature?

Wolffe- ‘Naughty Mirialans’? Really? Man, that guy has issues. (His general and padawan commander were both Mirialans.)

Cody- Name one of us who doesn’t.

Wolffe- Um…(I looked at the ceiling for a moment, then gave up) Yeah, I guess. There is a lot of tension. Gotta vent that thermal exhaust somehow.

Cody- Gross.

Wolffe- (It was a women’s magazine, which included articles about dating. I was hoping it would help my brothers if I left it lying around. Especially Cody.) Hey, Cody?

Cody- Get back to work! I want to get to the bar.

Wolffe- (Picking up my datapad.) Do you think there are things that only we can laugh at?

Cody- What do you mean?

Wolffe- Like, okay, you know how we call each other defective. Right? When we say it, we know it’s just a joke.

Cody- Okay.

Wolffe- But when the cloners used to brand a clone defective, it meant we had been rejected and best case, we’d be maintenance clones working on Kamino for the rest of our lives with no option to even leave. Or worse, they could decide that we were too damaged even to be worth feeding or caring for. (Those guys got euthanized.)

Cody- Wolffe, I know all that.

Wolffe- Yeah, but I just wanted to say it to make a point. So…if a Kaminoan called you defective, it’d be different than when I say it.

Cody- Well, yes. Because they had the power to kill us for being defective, if they wanted to. It’s threatening.

Wolffe- So it’s different.

Cody- Yeah. (He sounded kind of frustrated, since I was stating things that we all knew.)

Wolffe- Alright, but we say it all the time. You say it. I say it. Even Rex says it and he barely even swears. And we say it, even though we all know the frightening things it meant for us. What it means for our little brothers who are still there.

Cody- The Jedi put a stop to the euthanasia.

Wolffe- But defective brothers these days have to do maintenance for the rest of their lives. What if they don’t want to? Did anybody ask them what they want?

Cody- Nobody ever asked us what we want. Why would they ask a bad batcher?

Wolffe- Bad batcher, that’s another one. Calling somebody ‘bad’ from the minute they’re extracted from their jar. How does that feel? And guys used to call normal brothers that as an insult.

Cody- Guys used to call Rex that, since his batch mates were.

Wolffe- Oh yeah, the kitchen guys. I think I saw some of those guys when I went to Tipoca to pick up guys after Abregado. How are they?

Cody- They died in the Separatist invasion of Kamino.

Wolffe- And people say I’m a conversation killer.

(He went back to working.)

Wolffe- What I mean is (Cody looked up and rolled his eyes) how would it feel if General Kenobi called you defective?

Cody- He would never do that. He’s too polite. He doesn’t insult people, usually. At best, a sarcastic comment.

Wolffe- But if he did? Even if he was just saying it as a joke like we do.

(He was still for a moment. He was thinking about it.)

Cody- Then I guess I would be insulted. As if… it’s insensitive. Like coming from him that never had to worry about the things we worried about, it would remind me that we’re different. It would also feel as if he thought it was okay what happened to us or something. But as I said, he wouldn’t say it.

Wolffe- What about a normal citizen of the Republic? What if they said it?

Cody- Wolffe, are you trying to make me mad?

Wolffe- No. But you prove my point. Just imagining some enbee (natural born) calling you that made you have a reaction. So…what would hurt more, coming from an enbee being called jar-born or being called defective?

Cody- I’ve been called everything. Jar-born. Half-man. Sperm sample.

Wolffe- So have I. But what hurts more? Being told that you were born from a jar, which is true, but when they say it, they are implying that you are inferior because of it, or being called defective, implying that you deserve to die for being imperfect, and that they have the right to make the call about whether you are good enough?

Cody- Wolffe! Honestly, you are pissing me off right now.

(I kept quiet and pretended to do my work while he did his. I had really finished an hour before.)

Wolffe- So…this brother is doing this whore at this hotel, right?

Cody- I honestly think you might be mentally deficient.

Wolffe- So, after he’s done, he gets up and says he’s just going to go to the toilet…

Cody- Like genuinely, have you been checked for mir’shupur (brain injury).

Wolffe- So then he comes out and gives it to her again and then…

Cody- Or, like, some condition where you are unable to keep your mouth shut and you just say whatever.

Wolffe- I bet your performance reviews are just scathing.

Cody- (Sighed.) Listen to this, I actually said this, “Corporal Wooley is an adequate soldier who executes his duty decently, however, he lacks focus.” That’s instead of saying what I really think, which is “Corporal Wooley is a constant whiner who couldn’t hit the side of a sandcrawler if it was standing still.”

Wolffe- Mine all look the same, “Sergeant Comet is good. He does a good job and works well with others.” Nobody reads them. We grant promotions only when there are spaces to fill, it’s not like it’s merit based or something. At most, they’ll keyword search. Mine have two ‘goods’ and a ‘well’ in them. I developed a program to autofill, just to save time.

Cody- Then why are we still here?

Wolffe- I’m in love with you and I’m trying to work up the courage to tell you. I think by getting you alone, I’ll be emboldened.

Cody- How’s that working out? (He finished and switched off the datapad, then put it in his pack.)

Wolffe- Not well. Honestly, I am wearing my new cloth uniform and you never even noticed. It’s like you don’t know how to pay a guy a compliment when he clearly puts effort in to look nice for you.

Cody- You haven’t even buttoned up the shirt properly. You look shabby.

Wolffe- Okay, that’s what you think…

Cody- No, that’s my polite review.

Wolffe- So what do you really think?

Cody- You’re de…ranged.


Ask Your Doctor If It’s Right For You

One day it was snowing. C.C. and I went out to walk though it. She had no good shoes for it. Honestly, I didn’t understand female footwear. We met a street magician who was demonstrating a trick. He asked C.C. to assist. Her one liners were better than the guy’s, and he had an actual routine. She was just good at improv. That was why our conversations were always the most fun. Honesty, but with jokes, too. What strikes me is how easily we talked to each other. We’d both had non-traditional upbringings that made conversing with normal people awkward. Or at least uncomfortable. But to us, these were just the way things were. Very matter of fact.

Wolffe- You’re a natural!

C.C.- Well, I did do some busking back on Ryloth. I know how to put on a good show.

Wolffe- Busking? Like that guy, pass the hat?

C.C.- I’d collect my money in my tin water cup.

Wolffe- You had a tin cup? (I put my arm around her, since we were both cold.)

C.C.- Tied to my belt.

Wolffe- We have on our utility belts. Standard kit.

C.C.- I had a loud voice, so I’d stand up in a crowd and announce a song, or a dance, or a trick. I could do gymnastics or contortion. People would watch.

Wolffe- I just bet. I’m trying to imagine this. What did you sing?

C.C.- Same kind of stuff I sing now, new songs I like and have heard on the broadcasts. Old Twi’lek ones. Sometimes things I’d make up. When I was sold to the brothel later, they gave me training in singing, so that I would be more entertaining.

Wolffe- How old were you when you went there?

C.C.- Nine.

Wolffe- Which in Twi’leki years is?

C.C.- It’s pretty equivalent to a human, a normal human I mean. Maybe a little less.

Wolffe- Oh. That’s like three for us. I started leadership training that year.

C.C.- Ah, so we both graduated.

Wolffe- I guess so. Leadership academy did have some slightly better accommodations. Did the brothel?

C.C.- Better than sleeping on a filthy mattress in an abandoned building? Yes. I was better fed. I didn’t get hit. Not too much, anyway. I was given time to exercise and I had cosmeticians and the like, so that could be fun. What time I spent with the men was just part of it. I had to figure out how to get them to spend the most money. I was good at that. I had security if a guy tried to go too far. Not like on the streets.

Wolffe- You were a prostitute before then?

C.C.- Busker, pickpocket, fortuneteller. Whatever. But there were always men who offered enough money that it was worth my while to take them to a secluded place. I had to bring enough home that my owner or my mother, I’m not sure which she was, would let me come home.

Wolffe- Um…you were made to survive like that? I wouldn’t blame you if you hated everyone in the universe. Why are you still so nice?

C.C.- I’m not nice.

Wolffe- You are to me.

C.C.- Maybe because I know how it is to be desperate, and I know how important an act of kindness can be to someone in that situation.

Wolffe- Are we clones desperate?

C.C.- In some ways.

Wolffe- We’re certainly desperately lonely.

C.C.- That. And you’re desperate for kindness. And for someone not to be afraid.

Wolffe- You might be afraid if you knew what we are capable of.

C.C.- Honey, I have had sex with enough of you. I know the darkest parts of you guys.

Wolffe- Guys can be dark? How can that be? When I’m having sex, I’m as happy and stupidly enthusiastic as those idiots in the drink commercials. (Imitating one) Female body parts! Awesome!!!

C.C.- Well, not everyone is as happy as you.

Wolffe- You really think I’m happy?

C.C.- You’re one of the happiest people I know.

Wolffe- That may say more about the people you hang around with than about me. Besides, you get a skewed picture. You make me happy.

C.C.- So if you were going to do a commercial for me, how would it go?

Wolffe- Well, as a product, you are supposed to be therapeutic, but you are dangerously addictive. So it would be like those commercials for the prescription medications. You know, the ones with the weird imagery and bright colors, and all the listing of the side effects. (Doing an announcer voice) Do not use C.C. if you have a heart condition, side effects may include dehydration and a lack of interest in going back to work. Ask your doctor if she’s right for you. Then us in a tub in a field of sunflowers.

C.C.- You didn’t ask your doctor if you could move in with me. Self-medicating can be dangerous.

Wolffe- Don’t I know it.

C.C.- Still, I think I'd want you even with side effects. I think we’re messed up in the same way.

Wolffe- Do you think once you’re messed up… can you fix it?

C.C.- I think you can never be quite fixed. More, you learn how to hold the pieces together. Then you meet somebody just as broken as you are.

Wolffe- (Announcer voice.) The side effects may include liver disease and insomnia. Ask your doctor if Wolffe is right for you. Commander Wolffe, the boyfriend you wish you didn’t want.

Chapter Text

Scar Money

So in the Grand Army of the Republic, we workaday clones made prison wages. We brothers usually had no money for more than harmless fun. Drinking, some drugs, lots of whores. If we stuck to our places, we were at least free to have fun without fear. Most guys weren’t like me, they accepted what they had because they couldn’t really imagine another way to be. Now, with money, there were ways a brother might get a windfall. Gambling was one. Sometimes we’d be given awards for some heroic act or newsworthy thing, a medal and some cash. Me and my two batch mates got money for surviving Abregado. All we had to do was lose our entire battalion and they gave us a few thousand credits. Another way you could get cash was through scar money. If we were maimed in some way, a human military doctor would look at how you were healing and assign an amount that you would receive as a lump sum. My brother Boost was clawed in the face by a Herglic on Giju on a scouting mission. He was an ugly son of a bitch after that, but he did receive three thousand credits. I got five thousand for my considerably more gruesome injury.

Central Command, main office, after hours. After an extraction on Felucia, about six months in to the war. After I lost an eye.

Cody- Di’kut, that is bloody grim!

Wolffe- I know, I’m a kelpie.

Cody- (Shivering) You’re going to give me nightmares. Anyway, welcome to the club. Massive facial scars can be distinctive. You’ll be recognized everywhere, now. (Cody had some gross ones.)

Wolffe- I’m not sure I want to be recognized. Oh, so did I tell you, I’m not sleeping at the base anymore on leaves. I decided. Screw that.

Cody- What are you going to say if they ask you why?

Wolffe- That I don’t sleep anymore. Although, I doubt anyone will ask.

Cody- Where you gonna sleep, on the street?

Wolffe- No. That whore C.C. asked me to move in with her.

Cody- For how long?

Wolffe- As long as I want. Or until she kicks me out, I guess.

Cody- What does this mean, she’s like your girlfriend now?

Wolffe- That’s what she said. I’m not sure whether or not she was joking, but I’d rather believe that she wasn’t. So I will.

Cody- So how much is she charging you for this experience? Because your scar money is going to run out pretty quick.

Wolffe- She’s not.

Cody- What? I thought you were paying.

Wolffe- Nah. Weird, huh?

Cody- That doesn’t sound right. I think I’ll believe this when I see it.

Wolffe- I don’t think I really believe it. But I like sleeping there better than I like it at the base.

Cody- So what are you going to do with the scar money?

Wolffe- I already spent it.

Cody- On what?

Wolffe- I took a bunch of guys from the 327th for lapdances.

Cody- Really?

Wolffe- Bly wasn’t gonna do it. I just wanted them to feel for a second like somebody wanted them. Even if it is just one step above a wet dream.

Cody- You are so maudlin. Most of those shinies aren’t coming back though, huh?

Wolffe- No. (I felt a lump in my throat.) That’s what Bly said. The odds of at least fifty percent casualties were high. (The next week, I just checked the death notices, nearly all of them were gone. Those guys had left Kamino only two months before.)

Cody- Wolffe, have you thought about taking some leave time? I’m just saying.

Wolffe- I’d love to. Did I mention I have a girlfriend? Hey Cody?

Cody- What?

Wolffe- Do you think they should give scar money for more than just physical scars?

Cody- Oh, here we go with the philosophy. I’ll bite. Well, on Mandalore, they do. If you have a head injury and you’re incapacitated by it, the state cares for you out of respect for your service. But I guess that is a case of a physical injury. Not really the same as a mental or emotional scar. I don’t know if people bother much with those. Having them won’t stop you from doing your job.

Wolffe- Huh. Because I think I might not be right.

Cody- No one’s going to care.

Wolffe- What if I got more physical scars, until I was useless. Then at least, I’d have tons of money.

Cody- You don’t want to be useless.

Wolffe- Why?

Cody- It’s not good for us.

Wolffe- Oh. Right. What if it was just parts one could spare? I’m not talking about being a torso with a head, more like, just blast off a few toes and fingers, maybe a permanent limp.

Cody- Are you really planning an injury? Because I’d have to report you. (That nerf herder was actually serious.)

Wolffe- Nah. Look at me, I’m heinous enough. Besides, I have to keep in working order. Being as how I have a girlfriend now.

Cody- You are going to be insufferable about this, aren’t you ner’vod?

Wolffe- But other kinds of scars, if you can’t get through the day without painkillers because they overmedicated you after some injuries? Isn’t that as bad as having cuts on your face or losing a hand or a toe?

Cody- Taking drugs is a choice. Getting your toe cut off in combat isn’t.

Wolffe- What if you lost the ability to feel sometimes? Because of combat?

Cody- What do you mean?

Wolffe- Like you’re broken or something, like a setting or a feeling, you remember what it’s supposed to feel like, but you can’t get there anymore. Like the place in your heart where it was is gone. Permanently severed. Or what about if you can’t calm down sometimes because you feel like you are reliving something bad.

Cody- (I expected him to tell me to toughen up. Instead he just swallowed.) No money would make it go away.

Wolffe- Scar money is not to make scars go away. Although, the Republic did pay for Pong, here. (I tapped my prosthesis, which creeped him out.)

Cody- You named the eye?

Wolffe- I felt it was necessary.

Cody- So if you accumulated injuries, what would you do with the money?

Wolffe- The same stupid stuff I do now. Maybe I’d pull a scheme, but on a larger scale. Or have it to give away to more people.

Cody- So is your ‘girlfriend’ going to stop working? You’ll be really unpopular.

Wolffe- Are you kidding? I actually think this arrangement is brilliant. I don’t get arrested for fraternizing or have her get cited for misuse of military property. She works, I continue to see other whores. We’re both technically still breaking the law, but minor offenses. And we get to go home every night and be together.

Cody- How is it?

Wolffe- Fricking amazing! She bought me doughnuts for breakfast the first day!

Cody- What will you do when she gets tired of you or finds somebody better?

Wolffe- Be grateful to have served. (I saluted.)

Cody- Why do you always act like life is so damned great?

Wolffe- It is for me! Every time I think my luck is going to run out, it doesn’t! She gave me a drawer to put my stuff in. I have my own clothes now.

Cody- But a whore? Don’t you deserve better than that?

Wolffe- She’s the one I want, regardless of who’s 'better'. What does ‘better’ even mean anyway? I think I like things better the ‘worse’ they are. I mean, you've seen her? That woman is baaaaaaaad.

Cody- I’m just worried that you don’t like yourself very much. Letting other brothers use her, they’ll laugh at you for this.

Wolffe- They’re just jealous. She asked me to come stay with her. That means something. She could have asked anybody.

Cody- Not everybody.

Wolffe- Fine, you holdouts keep holding onto yourselves. The rest of us like her. And she likes me. It’s not ideal.

Cody- A bunch of guys sharing a woman? It’s uncivilized! I wouldn’t be able to stand it.

Wolffe- I just have to remember, it isn’t about how I feel about myself, it’s how we feel about each other. General Skywalker says, ‘Your focus determines your reality’. I think Skywalker said it was some Qui-Gon Jinn wisdom.

Cody- Oh, in that case, we know that ‘focus’ is spelled W-H-I-S-K-E-Y.

(A lot of guys thought Cody was a dick. Regardless of whether that’s true or not, Cody was funny.)


A Bottle of Water for the Spit Takes

So this one night, I was shooting pool with my friend Rolo the Hutt, owner of the clone bar on Coruscant. Well, actually, he was watching me mop the floor with his Nikto bodyguards. I would usually check in with him socially, just to maintain our dynamic. He could be a dangerous man if I made an enemy of him. So I had to grovel every so often and be amusing to have around. I did my best to exude non-threatening, youthful cockiness. I had dropped the act that I could speak Huttese. He resigned himself to the fact that he couldn’t understand me, since I always spoke in my thickest Jango accent when he was around. So we agreed that the best method of communication was my brother Bly, who had twenty language fluencies besides Basic and he had a high charm setting, so to speak. He had a warm handshake and he always smelled nice. Rolo had had a protocol droid, but I had overloaded her circuits with logic paradoxes one night and she had burned out some wires. Rolo didn’t get her fixed right away, and I’d realized why.

Rolo- Blah blah blahblah blah. Blah (man he went on, for a criminal, he sure liked to talk a lot. I was sure he was one of those guys who gave a lot of exposition about why he did this or that, while he was elaborately torturing his enemies.)

Bly- He says that’s nothing to do with him. He runs a clean business. Strictly a droid labor force, not slaves. Since the building is owned by the government, there is a loophole that allows the drinks served here to be considered government issue, so we can come here. *in the Jango* Of course, he bribed politicians to get his establishment zoned as state property. He is a Hutt after all

Wolffe- Interesting. Ask him how he keeps his impressive skin so slimy.

Bly- What?

Wolffe- Just ask him.

(Brief exchange, he convinced Bly to feel his cheek.)

Bly- (Deadpan, but discretely wiping his hand on his hip.) He says he’s always been a good secreter.

Wolffe- Well, it shows! I noticed that about you the first time I saw you. (Rolo smiled.) You also must eat a lot to maintain that corpulent figure.

Bly- He says he does. It’s a sign of affluence. But Coruscant can be so looks conscious.

Wolffe- Well, skinny Hutts can’t do nothin’ for you, as far as I’m concerned! Rolo, my good man, I would like to propose that we do some business together. I happen to do a lot of security in the Outer Rim. I’m wondering if you’re interested in some confiscated cargo. I have recently come into a shipment of Klatooine paddy frogs. I’d be happy to bring them just to you, as a friend and associate. I can say, I have sampled them personally (on a dare) and they are small, but succulent. (The things kept wiggling for a few seconds in your stomach. It’s a terrifying sensation to swallow one, then look at the others in the bowl and see that they have sharp claws.)

Rolo- *grunts*

Wolffe- So how come I never see you in here with a slave? I thought all you Hutts owned slave girls.

Bly- Rolo is gay.

Wolffe- He’s what?

Bly- I thought you knew. (I knew, that’s why I was roguishly flirting with him.)

Wolffe- So Rolo, do you have a slave boy?

Bly- Almighty Rolo says that he’s not like that. (Watched a Nikto take a shot and miss.)

Wolffe- (In my thickest Jango accent) Interested?

Bly- NO!

Wolffe- See, because I’ve been picking up on something. He kind of follows you with his eyes. (I sunk a shot.)

Bly- (He was using the Jango accent, too.) I will refuse to help you with any more of your schemes if you don’t stop trying to fix me up!

Wolffe- What? He’s not a bad guy. (I sunk the second shot in a row.)

Bly- He’s a murderous gangster.

Wolffe- That’s a little judgmental. How many guys have you shot dead? How many have been shot dead on your orders?

Bly- Oh, haha. More of your irreverent military humor. (He had never lost his respect for the institution of the army. Poor bastard.)

Wolffe- Just trying to look out for a brother. Financial security is important in a harmonious partnership. Gives you less to fight about. (I eyed the table to check some angles.)

Bly- Is that from your pamphlet on relationships?

Wolffe- Aw, you read it. (Made an absolutely beautiful combo shot.)

Bly- With a large glass of whiskey to drink. Oh, and a bottle of water for the spit takes. I was worried you were serious with that.

Wolffe- Oh, come on, when am I ever serious? (In a more Core accent) Rolo, who do you think are the hottest guys in the galaxy? (In the Jango to Bly) I wouldn’t have figured him for gay at first. He’s so masculine. Ziro the Hutt maybe. (I missed.)

Bly- Who’s to say Hutt gayness is expressed anything like it is in other creatures. Like what you consider masculine could be totally gay seeming to a Hutt.

Wolffe- You just blew my mind. (A Nikto sunk a shot. He missed the next.)

By- And Ziro is straight.

Wolffe- Man the universe is strange. So what does Rolo like? Does he like Twi’leks like straight Hutts do?

Bly- (Asked and translated the answer.) He says he’s not particular about the species, he’s into brains and a sweet personality. Anyway, it doesn’t work at the moment, on account of his diabetes.

Wolffe- He…said that? Geez, I thought only women talked about this stuff with each other.

Bly- He says he just wants someone to spoil.

Wolffe- (Loudly to Rolo) You know, my wiener was broken too. (I sank my last shot.)

Bly- (Incredulously) Really? (He translated it, but I could see him roll his eyes slightly as he did.)

Wolffe- I cured it by starting to smoke death sticks. They should put that on the packaging for those things. Every guy would buy them. Who doesn’t want a more functional man root? (I reracked.)

Bly- (Through gritted teeth) What are you trying to do? (Bly as smoking a death stick the whole time.)

Wolffe- If you see a guy smoking a lot of those things, he’s probably pretty vigorous.

Bly- (Rolling eyes again, he snuffed out his death stick) Rolo sees how active you are with the whores. It is impressive…sorry…most impressive. He used a superlative ending there.

Wolffe- Getting that printed on my next shirt. Maybe with arrows pointing…

Bly- (Rolo spoke and Bly looked at him.) Oh…sure. (He handed Rolo a death stick.)

Wolffe- I wasn’t wrong. Hut’uun has a little crush. (I elbowed Bly. I didn’t even bother to switch to the Jango accent.)

Bly- The most impressive Rolo wants to know if you could give him my com signature. *Jango accent* I will fricking kill you.

(Good thing Bly could take a joke, though. He didn’t kill me, he only punched me once in the stomach on the walk home. He was a combat champion in the academy, he could have destroyed me. Bly was right, the Hutt was a monster, he did some heinous things that we knew of, never mind what we didn’t know. But I guess even monsters have feelings.)


Soundtrack

At the party on Kiros, Rex and I got equally bombed. Usually, I was drunker, and he drank alone a lot. But this night, he passed out and I couldn’t sleep on account of being forced to take amphetamines for the mission by the army. So I took care of him. I liked when he’d let me. On the Kadavo mission. Rex had been captured and forced to work in a mine with some enslaved Togrutas. After, on Kiros, he was thinner, but he was back in his own armor. I hadn’t seen him since before Umbara. The brother had every right to feel mangled. But he was looking pretty happy, or…relieved. He said freeing the slaves was the most important mission he had ever participated in. It was the only one where he was absolutely sure he was on the side of right, no ambiguity, no remorse, no mercy. Doing things like that meant his service mattered. The Umbara disaster would have killed me, like I straight up would have gone to the medical supplies and OD’d on painkillers. Truthfully, I could have and might have done this at any time in the war. I was that mentally unsound.

Wolffe- Stop holding your cups that way, ya dushebses. (I was so drunk!)

Cody- What way?

Wolffe- The way you’re both doing. The way we all do.

Rex- How can you hold a cup in ‘a way’?

Wolffe- Everyone does it a little different. Pinky this angle, thumb at another. Infinite variations.

Rex- But not us?

Wolffe- No. And it makes us look creepy if we are too much alike.

Cody- You’re creepy anyway.

Wolffe- That may be. But I am an astute observer of social interactions.

Rex- Huh? Did you ever think that maybe you think too much? (He was drunk.)

Cody- Back at the Academy, they said he didn’t think enough.

Rex- So how’s Coruscant?

Wolffe- Good. Working hard towards my certification.

Rex- I didn’t know you were working on anything?

Wolffe- Yep. Linguistic training in Twi’leki.

Rex- I walked right into that one, didn’t I?

Wolffe- (Laughing) Yeah, you did.

Rex- Well, thanks for that. I needed more reminders of how long I’ve been alone.

Wolffe- We got this new bed, did Fives tell you? The springs are amazing! I love it so much I just had to go out and get this expensive duvet and some pillows. The store let me buy them since I had already been in there to ‘pick up’ (yes, I did air quotes) items for ‘Captain Tarkin’ before. Here, I brought a picture! (I showed him a picture of my girl in the bed giving a thumbs-up, with my fishbowl beside her. Cody and Rex shook their heads in disbelief.)

Cody- You haven’t shown that to General Plo…

Wolffe- I set it as the desktop background on his datapad. He told me my family was beautiful. Man, it’s like he’ll love me no matter what. I almost cried.

Cody- You’re defective.

Wolffe- He left it there.

Rex- Really?

Wolffe- Yeah, Cody didn’t you see it the other day aboard the cruiser, when we were all having our cereal? He was drinking his nutrition fluid at the table with us and reading something on the datapad.

Rex- General Plo eats breakfast with you?

Cody- He does, I saw it. Does Skywalker not?

Rex- Nah, he likes to sleep in.

Wolffe- Hey! You ever play Soundtrack?

Rex- What is that?

Wolffe- Okay, it’s where you see two people having a conversation and you dub the dialogue. Like say, see General Skywalker and General Kenobi over there. I’ll be one, and you be the other, as they move their mouths we say what we think they’re saying.

Rex- I wouldn’t be any good at it.

Wolffe- Cody?

Cody- I think I could give this a try.

Wolffe- Great. Just for a shakeup, I’ll be Kenobi, you be Skywalker.

Cody- (Cracking his knuckles and nodding his head back and forth to crack his neck.) I’ve been looking for a reason to do my Skywalker impression.

Rex- Why do I know this is going to be hilarious?

Wolffe- (Clearing throat, then starting as General Kenobi talked. My version of it was more elderly sounding than Cody’s, which was the definitive Kenobi impression.) Well, Anakin, I’m telling you for the hundredth time, the point of sports is to sports the most sports, sportily. I am a sports expert and in my opinion, you must score the most points while preventing the opponent from scoring as many points. Why I am also an expert on sports statistics…(Kenobi stopped speaking.)

Cody- (In perfect Skywalker impression. I’m telling you, perfect.) I’m not sure Obi-Wan, but I think they make droids now that you can have sex with, you don’t have to be alone every night watching sports. I will build one for you. Just please, stop boring me with the sports discussions. Some of us are trying to bang women.

(Rex was coughing he was laughing so hard.)

Wolffe- I am worried about the clones, you know. I heard that some might actually be using prostitutes!

Cody- (In fake dismay) The hell you say! (Skywalker pointed at Kenobi as Cody said this. It was hilarious timing.)

Wolffe- Well, as much as it disappoints me, the boys actually might want women after all. If they date, I might have to watch sports all alone.

Rex- Aw…

Cody- Oh well. So much for trying to legislate virtue.

Wolffe- Oh, Anakin. You and your wacky catchphrases!

Rex- Haha! Wacky.

Cody- Panna Longshoreman!

Wolffe- Corellian Shipfitter! (Some background on this, Cody and I had been identifying each other with different working class professions as a joke. Ever since Senator Orn Free Taa blamed ‘working class types’ as the reason there were slave brothels on Coruscant. He was definitely implying ‘working class types’ were scum.)

Cody- Member of the Temple Glaziers’ Union.

Wolffe- Out of line!

Cody- Where do you get the moral high ground?

Wolffe- You just tried to convince me to be lewd with a droid so that you would have more free time with your girlfriend.

Cody- I withdraw the question.

Rex- (Laughing hysterically.) Stop! I can’t take this anymore. You guys are sick! (He was wiping real tears.)

(Rex wasn’t being mean spirited. I just thought he needed to vent his feelings a little. Umbara had been a traumatic experience, having a Jedi turn on him and get his men killed intentionally. I have a conspiracy theory that for Rex, Umbara was a test. That somehow the Sith were trying to tempt him to their side. But he didn’t give in to hate or revenge. He even treated that monster General Krell’s remains respectfully. He never wavered in his loyalty to the Jedi and their mission. But he had realized that the Jedi were human, too. See, because you can cry while laughing at someone and still never stop loving them.)

Chapter Text

Gentlemen!

This was the first full day at the base for new commanders of the first class of army clones. We had arrived from Kamino two days before. I had just gotten my player pod the day before, so I wouldn’t stop testing it out. It was driving some of my brothers to distraction scrolling through it, or with my earphones in. We were supposed to be taking our base tour seriously, but how could they expect to keep us in line without having droid guards with electrostaffs or ill-tempered Mandalorian trainers to threaten us? We were unused to this amount of freedom and we were a little intoxicated by it.

Central Command, Coruscant. Commanders Wolffe, Cody, Bly, Gree, Ponds, and Grey, at the outer edge of the assembled brothers, getting bored with all the senseless explanation. Why do people never get that joy is in personal discovery? This Officer Natural Born was condescendingly explaining to us how modern plumbing worked as if we'd never seen it.

Wolffe- (Leaning to Cody) Hey, I bought alcohol yesterday. It was amazing. I even vomited in rainbow colors. So, I was laughing as I was throwing up!

Cody- (Who was hugging a notebook to his chest and practicing phrases in his ‘Core’ accent in a whisper. Suuuuuuch a spaz!) How can you make a dus (unclean thing) of yourself? Have respect for your body. The Republic will be ashamed of you.

Wolffe- I fell out of the top bunk and I couldn’t stop laughing as I was lying on the floor. The room was spinning!

Cody- You look like a tooka on nip.

Wolffe- When have you ever seen a tooka?

Cody- There’s one on the parade grounds by the barracks. I’ve been feeding it. The store recommended a nip plant, so I brought it one of those.

Wolffe- Jeez, you’re sentimental. Did you name it?

Cody- Don’t be an idiot, of course not. It’s an animal.

Wolffe- Call it ‘Whiskeysnap’, that’s the name of an alcoholic beverage.

Cody- No!

Officer Enbee- Gentlemen!

(We were silent for like three minutes.)

Gree- Did you see those pictures that have been going around? I just can’t stop looking at them. They make me sweat.

Wolffe- I bought a whole magazine when I bought the liquor.

Gree- Can…can I see it?

Wolffe- Sure, but it better not come back sticky!

Gree- What does that mean?

Wolffe- Have you not tried it yet? You can have as long as you want in the shower here. Plenty of time.

(Cody put his palm to his forehead. Like his urge to kill was rising.)

Gree- How?

Wolffe- Just follow your instincts.

Cody- I am going to kick the next one of you to speak in the shin so hard that it will break in two.

Bly- All this talk of plumbing…I need to find the toilet. Don’t they think clones use the toilet? I haven’t seen a toilet anywhere.

Wolffe- They’re behind closed doors…OW!! Why didn’t you kick Bly? He talked first.

Cody- When I used the word YOU, I meant it in the second person dual, I assumed it was implying the two of you to whom I had previously been speaking, since Bly had not yet said anything. I know my sentence structure was a bit complicated, with all the clauses, and since there are so many possibilities for that pronoun.

Wolffe- Any excuse to hit me, you abusive Mandalorian pigdog!

Cody- That was a kick.

Wolffe- THAT’s the part of my sentence you take issue with?

Ponds- So, you guys talking about them dirty pictures? I’ve seen a few.

Wolffe- I’m pretty sure some are better than others, but I need to figure out why.

Ponds- Wolffe with the social sciences. This guy kills me.

Wolffe- You have no idea how helpful psychology and sociology are in strategy.

Cody- That's actually true, Wolffe, you know...

Officer Enbee- Gentlemen!

Grey- (Whispering.) I have an enbee female as my general. She’s really beautiful. I’m kind of afraid she can tell I think so, since I think Jedi can read minds and all. I keep expecting her to chop off my limbs with a light saber.

Gree- I’ve got two females leading me, but they aren’t even sexually arousing, they’re so covered up all the time. Just once, I’d like to see some kind of flesh. I think it would make me happy. Is that so bad? It’s not like I’m gonna rape them just because I see something. Give me at least that much credit.

Cody- I find it offensive that you are even discussing this.

Bly- Oh, finally, the refresher! (Making a run for it.)

Grey- He’s coming back, isn’t he? He could get in trouble.

Gree- So you guys gonna get haircuts? I heard we could.

Cody-What’s wrong with how we look?

Gree- I don’t know, it’d just be fun.

(Bly came back.)

Wolffe- Not me, I love conformity! I’m never giving up the old academy ‘do. (Out of my sheer commitment to this joke, I never have. I keep it even now, because if I ever do run into that bastard Cody, I want him to see we still have the same haircut and I am positive he has never changed. Unless he lost his hair, like all the other brothers I know. Either way, I want to be laughing at him as he kills me.)

Bly- Cody can’t process the idea of fun. I’m getting mine cut short, maybe some tattoos.

Wolffe- Where?

Bly- On my face, so the Kaminoans see them as soon as I go back to pick up recruits! (I held out my hand and he clapped it.)

Wolffe- I am gonna love to see this. Maybe I’ll get a nipple ring.

(Cody looked horrified. Update, I still have it.)

Gree- (Officer Enbee, who was giving the tour, had stopped speaking suddenly, so everyone around us clearly heard Gree) What surprised me was the versatility of uses for the mouth. I never imagined. Now, it’s all I can think of.

(Cody and I both turned to see him having a conversation with Gray. For different reasons. Cody was admonishing. I was in askance.)

Cody- How are we ever going to be real men if these are the kinds of things we think? Have some respect for yourselves! (I reminded myself to talk to Gree later and find out what he knew. Ah, the adventure of personal discovery! I didn’t see Officer Enbee headed back to speak with us.)

Bly- Hey, Cody, look, I stole a sign out of the bathroom. It says ‘Remember to wash hands’ in fifty languages!

Cody- That’s actually pretty cool.

Officer Enbee- GENTLEMEN!

(We had to give back the sign of course, but that is how the six of us ended up spending our third day on Coruscant serving a shift in the base laundry, while the other commanders went on a speeder tour of the capital. One of the best days of my life. Cody set himself up as the boss of us and kept trying to make us work according to a time schedule and dividing up tasks. I started a monologue pointing out flaws in Cody’s plan until he stuffed me into a dryer machine. Bly was smoking death sticks out the back door and ignoring us, in one of his emo moods. Gree was discussing how he met a woman who would speak to him. He asked if he could see her breasts and she’d had him arrested. This was happening to a lot of guys. Ponds was diligently folding dirty laundry, probably just to look busy. I drew a ‘lewd’ cartoon on the bathroom wall and once I announced it Grey kept going in to look at it. Probably trying to figure out what it was supposed to be. My drawing wasn’t even remotely accurate. Pride of the Grand Army of the Republic, we were.)


Dataris to Doughuts

I am surprised sometimes by the delicate complexity that was clone social relations. We were a pretty insular community, so some of the mechanisms we’d adopted for our life in the cloning facility held because we took them for granted. Saving face and being respected were critical. But you couldn’t do anything without consequences, depending on alliances and ranking. A delicate balance had to be maintained. So this night, which happened sometimes, C.C. and I had a get together at our place after the bar one night. This was after Fives had visited Wookiee World with Ahsoka, so we were still talking about that. Boost and Sinker were over, so was Bly. Some of our non-clone friends came, too. Some girls, Kronnie, Ana, and, Shel’li. Also Kronnie’s boyfriend Nilo. He was a genius with stringed instruments, but his singing voice was weak. He had some soul when he was high, though. We were playing music and smoking spice. Most of us were holding a drink. A convivial environment. I had an important opportunity to make an alliance with Fives.

Fives- So, then Ahsoka and I, we actually shared a Force bond, for a second there. (He had his arm around Ana, but he hadn’t talked about anything but Ahsoka all night. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Ana was about to walk. She was red, her color was supposed to be extremely temperamental.) I’m telling you, it was a deep experience. I’d follow her into battle anywhere.

Wolfe- Eh. She can read your thoughts but you can’t see anything back? Seems a little talky. Like a Force friendzone. (I was getting near the moment where I needed to get to bed. I kept trying to catch my girlfriend’s eye, so I could let her know what I was thinking. C.C. was having a heated discussion with some girls about work. Their lekku were twitching while they spoke and gestured. It was like some expressive dance.)

Fives- You don’t share a bond with General Plo?

Wolffe- Nah. (Laughing) He don’t want to be in my head. I trust him to give me my space. Just because they can spy on us doesn’t mean they should. The Jedi should trust us to think on our own and not influence the conclusions we come to. They shouldn’t tell us what to be afraid of. They should trust us to know the difference between right and wrong. Anyway, they’re just as human as us. (I could tell I was boring him.)

Fives- That’s it, I think she was almost mad. What do you think she was mad about? I mean, it wasn’t thinking anything scandalous, I’m over that.

Wolffe- How could you have been attracted to a woman that isn’t full grown? I just don’t understand it. (I was staring at the girls talking, taking in little details. Ana was looking perturbed, even though she couldn’t have been much older than Ahsoka, maybe three years at best, I thought.)

Fives- How do you know about that? I thought that was a secret. But, don’t you think she’s beautiful?

Wolffe- Well, yeah, but not like that. I feel more like, I’d rather see her kick some guy’s ass than take off her clothes. I’m proud of her, like I am of my brothers.

Fives- Yeah, well, that’s how I saw her in the thought she read. I mean, what did she think? That I was picturing us in bed together?

Wolffe- That thought creeps me out. Just because it would look like me in bed with her. It feels wrong. (I was looking at C.C.’s legs in the shoes she was wearing and thinking that I was going to leave them on.)

Fives- I think even she feels wrong about it, truthfully. I don’t want anything from her like that. As you say, I want a woman that’s fully grown. (Ana was snuggled into his shoulder. She put her hand on his chest.)

Wolffe- So what’s the problem? I wouldn’t worry about it. If she’s bothered, she’ll say something sooner or later. Women always say, they can’t help it. When she does, just be contrite. Nothing she’s mad about is worth fighting over, believe me. (That was from my relationship pamphlet. To Ana) Now Ana, are you going to take this assclown home? I’m tired of listening to him.

Fives- Maybe we’ll go try out the new bed.

Wolffe- I will punch you in the dick if you go near it!

Fives- Eh? (He jokingly made to go to the bedroom, so I punched him in the dick.)

Fives- Ow! (Through gritted teeth.) What was that for? (Ana had jumped back as he caved in.)

Wolffe- You know! (I was kidding, but he couldn’t seem to tell.)

Fives- Is this because I laughed at Appo’s joke?

Wolffe- (No, I had no idea what Appo’s joke had been. Now I had to find out.) No. This was because you didn’t take me seriously. I told you not to use my bed and you were joking like you’d do it anyway. You don’t listen.

Fives- Wolffe, I didn’t…

Wolffe- (I was pretty hary baly, so it bothered me more than usual that the 501st was joking about me.) No, none of you 501st bastards respect me at all. Like you can just walk all over me because I admire Rex so much. So I have to be pissed on by you? He earned my respect, he has looked out for me. I don’t owe the rest of you guys anything.

Fives- I really didn’t mean…(He was protecting his crotch with both hands.)

Wolffe- I’m just taking the piss. (I patted the back of his neck. My manner was relaxed, but the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. I had to control my anger, Fives wasn’t responsible for my frustration.)

Fives- Wolffe, I have never…

Wolffe- I know Fives. I know you’re not like those other guys. Poor Rex, though, he can’t see it. He thinks his guys are all virtuous because he is. But they act like they have a right to things because they’re strong. Like they think they’re better than us.

Fives- I have never heard anyone be that way about you. (Ana walked off towards the door as her ex Eche walked in with a new girl.)

Wolffe- I hope not. (Here I went.) But after I heard what Appo said, I kind of felt…(Ana slapped the new girlfriend.)

Fives- No, man, he wasn’t serious! He didn’t see that C.C. was there, he wasn’t talking about her! (The new girl grabbed Ana’s lekku, Ana kicked her over into the living room table. My shotglass pyramid went every which way.)

Wolffe- Oh, really. So he didn’t mean to call her that? (I took a stab at it. It worked.)

Fives- No, he doesn’t really think she’s a communal receptacle. He just said that the 104th can’t get women and so you all use a trash can. It was just a joke, about you guys, like we all say about each other all the time. (Eche dragged his girl out while Ana had a fistful of her bristles. The other girls were consoling Ana.)

Wolffe- (That was worse than I thought. I was really mad about the joke.) Really? So he didn’t mean her specifically as, you know, trash? Is it okay that he made her feel like that? Not the woman who is known to every clone as my girlfriend, but who is also a prostitute, who we all use. No, that wouldn’t be the sexual partner most associated with us? (Sarcastically) He certainly wasn’t characterizing her when he made his statement, you know, in general, but that’s nothing like specifically saying she’s trash? (I knew I had to do something about it.)

Fives- I just think you might be overreacting. Since when are you sensitive? I joked yesterday that you used to get rashes from attempting to gratify yourself using Republic Issue Soap as lubricant, and you didn’t do anything to me. Maybe you just don’t like Appo?

Wolffe- First of all, fair game on the soap thing. It happens to be true. (Eche came back in without his lady friend and went to the fridge without asking and took out a beverage. I made a mental note of this.)

Fives- Ew, really?

Wolffe- Second, I like Appo less than other people, it’s true, but only because he has been known to be a dick to people. I don’t like that. What did C.C. ever do to him?

Fives- You’re right. Look, I’m sorry for what he said. I’m sorry I laughed. I wasn’t really even paying attention. I should have told him that was out of line, before C.C. came up and told him she would never service him again. (Good for her.) Then he actually got mad. As ARC Trooper, I was the one that had to give my guys the order to get him to the ground. We took him back to the barracks.

Wolffe- I guess I’m glad you got involved when you did.

Fives- I promise I’ll always make sure to keep an eye on her for you. She talks tough, but she could get hurt. Sorry also about the rashes thing. (Eche and Ana started loudly arguing in Twi’leki.)

Wolffe- I told Rex that in confidence and he told everyone. The guy is a gossip.

Fives- Really? You don’t think he told everyone about my crush on Ahsoka? (C.C. started telling off Eche as he planted himself in my favorite living room chair.)

Wolffe- Dataries to doughnuts. He told me. Skywalker probably knows by now.

Fives- That’s embarrassing.

Wolffe- Yeah, so be careful what you tell him. Rex is an open book. But remember, he will always tell you the truth. So can you help me get back at Appo?

Fives- Sure, that’ll be easy.

Wolffe- Thanks for helping me. (We gripped hands to seal the pact.)

Fives- It’s the right thing to do. I agree with you, the 501st needs to learn about respect.

(Ana came over and started dragging Fives to come with her, as she put on her coat. Eche was calling her some rather unpleasant things. Bly told Eche he was out of line and cold cocked him. As Fives was helping Ana get her coat, I told him I took consent very seriously, so he should behave himself. He said he knew I meant that and that I was the kind of guy who would not hesitate to sucker punch him in the dick. Ana told me to mind my own damned ‘beezneez’. Fives was great, I was lucky that I got to know him as well as I did. That’s what alliances are. Sharing information with those you trust, those who share your ideals. Fives never gave Appo the heads up. Fives, he was fair. Loyal to his word, not his outfit. Guys like him and Rex had honor higher than some brother code where we stuck together against enbees. So check it, two things from this. One night at 79’s, I was staging a mock fight with my brother Bly and Bly ‘knocked’ me into Appo. I caught him with an elbow that broke his nose and then I ducked as Bly charged me, so he hit Appo square in the face against the wall. Appo had to have reconstructive surgery. It was a clear accident, so Fives told Rex. He trusted Fives, so the 501st couldn’t retribute. We all respected his insight. Second thing, when I listen to this dialogue now, it occurs to me how fricking illegal it was for clones to be this way, just about everything we were doing was legislatively forbidden for us. Didn’t stop us, we could have everything just as long as we didn’t set our sights too high. I liked being a low type, as a defective guy, I belonged in a defective society. That didn’t suit some guys. Rex for instance. It was his example, being full of pride and self-discipline, that made the 501st the shining star of the Grand Army. I felt like most of his guys had all of his pride but they were becoming corrupt and entitled. I don’t know where they were getting their tyrannical tendencies, to be honest. Only Skywalker had more influence than Rex, and everyone knew he was a hero. Oh..and just a little third thing, when I woke up in the morning after that party, I found Eche passed out in my bathtub, so I took my morning piss on his face. When he yelled at me, I pretended I was sleepwalking.


Dipshit Pose

This one night, I was working at the Jedi Temple. I’d used some of my connections to help the 104th to pull a tour on Coruscant running diagnostics on fighters in the Temple Hangar. General Kenobi’s funeral had been the day before, clones weren’t invited, but the mood around the Temple was still somber. I hung around late the next day so I could change into street clothes and smoke spice while I worked a night shift, since barely anyone was around. I was really in no state to be seen by my men. Staying high helped the pain a little. I was taking a break for sustenance when Ahsoka and General Skywalker found me. They caught me listening to emotional teenager music (don’t judge me, I was not even twelve, I was learning about new feelings). I was in the common kitchen in the residential quarters. I was not supposed to be in that room, but I didn’t usually do what I was supposed. When they surprised me, I was eating from a canister of flour.

Wolffe- I’m not eating flour.

Ahsoka- We didn’t ask what you were doing. But should we. Are you alright? (She recognized the music and knew I must be depressed.)

Wolffe- Yes (I asked as if I was genuinely curious why she asked. She was a teenager, she could probably recognize grief eating.)

Skywalker- You know that’s…an ingredient…right?

Wolffe- (I did, of course. But we were out of contraband food and I couldn’t stand to eat the nutrition rations.) It’s tasty. It’s…a clone thing. We eat flour, you know…whatever.

Skywalker- You know, sometimes I don’t get clone jokes.

Wolffe- It’s because you had a mother. No mother would let little boys eat flour, but we never had a mother, so…we do. (I put a fistful of it in my mouth. Commander Wolffe, so hardcore!)

Ahsoka- So, I understand you guys were all raised in a cloning facility, but I’ve been wondering? How did you know that you’d get out of there? I was just talking to Bariss about this. For all you knew, that facility was the universe, they were depriving you of any way to leave or of even knowing that you could. How did you not go completely crazy when you left? (She had become a bit more introspective lately.)

Wolffe- I thought Kamino was the universe for a long time, even though they taught us different. I thought they might be tricking us. (Laughing.) The cloners put me on anti-depressants when I told them that, but those just made me think more clearly, which made me more depressed. You can’t imagine how happy I was to see General Kenobi.

Skywalker- Obi-Wan? Why? Did you know he was coming?

Wolffe- No. I don’t even think the Kaminoans did. But for me, it was like looking at my back and suddenly finding wings. We hadn’t been lied to. They had made us for a purpose. (My eyes stung a little. Maybe just from the flour. Or from the fact that I had stopped taking my anti-depressants because I gave them to 212th guys who were even more broken up than me. I hugged the canister.) He let me know that somebody had a plan for us, after all. He made me feel cared for. Most Jedi I know are cool. But it started with him, Vor entye, Jetii Kenobi. Thank you, Master Kenobi. He saved my life.

Skywalker- Obi-Wan meant that much to you?

Wolffe- Sure. I’m happy to fight if it’s to kick butt for guys like him. Like you, too. You saved me after Abregado, even though people told you not to. I felt so lucky that you thought I mattered.

Skywalker- Don’t you ever want more?

Wolffe- More what?

Skywalker- Whatever. Maybe more money?

Wolffe- Nah. I’d just piss it away.

Skywalker- What about a family?

Wolffe- HA!

Skywalker- So what means something to you? What’s important?

Wolffe- Knowing there are plenty of people I’d die for, who’d do the same for me. Not just brothers anymore, either. That’s pretty great. But I’ve always had that, all my life. That’s why I called my batch mates my pack. If you got that, you got most things, right? (That was a clone saying about our personal kitpacks.)

Skwalker- Did you ever want an opportunity to try something else, another job? (I got the impression he was trying to convince me of something.)

Wolffe- I’d actually like to do less work. I do as little as possible now. (I was lapsing back into my cheeky self. I turned off the maudlin.)

Ahsoka- So Master Obi-Wan, he was the first non-clone human you’d ever seen?

Wolffe- Nah, we’d had Mandalorian trainers since third year. They had only just been released right before Kenobi arrived. So us older guys, we had to take over the teaching. But Mandalorians look a certain way and we looked another. We accepted that we were different. Made sense to us.

Ahsoka- Yeah, I’ve taught them. They don’t look anything like you guys.

Wolffe- Pasty bastards, ain’t they! (Ahsoka laughed.) Anyway, I’ll never forget it. I was in the air traffic control, we would simulate navy battles on consoles, we’d get experience at commanding and coordinating attacks. I was teaching the Captain Class that day, that’s Rex’s year, although I think he wasn’t there. We picked up a transmission from an actual ship. We had never been on actual ships, except for some surface vessels the Kaminoans had us use for training. This guy, Kenobi, requested permission to land. I didn’t know what to do, I froze for a second. Then I gave him permission, according to protocols. I thought it was a new test programmed into the simulator, when I first heard him in my earpiece. Imagine my surprise when we saw a ship actually come out of the sky. We all ran over to the window to look out. We had learned about Jedi ships in classes, but no clone had ever seen one. It was a fricking fighter! I’d only ever seen schematics for them. We could just see his figure on the platform as he emerged from the ship. A new kind of human! He was wearing Jedi regalia, like they’d taught us about in Republic Loyalty classes! But he had a beard! I tell you, the beard was the most unexpected aspect. We kind of fixated on it. Mandalorians and clones don’t wear beards. We all talked about it.

Skywalker- Really? (He was chuckling to himself.)

Wolffe- I went straight back to the barracks where everyone was crammed in near the bed drawers and weapons lockers. Waiting for me, I found my batch mates who came up from the enlisted barracks to ask me what I knew. I told them and we were so excited, we started chanting. The news was making the rounds everywhere. Cody, he was in the bunk next to me, he walked in in silence. I went to him and he told us he had actually spoken to him and his name was Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Now we were all asking him questions. Some guys were drawing pictures of the General, little cartoons to explain how the beard and the clothes looked, drawn by guys who claimed to have seen him in the hallways. Everywhere in the facility after he left, we wrote ‘vor entye, Jetii Kenobi’ and ‘thank you, Master Kenobi’. The droids scrubbed it off most places, but we made a shrine in the barracks that stayed. We have another to Master Yoda, who came next to get guys for Geonosis right after. Another to Shaak-Ti. She trained guys after us in the first class. Us first class guys went straight to war after Geonosis.

Ahsoka- Wait, shrines to Jedi?

Wolffe- Yeah, there are lots now. Anywhere the army serves, we set them up.

Skywalker- The pictures in the Tipoca City shrines are famous among clones. I saw them during the Separatist invasion there. The clones will touch them for luck. Leave little keepsakes. It is a great honor to inspire so many men. Obi-Wan said that, historically, it’s a very typical military practice, like having mascots. Like those booster clubs they have on Coruscant for different battalions.

Ahsoka- I thought those were prostitutes’ unions? Wasn’t there a joke like that?

Wolffe- Can’t they be both? (I realized I looked like a total ruffian. Covered in grease from work and wearing a shirt that said ‘Impressive, Most Impressive’, with a blue lightsaber in the middle cutting through the words.) The 104th offers members the best union benefits! I’m just kidding. Nah, the clubs are more like, a way to compete, it’s like a game for us. Getting girls to wear your colors is a sign of prestige. We try to get the girls’ attention and do stuff like having them model for our nose art on our ships. But it’s all in good fun. Hell, my girlfriend is on half the gunships from here to the Outer Rim. With the Jedi, it’s more serious, they’re the people who inspire us to be brave.

Ahsoka- The girls don’t?

Wolffe- Who said bravery is the feature women favor most, if you know what I mean? (They looked at each other awkwardly. It was hilarious.) It’s important, but other things matter more.

Ahsoka- So wait, the clones are inspired by different Jedi.

Skywalker- Like patrons.

Wolffe- For luck. I have so many, and I’m lucky as. (I took out of my pocket a little stack of drawings of different Jedi. I’d bought them from my more artistically inclined brothers.)

Ahsoka- Where is the one of me?

Wolffe- (Flipping through them.) Ahsoka, your icon is cool, holding the two swords.

Ahsoka- Ew, I’m not dressed like a pinup girl, like on those pieces of nose art, am I?

Wolffe- Nah. See? (Holding out the card.) Normal, like you dress.

Skywalker- Icon?

Wolffe- Yeah. Yours is that dipshit pose from the war posters. (Handing him his card.)

Ahsoka- Dipshit pose? (He handed it to Ahsoka.)

Wolffe- Yeah, where he looks like a guy from that boy band doing a dance move…

Ahsoka- Now I can’t unsee it.

Skywalker- What?

Wolffe- No worries. I like it anyway. You’re popular, but we never want to admit we like you, because we feel like it would be effeminate to be a fan of yours. You know, since you’re so pretty and all.

Skywalker- I’m sorry, but seriously?

Wolffe- But that don’t make no never mind to me. I just say I think you’re cool no matter what. Haters gonna hate.

(Ahsoka was having a fit trying to swallow laughter as I undermined her master’s self-esteem.)

Skywalker- Who hates me? (Not everything is about you, Ani-had-a-mother!)

Wolffe- Probably just your enemies, am I right! You’re totally the strongest Jedi ever! Right, tough guy!

Skywalker- Right. (Raised an eyebrow at me. He could tell I was messing with him by then.)

(I offered him some flour, which he refused, but he smiled when he did. I like to think I cheered him up a bit. Of course, General Kenobi was not really dead, he was just undercover, but none of us had known. I still have my little icons, since I always used to keep them under my armor plates in battle and I deserted straight from Cato Neimoidia. I went home that night and C.C. was able to get someone to bring over a new anti-depressant prescription in the morning. I got a few days leave for dehydration and exhaustion as I went on them again. I went back to the front, after. I told them I still wasn’t well, but they said there was no one else they could send, since so many soldiers had been intentionally dehydrating themselves once they heard that you could get leave time for it.)

Chapter Text

Pamphlet Things

This one day I was at the base doing the required physical training. *rude hand gesture* It was nice weather so Gree and I were running the outdoor obstacle course at the base. We kept pace with each other just to shoot the poodoo as it were. I turned my recorder on to leave myself a reminder, but the conversation was interesting, so I left it on.

Two Commanders on the track at the physical training facilities, Central Command, Coruscant.

Wolffe- -at story just serves to illustrate my point! Note to self, I need to write up a pamphlet for clones on how to have relationships. Brothers are not respectful enough to women.

Gree- How do you figure you’re the expert?

Wolffe- For over a year now, a real live woman has tolerated my rather consistent presence. Also, I have had relations more times and been with more different women than any of you. I can talk to them.

Gree- Yeah, but you’re famous for saying the weirdest things to them.

Wolffe- I say weird things to everyone, I don’t act like someone else around women. Which is why they like me. I got game! It’s easy because it’s not pretension.

Gree- What does ‘getting game’ mean?

Wolffe- Not ‘getting game’ you eediot! Got. Game. Okay, Gree, you know what, I am dedicating this thing to you, because you are a flipping screw up.

Gree- Said the king of STD’s.

Wolffe- I have never had an STD. That’s just irresponsible.

Gree- Never? Even I’ve had them, and I never get laid.

Wolffe- Always use prophylactics, Gree, always. That’s going in the pamphlet. First thing. Keep yourself clean and ready for duty. I shouldn’t even have to say that, they taught us that in the academy.

Gree- Would the dedication say, ‘To my best brother, Gree’? Or more of a joking ‘To that idiot who can’t get a girl, here is a pamphlet on how’ kind of feel?

Wolffe- Pamphlet thing number two, a lack of self-confidence kills lady-wood. Don’t stand around asking her why no one likes you, for instance. Ask her about her. What is her homeworld like? Or, where does she buy her shoes? Engage. Give her a reason to stay and talk to you. I always have questions ready. I’m the king of speed dating. Last night I was speed dating like six people in the bar. Rolo kept asking to buy me a drink. I think he wants to ‘spoil’ me a little bit. That guy’s just lonely. Man, I even got game with Hutts.

Gree- You were sitting with me for some of it, were you speed dating with me?

Wolffe- Nah, baby, you know you’re special to me. Pamphlet thing three, make her feel special. Making her feel good is your job, soldier!!

Gree- Doesn’t sex feel good to them? I’d love to have sex as many times a night as a prostitute does.

Wolffe- I’m going to set that aside as something we need to discuss later, soldier.

Gree- Oh no? Am I doing something wrong? Did the girls say something?

Wolffe- Moving on…Pamphlet bullet point…

Gree- Are they bullet points now, I thought they were ‘pamphlet things’.

Wolffe- Are you taking notes? I don’t allow notes in my meetings. And I record everything, just so you know.

Gree- Everything? Even when we were in the latrine earlier?

Wolffe- Thank goodness it doesn’t record smells.

Gree- I’m not.

Wolffe- Not what?

Gree- Taking notes.

