Jarus headed swiftly back to his new V-wing. Before long he was hurtling through space, calculating coordinates for Dantooine. Two days later, he was entering orbit at Dantooine.
The big blue and green planet was an agricultural world and was now a place of peace. There was once a Jedi enclave located here. Ruins now, of course, having been destroyed thousands of years ago by an expanding Sith Empire of that day. It seemed an appropriate meeting place.
He set down just outside the ruins and programmed the simple astroary to scan for Bre’ah’s arrival and send her coordinates for landing when she arrived. After two days cooped up, Jarus needed to stretch his legs so he popped the cockpit and hopped down to the grassy earth to enjoy a quiet walk.
As Jarus stretched his cramps away, a beeping came over his cockpit commlink as Bre’ah responded to his coordinate transmission.
A few minutes later Jarus watched as Bra’ah’s ship twisted around and maneuvered in a landing close to his ship.
Her cockpit opened and Bra’ah activated her hatch to her storage compartment. Jumping down she entered her ship’s hull. A few minutes later she strolled out of her ship with a polarized lock box in hand.
“Nice place… If you like roughing it.”
Bre’ah smiled as she handed over the box.
Jarus smiled and took the box. As he examined it, he reached out with the Force in an attempt to ascertain whether whatever was inside resonated with the dark side. “You are brave to have taken such a risk in notifying us. You did the right thing. Thank you, Bre’ah.”
“Thanks.” Bre’ah said.
She watched as Jarus focused on the box. He could sense a definite uneasiness. Focusing the force further he could definitely feel a wealth of hatred and rage. So much so, he found himself having a hard time breaking from it’s influence. It wasn’t looking good for Jarus until he felt the touch of Bre’ah’s hand on his shoulder. He thought he heard her say something but it was the touch that brought him back.
Bre’ah could not miss the look of stark horror in Jarus’ eyes when he looked back at her. He blinked and looked away as he wrestled his emotions back under control.
What had so disturbed him was that he had never felt such powerful, emotional strength before. Not even when he faced the Sith in combat had his resolve or control been shaken.
He reached out and squeezed Bre’ah’s shoulder gently. As a Jedi, he would not indulge in emotional outbursts yet he hoped she understood his admission of gratitude.
“It very nearly had me,” Jarus said in a near-whisper. He shook his head. “Where did you find this?”
Bre’ah still looked a little concerned. She was a little nervous by the looks Jarus had while concentrating on the box. “Well now that’s a funny story….”
Bre’ah waited to see if that feeble attempt at a distraction would work. Unfortunately, all she got was the raised eyebrow from Jarus so she knew she would have to continue.
“Well… It started with that Sith we fought on Tantooine. He originally hired me to pick up a partner of his on …” She muttered a word softly enough Jarus could not hear. “And away we flew. Of course our original point of contact was supposed to be Nar Shaddaa. That changed when I landed. I entered the cargo bay of my ship and…”
Bre’ah’s eyes narrowed a bit.
“I found my passenger dead. He had killed himself with his bare hands. At his feet was this box. I knew it was a Sith thing cause the guy was Sith. I had heard they were extinct but there he was… All bloody on my deck. So, I contact the other guy, told him what happened, he changed plans and told me to go Tantooine. On the way there I guess, well I guess I started feeling like this was all over my head so I contacted the Jedi I knew. And here we are.”
Bre’ah smiled a little as she finished but then looked around her surroundings. She didn’t seem comfortable.
Jarus pressed for more. “You said you knew the man that had killed himself was Sith. How did you know?”
“He looked like a red Sith… You know, the pure bloods, red skin, thingies hanging from his chin…”
Bre’ah looked around again nervously.
“D7! Keep your scans open… I don’t want any surprises.”
Jarus was concerned about Bre’ah’s continued anxiety, but he needed to report some things before he brought back an artifact that could have a disastrous impact on new Jedi. “I need to communicate with the Order before I take this further. But first…” He needed to know what was in that box. Carefully, he opened it.
“WAAAAAIT! Are you sure you wanna do that? I mean, why don’t we look at the ship’s security footage first. I think you might find it interesting? ”
Jarus looked quizzical. “You have security footage? By all means. Let’s have a look at that first.”
Bre’ah lead Jarus to the cockpit of her ship. Once the canopy opened she climbed in and set up the footage on her monitor. Getting it ready, she moved out and let Jarus take her spot.
The footage started with what looked like a brief tour of the cargo bay of the ship. Bre’ah seemed like the good host and showed the cloaked figure around. The footage becomes uneventful so Jarus starts to scan forward. Scanning ahead shows little until a day into it. Now Jarus sees the figure remove his hood and sit at a chair. The box is on the table and all the figure does is star at it. As the hours pass the figure become more agitated. Then he become furious and starts hurling things around in the ship. The footage does show Bre’ah contact the figure from her bridge but the figure destroys the intercom. Finally Jarus witnesses the figure start to tear into his own flesh, screaming in pain and yelling in defiance. The entire time he never opened the box.
