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Saga - PT "As Rolls a Thousand Waves to the Rock" | Classical Music Mini-Games Challenge | Three TCW Vignettes

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mira_Jade , Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Title: “As Rolls a Thousand Waves to the Rock (As Meets the Rock a Thousand Waves)”
    Author: Mira_Jade

    Genre: Drama, Friendship
    Rating: PG
    Time Frame: Saga-PT; TCW Season 2
    Characters: Ahsoka Tano & Captain Rex | Admiral Yularen & Anakin Skywalker | Obi-Wan Kenobi & Ensemble Cast

    Summary: Moments of ebb and flow, from the early days of the Clone Wars.

    Author’s Notes: For @Pandora's absolutely wonderful Classical Music Roulette Challenge, I received the beautiful Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave) by Felix Mendelssohn. This was a new one for me, but it's since risen to the top as one of my absolute favourite classical pieces! Apparently, Mendelssohn wrote this gorgeous song after a trip to Scotland in an effort to express the beauty of the sea caves adorning the island of Staffa, which is part of the Hebrides archipelago, through music. Fingal's Cave, in particular, is renowned for its natural acoustics and breathtaking basalt rock formations. The name of the cave is taken from James Macpherson's epic poem Fingal, with the eponymous hero being a prominent character in the surrounding folklore of the region. I too took my title from the poem, where the crashing of the waves upon the rocks - just the same as Mendelssohn strove to capture in his melody - was compared to the bravery of warriors persevering in battle. Since I am knee-deep in my Clone Wars rewatch right now, I had ample inspiration to go from there!

    So, for the nitty-gritty: I originally intended to write three short ficlets for my Constellations collection, but they quickly grew too long – I know, surprise, surprise! I now have three proper vignettes to share instead. Each are complete in of themselves, but they are all connected by the music and the theme of perseverance (and I daresay oftentimes seemingly futile suffering) of soldiers during wartime. All three vignettes are set in the early episodes of Season 2, just because that's where I am in my viewing, and I have so many feelings to share. Brief blurbs on the surrounding canon events, for those of you who are unfamiliar with TCW, will be included before each vignette if you so desire to orient yourselves. The rest I have tried to make as accessible as possible in the text.

    That said, I thank you again, Pandora, for the wonderful fount of inspiration you provided - this is one of my favourite things I've written in some time, and I'm so happy that you decided to take part, and thus let me participate, in the Mini-Games Challenge! [face_love] [:D]

    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words!

    "As Rolls a Thousand Waves to the Rock
    . . . As Meets the Rock a Thousand Waves"

    by Mira_Jade

    Season 2, Episode 1: Holocron Heist



    The opening episode of Season 2 dropped us right in the middle of a warzone on the planet Felucia. Anakin and Obi-Wan's forces were overrun by the Separatists, forcing them to retreat. They order Ahsoka - who was leading a separate squadron of her own - to pull her men back, too. She, however, could only see that she'd broken through the enemy lines and refused to join the rout, even after multiple orders from Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Admiral Yularen.




    But Ahsoka couldn't see the bigger picture: the droids weren't running from her, they were regrouping to join the overwhelming forces battering Obi-Wan and Anakin. She didn't stand a chance in the long run. Even after being told as much she still refused to listen. It took Anakin and Obi-Wan landing a gunship right in the middle of her line of fire and ordering her aboard to finally get her to stand down.


    Even then, she was only rudely incredulous; she was so convinced that she knew better than those with more wisdom and experience than her, which is a huge no-no in any situation, let alone breaking the chain of military command on an active battlefield!


    After that, you know it's bad when both Obi-Wan and Anakin chastise her for her disobedience and recklessly endangering her men in front of their troops aboard the gunship. Which she wholly deserved, of course! As much as I love her, this was one of her worst character moments onscreen.

