- "I pray that no human being is capable of what Lord Vader did that day"
- ―Hock about Vader during Shrouded Offensive
CT-5539, nicknamed "Hock Malsuum," was a clone trooper that was active during the Clone Wars and reported as dead, only to resurface during the early years of the Galactic Empire and join Darth Vader's 501st Legion of the Stormtrooper Corps.
A clone serving during the Clone Wars, CT-5539 served under many campaigns during the war. One particular battle had him working alongside a Twi'lek Jedi General, only for him to take over command when the general, in a tactical mistake, ended up leading her troops into an explosion. He then hoisted her body over his shoulder and ordered for Red Team to provide cover fire and Blue Team to follow him and undergo a flanking procedure, taking down several super battle droids. By the time of the end of the war, however, he had been left for dead by the Jedi Generals, causing him to hate his former commanders, also gaining a scar over his right eye.
Eight days after his abandonment, he was attacked by creatures. In his delirium, he came up with the name "Hock". He then decided his future would only be in his hands, similar to another clone trooper who had named himself: Kaddak. Hock walked across the Malsuum Expanse and passed out in a city, where he was taken in by farmers. Eventually, while at a bar, he began to hear of stories relating to another warrior: That of the then-newly formed Galactic Empire's top enforcer, Darth Vader. Although he was normally skeptical of stories told by spacers and pilots, he was interested, wanting to believe. He abandoned his duties to the farmers who had taken him in and and went off alone. By that point he had not fired a blaster in two years.
He was able to join Lord Vader's command. He proved himself in battle and eventually attained the rank of commander. He was able to decorate his Phase II clone trooper armor with a red stripe over his wounded face. At one point he single-handedly captured a pirate ship.
Hock Malsuum later participated in the Shrouded Offensive of the Reconquest of the Rim, a military operation to wipe out a Separatist holdout on Ostor in the Outer Rim and subjugate the planet to the Empire. The Shrouded Offensive would later turn out to be one of the worst military disasters the Galactic Empire had ever experienced. He cited three primary reasons for the operation's disastrous end, all relating to Vader: first, Vader did not directly participate in the battle; second, Vader never did reconnaissance beforehand; third, he assigned General Rohn to oversee the operation. Malsuum also cited that it was largely because of his participation that the Shrouded Offensive didn't get worse. After noticing the Separatist retreat to be suspicious, he attempted to get Rohn to call off the advance, but to no avail, forcing the clone stormtrooper to board the general's AT-TE and shoot the general. He was unable to stop the advance until nearly all the stormtroopers were killed in an ambush near the cliffsides by two additional Separatist armies within 15 minutes.
As a direct result of the disastrous operation, Hock, alongside Vader, were brought before the Emperor for questioning, also marking the stormtrooper's first time meeting the Emperor face to face, as well as ordered to "lie through [Hock's] teeth" to the Emperor, something Hock had, prior to that moment, never thought of doing.
He later come back with Vader on Ostor for phase two of the offensive. He flew a V-wing and ordered Green Squadron to attack. They were ambushed by followers of Kaddak, and he was shot down. He later woke up in an enemy hospital, and wandered through the city. He eventually found the command center, and attempted to convince the separatist leaders to surrender. They refused, so Malsuum sabotaged the city deflector shield, allowing the Imperial Army to enter. He was then personally engaged by Kaddak.
Malsuum slew the rogue clone, and joined with Vader and the Imperial troops in razing the city. As the battle raged, however, Malsuum noticed that Vader was not just killing the resistance fighters, but indiscriminately targeted unarmed civilians as well. Greatly shaken by this realization, he came to doubt the righteousness of what he was doing and whether he had been wrong to trust Vader. In an attempt to put a stop to further bloodshed, he followed Vader into the hospital, and tried to force the enemy wounded to bow down to Lord Vader, but they stood defiantly. When Vader started executing them, Malsuum called for him to stop, and Vader paused. The clone then dropped his blaster and walked away. Malsuum would often ruminate on this crucial moment of his life in his latter years, wondering whether Vader had paused due to hearing his pleads for him to stop, or had simply not heard him and was just pausing to figure out who to kill next.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Noooo! Stop! Stop! Stop!'"
- ―Malsuum to Vader during the Shrouded Offensive
Due to his abandonment during battle, Hock hated the Jedi. During the Clone Wars, he had considered them to be fearless warriors, but believed others could be fearless even without a lightsaber, and that even Jedi could make mistakes. He acknowledged the fact that he was created by the Kaminoans for a purpose, and could take pride in that. He also believed he was a machine with unlimited replacements, meaning that each was equally unimportant. He also considered that he was trained to fight well. To him, loyalty is a choice, and was loyal to Darth Vader and the Empire until the hospital massacre.
During his exile, he did not care to fire a blaster. He reflected that he was trained to fight, and the desert taught him everything else. After hearing rumors of Vader, he considered that his debt to the farmers who had taken him in was paid months before.
Much of Hock's life after his abandonment were filled with idealistic daydreams and imaginings. Often in his solitude, Hock would imagine Darth Vader destroying ships, defeating rebels, or hunting down Jedi. He was also creative, using his wits and lessons learned from the desert to outsmart his enemies. From realizing traps to lying to the Emperor, his intuition elevated the clone's status in the eyes of Darth Vader. However, Hock's blind idealism gave him a somewhat skewed perspective of the universe. For example, he imagined Kaddak to be a monstrous mutant clone, when in reality he was virtually no different from Hock save for his own scars. Only at the end of the Shrouded Offensive did he realize his error, deciding to place his devotion elsewhere.
Hock was also a rather emotional individual. When General Rohn ordered the clone army to keep pushing forward into the valley despite his objections, Hock angrily threw his helmet at the General's AT-TE in defiance. In the captivity of the Separatists, when he realized that his attempts to sway their leaders into leaving their cause were futile, Hock grabbed a nearby pipe and threatened to kill them with it.
In battle, he noticed Darth Vader's actions and reflected that he was a great warrior. Hock sensed that his mere presence could demoralize order, and he sought order, and he demanded results from his subordinates. Hock also wanted success, and desired Vader's trust above all else. During the Shrouded Offensive, he saw Vader do unspeakable things, and knew that the lack of humanity would haunt his memory. He then realized his respect for the warrior had been misplaced, and dropped his blaster.
Wondering if he could have done more at the hospital massacre would also haunt him. He also recognized that there were things he would never know, such as his genetic code and how he would die. He decided to write a letter to confess his sins and memorialize his history, expressing a conviction that the Empire will not succeed, and to express hope for a child. He later burned the letter, crying while he did so.
He considered his wife Telia to be a source of light for him.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 1 (First appearance)
- Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 2 (First identified as Malsuum)
- Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 3
- Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 4
- Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 5