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Learning how to Open a Box with the Force

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Nadiem
----------------------------------------

Mereel lumbered out of his starfighter's cockpit, his boots striking the Enclave's underground hangar floor with a thud. Flying from Glacies Domum to Nadiem was a long journey, and he had taken as few stops as possible during his trip.

If his chrono was right, it had been a little over thirteen hours since he had gotten out of his cockpit. His legs felt like pudding. He grabbed the cube-shaped holocron from Glacies Domum that was sitting in the cockpit and his trusty pistol, shut the hatch, and proceeded to make his way through a security checkpoint to the hangar's elevator.

As the elevator made its way to the central garden level, he decided that the only way his body could have felt any worse was if he had decided to wear his full suit of armor during the voyage. Fortunately, he had just decided to wear some brown trousers and a tan jacket with a white undershirt for his trip to the enclave. Wearing civilian clothes had some advantages over wearing his Mandalorian armor: it didn't add 20 kilos to his weight, and civilian attire drew a lot less attention and resulted in far fewer angered or concerned onlookers.

Most Jedi didn't like Mandalorians and vice versa, so naturally the only pieces of his armor that he wore into the enclave were his utility belt and his left beskar shoulder guard. As he pondered whether even wearing the shoulder guard was too revealing of the other side of his identity, the elevator door opened with a mechanical ding.

Mereel stepped into the central garden and approached the first non-droid that he saw, a young Zabrak boy who he guessed couldn't be but twelve years old.

"Excuse me, do you happen to know if there are any Masters around that could teach me how to a holocron?" Mereel said, holding up the cube-shaped holocron for the boy to see with his left hand.

"Uhhh, I believe the Masters are all currently in the assembly room. It's a private meeting though, and the Masters discussions can last quiet a while."

Mereel sighed, "Okay, let's go a step lower. Do you know of any Knights who could possibly help me with this?"

"I think Knight Syrin is back from a mission, but there's als-"

"Great, where can I find her?"

Perhaps dejected by Mereel's impatience, the young Zabrak didn't say anything. Instead the kid simply pointed at a Jedi facing away from him further into the garden. "Thanks, good luck in your training." Mereel said.

As he walked past the Zabrak and toward his new target, he flicked a 20-denomination credit chip from his belt to the kid. He had no idea if the boy could put it to use, but it was the only quick way he could repay the kid for his help.

As he approached who he hoped was Lilla Syrin, he gently tossed the holocron up and down in his palm with a grin, "Excuse me miss, do you think you could help me with something?"

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla was back at the Jedi Enclave at Nadiem. She’d spent a lot of time there as a Padawan, but of late had spent more of her time on missions.

She found it reassuring to be back in the place that shaped her into the Jedi she was today. This was doubly relevant as she was meditating in one of the gardens. There was something about communing with nature that made meditation more special. It was, in her opinion, a vastly underrated discipline and every few months she added a new string to her bow. Right now, she was beginning the training in Force Valor, and its link to meditation was not understood by most Jedi.

She was aware of someone heading in her direction and the Force, although helping to filter her natural empathic abilities, was sharing with her the emotion of impatience. Someone was sharing it in waves – although they would not realise it themselves.

Lilla opened one eye and saw a young man advance towards her, a Holocron being bounced in one hand. Her eyes slid over the Mandalorian trappings and back to the Holocron before heading to the young man’s face.

She had a broad smile on her face. “Good day,” she responded, and slowly rose to her feet. “Learn to recognise when speed is not important. Race when being first is important; move at your own pace at all other times. It is not necessary to always strike the first blow, to provide the first solution, or to reach a goal before anyone else does. In fact, it is sometimes vital to strike the last blow, to give the final answer, or to arrive after everyone else.”

She was speaking clearly and deliberately for a reason. “An old Jedi Master once preached this and valued patience. The Jedi tenet to conquer recklessness. You should reflect on it later. But I appreciate your interest is piqued and a Youngling would be able to deduce the reason.”

“Your Holocron I therefore presume. How can I be of assistance?” The warm smile never left her lips.

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
The utter politeness of her greeting brought his hand bouncing the holocron to a halt. He was so used to interacting with the dregs of society and crass soldier types that the woman's perfectly normal response threw him for a loop. In fact, he was so put off that he almost missed the life lesson the woman presented him.

He chewed over the speech for a second, visibly biting his lower lip as he thought. He realized he was impatient in most things, perhaps even more so than the average citizen of the galaxy, but his parents had taught him to fight for his goals in the heat of the moment - to make quick decisions while everyone else was still frozen in thought or fear. The Jedi tenet to conquer recklessness, huh? Isn't the whole point of my coming here to become more Jedi like?

