Lost Tales of the Old Republic is a weekly fan fiction story, written by RepublicTrooper.com’s very own Tim Bertram. Tim is an aspiring author, with one completed novel already under his belt. Each and every Monday, Tim will give you a fresh installment in the Lost Tales of the Old Republic series. Enjoy!
Chapter Three – “Baptism By Fire”, Part II
Written By: Timothy E. Bertram
As the caravan got within 100 kilometers or so from the surface, the ships began to peel off and head to their destinations at various outposts on Cularin-227. Jenz flew the ship just above treetop level for a distance until they reached their landing spot where she skillfully set down in an opening, just barely big enough for the craft to land. All of the ship’s weapons were retracted and hidden so the craft looked just like any other freighter, but as the back cargo hatch lowered a Republic battle droid rolled quickly out and scanned the area. Finding nothing it deemed dangerous is took a position in a nearby thicket to guard the ship from a hidden location.
Gage and Blaster secured their helmets and Gage did a communications check with the team and Greasy. With solid communications in place Gage motioned for the exit and the team walked down the ramp in single file. It was early morning but the jungle was alive with noise from the birds and other creatures that made this area home. Near the rear of the craft at the clearing’s edge was a large rock outcropping. Gage held the team in place with a hand signal and climbed up onto the rock to look out over the area. Below him he could only see the tree tops of the jungle canopy as everything else below that was shrouded in mist.
He stepped down from the rocks and looked at the team; “I thought I might be able to see the ruins from here, but everything is covered in the fog.” He told them. He looked to Jenz; “You have the coordinates, go ahead and take the point and lead us in, Jenz.”
“You got it, boss.” She replied and headed off down a path from the rise they were on, surprising Gage that she had no silly comment or joke to make.
Gage and Blaster activated a switch on their battle armor and within a few seconds the suits flickered and changed to a camouflaged pattern that made them next to invisible in the jungle undergrowth. They seemed to be following a game trail and the movement through the brush was not as difficult as they thought it may be. The team advanced at a good pace, but cautiously for some time before Jenz halted their advancement; “Hold up.” Came in a low whisper across the comms.
“What do you see?” Gage asked.
“It’s a clearing in the trail, I don’t see anything in particular, but this seems out of place.” Jenz responded.
The team held fast as Gage slowly moved up next to Jenz. He observed the clearing she was looking at. The trail ran through the middle of it, but much of the underbrush was missing and the grasses that grew there were heavily matted down. “This looks like a lair.” Jenz, whispered into the comms.
“I agree. Plot a course around it.” Gage told her. Jenz brought up a small devise in her wrist which broadcast a small holograph map of the area with digital readings of their coordinates and that of the ruins. As she manipulated the gadget, Gage’s hand came slowly to rest on her arm stopping all movement. Jenz looked up slowly to see a very large greenish-grey cat prowling out of the brush at the far end of the clearing, obviously sniffing the air currents. This feline was massive, easily four times as heavy as Blaster. It growled into the air as it slowly surveyed the clearing. “Don’t move.” Gage said quietly.
“Not moving.” Jenz replied, and held perfectly still. The cat growled again, this time much louder.
At the back of the formation Rein had come to a stop next to Zeikk, and both men had dropped into a crouching position. The entire team seemed to be holding their breath as they awaited instructions from Gage. Zeikk looked to Rein and saw the Jedi’s head rise in alert as if he had heard or felt something. In a single motion Rein pushed Zeikk over, spun to his feet and whirled around as the loud buzz of a light saber ignited the area. Zeikk had fallen on his side and as he looked up a dark shadow covered his vision, only to pass over him and land with a thud in front of his position, right behind Blaster. Blaster whirled around to see the corpse of a massive cat on his heels, and Rein sprinting past him towards the front of the team.
The cat in the clearing, hearing the light saber darted in that direction right towards Gage and Jenz. Gage let go of Jenz’ arm and both went for weapons, but before they could ready them a whirling figure bathed in a blue light landed to intercept the creature and cut it nearly in half with one swing. The cat came to a sliding stop in the dirt its head touching Gage and Jenz’ Knees. With an electronic sucking sound Reins saber went dark. For all of Jenz posturing, she retracted in fear for a moment at the site of the cat, and so did Gage, both then quickly regaining their composure.
Gage let out a blast of air in relief and stood up; “Nice job Rein, you saved us from having to open up with blaster fire, surely alerting anyone in the ruins”.
“Just doing the job I have been tasked with commander.” Rein responded humbly.
“Man, that’s a big cat.” Blaster commented as he approached the front of the group.
Gage looked around and made note of the team grouping up to see the fallen beast; “We’re bunching up, everyone back in position.” Gage ordered and the team dispersed back into a single file line.