    As a result of her disobedience, Ahsoka was summoned before the Council for disciplinary action, and then removed from active duty to serve at the Temple for a time to reflect on her actions and temper her arrogance. (Thank-goodness, it ends up being, as that puts her in a place to help foil the Cad Bane mess that this episode arc focuses on, but yikes, it was a rough lesson learned for our girl.)


    And that brings me to this missing scene, before the 501st reaches Coruscant after retreating from Felucia . . .


    Season 2, Episode 1: Holocron Heist

    Shame was a burning ember, dropping like a stone in her gut as they rose above the vibrant canopy of the Felucian jungle.

    Ahsoka Tano was not accustomed to failure – especially the kind that not only had Master Obi-Wan chiding her for her Force-forsaken foolhardy stubbornness (not a terribly unusual thing), but Master Anakin too saying that he was disappointed in her, that there was a time and a place for disregarding orders, and that had most certainly not been the time nor the place (a slap in the face more shocking than any droid popper detonating right next to her montrals). Further compounding the blow of their words, they didn’t even wait until they were shipside to deliver their combined tongue-lashing. Instead, she was taken to task for her refusing to fall back in front of every trooper on the larty. Thanks to her arrogance, men had died and even more would have been lost if Obi-Wan and Anakin hadn't intervened right in the nick of time. (Strike, her sergeant, Haz, Barrage, Cobalt, Akaanir, CT-2225, ARC-6469, and CP-3875 had fallen only after she insisted on pushing the attack, she would later study the field reports and torture herself with remembering. Bunker, Etad, and CT-8310 – all from the 212th – had been shot down when the gunship landed between her squadron and the retreating droid line to collect her by force; those three names in particular she would take cold with her until the end of her days as her fault her fault her fault.) After her initial fit of incredulity passed, and she realized just how badly she had erred, Ahsoka meekly hung her head and endured their censure with what grace she could. All the while she felt as every soldier aboard tried their best to not look at her, providing her dignity with what facsimile of privacy they could offer. Contrarily, Rex, she didn’t have to glance over her shoulder to know, stared at her the entire time; he didn't even pretend to look away.

    The feel of his visored gaze locked onto her back, his jaig eyes – earned for preserving the lives of his men above his own in battle – seemingly furrowed as they joined up with their transport ship and broke atmo, was worse than any rebuke the Council could ever think to level at her going forward. She'd been told by Master Obi-Wan in no uncertain terms that she would have a disciplinary meeting scheduled to discuss her intractable stubbornness and arrogance in the field. Good, all of the fight had left her by then; she deserved whatever punishments they'd see fit to judge her with; their verdict would be only as much as she deserved.

    It wasn’t until they were back aboard the Resolute and en route to Coruscant that she scrapped together her battered pride – and no small amount of bravery – to walk out and face her men. Sure, she'd have much rather preferred to lock herself away in her quarters and lick her wounds alone – and maybe even never show her face again at all, really – but there was no place in this war for such ridiculous adolescent indulgence as that. She’d already been too much of a petulant child that day, and she’d gotten her troopers killed, again, for her immaturity. This was just like when she tried to break the blockade above Ryloth, she agonized anew, or when she’d led Torrent Company in that charge against General Grevious alone without waiting for Anakin as back-up. She, like the green commander she truly was, had overestimated her own strength and thought that there was no crest they couldn’t summit time and time again. As a result, good men had died for her arrogance and stupidity; good men had died and their deaths were all her fault.

    (Her fault, her fault, her fault.)

    How could she keep doing this? Ahsoka wondered. Even when she told herself that she knew better, that she was going to step up and be better, she kept on smashing herself against the rocks over and over again while somehow expecting a different outcome each and every time. It was starting to sound like, she snorted to reflect, the very definition of insanity.

