Star Wars Republic Commando #2: Triple Zero

Star Wars Republic Commando #2: Triple Zero

by Karen Traviss

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Following the eruption of the bloody Clone Wars at the battle of Geonosis, both sides remain deadlocked in a stalemate that can be broken only by elite warrior teams like Omega Squad, clone commandos with terrifying combat skills and a lethal arsenal. . . .

For Omega Squad, deployed deep behind enemy lines, it’s the same old special ops grind: sabotage, espionage, ambush, and assassination. But when Omega Squad is rushed to Coruscant, the war’s most dangerous new hotspot, the commandos discover they’re not the only ones penetrating the heart of the enemy.

A surge in Separatist attacks has been traced to a network of Sep terror cells in the Republic’s capital, masterminded by a mole in Command Headquarters. To identify and destroy a Separatist spy and terror network in a city full of civilians will require special talents and skills. Not even the leadership of Jedi generals, along with the assistance of Delta squad and a certain notorious ARC trooper, can even the odds against the Republic Commandos. And while success may not bring victory in the Clone Wars, failure means certain defeat.

Also includes the bonus story Omega Squad: Targets by Karen Traviss!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345490094
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/2006
Series: Star Wars: Republic Commando Series , #2
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 33,053
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.85(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

Karen Traviss is the author of Star Wars: Republic Commando: Hard Contact, Crossing the Line, and City of Pearl. A former defense correspondent and TV and newspaper journalist, Traviss has also worked as a police press officer, an advertising copywriter, and a journalism lecturer. She has served in both the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service and the Territorial Army. Since her graduation from the Clarion East class of 2000, her short stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, and On Spec. She lives in Devizes, England.

Read an Excerpt

Find Skirata. He’s the only one who can talk these men down. And no, I’m not going to obliterate a whole barracks block just to neutralize six ARCs. So get me Skirata: he can’t have traveled very far. —General Iri Camas, Director of Special Forces, to Coruscant Security Force, from Siege Incident Control, Special Operations Brigade HQ Barracks, Coruscant, five days after the Battle of Geonosis Tipoca City, Kamino, eight years before Geonosis Kal Skirata had committed the biggest mistake of his life, and he’d made some pretty big ones in his time.

Kamino was damp. And damp didn’t help his shattered ankle one little bit. No, it was more than damp: it was nothing but storm-whipped sea from pole to pole, and he wished that he’d worked that out before he responded to Jango Fett’s offer of a lucrative long-term deployment in a location that his old comrade hadn’t exactly specified.

But that was the least of his worries now.

The air smelled more like a hospital than a military base. The place didn’t look like barracks, either. Skirata leaned on the polished rail that was all that separated him from a forty-meter fall into a chamber large enough to swallow a battle cruiser and lose it.

Above him, the vaulted illuminated ceiling stretched as far as the abyss did below. The prospect of the fall didn’t worry him half as much as not understanding what he was now seeing.

The cavern—surgically clean, polished durasteel and permaglass—was filled with structures that seemed almost like fractals. At first glance they looked like giant toroids stacked on pillars; then, as he stared, the toroids resolved into smaller rings of permaglass containers, with containers within them, and inside those—

No, this wasn’t happening.

Inside the transparent tubes there was fluid, and within it there was movement.

It took him several minutes of staring and refocusing on one of the tubes to realize there was a body in there, and it was alive. In fact, there was a body in every tube: row upon row of tiny bodies, children’s bodies. Babies.

“Fierfek,” he said aloud.

He thought he’d come to this Force-forsaken hole to train commandos. Now he knew he’d stepped into a nightmare. He heard boots behind him on the walkway of the gantry and turned sharply to see Jango coming slowly toward him, chin lowered as if in reproach.

“If you’re thinking of leaving, Kal, you knew the deal,” said Jango, and leaned on the rail beside him.

“You said—”

“I said you’d be training special forces troops, and you will be. They just happen to be growing them.”



“How the fierfek did you ever get involved with that?”

“A straight five million and a few extras for donating my genes. And don’t look shocked. You’d have done the same.”

The pieces fell into place for Skirata and he let himself be shocked anyway. War was one thing. Weird science was another issue entirely.

“Well, I’m keeping my end of the deal.” Skirata adjusted the fifteen-centimeter, three-sided blade that he always kept sheathed in his jacket sleeve. Two Kaminoan technicians walked serenely across the floor of the facility beneath him. Nobody had searched him and he felt better for having a few weapons located for easy use, including the small hold-out blaster tucked in the cuff of his boot.

