Bo-Katan sits at her station as her hands race across the holoscreen. On a hunch, she hacks the holofeeds of Coruscant and pinpoints the next move of the Jedi. She grits her teeth to discover that a Jedi bombed the temple and was on trial by the Republic Military courts. That information was old news. She moves the icons across the screen to search for new parameters: intelligence for the Mandalorian Death Watch to fight Darth Maul. She closes her eyes as images sear her mind of Maul decapitating her commander, Pre Viszla to destroy the Death Watch. She was trained to suppress her grief as images of her escape from Maul’s kill order as her fingers fluster along the holoscreen. “Only eight lives survived to pass on the true to the ideals of Mandalorians. No outsider rules Mandalore,” she reminds herself, but reports of his treachery seem to have vanished from her hacked holofeeds. “Maul does not vanish. He’s a lying sack of osik.”
The data flows down then sideways on the holoscreen with blue and orange colors to alert in changes to the hacked feed. She sifts through the information to find the gems of intelligence buried in the mass data stream. Bo-Katan is one of the best hackers of ultra-secure encryption holonetworks. Her former commander, Pre Viszla made sure that her training included analysis of complex 3D holographic structures faster than droid culls. Her memories of his teachings echo in her mind and give her the sole motivation to find Maul and save Mandalore. She had to keep haste to report her conclusions to her superiors to plan for battle. Her hopes lied with her return to the battlefield. An alert beeps her back into focus from the feed chatter, she filters data to finish her work. Hacking the HoloNet never satiates her need to be a warrior and contribute to the Mandalorian cause and culture: Mandalore for Mandalorians. But her orders were the pursuit of the mission based on the feed data. That decision was ordered by her new commander, Lorka Gedyc.
Commander Lorka Gedyc was a tall man and a decade older than Bo-Katan. His chiseled facial features were too handsome and clean for a Mandalorian male. Most Mandalorian men had facial scars and contusions from battle. Lorka was a “pretty” man, well-groomed, no visible scars. His childhood was murky to the Mandalorians, but he knew all the Mandalorian customs and the language. The Mandalorian top brass seemed to accept him as he rose the ranks of Death Watch.
He strides down the corridor as thought sexy by most women and in movements not Mandalorian. Too delicate and prim for the rough, tough ruggedness of Mandalorian men. Lorka Gedyc’s movements were like a Mon Cala Aerial Ballet primadonna. Bo-Katan's mind reverts to the abundant rumors about his training on Prebsfelt IV, a harsh terrain planet for the Republic Judicial Naval Academy. Special operations with advanced weaponry and large capital ships...not Mandalorian. Only core planet citizens train like him. Bo heard he had an alias, Nehaat Ovair, an ancient time name of famed Jedi Masters and Galactic naval family. The Ovairs were distant relatives once removed from the Mandalorian traits that includes commitment to the houses, clans and the children. Somehow, Lorka Gedyc exudes Death Watch and his questionable forefather background matters little with the admixture of Mandalorian, Jedi and some Galactic-wide Judicial military. In any case, Mandalorian top brass gave him a new kind of capital class starship under his command, complete with complements, turbo lasers and missiles. His networks can maneuver through criminal syndicate space and the Republic military. With Pre Viszla’s death, Lorka Gedyc’s ship became the forward command for missions and his campaign he entitled arrogantly, “Mandalorian Enduring Freedom”.
Bo watches him wink and grin at fawning female soldiers until he finds his pleasured gaze her. She tries to ignore his hovering as she is remebers who gave her refuge on his ship after Darth Maul’s coup on Mandalore. She knows that Lorka Gedyc's ship could defeat Darth Maul but could not save her sister, Satine Kryze who was killed in front of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anarchy ensues from Maul's forces and Lorka's expertise could civilize Mandalorians as a show of strength to the galaxy, which emphasizes no outsiders will enter Mandalorian sector space. She could feel his gaze of admiration of her form as she finishes her holoreport. Then, from the corner of her peripheral vision she sees he chit chats to one of the many fawning women that his glowy blue-green eyes mesmerizes them. His eye color is another unique feature about him. One only her House Kryze had that were admixture Mandalorians, except for her.
