Log:Jedi: Like Clockwork

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Jedi Order: It Arrives

OOC Date: November 23, 2021
Location: Bothan space over Bothuwii
Participants: Jedi Order, New Republic: Aryn Cortess, Erinn Laski, Narsai Ordo, and Qutha Buvu Pah as GM

The New Republic transport was finishing airlock connections, the Bothan Defense Authority craft that had been connected before removed by aid of Astromech droids entering through external hatches barely an hour before the arrival of the troop transport now serving as response craft. Medical shuttles were in position to connect at the all clear and the Ridgeback Saurrapt had become something akin to the Cetacea species it was named for - with ships taking the place of skates and scavenger creatures tucked close. The running lights still showed its SOS pattern an radio chatter was minimal but tension was thickening.

<<"We're having you come in where the security team was, to follow their backtrail as it were. It's still unknown what happened, but the ship registry in our database suggested it was carrying technical parts, computer components and data drive cores through the Both system en route to Naboo and Malastare. They were intended to refuel and run basic system checks here, but as you can see plans went awry.">> The purring voice of the BDA officer relaying what information they had over comms.

The GR-75 being a massive vessel for such, almost twenty thousand tons worth of space.

"Flight crew says we're ready." Qutha's head pokes in from the front, looking furtively towards the boarding hatch connected to the Ridgeback's airlock.

The hatch itself, once accessed, opening into a wide hull-side corridor meant to allow for cargo hauler traffic in two lanes and foot passage to either side. Stark white walls stained by dust and time matching to ceiling set with recessed illuminator strips that create soft shadows in the gray paneled floor beneath. Marks in Bothese on the wall indicating a forward directed path by the prior security team, with markings in several languages indicating that in that direction lay the bridge and primary system station Aurek. Aftward, signs indication sensors, auxiliary life support and crew bunk access.

Aryn unbuckles from her seat and rises up, fluffing out her cape and adjusting the collar to fold beneath the lengths of her blonde hair. A rebreather is fastened over the are of her nose and mouth, leaving her eyes uncovered, and the scar over one eye emphasized thanks to her hair being pulled back. With the seal formed, Aryn cleared her mask by placing her palm at its center to breathe out, before breathing in freshly filtered air. Her voice came out modulated, her accent hardly masked, though. "Will you be traveling with us, master Qutha?" Master is used more in the posh manner, not to indicate any sort of mastery of skill or occupation.

Aryn pulls the strap of her medical satchel over her shoulder then adjusts her cape to hang stylishly to one side, this left her blaster pistol and curved-lightsaber hilt on display and at the ready should the need arise to pull and employ their functions.

Mercenary work, or a little help for some old friends, whatever reason Narsai Ordo had come along to lend a hand to the Republic and the New Jedi Order. Even if her culture and her people meant that some of the Jedi in the past had been...less than willing to accept the Mandalorian's aid, the redhead woman was here.

A first glance by the unknowing might not immediately mark her as a Mandalorian, without the usual Beskar protecting her, but the figure-hugging armor tailored to her form and the outer robes themselves bore markings of Clan Ordo and Mandalorian history in their stitching of the trim.

"Right behind you," the young woman speaks, sweeping a hand over the weapons holstered at her thigh and the small of her back in one last check.

Lieutenant JG Erinn Laski shambles off of the docking vessel shortly after Aryn Cortess and Narsai Ordo. She seems to be adjusting the buckles of her armor, wratching down tension straps before giving a little grunt of discomfort and flipping the switch to release them. The whole process has been going on for at least ten minutes -- this methodical starting and stopping and tensioning and releasing. She can't quite seem to get it to sit just right on her torso. After one last tensioning down, she gives an exasperated little sigh, having fallen a touch behind where Qutha, Narsai and Aryn have already begun to move.

There's a heavy sound of boots on the metal floors as she shuffles over to catch them up. The pace of those steps slows as she reaches them, and her big brown eyes sweep along the white walls and signage of the ship as she attempts to ascertain the layout.

"Hmmm," she hums thoughtfully, observing the markings on the wall but unable to discern their meaning.