    When she finally entered the mess hall, she tried not to notice their depleted ranks – as it all too often was following such a fruitless campaign, and as it would remain until their numbers were refreshed with fresh recruits from Kamino – but it was hard not to. Still, she held her head up and endeavored to meet any pair of eyes who looked her way; her men deserved that much, at least. If it hurt when so many of her troopers stopped and expressed sympathy to her for their losses, or eagerly insisted that they would do better next time, or – typically from the likes of Fives and Hardcase – cheekily had stories to share from back when their own training officers had chewed them out for independent thinking, then she kept her reactions to herself. But, when Kix stopped and asked if she needed the shrapnel burn on her left lekku seen to, showing concern for such an inconsequential little hurt in the grand scheme of things, that was the last straw that broke the bantha’s back. Ahsoka spun away from their senior medic without answering and fought the irrational urge she had to burst into tears. Why, she couldn’t understand, weren’t they as furious as Obi-Wan and Anakin were? Why didn’t they blame her, as she so rightly deserved? Their comradeship – their encouragement and sympathy and wry solidarity – made her want to scream. She couldn’t handle one more: we’ll get them next time, Commander, just you wait, or: with every scratch in your paint you learn better for your next deployment! or: you know that Haz wouldn’t have retreated even if you told him to, sir; it was a good death, Taz, his batcher, had assured her and in response she fought the urge she had to sink down into a miserable puddle of defeated Padawan right there on the deck and never get up again.

    By the time she found Rex at their usual table in the middle of the mess – as he often was after a mission, making himself available for any of his men who wanted to approach him while Anakin briefed GAR command – Ahsoka was all but thrumming with her confusionhurtoutrage as she plopped down across from him in a battered heap. Rex, she thought at least, wasn’t going to spin this like Chandrillan sugar and try to make her feel better. He would treat her like the adult she was trying to be – as a fellow commander, responsible for the lives of his vod’e – and not spare her like she knew she better deserved.

    “Captain,” she greeted, sticking to formality rather than the heya, Rexter and wide grin she would've normally flashed instead, “I would like to see the ordnance reports from today.” She was proud that she didn’t fumble over or wince for her words; she owed the fallen that much. Ordnance reports, even so, she fought the bile that threatened to rise in her throat, just the same then as she always did; her men weren't even counted as casualties in the eyes of the Republic, just discharged weapons, used up and wasted.

    Had she looked at them the same way, that day, even unwittingly? The thought alone made the room threaten to spin around her. No . . . she couldn't have.

    Briefly, Rex glanced up from his datapad. His brown eyes flicked to her and then, nonchalant as if this was any other evening in the mess, he looked away again. “All due respect," he mildly turned her down, "I don’t think that’s a good idea, Commander.”

    Ahsoka fought the urge she had to huff – oh so very maturely – through her nose. “Captain,” she, through a supreme course of will, kept her voice level to repeat, “I would like to see the ordnance reports. Please.” She didn’t phrase her words as an order – honestly, she tried her best not to phrase anything as an absolute command unless she was relaying Anakin’s instructions on the battlefield. She knew that his conditioning struggled enough against even perceived directives liked the one she was giving then. For that knowledge, she fought the urge she had to bury her face in her hands. Her lekku pulsed in misery, beyond her conscious control, while the usual rich blue of her chevrons had turned chalky and grey, betraying her.

    Subtly, Rex let out an exhale that could have been called a sigh. He looked up again, and, that time, he held her eyes. “Only if you can tell me why you want to see the reports, sir.”

    She wished he would stop calling her sir and commander, especially then, when she felt like she was the furthest from deserving her rank as she’d ever been. Why, she wanted to bare her teeth and snarl, was he being so polite about this? If she was him, she would have shoved the report at her, and let her look. Who cared that she was rubbing salt in her wounds? Her own pain so kriffing didn’t matter; not here, not now.

    Well . . . so maybe she wouldn’t have to Rex if their situations were reversed, but, still, it was no less than what she deserved.

    “I . . . I just need to know,” lamely, she tried again. (Force, but she hoped that was enough.)

    “But why do you need to know?” Rex still refused to budge. (Of course it wasn’t.)

