Ask Clear Out the Factory...and its Yours

Zentripoli

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Land Parcel 6456
Northern Suslii City
Hollastin
It had been a few weeks since Zentripoli had been on Hollastin. BX-166, It0, and Zentripoli scouted out to see if the site would meet their needs without stepping foot on the property, mainly because they were forbidden to enter the grounds. They would have to rely on old diagrams, blueprints and images to make a decision on whether to pursue it. So after a harrowing scouting expedition, the trio made it out alive and were pleased with the land plot.

Of course, following that, Zentripoli and Pidge had to undergo the unenviable task of acquiring the deed to the site, permits to produce weaponry, and a business license to operate in Suslii City. Again, not without difficulty, they were able to acquire those three essential forms of administrative, bureaucratic credentials, to acquire the land. However, what the Shell Hutts did not tell Zentripoli until the bought the plot was that it would have to be cleared out of its gang inhabitants before he could take it over. Such was business in Hutt Space...

Looking down on the building with Cestus, the site was plenty large enough for what Zentripoli had in mind. Geographically on Hollastin, it was in an ideal spot. The price was also right for what he thought he could get the place for. Zentripoli and Cestus pulled up in Cestus' speeder truck to the edge of the property. A ZDT-410 “Vanisher” Security droid rode in the backseat behind Cestus and Zentripoli in his ZDT-415 Combat Platform. By all appearances, they both appeared as ZDT-410s.

Looking over at the large 5th degree droid next to him, he said in Binary through the droid’s vocabaulator, “I am not optimistic that this small band will listen to reason or be convinced to leave without hostilities. As such, I am of the mind that shooting first and asking questions later may be the most prudent course of action.”


@Swagger
 
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Cestus

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"No." Came the droid's reply. "At least, not yet. I have an idea." Cestus reached into the truck and lifted an unmarked crate from its bowels, easily bearing it on his shoulder.

"I shall approach from the front. You flank them. If things go wrong, feel free to shoot them."

Without waiting for a response, Cestus started the deliberately slow and ponderous walk towards the factory's threshold. He kept his movements stiff and lifeless and mused at the irony of a robot pretending to be a robot. As he entered the perimeter he was stopped by two of the raiders. Disheveled and frankly malnourished, they were no match for the gladiator should the moment arise. Hell, Cestus thought, they were probably no match even for Zen. He resisted the urge to mimic laughter and stopped upon command.

"Barrel. Stop."

Already, they were name-calling.

He stopped.

"Yes you, BARREL. " The speaker spat dust. "What's your designation? Where are you going? What's in the crate?"

Cestus raised his head but didn't make eye contact.

"C3-5T. Supplies and actuators. Level twelve. " His voice, flat, and expressionless.

He wondered if Zen had a clear shot.

"Wait here."

He stopped, stock still.

"Compliance. "
 

Zentripoli

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Cestus surged forward. Zentripoli was about to say something to redirect the droid, but it was too late. Inwardly, the Columi sighed, but did not dwell on it. He cared for Cestus and this was an opportunity they could take advantage of, so Zentripoli decided he would roll with it and adapt.

If you cannot adapt quickly, you will die…

Zentripoli commanded the ZDT-410 "Vanisher" to stay on the ground floor and back-up Cestus. Meanwhile, the Columi made his way up to the second level as quietly as he could. The ZDT-415 came to the second level overlooking the scene with Cestus and the Vanisher. With a mental nudge, Zentripoli commanded the ZDT-410 to stay out of sight for the moment.

The gladiator droid carried a huge crate, acting as if he was one of the droids that was in the factory. As he stopped, a trio of humans stepped out of the shadows and surrounded the droid. All of them were wearing cobbled together light armor. Two of them were sporting blaster carbines, which were pointed at Cestus, and the other had a pair of blaster pistols at each hip with his hands lightly resting on them. Zentripoli quickly surveilled the area, but saw no more lifeforms in the main factory building that they were in.

The one with the twin blaster pistols was the one who was speaking, “Wait here…”

He plucked a comlink off his belt and muttered, “Code 634.”

With that, a freighter elevator began to descend. From the angle that Zentripoli could see from his vantage, there was a huge battle droid being lowered to the ground floor. With a mental command, he urged the Vanisher to charge forward and support Cestus.

The Columi opened up the comlink channel to Cestus and warned, “Heavily armed battle droid coming your way. Kill them all…”

@Swagger
 
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Cestus

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Kill them all.

