Fi walked out of the military holonews broadcasting room suppressing a yawn. Oh, to Fierfek with it; he let himself yawn like a herpetology specimen.
This was the time of day the clones of Arca Barracks were ordered to informally keep up with news of the war and other major events of interest. A way for everyone to receive information they normally wouldn't be privy to in their mission briefings.
An interesting concept, but why did they insist of sending members of tight-knit units or companies to attend seperate broadcasts? Surely they were hoping those comrades would then mingle once more after the broadcasts and share the stories they'd heard, but then why not make them all watch each broadcast in succession? Were they that concerned about saving bandwidth? Hmm, maybe the war wasn't going too well after all if the economical realities had come to that.
Then again, whatever the reason was, he was more than grateful. He wasn't sure he could've standed sitting through another one of those newscasts right now. Now, his Omega-three were doubtless somewhere around here, ready to dazzle him with the fabled tales they'd just learned.
His mouth froze agape halfway through his yawn and one of his eye cracked open in mild curiosity when he heard an unfamiliar clone voice speak his number.
"RC-8015?" it asked. "Yes, what can I do for you trooper?" responded Fi, childishly slipping into mock-formal mode at the mention of his code.
"Message for you," he snapped as he handed him a datapad.
He read through it, aware that the expressional gamut of his reactions must be like a theatre to the trooper. He went from being mildly curious to amused, to embarassingly giddy, to concerned, to defiantly incredulous, to shocked, to excited and finally conspiratorial.
He just had to share this with his squad-mates. Oh, and with Delta, too. As he craned his neck over a sea of heads that were all painfully at eye-level, had a thought to the message's originator. If the stringent instructor had just given it to the trooper, he must then still be around. Not knowing which direction to devote his searching gaze, he tried looking everywhere at once.
Walon could see 8015 looking for him, and wondered how long it would be before he was found. When he finally decided to head to the first point and get Team 1 started, 8015 caught him. "Fi" stared at him as if he was trying to focus. Walon stared back.
Fi's attention was still spinning around, casting out in all direction, when a very inelegant about-face brought it bearing down on the stoic figure of Walon Vau.
He kept eye contact as well as he could as he wafted his way through the tank-bred crowd... as if there was any chance of losing track of the one man who didn't look like all the others.
Fi wasn't quite sure what his expression was when he reached the man. He was hoping it wasn't too expressive one way or the other. He tried slipping on the slightest of grins -which didn't hold- as he chose to play it safe and ask: "Sir! Permission to ask a question, sir?"
It hadn't taken 8015 long to get to him.
"Sir! Permission to ask a question, sir?"
Walon nodded. "If you must." What kind of question would he ask? He'd only known 8015 for a short time, but he already knew enough that it could probably be about anything. He was similar to "Scorch" in that aspect.
Already Vau's serious demeanor had answered Fi's question before he'd even asked it. "This is serious then, isn't it?" he proposed, making it more a statement than a matter that had any doubt at all, as incredible as it sounded.
So that Vau would effectively have something proper to answer other than simply staring Fi down saying 'Of course it is you silly clone,' Fi went on to ask something else, as politely as he could. "What might be the purpose of this, um, exercise?"
Vau almost smiled.
"Of course it is Fi. Training is always serious, no matter what it's about. Proper training keeps squads alive and intact, wheras improper training obviously doesn't." The commando twitched. Vau struck a nerve and he knew it. Skirata must not have been sober the day he was teaching them about mental abuse. They wouldn't get much farther in life if they didn't start learning now.
"As for the purpose, it is to see how well you all have learned to work together. It would be unfortunate if the only thing you absorbed was how to get into trouble." The squads certainly had done a lot of that. Fi and Sev had been the worst, almost actively attempting to foil the mission.
Vau saw a trooper approaching out of the corner of his eye. He had two datapads in his hands.
"Sir, two of the commandos you requested the datapads be delivered to could not be located." He looked edgy, as if not being able to find the commandos bothered him.
"Which ones?" Vau asked, taking the datapads from the clone.
"RC-1138 and RC-1309. They aren't anywhere." the clone looked even more bothered.
"Try better next time." the clone nodded and left. Boss and Niner were missing? Or maybe they had avoided being found. Vau would have to look into this on his own.
"Is there anything else you want?" Vau asked Fi. He still had to make sure the others were set before chasing after a pair of commandos. Squad leaders at that.
Fixer was sat about halfway back in the holonews audotorium he'd been assigned to for this quarter, lolling back in his seat a little as he took in and digested the information that was being relayed to him on the screen. Separatists striking at the Colony worlds? he thought, raising an eyebrow at the violent images of Sep war cruisers raining streams of laser fire down on planetary vistas. The news caught Fixer by surprise - he generally kept on top of current events, but he'd not heard about this. For the rest of the broadcast, he chided himself for not having heard about it - he'd been a bit lax lately with checking the newschannels and such. Growing frustrated with himself, Fixer did his best to concentrate on the dying broadcast. The holonews soon ended however, and he picked up his kit bag and strode out of the room, still annoyed with himself. I can't afford to be this lax, he thought to himself, walking into another trooper.
