Anakin stood next to Obi-Wan and Rex as they watched the clones finish their preparations for the coming battle, each of them felt a certain tension as time passed. Ahsoka was already prepared with her force of what remained of their heavy cannons and tanks to cover their retreat if necessary. He just hoped it would not come to that. As they all knew a retreat could easily be turned into a route. He glanced at his Master and noted that he looked concerned. No surprise as half of their force had been killed in the first attack on the planet and a lot of their surviving clones were injured, which left them with only a few hundred to fight.
"Ok Anakin, I want you and Rex at the front," Obi-Wan finally said. "Do not leave our lines to engage them. We may last a little longer if we use what cover we can to keep us alive," he cautioned. "Remember our orders are to hold out as long as we can so we stick to the plan and do our best to hold our ground," he reminded his former Padawan.
"I'll remember Master," Anakin assured him, this time without his usual cocky grin as he knew this time Obi-Wan was serious and he was correct that they needed to use the cover they had to stay alive a bit longer.
"Good, send Cody back to me and we'll prepare to meet our guests," Obi-Wan ordered as he moved away to where he had two platoons of men ready to fill any gaps that might appear in their front lines.
"Yes Master," Anakin replied with a nod before he moved to do as he had been ordered, with Rex close behind him.
Obi-Wan watched him go and hoped Anakin could keep his reckless urges under control. There was no point in denying that sometimes Anakin's recklessness could help them swing the battle in their favor, but it could also cost them as well. No, this time they needed to stick to the plan they had. He stroked his beard as Cody rejoined him with a report that their scouts had sighted the head of the approaching droid army.
‘So it begins again,' he thought.
(Venator Class Star Destroyer Black Star)
Revan stood on the bridge of his ship in his full armor. He held his mask in his hand and watched as the two surviving Star Destroyers of Kenobi and Skywalker forces joined them. Within a few minutes they would jump straight into combat. He could already feel the darkness of the force swirl around him, but he ignored it. He would not give into the dark side again, no never again.
"We are ready General," Captain Hunt reported as he moved to stand in front of him. "With five Star Destroyers now in our fleet I'm certain we can get our ground forces down without suffering too many losses. We'll have many more fighters to cover your descent," he informed him. "However I'm still worried you and your fellow Generals all intend to go in the first wave with the clones," he admitted.
"It does no one any good Captain if the General in charge is not willing to do what he orders others to do," Revan responded. "If he will not take the risks he expects those under him to take he is not worth his rank. No, we will go down with our troops and we will survive," he continued. "Hear me well Captain, this battle may be the most important one you have fought in this war," he stated seriously as his eyes bore into the Captains. "Every command you make will decide how both battles go, you must make the right choices and use every bit of your military skill to win this," he commanded. "Our fates and maybe the fate of the Republic rest on you leading our fleet to victory. Use the forces under your command well and hopefully when this is over you will realize victory is always possible no matter if you are at a disadvantage or not," he concluded.
Captain Hunt and most of his crew listened in rapt attention as the General spoke. His words struck them all and they felt a renewed sense of hope fill them. "I understand General, we won't let you down," he promised as he came to realize the importance of this mission.
"I am certain you won't Captain," Revan agreed as he put his mask on. "The fleet is yours to command, good luck and may the force be with you all," he stated before he turned and left for the hangar bay.
Bastila stood next to Tarin and Canderous as the clones boarded their transports ready for the combat drop ahead. Canderous looked excited to be doing this and she guessed he was having flashbacks to using the Mandalorian Basilisk war droids during the Mandalorian wars. HK-47 was next to his fighter eager to start his mission. For once the droid's insane desire to kill did not bother her. Before this day was out many would be dead, hopefully if HK did his job well, then some who might die might be saved. A movement in the corner of her eye made her turn to see Revan moving towards her, with his mask on she couldn't tell how he was feeling, but the bond showed her what she could not see.
He was ready to once again wage war and once again to protect the galaxy. This time he knew the dangers and how to avoid falling to the dark side as he had done at the end of the Mandalorian wars. The clones not on the transports snapped to attention as he entered, Revan nodded at them as he passed them.
"We are ready to jump," he told them as he folded his arms across his chest. "In a few minutes we'll be in combat once more, each of you will go down in a different transport to ensure at least one of us survives in case the enemy gets lucky," he added. "If I don't make it Bastila will replace me as the senior General, but don't worry I am certain we will all make it down safely," he went on and making sure to wipe away their concerns especially Bastila's as he noted her concerned look as he spoke.