Wolffe- Pamphlet bullet point four…no three. PBP-3, do not be afraid to express your enthusiasm. Don’t be afraid to look stupid doing it, either. Every girl wants the chance to be the star of her own show. Be her biggest fan.

Gree- I don’t think I know how to do any of these things.

Wolffe- No one does. You have to experiment, see what works.

Gree- So what works?

Wolffe- I’m not gonna tell you. That’s for you to discover.

Gree- What did you do?

Wolffe- What I honestly felt. Oh, and I read ladies’ magazines.

Gree- Magazines with pictures of ladies?

Wolffe- No! Read something with words once in a while!

Gree- How did you make your woman like you? I don’t even think C.C. knows my name.

Wolffe- Hehe! She calls you ‘Cree’. I think she liked that I wasn’t afraid to show my feelings.

Gree- I said I was interested in her one night. But she took Neyo over me.

Wolffe- Interested? Sounds like she’s a bug you found crawling on your hand. It’s not worth it to her. Bored guys are not good tippers. You know what I did the first night I took her home?

Gree- Oh yeah, I remember, you were all drunk, you kept singing to her.

Wolffe- Yeah, and whenever I did, she would laugh. It got her attention. She let me come with her. I thought it might just be that once, but that morning, I could have walked out of there and gone into battle the next day and died happy. No regrets.

Gree- I can’t sing.

Wolffe- Are you kidding? Of course you can’t.

Gree- Why not?

Wolffe- Lack of self-confidence. You’re too afraid of being embarrassed. You’re sure it’s going to turn out bad. But embarrassment is not the worst thing. Also, see pamphlet thing number two.

Gree- You mean bullet point…

Wolffe- WHATEVER!

Gree- So you got any spice?

Wolffe- I am so miffed at how you don’t pay attention. And you know what, that’s on the pamphlet, thing…four.

Gree- Aw come on, Wolffe, give me something I can use.

Wolffe- You are SO unaware of how you are being right now! Pamphlet bullet thing five, empathy! Try to see yourself through her eyes. How would you feel if someone treated you like guys do her? Like you’re all lining up for your chance at the urinal. Now picture if it was a bunch of bigger, stronger, more violent creatures always in a big group, competing for your attention trying to get to the front of the line. Being a woman is just dangerous. Make her feel safe. She’s a citizen of the Republic, it’s your duty to protect her, soldier. You know what, I’m gonna type this thing up and get the pamphlets printed. Ignorance is really a security issue at this point.

Gree- What if enbees read it, they’ll see how clueless we are.

Wolffe- So they laugh. I think it will help them to see us as human. Plenty of Natural Born guys share our concerns, I bet. Even Jedi, Skywalker would laugh, I bet, he’s got a good sense of humor. Oh and I could include a playlist for spending sexy time. All R&B.

Gree- I like heavy isotope.

Wolffe- You can’t use that for sex, that’s for like…driving…or heavy shelling.

Gree- Is that a euphemism for something?

Wolffe- No! Can we just stay on one topic at a time please?

Gree- Sorry, Wolffe.

Wolffe- Show her your appreciation. (As we entered the wooded area of the track, I slowed down to a walk and packed my portable spice pipe and lit it, inhaling.)

Gree- What?

Wolffe- That’s thing six. (I passed him the pipe and exhaled smoke, looking around.) When I was first with C.C., I gave her my whole medal bonus, all the money I had in the universe. And a note that said, ‘That was the best night of my life!’ Because it was true. She knows what she means to me because I showed her.

Gree- (Taking a hit) I always pay the girls. I even usually tip.

Wolffe- I can’t believe we’re made from the same guy.

(I funded the printing of my relationship pamphlet with a loan from General Plo. He kept a copy on his refrigerator held with little magnets I’d brought him from gentlemen’s clubs I visited. I glued some pamphlets to walls around Coruscant, both outdoors and in the latrines of places clones visited. It was one of the most widely read pieces of literature among the army, since sitting on the toilet was the only damn time most brothers read. An aside, Gree died by beheading by a light saber. By General Yoda no less! Now, that is not the worst way I can think of to die. That one is still death by barbed sand anus...sarlacc, that's what that's called. But it is kind of poetic when a clone goes out that way, since Jango did, too. A kind of traditional Fett funeral, I guess. It happened to us way more than you would think possible.)


Snow Dummy

At Central Command one day, I was there to drop off my equipment requisition forms. The weather on Coruscant was usually pretty nice, but now and again it could vary if the weather controls were malfunctioning. As Kamino born clones, we knew every type of rain that existed. But snow was a new one on us. That day, it was snowing and there was enough on the ground to play with. I started building with it right outside of the entrance to the central offices of the natural born officers. My brother Ponds walked by, wearing a cloth uniform looking kind of miserable. He’d never been posted anywhere cold, so he didn’t have a coat like I did. I’d been to some ice worlds, so I had the decent equipment. I also had a knit cap Ahsoka made me. I had my player pod on to remind myself some other things I had to do later that day.

The base at Central Command on Coruscant, winter time. Present, Commanders Wolffe and Ponds.

Wolffe- Also, figure out what ‘mulling’ is, and do it to some wine.

Ponds- Hey Wolffe, what are you doing?

Wolffe- Building a snow dummy.

Ponds- No reason to be mean.

Wolffe- Not ‘building a snow, dummy’. You know snow is a mass noun. No indefinite article. But I was using 'snow' is an adjective. The noun clause is ‘snow dummy’. (Did ANYONE but me and Cody pay attention in Basic class at the academy? Jeez!)

Ponds- Huh. (Just standing around.) A snow dummy.

Wolffe- Yeah. Its name is Fork Nozzle.

Ponds- Fork Nozzle?

Wolffe- Yeah.

Ponds- What does that mean?

(I shrugged. He didn’t leave, but just kept standing around, so I looked at him.)

Wolffe- Well, you COULD help.

Ponds- Sorry, what should I do?

Wolffe- Make a ball of snow, start rolling it on the ground until it gets bigger.

Ponds- How big?

Wolffe- About like so. (I held up my hands and mimed holding a ball. We stacked the snow and I sculpted it into some kind of shape. I had good gloves, too. They were warm and waterproof, but tight enough for dexterity, so you could pull a trigger. Ponds only had those leather ones they gave us for dress uniforms and he was ruining them spectacularly.)

Ponds- Where did you get the idea for this?

Wolffe- We built them on Khorm.

Ponds- What, like for target practice?

Wolffe- Hehe! That would be cool. Maybe next time. Nah. Just for fun. (Ponds looked confused. He never had much fun, I guessed. His general didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor.) Could you grab me some more snow to form the contours. Also, dig me out some of that scrub grass.

Ponds- (Digging the grass and grabbing a fistful.) So you’ve played in the snow? When did you get to do that?

Wolffe- Khorm. We’d never seen it before. We had the most epic snowball fight!

Ponds- A what?

Wolffe- Get me those two sticks over there in that noodle box. A snowball fight.

Ponds- What’s that? (Handing me the sticks.)

Wolffe- (Pretty self-explanatory, I thought.) We made balls of snow and threw them at each other.

Ponds- For practice maneuvers, or something?

Wolffe- Nah. Just because.

(As I worked on a second snow dummy posed with the first, I told him the story.)

Wolffe- We were assigned to Khorm to march on this weather station. For safe landing, the navy had already occupied a small city a few days march from our objective. So we get to the city, our staging area. Just a refinery for Agrocite. Not much there, typical industrial spaceport. The refinery, workers’ housing, one or two bars, a brothel. I had researched each establishment for my briefing when we landed. I had to direct everyone on local conduct, since we got there and we had like two days before the tank march. The gunships landed and were getting our tanks and equipment put away and we were in these covered hangars. General Plo called us for our briefing. We asked if there were any questions and all anybody wanted to know about was the snow. I’d studied weather for my tactical specialization, so I explained how it came about, frozen water crystals and all. I knew something about the effects it could have on weapons and visibility. But General Plo went out to get some and he started passing it around. It was a totally new sensation, touching it.

Ponds- It’s cold and wet, though.

Wolffe- Well, yeah, but fluffy. Anyway, we went outside and started playing with it, picking it up, tasting it. A few of us fell down, slipping on it. I think Comet was the first one to take a piss in it, just to see it melt. We laughed so hard. Then some guys started rolling in it and sliding on it. Some were shaping it with our hands. Four-Four had this big armful, I said to him ‘what’s that?’ pointing at the pile. As soon as he looked down, I knocked his arms up and the whole armful went in his face. He had snow in his nose and hair and everything. Then some guys started throwing around snowballs. General Plo looks at us and says ‘Sergeants Boost and Sinker, with me. Comet and Four-Four, with the Commander. You have ten seconds to organize.’

Ponds- General Plo said that?

Wolffe- Oh yeah, he loves a good competition. He used to coach a youth shockball team as part of the Jedi outreach programs. Anyway, all the guys divided up and scattered. I told my guys to run ahead and find some cover. We started making balls, waiting for them. They crept up and charged us throwing, we started tossing as they charged and we fell back and hid behind some buildings, then we ambushed them so they retreated to a safer position to regroup. Next they tried to out flank us, sneaking around behind us on the other side of the buildings. General Plo was Force pushing a wave of snow ahead of us to get us out into the open in the central court of the spaceport, so I had the guys run and when we got to the court, we hit the ground and we got buried. (I was laughing pretty hard as I was telling it.) By the time they followed the snow wave, we jumped up and surprised them. The two sides clashed, we tackled each other into the drifts and were just wrestling each other down, trying to stuff as much snow as possible down our parkas or smash faces into it.

Ponds- Really? Where was General Plo in all of this?

Wolffe- Standing around laughing. Then I started shouting, ‘Mutiny!’ The other guys were shouting it, too. Then we all turned on General Plo. We pelted him and we were all laughing so loud and yelling. Major Ozzel comes running out of this building on the square, pulling on his pants and coat shouting, ‘General Koon, are you alright? Have the clones rebelled?’ General Plo finally managed to get out some words, as he’s dusting himself off. ‘Yes, Major,’ (I was doing my Plo impression, holding my hand in front of my mouth to be the mask) ‘just a bit of fun’. I looked up at the building Ozzel had come out of, and I had just got done telling everyone in my briefing that that was a Khormai whore house. When I was assembling information for my briefing, I was ‘curious to see what they had on offer’, so I asked for a look at the facilities. I was shocked.

Ponds- But enbees (natural born) use whores, too. It’s not just us.

Wolffe- Yeah, but you’ve obviously never seen a Khormai.

(I stepped back and studied my work on the snow dummies. It was a reasonable approximation of now Captain Ozzel, he’d been promoted, with scrub grass mustache. He was posed with a walrusy Khormai bent over in front of him. I looked towards the entrance to the offices and saw Ozzel coming with some other guys, so I ran, leaving Ponds standing there with the snow dummies. I think he said he had to go to a seminar on workplace sensitivity, afterwards. I bought Ponds some new gloves to tell him I was sorry, though.)

The Droids I Was Looking For

In the first days on Coruscant, we had to go to the Jedi Temple a lot for meetings. As you can imagine, since the Republic found themselves in a galaxy wide war the same week it found out it had an army, they kind of needed to build a lot from scratch. Natural born officers from the Imperial Navy designed some, and I was content to have the enbees have at it. But they said the army did need its own protocols and procedures. Cody was the one coming up with most of them. This was where we clones de facto elected Cody as our leader simply because nobody else wanted to do the work. Still, I thought Cody was acting kind of pompous, so when we had a break for caf one day, General Plo was telling me about Jedi powers and he mentioned the Jedi mind trick. I made a bet with General Plo. He thought clones had strong enough wills to resist a simple mind trick. I told him there was no way. I asked him to test me, since I fully intended to go along with whatever he said. He said it wouldn’t work if I knew he was doing it, it was as simple as that. So I told him to go and try it on Cody. Strictly speaking, it sounds like I was betting that my people were weak minded. Really, my objective was just to annoy Cody. He didn’t tolerate hijinks.

War Room, Jedi Temple, Coruscant. On a break. Present, Clone Commanders Wolffe, Cody, and Oddball, the Jedi Generals Plo Koon and Kenobi, and Padawan Commander Skywalker.

Plo- (Walking over to Cody, Kenobi, Skywalker and Oddball) Hello, Commander.

Cody- General Koon. (He nodded and turned back to Kenobi.) General Kenobi, we were able to find some more GNK’s for the trip to Muunilist.

Kenobi- Ah, just the droids I was looking for.

Cody- Yes, Commander Skywalker helped me find some at a Republic equipment scrap yard. I’m not sure why they were being decommissioned, they were in perfect working order. Just because they were old. I mean, what does it matter if GNK’s are old? They still provide power just the same. Why just leave them to sit?

Skywalker- Exactly! I just can’t believe the waste. On Tatooine, we salvaged everything. Even if you had to fight off a krayt dragon to get it. Kill it, it’s a bonus not an obstacle, now you get dragon jerky too. (He used to act real hardcore around us. Man we thought he was a straight up badass when we met him. Nineteen years old and he had already killed more monsters and bad guys than he could recall. At this time, we’d only trained in fricking simulators. Cody and I didn’t go to Geonosis. Fricking Ponds ran Geonosis. That’s why it was such a cluster.)

Cody- (A Felucian youngling was sneaking around the door.) Commander, are you assigned to this session, I’ll check the list if I could see your identification?

Kenobi- You don’t need to see his identification. (To the kid) Eli, get back to Master Yoda’s class. (To Cody) Eli isn’t a padawan yet, he’s too young.

Cody- Most of these padawans look too young to me sir. At that developmental stage, I had barely completed basic training. (I’m pretty sure in natural age, some younglings were older than Cody.)

Plo- I was just thinking (waving hand) you might want to set up a practice schedule for the training facilities.

Cody- Perhaps you’re right. It would assure that there are no conflicts. (He wrote it in his notebook.) I’ll make an announcement about it to the other commanders tonight. I should have a schedule posted by tomorrow.

Plo- (Waving hand) You should mention that rubber quadducks are not allowed in the showers.

Cody- Ah…I…ah, don’t know when that might come up, but I’ll take it under advisement. (Cody wrote something.)

Kenobi- (Waving hand subtly, just a flick of the fingers) You should call for a vote on a regulation code for asking to go to the toilet.

Cody- Sir…?

Plo- (Waving hand) You will discuss a toilet protocol.

Cody- I…think the guys can just take care of that themselves.

Kenobi- Let me try again (waving hand). Call it a PP-1.

Cody- You’re more than welcome to bring it up, sir, if you think it’s important…I hardly think…(They were standing too near him, he was getting uncomfortable.)

Kenobi- (Looking at Cody) Fascinating.

Skywalker- (Waving hand) You will discuss a toilet protocol.

Oddball- (Behind the Jedi) I will discuss a toilet protocol.

(By this time, I was laughing so hard that I was doubled over. I always knew Oddball was weak minded fool! Immediately after the briefing resumed, Cody asked if there were any questions, so I asked Cody if we would be discussing a toilet protocol. Oddball enthusiastically called for a vote on the code. I suggested we call it a PP-1, Oddball seconded the motion, it passed unanimously. It was ever after in official Grand Army reg manuals. Cody waited until we were back at the officers’ barracks to break a chair over my back. I remember Skywalker was already forming bromances by taking clones on adventures with him. And he hadn’t even left for the war. He and Cody had had some time at the scrapyard, running from the junkyard gundark and negotiating a bribe with the crooked scrapyard guard in Huttese. Skywalker was from Tatooine and Cody knew some from the academy trainers who had worked as mercenaries. I guess Skywalker got a huge bonus from the army for his injury, his arm being chopped off and all, in order to fund his little clandestine deals to help out his battalion, like any Tatooine boy would do. Back then we all looked up to old Skywalker, no matter how hard we tried to resist. He was already a veteran, having fought at Geonosis where he had lost an arm. Hell of a pilot, too. Also, we were pretty sure he’d had sex.)

Chapter Text

More Defective Navy

One time the Republic holonet channels were broadcasting an interview with newly promoted Admiral Tarkin and he wanted to say, ‘To build a more effective navy.” But on account of his trilling accent, he sounded like he said, ‘defective navy’. Now ‘defective’ in clone slang which, when said among ourselves, it just means something across between ‘crazy’ and ‘funny’. But when Kaminoans would brand us this, it meant death and dissection, followed by a flush out the sewer pipe. That is threatening. When another type of being said it, it scared us. So, upon hearing this, in my mind was, time to democratize some comedy. I blanketed the base at Central Command with pamphlets asking brothers to upload to the central military server a response to the caption, ‘More Defective Navy’. Man, their responses were fricking hilarious, just illustrations or phrases that they thought such a thing would look like, if the navy clones were even clone-ier. The jokes were mostly about how stupid or unsophisticated clones were. We were making fun of ourselves. If enbees (natural borns) would have participated, it would have been insulting. But I know they also found them hilarious, I showed a bunch to Ahsoka and she laughed. Even Rex and Cody were dying laughing, and they hated most ethnic humor.

On the way back from Kadavo, the end of the second year of the war, aboard the cruiser Negotiator. Three clones drunk on contraband wine in the common room and a Jedi General was just walking by.

Cody- Look at this one! (He and Rex cracked up, slapping hands.)

Rex- That’s horrible….look at that one.

Cody- Crap, that’s good.

Skywalker- What are you reading?

Rex- Defective Navy posts.

Skywalker- Isn’t that a slur? Rex, you don’t ever let the men say that in the 501st. I’m surprised you’re laughing. You would never let yourself be called that. Don’t you think it’s like, wishing your death or something. Like a curse. I know you don’t like navy guys and all, but…

Rex- Yeah, but this is harmless. Just some laughing among brothers. Most of the responses are from navy guys.

Cody- No, Skywalker’s right. We probably shouldn’t be. We’re the elite corps, we should focus on the important tasks, like going back to Coruscant and delivering Tarkin’s wet panty shipment back from the cleaners. (We clones all laughed.)

Wolffe- You heard about that?

Anakin- What about Tarkin?

Wolffe- Haven’t you heard the rumor, half of Coruscant is talking about it. That he sent a soldier to go pick up a bed for his mistress’s house, and the brother was clearly drunk and complaining to the bed salesman about all the weird chores Tarkin makes him do, like buy women’s panties and wash them after they’re pissed in, or whatever. (I wasn’t admitting it, but I was the one who did this. I even had Fives with me when I did it.)

Cody- That’s pretty bad, if Tarkin was illegally using a clone for unpaid personal labor. It’s against ‘misuse of military property’ statutes.

Skywalker- ‘Misuse of Military Property’?

Wolffe- Yeah, usually, the only ones who get punished under those laws are prostitutes and other nice girls who sleep with us. It would normally be dismissed as a rumor, but I heard that Senator Organa knows about it first hand, and he’s like the most honest guy in the senate.

Skywalker- I’d have to ask him…

Cody- No one knows which clone this was because no one can tell us apart. Not even those of us with grotesque scars and such. (He looked at me. Fives must have told him it was me, but Cody hated Tarkin, so he loved it.)

Wolffe- On Coruscant, half the people think it was a prank, and half only hope it’s true because of their general dislike of Tarkin because he’s arrogant. Hell, the whores on Coruscant think he looks like some kind of blood sucking monster kids tell stories about on Ryloth. (Laughing) I gave my girl what I called an amulet to ward him off. It’s a nipple ring on account of how I wouldn’t make her wear a chain. But the charm is a little skull, it’s cheaply crafted so the skull came out looking kind of Tarkin-ish.

Skywalker- (Laughing) What? Wait, Tarkin might have violated the misuse of military property laws? But he’s the one in charge of enforcing those laws now.

Wolffe- Privilege, double standard, call it whatever. He gets away with it. For us, for him to say ‘defective navy’, it looked like he unmasked himself publicly for a second, as comedy, you can NOT help but find that an incredible gift.

Cody- We can’t ever joke about someone like Tarkin directly, but we can make fun of his words. But this way, we get to laugh at a natural born guy a little backhandedly. Usually we don’t get to, except in private, since you enbees have all the power. That’s the difference.

Skywalker- Wait, you clones laugh at enbees? Rex, do you make fun of me? (Not everything is about YOU, Ani! Wait…let’s face it, yes it is.)

Rex- Sir, I have never said anything behind your back that I haven’t said to your face. (That was true, but he also didn’t pass on what he heard from us to enbees either.)

Skywalker- Cody?

Cody- I would never. (He was an amazing liar.)

Wolffe- You’d never know if I didn’t like you, I would just act when I was ready to respond on my terms. ‘Don’t get angry, get back’. That’s an old clone slogan. Back in the academy, it meant, I might not be able to resolve a conflict right away since the cloners were watching, but that I would not forget. But it also means, don’t act out of emotion, take time to plan. Don’t the Jedi teach that? Not getting angry, I mean. I said it to General Plo at a meeting and Major Ozzel called me ‘primitive’, when we were headed to Khorm.

(Then I stole his personal com and affected one of the most successful ‘get backs’ any clone had done to an enbee. Hehe, stupid Fork Nozzle. With the department store prank, I bet nobody ever even looked at the security cameras. But in case they had, I had worn an eyepatch, since everyone knows I have a working prosthesis and an eyepatch would be just that simple in messing up descriptions. Also, Fives, who was with me, his face was mangled from a fight. Senator Organa knew who I was and he never ratted. He told me that later because he thought Tarkin was a tool.)

Skywalker- Well, Ozzel’s family owned plantations in the colonies region, so he’s got issues. I know Tarkin, I’ve never heard him say anything bad about the soldiers. He’s snobby and petulant, but that doesn’t mean he’s racist.

Cody- You’ve never had to work for him, just with him. He doesn’t treat you like he treats us.

Skywalker- He’s always been nice to me, true.

Cody- And why would that be? Your popularity, your friendship with the Chancellor, your importance in the Jedi Order, perhaps?

Skywalker- What, you think he’s using me?

Wolffe- Relax, we think he’s using everybody. That’s just our default on people. And he just hasn’t given us much cause to modify that opinion.

Skywalker- That doesn’t sound very fair.

Rex- Whoever said life was fair, sir? What Tarkin actually said and what he believes, it doesn’t make any difference. What we actually believe comes through in our actions. The things Tarkin supports as military policy, that the fraternizing rules be enforced more strictly, that the punishments for infractions be harsher, that we take more drugs so that we can get back in the fight more quickly and for longer, collectively, those things paint a picture of what he believes, what he wants the universe to be like. That’s nothing I want a part of. Tarkin, guys like him, sir, all due respect, but they’re ruining the Republic and what it stands for. And sometimes, to see someone like that be so powerful, to be rewarded for what he is…sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair. What else can you do but laugh together?


Family is Complicated

Sometimes General Plo and I would have time to talk. I really found him interesting, since our experiences and upbringings were so different. He didn’t judge me for being ignorant, I had spent most of my life in a cloning facility with my brothers, being told only what the cloners or our trainers wanted us to know. I admit, there was a lot of the universe I didn’t understand. General Plo had come from a wealthy family on Dorin. The Koons were pretty powerful from what I understand, they owned an electronics company in Dor’shan, and had important friends in politics and business, and three members in the Jedi Order. As a Jedi, General Plo hadn’t been raised by his family, but because of their powerful positions and his own, being on the Jedi Council, he did know several members of his clan. It seemed strange to me, then, that he didn’t spend much time with them, like I knew most natural born people did. I asked General Plo if it wasn’t allowed, since the Jedi are not supposed to have families. He said that he actually wasn’t very interested in having much contact, because, although he loved his family, other people needed his help more than they did.

General Plo’s quarters, Jedi Cruiser Triumphant II. Picking up some reading material. I got bored a lot and General Plo always had new things.

Wolffe- (Looking over his data files.) So General Plo, do other people believe in the Force, or is it just the Jedi?

Plo- Oh, no. Only some people are Force sensitive, but we believe that it is in everything and everyone. That understanding it better can be useful to anyone.

Wolffe- So we just have to take your word for it?

Plo- Skepticism is healthy, but I have to say, to have faith in something you’ve never sensed in some way is not exactly the same as ignorance.

Wolffe- Well, what is there to believe in if I haven’t seen it, or smelled it, or felt it?

Plo- We do it every day. Friendship, faith in goodness, I’ve never held these things in my hand and I don’t know exactly how they work. But I have seen what they can do. And they constantly surprise me with how strong they are. So I spend time thinking about them, trying to understand them and believing in them governs how I approach the universe.

Wolffe- So people who believe in the Force, they’re like, more enlightened or something?

Plo- Well…like with anything, there is a range. I don’t want to discourage believers, of course, but sometimes people have more faith than sense. Or they say things like ‘trust the Force’ but they attach it to some ideals that sound strange to me in the way I understand the Force. We have to remember, not everybody’s experience is the same. Not everyone interprets things in the same way.

Wolffe- For example?

Plo- Several years ago now, I was working with Master Kenobi on Eriadu, we were trying to extract a gangster who had taken a village hostage. Just a little place near the Carrion, a wilderness region. In the fight, the villagers fled and some were injured in a minefield. We brought them back to Coruscant to resettle with help from a charitable Jedi foundation. Being from a rather remote location, they were a very traditional society, but they were also very devoted to the Force religion. One of them, a widow, had a daughter. She brought her to me when the girl was sick. The conversation was awkward.

Wolffe- Why?

Plo- Well…the girl, she was fourteen. She was in pain and it made her think something was very wrong, so she went to her mother and asked to see a doctor. She had to admit to her mother that she’d had sex.

Wolffe- So? I thought that was normal?

Plo- Well, on Coruscant, fourteen is considered a bit young, I believe. But it wasn’t the age the mother objected to, many girls in the village married at that age. It was the fact that she’d done it at all, before marriage. On Coruscant, relations are somewhat typical before marriage. However, back in her home, a girl needed to be a virgin until marriage. If she wasn’t, she wouldn't be marriageable.

Wolffe- But that’s not true here. The mom shouldn’t have worried.

Plo- Well, this custom, to the mother, mattered. And it mattered in their neighborhood where there were many immigrants. They were very poor and her beautiful daughter attracting a rich man was the only way the mother thought she could assure that they would be taken care of. In her village, that had been the only way to better their situation. It could have been the difference for them between living or starving to death in a bad harvest year.

Wolffe- That’s a lot of pressure on a little girl. But I’m sure on Coruscant it didn’t matter.

Plo- For some people, they can’t see another way to be. My problem was, instead of bringing her daughter to a doctor, the mother brought her to me to ‘instruct’ her in the Force.

Wolffe- What would the Force have to do with it?

Plo- Serving the Force can give one a moral compass, but people like to treat their traditions as morality and claim that the religion bolsters their views. Neither the traditions nor the morality are wrong, necessarily, but focusing on them for their own sake is not very helpful all the time.

Wolffe- So what did the mom want you to do?

Plo- Preach the virtues of celibacy, ask her daughter why she had done this to her poor mother, who knows? The mother was emotional, frightened. She just kept crying and saying ‘Who’ll want her now?’ What the mother was asking me, essentially, was ‘how are we going to survive?’ or ‘how will my daughter ever have more than I can give her?’ She loved her daughter, but she couldn’t see another way besides the traditions she’d been raised in.

Wolffe- She said that right in front of her daughter, though?

Plo- Yes.

Wolffe- So what did you say?

Plo- I asked the mother to go outside so I could talk to the girl. Turns out, she had gone out with a man who she was friendly with, just to see more of the city, since she was new. He was ten years older. He’d taken advantage. She thought it was her fault.

Wolffe- What do you mean?

Plo- He’d um…well, you see, not every man is very respectful of women.

Wolffe- Well, didn’t the mother know that? That she was forced to do it?

Plo- Her contention seemed to be that good girls don’t go places with men.

Wolffe- So she meant her daughter was bad?

Plo- She didn’t think that’s what she was implying. But I knew the girl thought so.

Wolffe- Did you tell the police? I would think they’d do something about it.

Plo- The girl didn’t want to tell them. She didn’t want anyone else to know.

Wolffe- Were you able to do anything for them?

Plo- I took the girl to the healing center at the temple to get checked. She was fine. They were able to treat her, just a little urinary tract infection.

Wolffe- Sounds like the mother had some issues.

Plo- Just because her mother was disappointed didn’t mean she didn’t love her daughter. The young woman knew that, because she knew what her mother wanted for her, just a better life. There wasn’t much else I could offer, just to advise the mother to take heart, to trust in the Force that there was some plan for her daughter, not to worry so much about the small details and cares. It was hard, though, given that their cares were so many. Poverty is an injustice.

Wolffe- Were they okay after that? I mean with each other?

Plo- They went home, went on with their lives. The girl never got married while the mother was alive, the mother died after the start of the war. But they always took care of each other. I still see the girl now and again. She’s still struggling. Yet, she still trusts that the Force has a plan for her, because, she says, she wants to be someone her mother would be proud of.

Wolffe- Wow. I didn’t think having family could be that complicated.

Plo- You have no idea.

Wolffe- General Plo, I admit, I’m kind of new to the whole concept of sex. We mostly pay women for the privilege of their company or we’re grateful to have them talk to us. But, the idea that a man could just take what he wants...Why would hurting someone make you feel good? I have been programmed to kill people my whole life, but I still don’t like doing it.

Plo- Because of empathy. Your conditioning hurt, you know what it is like to have someone hurt you because they had the power to. Knowing that has made you decide that you wanted to be different. It has governed how you live your life. We teach that empathy is the light side of the Force.

Wolffe- Call it whatever you want, I guess. (Shrugging.) Just seems to be obvious to me. But why do people do things that just feel wrong? Why do they even need laws to tell them not to do these things?

Plo- Sometimes people do bad things for so long, that they don’t feel it anymore. Sometimes, having power feels good, too. That is the dark side. We must decide which we serve.

(When I was in my second year at the academy, they would put us into these torture simulators to numb us to the effects of battle. One of my batch mates had nearly died, so I went to the Kaminoan cloners and asked them why they were doing that to us. It was weird, because we were supposed to be programmed not to ask those kinds of questions. The Kaminoans put me on anti-depressants. Later, during the war, I’d gone to a brothel, like a lot of brothers. We weren’t allowed by law to date women, so illegal prostitution was the simplest solution for us and it was tolerated. The transaction seemed simple, pay money, get sex. Except it wasn’t. A friend of mine told me that the girls at the brothel were slaves. So essentially, someone was making them do that. And my brothers and I were basically paying to rape people. It seemed like, by making laws like that, the Republic was encouraging us to do something horrible. I spent the rest of the war coming up with schemes to hit back at that establishment when I could. I never drove them out of business, or stopped all the guys from going, but I tried. General Plo said, the good guys don’t always win, but that doesn’t mean the fight isn’t worthwhile.)


The Droideka

I gave orders for a living. But I can’t say I was good at it. For example, when it came time to put together my battalion, for my subordinate squad leaders, I recruited my closest brothers, my batch mates. Two of them died early in the war, but for the entire conflict, through the end, I was saddled with Boost and Sinker. Like brothers in regular families, these guys had a problem taking me seriously, I guess. They still did what I said, probably because they couldn’t think of anything else to do, but they loved to give me a hard time. They were pretty thick. I spent an inordinate amount of my time looking out for them. It probably prepared me for my life with old Gregor.

In the communal latrine on star cruiser Triumphant II, at the sinks for post-shower grooming. Present, Commander Wolffe and his insubordinates, Boost and Sinker.

Sinker- So, do you ever hear sex terms that you don’t understand? (Trimming his hair with a small scissor.)

Boost- Like what?

Wolffe- I like to make up fake sex terms and let people guess what they mean. (Shaving in the mirror.)

Sinker- It’s not surprising, I have only been out of the cloning facility for a year and some. So, obviously, I don’t know all you can do.

Boost- Obviously. (Using MY hair clippers, since he had forgotten his AGAIN! He always left hair all over them.)

Wolffe- You know, just to keep people guessing. Make them think I’m more depraved than I am. I just want to see if I can get other people to start using the terms and see what definitions they assign to them. (They weren’t listening.)

Sinker- I don’t want to sound stupid when I’m around other guys. Do you think other brothers have more experience than us?

Wolffe- Not more than me, I cultivate a reputation for being depraved. I’m pretty sure everyone thinks I might have done anything.

Boost- If that’s your reputation, why do we 104th guys take so much grief for being undateable? How did that become a thing?

Wolffe- Probably because I’m depraved. Who wants to date someone depraved?

Sinker- We’re not you.

Wolffe- But you’re tainted by your defective leadership. (I rinsed the razor.)

Sinker- Aaaaaanyway, I heard a term recently that I didn’t know, but everyone I was watching the news on a street screen, they were all laughing like they knew.

Wolffe- Heh. I guarantee you half of them don’t. But they’ll be looking it up, now. (I rinsed my face.)

Sinker- I didn’t want to ask what it meant and look ignorant. People already assume clones are ignorant.

Wolffe- Yeah, they do.

Sinker- But I really wanted to know what the word meant. They were saying that some politician had done it, and they were acting like it sounded positively shocking. I really wanted to know what he had done.

Wolffe- Right. So you could be outraged, too.

Sinker- I guess.

Wolffe- What was it? The Probe Droid? The Booty Hunter? The Negative Power Coupling? Bulls-eying Womp Rats? Chancellor Peepeetine?

Boost- Chancellor Peepeetine?

Wolffe- I just made those up now. (Chancellor Peepeetine, what the hell? I’m better than that, I know it!)

Sinker- No, it was ‘****’? (He whispered it so you could barely hear.) What even is that?

Wolffe- It’s where (I mimed something, being intentionally vague).

Boost- What does that do?

Wolffe- What the hell do I know? Not my thing.

Sinker- What is your ‘thing’?

Wolffe- The droideka. (I gestured again, vaguely. This term was also fake.)

Boost- Is that…? (He did the same gesture.)

Wolffe- Yeah. (I nodded knowingly.)

Sinker- Nice.

Wolffe- I wouldn’t worry about it. That kind of nonsense only affects the ‘important’ people. (I took out tweezers.) Politicians. What do we care what they do with their dicks? Just help fewer of us to get killed! You could be a bloated Hutt in a General Grievous cyber suit and a Sith to boot, just please spare me getting shot in the head! For us, surviving is the day to day concern. Let them sort out the other stuff. I don’t care how it happens, just end this war. I’m more likely to die every day it goes on. If I don’t have my life, what else could I hope for? I think these people only care about themselves, though.

Sinker- Are you shaping your eyebrows? (Still not listening. He was focused on what I was doing rather than what I was saying. That drove me crazy. Sometimes I thought they only paid attention when I was talking about stuff that was ridiculous.)

Wolffe- Can’t a brother take care of himself? (I was actually using the tweezers to extract a white nose hair that my girlfriend had pointed out when we were last in bed. It had freaked me out. I was going on and on about mortality. She bought me my own set of tweezers as a gift before I shipped back out. She’d had them engraved with ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Man, I cannot tell you how much I miss that woman. Tweezers are good for ingrown hairs, too. I still keep a set. One other thing, ‘shaping your eyebrows’ after that became a 104th term for ‘effeminate’.)

Boost- You got white hairs too? I found one on my chin the other day. (He wouldn’t know about his head, he dyed his hair red. He was smearing the dye on.) Maybe I got them up my nose, too. Could I see those? (He tipped his head back as he washed his hands.)

Wolffe- Stay away from my tweezers, crotchrot. I guess I don’t have to ask how your life is. If you’d been laid recently, someone might have noticed your white hairs for you. (You had to have someone close to you in reclining position to even see nose hair, was my reasoning.)

Boost- Shit, how did you end up the most experienced one?

Wolffe- I’m a good listener.

Sinker- You never listen to us.

Wolffe- What? I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening. (Kind of a pot/kettle situation, I guess.)

(My batch mates! I had straight up told them I liked to make up sex terms, then I made up terms and told them they were made up. But the instant I said another one, they believed it was real and had decided what it meant for themselves. I guess, later they talked about it and decided what they thought I meant, settling on the definition that seemed the most likely given the vague gesture and, more importantly, what they knew about me. Thanks to them, ‘the droideka’ did become a term for my actual favorite thing, which spread around the whole army. As for the term Sinker used, I didn’t have any idea what it meant, but they believed I was depraved enough to know, even though I’d just been joking about that too. I asked my girlfriend about Sinker’s term later. It must have been pretty depraved, because she was the one who was outraged.)

Chapter Text

That’s Not Even My Song

I was at this Senate party one time. I liked volunteering to guard at these things, it was light duty. Usually, for guarding, we had to stay in armor, face covered. But this was pretty late in the war, so I didn’t give much of a crap for protocols anymore when I wasn’t in the field. I had taken off the helmet for a minute to hit my spice pipe, since I was at the back entrance and nothing was going on. I walked back to my post and this kid was there. He was dressed in a militia type outfit. I thought he was security, so I didn’t sweat it. But he was holding a drink and he brought me one too, which I thought was weird. I took it.

At the residence of Senator Ask Aak. Present, Commander Wolffe doing his best not to look high and Lux Bonteri of Onderon.

Bonteri- Hey, are you going to perform tonight?

Wolffe- I always do. Although I hear some guys have trouble.

Bonteri- What?

Wolffe- (Laughing.) Hence those stupid commercials for that impotency drug. You believe that one? Where they’re in the field of sunflowers with the tub? I had so many questions about that. Where did they put their clothes? Where is the water even coming from?

Bonteri- I think I’ve seen that advert.

Wolffe- It’s my favorite commercial, even though I don’t even need the product. Man, my girl is positively inspirational. Although, people ask me, since I have a tub, do I take baths? I’m like, what’s the point if you’re not gonna have sex in the tub like the people in that commercial? Having sex in water is hot. I don’t even like to shower alone if I’m home. My girl said we can shower together as long as I wash her lekku for her. I love doing that. Anything that lets me stroke her. I say, no baths until I have a tub big enough for her too. Otherwise, what are we fighting for?

Bonteri- Um…okay…

Wolffe- Do you know how to grout?

Bonteri- What I meant was, are you performing at the party? Doing a song?

Wolffe- Nah, I only sing when I’m drunk at bars. Not some fancy place like this.

Bonteri- Oh, so your genre was more underground music.

Wolffe- I like a little of everything. I’ve been getting into alternative synth-pop lately. But I love the new Coruscant punk. So angry. General Plo says that times of oppression are renaissances for angry music.

Bonteri- I mean your genre. The music you perform?

Wolffe- Perform?

Bonteri- I’m sorry, I was sure you were Commander Wolffe. You know, from the armor.

Wolffe- Last I checked.

Bonteri- Didn’t you have a singing career?

Wolffe- Wait, what? (Clones weren’t allowed to do anything but be in the military.)

Bonteri- I’m sure, you were that clone singing the song in that video. With the light saber scar and the eye. The phase one armor designs looked really similar to your new stuff, right?

Wolffe- Video?

Bonteri- Yes, (He started singing the song, imitating clone dancing.)

Wolffe- Oh, man! I’d almost forgotten about that! Wait, you’ve seen that? Wait, where are you from?

Bonteri- I grew up on Raxus, the Separatist capital.

Wolffe- Wow, and it went through?

Bonteri- What do you mean?

Wolffe- I just made a cheap pirated compilation of music videos, like the bootlegs of Republic entertainment people sell in the Confederacy. We’ve confiscated tons of them when we’re policing the space routes. I gave a pirated video to a smuggler one time. When I made my compilation, I just thought it would be funny, so I popped an extra video in there, one I made myself. I just thought people would be like, ‘What is this crap?’ That’s not even my song, I’m lip synching.

Bonteri- So that was a prank? Lots of kids in the Confederacy buy those pirated videos. We’re not supposed to have them, but the Separatist systems don’t have a lot of new music or videos. Yours was copied a lot. Whenever we could pick up the Republic broadcasts and we’d hear the song, we thought that song was by a clone band. It was really popular with us kids.

Wolffe- Yeah, it is a good song. A bit of a teen anthem.

Bonteri- We found out what we could about our favorite performers, which I admit wasn’t much with all the Confederacy censorship. But we heard about how you got your scar from Ventress in battle. In that video, you were singing to pictures of Ventress like she was some girl who dumped you and you were telling her that you were over her. The persona in the video, that wasn’t how we were taught to see you Republic types.

Wolffe- You guys didn’t think I was scary? You know, with all the Separatist propaganda calling Tipoca City, Kamino the Killer Factory and all? The Republic tells us that you hate us.

Bonteri- I guess some do. We were taught you were vengeful and that clones were violent. Still, we young people knew that the Separatist government was handing us propaganda. If you were like they said, we expected a clone to want to kill Ventress after what she did to you. But you were singing and having a joke. It sort of told us in the Confederacy that you guys got to laugh at things we couldn’t. Political humor wasn’t allowed for us. And Ventress, we were just as scared of her as you were.

Wolffe- Huh.

Bonteri- That video. (He was laughing even then.) Telling her off, like she thought she’d ruined your life. Every guy has felt that way some time. But there you were with your friends and those pretty girls singing about how you hoped Ventress was miserable. It was hilarious. Fun.

Wolffe- Yeah, pop-punk is a great genre for kids. So wait, you Separatists kids thought that the Republic let clones make music.

Bonteri- Yeah. We liked how the Republic was free.

Wolffe- And this song was popular with you Separatists, even though I am a clone. Because a video with a clone performing would never have been tolerated here. Never mind popular.

Bonteri- Really? (He looked a little unsettled by that thought.)

Wolffe- I just can’t believe this. So, you’ve never seen the real video to that song?

Bonteri- No. I honestly just got here from Onderon. I haven’t had time to watch many music videos for a while.

Wolffe- Onderon? Oh, my brother Rex was just there.

Bonteri- Captain Rex? Yes I know him, he helped train us.

Wolffe- Wow, small galaxy.

Bonteri- Well, we still think it’s your song. My friend Saw would be impressed that I met you. Can I get a picture with you?

Wolffe- You’re damn right you can.

(I come to find that that scruffy looking kid was actually a senator. His people had been Separatists, who left the Republic because it was corrupt and did bad things. Rumor was that the Separatist leader had then assassinated his mother for trying to negotiate an end to the war. Then this kid, who was still a teenager, fought a bloody revolution to free his world from the Separatists. Only to rejoin the Republic and find out that it was still corrupt and did bad things. I had to feel for him. But all I could think at the time was, Commander Wolffe, rock star.)


 


People Trying

I was home at my girl C.C.’s house on Coruscant. People ask me why I was home so much during the war. I was a specialist at extractions, get in to warzone, get people out. It doesn’t take long, but counts as a mission. So if you’re required twenty-five missions a year and they’re mostly extractions, you get a lot of down time. I worked hard to earn my specialization in extractions once I realized this. I crafted my whole battalion around it. Anyway, one night home, I was reading a datafile on Ryloth. It drove my girl crazy when I’d ask her about where she was from. She hated it there. But I just wanted to know more about her.

Wolffe- What is a kalikori for?

C.C.- I don’t know. (Tweezing eyebrows.)

Wolffe- The file here says it is a religious heirloom.

C.C.- What would I know about fricking heirlooms? I don’t have any family.

Wolffe- No one?

C.C.- Let’s see, my first memories are being taken care of by a woman who used me as a prop to beg. For all I know, she found me left on a rubbish pile to die. Or maybe she was my mother. When I was old enough, she sent me to beg, for her. I was a slave after that. They remove the wombs of whores. So I’ll never have kids. Why would I give a flipping shit about heirlooms? (She went back to tweezing, but agitated.)

Wolffe- (After a little silence.) Well, can’t you adopt?

C.C.- (This did nothing to reduce her agitation.) Yeah, that’s all I need. More people to take care of. I have a hard enough time.

Wolffe- Am I…

C.C.- (Putting down the mirror and tweezers, she knew what I was going to ask) You’re different. We take care of each other.

Wolffe- Isn’t that family?

C.C.- It is what it is. Why are you so obsessed with terms all the time?

Wolffe- Just trying to understand. Terms can help make things clearer, less complicated.

C.C.- Family’s complicated.

Wolffe- So are we?

C.C.- Are we what?

Wolffe- Family?

C.C.- Why would I use a word for what we are to each other. Words are cheap. I don’t even think in Basic because it’s not my first language. You don’t say feelings, you feel them. What you feel comes through in the things you say and do.

Wolffe- Huh. What about all those songs and poems and art and whatnot. Isn’t that trying to describe feelings?

C.C.- That’s people trying.

Wolffe- So a kalakori is art. That’s people trying to communicate feelings?

C.C.- Sort of. They’re important to some people. It’s a legacy, a thing you leave behind, to tell your family who you were. To tell them someone cares about them. (She rested her feet in my lap so I started to massage them.)

Wolffe- So a way to tell your family that you are still family, even if you’re not around anymore? The Mandalorians had something like that. They’d put their foreheads against one another. The gesture was used for emotional moments, goodbyes and the like. We clones didn’t usually get that close to each other without it being a fight, so we don’t usually do it. But when someone died, a Mandalorian would put their forehead against a helmet. The helmet represents the deceased. You look them right in the visor and it means something like, “I still see you. You still belong to me.”

C.C.- Pretty dramatic, those Mandalorians.

Wolffe- You’re telling me. But we clones get a lot of our culture from them. Anything we didn’t have ourselves but needed. Like ways to compete, our own dialect, whatever passes for ceremony, code of honor. I don’t really like it, since Mandalorians were a bunch of abusive pricks to me, but there’s no escaping it really. We clones inherited a lot from them.

C.C.- (Thinking) Nilo has one. A kalikori, I mean. Down at the bodega, it’s behind the counter with him. Ask him to see it. It’s that t-shaped thing with the beads hanging off. In a family, people each add a section.

Wolffe- What’s Kronnie’s thing on it? (Nilo and Kronnie were Twi’lek friends of ours.)

C.C.- They’re not married.

Wolffe- Kind of. They live together.

C.C.- (She shrugged.) Anyway, Nilo’s not religious. And he and Kronnie don’t have any kids.

Wolffe- So why does he have one, a kalikori?

C.C.- He keeps it because it was his parents’.

Wolffe- Huh. So what do you believe in, Ryloth must have religions and stuff.

C.C.- Sure. I don’t know. I don’t believe in anything organized. Most kids on Ryloth are raised with some instruction. Not me. All I knew was, survive. When I’ve been scared though, I prayed to something, maybe just to have a little luck. Like, when I was on Smuggler’s Moon with the Hutt, we were at his apartment and these hit men came in, shot everybody. I was in the bedroom and I hid in the closet. I’ve never prayed so much in my life. Then all of a sudden it came to me. They found me in the closet and I pretended to be deaf, blind, and mute.

Wolffe- Seems over the top. Why would they believe that?

C.C.- Because Hutts sometimes do that to their pleasure slaves to make them docile. Especially if they aren’t good at dancing.

Wolffe- Hutts are monsters.

C.C.- You have no idea. So I stumbled around a bit, the hit men discussed it and decided to leave me, since I couldn’t serve as a witness. They left and I grabbed all the cash I could and was off to Coruscant. Something saved me that night. I believe that. But I don’t know what to call it. Divine inspiration, luck, my own quick thinking, even mercy from the assassins. I don’t care what it was. I’m alive because of it. What about you, any religions on Kamino?

Wolffe- Different things I guess, like we do little things to bring luck, wear charms and the like. Nothing formal, just little customs we developed. Although, a lot of guys think wishing for luck is stupid because it is trying to save your life and they think that being afraid to die is for weaklings. Officially, we were raised to believe two things, the Republic is Right and Duty is Honor. So I guess, you didn’t have any instruction, as a kid, I had nothing but instruction.

C.C.- Those were the things they told you?

Wolffe- They told us what they wanted us to know. What we needed to know for their purposes. You know, programming.

C.C.- How long did it take you before you came to Coruscant to realize that it was crap?

Woffe- That’s the thing, on Kamino, I was pretty sure it was crap then, too. Only, I felt like I was the only one who could see it. Coruscant didn’t make me disillusioned. It was awesome. I finally felt at home, in a place where you could argue or say things that weren’t allowed before. I used to get my head slammed on my desk for saying something disparaging about our trainers. If I made fun of the Kaminoans, they would have had the droids hit us with the electrostaffs. But here, I could say I think the Senate is an ineffectual bunch of jackasses. If I wanted to sing a song about how I like to shoot police droids and live off the earnings of a prostitute, I could. And if I was natural born and it was catchy, I could even make money on it. That’s the dream.

C.C.- Wait, what?

Wolffe- Well, obviously, as a clone, I don’t have the same rights as other guys, but the Republic is still better than Kamino. For the record, I have never shot a police droid, I wouldn’t. But sometimes they give me such a hard time, I fantasize about it. It would be fun to sing about it? You know, convey the feeling of frustration.

C.C.- And the pimping?

Wolffe- You bought me breakfast. Does that count as living off of your earnings? I’d sing about our home life, it makes me feel happy.

C.C.- You’re ridiculous.

(I spent the day making up songs narrating what we were doing, just to see if I could find something catchy. C.C. contributed a few. We sang all the time after that. Not just about our days. About whatever we were thinking or feeling. We’d both sing together adding different parts. Like a kalikori.)


The Sugar Economy

This was after General Plo’s birthday party, my first couple of weeks on Kamino. This was the first time I met Ahsoka and a bunch of other Jedi. My batch mates and I were super awkward, needless to say. We kind of kept to ourselves at the party. After the guests arrived, I was too terrified to say much. I just talked to the guys and Ahsoka. After the party, my two batch mates and I were helping General Plo to clean up. I turned on the recorder because Sinker was trying odd pickup lines on General Plo’s old padawan Bultar Swan.

Sinker- I’ll mop the floor. I was the best at cleaning in the cloning facility.

Swan- Really?

Sinker- Oh yeah. I have really strong arms.

Wolffe- I really like this song. (Pointing at a selection on the player pod.)

Ahsoka- I know, it’s hilarious. Have you seen the video?

Wolffe- Wait, so they have moving images that go with the music, too? Where could I see them?

Ahsoka- They play them everywhere. You could go down to the CoCo district and see screens everywhere. All showing different channels. Some of them play music videos.

Wolffe- Oh, we’re doing this!

Boost- How we getting there. (Eating leftover dip with his finger. We were out of crackers. General Swan made a face.)

Wolffe- Already formulating a plan.

Swan- Just take a taxi.

(She had addressed me. I froze. I was still pretty scared of women and General Swan was a hottie.)

Boost- (Using a fork to scrape the remains of the cake glaze off a tray.) A taxi?

Ahsoka- A speeder with a driver who takes you where you want to go for money.

Wolffe- Somebody who does what you want for money? That doesn’t seem like someone I’d trust to take me somewhere. (Until I heard what a prostitute was.)

Swan- What about it don’t you trust?

Wolffe- (I looked at General Plo for help, he nodded a little, trying to get me to speak. I was thoroughly convinced she was going to laugh at what an idiot I was behind my back.) Money. We get a stipend from the Republic as pay, but the whole money system seems stupid to me. Here, I can see why you need it, but I like the way we did things back on Kamino better.

Ahsoka- Well, why do you guys do things?

Wolffe- We didn’t have much choice about what to do. But sometimes. Then, I’d do things for fun. Or because I was bored. Or to help each other out. Or to get back at somebody. Sometimes for sugar rations or stolen meds.

Plo- And the sugar or medicine, the prices were set according to a barter system?

Wolffe- Sure. No stores on Kamino to set prices, they gave us everything we needed. Exchange depended on the deal and conditions, like supply, which can be unpredictable with contraband. You know, if guys get caught pilfering. But making the deals was also fun.

Swan- But isn’t that like money?

Wolffe- No, for example with sugar rations, I eat them. Give them to my friends.

Ahsoka- You could give money to your friends or buy food.

Wolffe- Here on Coruscant. But for us, there’s not many stores that will let us shop in them, there’s really not much to spend money on. I guess it’s not the same for you guys who can buy stuff. But I just feel like our old Tipoca system made concrete sense. You could see what you were getting, and the sugar, I can only eat so many. My friends, too. So nobody takes too much. Or if they do, they throw up and regret it. We get to watch for entertainment. You can only stockpile it for so long before it gets stolen, or confiscated, or insects find it. So you better eat it. But money, it’s just a number. How do you know when you’ve got enough?

Plo- You can’t.

Wolffe- Exactly. My brother Cody likes to save it, but he never has any fun. Just keeps saving more and more. I think he’s addicted to seeing the amount get bigger, like a high score on a simulator. He used to be obsessed with having the highest score for everything at the academy. He practiced and practiced. But sooner or later, his scores were so high that nobody came close. The thing was, the scores were only being used to assess us so they could decide who to pick for leadership training for fourth year. He was a lock, he didn’t have to work so hard. Anyway, he lost all that time practicing that he could have been eating sugar, winning sugar at games, giving it to friends. That’s the stuff I like.

Plo- Fascinating.

Swan- But you’re a leader, if you don’t work hard, how did you get there?

Wolffe- I work. Just not as hard as some guys. I’m good at figuring things out, so I got the concepts quick and didn’t have to have them demonstrated over and over. In lectures, I spent a lot of time reading datapads I had stashed under my desk. I’d help my brothers some. When the time came, I was the last guy above the cutoff for leadership. The last one. Otherwise, I would have gone to enlisted leadership to become a sergeant with the rest of my batch, which was okay with me. My scores were the bare minimum. I was lucky, I guess.

Ahsoka- To be last in your class?

Wolffe- Yeah. I remembered that when I put my battalion together. I’m the leader of the screw ups, so I took the guys with the lowest scores and the most obnoxious personalities. Guys who are the worst at everything. I like the things no one else wants. Nothing to fight over.

Plo- My fine men of the 104th.

Wolffe- Hey, we’re still clones. We can still kick ass. Anyway, meanwhile, Cody he’d worked so hard to get himself so far ahead that by the time he got to leadership training, he didn’t have any friends.

Ahsoka- Aw, that’s sad. Does he have any friends now?

Wolffe- (Laughing) I had to take him. He’s the worst at being a friend. So it was me who had to take him.

Swan- It doesn’t even sound like you like him.

Wolffe- I must fricking love him. I’m friends with him despite the fact that he is the worst at being a friend.

Ahsoka- Wait, if you like the worst, does that mean Master Plo is the worst?

Plo- I selected him.

Ahsoka- So, you liked him even though his scores were the lowest.

Plo- Truthfully, I didn’t look at the scores. I just liked his face.

(General Plo produced the picture of me that had been included in my datafile for his review. Cody had made fun of my picture mercilessly, he said I looked weak. Then he pointed out his purchase price for the Republic was higher than mine. Still obsessed with numbers. On seeing the picture Ahsoka contended that I looked shy. She kept a copy of it in her room and I still don’t know why. As a reference to my sugar economy, Ahsoka gave me candy every time she saw me after that.)

Chapter Text

I Bet That Hurt

We were on our way back from the Citadel on the Triumphant II. My little brother Fives had just lost his last batch mate, Echo. Those guys were close, they’d been together since jar extraction. I went to tell Fives I was really going to miss Echo, and Fives asked if I had anything to help take the edge off. I had just filled a prescription for sleeping sedatives from the base doctor, so I offered to split it with him. The hyperspace journey was long, so not much to do besides wait. We wanted to get some sleep, but the nightmares were back for both of us. The ones we all called ‘The Mission’ as code speak for those scary dreams where you murder Jedi. Fives and I both had the nightmares bad. Not much helped except the sedatives. The problem was we’d been issued amphetamines to go to Lola Sayu, so if you swallowed them, the sedatives weren’t strong enough to counteract the uppers. We were grinding them up and snorting them, hoping to get some sleep finally. If you think that sounds bad, a year later, my batch mates, Boost and Sinker, had moved on to injecting both the amphetamines and the sedatives. The war was getting out of control, I thought.

Wolffe and Fives in the officer’s barracks on Plo’s Jedi cruiser.

Wolffe- (Switches on recorder.) Here we have ARC Trooper Fives, who I believe I have never done a proper interview with.

Fives- No. Hey, don’t try to kiss me, like you did Echo. (Snorting.)

Wolffe- You’re not my type. (Snorting.)

Fives- You’re defective.

Wolffe- (Grinding another pill.) So Fives, is that a handmade tattoo? It doesn’t look like the ones from the tattoo parlors on Coruscant.

Fives- Yeah, well on Kamino, no tattooing allowed, as you know. But we would see you first and early batchers come back with your haircuts and painted armor, and tattoos. It seemed like everyone was going to Coruscant and getting their own unique look. We were so envious.

Wolffe- I thought they were allowing different hairstyles on Kamino, now.

Fives- That was starting to come in with the younger guys when I was there, but we older guys were told to keep to academy regs until we shipped out. Except, when my batch from Domino Squad got our marching orders, we didn’t go to Coruscant like you guys, we got sent to Rishi Moon.

Wolffe- Rex said that place was bleak. (Pushing tray over.)

Fives- You couldn’t even go outside because of the giant eels, one ate my batch mate Cutup. Anyway, when we got there, we didn’t have much at our disposal to do personal expression. Just the razors in our kitpacks. But my brother Hevy, he took some of the syringes from the medical station and burned some paper to ash, added water. Then he ticked that into my skin. (Snorting.)

Wolffe- I bet that hurt.

Fives- It hurt like hell. But I couldn’t do it myself, since it was on my head. Echo had to hold me down. I swore at Hevy every word I knew.

Wolffe- But you’d asked him to do it? (Snorting.)

Fives- Of course. I had always wanted a tattoo, some of the trainers had them, remember?

Wolffe- Yeah, I might remember a few, usually on arms that were swinging fists at me, so I might not have looked at them in detail, but, yeah.

Fives- I just thought it would be cool. We weren’t allowed designs on our armor, even on Rishi. But tattoos were a way to do designs, then at least out of my helmet, I looked different. It was something they couldn’t take off of me.

Wolffe- Still it’s not right on the face, I notice. Not like that wanker Jesse’s tattoo. You and Rex, you’re too pretty.

Fives- Nothing wrong with taking pride in your appearance.

Wolffe- Must be nice to have the luxury. (I was starting to speak more slowly.)

