- "Men like me don't start the wars. We just die in them. We've always died in them, and we always will. We don't expect any praise for it, no parades. No one knows our names."
CT-96/298, or Alpha-98, known simply as Nate and later Jangotat, was an Alpha-class Advanced Recon Commando captain in the Grand Army of the Republic. He fought in the First Battle of Geonosis, after which he was promoted to the rank of captain for saving five members of his squad from a Hailfire droid. Later, in the Battle of Altair 9, a broca nearly tore his hip off, causing him to require extensive medical treatment from a Republic medical facility. Following his recovery, he was posted to the training world of Vandor-3 to take part in a grueling training exercise aimed at honing the skills of clone troopers.
Due to the exemplary leadership he demonstrated on Vandor-3, A-98's commanding officer offered him a position on an upcoming covert operation, which was vital to the continued war effort of the Republic. With his acceptance he was placed in charge of a group of commando-trained clone troops who would be operating on Ord Cestus under the command of Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Kit Fisto. During his time on Ord Cestus, Nate developed a relationship with a freedom fighter by the name of Sheeka Tull; her love for him helped show him that there was more to life than what he had been created to do. In his final mission of the war, A-98 sacrificed his own life by calling down friendly fire on his own position deep within enemy territory. His actions allowed the Republic to destroy their Separatist target, thus preventing a massive blanket bombing, which would have cost the lives of millions of innocent civilians. Following the mission, it was revealed that Sheeka had become pregnant with Nate's child.
Early military career
- "This is control to Trooper A-Nine-Eight. Estimated time of ejection one minute twenty-four seconds."
- ―Control, to A-98, during an atmospheric insertion
Cloned on the planet of Kamino, Nate was one boy among a sea of identical looking beings. Being a genetically-modified soldier, he was bred and trained for one thing—to serve in the Grand Army of the Republic. Eventually, Nate completed his training on Kamino and was sent on his first mission to Geonosis, along with many of his clone brothers, to aid in the relief of Mace Windu and the Jedi with him. During that battle he and the five soldiers of his squad were almost killed when an attacking Separatist Hailfire droid unexpectedly entered a reflux pattern which would have caused it to violently explode, killing all those around it. Nate, however, had previously studied power-cell recharge cycles and recognized when the Hailfire droid was experiencing the reflux pattern. He quickly advised his squad of the imminent danger and the five of them dove for cover while Nate destroyed the droid before it was close enough to become a hazard to his soldiers or himself. Following the Battle of Geonosis, he was promoted to the rank of captain for his actions in destroying the Hailfire droid and for saving his five comrades.
Later in the war, Nate fought in the little-known Battle of Altair 9, where he was severely wounded by one of the planet's native broca, which almost completely tore his hip off. The severity of this wound caused him to be evacuated to a Republic hospital station where he received treatment for his injuries for three weeks. Following his recovery, he was eventually sent to Vandor-3, which served as a training ground for troopers. Along with the other fifty thousand clone troopers posted to Vandor-3, Nate was rotated through a brutal training exercise which was under the direct command of Admiral Arikakon Baraka.
- "We're the GAR…You had no flaming idea who you were messing with, did you, you flak-catching, sewage-sucking…"
- ―Nate, thinking to himself while fighting a selenome
The training mission on Vandor-3 was among the toughest that the Grand Army of the Republic had to offer its soldiers. Nate's rotation through the exercise began just like all the others—with an orbital insertion of the troopers into one of Vandor-3's oceans. Nate's capsule was one of thousands which were launched that day, but due to faulty hardware his personal capsule experienced a hull breach and he was forced to eject in order to prevent himself from drowning. Following the destruction of his capsule, Nate utilized his rebreather and joined the other troopers who were forming up underneath the surface of the ocean. Once the troopers were in formation, they began to advance towards their objective, but soon came under attack from an enormous selenome, a large aquatic creatures with hundreds, if not thousands, of tentacles covered in toothed suckers which made them extremely dangerous. During the exercise, a number of troopers became victims of the selenome, and Nate found himself attacked by one of its tentacles. In response to the constricting effect the tentacle was having on him, Nate inhaled sharply to keep it from crushing his ribs. Holding his breath to keep his ribs intact, Nate used his blaster rifle to destroy the tentacle which was holding him captive.
Following his, and the others', experience with the selenome, Nate and the remaining troopers under his command reached the beach, where they managed to regroup back into their fighting formation. Once Nate and his troopers were assembled, he led them in a frontal assault against an "enemy" position, which was being defended by captured enemy battle droids that had been reprogrammed. Even though his unit had sustained a combined reduction in strength of fifty percent, due to both genuine and simulated casualties, Nate did not allow his troopers to lose any of their speed or efficiency. Nate led his troopers with the skill expected of an ARC commando and his troopers were able to successfully complete their objective of taking and holding the right flank of the combined mission's objective.
Following his return to base, Nate was ordered to the office of his commanding officer, Major Apted Squelsh, for an administrative review. She advised him that, due to his leadership and efficiency during the Vandor-3 mission, Nate was being awarded a position in a covert operation on Ord Cestus led by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Nate saw this is a prime opportunity to demonstrate what he was really capable of, and also saw this as the first step in his career advancement as a soldier.
Mission to Ord Cestus
- "We are under contract as well, a contract made with our blood. We were born to serve, and in that service find life's greatest gift: a meaningful existence."
