2 ABY – 09 Golf – 8 Benduday (Ambria) The crew of the Porgatu takes stock of their situation in the strangely dusty hangar bay of Dugan’s Hand. They blast several control junctions for the bay’s hydraulics so the deranged AI has no chance of summoning “the kraken” against them again. Cheebs finds an intact head from one of the cobbled together combat droids they destroyed, and C4-BL3 duly hacks into it. The droid was clearly intended for nothing but target elimination but was remotely controlled instead of autonomous. Meanwhile, Cheebs & Kantarra examine a large number of modern-looking containers in the bay, some of which clearly belonged to one of the damaged freighters encountered while leaving The Back Room. They claim 6 of them, all holding various freight items, and secure them in the Porgatu’s hold. Examining the hangar bay’s door control system, they find no local control for it – the only way to open it is from the bridge.
Leaving R3-M3 onboard the Porgatu as usual, the others make a plan to take the forward turbolift, move through the crew quarters to the stack of decks with religious-sounding names (where Cheebs senses a Force presence), and then on to the bridge. C4-BL3 has no trouble activating the turbolift. After checking in on the forward storerooms and finding them full of perishable (and very perished!) food supplies for organic life forms, they make their way through the crew quarters. These are predictably abandoned, and they appear to have been depressurized – there’s no trace of whatever organic crew the ship once had. Sensing movement on the ceiling of an intersecting passageway, Cheebs stuns a small maintenance droid with the ion blaster he’s carrying. C4-BL3 duly hacks its brain, downloads its access codes, and removes its restraining bolt. Unlike the combat droids, these maintenance droids are mostly autonomous.
Shortly after C4-BL3’s new friend BXXE joins the group, a number of similar boxy units creep up behind the party as they venture further down the passageways of the crew quarters. Suddenly an imposing 2.5m tall red droid appears in front of them, and all the boxy maintenance units (including BXXE) flee. The droid has the menacing appearance of a biological creature’s exposed skeleton, plus it has many pointed tentacles or spines on its back, and it is wearing robes concealing its extremities. The group ducks into a crew quarters area to the side and prepares for trouble, but much to everyone’s surprise, the droid calls to them in broken Galactic Basic – “no harm, no harm.” There is a parley. The droid identifies itself as Epsilon and says that the corrupted “pirate” AI or droid they heard before is called Omicron. After finding out that the party was captured by Omicron’s tractor beams, Epsilon says that Omicron must be stopped. Epsilon wants the group to proceed to the bridge for that purpose because Epsilon itself isn’t able to go there. Epsilon also says that its purpose is to maintain “The Light,” whatever that is, and it seems to want to believe that Cheebs and Kantarra are somehow part of “The Light.” Cheebs has misgivings because he senses some kind of Force within the droid (!), yet he can’t even read whether it’s Light or Dark Side energy because something is masking it.
Cheebs asks the droid what’s in its chapel, and Epsilon invites them to follow it. The group masters its unsettled feelings and lets the droid lead the way to a turbolift. Cheebs surruptitiously pulls out his datapad to record images of the droid, but almost as soon as he does the droid’s tentacles (data connections?) snake towards him, so he hastily puts it away. Exiting into the chapel space, Epsilon crosses to sit on a throne-like chair. When it does, the stalks on its back plug into receptacles in the back of the throne. It invites C4-BL3 to connect, and despite Cheebs’ direct order not to, the curious comm droid offers his interface and makes the connection with the droid. A few long moments later, Epsilon starts speaking much clearer Basic to them. It explains that it has been guarding “The Light,” which it now hints is embodied in some human-like creature a few decks up from them – possibly corresponding to Cheebs’ sense of the Force. The group postulates that this “Light” creature could be in stasis which would explain why Cheebs wasn’t sensing any life readings on the ship. Epsilon tells more about the ship, saying it came from very far away and is trapped where it is now, somehow lacking the means to astrogate its way out. He also confirms that Omicron went mad and killed all of the ship’s organic crew long, long ago.
But Epsilon’s insistence on believing that Cheebs and Kantarra are somehow “The Light” as well gives Cheebs pause. Epsilon asks whether Cheebs is a priest of The Light, and Cheebs defers, saying “I’m more like a lay brother” of The Light. Suddenly Epsilon rises off its throne, saying “You must be baptized!” as it raises a murderous-looking arm towards the Duros. Before anyone can react, a dart shoots out of the arm and strikes Cheebs in an unarmored spot. The Duros is paralyzed. Kantarra and C4-BL3 level weapons at the huge red droid, and Kantarra squeezes off a couple quick well-targeted blasts from her carbine. She finishes the ancient machine off with a blaster bolt that bores a hole through its head, but not before Epsilon sounds some kind of alarm.
C4-BL3 pauses to add the remains of Epsilon’s droid head to his belt.