A foul stench filled the air. The screams of the lost echoed silently in the void of Starcom Station. The eerie silence consumed the Jedi as he entered the central corridor. Walking over to the ledge, he peered down into the abyss below. Without power, the only light for the main corridor was the large transparisteel window above him, which opened up into the emptiness of space.
The Jedi moved around the circular banister of the upper level, passing near the entrance to the stairwell to the lower levels. As he did, a ghostly figure began to filter into his vision. When the figure had a distinct appearance, the Jedi flipped on his lightsaber, hoping to frighten whoever, or whatever, it was to remain passive. The figure glanced up at him in bewilderment. Noticing the lightsaber, the pasty man, as best the Jedi could tell, fixed his gaze on the Jedi.
The Jedi was able to get a better view and the figure turned to look at him. His face was long, weary, almost as if age had taken him early. His physical stature suggested that he had strength, but had lost it all sitting in endless worry. The Jedi deactivated his lightsaber and leaned it as the man reached out. Attempting to take the man by the hand and help him up, the Jedi’s hand simply passed through. Retracting his grasp immediately, the man spoke up.
”At last, a hope. A Jedi has come to rescue us.” The Man spoke.
”Who are you? Wha—what are you?” The Jedi inquired.
”You can call me Triv.” Triv replied, humbly.
”What happened? Why are you-?” The Jedi questioned.
“Why am I what?” Triv paused, he looked down at his body, and then back up at the Jedi, “Do you know where my family is? I would very much like to know they are ok. My daughter, she is down in the Residence Hall. My wife, I do not know where she is. Could you find them and bring them to me, I can’t seem to get up?” Triv requested.
The Jedi was taken aback by the request. He realized that the ghost did not know he was dead. He had heard that some Jedi, when they become one with the Force, could return as a ghost but he had never heard of it from a non-Force sensitive person. He leaned back and rested his weight on his right foot. He remembered why he had gone to the station. He had hoped it would be a safe haven for him while he hid from the Empire. If he was to hide there, he would have to gain their trust. He looked down at the phantom and smiled.
”I would be honored to bring them to you. You said your daughter was in the Residence Hall? Where is that exactly?” The Jedi assured Triv.
”Thank you, sir. The Residence Hall is just one floor down.” Triv explained.
The Jedi nodded and walked over to the ledge. Flipping over the railing, the Jedi let his body fall one story, calculating when it he needed to grab hold of the railing below. His timing was perfect and his reactions were elegant. In one swift move, the Jedi was one floor below Triv. He cut a whole in the door that appeared to be sealed shut and entered the Residence Hall. Quietly making his way, he searched each room for the little girl. Half way down the hall, he entered a room that appeared to be promising. There were toys scattered along the floor.
He entered the room. Almost immediately he sensed the girl hiding away in the far room from where he stood. He strode over there, lightsaber still ignited. Before opening the door, the Jedi figured he would deactivate his saber, hoping not to frighten the girl. He could hear her soft voice echoing in the other side. Slowly, he opened the door. Seeing the girl, he reached in for her, trying to assure her everything was ok. As she caught a glimpse of her, he noticed her eyes shift from a soft grey and menacing red. Panic settled in his heart. Suddenly, he felt someone was behind him. Only able to turn his head, he caught a glance of a blaster bolt strike his back. Immediately he fell back in the room. Another bolt struck his back, and he was down on the ground. Another bolt and he was dead. The girl’s red eyes shifted from the body in front of her up to its killer, and focused on a familiar face—RT-897.
“Threat eliminated. Station is secure, sir.” RT-897 spoke to an unknown listener.
The sound of scraping metal echoed through the empty halls of the station as Carpo, Ruin, Riina, and Lymn opened the door separating them from what they hoped was the power hall. RT-317, RT-897, and the Jedi watched from behind. RT-317 peered over at the others, occasionally, as they pried the door open. It had been a difficult trip down to the third level, having to pry open the door. Once on the third level, they had to search the exterior platform until they found the power hall.
Splitting up, Carpo and Lymn grouped together to search what appeared to be a gathering place for the residence of the platform. They were able to get a record of approximately how many were in the station by searching through a record book that had been handwritten instead of a holochart. After searching the gathering area, Lymn realized what it was. It was a mini-temple for the religion that believed in Genas E’d’I. His religion. Noticing the symbol etched into a makeshift pulpit, Lymn suddenly felt at ease. Even more so, he felt at peace.