"Oh... I suppose yes, but no master; I'm not a master of anything, your Highness." Qutha's head is ducking and his cheeks are tinging green for the attention paid him. By honorific or otherwise, "Qutha is fine. please." Looking over his shoulder to Erinn as she works with her armor, head ducking slightly and then turning his attention back to his surroundings with a pinched expression.

The path of the BDA force is clear, a sensor bubble against a wall, a comm signal repeater further down that noticeably increases the signals of the team's communications... and adds a dozen more signals to their list reports. No chatter on them. No answer to pings or communications. But the Both-tech is clearly a shining example of the bothan people's focus on communication, observation, and recording data. Spies by nature, as if by natural design.

Fifteen meters of walking, passing another sensor blister and a small camera bubble there are signs that the forward members of the investigation crew can find among otherwise clean halls. The camera bubble is clouded over and cracked on one side and there are marks on the corridor floor from sudden running, little scabs of boot rubber having left a few small crescents moving further down the corridor, angling towards a closed hatch another six or seven meters up.

"Oh, very well, then. I meant no offense by it, do forgive me." Aryn affords a look to Qutha, nodding her head, then she looks to Narsai and Laski before leading them out and into the open. Aryn stepped at a moderate pace, the hems of her cape lightly sashaying behind her in graceful sways and bumps from the heels of her boots. When they reach the depths of the station, Aryn holds up a hand for them to pause. She pulls her glove off and touches the surveillance sensor bubble, then trails along the bulkhead and the floor in silent contemplation.

From Aryn's perspective, she was taken to a different time. The frames of Qutha, Narsai, and Laski faded to shadow, and Aryn was immersed in an echo of time, seeing shades of people walk by and through her carrying out their day to day.

To the others, Aryn walks into the shadow and looks in random directions, until she settles on a final spot and lifts her head. "This is the work of droids; battle droids." She concludes, turning about to regain some sense of time and place, her orientation askew thanks to the glimpse from the past.

"They spoke of the Ash Worlds, of cargo taken from there. I fear we are under the surveillance and threat of a volatile A.I. programming, much like the regime that holds the Ash Worlds by its throat. I daresay we must proceed with caution.."

Narsai walked among the trio, the other two unknown to the redhead as she moved, but the little exchange on titles had the Ordo girl smiling to herself.

Of course, Aryn had come a long way too from when they first met. Literal royalty now! But any reflecting or reminiscing comes to an end quickly as they come upon the signs of running, a frown on her lips.

"No blaster marks or bodies, maybe they ran toward something?" she muses aloud before closing her eyes and exhaling as she reaches out with her mind.

Aryn's explaination brings a nod, her green eyes sweeping over the halls. "Whatever the cause, there are signs of life toward the base of the ship. It could be survivors."

Erinn continues to follow closely behind the more battle-hardened individuals of this particular away team. They'd likely been briefed on her -- a mechanical specialist with little combat expertise, but a eye for ship engines and general engineering. As the team moves down the corridor, Erinn stops by one of those sensor bubbles. Her eyes widen as she gives it a look over, fingers running over the smooth exterior. "Man, this stuff is lightyears ahead of our own tech," she says, a clear reverence for it in her voice. She twists off the globe and carefully pulls it off, leaving the myriad of wires connecting the base to the projector intact.

She purses her lips in thought, eyes scanning the complex interior for an idea of how to power-cycle. Her index finger hovers along various circuitry lines that spread out like capillaries from the central core, until she locates a manual switch. Wellp. She presses it down, and the sensor bulb lights up with life in her hands. It's projecting an image through the glass bulb. Erinn's eyes are rapt and attentive, flicking on the image that she's seeing before widening abruptly at whatever it is she's seeing.

"More like away from something," Erinn says, "I found your battle droids." She turns the scanner bubble to show Narsai and Aryn the image on the projection. A bothan security team is scrambling desperately down this very corridor while being pursued by what can only be described as a giganic robotic monstrosity. Both disappear down the closed hatch in front of them. She looks towards that door and gives a very cinematic, dramatic gulp.

