Welcome to Character Histories. In this series, I will look at the whole story of a character or group of characters from the Star Wars canon and try to give the main events. As I do this, I will also be letting you know where you can find this story (which I will put in yellow so that you can easily see and avoid that section if you want to avoid spoilers). I will look to stick to the details confirmed in canon, but will also make note of any information that I believe to be the case that may not have been expressly confirmed.
Some of you may remember that I did a couple of these a long time ago on here, but the final season of The Clone Wars has meant that we now have more confirmation as to how these stories played out, while I also think that I can do a better job on these articles now I am more experienced at writing on here.
Today I will be looking at a group of 5 clones that have become famous for fans of The Clone Wars: Domino Squad. The members of Domino Squad are:
- CT-782 – Hevy
- CT-27-5555 – Fives
- CT-00-2010 – Droidbait
- CT-1409 – Echo
- CT-4040 – Cutup
The Clone Wars season 3 episode 1 “Clone Cadets”
Domino Squad were a group of 5 clone cadets being trained on Kamino by the mercenaries Bric and El-Les under the supervision of Jedi Master Shaak Ti. The group did not work well together, always arguing and not finding common ground. This came to a head when the group failed their tests after Droidbait was shot but CT-782 had the group push on without him. Their failure left the group at risk of being demoted to maintenance clones.
Fives and Echo requested a transfer to a more successful squad, but Shaak Ti turned them down and informed them that the squad would be given a chance to re-take the test the next day. Bric tried to provoke CT-4040 into attacking him in order to have him and the squad fail, however he resisted and took on Bric’s insult of calling him “a real cutup” as his nickname. CT-782 attempted to go AWOL during the night, but the deformed maintenance clone 99 convinced him to stay and take the chance being given to him.
“We’re just numbers, 99. Just numbers.”
“Not to me. To me, you’ve always had a name.”
CT-782 took 99’s words onboard and -taking on the name 99 called him – stayed to lead the Domino Squad to success in their test, despite an attempt by Bric to sabotage them. The squad graduated and shipped out to join the war.
Their first posting
From The Clone Wars season 1 episode 5 “Rookies”
Domino squad remained together and were posted at Rishi Station: a Republic outpost on the Rishi moon that monitored secure military transmissions to act as an early warning if the Separatists attempted to invade Kamino. Under the command of Sergeant O’Niner, the posting was easy, until the Separatists used a meteor shower to hide the infiltration of a squad of commando droids.
Droidbait, O’Niner and most other clones at the outpost were killed in the droids’ initial attack. The other 4 members of Domino Squad managed to escape via an exhaust vent, however once outside, Cutup was attacked and taken by a Rishi eel. Noticing Commander Cody and Captain Rex arriving at the outpost for an inspection, they were able to use a flare to warn them of danger as they were ambushed. The officers managed to escape and regroup with the inexperienced “shinies” During their meeting, Rex left a hand-print mark (made using blood from a Rishi eel he killed) on Echo’s chest, a design he kept on his armour moving forward.
The group managed to defeat the droids and take control of the outpost, however the commando droids had disabled the mechanism to warn the Republic of the Separatist invasion, which they can see massing overhead and sending down more reinforcements to secure the outpost. The group decided to blow up the outpost, which will stop the “All Clear” signal from transmitting to the Republic. The group delayed the advance of the droid reinforcements, but as they fell back through the exhaust vent, Hevy stayed behind due to issues syncing the explosives with the detonator. Hevy was badly wounded in a last stand against the droids, but managed to manually detonate the explosives, destroying the base and stopping the signal, leading to Republic reinforcements arriving to chase off the Separatist fleet.
“Do we take prisoners?”
The only remaining members of Domino Squad – Fives and Echo – were given medals for their valour and inducted into the 501ˢᵗ. In memory of Hevy, both soldiers added a graphic to their armour of a Z-6 blaster canon.
Soldiers of the 501ˢᵗ
At this moment, Fives’ and Echo’s service histories with the 501ˢᵗ are largely unknown, save for one campaign.
From The Clone Wars season 3 episode 2 “ARC Troopers”
With the Separatists again attempting to invade Kamino, a number of units including the 501ˢᵗ were sent back to defend their homeworld. Ahead of the battle, Fives and Echo ran into 99 and informed him both of Hevy’s death and the upcoming battle.
