‘A new life, a new love, a new planet, feeling rather bold too! Luckily the ol’ family which was brought back from the dark and cold, made it all add up to become, a true haven!’
The Marauder was flying through hyperspace, their destination set.
It had all started as a surprise. But like it is with any family, the tooka was soon out of the backpack. Someone had blabbed! And so, with that, the surprise had flown out of the airlock in no time.
“I can’t believe I’ll finally get to see it!”
Hunter sounded all exited. After all, this was a total treat for him.
Echo was at the helm together with Tech, naturally.
“You are actually taking me there?”
Hunter felt like a small adiik having been let into a shop filled with sugary treats for the first time in his very life.
Echo truly was fed up of hearing the same song sung all over again.
As having listened to Hunter babble on and on about their little trip during the hole flight there… Well, Echo had been reduced to only single syllable words leaving his lips. Having become the high-strung ‘parent’ to Hunter being in whatever child like state he was in now. Something, which the former leader of the Batch had become after hearing where they were taking him now.
But, even if Echo had pretty much gotten bored by Hunter’s yammering about how exited he was about seeing their home world. Clone Haven as it was aptly called. The rest of the Batchers started singing their praises about the place as soon as the subject of their destination had been revealed. After the secret as out.
Omega piped sound totally in awe of the place, even after all the years spent there.
“It is absolutely beautiful!”
Tech chimed in, with his whole face positively glowing, the images in his mind repeating on a loop.
“A true haven.”
Crosshair even added his two credits. The formerly snarly sniper, sounding totally enamoured of the place too.
“It’s good for fishing too!”
Wrecker reminded then, of the plenty a bounty on the planet had to offer. Surely, one of his favourite pastimes.
They all seemed so, totally enthralled about the whole idea of the planet they were about to visit.
Each of the clones on the ship now, describing their new home world with such abundance of praise words. Well, it all sounded almost, unbelievable. All of it to be true.
As so far, Hunter and Din had only heard the stories of this gem in the middle of nowhere space. But now, they were both in for a treat. As Clone Force 99 had offered to take them there. To finally see what the hubbub had been all about.
But, for Hunter, well, it had hit him like a ton of rocks. The fact that there was a clone home world in the first place. And that he, Hunter, was finally going to see it. Hence his reaction was that of a kid, getting their first treat.
But you had to see it for yourself to believe it.
The climate was mild. No real winters nor summers, no seasons of any kind really. Rather overall temperatures between ten and twenty degrees Celsius. The lush green forests and fields covering half of the planet. Some animal life too. With plenty of turquoise waters adding to the mix. And the several sandy beaches for some fun. In between there mountainous areas with actual snow on the very top. Add that the land mass of plenty for the clones to settle on.
Who could have asked for more?
It was, a true haven for the clones.
“So, I hear ya all have a house back there.”
Din interjected then. Not really sharing too much in the enthusiasm of the others.
After all, one planet was pretty much the same as the next. Din having seen them all, having hauled shebs across the galaxy for all his life pretty much. But, because Hunter was interested, therefore Din was too. Well, somewhat. Din would simply have to see first, then only would he form his opinion of the place.
Still, for Din, it was surprising how little the Batchers had talked about the planet. Their new home world. Nor had Boba mentioned it either even if he had clearly known about the place.
Then again, Hunter being in the world of the now. Having only reunited with his Batch a short while ago. Guess this was not something that would have popped up on the top of a list of topics.
Besides, there was a good reason the clones did not mention their home world to any old friend. Having had to go into hiding because of well, the Empire back in the past. Din could easily understand being on the lam could not have been easy for them at all.
And as they had finally found peace, literally, they were pretty much keeping to themselves.
“Yeah we do. We stay there as often as we can. Well, most of the time. But you know us, can’t stay put in one place for too long!”
Omega enlightened Din as much.
So, deducing simply from that comment alone, clearly, this so called haven wasn’t as a desirable place as they had all led to believe it to be? Because if the Batchers weren’t staying there so often? Well, guess the haven had its drawbacks after all?
There was an underlying fear steadily in place for the Mandalorian now. That of introducing the clone home world to Hunter and what it would develop into. The fear which had already sparked into life weeks ago when Clone Force 99 had dropped by at Boba’s Palace, the family having reunited.
The fear being that of Hunter wanting to be with the Batch. Permanently. Like he was meant to.
Only, without Din. Even if Hunter had already proven in many ways and no less with words what Din really meant to him. Guess, the little green monster of a thing always wanted to rise its ugly head whenever there was doubt. At least in oneself.
Then again, Crosshair, seemed to clearly have an agenda of his very own as well.
Something which had not passed Din by. It was rather subtle, but Din could tell the old relationship was far from having simmered down. Whether it went both ways? Well, that was not as certain.
The Bad Batch, Hunter and Din had been on a few missions together so far.
All of them done for the benefit of Captain Rex, or former Captain, as rank was really no longer applicable. As there was no military any more.
Even if Rex had managed to organise some the former clone troopers into a somewhat functioning entity. Some of them simply keeping up their training. Standing by, just in case something was to happen to their home world. Then again, Rex had several active troopers alongside the Bad Batch, running ops for a few of Rex’s causes.
