Following the Events of "Friendly-Fire" Shadow Squad has a new mission...
*Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars or any of its properties ([Legends and Canon material alike] the Planets, events, ships, Gear, etc. Mentioned in this story). All those belong to George Lucas, Lucasfilm, and Disney. I do however own "Shadow Squadron's" Commander Shadow, Spooks, Umbra, Captain Gloom, Shade, and General Ondu Pavay. This story is for entertainment purposes only.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....
As the Clone Wars come to a close, in its aftermath, the task of eliminating the remaining threats to the newly established Galactic Empire falls to many of the Imperial Clone Forces spread throughout the galaxy. Newly appointed Emperor, Sheev Palpatine, has commissioned the sensitive task of locating high profile Separatist targets hiding on neutral planets to several small covert clone units. One such unit is known simply as "Shadow Squadron"; a small squad of highly trained Clone Shadow Commandos.
Lead by Clone Commander CC-997 (A.K.A "Shadow"), it is their job to carry out the missions that the Emperor would rather prevent from becoming public knowledge and compromising the illusion of peace that he has created.
Although the Heads of the Separatist Council have already been eliminated at the end of the war, it seems not all of their generals have got the message. Separatist General, Ondu Pavay, has fled to the former fortress of General Grievous on the third moon of Vassek in the Outer Rim Territories, where he has begun rebuilding new droid forces in a new secret droid factory in the hopes of one day opposing the Empire.
LOCATION: VASSEK SYSTEM.
The Black Dart exited hyperspace, entering the quiet system of Vassek. The small Theta-Class Stealth Attack Shuttle made its silent approach towards the third moon of Vassek under the protection of its state-of-the-art cloaking device, preventing any ships in-system from detecting it on their scanners.
"Making our approach." Said Clone Trooper, CT-52730 (commonly referred to as "Shade") as he manned the controls in the shuttle's cockpit. "'We still ghost, Umbra?"
Clone Trooper CT-32647 quickly checked the shuttle's system logs one last time before nodding to his clone brother. "'Still cloaked and moving dark. All systems running smoothly."
The door to the cockpit whizzed open with a hiss as a third Clone Trooper wearing black Katarn-Class Commando armor from the neck down entered the cockpit, startling the two clones.
"Jeez, Spooks! You scared us half to death." Said Shade as turned to the new clone.
"Yeah. We were beginning to enjoy the silence." Added Umbra.
The Clone shook his head barely letting his annoyance show. "The Commander wants us all in the briefing room in two minutes."
"Alright, just give me a second." said Shade, quickly tapping a button. "And... There. Autopilot engaged."
Clone Commander CC-997 (Known as "Shadow" by his brothers and enemies alike) stood at the holotable waiting to brief his men on their new mission. His face was hard and aged, showing the physical and emotional scars he had obtained over his long years of service to the Republic during the Clone Wars; the salt and pepper color in his hairline only further illustrating the Clone Commander's true age. He had been part of the first generation of ARC Clone Troopers created on Kamino before the war and prided himself on being one of the oldest clones still in service.
Unlike his younger clone brothers, Shadow still wore his original black Phase I ARC Trooper armor with the dark pauldron and Kama, identifying him as a ranking officer for stealth missions during the war. When the time came for the Clone Forces to adopt the new standard issue Phase II armor towards the end of the war, he ultimately refused to abandon the use of the Phase I armor he had become accustomed to wearing. Although his Phase I armor was no longer considered standard issue, he was allowed to continue its use through the remainder of the war.
Beside Commander Shadow stood Clone Captain CT-2187 (or "Gloom") wearing his usual somber expression on his face in addition to his black Phase II Shadow Trooper armor with Pauldron and Kama. Unlike the other members of Shadow Squadron, Gloom served under Commander Shadow the longest and seen the horrors most clone troopers couldn't possibly imagine during the war.
His long service had eventually earned him a promotion to the rank of Captain. Together Shadow and Gloom had seen new clone commando recruits join the squad only to perish a short time later. Gloom had learned early on it was better not to get attached to new recruits, ultimately devoting his focus to completing the objective above anything else.
The Commanding Officers were soon joined by the other members of the squad, who waisted no time in gathering around the holotable for the briefing.
"As you all know, the Clone War "OFFICALLY" ended three months ago. The public believes all Separatist leaders have been wiped out and the galaxy is at peace." Said Commander Shadow. "In truth, the remaining Separatist leaders have gone into hiding throughout the Outer Rim Territories, where they have been attempting to build new droid forces with the help of Separatist Sympathizers."
The Commander paused for a moment to let his men process the information, then continued. "Our mission comes directly from the Emperor himself. He wants this done discreetly, off the record. The Public CANNOT have any knowledge of our actions. As far as the rest of the galaxy is concerned...we don't exist."
