Everyone just stared at the young clone as he stood there pointing at Captain Rex who was momentarily but equally startled as the rest at the sudden challenge.
Yularen Now really do we even have time for this?
Unduli Indeed we must . . .
Washu You asked if he is capable. How long until we are within Geonosis?
Yularen We will be entering the planet's atmosphere in twenty minutes.
She pulled out a timer of some sort from her coat.
Washu Perfect the time limit will be ten minutes; as I will need to leave before we are within the atmosphere.
Unduli . . . . . I assume it would be quick then?
Ahsoka (To Toboe) But are you sure you want to fight him? I mean Rex is a very tough.
Kenobi Yes won't you reconsider your choice?
When Toboe shook his head Obi-Wan turned to Washu.
Kenobi Won't you convince him otherwise Miss. Washu?
Washu If he wants to fight Rex then let him.
Kenobi Well if you insist.
They looked at Rex who didn't seem to agree with this.
Anakin Rex? If you don't mind of course.
Rex . . . . . . . (Sigh) Yes sir; but where would we . . . I mean there isn't much room in here . . .
Before he finished Toboe went to the door that leads to the bridge. They didn't notice it before but when Toboe had his back turned to them a symbol was painted silver on the back of his armor. It was some sort of reptilian – like emblem with two tiny silver spheres where one was clutched in what seemed to be the lizard's claw and the other at the end of its tail. He opened them to reveal the bridge where clone officers were working on various controls that functions the starfighter flight controls. He walked across a raised walkway that leads to the front windows of the bridge looking out into space. On either side of the walkway was a rectangular depression where it controls places like the hanger, clones sat at each station. When he stopped in the middle of the walkway several clones noticed his presence and focused their attention on the mysterious stranger. They too recognized his armor of a fellow clone and were taken back at his strange customization of his armor.
Officer Clone #1 Who is that?
Officer Clone #2 Is he a clone?
Officer Clone #3 A bit short isn't he?
Officer Clone #4 Did you see his armor?
Officer Clone #5 A little . . . . showy isn't it?
When Toboe stopped midway of the walkway, with a swift turn at the heel he spun around, placing both hands behind his back and waited. Rex was about to go over when he felt a hand on his shoulder, he turned to see it was Washu.
Washu Wait, leave your weapons.
Washu Make him feel there will be no foul play.
Kenobi Doesn't he trust us?
Washu Give him a reason to (she winked her eye) a show of good faith if you will.
Rex . . . . . . . Sigh.
He did as he was told and took out both his pistols from their holsters and placed them both on the table. When he was disarmed he made his way towards the little clone, the other clones saw him and began to realize what might be going on.
Officer Clone #6 Is that little guy taking on the captain?
Officer Clone #7 Talk about dangerous.
Anakin Rex, try to go easy on him; wouldn't want to make it look like you're bullying him.
Rex (Nodding) Yes sir.
Mundi Are you sure it is wise for the young one to go against an elite trooper?
Anakin Well it was the squirt who chose him as his opponent, it's his fault he didn't know that Rex is formidable. This could turn into a lesson for the kid.
Kenobi Unless he chose him because he's formidable.
Anakin If so then he's either brave or crazy.
Kenobi Hmm, that sounds a lot like you. But yes I do see your point; there is a rather large gap between them. With Rex's size and long reach, he would have the advantage of range.
Unduli While Toboe is much smaller so his own range is limited. He would have to get close to Captain Rex if he wants his attacks to hit.
Mundi But if he is quick enough then that could give him an advantage of being a harder target to hit.
Anakin Yeah, IF he is quick enough to dodge any of Rex's attacks. (He turned to Washu) If you want you can stop him and change his mind about this whole thing.
Washu . . . . . . No I think Toboe will be fine.
Anakin His funeral then . . . . . is he still going to wear those bracelets?
The only respond he got was Washu chuckling softly. Rex walked to Toboe and stopped when they were only a few feet apart from each other.
Rex You sure you want to do this kid? I mean I'll try my best to take it easy on you but if it would be better to choose another to bout with . . . !
Toboe, like ever since he got here remained silent; he spaced out his feet, planting them until each had a good footing and raised both his fists. This was the sign telling them he wasn't backing out.
Rex Sigh . . . . If you insist kid. (He raised both his fists.) Ready when you are.
Toboe . . . . . . . (nodded)
Washu On your mark . . . get set . . . GO!
Then before Rex could blink Toboe leaped towards him with a raised fist and aimed for his head, Rex raised his arm and blocked the punch. Toboe's speed and boldness jumping in for the first blow surprised Rex.
