Ecnerwal turned a corner as he headed for the Ground Forces Conference room when suddenly Castin came barreling into him "Hey what's the big hurry?"
"You know that know that SPECIAL cargo we're carrying. Well.......lets just say it's going for a walk." Castin said slightly out of breath.
"Wait, you mean......it's out. Hope's not going to like this one. He's in the conference room now with Das and some new recruits. I was on my way there now. Keep me informed." Ecnerwal said as he started out at a faster pace than before.
"I have no problem with Ground Forces having a ship of it's own. In fact, I wish I could just give you one right now but that's not the case. Before, however, I am even able to grant you your ship, we'll need to run some minor inspections on the current base. I'm sure there won't be any problems there......just a standerd procedure." Das explained as he turned to Wes.
"It's just to make sure you're able to upkeep the current base since a ship will be 10 times harder to work with. In fact we'd like to get the inspection out of the way now if you have the time?" Wes asked.
"Sure no problem, everything should be in fine order..." Hope said as he was interrupted by Ecnerwal bursting into the room.
"Hope, excuse me Admirals" Ecnerwal saluted the two "May I have a word with you privately?"
Seinar cut in "Hope, I'm going to take these new recruits and get them settled in. I just wanted to make sure they could meet the Admiral's while we had the chance".
"Sure go ahead" Hope saluted the bunch. There was a number of newer people; Gear, his brother Altron, and Steel who were all recruited from the same planet. Ace was also new, and then there was Pixel from Black Thranta Squadron whom Hope already knew since they shared the same Squad. Wildcard was another new face but was already experienced comming from the fleet. "Ecnerwal you can share whatever you have here, I'm sure the Admirals won't mind".
"Uhhhhhh Hope....I'm not so sure that's such a good idea" Ecnerwal said as he shifted in place.
Seinar laughed as the new recruits filed out "Maybe I should stick around for this. Sounds interesting".
"You may speak freely. I have to escort the Admirals through the base so we don't have much time." Hope replied.
"Well, then uh, you know that sovienger we picked up when we were back on your planet. It's been misplaced....." Ecnerwal said.
Hope's face dropped "You misplaced a infant rancoooooo coat?" Noticing the Admirals were still in the room "Infantry raincoats have been misplaced? I ah....get down there and take care of it. I'll catch up with you as soon as possible."
"A problem Commander?" Wes asked.
"Ah no, no problem at all." Hope replied.
Vixen and Krakaboo ran around the corner following shortly behind the baby rancor. Actually it was more about following the trail of destruction. The baby was in distress or just being plain rowdy and was breaking lights and knocking things over all over the place.
"I didn't think these things were so fast. And what in the name of the sith did you do to it?" Vixen commented.
"I didn't do anything. I was just feeding him and what not and we started playing when.....bam!" Krakaboo said as he ran next to Vixen.
"Bam? You mean it actually attacked you? I thought it had been nothing but gentle to us." Vixen said while jumping over a crippled guard droid.
"No no no. The comlink in my pocket went off. It's one of those older ones and you know that annoying noise they make. Well let's just say that our baby here didn't like it" Krakaboo replied.
Ecnerwal ran down to the arena that had been the temporary home for the rancor. His worse fears were confirmed when he got down there. The door to the arena was dislodged from it's track. There were things broken all around the coridoor leading away from the arena.
He pulled out his comlink "Control, get cleaning droids down here and I mean now!" He then switched frequency's "Seinar, I need you to drop what your doing and get to the arena fast. We've got a loose rancor and two Admirals roaming the building. What...busy....bring them along......they can help!"
"First on the tour, let's head up to the surface or perhaps outside sublevels. It's always best to get the BIG picture first." Hope said hoping to distract the Admirals and give time for the situation to be resolved. He just hoped it wasn't that bad. No big deal, a rancor escapes, it's tame, how much damage could it do.
"We'd prefer to get right down to it. We only need to see a handful of areas to tell you the truth. We'll start off with the troop quarters and barracks" Wes said.
"Sure, quarters sound good to me!" Hope said "Right this way".
Krakaboo and Vixen skidded to a hault. Before them; bunks, tables and desks were overturned.