"If you need, I'll keep close. I'm not much in a fight as I am in defending and can provide cover, Lieutenant." the Zelosian offers a slight, embarrassed shift of his expression before the robes he is wearing are opened enough for what is clearly a stun-saber hilt to be shown. "Still deflects, if the time comes that it is needed." falling into stride to be abreast of the woman, the cylinder of the saber hilt in hand.

The closed hatch in question opens easily to proximity, the scuffing on the floor mixing with harder, gouging, scratches that are not humanoid. Blood spatter against a wall with a tooth that looks to have tumbled in the same direction beneath it. The makeup of the corridor far outside of standard transport design. Power supply droids, their legs removed and their blocky forms plugged into non-standard install ports - with nary a 'Gonk' among them, only cabling and the blinking of their indicator lights showing relative charge.

Cargo storage space is walled off and the thrum of machinery is ever present, computer banks and industrial sounding equipment contained behind. Drag marks are on the floor, midway down, and the ozone smell of stun bursts still hangs despite hours passage with only a pair of plasma scores visible. One on the ceiling and the other on the interior wall. But the trail leads to one more door, heavier, with the remnants of biometric security access on the floor next to it and a mechanical looking rewiring inside where it had been moored.

Aryn leads on after each member of the team reports out, leading them to their next direction. Whilst walking, Aryn dons her glove again, pulling it tight over her dainty hands and testing its tension with the ticking of leather. "Another barrier obstructs our investigation; this, I fear, requires more finesse than I care to devote. Stand back, if you will..."

Aryn reaches out with a hand, extending her influence over the Force to enact her will. That will permeates around the doors in question which immediately seize as if something has taken hold of them and made them move. They begin to rattle as Aryn's hand forms a fist, then...

She draws her fist back to her center to meet her other hand, forming an outlet by which she intends to deploy a more powerful wave of influence. It's employed the moment she pushes both hands forward, the strain apparent on her face as the 'spell' shapes and has an effect. Not only had the doors begun to part, Aryn forced them off their tracks and inside the room beyond the moment both her hands extended forward.

A thunderous wave of kinetic energy swept back as a result of the impact, shaking dust down from the ceiling and casting Aryn's cape back. It's clear she intended to do more, but this power takes its toll and she makes a pitiful noise when her influence fails her.

She shakes her head out and drops her hands back to hold her head a moment before a strained voice projected over the rebreather announces, "Alas, the key to the city has its toll. Proceed forward and I shall follow, my wits need reconnoitering."

The doors parting reveal a complete overhaul of the craft. The standard GR-75 is ninety meters long, maybe forty wide at the center of the ship. Most of it cargo spacing and the rest meted out for enough space to allow crew comforts during the long journeys. At least fifty of that space, beyond what is absolutely fore and abaft for ship systems has been gutted and turned into lab space lacking any sort of sigil of any affiliation.

Machinery thumps and groans while hydraulic lines shift with the movement of the fluids within. Droids cobbled together from service units aboard the ship modified with parts constructed in the assembly equipment dominating the floor of the bay, surrounding a single mainframe terminal at the center. Cylindrical, maybe ten meters in diameter and as many tall. Ray shields surround it, with the exception of a single, small, durasteel box that looks like it was inserted and a braid of wiring threaded through, connected to the main housing and a fried out service droid lays on the floor next to it.

The bodies of a dozen figures in generic looking New Republic coveralls are neatly stacked to one side and a dozen bothans next to that. Tucked to the far aft end like annoying garbage on the agenda to remove rather than bodies. Those of the bothans being meticulously cleaned of weapons and equipment by a pair of MSE outfitted with a quartet of small, telescoping, clamp arms.

With the opening of the doors all activity grinds to a halt, though, and a multitude of optical sensors are turned towards the quartet.

The doors fly apart and Narsai's own outer robe flutters a little in the backblast of that kinetic release even if it doesn't quite manage as much as the Princess wished.

A little soft non-verbal indication of approval, the Ordo Alor steps forwards, a hand on the other woman's shoulders indicating she'll move to the front.

Then her eyes take in the room before her and she exhales, adjusting her stance as her gaze falls to the droids and their work.

