Episode I.iii (The Trail)

It took a fair while, but ultimately she found her way to the surface of the plateau. Trackways still ran through the surface, but at least now she had the elevation she needed to receive nearby signals. With the Order warship overhead, she was hesitant to send out her own, but if she was going to get any help she’d like to know where to go for it and who she was contacting.

As her comms began cycling channels, she got that sense again. She dropped the magnifier and scanned her horizon, searching for a potential threat. It had been an off and on twinge in the back of her mind for hours, and every time she had stopped and searched, nothing. Just that awful feeling that something was watching her.

And it wasn’t the Order, guaranteed if they had located her they’d be sending in the fighters and finishing the job they started.

Her comms caught her mid theory, spitting out a frenzied chatter that sounded like Jawaese, but a bit of a different dialect than she was familiar with. She didn’t speak the language, but they tended to be fairly generous in getting the basic ideas across. And if anyone were to have the parts she needed, it’d be them. Veye spun the bike back up and took off towards the signal, following her display across several miles of desert plateau.

It was really unsurprising that they’d be here, after all, they were the galaxy's keenest scavengers and salvagers, and the desert tended to be their preferred locale despite their thick looking cloaks. As she sped across the landscape, she even began to find signs of their passing, with deep ruts from the treads of their sandcrawler chewed into the hard earth. If anything it was Jawas she’d been hoping for, since they were almost guaranteed to have all the wires and supplies necessary for field repairs. Might even be able to help, if she could garner their trust.

The signal took her over the plateau, across several chasms, ultimately coming out near another major Geonosian pit that must have been for ships coming and going, like the one she had landed in. Looking down, she could see black smoke rising from the bottom, dissipating into the dusty air before it reached the brim. Bad news, always.

She saddled back up and took off down the sloping tracks. At the bottom, she was met with a horrific scene.

The Jawas, the little salvaging people, were strewn across the base of the pit, their little robes blackened from blaster fire. The sandcrawler, often seen as a fortress on treads, was cracked open and burning from the inside out, with flames reaching for the bronzed sky. Scorch marks dotted the exterior, with jagged holes formed where the heat had imploded the armor.

Her blaster came right to her hands as she dismounted, scanning the dark caverns for any lingering threats. She circled the fortress, noting the scorch marks that appeared to come from every angle, giving the impression of a large force. The tear, almost bisecting the fort, also gave credence to some heavy ordinance. And with the heaviest fire coming from above, she had a pretty good idea who was responsible. What’s more, tracks from humanoid sized boots seemed to circle as well, before breaking off and following what must be a primary entrance to the catacombs below. And with the message repeating, she doubted that the assailants were too concerned with their battle being discovered.

She sighed, looking up at the broken in windows of the command deck. They didn’t deserve this. She raised a fist to the air, and launched her grapple.

Ascending the front hull, she found her way into the Jawa sized command seats, pushing aside a slumped over Jawa in order to deactivate the repeating message. She didn’t stay very long, fast roping back down to the desert floor.

Veye sat back down on her bike, weighing her options. The salvage was destroyed, and with everything on fire she doubted her ability to salvage the fort itself. Their attackers had gone below, and were clearly ruthless killers who cared not for common salvage.

She checked her blaster, and huffed decidedly. She stepped off the bike, and descended into the darkness.

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