    “I just do, Rex,” she finally snapped, breaking their yoke of formality and growling through her teeth. “And you know exactly why! I don't just need to know, I have to know.” But, just as quickly as it first surged, all the fight left her again in a rush and she dropped her head, defeated. “They deserve for me to know,” she turned quiet to murmur. "I have to know . . . for them."

    For a long moment, Rex only looked at her. Even with his face exposed, she couldn’t read his thoughts any better then than if he still wore his helmet. Finally, though, he turned his datapad and pushed it across the table to her.

    Rex was silent as she scrolled, at least – the Force be thanked for small mercies. Ahsoka didn’t know if she could have handled another round of: Haz wouldn’t have retreated anyway, sir, or: this is what we were born to do; every last one of us is honored to serve the Republic to or: we trust you, Commander; we would have stayed with you as long as you would have held that line, or -

    The CID numbers of the deceased were listed, rather than their self-appointed names, her eyes burned to see – though she already knew as much from previous reports. Even Rex signed the end of the document with his number, which she so often forgot he had in the first place. Sergeant Strike, she recognized at the very least. But, the rest . . . she looked up at Rex, feeling lost, and yet she thankfully didn’t have to voice her query aloud.

    “Haz, Barrage, Cobalt, and Akaanir,” he listed for her, his voice soft. “CT-2225, ARC-6469, and CP-3875 hadn’t chosen their names yet. Felucia was their first campaign.”

    Strike, Haz, Barrage, Cobalt, and Akaanir . . . it was anguishing for her to absorb, but she did so regardless. CT-2225, ARC-6469, and CP-3875.

    “And, from Master Obi-Wan’s battalion?” she forced herself to ask. “Who were they? There were three of them, I felt.” That, she remembered with a sick, awful sort of churning in her gut. She had sensed them flare so brightly before winking out entirely in the Force, even as she railed at her Master for pulling her away from the battle. How stupid she had been, she scathed at herself now; those deaths had been senseless and needless and all her fault.

    Rex looked at her for another long moment, but then he reached forward and tapped another command. “Bunker, Etad, and CT-33-8310 were all Cody’s men,” he revealed, before she had to ask.

    Bunker, Etad, and CT-33-8310, she forced herself to etch their names onto her heart. She would never forget them.

    Ahsoka didn’t say anything else following; she couldn’t, even if she tried. Beyond them, she was aware of the noise in the mess hall fading as more and more of their men turned in early following such a long, casualty-heavy campaign. Rex didn’t say anything to break the silence, and she was grateful that he let her absorb the full repercussions of her mistakes and process what she was feeling in what peace she could manage. There was a sort of lull that fell over her then, with the distant rumbling of the engines vibrating through the deck combining with the collective warmth in the Force that was ever her battalion at rest. Even closer to her was the comforting sound of Rex’s steady breathing and the familiar rhythm of his heartbeat echoing in her montrals. All together it was meditative, in its own way; when she sucked in her next breath she didn’t feel like her own lungs were trying to suffocate her.

    It was then, and only then, that Rex broke the silence to ask, “Do you know how I earned my jaig eyes, verd’ika?” Verd’ika, she couldn’t help but smile softly to hear. She’d been with the 501st for six months now, though it felt like so much longer. Sometime after the liberation of Ryloth he’d stopped calling her kid, for which she was grateful; she didn’t feel like a kid anymore, even though she knew she technically still was. Force, she was older than Rex, chronologically speaking, which he never appreciated her pointing out. Now, she liked the Mandalorian endearment for little soldier much better.

    “Yeah, of course I do,” she answered. “Kix told me it was because you saved your company during a rout, before you were promoted and assigned to Master Skywalker. You didn’t think about your own safety, you just cared that they were safe.” Because you were their leader, she thought but did not say. Obviously, I still have a lot to learn from you. Even though she technically outranked Rex, simply because she was connected to the Force and he was not, she oftentimes felt as if she was a shiny he’d taken it upon himself to train in so many ways. Especially in moments like this.