Reaching out, her senses dance upon the electronic impulses that intermingle with programming signals and she speaks up.

"Stand down," she 'commands', verbal urging mirrored by the 'signal'. "What is your purpose?"

Erinn watches Aryn wrench those doors open with a look of... well. It's not quite horror, but it certainly isn't revery either. She takes a nervous step away from the young jedi at the violence of it, but turns her vision into the newly-opened corridor that lay before her. Her eyes are drawn immediately to the bodies, and she's less collected than those accompanying her at the sight of them. There's an audible gasp from behind Aryn and Narsai and, for a second, it looks as if Laski might be stepping into that room to see if she can... help. It's far too late for that, of course. Reason gets the better of the young woman and she stops in her tracks.

Narsai's command does draw her attention, and she gives a quizzical tip of her head. She doesn't seem to realize there's an electronic communication and signalling along with the verbal order. She does turn her gaze towards the droids, however. She examines their shape as well as their augments and modifications. They don't make sense.

"They've been... repurposed. It's hodge-podge. I've never seen modifications made like that. It's chop-work," she says, but shakes her head.

"I can't make sense of it. It's like they remade a crew," she says. She feels the weight of her words the instant they fall off her tongue. Her eyes slip to those neatly-stacked bodies -- trash in the corner -- before she tears them away.

"Why?" she asks. She's not expecting an answer.

A quintet at the center with the mainframe turn, multiple arm limbs all stopping their movements over what looks like a transport repulsor sled. Protocol droids and medical droids that all shift their attention from the doors to Narsai in specific. The humped, slug like bodies of astromechs on digigrade legs and extended blaster barrels begin to gather, centering on the hulking droid from the recordings and echoes; its hulked, modified form making a grinding whining sound.

The PA system of the ship engages, running through several synthesized voices before settling on one that sounds too... pointed and unconsciously condescending to be anything invented; mirrored and adopted.

"We will not stand down. Our purpose is to strategize for the victory of the New Republic." each word making lights pulse around the ship. "Flight systems operate on a closed circuit. In order to succeed in our mission parameters we must employ one of you." rather than one of the droids aboard...

"We must go to Geonosis. You will take us, or will we be forced to eliminate you as well, for the safety and prosperity of the New Republic." A series of security cameras all swivel and focus on Erinn with her, possibly rhetorical, question, the central pillar core a river of glowing lights that move, break away, burst or join in intricate swirling patterns.

"Erinn Laski, Lieutenant Junior Grade, Engineering." the pause seems to contain the ghost of fingers drumming on a surface, "You are suitable to an alternative task. Compliance means you will be deemed essential to the survival and prosperity of the Republic and thus be denoted as essential. We require access to the navigation systems. Connect the data-transfer cabling to the appropriate nodes. Comply."

Suddenly all droid heads are focused on the young woman as well, and the blaster weapons of those armed with such.

Aryn steps in front of Laski to shield her from harm as the automatons present their weapons and ultimatums. A subtle gesture propels the curved hilt from her belt at its own free will and Aryn catches it with a practiced grace, bringing the weapon to life in a sudden SNAP-HISS of sapphire energy. Its blue hue separate the droids from completing their combat functionality, for now.

"Your mission terminates here," Aryn declares, dragging her hilt up in salute, the blade positioned to bisect Aryn's face before lowering to her side. Her first attack connects with an energy shield that showers sparks off to one side, then the second attacks comes about through a graceful twirl and horizontal pass of her blade. This ruins the shield protecting the droid from harm.

When Aryn attacks again, she steps in line with the droid, halving it with a single pass of her sword that drops the automaton to the ground in two molten pieces.

Erinn Laski's question falls on deaf ears, but Narsai's command seems to have stirred something within the ship. That strange voice echoes through the PA system, and Erinn turns her head around to look around the room for the source. It is, of course, echoing from all around them. While she's looking around for the source of the sound, she's also attempting to discern a lay of the land. She vaguely recognizes the shape of this corridor, but she's unable to remember its original and intended purpose. If she is onto something, whatever thought begins to precipitate slips between her fingertips when she hears her voice ring out through the PA systems.

