The turbolift deposited the strike team into a darkened room. All but the faintest of lights from a pair of access panels glow from within this new area in addition to that which spills forth from the lift chamber. The light betrays the location of a pair of metal doors immediately to the right of the heroes’ lift exit. “Let’s get our droids to earn their pay.”
Trissen cautiously steps forward from the cylindrical shaft leading with his massive blaster cannon, a weapon he earned in a previous encounter with Imperial security forces on the jungle world of Felucia. Little did the Trandoshan native of Coruscant know then, that his initial dealings with the Empire would eventually lead him into the unknown regions of space to explore the empty shell of a Trade Federation Droid Control ship in search of an elusive Bothan spy in the service of a budding rebellion force led by Senator Bail Organa. The astromech droid known as ‘Titania’ beeps and whirs with the command, eager to prove herself in front of her master Mharrula the Shade, a Trianii female and relative newcomer to the team. “It’s ok, Titania. You may proceed, but please, do keep your noise down. We know not what else lies beyond. We’d hate to attract any undue attention.”
‘Titania’ wheels her way to the pair of doors and chooses the left access panel first. Extending her mechanical arm from within her droid shell she interfaces with the mechanical lock and in a few moments is able to shift the access panels’ indicator lights from red to green. The door opens and reveals a small armory which includes B1 battle droid style blaster carbines. “Now we are getting somewhere!”, Trissen notes excitedly and makes his way over for a closer inspection.
Without needing further approval, the curious droid probes the right-side access control panel and inserts its unlocking mechanism. Once, the lights go from red to green followed by the shifting of the door from closed to open. A soft white brilliance fills the chamber and a gasp is heard from the Jedi as he observes the contents within. There, lying on a shelf within the closet-sized room is a pair of curved handled light sabers decorated in alternating stripes of chrome and obsidian. The trandoshan ceases his meticulous inspection of the new found firearms in response to this queer response from his Jedi friend. Mharrula and B1-X step forward for a closer view as Torrent leads them to the curious cache. Reverently picking up one of the pair he notes out loud, “These were the tools of the Jedi. What are they doing within this craft and in this region of space?”
“Well, can you tell us who exactly they belonged to?”
“Trissen, if I knew that, much of this mystery might be brought to light for certain, however, I know not the owner or…who the previous owner was.” Torrent depresses the activation switch to reveal a sword of light with a bright, bloody hue. “Ah, a weapon crafted by one who opposed my order!”
“Well, dark or light, it doesn’t look like he’ll be needing them anymore.” With that, the green-skinned weapon aficionado removes the remaining saber from its resting place and inserts it into his pack. “Put that thing away and let’s move on. The sooner we find this La’Reth, the sooner we can get back to familiar territory, and to our reward!”
“But, my eager friend, what if the owner is yet present in this ship and has laid a trap for us? Perhaps he meant for us to find these here?”
“Well, if it’s a trap, then I say we spring it! I prefer to meet whatever comes sooner than later. All this sneakin’ around is drivin’ me crazier than a Mynock let loose in a shipyard!”
Mharrula continues her search of the small chamber and soon discovers a number of code cylinders in a hidden storage compartment under the main shelving units. “Hey guys, have a look at these. Might be pretty useful to us as we go ‘sneakin’ around.”
She hands one each to her team mates and then makes her way across the larger chamber to what is now a visible blast door set into the eastern wall. Whistling to her robotic companion, she motions for the droid to locate the mechanical lock in an effort to see what lies beyond. Again, the little astro droid successfully activates the opening mechanism and the heavy grey blast doors slowly open to reveal yet another dark chamber, this one much wider than the one in which the group now finds itself. What can be seen easily is that this next room is lined with steel columns starting roughly 15 meters beyond the threshold and dividing the great room. Also, the faint glow of several access panels to the immediate right reveal sets of metal doors not unlike the pair already dealt with. “What is this place?”, wonders the feline companion.
Without missing a beat, the B1-X ally answers quickly, “It is a detention block. Trade Federation Droid Control Ships often used these for Jedi prisoners as well as…”
Along the right side of the larger chamber the faint red glow from the access panels one by one shift to green permitting the doors to open.
Metal upon metal is heard as large, dark figures with eyes emitting colors or white, red, or green are released into the room.
Moving to a defensible position in the antechamber, the trandoshan shouts, “What do you mean by ‘malfunctioning’?!”
“Droids that went mad and started to modify themselves in strange ways using scrap metal.”
A beep and siren call is sounded from within the detention block, a noise not unlike that of an astromech droid but more guttural and grating. The team’s attention is brought to the form of a B2 battle droid slowly making its way toward the heroes except this particular model was wearing the head of an R2 unit as if in some badly put together Halloween costume. Its left arm and hand were the normal appendages of a droid of the B2 variety; however, his right blaster wielding arm and hand were replaced with what appeared to be part of the exterior of a star fighter to include bearing the insignia and rank of the pilot.
Mharrula’s eyes went wide with recognition and her body went limp and with a sickening feeling in her stomach. Thinking to herself and trying to hold back a wave of despair she called out within the depths of her soul,
To be continued…