It had been years since Lymn had been in a temple. He had grown up in a convent on Naboo, in a village in the plains. The convent was known locally as the Brethren of E’d’I, however, it was used more as a derogatory term. Growing up, Lymn had been ridiculed and persecuted. Being one of the few to attend a local later-childhood school, since the school in the convent was only intended for early-childhood education, he never had a support group to get him through the day. His parents did not fully understand the suffering he went through.
As a result, Lymn decided to make a stand, knowing leaving his religion would crush his parents even though they never forced it on him. Lymn devoted himself to becoming a high priest, those allowed to talk directly with E’d’I. Once his schooling was finished, he went to Coruscant where his religion was first founded. There, he attended a religion school and started training to become a high priest. When the Clone Wars broke out, he was recruited as a priest for the soldiers, hoping to provide comfort for the dying.
It was on the battlefield that Lymn made the decision that he was useless trying to bring comfort while sitting behind the desk. If he was going to reach the soldiers, he had to be one. He left the battlefield and went back to Coruscant and went through pilot’s basic training, which allowed him to be on the frontlines in space. With the Republic running thin of pilots, Lymn was constantly seeing action. During one of his missions, he was a wingmate of squadron who were responsible to escort the diplomat of a friendly planet safely back to their ship. The mission failed, the entire squadron was lost in a swarm of Vulture droids, the diplomat was killed in the shuttle crash, and Lymn’s fighter went down.
Abandoned, Lymn decided to allow the Republic to believe he was dead. It was shortly after that Lymn joined Carpo with the Retribution squad. Even though the squad had been established for several years already, Lymn felt that he was qualified to fly with them. After proving himself in a recon mission, Carpo allowed him to become a full member of the squad. Three years later, he found himself standing in a temple of his beloved religion in the center of an abandoned station, a place he had not been in too long of time period.
Looking over at Carpo, Lymn froze in his gaze. When Carpo caught a glance at Lymn, he noticed his constant stare. Carpo looked over in his direction, trying to figure out why Lymn would have an expression of sheer terror. Part way through processing that thought, Carpo realized why after he felt a cool shiver run down his spine. Quickly turning behind him, he saw the face a Wanderer peering at him by the wall. In seconds, the figure was gone, through the wall. Carpo shifted back to Lymn.
“What just happened, Lymn?” Carpo inquired sharply.
“I—I froze, sir.” Lymn explained.
“Well, don’t freeze again.” Carpo retorted and started to walk out of the room.
“Sir.” Lymn spoke up.
“What is it?” Carpo stopped to look back at Lymn.
“That wasn’t same ghost that attacked Riina in the room and in the cargo bay. It was new.” Lymn clarified.
“What do you think it means?” Carpo wondered.
“I don’t know. Maybe that we’re on to something?” Lymn questioned.
“Well, let’s hope it’s just that.” Carpo stated and walked out.
The two of them rejoined the group, who had split up to explore the rest of the hall. It turned out to be both a sanctuary and a school grounds, with a nursing station at the far end. RT-317 had gone with Ruin to search the nursing station. There were several cabinets full of medication just sitting there when they arrived. Riina and RT-897 had searched the school. There was nothing there. No records or anything. The Principal’s office had been burnt so whatever records there had been were destroyed in the fire.
The group decided to move on. Walking out of the Education Hall, the squad and the two droids reentered the main corridor. Walking around the circular path, they reached a door labeled “PH”. Carpo figured it was the power hall and ordered his men to pry open the door. Carpo slid the security card over the door, which released the magnetic lock, allowing the others to lift the heavy durasteel plate. Once it was opened and locked, everyone entered the hallway.
Dark and misty, a coolant pipe had cracked and caused cool liquid to spill onto the floor. As the liquid heated up, it changed into a gas, giving the floor a thick fog. On one side of the hall was the observation room. On the other side was the command center as well as a security center. Slowly walking towards the command center, the squad kept their rifles raised and flashlights aimed out into the fog. The coolant liquid also cooled the air, giving the entire hall a chilling haunted feel.
As they encroached the hallway towards the command center, they hoped that another Wanderer would not suddenly appear, as they were known to do. Suddenly, the squad heard a faint cry. It was not of desperation, or of fear, but of sadness. It sounded as if someone was overwhelmed with grief and disappointment that tears were just flowing naturally from their eyes. Despite the echoing distortion, the squad could distinguish that the voice was female. Finally, they might have a break.
