2.07: Masters Of Exocron: Slaves of the Devisors

DS Day 170-172

Where: Exocron System

Moyato looked over his plan for Operation Chillweaver. Eight of his men, along with Mavia, Tigress and Drake, all specifically selected for a mission of utmost secrecy; to hurt the Hutt organization and bad. They were to act like Imperial SpecOps, and make it look like Sarne was double crossing the Hutt. The uniforms and equipment supplied my Analia and Loh’Khar would help in the effort. The Intel Reports of the alliance between the two were confirmed, and it made it more interesting that the Hutt wanted Darkstryder so bad recently. The questions still remained: Did he get Darkstryder? Is that part of the deal? He left the mission in the capable hands of his second in command, while he remained with the rest of his men on board the Farstar.

They were given passage by some friendly free traders, and they were taken to a planet called Ambrox, the rumored HQ of another organization; the Sabiador Slavers. Moyato expected that his second would have a few words with the leader of that organization. He also planned to contact, in some way the Skandrei Bandits, and a few others. He had to create a rift in Chuborro’s armor; a crack in his organization. Finding out who his deputies in this area were was first priority.

The Chillweaver team left shortly before the Farstar left the Kathol Republic.

*****

Intelligence reported  the a place found on some free trader’s maps, labeled as Exocron, was not actually a planet, according to deep space scans. It was a very active and energetic nebula cloud, a place Sarne could be easily hiding. Adrimetrum, recovered from her bout, made the decision to head in that direction. Not only could Sarne be hiding there, but the Lance of Endor as well.

Exocron was a short jump from the Kathol Republic. A smoldering mass of stellar gas and energies, it looked like a titanic storm rolling into the dead of night. All felt a foreboding feeling from the stellar mass.

“Sensors show that it is a mixture of Rift and proto-star gases. It is highly resistant to even our deepest scans. Our only alternative is a probe droid, captain.”

“Prep a probe for a mission in and out of that mass. I want to know if Sarne is in there or not: She ordered.

The probe was launched a few minutes later into the seething gases of the nebula. They waited for it’s return. It never did. The captain called an executive meeting. A decision was quickly made to send in Gorjaye and a few of her pilots.

*****

Gorjaye, Sooni and Trev calculated a small hyperspace jump into the cloud, hoping that their astro-comps were good at interpreting the hyperspace presence of the nebula and what was beyond it. When they returned to normal space, the were greeted by an unexpected site.

A planet loomed in from of them. An entire system was hidden within the gaseous mass. It was a huge gas giant, with several moons. Sensors were picking up a lot of planetary debris being pulled into or being thrown from the moons to the gas giant. Further scans revealed large energy reading with the upper atmosphere of the gas giant; readings that were similar to large repulsorlift engines, like the ones used for the floating cities and factories at Bespin. Large metallic masses were also detected, similar to the cities of Bespin.

Alarms starting going off in their cockpits. The gravity of the gas giant had a grip on their ships. They strained with the controls as their R2 units worked feverishly to reroute power to the integrity systems. Gs pulled at the superstructure if the ships, threatening to tear them apart. The X-Wings arched out of the gravities’ reach, swooping close to one of the minor moons of the gas giant… was that a weapons mount I saw on that moon?

Gorjaye suddenly felt a jolt as she started vectoring away from the planet. I thought we had gotten out of that gravity well, she thought, as her hands bounced frantically across her controls. Tractor beam? How could that be?

The readings were right. They were caught in a tractor beam. They were being pulled down into the gas giant’s atmosphere at a slow rate of speed. They entered a cloud bank, and when the came out, we struck but an awesome site… a huge cloud flyer. A choppy communication came across a very low frequency, non-hyper-enhanced; quite archaic. This was going to get interesting.

*****

There was no sign of the X-Wings. Adrimetrum was starting to regret sending them out, but only a little. She had no choice. In order to make sure that Sarne wasn’t in there, she had to take the Farstar in.

After she gave the orders, the bridge was frantic with activity, scanning the cloud, prepping the hyperspace drive for a short jump, and plotting a best-guess coarse. Thyte hated blind jumping. They all crossed their fingers when the jump was engaged.

The Gas Giant overwhelmed them; the tractor beams were just as unexpected. Several beams from surrounding moons and asteroids snagged the Farstar before Thyte or anyone else could react. They were pulled deeper into the gas giants atmosphere. They say the airship.

“This is the Eastern Hemisphere AirFleet sky-dreadnought Maxion. You are to stand down and prepare an away team that includes your captain. Do not attempt to deviate from your ordered coarse of action, you will be fired upon. Our weapons and Skylarks are tracking you. ”

Several dozen bird-like craft swooped by to confirm their threat. The executive officers meeting was called to decide the best coarse of action.

