Up on the bridge, DarkRula had questioned the droids about Qiilura. While they didn't have anything to offer, they had found a message within The Ark's computer systems from before Kronis had took over which called all nearby commanders to the system to help with the extraction of farmers. It didn't offer any more than that. DarkRula guessed that the virus they had been building was ready, but didn't want to risk the farmers in the process. Evacuating the farmers had taken some time, and it seemed to have been lucky that they had taken action when they did. The message mentioned that an operation was to take place as soon as the farmers were cleared. "Okay," DarkRula says. "That's over, so now let's get on with the task at hand. Once we emerge, scan the planet." "Roger. Roger." "Don't worry, sir. We know what to do," one of the new model B-1 droids elaborate. The Doctor walks onto the bridge as The Ark emerges from hyperspace. He takes up a position a pace behind DarkRula and both watch as the scan takes place. It picks up on the Forsaraith birds, and the insects those birds feed off, but no humanoid-like signatures. "I don't have a lot of knowledge on the base," DarkRula ventures, "but if I remember correctly it's meant to protect anything within it from being scanned." "So we do this the old fashioned way," The Doctor exclaims, a bit too cheerful for DarkRula's taste. "Yes. Before we do though, I have a bad feeling about what might be down there. It feels like a trap. Droids, same rules as before. Contact me if anyone gets near, and certainly don't let any Neimoidians anywhere near here. In fact, if they do, blast them out of eternity. After what they tried to pull on Qiilura, I'm not in a forgiving mood." "Um... Yes, sir." "Are you sure that's a good idea?" The Doctor asks. "It's final," DarkRula intones sharply. "They've messed me around too much." DarkRula indicates The Doctor to follow, and both make their way down to the hangar, where the Jedi coded transport lies waiting. "And now we find out what this is all about."
The Jedi coded transport landed with no problem, and not even a transmission being shared between it and the base. Not even the Forsaraith birds seemed to have noticed it. Built into one of the mountains of the region, the landing pads extended from one of the sides. Powerful lights built onto the pads kept the thick fog that surrounded the planet at bay as best as they could. "So this is Forsaad?" The Doctor questions as he walks out of the shuttle. "It looks like there's not a lot here." "There's forests on the surface, where thankfully the fog is lighter," DarkRula points out. "What worries me is that there should have been at least some kind of message from this base." "Maybe they gave us a free pass considering we're using Jedi transport." "Either way, we get this over with and go." The two walk to the single entrance. There are no switches or buttons to control the door. Not even a communication device to signal visitors. The Doctor looks to DarkRula, as though to say this, but is visibly surprised to see that DarkRula is stood in a stance - one foot back, left arm held out forward with palm flat on the door. After a few seconds clicks and clanks are heard as the door starts to rise. DarkRula doesn't move at all, yet the door continues rising up. When it reaches the bottom of his hand, the door stops, leaving a sizeable gap in which to duck under. "What was that?" The Doctor asks once both were on the other side. "Sometimes the Jedi needed to keep things out of the way. Somewhere they wouldn't be discovered by non-Force users. So these doors were created." "What if someone attacked with a massive explosive force?" "Like I said, it's only to keep non-Force users out. I never said how the force had to be used." With the flick of one hand, the door dropped closed. It seemed this was the only corridor, and there were only five rooms. Two on either side and one straight ahead. Both DarkRula and The Doctor walk to the end room. Again, the door is closed. "Is this one as powerfully force protected as well?" The Doctor asks. "Of course not. Only the outer door needs such protection." With a casual flick of a hand, the door rises. On the other side of it are numerous computers. Each one manned by a battle droid. In the centre of the room are various beings. Not human. Neimoidian. "Ah, we wondered when you'd get here," one of them says. "What do you mean?" DarkRula asks. The Doctor could tell he