    Jaig eyes were another Mandalorian symbol they’d adopted from their progenitor – and the Mandalorian instructors whom Jango Fett had assigned to train the clone army in the art of war. They were a mark of valor, a warrior’s distinctive decoration even amongst warriors. Ahsoka had only seen two other clones who had similar such markings, and both had the high honor to be counted amongst Master Yoda’s personal battalion.

    “That’s correct, in a way,” though he was talking about an honor he'd received, there was a strange note of something tired and almost bitter to Rex's voice. Curiously, she listened; Rex didn't usually talk about his life before becoming Captain of the 501st, and she didn't want to miss even the smallest detail. “Everything went pear shaped at Kadaxia – and our first Jedi General was . . . well, not to speak ill of the dead, nor of the Jedi, sir, but he was a shiny, to put it lightly.” He didn’t say so aloud, but Ahsoka already knew that Rex saw Anakin as a person first and foremost rather than an infallible force of nature – not like how Commander Bly held Master Secura up on a pedestal all starry-eyed or Commander Wolffe all but revered Master Plo as the second coming of Revan. He’d learned quick, it seemed, that the Jedi were not the near deified presences the Kaminoans had built them up to be. After all, the first time Ahsoka met Rex on Christophsis, he was laughing outright at Anakin, she couldn’t help but remember with a fond sort of flutter in her heart. Even Commander Cody would never dare to laugh at Master Obi-Wan aloud – though his droll remarks were certainly growing all the more pointed as the war dragged on.

    “We should have retreated hours earlier than we did,” Rex continued, drawing her from her thoughts and back into his story, “but we didn’t. When we finally did pull back we were shot down and stuck dirtside until reinforcements could arrive. Our transport was burning and our general was dead, and the droid army was closing in. There were still injured onboard; by the book we should have left them – there was no way we could run and fight over unfamiliar, hostile terrain with so many immobile troopers slowing us down . . . but I couldn’t leave without them, not when so many of my brothers had already died that day, and for nothing.”

    “You got them all out alive, didn’t you?” Ahsoka couldn’t help the warmth that filled her voice. She felt the respect she already held for Rex rise up another notch then – something that was as much the esteem she felt for a fellow soldier as it was, perhaps, instinctive of everything that was Togruta about her to look towards a fellow hunter in the adopted clan of her heart and approve of his strength for how it complimented and inspired her own. But that, she reminded herself, was not quite the Jedi way. Even so, she couldn’t help but feel a pang: that day she had not served her men with even half of the honor that Rex had shown on Kadaxia, not even close.

    “Stop that, 'soka,” Rex chided, pointedly using her name and reading her like an open holonovel. “You did what you thought was best, even though it was wrong. Now you’ve learned from your mistakes, and you won’t let it happen again.”

    “I wish everyone would stop saying that,” Ahsoka huffed, just barely resisting the urge to throw her hands up in annoyance. “If I was any more seasoned a commander, then I wouldn’t have to learn a lesson like that in the first place! A battlefield is no place for a . . . for a child to grow. You all deserve so much better than me . . . you're just lucky that Master Obi-Wan stopped me from taking any more of you down with me than I already did.”

    Strike, Haz, Barrage, Cobalt, and Akaanir; CT-2225, ARC-6469, and CP-3875; Bunker, Etad, and CT-33-8310, she forced herself to remember. They were all dead, and it was all her fault . . . no one else's.

    Rex, however, did not try arguing with her how she first expected. Instead of accepting her charge head-on, he feinted, and asked, “Why did you refuse to fall back when ordered, sir?”

    “Because I thought we had broken through their lines! I thought they were retreating,” Ahsoka exclaimed, some of her earlier fervor returning with a surge. She'd been so certain of her path then; she'd felt as if the Force had been all but howling at her to press forward and continue her assault. “If we could have pushed our advantage and destroyed their center of command, that would have ended the siege in half the time it’s going to take now!”

    “Which would have been good for whom?” Rex continued, still so level and patient but with a narrowed look to his eyes that said that he was moving in for the kill. She just didn't understand how.