The Captain agreed to their terms provided no harm came to their crew. She ordered the Muvon prepped, and ordered Kl’aal to form a team to escort her. Slave was already by her side.

*****

Aboard the Maxion, after returning their captured pilots to the Farstar crew, the captain, Captain Darr, of the flyer was explaining their aggressive actions. “I must apologize on behalf if the Eastern Confederacy of Exocron, our actions were not meant to harm or seem overly aggressive. At first, we thought that your forward scout mission was from the Western Hemisphere Federation, but once we realized that was not the case, the Devisors thought it best to control your actions, since you realize not our delicate situation.”

He continued to explain the official diplomatic rendition of the history of Exocron. Almost a century ago, a group of radical followed a philosopher named Deamos Na-Coth to the edges of the galaxy in search of their paradise; Exo. Several explorations for this world were headed up by Na-Coth. One group, their ancestors, after a misjump which resulted from a pirate attack, ended up inside this cloud of stellar gas. Their hyperspace drive was heavily damaged from the misjump. The ship, the Exocros Cabal, was populated with 2000 colonists, and several thousand early Old Republic droids. They found the gas giant, and explored the surrounding moons. No world was habitable, and descent was building in the colony ship’s ranks. Factions formed, and mutiny was building. Finally, a group of ship engineers, the First Devisors, took over the ship and ordered plans to colonize the gas giant. Their readings indicated a band of habitable atmosphere in the gas giant, and with some of the supplies on board, using the shuttle they had, and some raw materials in the moons, they could build a society of floating cities. They had the technology, all they needed was the means, and the leadership. The engineers, later dubbed the Devisors, would be that leadership.

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The Devisors helped develop a brilliant design to allow for the maximum use of resources, and minimum use of energy. The set up mining colonies controlled by the Devisors, that would sling raw material using mass drivers into the atmosphere of the gas giant. In the beginning, they used tractor beams from the colony ship to catch them. The colony ship was parked in the habitable zone and a staging area for the construction of the floating cities. A little over a century later, there were an uncountable number of cities. The cities were built in three zones; from top to bottom, the Resource collector zone, the Habitat Zone, and the Agri-Zone. The Devisors controlled all production and development, for all technology.

This time of growth was not without it’s trouble, as factions formed, which soon formed into separate states, then nations of floating cities. Philosophical differences in the interpretation of Na-Coth’s writings were splitting the fledgling society. Separation of the colonists began, wars started. This slowed their development somewhat, frustrating the Devisors. In an attempt to unite the colony, the Devisors ruled that leaving the veil of Exocron was forbidden; Law One of the Devisors’ Rule. They even limited shuttle construction as Devisor use only.

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The Cities were amazing. Some crew remembered similar cities at places like Bespin or Tyed Kant. The collectors were huge tractor force shield generators which caught the large chunks of raw material thrown from the mines on the orbiting moons. These floated in the upper atmosphere and were operated by droids.

The habitats or city sprawls were the largest portion, and resided in the central area, where the oxygen and pressure was most comparable to humans (which the Exocron society was made up of). Thousands upon thousands of Exocronians populated this zone. Ruled by the Devisors, their society was an odd mix of warped Old Republic technology, and older, along with technology that was near-modern, but different from the New Republic or Imperial equivalent. Some areas, like weapons, the were far behind, almost pre-Pulse weapon era. While in others, they are amazingly ahead, like in repulsor life and tractor beam technology. They transported from city to city in millions of different-sized cloud flyers. Their military was made up of these huge dreadnoughts, that carried a large compliment of cloud fighters. They were apparently necessary because of something called the Western Federation, another conglomeration of floating cities. Apparently an on going aggression has been going on between this “providence” and the Western Feds.

The last layer was the agri-zone, an area that is rich in oxygen, moisture and airborne minerals, is used as a hydroponics zone, and sprawls in that zone grow the crops. Little soil is needed due to the minerals and moisture in the air.

The captains tone when talking about the Devisor was not all together flattering, although it was obvious he was referring to his superiors. There was an air of resentment around the Devisors rule, the gathered, perhaps even covert unrest.

The Maxion flew them to the capitol city, Cabal City, where they were told they were to be brought before the High Devisor. Apparently, their arrival has caused some political unrest.

*****

Dr. Akenseh, seeing this transpire, became somewhat nervous. These Devisors would no doubt see the Farstar as a threat to their way of life. He remembered the orders given to him during the Farstar refit so long ago. If there is any threat to the integrity of the ship, and there is a possibility that it will fall into the wrong hands, use this… His thumb pressed the transmit button to his datapad. The codes were transmitted through a tight-beam communication to the main control unit on board the Farstar.

