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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Sci-fi · #2197663
Following the events of "Shadow Squad" Shadoe and his team train the Death Troopers
*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 the characters: Commander Shadow, Spooks, Umbra, Captain Gloom, Shade, Semaj Scull, Puk Gorra, Sergeant Doja Kassal, Jolla Ivris, Lee Sarr, Var Teeb, and Major Fias Varsin. This story is for entertainment purposes only.
Scarif, 19 B.B.Y
          Shortly after The Black Dart had landed, Commander Shadow and Captain Gloom walked down the loading ramp of the shuttle. A security team of clone troopers wearing standard Phase II armor awaited them at attention. The team leader stepped forward and greeted them.
Shadow approached the team leader.
"I'm Commander Shadow. I have a meeting with General Ramda. However; one of my crew was injured on our last mission and needs medical attention." Said Shadow. "
"You're in luck, Commander. The General is waiting for you in the Medical Bay." Said the clone. "My men will take you to him."
Shadow nodded to Gloom, who boarded the small Theta-class Stealth Attack Shuttle again.
The Clone Captain returned a moment later accompanied by Umbra and a Clone Commando wearing black Night-Ops Katarn-class armor known as Spooks. Together the three of them pushed the medical capsule contained the wounded member of their squad, Shade, down the loading ramp. When they were on the landing pad, the members of Shadow Squad followed their clone escorts to the base's medical facility.
***
Several minutes later, the Clones lead the members of Shadow Squad into the Med-bay. A large spotless medical facility filled with medical tables, bacta tanks, medical droids, and a whole manner of other medical equipment.
Once the Squad had transferred their wounded team member into one of the vacant bacta tanks, they were greeted by a older man in an Imperial uniform.
"Commander Shadow, I presume?" Said the man; who Shadow realized was General Ramda. "My apologies. I had planned on meeting you in person, but I was needed elsewhere. I'm General Ramda."
Commander Shadow and his men were not fond of pleasantries and ignored the mans outstretched hand.
"Let's not get sidetracked, General." Said Shadow. "We're here for the Death Trooper Program not a social visit. Once the recruits arrive, my men and I will begin their training."
"When they arrive?" The General looked confused. "The recruits are already here."
He pointed to six bacta tanks on the other end of med-bay. Floating in the tanks were human's that measured around 1.91 to 1.96 meters in height.
"They have undergone the augmentation process for the past three months." Explained the General.
The Clones looked at the sedated cadets floating in the bacta tanks before their very eyes. Each of the recruits had several scars that ran along the sides of their necks to just under their ears; a clear sign of the augmentation process. The bacta was doing its job, because there appeared to be no sign of infection in the scars.
"Towards the end of the Clone Wars, the Emperor created several military programs that trained civilian volunteers in basic combat to aid the Republic in the war against the Separatists." The General continued. "He selected several suitable cadets who had volunteered to join the new Death Trooper Program. He was confident that with your training, these cadets will become the first of a new class of elite Imperial trooper."
Commander Shadow looked at the bacta tanks, then back at the General.
"When do we Begin?"
***
The Commander briefed us on what our duties as training facilitators would be for the Death Trooper Program; Spooks would train the cadets in working with grenades and other explosives; Umbra would train them on how to use the various software built into their new armor; I, Captain Gloom, would be in charge of training the cadets in hand-to-hand combat and Close Quarters Combat; Once Shade recovered he would be in charge of weapons and marksmanship; The Commander would focus on training the cadets in implementing various military tactics on the battlefield; I can honestly think of no one better suited for that job than the Commander himself.
Personally, I didn't like that Shadow had agreed to pull our Squad from active duty just so we could train a squad of cadets; but it's not my place to question the Commander's orders. This was the mission. Shadow Squad would see it done.
After a few days in the bacta tank Shade made a full recovery; though his young clone face still bore some scars from the injures he had sustained during our last mission. The moment his mouth had healed, it became impossible to shut him up. Although not all of us showed it, we were glad to have Shade back. Once he was cleared by medical personnel to return to the squad, the Commander briefed him on his training duties for the program.
