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Join Date: Jan 2004
Chapter 15: Sinister Shadows
Wefive, Torrd and Seliqa had reached the dark depths of the facility. After several ups and downs through stairs they reached a rather large corridor, lined with dark glass windows and occasional doors with red, or malfunctioning lights. A yellow display panel hanging from the ceiling gave the infrequent designation of where each door led. They were mostly labs, halls or something of the sort. The three advanced slowly, an air of eerie ghosts surrounding them. There was an ethereal silence in the facility ever since they had entered it. Not a soul stirred inside. No creatures, human or otherwise had been found. Not even the smallest of critters were to be seen.
Seliqa caught sight of a long glass window, which was much like the other opaque black windows they had seen. Except this one was transparent. What caught the young Jedi’s attention was a faint blue flickering from the other side of the window. Seliqa looked in and noticed the flickering was being caused due to damaged electrical equipment. Sparks flew around and from what Seliqa could make of the sudden dancing shadows, there was a large underground room beyond the window. The corridor they were on, was an enclosed observation deck that served as a pathway to the deeper labs.
Torrd stopped to peer into the darkness with Seliqa and he too, saw attempted to decipher why this lab was drawing their attention. There was something sinister, and dangerous under those shadows, in those labs below them. He spotted a stairway leading up from the lab’s floor and after a few turns, joining a corridor which hugged the ceiling and met the observation deck at a convenient door beside the window. There were wooden and metal tables below, most broken or burned. Papers, datapads and other stationery lay in a slapdash fashion. Computer panels showed bright blue error messages, were frozen in unresponsiveness or blank, if not broken or sparking. Again, there were no bodies.
The three stared down in a mutually established silence. The room had once been the site of much violence, chaos and confusion. A battle, Seliqa thought. A battle would explain the carbon scoring and lack of bodies. But then why was all the work left there, for visitors to pore over and learn the Republic’s secrets? Torrd was thinking of a science experiment gone wrong. He believed that the scientists had stumbled upon some sort of mind-altering drug, which had seemingly damaged either a subject or a scientist’s head. Wefive though of treachery. Rules in secret installations were strict. The slightest deviation from rules required thorough detention, and could even stretch to execution.
“Take a look at this…” Wefive whispered. He was looking through the window at a rather steep angle. Torrd took his place and gazed out, waiting for the flickering.
There were Bacta cylinders. The life-saving cylinders were used to keep specimens with absolutely no compromise on health. They were broken; the shattered glass and spilt bacta surrounded them. Torrd and Wefive also spotted four huge flat holding beds. Handcuffs at the ends held the victim’s arms and legs fast. Suddenly it dawned upon Torrd that the damage was not caused by any army, or mad scientist, or science experiment. It was something more primitive, more savage. The damage caused was not due to blasters, but due to raw powerful hands. It was not uniform, and definitely not sophisticated.
“We better take a look down there. Look for survivors.” Wefive suggested, without taking his eyes off the window.
“We’ve already sent a message through the intercom and waited a damned hour for nothing, and you think we’re going to find survivors, there? Of all places, there?” Torrd replied cynically.
“Yeah, well I at least want to what happened in there. Something’s happened here and you cannot deny that. This place is… freaking me out. It’s so, empty. Like some horror holovision movie.” Seliqa said.
After some moments of consideration, Torrd agreed and punched the door panel. It turned green and the door opened up, after much difficulty. He stepped in, shortly followed by Wefive and Seliqa. They were in another, smaller observation deck that shortly terminated with a sharp right and a flight of stairs which took right turns at a regular pace. As soon as the stairs started, the observation deck ended and the massive expanse of the room could be felt as the three descended into it’s depths.
It was dark, but not as dark as it had first appeared. It’s only illumination was the long window near the ceiling, through which Seliqa had once been peering. It’s featured were abruptly illumined because of the sparking wire. Seliqa and Torrd ignited their lightsabers simultaneously, so as to lighten up the place better. The pure glow from the lightsabers revealed a room of research, experimentation and secrets. The bacta cylinders loomed over Wefive as he made his way through the spilt bacta. Torrd looked around warily, hoping for the slightest trace of life.