As they got closer to the door of the command center, their flashlights began to pick up the figure of a woman. She kneeled in front of the door, her silent fist banging against the steel. Immediately, the squad felt sympathy for her. When she turned to look at them, her eyes turned from a saddened gray to a burning red. The squad was unaware what they had done to threaten her. She stood up from her kneeling position reaching out for them. Her movements were slow, but menacing. She was furious and appeared determined to kill them, almost out of revenge.
The squad reacted, aiming their weapons at her, knowing that it would not make a difference. RT-317 took aim and fired an EMP bolt at her. The blast knocked her back to the ground. The squad looked at him both in spite and thanks. He had saved them, but he also acted out of turn. When the spirit rose again for another attack, RT-317 took aim again. As soon as he did, Carpo reached out to stop him, hoping to talk to the spirit. He, however, was beaten by RT-897 who grabbed RT-317’s blaster and moving it away from the woman.
“No!” RT-897 shouted.
At that, the woman stopped. Mesmerized by RT-897’s actions, she withdrew. The squad was caught up, as RT-897 had never acted out. RT-317 gave his friend a quick glare, however, RT-897 refused to move. Holding RT-317’s rifle in place, RT-317 was forced to concede to RT-897’s wishes. He retracted his rifle and lowered it. He decided to take a different route.
“What are you doing?” RT-317 inquired.
“She will not harm us. Well, not me. She is Imbr’itn’alloto’s mother. I will not let you hurt her! She was kind to me. She made me feel—“ RT-897 paused for a moment, realizing how absurd his thought was, “—she made me feel alive.”
“Artee? Artee is that you?” The woman’s voice reverberated off the fog, adding to the eeriness of the room.
“Miss? Oh, miss. I am sorry for what happened to your daughter. I did everything I could to watch over her.” RT-897 apologized.
“What do you mean?” Triv’s wife inquired. Her name was Tahl’wen’alloto.
Carpo glanced over at RT-897 as he spoke. He strode over to him and whispered as he passed by, “I would be careful with your words, if I were you”.
“Is she hurt? Did she fall? What happened, Artee?” Lwen wondered. Lwen was her core name, just like Triv was her husband’s.
“She—“ RT-897 paused to formulate a sentence that would not cause a worried mother unneeded grief, “She is doing just fine, Miss. Right now, I believe she is as happy as she will ever be”. RT-897 stretched the truth, playing off her passing away, to give her mother some peace as well.
Carpo looked at him and whispered, “Good call”.
“I am so glad to hear she is all right. I came down here to look for my husband after I heard what happened on the main deck, to make sure that he is alright, but I cannot seem to get into the command center.” Lwen explained.
“What happened on the main deck?” Carpo jetted in.
“I do not know exactly, just that there was blaster fire.” Lwen mentioned.
“Did you hear it firsthand?” Carpo questioned.
“No. The intruder alarm went off suggesting that someone had opened fire. It’s an automatic alarm that goes off. I don’t know why. I just know that if it went off we were supposed to go into a lockdown.” Lwen clarified.
Carpo turned to the others.
“That must be what happened here. It would explain almost everything except for why there was a shootout in the first place. It seems no one knows why they were placed on this ship except to do their specific duty.” Carpo explained.
“That would mean that what was going on in this facility was classified Top Secret. We may never find out what happened here unless we can interrogate the director himself.” Ruin stated.
“Or unless we find the documentation. But chances are, if someone stormed this place they probably took it themselves.” Riina suggested.
“Or if it was an inside job, the documentation would have probably been burnt. So, the director is our best choice.” Carpo stated, “That is our new mission objective. Once we get the power started, we need to find the director. Everyone understand?”
The squad replied with a synchronized, “yes, sir”. Carpo turned back to Lwen. Seeing the desperation on her face, he could see that she missed Triv intensely. He knew, in that instance, that he had to tell her what happened to him. For some odd reason, it was the right thing to do. Even though both her and Triv were dead, and possibly together somewhere in another dimension, he still had to tell her.
“Ma’am—” Carpo sighed.
At that Lymn grasped Carpo’s shoulder. Turning around, Carpo saw the expression on Lymn’s face. He saw that Lymn was as convicted as he and maybe more so since he had made the promise to Triv. In Lymn’s expression, Carpo understood that though Lwen should know what happened to Triv, it was not he that should tell her. That was Lymn’s responsibility. He stepped aside and allowed Lymn to confront the spirit and inform her that her husband had been caught up in the firefight above.
