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Chickenman

A Clone Wars Journal

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Chickenman

13:9:2 (Four months after the Battle of Geonosis)

2312

My name is Jesse Telab. I am an enlistee in the Grand Army of the Republic. I'm the youngest brother of seven.

I don't know. I guess I'm really not sure how I'm supposed to start here, as I've never kept a journal before. But I figured, now that I'm headed for war, I might as well start one. Every war has its selection of journals, doesn't it? I don't think this one should be an exception, this being the biggest war the galaxy has ever seen since the Sith and all. Maybe this will be one of those journals they read in history holos. I doubt it. I've never been that great a writer. Maybe I'll read this to my kids one day. I probably won't get a chance to. I hear the life expectancy so far in this war hasn?t been very high.

I guess I should say more about myself, this being a journal and all. Well, I was born on Dantooine in Year Four before the Great Resynchronization. I'm eighteen in case you're too lazy to do the math. Life back home was pretty dull and I didn?t want to be a farmer like my folks, but didn?t have many other options. When the Battle of Geonosis happened I saw a chance to see the galaxy, as well as defend the Republic against those Separatist nerfherders. Almost three months of training and here I am, on a transport ship bound for a planet I?ve never even heard of. I really hope I?ve made the right decision.

-Jesse

Edited by Chickenman

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13:9:3

Taragyr, Pruskilna

2108

From I can see Pruskilna is being used as a holding station for us troopers while the brass decides what to do with us. The place is milling with off-duty soldiers, clones and normal humans alike. The clones creep me out. I was lead to believe they were these blindly obedient supersoldiers with no personality. The blindly obedient supersoldier part is correct, but they have just enough of a personality to make it weird that they don't have more of one. That doesn't make sense, but I don't know how else to describe it.

Got some good news and some bad news as I stepped off the transport. I now know what unit I'm in. 322nd Legion, 208th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, F Company, 3rd Platoon. It's a mixed unit of clones and enlisted guys like me. I think we've even got a few conscripts here. The clones completely outnumber all of us regular humans though.

The bad news is I have no idea where our unit is heading. It's like the brass have no idea what they're doing. I've never seen this kind of combination of order and chaos at the same time before. So I guess we're stuck here until it all clears up. I don't want to sit idly by. I want to get in the thick of it.

I wanted to start this journal back in boot camp, but they wouldn't allow it. The short version is that boot camp was hell, but I felt really accomplished at the end of it. I know over a hundred ways to kill a man. It's really cool but also kind of terrifying. I had wanted to train to be a sniper, because I think I'm a pretty good shot. Living on the fields of Dantooine you've got to know how to use a rifle and I was one of the best shots out of any of the kids that lived nearby. But my drill sergeant said that "a clone'll do a better job of it than I can even dream," so instead I'm just a regular foot soldier. "Grunts" they call us. I like it.

Hopefully I'll be able to get off this rock and see how good a grunt I can be.

-Jesse

Edited by Chickenman

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13:9:5

Taragyr, Pruskilna

1249

Dantooine. They're sending me to Dantooine.

I signed up to see the galaxy, and they're sending me to Dantooine.

They're sending me home.

Why would the Separatists ever ever attack an insignificant farm world like Dantooine?

It's simple. They won't. I'll just spend the entire war stationed at home.

Unbelievable.

-Jesse

Edited by Chickenman

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13:9:7

Taragyr, Pruskilna

0201

As I write this, my family could be dead. Details are still fuzzy, but the Confederacy launched an attack on Dantooine yesterday. And to think I was writing that it would never happen. I was mad that the Republic would have the nerve to send me so far away from the front. Turns out it wasn't so far away from the front at all. It was the front.

The Confederacy apparently landed, burned crops, killed civillians, destroyed everything in sight. There are rumors that they even used artificial earthquakes as weapons. I've been trying to get in contact with my family but apparently the carnage is so bad that the Republic can't get any messages to the families, and the only messages coming out are conflicting battle reports. The general consensus though, is that the Republic won, and were able to drive the invaders off the planet and out of the system. Which means my orders have been changed. I can't even go home now.

They could be dead. My family. My world. Mom, Dad, Tessra, Andla, Pter, Zeke, Aglin and Josl could be dead. They're all I have. They might have been slaughtered.

And the last thing I wanted to do two days ago was go home and see them again. Now I may never get the chance again.

-Jesse

Edited by Chickenman

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13:9:9

Epsilon Base, Takraata

0333

Today's been hell.

That begining doesn't do the day justice, but I have no idea how to summarize this.

First thing's first, I suppose.

My family's dead. Their bodies have been identified. Only Andla hasn't been found, but there are a lot of bodies that are unrecognizable from the battle. I'll never really know if she died, but I have to assume she did.