Around the same time, the final stages of the Augmentation Process had finished, the Death Troopers were released from their bacta tanks. After they had exited their tanks, it took them a while to adjust to their new height and weight. I didn't see what all the fuss was about; even with their augmented height, the cadets were still only a few centimeters taller than us; though I don't envy what they went through to gain their new height.
According to one of the medical droids, the cadets needed to remain sedated through the entire three-month augmentation period because the process was very painful; without the exposure to the healing properties of their bacta tanks, the ineffable pain their bodies experienced while their bones, muscles, and skin grew rapidly during the process, would have killed them if they had been even slightly conscious during the procedure.
Once the cadets had adapted to their augmented bodies, it was time for their training to begin.
***
The Cadets stood at full attention in one of the complex's many training facilities as their clone instructors inspected them before they started training. Each of them was wearing their black cadet uniforms, which bore the Imperial Crest on each sleeve. Thanks to the bacta, the augmentation scars on their necks were nearly invisible.
"Cadets, you have been selected for this program because the Empire thinks you are the best." Commander Shadow said, slowly pacing down the line. "My men and I are here to make you even better. You will be put through training that will push each of you to your limits, until you have earned the right to call yourselves Death Troopers. The Empire has no place for weakness in its ranks. The civilian lives you once knew are over. You will be the first of a new breed of elite soldier in the Imperial Military. You will live for the Empire; fight for the Empire; and die for the Empire, serving loyally as lethal tools in the Imperial War Machine."
"'Says the clone tool..." Said one of the cadets to himself; unfortunately, Shadow had heard him.
The Commander approached the Cadet.
The Cadet wore a smug grin on his face. His short black hair, which had been trimmed into a military crew cut, was almost as dark as the uniform he wore. If he had to guess, the Commander would have said that the Cadet was in his mid-twenties.
The Commander stopped in front of the Cadet. "What is your name, Cadet?"
"DT-I57." Said the Cadet.
"I asked for your name, Cadet. Not your service number."
"Semaj Scull." Answered the Cadet arrogantly, still smirking.
"Is there something funny you'd like to share with us, Cadet Scull?"
"I was thinking..." said Cadet Scull, "The war's over. The Empire doesn't need an army of clones running around anymore, when civilians from all over the galaxy are enlisting. If the Emperor really wants us to be elite soldiers, why'd he send a clone like you to train us?"
Commander Shadow smirked and said nothing. Without warning, the Commander punched Cadet Scull hard in the stomach; the tall cadet doubled over and fell to his knees, clutching his stomach.
The Commander was no longer smiling. "Because I am the best of the best." He said coldly. "Remember your place, Cadet. Now... get back in line."
Cadet Scull quickly got to his feet and moved back in line.
Shadow turned to Gloom, who had been standing off to the side with the rest of Shadow Squad. "Captain Gloom..."
"Yes, Commander?" Asked the Clone Captain.
"The next time, Cadet Scull decides to open his mouth, shoot him with a stun round."
"Yes, Sir."
Cadet Scull's eyes widened with fear and he kept his mouth shut.
The Commander continued down the line and looked at the next cadet, who immediately snapped to attention and saluted the Commander.
"Oun Tel." The Brow-haired Cadet said nervously. "Service number DT-5533."
Like Cadet Scull, Oun Tel was in his mid-twenties. He did not lower his arm until the clone commander had nodded and moved on to the Cadet with cleanly-shaven head standing beside him.
"Riggs Nema." The Cadet said without any hint of fear. "Service number DT-A19."
Although, Riggs Nema appeared to be in his late-twenties, it was clear he had witnessed his fair share of combat during the Clone Wars; his grey-eyes told the story of a man who'd lost friends and family during the war; eyes that had been forced to endure the hardships of war, which had robbed him of his innocence. It was possible Nema had been part of a civilian resistance on one of the Out-Rim planets during the war; which would explain the Cadet's familiarity with military protocol, the Commander had thought to himself, before moving on.
"Kol Degas" Said the ginger-haired Cadet, in a thick accent. "Service number DT-L21, at your service."
The Commander noted that the Cadet's bright green eyes had a mystical-quality, which only made them stand out even more with the trimmed ginger-goatee that covered the man's chin.
