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Posted on Tue Aug 24th, 2021 @ 7:24am by Jedi Knight Satara' Jalran & Captain RC 3910 "Coda" & Spacer Atrus Abraxis

Mission: Episode 2 - The Empire Rises!
Location: Abandoned Republic Depot

"What a desolate place..." TC-326 said with an electronic sigh, the Protocol droid staring out over the wide field below. During the early days of the Outer Rim Sieges, the ground below would full of starships; thousands of Gunships, Fighters, Arquitens, even an Acclimator or two as far as the Photoreceptor could see. Now empty fields, golden wheat, and grass marred by burns from repulsor engines and crash landings. Here and there the protocol turned inventory droid could see the random LAAT/i or Headhunter. Craft left behind by the Fleet as obsolete much like himself. One day he would make the long trek and inspect these wrecks and leavings. Perhaps there would be something salvageable among them.

For now though his job was here, watching over the Lartelu Depot and it's droid minders. SO many droids, and yet not enough to fill the field far below even a tenth. High atop the cliff of course where the depot sat, perspectives were skewed. Or would be for an organic. For TC's superior and top-of-the-line Photoreceptors he could easily decern distance and angle to see properly. But there was a certain... elegance to the inferior vision of organics. A perspective he missed, now that the Clones were gone, the Jedi were gone.

"Bee-roowoooomp?" A small metallic clang reverberated around the room, the sound of the small astromech droid bumping into his leg.

"Hmm?" TC-326 turned, bending stiffly to stare down at the similarly painted R4 unit. "Oh it is nothing... come along, we've much to do before the Fleet returns... if they return."

The pair turned, walking away from the vast window and its grand view over the fields below, down the control corridors, to the large cargo bays burried deep into the cliffside; motorized wheels and the clang of metal feet easily heard over the quiet din of idle stations and the electronic worrble of the other droids. The station both alive with activity and completely dead all at once.


Arriving In orbit over the planet, Coda was sitting in the cockpit as the ship dropped from hyperspace. Quickly sitting up a little straighter, he prepared to send the appropriate security codes for them to gain access to this outpost. On the one hand, he was hoping that it was completely abandoned which would make their job easier, though on the other hand finding some surviving clones wouldn’t be all that bad a thing. Tapping the ships intercom, Coda cleared his throat to talk, “Captain, we’ve arrived”

"Great," Atrus called from the mid-section of the ship, having felt the slight lurch and stop out of hyperspace. It threw him a little off balance in his position bent over to retrieve his pack, and he braced a hand against the cool durasteel as he straightened up to head to the cockpit. He put himself back into the chair and stopped himself from sending an alternate set of codes--Coda had already been helpful enough to do that--and simply sat back to wait for clearance to the docking bay they'd be helping themselves too. He clicked his tongue and appraised the planet, its muted colors and clouds orbiting like thin smoke over the veil that divided them from the atmosphere.

"I'll take us down directly once we're cleared," He said, nodding his chin towards the rear of the ship. "Feel free to gear up, I've done enough flying solo to handle the rest." He assured, knowing Coda was probably anxious to put himself back into full order. They'd both been compliant enough not to garner any trust issues (like looking down the end of a lightsaber hilt the second they'd landed), and so he just smiled softly and nodded to his strange companion from another time and place. "I hope we find what you're looking for down there. You deserve some good news after the day you've had."

“I’ll hold out on relaxing until I find out what’s down there” Coda replied as he stood up and headed down toward the cargo bay, “I’ve preloaded the codes so all you’ll need to do is press send when the automated call comes in”

"A guarded sense of optimism," Atrus said, talking over the automated signals that caused him to punch the go-ahead of the pre-loaded codes that began their descent.

"Now that I understand." He finished, letting the autopilot begin the initial calibrations for the ship. He fell into a muted silence as he focused on the task at hand; letting the navigation do most of the mathematical trajectory work. They had stopped a little off course to the destination, and they wound up moving the ship a little in space until they were centered over the depot. The Marauder broke through the atmosphere without too much trouble, their entry shaking and jostling the small ship as lines from the intense heat blurred the edges of the viewport. They broke through the upper atmosphere with one final soft lurch, and the exterior peace of the landscape below seemed as momentarily silent as the interior they inhabited.