“Take us to the perimeter, Jenz.” Gage told her. Jenz slowly and gracefully made her way across the clearing making almost no noise. Once she picked up the trail again on the other side she moved the team out. With the exception of causing a flock of birds to take flight, the team made it the rest of the way to the ruins with no more incidents.
The jungle growth and trees appeared to have been cleared on a wide circle around the ruins, likely to give security forces in the area a better visual of the area outside of the fence line. The group halted below an earthen berm that had been built up at the edge of the ruins. Gage halted the team and bellied up the parapet so he could peek into the ruins. On top of this berm was a simple chain linked fence, likely only serving the purpose of keeping the local wildlife out. The area he was observing looked to be maybe 200 meters wide and maybe just as deep, the back of which butted up against a cliff face that rose several hundred meter high. With the morning sun burning off the mist in the area, Gage could see the top of this cliff which was covered in vegetation, trees and had what looked to be one observation post which looked to be unmanned.
Gage quietly slid back down the berm and called for Rein; “Rein, can you move up there and cut us a nice hole with your light saber?” he whispered into his comms.
“Will do.” Rein responded and crawled up the berm. Rein’s light saber made quick and easy work of the fence’s thin links and quickly cut a hole that the team could sneak through. Jenz was the first through. After breaching the fence line she moved quickly in a low crouch to what appeared to be a toppled obelisk. One by one the tem crossed the distance to gather up behind Jenz.
“Is this place abandoned?” Ziekk remarked as he poked his head up a bit to survey the area. What once might have been an elaborate system of buildings and monuments was now a tangled maze of shattered ruins.
“Look sharp.” Gage ordered the team; “I can hear the hum of a power generator, so someone is still here. Jenz, move up to the next pile of rubble.” He directed. Jenz, still crouching low moved across the small open area to the next spot of cover, the team following suit one by one. For no apparent reason to the rest of the team, Rein’s light saber ignited as he whirled around just in time to deflect an incoming shot from a blaster. The bolt ricocheted up into the sky as several more shots came in from behind the group, each being deflected the last one being a stretch of Rein’s arm or it would have hit Blaster.
Blaster immediately fell into the prone in the direction of the fire and was the first to open up on two Imperial soldiers who were taking cover behind a pile of broken stones. The team’s cover was to their back and they had no place to hide as they engaged the enemy from an open position. Gage and Blaster’s interlocking fire caused both of the guards to put their heads down and as this happened, Rein leapt up and sprinted in the direction of the enemy, his comrade’s fire ripping past him on either side of his body. The first guard to poke his head back up to fire was met with a deadly shot from Gage right into his helmet dropping him limp on the rock pile. As this soldier went down Rein had reached the pile of rubble that the enemy had been using for cover and leapt into the air higher than any normal man could have jumped. With a forward flip so graceful that it looked unnatural to his team mates Rein landed behind the last guard and spun with an outstretched arm his light saber cutting the guard across his back through his armor.
Never pausing in his fluid movement that could have been a choreographed dance, Rein rolled to his right as a blast from a tower in the distance sent a cannon bolt where his feet might have been. With grace of his own Blaster dropped his rifle at his side, reached back over his shoulder and brought his heavy cannon to the ready opening its bi-pod as fast as if it were spring loaded. Three accurate blasts from his cannon caused the tower gun to explode sending the Imperial troop that was manning it backwards and off of the platform leaving a smoke trail in the air as he fell into the brush below.
“Think they know we’re here?” Blaster asked with an amused tone as he stood up and moved to the right for a better firing position deeper into the ruins.
“Disperse!” Gage ordered. “Ziekk and Jenz you two keep covering the rear in case we still have troops behind us!” With that Gage moved left in a similar manner as Blaster had and took cover looking deeper into the ruins. Rein leapt back over the pile of rubble he had vaulted and hustled back to the team. An intrusion alarm began to sound from the back side of the ruins and in the distance the group could hear the sound of armored boots rushing through the ruins. Though all competent soldiers in the Imperial army, the troops guarding this outpost were no match for this elite team of men and women the Republic Fleet Command had assembled. Blaster delivered devastating blow after blow with the cannon, Gage was nearly one of the best marksmen in the Republic Troopers, and Jenz and Zeikk had more time behind the trigger then most all of these guards combined. As the guards tried to flank Striker team on the right, they were met with a whirling tornado of light saber flurries and heavy debris that rained down on them from the telekinesis control of the Jedi that intercepted them.