And all those little kids in tanks . . .

The Kaminoans disappeared from sight. “What do those things want with an army anyway?”

“They don’t. And you don’t need to know all this right now.” Jango beckoned him to follow. “Besides, you’re already dead, remember?”

“Feels like it,” said Skirata. He was the Cuy’val Dar— literally, “those who no longer exist,” a hundred expert soldiers with a dozen specialties who’d answered Jango’s secret summons in exchange for a lot of credits . . . as long as they were prepared to disappear from the galaxy completely.

He trailed Jango down corridors of unbroken white duraplast, passing the occasional Kaminoan with its long gray neck and snake-like head. He’d been here for four standard days now, staring out the window of his quarters onto the endless ocean and catching an occasional glimpse of the aiwhas soaring up out of the waves and flapping into the air. The thunder was totally silenced by the soundproofing, but the lightning had become an annoyingly irregular pulse in the corner of his eye.

Skirata knew from day one that he wouldn’t like Kaminoans.

Their cold yellow eyes troubled him, and he didn’t care for their arrogance, either. They stared at his limping gait and asked if he minded being defective.

The window-lined corridor seemed to run the length of the city. Outside, it was hard to see where the horizon ended and the rain clouds began.

Jango looked back to see if he was keeping up. “Don’t worry, Kal. I’m told it’s clear weather in the summer—for a few days.”

Right. The dreariest planet in the galaxy, and he was stuck on it. And his ankle was playing up. He really should have invested in getting it fixed surgically. When—if—he got out of here, he’d have the assets to get the best surgeon that credits could buy.

Jango slowed down tactfully. “So, Ilippi threw you out?”

“Yeah.” His wife wasn’t Mandalorian. He’d hoped she would embrace the culture, but she didn’t: she always hated seeing her old man go off to someone else’s war. The fights began when he wanted to take their two sons into battle with him. They were eight years old, old enough to start learning their trade; but she refused, and soon Ilippi and the boys and his daughter were no longer waiting when he returned from the latest war. Ilippi divorced him the Mando way, same as they’d married, on a brief, solemn, private vow. A contract was a contract, written or not. “Just as well I’ve got another assignment to occupy me.”

“You should have married a Mando girl. Aruetiise don’t understand a mercenary’s life.” Jango paused as if waiting for argument, but Kal wasn’t giving him one. “Don’t your sons talk to you any longer?”

“Not often.” So I failed as a father. Don’t rub it in. “Obviously they don’t share the Mando outlook on life any more than their mother does.”

“Well, they won’t be speaking to you at all now. Not here. Ever.”

Nobody seemed to care if he had disappeared anyway. Yes, he was as good as dead. Jango said nothing more, and they walked in silence until they reached a large circular lobby with rooms leading off it like the spokes of a wheel.

“Ko Sai said something wasn’t quite right with the first test batch of clones,” said Jango, ushering Skirata ahead of him into another room. “They’ve tested them and they don’t think these are going to make the grade. I told Orun Wa that we’d give him the benefit of our military experience and take a look.”

Skirata was used to evaluating fighting men—and women, come to that. He knew what it took to make a soldier. He was good at it; soldiering was his life, as it was for all Mando’- ade, all sons and daughters of Mandalore. At least there’d be some familiarity to cling to in this ocean wilderness.

It was just a matter of staying as far from the Kaminoans as he could.

“Gentlemen,” said Orun Wa in his soothing monotone. He welcomed them into his office with a graceful tilt of the head, and Skirata noted that he had a prominent bony fin running across the top of his skull from front to back. Maybe that meant Orun Wa was older, or dominant, or something: he didn’t look like the other examples of aiwha-bait that Skirata had seen so far. “I always believe in being honest about setbacks in a program. We value the Jedi Council as a customer.”

“I have nothing to do with the Jedi,” said Jango. “I’m only a consultant on military matters.”

Oh, Skirata thought. Jedi. Great.

“I would still be happier if you confirmed that the first batch of units is below the acceptable standard.”

“Bring them in, then.”

Skirata shoved his hands in his jacket pockets and wondered what he was going to see: poor marksmanship, poor endurance, lack of aggression? Not if these were Jango’s clones. He was curious to see how the Kaminoans could have fouled up producing fighting men based on that template.

The storm raged against the transparisteel window, rain pounding in surges and then easing again. Orun Wa stood back with a graceful sweep of his arms like a dancer. And the doors opened.

