Uncovering The Lost Storyreels: A Distant Echo

Yes I’m back to the digging into the Bad Batch arc! Much yays! I’m so excited I think I’m just gonna cut the usual chatter and get right to bloggin’ as the search for Echo begins! And remember: I will do my very best to write this, but this episode’s unfinished format may make it hard for me to recognize places, character expressions, etc. Admittedly the last one turned out pretty good but you never know… andddd I’m chattering again.
NOTE: Contains spoilers from TCW episodes Rookies, Clone Cadets, Counterattack, Orders, The Bad Batch, and A Distant Echo (storyreels)

So Captain Rex and our Bad Batch bros originally set out to find a strategy algorithm, and in the process, have found the assumptively long-gone Echo. OK they haven’t technically found him yet but they found a live signal but that’s something, right?? I mean… it would make him the only surviving member of the Domino Squad. And thinking about that got me a little teary. I mean, when the whole “Echo lives” message came out I hadn’t yet seen The Citadel storyarc and I hadn’t watched Clone Cadets or Rookies in a long while sooo yeah my troopers were a little blurred (you have full right to hit me with a brick, fanboys and fangirls, though in my defense it was 2013 and much to learn I still had). But man oh man now… I couldn’t help but be excited for Echo’s hopeful return! But I’m getting ahead of myself. So the mission was set; Rex, along with the Bad Batchers and General Skywalker, were off to follow the trail that would hopefully lead to Echo. Though apparently the mission wasn’t exactly… well, OK’d by the Jedi Council. Obi-Wan steps in and makes that point very clear. Hunter wisely decides to not get involved and wait on the ship XD Obi-Wan doesn’t quite get why Rex would pull an “Anakin” and disregard authority for the sake of some wild bantha chase. The Captain points out that Echo is still in possession of the algorithm, so technically it’s not just about saving his friend. But dude I just love so much seeing the incredible dedication and bond these troopers have… they’re far from just armored yes-men, they’re thinking, feeling human beings with strong hearts… but you knew that right? 🙂 *Starts crying from a sudden rush of feels* Aw nuts I’m totally off-topic again aren’t I? Anyway, Anakin assures his former master that the mission won’t take long and the Council won’t even know they left. And thus Obi-Wan admits defeat and walks off, leaving them with a genuine “May the Force be with you”. Looks like the game’s still on!
As they were boarding the Batch’s ship, Anakin couldn’t help but notice the nose art… which happened to be of Padme. I remember seeing that concept art on tumblr and thinking “Um does Anakin know about this…??”. Apparently he didn’t until now. Yeah the Batchers happen to be Senator Amidala fans… “She can negotiate with me anytime!” pfff that Wrecker XD Rex picks up on the awkwardness really fast and decides to keep moving. And Anakin… yeah I don’t think he liked it. I’m sorry this moment was just too funny XD
Elsewhere, Wat Tambor and one of his Techno Union friends are doing whatever when Admiral Trench gives them a call. The Admiral warns them that a handful of clones are comin’ their way, and Tambor’s all “no worries bro we go this”. Ah yes those crazy Techno bros… fun to see them again! But seriously they’re probably up to no good…
As our heroes were nearing the temp yellow planet… er… Skako Minor, we find them preparing for the mission ahead. Though quick note… it’s Tech who’s flying the ship this time. Sooo was it him who did all that crazy driving in the first part? I’d totally pegged that for Wrecker. Of course, right now Wrecker’s using a GOM droid as a dumbbell while eating what looks like a turkey leg XD Maybe that first fly-in was off just because Tech or whoever wasn’t used to gunship controls. Maybe Wrecker pressed a button he shouldn’tve pressed. Maybe the rest of the Bad Batch dared Tech to make an entrance. Who knows? But yes I can’t tell you how much I’d love to see more of these guys! So much so the other night I dreamed they made action figures of them and I was fangirling my head off X3 Anyway, regardless of Tech’s driving skills, the rough terrain and stormy skies of Skako seem to spell another crazy landing for our crew. Though actually things go rather well in the end… evidently Crosshair slept through the landing! Anything close to a crazy landing is NBD for that dude. Actually, I’m not sure anything is really a BD for him. But anyway, before heading out on the surface, Rex and Tech give the crew some pointers on the locals — a native race called Poltecs who happen to worship flying reptiles. And speak of the devil a giant reptile lands on the ship. Oh joy! As our heroes vamoose the ship, however, they find that this beast has a rider. But they don’t have a lot of time to talk over tea because then more of these lizards show up — also with Poltec riders. And one goes and snatches the general, leaving the lightsaber behind. But doing the awesome the do, Tech calculates the distance, Crosshair shoots the grappling hook, and Hunter holds on for the ride! Yeah the music gets really really fun here as Hunter hangs on to the rope with one hand and aims at the kidnapper with the other. And all this while other riders fly in pursuit behind them. But it seems these critters know how to deals with hitchhikers and snap back that rope so Hunter loses his blaster. He finally cuts loose as they come upon a cliff, a cliff, which he finds branches right over the Poltecs’ home, and now the rest of the troopers can meet up with him.