was stunned. Even he had been surprised by this revelation. "It means we have been lying in wait here sometime," the same Neimoidian says. "Waiting for you. We cannot thank you enough for introducing us to this place." "Kronis and I introduced Valon to it." "Who in turn put it on record. It was simply a matter of looking when the plans were sent to us." "And why would this place be of interest to you anyway?" "Not the place. You." "Are you seriously saying," DarkRula intones with grit in his voice, "that the only reason you captured this base was on the assumption that I would be sent to see what the disturbance was?" "Oh, not assumption," a female voice says from a corner of the room. "We knew you were coming. We set it up so you would." "Really?" DarkRula looks to where the voice had come from, as does The Doctor, but neither sees anything. "Just tell me why?" "For wresting control of The Ark out of our hands," one of the Neimoidians say, and this is one The Doctor remembers. Something about his voice. "Well, Gunray," DarkRula replies to him, confirming what The Doctor had thought. "I'd already said that The Ark was mine-" "It belonged to the Federation," the female voice calls out. The Doctor looks in that direction again, and thought he could someone at one of the computer stations. "It was mine," DarkRula continues, "considering I was next in line." "It was never yours," the female says. "The Federation never had you down as a member." "But they took Kronis?" "We did," Gunray says. "He was a valuable addition to our network. We only needed him, not you." "So you continuously try to have me evicted as Kronis' padawan and the Jedi Council stopped you. Heard it before." "Would you still support your Jedi clans were you to know what I did about them?" the female enquires, and this time she rises from the computer station The Doctor had been watching. Green skin and two head-tails, and quite a lot of armour. "Twi'lek bounty hunter," DarkRula informs The Doctor quietly. Raising his voice, he asks to the bounty hunter "What would you know? Are you a part of the Jedi order?" "Of course not. But I do have the Force. Even with the insight I have, it's laughably easy to see the masters send someone who's been to the planet over someone who hasn't." The Doctor was starting to get lost in all this talk. But he did note that some uncertainty had fallen on his friend. As though the Jedi weren't all what he was led to believe. His certainty came back upon his next retort. "I don't see how you could have infiltrated the Jedi ranks, considering I bet you don't even know where the main temple is." "Glad you mentioned that, as that's what all this is all about." "Huh?" Gunray picked up the story. "Even if you weren't the one to come, we wanted the location of the main Jedi Temple. The computers here do not hold that information, and not one of the Jedi gave up that information. You can give us that information, and maybe we will remove the bounty upon you." "You still haven't mastered bargaining, have you?" DarkRula says. "You need to really mean it for one." "Um, Max?" The Doctor quietly whispers, suddenly realising something. DarkRula ignored him. Gunray smiles. "Then maybe this will help persuade you. These droids are Force-sensitive. They managed to wipe out all the Jedi here. Now you are here all alone, and the droids now have new weapons." Without a command, the droids step from the computers and form a barrier between Gunray and DarkRula. Each one activates a lightsaber. DarkRula backs up a few steps, but The Doctor takes a step forward. He had these droids outnumbered. He had, after all, no worries that they could do him any harm. The Neimoidians start laughing. So does the bounty hunter. That is, until all the droids blew up in their face. DarkRula and The Doctor ran back down the corridor and to the door. "Thankfully doing the Force opening is only to get in," DarkRula says, pushing a hand out and telekinetically pressing a button. The door opened all the way up and both of them rushed through it. "Ark, this is DarkRula!" he calls through the comm. "Ark! Come in!" Silence. "Forget it, and just get us out of here," The Doctor says. The two run inside the transport and DarkRula quickly takes the controls. Lifting off, and speeding away, several blasts reverberate through the transport and warning lights flash on. "Looks like the engines just took a hit," DarkRula states. "Taking it low and hopefully I can put us down."
