Jarus Harlek was no longer a Palawan to Master Sdundur’am . He was now a Jedi Knight. The order was still small but with the leadership and direction of Master Skywalker, it looked like the Jedi would once again be a force for good in the universe.
Jarus looked forward to his visit from his other Jedi trainer. The visits from his Jedi ancestor, taught him more about the balance of self and he was eager to find out what the training would entail now that he was a recognized Jedi knight. Unfortunately for Jarus, his plans would have to wait.
“Pardon me Master Jarus”, the young Twi’lek padawan bowed. But I have an urgent message from Master Sdundur’am. He wishes your council immediately in the west archives, sub-level eight.”
The pale Jedi angled his head in thanks to the young woman. It was inspiring to see youths in the halls of this … temple, this place of learning. Not that he wasn’t quite young, himself. But since his trials, he didn’t feel or think like a child anymore. It was not a luxury he could afford, nor could anyone adept in the Force.
Jarus swept down the hall, long, measured strides seeming slow and studied, but he covered ground rapidly until he arrived at the lift.
“Sub-level eight,” he said softly. A female, mechanical voice answered him and the elevator sent him plummeting smoothly nearly a hundred feet down into the earth. It seemed that Master Sdundur’am either wanted a guarantee of privacy, or had found something very interesting in the archive’s deepest corners.
The lift came to a rapid halt and Jarus exited. The west archives were to the left, east archives directly to the right of the centrally located lift. He turned left and continued making his way until he arrived at heavy bulkhead doors. He placed his right hand on top of a scanner and spoke a code before the massive doors would slide noiselessly aside.
Entering the large room, Jarus was always amazed at just how little space was need to for the actual archive. The vaulted ceilings disappeared into shadow and the only thing giving any clue to the rooms purpose was a large center table. This round table had a number of chairs sitting around it with data terminals built in. Around the table were computer banks and surviving busts and memorabilia of Jedi history, that is what was remaining.
At the far end of the table sat Master Sdundur’am. Seeing his former Padawan, he motioned with his hand and nodded, Good… You have arrived at the perfect moment. There is a mission I have recommended you for. I hope you do not mind?”
“Not at all Master Sdundur’am,” Jarus said. He wondered if this remote location for the meeting was for secrecy or if this archive held something relevant to the task Sdundur’am had in mind.
“It seems we have a possible situation on Tatooine.” Jarus looked concered and glanced at what Master Sdundur’am had up on his holo screen. Jarus could have sworn he saw documents baring the old symbol of the empire. But just as he tried to get a better look, Sdundur’am turned the viewer off. At the same time as he cleared his throat he stood and began to walk down a long hallway taking them to the duty areas.
“It seems that we may have a Sith artifact in the hands of a merchant and we are not sure if she knows what it is. If she doesn’t, you are to procure this item so that it may be felt with correctly. If she does know it’s value, you are still to procure it… It just might be a little more difficult for you.” The middle-aged Bothan stopped and looked at Jarus with concerned eye. “Remember what I taught you and you will succeed in this mission Jarus.”
Jarus thought for a moment, then said, “You once said that the Force tends to guide those who listen. If this is a Sith artifact, then it may already be guiding those who would listen to the dark side, drawing them to itself. Even if the artifact is not self-aware, it could be as simple as a magnet drawing iron.” He looked back at Sdundur’am. “I sense this mission will not be a simple errand.” He smiled. “Of course I will rise to the challenge, Master Sdundur’am.”
“I know you will. A ship will be ready for you.” Master Sdundur’am placed his hand on Jarus’s shoulder, “May the force be with you.”
“And with you.” Knowing the meeting to have concluded, Jarus turned and headed back to the lift. Sdundur’am would have sent details such as spaceport and description of the merchant on Tattooine sent ahead to the waiting ship, but Jarus suspected there was more to this. For example, where did this information come from? How had Sdundur’am come across it? What had he been looking for? But it was the Jedi way to let the investigator start with an unbiased perspective.
