After yet another daring escape ahead of the authorities and large amounts of property damage, we were back in space again on our ship. At least for the moment, the drive system starting making an odd noise and Handell started swearing. My sarcastic comment of going out and Force Pushing the ship was met with a great deal more approval than I had expected. I knew this piece of junk was in dire need of repairs, but this was worse than I anticipated.
Handell felt he could make the jump to hyperspace and wanted to know what our destination was. After a quick review of everyone we had annoyed thus far, we had annoyed the Sith, the Jedi, the Republic, the bounty hunters, a couple of major criminal syndicates and authorities on several planets. Looked like the best bet was as far away from any of them we could get. So I suggested a world on the outer rim outside of Republic or Sith space. The suggestion was quickly approved by the group and the jump to hyperspace was made.
At which point it became apparent we had an additional passenger I had not accounted for in my estimations. This one looked to be a cat person of some sort named Lazlo. When I asked where he came from and why he was onboard, he replied saying he was a servant of Handell. Now, I am known for not paying attention in class, but surely I would have noticed this one. A quick conversation revealed Handell thought him to be a drunken hallucination that Handell won in a card game. I chose not to ask any further questions as the two of them discussed Handell’s hallucinating habits. I mean, I used to drink pretty heavily in school, but I never got to the point where I thought I was hallucinating.
The trip was a long one taking nearly seven days in total. The small fires in the drive system pretty much wore out the only fire extinguisher we had and I ended up jury rigging something using carbonated beverages and adhesive tape to keep things under control. It also gave me plenty of time to brood, not only on the Anti-Force, but of home. I find my attention turning there of late, thinking of friends and family. I do not particularly understand why, but my thoughts have focused on Dorothy in particular quite a bit. It finally occurred to me that none of them might know that I am still alive after the destruction of the Naichron. So I got to writing a letter in my spare time when I was not practicing.
After seven days, we finally dropped out of hyperspace above our destination. The place looked like the proverbial backwater of the galaxy, which made it perfect in my books. After Handell announced that it was good I approved as we were not going to be able to go into hyperspace again, did I begin to worry. Not much to do except to strap myself in and be ready with the fire extinguisher as Handell worked his magic. Telera was having issues keeping the two young apprentices calm, and Khadim and 10CH didn’t really seem to care either way. Garyan seemed to enjoy the ride and wanted to tell tales of the orbital drops he had been on. Lazlo was busy complaining about how dangerous this type of landing was to Handell and kept glaring at me for whatever reason. I never really did like cats.
Handell did manage to land us without any navigational guidance and minimal drive capability. I would say he landed us in one piece, but the pile of debris a kilometer to the south testifies otherwise. Another small fire had broken out onboard and the atmospheric scrubbers had finally lost the battle with the smoke. I open the hatches and vented the place, then chucked the unconscious Lazlo out into the fresh air before taking stock of the situation.
It looked like we had two people here waiting for us. One looked to be a stereotypical hunter (although something seemed off or damaged about her Force aura). The other was a young man with trucks full of parts and a datapad. His force aura looked off too, although he apparently had some power. He proceeded to introduce himself as Ben and announced he was waiting for us with all the parts he would need to fix the ship and an estimate for the repairs. Needless to say this set off warning bells in my mind as how exactly could anyone could have anticipated our arrival was beyond me. Although it took some digging, after awhile I was able to piece together that he claimed to be an escapee from some Sith breeding project. The name of his Sith Master also rang a bell as some nutjob I had heard of busily manufacturing bio weapons. Lovely.
The lady introduced herself as a noble from Coruscant named Alys. No easy way to verify that, although the sheer willingness she displayed at helping us foot the repair bill on the ship was also disturbing. I have seen some coincidences in my brief tour with the Force, but people showing up with money and no questions asked is begging for concern. Nonetheless, even with Alys and Ben’s assistance, the repairs were just going to be beyond our means entirely. It was time to look for work.
Handell went off to a bar to drown his hallucinations again, and I followed on a pretext of doing something similar. While I did have a few drinks, it mainly served to help learn where work might be found on this farming planet. Biggest jobs were for hunting some legendary creature in the mountains, hunting giant jelly fish in the sea, and investigating some underwater ruins. A quick conversation with Alys and some common sense dictated the creature in the mountains was likely merely a legend. While I was certain that we could go on trips hunting jellyfish without too much issue, there was something regarding the supposed history of the things that concerned me. The story that the annoying things were designed by some sapient species to be symbiotes just didn’t mesh with how the things had run wild. Never mind the fact we had an admitted creation of a Sith bio weapons developer among us.
