Conviction: Chapter 8

Star Wars: Conviction

Back on The Conviction, the shuttles were directed to the far end of the hangar deck. As the last one on board, R0-N1 was also one of the first to disembark, just behind Stretch. He spotted Inquisitor Morek halfway down the hangar, and began to make his way towards her. As he passed Stretch, the clone called out to him. “Hey, where do you think you’re going? Come back here.”

R0-N1 stopped and turned around. He chirped a question, Shouldn’t I be with Inquisitor Morek? Did she get what she wanted?

Stretch looked down at him, his expression unreadable behind his helmet. “Yeah, I don’t know what you just said, but you need to go back to maintenance. Cutter’s going to want to take a look at that gash the Inquisitor gave you, and I think we would all like your vocalizer functional again.” He stopped a stormtrooper going past. “You. Escort this droid to maintenance. Make sure he doesn’t wander off.”

I don’t need a babysitter, thought R0-N1, annoyed. Still, he let the trooper guide him back to maintenance. He could catch up with Inquisitor Morek afterwards, and maybe in the meantime he could plug into the data port he had spotted earlier.

When they got to maintenance, R0-N1’s escort called out, “Brought you your droid back,” then turned to leave.

Cutter looked up from the pile of parts he had been rummaging through. “Droid? Oh, Roni.” He stood up and approached the astromech. Spotting the fresh hole in R0-N1’s exterior, he shouted into the corridor. “Hey, what happened? Someone take a shot at him?”

The stormtrooper returned and stood just outside the room. “That was the Inquisitor. She removed his restraining bolt.” For emphasis, he pantomimed waving a lightsaber, making a “VWAAM” sound.

Cutter’s eyes widened, and he looked back at R0-N1 in alarm. “Why would she do that? Does she not have any idea what an astromech can do if they put their mind to it?”

“Hey, all I know is she wanted to get into Alqassar, and that seemed to do the trick.” He paused. “You want me to get her, so you can express your concerns?”

Cutter grimaced. “Very funny. I’ll just have to replace it I guess.” He turned his back on the stormtrooper and crossed to a storage cabinet, where he pulled open a series of drawers looking for a fresh restraining bolt. Waving behind him at R0-N1, he said to the trooper, “Make sure he doesn’t take off, will you?”

The stormtrooper sighed and moved into position, blocking the exit.

R0-N1 watched all this with trepidation. Having just gotten his bearings more or less back, he wasn’t keen on the idea of living in a fog again. Quickly running through several scenarios, he watched Cutter’s movements and settled on a course of action most likely to lead to him retaining his freedom of mind.

Cutter finally found what he was looking for and turned back to R0-N1, who hadn’t moved since he first arrived. He bent over to attach the restraining bolt to him, but just before the bolt made contact with his outer shell, R0-N1 opened a door in one of his columns, extended a short metal rod and blasted Cutter with a shock of several hundred volts. Cutter yelped in pain, but R0-N1 wasn’t done. Next, he tilted his body backwards, and from his central column spat out micro-stun grenades until the chamber was empty. The grenades bounced on the floor, then detonated at Cutter and the trooper’s feet. Cutter immediately went down in a heap, but the trooper managed to stay up for just a moment before toppling to the floor as well.

R0-N1 returned to his normal upright position and waited for everything to settle down. He cranked his auditory sensors up to maximum, to make sure no one outside was coming. He let a solid two minutes pass before he was satisfied that everything was clear.

Next, R0-N1 turned to make use of the maintenance room’s data socket. However, the stunned stormtrooper had fallen directly in front of it. R0-N1 first tried to press up against him and stretch his probe to the wall, but it was no good. He was several centimeters short of reaching it. Backing up, he considered what to do. The fastest thing would be to cut off the trooper’s legs at the knees, then he could easily shove them aside. However, there was non-zero chance of arterial blood spraying into the data socket and shorting it out. Plus, there might be screaming.

Opting for a less drastic approach, R0-N1 shot out a cable and grabbed one of the trooper’s boots. Retracting the cable and moving backwards, he pulled on the trooper’s legs until he was lying spread-eagle on the floor. There still wasn’t enough room for R0-N1 to maneuver around him, so he lined himself up, extended his booster rockets and gave them a pulse. He hopped over the extended leg and maneuvered himself between the trooper’s thighs.

Finally working his way to data socket, R0-N1 plugged in and scoured the network looking for information. It took a while to navigate to systems with the information he needed, but eventually he pieced everything together. Order 66, the end of the Republic, the birth of the Empire, phasing out of the clones program, everything. He dug deeper, slicing past security protocols, and learned more about Inquisitor Morek. She was also known as “The Step-sister,” and some months back had an encounter with a Darth Vader that seemed to be related to her missing arm. There was no specific record of what she was doing here, but the purpose of the Order of Inquisitors was clear. They were hunting down and exterminating the last of the Jedi.

Based on all of this, R0-N1 could only come to one conclusion. I’m in danger.

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