Coyn - Im'Tra'Tal
Arriving back at the docking bay, R6-X0 chirps a greeting from across the bay as the group passes through the door past the silent Coynite guards.
Glancing at the guards as he walks in, Zeethree mumbles, "I thought I'd feel better in here."
Upon reaching his ship, Kurrelgyrre turns to the rest of the group and says, "So, guys, what's next?"
"I think the main thing would be to go planetside to see what your friends were doing and hence find where they would have gone next," answers Del.
KG replies with a nod, "The surface sounds fine to me."
"I agree," Snteil adds. "The surface sounds like the next logical step. And, in fact, I'd suggest we head towards Im'Tra'Tal and seek out the law enforcment for information on both Xyber Corps, which is obviously the merc group I heard about, and your friends."
As Kurrelgyrre looks up at Arsix with a questioning look, the astromech droid audibly indicates that the ship is ready to go.
Turning to his droid, Snteil orders, "Zeethree, go get the Aurora warmed up and ready to go. Bring up a chart for the planet and plot an entry course for the city of Im'tra'tal."
Without a word, Zeethree turns and walks to the freighter parked nearby.
"Everyone taking their own ships?" continues Snteil. "Or, do we want to travel a little bit less conspicuously . . . as in NOT in a three ship convoy? Just a thought.
"But hey, I can handle whatever we do," the Sullustan adds with a wink and a flashy smile.
KG answers, "Snteil, I'm not so sure about travelling together. Last time I left a ship by itself, it got blown up.
"Del, what do you think?"
"I'm of a mind to travel in my own craft, if you don't mind," answers Del.
Looking skeptically at the Z-98 for a moment, Snteil states, "Well, your ship looks fine to meeeee. But, whatever you guys think is best."
Kurrelgyrre stoically responds, "We'll take all three ships. I don't like the idea of leaving any of them alone in unfamiliar territory."
"Alright then," says Snteil. "Times a wastin', and the trail's NOT getting any warmer." He, then, turns on his heel and begins to walk to his ship as Del walks to his.
At that moment, the familiar roar of the Aurora's engines fills the docking bay. A smile slowly develops on the Sullustan's face as he peers at his ship.
Turning back to face the Wookiee, Snteil cries, "Hey, Kurrely! Wanna race to Im'Tra'Tal?"
"Kurrely?" KG quizzically asks. "Not really, no."
"Come on, KG," replies Snteil. "You're a Jedi. Why don't ya show me what ya got? I wanna see what that ship of yours can do."
With a stern response, KG answers, "What it can do is not something you can see."
"Huh?" Snteil shakes his head with a puzzled look on his face and mutters under his breath, "Damn cryptic Jedi."
"Hrm . . . tell you what," the Wookiee says after a brief moment. "I'll do it. She needs a shakedown anyway."
"YE-HAH! That's the spirit!" cheers Snteil, and he sprints back to the Aurora.
After making sure that their ships are ready to go, Zeethree calls in to Skraj'Tais Control and receives permission to launch.
The doors open to the vacuum of space, and the tractor beams engage once the three ships have engaged their repulsorlifts to be safely towed out of the docking bays. Each ship is pushed away from the station, and the tractor beams cease their hold once a safe distance is reached.
"Alright!" cries Snteil. "Zeethree, let's open this baby up!"
He, then, whispers to the ship, "Come on girl, don't let me down."
Activating the comlink, Snteil broadcasts to the other two ships, "Alright, last one down is buying dinner! See you two on the surface!"
Snteil punches the accelerator on the Aurora, shooting the freighter ahead of the rest. A split second later, the engines of the Z-98 Phantom propel it rapidly away from the station in pursuit of Snteil's ship.
Shaking his head at the situation, Del casually engages the engines of the Saucy Lady and begins a leisurely flight down to the surface of Coyn.
Noticing in his scopes that the Saucy Lady isn't racing, Snteil turns to Zeethree and rhetorically asks, "What's his problem?" Rolling his eyes, he turns his attention back to flying the ship.
As the Aurora races toward the surface a few lengths ahead of the Phantom, Snteil suddenly spots a small meteor slowly descending into Coyn's atmosphere directly in his path. With controls in hand, the pilot of the Aurora harmlessly rolls the ship underneath the incoming meteor.
With a slight chuckle, Snteil says to himself, "Heh, that was close."
Kurrelgyrre, at the controls of the Phantom, spots the meteor as the Aurora rolls away from it, dives the starfighter underneath the meteor as it continues along its vector into the planet's atmosphere. Missing the rock in flight, KG continues his attempt to pursue and overtake the freighter.
After a few more minutes, the Z-98 begins to close the gap between it and the Aurora.
"Sir," Zeethree states nonchalantly. "Kurrelgyrre is closing."
Within seconds, the communications panel signals an incoming message. The protocol droid reaches over and toggles the message to be broadcast over the loudspeaker.
The gruff voice that comes over the channel announces, "Incoming vessels, you are approaching the Im'Tra'Tais fly zone too fast. Reduce your speed immediately, or you will be stopped."
Toggling the comlink, KG responds, "Copy that." and slows down to normal acceptable speeds.
"Well," the Wookiee says to Snteil through the comlink, "it was a good race, but it looks like we can't finish it. I'm dropping back to cruising speed."
"Bah! You afraid of them?" Snteil answers. "It's not like Zeethree and I have had to duck the Port Police before. That makes the race that much more exciting!"
When no response comes back over the comlink, the Sullustan scowls and reduces his speed.
Over the next few minutes, the Saucy Lady slowly catches up to the rest of the convoy as they continue their descent toward Im'Tra'Tais.
As the journey continues to the starport, Snteil and Del notice four objects heading their direction.
After a few seconds, Zeethree states, "Sensors indicate that the four objects are starfighters on an intercept course. Their transponder signals indicate that they are Coynite in origin."
"Zeethree," Snteil responds, "hail these guys and find out if they're friendly or not. And do it quick. Meanwhile, I'll angle the deflector shields double front."
On a separate comlink unit, Snteil hails the other two ships in their group and says, "Del, KG, stay sharp. We've got four marks, dead ahead on an intercept course. Zeethree says they're starfighters. KG, see if you can sense any intent on their part. I'm hailing them, but they may not respond."
As the starfighters continue to approach, communications panels on all three ships signal an incoming message.
Responding to the hail, Del announces, "This is the Saucy Lady."
"This is Kel'tek 1 from Im'Tra'Tais," answers the rough voice over the comm. "We have been ordered to escort you to the starport. We will take formation around you and guide you in. Do not stray from the formation, or we will be forced to take action."
After reaching out with the Force, Kurrelgyrre states to the others through the comlink, "I'm not detecting any hostile intent on their part."
"Sounds good, KG," Snteil responds. "Well guys, let's form up. Don't want to keep the good Kel'tek waiting."
"Understood," Del answers to the incoming fighters. "Assuming formation."
After the three ships enter formation, the four Coynite starfighters surround them and match course and speed. The rest of the flight to the starport is uneventful.
Descending toward the starport during early evening presents an interesting view of the city, Im'Tra'Tal. Tall buildings with windows sporadically lighting up and thin spires stretching toward a slowly-darkening, overcast sky create an amazing skyline. All seems at peace within the city . . .
. . . until one views the streets. Speeders rush between the various buildings as if they are fleeing some invisible assailant. Pedestrians from dozens of races walk the streets visiting shops and restaurants as their shadows grow longer with the end of the day. Lights from the storefronts brighten what would otherwise be a gloomy sunset.
As the three ships begin their landing procedures, the Coynite starfighters break formation and ascend toward the gray clouds to continue their patrol.
Once the Aurora sets down on the landing pad at Im'Tra'Tais, Zeethree turns to Snteil and says with a hint of sarcasm under his electronic voice, "My, that was an interesting trip. Wasn't it?"
"Well Zeethree," Snteil says with a shrug, "what do you expect with a politician and a Jedi? We'd better get used to that, at least while we're still in their company."
"Speak for yourself," answers Zeethree. "I'm still having trouble trusting those two. I don't care who they are. That Human looks shifty. As for the Wookiee, well . . . I'll think of something!"
The Sullustan and his droid finish shutting down the Aurora and begin gathering their equipment.
After setting down on the landing pad, Kurrelgyrre climbs out of the cockpit of the Z-98 and walks over to where his three companions are waiting.
"Well," interjects Zeethree as the Wookiee joins the group. "Where do we go from here?"
"Right," Snteil adds. "So what next, guys?"
Looking around the outdoor landing pad, Kurrelgyrre spots a few Coynite guards standing guard near a gate leading toward the city of Im'Tra'Tal. With Zeethree's assistance, he is directed to a map of the starport located inside the terminal. From there, the group finds a public-access computer terminal to get some more information.
Sitting down at the terminal, the Wookiee accesses the city's public database and enters his inquiries, starting with references to Jarok Garand.
The computer replies in Galactic Basic text that Jarok Garand is listed as a resident in Im'Tra'Tal. An image of him is on file that shows him as a clean-shaven Human male with light blond hair, fair skin and a boyish look. No obvious resemblance to the white-haired man encountered in the bar can be seen.