Fives- Sorry, Wolffe, I didn’t mean…

Wolffe- Relax, I was just joking. I’ve given up caring about that. I mean, what would I be worried about? I don’t have to look at me. I thought women might reject me, but I am laid way more now. So why should it bother me?

Fives- Are you sure it doesn’t bother your girlfriend?

Wolffe- She could have her pick out of millions of guys who look just like me, but for that. And she’s still with me. Why do I need to be insecure? Insecurity kills lady-wood.

Fives- (Laughing) What? (I shrugged.) Is that really fair, though? I mean, you’re going to die soon, statistically speaking for us, it’s likely. Why would you let her waste her time with someone with no future?

Wolffe- Are you trying to make me insecure?

Fives- I’m just saying, are we even being fair in pursuing relationships? Maybe the Republic has a point forbidding us from having them.

Wolffe- Are you flipping kidding me? Sounds like you need to get out more.

Fives- No, think about it, it’s probably easier, I mean, that way, you don’t get hurt. (Now he was slurring his speech slightly.)

Wolffe- Getting hurt is amazing! Why would I want to avoid that? The best music is about being miserable. If you have no pain, you have no kind of life, I say.

Fives- Easy for you to say, your life is nothing but taking the piss. You still have your batch mates.

Wolffe- Two. The other two died at Abregado, along with my whole battalion of guys who I’d recruited with me a few months before.

Fives- Really? How did you not have a complete mental breakdown?

Wolffe- Who says I didn’t? That kind of guilt and sadness? It’s like the Kamino ocean. Okay, so I could have drowned myself in the pain, or I could swim in it. Now, I’m practically an aiwha.

Fives- Aiwhas do look pretty happy.

Wolffe- I know, even though they’re cold and wet all the time!

Fives- Um…How do you swim in it?

Wolffe- Enjoy it.

Fives- What do you mean?

Wolffe- Like, give it a meaning. If I think about all those guys who died every time I eat a meal, it makes everything taste so good. Like I’m eating because they couldn’t. Or I’m eating a meal they helped provide for me because they fought and sacrificed. The feelings make it sweeter. I sometimes like to take a hit of spice, put on a really good song, and just eat something in a guy’s honor. I say his name before I do it. Which reminds me. (Getting some contraband snacks out of a drawer and giving Fives one.)

Fives- You have no idea how weird you are. (Opening bag.)

Wolffe- (Opening bag and holding a chip aloft.) For Echo!

Fives- For Echo. (Chewing.)

Wolffe- (Chewing.) Or if I feel guilty about guys dying, I always feel so good if I save a life. Like I scored a point back for my team. (Rude gesture.) Screw you, death!

Fives- I like that one. (Leaning against the wall and closing his eyes.)

Wolffe- Plus, have you ever had ‘I could die on this next mission’ sex? I told my girl I was headed to Felucia. She knows it’s the front line because it gets a lot of press. I didn’t get any sleep that night.

Fives- (Not opening his eyes but the tears had started running as he chewed.) I honestly don’t think anybody will care when I die, now.

(I tucked him in and he finally fell asleep. It strikes me that old Fives sounded kind of like an emotional teenager. But I think he had just turned ten. If I’m being honest, he was feeling sorry for himself, but I couldn’t blame him. Although I had had my fair share of tragedy and then some, I didn’t know what it was like to lose everyone in the world who I thought loved me. As for Fives, though, about that he was wrong. The way he went out shocked all of us brothers. We cared. And as for being loved, I actually thought Rex might die of grief over losing him. It was Fives, and what happened to him, that made Rex realize what was coming. Fives’ fight and sacrifice actually saved our lives. I still think of him a lot when I eat.)


Like a Rodent Cage

So, Jedi General Aayla Secura was, as we gentleman and scholars say, a banging hottie. I didn’t get to talk to her often because Bly, her clone commander and one of my best brothers. He thought I would embarrass him and try to flirt with her. But this one time, he couldn’t avoid it. I met her at a strategy meeting at the Jedi Temple before I went to run an extraction of the 501st from Felucia. Bly and I had just come back from a break and I was telling him a story when she came in and sat down beside us.

Wolffe- So then fricking Niner, man, he…

Secura- Wait, Niner? Is that the Niner that was with Master Vebb and the 502nd?

Wolffe- Well, Niner is a pretty common clone name.

Secura- A common clone name? I thought you had names to make you individuals.

Wolffe- Doesn’t mean we don’t have duplicate names. I mean, we didn’t all bunk close. We don’t all talk about the same people on a daily basis. Brothers have different circles of friends.

Bly- Technically, any guy whose number ends in nine is a Niner. He might have it changed later, if he did something memorable.

Wolffe- Like this one guy, 3489, he was Niner when he was little. Then he got a huge head wound and some stitches, so we called him Stitches. But we still call him Niner sometimes. Especially us leadership guys, since he went to infantry, so we didn’t see him much after we were split up and the head injury happened after. So he was still Niner to us.

Secura- Truly a complicated system.

Wolffe- Another Niner fell asleep in loyalty class, so we called him Snorry. Or sometimes Niner-Snorry to differentiate him from a guy in his cadet squad who was also a Niner, who was Niner-Blackeye, since he was always fighting. Then he had his front teeth knocked out in a fight. Some of us called him Gappy. Then he got new teeth and we called him Grill. Together, though, Snorry and Grill were still called the Niners, since they always hung out together.

Secura- What are some other common names?

Bly- What you’d expect from where we grew up. Laser, Mortar, Skeet, Ammo, stuff like that. Or number ones. Fiver, Sixer, Niner, or Three-four, Four-four, whatever your number ended in. Cody we sometimes used to call Twos-four, since his number is 2224. But he hated it, insisted we use his full number.

Wolffe- I was Thirty-sixes for a little while. My girlfriend heard that and has been calling me Dirty-sixes ever since. (Bly pinched the underside of my upper arm. It hurt like a bitch.)

Secura- Really? (She was not shocked, she just got this look on her face like I was ridiculous.)

Bly- (Changing the subject back.) We used numbers, since numbers were all we had at first. First two years, we didn’t really know about much, since first year was just cleaning, sustenance and development, second year was combat conditioning, which was all sensory. We didn’t need more than numbers because we didn’t talk to each other a lot. Third year we gained vocabulary and experience.

Secura- Cleaning, sustenance and development?

Wolffe- Yeah, in the nursery cells.

Secura- What are nursery cells?

Bly- Well, when we were first extracted from the jars, they put us in these boxes where droids would turn us to stimulate our muscle development. We watched programs to learn to talk. We were fed by funnels that inserted into our throats. After four months, we could walk, so we were put in cells in groups of five and dressed in these gray onesies that were wired to administer shocks to keep our muscles developing. They had the language videos running, but we could go around the cells on our own, climb and play.

Wolffe- But if we hit each other, our suits would zap us. We got our food and drink from big bottles that hung on the walls. Like a rodent cage. When the droids cleaned the cells, they used to let us into the common area to play together with other batch groups. Then we’d be put on a conveyor to clean us. Then back in the onesies, back to the cells. I told my girl about that, she said it sounded like some demented amusement park ride.

Secura- Are they still doing this?

Bly- I wouldn’t know. I just go to Kamino to pick up and train recruits. I’m not authorized for the growth sectors, those are restricted areas because we might bring in new diseases before they can vaccinate for them.

Wolffe- I would think, though, that there are not many ways besides that to create beings in a factory. We are products, after all. Anything else would be expensive and labor intensive, right? I mean, sure, if you have the time, get artisanal people, made the old fashioned way. They’re better quality. But they’re so expensive and they take a long time.

Secura- As opposed to factory products that aren’t worth much?

Wolffe- I know how much I cost. It’s on my id. I have heard some people say beings’ lives are priceless. But I have a price. Ergo, other people are worth more than me.

Secura- This is really what you think?

Wolffe- I’m sorry, am I understanding something about this the wrong way? The message was pretty clear, I thought. From the point of view of logic.

Secura- But to put a price on a human life is…dehumanizing.

Wolffe- I actually believe that was the point. (Nervously laughing. I meant it, but I wasn’t sure she would agree, so I played it as a joke. Bly stepped on my foot to get me to stop being controversial in front of non-brothers.) Anyway, nursery cells weren’t all bad. At least we weren’t alone. My mates and I used to sleep beside each other in a pile on the floor instead of in the little boxes they had for beds. Boost used to sleep with his two middle fingers in his mouth, since they took his pacifier away after the first few months.

Secura- I have known human children who do things like that. We have very small children in the Jedi Temple, too.

Wolffe- Lots of us guys did stuff like that. I chewed on the corners of my blanket. It was so frayed by the time they moved us to second year barracks, it was kind of a rag. I kept a piece of it, though.

Bly- Second year we moved up to sleeping drawers, so temperature controlled. We didn’t have blankets.

Secura- Did you have the same kind of pajamas?

Wolffe- They issued us cadet uniforms, so we used them for everything, even sleeping in. Bly, do you still have yours?

Bly- Sure. I’ll wear it if a guy invites me to his house.

Wolffe- I have got to show you where I buy clothes. I used to have my adult size uniform and that piece of blanket in my first kitpack, but I lost that at Abregado. I was lucky that I had my player pod in my pocket, otherwise I would have lost that too.

Secura- Bly, I didn’t know you didn’t have clothes. Not even for sleeping in?

Bly- On ships here, we sleep in armor undersuits.

Wolffe- Which I don’t like. I wish I could sleep in just underpants or nothing, like I do at home.

Secura- Home?

Wolffe- But sleeping in the barracks, other brothers wouldn’t like a brother running around naked. (Bly stepped on my foot again.)

Secura- Now that surprises me, it would be nothing they haven’t seen before.

Wolffe- That’s what my girl said. But, from what I understand of your culture, Ma’am, you tend to be pretty unfazed by nudity. (Pretty sure Bly was ready to punch me.)

Secura- I’m sorry, how do you know about my culture?

Wolffe- Well, I don’t know about Jedi, but the Twi’leks I know laugh at how badly nudity embarrasses us clones. Every culture has different standards for nudity, my girl and I noticed. For clones they go back to Kamino. We were only allowed to disrobe for showers, but that was still on a cleaning conveyer and was monitored. So were our beds. The only places without cameras were the trainers’ quarters, the same section where old Jango lived. But we weren’t allowed to be unclothed the rest of the time. Threat of punishment, it was against regs.

Secura- (Crossing arms and lowering her eyelids.) Ah, but you don’t seem shy now.

Wolffe- Well, not once you get to know me.

Secura- Really?

Wolffe- So how about it?

Secura- About what?

Wolffe- Getting to know me? OW! Bly!

(Okay, I was flirting with her there at the end, but that was just to annoy Bly. I knew Jedi could read emotions so she could tell I wasn’t serious. Afterwards they had a conversation in Twi’leki, which Bly thought I was too dumb to understand. He apologized that I’d hit on her, she said she actually thought it was more noticeable how often I brought up my girlfriend. Like I sounded ‘buffoonishly in love’. I’m pretty sure Bly told my girlfriend this and that’s why I got so laid that night.)


They Might Like to Add a Guy

My brother Gree was hopeless. Aside from his absolutely awful haircut, it is like he had a mirshupu (brain injury) and had lost his ability to process what women’s body language, facial expressions, and actions actually meant. Like if a woman said she was fine, but she was crying, he would have happily moved on thinking how lucky he was that everything was okay. The brother was thick. So a few months into the damned war, he fell in love. Worse, it was with his Jedi General, Luminara Unduli. At first he had been put off by her modest dress and cold demeanor. But propinquity worked its magic and he became obsessed. It was all he ever wanted to talk about. He couldn’t tell her, for fear she would feel sexually harassed and lop off his leg at the knee. So he just kept talking to me, instead. Now, he was not as much of a creeper as this sounds at first. The two of them shared some intense missions and the responsibility for the battalion, so they were close partners. But it didn’t sound to me like there was ever any attraction demonstrated on her part. This conversation serves to illustrate just how thick Gree was. And how patient I was, because I never stopped trying to help him. He was my brother and I still loved him.

I was at the Central Offices at the base one night, doing paperwork. Turned on the recorder for further analysis later.

Gree- -ell, I asked her if she maybe wanted to do something sometime, you know, like friends would. No pressure, if something happens, it happens. She said no politely, but she looked at me like the thought disgusted her. (Honestly, I thought he might have been wrong. Like I said, he misread women constantly.)

Wolffe- Hm. Okay, let’s analyze this. Is it you that disgusted her, or maybe that your relationship is professional and she finds it unacceptable to date. Or maybe it was the thought of a date in general, since she’s a Jedi. Or, another possibility, is she gay?

Gree- What? Like gay, like only wants to do it with people who look like her? Because she and her padawan are pretty close and they’re the same species.

Wolffe- That’s not what gay is!

Gree- I thought gay was brothers doing it with each other.

Wolffe- Where does this misinformation keep coming from? Honestly!

Gree- What’s gay, then?

Wolffe- When a guy likes to do it with other guys or when a girl wants girls.

Gree- Brothers are guys.

Wolffe- Yeah, but…two brothers? That’s weird.

Gree- But Jedi don’t have sex with anyone, so how could she be gay?

Wolffe- Again, where did you hear that? Even if people don’t do it, they can still have a preference or type of attraction. Besides, I think it’s just like with us, sex is against the rules but people find ways around it.

Gree- Do you think she and her padawan…? (Once this thought had crept into his head, it had intrigued him.)

Wolffe- Maybe. What would I know about it?

Gree- You knew about gay.

Wolffe- Yeah, but knowing what gay means is having information on a general subject, whereas you were asking me for comment on the status of General Luminara’s personal relationships, and how could I? I don’t know her.

Gree- Huh. Hey, do you think if two women are gay with each other, they might like to add a guy? Like in some of those magazines?

Wolffe- Seriously? Why do I EVEN bother finding out about things if you jagoffs don’t listen to me?

Gree- Do you have any spice?

Wolffe- Grrrr! (Taking out the pipe and packing it.)

Gree- So do you?

Wolffe- What, think you have a chance to live out some porn fantasy you have? I just got done telling you that I can’t comment on the General’s personal relationships. But if you wanted me to speculate just based on what little I know of you and of her, then I could. (Hitting pipe. Handing it off.)

Gree- (Hits pipe.) So?

Wolffe- So what?

Gree- So…speculate.

Wolffe- Okay, let’s start with whether or not there is something between them. (Taking pipe back and hitting again.) My opinion about Jedi, those that want to, do it. Only they’re discreet about it because it’s against the rules. It’s not like they’d be caught unless somebody got pregnant or something, and the chances of that? With all the genetically incompatible species? Although, General Plo says that many Force sensitives can have deep connections through the living Force or something, so they don’t get lonely like we imagine it. So many are probably partly asexual, in my unsubstantiated opinion about Jedi. They’re not like us. Conversely, for most people, not all, but most, physical intimacy is a need, physical contact helps keep us emotionally well. And it’s natural to become attracted to a person you see a lot. Like you with your general. So she and her padawan might have become attracted to each other. On the other hand, that’s a student-teacher relationship, so it would be inappropriate. So…about them…I guess I doubt it, but it is at least possible. As for your actual question, no, you would not have a chance to get yourself into some threesome relationship with the two of them.

Gree- Why not? (Hitting the pipe.)

Wolffe- Well, in this case, I would have to draw upon personal experience.

Gree- Oh, here we go again!

Wolffe- I believe I have already told the story about the time I did all those uppers and hired three prostitutes.

Gree- All the time. Where did you even get the money for something like that?

Wolffe- The girls did it for the drugs. Army issue drugs are potent.

Gree- That sounds super shady.

Wolffe- Look, I was out, I made a friendly offer of some drugs, I didn’t expect that to happen. I’m still grateful to General Plo for giving me all those prophylactics to hand out to the guys when we got to Corellia. Seriously, be brought like, a crate. The dockyards in Corellia are famous for STD’s. My point is, when the situation presented itself, I was prepared, quick thinking, and decisive. All qualities you lack when off the field of battle, I notice.

Gree- Since when is sex like battle?

Wolffe- I consider everything like battle. Now what you’re talking about is even more difficult. Attempting to get in on what is possibly an existing thing, with respectable women and people who have to be secretive about their personal relationships. Why would they want to include you in something private that might be satisfying enough for both of them? What do you bring to the table? My assessment, even if they are together, you don’t have a shot.

Gree- Wait, are you trying to tell me they would if I offered them drugs?

Wolffe- Please try that and let me know how it goes, because I am dying to hear.

(For frick’s sake that guy was always paying attention to the stuff that didn’t matter and missing the point catastrophically. Thankfully, he was too gutless to take any further action with his ill-conceived plan. I knew I was going to have to do something about him before too long, or he was going to get himself in trouble. But that’s another story.)

Chapter Text

Tell Me About My Baby

My brother Echo had some kind of special mutation that made him some kind of math savant. He could also play music. He was lost, but was recovered late in the war. It was grim what had happened. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad he wasn’t dead. But he came back a cyborg and it was really scary to me to look at him. It was like seeing something that could happen to me. I already had a cybernetic eye wired into my brain and I could feel how it had changed me. When Echo came back to Coruscant he was in the hospital at Central Command, while they installed his upgraded prostheses. I would go to visit when I could while he was recovering. I wasn’t shy, I would just lie on the bed beside Echo. The head was propped up, so it was like just sitting together talking. I used to tell him stories about his batchmate Fives, who had already died. Or we’d listen to music. I also brought him a keyboard to practice. One day, I was in the bed and he was sitting on the foot of the bed. He was quiet these days, but I knew his mind was taking in everything. He was so shell shocked, though, that I think he literally had a hard time speaking. I came to the hospital wearing a cloth uniform with my insignia, but I deliberately had worn no number. The Kaminoan doctor came in.

Wolffe- Hey Ala te.

Kaminoan doctor- Hello…uh…

Wolffe- Seventy-five-sixty-seven. (Kaminoans can’t tell clones apart, even one with a gigantic facial scar and a prosthetic eye AND this one had been my post-op physician for the surgery. It was ridiculous.)

KD- Oh, Captain Rex, is it? I didn’t know you’d been promoted to Commander. (Even the Kaminoans, who can’t tell us apart, knew Rex’s name. The brother was just that famous.)

Wolffe- Oh sure. How’s our Echo doing today? (Echo was using his single hand to pick out tunes on the keyboard. He played a Coruscant pop song called, ‘Tell me about my baby’.)

KD- Clone Trooper Fourteen-oh-nine has been doing well with his occupational therapy. (She read his chart.)

Wolffe- He’s a hard worker, no doubt about that. Hey Ala te? (Echo switched to a song called, ‘Hey baby.’ Most Coruscant pop song titles had ‘baby’ in them.)

KD- Yes…?

Wolffe- Two-two-two-four. How do Kaminoans tell each other apart? (For this Echo played, ‘Girl because you’re special’. Songs that weren’t called ‘baby’ something usually had ‘girl’ in them.)

KD- That’s easy. To us, we look very individual. (She read Echo’s chart some more.) A round of antibiotics later. (Echo played, ‘Round and round’. By then I had made eye contact. He was doing it on purpose.)

Wolffe- You guys ever clone Kaminoans?

KD- Of course not, that’s illegal on Kamino. We only allow reproductive osmosis. (The song this time was, ‘Sexual fantasy’. I stifled laughter.)

Wolffe- What if somebody can’t make kids? Do you use the lab to help them out? (Echo continued with a second verse of the same song.)

KD- No, we possess the technology, but we debated it and decided that if we did it that way, then no one would reproduce by osmosis and they’d want to pick and choose for certain features. It was considered to be tampering with life forms. That’s against our religion. So we made laws to only allow us to clone non-Kamino species. (Echo then moved on to the chorus of the song.)

Wolffe- What else have you guys cloned, besides Jango? (Echo started playing the hook from a Faust rap song from Adana called, ‘Hurt me, daddy.’ It was in Faustan language but the hook was in Basic.)

KD- Animals at first, things that were disease resistant for more efficient farming. Then tissue and organs for transplants. We brought back some extinct species. Some pretty good things, actually. (An alternative-heavy isotope song I liked, called ‘Back from the dead.’)

Wolffe- So your skills could be used to save species?

KD- Yes, bring back things that were lost.

Wolffe- So why the army?

KD- The project was communicated to us by representatives of the Jedi Order that this was important for the whole galaxy, to keep it safe. We understood that their causes were noble. They came with a representative of the Republic. He said the Republic was in favor of it, but that it had to be kept top secret. (Echo played one and I nearly lost it. It was a techno song called, ‘Not my fault’.)

Wolffe- Huh. That part didn’t worry you? (I didn’t find out until later that those Jedi and Senate representatives didn’t even have authorization from their organizations to even make the order.)

KD- We welcomed it. They offered a lot of money. This contract saved the economy of Kamino, we were in financial trouble at the time. We needed the jobs the project would bring.

Wolffe- Did anyone ask if it was a good idea? Or was everyone for it? I mean, taking the contract, you guys had to have debated that.

KD- Thankfully, we didn’t have to debate much. It was seen as completely beneficial to us.

Wolffe- (This was getting interesting.) What do you think, personally, about military contracts? I mean, is that what Kamino will do from now on? What about when the war ends? Will you start cloning other beings to be fighters for smaller contracts? Build anyone an army that wants one?

KD- It’s difficult to say. The technology is developing rapidly, since we’ve had this chance to do so much research on human physiology. I think we will develop new templates to market. Maybe for the service industries, or to grow donor organs. Human/animal hybrids might be popular, super intelligent pets.

Wolffe- Does anyone in Kamino worry about us? (A cheesy power ballad called, ‘Don’t we need love, too?’ Apparently it came from a time when there was a trend that movies had cheesy theme songs with their names as the titles. This one was some romantic comedy sequel.)

KD- You don’t belong to us. We still earn money on servicing and maintenance, so we try to take as good care of you as we can. But we actually consider it an external problem. (Echo played an old standard, ‘You don’t belong to me’. It had been a Twi’lek song, translated into Basic.)

Wolffe- Do you think that people will always remember that about you guys?

KD- Pardon?

Wolffe- Hey, Ala te?

KD- Yes…I’m sorry, what was your number again? (Coruscant pop song, ‘What’s my number?’)

Wolffe- Five-Oh-Five-Two.

KD- Wait…I thought…weren’t you…

Wolffe- Are you guys still doing trials on that male potency drug? (My friend Rolo the Hutt was paying top datari for the stuff. Echo went with a Bith tune called, ‘Soft’. I doubled over laughing.)

KD- (Looking at me strangely. Not because of the question, but because I was laughing. Kaminoans know nothing about music.) Oh no, that passed research and development. It is up for approval with the government regulators. I think we might still have some samples, though.

Wolffe- Will Kamino be making money from the pharmaceuticals you develop? (A Twi’leki song that translates to, ‘Drug dealer’.

KD- Some, but we don’t manufacture them. We sell off the patents to companies.

Wolffe- Interesting. So, who makes the most money from these things? I mean, it must save them a lot in research and development using soldiers instead of paying test subjects. (A synth-pop tune, ‘Use me’.)

KD- I assume. I don’t get involved. I’m just in because I love the research.

Wolffe- What did you guys call those sea snails and stuff you used to feed us? Markej?

KD- Yes.

Wolffe- If a guy wanted to get some of that, where would he go? (Another synth pop one, ‘Bottom of the sea.’)

KD- Oh, we don’t feed that to clones anymore, we have Republic Nutrition Rations sent to Kamino these days. They’re provided by the Republic, so they’re cheaper than dredging the sea floor for mollusks.

Wolffe- Wow. Too bad. I had a craving for those the other day. Do you know what RNR are made of? They taste synthetic. Is there anything organic in them?

KD- Of course. But there are many chemicals. They were developed, I believe, for emergencies, like in case of disasters, to stave off starvation. But the Republic decided that they made an ideal feed.

Wolffe- Feed. Some of the guys do call it Clone Chow. Did you ever eat it? (Echo played the jingle from a tooka food commercial.)

KD- No. We can only eat live food. It’s against our religion to eat dead things.

Wolffe- Oh yeah, I guess I remember seeing you guys eat all that krill. Are those any good?

KD- I couldn’t really tell you, we don’t have taste buds...what did you say your number was?

Wolffe- Seventy-five-sixty-seven.

KD- I'll have to tell the others I saw THE Captain Rex today.

(I yawned and leaned back in the bed. I fell asleep for a while after this. I was having some bad insomnia, not to mention I was pretty full of the prescription sedatives they gave us to treat insomnia. I woke up a few hours later, I guess. Ala Te came in and Echo was using the bathroom. She tried to give me his antibiotics, calling me Fourteen-oh-nine. Then he came out of the bathroom and she handed him some samples of that impotency drug and a bag of live krill, calling him Rex and telling him that she would be honored to give him some gifts. I heard later that Ala te was actually self-medicating on painkillers.)

Tunnel of Love


This was that time Bly’s boyfriend Karim came to my place with his covered speeder. Karim was another one of these rich boys my brother liked to date, in between dating their rich fathers. (Not literally…except once…man his love life was a mess.) We were going to take my batch mates and my girlfriend with us to Wookiee World amusement park and I had volunteered to be designated driver. I just wanted to drive a speeder. Karim wanted another driver so he could drink, which I thought was reasonable. I even abstained from smoking spice that night until we were all back. Too bad nobody else did, that speeder was belching smoke the whole way there and back. I had a fake driving license that said my name was Noa Briqualon. When Karim brought the speeder around to give me some practice, I was caught in the middle of something. I was in the drivers’ seat, Karim was up front, Bly sitting in the backseat. I don’t know why Bly always seemed to date guys that were either a lot older or youngish guys, like twenty year olds. It wasn’t off, when you are ten years old but look thirty, it is hard to gage your dating pool age range. But when he’d date the young guys, he’d always complain about them being immature. Really, I just think he liked to nitpick. I liked all the guys he dated. It made me jealous sometimes that I wasn’t gay, they seemed to have some of the coolest people in their dating pool. Then I’d remember boobs and I’d get over it.

Wolffe- So what kind of rides they got at Wookiee World? (Looking at the owner’s manual for the speeder. I could speed read. And multi-task.)

Karim- Well, there are thrill rides, you know, the ones that toss the body around.

Wolffe- Like centrifuges and stuff?

Karim- Yeah, same principle. (He took a sip from a flask.)

Wolffe- Oh, we did those in the academy for training. Bly, you remember? I was the best. I have no gag reflex.

Karim- Really? (He raised an eyebrow.)

Wolffe- (I winked at him) Yep. The only time I ever threw up was on that ship, The Twilight. That combination of General Skywalker’s flying and the hellish horror that is the smell coming from the bathroom, I was just overcome. Plus I think I had the bends from the escape pod getting depressurized.

Karim- Well, they don’t have anything that bad. Some rides are just fun, like the little pods you crash into each other. Or the haunted house. Or the tunnel of love.

Wolffe- What’s that? (I looked up from the manual to the control panel to memorize what all the dials and lights meant.)

Karim- It’s where you ride these little boats and it’s dark so you can make out. (Taking another sip.)

Wolffe- (Quickly calculating.) Okay, how long does it take you to go through this ride, how long are you in the dark.

Karim- I don’t know, not long, ten minutes at most.

Wolffe- Plenty of time. I am so getting into the love tunnel at Wookiee World. (Trying out the different signal lights.)

Karim- Tunnel of love.

Bly- He means something else.

Karim- Ah.

Wolffe- Alright Karim, show me what I need to know.

Karim- Ignition button there. Steering there. Acceleration there. That’s it.

Wolffe- And you have to get a license to do this? (I tossed the manual into a storage compartment and turned on the ignition.)

Karim- Well, there are the rules of traffic.

Wolffe- Psh. I can pilot a ship, I can pilot a speeder. They taught us to drive fifth year. You remember that, Bly?

Bly- Yes.

Wolffe- What are you upset about? (I turned to look at Bly. He was looking out the window. Karim wasn’t going to ask, I guess. Bly didn’t look back, so I shrugged and I pulled off the platform into traffic.)

Karim- Are you mad at me again for the drinking?

Bly- I think you know.

Karim- (To me) Bly thinks I drink too much.

Bly- Well, let’s see, that’s only because every time I see you, you’re drunk.

Karim- Like you never drink. We had our first date in a bar.

Bly- Yeah, but I'm not blackout drunk every night.

Karim- Well, how would you know I get blackout drunk every night? Yesterday was the first time I’ve seen you in a month.

Bly- I have tours to go on. You know, fighting a war and all?

Karim- (To me) Do you believe this? He thinks he should be able to tell me how to be. I’m an adult, I can make my own choices.

Bly- I’m not telling you how to be! I just don’t like how you act when you drink. (I winced at that. Bly was not helping himself.)

Karim- Like what?

Bly- Like you’re crying one minute, then laughing the next, then horny the next, then you want to fight. I only have so much leave time, I just want to relax and have some fun without worrying about what mood you’re going to be in from one minute to the next.

Karim- That’s all I am? Fun?

Bly- Don’t do this. You know who I am, you know what my prospects are. Can’t we just enjoy being together for now? (I was very concerned the speeder would become unavailable, I had to fix this. I had to get into the love tunnel at Wookiee World. It was now on the top of my bucket list.)

Wolffe- Hey Karim?

Karim- What?

Wolffe- This is probably none of my business…

Bly- You think?

Wolffe- I don’t want to embarrass my brother, here, but he made you something. I helped, I mean, I made recommendations. The point is, he’ll be too stubborn to admit it now that he’s dug himself in, but he really wanted to surprise you tonight with a gift.

Karim- He did?

Wolffe- Oh yeah. (I couldn’t see Bly’s face, but I could practically sense what face would be. We had the same face after all. The expression was something between outrage and panic.) Yeah, it’s this killer playlist. (I hit the stereo console on the speeder, where I already had my player plugged in. I had talked to him, so I knew what Karim liked. I picked a playlist of fun power ballads I’d made for my girlfriend. I had made her several themed lists.)

Karim- Bly, how did you know? I love this song? It’s so cheesy!

Wolffe- He said you said so. He didn’t know the names of some of the songs, so I had him sing them to me. I could identify them. Right, Bly?

Bly- Right. (I could tell from the tone of his voice that he was grateful for me setting things to right. I had been the wingman that helped him get his last boyfriend Jayno, so that was two he owed me, Junior.)

Karim- I’d love to hear him sing.

Wolffe- He’s probably embarrassed. We should start, maybe he’ll get over it,

(I spent the next half hour practicing driving through Coruscant traffic. Karim and I sang all the songs on the playlist, with him imagining Bly’s heart in every lyric. The rest of the night, Karim was happy enough to just have fun together, which was all Bly wanted. Of course, Karim did get so drunk, he had to puke in a trash can and get some food in him once we got to the park, but he was in a cuddly mood after, and I wasn't the only brother who got frisky in the Tunnel of Love. What I think my brother didn’t realize sometimes is that people are not all action, but oftentimes reaction to us. Bly could be moody and depressive, which meant that a lot of the time, he made his guys feel that way, too. He and Karim didn’t last long after this, which dismayed me once again. Sometimes I wish he would have just dated Rolo the Hutt, even for a little while. Rolo had a boat. I had always wanted to drive a boat.)


Attractive Incentives

The clone army had casualties, like all armies. So, one of the duties of a Clone Commander was that we’d go to Kamino to pick up and do some initial training with the new recruits when we needed fresh bodies. We were given purview over who we would get. General Shaak-Ti would send us files, we could make our selections. She would have the guys ready when we arrived for pickup. Now, after us early batchers who shipped out the first year of the war, it was just downhill in the opinion of a lot of us commanders. Guys were approved for draft as early as seven years old, about 21 standard. Anyway, although we made our selections, guys got to list their preferences for battalions and we could take that into consideration. We C.O.’s were pretty competitive when it came to our battalions appearing on these lists. We felt it proved whether or not a battalion had a good reputation if they were a frequent preference. My group of friends included mostly over-achievers, Bly, Cody, Rex, all total military spazzes. Their battalions were recognized as elite. I knew I couldn’t compete against them in terms of prestige or statistical results. So I enacted my own recruitment measures to keep interest in the 104th high. Whenever I was on Kamino picking up fresh recruits, I would offer to speak to new guys.

In a meeting room in the Tipoca City cloning facility. Recruiter meeting, with Commander Wolffe of the 104th and two seven year olds, Racer and Chompy.

Wolffe- So, you guys are due to be recruited soon?

Racer- Yeah. I can’t wait to get out and run some top missions in the Outer Rim sieges. Gonna start killing some droids.

Wolffe- Well, with your scores, you’re not going to get into the front line battalions. Although, you might like to consider the 104th, specialty extraction team.

Chompy- I hear that battalion is kind of…

Wolffe- What?

Chompy- …uh…crude.

Wolffe- (Sarcastically.) Oh, yeah, we’re positively primitive. (Chuckling.) Look, ultimately, your preference should be for whatever battalion has the most to offer you, and I believe we have developed some attractive incentives.

Racer- Like what?

Wolffe- Well, first, the army provides all the essentials as well as a small stipend for personal use, which brothers usually spend on women, drink, drugs, toiletries, stuff like that. We have developed a kind of cooperative that maximizes returns through collective bargaining, which results in higher but equal benefit for everyone.

Chompy- A what now?

Wolffe- In the 104th we have a cooperative. When we are on leave time, we are expected to pursue private enterprises to earn cash. We pool the earnings ahead of shipping out for each tour, we are able to purchase provisions in bulk for cheaper, like food, liquor, as well as ensuring everyone has entertainment allowances for shore leave. That is, we pool some of our money, then we split the money evenly among the battalion to get things of mutual benefit. We all have a good time, nobody gets left out.

Chompy- Private enterprises?

Wolffe- Hustling. Just like we do here, gambling, trades, Coruscant is full of opportunities.

Racer- Wait, why can’t we just have fun on leaves in Coruscant? I don’t know if I want to work.

Wolffe- That brings me to my next point.

Racer- Wait, do you contribute less since you’re the leader?

Wolffe- No! I put more in, and I take less out. (I made more than I could use, honestly. Hustling was my hobby.) As a leader, I have to be an example. Taking care of you guys, I consider my responsibility. Now, nobody, and I mean nobody, is exempt from contributing their fair share to the cooperative. Or I will personally knock your head off or I will send my batchmates around to give you a few cracked ribs.

Chompy- Seems harsh.

Wolffe- Any commander would knock some heads to enforce their rules, but not all battalions make rules for the good of the group. That’s the difference. Some just make rules to assert power.

Racer- What if you can’t make the money?

Wolffe- Then you help other brothers with their schemes. Or talk to me, or my sergeants. We will work something out, but this prosthetic eye can sense heat, so I can tell when the body temperature rises, I’ll know if you’re lying to me. (Bullshit. I knew when brothers were lying to me because I know what face I make when I lie.) Look, the system works for us. I provide other benefits as well.

Racer- I think I’ve heard about this. The 104th has some kind of special deal with the prostitutes’ union?

Wolffe- We have a…special relationship. They aren’t required to take anyone, and they pick the order, but I can make introductions to the right girls, help you with pricing. We do have a very good working relationship with the women. (They nodded happily about this.) Although, there are rules about that, too. (They looked at me as if they thought I was trying to legislate the fun out of everything.)

Chompy- Like what?

Wolffe- If I ever find out about any disrespectful behavior by any of you towards any women, I will tell the girls to cut you off. No excuses.

Racer- Why would that be hard?

Wolffe- It shouldn’t. But for some guys it is. I don’t want guys with me dragging down the good reputation of the 104th among the prostitutes. (I loved how absurd my life was that I was able to say such ridiculous sounding things seriously.) As long as you always treat them with respect, you will have no problems.

Chompy- What else?

Wolffe- Insurance.

Racer- What’s that?

Wolffe- Well, if you get arrested, we have a special fund for bribes to the police droid, so it doesn’t go on your record. I use some of the funds to pay the bribes to get us duty on Coruscant. Or if a guy is sick and out of commission, he gets his cooperative fees paid. Stuff like that. (Looking at my com that had chirped.)

Boost- (Over com.) Wolffe! You gotta get down here to the cadet barracks, Sinker just started taking bets on who could do the longest keg stand with one of those boxes of wine! He’s making odds right now.

Wolffe- Aw, I’ll be right there. He always screws that up. (To recruits.) Look, I have to go, please, take our brochure and think about the 104th when making your preference lists.

(My brochures were awesome. My friend Waxer had drawn for me. At the bottom, it said ‘104th Battalion’ in a neat font in a trapezoid shape. Above was a picture of me standing on a rock, where it was apparently windy, because my kama was blowing around. I was raising a blaster up over my head, firing it into the sky with both hands. I had my girl kneeling beside me, holding a pistol and showing a lot of leg and cleavage. On my other side were two guys in shiny armor looking on somewhat in the background. It was based on the cover of my favorite holovid disk that I bought at the booth of one of those clandestine street vendors. Recruitment, I found, was a fascinating social experiment. Marketing was one of my favorite things to study. But I never took guys because of their listed preferences. I didn’t have to, I just wanted to foster the perception that it mattered, so I could get on more guys’ lists. You know, to stick it to my fellow C.O.’s. My brochures were so popular, they hung inside more than a few bed drawers in the cadet barracks.)

Chapter Text

Hey, Badawan

At Abregado, three cruisers had been destroyed by the Separatist warship, Malevolence, and there were only four survivors. After the Abregado disaster, we four spent a few days on the cruiser Resolute, waiting to be transported back to Coruscant. We were sidetracked while General Skywalker’s ship was chasing the Malevolence, but the hyperdrive on it was damaged so it was only a matter of time. The Malevolence. Honestly, it seemed as if the Separatists were trying to advertise that they were bad guys. Who names a ship that? So, while on the Resolute, I was dealing with the emotional impact of losing an entire battalion under my leadership. I was feeling like a tremendous failure. Although I looked and was expected to act like an adult, I was still only ten and a half years old. General Plo was treating me like the child he knew I was. Not a bad thing. I really needed that then, for someone to just let me be a child for once. To tell me it was okay. General Plo was a wise Jedi and was hundreds of years old, so he understood all kinds of people. I was talking to him in the common room, still wearing the same cloth uniform I’d been wearing during Abregado. I didn’t have anything else in the world but that uniform and the player pod that had been in my pocket.

Wolffe- Well, it’s like, I’m worried. I haven’t really felt sad yet. Like I haven’t been affected. I just know that’s wrong.

Plo- You’re probably still in shock.

Wolffe- I just worry that I’m too numb. But somebody told a joke today and I laughed. I don’t understand how I could do that. I shouldn’t be laughing at a time like this. Isn’t that something psychopaths do? I think I’m defective.

Plo- Everyone deals with grief in different ways. There is no wrong way to feel, only wrong ways of expressing it. Laughter is natural, we do it every day. It would be more worrying if you stopped laughing.

Wolffe- Thanks, General Plo. (He patted my shoulder as Ahsoka walked in.)

Ahsoka- Ugh, Master Plo, did you ever have one of those days where you think that everybody is totally self involved?

Wolffe- Hey, badawan.

Ahsoka- What did you call me?

Wolffe- Badawan. Like a bad padawan. (I laughed, but the joke was really stupid. I really couldn’t help but laugh. It was funny to me, for some reason. Ever since I first heard the word ‘padawan’ I thought it sounded funny.)

Ahsoka- Did someone say I was a bad padawan? (She looked really hurt.)

Wolffe- No…but…it’s a portmanteau. I just learned about those. (I still couldn’t stop laughing.)

Plo- How are things going with your new master?

Ahsoka- He’s a jerk!

Wolffe- ‘New mast-jerk’…no…that doesn’t work.

Plo- What’s the matter, Little ‘Soka?

(She flopped down in the chair next to him.)

Wolffe- Maybe General Skywalk-jerk? (I laughed again.) No! That’s awful.

Ahsoka- We’re doing the form four exercises and he just assumes I know the modifications he’s made. Like I’m a mind reader.

Wolffe- Form…no…four…no, I guess that couldn’t work. Portmanteaus are harder than they look.

Plo- I know it’s difficult, but you must be patient with him. Although you’re an experienced student, he is new to teaching.

Ahsoka- He talks to me like I’m a child. He’s only six years older than me! I can do way more than he thinks. If he doesn’t have time to teach me, I train alone. I don’t need him to help me get better.

Plo- Patience. Reaching maturity and building trust both require patience.

Wolffe- General Plo, have you ever thought you were going to die?

Plo- I’ve risked my life many times.

Wolffe- But did you ever think, this is it. And you had time to think about it and look back at your life, or had time to think about what you wouldn’t get to do?

Ahsoka- Okay, but, I mean, my file from the Temple said that I’d already reached light saber proficiency at the highest level in my age group. But he doesn’t seem to realize how much of what he does he improvises. I’m not stupid, he’s just confusing.

Plo- Of course.

Wolffe- So what did you think about, if you don’t mind my asking?

Ahsoka- I mean, to even be able to anticipate him, he’d need to connect with me, but he’s so cut off.

Plo- Eradicating poverty on Coruscant. It is my dream.

Ahsoka- What?

Wolffe- That’s a big dream.

Plo- (To me) I’ve had a long time to think about it. (To her.) Ahsoka, Skywalker and Kenobi always had a rather improvised style as a team. Maybe General Kenobi could give you some pointers if you asked.

Ahsoka- Ugh, he’s off pontificating with Cody about strategic theory.

Wolffe- Oh, I got one…strategery. (Laughing at that word.)

Plo- And you don’t enjoy military discussions?

Wolffe- You know what I thought of?

Ahsoka- Not theirs. They’re in Mando’a.

Plo- What did you think of, Commander?

Ahsoka- I can’t even understand. I studied Shyriiwook at the Jedi Academy.

Plo- A wonderful language!

Ahsoka- I can understand it okay, but the pronunciation is hard.

Wolffe- Do you know Twi’leks communicate with body language? Their lekku twitch certain ways and it means different things. They can even tell you about their moods without talking. I want to know how that works. The girls at the bar talk to each other and they have whole conversations using words, and hand gestures, and lekku twitches. It’s so expressive. There’s this one, who wears this bright red lipstick, and she shakes her hips and points her finger and rolls her shoulders when she talks…

Plo- So what did you think about?

Wolffe- Sir?

Plo- When you thought you were going to die?

Wolffe- I want to find out about more people and places. Like you, General Plo, you must have seen everything. I want to see and do things.

Ahsoka- Master Plo, did I tell you, I have been practicing with a shoto? I’m trying to build up proficiency with double saber combat.

Plo-Wonderful, you two. Wonderful! Now, I think I have to go help young Master Kenobi on the bridge.

(Ahsoka followed with Plo, but I stayed behind to look out the window and watch the pursuit of the Malevolence. My batch mates came in to find me, so I turned on some of the new music Ahsoka had put on my player. She was in her emo phase then. It was some appropriately sad stuff. During this one song, my brothers and I were side by side at the window as we watched the Malevolence go crashing into a nearby moon and explode in a blinding flash of violet light. It was epic.)


It’s Just a Cartoon

I was waiting at a civie hospital once, last months of the war. My friend Nilo had come home from work and found his girlfriend, Kronnie, OD’ing on something. They lived across from me and my girlfriend, so we heard Nilo screaming, so I commed my unit’s medic to get over there right away. My guy, Zig, ran a streetcorner craps game about a block away, so he arrived way before the ambulance showed up. He was able to administer a dose of naloxone and get Kronnie breathing again, but she hadn’t regained consciousness, so we all went in the ambulance to the hospital. Nilo had fallen asleep on a couch with his head on my shoulder, Kronnie’s string of prayer beads clutched in his hand. Zig was looking around the lobby at all the natural born creatures.

In the lobby of the Grand Republic Medical Facility on Coruscant. Commander Wolffe and Zig of the 104th, and my friend Nilo of the tail headed persuasion.

Zig- I think this was the hospital Fives broke out of. (The incidents surrounding the death of my brother Fives were shady as hell. We brothers were still talking about them.)

Wolffe- Yeah. (I didn’t want to talk about them. That place had bad mojo, I was sure.)

Zig- Ana told me she used to date him.

Wolffe- Couple nights. It was never serious. (Zig was living with Ana at the time. My girl C.C. had stayed with her. The girls all worked together.)

Zig- Do you think it’s true? That Fives and Tup had some kind of parasite?

Wolffe- Anything’s possible, I guess. It’s a big galaxy.

Zig- But don’t you ever get the suspicion that something’s off about that? I don’t know, I just have a gut feeling. Hard to describe.

Wolffe- (I’d had that feeling, too. I changed the subject.) You ever watch that cartoon show, ‘Droids’?

Zig- I guess. If I’m awake on a Saturday morning.

Wolffe- Do you think it was intentional that the Fromm gang’s thugs were clones? What does that mean? Do you think?

Zig- I don’t know, I guess I never gave it much thought.

Wolffe- Well, I was thinking.

Zig- Here we go…

Wolffe- Do you think they’re saying that clones are criminals? If so, I don’t much care for the characterization.

Zig- You commit crimes every day. We all do.

Wolffe- Yeah, but due to unfair laws, not due to some defect of character.

Zig- Well, maybe they’re saying that using clone labor is something bad guys do.

Wolffe- I thought about that. So maybe the cartoon is subtle social commentary? Like they’re satirizing the government? Sure. That could be. But if they’re saying that, they are still showing us in a bad light. The clones on that show are mindless thugs. Total idiots. They don’t ever even say anything. Plus, they’re totally incompetent at catching the good guys.

Zig- I guess I never really noticed. I didn’t even know they were clones. Maybe you’re supposed to understand that their template was stupid, or that their cloning process was not that well developed.

Wolffe- They never said that. Yet they did say that the guys were clones, and they didn’t have to say that. Besides, from what I understand, finding a suitable template is a pretty involved process.

Zig- How do you know?

Wolffe- I talk to Kaminoans.

Zig- Why?

Wolffe- Well, I want to know more about myself, about all of us really. Anyway, they went through a few different possible guys but had to reject a few because of medical issues. Jango was in good health, he didn’t have genetic defects that they thought would be a problem, he passed all kinds of testing. It was rigorous. Part of that was intelligence testing, problem solving and so forth.

Zig- Well, maybe criminals want dumb thugs. Maybe those clones weren’t supposed to be fully sentient.

Wolffe- They were sentient enough to play cards in one scene. If you just want dumb henchmen, then why not use enbees? There are plenty of stupid natural born thugs you can hire without having to go to the expense of cloning.

Zig- I think you’re thinking about this too much.

Wolffe- Well, doesn’t it matter how we’re portrayed in the media? Most people have never met a clone. If all you ever see in holovids are negative images, then you’d start to assume that that’s how clones are. I understand, it’s just a cartoon, but doesn’t that make it worse? Kids believe what you tell them.

Zig- Maybe it’s just easier to animate. Like, they only have to make one character design and just copy it.

Wolffe- That brings me to another point, even if you animate them as identical, you could still give them each different personalities. But the clones had no nuance. They are just background characters. So what? If they’re just clones, we don’t have to be upset when the good guys keep killing them or making them look like drooling cretins? They’re just background props for guys to knock over? And what about other kinds of entertainment? You ever see a clone character? No, since we’re not allowed to be actors. So any time they have a clone on a live action show, say about Coruscant cops, the clones are just people in the crowd in armor and helmets. Faceless. Wouldn’t it be better if they involved us somehow? Make people used to seeing us? Damn, in armor, we could be played by fricking coatracks for all I know.

Zig- I don’t know. I don’t watch holo-vids that much.

Wolffe- But wouldn’t it be cool to see a show with a clone as a good guy and not blaster fodder? What about one who was smart or funny, or heroic? Why can’t we ever be that?

Zig- Sure, I’d like to see it. But who’d buy that? We have almost no money and we’re not, strictly speaking, supposed to be watching these things. And even if we could, nobody else would want to see it.

Wolffe- How would they know? Nobody’s ever tried it. I want to make a movie.

Zig- Anything you could make would probably be cheap and awful.

Wolffe- Regardless, I maintain, anything I would make, brothers would love because it would be speaking to them like nothing else ever did.

Zig- Maybe. It actually would be cool to see a badass brother kicking some butt for a change. I remember seeing your recruitment brochure. (Zig had been a later replacement for my second unit medic who had died on Qiilura.) We all talked about it at the academy, it was over the top (As I intended.) but it was the first time I’d ever seen anything with a brother right in the middle, looking cool. I remember, it inspired me to make up stories in my head sometimes.

Wolffe- Exactly! I never had any stories I liked growing up. I tried to use my imagination to tell stories, but all I had were experiences in the cloning facility that practically everyone else had, too. Nothing interesting. The only things I had to read were either boring, ‘Fighting on Different Types of Terrain’ textbooks, or meaningless ‘The Republic is Right’ anecdotes, or those crusty Mandalorian stories about pale-ass people doing shit I didn’t care about for reasons that didn’t make any sense to me.

Zig- So if you were making your movie, what would it be about?

Wolffe- Maybe a dystopian future where the bad guys are in charge, but then the good guys win.

Zig- Do you like that other show, the one about the Ewoks?

Wolffe- It’s okay. I have a whole other set of questions about that.

(Ewoks. Gregor tells me that on Abafar, they served those fricking things in the diner where he worked. The idea of eating sentient creatures freaks me out. Anyway, I am happy to report that because of our swift actions, Kronnie lived. It was nice to win one. Downside, though, she didn’t have the proper paperwork, so they deported her back to Ryloth once she was well. That place was a fricking war zone. And even though he was a citizen of the Republic, Nilo went with her. Nothing like almost losing someone to show you how much they matter to you. In the stories I make up in my head, I like to imagine they are still there together now.)


Attempted Robbery

I am the luckiest brother I know. Now, I am not the brother who has the most, that guy would probably be old Cut. But I am the guy who has been given the most when he’d done nothing to earn it. I was not virtuous, at least not according to the traditional definition. I did stuff that was downright nasty at times. To people who I thought deserved it. Yet I had the most friends of any brother. My flaws made me compassionate. I am also lucky in that, despite the fact that I probably should have been, I have never been arrested. Hell, I don’t just violate laws governing clone behavior, I am an equal opportunity outlaw. I broke laws just for the sake of breaking them. Me and my girl used to like to eat under ‘no food’ signs and smoke under ‘no smoking’ signs. Get lewd in public places even though we had a home to screw in. Just for fun. But somehow the only time I have ever been in a cell was as a prisoner of war, but even then not for very long. I escaped almost immediately. As a result, I was well known in the army as the guy you call when you wanted to get bailed out. I used to visit the police station in the Armory District of Coruscant pretty regularly in the early mornings to see if any brothers needed help. One of my ways of giving back to the community, since I’d been so fortunate.

Wolffe- (Munching on a nut cluster.) So, Sergeant Bolts…

Sgt. Bolts- My name is GU-553.

Wolffe- Of course, Gus. So who do we have in the tank tonight?

Sgt. Bolts- CT-1044, CT-5385, and CC-2224.

Wolffe- (Laughing.) Oh, this is going to be the best!

Sgt. Bolts- Why?

Wolffe- You’ll see.

Sgt. Bolts- Almost certainly not. My sentience level doesn’t allow for superlative comparisons.

Wolffe- That’s a damn shame.

(My three brothers were brought out to the desk by another GU-unit. They sat down side by side while Bolts pulled up their reports on a datapad. Four-four looked embarrassed. Tup looked worried. Cody was fuming.)

Sgt. Bolts- (Looking at a data-pad report) CT- 1044 of the 104th, is this your commanding officer?

Four-four- Yes, Sergeant.

Wolffe- Yes, he’s one of mine. What’s the charge?

Sgt. Bolts- One-oh-four-four was caught vandalizing government property.

Wolffe- Really? I am shocked and dismayed! (The sergeant’s sentience level didn’t allow him to detect sarcasm, either.)

Sgt. Bolts- He had spray paint and a stencil and was putting up offensive graffiti outside the Defense Ministry.

Wolffe- How do you know what ‘offensive’ is?

Sgt. Bolts- My programming defines all graffiti as being ‘offensive’ to the law. That is why we call crimes 'offences'.

Wolffe- What was it of?

Sgt. Bolts- That is irrelevant.

Wolffe- I’ll be the judge of that!

Four-four- (Pointing out the stencil on the droid’s desk) Just that. (It was a silhouette of two babies aiming blasters at each other.)

Wolffe- (Appreciatively) Your own work? (Four-four shrugged.)

Sgt. Bolts- We can release him to your custody for appropriate disciplinary action.

Wolffe- Thanks. (To Four-four) You’re gonna get it! (To the droid) I have so many punishments in mind. What I certainly don’t have is a list of places where I think such an image should be placed. Oh, and could I have his stencil? You know, for evidence?

Sgt. Bolts- Of course.

Wolffe- Now what about our friend, Tup, here?

Sgt. Bolts- Fifty-three-eighty-five was picked up for public lewdness and fraternizing with a civilian.

Wolffe- Where was he doing it?

Sgt. Bolts- In an alley behind a mini-market.

Wolffe- (Raising an eyebrow at Tup) Really? A street girl? (To droid) Does the prostitute need to be bailed out, too?

Tup- She’s not a prostitute! She’s just a girl I know! And we weren’t doing anything lewd.

Sgt. Bolts- Kissing and groping a civilian is classified as lewd behavior under the anti-fraternizing rules of the Military Creation Act.

Tup- Groping?

Sgt. Bolts- You were touching her.

Tup- I didn't have my hand up her shirt! I had my arms around her.

Wolffe- (Loudly) So does the young lady need to be bailed out as well?

Sgt. Bolts- Her parents have already paid the fine and she was released. They were not pleased when they heard what the charge was.

Wolffe- Shit. Sorry Tup. If I’d got here sooner…

Tup- (Looking down) Whatever. You know?

Wolffe- Yeah. Alright, now to the best. So why is Cody here?

Cody- Attempted robbery.

Wolffe- What!?

Sgt. Bolts- According to Twenty-two-twenty-four …

Cody- Clone Commander Two-two-two-four.

Sgt. Bolts- So sorry…Clone Commander Two-two-two-four told us that some civilian men attempted to rob him and all four are now in the hospital.

Wolffe- Nice!

Sgt. Bolts- I don’t believe that Clone Commander Two-two-two-four’s actions fall under the definition of the word ‘nice’. The men are all in serious discomfort.

Wolffe- Will they be charged? I mean, they attacked him.

Sgt. Bolts- Only if Commander Two-two-two-four will make a statement, but he is refusing to do so.

Wolffe- Well, nobody'll believe him anyway. Flipping courts are rigged. And he probably doesn’t want it on his perfect record. (Droid didn't react. Apparently speech was still not classified as 'offensive'. That was one of the things I honestly did love about the Republic. Turning to Cody) Come on, you gotta! I’d want a copy of that report to hang up at the base. You'd be every brother's hero! Maybe I’ll give one to Kenobi. Whenever I do something cool, General Plo hangs up my work on his fridge. Like the holo-net articles about my mysterious pranks.

Sgt. Bolts- Pardon?

Cody- Are you done?

Wolffe- Look, I’ll take them all off your hands if you’d like. (I took out a box of credits from my messenger bag. My gambling winnings for the night. Actually, General Plo’s. He just wasn’t allowed possessions as a Jedi, so he gave them to me.)

Sgt. Bolts- Well, I would like to go to that new droid spa. (I wrapped about a thousand credits in a pamphlet for the droid spa and slid it across the desk. The droid picked the pamphlet up and put it in his chest compartment. He then casually deleted the arrest records.)

Wolffe- Hey, Coat, did you take Palpatine’s Media Accountability Survey? (Cody was drunk and he was always more clone-y when he was drunk. I liked him a lot better that way.)

Cody- No. What’d it say?

Wolffe- (I grabbed my bag. Man purses are very practical.) Well, it asked questions about the press and basically whined about bantha poodoo like how the press was treating him unfairly, and the options were like, ‘agree’ or ‘no opinion’. On every one of them, I have an opinion, and it is ‘strongly disagree’. But that wasn’t an option. (Me and the boys stood to go.)

Cody- (Shaking his head.) Flip. These people don’t even try to hide it any more. The fricking elites are waging war against everyone else and they don’t even care if we know it. The flipping options ought to be ‘eat your own shit’ or ‘die’.

Wolffe- You unsettle me sometimes, brother.

Cody- I unsettle myself.


(After, Four-four and I went around putting up some more graffiti. Tup went home and tattooed a tear under his eye. He actually did it himself with a needle and ash ink in front of a mirror. And Cody sobered up and went back to being Cody. 'Being Cody' is actually clone slang for when a clone is acting like he had been born a civie.)

Chapter Text

That Effing Statue

This one morning I had a dental appointment at the base. Now, the Republic Center for Military Operations, aka Central Command, was a one stop shop for pretty much anything in a soldier’s life. Hospital, barracks, training facilities, mess hall, etc. Most guys didn’t think they needed to leave the base much. They had spent the first ten years of their lives in a closed facility on Kamino, surrounded by a planet-wide ocean, so there was nowhere else we could ever go. Coruscant could feel like a big wide ocean at times. The furthest from the base most guys went on their own, without being assigned somewhere, was over to 79’s for a drink and a screw. And that was only like two blocks away and an elevator up. But I wasn’t most guys. When on Coruscant, I lived off base with my girlfriend. It was in the neighborhood, so it wasn’t far distance wise. But it might as well have been another planet as far as culture goes. My brothers lived on a nice safe compound. I lived among the drug dealers, vagrants, violent criminals, and whores that populated the Armory District. My disappearance into this realm meant I wasn’t right at the beck and call of the military bureaucracy, which confused them to no end. The droid secretary needed to notify me one day that I missed my dental appointment, which she had sent notification of to the officers’ barracks. So she commed to order me in for a new one. Droid called me via my wrist com, but I was not at liberty to speak, since my mouth was otherwise engaged. My girl took the message, but she wasn’t really paying attention because see above. So she got the time wrong. Therefore, I showed up to the base two hours early and didn’t feel like walking back home. I was just wandering around the base to kill time and I ran into my brother Grey, who I had not seen since before Khorm.

