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10.17.2012 , 09:19 AM | #12
Chapter 6. Nar Shaddaa: Meet M1-4X

That vault run was weirder than anything I could even invent.

It was tucked into a maze of Nar Shaddaa's less glamorous-looking avenues. Like the less pleasant areas of Coruscant, I guess, but with even more interesting stains on the floor.

I made sure the outside perimeter was clear before I spoke, and even then I was quiet. "I've got a feeling about this. What do you want to bet this isn't as simple as a grab-and-go 'within the hour'?"

"Betting against that? On a Nar Shaddaa op, no less? I didn't wake up on the stupid side of the bed this morning, sir." Jorgan nodded at the door. "Let's go."

We headed in to find a crate-cluttered room where a sleek-looking battle droid stood in the middle of a busy group of men in Republic uniforms. As Jorgan, Dorne and myself entered, the men gave us suspicious looks, exchanged rapid signals, and kept on working. All but the droid, who was facing a guy with captain's insignia.

"We're wasting time," the droid announced. "There is an entire galaxy full of depraved lunatics plotting against our great Republic, and we're busy rummaging for valuables!"

Huh. And Garza wanted the rogue droid's connection with the Republic kept quiet.

The captain sounded annoyed. "Be patient, Forex black ops aren't cheap. Commander Tavus needs us to be resourceful."

"But I've been operational for days now! Imperial vermin across the galaxy should be cursing the Republic ingenuity that created me!"

I had to step in. "Uh, you. You know you're not actually serving the Republic, right?"

The robot whirred. "Contact! Multiple armed subjects!"

"Engage and terminate!" snapped the captain.

"Negative," proclaimed the droid. "Subject identity confirmed officer, Republic Army. A valued ally in our battle against tyranny!"

The captain made a face. "Great." Then he glared at me. "Look, this is a top secret mission. Commander Tavus sent us himself. Does 'Havoc Squad Commander Tavus' mean anything to you?"

"More than you know. Drop your weapon."

Even if I'd thought this guy was legit Republic, the look on his face then would've convinced me otherwise. "Forex, secure the package and follow me," he said quickly. "The rest of you, gun this scum down and rendezvous with us at Objective Seven."

The droid gestured in an agitated way. "Negative! What you suggest is an act of betrayal, the murder of fellow "

"M1-4X Override Code Five Five Eight! Secure the objective and follow me, now!"

"Sir, yes, sir!"

That's a problem. "I'm your commanding officer," I told the droid. "Ignore this man's orders."

"Negative." It almost sounded sad. "Override code condition five five eight. Obey only orders given by Commander Harron Tavus or personnel designated by same."

"He designated me for a lot of tasks. I was in his squad, for stars' sake."

"The access list for my command set does not include you, sir."

"M1-4X!" snapped the captain, and bolted. The droid followed.

After that, the rest of the uniformed men came after us. There are very few things I like less than having to harm my own people; I held the thought that their Republic uniforms were fakes. They were either defectors or straight-up Imps. I get to shoot Imps. So I took cover and fired.

Our...enthusiastic ally?...the droid, would have to wait.
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