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Taris part 9

Taris part Nine

I woke up early that next morning well rested and in a fantastic mood after the events of the previous day. Zotta was meditating next to his bunk. I got up, showered, dressed and thought about yesterday. Lechelle and I had spent the majority of the day at the range. I taught her how to aim, shoot, and the difference between cover and concealment. She was a natural gunslinger. Afterwards, I walked her home and her dad gave me the food rations I requested and said he had a surprise for me. He brought out four cryo grenades and placed them in my hands.

“For saving my family,” Alten said.

“Thank you.” I knew better then to refuse the gift. He worked fast to get these for me; less then two days in the camp and he had already managed to acquire military grade cyro grenades that even the republic didn’t have stocked on Taris. He went inside and Lechelle and I were left alone. She thanked me for the day, gave me a hug, pulled back and smiled. Then she went inside. I smiled the whole way back to my bunk.

But today I needed to stay focused. Today was about beginning my search to find ‘The General.’ As if sensing my mood Zotta “awoke” from his mediation.

“Good morning, Leftenant. I trust you got a good night sleep?”

“Yes, and I’m not a ‘Leftenant’ anymore. I got my armor fixed,” I said as I flashed my wrist piece in his direction for effect.

“Very good then. Let’s get some chow before we start, Leftenant,” he laughed and walked out in front of me.

Over breakfast we talked about our first move. “I think the best lead we have is Captain Stalk. Let’s go talk to him and see where that leads us.”

“That sounds like a great idea my friend,” Zotta replied.

I heard some beeping going on behind me so I turned to look. T7 was approaching with the tech I had given him to.

“He’s all set LT, we just need your access code to connect him to the republic mainframe. Security sweep was negative, and it looks like you’ve got yourself one fine droid here.”

“Well thank you very much.” I input my code into the technician’s console and he nodded and walked away. “Glad to have you back little buddy.” T7 beeped with excitement.

“Ok, let’s go have a chat with Captain Stalk,” I said to T7 and Zotta.

If only it had been that easy. Zotta and I were riding on speeders down the main road toward the forward camp Taris Kilo three in hopes of finding Captain Stalk. We were both on separate speeder bikes with T7 on the back of Zotta’s speeder. Suddenly, about a click or two out from the outpost, Zotta thrust his hand in my direction and I went flying off my speeder. I managed to stand up right as I saw a missile explode into my speeder bike. Zotta had turned into the tree line of the jungle, he dismounted and made his way over to me.

“Glad you are still in one piece” Zotta said.

“Yeah my butt is sore, but the rest of me is thankful you pushed me off when you did. Who shot at us? The pirates maybe?” I asked the Jedi.

“No Leftenant, that came from Stalk’s outpost. Apparently he is mad you blew up his serum, or maybe he didn’t like the color pattern on your speeder.”

“Maybe both,” I replied. “Well looks like I’m going to get to see that blue blade of yours in use this time. We are getting into that outpost one way or another.” Zotta nodded and we set out toward the outpost on foot.

We stayed clear of the main road after the welcoming present they had sent out. My companions and I approached the outpost from the backside and made our way around the parameter. They knew we were coming and had locked down the entire outpost. We could hear some of the guards talking. They were working for ‘The General’ now, and their orders were to kill me on sight.

T7’s scanners were running, but other than the fifty plus men inside the outpost he wasn’t reading anything out of the ordinary. I was sure Stalk was still in the camp. His command tent has been replaced with a mini bunker with more guards around it than the gates and parameter. There was no way around it; we were going to have to fight our way in to get to Stalk.

I positioned myself near the Northwest corner and Zotta at the Northeast, the best points of insertion to quickly take out the gun turrets that made the four corners of the outpost. Using hand signals I counted down our attack. The plan was simple, take out the four turrets then make our way to command bunker. Once inside, get the information needed out of Stalk. I just wish it was going to be that easy. I signaled “3…2…1.”

Zotta forced leaped on to the top of the turret and sliced the barrel in two, and then he impaled it for good measure and deflected the bolts of the Southeast turret back onto itself. I launched two grenades onto the closest turret and made my way to the wall to be out of sight of the Southwest turret. Zotta force pushed a cargo hauler toward me. I climbed up on it and used it to jump over the wall. We were both inside the outpost now with a platoon of men and one more turret between us and Captain Stalk’s bunker.