My god. My family, gone. This might not be as huge a loss to those city boys, but I grew up on a farm. You live on a farm, the family is everything. I guess that makes it a lot like the military in a way. The military is all about fighting for your fellow man, even at the sacrifice of yourself. But this isn't a family. I know there's supposed to be this brotherhood that forms during war, but you try bonding with a clone.

I just can't believe it. They were my world. And now my world is shattered. What do I have to fight for anymore? I'll never play ball with Dad again. I think I was almost old enough to beat him, too. I was sure I'd win the very next day. Now I'll never know. I'll never taste Mom's stew again. I never liked it all that much, but I'd give just about everything for a bowl of it right now. I'd even have seconds. I'll never fix speeders and tractors with Josl ever again. Never go hunting with Aglin and Pter. Never race skyhoppers with Zeke. Mom always said it was those races that was going to kill us. She never told us a war would. No more making breakfast with Tessra. And I'll probably spend the rest of my life wondering if Andla got away, if I'll ever find her again in the galaxy of too many people to count.

I can't do this.

I can't believe they're all gone.

I just can't live like this.

I should have been there.

I should have done something to help.

Anything to help.

I should have died with them.

...

I can't finish this entry right now.

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13:9:9

Epsilon Base, Takraata

0351

I learned all of that news on the way here, to Takraata. I don't know much about the situation here, only that we lost the battle. We've been sent here to help with the retreat. Sending in troops in order to pull out the original troops, as well as the troops you're deploying now doesn't make a lick of sense to me. But I suppose the generals are generals for a reason. I hope so.

3rd Battalion has been deployed here, at Epsilon Base while the rest of the Regiment is scattered around the world. Epsilon Base is situated near a chokepoint that the Confederates will have to pass through in order to reach most of the evacuees. We're pretty much here to make sure the important people and equipment survive, even if we have to die. Especially the equipment. It failed here, but could be used somewhere else. That makes me laugh. Probably because I should be asleep right now.

I can't though.

Not tonight.

I was planning on landing, meeting some people, learn the ins and outs of a combat zone, and prepare for a battle that wouldn't come until much later.

I've started to realize that plans are the most fragile things in a warzone.

Our company was being taken down to the base in LAAT/i gunships, and we had been given a course that would take us over the route the enemy was going to have to take if making an attack on the base. Just some recon, a possible early warning system for the guys back at Epsilon.

We flew over a huge army of advancing droids. I'd never seen something so huge in my life. It was terrifying. My platoon's transport immediatly opened up, joined a second later by the others. I guess the pilot decided to take as many droids out as he could before we got to base. The gunships just unloaded on the army. Composite laser beams, mass driver missiles and anti-personnel laser turrets just rained onto the droids. And they were still only doing superficial damage. And that's when the droids started answering back.

Have you ever been in a position where you're literally not in control of whether you live or die? You absolutely can't do a goddamn thing? It's the worst experience I've ever had in my life. I feel like puking just thinking about it. We had rockets and missiles exploding everywhere around us, and had to trust the pilot to see us through.

They got 2nd Platoon. I looked out the door just in time to see a rocket connect with their trasnport. I saw bodies flying. I saw body parts flying. The burning wreck lazily dropped to the ground. I hope it landed on some droids, but even that's not worth the sacrifice.

There are men I knew on there. Men they I had talked with, ate with, bonded with over the last week. I watched them die.

It's the first time I've actually seen someone die.

But it's war. I'll have to get used to it.

Finally, we outran the army and got to Epsilon Base.

We landed in the middle of an artillery barrage. Every couple of seconds, a shell would hit the ground, causing what I bet an earthquake feels like, and tossing dirt in the air.

That's something I forgot to mention. Takraata's surface is covered in dirt. You might call it a desert planet, but it's cold and this isn't sand.

The clones were hopping out of the transport before it had even touched down. The ground continued to be pummeled by artillery. We unloaded supplies in record time, before a clone captain ordered us into the trenches. I hefted my DC-15 and followed my squad in. We took up positions along the wall, only to see that visibility was zero. I had no idea how I was supposed to target the enemy. I began to think that maybe the point of the artillery bombardment wasn't so much to inflict casualties on us, but just to cloud our visibility. The barrage kept up. Shells would land only a few dozen feet away. There was no way of knowing where it would land, now way to duck. It was another moment where I had no control over whether I would live or whether I would die. One shell hit a section of the line much further down. There were no screams because no one caught in the blast lived to do so.

And then the droids came. We just started firing blindly because the droids were packed so closely together. But then you look around the trenches and realize that you are too. We poured fire into them, not even seeing them. I couldn't believe, after the hell we were giving them, that they were still pressing on. Then I realized a reason what could be the number one reason we might lose this war.

