Just as Jarus settled he felt the ship lurch forward as she hit it full throttle out if the atmosphere. At first he started to question his first thoughts on her abilities, but then realized she knew exactly what she was doing. In fact, as he watched her bank for a good jump point he started to learn a bit more on the ship’s maneuvering capabilities… As she programmed the coordinates for Korriban, she broke the silence, “Sorry, that’s what happens when you give a transport driver a fighter…” She turned her attention back to the stars as the ship jumped.
Korriban was a good two days and the time was spent sharing stories.
Jarus learned that Bre’ah fell on with a couple of transport captains and learned the ropes from them. That was also when they discovered she had a natural talent for flying. It wasn’t long before she flew them around.
He shared in kind. He’d grown up with his family on the planet Thustra. His grand mother had been something of a Jedi refugee from before the old Republic became the Empire. She was a full blood Arkanian but had found an unexpected compatibility among the local race known as the Sephi. This genetic mixing is what he had inherited to give him such white skin and hair. This was common when Arkanian genetics were changed, Jarus had been told once. His pointed ears and blue eyes were from the Sephi side of the family.
They’d had as many comfortably quiet moments as they had moments filled with stories. Jarus’ own stories tended to be short anyway and his relaxed, easy demeanor didn’t make Bre’ah want to fill the quiet times with talk.
So as they exited hyperspace closed with the planet Korriban, Jarus made the remark, “Your hair coloring is perfect,” he said as if speaking about a fact everyone should know, “regardless if you keep it short or let it grow long. Though I’m curious what it would look like on you long.”
Jarus smiled and she knew he wasn’t making fun or joking, and that he meant what he’d said. He also meant it when he said, “Shields at the ready. Bringing weapons online — just in case that Sith from Tattooine knew what was on the holocron and is waiting to spring another trap.”
Bre’ah looked a little loss for words and was about ready to respond but then the words “shields & weapons” interrupted her train of thought as the small v-wing entered the orbit if Korriban. Only a few seconds went by when hail came over the ship’s comm.
“Attention! You have entered a level three system. Please state the nature of your visit here. You have ten seconds to reply.”
It was at the end of the transmission that the two saw a galactic trade alliance cruiser come into view. The image of the lobed face of the Duro looked serious and impatient.
Bre’ah looked back at Jarus, “I’ll let you deal with this guy…”
Jarus activated the comms. “This is Consular Jarus Harlek out from Yavin IV. I’m here on business for the Jedi Order. You have my apologies for our unannounced visit.” Jarus knew that if a GTA cruiser was in play here, it was probably due to a trade or legal disagreement of some sort. “My intention is to visit a very specific location on the surface of the planet below and expect to leave shortly after. However, I’d be happy to discuss details in person if you like.”
His identification clearly labeled him Jedi to the Duro captain, and Jedi — especially consulars — were legendary negotiators. A face to face meeting might reveal more details as to why the GTA was here than why the Jedi were here. It might therefore be much simpler to simply let the Jedi continue about his business.
And of course, Jarus knew that, too.
There was a pause on the comm. Bre’ah looked at Jarus and then at the weapons console. But, just before she suggested a tactical retreat, the comm whistles back, “Understood. Jedi are welcome as long as the laws of the GTA are adhered to. For our confirmation, please transmit your coordinates planet side. We will have a representative meet you there. Once confirmation has been made, you will he free to go about your business in Korriban.”
Jarus sent the coordinates they were bound for, then nodded to Bre’ah to ease them on their way. He asked her to proceed at half speed in order to extend the courtesy of giving the GTA reps time to prepare their representative.
He sat back and relaxed a bit while Bre’ah guided the ship along their course. Once the destination rolled into view, he checked sensor to find the closest useable landing site as well as for any anomalies.
Bre’ah adjusted the sensor array and nodded. “Have a landing spot… Just a few hundred feet away from your coordinates… And before you get too impressed with the speed of my readings, I’m just setting down next to the GTA shuttle.” Bre’ah smiled and brought the ship in smoothly. It was at this time Jarus realized that Bre’ah never used the autopilot… Ever…
The canopy opened to reveal three figures. The two on either side looked like hired GTA security. The center figure looked more business like. And, with his dark blue skin, black hair, and glowing red eyes, it was obvious he was a Chiss.
“Good evening!” The center figure yelled out as he started to approach Jarus and Bre’ah.