From out of a hidden hangar bay within the mountain, a sleek ship emerges. Within the ship, the Twi'lek bounty hunter slowly brings the ship further down to the surface, keeping an eye on the tracker at all times. The Jedi transport had only just started moving when she had blasted one of its engines apart with her sniper from the hidden hangar. That was all she needed to do. Any more and she wouldn't be able to claim the bounty. That transport would probably crash and burn. Then again, from the stories she had heard of this particular Jedi, she could probably have blasted the transport apart with a rocket and still he would have managed to land it. Dropping a bit further and cursing the fog that was messing up the tracking, she didn't realise someone else was also tracking the Jedi. That someone couldn't resist making themselves known. "So, Lei'sa, you working this job too?" Throwing a smirk of acknowledgement, Lei'sa activated her mic and replies "Who told you about this job?" "Well obviously the Federation. But why you won't work with your sister is beyond me." "They only wanted one person for this job, So'lei." "To come to the base, yes. But you still could have had me as backup." "Make yourself useful and track the transport then." The comm fell silent as though her sister was thinking about something. When she spoke again it was in a slow voice as though she was still processing the thought. "I can feel him... He's stopped. The transport must have landed." "I'm getting that too," Lei'sa reports, wondering why she bothered to even use the tracker. The Force was the best tracker, especially when hunting other Jedi. She supposed she wasn't as adept at the tracking through the Force - unlike her sister, who seemed more proficient at it. She was still better at the physical nature of the Force, so that was something. "Where are you, anyway?" Lei'sa asks. "Already down on the ground," So'lei responds, and Lei'sa could hear a cockiness in the voice. Her sister was enjoying being ahead. That was fine. All she needed was for So'lei to find them. She would then knock her sister out and deliver the Jedi back to the Neimoidians on the base above. "Landing now," Lei'sa says into the comm. "Just wait for me and we can work together on this."
"Come on, Doctor! We have to keep moving," DarkRula calls. "I do know how this game is played out," The Doctor calls back. "I just wish I had the TARDIS to retreat to." "Oh, come on. It's damaged. We'd never get away in it." "She happens to be very good in times like this." "Well for a start, there's no way you can call it from the hangar in The Ark. And how do you know it'll get us out of here? Have you ever done this sort of thing with it in the state it's in?" "Well... Not that I know of," The Doctor concedes. DarkRula signals that it's okay to stop. Stood between a few close-growing trees, DarkRula now feels it is time to reveal what is on his mind. "There are Neimoidians here. I'm not sure how much of the story to believe, but if they want the location of the Jedi main base, then it's news to me, and so that probably means it's news to the council." "So we need to get to the temple to alert them," The Doctor agrees. "But we can't use The Ark." "Why not? You ordered the droids to blast any Neimoidians on sight." "This has been planned," DarkRula sharply states. "They knew as soon as we came out of hyperspace we was here. They have the shutdown codes. Every droid has probably been shut down from the moment we set foot on the base, leaving the computers free for anyone to strip information from." "How much could they realistically get?" The Doctor asks. "If they trace the calls between me and the council, they have everything." "In other words, we need to get the message out somehow." "Yes." It got DarkRula thinking that he was stupid for even risking it. It was true that not all the facts had been present, but it was true. Despite all of what he kept saying to everyone, he had taken a Federation cruiser and its outfit of droids forcefully. Even unlawfully. And now the consequences were bigger than him. The Ark was the last link the Federation needed to the Jedi. He didn't have any idea what their plan was, but he needed a quick and easy way to contact the council. He couldn't be seen doing so however. That would possibly make things worse.