"That's so cute. He has a blanket over his head. I think it wants to play!" Vixen exclaimed.
"I'll go get him" Krakaboo said as he picked up some loose sheets and tied them together. "Watch and learn as I lasso him just like in those Sandierium Holo Vids!"
Krakaboo tossed the makeshift lasso around the rancors neck. Either thinking it was a game or just not liking Krakaboo, the small beast roared and ran off dragging Krakaboo shortly behind.
Feeling a twinge in the force, Ecnerwal paused for a moment. Then out of nowhere, he was pushed aside as the rancor came barreling around the courner, as he watch it pass him, he was then triped and fell on top of Krakaboo who was hanging on for......either dear life, or just because Krakaboo likes crazy rides.
They passed right behind a perpendicular coridoor that Das, Wes and Hope were in. Krakaboo was yelling the whole way.
"What was that?" Das asked as he turned to see the what had made the noise.
"Ah nothing sir, probably just the troops excited about thier training." Hope said looking slightly nervous.
They group walked on towards the the room Vixen was still in. Several of the lights were damaged. Both Das and Wes looked at them strangely.
"What is wrong with the lights?" Wes mentioned.
"I believe they are having trouble with the wiring down here. We're so low, it must be really old." Hope suggested.
"Actually we are a few hundred levels from the ACTUAL surface, everything here is fairly new within the last 50 years or so. They really shouldn't be having any problems." Wes replied.
The group entered the room where Vixen was still standing.
"What the devil.........." Das blurted out as he saw the condition of the room.
Hope coughed "Ah yes Vixen, the Admirals are here for an INSPECTION. I see you've been practicing your force throw and levitation skills."
"Hope you know I can't" she tried to say before being cut off.
"help but make a mess YES I know. That's no problem but you know we should be using the battle arenas for this kinda thing." Hope injected before she could finish. "I apologize for the mess. Perhaps we should move on."
The rancor was wildly, bobbing and weaving through various coridoors when Ecnerwal reached out and grabbed ahold of a corner as they were swung around it. He managed to yank Krakaboo and himself from the wild ride.
As they both let out a breath of relief, Krakaboo laughed and said "Well we don't get to do that every day."
They looked up in time to see the rancor charge a closing life door. The door shut before the rancor was able to reach it, it's head hit the doors with a loud thud. The rancor shook it's head for a bit and then continued to ram the door until it punched through it. The door fell countless levels down into darkness. The rancor then looked up and jumped into the lift shaft and began to climb.
"Did you know they could climb like that?" Ecnerwal asked.
"No, did you know thier heads were so rock solid?" Krakaboo countered.
"Did you know there are two Admirals doing an inspection right now of the facility on which our future flagship depends?" Ecnerwal asked.
"Did you know the average Calamari brain weighs eight and a half pounds?" Krakaboo smiled and asked.
Ecnerwal felt the presence of Hope comming thier way. "Great, no more time for questions. Hope and the Admirals are comming this way. I'd rather not be the one to explain what happened here." The two walked to the lift shaft and looked up. The rancor was already well ahead of them. "See that emergency ladder?" Ecnerwal asked.
"I thought you said no more questions......." Krakaboo laughed.
"Well how about this then, grab on and start climbing" he said as pushed Krakaboo into the shaft and jump for the ladder himself just as Hope turned the courner. "Sorry about this one Hope" Ecnerwal chuckled to himself.
Hope was the first to turn the courner. His jab dropped when he saw the mess. A bunch of ripped sheets tied together lay strewn across the ground. Even worse a lift door was missing at the end of the trail of destruction. Hope thought quickly. Too late. Das and Wes came around the bend. Hope was left studdering lame excuses that he hoped would be enough to curb the Admirals harsh thoughts on the condition of the base so far. Looking into thier minds he knew the tour wasn't going as good as he'd have liked.