Once battle began, Fives and Echo were sent to take up a sniping position to stall the droid advance. They ran into a group of lost clone cadets and – with the help of 99, who had been resupplying them – escorted the cadets to safety. As the group made their way through the hallways, they joined up with Rex and Cody. With droids advancing through the hallways, the group set up an ambush for them and managed to take them out, however 99 was killed in the battle.
For their actions in the defence of Kamino, Rex promoted both Fives and Echo to ARC trooper.
A costly rescue
From The Clone Wars season 3 episodes 18-20 “The Citadel”, “Counterattack”, “Citadel Rescue
Fives and Echo were assigned to part of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s team looking to infiltrate the Citadel on the planet Lola Sayu and rescue Jedi Master Even Piell.
By freezing themselves in carbonite, the rescue team was able to infiltrate the Citadel and find not just Piell, but also some of his officers, including Captain Wilhuff Tarkin. Traps in the Citadel, and Separatist attacks, began to take a toll on the rescue group and the escaped prisoners. During a heavy firefight, Echo attempted to secure a Separatist shuttle which they could escape in, but it was destroyed by a commando droid managing a heavy cannon. Fives and the surviving members for the rescue team were forced to fall back from the airfield, and all they saw of Echo was his destroyed helmet.
Though the arrival of Republic reinforcements helped the rescue team escape, Piell was killed before they could do so, though the mission was not a complete failure as he managed to pass his intel to Ahsoka Tano before his death.
From this point, Fives was believed to be the sole surviving member of Domino Squad, however Echo had survived the explosion (though he was severely injured) and was captured by Separatist forces. At some point following his capture, Echo was fitted with cybernetic replacements for his lower torso and legs, while his missing right arm was replaced with a scomp link as he was transformed into a cyborg and sold to the Techno Union, who intended to use him for counterintelligence purposes.
Clashing with authority
From The Clone Wars season 4 episodes 7-10 “Darkness on Umbara”, “The General”, “Plan of Dissent”, “Carnage of Krell”
Now supposedly the sole remaining member of Domino Squad, Fives was involved in the Republic invasion of Umbara. Fives again found himself taking part in the invasion alongside Anakin Skywalker and the 501ˢᵗ, however after the initial incursion, Skywalker was called back to Coruscant and command of the 501ˢᵗ given to Jedi General Pong Krell.
Rather than stick with Skywalker’s innovative tactic of surprise attacks, Krell chose a more direct approach, which caused high numbers of clone casualties. Fives was one of the clones more vocally against Krell’s tactics but continued to follow orders due to his respect for Rex. Eventually being ordered to take control of a nearby airbase, the 501ˢᵗ were thoroughly overwhelmed and Rex selected Fives and Hardcase to go on a stealth mission. The pair sneaked behind enemy lines and onto the airbase, where they each stole a starfighter and flew them back to take out the Umbaran tanks that were close to defeating the 501ˢᵗ.
Having taken control of the airbase, Fives suggested utilising the fighters at the airbase to take out a support ship overhead that was resupplying forces which were pushing Obi-Wan and the 212ᵗʰ back, however Krell dismissed the plan and instead planned for the 501ˢᵗ to continue marching towards the capital on their own. With many of the clones agreeing with Fives and not trusting Krell, Fives and Rex argued about their duty to follow orders that are clearly wrong.
“I’m sorry. I cannot just follow orders when I know they’re wrong! Especially when lives are at stake.”
“You will if you support the system we fight for.”
“I do support it. I do! But I am not just another number! None of us are!”
Fives continued with his plan behind Krell’s back, readying starfighters for himself, Hardcase and Jesse and intending to fly into the support ship and take it out from the inside – something he had learned from Skywalker’s story of the Battle of Naboo. Rex found out about the plan and, though he couldn’t help them, he does not try to stop them and in fact dissuaded Tup and Dogma from relaying their suspicions to Krell.
The trio successfully took out the support ship, but at the cost of Hardcase’s life. Returning back to the airfield, Fives and Jesse were arrested and imprisoned for their insubordiation. Krell chose to forego a court martial and ordered the pair executed, however none of the firing squad could bring themselves to shoot their brothers. With word arriving of nearby Umbaran forces, the pair were put back into detention while the 501ˢᵗ goes out to scout.
During this scouting mission, the 501ˢᵗ and 212ᵗʰ ended up attacking each other and it was discovered that Krell had set both units up to attack each other. Rex took the surviving clones back to the airbase, where they freed Jesse and Fives, who joined their attempt to arrest Krell. Though Krell initially escaped, the clones continued efforts, large numbers and the quick wits of Tup resulted in the general’s capture.