So Anakin was having a lovely conversation with the Poltec leader who’d nabbed him… OK not really their language is probably one of the most confusing and unusual I’ve ever heard leave the mouth of a SW character (when Tech does it later, he sounds like he’s speaking backwards). Anakin would rather’d the dude just got the keeradak’s foot off him. Thankfully, it’s not too much longer before Rex and the Bad Batch make another entrance, with a rockslide and blasters blazing and well-aimed electrical dart to the keeradak’s leg. After all the scuffle quiets down, they finally get a chance to talk, with Tech translating with a supercool instant translator device in his helmet. Who needs protocol droids when you’ve got him 🙂 *Threepio shoots me a look* Anyway, they find that the Poltecs just don’t want the war here (hence the kidnapping). But once Tech explains it was Wat Tambor and his Seppies who’re to blame, and that one of their men is believed to be held hostage, the Poltec leader is cool with sending a few of his guys to help them. Dude everyone needs one of those instant translators; Google Translate doesn’t count 😛
The Poltec scouts lead our team to a cliffside overlooking Tambor’s city. Anakin’s all “hope no one’s afraid of heights” and then everyone turns their eyes to Wrecker. He calls it “a problem with gravity”… sure bro XD But it’s about then when Tech suddenly loses Echo’s signal. Could be a bug with his device, could be interference… or could be a trap, as Hunter suggests. Rex understands that, but he urges them on at least to grab that algorithm. Then Crosshair happens to unhelpingly mention that Echo might not be alive… and if he is, he could be a traitor. OH NO HE DIN’T. Rex barks at him for even suggesting such a thing. Crosshair, again, throws out some ‘tude and is all “well if I were left for dead I wouldn’t be so loyal” and that was it. Rex had no problem slamming his fist into Crosshair’s skinny head. Wrecker then picks the Captain up by the armor and throws him. Rex and Wrecker have a bit of a staredown, but before either one could make the first move, Anakin steps in between them and stops the fight, sending Hunter and the Batch to further scout around while he has a talk with the good Captain. Yeesh tensions are running high a lot lately, huh? “CROSSHAIR STARTED IT!” “I DON’T CARE WHO STARTED IT!”. Even with the helmet on, you can see that Rex kinda feels bad for going all crazy like that, no better than Jesse and Crosshair the other day. Anakin tells him he hasn’t let the possibility that Echo might’ve gone rogue slip his mind. Rex is certain that Echo would sooner die than go against the Republic, but he’s willing to do what he must if for some reason it’s not the case… as long as he’s the one doing it, not the Bad Batch. Can I just say again how awesome Rex is? OK so I’m not endorsing the fact he got into a fight (though *coughCrosshairDeservedItcough*), but it shows just how deep his loyalty goes. No one talks smack about one of his bros! Not even one of his other [uniquely-mutated] bros.