Carpo rejoined his group and they gathered outside the power hall. There, the Jedi was standing, staring up at the floor above, almost still mesmerized by the fact that he had seen his dead body. Carpo found it interesting, almost like the Jedi never believed he was dead. It seemed as if, he coming back from the Force was an accident, or something he could not control. It was this action that made Carpo start to question the Jedi. He, however, was forced to accept the fact that the Jedi was helping him whether he liked it, trusted it, or even wanted it or not.
Inside, Lymn struggled to find the words to tell Lwen that Triv had passed away. Knowing that she was not a Wanderer, he knew that she could not leave the power hall. That meant he could not show her his body, nor could he have their spirits meet. There was nothing that he could show her to give her some consolation. All he had was words. Words were never enough. Lymn decided to start off with a question.
“Uh, Ma’am? Uh—what might I call you?” Lymn asked, considering courtesy first.
“Tahl’wen’alloto. Others called me Lwen, if that is easier for you.” She explained.
“Yes, thank you. That is easier.” Lymn paused to think of his next sentence, “So—you said you were down here to check and see if your husband was in the Command Center. Did he work down here—a lot?”
“Yes. Everyday. He was the chief engineer for the power grid here in the station. From what I knew, he was the only one from the upper levels allowed under the bottom level. What happened down there, no one knew. Many people speculated, since there is enough space down there to fit more than a power grid.” Lwen explained.
“What? You mean there’s more to this station than just these levels? I knew about the grid below, but there are more levels?” Lymn inquired.
“Yes. Triv said there were at least fifteen. That’s what he saw on the turbo lifts.” Lwen clarified.
“He never mentioned that.” Lymn spoke.
“Mentioned? You have talked to Triv? Where did you last see him?” Lwen inquired.
Lymn knew that he was now in a rut. He had opened his mouth and had to face the consequences of his decision. He had to tell her what happened to Triv. It was going to kill her, but she needed to know. The thought that t tragic news would kill a spirit almost made him laugh. Lymn regained his composure and looked Lwen straight in the eye.
“I saw Triv on the upper level.” Lymn stated.
“The upper level? That doesn’t make sense? He worked down here?” Lwen wondered.
“He was up there picking up a new generator that had just been shipped in when—“ Lymn caught himself.
“When what? What happened?” Lwen inquired.
“Well—while he was getting the generator—he—uh—he got caught up in the fire fight you heard. He—“Lymn paused as he saw Lwen’s gaze shift to the ground, “He—passed away from a bolt to the chest. I’m—I’m terribly sorry for your loss.”
Lymn suddenly felt an eerie shiver run down his spine as he realized what he was doing. He was consoling the dead. He reached out to touch her shoulder, but realized he could not. There was nothing physical to touch. He retracted his hand and brought it to his head. He noticed her gaze shift up to him.
“Are you sure he is not in the command center? If only I could get in and see that he is not there, then I will be sure that he is where you say he is.” Lwen wondered.
“Can I help you get in and see that he is not there?” Lymn asked.
“That you be greatly appreciated.” Lwen acknowledged.
“Then that is what I will do. Anything I can do to make you feel better, I will gladly do it.” Lymn comforted her.
Lymn walked up to the command center and checked out the door to see how to enter. He noticed as security card swipe and figured the door we like the rest of the doors in the station. He looked over at Carpo who was still outside the hallway. He motioned for the ghost to stay put, realizing it was a dumb move since she could not leave anyway, and walked out to meet him.
“Sir, I need Triv’s security pass. His wife refuses to believe that Triv’s body and spirit are two floors up. She wants to look in the command center to make sure that he isn’t in there. She then might be willing to give us the ring. She will be at peace, like her daughter was. We can then show Triv the ring and he will be at peace. Plus, it will gain us access to the center and we can figure out what’s wrong with this place.” Lymn explained.
“You certainly think quickly. Sounds good. But we all go in. I don’t want you falling into a trap of any kind. You’re too valuable to lose.” Carpo stated.
The words dug deep into Lymn’s memory and a sudden feeling of appreciation overwhelmed him. For the first time since he had joined, he was not made fun of, he was not ridiculed, and he was not tormented. He was genuinely appreciated. A slight smile formed on his face, but his smile betrayed him. Carpo noticed it and gave him an odd look.