KG types in another inquiry on the Smiling Sarlacc.
The Smiling Sarlacc is listed in a news article listing criminal activity summaries. The ship was broken into and had some equipment stolen. Later reports indicate that the equipment was recovered.
After a second of thought, Kurrelgyrre enters a search for the Xyber Corps.
The Xyber Corps is listed as a mercenary organization based somewhere in the Elrood Sector. Although their early history within the region was viewed with high esteem, recent activity has been portrayed as borderline criminal. They are currently wanted by the government of Elrood for questioning regarding recent crimes against the government and are believed to be in association with a group of terrorists that reside on that world.
Scowling slightly at the results, KG decides to enter a search for Jan Tolbara.
Jan Tolbara, complete with image on file, is listed as a Jedi Knight that is known to have helped rescue the reputation of a well-known officer with the Coyn military after discovering that another Coynite committed acts of treachery and cowardice by breaking into the Smiling Sarlacc with accomplices and stealing the ship's power cells. The Coynite instigator of the crime was tried, found guilty and declared af'harl.
Snteil interrupts Kurrelgyrre's thoughts for a second and says, "Hey, what about that bounty hunter's ship that we found out about up on the station?"
"Good idea," KG responds. "And, I'll go ahead and cross-reference that with Qualtis, since she was training under Jan at the time. That doesn't surprise me that she would be the mischievous Jedi they were talking about."
The computer's response is that the Blackstar is listed in the same news article as the Smiling Sarlacc. The Blackstar is a ship belonging to a Human named Mordin Tel. The article states that he lost control of the ship while departing from Skraj'Tais without authorization. Tel had to pay for damages caused to the docking bay by his ship and refused to comment on how he lost control of his ship. The docking bay in question is on Skraj'Tais, the orbital station. Qualtis Majint is not on file.
"Hmmm," Kurrelgyrre wonders for a moment.
Del states, "Wait a minute. Didn't Jan and his group help the New Republic supporters here in the sector drive out the Empire a few years back? Maybe there's something mentioned about that in here."
With a nod, KG enters the search parameters.
A few news articles are accessed. Summed up, they indicate that Imperial rule was violently removed from Coyn about five years ago by a group of rebels and assisted by New Republic forces from outside the sector. A new government allied with the New Republic was formed and currently holds power on the planet. Through the rebels' example, other worlds followed suit and drove the Empire from most of the rest of the sector with New Republic assistance. It is rumored that some worlds may still have Imperial fragments remaining and an Imperial fleet, complete with two Star Destroyers, is somewhere in the sector. Neither Jan nor any of his companions are mentioned by name.
"Okay," Kurrelgyrre states as he turns away from the terminal. "So we can assume that the Blackstar was in Docking Bay 43. Jarok Garand is, apparantly, part of the Xyber Corps. He stole the power cells off the Sarlacc to prevent it from launching.
"The security guard almost became af'harl, since he took Jarok at his word that he was the captain of the Sarlacc. Either he is stupid or affected by the Jedi Mind trick. Jan wouldn't use the Jedi Mind Trick, so it would have to be Jarok.
"Mordin had captured Qualtis, who is training to be a Jedi. I don't know why he captured her. Maybe he has connections with the Xyber Corps. Qualtis has obvious anger management problems and would make a good candidate for a dark side apprentice. I always warned Jan that she had no business being trained. Then again, they said that about me.
"I guess that Qualtis escaped, probably due to the help of Jan, and somehow, the ship took off without Mordin, causing the damage to Docking Bay 43. From there, the Xyber Corps got into some big trouble with the local authorities.
"Sometime after that, Jan and crew helped out the local rebels.
"That's my theory, anyway."
"That's my assessment, too, Kurrley," adds Snteil.
Glancing at the datapad again, KG looks over the information once more.
"Wait a second!" the Wookiee suddenly exclaims. "Look at this. The destination for the cargo appears to be a warehouse in a central district of Im'Tra'Tal."
Snteil answers facetiously, "Damn, KG. How'd you miss that!?! Well, it doesn't matter now. Let's head on over to the central district. When we get there, I'm sure someone can tell us which warehouse it was."
Turning to the Sullustan, Zeethree adds, "No need to ask around. The name of the warehouse is Sat'skar Storage."
Del gives a slight smirk.
Looking up from the datapad, KG says, "Great! Let's go rent a speeder and head over there."
Easily locating a speeder rental shop near an exit from the starport, KG rents a decent speeder at a discounted price for being recognized as a Jedi. Within minutes, the group is on their way.
After a few minutes of dodging traffic outside the starport, the group gets their bearings and navigates their way to the far side of town.
A little twilight is visible from the western sky as Snteil brings the speeder to a stop in front of their destination. The warehouse in question appears to be an older building, matching the other buildings in the area with their run-down, unkempt or dilapidated condition. However, the two-story warehouse appears to be in fairly good condition, along with a repulsorlift repair shop just next door. The pale blue color of the walls seems to cast an ominous look to the locale in the dim twilight, with only a nearby street light cutting into the darkness. Two obvious entrances exist in the form of the front door and a larger cargo door near the corner of the building next to an alley leading between it and the repair shop back to a dark area behind the buildings. The building does appear to be occupied due to an obvious light on through an upstairs window.
The streets appear to be abandoned, but sounds of distant traffic can be heard. Two other speeders are parked in front of the repair shop next door, and a few others are parked in various spaces up and down the street.
After parking the speeder across the street from the building next to their destination, the group gets out of their vehicle and makes their way to the nearby alley to stake out the warehouse before taking any action.
Kurrelgyrre starts by stretching out with the Force. After a moment of silence, he turns to everyone else and quietly says, "The room with the light on upstairs in the warehouse is currently occupied by six people. The unlit room next to it at the corner of the building has one person in it.
"I wonder why someone is in an unlit room. I wonder if someone is being held captive, or if they just like the dark."
Reaching out with the Force again, Kurrelgyrre senses the six people inside the lit room. A simple scan detects no hostile intentions from any of the room's occupants.
At that moment, Del's comlink (conveniently set to silent) signals an incoming message. Del quickly answers the comlink with a hushed voice to not attract any unwanted attention.
"Well," Snteil says after looking at Del with a curious glance and turning back to KG. "If I can get even with those second story windows, I can use my electrobinoculars to see inside. Maybe I can recognize someone, either someone from the cantina earlier or perhaps the guy in the room alone is someone you'd recognize, KG. You didn't get any sense off of him as one of your friends?"
Shaking his head, Kurrelgyrre answers, "No, I didn't."
Snteil turns and examines the warehouse, but he does not see any exterior cameras or open windows. The building looks like it has been locked down for the night. He also notices that Zeethree is eyeing some strange rodent scurrying on the other side of the street for some unknown reason. However, his sensitive ears pick out a familiar sound of a landspeeder in the distance. Normally not a sound with which to be concerned, but the Sullustan determines that this currently-unknown speeder is approaching.
"Zeethree," the Sullustan asks quietly. "What do you find so damn interesting about that rat?"
"Hmmm?" Zeethree asks as he continues to stare at the rodent for a second and then snaps his head to look at Snteil. "Oh, sorry. I was trying to look through the front window for anything conspicuous but got distracted. Sorry!"
Del puts away his comlink and whispers to everyone, "I'm sorry, guys. I've been called back to Coruscant on urgent business and need to leave as soon as possible."
Offering his hand in friendship, Kurrelgyrre states, "Del, I know our journeys together were short, but I wish you the best."
Del takes his hand and returns the gesture while saying, "It's been fun while it lasted. Farewell, and may the Force be with you."
"You know," Snteil says as he steps toward Del. "I don't usually trust politicians, especially ones that won't race me." He smiles at the sarcastic remark, but continues, "But, you're alright. Hopefully, the other politicians in the New Republic are as trustworthy as you.
"May the Force be with you."
Suddenly, Snteil's ears perk up from the sound of the approaching speeder. Turning on his heel, he faces the group and utters, "Uh guys, there's a speeder headed this way, and fast! We'd better hide."
The Sullustan looks around to find a good secluded spot, when his eyes land on their own speeder. then, "Oh, no! What about OUR speeder? We need to hide that, too, or at least make it more inconspicuous."
"What about that alley?" asks Zeethree while pointing to the dark alley a few meters from where the group is standing.
Snteil shakes his head at the idea and pauses for a brief second, until a new idea hits him.
"Well, Del," says Snteil as he turns toward the Human with a lopsided grin on his face. "If you need to get going, you should probably leave quickly before this other speeder shows up. I suggest you take our speeder and turn it in for us. That way we'll kill two gundarks with one thermal detonator. We won't have to hide the speeder. And don't worry about us. We'll find a way back."
KG and Del both nod their approval at the idea. Without any further words, Del walks to the speeder and gets in.
After Del departs with the rented speeder, Kurrelgyrre, Snteil and Zeethree duck into the dark alley to await the approaching speeder. Within seconds, KG picks up the sound of the approaching speeder in the distance.