The Commander tapped a button on the holotable and an image of a Kajain'sa'Nikto male appeared above the table.
"This is our target...Ondu Pavay. He was a combat commander leading Separatist ground forces in the Outer Rim Sieges during the Clone Wars. Reports indicate that Pavay was leading Separatist ground forces during the Battle of Lokori, until he was forced to retreat in a small Separatist shuttle with several Lokori soldiers and specialists, after the droid forces were deactivated at the end of the war. According to our intel, Pavay was in the process of creating new more advanced droids before he vanished. However, over the past few months, the Emperor has secretly dispatched Imperial forces to locate the remaining Separatist leaders hiding in the Western Reaches of the Outer Rim Territories."
The Image changed to a recording of what appeared to be Super Battle Droids with the twin blaster arms of Droidekas blasting Imperial forces with rapid fire bursts.
"Several Imperial forces have reported that these new droids being implemented by the Separatist forces in two of the Outer Rim Skirmishes. They're calling them Havok Droids. It also appears that several droid armies have been reactivated by Separatist forces; Though nothing large enough for a large campaign. The Emperor believes these new droids are being manufactured by Pavay in a fortress previously used by General Grievous in the Vassek System."
"The Vassek System?" Gasped Spooks, his eyes widening in horror. "I've heard what happened at that fortress during the war...The pace is a death trap!"
"Easy, Spooks." Said Captain Gloom. "The clones that entered that place were going in blind. They didn't have the training we've had either. We're Shadow Commandos; The Death from the Shadows. There's no place for cowards in our ranks--"
Commander Shadow held up his hand, immediately shutting Gloom up.
"Gloom is right. This is what we're bred for. We have training and gear to get this done ourselves." He said, bringing up a map of Vassek's surface on the holotable. "We'll land 10 Klicks from the objective. From there we will make our way towards the fortress on foot, under the cover of nightfall. The small cloaking devices equipped to our armor will prevent us from being picked up by any scanners."
The Commander deactivated the holotable and continued.
"Once we enter the fortress, be on the alert, the place will be crawling with Clankers. Umbra, you will hack into the data port and obtain the full layout of the fortress for us. Once we've have the layout, we will split up into two teams and proceed to our objectives." Shadow nodded to Gloom.
"Umbra. Spooks. You'll be with me on demolition." Said the Captain. "Our primary objective will be to enter the factory and begin planting charges."
"Shade and I will head to the control room and eliminate Pavay and his Lokori specialists by any means necessary." The Commander explained. "When you receive confirmation that the targets are down, that will be your que for your team to initiate the countdown sequence. Once the countdown sequence has begun, you will have 10 minutes to get back to the L.Z. before the charges are detonated, bringing the whole fortress crashing down. Any questions? No? Good. Gear up. Boots on the ground in fifteen minutes. Dismissed."
As the Squad began to gear up, The Commander approached Shade.
The Black Dart touched down in the on the makeshift L.Z., its cloaking devices still activated even after Shadow Squadron made their way down the ship's ramp.
A thick fog on the planet's surface masked the squad's approach, providing them with further cover as they reached the large blast-door embedded into the side to the mountain. Commander Shadow noticed a small data-port outlet next to the blast door.
"Umbra, You're up." The Commander whispered into his helmet's com device.
Umbra nodded, patching into the outlet. "Downloading the schematics of the outpost in Three...Two...One. Download complete. Transmitting Fortress layout to you now, Commander."
"Layout received. Access the codes to open the blast door."
Umbra quickly typed the codes into the data-pad on his wrist. The Blast-Door opening just a crack, barely wide enough for a single clone to fit through.
"<Sir, the blast-door on the North Entrance appears to have opened on its own slightly.>" Said a Lokori data specialist in his native language.
Ondu Pavay turned towards the Lokori specialist, the light from the control rooms monitors reflecting off his battle armor.
"Have the sensors picked up anything?" He said, slowly approaching the Lokori.
The Lokori shook his head. "<Sensors aren't picking up any lifeforms. It must have been a glitch in the system.>"
The narrow hallways of the Fortress were dimly lit; the light pale and foreboding. The Commandoes stepped cautiously, their blasters held at the ready. The sound of metallic footsteps echoed against the hallway walls, as the sound got closer and closer.
"Easy, Spooks." Said Shade through the com device in his new helmet. "'You mind pointing that thing away from me."
"Cut the chatter you two." Whispered Shadow sternly. "There's a squad of repair droids approaching. Find cover and let them pass. I repeat. DO NOT engage."
The Commander silently motioned for the squad to break off and take cover behind several stacks of crates just as the droids rounded the corner hallway, a Havok droid accompanying the droids as they headed down the North entrance hallway.