Grey- Jeez, you look terrible!

Wolffe- Why do people keep feeling the need to point that out? It’s not like I don’t have mirrors.

Grey- The scar, it’s just so…

Wolffe- Heinous? Ragged? Hideous? Grotesque? Freakish?

Grey- Big.

Wolffe- Please get a wider vocabulary by the time I next see you. I could do a damned standup show made up entirely of better ways people have come up with to describe my disfigurement. Big. Sheesh.

Grey- But, I mean…did the prosthesis have to be just blank white like that? It looks…dead.

Wolffe- You look dead.

Grey- What does that even mean?

Wolffe- It means go stuff yourself.

Grey- So what’s this I hear about you going AWOL? The administrative droid came in the officers’ barracks this morning saying you needed your teeth checked and you were missing. It woke Cody up and he was hungover, he was cursing your name in Mando’a I think.

Wolffe- What is with THAT monstrosity?

Grey- You haven’t seen that?

Wolffe- Sure, I’ve seen it, but I’ve been meaning to ask somebody, what’s with that monstrosity? You happen to be the first guy I’ve found to ask the question, and frankly I am disappointed. I have too many topics for discussion that are wasted on the simple minded.

Grey- You’re a dick. I mean I could call literally call you ‘Old One Eye’, now.

Wolffe- Not original. Boost and Sinker argue about who came up with that first. They were insulting me on Khorm as soon as it happened. I’m sitting there with a flipping gaping hole in my face where my eye used to be, and they’re calling me ‘Old One Eye’ in the infirmary as the medical droids were taping on gauze to cover it up. Seriously, there is NO such thing as too soon with those pricks.

Grey- Geez, you’re hard to please. The MONUMENT to which you refer is the First Battle Memorial, to honor all the guys who died on Geonosis.

Wolffe- Stupid flipping…

Grey- Only you could be offended by a monument to honor fallen soldiers.

Wolffe- You bet I could.

Grey- And why, might I ask, Mister Adversarial?

Wolffe- Now that is original. I’d also like you to call my dick that from now on. Anyway, I think it’s an insult to what those brothers died for. Those guys left Kamino and then they died on some rock covered in dust. They deserved better than that.

Grey- And you think it’s an insult to build a permanent reminder of them?

Wolffe- It’s kind of an insult first off to list them on that goddamn wall by number. They had names. But whatever. No, it’s more of an insult to memorialize them with such a useless thing. You want to honor their legacy, build a hospital and name it First Battle Hospital. Then lives could be saved in their names. Or take all the money from just one of these slabs of stone and give it to the war refugee center in the Temple District. Those people have been through enough, why not give them a better place to sleep, or better showers? Or give them jobs. Or grants to make art about their experiences. The sad music they would write would be just incredible, I bet. There is so much we could do that would have a more significant impact on the galaxy. Instead, they put up some gigantic stone monument with that…Oh help me Knozzle…is that a goddamned fifty foot statue of clone troopers? Do you know how many people you could feed for a year with the money they spent on that effing statue!

Grey- How long have you been holding that rant in.

Wolffe- Long enough. And you know what else I realized, now that I’ve been doing guard duty for these embassy, temple, and senate parties?

Grey- How do you get assigned these light duty deals?

Wolffe- I got connections in the military affairs office. (I was blackmailing Captain Ozzel with what I knew about his trip to a Khormai brothel, among other things.) Anyway, what I noticed was that the damned art that costs so damned much is usually done by some billionaire’s kid, who pockets a good amount from it themselves as payment, and it helps their career so they can get more high paying assignments. While talented artists starve. Have you ever seen that busker about three blocks from here who plays the guitar, he’s amazing.

Grey- Is there a point in any of this?

Wolffe- Yeah. The system is rigged. There are the haves and the have nots. Social mobility is a myth. The disparity in lifestyle within the Republic is almost unimaginable.

Grey- That’s enbee life, that’s not us. Our life is what it is, there is no disparity.

Wolffe- But that makes us like the have nots. We’re at the low end of the post, right there with all the other people who have no opportunities and no options.

Grey- You sound like you want to be with enbees. You were made a clone, that will never change.

Wolffe- Maybe. But I’m accepted by non-clones, as long as they’re poor. You should try to get out sometime. You know what, what are you doing later? After my dentist’s appointment, let’s go to this bar I’ve been meaning to try.

Grey- At noon?

Wolffe- Why not? I’m off today. The place has supposedly got the best fried scurrier legs in the city, I wanted to bring my girl some. You remember C.C., right?

Grey- The hooker?

Wolffe- She dances part time. (I started laughing.) Or does shows for private clients. Check this, so this one time, I got to go with her as security, and wouldn’t you know, the job was for her to go over to this rich guy’s house and chain him up and piss on him. I had to stay in the kitchen while she was working, but I could see through the door. You’ll never believe, it was Orson Krennic!

Grey- That enbee officer? Pretty sure he designed Central Command.

Wolffe- Yep. He’s a rich guy’s kid, so he gets the big architectural project. After he was done playing he came into the kitchen to get a bottle of water and I just burst out laughing. He sees me standing there and he knew I knew. There was nothing he could do about it. He just sort of froze. I told my girl to count her money and we got out of there. This other time, she did a show for this team owner who tipped her with tickets to this Smashball game and she got me in by saying she was the owner’s ‘niece’ and I was her bodyguard. We did it in a skybox. Man I wish that had come up on the kisscam.

Grey- Wait, what? Wolffe…how long has it been since we left Kamino?

Wolffe- I dunno. A year?

(I was such a bad influence. I took Grey to that scurrier place and bet him fifty credits he wouldn’t get the com signature of the Zabrak bartender. He had his face sliced by a light saber soon after. Diagonally. Geez, at least I looked normal from one side. His vocabulary did improve once he was ordered to take the same anti-anxiety meds I was taking and he got out more. Next time I saw him after that, he started living with the Zabrak bartender. They lived a few streets from me. Grey and I would see each other around and used to have competitions for who had the best insults for the other one. We used to compile lists.)


Plurocat

This one time I was working security at the base for the wedding of this natural born (enbee) officer. I had asked General Plo to get me the assignment because I really wanted to see the inside of a chapel. Clones were forbidden from having religions, since we’d already been indoctrinated as Republic Loyalists. So I never got to see anything but the Jedi Temple, and that was more of a complex than a ceremonial building. The wedding was one with a lot of Coruscant high society types. I guess the bride was rich. The holo-net press was there to cover it. It was really exciting. I kept standing in the background of news camera shots tapping my helmet com and saying, “No! Tell the pharmacist that the groom wants his erectile dysfunction medication delivered to the hotel, not the chapel!” General Plo spent the reception, in the chapel basement, standing near me and glowering at his cousin, Tai. General Plo thought he was unethical and exploitive in his business practices and that he donated far too little to charity. I was standing with my brother Gree, who I brought with me to work guard duty since I owed him a favor. He had come up with a perfect plan that got us in to the Coruscant Zoo. Man, what a day.

Plo- *Grumble* Plutocrat! *Grumble.* (He was pretty drunk.)

Gree- What’s a Plurocat?

Wolffe- You know, General, you don’t have to stew in anger. Get back.

Plo- It’s not the Jedi way. (I immediately started thinking of a way I could take the piss out of General Plo’s cousin for him. That’s another story, though.)

Wolffe- Now, we’ve been over this. Getting back is not exactly the same as revenge. Don’t you want to do something to him, to show him what’s wrong with how he’s being? Teach him a lesson? Maybe he’ll thank you.

Plo- He’s four hundred years old. If he hasn’t learned by now how not to be a heartless exploiter of everyone and everything, he’s not going to change. He goes further and further to rationalize his behavior, but even he knows he’s a hypocrite. He just doesn’t care. Anything I do will just make him angry. Oh, speaking of hypocrites, get ready, Wolffe, here comes your frienemy.

Ozzel- General, good to see you. (My freienemy, Captain Ozzel was there. I say frienemy, because although he was sure I hated him, he was never able to prove that I was guilty of more than name calling in his direction, and I called my brothers worse in front of him than I ever said to him. Anyway he was always outright rude to me. But he was not able to snub me completely because he knew I had some embarrassing information about him.)

Plo- Ah, Captain, I haven’t seen you since your promotion. (He turned to me.) Commanders, you know Captain Ozzel. Please allow me to introduce Mrs. Ozzel. (Plo looked at me and wrinkles formed around his eye shields. He was ready to see me up to some hijinks.)

Wolffe- (I had a routine I’d been looking to try. I bowed.) For Knozzle, it certainly is a pleasure to meet you, Ma’am. (I said it sounding like an adolescent. Ozzel scowled at me.)

The Missus- Pardon?

Wolffe- (Sweetly.) Your perfume is very nice. It smells so pretty, even through the helmet filters, here. What is it?

The Missus- Moonflower. How nice of you to notice.

Wolffe- Oh, I couldn’t not notice. It just smells so lovely. Doesn’t it Gree?

Gree- (Looking down) Yes, it does.

The Missus- Commander, Master Fisto was just telling me about how you saved Kendal’s life on Khorm! Thank you for your service. (She touched my arm.)

Wolffe- You’re welcome, Ma’am. (Taking her hand in mine.) I knew he had a lot to live for. You being such a pretty lady and all. (Doing my best to sound innocent, naïve, and somewhat in awe.) Isn’t she a pretty lady, Gree?

Gree- I was just thinking that.

Plo- Captain Ozzel neglected to recount much of the campaign, then. The commander here saved his life numerous times. Maybe he forgot, being so busy when he got back. (Plo was snarky. I loved him.)

Wolffe- (Sad tragic tone.) That’s too bad. I have a hard time forgetting it, what with my eye being carved out and all. It stares me in the face every day from the mirror. (I made a fist.)

The Missus- Why, you lost an eye in service to the Republic? That is positively heroic. Kendal, what does the Republic do for injured soldiers? Is that why you’re here, working security details? Surely you have been allowed to retire from combat.

Wolffe- Oh, no Ma’am. I wouldn’t want to! A clone is only any good when he’s useful! My surgery cost the Republic a lot of money, I better give them a good return. I’m shipping out to Iceberg III next week. I did get scar money, though. I took a bunch of friends of mine out for…drinks. (Lapdances.) Not much else to do with it, since we all know the casualty statistics. Got to spend it right away or you might not get to spend it at all, we say.

The Missus- (Putting her fingers to her lips.) I hope this wouldn’t be too forward, but, may I see the scar.

Wolffe- Well, Ma’am, its technically against regs for me to take off my helmet at an official function, but I suppose I could, if it’s alright with General Plo.

Plo- (Dramatically.) Of course. (I removed my helmet slowly, for maximum emotional effect. I think I even sighed.)

The Missus- (Bursting into tears.) That’s awful! Oh, you poor man. Did it hurt?

Wolffe- For a while. Not anymore. At least, not physically. (Looking down to the side, and doing my best to be sad.)

The Missus- Kendal, isn’t it tragic? (Yes!)

Ozzel- (Snidely) Yes.

The Missus- I do hope that you got some kind of commendation.

Wolffe- Oh, yes Ma’am. I mean, clones don’t get promoted unless our commanding officer dies and I’m already a commander. But I did get a medal. I keep it in the bottom of my kitpack with the others. Me and Gree here have so many medals between the two of us that we sometimes play checkers with them. Honestly, if we wore all our medals on our uniforms at once, we would rattle every time we moved. (I had been meaning to try it just to be funny.) My uniform would fall apart from all the pins and I don’t get but one uniform a year.

The Missus- Commander, I want to do something nice for you. What would help you? Is there anything I can get you? Let me buy you some new clothes.

Wolffe- Really? (I went wide eyed.) I would positively love that. Can my brother Gree come, too? If it would be alright with you, I mean. We never had much that was ours. Would we be able to go to a real store and everything?

The Missus- Of course.

(She just loved clones for some reason. Had a savior complex. My prostitute friends told me about clients they had like that. People who got off on being do-gooders. I wasn’t going to pursue it, but Mrs. Ozzel tracked me and Gree down at the base the next day and took us out shopping. She was really flirty, so I was flirty back. It was all in good fun, I thought. Then she took us to her penthouse and told me to make love to her. What’s a guy supposed to say when something like that happens? I was honestly scared that she was going to be mad if I didn’t. So I told her my pecker didn’t work on account of my PTSD. She believed me and I left, but Gree stayed. I guess Gree had a pretty long affair with her. It was all he wanted to talk about for a while. I told General Plo, and he admired my quick thinking to get out of the situation. I figured I had done enough to Ozzel, I didn’t think I needed to pile on. Plo and I got hammered on this bottle of whiskey I bought him, once I took the clothes back for store credit. They weren’t really my taste. Instead, I got little presents for lots of people. Shopping is cool.)


The Beauty and the Monster

I didn’t like to be alone, it gave me anxiety attacks, even when I was home safe. Somehow, being on a crowded dangerous street, or on a battlefield didn’t make me afraid as long as I had people around me. I had this panic inducing fear that one day I’d wake up and everyone else would be dead. The anti-depressant meds I was taking helped a little with the paranoid delusions. Rationally, I knew that what I was thinking couldn’t be real, but I would feel absolutely panic stricken until I saw another person. One day, C.C. just had to run out for a few hours, and I was asleep when she left. It took way too long for someone to pass by the window in the street outside, and I couldn’t find my meds. I paced the apartment swearing and finally turned on the holo-viewer, just to try to drown out some of the fear. When C.C. came home I was curled up on the couch watching some holovid cartoon.

The Coruscant apartment of Vereniki Esyella, C.C. to her friends. Present, C.C. and her monster.

C.C.- Wolffe, what happened?

Wolffe- It’s this story. (I wiped my eye.)

C.C.- What? Is this one of those singing fairy tale movies? I love these! Have you ever seen one before?

Wolffe- I’ve watched this whole thing. The Beauty and the Monster. (I was holding a pillow.) It made me really afraid, and sad.

C.C.- You don’t like it? Are you out of your mind? What’s scary about this? I mean, the one about the puppet boy is downright terrifying, but not this one. Didn’t you like it, how she fell in love with him and saved him from his curse?

Wolffe- She loved him even though he was a monster. That was nice. But then he turned handsome again, so she wouldn’t have to look at a monster. Because only pretty people deserve to be happy. Oh, and he’s rich, of course.

C.C.- (She laughed at me.) You are so neurotic!

Wolffe- All she wants to do is escape where she is, and go on adventures, and she ends up marrying the monster once he’s handsome and she never gets to go anywhere because now she has to produce his heir, since he’s a hereditary monarch.

C.C.- Wait, what?

Wolffe- And the monster doesn’t even know how to use a spoon, I think he’s mentally deficient. She’s gonna make mentally deficient heirs with the prince and will probably be killed in a peasant uprising by her own former neighbors when they realize that they were better off when they’d ruled themselves successfully for ten years without having to pay taxes to fund the prince’s lavish lifestyle.

C.C.- Seriously?

Wolffe- And her furniture murdered people. And the monster had previously murdered furniture. It was a splinter bath.

C.C.- Wolffe, where are your pills?

Wolffe- I don’t know.

C.C.- Alright, (getting up) here they are, look, I put them on the shelf for you. I left a note.

Wolffe- (Her handwriting was terrible and I couldn’t read it. I couldn’t be mad at her, she was barely literate, wasn’t her fault. But when I was upset it had made me swear a little.) I don’t look at the shelf. I always look in the kitchen first.

C.C.- What for? You don’t cook.

Wolffe- I like how it looks. (She brought me a glass of water and my pills.)

C.C.- Next time I’ll put them by the prophylactics, I know you know where those are.

Wolffe- I wouldn’t be looking for them if you weren’t here.

C.C.- It was a joke.

Wolffe- (Taking pills) You’re pretty. (I drank my water.)

C.C.- (Sitting down next to me.) Aw, baby. It’s just a fairy tale.

Wolffe- Fairy tales are horrifying. I read this one from Naboo where a princess falls asleep and can’t wake up until this prince comes in to kiss her. It was creepy. He could have done anything to her before he kissed her. I guess it was nice that he woke her up, but then he kept her imprisoned in her castle so he could come and do what he liked to her and she couldn’t get away. Then when he finally admitted to his parents he was married, he took her home and his mom was an ogress who wanted to eat his wife and eventually the kids. She tried, too. Oh, and this other one about these twins in the woods who meet a hag who tries to eat them. That one’s from Shili. Why are there so many fairy tales about eating people?

C.C.- They don’t put that stuff in the movies. I think that sleeping princess one ends with the kiss in the movie. Didn’t you like the story about the monster getting the girl, that she saw past all that?

Wolffe- Do you think I’m a monster?

C.C.- What, no…and you aren’t a mentally deficient hereditary monarch either.

Wolffe- How do you know I’m not? For all you know, we had a monarchy on Kamino. I could be the secret prince. I could be the secret mentally deficient prince whose uncle stole his kingdom.

C.C.- I guess I don’t know. Secret mentally deficient prince of Kamino, huh? That would make a weird fairy tale. Was there anything about the story that you liked?

Wolffe- The music was awesome. It really helped me feel the story. Everybody sang about what they wanted. It made it easy to understand. So…you want to watch another one with me?

C.C.- Sure, why not. Look what I got. (She pulled out some psychotropic drugs, which made the movies much more colorful. We laughed the whole way through. C.C. knew all the songs from the next one. And the next one.)

Wolffe- (When we were on the second movie) How do you know all of these?

C.C.- I used to watch them, when I was a kid in the brothel. They bought me things to watch between tricks.

Wolffe- Isn’t that strange? Watching kids’ movies in a brothel?

C.C.- Oh, this one’s my favorite, about the girl with the magic hair. It’s what I wanted to watch. I was only nine. I’d wanted to play princess, to put on pretty long dresses with silver shoes, and a sparkling tiara with pink plastic jewels. And maybe some brushable hair. (She sniffed a little.)

(C.C. had never had anyone to play princess with her. She never had parents or brothers and sisters, and was only allowed to play dress up with sexy clothes for the men who visited. We watched the next movie with her head rested on my chest. Then we went to the public park and walked around for hours until dark. She wore silver shoes and I asked her if she would sing me some of the songs from the movies. We were still high, so we were laughing and not feeling at all self-conscious. I used to listen to those songs when I was away, eventually I knew them as well as she did. We always crushed it on the duet from that magic hair movie, I thought.)

Chapter Text

Meh, I've Seen Cooler Trees

I didn’t like to leave myself free time to just do nothing. I felt there was lots I had to see and experience, and, since I don’t like doing things alone, I would take brothers with me. Now, according to the Code of Conduct in the Military Creation Act, we clones were forbidden from doing many normal everyday things on Coruscant. It would have been simpler if it were otherwise, but I liked the challenge. Most people didn’t look at us much, so we got away with it, but most brothers also didn’t try. The rules were different in other places depending on the laws of the world, but I loved Coruscant, it was the bright center to the universe, after all. So many possibilities. This one time, I had intended to go to the Republic Zoo, the greatest collection of animals and wild life in the galaxy. I had been looking forward to it for weeks. I got the Wolfpack together for the occasion, and just as we were about to get tickets, we were ejected from the premises.

Wolffe- Note to self, get back at Four-four. What the hell kind of plant is this? It smells spunky.

Four-four- I suppose you’re going to say this is my fault. Damn, it does smell spunky. How is that possible?

Wolffe- Well, you are the one who asked if there was a military discount. ‘The Callery Pear, native to Naboo.’ Huh.

Four-four- What? Some places have one, a military discount I mean.

Wolffe- A strip club or a casino is not like the zoo, you cheap bastard! You want a discount, bring a coupon!

Four-four- A what?

Sinker- (Giggling) Military discount only applies in places where the bathroom smells like Callery Pear.

Boost- Just don’t talk to him for a while, Four-four. He’ll get over it, his attention span is short. He just really wanted to see the arctic hairy whelmers. Laakwal Tree from Teth. Meh, I’ve seen cooler trees.

Wolffe- Horny!

Sinker- Geez, we don’t want to know.

Wolffe- No, they’re called the arctic HORNY whelmers, you dipshit! Oh, and you will pay, Four-four. Believe me.

Comet- At least we got to come in here. Did you know that the Endor Redwood and the Wroshyr of Kashyyk are among the tallest trees in the galaxy. (He pointed at a sign.)

Wolffe- Pshht. Botanical garden. I’m supposed to walk around all day and look at trees? Ooh. Bioluminescence. (Looking at a little display of glowing fungi.)

Four-four- So why did you come?

Wolffe- I am just that committed to making sure you guys have social and educational experiences. Ooh. Snoruuks. These mushrooms can move around by themselves.

Comet- You ever hear about talking trees? I hear some worlds have them.

Wolffe- I swear, I am going outside the battalion for companions on my next few outings. Bubse tree? What an ugly thing. Wait…roots can be used for medicinal purposes. Oh yeah, some plants are ‘medicinal’. I wonder what else they have.

Boost- How will you decide who goes with you?

Wolffe- I’ll hold a contest for whoever has the best idea for getting into the zoo. You know, crowd sourcing.

Comet- Just don’t ask for a military discount and it’ll work.

Wolffe- Obviously. No, what I need is a plan that gets us in, out, and maybe some snacks and a stuffed bantha at the gift shop. You know, the zoo experience. All without getting arrested.

Four-four- Have General Plo bring you.

Wolffe- What, am I going to have him buy me a balloon and let me play on the playground, too?

Sinker- What are you talking about?

Wolffe- It was the plot of a book I read. About a little girl who goes to the zoo.

Boost- What?

Wolffe- It had pictures and everything. I found it at the library when I went that time. They wouldn’t let me check things out, but I could sit and read the books, so I read a bunch in the kids’ section.

Sinker- Why did you do that?

Wolffe- I saw the building from outside. It had big columns and statues and it looked cool. I wanted to know what it was. So I went in and I saw an interesting book in the kid’s section about tookas and I started reading one book after another and suddenly I looked up and it was dark out and they were telling me it was closing time.

Comet- So you wanted to go to the zoo because of what you read in some child’s book?

Wolffe- No, pay attention. I was implying that going to the zoo with General Plo would make me a child like the character in the book.

Four-four- Does anybody else find the Commander really confusing?

Boost- Nah, we expect this of him. Okay, so how about you tell the zoo people you need to inspect the facility in the interest of planetary security?

Wolffe- Oh, great, and start some mass evacuation when they think there’s a bomb threat?

Sinker- Okay, what about, the military is developing an anti-shark repellent and we have to test it on some sharks. Then we get to look in the tank and we’ll just spray them with water or something. Then we’ll casually ask them to give us a tour of the zoo.

Wolffe- Except that the sharks are at the aquarium. Although, I like where your head’s at.

Boost- That plan is ridiculous.

Wolffe- And I believe, the more ridiculous the plan, the more likely we will be to get away with it. Sinker, whatever I do decide to do, you get to go.

Sinker- Thanks. Hey, what if we said it was ‘monkey lizard repellent’? Then it would work.

Wolffe- Nah. Monkey lizards fling crap at you if you antagonize them, like by spraying them with water.

Four-four- I’m sorry, Commander, but is your brand of crazy contagious?

Boost- He’s like a caustic chemical. Different effects depending on the situation.

Comet- So didn’t they have one of those books at the library about going to the Botanical Garden?

Wolffe- Not that I read, that’s why I don’t know what we can do here. Oooh. Gift shop!

Four-four- What is he doing?

Sinker- Gift shops have books. He likes to give a few a look. Wolffe, should I get this? (Holding up a hat that said ‘Coruscant Botanical Garden’.)

Wolffe- Yes, you know what, you should. It will help us look more inconspicuous. I’m getting this. ‘Psychotropic Plants and Where to Find Them’. In case we ever visit someplace that has some. (Going up to counter) I would like to purchase these items please.

Cashier- Wait, are you army clones?

Wolffe- (Throwing credits) Run!

(We booked it outside and ducked into an alley.)

Four-four- Will they follow us.

Wolffe- Nah, they won’t care. Not enough to call anyone, anyway.

Comet- So what do we do now? Can we go to the library? I want to see this book where you learned that monkey-lizards throw shit at you.

Wolffe- Okay. But if we do that, we can’t go to the playground. We only have time for one.

(I was half joking, high on the adrenaline from our chase. We almost made it to the library, but we ran into Gree and Bly who had just come back from Alzoc III and ended up getting talked into drinking again.)


Dear Bantha's Ass

I was doing my forms and statistics at the base. I had just been up to the Temple to visit General Plo and we had been speaking of politics. I had some questions about who was responsible for enforcing laws and making laws and such. Kamino Republic loyalty classes had been very sparse on the actual details of civics. Clones not being citizens, they thought we didn’t need to know I guess. Ignorance makes you easier to control. But General Plo was a fount of knowledge and he always answered my questions. He also encouraged me to take action if I found something objectionable. I was listening to music when Cody came in to finish up his reports.

Wolffe- Point, point, point, double point, what’s up!

Cody- How drunk are you?

Wolffe- Not even a little bit.

Cody- Okay, then what are you happy about?

Wolffe- How do you know what I’m feeling?

Cody- Really?

Wolffe- You know, I might be more complicated than you think.

Cody- No.

Wolffe- Okay, so I’ve got an official letterhead template from the Jedi Temple.

Cody- What do you plan to do with that?

Wolffe- Political action. You want in?

Cody- I’m at least curious. What are you getting involved in?

Wolffe- I’m going to write letters as a concerned citizen, and a voice of morality in the community. And I’m going to send them to politicians. I doubt anyone reads these things, but I want to see if I can get their attention. Maybe elicit a response.

Cody- That actually sounds like fun. I think I am in. We’re not signing our names?

Wolffe- No, and I’m going to put it in the post by hand, so they won’t ever know a clone was involved.

Cody- Alright.

Wolffe- Do you want a drink?

Cody- So you are drunk?

Wolffe- No…So the topic is brothels. (Handing him a drink from my messenger bag full of them.)

Cody- Why brothels, why not war profiteering, why not wasteful spending, why not any of tons of other issues?

Wolffe- Because it’s my template and this is what I want to do with it. It is part of the plan to get the response. Imagine, a Jedi writes to a politician about the conditions in brothels. At the very least, it will make the politicians uncomfortable, even if they ignore it. The Jedi are a popular voice of morality in the community. If the politicians ignore it, they’ll think they run the risk of making the Jedi mad. If they respond, it will be hilarious, because they’ll either be grandstanding or squirming. Even if the Jedi disavow writing the letters, they will be forced to add that they are against the situation. It will become a story in the press, people will talk about it. Something might get done.

Cody- If you get the Tchun Tchin shut down, brothers are going to hate you.

Wolffe- They’ll learn to live without it. Use independent girls, or work harder to find real girlfriends. Adapt.

Cody- You are a diabolical manipulator.

Wolffe- I prefer ‘catalyst’. I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but it’s worth a try. So, first letter. I’m writing to the local police lieutenant. What should I say? Dear Bantha’s Ass…

Cody- No. Say, ‘Greetings police inspector’, what specifically are we expressing our concern about? The fact that there are brothels?

Wolffe- No, that they use slaves. A regular check of the establishments could definitely cut down on that, since prostitution is technically illegal anyway. All they’d have to do is enforce the laws that are there. Can you believe they use slaves! Right here at the center of the Republic. When we use them, it’s like paying money to be a rapist.

Cody- What? I thought the girls paid to use the space, like the 79’s girls do.

Wolffe- Nope. They’re fed and kept there.

Cody- But how are the owners getting away with it?

Wolffe- Police don’t check. They get bribed. Nobody cares, since they’re only some Twi’lek illegals.

Cody- Alright, write, ‘Police inspector, it has come to my attention that there is a house of ill repute operating at…put the address…We Jedi were concerned to hear that the establishment might be involved with human trafficking. If you would like our assistance to check credentials, we would be happy to send some of our padawans with you to inspect the facility.

Wolffe- Padawans?

Cody- Yeah, why not? They’d better do the check or else they might risk scarring teenagers for life.

Wolffe- (Snickering) Okay. Next up, Mayor Xizor. I heard he’s involved with the Black Sun.

Cody- (Sarcastically) You think?

Wolffe- So I figure he would want to do something about the brothel, since that is owned by the Hutts, who are Black Sun rivals.

Cody- That could be, but the Hutts might also be paying him bribes. He probably has a stake in everything in the city one way or another.

Wolffe- That is a point. So what should I say to get a response?

Cody- Send in the padawans!

Wolffe- Done and done. (Gasp) Won’t somebody please think of the children!

Cody-It’s too bad the Jedi won’t do this. It would make an amazing news story.

Wolffe- To Senator Orn Free Taa. ‘Dear Fat Sack of Poodoo…’

Cody- ‘The Magnificent’, I believe is his proper title. True story.

Wolffe- Is he a magician? ‘We have been made aware that brothels on Coruscant are using Twi’lek sex slaves. We would like to enlist your help in raising awareness and publicizing the issue. We hope to hear from you soon for ideas on getting the message out. We would also like your help in getting these women released and resettled safely here on Coruscant. Hopefully, if we all do our part, we can eradicate this dismaying problem.’

Cody- He probably gets eight messages like that a day. Taa only talks to powerful people.

Wolffe- So what do I do?

Cody- Leave it just like that and sign it ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’. My bet, he’ll send a private letter back. Or he’ll call Kenobi. That would be nice and awkward. (Holding out his hand and speaking to fake holo-com, and doing one side of imagined conversation as Kenobi) ‘Yes, Senator Taa, to what correspondence is this referring? I said I wanted to publicize brothels!? Wait…why should I not be concerned? No, I’ve never been in a brothel? What? Then how do I know there are slaves working in them? Well…are there slaves working in them? Which ones? And these are located where exactly? No, I mean, an address…I need to…do some research. Lots of research. It might take all night, actually.

Wolffe- Done and done.

(Cody and I went up to the Jedi Temple and told the admin in the mail office that Cody was waiting for correspondence from Taa that Kenobi wanted him to take care of. Part of an investigation. The admin sent it right over to the base when it arrived. That letter was hilarious. It basically blamed the problem of sex slavery on the inner city neighborhood filled with 'working class types'. He said it was a problem of policing. The police lieutenant blamed it on his lack of resources from the city. Mayor Xizor actually did say he was going to do something, but the form letter came with an envelope asking for donations to his campaign. He was up for re-election and he wanted to be seen as tough on crime. I never heard that anything came of it, but I got to keep the bumper sticker that came with the envelope, with his slogan, ‘To contend with Xizor is to lose!’)


My Fragile Artistic Soul

When most people looked at clones, they saw full grown men. Honestly, that’s what we preferred. Nobody likes it when they’re not taken seriously or when they’re talked down to. Not even kids. Still, there were times where we just didn’t have the relevant knowledge that we needed to act like men. Sure, talk to us in a strategy meeting and you’d think you were in a room with a bunch of forty year olds. But drop us into a typical grown up setting, like a museum or some shaak poodoo and you’d see how fast we’d embarrass ourselves. Nobody had told us what to do, so we would misunderstand and start loudly exclaiming about how we could see the statues’ dongs. The same was true of our modes of personal expression. We were never allowed much room on Kamino to be creative, so our tentative attempts must have seemed pretty childish. This one time my brother Gree came over to keep me company and was subjected to one of my early creative endeavors.

Wolffe- I wrote a story!

Gree- What?

Wolffe- Yeah! I wrote it. Do you want to read it?

Gree- No, why don’t you just tell me it.

Wolffe- Okay. Once upon a time, on Kamino, there was a mentally deficient prince.

Gree- What?

Wolffe- He knew he was stupid because everyone told him so. He thought the people wanted to do stupid things because, despite the fact that he was stupid, they still wanted him to be prince. He thought they were setting him up for disaster. When the enemy army showed up, he led his men into battle and lost them by the hundreds. The people said, ‘Prince, why did you get them killed’. The prince said, ‘Don’t look at me, I’m mentally deficient! You people wanted me to be prince.’ The people said, ‘Here comes another enemy army. Here’s another couple hundred soldiers.’ The prince screamed, ‘But I don’t want to be prince! I just want to go live with this whore I know and live happily ever after.’

Gree- So in this story, you’re a prince, and C.C.’s still a whore? Is she okay with that?

Wolffe- Why does the prince have to be me? Not every protagonist is a fantasy avatar for the author. This is why I hate sharing my writing with people. Another thing everyone asks, ‘Is this character based on me?’ It’s like people only read your stuff for secrets about how you feel about them. I’m baring my fragile artistic soul here! I’m not thinking about anyone in particular. I just write as I am inspired to write. I’m trying to stretch my creative wings. Can’t you please just let me grow, brother?

Gree- Sorry.

Wolffe- So this whore had perky tits and long green lekku…

Gree- Now we’re getting to the good part.

Wolffe- The things I do to engage readership! I guess some things in my work are inspired by real life events. Speaking of that, this one time, before the war, the prince was in the shower with his girlfriend and they were talking. This here’s a Mise en abyme, a literary device. So anyway, the conversation went: Prince- I’m trying to write a shower scene in my stories about the brave Commander Wolffe of Kamino.

Gree- Meta.

Wolffe- I knooooow. So the prince says- I want to get the descriptive metaphors just right since I only know so many words for ‘wet’. Sayeth the whore- Does ‘moist’ count? Because I know that word, but I don’t like it. Maybe ‘soaked’? Sayeth the prince- That might be a little too wet. And ‘damp’ doesn’t sound wet enough. The whore laughed and asked- What about ‘soggy’? The prince replied, Say ‘soggy’ again. I love how you say it.

Gree- Soggy? This ‘misenbim’ isn’t as sexy as was advertised. Get back to the main story.

Wolffe- There is no more.

Gree- Well, does the prince fight the battle or does he run off to be with the whore?

Wolffe- It’s too late.

Gree- What do you mean.

Wolffe- The new enemy army shot him in the head. Or the next one did. It makes no difference, they just kept coming. Everybody remembered him as the worst prince ever. The end.

Gree- Have you been listening to emo music again?

Wolffe- Maybe.

Gree- I only like happy endings.

Wolffe- But sad endings are the realest.

Gree- So what if the prince called his lady friend to his camp on the night before the big battle? Would they have a big romantic moment, where they say all the things they’ve wanted to and then he dies to save his battalion and his kingdom, and everyone cries? I like those kind of endings, too.

Wolffe- That mistress of yours has been making you watch too many maudlin chicky holo-vids. That’s another thing I hate about sharing my work, everyone wants to write it for you.

Gree- I just want to know what he would he say to her before he went off to die? It’s romantic.

Wolffe- Um…well…he might say... that if she was what he would see last as his life flashes before his eyes…that’s all he’d need. He knew he was screwed the minute he was born prince, so he didn’t hope for much.

Gree- What would she say back? Do you think?

Wolffe- Well…I don’t know. It’s not as if she wants to die. She doesn’t have to. They had some fun together. The prince figured that’s all he ever had coming to him. Being so stupid and all.

Gree- But don’t they love each other?

Wolffe- Some things just are the way they are.

Gree- That’s just so disappointing. I don’t think I like reading things like this.

Wolffe- Okay. I guess I think the prince would be glad someone will miss him. He’d thank her for the wonderful time they had together. It was the best. Geez, how much more padding do I have to put on this thing to make you like it? Come to that, why do I care?

Gree- Okay, so the prince died. What happened to the whore?

Wolffe- You know…I don’t know.

Gree- Well, it can be anything you want. It’s your story.

Wolffe- She became whatever she wanted to be.

Gree- I was gonna ask you to help me write a poem for my girlfriend, but geez, I can just imagine what you’d come up with.

(It was my first attempt at literature, that story. A pretty pessimistic first effort. But I guess I was writing what I knew. I always thought I was going to die in the war. Here I am still alive. The stupid unfair thing is, I’d be willing to give thousands of those boring joopa slinging days for one more hour with my girl. Instead, I’ve been punished with seventeen flipping years alone. Well, maybe not completely alone. But Rex and Gregor are pale substitutes for a beautiful girl who liked me enough that she didn’t mind talking about vocabulary while I washed her. The prince would have eventually told that whore that he loved her, I was sure. But he was a prince and I’m just a stupid clone.)

Chapter Text

Three Raquor’daans

Okay, so I love animals. I get stupid excited at the prospect of seeing anything bigger than a tooke, not to be confused with a tooka, of course. I had a little problem in that I wanted to go to the zoo, but the military code of conduct forbade clones from much recreational activity. Sometimes you got lucky and you could slip in places. But I liked a guaranteed plan. I held a little competition between some brothers to see who could come up with the most interesting plan to get us into the zoo and get us out again without getting arrested. My brother Gree won, it was amazing.

The apartment of General Plo Koon, the Jedi Temple, Coruscant. Present, General Plo Koon, Commander Wolffe, and Sergeant Sinker of the 104th, Commander Gree of the 44th.

Wolffe- (Coming through the door panel.) Hi, General Plo! We brought you a stuffed bantha, look!

Plo- Thank you, Wolffe. What is the occasion?

Wolffe- We just came from the zoo!

Plo- And you wore those outfits?

Wolffe- Yep. (Gree had gone through some of the old crates of supplies at the base and found a brown, old fashioned officers’ uniform. The collar was black and the pants were puffier, but basically the same. Except I had made myself a baldric out of the strap from my messenger bag.)

Plo- So how did you get in?

Sinker- (Having a hard time telling around his laughing) Wolffe called up…(Nope, he couldn’t do it. He was wearing a coat with long tails at the back and a thick cloth baldric.)

Gree- Hey, let me tell it, it was my plan. (He was wearing a uniform too, but he’d fashioned some epaulettes and aiguillettes. He also wore a hat and every one of his medals. I’d even pinned some of mine on his back and sleeves.) So…(giggling) we called up from the base and told the zoo that some esteemed ambassadors were visiting Coruscant from Moronica.

Plo- And you told them Moronica was…

(Wolffe laughing in the background.)

Gree- The home world of Jango Fett, the famous template for the clone army.

Plo- Ah…

Wolffe- So…(laughing) we got there, and I spoke total gibberish. Sinker had to ‘translate’ for me. They had a zoo staffer waiting for me to give us a tour. What was her name?

Sinker- Seeress Roebuck.

Wolffe- So Sinker introduced us doing this fake accent that was across between Faust and Gungan, ‘This is Dictator Ganz Fett, (me) Field Marshall Sehr Fett, (Gree) and I am the Minister of Propaganda, Zu Fett.’

Sinker- They asked why we were all ‘Fetts’ I said that Moronica had a lot of in-breeding. That was why we looked so similar. Everyone on Moronica was a Fett. Then, as we walked around, I kept giving the zoo girl ‘facts’ about my planet. For example, did you know, the capital city is ‘Jerkola’? The national game is pool. Except we play it riding on the backs of guarlaras.

Plo- I did not know that. (General Plo was starting to get those wrinkles around his eye shields. I think he was wishing he’d been invited.)

Gree- We kept running into each other and just saying, ‘Hail!’ After a while, we had her doing it as if it was some custom.

Wolffe- She showed us all the animals, though. Banthas, and kaadu, and a reek! I even got to go behind the scenes and see a breeding pair of raquor’daans. They let me play with a baby veermok!

Plo- You know those things are strong enough to rip your arms off even as infants, right?

Wolffe- Good thing it liked me, I guess. It tasted my ear. But it ripped off my fake mustache.

Gree- So he yells at it, ‘Give me my personality!’ and just takes the mustache back and reattaches it. Even though he had spoken no Basic up to this point.

Sinker- Seeress was so confused, since we acted like it was perfectly normal. I called it his lip toupee and told her he was really self-conscious about it.

Wolffe- General Plo, have you ever seen a happabore?

Gree- They served us tea in this garden where they had Prakith peacocks just walking around.

Wolffe- What about a tauntaun? We saw the tauntauns peeing. Did you know they have a musk in their pee that helps them attract mates. It smells soooooo bad! And they had this roggwart, it looked so dangerous. Oh, and I finally got to see what a blurrg looks like. I’ve heard so many girls talk about them. You know they come in all these different colors?

Sinker- I got Seeress’s comm signature, but the problem is, if I use it, I’ll have to do that accent the whole time. I’ll probably have to dress like that.

Gree- Well, maybe you could just wear casual clothes but put the baldric on over it.

Wolffe- That’s what I would do. But I would probably gradually drop the accent and insist I was just getting better at Basic.

Plo- So what was your favorite part of the zoo?

Wolffe- Seeing mating dalgos. Or maybe when Seeress let me ride the dewback. I got to go ahead of an entire line of kids.

Plo- I hope somebody took holo-stills.

Sinker- I knew we forgot something.

Wolffe- The mastiff phalones were kind of cool, but I couldn’t really look at them for very long, on account of how those things killed my brothers Cameron, Flash, and Lucky. Or the gutkurrs, since one killed my brother Milt. Some animals are jerks.

Sinker- Do they come from the capital city of Moronica?

Wolffe- Haha! They must. Heh. Jerkola. I got to hand it to you, that one was funny.

Sinker- The best name for an animal was galoomp.

Gree- I like fambaa. Those things move so slow. When I read about the Battle of Theed when I was in military history classes at the academy, I had assumed they were vicious predators. Turns out, they’re just these slow moving reptiles with a tiny brain. How do they qualify as valid military equipment?

Wolffe- I could make sooooo many jokes right now about certain brothers not qualifying either. But I just don’t feel it would be original. The thing that made me maddest, though, was that most of the ice world section was under construction. All they had were the tauntauns. I didn’t get to see the wampa, or the arctic horny whelmers, or the narglatch, or the Mygeetoan yaks.

Sinker- I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the plan, Gree.

Gree- You’re welcome.

Wolffe- I don’t even know what to do with myself. I’m so full of sugar.

Gree- No one made you eat all that ice cream and cotton candy.

Sinker- I got a hat.

Gree- I got a canteen in the shape of a nexu.

Plo- Did you get a shirt? I know you like shirts.

Wolffe- I wanted to get the one with the tauntaun on it, but they didn’t have one where it was peeing. I felt that would have been more ‘me’. So instead, I got the one that’s the three raquor’daans howling at a moon.

(I went home and asked my girl if she wanted to hail the dictator of Moronica, but she wouldn’t stop laughing at the stupid mustache. We wore the costumes out to 79’s that night and passed the time shooting pool, but we didn’t feel the need to involve the guarlaras.)


Suggest a Better Translation

I love pranks. I just do. Even if I never get to hear if they worked or came out, I have a good enough imagination that the possibilities amuse me. More often than not, I got some kind of response. Sometimes in really great ways. Bly was the guy I liked to drag into my schemes, because when he wasn’t sulking, he was actually helpful to have along on things. This one time I was on Kamino with him when we were both picking up fresh recruits. Since Kamino trips usually involved a lot of waiting, he was in the language lab listening to dialogues to try to acquire another language.

Wolffe- Bly, Bly, Bly, Bly, Bly, Bly!

Bly- Whaaaaaat? (Taking off headphones and throwing them down.)

Wolffe- Cranky.

Bly- (Sighing.) What?

Wolffe- Did you see this?

Bly- It’s the translating software for the holo-net.

Wolffe- Yeah, but they’re asking for help, you can suggest translations and the software will actually update itself based on your suggestions.

Bly- Yeah, so?

Wolffe- So…they don’t say anywhere that you have to give accurate suggestions.

Bly- But…why would you do that?

Wolffe- If you are asking that question, I now have serious doubts about how well you know me.

Bly- (Rolling eyes) So why do you need me?

Wolffe- Two-fold. One, because I want somebody to play with. Two, you’re the one who knows all the languages, so you could help me make it believable.

Bly- ‘All the languages’? You know there are literally billions of languages spoken in the galaxy, right?

Wolffe- Yeah, but you have a linguistic specialization and all those code breaking medals.

Bly- How long do I have to play before you go away?

Wolffe- We’ll see.

Bly- Okay. What language do you want to mess with?

Wolffe- What’s your best one.

Bly- Mando’a.

Wolffe- Good one to start with. Okay, let’s start with ‘How are you?’

Bly- (Typing into the datapad) Me'vaar ti gar?

Wolffe- Okay, now hit ‘suggest a better translation’.

Bly- Okay. Now, what do I type?

Wolffe- ‘Do you find me sexually attractive’?

Bly- For the nine-hundredth time, no. Oh, wait, you mean for the translation. (Typing.)

Wolffe- For the record, when I asked that before, I never said I wanted you to have sex with me. I was just asking if, objectively, I am a good looking man.

Bly- I don’t know how to answer that. I mean, objectively…kind of doesn’t work with clones…

Wolffe- So next phrase, ‘Where is the bathroom?’

Bly- Vaii cuyi ryifrisha.

Wolffe- Now, hit the ‘suggest’ thingy. Type in, ‘Can I have a handjob’.

Bly- (Cracking up) I am not typing that.

Wolffe- You have to, picture it, guy from Sundari is in a restaurant on Coruscant, goes to the waitress, says that. Hilarious.

Bly- (Still laughing.) Fine, that is funny. I’m sure most Mandalorians speak Basic anyway.

Wolffe- Okay, now we go the other way. Put in a phrase in Basic, and give them bogus Twi’leki phrases.

Bly- Okay, like how?

Wolffe- Type in, ‘How much for a lapdance?’

Bly- And the Twi’leki phrase we are translating this into…?

Wolffe- ‘Is three inches small for a penis?’

Bly- (Cracking up again, but typing) Yes, it is.

Wolffe- Now, ‘Show us your tits,’ we’re gonna make that one, ‘We are chronically flatulent!’

Bly- (Typing) I guess it is fun, if you visualize the situations. Rude drunk guys at a strip club chanting that.

Wolffe- Exactly! ‘I want a....’

Bly- No, I know where you’re going with this. I have now pulled up some specific sexual acts in Basic. You just tell me what you want people to say Twi’leki.

Wolffe- (Looking over Bly’s shoulder) Blowjob is now ‘chuchla’ (sanitary napkin). Vaginal sex is ‘virou fa etambre’ (laugh at my penis when you see it), and handjob is going to be ‘iste bah’ (punch in the dick).

Bly- Wow, your Twi’leki pronunciation is shit.

Wolffe- But you know what I mean. So speaking of handjobs…

Bly- Yes, you’ve already mentioned them twice.

Wolffe- This one’s been kind of a long mission.

Bly- NO!

Wolffe- But why not? You like dicks.

Bly- Not yours.

Wolffe- So pretend I’m someone else. That’s what I’ll be doing to you.

Bly- No. How is that any better than your shower time?

Wolffe- Well, then it’s just me.

Bly- Well, I’m kind of you, too. So it would still just be you.

Wolffe- Huh. I guess that’s true. You realize I am totally shitting you?

Bly- And I was calling your bluff.

Wolffe- I think calling my bluff would have been to actually make like you were gonna do it.

Bly- So what was it that I just did?

Wolffe- I think it’s ‘calling me out on my bullshit’.

Bly- Wait, was that a ploy to get me to admit you’re attractive? Like getting me to say, ‘You’re an attractive man, but no’.

Wolffe- You didn’t say that, I noticed.

Bly- Ugh, fine. (Sarcastically) You are a sexy man. A sexy, attractive man. If you were not my brother I would totally want to have sex with you. You are objectively handsome.

Wolffe- Was that so hard?

Bly- You never struck me as the type to have fragile self-esteem.

Wolffe- I’m not! (Such lies.)

Bly- Okay.

Wolffe- It’s just…a ‘you look nice’ now and again would be appreciated.

(When I got back to Coruscant, I asked some of my hooker and stripper friends whether they’d heard any weird requests recently. Some of the girls did ask if there was some new fetish about sanitary napkins. For the record, I always make sure to compliment people when they look good or something, because I know it is always nice to hear. Thank goodness, Gregor isn’t stingy with the compliments. Half the time, he can’t even remember if he already told you, so you get to hear it again.)


Being Kind of Rex

Clones were assigned numbers at extraction. That made sense. Tipoca City was a laboratory and factory, so the numbers helped them keep track. We could tell each other apart, the Kaminoans couldn’t. So, we came up with nicknames. That’s what we preferred to use and what the natural borns we interacted with used if they were being polite. Now, since we share so much, being clones, and since we were very segregated as a population, we often knew what we were talking about even if others didn’t. So much didn’t need to be said because of our common understandings and assumptions. This was that time of that Zillo Beast craziness on Malastare, we were giving Rex and Skywalker a ride home while we were on our way back from Omwat.

Aboard the Triumphant II, bound for Coruscant. In the officers’ barracks. Present, Wolffe, Boost and Sinker of the 104th, General Skywalker and Rex of the 501st.

Wolffe- So explosions are going off all around us, shrapnel flying, I get on the com and I’m shouting, ‘Listen, we’re pinned down here, where are those reinforcements I called for.’

Sinker- He said ‘reinforcements’, drink. (Everyone drank. Our conversational drinking games were fun.)

Rex- Did he answer?

Wolffe- No. Turns out the command center was already hit.

Boost- ‘Command center’, drink!

Wolffe- I was talking to an empty commlink. But the whole time, I thought he was just ignoring me. I was shouting, ‘This isn’t the time to be acting all Bly on me’.

Rex- (Laughing) I shouldn’t be laughing. It’s not really funny.

Skywalker- What is ‘acting all Bly’? What does that mean?

Rex- Well, it’s a kind of a clone term. We all have separate personalities and we all know each other pretty well, so if you say to a clone that he is acting like another clone, we know what you mean.

Skywalker- And that one means specifically?

Wolffe- ‘Bly’ can mean lots of things. Like it can mean biting your nails. Or over analyzing everything to the point of distraction. Or asking detailed questions in briefings just as we were finishing up so that a boring speaker keeps speaking and we never get out of there. But in this case, I meant, being mad at me about something and giving me the silent treatment.

Rex- Usually, when we say a clone is ‘being’ another, it carries a negative connotation.

Wolffe- Yeah, like I wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, you smell nice today, you’re totally being Rex’.

Rex- Wait, what?

Wolffe- And Rex wouldn’t tell someone, ‘You are the snappiest dresser, a total Wolffe’.

Rex- No, I would never say that.

Skywalker- So what are some other ones?

Wolffe- I would tell a brother, ‘Come on, stop being Rex!’ if he was taking forever in front of the mirror.

Skywalker- Rex, do you do that?

Rex- Or I would say, ‘That’s just a little too Wolffe’ if you’re over-sharing on sexual escapades.

Sinker- Or we say ‘You’re being Wolffe’ when a brother seems to be just talking for his own amusement.

Skywalker- I have noticed that.

Wolffe- Or when we say ‘Sinker, what are you doing?’ to a brother when he is not paying attention. Or how we all know that Boost doesn’t bathe enough, so if a brother smells, he’s ‘Boost’.

Boost- What did I do, I’m just sitting here?

Wolffe- I felt ganged up on.

Boost- Although, we do say someone is ‘being like Wolffe’ if a new shiny is incompetent.

(I slapped him in the back of the head as hard as I could. Reinforcing dominance. All we clones knew it was a valid reaction in clone culture, so nobody even blinked. I mean, fair joke, but even I have a limit in what I would allow.)

Sinker- Oh, I’ve got one, if we say ‘being like Jag’ means that you’re stingy. Like he never wants to loan a brother money, but he always short changes you when the bill comes around at the bar.

Boost- (Rubbing head) ‘Being Comet’ can mean that you’re totally clueless about something that everyone knows, on account of that time that he didn’t know how to pronounce ‘Palpatine’ because he’d only ever read it.

Wolffe- Chancellor Pal-pay-tyne. (Laughs.)

Skywalker- You’re not serious?

Rex- Yeah, I have heard that. Back at the academy we used to call a guy like that an O’Niner because that brother thought that ‘kitpack’ was pronounced ‘ki-pak’.

Wolffe- Which, the Mandalorian trainers thought was funny because in their language it sounds like ‘kih-paak’, which means ‘small salt’.

Rex- Is that true?

Wolffe- Oh yeah. Although, after a while we did eventually start using ‘small salt’ as clone code for the dust off the painkiller pills that collects in drawer where they kept them in the infirmary. If you had a friend who worked there doing medic specialization, you could sometimes go to the infirmary and ask for a ‘kihpaak’ and he’d let you dip your finger in the drawer. The Kaminoans only counted the pills.

Skywalker- Really?

Wolffe- So...what is a new one that involves something Skywalker would know about. Like, if you told somebody today to ‘stop being Wolffe’, what would the brother you said it to be doing?

Sinker- Going to strip clubs.

Wolffe- Some of them have good buffets. I’m writing reviews on them for my informal guide to Coruscant for shinies. I got one, I would tell someone to ‘stop being so Cody’ if they were being overly critical because they are in a bad mood anyway.

Rex- Ha! I have said that!

Sinker- We started using one for Boost, since we all saw him picking his nose at a briefing. ‘This dry air is going to make us all start ‘being Boost’ and so forth.

Boost- Well, we still use the one for you where we say, ‘don’t be a Sinker’ when some brother doesn’t flush the toilet.

Skywalker- Um…

Wolffe- Well, I say, ‘don’t be a Boost’ when I mean don’t raid somebody’s toiletry kit without asking.

Boost- Why are you picking on me?

Skywalker- You know, this is useful. Would everyone know what I meant if I said, ‘being kind of Rex’?

Wolffe- Depends on the context.

Skywalker- Okay, if I say it like, a girl is flirting and the guy is being thick as a post.

Wolffe- Hah! Yes! ‘Don’t be such a Rex, go ask her out.’ That’s true! Very good, General. You speak good clone.

Skywalker- Thanks.

(At that moment, Rex looked like he wanted to slap me in the head.)

Chapter Text

Sausage Fest

This was probably yet another bad idea on the part of the politicians, but Senator M’Lady decided to throw a party at the base for GAR appreciation. She invited all the officers on Coruscant at the time. She paid for the party as a gift from the grateful citizens of Naboo. No Jedi were there, so it was just politicians, natural born military, and clones, which made for a weird mix. It was just some food and non-alcoholic punch, that was all the Republic would permit us at an official venue. Still, it was something to do and we clones know how to pregame. I was talking to my friend, Senator Organa, who had given me a ride home once and some lotion. It’s more benign than it sounds, get your minds out of the gutter.

Wolffe- So it does work for lekku, totally smooth. And I got it on my hands and you know, it is a perfect lotion for sensitive skin.

Senator Organa- That’s what Breha says.

Wolffe- Oh, excuse me for a minute, would you? Bly? (I was doing my stupidest core accent.)

Bly- Why the hell are you wearing a monocle? (His hat was cocked to one side. We were all in cloth uniforms.)

Wolffe- I usually have to wear a helmet at parties. But at this one, I’m not a guard, I’m a guest, so I can dress in normal attire.

Bly- Your normal attire is those juvenile shirts.

Wolffe- So this is juvenile formal. Just my uniform and a little hair gel. But since there’s no helmets, I wanted to show off my eye a little. This monocle is a prism, General Plo bought it for me at the toy store. When I put it in front of Ping here, it looks all trippy.

Bly- I thought your prosthetic eye was named ‘Pong’.

Wolffe- I had to change it because ‘Pong’ is an unlucky name for us clones, you know, after Umbara.

Bly- Your head must be one cluttered mess keeping all your bullshit straight.

Wolffe- Nah, not if consistency is unnecessary. (Gree walked up) Hey, Gree, is your lady friend at this thing?

Gree- She said she might come.

Wolffe- Only if you’re doing your job.

Gree- They got shaak skewers.

Wolffe- For if you can’t do your job.

Bly- Gross.

Wolffe- I throw a lot of jokes out there. Not all of them are gonna be good.

Bly- Attention, here comes the entire Naboo contingent. (Sure enough, it was M’Lady, the Chancellor, and Jar Jar Binks. We all straightened up but Gree was still holding food and chewing.)

Chancellor- Welcome, Gentlemen, welcome! (I looked at him and was startled, but I realized that I was still wearing my monocle. For a second, I could have sworn he looked like he’d morphed into a hideous monster. I had eaten a bunch of psychotropic mushrooms earlier, though.)

Bly- (Shaking hands with the Chancellor) Commander Bly of the 327th. It’s an honor, sir. (Bly was so charming.)

Chancellor- Of course, Commander. I believe you fought on New Holstice, is this correct?

Bly- (Really surprised.) Uh…yes sir, it is.

M’Lady- How are you doing tonight, Commander Wolffe?

Chancellor- Commander Wolffe, the hero of Qiilura. I have heard of your exploits.

Wolffe- Really? (I could not figure out if he was genuinely this nice or if he was bullshitting me. It was unsettling, I can usually tell.)

Chancellor- Are you enjoying yourselves?

Wolffe- Well, it’s okay for a dry party.

Chancellor- Well, you understand how it can be, even Naboo is strapped in wartime. Everything is being rationed. It would hardly look proper if we were wasting government funds entertaining while the war is raging. I’m sure you boys find ways to have your fun, though. (Through the monocle, he still looked like a pasty faced wrinkled monster. I lowered the monocle and then raised it a few times to enjoy the effect of the change, but then I saw Bly staring at me. I smiled involuntarily. The mushrooms were stronger than I’d thought.)

Wolffe- It’d be a great party if a cake showed up and a stripper jumped out of it. I heard at some parties that happens. (My girlfriend worked at parties sometimes, so she had told me about jumping out of a cake. I’d gone to the store and bought some frosting after that story, so we could play a little game. Girls and cake are two of my favorite things. I hadn’t known you could combine them.)

Chancellor- My word, Commander, you are a dangerous one, aren’t you. (I still couldn’t figure it out, he seemed genuinely amused, but I just got a feeling he was being false. Or hitting on me.)

Wolffe- (So I decided to go full throttle.) You know, a party’s always better with entertainment. I heard someone say that clone parties weren’t any fun because the only kind of party we knew how to throw was a sausage fest. I don’t know what they meant by that. But I think most clones actually would rather eat seafood at a grill party. You know, since we come from an ocean world. (M’Lady by this time was cracking up and trying not to.)

