Log:Rotting Research

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A Twisting Plot of Mechanical Proportions

OOC Date: November 12, 2020
Location: Czerka Research Facility, Vandor
Participants: Jessika Pava, Elrych Cometburn, Ban Iskender, Nerys Greystorm, Zandra naMuriel, Aryn Cole

Vandor was out of the way, another ice world that no one thought about. It made for the perfect choice for a Czerka installation where illegal research could transpire without the morals and sanctions of a government to impose upon them. It was also the kind of place that could go dark and no one would know any better. The only issue being, Czerka Research Facility CZ-1543-VD did not go quietly into the night. A detailed distress beacon had gone out, and someone responded.

Those who answered arrived by ship, landing on the mountaintop pad with a spectacular view of the frosty, snow capped ridges all around them. The wind here was much like Hoth, perhaps slightly warmer, with a feeling that bordered desolate. It was the kind of desolate that conceived the realization that no one would hear your scream.

They were not greeted by anyone at the landing pad except the icy wind. A distant metal staircase led to a set of double doors currently locked and sealed. A holo-projector and security camera sat above the threshold angled down, as if watching anyone who might be soliciting at their doorstep. There was nothing in the way of identifying the facility, nothing that hinted at the size of the installation, or that there was 'anyone home'.

Aryn Cole stepped off the ramp of a ship holding her lightsaber in hand. She wore gloves for both hands, and had a respirator over her mouth and nose. A beanie cap had been pulled down over her bright blonde, and she had an all-weather cape fastened over her shoulders concealing the satchel of medical gear, and her ornate blaster pistol holstered on her right side. She stepped out to the center and turned to look over the team. <"Make sure you all have what you need. Coming back will not be an option until we are certain the parasite has been eradicated."> For those sensitive in the Force, a sense of dark dread hung over this place like a foreboding storm cloud. Its sticky tendrils tainted this place, its presence sickening and distinct. This was something old.. ancient, and it was terrible.

"These guys have always been at the forefront of some shady drek. Czerka Corporation has always cut corners and done illegal research. They had a presence on my home world. Who knows what they were up to there." Jessika Pava descends the ramp behind Aryn, boots clunking against the angled durasteel. Her shoulders are hunched up against the blast of icy wind buffeting her from the side, forced down and around the ramp thanks to the profile of the ship that set down on the pad outside the facility. Most of her face is concealed behind a scarf, with the helmet of her armor used to block out the cold and provide protection for her eyes behind its special visor. She doesn't respond to Aryn's insistence they make sure what they have before they go. She was checked and ready well before they began planetary descent. Despite the bodyglove beneath the thicker suit serving as the fastening points for all the armor's plates, Jessika can feel the cold. Or maybe she just feels the unnerving aura projected by a dark night and a secret research facility. It's all in her head, though, and she knows it. Or maybe it's something else entirely.

Nerys, as she always was, was in full armor, the sealing of the suit allowing her to move in relative comfort despite the chill. "Why do I have the feeling, Doctor Cole, that we are walking into yet another Czerka trap?" She had brought her usual backpack and all of her gear. And her small ID10 droid. Belate, who, sadly, could not accompany Aryn, as a true gentledroid should, was rolling worriedly at the exit ramp of the shop. "Keep the ship running, Belate. We'll be right back."

Zan spent some time on the trip meditating, as is often the case. She is taking a note from Aryn on wardrobe, with extra all-weather cloak, hood up over her purple hair, gloves, and respirator. Because she wants to have freedom to move. The grey eyed young jedi listens to the others, checks on her lightaber at her waist, and then nods quietly. In fact, she takes her lightsaber into hand, because with the foreboding feeling, she rather feels she needs it. She doesn't add to the conversation, she just nods her head, concentrating on reaching out to the Force for a brief moment.

Ban Iskender steps down the ramp, his own weather cloak flagging in the wintery wind. "Alas, I daresay the lure of wealth drives such folk to pursue the same courses which were the ruin of their forebears. And it is the doom of mankind to forget." He draws the elaborately hilted sword at his side.

