1.09: Mrlsst’s Treasures

1.09: Mrlsst’s Treasures

Dates: 10/30/1999.

Chronicle Day 60-65:  1 yr. Pre-ANH

Location: Mrlsst

The trip to Mrlsst was quiet, as the group recovered from their wounds and aches from the hunt. Kragar seemed distant to the group, upset at something. They could only guess that it had to do with the woman they saw him with on the night of the Gala. They left him alone.

Brendaron was called away to house business, related to his new promotion. So the remainder of the group took a liner to Mrlsst. They still had a mission to do. Berellion paid the group a visit just before they  left the orbital lodge, and had made it clear that the information they had wasn’t enough to get Barnes Sandos back. They had to stop the plot. Their first candidate for doing this was Arkeld. Mrlsst was where he called home and Pyre figured that would be a good starting place for their subterfuge.

However, Pyre was not letting up on Calandra. He still focused much of his empathic abilities on her, and he could tell that they were working. She trusted him more and more. It was evident that his work was paying off by the end of the trip.  She had left him a message. “I have a gift for you…” To follow was info-net access codes to a secret memory location on the Procopia planet network.  His first line of business upon arriving at Mrlsst was to arrange for the Hyperspace-transceiver download of that data.

Tarsus Jarnak had his own mystery to solve and it was all pointing back to his family symbol. He remembers back, when his family was part of House Pelagia, he was told that he was born I captivity. His mother, after his birth, remained there while he was taken out and returned to Pelagia space. He remembered the name of those that held his mother – the Mecrosa. Since the fall of Pelagia, his family symbol was the broken sword. And now he is finding it in places he didn’t expect. Who were they and why were they hidden from him.

Marks had been scarce during the trip. It had become evident to those in the group that he had some connection to a group called the Archive. No one was sure who the Archive was, but they knew it was related to House Reena and their vast libraries of knowledge. They also suspected that Remmy was an Archive Droid.

Mrlsst was a vast wet world of swamps and huge plants called greenstalks. They landed in the University City, and disembarked soon after.  The starport was huge, Mrlsst being one of the primary stops along the main trade route in the freeworlds.  The local authority was present as well as an Imperial presence.

Walking out on the platform that lead from the docked liner to the starport, Pyre and his comrades walked calmly across a long with the other passengers. None were suspecting the two repulsor-car approaching the ramp, until the passengers stood in the open-air cab and hoisted heavy blaster rifles over the front windshield.  Blaster fire raked across the platform, causing severe damage.  Several people fell wounded, while the others scrambled for cover.

The air-cars turned to make another pass.

Pyre stood in cover near the starliner bulkhead, while Tarsus Jarnak and Janice Marks stood on the bridge taking shots at the attackers. Remmy was the first to leap from the walkway to a car passing under it.  Jarnak soon followed as the second car arched for a third attack.

Blaster fire turned to struggles on each of the vehicles as the two heroes attempted to gain control of them, and subdue the attackers. Jarnak was successful in causing his car to careen out of control into a support, just before leaping on to the edge of the walkway.

Remmy wasn’t as lucky as his vehicle flew out of control into a refueling tower. Remmy attempted to over-ride his repuslor-legs altitude adjusters to allow him to leap to safety, but was only successful in clearing himself from the main explosion.   Secondary fire balls knocked him off line and heavily damaged his exterior plaiting.  His emergency grav-controls got him to safety, however.  Pyre would later carry him to a repair facility.

****

Mrlsst was proving to be a planet of plenty for all of them.  Pyre and Marks were spending their time in the local bazaars, trading and spending credits for their needs.  While Brendaron was away on company business, the rest of the group browsed the bazaar district.

Story-telling bars were very popular here – where people came in and paid for drinks and food with stories. Of course, the stories had to be truthful, and some places even had lie-detectors to make sure people stayed honest in their stories. Remmy most especially enjoyed these places.

