Archive for August, 2011

31
Aug
11

Taris part 5

Taris Part Five

We followed the trail for three clicks into the jungle, south of where the haulers had been hit. We found tracks of ten men, six of which were carrying crates of supplies. As we followed the trail, I looked around us and still couldn’t get over the beauty of the jungle among the ruins of what used to be city. Wildlife had reclaimed this planet. I doubted Taris would ever be the “gem” the republic wanted to return it to.

We reached a camp just after dark; this is where the tracks had ended so this was where we would most likely find the supplies. The defensive systems were solid enough to keep out rakghouls and the wild life, but a Jedi and a trooper like me didn’t have any problem getting by them. They had standard perimeter alarms and generators, no doubt looted from republic supplies, a half dozen probe droids patrolling the boundaries, and a few sentries doing their best to stay awake; definitely not a military operation. We left T7 at the perimeter and continued into the camp.

Zotta used some Jedi distraction to get us past a couple of choke points, which allowed us to easily make it to what appeared to be the main storage tent. It was our best guess on where the supplies would be.

We entered the tent and found it to be empty of people, but found both the missing food rations and the serum. The food containers had been opened, but the serum appeared to be untouched. We had to decide whether to fight our way out with the serum which would slow us down, or destroy it and quickly make our way out of the camp.

It was late and the camp was quiet. My mind began to wander as I thought over the decision.

“Dimbo, we are not alone,” Zotta said quietly.

In the far corner of the tent was a cage with three Twi’leks inside. They were looking at us, probably wondering if they should shout out to the guards or not. I walked over to them and the older male Twi’lek put himself between me and the two females.

“It’s okay, I’m not here to hurt you,” I told him. “Who are you?”

“My name is Alten and this is my wife and daughter. We were captured by these pirates shortly after we arrived on Taris. We are traders, or we were anyway. All is lost now. These pirates stole all of our supplies and plan on selling us into slavery.”

“Listen, my name is Dimbo. I’m a member of the Republic armed forces. My friend Zotta and I are going to get you out of here.”

Zotta walked over to cell drew his lightsaber and cut through the lock.

“Thank you! Oh, thank you!” Alten said.

“Everyone stay quiet. We have a mission to complete before we can get out of here,” I said. “We need to blow up one of these crates.”

“There is a box of marked demolitions in the other corner over there,” the daughter said as she pointed.

“Thank you…” I trailed off hoping she would give me her name.

“Lechelle,” she replied.

“Right, Lechelle.”

She was beautiful. I’d never seen such wonder. She was an inch or two shorter than me, had luscious blue skin, bluer than any ocean, and her lekku hung one behind her back and the other across her chest. I could tell she was afraid, but she had strength in her eyes.

“Okay Leftenant, let’s get to work,” Zotta said, bringing me back down to Taris. “Are you sure you want to destroy this serum?”

“I’m sure I’m not going to let the General hurt anymore people,” I told my Jedi friend. Zotta walked over to the demolition crate as I approached the crate with the serum. I opened the crate and took out one small vial; we needed proof for Zotta’s mission and for evidence against the General. I placed the vial in my utility belt and helped Zotta rig the charges he had found.

“How are we going to get out of here?” Lechelle asked.

“The same way we got in,” I replied. “Nice and easy. When we are far enough away I’m going to detonate the charge and that will be enough of a distraction for us to get away.”

“Mr. Dimbo, could we take some of these food rations with us?” Alten asked. “We will need something to get our business back up and running.”

“That’s okay with me. Take all you can carry, but we need to be able to move quickly.”

Alten’s wife, Lynnda, found some backpacks and the three of them loaded them to the brim.

“I can carry one of those too,” I told Alten.

“As can I,” Zotta spoke. Between the five of us we were able to carry enough supplies for the Twi’lek to have an alright start on Taris.

We went out the back of the tent. I took point in front, with Zotta at the rear. We ran quickly across the camp. A few minutes later we meet up with T7 at the camp’s defensive perimeter.  We were far enough away now to detonate the charges. I told Lechelle and her parents to take cover, just in case. I pressed the detonator button and nothing. Nothing happened, no explosion.

“This is unfortunate my friend,” Zotta said to me.

“Okay everyone, listen up. Zotta is going to take you back to the main road. Wait for me there.”

Apparently Alten and his daughter had found a couple of blasters while they were gathering up supplies. Alten quickly pulled two blasters out of his pack and handed one to Lechelle. Apparently she was handier with a blaster then her mother.

“We will be safe with the Jedi,” Alten said firmly.