Fives was present as the imprisoned general revealed that he was sabotaging the Republic war effort in the hope of becoming Dooku’s next apprentice. Dogma stole one of Fives’ blaster pistols to shoot Krell dead.
From The Clone Wars season 6 episodes 1-4 “The Unknown”, “Conspiracy”, “Fugitive”, “Orders”
Fives was later involved in Republic efforts to retake a space station orbiting Ringo Vinda, with the 501ˢᵗ and other detachments of clones under the command of Jedi Generals Skywalker, Tiplee and Tiplar. During the battle, Tup began having spells of confusion and in one of them assassinated Tiplar before Fives could stop him.
Tup was sent to Kamino for a thorough medical check, but the Separatists – who noticed the assassination – ambushed the shuttle and captured Tup. Fives, Rex and Skywalker successfully rescued Tup and Fives accompanied Tup to Kamino.
Arriving on Kamino, Fives was also quarantined as the early belief is that Tup had caught a virus, which Fives may have caught too. During this quaratine, Fives became friends with the droid AZI-3. Although the Kaminoans (who were secretly working for Dooku and Darth Sidious) wanted to terminate Tup to do an autopsy to determine the cause of his ailment, Fives convinced AZI-3 to do an atomic-level brain scan on Tup, which led to them finding a tumour in his brain. Nala Se tried to argue against the evidence, but Fives had AZI-3 perform a biopsy, extracting the tumour as proof to Shaak Ti. After telling Fives of a recurring nightmare of a mission, Tup declared himself free and passed away.
Palpatine ordered the tumour to be sent to the Grand Republic Medical Facility on Coruscant, but during further arguments with Nala Se, Fives noticed a droid swap the case the tumour is in for another one. Fives discovered that the Kaminoans had arranged for him to have his memory erased and escaped custody, got the tumour and began to look into the tumour further with AZI-3’s help. They found that the tumour was an organic biochip implanted into Tup. Fives had AZI-3 undertake the same biopsy on him and finds that he also had a chip implanted, but his appears to still be working, whereas Tup’s had malfunctioned. Further investigations revealed to Fives that every clone had the chip implanted into their embryo at Stage 3 of their development. Nala Se, who arrived with Shaak Ti and a group of clones to capture Fives, said that the chips were to inhibit the aggression of the clones’ genetic model, Jango Fett, but Fives believed there was more to the story.
Shaak Ti arranged for Fives and the tumours to be transported to Coruscant to speak to the Chancellor. However on the way there, Nala Se secretly drugged him. The combination of being drugged and having recently undergone surgery left Fives somewhat incoherent as he tried to argue that the chips were part of a Separatist conspiracy to cause rather than inhibit aggression. Palpatine arranged to speak to Fives alone and one the room emptied, he told the drugged clone the true intent behind the chips – to force the clones to turn against the Jedi once Order 66 was given – before setting Fives up and making it look like he had tried to assassinate the Chancellor. Fives fled before Shaak Ti or any of the clones present could capture him.
In an attempt to hide, Fives went to the clone bar 79’s, where he noticed the presence of some 501ˢᵗ troopers. He approached Kix in the refresher and told him that he is being framed and the Jedi are in danger due a conspiracy that went right to the top, giving him co-ordinates to pass to Rex and Anakin Skywalker. The pair came to the arranged meeting spot in a warehouse on Level 1313, where Fives captured them in a ray shield. With them captured, Fives tried to explain the conspiracy to them, however his lack of lucidity due to being drugged, the fact that Fives had captured them and Anakin’s trust in the Chancellor (who Fives was clearly implicating) led to them not believing him. Facial recognition had caught him entering the warehouse and Commander Fox entered with his troops to arrest Fives, though when Fives reached for a pistol, Fox id not hesitate to shoot him in the chest. With the ray shield taken down, Rex held Fives in his arms as he told Rex that the conspiracy was bigger than any of them. His last words before he passed were that the nightmares were finally over.
“This… it’s… bigger than any of us, than anything I could have imagined. I never meant to… I only wanted to do my duty…”
“Brother… Fives. Stay with me, Fives! Fives!”
“The mission… the nightmares… they’re… finally over.”