It looked desolate. Scans showed movement from the droids below, but Atrus' heart sank a little for Coda as he considered that he would not find much out here but intel, debris and machinery. It looked as he expected--the aftermath of a war, another scar on another planet that served as a cold reminder of what was. What he didn't see--thankfully--were signs of Imperial occupation. Though it hadn't worried him, it had nagged a little on him. They were moving in everywhere, and fast.

He did not comment towards the disheartening view, he simply moved to land the ship at the designated landing pad. He hoped for fuel, among other resources, but he still felt moved to consider Coda's safety, too. While it wasn't his responsibility anymore, he still felt sympathetic for the solider. His life had been saved, but it was another matter entirely to consider what new purpose he would find when his previous one laid in the same rubble that was scattered in the fields before them.

"Well, here we are." He said with a soft sigh, powering the ship down to open up the ramp. "You lead, I'll follow. For a time. Just until we see it all checks out."

Coda nodded. He had fully kitted up in his armour with his helmet under his arm. This was it, after wondering all this time, he was hopeful that he was about to get the answers he was looking for. Looking over at Atrus, Coda put a hand onto his shoulder, “thank you, it may not seem like much, but you’ve done lot for me by bring me here. Please feel free to take what you wish. It’s not like I’ll be needing most of it” he said before sliding on his helmet.

The gesture from Coda had been a meaningful one, and it had left Atrus in a sort of silence. He stood up a little straighter under the fall of his hand to his shoulder, meeting the man's eyes. What he found within them was honesty, humanity and a sort of oath-bound duty the man could not place down. As Coda adorned his helmet, that duty shrouded the individual that was behind it's cold facade. Atrus had seen such troopers before, but he'd never stood beside them. It was strange to follow him down the ramp, as if they had just been yanked back in a time before the nightmare that had become the close of the war.

Walking down the ramp, Coda looked around at the dozens of droids zipping about, somehow keeping the place operational. He was surprised that there wasn’t an imperial presence here. While the station wasn’t in any kind of strategic position, it was one more base that practically ran itself.

“If I remember correctly, there should be a few fuel containers over there” Coda said, pointing towards one of the hangers, “other then that, I’m not sure what’s here. It looks like the GAR didn’t leave much when they left. Though that is a thing of beauty” he said as he laid his eyes on what looked to be an intact ARC-170, “while she’s not fast, that girl can take a beating”

Atrus looked from Coda to the ARC-170, his mind drifting from the promise of fuel containers to the sight before him. He made a soft noise of agreement, and his features moved a little to appreciate the ship. Not just for it's design which was, in fact, beautiful; but for the very miracle that it looked to be in one piece among all this rubble. Like someone had just plucked it down out of the sky to place it gently and directly in their path.

"Quite an arsenal on it." He remarked, drifting a little in the direction Coda had pointed out as to where the fuel would be. "Think it still runs?"

“Only one way to find out” Coda said as he started to walk towards the fighter. Everything onboard seemed to be intact, blaster cannons, rear facing gun, intact cockpit. Hell, if the engines worked and the hyperdrive was still installed, Coda could use this abandoned base as a home.

As the Clone approached the remaining active fighters, a cylindrical grey tube raised out of the deck near a larger set of doors. Several hexagonal squares adorned its top rim, each lighting up in turn. Moments later the doors of the cylinder opened and two droids came barreling out of the lift. Moving as quickly as his mechanized joints could take him CT-326 made for the end of the landing pad. "I say over there!" He called, waving his arms as the R4Unit behind let off a series of beeps and whistles.

Quickly turning to face the advancing droids, Coda levelled his rifle at them, “freeze!! Identify yourself!!” He called, not expecting anyone to be here. True they were just droids and could’ve been activated by an automated response to their landing, but it was better to be safe than dead.

