Diverted by the Jedi Toris Crell (working remotely) and Ambrose Brunig (the man on site), these clone troopers were kept in cryogenic freeze for decades under the surface of Sybay, in the non-provincial areas between Procopia System and New Shella, until found and thawed by Padawan Vanya Ysadora, House Vorpadaran Mentat KitKat, Danar Vorpadaran, Khun Lakhia ( Tsu Vorboccioni ), and Rebellion Staff Sergeant Yeager Lexics.
They are loyal to the Republic … or what is left of it.
Having been separated from the influence of Palpatine for such a long time, the troopers found themselves able to see that the remnants of the Old Republic lay in the newly reformed Jedi Order and the Rebel Alliance. To that end, they swore allegiance to the Jedi Order as its personal guardians. They likewise began training non-clones from Rebel Alliance volunteers to fill out their ranks.
Legally speaking, they spent the first decade of their reawakening as all the “Armsmen” of the collective Jedi Council as if it were a single “noble house”. This was incredibly shaky ground, since they definitely numbered more than the allowed maximum in Tapani Sector law.
During the Twilight sector-wide assault, many members of the 257th were killed. The only Jedi locatable for at least one standard year was a padawan. She stepped up as best she was capable into the symbolic leadership they needed, But she also was one person, run ragged, with no military experience and too many people to shield. As the spiritual distance grew between Vanya and "her guys", and Emperor Pro Tem Danar resorted to more and more ludicrous political fictions to keep Vor diplomacy quiet, the survivors of the 257th decided to reorganize themselves as a mercenary unit called the Beskar Aran.
Officially the 257th has dissolved as a detachment. The logistics of survivors' pensions took more than a decade of bureaucratic wrangling, what with the Tapani Civil Wars and the turmoil of successive Emperors in the Galactic Star Empire.
Less officially, many veterans of the 257th continue to actively identify themselves as if they were currently serving members of an active Detachment, regardless of their current posting or the title of their career. This attitude is consistent with veterans of many other military formations which were collectively retired, disbanded, or otherwise dissolved in the aftermath of The Long Night.
I was peripherally involved in the dissolution of the 257th because I am really not a morning person.
This goes back a ways. We were still on Dendarii
at the time. I was Master Skywalker's
big project on the record, but you didn't have to know they'd been raised by the same Jedi Master
to know Elder Brother Ben
would stick his oar into anything Younger Brother Ani might be trying to manage.
And vice versa.
By the way, Bossman's a morning person. Obnoxiously so.
Which one? Take your pick!
Pretty quickly after I started following Master Skywalker into and out of trouble, I got in the habit of going to the big commissary shed for my morning caf. Rebel Legion brew might not be a low-acid brew. Fine. It spent too long on the burner. Also fine. I'd take it if it meant twenty minutes to proceed at my own pace while internal systems came online.
So one morning somewhere around my first Tapani Day, I had just about finished my mug. I could feel analysis of the background chatter starting to process while I read the Holopedia editor notes on some article or other. I had a conversation going on nearby at the same long table: Dono
, Vinch, Hark, Sparks
, and Hudson
, mostly, trading silly pie-in-the-nebula suggestions of what other careers a single lad could pursue in the Tapani Sector
in the current reality of whatever-day-number Telona 12721.
- Start up a taxi service along the Vorbataille Route,
- open a pie shop in the city Bilios on Barnaba,
- sell hyperspace travel insurance door-to-door on Tavya Nine,
- go back to Sybay and learn farming.
It occurred to me that not all of these "silly" proposals actually felt silly, regardless of the tone of voice.
So I asked. "You'd need to train up on some core skills, but why not? Except the travel insurance thing, don't do that, it's a racket."
They figured I was joining in the joshing. I had to let a line of smartaleckism play out a little and then draw it in again: What's stopping you? Took me five or six rounds of it, including refilling my caf and dismissing a few location queries from Bossman, before Hudson figured out what foundational rule for their game I really did not grasp.
