Crix Madine’s imprisonment proved to be more useful than we anticipated: he was caught by Rom Mohc, “hero” of the Clone Wars. They say he fought droids hand to hand and won, and I fully believe it: the man lives for machines. He oversaw my Omega Exercise, and even then he was more interested in cybernetics than he was in the soldiers of the Empire. Mohc’s involvement in the Dark Trooper project changed everything - this just became personal.
Madine described a production line than runs across the galaxy, with Mohc using smugglers and their routes to move the unfinished droids. There were three stages of development, and the droid I met on Gromas was just the first stage. The smuggler’s routes meant we had no clue as to where the second stage of manufacturing was taking place, but there was one lead to follow. The Ramsees Hed docking station was notorious for smuggling, and it was swarming with Imperial patrols.
The port the Empire cruiser docked at was swarming with Stormtroopers: I managed to sneak past some but the six outside the elevator into the loading bay were much more observant. Fortunately they weren’t sensible enough to raise the alarm, and I was soon taking the elevator down into the warehouse. There were Gran workers carrying boxes, passing Gamorrean guards wielding axes and Stormtroopers inspecting the cargo.
I approached an elevator to the right, and found that it was locked - I would need a yellow keycard to access it. I snuck around the lower floor, collecting some wayward ammunition and staying out of sight. Near the back of the warehouse I found some shield charge and miraculously the yellow key. I sprinted back to the elevator and kept my head down - while I still had the element of surprise I was safe. I called the elevator down and readied the repeater gun, prepared to silence the workers before they could call out for help.
There were two Gran trying to move a heavy box at the top, and they both fell with a single shot each allowing me to move quickly across the catwalk over the warehouse floor. Two more Gran were waiting on the other side, alongside a Gamorrean guard who proved his people’s hardiness by taking a tonne of punishment before finally taking his final breath. I moved past him, dropping down into the cargo processing center and taking out a Stormtrooper at the conveyer controls.
Activating the switch, the boxes blocking the way moved further down into the machine. Following it, I was only able to get slightly further down before the boxes stopped again. They revealed a corridor to the side, and two Stormtroopers appeared from an alcove. They were protecting another switch, which restarted the conveyer belts and opened up another corridor. This one was unguarded and hid an elevator to the observation platforms above, which were seemingly unguarded.
These led back around to the main loading bay: at the far end I could see the Imperial ship, with more Gran and Gamorrean carrying cargo up to it. I dropped down behind a Gran and broke it’s neck, dragging the body behind some crates. I needed to take two elevators to get to the doors, and go through another Gamorrean and a single Gran.
I took the first elevator, and surprised the Gamorrean with a thermal detonator and a few shots from the repeater. I made the jump across to the elevator and shot the thermal detonator out of the Gran’s hand, the force of the blast knocking it off the elevator. It began to rise, and as the doors to the Imperial ship opened for me I stepped inside. That was the first time I had been on a cruiser like this since I had fled the Empire and become a mercenary, and the chills from the memories crept through me.
The blast doors to the engine room would be locked, but a key would be in the security office. I turned left into the corridor, walking slowly and making no noise: of all the places to not be caught, an Imperial Cruiser is up near the top of the list. My knowledge of the layout of Imperial ships coming in handy, I managed to slip through the corridors, hiding in storage cupboards to avoid the patrolling Stormtroopers.
I came up to blast doors blocking my way - they required a code to open and I had no idea where I would find such a code. From the other side, I heard an Officer chiding a Stormtrooper and the unmistakable sound of a keycard being used. I slipped through a door to the side, and was greeted by two Stormtroopers and a Gran facing the opposite wall. It took me a second to realise what was happening, and that time was all it took for the Gran to turn around and spot me.
The ruckus that ensued saw the one Stormtrooper face-first in the urinal, the other slumped over the sink and the Gran splayed out on the floor. It also attracted the attention of the Officer from behind the blast door, who came into the bathroom to investigate. He joined the Stormtrooper in the urinal, and I swiped the key card from him. I opened the blast door and knocked out the Stormtrooper on the other side, feeling sorry for him - I remember how much Officers looked down on Stormtroopers.
The security office was just around the corner from there, and the Officer’s keycard opened the door to it. Inside, an Officer was giving instructions to a couple Commandos who had their backs to me, making for two easy shots to incapacitate them. Two more shots took out the Officer - he ducked the first one - and I was scouting the office for the key. The blue key was hanging on the wall to the left, and I was soon sprinting to the back of the ship.
The cargo bay was mostly empty; just a couple Stormtroopers checking the cargo, one had left his blaster on a nearby crate. I reached the engine room doors, and the key card worked perfectly. The door slid upwards, revealing some engineering troopers. These were more prepared than the troopers in the cargobay, but I picked up a few mortars and history remembers the guy with the bigger explosions.
The engines were ahead of me, already at full spin - we were about to take off. This was perfect: the bridge would be mostly unaware of what had happened down in the bowels of the ship and would be already well on the way to the second manufacturing site before they found out. I placed the tracking device on the engine coils, and rushed back to the exit. I slipped out and back into the loading bay as the Imperial Cruiser began to ascend into space. Now all we needed to do was chase it down - but that is for next time...