Just in case… I’ll have it readied.

*****

Thyte was one of the fortunate few that was able to stay with the ship, even though the Exocronians wanted all executive officers. The d glow of the strong tractor beams cast a odd hue across the bridge. The secondary crew in the bridge sat and waited, not knowing what their fates would be.

Thyte pondered their situation like he had done many times before. This was perhaps the most challenging command he has had, at times almost too stressful to be worth it. However, he knew a lot was riding on their mission. They were the hunters, Sarne was the prey. What he worried about was the bite that prey carried; no one knew how bad it was going to be. When they put out the call, how long was it going to take the New Republic to get there? And if what he suspected was true, and they had to head through the Rift, how do they expect to navigate through it? How do they expect him to navigate through it? More and more, this mission was looking suicidal. But what better way to die than to die for a cause. He was ready to die, but he doubted the rest were.

And now look where they were. In the middle of a surging energy and gas nebula, captured by a low-tech planetary government. The decision to head straight into the nebula was not a good one, although he half-heartedly supported it. About time the captain took some risks. The scans of the planet were rolling across his screen; artificial structures detected in all hemisphere’s with a concentration of them in the eastern. The majority of the life signs were in the Eastern as well. The western seemed sparsely populated, but very little traffic at all. The sensors would occasionally pick up one of those dreadnought ships flying along the border of the two hemispheres.

This was interesting. Didn’t the away team mention that there was supposed to be an opposing sprawl nation in the west? There wasn’t enough there to call it a nation. Thyte stared at his screen intently.

The alarm startled him. He looked over at the ship systems controls. An internal environmental alarm had sounded. He checked it. Some storage room was reading high levels of a poisonous gas. He called Scoryn who readied a security team.

An hour later, the report was not good. Somehow, the store room, which housed miscellaneous parts for engineering, had filled with some kind of poisonous gas. Two crewman laid dead in the room, with droids moving around them, accomplishing their tasks. The room was soon vented, and a team of engineers were sent in to check the cause.

Thyte drummed his fingers along his console impatiently. What now?

The engineers found more poisonous gas canisters through out the ship, even in the new areas. They were apparently placed there suring the refit. They were placed very strategically, to cause maximum casualties. But by who? Imperial spies? Sarne agents? Starwolves?

*****

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Cabal City was grand; almost as inspiring as the Imperial Center on Coruscant. It was the obvious center of all Exocronian activity. It was built around the derelict colony ship, portions of it still visible amongst the added architecture. Skimmers and speeders hopped from thousands of points in and around the city. Several dreadnoughts and support flyers were also hovering nearby, all of them colored in the black and red characteristic of the Devisors forces. The Devisors were waiting.

A team of officers, including Adrimetrum, Gorak and Loh’Khar, along with B’Dorbeck, and a few other junior officers, including Samarion, Dervious, and Slave, were assigned as the delegation to the Exocronians. They were brought to a conference room, and seated. Guards stood over them as if they were prisoners. After giving a recorded statement of their purpose, they waited for hours inside the conference room, before anyone came to see them. It was first Captain Darr.

“The Council is deciding you fate. It seems the Devisors believe that your ships and technology is now under their jurisdiction. They are debating you claim of this New Republic right now.”

“Debating? Deciding our fate? We are not prisoners here, are we? We came in peace!!” Adrimetrum screamed.

“Not in their eyes. You are officially under Devisor detainment.” Darr looked away as he spoke. He did not look like he agreed with the decision. “Chief Devisor Pagda Gevtes will come to address you soon.” Darr glanced at the guards intently as he left.

Several more hours and a meal later, the man named Gevtes came into the conference room. “Exocron has always enjoyed prosperity in its isolation. However, if knowledge of our existence should be made, slavers, pirates, or even this Moff Sarne would surely ravage our world.

Therefore, it is the judgement of the Exocron Council of Devisors that your vessel be brought down to an Exocron sprawl and studied so that a proper defense can be created. For the protection the Exocron Way, you and the rest of your crew are to remain here, for the remainder of your lives.” He nodded to one of the guards, who removed his sword and prodded the Captain to follow the Chief Devisor, “The Captain will join us in order to persuade the remainder of your crew to disembark.” Three Devisor guards escorted her out.

Nine other guards remained. “Council administrators will be here shortly to arrange for your new residences. Thank you for your cooperation.” They all stared back flabbergasted.

They could not believe they had been railroaded into this. They didn’t even have a chance to defend themselves. The Devisors simply made a ruling, without a hearing. Do all of Exocron except the Devisors’ ruling without question? There must be someone in this society that does not bow down to the Devisor’s rule.

The door to the conference room opened. In flowed several armed men dressed in AirFleet uniforms. They held their gun threateningly at the Devisor guards, who they quickly disarmed. Darr appeared at the door after the guards were subdued.