Elrych brought up the rear, heding down the ramp just behind Ban. He lets the hood of his dark gree cloak fall back, exposing that boyish face of his and cocky corellian grin. Despite the bravado, icey blue eyes appeared hawkish and alert for danger. Perceptive and quick to catch anything amiss. "Because It's totally another Czerka trap..." He knew the question was rhetorical yet he answered anyways. He pulled his darkstar and angel shine lightsaber from his belt but does not ignight it yet. "It's a Jedi thing... we deal with all the traps. Specialty along with Sith Lords."

"Their reputation held some degree of influence on worlds like Arkanis, where genome research and bioweaponry is celebrated. On the surface, they appear honest, but buried deep rest their dark secrets," Aryn had said in response to Jessika. "Now, we arrive to exhume some of them."

When Aryn was addressed by Nerys, Aryn nodded her head. "Your intuitions are not off mark, my friend. We march into a predator's den eagerly. There number few who would brave the dark to see what lay in wait." Aryn chuckles, glancing at her chrono. "Let us be punctual about it at least." The humor is a futile attempt, but one fed with nervous energy. Aryn gives the team another look, then glances to Jessika quietly before stepping off. One might think she was finding her own courage to step toward the doors, but Aryn's neutral look hopefully kept any doubts of her conviction at bay.

The way down the staircase was not treacherous, and when they arrived at the door, the camera turned to look at them. The projector spun about and came to life a moment later, showing an image of a pleasant male. It was no living being but the avatar of an AI. "Greetings.-- I am Alvon, facility artificial intelligence and steward to the facility's anti-exposure defense. You have arrived because of my distress beacon." The image flickered, the expression on the male's face changing from neutral to angry to neutral again. It seemed more an error in the projection than a representation of the AI's mood.

"Your timing is most convenient. You are not the first to arrive. I need your help, and will grant you access to the facility should your company agree to my terms."

"I learned a lot more about Czerka once I joined the New Republic Defense Fleet before the Hosnian Catacylsm. They've got a presence everywhere there is to have a presence. They've created a lot of problems with their experimental tech. They're like leeches.." Jessika makes no attempt to keep the taint of dislike out of her voice when it comes to the topic of the corporation, but her thoughts on the matter reserve themselves to inside her head once they begin approaching the facility via the steps downward. Some of it is concentration on making sure she doesn't simply trip down the steps in her gear. Some of it is the foreboding sense she can't seem to get out of her head. She seems relaxed outwardly, but that illusion becomes ruined.

The sudden appearance of a hologram is enough to have her raising her blaster rifle just slightly above a low-ready stance where previously it had been in a much more relaxed position riding in her hands. The barrel doesn't lift all the way, because Jessika knows she can do no harm to a hologram and she's registered that's what it is before trying to point at it, but the tightened grip of her fingers around the barrel and pistol grip are all signs of her tension. There's another sign of it in the way that the muscles around her jaw stand out in relief for a moment. They relax a moment later. "I'm Major Jessika Pava of the New Republic military. We received your distress beacon and have come to investiagte. What are your terms?" The question is succint, and her gaze on the artificial intelligence projection discerning.

"Ah, then you are more fortunate than they, if only because I can, at least, see in the dark." Nerys, who was unlikely to get a better outcome if she was somber, moved with companionable speed with the group, eyes darting as she took in the approach, the stairs, and finally the AI that had been chosen to greet them. It was likely a good thing that her face was hidden behind the visor, and that she sent her next words across the comms only the group could hear. 'The glitch in this program worries me. I think we would be foolish to assume it was simply breaking down.' Bitty, wee droid that she was, remained firmly maglocked to Nerys's back, secure in her harness, her single eye flickering. On nerys' personal commc, the smol droid sent a stream of binary, which Nerys interpreted for the group. Again, on the team's private comms, 'The facility is on complete lockdown. The AI is fighting something, likely whatever it called us here for, but it is further within the facility.' At least they knew it was an actual threat.