Rex Not bad kid, but don't think just because you attacked first will give you the advantage. This fight's only begun!
Rex threw multiple punches at Toboe who managed to dodge them all. When Rex spun around to deliver a back punch, Toboe ducked underneath. Rex didn't expect that the little one was able to dodge his attacks; this kid may be worth more than he took him for. After Rex's punch, Toboe counterattacked by aiming a punch to his abdomen. Rex barely felt anything since he still had his armor on but he did see Toboe flinch from the contact. He watched as the little commander jumped back away from him and shook the hand he used to punch him like he didn't think Rex would be so solid; or he had forgotten they were still wearing armor. Big mistake for the little one.
Rex You have to do better than that to beat me kid!
Using Toboe's distraction as an opportunity Rex rushed towards him with an aimed punch. By the time Toboe became aware of what was happening, the next thing he saw was Rex's incoming punch. He didn't have time to block it but at the very last second Toboe managed to move his head to the side and dodged the attack. Rex missed his head by only a hair. Using the opportunity of Rex being so close to him Toboe ducked under him and used his elbow to strike Rex in the stomach. Like his punch earlier it did not have much effect but it was forceful enough to make Rex doubled over which was what Toboe intended. Once Rex's head was lowered in a slight bow Toboe did a cartwheel motion where his feet made contact to Rex's chin sending him back. As Rex staggered back in momentary shock Toboe then rushed towards him and aimed a kick at his torso which it landed its mark. It was a little more forceful than his punches but the contact was enough to shake Rex out of his shock. Once he gotten his senses back Toboe swung another kick aiming his head which Rex blocked before it made contact to his face. But this didn't stop Toboe to spin around and use his other foot as a back kick. As observers of the spar, the Jedi Generals and the other clones were quite surprised at the little commander's performance and his ability to hold his own against a formidable opponent.
Anakin . . . . . . He's . . . pretty good. Skill wise anyway.
Obi-Wan smirked as he heard his former padawan grudgingly say that.
Kenobi He lasted longer than you thought didn't he?
Unduli Perhaps our judgment was clouded after all.
Kenobi But what I am surprised is how fast and nimble he is. With such agility and quick reflexes he could pass as a Jedi.
Mundi However that might not be enough.
Kenobi Yes, you're right.
However, while Toboe's speed and athletic skill should have roughly evened the balance between him and Rex there was one thing that could put a heavy disadvantage on the little clone. Like Rex they noticed Toboe's reaction to his first punch and how he switched from punches to kicks. Toboe seemed to have poor upper body strength since his punches seemed to have barely any effect on Rex. While his kicks seemed to be slightly more powerful, as Rex found himself responding to it more, it still was not effective enough to even make it seem that the kid was a match for the clone captain. Toboe may have the benefit of speed, but Rex had the advantage of power. Truly this became evident when Rex rammed into Toboe actually knocking him off his feet and sent him flying back several feet away. Toboe bowed over coughing and gasping for air as Rex knocked the air from his lungs.
Rex What's wrong, did that hurt?
In response Toboe (while still coughing) got back to his feet and kicked at him again. Even though Rex was confident that he couldn't lose, he was surprised of Toboe's display of speed and reflexes. He never saw such prowess from any of his brothers, not even from Cody or Fox. Toboe even showed multiple demonstrations of combat moves he never seen before or would be seen in their training from when he was raised on Kamino. He had to use both arms to block the next attack from Toboe when he stood on both hands and with his legs apart he spun around in a ferocious spinning kick attack. He hated to admit it but he was impressed at the kid's skill. He began to think he's forming a new respect for the little clone. Then Toboe actually aimed a punch at Rex. This time he caught it. Toboe then tried to use his other fist and Rex caught that one too; locking them both in a position that forced them to push against one another. Of course being the stronger one, Rex, with little effort pushed Toboe back while the smaller strained to push him back but it was like pushing against a wall.
Rex Can't push back, can ya?
Toboe . . . . . . . . . . .
Rex You need to work on your strength . . . . But still you're not too shabby after all kid. You'll make a good soldier. (Toboe merely looked at him and nodded) Now if only you would actually talk then we'll see if you'll make a good leader. Either way you still need to do better!
He gripped Toboe's fist in a tighter hold. Then with a swift haul he lifted Toboe over his shoulder and threw him over. As Toboe flew through the air he recovered by flipping over and landing on his feet behind Rex sliding a small way back towards the bridge windows. Toboe stood up, looked towards Rex. Neither moved, nor did those who watched until Toboe dashed towards Rex. Rex raised his arms to block whatever was coming. As Toboe came closer Rex waited for his attack . . . but it never hit; all he felt was Toboe running past him. He turned around to find Toboe squatting a ways ahead, his left arm on his knees while his chin rested on the hand, the right was tucked behind his knees and his chest.
