"I still don't understand why we don't just run. Leave them to it," a blue-armoured Mandalorian says. "They would just hunt us down," the other, a black armoured Mandalorian, informs solemnly. "We all saw the report from LeRane. And besides, being on this side allows other things to be dealt with." "What like? You want to take them out?" The one in blue gets no reply to that. "This report needs to be made. I'd rather not think about even more Daleks wondering around, but better to show support." "Sir! A shuttle will be ready to take us down in a minute." Krayt Skirata turns around and walks to the rear of the bridge where the lift pods were. Before entering one, he quietly says "At least for now."
On the surface of Tatooine, within a palace that had once belonged to a Hutt Lord, Dalek Zane waits with eye stalk pointed up. It was waiting. It hoped the report would be good, but even if not, there were more important things that needed to be dealt with. For one, Rizon had done a good job with keeping the leadership here under cooperation, but some things needed to be made official. Zane had a feeling the people here had never been worried about a strong occupation for some time now. Only a select few knew of the Daleks, but everyone knew of the Mandalorians. That would work favourably when it came to revealing themselves – two threats working together. Fear would put the population of the planet in line, and fear they would need if this planet was to remain a working base. A shuttle descends to the palace, and Zane's eye stalk follows it down. Once it lands, the leader – the one all in black – walks forward and addresses Zane while others filed out from the shuttle. Zane notes that this shuttle looks like a small version of those battleships they parade around in. "We are sorry, supreme leader, but we could find nothing else relating to the conversion technology on Cyrillia." "We do not need it," Zane says. "Soon the technology will be ready for use. As for now, we have other matters to attend to." "What are we doing?" Skirata asks. "Helping to rule this planet."
Skirata knew that Jabba the Hutt had once lived in this palace over a thousand years ago, and that it had been taken over after his death by opportunists. Not one had lasted very long, but then a rich family had moved in. Stripped of anything harmful, completely cleaned over, and rebuilt, the family had lasted to this day. They had taken a rule to this planet, and that rule had also lasted. Now, Skirata was to meet with the head of the family. Some man called Thalos. The meeting room was a small chamber off the main one, and had only a circular table with a few chairs scattered around. Skirata was stood to one side of Dalek Zane. The idea was to pose an intimidating figure. The black armour usually did that. Thalos walked in with swagger, dressed in a black business suit. Sharp featured, this was a man Skirata knew found himself important. He did seem a little worse for wear though. Perhaps it was fear that his rule was coming to an end. People who had no-one to challenge them grew arrogant that they could remain with their power. Some did. Others would suffer for it. It was time to inflict some more pain Thalos' way. "This will be a meeting to discuss the operations, I assume?" Thalos asks. "In a way," Skirata replies. He had no reason to inject menace into his voice. The vocoder of his helmet sounded that way naturally. "The only thing I would like to enquire about is what you do here." "I rule. Plain and simple. Two garrisons of Stormtroopers are mine to command, acting as a police force. Not that there's much for them to do. A lawless planet doesn't need its every action dictated, but should trouble start to happen, the troopers will step in." "Stormtroopers... They have armour we could use. How much spare armour do you have?" "We would be happy to give you any armour we have." There was something in his voice. Something like surprise. That he didn't ask what the armour was for was a smart move. Skirata couldn't even give an answer, but the Mandalorian supplies of Stormtrooper armour were running low, and this looked like an opportunity to get more without having to steal it. A new Dalek then enters the room. Skirata was used to seeing Zane with its black shell, and Volk with its dark brown, but never had he seen a shell that was ice blue before. With two Daleks present, Skirata could see Thalos stiffen a bit. It seemed something had happened on this planet to make him fear them already. "This will be a meeting to merge the might of the Mandalorians with the power of Thalos' rule," Dalek Rizon states. "This planet will remain a base of the Daleks, and any who oppose will be exterminated." "I- I accept," Thalos says with a slight quiver. "The Mandalorians will merge with us. This will be a base for the Daleks." "And I give my word as well," Skirata comments. "The Mandalorians will help protect this base from anyone who seeks to destroy it." And with those few statements, the meeting was closed and the deal agreed upon.