Zan makes her way down the stairs and takes a quick step back as the AI face appears. She takes a breath, managing to not ignite her lightsaber. Then she reaches out to say, "There's nobody right on the other side of the door, but there is life in there." She's staring at the door, expression going worried, then somewhat stressed. "there's despair, terror, and the life in there is slowly shrinking. Maybe not so slowly - like someone is snuffing each one out, like a candle," she says. Cause that's not at all creepy.

Elrych strides forward as the others deal with the AI. Something on the ground near the door catches his eye and he leans down to pick it up. Showing Nerys, he say; "Expended Comp-Spike... Probably how whoever the AI is talking about got the door open." He pockets the item incase they need it for evidence in some prosecution.

Looking to Zandra, he reaches out with the force to listen to those minds beyond the door. A nod from him as he hears them, "Frantic praying... something his killing them. THere's still live people in there. Maybe if we hurry..."

The AI first turns its head to regard Major Pava. "My terms are reasonable. My primary function is to contain and stop the spread of infection as much as I am able. However, Czerka Corporation has violated protocols to deploy a security team to disable me, and force me to relinquish my command of this facility."

The AI flickers again, turning to look at Zandra curiously. "An apt description, and true. Those inside are lost. They must die, and the loss of life is a result of this parasite spreading rapidly. I have the facility locked down, contained, but if I lose control, and I am shut down, this team will release everything. I can /not/ allow that to happen."

"If I allow you in, you must stop this team from progressing any further. I am delaying them where I can, but they are armed with defense by-pass codes that I am bound to respond to. Kill them. Prevent my protocol from shutting down, and I will download a copy of myself for you to take to your Republic as proof of what has happened here. Perhaps then, you can bring the innocent lives lost here, justice."

"Do you accept?"

When Nerys mentions a 'glitch' in the program, Jessika's chin tilts in her direction, only for it to shift in a quick sweep from side to side. "This isn't a program." No, what they're dealing with is far more than that. "If I had to guess, it's an unshackled artificial intelligence. The flickering? It's not some subsystem malfunction. The flickering is because it's attempting to discern what emotion will best appeal to us empathetically. It's probably a manipulation tactic, and I would also be willing to bet that nothing we say or do from this moment on will be a secret. All the words you speak and all the actions you take will be picked up by its audio and visual sensors." Her gaze returns to Aryn. "Princess, we need to be cautious. There is no reason for Avlon to help us beyond accomplishing his goals. He'll have the parameters he was created with in mind, and those alone will guide his actions."

Jessika spares a glance for Zandra's input on the matter. This is starting to feel familiar, in ways she doesn't like. Jessika moves, weight shifting and steps carrying her a little closer to the door. Standing still allows the cold to settle in a little too much. Her toes flex. Her fingers curl. She tries to make sure the blood is flowing through all of her extremities. "We may be dealing with something we've already encountered once before. Our best bet is fire if that's the case, and I didn't bring a flamethrower." Maybe she can find one to rig to the side of her blaster rifle somehow. Watching Elrych pick up the comp-spike, Jessika begins to wonder who wanted access to the facility. That mystery is solved by the AI moments later.

For a few long moments, Jessika doesn't say anything. Instead, she turns the information over in her head to view it from every angle possible. "Here's my counter offer. You will allow us access to the facility in exchange for locating this team. If we determine they are compromised in some manner, we will prevent them from accomplishing the goal of shutting down your protocol and thus releasing the infection. We will not kill them, but we will arrest them on suspicion of attempted espionage on behalf of your corporation. I hope you find this agreeable, Avlon. We want to stop this infection as much as you do. It benefits us all. If you fail to accept this agreement, I will be forced to hold off on this investigation while I present your terms to my government. I have limited capacity and authority to act with."

Nerys, looking down at the spent tech Elrych showed her nodded. "Which means if they are hostile to the AI, they will be hostile to us, whether or not they are infected by whatever has been released in there." Once the AI had spoken its piece, she continued, this time on the team only comms. 'Doctor Cole and I have seen the horrors that Czerka have played with quite recently. I do not hold out hope for those within. And we have more to protect than a handful of lives.' Nerys, not a Jedi, clearly had no compunctions about working for the greater good. 'The threat must be contained.' She looked towards the AI, switching back to external mic. "Would it be possible to lock them out of your system? You, as the system, cannot work against your own protocols. But we might be able to. Cut them out of the loop." There was a measured quality in her voice.

