Vong War Annals – “Deck the halls” 6.03.08

    “I’ve got to say, Katarn,” Kal’or sighed as he stepped off of the Adenn Senaar‘s ramp.  “Never pictured you much for the macabre type.”
    “I think it’s neat,” Kiiara said, coming up to Kal’or’s right side with her travel bag slung over a shoulder.  “How old is this place, buir?”
    Jeir stood there for a long moment, looking around the hangar as if it were uploading the castle’s layout to his mind.  “About fifteen years, give or take.”  Jeir imagined the response was somewhat confusing for the pair of them, to anyone other than a trained eye they’d swear it was thousands of years.  “I have a flair for the dramatics, you might say,” he finally stated.  That seemed to bring their minds at ease.
    The interior of the hangar looked like it had been carved out of the mountain itself, which it technically had been though after being reinforced to the point of being redundant and then shielded from sensor sweeps it was coated again to look natural.  The deck was a slightly stained metal finish though, it’s dark surface contrasting beautifully with the beige color of the fake rock walls.  Of course, the catch to being so completely secure from sensor sweeps was it created a sort of black hole in a sweep, which told some people it was best not to mess with and others that it was a point of interest to them.  He smiled to himself…wouldn’t the latter group be in for a surprise if they came knocking.
    There were pillars leading to the passageway leading back to the main areas of the castle, which the group naturally lead themselves toward into the hall.  This hall was narrow with vaulted ceiling, reinforced with designs that webbed and flowed through the hallway almost like cords of rope.  Narrow enough they had to go through it in a single file, which Jeir admitted only to himself had not been intended.  There was a second, hidden passageway that functioned as a service hallway should he need to transfer larger items discreetly between the hangar and the castle, though it was far more concealed inside the castle itself and something he preferred to keep private for the time being.
    “Why all the hidden stuff?” Kal’or asked as the came into a larger room, a single turbolift and minimal decor greeting them.
    “What do you mean?” Jeir asked, half a smile on his face.  The elder Mandalorian was good, he had to give him that.
    “I counted, what…three hidden doors in that hallway alone back there?”
    “Four,” Jeir said, correcting him.  “This is my private hangar, but it wouldn’t take a genius to realize it was here I don’t think.  While I never really expected anyone to come through this way I thought it best to make sure I was able to conceal what needed concealing.”
    “Ha!” Kal’or laughed, nodding.  “That why you have that second hall hidden in the hangar too?”  This one caught Jeir off guard, to which he cocked his head and raised an eyebrow in suspicion.  “They’re hidden well enough, Jer’ika,” he sighed finally while tapping his helmet.  “I spared no expense on the stuff I put in this bucket.”
    “Heh heh,” Jeir chuckled.  “Had me a little concerned there, Kal.”  They all stepped into the turbolift, shooting up to the main floor and arriving inside of a supply closet.  Jeir opened the panel hiding them with a wave of his hand, then leading them out of the closet and into a maintenance room littered with different kinds of droids and parts.  “Suppose you’ve earned my trust, well enough.
    “I was a bounty hunter,” he began.  “Never settled down or anything like that for a long time, and when I finally did it backfired.  Friends of a bounty found my Wife and I, killed her and torched the place.  While I’m not particularly interested in that business anymore, I suppose it’s fair to say the lesson was well learned.  Something about putting down roots makes me feel uneasy, so I built this place by answering a ton of questions as to what I would do if someone attacked by dot-dot-dot, and filled in the blank.”
    “Dangerous business, bounty hunting,” Kal’or said.  Jeir supposed that was the closest he’d come to hearing the old man was sorry, which was plenty for him.  Kiiara didn’t seem to hear–or chose not to show it–as she went digging through a set of parts.
    Jeir went over to a computer terminal, pleased to see it was still working though a bit dusty.  As he had known this would be his primary traffic place when coming and going on missions for his own agenda, he had planned ahead for it’s use.  First, the room had six different halls leading out of it into different parts of the castle so it was easy to confuse anyone who may see him come in the room but not come back out of it.  Of the six halls, three could loop to any other part of the castle and two of them lead to the exterior.  Second, however, had been a base program hidden in the main system on this terminal alone that acted as a slave control for the entire castle’s droid network.  Typically all this consisted of was him telling the droids to keep the place clean while he was gone (annoyed by their work while he was home), though it could do any number of things past that point as well.  His fingers flew over the console to bring the place back to life.
    A pair of protocol droids stirred and came to life, eyes flickering before humming to a constant pale blue.  Their chrome plated exteriors were brilliant still, flashing reflected light around the room like stars as they approached.  “The two will show you guys to your rooms for now, if that’s okay,” Jeir said.  “The rooms will only be temporary, the rest of the workforce here is going to be cleaning the place up.”
    “What about you, Dad?” Kiiara asked.  While he knew her concern was genuine, he couldn’t help but feel the waves of excitement pouring out of her through the Force.  
    “I have some things to do, I’ll catch up with you guys for dinner.”  Before they could ask him anything else–which he wasn’t sure they would have anyway–he left the room.

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