Canderous and Tarin nodded and left for their own transports, but Bastila remained at his side. He removed his mask and leaned down to kiss her which she returned eagerly, trying to gain some measure of comfort. As he pulled away she noted his eyes showed his own worry even though to anyone else they would show nothing, she ran a finger down his face.
"Just make sure you survive Revan," Bastila told him with a weak smile. "Once all this over, once the galaxy is safe I intend for us to have the life we should have had with Tera," she told him before she turned and headed for her own transport.
Revan watched her go a little surprised by her statement before a smile graced his features if that wasn't a reason to survive this war he didn't know. He quickly regained control and put his mask back on. Now wasn't the time for such things, he walked over to the transporter where Trax was in and entered it.
"Send the signal to all units to prepare for combat Drop Commander," he ordered. "And to hold on tight, things from here on will be very rocky," he added.
"Yes General," Trax replied with a slight nod hoping the General knew what he was doing before he sent the signal.
The last of the men boarded their transports and the doors were locked and sealed, the fighters which were to protect them powered up and prepared for the fight of their lives.
Back on the bridge Captain Hunt listened as the other ship captains reported in, stating they were ready for battle. He took a deep breath before he released it again knowing what he did next would swing the battle in their favor or their enemies. "Tell the Revenge and the Sunrider to jump to the flank of the enemy fleet two minutes after we and the Glory have jumped infront of them," he ordered. "Order the Firehawk to jump into their other flank and do their best to take out their command ship," he added.
"Yes sir," his communications officer responded before he turned and began to relay the orders he had been given. "Sir all ships have responded, they are ready to go," he reported after a few minutes.
"Then tell them all to jump and good luck," Captain Hunt ordered before he turned to his navigation officer. "Jump," he commanded and then stood back as his ship jumped into light-speed.
The Revenge and the Sunrider held their places as the other ships jumped as they had been ordered, their Captains could only watch and hope the plan would succeed.
(Jedi Temple, Council Chamber)
Mace Windu listened as Captain Hunt sent a brief message to tell them he was jumping into the fight. He hoped the council was not making a huge mistake in trusting Revan and his friends. He was still not comfortable putting the lives of not only his fellow Jedi, but the clones in their hands. Sadly he had been over ruled and that was that. He glanced at Yoda and noted he looked just as worried, but if he was not mistaken he looked quite confident Revan and his friends would succeed. A belief he did not share, at least not yet.
Anakin watched as the droids advanced under the cover of mass heavy cannon fire, he had lost several of his men already to accurate hits. All his instincts told him to strike, but he knew better as now was not the time to strike. He ducked as another blast came close to his position and he hoped whatever backup was coming, got to them soon or they were all going to be killed. The clones were all firing their weapons at the advancing columns of droids. They were nearly always accurate, but it did little to thin the massive ranks of B1 and B2 droids bearing down on them.
"General," Rex shouted from beside him. "We have to engage them now, while we can and before we are over run," he advised. "Our fire is just not having the effect we had hoped for," he pointed out.
"I know Rex," Anakin agreed. "Obi-Wan we need to engage now, our fire is not cutting the tin cans down in enough numbers, soon our line will be over run," he said into his com device attached to his wrist.
"I understand Anakin, but not yet," Obi-Wan's voice came back. "Hold your lines for now and thin the numbers as much as you can with what you have, including any grenades you have left," he ordered. "I have Ahsoka bringing up three cannons to help push them back," he informed him. "We need to buy ourselves more time," he stated.
"I hope you know what you're doing Master. If this continues there will not be many of us left to affect a successful charge," he countered.
"Have faith Anakin, our reinforcements will arrive," Obi-Wan shot back with a patient look on his face as he detected the stress in Anakin's voice, but at least he was relieved to know he had listened to him.
(Venator Class Star Destroyer Black Star)
Captain Hunt watched as the jump was completed and their weapons opened fire on the unsuspecting droid fleet, the Glory and Firehawk quickly followed. The Glory was side by side with his own ship while the Firehawk was off to the right flank, concentrating all its fire on the command ship. In two minutes the Sunrider and Revenge would jump into the left flank, they just had to hold out till then. Two minutes in which the enemy would have time to regain their feet and maybe overwhelm his smaller fleet. He wiped that idea quickly from his mind.
"Send the signal to open the hangar bay doors and launch all fighters," he commanded. "Two minutes later send the signal to launch all ground transports," he added as he considered a few options of how to get his forces to the ground.
"Yes sir," his communications officer said with a nod of his head before relaying the orders.
In the hangar bay Revan heard the orders over the comms and nodded his head as it was a wise move as it gave the fighters time to form a decent screen. Giving into an urge to ensure Bastila's transport made it safely he raised his wrist and spoke into his comm.