Rex What are you up to kid?
Ahsoka Uh, Rex? (Rex looked at Ahsoka) I think you're missing something.
Kenobi Your utility belt is missing.
Rex looked down to realize his belt was really gone. No wonder it felt lighter around his waist.
Rex Huh?! Where did . . . –?
Rex looked up to see Toboe raising his right hand and there for all to see was Rex's utility belt dangling in his fist.
Rex What –? How –?
Kenobi Interesting move.
Anakin For a thief.
Toboe threw it back to him. Rex caught it; and after putting his belt back on, he noticed Toboe was standing right in front of him looking up causing him to take a startling step back. They simply stood there staring at each other. Rex didn't quite know what to make out of this sudden yet awkward situation.
Rex Uh . . .
It wasn't until Toboe placed a hand on his arm, at first being gentle then his grip began to tightened and before Rex knew it Toboe swung him over his head and threw him down with a SLAM!! Rex was shocked and it hurt this time . . . a lot.
Ahsoka Oh, poor Rex.
Washu Well he did let his guard down.
Kenobi Who knew this boy was such rascal?
Yet there was no malice in his voice; it was almost like he was enjoying the show as much as Washu was.
Anakin Nah, Rex let him do that.
Washu I'm sure he did.
Rex was still in a daze until he saw that familiar black helmet come into view. It wasn't long until he realized Toboe was on his hands and knees, his head above him, looking down at Rex. His head was so close to his he could see his reflection in the silver visor of Toboe's helmet.
Rex . . . . . . . . Well I suppose I deserve that. (Thinking) For letting my guard down.
He stood up as Toboe straightened up too.
Rex But don't think I'll be letting you do it again you hear.
Toboe nodded as he turned his back to Rex and walked towards t he center of the room. This confused the onlookers as well as Rex. To turn you back on one's opponent is not only a bad (not to mention a stupid) move but could be suicidal if they were on a battlefield.
Rex Hey what are you –?
Before Rex could finish his question Toboe slowly turned around and looked at him. The very moment they locked eyes he felt a surge of some unknown energy rushing towards him like a crashing wave, hitting him like he had been slammed into a wall.
Rex (Thinking) Wh-wha–! What was that?!
The pressure was so forceful and overwhelming Rex froze and was unable to move a limb. He managed to look at Toboe who just stood there calm as the wind. What was that? It couldn't have been the Force, clones were not force-sensitive and he knew what the force felt like. No this was something else completely; but what else could it be?
Rex What . . . did you just do to me?
What happened? Why did Rex lose strength in his legs? Did Toboe do something that none of them noticed? But what could he have done; all he did was just turn around and looked at Rex that was all. Or was it? The Jedi on the other hand did notice something; it was like a stream of energy rushing over them.
Ahsoka Did anyone else fell that? (She felt herself shaking for a moment)
Anakin You mean that weird energy?
Kenobi What on earth did he just do?
Rex who was still frozen in front of Toboe could not move even an inch from where he stood. Then he felt something from his left hand, something he never felt before or ever thought he would feel. He still found it difficult to move but he managed to move his head slightly, just enough for him to see what he did not want to see. His left hand was shaking and not only his hand but his entire body was shaking, uncontrollably! Horrified he realized for the first time in his life . . . he was scared. He was scared! Why? Toboe was just standing there with his back to him, doing nothing and yet when he turned that odd force, that energy that just rushed from this kid, this little kid and after being hit by its blast it made Rex . . . scared. He fought in countless battles, faced countless droids and looked at death in the eye many times and not once during any of them did fear ever reach his heart. So why now? What was so scary about this – this kid!? WHY?! Then Toboe started to walk towards him, just so casually, like he knew his opponent was stiff as a board, as if he had expected this. Did he expect him to freeze up; did he expect him to become afraid?
Rex RRRRRR . . . . (Thinking) No! I can't be afraid . . . I WON'T!!
Toboe was standing just over Rex and was about to reach out to him when Rex gripped his left hand in a tight fist, stopping the shaking at once. Toboe stopped and withdrew his hand as he stepped back like he was surprised. Rex realized once he stopped shaking he could move again and once he saw Toboe pausing Rex found an opening. With one swift move he swung his leg under Toboe knocking him off his feet and onto his back. The tables have turned, Rex got back to his feet where Toboe was still on the floor. Rex just stood there looking down at Toboe who pushed himself up on his elbows and looked back up at Rex. But before neither of them could do anything a loud beeping sound was heard throughout the bridge startling everyone only to realize it came from Washu who held the timer.