    So, ever bold, she bared her teeth and recklessly sprung the trap. “Who do you think it would have been good for, Rex?” she rolled her eyes to retort. Unconstrained, she did throw up her hands then. “It would have been better for everyone, of course! Cutting the campaign in half would have meant half the casualties that it’s going to take to free Felucia now. Every minute longer the Seppies control that world means nothing but fear and death for the Felucians, and the Force only knows how many of our troopers we’ll have to throw at breaking their lines before we can claim a victory. I . . . I thought that I could do it, I really did . . . I thought that we could do it.”

    “And that, Commander,” for the first, Rex turned sharp and raised his voice to insist, “is why every man in this battalion will follow you, to all of the nine hells and back." Punctuating his words, he punched his fisted right hand into the open palm of his left. "You care, and your bravery and courage makes us believe, in return, that there’s nothing we can’t accomplish if you but say the word. Not a single one of your men thought you were doing the wrong thing; every last one of them was ready to hold that line just because you thought it could be held. No one judges you; no one blames you; no one thinks that you acted out of misplaced pride or faltered due to your age or inexperience. They are just ready and eager to follow you again and do better, to be better for you the next time our boots hit the ground. That ability to inspire loyalty can’t be taught, no matter how many years you spend at this otherwise. The tactics and the instincts will come to you with time – they are already coming to you, even. Do not let this weigh you down and make you doubt yourself, because none of us do.”

    She stared at him, taken aback by the strength of belief in his voice, belief in her. Something racing started to flutter through her veins, even as she struggled to find her words. “But . . ." she had to try again, "but what about . . .”

    Strike, Haz, Barrage, Cobalt, Akaanir, CT-2225, ARC-6469, and CP-3875, it was on the tip of her tongue to protest. Bunker, Etad, and CT-33-8310. They had all trusted her, and look where that had got them.

    For her last thought, seemingly reading her mind again, Rex’s look only softened. “Hettir, Knives, Quell, Ivin, Rally, and Galaar; CT-2525, CT-8364, CT-12-0580, and CP-7777 . . . ARCs 9111, 9112, and 9113," he muttered. “My vod'e only remember everyone I saved when they see my jaig eyes . . . but I remember every man on that transport I couldn’t. Honor them, Ahsoka, but don’t let their ghosts drag you down with them; none of us would still be marching if that was the case.”

    For a moment she could only stare, a shiver running up and down her spine. She . . . she’d heard some of those names before, when he listed his fallen every night as was the custom for all of the clone troopers. Neither she nor Anakin had ever asked; for some things, even now, it just wasn't their place to pry. She was touched that he'd chosen to share so much with her; she understood the full gravity of his offering, oh she understood.

    So, taking in a deep breath, she decided to honor his gift as best she could.

    "Okay," she answered simply. "I will." She'd try, Ahsoka better wanted to say . . . but there was a saying about doing and trying, after all.

    "Good," Rex cracked a small, rueful smile in return. He reached over and reclaimed his datapad again, their discussion effectively closed. "Now," he let himself sigh before pointedly flicking a glance at her left lekku, "will you let Kix see to that shrapnel burn? You know he won't turn in for the night otherwise.”

    Her captain was going for the low blow there, wasn't he? she wanted to roll her eyes and huff. That was okay, though; she could play that game just as well.

    "I will, I will," she waved a hand dismissively, before her eyes narrowed, "but only if you let me help finish the reports so that you can call it a day too." She would try to get as much as she could for what she had. "You know Master Anakin isn’t going to help you with the flimsi-work," she added dryly, "so let me."

    “General Skywalker is a man of many talents," Rex said diplomatically, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with her.

    "Yeah, and apparently delegating is one of them."

    “As you say, sir," Rex still wouldn't budge, but a grudging smile tugged at the corner of his mouth; she'd take what little she could. In reply, she couldn't help but flash a grin of her own.

