R0-N1 let out a pinched scream and scooted back against the wall. His outer casing now sported a fresh gash where the lightsaber had cut through not just the restraining bolt, but into him as well. Still processing his newly sorted memories, he thought Clones…lightsaber…Jedi…no, not Jedi? Knowing his history only left him with more questions, and no immediate way to answer them.
“I don’t think he likes your lightsaber,” remarked Stretch. R0-N1 now recognized both his voice and armor as belonging to a clone.
The Inquisitor ignored him, though she did lower the blade. Speaking to R0-N1, she said, “Does that make you happy, droid? Now open this hatch so we can get on with it.” She switched off the lightsaber and stashed it under her cloak. The prosthesis snagged on some loose thread, and she yanked it free with her other hand.
R0-N1 turned around and plugged back into the port. Now that he had full access to his memories, he had no problem bypassing security. He unlocked the hatch, and it whooshed partway open before grinding to a halt, leaving a gap of only a few centimeters. The motor could be heard whining as it struggled to push the hatch the rest of the way open.
Stretch signaled to a pair of troopers behind him. “All right, men. The mechanism must be corroded. Let’s see if we can’t get it open the rest of the way.” The three of them arranged themselves around the door, and after several minutes of effort, were able to get it opened wide enough for someone to step through before it got stuck again.
“I’m afraid that’s all the further we can get it, Inquisitor,” said one of the men. R0-N1 noted that his voice was definitely not a clone, although he supposed it could be a new model.
Inquisitor Morek nodded. “It will have to do. What about the inner door?”
Stretch entered the airlock, and returned after just a few moments. “There doesn’t appear to be any additional security inside, and the inner door has been protected from the atmosphere, so it should open easily enough. Only one door can be open at a time, though. They built it like an airlock. We’ll have to enter in shifts, with some of us staying with the droid to handle the outer hatch.”
The Inquisitor nodded. “Fine, let’s go.”
With everyone organized into a queue, R0-N1 coordinated with a person on the inside to open and close the outer hatch as necessary. Everyone was forced to enter single file, and for every group it took several minutes to wrestle the door both open and closed. By the time the last group had gotten inside, more than half an hour had passed.
Finally, R0-N1 and the last few troopers were able to enter the pseudo-airlock. Stretch said, “Gentlemen, welcome to Alqassar,” and punched the door release. It slid open with a whoosh, and revealed a city enveloped in chaos.