Zan goes quiet now, as she's not going to disagree with Jessika, certainly not going to show any weakness in their team in front of the AI. She doesn't even switch to the private comms, instead just keeps an eye on the door, thoughtful. Jessika definitely has lead far as she's concerned. "It's not good in there," is what she does say. "If they're not infected, they are being murdered." Just that.

Elrych doesn't have any words for the AI as Jess give a very apt and forward counter offer. The Jedi does however look towards the flickering indicated by his Squaron mate. "How do we know you're not some wayward AI doing this just to get republic attention so you can infect their own systems. Come on now." He nods towards Jess, "Her offer sounds reasonable enough..." He readies himself to breach the door with the others.

The AI does not seem to react to their inherent mistrust of its programming. The neutral expression on its face is entirely inhuman. When the counter proposal is made, the AI turns toward the New Republic Major. "I agree to these terms, Major. If your team is to succeed, you must proceed directly to the security team attempting to breach my core. If they breach my core, I will not be able to contain the parasite or those it has infected, and those who have not been infected yet. My simulations seemed to indicate it will turn to chaos, making survivability odds very, very low. Deviating from the course is not advised."

To Nerys, "I will allow you remote access to aid me in slowing their efforts. While I am devoted to stopping them, I am bound by my programming, as you say."

The AI has no comments to Zandra's observation that not helping the innocent and non-infected is murder. It seems murder does not compute; it is containment!

"I have no such programming. If I were intended to harm your Republic, I would have already begun. My purpose is containment and the defense of this facility." Alvon says to Elrych.

Aryn seems conflicted concerning the moral implications of this mission. On one hand, they help the AI to stop shut down, but in doing so condemn the innocent lives there in to be consumed by the Mnggal Mnggal. On the other, they could help the innocent, but with no way to discern IF they'd been infected.. they run the risk of spreading the infection.. and the team will breach the core and release everything.

"Time is of essence, Alvon," Aryn says after hearing all of them. "If we are to make any difference here, it must begin now. Open your doors so we might proceed." The doors begin to open and the AI speaks. "Walk carefully. The team you fight is not human. They are automaton security forces and move with extreme lethal prejudice. If you find diplomacy is out of question, I recommend termination." Alvon disappears as the way opens.

"The way is forward." Aryn says, activating her lightsaber a moment later to light the darkness ahead in a hue of blue. The humming of the weapon is drowned out by the sounds of their footsteps.

Since an accord with the AI was struck, the way was open. They pass through the inner workings of the facility to find all manner of labs, large atriums, and offices. Most are in chaos. On more than one occasion, they pass by labs where lifeless husk with solid black eyes stare out at them with fists pounding painlessly against reinforced transparisteel. To make matters more unnerving, the lab monitors read that the atmosphere inside was cut off, meaning there was no oxygen to sustain life.. and in the absence of gases, these things still shuffled about.

They passed other sections and labs where many innocents were still alive.. some hunkered down and praying.. others taking notice and screaming soundlessly at the team to free them. Some had infected humans inside, and the oozing black of the husks had begun to fight the innocents within, ripping them apart and consuming them (infection spreading.) In total, hundreds of people locked away and roughly 90 percent of them were already dead or dying. There was nothing to be done for them.

When they finally arrived near the bottom of the facility where the core was, they had caught up to the security team. The team was one room away from the core room. Alvon provided an interface for Nerys to help him counter their hacking. Meanwhile, the team inside stood still as statues. All of them were wrapped in black bodysuits, completely concealed and wearing protective bodyarmor. All of them carried small carbines, and a straight-edged bladed weapon that rested across their backs. The Czerka 'C' was emblazoned on their leather armor. "Organics detected." One of the team observes. All of them in unison turn about except the one working on the hack to reach the core. "Defend this position. Mission critical. Defense parameters set to black. Unknown threat, unknown origin, unknown purpose. Hostile force authorized." The primin

The priming of their weapons sounded, and each drew their swords in similar programmed unison."They have begun the final code breach. There is no time. Kill them-- Or you all will die down here."