A short minute passes, and the unknown speeder sounds as if it is slowing down and comes into sight. The sporty, light blue speeder slows down in front of the large entrance into the warehouse. The driver is none other than the white-haired Human seen in the bar on Skraj'Tais and is accompanied by the Twi'lek female that was with him earlier. Holding up a small device, the Human pushes a button, and the door leading inside begins to open.
Snteil quickly pulls out his electrobinoculars and focuses on the device, which appears to be some sort of remote control device.
Speaking lowly while still trained on the two in the speeder, Snteil states, "This is going to be a problem, Kurrely. I hope that's not the only way inside. We might have a hard time opening that door up without that device . . . unless, of course, I can find some sort of terminal and slice into the network. Then, maybe I could get it open."
After Snteil's whispered statement to KG, the door finishes opening, and the speeder turns to enter the building.
"Worse still," Kurrelgyrre adds. "The white-haired man may be able to sense me. He's a Force-user of some sort. His power is that of the Dark Side. We must be cautious. Oh, and call me KG.
"Snteil, try to see if you can see anything on the inside with those electrobinoculars."
Looking through the door, Snteil doesn't see much. Without any lights on, it's hard to tell what exactly is in there. But, a light behind the warehouse shines through the windows of some cargo doors all across the back of the warehouse. That light silhouettes a large number of crates and boxes stacked within and shows that the warehouse is probably around 50 meters across.
Nudging the Wookiee, Snteil quietly mentions, "Hey, bud. It looks like those back doors might be our way in. Plus with all those crates in there, we might have some cover. As soon as these guys are inside and they can't see us anymore, we should go around back and see what our options are."
With a nod, KG answers, "Sounds like a plan."
After watching the speeder slowly enter the warehouse and the door slowly close behind them, Zeethree asks, "What about me? I can't move as fast as you two. Should I stay here?"
Answering his droid's inquiry, Snteil states, "Zeethree, you stay here. Keep a lookout. Contact me ONLY in a dire emergency. You got that? While we're in there, if you contact us, we'll be found out and probably killed. So, you had BETTER have an excellent reason for contacting us."
"Kurrles," he adds. "You ready?"
"Ready. Hand your comlink off to Zeethree, and he can be a lookout for us."
"No need," Snteil replies with a wink. "Zeethree has an internal comlink. All I need is this piece." He shows his own comlink to KG and then puts it back in his pouch.
With a sigh, the Sullustan says, "Alright, let's do this."
Before making their move, Kurrelgyrre and Snteil look down the alley, which is dimly lit by a light from the street and another light from behind the building. A large trash receptacle rests halfway back against the wall opposite the warehouse with a few smaller crates around it. The back of another building can barely be seen 10 meters further back behind the warehouse with the help of ambient light.
Kurrelgyrre and Snteil dash across the street into the dark alley leading behind the warehouse. Pausing for a brief moment to make sure they weren't seen, the duo listens to the area's silence that is broken only by the distant sounds of the inner city. Once convinced that they are safe for the moment, they continue down the long alley to the back street.
Arriving behind the warehouse reveals a small courtyard created by the back walls of the buildings. A single street light illuminates the area, casting gloomy shadows on the few ramshackle items scattered about the courtyard. Another dark alley running parallel to the back of the warehouse extends out from the courtyard in both directions.
The back side of the warehouse has multiple windowed cargo doors lining the wall from one end to another, all of them closed. A single personnel door stands at the end of the permacrete dock at the top of a small flight of stairs leading up from ground level. A numeric keypad embedded into the wall between the personnel door and the nearest cargo door sits idle with one small, glowing red light above the keypad.
KG looks over at Snteil while pointing to the door with the security device on it and whispers, "Hey, do you know how to pick a lock?"
"Well," Snteil mutters as he finishes scanning the courtyard for security cameras. "That depends on what you mean. Can I pick a mechanical lock? Negative. Never had to, never learned. Now, can I pick an electrical lock? No sweat.
"I think we're in the clear back here. I'm gonna take a look in there and see what's going on."
Looking through the window of one of the cargo doors reveals a large room filled with crates placed in small sections throughout. A catwalk stretches across the far wall above the crates and leads to three doors. Light can be seen coming from under the middle door, which closes just as Snteil looks through the window. He does not see anyone else in the room, but he does see a couple of surveillance cameras inside the warehouse.
Turning to KG, Snteil cries in a hushed voice, "Well, there's no one in there, but I can see a couple of surveillance cameras. How do you want to work this?"
"Hrm," the Wookiee mumbles as he thinks for a brief moment. "Not sure. We could always go back and get Arsix. He could override the security cameras, I'll bet."
"Hey," Snteil answers. "No worries. This door lock won't be a problem. The real trick is the surveillance system. And, well, I'm no astromech droid, but I think I could slice into the computer system and set up those cameras on a feedback loop so it will keep playing the same footage over and over again to the surveillance crew. Or at the very least, I could shut them off."
"Alright, give it a shot. Let's be prepared to run, just in case," KG says.
Snteil cautiously walks to the back door and opens his security kit. Carefully opening the keypad that controls the maglock, he quietly begins to work.
Deciding to concentrate on the cameras first, Snteil locates the network connection within the keypad and connects his datapad to it. After a couple of minutes of navigating through the network, the Sullustan smiles upon seeing that he has set up a feedback loop on the cameras.
With success in mind, he moves on to unlocking the back door. Pulling out his security kit once more, he begins work on the lock. After a few minutes of concentrated effort, the maglock releases, and the door opens slightly outward.
KG inquires with a curious look, "Snteil, did you check for silent alarms as well?"
With an annoyed look on his face, Snteil answers, "Of course, I did." Almost as an afterthought, he turns back to his datapad for a brief moment and checks the display to discover a new signal being broadcast through the network.
As Snteil prepares to shut down his datapad, a sound is heard from within the warehouse. If the Sullustan's ears are right, it sounds like hurried footsteps on a metal catwalk.
Facing the Wookiee, he whispers, "Kurrles, there's a lot of commotion going on in there. It doesn't sound like they're coming this way, but get ready just in case."
Snteil turns back to his datapad still connected through the warehouse network and accesses the security system. According to the surveillance camera feed, five people are standing on the catwalk in front of the doors on the far side of the warehouse. Two of them are instantly recognized as the white-haired Human and the Twi'lek female from the bar on Skraj'Tais. A Rodian and a large dark-skinned Human wielding blasters are accompanied by a blond haired Human.
At that moment, a voice cries out from inside the warehouse, "Jedi! Why don't you and your friend step inside for a moment?"
Snteil looks up from the datapad screen and says, "I've sliced into the surveillance system and I can see them. They're standing on a catwalk on the other side of the building. They're in front of the doors that lead to those rooms we saw from the front. The Rodian and one of the Humans have blaster rifles.
"Got any bright ideas?"
Kurrelgyrre scowls at the bad news and mumbles, "I've got a bad feeling about this."
After a brief second, the Wookiee continues, "I think the time for stealth is over, but I don't like the idea of just barging into their domain. Damn! For once, I actually wish Qualtis was here. I could use a thermal detonator about now."
"Well," Snteil inquires. "What should we do? Should I try and cut the power? I can see in the dark. What about you?"
KG pulls out his infrared goggles. "Infrared," he whispers.
Kurrelgyrre looks around the courtyard. His eyes land on a cable stretching across the back street and connecting to a box attached to the back of the warehouse.
"Okay, try cutting the power. If that doesn't work, I'll knock out that cable there. I think it is also a power cable.
"From there, we go in."
With a nod, Snteil jumps back to the datapad. Within seconds, all visible signs of power from within the warehouse disappear. However, Snteil's datapad still shows network activity, as it appears that somebody else is on the network at the same time trying to restore power.
"The computer network is still active," Snteil announces. "Someone is trying to turn the power back on.
The Sullustan turns around and asks, "Well, do you think that is a power cable? Maybe it would just be best to cut it if it is. I don't need light."
The Wookiee nods, turns and looks at the cable for a second. Calling upon the Force, Kurrelgyrre backs up a few steps, ignites his lightsaber and sprints toward the suspended cable. As the space is rapidly closed, the Wookiee leaps into the air and slices at the cable, which easily severs and begins to shoots sparks into the air from the cut. KG gently lands on the permacrete walkway at the other end of the dock and turns to see his handiwork, just in time to see the cable begin to drop to the ground.
Near the slightly ajar door, Snteil stares at Kurrelgyrre after seeing him perform his stunt in a fraction of a second. His datapad, setting behind him, shows the computer network suddenly shut down.
Putting on his infrared goggles, KG walks over to a nearby window and looks inside, which reveals nothing but darkness and several lots of crates.
Pulling the door open, Kurrelgyrre leads the way into the dark warehouse with his active lightsaber before him. Snteil quickly follows behind the Wookiee with his heavy blaster drawn, ready for anything.
Immediately inside the door, a passage is seen leading into a labyrinth created by the multitude of crates within various lots found throughout the warehouse. Adjusting to the ambient light filtering in from the lamps outside, Kurrelgyrre and Snteil see one main passage following the back wall to what appears to be an open area in the middle of the warehouse floor.