When the lift door opened, Jarus stepped out and made his silent way across the broad, tall atrium with hands folded behind his back and his eyes intent but focused inward. Dark green robes swept the floor as he went as his lightsaber hung heavily at his side. The hilt was heavy, twice the size of any other lightsaber carried by Jedi in the galaxy. It was a double-saber, one that would ignite a laser blade from each end of the hilt.
The Jedi Council had initially rejected his request to design such a weapon. They had felt it a symbol of aggression, once wielded by a deadly Sith lord more than half a century ago. But Jarus felt very differently about it. To him it was a symbol of truth, for the truth would cut both the wielder and the opponent if mishandled.
The double saber could not be wielded to its full potential and be treated as a normal saber. Doing so was likely to cost the wielder his own legs or even his head. The Jedi Council deemed it too dangerous for any but the most experienced saber duelists, those most aware of every movement and know the weapon as a part of their own body. In such hands it was a powerful weapon for defense due to the superior reach and speed at which the blades could move. Every Jedi had to master the standard saber first, yet the double saber had nothing in common, not any stance or movement or sequence, with any of the lightsaber forms known by the Jedi at this time.
Yet it was the standard weapon of the Jedi Defender, an ancient tradition Jarus knew to be at least three thousand years old. No Jedi alive knew the techniques to master it, save for Jarus himself. Not even his old master Sdundur’am knew how Jarus had mastered the weapon. Yet he could see that Jarus had tamed it and transformed the dangerous weapon into an effective tool for defense. Sdundur’am had vouched for Jarus and stood behind the request. Thus the council had permitted Jarus to wield it.
It was a heavy responsibility. He’d trained for hours when he should have been sleeping, tirelessly working to master the double saber under the quiet tutelage of a long-dead Jedi master. He still did.
Jarus stopped. He had arrived at the space port.
The breeze from the day swept through the large horizontal opening in the hanger bay. A technician approached Jarus, “Master Jarus… This way sir. Your ship is ready.”
Jarus nodded and followed him to a ship Jarus had heard about but had not seen.
“You’re lucky sir!” The technician bolted.
“They just started producing these…”
Jarus looked at the new V-Wing fighter. It was designed with similar engines from the Y-Wing design, but swept forward and minted to a sleeker hull design.
“Sorry for the lack of an astromech droid sir. We’ve made sure to install an astroary aboard to help with flight and navigation if needed.”
Jarus smiled his appreciation. In truth he was a very good pilot himself; he always felt a Jedi should be self-sufficient and so had taken care to learn well the intricacies of space flight. His training gave him an appreciation for the effort and technology that went into starship design.
“Will the astroary serve as navicomp?” Jarus asked. “I will need to make some considerably long hyperspace jumps.”
“Oh yes!” The technician blurted out.
Catching his excitement he continued, “Astroary is just a temporary replacement for an astromech droid. It’s basically the droid but without the ability to independently move around. It’s part of the ship. It will give you all the advantages of having the droid during space flight. Do you have any other questions?”
“The design seems similar to the Y-Wing, but I’ve never seen it before. What can you tell me about it?” Jarus asked.
The look on the tech’s face lit up…
“We’ll let me tell you… This ship was made for you! It’s perfect for solo missions. It has an advanced engine design, taken from the reliable T-300XF light engines you find on your classic Y-Wing fighter… This means greater distance and speed. Also, with the sleek hull design and forward swept engine mounts… Heh! Well let’s just say the maneuverability can make a veteran ‘s stomach turn.
“Armaments are your standard hull boasters and ion rays, but you also get a bonus!” The tech leaned in as if to give this last bit if information in secret. “You also have a rear mounted ion mine spreader…” The technician was so happy with that little rid bit, in his excitement he lightly slaps Jarus across the shoulder.
