Summary: CW short story, original characters with some cameos from familiar faces. Action/adventure/mystery. The Clones of Kamino Chapter 1 RAIN LASHED THE CANOPY of Maya Qwan’s Delta-7 starship. The young Padawan guided the wedge-shaped fighter through the lightning storm, searching for her target. Then, across the churning oceans she spotted it: Tipoca City, capital of Kamino. A complex of domes and spires ascended from the grey tumult, reposing upon mighty columns that thrust deep into the seabed below. Maya took in its magnificence; over a hundred square kilometres of gracefully curving architecture, a bastion of tranquility amid the violent environment. She zeroed in to the appointed landing platform, which jutted from the edge of one of the larger domes, and extended her craft’s landing legs. R4-T0 tweeted from his astromech’s socket set beside her cockpit, confirming the landing cycle completion. Maya popped her canopy and a deluge of rain immediately soaked the smart maroon tunic she had chosen for the meeting with official dignitary. She scampered across to the oval portal that opened, inviting her into the glowing white interior. “Come on, Tio!” She waved and the green-and-white droid detached from his socket then wheeled in behind her. Inside, a statuesque alien greeted them in a smooth, androgynous voice. “Greetings. I am Halle Burtoni, Senator of Kamino in the Galactic Republic. Thank you for coming at such short notice.” Halle’s ovoid head swayed upon a long, willowy neck as she gestured Maya to follow her down the wide, spotless corridor. The Aeien silk of Maya’s short dress soon dried as she trotted to keep up with the Kaminoan’s long strides. “I am Maya Qwan, Senator.” Halle blinked large obsidian eyes that sparkled like starfields. “I trust that you have been briefed on the situation, Maya.” “Yes, Senator. Master Yoda informed me you have had an intruder – into your genetic control centre.” “The city is on high alert. We have teams checking the laboratory computers now to see what has been taken or changed. We still have not found the intruder.” Maya cast her gaze about. The curved corridor was deserted, and clinically clean. If the whole of Tipoca City was like this, she couldn’t imagine anyone hiding here. “This is your first time to Kamino, Maya?” Halle’s white face turned to her. Maya nodded, “My first time to the surface. I have trained in the orbital arenas.” “I see. You should be aware then, that while no-one actually lives here, Tipoca is the workplace of millions of Kaminoans, either directly on our cloning programmes or associated administrations.” “Where do they all go after work?” “We reside in satellite cities situated around the capital. We have set up security on all entrances to the city and are appealing for information about the intruder. Our security systems are extremely advanced: I think perhaps we will find this intruder before you do.” And there it is. Master Yoda had warned Maya about the Kaminoans’ arrogance. Delicate diplomacy this mission will require, young Padawan. The words echoed in her mind. She brushed off Halle’s implication of her redundancy. “What do we know about the intruder so far, Senator?” “A vague description from the technician that sighted him: A humanoid in dark armour.” A him. A humanoid. Dark armour. Not much to go on. “I would very much like to meet this technician.” “Of course. She is in the GCC laboratory. Please follow me.” Halle escorted Maya along the corridor. Through the transparent top half of the passage Maya saw bright halls rising to reach the domed ceilings high above. Networks of oval tunnels interweaved the lofty spaces. “I wondered,” said Maya as they walked, “how the intruder got here, and perhaps how he made his escape. You have checked records of flights, incoming and outgoing, against sensor logs?” “Of course,” said Halle. Maya could not read the tone of voice. “All flights check out – and all personnel have been verified through our advanced genetic recognition systems.” Something has got past their system, then, Maya thought but did not say. They rounded a corner and the tunnel’s clear upper half looked out upon another hall. A muffled explosion shook the transparisteel and a great burst of flame blossomed… .