Jarus approached quietly until they stood a few meters apart. “Greetings.” He didn’t volunteer any more; it was wiser to let administrators like this ask questions rather than volunteer information they likely would not understand anyway.
“Well it looks like your story checks out! Um, is this your padwan? I was only told if a Jedi wanting access here.” The Chiss looked suspiciously at Bre’ah.
Jarus smiled to show the GTA rep he had nothing to hide. “My pilot and consultant, actually.” Jarus nodded back toward his ship. “As you can see, we are not on a trade related mission. My ship is capable of hauling no more than a footlocker worth of personal belongings.”
The v-wing was an excellent fighter, but it was obvious it was built for speed and combat and by no means a merchant vessel. “We will in no way challenge the GTA’s trade rights to Korriban. I’m here to verify historical documentation my consultant has recently discovered and generously provided my Order.”
The Chiss looked at Bre’ah with accusing eyes.
“You’ve been here before? When? Do you have your license with you so we can verify your time here?”
Bre’ah tried hiding the panicked look on her face as she suddenly smiled.
“Oh for Rodian sake… I wasn’t actually here! I’m guiding this Jedi based on documentation I came into contact with. Nothing more. My presence here is totally under this kind Jedi’s authority. I would NEVER do anything to disrupt the GTA.”
Bre’ah gave the Chiss as innocent look as she could muster. All she could think about was how this would defiantly keep her from getting a license with the GTA.
“Interesting that you should bring up the matter of a trade license.” Jarus said smoothly. “My consultant has expressed some interest in purchasing one. I might be persuaded to share with you what it is that has brought us here should you wish to provide a trade license to her.” It was the best way he could think of to help Bre’ah out. Sure, possible gems were probably inviting. But then they’d have to illegally smuggle them off planet for her somehow. Bre’ah wanted, he thought, a GTA license more than temporary and illegal gains.
The triangle was obvious for the business-minded GTA rep. The Jedi owed the consultant but had no money, just information. If he sold information to the GTA they might be the only body other than the Jedi to have it, and the Jedi’s consultant gets paid. All parties potentially gain something useful.
“No, no… the GTA has great respect for the Jedi and I with confirm your good intentions here.” The Chiss looked to Bre’ah once more. “Helping the Jedi will do nothing but improve one’s chances when applying for a GTAL…”
Nodding quickly he exited back to his shuttle with his two guards.
Once the shuttle hit the sky Bre’ah exhaled. “Oh my… That was close!” Her breathing slowed as she watched the shuttle depart the atmosphere. “Where to now?”
“On to the site,” Jarus said. He watched a moment as the GTA vessel soared out of sight, then turned and began picking their path through the nearby rock field toward the site indicated in the ancient holocron.
The trek was short, according to the coordinates. However, it was obvious that a lot of time had passed. The rocky desert had definitely shifted a bit since the information had been saved on the holocron.
Making their way from rock to rock, they finally found themselves at the location that there was to be a small cave. And by small, the holocron described as not deep. For the entrance was a good hundred feet wide and twenty feet tall. But, it didn’t go back much more than thirty feet into the rock.
According to the holocron, the crystals were in a natural formation towards the back.
Bre’ah looked at the entrance and then back to Jarus. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
“Weapons free, then,” Jarus said. As Bre’ah drew her weapon, he unhooked his lightsaber and and kept it, unlit, in his right hand. In his left he produced a hand torch and shined it into the wide opening of the cave.
The light from the hand held light illuminated the jagged floor and as it scanned deeper into the mouth, that was exactly what the two explorers saw! A mouth at least ten feet wide filled with teeth suddenly clamped down almost catching Bre’ah, luckily the beast’s roar was just in time to warn her to dive out of the way.
Once again, Bre’ah felt the light touch of telepathy contact. “Get to cover at least ten paces distant, my friend. Things are about to get messy.”
Jarus ignited his lightsaber and twirled it to make sure he had the beast’s full attention.
Bre’ah dove behind some rocks to give Jarus room to work. As Jarus readied himself he noticed two egg shaped objects enter the area of the beast.
“CLOSE YOUR EYES!” Jarus heard, not sure if by voice or feedback from the link he now shared.
Instinctively, Jarus closed his eyes just as he heard a FA-BOOOOOOM! Not only could he see the flash through his eyelids, but a sulfuric smell filled the area. These were meant to disorient. Jarus opened his eyes to see the fur and scaled beast whipping around franticly trying to shake off the effects. Luckily for him the whipping around was not near he or Bre’ah.
