When the Naboo sun was at its highest point in the sky everyone took a break. CM and R2 took it as a chance to have some fun and started chasing each other playing some kind of complicated form of tag.
Everyone stopped to watch the two droids and started laughing. Esoom and Padme at the same time told them to be careful and not to wonder to far away. The Handmaiden and the Hammerhead both looked at each other and laughed some more. Slowly everyone stopped laughing and went back to eating or talking.
R2 and CM chased each other into the forest not realizing how far they went. Soon they were far away from the group and came to the edge of a huge marsh. R2 stopped suddenly and let out a loud whistle. CM not able to stop in time ran right into R2-D2. The marsh was so covered with algee that you could have mistaken it for a grass clearing, and it seem that is what one of the C-9979 landing ships thought too.
The craft was stuck in the thick mud of the marsh slightly tilting to the left; the strangest part was that the repulsers for the wings were still working because even with the ship tilted the wings were still straight to the body. R2 whistled to CM to come with him for a closer look. CM did not like the idea at all and said they should head back. R2 beeped back that he was going to look anyway. The blue little droid then started to wheel around the edge of the marsh, the brown one eventually followed behind. When they both could see the backside of the ship CM let out a shrill of disbelief, there in the marsh not 3 feet away from the back of the ship was one of the endangered plants he was support to keep an eye out for. It was mostly uprooted and up out of the water from the mud being displaced by the ship, and a large lubricant leak could be seen coming from the ship that had encircling it. R2 being R2 quickly deployed his leg boosters and flew over to where the plant was, he tried to get close but his rockets kept displacing the water and threatened to splash up on the plant or set the oil on fire. Finally R2 had to give up seeing that the plant would come to more harm if he came any closer, so he came back and landed next to CM letting out a sharp blat in disgust that he was not able to do anything. CM then let out a sharp whistle and deployed his new custom-made repulser lifts where his leg boosters have been. He hovered slowly over to the plant; his repulsers barely vibrated the water and were in no danger of setting the oil on fire. CM then deployed one of his new gadgets from his left side long door, four small arms came out with different shaped metal ends that when they came together formed a small but effective shovel. The brown droid then slowly and carefully scooped up the plant from underneath then carried it back to were R2 was watching in disbelief. They then both started to continue around the swamp when all of the sudden a red shouldered security droid popped out from behind a bush.
“Halt! Stay were you are!” The OOM series droid spat while holding a blaster in their direction.
The two astromechs stood still but beeped to each other in despair as another three security battle droids came into view.
“Follow us you stupid little astro droids” the same droid said.
The astromechs started to follow with the one battle droid in front and three in the back, they continued to round the swamp almost to the point were the two mechs started at when one of the Secutury droids told CM to drop the plant and move faster. CM pretended he did not hear and continued to roll along at a slow pace as to keep the plant from falling over.
The same battle droid then screeched “I said drop it! Or I will blast you right here”
R2 then spun his dome around towards the security droid in question and zapped the blaster out of the droids hands with his tazzer like extension that came out of one of the pie panels in the top of his dome. The security droid next to that one took the butt of his gun and smashed R2’s zapper till it stopped working then pointed the gun straight at the center of his dome and said freeze. CM tried to move out of the way when the other two droids took aim on the plant in his care.
“Drop the plant or we will blast you and it!” The one up front cackled. CM shook his dome back and forth in a no direction refusing to let the plant go.
“Fine! Have it your way!” The OOM series droid said as it trained its blaster on CM.
CM spun around trying to shield the plant from the blaster fire that was about to come. CM shook when he heard the blaster fire only to see the Security droids head tumble in front of him. More blaster fire rang out and then all was quiet. R2 and CM looked around to see that the droids that were about to destroy them now lay in pieces on the ground instead.
“Are you two ok!” Two familiar voices said.
The two droids could tell instantly who they were, there not more than twenty feet away stood Padme and Esoom with two Naboo security guards on either side of them. The two astromechs rushed over to their respective friends and stopped in front of them.
“R2-D2 you are damaged! Will you be ok?” Padme exclaimed as she knelt in front of him, resting her hands on his shoulders. R2 just whistled confidently that he was all right and would be just fine.
Esoom made sure R2-CM was not damaged and then asked the scared little droid what was in his scooper.
Padme looked over at the plant and her eyes widened, “That is one of the rarest Flowers in these swamp areas! You two are the first ones to find one still alive after the Trade Federation ravaged this area!”
Esoom then said ”None of your personnel have checked this area yet Padme?”
“Not as yet Esoom, we had no idea the Trade Federation landed any craft this far back.”
CM then told Padme about the leak coming from the landing ship and how it might further harm the marsh.
“Padme?” Esoom said turning to face the Handmaiden “This ship looks as if it can still fly, we could board the vessel; fix the leak and fly it over to were all the other ones are.”
“That is a very risky proposition, what if there are still active droids in there? Plus it would be very difficult to fly without getting some more pilots here." She said in a stern voice that made Esoom think he still knew her from some place else.
“My lady I fear that by the time more security and pilots come this marsh will be total devastated by the leak.”
“Very true” Padme said and told one of the security officers to go back and radio for more support.