It was a simple request. He dropped the crate onto the raider closest, a wet, sickening crunch broke the silent stalemate. The second raider shot Cestus with his carbine, the first shot bouncing off the curve of his torso's shell. The next punched a deep dent into the heavy gauge metal. Cestus groaned as the third shot punctured his outer layer, singeing wires underneath. He buried his fist in the rider's face. The third raider turned to run, yelling something into his comm link as Cestus squashed him like a bug. The industrial elevator dinged and all hell broke loose.

The rocket hit the heavy set droid square in the chest, catapulting him backwards.
 
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Zentripoli

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Fortunately for Cestus, the three gang members had no idea what they were walking into. They were more concerned about the stupidity of the droid than the threat that the powerful labor droid posed. They did manage to get a couple of shots in on his torso and banged up his shell, however that was not where Zentripoli’s attention was placed.

The large monstrosity of a battle droid thudded off the freight elevator not bearing any weaponry. Then, within seconds, a pair of quad rocket tubes popped up from his shoulder assembly. At the same time, two storage bins on his shoulder swung from underneath his arms and mounted on its forearms—a pair of Z-6 Rotary Blasters.

Zentripoli could only watch with a combination of abject horror, utter fascination, and wonderment. His sharp mind began realizing possibilities and research items just from two seconds of watching the antiquated droid. He immediately recognized that this was a modified Ulban Arms 4th degree droid—one that had been upgraded to rain death on its foes. Shaking off his shock and awe episode, the Columi realized how much trouble his friend Cestus was in.

Mentally commanding the ZDT-415 to bring the E-11 to bear, Zentripoli began firing multiple shots into the upper left side of the droid from his high ground vantage. Cestus was rocked from a mini-rocket blast, but the barrels of the Z-6s were beginning to spin up. Its left arm shifted and began to track Zentripoli. While the ZDT-415 did not have a bunch in the way of armor, it made up for it with speed. Running across the second level, Zentripoli quickly got behind the droid from up top. Looking on, his E-11 only had marginal success getting through the droids heavy armor plates.

The droid turned its full attention back to Cestus and the ZDT-410. Fortunately, the gladiator droid had two options due to the proximity of the dangerous battle droid: run for nearby cover, which there was plenty of in the dilapidated factory…or close the distance to melee range and hope he could get to the droid before it brought all its weapons to bear on him…

@Swagger
 
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Cestus

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Cestus growled. He could hide. Or he could do the thing he'd done since his second activation, fight!

He ran an instantaneous calculation through his processor and dropped to all fours. In this position his long arms were no longer a hindrance, he could move faster. He let out an electronic bellow and charged at the walking cannon. He had to hope that in a brawl he'd have the advantage. As he closed on his target he dropped one shoulder in order to not only collide with force but to use his momentum and strength to uproot the droid and attempt to put it irreparably off balance.

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Zentripoli

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The old Ulban Arms battle droid opened up with both spinning Z-6s and began spraying the charging gladiator droid and the ZDT-410. A pair of rockets also launched from their shoulder pods, but the pair of droids deftly avoided the dumbfire explosives. Unfortunately for the Vanisher security droid, the Z-6s found their mark, tracking the two droids as they charged it. Bolt after bolt slammed into and through the Vanisher's armor. It didn't stand a chance. It went down into a heap of steaming, metal slag. It spread-eagled on the metal floor and shifted all its arsenal over to Cestus.

As Cestus quickly closed the distance on all fours, weaving and bobbing to avoid the red fiery bolts, a few found their mark, pelting the right arm of the Barrel-series droid. Thankfully, the damage was not too bad due to the heavy armor plates protecting the droid. One rocket also managed to connect, slamming and exploding into Cestus’ shoulder. All of that armor peeled away exposing wiring and circuitry. But as Cestus slammed into the battle droid, it rotated its torso with surprising speed and plucked Cestus off the ground.

The Columi had leveled and steadied his E-11, ready to fire continue firing on the archaic battle droid, but Zentripoli knew that if he fired now, he would risk hitting Cestus. For a few moments, the Columi pondered his next move. He would not stand idle while his friend Cestus risked his circuits for Zentripoli...

Throwing all logic out of the window, the Columi commanded the ZDT-415 to activate its rocketboots and sail high in the air with a trajectory that would place him directly on the back of the droid. Zentripoli slammed into the battle droid’s back, causing the droid to stumble, but it did not fall, keeping its solid stance. The scene was almost comical, but it was a dire scene for Zentripoli and Cestus all the same…


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Cestus

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He had fought droids as big as this before but armed like this, no. His shell torn, innards exposed, he had little more to do than go for broke. He reached down for the robots face, hooking the massive digits of his left arm into its photoreceptors and pulled up. His right arm took hold of one of its cannons, trying to bend the weapon out of action.

