As they are about to leave the research break room, Renci refills her canteen at the sink. “Ninety percent of habitable planets in the galaxy are deserts,” she says. “Gotta stay hydrated.”
Renn shoots her a look of disbelief. “I don’ believe that. Most planets I’ve been ta are jungle or forest.”
“Really? Name some.”
“Well, I grew up on Seregar; that’s all jungle. Gesaril was, too. Vanqor, where the gundark hunt is, is forested, and so is Vryssa. Thyferra is… I haven’t been there, but Gareth told me about it.”
“Doesn’t count, then,” Renci claims.
“Rodia. It’s a swampy jungle, also parts of Seleucami in the craters. Corellia, too.”
“What, no! Corellia is a city!”
“It’s got some big cities, aye, but most of it is forested. It’s not like Imperial Center.”
“That’s Coruscant,” she corrects him. “The planet’s name is Coruscant.”
“Aye, sure, Coruscant, then, is one continuous city. Corellia has cities surrounded by forests.”
They move through the hallways of the bureaucratic section of the facility, Renci rapid-fire rattling off the giant pile of dry planets she has gone to throughout her scouting career. She omits Hoth since that one is sensitive. As they reach a promising room, Renn adds one more planet to his list. “And Kashyyyk, more a forest than jungle.”
“But you haven’t been to Kashyyyk, have you?”
“Aye, I have.” But Renn doesn’t elaborate on his experiences there, where he first got a glimpse at the lengths Kash is willing to go for those she cares about. He just proceeds into the new room, a large space filled with desks, including one giant one up on a dais. There are no filing cabinets, but the desks do have drawers. Renn starts pulling them open and examining their contents while Renci heads up to the computer on the main desk.
“Can you tell me what the Imperial password policy is?” she asks.
Renn looks up at Renci, incredulous. “I wasna even in the Academy yet when this place was active, based on those incarceration dates ya found.”
“Well… do they change their policies often?”
Renn shrugs. “The places I worked used code cylinders.”
“Fine,” Renci huffs, “I’ll do this the old fashioned way.”
Renn goes back to what he was doing, thinking aloud. “There’s respirators in some of these desks, but not all of them. So they were prepared for there to be some sort of gas-related issues here. Maybe that’s what killed the prisoners? Something must have happened suddenly and unexpectedly. They didna have time to clean out the facility properly. But perhaps they had time to evacuate the staff, and they just left a few security droids behind?”
Up on the dais, Renci determines that she cannot get into the system, but the big desk has a portable datapad. She is about to try her luck with it, when her comm goes off. She adds the pad to the growing stash in her backpack and activates the comm. A small holo of JT appears above Renci’s wrist. Renn’s ship really does have a strong relay. “Oh, hi, JT!”
“Renci… Renci… I have a question.” The image flickers. Renci thinks JT is looking a little unwell, but maybe it is just the connection? “You said you’re overdue for a promotion, right? If you brought in a Zann executive, would that help?”
“What are you talking about, Muffin?”
“Cupcake, I’m going to bring down Romar Kek. Would it help you at all to give him to your superiors?”
All Renci knows about Kek is that he is in some position of power with Zann Enterprises, a criminal syndicate that have caused some real problems for JT’s crew and New Meen. It is doubtful that he would have any useful intel for Renci’s bosses. “I don’t know what use the Rebellion would have for that sort of criminal. That’s more your area than mine…”
Renn calls from across the room, “This base, I think it’s still active!”
JT presses Renci further, “You wanted a ship, right? You deserve more power, don’t you?”
“Responsibility, yeah…” Renci replies hesitatingly.
“Renci!” Renn shouts.
JT ends the call with her typical, “OK, gotta go, bye!” but it was more… intense than cheerful. Something seems off to Renci, but now is not the time, not once she tunes in to what Renn is saying.
“—monitor over here is actually still up and runnin’! There’s still droids loggin’ reports!”
Renci rushes over. “Any alerts recently?”
“Aye. There’s two droids’ve gone offline in the water treatment facility. Sound familiar?”
Renci’s eyes go wide. This base has not been truly abandoned, it has just been converted to a droid-run facility. Or at least, the droids do not seem to know it has been abandoned. Those two below were not an isolated incident. Looks like it is time to cut and run; this is not going to be a good site for a Rebel base, after all.
Renn continues, “And there’s two Rebel operatives noted in these logs. The resolution’s quite low, so whether or not they’ll recognize us…” He rubs a hand across the short beard he has grown over the past month.
Renci scans the corners of the room, then draws her blaster and shoots a nearby security camera.
She and Renn discuss where they might be in the facility, compared to the entrance. The water treatment plant moved them down quite a bit. They do not know for sure where to head from here, just that they need to start moving. With a loose plan in place to take any opportunity to move upwards in the facility, they head back into the hall. But there they find they are not alone.