"The place where the conversion technology is held," Dalek Zane states. "I have not seen it yet." Thalos was wondering when Zane would have asked about that. Just over a week ago the Mandalorian ship had been sighted in the system, and all Rizon had said was that it was bringing some friends. Soon after that, one of Thalos' factories had been taken over and a new project began. He had learnt that the Daleks had stole conversion technology from Cyrillia, technology that would allow more Daleks to be made. Not wanting to antagonise the Daleks, he had let them continue. He still felt that more Daleks could only be worse for him. "I will, of course, take you there," Thalos says in his strongest voice. "And perhaps our Mandalorian friend would join us." "Of course," Skirata replies. Thalos couldn't read the features or voice of Skirata, but at least he knew there was a man under that armour. He could at least expect a bit of compassion from him, unlike the Daleks. Thalos led the group to a hangar bay where several transports lay in wait. Taking a repulsortruck, the two Daleks entered via the rear hatch opening, while Skirata sat next to Thalos in the driver bay. Pulling out of the hangar, the transport is driven south over large rock canyons and vast flats of desert. A small town of an outpost could be seen in the distance over to the right, which Thalos informed his passengers as being Carnthout. Lowering down to the ground, Thalos made sure the transport kept the canyon in sight. It curved to the left, giving a view of more rocky terrain. In the large space between the two the transport flew, before taking a sharp right directly facing the canyon. A metal plate opens up, allowing a large enough gap for the transport to enter. "This is the main path directly to the factory," Thalos informs Skirata. "Built into the canyon itself so as not to be visible from the air." "And why would someone like you want to not be visible from the air?" Skirata inquires. "Let's just say some things are best kept secret." The transport parks up once it reaches the landing bay, and the two Daleks are let out from the back. "How was the ride?" Thalos asks. "Take us in further," Dalek Zane commands. Thalos leads the group through to the main workspace of the factory. Machines are working on what looks like the shell of a Dalek, and several computer screens show what appear to be simulated test results. "As you can see, the base is running smoothly," Thalos says nervously, hoping the Daleks didn't want to know the test results. An alarm blares in the distance, and everyone looks in the direction of the sound. Thalos quickly glances at the Daleks, though it wasn't like he could get a reaction from them anyway. A beep comes from his wrist communicator. Raising it to mouth level, he enquires "What is the situation?" in as level a voice as he could manage. "It appears there has been unauthorised access to the research lab. Stormtroopers are on the hunt, following the guidance of our security cams. The intruders will be dealt with swiftly." "Halt on that command," Dalek Zane says. Thalos jumps at the voice, then asks "You have a new command?" "Yes. Have the intruders captured alive. With them, we have subjects that we can use. This will be the key to unlocking the conversion technology." "Permission to carry on the order, sir?" the voice from the communicator asks. "Permission granted. It shouldn't take long to capture alive." Lowering the communicator, he says to the group with as much confidence as he could "We shouldn't have long to wait." It was a long fifteen minutes, with Thalos nervously giving a tour of the facilities. When they reached the research lab, there was little sign of any intrusion. No blaster marks, destroyed equipment, or anything else that would indicate a rushed escape. The intruders were already away from the place when the alert had been called. Thalos hoped the Daleks wouldn't call him out for lax security. A beeping sounded from Thalos' wrist. The communicator was smoothly raised, stopping just short of his chin. "Yes?" he calls into it. "Captured alive, just as you wanted sir. Three of them," the voice reports. "No sign of any weapons on them, though they did have some stealth training. They have now been locked up in the underground holding cells." "Good. Very good. Keep them under guard. I will be with you shortly." Communicator down, Thalos turns to Dalek Rizon. "Since you have been overseeing this operation the longest, perhaps you would like to be with me when I interrogate our prisoners." Rizon replies with a curt "Yes." Thalos and Rizon leave the others to head down to the underground holding cells through the sloping emergency tunnels. There were many of these around, and all led to the reserve landing pads in another part of the canyon. The only thing Thalos