They examined the place, looking up and down, wondering what had caused the destruction. The damage was evident now, and signs of forced violence had now become obvious. Something grizzly had occurred here before and an eerie feeling told Wefive that whoever was responsible for this act was somewhere there. He stepped up to one of the metal tables. It was made of strong durasteel, but couldn’t not shine against the carbon scoring on it. It was slightly deformed at edges. Somebody with enormous strength and used it as a punching bag. Papers and panels lay haphazardly on the table, some even fallen below. They all had ‘Top Secret’ and ‘Confidential’ watermarks on them.
As Torrd and Seliqa explored the great experimentation chamber, Wefive let his blaster rest on the table and shuffled through the papers. He looked with the expert eye of a battle observer. He swiftly changed pages, but most were unimportant babble on chemicals and protocols and other such ‘hypocritical rhetoric’ as Wefive put it. Seliqa spotted him going through the papers when she saw him fix his gaze on one paper. After scanning through it’s contents for a few seconds, he dropped it onto the table and read it more thoroughly. Seliqa could sense him growing tense. He was reading rapidly. His heart had started to beat faster. Seliqa could feel the disbelief, the growing sense of danger, the fear in Wefive’s mind. He slowly began muttering the page’s content as he rapidly read it.
As soon as his eyes ran over the last letter on the paper, Wefive looked up in fearful desperation. With a swift hand he threw aside the paper and grabbed his blaster, cocking it.
“Get out of here! Get the hell out!” he shouted, advancing towards the stairs.
“What is it?” Seliqa asked, anxious to know the contents of the paper.
“Hurry! We don’t have the flaming time! It…”
A sharp sound of glass breaking interrupted Wefive. His head snapped to the left, where the sound came from, to the opposite of the bacta tanks.
“Hell no. Come on, get out! Out!” he yelled.
“Look, what’s in those papers anyways?” Torrd asked, using the force to bring the papers towards him while Seliqa walked to where she heard the glass shattering.
Suddenly, out of the darkness an unknown entity rammed itself into Wefive, throwing him a few feet away from where he was standing. He fired his blaster, lighting up the room in short white bursts. The creature which had attacked him howled in pain as the burning laser connected. Torrd ignited his lightsaber, and the creature turned back. Against the faint light from the window above, Wefive got an idea of the countenance of his assailant. It was a large beast, almost nine feet in height and had a wide chest, with thick, iron-strong muscles. He was very furry and breathed laboriously. He growled loudly, as if threatening.
Wefive pulled the trigger and let the white blaster fire dig into the creature’s back. The creature roared in pain as Wefive got up. As soon as Wefive paused to reload his magazine, the creature turned back voraciously and slapped Wefive with his massive clenched fist. This time Wefive moaned in the painful impact he received on his head. Exulting his rage, the creature stormed towards Seliqa and with the same terrifying clenched fist, he delivered a deadly punch to Seliqa, who artfully dodged the attack. The frustrated beast then unleashed a flurry of attacks on Seliqa who continued dodging and jumping, enraging the beast further. And right when he least expected it, she ignited her lightsaber and made a quick, light slash while ducking through below the beast’s arms.
The beast expressed his fury by banging his hands in frustration on the metal table in front of him. His hands made quite noticeable dents on the table. The beast then turned to Torrd, or at least seemed to. Seliqa hurried to Wefive and took off his helmet. He was conscious, but dazed. He noticed Seliqa and then the creature. He whispered a faint “There”, pointing towards the monster facing Torrd. Torrd ignited his lightsaber, and waved it near the creature hoping it won’t harm the creature. He did not believe in senseless violence, especially against non-sentient creatures. This code had often landed him in more than one instance of trouble.
The beast had amazing agility and jumped right over the table that divided him and Torrd. He waved his hands randomly at Torrd, hoping to get some flesh within his claws, but failed and eventually withdrew, fearing Torrd’s lightsaber skill. The second he lowered the saber, the creature punched at a lightning-fast speed. Torrd stepped back instantly and avoided the blow. He came to his senses atlast and backflipped several feet behind.
“What the hell is this thing?” he shouted out in rage and desperation.
“A… It’s a…” Wefive sputtered, choking and attempting to get up.
“What?” Torrd yelled back.
“It’s a bloody mutant wookiee!” Wefive screamed, firing at the wookiee. Because of the distance, very few shots connected.
Wefive’s words hit Torrd like a bullet. He didn’t believe his ears for the moment.