"He lacks battle-testing like me in the Clone Wars," she mumbles under her breath. Her eye darts from his smug face, and handsome eyes of arrogance, and then her mind speaks volumes. “No preparation, but great battle strategy…in theory…not the same as on the ground.” She watches him flirt with the women, and cajoles the men as best friends. The mind of Bo-Katan reels. “Sycophantic shebse kissers.” Then he turns to her happily as he catches her nasty glare to return to her desk. She immediately she slumps into her cubicle and straightens her posture.
He meanders to her and leans casually as he folds his arms to stare at her for a long time. “Find anything, Lieutenant?” She felt his deep seductive voice made her neck hairs stand then he leans his head next to her briefly that breaks her concentration from her finger movements.
His sexy intonation of his voices startles her. Most Mandalorian male voices are gruff and raspy, something that she loves. But she suspects his well-spoken voice has a tonal pitch with a dark hidden meaning behind it, as her irrational thoughts race. His exhale disarms her finger syncopation to filter the basic parameters and commands, which a slump in her posture she addresses him as her superior. Any more than that, and his comments made her more uncomfortable. “Commander, there are small tidbits of information from a security holocams on Coruscant, but as for the significance? I require more time.” She dares not to look at him. His demeanor was similar to that of a Jedi, but her training yells “dar’je’tii or Siit”.
“Hmm? Well. Play the transmission.”
Bo-Katan rewinds to the start point of the transmission and presses the playback button. One human figure appears in the noise-filled hologram while he speaks to two other unidentifiable figures encased in a ray shield.
“I’m not crazy! Please just hear what I have to say. I was framed because I know the truth the truth about a plot, a massive deception. There’s a sinister plot in the works against the Jedi. I have proof of it. I can prove that everything that I know is true beyond a shadow of a doubt! The evidence is in here. It’s in here. It’s in all of us, every clone. Organic chips built into our genetic code to make us do whatever someone wants, even kill the Jedi. The Chancellor will try to kill me. He’s in on it! I don’t know to what extent. But I know he orchestrated much of this. He told me in the medical bay!”
Bo-Katan looks back at Lorka whose finger is under his nose as his eyes pan back and forth as he watches the hologram. He heaves as his deep-voice voice strains. “This one here,” he points to the lone image. “He is a clone trooper of the Jango Fett clones on Kamino.” His eyes squint as his big torso reaches across Bo-Katan’s head while his large index finger touches gently on Bo-Katan’s screen to increase the volume. “Did he say, organic chips to control?”
Bo-Katan more disarmed of the largess of his hands and his slight tinge of some kind of non-Mandalorian cologne that she inhales, by choice. The scent imbalances her thoughts but solidifies her belief that Lorka is not Mandalorian. But the holographic image she saw clearly show an organic mind-control chip and to Mandalorians it was unspeakable. Then it dawns on her, how would Lorka know about the clones? He is not Pre Viszla. She could question Vizsla’s orders and command. The stiff moves by Lorka were icy from an outsider's military training. His professional personality and demeanor felt structured and frozen. Mandalorian men were friendly and personable, even in battle. Her inner mind spoke, Lorka is not that way. His presence felt distant and it unnerves her filled with presumption. Her intuition screams Lorka is untrustworthy. Then, his eyes…those deep blue-green eyes flit across the screen as he moves one icon away to another as if he held a personal conversation, which Bo-Katan could not be privy to. She sees his eyes make calculations for the entire scenario. Her mind drifts to more rumors, he would not socialize and carouse at the bars like most Mandalorians do. Then dread sickens her stomach as her greatest fears of Lorka mount at to who he is, really.
His voice drifts as his recollection returns and his voice spits a sinister hiss. “Jango Fett is a Mandalorian despite what that betraying Prime Minister Almec says that groveling puppet.” The hit of the sneer of his voice about Almec prompts her back into reality and invokes an emotion in Lorka not seen in he. “Manda KARK tatugire demogolka experiments!” He swooshes flimsies from the desk without his touch.
Caught off guard, Bo-Katan presses another button for recorded holographic data playback. “Another transmission from Serenno. Not sure, but it sounds like Count Dooku. The other voice could not be identified, Sir.”
Another cause your doctors found?
A parasite. Native to Ringo Vinda. Probably in the canteen of water they both shared.
It did cause the inhibitors to decay, once the parasite had taken hold. It is very rare. However, just to be cautious, we have prepared an inoculation for every clone trooper in our army.