Her warning had given him the advantage of avoiding being stunned, and he used that by unleashing a massive wave of force. The trunraxx flailed as the force blast sent it hurling to the back of the cave.
A loud crack evoked through the beast’s cries as it’s spine cracked. It’s limp body fell off the rocks of the cave ledge. It’s last breath exhaled to reveal silence.
With some degree of sadness, Jarus focused and channeled the Force to lift the inert form of the creature from the cave and placed it gently outside. It had only been doing what its instincts had instructed it. That Jarus and Bre’ah were forced to defend themselves from it was a sadly necessary conflict.
Once finished, he turned to Bre’ah and nodded. “You have good instincts,” he told her aloud. He had relinquished the telepathic contact as soon as the danger had passed.
“Thanks…” Bre’ah exhaled as she caught her breath. “Let’s hope it was alone.” Bre’ah reached into her pouch and pulled out a light source as well. Aiming it into the cave she looked to Jarus and smiled defensively, “I’ll follow your lead.”
Taking point Jarus cautiously entered the natural dwelling. It’s rocky walls and bone laden floors made for a careful entrance but it did not take long for them to reach the back of the cave. Looking around they found nothing but natural rock. It wasn’t until Bre’ah’s light reflected off something. kneeling down she looked closer and then carefully wiped away dust and dirt to reveal a natural looking crystal growing form the rocky floor. She did notice an interesting difference. Looking around the rock the crystal grew from there seemed to be moisture. Natural water formations were unheard of on Korriban so this was almost as an unusual sight as the crystal. Bre’ah looked up to Jarus, I think this is what you are looking for.”
“I think you are right,” Jarus said, his voice distant. He was fascinated by the crystal and the apparent attraction of water. He reached out with the Force to detect any ebb and pull on the flow of the Force around and through the crystal to see if it felt like one that could indeed be used to control the flow of energy in a lightsaber.
Reaching out with the force, Jarus concentrated and narrowed his focus to the crystal. As he did he was a little surprised to sense the force in Bre’ah — something he almost overlooked. Her nature with the force seemed powerful but well buried deep inside.
Turning his focus back to the task at hand he almost lost his concentration at the shock of how easy the crystal was to attune too. But it was different from other crystals. This one was like holding an infant or carrying a fragile work of art. He felt just how fragile this crystal was.
Separating it from the place it had grown had to be done with care. Narrowing his focus further, he felt the flows of the Force to detect cracks and flaws and avoid stressing them. Gently, with the care and patience of a master of the Force, Jarus separated it from the floor of the cave using only telekinetic power, then gently let it settle upon the palm of his hand. “A very delicate crystal,” he said. “Time will tell if it is too delicate for use or not.”
He looked around and opened his eyes. “I see why your instincts are refined, Captain.” He smiled, but said nothing more on it. “Can we rely upon them now to see if there might be other crystals, gems, you might be able to use?”
It was at this point Bre’ah looked a little in edge. “You know? I think I’m good. Let’s just concentrate on getting you back to your temple.” She looked to the sky over her shoulder, nervous as if she were being watched.
Jarus presented her with a reassuring smile. “Are you certain? I can stand guard outside the cave to await our Sith hunter while you look.”
The look in his eye was serious; he’d risk his life to protect her if she wanted this. The only question was why he’d do that. Did he take repaying his debts that seriously? Jarus didn’t look like a Hutt to her, or to hold to crazy Mandalorian codes of honor. Maybe Jedi were crazy…
Then it hit her! Jedi craved adventure and excitement… That had to be it! Bre’ah was all about adventure but this situation put her in a tough spot. She didn’t want to do anything to upset it hurt her chances to get a trade license with the GTA. But, she owed her life to the Jedi. It was a situation she didn’t want to think of anymore so getting out of it seemed like the best option.
“I appreciate the offer… I really do… You know? Naw, I’m good. Let’s get my ship and then finish this mission.”
Bre’ah smiled to help convince Jarus that she was being honest with him.
He returned the smile and then together they set out toward the landing site. He’d have some time to see what might be done with this crystal.
Once he returned to the Jedi Academy on Yavin IV, he intended provide his findings to the masters there and see if he couldn’t convince them to sponsor Bre’ah for a GTA license.