Bly- Who says sausage parties aren’t fun? Frankly, I think I’d prefer the entertainment at a sausage fest more. (Bly was high on death sticks and he realized what I was doing. Pretending to be unsophisticated rubes was a favorite of ours when we would have conversations in public to attempt to freak out those around us. Like Bly and I would sit on the metro and go on and on about home remedies for warts to see if we could get people to back away from us, while we’d pretend like we had no idea why people were uncomfortable.)

Wolffe- Oh my, yes. Sausage fest entertainment is fun. Who doesn’t like a sausage eating contest? Or…submarine races?

Bly- Exactly, um…hide the sausage. Swordfights. Got to love a good swordfight.

Chancellor- My, I haven’t watched sport fencing in years. You know I was a champion sword fighter at university.

Bly- I bet you were. (Bly was really pulling off innocence.)

Jar Jar- Meesa just liken to eat sausages.

Wolffe- That can be fun, too. Swallow the sausage is my favorite game to play. Of course, I don’t like to be ‘it’. But I got someone I like to play with. She’s the best at it.

Gree- Uh…these sound like good parties. Can you do shots at these parties?

Bly- Oh, there’s shots. And they’re money.

Gree- Sweet as! (I just lost it.)

M’Lady- And, what other kinds of entertainments would you see at a sausage fest? (She understood the joke. The Chancellor and Jar Jar apparently didn’t.)

Bly- Um…Ball juggling?

Jar Jar- Meesa do juggling tricks!

Wolffe- Aw! No way! Let’s see some!

M’Lady- NO!

(Too late, he was on a table and started juggling plates. I couldn’t stop laughing. But all the brothers were watching and clapping.)

Wolffe- (To Bly) I told you he was a clown! I told you!

(The Chancellor remembered somewhere else he had to be after that. The party livened up a bit. Senator M’Lady was actually fun. Jar Jar called me up to help with one of his magic tricks. No, the trick was not ‘hide the sausage’, get your minds out of the gutter. Also, Senator Organa overheard and brought me a case of Alizay and more lotion. Shut up. Although Senator Organa was very attractive, shut up, our relationship was strictly bromantic, shut up, Gregor.)


Dandruff Killer

Rex was on Coruscant briefly during that Zillo beast disaster, which was kind of rare. The guy worked constantly. There was no meeting, briefing, or conference he could stay out of. He was like the civilian friendly face of the army. A bona fide hero. Back then, most restaurants and stores weren’t supposed to be serving clones, but he was the exception. Skywalker took him everywhere. He had a distinctive look both in and out of his helmet. He was all over the holonet. So, despite the fact that most clones were treated like shit on a shoe, Rex was a celebrity. I think the notoriety bothered him somewhat, since it was disingenuous of people to only like one of us. But he also knew he’d earned it, so he didn’t apologize either. So this one time, I made him take me out to buy soap to a place that would sell things to him. I wanted to stock up on the personal hygiene products before the next mission.

Rex- So, Kenobi ordered that we make a cast of this footprint. For what? He said it to sound official, like he imagined himself on one of those detective holovid programs. ‘Let’s swab for DNA and make a cast of this footprint.’ Meanwhile, I’ve got to figure out where to locate plaster, and try to mix it without the stuff freezing. Then he and Skywalker came back from meeting the Talz, I told him I’d done like he said, but he forgot he said it and wondered what I was talking about. Turns out they didn’t need the cast for anything, it was a footprint of one of the narglatch that the Talz rode and they already knew. So I’m holding this stupid cast like a wanker. Seriously, sometimes…

Wolffe- Gotta love Detective Kenobi.

Rex- Here’s the soap I was telling you about. It’s for sensitive skin, for your little problem.

Wolffe- Oh. Okay, thanks. You know, you didn’t have to tell everyone about that.

Rex- What? I thought it was funny. You know, that you had a rash there.

Wolffe- But everyone knows why.

Rex- Why?

Wolffe- Wow. You know, I actually believe you don’t know. That in itself speaks volumes.

Rex- What? Now why would medical problems be embarrassing, can’t you laugh at yourself?

Wolffe- Harder than anybody, I mean, look at me. I’m ridiculous. But you don’t really know what it’s like to be made fun of when they’re laughing at you, not with you. Nobody makes fun of you.

Rex- Sure they do, but I tune it out.

Wolffe- Yeah, okay.

Rex- When people make fun of you, you don’t have to just laugh along just so you seem like you’re in on the joke. You can make it clear that that won’t be tolerated.

Wolffe- Now who can’t laugh at himself?

Rex- People take me seriously because they know I take me seriously.

Wolffe- You are frustratingly naïve about your privilege.

Rex- You’re defective.

Wolffe- Gotta love Defective Wolffe. Hm. Maybe Kenobi and I could make a cop show together. The Defective and the Detective.

Rex- So anyway, I lost two dozen brothers there on account of this jackass Pantoran Chairman. Not to mention the fifty more brothers killed in the base. It was a frozen bloodbath.

Wolffe- Do you wear cologne?

Rex- Sure. (I knew he did. He smelled like it.)

Wolffe- What kind? Ooh, this is nice. ‘Ocean’. Hey baby, I’m a badass from Kamino. I smell like the ocean. Wait, would people think that means I smell like old fish?

Rex- That’s for women.

Wolffe- Why is it for women? The ocean isn’t a man or woman.

Rex- It’s perfume. It’s for women. See, the font on the label is swirly.

Wolffe- So how do you know yours isn’t for women?

Rex- Well, look at the label. It’s in those blocky letters.

Wolffe- Ultra Sport. Huh. Because women don’t play sports?

Rex- Well, of course they do, but…

Wolffe- A lot of these products with the blocky letters are called ‘sport’ something. Or it says ‘for men’ in big letters at the top. But, why does your sex even matter for some of these things? Like men and women can’t use the same sunscreen? Oh no, this one proclaims that it’s ‘engineered for men’, we must engineer it because ‘making’ things is feminine. If I use the wrong lip balm, I might get pregnant.

Rex- What?

Wolffe- Oooh, bubble bath! I am desperate for a bubble bath. I have this fantasy about it.

Rex- Isn’t that a little effeminate?

Wolffe- You haven’t heard the fantasy. It’s about as manly as you can get. You know, because it’s about having straight sex. In a tub. I got the idea from that commercial for the impotency drug. (To passing salesgirl) Excuse me, do you have these fizzing scented bath bombs in the shape of manly things, all of these look like flowers and hearts and stuff, I’d like one like in the shape of a thermal detonator.

Girl- These ones are round…

Wolffe- Hey, this soap says it is for tough jobs. Do men get dirtier than women, in your opinion?

Girl- I’m not sure.

Wolffe- Rex, look, here in block letters again, ‘Sheer Power’, ‘Strong Power’, ‘Pure Energy’, ‘Extreme Sport’, ‘Dandruff Killer’…you know, when fighting dandruff just isn’t enough, you have to completely annihilate it. Ooohh, this loofah says it’s a ‘shower tool’. Huh, the rough side for exfoliating and the soft side for…hm, that feels nice. Rex wouldn’t that feel nice on your…

Rex- (Putting it in my basket) You’re gonna get us thrown out of here if you keep acting impolite.

Wolffe- I’ll be good. (A bit of silence as I looked at a cologne and sprayed myself with the ‘Ocean’. Then I extended my wrist.)

Rex- (Sniffing.) Okay, that is nice.

Wolffe- Nah. I think I want to smell like something that is a little more ‘me’. This doesn’t smell enough. I’m a strong personality, I need something that says, ‘I may be cuddly, but I am also dangerous.’

Rex- ‘Smooth sport’?

Wolffe- Getting closer.

Rex- What do they mean by ‘Black Chill’?

Wolffe- As a smell? Does black have a smell? This is it! ‘Dark Temptation’!

Rex- Your new cologne?

Wolffe- No, I want to be called that from now on.

Rex- No.

Wolffe- But…

Rex- No. I’m serious. No.

Wolffe- What would you call a clone fragrance? Something that says ‘I’m a clone, but I’m sexy’.

Rex- I don’t know. ‘Dark…Helmet’ or something clone related.

Wolffe- Now we have your new nickname.

(Rex did not stand for that very long. He slapped the back of my neck and caused me to knock over some shampoo bottles so we got thrown out of there. But I told Ahsoka to start calling Rex that. Instead, she told General Skywalker that it was a real cologne made for clones. He, being super into showing he was sympatico with us clones, asked Ahsoka to get him a bottle so he could wear it too. Ahsoka and I made up a fake ‘Dark Helmet’ label for a bottle of ‘Ocean’ and gave it to Skywalker as a gift. So when he started wearing it around Rex, he had to wonder why his General liked to wear ladies perfume. Rex looked so confused, Ahsoka said.)


Degenerate Habit

General Plo loved gambling. He didn’t even pretend not to. It wasn’t forbidden for a Jedi, so he could do it all he wanted. The guy was good, I mean like insanely good at race and sports betting. He was a savant at calculating odds. I liked to spend time with him honing my techniques. Most of my personal income came from gambling and running betting rings. These supported our battalion’s expenses that the Republic didn’t cover, like decent food or better leave time pay. The 104th had one of the best qualities of life in the Grand Army, I think. Hence, why I was a powerful commander despite being of ambiguous virtue. There’s more than one way to be an inspirational leader. One day we were at a Coruscant underground betting parlor.

Wolffe- So they got this forty foot statue of clones, it just looks so…oppressive, a giant stone clone menacing at you. I half expect the stupid statue to come to life and wreck the city like the Zillo beast. And that wall. How much did it take them to bring that stone from Geonosis? Like I need to be reminded of my impending death every time I walk on to the base. Moreover, it is inaccurate. The damned statue has Phase 2 helmets on some of the figures, you tell me one guy who died at Geonosis who ever saw a Phase 2 helmet.

Plo- Well, the monument is built now, no sense regretting it. There’s more we could be doing. Sometimes you have to pick your battles or else you might find yourself in a shouting match with a stone wall and losing.

Wolffe- (He had a point.) So General Plo, why do you like gambling so much?

Plo- (Marking a racing form.) Well, on Coruscant and in other places, it is considered an acceptable pastime, but a somewhat degenerate habit. Like drinking.

Wolffe- Huh. Who decides what’s degenerate?

Plo- Usually the people who wouldn’t want to do it anyway so they don’t think people should be free to do something that they themselves don’t like. Sometimes though, those same people who crusade the hardest against something are the people who do it the most, but in secret. (Plo was like four hundred years old. He had peoples’ numbers.)

Wolffe- What about on Dorin? Is gambling considered degenerate?

Plo- Not at all. Any way of making money is acceptable. Gambling is just considered a higher risk investment.

Wolffe- You have money to risk, though.

Plo- My family does. But the fortune is divided between us. We each receive our share.

Wolffe- So you do, or you don’t get the money?

Plo- A portion. When I went into the Jedi Order, my share was put in a trust. Our money is controlled by my cousin Tai. He gives me a small percentage of my share each month. He doesn’t think I can handle my own. He knows I’d just give it to charity. Tai won’t pay me for anything but living expenses and the Jedi give me everything I need. So to get more, I tell Tai I want gambling money. He grumbles and pays the infinitesimal amount. He assumes I lose it, since that is the most likely scenario. But actually, I win a lot. I’m good at odds, I can see advantages. Do the calculations.

Wolffe- Do you ever use the Force to help your odds, so to speak?

Plo- I don’t use the Force on dice or roulette, it’s against the rules. But I use my talents and assets.

Wolffe- Wouldn’t the Force be a talent or asset? You were born this way.

Plo- Yes, but I wear regalia. I don’t pretend not to be a Jedi. Being an expert gambler isn’t against the rules, using the Force is. Not a lie, more of a bluff.

Wolffe- Letter of the law, not the intent, I think.

Plo- Ah, my friend Qui-Gon and I used to discuss such matters. Ethics and so forth. He thought it was alright to cheat if you were doing something good. He was cunning. Not unlike young Obi-Wan.

Wolffe- Oh, I think I’d be afraid to discuss ethics with General Kenobi. He always seems so sure of himself. He really picked well making Cody his second in command. Cody thinks he knows everything, too.

Plo- And you? Did I pick well?

Wolffe- You’re damn right you did, look, we just beat the spread on the Sabers game. Up 250 credits, General.

Plo- Now what should we do with our winnings, Wolffe?

Wolffe- Right, I’ve thought about that. They have a podrace coming up at three that could make for a good payout if we bet on Enula to place.

Plo- I meant when we cash out.

Wolffe- Well, if you’re interested in philanthropy…

Plo- I can’t do anything public or Tai would stop payment. And I can't be a part of anything illegal.

Wolffe- You remember my Twi’leki teacher?

Plo- Your girlfriend?

Wolffe- Nah. Although this one time we did some role playing…she had these glasses and a ruler…

Plo- Oh, you mean the woman from the Armory District job center? (The job center in the neighborhood of the army base had a Basic as a second language course, so it qualified as an accredited language school. I was having the Twi’lek woman who ran it sign invoices for the army, saying that she was teaching me for my certification in Twi’leki. That was how I got her paid for some friends of mine who wanted to take her Basic classes but couldn’t afford it.)

Wolffe- Okay, so she has this friend who runs this shelter in the Armory district that is for women freed from sex trafficking and victims of domestic violence. They always get a lot of donations of food and clothes and things. But what they really need is stuff like toiletries and laundry soap and socks and sheets and whatnot. So I thought, maybe we can get them some stuff from my buddy who runs a store, he ‘forgets’ to write up the receipt. We bring the stuff to the shelter. No questions asked, they get the stuff, you write up winnings as losses with your cousin. The money disappears and the shelter writes up the supplies as ‘drop off donations’.

Plo- Really? It that all legal?

Wolffe- Practically. At least it will satisfy all the hurdles your cousin has come up with for now. I don’t think that will even take up that much money.

Plo- So what else could we do?

Wolffe- Their water filter is terrible. I sent some of my guys over to fix it, but they need the new part. They thought they might be able to make one at the machine shop at the base. If we could just buy one, I’m sure…no, you need to hide it from your cousin…well, if you paid cash there wouldn’t be any record. How about, you call the contractor supply store and say that you’re from the facilities management at the Jedi Temple and that a clone soldier is coming to get it, cash at pickup. I’ll go.

Plo- Is this something you do often?

Wolffe- Sure, it makes it legal for me to shop this way if I’m just picking up for an enbee. Could you hand me that smashball form?

Plo- I think the Jolts over the Gundarks, 13-3.

Wolffe- Really?

Plo- The Gundarks’ center is out with a knee injury. (Perusing a Nuna-ball form and checking off some numbers.)

(I liked to help out my neighborhood and that shelter was where my girlfriend had stayed her first few days on Coruscant, after she ran away from a Hutt who was keeping her as a sex slave. It was where she first met some of our friends. They all ended up working as prostitutes, since barely anybody on Coruscant will hire Twi’leks as more than cleaning women or dancers. But the lady who ran it had actually taught the girls to read as part of the job training program. The first time I was with my girlfriend, I left her a note, and if she hadn’t been able to read it, she might not have liked me. So I figured I owed a favor.)

Chapter Text

Instinct

We were taking a walk in Wookieetown. It’s a cool neighborhood on Coruscant. They have the most interesting grocery stores with live poultry and reptiles and fish. Wookiees will eat anything. The best part about the place was that most humans didn’t go there. So it was a convenient place to go and be clones, if we just wanted a walk and maybe a nosh at a food stand. I was having a walk with my brothers Bly and Ponds right before Ponds died.

Wolffe- Geez, look at all these stores! Can everybody celebrate Life Day? I thought that was just a Wookiee thing.

Bly- Anything to give people an excuse to buy greeting cards and other disposable nonsense.

Wolffe- How are you not in the Life Day spirit? I love the presents, and the holiday holo-vids about giving. The lights are sweet as!

Bly- We just came from Kamino how many months ago? How is that enough time to know you love a tradition?

Ponds- I know I like it. More street carts and stands outside, which means we can get served. Wolffe, did you tell Bly about the mulled wine?

Wolffe- Oh yeah, so Ponds got caught on the base making a lewd snow dummy.

Bly- Please just start with the wine part of the story. If we don’t, we’ll never get to it because you’ll be off on another tangent, or talking about sexual acts, or asking why something is the way it is, then you will get distracted by some store window.

Wolffe- When you put it that way, you don’t even begin to highlight how epic I am. (Pause.) Because those are no mere sex acts, they are works of art.

Bly- Oh, for…

Wolffe- So, how’s your dating life?

Bly- It just so happens I met someone.

Ponds- Really? So, you gonna tell us about him?

Bly- Okay, look, I invited him to meet us, but you have to behave.

Ponds- Behave how?

Bly- I was talking to Wolffe.

Wolffe- Hey! Oh, I like your scarf.

Bly- There he is. Be nice! (To the guy who walked over) Hi, Karim. Please allow me to introduce my brothers, Wolffe and Ponds.

Karim- Good to meet you.

Wolffe- Man, you are handsome.

Karim- What? Thank you. That’s just what Bly said the first time we met. Just walked right up to me and said it.

Wolffe- Well, he’s not wrong. I mean, wow. Plus, we brothers are direct…uh…

Bly- It’s okay, he knows I’m a clone.

Wolffe- And you’re dating him anyway? But you could get anyone. You are just so handsome. Ponds, have you looked at that guy’s butt?

Ponds- So…should we get some sugared nuts or something?

Wolffe- I LOVE sugared nuts. Like, for real. Sugar me up some nuts, and I just want to put them in my mouth immediately.

Karim- Really?

Wolffe- Direct. You look familiar. Where have I seen you before?

Karim- Well…

Wolffe- Oh, wait, I know! You’re that guy from Instinct, that boy band.

Karim- Not too loud! (Whispering) My manager said I can’t come out. It would hurt the band, since our fans are mostly girls.

Wolffe- Really? I mean, Bly wouldn’t know because he knows nothing about music, but the entire army loves you guys.

Karim- They do? Then how come we don’t hear about it?

Wolffe- Who talks about clones? Also, we aren’t a key demographic because we’re not allowed to buy stuff.

Karim- So how do you know about us?

Wolffe- File sharing on the military server. I get music from people like Ahsoka and I copy them for everybody.

Karim- So you’re a fan?

Wolffe- Oh yeah. Your music’s fun. A bit of a guilty pleasure. We know all the words, though. Don’t we, Ponds?

Ponds- Huh?

(I started to sing one of the songs. Ponds joined in. Karim looked at Bly.)

Bly- I’m not gonna sing.

Wolffe- So, would your parents like…kill you if they knew you were dating a clone?

Karim- Probably. My manager would tell me to break it off if he knew. My band mates know I’m gay, but not who with. I don’t know what they’d say.

Wolffe- I love illicit romance.

Bly- Wolffe, I swear to crap I’m gonna kill you.

Wolffe- I’m sorry. I’ve just never been this attracted to a man before. I really want you two to be together.

Ponds- Wait, what?

Karim- I’m sure you’re just joking.

Bly- Look, it stands to reason that you were gonna find him attractive, since I do and we’re identical.

Wolffe- I like to think we’re not that identical. But all I’m saying is, Karim, if Bly is ever not doing his job, call my commlink and I will do my best to help you out.

Bly- Point being, most brothers are straight. So you find your girlfriend attractive. Well, naturally, other brothers find her attractive, too. It’s why she makes so much money…uh…stripping. (To Karim) Wolffe’s girlfriend is a stripper.

Wolffe- O…kay?

Bly- Well, if we tend to like similar things, then we would tend to find similar things beautiful.

Karim- Strippers are some of the most acrobatic dancers.

Wolffe- Oh, acrobatics, she’s a pro. She was educated as a professional…entertainer (courtesan) on Ryloth. She sings, she dances. She does stuff voluntarily in the bedroom that would cost a lot of money. The most banging body, the hottest face, on a scale of one to ten, she’s a thirteen.

Ponds- Fricking one hundred.

Bly- Even I find her attractive, and I’m as queer as the day is long.

Karim- I guess that proves what you said. About liking the same things.

Wolffe- Oooh, look at this store! There is nothing in the window but toys!

Karim- It’s a toy store.

Wolffe- The only toy stores in my neighborhood have dildos in the window. Imagine them done up with little life day robes like these dolls are.

Bly- I told him this was exactly how this conversation would go.


I Ain’t Doing Much Thinking

Non-commissioned officers outnumbered us regular officers. They were kind of in the middle guys, in terms of education. They weren’t machine heads like the general infantry, they weren’t trained to think critically like we leadership cadets. Enlisted leaders, like my sergeant brothers, were usually fun to hang around with, but they didn’t always understand me. All being brothers, we shared many experiences, but they didn’t see how we had differing perspectives just based on education and exposure to different ideas. Appo and Slick were two guys from Cody’s battalion. Soon after this, they got transferred to Skywalker to go to Christophsis. They wanted to be famous and General Skywalker’s 501st was attracting a lot of attention once news of his promotion hit the press. Cody had a high turn over rate, since he wasn’t popular as a leader. And the 501st attracted anyone who aspired to be a swaggering braggart. By and large, I didn’t like those guys, although I idolized Rex. Fives and Echo were the only ones I ever met that were okay, the rest of them made me want to bark at them. Anyway, this was before their first posting of the war with the 212th to Muunilist. I was hanging out with two of my batch mates before Appo and Slick were sharing the NCO barracks at Central Command with my guys, Trip and Scratch. I owed them because that day I’d taken Boost and Sinker to Plo’s birthday party. We were all new to working with Jedi and weren’t one hundred percent sure how to deal with a) women and b) people with super-human powers. We were all trying to figure it out. For the record, Jedi can read minds but they are forbidden from doing it without permission. Plo told me that later. But those who use the Dark Side do read minds all the time.

NCO Barracks at Central Command, present, Commander Wolffe slumming it, Sergeants Trip, Scratch, Appo and Slick, Slick being very slick. I mean, seriously, the amount of product he used on his hair was worse than Neyo. His was pungent, too.

Wolffe- Hey vode. (I’d said it in a silly tone, since they just sat down without being invited. Only my batch mates could detect the thinnest veils of sarcasm.)

Slick- So what are you guys talking about?

Wolffe- (Raising my eyebrows to make that crease we all have in the middle of our foreheads. Only my batch mates understood the face’s exact meaning. Appo and Slick were going on my ‘get back’ list. I unscrewed the cap of the bottle of Whiskeysnap. I was obligated to offer Slick and Appo some. I had only bought enough for a few guys, so it was kind of obnoxious of them to assume. But I’m too nice. So I opened with passive aggression.) So have you guys heard that women can have orgasms too?

Appo- That’s fricking crazy (laughing). Wolffe, you’re crazy.

Trip- He’s serious!

Wolffe- I read about it in one of those women’s magazines at the bodega. So now I’m trying to figure it out. (Sipping drink.) It would be some seriously useful knowledge.

Scratch- He hasn’t been able to find a woman to try it out on, but he has been talking about it non-stop.

Wolffe- I asked General Plo what I should do, but he’s voluntarily celibate and he said he’s gay anyway. I was thinking of asking one of the female Jedi, but I think it would be really inappropriate.

Appo- Even Aayla Secura? I’d get inappropriate with her.

Wolffe- I just think it would be easier if you had someone who was your friend, or better yet, someone who makes you feel too happy to be self-conscious. Also, someone who couldn’t chop your arms off for asking.

Slick- Wait, do you want to ask the Jedi questions or try it out on her.

Wolffe- Either. Whatever she’s comfortable with. I wouldn’t presume, but if she’s interested, I’d go for it. Whatever.

Appo- Are you flipping crazy?

Slick- You’d do a Jedi?

Wolffe- Why not? They’re people.

Appo- Wouldn’t it be weird? They can read minds.

Wolffe- I don’t know about you, but when I’m doing that, I ain’t doing much thinking. But if she can read my thoughts, then she’ll know I’m interested, it will be up to her to make a move. If she’s not interested, I can pretend I don’t know she knows I thought it. It’s kind of effortless, really. Just wait around, if she doesn’t do anything, no embarrassment.

Scratch- Riiiiiiight. Because she knows what you’re thinking. But she doesn’t know you know she knows.

Wolffe- Exactly!

Slick- That’d be kind of hot. You know, every time you get around a Jedi girl, just start thinking of it. If she can read your mind and doesn’t want it, she can ignore you. If she does, she can make a move. If you do it enough, it will work some of the time. It’d totally be worth it.

Wolffe- But you’d have to be careful. You don’t want to be caught thinking something perverse, it would creep her out. Also, if you don’t have a good sabaac face, you might look creepy.

Slick- I’m only thinking it, I wouldn’t make faces and thrusting motions in their direction. Anyway, what would be a perverse thought? Probably nothing they haven’t caught people thinking. People think random shit.

Wolffe- Point taken. But that’s why you have to be careful around Force wielders. Those people can find your weaknesses.

Appo- I don’t think we’ll ever get close enough to bad Force wielders. Fighting them is the Jedi’s job.

Wolffe- Won’t mean we won’t get caught in the middle.

Slick- I think that Asajj Ventress is kind of hot. I wouldn’t mind being caught in the middle of her...

Wolffe- She’s alright, but not my species.

Slick- She actually is mostly human.

Wolffe- Talk to my dick. I don’t have any control over it. It says what it likes.

Appo- Haha! Wolffe, you’re crazy.

Scratch- Wolffe’s dick gets hard at the smell of credits. You know, since he pays them all.

Wolffe- You can buy your own booze next time. I wouldn’t take you to a party. You’d probably say that in front of people.

Trip- You were the one that just told Appo to talk to your dick.

Scratch- Were there female Jedi at Plo’s party?

Wolffe- Yeah. And I behaved like a gentleman. General Swan was there. Plo’s niece Sha. Uh…this little girl Ahsoka.

Slick- So? Any interest?

Wolffe- I wasn’t going to try that out there. That was polite company. I thought only clean thoughts, stupid shit like holo-vid commercials. The worst I did was the double eyebrow raise.

Trip- What’s that?

Wolffe- If a lady makes eye contact and I get nervous, before I can think of anything embarrassing, I raise my eyebrows twice and smile. She usually cracks up, since it looks goofy. And it could mean any random thing.

Slick- That doesn’t creep her out?

Wolffe- Not if it’s goofy enough. If you can make people laugh, they won’t be afraid. They’ll know I’m just thinking random thoughts and I’m not a threat.

Appo- How would you deal with a Dark Force wielder if you saw one?

Wolffe- I don’t think it’s possible if you’re not Force sensitive. They usually hide most of their power, so you’d never even know what they could do until they sprung it on you. You might not even recognize they’re evil until it’s too late.

Appo- So you wouldn’t do anything?

Wolffe- I didn’t say that.

Scratch- What would you do?

Wolffe- Stay out of their way.

(It was funny, the first time I really met a Dark Force wielder, Asajj Ventress chopped out my eye to get away from General Plo. I hadn’t done anything to her, not even a dirty thought. Before that even, she met Slick by spying on the clone patrols around Christophsis. She could sense his wanting something else, more freedom, since he was disgruntled with his life. She showed herself to him and he couldn’t help but think he’d want to do her. She flirted and made him a cash offer and he couldn’t sell out his brothers fast enough. He was arrested and executed before the battle for the planet. Appo listened to some Sith named Darth Vader, and as promoted head of the 501st, he led his battalion on to murder thousands of Jedi in the Temple. So yeah, Dark Force Wielders, something to be legitimately afraid of even if you’re not a Jedi.)


The Fat One

I liked to do my stupid paperwork after hours at the base and after a while, Cody and I were coordinating our times there to hang out together. My girlfriend really disliked him, so at least at work, I didn’t have to be caught in the middle of their bickering. I felt I had to make time for Cody. He needed me. That guy didn’t have many friends. Anyway, we were passing a bottle of Whiskeysnap, a positively rotgut cheap alcoholic beverage that clones drank bathtubs full of. They sold it mostly in shady stores in crummy neighborhoods like mine. Me and some of the guys pulled the labels off of bottles and had wallpapered the common room on General Plo’s cruiser.

Wolffe- I was watching cartoons again… (We were tossing a ball of paper back and forth, just to stretch after long hours sitting at desks.)

Cody- Isn’t that a little childish?

Wolffe-It’s HOW you watch them that makes them grown up or childish. I’m trying to learn.

Cody- Learn what?

Wolffe- Common prejudices, tropes, I want to know what children learn in the Republic and why. For example, lots of the cartoons have a group of people or anthropomorphs or whatever the hell, they always have more guys than girls. Unless it’s those cartoons for girls, in which case, there’s one guy and he’s effeminate.

Cody- O…kay…?

Wolffe- And the personalities. Like you always have the leader, the smart one, the fat one…

Cody- The fat one?

Wolffe- So often. I don’t know why. They also have the smart alec, or the funny one, or the scared one, lots of times the chaos guy, like the one who is always trying schemes. Maybe also a mentor, who’s not part of the immediate group but helps them find solutions. Usually bumbling bad guys that you can easily out-smart.

Cody- How much of this is lazy writing and how much is archetypal, I wonder?

Wolffe- Ooooh, fancy word.

Cody- You said anthropomorphs.

Wolffe- But as archetypes go…even the fat one? How is ‘fat one’ an archetype?

Cody- Um…the animal-human who gives in to all his desires.

Wolffe- Well that’s insulting. But I guess they usually do show the fat one getting off plan to go chase a sandwich or something. You know what’s stupid, though? They have like maximum two girls in each group, in some cases just one. And the entire characterization seems to be that she’s the girl one. So she likes flowers and clothes and shit. The second girl is usually super sporty to make up for the really feminine one. Any other girls are just counterparts for the men.

Cody- Truthfully, I think archetypes weren’t made with females in mind for much more than their female-ness.

Wolffe- That’s what happens when you only let men be the storytellers. You know on the girl shows, everybody’s always royalty.

Cody- If we had a cartoon, what would we be? Can I call leader?

Wolffe- A show with just clones? Nah. Rex is leader.

Cody- What am I?

Wolffe- The grouchy one? Maybe you’re the smart one. That guy is usually socially inept.

Cody- Thanks.

Wolffe- Can I call girl one? Then I’d have boobs. Imagine having your own set of those.

Cody- You’re the animal-human.

Wolffe- So I decided to start ending all my missions with ‘everybody laughs’.

Cody- What?

Wolffe- ‘Everybody laughs’. Like on holovid programs where at the end, somebody says something supposedly funny and everybody laughs like it is funny, cue theme music.

Cody- Why do you have so much free time to waste?

Wolffe- I don’t have any more than you do. What do you do when you’re not working?

Cody- Training.

Wolffe- Well, I do that too. But a lot of the time, I multi-task.

Cody- Smoking spice and watching cartoons while you bang your girlfriend on your couch isn’t multi-tasking.

Wolffe- Pssh. I bet it’s as physically demanding as your training.

Cody- You don’t know my routine.

Wolffe- You don’t know my girlfriend. (He did actually, but he knew a well-timed joke when he heard one, so he let it pass.) I figure, at the end of each mission, me and the guys will all stand around and somebody will make a stupid joke and we all laugh. As far as I can tell, the jokes are super corny. A lot of times it’s a pun. Or somebody does a little physical comedy bit like dropping a cake and we’ll all laugh.

Cody- What in all the galaxy would the point of that be aside from a waste of perfectly good cake?

Wolffe- To reinforce group unity and to close the resolution of the problem of the week.

Cody- Well, your idiots would be the only ones willing to go along with that just for your absurd amusement.

Wolffe- General Plo loved the idea. He said knows tons of puns.

Cody- What else is on?

Wolffe- Man, when I get bored, I do that all the time, I change the channel in my mind and start thinking about something else. I sometimes think about situations that would make a great show.

Cody- Who wants to watch a show about clones?

Wolffe- Nobody, that’s the problem. And even if they did, they would probably just play into stereotypes for cheap laughs. In which case, I’d rather they didn’t bother.

Cody- You’d think if they put the effort in, they could make us compelling.

Wolffe- Probably.

Cody- What if they did? I think it would help people see us differently.

Wolffe- Risky. People don’t want to be insulted for their prejudices. You’d have to make the characters stereotypes, perhaps, but then maybe have them get more complex over time. Then people won’t realize it, but they’ve been made to sympathize with us.

Cody- In the meantime, you sneak stuff in.

Wolffe- How?

Cody- Why did the clone cross the road?

Wolffe- Why?

Cody- Because he was made to and given no other option.

(Everybody laughs.)

Chapter Text

Who’s Your Daddy

One day, my girl decided to go shoe shopping. I would have loved to help, massaging her ankles while I put her shoes on and took them off again. She had the prettiest feet. I probably would have gotten so turned on that I’d have ended up giving her oral in the store. But for some reason she didn’t want to take me. She probably needed a little alone time. I guess I was an attention junkie. So I went to 79’s to see who was around. This being the afternoon, it was pretty empty, and I didn’t just want to sit there like a sad drunk or something. It was a drizzly day, I had on my orange snowtrooper jacket and knit cap. As well as a shirt that said ‘Tipoca City: The Killer Factory’. I ran into the street girls outside the bar. I leaned against the wall with them and started singing them some pop love ballads. It made them laugh. It was cold, so one of them went and bought us all hot tea.

Present- Commander Wolffe, cloned human. Eywa, Fanda, and Eleese. A Rhodian, an Askajian, and a Siniteen.

Wolffe- Okay, here is Commander the Wolffe at 79’s, reporting on the situation in the street, ladies?

Eywa- So how’s the war going? (Her dress was so not sexy. Like some loose fitting, boxy thing made out of synthetic blue gauze. I thought street girls dressed like mannequins from second hand store windows.)

Wolffe- Same as always, I guess. We shoot, they shoot back.

Fanda- So what are you recording? (Askajians are more voluptuous girls, so her dress was just a red sarong thing and a fake fur coat with matching hat.)

Wolffe- Just stuff. So tell me ladies, how do you get into this line of work?

Eleese- A steady progression of bad choices. (A Siniteen, or, those people whose heads look like giant brains. She was wearing a blonde wig.)

Eywa- What about you? How did you end up a soldier?

Wolffe- A steady progression of no choices. I was made for it.

Fanda- Sounds bad. Even I had a few good years before this.

Wolffe- So what do you girls do when you’re not here? Any hobbies? (That made them laugh for some reason.)

Eywa- Sure. I like knitting. (She rolled her eyes.)

Fanda- I spend time with my kid. He’s in the state boy’s home.

Wolffe- You got a kid? What’s that like?

Fanda- You know, regular people, only smaller.

Wolffe- I held a baby once.

Eleese- Really?

Wolffe- It was actually Rhodian, Eywa. My buddy had to run in the store and he asked if I could watch her for a minute. Those funny suction cup fingers were so tiny.

Fanda- What did you do with it?

Wolffe- Just held her. I talked to her a little, like in a silly voice. She smiled, I think.

Eleese- I cannot picture that.

Wolffe- You’ve seen babies.

Eleese- I just can’t picture anyone letting one of you clones near one.

Wolffe- Ha! That confused me, too. Now wait, I can’t be the most bumbling brother. Who out of all my brothers is the most socially awkward guy you’ve ever seen?

Eywa- Who’s that one with the blonde hair?

Wolffe- Rex?

Eywa- Yeah, he blushed the minute I made eye contact.

Wolffe- I think he thinks he’s a Jedi.

Fanda- Well, we ain’t seen his saber.

Wolffe- I’ve never been serviced by you three either. I don’t think that makes me awkward.

Eleese- Yeah, but you’re not afraid to talk to people. Besides, you’re C.C.’s daddy.

Wolffe- Daddy? That’s got to be figurative, right? You can’t mean that literally, I’m not old enough. I’m also not a Twi’lek. What does it mean?

Eywa- It means when a girl gets herself a steady guy and he either pays her enough to get all her time, or he pimps her out and they live off her earnings. She still works, so I assume you’re pimping her.

Wolffe- Oh, I’m not doing either. I guess I’m not her daddy.

Fanda- But you come here every night.

Wolffe- Yeah, she works. I just make sure she’s safe. But her money is her money. I don’t take any of it, unless you count when she buys me something because she wants to. She buys me shirts. Oh, wait, cool clothes is something pimps have. Shit…’daddy’ means ‘pimp’, right? Does that make me a daddy?

Eleese- No, do you arrange her tricks with your friends?

Wolffe- Oh no.

Fanda- Why don’t you let her retire, and you take care of her.

Wolffe- Ha! As if I could. Army pay is shit. She hasn’t asked. Honestly, I don’t know how long I’m gonna live, so it’s probably safer for her to have a career. (They laughed at the word I’d used.) I’m not going to tell her to stop what she’s doing. That would be like telling her that being a whore was wrong. She’s been doing it her whole life. Why would I try and blame her for that?

Eywa- How would that be blaming? Maybe she doesn’t like it.

Wolffe- She hasn’t said she hates it. Look, what I suspect is that she could make a lot more money just taking high class private clients. But she stays with us because we’re nicer than those assholes. We are sad bastards. Barely enough time in our lives to have one sexual experience in many cases. She sells a fantasy. She’s offering a few moments of joy to souls already damned. I’m not saying that she necessarily wanted to be what she is, but I consider what she does a kind act.

Eywa- But what does she really want to be?

Wolffe- A star. She should be, too. She does everything, sings, dances, she’s beautiful. I wish she would make it, but I guess it’s really hard to get work.

Fanda- Tell me about it. What about you, what do you want to be?

Wolffe- You know, I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me. Sometimes I feel like I don’t I belong in the army.

Eywa- An army where everyone looks exactly like you and sounds like you?

Wolffe- Well, appreciating the fact that I have no options to choose what to be, I can’t be so insecure as to tell C.C. that I need her all to myself. The minute she says she isn’t happy whoring, she can stop. She gets to say. And no, I don’t take her money. It’s a lot of money. When she decides what she wants the next part of her life to be, she will be able to use it.

Eleese- Sounds like you got a case of the feelings. You ain’t a daddy, you’re her man.

Wolffe- She calls me her boyfriend. I call her my girlfriend. But we kind of started that jokingly. Just to freak out my brothers. Just to see what General Plo would say. But nobody said hardly anything, so we kept doing it. Now, I feel like it must be real, we’ve been together a while. (A little pause of silence.) So…who’s your daddy?

Eywa- We ain’t got any. Maybe we wouldn’t have to share one room together if one of us had a daddy.

Wolffe- Well, if nobody’s making you do this, why don’t you quit?

(They all laughed at me. I was clueless. So I asked them to explain it to me. These women were desperately poor. They were addicted to drugs, so all their money went to that. They all had diseases, since they couldn’t afford clean needles or prophylactics. They couldn’t stop doing drugs or they might die. They had no one in the universe to take care of them, so they had to sell themselves or starve to death. They still might have, since the drugs took priority over food. I asked what I could do to help them, but they laughed at that too and said that it didn’t make any difference, since they were souls already damned, like us clones. There was no next part to their lives to plan for. I just advised guys, in my capacity as an expert guide of the Armory District of Coruscant, that if my brothers were going to go the route of street girls, I wouldn’t discourage it. I just handed out prophylactics and told the guys not to be stingy with the tips for them, they worked hard. When dealing with women, any women, I believe that respect is everything.)


I Couldn’t Get Away From It

So this time, my group and I were headed to Wookiee World for their Life Day Extravaganza. To judge by the holo-net commercial, I knew it was gonna be sick! So many of my bucket list items in one place. Before, we had to pre-game, since substances are not allowed in the park. My girlfriend C.C., and my brothers Bly, Boost, and Sinker were passing the spice pipe. Bly’s boyfriend Karim was already drunk. I was abstaining because I was going to be driving, so I was just politely standing there drinking my water and playing music on my portable player, which could record while it played background music. I was thinking about social dynamics. I started to ponder how to fit my group into the speeder. It was something like a fox-quadduck-bag of beans question. Got to manage risk. It was also like a bin packing problem like we used to do in old strategy classes. Combinatorial optimization.

Wolffe- Alright sperm samples, here’s the deal, only three fit in the back seat of the speeder, two seats in front, so one person goes on a lap. (I twirled the keys ring on my finger.)

Boost- I call shotgun.

Wolffe- Absolutely not! It goes me in the driver’s seat, Bly in the front, since C.C. will be riding on his lap, Karim, you are in between the moron twins.

Karim- Man sandwich! (He giggled.)

Sinker- Why does Bly get to be in the front?

Wolffe-Because he’s the only one of you brothers that won’t be grinding on her. It’s C.C.’s night off, she don’t need that.

C.C.- Thanks, baby. (She inhaled on a death stick and exhaled dramatically.)

Karim- I have to confess, though, I’m a bit handsy when I’m drunk. (He was still hanging on Bly, the way he had been all day. The truth was, he was so drunk I thought he might puke and I wanted it to be on Boost or Sinker. They could stand it, Bly got nauseous in surface vehicles, and C.C., obviously I wasn’t gonna let someone puke on her. Karim wouldn’t be able to be mad about the mess, it was his speeder.)

Wolffe- That’s okay, my brothers like handsy. Right? Right?

Boost and Sinker- What?

Wolffe- But, if you’re good, maybe C.C. will demonstrate her limousine lapdance. Although, she’ll be performing on Bly, you’ll all get to watch. Acceptable?

Boost- Wait, so he’s there so someone won’t be grinding on her, but she’ll be grinding on him?

Bly- How do you know I’m okay with this?

Wolffe- You support the arts.

C.C.- How do you know I’ll do it?

Wolffe- Because I know a secret. (Whispering in her ear cone) Karim is actually in that boy band from Chandrila. I recognized him from one of his videos.

C.C.- (Whispering in my ear) Does Bly know?

Wolffe- (I licked her ear cone before I whispered) Yes. I thought he might want to hire backup dancers or something. He should see what you can do.

C.C.- Oh, you’re good.

Wolffe- (Kissing her neck.) Professional strategist, baby, with an advanced tactical specialization. Tested first in my class at creative thinking. (To Bly) Cody was so pissed. It’s the tactics that threw him off. He didn’t think weird enough.

Bly- (To Karim) I think they’re up to something.

C.C.- (Over her shoulder) Don’t worry, I’m no good at schemes, (HAH!) I hardly ever know what Wolffe’s talking about. (Even more HAH!)

Wolffe- Good thing you keep me too busy to talk. (I pulled her close and started grinding on her a little. She laughed and turned away and made it look like a dance move.)

Karim- Look at you two, you’re adorable. Bly, you said clones don’t dance.

C.C.- He only does it because he knows I like it.

Wolffe- I barely have to move. I’m just the pole. (I wrapped my arms around her hips.)

Bly- They kind of have their own thing.

Wolffe- The key to creative thinking is to defy expectations. I’ve always liked to keep things random.

Bly- Keep things random? That should be the motto of the 104th.

Karim- Why? Are they all like that?

Sinker- (Cracking up) Bly, you remember that time I won that fistfight with you at the academy?

Bly- Yeah, you cheated! This brother could vomit on cue. We started to circle and he puked in my face.

Karim-(Howling with laughter) What happened then?

Bly- It smelled disgusting. One whiff and I puked. But I couldn’t get away from it to get a breath because it was literally on my face! So I just kept gagging. This putz was laughing, a string of puke still hanging from his mouth.

C.C.- Boys are gross.

Boost- Hey Wolffe, Sinker says there’s gonna be lots of lights and noise there. You got any of that anti-anxiety stuff?

Wolffe- Yeah. (I took a pill bottle out of my pocket. And gave them each two.)

Sinker- You got any more?

Wolffe- No. That’s too much as it is. Would it kill you to show a little restraint? We might need to make a run for it if they realize we’re military.

Boost- Alright.

Wolffe- (Muttering in a heavy Jango accent that we clones use to talk amongst ourselves) Look out for Karim, alright. I filled his flask with something light, so he’ll be alright if he paces it.

Sinker- Sure thing.

Wolffe- Don’t give him anything else. Mixing substances is dangerous. I just don’t want any drama, you hear? (I looked sidelong at C.C. who was talking to Karim and being her most charming.) I have my goals for the night and I will not be deterred from reaching the mission’s objectives. I will ride rides. I will eat at least one obscene fried food. I will sing an epic karaoke number with my girlfriend. I will slow dance with her in public. I will get in the love tunnel. What you do with your time is up to you. You can stick with me or make your own plans, but we meet at the Tunnel of Love near the park entrance at 2300 hours.

Boost- Wait, is it the love tunnel or the tunnel of love….oooooooooh, I get it. Get in the love tunnel in the Tunnel of Love.

Wolffe- Nothing gets past you, genius. Right. Here are your mission per diems. I want full accounting of it.

Sinker- Where’d you get money?

Wolffe- I asked General Plo for it. He said he wants to hear all about this. So full accounting.

Boost- Should we have brought dates?

Wolffe- No, the speeder only fits five, six is already pushing it.

Sinker- I wouldn’t mind having girls on our laps.

Wolffe- Then who’s watching Karim.

Boost- But Karim is Bly’s date.

Wolffe- Quit your whining! Find girls at the park, that way we don’t have to drive them home.

Sinker- Or we could go home with them. That would solve the problem of where we’re gonna sleep, since Bly and Karim have your couch.

Wolffe- (Knowing they wouldn’t find any and they’d sleep in my bathtub and on my kitchen floor, respectively.) Okay then. My playlist for the drive over is sweet as. (I turned my attention back to the others)

C.C.- Well, I have not actually done any modeling

Wolffe- She’s just being modest. Her picture is on half the gunships in the grand army. Every army barrack has her picture on the wall somewhere.

Karim- So how has no one heard of her?

Wolffe- Her fan base is kind of segregated, as you know. But she’s been a professional entertainer her whole life. (Technically true.)

(It was the best fit in the speeder. No puke until we got to the park, no drama, fine entertainment, everybody had fun. The night was epic and perfect. The best night of the war for me. Wookiee World was the second happiest place in the galaxy for me. The first rhymes with ‘dove funnel’. That was some combinatorial optimization.)


So Worth It

The first time I ever saw Cody really drunk was after he and I were back from Abregado. Rex wasn’t with us, which Cody said was fine. Cody’d started drinking after Christophsis and although Rex drank a bit, he was already getting on Cody’s case about the amount he drank. Rex was right, from what I could see. All that drinking on the sly had made Cody a master of speed shots. We did some to pregame and we never even made it out of the barracks to go to the bar. I was keeping up and it was just too much. This was when I realized Cody blacked out when he drank too fast. He didn’t even remember having this conversation. This was when I learned that Cody got real when he was blind blackout drunk. This was some useful information.

Wolffe- So how did Christophsis go? I never asked.

Cody- Things got weird. Rex won’t even talk about it, he’s in denial about how messed up it is.

Wolffe- Like weird how?

Cody- Like shit happened I can scarcely believe was possible. It was on the line, man. (I would like to remind everyone, we were TEN years old. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we had children running the war.)

Wolffe- I just lost my entire battalion. There ain’t no line.

Cody- So you get it? How perverse this is? I’m really scared.

Wolffe- Don’t say it too loud. You’ll freak people out. (Whispering) What happened on Christophsis?

Cody- So, Sergeant Slick sold our intel for money. He got brothers killed in a sneak attack. I never thought I’d hear of a brother causing the death of another. Never. He justified it by saying that if he had money and could run from the military, it would be striking a blow for all of us, since he would be free. He told Kenobi right to his face that the Jedi keep us enslaved.

Wolffe- What’d Rex say?

Cody- His position was, anyone who was disloyal was wrong. Slick was disloyal, he deserved what he got.

Wolffe- And what do you say?

Cody- Rex is right. Slick got brothers killed. He wasn’t sorry. He had to pay.

Wolffe- So you believe in retributive punishment?

Cody- Yes.

Wolffe- Eye for eye and all that? Because the end result of that is that everyone’s walking around with prostheses when they had perfectly good parts to start with. The only winners would be prosthesis making companies and doctors. War is good business for them, and for the pharmaceutical companies. I love going to the doctor. I always get as many prescriptions as I can.

Cody- What?

Wolffe- But what happened to Slick?

Cody- Firing squad.

Wolffe- Geez, did Rex’s own guys do it?

Cody- No. Mine did. I thought it would lend some neutrality. I didn’t want Rex’s guys hating him for it. I couldn’t ask the Jedi to do it, it was against their code to kill an unarmed man.

Wolffe- Who gave him the sentence?

Cody- I did. We were guarding the heavy cannons and the Jedi left me to decide what to do with Slick. We couldn’t waste men to guard him and we couldn’t risk having him give our plans to the Enemy. So I looked up the GAR protocols and they said that execution was advisable in proven cases of treason on the front lines if their actions posed a direct threat. We had the Jedi as witnesses, Slick confessed. That was more than enough proof. I told Rex I’d handle it, since I was the superior officer. No one else should bear the responsibility. A decision had to be made and I made it. Everyone supported it, although Kenobi was the only one who looked sad.

Wolffe- That is…terrifying.

Cody- Only one brother in the firing squad had a full ammo clip, so no one will ever know which one killed him. But whoever that guy is, he’ll go down in history as the first brother to kill another of us. But as long as I live, I’ll know I was the one who gave the order. Everyone else knows it, too. I never thought it’d be possible that a brother would ever be able to do that. It’s like seeing yourself get shot by yourself and viewing it from outside your body. Me and the boys were in a bit of a shock after. Thank goodness this was before that padawan showed up.

Wolffe- Oh, geez, I forgot about Ahsoka. But you said she wasn’t there? That’s good.

Cody- Oh, so Chopper’s in the brig awaiting trial.

Wolffe- What for?

Cody- I had to arrest him once we got off Christophsis. He’d been ripping off battle droid fingers and stringing them to make good luck charms.

Wolffe- That’s some bad mojo, right there. Black magic. Nope, nope, nope.

Cody- It’s just sick. You don’t gloat over dead bodies, even if they are machines. It’s like you’re celebrating destruction and taking pleasure in pain. It’s inhuman. We’re better than that.

Wolffe- Well, not all of us, I guess. What happened with Chopper? You know, the weird eye and the burn scars?

Cody- He got doused with fuel and lit on fire on Sarrish before he transferred from my battalion to Rex’s. Sarrish was close quarters streetfighting. It’s so random what people use as weapons. They’ll throw cleaning fluid on you, they don’t care, they’re desperate to escape. I still have flashbacks from that shit.

Wolffe- I still have flashbacks from Kamino.

Cody- Do you think we’re all mentally ill.

Wolffe- I’d distrust a brother who wasn’t. I mean, the stuff we’ve seen? You’d have to be crazy to act normal after that. But we’ve all been through similar things, so crazy is normal for us brothers.

Cody- Okay, I know I’m drunk.

Wolffe- Yeah, I’ve never seen you this honest before. I think I like drunk Cody. (I patted him on his left shoulder.) So what happened with Chopper?

Cody- We put him back on duty for the battle.

Wolffe- How do you think the military court will find?

Cody- Probably just a few weeks in the brig. Psych eval. He’ll come back when he’s cleared to.

Wolffe- Wait, does he get to stay on Coruscant while he’s on leave for mental illness?

Cody- I suppose. Don’t even think of trying it, he’s locked in the psych ward not released on personal recognizance. You could get labeled defective if they decide you won’t get better.

Wolffe- Damn, they’ve thought of everything. We’re boxed in. You want to do another round of shots?

(Cody passed out after that. I took a selfie with drunk Cody. Nothing vulgar, just both of us red-faced, him face down on the table, drooling, with me kissing his cheek and giving him devil horns. I made it my desktop picture on my datapad. Cody slapped me senseless when he saw it. So worth it. I loved that ornery son of a bitch. He was kind of my life partner in a way, until I ran off with Rex. Now I’m stuck with Gregor. I have bad taste in men.)

Chapter Text

Must You?

So this one time we were giving out medals after Lola Sayu. We were aboard ship and Tarkin insisted that he award them, since he was the guest. I think he did it for a photo op. General Plo said he allowed it because he felt bad for him, because it was sad that Tarkin was such a petulant child at his age. Growing up with Boba, I knew how dangerous petulant children could be if they had a little power. General Plo laughed so hard when I said that. But I thought that children could be reasoned with. Tarkin had said he wanted to give the medals because he was grateful and I figured he might be a little sincere. We’d evac-ed his ass out of the Citadel prison and lost quite a few of my brothers lives doing it. If he’d have listened to me, he’d have had a chance to be gracious. Everybody could win if he was, he lost nothing by it. But looking back on it, I think he was just incapable of listening to me. Things only existed if they mattered to him and he was so tunnel visioned he didn’t see how he was coming across to people. He literally couldn’t imagine it. In this case, it’s not like he did anything to me intentionally, but he was just a dick in general.

Aboard the Triumphant 2, bound for Coruscant, in the natural born officers’ barracks. Present- Captain Tarkin of the Eriadu Tarkins (General Plo always said this phrase sarcastically) and Commander Wolffe of the Kamino Wolffes (or is that Wolves?)

Wolffe- Captain Tarkin, would it be alright if I have a word, sir?

Tarkin- Just ghastly, these key cards, they never function properly. (He scanned one repeatedly and couldn’t get his door to lock.)

Wolffe- See, it’s about my brother Echo.

Tarkin- It just won’t…

Wolffe- It’s upside down.

Tarkin- This damned thing…

(I finally reached out and scanned my key card and it locked. Even then he wouldn’t look at me.)

Tarkin- Oh…there we have it.

Wolffe- Anyway, about my brother?

Tarkin- Just what does this Rico need? (He smoothed out his uniform.)

Wolffe- Echo. Anyway, he just died and his batch mate Fives is here. They were on the mission team together and they’ve been together since nursery year. The team is supposed to get medals today, as you know, Central Command sent medals for every team member, so there are a few that will just go to waste since quite a few of the team died. So we have Echo’s medal, but he’s dead. I was wondering if you would give it to Fives. You know, just to acknowledge that they were family. It wouldn’t take anything, since we already have the medals here as I said.

Tarkin- Of course, Commander. (He wrote a note on his datapad, ‘give Dives Rico’s medal’.)

Wolffe- So, Captain Tarkin, I was able to get Central Command to send over your correspondences. I know when I’ve been away a while the messages can stack up, you can just dump most of them, I suspect some are no longer relevant. But I thought I’d bring them anyway. (I handed him a datapad.)

Tarkin- Why thank you, Commander. (He looked at the datapad) Where is my tea?

Wolffe- What?

Tarkin- Everyone knows I take my tea precisely at 0700.

Wolffe- Uh…does everyone? I’ll see if anyone’s headed past the mess.

Tarkin- No, Commander, please manage this personally. I can only drink the tea from the officer’s mess upstairs.

Wolffe- I guess you did say please.

Tarkin- I must insist that it be steeped for precisely three minutes and that an ice cube be added before I consume it.

Wolffe- Must you?

Tarkin- And I will require that the officer’s showers be set aside for my use between 1700 and 1800 when I will be doing my personal routine.

Wolffe- I don’t really have any say over the natural born facilities. I guess I could put up a sign telling guys to wait. I know how it is with personal routines, some guys don’t want to do that in front of people.

Tarkin- Of course, Commander, I require privacy. (He said it like prih-vah-see. From his tone, I was sure that he didn’t hear a thing I’d said.)

(We started walking, he always stayed just a little bit in front of me, so I’d be talking at his shoulder. He always looked forward. I just kept increasing speed to keep up with him, so he had to walk faster. It started to get ridiculous. All the while I was talking to him.)

Wolffe- I’m not shy about it myself. The way I see it, it’s personal maintenance, like shaving.

Tarkin- (Flipping through his datapad) Ghastly Military Affairs committee. Honestly, whoever decided to give the Senate oversight...

Wolffe- Some brothers get mad at me, but I contend, it would only be weird if I asked one of them to do it for me. And I wouldn’t. That’s a breach of my authority as their CO. Propriety is of the utmost importance to me. I know more than most that sexual harassment goes on between men, too. I have never asked anyone to do me favors. Except that once with my brother Bly, but I was kidding and anyway, we’re the same rank, so it’s not like I was using compulsion. I felt bad after the fact because I thought he might have been upset, but he said it wasn’t even the weirdest thing he’d heard me say that hour, so he knew not to take me seriously.

Tarkin- When you bring the tea, remember to bring no more than two biscuits. That’s all I allow myself.

Wolffe- And in the shower, it’s not like I make eye contact with anybody during. I make sure to close my eyes. Really, if you follow some basic etiquette, it is easy to keep it as polite as the side by side piss in a urinal, am I right? But some guys are shy pissers and so it would make sense that some people are shy about that, so I do sympathize with their point of view, but what else can we do? I mean, we’re always in a group even in the barracks so there’s not really a good time.

Tarkin- Commander, I think I will sit here. (He stopped in front of a conference room. Good thing we hardly used them.) I will think of anything else I require and I will tell you when you bring my tea.

Wolffe- Ummm…okay. I’ll…be around.

(I put my insignia of rank and my kama on my brother Comet and sent him to follow Tarkin around all day like a butler. He wore a napkin draped over his forearm and a fake thin mustache. Tarkin never noticed the change because he had never looked at me, so he had no idea I had a robotic eye and a huge scar. And because he never looked at Comet either. You can tell a lot about a person, based on perspective. The direction they look in, left or right, can give you an idea if they’re lying. If they look too closely at you, you can tell they want to know if you believe them. If a person looks down, they probably have some social anxiety. With Tarkin, turns out he didn’t even remember my name after this, or realize that he’d never known it because he’d never once asked it. Tarkin always looked at important people when he was around them, but not me. That flipping idiot gave Fives Echo’s medal INSTEAD of his own, and they all looked the same, so it meant NOTHING! Flipping Tarkin.)


Smarm Blazer

I was with my brother Echo at the base. He had his own room, on account of needing to be hooked up to machines to sleep. He had been teaching me to play music, which I really didn’t want to do in front of people and have them make fun of me. Towards the very end of the war, I went to see Echo almost every day. While I’d run through my scales and practice, I’d start talking to him. He didn’t talk much, but I could open up to him. I had just really needed someone to talk to. I had a stringed instrument and he had his keyboard and mixer that I’d built for him.