“Don’t get used to it. You’re still the newbie, Forge.” Carpo stated.
Together, the six of them entered the hall. They approached the command center door, where Lwen was still standing. Lymn walked up to her and held out his hand in an attempt to comfort her, without actually touching her.
“Don’t worry, Lwen. We are going to prove to you that your husband is in fact where we say he is.” Lymn clarified.
“Way to go on the sensitivity.” Ruin mocked.
Lymn gave him a quick glare. He returned his gaze back to Lwen, who was standing there looking at him funny.
“Why do you wish to prove to me that my husband is dead?” Lwen requested.
“Because, the man I talked to on the floor above was a spirit who desperately wanted to know that his family was alright. The only problem is that he can’t come looking for you. It’s the same reason you can’t get into the command center.” As Lymn spoke, Lwen’s composure shifted from confusion to understanding, “He desperately wants to have his family together again, and he needs to know that you are alright before he is at peace.”
“How will me knowing he’s dead give him peace?” Lwen wondered.
“By you knowing where he is, I have a feeling you will then be at peace. If you are there, then he can join you. You two will be together once again. This time, it will be forever. That is something he greatly wishes for right now. I know. I could tell it in his voice.” Lymn stated.
Lwen leaned back; it almost appeared as if tears were forming in her eyes. She looked back at the command center door, then back at Lymn. She nodded her head, signaling him to continue on with opening the door. She stepped back, giving him a clear view of the door. Ruin and Carpo came in and started working on the door as Lymn swiped the security pass. They were able to pry the door open. Emergency lights flickered on and off inside the command center.
Lwen peered in. She could clearly see that it was empty, despite the poor lighting. In her heart, she could sense that he was not there. In her mind, she could feel him elsewhere. She knew that Lymn had told her the truth. She turned to him and smiled.
“You were right. I am at peace. I don’t know why, but knowing that he did not suffer brings me peace. I wish to rejoin him. Please, go to him quickly.” Lwen insisted.
“He asked to see your wedding ring. That was the thing he said would help bring him peace.” Lymn stated.
“My wedding ring? I don’t have my wedding ring. We were having a little bit of marital issues just before the firefight. I kept my ring in my jewelry drawer. Oh, it makes me so happy to know that he is not mad at me. That is why I wished to come see him. I wanted to apologize to him for saying some things to him. He did not deserve them. He was a faithful husband; he was just stressed from work. They asked so much of him.” Lwen explained.
“You kept it in your jewelry drawer? In your room?” Lymn inquired.
“Yes.” Lwen gave what a deep sigh, “Oh, to see him again and hold him. I so greatly wish to do that.”
“I will make sure he knows that. I’m sure he will be happy to hear that.” Lymn assured her.
With that, her spirit vanished in a bright, white flash. Carpo walked over to Lymn and patted him on the shoulder.
“Well done.” Carpo affirmed.
“Thank you. Now, I need to get back to the Residence Hall.” Lymn stated, walking away.
“Why?” Carpo wondered.
“Lwen said that she left her ring in her jewelry drawer back in her room. If I find it, I can show Triv and he can finally tell me what’s going on here. While I’m doing that, you guys can work on getting the power back on. I’m not real good with electrical things, so I wouldn’t be any help down here anyway.” Lymn explained as he ran back to the main corridor.
“Well, he is certainly in a hurry. Ruin, I need you to help me get this power back on.” Carpo ordered.
He and Ruin entered the command center. Riina and the two droids followed closely behind. As they approached the main computer, the Jedi appeared before them. The glow from his body produced enough light to illuminate the control panel for the computer, since the emergency lights only lit up a pathway to the exit. Ruin was grateful for this, since he knew that he was going to have to turn the computer on.
Ruin walked up to the computer. Since he was the technician in the group, he immediately got to work figuring out the computer type and data entry process. It was all in Ruusan, the same language he saw at the hangar bay. His Ruusan was a little rusty, but he could figure his way around the computer. Flipping out his data pad, he activated a Basic-Ruusan translator, which he would consult to figure out commands for the computer.
Setting it on the desk in front of him, he noticed a blinking light on the front desk. Underneath the light was a switch, which was labeled Chra Aarbwe. He typed it into his translator and discovered it was the power switch. He flipped it and the computer powered up. It took only a few seconds before he could start entering commands. Estimating that the station was pre or mid Clone Wars, he figured the software was old and needed updated.