I advocated the group go on a fishing trip while I explored the ruins alone. Ben and Alys unsurprisingly wanted to tag along with me. Handell then announced he wanted to go as well, which relieved me that I would not be down there alone with the two of them. At which point Lazlo began complaining bitterly about all of us suicidally marching to our doom. I offered that he could stay behind or even stay with the ship, but he adamantly insisted he must remain with Handell, and that we shouldn’t be dragging Handell with us. I shrugged, I wasn’t forcing Handell to do anything, although I did appreciate his presence.
A quick stop at the library (I never believed I would be saying that) revealed more about the history of the world and the background behind the ruins and their probable origin. Aquatic species shows up, experiments with engineering symbiotic organisms and then promptly looses control to an obvious flaw. I was certain I didn’t buy the story, but needed to investigate first. Maybe it is from watching too many holos as a kid, but too many pieces were falling into place for this to be a normal research lab. We had a probable bio weapons lab, an engineered Sith specimen from a known bio weapons engineer that had “escaped” and was waiting for me to arrive here, and conveniently is missing parts that will require him to follow me down to the ruins to salvage parts. I smelled a set up.
It was about the time we left the library that the port authorities arrived. They wanted to apologize for their inability to guide us into a landing and wanted to know if we were alright. I told we were fine, although the ship was definitely worse for wear, not that this was their fault. They did seem appalled at the still smoking ruin of the ship, and didn’t seem to appreciate the joke I made regarding neglecting regular maintenance. Oh well. When they asked if the ship was ours, I got vague and told them it was complicated, but that for there purposes yes we did. Lazlo then proceeded to go into a fit of hysterics on this point, alleging that I was blatantly insinuating something or other. I just turned to the authorities and shrugged after I handed them the (forged) paperwork. His word against mine and I had documentation (however fake it might be). Not that I recall any of us telling him about the ship’s history. Curious, best to keep an eye on that one.
It was about this point I learned the ship was a submersible. Who would have thought that? Would be an incredibly useful ability to get functional again, although that meant more repair costs. Now there is a thought, since I am going to be replacing just about every damn part on this ship, does the original owner still have a claim? Course considering the owner was engaging in what I would consider kidnapping at the time of theft, I would say he got off easy. Now I would consider the ship to be fair exchange for the illicit bounties he sought. Will that hold up in court? Damned if I know, and I don’t intend to give him the chance to take me to court.
A quick stop at the post office and then to the docks for our little expedition. Hmm, looks like the letter home is going to have to go by ship until it reaches the galactic network and then on to Alderaan. Hopefully they will get it before to long.
A quick check told us the archaeologists and their sponsors were going to provide the equipment we needed to scout around the ruins. We just needed to be the souls foolish enough to brave monstrous jelly fish and whatever else may be down there while reporting what we found. Simple enough, and the boat ride out to the ruins was a pleasant experience I hadn’t had in a while. Reminded me of some of the sea trips the family used to go on gathering genetic samples for mother’s work. I was getting lost in the memories of the time and found myself at the dive sight before I realized it. We had a last briefing of the sonar scans, suited up and dove in.
It was an amazing sight though as we dove through the depths. Being a tetra chromatic has always been of marginal benefit, but it does give me better definition of visual colors and slight glimpses into the ultraviolet. This was especially apparent during the dive as I was able to see rich and colorful tapestries of algae and plankton surrounding us. Added to this was my ability to sense the raw life energy around me as we dove. Combined the two gave me such a sensation that I doubt the others could appreciate. There are days I really like these Force powers.
We finally hit bottom at nearly a thousand meters. Despite the suits I could still feel the presence of the immense water pressure on us. The place was dark with much of the light from above filtered out by this depth. Even my eyes could not tell much without the aid of lights. We quickly made our way to the spaceport section of the ruins looking for salvage and clues as to why the people left. It looked like most of the buildings had collapsed and their contents decayed in the saltwater, but one building was apparently left standing intact. First attempt at opening the door was a nonstarter, it looked like the only way was to force it open.
I powered on my lightsaber, much to the shock of my companions. Ben seemed most scared of the implications, which surprised me. I would have thought he knew who I was considering the circumstances. Perhaps he has me mistaken for someone else? Alys went quiet although I was certain I could see the dots connecting in her head. Perhaps she really is what she says she is? Ben questions about where and how I came to possess a lightsaber I managed to deflect with vague generalities about being a Force user. Best to keep them guessing if they are uncertain I thought. Although Lazlo began asking all sorts of annoying pointed questions about what I was and didn’t seem to take the hint to drop the topic. Handell then proceeded to tell Lazlo that I was a major Sith Lord out on some dark mission or something. While I was seriously annoyed at Handell for telling such a tale, I was pleased that Lazlo became quiet for the moment.
