2.16: Wildfire: The Sleeper
DS Day 179 – 206
Slave had accompanied the away team to the mountain. When they returned, his systems were showing odd readings. Just before he blacked out in the Droid Storage A, he realized his transceiver was receiving an Imperial beacon message… from nearby. The hidden system he had been hacking at for so long finally came alive, in reaction to the beacon. The system suddenly took over, shutting his own control protocol pathways down, and setting up new ones he couldn’t access. Soon, he had no control over his functions. He could only watch. Some strange sleeper program was awakened by the Imperial transmission and he was now on the move.
Once Gorak assigned the Night Terrors to the Cure acquisition mission, and B’Dorbeck was taking care of the diplomatic duties, he thought he would have some time to relax, and perhaps hunt afterwards. But the hunt that came up wasn’t what he expected. The report said that Slave had walked off and took an air-speeder with him, with no authorization. The quartermaster droid was in repairs now, with the damage he had sustained when he tried to stop Slave. The droid had gone renegade. Gorak formed a small team of the hunters, and went out after the droid.
Sensors were able to patch into a signal beacon installed on all droids when they were brought on board. Not even Slave new about it. Thanks to the innovative thinking of Loh’Khar and the skills of the now deceased droid tech, they were able to track the droid, virtually no matter where he went. It was solely for emergency use only. He was headed in the direction of the spaceport construction site. They took extra doses of the Uukaablian medicine to make sure the virus didn’t spread into the construction site.
A few hours later, they settled near the construction site using the assault shuttle. They kept a low profile because they had no idea who they were dealing with here. It soon was apparent that it was a good move. Gorak spotted Uluala right away, as well as several other Chuborro aids. They also spotted Imperials. Imperials? They were interspersed among several hundred construction workers.
“Slave’s right there, going into that bar.” Samarion said. Uta and Brandis headed in that direction while Gorak walked over to Uluala, almost uncontrollably. Samarion hung back as rear guard.
“Mr. Gorak Khzam, what a surprise. Did not expect to see you here” the Falleen’s voice was music to the Rodian. The only non-human/non-Rodian Gorak ever liked. “Might have to mention that to a certain benefactor of mine, but all in good time. I am busy now, but I would like to have dinner. We must have dinner.”
“But of course…” was all the Rodian could get out.
“Good, tomorrow night then. Be here when I call. I hope things on the Farstar are well.” She said that with almost too much emphasis in the “well”.
The Gorak Samarion knew hated chit-chat and small talk. That was more suited for Loh’Khar. However, the Rodian was chattering away with the Falleen. He decided to follow up the rear into the bar, after Gorak left the Falleen.
Slave had sat down with a pair of Imperial officers. Gorak and the rest watched from a distance. Things turned ugly fast, and Gorak was soon sweeping the bar with his deck-sweepers. Barrels of alcohol were exploded. Uta and Brandis went after their droid comrade who had just shot a hole out the back of the bar to escape. With the bar exploding around them, the group was to get out with little injuries. Slave had escaped before they could get to him, and caught an Imperial shuttle. The group new they had to get out of that construction site, because they were definitely NOT popular there after destroying the only cantina.
Gorak caught a glimpse of Uluala just before they grabbed Slave’s air-speeder. She stared at them with a disappointed but humored look. Gorak waved back with a smile.
The air-speeder took them to the shuttle. Sensors could not pick up Slave’s signal again. The Farstar and the X-wing patrols couldn’t pick up the Imperial shuttle. It seemed they had lost him. However, not long after they had returned to the Farstar, the signal resurfaced… from the other side of the planet. They loaded the shuttle with a team, including Gorak, Dervious, Samarion, and Unda.
On the other side of the planet, the light of day had just started. They were chasing the sunrise the whole way around. The pilot, one of the Night Terrors, felt it best to stay low and slow, especially if there were Imperials around. They crossed over to the eastern hemisphere continent, which itself had many Uukaablian city-states. They stayed focused on Slave’s signal which was weakening as time went on. It wouldn’t be long before the Imperials discovered it. The first sign they were getting close was a turbo laser blast that ionized their controls. The pilot wrestled with the controls and was able to get the ship down without too much of a jolt. However, it didn’t look like they would be returning with the shuttle anytime soon.
The pilot stayed behind with the shuttle, while the others used scanners and nav-data from the shuttle to pin-point where the blast came from. They assumed that where ever the blast came from, that’s where Slave was going. If it was Imperial, patrols were going to be sent out soon. The Night Terror alone could handle the patrols, but staying out of site. He would take care of the shuttle, stripping it of any vital information, and then hide until Gorak and the others returned. Gorak told him to set up an auto-signal beacon which would send an encoded message to the Farstar in a reasonable amount of time; long enough to get to their destination and get Slave, just in time for their evac. This would be their cavalry call when things got ugly, and Gorak knew things would get ugly. Gorak programmed his comlink to control the beacon, just in case they take longer than he had planned. Otherwise, it would go off automatically.