The Havok droid, paused for a moment, surveyed the room, then continued down the hallway with the rest of the droids.
When the coast was clear, Commander Shadow gave the signal for the group to form up on him.
As the Squad reached the central corridor, Gloom crouched down and quickly held his fist up, signaling for the rest of the squad to hold position.
"What is it?" asked the Commander.
saying a word, the clone captain pointed toward the central
In the center of the corridor, was a large statue of a Kaleesh warrior. The seasoned clone commander was confuse until he saw what Gloom was pointing to.
"Commando droids." Whispered Shadow. "four of them."
Gloom shook his head. "No one said it would be easy."
Shadow motioned for Shade to come forward. "Shade, take out the light. Umbra, Spooks, you take the two on the left, Gloom and I will take the two on the right. We'll have 30 seconds before the emergency backup lights power on. Vibodaggers only. You know what to do. On my mark..."
Shade aimed this DC-19 Stealth Carbine pistol at the pale lighting fixture.
Gloom lead his team, as they silently repelled down to the factory level long before the emergency backup lights came on.
"That was too close." said Gloom to himself, as the other clones looked at the factory.
"Interesting..." said Umbra. "The factory is above the fortress hanger. If we take out the factory, we'll take out the hanger at the same time."
"Killin' two Mynock wit' the same stone." Agreed Spooks.
Commander Shadow and Shade silently made their way towards the control room door. The Commander noticed a ventilation shaft above the control room door just wide enough for the clones to crawl through. Carefully removing the vent cover, the Clone Commander crawled into the shaft.
Before Shade could crawl into the air shaft, there was a noise on the other end of the door. The clone quickly replaced the vent cover and pressed his body against the wall as the control room doors opened with a hiss.
Two Battle Droids exited the control room, taking their posts outside the door, oblivious of the clone commando's presence.
Shade held his breath. I can't use the ventilation shaft while these Clankers are standing guard, He thought. I'll have to slip past them.
Shade silently moved towards the access panel beside the door, careful to avoid the droid guards in front of him and pressed the access panel. The Door hissed open behind the droids.
"Huh?" said the first droid in a nasally voice. "How'd that happen?"
The Second Droid turned to his comrade in confusion. "DID YOU BUMP THE BUTTON?"
"I don't think so." Said the first droid, scratching his head. "THAT'S STRANGE... MAYBE THE CIRCUITS ARE BAD."
Shade wasted no time, slipping through the open door and into the Control Room as the two droids carried on their conversation.
"THIS WHOLE FORTRESS COULD USE SOME MAINTENANCE..."
The door whizzed shut behind Shade.
From his current position, Shade could see that Commander Shadow had taken his position on the catwalk above, his WESTAR-M5 Blaster Rifle set in its sniper configuration. The Commander suddenly realizing that Shade had not been behind him in the ventilation shaft and was on the level below him, in a room filled with enemies, none of which was alerted to his presence thankfully.
"What are you doing, Shade." Shadow whispered over a private communication channel in his helmet.
"'Couldn't get to the air shaft." Whispered Shade.
"Hold your position. Do not engage." The Commander switched to Gloom's comm channel. "Shadow to Gloom. is your team in position? Over."
A voice came from the receiving end of the Commander's helmet. It was Gloom. "Gloom to Shadow. I read you. 'Charges are set and ready for countdown. 'Awaiting your command. Over."
"Standby." Shadow acknowledged turning his attention back to Shade. "Shade, proceed with the plan. Take out Pavay by any means necessary. Remember, do it quietly. I'll cover you."
Shade silently began his approach towards Pavay, who was busy yelling at the Lokori Specialists working at their data monitors, reviewing the sensor readouts of various droid patrols.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU LOST AN ENTIRE SQUAD OF COMMANDO DROIDS?!?!" Bellowed Ondu Pavay.
"<The Squad no longer appears on any of our readings. Their signals appear to have gone dead.>" said a Lokori specialist nervously.
"Something's off about this." Pavay said to himself. He turned his attention back to the Lokori. "Run another scan of the fortress! I don't want any surprises!"
Shade was an arm's length away from Pavay, his vibodagger drawn. Suddenly, his armor's cloaking device short-circuited, then turned off entirely, leaving the Clone Commando very visible and very exposed to the entire room.
"CLONES!" Shouted Pavay, lunging towards his clone attacker.
Before any of the Lokori specialists had time to react or sound the alarm, they were mowed down by a rapid burst of blaster fire from the Shadow's WESTAR-M5 blaster rifle.
Captain Gloom and his team heard the Commander's order loud and clear from the other side of the fortress and quickly deactivating their cloaking devices.