“Yep! Just plain horrible.” Bre’ah added as the footage paused.
“And likely something similar might have happened to me if it had trapped my mind,” Jarus said. “But now I know not to reach out with the Force to sense it. That still doesn’t tell us what’s inside. The Sith that tried to stop us on Tattooine called it his “trappings”, whatever that means.” Jarus eyed the box again. It was designed to contain dangerous substances. Clearly it couldn’t block psychic emanations.
He disliked having to contact the Order with so few facts. But something about Bre’ah’s reaction to this thing made him hesitate to open it now. Instead, he went to the ship and activated the holonet transceiver to contact Master S’dunduram.
The holonet scrambled for a bit until Jarus could finally make out the image of Master S’duduram. “Yes Jarus. How goes your mission?”
“The artifact has been secured, but there is new information I need to give you before I bring it to the Order. First is that there are Sith around, one still alive. We were attacked on Tattooine and there can be no mistaking he drew upon the dark side. He was also Massassi or Kissai – one of the true Sith. He claimed this box held his raiments.
“However, there was another. A passenger of Captain Bre’ah’s that had this box. Holocams record him meditating upon the box, then apparently going insane. He tore himself to pieces.”
Jarus frowned. “And I know why. What I sense in this box is a palpable evil, master. It is a trap for the mind, one that would have had done the same to me had Bre’ah not intervened. It may be more than that, but that is only speculation. I am concerned that bringing this to the academy may be a deadly mistake for whoever investigates it or is corrupted by it.”
“I trust your assessment of this item and agree that until we know more about it, it should not be brought here for investigation.” Master S’duduram rubbed his chin in contemplation. Jarus knew this was a sign that his former master was about to do something against the rules.
“I will… hold off on my report until we figure out what the exact nature of that item is. May I suggest you have someone who is not force sensitive, open the case and have them examine it. It could only be harmful to those who embrace the force, for light or dark.”
Jarus nodded. “And of the Sith on Tattooine? We thought this race extinct, their order wiped out. The reappearance of two of them so suddenly does not bode well.”
S’duduram nodded, “I sense the Sith you encountered will cross paths with you again so be on guard. However, I am not quickly convinced he is of true blood. I feel there is more to it than that. However, it sounds as if he has trained in the ways of the dark side. Either way I sense it’s good he does not have the item. As soon as we figure out what’s in that box, it may reveal more on this do called Sith.”
Jarus said, “Agreed, master. I will contact you again once we know more.”
After signing off on the call, Jarus turned toward Bre’ah. He knew she would have heard Master S’duduram’s recommendation they have someone that wasn’t Force sensitive open the box, but he was hesitant to ask. She’d already been in much danger and he disliked asking someone to do something he could not.
Bre’ah waited till Jarus looked ready. Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes. As she opened the box she peaked with one eye as the containment gases released with a hiss.
Looking into it Be’ah took care to catch a gaze of whatever evil thing lay, hopefully sleeping, in this box. A sudden drop of shoulders and a look of disappointment followed as she suddenly pulled out a holocron. “It’s just a gloat box! Great! A box within a box… I should have figured…”
Jarus had recognized the holocron when he saw it. “Actually, Captain, what you have is a piece of technology that contains in crystal form the sum of experiences and knowledge of at least one, and possibly more, masters of the dark side of the Force. This artifact may, all on its own, be capable of resurrecting an entire Sith Order from oblivion.” Jarus was dead serious; he did not seem to be exaggerating.
“But. It activates only for those sensitive to the Force. I suspect a powerful will is resident there.”
Bre’ah stood there letting the information sink in… A number of expressions danced on her face as she started to comprehend the item in her hands. A look of excitement dominated but then a sudden realization took hold and she looked defeated.
“I’m not gonna get paid for this, am…”
Her words trailed as she turned the holocron over and noticed something weird. “Hey do these things come with buttons?”
As she spoke the words she instinctively went to push it.
“I would not do that,” Jarus said. When she stopped to look at him, he added, “They don’t usually come with buttons. We know it will trap the minds of Force users, so why not now a trap for creative individuals wanting to see what a button does? We need a droid for this, not a living volunteer.”
Her finger moved away quickly, almost making her drop it. Taking a breath she looked back towards her ship. “D7!” She commanded.
With a few seconds, the antique of a droid rolled out to Bre’ah.
Brea’ah gave it instructions to push the button when they were at a safe distance.
D7 acknowledged with a few beeps and whistles. Moving away from the little droid Jarus and Bre’ah watched as the command was given. The little robotic claw pushed the button. A whining notice emitted from the device and suddenly the outside split open to reveal something inside.
The event seemed a bit lack lust and Bre’ah was about to announce her relief when she noticed Jarus was not okay.
