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Old 10-02-2006, 11:36 AM   #14
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Mumbai
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Chapter 14: Facility of Ghosts

Kashyyyk’s unforgiving rain battered down on Wefive’s helmet as he struggled with the well-encrypted lock system that barred him entry into Zivz 110011. After half a dozen attempts, he threw his computer spike into rich, auburn puddle beside him. It floated back upto him. Wefive looked back and saw Torrd, his hood drawn, grinning. Wefive took the spike and violently threw it at the Jedi, who caught it and cleaned it wit the raindrops. Wefive came and sat beside Torrd, on a wet and rather slippery log. Seliqa sat on another log, reading the holographic map of Z-101. As Wefive’s bulk dropped itself on the opposite log, she took a quick look and continued studying.

“Alright, not my fault. This is a top secret scientific research facility, and I don’t believe they keep their front doors open all the time.” Wefive promptly stated.

“You’ve been here before, right? On the outside, too. Know any back doors?” Torrd asked.

“Hmm. There were a few docking nests topside, but they must be locked tight. There is one place, though. It’s called the Nest Hub. Hand me the map, Seliqa, thanks. See this here, on top of the building, this is the ‘watch tower’ as they called it. There are three docking nests on it, with support for multiple ships. The big blocky thing here, at the base of the tower is the hub. You can throw in a dozen ships or something there…”

“Wouldn’t that be closed?” Seliqa asked, looking up at the partially visible tower.

“Probably not. Sometimes I wondered if it even had doors, it had fat openings for ships to come in and get out with ease.”

“Worth a try.” Torrd stated.

“Yes, well there are other places, too. This facility was built very specifically. It’s modeled over the terrain below and around it. See the hills around? They’re part of the facility. The facility you see here is actually nothing, the real deal is below, within the hills, below the ground. The entrances are hidden. All the unimportant stuff was stacked up here, on top.”

“Then how do we go down?” Seliqa asked.

“There were openings in the forests or hills or something. They never told us, we just had to guard the counterfeit. Besides, they must be pretty much closed by now.”

“Back to the nest hub plan. How do you propose we go down to the bottom facility from up there?”

“There was a super-elevator which goes to the lavish fake facility. From there, there was supposed to be a small restricted-area sort-of elevator inside somewhere, which went deep down.”

A massive crack of thunder sounded in the air. The rain multiplied.
“Better get to it, then.”

The RAS Algos, whose last recorded post was at in the V-4T457 Dessé Asteroid Field, had become the busiest in it’s ten-month operation period. The incoming message from DY-44 sparked excitement on board and the ship traveled to the mysterious location revealed by DY-44. As soon as the massive behemoth arrived, all hell broke loose. Starfighters discharged from the underside of the Republic Assault Ship, raiding the asteroids of Polis Massa. A special ship, a sleek GD-59 Covert Bomber dropped a powerful anti-laser charge into the largest asteroid, pulverizing it’s laser capabilities. Ground troops then spewed from the incoming transports. Adept at space warfare, they murdered Polis Massans and Republic Troopers alike.
DY-44 sneaked into a dock at the rear of the ship, hidden from wary eyes. The ships quietly slid in and the hangar doors closed on their own accord. DY-44 was greeted by an enthusiastic clone, who guided them through the more intricate labyrinths of the ship’s rear end. They finally emerged in more familiar hall designs and architecture, until they met with the Captain of the Ship, Captain PV-924. After a cold welcome, they assembled in the sealed briefing room. The conversation started with a rather unnecessary update on the situation, but the meeting sparked to life with the arrival of Commander Soy, via holovision.

“We have received trajectory calculation data from the holonet, and things do not look good.” Informed a blue-plated technician, ejecting a datapad.

“Where were they headed?” Soy asked.

“Kashyyyk or Trandosha, considering the craft’s capabilities and speed estimation.”

“Suicide. Kashyyyk is being heavily patrolled and Trandosha is tropical hell. Those lizards are brain-damaged and the climate not too friendly. We have a good party out there anyways.” PV-924 analyzed.

“Precisely. They’ll want to hide under our noses, where we won’t find them.” Added a subordinate.

“Double the enforcement at Kashyyyk, Trandosha and all surrounding territories. Get those craft-detector satellites fixed and tracking. We need a hit at least this time.” Soy commanded.

His order was greeted by an acknowledgement by PV -924.
“Xydan, it is imperative that you leave immediately for Kashyyyk. I will send a nearby recon squad for Trandosha and flush both planets out.”

The technician approached Xydan and handed him a datapad.
“This contains information on the approximate landing co-ordinates for that craft, taken through Kashyyyk Rotation and Revolution Analysis Databank.” He informed.

The meeting soon came to a close, after more deliberations and decisions. DY-44 set off for Kashyyyk within minutes.