When the blank screen appeared with the blinking underline, Ruin knew that he could start entering commands. He typed in “start up main power” in his translator, so he knew what to type into the computer. Once he got a response, he entered the command. He got a short phrase as a response. He translated it and discovered that there was something wrong with the main power supply. He asked the computer what it was and learned that a generator was missing and caused the main power circuit to fail. Ruin, disappointed, turned to Carpo.
“Well, I have some good news and some bad news.” Ruin informed Carpo.
“Good news, only. I don’t care about the bad news.” Carpo ordered.
“Oh, well. The good news is that I can get the power going.” Ruin stated.
“Oh, good. How?” Carpo wondered.
“Well, that’s the bad news. We have to get a new generator, because apparently one of them is missing down below.” Ruin explained.
“I knew I didn’t want to hear the bad news.” Carpo joked.
“Wait, didn’t Lymn talk about a new generator Triv was retrieving when he got shot?” Riina pointed out.
“Right. He said it was in the hangar bay. I can probably go get it and take it to the lower level. However, I need to get it to the power room, which you said in underneath the lower level. That requires turbo lifts, which require power.” Ruin stated.
“See if this station has an emergency back up power grid.” Carpo suggested.
“I can try.” Ruin replied.
Ruin turned back towards the computer and started reentering commands trying to see if there was a back up power grid. He found out there was and commanded the computer to activate it. It reported back that the power up would take several minutes since it had to go through each system and reboot them, and then go through the list of sections systematically. Ruin turned back to Carpo.
“In about thirty minutes, we’ll have power once again. But this will only last us about three hours, which isn’t enough time to retrieve the new generator and install it. The power storage cells were inactive for too long and most of the energy stored has leaked out.” Ruin explained.
“How long will that take to install the new generator?” Carpo wondered.
“It should take just over that if everything goes smoothly. I’m going to shut down some of the unnecessary systems to try and divert more power to give us that time. Hopefully, it’ll work.” Ruin suggested.
“Well, you better get on it. We’ll leave you to do your work.” Carpo stated.
He turned to Riina and the droids and motioned for them to leave. When they left, Riina noticed the fog start to lift as the ventilation system and the emergency cut off valve activate. Standing out in the hall, Riina noticed that the security room also had a security pass. Riina mentioned to Carpo that she wished to see if she could find any security camera footage that might explain what happened. Carpo gave her the card and she walked off. Carpo and the two droids stayed put, as Carpo noticed the observation room. It needed no key card and he walked right into it.
Inside, was a beautifully set up observation gallery, with a large transparisteel window filling the entire outside section of the wall. He could see thousands of stars, as the lights were dimmed to allow people to see them. The beauty captivated him. As he walked closer, the Jedi appeared before him.
“Beautiful isn’t it?” the Jedi remarked.
“We got the power running. My wingmate is about to view security cam footage to find out what happened here. My other wingmate is trying to establish a longer lasting power supply and my last wingmate is finishing up things with Triv. We’ve done almost everything you’ve asked us to do. Have we gained your trust?” Carpo wondered, still staring out into space.
“You have done many noble deeds while you were here. You are a man of your word, but the people of this facility are not yet saved. Three souls does not account for the endless amount of others that were lost in this facility. I could sense it when I first came. There was so much anger, so much fear that I almost felt strangled.” The Jedi explained.
Carpo looked up at him.
“Why did you come here?” Carpo wondered.
“When all the souls are saved, you will get your answers.” The Jedi looked away.
Carpo noticed the Jedi glance away, almost out of guilt or mistrust. There was something about the Jedi that made Carpo question him, but the rest of him was too welcoming to question for long. Carpo could tell that the Jedi genuinely wanted to help the people. He looked back out the window and continued to stare into space.
Meanwhile, Lymn was struggling to move as fast as he could. He raced into the Residential Hall, and into the room where Triv and his family stayed. The stench would have over powered him as he entered the room if he had removed his helmet, but since there was no power still, he did not dare to tempt fate.
He eventually made it into the room and over to the bedroom, where the little girl’s body still laid in the bed. Lymn tried to ignore it, knowing that it would distract him from his mission. He pulled out all the drawers but could not find the jewelry drawer. He checked outside the room. Finally, when the lights came on, Lymn noticed small drawers on the sides of the beds and decided to check there. Fearing that it would be the last one he checked, Lymn pick a drawer to start with then found where the last one would be. He opened it up, and there was a pile a jewelry lying on the inside of the drawer.