"Yeah, we aren't like that," Hudson told me as he waved toward some Legionnaires.
"Tee Cee regs don't include mustering-out," Vinch added.
I tapped open my datapad and poked a direct line to the Boss. "You need to come here," I said to Anakin's raised eyebrow as if I were talking to his voicemail. "You and your brother need to check out this synthesizer. The caf it spews has achieved new, extra-special levels of malevolence." And then I put my attention back on the lads. "That should buy me at least twelve minutes," I lied. "No end of tour? That's a bunch of crap. Where are you supposed to spend your back pay, then?"
"Say 'osik', Commander," Hark instructed me. And then we had a nice little five minute recess where they taught me to properly pronounce cuss words in Mando'a.
By that time, Ben and Ani had both magically wandered in. Neither one of them went to even pretend they were investigating the smoldering urn, they were having too much fun helping the lads think of new phrases for me. It took me a bit to twist the topic back one last time: This is what you lot expect me to believe in this reality? Clone Troops are disallowed by regulations from quitting the Army?
Boy oh boy did Ben Kenobi blow his top!
I think the entire 257th learned some multicultural invective that day. All from their dapper, distinguished, even-keeled General Obi-Wan Kenobi.
(I'd expected it to be Ani who got indignant. He's the founder of the Skywalker School of Slavery-Stomping, right?)
Anyway, when Ben had gotten enough vulgarities pronounced to lower his blood pressure again, he had Hudson pull up the 12th Advanced Recon
version of the regulations and share it over. He nodded once at Ani, patted Vinch on the shoulder, and headed off out the commissary door.
"Your Uncle Ben is looking out for you lads," Ani told the room in a tone that I guess maybe was supposed to seem comforting? "He's going to brief the Jedi Council
on his way to go give Admiral d'Arcy
and Prime Minister Vorkosigan
a piece of his mind. I want all of you to pass the word up and down the ranks: There is no 'slave army' in this Rebellion.
Anyone who wants to muster out to a civilian life not only may
do so, but in fact will
get help from the Jedi in setting you up with a clean identity plus any preliminary training courses you may require. In the meantime, what say we figure out what's malfunctioning on the food synthesizers in this shack?"
To Anakin, tinkering around with a mechanism is always good for anybody's unsettled nerves.
Anyway, that was probably the start of the end for the 257th: the Jedi veterans said other options were on the table besides "stay a soldier". I think there were three hundred people who woke up from cryofreeze as members of this Detachment in Kelona of 'Seven Twenty-One, which the math says was probably two out of five Companies in a single Battalion plus one Detachment of the 12th Arc to serve as top officers. Between sixty and eighty TeeCees took the retirement option over the next three-plus standard years, often outside the Tapani Sector to make sure no political strands would drag along.
We lost another eighty-seven from the Twilight
in 'Seven Twenty-Four. In fact, we only managed to collect together a hundred nineteen in one place before the end of the calendar year. That was enough points of view for the gathered group to decide in late Relona that they wanted to reorganize around a fresh identity with a ruleset they constructed for themselves. The new organization would be self-directed, it would be opt-in rather than a default, and it would aim itself at more clearly defined goals than "perpetual service".
I provided research resources when asked. I did some sounding-board duty for multiple fronts during the design phase. I asked the occasional dipwitted non-military question if someone spent more than two days in my vicinity with a stumped expression on his face. But mostly I handed over my hypothetical "authority" as a Tapani petty knight, signed when they needed an authorization for something, or else kept out from underfoot.
Did they mourn the passing of this old identity? I don't think so.
I don't think this facet of their self-definition ever really "passed". I think they still know themselves to be 257th -- especially the ones who fully retired to a noncombatant life.
They have a lot of reasons to keep their claim here!
But it has not ranked among the top five in their personal definitions for a long time now. I'm glad of that, too. They could not have stayed "the lads" forever.