Washu Alright, alright times up you two. And may I say it was quite a show!
Anakin See I told you Rex would come out on top.
Ahsoka But you gotta admit it was close.
Kenobi Yes. For a moment I had thought young Toboe was going to win.
Washu Personally I had hoped Toboe would be the only still standing by the time the timer went off but I am willing to accept Rex as the victor this time. Good job the both of you.
Washu clapped first which slowly followed by the Jedi, the navy staff and soon all the clones began to clap too for both worthy opponents.
Washu (Thinking) I see you still wish to rely on your own abilities; I do hope that you now know that it would not be enough. Not this time. You will need to use "them" if you want to survive this invasion. Although I am shocked you managed to produce a kenki battle spirit the way you did, albeit a small one at that. And Captain Rex being struck headlong by a battle aura, no matter how small, and yet managing to stop himself from shaking and even gain control of his body is equally impressive. You were impressed to weren't you . . . Toboe?
Through the clapping and cheers Rex turned to Toboe who was still on the ground but sat cross legged looking at him. Despite that he did gain the upper hand in the fight and won by being the last one on his feet by the buzzing of the timer, Rex did have to admit if Toboe didn't hesitate at that last moment then he would have been the victor. And for some reason he couldn't bring himself to hate the thought at all, in fact he wouldn't have mind losing at that moment. Ignoring the fact that the kid's upper body strength was something to be desired he did have some skill and pretty interesting moves to boot, heck he could learn a thing or two from him.
Rex That was . . . a good fight. (He offered his hand) Nice job kid.
Toboe looked at his hand and then back at him, for only a brief moment Rex could've sworn he heard a faint "heh." After Toboe reached up and grasped Rex's hand, Rex then helped the little clone to his feet which the gesture then increased the cheer from the other clones.
Rex Of course it seems you still need to learn a few things; first of all is never turn your back on your opponent . . . . . . .
Toboe nodded as Rex continued to talk about the tips and rules of combat.
Ahsoka Looks like someone has a new sparring partner.
Anakin Sure looks that way.
Washu Perhaps Commander Cody would like to take a crack at him some other time too. What do you think Cody?
Washu Perhaps you can show Toboe a trick or two.
Once Toboe got to his feet both he and Rex went back to the war room where Toboe retrieved his effects while Rex placed his guns back in their holsters. Washu turned her attention to Master Unduli.
Washu Well than Master Unduli, did he meet your standards?
Unduli I am willing to acknowledge that he seems to be a capable combatant, even though he needs to be trained more. But his skills are adequate enough for the moment. However there is yet one more quality he must prove himself.
Washu You want him to prove himself in the terms of leadership?
Unduli Does nothing escape you Miss Washu?
Washu Only when I am not looking.
Kenobi And I have just the thing for him to test that quality. (He turned on his comlink) Lieutenant?
Clone Yes sir?
Kenobi We are ready for you, come to the war room.
Clone At once sir.
Kenobi (Turning off his comlink) I have taken the liberty to select a squadron of clone troopers earlier for you young Toboe; no don't worry it is only a small group for the moment. If you can show us you can lead this group successfully during this invasion then you will clear us any doubt of your abilities. And of course you will be assigned to lead larger groups, perhaps a platoon or a company.
Several moments later the door opened and a clone entered the war room. The clone approached the holo-table and stood in attention.
Clone You called for me sir?
Kenobi Yes sergeant. Commander Toboe, may I introduce to you Sergeant CC-9546, he and his squad will be under your command during the invasion. Sergeant, this is Commander Toboe, your new commanding officer.
If the clone was surprised to see that his new commanding officer was this small version of a clone (let alone his armor and accessories) then he hid well as he simply nodded his head to Toboe.
Clone It is a pleasure to meet you sir.
Toboe . . . . . . . (Nodding to him)
Washu What? No nickname?
Kenobi Er no, even though he has been a sergeant for some time now, he has yet to take a nickname of his own.
Washu What? Can't think of one?
Clone No I'm afraid not ma'am. I have never been very good with names.
Washu Is that so? Well, I'm sure Toboe here could think up a good name for you, isn't that right Toboe?
Being the center of attention again Toboe couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed when all eyes turned to him. He began to fidget and seem a bit flustered when Washu laughed.
Washu I didn't mean right now, another time maybe.
Toboe . . . . . . . . . . .
Clone I am glad for the offer but for now they call me Sergeant ma'am.
Washu Sergeant? That's a title not a name. Can't have a title when you might get promoted someday young man. Wouldn't want to call you Sergeant when you're a lieutenant or even a captain now would you?