“We must move quickly. The Devisors will mobilize fast once they discover you are gone. My men will deal with the guards.”

They could hear one of the Devisor guards mumble “Rebel scum!”.

*****

They were in a airspeeder headed towards the Maxion.

“Your captain will not be harmed, as long as your crew aboard the Farstar cooperate.” Yeah, right. Thyte cooperate in giving up his ship. That’ll be the millennia. “They intend on using her to get to the ship. That’s all they want, to study it, and learn from it. But they will never allow anyone else to benefit from their learnings. They use their knowledge as power, to control the ruling council. If they loose control of that knowledge, the loose control of the council, then the military, the laborers and the corporations can rule as equal with the Devisors. You are the break the rebellion has been waiting for…”

Dajus rolled her eyes. Another rebellion? I spent my entire life fighting the Rebellion to now join up with pocket rebellions here in the Kathol Sector?

“We can help you get your ships and your captain back. Your arrival was not the best timing. We are not quite ready, but nothing can be perfect. We have a few dreadnoughts on our side plus several agri-sprawl corporations are supporting us. I want you to speak to the local cell commander, Eida Sharden. She is an overseer at one of the agri-sprawls. We also use that sprawl as one of our base of operations. She is planning a major offensive against the Devisors now, and might be able to help with finding a way to help you. She knows the most about the Devisors and their operations.

“We will be heading to Agri-Sprawl 34. You will have to wear these light ENVI-suits to keep the infections out. Your weapons are dangerous in this part of the planet. They will explode in your hand because of the oxygen richness. We will arm you properly for the time you spend in this region, although we doubt you will need weapons.” The weapons were archaic of sufficient.

They landed on the Maxion, and soon were setting coarse towards Sprawl 34. “Choose a team to go on the Sprawl to contact her, and leave the pilots here to train on our Skylarks. They will need to learn them by the time we go looking for your fighter craft. I also might have a special mission for them, based on the information your friend Thyte supplied. He tells me that your sensors do not see another nation of sprawl in the Western Hemisphere. It might take us time to get there, but I want to see for our selves. You should be safe on Sprawl 34 ’til we get back.”

“Permission to return to the city, and perhaps find out what I can of the whereabouts of the captain. I am much better used on the streets, you know, even if I am the only Twi’lek.” Loh’Khar piped The rest agreed. Gorak assigned himself and Dajus as escort. Darr supplied the two non-humans with long cloaks to hide their features. If there was anything on the street to be found, they would find it.

Dervious and Samarion, with Moyato’s help, headed up the sprawl group. Bifzik, Analia, Kl’aal, and a few others joined them. Darr supplied them with a nondescript cloudskiff hauler for their trip over. The Maxion was going to park near the sprawl and the team was to take the cloudskiff the rest of the way.

*****

The Cloudskiff landed softly on an otherwise deserted landing platform located on one side of the medium size agri-sprawl. The crops were being grown on large bowl-like platforms that were suspended from the superstructure of the platform in layers. A light mist of rain was falling from the cloud cover around them. Artificially created? They could not tell. Their was no sign of life on the platform. Bifzik, Samarion, Slave and Moyato stepped out on to the platform.

The attack came out of nowhere, which was a considerable task considering the assailants. Droids, gone mad, were flailing their gardening and maintenance tools as if they were weapons. Samarion looked down at the hand-cross bow he was carrying and shrugged. At least the were explosive tipped.

The battle was savage and brutal. It was difficult for Slave to witness, but he fought hard against them. Bifzik attempted a connection through a nearby terminal. Their connection protocol and hardware was archaic but still he was able to create a compatible link. He connected and then…. Nothing… he dropped to the ground, in convulsions.

One droid attacked while someone was throwing a T-Det, which was deflected in flight and landed in the hauler. A huge explosion followed, throwing the cockpit further into the sprawl. Sooni, Analia, Dervious and Kl’aal were aboard. There was still a chance they could survive.

*****

Fights and disorder were starting to break out on the Farstar. Crew were taking sides for and against the captain and the mission. Thyte and Scoryn were beginning to have their hands full. It was reasonable to think that the crew was getting restless, being couped up while their ship was being held hostage.

“Farstar, this is Exocron Devisor command, please respond.”

Thyte turned to his comm-officer and nodded.

“We have your Captian and your crew. You are ordered by the Ruling Council to surrender your vessel and disembark. You have 76 hours to ready yourself and comply.”

Great. Thyte rolled his eyes. He turned to his comm unit. “Loffryyn, ready an energy build overload in the engine core, on my order. I want the Exocron’s to know that this in my ship.”

*****

The Exocron Stories continue…

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