The meditation chambers in the Jedi Temple were swirling with angst and trepidation. Newly knighted Jedi Sedo Crus sat in his usual place, arms at his side, eyes closed as he allowed his mind to harmonize with the Force.
“Master, I sense… fear.”
“You are nervous, Sedo. Do not confuse your feelings. You must fully understand your feelings if you are to be a complete Jedi. Use your training and the Force to guide your thoughts. Trust them to guide you, and they will serve you well.”
As he closed his eyes again, the young knight’s mind swirled with terrible thoughts. They did scare him, but he dared not speak of his fear aloud. He had been trained to deal with that cousin of self-doubt through endless training in the two decades since his arrival at the Temple.
The next morning Sedo Crus would assume command of a Clone unit; soon after he would see combat with the Separatists’ Droid Army.
His “promotion” was not a glamorous one by any measure. Instead, his assignment was a glaring reflection of the mounting death toll among the Jedi.
He was more spiritualist than fighter. His Master knew this; his Master made sure the Council knew this. There was no question that the Force worked through his mind, not his light saber.
But it was his saber that was needed, the Council decided.
Crus had never shirked his responsibility to take up arms, but he always doubted his ability. A battlefield is no place for an intellectual, he thought. Yet here he was, a student by nature, about to travel to some desolate Outer Rim world worth its weight in Battle Droid parts to cut off the Separatist supply lines and hopefully shorten the war.
It was a simple mission. Land on the planet undetected and sabotage the foundries and factories that were churning out more and better Battle Droids for the CIS.
The system targeted was poorly defended. There were few if any aboriginal species that might pose a problem. The Clones Sedo would lead were seasoned, and would get him through the campaign with little danger to himself.
Still, he could not help but doubt everything around him since receiving his new assignment. His eyes sprang open to meet his Master’s watchful gaze, and Sedo attempted a final plea.
“Master, I know you have always looked out for me, and I am grateful and will remain so for all my days, but… ”
“It pains me that you have to do this, too, Sedo. This War has asked more of the Jedi than we ever imagined. If the stakes were not so high, I would protest this assignment with you.”
“We are Jedi, Sedo, and our duty calls. I can only assure you that this course is the right one. It is up to you to see the reality that it is so.”
“You will leave tomorrow, and I will send you off. You will complete your mission, and I will be here to receive you when that happens. Your Clone unit will be waiting at the deployment point. I am assured that any doubt you harbor for this mission will be settled when you meet your unit commander, Commander Koe. I am told he’s…
“I am sure you are right, Master.”
“Continue your meditation. Your mind is your strongest weapon, Sedo. It needs to be sharp for combat. I will see you in the morning.”
With that Master Fisto retired, leaving Sedo to contemplate his situation.
In studying the history of the Clone Army—the so-called “Grand Army of the Republic”—Sedo had discovered that the Kamino had built the army with minimal initial involvement of the Republic.
In fact, the army had been requested by a lone Jedi—now dead—purporting to act on behalf of the Republic.
Then, instead of cloning a truly mighty warrior—like Master Windu or Master Yoda—the Kamino had cloned a ruthless bounty hunter named Jango Fett.
They allowed for changes to the growth rates and intellect to make the Clones reach maturity quickly and ask few questions.
It was an unsettling - and frankly illogical - set of facts that Sedo could never resolve, despite thousands of hours of research.
He had met Clones on Coruscant… mostly police forces. Each seemed unusually absent of the Force, but very obedient to orders or even suggestions from Jedi. They simply lacked a real spirit.
They were solid fighters, to be sure, but every Clone Sedo encountered seemed less like a living being and more like a droid. Had the cloning process diluted the Force right out of them? Were they less than living beings? If given a choice in how to live their lives, would they make one?
No, of course they wouldn’t, Sedo thought.
The Clones were not to be trusted, but they were the only tools at his disposal. He would trust them as much as necessary to survive his mission…