To be honest he would have liked a promotion but the thought of being a lieutenant or even the suggestion of becoming a captain seemed like a dream. It was . . . . it was like he would be asking too much.
Sergeant . . . . (He spoke softly as if he was talking to himself) You are too kind ma'am.
Washu . . . . So what will Toboe be doing right now? Will he be helping you in the assault to the shields?
Kenobi Well, no, with the three of us leading this attack I do not think we will need his strategy when we destroy the shield generator. But don't worry we will need his help once the shields are down. For now we just want you to stay here on the bridge with Admiral Yularen alright?
Toboe . . . . . . . . .
Unduli Well then if you are quite finished, we have a battle to begin.
Kenobi Quite right.
Obi-Wan walked around the table where Unduli and Mundi bowed to each other before she disconnected the transmission.
Kenobi Cody, prep the gunships. I'll meet you in the hanger.
Cody Yes sir.
Washu Well, then I must be going now.
Kenobi Leaving already?
Washu Yes, wouldn't want to hold you people up before the invasion.
Mundi Very well then, have a safe trip back Miss. Washu.
Washu And good luck to you on the invasion gentlemen . . . ladies. Oh yes before I go, Toboe.
Washu Come here I have something for you.
While Toboe went back to Washu Obi-Wan and the others were about to head to the hanger. At first they thought she was going to take out another of her contraptions from her coat when instead she took out something small and fuzzy and said "merow."
Washu He is fully recovered from the last skirmish so he should be fine now.
They looked to see a small creature with soft black fur, small white paws, large long ears, a round tail and large silver eyes. Imbedded on its forehead was a purple diamond-shaped jewel. When the little creature saw Toboe it smiled as it meowed. Toboe seemed to be overjoyed when he saw the little creature and the animal jumped from Washu's hand and landed on Toboe's arm which then ran up and perched on his shoulder. To Ahsoka it was the cutest little thing she had ever seen; cautiously she approached them not wanting to scare the small animal.
Ahsoka He is so cute, what is he? I mean what's his name?
Washu (Smiling at the young padawan's curiosity) His name is Horus. And he is a cabbit.
Ahsoka A cabbit?
Washu It's a long story for another time dear. And one more thing. . . . . Oh stop fidgeting and let me put this on. (CLICK) There now doesn't he look nice?
Everyone turned to see that Washu had placed what seemed to be a thick black choker around Toboe's neck. Placed on the band was a silver square-shaped jewel standing on one of its four corners that sparkled in the artificial light. Everyone in the war room just stared at Toboe's newest accessory as the little clone was tugging at it. The Jedi could feel embarrassment coming from him, little wonder since the jewel itself was obviously noticeable against the black.
Washu Yes you have to wear this. He would be sad if he found out you didn't wear it.
Ahsoka (Thinking) Poor little guy.
Anakin (Stifling a laugh) I'd hate to be in his place.
Kenobi I'm beginning to wonder if his customization were his idea in the first place.
Rex and a few other clones couldn't help but smile under their helmets while several others tried very hard not to laugh at the commander's newest accessory. Cody and Jet only shook their heads as they silently took pity on him. Just how many more jewelry could the commander wear?
Washu You know what it's for but there is only a limited amount so use it sparingly. If you wish to replenish or add more than you'll have to do it yourself. Well then . . . . I'll be looking forward to hearing from you. Good day everyone; take good care of him now.
Kenobi Yes of course, good day and safe trip Miss Washu.
Washu Oh and Toboe . . . .
She leaned to Toboe's ear and whispered something. After several moments she smiled and patted his shoulder before making her way out of the war room leaving the others behind. Toboe waited until the doors closed behind her before he raised both his hands to the choker and was about to take it off when his comlink turned on. From it only Ahsoka and Sergeant heard Washu's voice.
Washu And no taking off that necklace you hear? Be a good boy now.
Toboe dropped his hands along with his head as he sighed with embarrassment. Feeling sympathetic Ahsoka went to him and patted his shoulder.
Ahsoka . . . Um I think it looks nice.
She didn't really think that would help one bit but she thought it wouldn't hurt to try. While Ahsoka tried to console a depressed Toboe Sergeant thought he should properly introduce himself to his new CO. Personally he didn't really know what to expect when he first learned that he and his squad was being assigned to the new commander. Admittedly he expected him to be a Jedi padawan or someone of great stature or something of the like since he heard that the officer was recommended by the chancellor himself. Of course it was to his surprise to see that his commanding officer was this quiet little kid; when he first laid eyes on him he did have some doubts. But then again after seeing Toboe as a fashion victim did make him feel some sympathy to the small clone.