“I’m going to go back and detonate the charges myself. I’ll meet up with you guys soon,” I told the group.

“Dimbo,” Zotta said speaking so only I could hear. “This is too dangerous for you to do alone, I must go with you.”

“No my friend, you must take care of these civilians. I will complete our mission and catch up with you in plenty of time. You won’t even know I’m gone.” Then I spoke in a whisper, “Keep them safe Zotta, keep her safe.”

I looked at Lechelle one more time as Zotta nodded. Alten took my pack of supplies and the four of them disappeared into the night.

15
Aug
11

Taris Part 4

Taris Part Four

“Captain,” I said as he approached the tent. “I’m Lieutenant Dimbo with Havoc squad and this is Jedi Knight Zotta. We’ve just arrived in your camp with the supplies.”

“I’m very aware of who you are Lieutenant. I was informed of your arrival, though I didn’t think your first mission would be incomplete,” he said facing away from me. He turned around to look me in the eyes. He stood straight, a clean-cut officer. I imagine this was as close to the front lines he had been or would go. His uniform was clean pressed and he spoke with the notion that we were beneath him. “The General has been informed of what transpired in the jungle and is aware of the fact that a case of medical supplies is missing.”

“And two cases of food rations,” I added.

“Yes, yes, that too. The General and I are more concerned with the medical supplies. Those were not just your everyday kolto packs. They contained an experimental serum designed to assist with the fighting the rakghouls on Taris.”

“Experimental serum? I’m not sure I understand,” I replied.

Zotta chose this moment to speak. “The senate banned that serum because of the cost of human life. The serum was being smuggled as regular kolto packs, but it is actually an illegal substance. The serum is injected in a human host, then that host is dropped off into the heart of rakghoul territory. The host is basically feed to the rakghouls so that all of the rakghouls that eat the host will die from the poison in the serum.”

“Correct, Master Jedi,” said Captain Stalk as he stared at Zotta. “The idea is to target the main camps for maximum exposure; it has quite a large kill rate. As far as the senate goes, what happens here on Taris is up to the General and isn’t up for debate.”

“But if the senate banned it from being manufactured then who made it?” I questioned the captain.

“That, also, isn’t your concern. Your mission is to track down the scum that stole the serum and bring it to this camp so I can make use of it.”

“All do respect Captain, I don’t report to you or this illusive ‘General’ you keep referring too. I report to General Garza only,” I said as I started walking away.

“I thought you might say that.” He pushed a button on the holo between us and a hologram of General Garza appeared.

“Lieutenant, you are to assist Captain Stalk in the recovery of the stolen medical supplies.” It was a recorded message so I was unable to respond.

“T7, can you authenticate that message?” He wheeled over to the holo and plugged in after a moment he beeped in conformation.

“There, you see Lieutenant,” the captain said smugly.

“What do you think of all this, Zotta?” He had been quiet since explaining the details of the serum.

“I am but your servant at the present time, Leftenant,” he replied. I could tell by his tone he would have more to say when we were alone.

“Okay Captain, I’ll follow orders and get your serum.”

“And be quick about it. If that scum that looted the serum uses it while not in the heart of rakghoul territory it won’t attract many rakghouls. That would be unfortunate, because it would be a waste of the serum,” the captain said. He smiled as I turned to walk away.

Zotta and I walked out of the command tent and headed for the speeder bikes that had been unloaded from the cargo haulers we arrived on. We didn’t speak as we hopped on the bikes and headed back to the site where the haulers had been hit to track down whoever looted the supplies.

 

It was almost dusk when we arrived at the site. I got off my bike and looked at my new Jedi friend, “Zotta, what’s going on?”

“Dimbo, it’s time I was straight with you on why I’m on Taris in the first place,” he said and then paused before continuing, rubbing his chin he spoke. “I’m a member of a secret Jedi special forces unit who perform the missions that the senate wouldn’t publicly ask of the Jedi.”

“What?” I couldn’t believe what he was saying. “I’ve never heard of anything like that.”

“Ah well, it is secret. It’s much like your havoc squad. Only a few members of the council know of its existence,” Zotta explained.

Zotta went on to explain that he had been sent here to find this serum, confirm its existence and destroy it. I paced back and forth while he spoke taking all of this information in. First learning of the existence of this illegal serum, now learning of this secret Jedi unit; it was all a little overwhelming.

“The force has brought us together, Leftenant. We are to complete this mission together.”