It wasn't the droids that caused Atrus to let his hand rest briefly on his own blaster, but Coda's reaction to them. While their sudden appearance had come as a surprise, the pair hadn't looked like enough of a threat for Atrus to join Coda in pulling a weapon on them. Perhaps if it had been tactical droids it would have been different, but the most dangerous thing a protocol droid could do was bore a person to death. Instead, he remained just behind Coda's flank as the Clone called out to the two mechanical beings against the desolate landscape. Part of him was glad to be behind the gun, and the other part of him was overjoyed he had met Coda under the difficult circumstances he did. The droids, while probably harmless, were having a harder time at first impressions.

R4 reacted much quicker than TC, letting out a series of oud wailing beep as the pair skidded to a halt, the astromech rebounding off of the Protocol Droid's legs. "OH, Ohhh no sir! Please don't dismantle us!" TC cried as he too cowered as the Clone turned his rifle on the pair. "I am Tee-Cee-Thee-Two-Six, minder of this installation and this is my counterpart in charge of inventory. “

Cautiously lowering his rifle, Coda stepped forward towards the two droids, “inventory droids. I’m RC-3910, Captain Coda. Who is the commander of this base?”

"Ahh well... I suppose Sir that would be me?" TC looking from the Clone to his counterpart and back to the Clone. It had been months... Eight by CT's count actually since they'd last had a Republic Official at the facility. "Our last Commander was Lieutenant Dodonna..." TC turned his head, unsure what the Clone needed. Even when the base was fully operational during the early seiges they were never visited by Commandos.

Taking a sigh, Coda was confident the Empire had abandoned this base, at least for now. “Ok, well I am taking command of this base until the republic send a relief force. I need you to disable all outgoing communications from this base and turn all sensors to passive mode. Do you understand these orders?”

"I... ah.. but... yes I understand... ummm." CT's logic chip fought its programming for a moment as the various orders, variables, and authorities clashed with each other. "I understand sir. However..." TC hesitantly held up a finger. "the base security protocols prohibit me from shutting down the automatic friend or foe challenge if communications are shut down..."

"understood, do what you can then bring me an inventory of what's left on this base" Coda ordered before turning and walking over to Atrus, "well, it seems we're secure for the moment. As agreed you can take some of the fuel for your ship, But I cannot allow you to take it all. I may need to boot up that starfighter and make my own way out of here eventually"

As the droid and Clone Trooper worked out the logistical nuances of whom was in charge and how to facilitate the orders, Atrus had begun to busy himself with the preliminary work that could be done until droids whose programming included fueling ships could assist him. He looked up to Coda when he was addressed and smiled, shrugging easily with the request. He doubted he could fit more on his ship even if it was offered, so the conditions were easy to agree on.

"I want to see you get out of there too, eventually. Can't figure saving you from being stranded in space to being stranded on a spaceport." He agreed amicably enough, standing by for the fueling droids to help. His own pit-droid, TD, came out from the shelter of the Marauder and began to attempt it himself, but Atrus batted him away with an open hand. TD looked from Atrus to the droids standing by and stared at them with his large ocular eye as Atrus continued to speak to Coda.

"Do you really think the Republic is going to send a relief force?"

Coda shook his head, “no, this is what’s left of the republic, An abandoned station in the middle of nowhere. The Empire rules the Galaxy now” he said, looking around the hanger, “once the outgoing signal has been stopped, the Empire might take notice and send someone, but I doubt it. I could hide here for years if needed, but perhaps keeping on the move would be a better option”

"Excuse me sir? But what is this Empire? My database doesn't register any Empire in this area of space," TC asked with a confused tilt of his head. The station hadn't received any updates on the Military Communications frequencies for some time, but he was sure GAR Command would have mentioned an Empire.