Six identical little boys—four, maybe five years old—walked into the room.

Skirata was not a man who easily fell prey to sentimentality. But this did the job just fine.

They were children: not soldiers, not droids, and not units. Just little kids. They had curly black hair and were all dressed in identical dark blue tunics and pants. He was expecting grown men. And that would have been bad enough.

He heard Jango inhale sharply.

The boys huddled together, and it ripped at Skirata’s heart in a way he wasn’t expecting. Two of the kids clutched each other, looking up at him with huge, dark, unblinking eyes: another moved slowly to the front of the tight pack as if barring Orun Wa’s path and shielding the others.

Oh, he was. He was defending his brothers. Skirata was devastated.

“These units are defective, and I admit that we perhaps made an error in attempting to enhance the genetic template,” Orun Wa said, utterly unmoved by their vulnerability.

Skirata had worked out fast that Kaminoans despised everything that didn’t fit their intolerant, arrogant society’s ideal of perfection. So . . . they thought Jango’s genome wasn’t the perfect model for a soldier without a little adjustment, then. Maybe it was his solitary nature; he’d make a rotten infantry soldier. Jango wasn’t a team player.

And maybe they didn’t know that it was often imperfection that gave humans an edge.

The kids’ gaze darted between Skirata and Jango, and the doorway, and all around the room, as if they were checking for an escape or appealing for help.

“Chief Scientist Ko Sai apologizes, as do I,” said Orun Wa. “Six units did not survive incubation, but these developed normally and appeared to meet specifications, so they have undergone some flash-instruction and trials. Unfortunately, psychological testing indicates that they are simply too unreliable and fail to meet the personality profile required.”

“Which is?” said Jango.

“That they can carry out orders.” Orun Wa blinked rapidly: he seemed embarrassed by error. “I can assure you that we will address these problems in the current Alpha production run. These units will be reconditioned, of course. Is there anything you wish to ask?”

“Yeah,” said Skirata. “What do you mean by reconditioned?”

“In this case, terminated.”

There was a long silence in the bland, peaceful, white-walled room. Evil was supposed to be black, jet black; and it wasn’t supposed to be soft-spoken. Then Skirata registered terminated and his instinct reacted before his brain.

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Star Wars Republic Commando #2 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 109 reviews.
Thorne2112 More than 1 year ago
Slow but striking. A sequel that doesn't square what the original came up with but cubes it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While this was not my favorite I definatly enjoyed it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly, if you have any real interest in Star Wars at all then these are great books. Like any epic story you should realistically expect things to slow down sometimes in order to further character development and get you attached to people. My brother talked me into reading the first one and then I chose to continue and buy the rest for him so that I could read them.
spit9lvr More than 1 year ago
I struggled through this book is an understatement. Every time it started to get remotely interesting it turned into something long drawn out and boring. The book did have a few redeeming qualities for one it is written well. I can't say anything bad about character development. This book started out exciting and strong then got mired in endless waiting for some action. There are some things that happen in the book and I wonder where if anywhere the author is taking this and how she will fit it into the overall storyline of the star wars universe. All in all I will read the next book in this series I just hope it doesn't become another reading chore. I can't honestly say I would recommend this book unless you super interested star wars "lore" Well thanks for reading my review and remember reading is a privilege so take advantage of it as often as you can.
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STARFIREPROTOCALL More than 1 year ago
I liked how this book was all about how the commandos were finding a terrorist cell. This book was AWESOME! =)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Backwards talk i
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So i read the sample first and it left of at really bad part and it left it at a cliff hanger, but then i read the first part of chapter 1 from the first book Republic Commandos: Hard Contact and it just made me want to read more of it!! You must get this book and have your mind blown by the amazingness of it!!! I would have given this a 10/5 if i could.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is the best of the series I've read so far.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book! Best book I ever read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good, but my favorite is the first one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These mrn are positivly amazing
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book do read
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ryan1234500 More than 1 year ago
The Republic Commando series started out slow, and I can imagine it would be hard to make a video game adaptation really all that great. But with this entry, Karen Traviss is able to open up the characters into a larger and more intracate world, one that was only hinted at in the first novel. The clone's backstories are more fully fleshed out, new characters become central, and the storylines that will continue for the rest of the series are mostly all started in this book. It's a pretty good read, really probably the best of the entire series. Too bad Traviss had a huge falling out with the Star Wars execs, and now we will never see the end of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like it