- ―Nate, speaking with Sheeka Tull
Nate led a commando group on Ord Cestus, during a mission which was under the command of Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Kit Fisto. Their mission was to disable a droid factory that was producing JK-13 security droids, better known as "Jedi Killers"—these droids had previously proven themselves an adequate match for the Jedi, and the Republic and Jedi Council wanted this new threat dealt with.
The commandos, under the leadership of Nate, trained new recruits for the Desert Wind rebel group, and helped them conduct guerrilla attacks against the Five Families' installations. During this time, Nate developed a relationship with Sheeka Tull, a former girlfriend of Jango Fett, but she was frustrated by his lack of humanity and worked to show him a life beyond duty to the Republic. As a result of Sheeka's influence and friendship, he took the name Jangotat, which literally meant "Jango's brother" in the Concord Dawn dialect. Due to Sheeka's friendship, and eventual love for him, Nate gained a new sense of perspective and morality in his otherwise preordained life as a soldier.
Kenobi and Fisto eventually went on a sabotage mission to the droid factory in an attempt to defuse the conflict on Ord Cestus and consequently avert a crippling orbital strike by Republic space forces. The Republic advised Kenobi that if no word concerning the coordinates for a surgical strike had reached their fleet before a designated time, then the fleet was authorized to lay down a devastating blanket bombardment to ensure that the JK-13 factory was thoroughly destroyed. During the attack, Jangotat's squad was commanded to stay put until they were given further orders by the Jedi.
While Kenobi and Fisto were away, Jangotat discovered where the Five Families were hiding, and saw an opportunity to end the hostilities without the needless destruction of so many innocent civilians. It was a moment of internal conflict, which forced him to either obey the words of his orders, or do justice by the spirit of those words. Even though he realized that his career as a soldier might have been over due to his decision, Jangotat obeyed the spirit of his orders, and not the letter. Managing to escape his squad mates, who believed that he should do exactly what he had been ordered to and stay put, Jangotat left to eliminate the Five Families by himself.
He managed to infiltrate their facility, but couldn't break through a blast door and did not have the hardware with him to simply blow it open. However, an encounter with one of the deadly JK-13s allowed him to discover the model's weakness—they were not capable of attacking with lethal intent. Jangotat recorded this information along with a farewell message before calling down an orbital strike on his own position, therefore preventing the massive blanket bombardment that the Republic had planned. His sacrifice saved millions of innocent civilians and embodied the spirit of what it meant to be an ARC trooper. After his death, it was revealed that Sheeka was pregnant with his child.
Personality and traits
- "Know that more than anything else in the world, I was a soldier. And that you, and no one else in all the galaxy, held this soldier's heart in your hands."
- ―Nate, in his farewell message to Sheeka Tull
Alpha-98 was what one would expect of an ARC trooper: dedicated, brave, and charismatic. Due to his breeding as a clone of Jango Fett, Nate was a natural example of what it meant to be a soldier. During his early military career, he exemplified this when he went out of his way to study his enemy, and, as a result, was able to save the members of the squad from a Hailfire droid during the Battle of Geonosis. His soldier qualities were again demonstrated when he took part in an extremely difficult training exercise on the planet of Vandor-3. During this exercise he first overcame a hardware malfunction which threatened to drown him in Vandor-3's waters; and then demonstrated his calmness in action by destroying a selenome's tentacle which had threatened to crush him.
However, his skills as a soldier also extended into the realm of leadership. During the training mission on Vandor-3 Alpha-98 successfully led his unit of troopers in the completion of their objective. During this action, his unit suffered a fifty percent casualty rate of both real and simulated casualties, though this did not cause Alpha-98 any loss with regards to the speed and efficiency with which he carried out the mission. Due to the example of his leadership on Vandor-3, Nate was afforded the leading position on a covert mission to Ord Cestus. During this mission he again showed his talent as a leader by helping organize a highly-trained and efficient militia group aimed at undermining the authority of the Five Families.
Near the end of the Mission to Ord Cestus, Alpha-98 demonstrated his ability to complete his mission, no matter the consequences or the cost. Choosing to obey the spirit of his orders, rather than the exact order, Alpha-98 chose to go on a solo-mission aimed at neutralizing the members of the Five Families. During this mission, he sacrificed his own life to save millions of innocents by calling down a bombardment on his own position.
Behind the scenes
The character of Alpha-98 was created and written by author Steven Barnes for the novel The Cestus Deception. He was later referenced in the 2005 The New Essential Chronology and was given an entry in the 2008 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.
In the novel The Cestus Deception it is stated that A-98's height, as well as the height of all the other clones troopers, is 1.78 meters. Even though Jango Fett's official height is 1.83 meters, the actor who played him in film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones is significantly shorter—this can be seen in every scene which Jango appears in with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan is officially listed as 1.79 meters tall, and Jango's shorter height is reflected in The Cestus Deception, which states his clones as being 1.78 meters tall.
Alpha-98's activation for the Battle of Geonosis goes against the established fact that the ARC troopers were first activated two months after this battle, during the First Battle of Kamino. To date, there has been no official explanation of Alpha-98's participation in the Battle of Geonosis.
In the novel The Cestus Deception, the ARC troopers are genetically standard clones. This also goes against the established fact that ARC troopers were genetically engineered differently and raised earlier than other clones. And ARC troopers didn't have Clone-trooper(CT) designation, but this book is different.
- The New Essential Chronology (Indirect mention only)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (As "Jangotat")
- The Essential Reader's Companion