As for the “bad boys”, they found themselves lead by Echo’s returned signal on Tambor’s front door, Tech working to get in and the rest of the guys standing guard. Anakin and Rex rejoin them shortly. Tech is completely and utterly focused on getting that door opened… he doesn’t say a word to his superiors, just keeps typing. And just like that, boom! It is open! Tech is boss 🙂 It seems Wrecker isn’t thrilled about the tower’s height though… “Don’t worry Wrecker… I’ll hold your hand!” pfff I love watching these guys pal around like they do 😀 But there are more things to be worried about here than just the height… they open the turbolift doors and find a whole gaggle of Swiss army knife-esque battle droids with zillions of extra attachments. Oh wait did I say worried? Nope not Wrecker. Guy ran in yelling with his blaster held high! He’s in his zone! So much for stealth. The Bad Batch makes quick work of these little guys. Extra arms do not a better battle droid make. And Wrecker ends it all carrying on like a football fan whose favorite team just won the Super Bowl XD Everyone else just kinda stares. C’mon guys, we all have moments where we want to do like Wrecker and whoop and holler like no one’s watching! OK so anyway somehow our heroes still haven’t garnered any attention, and they’re back on the move. But problem… they’ve lost the signal again. Tech believes now it has to do with whether or not Echo’s sending any information, and at the moment, he’s not. So General Skywalker sends them to every door and every nook and cranny. Anakin’s the first to find something… in this case another run-in with a couple of these newfangled Swiss army droids, and they’re a little harder to handle alone. While that cray was happening the signal came back and led the Tech, Hunter, Rex, and Wrecker to a door that Echo surely must be behind! Anakin’s still caught up in lightsabering droids, though… they just keep on coming and coming and coming! Just when one was about to sneak up on him from behind, Anakin turns around and sees Crosshair, a blaster, and an example of the bro’s epic aim. That droid is totally out of commission 🙂
Before Tech could even touch the door, a message comes through from Wat Tambor himself. Totally monologueing on how predictable clones are and how the algorithm nailed their every move and how awesome he is (that last part’s not obviously stated but you know he’s thinking it) and stuff like that. And then throws in even more of those Swiss army droids! But with Anakin and Crosshair rejoining the crew, the floor is quickly covered in metal carnage. But then more of these droids start coming, like ants to a picnic factory! The rest of the team covers for Tech as he finally gets a chance to crack open that door. It doesn’t take long, and it takes even less time for Tech and Rex to dart inside. What they find is a control panel, and what appears to be some sort of stasis chamber. Tech is able to get it open, and what lies inside isn’t too pretty… Echo, pale and skinny, wired and hooked up to all sorts of who-knows-what, wearing a pair of robotic legs, and in a complete daze. It makes me want to cry man… I’m so glad Echo’s alive, but this is the last place I expected to see him. I get the feeling Rex agrees with me as he looks on his absolute shock. While Tech works to figure out how to unhook him, Rex tries to talk to his old friend. Poor Echo seems to not be fully aware of where is, but when he knows his Captain when he sees him. Even in the midst of this terrifying situation, I can’t fight the tears as Rex tells this brave former arc trooper “…we’re going home”.
And yup there it is, one of the most cliffhangery cliffhangers ever!! My heart just breaks for Echo soooo muchhh… and just WOW, this entire episode! Definitely looking forward to writing about what happens next!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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Uncovering The Lost Storyreels: The Bad Batch

Man, it feels good to be blogging on some new TCW again! I’m bringing you today the first of my Uncovering The Lost Storyreels posts, talking about the fantastic opener The Bad Batch! I’m super-happy they decided to get these up when they did since I wasn’t at Celebration to see them first-hand. So now, join me as we dig deeper into this exciting opener for this thrilling storyarc! And just to note… I’ll do my very best to write this. Because of their unfinished quality, it’s sometimes hard to recognize character expressions and unfamiliar locations. If I screw up in any way, I apologize.