The priming of their weapons sounded, and each drew their swords in similar programmed unison."They have begun the final code breach. There is no time. Kill them-- Or you all will die down here." Says Alvon, his voice conveyed from a nearby monitor.

"I am Major Jessika Pava of the New Republic military! We are responding to a distress beacon sent by this facility! State your mandated objectives!" Rather than listen to Alvon's urgent suggestion that they open fire on the automaton security forces immediately, Jessika approaches them with her hands on her rifle, but her barrel trained down in a non-threatening position. She's had more than ample time to remove her scarf down around her neck, leaving her face bared and her eyes visible through the visor. She makes no threatening motions, and that includes attempting to approach any of the automatons as they attempt to breach the core and gain access to the subroutines that will shut the artificial intelligence down. To her own team, Jessika issues an order that may be the first one she's ever really given in the field if the urgency and the command in her voice expresses itself enough. "Do not interfere immediately!" It's clear that the Major wants information, not a firefight.

The Czerka security force stands their ground unflinchingly. Each holds a carbine in one hand and a straight edged sword in the other. Among their number, a single droid steps forward, lowering its weapon much like the Major had.

Aryn does not let Jessika stand out there alone. With lightsaber in hand, the Alderaanian noble stands beside her friend with her blade held off to her side, her free hand held out, as if for balance, on her other side.

The security unit that approached did so for a few steps and stopped. "New Republic military Jessika Pava, this unit is Czerka Security One, or Ceesoh. Our deployment is in response to an unsanctioned, unshackled artificial intelligence. Czerka Corporation monitored a malfunction in its programming when it began to target employees, isolating them in test environments to conduct research /of its own/. Ceesoh was deployed to deactivate the AI and eliminate all threats to the facility. Secondary mission is to eradicate the parasite spreading throughout the staff, which is being deployed by the AI presently. Tertiary mission is to preserve the lives of the uninfected."

Nerys, as they approached, drew her weapon, holding the bowcaster ready. She did not immediately open fire, hearing the order from the republic officer. This was not her team to command, she owed Jessika the respect her position deserved. Instead, she spoke softly to Bitty, the personal comms masking the sound of the binary words that slipped from her lips, 'Dig into the system, Bitty. Slow and steady, girl. See if you can verify the droid's claims. There should be security feeds, records of the system's manipulations of the infection. See if they've been tampered with. If you feel pushback from the system, you get out.' Bitty was smol, this was true, but she was quick, and the AI had not made any attempt to hide its true purpose. Back to basic and the team comms, 'The droid is telling the truth. It's the AI that's responsible, just as it said.'

"I thought so," is Jessika's only statement after the security automaton details its objectives. The fact that it doesn't attack outright is telling. "Princess, these automatons aren't here to stop Avlon from securing the facility, these automatons are here to stop Avlon, who seems to have taken it upon himself to do some research of his own about this infection. An artificial intelligence's processing power, especially once designed for research, would have made it able to not only combat the attempts at hacking its systems, but protect the innocent lives at the same time. Every location we've come across has had multiple innocents with a few infected. That would only be possible if Avlon, who is in control of the system, allowed it to happen." Glancing to Nerys, Jessika changes tact. "Whatever protocols you attempted to put in place to stop the automatons, reverse it. Start helping them, instead." To the other members of the team, all equipped with lightsabers, Jessika gestures around them. "We'll need to defend these automatons while they work. Avlon will unlock the system and try to attack us." Finally, back to Ceesoh. "Is there anything else we can do to help?"

Zan is more than a little bit bemused as it turns out their targets are their enemy and their enemy - wait. Never mind, there's incoming infected. Zan hits her first saber, the hilt in hand, and the regular green blade ignites. That probably surprises nobody. She thinks for a moment, and then presses the other button. A blue blade comes out, giving Zan a saberstaff, and she simply charges. Of course, the dual bladed weapon causes her a bit of trouble, and she misses her first swing. However, she makes up for it with her next two, slashing at the incoming trouble with deadly precision.