Sergeant Commander Toboe? A pleasure, I'm Sergeant. I am looking forward to working with you.
He held out a hand to Toboe.
Toboe . . . . . . .
He nodded as he shook the other clone's hand. Ahsoka didn't see it but she did have a feeling that he was smiling under his helmet.
In the hanger, the clone flight crew members were busy attending or directing the starfighter bombers as they each were loaded and flown out of the hanger and into the planet's dusty orange sky. Meanwhile Obi-Wan and Cody were walking to one of the gunships.
Cody No sir I wasn't involved in the first assault on Geonosis.
Obi-Wan boarded a gunship.
Obi-wan Well, you didn't miss much. Last time I was tied to a pole and attacked by several humongous monsters.
Cody That sounds . . . entertaining.
Obi-Wan It was, for the Geonosians.
The gunship closed its doors and it as well as several other gunships of Obi-Wan's group took flight and exited the hanger. The gunships carrying soldiers or AT-TE tanks then flew their way across the plains towards the rendezvous point. Meanwhile the Geonosians began their defensive attacks by firing their large sonic blaster weapons and proton cannons at the oncoming gunships where the gunships returned fire. Explosions were seen and heard throughout the sky as the gunships flew while trying to avoid the attacks as several gunships were hit by the ground artillery below. Small enemy starfighters joined the fight as Geonosian pilots flew through the air like insects while several of the Republic bombers dove in and shot down some of the proton cannons and sonic weapons. Back on the Jedi Cruiser Anakin and Ahsoka boarded their gunship for takeoff.
Anakin We all ready Rex?
Rex Yes, sir. General Kenobi is already underway.
Anakin Well, he's got a head start. We have to catch up.
Anakin and his gunships then left the hanger heading towards the rendezvous point after Obi-Wan. Ki-Adi and his men were about to leave as well.
Yularen Good luck general.
Mundi There is no such thing as luck.
After the doors closed the gunships left the hanger. Meanwhile at Toboe's silent request Sergeant led Toboe through the hanger to where his new squad was. Near the middle of the hanger were several clones. They were gearing up anticipating for the upcoming battle. When they were close enough the clones noticed their sergeant and greeted him.
Clone #1 Attention! Sergeant on deck!
At the sound the clones stood at attention.
Sergeant At ease men. Getting ready for the action, are we boys?
Clone #2 Yes sir, just tell us when we're leaving.
Clone #3 Yeah, we're itching to give the bugs a good squashing.
Clone #4 By the way didn't they call you up because the new commander is –?
The clones noticed Toboe standing behind Sergeant away from them as if he was shy. Like the others they were surprised by the outrageous color of his armor; but then again not as much as when they saw his accessories.
Clone #5 Hey who's the squirt behind you Serge?
Sergeant Oh well he's –?
Before he could finish seven out of nine of the clones crowded around Toboe to get a better look at him much to Toboe's chagrin being surrounded by taller men. The first clone bent down to Toboe so that he wasn't looming over him.
Clone #1 Hey there little guy what's your name?
Toboe . . . . . . . . . .
Clone #2 Quiet little guy isn't he?
Clone #6 Is he joining our squad sir?
Clone #7 A bit small isn't he? And what's with your armor kid? (Gently tapping on Toboe's chest plate) Never seen anyone with so much paint on his armor; it's enough to paint a whole gunship.
Clone #5 What about those bracelets? And that gaudy necklace? (Pointing to his choker)
Clone #2 Are we even allowed to wear jewelry?
Clone #3 Who in his right mind would even wear them in battle in the first place?
Clone #4 Well I think it looks very nice; it matches with the black and silver.
They looked at him but they couldn't tell if he was serious or he was trying to make the kid feel better.
Clone #3 Never mind that what the heck is that thing?
He was pointing to Horus who just happened to be riding on the top of Toboe's helmet. The little cabbit twitched its nose as it looked at the strange tall men in white armor with his bright silver eyes.
Clone #4 Aww and who's this little guy?
He slowly reached out his hand to Horus who at first was hesitant and then sniffed his hand. Then from Toboe's helmet he leaped off and onto the clone's hand. This of course was not expected as it startled him when Horus ran up his arm and perched on his shoulder. He purred with content as he rubbed his head to the clone's neck.
Clone #4 (Laughing) Hey stop that tickles!
Clone #1 I think it likes you 4900.
4900 You think so 1085?
Clone #3 Pfft, its only an animal. (he too then reach out to Horus)
Clone #6 Careful 3793, you might to scare it.