Beside Degas stood the only female cadet on the team. Although she was the shortest of the other cadets, she still stood at an impressive 1.91 meters tall. Her vibrant strawberry blonde hair hung at her ears in a short pixie cut, with complimented her pale skin and blue eyes; traits many humanoid civilians considered beautiful. The hard expression on her face reflected the mentality of a soldier and contrasted with her other pleasant features, which gave her a more professional disposition.
"Yen Jargo," She said saluting the commander. "Service number DT-F16."
The Commander nodded and turned to the final cadet standing before him.
"Puk Gorra." Said the Cadet in a gruff voice. "Service number DT-X83."
Cadet Gorra, was a strong built man in his mid-twenties, like many of the other cadets, and had short dirty blonde hair the color of sand. He was the tallest of the cadets and stood at 1.96 meters tall, practically towering over the Commander; though the Commander had encountered taller humanoid species during the war.
Having inspected his men, Commander Shadow turned to the cadets and introduced the members of Shadow Squad one by one.
"As you all know, I'm Commander Shadow. I'll be in charge of this operation. I've studied a wide variety of military tactics, that have made me a nightmare for the Emperor's enemies over the years. The clones standing in front of you are Shadow Squad; an elite team of black-ops Clone Shadow Commandos. Captain Gloom is my second in command and will be training you in Hand-to-Hand and Close Quarter Combat. Over there is Demolition Expert Spooks. He'll be training you how to use and disarm explosive equipment. Beside him is Tech-Expert Umbra. He'll bring you up to speed on the many state or the art technology featured in your new Death Trooper armor. Our sharpshooter, Shade, will oversee your weapons and marksmanship training."
The Commander paused briefly, before continuing. "Lastly, High Command has asked for the name of our squad. So, as of this moment, this unit will be known as, Ghost Squad. Your training begins now." He turned back to Gloom. "They're yours, Captain."
Gloom stepped forward. "Cadets, the first; and probably the most important lesson of warfare; is learning how to effectively observe your surroundings. I've seen good soldiers die because they didn't check their position for any danger, before they charged head-first into battle. You could be the best soldier the Empire has to offer; and still be killed by a land mine, because you were too stupid to scan the area before moving forward.
"A good soldier familiarizes himself with any environment he is currently occupying; taking note of anything that might become a potential threat to himself or his men; while at the same time, searching for any tactical advantage the location may offer. The moment he is not fully aware of the advantages and disadvantages of his current location; is the moment his enemy gains the upper-hand. One careless mistake can result in the death of your team."
Gloom pointed to the door to the next section of the training facility. "Once you enter those doors, your squad will have to navigate through a series of hallways, until you have reached the end of the course. This exercise will simulate entering a hostile facility with no intel."
"No intel? Are you joking?" Cadet Scull exclaimed. "How is that fair?"
Gloom put his hand on one of the pistols on his belt; The Cadet shut his mouth immediately.
"Don't talk to me about what's fair." The Clone Captain said coldly. "You won't always have the luxury of having good intel to assist you on a mission. Sometimes you will be forced to move in blind. At that point, your ability to assess your surroundings can prove to be the difference between life and death for the other members of your squad."
Gloom looked at the other recruits. "Any other stupid questions?"
No one said a word.
"Good." He said nodding to Umbra, who picked up one of the training helmets and approached the cadets.
"Because the Empire is still working on your armor you will be using these modified training helmets." Umbra said, holding up the helmet. "Each of these helmets is equipped with prototype MacroMotionMonitor and multifrequency targeting sensors that will help you pick up any movement in your area and assist with targeting. The software hasn't been perfected yet, so there may be a few bugs we'll have to work out before it goes into your finished armor, but other than that they should work just fine."
The clone let out a sigh of disappointment as looked at the standard training armor meant for training the standard stormtrooper, which he realized would not cover the augmented bodies of the cadets completely. "Unfortunately, the only training armor available was meant for the standard stormtrooper cadet, so... it..."
"It might be a little snug on you." Chuckled Spooks.
The Cadets quickly slid the ill-fitting training armor over their heads. The armor barely covered the top-half of their torso and shoulders.
Shade stepped forward. "Like Umbra said, most of the equipment for the Death Trooper Program is still being developed, so you'll have to work with what we've got for the time being. You'll be using these DC-15A blaster rifles equipped with stun rounds. Until your new blasters arrive, you will have to familiarize yourselves with these."
