As the sounds of a struggle abruptly ended, Vestige and Kieryn had only seconds before four male Gamorreans ran into the room and charged for the Hutt’s guards. As the Gamorreans clashed, Vestige seized the unexpected opportunity to increase her standing with the Hutt. She drew her blaster pistol and fired at the assaulting Gamorreans. Kieryn stepped nimbly out of the main area, and kept herself at a distance from the scrape. Her skills were with words, and there was not a great deal of hope that her charm and compelling personality would do much in the way of protection from vibro-axes.
The fight was short. A Gamorrean was wounded by Vestige’s blaster, and another by the Hutt’s loyal guards. Snorting and grunting, they turned and fled the way that they had arrived. As soon as they had left, the Hutt renewed his demands for Vestige and Kieryn to assess the moon and bring back his cut. He seemed even more eager for the credits now than he had been before the Gamorreans had broken in. Vestige and Kieryn found themselves suddenly in possession of the coordinates to the Hutt’s new planet, Gavos, and with the temporary captaincy of a small shuttle to take them there. It seemed that payment would be negotiated upon their successful return.
The journey to Gavos took a full day, so they were fatigued as they neared the planet. It was a singularly inhospitable world, its atmosphere consisting primarily of stormy clouds of ammonia and methane. High winds completed the picture. Surprisingly, no one answered their transmissions. The landing was uneventful, as a small landing beacon led their shuttle to a landing pad tucked against the entrance to the underground mining quarters. There was a small entrance room just inside the main door. Blaster burns on a window there leading into the interior added to the eerie atmosphere. When Vestige and Kieryn opened the door, they saw blood on the carpet. A hurried inspection proved to them that something sinister had taken place. Adding to this, a recorded voice was announcing over the speaker, “Warning! Storm Barrier Generator is compromised! Warning!”
As they continued to search, they found more grotesque evidence of some tragedy. There were dead men sitting in the kitchen, and a dead man in the freshers. All had died violently, but there was no sign of anyone still alive.
They moved past the living areas into the working offices for the mine. A hurried inspection here offered up a few valuable clues. The security holocams showed a small droid taking off in a cloud car, a Trandoshan worker fleeing from some unseen threat, and several workers entering the mines. There was a protocol droid there, deactivated with a restraining bolt. Vestige removed the bolt, and asked the droid what had happened.
The droid was shocked. “What?!? I had no idea!” it exclaimed. “Everything was quite normal just a few hours ago. I came here to discuss the basic mining droid performance with the droid overseer, and I remember nothing from that point on. Might I ask what brings you to this mine?”
“Was the mine making much profit?” Kieryn asked. “We’re here to collect the cut due to the Hutt who just recently acquired this mine.”
The droid shook its head. “There is no profit. The credits that the Hutt wants will strip us of everything. We will have no money for repairs and upkeep, but most importantly, there will be no credits to pay the miners.”
Vestige and Kieryn looked at each other. They continued their search of the premises, hoping to find some sign of life, and now accompanied by the protocol droid.
Upon entering the changing room just before the entrance to the mines, Vestige and Kieryn found a medical droid. It seemed to be slightly faulty, as it kept inquiring, “How long has it been since you visited your medical droid? What seems to be your problem?”
“Usually these medical droids are far more intelligent,” the protocol droid commented. “I have spoken to him before, but I did not realize his programming was so deficient.”
As Vestige and Kieryn pulled open the doors to the next room, they realized that they had finally arrived at the entrance to the mines. There were several droids here, including a supervisor droid, who immediately asked them to help.
“Thank goodness someone’s here!” it said. “We were hit by pirates, who killed several of the miners. I and the other droids here cannot fight well, so we were unable to give much assistance to the miners. Some of them went into the mines, and we have been unable to go after them. We fear that there may be pirates who pursued the miners in.” The supervisor droid offered Vestige and Kieryn the use of a mining cart to travel in the mines, as he believed that the miners might have made their way to the way station a kilometer or so inside the mines. With no other way of determining if any organic beings were still alive, they agreed to go, though Vestige did warn the droid of the failing Storm Generators. They left the protocol droid, and began their journey into the mines.