3793 What it's just a –
But before any of them would hear what he was going to say Horus hissed and then bit on the clone's gloved finger . . . HARD.
3793 OW! The little beast bit me!
Toboe quickly reached up, grabbed Horus and held him close who was still hissing and baring his teeth in his arms. The clone that was bitten was not too happy about it as his fellow clones held him back; trying not to laugh.
4900 Quit it you're scaring him!
Sergeant Alright, alright that's enough! (Quickly pulling Toboe back) Now there is someone I would like to introduce to you boys.
3793 Oh let me guess it's this little guy isn't it? Yeah nice to meet you now on more important things that little furball just –!
Clone #5 You can blow it off when we go head to head with the bugs.
Sergeant I'm not done yet so listen up. We are not going to join the first raid of Geonosis.
Clone # 2 We're not?
Sergeant No 2615, we got orders to remain here once the Jedi and their troops destroy the ray shield that's protecting the droid factory. Once it's done we will be joining the rest when we attack the factory under the command of our new commander.
1085 So then we are meeting him?
Sergeant You already did, which is what I am trying to tell you.
2615 We did?
Toboe and Sergeant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sergeant and Toboe looked at each other then back to the squad who was waiting for an answer. The squad members looked at both Sergeant and the small clone for several seconds until at last 1085 was the first to figure it out.
1085 Wait, you mean he's . . . .
He pointed at Toboe who just stood there looking (and waving) at them calmly as the rest of them started to catch on.
2615 He's the commander?
3793 . . . . . You got to be kidding me.
Sergeant Yes and no (patting Toboe's shoulder) men let me introduce Commander Toboe. We are assigned under him during the invasion of Geonosis.
The whole squad was silent as the news sunk in when several of them started to laugh while patting Sergeant on the shoulder.
Clone #5 That's a good one sir, you almost had us; really now where is he?
Sergeant . . . . . .
Clone #5 You are kidding . . . right sir?
Sergeant . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4900 I don't think he's kidding.
3793 Sir you can't be serious.
Sergeant Do I look like I'm joking?
Clone #7 So he's really our . . .
Sergeant Our new CO, better get used to it boys. So from now on we are under his command and I expect every single one of you to follow his orders to the letter. Am I understood?
Clones Sir yes sir!
Sergeant (Turning to Toboe) Now sir would you like for me to introduce you to your new squad?
Toboe . . . . . . . (He nodded)
Sergeant Very well sir.
For the pass several minutes Sergeant had the members of his squad lined up in front of Toboe so that he could name each clone. All of them had the same first designation number; CT and their own even or odd numbers. Aside from CTs 1085, 2615, 3793, and 4900, the remaining clones were 5542, 6541, 7891, 8336 and 9941. The members of the squad were actually relatively new soldiers as they had graduated from training not too long ago. And like Sergeant they have yet to find nicknames of their own, using their numbers as their names for the time being. So far only 1085, 2615, 4862 6541 and 7891 seemed to have taken the idea of Toboe being their new CO. Although they had to admit it was a little hard to believe and a bit awkward with the thought of working with him. 3793 and 5542 on the other hand had the hardest time to accept the fact that their commander was a little clone with the most extravagant paint job and fashion sense they have ever seen. As for 8336 and 9941, Toboe or Sergeant had no idea what had either clone thought about the whole situation since neither of them said a thing. In fact neither of them spoke or even joined their brothers' crowd ever since Sergeant brought Toboe. So what was going through 8336 and 9941's mind was anyone's guess. All Toboe had ever gotten from them was a nod from 8336 and a slight glance from 9941 when Sergeant named them.
Sergeant Don't feel offended sir, they aren't exactly the talking type.
3793 (Thinking) They aren't the only ones are they "sir?" (Eyeing Toboe)
Meanwhile as Admiral Yularen was about to make his way to the bridge where he saw Toboe in the hanger with his new squad.
Yularen Commander? There you are young man I was just about to return to the bridge; would you like to accompany me?
Toboe . . . . . . . . . . . .
Yularen Commander Toboe?
Of course Toboe didn't answer him but glanced at the starfighters who were either getting ready to depart or about to take flight.
Yularen . . . . . . . . You want to join the invasion don't you?
It seemed he hit right on the mark when Toboe looked back at him. Yularen was confident that he was right but he shook his head and said firmly.
Yularen General Kenobi has specifically instructed you to stay up on the bridge with me; your presence is not needed in this mission.
Toboe glanced back again at the last of the starfighters as they departed the hanger; even the clones could see that he wanted to go as much as they did.
Yularen No you cannot go young man. Besides there is no ship that can even take you as you can see all of the gunships have already left.
