Title: Teachings of War
Character: Wullf Yularen
Word Count: 2,177
Spoilers/Time-line: Spans from the beginning of the Clone Wars to some point after Cat and Mouse, not really sure when it ends.
Summary: Lessons taught to keep one safe, to help develop an officer in war, always find meaning during war. Wullf learns his lessons, and overcomes the final test of all.
Authors Note: Wow, I actually wrote a Star Wars story, and it's longish. Longer then what I normally write for Star Wars at least. Now if only I could do this more often. But this has been sitting on my hard drive for a while now, sense Cat and Mouse aired actually, and I only recently finished it, so sorry if it doesn't flow well near the end, I just couldn't get into the same mindset I had been when I began to write the beginning of this, and I wanted to finish it. Of course it's a Wullf piece, but it plays off of what I learned from a couple different sources, so...enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars the Clone Wars nor am I making a profit off of this piece of fiction.
“In short, it is always better to turn use your opponents previous tactics against him, learn from his mistakes, rely on the intel given to you as that is all you have when you’re out in the field, you can always exploit something, you just have to find it.” The bearded man, the teacher of the class if the various note typing people in almost identical uniforms, which were not nearly as ornate as that of the bearded man, and the holo-table’s display of ship tactics and intelligence reports were anything to go by. “Never be afraid to apply what you have learned to a battle, from any part of your life.”
The bearded man paused to look to the back of the room, sharp blue eyes darting about and soon locking onto a student whose eyes were full of questions, and whose cock of his head and slightly raised eyebrows almost caused the bearded man to smile. With a quick jab of buttons, the holo-table soon switched to a detailed picture of a ship, an image soon brought up on every datapad in the room, and the eyes of the student never left the eyes of his teacher, his head still slightly cocked to one side.
“Take this image, tell me who the commander of this vessel is, what kind of vessel it is and the markings associated with its commander along with his tactics. Then I want you to write me a report on how you would tackle this commander, a full report involving all commands given to your fighter squadrons, your fellow ship captains, your bridge officers. Everything spelled out, you will be evaluated on competency, accuracy, bravery, and if you would even win the fight.” The last part caused several of the students to chuckle, if only slightly, though the quickness of the harsh glare on their teachers face quickly caused it to fade. “This is no joke, everyone will have the opportunity to present their information, tactics and such in front of the class, as well as run a simulation in front of them as well to prove that they would work. Lives hang in the balance on every decision you make when you command a ship, remember that.”
The student in back frowned slightly as the bell rang, a sound more akin to a church bell then any normal school bell everyone in the building had grown up with, though his thoughts weren’t on the deep musical bell but on the flash of pain he thought he saw in the blue eyes of the teacher, curious at why something so simple, would cause pain to someone so, put together. A gentle shake of the teacher’s head told him an answer he never knew he asked, not today, come back when you understand.
With a shake of his own head, the student stood up, datapad loosely in his hand, his eyes on the floor as he walked out of the room, leaving his teacher to merely shake his head, a titled head so reminiscent of the student that had just left and a smile on his lips. They would learn in time, he had faith in that.
The student went on to become an officer, well respected, known even to the Supreme Chancellor for his intelligence, his perceptiveness, his loyalty. While he knew his lessons well from the Citadel, it didn’t mean he understood them, not even during his tenure as an intelligence officer, then the Clone Wars came.
Lessons learned soon became lessons to live his life by, trust your bridge crew, they work the ship you command was the first as he adjusted to a clone crew, though it was more a reminder as his time in the sector fleet did little to acclimate him to a bridge full of clones. Trust your ship, she’s your home, your life, if you think she cannot handle something, then stand by that conviction. A lesson understood when a Jedi, a Jedi Knight of some standing in the Order who felt like he could push around a lowly human admiral, had come on to his bridge to demand he make a jump that would tear his ship apart because of recent battle damage. He had won that argument, and had gotten the chance to see the brig of a Venator-class cruiser, not willingly but it had been worth it.
Then came the Battle of Malastare Narrows, and all the lessons he had learned, all the ones he had come to understand, were gone. Colleagues, friends, ships, all gone in a battle with a commander no one had gathered any sort of information on. On a foe that had required aide from outside the battlefleet, had required a Jedi to win. A Jedi that seemed to appear from nowhere and came to the rescue, after the lives were lost. After the student had to stare at the bodies of officers, not clones and non-clones, but fellow officers, friends, outside his ship, and had to feel his ship rumble beneath his feet and his heart quicken at the thought that maybe, just maybe, he would die that day by the hands of a foe that cackled-clicked at the thought of causing his foes to fear him. With little Jedi support until they had practically begged for it, the student knew he was lucky to have escaped that battle, even if it was on the late arriving Jedi’s cruiser. Though the extra ships the Jedi had brought would have insured the battle would have gone much smoother if they had arrived sooner, the enemy commander crushed sooner, devious tactics matched by lightning instincts. As the students thoughts grew as dark as the void of space, the gulf he placed around himself when around Jedi grew.