Droids don't retreat. We could kill every single droid in that army except one, and he'd still march on. The droids had orders, and would follow those orders unless terminated. Humans, even clones, would run when things got bad enough. My body temperature dropped when I realized that.

The droids kept pressing on.

Eventually, they broke the line.

A battle droid towered over me just as I was reloading my DC-15. He aimed his rifle at me. There was nothing I could do.

The clone next to me casually shot him.

I stammered out a thank you.

He didn't reply.

I should be dead.

The droids began to spill into the trench.

Pistols and vibroblades came out.

The artillery increased.

Droid parts and body parts began to pile up in the trenches.

I shot as many as I could, but they wouldn't stop.

I looked up to see, for the second time that day, a battle droid aiming his rifle at me. There was no one standing next to me to save my ass this time, and I didn't have enough time to spin around and shoot it.

That was the end for me.

But then a miracle happened.

The droid stopped, raised its rifle, turned around and marched away.

I should have shot it in the back.

But I was too bewildered by what had just happened and how I had just been a millimeter away from death.

Someone else shot him. I turned around, seeing that all the droids were walking away.

"I guess someone thought we broke too many of their toys!" someone yelled. People started laughing from relief.

Not me.

I sank down to my knees and cried.

We had driven off the enemy. It was technically a victory.

It didn't feel like one.

I still haven't cleaned the vomit out of my helmet.

-Jesse

Edited by Chickenman

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13:9:9

Epsilon Base, Takraata

2342

I said the dirt here was bad. I apologize.

The mud here is worse. It's been raining here nonstop all day. Every couple of hours I get to leave my position to head inside of a bunker for ten minutes to warm up. The rain just doesn't stop and the water soaks in everywhere. Add that to the fact that we're manning positions in a hole in the ground. There's literally a foot of rain water that we have to slog through. And the rain and mud keeps pouring in. A couple times today I've been switched to bucket duty. Place my rifle somewhere less wet (there is no dry), grab a bucket, and get to work. On bucket duty, we didn't lower the water level in the trenches. We kept it from climbing.

My nerves are shot now. The droids retreated, but the artillery barrage hasn't ended. It's been going on all day, at irregular intervals so we can't anticipate it. It's driving me nuts. And they land close. Most land inside the perimeter. It's luck of the draw. Knowing you can at any second plays havoc with your nerves. And the sound. It's deafening, and it keeps happening, over and over. One landed five feet away but outside the trench. I caught a piece of shrapnel in my arm today. The medic simply cleaned it out and told me to get back to the line. So there's my purple heart. There's another one. Boom. Boom. It's enough to drive a man crazy.

It's so miserable here. I guess the worst part is the loneliness. The clones don't talk. The guys who have been holding this position for a while are the battle hardened vets, and they don't particularly feel like talking. The few greenies like me that are left, are too scared to talk. I'm surrounded and alone. I'm cold, wet, dirty, starving, terrified and I have no one to talk to.

Earlier this morning I was sent on a patrol further up the path that the chokepoint overlooks. The same path that the droids had come up through yesterday. We reached a certain place far away from the base and started setting up landmines. The patrol was completely exposed. At Basic, when setting mines, I set them carefully, precisely, terrified they'd go off. Here, I placed them as quickly as possible, always looking over my shoulder in the fear that the army would be heading towards me any second. I place them recklessly. A mistake and I could have died. We set the mines and headed back to base. A recon flight later told us that the droids had found them and simply disarmed them. I stuck my neck out for nothing.

So here's the latest rumor from the Battle of Dantooine:

One single Jedi defeated the entire army. It's a stupid rumor and I suppose just an attempt at propaganda by the Grand Army. But that's just silly. And if there was such a Jedi there, one who could destroy an entire army, how come he didn't save my family, huh? This high and mighty Jedi that let my family burn? It's bantha poodoo, and anyone can see that. Still no word on Andla, but then, I'm not exactly holding my breath.

One thing from Dantooine that's been confirmed is the Separatists' new weapon. Called the seismic tank. Apparently it's this massive thing that hovers over the ground and then drives this piston into the surface. Kills everything caught under it and then causes and earthquake or something to anyone near it. The Separatists don't have a problem using it because they fight with replaceable droids. Maybe that's what killed my family. I hope to God they never deploy one of those things here. I'd be dead in an instant.

