Rebels have infiltrated the base.
That was the only warning he got. No description. No numbers. No anything.
Just rebels. In the base. Most likely after the information that was held on the central computer of this remote outpost.
And he and his squad were all that stood between the rebels and victory.
Well, that and a sealed metal bulkhead door that was used in emergencies.
However, from what he had heard, CC-2224 doubted that would even stop them.
So here he stood, the once fabled clone commander of the 212th Attack Battalion, now reduced to guard duty.
He tried not to think about his past. About the role he and his brothers had played in the downfall of the republic, and the extermination of the Jedi.
Of how he so willingly shot down his general, his friend.
All because of a stupid chip implanted in his skull. A chip that Rex had tried to warn him about. But at the time he hadn't listened. Instead he had accused Rex of spreading rumours, of trying to cause some sort of internal strife, just as Slick had once done.
Then again, considering who Rex's general and commander was, he shouldn't have been surprised when the captain showed similar reckless behaviour.
They hadn't spoken after that, at least not as friends. As officers sure, but not as friends.
He was a solider, one that followed orders. And that was how he justified it. How he justified shooting down the Jedi he served so loyally for three years.
And how he justified his continued service to the empire, even after everything that had happened.
"Everyone get into position. Defend the mainframe at all costs!" He called out to his assembled team. Five Stormtroopers, and himself, a relic of a long forgotten time.
In a way, he hoped the rebels won. At least that way he wouldn't have to suffer through his guilt.
Not that he felt any sympathy for the rebels as a whole. They were terrorists, or at least that was what high command made them out to be.
If he was honest with himself, CC-2224, Cody, wasn't sure what was true anymore.
But he wouldn't question. He was loyal to the empire, even if that led to his death.
And then suddenly, the sound of blaster fire, and the cries of troopers falling sounded from the other side of the bulkhead door.
The rebels had arrived.
Gripping his blaster rifle tightly in his hands, he crouched, waiting, his team following suite.
Outside the door, silence reigned. Any moment now it would open.
Taking a deep breath, and aiming towards the door, he waited.
The door was not opening? Had the rebels left? Could they not hack the security to open it? Was he perhaps having a lucky day?
And then the unexpected happened. But to the fair, he should have expected it. He had heard the rumours about Jedi helping the rebels.
But he wasn't expecting one to be here.
And the sudden sight and sound of a white blade piercing through the metal bulkhead door, beginning to cut a circular opening was enough to send shivers of fear down his spine.
Now he was almost certain he was going to die. The Jedi had come for revenge.
Around him his team bristled, clearly equally surprised and intimidated by the sight of the lightsaber easily cutting through what was otherwise a hardened door.
"We are so screwed!" One trooper, a young man who had only recently gotten his commission spoke.
"Quiet!" CC-2224 snapped back, his gaze never leaving the blade of white light as it completed its circle in the door, forming a ring of molten metal.
Then, just was quickly as it had appeared, the blade vanished.
And CC-2224 was left waiting again.
Waiting for the door to collapse in from where it had been cut so easily.
Gripping his blaster tightly, another shiver of fear running through him, he took a deep breath.
He knew it was coming. He had seen such moves before.
And then it happened.
With such frightening speed that if he had blinked he would have missed it, the inside of the cut out circle flew into the room, crushing one trooper instantly.
Panic immediately set in amongst the other troopers, as two more tried to make a run for it, only to be cut down by a pair of white blades as they reached the threshold of the hole in the bulkhead door.
In the span of two seconds, three of his team was dead.
Now it was just him and the rookie, who stood vigilantly by his side, blaster raised.
And then the figure who yielded the lightsabers stepped through the hole, and a dark sense of both nostalgia and terror filled him.
She had grown up. She was tall now. She still used two blades.
And he was almost certain she had come for him, for what he had done to her Master's master.
And she had just ruthlessly cut down two troopers.
Beside him he heard the rookie gasp in fear at the sight of a Jedi, before a knee jerk reaction kicked in.
CC-2224 didn't have time to stop him from firing his blaster, and could only look on in horror as a red blaster bolt travelled towards the Togruta before him, only to be deflected seconds later, striking the rookie in the chest, killing him instantly.
Rage filled him. Was this the universe trying to get back at him? Perhaps the force was punishing him?
His vision blurred from his anger, and his finger travelled to the trigger on his rifle.
He felt himself beginning to pull the trigger, fully intending to shot the Togruta had had served with in the past.
Only to be struck by another blaster bolt, one that was not his. The bolt slammed into his leg, sending him sprawling to the floor in agony, his helmet slipping off his head in the process, and his blaster falling away from him.
He was no unarmed, wounded, and completely at the mercy of a Jedi.
He was certain he was about to die.
Groaning in pain, he lifted his head to lock eyes with the Togruta woman, who now stood above him, white blade pointed directly at his heart.
Her eyes were the same colour as they had always been, but within them he saw darkness. He saw hatred, and anger. All the things Jedi were warned against.
He remained still, waiting.
