R0-N1 moved to the edge of the gaggle of the Ryndellian prisoners and projected a hologram of The Conviction. He scanned rapidly through the ship’s layout searching for an escape as the rest of the Ryndellians sorted themselves out.
Helping Brel off the floor, Auntie asked, “Are we absolutely sure this droid is trying to rescue us?”
Taking in their freshly-constructed confinement, Zhanna sighed heavily. “I’m beginning to have my doubts.” She watched the images R0-N1 was projecting flash by. “I get the feeling he’s making this up as he goes along.”
R0-N1 found what he was looking for, and froze the schematic, tracing a jagged red line from their current location to the hangar. Zhanna and a couple others squinted at it, trying to interpret its meaning, when he abruptly turned off the projection, turned around and moved to a blank space on the wall.
Zhanna scowled. “I was looking at that,” she muttered.
R0-N1 didn’t bother trying to vocalize what he wanted this time. He extended his front-most column and tapped the wall on a spot about one and a half meters up, then tilted the other way and tapped a spot just off the floor. He repeated this until Zhanna got the hint and examined the wall in front of him.
“Is there something there?” asked Wurlo.
“Yes, a kind of slight depression? I think there’s something…” She picked at a spot in the wall. There was not only an indentation there, but up close she could see the outline of a circle with a bar across it. She poked and prodded at it, and eventually tried pressing the center of the bar. It sank in, and then popped back out, revealing a handle. “Found it.” Gesturing for R0-N1 to back up, she said, “Give me some room,” then performed the same action on a similar depression at the bottom of the wall.
Both handles exposed, Zhanna tried pulling on them, but nothing happened. “Wurlo, can you give me a hand here? I think this is stuck. It must be some kind of maintenance access.”
Wurlo, who had been watching Zhanna’s efforts, turned away from the group and put a hand on the side of his stormtrooper helmet. With the other he signaled for quiet as he otherwise stood frozen. After what seemed like an eternity, he looked up. “I think we’re in trouble.”
Zhanna stood up straight and shot him a look. “Yeah, we already knew that, but thanks.”
“No, I mean…I just got a ship wide alert. There’s been a hull breach, and Inquisitor Morek is on her way to the detention block. Troopers in the vicinity have been ordered to assist her, and they are on the lookout for ‘the prisoners from Ryndellia and an astromech droid suspected to be collaborating with them.’”
As one, they turned to look at R0-N1. He chirped, I told you.
“Well then, let’s get out of here before they find us,” said Zhanna. “Wurlo? A little help?”
As Wurlo moved in to assist, a dull thud followed by the sound of heavy doors opening could be heard from somewhere down the sealed off corridor. He and Zhanna looked at each other, worry on Zhanna’s face. They pulled on the handles. Nothing happened.
R0-N1 let out a whistle. He then raised all his columns and spun then in one complete revolution before lowering them again. He repeated this two more times, then waved a single column in the direction of the handles.
“Yeah, we know, droid. We’re working on it. We don’t need a cheerleader,” snapped Zhanna.
Brel, having worked his way to the front of the group, said, “I think he wants you to turn them.”
Zhanna gave Brel the briefest of glances, then she and Wurlo did as he suggested. The door unsealed with a hiss that barely masked the string of annoyed curses that streamed from her lips. As the door opened fully, the sound of blast doors could again be heard, closer this time. She stood back and waved for R0-N1 to enter first. “I hope you know where you’re going, droid,” she said.
R0-N1 whistled in the affirmative as he came forward. He paused at the entrance, and raised each foot one by one to get over the threshold. He went in about fifty meters, far enough in that the rest of the group could enter behind him and get the door closed.
Wurlo was the last one in, and sealed the door behind him. Just after he did so, there was another thud and the grinding sound of blast doors closing, followed shortly by the sound of another set opening again. From inside the maintenance corridor, it sounded like it was right on top of them. Everyone held their breath, not moving.
R0-N1 extended an arm with a small disc on it and pressed it against the wall, listening for any signs of pursuit. From his position, he would be somewhere past where the hull breach had happened. He could hear someone in the corridor, but whoever it was, they were speaking too quietly to make out. Whatever it was, it didn’t sound like an urgent conversation, or at least not one by someone engaged in hot pursuit. That didn’t explain what was going on with the blast doors, but at least those were definitely behind them. That meant they might have a chance. He started down the maintenance shaft, leading at a slow pace to be sure everyone could keep up without making too much noise. As they made their way towards the hangar, R0-N1 reached out to his MSE droid counterparts again, requesting their assistance one last time.