I hate this goddamn planet and I hate this goddamn war. I'm completely alone in an army of millions. My family died and I couldn't help them because I was too busy lounging around at a holding station or whatever. I'm frakking terrified. Death could come for me at any time. The trenches are misera

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13:9:12

The Defender

0718

I had to cut the last entry short. Surprise attacks will do that. Before we knew what the hell was going on, the droids had broken through our lines again. As soon as we mounted any sort of counterattack though, they pulled back immediately. Apparently it was just a probe to test our strength and do as much damage as possible in a short amount of time. They succeeded, and we lost some irreplaceable men.

Within a half an hour of fending off the attack, we were pulled out and brought back to the Republic's last staging area on Takraata. I'm still wondering what kind of evacuation takes two days to happen. Whatever. I also began to wonder what the Republic was more interested in saving: men or equipment. I have a sick feeling that if it was men, we would have been off that rock days ago. Again, whatever.

So with all of the Republic forces on the planet conveniently located on one hill, the Confederacy launched one final attack with all of its forces. The boys in space had to make sure that no Separatist ship got close enough to bombard our position from orbit. They didn't do a great job of it.

My unit was charged with defending part of the west flank. We had to weather ground based as well as sporadic space based artillery, though the eastern flank got the worst of the last one. We got more than our fair share of foot troops though. At one point, Destroyer Droids made a charge at us, rolling up the hill at damn scary speed. Someone was smart enough to start blasting them with a PLX-1 missile launcher before they could reach us. That probably saved our lives.

While the droids kept getting mowed down and never got very close to us, the artillery pounded us to bits. The floor of the trench was covered in blood. One shell took out an entire platoon on one of the other flanks. The body count started piling up. Then a shell landed a bit too close, and that's the last thing I remember.

-Jesse

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13:9:12

The Defender

0718

Doc says I've got a concussion, and to take it easy for awhile. He told me it's nothing that'll get me out of the war just yet. He said that with a lot of sadness in his voice. After that last battle, sure, I'd like to leave the war, but I'm not at a point where I'm willing to get injured for it. I can't imagine being at that point. But I guess the medic's seen plenty of people like that. I hope I don't become one.

My squad lost a couple of guys in the last battle, but I didn't know them. We're down to five guys when we should have nine. There's Sarge, who's another volunteer like me, but has seen a lot more battle. I don't know him that well, as he was injured pretty much as soon as we touched down on Takraata and got to leave early. He knows a lot about war, but he seems a little in over his head, as well as being very bitter. Then we've got Jax. Jax is funny, I got to know him a bit while we were back at Priskilna. I guess he tries to keep everyone's spirits up, even though most of his jokes are just sarcastic mutterings. I notice he didn't offer quite so many jokes at Takraata as he did at Priskilna. Next is Dreena. She's very pretty and has seen a lot of combat, but that's all I know at the moment. She doesn't seem like she wants anything to do with me. In fact, a lot of the veteran guys haven't been acting very warm towards me. I don't get it. What happened to that "brotherhoods forged in war" stuff? Oh well. Lastly there's a clone. He doesn't talk much to anyone really. We call him 19, after the last two numbers in his ID. We don't bother learning the rest. Like all the other clones he creeps me out. We should be getting four more guys soon, bringing us to a full squad. For now, we're just going to try to recover from the last battle and move on. The four that we left behind on Takraata will be forgotten. It's horrible. And it'll probably happen to me too.

In other news, the Republic has won important victories at Muunilist and Mon Calamari. We're apparently suffering heavy losses at a place called Hypori, though. There's nothing official coming out from there. I'm learning that news and rumors are the lifeblood of soldiers on downtime. I wonder how many innocents were killed during those "victories," like at Dantooine. How many families were slaughtered?

I've seen more death in the past week for a lifetime.

-Jesse

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13:9:14

The Defender

1851

Our squad is back to full strength, four more guys arrived today. First is Mack. He's a big guy, carries around a heavy repeater rifle, and, he's a corporal. That makes him second in command of the squad. He's not the friendliest person I've ever met. I hope Sarge never falls in battle. When I first laid eyes on Ara, I thought she was sixteen. She's very small and very skinny and has boasted that she can outrun "any of these clones, any day." If that's true, I'd be surprised. Whoever they cloned these clones from must have been some kind of supersoldier. That brings me to the last two. They're also clones. One has already been nicknamed by Jax. Demo, he calls him, because of the fact that that clone is charge of demolitions and rockets and such. Not the most creative nickname I've ever heard. Finally there's 47, another clone. I don't know much about him yet. It's not like he has any real personality.

I'm still feeling alienated by my own squad. I had a conversation with one of the medics while he was examining my head. He mentioned something about FNG syndrome, or "Fracking New Guy" syndrome. I asked him what that meant, and he replied that I'd find out once I got over it. I hope it's not contagious.

-Jesse

Edited by Chickenman

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