Through the fog, outlines could be seen of two people stood in cover. Lei'sa took two steps forward and raised her sniper. A shot fired made a light appear within that cover. Red. It batted the blue sniper bolt away, and So'lei jumped out of the way as it zips through the space she had just been. "Jedi, remember," So'lei whispers. "He's been trained to use the Force in a more precise way." "So how do we fight?" "There's someone else. He's not alone." "Yeah, I saw another man. You got him on that Force tracker of yours?" "Of course. What if I tried for him, while you concentrate on the Jedi? I doubt a Jedi can defend two targets at once if we space the bolts far enough." Lei'sa nods, and So'lei runs to the left. "You do know I can sense what your plan is, right?" the Jedi shouts. "I highly doubt you can get it to work." Lei'sa summons enough power for a push with the Force. It doesn't do anything except provide a distraction. A distraction that didn't work. So'lei's sniper bolt got deflected by the lightsaber, which turns off. Switching to the more real sight of her sniper scope's optics, she sees two figures running away from the cover they had used. So'lei fires off a few random bolts, but instead of activating the lightsaber again, their Jedi quarry subtly dodged them, and seemed to control the actions of the other man. It was clear he didn't have the Force. Both sisters start running after them, So'lei still firing at random. A sound brings them to a halt. It sounds like a strained thrum. Both sisters bring their sniper optics up to the sky, hunting through the scope with it set to pick up on metallic readings. The thrum was growing louder, and yet neither sister could pick up on anything. Lei'sa brings the scope back down to check on the two they were hunting, swapping to infrared. The two were now stood still, but it was getting harder to see them, as some sort of heat reading was forming a rectangular shape around them. The thrumming also seemed to be coming from that direction. Swapping back to the electromagnetic scope, she let out a gasp and lowers her rifle. As the thrum reaches its peak, Lei'sa grabs So'lei's arm and directs it in the direction of what she had seen. When So'lei sees it, she fires off a few more bolts in rapid succession. They do nothing but rip straight through the object that has now claimed the Jedi and the other man. The thrum gets quieter and eventually vanishes. The last of the heat waves dissipate and the two sisters are left wondering just what kind of technology that was. It was something both of them would very much love to have.
"Well, I'm glad that worked," DarkRula says with a relieved sigh. "But... What was that?" "Ah, it's a lovely thing you asked, dear chap. I really wanted to explain it to you." The Doctor sounds excited, and DarkRula wonders how long it has been since the last time he had been able to tell someone of his expertise and craft. The Doctor continues - "You see, this old girl is connected to me, and also connected to this key." He brings out the key that was hanging from a thread from inside one of his pockets. "This key is a controller of sorts. If I will it so, it will tell the TARDIS to materialise onto my location. In other words, it formed around us, and quickly took us away." "Hah, nice. I bet it surprised those hunters who were after us." The bong sounds to say the TARDIS has landed. "Are you sure we're on The Ark?" DarkRula has to ask. "After how we got to Qiilura..?" "If we'd been pulled off course, you would also do to remember how it felt to go to Qiilura." "Ah... Yeah... Let's see what's happened since we left then." From out of the TARDIS and across to the bridge, everything seems normal. Within the bridge, droids are managing the systems normally. Nothing seems to have happened at all. "I don't like this one bit," DarkRula quietly says. "But everything's fine," The Doctor wonders aloud. "That means nothing did happen?" "I'm sure they could have got in somehow." They call quits on the conversation as a droid walks up to them. "So how did it go, sir?" it asks. There was no sign at all of anything odd happening with it. "Well, your old masters are down on that base, so I suggest we make a quick retreat. Take us to Rakata Prime." Once The Ark was in hyperspace, DarkRula pulls up recordings for the last hour. He followed his own journey to the Jedi transport, swapped to an external camera to watch as he went down to the surface of the planet, then just watched. On a second screen he had another external camera showing the other hangar opening. After a while he put both on triple speed. Nothing entered or even came near The Ark within the hour. Not deterred, he swaps the external cameras for views of the bridge and tower hangar. Again played triple speed. On the bridge he sees that all the droids suddenly stop. Pausing and rewinding, he plays it back normal speed and makes a note of when they stop. The exact time. Playing back on triple speed, once the droids start moving again, he does