"HK, do you read me?" he commanded.
"Statement: Yes Master," HK responded. "Question: New Orders?" he inquired.
"Before you head to the planet I want you to help guard Bastila's transport down to the surface, kill any enemy that gets near it," Revan ordered coldly.
"Statement: Understood Master, I will ensure none of those rust buckets that laughably call themselves droids get near the Mistress's transport," HK responded, having already expected such an order as he pulled his fighter back towards the Black Star to await the transport carrying his Master's beloved.
Revan actually chucked at his droids response having never heard him refer to Bastila as Mistress. He wondered what she would say when she learnt of her new nickname. Feeling the transport begin to lift off he quickly sobered and prepared for the fight ahead. On the other transports Bastila said a silent prayer while Canderous smiled in anticipation. Tarin just stared ahead with his hand on his lightsaber.
(Grievous's Command Ship)
The bridge was already covered in smoke and many of the droids were destroyed, however the command droid which had been left in command of the ship was still active and was trying to bring the ship back under control and start firing at the enemy. The command droid tried to send a signal to Grievous, but it would not get through. Clearly they were been jammed and it was up to it to keep the ship intact or he would be destroyed as so many others had due to the General's temper.
Bastila did her best to ignore the jumpy ride as the transport tried to reach the planet below, this was not something she had done before. She knew Revan, Canderous and Tarin had done combat drops before, but she had not. She found she did not like it as she was not in control of her own fate. Still she had faith in Revan and his plans, and she had faith in the force.
"You okay General?" one of the clones inquired from beside her.
"I'm fine thank you," she responded. "This is just a new experience for me, while I've been in combat before and even fought in a war," she explained and then continued "this is my first combat drop," she admitted.
"I understand sir, a few of the Jedi I've served with before have said the same thing," the clone responded. "I just replied there is a first time for everyone including clones, you are handling it better than any of the others," he told her. "Name is Nicks by the way," he added.
Bastila nodded as she took in what he was saying. "That makes me feel a little better," she said with a weak smile. "Thanks Nicks," she said.
"No problem General," Nicks shot back, happy to ease the General's discomfort as he knew Jedi were not soldiers in the same way as him and his clone brothers.
The transport banked hard right, almost sending Bastila to the ground but she managed to hang on. Clearly the space battle was in full swing. Outside HK destroyed fighter after fighter as it came at the transport he was guarding, his advanced reflexes allowed him to get the jump on them. Clearly these fighter droids hadn't been made to his kind of skill. They were just cannon fodder and he exulted in once again causing chaos and death even if for now it was only against other droids, but that was still far better than no killing at all.
(Venator Class Star Destroyer Black Star)
Captain Hunt almost let out a sigh as the Revenge and the Sunrider arrived and added to the chaos the droid fleet found itself in. They had them on the ropes and just needed to keep pushing. He was also relieved to hear the first of the transports were making landfall now, the General's plan seemed to be working.
"Send a signal to General Kenobi if you can, tell him reinforcements are inbound," he ordered.
"Right away sir," the communications officer responded as the bridge shook a little.
"Concentrate all fire on the lead ship," Hunt ordered as he watched the fighters from his newly arrived ships join those already in combat.
Obi-Wan was beginning to worry as the line of droids were almost on top of Anakin's position. They had managed to thin the first wave thanks to the three cannons Ahsoka had sent, but it was not enough to keep them away from their lines. A sudden bleeping noise alerted him to a message from the command post and he felt a flare of hope within him.
"Go ahead Knives," he said to the clone who was manning the comm system.
"We've just received word our reinforcements are inbound general," Knives reported. "Although it did not say who was leading them, they are coming," he added.
"Excellent, thank you," Obi-Wan responded before contacting Anakin. "Anakin our reinforcements are here, we charge now to keep their attention on us," he ordered. "I'll be with you in a second with my two squads," he added.
"Finally, I was beginning to think you'd forgotten how close these tin cans had gotten," Anakin responded. "Catch us when you can Master, we're going in now," he continued and Obi-Wan could imagine the reckless look in his former Padawan's eyes as he gave the order.
"Well Cody shall we go rescue Rex and his men from Anakin latest charge?" he inquired with a fake tired smile turning to his clone commander and friend.
"At your command sir," Cody responded with a smile of his own. "But I think Rex and his men are just as crazy as General Skywalker," he pointed out.
"How could they not be, even Anakin's Padawan is as crazy as he is," Obi-Wan responded with a shake of his head before he gave the orders to Ahsoka to bring up her men as quickly as she could before he then gave the order to charge as well.