Chapter Twenty: Other Crews

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Ahsoka sat on the floor of her ship, Rex dozing in her lap. Clones liked to cuddle. Clones also liked to sleep. Ahsoka didn't mind cuddling. Togrutas had strong mothering instincts as it was and Rex pushed all those buttons. So did Echo. Both clones were pressed against her body, snuggling right up to her. Ahsoka just smiled a little bit. Echo was prone to sucking his thumb. Rex had a stuffed bear he slept with. Not a drop bear, mostly because those things were bright pink. But he had a bear and he slept with it. Now Rex drooled. He didn't snore like the other one did.

Rex blinked open his eyes and looked up at her. "Can you read to us?" he gently asked. He curled beside her and wrapped himself up in a jacket. He sighed a little. "It makes my head hurt to read..." Rex was dyslexic. He also had severe dysgraphia, to the point where he couldn't write his own name. And Force knew he tried. Rex snuggled beside her and gave Ahsoka the biggest eyes he could until she nodded and grabbed her comm. "Thank you." He sighed softly and put his head in her lap. "I like you reading to us."

She nodded a little. "I'm glad you do." Ahsoka petted back his hair a little and took out her comm. They curled right up to her as she started to read. It was a story about kids exploring Wild Space and their pet monkey lizard. Clones liked stories. They were also beyond cuddly when they felt like it. So she had two clones curled up in her lap. Rex drifted off to sleep after a few minutes. He was completely out of it. Echo was actually listening to the story, but that was what he did. But after he went to sleep, Ahsoka pulled her comm out.

She dropped the book by her lap and started looking through the messages she had. She had gotten a hold of a certain Melia Skye after she asked how to care for clones. There was a certain part of the HoloNet, called the Dark Web, where you could find everything from old books to drugs to slaves. Ahsoka used it to sell certain artifacts from Shili's Moon. It might not have been legal, but it paid the bills. Melia had came across a very damaged ARC Trooper and came into this blind.

The two young woman had become friends and Melia wanted a meet up. Ahsoka had meditated on it, trying to see f Melia was who she said she was. And she was! She was just another spacer in the galaxy, doing her job carefully, and making decent money. She also had Fives. Ahsoka had thought the clone dead and felt her throat choke up to see his picture. It had just been a simple shot, Fives curled around a heavily pregnant Nightbrother. But he was still alive. And he looked happy. That was all Ahsoka really cared about. She just wanted her friend to be happy.

-I thought he was dead. Where'd you find him?-

It always took Melia a few minutes to reply. Ahsoka understood why. She was a busy person with a job to do. And that was completely understandable.

-Bee, my droid, found him. The poor guy was lying in a pool of blood and I couldn't just leave him. So he wound up in my med. bay. I thought he was going to die. I'm really surprised that he's made it this long.-

-Clones are tough.- Ahsoka knew that all to well. She looked down at Echo and ruffled up his hair. -Where's your next port of call? I'll be in Xirl three days from now.- To meet a man known as the Collector. She hated the man. He had a battered Jotnar slave with him, and the man had no fire left in his eyes. -Or we could go to Knowhere.-

-I'm not sure. That place creeps me out.- Melia had every right to not like that place. Ahsoka understood. She hated that place, too. -The last thing I need to do is have to fight someone off my Zabs.-

-You have Zabraks?- That one was new to Ahsoka. While she knew the Zabrak breeding program was wrong, she'd never actually seen it in the flesh. And that worried her. She wondered how many Zabraks lived in slavery. Ahsoka knew the stats, that more Zabraks lived in breeding pens than did on Dathomir. They were slaves on Dathomir, too. To hear Savage Oppress talk to blithely about abuse had chilled Obi-Wan. -That's a new one! How'd you wind up with them?-

-I have three. Drake had a baby in my ship and we found one of his sons. He says that he has nine total children.- Melia made a sad face. -I wish we had all of them, but I don't know what I'd do. Fives loves kids, though.- She inserted a picture of Fives holding a tiny baby and another with him playing piggy back for a young golden male. Ahsoka wondered if Maul had ever been that small.

-That's a clone thing.- Ahsoka knew that all too well. She looked over at her sleeping boys. They would love to have nine little kids running around. It gave the clones a chance to have a childhood they were denied. -Where do you think we should meet up?-

-I was thinking Tortuga City.- Melia would say that, of course. She was a rogue by trade and rogues loved that city. Also, the clones wouldn't look too out of place there. -More specifically, the Dancing Elf tavern.-

-Done.- Ahsoka would do anything for a clone and it showed.

-I'll be there in a few days. Might be a bit more.-

-It's fine, Melia. I'm signing off, though.- Ahsoka wondered what she was getting into. It was going to be interesting.

-See you then.- Melia signed off.

Ahsoka looked at the comm and wondered what she was getting into. But she was going to help save clones or die beside them.


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