He sifted through it, hoping to find a wedding ring. Picking out all the rings and loops he could find, eventually he found the wedding band. It was a simple band made of pure white gold. Inside was an inscription in the Chiss’ native tongue. He did not bother to try and read it, knowing the only other language he knew was Huttese. He pocketed the ring and slid out of the room.
Running down the hall, he rounded the stair well and darted up to the next floor. He slid out onto the upper level, catching himself running too fast, and strode over to where Triv was still lying. A look of hope filled Triv’s face when he saw Lymn half running to him.
“You have found her. You have her ring.” Triv smiled.
“Yes. And I ran here as fast as I could when I found it.” Lymn stated.
He knelt down in front of Triv and showed him the ring. Triv’s eyes lit up with excitement. A peace filled his face and he leaned his head back against the wall, smiling as large as he could. He was able to know that his family was all right, even if they were not with him. Lymn spoke up, trying to get his attention before he passed over.
“I was able to speak with your wife. She went running to you the morning of the incident to apologize for the things she said. She knew you were stressed and you didn’t deserve the things she said to you. She loves you and will always love you.” Lymn explained, hoping to make Triv feel better.
“You have gained my trust. You not only got what I asked, but you showed that you cared about a life form that may not be living anymore—you cared enough to search diligently. For that, I will answer any questions you have.” Triv clarified.
“What happened here?” Lymn inquired.
“It is a sad story. One I don’t think you’ll appreciate.” Triv warned Lymn.
“What do you mean?” Lymn wondered.
“On the day of the incident, I received a call from my superior that our new generator was arriving early. Well, the crew that brought it managed to unload it, but as they did so, they opened fire on everyone on the deck. However, the deck is rigged not to set the intruder alarm off since a misfire is more likely to occur in the hangar. But I happened to hear the blasters. I walked over to the hangar and before I could undo the airlock, the door opened and I was face to face with my killer. They opened fire and killed me, which set off the alarm.” Triv explained.
“What did your killers look like?” Lymn inquired.
“They looked like—“ Triv paused and looked Lymn square in the eye, “They looked like you.”
“What?” Lymn retorted.
Down below, Riina managed to find security footage of the day Triv passed away. She located the camera in the airlock and played the footage starting only several minutes before the “incident”. As she watched, she could hear blaster shots coming from the hangar bay. There were at least six, suggesting that there were five members on staff at the moment. Shortly afterward, she saw Triv walk in, slowly. He hesitated to reach for the airlock handle. Looking up, he noticed that it was on. He reached to turn it off when suddenly the door opened. There, she saw his killers.
In the blink of an eye, Triv was down. Riina was mesmerized at the sight of who killed him. They were clad in black armor, similar to hers. Their visual receptors were a light shade of gray. They had no life support and basically looked like stormtroopers in black armor. Frozen, the video continued playing. She came to, and rewound the video until she found the troopers. Pausing it on them, she stepped back. Shocked, she called out for Carpo over her comlink. Within the next minute, Carpo was in the room and saw the trooper.
“Shadow troopers.” Carpo mumbled.
“What?” Riina asked, looking at him, “What are shadow troopers?”
“The secret and elite troopers of the Empire. Whatever happened here, the Emperor did not want it to continue. He must have sent them here right after the Republic was reformed. This would have been just around the time the Clone Wars ended.” Carpo explained.
“You mean we did this to them?” Riina shouted out in protest.
“This was before we came along.” Carpo stated.
“But are we not a client of the man who murdered these innocent people?!” Riina shouted.
Carpo reached over to the control and found more footage. The two stood there and watched as many civilians and workers were shot and killed before their eyes. Riina looked away. She did not like the fact that she was affiliated with the people to issued that order. Eventually, she turned back around. As she did so, RT-317 crept up to the entranceway. He just stood there and watched Carpo and Riina as they watched the videos.
Up above, Triv and Lymn were still talking about the day the station was attacked. Lymn was astounded at what Triv knew despite being one of the first ones murdered. He had told him how when the alarm went off, all power was diverted to emergency power, locked all the doors. This was supposed to keep the intruders from gaining further access to the rest of the facility. If that did not stop them, he knew of another defense the station had hidden away.
“How do you know of this? You are just an power engineer.” Lymn wondered.
