The ride to the Viper base seemed short. I silently thanked the fact that they were unaware of Aiden’s Jedi abilities. Had they known, they probably would have driven around longer, trying to confuse us more. I had done what Aiden had asked and listened to our surroundings. Still, I was not sure I could get us back here if push came to shove. Hopefully, he had paid better attention. The transport doors opened and we were ushered out. The blindfolds still in place, they ushered us through a set of doors and into a small room. I felt hands reach up and none to gently rip the blindfold from my face. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the light of the room.
“Now then, I will be taking your weapons.”
Nash’s sidekick, Ral Tarask, stepped over to me and began to pat me down, his eyes held an expression I did not like. I took a step back, pushing his hands away.
“I can remove my own weapons, thank you.”
“Well, you know how to ruin a guy’s day don’t you, sweetheart?”
I narrowed my eyes and reluctantly began to remove my blasters and vibroweapons.
“What about you, Vinolo? Want to hand over your weapons, or do I have to get rough?”
Aiden turned calmly to the di’kut. ” You have already taken my weapons.”
The man looked confused for a moment.
“Oh yeah, guess I had forgotten.”
I tilted my head in Aiden’s direction. I caught a glimpse of his lightsaber hilt where I knew it to be hidden. There he goes using his Jedi mind tricks again. Ral moved on to Dak and Shorcuk, taking their weapons in turn.
I leaned over to whisper in Aiden’s ear.
“Not fair, I didn’t want them to take my weapons either!”
Aiden leaned in closer to me. “Well according to you Mandos, you are the weapon, so what are you worried about?”
I gave him a frustrated growl and turned away. If I didn’t need him, I could have gladly strangled him!
All of our weapons were given to a gang member behind a counter. We were informed that they would all be returned to us on our departure.
“Now that the formalities are out of the way, we can continue to the base.”
Nash led the way out of the room and Ral brought up the rear, closing the door behind us. We walked in silence, taking many twists and turns through what appeared to be a completely abandoned building. A small lift was set in the end of the last long hallway.
We were shoved into the lift and the door closed tightly behind us. Nash pushed a button, causing the lift to groan and creek, it made a sudden lurch and then a steady descent.
After a few moments, the lift came to a grinding halt. The doors opened and we were led out into another small darkened room. Nash walked over to the door panel. A strong dank odor, wafted in as the door slid back into place.
“Welcome to the Under City.”
My companions and I followed the Blade Viper through the doorway. The area was dark and dreary, street lamps adding only a dull glow. There was a moist, dirty smell about the place. People in very dilapidated clothing roamed about in the dimly lit streets. The buildings seemed even more ragged and worn than the ones of the lower city. As we walked along, I noticed citizens, huddled together. They coughed and sputtered. Sickness seemed prominent, here. No one approached us, instead, they cowered, as if they expected us to do horrible things to them. It saddened me to see people live like this.
We were led to a small set of buildings on the outskirts of the small filthy sector, of the Under City. It was difficult for me to imagine an entire planet filled with these dirty, sickness filled streets and damaged buildings, but it did exist. I was glad to only see this small sad area of it.
As we entered, I noticed we were walking steadily downward. Obviously, we must be near the sewers. A few twists and turns and finally, we arrived at a sealed and heavily guarded door. The guards nodded and touched the door panel. A bright light flooded my vision, blinding me slightly after such dark chambers.
“Here we are, Viper Base.”
People were everywhere, the base was a vast honeycomb of training rooms and barracks. This wasn’t just some small crime organization, there were enough people and weapons here for an army!
I took everything in as we were led down a narrow hallway and into what appeared to be a sitting room.
“Relax, have a drink. The boss will be here shortly.”
Nash and Ral left the room, closing the door behind them.
“Well, that was fun.” Dak said.
Dak and Shorcuk sat down on the cushions, Aiden and I remained standing.
“This place is well hidden and well guarded. It is like a fortress.”
Aiden nodded. “I feel something about this place, something I can’t quite put my finger on.”
“Well, I hope your feelings can help us find Manias’s daughter, this place is huge and we have to figure out a plan to find and rescue her.
Dak leaned forward in his seat. “Wait, you don’t already have a plan?”
I cut my eyes in his direction. “Hey, I got us here didn’t I? I don’t see you volunteering any plans.”
He closed his eyes and groaned.
“Just calm down, we are here and she is close. The rest will fall into place, the Force is with us, we must be patient.” Aiden took a seat next to Dak.
Just as I was about to make a reply, the door slid open. We all turned our gaze toward it, as four guards entered, followed by a tall lanky woman with short spiked black hair. She smiled as she entered, walking up to where we were seated.
“Greetings, welcome to my base.”