His right arm started to strain from the effort of it. His manipulator, slippery with his own lubricant spilling from his damaged torso, lost its grip so he decided to simply pull the droid's head off instead. Bracing himself as much as he could he started to pull and twist at his enemy's head, manipulators hooking into the monstrous combat machine's receptors. The carapace that covered the front of the droid's head suddenly pulled free, prompting the massive mech to lash out, dropping Zen and grabbing the offending arm of Cestus, ripping it completely free of the Gotra crusader's socket, tossing him away like a rag doll. For a few seconds, Cestus was free from the effects of gravity. Spinning through the air he watched his now uselessly disembodied arm bounce off the ground with a dull metallic crunch. He followed suit soon enough. As he lifted himself to his feet he practically screamed at Zen through the comm link.

"Aim for the head! If we can destroy the head it'll be all but done!"

He lurched for his arm and then ran at the droid again, raising it like a flail above his head...
 
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Zentripoli

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Zentripoli was thrown to the ground as the large battle droid tossed Cestus. The gladiator droid had done its work on the left gatling cannon. It dangled from the droid’s arm and once it tossed Cestus, it came completely off. But part of the problem with following Cestus’ suggestion to aim for the head was the loss of Zentripoli’s E-11. At some point when he latched onto the back of the droid, it had gone skittering. Instead, the Columi had another solution for his predicament. Using his rocketboots to close the distance to the battle droid, Zentripoli once again wrapped one of his manipulators around the battle droid’s neck. The security droid was not strong enough to rip off the droid’s head or do any damage from pummeling it—even without the armor, it was still covered in reinforced plates and myomers. However, Zentripoli had another strength—his mind.

Truly multitasking, the Columi began to project his compatible waves to the battle droid With sheer will, Zentripoli began to send commands to the droid to stop and be still. For a moment, it stopped the large droid in its tracks. However, the droid was starting to stir again. This meant that whoever modified this droid, made it near immune to remote operation. However, it stopped long enough for Zentripoli to multitask his other action. Slipping the ZDT-415’s manipulators under the shoulder armor of the massive droid, he dug until he hit rubber hoses within. One of the weaknesses of early models of Ulban Arms battle droids was the lack of reinforcement on the hydraulic lines running throughout the droid. The one who modified this droid had thought of everything—except for that design flaw that Zentripoli read in an obscure droid technical readout article 5 years ago. But like most things the little Columi ran into, he memorized it.

Finally, both manipulators found purchase. With all of the walker’s might, Zentripoli yanked. The hoses ripped and hydraulic fluid began to seep out from various parts of the droids armor. It wheeled around and tried to pry the troublesome ZDT-415 from its back. Reaching back, it caught the droid by the shoulder and flung it through the air, slamming Zentripoli into a durasteel pylon. The battle droid began to lift up its right arm to fire its remaining Z-6, but the fluid must have left the elbow actuator and it couldn’t lift it very high. Alarms were buzzing in Zentripoli’s ear: right manipulator was inoperable, back armor compromised, life support fleeting, rocketboots inoperable…

Zentripoli pushed off the ground with one manipulator and came to his feet just as Cestus was reaching the battle droid. Through his comlink, he communicated to Cestus, “Better put him down now or I may not survive the next volley…”

@Swagger
 

Cestus

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,Cestus inwardly nodded at Zen's somewhat panicked suggestion. As the droid strained to raise its remaining arm, complete with the auto cannon, Cestus closed the gap. Not exactly agile he made the effort of leaping up at the droid. Swinging his flail arm down at the plastic and metal skull, the impact pulverised the protective plate but didn't stop there. His flailing fist became trapped in the core of the droid's head. Now seemingly blind, Cestus surmised that he'd just destroyed its sensory network, the droid swung its own free arm out. Desperate to snare its attacker, of this Cestus was sure. But he wasn't finished yet. As it tried to stand, he swept at its leg and once prone he started to swing heavy blow after blow at the rest of its head.

The droid's shoulder rockets fired, making him pause for a moment before he realised that he'd simply triggered the launch when beating at the specific circuit, admittedly entirely by chance. Lost in the moment, he too was blinded by his apparent victory when the droid managed to clip him with its remaining arm. The impact sent him spinning in the dust.

As he stood he watched silently as the once-giant seemed to shrink under itself, coolant, lubricant and hydraulic fluid seeping into the ground.

"Give me the rifle." He barked at Zen's suit.