“I think I have agoraphobia…” whined Torrd as the fifteen-feet square elevator descended down a massive and dark cylindrical chamber. The walls were rimmed with pathways furnished with railings and gloomy, dark doors. The entire location was loosely lighted by what appeared to be moonlight, or a variant of it. The elevator lowered constantly, but the chamber seemed to be endlessly long, like a vertical tunnel of sorts. The little square patch of fresh blue light was like a gift of God, thrown away.
“Whoever made you a Jedi… deserves to be shot… here. In the head.” Wefive said, motioning his pistol to his head.

“Yes, well that’s precisely why we Jedi learn how to deflect blasters early on.” Joked Torrd.

The two had developed a rather close friendship, somehow. It had developed within and both could feel it. It was like drinking a cup from the fountains of healing, or floating in the sky, free from the pains of land. The two seemed to insult each other, but they were only joking and Seliqa had eventually realized it.

The elevator came to a shuddering halt and it was difficult to see what was around the base of the elevator, thanks to the darkness that prevailed. Wefive put on his infrared visor, which he had pretty much forgotten till now. The world of darkness around him was suddenly lit up by a bright red flame that engulfed the vicinity. He took out a torch from his belt and handed it to Torrd. Seliqa ignited her lightsaber for light.

The elevator had stopped in the middle of the vertical tunnel they had been traveling through. The stop was built in the middle of a ring, suspended in the middle of the tunnel by a metal pathway to the railed path that so closely hugged the round chamber. Wefive stepped out on the pathway, and away from the ring-like elevator stop. The shadows around them looked rather frightening, like a materialization of disease, or the presence of an omnipresent monster. The smell, which would have once been graceful and aseptic had now grown into a repulsive stench, laden with the carcasses of humans and beasts alike.

Wefive had found a corridor that led away from the cylindrical hub and into a series of doors, all marked with code or a name, and shut. There was no use stumbling into the unnecessary, as a death in a location as remote as this would be unnerving, at the least. Turns and hallways later, Wefive found himself descending down a flight of stairs. The group had maintained an unearthly silence, without as much as a grunt.

“Oh great captain of the clones, wait up so I may grace your presence!” Torrd called out.

“Shut up, pipsqueak. You’re no better than… Well just shut up and think of what we have in mind once we reach the facility.”

“I say we get to the comm. room and ask all survivors to respond, so we can personally rescue each one.” Torrd suggested, on a more serious note.

“Yeah, maybe we can ask them to spare us the effort and get their butts to the comm. room themselves. Yeah, good.”

“You think anyone survived?” Torrd asked, his eyes on the descending stairs.
“Nah, I think this place is a sophisticated graveyard…” Wefive answered.
“Then where are the bodies?” Seliqa asked.

The question left a trail of dead silence in it’s wake. They had encountered no body – living or dead.

The abrupt coming of DY44 sent loud shockwaves throughout the empty space that surrounded them. Their specially-designed cruiser, wrapped in a ring-like ultra-thruster did not pause for a moment as it jumped out of lightspeed and dove straight for the green sphere below that was Kashyyyk. The ultra-thruster was another of the Republic’s darker researches, which had been implemented while still in a prototype phase. Recon was always given the prototypes first, so as to test equipment before pushing them off for other ranks. The use of the ultra-thrusters required official sanction, which had not been taken in this case. The thruster would shoot the craft to a tremendous speed in space, some five times more than average hyperspace speeds.

It took quite a while before the soldiers of DY44 recovered from the shuddering jolt of the jump. As soon as Blade regained his senses, he detached the disposable thruster behind and doubled the speed, racing towards Kashyyyk. Irtan checked the information sent to the craft by Kashyyyk’s satellites. After analyzing and working with the data, he presented it to Xydan, who agreed on Irtan’s guess that the craft would head for an abandoned Republic research facility, in the middle of the planet-spanning forest. It was known as Zivz 110011, one of the few facilities which the Chancellor had ordered a “clean-up” of, prior to Order 66. The place had never been checked since the clean-up and there was ample opportunity for their prey to hide. Deep-scanning satellites had eliminated the possibility of the trio hiding in the open, under the cover of the trees. The scanning was inaccurate, but Xydan knew better.

He commissioned the Desci Ship-scanning satellite, which, by some stroke of luck lay in a nearby RAS. The smooth Desci satellite glided out of the Assault Ship’s belly and positioned itself near the Recon Cruiser. It’s invisible rays traveled through the empty expanse between itself and the planet below. They penetrated the thick tree-cover, raced parallel to the trees, some striking an unknown creature of nature’s. The remaining rays would continue their journey and strike the ground. After realizing they could not travel any further, they would bounce back up, and propel to the satellite’s receivers, where a three-dimensional visual representation of the terrain would be available.

An unusual looking terrain formation stood before the grand blast doors of Zivz. Xydan immediately realized, just as Irtan did, that this was no terrain formation. It was a sort of light cruiser often used by smugglers, and the very same model that DY-44 had given chase to on Onderon, and later spotted at Polis Massa. His guess was right. Their targets were found.

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