Cody had had enough. The clone commander strode through the belly of the Venator-class starship, his helmet tucked under his arm and he knew he was scowling something furious. They’d just pulled out of an engagement, they’d lost brothers. He could feel the need for a shower - the tac suit under his armor felt grimy, he knew there was muck covering his armor - but couldn’t bring himself to care. He was a clone, built for war, built for the Jedi he served under, yet he felt frustrated and helpless. At least he was well aware of the cause.
Kix, the medic for the 501st, was dealing with reports when Cody walked into the medbay, but was on his feet and saluting in seconds. “Commander Cody, sir.”
::Turn the damn recorders off.:: Cody signed, using the hand signals the clones had created themselves. Every inch of the ships had recording devices, just in case, but the ones in medical could be turned off for privacy reasons.
Kix, understanding, nodded and leaned down to press a key on his terminal. After a couple of seconds, he said “done. Something I can do for you sir?”
Cody took a deep breath. Not an hour and a half ago he had been in battle, watching his people risk their lives. It had been that risk - specifically that of Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Clones own Adenn Sarad * (she didn’t know about the nickname, which was probably for the best) risking her own precious, un-riskable existence to go back for a squad of troopers whom all had been wounded. She’d come so close to being killed that the blasters had left singe marks on her overtunic.
It made Cody’s fingers itch to wrap his General in bubble wrap and make sure she never left the Jedi Temple.
General Kenobi had nearly died, and his brothers had died for a group of ungrateful colonists who hadn’t believed that the Confederacy would come for their world - despite repeated warnings - and then demanded armed assistance when they did.
It was unacceptable.
There were few things that Cody could change in his life, but there was one thing he knew that needed to change, and he should have done it ages ago.
General Kenobi believed in the clones, that Cody and his thousands of brothers were people, that they were just as important to the universe as the Jedi. The clones, conversely, knew what they were trained for, knew that someone, somewhere, wanted the Jedi dead and that the order would be handed down someday. They weren’t supposed to know, but they knew.
For all that it went against everything that he stood for, Cody wasn’t going to follow orders this time, even if it got him killed for treason.
“I want the kriffing inhibitor chip out .”
Kix didn't even blink. It wasn’t the reaction that Cody had been expecting. Instead, the medic nodded in understanding and motioned him over to a drawer behind his desk. Like some of the cabinets that contained medications, this one had a security lock on it. Kix entered the code to release the lock, and when the contents were revealed to be anything but medication, Cody was speechless.
Inside the drawer were innumerable small glass vials, each with a suspension fluid within, and most importantly, an inhibitor chip and biological matter. Each vial was labeled with an indicator of to which clone the chip had belonged.
Stunned, Cody looked to Kix, who was smiling at him. As if he’d been waiting for Cody to come to him.
“You’re not the first to ask.”
“Who?” Cody rasped, overcome. “How many?”
“The entire WolfPack.” Kix told him kindly. “They came en masse. I’d never had brothers line up for surgery before. Wouldn’t leave until they’d all had them out. All of the 501’st too, though they came to me in little groups of twos and threes.”
“All of the 501’st?”
“All.” Kix confirmed. “Any shinies who get transferred in have to come to me first. Officially so that I have my own medical records on everyone. To be fair, I do keep my own records, but unofficially, they also get their chips out while they’re here. Or they get transferred back out.”
Cody processed this for a moment. “The 212th?”
Kix looked uncomfortable, but said. “Almost two thirds have the chip out. Get at least one of yours coming in every week, asking for the surgery.”
Cody scowled, his face darkening. Kix must have realized the chagrin, because he quickly added. “They didn’t want to... You’re their commander, they respect you. But you seemed...fine with the chip, with the... specific order we might someday be given.” Kix didn’t name the order. None of them ever did. They didn’t have to.
Something cold settled over Cody’s shoulders. “If I hadn’t come here, if I hadn’t asked…”
“Your men like you. They’d have somehow made sure you were rotated out.” Kix said firmly. “Even if it was over General Kenobi’s objections.”
“And if I couldn’t be rotated out?” Cody raised an eyebrow, but Kix refused to elaborate.
“We’re all going to be relieved that you came and asked, sir.” The medic said instead, after a moment of hesitation. “You’re not the only commander those who have been unchipped have worried about.”
And Cody would bet that some of those commanders, the ones who might never ask, in the future would meet with ends that he didn’t really want to aknowledge. Not right then.
“We’re keeping tallies on who gets injured.” Kix said. “Me and some of the other medics. We don’t send the unchipped to Kamino unless absolutely necessary.”
Cody nodded, still processing all of this. “The Generals? Do any of them -” He paused. Sometimes he got the feeling that General Kenobi… Sometimes, the way she looked at them all… Himself, members of the 212th, as if she knew something. Something she wasn’t saying. But she couldn’t know about the Order, the one Cody didn’t like to think about. It was impossible.
And yet Skywalker sometimes had the same look in his eyes.
Kix seemed to recognize the thought process, maybe it was playing on Cody’s face. “They don’t know. At least, we don’t think they know.” He said. “But, they are Jedi.”
Cody nodded. That usually explained everything.
“When do you want your chip out, sir?” Kix asked.
“When can you do it?” Cody wanted to know, looking down at the vials.
“Then let's get the accursed thing out of my brain.” Cody put his bucket on the nearest bed. “And then I want to talk to the leaders of the unchipped.”