Seeing no immediate threat, the Wookiee Jedi shuts down his lightsaber. After pausing for a second, he listens intently to the virtual silence in the room. He does, however, hear a faint, familiar hum coming from the middle of the warehouse.
KG whispers to Snteil, "Crap, that's a lightsaber. Let's go around."
Looking around the warehouse, Snteil hears the faint hum from the middle of the warehouse. Looking toward the open area, the Sullustan sees a hint of a red hue reflecting off a stack of crates on the far side of the open area.
Snteil whispers back while pointing to the middle of the warehouse, "I also see a red glow coming from that open area."
KG pauses for a split seconds and answers, "Red hue, huh? That's a Sith Lord or a Dark Jedi; that's for certain. We must be cautious.
"Anyway, you could get a clean shot on him? Or, perhaps there's another route out of here."
"There is only one way that would work," silently suggests the Sullustan. "You go around the front, while I keep them all busy back here. You would have to be quick. But, I could fire on them, make sure they knew I was here, then hide and fire again whenever I think they need reminding that I'm still back here. That way, I can distract them while you go get Jan.
"Do you think you can do it? I shouldn't have a problem with hit, run, hide . . . the Sullust way. I can probably keep it up for a while, especially if I use the Force to help me.
"What do you think? Dangerous, yes. But, it might work."
"That's a thought," ponders KG. "But you'd be toast against the Dark Jedi. Or, do you think you could handle him?
"Also, Jan may not be able to be woken up right away. I'm not sure what sort of condition he is going to be in."
Shaking his head, Snteil answers, "I'm not planning on fighting him, just keeping him and his cronies busy while you go in the front. I've got a whole labyrinth to hide in."
"Alright," Kurrelgyrre says quietly. "Let's do that, then. You keep them busy. I'm going around front and taking the direct approach."
"Kurrelgyrre," Snteil mutters as he grabs the Wookiee's forearm. "Buddy, please be quick. I'll do what I can to keep them occupied back here, but I don't know how long my luck will last."
"I shall do my best, good friend," answers the Wookiee. "If I'm not out in ten minutes, then meet me outside. If I'm not there, meet me at the dock. And if I don't meet you there, you have a snazzy new fighter and an R6 unit."
With a sudden look of determination, KG adds, "May the Force be with you."
"With you, too, my friend."
As Snteil releases Kurrelgyrre's arm, the Wookiee quietly moves to the back door and disappears through it.
Sneaking to the edge of the maze of crates, Snteil cautiously approaches the corner and silently peeks around. Standing roughly 20 meters from his current position is the white-haired man from Skraj'Tais. He is holding an active lightsaber with a crimson blade in his right hand and appears to be staring at the back of the warehouse, as if he is waiting for something to happen. Snteil can also tell that he is wearing a pair of goggles.
Making no sound, Snteil slowly draws his heavy blaster from its holster. Taking careful aim to not hit the lightsaber-wielding Human, Snteil fires two shots from his blaster. The two blaster bolts fly past the Human's head and into the wall beyond.
With a slight flinch from the shots, the Human stares hard at the source of the shots as a look of anger quickly develops on his face. Within a split second, he begins sprinting toward the Sullustan hiding in the dark.
At the front of the warehouse, Kurrelgyrre reaches the front and quickly moves to the personnel door leading into the building's lobby. The Wookiee checks the door and find that the door is, indeed, locked and won't budge. Using his lightsaber, Kurrelgyrre easily slices through the lock, and the door swings open. Quickly moving to the side, he waits, but silence is his only response.
Entering the dark lobby lit only by the light from the lamps outside, KG sees that two doors lead out of the room: one on the far left that appears to lead to more rooms, and one directly across from him behind a long counter that appears to lead into the warehouse area of the building.
Meanwhile, Snteil turns and begins to run for the nearest opening into the maze of crates. After twenty meters, he finds an opening leading into the labyrinth and turns to sprint in. Managing to avoid slipping on some loose dust on the floor, Snteil makes the rapid turn and bolts into the maze just as the white-haired Human turns the corner.
Snteil begins running through the maze, following the corridor created by the gaps between the lots of crates. Quickly looking around, he finds a spot that looks to be a perfect hiding place.
While Snteil remains in his hiding place, he carefully watches the area around him. After a few seconds, he realizes that he no longer hears the hum of the Human's lightsaber. In fact, he hears footsteps approaching from above. After a few more seconds, he sees the Human with his lightsaber shut down and walking on top of the crates while peering into the shadows below. His eyes move across the area where the Sullustan is hiding, and he appears to have not noticed him. Another second passes, and the Human reactivates his lightsaber, drops into the corridor and moves right toward Snteil.
Near the front of the warehouse, Kurrelgyrre quietly opens the door leading into the storage area and quickly moves toward the stairs leading up to the catwalk. As he begins to ascend the steps, he suddenly finds a Rodian pointing a blaster rifle in his direction from the top of the stairs.
"Freeze, Wookiee!" cries the Rodian in perfect Basic.
Taking aim with his trusty blaster, Snteil fires two shots at his rapidly approaching enemy. Both shots are narrowly dodged by the Human, and he continues to approach his assailant.
As the Human closes, he swings upward with his lightsaber. Snteil pulls the pistol back just in time to avoid the strike.
As Kurrelgyrre charges up the stairs, the Rodian levels his blaster rifle and fires. The blaster bolt screams past the Wookiee's ear and explodes on the permacrete floor near the foot of the stairs. Seeing the failure of his attack, the Rodian begins to back away from the top of the stairs down the catwalk.
Reaching the catwalk, Kurrelgyrre springs into action and swings his lightsaber at the Rodian's blaster rifle. The Rodian manages to jump out of the way of the attack and avoids the deadly energy blade.
As the Jedi recovers from his attack and prepares to push onward, he notices the presence of four others on the catwalk behind the Rodian. Before any of the others can react to Kurrelgyrre's sudden appearance, the blonde-haired Human cries out, "Hold your fire!"
Developing a stern look on his face, KG states, "Greetings. I am Kurrelgyrre, Jedi Knight. I have come looking for a friend, a fellow Jedi Knight clad in black, named Jan Tolbara."
From within the labyrinth, Snteil draws his hold-out blaster with a blinding move and aims at his enemy. After stepping back a few steps, he fires a volley of blaster fire at the approaching man.
The man raises his lightsaber and deflects all three shots with seemingly little effort. He, then, waves his free hand toward Snteil. The Sullustan feels his blasters being pulled from his hands, but he holds tight.
Back at the catwalk, the blonde Human looks at the Wookiee for a second, appearing to be trying to mentally absorb something. Finally, he turns to the rest of his group and asks, "Did anyone get that? I don't understand him."
While the Rodian and the dark-skinned Human silently respond with shrugs and shaking heads to indicate the lack of understanding, the female Twi'lek answers, "Yes, I did. He says he is a Jedi Knight in search of another Jedi named Jan Tolbara dressed in black."
Turning back to Kurrelgyrre, the blonde continues with a hint of surprise in his voice, "You mean, you're not after us? I don't know this Jan Tolbara you seek. I haven't seen a Jedi dressed in black."
"What of the ship he was traveling on, the Smiling Sarlacc?" asks KG. "Our information says that you guys had an altercation with the Sarlacc crew a while back. Tolbara was on that ship.
"Oh, and can you call off your Dark Jedi friend? I think he's making an associate of mine a bit . . . nervous. I think we can be civil about this, don't you?"
With a nod from the blonde Human after hearing the translation, the dark-skinned Human activates a headset he's wearing and commands, "Ikirra, disengage. I repeat, disengage. We have the Jedi with us."
Inside the maze, the white-haired Human prepares for another assault on Snteil, when he pauses for a second as if he's trying to hear something.
"No!" he cries, and he jumps away from the battle toward a low stack of crates nearby. As he leaps to the top of the crates, Snteil levels his heavy blaster and fires one last shot. The shot is dodged at the last second as the Human lands at the top of the short stack of crates. With one glance back at the Sullustan, he runs out of sight. Snteil grunts to himself and begins to make his way through the labyrinth toward the front of the warehouse.
The blonde Human, back on the catwalk, pauses for a second and responds, "I don't recall this Smiling Sarlacc you speak of. How long ago was this?"
Kurrelgyrre begins to answer the question but sees the red glow appear in the open area as Ikirra, the white-haired Human, appears from the crate labyrinth. Once he lands on the permacrete floor, he looks up at the group, sneers and begins walking toward the catwalk.
KG cries to Ikirra, "That's far enough!"
Ikirra looks up at the Wookiee and continues to walk toward the catwalk. Upon seeing this, Kurrelgyrre finishes giving his information.
After listening to the details, the female Twi'lek offers the translation, "He says it was about 5 to 6 years ago. Evidently, the ship was docked on Skraj'Tais and had its power cells stolen."