Lightsaber drawn, I proceeded to poke an exploratory hole into the door to peer through. All intentions beyond that point were taken from me as the lightsaber was sucked out of my hands through the door due to an apparent pressure differential. While glad I still had my hand and contemplating how I might retrieve the blade, Lazlo started up again asking why I did not have a wrist strap on the thing for circumstances like this. Responding that this had never come up before quieted him although he said he would make a leather strap for it. Hmm, I do not like the idea of how my hand would have fared against that kind of pull, perhaps it best not to have a strap afterall.
On the plus side, equalizing the pressure seemed to enable the door mechanism. The door looked to have a keypad combination lock on it. While I was tempted to just pull my lightsaber back through the door with telekinesis and try cutting again, Ben piped up with another plan. He used his precognition ability to run all possible key combinations against the lock and pick the future that led to the door opening. A very impressive feat by any means if true. I mean, the best I can manage are the occasional visions or a few seconds in combat to better block or dodge. It could be that he already knew the pass-code from his master and was only attempting to bluff us on his skill.
He opened the door on the first try, which did not prove either scenario in my book. Nonetheless, we were now inside and I began to hunt for my lightsaber. Quick glance found that it had sliced open a container and was now laying on the floor. The container was now leaking some sort of ooze into the surrounding water. I telekinetically pulled my lightsaber back to me and waited with caution as I watched the ooze. Ben wandered up and tried to read the label on the box that was sliced open. He was quickly enveloped in the ooze as it took the form of one of the jelly fish. I tried to pull him away from it using the Force to little success, the jelly fish was surprisingly strong.
The others began blasting the jellyfish with blasters, and Alys showed a disturbing penchant for shooting Ben to get the jellyfish off of him. Quickly enough the jellyfish lost its structure and was going to need time to reform itself. Looking around I telekinetically grabbed the box the thing had escaped from and sliced off one side as Lazlo demanded to know what I was doing. Ignoring him, I then placed the box over the jellyfish and welded the open end of the box to the floor using my lightsaber. That at least bought us some more time as the jellyfish now had to reform itself and eat it’s way out of the box. Alys quickly took position to blast pieces of it that leaked through and I went to Ben to see what I could do to stabilize him.
Alys had already applied a patch to his suit to prevent the water from leaking in more, and it looked like Ben had managed to purge himself of most of the toxins. On the other hand, the electrical impulses of his nervous system were now very erratic. It took some effort with the Force to try to steady the nervous impulses and bring his body back under his control. Soon enough he was able to talk and move around on his own again, although not able to do much else of effort. It does look like massive precognition ability does not make up for a lack of common sense.
Handell had meanwhile found another stash of crates marked with the countermeasures to these now obvious bio weapons. He was bringing the one back for the jelly fish creatures so I threw my lightsaber at the box he was holding, slicing it’s contents open onto the box welded to the floor. He looked mildly annoyed at me for the stunt, but Alys was running out of power cells and my patience was wearing thin. That killed that annoyance quickly enough. A quick glance at the remaining boxes confirmed my suspicions that the rest were more bioweapons and counteragents. A brief discussion ensued over what to do with the things. Someone wanted to look into selling the damn things to someone insane enough to likely use the things. I quickly shot that down and suggested we destroy them all down here and neglect to tell the surface they have a bio weapons lab down here. I can just see the locals being stupid enough to think they could profit from this.
Everyone quickly agreed to my suggestion, which surprised me on some counts. I would have thought Ben was here to retrieve some of these things. It would also appear our hunter is not so stereotypical as would first appear. After killing all the stored bioweapons and then wiping the recordings so the locals wouldn’t get any bright ideas, it turned to salvage. The stasis containers could be worth some credits, and they appeared to be remotely powered by some nuclear pile system. The yellow button looked ominous, but Ben caught on to the danger before I did. Blasted thing was designed to detonate if the button was pressed. Worth salvaging, if troublesome to get out. Lazlo kept looking at how to try and squeeze it through the doorway so we could get a line on it and drag it to the surface.
I proceeded to cut a hole in the ceiling and directed Lazlo to swim out and bring a line in from up top. I also welded another piece of metal over the button to prevent the surface bunch from pressing it either. I really didn’t want our surface crew nuking themselves while leaving us down here hundreds of kilometers from shore. Meanwhile Handell was busily decoding more of the writing lying around with Ben’s aid. Pretty much confirmed the Holo movie style plot, crazy nutjobs create horrible abominations to use as weapons without putting a lot of thought into it and accidentally lose control of their creations.
