...and the series continues...
Above the surface of the planet Cholganna, a Republic strike force engages in a fierce battle with several Assault Cruisers of the Trade Federation. Hoping to destroy the droid production facility on the surface, the Republic has thus far been unable to penetrate the powerful shield protecting the valuable installation.
With the droid production plant still protected, dozens of Vulture Droid patrols scan the outlying perimeters of the jungle surrounding the facility, where several small generators hidden in the dense foliage power the facility's shield.
But unknown to the Separatists, a small strike force led by Commander Rykrof Enloe has already landed on the surface undetected.
With the coordinates to several generators in their possession, the team is poised to inflict a heavy blow on the Separatist war effort. A malfunction of just one of the four generators protecting the droid facility will temporarily disable the entire shield generator.
During the march, the team comes across several downed Republic ships in the forest that had attempted earlier bombing runs on the shield generators...
...they find many of the ships to be missing their pilots, who appear to have been dragged away by local predators.
After briefing before the mission, Rykrof is well aware that the native life on Cholganna can be more deadly than the droid army being created on the planet.
As the Republic soldiers continue towards the eastern shield generator as planned, a pair of lethal Nexu approaches the group.
The first troopers to spot the deadly beasts immediately open fire on the savage hunters...
...but they are too late to save one of their brethren.
With its mate killed the surviving Nexu scampers off into the forest.
"Commander, JT-54 has been killed in action," one of Rykrof's troopers says without emotion. "We should continue towards our objective before more of these creatures return."
Under normal circumstances, Rykrof would give the fallen soldier a proper burial, but realizes the urgency of completing the mission.
"Agreed," he says as he looks down at the dead Nexu. "Everyone prepare to move out. This operation will fail if we take time to bury our dead."
Quickly but carefully, the group makes it way through the jungle, keeping in deep cover to hide themselves as much as possible from observation by the enemy on the mesa far above.
Hours later, the group approaches the coordinates of the eastern shield generator. As expected, a droid vanguard is spotted protecting it.
With only one Geonosian present with a small company of battle droids, Rykrof gives the order to attack.
Surrounding the droid outpost, Rykrof's team of clone troopers moves in for the kill.
In a flash one droid is down.
Before the battle droids can register they are under attack, Rykrof's force moves in with swift and deadly force.
The droids attempt to regroup and respond with a concussion wave of laser blasts at the advancing threat...
...but faced with comparable numbers, the clone troopers soon advance on the enemy position.
As the blaster fire begins to die down, Ralbarr emits a victorious roar as he raises the lifeless body of the Geonosian captain assigned to protect the eastern generator.
Suddenly two more battle droids come clattering down from the shield generator towards the Republic strike team.
Charging towards the advancing droids, Rykrof fires off several quick shots...
...destroying both in a flurry of blaster fire.
Moments later the group secures the eastern shield generator.
"This is it," Rykrof says. "Let's disable this thing and get out of here."
"Right away, Sir!" his demolition expert replies.
Charging a compressed ion disruptor, the clone demolition expert quickly disables the shield.
As soon as the group verifies with the orbital command that the shield is down, Rykrof's team races back to their drop zone for their hidden gunship.
With the shield down, the Republic assault force soon approaches the droid facility, decimating the infrastructure.
Within less than an hour, the entire facility is lost.
Hours later, the Republic fleet regroups after destroying the droid facilities of Cholganna.
"We were lucky today Ralbarr," Rykrof says to his friend. "It's not every day that we're going to be able to go into a situation like that and come out on top."
The mighty Wookiee grunts in agreement as Rykrof departs to make contact with his wife, Alyssa.
"How are you Alyssa?" Rykrof asks once he is able to contact his wife on Naboo.
"I'm here, Rykrof... trying to get a grip on myself... and praying every night and half of each day," she says softly.
"How much longer will it be until you can come home?"
"The war has just begun," he says.
"But I'll always be with you Alyssa, during the war and after," Rykrof says. "Even if I don't return, I will always be with you."
Meanwhile, several Separatist leaders meet to discuss the loss of the droid facility on Cholganna.
"This is a disaster," Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray exclaims to his colleagues.
"General Grievous must be held accountable for the loss on Cholganna. That facility was financed by the Trade Federation!"
"Perhaps we should speak with Count Dooku," Corporate Alliance chief aide Denaria Kee replies.
"Viceroy!" General Grievous hisses at the group of Confederate leaders.
"You fool!" he continues. "You dare challenge my command yet you lack the courage to confront me head on! When you have concerns over the war you cower and scheme with your fellow grubs!"
"My only concern, General, is that droids should follow orders, not give them," Viceroy Nute Gunray replies.
"Pathetic cretin! The Confederacy does not require your military assessments to overthrow the Republic!" Grievous retorts.
"Surely you both understand we are committed on a broad scale across the galaxy," Count Dooku interrupts.
"As important as the facility on Cholganna was, there are many other priorities we must consider,” Dooku says.
"I have just received word from my Master that we will be proceeding soon with the assault on Rhen Var. I assure you that our losses on Cholganna will be long forgotten by the gains made from our next assault."
TO BE CONTINUED...