The crimson-colored light saber droid in a menacing monotonous tone challenged the clandestine invaders. A pause. A moment later, Mharrula’s eyes went wide with recall. “Guys! The code cylinders. Try the code cylinders!”
Quickly, Torrent, Trissen and their Trianii companion located their recently found treasure and produced them for inspection by the lifeless droid guardian. Regarding the team with its blank red-glowing stare, the droid approached the members and in serial fashion accepted the gift handed over willingly and inserted each into a receiver port on the right side of its skeletal head. Each cylinder was received approvingly with a click, a whir and a re-assuring high toned beep and then handed back to its carrier. To emphasize the success of each transaction, the light saber droid sentry repeated to each recipient, ‘Thank you, move along.’
However, following the final identification test all droids in the chamber stood erect to include the terrifying Ultra Droideka. Trissen’s stomach twisted in pain as his mind prepared him for what surely must have been a rejection of his code cylinder and things might end badly for the group after all. Another pregnant pause was experienced until finally the lead droid issued his verbal response, “Viceroy Gunray, please proceed as you desire.” Following this, it led the remaining armed sentries in a fidelity chant, “Long live the viceroy! Long live the Trade Federation!”
“Umm…carry on.” Trissen turned to his friends and nervously suggested, “Let’s get outta here before they change their minds.”
Swiftly, but calmly, the group made their way to the metal door on the opposite side of the guardroom. The door shifted open as soon as the team was within one foot of the access panel and each, Torrent, Mharrula, Trissen, B1-X and the two astromech droids exited into another turbolift chamber. “This place is simply full of surprises. We must remain on our guard.”
“Thank you, Jedi, for stating the bleedin’ obvious!” Trissen punched in the direction codes on the interior lift access panel and sent the team plummeting softly to the deck below.
“Heh! What do you know…all other directions were barred for us.”
Seconds later, the turbolift came to a halt and the door opened revealing a dimly lit corridor leading into darkness beyond.
“Well, let’s get this over with, shall we?”, Mharrula offered and she stepped out gently into the hall, blaster pistol ready in hand leading her way.
“Easy, sister. I’m the leader of this party. Besides, I’d hate for anything to mess up your pretty tail.”
With a growl Trissen leaped ahead of her and took the point position while Torrent, B1-X and the rest of the crew cautiously took up positions in the rear.
“Hey!” The Trianii female, not one to be treated thus by any male, much less that of a glorified and grating lizard on two legs, rushed forward to meet Trissen as equals as forward guards. “Watch it, lizard boy. You forget that I fell in with the universe’s worst hive of scum and villainy, the Red Fury Brotherhood, before I met up with you fellas. I would not be so eager to show me your back.”
It was a lie, of course. Mharrula had never actually had any dealings with the dreaded space pirates but the charade proved an effective tool for the moment to garner some respect from the battle-hardened mercenary. Trissen let out a snarl but allowed her to remain at his side without complaint. He and the rest of his company had greater things to be concerned about.
Meanwhile, Torrent reached out once again with the Force in an effort to discern the location of the presence of the dark side which he first felt in the hangar bay.
The call in his mind’s eye was unmistakable. He beckoned to his friends that they might pause and consider the news. “I have felt a presence near to us and a call for assistance though the precise location from whence it came eludes me at the moment.”
“Interesting, Jedi. The cat lady here and I have come upon a passage leading to our right though this corridor continues further ahead.” Mharrula casts Trissen an angry glare his way. Taking no note he continues, “Can you give us an idea where to go from here? It could be that all you ‘heard’ was simply a means to a trap.”
Closing his eyes and concentrating once again, Torrent employs the Force as a willing guide to discernible life forms, ripples in the fabric of the universe.
“Well?!” Trissen, becoming ever impatient attempts to bring his human friend back to reality.
Opening his eyes from his temporary trance, Torrent raises his light saber arm and ignites the weapon at hand. A green flame is emitted from the sword shaft and pointing to the right, “We should take the right side passage. Lead on and proceed with caution.”
“Yeah. Just what I was about to say.” Trissen followed closely by the Trianii female resumed his position this time leading the group as recommended.
Moments later the team exited the darkened corridor to enter into a well-lit and large chamber. Roughly 20 meters across were two exit points, one to the right and the other on the left spaced 10 meters apart. Halfway across the room on the right wall a closed door with an access panel led to presumably another chamber.
The trandoshan soldier offers his opinion, “I say we try the door first. It seems that the ‘goodies’ have been behind these things all day.” Not waiting for a reply he moves forward to the access control panel. Mharrula and this rest, given little choice in the matter follow suit. The Trianii female flattens herself against the right wall with blaster held close to her jawline and to the left. Torrent prepares by standing directly behind his mercenary friend confident that whatever lies beyond must be confronted directly as his senses inform him of the life which is surely present. With light saber held firmly in his right hand, he readies himself for a lightning charge. Trissen, oblivious to the Jedi’s motives manages to crack the simple mechanical code causing the metal portal to shift rapidly to the left. Instinctively, the reptilian soldier jumps to the entryway’s left side charging his blast cannon in tandem of the move.
Shadowy figures begin to take shape beyond the opened door, cat-like and numerous. Without waiting for approval, Torrent raises his light sword held high over his head with both hands while he dashes into the chamber at full speed. He is met within by alarmed yells and shouts as his downward strike is met by a brilliant light coalescing into a flaming sword!
To be continued…