"This way men! Try to keep up!" Seinar shouted. He ran in front of the group of new recruits. They had grabed what little they could find in the nearest equipment lockers to hunt down and contain the rancor. Half of the group had never even heard or seen a rancor. Ace was wearing large decontamination boots and gloves, in his hands was a length of zip line. Steel and Altron both had on full scale body armor vests. They both carried three foot nets that were fasten to the end of a five foot poles, used to catch small pests and creatures used in recon and info gathering missions for the Department of Natural/Senthetic Resources. Gear had on a huge welding mask. He also wore a pair of bio-safe gloves which must have been three sizes too big. He carried a large capture net with Pixel who was wearing a blast helmet and a pair of elbow and knee guards. Wildcard had armed himself with the very rare, glob gun. He had heard they were used in crowd control and had never used one before but he had seen vids of them spraying goo on large mobs during riots to slow them down and stick them in place.
"Follow me everyone and stay ready. We just want to contain this thing and get it back to the secondary arena. Ecnerwal just spoke to me on the comlink and said it was headed up a lift shaft. We should be able to cut it off soon. We have to do what we can to stop it from reaching the Mess Hall or the Main Arena. I'm pretty sure the Admirals will be needing to see both of those places." Seinar said.
The group got to the nearest lift shaft and saw that the door was pushed outward, meaning the creature had come through it. He looked down the hall and saw the entrance to the Staff's Kitchen. Seinar rolled his eyes and yelled "Charge!".
They group noisly entered the kitchen and found it in shambles. The rancor was raiding everything from the freezers to the storage bins. Food was everywhere. They stood in awe as they watched the baby drink from a broken pipe where water poured out all over the floor and into the baby's mouth.
"THAT'S A RANCOR!!!!" Altron exclaimed.
"THAT'S A BABY?!?!?!?!" Steel exclaimed in disbelief.
"Yes, now let's capture that thing!" Wildcard yelled. "This should slow him down." He turned few knobs and pressed a few buttons and a orange goo poured out of the nozzel of the gun he held. It wasn't a confined beam, but instead was spraying everywhere and out of control. Some of it hit the rancor but most of it hit the ceilings and people around him. He aimed at the floor trying to find a way to turn it off when he slipped and fell. Ace was hit in the chest with the goo and he was stuck in place against a nearby preperation table.
Gear and Pixel threw the capture net over the rancor. This, along with the orange goo made the net stick to the beast and annoy it even more. It swung an arm out that toppled a table. Steel and Seinar were knocked to the ground as it hit the both of them. Altron slid around the back of the monster and droped his net over the rancors head. With a net and a half on him the rancor shook wildly. Altron was thrown aside and landed in a broken sink where his body was drenched within seconds. Then, in came a chef droid.
It took one look at the mess and clasped it's hands to it's metallic cheeks "Oh dear or dear. My kitchen!".
Without much more, the rancor charged out the door it had came in, knocking the droid to the ground where its arm snapped off. Seinar listened as it roared from the outside of the coridoor. "This is sooooo not good. Steel, you and Altron try to get Ace and Wildcard un-gooed or something. And clean this mess up. Make it fast! Pixel and Gear, come with me".
Seinar ran out the door followed by Pixel and Gear where he ran straight into Castin.
"This doesn't seem to be your day Sir." Castin remarked.
"That's an understatment! Call over the comm and have security droids set out to cut that thing off at all possible stations. Make sure they set for lowest stun setting, it is not to be harmed. You head for the command level. Keep that thing from getting to the main control area. That's the last thing we'd need." Seinar said as he took off down the hall in pursuit of the rancor.
Hope had convinced the Admirals to take a slight detour since the regular turbo lifts were out of order for general repairs. So they had walked a ways down to a different one. The next stop was going to be the kitchen. Hope tried to reach out with the force to see if anyone was in the kitchen, not to say they could have already been there. He felt the pressence of a number of people. One he was sure was Wildcard. They seemed in panic.
"Why don't we just head to the control center first? Then we can perhaps head down to the Mess Hall afterwards and grab some Caf before we see the main battle arena. We have a number of great holo vids of successful training sessions there as well. Might as well enjoy them after grabbing a nice cub of warm Caf wouldn't you agree?".
"Actually that does sound like a good idea. Always thinking Hope" Das remarked.
"Thank you sir" Hope replied.
They arrived at the command level and went straight for the main control center. A number of ancient battle droids ran by.
Wes watched them run by "Are they on some sort of drill?".