But Din was not blind either. Seeing how Hunter loved to be with his Batch. And as long as Din was permitted to join the ride, he did not complain. But, Crosshair had more than on one occasion made a few suggestive moves toward Hunter. And well, Din had gotten jealous.
It was not his style, at all! Din had even known he was the type to be jealous. But yeah. Clearly he was now. So, there was that. Then again, guess all his previous relationships had not really been that serious?
“It’s a great house. I’m sure you’ll love it. Both of you!”
Wrecker directed the sentiment at Hunter mainly, but included Din in it just the same. Earning a mixed glare of both coy and snide from Crosshair in return.
“Yeah, I guess we will.”
As eager as Hunter was to see the clone home world, he was still a tad torn about this whole ordeal.
The talk about the Batch’s house and all. They calling this planet their home. Which it totally was. And Hunter was looking forward of seeing Clone Haven and all the others too. After all, there was the thirty years between them and a lot had changed, for all of them.
But, Hunter was also sensing Din by his side feeling edgy.
The doubts and well, Hunter had both felt and seen a hint of the green monster there too. Especially when Crosshair got too close to Hunter. But Hunter had simply chucked it off as intensity on Din’s part. All of this being new for the two of them, their relationship, the Batch for Din. But also to Hunter. Getting to know them all again.
As they had all changed. Some more than others. Thirty years was a long time after all. And Hunter knew Echo and Crosshair were together now. Not that it was a hindrance, just a fact.
“Yeah, you will. Both of you will love it. Trust me!”
Wrecker laughed while raving on about the house. Simply ignoring the permascowl having taken its proper place on Crosshair’s face at the moment.
As over forty years between the Batchers had made them all grow somewhat unfazed of the sniper’s mood swings and expressions of discontent. None of it having much of an affect on any of his family any more.
What neither Wrecker nor Hunter knew though. Was that of an ulterior motive Crosshair still harboured for their former Sergeant.
Crosshair, wanted Hunter back. Not just back to the Batch, running ops with them on occasion. Seeing Hunter during a family brunch. But, to live with them. To be with them as he was meant to. Despite or with Din Djarin in the mix.
A clone could dream, though. A clone could dream.
The navigational computer beeped, sounding almost chipper in doing so. Alerting them all they were reaching their destination.
“We are on approach to Clone Haven.”
Tech informed the others then.
“I can’t see anything.”
Din shook his head too to Hunter having glanced at the man. As there seemed to be nothing there. The two of them having stood up to have a front row view of the planet everyone and their tooka had been raving about so far.
“It’s there, trust me!”
Echo tried to assure the two whom were eagerly standing with their necks extended and on their tippy toes trying to see - something. But there was only dark space in front of them, still.
Tech kept on steering the Marauder, flying directly ahead, deeper into the dark space. Leading Hunter to believe they had been had and this was just a great big joke at his and Din’s expense.
“Is it some kind of magic? Hiding the place then?”
Hunter just had to ask. As he really could not believe his theory was true even if he asked it. Because, why joke about something as important as a home world for the clones, right?
“Nah! Well, maybe. It’s a permanent Jedi mind trick!!”
Wrecker told the impatient looking duo, Hunter and Din. Earning a surprised look from them both.
And just as per ordered, the gorgeous blue and green globe of a planet, came to full view.
There were several soft sighs and a few wolf whistles let out just as the Marauder was on approach to the planet itself. Hunter’s and Din’s jaws practically dropping in the very awe of the view.
Because it was, simply magnificent. Clone Haven, now in full view in all its glory.
They had all disembarked the Marauder.
Each of them glancing interested around the immediate area. Even if it was familiar to most of them, it never failed to surprise. The nature clearly visible to the landing area, as the large hangar doors to the outside were wide open all of them time. The fresh air pushing inside, making all of them exhale it with greed. As it was all fresh and good.
Rex and Cody were at the landing platform to greet the arrivals gingerly.
It was still totally baffling, once again, to Hunter how much the same they all still looked. Rex, Cody and even a few other regs he could spot in the distance of the large size hangar bay working on something at the moment.
Both Cody and Rex had talked with him over holo calls in the past few weeks, of course.
After learning Hunter had been found in the here and now after his little, hm, trip through time. But this was the first they had actually met since the past.
Rex greeted Hunter first. And it was certainly not the usual arm shake of a thing, rather a tight hug Rex reeled Hunter into.
“Good to have you back!”
Cody was next and did the exact same as Rex, grabbing the man into a tight bear hug.
“So glad you were finally able to come here!”
Cody and Rex were both all wide smiles at the moment.
After all, Hunter and the Batch had been both their favourites, ever since forever. And having the group back together again? Well, sort of. Neither of them could have been more exhilarated.
“This is Din, Din Djarin.”
Hunter offered pulling Din to the front. Of course they both knew about the Mandalorian. Word (read rumours) travelled fast among the clones. Still.
“We are so pleased to have you here!”