NOTE: Contains spoilers from TCW episodes Counterattack and The Bad Batch (storyreel)

“The battles are over, but the heroes live on. Thank you Clone Wars fans.”… interesting choice of lesson for this one! Haha pff. Have to wonder what it would be if this had been fully-animated and had aired as a normal episode. Wonder who writes those incredibly insightful things anyway. I mean, that is seriously a talent to articulately and poetically point out what the heart of the episode is and then do it well over a hundred times! And every time without fail I nod my head and say “wow that is major deepsauce” or “so true, so true”. OK moving on…
So it’s a seemingly average battle going on. Anakin and Mace and the clones taking on Admiral Trench on Anaxes… you know, the usual. It hasn’t been going that well though. It’s definitely been one of those days where you just can’t win. And it happens to be that Captain Rex might just know why. He believes that the Seps got ahold of one of their strategy algorithms. And he also is considering the fact that his old Arc Trooper buddy Echo used it a lot… and it might’ve been on him when he didn’t make out of the Citadel. Anakin and Mace send out Rex and Cody and a small team to investigate and see if this is indeed the case. And Cody already knows who he’s gonna have join them… a little quartet called Clone Force 99 (Hehe I can’t believe I just called them a quartet. Anyone else kinda want to hear the bros sing? XD )
As Rex and Cody, along with Jesse and Kix, head out to meet up with the “Bad Batch”, these useful-mutation bros make quite a landing. I don’t exactly know who’s driving that ship but I have a feeling he’s had his license revoked a time or two. While their driving isn’t the most favorable, these dudes are pretty much some of the coolest human beings to grace the SW galaxy. Meet Hunter, the shadowy supertracker, Tech, the superintelligent supergeek, Crosshair, the quiet supershooter, and Wrecker, the gregarious supermuscle. They’re pretty super I would say 🙂 Clad in dark, specialized armor and far from the typical-looking clone, it’s no surprise Jesse and Kix exchange a look of disbelief. The Commander’s hung out with them before and knows them all well, so he’s totally cool with the batch. Wrecker made a lovely first impression by discussing how you kill a Yavik XD Hunter takes his comrade’s excitement all in stride, while Tech points out some useless fun facts about the critters. As for Crosshair… he just stands in the back of the crowd giving a less-than-friendly glare. You don’t need much extra animation to get that fact across. So introductions out of the way, our team boards the gunship… right after Wrecker throws a friendly (though probably painful) jab at one of the younger bros XD I don’t want to play favorites, but I’m kinda attached to Wrecker… his enthusiasm is contagious!
So as they were flying off, the gunship was filled with some major awkward silence. It’s got to be a tad unnerving if you’re a clone and find out you have four “brothers” who look nothing like you, who also rock long hair, pale skin, thin faces, and a blind eye, respectively. Especially when one of them is still shooting a deathly glare (I’m lookin’ at you Crosshair). And the feeling’s mutual for the Bad Batch boys, too, as they don’t typically hang out with “regs”. Anyone wanna bet these guys make fun of normal clones in their spare time? They won’t admit it to anyone, and probably never do it when Cody’s around but yeah wouldn’t surprise me… “Ooh look! I’m a normal clone! I follow protocol! Haha!” Cody interrupts the awkward conversation to fill in his team on the mission at hand: a Separatist cybercenter on Anaxes is where they will find out if the bad guys snapped up their intel. But what they don’t realize is that a battle droid or two or three has taken notice of the gunship… and they brought alllllll their little Seppie droid friends! Yeahhh our team doesn’t stay airborne for very long after that. Just thinking of being caught in that crash makes me queasy. The rest of the bros are OK, but Cody’s caught in the rubble. But before the rest of the clones try their hands at freeing the commander, Hunter sends in Wrecker. And Wrecker totally has no problem whatsoever LIFTING THE GUNSHIP and THROWING IT ASIDE to rescue him. Have to say, that shot of Wrecker carrying Cody as the gunship explodes in the background it pretty darn epic. Yay Wrecker! Cody’s alive, but not doing too well. Kix can help him, but Crosshair eloquently points out that the battle droids are coming over for a visit. ALL the battle droids. But the Bad Batch crew isn’t worried. They grab the decimated gunship’s door as a shield and BRING THE HEAT! They move like a force of nature as Wrecker holds their shield, letting the rest of the bros shoot through the slots in the door. Tech calculates just the right trajectory to aim a droid popper, and Hunter blasts it like a boss, knocking those droids down like dominoes! Hunter pulls out a knife on the unsuspecting droids, tearing them apart. Wrecker slams a droid with the door still in hand, causing it to incinerate itself. And just like that, the field’s nothing but a Seppie droid burial ground. Color the “regs” impressed! And ermagosh Wrecker messing around with that droid head! *Dies laughing* I’m pretty sure Wrecker’s the only one who can make fun of Crosshair and not get killed for it XD With that, our clones head out, leaving all those destroyed droids in their wake. A handful of Sep droids arrive later, and they, along with Admiral Trench, are confused, yet intrigued by all this Jedi-less, no-lightsabers-necessary damage. The droids also head out, in search of these mysterious troopers.