"Yes, Sir." Said Captain Gloom, activating the countdown sequence on the charges.
During this time, Clone Trooper Umbra had already plugged into the manual control outlet for the Hanger's Large Blast-Door, was tapping a code into the data-pad on his wrist.
The Blast-Door slammed shut, locking tightly as the droids in the hanger tried in vain to open the Blast-Door again.
"It'll take them at least an hour before they can get the blast door open." Said Umbra.
Back in the Control Room, Pavay continued attacking Shade. The Clone Commando did his best to parry the oncoming attacks, even managing to land a few hard hits on his attacker's face, but was clearly outmatched by the strong Kajain'sa'Nikto warrior.
The Commander desperately tried to get a lock on Pavay with the scope of his rifle, but determined that he could not pull the trigger without hitting Shade too.
"I can't get a clean shot." Said the Commander to himself.
He watched helplessly as Pavay pulled the vibodagger from Shade's hand, raiding his arm for an executioner's blow.
There was a sudden burst of blaster fire...then silence.
The Kajain'sa'Nikto warrior dropped to the floor, lifelessly. His body riddled with blaster holes.
Standing in the Control Room Doorway was Spooks, the barrel of his DC-17M blaster still smoking. Captain Gloom and Umbra stood behind him.
Shadow quickly repelled down from the catwalk and rushed over to Shade. Gloom did the same.
"Shade, what's your status?" Asked Shadow, as he and Gloom helped the injured commando sit up.
"'Got a couple of bruises; maybe a few broken ribs. 'Nothing a few days in a Bacta tank can't fix." Panted Shade. He smiled weakly. "You should see the other guy..."
"I shot the other guy." Laughed Spooks. The rest of the team shot him a dirty look.
"Can it, Spooks." Ordered Gloom, coldly. He turned back to Shade. The two commanding officers helping the injured clone to his feet. "Can you walk?"
The injured commando put some weight on his left leg as he stood, his body nearly collapsing from under him as a sharp pain shot through his leg. "I...I don't think so..."
Shadow turned to Gloom. "I'll carry him. You're in charge, Captain." He said lifting Shade's body over his shoulders in a fireman's carry.
Gloom turned to the rest of the squad.
The Squad ran down the fortress hallways, making short work of the droid forces they encountered.
When they reached the North Entrance, the clones stopped in their tracks...Standing at the end of the hallway, was the Havok droid they had encountered earlier.
"Two minutes!" Shouted Captain Gloom, eyeing remaining time on the countdown sequence.
"I'll take care of this Clanker." Said Spooks holding his DC-17M blaster in one hand and the Commander's WESTAR-M5 blaster in the other, shouting loudly as he charged down the hallway and unleashing a barrage of blaster fire from both weapons at the droid.
The blasts hit the Havok droid square in the chest; causing the droid to fall on its side, releasing a few final blasts from its twin blaster arms, hitting the wall behind the charging Commandos in the process.
The clones wasted no time as they sprinted past the fallen Havok Droid. Captain Gloom withdrew a pistol from his holster finishing the droid with a final blast to its head as he fled through the doorway into the night air.
Later, once things settled down, the Squad moved Shade to a small make-shift med-bay in the back of the shuttle and treated his wounds as best they could, until he could get proper medical treatment when they landed.
Seeing that his men were busy tending to Shade, Commander Shadow slipped away into the briefing area. He opened a private holochannel.
"It's done, Your Majesty." Said the Commander.
The image of a hooded figure appeared on the holotable. Figure's hood concealing all but the figure's mouth from view.
"Good...Good..." said the dry, gravelly voice of the figure. "You have done well, Commander Shadow. I trust the Separatist fortress will no longer be a threat to us?"
"No, My Lord. The fortress and the factory have been leveled. As you instructed."
"Excellent." Said the voice, a sinister smile slowly breaking across his lips.
"My squad and I are prepared to continue the search for Separatist leaders hiding in--"
"Do not concern yourself with the remaining Separatist forces...They are being dealt with as we speak. Is there anything else you wish to report?"
The Commander nodded then continued. "The prototype for the new Storm Commando armor performed admirably, its lightweight design allowed for more fluid movement, however, the cloaking device it was equipped with shorted out during the mission. Future armor will need stronger circuits to ensure a longer cloaking time with a shorter charge time for recloaking."
"Interesting..." pondered the Hooded Figure. "I will take your suggestion into consideration. I have a new task at hand for you, Commander. The tactical precision and stealth your squad displayed on Vassek was most impressive. I would see to it that similar training is further implemented into future Imperial forces...Therefore...you and your squad will be reassigned to a training facility on the plant Scarif. There you and your men will be personally overseeing the training of soldiers in the new Death Trooper Program..."