Spooks walked down the line and handed a blaster to each of the cadets.
Gloom pointed towards a set of monitors attached to a control board on the other side of the room. "Once you enter, a live video-feed will allow us to follow your progress. We will be watching your every move. If you fail to complete your objective, the entire squad will run the simulation again. Understood?"
"Yes, Sir!" The cadets said in unison.
"Good. On my mark... Begin!"
The door opened with a hiss. A second later the cadets hurried into the training course.
***
The Cadets cautiously proceeded down the first hallway. The long dimly-lit hallway with black tile floors and dark-grey metallic walls made it difficult for the squad to determine which of the walls potentially contained threats.
Riggs Nema took point as the squad rounded the next corridor; There was something about the stillness of the quiet hallway that made him feel uneasy. "I don't like this. It's too easy." He said, slowly sweeping his blaster in front of him. "Keep your eyes open and watch where you step."
Not a moment after Nema had finished his sentence, Semaj Scull took a step forward; his foot accidentally pressed down on a hidden pressure plate that blended in with the other floor tiles. A powerful surge of electricity traveled up the Cadet's leg and quickly coursed through the rest of his body. He cried out and collapsed onto the ground, before finally losing consciousness.
The other members of Ghost Squad quickly turned; momentarily lowering their defenses after being distracted by their fallen teammate's cries of pain. This was a mistake. The motion sensors in their helmets, suddenly detected movement to their left.
Seconds later, a small hatch in the wall opened and revealed an Automated Laser Projector. The laser projector fired stun rounds that struck four of the five remaining cadets before they could react. Riggs Nema quickly dived out of the way; hitting the ground in a roll, as the stun bolts zipped past him. A split-second later he was back on his feet and fired his blaster at the Laser projector; neutralizing it with a stun round.
Wasting no time, he moved into the next hallway. Immediately, device in his helmet indicated movement on the ceiling and on the wall to his right. He reacted before he even heard the hidden panels open; firing at both his targets before they were able to get a shot off.
Moving swiftly, while carefully avoiding any pressure plates on the floor, Cadet Nema moved into the adjacent hallway. Once again, the motion sensor beeped wildly; according to the sensor in his helmet there were two laser projectors on the walls to his left and right, one on the wall at the end of the hallway in front of him, one on the ceiling, and another on the wall behind him. He was surrounded.
Pulling the trigger and swinging his blaster in a sweeping motion the cadet unleashed a blur of blaster-fire at the laser projectors in front of him; only to get hit by two stun-rounds in the right arm and back, before he could turn around. His body collapsed on the ground with a loud thud, then everything went black.
Back in the other room, Shadow watched the training footage on the monitors in front of him.
"They're sloppy." Said Gloom, shaking his head. "They're unorganized, undisciplined, and lack leadership. That Cadet Scull is a real piece of work. If he'd been a clone, Commander Colt would've had him sweeping floors. I highly doubt he'd have seen any battle."
"Alpha-17 would've probably shot him onsite, or had him decommissioned as a defective soldier." The Commander agreed, still reviewing the recording. "But you're right. I've never seen a squad this disorganized since the beginning of the Clone Wars." He watched Riggs Nema on the screen. "Cadet Nema is the only one who seems to know what he's doing. He definitely preformed the best during exercise. That's why I'm recommending he be promoted to Squad Leader. With any luck, he'll shape Ghost Squad into a sharp, lethal team that's fit for Imperial service." He turned away from the monitors and looked at the Clone Captain. "When Cadet Nema wakes up, inform him of his promotion. Then have the rest of his squad revived. They're running the drill again in ten minutes."
Gloom nodded.
"If they fail again, they'll have to run the drill again." Said Shadow. "We'll make them run this until they get it right. I won't tolerate failure. The Emperor wants them to be the best, so they're going to be trained like the best."

Cadet Nema took to his new position nicely. As squad leader he was in charge of organizing his troops for every drill. Soon even Cadet Scull was falling into line; though, that didn't change the fact that he wasn't fond of having us overseeing Ghost Squad's training, but he was smart enough to keep his opinions to himself.