Ban Iskender doesn't turn immediately at the sound of the doors at their backs hissing open. First he ignites the emerald blade of his sword, sweeping his cloak off and away with the free arm in the motion of coming about to face the ravening press of puppeted corpses. His sword is drawn up vertical in a salute before launching into a thrust, cut, and push-cut flurry of motion that reduced a trio of the abominations to ash and cinder.

Elrych grins, he grins as the Artifical security droids give their own side of the story. "See... ahhh...." He holds up a finger wagging it towards the group of armred droids, "Ahhhah. That's very interesting."

THe Jedi Knight had come to stand just to the other side of Jess which had her flanked by a Jedi Knight on either side of her.

As Nerys' droid confirmed exactly what the rogueish Corellian had expected, that's when he activated his lightsaber, the mephite crystal focused blue bladde squeeling to life before eening out into a whisper of a hum. Turning then towards what was behind them, Elrych keeps an eye out and lets Jess make the calls.

Unlike on Bespin... damn idiot.

"And you're able to infere that all from just the little bit of interaction we've had thus far."

The door clanks open then from where was facing and the infected come streaming out in a hord? Probably? Either way, Elrych moves into the attack quickly, slashing two down with easy enough wrist work. "I'd hurry up with what ever it was you were doing..."

"Increasing our unit's number should improve efficiency. We accept an alliance if New Republic Military Jessika Pava's programming aligns with Ceesoh's." The sound of doors opening along the corridor from where they all came from alerts the Czerka Security team to hostile threat. Priming their weapons and activating the aiming-lasers, the droids march forward to form a line to help the New Republic team.

All at once, a rush of infected husks rush from their prisons and sprint toward the team to keep them from reaching the core. Blasters open fire in unison, some shots missing, most hitting, and incendiary bolts transform the husks to ashes; their bodies fall, transforming to ash before they hit the ground. For now, the team holds the horde back with constant fire and melee attack. Behind the line, the hacker droid continues its work to reach the core.

"Technology is kind of my thing." She doesn't know what Elrych is getting at with his statement, but the time for getting to the bottom of that is later. Right now, they're in a fight for their survival. They need to provide the security team with enough time to take over the installation so they can turn safety protocols and other defensive measures back online. Until then, their only defenses are their weapons, and they need those. The door opens and Jessika gags on the smell of foetid rot that seeps through it. The husks rush forward, and she tries to overcome her stomach trying to turn itself inside out to get her rifle up to her shoulder to join the fight. A quick depression of the trigger discharges a shot, and she's actually thankful for the acrid, burning scent left in her nostrils, even if the thing goes wide.

"Take it," Nerys said, but Bitty did not need prompting. Instead, she unlocked herself from her harness, and reached up with a clawed hand to tug the spiker from Nerys' bracer, her other hand taking the comp interface as well, before she hovered over to tuck herself in against where the Czerka droid was working. She would help too, however she could. She was already in like Space Flynn. Nerys, trusting Bitty to keep herself mostly safe, turned her attention to the oncoming horde. "Fire, Doctor Cole, remember?" They last time they had faced these things, it had been the only sure way to keep them down. Nerys' bolts //were// energized, but they were not, strictly speaking, fire. Should have gone for those incendiaries. Bad choice, Greystorm. Shut up, Inner Nerys.

Zan doesn't say anything, she just concentrates on keeping that staffsaber moving, forming her defence along with her attack. She's been practicing with it, and it shows. Also, she got help - some advice from Ax who is also using a dual bladed weapon. She continues to work her defense. "Best defense is a good offense, thanks Ax," she says with amusement. Likely nobody heard her, with all the ongoing, but she makes a note to let him know his help definitely helped. The blue blade slashes there, the green blade counters, and the two colours start to meld in the air, even if not in the saberstaff. It's perhaps not as showy as some, but there is no doubt that Zandra has been improving.