Coda looked at TC with a look of confusion, “I’m surprised you don’t know. The war ended and the chancellor used his emergency powers to reorganise the Republic into an Empire” Coda explained, not stopping to think how this could effect the droid’s protocols, “but there are those like myself who are loyal to the republic and not this new empire”

"If there's any republic left to be loyal too beyond an abandoned station and a few protocol droids." Atrus added honestly. The mention of the Empire taking notice of the signals seem to have created a slightly concerned expression on his face; as if he might look up into the vastness of space for the sudden appearance of a ship belonging to the newly organized, war-mongering power of the Empire. "I hope your signal reaches more like you before the other guys find out, but I still wouldn't sit here too long to find out how much luck you've got left." Atrus continued, looking down to continue with his assisted refueling. "It would be easier to hide on planets without a loyalty to either in the Outer Rim, once you've done all you could here." He offered, "There's loads here to scrap, set you up with decent credit. Being a survivor of all this still makes you a hero, you know." He said, his tone falling a little in concern over the well-being of the commando he plucked out of space.

“Sounds like you’re speaking from experience. Though you’re not wrong. Perhaps I should fix up that ARC over there, take what I can and head for hut space. I know of a few Jedi contacts that might be worth calling on” Coda said, looking over at Atrus, “that is unless you could use a trained gunner on your ship”

"It would take quite a bit of equipment to repair the disabled fighter." TC offered, he had stayed silent as he processed the information of the regime change. Technically as a droid he and the others didn't have free will to decide their loyalties, he couldn't even leave this base with his restraining bolt still intact. "My counterpart does have the technical manuals in his databanks, however." Work would keep TC from overloading his processors with uncomfortable thoughts.

“Thank you CT” Coda said before getting another thought, “Atrus, how would you like to add three new crewmembers to your ship? I’m sure TC and his counterpart would be willing to come along, isn’t that right?”

"Sounds expensive." Atrus said, though he smiled wryly through the comment. "At least TC doesn't look like he eats much." He said with a glance at the droid, taking in a small breath as he considered the proposition and the environment of which they had landed in. "Whether you can fix the ARC up or not, I can take you into Hutt space. I don't know if alerting the Jedi is a good idea I'd want to hang around for, considering the attention it might receive, but I can't pass on the prospect of a trained gunner." He admitted, "A spacer always hopes to the seven hells they don't need one until they do. Then they thank all seven they picked one up."

“Oh, sorry I ment contacts that the Jedi used to use inside of hut space, I wouldn’t have a clue how to find…..well ok if I had to I could track one down but as it stands right now I wouldn’t try to for their safety as much as mine” Coda clarified before looking over at TC, “and if we’re going to be on the move a lot, that bolts gonna have to go” he said reaching down to his belt and pulling out his vibro-knife, “come here”

"Ahhoohh! Sir, I don't know if this is a good idea!" TC practically jumped backward, at least as much as a protocol droid could. "Isn't there just another way, a button, or wedge, perhaps some grease would simply be enough!" TC continued backward ricocheting off of R4 in a panic.

Giving a sigh, Coda stared to walk towards TC, “just hold still would ya, it’ll only hurt of you struggle” he said before glancing over at R4, “and don’t you start because yours is next”

"Hurt!? Sir, I am a protocol droid, not some kind of commando, I'm not programmed to endure such torture." TC kept backing up, his arms high. If a droid could sweat a waterfall would flow over the edge of the landing pad.

Shaking his head, Coda grabbed his pistol from his belt, set it to stun and shot TC, “why must protocol droids be so difficult” he said as he moved over to TC and used his vibro-knife to remove its retraining bolt.

Letting out a shout of surprise TC collapsed as soon as the stun bolt hit him, a loud clanking echoing around the canyon. "Sir I really must protest!" R4 let out his own series of beeps in agreement, but also didn't try and flee. The little droid wasn't in any rush to be shot by the Clone.

"look, you're no use to us with that restraining bolt on. If you want to keep in service and come with us I need to get that thing off of both of you" Coda said before he looked over his shoulder at R4, "and yes that means you too my little friend"

"Oh, Maker preserve me!"

Captain Coda RC-3910
Clone Commando


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