"I'll definitely reflect on that later.." He muttered with a small hint of perturbation creeping into his voice, the words being more for himself than to her.

He banished the thoughts away to a corner in the back of his mind and tried to restore his typical outward appearance of nonchalance, "Yep, this is my holocron. Found this baby on a small jewel out in the Unknown Regions."

He was going to avoid mentioning his reason for travelling to Glacies Domum if he could at all help it, his original intentions for travelling their had nothing to do with anything remotely Jedi related, and if he explained his purpose poorly he thought that he could possibly even sound evil to the Jedi Knight.

"Anyhow.. this is kind of embarrassing for me to admit, but I have no idea how to open this. You see, I haven't really had any formal training in years, and I was hoping someone here could help me. I want to learn more about the force and the Jedi, and I think this can really help me do that."

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla smiled in a reflective way. She was no career Jedi who had been raised from a young age to act, think, speak and eat like a Jedi. In fact her life in the Order was relatively recent — and since her first memories to a matter of a few years ago, she’d been something of a delinquent, a vagrant at best. Never breaking the law exactly, but she sailed close to the line on a regular basis. So she always empathised with Padawans who did not find the whole thing natural.

“Holocrons,” she began, sitting down cross-legged on the floor and indicating the newcomer should do the same, “Come in essentially two types.”

“Jedi and Sith. Access to both is governed by gatekeepers. The Holocron employs patterns of organic crystals and hologrammic technology to capture the appearance and cognitive networks of the Holocron's original owner, and transforms this into a three-dimensional hologram.”

“The gatekeeper acts as a guide through the Holocron's store of information, as a search and recovery engine with a more personal touch. But here is where the two types differ. A Sith gatekeeper will look to corrupt any enduring mind. A Jedi gatekeeper will protect the innocent and withhold information too advanced for the user.”

“You say you’re out of practice? I suspect the gatekeeper senses this and has therefore decided to refuse you access. But all is not lost.”

Lilla fished into one of the pockets of her robes and produced a crystal. "A simple enough thing — it is specifically useful in helping you meditate, which is where it gets its name from.”

Lilla passed the meditation crystal to the Padawan. “Now, close you eyes and empty your mind. Clear it of emotion and thought — and allow the Force to connect with you. The crystal will help.”

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Mereel followed the example set by the Knight and sat down. Her explanation of how the holocrons worked fascinated him to no end, the gatekeepers particularly interested him. When she mentioned the gatekeepers, he thought back to the hallucination that he had on the top of a hill at Glacies Domum. He still wasn't sure that the whole thing hadn't been an oddly lucid fever dream.



Like he did so many nights before going to sleep, he pushed the quaint memories out of his mind and fully sized up the Knight as he sat. Syrin certainly looked sagely in the Jedi apparel, but the ancient design of the robes didn't conceal how young she looked to him. Faces always give it away with humans. She has to be in her late teens at oldest, right? Still, I see a few scars - fierfek I think she might have more than me. . . wait, does she wear those robes into battle?



Whatever the case, it all served to remind him that he felt totally out of his element here. But the reminder didn't necessarily embarrass him, he had never considered himself particularly talented in the force, and the two periods in his life that he had teachers to guide him in developing his abilities were extremely short. His first attempt at learning more was cut short after a two weeks into his training due to Sith invading the temple he was studying at. His second attempt was even shorter, lasting only a single day.



Years had passed between those two attempts, but since his second attempt it had only been a few months, and in those few months he had taught himself a few tricks while out on missions that he now knew he could perform consistently.



He let out a sigh, "Calling me "out of practice" might be a little too generous. If a Jedi holocron gatekeeper really judges based on merit, I might not be deemed worthy to access this holocron for quite some time."



But that didn't mean he wasn't going to try to open the cube right here and now. If his Mandalorian background ever taught him anything, it was how to be stubborn - and he knew from experience that sometimes that stubbornness could be weaponized into insurmountable persistence provided time to develop.



He took the meditation crystal and held it in an upright palm. He was no stranger to meditation, but it felt different here somehow than it always felt when he tapped into the force while out on the field. He chalked it up to the crystal and closed his eyes. As he emptied his thoughts, he remembered that he had forgotten to introduce himself. With eyes still closed, he quietly mumbled, "My name's Mereel by the way. I don't have any crystals, but if you ever need to borrow a good blaster -"



And with that more or less handled he slipped further into the willed, emotionless, and thoughtless trance that he had practiced so many times. Meditation had always been the one thing he had retained over the years, the one exercise that had never helped him in the field on its own unless it was followed up by a force push or a well aimed blaster bolt, or sometimes both of those things used in conjunction.

