Saturday, February 13, 2010

Investment

Beyond the vault doors, several massive chamber awaited. Each wide hallway was connected by a series of open gateways of plasteel and supported by large squared pillars that stretched from the smooth metal floor below to the high vaulted ceiling above. Track lights were flickering on in a sequence that moved away from Darrus and the others, revealing each of at least a dozen such sub-vaults stretching off into the distance.

As impressive as these gallery halls were in design, neither Tymor nor Maya paid them much attention. All they could see were the contents of the vaults as the growing rows of light illuminated them clearly.

Down the middle of each chamber, a stacked wall of interlocking cargo crates formed a kind of divide. Ten crates tall and at least two wide, this barrier bore dozens of different demarcation symbols, many of which Maya recognized. Preserved food, vacuum stored water, gasses in suspension, and medical supplies that went on as far as she could see.

Tymor understood what some of these symbols meant as well - they were the sorting glyphs of the Republic Army under Jedi control. They meant armour, weapons, ammunition and many other forms of military hardware. These crates alone were a find of epic proportions. Combined with the other supplies, all their material needs were solved. Even the thousands on the Ird-Adora would take years to go through all these consumables.

Even if their ship was irreparable, no one would starve. This planet not be a good final home for a warrior-born but there were children to think about and wounded that needed tending. Tymor sighed inwardly. If this was where his legacy ended, it was better than fading away.

"Impressive, Silverlord. These rooms hold the solution to all our supply problems."

Darrus looked at Tymor and smiled very enigmatically. "This? Oh, this isn't what Kaazon died to protect. And these aren't the vaults. This is just the central corridor." He stepped into the hallway and turned to face its control panel by the door. Protected from the ion pulse that Master Kaazon paid his life to keep intact, it was on low power but fully functional.

With a quick command login, Darrus raised the blast walls on either side of the chain of galleries. Every hall stared to open, its side walls raising into housings on the ceiling. What they revealed left Maya staring in shock and even Alayt Tymor's composure shaken.

Vehicles filled the newly exposed space as the hall in front of them became a double hangar. Darrus started down the right side of the row of crates in front of him, gesturing for them to follow. The walk slowly revealed that every gallery was the same, an open hangar full of craft both starboard and aft.

Starfighters, shuttlecraft, ground assault vehicles, squadrons of speeders and more; this long row of vaults has all the craft needed to defend a planet or conquer one. Tymor knew these designs well. They ran the gamut from pre-Clone Wars technology to ships that were the cutting edge at the birth of the Empire. Mostly it was the latter. V-19 Torrent fighters and TX-130 tanks sitting on either side of decked out gunships.

All this firepower, preserved and maintained for an emergency that passed the Jedi by in a war they were fated to lose before it started. Just looking at it made Tymor both giddy and crushingly depressed. There was no enemy here and none of these craft, with the exception of the ARC-170s, were capable of hyperspace that he knew of and those were too small to survive passage through the Abyssal.

Darrus reached the end of the lengthy walk and paused at another panel, calling up a diagram in the middle of a wall screen that showed where they were - a long map of hangar chambers with detailed lists of their contents scrolling beside each room. "What is wrong, Tymor? You seem disturbed."

"I..."

Maya answered for him softly. "He's feeling regret that we now have the numbers and materiel for a army and no way to leave this world, Darrus. I think this Vault of yours is like the ultimate heartbreak for a Mandalorean."

"Hmmm, really?" Darrus set his helmet down on the floor and focused on the communications link in his forehead. The lights in his implant made his brow glimmer as he reached out to the cybernetic machine on the other end.

"Vykara, do you have everyone inside the landing facility as I commanded?"

He felt his basilisk's affirmative and got an image of the shuttle crew and the handful of Mandals that had come down with him to the planet's surface. She sent him another affirmative when he asked about climate and structural integrity.

"Perfect, Vy. Thank you."

"Tymor, watch the screen for a moment, will you? I need to need to bring more systems online."

While his Alayt stared at the map, Darrus started issuing wake orders to other computer clusters nearby. Years-dormant systems started to rouse, appearing on the map as new sections of the complex. As more and more of them merged with the hall of hangars, Tymor began to see the pattern of what they were forming.

"This," he said in a quiet, breathless voice, "is no base. It's a..."

Maya finished for him again. "It's a starship."

The floor trembled. The lights above started to flicker as power flowed into pressor beams positioned around the outer hull, long-since programmed for the task they were performing now. Pulses of gravitational force slammed into the false earth that had been packed around the ship when it was hidden here two decades ago.

All these supplies and vehicles would have been of little use without a way to transport them and a command vessel to guide the army for which they were intended. Blasting free of the valley floor, they started to rise into the air.

All of Tymor's regrets vanished along with any of this doubts of Darrus' plan to bring them here against all reason. The map showed this vessel clearly now. It was a huge warship, Venator class, and all decks were active now. As he watched, Darrus was typing in a set of command codes to bring the ship up to full function. One field was still blank. The vessel was apparently 'new', having likely never seen combat and flown here shortly after construction.

It did not yet have a name.

"This, Silverlord? This is what you Jedi fought and died to protect?" Tymor's voice was more than a little awestruck. This vessel was huge, powerfully armed and large enough to house all of his people aboard the crippled ship in orbit. This was worthy.

Darrus quickly typed in the only name that came to mind. Only one word had ever meant 'warship' to him; only one word ever would.

M-A-E-L-S-T-R-O-M

The next field was an authority command password, the authorization for the highest level systems of the ship. Though Darrus punched it in quickly, Tymor saw what he typed and committed it to memory. Just in case.

1-T-R-I-L-L-I-N-A-E-2

"Darrus," Maya said softly, hand on his shoulder. "I know it may not seem like much right now, dearest, but your friend saved our lived by saving this ship. It's amazing."

Darrus blanked the screen and sent a command to Vykara to bring the Maelstrom up along the Ird-Adora. The ship would need an hour or so to propagate power to all its myriad systems and be ready to take on passengers. Until then, there was one more thing for these two to see.

"No, Tymor. No, Maya. This isn't what he was protecting either."

They both stared at him. For once, Tymor had nothing to say.

Darrus opened the sealed door at the end of the hall where they were standing and took them into a small steel chamber with no apparent exits. He walked to the far wall, activated the concealed panel and typed in the newly set command code. The smooth, featureless metal in front of him slid open to reveal a dimly lit ramp going up toward a security door.

"Follow me. I'll show you Sanctora's real treasure."

4 comments:

erisraven said...

The warship wasn't the treasure?

What do they have in there, Cryogenically suspended Jedi?

(And awwwwwwww for the Trillinae bit. It's nice to be remembered.)

A Man of Earth said...

I like this chapter, except for the continued "This isn't the plot device your looking for". I mean, why keep everyone guessing on what the treasure is? It's starting to feel like one of those Russian wooden doll things. You open it up and there's another doll, to which you open to find...another doll.

It's not really like I hated this chapter because of that, though. Nor do I personally find a objection to it, since happy that your continuing his story at all. I just feel like if you did it one more time, people will definitely hate it. I'm causation you not to do it. At least not in the next chapter.

So, cool. Definitely happy to see another great chapter, and even more so because I didn't have to yell at you to do so, no matter how effective it is.

Happy Valentine's Day. Peace

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Anonymous said...

I kinda have been expecting this in a way...
But I reali dun think da world is going to end...start a new era maybe but the world is not ending.
That's not gonna happen till a thousand years later! Ok, I'm not sure bout that either but that's not the point! The world's not gonna end! Full stop!
[url=http://2012earth.net
]mayan calendar 2012
[/url] - some truth about 2012