After the encounter with the Probe Droid and failing to recover anything of value in its wreckage (I don’t know why I know so much about its design, but I was pretty sure we won’t be able to recover anything from its self-destroyed data banks), we gather the two young lovebirds and force them to come back with us. On the way back we agree not to alarm the survivors by omitting to mention the Imperial origin of the droid.
On arrival we explain Harsol that someone (most likely Dolan, aka “Dirtbag” the bounty hunter who’s been after Winter for a while now) sent this probe droid but stay elusive about its origin. We then decide to head back to bed, wondering what the next day will bring. I open the field medkit and proceed to heal the group with Brak’s assistance, succeeding in removing most of the critical wounds they had suffered. I am still worried about L’hrequ Paku Geil’s head injury, as I am not sure our antibiotics are fully efficient in this jungle… I also patch a couple holes in my own frame, but my diagnostics are still not great. It would not take more than a couple serious hits to shut me down for good… As usual I keep watch over my organics while tinkering with the hardware.
In the morning, we are awakened by a commotion in the camp. The tower watchmen are calling for Captain Harsol. We get up, and arrive quickly at the source of the agitation (except Winter who needs to put her face on before appearing in public). The sentinels have spotted a C3 type protocol droid, all painted in white, approaching our perimeter. He soon introduces himself as C4-N1 and sounds as uptight as all the other protocol droids I’ve ever met. He has a message for Harsol, and starts a Holo communication upon seeing the captain. A man in Imperial officer garb can be seen in the bluish hue of the projection. He introduces himself as Supervisor Leers Osman, member of the ISB (Imperial Surveillance Bureau, aka Imperial secret services). He claims the Empire is still here and wants to recover the crew of the derelict ship, especially Captain Harsol and Cortala, as well as the precious cargo it was transporting. Harsol is infuriated and at first refuses, but L’hrequ and Winter calm him down and he manages to stall by offering to give his response at dusk. Supervisor Osman accepts the terms and the droid leaves into the jungle. Strangely, when I participated in the conversation, Osman recognized that I was a M0 series droid, and seemed to hint that the Empire was familiar (or may the originator) of that design. I have not memory of that, but this may explain why I know so much about their technology. This is a disturbing thought, what was my involvement with the Empire: a technician, an engineer, a war bot? I’m pretty sure I wasn’t a protocol or negotiator droid, that’s for sure…
Pand and Winter tail C4-N1 to figure out where our Imperial intruders could be located. The droid is more perceptive than it looks and detects his tail. Pand’ and Winter talk with him, but he refuses to reveal important information about Osman and the alleged Imperial troops he commands.
Meanwhile, the survivors and our group gather in the great hall to discuss the current situation. The villagers are freaking out again. You’d think that thirty years of survival in a harsh planet would have hardened these people, but they squeal and moan like senators… Harsol and his peeps are decided to fight to the bitter end, others insist on us taking them off the planet while we can. The crowd’s morale is down by the end of the town meeting, and L’hrequ tries to comfort some of them on their out, like a preacher with his flock. He actually seems to succeed, especially when he demonstrates the Force by levitating a stone above his hand. Children and adults alike are quite amazed. With the crowd dispersed, Harsol comes back, armed to the teeth. We talk for what seems like an eternity (but my quartz confirms it was only 28.32324355666 minutes) and agree on the following plan:
- Brak will take one of the survivors with him and head to our ship to scan our opposition (we still don’t know what Osman will attack us with) and provide cover from the sky.
- The rest of the group will go scout the area around the camp to look for enemies and estimate their strength. With a bit of luck, we may even be able to capture one of them to interrogate them).
As we get ready to go, I suddenly feel strange. My arms are twitching, commands are being issued from outside of my control: WTF, I am being hacked!! I involuntarily take a swing at L’hrequ, but his Jedi reflexes allow him to duck the blow. My arms are flailing in all directions and I warn my companions to shut me down. Worse, I have an ugly impulse to draw my shooter and use it against my friends. They first try to tackle me to the ground and stun me, but my heavy armor is blocking their attempts, so they decide to instead get some distance and shoot me with their blaster on stun mode. I draw my own gun and take a shot at Pand’ but miss, and manage to squeeze my gun so hard that its gas cartridge gets ejected, buying my friends a few seconds. They quickly manage to stun me and I shutdown.
The following events were later on related by Winter and L’hrequ: screams can be heard from somewhere in the camp. Pand’ and Brak head over to the source and find an unconscious villager in the middle of a street. They can’t figure what caused this until they see something small scurrying along a wall at the edge of their vision. They finally discover that it is a small mechanical spider, hidden by a distortion field making it almost invisible. It attacks Pand’ with a sort of stinger projecting a blue electric arc. This is only a small sting for our giant cat who then blasts the thing to smithereens. They find a second spider droid/drone and manage to disable it with their blasters switched to stun.
Meanwhile, Winter manages to open my shell and remove my remote connection module, disabling my radio abilities, but also preventing outside sources from taking control of me. I am then tied up with cables then switched back on. I feel like myself again and my ill-tempered an unapologetic demeanor reassure my colleagues that I am myself again…. They until me. My circuits are however still weakened by the blaster shots, and I feel it would not take much to take me offline again. How was Osman’s men able to take control of me? Are his slicers that skilled or did it have some kind of override code to bypass my security?
When Pand’ and Brak update us about the spider droids, I once again seem to know a lot more about them then I probably should: they are used as spies or recon droids, which means that Osman and his troops most likely know a lot about our defenses and plans, and confirms that he has no intent on proceeding peacefully. We need to get ready for an imminent battle! We scratch our previous plans and look for other spider droids. We find and disable six total. I inspect one of them to see if I could reprogram them for our own purposes, but it would take too long and I decide against it. Harsol informs us that all the women and children are safe in the caves located under the cliff’s overhang.
Dolan picks this moment of tension before the battle to call Winter and offer to take us off the planet again. She refuses again, as politely as she can.
Suddenly the battle begins, we hear the sounds of two approaching speeder bikes. They pass over the village at full speed without stopping. Harsol freaks out and shoots at them, wasting precious ammunition. On their second pass, the strafe the buildings and cause panic among the defenders. We all climb on the tower to better attack them as they pass by. Because of their range and speed, I have to use the Trandoshan mercenary’s blaster rifle on lethal mode, against my vow not to destroy any organic life.
Here are the highlights of the battle against the speeder-bike imperials:
- The speeder bikes shoot the towers where L’hrequ and Pand’ are taking cover. A friendly battle droid explodes into pieces and the meager covers are blown to smithereens.
- Cortala freaks out: she runs to the Nexu cages inside the camp and is about to release the feral beasts. Winter sees her and uses her best leadership skills to calm the scientist down and prevent her from unleashing the hungry beasts inside the camp.
- L’hrequ pulls a stunt his Jedi master would have been proud of: as the other bike drives by his tower, he ties a synth-rope to a railing and lassoes the nose of the speeder. A few seconds later, the rope goes taut and the pilot loses control of his high-speed vehicle than crashes into the camp’s log fence.
- We shoot one of the Imperial bikes several times and finally I hit one of their fuel tanks. The bike explodes, killing its pilot instantly. This is too much for me, the stress of having killed a human shorts my motivator, and I shut down instead of savoring this short-term victory.
For a few seconds, the defenders savor their victory, but suddenly one of the villagers shouts to look outside the fence. My comrades turn around and see that several squads of camouflage-clad Stormtroopers and two probe droids are approaching our camp through the tall grass. The battle only begins, and I am already out of it…