Day by day we began to see improvement in the squad's performance. Cadet Nema kept a tight leash on the members of his squad while we continued their rigorous training. High Command had even gotten the squad newer training armor that fit the augmented bodies of the cadets. Ghost Squad had become stronger, more disciplined, and more organized under their new squad leader; but more importantly, they had become a team.
After months of intense training, the cadets of Ghost Squad were ready to show the Empire what they could do. A few days ago, we learned that Ghost Squad would be representing the Death Trooper Program in the Imperial War Games Competition on Scarif against the new Imperial Shadow Trooper program. The Competition would showcase the skillsets of both Covert-Ops programs and help the Empire determine which of the two programs were superior. According to Shadow, the program that preformed the best during the battle simulation would become the first unit in a new branch of the Imperial Military.
If that didn't inspire the cadets to perform their best, the fact that several influential Moffs and high-ranking officers from across the galaxy (including Wullf Yularen, a former Admiral during the Clone Wars who was now working for the Imperial Security Bureau) would be present to observe the competition, definitely did the trick.
With that kind of pull, it wouldn't be long before the winning program found its way to the front lines.
One thing was certain; we had done everything in our power to prepare Ghost Squad for this moment. Whatever happens tomorrow is up to them.
***
Scarif, 18 B.B.Y

Ghost Squad gathered in the briefing hall, clad from the neck down in their new Death Trooper armor, the recruits held their black helmets at their sides as they awaited instruction from their clone commanders. Captain Gloom and the rest of Shadow Squad entered the room.
"Cut the chatter!" He barked. "Attention!"
Without hesitation the Death Trooper Recruits snapped to attention and saluted; the noise in the room died instantly as Commander Shadow entered the briefing hall. After inspecting each of his recruits, the veteran Clone Commander was pleased with Ghost Squad's presentation, though his face never showed it.
"At ease."
The Recruits lowered their arms as the Commander continued. "The next few minutes will determine whether or not the Death Trooper Program will become part of future training programs in the Imperial Military. Your performance over this past year has gotten you this far, but your performance in the training arena will prove if you have truly earned the right to wear that armor.
"You will be competing against a squad of Imperial Shadow Troopers know as Night Squad. They have been trained in various stealth tactics and their armor is equipped with built-in cloaking devices, making them almost completely invisible once activated. You will need to rely on your training and utilize the state-of-the-art equipment built into your own armor against them.
"We have also learned that Governor Tarkin, Lieutenant-Commander Orson Krennic, and other members of High Command will be personally overseeing the competition. Their shuttle has passed through the new Shield Gate and landed an hour ago. They will determine which program will receive further Imperial funding based on your performance as a squad, out there. So, show them that you are the best of the best."
The Commander paused for a moment; looking into the faces of each of the recruits. "It has been an honor training you. Now go out there and make us proud. Dismissed."
A few minutes later, the competing squads entered the enormous training arena inside Citadel Tower. At the far side of the arena, stood a large two-story outpost surrounded by five large barricades positioned at the front of the outpost.
The members of Shadow Squad joined the other Imperial officers on the observation deck that overlooked the training area. Among the many important officers in attendance was General Sotorus Ramda, the head commanding officer of Scarif Base. At the front of the observation deck stood the recently promoted, Colonel of the Imperial Security Bureau, Col. Wullf Yularen. The Colonel proudly wore his new white officer's uniform, which had differed greatly from the grey one he wore during the Clone Wars. Beside him stood Governor Wilhuff Tarkin and Lieutenant-Commander Orson Krennic.
"Congratulations on making it this far, Recruits." Said Col. Yularen, overlooking the recruits below him. "Each of you were selected for your designated programs based on the exemplary scores you received at the Imperial Academy. Since then you have accomplished a great deal in such a short period of time.
"Both the Death Trooper and Shadow Trooper Programs have earned impressive reputations whilst on Scarif. However; Only one program will move forward. Ghost Squad will be competing on behalf of the Death Trooper Program, while Night Squad will be competing on behalf of the Shadow Trooper Program. The results of this battle simulation will determine which program will become fully implemented into future Imperial Training Programs here on Scarrif.
