Continuing on... — Luke took a step back, awestruck as the armored figures approached. He turned to Artoo, who was still hooked to the power cord. "You said no lifeforms! No energy readings!" Artoo sputtered, saying something about low-power scopes not being one-hundred percent reliable. He shook his dome in a panic. "What is it? What's happening?" Aiolin said, trying to get up to look, unable to see the figures from behind the wall. "Just... stay here," Luke said. He turned back to doorway and stared at the tall, black-armored figures who walked in unison. Their T-shaped visors, as well as their axe-headed staffs, were glowing green. Their joined steps patted bluntly against the floor. Luke stepped out into the dark hall, blocking the entry to the power hub. He unhooked his lightsaber and turned it on. Without a thought, Luke raced straight towards them and swung his lightsaber. He was blocked. Acid-green strokes appeared before him and Luke lurched to dodge them, feeling the heat miss him by a hair. He blindly swung again to ward them off. The middle of his blade cut through a plated arm. Robotic wires lit from the inside as it fell. "Droids," he said under his breath. The five figures focused on him, still marching in a line, their steps slow but their bladed weapons sweeping in flickers. One nearly grazed his neck. Luke stumbled back, circled one of the droids before it could lift its staff again, and drove his saber into its midsection. It fell, cut in half, and its visor dimmed out. But another droid stepped in its place and swung at him. A yellow laser zoomed past, brushing Luke's shoulder. He winced from the burn and turned around. Aiolin was leaning on the side of the hub's entrance, her wrist extended and aimed in his direction. Luke's jaw fell. "Are you serious—" She shot again and again, cutting him off. But the lasers coursed past Luke, who jumped out of the way preemptively. He saw the blasts hit an armored droid, one that he hadn't noticed had been right behind him. More lasers streamed past and the droid-guards swooped their axe-spears to block them. The black forms and green blades came closer, mixed with Aiolin's yellow laserfire, and Luke lashed out with his own blue saber, trying to hit them. He felt himself being shoved, stings sunk into his arm and chest, and he struggled to stay on his feet. He fell to the ground. Sparks were flying, burning motion and plasma filled the air, all of it too much for him to comprehend. The droids might've walked slowly on foot, but that sure didn't apply to their up-close combat capabilities. A few glowing embers hissed, metal clanked, lasers whirled, and then the noise died down as if suddenly bottled up. Luke saw he was surrounded by the fallen forms of the droid-guards. He looked at the power hub, where Aiolin was on her knees, leaning against the doorway, exhausted. Eyes wide, Luke dashed over to her. "You..." He gulped. "You didn't have to do that." Aiolin huffed and kept her head down. Artoo eased away from the shadows of the small room. He made a nervous couple of bleeps. "Wait, what?" said Luke, disconcerted. He looked back down the hallway, and was alarmed to see more black figures slowly marching towards them, armed with the same green-lit weapons. Luke stared from the droid soldiers to Aiolin, then to Artoo. Suddenly Aiolin made a jitter. She brought out the hilt of the electrostaff from her belt, ready to power it on. "Stop!" Luke exclaimed, pushing her hand down. "Forget them! Let's just get out of here!" Grim-faced, Aiolin said nothing as Luke hoisted her up. He began walking with her, holding her arm around his neck. He looked back at Artoo. "Come on!" The droid whistled and followed Luke as he led the way out. Artoo, seeming to have charged up a fair amount in the few minutes he'd had in the power hub, wheeled in front of him, whistling heatedly. The droid-guards, slow-moving as ever, didn't change. They merely trailed behind them at a strolling pace. The corridor ahead was empty. Blue panels illuminated from the ceiling, but it grew more dim the further in. Luke nearly stumbled as Aiolin dragged her feet. He looked behind them every few seconds to see how close the new line of droid-guards were. They were still following them, and they still weren't gaining speed at all. It was far too easy to take this as a sign of safety or advantage, Luke thought. He didn't trust it. He kept up a hurried pace, as hurried as he could manage while still keeping hold of Aiolin. As the glow panels faded and the hall turned darker, Artoo voluntarily beamed a light to show the way. They turned one corner after another, seeing no exits, just more bare, shadowy passages. They finally reached an archway leading into a bright, expansive area with multiple equipment attached to the walls. A wiry stairway led down as the only route. Luke dubiously regarded