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KILL ON ENTRYChapter 2ENTER THE KILLERS






    



CORUSCANT: CAPITOL OF THE REPUBLIC





A lone, factory-fresh LAAT rumbles through the morning air. The steady rapping of the engines echoes against Coruscant’s mighty facades, creating a strangely calming white noise for the warriors aboard.

But no rhythm can calm the angst in one soldier’s soul. The freshly christened LAAT Scourge III is on a rare but important Homeworld mission. The group is en route to intercept a replacement for a fallen brother.






It is the kind of mission Commander Koe abhors. He always knew replacing one of his own would be hard on him. He could hardly imagine replacing his Jedi.





Fifty-seven.

The number pierces Koe’s best attempts to distract himself with the scenery as the LAAT dips into a thick fog hovering among Coruscant’s towers.

Fifty-seven special operations without losing a man… and I lose my Jedi, my gunship, and those worthless pilots all at once.






Only three days earlier, Koe was celebrating the success of another mission with Jedi Master Jole Suud, a Gran warrior of the highest ability and ferocity.





The celebration had been premature. The Killers let their guard down early…





…and Suud had paid the price for their lack of focus.

A droid sniper team had made its way into the extraction LZ and put a blast in the base of Suud’s neck.






A consummate warrior, Suud drew his blade and turned to fight in spite of his mortal wound.

The hail of fire was too intense. He didn’t have a chance.






Suud hit the dirt and took his last breath. Koe’s boys threw fire up at the sniper’s position, and Koe… for reasons he still couldn’t explain… scooped up Suud’s light saber.





The volley continued as the Killers attempted to cover their commander’s retreat.





Before the squad could board for takeoff, a frag missile exploded over the cockpit of the gunship, killing the pilots and knocking most of the Killers out, including Koe. The soldiers already aboard the Scourge II had been sheltered by the LAAT’s reinforced armor. They evacuated every Clone . even what was left of the pilots - before launching the crippled Scourge to a low flying attack cruiser.





…the Jedi was left for dead.

Koe would return the light saber to the Jedi Order. He felt personally responsible for the loss of Master Suud’s body, and would make amends before he took on this new Jedi.






The whole incident was just the kind of disaster Koe had learned to avoid over the course of so many battles.





As a senior Asset Recovery Officer in the early days of the war, Koe was specially trained for work on sparse, often booby-trapped battle fields. His missions were always simple. Destroy remaining CIS ordinance. Recover salvageable Republic gear.





Make sure no injured Clones were left breathing.





He’d finished off many of his brothers on the field of battle. He had always done so without so much as a blink before pulling the trigger.

Clones were tools of the Republic, and he was assigned to decommission them.






But as the war moved from months into years, Koe encountered more and more cases of Clones showing something he had never seen among common grunts: a will to survive and keep fighting. Clones began to ask to be saved and returned to service.





It was a rare enough occurrence that Koe had been able to slip most of the fallen who asked for help back into his salvage cruiser’s medical bays. The wounded were healed with bacta treatments. Clones with lost limbs were fitted for cybernetics.

Each became a fine soldier and bore out a new breed of Clone. Not a commander, but a free-thinking, fiercely loyal warrior that instinctively knew the art of survival even in the most perilous battle.






Koe was soon reassigned to lead his band of salvaged soldiers. The team was attached to Homeworld Security Command as a special ops unit, and was matched with Master Suud and his extensive battle resume.

In a war where Clone casualties by the tens of thousands were hardly a cause for concern, Koe had defied the odds and kept his small band intact for well over a year.

Then Suud died.

Today they would meet Suud’s successor.

Koe could only hope his new, young Jedi could fill the mighty Gran’s boots…






Sir, how do we feel about this new Jedi?” Qoz, Koe’s most trusted brother in arms, breaks Koe’s train of thought with a question that cuts right to the point.





“I can’t speak for you, Qoz, but I know he’s green. I know he’s bookish. I know he carries a light saber like the rest of em. Other than that, I have no idea.”





“Seems the Jedi are digging deeper into that Temple for warriors lately,” Qoz huffs. “If I may say so, sir, I’d much rather have a fighter like Master Suud.”





“We have to take what we’re given, Qoz. We’re not permitted to go blowing up the galaxy without a Jedi in tow. Command and the Council see something in this young Knight.”





“Besides, whatever he doesn’t know about warfare, we can teach him better than any book…”





“At least he’s punctual. That’s a start.” Koe points out a group of shadows below as the pilot steers the Scourge III toward an empty spaceport.





The rapid pattering of the LAAT slows as the pilot points the belly of the gunship at the approaching platform below. The morning fog is too thick to get a good visual, but the crew know who waits for them below.





Jedi Knight Sedo Crus: the newest of Koe’s Killers.



KILL ON ENTRY
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NECESSARY TRUST
 
Chapter 2Chapter 3
THE MESSENGER
 
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