Chapter Twelve

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The hangar was a fully enclosed interior one, and quite small in comparison to the giant vessel. The salvage crew had indeed gotten it operational and a simple command opened the exterior door, then closed it again after Gaylen had touched down on the floor.

As the air generators returned atmosphere to the hangar Gaylen gathered his crew in the entry area.

"Right. Herdis and Bers, I want you two to guard the ship. From inside. Don't open the airlock for anything without my say so."

"Understood."

"Mm!"

"Jaquan, you'll evaluate the coils they're willing to offer us, and I don't feel you and I should stroll into an unknown situation by ourselves. Ayna and Kiris, you'll be coming along."

"Mysterious, ancient relic?" Ayna said. "Yes, I'll come along."

Her casualness concerned him a bit, but he left it be.

Kiris was silent for a moment, quietly but visibly grumbling about being given an order. Then she nodded.

"Observe for me," he said, and indicated his own eyes. "Like that job on Kahana."

"Right."

"And we'll all bring some air, just in case."

Jaquan handed out small emergency air kits, and the away party each clipped one to their belt.

Gaylen looked the group over. Everyone had their respective weapons, and everyone looked ready.

"Alright then."

He opened the interior airlock door, stepped through, and opened the exterior. The air was chilly, but far from being dangerously so. Salvage crews generally had better things to do than arrange for comfort.

"Hello?" Gaylen said to a camera that had been set up.

"Yes, I see you," Pol Jon said through an attached speaker. "Come along."

The door out of the hangar was still in working order; the salvage crew had merely had to attach a small power generator, and the ancient metal screeched open at a leisurely pace.

Before them awaited a plain metal corridor. The salvagers had strung heaters, air generators, and basic gravity mats down along it, but no lights save for faint ones glowing on the machinery.

"Spooky," Kiris remarked flatly as Gaylen brought out his little flashlight.

"Eh, maybe to you lot," Ayna said and took off her glasses.

Gaylen had never quite understood how Dwyyk eyes worked, but he knew enough to feel considerably more at ease for having her along. Kiris was right; this place did have quite the ambiance.

What is it about old, abandoned places? he asked himself idly. What do we imagine seeps into them in our absence?

He reminded himself to be concerned with people, not phantoms, and shone the flashlight left and right, left and right, as they walked on.

The next door they arrived at clearly hadn't been as functional, and the salvagers had cut it open and replaced it with a portable seal.

"I'll open that for you," Pol Jon said, and a moment later the slats parted with a slight whoosh of air.

"This place has seen some damage," Ayna commented.

"What kind of damage?" Gaylen asked, shining about in search of it as the slats closed behind them.

"I don't know. Damage. Hey, Pol Jon, are you still watching?" she asked and turned to face the seal.

"I am, yes."

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