Aiolin, who's head was leaning on his shoulder as if she was incapable of holding it up. He tightened his hold on her and began to guide her down. Artoo followed, having to keep adjusting his tread-legs as he slogged down the stairs. Aiolin made some groans. She bent her knees, trying to set her boots on the steps to align with Luke's movements. Then she stopped, rooted herself. She was trying to stand. "Don't," Luke told her, even as he struggled to move both her and himself, gripping the railing for support. "You hardly had any time to recharge and you've only expended more energy. You've done enough." Her voice was a thin whisper. "I... I haven't..." Luke shot her a confused, exasperated look. "Could've fooled me." She pushed at him with her elbow, tried to part from him, and Luke awkwardly let her go. Immediately her knees caved and she went limp. Luke caught her right before she tumbled down the stairway. Frowning, he propped her up once again, resisting the temptation to snap at her. "Why not..." Aiolin whispered dully. "Why not use... the Force..." Luke blinked. "For what?" "Fighting... lugging me... around..." An ice-blue eye peered out between her blond hair. "You are... Vader's son after all. The Force is st-strong... with you..." Luke frowned. "Not really." "Simple-minded..." Her face loosened. "You don't know what you... what I... I just want to find Morit. I have to... find the security board... find where... he's being held..." Luke faltered for words. "We... may not be able to. We can't just go back down to the lower levels, with all the droids and guards after us." She said nothing. There was no reaction from her, save for the softest flicker in her eyelids. Luke's chest and stomach tied into knots. "We'll find him," he found himself saying. "Artoo can find a computer port, download a map of the place. We can locate him." He felt a hardness in his throat, barely believing his own words. But he couldn't bring himself to dismiss Aiolin's already-dampened hope. "Let's just keep moving. Come on, try to lift your feet, take it one step at a time..." They continued climbing down, Luke timing their steps together. She tried to straighten her gait, and soon they were making mild progress. At last they reached the bottom floor. Artoo scooted down the surface easily, and Luke and Aiolin walked through the dim quarters below, panels and machines blinking tiny lights. The nearest entrance was a doorless, tunneled entry. Luke guided Aiolin and Artoo into it. It was a dark, silent walk. When the tunnelway ended, they stepped into a vast area, duracrete-walled with maintenance stations, fuel hook-ups, and supply crates. A great wide platform stretched to enormous hatch doors big enough to allow a whole fleet of starships. Luke's heart lifted. "We're in the hangar." He crossed over to the mid-lane, hurrying his pace as he continued sustaining Aiolin. He looked over all the many ships, ships he realized must be something of a collection of Vader's. Some were even in rows like trophies on display. There were the typical monochrome Imperial vessels, TIE fighters, shuttles, assault crafts, a few landspeeders, but there were also models Luke didn't recognize. One in particular stood out, an incredibly smooth, shapely vessel that could've been melted from pure silver, elegant and nothing like all the weaponized ships. Odd choice for him, Luke reflected with a raised eyebrow. He looked towards the docking platforms, almost nonplussed. This was it, he thought. They could fly out of here... Artoo could likely slice into the gravity-locks, bypass the security measures... But Luke looked sideways at Aiolin, who still seemed completely depleted. His teeth dug into his bottom lip. Artoo rushed forward, trilling excitedly, his droid gibberish voicing pretty much everything Luke had been thinking. "I know, but..." Luke sighed after a long pause. "We have to go back." Artoo made some muddled, exasperated groans. "I know, but we have to try, Artoo. Look, just see if you can link up to the security board, find any prisoner files from one of these computers. Maybe he's close by." "Hurry," Aiolin replied, and Luke nearly started at the sound of her voice. "You know there are likely... security scanners... watching us..." Luke eyed her, then eyed Artoo. He gave the droid an anxious nod, and the little astromech wheeled over to a console port, muttering. His retracted arm twisted into the socket. It was only a few seconds before something buzzed behind them: doors opened, followed by clapping footsteps. Luke jerked his head to look back at the side of the tunnelway, which was now shut with a plate of steel. There were two figures, not droids, not red-robed Imperial guards, but stormtroopers. They didn't have the typical white armor, instead theirs was a shining jet-black. They wasted no time and aimed their blaster rifles at them.