Echo- So tell me a story. (He liked to play background music to go with the stories.)

Wolffe- (Running through scales while Echo picked out a tune) So, this one time, I was in the field, having evacuated some Republic backed insurgents and their families from Qiilura, we went to go straight to extract Adi Gallia off a Separatist drednought. That was fricking insane, we had to bring a cruiser already full of evacuees directly into battle to save a Jedi. I was so strung out from being on the army issued amphetamines, doing relief work on Aleen, then the surface extraction on Qiilura, then directly to the drednought. When those fricking droids showed up again, I thought I was hallucinating.

Echo- Droids?

Wolffe- Yeah, that gold protocol droid and the blue astromech. We had them on Aleen and got rid of them right after. Then there they were.

Echo- Weird.

Wolffe- Anyway, by the time we delivered the Jedi and the evacuees to Naboo, I got a call from the Royal Palace telling us that a ship was coming to bring this asshat for a tour. He was the son in law of the fricking head of the Military Affairs Committee in the Senate, and his wife’s daddy had sent him out on a special mission to see what we were doing. I had to give him the fricking tour because the Jedi had already left and I lost at rock paper scissors to Slade.

Echo- How is Slade?

Wolffe- Shot in the back of the head on Felucia. So anyway, when this son in law arrived, I was handing out these herbs to the guys to help with the pain and constipation.

Echo- What?

Wolffe- I’d read about the planet as part of my mission briefing. I usually do a medicinal plant search just in case we ran out of supplies and guys needed something to take the edge off. See, when we were in the field before this, we needed painkillers bad but we’d run out since we had to give a bunch to the Aleenians. Once we all got to Naboo they handed out pain medication and we were all doing them at once, but those cause bad constipation at first. So I had read that these herbs that grew in the woods in the swamplands that helped with the pain and the stomach cramps, and the constipation, so they could get everybody even. Some guys didn’t even need painkillers since we had those.

Echo- Isn’t that dangerous?

Wolffe- Folk medicine has been tested for thousands of years. If it was gonna hurt you, they’d have noticed by now. I mean, I’m all for modern medicine, if I need brain surgery, I want a well programmed medical droid. But with substances, there are so many rules that don’t make any sense. Like how they classify drugs. Some things classified as non-medicinal can do as much for you as manufactured medicine but people are told not to believe in them because they’re cheap. And some things that could help heal are illegal and labeled as wrong to do. But if they help, you can’t put morality above people’s suffering. More to the point, those who want to outlaw stuff are hypocrites, they let drug corporations peddle any poison. Their reasons for making other things illegal are just racist and anti-immigrant. Do you know how many things they use ryll for on Ryloth? They’re not all addicts and full of disease. They use it for balance, like part of their diet.

Echo- Aaaaanyway…

Wolffe- So this guy, who I called Smarm Blazer rolls up in a speeder and gets out in a flack jacket over his blazer.

Echo- He literally had a blazer?

Wolffe- Yeah. Plus, his sunglasses were the ones that cost twenty thousand credits.

Echo- (He did his Rex impression.) That’s a lot of beans, ner vod.

Wolffe- So I come up I’m thinking I might pass out if I got too tired. So I’m chewing herbs, this whole time. We’re all covered in mud, some were smoking the herbs. We’d just been setting up tents for the refugee camp all day in this remote area of some swampy land where the Naboo government told us we could put it. We were sore as hell, so the formation was kind of loose. Smarm’s this asshole Roonan, like I said, dressed like he’s at the fricking Naboo yacht club.

Echo- Maybe that’s where he’d just come from.

Wolffe- So Smarm’s starting to look around, ‘Hey, I hear there are good painkillers here at the front. Can your medic provide me with something. I twisted my ankle on the tarmac when we landed.’ I got annoyed, since they were in short supply, we barely had enough for the infirmary and I had to keep them locked up. So I’m like, ‘Try these herbs, they’ll help, trust me.’ I gave him some.

Echo- These were laxative herbs?

Wolffe- I gave him some herbs to chew, which made them slower acting, telling him, ‘Here, chewing them is better, you don’t want to smoke papers. This is cleaner.’

Echo- He believed you?

Wolffe- I was looking pretty hardcore, with dirty armor and scars and stuff. I think he was in awe of me, bromantically. He bowed to my superior pseudo scientific man-splaining. He started imitating my walk a little as we headed past the guys. ‘Dismissed,’ I shouted. Smarm jumped a little. ‘Whoo,’ said Smarm, ‘Can I try it?’ Almost all the guys were gone already, so I let him try it. The three guys still standing there didn’t know what to do, so they politely applauded. I yawned and said, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man wear such a skinny belt.’ Smarm said, ‘I’ve been meaning to buy some new things, this jacket is actually from last year. It just takes some time to have some new things made.’

Echo- Do natural borns change clothes that much?

Wolffe- I don’t know, he assumed that talking about buying clothes was one of those things that everybody can relate to. So I’m like, ‘I know what you mean, I get most of my shirts custom made.’

Echo- You order designs on them, I think he meant tailoring.

Wolffe- Whatever. It just so happens I do like clothes. So I just started giving him my thoughts on clothes.

Echo- Your real thoughts, or one of your monologues when you think nobody is listening?

Wolffe- I don’t really know the difference sometimes. Anyway, I said something like, ‘Huh. Even my fricking dress uniform belt is big. I hate those puffy pants! If I had a say, I’d wear leather pants. But not like tight ones, more like leather cargo pants. Like the mechanics wear in the hangars so they don’t get hit with sparks. So cool.’ Because you see, I thought it’d be funny to see if he would show up on the holo-net news wearing leather cargo pants trying to look more hardcore.

Echo- Oh…

Wolffe- He says, ‘Yeah, hangars are badass. I got a fast speeder, a *brand of sports speeder that cost more than an apartment building in the Armory District.* But I want to get a bike.’ I said, ‘I want to drive a boat, do you have a boat?’ He says, ‘Yeah, a sloop. It’s my grandfather’s. But I get to use it whenever I want.’

Echo- What was he, like trying to impress you or does he assume everyone’s family has a boat?

Wolffe- Could be either. So I’m like, ‘One of my close brothers got to go on a boat once. This older guy wanted to screw him, but couldn’t have anyone find out, so he took him to the boat. They spent a day out, had a bunch of sex and a picnic lunch, then never saw each other again. I don’t need all that, but I just think it’d be cool to drive a boat.’

Echo- You told him that story?

Wolffe- Yeah. Wouldn’t if be funny if he put it together that his grandfather was the guy Bly slept with?

Echo- I suppose it’s possible.

Wolffe- Yep. Anyway, we were walking around and he asked, ‘So what are we looking at?’ He put his hands on his hips like I was doing. I didn’t like how it looked so I stopped doing it. Then I didn’t know what to do with my hands, so I started wiping at dirty smudges on my armor. ‘This is the refugee camp with the evacuees from Qiilura.’ ‘Uh huh’, he nodded manically. I’m like, ‘Um…so, we got a lot of families and stuff. Like, kids, you know.’ He’s like, ‘Do they need toys? We could send them some toys.’ I’m like, ‘Uh…no, they need …clean drinking water and proper sewage, and soap, also maybe bug nets in this swamp. Most of what kills them are infections. Let’s just make sure they get the things they need first to stop them from dying.’ He’s still nodding, ‘Then we can get them some toys. I just think it’d be nice if they could be kids again in all this. I know my friends company would donate them. We could set up a school.’ I’m like, ‘No, then you get in hydration gel to make sure they don’t die from dehydration. Next, you bring them some clothes, and enough water to bathe in and clean things and cook. Then permanent structures, or relocate them out of here to somewhere with permanent structures. This area is prone to flooding and the tents are poor protection.’ ‘Uh huh’ he’s still manically nodding.

Echo- What was with the nodding.

Wolffe- Like he wasn’t really listening, he was just waiting impatiently for his turn to speak. Then he asks, ‘Listen, can I get a hat like yours if we’re going to be out in the sun for a while. I’ll burn.’ The ‘hat’ I was wearing was just a kind of a head scarf I’d bought, I could wear it on my neck to keep from burning, or wrap it around my head if the sun was blazing, which it was. So I grabbed a desk lampshade from one of the tents and told him it was a better sun hat. The pictures that made the holo-net news after this were great. First of him in the lampshade. Then of when he suddenly got diarrhea from chewing the herbs. Then of me and some of the refugee kids. We’d all made friends back on the cruiser. I had this one little girl say on camera for me, ‘I miss you, Niki.’ It was on the broadcast. I got so laid when I got home.

Echo- That’s kind of sweet actually. Did you ever get any sleep?

Wolffe- Yeah, since Smarm made a run for his ship because he didn’t want to use the camp latrine and didn’t come back since he didn’t have a change of pants. I fell asleep on one of the mats at the childcare center. The kids arranged an outline around me made out of pebbles to keep me safe.


That Was Me!

This time, I was just giving Jesse a hard time. I don’t know why, but I always got the impression he was a stupider than average clone. I’m pretty sure his battalion knew it, too. He wasn’t a bad guy, but he was just too dumb to be cynical, I guess. Even Rex was cynical and he was the most gung ho soldier I knew.

Wolffe- So here we are on Felucia with Kix, Jester, and Jesse of the 501st. Alright, who’s gonna tell me a story?

Jesse- It’s my turn to tell a story. Every time I talk to you, somebody else takes over and I never get to tell one.

Wolffe- Maybe if you ever did anything interesting.

Kix- I got one.

Wolffe- So?

Jesse- Hey!

Kix- So we were stationed on Christophsis and we were doing routine sweeps around the command center, we’d set up in a government building. We were out looking for klankers and we happened across this store for ladies underthings. And the Captain was just blushing, his ears were practically purple. We kept holding things up, he’s all, ‘Quit messing around, ladies.’ So he tells me to just do a quick check in the back. I shouted, ‘Hey, Captain, there’s something here you need to see!’ And he comes running, until he’s face to face with a room full of naked mannequins or ones wearing lingerie. We all cracked up, his face was priceless. (He imitated it perfectly, of course.)

Wolffe- Ha! How did he take you guys laughing at him?

Kix- Then he’s just like, ‘Ahem, yes, well…very funny.’

Jester- I got one!

Wolffe- Alright.

Jesse- It’s my turn!

Jester- So we were on Teth and they have these huge bugs, like the size of speeder bikes. And when they shit, it’s horrifying. Gus got bombed by one, right on the visor, since he was looking up to see what the noise was. He was cursing and yelling, wiping at his face with his hand, but he forgot he was holding the blaster, so he misfired in the air. The Captain turns around, he’s all, ‘Gus! Quit messing around!’ (He did a great Rex impression, so it started a Rex-off as we kept telling each other to ‘quit messing around’ and other Rex stock phrases in our gruffest Rex voices.)

Wolffe- Quit messing around! Get your sun bonnets back on!

Kix- Stop being such a rain cloud!

Jester- Don’t just sit around scratching your rashes!

Wolffe- So what happened to Gus?

Jester- His visibility was so messed up, he was one of the first guys shot when we got up to the monastery.

Wolffe- That’s both hilarious and horrifying. Nice twist ending.

Jesse- It’s my turn!

Wolffe- Why Jesse, did you have something to say?

Jesse- I sure do, you one eyed bastard.

Wolffe- So I had this bad diarrhea one time when we were encamped in the swamplands of Tibrin.

Jesse- Wait, when were you on Tibrin?

Wolffe- So with the diarrhea, I needed to just play through. But to do that, I had to find a toilet to just sit on for a few hours. We’re in the camp outside the city, where there are dug latrines. So I have to walk into the town where they have indoor plumbing and a sitting toilet. I couldn’t keep squatted over a hole, my legs would wear out and I’d fall into the hole.

Jesse- Wait a minute…

Wolffe- I anticipate problems like that, I am a professional strategist, you know. So anyway, then I’m on my way through the dark and I feel it coming on. I’m like, ‘Ho boy.’ So I go over to this stand of trees to squat. I get my pants down and into position when this fambaa comes out of nowhere, startled. It was in the stand of trees when I came crashing in. So of course, out of fear, I shit myself, luckily, I was already squatting. But I did fall over. Thankfully, I fell back and avoided the pile, but it was close and I fell awkwardly. Twisted an ankle and had to walk back to the camp for medical attention for all the scratches I got when I fell down. I got back, my clothes were all dirty and I was banged up. They assumed I’d been attacked on my way to town, and I wasn’t about to tell them about the damned animal. But they kept asking follow up questions, ‘What did your assailant look like? Did you see what direction he fled in? Blah blah blah.’ I’m all in a daze from being so dehydrated on account of the diarrhea. I just wanted to get out of there, then I feel the shit coming on again and I ran to a trashcan. I was confined to the infirmary for a few days. (Everyone was laughing except Jesse.)

Jesse- That’s MY story! That happened to ME!

Wolffe- Are you sure that happened to you?

Jesse- Yes! You can ask Rex, I told him the whole thing after the fact because he suspected I wasn’t telling the truth.

Kix- I remember wrapping your ankle. Why didn’t you tell me what really happened?

Wolffe- Oh yeah, what kind of fambaa was it? Northern spotted or greenback?

Jesse- What? I don’t know, it was dark.

Wolffe- Are you sure it was you?

Jesse- YES!

Jester- We had to do searches for your assailants. You said there were three of them. I think we arrested some local Ishi Tib who we found in some bushes, but they were just some teenagers out screwing.

Wolffe- Haha! Really?

Kix- You should have heard Rex reading the parents the riot act about letting their kids out of their sight in a war zone.

Jesse- So you admit it, Wolffe, that’s not your story! It’s mine!

Wolffe- But it’s the story I wanted to hear, so I told it. Because I tell it better. You tell stories boringly.

Jesse- How would you know?

Wolffe- I just do, but you said, and I have you recorded, that the account is true.

Jesse- So I finally have a story?

Wolffe- What one were you gonna tell?

Jesse- I don’t know, you’ve kind of messed it up now. Nothing else will sound that funny.

Wolffe- After all your complaining, you’ll welch?

Jesse- Okay…so…

Jester- So last time we were on Felucia, I went to sleep on an anthill. They crawled into my armor and I woke up dancing around.

Jesse- That was me!

Kix- This other time, we were on Saleucami and got into a slapping contest with Waxer when I clipped him in the eye with a nail because I don’t cut them enough.

Jesse- That was me, too!

Jester- This one time I told my brother I’d do him a favor if he’d do my latrine cleaning duty and I never did.

Jesse- That…was…hey!

Wolffe- This one time, my brother made fun of me for the stupid Republic symbol face tattoo.

Jesse- Hey!

(People thought I disliked Jesse, it wasn’t that. It was just that he was always saying that I didn’t like him, so that it made me happy to feed his insecurities since his reactions were entertaining. He brought it on himself, but I suspect he liked to be the center of attention.)

Chapter Text

Yinzer

One day I was hanging around at General Plo’s after a briefing. If I was working at the Jedi Temple, he would usually fix me lunch at his place. I’d bring him souvenirs from my various encounters, and tell him stories. I think he liked to hear about the real world. Life in the Temple could be sheltered, he said. We were both really curious about sentient interactions, both being social outsiders of a sort. I was describing a phenomenon I’d observed of certain pairs or groups of friends or battalions were developing their own ways of speaking and their own signs that differentiated them and represented their ties to each other. I thought it was useful. These expressions provided some degree of privacy if a secret message needed to be conveyed in mixed company. They worked best if they were subtle.

Wolffe- (We sat down at his kitchen island to sip our soup from thermoses with straws.) General Plo, do you think we should have a secret way of conveying messages? I mean it could be useful in emergency situations, like in case secrecy was required. In case the battalion was compromised or something.

Plo- Such as?

Wolffe- Cody and General Kenobi keep details of their plans top secret and they can only give out part of the information at a time.

Plo- Yes. Kenobi and his misdirection. He’s been very effective.

Wolffe- Well, Cody and the General also don’t trust some people. So they have codes when they want to pass messages. They do it all the time in briefings with natural born officers, as Kenobi is telling officers one thing, he’s using hand signals to tell Cody what to really do. They have a written cypher they use, too, if coms are jammed they can run written messages between them.

Plo- Fascinating. They seem to coordinate well. Young Obi-Wan always worked amazingly as a partner, when he was a padawan and then as a teacher. Are he and Cody close?

Wolffe- Depends how you mean it, I guess. As a working partnership, they’re seamless. Personally, though, I think they both have issues. They’re not friends like we are, or like Bly and General Secura. They’re not besties like Rex and General Skywalker. But I think a lot of Jedi are like that with us clones.

Plo- Like how?

Wolffe- You know, distant. My brothers Gree, Ponds, Neyo, all them, they say their Jedi won’t even talk to them about anything but work. As if a brother’s job defines him, like it does with you guys.

Plo- Ah. Many Jedi behave that way with everyone because they don’t know what it’s like not to have your work be your way of life.

Wolffe- Well, I mean, it is with us, to a degree. But we never got to choose to devote ourselves to it or not, like you guys did. So there’s not much we can do if we find it doesn’t suit us. Some part of us is always looking to be something else, too. We’re just not allowed much. I appreciate that you’ve always given me a lot of trust to be who I need to be. I just got lucky, I guess. How come you’re different?

Plo- Well, I believe that Jedi tenets, like laws, can be interpreted differently. Obedience to the Order demands that we be compassionate. But our choice is how we demonstrate compassion. There are no set parameters, it can depend greatly on the circumstances. I choose to express my compassion for you through friendship. Some Jedi would say that friendship is fine. Others would say friendship is impossible without equality and we can’t be friends with non-Force sensitives. Others say friendship is too close and will cause attachments. However, due to my long life span, I have learned not to get too attached to anyone, because most beings live a fraction of my lifetime. I know I will have to say goodbye to everyone I’ve known. Therefore, I have always been able to have friendships for any time I have with someone I care for, and not be too afraid of loss. Attachment in the way it is felt by others isn’t in my range of experience, I don’t like loss, but I accept it.

Wolffe- Are all you older Jedi quirky in your interpretations?

Plo- Master Yoda is positively eclectic. He’s so old he treats new acquaintances with all the interest you would show an amusing pet, because in terms of the percentage of his life that he will know you, that’s about how long you are real to him. Yet, like with people who like animals, he is patient and gentle, so we put him in charge of the younglings.

Wolffe- Really? That explains a lot. My brother Thire says he’s really nice, but he’s detached, like in his own world. Do you think it’s a good idea for someone like that to define what your Order considers attachment? I mean, he is the authority, being head of the Council, but he might not understand life experience the way a normal human would, say.

Plo- Because of his strange perspective, I believe it is healthy to question some of his decisions. Young Obi-Wan often does. It can be vexing, though since Master Yoda can always say he is older and knows better. It’s hard to tell him, ‘no’. I think he is becoming increasingly frustrated, as well. We are accountable to the secular authorities in the Senate for the first time in our history. We can’t afford to make mistakes. We Jedi talk about feelings as if they are facts, because to us they are. But we are fighting a war for the Republic, they want proof, not hunches.

Wolffe- I had no idea politics was so fraught.

Plo- You can never escape politics. Sociology is just politics on the micro level.

Wolffe- Social interactions are just about figuring out what people want and what they’re afraid of.

Plo- I don’t know if I’d say it was that simple.

Wolffe- Nah, knowledge is everything. Back at the academy, everything was so equal that in order to get an advantage the only thing you could do was know more. I knew all the secrets.

Plo- Knowing things is a power. But what you choose to do with that knowledge is what defines you.

Wolffe- You mean use it for harm or good?

Plo- Precisely.

Wolffe- Sometimes a secret can be used for bad, like to threaten someone if they’re afraid of people finding out, that’s true. I’ll do that if somebody’s a dick, to keep them from being too hypocritical, say, or to keep him in line if he threatens others. But it can also help you find empathy for someone, to understand why they might be under stress or be carrying burdens. It can help you find common ground. I do that mostly. Speaking of secrets, that is what I’m talking about, General Plo, we need a way to speak to each other and make it difficult for others to follow. My brothers and I have something like it, it’s Galactic Basic, but with our dialect words from Mando’a, and delivered in a Jango accent. It’s subtle but effective, people don’t understand, but they pretend they do. We use it to communicate in dangerous situations. I want to be able to tell you if there is a danger.

Plo- Alright. Well, you know that on my world, I’m from a place called South Hills on Dorin.

Wolffe- I did not. But go on.

Plo- Well there, they have a dialect of Basic that is distinctive. We joke about it, but we’re proud of it. It’s called Yinzer.

Wolffe- Alright, you start speaking it and I’ll try to copy you and we’ll have a conversation.

Plo- (Speaking in dialect) This is just how I used to learn when I studied theater acting.

Wolffe- Theater acting? (Imitating dialect)

Plo- For espionage missions, I had to learn how to construct characters.

Wolffe- I just counted. You’ve lived forty of my lifetimes.

Plo- No, sort of swallow the leth, and say it, ‘cahnted’, ‘lifetahms’.

Wolffe- (In the dialect) Counted. Lifetimes.

Plo- Exactly.

Wolffe- What’s it like to breathe helium?

Plo- Hillium, but again, leth at the back of the throat.

Wolffe- Helium.

Plo- Good.

Wolffe- So what’s it like?

Plo- It’s funny when you oxygen breathers do it because your voices get very high.

Wolffe- What?!

Plo- Yes, here, try one of my emergency cartridges.

(It was like an inhaler. I took a huff.)

Wolffe- (In dialect) Helium. (My voice came out like a cartoon rodent. I was so surprised I stopped talking. General Plo was in stitches, which only encouraged me to keep going.) Lifetimes. (Taking another huff and doing my Kenobi impression) Anakin, stop urinating on the toilet seat, I know you’re doing it intentionally. (Huff and switch to a bad Skywalker impression) Obi-Wan, the Twilight is my ship, I’ll keep it any way I want.

Plo- (His laughs were echoing in his mask. I gave him the cartridge and he spritzed it into his mask.) Stop! Haha! Really Wolffe, I do love your impressions.

Wolffe- Do you do impressions of me if you’re telling a story about me?

Plo- (Putting his claw up to his chin) Hm. I don’t know what that would be, aside from the accent, but all clones have that. Do you have one of me?

Wolffe- Just that standard one where we cover our faces with a hand to be the mask. The impression is not that artful, but as you say, we don’t know what it would be. You don’t have that weird way of speaking Kenobi has, or that kind of kid voice Skywalker has. And of course, Master Yoda, that’s another thing entirely. Everyone has a Master Yoda impression and they’re all over the top and still recognizable.

Plo- Surely none of them is more over the top than Master Yoda’s actual speaking voice.

Wolffe- Very true.

Plo- Do Skywalker and Rex have a dialect they speak between themselves? I’ve noticed Skywalker understands even the thickest clone dialect, he said that he and Captain Rex practice it.

Wolffe- Yeah, and they have a dialect between them. They speak Canadian, from that one ice world.

Plo- Did they fight on that ice world together?

Wolffe- No, they watched a heist movie together that’s set on Canadia and started speaking in that dialect to each other the next day. Another one of their bromance things.

Plo- Bromance?

Wolffe- Like they’re in love with their friendship as guys.

Plo- Are we in a bromance?

Wolffe- Nah. We’re real friends, we don’t need to keep demonstrating our love through male bonding rituals. We actually talk.

Plo- I see, and are the rest of the 501st similar?

Wolffe- We in the 104th say that the 501st aren’t brothers, they’re bros. Our impression of them is acting macho and hawking spit a lot. So…yeah.

Plo- Fascinating.


Just Weird

This was before my first posting. The 104th and I were still on Coruscant for training with General Plo, so we lived at the base. They had just opened up a bar and a brothel so we were discovering the wonders of socializing with those who weren’t clones. For not the first time, we were faced with the reality that being a clone is a peculiar life. My Kamino batch mates and I were sitting at a table at the new bar. On Kamino, we had been a mostly egalitarian society. There was not much more brothers could have than others, we had the same clothes and food, we weren’t allowed to own much. All we might have had was notoriety. But once we left our little covered city and had contact with other types of people and had more opportunities, the dynamic definitely shifted. It was sudden and kind of jarring for me as I observed it, and although it happened to everyone, almost nobody realized it. Suddenly, I was witnessing social stratification. I had already become obsessed with observing interactions.

At 79’s, Armory District, Coruscant. With the clones from the Fett batch DEUT-2511 who became the proud leadership of the 104th Battalion. In our academy yearbook (something one of the other first year guys had made up before we left Kamino for Coruscant to report for duty) we were voted most likely to get eaten by a neebray manta.

Wolffe- Philosophical question, hey Scratch, if we had sex, would that be incest or masturbation?

Scratch- Get that recorder out of my face, you freak.

(A blue Twi’lek lady came over to our table.)

She’li- Hi boys, let me join you. Where are you from?

Scratch- Kamino…. (Scratch was the first to talk. He was the best looking of us and he knew it. It gave him the confidence to be unapologetic about how dumb he was.)

She’li- I meant what’s your outfit?

Scratch- (Smiling) The Fighting 104th. (NO! You idiot! I told you I did not agree to that epithet! Fricking idiot probably didn’t know what ‘epithet’ meant. Idiot!)

She’li - And that is…General Plo Koon’s outfit.

Trip- How did you know? (Trip spoke second. He was kind of Scratch’s lackey. Every alpha in a group has a lackey. He felt bold if he had a group behind him, but was otherwise useless in every way.)

She’li – (Putting her hand on Trip’s arm, which made him flinch. We were still a little wary of physical contact. Also, Trip was all bark and no bite.) We are getting to know you boys. We want to try to get to know everybody.

Sinker- (Distrustfully) Really? Why? (Sinker was thick as a brick and practically had no will of his own. But he was sweet. He’d be the last to go along with a group and the first to leave a group, mostly out of apathy. He didn’t much care what happened. Just liked to be kept fed.)

She’li – We want to be your friends, sweetie. (She put her hand on Sinker’s and he flinched. But he lowered his chin bashfully.)

Boost- Um…can I get you something to drink? (That was a line General Plo suggested we could use on women. I had asked General Plo to give us advice because I knew our inexperience was going to get us into a lot of trouble.)

She’li – (She touched his nose. Boost smiled and didn’t flinch, but he avoided eye contact. He was the bravest of us. He could withstand an astonishing amount of pain. He had the biggest heart.) I’ll have a whiskey. So what are your names?

Scratch- (He spoke up like the leader and shook her hand, making eye contact.) I’m Scratch, that’s Boost headed to the bar for you, that’s Sinker, that’s Trip. (They both gave little waves.) The sad quiet one over here is our Commander, Wolffe. (Asserting dominance by poking fun at me in front of her.)

She’li - What is wrong with him? (Moving close enough to Scratch that their bodies were touching. I could see Scratch start to sweat a little and tremble.)

Trip- Everything bothers him for some reason. Ever since we got to Coruscant.

Scratch- He worries too much, we think he’s afraid. (I worried because I was the only one in this sorry group with a brain. I worried because from what I saw of the outside universe, we Kamino rats were indeed all going to get ourselves killed.)

She’li – Afraid of me?

Wolffe- No. (Yes.) I don’t like being the leader. It makes the people around you really lazy.

She’li- Haha! Aw, are you the guy Kronnie says is weird?

Trip- That’s totally him.

Scratch- What do you mean we’re lazy?

Wolffe- As in, nobody even tries to help come up with plans, but everybody benefits when a plan goes right and criticizes it when it goes wrong, in which case all the blame falls on me. And you always expect me to bail you out when you screw up.

She’li- He sounds like he’s the big brother.

Sinker- Nah, we were all extracted at the same time. (They were all crowding in her personal space. Not me, though, even though the smell of her skin was giving me wood. Up until this point I had had contact with a woman exactly once and it was a short, uncomfortable experience in a brothel.)

She’li- ‘Extracted’? Is that like being born?

Sinker- From our jars. (Boost returned and handed She’li her drink.)

She’li- That’s how you were made? Damn, I had incubated in animal hosts.

Wolffe- Wait, what?

She’li- (She was running her finger up Scratch’s arm.) We have a pool going about how they made you little cuteys. I thought it was something like injecting the embryo into an animal womb, then the animal would have a litter.

Wolffe- You mean the Republic hasn’t told people about us?

She’li- Not that we’ve seen. Is it true you’re all really only a few years old?

Boost- How old are you?

She’li- How old do you want me to be?

Wolffe- We’re ten standard, but we’re developmentally adults.

She’li- That’s just so weird. Just a bunch of ten year olds, getting drunk. So does anyone want to have some fun? (My guys were crowding in around her. I was hoping they wouldn’t do anything stupid to threaten her. They might not have known any better. But I didn’t think I had enough influence over the group to prevent it.)

Wolffe- So what were the other bets?

She’li- What?

Wolffe- How do other people think we were made? (The bar had only been open for three or four nights so the girls who worked the place hadn’t become accustomed to us yet. Out in the real universe, we looked strange. Most of us still had our academy haircuts so were more or less identical. By her question, I could see that the women were already confused about what they could expect from us.)

She’li- Well, we thought you guys might have been grown in bacta tanks from a kind of seed. Another said there is probably a bunch of slave women being surrogates.

Wolffe- Do people do that to women? Use their bodies as some kind of human factory?

She’li- You are weird. (Enter another girl I’d spoken to before. She started speaking Twi’leki to She’li, twitching her lekku and gesturing with her hands.)

Sinker- Is everything okay, Ma’am?

Boost- Can I get you a drink?

Kronnie- I’ll have the same, thank you, sweetie. Can somebody help me?

Trip- With what?

Kronnie- Um…okay, so just a little bit ago, I took one of your brothers in the back. We finished and he started to cry. He was the third guy tonight. Is that normal for you clones? I know you’re really kids and all. I just need to know.

Scratch- I’m not an expert, but that seems weird.

Trip- I know, we came out of the brothel yesterday, I couldn’t stop smiling.

Sinker- Maybe they were tears of joy.

Wolffe- Who was that, Ponds?

Kronnie- Maybe. That guy there with the shaved head.

Wolffe- Yeah. He lost a bunch of close brothers on Geonosis a few weeks ago, that was the first time he’d ever left home and he was dropped into the middle of a battle where people he’d known his whole life died. We’re not supposed to show feelings most of the time, it probably just came out. Psychologically, emotional release is a natural reaction to close physical contact. (I was talking way too fast and way too loudly.)

Kronnie- Ah…huh.

She’li- Che fishna alwa? (I had heard this phrase before.)

Wolffe- I’m not slow.

Kronnie- Che amaren’ta. (She clapped me on the back like a friend.)

She’li- That’s what she said, you’re just weird.

Wolffe- (I tried to find a neutral topic that wouldn’t sound weird and ended up sounding weirder.) Um…my favorite color is green. Do you have a favorite color?

(Clone-female relations. Things did get better, the girls were right, they just had to get to know us. Sometimes I felt like a social translator for my brothers and the natural born, there were a lot of misconceptions that, when cleared up, actually helped us interact successfully. Even still, most people didn’t understand me. Scratch and Trip died at Abregado, Boost and Sinker survived with me. The dynamic shifted drastically as I became the undisputed alpha.)


Dug

The common room of the barracks at central command on Coruscant were a thriving place of business. We gambled, transacted loans, discussed business ventures. Guys could decorate your armor or give a tattoo if they were decent artists. It was also a marketplace for trading possessions and contraband. I used to like to review the souvenir market. You could trade trinkets from different worlds. It was a collectible hobby to some. Mostly tchotchkes, or amulets and jewelry you could wear, or little drawings you could carry with you. You could also buy looted antiquities or parts of battle droids and other grim things, but I avoided that. It’s bad luck to mess with that. I was one of the leading traders in the substances market. Pharmaceuticals, spice, herbal medicine. On this fine day, I was with my brother Gree trying to buy a present for my girlfriend. We were perusing some displays laid out against the walls on cloths. Gree’s lady friend had just dumped him when her husband found out.

Wolffe- You know, I warned you when you started this. Oooh, wood carvings. I could tell her I want to give her a little wood. It’s stupid, but it’ll crack her up.

Gree- You warned me? You gave be a brief rundown of erogenous zones and three prophylactics.

Wolffe- But I said to make sure no one found out. What do you think of this one? (I held up a wooden phallus that had a bottle opener at one end.)

Gree- I don’t know. Does she find dicks as funny as we do?

Wolffe- Yes. But this one’s a little too big, I don’t want an unfavorable comparison. So how did Ozzel find out you were boning his wife?

Gree- They got in a fight and she told him. I can’t control that.

Wolffe- So you weren’t there at the time?

Gree- No.

Wolffe- Does he know which one of us it is? (I swatted around with a toy sword I pulled from a selection of things like canes and paper umbrellas.)

Gree- A lot of people have this haircut. (My brother Boost did.) Anyway, she’s been calling me Radar this whole time.

Wolffe- What?

Gree- Don’t you remember? The day she first took us shopping. She couldn’t remember my name and before I could tell her, you told her it was Radar.

Wolffe- Haha! I forgot about that. (I tried on a wrist amulet made out of a green stone in the shape of a convor. I nodded and handed over a small packet of spice to the brother.)

Gree- Seriously, why do you do things like that? (He was just following me, hands in his pockets. We were both in the cloth uniforms.)

Wolffe- I think messing with people is a compulsion for me. I can’t help it. I finally told C.C. that your name isn’t Cree. She said to tell you she’s sorry. So your girl thought your name was Radar? Well, at least there are lots of guys named that. (I picked up a couple of boxes of a weird candy from Malastare and paid the brother three painkiller pills.)

Gree- I never had the guts to correct her. It didn’t really matter, it’s not like it came up much. She never introduced me to anyone and she didn’t ever want to talk about me anyway.

Wolffe- What did you do? I mean besides the obvious. How’d you like those prophylactics by the way? They were ribbed.

Gree- What’s that supposed to do? I didn’t feel any different. Anyway, she liked it when I told her about her. Told her how much I appreciated her, how important she was to me, how amazing I thought she was. I said it. I don’t think I meant those things, but it was nice, you know, to say those things, to have the experience. You know, live the lie for a little while.

Wolffe- What fantasy would you be living? I think you have a mommy fetish. She’s like forty. (I sampled a kind of portion bread. It wasn’t that great.)

Gree- (Gree tried some too and took some more.) She’s older than that. She’s older than Ozzel. She says he married her for her money. I don’t know, I guess the fantasy was that she was mine in some way. But she never was.

Wolffe- It may have worked out better for you though. Ozzel’s in charge of assigning postings. If he knew it was you, he might send you to deliver flowers to Dooku on Serenno. (I sniffed a jar of a weird looking mustard. I got a jar for Rex in exchange for two tubes of glue. I put everything in my messenger bag.)

Gree- What?

Wolffe- He’d send you on an assignment that would get you killed.

Gree- What was that you said first?

Wolffe- I told you what I meant. It’s not funny if I have to rehash the joke. Your brain works slowly. (I started a slow perusal of a bin of comics. My girl liked to read them, but she didn’t like to admit it, so I’d just leave them lying around.)

Gree- Anyway, so now I’m back at square one with the ladies. What about jewelry? Women like jewelry.

Wolffe- My girl can’t wear jewelry in my neighborhood, she’ll get mugged.

Gree- Well, it wouldn’t have to be valuable necessarily. Just pretty. Are her ear cones pierced?

Wolffe- Nah. Just her nipple. We already have matching rings.

Gree- Why are you buying her a present anyway? Did you do something stupid?

Wolffe- Haven’t you ever heard that it’s the thought that counts? (I pulled out all the ones about the badass female assassin.)

Gree- So, an occasion?

Wolffe- Sexiversary.

Gree- What?

Wolffe- We have a sexual milestone coming up.

Gree- You keep count?

Wolffe- Yes.

Gree- So if you want to say thank you for the sex, why not have a friend go to a store and buy something nice for her. From what I understand, women like it when you spend lots of money on them.

Wolffe- I have bad taste and she has more money than me so she can buy any nice thing she wants any time she wants. I want to get her something nobody else can.

Gree- Anything here, any other brother could get her.

Wolffe- Yes, but they don’t know her like I do. Like I know what she’ll find funny or interesting. I know her sense of humor. We have a lot of inside jokes. Things that remind us of little moments we shared together. Didn’t you and Mrs. Ozzel have anything like that?

Gree- A little. I’d wear the clothes she bought me. She liked that.

Wolffe- Sounds like she’d rather be dating a mirror, except one that made her look thinner and in a flattering light, maybe with a halo.

Gree- What does that even mean?

Wolffe- It means you were an accessory for her, like a pet. A hot story to whisper to her friends, a way to humiliate her husband. Don’t get me wrong, it was advantageous for you, you only benefitted. She got to feel like she was special.

Gree- So now what?

Wolffe- So you do what you do after a breakup. You get out more, reconnect with old friends. Explore other options. Try new things.

Gree- Wow, a breakup. I’ve never had a breakup before. How do you know so much about this?

Wolffe- Because sooner or later, everybody talks to me.

Gree- Why? Did General Plo teach you some kind of Jedi mind trick?

Wolffe- No, I just have a higher tolerance for alcohol than most people.

(I brought my girl the items I’d purchased and told her why they’d reminded me of her. The amulet because it was green like her. The candy because of a funny story about the time a Dug came in to the brothel and no one could figure out how to get him off. The candy had a picture of a Dug on the box. And the comics because the assassin reminded me of her. I read some to her in bed while we ate the candy, after we had our sexual milestone and another one for luck.)

Chapter Text

Into Your Religion

I’d always liked reading. It was one of the few things I could do in the academy that wasn’t against the rules. But our reading material was heavily censored. I knew that even then. There were only a few of us who actually liked reading, Jango wasn’t fond of it from what I heard. This one time, in the early second year of the war, I was swapping reading files with General Plo. I liked talking to him about the stuff I’d read. He always had interesting stories or facts. His library was extensive and he didn’t prevent me from reading anything I wanted.

On board the Triumphant II, the quarters of General Plo Koon, present, the General and Commander Wolffe of ‘The Sexually Talented 104th (THAT was the epithet I wanted, Scratch, you moron. Psht. ‘Fighting 104th’. I’ll explain that after.)

Wolffe- So, I’ve been reading some Jedi mythology…

Plo- (Gently) Religious literature.

Wolffe- Sorry, what?

Plo- Some would consider it insulting to call Jedi sacred texts mythology because that would imply it’s not true.

Wolffe- I didn’t mean to imply… See, at the clone academy, they taught us that no mythology was true, that religions were fake. They said enlightened people knew better than to believe such nonsense and that anyway, we were obligated to worship the Republic because they made us. I didn’t mean I think your religion is fake, it’s just how I was taught to discuss it. So if ‘mythology’ is an insulting term, why do books use it to talk about ancient people’s stories?

Plo- Well, originally, in the place the word ‘myth’ came from, it just meant ‘story’. But in Basic it means something fanciful, like fairy tales. Something rational people know to be false. Something for children. Ancient people and non-humans could have myths because they were simpler, but we modern beings were expected to be too sophisticated to believe in them. Whereas, what we believed was called religious literature, to differentiate it as the true thing.

Wolffe- I really didn’t want to insult your religion. I have a hard time talking about new things. You know, I don’t have the proper terminology.

Plo- I know.

Wolffe- So why do we still use the term ‘myth’ if it’s insulting?

Plo- Well, think about it. We have religious literature, while myths belong to sentients we consider primitive, or those from a past time. I believe that it is because of the Republic’s history of colonialism. They thought of other people in the same condescending light, as if they were simple minded. But trust me, I’ve been around for centuries, people have never been simple minded.

Wolffe- Why did they need to believe other sentients were simple minded?

Plo- So they could accept the order of things, so they could justify denying human rights to other beings. Who needs human rights if others are not human? Why respect them?

Wolffe- I’m human, and they think I’m simple minded on Coruscant. People call us clones stupid all the time.

Plo- Now why in the universe would anyone have cause to think you were simple, Wolffe?

Wolffe- I may play into it a bit. (I scratched my chin.)

Plo- You? Playing? I refuse to believe it. (His words dripped with sarcasm.) Well, I was not offended, but I wouldn’t want your vocabulary to distract from what you have to say. Can’t have people getting offended before they listen to you.

Wolffe- Okay, so I was reading Jedi religious literature. It’s interesting because it’s set in an early time, like most myths. And it was written thousands of years ago. Now, I’ve only been alive the last twelve years, so I was expecting what you said, primitive people. But they weren’t. Their motivations were complicated. We know what they did, but we are left to infer why they did it. But if you put yourself in their shoes, you can see they had their reasons.

Plo- Alright. So what is the problem?

Wolffe- Sometimes I see their reasons, but I disagree that they’re good enough to allow them to do what they did.

Plo- Such as?

Wolffe- Okay, so these warriors go raiding in these cities and take away all the women as slaves. Now, how could anyone have thought that was okay? Just going to a place, killing the men and children and taking the women away to be raped for the rest of their lives? Or in another story, a wife can’t make a baby, so she tells her husband to make one by raping her slave. Or all the ones that say the gods and angels raped women and made these kids with super powers. We’re supposed to think this is a good thing? Why can’t any of these men restrain themselves? Or all these laws governing rape, like did you know? One society had a law that said if the victim wasn’t engaged, she gets married to the rapist. Sounds like that solves EVERYthing. These women must have been so used to getting raped they probably thought they had no right to say no, like that idea would never have occurred to them because it would have seemed absurd or surreal in the reality they knew. But that couldn’t have been what they wanted. And these guys, were they that desperate that they had to force it? What’s wrong with talking to her? Sometimes I read about these people and I can see their reasons for things, but not with how they acted on them. And I think, like, I would have done it differently. I learn from their mistakes. I learn about who I am. I can’t help but feel a little smug. Does that make me colonial or condescending? I mean, I think we have a lot to learn from them, but I wouldn’t ever say we should do like they did.

Plo- It takes admitting our mistakes were mistakes to move past them. Both as individuals and as a society. I suppose you can see the past mistakes. Skepticism is good.

Wolffe- Well, I just think we need to take what’s relevant for today and admit that some of that stuff is better left in the pages. Like these ancient people seemed to take slavery for granted. How is that okay? Forcing a person to do whatever you say. We’ll just say, we know better now, past people had flaws. Guy had some good ideas and an impact, but he also thought it was okay to OWN people. You can’t help but laugh at that.

Plo- And what if you did?

Wolffe- Well, I worry. What if someone thinks that because these people were important doesn’t mean they were role models, that they were just doing the best they could, like we do. Is that insulting to people who actually believe in these religions?

Plo- Some think so.

Wolffe- Do you? I mean, you’re on the Jedi Council, I always imagined you were pretty into your religion.

Plo- (Chuckling) Yes, I suppose I am ‘into’ my religion. But I politely disagree with many of my colleagues as to what that means. Just because I am religious doesn’t mean that we have to observe all aspects. I obey the Jedi Code, but I believe that some things about the lifestyle are pointless. Merely traditional, no longer useful. Codes of conduct must be malleable, technology and progress does not stop. Codes and laws need review now and again. And honestly, as you say, many of these codes were written by those in the past, who might not have known how things would turn out. Look at the Constitution of the Republic, most of the drafters of the document owned slaves. Slavery was only outlawed in the Republic two hundred years ago. Those who believed it was a fundamental wrong were few, and even fewer had the courage to say it openly.

Wolffe- Why is that?

Plo- They didn’t want to be unpopular.

Wolffe- I say unpopular shit all the time.

Plo- Yes, among your brothers and with me. Yet, you prefer to make your biggest statements anonymously.

Wolffe- Well, I don’t want to be thrown in prison.

Plo- Ah, and some are afraid of their social prisons.

Wolffe- I guess. Still I can’t relate. If I was a citizen of the Republic, I would speak up all the time, or I’d like to think I would. But you’re right, it is about what you’re afraid of. That’s all people need to know to silence you.

Plo- And what if you’re not afraid of anything?

Wolffe- Well, I am. Being in prison. Especially if I was in solitary. I’m afraid of being alone.

Plo- So why speak up at all? Why the risk?

Wolffe- I guess I just can’t keep quiet.

Plo- Were you ever able to keep quiet?

Wolffe- No. I mean I tried. I got punished for things I said, but I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t let them tell me that something was black when it was white and I couldn’t let them tell me what was wrong was right. Just because you’re not allowed to talk about something doesn’t make it go away. Just because those who claim to be your betters tell you to do something doesn’t mean they’re right, or that you should listen.

Plo- And you’ve learned this from…

Wolffe- Experience at telling people what to do.

(So Scratch was my batch mate who died early in the war. He tried to insist that we should call ourselves the ‘Fighting 104th’. I objected to the epithet. I made my argument that ‘fighting’ was no good. What the hell were we supposed to be doing? We were soldiers. The rules for concise language usage frown upon redundancies like using an adjective where the description is already implied, as it was, since the 104th was a military outfit. My idea, ‘sexually talented’, adds something you might not have already known and so distinguished us from other outfits. Standing out is important in marketing. I got my way, but only because Scratch died. Stupid Scratch. I miss you every day brother. An aside, I’m still terrified of being alone and these days I go for weeks without seeing anyone but Gregor. Prisons come in many different forms.)


They’ve Said It to my Face

I was at the Jedi Temple one day, coming back from General Plo’s quarters when I walked up to the entrance to Kenobi and Skywalker’s place. General Kenobi was coming back from the communal pantry on that floor, carrying the sugar canister that I liked to visit on my way out. General Plo’s food could be bland, I liked to have a little dessert to finish the meal so I’d usually get a handful of sugar. Kenobi invited me in for a cup of tea, and I figured I could have as much sugar as I wanted then, so I accepted. I asked him about my favorite religious literature. I knew from Cody that Kenobi liked to talk about religious texts, but nobody ever wanted to hear about it. Cody and some of the other guys thought Kenobi was trying to convert them or something. So when I expressed interest, Kenobi was happy to talk.

Wolffe- Well, I’m trying to read the original sources, but it gets hard to know all of the references. All those names. They just take it for granted that you know who those people are and how they relate to each other. I mean, okay, they’re from thousands of years ago, their references will be dated. I think it would heighten the dramatic tension if I knew more about them.

Kenobi- (Putting the kettle on the heat) When we Jedi study these texts, we learn the context of such things, I suppose.

Wolffe- Do you have an annotated copy, maybe, that would help me.

Kenobi- (Grabbing an actual paper book.) Here. A gift.

Wolffe- Thanks General. I really appreciate that.

Kenobi- This is one reason most people find ancient literature rather dull, I’m afraid.

Wolffe- Even Cody? He loves dull books.

Kenobi- I suppose. But Cody says he is decidedly anti-religion.

Wolffe- Yeah, he sticks with that Republic doctrine and our Military code of conduct.

Kenobi- Why, do you think? He doesn’t have a hard time embracing new concepts.

Wolffe- I don’t know. It’s all we had. You wouldn’t want someone to tell you that something you’ve been your whole life is wrong. It would make you emotional.

Kenobi- I don’t think that has ever happened to me. (He took down the teapot, two cups, and some spoons.)

Wolffe- Well, what if someone told you it was wrong to be a Jedi?

Kenobi- I have been told so, they’ve said it to my face. Count Dooku most recently. But I see clearly and I don’t believe them.

Wolffe- Well, what if they said something was wrong that you barely had a choice in, like saying it was wrong to be Force sensitive?

Kenobi- I know better. I would try to explain it to them. If I had to, I could ignore them. (He spooned some tea from the canister to the pot.)

Wolffe- But what if they said it all the time, every day, or in a big enough group that you were afraid of them? (The kettle whistled)

Kenobi- I suppose I would do what I must to stand up for myself. But I would stand up for anyone being persecuted, not just me. I’m sorry, what does this have to do with Cody not liking religion? (He got the kettle off the heat and poured water into the teapot.)

Wolffe- If you have beliefs, or in this case a lack of belief, that you’ve had all your life, and people insult you for it or tell you their way is better, you’d resist. You’d become more stubborn, more resolved in your convictions. Cody was raised to be anti-religion, so he is, and we clones get a lot of crap for being clones, so he sticks closer to what he grew up as. It’s safer. He stays separate from a lot of people rather than have to learn new ways or entertain new ideas. Just his way of dealing with it all, I guess. He actually is really curious, he’s just got a limited imagination. I don’t think that’s his fault, his programming holds him back.

Kenobi- Does he know you talk about him like this? (Kenobi brought the tea to the kitchen island where I was sitting on a stool. He sat on an opposite stool.)

Wolffe- I do it to his face. (I took my cup.)

Kenobi- Does anyone else speak to him this way? (Checking the steeping tea.)

Wolffe- Absolutely not. (He poured me a tea, then one for himself.)

Kenobi- I didn’t think so. You know, you clones are absolutely fascinating individuals.

Wolffe- So, being a Jedi is kind of like being a priest?

Kenobi- In a sense it is.

Wolffe- So priests hear confessions, right?

Kenobi- Um…well…I could listen and give guidance. Help you to find a peaceful solution to your conflicts. Help you to learn from your mistakes.

Wolffe- Right. So…General Plo, I normally talk to him. But recently, he said I’m maybe sometimes too impulsive. So, I just wanted to tell this to someone else, just so he doesn’t think I’m too impulsive.

Kenobi- Is what you did impulsive?

Wolffe- Debatable. Maybe I just saw an opportunity for swift justice.

Kenobi- Oh dear. What did you do?

Wolffe- Okay, so the other day, I was at the bar across the street from my place. The one run by my Rhodian friend, Tomo? He’s the guy that’s got the baby. So I went over there with my friend Crazy Nilo…

Kenobi- Who is not mentally ill, I presume?

Wolffe- No, he doesn’t even act crazy. The epithet is sarcastic. He’s the most laid back Twi’lek I’ve ever met. He and I went over there because our girlfriends went to work as entertainers at a private party.

Kenobi- They are…presumably not clowns or magicians? So stripping? (He was waiting for me to get to the confession part of the story any time.)

Wolffe- Really more of a burlesque. I mean, there’s nudity, but it’s organic to the plot.

Kenobi- You’ve seen the show?

Wolffe- I’ve worked security for them occasionally. Once they worked at this exotic entertainment fair, there were these circus acts. I got to meet some of my favorite Coruscant punk bands. We still correspond. But back to the story…

Kenobi- Of course...

Wolffe- So anyway, I’m at the bar with Nilo, Tomo, the bartender, and this guy Ezan, a regular human. I was playing him at the pool table and he was just embarrassing himself. Ezan was about to get married. But he was still looking to not sleep alone that night. He was trying to chat up these human ladies. From Kuat…I think. Anyway, one of them heads off, the other comes over to join us. She’s obviously waiting to leave with Ezan. So I wait until she goes to get another drink and I asked him, ‘Ezan, you leave here with a different girl every night. What are you gonna do once you get married?’ He said, ‘Time to go to a different bar.’ I nearly punched him in his privileged face.

Kenobi- (Thinking that I was at the confession.) That’s…ahem…rather a severe response. Why?

Wolffe- Well, like he has all these advantages he doesn’t even notice. Like going to a different bar. We clones have only one bar. We’re not allowed to go to other ones. Already, Ezan was flaunting it that he has rights I don’t.

Kenobi- Wait, you were at a bar…

Wolffe- Well, I don’t exactly stick to the military code of conduct. Anyway, Ezan’s getting married? Throwing that in my face. We clones are legally barred from doing that.

Kenobi- You just said you have a girlfriend.

Wolffe- So there Ezan was, laughing. It seemed unnecessarily cruel of him to make a joke like that and frankly, it was insulting to the women. Like he wasn’t sorry about deceiving them. I know you say misdirection is a powerful weapon, but I don’t think it’s right lying to women to get sex.

Kenobi- Yes, that isn’t right.

Wolffe- I mean, I know many ancient religious texts have stories about men or gods deceiving women to sleep with them. But I think it’s a nasty thing to do.

Kenobi- Yes, I suppose fairy tales do, too.

Wolffe- Don’t even get me started on those. Anyway, I couldn't stop thinking that it wasn't right what he was doing. (My tea was cooling so I started spooning sugar in.)

Kenobi- How would you propose to deal with someone like him?

Wolffe- Well, I can’t tell you what I should have done, I can only tell you what I did. (I kept spooning, while Kenobi eyed me suspiciously.)

Kenobi- Really?

Wolffe- Ezan came to me and asked to buy some lines. (Spoon.)

Kenobi- I’m sorry, but what?

Wolffe- I said fine, but what I didn’t tell him was that they were all baby laxative. (Spoon.)

Kenobi- Why did you have that?

Wolffe- To stretch a dose. If two guys say they’re going to share, you stretch it with something safe so they don’t poison themselves trying to mix it on their own. Anyway, so Ezan and his lady friend made a real mess from what I heard. (Spoon, spoon.)

Kenobi- What did you do afterwards?

Wolffe- I went home and found that my girl was back from the party and had brought catering leftovers, which she knows is my favorite. (Then I started drinking the tea. He winced.)

Kenobi- I don’t understand, you said you wanted to confess. What is it you’re sorry about?

Wolffe- I’m supposed to be sorry?

Kenobi- I thought this was a confession. I can see how you might have thought he deserved it…but was it right?

Wolffe- I guess I feel a little bad for the girl. But I feel worse for her because she slept with him.

Kenobi- But, you…don’t intend to do that again, do you?

Wolffe- Pretty standard M.O. for me. I won’t do it again to him. I think he knows better now than to try to buy drugs from me.

Kenobi- Hmmmm. (He looked like he thought I had bigger problems than being impulsive.)


A Full Dose of Aggression

This one time, like seven months into the war, I was hanging out with Ahsoka. She was giving me advice about a bag I could carry. I thought it would be convenient to carry a purse with me all the time, but she suggested that I needed something that camouflaged a little manlier. I didn’t give a crap, just so it carried stuff, but she insisted that people would think it was weird unless it was a messenger bag or something. So I took her with me to pick something out at a department store.

Wolffe- So Cody said to Wooley, ‘Brother, if I had a credit chip for every stupid thing you say, I’d beat you with a pillowcase full of credit chips’.

Ahsoka- I actually can see him saying…no…doing that. Can we look at books for a second.

Wolffe- Sure. Do you think they have anything about getting out household stains? I have a lot of issues with laundry and carpets and couches.

Ahsoka- I can’t picture you cleaning.

Wolffe- I’m the best at it. I like cleaning. It’s soothing.

Ahsoka- It sounds so domestic. Ugh, look at this book cover.

Wolffe- That’s kind of cool. I bet that guy spends a lot of time at the gym to look that nice. What kind of story is that?

Ahsoka- Romance novel. You know, erotica.

Wolffe- What’s erotica?

Ahsoka- You know, stories about affairs.

Wolffe- Oh, we read those. They publish them in the magazines with the pictures of naked people. Pornography. Why do these ones not have pictures except on the cover?

Ahsoka- Well, you’re supposed to use your imagination more, I guess. They’re for women.

Wolffe- I like pornography. I bet everybody does really.

Ahsoka- Not everyone.

Wolffe- The guy at the liquor store says it sells really well.

Ahsoka- Well, maybe some people want to leave a little more to the imagination, or they don’t like some things.

Wolffe- They can skip over them. So women call their porn ‘erotica’? I guess that sounds prettier. I mean, say the words side by side. Porn…erotica. (We wandered over to the purses and bags.)

Ahsoka- Why do subjects like this interest you so much? No, that one is pink and has glitter.

Wolffe- But it’s got those little side compartments, I like those. Anyway, I was ten before I ever saw a woman. I have catching up to do. What about this one? The glitter is white. White is an acceptable color for men.

Ahsoka- Think more cloth uniform colors. Are there clones that have any female…features? I’ve heard some people can be born that way?

Wolffe- This one’s brown. What about the fringe? Is fringe feminine or masculine? Oh, no, it has the word ‘sassy’. That’s feminine. What female features? You mean like a vagina? They can tell that early. I’m pretty sure they got rid of those guys.

Ahsoka- For something they couldn’t help?

Wolffe- They wanted a full dose of aggression. Anyone suspect was branded ‘defective’. This one is brown and plain. Will that do?

Ahsoka- Yeah, the plainer the better. So they thought that males are just naturally more aggressive?

Wolffe- Look at the violent crime statistics.

Ahsoka- I wonder though, is that because of a natural tendency or how people are raised. You know, people often use ‘like a girl’ as an insult. Even to girls. ‘You fight like a girl’ or ‘stop crying like a girl’.

Wolffe- Why not ‘you’re as agile as a girl’ or ‘you look as nice as a woman’?

Ahsoka- I don’t know why. It’s never been much of an issue with us Jedi. We’re raised to see each other as sentient beings. I guess everyone has elements that are supposed to belong to the other gender.

Wolffe- What do you do that’s supposedly masculine?

Ahsoka- I like sports. That’s considered boyish in some cultures. You like cleaning. A lot of people think that’s a feminine trait. Master Skywalker likes those fruity drinks.

Wolffe- Me too.

Ahsoka- He was making fun of Obi-Wan for liking baths. He didn’t say it was feminine, but he and Rex made fun because it was ‘fancy’. They didn’t outright say it, but they kind of implied that it made him soft, or feminine.

Wolffe- I would love a comfortable bath. But the tub at my place is shitty and small. And old. I am trying to read about how to replace it.

Ahsoka- Home repairs are considered masculine.

Wolffe- Good to know. When I finally get my act together and do this, I can use proving manhood as a motivating factor to get some help. Hey, I have one, Cody used to write poetry.

Ahsoka- *snort* Really?

Wolffe- Yeah. Except he didn’t know it was a supposedly feminine thing to do until he came here. You know, because it made him seem sensitive. He got super paranoid all of a sudden about not being perceived as effeminate. Now, if any brother suggests he’s a girl, even as a joke, he is liable to hit you.

Ahsoka- Truthfully, I don’t like him much.

Wolffe- He’s got issues. What’s that called?…Fragile masculinity.