Jarnak and Kragar were spending their share of time in the bazaars, but also spending time contacting their perspective houses for messages and further instructions.  Each had their own agenda, it was clear, despite the groups common goal.

A goal that was becoming slowly unclear to some of them.  With the politics heating up around them, the Empire trying to move and a take power from the Houses, some of them wondered what they were doing, trying to help them.  On top of that, there was Barnes Sandos, who was supposed to have important information for all of them.  But was it worth all this effort to get?  That question remained in all of their minds.

While the others stayed busy, the sent Rex out on a mission to watch Dr. Arkeld.  His orders were to report on anything and everything Arkeld does.  He was to find out who he talks too, especially people that seem out of the ordinary for a university professor.  Rex had the contacts, Rex had the know how. What could go wrong?

*****

Marks returned to the plush noble hotel room with a new strut in his stride.  He was proud of himself.  In working with Reena he had grown quickly at a young age as one of the best trouble shooters the house had.  But when he was recruited by the Archive, he had no idea the potential.  At 16 standard years old, he now was a member of one of the most secret information networks in the Tapani sector, perhaps the Core.  However, it didn’t end there.  Of course, the Archive only accepted Nobles into their ranks, and this intrigue he was involved in had gotten important enough that they had to give him a  title in order to justify his membership in the Archive.  Baron Janice Marks, Noble and troubleshooter for the Archive.   He liked the sound of that, even though he would never be able to say it all to anyone… at least the Archive part.

As he awoke from his daze, he noticed a note on the hotel room door.

We have the Herglic Noble tradesmen, Lord Rexilor.   Be at the Yakirak Chemical Treatment Plant, Container 626 – mobile monitoring stations, Industrial sector of University City, in 24 hours or he dies. Unarmed.

Rex had been kidnapped.  By who, Marks could only guess JAN.  The group wasn’t going to like this.

*****

“Your a BARON!!!??” Pyre screamed.  He didn’t seem to concerned that Rex had been kidnapped.

“Yea, and at 16 years old, isn’t that neat?” Marks said, goading him further.

“You’re only 16?? And a BARON!!??”  Pyre was pacing the room.  It seems even they were duped by his older looks.

Sir Tarsus Jarnak finally piped up. “We should do something about Rex.”

The group stopped and only Pure spoke “Why?”

“Because he has proven useful in the past, because we owe to him since we got himin this mess to begin with, and becausde, above all, ma’lord, it’s the honorable thing to do!” Jarnak spoke sternly to his employer.

With a face that said he wouldn’t tolerate a tone like that again, Pure said “Fine.”

Marks pulled up the city map on the Hotel in-room-computer. “It’s a perfect place for a trap. Yakirak Chemical has several dozen if the huge multi-million liter chemical containers set in the ground.  They usually contain nighly volatile chenicals and Mrlsst’s moist ground allowss for easy transportation and storage of these containers.  They are made of some serious high-test metals.  JAN want us to meet them in on of these chemical containers…”

IN one!!??” Pyre interupted.

“…in one of the containers.  There is a mobile monitoring station inside each one to monitor the chemicals from the inside.  There is a restractable turbolift that leads to the monitoring station.  There are also emergency release tunnels underneath each container, and the monitoring stations can move to the top of the container or the bottom if necessary.” Marks pulled up a holo of the container facility they were supposed to meet them in.

“It IS a trap!!” Pyre said, knowing he was stating the obvious.

“They are hoping that we want Rex back bad enough that we won’t see that.” Marks said.

“Well, I guess it’s time to tangle with JAN, then.” Pyre said with his usual over-confident tone.

*****

The smell of chemicals in the air was overwhelming. Out on the furthest edges of the University City, the Imperial alligned mega-corporations had set up several chemical treatment plants for Bacta and related chemicals, some known while others not well known.  It was surprising that JAN was using a facility of this nature for a meeting.  It raised red flags in Jarnak’s and Marks’s minds.

