3.02: Into the Rift – Waystation

3.02: Into the Rift – Waystation

DS Day 262-275

Where: Through the Rift, on board the Rift “ferry boat”

The Q’Maere facility and its tenants had a long way to go. Dr. Akenseh would serve them well. The Captain was pleased that the Mon Calamari had found his calling. He had saved her so many times, the most amazing of which was tearing her from the Qek Assemblage. She still suffered nightmares and still felt their call occasionally, but she knew she was not one of them anymore, thanks to the Doc. She had confidence that Seedar would pick up where the Mon Cal left off easily.

“Captain, sensors are picking up a disturbance in the Rift. I think our ride is here.”

She was also very proud of Hasslock and Dansun, both who had returned safely from the harrowing adventure in the catacombs of the planet. Their report was short and to the point: The call was made.

“Shields to forward arc. Deflectors on full. We may have to go into the Rift a little to catch this ride.” The Captain surveyed her crew. Despite her frequent absence, the crew was still committed to the mission.She smiled in amazement. She also looked at Gorak, who kept them together, despite original reservations about the whole mission. Thyte probably had a hand in it. Despite his gruff exterior, he actually was a warm, Ewok-kind of guy inside.

“Captain, it’s pretty big.” Thyte reported

ferry

The bulbous beast of a ship emerged from the Rift. It looked like a living creature with large “wart”-like bubbles on its back. The surface of the hull was jagged but organic in form. As the Farstar approached, long tentacular vine-like appendages extended out, as if to beckon the Farstar to get closer. As Thyte steered his vessel closer, the tendrils gently wrapped around the Farstar, and like a tractor beam, pulled the ship towards one of the bubbles. As the Farstar approached, the surface of the bubble thinned, and the ship passed through the filmy surface of the bubble. Afterwards, the top of the bubble thickened again. The Farstar landed on a soft surface inside the bubble.

They were in a vast cavernous chamber. An audible hiss sounded throughout the chamber as the ship came to rest. It felt as if they had landed in a mouth of some great beast. The walls were not of any material sensors could identify. It was, however, organic. Sensors and communications were fading in and out because of interference from the Rift outside.

However, Slave was able to pick up a transmission from a beacon on board. It was his former owner, C’alben B’Dorbeck, again. It was a repeating beacon, awaiting an access code. He transmitted the first number he thought of… his serial number. It worked, and the message streamed into his remote S-Complink. It was a warning from his former-master. It told him that the Imperials had a plan to take out the ferryboat once they were done with it. A spec-ops team was to be sent to it to set explosives. So either they were on their way or they were already here.

Slave informed the captain of that information.

Brandis Turgah also received a message, from a another ship on board the ferryboat… a message from friends.

The tactics meeting to discuss what to do next was taking forever. The command staff was split on whether or not they should venture out of the ship to explore. Slave’s information didn’t seem to help things. The Captain took a vote, and the results were close. However, the Captain ordered up an away team formed, to search the decks of this alien vessel. Gorak called up the best armed group along with B’Dorbeck and Hasslock for first contact purposes.

The Night Terrors along with Samarion were assigned to set up a perimeter around the ship . Kl’aal, Dervious, Unda, Slave, and Thanis were called up a long with Loh’Khar, Bifzik for the away mission. First ones out were the Night Terrors. When they hit the floor surface, it was wet and spongy, like a tongue. The air was damp, with an artificial tint to it, but reasonably fresh. It was warm, and humid as well. Sweat immediately began to bead on their foreheads (for those who did sweat). Respirators, however, weren’t necessary. While the Night Terrors set up perimeters, the others set out on there journey.

The Exploratory team venture forth, into the unknown depths of the immense alien-organic ship. The doorways were draped in vine-like tendrils, all able to go immediately rigid to block the way. Going through them was like going through a wet jungle-barrier. The rooms were bizarre, and Bifzik struggled with the technology in some rooms. The aliens that created the ship were quite advanced, and Bifzik’s troubles to understand their technology only fed his curiosity.

Through more mistakes than actual intentional experiments, the discovered that the ship was able to transport anyone anywhere, through a series of intestine-like shafts. The hallways the walked were like hardened muscular tunnels, the walls faintly translucent. Inside the walls, a fluid of some kind flowed.

They stumbled through several rooms, until the reached one with many round metallic platelets in the floor. Cautiously, the experimented with the room. Bifzik stumbled onto one of them, only to trigger a mechanism which pulled the plate and him down into a cylindrical shaft. Inside, a hologram projected around him. It appeared as if he was in another room, but he knew he wasn’t. He saw others, in a cavernous bay like the one the Farstar was in. There was another ship, with several Bothans milling about it. Something instinctively told Bifzik that this was a real-time, coming from somewhere else in the ship. This rooms was some kind of security monitoring area.