wanted to know from the intruders was how they got in. It was no secret he had a factory here, and some projects were known, but no-one had ever tried getting in before. By knowing how they did it, he could prevent it from happening again. The guard was wearing black armour with helmet face guard retracted. The eyes peeking through the gap were a dark brown. With instant recognition, the guard fell into step and led Thalos and Rizon to the cell where the three intruders were being held. "Thalos!" one of them shouts as soon as the man is within sight. "Release us now." "Oh, and why would I do that?" Thalos directs to the cell. "I just want to know how you got in here." "And then we can go?" another asks hopefully. "That's not going to happen. I'm under orders to keep you here." "You're the top man here," the third one says from the corner. "Unless you've lost that right." "While I am still top man, there are others who'd want you to stay here." "Like that thing beside you," the first fires out. "We recognise it. It destroyed Tosche Station. We've been looking for it ever since." Dalek Rizon moves forward just a bit to better allow those in the cell to see it. "This planet is of no importance. Only it's leader and his continued support." "What is this?" the second intruder asks Thalos. "Did you create these things and now they've gone rogue? Is that what you're hiding here?" "That's beside the point," Thalos impatiently barks. "You got into this base, and no matter what you are not getting out. So do me a favour and just say how so I can increase whatever security flaw it is that allowed you access." None of the three intruders made a sound. "I will soften them up," Rizon says, cocking its laser stalk. "No!" Thalos commands. "They don't need it. Come. They'll be talking soon enough."
A few days later, Thalos, Skirata, and the two Daleks waited near the conversion chamber. The prisoners hadn't been talking, so Dalek Rizon had suggested they accelerate their plans. Thus, one of those prisoners was being escorted to this chamber. Upon arrival under guard of two Mandalorians in Stormtrooper armour, the two roughly threw the most talkative of the prisoners into the chamber chair and strapped him in. Even under perilous circumstances though, the prisoner still wasn't going to be quiet. "You failed to get answers so you go for more persuasive efforts? Is that it Thalos?" the prisoner shouts from the now closed chamber. "It won't work!" "Activate the conversion," Dalek Zane commands. The technicians press buttons on their control panels, bringing up readings and controlling processes. Every few minutes, one of the technicians gives a status report. Thalos hopes that this is a success. His technicians had to be familiar with the process through the simulated testing that working with a live subject should get the results they needed. "Thirty percent, everything seems normal." As Thalos watches, he can't help but feel that maybe this is a bit too much to take on. Hardly anyone had ever done this before, and though the people of Cyrillia had been converted, those people still had their thoughts and feelings. The Daleks were tampering with minds to fit their own blueprint before conversion. "Fifty percent and..." Thalos panicked at that halt. He knew something had gone wrong. He didn't know how many chances he had left, but from what he had picked up from Skirata, he knew that he should consider himself lucky. When he'd had enough of waiting, Thalos orders "Tell me what happened." The technician jumps at the words, but faces Thalos formally, and with a formal tone says "Ah, sorry, sir. The mind control couldn't be fully read until it had finished, and now that it has it appears to have failed. The subject still has control of his thoughts." "So Dalek conversion is not yet ready," Thalos surmises. "Maybe tweaking-" "Sir! Unauthorised vehicle lift off!" Thalos whips his head around at the security officers who had reported. "Check the prisoners!" Just a few seconds before "They've somehow escaped, sir." Now Thalos really was panicking. The situation, already bad, was now getting worse. He needed some bit of good fortune. He knew why the prisoners were around, but now that they were out, word could get out. And the word was that he was taking prisoners and subjecting them to conversion. No, that last bit couldn't be known. "Sir, it appears the two remaining prisoners have gone separate ways. One did go to the vehicle bay. The other one..." "Speak!" "Had- Has been watching and recording the entire events here." "How?" Thalos was surprised they had somehow got past the security here. A blaster shot rings out, almost hitting Thalos but instead frying the computers connected to the conversion chamber. And then Thalos understood. The prisoner was in disguise as a security guard.