Zotta’s blade sliced through the air deflecting bolts and moving him closer to our objectives. I followed in his wake, taking out the now traitor soldiers, with a barrage of blaster fire. Once I was in range I launched two more grenades at the last turret and it exploded. We moved back to back through the sea of blaster bolts and bodies, closer to the bunker. I launched and threw grenades to take out clusters of troops. Zotta was deflecting blaster bolts, only a few soldiers were stupid enough to approach him with a viroblade and they became cushion under our feet. A few of the soldiers had taken up positions on top of the walls in an attempt to snipe us down. I continued with my barrage of blaster fire, and Zotta returned the attacking fire back to our attackers who then fell to their deaths.

When we reached the bunker only a few guards remained in the fight. Some pressed on with their attack defending their commander to the death while others, the smarter ones, turned tail and ran. We reached the door of the bunker and found it open. We went inside into a small room, lights lit but empty, nothing in the room but the same holo Stalk had let me use just days before.

Zotta shut the door behind us and the holo flickered on. A blue and white holo image of Captain Stalk appeared, “Lieutenant, it’s so good to see you alive, and I see you brought your pet Jedi with you.”

“Kriff off!” I said.

“Now, now, Lieutenant, if you’re mean I won’t tell you about the surprise I have for you,” he smiled.

“Where are you ‘Captain?’” I said sarcastically.

“I am very safe and very far away from your location. ‘The General’ wanted to express his thanks for blowing up his supply of serum, but we’ll get to that,” Stalk said.

“Listen Captain…” I started.

“It’s actually Commander now. Serving the Empire has its benefits.”

“Empire? So that’s who made the serum for you. What did you hope to gain?” Zotta replied.

“Yes Jedi, you’ve found us out. I switched sides long ago, and I was nearly done collecting enough Republic supplies to cripple the Republic here on Taris allowing the Imperial operation here to get started with everything it needed.”

“Imperial operation? What’s your end game?” I asked.

“That’s not your concern, not that you will be around to figure it out anyway.” He was smug in his answer and suddenly I realized this was a trap. He knew we would start looking for ‘the General’ here and moved elsewhere a long time ago probably moments after I left just days before.

“Leftenant, we must go, I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Zotta said.

My holo rang, T7 sending a message, “Thanks buddy,” I replied. “Zotta, there are fifty or more Rakghouls headed for this camp we need to move.”

“Enjoy Lieutenant, I look forward to never seeing you again.” The ‘Commander’ smiled and the transmission cut off.


taris part 8

Taris Part Eight

            The security hologram stood in front of me and I spoke, “Confirm; alpha, one, seven, hotel, foxtrot, Lieutenant Dimbo, Havoc squad.”

“Command confirmed; only voice command allowed until further notice.”

“Now T7, let’s find out where you came from,” I said eyeing the little droid. Zotta and I walked over to T7 who tried to wheel away, but all the doors were secured and any terminals the droid could have accessed had been locked out for the time being.

“Sierra, confirm astromech droid in briefing room,” I said.

“Confirmed. Model T series astromech droid designated T7-03.”

“Planet of origin?” Zotta spoke up.

“Planet of origin Corellia,” the Hologram said. I placed my damaged holo on a scanning terminal, “Sierra, download all holo messages received in the past week and show on the display screen.”

“Download in progress….Data corrupted, showing all available data.”

There were only a couple of files; some messages from Moss and the two from the sergeant from the supply run. The protocol droid that gave me T7 had said the transfer papers were in my holo. I selected the message.

“Play selected message,” I said.

“Confirm play message. Notice, some data is corrupt.” A distorted holo image of a Rodian appeared.

“Moss?” I said surprised.

“You know this Rodian?” Zotta asked.

“Yeah he is, well like my father,” I said. The recording spoke, cutting in and out.