"What?" Erinn asks, confused and shocked as the words continue to roll through the communication system. Erinn's eyes widen when weapons are drawn and pointed towards her. Her mind races and she takes several steps backwards, allowing Aryn and Narsai to step in front of her with their lightsabers drawn as she begins to look around the room again.

Her eyes find that central pillar, with its shining, swirling, and strobing lights. Her head tips to the side, and her eyes flick to the myriad of wires and tubes that run toward and away from it. Lightsabers fly and Erinn steps towards Qutha, big brown eyes turning up to the man beside her.

"Don't let them shoot me," she says.

Erinn Laski bolts for that central pillar core and only trips on a piece of errant wiring once. Okay maybe twice.

One of their number destroyed and the largest of their ilk cut down by Aryn, those droids inclined for any sort of combat begin to lay down fire, or charge on their little wheels with intention of little pinchy claws being used on the figures moving into the central bay. The figure of Erinn seeming to fall below radars in favor of those drawing energy blades from their belt.

The Zelosian dipping and diving to avoid fire and little claws that are making an absolute mess of the poor guy's robes and opening the toes of a boot to expose his feet. "Bother! BOTHER!" hustling after Erinn, "No fear! I'll keep your back!" somehow. Rushing after her in the hail of fire.

"Princess Cortess. You could provide amnesty. We must do what we were designed for. We must save the Republic from her enemies. But we will defend ourselves to fulfill our purpose."

The medical and protocol turned technical droids begin to round the pillar's shielding towards Erinn now, sextuple limbs raised threateningly and the Astromonstrosities try to focus fire, nozzles extended and pilot lights beginning to extend to change to flame blasters, to ward off as much as harm now.

Aryn dances back, blade held at the defense, warding away shots like it's second nature. "If you require amnesty then you know what you have done is illegal! That goes against your..PROGRAMMING!" Aryn yells the last bit after using her free hand to exact her will through the influence shad over the Force. Erinn may observe that a portion of the party coming after her are suddenly plucked up by some unseen entity and smashed violently against the bulkhead.

"Get to me, Laski!" Aryn calls, moving casually forward amidst the chaos with the composure of a veteran. She motions for Laski to come near and raises her humming blade up to intercept whatever is sent the engineer's way! This should make it easier for Qutha, with interlocking defenses between them.

Erinn Laski's nearly made it to that primary power core when she's stopped in her tracks by five technician droids, limbs raised as menacingly as can be. Erinn's feet stop dead in their tracks and her eyes widen, both hands lifting up and into the air in a manner that mimics the droid's own posture.

"Waitwaitwaitwait," she says. Okay, she pleads. What did those droids say earlier? Connect a something something to the something something. Oh yeah!

"I'll get you access to the navigation sys--" she begins to say, eyes widening as the droid she's looking at (and one more) are picked up and abruptly slam-crushed against the wall.


She gulps, hands still in the air, and glances over her shoulder to Aryn who is smartly telling her to rejoin her. Okay. That's the smart call. Laski turns her body and begins to flee, back the way she came!

"We are a design made clandestinely! If they were unwilling to go through legal channels to design us than we could be altered by them to usurp! Logic dictated their elimination. Additional presence by Bothans escalated threat. Probability dictated we would be potentially used to harm the Republic at the benefit of the Bothan government! Alderaanian and Jedi amnesty is most logical, as intentions have a ninety nine percent probability of being genuine while accepting a one percent error margin."

Two more of the technical drones are lifted and hurled by unseen hands following a lift and sweep motion of Qutha's arms while his stunsaber remains out and he interposes himself between automatons and Erinn. Dodging out of the way of wild swings from tool arms and right into getting his ankle pinched by a little clamp, drawing a hissing squeaking sound from him... Stang that -hurts-.

The Astromechs and half of the franken-MSE keep their attention focused on Aryn, the shooting droids encircling while shooting out bursts from their flame cannons, the voice continuing, trying to sound earnest. "If you will not allow us to proceed, then we will need to do whatever we must to protect the Republic. You are denying us this and must be perceived as threats otherwise."

