2.09: Masters Of Exocron: The Dark Side of Exocron

DS Day 173-175

Where: Exocron System

The Maxion was a mighty vessel, and Trev was fascinated by it construction. It’s weapons were a combination of gas-propelled gyrojet style weapons, gaussian-propelled weapons, old-style pulse-blasters, and ionic field generators. It was built to take advantage of the high speed winds of the gas giant, and with the use of repulsorlift technology, the crew and the structure could withstand the high-Gs of the varied accelerations they were able to obtain. The trip to the other side, some 60,000 kilometers away, wouldn’t be as long as expected. As the dipped into the lower atmosphere, dawning pressure suits to withstand the high pressures and more toxic gases, the scene was quite colorful. The clouds were varying shades of red and orange, against a backdrop of their star, and the swirling energies of the Rift-fragment nebula. The high-wind sales engaged. The ship groaned as it increased to an extremely high speed.

They all had taken a rash coarse on how to fly their Skylark fighters. They were primitive, but workable. There was a lot more to compensate for in the atmosphere of a gas giant, like the lack of land below you, but nothing Trev and the other couldn’t handle. He himself used to pilot freighters and privateer fighters all the time to Bespin and planets like it.

The time on the Maxion was regulated, and it told him it as his sleep shift. Much as he liked watching the streaming gases flow by the observation lounge canopy, he knew that anything could happen within the next 48 hours. Exocronians believed in long days, so he had to get some sleep.

*****

The alarm shook all of them awake. He must have woken thirty time due to turbulence. He wasn’t used to getting that much sleep at once, either. The alarm was signaling enemy vessels closing. The fighters were ordered to scramble, which meant Gorjaye and the rest also. They quickly dressed and were on the flight deck in minutes.

They attacked from the western horizon, a squadron of attack flyers, backed by several enemy dreadnoughts. For a nation that is not supposed to exist, the Western Hemisphere certainly was well armed. The battle rage ferociously until the Maxion retreated deeper into the depths of the gas giant. Knowing the fact that the Western Hemisphere dreadnoughts were built well enough to handle the lower atmosphere turbulence, Captain Darr was able to save his ship and crew from certain death.

Trev’s battle in the Skylark went well, adding to his theory ‘You fly one, you’ve flown them all…’

The lower depths of the gas giant were a nightmare. All crew was ordered to the lower pressurized sections of the ship, all fighters were ordered stowed. Workers in ENVI-suits worked feverishly in the high-pressure, and high wind environment to get all fighter moored down. The ship was tossed around like a toy. A few workmen were tragically most in the turbulence. The Exocronians shrugged it off after a moment of mourning, siting ‘It’s the life of an Exocronian. A risk you take as an air warrior…’

For a long time, they played a game of cat and mouse with the enemy ships, some actually risking the ship and crew by going as deep as the Maxion to catch them. Darr proved to be the better captain, leaving behind only clouds of falling debris.

*****

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Days later, they slowed to a crawl and inclined to the upper atmosphere, on the western hemisphere. The first thing they saw was a a massive network of sprawls, all interconnected with cabling and long mag-lev rails, with shuttles and small freighters launching constantly. In the center was a massive black floating city, of a design never seen by any Exocronian. These were not Exocronians populating these sprawls. They were Qek. And there were Devisor dreadnoughts, in their traditional back and red, interspersed among the Qek ships and speeders.

Captain Darr formed an away team of primarily the Farstar crew, and sent them in to gather intelligence. An enemy they were lead to believe was simply other Exocronians, was actually the Qek, and the Devisors were in league with them. Darr had to find out why. He was sure he wouldn’t like the answer, but he needed evidence to prove to the people that the Devisors have had too much power for too long.

Gorjaye and Trev with Sooni and the others headed up a team to infiltrate one of the spoke-sprawls. From there they would attempt to get ot the central sprawl. Meanwhile, the Maxion would hide in the lower atmosphere.

The infiltration went relatively smoothly once the group dawned clothing of the Qek guards. Inside it seemed like a hude industrial complex, with shipments of product coming and going. But what was the product. Trev had seen gas mining before and this was definitely not one. The stowed away on a mag-lev train that went across one of the spoke-like cable-rails lines. It was a perilous journey. The car they travelled on was not designed for passengers.

Once they reached the main sprawl, they saw what the product was. They were humans. The engineers of Exocron were solving one their society’s worst problems, overpopulation, by selling their criminals and prisoners to the Qek, to me made into Qek zombies. Some were used as slaves and shipped off to one of the moon mining centers. This was found with a quick browse of computer files in one of the loading bays. They also encountered unexpected visitors… a group of Imperial Stormtroopers. In their battle across the cable-rail to the spoke-sprawl, the did catch a glimpse of a triangular shadow above them, about the size of a Star Destroyer.

Their extraction was a little more messy, and they had to play another cat and mouse game to escape from the Qek ships. The Qek ships could travel further than even the Maxion could, but all its sensors were usless, which gave the Maxion the advantage. It was a long trip home, but they returned safely with few casualties.

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