Ban Iskender holds the line as if it were drawn in sand. His sword strikes and recovers in much the way it would if made from durasteel rather than radiant energy, lunges, parties a d ripostes reducing a further three does to ruin.

The statement from Elrych was meant to be a question... because it was a lot of technobabbly for someone like Elrych to process. Lets be real, he could hold his own with a hydrospanner... as long as Eggsy was there to do the real work. As Jess explains, his face moves into a frown... but not the bad kind of frown. It's that kind of frown and face that gives of the 'not bad' or 'I'm impressed' kind of vibe.

This of course done just before he cuts down two more of the Mggnal Mggnal, juking out of the way as two try to attack him. It's a confusing and heavy Melee but the Corellian is doing a good job keeping up. Training certainly pays off.

The door to the core opens, thanks to the help of Bitty! The hacker droid makes its way inside to begin the AI shut down process. Outside, the core, the situation is quickly becoming overwhelming as the group is forced back into the room the security held prior to everyones arrival. With only a few to hold the line, the numbers of infected swelled. That feeling of dread was overwhelming, and the disembodied voices of the husks that once were humans screamed emotional things, likely the last words of their victims as the ooze consumed their brains, memories and all. "HELP ME!-- AHHHH! -- SOMEONE HELP! -- MOTHER, I'M SORRY!" Were all the painful screams of the living dead.

Aryn responded to Nerys' prompt by stabbing the downed husk Nerys had shot just a moment before. The sapphire blue of Aryn's lightsaber transformed the husk to ash. A second later, Aryn was engaged by many of the husks, and her lightsaber gracefully passed through one before being carried backward with a shriek.

Blaster fire was everywhere, and the Czerka security began to use their swords in close-quarters, hacking and slashing with automaton proficiency, but it wasn't good enough. "Fall back New Republic Military Jessika Pava. Join Eefor in the core." Eesoh said, as its arm was ripped off by a human, which was unnerving to see such strength. Eesoh was taken down. "Facility wipe imminent. The facility must activate its protocol zero." Eesoh's last words as the droid was no longer to sustain the damage it was taking.

Protocol Zero? Sounds fantastic. Jessika doesn't give an immediate reply. One of the husks is attempting to latch onto her. The plasteel chest plate is enough to deflect the attempt, but the impact is of sufficient force to almost knock the breath out of her. A dull, throbbing ache is left in its wake, and Jessika's next breath in hurts. "EVERYONE RETREAT INTO THE CORE! NOW!" She only has operational command of the individuals of her team. She knows the Czerka Corporation security automatons won't listen. They'll fight the infection until they're all ripped apart, just like Ceesoh. Grimacing at the sight of the automaton getting torn to pieces, Jessika advances in the opposite direction before setting up a base of fire to try and support her team.

Nerys knew the drill. Fall back, protect the Jedi. That was the job. She had no lightsaber, and she had taken a pounding from the horde, as they tried to batter their way to the droid hacking into the AI's systems, but they had not broken through yet. Perhaps this was the upside to being nowhere near as edible as the humans behind her. If all else failed, she could give them a few seconds of time. She still went though, shooting to offer covering fire to aid in the retreat.

Zan also knows that drill as well. There's a simple nod, as she hears Jessika. She lays down another slash of blue green laser, trying to keep the crazy insane husks from approaching too near, to give everyone time to escape. Including her. She dodges back into the core, along with the others, and turns to help cover retreat of anyone who still needs, or to destroy any husks that make it inside.

Ban Iskender steps back in between flourishes of his glowing blade to retreat as ordered. He gives a briefly curious glance to Nerys, but being unwilling to distract her, says nothing. His silence is encouraged by the nauseating morass of echoes misery that the mnggal mnggal being with their foul advance.

Elrych's saber bites into two more of the Mggnal Mggnal, the black ooze combusting and burning through the husk as his lightsaber makese contact with it. He dos this as he retreats towards the main core where Jess has ordered then, keeping in a tight defensive formation with the rest of the team.

