Chapter Twelve: The Aftershocks

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It started with the weird dreams.

The targets in Jedi robes. The knowledge that he was made to kill Jedi to save his brothers. The screams of the cadets as they were culled for being imperfect. The answering cry of the dying younglings. And the greater galaxy just didn't care. Fives had a bloody, awful knowledge. The knowledge that many of his brothers would have to die to save the others. But wasn't that what clones were made for? To die on a battlefield?

Then came the awful feeling that he was constantly on edge. Adrenaline spiked through his body at all times. Fives paced. Drake said that he reeked of raw, rancid fear. Fives thought that he was going mad.

He honestly thought that he was going insane. Now, Fives had seen mad before. He had seen it every time he'd looked General Skywalker in the eyes. That man was pure crazy. His General had had more than a few screws lose and too many of his brothers had died for it. Why his General still stayed a Jedi Foves would never know. All he knew was the dreams of violence and bloodshed. It was going to drive him to kill if he wasn't careful.

Maybe he already was crazy and he just didn't know it yet.

Kill the Jedi. Kill the demon in Jedi robes before they killed or tortured any of his little brothers. Take out the ones who had culled his little brothers. They had tortured his brothers. And there was nothing he could do to make them stop. Fives could kill a Jedi, though. And then...and then he knew that all the pain and the nightmares would go away forever.

Melia came into his room after he skipped breakfast. "Fives? Are you okay?"

He jumped at her sounds. Melia was no Jedi. She wore her customary loose pants and shirt, not the robes of a Jedi target. Her dark blonde hair and been pulled back with a tie and concerned eyes met his.

"I have to kill the Jedi."

She frowned and moved closer to him. "Fives? There are no Jedi on this ship."

"I have to kill the Jedi," Fives mumbled. He paced through the room and tossed his head, eyes wild. "I have to kill the Jedi before they kill me. They killed my brothers so I'm going to kill them!"

She swore. "Fives! Snap out of it!"

He tossed his head. "I have to kill the Jedi!"

"Fives!" Melia tried grabbing his arm. He threw her off. "Fives! Please, snap out of it! There are no Jedi here! I need you sane!"

Fives looked at her with unknowing eyes. She was no Jedi, but she was keeping him from killing Jedi. If he truly wanted to save his brothers, he would have to take her out, too. The Jedi had treated his brothers like kriff beneath their boots. He needed to save the cadets before they were killed. Cadets with green eyes were always put down. They were bad. All because they weren't physically perfect.

And the clones couldn't do a thing about it.

"Good soldiers follow orders," Fives repeated. His voice sounded hollow, distant. He reached for his blaster, only to find empty air. Someone screamed and Fives jumped.

Melia cursed. "Oh no. Oh no."

"Who do I get to kill?" Fives asked.

"No one." Melia drew back her fist and punched him in the face. The clone reared back and came at her like a bull rancor. She decked him again and he ducked. She turned on her heels and jumped backwards. The cry came again. Fives wanted to go and help, but she was standing in the way.

"Fives." She gave him a long look. "You can't go help Drake if you're babbling like a mad man!"

"He needs me!" Fives yelled. He tried to get past her, but she put a blaster to his head.

"Either you stop or I'll blow your brains out," Melia warned. Fives looked at her like she had gone mad. Melia gave him a look that made him step back. "You're going mad, Fives, and I think the baby is coming. You have to calm down."

But therein was the problem: Fives couldn't calm down. There was something driving him mad and Fives had no way to stop. He couldn't stop.

And his Drake was screaming in agony.

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