"The objective of this exercise will be infiltration. One squad will be tasked with defending the flag located in the outpost, while the other attempts to retrieve it. The objective cannot be completed until you have neutralized the members of the opposing squad. Each of your weapons have been set for stun to ensure the safety of the participants.
"Night Squad," Continued the Colonel, looking down at the squad wearing black Imperial Stormtrooper armor. "you will be on the offensive for the first round of this simulation. You may now exit the arena. You may reenter once the simulation begins. Good luck."
The six members of Night Squad quickly exited the arena, without a word.
The Colonel looked down at members of Ghost Squad.
"Ghost Squad, your objective is to defend the flag in this outpost at all costs. You may take your positions."
Wasting no time, Riggs Nema; the squad leader of Ghost Squad; quickly distributed orders to each of the squad members. "DT-F-One-Six, set your rifle into sniper configuration and cover the main entrance from the north-side tower window on the second floor."
Yen Jargo, nodded and quickly moved to get into position.
"DT-X-Eight-Three, set two trip mines beside barriers 1 and 3, then from up with DT-I-Five-Seven at barrier 5 in front of the main entrance."
Both troops nodded. After setting the trip mines, Puk Gorra joined Semaj Scull at barrier 5 outside the main entrance.
Riggs turned to Oun Tel and Kol Degas. "DT-Five-Five-Three-Seven, DT-L-Two-One, you'll be with me in the outpost guarding the flag."
The two troopers nodded and followed their squad leader into the outpost.

Once the squad members were all in position, Col. Yularen prepared for the start of the round.
"On my mark...Begin."
A buzzer sounded, signifying the beginning of the first round.
At the sound of the buzzer, Night Squad quickly reentered the arena from far entrance. As they entered, the Shadow Troopers activated their cloaking devices and vanished.
Noticing this from the second story window of the outpost, Yen contacted the other members of Ghost Squad.
"<They're cloaked.>" She said through the voice-scrambler on the squad's private comms channel.
"<Copy that.>" Answered the Squad Leader's voice. "<Stay on alert. We might not be able to see the enemy, but our motion sensors should be able to pick up the slightest movement on the ground around us. Hold your fire until you have an idea of your target's location. No spray and pray.>"
The silence was suddenly interrupted by the small detonation of the trip mine by Barrier 3.
In a split second, the stun charge in the mine hit Shadow Trooper ST-7112 in the thigh, which caused him to decloak as he collapsed onto the ground; completely unconscious.
"<Target 1 neutralized. Five targets remaining.>" Whispered Semaj, coolly.
The motion sensor in Yen's helmet suddenly picked up movement two meters next the fallen Shadow Trooper's position. Taking a deep breath, she aimed her DLT-19D sniper rifle towards the cloaked Shadow Trooper's position; then pulled the trigger.
The blast hit Shadow Trooper, ST-9335 directly in the chest, just as he attempted to vault over Barrier 2; the Shadow Trooper's body landed awkwardly on the floor, while his right leg remained elevated on Barrier 2.
"<Target 2 neutralized.>" said Yen.
Unfortunately, the attack gave her position away; the young trooper only realized her mistake after she was hit by a stun blast from an enemy blaster. She groaned quietly; losing consciousness as her limp body slumped against that wall.
"<F-One-Six is down>." Puk reported. "<Picking up enemy movement on the left and right of our position.>"
Still guarding the main entrance door, Semaj and Puk cautiously held their E-11D blasters in front of them; scanning the battlefield with their rifles in a slow sweeping motion. There was movement 20 meters to their right.
"<Two...No. Three, hostiles approaching fast to my right.>" Semaj said as he fired in that direction; hitting one of the Shadow Troopers with several short bursts from the rapid-fire setting on his E-11D blaster rifle, while the other two decloaked and crouched behind the other side of Barrier 4, as they used it for cover and returned fire.
"<I see them.>" Said Puk, as he provided covering fire. "<Do we have eyes on...Hold on. 'Picking up a large energy surge 50 meters to my right.>"
A second later, the final Shadow Trooper decloaked. Unlike the other Shadow Troopers, this one was armed with a T-21 heavy blaster, which was now directly aimed at the two Death Troopers guarding the main entrance.
"T-21! TAKE COVER!" Puk shouted in Basic, quickly shoving Semaj out of the way of the powerful blast, just at it hit his own body.