It was almost exclaimed in unison. Both leaders, as Rex and Cody pretty much still were, welcoming the new guy to the fold.
“Glad to be here.”
All which Din managed at the moment.
Not really sure where all this enthusiasm for him being there was coming from. But suspecting it was the Batch’s doing mostly. And he could not really blame them. Of course Din was knowledgeable that the clones adored Mandalorian culture. And Din being one, well, guess it was some kind of hero worship for the lack of a better word.
Then again, what Din now new of the hardships and war the clones had gone through. And so with that in mind, Din should have been the one who was worshipping them. As in his mind the clones were the real heroes. Something Din had already tried to explain to Hunter and the Batchers as well.
What Din was not prepared for was the rather heart warming welcome he too received now, as both Cody and Rex took turns in hugging him. As if he was family. Which the clones pretty much considered Din to be after all. Their family.
Din looked totally confused and out of his element after he was let go by the power duo. Glaring back at Hunter with bewildered eyes, Hunter only chuckling lightly and shaking his head. Meaning for Din not to worry. The clones, were rather affectionate to each other after all.
“So, you have come and have a look-see what our little home is all about then?”
Cody was being polite of course, downplaying his own enthusiasm.
But they had both hoped, Rex and him, that Hunter and Din, being well aware of their relationship by now, would perhaps fall in love with the place too. And well, maybe come to live there as well. Not that either of them mentioned it now. But Rex had talked to Echo about it and they were clearly on the same page of what they hoped to happen while introducing Clone Haven to the two new arrivals.
As even if the Batch had said they were hardly ever there, planet side, it wasn’t entirely true though.
They did spend the bulk of their time when they weren’t running errants or ops for Rex in Clone Haven. They all loved it there. Very much so. Omega and Tech were even teaching the children some courses in the school when the were planet side.
Then there was the other reason as well for them to spend the time the could on their home world. Something which Hunter and Din were about to find out. Soon enough.
“When you have inspected the house, drop by at our place and we’ll have a meal and a chat.”
Rex and Cody had already everything prepped and ready. Only waiting for their guests to arrive.
“Will do Rex!”
Echo signed off with his hand before leading his troops to their home. Or rather Hunter and Din as the rest of them knew exactly where it was. Naturally. Having built and lived in it for a long, long while now.
They all stopped momentarily though. Taking in the vistas, the lush greens of the fields and the blue skies with birds flying above. It was truly beautiful. Peaceful and the air pure and fresh to breathe. Haven was not an exaggeration for this place. At all.
“So, Rex and Cody, huh?”
Hunter then asked, not that he had had any doubt, seeing as how close the two having been already way back when.
“Rex and Cody.”
Echo simply replied with a soft smile.
There were a lot of families formed by the clones living on the planet. Mostly, those were clone units. But as always, there were a few exceptions in the mix.
The seven of them walked the short distance in comfortable silence, observing their surroundings as the closed in on what seemed to be a rather large looking house.
They were all settling in the house that the Batch had built. Din and Hunter getting their own private room. The other four male clones sharing a space together, while Omega had her own wing all to herself. Something which she apparently preferred.
What Hunter had not been prepared for though. Not even if he would have travelled a million years through time. Which was the sudden intrusion happening just then. The chipper sounds filling the air just a little after they had all gotten in the house and dropped their backpacks in their respective rooms.
Of course both Hunter and Din were well aware of the clones having clones of their own. Something which the Batchers had already revealed before even coming to Clone Haven.
As with thanks to the Kaminoan scientist Nala Se’s efforts to dedicate her life for the clones after having been saved from the imperials a long time ago. Having not only reverse engineered their ageing process but also having given the clones the ultimate gift. That of clone children. Clones of themselves.
But as it was now. There were kids running into the house. Looking and sounding cheerful as they saw the Batchers. Six of them bouncing into the large living room where they had all gathered just moments before.
The six of them were all jumping up and around the five Batchers. Clearly happy to see them all.
Then, as if only then releasing there was someone else there too, the kids all stopped on the spot and stood there frozen in time and place, simply glaring right at Hunter and Din.
Echo was the first one to react and took upon himself to introduce the new arrivals to the children.
“Ade, these are our two…”
Echo turned to look up at Hunter and back at the other four, before making his decision on the spot.
It was true, Hunter was and always had been, their vod. Even if removed from time and space for a time there. And while Din was new. But he was with Hunter and so, by extension, having become close to the Batch during their time spent together on plenty of mission and off as well. Din was family now.
The kids stood there in a neat file formation. Simply glaring at the two new people. But, it was painfully obvious to Hunter whom the kids were. All six of them. Perfect replicas of each member of the Batch. All of them.
Echo introduced each of their children to Hunter and Din.
“Hunter, Din. Meet Psi, Snipes, Basher, Gears, Distort and this one, is called Tracker.”
Hunter gaped at Tracker. As did Din.
Despite his young age, Tracker looked exactly the same as Hunter had been at his age. And anyone looking at the two of them, could tell they were crafted from the very same cloth.
Was all Hunter managed to utter. Staring at Tracker, glaring back at the mirror image from the past of himself.