Changing of the guard
Crosshair is waiting at a spaceport while fresh stormtroopers disembark from shuttles. When three demobilized Clone troopers protest their “forced retirement,” Captain Bragg tells them to raise their concerns with the Imperial Information Bureau. Crosshair meets his new commanding officer Lieutenant Nolan who tells him he is out of uniform. After Crosshair dons his helmet, Nolan informs him that his unit is being reassigned to an Imperial depot on Barton-4. Local insurgents have been targeting the depot due to its high value cargo. Crosshair and his fellow Clone troopers are assigned with guarding this cargo until its transfer the following week. Nolan does not bother to hide his disdain for the Clones, regarding them as used equipment.
A frosty assignment
Crosshair, Nolan, and the Clones travel to the snowy world of Barton-4 in a Rho-class transport shuttle. After landing, Nolan assigns one of the Clones with guarding the ship while he and Crosshair enter the depot, which is staffed by several one-eyed Labor droids. Nolan asks for their supervisor. The commanding officer turns out to be a bearded Clone Commander named Mayday, who complains that the supply ship was expected 36 rotations ago and asks if they got lost.
Nolan replies that they work on the Empire’s schedule before blaming Mayday for the understaffed state of the depot. When Nolan asks about his squad, Mayday informs him that most of the unit apart from himself, Hexx, and Veetch perished. The helmets of the fallen squad mates line the storeroom. Nolan tells Mayday that his failings will be dealt with later before assuming command of the depot until the cargo is transported. When Nolan demands that Mayday treat him with respect, Mayday counters that respect is something that is earned. Nolan responds by deriding Mayday’s leadership and competence. Mayday counters by asking Nolan how many missions he has commanded. Nolan is silent, exposing his lack of command experience.
Mayday assigns Hexx and Veetch with settling Nolan while he speaks with Crosshair. Crosshair remarks that he finds Nolan unbearable after barely two hours. When Nolan asks how he got assigned on a lowly mission, Crosshair quips that he is unlucky. The two Clone troopers exchange names before Mayday gives Crosshair a tour of the depot and its surroundings. He explains that his unit has spent about a year guarding the cargo while awaiting transportation. Mayday explains that they have been attacked by raiders who have caught them off guard in the last few raids.
When Crosshair asks how the raiders got past their sensors, Mayday explains that the polar conditions have degraded their equipment. Though Mayday requested replacements, he received none. Crosshair asks about the cargo but Mayday says that he has not bothered to find out, describing it as above a Clone trooper’s pay grade. Mayday advises Crosshair not to scout alone due to the dangerous polar conditions and the threats lurking beneath the ice. Mayday also talks about the indigenous Ice vultures, describing them as vicious creatures whom he grudgingly admires.
The two Clone troopers are disturbed by Hexx, who informs them via comlink that raiders have breached the perimeter. Mayday assigns Crosshair with covering the east while he covers the west in order to cut off the raiders. Crosshair takes position in a tower while Hexx relays that three raiders are approaching the shuttle. Before Crosshair can shoot an intruder approaching the shuttle, the raider blows up the shuttle. Crosshair is temporarily blinded by the explosion but manages to shoot the raider from a distance. When he approaches the site, he finds that the intruder has fled towards the mountains, leaving a trail of blood behind.
Crosshair pursuers the raider into the frozen landscape. Following the raider’s trail, he makes his way down a hill into a tunnel. Crosshair is joined by Mayday who informs him that the raiders left on a snow skiff down the western ridge while the others fled on foot down the mountain path. Crosshair disagrees and shows Mayday the tunnel which the raiders used to sneak pass their defenses.
Back at the depot, Mayday pays his respects to the fallen Hexx and Veetch by placing their helmets on crates. An unsympathetic Nolan chastises Mayday for not sending troops to retrieve two stolen crates of cargo that were taken by the raiders during the most recent raid. Mayday informs Nolan that Hexx and Veetch perished during the raid and that they lack the manpower or gear for a mission beyond the perimeter. When Nolan insists on recovering the stolen crates, Mayday demands that he provide all his Clone troopers for the mission. Nolan refuses to commit his troops to the mission and orders Crosshair and Nolan to recover the cargo on their own.