Jarus could feel the screams of anger and pain as the device opened. So much so, he was paralyzed trying to defend himself from the dark energy that swirled about. Just when Jarus thought he had the strength to tell them to shut the device, it stopped!
Jarus could no longer feel any dark force influences in the area.
Bre’ah looked him in the eyes, “Are you okay?”
Jarus looked around, tentatively reaching out with his senses to see if some dark presence had now been unleashed upon them and was lurking in the area. But there was nothing.
“It… is gone.” He was confused. “But where….”
Bre’ah was about to answer Jarus but was interrupted by D7’s beeps. “What is it D7? ”
Moving closer to D7 they could tell it wasn’t a Sith holocron, but instead, a Jedi holocron. Of course, Bre ‘ah was getting frustrated. All this anticipation for yet, another box!
“I don’t get it?”
Jarus looked surprised. “Maybe it holds information Sith would not want to fall into Jedi hands, so they did something to make Jedi want nothing to do with it. If it is a Jedi holocron, then a Jedi should be able to access it.” He reached out to pluck the box from the droid’s grippers.
Easily the small device floated to Jarus’s hand. No sense of uneasiness came over him. In fact he felt at peace.
Encouraged, he searched for a way to connect with it. Most such devices didn’t require a telepathic contact, since many Jedi could not perform that particular feat. But he nonetheless sent a mental inquiry venturing toward it even as he examined it with Jedi senses.
Suddenly, Jarus saw the image of a Jedi calling himself Jedi Master Kao Cen Darach. He starts to go into detail about finding a rare crystal that gave the light saber an edge in battle. A map suddenly appears as the master Jedi speaks of it’s location and how this one deposit may be the only one on the entire planet. The crystal is fickle and hard to manipulate, but if done correctly allows for a swifter blade and a unique quality that has yet to be explored.
The rest if the hologram shows locations and detailed directions on how to mine and manipulate the crystal for saber use.
Jarus considered the information. The crystal certainly seemed valuable. But was it so valuable that a Sith would go to extraordinary lengths to hide the information and risk exposure?
He tested to see if there was any other information to be found within the holocron and noted the planet the map was for was named Korriban.
Jarus used the force and found that this was exactly what it seemed to be. “So a crystal huh? That sounds like it could be worth a credit or two?” It was obvious Bre’ah had no clue to what the holocron was informing them on.
“Jedi rarely put a price on something like this,” he explained. “A crystal such as the one discussed in this holocron is very rare and very curious. But for it to be really useful, it must be attuned by someone skilled in the Force. Collectors might find it valuable — if it was connected to someone famous. Unfortunately, only one Jedi seemed to have ever worked with it, and it would only be his lightsaber that would be valuable to collectors.” He looked sympathetic, though. “I’m sorry Bre’ah. This might not be the kind of reward you were hoping for. If I could, I’d pay you very well for the risk you’ve taken and because doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing.”
He looked at her. “But I can offer you one of two things. I could put a word in for you with the Order. They could pass the hat around for you so to speak.”
Bre’ah waited, then prompted him with, “Or?”
“Or you consider this an investment in me. We go to Korriban together take a look around. You watch my back, I keep us safe, and quite often these caves hold many more gems than just crystals useful in lightsabers. In fact, I’d say those suitable for use by Jedi are by far in the minority…” He smiled and raised an eyebrow, wondering if he’d hooked her interest yet.
Bre’ah thought about what Jarus said. “Okay, I should tell you that the Sith that killed himself in my ship… Well… I picked him up on Korriban. He was alone and just there in the middle if the desert… Yes kinda weird… But, the job was paying fifty thousand so it was hard to say no.”
Bre’ah turned and walked over to D7. “I have enough to either get my registration with the GTA… OR, fix the damage that bantha poodo did to my ship… Just not both. So, I’ll go with you and see if we can make this profitable for both of us.”
Walking up to Jarus she tilted her head and smiled. “Looks like you got a partner!”
For some reason, Jarus’ spirit rose and he felt more excited about the trip. He smiled at her. “Good.” He looked back at the two starships parked side by side. “Korriban is a bit of a journey from here and it seems … inefficient to take separate ships. You’d be welcome to come aboard mine. It’s small but can accommodate two …”
Bre’ah looked over Jarus’s shoulder to see the sleek design if the v-wing. “Only if I can drive.” She smiled giving as much cuteness as her presence could muster.
Jarus’ smile broadened. “Then it’s agreed.” He hopped onto the sharply angled wing, then turned to give her a hand, but she was already there peering eagerly into the cockpit.
After she sent her droid to lock down and look after her own ship, Jarus watched from the gunner’s side seat as Bre’ah climbed into the pilot seat next to him. He had a feeling that he didn’t have to tell her a thing. He watched as she rapidly figured out the controls and he settled back to enjoy the ride. This was going to be a very pleasant trip, he decided.