Jango sighed. “What did you teach them this time?”
“Nothin’ bad, Dad,” A’den protested.
“But you did teach them something.” His son said nothing, but was also trying not to smile. “Taun We called.”
“And...?” A’den’s face went studiously blank. Jango stared at him, arms folded.
“What did you teach them?”
“I reserve the right to not incriminate myself.” Before Jango could enquire further there was hollering from the hallway.
“Thirty-six seconds!” Ordo was yelling as he ran into the room. “A’den! They did it in thirty-six seconds! I-” Seeing his father, Ordo skidded to a halt just before he bumped into A’den. This did not, however, slow down the brothers behind him, nor did it prevent them from piling into him. Prudii crashed directly into Ordo, with Kom’rk right after them, shortly followed by Jaing, and the lot toppled to the ground, squashing A’den. Mereel, the last one to run in with Cain on his shoulders, managed to avoid the collision of small bodies, though Cain yelped and held tight to Mereel’s head. Jango didn’t really have time to react to this, and there was a beat of quiet before he lost it. Sitting on the ground, Jango shook with laughter. The kids gave a few nervous laughs before A’den started whining at his siblings to “get off me! Please!” Jaing huffed, then yelped himself when Kom’rk shifted hard and rolled him off. Kom’rk helped Prudii to their feet too, with Ordo pushing himself up last. A’den accepted a hand from Ordo, popping up to his feet surprisingly quickly. Cain giggled, and Mereel had a wry grin, an expression that would worry his father in years to come, Jango suspected.
“So. Thirty-six seconds?” Cain immediately hunched against Mereel’s head and shoulders. Ordo looked uncharacteristically sheepish, and the others crowded close. “What exactly did Cain do in thirty-six seconds?”
“Climbing, Dad,” Cain replied quietly.
“Climbing? Where, if I may ask?”
“The training area,” was the mumbled reply. In their defense, it was not technically a lie.
“The training area.” Jango turned his gaze to Ordo. “How against regulations was this?”
“It wasn’t!” It couldn’t be against regulations if there weren’t any for it. “It was outside of them.”
“We did check,” Jaing added. “I ran a scan on the entire regs doc just to be sure.” That sincere expression was almost worrying. “Taun We can’t be mad about us breaking regs.”
“What did you actually do ?” Jango pressed. “Sitrep, walk me through it.” The Fett siblings exchanged looks. Mereel peered up at Cain, who was leaning over to look down at him. Eventually, all eyes turned to Ordo, including Jango’s. Ordo’s mouth twitched around, before he huffed quietly.
“We taught Cain to climb the rafters in the training halls, Dad,” he explained quietly. “It was during one of the drills practices.”
“Is that all?”
Ordo looked over at Cain. “First I want to say it was not their initial idea.”
“The next bit was,” Cain said defiantly. Ordo hesitated.
“‘Lek, the timing it was Cain’s idea. But the whole thing started out as mine.”
“I helped,” A’den piped up. When Jango turned to him, he pointed out, “You always say teamwork is important, Buir.”
“I do. Go on, what happened next?”
“We taught Cain how to climb the rafters, and timed them to see how fast they could do it.”
“So Cain climbed the rafters in thirty-six seconds?”
“Not exactly.” Ordo shifted from one foot to another.
“I gave them the blaster,” Kom’rk spoke up. “That’s not on you.”
“And I made the comment,” Prudii added.
“Yeah, but I suggested they try it.” Mereel threw in his two creds.
“ And I agreed to it,” Cain finished.
“All right, so the whole thing was a team effort,” Jango replied, getting almost exhausted with the roundabout way his children were talking. “Why was there a blaster involved?”
Ordo continued the report. “Prudii commented while they were up at the top that they were the same height as the KE-8s. Kom’rk laughed and said their aim was probably good enough to take one out.” Oh, no. Jango could see where this was going. “When they came down again, Mereel suggested they give it a try.”
“It was originally a joke.”
“I agreed to try, anyway,” Cain said firmly, patting Mereel on the head. “I hate those things. Zappy. Bad.”
“So Kom’rk went to get the blaster,” Ordo continued calmly. “We started the timer and Cain went up the rafters, shot down one of the KE-8 disciplinary drones, and got back down in thirty-six seconds.”
“Why was A’den here?”
“A’den came back here to see if any of the Alphas were around. And if you were here, to keep you occupied until we were done.”
“And why the Alphas?”
“We were gonna teach them next,” A’den explained. Jango blinked. Of course. Then he realised there was a question he hadn’t asked.
“Who was training?”
“You dropped a KE-8 on Walon Vau’s Commandos while they were training?”
“It was going for Scorch!” Cain protested. They would have shot it down anyway, but then it had turned on Scorch and they’d acted even more quickly than they might have otherwise.
“And we did yell for them to get clear,” Ordo added, almost reproachful of his father. “No one was hurt.”
“Thank gods for that,” Jango sighed. Vau would probably be coming around at any minute. “That would be why Taun We called.” Your offspring are causing havoc, interrupting training and destroying property. Please discipline them. Bloody Kaminoans. “And then you all ran back here to tell A’den the news?”
“Yes, Dad.” Cain seemed to have relaxed a little. “Are you going to punish us?”
“No. But I am going to explain the problems with your actions.” Jango gestured for the lot of them to sit down, and he sat with them. “Shooting down the drones destroys property. That both costs money and risks people getting hurt. I know no one did, this time,” he said quickly, when Mereel opened his mouth to protest, “but that doesn’t mean the possibility wasn’t there. Not only that, but those rafters are very high up. Climbing them is dangerous. If you were to fall you could be seriously injured or even killed. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Cain mumbled. “I’m sorry, Buir.”
“We’re all sorry,” Ordo agreed quietly, looking at the ground.
“Did you climb the rafters for fun, for a personal challenge, or as a self-training exercise?” Jango knew the most likely motivations behind his children’s actions. They would have been his own.
“The first two,” Ordo nodded.
“Fun and a personal challenge. Okay.” That gave him something to work with. “Is it the climbing that’s the fun bit?”
“And the timing is the personal challenge.” Cain’s shoulders straightened. “It was a good time, Buir.”
“All the same, it was dangerous,” Jango told them, though his voice was not sharp, merely explanatory and firm. “If you would like, I can arrange for you all to get training on the climbing rig this week. Would that be good?”
“Part of the reason the rafters were dangerous is because you were free climbing without any safety gear. The climbing rig uses harnesses, clips, and ropes to make sure you’re climbing safely and that if you fall you won’t be injured. Part of your training will consist of learning to use the safety equipment. When you’re ready, later on, we’ll teach you to belay, or to hold each other’s safety ropes. For now, however, the trainers will be belaying you. Understood?”
“Yes,” they chorused, although some said ‘Dad’ and some said ‘Buir,’ which came out as something like ‘Dad’buir.’ Jango smiled a little.
“You all understand why you’re not allowed to climb the rafters like that again, yes?”
“And why you shouldn’t shoot down the equipment?”
“They’re still zappy and bad though,” Cain muttered. Jango hummed softly.
“You make a good point. I will speak with the Kaminoans in charge of them about that,” he assured them. They smiled a little.
“Thank you, Dad.”
“Now I think you should all get some proper exercise that doesn’t involve destroying Kaminoan property. Go see if Kal will take you to the obstacle course.” The little Fetts cheered, and Jango saw them out. Once they were gone, he went to check that Boba was still asleep, and waited for Walon Vau to arrive and attempt to rip into him about his children’s behavior. He hadn’t wanted the kids around for this ‘discussion.’
He tried not to fight with the trainers, but punching Vau wasn’t really fighting. It was a privilege.