Search and destroy
Later, Mayday and Crosshair explore the tunnels near the depot. They discover the remains of a fallen humanoid raider. Mayday is bothered that the fallen raider was wearing armor stolen from Crosshair’s fallen comrades and that his fellow raiders left him behind. Crosshair responds that there is no point in leaving dead weight, promoting Mayday to remark that he wouldn’t one to die on his watch. The two sense the earth above them moving, which Mayday attributes to the ice above.
Crosshair steps on a pressure mine but Mayday spots it and warns him not to move. Unwilling to lose another soldier, Mayday disarms the pressure mine with a hammer. He remarks that Clone troopers had to learn to improvise during the Clone Wars. While Mayday disarms the mine, he asks Crosshair about his unit. Crosshair mentions that he was part of Clone Force 99 but claims they perished. Mayday grumbles about combat soldiers having to guard supplies following the end of the Wars. Having disarmed the mine, Mayday advises Crosshair to slowly lift his foot. Crosshair is able to extricate himself from the pressure mine safely.
Continuing their mission, the two Clone troopers spot a campfire with several individuals. Using his thermal sensors, Mayday spots two sentries outside the camp. Advancing on the camp, the two clones incapacitate the sentries before distracting the other raiders with Electro Magnetic Pulse grenades. Using the element of surprise, they attack the raiders with their blasters. One of the raiders attempts to flee with stolen cargo on a landspeeder but Crosshair shoots the raider. Mayday shoots two raiders before being attacked by other raiders wielding electrostaffs. Crosshair shoots his assailants and the two retreat as more raiders emerge.
The two Clone troopers take up shelter behind a large rock and exchange fire with the raiders. Outnumbered and outgunned, Crosshair shoots at a power generator, which causes an explosion that takes out several raiders and causes rocks to crash in the camp. With the raiders neutralized, the two Clone troopers proceed to recover the stolen cargo, which turns out to be stormtrooper armor for the new Imperial Military. Mayday is upset that they and their fellow Clone troopers are being thrown aside despite their combat service and loyalty.
Brothers in arms
The explosion triggers an avalanche in the nearby mountain and the two Clone troopers flee the camp. Unable to outrun the avalanche, Mayday pushes Crosshair and the two shelter near a rock. Later, Crosshair digs himself out of the snow and searches for Mayday. He finds and digs Mayday out of the snow. Mayday tells Crosshair to save himself but he refuses to abandon a fellow comrade. To protect Mayday from hypothermia, he puts back his helmet.
The following day, the two Clone troopers travel back to the Barton-4 Imperial Depot. Crosshair props up Mayday during the journey back. The two Clone troopers endure the icy and freezing conditions. At night, they rest by a rock and huddle by each other for warmth. On the second day, they reach the depot as several Imperial shuttles descend on the base. Stormtroopers disembark from the shuttles and begin loading cargo from the base onto their ships. Nolan supervises the loading.
Stormtrooper sentries spot Crosshair and a wounded Mayday approaching the base and inform Nolan. Showing no concern for the Clone troopers’ wellbeing, Nolan orders the stormtroopers to get back to work while he confronts Crosshair and Mayday. Crosshair requests a medic for Mayday but Nolan chastises them for failing in their mission to retrieve the stolen cargo. He refuses to send a medic to treat Mayday, regarding him as a waste of Imperial resources. When Mayday succumbs to his injuries, Crosshair is distraught.
An uncaring Nolan says that Mayday served his duty as a soldier of the Empire. Crosshair is furious at Nolan for refusing to help Mayday. Nolan responds that Clone troopers are expendable and threatens to kill him if he shows further disrespect in the future. Nolan’s cruelty and unkindness infuriates Crosshair. Nolan orders Crosshair to resume his duties. While watching an ice culture circling, Crosshair addresses Nolan and shoots him dead with a blaster pistol. He then attends to the fallen Mayday while stormtroopers approach him, Mayday, and Nolan. Crosshair collapses from exhaustion.
Later, Crosshair awakens in an operating chamber where he is greeted by Emerie Karr. When Crosshair asks where he is, Karr tells him that the doctor will come for him once he is healed. Crosshair asks who she is. Karr tells him to remain calm before injecting him with a chemical that puts him to sleep. As Crosshair slips into unconsciousness, Karr tells him that if he cooperates he may survive.