Slowly, she glanced her lightsaber lightly across his chest plate, scorching a thin line across the plastoid. It would not cause any damage to his body, but it was clear that it was a threat.
Her eyes stayed locked on his for what seemed like hours, before she huffed lightly and turned around heading towards the nearby mainframe the troopers had been tasked to protect.
As she departed he heard her speak to another figure who was standing behind her.
"He's yours to deal with. Do as you wish."
CC-2224's eyes stayed locked on her retreating form, before the second figure approached, crouching to be at eye level with him, a blaster pistol in his hand.
CC-2224 shifted his gaze to the person in front of him, and felt his eyes widen in recognition at the sight of the markings on the helmet.
Then the person spoke.
It was a simple greeting, one that clearly showed both contempt yet upset.
Rather than ignore, he chose to respond.
The man before him, the former friend before him nodded his head, before reaching his hands up to remove the helmet he wore, placing on the ground beside him.
Cody felt couldn't help the surprised gasp escape his body as he took in Rex's features, or maybe that was due to the injury that he had sustained from Rex himself.
His face was older now, much like his own, and he sported a large bushy white beard, one that reminded Cody of his old General. He was also bald, and possessed a small scar on the side of his head. It didn't take long for Cody to work out that was where the control chip had been housed.
But despite his change in appearance, there was one thing that hadn't changed. His eyes.
Rex's eyes, whilst genetically the same as his, were indeed different. They had always housed a level of severity, underlined by a far off look, one that was indicative of a person who was trying to do good in the world, but who often doubted themselves.
It was no wonder he had gotten along so well with Skywalker and Tano then.
And even now, despite the accelerated aging, his eyes were the same shade of hazel, and contained the same level of severity and understanding they had always done, even as he stared back at someone who was once a friend.
"Why Cody? Why did you do it?"
The question should have caught him off guard, but in truth it didn't.
"Didn't have a choice Rex. You were right about the control chip." Cody responded. He was not going to give an excuse for his actions, not when he didn't have one that wasn't 'I was mind-controlled to do it'.
But Rex shook his head, a slight look of annoyance coming to his face before he spoke again.
"I meant why did you stay loyal to the Emperor? Did General Kenobi mean nothing to you?"
Now that was not what Cody had been expecting. And from the tone of voice in which Rex had asked, it was clear that the Captain was not happy with him.
But what choice had Cody had. Even without the chip in his mind that had influenced him, he was still a loyal subject to the republic, even if it was now an Empire.
If the Chancellor had given him an order, it was his job to obey.
"Good soldiers follow orders Rex. I thought you knew that."
Rex's face took on one of disgust. From the way his finger gently tapped the trigger on his blaster pistol, it was clear that he was running out of patience for his old comrade.
'Good!' Cody thought morbidly. If anyone was to take him down, he would be honoured if it was Rex.
"I follow orders that make sense Cody. Not ones that harm innocent people. By siding with the empire, you are enslaving millions."
Cody broke eye contact briefly, looking down in shame. It was true, and he knew it. But in the end, he had been given no choice. It was either serve, as he had been created to do, thus giving him purpose in life, or leave and been labelled as a reject, leading him to be lost.
So he had chosen his path, just as Rex had chosen his.
"I served those who I believe earned my loyalty CT-7567, just was you have."
It was harsh to refer to Rex by his number designation rather than his name, but that was all he was these days, just as Cody was. A number, created to wage war, and then thrown aside.
Perhaps Rex had chosen right, perhaps he had not, Cody couldn't tell. All that mattered was that he had chosen what he believed in most.
In the midst of his internal conflict, Rex rose back to his feet, a solemn look on his face.
"I'm sorry old friend."
And then Rex fired.
The information on the terminal in front of her was heavily encrypted, just as Ahsoka had suspected. She would have to take a copy of the data with her. Hopefully someone back at base would be able to help her decrypt it.
Reaching down to insert a data spike into the system, her montrals picked up the sudden sound of a blaster shot behind her.
Lowering her head briefly, she allowed herself to understand Rex's actions. It wasn't right for her to judge Cody. She was not close to him unlike she had been with Anakin.
Instead, she had left it up to her oldest friend, and whilst that was a somewhat harsh decision in itself, she trusted Rex's judgement, no matter what it was.
Glancing her fingers across the interface before her, she began to copy the files.
When it was halfway through she felt Rex's presence beside her. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw his face, one that was confident and unyielding, masking any internal strife he may have been suffering.
After a moment of silence, she spoke.
"You stunned him then?"
Rex merely nodded.
"I understand Rex. We'll take him back with us and see what we can do for him."
Again her oldest friend nodded.
He may not have been speaking, but Ahsoka knew how he was feeling. Reaching a hand over, she gently grasped his shoulder, squeezing it in support, before throwing a small smile at him.
Rex glanced over to her, locking his hazel eyes with her blue ones, before smiling back.
Ahsoka knew that Rex had just faced his own demons, and like he had done for her, she would help him in any way she could.