I know this nose art is for the Bad Batch, but I can’t help but imagine another Clone Unit with a stronger claim on the Senator as a mascot. (And how much Anakin would FLIP THE FUCK OUT)— Morale Booster
… And it looks like the paneling repair will have to wait, as his General’s boots appear next to his head beside the transport’s landing gear. He pushes himself out from under the machine on a dolly, flat on his back.
“What is THAT?!” his fearless leader yelps, pointing dramatically, emphatically upwards and towards the nose.
He scoots out farther, past General Skywalker’s legs, and props himself up on his elbows to take in the three-quarters-finished pinup Hardcase has been taking such pains with for the last four hours.
“Morale booster, sir. Couldn’t do something clever like the 104th and their Plo’s Bros or anything, so–”
“So you chose SENATOR AMIDALA?!” Did his voice just crack? It did.
He shrugs. “Sure. She’s been through enough hell and high water with us.”
“She’s a SENATOR!”
“And she’s a keen eye with that blaster,” he reasons, jerking his head up to the painting, and the flawlessly detailed replica of the Senator’s favored sidearm, primed to fire and held at a jaunty, confident angle. He even got the chipped paint over the trigger guard right.
“Got the looks for it too!” Hardcase yells down from where he’s shading in a long bare stretch of thigh, pausing to vigorously shake his can of spray paint. “We might finally be able to give the 327th a run for their money, with General Secura and all.”
“GENERAL SECURA is half naked on the nose of a transport?!”
“What? No!” Of course not, that’s just tasteless.
There’s a clatter from up above as Hardcase puts his paints down and leans over the scaffolding, a hand wobbling skeptically. “Well… Technically…”
“She’s in her usual outfit, y’know, with the–” Rex explains, and zig-zags a finger down from his head, mimicking the General’s lekku straps. “–and the leather pants.”
“It’s just a little leg, Anakin, I don’t see what you’re so upset about.”
Oh thank all the stars and little planets. Backup. General Kenobi steps up beside his former Padawan to admire the paint job himself. “Excellent work on her hair, Hardcase,” Kenobi continues, tilting his head.
“Thank you, sir. Run a probe with some white and a little metallic gold through the wet paint, gets it to streak so the shine looks real.”
General Skywalker is starting to do that thing where he puffs up like an angry coppi lizard and splutters furiously while he tries to think of something else to be upset about. He can hear Fives rolling his eyes from the opposite side of the transport. General. Honestly. If you’re trying to keep a relationship secret, openly displaying your klik-wide jealous streak is not how you do it.
“The 212’s is worse, anyway,” Kenobi muses idly, as Hardcase carefully adds the supposedly “very distinctive” freckle high on the Senator’s hip, just below the split in her modified favorite Council dress. Skywalker starts to go wide-eyed at that, because his sabacc face out of genuine combat is complete sleenshit, and startles when his master continues.
“She’s on the 212th transport too?!”
“Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. We can’t have duplicates, that defeats the purpose,” Kenobi says, in that too-reasonable tone he takes on when he’s deliberately fucking with his former Padawan.
“'Cept Master Ti,” Echo yells, from somewhere inside the paneling he and Rex had been working on.
“Except Master Ti, yes,” Kenobi agrees, and shrugs. “But that’s to be expected. Rather like how so many people have that arm tattoo of a heart with the ribbon that says ‘Mom’.”
Rex personally knew of at least eight other clones that had that exact tattoo, though the ribbon was usually striped like Master Ti’s headtails, and nods agreeably. That seems to have sufficiently diverted Skywalker, or at least confused him.
“Then how is it worse?” Skywalker asks, a little desperately, then his face lights up completely with slightly malicious anticipation. “Is it the Duchess?!”
Oh boy. Rex looks up at Hardcase, who is biting down on his paint-splattered fist to keep from laughing, as General Kenobi gets that look.
“Certainly not,” Kenobi says sternly, and waits a full beat to drop his bombshell. “It’s me.”
Skywalker just stares.
“Though I’m reasonably certain Duchess Kryze had something to do with it, given the way I’m half falling out of my robes.”
Now he looks vaguely green.
“Or it’s some perverse joke of Master Windu’s. It seems his style. Cody refuses to tell me.”
And before Skywalker can come up with anything else to protest, Kenobi adds:
“Besides, Senator Amidala loves it. Hers, I mean. I haven’t asked her about mine.”
Apparently even Jedi can choke on air when sufficiently surprised. But really, where did he think they’d gotten the preliminary sketches from?