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Zentripoli

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To the Columi, there were times that witnessing the raw power of a 5th degree droid was a truly awesome thing…this was such a time. Cestus closed the distance with a high vault into the air and came down with the large droid, slamming into it as it tried to raise its remaining Z-6 Rotary Blaster Cannon to finish off Zentripoli and his modified walker. With unbridled ferocity, the droid engaged the battle droid repeatedly, using its own arm as a makeshift club. His fist repeatedly slammed into the exposed head of the battle droid, quickly drawing the fight to a close. Zentripoli could only imagine this was but a glimpse of the “barrel” droid in gladiatorial action. Within moments, the Ulban Arms battle droid had succumbed to the powerful blows of Cestus and fell unmoving onto the durasteel floor in a pile of wire, fluid, and durasteel parts.

For a few moments, Zentripoli marveled over the simplicity of the modifications made to their fallen adversary. The battle droid was chock full of upgrades, hidden weaponry, updated internal electronics and a fast, combat processor. Immediately, Zentripoli knew he was going to be taking this droid back to his ship for study. Ideas were boiling over within the Columi as radical new designs and upgrades were forming. He looked over at Cestus. There were several upgrades Zentripoli already had in mind to further optimize the gladiator droid’s combat prowess.

"Give me the rifle."

Zentripoli wanted to ensure enough was left for study, "Please leave what is left of the body. I wish to take it back for examination."

Suddenly, Cestus asked for Zentripoli’s weapon. Unlike most of Columi, Zentripoli understood when and when not to debate, question, or muse. Without hesitation, Zentripoli commanded the ZDT-415 over some dozen paces away and leaned over, grabbing the E-11 Blaster Rifle in its one good manipulator. Using a powerful, accurate unarmed throw, Zentripoli tossed the blaster rifle to Cestus’ waiting manipulator.

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Cestus

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The rifle landed in Cestus's massive mitt with a soft clunk. His digits were clumsy but with a little maneuvering he was able to get the weapon into position and as importantly, pull the trigger. The blaster tore into and through the droid's head. Satisfied that its 'brain' was destroyed he tore the head off fully before returning to his previous melee with the now inert killing machine. His flail lost in the excitement of battle, he punched and crushed with his remaining arm. The memories of his own beatings in the arena came to him, adding fuel to the fire, driving his now dented and battered fist into the droid's torso over and over and over until the effort and physical damage to his hand meant that he had to stop. Digits broken at the joints and the impact absorber in his wrist were spent but he still managed one last strike, this time aimed at the droid's face. What little there was left.


If he could spit he would have, instead standing up looking broken and limp. He wasn't tired. Droids didn't tire. But he was damaged and in need of repair and recharge. He leaned over the droid's massive shoulders and started to pull them apart trying to free the launch tubes that had bounced him around so much.


"I want these. Put these on my chassis." He notably barked this time, a rust growl of annoyance and the euphoria of a successful battle.


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Zentripoli

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The smoke had cleared, both physically and mentally. Cestus stood over the fallen battle droid victorious, much like a grand-standing victor. Zentripoli took a moment to finally look at their surroundings as Cestus finished pummeling the fallen foe.

"I want these. Put these on my chassis."

Glancing over his shoulder, the Columi saw what he was talking about with the pop-up rocket launchers. The ZDT-415’s head looked at the Barrel droid for a moment and clarified, “I am way ahead of you, Cestus. However, I would endeavor to take a tone that implies mutual respect, as I do to you--such niceties will be prudent when dealing with fleshy sentients that may not have as high of an opinion of you as I do. The laws, as they stand, do not weigh in your favor in this regard. Take that information for what it is worth, friend.”

Mentally commanding the walker, Zentripoli began to walk around the massive factory. One piece that intrigued him was a set of stairs and freighter lift in the southeast corner. With Cestus nearby, the pair took the freight lift down, not up. As it went down, there was an entire labyrinth of layered space beneath the factory. Zentripoli’s mind was churning with the possibilities. He wasn’t sure how many levels were underneath theh factory floor, but the possibilities, even with one level, was endless.

Looking over to Cestus, the Columi mused, “You know…all of these basement-floor levels are not included in the blueprints of this structure. It seems that the previous freighter manufacturer had alternative activities occurring underneath his legitimate business. As happenstance dictates, I am to follow the same train of thought, but with a bit more ingenuity in the confidentiality of that access…”

The Columi was quite sure the Barrel droid could feel his smile from within the walker, “Yes, Cestus. I think this site is going to do nicely…”

/END THREAD

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