the same thing. Thinking on the period between the two times, the Federation had been allowed half an hour of access into the computer systems. More than enough time to externally search through the computers. That meant they had to know where to find the Jedi main base. "Okay. This is definitely a problem." DarkRula knew he wasn't one for panicking under stress, but this was different. The Federation now knew where to find the Jedi. Why they would want that, he definitely didn't know. Only that the well kept secret was now out. The ruse of numerous temples was now up. He had to alert the Jedi Council, but knew it wouldn't be through this ship. Nor would he risk taking The Ark to Ilum. He'd check over the Scimitar, just to make sure, but once he made planetfall on Rakata Prime, he knew that a public comm booth would be the safest way to make contact. He could easily disrupt the computer so it wouldn't know the correct anything. "What is a problem?" The Doctor asks. "The droids were offline, so some glitch must have happened. I'm sure I can sort it when we get back after visit where we're going." He'd give the real reason on the planet's surface. He needed some crumb of victory now, as everything felt too close to defeat. They had barely escaped from Forsaad, and now The Ark was as much friend as enemy. He was still unwilling to give it up though. "Alert us when we reach Rakata," DarkRula says to the droids. "Doctor, with me." In the main hangar and within the Scimitar, DarkRula ran through the entire diagnostic. He was thankful that his personal ship hadn't been messed with in any way. He knew the possibility of that was slim - considering the Scimitar hadn't even been owned by the Federation - but he had still wanted to check. Once The Ark was out of hyperspace, DarkRula took the call from traffic control and asked to land for supplies. Getting a landing clearance, the Scimitar was piloted from the hangar down to the planet by DarkRula, who landed a bit faster than the port official would have liked. Placating the man, DarkRula tells The Doctor to follow. It took little under five minutes to find a public comm booth, and DarkRula slips inside while also jamming a disruptor into the side of the unit. The computer would be able to call the code entered, but not remember it. "And now, we alert the Jedi Council," DarkRula quietly says. "The whole mess that was my fault." "You couldn't have known what would happen," The Doctor points out. "I think we handled it quite well." "I allowed them access to the location of the Jedi main base. I don't know what they want with it, but it can't be any good." A connection is finally made and Tee Vol's voice comes through. "Who is this and how do you have this code?" "Master Tee Vol, Jedi DarkRula here with some bad news." "May I ask why I am unable to get a reading on where you are?" "The Ark has been compromised. In fact, you have been compromised." "What happened on Forsaad?" "The Federation looked up the place and hired a Force using bounty hunter. They also had some of those Force-sensitive droids with them. They'd taken over the place hoping to get the location of the main base. Then they tried to get that information out of me." "You didn't-" "Not directly, no. But as you said, The Ark is owned by the Federation, and they used their connection with it to search through the computer systems. They know everything, no doubt. I just don't see what they could do with that information." He had added the last bit hoping to get some more information about why the Jedi and Federation were so tightly connected, but the reply he got wasn't even aimed at him it felt. "I feared this day would come... We need to get mobile and relocate." The call dropped. "Oh, thanks," DarkRula acidly comments. "I only just delivered some news to help you survive. Doesn't that at least warrant a thank you? And now you also talk of relocating and don't bother giving me any details." "I'm sure he has reasons..." The Doctor meekly states. "Well, whatever." DarkRula storms from the comm booth, calling the disruptor to him through the Force. "Let's make us look legit and actually get some supplies, then we can sort everything out on The Ark." Another hour is spent looking through the various stalls and vendors, The Doctor occasionally making requests of things he'd like to try, and stocking up the Scimitar over numerous trips. Once they had enough to last, DarkRula raised ship and flew back to The Ark. Setting some droids to take the supplies to the storage hold, DarkRula and The Doctor make their way up to the bridge and make a small hyperspace jump away from any known system. He then tells The Doctor to help him in rewiring The Ark's systems to make sure it could never be controlled by the Federation again. Then he planned to do the same with all the droids. Throughout the work, he couldn't help but wonder if he had now been blacklisted from the Jedi. The sense of defeat was ever present. He kept on working so he wouldn't have to think about it.