"Drill? Uhhh why yes. We know they aren't the most effective but we like to keep them as well trained as our living/breathing soldiers" Hope said as he smiled to himself for having come up with such a clever anwser.
They reached the main control room and found Castin waiting at the door, blaster already level and ready to fire. "Oh sorry Boss, Admirals." He said as he raised his blaster and stepped aside. "Just standing a little guard duty. Better safe than sorry."
"Very good Castin. Keep up the good work. By the way, have you heard anything on our raincoat situation?" Hope asked hoping he would get the idea. "I've heard it's or they've been misplaced. Is everything under control?".
The Admirals stepped into the control room and began searching through the database, doing some basic searches on maintence and so forth.
"Yes, the problem is being followed up on now. We thought they may have ended up in the kitchen, but apparently they are headed for the Main Arena instead". Castin reported.
"Alright, please get down there right away and see what you can do" Hope said.
Das looked up from a screen that was playing security camera footage. Right as he did so, the netted rancor ran by on the screen. "So far everything seems in order here. Great job on keeping up with things. I do see a number of sections on alert and a few security reports in but not saying what."
"Drills! You've caught us in the act! We had prepared a full base drill today. I didn't want to change anything so you could see our effectiveness in action." Hope replied.
"What exactly is the objective of this drill?" Wes asked curiously.
"I believe today, we are doing a drill on stopping highly sofisticated....errr ahhh morphing droids." Hope said.
"Morphing droids? I've never heard of such a thing." Wes said.
"Exactly, which is why we must prepare against the unthinkable! Now we should head to the Mess Hall to grab the cup of Caf unless you need to see more here?" Hope asked.
"No, everything looks in order here." Das replied as he head out of the control room.
Ecnerwal got a call on his comlink as he waited for Krakaboo to finish the climb up the lift shaft. "Hurry up Krak, we need to get to the Main Arena. Seinar, some new recruits and Castin are on thier way there now as well as our little buddy."
When Krakaboo reached the top of the shaft he jump out and ran after Ecnerwal towards the main battle arena. They arrived to see Seinar and a group of two others wrangling the rancor into a courner. Castin then arrived behind him.
"Bout time you guys got here! This things outta control. We have to calm it down some." Seinar called to them.
"Can we subdue it with the force?" Ecnerwal asked.
"We can try. Too bad Vixen isn't here. She's probably better at it than us." Seinar said.
"I can try to stun it with my blaster" Castin offered.
"You may not want to do that. The security droids did that and it only made him more upset. And we don't know how much the little guy can take either. He seems fine now but I'm not sure what anymore stun will do to him." Seinar said.
Gear offered "We can try to tie him up so at least we can contain him"
"Good thinking, get to the lockers over there and bring some line out. That may work." Seinar directed.
"Teams of two, circle around him in opposite directions" Ecnerwal said as they were brought lines.
Castin and Ecnerwal worked one line, Gear and Pixel worked another. Seinar and Krakaboo were going to try to get a uniform jacket over the rancors eyes to calm him down a bit. Ecnerwal and Castin were to go in high and catch the arms while Gear and Pixel went to the legs. On a count of three they ran at it, at first they tripped themselves up more than anything. The distraction did allow Seinar to jump on the rancors back and pull a jacket over his head. Krakaboo then tackled it from the front with another jacket. They held on to each others arms while the beast twisted and turned crazily. Ecnerwal and Castin had finally wrapped up enough of the legs so the beast went down. The arms were also sufficienty wrapped. Seinar jumped away as the rancor fell backwards. Krakaboo forgot to let go and was tied to the rancor with Gear and Pixel's line.
"Get me outta here!!!!!" Krakaboo cried.
Vixen then burst onto the scene. She looked at the group and just fell to her knees laughing. "I wish I had a halo vid recorder with me because this would easily earn me the 10,000 credit first prize for Coruscant's Funniest Halo Vids!"
The five Ground Troopers, minus Krakaboo who was tied up were all laying on top of the rancor trying to hold it still so it didn't roll and crush Krakaboo.
"Can you hurry up and calm this thing down? Ecnerwal and I will do what we can but this is your department. And make it fast!" Seinar yelled over the deafening roar of the rancor.