“This mission? Yours is to destroy the serum, mine is to recover it so Captain gundark back there can sacrifice innocent beings to kill a few rakghouls. How can we do both?” I replied. I was confused on whether to follow my orders or do what I knew was right.

“Dimbo, this is your mission and I believe our paths have crossed for some reason more than this serum. You must decide what is right and I will follow with what you decide.”

I looked at him for a minute studying my new companion, my new friend.

“Ok, well first we have to find the looters that took these supplies before they get themselves killed.”

01
Aug
11

Taris Part 3

Taris Part Three

I awoke with the man still standing over me. I noticed the dead rakghoul bodies close to me cut in half by a Jedi’s blade. “Who are you?” I asked.

“Ah yes, there is that. Greetings, I am Jedi Knight Zotta. It is a pleasure to meet you, Leftenant.”

I looked around. The world appeared to have stopped spinning for the time being.

“Leftenant? What? Why do you keep calling me that? T7 get over here!” my head pounded when I yelled. The droid appeared out of one of the cargo holds where he had been taking inventory of the supplies. “T7, who is this guy?

“Leftenant, as I told you before…” Zotta started.

I put my hand up, “hold it there Jedi, the droid first.”

“Beep boop,” T7 answered.

“Thanks. Is everything accounted for? Get me a full report of what’s still here and what is missing,” I said and T7 wheeled away. “Now as for you Mr. Jedi, I appreciate you saving my skin, but I have a job to do and I don’t believe you have the clearance to assist.”

“I assume you are referring to your havoc squad colors? I can assure you, Leftenant, I am cleared for supply security detail.”

I looked at him. He was my height, broad in the shoulders, blonde clean cut hair and was working on a full face beard. His wore a simple brown Jedi robe, white tunic and pants with his lightsaber resting on his utility belt.

I nodded at his belt. “Is that the blue light I saw before I was hit on the head?”

“Yes,” he said plainly.

“Okay you can stay, but get ready for one hell of a debriefing when we get back.”

The Jedi Knight and I gathered up the bodies of the supply detail: eight soldiers and two drivers. They should have had eight guards per truck. If only they would have waited for me and the other seven guards to arrive rather than leaving early, maybe the lives of these men could have been spared. All of their weapons were missing and T7 reported two cases of food rations along with one crate of medical supplies were missing. Missing medical supplies? Where would they have gone? The rakghouls certainly wouldn’t have any use for them. I stood there thinking… Looters! That explains why none of the bodies from the detail were missing. The rakghouls didn’t have time to eat the bodies so looters must have scared them away. I searched the wreckage site. There were tracks from the jungle onto the road and then back into the jungle, but with a deeper foot impression. Someone found the wreckage looted the weapons, medical supplies and food rations. I couldn’t worry about the tracks now; my primary mission right now was to get the remaining supplies to the forward camp.

“Jedi, unless you plan on using the force to move all of these crates, we better see if the haulers will run.”

“Agreed, Leftenant.”

One of the haulers was badly damaged by a grenade. It looked as though a solider never got the chance to throw his grenade so it exploded right next to the cargo hauler.  Luckily, the other hauler started right up. We would be able use it to tow the other to the camp. It’d be slow moving, but we could make it. We got the haulers strapped together. I decided to drive so Zotta could keep watch from on top the hauler with T7 running his scanner to assist with the overwatch.

The ride to the camp was uneventful which gave me time to really look at the environment around me. The jungle was hot and sticky, and my few hours here on Taris had been spent in the harshness of the environment. We drove past luscious green trees that covered part of the sky like a canopy. There were ruins of buildings that once stood tall on this planet; now they were just rubble slowing being eaten away by the jungle. The jungle was so beautiful, but I had seen the death that lurked within. We followed the main road right into the forward camp.

“These supplies were supposed to be here four hours ago,” the gate sentry said, snapping at me as I pulled to the checkpoint.

“Excuse me Private, tell that to the ten dead men in the back,” I replied. I wasn’t in the mood for him or his attitude now. I had been on the planet for less than four hours and ten men were already dead. The Private popped to attention and saluted when he saw my lieutenant insignia as I got out of the truck.

“Sorry sir, we thought they had forgotten about us again, Welcome to forward camp Taris Kilo three” he said.

“It’s no problem Private. I need to report in and my holo was damaged in the fight that delayed us. Do you know where I can find one?”

“Sure thing LT. Talk to Captain Stalk over at the command tent,” the sentry said as he pointed in the direction of a large brown tent in the middle of the camp. While some members of the camp started unloaded the supplies, Zotta, T7 and I headed for the command tent.




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