This continent was less civilized than the other. Between them and their destination was nothing but thick forest and mountains. Scanners revealed that the blast came from what looked like an ancient impact crater. However, energy fluctuations in t hat area would allow them to penetrate inside it or around it. These same fluctuations correlated with the ones the Farstar detected upon entering orbit around planet. Sensor masking.… thought Gorak.
The journey to the site was treacherous, with encounters of local fauna and harsh terrain. The climb to the top of the crater was a task, hiding from patrols, and dodging probe droids. This a job for the Defel, not me… grumbled Unda, gripping his LR Blaster itching for the opportunity to take some of the Imperials out.
They approached the perimeter of the crater, encountering denser sensors nets. Gorak was happy they thought to bring Uta and Brandis on this one. They both came in handy with the droid-nets. It was too bad Bifzik was still in quarantine for observation.
They reached the inner perimeter, where they were met with an awesome sight. Four ominous turbo-lasers were emplaced at the four points of the compass along the rim of the crater. Patrols were using them for a center of operations. At the base of the crater, was some kind of facility of Imperial design. It looked small, but here was no telling how many level beneath the surface it went. It had several scout walkers and standard walkers parked around. They looked as though they were being loaded on cargo vessels, as was a lot of other equipment and supplies. In regular intervals, cargo shuttles were launched and landed from the 3 landing areas they had. The shuttles all had hyperspace capability, so their destination could have been anywhere.
The facility had a variety of security measure, including a very elaborate sensor masking field with several nodes along the rim of the crater. Gorak immediately recognized the node-devices as Darkstryder-enhanced.
Their plan was to take a turbo laser tower, and then infiltrate the facility. Unda covered the road into the tower, while the rest took out one of the patrols. Using the armor as cover, the tower was theirs in a matter of minutes with little bloodshed. Dervious and Samarion manned the tower. Gorak and the others, dressed as Stormtroopers, infiltrated the facility.
The facility was vast. It ran several hundred levels below the surface. Slave’s signal lead them deep into the facility. Before they could close in on him, the signal went dead. Uta and Brandis patched into a nearby terminal. They found Slave slated for a memory wipe. Whatever he was supposed to do, it looked like the Imperials were done with him.
Slave’s persona still was active, even while the sleeper program was shutdown. He was completely aware of the Imperials probing when they extracted the message from the protected block of memory. It was a message identifying his former master, C’alben B’Dorbeck, as an intelligence agent for the House Ik’Tal and New Republic sympathizer and a spy within Sarne’s organization. He in fact had worked so far into Sarne’s organization that he now stood at his right hand as the enigmas Admiral Brannij. If this information reached Sarne, it would be the end of B’Dorbeck’s charade and life.
The data in the message had the proof. If it wasn’t for Brannij/B’Dorbeck, they would not have been able to find out the majority of the intelligence the had gathered through out their journey. In small amount, B’Dorbeck (Code-named BANE Rojer 622) leaked enough information about Sarne’s plans for the New Republic to follow him. The Farstar owed this man a lot.
Once the data was decoded and removed from his memory, they transmitted it to the local commander. Slave was able to eavesdrop on the transmission because they never disconnected him from the systems. From the transmission, he was able to get the name of the commander, an ambitious human who, instead of telling Sarne outright, decided to make a show of it, and hoped to gain prestige within Sarne’s little Empire. He assigned an assassin droid to rendezvous with two assassins and they were all to take out the Admiral before Sarne crossed the Rift. Slave stored this information deep in his memory. He vowed that if he got out of this, he would stop those assassins.
Uta and Brandis were marveling at what else they had found on the facility’s network. This facility was a core facility for Nuniok Dak. There were warehouses full of modified Sullustan. Most of them were being loaded onto cargo shuttles and shipped to an unknown destination. The information they were able to slice out was that Sarne was planning on using the Nuniok Dak Sullustans to get across the Rift. Reports had told the Farstar crew that it would take a miracle to get across the Rift. This was Sarne’s miracle. He had two types developed after the prototype (which the Farstar had already experienced). Both types were possible only because of the Starwolf bio-genetic integration. The first type, the Edron Orn Phase, took ships to specific points within the Rift. These points seemed like dead ends. The second type, the Saran Dijara Phase, took ships straight across in a matter of weeks, by the Imperials’ estimates. There were very few Saran Dijarans made and all that were, were already shipped out to Sarne.
Gorak ordered Uta and Brandis to arrange for one of the shuttles to be loaded with a few of the available Sullustans, and isolated so they could board it. He hoped that this was Farstar’s way across the Rift.
Things were starting to really get active around the facility. It’s possible someone might have tried to contact the turbolaser tower. Gorak and Jessa both were concerned they wouldn’t find the droid before alarms would sound. When the hallway was clear, they made their move deeper into the complex.
It seemed like hours, but they finally found the droid service room Slave was stored in. They reinitialized his systems, Uta and Brandis ran a a quick check on his command structure, and soon Slave was running on his own power.
“I have to stop them. My former master is in grave danger.”
“Yea, great. We have our own problems. Get ready to move. Our little charade is not going to last much longer.” Gorak said, peering down the hallway. One sighting of him or any of the other non-humans in their group and all bets were off.