Elsewhere, we find our heroes taking a short breather as Hunter uses his epic heightened senses to point into the direction of the cybercenter. Probably means he overheard Kix and Jesse doing a little poking at him, too. But if he did, he doesn’t show it. Hunter’s too cool to stoop to the level of a couple of “regs” 😛 Knowing that Cody’s no longer in any condition to continue the mission with them, Rex is in charge and he’s got a new plan. But it seems Crosshair don’t like that plan. And Jesse don’t like his ‘tude. And Wrecker just likes grabbing Jesse by the neck. Hunter’s the only one who could stop the clone kerfuffle from actually kerfuffling (whee fun with vocabulary!), reminding them of the fact they’re all on the same team. And continuing in his keeping of the peace, he agrees to give Rex’s plan a try. So with that settled, the clones head back out once more, stalking stealthily through the forest. In the midst of their stealthy stalking, they find themselves looking on a Sep outpost covered in battle droids. Rex decides he’d like to do this one the Bad Batch way 🙂 And there they went, blasting and knife-slashing away the little skinny metal boogers. While the rest of the team jumps aboard a turbolift, it seems Wrecker rather’d stay around and continue making the battle droids eat laser 🙂 Yes the rest of boys make quick work on the droids upstairs. Watto would go nuts over all the scrap metal they make in a day’s time! 😀 Though clearly Wrecker is disappointed he missed the party. I’m pretty sure Wrecker is to battle droids the way Zeb is to stormtroopers 🙂 But just their luck, the cybercenter is only a hop, skip, and a jump away! The only problem? Those droids who took notice of the carnage from earlier are on their way there. Psh this is not a problem for this awesome crew. Those droids didn’t see it coming worth beans. Though admittedly a certain Admiral might have an idea…
“An attack is coming?! Whe–” *blasts*
Pfff gotta love the delightful cluelessness of those battle droids, right? XD Yeah doesn’t take the rest of the clones long to get the rest of the droids away from the back door, where the rest of the Bad Batch lies in wait. Wrecker basically kicked down the door and wrenched it open with his hands. So I’m guessing he always ate his veggies at the cloning facility dinner table? Ahhh how do these clones manage being so awesome without exploding from so much awesomeness?! I’m thinking they just did the fastest break-in/droid-decimate run ever. Wrecker and Hunter leave Tech to work his magic on the computers while they get ahold of their reg bros. And then along comes a Sep transport with lots and lots of super battle droids. Jesse and the Batch boys handle them while Rex joins up with Tech to see what they came here for. After a few minutes of typing about, Tech finds that the algorithm’s coming from a live signal on Skako Minor. What could that mean, I wonder?? Rex and Tech don’t have a clue… yet. But as the battle heats up outside with the boys, the signal starts to reveal its source… someone Rex can hardly believe. Hunter, Wrecker, Crosshair, and Jesse are starting to get overrun and make a dash back into the center. And now… Rex is hearing the voice of… ECHO. Ohmaigersh. The crew’s gotta make a run for it, and while Rex does… he can’t help but linger a bit, for the possibility that this awesome, noble Arc Trooper might still be living and breathing. Our bros board their old Separatist transport without any problem and jet on outta there. The Seps don’t quite get what their game is, but for sure this won’t be the last time these particular bad guys tangle with the troopers. But all the same, Rex can’t shake the voice he heard, and the number he read… and he’s gonna find out the truth no matter what.
So yeah I know I’m a little rusty at this closer-look-writing but EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE I’M SO EXCITEDDDDDDDD TO SEE WHERE THESE EPISODES GO!!! That is all.

Oh, also, Happy Star Wars Day in advance! Next week I’ll tell you how it went for me! 😀

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight