Dooku was on his way to Achilleas in a private shuttle when he had received the distress signal.
A signal from an old derelict ship over the hostile planet LV-426 had caught his attention, so they slowed from their primary destination to explore the possibility of a rescue.
"Pilot Inkari, have you deciphered the distress call?" Dooku entered the cockpit of the shuttle.
"Yes, Master Dooku. It's an old freighter that has lost much power. Scans show that the engines are offline, the power couplings are shutting down and the life support is failing....though...."
Audrey Inkari blushed and didn't finish her statement. Dooku looked at her patiently
"Yes? What seems to be the trouble?"
Audrey was once Master Windu's padawan, a shy, clumsy girl with low connection to the Force. But the strict Jedi leader of the Council had little patience for her. She was eventually dropped from the Padawan classes, dropped from Mace's tutelage and now performed menial tasks for the Jedi temple, such as piloting and maintennce. Her confidence in front of other Jedi had been shattered.
A few persons took special attention to her. Asajj Ventress had become a dear friend, and Master Dooku had put her piloting skills to good use, always building her up when he could.
"Well, Master, this shuttle has been out of service in the Republic for decades. It's practically an antique. I....I don't think there would be any living people on board. They must have abandoned ship long ago."
"And yet, there is a distress call. Somebody must be there. Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Dooku hid a small grin. The taste of adventure in this dull mission fancied him, and his curiosity got the better of him.
"The orbit has been decaying all this time. It will not be long now before the freighter burns up in the atmosphere." Inkari reported.
"See if you can line up with the freighter and connect us to one of their aft ports." Dooku walked calmly to the belly of the shuttle, to a portal normally only safe to open after landing, in a stable atmosphere.
"Master Dooku, I don't think I am that good of a pilot." Inkari meakly protested with concern. "Connecting with this older model in an unstable orbit, I would be doing a lot of guessing, bad math calculations....I'd hate to cause damage to the shuttle or bring you to a harmful conclusion."
"A harmful conclusion?" Dooku raised an eyebrow at her choice of words. He almost smirked at her. "You are a fine pilot, Audrey. Stop listening to Master Windu. Trust your instincts. I know you can connect us. As for my 'conclusion'....I've been in worse situations. I've made decisions that were much more foolish than what I am about to do. But, I appreciate the concern."
Inkari steered the ship, lined it up with the freighter, closed her eyes and tried to feel her ship connecting the freighter.
After a few moments, the ship bounced and jolted, but the portals were linked.
"You see, my child? You did it!" Dooku waved his hand and opened the portals. He crawled through to the frieghter as Audrey breathed a sigh of relief.
"That went better than I thought." She smiled.
Dooku entered a dimly lit service area where the portal resided. He brushed off some dirt from his cloak and walked through the corridor.
It was simply quiet, only the echoes of his footsteps keeping him focused. He sensed that there was death on the ship, but also that something stirring near the bridge.
It was getting colder, and he could see his breath.
"Is someone there?" A tinny voice broke from the shadows. Dooku made out two glowing yellow eyes.
"Oh, Thank the Maker! You're here to rescue us!"
A golden protocol droid scampered towards him. "I am C3PO, human-cyborg relations. Oh this is a relief! We've been stranded here for such a long time!"
"There are other survivors?" Dooku inquired with skepticism.
The droid, C3PO, looked at him, hesitating. "Come to think of it, I....I don't know. I've been shuffling in this corridor, but I have not seen any of the crew."
"Lifepods have been ejected. They may have abandoned you."
C3PO looked around and considered the possibility with a sigh. "You are probably right. I was merely being hopeful that we might find some of the crew here. I guess they left me behind."
Dooku marched to the bridge and opened the door with a wave of his hand. He found some of the crew in various states of decay. He grimaced a little at what looked like a violent blaster fight.
"Looks like there was a mutiny of some kind." He deduced.
"Oh! Did you find some of the crew?" C3PO enetered and looked around at the carnage.
"What happened on this ship?" Dooku turned to him.
"I'm not entirely sure. I remember a firefight broke out. I think some of the crew became a bit....hysterical. I hid in an office locker until the noises stopped. I've been wandering ever since."
"You didn't notice the dead crew?" Dooku marched back to the portal. C3PO shuffled fast, barely keeping up.
"I guess I was so busy sending an emergency distress signal....I think my system needs a diagnostics check. I'm not functioning at 100% capacity, I'm afraid."
"Well, I know just the person who an help you. Can you climb?"
"Climb? I'm not exactly built for adventure!"
Dooku waved C3PO forward under the portal and allowed the Force to boost the droid up into his shuttle.
"Audrey! We have one survivor in need of a diagnostic check. Try to accommodate him, please." Dooku called up on his comlink.
Audrey hooked up C3PO to the ships computer and a small Gonk droid that is normally assigned to the shuttle.
"Don't worry. You'll feel better in no time!" She smiled at the droid.
"Why, thank you." the droid was utterly surprised at the kind treatment he was getting. The computer was checking over his programming systems while the Gonk examined his physical needs for maintenance.
Dooku went back down into the ship to access a computer for more information. Though he was able to download the ships log and gather some important files, his thoughts were interrupted by a shaking that started to strain the hull.
"The ship is losing its orbit. We really need to disconnect soon!" Inkari reported
"Understood!" Dooku was able to download multiple files and what looked to be special weapons specs, and sensitive files concerning Planetoid LV-426 and the crew's mission here. He raised an eyebrow as to why such confidential material would be on an old wreck of a ship like this, but he grabbed up all the material. Someone else would make sense of it later.
He exited the computer station and made his way back to the portal connecting the ships.
He quickly lifted himself back to his shuttle and closed the hatches.
"Disengage us from the freighter quickly!" He called out to Audrey.
Several clanking noises indicated the ejection away from the other ship.
"We're clear!" Audrey replied. "Should I contact the authorities on Achilleas?"
"Just inform them we had a slight detour, but we will make the rendez-vous." Dooku went to C3PO.
"We will be making the jump to hyperspace soon, I suggest you make yourself comfortable."
"Where are you destined, Sir?"
"We are on a diplomatic mission to Achilleas. A minor one, securing some treaties and logistical details between them and other worlds of the Republic. Nothing that will take more than a day or two. And you may call me Master Dooku. I'm with the Jedi Order."
C3PO almost dropped his oil load at the tremendous announcement
"A JEDI?? Well....I am...I am honored you came by at the right time. I am eternally grateful for your rescue! I will do everything in my power to be of service to you!"
Dooku waved off his praise modestly.
"Worry about that later. I will seat myself in my private compartment of the shuttle. You should recover from your ordeal. Afterwards, when we have time....I should like to examine you and the mission of your ship and crew. It seems your orbit around LV-426 was of great importance to several business factions. I am not entirely certain it is important, but I am curious."
Dooku went to another part of the shuttle as Audrey launched into hyperspace. C3PO settled in for a safe and relaxing trip to Planet Achilleas, oblivious to the notions Dooku pondered with concern. What was his mission? C3PO couldn't remember, nor did he care. He was simply satisfied with his situation, and looked forward to serving Dooku for hopefully many years to come, just as he did for the freighter formerly employed by Nute Gunray and the Trade Federation.