The blonde Human pauses for a second, lost in thought. Finally, he answers, "Ah, yes. I remember now. Yes, we were actually hired by somebody to take the cells out of the ship. The one that hired us told us that the crew of that ship stole the power cells from him, and we were to retrieve them and give them back to him. It wasn't anything personal. Surely, you can understand that it was only business."
"Trust me," Kurrelgyrre answers. "I'm quite familiar with how business operates. A few years ago, I worked for the bounty hunter Radu.
"So, who hired you for that job?"
"It was one of the Imperial officers that was assigned to this sector about that time," the blonde Human answers. "Some admiral, but I don't remember his name now."
Reaching into a pouch, KG pulls out a few credits and hands them to the blonde Human.
"Refresh your memory some?"
Taking a quick glance at the credits, the blonde Human pockets the money and answers, "Thanks for the creds. Now, I can buy dinner. But, I honestly don't remember his name."
KG asks, "Perhaps it was an Admiral Majint? Also, wondering if you've heard the name Senna before."
With a slightly annoyed look on his face, the blonde Human responds, "Don't you understand Basic? I'm telling you I don't remember."
At that moment, Snteil makes it all the way to the near corner of the maze of crates and sets up a temporary post to observe the events transpiring on the catwalk, able to see and hear everything. Ikirra doesn't seem to know that Snteil is there as he continues his walk toward the group and stops about 5 to 6 meters from the foot of the stairs leading to the rest of the group.
"Very well, then. I'll assume that none of your companions remember, either. I think it is time that we were off, then."
"I wish you luck in your search," the blonde says. Kurrelgyrre nods and turns to begin descending the stairs. Seeing that Ikirra still has his lightsaber ignited, the Wookiee remembers that his is still on and keeps it on.
"Jarok," a male voice says from behind the Wookiee's back. The blonde Human turns to the dark-skinned Human and leans close as he begins to whisper something to him.
As Snteil watches Kurrelgyrre begin to walk down the stairs, he sees Ikirra pulling something out of a belt pouch . . . another lightsaber!
"Kurrlegyrre!!!" Snteil cries from the shadows. "Look out, he's gonna attack!"
Two blaster bolts, fired by Snteil from his hidden location, fly at the Dark Jedi as he draws a second lightsaber. Ikirra turns and raises his activated lightsaber to deflect the shot but is unable to react in time. Both blaster shots slam into his chest, leaving burnt flesh in their wake. His jaw drops open from the sudden, excruciating pain. As his knees begin to buckle, his second lightsaber suddenly ignites, and the new crimson blade begins to bore into the permacrete floor as the Dark Jedi slowly drops to the floor and gives his last breath.
A thick silence fills the warehouse, as everyone stares at the dead body on the floor. Jarok rushes to the catwalk rail to look upon the dead Dark Jedi.
Without warning, Jarok screams, "IKIRRA!" He quickly reaches into a pouch on his belt and draws what appears to be a seldomly-used lightsaber of his own.
"Jedi!" he yells with fiery anger in his voice. "You and your friend will not live to see the dawn!
"The rest of you, find his friend! No mercy!"
As the others run behind him and into the last door, the blonde steps forward and ignites his own lightsaber, revealing a dark red blade.
Snteil, watching the events unfold on the catwalk, sees Jarok's men run through the upstairs door and says to himself as he changes the firing mode on his blaster, "Oh crap! Here we go!" He, then, turns and moves deeper into the labyrinth.
Kurrelgyrre turns towards Jarok and bellows out a Wookiee challenge roar.
"I was satisfied to let you guys go," cries KG. "But, your dark Jedi friend had to act foolishly. You see the results. Now, we shall finish this."
With a look of fierce determination, Jarok moves to the top of the stairs and takes a combat stance while coldly staring at Kurrelgyrre. The hum of Jarok's lightsaber seems to be amplified by his seething anger. As the two begin to stare each other down, Jarok attacks with a flurry of lightsaber blows. Kurrelgyrre reacts and parries the first attack. Jarok swings again, but KG dodges the blow.
After avoiding Jarok's second attack, Kurrelgyrre counterattacks. The Wookiee's first blow is quickly blocked by the angry Human and parried away. Kurrelgyrre recovers and swings his lightsaber across in a backswing. Jarok steps back and avoids the fiery blade.
After avoiding the Wookiee's attacks, Jarok returns the favor. He swings his lightsaber towards Kurrelgyrre's head and forces the Wookiee to block high. As KG opens himself, Jarok swiftly kicks him in the chest. The solid kick into his chest knocks Kurrelgyrre off balance, and he tumbles backward down the stairs to the permacrete floor. His Jedi reflexes kick in and allow him to roll across the floor unharmed. Quickly, the Wookiee rises to his feet to meet his opponent again.
At that second, the dark-skinned Human and the Rodian burst through the door near the foot of the stairs wielding blaster rifles. The Rodian glances at Kurrelgyrre for a brief second and moves on, knowing full well not to interfere with his battle. Looking forward, the duo rapidly moves into the labyrinth of crates.
KG says, "Your attacks are unfocused and clumsy. You are not at peace with yourself."
As Jarok hurriedly descends the stairs, he answers, "That's what the last guy said before I ran him through." He reaches the floor, rushes forward and attacks, but the attack is quickly parried by the Wookiee.
Snteil continues to move through the disturbingly-silent labyrinth. Checking each corner and intersection, he moves cautiously and silently while watching for his two pursuers.
Approaching one corner within the labyrinth, Snteil suddenly gets a strange feeling. Stopping in his tracks, he looks over his shoulder just in time to see the Rodian start to turn the corner behind him.
The Rodian rounds the corner as Snteil scrambles to hide around the other corner at the opposite end of the small corridor that both occupy. After a split-second hesitation, the Rodian begins firing.
The first shot comes dangerously close to the Sullustan as he dives behind the corner. The other two shots smash into the stack of crates at the corner, throwing shards of metal in its wake.
Returning to the corner, Snteil quickly whips around the corner and fires three shots at his Rodian hunter. The first two shots are narrowly dodged as the Rodian dives behind his own corner, but the third harmlessly hits the crates behind him.
The sounds of blaster fire being exchanged from within the maze echoes throughout the warehouse. The Rodian recovers quickly, barely peers around the corner where he has taken refuge and shoots toward the Sullustan's position.
Snteil barely avoids the first shot by ducking back behind the corner. The other two shots hit the crates behind him.
Holstering his blaster pistol, Snteil begins climbing the crates. Though not an easy task, he eventually reaches the top of the 3-meter stack. Pulling out his blaster pistol again, he begins moving to the other side of the section of crates, when he sees the dark-skinned Human crossing the tops of crates several meters away.
The Human stops upon sighting Snteil, aims his blaster rifle and fires. The deadly bolts scream dangerously close to their target as the Sullustan avoids the incoming fire.
"Ah," states Kurrelgyrre. "So, you do understand Shyriiwook after all!"
"Not that it will matter to you in a while," Jarok snaps back to Kurrelgyrre as he continues his assault.
"Why the deception, then?" the Wookiee inquires as he parries his opponent's two attacks.
"What deception?" Jarok cries after parrying both of Kurrelgyrre's counterstrikes. "I was letting you go free, until your friend killed my master." He continues his attack.
Kurrelgyrre manages to parry the first blow and barely avoids the second as it swings near his chest.
"You acted like you couldn't understand my language and had the Twi'lek translate for you when you could understand me all along.
"Plus, your master tried to sucker-punch me. My friend protected me, just like you tried to protect your master. I was willing to walk without further altercation, even knowing that your master had fallen to the dark side - perhaps even learning ancient Sith secrets."
"I saw what he was planning and was about to call him off!" screams Jarok as his assault continues, each blow stronger than the previous. Kurrelgyrre, however, manages to maintain his defense.
"Right, and you don't understand Shyriiwook either. No, you saw a Jedi, and a Wookiee Jedi at that. You were afraid, and your plan was to get me in a pincer movement and eliminate me.
"It is obvious, though, that your training was incomplete."
Jarok answers, "No thanks to your friend!"
Kurrelgyrre counterattacks against Jarok's defensive maneuvers. Jarok easily avoids the first blow and parries the second with little effort.
"What are you hiding, dark one? Obviously, you want us out of here. You're afraid we'll discover something. I'm betting that you've got something going on with a Wookiee, and you're afraid I'll find out. I'm also betting you know more about Jan Tolbara than what you're letting on. Make no mistake. I will never rest until I find Jan Tolbara. He is my honor-friend."
KG renews his attack with greater ferver than before, recalling every lesson that Jan and Luke ever taught him about lightsaber combat.
As the dark-skinned Human begins to take better aim, Snteil looks up and notices a large crate suspended by a repulsorcrane. Taking quick aim, he fires two shots at the cable suspending the crate on a repulsorpad. The first shot hits solidly against the cable, causing it to strain against the weight of the crate. After another second, the cable snaps.
The dark-skinned Human, hearing the snap of the cable, looks up just in time to see the crate drive him into the crates below. An explosion of wood and metal erupts as the crate from above smashes into the labyrinth and takes the Human with it.