The fight was chaos, the droids held the line for the most part, but those retreating had to contend with what got through. To make matters worse, there seemed to be no signs of letting up, so what was left behind was impending doom.

Inside the core, the droid hacker unit Eefor appeared to work calmly and efficiently. Each component was placed on the appropriate platform, and it began typing with one hand and even raised another to fire a pistol to one side hitting a husk that made it in, transforming it to ash.

Receiving orders from Ceesoh, the droid looked up to watch as the organic team made it inside, then it commanded the door to shut.

All at once the power cut, lights cut, everything electronic except the droid died. Alvon was shut down. In the darkness, the team could hear the fighting outside, the sounds of blasters going off until it all tapered to an eerie silence. The Czerka Security team had been completely wiped out.

"Initiating Protocol Zero." Eefor said, its mechanical voice cutting the silence. Power began to shift back on, emergency lighting switching over. Then an alarm sounded alerting the facility to the protocol. A few moments later, a loud roar is heard from the other side of the door. The metal of the door began to steam, then it turned orange hot.. then.. nothing.

Fire suppression came online inside the core. Then the doors opened. Everything that had been on the other side of the door had been incinerated, and charred, and now washed away by the fire suppression water sprinklers.

The hacker droid rose cheerfully and proceeded forward. "Primary objective: Complete. Secondary objective: Complete. Tertiary objective: Failed. There are no survivors." And it marched forward without a care in the world.

Lowering her rifle until it hangs from the single attachment point on the sling around her body, Jessika tucks her left arm close to brace defensively against the area of her rib cage that aches. Eefor rises and begins to exit. Jessika glances among the gathered of their team, doing a silent headcount to ensure that everyone is there. "Is everyone okay? Check your clothes for rips or tears or for any oily substance on your body. Check each other." The rotting stench from before is gone. In its place is something more clinical. She begins to do just that, centered around the area where she was struck. "How do you feel, Aryn?" Knowing the Alderaanian woman to be affected by the creature's presence, she hopes its a good indication of where they stand.

Nerys, as soon as the cleanse was underway, seemed to stop caring about what was going on outside entirely. The lamp on her helmet illuminated, and she checked herself over carefully, before she widened the beam to give the rest of the team an opportunity to look themselves over in better lighting, "How many more of these facilities are we going to find where the Mnggal Mnggal are being used as experiments?" She glanced across at the team, "And how many more are we bound to never find out about?"

Zandra stays silent, as she does indeed check to make sure she's not injured. or oily. In her case, she's clear, but she does turn to add, "Is it possible for the droids to get infected too?" She hopes not, she really does, but she asks the question to make sure. "I am glad that lightsabers also seem to work," she offers as well. "Along with fire." And as the cleanse overheats that door, there's a raised brow, and an added, "Or incineration." Pause. "I hope." As the droid finishes its rundown of mission objectives, she shrugs. "At least we're alive." The words say one thing, but Zan is looking a little green round the gills, so to speak. She's doing her best to not show it, but the overwhelming dread and terror from earlier, along with the lives snuffing out like candles, she is feeling that. "I think - I would like to go home now."

"I'd say..." Elrych says as he watches the door turn orange hot, steaming the moisture in the air and shaking with the rumble of whatever was causing the heat up. When it passed, the Jedi shut down his saber and placed it back on his belt. "Noone's suriviving that... that's like burning up on reentry..." A sad shake of the head.

There's a look to Nerys, "There's probably a lot more. Not just Czerka either. Even the Jedi were studying them at one point. I'll have to tell you that story about the Dantooine Enclave sometime..."

There is a glance to Zandra, "I'm not sure. I've never seen it happen." There is a nod in agreement to her last observation.

"Their presence is gone," Aryn answers, recalling the sapphire blue of her lightsaber after Jessika asked. "The lives lost here were significant. I cannot condone it. However, with Czerka's reputation, I wonder if they knew this might be their fate at some point?" She shares a pained look with Jess and shakes her head. "Let us proceed, friends. Our ticket out of here is Eefor." Aryn says. "Let us ensure that we survive this debacle at least."