And so it was thought that Domino Squad were all gone. Until…
Back from the dead
From The Clone Wars season 7 episodes 1-4 “The Bad Batch”, “A Distant Echo”, “On the Wings of Keeradaks”, “Unfinished Business”
Separatist successes against the 501ˢᵗ on the planet Anaxes led Rex to believe that Echo may be alive and in Separatist hands, as their strategies are using an algorithm based off old battle plans that Echo and Rex developed together.
Rex developed a plan that saw him, Cody, Jesse, Kix and an elite group of clones Clone Force 99 (known as “The Bad Batch”) go behind enemy lines to steal intel from the Separatist Cyber Centre. Reaching the Cyber Centre, they found that the algorithm is being broadcast from Skako Minor. Digging further, they found that it was an audio signal with a human voice that, when asked to identify itself, responded “CT-1409”.
Sure that this confirmed Echo was alive, Rex planned a mission to Skako Minor that saw him, Anakin Skywalker and the Bad Batch head to Skako Minor to find and rescue Echo. By tracking his signal, they eventually found him in a stasis chamber in a large lab in the city of Purkoll. The group managed to free Echo from the chamber and fight their way out with him as he slowly recovered from being in stasis. The group ended up in the village of the native Poletecs but came under attack from the Separatist forces keen to recover Echo. The Poletecs joined Skywalker and the clones in the fight and together they successfully defeated the Separatists. Anakin an the clones returned to Anaxes with Echo.
After recovering from his captivity, Echo came up with a plan to take advantage of the Techno Union not passing on news of losing Echo to the rest of the Separaist forces. Using the 501ˢᵗ and 212ᵗʰ, under the command of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu, as bait, Echo, Rex, Skywalker and the Bad Batch infiltrated Admiral Trench’s flagship and used Echo’s ability to connect into the system to send a feedback pulse to shut down the massed droids on Anaxes. Admiral Trench activated a bomb as a Plan B, but Echo managed to transmit all but the final part of the shutdown sequence to General Windu before being knocked unconscious by the Separatists jamming his signal. Skywalker managed to get the final part of the code from Admiral Trench and after the infiltration group made their way off the flagship, they destroyed the flagship and several nearby Separatist ships, ending the campaign.
With the battle over, Rex spoke to Echo about going where he feels he belongs and Echo chose to become a member of the Bad Batch.
And so ends the story of Domino Squad as far as we know it. There was a planned arc prior to the cancellation of The Clone Wars that would have seen Echo and the rest of Clone Force 99 on Kashyyyk, so this can probably still be considered canon for now, but there is nothing to say what their involvement was in Order 66 or the resulting rise of the Empire.
Though that is the end of the story, there is something else worth mentioning:
Legacy of the fallen
Though Fives was killed before he was able to effectively warn the Jedi, his actions were not fully in vain.
From the short story “The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku” in the book Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens: Volume I
Sometime after the Battle of Anaxes, Kix began looking deeper into what happened to Tup and Fives, leading to him finding out about the biochips and their true purpose. To keep him quiet, Count Dooku had the Separatists capture him. Kix was frozen in stasis as they tried taking him to Serenno, but the ship came under Republic attack. With orders not to let Kix fall into Republic hands, one of the droids onboard jumped the ship to hyperspace to a random sector of the galaxy, resulting in it crashing on the planet Ponemah Terminal. The ship was eventually found 50 years later by Sidon Ithano and his gang of pirates. Too late to help the Jedi or his fellow clones, Kix chose to join Ithano’s crew.
From The Clone Wars season 7 episode 11 “Shattered”
After Rex was given the command to execute Order 66, Rex tried to resist attacking Ahsoka Tano. Though he could not hold off his programming for long, he managed to tell Ahsoka to find Fives. Having escaped from the initial clone attack, Ahsoka looked into Fives’ record and found details of the biochip investigation, including a grievance logged by Rex in which he stated that he believed there was some ulterior motive to the chips beyond what the Kaminoans had said. This led Ahsoka to realise that the chips were causing the clones to attack her, and she managed to subdue Rex and remove the chip. With the chip removed, Rex helped Ahsoka escape and the pair went into hiding, with Rex eventually joining up with 2 other clones: Gregor and Wolffe – who also removed their chips at some point. The 3 clones all joined the Rebellion and fought in the liberation of Lothal, while Rex was also present at the Battle of Endor.
And so officially ends the story of the rise and fall and rise again of Domino Squad. Who else would you like to see covered in this series?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you…