Other began to try the holo-shafts out. Some were quite damaged and showed little. Others placed the user in other parts of the ship. One finally revealed what they had suspected. Imperials were here, on board.

******

Thanis, Gunthar, Dervious, Loh’Khar, and Kl’aal were scouting around the hallways outside the security room. They marveled at the translucent resin-like walls, strange iridescent light emanating from inside. Something caught Dervious’s eye down the nearby hall. A shadow… Lights were playing tricks on him at that point, because Loh’khar had found a strange control panel and started playing with it. As a result, the lighting was changing erratically and those transport tubes were opening randomly. Thanis had stopped the Twi’lek before things had gotten worse, but the lights seemed to continue on a random pattern. However, what Dervious thought he saw was no light trick. It was a mass, moving in the resin walls, almost as if it were swimming in them. He moved closer.

It appeared like long tentacular things… almost like worms, borrowing through the walls and internals of the alien craft. This did not look healthy for the organic ship. Gunthar, who had followed close behind, stated what Dervious thought, although it seemed less of a guess and more a fact coming from Gunthar.

The flooring beneath began to vibrate as one of the worms started tunneling down the hall towards Dervious, Gunthar and Kl’aal.

“The thing’s got worms!!!” Kl’aal growled.

The worm tunneled close to the floor, which collapsed in its wake. Dervious and Gunthar dodged past the worm, as Kl’aal attempted to get out of the way. The worm tunneled straight into the security room. Seconds later, there was a scream.

*****

Gorak had gathered all the non-combatants up and sent them back to the Farstar. The worm had killed one of the scientists who was inside one of the holo-shafts. They gotten enough information to determine where, with respect to them, was the Imperials on board. Some Night Terrors and a few others would be sent in exchange.

Gunthar and Dajus stayed with the combatant group, while Hasslock returned to the ship. There was something on this ship, calling to them. They felt it, and no one else did. Gunthar was able to locate it using one of the Holo-shafts. They had a quest… find this thing called to them. This thing was some kind of key, but to where, they did not know.

Initial scouting reports showed that there were about 20 stormstroopers. There was also someone here not dressed in an Imperial uniform; one that Moyato recognized as Mist, the Bounty Hunter. This was the demolitions team, Moyato was convinced. They were organizing into teams and preparing what Moyato recognized as standard demo-satchels. However, his instincts told him that because of the interference of the Rift, the detonation mechanisms were a little more than standard. He hated not knowing his enemies tactics and how to defeat them. If it was a standard mechanism, he could defeat it. He already had 6 plans in his head on how to defeat the standard ones, but with this Darkstryder variable, he didn’t know. Moyato formed up an assault team to take care of their problem.

They set out towards the Imperial landing area, armed and ready for a fight.

Hours later, they had trekked deep into the alien ship, finding new and more bizarre areas of the ship. The ship still seemed wrong, almost ill, as Gunthar had kept saying after had seen the worms. Moyato, however, naturally had a healthy paranoia when he imagined this ship completely “healthy”.

The two scouts ahead came running back to the main body of the group. Samarion and Sooni both were reported spec-ops three stormtrooper attaching a device to the walls. First Targets Acquired.

The three unsuspecting troopers fell with ease. Gorak volunteered to interrogate the surviving trooper. He took the trooper down the hall, out of site from the others. He came back moments later with blood and black ooze dripping from his tunic.

“In order to get information out of them, you’re supposed to keep them alive? Missing your nail-gun or something?” Dervious cracked.

“He was infested with Darkstryder. Apparently, if Darkstryder thinks the host is violating any directive, it kills its host. He was able to tell me that they are here to destroy the ship, and that it is Darkstryder tech they are using to enhance the explosives. He said that there was one trooper with the trigger, and we have to find him. There are about 20 troops here.”

“Seventeen” someone corrected.

They continued onward to the landing “bubble”. They reached the outer perimeter of the landing zone minutes later. Sooni and Samarion, along with Dervious scouted the area around. The Imperials had the area well secure, but they weren’t prepared for everything. They set up Unda to take a transport tubes to be dropped into position inside the hangar bubble and act as sniper, while the others went for the sentries.

After taking out a few of the sentries, the battle was on.

****

The labyrinth Gunthar and Dajus had been drawn into made them both feel uneasy, but the wandered onward. They were following a vision of a pyramid, that was somewhere in the ship itself. It had great power, and was closely linked to the Force.

The hallways began to get darker, the resin more clear but still solid. Strange lights faded in and out of the resin, revealing unsettling shadows. Figures appeared in the nearly clear resin walls, frozen in agonizing positions of combat. Many carried cylindrical devices as weapons… Lightsabers. They felt a presence behind them,and sung around. Kl’aal stood there, just barely out of the shadows.