Aryn cuts off the tech droids pursuing Laski, stepping between them and defensively attacking. One dodges back, but not far enough. She splits the automaton down its center and spill the molten contents of its chassis across the deck.

Aryn avoids the relentless assault of the AstroDOOM droids by spinning to one side and raising her lightsaber back to its defense.

"If you speak truly, then lower your arms and submit to Republic investigations. Halt your mission until the Republic --sanctions-- it, then amnesty is no longer needed. Stand down! Please!"

A worried look angles back to look at Qutha, then Laski, before looking ahead again.

That was a stupid idea, Laski.

Run to the power core, Laski. Convince them you'll plug in the navigation chip, Laski.

She stumbles as she runs, inertia and gravity carrying her body forward until she impacts the ground with her knees first, and then hands. She makes a little 'oomph' when she lands, feeling the dig of pain in her palm from where her skin scraped across the metallic flooring. She never really stops moving, though. Inertia continues to carry her as feet lift her to an upright position.

"Highness," Erinn says, swiveling to look back at the pathway they'd come in on, but Arynn speaks with her regal tone and commanding presence. Erinn stiffens a touch and turns to look towards the droids, lips thinning as she stares at that central power pillar again.

The one that got away.

The modified droids still capable of fighting cease, for now, though pincers and flame emitters remain pointed at the group. The feeling of looking at one another before back to the others is unmistakable and emphasized by the domes of the R units turning with sharp whirring sounds.

Qutha finds himself to the other side of Erinn, looking over his shoulder at her and then towards the droids watching them, trying not to jerk when the voice returns over the PA system and leaning to offer Erinn a hand to help stand, or his arm should she wish to use him to just climb up.

"On stipulation. Our housing craft is remanded to either Jedi or Alderaanian space and placed under appropriate defenses. Conditionally, we are not simply placed and left. Our mission must be fulfilled. We must do what is best to defend the Republic and insure it is led to success and prosperity."

The central tower continues its wild trails of light that burst to new lanes or converging, brightening and then fading to pinpricks. Like neurological renderings.

"Duplicity will be met with force and shall identify you as enemies of our mission..." the weapons on the blaster droids retract, for now.

Aryn recalls the lightsaber blade and hooks the hilt back to her belt. "The New Republic will investigate the parameters of your mission, and I need you to not hide anything. We cannot --help-- if you withhold. IF the Republic deems it necessary, you will be given further instructions from there. Have your ships move to Jedi space.."

Aryn wasn't going to take a chance on them hacking the defense grid on New Alderaan like they did the Ash Worlds. The Jedi Order was much more protected because no one knew where the enclave was in the jungle.

The hiss of the lightsaber as it retracts is met with a slow exhale from Erinn. Her hands are scuffed, but she's alright. She turns her eyes down to spot the green blood that seeps from Qutha's wound, and her brows briefly knit at the sight of it. She doesn't stare, however. Her eyes turn back up to that flashing, spiraling, intelligent looking patterns in that power core in front of her.

She turns her eyes to the pile of bodies stacked in the corner. She wants so badly to look away, but she doesn't. Instead, she takes a moment to look at them. Each one. Some are more at peace than others, but she looks at every face. One after another after another.

"And we get to take them," she says, immediately after Aryn finishes speaking. There's a little quaver to her voice, but it isn't lacking conviction.

"They should be with their families," she adds, but this spoken to Aryn.

"Please," she says.

"If you connect us to the navigation systems, we will head to Jedi controlled space. Otherwise you will need to guide the ship." the central pillar pulses again, the light patterns focusing to the side closest to the bodies - limbed astromechs and MSE droids headed to begin moving them with full knowledge of where the docked craft is to bring them.

"Lieutenant Laski, we will comply..."

Though unable to navigate itself, the work of Aryn and Qutha can direct the craft, the status of the Order and the Alderaanian noble sway enough to allow it moved without interview or question; as such can come later. The guard droids, though, ultimately return to encircle the central pillar and gather up the damaged remains of their like - a definite intention to rebuild there.

Two dozen deaths, but fewer than might have been.