“Dimbo, this astromech droid is for you. It’s a gift from me. I had a friend in the republic upload all the files and protocols it will need to assist you on your missions. All you need to do is hook it up into a republic mainframe and input your authorization code to activate it. I hope this droid can help you on your journey. Know that I miss you and can’t wait for you to visit.”  The recording ended and the holo of Moss disappeared. I took a minute to think. Where did Moss get the money for an astromech droid? Zotta sensed my emotion but stayed quiet.

“Okay little buddy, you’ve been good to me so far. I’m going to send you in for a security sweep and then you’ll be good to go. Does that sound ok?”

T7 beeped in affirmation.

“Sierra, cancel security protocol and stand down. Confirm kilo india four ice,” I said.

“Command confirmed, shutting down.” The security holo disappeared as the doors to the briefing room opened. I signaled for a repair technician to come to the briefing room. When he arrived I told him to have a full security screening done on T7; not to wipe his memory, just confirm he was republic and didn’t have any tracking or monitoring devices. Once completed, I asked him to bring the droid to me. The tech saluted and T7 rolled away with him. I turned to look at Zotta. He laughed and said, “Am I next?”

I laughed with him. “Don’t tempt me,” I said. “Where do we start?”

The best place it seemed to start was with Captain Stalk, but I was unsure of the reception we would receive once we arrived. The General was right, this mission could take sometime and after the day Zotta and I just had, I figured this mission wasn’t going anywhere. The both of us could use the rest of the day off to rest up for a fresh start tomorrow.

“Zotta I’m going to the range. Let’s start the search tomorrow. We are both tried and could use the day off before we embark on the planet wide search for ‘The General.’”

“Agreed Leftenant. I’m going to meditate. If you need me just call my holo,” Zotta said and then turned to walk away.

“Zotta, why do you keep calling me that?”

“Because Leftenant, that’s what it says right there on your sleeve, ‘Leftenant’,” he smiled and walked away.

“Are you kriffing kidding me?!?” It did say ‘Leftenant’. Did the Republic have some imperial putting ranks on armor these days? I couldn’t believe it. First stop to get my armor rebranded second was to find Lechelle, and third, hit the range.

While I waited for the tailor to rebrand the sleeve portion of my trooper armor, I took a good inventory of my utility belt and armor set. I had picked up a new holo in the command center. I had various grenades, flash, plasma, therma, frac, sonic and stun. They weren’t standard issue, but during my time in the service, my experience had changed my definition of standard issue. I kept a slicing kit, four extra charge packs for my rifle, ten kolto packs, military grade, and a side arm blaster modified for a quick draw and an even faster trigger. But my main asset is my rifle. She was loaded with eight frac grenades and had a reinforced stock in case I had to get up close and personal. She also had a hidden compartment with two extra charge packs; I never wanted to find myself without a charged rifle, especially not after what happened on Ord Mantell

My armor was heavy for the first month or so, but now it was like a second skin. I rarely remembered I had it on, unless I’m getting shot at. Then I’m thankful I do. It’s white with orange havoc squad markings and a good amount of battle scars. I keep it up well and I’m very proud of my armor: it had saved my life a couple of times in my 9 years in the service. I paid the tailor and thanked him for the rapid fix, loaded up all my gear, and headed out into the spaceport. I could use a couple food rations packs for my utility belt and I thought I knew where I could find them.

I asked around and found out where Lechelle and her folks had setup shop. Lechelle saw me coming and ran up to see me. She signed hello with her lekku then started to speak, “Hello!”

“Hello Lechelle. It’s great to see you again. I’ve got some time off this afternoon and was wondering if you had time to go to the range.”


taris part 7

Taris Part Seven

I walked into the briefing room. It was just me, T7, and Zotta. The holo screen in the middle of the room flickered on as if on cue. General Garza and a robed figure with his face covered appeared before us.

“Lieutenant, I read your report. Great work on exposing the General’s plot with the serum,” Garza said firmly.

“Thank you, General. I couldn’t have done it without T7 and Zotta here, they were both invaluable,” I replied.

“Ah yes, Lieutenant,” the cloaked being spoke. “It appears as though you and my apprentice, Zotta, work well together.”

“We do, Master….?” I said hoping to discover the mysterious person’s identity.