A quick survey of the remaining collapsed warehouses found us some more parts, all of them gold-plated. Gold-plated? I understand that gold is useful as a coating for undersea use, but wasn’t this planet metal poor? Someone went to a lot of expense to locate a bio weapons lab here that could have been located somewhere else more safely and cheaply. Something else is going on here and these bioweapons are only the tip of the iceberg.
At that point it was time to surface, rest and get new air tanks while Ben received proper medical treatment. The next day we dove again. This time we concentrated our efforts on an unusually smooth section of the sea floor with a rough circular shape. Not knowing what might be under there, I felt caution was in order. I asked the ship above to try and drop a weight onto the circle while we watched from some distance. Foresight and common sense won yet again as the weight struck the dome sinking into the mud and making a horrible racket as it banged against something metallic repeatedly. In response to the racket, three aquatic droids appeared out of the sediment and began a patrol pattern.
One of them quickly found us and demanded that we identify ourselves in Falusian. Falusian? Ah yes, I seem to recall they were the species believed to have built the ruins four thousand years ago. Makes sense the droids would speak it too. In fact, I remember having to learn the language when I was younger. Mother wanted genetic samples of some rare seaweed from another world and the trip involved lectures in the language among other things. Now was that a coincidence or was that planned by the Force?
As for how to answer, I saw three real options. First was to identify myself as a Sith under the assumption that this was a Sith facility and hope I could fake it enough the droid would buy it. Second was to claim to be a Jedi on the chance that this facility may not have been Sith or could have been developing weapons against the Sith. There was also the possibility that the Sith would recognize that allowing a Jedi to enter four thousand years after everyone left was a nonevent. Third was to respond with violence. While I did not doubt that we could defeat the three droids if it came to that, I would rather avoid that if we could. Besides, if I could get the droids to regard me as an authority, then more stuff to loot.
So I decided it would be best to announce myself as a Jedi, while a small fib, it had more truth to it than the Sith nonsense. The droid, expectedly, told us to wait as it awaited for instructions from some authority. I will have to thank my Sith Master for teaching me the value of patience (no one else had managed up to that point), as it took over an hour for the droid to work through it’s list of authorities and finally reach an entry at the bottom for Jedi. I shall have to review the rest of the list at some point to see what insight it might give to the organization here and among the Sith back then.
Now I had three droids acknowledging me as an authority figure. I informed them to treat the rest of the party as my team and to give me what information they had on the site. Turns out the things knew very little that we did not already know other than they were guarding a ship, and had no clue as to what lay below the facility. I directed them to map out the area and report back to me anything of value or considered a threat. That got them buzzing off to comply, and we went about looting more parts out of the derelict ship they had been guarding. More gold plated parts. Alright, someone went to a lot of expense to place this facility here as opposed to somewhere safer and cheaper like space near a world with better access to parts and metals. I mean yes, this world is remote and hard to find, but it doesn’t have sufficient metals to sustain a heavy industry. All of this had to be imported. Something about this place was considered to be valuable enough to invest building here. But what? I suspect the answer lies deeper in the facility underground.
Most disturbing of all though has been the implication that these Sith, or minions of the Sith as the case may be, were completely and utterly insane. Not only were they willing to create horrific bio weapons of mass destruction, but they lost control of one. The current Sith wage a war of conquest and conversion, not extermination. What were they fighting against that they felt the need to go to such lengths? Could it be that some lost order of Jedi or other Force users posed that much of a threat? It would be best to learn more of the circumstances of the war four millenia ago I think. It is sad when I think the Sith Master that forced me to kill the other survivors of the Naichron and then brutally trained me is relatively sane compared to these nuts.
Well time to surface again, let the others dig around the lower sections for now. The indication that some of what they may find down there being valuable seems to entice them to be careful with the weapon discharges. Meanwhile I am going to stay up top for a while, something else is bothering me and I can’t put my finger on it. The story of wanting to work on my lightsaber using the gold we found is to keep them from asking too many questions while I ponder this. Not that I am not going to work on my lightsaber, gold resonates well with the crystal and the titanium I have been using isn’t quite working right.
Best to report in to Telera, Khadim, Garyan, and 10CH to see how repairs are going. Something is coming, and I feel the other shoe is about to drop. I want to be able to leave as fast as possible should I not like what happens.