Seeing that the Rodian has moved away from his former position, Snteil jumps down from the crates to where he was before and quickly moves further into the labyrinth. After a few seconds, he finds a dark alcove, settles in and begins his relaxation exercise intent on regaining desperately needed strength.
As he settles into his hiding place, Snteil hears the continued clash of lightsabers nearby.
Continuing his attack, Jarok backswings toward the Wookiee Jedi. Kurrelgyrre intercepts the incoming blade, but the attack hits hard and drives the flame-like blade back. At that instant, Jarok outstretches his left hand toward KG.
Kurrelgyrre quickly sidesteps the unseen force propelled at him and feels it fly past his head. Without hesitation, he ripostes with his lightsaber. KG loops around and swings upward at Jarok, who manages to parry the attack but reels from the strength of the blow. The Wookiee's second blow slices through empty air as Jarok regains his footing.
With teeth gnashed, Jarok pushes forward with a flurry of lightsaber blows. The first blow comes dangerously close to making contact before being parried, and the pungent odor of singed fur fills Kurrelgyrre's sensitive nose. Jarok withdraws and swings low with fierce determination, but KG blocks the attack.
Kurrelgyrre, smelling the singed fur, draws upon the Force with a fierce determination. Roaring in Jarok's face, Kurrelgyrre pushes back his opponent's lightsaber and swings down with his own, slicing through Jarok's arm just below the elbow. Jarok's lightsaber, still ignited and grasped by the severed limb, drops to the warehouse floor. Screaming in pain, the Human grabs his arm at the stump and drops to his knees.
With his fight over, KG lets out a Wookiee victory roar and turns to assist his friend but hears no sounds from the labyrinth. As an afterthought, he slices through Jarok's lightsaber just below the emitter and above the now-dead fingers of Jarok's hand, causing the crimson blade to disappear. He, then, moves up the stairs to the catwalk and begins looking for Snteil through the dark warehouse from his vantage point.
As Snteil prepares to move out from his hiding place, he thinks to himself, "Alright, Kurrely! Three down, at least one to go. But, where could that damn Twi'lek be?"
Sneaking out of his alcove, Snteil begins silently backtracking to where he last encountered the Rodian. Darting from alcove to alcove, corner to corner, the Sullustan continues to make his way through the labyrinth.
Meanwhile, Kurrelgyrre continues to search from the catwalk and sees nothing in the maze. After several seconds, he feels his Force-induced combat awareness begin to fade. Out of the corner of his eye, though, he sees that Jarok has fallen unconscious on the warehouse floor.
Kurrelgyrre quickly moves down the stairs from the catwalk and enters the maze. After several seconds, he finds the wreckage of crates where the dark-skinned Human lays. A few seconds later, Snteil turns a corner and finds his Wookiee companion standing over the body.
Neither the Rodian nor the Twi'lek are anywhere to be seen.
KG whispers to Snteil, "It's quiet. Too quiet.
"Let's move out of here and get to the catwalk. I want to see what's up those stairs. This will give us a higher vantage point as well. Sound good?"
"Maybe," answers Snteil. "I think I should take this time to tell you I'm tired. I'm not quite my 'chipper' self. I'm good to go, but I'm a bit worried about being out in the open like that. I'm feeling a bit exposed as it is."
"The Force is with us, friend," Kurrelgyrre assures. "I've felt your use of it within this conflict. You may not even know that you're using it yet, but you are. It's oftentimes an instinctive thing.
"Do not give in to fear, for it is the power of the Dark Side. Focus on the moment and the here and now. We shall face our remaining nemeses together."
With a nod from the Sullustan, the duo move toward the entrance into the maze.
As Kurrelgyrre and Snteil emerge from the labyrinth, they look around the dark warehouse as an audible pop is heard from above. As the duo look up with weapons ready, they see that the lights are turning back on. As the lights slowly illuminate the warehouse, they look around to find that Jarok is gone. Only his ruined lightsaber lies in pieces where he previously laid on the cold floor.
While moving toward the stairs, the two heroes also notice that Ikirra's body is missing as well as his two lightsabers.
As they reach the bottom of the stairs, they hear something moving across the floor. Looking through the dim light, they see a small sphere with a blinking red light rolling toward the near corner of the labyrinth. Both Kurrelgyrre and Snteil recognize the sphere immediately as a thermal detonator.
As Kurrelgyrre cries out about the thermal detonator, he turns to see Snteil already running for the door. KG taps into the Force and runs for the door as well. Within a fraction of a second, he reaches Snteil's position, grabs the Sullustan while he is opening the door and rushes past the door, through the lobby and into the street.
The thermal detonator explodes mere seconds after Kurrelgyrre and Snteil emerge from the front door. The shockwave from the blast shatters every window on the front of the building, spraying glass all over the street. Flames are seen through the wreckage engulfing the inside of the warehouse and the lobby. Alarms are heard from inside once the deafening roar from the explosion dies down.
Zeethree appears from the dark alley across the street from the warehouse, walks up to the pair and asks, "Are you two okay?"
Snteil gives an exhausted nod, turns to the Wookiee and says, "Kurrlegyrre, thanks. I'm not sure I would have made it out of that blast without your help."
"Not a problem, KG replies. "With some training, though, you could do that on your own."
"By the way," Snteil adds with a wink. "You're welcome for saving your hairy butt from that Dark Jedi fella. What did he say his name was? Iky-arral or something?"
KG sort of laughs. "My thanks, good friend. To take out a dark Jedi who possesses the skill to wield two lightsabers is quite a feat!"
Snteil chuckles and blushes, "Aw, it was nothing, my large friend. You'd have done the same for me. Besides, I couldn't let him attack your backside like that."
KG turns to look at the warehouse and the surrounding buildings, assessing the damage and seeing if anyone was hurt.
The main walls of the warehouse itself appear to be undamaged. A fire has erupted inside the warehouse and parts of the lobby. It looks like some sort of fire-suppressant system has activated inside, spraying water everywhere. The rest of the interior can't be seen from the other side of the street.
Realization and horror dawns on Snteil, "Oh no. Wasn't your friend supposedly in that building!?!"
KG stands in shock for a second but uses the Force to calm down his natural Wookiee rage. Reaching out through the Force, Kurrelgyrre scans the warehouse and is unable to find Jan inside the building.
KG turns to Snteil and answers, "I do not sense Jan within the warehouse. He is either dead, or not here. Somehow, I suspect the latter.
"Let's get back to the starport. The authorities will be here soon."
"Alright, I trust your intuition on this one, Jedi. Let's get outta here." Snteil looks around and wonders outloud, "Now, what did we do with our speeder?"
Before resigning to walking back to the starport on foot, Zeethree addresses to Snteil, "Sir, was the speeder that went through the cargo door earlier damaged? I did not see it leave, and it may work for our needs.
Snteil flashes a big grin and cries, "Zeethree! I KNEW there was a reason I kept you around, ya ol' bucket head. Let's go grab that speeder and get the blazes outta here."
The trio quickly crosses the street toward the cargo door. Lifting open the larger door on the front of the warehouse, Kurrelgyrre finds the lone speeder powered down. Bits of smoldering and burning debris cover the vehicle, but it appears otherwise unharmed.
Upon further examination, the key to the vehicle is still in the ignition.
KG turns to the Sullustan and says with a smile, "Looks like your luck is still with us, my friend."
"Alright," Snteil replies. "Let's get outta here."
"By the way," the droid adds as they climb into their new vehicle. "I did see a speeder leave from the other alley with three people in it. I recognized one as that Twi'lek female that came in earlier. They left in an awful hurry. I think I know why now."
"Three?" Snteil inquires. "Can you describe them to us?"
"One of them was the Twi'lek female that we say earlier," replies Zeethree. "There was also a Rodian and a Human. The Human had brown hair and was clean shaven. He was the one driving the speeder."
"Hmm . . . well, okay then. Alright, do we give chase or do we just get the blazes outta here back to the ships?"
As he starts the speeder, Kurrelgyrre responds, "While I don't want to lose them, we've had quite a fight. We need to rest, or we're dead.
"Let's go back to the ships, then we can see if they're leaving the planet. I'm betting they are, so hopefully we can follow them. Maybe then, we'll find out where Jan really is."
As the other two agree, Kurrelgyrre backs the speeder out into the street and begins the drive back to the starport.
Arriving back at the starport, Kurrelgyrre and Snteil find their ships parked in their docking bays. R6, finishing some routine maintenance on the Z-98, turns upon seeing them arrive and chirps an electronic greeting.
"So," Zeethree interjects. "What do we do next?"
Snteil answers, "I have no clue. For the moment, I need to rest . . . at my wits end and can't think clearly. I'm famished, too. I need something to eat."
"While you're doing that," Kurrelgyrre adds. "I'm going to have Arsix check the computer to see if we can get an idea of where the Xyber Corps may have gone."
With a whistle, Arsix rolls across the landing bay floor to a computer terminal near the door. Opening a panel on the front of his chassis, Arsix extends his computer interface rod and plugs into the socket under the keyboard panel attached to the wall.