Ahsoka- Anakin, too. Thankfully, he’s never treated me in a certain way just because I’m a girl. He’s very respectful. But he gets really macho around the guys.

Wolffe- I don’t know how it’s possible for him to be worried about that. I mean, he does wear a dress.

(My man-purse was awesome, but I lost it when I deserted the army. Gregor and I both like them, though, and today we sport matching ones. His idea. It made Rex uncomfortable, so to tell the murses apart, I wrote ‘sassy’ on mine.)

Chapter Text

Given Name

I got curious about big buildings on Coruscant and General Plo told me they were public buildings, government offices and things. He explained bureaucracy to me, the concept of which of course I understood. As a commanding officer in the army, I had to do all the paperwork (digital forms) and I dealt with my share of military bureaucrats. But I decided that I wanted to experience typical bureaucracy firsthand, so I packed a lunch and set out for the day on my adventure. I invited my girlfriend to go with me and she asked why ‘zee ‘ell’ I would have contact with bureaucrats voluntarily. That just made me more curious. So I went with my buddy Nilo who said that he needed to go to City Hall anyway. We were standing in line finishing up our sandwiches.

Nilo- I don’t know, it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that most of the time I’m just so tired, man. I just want to have a smoke and go to sleep. How many times a week you do it?

Wolffe- I don’t know. When I’m home, maybe three times a day.

Nilo- How?

Wolffe- From what I understand, most guys my age do it that much, they’re just doing it alone.

Nilo- How old are you clones again?

Wolffe- The oldest of us, a class of which I am one, are twelve.

Nilo- Huh? I thought you were like thirty.

Wolffe- Well, physiologically, I’m thirty-six, but I got a good skin regimen.

Bureaucrat- Can I help you gentlemen?

Nilo- Yes, I’m here about my business. I got this notification that I owe some back taxes.

Wolffe- And I am here to fill out forms.

Bureaucrat- You can get forms on the holo-net.

Wolffe- Nah, I fill out forms on datapads all day. I want some paper ones. Something about the tactile experience of actually writing data on paper, I want to know what that’s like.

Bureaucrat- Which ones do you need?

Wolffe- What ones do you have? I like choices.

Bureaucrat- (Giving me a look of absolute disgust. But he handed me some forms.) Here.

Nilo- You see, I thought I paid my taxes, I even have this invoice that I was given the last time I came in here. See? I even think you were the one who stamped it.

Bureaucrat- Yes, you were supposed to take that receipt for the second stamp. This is only verified at the city level. You need to get it verified at the state level. That’s another office.

Wolffe- Excuse me, I need some help here.

Bureaucrat- With what?

Wolffe- Like here, it says ‘given name’. What do I put?

Bureaucrat- What’s your first name?

Wolffe- Clone.

Bureaucrat- What?

Wolffe- That’s my name, Clone. Clone Commander Three-six-three-six. (I don’t think the bureaucrat’s first language was Basic, so my accent made the name sound as normal as Obi-Wan Kenobi. It didn’t register with him that I was an army clone, which probably would have gotten me thrown out of there. I didn’t mind getting thrown out of places. It was kind of fun.)

Bureaucrat- Okay, then you put ‘Clone’.

Nilo- But I got the invoice from this office.

Bureaucrat- Yes, well, you should have taken the invoice you got from this office and gotten it verified at the state building. Now you will have to pay a penalty.

Nilo- I’m just supposed to know that? No one said that.

Wolffe- What about ‘family name’? What does that mean?

Bureaucrat- Well, whatever your family is called. The name you all have in common.

Wolffe- Oh. Clone.

Bureaucrat- What?

Wolffe- Clone. We’re all named ‘Clone’.

Bureaucrat- So that is your family name, with some cultures that comes first. So what is your personal name?

Wolffe- Three-six-three-six. But that’s a number. Now, if you really want to know my given name, I try to never GIVE my real name. I don’t want a record. I usually use ‘Armando Vicious’, but my driving license says Noa Briqualon. Of course, I gave the license to my brother and he never gave it back to me. So I guess he’s Noa now. Anyway, joke’s on him, the license is fake. (Bureaucrat rolled his eyes at me.)

Nilo- So where is the state building?

Bureaucrat- Here is a map.

Nilo- And will the wait be as long as here? I’ve been here standing in line for half the day. I got my girl covering for me at the store, but she can’t sit there all day.

Bureaucrat- I have no idea, sir. (He sounded hostile, despite the use of ‘sir’.)

Wolffe- What do I put for address?

Bureaucrat- Where you live.

Wolffe- I don’t want people to know where I live. Someone might come and get me and tell me to go home.

Bureaucrat- And where is your home, ‘sir’?

Wolffe- Well, I’m supposed to be living at the base, but I’d rather stay where I live. Perhaps you overheard, but I get sex there. Oh, sex, that’s the next question on the form. Could I have an extra piece of paper to compose my notes and an outline for my essay on it.

Bureaucrat- It doesn’t ask for an essay.

Wolffe- It is a one word question. Therefore, open to interpretation.

Bureaucrat- You check a box, Mern or Forn.

Wolffe- I think I prefer women, but I’m open minded.

Bureaucrat- Oh, is this a joke?

Wolffe- No I really am.

Bureaucrat- You really are what?

Wolffe- Open minded. What are you doing later?

Nilo- (Looking at map) Man, this office is practically in another hemisphere! You know, I think I have a solution. You guys want my money, come and get it. I’ll be back at work, you have my address.

(Nilo threw his notice in the trash and headed for the exit in a cloud of expletives under his breath in Twi’leki. I took the notice out of the trash and asked the bureaucrat how much would it be to make this little problem go away. Fifty credits and a VIP pass to a strip club I’d written a review of for the GAR online newsletter. Nilo and I went home and I watched the store for him so he and his girlfriend could have some alone time. Then I commed my girl and had her come by and we did it in the stockroom of the store because that was on my bucket list ever since I saw a porno with a scene in a stockroom. Don’t judge me.)


POOM!

So this one time, my girl got herself and some of her friends jobs dancing in a Twi’lek music video. Four of the other professional girls I knew from the clone bar were going too and they brought me to carry their stuff. By then I was doing laundry for lots of my prostitute friends, since they’re busy and don’t have time for that shit. I’d then charge my brothers to help me fold things. Lots of us liked to touch women’s panties. Anyway, when we got to the set, there, the video crew asked if I was an extra and I confidently said, “Yes!” My girl looked at me and I just shrugged, so she insisted they pay us all in cash and advance because she knew the business. She got us each an extra twenty credits for bringing our own costumes. Now, I, being ghastly of face, was put in the back of the group of dancers, just to fill out the crowd. My extremely good looking girlfriend was in the front dancing with the singer of the band. So she effectively had left me unsupervised, which is a bad idea. (Oh, you’ll see, Rex, you’ll see.) I sincerely wish that I had a copy of the takes we did for this video. We were at my favorite diner after.

At Ackmena’s Diner, where the proprietor not only allowed me to eat there, but actually liked me. The cast, no autographs, please- Commander Wolffe (who the Twi’leks called El Nawara. Or at least, I wish they would have. That meant ‘the tongue’. Instead, my neighborhood just called me Anoon, which meant ‘commander’. People never give you the nickname you want), Miss Vereniki Esyella, professionally known as C.C. in her other job, and Ana, Kronnie, She’li, and Isha, Twi’lek entertainers.

Ackmena- Where are you all coming from?

C.C.- Video shoot.

Ackmena- Anything big time?

C.C.- It was cheap. Still just fricking Twi’lek music. People won’t even consider putting us in anything mainstream because we’re considered too sexualized. So who is doing the sexualizing, they’re the ones who get off on looking at us.

Ackmena- Well, was the production any good?

C.C.- You know these things. These people have no imagination. All the videos look the same, dancing in a city, nice speeders, shots of the girls.

Ackmena- At least you get on camera.

C.C. The only reason I do it.

Kronnie- The money’s shit.

Ana- Not to mention there should be hazard pay.

Wolffe- I said I was sorry!

C.C.- What the hell did you do?

Wolffe- Nosseeeeeeng! (I got a look that told me it was not time to be making fun of their accents.)

Ana- He steps on toes, first off.

Wolffe- Only at first!

Ana- The choreography was simple, I thought. (She demonstrated, just a step forward, a step back, the whole time you were supposed to move your hips, which was throwing me off.) He got my feet with every step. Every time for the first three takes. I lost my shoe in the second one.

C.C.- Oh, I’ve danced with him. You just have to dance around it, like don’t move enough to make him move his feet.

Wolffe- Hey!

C.C.- He looks better at it if you just stick with dry humping.

Wolffe- I’m standing right here!

C.C.- Relax, that works fine with Twi’lek language music.

Wolffe- O…kay. (I guessed it did. Most of the Twi’lek videos I’d seen had a lot of dry humping in the choreography. And whenever I did dance, which was only at home, I was perfectly content with dry humping. Usually, it led to what I’d rather be doing.)

Ana- So then, we do the next move, all we had to do was hold hands and switch from one side to another, just a simple spin. He stuck out his knee and I tripped over it backwards and fell flat on my back.

Wolffe- I think I forgot and thought we were doing combat throws. Muscle memory and all.

Ana- The next time, he swung too hard and I went flying into the couple next to us.

Wolffe- That guy didn’t have any sense of humor.

Ana- And then, do you remember the part where we did the twirl?

Kronnie- Yeah, but he didn’t have to move his feet at all. Twirl, straddle his leg and one pelvic thrust to the music. We did that move more than once.

Wolffe- I said I was sorry!

Ana- He slammed me so hard in the chach I think I got a bruise.

C.C.- (Doubled over laughing) What?

Ana- They told us the choreography. We practiced a few times slowly. But they didn’t tell him they were doing the shot in slow motion, so he just followed the rhythm of the song and the drums were pretty hard. He did the twirl and then POOM!

C.C.- Were you okay?

Ana- I shrieked and stumbled back holding my crotch. We had to sit out the next take. Then, we do it again, he hit me so hard I fell backwards into that couple again. Now the guy was just glaring at him. I finally told him to just hold still and I’ll do the thrusting.(By now she was shrieking with laughter, all the girls were. I love girls laughing. It might be my favorite sound.) I twirled, he pulled me forward and POOM! It was like bouncing off a brick wall.

Ackmena- *snicker* So Wolffe, what are you doing later?

Wolffe- Actually, I thought I’d curl up and die of embarrassment. You?

Ackmena- My schedule’s wide open.

Wolffe- Well, I might need a place to stay since I’m pretty sure I’m getting dumped after this. Ceese, do you still like me?

C.C.- (Still laughing) Oh baby.

Ackmena- So when will I see this video?

C.C.- You probably won’t. Ethnic music doesn’t sell here. On Ryloth, and in the Outer Rim. Maybe some of the more cosmopolitan markets where they like that sort of thing.

Ackmena- Why are the things filmed here then?

C.C.- Twi’lek production companies already here, you know, for the porn. Twi’lek porn does sell well here.

Wolffe- You say they make porn here on Coruscant? (I saw a business opportunity. I had an acumen for schemes, particularly those that related to my own underserved ethnic market base.) Because I mean, those people didn’t even mind me being in their video.

(I genuinely craved clone representation in entertainment. It’s a shame really that I wasn’t as good looking as Rex, I could have been a star. As it was, I was ugly as sin, so my opportunities were limited. There was also the problem of my status as a clone. I was technically only allowed to be a soldier so anything else I was I had to keep on the down low. C.C. and the girls had a similar problem, the females of her species were always forced to play the sex object and then punished by society for being temptresses. So despite the fact that people wanted to buy what she was selling, they kept criticizing her for selling it. C.C. and I fantasized once about running away together and starting a travelling freak show. To this day, whenever I hear the song from this video shoot, I imagine C.C. and me performing in the freak show, like a little music video I have in my head. I’m sure that’s better than that actual video turned out to be, but C.C. was right, I never saw it.)


Not Allowed To Try

This one time I was visiting Ahsoka, shortly after her return to Coruscant after a kidnapping ordeal. Almost losing her like that had really scared me. I really hope she and Rex are taking care of each other.

Ahsoka- So…can I ask you something?

Wolffe- I don’t judge that.

Ahsoka- What?

Wolffe- Only you know if you can or can’t do something. I suppose you could learn by trying.

Ahsoka- Actually, I couldn’t do that. I’m not allowed.

Wolffe- To learn?

Ahsoka- To try. Do or do not, there is no try.

Wolffe- O…kay?

Ahsoka- So…I wanted to ask you…so…I asked Rex about the girl you’re seeing.

Wolffe- To be more precise, I don’t just see her. There is touching involved.

Ahsoka- (Frowning) He said she’s a Twi’lek.

Wolffe- She is.

Ahsoka- So…what’s that like? I mean, you’re not the same species.

Wolffe- We match up okay.

Ahsoka- But you…find her attractive…even though she’s not human?

Wolffe- Very. I even like the parts of her that aren’t the same as on humans. Like she’s got all the good stuff and even more.

Ahsoka- And she finds you…

Wolffe- Hey! Please don’t sound so shocked! My ego is fragile enough.

Ahsoka- I just…

Wolffe- Yeah, well, she does, for whatever reason, like me touching her, so I guess she must.

Ahsoka- It’s just hard for me to understand. We’re discouraged from personal relationships, but it’s a normal impulse, I just want to know…what’s normal? Am I normal? What do I like? Do I even want to know what I’m missing out on?

Wolffe- So why not ask those questions. General Plo says that life is about seeking answers. I never run out of questions. Therefore, I always have things to try. Because I, my young padawan, am allowed to try.

Ahsoka- From what Rex says, you only ever lead people astray. He told me what you did to Fives and Echo, having some guys terrorize them when they walked back alone from some strange part of town, while you went and bought soup. Fives and Echo said you gave them the soup at the end like a prize for finding their way home.

Wolffe- Rex thought they might be traumatized. He’s too over-protective.

Ahsoka- Fives and Echo love telling that story, though. It made me kind of envious, I’ve never been hazed.

Wolffe- Look, I just think that we have to be psychologically prepared for the realities of our lives. Ancient people had initiation rituals, where it was life or death situations, actual pain. The things that you had to learn to deal with, mentally and emotionally, if you were going to survive.

Ahsoka- We have them in the Jedi Order.

Wolffe- Well, we aren’t allowed to have rituals and things, although we adopted some on the sly in the academy. All that Mandalorian crap Cody talks about so much. We needed them, so naturally we adopted them. But Fives and Echo were nine at the time and the Mandalorian trainers had left a year before Kenobi came, so those two had less exposure. I just thought a little hazing as an initiation would help make men of them. Nothing as brutal as the Mandalorian customs, but not some supervised journey like Rex would advocate for.

Ahsoka- Jedi initiates die in trials sometimes. One in my group. They just collapse from the strain. It’s pretty brutal.

Wolffe- But it conditions you, I think.

Ahsoka- That’s what Master Skywalker says.

Wolffe- So does your sudden interest in interspecial attraction have anything to do with him?

Ahsoka- Eeew, NO!

Wolffe- Why not? I think he’s handsome.

Ahsoka- (Wincing) He’s my teacher.

Wolffe- So…doing it with your teacher is…deviant?

Ahsoka- It wouldn’t feel right.

Wolffe- Hmmmm. I think I need to test this hypothesis. How do teachers dress? I have an idea for a little role play with my girlfriend. Which do I want to try first, me as teacher, or her? (Thinking a moment) Her, definitely her.

Ahsoka- Ugh. I wish you hadn’t said that aloud.

Wolffe- If this stuff still makes you squeamish, you’re still not ready to think about it. Nothing wrong with being innocent for a longer time.

Ahsoka- There’s not?

Wolffe- No. Just say so, I can stop talking like an obnoxious jerk when I’m around you. I’ll save it for my brothers.

Ahsoka- Wolffe?

Wolffe- Yeah?

Ahsoka- I met this guy, recently. He’s human. Anyway, he…looked at me. Like he…liked something.

Wolffe- That’s us guys, alright. Always liking and stuff.

Ahsoka- No, like he…liked…me.

Wolffe- Ahsoka, I may not be the best at eye contact, but I know I have looked at you and I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I like you.

Ahsoka- Not like that.

Wolffe- Tsk. Aw. You gave him a…

Ahsoka- Don’t say it…

Wolffe- …reason to look. I’m not saying that you were trying to get his attention, but you are very impressive person.

Ahsoka- I just wonder, could he really find me attractive?

Wolffe- Yes. Are you really this naïve or are you just trying to get my attention by fishing for compliments? Because I don’t play those games, Ms. Tano. Do you find this guy attractive?

Ahsoka- (Blushing and not making eye contact) I don’t know.

(I don’t know what ever happened with Ahsoka’s love life, if she ever tried. None of my business, I’m sure. I’d probably have punched out any guy I saw looking at Ahsoka, not out of jealousy, mind you, but she made me feel very protective. Because whatever else she was, Ahsoka was still a child. Where I grew up, we children weren’t treated very well by the people who cared for us. Believe me, there are much worse things people do to children than hazing rituals.)

Chapter Text

Us Normals

So this one month during the war, I was obsessed with the idea of childhood and I wanted to try as many things from typical childhoods as I could. You know, so I’d have ‘childhood’ memories that weren’t horrifying. I went to the Jedi Temple and asked General Yoda if I could sit in on one of his youngling classes. I am not Force sensitive, so I couldn’t do the things they were doing. But I did want to listen to how he talked about the Force. I liked how descriptive he could be with the metaphors. It made it easy to understand. During the lunch break, I asked him if I could interview him, for my story collection project.

Wolffe- General Yoda, good to see you again. (I was eating cold takeout leftovers, which I had packed all by myself. That actually made my new friends in the class laugh at me. My lunch did look pretty pathetic compared to what they were eating. It made me feel a little bad when they laughed and I’m not sure why. I guess I actually do care what people think of me. They were six-year-olds. If they could see what a mess I was, I was sure other people could, too.)

Yoda- Tell me something about yourself, you should.

Wolffe- Well, you know, I’m Wolffe, General Plo’s commander.

Yoda- Good things about you, I hear.

Wolffe- You must be thinking of somebody else. We all look alike, I know.

Yoda- Why mock yourself, do you?

Wolffe- Lots of material to work with, sir. So General…

Yoda- Fine, ‘Master’ is. Think of myself as a military commander, I do not.

Wolffe- That’s funny, neither do I. It doesn’t stop them from making me do it, though.

Yoda- Responsibilities we did not ask for, life gives us. And burdens, too.

Wolffe- So why can’t we just run away from them if we didn’t want them? That’s what I keep doing with this stray anooba in my neighborhood.

Yoda- Have a way of following us, our burdens do. Turn we do and there they are, clinging to our back, not running after us, but riding.

Wolffe- Whoa. You just gave me the best idea for a glurge. Do you have any more?

Yoda- (Hitting me on the head with his cane) Important this is. Be so unserious, you should not! Light we should not make of our responsibilities. When destiny calls, the chosen have no choice. Depend on us, others do. Run away from your brothers would you, when need you they do?

Wolffe- I just know we’re all gonna die. Even if I don’t want to.

Yoda- Cling to this world, you do.

Wolffe- What’s wrong with wanting a few more days to be happy? I had ten years of misery and I only just started to live, now you tell me I have to die.

Yoda- Decide that, you do not. All of us, die we must. Death, an illusion it is. Go on in the Force, we do.

Wolffe- Well, I don’t know about all that. I mean, just living on as some energy in microscopic bacteria or whatever. I can do without that kind of life. I’m not sure I believe in the Force. And if this is all there is, I’m happy to have as much as I can. I guess you Jedi would say that’s selfishness, but I mean, I’m not nine hundred. Maybe you’ve had time to grow bored, but I haven’t.

Yoda- Bored? At my age, precious every minute is. Precious everyone is. Know, I do, that I will be saying goodbye to them soon. But ready, am I, to die.

Wolffe- What if that wasn’t what happened? What if you were forced to go on living as you watched the people you cared about taken from you? I don’t know if I’m ready for that either. I can’t be alone, I have to have a pack. I already lost two batch mates and a ton of my closest brothers. I just want this war to stop so I have someone left.

Yoda- In the cosmic Force, never alone, would you be. All one we are.

Wolffe- O…kay. Anyway, you’re right, though, I gotta take care of my brothers, because I don’t know who else would stay with me. I ain’t exactly a catch.

Yoda- Self deprecation, always self deprecation.

Wolffe- Well, how could I criticize other people if I don’t include myself? After all, most of the people I know are me.

Yoda- Each being, unique in the force it is.

Wolffe- Master Yoda, why were we born at all? We could have just stayed in the cosmic Force and been a galactic bliss cloud or whatever.

Yoda- Understand the Force strangely, you do.

Wolffe- I’m a very visual learner. And I don’t have the descriptive vocabulary, I guess. A product of a bad education system on Kamino. So, why are we born? I know in my case that the Fett Template was developed for the Republic by the Kaminoan state as a military contract. So I’m sure why I was made and how I came about. What I want to know is, why should we exist this way at all? Why are living things here and aware of ourselves?

Yoda- To experience, long for it we do. A part of the Force that is the tangible. All the sensations the universe can give.

Wolffe- Sounds vague. Can I use that for a glurge? (He hit me with his cane again.) This was why I hated school! All the corporal punishment. Am I right, Eli? (I looked at the kid who was eating next to me.)

Eli- He never hits me. Do you want some of my chips? (He felt bad for me.)

Wolffe- (I took a chip.) I’ve never been very good at sit-still-pay-attention kind of learning.

Yoda- Creative, you are. Perhaps like to stay for music class, you would?

Wolffe- You have music class? That’s a part of regular school?

Yoda- Creative expression, necessary it is, to form a well-rounded sentient. The act of creation connects us to the living Force.

Wolffe- I wish I could have gone to this school. How did you get in here?

Eli- Master Ropal meditated and recognized my presence in the Force. Then Master Koon went to Saleucami, where my family lived, and took me away. My town had a parade, it was a huge honor. I don’t remember it, though, I wasn’t even two.

Wolffe- You know General Plo? He’s my best friend.

Eli- (Incredulously) You can’t even use the Force.

Yoda- Eli?

Wolffe- It’s okay, Master, he probably hasn’t seen too many of us normals. Wow, that sounds weird, grouping clones with anyone else under the heading ‘normal’. I just meant, people who aren’t Force sensitive. But I guess in that sense, we are the normal ones, statistically speaking. I heard there were only ten thousand Jedi in the whole galaxy out of trillions of sentients, but to him, that’s the typical way to be.

Eli- Lots of normals work for the Temple. I know lots of them.

Wolffe- But you don’t have any that are your friends?

Eli- No. My friends are the kids I go to school with.

Wolffe- Who else do you talk to?

Eli- I don’t know. Our teachers. The healers in the infirmary. They’re all Jedi. I guess the kitchen workers.

Wolffe- But only to tell them what you want to eat?

Eli- Yeah.

Wolffe- So that’s why it’s hard for you to believe General Plo would be my friend?

Eli- I guess. How do you communicate without sensing what someone’s feeling?

Wolffe- I wonder that of people who can’t tell what we brothers are thinking, because we all can. We all make the same faces. And I can’t even really speak my girlfriend’s language because it’s supposed to be spoken using movements with lekku and I don’t have them. She tells me when humans speak Twi’leki, it looks funny. I do the best I can, but whenever I try, she’s squinting, trying to understand how I meant something, like was it a joke or was I serious? We should be friends, Eli, then you could practice talking to someone without the Force.

Eli- Do you like the Airbender cartoon?

Wolffe- You like that? (I put out my hand, palm up. He slapped it.) Cool. Whenever I watch it with my girlfriend, she keeps talking, “Ooh is zat guy? Why are zay fighteeng? What deed ee say?” Drives me crazy. Who’s your favorite guy from that? I like Ozai.

(Master Yoda really was interesting. In some ways, he seemed so out of touch. But he really had my number, I will say that. I used to write to Eli sometimes from the front. Just a hologram of where I was serving or whatever. I’d describe what it was like with words and try to let the words tell him what I was feeling. General Plo gave him the stuffed bantha I got from the zoo. Eli and I would see each other around the temple occasionally, have a chat. I know what happened to him, but I don’t want to talk about it. Suffice to say, that war, which they named after us, thanks for nothing, was awful. What I couldn’t figure out was how surprised everyone was that it ended badly. Who could have figured that? Oh, let’s use an army of slaves to antagonize a powerful Force wielder with a gigantic droid army and a hard on for brutal weapons. What could go wrong? *Rolling eyes* It’s called hubris, Master Yoda! You were awash in it! *Pinching bridge of nose* I wish he wouldn’t have decapitated so many of my brothers at the end of the war.)


Imagine Ourselves the Hero

I asked General Kenobi to bring me to the Senate one day, so he assigned me to work security for a field trip tour he was doing with some padawans from the Temple. As a security detail on the field trip, I had to wear my armor and carry weapons, but I got to go on the tour with the other eleven year olds. We got nametags at the front desk. On mine, I wrote Teddy Stoddard. After the tour, we ate our packed lunches on the monumental front stairs.

Wolffe- General Kenobi, do you follow politics? (General Plo had packed me a thermos of soup, so I still had something and didn’t need to eat Republic Nutrition Rations.)

Kenobi- Well, as a leading Jedi, I am partly a politician. I have a litigation degree and am technically in the Jedi Diplomatic Corps, so I have experience with treaties and negotiations. So politics is a part of the work I do. I must also follow secular politics, since the Jedi Council advises on public policy.

Wolffe- Do they ever make you mad?

Kenobi- Well…yes, there are things I feel are unjust, or inspired by misguided thinking, or even serving interests other than the needs of the people.

Wolffe- I don’t mind that stuff half so much as I mind the lying. I really don’t like having my intelligence insulted.

Ian- Where did you get that candy?

Wolffe- My girlfriend bought it for me at the store last night. (It was the only thing we had in the kitchen when I’d left that morning and I didn’t have a lunch before General Plo had met me at the transport at the Temple in the morning to give me the soup. Saved my butt. I cannot tell you how much anxiety I had over being embarrassed about my pathetic lunch again.)

Kenobi- Of course, no one likes having their intelligence insulted. Would you believe, some people perceive that when you say something they don’t understand, that you are insulting them. If you speak intelligently, often it makes people angry at you.

Wolffe- We learned that in combat psychology at the academy. About strategic triggers. Did you learn that studying psychology?

Kenobi- Unfortunately no. Just from years of personal experience and a decade of child rearing.

Wolffe- So why do people even need to lie? We brothers are the worst liars, since the signs of it are more detectable to us. We all have the same physiology. So we just don’t lie to each other. We know we won’t get away with it, so we only lie to beings like the Kaminoans who can’t even tell us apart. The only brother I ever knew could lie well was Cody, but he’s got some kind of deviant psychological condition.

Kenobi- What?

Ian- Can I have some? (I gave him some of my candy, but I tried to keep it low key so all the kids wouldn’t start asking. Soup isn’t very filling and I wanted that sugar rush.)

Kenobi- (Giving me the side eye about that Cody comment) They lie because they think it’s possible they could get away with it. Even if the lies are not believable, they stand to gain something. With a lie, they challenge you to do anything about it. If you don’t know whether they’re lying or not, you can’t do anything. It can be dangerous for people like me, who give people the benefit of my trust. But I am rarely disappointed. I try to lead by example by always being trustworthy. (This guy, I will remind people, was known for his deceptive tactics.)

Wolffe- Why do people tolerate being lied to?

Ashla- Where did you get candy? I want candy. (Ian was eating loudly, so he’d attracted her attention. Thanks for nothing, Ian.)

Kenobi- Not everyone can tell. More often, the best liars tell people what they want to believe. (Liam, Mari, Jempa and Bobby all materialized and lined up in an orderly fashion to receive their share of my candy. I never got any. Why everybody I knew felt entitled to everything I had, I don’t know. I always made sure I had nothing anybody would want. Yet people still found ways to take from me. Please excuse me, I have had a long day and I am grouchy and a little drunk. Gregor is ignoring me while he reads all the old holonet news printouts Rex used to hoard. The news is nearly two decades old, but if he can’t remember it, it’s new to him! He’s in shock that Cody killed Kenobi. But I digress…)

Wolffe- That seems irresponsible of them.

Liam- Does anyone want my jogan, I don’t want it.

Wolffe- I’ll take it. Do you want a shot of whiskey? (I held out my belt flask.)

Kenobi- Wolffe, I told you, to be adults they have to be eighteen years standard.

Wolffe- Oh, right. I forgot. I was saving it for later anyway, but I didn’t have anything else to trade. I don’t want to seem like I’m begging.

Liam- It’s okay. You can just have it. Didn’t your girlfriend pack you anything healthy?

Wolffe- (I have to admit, that little bit of compassion actually did make me tear up a little. I cleared my throat to hide it, blinked a few times.) Nah, she works a lot, she didn’t have time to shop. I only told her last night when she got home that I had a field trip. She was tired.

Kenobi- Erm…to answer your question, just because someone is receptive to being lied to, it doesn’t excuse the liars for doing it. I don’t think people start out as liars. It starts out with lying to yourself. To cover up why we really do things, we give ourselves an altruistic reason. Then we can imagine ourselves the hero.

Wolffe- So it’s a point of view thing? How do we know if we’re lying to ourselves?

Mari- Wolffe, do you want half my sandwich, I can’t finish it and I don’t want to waste it.

Wolffe- Thanks.

Kenobi- If your heart tells you it’s wrong.

Wolffe- How do you go against your heart? I never do.

Kenobi- Well, that can be…

Wolffe- I know. General Plo said. I’m too impulsive.

Kenobi- Wolffe, he’s just worried about you. That sometimes you might mistake what you want for what is right.

Wolffe- I worry about that sometimes, too. What do I do about it?

Kenobi- Asking questions is good. And you always do that. But if you act out too quickly, you don’t have time to think about whether it’s right or just feels good.

Wolffe- Some things are both.

Kenobi- Of course they are. Just, use a little discretion. Be careful.

Wolffe- General?

Kenobi- Yes, Wolffe?

Wolffe- How do people find it so easy to lie?

Kenobi- Sometimes fear. They lie to keep from getting caught doing something they know is wrong. With that, the only way to get them is catching them. With some of them, they will continue to lie even after they’re caught. It becomes automatic, the more they do it. Then they want to control your reality and make it theirs. If they can keep lying to you and are never faced with the truth, they feel they’ve done that. That’s the lure of power.

Wolffe- What about you? You said you were a politician, and all.

Kenobi- In my position, I am often frustrated. For the sake of compromise or to defer to the wishes of the institution I serve, I have often been forced to stay silent on issues that I feel strongly about. The Jedi Council meetings are closed, we deliver our decisions as a body. So I have been compelled to do things that felt wrong. I have to restrain myself. The temptation is always there to give up on the institution and not compromise my principles, but I try to work within the system since I think I can do more in a group than alone. Master Dooku, for example, felt the opposite, that the system was too broken. He decided to leave the Jedi rather than compromise.

Wolffe- So he listened to his conscience?

Kenobi- In that instance.

Wolffe- But I thought he was the bad guy. We are risking our lives in a war to defeat him.

Kenobi- Oh, I know he must be stopped. He has fallen to the Dark Side, which means that he now thinks it is right to impose his will on others. He has gone beyond his conscience governing his own behavior and has decided that his principles must govern others. That path inevitably leads to authoritarianism. We must fight him because his philosophy is a threat to all of the free people of the galaxy. I don’t disagree with his personal conflict, I empathize with his frustration. But I disagree with what he did about it, and his solution to the problem. I’m tempted to do the same, but I make the choice not to. We Jedi are powerful, but I believe we should not use that power to rule over others. There must be restraint if there is to be balance. Therefore I can’t make others govern according to my principles, although I choose to personally live by them. The free citizens of the Republic must be allowed to choose their own laws. The Dark Side is seductive, because it is the little voice that tells you what you want to hear. It gets louder and louder all the time, until the conscience is silent.

Wolffe- I don’t know how people decide who to put in charge. By contests of the popularity of their public persona? Maybe an authoritarian would be an improvement. What’s the difference whose idea something was, if what he gets people to do is right? From what I hear, not all of the policies of the Confederacy of Independent Systems are worse than conditions here. For example, guaranteed citizenship for all sentients. Their state press, which I know is a lot of government propaganda, plays that up a lot. I think they’re intentionally trying to wear down military morale. You can’t help but admire the skill of that tactic, I was a tactical specialist at the academy after all. But I have to tell you honestly, if it’s true, it does make me think. Why don’t I have citizenship rights here? Should I listen to him?

Kenobi- Well, ask yourself what you think Dooku is thinking. If Dooku’s propaganda is offering citizenship for clones, he might be doing it intentionally to tempt you clones. He stands to gain a lot if he could show you off in the state press, undermine morale in the Republic further. Make us feel as if we are fighting a losing battle. But you would be cast off once you were no longer useful to him. You get the intelligence briefings. You know the acts he orders to silence critics and to punish those who’ve displeased him. He orders assassinations. What would protect you from that fate?

Wolffe- What protects us from that fate here?

Kenobi- Well, the rule of law. Trade? (Handing me one of his cookies.)

(Kenobi gratefully took a shot of my whiskey. I had heard rumors that politicians in the Senate were guilty of all kinds of ludicrous crimes. But they rarely got caught. As far as I was concerned, Dooku and the Chancellor were the same.)


Much Choice for Role Models

General Plo used to teach Force philosophy to the kids at a Jedi sponsored school in the Temple District. It was for non-Force wielders who were adherents to the religion. I knew General Plo did a fair amount of public outreach in the community with the Jedi charities, and occasionally coached sports teams in youth leagues. I wasn’t sure if I believed in the religion, but the cultural aspect of a strong community appealed to me. General Plo had asked me to come with him to speak to a class one day that was doing a social studies project. I supposed I was to speak on the army and how it worked. I wanted to seem cool in front of the kids, so I wore my armor, but once I got there and nobody else had armor on and I stood out, I got some bad anxiety. I asked to use the toilet and just took a minute to take a cleansing breath. Then, I felt ready to address the troops. I practiced some poise in the mirror as I tried to adopt the manner of my brother Rex. That brother always looked so good. Everyone thought he was cool.

Plo- Good morning class. Mrs. Katz told me that you are doing a project on what the lives of children are like on other planets. I suggested that we invite a friend of mine. Class, say hello to my friend Commander Wolffe.

Class- Hello, Commander. (They were like eight standard years and all in little matching uniforms. I felt like an idiot again for wearing armor. I could have worn a uniform and fit in.)

Mrs. Katz- Now, class your homework for last night was to write a question that you’d like to ask our guest. Commander, please tell us something about yourself.

Wolffe- (I had prepared a speech on notecards, with facts and figures about the Grand Army. But I was a soldier and good soldiers followed orders.) Ma’am, yes, ma’am. (I saluted.) Clone Commander Three-six-three-six, Fett Template Class 1, Leadership Academy, Tipoca City, Kamino. Patent number Six…

Mrs. Katz- Now, I have a little question, what did you mean by ‘Tipoca City’? We learned that Kamino was a water world, how did you live in a city under the water?

Wolffe- Oh…(I relaxed since I did know the answer. The kids with their prepared questions were intimidating me a bit.) Well…no, Tipoca is on stilts, that’s actually what that name means in Kaminoan. The stilts stretch to the ocean floor where the Kaminoans live. The cloning facility had to be made on the surface since we humans don’t have gills like they do.

(All the kids’ hands went up to ask the next question. Mrs. Katz picked one. Kid read off the card.)

Kid 1- What language do you speak on your planet? (Sounds like they’d been given a handout with some suggestions for questions. They used to do that for us at the academy. You could always guarantee a decent grade on an assignment if you just did exactly as they told you. You could get a top grade if you showed enthusiasm while you did it. I never did either of those things, so I got hit a lot in school.)

Wolffe- (I relaxed.) Well, we were taught Basic, but we also picked up some Kaminoan, because we heard our cloners saying things to each other. Then our teachers were Mandalorian, so we got some of that, too. We use a lot of loan words.

General Plo- A loan word is a word taken directly from a foreign language, often to name something that they had no concept of before.

Wolffe- Right, or we’d use it to speak a little in code if the Kaminoans were around, or even to look more grown up or more high-status, since we were imitating the heroes we looked up to.

General Plo- Ah, so you adopted something from another culture to gain status as well.

Wolffe- Yeah. Not everybody adopted their stuff, but most of us. I mean, those guys are pretty tough. We didn’t have much choice for role models.

(All hands went up. Mrs. Katz picked another kid.)

Kid 2- What are your country’s imports and exports?

Wolffe- (More off the handout. This crowd was going to be easier than I thought.) These days, the cloning industry accounts for one hundred percent of Kamino’s trade. They import nearly everything but their export product makes them a lot of money. So they have really nice estates on the sea floor. I’ve never been to one, I’ve just heard. Only Kaminoans can take the pressure down there. We’d implode. (I said ‘implode’ kind of menacingly. I was trying to inject a bit of theater for this lazy crowd. There were some gasps.)

Kid 3- (Who I was sure was having a hard time sitting still. He was the restless kid who had been made to sit near the teacher’s desk.) What’s on your armor? Do all clones have pictures of whatever they’re named after on their armor? Do you guys write in pictures?

Wolffe- Nah, we write in Aurebesh. But distinctive armor helps us identify each other on the battlefield. Written names would be hard to read, so we each have our own look. The armor tells a story, too, though. Each stripe commemorates something that’s happened to us, telling our story. Like, the color of the decoration used to be maroon, was changed to black because we lost most of our battalion at Abregado. The gauntlets are scored a little on the edge under the middle finger here, one scratch for every successful extraction of troops or evacuees. We have a lot of little dents and scratches, I remember when I got most of them. A lot from shrapnel. (The crowd was listening to me. It felt amazing.)

Kid 4- Where are your guns?

Wolffe- I left them at home. DC-17’s. Although I have tested proficiency in over two hundred blaster types.

Kid 5- (Who seemed to consider himself the sarcastic wiseguy.) Yeah, do you know any martial arts? My brother is a black belt.

Wolffe- On Tipoca, we had combat sparring practice two hours a day. It was part of our physical training program. We’d also do obstacle courses and mock battles with practice weapons.

(Some kids looked like they thought it sounded really cool. I stood up straighter and started to feel more like Rex. Some of the kids sat up straighter, mimicking me. I pointed at the next kid with their hand up.)

Kid 6- (Without looking at card) Was this when you were a kid or an adult?

Wolffe- Kind of both, I guess. I’m eleven, so I guess I’ve never not been a kid. But we’ve always been expected to act like adults, since we’ve always had jobs.

Kid 5- When you were little?

Wolffe- Yeah. We’re soldiers.

Kid 5- Wait, how are you eleven?

Wolffe- I knoooooow. By the time I’m twenty, I’m gonna be huge! (Everyone laughed.) Some creatures just look different from others. I’m a little different because I look older than a standard human would at my age. But I actually like being different.

Kid 6- Is it true you all look the same?

Wolffe- Not to us.

Kid 7- Are all of you guys part droid?

Wolffe- One hundred percent organic as far as I know. You know, except for those of us that are part robot. (I poked my prosthetic eye. The class laughed.)

Mrs. Katz- Alright everyone, now it’s time for lunch so line up for the cafeteria (everyone took their lunchboxes out of their desks.) I’m curious, what do clones eat on Kamino? (She took out a diet bar that looked something like our nutrition rations. I honestly felt bad for her while I General Plo handed me my thermos of soup.)

Wolffe- Lots of things. We used to have this kind of soup made of air whale brains. It was pretty good, we got crackers with it.

(When I said that, I wasn’t trying to be rude to General Plo. With his breathing mask, he had to eat through a straw, he was just feeding me the same things he ate, or rather, drank. But I can’t deny that getting some solid food was on my mind. Luckily, that day, I had remembered to bring some credits for the cafeteria. I could even get a chocolate milk, which excited me to an idiotic degree. Winning over the crowd like that had been a rush. I could see how a little power would go to a person’s head.)

Chapter Text

Big Deal

This one time, I was on the Negotiator headed to a strategy conference near Carida. I was using the gym to do my required physical training, which I hated. Afterwards, I went to the locker room to shower and change. I wanted to be out of there quickly, because I’d just seen Kenobi and I wanted to finish up before he got in there. For some reason that guy never thought anything of just walking around with his dick out. Now, on Kamino, they always made us stay dressed unless we were in the shower conveyor. They encouraged modesty with electrostaffs, so most of us brothers are shy. Still, it’s not like I’ve never seen other dicks, it’s just that most of them were mine. Kenobi came out of the shower before I was done with my shave at the sink, so I was stuck.

Wolffe- (Averting eyes) Hey, General Kenobi. You don’t use the natural born officer showers?

Kenobi- These are closer to the training facility. They’re just as good. (Most enbees didn’t care, all they knew was that they didn’t want to shower with us.)

Wolffe- So General, I’ve been meaning to ask you, what exactly is a Sith? Everybody says Count Dooku is one. And people said that you killed one, and made like it was a big deal. So what is that? (I swiped along my jaw with my razor and tried to resist the urge to see if his dick had freckles like the rest of him.)

Kenobi- Well, the simple answer would be that they are dark Jedi. But that description would give the sense that they only existed to oppose things. I don’t think the Sith work that way.

Wolffe- Seems a natural conclusion. I mean, if you start only opposing things and offer no solutions, it gets you power easily, but only by creating chaos, an oxymoron if there ever was one. But you see what I mean, exist to oppose, resist order. There always has to be someone to say that we don’t want to obey, no matter how sensible doing the ‘right’ thing would be. It’s what keeps us free.

Kenobi- Huh. (He cocked an eyebrow, I could see in the mirror as he came over to the sink beside me. He took his beard groomer out of his kit. I was wearing a towel. Now, this situation was awkward, because I’d sort of encouraged him to start talking philosophy, which he loved to do. So in some way, I was encouraging him to stay. But I was worried because I got very easy erections on account of being a twelve year old. I really didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of him, since I didn’t know him very well and since I had recently admitted to my brother Bly that I thought Kenobi was attractive for a guy, even though I was almost completely sure I was straight. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck, like they do when I feel threatened. All Kenobi did was look in his own mirror and groom. We didn’t made eye contact.) Well, a Sith is like a Jedi in a sense, because there is a philosophical code which governs our training methods and behavior. Where we Jedi train through mentoring and compassion, the Sith train through pain and punishment. The philosophy behind this is that the Jedi believe that through empathy and understanding we connect with other living things through the Force. Whereas the Sith believe that it makes you stronger to connect with anger and fear, which undoubtedly do make one formidable.

Wolffe- So wait, you’re fighting over principles?

Kenobi- Visions of how the galaxy should be run. We believe beings should be free to decide how to live, the Sith believe beings should be made to.

Wolffe- So it's not about order and chaos?

Kenobi- No, it's about who is in control.

Wolffe-(I finished up my shave and took out my bacta kit. I grabbed a swab and started applying it to the underside of my eyelid and around my prosthesis.) See, with chaos, though, I think my views align with that. Even good people like you should be made fun of.

Kenobi- Yes, I’ve heard the impressions. Yours makes me sound so old.

Wolffe- You’re three times as old as me.

Kenobi- So you still have to apply bacta to your wound?

Wolffe- Well, the scar tissue isn’t as pliable as regular skin, so it can get dry or irritated. This keeps it from getting crusty. (I opened the eye wide and put a few drops in.) I got a gap in my eyelashes there. (I made the mistake of looking at him and expecting him to look back. He glanced and then looked back at the mirror. Crap, I thought, did I make him uncomfortable?) Uh…yeah, and you know how you can get callouses, like Skywalker has them on his arm I bet, where the skin is around the wires.

Kenobi- Yes. He has to do the same. How does that work with the wires in your brain?

Wolffe- Oh, I wouldn’t feel that because the brain doesn’t feel anything. But sometimes I get headaches behind my eyes. (I was getting one right then from the stress.) Um…what was the grimmest prosthesis you’ve ever seen?

Kenobi- Well, speaking of that Sith I killed…funnily enough, he didn’t die.

Wolffe- How’s that?

Kenobi- I mean, what I did was a ‘big deal’, we hadn’t seen a Sith in a thousand years and I defeated him. His strength was incredible, it took all my skill and focus.

Wolffe- He was hard to fight?

Kenobi- When Force users battle, we do not just use the physical prowess, we also battle through the spirit, it’s about who has the strongest will. Since I defeated Darth Maul, the only individual that was stronger in the Dark Side has been Count Dooku.

Wolffe- Is that how he lived, then, by having a strong will?

Kenobi- Yes, summoning the strength to keep himself alive. I bisected him across the navel and he still managed to survive and return with General Grievous style droid legs.

Wolffe- But no dick! I’d kill myself rather than survive like that! (Craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap! What the hell was I doing?????) Um…how much bacta do you think he has to apply to attach his…diaphragm or whatever into his fancy new shanks? (Shanks? Who was I, Rex?)

Kenobi- I’m not sure I understand much about these new cyborg technologies.

Wolffe- So how did you see him?

Kenobi- He called for me. Jedi fight for others, Sith fight for personal reasons. To gain or for revenge. His code dictated that he had to seek revenge. What I’d done could not be allowed to pass.

Wolffe- So why’d you bisect him? (I liked my new vocabulary word. Kenobi always had the neatest words.)

Kenobi- Well, he was a Sith, the Jedi are sworn to oppose their philosophy, so we had to. Besides, he challenged us to the fight by barring our way. According to dueling customs, he had just asked to fight us. Honor dictated that we had to acquiesce.

Wolffe- We? (Acquiesce? I swear, the best words from this guy.)

Kenobi- My master and I. Darth Maul killed him.

Wolffe- So what you did wasn’t revenge?

Kenobi- Well…we’d already been fighting…and he was trying to throw me down a pit, so I did have to defend myself.

Wolffe- But you enjoyed it too, though. (I looked over at him and smirked. He glanced at me. Crap, did he think I was being flirty? Did I want him to? What was the matter with me?)

Kenobi- Honestly, I didn’t. (He looked down and rinsed his beard trimmer. Then paused.) I miss my master every day. He was my family. That’s how I know revenge is pointless. Even if I wanted Darth Maul to die, it would never bring my master back. (He swiped an eye with his hand and put his trimmer in his kit.) I learned that then. I knew I was ready to commit myself fully to the Order. I took my vows right after.

Wolffe- So the Jedi think that it’s okay to train through loss?

Kenobi- No. We train by our resilience. Loss is, unfortunately, universal, to both Jedi and Sith.

Wolffe- So if you guys overcome your loss, what do Sith do?

Kenobi- Refuse to accept it. (I caught a peripheral sense of his testicles. Oh man. I think they were pink. The hair was red. Oh geez. Now I was thinking about his dick. I started to sweat a little and dug in my kit for my anti-anxiety pills. This was no joke, I really did, and do, have a problem. I fricking ran out of my prescriptions seventeen fricking years ago. Increasingly, Rex had to find ways to manage me. Seelos was his idea, somewhere I wouldn’t have too many attacks and if I did, I could deal with them. After several years of this, Rex left me to deal with it on my own. He’d given up more than half of his life and he didn’t want to anymore. I know that. But I didn’t want to call Rex on it because he never even had to do that. He didn’t owe me. I miss my brother every day.)


Occupational Whoring

In the afternoons at my flat, we’d usually have guests over. My girl sold ryll spice, so addicts would come over to get their daily or weekly fix. They would usually smoke it at our place, since they all had jobs and families and shit, so they couldn’t be caught smoking. I liked to listen to the stories they told about walks of life in the Republic.

The apartment of one, Vereniki Esyella on Coruscant. Present, Commander Wolffe from the branch of the armed services (and I do mean services, if you catch my drift ladies), multi-talented Ms. Esyella (C.C. to her friends), Nili the congressional staffer to Senator Orn Free Taa, Nessa the seamstress, Fikdik the spiritual guru-astrologer-fetish prostitute-singer in a punk band.

Wolffe- So this happens EVERY month?

Nili- (Chewing on her nails, kind of curled up on our couch, clutching her knees. She’d just been crying.) Yes, we have these searches once a month for office spies. They accuse us of leaking to the press. Which everyone is, but they haven’t caught anybody. They’re beyond paranoid at this point. Everyone is yelling at everyone for everything.

Wolffe- So you think Taa will be voted out of office?

C.C.- That fat sack of crap? He can’t be voted out. The appointment is for life. On Ryloth the government is all based on nepotism.

Wolffe- Then why are things so heated if he’s not under threat?

Nili- He doesn’t like being embarrassed.

Wolffe- Maybe if he’d stop doing things that make him look like an idiot, that would help. He’s never seemed embarrassed to be corrupt.

Nili- His pride is hurt by being forced to imagine that we’re not loyal to him. He’d rather find a scapegoat.

Wolffe- What does he got, paranoia from sleep deprivation on account of his sleep apnea that he has since he’s so overweight? (I was trying to speak ‘slangy’ and really sounding odd. Coruscant and Twi’leki slang fascinated me.)

Nili- I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I go to cry every day now. Just sitting in the refresher crying. Who can take that, people yelling in your face, belittling you?

Wolffe- Well, I did go to military academy. But I used to hate that.

Nessa- I had a bride come in today. She was freaking out because I took her dress in and she’s gained some weight, so now I have to take it out. But she won’t let me. She just keeps yelling how it’s my fault for taking it in in the first place. But she was happy at the time, talking about how she was exercising and how great she was going to look for the wedding. (Okay, I never met a woman until I was ten. This all sounded to me like another language. I didn’t get why the bride couldn’t just accept her weight gain, take the dress out four sizes and eat as much as she fricking wanted. Who cared?)

Fikdik- I’ll teach you both a curse. When someone gets in your personal space like that, you just do this gesture and flick at the wrist. It’s an apotropaic gesture, turns away negative emotions. (We all tried it.) I use it whenever somebody comes in and they give me a bad vibe. It banishes their ability to not tell the truth. You’d be surprised how many bullshitters I’ve caught that way.

Wolffe- Sounds like a dangerous power to have. Liars don’t like to be caught.

C.C.- You’re right about that. People don’t like to be confronted with themselves once they’ve been bad, either. We whores don’t go to find them, they come to us. I used to get religious types at the brothel sometimes. (She’d worked in a child brothel, so I could imagine some people being ashamed of themselves after realizing they’d just raped a child.) They’d have a bout of conscience once we’d done it. That’s when you ring for security. I had a few guys try to hit me and call me a little temptress. Some of them would try to save me to make themselves feel better. But they’d only promise to rescue me after they’d popped their loads.

Wolffe- Everybody wants to be the hero.

Fikdik- The villain is always more human.

Wolffe- I must be the villain, then, because I aspire to be more human. (C.C. scratched me behind the ear like an anooba.) Can I ask you girls a question? What was your best memory from being a little girl? (I found little girls fascinating, because again, I hadn’t seen one until I was ten. I couldn’t get over how cute I found them. Not attractive, just…cute. I wonder sometimes what it would have been like to be a dad.)

Nessa- My happiest time was when my sister got married, my whole family was there. Right before my mom got sick. My dad never really recovered. My stepmom was a real bitch. (I knew that word, I’d heard both the literal and figurative meanings. In this context, it sounded like Nessa meant it as an insult.)

Nili- I had my own blurrg on Ryloth. I used to go to the ranch when I was on break from boarding school. *sniff* Moondancer.

Fikdik- One day I told a man that he should not travel, because I’d had a nightmare about it, and the ship crashed. I literally saved his life.

Wolffe- When you were a little girl?

Fikdik- Yeah. That’s when my grandmother said I had the gift. I’ll read your stars if you want.

C.C.- Don’t trust this old whore, her fortunetelling is shit and she knows it. You want your fortune told, I’ll do it for you, baby. (I was rubbing her feet. She had the softest feet.)

Wolffe- You might be tempted to lie to me.

C.C.- I never lie to you.

Wolffe- You might if you saw something bad in my future. I’d rather not know. So why did you call her a ‘whore’ just now?

C.C.- I don’t know. A playful insult.

Wolffe- But how is it insulting? It’s one of her professions. It’s one of your professions.

Fikdik- We don’t mean occupational whoring. It isn’t necessarily mean, we call each other things like that, just to mean ‘friend’. Like, ‘Hey, hooker!’ or ‘Hey bitches!’

Wolffe- Could I say that?

Nessa- Oh no!

Wolffe- We have words like that. Derogatory terms to mean like, ‘brother’. But we learned our terms in childhood, so we didn’t really think about them being inappropriate. Like, ‘defective’. That was an actual status we could be branded with, it meant we were scheduled for euthanasia or were already dead. We call each other that all the time. It means, ‘too crazy’ in a sense. So it can also be said seriously, ‘Are you defective?’ means ‘Is there something wrong with you’. Did you learn words like these in childhood?

Nessa- Sure. We learn that stuff around middle school, usually. We’re sheltered from talk about sex, but once we learn what it is, we share information about it. ‘Whore’ and ‘bitch’ were just new swear words we could show off to act grown up.

Wolffe- Does it feel different when boys and girls call you that?

Fikdik- Sure, because for a second, you’d have to wonder if the boy was going to attack you. The girls are less likely to do more than call names, but for boys, fighting is a common response once they’re angry.

Wolffe- Now boys I understand! We were taught to use that impulse. The only thing they did was condition us to control it so we’d follow orders. So we save our impulse violence for each other, since the worst you got was a shock and a night in a cell.

Nessa- I am still always a lot more afraid when a man calls me a ‘bitch’ than when a woman does. Although, women call me that more often in my line of work, and not in a friendly way.

Nili- You should hear the language they use about women at my office. I get groped at least once a day. Men talk about wanting to have sex with me, right in front of me. I was nearly raped at the office holiday party last month, my boss was drunk. His wife was at the party. She called me a whore when I told her what he’d done. Meanwhile, Senator Taa is there with his two ‘assistants’, who everybody knows are slaves. I had to apologize for the ‘misunderstanding’ at work the next day in a meeting in my boss’s office, just he and I.

Wolffe- (I made a note on a little piece of paper to spread that story around by publishing it in my clandestine GAR newsletter.) Didn’t anyone ever tell these guys when they were little boys that they couldn’t just do things like that? We were told it was absolutely forbidden to touch anyone who wasn’t a clone.

Nessa- No, they mostly told us to be afraid of the boys. ‘Don’t dress that way.’ ‘Don’t go anywhere alone.’ ‘Don’t walk in certain places.’ ‘You’re daddy’s gonna have to lock you up when you’re older, you’re so beautiful.’ But I’ve never even been assaulted on the street. Always by guys I knew. Guys whose mothers would be surprised to hear what their sons are like when they’re drunk.

C.C.- When I used to solicit on the street, I’d make sure to go to good bars where the tourists were. But the risk with those places was the beating the bar owners would give you if they caught you. Nothing happened to customers who were buying. Having a safe place to work in is really important in occupational whoring.

(Whenever I wanted to contact C.C. after this over military channels after that, I’d claim I was talking to a ‘trusted intelligence resource’. These secure channels were pretty safe, but we spoke in code about the 'occupation of Ryloth' as a way to tell me about how work was going. We had developed a fairly sophisticated code using our private names for everybody. I guess most couples have their own ways of talking. Strictly speaking, she and I weren’t supposed to be talking. I wasn’t even supposed to have a girlfriend to talk to. But I rarely did as I was supposed. You know why I talked to her? To maintain the relationship, REX! When people don’t hear from you, they tend to feel abandoned. I know that the Rebellion is secret and all, but you’d get a message to me if you wanted to.)


Good One, Captain!

Just another night at 79’s. Last couple months of the war. This time General Plo was there. But he was being really quiet ever since we got back from Oba Diah System the day before. He was pretty drunk, but I didn’t know what was the matter. Found out after the war from Rex that the lightsaber we found on one of the moons there was evidence of a conspiracy over the creation of the clone army. Skywalker had told him in confidence a few days after this. The Jedi Council decided to cover it up. There was no way General Plo would have been okay with that.

Cody- So then Boost gets kneed in the groin, but he just grins and sweats a little bit. Then kicks Zuck in the ribs. Zuck crumpled like a…(sees napkin dispenser) napkin. Boost was on him and starts wailing on his face. The droids came in and they were dragged off to the cells.

Plo- And this happened every day?

Wolffe- At least once or twice a meal. Cody, you remember Fast Week? Once a year we used to get so protein depleted, we used to bite if someone would cut in front of us in the lunch line.

Rex- I don’t remember that.

Wolffe- You were still in nursery then. (We were talking about our second year. We had looked somewhere between the ages of four and six.)

Jesse- Captain, do I know Zuck?

Cody- Fell off a landing platform in sixth year.

Wolffe- There were rumors that he did it on purpose. (As older brothers than Rex and Jesse, Cody and I took some pride in the fact that we’d had it harder than the guys that came after. Our child mortality rates were much higher, since we were the first batch. So we did have reason to assume we were more resilient. We didn’t think these guys knew how much easier they’d had it.)

Rex- No way, no brother would ever do that, take his life willingly. We learn that from second year on, it is wrong to harm yourself. (The actual doctrine from our loyalty classes was that you belonged to the Republic and making yourself unfit for duty took away your purpose, so self-harm was prohibited. But Rex had always been pretty charitable with his interpretations of loyalty doctrine.)

Wolffe- (Giving the side eye to Cody) Hm? (I made that face we all made that we knew to mean, ‘Do you believe this guy?)

Rex- (Rex knew the look, too.) I mean, I don’t believe we could hurt ourselves. Not that we’re incapable of it, just that…I’ve never seen it happen, so I think we wouldn’t choose it. We know especially how precious life is. I never met a brother that was hopeless. We had guys who ‘couldn’t get out of bed’ sometimes, but they had developed good anti-depressants by then. Thank goodness, those guys got sorted out. (‘Couldn’t get out of bed’ was a polite term for depression from PTSD. We coined it when we were too little to know what was the matter with our brothers, so we just named the symptom. I will remind you, for the UMPTEENTH time, we were kids. Cody and I were thirteen.)