“A mutant what?”
“Behind you!” alerted an alarmed Seliqa, just as the wookiee marched threateningly towards Torrd. The wookiee was growling fiercely, and apparently did not have a sentient mind. He was only a brutal, senseless monster of destruction and pain.
“Huh?” Torrd uttered, looking back. Milliseconds later, a mammoth claw struck his face, scratching it. Torrd staggered from the blow and moaned.
He lost his senses only a second later, when the first wookiee’s thundering punch connected his neck. He fell down to his knees, his vision blurry, his head throbbing. Tossing his head back, he caught a glimpse of the two wookiees towering over him. One of them was about to drive his massive paw into Torrd, when suddenly a bright orange lightsaber blade erupted from his abdomen. His eyes opened up in shock, from his mouth flowed a deafening roar of pain. Seliqa’s blade withdrew and once again plunged in, this time into the chest. A quick succession of stabs later, the wookiee toppled and fell, his body lifeless.
The wookiee’s companion did not take the incident too kindly. He screamed and shouted and began attacking Seliqa, clawing for her, ignoring the lethal swinging white blade. His fingers got chopped off by a graceful swing of Seliqa’s and his chest lightly slashed. It only enraged the pulsating beast further. He attempted a jump at Seliqa, but stumbled and fell as soon as Wefive stepped out of the shadows and fired rapidly at the wookiee from close range. Close range repeater shots are always deadly and the wookiee lashed about on the ground in pain as the blaster fire rained on him relentlessly.
“Quick! Out of here, now!” Wefive commanded, his finger firm on the trigger. Seliqa grabbed the semi-conscious Torrd and dragged him to the stairs. Wefive slowly followed her, his gun still trained on the wookiee. As soon as he was a dozen feet away from the writhing body of the creature, he stopped firing and ran up the stairs with Seliqa, reloading as he ran.
The mutant had developed an unbelievable stamina. He got up and after a round of confusion, lashed about, destroying anything in vicinity and then storming up the stairs. Wefive and Seliqa hurried, with the newfound danger following them. Wefive sprinted to the door and punched it harder than necessary. The door opened, with the slightly delay courtesy of malfunction. The wookiee charged up the stairs and reached the observation deck just as Wefive opened the door to the larger observation deck. Wefive hurriedly took out a smoke canister and loading it in his gun, fired it straight into the giant wookiee’s eyes. The wookiee screamed in rage, frustration and pain as the tear gas spread into his eyes and irritated his skin. The gas spread fast, but the wookiee slowed to a halt. Seliqa was already past the main door. Wefive lunged out and closed the door desperately. The door closed after a painfully long nine second delay.
Wefive heaved a sigh of relief as he dropped down against the wall of the observation deck and took off his helmet. Seliqa sat beside him, propping Torrd up beside her. Torrd was still moaning, but had become more conscious. He lay rubbing the back of his neck, which was apparently still throbbing in pain.
“Remind me never to run into an experimentation chamber next time…” Wefive said, his voice reduced to a breath-heavy whisper.
“That was… very painful.” Torrd uttered, still fondling his neck.
“Here, take this.” Wefive said, tossing two cylinders of blue bacta over to Torrd, “Found these down there. I took some and stored them in my suit’s pockets. He handed one to Seliqa and gulped a mouthful from another.
“That was refreshing. But the pain ain’t gonna go out… yet.” Torrd announced, emptying a cylinder.
Seliqa initiated her holographic map. Wefive looked into it. And with some tracing, tracked their position. “Okay,” he said, coming to a conclusion, “We’re close to the upper part. We just take a door to the left… somewhere, there that door. It should lead us somewhere above, then an elevator to go to the upper facility, and a stack of ladders and halls to the rear exit of the facility.”
“But where will we go?” Seliqa asked.
“Anywhere, dammit! Anywhere other than this scientific hell built here. We almost got killed there! It’s worse than facing those Recon goons!”
Seliqa hesitated and spent a moment of thought.
“I follow the clone.” Torrd announced, apparently still in pain.
“Alright, we’ll think better once we’re out.” Seliqa said and got up.
“Way to go. Now we’re talking, sister!” Wefive acknowledged, getting up. He extended his arm to Torrd and helped him up. He then assisted him in walking and the two slowly, but surely limped their way to the door Wefive had planned upon.