The moment Yularen said ship Toboe snapped back at the admiral. After staring at him for a moment the little commander grabbed the admiral's arm and tugged him to follow him.
While Toboe still clung onto Yularen's arm and dragged him across the hanger, Sergeant and his men followed them, wondering what the commander was up to of course as much as the admiral. It wasn't until they stopped near the edge where the hanger opened from beneath the Jedi Cruiser so that larger aircrafts such as gunships could leave the warship with ease. Not knowing what Toboe was up to Yularen pulled his arm from his grip.
Yularen What is the meaning of this young man?
Toboe didn't respond as he made his way to the edge of the opened space which overlooked the planet's surface. Down below he could see miles upon miles of vast deserts and mountain peaks of reddish-orange earth and rocks. What was he doing?
Sergeant Sir! Sir what are you doing?!
Yularen Get away from there Toboe or you might fall!
Toboe merely glanced back to the others then turned back as he glanced at Horus who was perched on his shoulder. After a moment had passed, then without warning Toboe grabbed Horus, and with one swift aim he threw the small creature out from the hanger sending it flying out to the planet's surface. For a moment they thought the commander had lost his mind.
Sergeant and 4862 SIR!
Yularen Toboe! Why did you –
Yularen's voice stopped in his throat when the air was filled with a loud "MROOOOOOEW!!" Yularen and the clones watched as the small creature's body began to change before their very eyes. First it's small body transformed into a small black crystal with pointed barbs which only grew larger and larger until the barbs then became smooth and changed into four enormous crystallized spikes. A moment later a giant purple crystalline sphere was formed in the center crowned by the four black crystal spikes with numerous smaller crystal spikes hung from underneath. Once its transformation was done the ship simply floated there near the opening of the hanger. Toboe then turned around to the others with his arms crossed; for some reason they believed that he was smirking under that black helmet of his.
Yularen, the clones, practically everyone in the hanger were completely awed at its massive size and its crystalline structure was nothing they have never seen before. They couldn't believe that such a tiny little thing could transform into a gigantic ship, let alone a real, live animal. Yularen was the first to collect his senses, though it took him several more seconds to say anything. It was something he had dreamed of seeing before of course and yet he couldn't help but wonder . . . that he had seen a ship that was quite similar to Toboe's.
Yularen . . . . . . . Ahem . . . well now. That is uh . . . quite a ship you have there Commander Toboe. I'd suppose you are planning to use it then? (Toboe nodded) Then I would assume you would like to initiate your plan of providing support to the generals? Now I know we have only just met and I do have some concerns about your plan. And I must remind you that this is a planetary wide invasion, so if you do this we will not be able to provide anymore ships to aid you. Therefore I'm afraid you will be on your own for a while, do you understand? (Toboe nodded again) Good at the very least I wanted you to know what you're getting yourself into. I want to make it clear that I am against all of this but if you are determined then I will place my trust in your judgment for the moment . . . . . . Let this be your final test. Let us see if you are truly capable of being a leader . . . . if Sergeant and his squad has no objecting to accompanying you. Well Sergeant?
Sergeant didn't respond right away, instead he looked at the others who nodded in agreement; they wanted to join the fight anyway. He turned back to Yularen and Toboe.
Sergeant Yes sir, we will be more than happy to accompany the commander (Standing in attention as the rest did the same) We are geared up and ready to go. We await your command Commander Toboe.
Yularen Well you heard the man; they're ready for you Commander Toboe.
Toboe . . . . . . .
Yularen And do not worry about General Kenobi and General Skywalker, just tell them you were following . . . . "my orders," I will receive full responsibility if they get angry.
Toboe nodded before turning around to face the open hanger where the ship was waiting for them. They didn't know how they were going to board the ship until he waved to them to come to the edge of the hanger which they did until they stood behind him. Few seconds passed when all of a sudden from the ground a bright light began to encircle them forming a large circle around the entire squad. Without warning the circle glowed with a blinding light surrounding them and in a flash they disappeared from the hanger leaving only Yularen and Toboe. This shocked Yularen and everyone who was nearby but before the admiral could exclaim what happened to them Toboe turned to him. A moment passed, Toboe nodded once more as another circle of light surrounded him and he too began to glow before disappearing in a bright light leaving the admiral alone at the edge of the hanger. Yularen could have sworn he saw a small fragment of light rising up, as if it was heading towards the ship. Was that Toboe?
Once the light disappeared into the ship it flew away full speed ahead. Yularen watched the ship fly off across the Geonosian sky until it was only a dark speck in the distance.
Yularen . . . . . . . . . . Good luck to you commander; you're going to need it.