Skirata could laugh at the poor security this Thalos had if he currently wasn't in the situation. His armour would protect against blaster fire, but it wasn't that kind of fire he was interested in. It was going the same way as LeRane. The disguised prisoner quickly ducked away and down the corridor, with the Mandalorians who had acted as a guard giving chase. "Orders!" Skirata barks, turning to face Thalos. Thalos looked lost. Eventually he says "We need the might of Mandalorians in full armour. We need some theatrics." Smiling in his helmet, Skirata calls into the comm circuit for his men. "One squad, suit up with jetpacks. We'll be making a scene of this. No shooting, just putting some fear into common folk." He gets an affirmative back, so tunes into the general circuit to hear the chase is still on. While listening, he looks back to the others. The machinery of the conversion chamber only suffered little damage, so had been left for the technicians to clean up. "And now," Thalos announces. "We lead the charge." "It might be best for you to stay here," Skirata informs. "After all, it will look bad to see you fronting the counterattack." "Yes... Of course." "Also," Skirata adds, turning to the Daleks, "no turning up and blasting everyone in sight. If this is to work, there still needs to be some mystery surrounding what you actually are." "You do not give us orders," Dalek Zane informs. "You have yet failed us, so we will respect your judgement." "Thank you." "Hold up," Thalos interrupts. "Repeat," he then calls into his wrist communicator. "It appears the prisoner who stole the transport has already received the recording from the other one still inside," the voice says. "The recording is being shown off." Skirata looks at the wrist comm, thinking. Whoever these people were, they worked fast. Rather than try and meet up, they had kept one person here in case anything else happened that would make their case better. "What's happening?" Thalos calls into the wrist comm. "It seems... They're gathering." "For what?" Thalos' voice sounds nervous. "If anything, I'd say they were heading your way." "Can't you stall them?" "You placed me here undercover. I can't break that now. They've got speeders ready. You can stop them in the desert." "Skirata, go," Thalos commands in a resigned voice. "Stop this." Skirata walks out without saying anything. This was almost laughable. Thalos wasn't prepared for anything, not even an uprising from his own people. One of his men attaches his jetpack as he walks, and Skirata tells his men to be ready to join him. Patching in to Thalos, Skirata is updated with a rough plan of the journey the people of Anchorhead would take. Anchorhead being the closest town to this base. Through an exit that was built into the side of the canyon, the Mandalorians join forces. Ten in total. Skirata gives the command, and all of them jet up into the sky. Now in the air, the helmet systems were tracking the ground, with a small icon in the top left showing a zoomed in view. That icon beeped as it detected movement of vehicles. As one the Mandalorians dropped, and landed right in the path of the speeders of the crowd. Speeders slowed to a stop, and nervous glances could be seen between drivers and passengers. "What are you doing here, Mando?" one of them called. "I think the term you should be using is respected leader," Skirata answers, using his helmet's voice projection. "Thalos is our leader, puppet," another rioter shouts. "That's what you think. I overruled him. He answers to me now, and is helping with a project of mine." "The death traps?" an inquisitive voice asks, and Skirata was glad to hear some fearful breaths among the crowd. "Yes." Using the bit of knowledge he did have about what happened here, he adds "The first one did go wrong, and I'm not going to compensate the damage. Thalos was quick to respond and brought it back to the base so faults could be corrected. Those faults have been corrected, and if you don't head back now they might get unleashed upon Anchorhead again." This gave them pause, and after a while they turned back around. The fight gone out of them. "That's it. Move on back," someone said. It sounded familiar.
"Everyone back to town. Nothing to see here." The person instructing everyone was wearing armour, though was not a Mandalorian. It was made of a thinner material, with metal patches covering major parts of the body. The helmet was roughly the same as that of a Mandalorian, but instead of a T-visor, had a more circular visor that covered the eyes with a gold rim. The helmet and metal plates were red, with the rest being a dark blue. With everyone else gone, she stayed. "And aren't you meant to be gone as well?" Skirata calls. Instead, the figure walks toward him. "Has either Thalos or Dalek Command heard anything from outside the planet?" the figure asks. Skirata is confused at this. This person shouldn't know what Daleks were. "I'm the scout that reported in," the figure announces. "The one who allowed you to find the group so easily." "Ah," Skirata says. "I am grateful for your help. I assume you might have some news when we get back to base. "Yes," the figure says. "I do." The transport that had been in wait as backup pulls up, allowing the figure and Skirata access. The scout knew the leader was called Skirata, though had no idea of the significance of that name. Throughout the journey, the scout thought of the name that had been flashed around in one of the cantinas of Anchorhead. It was possible the information was of use, especially as the scout had heard mention of the name within the communications from the factory and palace.