After a few seconds, the view screen comes to life and displays the entry screen for the Im'Tra'Tais ship registry database. Several more seconds elapse when Arsix chirps excitedly as an entry appears on the screen.
The entry lists a Suwantek TL-1800 transport called the Xyber One registered to Jarok Garand. Although it is registered with Im'Tra'Tais, the entry lists that the ship has a private hangar offsite.
Snteil returns from his ship with some energy rations, walks to the computer terminal and offers one to KG as he looks over R6's dome to read the display.
Kurrelgyrre accepts the energy bar, takes a bite and remarks, "Tastes like D'katcha beast."
"Yeah and smells worse," answers the Sullustan. "But, it's better than nothing.
"This is interesting. It makes much more sense that they would keep your friend here, if they had him. Less questions and less security snooping around, eh?"
With a nod, KG replies, "Yes, but why the warehouse? Unless that was an in-between place or just a legitimate business front."
"Probably a legitimate business front. A lot of smugglers have them."
After a few more seconds of research, Arsix pulls up a map of the area around the Xyber Corps hangar. The map shows a smaller landing field on the outskirts of town opposite the starport. The droid highlights a hangar bay at one end of the landing field.
The Wookiee Jedi points to the screen and says, "There it is. Y'know, I think they'll make a break for it. If that's the case, we don't want to be separated from our ships. What do you think about flying over there and scoping the place out?"
"You may be right," Snteil states in reply. "Either way, we need to go over there and scope it out. And if we're in our ships, we can keep them on the ground.
"Let's go! Zeethree, get the Aurora prepped for take-off."
KG looks down at his droid and says, "R6, ready the Phantom for takeoff."
After a moment of prepping both ships for takeoff, Zeethree calls Im'Tra'Tais Control and requests permission to transfer to the other landing field. Once permission is granted, the Aurora and the Z-98 lift off and fly across the city.
Within minutes, the two ships arrive at the landing field just in time to see a ship lifting off from the far end. The ship is a round transport with a forward cockpit, which looks like the configuration for the TL-1800 owned by Jarok.
"Look there, Kurrelgyrre?" Snteil exclaims over the comm. "At the far end, there's a ship taking off."
KG responds, "Snteil, do you think we can cut them off?"
"That shouldn't be a problem, if we can get above them, we can force them down."
"Hmm," the Sullustan continues to himself. "It looks like a transport. Can't tell for sure, but it may be the TL-1800, Zeethree. Let's see what the sensors can see."
Snteil attempts to scan the ship, but the cockpit's sensors panel doesn't register the ship.
"Hmm . . . Damn, I can't get anything. Zeethree, see if you can get that sucker on the scanners. Try and figure out if that's the ship we're looking for. And, be quick!"
Zeethree looks at the panel for a second, raises his hand and pounds on the top of the console near the sensors display with it. Suddenly, information about the ship appears on the screen.
Zeethree returns to flying the ship without saying a word.
Snteil gives Zeethree a sideways glance and mutters under his breath, "Smart aleck droid."
The information readout indicates that the ship identifies itself as a Suwantek TL-1800 transport named Xyber One. Sensors also indicate that weapons are online and targeting.
"Oh no!" he exclaims. "Kurrley, they're weapons are armed and targeting! Zeethree, shields!"
Zeethree rises from the pilot seat and rushes to the tactical station. As he does so, Snteil takes the controls of the ship.
"Bring the weapons on line, as well. Link the quads forward!"
Kurrelgyrre orders as he brings the Z-98's weapons online and activates the ship's light polarization hull, "Arsix, see if you can figure out any weaknesses that ship may have."
As the Z-98 begins to disappear from view, the starboard cannons of the Xyber One open fire. The bolts slam through the Phantom's shields and into the starfighter's port wing and fuselage. Explosions erupt from the impact, sending the ship out of control. The light absorption system on the ship fails, and the Phantom rapidly fades back into view. As the Z-98 starts to swerve, Kurrelgyrre manages to bring the ship back under his control.
The Xyber One begins to ascend away from the landing field.
KG suggests over the comm, "Snteil, take care of our 'friends'."
The Aurora begins pursuing the Xyber One and returns fire from its quad laser cannons. The bolts of energy spray against the transport's shields until they succumb to the assault and dissipate. The remaining shots hit the ship's hull, exploding upon impact.
As the Xyber One continues to climb, the port turret whips around to face its pursuer and fires on the Aurora. The first two volleys of fire are stopped by the Aurora's shields, but the third breaks through and rip through the ship's armored hull.
As Kurrelgyrre enters the pursuit, he brings the Z-98 into position and fires the two laser cannons at the Xyber One. The first burst hits the fleeing transport, causing minor explosions along its hull, while the second one is narrowly dodged by its intended target.
The Xyber One's starboard cannons return fire against the starfighter. The two volleys of deadly laser fire slam into the Phantom, causing system overloads throughout the ship. Arsix chirps something excitedly from behind the cockpit as the Ejection Warning signal light begins flashing rapidly on the control panel.
Switching to the ship's ion cannons, Snteil fires upon the other transport. The ion blasts hit the Xyber One, resulting in a display of electrical arcs all across the ship's hull. The ship suddenly decelerates, comes to a stop and begins to drop unpowered toward the planet's surface.
Into the comm, Snteil cries, "Kurrelgyrre!! Do you copy?! Come in! Are you okay? What's going on!?!"
Turning to the droid, he continues, "Zeethree, is there anything we can do for him?"
"Looks like KG is fine to me," the droid responds. "However, I am more concerned about the other transport. Weren't we supposed to take them alive for questioning?"
Snteil blinks as he silently ponders the situation for a brief second and answers, "Well, what in the blazes was I supposed to do? I had to make sure they couldn't shoot at Kurrlegyrre any more. Is it MY fault if I didn't think ahead that they'd still need their repulsorlifts so that they wouldn't crash?
Snteil calms after another second and continues, "Well, maybe they'll survive the impact." He, then, looks at Zeethree sheepishly and shrugs, knowing he screwed up big time here.
Meanwhile, the Z-98 turns to return to the landing field for an emergency landing.
As the Aurora circles the area, Snteil and Zeethree watch the Xyber One as it continues to fall. After several more seconds, the dead ship penetrates the canopy of a large forest below. Nothing happens afterward.
After another minute, Kurrelgyrre lands the Z-98 safely at the nearby landing field from where the Xyber One took off. The Wookiee immediately jumps out of his ship and begins a quick inspection.
As they continue to circle, Snteil looks at his droid companion and states, "We'd better follow it down. Any bright ideas would be helpful, Zeethree. Wrack that computer head of yours you call a brain, would ya?"
Snteil begins flying the ship down, while Zeethree initiates a sensors sweep. After a few seconds, Zeethree states, "Sensors show a large vehicle moving away from our position at a high rate of speed. Attempting a sensors lock."
A few more seconds elapse before the droid continues in a surprised tone, "It's the Xyber One! How did they bring its repulsorlift drive back online?
"Reinitiating pursuit," Zeethree sternly comments into the comm, while Snteil steers the ship to intercept the other transport.
"I'm going to get a lock and end this right here!" the Sullustan growls as he activates the concussion missile launcher.
After finishing his inspection, Kurrelgyrre climbs up to the cockpit, toggles the comm and says, "Snteil, this is Kurrelgyrre. I've landed safely. What happened with the Xyber One? Did she land okay?"
"Kurrelgyrre, Snteil. Good to hear you're down safely, I was worried for a second. If I had time, I'd come pick you up. But, I'm currently in pursuit of the Xyber One . . . again! They got their repulsorlifts back up and running. Don't worry, though. We'll bring her down, one way or another. Snteil out."
"Snteil, no wait . . ."
KG, realizing the comm was just switched off, mutters to himself, "Poodoo!"
"And we'd better act fast," Zeethree adds after Snteil switches off the comm. "It appears they're heading for the starport."
With a look of determination, Snteil looks at the weapons panel at the pilot's station and fires the concussion missiles.
Two concussion missiles launch from the Aurora and fly straight toward the Xyber One. As the missiles approach, the Xyber One's port turret suddenly comes to life and fires three shots at the incoming warheads. The first shot destroys the nearest missile, creating an explosion that lights up the city streets below. The second shot flies past the second missile, but the third finds its mark and causes the last missile to explode prematurely.
"Snteil," Zeethree says as he toggles the overhead speaker switch for the comm. "Listen."
The comm broadcasts, ". . . assistance. Repeat. This is the Xyber One to Im'Tra'Tais Control. We request permission to land to commence repairs. We are being pursued by hostile forces and require assistance."
Another voice comes on after a second of silence and states, "Permission granted, Xyber One. Docking Bay 13 is open for you."
Zeethree adds, "Sensors show the starport's defense grid coming online and weapons powering up."
One second later, the comm signals an incoming message.
"I've got an idea, Zeethree."
Snteil answers the incoming message, "This is Snteil Seit, captain of the Aurora here."