Suddenly, a strong surge in the Force pulled at their minds, directing them further down the sinister hallway. They could see an intense light ahead. The three of them worked toward it. Around them, the scene captured in resin became more and more gruesome, as more figures became apparent. These figures were not human, but something totally different, totally horrifying. It was an ancient Jedi battle captured in time. Dajus could have sworn she saw one of the beasts turn to look at her.

The Promised One…

They reached a door way into a large room, almost an half an amphitheater. At the bottom of the central stairway, was an altar and on that altar was a stone-like pyramid the size of a man’s head. It pulsated light, and seemed to have a life of it own. They could hear a pulsing sound rhythmically emanating from somewhere. With each pulse, they could also hear the faint sound of screaming and crying, sounds of a great battle, and the alien howls of creatures unknown. They both felt a strong focus of the Force all around them.

The battle grows nigh…

Gunthar reached the pyramid first, and looked closely at it. The light bathed him like welcoming waters of a cool spring. He felt at peace but empowered while standing near. He could not help himself, as he reached out to touch it.

Dajus and Kl’aal watched from a distance as the alien touched the object. His entire body began to glow, bolt of energy leaped from the artifact to Gunthar. It looked quite painful. Gunthar opened his eyes. Dajus and Kl’aal recoiled back as they saw energy bolts leap from his eyes. The fury of power was astounding. “I am one with life, one with everything. I am life, I am death.” chanted Gunthar. As he did, a blast of force knocked the others back.

Recovering from the blast, Dajus leaped towards Gunthar and wrestled him from the grip of the pyramid.

“It was wonderful. I felt such power.” Dajus could only stare at the pyramid.

*****

As the assault grouped gathered, they felt the ferry-ship shutter. After a moment, they recovered and started their assault. Stormtroopers were set up in teams through the room, and Mist was close to the Gamma class assault shuttle that rested in the middle of the landing area. They were taken completely by surprise.

The battle immediately intensified. Dervious went for Mist, as the rest spread out taking on their own teams of Stormtroopers. Blaster bolts and bullets were both being used. It was a massive melee of fire, light and smoke.

Moyato was wondering where Unda was. He was supposed to be in position by now. Something must have gone wrong with the transport tube.

The Farstar crew had only take out two sentry position. The remaining three were busy re-aligning their E-Web Heavy Blasters to fire into the landing bay. Four of the Farstar’s strike team went after the other E-webs, while the others went to take on the group of stormtroopers that were holding position in front of the loading bay of their Gamma-class assault shuttle. The fighting was fierce.

Suddenly, the huge ship shifted around them and the walls, flooring, and ceiling changed, as if to look more alive, less sickly. The catwalk about them change slightly, as if to gain more strength, and the walls seemed to become more robust.

What the hell?…

Then her heard a Aqualish battle cry…

*****

Heal!!!! Heal!!!!

Gunthar stood over the pyramid, light bathing his immense body, crying out to heal the ship. His purpose was to protect all life. He felt this was his destiny. The pyramid enhanced his power, somehow. The ship was healing, very rapidly… perhaps too rapidly. The ship had already doubled in size.

Dajus and Kl’aal stood in amazement. The awesome show of power was like nothing they had ever seen. Dajus felt something itching behind her neck… the Implant. It felt… alive again. She immediately knew it was true. The sheer healing power of Gunthar had reawakened the implant… an implant she knew now was put there by the Emperor as a spy mechanism to watch Sarne. It has a part of the Emperor Dark Force essence in it at one time. Did it still?

Gunthar was suddenly thrown back. Dajus, now distressed over the sudden re-awakening of her Implant, took his place in front of the pyramid. To hell with the ship, heal me!!! Take all of Sarne, and the Emperor out of me!!

She first felt the energies surge through her a few minutes after touching the object. At the same time, voices were calling out to her. She could hear so many. One she knew was the Emperors, calling her his Ear-piece. Another very sinister voice was calling to her as its Promised One. And the last one called her a sister. She felt the wills of these voices pulling at her. Another calming voice overcame the others… Master

Be calm, my child. Forces you know nothing of are pulling at you. The Darkside is strong. Be stronger! Fear and selfish are the ways of the Darkside.

She felt as if she had already failed. At his last words, she too was thrown back against the wall. She felt like something was being draw from her. She painfully opened her eyes, and watched as if she was bleeding out of every orifice she had, but it wasn’t blood. It was a black ooze of some kind… perhaps concentrated Darkside itself. This ooze coalesced into a form, first just blob, then into a figure. The figure began to take shape, all in black. It was shadowy shape, a human shape. It was oily version of Dajus. The figure turned to her and smiled, then absorbed into the wall it rested against.