Krakaboo yelled again. Vixen ran over and placed a hand on the covered beasts face. She closed her eyes and concentrated. She felt how scared the baby rancor was and tried to fill it with calmness and sleepiness. Eventually the rancor stopped trying to break free and let out a huge sigh.
"I'm sorry Wildcard, but your kitchen duties are suspended for a month!" Hope said trying to sound angry while he secretly winked to his friend. "I'm truely sorry about this. Sometimes our conpatriots wish to tackle new challenges" Hope said as he looked innocently at Das and Wes.
"Is that a glob gun?" Wes asked as he looked at Altron and Steel, after seeing Wildcard pinned to the floor and Ace likewise stuck to a table.
"Ah yes sir it is. Wildcard replied. "I thought it may be quicker to frost the cake this way but I guess it didn't take too well" he said as he continued to struggle to get out.
The two Admirals and Hope grabbed a cup of caf and went towards the main battle arena.
Pixel and Gear ran off to find something to transport the creature back to it's original arena. Repair droids had reported fixing the doors to the original arena. The two returned with a hover lifter. Vixen was careful to keep her concentration and hand on the rancor so it would continue to sleep. Ecnerwal and the others pushed and finally worked the rancor onto the forks of the lifter. Pixel raised it off the ground and Vixen road on top to keep it in it's trance.
"Everyone toss your uniforms on top so you can't tell what we're moving. I don't want us to run into the inspection team." Seinar said.
"Good thinking" Ecnerwal said as he took off his unifrom jacket and put it on top of the rancor.
They headed out, the lifter hauling a hidden rancor under a bunch of Ground Force uniform jackets. Walking down the hall Hope saw the lifter and the group carrying something out of the arena. "I see you found the raincoats!" Hope beamed at how nicely everything had worked out.
"Hhhhemmyy Hoopmhhe! Donnn't worry, I've got everythemmm under contrroll" Krakaboo's muffled voice came from beneath the coats.
Wes gawked akwardly at the load the lifter had "Did that pile of raincoats just say something?".
"I didn't hear anything. Did you?" Hope asked with a, what are you talking about look on his face.
With that, the Admirals had a quick look around and were taken in the back to see some of the footage of training sims and so forth. They both seemed very pleased with the progress. At the same time, the baby rancor was on its way back to it's home.
"I'm glad we finally have this taken care of." Krakaboo said as he stretched his arms and legs, finally released from being tied to the rancor.
Vixen watched as the rancor slept soundly in the small next like bed they had made for it in the courner "He had a busy day. I think we need to walk him more".
Krakaboo pulled out his ancient comlink. "I'll take care of this once and for all." He dropped it on the ground and dropped his boot on it and smeared it into the ground. "There, problem solved."
"Krakaboo. What if you need to get a message? Now your going to have find a new one." Vixen exclaimed, knowing that the rest of the day would be that much more difficult to get by without a comlink.
Krakaboo chuckled "I'll just take the day off or something". Then from under his boot, that awful sound somehow emmited from the broken comlink. The rancor in the corner shifted.
"Oh no....not again" Vixen said while rolling her eyes.
"Why that son of a....." Krakaboo said while repeatedly stomping down on the comlink. The sound continued and the rancor rose and let out an awful roar.
"Here we go again....." Vixen said.
Ecnerwal and Seinar had joined Hope back in the briefing room with the Admirals. "You have done a fine job with this place. There are a few things we're really not sure what to make of but we took into consideration your drills. The logs show no problems like most of the ones we saw today. Great job though. You shall have your ship. I know the division doesn't always have the credits to keep up on everything but we all have to make do. Which is why you shall have this." Das said. Wes passed him a data pad.
Hope read it briefly and gave it to Seinar and Ecnerwal to read over. "It's better than nothing. Thank you sir. We'll have some extra credits when we get rid of this place though. We'll work on getting that ship up and ready right away."
"We have to get going. Thank you for the very interesting tour" Das said as he smiled.
The three GF officers saluted as they left.
"A Calamari Cruiser! Great!" Ecnerwal rejoiced.
"Continue reading.....this is not going to be easy to get" Seinar said as he stared gravely at the datapad.