With the concerns of life thoroughly separated from his mind, he could clearly feel the force flowing through the air around him, flowing through him himself. He could sense Syrin sitting next to him, the life of the garden, the boy he had talked to earlier somewhere nearby.

He even thought he could sense a small trace of something coming from the holocron. Channeling the force around and within himself, he chased that trace deeper and deeper into the heart of the holocron until he felt like he could track it no further. With the force, he "pressed in" where he had sensed the presence last.

He opened his eyes to see a hooded, old, blue and semi-transparent figure hunched over him. Mereel nearly fainted. He had seen way too many ghosts in the last few months,"Please, tell me you see him too?"

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
“Thanks” Lilla replied, when he introduced himself. “Now I’ll let you relax and focus.”

And she sat still, gently pulling the Force to her and reflecting it towards the young man — purposefully sharing relaxing waves that would help him connect to the source of a Jedi’s abilities.

And then she waited. Perhaps Mereel thought it was a process of a few seconds — meditation was like that. In truth he was connected for a full thirty minutes before he was fully at one with the Force, which was when the gatekeeper responded to his probing.

Lilla was instantly pleased and on more than one front. Firstly he was clearly light sided, or else the Holocron would not have yielded to his touch. Secondly she was impressed by his meditation — he was clearly practiced. And finally she was delighted that he was able to unlock the Holocron — the first step in discovering what lessons the gatekeeper could teach.

“Oh, I see him,” Lilla said. “Now you have to ask him a question. What do you seek to learn?”

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
He couldn't stop a relieved grin from forming when Syrin said she could see the blue phantom too, and he couldn't stop a a slight feeling of embarrassment from coming over him when he remembered that this was just the holocron acting as an ancient holoprojector.

Still, the revelation didn't fix his new problem: he didn't know what to ask the thing. It wasn't that he hadn't thought of what to ask it once he figured out how to open it, it was that he had so many questions to ask about everything that he didn't know where to start. He decided to start with the absolute basics, "Gatekeeper, what's your name?"

Without missing a beat, the blue translucent old man responded in a stern voice, "I am Herendio Krix, Grand Master and Founder of the Glacies Domum Jedi praxeum. I created this holocron and serve as its gatekeeper."

He hadn't really expected the holocron's gatekeeper to respond to him, the fact that the ancient artifact's data retrieval processes were working made him feel absolutely giddy with excitement. He felt like a kid who had just been given the greatest life day present in the galaxy. Cool your jets di'kut.

Mereel brought his excitement back into check, "Alright, Herendio. I know that you've already sized me up. Present an archived lesson that is appropriate for my ability in the force."

The holoprojection was silent for a second, "An odd query, but very well."

The hologram of Herendio vanished, and a new hologram of a man in his thirties wearing what looked like Jedi robes padded with various armor pieces took his place. A lightsaber hilt appeared in the palm of the newcomer Jedi hologram's left hand. The hologram turned his palm upright and levitated the hilt a few inches above the surface of his blue hand, "The lightsaber is the traditional weapon of the Jedi. Although the lightsaber has been used by several millennium's worth of Jedi, the design of the blade has not changed all that much, and thankfully the parts needed to build the lightsaber are fairly simple and most are easy to acquire."


The hologram lightsaber began breaking apart into individual components, three crystalline objects began levitating higher than the other components, "First, we'll start with the components that are the trickiest to acquire and build into the lightsaber, the lightsaber crystals. While a single crystal can work, many Jedi opt for using three during the construction of the blade. One crystal is a primary crystal, and two are focusing crystals. Traditionally, lightsaber crystals came from either the Adegan system. Dantooine, or Ilum, with Ilum providing most of the Jedi of our time their crystals. But -"

A switch flipped in the back of Mereel's mind, and he snapped his fingers, "Gatekeeper, pause this entry. I think it's time to make a grocery run."

The hologram of the young Knight was replaced by the old Gatekeeper, who gave a brief bow before fading into nothingness, and a blue beam of light receded into the holocron.


Mereel got up off the ground abruptly, his legs felt like they were asleep again for some reason. As he tried to kick his legs into feeling awake, he looked back to Syrin, "So, is Ilum where you went to get your saber crystals?"

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
LIlla had only been a Jedi for a matter of years, not a lifetime, so did not instantly recognise the gatekeeper. When he announced himself, she was sure she’d heard of the praxeum, but not the man himself.