The group had moved from the factory back to the palace. Skirata had ordered his men to stay at the factory, where they would be better placed for any more uprisings. The transport pulls into the palace, and within minutes the scout and Skirata are called into one of the meeting rooms. The Daleks and Thalos are waiting. "Thank you for your report," Thalos says to the scout. "It helped us greatly avoid any unnecessary damage." "Not at all. There are reports from outside the planet I think Dalek Command would be interested to know about." "Report," Dalek Zane speaks. "There has been a bounty on someone called DarkRula for some time now. What's interesting is that this bounty has been increased and another man has been added to it." A holographic image is displayed in the middle of the table. Skirata could clearly see the likeness of DarkRula. The only thorn that had risen to the Daleks. And the Neimoidians, it seemed. The new man... This was possibly The Doctor. The report from LeRane had said he had fallen into DarkRula's hands. They had obviously done something to anger the Neimoidians, which was certainly interesting. Skirata knew the Daleks had killed Kronis, so that particular rift had opened further. When Skirata finally managed to catch up with DarkRula, there were many things he would like to sort out. "It's for capture, I see," Thalos comments. "Capture plays to our advantage," Dalek Zane says. "The Daleks want The Doctor captured. DarkRula will be an extra." "So we need to know where they are," Skirata says. "But how do we do that?" "If The Doctor is using his TARDIS, we will find him." "I will send numerous scouts to find them," Thalos announces. "They will have to show themselves at some point." "If they can track the signature of a Federation cruiser called The Ark, that is where they will be," Skirata informs. "We will convene again once a scout finds anything." With that, this meeting is called to a close.
Days without word from any of the scouts wasn't much concern. It was a big galaxy, and if DarkRula wanted to stay hidden, Skirata knew he could do so. As such, with nothing to do, he was left wondering the palace. Within the shadows, he was currently listening in to a conversation Thalos was having with one of his scouts. It was interesting. Something to do with family ties and remembering who the scout truly supported. If this scout really was related to the family, Skirata found himself wondering how Thalos was in command and the scout only a scout. "I can make such choices for myself," the scout says, then storms from the room. A Dalek immediately corners the scout. Skirata makes sure all systems were offline within his amour, and tries to move deeper into the shadows. "Once you have The Doctor," the scout says in a controlled voice, "will you leave here? Leave us alone?" "You will play a part in luring The Doctor here," the Dalek informs. "Once we have him, we will leave. I am about to inform Thalos of this." The scout says nothing more and leaves. The Dalek enters the room the scout had just left. The scout might have bought that, but Skirata knew it was nothing but words. He himself wanted a word with this scout, so quickly set about finding where the scout had gone. In one of the meeting rooms, Skirata was surprised to see the faceplate retracted. Before he could get a good look at the features inside, it had formed back into place. "What are you wanting?" the scout asks. "I am here to see you," Skirata carefully says. "The Daleks are not to be trusted." "And how would you know that?" "If you ever find yourself cornered by one, aim for the eye stalk. That will put it out of action." "But... How would you know that?" "Some of my men were killed by these Daleks. They put up a fight, and made sure to report that weakness back to me. And the only thing these men did wrong was being in league with the Daleks." "Why not run then? Leave them here?" "I don't think you know what the name Skirata represents, do you? I am the leader of all fighting clans of Mandalore. If I do something against the wishes of the Daleks, it's the whole planet on the line. One false move, and you could find your entire planet wiped out." Skirata left the scout pondering that information. He certainly didn't want to say any more about it.