On the way in, Remmy coded up, using some of his stored recources, a complex “choas” virus to be dropped into the main droid controls.  He hacked in, breaking through the basic industrial firewall, and had it wait for his command.  He set up a remote SComp connection on an obscure external SComp terminal, so that all he had to do is send a transmission to set the virus off.  He hoped to cover their escape with a thousand haywire droids.

Jarnak, and Marks followed behind Pyre and the droid as the approached the gate, where they were met by black clad individuals.  Their entire bodies were covered in a black-jump suit and their heads were covered with a black helmet with face-shield.

When are these ‘bad-guy’ types going to ever learn… Pyre thought.

Kragar followed behind, in the shadows.  Remmy was able to shut down most of the surveillance equipment as they walked in, making Kragar’s infiltration that much easier.

The group were disarmed of all weapons the two JAN agents could find, then escorted to the container facility.  Down a hallway, they were taken inside one of two turbolifts.

Pyre read extreme caution and deception in the minds of the now 6 escorts they had. Four others had joined htem as they walked in.  Two particular ones had extreme fear but pride in their minds, as if they knew they were going to die … as in a suicide mission for the “cause”.

Each had a weakness in their minds.  As they travelled the several hundred meters below the surfacce to the mobile monitoring station in the center of the huge chemical container, he probed each mind to find a weakness he could use… a fear, an insecurity, a memory that might trigger an unexpected reaction.  He found one – an identity crisis.   He wasn’t sure who he worked for anymore.  Why?  Did he have alterior motives? He dug deeper. Double agent at one time?  Or is thinking of it?   For who … The information was planeted deep in his subconscious. That required training.  Imperial Training.  This guy maybe an Imperial Double Agent or perhaps a sleeper agent.  Regardless, he had what he needed.   He’ll be an Imperial now.

Suddenly, the lift erupted in chaos.  One JAN agent turned on the others, with feverant hatred.  Kragar dropped in from above, and helped subdue the captors.  Pyre interogated one of the survivors.

“What were you supposed to do?” Pyre focused on the survivor intently.

“…  Two were to stay behind while the others left …   Bombs are set to go off by remote …”  The prisoner seemed to struggle against Pyre interrogation, but Pyre was stronger than him.  The survivor’s willpower was being widdled away.

“Is Rex down there?”  Pyre inquired further.

“Yes, he is n the control room, second level of the monitoring station…”

The turbolift doors opened.

Pyre turned to Remmy “Patch into that remote signal, and jamm their end.  Iwant control of those explosives.”

“Already on it, sir…”

“Sir Jarnak and Marks, find Rex.  Kragar and I will tie these gentleman up.  Remmy, your second job is to get control of the monitoring station and lower us to the escape shafts below.  We’re making a quick exit.”

They found Rex, tied up and beaten in a clset in the control center.   They also found the explosive charges.  They knew they had a limited time.   The other four guards were to send the signal while the other two were to remain behind as part of their suicide mission. I hate fanatics… Pyre thought.

However, Pyre was kind hearted enough to allow the suicide squad of the JAN team to take the unconscious and the dead up to the surface before they left.   Stripping them of all communication devices, the only theing they could do was get away from the area as fast as possible.

Remmy patched into the com-channel of the remote detomators, and scrambled the reciever so that it couldn’t recieve from any source but him.  As he started moving the station, the stations security cams showed several JAN units converging on the site.  They knew something was wrong.  That’s when Remmy set off his chaos virus.  Soon a battle between insane droids and determined JAN agents ensued.

The monitoring station was soon at the bottom of the container and they were out the hatch and in the release tunnels.

“As soon as we are far enough away, Remmy, send the signal to teh detonators.  I want them to think we are dead.”

*****

The next morning, the reports of another JAN attack on the idustrial side of University City were all over the news net.  “The loss of life waws unknown, but apparently it did not go as planned, because several JAN terrorists were caught in the explosion…”

That would hurt the credibility for a while.  I wonder if they are going to be mad? Pyre smiled to himself as he was offered another cigarra from his newly built hover-cigarra dispensor droid.

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