Lila was a natural empath, but she had learned to block out thought and emotions from a young age — through necessity really — as otherwise she would be overwhelmed. But the young Jedi’s enthusiasm was so strong, she sensed it regardless. But, she figured, even a non-empath could not help but see the joy the discovery had brought him.

She watched him interact and remembered her own experience — she’d had possession of a Holocron for some time before she even knew what it was — and had gone through similar emotions when she’d discovered what she’d found.

Once Mereel closed the Holocron down, he turned his attention back to the Jedi Knight.

“Ilum, yes,” she replied. “There are many, many sites — but I chose it for…well, sentimental reasons. It is a very traditional site to seek crystals from. And an historic Jedi I seem to have some connection with sourced his crystal and constructed his saber there. So, are your ready to craft your own saber and do you have a design in mind?”

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Mereel cracked a smile. Honestly, he had no idea what he was doing or going to do, and he knew next to nothing about where he was going, but he had been given an objective by the holocron - find three saber crystals on Ilum. The lead was good enough for him, he could figure out the specifics during the trip there. "Sentimental reasons huh? If you want to see the place again for old times sake I'd gladly invite you to come with aboard the Iviin'yc - assuming you're not missing any of your duties here."

He thumbed the meditation crystal in his hand and almost instinctively flicked it back to her, but the image of the crystal shattering flashed before his mind and he opted to gently hand her back the crystal instead. "She's got plenty of room for whatever luggage you'd want to take on the journey, but besides that -"

He picked up the cube-shaped holocron, now feeling slightly bad that he had tossed the thing up and down so carelessly. He had no clue how old the thing was, or how many Jedi had contributed to the device, all he knew was that he wanted to ask it more questions later. "I really have no idea what I'm doing. Holocron man seemed to think I'm worthy of building a blade, but I'm just a guy with a blaster and a lot of questions. Although, if what you instructed me to do with the holocron is any example, you're a good teacher - and I'd love to have you along as a mentor."

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla smiled again. “Old time’s sake? Why not. I suspect you may need someone to keep you out of mischief.”

She stood, her legs showing no ill effects of being seated for so long. “But there is a serious side to me accompanying you. If you’re just gathering crystals, then the risks are minimal. But if you intend to craft your saber whilst there – which most do – then there are three potential dangers.”

“The first is that the saber might explode, so a watchful eye is never a bad thing to have at your side. Secondly, the process of crafting a blade can take days – when a Jedi is entirely helpless, typically in a meditative state.”

“And the third is the most serious.” Her voice reflected the change in emphasis. “When deeply connected to the Force and the crystal, a Jedi typically undergoes a challenge – and faces their greatest fear. If you end up in physical danger, I will be there to help out – but in truth, you are largely on your own on this one.”

“So, I’d gladly be your mentor – let’s go.”

As they walked, Lilla added, “Are you OK with the cold? Ilum is a trifle cool at this time of year. In fact, any time of year.”

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 

Mereel Vaun

Jedi Guardian of the Galaxy
Writer
Mereel's spirits soared when the Knight said she would come with. His optimism was not at all impacted by the first risk that she mentioned - he had thrown his armor against blaster turrets and had come out on top with only a mild concussion and a few broken ribs, he thought little of it, but his right eyebrow arched up slightly when she mentioned the second risk, "Several days, huh? Guess I'll have to wear a pack for the occasion. You don't think injecting me with nutritional IVs would pull me out of the process of building the blade do you?"

For some reason, the third risk had went completely under his mind's threat-detecting radar. Perhaps because he wasn't even sure if he knew what his own greatest fear was.

He rolled his shoulders as they walked to a nearby turbolift, "- And yeah, something tells me I'll be perfectly fine in the cold. Just worry about yourself in that department."

I still have to hail the Iviin'yc. Tucker should already be in system though, he was much closer to here than I was when I contacted him anyway. As he stopped onto the lift, he reflexively and rapidly blinked four times. It was an attempt to open a contact menu on his helmet's HUD, which he had forgotten that he wasn't wearing.

"I need to go back to my fighter to call in the Iviin'yc. I'll get all docked and ready to go while you're packing, and then we can meet at the Enclave entrance and be on our way from there."

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Mereel was a bundle of energy, and Lilla appreciated that. And that energy translated into enthusiasm, and Lilla liked that even more.

So, she smiled at his externalised thoughts and followed him as they exited the gardens and headed for their respective dormitories. All Lilla would pack was a spare set of robes. For that was all she had to her name in the galaxy.

“I’ll meet you there,” she said and headed off to pack.

[member="Mereel Vaun"]
 
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