    Feeling as the heavy, defeated feeling she'd walked in with earlier finally ebbed – though she would never forget this day, nor the men she had failed – she reached over for a few datasheets to do her share. She wouldn't let her ghosts weigh her down, she resolved within her heart. Instead, she would look forward and honor the fallen with every choice she made for the better from here on out.

    ~MJ @};-
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb! Ahsoka's self-blame is no less strong than the censure she received from Anakin and Obi-Wan; at first, the loyalty and sympathy she received, although well-meant and sincere, just rubbed salt in the wound. Rex was able to soothe a lot of the ache away by sharing his own experiences and explaining clearly what was behind the words of loyalty and confidence. Experience will indeed hone Ahsoka's instincts and judgment in critical situations when there are so many things to weigh and consider. She will not make the same mistake twice, that's for sure. =D=
    Findswoman , Kahara and Mira_Jade like this.
  3. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    So late to the party! Glad that this was listed on the WIP list otherwise I wouldn't have found it!.

    Poor Ahsoka's guilt and self-recrimination was difficult to read. She obviously blames herself without realising that there will always be casualties in war, even when you think you're trying your best (despite Yoda's proclamation that's really all people can do) there will be death. Rex's advice was lovely and so caring. Love it.
  4. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 13, 2005
    Yes, I know: it has been a while (over a year, but who's counting months) since I said I would eventually get to this review. But I meant it--even if "eventually" can turn out to be a long time--and here I am.

    Firstly, I am glad that I was able to introduce you to a new favorite with Mendelssohn's "Hebrides Overture." It's one of my favorites as well. I have discovered songs new-to-me in the various roulette challenges here over the years--they can be really good for that--but I believe this is the first time I helped provide that same experience for someone else.

    As I know I have written before, I am none too familiar with TCW, and therefore, I haven't seen the episode wherein this story is set. I did read the summary you provided last year, but when I returned to re-read and review, I decided to leap straight ahead into the story. And having done so, I can say that it reads very well as a complete story on its own (though I suppose those in the know will get things out of it I didn't). Actually, I have the feeling I would be somewhat disappointed to watch the relevant episode, as this scene wouldn't be in it.

    Yes, Ahsoka is living in that bleak place of the aftermath of having made a terrible mistake: one with terrible consequences, as to be expected in war, where there are no takebacks, and where any apology would be but a bandage on a gaping wound--and she knows this. She knows exactly where she messed up, and how it fits into a pattern of similar reckless calls on her part. (And if Anakin Skywalker thinks you're being too reckless, well.) For all that she is a general at war, Ahsoka is still very much a young person crashing through life as she tries to figure it all out, and I was actually reminded, despite the many differences between us, of some of my own lowest moments in my pathetic teenaged years--though the stakes were considerably lower and didn't have a body count for me--here:

    How could she keep doing this? Ahsoka wondered. Even when she told herself that she knew better, that she was going to step up and be better, she kept on smashing herself against the rocks over and over again while somehow expecting a different outcome each and every time.

    But she does care, and care deeply, about the men (not clones, men--okay, so I have seen some clips of TCW on youtube) who died for her folly, and I have no doubt she will carry their names and memories with her long after she had learned to live with this guilt. It's especially important for her to do this because they are seen by those running the show as literally disposable. I don't know if that detail about the clones being included in the ordnance reports is canon or not--but if not, it absolutely fits the way the Republic command regarded the clones, and I completely understand Ahsoka's disgust.

    So Ahsoka is left, after she has absorbed the cold hard facts, with the question of how to live with the consequences of her actions as she goes on. She can learn from this experience and learn not to repeat it, yes, but it won't change what happened. Rex probably gives her the best answer there is, one that he has learned from hard experience: Honor the ghosts you carry with you, but don't let them destroy you.

    I don't know if you still intend to write the other two related vignettes you mentioned in your introductory author's note. But if not, and this is the only one we get, it has been worth reading.

    Finally, thank you for writing this for my challenge!