The occasional twitch at a modified cruiser, covered in blue paint with eye details, and the slight jump and sweaty hands, thankfully covered by duty regulation gloves, were ignored by him, he took it as a sign of battle fatigue, as even his eyes darted more then he would like to admit and his heart thumped in his chest and he was always hesitant when such things came about. The occasional spider that crossed his path however, caused him to jump, screech slightly and tremble, something he never could explain off as something else no matter how hard he tried. So, he had grown used to the smirks and chuckles and sympathetic glances, even from the clones who he was grateful still respected him after one such embarrassing incident. He had never known someone could be so respectful one minute and so, amused another. He grew to accept the changes in himself however, though he never fully accepted Jedi, though the fact that they acted outside the chain of command was an excellent excuse, but the feeling of abandonment and then glory hogging in the span of five minutes was always at the back of his mind.
Then his final lesson, the one that had always stumped him, the one he never fully understood, learn who your opponent is, exploit it and learn from your own or another’s life. While self-explanatory, as all lessons taught to him by the bearded man were, fully understanding and applying it to a combat situation was something not always applicable. Then his worst nightmare came, back from the void of space, and his heart had raced and his stomach dropped at the realization. His quick thinking, he would later say, saved lives. And he understood the pain of his teacher, the pain of a lesson learned too late, of something so keenly obvious that it should have come to mind when he had first faced the foe. He hesitantly looked at the comm. unit built into his desk, and as he reached over to punch in a series of numbers, the ship rumbled and the klaxon’s wailed, breaking the silence of the night and his hopes of talking.
It was during another of those quiet moments, where the gentle humming of the ships engines and the metal cabin were the only signs of the student still being on board a ship and not on his home, that his thoughts drifted back to his teacher. His hand began to drift towards the comm. once more, and just as his finger had found the button he was being asked to go to the hangar, and he quickly told them he would be done. An admiral needed on the hangar was never a good sign.
Upon his arrival at the hangar, his thoughts were a jumble. The man on the stretcher before him, the one they had called him down to see, was that very same teacher he had been ready to call. That was when his image of his teacher was replaced with one of his legendary father. Tall and proud, a hero, a legend in the Citadel, now broken. Thoughts of why or how, and the questions he had been ready to voice were stalled, when he shook his head. Instead the student, the admiral, the son, approached, and bent down to listen, where his uniform was grabbed tightly in a burnt hand.
“Battle of Luront,” the voice was a whisper, and shook the student to the core. The battle that had eluded this man, his teacher, was now his final test in front of that very same man. A nod in acknowledgement and the hand let go, and before it hit the man’s chest the student had already headed towards the turbolift. This time the lesson learned was not because of his own folly, but the now broken idol’s heading towards the medical bay. If he had failed, what could the student do?
The battle he had been told had ended much as his own folly had, though why it had failed was entirely different as were the rescuers. He learned what had occurred, studied his foe, and learned where that idol had failed, where his father had failed. Though years of having studied under the man had taught him his tactics, he could now not use them, and had to rely on his own, formed from his time under the Jedi, his time in the war, an experience far different from what his father had ever had, and one his foe hopefully lacked. The fact that he had to push outside of his comfort zone, that he had to actually demand a preemptive strike and split forces from his normally rash, irresponsible Jedi commanding officer, and the looks he had gotten from that had, well confirmed in his mind that he was doing the right thing. The shock on the foes face when he had wanted to talk with them about his demands for the system and maybe possibly a surrender, had been rather, pleasing. The son could learn, had learned, from his father’s mistake, and now the creature, another one who hissed and clicked, had learned, far too late, the folly of repeatedly using the same tactics. The student had learned, and while he may scoff at the Jedi for similar tactics, he knew they had a place.
The gentle ribbing he had suffered from those same Jedi however died as they watched the shuttles of wounded leave, and the realization that his actions were just a silent, well practiced, calculated sort of revenge for his fellow naval officers hit home for them. The note he had been handed, written on a piece of flimsy had been tucked away in a belt pouch, though the small grin that had crossed his face was enough to raise a few eyebrows.
In the quiet of his quarters, once more awaiting the wailing of klaxons and similarly voiced orders, he pulled the note back out. In the neat, all too familiar script that was reminiscent of his own, was the last message his father had given him.
Final Grade: A-
Notes: Need to learn to separate emotion from tactical decisions. Damage caused by a reckless decision to shove the enemy commander out of an airlock is unknown, but capture of enemy fleet commanders is always a valuable asset during wartime.
You suffer from the same problem our entire line suffers from. I cannot argue with the results, and as your father, I have a, certain degree of pride in the success of this last battle, even if it was a result of my own folly. I am as happy as you to see the bug crushed, even if it was because of an ‘accident’.
I will tell your mother you say hello, though do make sure you write her a letter. As much as we are a naval people, and so our families do not complain when there is a lack of communication, Anaxi women do worry, and your mother doubly so, especially with your history. Keep your Jedi in line, you have a voice, they may be Jedi but on the bridge your word is law.
In loving respect your father,