Semaj moved a little closer towards the door of the outpost's main entrance. "<Three remaining hostiles closing in on the entrance. 'Won't be able to hold them for long. Hostiles funneling towards the entrance. You've got 30 sec-->"

*BOOM!*

***

Riggs, Oun, Kol waited inside the small base, crouching low to the ground; their E-11D blasters led at the ready. Riggs withdrew two smoke grenades and tossed them in front of him. In a matter of seconds, the "Command Room" was completely filled with smoke.
"<Wait for my signal.>" Whispered Riggs.


***


The door whizzed open suddenly. The three Shadow Troopers entered the outpost cautiously; clearly not expecting the room to be filled with smoke. Although they were all recloaked, the silhouettes of their armor became was visible in the thick smoke.
"FIRE!" Ordered Riggs.
Without a second's hesitation, Oun and Kol unleashed a volley of blaster-fire, barraging the remaining Shadow Troopers before any of them could fire a shot.
And with that, the first round of the simulation was over.

From the observation deck, Col. Yularen and the rest of the spectators clapped; all except Governor Tarkin who remained quiet and reserved.
"Well done, Ghost Squad." Said Col. Yularen. "You may proceed to the waiting area with the rest of your squad members."
The remaining members of Ghost Squad exited the outpost, continued out the training arena, and sat in the waiting area, until the rest of their squad members were revived and brought to them.
Lieutenant-Commander Krennic clapped his gloved hands. "An excellent display. I look forward to seeing them in action in the next round of the simulation."
"That won't be necessary." Said Tarkin, stepping forward.
The other officers looked at the Governor in surprise.
"With this single display, the Death Troopers have demonstrated their capabilities in assault and defense tactics." Continued Tarkin. "In addition to completing their primary objective; defending the outpost, while neutralizing all the enemy targets; Ghost Squad tactically and effectively utilized the resources at their disposal against their cloaked assailants. It is evidently clear who the victor is."
Yularen thought for a moment. "Hmmm... I agree."
"Excellent." Said Tarkin. "It appears the decision is unanimous. Therefore, Scarif will remain the primary site for the Death Trooper Program, effective immediately."
"Governor Tarkin..." Said one of the other officers, nervously. "What of Night Squad. Do you really intend to shut down the entire Shadow Trooper Program?"
Tarkin, thought for a moment. "Hmmm...The Emperor may have further use for the Shadow Trooper Program, once it is fully developed, of course. I believe the Imperial outpost on Sullust would be a suitable location for the continued development of the Shadow Trooper Program. I'm confident the program will find its way onto the front lines, in time."
Tarkin turned to Yularen. "Who was is responsible for training Ghost Squad?"
Yularen gestured toward the members of Shadow Squad. "May I introduce, Commander Shadow, Leader of Shadow Squad."
Tarkin eyed the Clone Commander as he approached. "You and your squad oversaw the training of the Death Troopers, is that correct?"
"It is." Said Shadow.
"Very well. As of this moment, each member of Ghost Squad will receive promotions and begin training their own squads of Death Troopers as soon as possible. You may inform Ghost Squad of my decision. With any luck, we will be able to complete training on a larger scale for future units."
"Yes, Sir."
"As you were, Commander." Said Tarkin, as he watched the squad of clones exit the observation deck.
Once the squad of veteran clones were gone, Lieutenant-Commander Krennic turned to Tarkin.
"I believe the Death Troopers will make a fine addition to future Imperial forces." Said Krennic. "I plan to request a squad of my own to serve as my personal bodyguards and enforcers, once I return to Geonsis. They certainly have proven their capabilities; wouldn't you agree, Governor?"
"Yes... They are impressive." Said Tarkin deep in thought. "There are, of course, other programs that will take precedence over the Death Trooper Program, such as Project Stardust; but I believe we can make use of them?"
Tarkin eyed a nearby monitor, on which was a live recording of Shadow Squad informing Ghost Squad of their new orders. Tarkin smiled smugly. "Amusing. Isn't it, Krennic?"
"I'm afraid I don't follow."
"Those clones are unaware that they've just trained their own replacements."
(To be Continued)

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