"This is Im'Tra'Tais Control," the comm responds. "We order you to reverse course and leave Im'Tra'Tal space. You have five seconds to comply, or we will open fire."
"Im'Tra'Tais Control. We are well within our rights of pursuit by Rule of En'Tra'Sol."
"Sir," interjects Zeethree. "We are being targeted."
"Well, if we've got any shields left, put them double front," answers Snteil.
Zeethree looks at a screen for a second and answers, "Shields are only at 9%. We're dead! . . . But, I'll angle them anyway. Won't do any good. It was nice working with you, Snteil. I'll transmit my last will and testament after I angle the shields. I hope Kurrelgyrre gets it in time."
"Don't be such a pessimist, Zeethree," Snteil says with despair in his voice.
The comm remains uneasingly silent over the next few seconds. Five seconds pass, and the starport's weapons remain still. Snteil glances questioningly at Zeethree.
After a few more seconds, the comm announces, "Aurora, Docking Bay 24 is open. Land your ship there. Any deviance from that course, and we will open fire."
"Acknowledged." Snteil switches off the comm, "Well, I wonder what I've gotten us into now?"
At that moment, the comm signals another incoming message.
Snteil opens the comm, "Captain Seit here."
"If you're doing what we think you're doing," the unknown voice replies over the comm. "We suggest you don't. We have enough on you to have you dishonored as well. On top of that, we've been on this planet for nearly ten years and are quite familiar with how En'Tra'Sol works."
Snteil switches off the comm with the Xyber One and opens a channel with his Wookiee friend, "Did you catch any of that, KG?"
Kurrelgyrre answers, "I'm afraid they're right. They have the home field advantage here, and our actions could be considered dishonorable by their standards. We have no proof that they have Jan, and we did break into their warehouse.
"I would just break off, and tell control that this was all a misunderstanding. Do NOT come across as a coward running from a fight. Just say that you will cease conflicts planetside, and all further conflicts will be resolved elsewhere. I'm not sure if that would work or not."
At that second, Arsix gives his damage report. It doesn't look good. Aside from the light absorption system needing repair before it can be operational again, the weapons and hyperdrive are offline and need to be repaired. In addition, the Phantom took extensive hull damage that needs to be repaired before even hoping to fly into space.
"Will do," Snteil replies, switches off the connection with KG and re-opens a communication with Landing Control.
"Platform control, this is Snteil Seit, captain of the Aurora. We are ceasing our chase of the Xyber One as per requested. You will hear no more from us, planetside. We will take our conflict elsewhere. Sorry for the inconvienience."
"This is Im'Tra'Tais Control," the voice over the comm answers. "Acknowledged."
The Aurora's comm signals another incoming message. Zeethree opens the channel and hears, "Snteil, are you there? What's your status?"
"Well, I'm headed back to your location. I've got some hull damage, but it's not anything that Zeethree and I can't handle. Stand by, I'll be there shortly."
After a couple moments elapse, the Aurora flies over the landing field and sets down near the Z-98.
Once Snteil lands, KG informs Snteil of the damage to his ship.
"All in all," the Wookiee adds. "She's not in good shape. We need to get repairs done.
"I'd like to contact the Jedi Academy at Yavin 4, and see if they might offer some assistance."
With a nod from Snteil, the group boards the Aurora. KG sits down at the communications panel and connects to Coyn's global communications network. Once done, he calls the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4. After a moment of silence, the comm signal opens.
"Jedi Academy, this is Kurrelgyrre. Do you read?"
After a moment's pause, the comm answers with a male voice that KG recognizes as Kam Solusar, "Jedi Academy. Go ahead, Kurrelgyrre."
"I ran into a bit of trouble on Coyn. Is Luke, er, Master Skywalker there?"
Kam replies, "Master Skywalker is currently occupied. He's with some students. Is there something I can help out with, KG?"
Kurrelgyrre relates the information regarding finding two Dark Jedi on Coyn.
"I do not believe they are a new order of Sith, although their presence is troubling. The one with two blades is clearly the master, the other the apprentice. Yet where did this master learn his dark arts from?"
"Hmmm," Kam responds. "This is troubling. We would have to research that and see what we can come up with."
"Also, the Z-98 Phantom is banged up pretty bad. Is there any chance that you guys might be able to send a salvage team? She can be fixed, but she can't travel on her own power."
After a brief pause, Kam continues. "Our records show that an authorized Incom dealer and repair shop is on Coyn in the city of En'Tra'Tal. We have an arrangement with Incom when it comes to the Z-98. If you have any way of getting it over to them, they should take care of it."
"Thanks, Kam," KG states. "Shouldn't be too hard. Also, does the academy's databanks have any information on a mercenary group called Xyber Corps?"
"We'll have to get back with you on that," the voice over the comm answers. "But, I will put it down to be done."
"Thanks. Kurrelgyrre out."
The Wookiee closes the comm channel, turns to Snteil and says, "Let's get the Phantom over to En'Tra'Tal."
After towing the starfighter to the largest city on Coyn, locating the Incom facility and turning the ship over to their repair crews, Kurrelgyrre looks to Snteil and Zeethree and says, "Well, it looks like I'm riding with you now, if that's okay. The question is, what's next?"
Zeethree interjects, "I'm not sure what we should do next. But, may I suggest contacting that friend of yours on your homeworld, Kurrelgyrre. His name was Rashacco, wasn't it?"
KG smiles and replies, "Yes, good idea!" Returning to the comm station, he calls Kashyyyk. Another silent moment passes, and a familiar Wookiee voice answers.
"Rashacco, it is good to see you again."
"Good to see you as well," Rashacco replies in Shyriiwook over the Aurora's comm system. "How goes the search for your friend?"
"Not well. We encountered a group called Xyber Corps, which contained two Dark Jedi. We've dispatched the two Dark Jedi, but I think Xyber Corps knows more than what we've discovered.
"We're running out of leads."
"Well," Rashacco answers. "It's a good thing I went to Coruscant, then. I had to travel to the capital for a meeting of planetary senators in our sector."
"The good thing about being a Wookiee senator," KG interjects, "is that other races tend to want short negotiations."
With a chuckle, the voice over the comm responds, "Too true.
"I was thinking of you after one of my meetings and did some research for you. I managed to get the rendezvous coordinates for the Sarlacc and the Valiant. If you remember, the Sarlacc never made it to the rendezvous, but the Valiant did. Perhaps you can retrace their flight?"
"I think that's doable," Snteil adds behind the Wookiee. "Between the three of us, I think we can do it." Zeethree nods in agreement.
Kurrelgyrre states, "Excellent idea. Please transmit those coordinates. By any chance, did you come across a flight plan as well?"
"Nobody here has a flight plan for the Sarlacc, but perhaps your friend Snteil can help determine what course they may have plotted."
"That's affirm, KG. I shouldn't have any trouble figuring out their course," Snteil announces with a confident, winning smile.
KG pauses for a second, thinking he's seen that sort of smile before.
"Very well, then. Sounds like a plan. Rashacco, I thank you for your assistance. If you learn anything more, let me know."
The two Wookiees give a farewell, and KG switches off the comm.
"Well, it looks like we're traveling together now. This is good. I wish to speak to you about your potential with the Force."
"Did Luke tell you NOTHING, Kurrlegyrre?" Snteil inquires excitedly. "I gave up that path long ago. But, you're right. Looks like we'll be traveling together. That's great! I can always use a second gunner."
"Uh," the Wookiee Jedi answers. "Last time I was a gunner, the gun jammed outside of Jabba the Hutt's palace."
Snteil shakes his head and mentions, "I don't even want to know."
"As for the other," Kurrelgyrre quickly adds, "we'll have plenty of time to talk."
The Sullustan attempts to ignore the last comment, as the group walks to the cockpit.
After sitting down in the cockpit of the Aurora and working with the coordinates, Snteil calculates the most probable course that the Sarlacc would have taken. Since the coordinates are in deep space, the course appears to swing by a couple of worlds before connecting with the Hydian Way near Rutan. The first world is Demara, homeworld of the Demarans who joined the galactic community about 4 to 5 years ago. The second is Halkiir, which is mostly a barren world that was rumored to hold a secret Imperial base.
Snteil relays the findings to Kurrelgyrre and states with a shrug, "Well, since we are probably going to have to check both worlds out, perhaps we should check out the less hostile world first. Perhaps we can find some info about the Sarlacc. Besides, it's first.
"Although I will admit, it is more likely if they got stuck on a world, it would be one in which they couldn't get communications out which of course would mean Halkiir."
"What do you think?"
With a nod, KG says, "Make it so."
Snteil smiles and answers, "Let's go, gentlemen."
As soon as clearance is given, the Aurora lifts from the landing field and ascends into the night sky. Once the atmosphere is cleared and the course confirmed, Snteil engages the hyperdrive.
A weight seems to lift off of Kurrelgyrre's shoulders as the stars turn into streaks across the darkness of space. Although his friend has not been found yet, hope is renewed with the new lead, and the galaxy is a little safer with the Xyber Corps put down. The Wookiee finds a bed and lies down to find himself quickly dropping into a deep slumber.