“I was the chief power engineer. So, I had a higher access pass than all my coworkers. I knew of information that none of them knew about.” Triv explained.
“Then what was this secret defense?” Lymn inquired.
“Our droids.” Triv stated, “They were designed with a secret combat program that was activated by the intruder alarm.”
“Combat, how so?” Lymn insisted.
“They were programmed in over fifteen hundred combat styles that exist.” Triv explained.
“But how can their AI support that much variety?” Lymn questioned.
“Their AI is far more advanced than you know. Rumors circulated those with my security clearance that the design for the droid was stolen from a Trade Federation droid factory. I don’t know if that was true or not. But that is what I heard. Once in combat mode, their programming cannot be reversed. They can only be turned off or destroyed. They are more lethal than you realize. They will stop at nothing to protect this facility.” Triv clarified.
“One last question.” Lymn asked, “What is this station for?”
“It is a convent for followers of E’d’I.” Triv mentioned.
Suddenly, the temple made sense. The fact that anyone would want to murder members of his faith made no sense to him.
“I have a question for you.” Triv insisted.
“What is it?” Lymn acknowledged.
“Where are those two cleaner droids you were with?” Triv inquired.
A shocked expression fell over Lymn’s face. He knew where they were. They were with Carpo, Riina, and Ruin, who were oblivious to their capabilities. He quickly stood from his position and started to leave Triv when he suddenly realized that he needed to say goodbye. He looked back down at him and smiled. He had helped a soul and the soul had helped him. To Lymn, that was life. He nodded at Triv.
“Thank you.” Lymn stated.
“No, thank you.” Triv corrected him, and then in a bright flash, he disappeared.
Triv was now at peace, and so was Lymn. He had kept his promise and that gave him confidence. He took a deep breath and darted back down the stairs. He had just reached the third level when he heard the echoing screech of a blaster rifle. He quickened his pace. He slid up to the power hall only to see Riina sitting up against the wall, not moving. RT-317 was on the ground, limbs spread. Carpo was kneeling on RT-897 with his rifle pressed up against its head. Ruin was standing in the doorway to the command center. RT-897 was squirming on the ground.
“What happened?” Lymn spoke up.
Riina turned her head to look at him. In that brief moment, everything made sense. When he first arrived, he feared that the two droids had tried to kill his wingmates. But, when he saw Riina move, he knew she was still alive.
“We had a little droid uprising.” Carpo stated.
“Is RT-317—?” Lymn wondered.
“I don’t know. This fellow, here, shot him. I tackled him and wrestled him to the ground. I think I might have broken a rib doing it, though.” Carpo pointed out.
Lymn walked up to RT-897 and looked him in the visual receptors. RT-897 looked back at him. Despite his expressionless features, Lymn could tell that RT-897 had been taken to extreme desperation. Something had happened to cause him to act out of place like that. Something had been bothering him for a long time. He remembered hearing the two droids bicker about something that had happened a while back, he just was unable to figure out what it was. Now, it all made sense.
“Why did you go against your programming?” Lymn insisted.
“What are you talking about?” Carpo shouted.
“I’ll explain to you in a minute.” Lymn replied to Carpo, then looked back down at RT-897, “Why did you go against your programming?”
“Go against? I never deterred from my programming. I am to protect this facility at all costs.” RT-897 pointed out.
“Then why did you shoot Three-One-Seven?” Lymn inquired.
“He was a hazard to the safety of this facility. He brought harm to the people here and even threatened to assassin the Director if he could find him. Thus, he was deemed a threat.” RT-897 regurgitated.
“How so?” Lymn insisted.
“He—“ RT-897 lowered his head, “He killed little Imbr’itn’alloto.”
A shock fell over the squad. Carpo eased up on his grip. RT-897 was so full of guilt from what happened, if a droid could feel guilt, that he banged his head against the floor so hard, it left a dent. Lymn leaned back and collapsed onto his butt. He stared at RT-897 as he sat there. Everything was starting to make sense. That’s why they were bickering. That’s why RT-897 was willing to help them so much. He had inadvertently switched sides in the war and now was hunting his own; for the same reason his own killed a little girl. It was all to protect the facility.
In that little hallway, a lot of things became clear to the squad. The thick mystery surrounding the abandoned station in the middle of space was starting to unravel. It was going to be a long rest of the day. They had about seven to eight more hours before their bodies would start shutting down from exhaustion and they were just starting to get somewhere. They just hoped it was somewhere nice.