Lorka’s eyes flash a tinge of yellow in a sudden rage as his skin reddens and his voice snarls. “Maul was right about one thing, Dooku is a Sith pretender.”
His change in his deep-voice to a more sinister raspy that causes Bo-Katan to jolt from her seat as flimsies fall to the floor. Lorka eyes widen in fear he had frightened her. Her mind squeaks, of how the messenger is killed and she was it. Mandalorian male rage was normal on the battlefield, but she was on a starship and there was no place to hide. Her voice barely squeaks her malformed words. “Sir, do you think-think… um connection?” She clears her throat. “You know, between the clones and Dooku?”
Lorka face calms as he rubs back his neck quell his sheepish outburst as he can sense the fear of Bo-Katan. “KRIFFIN’ demagolka experiments on Mandalorians.” He puts his hands on his hips and paces, then kicks the wall. He could no longer conceal his rage. “How am I supposed to save Mandalore when they experiment on my own people? Damn demagolka experiments!”
“Who Sir?” Bo-Katan squeaks after a long confusing silence.
“Who else?” He grumbles to find the right word as he spits a litany. “The Jedi? They attacked Mandalore, 700 years before and put this pacifist government which scatters us across the galaxy, and then they let Maul traipse in here to destroy all that we have accomplished? What do you think ‘NAYC ARUETIISE’ means?”
Bo-Katan watches his eyes flash yellow reminiscent of Darth Maul’s yellow-red eyes. Unsure if his question was rhetorical, she returns to the hacked holofeed and watches the clone collapse and mumbles jargon. She replays the conversation frame-by-frame to understand, but to no avail. Then she attempts to refocus the conversation. “They killed the clone, sir. Clones that kill clones?” It was all too confusing to her. “Can clones be Mandalorian? Should we save them, Sir?”
Lorka could feel his palms sweat as if energy rose into them to crush metal with telepathy. Then Bo-Katan speaks, her sweet melodious innocent voice sings to him to find his center. He clears his throat as his rage calms and regains suave self-control. “Yes. We save all clones. They are Mandalorian, but they are…dar’manda…lost from our ways. We need to return them to our people and teach them our ways.” He closes his eyes for a moment and reopens them to speak in his deep-sweet-toned voice. “We offer them sanctuary and help them overcome their battles. Do you think you can start that process for me, Lieutenant?”
His surprise answer catches Bo-Katan off-guard as she gazes deep into his blue-green eyes. His eyes, they calm her and compel her follow his orders. She feels glee to send her back into the battlefield. “Yes, Commander. I’ll get right on it.”
He flashes his bright smile and places his hand on her shoulder, gently as he rubs around it. “I know you can. I am counting on you. You’re my little Fem-Mando girl, aren’t you, Lieutenant?” He rises, then straightens his uniform, rolls his shoulders back to stiff stance and confidently strides to the next cubicle to flirt.
Bo-Katan’s stomach winces when she feels his huge hand on her shoulder and then hears his reductive comment. The stench of his words tings through her ears as her brain vomits from the ignorance of his comment. She can only manage to think the Mandalorian word like “di’kutla”. Her former commander, Pre Vizsla never spoke to her like that. She battled Maul, she fought traitors on Mandalore, and with the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, and she organized an underground movement. The only reason why she came to Lorka was for his starship. Her mind screams harassment because of her gender. But it is not the first time she has heard of Mandalorians male diminutions. Many female Mandalorians, Fem-Mandos as they are called, would endure it. The unwelcome gropes and condescension. It is the norm for Fem-Mandos. Her hands shake in shock that the Mandalorian Death Watch leader Lorka Gedyc would rip professional abilities from her and she was compelled to welcome it. Her eyes water from the range of emotions wracking her nerves. She manages to press the final few buttons on the computer to organize her reports, which optimized the new mission plan to save the clones. A timed alarm alerts her to another call she had to make. She fixes her hair headband and activates a channel. An old friend and comarade-at-arms, a former medic and now physician. A Fem-Mando filled with strength and hears her sweet professional voice out of her doldrums from Lorka’s microaggression. “Su’cuy Dr. Vidya. How’s Kaliinda Shoals Medical Spacestation? I’ve got a new mission for you.”