Dajus blinked, still stunned by the impact. She looked up at the pyramid, still pulsating. What had she done? Something just didn’t feel right.

******

The ship around them was changing, starting to look healthier. The chute the Aqualish was using to position himself strategically, as a result, moved. It then deposited him in mid-air, above the landing area floor. Realizing he had a 50+ meter drop, he made his last attempts to contribute to the combat effort. He opened up his Light Repeater as he fell. Beneath, the battle raged furiously. He saw a few stormtroopers drop from his fire as he hit the organically-soft ground. Despite its softness, it still hurt like hell.

Moyato saw some progress in the battle. Dervious and a few others were working their way towards Mist. His men had taken or destroyed most of the E-web positions. Despite the sudden change in their surroundings, they still had the advantage.

Dervious charged Mist head on, using his rocket pack. Others followed up behind him with covering fire. His wrist blades sliced into the bounty hunter’s shoulders, severing the arms. Dervious continued his flight across the landing chamber, as Mist fell to the ground armless.

*****

Gunthar was hoisting the pyramid object from it pedestal as Dajus was just getting up. Kl’aal was also getting up from his second trip to the wall.

“I am getting tired of this…”

“There is a battle. We must return to our colleagues. They need us.”

As he put the pyramid in a sack, their surroundings changed. The amphitheater changed to a small room. It was all an echo… an echo of the past.

*****

Mist lay in a pool of blood, his arms ripped from their sockets. He still moved, with blaster shots from all over hitting him and near him. He fell still after a final shot from some unknown assailant. His body was then engulfed in a strange black ooze that came up and pulled the body into the membranous floor. Soon after, an alarm on his arm bands started to go off. This was quite unfortunate, because the arms were still attached to Dervious’s blades. In a paranoid frenzy, he quickly disposed of the limbs, and turned to commandeer the Imperial Assault Shuttle. Others were already making their way to the shuttle, as the alarm got louder and louder. Slave stopped to pick up Unda, who lay unconscious on the floor.

At that point, one of the E-Webs near by exploded. A wall of flame engulfed a few unfortunate Imperials, killing them, and wounded several of the Farstar team. In the fray, most of the Farstar team was able to board the shuttle. Sooni disappeared down the hall just before the E-Web exploded.

The E-web explosion was followed by a larger fiery explosion, emanating from Mist’s severed arms. This explosion seemed different. It seemed to have a life of it’s own, drawing in the flames and plasma of the first explosion. As the shuttle lifted up from the launch pad, the fiery-pillar formed into a bipedal-figure, launching fireballs from it’s fists. It blew out a wall with one fireball, killing a few wounded troopers. Beyond that wall stood two familiar figures… Gunthar and Jessa Dajus.

While the shuttle lifted off further, Dervious was unsure whether he was going to exit the landing area or not. There was no telling what going outside the ferry would do to the shuttle. The fiery gollum threw a fire ball at the hovering shuttle. It missed, hitting the translucent membrane-dome over the landing area. It burned a hole in the dome, air rushing out into the unknown corners of space … or hyperspace, or… whatever the ferry was travelling in. Bodies were blown out the hole along with debris and other equipment.

Gunthar, seeing this, grabbed and wall and started chanting “Heal. Heal. Heal.” The hole slowly began to close.

Meanwhile, Dajus debated on her action. Hesitating, she stared at the fierce gollum. Voices rang through out her head, screaming in pain and agony. This was the work of some warped Darkstryder. It felt wrong. This was not what Darkstryder was meant to be. It was an abomination. Despite her reservations about using the pyramid, she brandished it like her last hope of life, and concentrated. BE GONE! LEAVE THIS EXISTENCE!

There was a sudden coolness in the air, the repulsor engines of the shuttle the only sound. The creature was gone.

Seeing things had drastically changed around them, Dervious slowly settled the shuttle down. The hole above them was closed, and the smoke from the numerous fires was thick but clearing. There was a definite difference in the atmosphere, however. It was not as stale, and the sound of the ships engines felt more robust. The ship felt bigger, more complete.

Once things settled down, the Night Terrors gathered up the surviving Stormtroopers along with the explosive units and the trigger unit. The Ferry Ship supplied a medical bay/brig, where the surgical droid units could remove the Darkstryder implants. The assault shuttle was left behind for the survivors to use once they were free of their Darkstryder enslavement.

Gunthar was taken by the ship to it new bridge, which, among a lot of other things, healed as a result of Gunthar’s efforts. The ship had tripled in sized, as Gunthar found out, as was now travelling at immense hyper-speeds. The ship was whole again. It appeared that Gunthar had found a new home.

No, not yet, warrior scout of the Yvarema. Home awaits you at my next destination.

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