Esoom then went and took one of the downed battle droids guns and said he was ready.
“I thought Ithorians don’t believe in guns Esoom? What do you think your doing?"
“ I think the Queen would be most displeased if her Astromech or her handmaiden would come to harm.” He said looking down at her, a small smile stared to creep along his mouths, “ I would go as far to say the Queen would not be able to go on if you were to die.”
Padme’s eyes flashed at him as she relised that Esoom knew who she really was. “This is a discussion that is better left for another time, I'm sure the Queen has much faith in you.”
She then shoot Esoom a glare that wiped the smiles from his face.
“I understand young handmaiden” Esoom said as he turned to face the craft.
“ It is kind of funny how the ship looks a little like you Esoom.” Padme chuckled to ease the tension.
Esoom looked at the ship again and had to admit there was a resemblance. R2 and CM both whistles in agreement.
Slowly all five of them crossed the muddy marsh, except that R2 and CM flew over to the foot ramp.
CM found a small open container just inside and gently placed the rare plant inside it. When the other three made it across they kicked and scraped the mud off their feet then proceeded inside the huge deployment area. R2 from somewhere inside turned on the overhead lights and they all then proceeded to the rear of the ship were the deployment ramp for the MTTs and the AATs was. They all got on the lift and R2 started them on their rise to the upper level. Weapons at the ready they came to the top of the lift. They quietly peered around the corner to look down the length of the rear right wing. Empty! All the AATs were gone as were the MTTs in the left rear wing. They then proceeded to walk towards the front of the ship threw the MMT staging area. They then again checked down both of the wing to find nothing but empty space in both of them. They then backtracked a bit to find an access hatch that led up to the Control center of the ship. R2 found another port and quietly opened the access hatch in the ceiling to that area. The two droids flew up into the hatch as the other 3 climbed up and into the control center.
Once there they could hear the clanking of metal feet on the metal floor. The area was not well lit but shapes could be made out from what little light there was. Battle droids, but none of them had guns from what they could tell, so they must be just Pilot battle droids. The three of them rushed in as R2 turned on the lights. CM stood by the hatch as to not let any droids by. The Blue shouldered Pilot droids threw their arms up instantly the moment they say the blasters pointed at them.
Padme went up to the nearest one and stuck her blasters tip against its chest. “What are you doing here! Why are you leaking oil into this marsh!”
The battle droid took a step back in terror, “We were trying to get away, and the marsh vegetation had grown around the landing gear so we could not break free. We started the spill to kill off the vegetation”
Esoom then stepped forward and said, “Well if you still want to be functioning long enough to see tomorrow I suggest you shut that leak off now!”
“Yes sir.” one of the pilots said hurriedly as it turned around and clicked a few buttons; “The leak has been stopped.”
Padme then said loudly for all to hear, “The Trade Federation is finished there is no way for you to leave this system and no one is coming to save you, so I suggest that we should help each other. If you help us get this ship out of this marsh and land it by the other landing ships safely I promise that we will not blast you into a million pieces.”
The blue shouldered battle droids looked at each other all at the same time and said “Roger! Roger!” They walked over to their operation stations and proceeded to bring the craft to full power.
R2-CM let out a groan. Esoom told the droid not to worry; they would not be flying far.
R2-D2 just chuckled and went to one of the empty stations and plugged in to help out. The ship slowly lurched as it tried to tear itself free from the remaining vines. R2 adjusted the forward and rear stabilizers and the ship started to level itself out. The immense winged craft then rose up into the air above the trees and slowly moved forward heading towards where the rest of the party was still working.
As the transport reached the other clearing the rest of the group on the ground looked up in amazement. If the other Naboo security guard that was sent back to call for reinforcements did not tell the other group what was going on they would have surly ran in terror.
After the ship nestled itself in the soft green grass the pilot droids powered the ship back down and awaited future orders.
“Now that you have kept your part of the bargain I will keep mine.” Padme said and turned to R2-D2 “R2, weld these pilot droids feet to the deck before we disembark to make sure they don’t make a run for it. I then want you to stand guard over them while we go outside to talk to the rest of the group.’
The battle droids protested as R2 tacked there feet to the floor but showed no resistance once a blaster was aimed at their heads. While that was going on R2-CM went back down to check on the rare plant he had left by the now closed foot ramp. He was happy to see that nothing had happened to it. Then once again with his new shovel attachment he picked up the plant with it still in the small container. As soon as the doors of the craft started to opened he went down the ramp and towards the group chirping happily to himself about the good job he had done. When he was half way between the group and the ship a blaster bolt ripped threw the plant and set it ablaze. CM in disbelief spun around screaming looking for where the shot came from. Esoom and Padme had reached the foot ramp by that time confused about what was happening. Then without warning a quick double shot rang out and R2-CM was hit dead on. The small little brown droid made a squeal that made everyone within hearing range wince in pain.
Esoom Mendo stood there on the ramp not believing what he just saw.”R2-CM no! Oh no! CM!” The Ithorian screamed out making Padme’s ears ring. “Oh by Mother jungle this can’t be happening!”
What was left of the now smoking brown astromech fell over and laid motionless in the still grass.
It’s not over yet.....