Dervious and Samarion were getting nervous. If they were discovered, they would have time, maybe, to take out 2 of the 3 turrets, but the last would definitely have a chance of taking them out. They were getting communications in from other patrols asking for status and orders, which they tried to respond to in their best Imperial impressions. All Imperials sound the same, anyway.
However, when one of the patrols returned from their run, it started getting interesting. They first feigned turbo-lift malfunction by disabling it, however, that wouldn’t last long. Samarion knew that they would ask for some security code he didn’t have or something along those lines. He imagined himself blasting the comm-panel and announcing “We’re going to have company!”
The Imperials bypassed Samarion’s rigging of the turbolifts. Just as the doors closed, Dervious was able to leap in. When the doors opened, his handed the first guy he saw a pair of Thermal Detonators and closed the doors quickly. The troopers didn’t know what hit them. They still believed the malfunction. Dervious heard the muffled explosion imagining all that white armor getting ruined. What a waste.
They were definitely going to have company pretty soon. In fact, Unda called in reporting that he was holding off another patrol that had heard the explosion. Samarion was eyeing those cannons across the crater, already turning his cannons towards them. This was going to be close. “Get ready to bail. We are going to be taking cap-scale damage pretty soon.”
Samarion hoped the others had found Slave by now. It was going to be time to soon. He hoped that auto-signal worked.
Gorak cancelled the auto-signal as soon as he got to the shuttle. It had been loaded with 6 pods containing the genetically grown Sullustan/Starwolf mix. They were short, stocky like Starwolves, with a slight primitive appearance to them. They had the extruding jowls of the Sullustans, with much more prominent snout.
He cancelled the signal because of two reasons. One, because it looked like they had their way out. Two, because he realized the sensor mask effected all transmissions on the area, that were not sent out with a special encoding. It would only have drawn attention.
That’s when one of the turbolift towers exploded in a huge, resounding eruption. It wasn’t the one they had left Samarion in. Which meant, Samarion had started firing. Damn! He looked towards Samarion’s tower. It was aligning with the next tower. He looked over towards the last tower… Samarion wasn’t going to make it.
“Get aboard now! We have to go now.”
Four Stormtroopers suddenly noticed the shuttle warming up. They started a slow walk towards the shuttle, then quickened their pace when the shuttle engaged repulsorlift. They aimed their blasters at the shuttle, calling into their comlinks. Gorak manned the blaster cannons of the shuttle, a Sentinel class Imperial shuttle, and opened fire.
More Stormtroopers joined the group, as a few fell from the shuttles fire. Larger weapons began to join in the chorus, and actually scoring considerable damage. Gorak wasn’t worried about that as much as the turbolasers towers. Samarion was centering on the second gun position as the shuttle engaged lateral thrusters.
“Come on, come on, come about!!” Samarion was screaming. It was a race between the turbolaser towers. The second tower was moving faster than he thought.
Dervious was frantically trying to adjust the tower’s system to increase the power of the alignment systems while at the same time boost the fire control. They already had to hack into the override systems to enable the turbolasers to fire on the facility, however, it didn’t look like they were going to get that opportunity. The third tower was coming to bare on them soon.
Samarion took his shot moments after he noticed a Sentinel shuttle lifting off. The second tower went up in a flash, explosion thundering through the otherwise calm forest air.
“Get out now! Mandalorian, we are leaving!” Samarion said as he leaped towards the turbolift. Dervious stumbled and the turbolift closed before he could get to it. He only took moments to think why the starwolf didn’t help. In that moment, he heard the turbolaser fire exploding around the town, and on the tower. Just as the armored roof above him exploded, he engaged his rocket pack. The tower disintegrated around him, flames licking at him all around. He felt shrapnel pounding at his armor, but only a few penetrated to cause only light wounds. He left a smoke trail across the sky as his rocket pack took him to safety.
Unda had been holding off the scout teams when the tower went up. The explosion was glorious. He took cover behind rocks as flames and debris fell all around him. He knew he shouldn’t have taken a position so close to the tower. It was Dervious and that Starwolf in that tower, after all.
Unda saw shuttle leaving the facility and when he saw the last surviving tower firing at it, he knew who it was. He then received a tight-beamed transition from it that contained rendezvous coordinates. The walk would be long but at least he would get out of this mess. He took several extra shots at the remaining Imperial, felling them all. The stood dumbfounded by the destruction of the tower, which made them easy targets. Never leave Imperial survivors.
The assault shuttle was unrecoverable. The area would have ben crawling with Imperials. The Night Terror had to abandon it. He left the Imperials a little surprise if the decided to take it. Gorak was pleased, however, with the trade-off. The Sentinel shuttle would serve them well.
Slave was ordered to go under a full diagnostic. Uta was glad to, sice she was also curious about what happened to Slave. The diagnostic revealed residual signs of the sleeper program that took over his system, but bnothing of the reasons why. Slave filled them in of the rest of it. He knew what the assassin droid looked like that was to deliver the message, and who the droid was to deliver it too. He also knew where they were going… a planet called Danoor, on the edge of the Rift.