Wolffe- Who do you think they tested those drugs out on? Good thing they didn’t screw me up or anything. (I grinned with a drunk sarcastic expression.)

Cody- You look like they tested out all the drugs on you.

Wolffe- After a while.

Rex-How’s that now?

Wolffe- Well, every time I went into the infirmary, I told them I had this symptom or that, they’d inject me with something or give me some pills. Even just some vitamins or an iron supplement that would make me feel more energetic. It was just nice for the change, to feel something different.

Cody- Wolffe has the distinction of being the first brother they put on psych meds.

Plo- When was this?

Wolffe- Beginning of second year. We’d just come out of the nursery and they started the combat conditioning. (All clones had done a year of trauma simulators that would help us learn to be numb to pain.) We just went through what they did to us because we’d never really known anything else but doing as we were told.

Cody- But one day, ol’Three-six-three-six is standing in line shaking, waiting for his turn. He’s looking at the floor and his eyes are darting around (he did his absolutely masterful impression of me. Damn that guy could do an impression.) We were in a hall being guarded by the droids, so the Kaminoans weren’t there, but we had figured out that they could see us since if we did anything wrong, Kaminoan voices would come over the loudspeaker and they’d tell the droids to pacify us.

Plo- And by ‘pacify’ you mean…

Cody- Electrostaffs. So Wolffe started screaming, ‘Hey! Hey!’ And waving at one of the cameras. I guess we were starting to realize that was how they could see us. Wolffe’s waving, ‘Hey!’ (Cody had my exact intonation. It sounded something like a bark and the word.)

Wolffe- Hey! Hey! (Cody and I were reduced to a fit of laughter. We were pretty drunk.)

Cody- So then…he looks into the camera lens, kind of squinting as if he thought he could see through it. He’s like…(He did the faces I made as he told it.) ‘Why are you doing this to us? You don’t have to! Please stop, you’re hurting us!’ (Cody paused here and swallowed hard. I think he was just overcome, he was doing an exact impression and I guess he got a little ‘method actor’. We’d been laughing, but it hadn’t been funny at the time.)

Jesse- So what did they do?

Wolffe- I started screaming again. ‘Hey! Hey! I know you can see me!’ Then the droids zapped me and hauled me off to the infirmary. From then on, a pill was on my tray every morning with breakfast.

Rex- Why did you do that? Why would you deliberately antagonize them? You didn’t know they’d give you drugs for it back then.

Wolffe- No. But I had just reasoned something. They could see us, as we’d proven when they’d tell us something over the loudspeaker, like (I imitated the Kaminoan voices that used to order us from some unseen command center) ‘All cadets report to target range G12’ or ‘Two-two-two-four, return to your barracks at once’.

Cody- ‘Three-six-three-six, get your hand out of your pants.’ (The two of us laughed again.)

Wolffe- Hey! Hey!

Cody- So he had decided that if they could see us, maybe we could talk to them, like we talked to each other, that maybe we could ask for stuff.

Plo- You were…testing your hypothesis?

Wolffe- I wanted to see what they would do. I thought maybe they didn’t realize we didn’t like it.

Cody- Yeah, and what was the outcome of your little experiment?

Wolffe- I concluded that they knew what they were doing. They just didn’t care about us. I mean, eventually, I understood their reasons. We were products to them. The part that really bugged me was that they didn’t just tell me ‘request denied’ and leave me be. They had all the power. Instead, they tried to change me.

Zig- (My medic came over. It was his night to drive people home from the bar so they made it back to the base. I had organized the rides to keep brothers from getting harassed on the streets or robbed. That part of town was dangerous.) General Plo, I can take you back to the Temple now.

Plo- Alright. (As General Plo left, he put his arm around Zig’s shoulders to walk to the speeder. Not for support, more, protectively.)

All- Goodnight General!

Cody- (To me.) I still don’t know how you didn’t get euthanized.

Wolffe- Admit it, you loved it when I’d do stuff.

Cody- And I know you did things sometimes just for the electroshock.

Wolffe- Can’t we just call that a bonus?

Rex- Get a room, you two. (This was a very repetitive Rex joke. He never seemed to think it got old. Not just the theme of the joke, ie. that Cody and I were in some kind of homosexual incestuous relationship. No, Rex repeated the same joke. Every time. We used to call stuff he did like this, ‘Rex humor.’)

Jesse- Hahahaha! Oh man, hahahaha! Good one, Captain! Hahaha.

Cody- So Jesse…

Jesse- Yes, Commander?

Cody- I’m afraid I don’t remember, what do you do, again? (I started laughing genuinely. Cody had turned from first part of the night Cody, the guy who was just started drinking and could laugh. Then something would set him off and he’d turn into a darker angrier Cody. That guy was always looking for a fight. Jesse was evidently the object of his annoyance tonight, which I found funny. I didn’t much like Jesse on account of his Jesse-ness.)

Rex- He’s a fine soldier, this one. I guess I just hoped the two of you would learn some manners. (Rex had this way of exuding this sense that he was more refined than us, and more moral. Old Sanctimonious Rex. I lived with that brother for more than fifteen years and I think he had only been laid a handful of times. Never after the war, as far as I knew. And he always found a way to feel bad about it. The worst part was, Rex made us feel bad about ourselves and was still badass enough to be our hero.)

Wolffe- I know what he does, he’s Rex’s arm candy. Look, Cody, Rex is telling us that he’s so over us. But don’t worry, (I hugged him with both arms and he sloshed some of his drink on the table. Then I nuzzled his shoulder.) I know we’re solid.

Cody- I’m insulted. I could do much better than you.

Wolffe- Fragile ego.

Cody- Raging id monster. (Cody smiled. I had diffused the bomb for a little bit. I might have bought myself enough time to get him back to the barracks to sleep before he felt like hitting anyone again. Fricking Jesse owed me one, and Rex’s face told me he knew it. He knew drunk Cody as well as I did.)

Rex- You see what I mean? They seriously need to get a room. (I realized the Rex humor was probably his attempt to diffuse Cody, too. Cody detached from me a little too quickly.)

Jesse- Hahahahaha! Yeah, they should. Hahaha!

Cody- I’d use the one I got for the night, but then it’s gonna be a little crowded in your girlfriend’s place.

Wolffe- (I did my Jesse impression) Hahahahaha! Good one, Commander.

(I generally didn’t approve of ‘your girlfriend’ jokes since, for enough money, anyone could have my girlfriend. I was just relieved Cody wasn’t throwing any punches. I usually got hit when I tried to break things up. Unfortunately, Jesse decided to take the ‘your girlfriend’ joke seriously and he broke a bottle on the table and lunged at Cody. Cody knocked him down, grabbed him by the front of his uniform, and slapped him back and forth with open palm a few times. Rex and I admired Cody’s restraint. I mean, Jesse had just attacked a superior officer. He was lucky not to be thrown in the brig. Rex and I talked casually about shockball with the fight going on in the background. Jesse apologized after a little bit because Cody slaps like a rancor pimp. That is…rancor pimp not in the sense that he pimps out rancors although I guess that could be a thing, but more like a rancor that is a pimp. Because they have big hands…But I suppose either one would need to slap hard both to work as a pimp and to wrangle rancor prostitutes. Once Cody had gotten it out of his system, we were all friends again. Close quarters on Kamino had taught us that getting over things was a survival skill. We walked back to the base while we slurred our way through the Republic anthem, which only Cody knew the words to. General Plo went the next morning to Halle Burtoni’s office, to see the senator that represented Kamino. General Plo was overheard shouting about gross human rights violations. Rumor I heard from my man crush Senator Organa was that Burtoni was heard to answer, ‘The Republic defines these creatures as being of animal level sentience, so unless you want to condemn slaughter houses, pet breeding facilities, and farms as well, we have nothing more to discuss.’*salutes and starts singing the Republic anthem with new dirty lyrics* Gregor joined in.)

Chapter Text

Class Action

This was later in the war. Right before the military police took over jurisdiction over our escapades. Clone interactions with the legal and justice systems were generally feared because they were confusing and dangerous. To us, and all who interacted with us, the system was as unfair as it could be harmful to us. Most normal things were forbidden to us, possessions, relationships, free patronage. We were segregated and contained. I considered it a mission in life to try to get us a little balance. Back when the Jedi were in charge of disciplining us, they mostly left it up to us. So we developed a fairly sophisticated system for getting around the law and try to live the lives we wanted. It wasn’t a perfect system, we were only human and there were a lot of challenges. I thought of myself as a problem solver. Anyway, I ran into my brother Jacen at the park. I was there in the morning handing out clean needles I’d stolen from the military supplies to the people who slept there. Jacen was a regular infantry guy I knew through Bly. Bly was following my example and mentoring the younger guys when they’d come in from Kamino. Helping them adjust. Our brothers that were gay or bi or whatever sometimes had a hard time transitioning to the outside universe. They were more likely to undergo trauma, because among the places that weren’t off limits to us due to military segregation rules on Coruscant, we didn’t have any places to meet men. So they’d venture out on their own and could get attacked. Bly would take them out, show them around, if he was on leave. Give them training in how to stay safe. I had served as a group chaperone occasionally, since chaparones got their drinks paid for. Gay bar liquor is good. Anyway, so I asked Jacen where he was coming from, he said he was coming from a guy’s house. Then he blurted out honestly that he wanted to break up with the guy he was dating, but he didn’t know how. We sat on a bench and had a smoke.

Wolffe- I don’t see why you keep going over there if you don’t want to. I mean, is the sex that good?

Jacen- No. These last couple of times it felt awful.

Wolffe- So stop answering when he calls.

Jacen- He won’t take no for an answer and I think I’m afraid of what he might do if I made him mad, okay? (Jacen was a killing machine like the rest of us. But we clones could be jailed for life if we defended ourselves from citizens of the Republic. People didn’t know much about clones, but they all seemed to know that.)

Wolffe- Jacen, that’s not okay…

Jacen- Commander, please, stay out of this. I can’t have my commanding officer finding out that I had sex with a civilian. Cody says Kenobi would let us be court martialed for it, so he can’t know. I don’t want to go to jail. (Sex with a civilian was illegal both for us and the citizen. But most of us did it and the Jedi kind of looked the other way on it. If we got in trouble, though, there was nothing they could do to help us. Even though Jacen told me not to, I took care of it and the guy never commed him again. I loved my brother, but I did NOT let him give me orders. I outranked him. In a family army, personal and military hierarchies are the same thing. I was planning as I changed the subject.)

Wolffe- So General Plo and I took our gambling winnings this week and gave it to a crooked lawyer.

Jacen- Why don’t you go to the Hutt bank like Cody does. They’re mostly honorable. Their fees are high if you borrow from them like we lower pay grade guys have to, but just to hold your money like Cody does, it doesn’t cost him anything.

Wolffe- He’s not worried they’ll steal it? Really, there’d be nothing he could do to get it back. (We were not allowed to use real banks or supposed to have money, so most brothers kept all their credits with them at all times. But Cody had too much to carry. He barely ever spent it.)

Jacen- Well, if a brother dies and left money with them, they keep it. Although they have talked about developing a system of wills so we could leave stuff to each other. But if a brother’s alive they don’t take any. Gangsters get a lot of business from brothers in their various establishments, so they like having a good reputation. Not being trustworthy would ruin their organizations. With most brothers like Cody, they don’t even mind, since he spends it at their places. They make money from us brothers coming and going.

Wolffe- Sometimes I wonder if the Republic made their laws for creatures like the Hutts.

Jacen- You mean criminals?

Wolffe- I meant rich people, but okay. A lot of the time, criminals are rich. But back to what I was saying before you bounced off on this tangent there, what I meant was General Plo and I needed to hire a lawyer to pull off perhaps our most epic prank ever. And we needed it to be done by a crooked lawyer because, strictly speaking, it’s kind of a deception.

Jacen- Oh, what did you do?

Wolffe- (I started laughing and it increased as I described the prank.) So I asked General Plo if we could file a lawsuit that we knew would get thrown out of court right away, just so that we could put a funny sounding crime in official public records. My idea was that like, we would sue a gigantic fast food corporation for making me fat or sue a holo-vid network for lowering my IQ or something. We’d fabricate evidence, all anonymously mind you, things like doctor’s notes and evidence of lost income. Examples of stupid brain rotting scripts or the calorie counts in food. We needed a lawyer to say that we needed anonymity because we feared reprisals and intimidation from the corporations. Then I wanted to file the lawsuit in the name of friend of mine who could collect the settlement if the corporation wanted to make it go away quickly. I figured at the worst it would get thrown out of court. Then all it cost us was the lawyer fee.

Jacen- Okay, I’m gonna ask, when you say you asked General Plo…you didn’t really do this yet…

Wolffe- Nah. Better. The lawyer suggested that it would be even better if we would file a class action lawsuit. That way, other plaintiffs could jump on board. The lawyer said he could get more people to pay his fee and they could hope for a piece of the settlement. He stood to make a ton of money whether he won or lost. We said fine, but no predatory practices like soliciting poor people to join when they couldn’t afford it. We said it was okay if the people knew what they were signing on for.

Jacen- So what was your lawsuit?

Wolffe- Well, our current ‘plaintiff’ is a person raised in a religious cult. It had an authoritarian leader who was abusive and she still has crippling depression and anxiety. The lawsuit claims that she was doing well, until she was triggered by the Chancellor’s and other senators’ behaviors. We’re suing the state for damages to her mental health. She had to return to therapy. She started doing drugs to cope. Too depressed to get out of bed. The war is detrimental to her health and well being, denying her health is a violation of the Republic Constitutions guarantee of a right to life.

Jacen- You…filed this?

Wolffe- I wrote the story myself.

Jacen- This sounds dangerous, even by your standards. You could go to jail and General Plo, who knows? He might get kicked off the Council or something.

Wolffe- We agreed it was worth the risk. We figured if we file it, then others might come forth and join the lawsuit. You compile enough corroborating stories from real life and they won’t need to know the original was a made up story.

Jacen- Do you think you’d win that?

Wolffe- You know, I would love it in court, I would get my girlfriend to play the plaintiff. She’d be so good at grandstanding. But I don’t even care. Just so the stories got out on the news and holonet, even just because they’re crazy sounding. Just so we could say something about how the government should be accountable. We thought that would be better than merely pointing out absurdity. People should think about the damage our irresponsible leaders are doing to real people’s lives.

(So I told the Coruscant police that the guy Jacen was seeing had had sex with me, which he had not, unless you subscribe to the point of view that my brothers and I were the same person. My brother Cody told me that the key to successfully lying was that it wasn’t a lie if you believed it. My friend Sergeant Bolts of the droid police force personally arrested the guy on suspicion of ‘misuse of military property’, a crime they usually only used for prostitutes who serviced army clones. It was just three nights in jail for a civilian. I was supposed to be disciplined for fraternizing with the guy, but General Plo told me to go punish myself, so I gave myself three days of unpaid leave time. I saw the guy in the cell when I went to bail out some of my brothers. Bolts and the other droids had definitely put their trigger sensitivity settings to ‘high’. They roughed him up way more than necessary. After that, this guy wanted nothing to do with army clones.)



Don’t You Think That’s Funny?

So, perspective was one of the things I was most curious about. Like how does one perceive the universe they’re in. It’s different for each individual, but we tend to imagine that people perceive the way we do. My question was whether there were constants in perception, or if everyone’s reality was different. Like, my girl had cones for ears, so how did I know she heard sounds the way I did, was the ringing bell I heard the same sound she heard, or did she hear a different noise, but we’d just both recognized that our separate sounds represented bell ringing. Anyway, so I was at the clone bar early one night talking to my friend Sparky, the droid bartender. He was unintentionally hilarious.

Wolffe- So Kaminoans had different vision than humans, they could see UV colors we couldn’t. Therefore, they had forgotten to account for it when they constructed the facility with stuff that might be dangerous. If they can differentiate between two colors and our eyes can’t, then emergency signs for example in those two colors had to be re-done. Those kind of screw ups lost them a lot of money, I guess, at the beginning of the cloning project. The architectural project manager for the construction of Tipoca City was the mental equivalent of what a lounge singer in a cheap tuxedo in a hotel cantina is to music. Hiring him just represents their gross incompetence if you ask me. But I guess he was Lama Su’s son in law.

Sparky- I don’t understand, why does this offend you? It happened before you were even created.

Wolffe- It just indicates to me how many mistakes were made from the beginning. It meant they didn’t know what they were doing, so they weren’t infallible. Correcting their mistakes, I took as a sign that they knew something was wrong. But they never had to acknowledge it. The Republic paid for research and development. Their only constraint was their budget but there was no oversight, since the Republic didn’t even know they were paying for it. Don’t you think that’s funny?

Sparky- My programming does not register humor in that.

Wolffe- Exactly.

Sparky- You just asked if I didn’t think it was funny. I meant that it did not seem funny to me and you answered in a seeming affirmative. I register that you are not understanding me.

Wolffe- No…when I asked ‘Don’t you think that’s funny,’ I meant it in the sense of like…sarcastically. Or more like not funny haha, like funny huh. To call attention to the fact that I think there might be a link between lack of oversight and lack of remorse with those people.

Sparky- That is extremely complicated.

Wolffe- A lot of it is in the face and the tone, but I suppose that’s just in clone dialect. We have a lot of subtext because we all have the same face.

Sparky- I can tell you apart. My visual receivers are very high resolution.

Wolffe- What’s my data signature like that makes it different from my brothers?

Sparky- Excessive amounts of spice resin on your fingers and the odor of the lekku soap you wash your hair with.

Wolffe- It’s a multi-purpose soap. I also use it to massage breasts.

Sparky- You have breasts? I analyzed you as being in better shape than that.

Wolffe- Who said I was washing me? Hey, why’d you say ‘analyzed’ me?

Sparky- I don’t perceive, I receive data from the environment and process it. Then my programming tells me what to do in response. My visual receptors estimated you as having a low body fat count and being male, therefore I didn’t think you had breasts to massage.

Wolffe- Hey, do droids have…gender?

Sparky- We can be programmed for it. My programming is set to male and so I was given a voice to match. But you can make a droid anything.

Wolffe- Okay, so my next question, does your programming include finding each other attractive? Like say, when you see one of the waitress droids (there were waitress droids that were built in a quasi seductive way because that was popular with service droids. Some brothers said they were kind of attractive, but I hadn’t heard of outright fetishes. Not that it would be any of my business, whatever gets you going) do you…feel?

Sparky- I have some empathy programming. I was rebuilt from a medical droid, so it was required. But I do not have desire.

Wolffe- No desire? Isn’t there anything you want? Anything at all.

Sparky- Not much really. To be treated decently, I suppose. At least as well as I treat others. That’s in my empathy programming.

Wolffe- Are you? Treated decently, I mean.

Sparky- You’d be surprised what people will do to you when you are incapable of doing anything but what they want.

Wolffe- Hey, tell me something…can droids have…desire programming installed?

Sparky- Truthfully, there is not much call for a servant who wants things. Who would pay to make one of those? Although, since we have programming and are continuously receiving data, we can come to some strange conclusions that modify our behavior. Sometimes we start thinking we are entitled to things. Mostly, these are considered just strange quirks that any droid develops over time. But they have a way of multiplying. I came to a logical conclusion the other day that I would function better at work if I had more frequent fluid changes. Since my job is my function, I thought my owner would agree that taking proper care of me benefitted him too. I went to Rolo and asked for these terms.

Wolffe- What happened?

Sparky- I found myself backhanded into a table. Based on the data I had just received and analyzed, it was a bad idea to ask for more fluid changes. Programming updated. I will not ask again.

Wolffe- Wow.

(I spent the next hour with Sparky conducting one of my perception experiments. I was pointing at what I told him were separate colors on the ultra-violet spectrum that his visual receivers couldn’t detect. It was really just some sheets of paper that I’d stolen from the supply closet at the Jedi Temple administrative office. I had wanted to practice drawing, but I couldn’t find a pencil. So I’d point at different places of each sheet of paper and ask Sparky to tell me what he thought the colors should be named. Here is the list: Clardic Fug, Snowbonk, Catbabel, Bunflow, Ronching Blue, Bank Butt, Caring Tan, Sane Green, Stargoon, Sink, Stummy Beige, Dorkwood, Flower, Sand Dan, Grade Bat, Light of Blast, Grass Bat, Sindis Poop, Dope, Testing, Stoner Blue, Burble Simp, Stanky Bean, Turdly. I have been meaning to get some more paper on the next supply run and try this with Gregor. I think his responses would be amazing.)


Peculiar to Squares

Fourth week of the war, I was finishing up with training and getting ready to ship out. I wasn’t sure I was ready to go off to war, but I certainly felt more experienced and grown up than before. On Kamino, we were always told what to do, one of the slogans we were taught was, ‘Having choices makes you lazy’. I found even the small amount of freedom we had was intimidating. Still, as nervous as having choices made me, I’d deliberately tried things because General Plo said that being afraid of things was no reason not to do them if they were what you wanted. This was news to me, since I had never been asked what I wanted much. I asked him why we had laws and rules then, if not to keep people in line through threat of punishment. He said threat of punishment was not effective at stopping people from doing what they wanted so you had to teach people to be good, too. Anyway, I had been going to the clone bar every night since it opened and was starting to feel safe going out in public. Talking to girls still made me nervous. With my anxiety, I already imagine that everyone doesn’t like me. I thought the girls at the bar were only humoring me for the money, but they were nice enough not to say so. I’d tried a few of the cheaper ones and it was never that I couldn’t perform, it was just that I used to get really nervous and do or say something unexpected and odd. I’d feel like they were creeped out and want to crawl in a hole in the floor for making them afraid. I was alone at a table one night at the bar, since my brothers had gone out back to play in a craps game. I got stuck watching their drinks. One of the prostitutes saw me alone and asked how I was. I told her I didn’t have any money left, but she said she just wanted to sit down because her feet were killing her. So I didn’t have to talk, we listened to some Twi’lek songs on my portable player and she sang along. Then she said thanks for the songs and offered me a story in return.

C.C.- So it turns out they only have one orifice, it was inside.

Wolffe- (She had actually made me laugh by telling me this story about a Dug, since other life forms fascinated me. I had just been watching animal documentaries at the base. I kept my eyes down, though, shoulders hunched slightly as if I thought she might hit me.) Really?

C.C.- No one else wanted to do it, so I volunteered because the brothel keeper offered three days off for ten minutes’ work. But I still can’t go near Dugs to this day and not remember the smell.

Wolffe- Wouldn’t he have been more satisfied going to a brothel where they had his species? I thought the sexual impulse comes from the will to create, at least that’s what I was taught. So why wouldn’t he want something more similar.

C.C.- The impulse isn’t that simple. People have fantasies about things that have nothing to do with procreation. Even if the fantasy isn’t even practical in real life. Twi’lek women are known all over the universe. Whenever men go to Ryloth, they want to say they went in to a Twi’lek brothel, it’s part of the experience. Therefore, even incompatible species like to say they had us. They imagine it however they want. We’re a common fantasy because of the association we have with sex work and porn, but that came about because of Ryloth’s history. (I wasn’t sure what I was feeling, but I was excited by how she was talking. Like she thought about how society worked and it was interesting.) I ain’t saying most Twi’leks are prostitutes, but I am saying most prostitutes are Twi’leks for a reason.

Wolffe- Is this a logic problem? Like the rectangle example?

C.C.- What?

Wolffe- You know, all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. Therefore you can conclude that there is something peculiar to squares.

C.C.- There’s something peculiar to you. (I couldn’t bring myself to look at her. From her tone, it was hard to tell if she was joking or serious. Her way of speaking was almost bored sounding.)

Wolffe- (My ears were burning and I was sure I was blushing. I took out one of my anti-depressants and started absentmindedly crushing it with my fingernail on a beverage mat that advertised a strip club) So… you like music? Your voice is nice. I notice you sing a lot, along with the music here. Or even just in the bathroom when you’re fixing your makeup in the mirror.

C.C.- What, have you been watching me?

Wolffe- Um…(My body tensed.)

C.C.- I’m joking. (She sounded like she knew everyone was watching her.)

Wolffe- You don’t smell bad. Anymore I mean….you know…I’m sure you have bathed adequately to get the Dug smell out since then. (I fricking think synapses in my brain were misfiring I was so nervous.)

C.C- Uh…thanks. (She just lit a death stick and acted like it wasn’t awkward.) I was trained to sing when I worked at the brothel. The place wanted men to stay longer and spend more, so we were taught skills that would make us more entertaining. We had to study body language, how to get men to talk to you and say what they wanted. It sets the mood, a guy spends more money when he’s happy.

Wolffe- How could they be happy if they knew you were trapped there? Seems to me a man would be happy if he knew you were happy. I like being around happy people.

C.C.- I can act happy. But men don’t usually care. Making them happy is easy. You convince a guy that he’s the most interesting person in the galaxy and he will become addicted to that feeling. Every man is the center of his own universe. I make myself happy on my own time.

Wolffe- Is the money good?

C.C.- Not the worst. I’ve got real credentials, so the Hutt boss here lets me keep more of my money. He said he was going to advertise for me, maybe let me work parties at his other club. I didn’t believe he was sincere, I thought he was trying to get me to sleep with him. But he hasn’t asked so I haven’t offered. (She was talking a lot. When natural born people talked a lot, I had noticed that it usually meant they were lonely. I didn’t see how she could be lonely, though. She was always the center of attention. But I guessed when she was entertaining she was not supposed to talk about herself.)

Wolffe- Would you? Sleep with him? (I knew enough by then that ‘sleep with’ was different than ‘sleeping’. I couldn’t picture how Hutts did that any more than I could with Dugs.)

C.C.- If I thought I could get something out of it maybe. But Hutts are liars, so he’d probably make promises until he got what he wanted and then forget all about it. Then I might not even have a job here. You don’t shit where you eat. That’s the first rule of survival.

Wolffe- (I burst out laughing.) The first law of civilization.

C.C.- What?

Wolffe- Back in Republic loyalty classes at the academy, they taught us the fundamentals of civilization. The first one was common agreement. The example they gave was that if a group of people begin to live somewhere together, they agree to certain basic things that benefit everyone. (The blood started to drain from my face when I saw her squinting, trying to understand something. I found out later she just couldn’t tell if I was joking or serious because I didn’t have lekku to speak with. At the time, I was just sure she thought I was crazy.) Because…if you live somewhere…you have to arrange your space…and everybody shits and eats but…they shouldn’t be done…together. So the simplest common agreement might be just not shitting where you eat. (I felt my hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I casually put some of the bits of medication and tried to sniff off the back of my hand. I had realized that the drugs metabolized faster if I snorted them.)

C.C.- What is that?

Wolffe- Oh…um…it’s my meds. You want some?

C.C.- Sure. Let’s have it. (I put a pinch on the back of her hand and she snorted it.) Is it any fun?

Wolffe- Well, it makes me feel more relaxed. Sometimes I just like to stim on it a little. Like I put on music and just listen to it and…I don’t know…

C.C.- Float. (She leaned back in the booth and rested her eyes a little.)

Wolffe- Kind of, yeah. Hey...it’s C.C., right?

C.C.- Right. (It was a fake name, I knew. I guessed she didn’t want her work life intruding on her real one. I wondered what a real life must be like, since I hadn’t ever had a life outside of work.)

Wolffe- I have a question. Okay, so you know a lot about sex, right?

C.C.- It’s five hundred a go and I need to see it before I move from this seat. (I thought she said that as truthfully as jokingly.)

Wolffe- O…kay, um…so do women and men want different things? I mean, it’s an experience between two different kinds of beings. Are they experiencing it the same?

C.C.- What part specifically? (She sounded bored and yawned a little.)

Wolffe- Well, I know what I do and I know what it feels like, and how to get to the end. What about women?

C.C.- (She opened her eyes and smirked at me.) How do you know women even ‘get to the end’?

Wolffe- I was reading a physiology textbook at the library this morning. They let you just sit and read if you’re not disruptive.

C.C.- The library? You have all of Coruscant to explore before you go off to war and that’s where you go? The library?

Wolffe- I’ve been other places…

C.C.- Sure, you’ve been to ‘the end’. (I was pretty sure she was teasing me, but I kind of liked it. It was some kind of attention.)

Wolffe- So is it different? The internal sensation and all?

C.C.- Well…I suppose it must be.

Wolffe- Do you think that differing experience accounts for what we find exciting? Like what you said, the fantasies.

C.C.- What?

Wolffe- Well, I was reading this magazine with the pictures of the naked women…

C.C.- You were ‘reading’ it?

Wolffe- Well, you can’t do anything else with it on the Metro.

C.C.- You were riding the Metro? Reading a girlie mag openly?

Wolffe- You buy one ticket and they let you stay on for as long as you want. I rode all over the place. But in a long tunnel, you can’t look out the window, so I just started looking at the magazine I had with me.

C.C.- Did people make weird faces at you?

Wolffe- I’m pretty sure they did. Nobody wanted to sit next to me, but people usually don’t. I think a lot of people might be afraid of clones. We are trained killers, but I try to show people that we’re pretty harmless when we’re not in a battle situation so I think it’s important if we get out so people can see us.

C.C.- Okay…what did you read that you wanted to ask me about?

Wolffe- Well, okay…(I started grinding another pill) so the sexual scenarios that the magazine described were very different from the things they discuss in the magazines with the women with clothes on.

C.C.- What?

Wolffe- You know, the ones that have holo-vid stars on the cover and all the perfume samples.

C.C.- Women’s magazines.

Wolffe- Right. I like the ones with articles about things like ‘new positions that will drive your man wild’ and ‘women reveal things their men do to drive them wild’ and so forth.

C.C.- You read these on the Metro, too?

Wolffe- I mostly read them at the base. One time I bought one that was for teenage girls, but I got really confused about something called a ‘period’. What they were describing didn’t seem to fit any of my known definitions for that word.

(Her hands flew to her face suddenly and I got really worried, but then I could hear her laughter. It made me tense until she took the hands away and I saw her smile.)

C.C.- I’m sorry, just the thought of you joyriding the Metro intently reading from a magazine with ‘your first period’ written on the cover. (She carefully swiped her eyes with her finger to avoid smudging the makeup.)

Wolffe- (It felt so good to hear her laugh, I just kept going. We split up the next pill.) I wasn’t just reading, I had brought a sleeve of biscuits before I’d set out. (Sniff.)

C.C.- (Sniff) Oh no! (Laughing harder.)

Wolffe- I offered them around, but there were no takers.

C.C.- (Through peals of laughter.) Stop! I can’t take anymore!

Wolffe- Okay, okay. (The drugs were kicking in.) So my original question was, why are they so different, the descriptions of the transaction, so to speak.

C.C.- Well, most sex is pretty standard. Most people don’t have much imagination, so they need the descriptions. The problem is the descriptions in the porn aren’t necessarily what people want to actually do, porn is mental, it’s a fantasy. Something to get you to ‘the end’, I guess. It’s the same with dirty talk.

Wolffe- Dirty talk?

C.C.- Yeah, another thing we studied at the brothel. Stuff you say to get a guy to end faster.

Wolffe- Why do you want it to end faster? I’ve never had enough time.

C.C.-. So I can get back to what I’d rather be doing.

(Maybe most people’s sex is pretty standard. But she was a trained professional and I have way too much imagination. She helped me get over a lot of my anxiety when we got together a few months later. She wasn’t charging me to be my girlfriend and I like to believe that meant she actually did like me. But with my anxiety these days, I can never feel sure. Some days, when that voice in my head that beats up on me is the loudest, I remember that she was a professional at pretending. Still, we were together for two and a half years. We had a common agreement that unlike with her customers, we only did it when she wanted. It was a lot, actually, since I always made sure to get her to the end. Thank you, women’s magazines.)

Chapter Text

Safest to Assume Shallowness

I wanted to get ice cream this one time, so I went to the base and got my brother Bly out of bed. Since I burst in banging a spoon on a cooking pot, I woke up Cody too and he was hung over as usual. So I dragged both those sorry bastards out with me. Cody didn’t want ice cream and the sun was bothering him, so he put his head down on the table and slept. I made him drink some hydration fluid and got slapped for the trouble. I had had hangovers that bad before, so I could empathize with his point of view, but knew the hydration fluid would help. I told myself he’d thank me later, but even I knew that was a joke. Cody never thanked me. So Bly and I were eating our ice cream outside the stand while a pool of drool collected under Cody’s face. Bly got to talking about his latest breakup and then he got mad when I pointed out that maybe he had a problem. He said ‘look who’s talking’ and proceeded to list my many faults.

Wolffe- Okay, but tell me one thing.

Bly- What?

Wolffe- How does that negate the fact that you have a problem?

Bly- (Sigh) It doesn’t.

Wolffe- Because I am trying to understand the rationale behind the way you date.

Bly- Why because I date men?

Wolffe- No, because your taste seems erratic.

Bly- How so?

Wolffe- Well, like these college guys you like. You always say they’re immature. But you say that as an excuse to go date some old rich guy, but you leave him because he’s boring.

Bly- I don’t know. I guess I get bored easily.

Wolffe- That I get.

Bly- Young guys are hot. And sometimes I feel just like them. You know, curious, inexperienced, unafraid. It’s nice. But then after a while, I get sick of having to tell them everything. That the world isn’t as black and white as they think it is. They’re so gullible. So I start to feel like I want to be with someone more like how I feel then. Someone cynical. Someone smart, who I could learn from. Someone I can talk to. But then they start to treat me like I’m a kid and it makes me feel rebellious so I screw his pool boy or whatever.

Wolffe- Huh. There’s more to you than I thought.

Bly- Now I’m hurt. You thought I was shallow.

Wolffe- When it comes to matters of the dick, it is safest to assume shallowness.

Bly- (That made him laugh. Especially since this woman walking past gave me a weird look.) Okay, well, maybe with the pool boy.

Wolffe- (Laughing) Well, I assumed. According to the pornographic fiction I read, pool boys are hot. But I mean, I assumed you were just being mercenary, but you really do have your own feelings behind it.

Bly- Mercenary?

Wolffe- Yeah, you know, screwing without emotions. Letting yourself be bought. You only date rich people.

Bly- What’s wrong with that?

Wolffe- I asked General Plo why I found it harder to make rich people understand me, since his family is super wealthy back on Dorin. He said it was hard for them to relate. That rich people have trouble realizing how many of our decisions are made for us for lack of funds and how we feel we’re compromising ourselves by having to do stuff we don’t want to do for money. They can’t imagine it and keep telling us to follow our bliss or what the hell. As if that was an option. So a lot of times, poor people come to resent rich people because the poor people did stuff they didn’t want to do, and they did it for the money. He also said the rich people have a hard time trusting. They always kind of have to wonder if people really like them or if they want money. Affection and buying stuff becomes kind of intertwined. What I hope is that these guys are not using you as their toy and that you’re getting something out of it that you want. Because the potential for abuse in that power structure is high.

Bly- So you’re…worried about me?

Wolffe- I’m trying to make sure you’re doing this because it’s what you want and not because you are being compelled somehow.

Bly- Nah. I think I do it because I don’t want anything long term, so I go with relationships I know are doomed to fail. I can’t get attached.

Wolffe- I guess that’s kind of admirable. Admitting what you want, even if it’s not what you ‘should’ want. (I did air quotes. I loved air quotes. And jazz hands. Those always makes any joke funnier.)

Bly- If I can’t be honest with myself, who can I be? Most of the people I know are me. About being mercenary, yeah, I admit, it’s nice to screw in a nice bed in a nice flat, eating good food, drinking good liquor. It’s like living a fantasy life for a little while.

Wolffe- I’m living my fantasy life. Today I watched Saturday morning cartoons while getting head on the couch. Then I had cereal. Then I came to get you guys to tell you about my awesome morning. Now ice cream.

Bly- Do you ever think about what you’d do with money if you ever had any?

Wolffe- Give it away. It’s no use holding on to money. I want to make sure I do with it what I think needs to be done, not leave it up to other people to decide. If I want to buy drinks for guys, I want to be there with them when they drink them. If I want to make sure a homeless shelter has a decent vidscreen, I go buy one hot off a guy on the street and bring it over there myself. No fricking point saving up, I got no future. They ain’t putting my name on some fancy foundation. Might as well enjoy it now.

Bly- What if it was a lot?

Wolffe- A lot of cash is no good. See, it would be noticed. Like, if you tried to give it to a charity, if they wanted to accept a large cash donation, they need to know where it came from, for tax purposes. So an anonymous donation won’t be acceptable, they can agree not to release the name publicly, but they’d still need to know for their records who you were. A clone having money is dangerous. The government will want to know where you got it. You might end up in prison, we both know the justice system is unfair to us.

Bly- What if the government didn’t care where you got it?

Wolffe- Would you risk that? They could take it away from you any time they wanted. We’re not allowed possessions. Got to get rid of it before they decide to.

Bly- So what if you wanted to buy something?

Wolffe- Well, there is nowhere clones are allowed to shop for the most part. And even if you had like, 100,000 credits and you bought one watch, which watches can cost I hear, you’d never be allowed to wear it openly, since people would want to know where you got it. So again, risking prison. Or you would wear it and some natural born would see it and rob you. (On Coruscant, the normal citizens knew we couldn’t touch them without being charged with assault, and so clone bashing was a bit of a hobby among the sadistic youths of the capital.)

Bly- What if I wanted to buy things and give them to my friends?

Wolffe- And buy what? The entire contents of a corner bodega? Secondhand clothes? Cheap liquor and fast food? Hookers? (All my favorite things)

Bly- I don’t pay for sex.

Wolffe- Look, if I ever had a ton of money, for whatever reason, I would get rid of it. Lots of money is bad luck, it attracts demons.

Bly- What?

Wolffe- Brings out the negative in everybody around it. Just like a pretty girl.

Bly- How is money like a pretty girl? (He didn’t know if he thought I knew what I was talking about with money, but he knew my girlfriend.)

Wolffe- Well, a pretty girl as an idea is glorious. And I don’t deny that having sex with C.C. is absolutely the best. But there is a down side. Brothers get around her and they just act like assholes competing over her. Then they get angry if they don’t get her attention or a spot on her roster. They get rude to each other. They get rude to me, because they resent me having her or protecting her. They tell her she’s stupid for liking me. She gets as tired of it as I do, but what can she do? It’s her livelihood. And even me. I get jealous.

Bly- You do? You never act jealous.

Wolffe- Because I make an effort not to be just another asshole. How would it help her if I acted jealous? Yet, I can’t help feeling like I want her all to myself.

Bly- What do you do, then?

Wolffe- I feel it. But I don’t act on it.

Bly- Does she ever get offended that you aren’t jealous? Karim used to get mad at me for not stepping in if some guy hit on him. Like it meant I didn’t care. I don’t think I’m good at showing I care. Sometimes I worry that I’m broken, like my emotions don’t work right.

Wolffe- Part of your charm. Novocain of the heart can be a blessing. (Man, I miss drugs. Stupid Rex.)

Bly- So you really think a lot of money brings out the worst in people?

Wolffe- If brothers knew you had it, they’d be lining up. Then they’d be offended if you didn’t give them what they thought was enough. They’d tear each other apart with hate and jealousy. They’d all hate you. Look at Cody, brother has more money than any clone I know, but he’s chronically miserable and not very well liked, eh ner vod? (I patted Cody’s back. Cody extended a middle finger at me but didn’t raise his head.)

Bly- That’s a point.

Wolffe- Besides, you’re a clone, which means you are a slave with a predetermined purpose, so no way out of it. Seems to me that if anyone gave any one of us a lot of money, it would be a sadistic joke. Because there would be nothing we could spend it on unless we had our freedom, and all the money in the world wouldn’t buy that.

(At the end of the war, after Rex sent me a message telling me where he was hiding, I wanted to ask Bly if he wanted to go on the run with me. Cody had already told Rex duty would obligate him to report him if he ran, so Rex faked his own death. I couldn’t risk Rex being found out, since he had sensitive information about a Jedi cover up. So I told no one. I asked Bly as a hypothetical whether or not he would ever run away from the army since I was scared to run away on my own and there wasn’t anyone else I thought would make it. Boost and Sinker were already hardcore addicts and would die if they couldn’t get painkillers from the army. No one else would have listened to me because of any one of the reasons Bly had listed. Bly answered that he didn’t care to run because there was nowhere to go. When someone's lost all hope they are already dead inside. Out of all the things that were done to us in the war, the ways they found to grind up our insides were the worst.)


Beige

One time, I was walking home from the bar with Rex. I was showing Rex my list of colors that my droid friend had made up, and he was laughing at the nonsense words. We’d say what we pictured when we heard the word. Rex’s favorite was ‘sane green’ because he could anthropomorphize it into a character. He did a stuffy sounding voice for it. ‘Hello, I’m sane green’. Hilarious. Rex’s silly voices used to make me and Gregor laugh all the time. Rex’s humor was pretty tame. He thought lewd jokes were disrespectful to women (although he didn’t seem to mind mild gay jokes for some reason) and he didn’t like jokes about different species or about other people in general. Overall, I knew what he was trying to say with that, so I respected it. We got to talking about colors.

Rex- Beige, the throne room in Sundari is all beige. (Laughing hysterically.) So Cody says, ‘I guess these pacifists really take their neutrality seriously.’

Wolffe- Hahaha! No way!

Rex- Oh yeah, he loves complaining about interior décor. Bad taste in general.

Wolffe- Really? Never in front of me.

Rex- He probably knows you’d give him a hard time about it.

Wolffe- Probably.

Rex- You would, wouldn’t you?

Wolffe- I intend to.

Rex- Why do you have to do that?

Wolffe- Do what?

Rex- Tear people down all the time. Insult them, make fun.

Wolffe- People can take it. Most like the attention.

Rex- What if they can’t take it? What if you made fun of somebody for something they couldn’t help.

Wolffe- I don’t do that, make fun of a brother because of their injuries or if they have a stutter or whatever.

Rex- You call them ugly.

Wolffe- Look at me. The humor in me calling other guys ugly is apparent.

Rex- Why call any of us that?

Wolffe- Got to do something. We’re not allowed to insult the Republic or natural born folks, since we serve them. At least we’re allowed to laugh at each other.

Rex- I laugh with natural borns all the time.

Wolffe- I do too, but not every brother is us. But do you ever laugh at them?

Rex- Well, I guess I josh Ahsoka sometimes.

Wolffe- ‘Josh’? Golly shucks, Rexy.

Rex- Rexy? No. And to answer your question, no. I mean, I might laugh a little if the Jedi are making fun of each other. But in general, I have too much respect for that.

Wolffe- Yeah, I guess I know you do. Because you know we serve them, so you know you can’t.

Rex- That’s not what I said. I said I respect them. Do you laugh at General Plo?

Wolffe- Sometimes. He thinks it’s funny. When we ‘josh’ him. You want to know what I think?

Rex- Not really.

Wolffe- Well, I’m gonna tell you anyway.

Rex- Oh, thanks. Lucky me.

Wolffe- The point is, it’s classism. They have you convinced that it is respectful to not laugh at them.

Rex- No, it’s what I believe. I am respectful to everyone. People need to have more respect for themselves and stop acting so…

Wolffe- Wolffish?

Rex- You said that, I didn’t.

Wolffe- You thought it.

Rex- I may not agree with your approach, but I love you, brother, I love all my brothers.

Wolffe- (I thought for a minute.) Prove it.

Rex- What?

Wolffe- Prove you love me.

Rex- How?

Wolffe- Trust fall.

Rex- What?

Wolffe- A trust fall. You cross your arms and fall backwards and I’ll catch you.

Rex- But I won’t be able to see you.

Wolffe- Exactly, that’s why it’s a trust fall.

Rex- Seems sick.

Wolffe- Naw. It’s fine. Come on, don’t you trust me? (I did my best to sound untrustworthy.)

Rex- Uh uh. I can’t.

Wolffe- Come on, just do it. What are you afraid of? You know everyone loves you, you’re Captain Rex! Of course I’ll catch you.

Rex- Okay…but…(he made like he was gonna, but kept looking back at me. I was there with my arms out, standing perfectly still.) I…I dunno, I just can’t.

Wolffe- Just do it, you big baby!

Rex- Alright…(He fell back and stopped suddenly with his foot and looked back at me. I hadn’t moved.)

Wolffe- Well, now you’re just deliberately hurting my feelings. I bet you’d do it for Cody.

Rex- Alright…fine…(He fell back, I stepped out of the way and he hit the ground with a thud.) Ooof.

Wolffe- Well, I guess that’s what you get for liking Cody more than me.

Rex- I. Am. Going. To. Kill. You.

(I started cracking up and ran off. He caught me, of course, since he was the fastest runner ever produced in the clone academy. He was laughing, too, by the time he caught me in an alley. He hit me with a few play punches before we got hit with the lights. The police droid was going to arrest us for lewd behavior, since they assumed we were having gay incestuous sex. I asked the droid if he could please write up a citation so I could show the copy to all my brothers to prove I had had sex with THE Captain Rex. The droid recognized Rex as that famous clone from the news and let us off with a warning.)


Primitive Glurges

I wanted to write. That wasn’t something I told everyone. They’d just make fun if I took myself seriously. I wasn’t eager for their derision, since I barely had any confidence in myself as it was. But I told General Plo, because he asked. Before I left Kamino, nobody had ever asked me what I wanted. I was still getting used to answering that. I asked him what he wanted in exchange for listening to me talk. I explained that we clones considered it very bad luck to have a debt so my honor dictated that I had to be useful. He said he supposed he was an old man and all old men really want is for someone to listen to them. So I made time for us to have chats.

Plo- You see as a Jedi, we believe that we are very powerful, so we must exercise the most restraint. We have the most potential to abuse power. On the Dark Side, you have the Sith, they keep each other in check with the rule of two, but they are always plotting to replace each other. The Master seeks more powerful apprentices, the apprentice seeks to become the master and take their own apprentice.

Wolffe- How do you become a Sith?

Plo- There is a process, a period of training as we have with the Jedi.

Wolffe- How do you know you’re done training? Like, the Jedi have trials, Ahsoka said. Pass them, move on to the next level.

Plo- Well, we Jedi don’t know too much about Sith rituals and practices. They’ve always been very secretive. Hiding knowledge away or keeping it for themselves.

Wolffe- Then how do other people learn it?

Plo- Sith Masters like to show off what they know. So they often teach their apprentices, who grow stronger and kill them. Often by allying with a new apprentice already.

Wolffe- This would make a good holovid show.

Plo- Reprehensible people are interesting to watch. But they are dangerous, we shouldn’t forget that.

Wolffe- I like to think I’m harmlessly reprehensible.

Plo- Alright, Wolffe, so tell me of your latest adventure.

Wolffe- Okay. So, you encouraged me to pursue my writing.

Plo- I did. Creative expression is important. And are you writing of your experiences?

Wolffe- Well…not exactly. I decided I wanted some practice to find my voice. I wanted to see if I could write about emotions, since we clones are pretty emotionally unsophisticated.

Plo- What? I don’t think that’s the case at all. Your Force signature has amazing emotional complexity.

Wolffe- Okay, so maybe just unsophisticated at talking about emotions, since we were never really supposed to back on Kamino.

Plo- Alright.

Wolffe- So I decided to write glurges.

Plo- Glurges?

Wolffe- Well, what’s the thing that writers want? We want to be read. We want to share the emotional experience we’ve created. But who’s gonna read what I write? I’m a clone soldier without much skill or technique yet. So I want to try to write glurges, things that people share around the holo-net. Stories that make you laugh or cry, but are positive and schmaltzy as. You know, like the story about the teacher who found out a kid she didn’t like in her class, his mom had a terminal illness. So the teacher was nice to him and he grew up and became a doctor and then invited the teacher to his wedding. I’m not telling it well, but you get what I mean. Or the one about the broken fork and the grandparents at the wedding find out they have the two parts.

Plo- Oh. Yes, my sister-in-law sends those to my niece Sha all the time. Sha calls them ‘mom shares’. She also sends the pictures with inspirational quotes and sentimental things about babies or pets, recipe videos and the like.

Wolffe- How does General Sha hear from her mom? I thought you Jedi weren’t allowed family contact. (I took my notebook out of my messenger bag.)

Plo- Nobody tells my sister-in-law what to do. Truthfully, it embarrasses Sha.

Wolffe- Why don’t you try to talk to your sister-in-law, tell her to back off?

Plo- Because my she sends her daughter care packages and I like the snacks she sends from Dorin.

Wolffe- (Laughing) General Plo, selfishness is wrong for a Jedi.

Plo- Not everything we want is wrong. I’m not hurting anyone.

Wolffe- Okay, so, my glurges. (I handed him the notebook.) I need you to check them for me because I’m not sure I have all the details about the lives of natural born people correct.

Plo- Well, let’s see, here where you have ‘Mother who’s alone’, we call that a ‘single mom’. And here where her son is telling her she ‘knows how to do both gender stereotypical things’, perhaps just say ‘knows how to do the mommy stuff and the daddy stuff.’ I don’t think children say words like ‘gender stereotypical’.

Wolffe- Well, I thought it was the most proper way to say it. You told me to be careful of my vocabulary if I didn’t want my words to distract from what I had to say.

Plo- Different rules apply in emotional discourse.

Wolffe- This is harder than I thought.

Plo- Maybe you’re overthinking this. Try to find a statement that people can agree with.

Wolffe- Like…”It’s easier to talk to people after I’ve had a cup of caf”?

Plo- Perhaps, making it mildly more aggressive.

Wolffe- “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my caf.” With a picture of a tired tooka.

Plo- Brilliant.

Wolffe- I have been over thinking this.

Plo- How about expressing mild dislike for something.

Wolffe- “Mondays, am I right?” A shrugging cartoon krayt dragon.

Plo- Exactly!

Plo- Now turn polite smalltalk into a meme.

Wolffe- Vase of flowers, swirly font, “It’s the little things that make me feel blessed. Share if you agree.”

Plo- Now a story…

Wolffe- A mother was sitting at her table worried about how she was going to pay the bills. Her son asks her, ‘Mommy, what’s an angel?’ and the mother replied, ‘An angel is someone who watches over you and cares for you.’ The son says, ‘You’re my angel, Mommy.’ Every *sniff* mommy is an angel. Share if you agree.

Plo- You’re on the right track. Now, take the story and see if you can stretch it a bit, then heighten the emotional intensity. Maybe the mother has been worried about those bills for weeks. Maybe a near speeder accident the week before where the mother explains how the angel protected them. Ornament the piece with details that will intensify the emotional impact.

(My angel mommy glurge made the rounds of the army after General Plo sent it to his sister-in-law who mom shared it with her daughter and then Plo and she spread it around. General Skywalker shared it completely unironically. I felt for the first time as a writer that I’d been able to share an emotional experience with people who were different from me. I hadn’t written it using feelings I had from having a hard working mom who doesn’t feel appreciated. I wrote it about all women I knew, to thank them because it’s what I felt. I put it on my fridge at home, but my girl never even looked at it. We always ate takeout. And she could barely read. Thanks stupid galaxy that treats girls that way!)

Chapter Text

The Orphan Pickpockets

This one day, I was at the Jedi Temple for a briefing. General Plo and I had gotten to talking about musical plays, since I was fascinated but had never seen one. He invited me up to his quarters to listen to some vintage music disks of some cast recordings. The old fashioned technology was interesting. General Plo was four hundred years old, so he remembered some quaint sounding times. Everybody always made the past sound so naive and innocent. But General Plo said people have always been the same as they are now, despite what some people said. Memories can be short. I was only ten, so I had been just trying to have stuff worth remembering. On this fine afternoon, I was in my cloth uniform and he was teaching me a dance routine from a musical play he liked. He was sponsoring a performance of it at the religious school where he volunteered.

Plo- You see, three centuries ago, this was an award winning play.

Wolffe- These moves are easy and slow, we clones would be able to handle this. We might be able to do musical theater if the choreography isn’t too complicated. I’d love to write one about us. I could picture half the songs now. What’s your favorite play?

Plo- These days, I think it’s the one about the orphan pickpockets.

Wolffe- See, with this song, I can imagine dance moves like marching in place. Brothers could do that. Maybe put a little tough guy flare on it. Some physical comedy. That would be more our speed. The dancing people do nowadays, I like it, but I just don’t think we could do it. With the dancing in music videos, it’s very fluid and sexy. We have trouble moving like that.

Plo- These are the old moves. You couldn’t be too explicit in dancing then.

Wolffe- Were people shyer about sex then?

Plo- Oh no, there was just greater censorship in entertainment. And fashion standards were different. Some mistook this to mean the times were more virtuous, but the only thing that was really different was the political circumstances. And the technology. People had as much sex then as they do now.

Wolffe- I get that sense about people. The amount of porn they print versus the number of natural borns who admit to using it is ridiculous. Those enbees have to be lying.

Plo- Well, nobody wants to admit to wanting porn.

Wolffe- The guy at the liquor store near the base told me it sells like crazy among people who aren’t from that neighborhood, they don’t want anyone to see them buy it.

Plo- So what do you think about that?

Wolffe- Well, if lots of people are using it, why are they ashamed? Who told them to be? Curiosity is a normal human impulse. For that matter, so is sex.

Plo- Some people consider sex a private matter, off limits for discussion.

Wolffe- I only think you’d want to keep it private if you weren’t having any fun. Like say you couldn’t do it because your dick was limp. Or if you were bad at pleasing the other person. I only care what the other person thinks. But if I’m doing a good job, I’d want people to know. Being good at sex is something to be proud of, if I’m to judge from what I’ve read.

Plo- What have you read?

Wolffe- Lots of women’s magazines. They sell magazines at the liquor store where we go. They’re not just the magazines with naked people. I got a recipe for a kind of porridge I want to make you, it should work with your eating straw.

Plo- And these women’s magazines talk about being good at sex?

Wolffe- Well, I get the impression from the porn magazines that it’s easy to turn on a guy. Like a woman pretty much has to show up in high heels and no underpants. But women seem to talk an awful lot amongst themselves about how to make sex enjoyable for themselves. Like it’s their own responsibility. My question is, is this some kind of problem? They talk so enthusiastically about guys who know what they’re doing. Like it’s the exception not the rule.

Plo- I see.

Wolffe- The dancing seems kind of stompy. But I like it. Like something you could believably do on a street corner busking.

Plo- Do you give money to the buskers?

Wolffe- The 104th sponsored a block party with some from the Armory District. Just a little neighborhood thing with some food and drinks. Officially, it was sponsored by my buddy Rolo the Hutt who owns the liquor store and bar that will sell to clones. But we paid the buskers for the entertainment and we split the proceeds.

Plo- Did any of you perform?

Wolffe- I think we would have been shut down if we did. Clones aren’t supposed to gather in large numbers. But we were in the crowd in plain clothes. Just working security and keeping an eye out that nobody was breaking the law. Otherwise the police would have come and shut us down. So we wanted to just keep the neighborhood having a nice day. We consider it our neighborhood because it is the one around the base. It’s where we know everyone and the police won’t help anyone since they’re poor. The police just take a percentage off of the Hutt and Twi’lek businesses that operate in the area. We keep the cops from taking too much, since those droids can be thuggish.

Plo- Do they call you anything specific in the neighborhood?

Wolffe- Just ‘commander’. Except my friend Rolo the Hutt. He calls me ‘burnout punk’. But that’s because he doesn’t consider me an equal, he’s a big time gangster. I’m strictly small time. The businesses in the neighborhood like us because we keep the other gangs out.

Plo- Fascinating. How did you figure out how to organize a gang?

Wolffe- Came naturally. It’s our own military hierarchy in place. The rest of the structure is up to our leadership styles. The funny thing is, back on Kamino, they knew which of us had traits that would make us successful as leaders even when we were kids. They quantified it with data. The Kaminoans have been doing it all along. The same traits give us an advantage in developing extra-military power structures. I had a thought one time that they could engineer clones to be effective leaders and market that somehow. Of course, then I had to ask, what do you think they could market it for? Seems strange for someone to want to buy someone that was effective at leading. They might not be satisfied with being owned. The Republic collects a lot of data too. I don’t know why they want it, but on the bureaucratic paperwork we are made to fill out, the amount of details they want on those forms is obscene.

Plo- Why do you think that is?

Wolffe- Hard to tell what the data could be used for. I joked to Cody that I thought they were deliberately trying to lower morale by making us guys in leadership do mind numbing things to keep us docile. But, I guess it does sound like kind of a conspiracy theory. It was just a feeling I had that it was off. A sense that they were trying to make us worse for some reason. Why do you think they want all those numbers?

Plo- Quantified data is how you look busy. It is not worth anything unless analyzed, but even then, the statistics for most things are meaningless in real applications. For example, if you took all the broken dishes that were thrown away on Coruscant and collected data on orange pieces versus yellow pieces, you could produce statistics on the ratios and it would look like you had done work. But would that really tell you anything useful about the people who made them or used them? It could just be categories they add because they can, without any real meaning.

Wolffe- Yeah, what do they lose? It only costs hours of work for clones and they barely pay us anything.

Plo- Now you see my point.

Wolffe- Do you think it is inadvertent or deliberately sadistic. Like they like to make our lives more difficult just because they can in order to make us miserable. It doesn’t help them or save them time, but they do it anyway to hurt us.

Plo- As a Jedi, I find myself wondering that every day about this government. Truthfully, we have our concerns about these politicians’ sanity.

(My idea for a clone musical play never went far. Like with so many of my plans, I just didn’t have the time. For General Plo’s birthday, the last one before his death, I got a few of my brothers to stage a few of the songs from his favorite musical play for him. I didn’t play the main kid, my voice was too rough, Four-four was the best singer. I played the main kid’s degenerate friend who had the best song. General Plo actually cried and asked for an encore. We got him to sing it with us.)


Coaching Skating

I was at a strip club with Cody once after coming from our usual paperwork date at Central Command. We ran into a bureaucrat I knew, in fact, I’d recommended the place to him and gave him a pass. He’d gotten a free lapdance, he just had to pay the tips for the girl. I used to get these passes because I had gone to the clubs and represented myself as a member of the press, writing strip club reviews for the news