Star Wars: The Old Republic
The light in the cave was dim and unchanging; the Flesh Raiders had little need for illumination, unlike their organic counterparts, and it provided them with an advantage should the counterparts ever be unfortunate or foolhardy enough to stumble into their lairs, nested around the Jedi Temple.
It wasn't a obstacle for T7-01. Its photoreceptors were more than able to transfer what little light did filter into the cave to provide a visual image for its processors, and, barring that, its audio receptors could make up for the impediment. It was all irrelevant at the moment; it was still behind the storage cell the Raiders had set up, still locked away, unable to return to base and provide the Jedi with the intelligence it had gathered.
The astromech droid's behavioral matrix thrummed in an equivalent of worry. The Raiders were gathering strength, and without knowledge of the buildup the Jedi would be caught off guard. Hundreds would die. The Raiders would multiply. Destruction and chaos was the logical conclusion.
It gave a nervous twoo of trepidation that echoed through the cave. In response, the Flesh Raiders outside growled or hissed back at the sound, beating their massive paws together into fists.
T7 thought it understood what helplessness probably felt like for an organic, and calculated how long it would be before its inevitable destruction. It was not optimistic.
Being a droid, the sudden change in light and sound in the otherwise static environment of the cave alerted it instantly. An echo of a clash in the distance. Metal hitting metal, then sinking into flesh. The sound of a Flesh Raider groaning and thudding to the rocky floor. It tilted its head curiously. Perhaps, it mused, they were fighting each other out of boredom.
The change in light did not support that assumption. Flickering rays of illumination began to flash in the cave, reaching T7s cell. A short analysis of the light and its waning and waxing nature indicated that it came from fire. A torch was the likely origin.
Flesh Raiders didn't use torches, which meant-
Another growl, this time of rage. The Flesh Raiders outside its cell ran off, vibroblades humming as they activated. A short second later, blaster shots sounded.
T7 knew what it was: another organic, yet decidedly not a Flesh Raider. A Jedi? A local twi'lek? More data was required, but it rolled forward to the door hopefully and diverted more processing power to its audio receptors.
No blaster shot impacted anything but cave wall; there was no burning hiss or fleshy thud, and the consistent clangs informed T7 that whoever had entered the Flesh Raider den had come with a vibrosword. The strikes were fast, direct, and every few seconds another Raider fell to the floor heavily.
Maybe, it wondered, it would actually survive to complete its mission.
A harsh gasp of pain from human vocal cords motivated T7 to back away. Had the intruder failed? No, the sounds of battle continued, and then the human voice (a male, it recognized) cried out powerfully, followed by the sound of bone breaking and a Flesh Raider sighing as its life drained from it.
If T7 could hate anything, it hated silence. It eventually picked up the human breathing outside the cell once its receptors had adjusted, and backed away from the door when it realized the human was walking toward its cell. It readied its only defense: a stun ray, extending from its head dome which, when fired, would launch a torrent of electrical energy at an enemy.
It wouldn't stop whoever had killed his way through a Flesh Raider den, but T7 couldn't help it.
The human stopped at the cell door, fiddled with the controls. Seconds later the metal gate hissed loudly in the relative quiet, and revealed a young male wearing the attire of a Jedi Padawan. He carried a torch in his left hand, a vibroblade in the other, and he scanned the cell quickly, looking for danger, before his eyes settled on the weapons cache stuffed in the corner of the cell.
His left arm was scraped from a grazing slice from an enemy blade, but otherwise the Jedi seemed unharmed. An unlikely occurrence, given the Flesh Raider's dangerous nature. Nevertheless, T7 was logical enough to know an escape when it saw it.
Hello? it sounded tentatively.
The Jedi turned his head toward the droid, blinked. "Oh, hello there," he said, surprised. "Didn't see you, little guy."
His vocal tones were friendly, and T7 decided it safe enough to roll forward to the Jedi. Jedi= Come to rescue T7? it wondered.
"No, I didn't come for you," the Jedi replied. "I'm here to... deprive the Flesh Raiders of their weapons." He knelt beside T7, letting the vibroblade rest on the ground beside him. "How'd you get here? I didn't think the Flesh Raiders would let something moving like you survive."