After several minutes of intense combat the rifle and cannon fire faded out until the area was quiet of fire. “Hold your positions.” Gage ordered as he low crawled up the pile of rocks in front of him to take a look across the ruins at a higher elevation. From his vantage point he could see across the top of most of the rubble and did not see any more movement, and the only sound that could be heard was the pulsating blast of the alarm. He cautiously observed the surroundings for a few more minutes and then came back down from the pile. “Okay, listen up; at the cliff face is an open blast door into a part of the ruins that must be inside the rock face. Jenz will lead us through the ruins until we are within view of it. Be ready for more Imperial bastards to come out, I don’t know how many may be infesting this place.” Gage told the team.
Jenz led the team through the maze of rubble until they were near the cliff face and could see the door. The entire group jumped as Blaster’s cannon went off firing a single shot at the top of a utility pole disintegrating the alarm speaker. “That damn thing was starting to give me a headache.” Blaster commented as he slung his cannon back across his back and readied his rifle that still hung in his combat sling at his chest.
“Damn you Blaster, I almost messed my pants!” Jenz scolded him, to which Blaster lifted his face shield so she could see his cocky grin.
“Alright; at ease.” Gage told them both. “We’re going to move up in two columns, one on each side of the door and…” Before Gage could finish the blast door slammed shut, the heavy door shaking the ground.
“Guess someone is still home.” Jenz commented.
“Great.” Gage noted in frustration. “That’s a damn heavy door.”
“Want me to open up and get working on it?” Blaster asked.
“I’ve got this.” Ziekk commented as he stood up and with one more look around the area walked over to the door.
Gage moved the rest of the team up, split on both sides of the door, and all facing the front of the ruins as Zeikk opened up his back pack and began to remove tools and electronic devices. Using a small plasma cutter, Zeikk cut around the edge of a metal panel until it dropped from place reveling the electronics behind it.
“It can’t be that easy.” Blaster commented suspiciously.
“It isn’t if you are not an Imperial engineer, and are missing this…” Zeikk answered and pulled a small computer out with several wires hanging from it with clips on the end. Gage noted the Imperial markings on the devise and nodded with an impressed look of approval. Zeikk connected the wires into the control box and then secured the device to the panel with another set of clips. He then removed another small device that he set on the ground. That piece of equipment had what looked like a small communications dish on it and Zeikk pointed it towards the sky, and connected its long leads to the device on the door panel. Removing one more piece of gear, Zeikk began to punch codes into a small remote communicator.
“What are you doing there Zeikk, if you don’t mind me asking?” Jenz questioned him.
“I am contacting the nearest Imperial battle cruiser to get the codes for the door.” Zeikk replied without looking up.
“You’re contacting a ship in the Imperial fleet?” Gage asked with a note of amazement.
Zeikk paused and looked up with a wily grin and shook his head ‘yes’.
Blaster walked over to more closely observe Zeikk and rapped him in the back of the head lightly with his armored glove; “You’re still a scrawny runt but brother, you are one smart and devious little runt. I guess I’ll keep covering your ass and picking up the slack for you in combat.” Blaster finished with a hearty laugh.
“Well thank you my large and thick skulled friend.” Ziekk responded in a pleasant tone as he finished the sequence of commands he was sending. He stood up and looked to Gage; “Get ready it’s going to open soon.”
“Blaster, Rein, front and center. You guys open up on anything you see moving, the rest of us get on the sides and be ready to assist. Gage ordered and the team got in position.
A few moments later the door opened in a whoosh.
“Clear!” Blaster called over the comms and the group entered the facility.
Immediately the team realized that this was no ordinary outpost, the method of construction, the look of the computers, even the lighting was of a technology that none including Zeikk had ever seen before. “Column of twos, keep your dispersion.” Gage ordered as the team split into two single file lines on either side of the hall and made their way deeper into the building.
“I’ve never seen anything like this.” Zeikk commented. “Whoever built this was using technology far beyond what we presently know.”
As the team entered into a large room at the back of the building, several men in laboratory dress fumbled with weapons to try to defend themselves against Striker team and were quickly cut down. Except for the sizzling of equipment hissing from the blasts it had taken all was quiet again.
Gage looked up at a large screen displaying schematics of some type of device that made no sense to him. “Zeikk, do you know what this is?” He asked.
Zeikk starred at the drawings and then approached a control board and soon had many more schematics flipping through his view as he paused only a moment on each one. “This is bad.” Zeikk quietly mumbled as he continued to page through the documents.
Continue to: Chapter Three – “Baptism by Fire” Part III!
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Tags: Blaster, Cularin-227, fan fiction, Galactic Republic, Greasy, Jedi, Jenz, Jerrek Gageiz, Rein Galia, Sith Empire, Star Wars: The Old Republic, SWTOR, Timothy E. Bertram, TOR, Ziekk Randoss