“I’m sorry Lieutenant, but I will not be able to reveal myself at this time. Perhaps when you find yourself on Coruscant.” I shook my head; more secrets.

Zotta spoke to me, “Dimbo, this is my master. I can assure you the secrecy is only for his and the Order’s safety.”

“Okay, Master Jedi. If Zotta is good taking orders from a masked holo, I can too… for now.”

“Oh Lieutenant, it isn’t you that will be doing the following. We are assigning Jedi Knight Zotta to work under you as a member of Havoc squad,” General Garza said.

“Under me? Isn’t he like a General or something?” I was shocked. I enjoyed working with Zotta, but I didn’t realize we’d be teaming up for more missions. “Plus, security detail for supply runs seems a bit out of a secret Jedi society’s league.”

“Lieutenant, I didn’t send you to Taris to play security guard. That was simply your cover. We have had our suspicions about the General for sometime. I wanted to see if they had any legs. I just didn’t realize you would uncover it on your first day. You and the Jedi have worked well together; it only makes sense,” Garza told me.

“Wait, why does everyone keep calling him ‘the General’? Doesn’t he have a name?” I said looking at the two holos and then to Zotta.

“His name was classified at one point for his and his projects’ safety. That was years ago. It was so secret it was forgotten or deleted; no one knows who he really is.  He had been loyal to the Republic until he became head of research for the rakghoul purge. When it got turned down no one really heard from him and he had just recently turned up back on Taris,” The Jedi Master told us.

“Okay General Garza, what’s my new mission?” I asked.

“Your cover as a supply runner is no longer needed. The General will no doubt know you are after him and will go into hiding. Your mission is to find him and capture him. Bring him to Coruscant for trial. This is not an easy assignment, Lieutenant and it could take some time. The General has a loyal following on Taris and there will be those that try to get in your way. You and Jedi Knight Zotta are to complete this mission then report to Coruscant with the General and await your next mission. Any questions?”

“Just one; who do I thank for the T7 droid?” I asked.

“T7? I didn’t issue any droid to work with you, Lieutenant. If that is all, Garza out.” Zotta bowed to his Master as the holo flickered off. I was left in the room with T7 and Zotta.

A lot had just happened. I received a new mission, and Zotta was part of my team, I had just spoke to a Jedi so secret I couldn’t know his name or see his face and then there was the fact that T7 didn’t come to me through any official channels.

“Zotta, What do you think of all this? Are you okay working under me?” I asked the Jedi.

“Leftenant, it was my idea. As I told you before I believe the force has brought us together. I am a servant of the Force, the Order, and the Republic. I will follow you, and fight along side you until the Force shows me a different path. Plus, we make a pretty good team, don’t you think?” He smiled while saying the last sentence.

“That I do, friend,” I smiled.

I was happy to have him along with me. I knew he would watch my back and he had already proven to be a wise and dependable companion. I walked over to a computer terminal and punched in a security command. There was just one more thing to take care of before we could get started.

“Security protocol engaged. I am Sierra-Papa Zero-nine, please confirm.” A hologram appeared of a security program droid.


Taris part 6

Taris Part Six

“Well, this was a great idea,” I mumbled to myself under my breath as I started back toward the camp. The charges we had rigged had failed to blow and it was still up to me to destroy that serum.

When I arrived back at the camp I was able to penetrate the defenses once again in no time. I had to hide from a couple of patrols, but managed to get back to the storage tent without any problems. I double checked the charges on the crate of serum and found the problem: one of the wires was old and wasn’t making good contact. I wasn’t going to take any chances this time. I pulled a thermal detonator from my utility belt and set it to blow in ten minutes. I figured that should give me plenty of time to get out of the camp.

On my way out of the camp I was forced to use a different route because of a sentry patrol on the path I had used before. I hid between two tents so I could get a good look at the path I would need to take before I could exit the camp. I checked that the path was clear, stepped out from behind my cover, and immediately heard sirens go off and a saw red light blinking.

“Stang!” I must have set off an alarm. I could have tried to made a break for the tree line, but it was too far. I’d get shot down if their sentries made it here in time. I hid behind a crate and waited for the pirates of this camp to come.