"Oof!" they cried in the same voice, taking identical steps backwards, as if they were mirror images of each other. "Sorry trooper," said Fixer. "Sorry sir," apologised the trooper, who held out a data pad. "Instructions from Sergeant Vau," he said, handing over the pad, before sheepishly scuttling away.
Fixer inspected the pad. 3222? he thought, looking at who he had been paired with. Good.. He'd developed something of a professional respect for Three Two Two during the Coruscant op, and he knew that "Atin" also had a deep appreciation for gadgets and gear. We should get on.. Dropping the datapad into his kit bag, he paced off towards Room Two, to meet Atin and begin the task.
Atin held back anger as he read the assignment. He still had a rather grim look about his face, which over a few minutes, he slowly changed into a grin as he walked off towards room2.
Vau was asking for it, regardless of how sly and subtle he was about it. He didn't know what his brothers thought about the situation between Vau and him, but he wished they didn't know. Atin didn't particularly want it getting around; Delta and Omega knew, and a few others, but regardless, he just wanted it to be not spoken of. It was between him and Vau. Period.
Atin had a sudden thought; what if Vau's punishment upon him was different, more mental than physical, an 'emotional abuser.' Would he, Atin, still be the same clone he was then, or something different? More closed off towards his brothers, more angry towards Vau?
Suddenly annoyed by the whole subject, Atin shook the thoughts away, and focused on this new assignment. He walked over towards Room two to pair up with Fixer.
The chakaar did that on purpose, Sev thought. He didn't thank the trooper, just stormed off. Sometimes, he thought Atin had the right idea, wanting to knife Vau. And he didn't know if it stung more that Vau knew about his shoulder or if it was worse that he'd snidely rebuked Sev in such a public way. Granted, Vau wasn't known for his kind heart, but Sev had gone to great pains to hide it from his vode. He wasn't used to that kind of embarrassment, and he certainly didn't want to risk anybody thinking he was incapable of performing to top standards.
He didn't bother to conceal his frustration as he headed to the room. He liked working with Fi well enough. In fact, of all the Omegas, Fi was the one he preferred working with. The man was funny, but he pushed Sev to do crazy things. And what he didn't want was Vau breathing down his neck if he messed up. Again.
His audience with Vau completed, Fi hastened to his assigned "room 4", partly excited like a newly-cloned and partly incredulous that they were actually assigned to something so playful... by Walon Vau? This was the sort of thing Jusik would've put in his head to organize, and even then he certainly wouldn't have made it an order. If a serious mind like Vau was coming up with something so unusual he had to have some reason.
Disturbingly, Fi got the feeling of being a laboratory rodent. Exhibing no less rodent-like features was his Delta-buddy Sev waiting for him in front of the room indicated by the holochart. A plain unadorned black door, which, if Fi's memory of the barracks blueprints served him well, should either lead into a storeroom, or a sceptic tank. Either way promised to be memorable.
"Mister Sev," he waved with a grin, using the silly honorific clones would normally never use between each other. "What's a clone like you doing in a place like this, then?"
"One of these days, I'm gonna punch you," Sev said, sounding almost cheerful about it. "So, what do you think's in there? Knowing Vau, something unpleasant. Think you're up to the challenge, ner vod?" He waved a hand at the door and grinned.
Delta, like all the commandos, had been bred for excellence. But Delta, unlike most of their brothers, had been trained for competition. It made him giddy, being tested like this, but unlike some of his brothers, it never really made Sev nervous. It was what he lived for.
"Get punched by you, right. I'll make a note of it," Fi answered matter-of-factly, waving stylus strokes on an imaginary datapad. "Right after 'Receive marriage proposal from General Unduli'"
Now why did that particular sarcastic jape feel more sour to himself than it probably did for its intended recipient?
Sev's smile seemed genuilely excited, without any nervousness. As superficial as the man was in his attitude toward heroism, he was principled about it. His attitude was genuine, not a mask of phony bravado that would melt at the first sign of danger. Then again, no clone worth the name would act so cowardly. It just wasn't in their nature.
Putting his gaseous datapad away and tucking the pretend stylus behind his ear, Fi assessed the black door some more. "All I know is that whatever's in there isn't out here, so what do you say we get cracking?" he commented with an admiring smile, ignoring the other's little taunt.
"I don't know how your brothers stand you." Sev pressed the pad to open the door. "Ladies first, eh?" he said, elbowing Fi lightly in the back to push him into the pitch-black room. "Oh. This is fun. Find the light switch." He was silent for a second, then said, "Why do I feel like a rodent trying to find the cheese?"
It felt odd to be the one to grapple Sev back to seriousness. But as Fi tiptoed into the dark room, having his sight robbed from him instantly brought his soldier's instinct to bear.
"I'll treat you to all the cheese you want afterwards," he whispered as he fell into a fighting stance, noting that Sev had just made the same comparison that had crossed his own mind a minute ago. "What do you say we find ourselves a key first?"
2012-11-09 12:16 am (UTC)
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