- "10,000 of these illegal grenades in the hands of BX droid commandos and there won't be a clone left breathing!"
The FEX-M3 nerve gas grenade was an infantry hand grenade that contained the deadly FEX-M3 nerve gas. Manufactured by the Czerka Arms corporation, the grenade was one of Czerka's several types of chemical load grenades filled with various chemical payloads. Production of FEX-M3 nerve gas grenades was banned by the Galactic Senate around the start of the Clone Wars; however, one Galactic Republic factory on the planet Belgaroth secretly produced a large shipment of grenades for the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the conflict. When intelligence of the factory's possible ties to their enemy reached the Republic, a four-man clone trooper team was dispatched to investigate. During the course of the mission, three clone troopers were killed by a native droidbreaker creature, but the remaining clone, Sergeant Marrt, was able to complete the mission. He destroyed the shipment, burned the factory, captured its head, Tarin, and retrieved important data records that helped expose two traitorous senators in the Republic's midst. The grenade was in use again by the time of the Galactic Civil War, and it was employed by the Galactic Empire and the Alliance to Restore the Republic.
- "The FEX-M3 nerve gas did its w-work. The creature was dead before it h-hit the ground."
The FEX-M3 nerve gas grenade was a tiny, infantry hand grenade filled with the deadly FEX-M3 nerve gas, a potent and volatile yellow-colored gas that attacked the autonomic nervous system and the brain stem of most species, effectively shutting those systems down and incapacitating the victim. Although the gas achieved its greatest effect when inhaled, therefore making gas masks an effective means of protection, they were not enough, as a portion of the FEX-M3 nerve gas was also absorbed through the skin. The only way to completely protect an individual against the effects of the gas was to wear a full enviro-suit. A type of a line of specially made custom grenades called "chemical load grenades," the FEX-M3 nerve gas grenade was produced by the Czerka Arms corporation, and, according to Czerka's trade agreements, it was clearly marked with labels describing its dangerous contents.
The grenade itself had rounded curves and consisted of a top cylindrical section and a protruded conical handle, separated by a somewhat recessed middle section. A circular cavity was located at the very top of the grenade, and rectangular protrusions were visible at the sides. The top section and the handle were light gray in color, while the middle section was slightly darker. The grenade weighed only 0.5 kilograms and had a maximum throwing range of 20 meters. When thrown, the weapon was held by its handle. The FEX-M3 nerve gas grenade could be detonated by a blaster shot directed at it. When detonated, the grenade released the FEX-M3 nerve gas in aerosol form in a small radius. The cloud of gas dissipated after a brief period of time, but it was powerful enough to kill a droidbreaker creature in an instant and was deadly to Humans as well. Upon detonation, the shell of the gas grenade disintegrated, preventing it from being refilled and limiting the FEX-M3 grenade to be a one-time use weapon.
- "FEX-M3 nerve gas grenade! The Senate banned production of these last year!"
The FEX-M3 nerve gas grenade was developed at some point before or early in the Clone Wars, and it was being produced and filled with its contents at Czerka Arms' factories. The grenade saw prevalent military use, as it allowed military units to kill enemy troops without damaging structures. Due to its deadly effects, the grenade was subsequently banned by the Galactic Senate. However, during the first two years of the conflict—a year after the official ban was issued—a Galactic Republic–affiliated factory owned by Czerka and located on the planet Belgaroth made a deal with the InterGalactic Banking Clan, a member of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. The head of the factory, Tarin, promised Reep Tonith, the Clan's representative, to produce 100,000 FEX-M3 nerve gas grenades for the Confederacy in exchange for a large monetary reward.
When the Republic received intelligence of Tarin's secret dealings with the Confederacy, it dispatched a scout team of four clone troopers led by Sergeant Marrt to investigate. The team made their way to the factory; once they reached it, Marrt ordered his men to remain in hiding nearby while he went inside alone. Meanwhile, Tonith arrived to pick up the cargo, but found that Tarin had not yet completed the order. Tarin asked for a twelve-hour delay to allow him to produce the required number of grenades, and Tonith grudgingly agreed. Their conversation was overheard by Marrt, who then inspected the completed part of the cargo and found the grenades. Taking one FEX-M3 nerve gas grenade as evidence, Marrt tried to return to his squad unnoticed, but was spotted by Tonith's battle droid escort. As battle droids opened fire, Marrt and his men retreated to a swamp. Tarin let them escape, believing that they would certainly be killed by the droidbreaker creatures native to the swamps.
Certain that the FEX-M3 nerve gas grenades would give the Confederacy an upper hand in the war and would spell doom for the Republic's clone army, the four clone troopers tried to contact the Republic, but were unable to do so because of a dense fog surrounding the swamp. At that moment, they were attacked by a droidbreaker that started killing the clone troopers one by one. Eventually only Sergeant Marrt remained alive, and in a last desperate attempt to defeat the droidbreaker, he climbed a nearby tree and threw the FEX-M3 nerve gas grenade he had taken from the factory at the creature. The droidbreaker caught the grenade in its mouth, and Marrt opened fire with his blaster pistol. One shot hit the grenade, which detonated and released its FEX-M3 nerve gas, instantly killing the creature.
Determined to avenge the deaths of his comrades, Marrt returned to the factory, destroyed Tonith's droids, burned the facility, and destroyed the entire shipment of grenades, but not before retrieving Czerka's data records. Marrt received heavy injuries, but was able to capture Tarin, although Tonith escaped. The data records Marrt had retrieved exposed two Republic senators who had been profiting on deals with the Confederacy. Despite the ban on the production of FEX-M3 nerve grenades and the destruction of the Czerka facility, the grenades were eventually once again widely available during the reign of the Galactic Empire years later, and they were used on the battlefields by both sides of the Galactic Civil War, the Empire and the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The grenade continued to see use during the devastating Yuuzhan Vong War decades later.
Behind the scenesEdit
The FEX-M3 nerve gas grenade was first mentioned in the 1991 supplement for West End Games' tabletop wargame system, Star Wars Miniatures Battles. The grenades were presented as one of the several types of ordnance available for use during the game. The grenade went unreferenced for many years until it was mentioned as one of the types of chemical load grenades in the 2002 Arms & Equipment Guide, a supplement for Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars Roleplaying Game. The grenade was later briefly referenced in The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology, a 2004 reference book, before making its first actual appearance in A Trooper's Tale, a short comic strip published in Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.8 in May of 2010. A Trooper's Tale was written by Robin Etherington and illustrated by Andres Ponce.
- "A Trooper's Tale"—Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.8 (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Star Wars Miniatures Battles (First mentioned)
- Star Wars Miniatures Battles, Second Edition
- Arms & Equipment Guide
- The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 "A Trooper's Tale"—Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.8
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Arms & Equipment Guide
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Arms & Equipment Guide provides the grenade's range increment as 4 meters. According to the guide, thrown weapons have a maximum range of five times the range increment.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Star Wars Miniatures Battles
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- ↑ In the framing story for A Trooper's Tale, Ahsoka Tano appears in her original costume from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, indicating that the comic takes place prior to the episode "Heroes on Both Sides," in which she receives a new outfit to signify the passage of time. "Heroes on Both Sides" can be dated to 21 BBY since it occurs between two episodes, "ARC Troopers" and "Pursuit of Peace," that are also placed in 21 BBY by two other sources: The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 62 (21 BBY 17–18, Defense of Kamino) and The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 7 (KAT2, King Katuunko), respectively. Therefore, A Trooper's Tale must take place after the beginning of the Clone Wars, which The New Essential Chronology dates to 22 BBY, but no later than 21 BBY, the date of "Heroes on Both Sides."