Jarus smiled indulgently and nodded appreciatively. “It does sound like a remarkable machine. Is she a prototype?”
“Nope! But there are only a handful out there. They’re very new.”
“Well then I won’t be shy about putting her through her paces. Thank you, Technician Gibbs.” He walked up to the ship and climbed the ladder to the cockpit, then climbed inside. After taking a careful look around to familiarize himself with the controls, he powered up the engines.
Moments later he was hurtling through space, leaving the planet behind. He sampled the acceleration and handling, even executing a smooth barrel roll or two. Hopefully, there wouldn’t be any excitement regarding space combat, but it was good to know what he could do with the tools given to him.
Finally, Jarus ordered the onboard astroary computer to calculate the jump to hyperspace. It took only a few minutes and then the ship surged to hyper-light speeds as stars stretched into white lines all around him and then disappeared.
With little else to do, he sat back in the command chair and began to peruse whatever other mission details Master Sdundur’am might have sent along.
As soon as the ship had achieved light speed a small holoimiter presented the presence of Master Sdunder’am. “Greetings. I’ve included a holo recording of your contact on Tantooine. This is all we have to go on so don’t be too disappointed if this just turns out to be a trap.” Sdunder’am grinned a bit.
The image of Jarus ‘s former master disappeared and the image of a female Dathomirian appeared. “Hello Sdunder’am. Not sure if you remember me… The names Captain Bre’ah? We helped each other out about five years ago? Anyway, wasn’t sure who else to call but I have stumbled upon an artifact that has Sith written all over it. Thought you might like a crack at it before the nasties find out about it and come looking for it. I’m on Tantooine… I’ll be at the Sway Dune. Don’t take too long.”
The transmission ends abruptly and Master Sdunder’am appears again.
“That’s all we have. I don’t recognize her but you did help a group of Dathomirans around five years ago escape some slavers. Anyway, be safe and may the force be with you.”
The transmission ends.
Jarus sat back and allowed himself a smile. He remembered Bre’ah, and also remembered thinking at the time that Dathomiran women took very good care of themselves. He rewound the recording to take another look at the woman to see how she’d changed over the past five years.
Dathomiran’s usually showed very little interest in the galaxy beyond their home planet. Dathomir was a place where many of the women were Force sensitive and much of their world was tribal in social structure. Some of the Force users, the Force witches, seemed to follow a very feminist philosophy and a few had succumbed to the temptation of the dark side, the Nightsisters. However, nothing had been heard of from any Nightsister in the past five years and it was thought they never recovered from the defeat Grand Master Skywalker gave them many years ago.
Bre’ah was different. She’d evidently gained an interest in seeing the galaxy, despite that unfortunate experience with the slavers. Or maybe because of it.
Jarus settled back into his seat to meditate. Some time later, his ship shot back into normal space and he found himself hanging over the desert planet of Tattooine, its twin stars glaring down upon the world and Jarus with baleful heat. He guided his ship down to Mos Isley Spaceport. It was a rough town, but there was no other fully functioning spaceport on the planet. If Bre’ah was anywhere, it would be here at a saloon called the Sway Dune.
The space port was busy but a hanger was made available for Jarus.
The streets were crowded and bustling with venders and vagabonds. One sometimes wondered how any order was maintained but then all you had to do was remind yourself on the cruelty of a Hutt.
Asking around and catching a few pick-pockets Jarus finally got directions to this saloon called the Sway Dune. It turned out to be quite the hike for the establishment was located on the outskirts of Mos Isley.
Like most architecture on this desert world, most of the dwelling was underground. The entrance seemed to be little more than a small stone tomb.
Entering the Sway Dune was interesting with the circular stairs down. Sometimes it became quite a challenge squeezing past patrons who were leaving. Finally Jarus finds himself standing at the entrance to a large room filled with drinking, drugs, gambling, flirtations, and even a few fights. The space was big enough that no ones dealings seemed to interfere with one another.