At least, the droid thought, he understood droidspeak. T7= Jedi reconnaissance droid. T7= Captured by Flesh Raiders. Restraining bolt= malfunctioning.
Its core hummed irritably at the thought of the bolt, stuck to T7's chassis and preventing it from performing scans as often as it would have preferred. Flesh Raiders= capture T7. Sensors= restricted from bolt. It tottered on its feet to express its thoughts adequately; sometimes there were mistranslations between its kind and organics. T7= valuable technology. T7= shut down when Flesh Raiders found it. T7= taken as treasure.
The Jedi rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Lucky break for you. Still, I've got to finish this job before the Flesh Raiders come back. Think you can make it out of here?"
T7 considered, then realized that leaving was risky, and that its primary mission was still incomplete. Missions failure was unacceptable. There was, it calculated, one option.
T7= may be destroyed. T7= has information for Jedi, must deliver.
"Information?" The Jedi asked. "What kind?"
T7= turned on spy camera when being taken. T7= saw Flesh Raider leader.
Something happened in the organic's mood. His face darkened, a frown creased his features, and his eyes narrowed dangerously. It was an odd shift for T7 to process, the Jedi having gone from caring and kind to otherwise in seconds. "Their leader," he muttered. "Can you show me?"
T7= restrained by-
It didn't get a chance to finish, because the Jedi ripped the bolt off immediately and stood back, waiting for the video. T7 trundled back, turned on its holoprojector apparatus behind its eyepiece, and beamed the signal to the cave floor.
A hologram image, tilted slightly to reflect the way T7 had been laying on its side during the exchange, began to play with associated audio through speakers embedded in the droid's head plating.
A Nautolan and human spoke with one another, both wearing Jedi robes with armor plating underneath. The Nautolan, T7 had understood, was clearly the superior. "Teach these Flesh Raiders how to use these weapons," he said in a smooth, deep voice. "Train them on the twi'lek invaders."
The human, likely the second in command, responded impatiently. "When will we strike against the Jedi?" he demanded, hands clenching into fists.
The Nautolan raised his hands in a soothing gesture. "Patience, my apprentice. The Jedi will fall. I have foreseen it. When our army reaches full strength, they will not be able to stop us." The Nautolan turned to T7's camera, frowned thoughtfully. "Throw that droid in the cell with the rest of the weapons." The hologram ceased, T7 having calculated that further surveillance would be more risky than productive.
The Jedi stared at the space where the hologram had been displayed for a moment, then retrieved his vibroblade from the ground. "Any idea who the Nautolan is?"
T7 searched its databanks in a microsecond. T7= does not know.
"Alright. Then you're coming with me. Master Orgus needs to see that hologram. He might know more about their leader."
T7 gave a shrill chirp of its equivalent of excitement. T7=happy to go!
The Jedi smiled slightly. "Alright, little guy. Just don't go crazy with that bolt off, okay?"
T7 gave a beep of acknowledgment. Besides, it reasoned, it had never needed the little thing, anyway.
"Now, about these weapons... I've got to get them back to the twi'leks." He looked at the cache, pondering a solution.
T7 scanned the cell, located a wheeled cart in the corner, and informed the Jedi of its existence with a pointed bleep.
"Perfect," he agreed, beginning to grab the rifles and pistols from the cache and toss them into the bed of the cart. "Think you can drag this thing a few miles?"
T7= ready to go!
"Excellent. Then you can pull it, and I'll guard you from any-"
The cave suddenly echoed with a loud howl. No, T7 recognized. Loud howls. T7=worried, it admitted. Nevertheless, it extended its rear tow cable from its chassis and tangled it to the handle of the cart, diverted power to its motors and stun ray. T7= bad feeling.
The Jedi looked down at it, hefting the torch and vibroblade. "Don't worry, little guy. I'll protect you," he promised, completely serious.
T7 heard more howls and estimated the incoming Flesh Raider horde to number at least a dozen, and quickly calculated their chance or survival. The number was too small to bear considering.
Somehow, even with their odds, T7 believed the Jedi.