Six men came around the corner armed with blasters and rifles. They didn’t look like much. I tossed a flash grenade and opened fire while surprise was still on my side. If I could just hold them off a minute or two more, the explosion of the serum should be enough distraction for me to get away.

Two of the looters dropped their guns when the flash bomb went off covering their eyes and screaming, “I can’t see, I can’t see!” The four others opened fire on me, hitting the crate I was hiding behind. I launched a second grenade at the looters and three more men went down. The other two had finally picked up their weapons, but were shooting blind. The three remaining looters were soon joined by ten more. Just as the thirteen men started to open fire on me, the explosion went off and lit up the night sky. The pirates couldn’t help but turn to look.

“We’re under attack!” some yelled, while others shouted, “Our stuff! All of our loot!” Some of them even ran over to the explosion site forgetting all about me. I sprinted to the tree line, into the night and the looters never even noticed.

I showed up at the main road to find my companions, Zotta and T7, safe, but Lechelle and her parents were no where in sight.

“Where…?” I started.

“It’s ok, Leftenant. I called a shuttle to come get them and transfer them back to the spaceport base. They are good men and I know they will set them up with a place to stay for the time being. They are safe,” Zotta assured me. “Now what of the serum? I saw a big explosion back there.” He pointed in the direction of the pirates’ camp.

“Well Zotta, as you know and as my report will note, we got the civilians to safety and then I went back to secure the serum to bring back to the Captain. However, I was attacked by the looters and the serum was destroyed in the fire fight. Tough break really…” I smiled at my new friend.

“Ah yes, Leftenant, that is what I recall as well.”

We got on our speeder bikes and headed for the base camp. T7 could deliver our report to Captain Stalk via holo. It was almost dawn and we needed rest.

Zotta woke me around 8am. I had fallen into my rack when we arrived in the barracks and fell asleep almost instantly. I was used to getting only a few hours of sleep, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t still tired.

“We have a briefing with General Garza and my Master.”

“Great, do we have time for chow first?” I asked. Zotta nodded. I got up and got dressed, hoping that my second day on Taris would be easier then the first.

I decided we should walk to the Mess hall, hoping it would give me a chance to look around for Lechelle. I couldn’t wait to see her again. I hoped to get know her better.

Walking through the base camp was uneventful. I watched the busy people going about their daily routine; workers, soldiers, and vendors, all busy with their own duties.

Zotta and I arrived at the Mess hall. It was probably the third biggest building in the camp after the Spaceport and the Command center. It was used to feed all the soldiers and Republic workers stationed here on Taris. When we went inside and I smelled the food, I realized just how hungry I was. In all the excitement yesterday I hadn’t eaten since the shuttle ride. I got a big plate of food that reminded me of home at Moss’ diner, and then washed it all down with a glass of blue milk.

After we finished eating, I took some stim tea to go. Zotta and I walked out of the mess toward the Command center and about halfway there I saw her. She looked like a dream; rested now and not scared for her life, she had a certain calm about her. She ran over to us. She was still as beautiful as the first time I saw her.

“We still have a few minutes, Leftenant,” Zotta said knowingly as he walked away to leave us alone. Lechelle was wearing simple clothes; brown pants, and a yellow shirt with a light brown vest to match. She smiled at me.

“Hello Lechelle. How are you and your folks doing?”

“Good morning, Dimbo! We are great thanks to you and Master Zotta,” she replied as I smiled. “Dad got us set up with a shop to sell out of and we are staying in a compound just outside the base.”

“I’m glad to hear you are all well. I’m really sorry, but I have to go report for a briefing,” I told her.

“It’s okay, I just wanted to ask you for a favor,” She smiled as she spoke to me.

“Anything Lechelle.” I was eager to spend more time with her, no matter the task.

“Could you teach me how to shoot? I’ve only ever handled a blaster a few times and Taris is a scary place. I don’t want what happened to us before to happen again.”

“Sure thing, I’d be glad too, but no one is going to hurt you as long as I am around. I’ll come find you later today. I have to get to my briefing, I’ll see you later.”

“Thank you Dimbo,” she said. I waved and walked to the command center.


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.


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.”


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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